"The demon race, the demon race…" The muttering sounded extremely sad and hateful. The owner appeared to be fuming with rage behind gritted teeth.
Jiang Chen knew that practically all ancient experts hated the demon race. Even the ones who'd escaped to Myriad Abyss Island hated them. After all, the demons had forced them to leave their homeland. Because of the demons, they endured the unsightly label of a deserter and a never ending guilty conscience.
The demon race had terrorized all living beings, destroyed the human domain, damaged the spirit veins within, and consumed a large amount of resources. That was why the surviving ancient experts had no choice but to head for Myriad Abyss Island.
Jiang Chen didn't interrupt him. He sat down cross legged and stayed silent. The earlier battle had sorely tested his strength and exhausted him greatly, especially because he'd activated both the Imperial Advent Defense Talisman and the Imperial Advent Onslaught Talisman at once. The pressure that he'd had to bear at mere half-step emperor was enormous to say the last. If he hadn't cultivated the golden body of demons and gods, he would've been lucky not to be crushed outright by the combined pressure. At the very least, he would've suffered severe injuries.
The protector of Ancient Crimson Palace was taken aback by Jiang Chen's actions. "Young man, I can see the lingering aura of powerful talisman around your body. Were you using some sort of unnaturally powerful talisman just now?"
Jiang Chen didn't deny it. "Yes. I'm half-step emperor realm and used both the Imperial Advent Defense Talisman and the Imperial Advent Onslaught Talisman. As a result, I am deeply exhausted."
"Half-step emperor realm?" The Ancient Crimson Palace protector seemed surprised. "You're only a half-step emperor realm cultivator, and you made it into the Six Palaces of Heritage?"
Jiang Chen nodded. "It's true that I'm not officially an emperor realm cultivator yet."
The protector looked even more surprised. "Incredible! To think that the next genius to enter the Six Palaces of Heritage tens of thousands of years later would be a mere half-step emperor!"
Jiang Chen wasn't sure how to answer. However, judging from the protector's tone, it didn't sound like he was complaining about Jiang Chen's low cultivation level.
"Young man, I believe you are in your twenties, aren't you? There were a lot of youngsters who reached emperor realm at your age in the ancient times as well. However, I can tell you for sure that you're at the very least as talented and intelligent as they were!" The Ancient Crimson Palace protector was sounding a little impressed by now.
In the ancient times, cultivation was never the first parameter to consider when a genius was selected. The most important was one's growth potential. With the current state of the martial dao world, it was incredibly rare to find someone who could cultivate to half-step emperor realm at Jiang Chen's age.
What was even better was that Jiang Chen had successfully challenged all nine Veluriyam Obelisks and obtained the right to enter the Six Palaces of Heritage. He'd even made it past the first palace's test. This last achievement was the one that surprised the protector the most.
"The fact that you had passed the test of the first palace is proof that you share an unseen bond with the Six Palaces of Heritage. My name is Skysoarer. I am the protector of the second palace, the Ancient Crimson Palace. Tell me your name, young man."
"This junior is named Jiang Chen." Jiang Chen hadn't concealed his identity when he entered the first palace and spoken to its protector. Since the second palace was called the Ancient Crimson Palace, he had even less of a reason to conceal himself. After all, it could be said that both he and the protector of Ancient Crimson Palace shared common origins. "Very good, very good! Jiang Chen, please forgive my earlier misunderstanding. I must admit that it is truly rare to hear of a half-step emperor fighting a demon emperor and coming away unscathed. A genius like you is exactly what the Six Palaces of Heritage has been looking for all this time. That being said, I won't give you preferential treatment just because I admire your talents. If you wish to pass through Ancient Crimson Palace and claim its inheritance in the process, you must go through three tests just like before." Skysoarer didn't hide his admiration for Jiang Chen at all. It was quite similar to Honored Master P'eng's reaction.
Jiang Chen knew that the protectors had all been important figures during the ancient times. However, the creator of Veluriyam Pagoda had been stronger and more powerful than all of them. That was why he'd been able to coerce these important figures into guarding the Six Palaces of Heritage.
Who knew how many years it'd been since the ancient times? The protectors no doubt felt very lonely while they waited through an infinity of time. It had been at least tens of thousands of years since the last genius that entered the Six Palaces of Heritage.
So it was no wonder that the protectors were eager to meet every challenger who successfully made it into the Six Palaces of Heritage. As long as their attitudes weren't too awful, the protectors almost always liked the challengers.
"Venerated Skysoarer, while I was exploring the Upper Eight Regions some time ago, I encountered a sect called the Celestial Cicada Court. They gave me a formation diagram that they'd claimed to inherit from the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect. If I may ask, are you…" Jiang Chen asked tentatively without reveal everything.
"What?" As he had expected, Skysoarer's voice abruptly turned serious. "The Celestial Cicada Court? The Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect? Young man, where did you learn about the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect?"
Jiang Chen grew even more confident when he took note of the urgency and hastiness in the protector's voice.
"The Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect is a great formation sect during ancient times. Although there are no written records left in the world, the name of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect is passed down verbally. I would occasionally hear of this sect being mentioned, and these days the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect is referred to quite often when the subject of ancient formation experts is brought up."
What he said was actually less the truth and more flattery. There were very, very few ancient sects that managed to leave behind a legacy. The Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect couldn't really be considered a top tier sect back in the ancient times. At best, they were half a rank below the top tier sects. Therefore, they weren't particularly influential.
This was especially true after the ancient experts had migrated to Myriad Abyss Island. Their departure meant that a gap had formed in numerous human martial dao inheritances, resulting in the loss of many ancient inheritances.
The Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect had sealed off their entire sect when they met the demon race in battle, so they'd left behind practically no inheritances. Even if there had been, it was likely the work of other branches.
"Young man, did Honored Master P'eng teach you these words?" Skyddiver's voice abruptly turned cold. Even his earlier admiration had thinned a little.
Jiang Chen understood that Skysoarer had misunderstood. But instead of explaining, he smiled. "You've misunderstood me, senior. I just want to confirm if you hail from the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect."
"What if I am? What if I'm not?" Skysoarer sounded a little stiff.
"If you really are a senior in Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect, then there's something I would like to show you. If you aren't, then I would like to move on from this."
"What is it?" Skysoarer asked indifferently, "Show me."
Jiang Chen didn't hesitate. He opened his palm and revealed the Ancient Crimson Medallion he'd obtained from the sect's tower of inheritance.
"Please, have a look." Jiang Chen tossed the medallion into the air. An unnatural wind held it in midair.
Although Venerated Skysoarer couldn't move as he pleased, his consciousness enveloped the entire Ancient Crimson Palace. He was greatly stunned the second he saw the medallion.
"The Ancient Crimson Medallion?" Skysoarer cried out involuntarily. "Young man, where did you obtain this item?"
"I obtained it from the ruins of Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect at Mt. Rippling Mirage." Jiang Chen finally decided to let it all out.
"What?" The voice sounded shocked. "You… you entered Mt. Rippling Mirage? You found the ruins of the sect? Does that mean… does that mean you've obtained the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect's legacy?"
Jiang Chen took out the Ancient Crimson formation disk and suspended it in midair for display.
"All three items of inheritances of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect yet exist. You can see I have the Ancient Crimson Medallion and the formation disk here. The formation flags aren't with me right now because I used them for some other purposes."
There were two sets of Ancient Crimson formation flags. The secondary set had been used at the entrance of the desolate wildlands, and the primary used on the Nine Sparks Petalstorm Formation he'd arranged at Sacred Peafowl Mountain's young lord residence.
Skysoarer couldn't quite control his emotions because he hadn't expect to be able to see his sect's keepsake after tens of thousands of years. He murmured, "It's true. It's actually true… To think that the sect would be able to see the light of day once more. Heavens bless the legacy of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect!"
Skysoarer remained agitated for a very long time before he recovered. "Young man, you said your name is Jiang Chen, am I right?"
"Yes, senior. This junior is named Jiang Chen."
"Oh no, no, no, you can't call me a senior. You are the holder of the Ancient Crimson Medallion, so that means you are the current sect head of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect. I may be an elder of the sect since ancient times, but all elders are required to serve the sect head. Therefore, I cannot possibly allow you to call me your senior!" Skysoarer sounded both serious and happy.
"Don't be nervous. Feel free to act as you like, sect head. You've successfully entered the forbidden ground of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect, passed through many tests and obtained our three great inheritances from the tower of inheritance. This means that your status was acknowledged by everyone in the sect since the experts crafted the tests together. Since you've passed through the tests, this means that you are the new sect head of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect!" Skysoarer's explanation rambled on non-stop, almost as if he was afraid that Jiang Chen would turn around and walk away.
To an ancient expert, there was nothing more reinvigorating than hearing news of their sect. Skysoarer had participated in the war against the demons and nearly all of his sect mates had perished back then. However, the master of Veluriyam Pagoda had rescued him from the battlefield and brought him here.
When Skysoarer had first arrived at Veluriyam Pagoda, he'd been absolutely shattered. His sect had been destroyed, and his sect mates were dead. To a person who felt very strongly towards his sect, the blow felt that it would be the end of him. If the master of Veluriyam Pagoda hadn't tricked him, he might've committed suicide and joined his sect in death.
As the years passed, the infinite passage of time slowly eroded the pain in Skysoarer's heart and helped him get used to being a protector of Veluriyam Pagoda. However, his hatred towards the demon race burned as brightly as ever despite the sands of time. His longing for his sect hadn't changed either.
Today, Jiang Chen had appeared out of nowhere and brought him news of the sect. How could he not be overjoyed by this? If his impression of the young man before was mild admiration, it was now deepest affection after he learned that the young man had obtained the legacy of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect.