Hearing the rumbling and fanatic cheers shaking even the heavens, Xie Tianyang looked envious, “This punk does the same wherever he goes. If the world was in chaos, he’d be an overlord by now!”
“Ha-ha-ha, even peace can’t stop this kid’s rise,” Long Jiu caressed his beard, his eye trembling with admiration, “I knew long ago he wasn’t someone to mess with, but it still leaves me in awe whenever I see him! I can’t help but wonder, what’s his limit?”
The others heard him and turned to see Zhuo Fan being the star of the show, acting just like a king. They had to nod at Long Jiu’s assessment.
Xiao Dandan listened to them praise Zhuo Fan and pride got to her head, her heart sweetened like honey.
[I found the best husband. He is leagues above the other men.]
Her thoughts were echoed by Chu Qingcheng as well. Seeing Zhuo Fan worshiped by the crowd, the cheers he evoked, she unknowingly changed her slim body’s position, striking a dignified and imposing look, as well as love-struck eyes.
Every woman, even Chu Qingcheng, hoped to find a shoulder to lean on.
However, this was Drifting Flowers Edifice, a place where women governed.
Furthermore, the people of Tianyu whose shoulders she could lean on could be counted on one hand. Not to mention, some had evil thoughts and were unworthy of trust.
Not too long ago, she rested her weary body and hoped on the strong-armed Huangpu Qingyun. Only to find out the latter chose his House over her.
In spite of it all, Zhuo Fan came through in the end. She took him as a mere child and used him to comfort her heart. But she slowly came to realize that this man was the only one worthy of her trust…
The praises, the veneration, and the kowtowing of the crowd was still ongoing, shaking the sky and jarring even the ears of the alchemists, meddling with their refining.
Xiao Ya was in the arena gesticulating all over the place and demanding silence, “Don’t shout! Please remain…”
But no one heard her. Her sharp voice was drowned in the flood of praises.
The only thing she could do was stomp in distress.
Grinning, Zhuo Fan raised a hand to catch everyone’s attention.
The uproar from before was gone in an instant, like it never existed. The crowd seemed to have faded from the silence, with only the flames of the alchemists in the arena making small burning noises.
“Everyone, other alchemists are still refining. Please keep quiet, for me,” Zhuo Fan calmly flung his hair.
There were nods all around and even some zipping their mouths.
Xiao Ya was exasperated. [Whose goddamn competition is this? Grandmaster Song is too damn liked!]
Xie Tianyang’s face twitched, [Damn it! This punk is showing off, again!]
In the eastern stand, Huangpu Qingyun’s mood sank ever lower. The bigger Zhuo Fan’s popularity was, the harder it was for him to act. And this was something he did not want to see.
As Zhuo Fan gained his current fame through alchemy, this was also the only way to crush it. And the only one up to the task was Vicious Pill King.
But Vicious Pill King’s confidence had begun to falter at this point.
Looking at him, one could see Vicious Pill King ignoring everything around him and focusing on refining his pill with all haste. The situation had gone out of his expectations.
Instead of losing, Zhuo Fan kept his first spot in the third round. While Vicious Pill King was now on his second round of refining, putting him in last place.
The only thing that worked as intended was his speed. Still very much capable of overtaking the others.
Zhuo Fan knew this as well and his grin turned into a sly smirk.
A shiver struck Vicious Pill King out of the blue, but his mind was on refining.
Suddenly, a flame flickered and Tao Danniang put out her flame, leaving behind a spinning and shining pill in her hand.
“Tao Danniang refined a high 5th-grade pill. She enters the Pill King round!” Xiao Ya’s crisp voice resounded.
Zhuo Fan raised his eyebrow and directed his belligerent eyes along with his flout at Vicious Pill King, “Oh, even the hag finished! Elder Yan, didn’t you say something about taking first place? How come you didn’t even make it second place?”
Vicious Pill King’s heart boiled with anger, despite his quiet state.
He knew Zhuo Fan’s aim, to mess up his concentration and ruin the refining. Replying would fall into Zhuo Fan’s trap.
So he chose to bear it in silence. No matter what insults Zhuo Fan threw at him, he would ignore them.
This time, Zhuo Fan had a lot of time on his hand. Time, which the Vicious Pill King needed. He was rushing as fast as possible, or the chance of elimination would be high.
At that point, the problem wasn’t getting the Bodhi Root but saving his reputation!
Zhuo Fan knew Vicious Pill King’s mental state and wasn’t worried.
When you want to hit a person where it hurts, you need to do it at the precise time. It can’t be too early or too late, and when you decide to go in for the attack, make sure he is sent to hell. Else, there will be heavy retaliation.
As such, Zhuo Fan’s nagging was only setting up the playing field. He was simmering the opponent and would only truly act when the perfect chance availed itself.
“High 5th-grade pill, refined!”
A familiar voice suddenly came and Yan Fu showed the pill in his hand with pride.
Zhuo Fan’s eyelid twitched and laughed, “Elder Yan, you taught one amazing disciple! He surpassed you! But now another spot in the finals slips from your grasp!”
Vicious Pill King didn’t reply but his raging glare pierced his prized pupil.
The proud and cheerful Yan Fu felt a frosty pair of eyes watching him. When he discovered they were from his master, he started shivering and lowered his head, sweating bullets.
He had now realized his blunder. In this competition, how could a disciple dare finish refining before his master?
Wasn’t this taking his master’s limelight, openly defying him?
He regretted it until his innards turned green. But what was done was done. Vicious Pill King also didn’t waste time arguing with his moronic disciple, rushing to finish his own pill.
[Oh-ho, that’s Vicious Pill King for you. He can still hold it in!]
Zhuo Fan scratched his nose and smiled faintly at Yan Song, “Ha-ha-ha, I must say, I do admire Elder Yan’s staunch character, able to bear even your disciple’s disgrace! Too bad you fell for it regardless!”
Vicious Pill King only snorted, knowing it all to be a ploy to mess with his head. He would fall for the trap if he truly replied.
Uncaring if he heard or not, Zhuo Fan kept on talking, “Did you know? I failed the first time I used the Universe Palm…”
Vicious Pill King’s ears peeled without wanting to. He knew it was all a trap, but not even Vicious Pill King could block his ears when it came to a heaven-defying alchemy skill.
With a vicious grin, Zhuo Fan resumed, “I failed because the flame was too weak. I was perfectly aware of this even before I started. I didn’t think of succeeding, just trying it out. In brief, I failed on purpose!”
Squinting, Vicious Pill King’s heart skipped alongside his flame. He hastily calmed himself and resumed refining, but his hearing was now sharper.
“I only assumed the posture of losing for your benefit, while also earning the others’ sympathy. All of it was to lower your guard, or my sneeze would’ve been stopped by you.”
With his jerking, Vicious Pill King’s flame also trembled. He finally turned his head, “So you acted right where the pill was at a crucial point, when I was most relaxed because of imminent success. Punk, such a vicious ploy is no less than You Guiqi’s.”
“Ha-ha-ha, don’t, please. You’re flattering me, Elder Yan.”
Zhuo Fan said, “A plan is something that makes use of all available elements around oneself. Elder Yan said that these people can’t save me no matter how stirred they are. And you are indeed correct. They may not be able to save me, but they can help me deceive an old geezer. If you weren’t taken by my wretched display, I fear you wouldn’t have lowered your vigilance around me so quickly.”
Vicious Pill King clenched his empty fist. He hated himself for being toyed with by a brat at his age.
“Ha-ha-ha, don’t be so hard on yourself.”
Picking up on his thoughts, Zhuo Fan laughed, “Since you’ve always been focused on alchemy, you’re not that erudite in schemes. Losing is only natural. If it were You Guiqi, he wouldn’t have been duped.”
“Humph, no matter what, I have suffered greatly this time. But don’t get too excited. There won’t be a second time,” Vicious Pill King spat through clenched teeth.
Arching an eyebrow, Zhuo Fan laughed hysterically, “Oh, forgive me, Elder Yan. This may be a tad insolent, but I must inform you that you’ve been had again.”
Startled, Vicious Pill King didn’t understand.
It was now that Liu Yizhen and two others shouted. In these few breaths of time, three more people entered the final round.
“You may be quick in refining, your heart may be calm despite my words and didn’t fail in your control, but I got to slow you down!” A demonic smile was plastered on Zhuo Fan’s face, “Correct, yours truly’s aim isn’t to mess your concentration, but to drag out your refining and kick you out!”
Frightened, Vicious Pill King saw more and more alchemists around him were about to finish and was anxious by the second. For the first time, he was afraid.
[This punk is a plague. From the third round, no, since the beginning, he set up such a vicious trap for me to spring it.]
[What’s even more frightening, is that he got me twice!]
Seeing the half-refined ingredients in his hand, Vicious Pill King’s mood grew gloomier. He walked this earth for so many years but this was his first meeting with a deceitful opponent like Zhuo Fan…