There was nothing Emperor Peafowl could do with regards to an earth attribute treasure. However, he was incredibly gratified after hearing Jiang Chen's explanation. He realized that the young genius already had a unique understanding of martial dao. There was no need for further advice.
"Jiang Chen, I am truly gratified to see that you possess such an incredible comprehension of martial dao. I will be traveling to the desolate wildlands in a few days. Sacred Peafowl Mountain will be in your hands now."
Jiang Chen was stunned. "So soon?"
"Haha! Why do you complain when I'm handing power over to you?" Emperor Peafowl teased in a half-joking manner.
Jiang Chen smiled wryly. "Your Majesty, I'm only worried that we are taking things too quickly. My foundation has yet to solidify. I also don't have any experience in managing Sacred Peafowl Mountain. Also, I wish to depart on an adventure in a few days. I want to see the world and broaden my horizons."
Emperor Peafowl smiled. "No worries. You don't need to be at home all the time to manage Sacred Peafowl Mountain. As the young lord, you are given the freedom to come and go as you please. If neither of us are around, there will be others who will maintain order for us. Do you truly believe that the daily operations of the mountain are all micromanaged by me?"
Jiang Chen understood what the emperor was trying to say. People in high positions weren't required to be concerned with mundane matters. He bid the emperor farewell and returned to his abode.
Jiang Chen's close subordinates were incredibly excited when they heard about the young lord's return. Their lives in Sacred Peafowl Mountain had been very comfortable, but Jiang Chen's absence had caused them to lose direction. It was only natural that they would be excited by his return. Huang'er had missed him greatly as well. They'd been apart for an incredibly long time. She led a group of followers and waited for his return at the entrance of his residence.
Jiang Chen could see Huang'er and his followers from afar. His spirits were raised when he saw those familiar faces. He quickened his pace and walked with bigger strides. Huang'er couldn't maintain a calm demeanor. Her cheeks blushed a rosy red. "Welcome home." She smiled gently.
"Young lord! We've missed you so much!" The personal guards swarmed towards him. Gouyu was a lot more reserved than before. Her feelings and thoughts had changed over the years. She felt that Huang'er and the young lord were truly a match made in heaven. The feelings of yesteryear were now buried deep within her heart. She had firmly placed herself in her place.
"Hehe! Senior brother, you've returned! It's been a few years since your departure! Everyone misses you greatly. Especially big sister Huang'er!" Ling Hui'er was full of smiles and giggles while hugging Huang'er's left arm. They had gotten close over the years.
Jiang Chen smiled at Ling Hui'er. "Junior sister, you've grown bigger as well."
The latter responded by pulling a face. "Senior brother, Hui'er was already a grown up! Are you saying that some parts of me have grown bigger?" Her shocking words came out of nowhere. She even raised her chest in protest when responding.
Pfft! The crowd immediately broke into laughter. The Qiao brothers held their stomachs as they laughed. Xue Tong, typically a very austere person, couldn't hold back his laughter either.
Gouyu immediately pinched Ling Hui'er's nose. "You girl! How can you say such things without the slightest shame?"
Huang'er laughed gracefully. "It's only because Hui'er is innocent and untainted by the world."
Huang'er and Ling Hui'er had gotten along well over the years. It was evident that their closeness wasn't just skin deep. They were like blood-related sisters. Gouyu and Wen Ziqi also got along well with Huang'er. Jiang Chen was impressed by Huang'er's temperament. It almost seemed like she was born with an aura that made her get along well with everyone. She had many qualities that nobody else could mimic. She was very tolerant and considerate of others, yet equally as sincere. One would never think that she was being disingenuous.
Her personality enabled her to get along well with the other girls, despite knowing that some of these girls also admired and even liked Jiang Chen. Huang'er didn't belittle them because of it, and neither did she alienate nor dominate them. Quite the contrary, in fact. She was actually proud of it and thought that it was a natural thing. A man as outstanding as Jiang Chen was definitely going to attract the attention of many excellent girls.
Jiang Chen returned to his residence and was glad to see that it was well managed despite his absence. The place had looked a little bleak when he'd left, but not anymore. Everything was neat and tidy and seemed a lot more prosperous now. The slaves he'd bought from the market had fully assimilated into their roles. They were now very important cogs in the daily operation of the residence.
Huang'er made sure that they were well treated. She was generous towards the slaves and would occasionally reward them with top grade pills from Taiyuan Tower. Her generosity had made her very popular with the slaves. They would even gossip amongst themselves about the future madame of the residence, praising her for being a generous, virtuous, and compassionate partner. She didn't belittle them just because they were slaves.
Jiang Chen was very satisfied with how the residence was managed. He found out that Huang'er played a big role in the management of the residence by listening to the conversations of others.
"Senior brother, you have big sister Huang'er to thank for the well-managed residence. If you're going to drink, you should give big sister Huang'er a toast first!" Ling Hui'er said.
Jiang Chen laughed. "Huang'er, let me give you a toast."
Huang'er smiled and raised her cup. "Huang'er returns the toast."
Everyone went up to Jiang Chen and toasted him within a sea of laughter. The banquet had a very lively atmosphere. Everyone was incredibly high spirited.
On the next day, Jiang Chen left his residence to visit the Coiling Dragon Manor. One of the main reasons that he'd decided to return was to fulfill his promise to the Coiling Dragon clan lord. A promise like this could very well become an inner demon if he failed to realize it.
Ji San had immediately announced that he would enter closed door cultivation when he returned, so he was currently in seclusion. The person who came to receive Jiang Chen was Ji Zhongtang, brimming with admiration and respect for the young lord.
"Zhongtang, where is the clan lord?" Jiang Chen cut straight to the point.
"The clan lord has been a recluse in recent years. Young lord, please come with me." He was extremely courteous when he realized that young lord Zhen was here to visit the clan lord.
Jiang Chen was genuinely surprised when he saw the clan lord. The clan lord was in very bad shape. The onset of cultivation dissipation hadn't begun yet, but it was already on the verge of happening. Judging by his current state, he was likely to pass away in three to five months.
The clan lord's eyes brimmed with life when he saw Jiang Chen. "Young lord?" He immediately waved his hands to send Ji Zhongtang away. "Zhongtang, you may take your leave. I wish to speak to the young lord in private."
Ji Zhongtang was a very honest and forthright person. He immediately took his leave upon hearing the command.
The clan lord sighed gently when they were finally alone. "Young lord, I was convinced that I wouldn't be able to make it until your return. However, please believe me when I say that I've never once blamed you or bore any form of resentment towards you. I understand that the fortunes within the Veluriyam Pagoda are more important than a frail old man like me. I truly hope that you didn't exit the Pagoda solely to fulfill the promise that you've made to this old man. Otherwise, I will never be able to forgive myself."
Jiang Chen smiled wryly to himself. The clan lord's assumption was correct. Of course, there was no way he would say such a thing. The clan lord would surely be ridden with guilt.
"Clan Lord, a man's promise is worth a thousand gold. Since I've promised you the Pinecrane Pill, I'll make sure that you'll get your hands on it. I'm here today to honor my promise."
The clan lord's eyes gleamed. "Young lord, are you certain that you can refine the Pinecrane Pill?"
"Back then, I was only thirty percent certain. But now, my certainty has risen to at least seventy percent."
The clan lord was overjoyed. A seventy percent certainty was basically a ninety percent chance of success for a pill king of Jiang Chen's caliber.
"Let me borrow the pill refining hall in your manor." Jiang Chen smiled. "We already have the Goldencrown Cloudcrane heart and the Invisible Chameleon Cloudpine. Other facilitating ingredients were also prepared beforehand. Everything is in order."
The clan lord didn't hold back this time. "If that's the case, then let me thank you in advance for your troubles. My instincts tell me that I can hold on for three more months at the very most."
Jiang Chen nodded. "I have confidence that I will be able to refine the pill in less than a month's time. Please hang on for as long as you can."
Holding on for a month was definitely doable. Time was of the essence. The clan lord immediately summoned Ji Zhongtang and ordered him to assign some helpers to Jiang Chen and prepare the pill refining hall with the ingredients.
Jiang Chen had never refined the Pinecrane Pill before, but the formula was already etched in his heart. With his current cultivation level, refining a single Pinecrane Pill wouldn't be a problem. There were actually a few similarities between the refining process for the Pinecrane Pill and the Longevity Pill, but the former required a lot more attention to the details. Back then, Jiang Chen struggled a little while refining the Longevity Pill because his martial dao level and his consciousness hadn't been up to par. But after the tempering from the ninth Veluriyam Pagoda, his consciousness was now many levels stronger. Even a mid-level emperor realm cultivator would be no match against his consciousness.
Refining the Pinecrane Pill now was of equal difficulty to refining the Longevity Pill back then. However, because it was a sky rank pill, the refining process required a lot more technique and finesse. The Goldencrown Cloudcrane heart and the Invisible Chameleon Cloudpine were incredibly rare ingredients. Gathering both of them had been extremely difficult. It was part of the reason why the Pinecrane Pill was so rarely seen. The first reason was because the formula no longer existed, while the second was because the materials were very difficult to prepare.