Chapter 34: Crushing It in Plants and Vegetation
All of the Outer Sect disciples in the audience snickered in response to what Du Lingfei had just said. None of them believed that Bai Xiaochun's skill with plants and vegetation could possibly match up to hers.
That was especially true after hearing the last thing he said, which seemed completely unbelievable. Obviously, Bai Xiaochun was just going to blindly guess at the grafted plants.
"If Bai Xiaochun really can identify all those types of plants, then his skill with the plants and vegetation of the first three volumes would put him on the same level as Elder Sister Zhou Xinqi! How could that be possible!?"
"Ah, he's just being cryptic to confuse everyone. This guy is so annoying! At least he'll finally be exposed as a fraud!"
As everyone jeered and mocked Bai Xiaochun, he stood there, frowning slightly.
"Are you people finished yet?" he said, his expression ice cold, true anger finally burning in his heart. If this were a combat situation, he wouldn't feel like that. But considering his grand aspiration of becoming a master apothecary, for people to doubt his abilities with plants and vegetation was a huge insult.
"You can say I'm just lucky, and you can say I won because of my magical items. But when it comes to the Dao of plants and vegetation, don't think that your superficial knowledge enables you to see the length and breadth of Heaven and Earth!"
When his voice echoed out, solemn and serious, his slight frame suddenly seemed more like a towering mountain. The cold way he looked at the Outer Sect disciples caused their laughter to turn into stares of shock.
Even Du Lingfei was taken aback. The Bai Xiaochun in front of her right now seemed like a completely different person than the one from before.
Bai Xiaochun snorted coldly and then flicked his sleeve. Abandoning his normally charming yet aggravating demeanor, he stood with his hands clasped behind his back, looked around coldly, and then began to speak, radiating a strange, indescribable energy. "This spirit plant, which I'll tentatively refer to as a Black-White Orchid, contains Goldsilver Root, Heavenyellow Leaf, Watery Netgrass, Ninelands Fruit, Spiral Pulp, Bordercloud Bloom, Searchwind Stalk, Yang-Soaking Fruit...."
As he continued to speak, that energy grew stronger and stronger, leading to strange expressions on the faces of the spectators.
That was especially true of Du Lingfei, whose frown deepened as she looked over at the spirit plant. She was familiar with all of the medicinal plants that Bai Xiaochun referenced, which were indeed from the first three volumes of plants and vegetation, and yet she couldn't see any evidence whatsoever that they existed within the grafted plant.
Du Lingfei snorted, still completely unconvinced that Bai Xiaochun was actually identifying the grafted plants. "Seems like you really are just going to recite a bunch of random plants from the first three volumes of plants and vegetation. If you can actually recite all of those plants from memory, then I guess I'll have lost, and in fact, I'll admit defeat."
Everyone began to once again ridicule and mock Bai Xiaochun.
"Yeah, that's right. If you're good enough, then why don't you recite the entire first three volumes of plants and vegetation!? Then you'll definitely win!"
"Trying to seem cryptic, huh? Superficial knowledge? The length and breadth of Heaven and Earth? You're the one with the superficial knowledge. If you don't recognize the plants, just say so. There's no need to try to pull a fast one. How despicable!"
Bai Xiaochun looked coldly at Du Lingfei, then back at the crowd. Then he laughed, looked back and the plant, and continued, "Grow Hundredgrass Root for thirty years until it becomes fullgrown Hundredgrass. Remove the stalks and veins, roast them, then soak them in spirit water. After that, graft them onto Skybleak Leaf, and you end up with this distinctive spotting pattern." Bai Xiaochun waved his hand, causing a slight gust of wind to lift up one of the leaves on the plant, revealing a distinctive spotting pattern.
"Nine Skybleak Leaves have been combined into a single leaf, and then fed Whiteburn Flowers as they grew. You can see that right here!
"Whiteburn Flowers only bloom once they reach one hundred years of age. When they do, you have only one hundred breaths of time to graft them onto a Clover Ginseng, which you can use to feed the Skybleak Leaf. This white flower here is obviously a Whiteburn Flower!
"Clover Ginseng, when roasted with spirit fire, eventually withers, infusing the ginseng with the essence of the leaves. That will then aid in the growth of Flatshell Seed, and the two can be combined!
"Then, that Flatshell Seed...." As Bai Xiaochun spoke, he gestured grandiosely, pointing out the various parts of the spirit plant which contained the evidence he referred to. His descriptions were very precise, and even included the various techniques involved. Soon, the looks of scorn faded away, and everyone began to breathe heavily. Faces fell, and eventually, all the Outer Sect disciple had looks of disbelief on their faces. There were even some people who cried out aloud with shock.
"This is impossible!!"
"Heavens, how could he be doing this!?"
Each and every statement uttered by Bai Xiaochun was like an invisible palm slapping these people. After all, all of them were apprentice apothecaries. Earlier, they hadn't been able to see through the secrets hidden in the spirit plant, but with Bai Xiaochun's detailed explanation, all of a sudden, it seemed to make more sense.
Everything Bai Xiaochun said was correct, and complete. His performance was a like a huge slap in the face to all of the Outer Sect disciples.
"I can't believe that this Bai Xiaochun... has such shocking skill with plants and vegetation!!" The Outer Sect disciples felt like explosions were going off in their hearts. Their previous ridicule and mockery now caused their faces to burn so hot it hurt.
Even more astonishing was that his explanations were obviously inferred in reverse. He was able to discern the grafting method merely by looking at the grafted plant; only someone with an unbelievably advanced skill with plants and vegetation could do something like that.
Even Elder Sun's eyes were wide with disbelief. "He's inferring everything in reverse! He... he understands plants and vegetation to an incredible degree....
"He's only an apprentice apothecary, and yet he is able to analyze a spirit plant grafted by the Peak Lord himself. This... this...."
As for Li Qinghou, his eyes were shining brightly; he almost couldn't believe he was looking at the same Bai Xiaochun he knew from before.
Du Lingfei's face was ashen, and she staggered backward. Based on her skill with plants and vegetation, as soon as she heard Bai Xiaochun's explanation, she knew that he was right. In fact, at a few points during his speech, she didn't even understand what he was saying. By this point, she was feeling completely and utterly embarrassed.
Currently, Bai Xiaochun wasn't using any sort of magical technique. However, every statement he made was backed by his understanding of plants and vegetation, and became like divine abilities or magical items. Du Lingfei was simply incapable of processing what was happening. She felt like lightning was crashing around in her mind, and she backed further and further away, her face growing even more pale.
"Flaming Crow-dipper and Nineflames Sky can be used to make the spirit bulblets impervious to strong sunlight. Merge them into Crow-dipper Fruit, and it will give birth to Blackskull Lily! That is the last of the spirit plants that I recognize." It took Bai Xiaochun about half the time it takes an incense stick to burn to finish his explanation. His eyes flashed like lightning as he scanned the crowd and then eventually looked straight at Du Lingfei.
"Elder Sister Du. Ladies and gentlemen of the sect. The Dao of plants and vegetation is deep and profound, and contains no absolutes. Were that not the case, it would be impossible for you to make any progress with your skill with plants and vegetation. And yet, you actually want me to list out all of the plants in the first three volumes of plants and vegetation. What's so hard about that?!" Setting his jaw, he flicked his sleeve and began to recite.
"Inkroot...." His voice was clear and his expression tranquil as he spoke. Complete silence filled the arena. As his words echoed out, they were like a huge invisible hand smacking everyone a second time.
Everyone present was filled with profound shame, and gasps could be heard. Some people even pulled out jade slips with information about plants and vegetation, which they compared with what Bai Xiaochun was saying. Soon, they began to tremble, and their shock increased.
Du Lingfei's face was deathly pale as she backed up, looking at Bai Xiaochun as if he were a ghost.
The reason she had spoken such snide words earlier was because she had never seen anyone actually recite 30,000 different types of medicinal plants. To her, it seemed like an impossibility. If someone was actually able to do that, then they had to already possess completely Heaven-defying skill with plants and vegetation.
As time passed, Bai Xiaochun spoke more and more quickly. With almost a single breath, he talked for two hours straight. To the audience, it almost seemed like no time had gone by at all, and virtually everyone had taken out jade slips to study along with Bai Xiaochun's recitation. 1
After two hours, he finished reciting all of the medicinal plants. Then, there was deathly silence for a moment, followed by an explosive outburst that was audible even outside of the arena.
"Heavens.... Not a single mistake! He was completely correct.... I can't believe I just witnessed this happen!!"
"All 30,000 medicinal plants.... Bai Xiaochun's skill with plants and vegetation is simply shocking. Wait... what is his ranking on the stone steles of plants and vegetation?"
"For Du Lingfei to compete with Bai Xiaochun in skill with plants and vegetation is like throwing an egg at a rock!"
As the uproar went on, Du Lingfei looked at Bai Xiaochun with increasing bitterness. Her reaction to losing in the fight hadn't lead to a feeling like this. But right now, in terms of skill with plants and vegetation, she had been utterly and thoroughly defeated.
How could she ever have imagined that Bai Xiaochun, with his incredible luck and multitude of magical items, would actually be so monumentally ahead of her in skill with plants and vegetation?
It was a huge blow to her, and she couldn't help but laugh bitterly. She threw the Cloudsoaring Incense over, then turned and fled the arena. It was simply impossible for her to even consider staying, considering how embarrassed she was.
Now that Du Lingfei was gone, the other surrounding Outer Sect disciples started to feel even more embarrassed. They quickly clasped hands and bowed to Bai Xiaochun, then hurried off. It was easy to imagine how long the profound shock they felt would last.
Soon, the arena was virtually empty. Bai Xiaochun was the only one left behind, coughing dryly. He realized... that he had really done it this time. Putting the Cloudsoaring Incense away, he looked over cautiously at Li Qinghou.
"Apprentice... will take off now," he said, turning and leaving so fast that he almost left behind a dust cloud.
Elder Sun watched Bai Xiaochun leaving, and his the shock in his eyes was still evident.
"Peak Lord, this kid... is outstanding!" he said softly.
Li Qinghou threw his head back and laughed loudly, then waved his sleeve and shot back up toward the top of the mountain.
1. Okay so I did the math, and for him to recite 30,000 words in two hours would require him to say over four plants per second. The fastest talker in the world can speak about eight words per second, so it's not impossible!