831 Still First Place
Central Continent, east coast.
Waves were rumbling, crashing into one another, frost energy oozed, creating white fog that covered hundreds of li.
Hundreds of years ago, a piece of profound ice floated over from somewhere, into Central Continent's east coast. This profound ice was huge, it was like an island, it was overflowing with frost energy, many ice path wild Gu were gathered on it, the frost energy even got absorbed into nearby trees.
After the profound ice was found, it attracted a lot of commotion.
The Gu Masters living in the east coast tried to guess the origin of this profound ice.
There were two theories, one was that the profound ice came from far away in the east, it could have originated from Eastern Sea's icy sea region. This sea region had low temperatures all year round, it was icy cold, streams of icy water flowed like dragons or snakes, coiling around deep in the sea. Once they reached close to the surface, they formed into huge pieces of ice.
The second theory was that white heaven had a crack and a piece of ice fell from it. The size of it should have been immensely larger at first. But as it fell, it melted due to the friction against the air, after it ended up in the sea, it cooled down and formed this profound ice island. The edges of this island were smooth and shiny, there were no rough edges, it resembled melted candles, attesting to the credibility of this theory.
This profound ice was beached on the sandy shore, it did not move.
At first, a large number of mortal Gu Masters were attracted and came to scour the place. These Gu Masters who enjoyed the benefits of being the closest and earliest to arrive all made great fortunes. The wild Gu and icy trees on the profound ice were all looted.
Over the next handful of years, more Gu Masters came to the profound ice, staying here permanently with no intention of leaving.
It turned out that although the profound ice island was lacking in resources, the profound ice was hard to melt, the frost energy it gave off made it the perfect place for ice path cultivators to stay in.
Central Continent's east coast was tropical, it was warm all year round, it was hard for ice path Gu Masters to support cultivation. Thus, regarding this profound ice island, many ice path and water path Gu Masters were attracted here.
Places with humans have conflict, the island had limited capacity, as more people came, in order to defend their own interests, the Gu Masters on the island gathered into an alliance, creating a tight boundary around the ice island and preventing outsiders from coming in.
Thus, a moderately sized force was created.
After several hundred years of development, this loose lone cultivator alliance, due to several generations of ambitious leaders, slowly became more firmly structured, they formed a sect. As they developed, the sect grew larger, it was a large force now, there was no force in the surroundings that could match them.
This sect's name was Flying Frost Sect. It hinted that the profound ice island that was the foundation of this sect came from far away, long ago in history.
The second round of competition of Central Continent's Refinement Path Convention was being held, one of the places was Flying Frost Sect.
Fang Yuan held the token as he came to Flying Frost Sect.
The task here was to refine the rank two ghost fire Gu. The rules had changed, it was no longer deciding the winner by quantity, but using time instead.
It asked the Gu Master to refine ten ghost fire Gu at once, Gu Masters using less time would get better positions. The specifications were listed, using fifteen minutes or less would be first place. Since this operated on a first come, first served basis, if someone gets first, then another person who beat the fifteen minute requirement would only get second. If second place was taken, they would only place third. If all three positions were taken, they would get no rewards.
This time, the reward for first place was five rank three ice path Gu worm recipes. For refinement path Gu Masters, ice path Gu Masters, or even large forces, this had a lot of attraction.
When Fang Yuan stepped into the hall to refine Gu, the first three positions were still open.
"The difficulty of the second round is much harder than the first round. It is not hard to refine ten ghost fire Gu one by one, I can easily use less than fifteen minutes. But the challenge is in refining ten ghost fire Gu at once. Ghost fire Gu is both a fire path and soul path Gu, the steps are quite tricky and complicated, they would expend a lot of mental energy, if I keep on refining them, over time, my soul will turn weak very easily. This is one of the special traits of soul path Gu worms."
Fang Yuan considered it, he decided to use soul path and fire path techniques together to burn ghostly souls and create fake ghost fires, then using them to refine true ghost fires.
Flying Frost Sect was a righteous sect, Fang Yuan had to prepare the ghostly souls himself if he wanted to burn them. Flying Frost Sect would not provide such a Gu refinement material.
"Evil and unorthodox methods!" Seeing Fang Yuan's technique, An Han, who was outside snorted.
The leader of Flying Frost Sect, who was managing the event on the stage, watched as his pupils shrunk, he thought: "Five Virtues Sect's leader tried to gather this person but was rejected. This person is burning souls now in public, this is clearly a demonic act, he is an unscrupulous individual. Even if Flying Frost Sect recruits this person, we will only invite trouble, forget about it."
Other than abiding by no fighting or killing, any Gu Master could join the Refinement Path Convention, be they righteous or demonic, there were no limitations that barred demonic path Gu Masters.
They could only use refinement path techniques to interact and compete. Precisely because of such freedom, the Refinement Path Convention was such a popular event.
People who did not know the true details would think that this was the magnanimity of the ten great ancient sects of Central Continent, but only people like Fang Yuan knew this was because of the Infallible inheritance. The Infallible inheritance had hidden requirements, the more Gu Masters that participated, the better.
But the righteous path and demonic path were different, Fang Yuan used souls to refine Gu, this was an evil and cruel act that would be despised by the righteous path.
The observing Gu Masters were mostly from the righteous path, seeing a demon like Fang Yuan, they felt a strong sense of distaste inside them, they did not want to see Fang Yuan's Gu refinement succeed.
Maybe it was because of their collective wishes, at the crucial moment, the soul fire in front of Fang Yuan exploded, out of the ten ghost fire Gu that were about to form, one of them had turned into ash, falling from the fire and piling on the floor.
Everyone saw this and their eyes shined brightly, some indiscreet righteous path Gu Masters even made joyful exclamations. But immediately recalling Fang Yuan's rank five cultivation level, they shut up, although the delight in their eyes could not be concealed.
An Han showed joy on his face as well.
Fang Yuan gave him huge pressure, according to his earlier progress, he was already on the last few steps before succeeding. Fang Yuan's refinement speed was very fast, the souls were burning very effectively, if he passed the next few steps, he would be able to complete the refinement in less than fifteen minutes, the position of first place would go to Fang Yuan.
Of course, Fang Yuan had no interest regarding the reward and position.
An Han was different, he was the first elder of Flying Frost Sect, as the host, if he lost, he would lose face in front of his peers. Furthermore, getting first place in one of the rounds of the Refinement Path Convention was an extremely great glory for refinement path Gu Masters. Finally, the first place reward also enticed An Han greatly.
"Alright, this way, he would need to refine Gu again. If he refines nine ghost fire Gu, missing one would mean he would not pass. He can only restart from scratch and make ten more. He has to make them at the same time to pass." An Han controlled his expression from changing, feeling great joy inwardly.
"Indeed, evil deeds lead to bad outcomes, even if he is using souls to refine Gu, he is still going to fail."
"He reached first place in the first round at Five Virtues Sect, so be it. But here in Flying Frost Sect, first place has to go to Lord An Han!"
"Evil and unorthodox methods leading to Gu refinement failure, this is truly heartening."
The surrounding people talked among themselves, the stage itself had a Gu formation that isolated sound, preventing the Gu Masters from being distracted.
But just when they were all rejoicing, the ghost fire in Fang Yuan's hands split into two lumps.
Two lumps, one big and one small, inside the large lump were nine incomplete ghost fire Gu, while the small lump had nothing.
Fang Yuan's expression did not change, he breathed in deeply as he finally became more serious.
Earlier, that ghost fire Gu had exploded not due to his own mistake, but because refining Gu had a chance of failure. Even though the failure rate of rank two Gu was not high, and he had already performed as well as possible, when a minor stroke of bad luck like that hit him, there was nothing he could do.
Now, he was holding the large lump of ghost fire and keeping it burning, while his other hand was throwing three souls into the small lump of ghost fire, a boar soul, a goat soul, and a human soul.
The three souls burned together, the small lump of ghost fire burst into life, there were pitiful cries of pain coming from within.
"He is using a human soul!"
"In broad daylight, he is publicly burning a human soul… this… this… this!"
"Hehehe, worthy of a demonic path rank five expert, being so rampant."
Flying Frost Sect's members had ugly expressions.
They were a righteous sect, Fang Yuan was burning a human soul to refine Gu here openly, he was totally disregarding Flying Frost Sect. But now was the Refinement Path Convention, even though Flying Frost Sect was unhappy, they could not stop Fang Yuan from refining Gu. Unless they wanted to offend the ten great ancient sects and cause the downfall of their own sect.
Fang Yuan's expression was calm, he was focused on the small lump of ghost fire.
He continued to toss in Gu refinement materials, the ghost fire was turning between big and small from time to time, interchangeably between strong and weak. When he got to a crucial step in the middle, he tossed in a fire pellet Gu at lightning speed, as well as a soul ball Gu.
The two Gu worms fused in the fire, they combined into one and created an incomplete ghost fire Gu.
Some knowledgeable Gu Masters saw this and gasped loudly.
"Tossing in two Gu worms consecutively, this is the refinement path technique — consecutive toss."
"Even though consecutive toss is one of the basic refinement path techniques, this person is using it so well with much experience, it is almost like this is as easy as breathing to him. This is not something that talent alone can achieve, countless sessions of practice and hard work are needed to reach such a stage."
"Does this person cultivate refinement path as his main path?"
"Hard to say! When he signed up, he kept his sect and path a secret. He is a true demonic cultivator, he should not have a sect, his path is quite possibly refinement path."
Everyone made guesses.
Of course, they were completely off.
Fang Yuan's main path was strength path, it had nothing to do with refinement path. He also had a proper status in a sect, being in a subsidiary force of Immortal Crane Sect, one of the ten great ancient sects.
If everyone knew that the ruthless demon in front of them was a member of Immortal Crane Sect, who knew what expressions they would show.
A short while later, Fang Yuan succeeded in saving his refinement attempt, the two lumps of ghost fires fused into one.
The last few steps were done smoothly without any additional mishaps.
Eventually, the ghost fire burst out and scattered, ten ghost fire Gu flew out together.
Outside the stage, not a person spoke.
The expression of the elder of Flying Frost Sect was dark, he announced helplessly: "Refinement succeeded, using less than fifteen minutes, the first place of this round of the competition goes to — Fang Yuan."