Chapter 160 - Trial by Blood and Fire

After Han Li heard his well-meaning advice, he could not help but casually agree. Afterwards, he asked about the Foundation Establishment Pill medicine ingredients.

“Junior Martial Brother Han wants to know the source of Chalcedony Mushrooms and other spiritual medicines?” Wu Feng asked, astonished. 

“That’s right, Senior Martial Brother has already been at the sect for many years. He should know something about this!” Han Li asked expectantly.

After Wu Feng heard this, he murmured to himself for a moment and said, “Naturally, I know a bit. However, I urge Junior Martial Brother to bury this thought! Not only is the place incomparably dangerous but it is also fundamentally impossible to approach. Only during a specific time and place and with the assistance of the Sect Elders would you be able to enter.”

When Han Li initially heard that Wu Feng knew something, Han Li was delighted. But the following words alarmed him and caused him to question it closely.

So it turned out that these spiritual medicines had been scarce in the cultivation world for a long time. They simply disappeared from common regions. The sole places where they could currently be found were those so-called forbidden areas.

Since they were capable of being called forbidden areas by cultivators, these regions must naturally be extremely dangerous. They were generally vile environments located in desolate places. Some were demon lairs and could only be reached by a journey of slaughter. There were also locations with a few ancient restrictive spells that required a great deal of effort to break through them.

For Yellow Maple Valley and the other cultivation sects, all of their Foundation Establishment Pill medicine ingredients previously came from one forbidden area. That location was continuously sealed by an ancient wind attribute restriction.

The restrictive spell was quite impressive. Originally, no matter how much strength the cultivator sects used, they had no hope of opening it. However, though it was unknown how, someone had actually later discovered that this restrictive spell had a five-day period of weakness every five years. During this time, if several Core Formation experts simultaneously used force against the restriction, they could create a temporary opening and let a certain amount of people inside.   

However, once the opening appeared and the cultivators tried to go in, something unexpected occurred.

Those of Foundation Establishment and greater were all hindered by another eccentric restriction. But those of Qi Condensation were not obstructed in the least and were able to collect and bring back a great amount of rare spiritual medicines.

This discovery caused a great commotion in the cultivation world of the State of Yue. As a result, the Seven Great Cultivator Sects would dispatch disciples below Foundation Establishment into the forbidden area to gather a great amount of spiritual medicines. Naturally, the Foundation Establishment Pill medicine ingredients were of the highest priority.

At the start, the disciples of cultivation sects could harvest without assault. After the first harvest, the chosen disciples all said that this was a very comfortable task. However, with each passing harvest, the spiritual medicine within the forbidden area gradually grew more sparse, causing each sect to dispute over the wondrous medicines. Greater actions began to continuously occur until several hundred years ago, when a disciple lost his life in the struggle.

The first loss of life caused each of the large sects to completely tear off their faces and bluntly fight; the weak were prey to the strong. The Heavens and Earth favored none, and the sects encouraged their disciples to pillage from others, causing the forbidden area to be thoroughly stained with the color of blood. 

Like that, the spiritual medicines gradually decreased, and the fights within the forbidden area grew increasingly fierce and bloody. 

In the last hundred years, due to the great brutality of close combat, less than one third of the disciples who entered the forbidden area were able to come back alive. Each of the sects’ loss of junior elite disciples was not small! This caused each of the sects’ disciples to call the forbidden area the “Trial by Blood and Fire”. One by one they began to avoid going. One time, there was even an awkward scene where not a single person wished to enter.

As for forcing people, that was naturally out of the question.

If the disciples didn’t sincerely enter the forbidden area to search for medicines,  then they were certain to work halfheartedly. A majority of them would hide and wait until it was safe before leaving.

This hadn’t previously happened before, causing the upper echelon to seethe with anger. However, they had no alternative. After all, these people were originally unwilling to go. Being forced to brave those strange dangers, how could they possibly be criticized for not being willing!

As a result, each of the sects in the State of Yue steadily watched the spiritual medicines with increasing interest. However, the amount of disciples willing to accept the risks were very few; thus causing the sects to start using heavier rewards to recruit disciples to enter the forbidden area. Those who brought back spiritual medicines from the forbidden area would be given even greater rewards, attracting much attention.

The other sects did not say this, only Yellow Maple Valley did!

Several times after the tradition began, the sect directly stipulated in writing that so long as a disciple registered to participate, they would be bestowed a mid-grade spirit stone and spiritual tool beforehand to serve as encouragement.

As for those who were truly capable of bringing spiritual medicines from the forbidden area, the sect would further reward them according to the quality and quantity of the medicines. From spirit stones and spiritual pills to magic tools, all that one could think of was possible, even secretive rewards as great as a Foundation Establishment Pill. This was sufficient for low level disciples to stake it all. 

These great rewards naturally caused the cultivation sect to experience a great surge of registrations for a time. This surge was maintained for the next two to three times and then completely declined. 

The bloody reality caused the many disciples to wake to the realization that these great rewards did not come without cost!

Because of the initial excitement over the great rewards, the original survival rate of those who fought in the forbidden area actually lowered from less than one third to less than one fourth after the introduction of greater rewards. Of those who survived, those capable of bringing out spiritual medicines were even fewer, and the majority of them were gravely injured. They fundamentally didn’t reap any rewards, not to speak of even recieving a Foundation Establishment Pill. 

This was what Han Li was told after asking Wu Feng about the source of the spiritual medicines.

After hearing everything he had to say, Han Li felt nothing except depression!

He didn’t expect that gathering some medicine ingredients would require going to some forbidden area and, moreover, engaging in close combat with the disciples of other sects. Only by being the final victor would one be able to leave. Furthermore, the rate of survival was astonishing. Less than one fourth of the disciples were able to leave this so-called, “Trial by Blood and Fire”. 

The hazards one would have to brave were far too great! Han Li wasn’t some expert. Among the low level disciples of Yellow Maple Valley, he was merely of medium strength. 

As a result, without profound magic power and no powerful magic techniques, he could only rely on their several magic tools and his mind’s quick wit.

Relying on just this, how could Han Li believe himself to be one of the four that survive?

This caused Han Li to become angry, and he could not help but ask Wu Feng, “Why doesn’t each Immortal sect restrict their disciples and collaboratively divide the spiritual medicines? It should be known these medicines will inevitably be refined into Foundation Establishment Pills. Isn’t there no need to quarrel and tear into one another, thereby planting the seeds of hatred and revenge?”

After Wu Feng heard this, he immediately replied with a bitter laugh, “Junior Martial Brother does not understand. Although they will all be used to refine Foundation Establishment Pills, the distribution of the number of medicine pills would completely depend on the spiritual medicines available.  Under these circumstances, how could they not do their utmost to fight for the spiritual medicines?”

After Han Li heard this, he remained silent for a long while. 

Finally, with a belly full of worry, he asked about the next Trial by Blood and Fire” and found out that it was in half a year. After several warnings from Senior Martial Brother Wu, Han Li left the Cultivation Guidance Pavilion and returned to Hundred Medicine Garden.

Over the course of the next few days, Han Li dispiritedly thought of this matter, repeatedly pondering about the stakes and risks involved.  He attempted to compel himself to pick the more sensible option.

It was clear that in the State of Yue, apart from this forbidden area, these three spiritual medicines would not be found. Otherwise, the Seven Great Immortal Sects need not shed blood every five years and cripple themselves. 

If Han Li did not want to brave these strange dangers, he could only hope to find the spiritual medicines in regions outside the State of Yue. Else, he would be completely without hope of achieving Foundation Establishment and become a pile of bones within a hundred years. However, after a careful thought, he knew that leaving the country to look for spiritual medicines was even more hopeless. 

However, if he truly participated in the “Trial by Blood and Fire”, the three-fourth death rate was far too large! At that point, his possibility of death was immense! This truly caused Han Li to feel bewildered!