In the martial dao world, the more mysterious one appeared, the more one was regarded with curiosity and fear. The human psychology was odd sometimes; instinctual caution was exercised for anything unknown.
For example, Jiang Chen's high fame elicited curiosity about his pill dao inheritance. Emperor Peafowl was powerful, but not so powerful in the area of pill dao that he could nurture a genius like the young lord. So how had the young lord come by his pill dao knowledge?
There were all kinds of rumors. So far, the most incredible version was that young lord Zhen had been taught by a mysterious expert in his youth. Moreover, this mysterious expert likely hailed from the legendary Myriad Abyss Island. Only those possessing higher knowledge knew of this mythical place. Not many knew at all.
Many experts even suspected that Myriad Abyss Island was just a product of the imagination. They found it difficult to believe that human cultivators could reach the heights represented by it.
But no one could offer a concrete answer. No one had interacted with anyone from Myriad Abyss Island before. That all changed when Jiang Chen shattered everyone's doubts by confirming that Myriad Abyss Island was a real place.
Emperor Petalpluck asked in complicated tones, "Does Myriad Abyss Island really exist, young lord Zhen? Is it really not a myth?"
"Of course it's real. The Divine Abyss Continent is bigger than we imagine."
Mo Wushuang nodded. "He's right. I've traveled to all kinds of places in the human domain. I've seen the borders of desolate wildlands. I've even reached the boundary steles that demarcate the limits of the human domain and other races. Many times, I've tried to pass through the boundary to see what kind of world lies beyond it."
Everyone shot Mo Wushuang looks of apprehension and admiration. Wandering cultivators truly were some of the wildest kind of people out there.
The boundary steles had always been a taboo. For generations, sect disciples were warned not to intrude into the boundary grounds, not to disturb the arrangements that were laid since ancient times, and not to leave their own territory…
Nearly every faction and cultivator in the human domain followed the ancient teachings and stayed away from the boundary steles.
According to the ancient records, there were many races on Divine Abyss Continent. After the ancient great war, long-standing power structures crumbled and the continent was in shambles. Wary and antagonistic of each other, the races decided to split the map, create the boundary steles to demarcate their territory, and keep to their own areas forever.
It was mutually agreed that any entity who moved past the boundary be killed without mercy. The intrusion would be seen as an act of war.
Thankfully, the ancient boundaries weren't easy to break through. Powerful restrictions and chaotic streams of power prevented any cultivator from passing into another race's territory. It was why everyone felt apprehensive, despite being impressed by Mo Wushuang's boldness. Had he succeeded, it might have been the start of a racial war.
Mo Wushuang laughed when he saw their expressions. "Don't look at me like that, I didn't really try to breach the boundaries. Plus, I would've died considering my cultivation level, and I have no intentions to die just yet, heh!"
Jiang Chen didn't know much about the boundary grounds at all. In fact, neither Honored Master P'eng nor Venerated Skysoarer had mentioned anything about the boundary steles. This meant that these taboo places had been built after their generation. They were ignorant because they had already entered the Veluriyam Pagoda by then.
"The boundary steles safeguards our territory, so it's best if they remain as they are." Emperor Mountaincrush sighed. "This is a rule that Veluriyam Capital has always obeyed."
"Yes, the boundary grounds shouldn't be intruded upon lightly. That's an old adage that's been passed down since ancient times!"
Mo Wushuang shrugged and smiled in response. "I admit that we wandering cultivators are less concerned with such things. However, from my experience I believe that the boundary grounds weren't built to prevent racial conflicts or wars at all."
"What do you mean?" Jiang Chen asked. Everyone was just as curious. What basis lied behind Mo Wushuang's claim?
"My guess is that the boundary steles are a product of the ancient great war. The Divine Abyss Continent was in tatters after it, and all races had holed up in their own territories, focusing on rebuilding strength and avoiding the demon race. They were terrified that war would break out once more. No one wanted the demon race to invade their territory, so they decided that they might as well delineate boundary lines. Therefore, the boundary steles weren't created to prevent racial conflicts, but as a safety measure in case the demon race rose from the ashes."
Mo Wushuang's tone grew furious when he reached this point. "The human domain sits the closest to the desolate wildlands. This means that the boundary grounds aren't protections, but obstacles that prevent the human race from escaping should a second demonic disaster were to befall upon us."
Jiang Chen's eyes lit up when he heard this. He hadn't realized that Mo Wushuang was so experienced and knowledgeable, and he found himself agreeing deeply with analysis.
The many races on the Divine Abyss Continent used to attack each other frequently. Constant warfare hadn't given rise to the thought of boundary steles. It was only after the great demonic disaster and the Divine Abyss Continent left in ruins that the boundary grounds came to be.
The desolate wildlands were to the southeast of the human domain, whereas boundary steles could be found to the southwest and northwest. The steles and wildlands linked together to form a long chain.
This meant that the human domain was stuck between a rock and a hard place. If the desolate wildlands were breached, the demon race would pour straight into the human domain. Worse, Jiang Chen's homeland, the sixteen kingdoms alliance, was the first place to bear the brunt of the demonic invasion.
The good news was that Venerated Skysoarer had told him that he could reactivate the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement to stop the demon race.
During the ancient great war, the leaders of the human race had created the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement to seal the entire demon race. Unfortunately, the demon race was too cunning to fall for the trap. They'd sent out scapegoats to take the fall.
If reactivated, the formation would be a powerful barrier blocking the demon race from advancing. It would force them to circle past the human domain and enter another race's territory to leave. They'd be someone else's problem then. It would cost them far too much to circle back to the human domain, a completely worthless effort.Even if a demonic invasion was inevitable, the human race would have at least bought themselves some time. Therefore, Mo Wushuang's story gave Jiang Chen some ideas, but he decided that it wasn't the time to reveal them just yet, not when Veluriyam Capital's morale was as low as it was.
Talks about the demon race would only add to the atmosphere of doom and gloom. Jiang Chen changed the subject with a smile. "Anyway, we're straying from the main topic. So, about the wandering cultivator gathering. Does everyone think that these three benefits are good enough reasons to hold a gathering?"
"Oh yes, definitely." Mo Wushuang was the first person to agree. "Any one of these benefits is enough to attract a large crowd of wandering cultivators, much less all three of them combined. That being said, I must remind you all that attracting such a large crowd of wandering cultivators isn't without its consequences. If we don't enforce proper rules and constraints, things can quickly dissolve into a mess."
Jiang Chen nodded. "This is where I require your help, great emperors. I need your elite troops to maintain order while the wandering cultivator gathering is ongoing. Everyone must contribute some effort in this event."
"Of course. We will do our best."
"I agree. it's our duty."
Ultimately, everyone thought that the benefits of a this gathering outweighed its cost. Veluriyam Capital needed a great event to show that they weren't headed towards a total decline. Also, everyone wanted to see what kind of surprises young lord Zhen would bring them. Jiang Chen looked at the vassals once more. "I also require our vassals to contribute in this event. First, everyone should keep an eye out for troublemakers. Second, we need to agree on a procedure to deal with the territories left behind by the traitors in the next few days. Should we send someone to take over now, or should we delegate them to other powers? At any rate, our first priority is to form a united Veluriyam Capital."
"That's right. No one can take advantage of us if we don't fight amongst ourselves."
"We especially must keep an eye out for people from Pillfire City. It's them or us. We can't let them out of our sight."
"Pillfire City…" Killing intent flashed through Jiang Chen's eyes. "One day, I will make sure that this name is no more!"
Jiang Chen and Pillfire City's relationship had deteriorated to the point of no return. He had known after the battle for the Longevity Pill that one of them had to disappear in the future. Moreover, he had a strong feeling that Emperor Pillzenith was involved in Emperor Peafowl's disappearance. There was no way the foreign emperor would dare cause trouble in Veluriyam Capital otherwise. Emperor Shura was also certainly a traitor who had sold his homeland for personal gains.
Jiang Chen went through the remaining tasks in similar fashion. He didn't need to worry about manpower at least. He was also worried about Veluriyam Capital's security, so he secretly sent out the Goldbiter Rats to patrol the surroundings. They would be able to report to him immediately if they noticed anything amiss. The Goldbiter Rats numbered over ten million in total. They could easily form lines of patrols that covered a radius several thousand kilometers around the capital.