Even Jiang Chen could feel a great sense of danger with his limited knowledge of the human domain, much less Honored Master P'eng's dissatisfaction with the current state of the human race. The atmosphere of the human race was one in which they had to restructure themselves in search of salvation. If the current state of affairs were to be allowed to continue, the moment the demon race broke through the ancient seals, they would absolutely engulf the human domain. Jiang Chen had seen the signs since a long time ago.
There were just too few people with knowledge and experience within the human race right now. In the olden days, someone like Emperor Peafowl would be at best an average cultivator, but in present times he was practically one of the strongest leaders of the human domain. Most importantly, there weren't even that many people at Emperor Peafowl's level at all. The fact that there weren't many people in Veluriyam Capital who could understand the emperor's viewpoint showed just how few in the entire human domain that truly possessed his visions and aspirations. There weren't many people who would consider the fate of the entire human race either.
More than a hundred thousand years of peace had made humans grow comfortable and lazy. They had gotten used to living a self deceiving life. They knew of the demon race's existence, but they refused to face and deal with this problem. They all lived in the wishful thinking that the demon race couldn't possibly cause any trouble after they'd been defeated and sealed away during the ancient times. Even if the demon race would eventually come back one day, no one thought that they would be so unlucky as to be born in that unfortunate era. That was why there were very, very few experts who really took the long and broad view like Emperor Peafowl. This was also the biggest obstacle the human domain was currently facing right now. They refused to be convinced unless they were faced with grim reality.
From Jiang Chen's perspective, he had gone into the desolate wildlands and witnessed the demon race's activities with his own eyes. That was he had a deeper recognition of this threat than most people. He couldn't help but say, "Senior, I've actually gone into the desolate wildlands where the demon race was sealed not long ago. I've even gone into the sealed grounds."
"What?" Honored Master P'eng's tone abruptly changed. He sounded so shocked it was like he'd struck by thunder. What did you say? You've gone into the desolate wildlands? The sealed grounds no less?"
"Yes." Jiang Chen nodded. "Holes are starting to appear on the desolate wildlands' seals. Not long ago, some cultivators actually came out as carriers of wood demon parasites. Luckily, I discovered the parasites early and eliminated them before any real harm could be done. I've already made some arrangements at Veluriyam Capital because of this, but unfortunately they are only effective against the wood demon parasites. These arrangements are useless against other types of demon. It almost feels impossible to stop the demon race from infiltrating the human domain."
Honored Master P'eng muttered angrily to himself. "The demonic calamity is here. The demonic calamity is already here. Tell me quickly, Jiang Chen, what else have you seen in the desolate wildlands?"
Jiang Chen didn't try to conceal his knowledge. He relayed everything he learned from the desolate wildlands. "When I left, I used the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect's formation to seal up the gaps in the seal. An average cultivator should find it very hard to destroy."
"Good, you did good in this matter. Unfortunately, this measure can only prevent human cultivators from walking to their deaths. In the end, your formation isn't powerful enough to stop a true demon expert that has awakened from their slumber." Honored Master P'eng sighed. "I didn't know that you've inherited the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect's legacy. Interesting, very interesting. You're definitely looking like a person of great destiny, so I'll give you a warning, boy. One of the protectors of the Six Palaces of Heritage is an Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect expert. It'll be your boon when you finally meet him."
"Oh? There's actually a survivor of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect in this place?" Jiang Chen's curiosity was immediately piqued.
"What do you mean by that? Don't tell me everyone in Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect is dead?"
Jiang Chen had no choice but to repeat everything that was written on the ancient sect's stone tablet.
Deep veneration rose in Honored Master P'eng's heart as he praised, "See? They are an example of the moral integrity of an ancient expert and the honorable bearing of an ancient sect. The Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect may have sat only between a first and second rate sect, but they were uncommonly talented in the dao of formation. Even a sect like them was willing to go all out against the demon's invasion and die rather than dishonor themselves!"
Honored Master P'eng didn't need to tell him this. Jiang Chen had already been very impressed with the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect's moral integrity even before today.
"Luckily for all of us, the area you were in was at the edge of the ancient war zone. The demons sealed in that place are pretty weak. At the very least there were no empyrean level demons or demon lords there." Honored Master P'eng sighed quietly. "Still, if just a few demon emperors and demon monarchs awaken were to awaken from their slumber, I doubt the human race can hold out considering the scattered mess that is the human domain right now."
Jiang Chen agreed with this point. All of the various regions of the human domain had a terrible culture. There was an extreme amount of infighting and disunity within the human race. If a demonic calamity were to happen now, it would easily sweep through the entire race. But such was the reality of things and no one person's strength could prevent this tragedy from happening. Considering the level of degradation the human race was in already, perhaps a calamity was exactly what was necessary to wake them up a little.
"Boy, the Emperor Peafowl you mentioned is a somewhat interesting person. However, one Emperor Peafowl is not nearly enough to save us from this predicament. I believe that you are able to enter Veluriyam Pagoda because fate has chosen you to walk the path of great destiny. Therefore, I very much hope that you can conquer the Six Palaces of Heritage and become the new master of Veluriyam Pagoda. That old bastard may be a terrible person, but his morals were in the right place when the demon race is involved. The reason he built the Veluriyam Pagoda is to leave behind his inheritances. As one of the leaders of the human race, he knew very well that he could perish at any moment during the war. He was prepared to die for the greater good. That is why I do not loathe him even though I dislike him for what he did to me." Honored Master P'eng sighed quietly. "Now, it almost seems that his choice to imprison us is correct. His treatment of us is unfair, true, but from a long term standpoint I believe that he made the right choice. After all, what use is an ancient inheritance if it were to fall in the hands of cowards?"
Jiang Chen still had no idea who the creator of Veluriyam Pagoda was, but he had no doubt that he was a great expert. Honored Master P'eng wouldn't only have dislike for this person for a hundred thousand year's imprisonment otherwise. Only a person of incredible charisma could've achieved this feat.
"Alright, we've talked about many things, and I believe you've learned everything you needed to know. So? Are you going to challenge the next palace, or are you going to head out and prepare yourself first?"
Jiang Chen thought for a moment. "I'm here already, so I may as well give it a try. Speaking of which, do I have a second chance to try again if I were to fail this challenge?"
"That's right. You will have a second chance at every palace."
Jiang Chen nodded as a surge of heroism rose in his heart. "Then I shall give it a go. Please give me the challenge, senior."
"Give the challenge, you say?" Honored Master P'eng smiled wryly. "I'm a prisoner of this place, and I cannot regain my freedom until you've completely inherited the Veluriyam Pagoda. Therefore, the challenge you are about to face was set up since a long time ago. My Skykun Palace cares for absolute speed, and here you may learn my Kunpeng's Meteoric Escape. Once you've succeeded, you will be met with a challenge of speed. If you can beat this challenge of speed, then you will have overcome Skykun Palace itself. Your reward for overcoming my palace will be a bloodline that you may use to refine a pair of Kunpeng Wings in the future."
Speaking of escape arts and wings, Jiang Chen actually had two such arts in his arsenal already. One of them was the Cicada's Wings, the other the Featherflight Wings. However, Jiang Chen also knew that both wings were far inferior compared to the Kunpeng Wings. The Kunpeng race was an incredibly powerful divine beast race even during the ancient times. The dragons, vermillion birds, kunpengs, peafowls, black tortoises and white tigers were all sovereigns of the ancient divine beasts. Honored Master P'eng had obviously assimilated a kunpeng bloodline into his human body, or he couldn't have possessed such a bloodline or cultivated the Kunpeng's Meteoric Escape.
Honored Master P'eng obviously had a very good impression of Jiang Chen. He consoled the lad. "Boy, you are the genius that I like the most out of every genius I've met since ancient times, and you are also the genius I believe to have the greatest chance at succeeding Veluriyam Pagoda. I am only going to tell you that the challenges of the palaces tests your potential and not your current cultivation. So don't be afraid because you think that your current cultivation is lacking. Remember, the challenges you face changes accordingly to your realm, but the one thing that doesn't change is their goal to test your potential. If your potential is good enough, then you will have a glimmer of hope to succeed."
Jiang Chen felt reassured after hearing this. The setup was even more perfect that he thought. If this wasn't the case, if the tests were specifically targeted at a cultivation level that was above and beyond his current cultivation level, then there was almost no hope for him to succeed in these challenges. The inheritances prepared by ancient experts would likely cause headaches even for great emperor cultivators.
"Remember, the Six Palaces of Heritage tests your potential, destiny and overall strength. If fate truly has sent you here, then your chances of success will be greater than any other challenger." Honored Master P'eng explained patiently. "You have half a years' time to get ready. Do you see the words and images of inheritance around the Skykun Palace? Your task is to find the right method to cultivate the Kunpeng's Meteoric Escape from these words and images. Then, you will have to cultivate the art. Once half a year is over, the challenge will officially begin."
"What do you mean finding the right method to cultivate the Kunpeng's Meteoric Escape? Are some parts of these words and images of inheritances actually wrong?"
"Of. Course. This is also a part of the test. If you lack even the martial talent to distinguish the proper cultivation method, if you couldn't even pass the test of the theory of martial arts, then what's the point of even letting you attempt the challenge?" Honored Master P'eng said impatiently.
Jiang Chen chuckled in understanding. This wasn't a problem for him. If there was one thing he dared boast about, it would be his foundation and insight of martial dao. He knew that the inheritances of the Six Palaces of Heritage must be pretty high level, but no matter how high level it was it couldn't possibly be higher than his father, the Celestial Emperor, could it?