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Translated By – DemonKiller
Checked and Edited By – Livewidsmile
Proofread By – DemonKiller
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Chapter 0989: Fellow villagers meeting fellow villagers
Since Sichen Qiutian requested it, Ning Cheng naturally wouldn’t remain pretentious. With the Six Yin Soul Pill in hand and representing the Grand Essence Realm in the Five Grand Realms’ Alchemy Competition without taking Le Xichen’s spot, why would Ning Cheng refuse?
“Many thanks, Senior Qiutian. This Ning Cheng will definitely give it his best.” Ning Cheng hurriedly thanked him.
Sichen Qiutian nodded and took out a golden token before handing it to Ning Cheng. “This is the Dao Essence Pill Sage’s qualification token. It’s the highest grade token that my Grand Essence Realm’s Pill Union can issue. Since you refined six top-quality Six Yin Soul Pills, this qualification token should rightfully belong to you.”
Ning Cheng wanted to refuse because he knew he wasn’t yet a Dao Essence Pill Sage. More precisely, he was a few furnaces away from becoming a Dao Essence Pill Sage. It did not mean that he was one currently. However, he quickly thought of the value of this qualification token. In the entire Grand Essence Realm, apart from Dao Perfection powerhouses, even a Dao Fusion expert would need to think things through if they wanted to move against him.
Therefore, Ning Cheng thanked him once again before accepting the Dao Essence Pill Sage’s qualification token with both hands. He knew that he couldn’t refine Dao Essence Dao Pills. Yet, he was the second alchemist in the Grand Essence Realm to possess the Dao Essence Pill Sage’s qualification token.
Not a single person at the Alchemy Discourse’s public square raised any objections to Ning Cheng receiving this qualification token. In their eyes, Ning Cheng wasn’t only a Dao Essence Pill Sage but a Dao Essence Pill Sage who could refine top-quality Six Yin Soul Pills.
After Ning Cheng put away the Dao Essence Pill Sage’s qualification token, Holy Emperor Qing Yi walked onto the stage. “Congratulations to Pill Sage Ning and our Grand Essence Realm for gaining another Dao Essence Pill Sage. This time, there would be six pill sages representing the Grand Essence Realm in the Five Grand Realms’ Alchemy Competition.”
“This time, there is one more person for the coming competition. Therefore, unlike the usual way we did things, the support from each clan and sect for the participating alchemists will be sent to them through the Pill Union. Each participating alchemist will then select the clan or sect that will support them. This marks the end of this Alchemy Discourse, and I thank all the alchemists and fellow daoists of my Grand Essence Realm for coming to attend it.”
Every time someone got selected to participate in the Five Grand Realms’ Alchemy Competition, every clan and sect would come out to support their favoured alchemists. It naturally was for allocating quotas.
Moreover, this support wasn’t just empty words but something substantial. That’s what Holy Emperor Qing Yi’s last words meant. That is, the supporting sects or clans had to take out things to share the burden and also entice the alchemists. The Pill Union would then take the list of things handed in and hand it over to the participating alchemists. The alchemist can then choose their ‘sponsor’ from the list provided.
“Ning Cheng, if you have time, feel free to come to my abode to discuss the Dao of Alchemy.” As Ning Cheng walked off the stage, Sichen Qiutian extended an invitation to Ning Cheng.
Sichen Qiutian’s status in the Grand Essence Realm wasn’t just that of a Union Master. In fact, his status was much higher than that of a sect master or clan leader of a major faction. Now Sichen Qiutian had personally invited Ning Cheng to come to his abode at any time. From this, everyone understood just how much Sichen Qiutian valued Ning Cheng. It genuinely was the highest honour anyone could get.
“Once I’m free, this junior and Brother Huotian will definitely come to senior’s abode to listen to the teachings.” Ning Cheng hurriedly responded while also pulling in Sheng Huotian with him. Although he genuinely thanked Sichen Qiutian for the offer, Ning Cheng had no intention of wasting time discussing alchemy. He still had many things to do, so how could he waste time on words?
Sichen Qiutian laughed, “Since you call Junior Apprentice Brother Huotian your brother, I naturally can’t be overbearing. From now on, you can call me Brother Qiutian as well.”
To other alchemists, addressing Sichen Qiutian in this manner was something they couldn’t get to do even if they burned incense. But then again, Ning Cheng was a Dao Essence Pill Sage, with his Dao of Alchemy seemingly even higher than Sichen Qiutian.
Sichen Qiutian walked away and let other people come to meet Ning Cheng. Everyone seemed to feel that it was a supreme honour to even exchange a few words with Ning Cheng.
“Pill Sage Ning, I have just received news that the spirit herbs you wanted have arrived in the Heaven Essence Sacred City.” An abrupt voice interrupted Ning Cheng and everyone’s greeting.
Some people immediately recognised who the speaker was. With a dark face and incongruous slender eyes, the Void Star Sect’s Sect Master, Wu Bufeng.
After Wu Bufeng spoke up, the people surrounding Ning Cheng immediately quieted down. None of them could figure out what had gone wrong between Ning Cheng and the Void Star Sect’s Wu Bufeng. But they could guess that it had to do something with Wu Bufeng’s refusal to let Ning Cheng borrow pill ingredients. From how it looked, he now wanted to give Ning Cheng the materials after seeing Ning Cheng’s powerful Dao of Alchemy.
But then again, although many felt that Wu Bufeng had misjudged Ning Cheng’s proficiency in alchemy, they didn’t think it was out of place either.
But those who knew Ning Cheng’s personality knew that Wu Bufeng was barking up the wrong tree. If not for the Silver Dragon Clan’s Gong Huayu, Ning Cheng wouldn’t have received the Dao Essence Pill Sage’s qualification token. Nor would he have received the chance to go to the Five Grand Realms’ Alchemy Competition. In fact, without Gong Huayu’s help, Ning Cheng wouldn’t be currently receiving so many warm greetings but rather intense ridicule.
Ning Cheng looked at this dark-faced man and spoke up calmly, “I’m afraid you are mistaken. I have never met you, nor have I ever asked you for spirit herbs. If I have said anything wrong, I have already apologised.”
The dark-faced man instantly frowned. Ning Cheng had become a Dao Essence Pill Sage, and his status had indeed risen sharply. However, he was the Void Star Sect’s sect master and had personally said those words to request Ning Cheng to refine pills. But not only did Ning Cheng refuse, but Ning Cheng also refused it in such a tone, which made him extremely upset. So what if he was a Dao Essence Pill Sage? Any other time, his Void Star Sect could have easily crushed Ning Cheng to death, just like crushing an ant to death.
But right now, he was the one who wanted to ask for Ning Cheng’s help. As such, he had no choice but to hold back. He looked back at Percy, hoping that Percy would come forward and speak. However, Percy simply stood there with his head lowered, not daring to lift it up. He didn’t have the face to look at Ning Cheng. How could he ask Ning Cheng to help refine their pills after what had happened?
Previously, when Ning Cheng needed the Void Star Sect’s help, the Void Star Sect pretended to act dead. But now, when Ning Cheng had weathered the difficulties without their help, the Void Star Sect could only slap their faces after learning about his abilities. Why would he need to care about you when you now pretend that your previous ‘act’ wasn’t true?
Ning Cheng didn’t even give Wu Bufeng a chance to talk again and directly said to Yan Ji, Jian Sanshan, and the others, “Let’s go.”
It was still very early for the Five Grand Realms’ Alchemy Competition, so Ning Cheng intended to take care of his affairs here. He wanted to go to the Grand Essence Ruins to look for the Exquisite Star Golden Hidden Leaf for Yan Ji before finding a way to return to the four great starry skies.
Ning Cheng was now a popular figure who everyone wanted to befriend. Therefore, once Ning Cheng stated his intention to leave, everyone immediately gave way to Ning Cheng.
“Pill Sage Ning, please wait a moment.” Another voice called out to Ning Cheng.
“So it’s the Star Stepping Tower Master.” Ning Cheng saw a woman in black walking over and immediately recognised her. This woman was both powerful and influential, so Ning Cheng didn’t want to deal with her, nor did he want to offend her.
The woman in black nodded to Ning Cheng. “Congratulations to Pill Sage Ning for qualifying as a Dao Essence Pill Sage and representing the Grand Essence Realm at the Five Grand Realms’ Alchemy Competition.”
“Many thanks.” Ning Cheng only said two words and nothing more. His intent was clear, if you don’t have anything to do with me, I will leave.
The Star Stepping Tower Master didn’t care about Ning Cheng’s intent. She continued, “I wonder if Pill Sage Ning Cheng would be free to come to my Star Stepping Tower for a little chat? Last time, I received a bottle of Empyrean Consciousness Transmutation Pills from you, but I couldn’t help you much, which made me feel sorry.”
Ning Cheng laughed coldly in his heart, ‘Have you ever felt sorry? Don’t even dare to show teeth while laughing before this father. You wouldn’t feel bad about it even if I were to give you a hundred bottles of Empyrean Consciousness Transmutation Pills.’
“Many thanks for inviting me, but I have too many things to do. I’m afraid I won’t have time to sit down with you. After all, I don’t even have the time to respond to Lord Qiutian’s invitation.” Ning Cheng spoke in a respectful tone.
Ning Cheng’s tone might have been respectful, but the intent behind his words wasn’t respectful at all. I’m not even taking up Sichen Qiutian’s invitation, so even if you invite me, I naturally wouldn’t go. Everyone understands that not all people walk the same path.
The Star Stepping Tower Master frowned slightly and suddenly said, “I just want to discuss the matter of diplomas with you. I didn’t have a high degree of education as a child because my family was poor……..”
Ning Cheng’s heart thumped. He instantly understood a few things. This Star Stepping Tower Master might have something to do with Earth even if she wasn’t from Earth. He thought back to some of the words he heard from the Star Stepping Tower Master’s mouth and started to feel more and more certain about this conjecture.
If this woman in black was a kind-hearted person, Ning Cheng might have felt excited at such recognition. He would have immediately gone up to get to know each other. After all, when fellow villagers see fellow villagers after a long time, tears are bound to line their eyes.
However, Ning Cheng knew that this woman in black was a thick-skinned person who definitely didn’t put other people’s lives at heart. He definitely wouldn’t dare to recognise such a ‘fellow villager’. It would be equivalent to stabbing a ‘fellow villager’ in the back when old villagers meet after a long time.
“Senior, what do you mean by ‘high degree of education’? What does it have to do with a diploma?” Ning Cheng asked as he looked at the Star Stepping Tower Master in bewilderment.
The Star Stepping Tower Master stared closely at Ning Cheng. It was just that Ning Cheng’s eyes were pure, with not even half a bit of fluctuation.
“Then, let me ask you, you mentioned ‘more than one diploma’. What does that statement mean?”
Ning Cheng’s tone turned to nostalgia, “It was from a friend I met long ago. He taught me a lot of things. He said that a diploma was a credential, a status of some sort.”
“A degree was a low-level credential, a PhD was a top-level credential, and whatever else in between was a lot of nonsense. That’s why I referred to the Pill Union’s qualification tokens as a diploma. What’s wrong with that?”
“What’s that person’s name?” The Star Stepping Tower Master clenched her fists. She couldn’t tell if Ning Cheng was serious or lying. But no matter what Ning Cheng said, she didn’t dare do anything to Ning Cheng right now.
“His name is Cang Wei. He was already a mighty Holy Emperor back then. I reckon he must have already surpassed the Dao Fusion Realm. But ultimately got besieged by others, causing him to fall to a lower-levelled interface where he met me.” Although Ning Cheng’s words were the truth, the pretext was false. Cang Wei most likely didn’t know anything about a diploma.
After saying this, Ning Cheng secretly said in his heart. “Senior Apprentice Brother Cang Wei, you can’t blame me; this woman is too powerful for me to handle. In the future, if you happen to meet her, please take care of it for your little brother.”
The Star Stepping Tower Master didn’t ask any more questions but stared at Ning Cheng for a while before speaking up with a light smile. “Pill Sage Ning, come to my Star Stepping Tower when you have the time; I’ll be waiting for you.”
Looking at the retreating back of the Star Stepping Tower Master, Ning Cheng finally sighed with relief. Go to the Star Stepping Tower? Let’s wait until he reaches the second step of Dao Confirmation. Even if you don’t come to question me then, I will still come to question you. As for now, you can forget about it.
“Tianhe, you go and talk with Ning Cheng. Also, on behalf of my 9-Revolutions Sacred Dao Pong, extend an invitation to him.” A woman with a few wrinkles on her face said as she looked at Ning Cheng walking out of the Alchemy Discourse Public Square.
“Yes, Uncle Master.” Shi Tianhe hurriedly answered, and after she finished speaking, she immediately turned toward Ning Cheng.
“Master, don’t go to him right now.” Shi Yisheng called out to Shi Tianhe, who was about to go and greet Ning Cheng.
Shi Tianhe asked in confusion, “Why?”
“That woman following Ning Cheng is Yan Ji, from our 9-Revolutions Sacred Dao Pond…….” Shi Yisheng spoke up in shocked disbelief.
“Yan Ji?” Shi Tianhe naturally wouldn’t keep a nameless woman like Yan Ji in her mind. So when Shi Yisheng mentioned it, she couldn’t recall such a person at all.
Shi Yisheng hurriedly reminded her, “It’s that Yan Ji who was about to undergo spirit grafting; she was put in spirit cleansing…..”
Without waiting for Shi Yisheng to finish, Shi Tianhe fully understood, and a chilling look appeared in her eyes. “Wasn’t she taken away by that witch together with Shui Yueke? How come she’s beside Ning Cheng?”
 TL Note: ‘毋不封’ (Wu Bufeng) translates to ‘Not sealed/No need to seal.’