The grand ceremony ended on a high note amidst great hustle and bustle. Gu Xintang and Ah Li were in absolute bliss. Emperor Peerless and Madame Yun announced during the event that they were taking Gu Xintang as their foster son. Jiang Chen was a bit surprised by the sudden announcement as the emperor had said nothing beforehand.
Jiang Chen knew that the emperor must’ve seen a shadow of his past self with Gu Xintang. It was why this matter had resonated with him greatly. Announcing Gu Xintang as his foster son might seem like a simple affair, but it actually served as a strong warning for everyone. Any attempt to separate the lovebirds would be a direct slap to the emperor’s face.
Although Gu Xintang had been relatively unknown before this, he instantly became the hot topic of the Moon God Sect. Even those who weren’t particularly fond of him before had changed their opinions. Fate worked in mysterious ways. Simply knowing the correct person was enough to bring an enormous change in one’s life.
Before this incident, Gu Xintang lacked upward momentum within the sect. Ah Li’s family hadn’t been too fond of him because of it. However, everything changed once he became the emperor’s foster son. Everyone had to take into account that his foster father was Emperor Peerless. Not even the Moon God Sect could possibly disregard someone with that kind of background. Other than the sectmaster, nobody would ever dare to bully him. One’s position rises with one’s background. There was no better example of this than Gu Xintang.
Meanwhile, the emperor fielded numerous callers after the ceremony. Various Moon God Sect elders swarmed towards him with invitations him to all kinds of events and dinners. The first to issue an invite was Third Master Jing’s clan. The clan elder was completely astounded when he learned that Third Master Jing and Emperor Peerless had once been enemies and were now friends. He gave the third master a stern talking to and ordered him to invite the emperor and Sir Shao over for a banquet no matter what. Everybody wanted to win over the wandering great emperor, and he didn’t reject any of these invites.
Jiang Chen didn’t like participating in these sorts of events, but for the sake of gathering more information about his mother, he reluctantly joined too. After a few busy days of socializing, Third Master Jing suddenly approached Jiang Chen in secret.
“Sir Shao, you are the same Sir Shao who participated in Pillfire City’s Bounty Arena, yes?” Third Master Jing asked carefully.
“That’s me, why do you ask?” Jiang Chen was caught by surprise.
“I’m only trying to confirm something. I heard that you resolved a sovereign pill dao mission that had remained unsolved for over eight hundred years?” The third master was being very enigmatic.
“Yes.” Jiang Chen didn’t deny things.
The third master nodded and mused deeply. “Sir Shao, one of my family’s forefathers just mentioned that the Moon God Sect has sent many invitations to pill kings of Pillfire City lately. It seems like they’ve encountered some kind of difficulty. The senior executives have even begun employing their connections to search for peerless pill dao experts.”
Jiang Chen’s interest was piqued. “Why are they searching for pill dao experts?”
Third Master Jing shook his head. “I have no idea. From what I’ve learned, this matter is of extreme importance. Even the three sectmasters are in great distress. They’ve issued a non-negotiable command that a pill king who can solve the problem must be found within three months.”
Jiang Chen pondered for a moment. “Who did they invite?”
“The best pill kings we have in the Tilted Moon Region are from the Moon God Sect. Clearly, they were unable to solve the problem or the sect wouldn’t have called for outside help. I hear that they’ve cordially invited various pill kings from Pillfire City like Pill King Ji Lang, Pill King Blue Phoenix, Pill King Ancient Moon, and Pill King Horizon...”
These were very famous quasi-pill emperors from Pillfire City. Jiang Chen recognized a few of those names. Pill King Ji Lang was one of his old rivals. He’d thoroughly humiliated the pill king back at Saint Peafowl Mountain and built his reputation entirely on the basis of the blow he’d dealt to Pill King Ji Lang. There was no way the name would be unfamiliar to him.
Pill King Blue Phoenix was someone he’d grown acquainted with at the Bounty Arena. The pill king had a rotten temper, but he was also someone with principles and shunned all evil influences. He was a bit more conservative than most, but he was a morally righteous pill dao expert. Jiang Chen also knew about Pill King Ancient Moon and Pill King Horizon, but they weren’t acquainted. He simply knew them through their fame as half-step pill emperors.
“Did they only invite pill kings from Pillfire City?” Jiang Chen asked.
“There are a few more cities in close proximity, but the pill kings from Pillfire City are a lot more reliable. The pill kings from the other regions aren’t exactly better than those from the Tilted Moon Region.” Third Master Jing recounted things accurately.
Pillfire City’s field of influence was too wide-ranging. The upper, middle, and lower regions around the city no longer possessed any extraordinary pill dao talents because the truly talented had all been recruited by the city. It was pointless to invite pill kings from other regions when the pill kings from Pillfire City were present. Nobody could possibly be better than the city’s elites.
“That isn’t exactly true. Pillfire City has a high pill dao standard, but that doesn’t mean they’re capable of everything. Why didn’t they seek help from further regions?”
Third Master Jing sighed. “Everybody trusts Pillfire City in these surroundings. Their web of influence is simply too large. By the way, Sir Shao, are you perhaps interested?”
Jiang Chen gave the suggestion some thought. “What kind of opportunity is there? Will I get an audience with a holy maiden?”
Third Master Jing smiled wryly. He didn’t expect Jiang Chen to be so persistent when it came to the holy maiden. “I’m not certain what opportunities there’ll be, but since the sectmaster takes this matter very seriously, there’s a chance that the holy maiden might be involved.”
Jiang Chen nodded. “Then I shall offer my assistance.”
The third master was elated. “Wonderful! No problem shall remain unsolved with Sir Shao’s help! Every senior executive in the sect has the right to recommend one person. My patriarch is a sect elder and possesses an empty recommendation spot. So, he wanted see if you’re interested.”
Under normal circumstances, Jiang Chen wouldn’t even bat an eye at the opportunity. But since the Moon God Sect was taking the issue very seriously, he had no choice but to show interest. He couldn’t let a chance to infiltrate the sect slip by. Things would turn for the better if he could somehow connect with his sister. He was only worried that he wouldn’t get the chance to see or pass a message to her.
The sacred ground of the Blue Moons.
The morning breeze chased away a lingering moon in the sky. It was the hour of breaking down, one in which coolness still lingered in the air. A woman dressed in gray sat in front of a table with a slightly melancholic expression. She was holding a scauper in her right hand and a one foot tall wood carving in her left. The carving was made from Goldmoon Maple, an extremely precious wood.
She’d carved the image of a young and handsome man into the wood. If Jiang Feng was present, he’d immediately realize that it was an image of him in his twenties. The woman meticulously guided every stroke of the scauper. Her eyes brimmed with love and tenderness when she concentrated on the carving. It rather seemed like she was helping her lover put on clothes instead.
Her fingers were long and slender, and her complexion was as fair as polished jade. She wore an extremely plain jade bangle on her wrist that actually looked slightly cheap. But it only accentuated the jade-like qualities of her skin. Her gray attire wasn’t a good match for her beauty, but even the most mismatched clothes couldn’t hide her elegance and gracefulness. Unchallengeable grace just seemed to radiate naturally from her.
Identical wood carvings with the same face, size, expressions and detail could be seen all over her room. There was also two smaller wood carvings among them. One of them was a carving of a youth, while the other was a carving of a child still in his diapers. She'd poured her heart and soul into these carvings.
As the sun rose, various forms of life began to awaken from their slumber. Creak! A wooden door was pushed open to fill the wooden house with a ray of morning light and warm the woman’s face.
“Ah?!” The woman was mildly startled and accidentally cut her left hand with the scauper. Blood immediately poured from her wound. The person who pushed the door open was a girl with remarkable resemblance to the woman. The girl’s features were less graceful, which accentuated her childish looks.
“Mother, what’s wrong? Did you cut your hand?” The girl was very concerned. When she saw her mother’s bleeding hand, she immediately looked for a medicinal box to treat the wounds. After the wound was handled appropriately, the girl knelt before her mother and began shaking her mother’s legs affectionately. “Mother, you’ve not slept for a night again!” Her sweet tones held a few hints of blame. “Xuan’er is really worried about you when you’re like this!”
“Aii… silly child. Mother is fine. Don’t about me. Go, quickly. Your master is waiting for today’s training.” The woman in grey sighed gently. A smile could only be seen on her face when her daughter was around.
“Mother, this is too unfair! You always coop yourself up in this hut to carve his figure! Xuan’er knows that you can’t forget about father, but… you should take care of your body so that you can one day reunite!” The girl was worried and anxious, almost on the verge of tears. It pained her greatly to see her mother tormenting herself this way.