The Nine Sparks Petalstorm Formation cost two to three billion saint spirit stones to construct altogether. It was a shockingly intensive project. Only first rank sects could spend a sum like that with ease. The average third rank sect simply couldn't provide that much, period. A second rank sect had the ability, but would feel severe strain if they did so.
First rank sects had the budget for this kind of blatant consumption, but spending that much on a single formation seemed overly extravagant. Formations represented continued consumption over time. Without additional investment, its power would wane. Therefore, the two or three billion could only be considered starting capital. Thankfully, any stone outflows at a later date would be much less than this.
At completion, the formation had enough energy to run for a few decades. If there were gaps in the spirit stones within the formation after that, then considerations for later-stage reinforcement could be made. The exact amount required wouldn't be too far-fetched.
The cost in spirit stones was one thing, but the process of setting the formation up was something else altogether. It was much like cooking. Having quality materials available was only one of the prerequisites. Exactly how good the completed meal would be depended on the cook's skill. The Nine Sparks Petalstorm Formation would certainly test Jiang Chen's skill to its limit.
Jiang Chen had studied formations in his previous life and was now backed up with the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect's heritage in this one. There were no problems with his foundations.
The entire difficulty here lay in the etching of the formation.
The Nine Sparks Petalstorm Formation was one of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect's ten great formations. It occupied a place of prominence within the sect. Sky rank was what a rudimentary projection of the formation looked like. It had a more advanced form called the Hundred Sparks Petalstorm Formation. The latter was one of the keystone formations of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect, a true empyrean rank formation.
Jiang Chen did not even dare think about setting that up. At minimum, it would cost three to five times more in spirit stones… as a conservative estimate. A more likely ballpark figure was as many as twenty billion. Even someone as wealthy as Jiang Chen couldn't shoulder that cost. Therefore, the most he could wish for was to perfect the rudimentary form of the formation.
As long as he did, the formation could handle two or three great emperors without trouble. However, if a gang of great emperors attacked in tandem without pause, then the formation would need a continuous supply of spirit stones as fuel. Ultimately, it would end up a war of attrition. Of course, Jiang Chen would never let that happen.
He had trump cards in his possession that were able to kill great emperors. It was better to not have to use them in the first place, but they were available. Their exceptional value prevented their indiscriminate usage. After all, they were virtually impossible to replace.
It took half a month to construct a basic framework for the formation. Having a framework made the next step simpler. Filling up the formation with spirit energy was phase two. Jiang Chen had no desire to involve anyone else in this process. He could not and would not be replaced. He had to ensure that the formation was absolutely flawless.
The formation was finally finished a month after that. A radius of several dozen miles around the young lord's abode signified the core defense area. Its outer rings were spread out over a hundred. In a sense, the formation had coverage over half of Sacred Peafowl Mountain.
Jiang Chen did not broadcast the fact that he was setting up a formation to a wider audience. Aside from a few select individuals within his abode, the outside world knew nothing of his activities.
Only after constructing the formation did he invite Emperor Peerless and his wife over. He had some idea of how to deal with Madame Yun's condition now. The first step was baptism within the waters of his wood spirit spring. Its purifying power was irreplaceable. The wood spirit spring had the dual abilities of purification and recovery. Sharing the same attribute as its namesake, it radiated vitality and vigor.
Madame Yun had never enjoyed waters as pure as these before and found the experience quite delightful. A seven-day soak was sufficient to remove the majority of her old injuries. Of course, the spring could not weed out the root of her problems. Jiang Chen needed another method to accomplish that.
After plenty of consideration, he finally arrived at a conclusion that he felt was most appropriate for his friend's wife. There were two vectors of attack to this plan. One of them involved ingesting a pill, and the other utilized potent inner energy in a cleansing effort.
Emperor Peerless was necessary to this end. Jiang Chen's own inner energy was not yet sufficient to carry out a project as large as what he had in mind. There was no reason for the emperor to decline a request where his partner was the main beneficiary. Under Jiang Chen's guidance, he took every precaution to protect her from potential harm.
The plan took gradual effect as soon as its execution began. After only half a month of therapy, Madame Yun was largely healed. Even the patient found it incredible. For a long time now, she'd expected her wounds to remain for the rest of her life. She had been prepared for extended suffering. So, her restoration to good health once more in Veluriyam Capital was wholly amazing.
Emperor Peerless's eyes reddened. "Little brother, my promise holds then as now. If you need me, give me a call any time. My life is yours."
Madame Yun's anguish these past few years had affected him even more adversely than it had her. Blessedly, his cultivation partner had been cured almost overnight. How could he not be excited at that?
After resolving his affairs one by one, Jiang Chen finally had time to refine pills once more. He had so many specimens of Celestial Grass on hand, but there wasn't a single cauldron of Sage Smile Pills to his name. A strand of grass was good for a dozen or more pills. If he was lucky, he could instead extract several times that amount. This much Celestial Grass was sufficient for more than a thousand. It was an overwhelmingly attractive prospect even for him.
Jiang Chen did not need the pills himself. He couldn't use them at all. But many close to him could use them very well. The best thing about these pills wasn't that a sage realm cultivator could gain a free level from one; it was that they had no side effects on their users' future cultivation whatsoever. That was the most attractive thing about them.
Refinement of the Sage Smile Pills was a piece of cake for Jiang Chen. The most difficult thing about it, if it could be called that, was getting one's hands on Celestial Grass in the first place. With that out of the way, the refinement process itself was trivial.
Jiang Chen did not leave a single strand unused. There was no point to doing so. The sole purpose of Celestial Grass was to refine Sage Smile Pills. It had no other meaning for its existence. Keeping it only delayed its moment of destiny. What difference did it make?
One by one, the pills exited the cauldron. At first, Jiang Chen's methodology was a little imperfect. He was mildly wasteful with the details. Of his initial cauldrons, none produced more than twenty pills. But the more he refined, the better he performed. On the final cauldron, he received a whole three dozen of them.
Summing all the pills up resulted in six to seven hundred. This harvest filled Jiang Chen with confidence. He gave one pill to every member below sage realm of Taiyuan Tower and his young lord's residence. The slaves bought from the markets who'd demonstrated good performance were included in the mass gifting. Jiang Chen intended for his handout to them as a token of encouragement.
It was completely unheard of for a slave to receive a top rank pill like the Sage Smile Pill as a gift. If the outside world knew about it, countless would curse him for a wasteful dandy. Something like the Sage Smile Pill could easily fetch ten or twenty million saint spirit stones in the open market and often traded for more. Yet, he was such a treasured pill as a reward to his slaves!
Everyone knew that it was an act done to purchase popularity, but people were emotional creatures. Who wouldn't jump at such a gift? Responding with wholehearted adoration was the least they could do.
Liu Zhen received two Sage Smile Pills. The original agreement had been only one, but Jiang Chen gave him an additional because he deserved it. As the provider of the Celestial Grass in the first place, Liu Zhen had the lion's share of credit. But Jiang Feng had a part in it too, of course.
Giving away Sage Smile Pills to everyone relevant was the same as leveling up all the sage realm cultivators by one. This essentially improved the young lord's residence and Taiyuan Tower's overall strengths by the same amount.
Jiang Chen also delegated to Lin Yanyu the task of delivering three Sage Smile Pills to Emperor Void and Coiling Dragon. Both these great emperors were close friends of Sacred Peafowl Mountain. It was natural to provide one's friends with some complimentary benefits from time to time.
The cost of Jiang Chen's present surprised Emperor Void, who reciprocated with a present of his own. Emperor Coiling Dragon knew how able Jiang Chen really was, and accepted without much ceremony.
One day, as Jiang Chen sat in closed door meditation, a stray recollection suddenly popped into his head. With a slap of his leg, he swore silently. He opened his eyes, face full of shame. He'd suddenly recalled a matter that involved a woman.
The former disciple of the Walkabout Sect back in Myriad Domain, present young mistress of the Resplendent Emerald Veranda in the Great Scarlet Mid Region. Wei Xing'er.
At first, Jiang Chen had thought that Wei Xing'er was perfectly happy with her new position. He found out later that she actually had as much authority as a lamp post. The Veranda master had made her the young mistress because he wanted her to become a pure yin human cultivation cauldron. She would be a useful tool for the master's breakthrough to seventh level emperor realm.
He had discovered this during his expedition into the desolate wildlands to retrieve some Requiem Wood. It had been over three years since then. In the heat of the moment, Jiang Chen felt a bit of embarrassment. He hadn't promised Wei Xing'er anything, but his ultimate decision had been to return and rescue her. If he did so now, would he make it in time?
Huang'er had been privy to the matter as well, but it had been a long while since then. The removal of her Generation Binding Curse and the subsequent convalescence had led to it being forgotten.
He had been fine in his forgetfulness, but remembrance caused a small shadow to edge into Jiang Chen's heart. It was best to make a trip to the Great Scarlet Mid Region and take a look for himself. Regal Pill Palace's reconstruction had taken great strides forward already. A jaunt to the Great Scarlet Mid Region could very possibly result in some news relating to them?