There were a lot of issues on the table, including the ones listed by Venerated Skysoarer. If Jiang Chen wished to reactivate the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement, he would have to resolve them first.
"Venerable master, how many sects were involved in setting up the formation back then? Do you know their names?"
Venerated Skysoarer thought for a moment. "It's probably impossible for you to find out anything about the sects now. However, there may be another way for you to proceed, Sect Head, one probably more workable than searching for needles in a haystack."
"What is it?" Jiang Chen asked in a low tone.
"The arrangement of the formation involved a couple great human leaders, but the meetings were held in the Earth Bodhisattva Sect. Therefore, there very well may be records of the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement stored somewhere in the Earth Bodhisattva Sect."
"The Earth Bodhisattva Sect?" Jiang Chen immediately thought of the Earth Bodhisattva Orb he'd acquired recently. Was Great Scarlet Mid Region under Earth Bodhisattva Sect rule back then?
He'd obtained the Earth Bodhisattva Orb from Cloudshatter Mountain, but the place didn't look like an ancient sect ruin, not to mention that the demon race had chosen to build their base there. They wouldn't be foolish enough to risk building a base right beneath the sect's noses, and the sect wouldn't be so friendly as to allow it.
"Venerable master, did the Earth Bodhisattva Sect… managed to preserve their legacy?" Jiang Chen asked curiously.
"Hmph." Venerated Skysoarer's tone suddenly took a strange turn. It was a thoroughly disdainful sneer.
"Sect Head, I'll admit that the Earth Bodhisattva Sect offered a lot of effort, resources and manpower to arrange the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement. You could even say that they were the main organizers. However…"
"Hmm?" Jiang Chen's eyebrows furrowed. Was there another story behind this?
"Heh, in the end, the Earth Bodhisattva Sect was nothing but an upstart with no real foundation. After the demon race used scapegoats to trigger the formation early, that sect immediately gave up because they felt like their efforts had been wasted. Their members grew depressed and passive, believing that the human race's fortunes were at an end. Panic, anxiety, fear reigned. In the end, the Earth Bodhisattva Sect decided to seal their doors and go into hiding."
"What? How ludicrous! The entire sect decided to hide while the war was still ongoing?"
It wasn't improbable that some experts had decided to silently sneak away to other places due to fear of impending death and the demons. But an entire sect? That seemed unimaginable.
"Incredible, isn't it? But the Earth Bodhisattva Sect did just that. They ignored the rebukes of the human leaders and stuck to their plan. They sealed off their sect and vanished from the eyes of the world in the name of survival, making the best possible choice from their point of view."
Jiang Chen was speechless. He had no doubt that the farce committed by what was essentially the number one formation sect at the time had dealt a huge blow to the morale of the human race. It was no wonder Venerated Skysoarer scorned the Earth Bodhisattva Sect. This was the root of it all.
While the Earth Bodhisattva Sect had made numerous contributions in the war, they were deserters in the end. Naturally, this act earned the scorn of a righteous sect like the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect.
"Did the ancient leaders let them leave, just like that?" Jiang Chen found this incredulous.
"Hmph. What was the point of keeping them around if their hearts weren't here anymore?" Venerated Skysoarer sounded extremely resentful. "Luckily for us, the human leaders took action before they ran off. They held a meeting and decided that while they couldn't force the Earth Bodhisattva Sect to stay, they could confiscate the sect's symbolic treasure, the Earth Bodhisattva Orb, as a punitive measure.
"This was the Earth Bodhisattva Sect's punishment for deserting, and how you came into possession of the Earth Bodhisattva Orb, Sect Head."
Jiang Chen had finally understood how it all had come to be. If the Orb had still been in the Earth Bodhisattva Sect's possession, then he would've never gotten his 'turn'.
"So, where did the Earth Bodhisattva Sect go after that?"
"No one knows. However, many angry human cultivators went to their headquarters and utterly trashed it, so it's impossible for any of their sect ruins to exist in this world. If you want to find them, you must find where they went to first. Assuming that my deduction is right, I would say that they've probably left the human domain."
"Could they have gone to Myriad Abyss Island?" Jiang Chen frowned. If the Earth Bodhisattva Sect wished to flee from the war, then Myriad Abyss Island was definitely the best destination.
"That's highly probable." Venerated Skysoarer sighed. "There were plenty of experts who chose to slink away with their tail between their legs, but to think that an entire sect would… In a sense, you can say that they made history with their cowardice."
Jiang Chen felt contempt for the Earth Bodhisattva Sect as well, but currently he was more concerned if they truly possessed any records regarding the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement besides the ones owned by the Ancient Crimson Heaven Sect.
"Wait. I don't remember any such… records in the scriptures of our sect." This suddenly occurred to Jiang Chen.
"Hehe, the records in our possession are those of memorization instead of the written word. Allow me to recite them for you." It had been hundred thousands of years since Venerated Skysoarer had become the protector of Veluriyam Pagoda, but the information was so important that it remained firmly etched in his mind.
Jiang Chen didn't put on an aloof act and listened attentively. Truly, Venerated Skysoarer possessed both a great memory and great narration skills. A day later, Jiang Chen finally absorbed all of the essence of the formation held by the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect.
"Sect Head, I can see that you're determined to reactivate the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement. This is as far as I can help you. If you are able to control the entire Pagoda one day, you won't have to worry about the resources necessary to fuel the reactivation. The master built the place out of consideration for the preservation of legacies and inheritances. Therefore, he must've prepared many treasures you can't even imagine. If you can inherit the Veluriyam Pagoda, you'll become the indisputable leader of the human race!"
Jiang Chen didn't really care if he became the leader of the human race or not. His eyes were set at horizons beyond Divine Abyss Continent.
However, he also knew better than anyone that he couldn't remain uninvolved in the upcoming war against the demon race. Even if he didn't want to be embroiled, the world didn't care for the wishes of a mere man. If he was eventually going to be dragged in, he might as well take the initiative and make preparations in advance. He had been human in his previous life too. He had absolutely no reason to ignore the human race in their time of great danger.
"Don't worry, venerable master. I will conquer the Veluriyam Pagoda." Jiang Chen promised with absolute certainty.
"Hahaha, I too am certain that you will, Sect Head! When that happens, all six protectors of the Six Palaces of Heritage will acknowledge you as our master and serve you for at least ten thousand years. Who knows, maybe the master of the Veluriyam Pagoda has prepared other pleasant surprises besides the Six Palaces of Heritage!"
The Veluriyam Pagoda was constructed on the basis of a long-term vision. It was a great feat of acute foresight by the maste. The human race had done all they could to fight against the demon race at the time, but it was also their responsibility to pave the way for the generations to come as well. Perhaps the Pagoda was the greatest thing they'd left behind for the future generations.
"Alright, while I would like very much to chat with you further, I'm sure that you have a lot of other things to do, Sect Head. Since you've conquered the Crimson Heavens Palace, would you like to leave first or challenge the third palace?" Venerated Skysoarer asked.
A challenger had two chances for every palace they challenged. It might not be a bad idea for Jiang Chen to challenge the third palace to get a feel of its difficulty, but he didn't want to waste his chance so easily. He had just ascended into emperor realm, and it was mentioned that the recommended cultivation level to challenge the third palace was advanced emperor realm. Although Jiang Chen wasn't inferior to an advanced emperor realm cultivator, he felt that he might as well wait until he reached mid emperor realm before he challenged the third palace.
"Venerable master, it's not possible to conquer the Six Palaces of Heritage in one go, so I'll be heading out for now. As you say, the situation out there is complicated, and there are plenty of things waiting for my attention."
"Alright. Please make sure to keep the spacetime seal safe, sect head."
Every palace had its own corresponding spacetime seal. That was the only item that allowed Jiang Chen to enter the Six Palaces of Heritage from the outside world without having to go through the front gate of Veluriyam Pagoda and the nine Veluriyam Obelisks.
Jiang Chen was always reluctant to leave the palaces. Be it Honored Master P'eng or Venerated Skysoarer, he viewed them all as friends, despite their difference in age. He thought them as seniors whom he could confess many things to.
Still, he had to go when it was time to leave. The teleportation formation sent Jiang Chen straight to the perimeter. When the young man stepped out of the main pagoda, he discovered that Veluriyam Pagoda was wrapped in silence.
No one was allowed to approach this sacred land without permission, unless during the gathering. That was why Veluriyam Pagoda appeared quiet and unsullied at the moment
Jiang Chen didn't linger around because he didn't want anyone to notice his presence. He vanished after he walking out.
The streets of Veluriyam Capital was as bustling and lively as ever. Jiang Chen had disguised himself as another person, so no one noticed that he was the young lord of Sacred Peafowl Mountain. He hadn't left Veluriyam Capital for too long, but he could clearly sense an increased weight in the atmosphere after his return.
The oppressive gloom that had been gathering a while ago now felt so thick that it almost manifested as black clouds. An ordinary person might not be able to sense this, but someone as acute as Jiang Chen felt that he was literally suffocating.
"Is something really about to befall Veluriyam Capital?" Naturally, Jiang Chen hadn't forgotten what Emperor Coiling Dragon had told him when he returned from Tilted Moon Region. At that time, the emperor had said that he could sense the undercurrents of a conspiracy within the walls of Veluriyam Capital. He was even afraid for Emperor Peafowl's safety.
Jiang Chen had felt then that no one would dare attack someone as powerful as Emperor Peafowl. Even the few with some other thoughts wouldn't dare make a move, much less incite a rebellion. However, judging from this oppressive atmosphere, it would seem that Emperor Coiling Dragon's worries weren't entirely unfounded.