HSSB54: Even a draw will count as my loss!
Seeing Zhao Yuan walk towards the pill furnace, Yan Zhaoge looked at Zhao Hao, stroking his lower jaw, "If I weren't here today, Zhao Yuan and Zhao Sheng would be destined to have their face beaten here."
"And it would be beating first the right side, then the left side."
"Following that, due to various strange and unusual reasons, they'd probably gradually end up as a stepping stone for Zhao Hao."
Yan Zhaoge drew back the corners of his mouth, "Alchemy requires talent as well as experience; even for me, it would indeed be impossible to help someone to make such speedy gains."
"And it would be even more impossible for me to take to the field myself, going to face this Zhao Hao head-on for real while unprepared."
"If I did that, regardless of who the eventual victory were to go to, it would also end up growing Zhao Hao's face."
"Still, do you think that I will have my back pushed against the wall from just this?"
Under Yan Zhaoge's guidance, Zhao Yuan did not pull out his own pill furnace, nor did he walk towards Zhao Hao's. Instead, he walked before old Mr Wang.
"Elder Wang, could you pass Sixteenth Brother's Treatment Pill to me?"
Old Mr Wang frowned slightly, obviously unhappy, "Is it that Eldest Prince cannot trust this old man, thinking that this old man would help Sixteenth Prince out of bias?"
With a slight smile on his face, Zhao Yuan shook his head, "It's naturally not that; please do not misunderstand, Elder Wang. I only very simply wish to see the medicinal pill that Sixteenth Prince concocted."
Elder Wang looked at Yan Zhaoge and Zhao Shilie for a time, before finally handing over the Treatment Pill to Zhao Yuan.
He sighed, "The time used was short; as for the efficacy of the medicine, let's not talk about that. Just look at the bottom of the interior of his pill furnace; there are no medicinal dregs there at all. All the medicinal ingredients were made use of perfectly, without any wastage having occurred whatsoever."
As the words left his mouth, everyone's hearts sunk.
Zhao Hao had already attained perfection in all of the three areas to be judged. Even if Zhao Yuan erupted strongly to perform above his level now, it would still only be a draw at most, unless the efficacy of the Treatment Pill he concocted turned out to be superior to that of Zhao Hao.
But would that really still be a Treatment Pill?
Zhao Yuan's expression didn't change, as he carefully appraised the Treatment Pill within his hand.
Finally, he turned to look at Zhao Hao, "Sixteenth Brother's skill in alchemy is indeed superb."
Zhao Hao only said mildly, "What does Eldest Brother wish to say?"
Zhao Yuan said neither quickly not slowly, "Sixteenth Brother's alchemy skills are superb, even being able to cause the smoke of the pill furnace to take form. To this, even Eldest Brother has to admit my admiration."
"However, the dao of alchemy is vast and profound; the number of techniques it contains as boundless as an ocean..."
Zhao Hao broke him off directly, "There are indeed many alchemical techniques, but what you can do, I can do too, and what you can't do, I can also do."
"Such words don't have to be said, just directly move on to your main point."
Having been cut off by him, Zhao Yuan was also not angered, as he still said slowly and leisurely, "That is some nice spirit you have there, Sixteenth Brother. In that case, Eldest Brother will display his meagre skills today."
"By chance, I managed to learn a little of a strange and wondrous alchemical technique. Today, I'll just try it out then."
"As for you, Sixteenth Brother, you don't have you prove yourself to be stronger than me; as long as you are able to perform the same technique, today, Eldest Brother will lower my head in defeat."
"What does Sixteenth Brother think?"
Hearing his words, Zhao Hao looked first at Zhao Yuan, then at Yan Zhaoge with a barely masked look of ridicule on his face.
"A strange and wondrous technique? Haha, this old man once spent half of his entire lifetime in the Eight Extremities World collecting every single bit of the remnant traces of alchemy from before the Great Calamity as well as the alchemical techniques created by experts in the field after the Calamity itself."
"Other than the few Sacred Grounds' speciality pill formulas and concoction techniques, as long as it is something that has to do with alchemy, there is nothing under these heavens that I do not know."
"While your Broad Creed Mountain's alchemy indeed has its unique areas, none of it is something that can be grasped by someone of Zhao Yuan's foundation."
"As for other abstruse techniques obtained by chance or coincidence? Hehe, those were what this old man discarded after growing tired of playing with in the past."
Zhao Hao laughed uncaringly, "Even a draw, will count as my loss!"
Zhao Yuan smiled slightly as he nodded his head. Then, he suddenly took out a golden needle which he promptly stabbed into the Treatment Pill.
Seeing this, everyone was stunned, not understanding Zhao Yuan's actions at all.
It was only Zhao Hao and old Mr Wang within whose eyes a totally shocked expression could be seen.
Zhao Yuan wielded the needle with speed and ease, stabbing it into the Treatment Pill nine consecutive times, following which a faint mist actually began to emanate from the pill where the needle had stabbed it.
Upon seeing this, everyone was stunned. They naturally knew that this mist was the work of Zhao Yuan. But, the pill was not a balloon; how then could there be a gas being emitted from within it?
Having finished all this, Zhao Yuan now returned the medicinal pill to old Mr Wang, "Elder Wang, please reexamine the pill."
Old Mr Wang sucked in a deep breath, and checked the pill. After doing so, he fell into a deep silence, seemingly trying to remember something as he pondered.
Without saying a thing, he passed the pill over to Prince Jin who was standing beside him. After taking a look, Zhao Shilie's eyebrows instantly twitched.
"The remnant furnace smoke within the pill all disappeared, and the efficacy of the pill increased a tier further, thus actually truly achieving the maximum possible efficacy of the Treatment Pill that can only be achieved in theory?!"
Old Mr Wang let out a long breath, looking towards Zhao Yuan as his body actually slightly trembled, "Forgive this old man's old blinded eyes. This technique of Eldest Prince's, is it the Golden Needle Liberating Pill technique?"
Zhao Yuan smiled as he nodded, "Elder Wang's eyes are discerning indeed; that was indeed the Golden Needle Liberating Pill technique.
Old Mr Wang's body trembled no longer, as, looking towards the skies, he let out a long sigh, his heart satisfied to the extreme, "I never thought that in my lifetime, this old man would actually be able to see a supreme alchemical technique that originates from before the Great Calamity. This life has not been lived in vain!"
Zhao Shilie, Zhao Sheng and the others were all stunned by his words, "Elder Wang..."
After having calmed his emotions, Elder Wang said, "The Golden Needle Liberating Pill technique can completely dispel the remnant furnace smoke within a pill, and greatly increase its efficacy as a result."
"This was one of the top alchemical techniques in the era before the Great Calamity, having long since been lost. Now, only a simple written record of it remains; it is just like a legend."
Zhao Yuan now looked towards Zhao Hao, saying in a manner that was neither quick nor slow, "I have only the tiniest bit of skill in it; please excuse my incompetent performance."
There had erupted a shocking light within Zhao Hao's gaze, but it was directed not towards Zhao Yuan, but, rather, straight at Yan Zhaoge.
Yan Zhaoge looked at Zhao Hao, seeming peaceful whilst actually letting out a wicked smile, "Personality determines destiny; I just love to deal with this kind of stupid youth who likes to act cool just like me."
Zhao Sheng's gaze had also fallen on Yan Zhaoge as in a lowered voice, he ordered a guard beside him to bring him a Treatment Pill, as well as a golden needle.
He observed the Treatment Pill Zhao Yuan had treated, trying to deduce the right angle and position. Then, he similarly stabbed nine needles into the Treatment Pill he had.
There was no reaction whatsoever.
"There is indeed a special technique; that success was in no way coincidental!" Zhao Sheng exclaimed with a disappointed sigh.
Zhao Yuan smiled as he looked at Zhao Sheng. Taking out another fresh Treatment Pill, he did as he had done before.
Fog was once again emitted into the air.
Zhao Shilie's gaze repeatedly moved between Yan Zhaoge and Zhao Yuan, before he suddenly asked, "It works with the Treatment Pill, but what about this Smoke Cloud Powder?"
One of the guards behind him hurriedly presented him with a packet of medicinal powder, within which was contained the Smoke Cloud Powder.
At this, Zhao Yuan's gaze hardened slightly.
"It's fine. Just use your aura-qi to cause the powder to coalesce and form a pill, before stabbing in nine needles as per my instructions." Listening to the relaxed Yan Zhaoge's sound transmission, Zhao Yuan also calmed down instantly.
He took the Smoke Cloud Powder and grabbed towards it with his aura-qi, as the medicinal powder instantly coalesced into the form a of pill.
Zhao Shilie stared as he followed Zhao Yuan's every movement closely. Although the medicinal powder was currently in the form of a pill, it was actually still a powder. This was totally different from the Treatment Pill from before.
But Zhao Yuan stabbed in nine needles, and fog once against rose from within.
The fog actually split into two, one portion black, the other white. The blackness dissipated within the air, while the whiteness returned within the pill formed of the Smoke Cloud Powder.
After having checked its efficacy, old Mr Wang was full of praises. Zhao Shilie completely didn't say anything at all, just turning to look over at Zhao Hao.
Zhao Hao's gaze was finally no longer as cocksure and arrogant as before. Rather, he now had a grave and serious look on his face.
Without saying anything, Zhao Hao also got out a packet of Smoke Cloud Powder, coalescing it into a pill as he asked Zhao Yuan for a golden needle.
He did not start immediately, just furrowing his brows as he carefully considered how best to proceed on this matter.
After a long time, he finally began.
The first needle, nothing...
The second needle, nothing...
The third needle...
The fourth needle...
The pill formed of the Smoke Cloud Powder exploded in its entirety, filling the surrounding area with smoke and dust.
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