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Chapter 0958: Alchemic Epiphany
Ning Cheng finally understood why there were so few pill sages and why dao pills were challenging to refine. With such faint laws, as long as one didn’t understand the laws well enough, one simply wouldn’t be able to refine them. Likewise, it didn’t matter if your understanding of the laws was strong. If you couldn’t skillfully handle the difference in the properties in the essences of the spirit grasses that you want to fuse and the laws of the dao fruit, the refinement would still fail.
Suppose you had a thorough understanding of the laws and a deep understanding of the properties and the way the essences of the spirit grasses interacted. In that case, you could manage to fuse them. However, if your spiritual consciousness wasn’t good enough, you would find it impossible to condense the fused essences into a dao pill.
When saying that the spiritual consciousness is ‘good enough’, it doesn’t mean having a weaker or a strong one. Instead, it had nothing to do with the strength of your spiritual consciousness but rather your proficiency in controlling it. As such, you could still refine a dao pill without having a strong spiritual consciousness.
Only after optimising all these factors would it be possible for you to refine a dao pill. Especially as different dao fruit had different laws, even if they had similar medicinal essences. In other words, you might be able to refine one type of dao pill but not another.
Grasping the medicinal nature of spirit grasses, controlling the law aura within the dao fruits, and having your spiritual consciousness move it at will…….
Ning Cheng quickly understood what was going on the moment the laws of the dao fruit started to disintegrate. However, at this moment, his entire mind had already merged into the furnace, looking at the failed Falling Scar Dao Pill still forming in it.
On the side, Sheng Houtian looked at Ning Cheng’s focussed demeanour and sighed before shaking his head. He had long since sensed that the laws within the Falling Scar Fruit had dissipated, which meant that this batch had failed. Even if Ning Cheng didn’t admit his failure and still concentrated on finishing the refinement, he wouldn’t be able to refine the Falling Scar Dao Pill.
But even though he knew that Ning Cheng had failed, he still didn’t disturb Ning Cheng’s concentration.
Sure enough, half an incense stick later, a burnt stench emerged from the furnace. A puff of green smoke rose from Ning Cheng’s Chaos First Furnace, accompanied by the smells of burnt spirit grasses.
Anyone could tell that the dao pill refinement had utterly failed. Yet, Ning Cheng still continued to concentrate on the furnace and hadn’t come to his senses.
If this dao pill had been Ning Cheng’s first pill refined before him, Sheng Houtian would have already had a seizure by now and chided Ning Cheng. But he had personally seen the several pills that Ning Cheng had refined earlier. Therefore, even if this furnace of Dao Sculpting Dao Pill had failed, Sheng Houtian didn’t throw a fit. Instead, he waited patiently and quietly at the side.
Ning Cheng’s Sea of Consciousness had imperceptibly started to change when he controlled his spiritual consciousness to fuse the remaining strands of laws with the pills in the pill furnace. In the beginning, he still needed to control the movement of his spiritual consciousness. But gradually, all it took was an expression of his intention, and his spiritual consciousness would start to move independently but according to his will. It was as if his spiritual consciousness had transformed into a world where he could do whatever he wanted.
It allowed him to focus his mind and energy elsewhere. At the same time, it also resulted in having much greater control over his spiritual consciousness.
Just when the failed pills in the pill furnace turned into flying ashes, Ning Cheng’s Sea of Consciousness gave out a slight, imperceptible click. It immediately made Ning Cheng feel ecstatic. Although he had failed to refine the dao pill, this experience allowed his Sea of Consciousness to advance again. His Sea of Consciousness instantly turned invisible and could no longer be pounced upon by ordinary cultivators.
As Ning Cheng’s Sea of Consciousness advanced even further, Sheng Houtian, watching from the side, clearly felt the increase in Ning Cheng’s strength. This made him even more amazed at Ning Cheng. A Holy Emperor who could advance their strength while in the middle of alchemy was something he had never seen or even heard before.
However, Ning Cheng still didn’t wake up as his Sea of Consciousness once again tried to replicate the process of completing the dao pill.
The instant this process ended, Ning Cheng’s body shook once again, and his entire body got shrouded in smoke.
Shen Houtian could no longer hold back his surprise and stood up in shock. He didn’t expect Ning Cheng to advance yet again. Ning Cheng’s previous advancement in cultivation had already left him shaken. But this time, the improvement wasn’t in his cultivation level but in his alchemy level.
As a Dao Transformation Pill Sage, Sheng Houtian knew that Ning Cheng had an alchemic epiphany. In other words, after this epiphany, Ning Cheng’s understanding of the Dao of Alchemy would improve even further.
The faint smoke enveloping Ning Cheng’s body also gave off a seemingly vast dao rhythm, one unique to the Dao of Alchemy. It felt pleasant like a morning bell and an evening drum.
How deep must one’s understanding of the Dao of Alchemy have to be, to be surrounded by such profound and dense dao rhythms? But no matter how deep Ning Cheng’s realisation was, Sheng Houtian couldn’t care about anything else. He immediately sat down and started to sense the dao rhythm that Ning Cheng had comprehended beside him.
An incense stick of time quickly passed, and the dao rhythm around Ning Cheng slowly started to dissipate. A few moments later, the dao rhythm and smoke surrounding his body completely disappeared.
Ning Cheng opened his eyes, and one could clearly feel the joy radiating out of it.
Sheng Houtian also opened his eyes simultaneously, but the joy in his eyes was even more exaggerated than Ning Cheng. He had vaguely caught the shadow of a path that led straight towards becoming a second-step pill sage. He knew very well that even though he had been a Dao Transformation Pill Sage for several tens of thousands of years, he was still just a first-step pill sage.
“Senior…..” Ning Cheng cupped his fists towards Sheng Houtian with some embarrassment. He had failed in the refinement and wasn’t sure if Sheng Houtian would let him take the second attempt.
If Sheng Houtian really didn’t let him refine a second furnace, then today’s assessment would end in a complete failure.
Sheng Houtian hurriedly jumped up and waved his hands. “Don’t call me ‘senior’, Brother Ning Cheng. If you truly look up to this Sheng Houtian, let’s be brothers. You can call me Brother Sheng from now on. Even if you call me Houtian, I would be fully comfortable with it. I even want to thank you. If it weren’t for your epiphany in the Dao of Alchemy and the proliferation of your alchemic dao rhythms, I wouldn’t have grabbed onto a little something. I don’t know how many years it would have taken for me to understand that without your help.”
Sheng Houtian had a look of excitement on his face, just like a child who found a long lost yet still precious toy. At his level, if he wanted to advance, heavenly treasures or external objects wouldn’t be of any use to him. He had to rely entirely on his own comprehension of the Dao of Alchemy. The truth was, his understanding of alchemy had already come so far that it had reached an extreme point. As such, Ning Cheng’s epiphany had pushed him over the tipping threshold, making it possible for him to actually become a second-step pill sage.
Ning Cheng already knew that Sheng Houtian had tried to sense his epiphany while he underwent it. However, he didn’t care about it. Ning Cheng possessed the Mysterious Yellow Origin and cultivated the Mysterious Yellow Formless, which meant that such epiphanies were regular. He also didn’t mind if Sheng Houtian followed him around to bask in it.
Now that Sheng Houtian had become so appreciative of him, Ning Cheng naturally wouldn’t remain pretentious and quickly spoke up. “Then, many thanks, Brother Houtian……”
“Good, good……” Sheng Houtian rubbed his hands excitedly. Even before Ning Cheng had started his alchemic epiphany, he felt confident that Ning Cheng’s future achievements would far surpass his. Initially, he wanted to wait for Ning Cheng to finish his assessments. Then, he could use the opportunity to form a friendship with Ning Cheng.
Unexpectedly, before he could even form a friendship, Ning Cheng had once again demonstrated his terrifying qualifications that far surpassed those of a demon. If he could befriend such a person, he might gain far more in the future.
Seeing that Sheng Houtian didn’t say anything about letting him continue with the examination, Ning Cheng had to take the initiative to mention. “Brother Houtian, I want to continue with the Dao Sculpting Pill Sage assessment. I wonder if I can refine another Falling Scar Dao Pill…..”
Sheng Houtian waved his big hand, “According to the rules, you have two more chances to refine a furnace. Out of a total of three chances, you only need to refine two successful batches, and you can pass without any problems.”
After saying that, Sheng Houtian felt that this didn’t show how helpful he was to Ning Cheng and whispered to Ning Cheng. “Brother Ning, you can go ahead and refine more batches if you like. If you fail, I will give you a few more refining chances. However, you need to promise to not mention this to anyone, not even to those close to you.”
After saying that, Sheng Houtian waved his hand and took out enough materials for five furnaces of Falling Scar Dao Pills. Apparently, Sheng Houtian also understood that one would have a higher chance of success when refining the same dao pill in subsequent rounds.
Ning Cheng smiled. He knew that even if Sheng Houtian didn’t say anything, the Pill Union would still know about it. The piles of monitoring formations around here weren’t just for show. The only reason why Sheng Houtian said those words was because he was afraid to put a psychological burden on him.
However, Ning Cheng didn’t think that he would fail once again. With his epiphany and Sea of Consciousness’s advancement, he would be too embarrassed to refine the third furnace if he failed the second refinement.
This time, Ning Cheng didn’t carefully separate the spirit grasses or even carefully extract the essence of the spirit grasses. He moved as swiftly as he did before when he refined those spirit pills.
When Sheng Houtian saw Ning Cheng’s movements returning to the previous speed, no, even swifter than before, he started to have some doubts. He doubted in his heart if that last attempt with the Falling Scar Dao Pill was the first time Ning Cheng had refined a dao pill in his life.
However, he quickly dispelled those thoughts. The Falling Scar Dao Pill can’t be the first dao pill that Ning Cheng had refined. That’s because Ning Cheng’s movements had once again regained the calmness and fluidity as when he refined those spirit pills. He still couldn’t see Ning Cheng’s pill art, but he could experience a pleasant feeling of springiness from Ning Cheng’s technique.
Half an incense stick later, the pill dregs got thrown out, and an incense stick later, pill rhythms started to circle above the furnace. Half an hour later, the pill rhythms began to coalesce, and one could even feel the laws of heaven and earth converging in the furnace. Immediately afterwards, a burst of pill fragrance erupted from inside it.
Just when Ning Cheng’s pill-making skills emotionally shocked Sheng Houtian once again, Ning Cheng’s hand moved like a blurred shadow. A moment later, tinkling sounds of pills falling into a jade bottle rang out within the hall.
Sheng Houtian felt genuinely thrilled to see that Ning Cheng’s refinement had succeeded. He didn’t dare release his spiritual consciousness to check for fear of affecting Ning Cheng’s refinement. But he could still feel that this batch of dao pills was of high quality.
“Brother Houtian, please help me look at it.” Ning Cheng smiled and placed the jade bottle containing the twelve Falling Scar Dao Pills in Sheng Huotian’s hands.
Sheng Houtian couldn’t wait to open the jade bottle, and a moment later, he couldn’t help but speak up in a slightly exaggerated voice. “Indeed, twelve dao pills of exceptional quality. I’m afraid that it would be difficult even for me to achieve such a result.”
Ning Cheng also felt satisfied with the result. After experiencing the epiphany, he now could refine pills with even more ease and more freehand than before.
While Sheng Houtian kept looking over the pills, Ning Cheng started to refine the second batch of Falling Scar Dao Pills. Half an hour later, Ning Cheng finished refining another batch of twelve top-quality Falling Scar Dao Pills.
Sheng Houtian promptly took out the ingredients for two more dao pills and placed them in front of Ning Cheng. At the same time, he couldn’t help but sigh. “It won’t be long before your Dao of Alchemy surpasses mine, and it might even happen today.”
This time, he took out the ingredients for the Violet Heart Congealing Pills. The primary dao fruit for the Violet Heart Congealing Pill was the Heavenly Jade Dao Fruit. It was a dao pill used by Dao Raising Holy Emperors and below but primarily by those with broken dao hearts. It gave such people a better chance to re-condense their dao hearts. As such, it was a rather precious Dao Raising Dao Pill despite the relative price of its ingredients.
It wasn’t unusual for a Holy Emperor’s dao heart to break. It could happen when one’s dao heart gets unusually stirred up during a cultivation session or during dao condensation, or even against an enemy. The only restriction was that the Violet Heart Condensation Pill could only be used by Holy Emperors at the Dao Raising level or below. If someone of a higher level takes it, it would not have any effect. In some cases, it could even bring harm to that cultivator’s dao heart.
 For those who forgot, the first step of Dao Confirming involves three sub-steps: Dao Sculpting, Dao Raising, and Dao Transformation. Judging from the context, the same rankings apply in the Dao of Alchemy. Thus, Sheng Huotian is a first-step pill sage. We still don’t know Sheng Huotian’s cultivation level as of the current chapter.