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Chapter 0982: Ning Cheng’s Dao of Alchemy
Seeing Ning Cheng’s gaze finally come to rest on Le Xichen, Le Jiesheng’s expressions soured. Although he had complete confidence in Xichen’s alchemic talent, he still felt upset.
Everyone knew that Le Jiesheng was good at talking and making concessions for the sake of connections. However, that didn’t mean he was easy to bully. And now, a puny Dao Sculpting Holy Emperor dared to disrespect his Le Clan. He would have to let this ant know real pain once Xichen crushed him to the point where he couldn’t get up.
Without waiting for Ning Cheng to speak, Le Xichen spoke up with a faint smile. “It looks like Alchemist Ning wants to challenge me, is that right?”
Ning Cheng simply clasped his fists and said, “I hope Alchemist Le can be unsparing in his teachings.”
Seeing that Ning Cheng had already issued the challenge and Le Xichen’s apparent acceptance, Holy Emperor Qing Yi quickly spoke up. “Alchemist Le can propose the three main topics for the competition. These topics can be of any kind but must be within the bounds of alchemy. Alchemist Ning, as the challenger, you cannot raise any objections regardless of the topics chosen, as long as they fall within the scope of alchemy. The official challenge begins now.”
Holy Emperor Qing Yi didn’t want to offend Ning Cheng, nor did she wish to offend Le Xicheng. Therefore, after making the rules clear and announcing the start of the challenge, she got off the stage and handed two Great Amplification Spirit Fruits to Le Xichen.
Le Xichen casually walked onto the stage and first made an alchemist’s salute to the crowd seated on the public square before walking towards Ning Cheng and sitting down. “Since Alchemist Ning wants to challenge me, please come up with a topic.”
Ning Cheng lazily stretched out his hands and spoke as if he didn’t care about any of it. “According to the rules, I am the challenger. So, it should be Alchemist Le who should be coming up with the topics.”
Le Xichen laughed, “Good, it looks like newborns indeed are fearless. Then, let me seek out Alchemist Ning’s opinion. A pill is like a path, while Dao of Alchemy is like the gate of life. It forms the foundation of all living things, manifesting as their origins and essences, making it essential to refine all things. A pill art is like the key to opening that gate; it comes from the mysterious valley and is the foundation of the Dao of Alchemy. What does Alchemist Ning think about it?”
Ning Cheng understood Le Xichen’s thinking; that any and all alchemic processes started by gathering the spiritual herbs’ essence. This thought wasn’t an abrupt one, as many alchemists, even Ning Cheng, thought about it in the same way. However, Le Xicheng then said that the Dao of Alchemy came from the refinement of all things in heaven and earth. It implied that pill arts in Dao of Alchemy were based on the original characteristics of all things in heaven and earth and thus fixed and inherent. He wanted to see if Ning Cheng shared this ‘correct’ view.
In fact, no alchemist would feel this viewpoint as incorrect.
Ning Cheng, on the other hand, only smiled. “Perhaps this is the alchemic philosophy of Alchemist Le, but I disagree with it. For me, it’s just as Senior Qiutian said about the Greater Dao of Alchemy and the Minor Dao of Alchemy. Every alchemist who is starting out will think that the Dao of Alchemy originates from the origins of spiritual objects and is the key to opening the door. However, once you have stepped onto the Greater Dao of Alchemy, you will realise that pill arts are nothing but external objects.”
“One’s Dao of Alchemy changes according to the laws of heaven and earth, the thickness of the surrounding essence qi, and state of mind of the alchemist. So, how could it be bound to a pill art? Once you start to gain deeper insights into the Dao of Alchemy, you will look back and laugh only to say, what even is a pill art?”
It’s not that Ning Cheng didn’t understand the concept of pill arts. Instead, it was because his Dao of Alchemy didn’t have much in common with other alchemists’ Dao of Alchemy. Ning Cheng wasn’t pretending when he spoke those words, nor did he want to appear mysterious. The truth was, he rarely used any form of ‘fixed’ pill art. What he cultivated was the Mysterious Yellow Formless. It meant that even if he used it for cultivation, the cultivation method would change and evolve every moment depending on the circumstances. It also applied to alchemy and other areas. Plus, after coming out of the Land of Broken Laws, he had started to gain a deeper understanding of the changes in the laws of heaven and earth. It was the only reason he could say such things.
Even when he had to use pill arts from the recipes, they differed for each pill. Meaning one simply couldn’t stick to one pill art. Because of this, he could easily instruct Jian Sanshan in refining a batch of top-quality Dao Sculpting Spirit Pills back then.
Le Xichen froze. He had already arranged a trap for Ning Cheng with that question. As long as Ning Cheng thought of this view as correct, he could continue to pressure him about the formations of pill arts. And why pill arts were based on the transformation of all things. He had studied the Dao of Alchemy for countless years and had become incredibly proficient in such concepts. Even more so, he could cite sources for each of them. Not to mention one Ning Cheng, even if there were ten thousand Ning Chengs, they wouldn’t be his match in this regard.
But who knew that Ning Cheng wouldn’t follow common sense and even dare to say that he disagreed with his point of view? No, it wasn’t just his point of view; this is the accepted opinion among those studying the Dao of Alchemy. Even if Ning Cheng disagreed with this universally accepted view of the Dao of Alchemy, it wouldn’t have mattered much. But he even dared to say that once one genuinely stepped onto the Dao of Alchemy, one could even dispense with pill arts. This was simply shameless, no, nonsensical gibberish.
Le Xichen’s face instantly turned blue with anger. This was no longer a discussion on alchemy but a complete farce. It was a disgrace to discuss alchemy with such a person.
Not to mention Le Xichen, even the alchemists seated in the public square stared at Ning Cheng angrily. It didn’t matter if one wanted to stand in the limelight, but using such shamelessness for the sake of the spotlight would definitely end up enraging all the alchemists here. Which alchemist didn’t crave to have a pill art? Who would dare to say that alchemy changed according to the changes in heaven and earth?
“Scum of the alchemic world……”
“With just a mouth, you dare challenge the great alchemists of the Alchemy Discourse?”
The crowd had become so enraged with Ning Cheng that the entire public square seemed to have gone out of control. Jian Sanshan, Yan Ji, and the others could only look at Ning Cheng with worried faces.
After all, if Ning Cheng committed such a big mistake on such a monumental occasion, no one would stop others from killing Ning Cheng.
Sheng Houtian also had a worried look on his face. He knew that Ning Cheng, most likely, hadn’t lied, as he had personally seen Ning Cheng refining pills. His spiritual consciousness couldn’t probe Ning Cheng’s pill furnace, but he could feel that Ning Cheng indeed hadn’t used any pill art.
He suddenly felt shocked at the very notion of it. Didn’t it mean that Ning Cheng had touched on a greater alchemic realm as he said so? It was a pity that his strength was still a little short. If he were at the Dao Essence Realm, he might have gained a deeper understanding of Ning Cheng’s words ‘Alchemy changes according to the changes of heaven and earth’ more quickly.
Lei Xichen suddenly stood up and cupped his fist towards Pill Union’s Union Master, Sichen Qiutian. “Senior Qiutian, this person isn’t here to challenge at all. He’s here to stir up trouble at the Alchemy Discourse.”
Without waiting for Sichen Qiutian to speak, Ning Cheng sneered and said, “So, you’re implying that since you can’t do it, it means others are messing around? Do you still remember what shameless means? I’ve heard that the Barbarian Dragon Clan still has a Dao Perfection powerhouse; it’s just that no one has ever seen this ‘expert’. You obviously can’t reach Dao Perfection in your lifetime. So, according to your statement, doesn’t it also mean that the Barbarian Dragon Clan is lying about this Dao Perfection powerhouse? It’s all just fake?”
When Man Huishan heard Ning Cheng’s words, he gave a cold snort, “Ning Cheng, if you don’t take back what you said just now, don’t blame me for being rude.”
Ning Cheng wasn’t only striking back at Le Xichen but also at his clan. After all, he was the Dragon Emperor of the Barbarian Dragon Clan, the figurehead of his family. So how could he not sense Ning Cheng’s intent with his intelligence? He was essentially creating doubt in other people’s minds about whether his Barbarian Dragon Clan indeed had a Dao Perfection powerhouse. This effectively reduced his Barbarian Dragon Clan’s prestige and pressure on other sects and forces.
Ning Cheng cupped his fists and showed a warm smile, “I respect all Dao Perfection powerhouses. Since the Barbarian Dragon Emperor does not want me to mention it, then I will not mention it.”
Once again, Man Huishan only gave a cold snort and ignored Ning Cheng altogether.
Le Xichen, who had long since decided that Ning Cheng was talking nonsense, didn’t even look at Ning Cheng. Instead, he continued to bow while facing Pill Union’s Union Master, asking him to be the judge.
Sichen Qiutian finally spoke up. “There are thousands of different branches in alchemy, and each one of them is based on what someone gained from their dao. What we don’t know, maybe someone else does. What we think is impossible may seem normal to others. Thus, the Pill Union will not make a decision on this, even if it sounds outlandish to everyone here.”
“In fact, I have tried not to use pill arts, but it was proven afterwards that it did not work. Because of this, I originally thought that this concept was simply unfeasible. However, moving up a level in both my cultivation and understanding of the Dao of Alchemy, touching the edge of the Greater Dao of Alchemy, I started to once again think that perhaps I was just not up to the mark when I tried it back then. So, I can at least say that those words aren’t nonsense. As such, you two will be holding your own views on the Dao of Alchemy for this round.”
Holding onto one’s views for this round meant there would be no winner. In other words, if you want a winner, refute this alchemic philosophy in the next round. If you can prove your point with your Dao of Alchemy, it will also change the no-winner situation in the previous round.
Even if this didn’t count as a loss for Ning Cheng, many people immediately recalled the matter of Ning Cheng and Pill Union’s Sheng Houtian being brothers. From their perspective, Ning Cheng’s friendship with Sheng Houtian affected the Union Master Sichen Qiutian. However, only those cultivators who knew Sichen Qiutian’s personality did not think so.
Le Xichen obviously also thought that this situation resulted from Sheng Houtian. He felt so indignant in his heart that he no longer had the idea of discussing alchemy with Ning Cheng. Instead, he wanted to crush him completely. A person like Ning Cheng wasn’t worthy of discussing alchemy with him. He could no longer contain his indignation and burst out with a cold voice. “Since Alchemist Ning has crossed over into the Great Dao of Alchemy, why not refine a pill for us without using any pill art?”
Ning Cheng’s tone also turned cold, “Who do you think you are? You want me to teach you? Want me to refine a pill before you without using any pill arts? Who the hell do you think you are?”
“Haha….” Le Xichen laughed angrily, threw out a white Dao Sculpting Pill Sage’s qualification token, and spoke up with a murderous tone. “Since I’m the one who decides the rules for the challenge, then produce a Dao Sculpting Pill Sage’s qualification token. If you can’t, then you lose. Get off the fucking stage.”
His way of setting the rules for the competition had now turned into a full-blown bullying session. In any case, although it was a form of bullying, it didn’t go against the general rules of the challenge. After all, a Pill Union’s qualification token had something to do with alchemy. If you didn’t pass the Pill Union’s verification, you wouldn’t get a qualification token at all.
All the people understood Le Xichen’s thoughts, and they felt relieved. Aren’t you so good? I won’t even bother to compete with you in alchemy now. I’m a Dao Sculpting Pill Sage, how about you? Can you take out a Dao Sculpting Pill Sage qualification token to prove that you’re a Dao Sculpting Pill Sage? If you can’t, then get lost.
Ning Cheng’s annoyance had also turned into anger. This fellow even started comparing qualifications. If that’s the case, then you, Le Xichen, will have only one word left for you. Lose.
Ning Cheng didn’t bother speaking and similarly took out a white Dao Sculpting Pill Sage’s qualification token.
“You’re a Dao Sculpting Pill Sage? Why did….” Le Xichen frowned and looked at the white Dao sculpting Pill Sage’s qualification token that Ning Cheng had taken out. He couldn’t help but doubt it.
Without waiting for him to finish the sentence, Ning Cheng spoke up. “Didn’t you also not take one out? Besides, all one needs to enter the Illusionary Fruit Orchard is a Dao Sculpting Pill Deity’s qualification token. Even when I entered this place, I only had to show a Dao Sculpting Pill Deity’s qualification token. Or is there a rule somewhere that I have to wear all my qualification tokens on me? Afraid that others won’t know that I’m a Dao Sculpting Pill Sage?”
Le Xichen surprisingly didn’t get angry; instead, he took out a silver Dao Raising Pill Sage’s qualification token. He didn’t say anything and just stared at Ning Cheng.
 I need more context for ‘mysterious valley’ to make it more coherent and understandable. Till then, we decided to leave it as it is.
 ‘Spiritual herbs’ here not only includes spiritual grasses and dao fruits, but anything with spiritual essence. A more accurate term would be ‘spiritual objects’, but the former suited the flow better as it had a connection to Alchemy.
 I previously mentioned it as the Dao of Minor Pills and Dao of Major Pills.