"Old Brother Mo, you're thinking from the perspective of wealth. To be frank, I'm not considering the personal fortunes of the wandering cultivator world, but the manpower within. It may look like I've spent a bit of personal wealth today, but the uproar caused by the events of the past few days will certainly travel to all corners of the human domain in the months to come. Think about it for a moment. When more and more people build your reputation for you, what need is there to be concerned with Pillfire City then?"
Jiang Chen had indeed given up a great deal of money today since he'd given more than a fair price for the treasures that hadn't been auctioned, and taken not a single stone from the auction. He'd expended more than 1.5 billion spirit stones today.
But honestly, he didn't lack for these spirit stones at all. If he wanted to earn money, he had at least a dozen ways to easily earn all of these spirit stones back.
After the auction, Jiang Chen had plenty of spirit stones again after he collected from Master Dong Ye. Back in his residence, he didn't rest before diving straight into preparations for the pill dao lectures.
After a night of effort, he finally organized all manner of thoughts and topics. The wandering cultivators were the main audience of the classes this time, so his content also specifically focused on questions and issues this demographic would grapple with. Thanks to various channels, the young lord had a decent understanding of the exact points that wandering cultivators usually lacked knowledge in.
"Pill King Bu, Pill King Lu Feng, Lin Yanyu, and Mu Gaoqi — come help me with the lectures over the next three days."
The four were delighted to hear their names. This was another learning opportunity!
On the next day, Jiang Chen's appearance was greeted with cheers and roars of approval. All of the wandering cultivators rose to welcome him with a standing ovation.
"Young lord Zhen! Young lord Zhen! Young lord Zhen!"
The unanimous shouts illustrated just how much they were looking forward to him and the lectures today. The yells rippled out from Veluriyam Capital like passionate waves, extending for several kilometers in all directions, bringing with them the enthusiasm of the gathering.
At the same time in a deep patch of bamboo forest in the rear mountains of Sacred Peafowl Mountain, a bamboo door creaked open, allowing the gentle, morning rays to grace the inside of the thatched hut.
A beautiful figure appeared in front of it. She was dainty, pretty, and charming, as if an orchid blooming deep in the mountains.
"You, you're out of seclusion, miss?" A maid was washing clothes in the nearby creek and ran over barefoot when she heard the noise.
"Cui'er, what's going on outside for it to be so noisy?" The beautiful figure had a slightly wan complexion due to prolonged avoidance of the sun.
"Miss…" Cui'er's eyes reddened and tears began flowing. She sobbed with utter heartbreak, as if she'd suffered the gravest injustice in the world. "Miss, you locked yourself up for five years. Cui'er was so, so worried about you!"
Emperor Peafowl had originally brought Miss Dan'er back from Myriad Domain, and she'd announced a sealed door cultivation for three years because of annoyance from harassment from Veluriyam dandies.
However, three years had turned into five before she finally emerged. Cui'er was her body servant and had valiantly remained here all this time. Now that her mistress had finally emerged, how would the little girl be able to keep her emotions in? Her pent-up feelings exploded along with her tears.
She wiped her eyes dry a long time later. "Miss, it's wonderful that you're out. You look like you've lost a lot of weight."
The little girl was quite pained by this.
Miss Dan'er stroked Cui'er's head gently. "Cui'er, you're a big girl now too. It's my fault that I haven't settled your affairs properly after all of these years and in fact, delayed things for you."
"Miss, what kind of words are these?" The maid hurriedly responded. "Cui'er is meant to serve the miss. It's my duty to wait until I'm old, much less five or fifty years!"
Dan'er sighed softly at this response and frowned slightly after. "Cui'er, you haven't told me yet why it's so noisy outside."
Cui'er made a face. "Apparently we're holding some Dragon and Tiger Meet these days. All of the wandering cultivators in the world have come. And… all of the great first rank sects have sent representatives as well."
"Oh? Is His Majesty hosting it?" Miss Dan'er blinked. "He's always liked peace and quiet, so why would he hold an event like this?"
Cui'er's eyes reddened again when she heard the words 'His Majesty'. Her mouth curved downward and she seemed to want to cry again.
"What's wrong, Cui'er?" A bad premonition flashed across Miss Dan'er's heart.
"Miss, I hear people say that His Majesty's fallen…" The maid responded timidly.
"What?!" Dan'er's expression changed drastically. "Cui'er, don't sprout nonsense!"
"I'm not, miss! His Majesty left Sacred Peafowl Mountain not long after you entered seclusion. Some rumors popped up after, and he hasn't appeared even with everything that's happened recently. A lot of people in the capital have accepted this by now."
"Impossible!" Dan'er frowned ferociously. "Where did you hear this nonsense from?? His Majesty is almighty and powerful, how would he be gone just like this?"
"Miss, Cui'er also thinks that His Majesty is invincible. Young lord Zhen… young lord Zhen also said that even if His Majesty temporarily can't return, he's not dead."
"Young lord Zhen?" Dan'er had some impression of this name. The young lord had earned quite a name for himself when Pillfire City had come knocking… all of this had happened before her sealed door cultivation.
"That's right. He's also the organizer behind the Dragon and Tiger Meet. Miss, you don't know that we've been in a very dangerous position since the rumors came out that His Majesty is no more. Young lord Zhen wasn't at home then, the four monarchs didn't know what to do and didn't dare take a single step away from Sacred Peafowl Mountain. It wasn't until… young lord Zhen came back that the situation settled. I remember… them saying that Emperor Shura wanted to rebel and called for a Vassal Meeting to take over the capital. Young lord Zhen came back in time and handily defeated Emperor Shura, crushing the conspiracy to protect Sacred Peafowl Mountain's position and prevent the capital from splintering…"
Dan'er's mind was completely blank. She didn't care at all about what the young lord had done. She was completely preoccupied with Emperor Peafowl's disappearance.
"Your Majesty… Your Majesty…" Her heart was in disarray. The two were like father and daughter ever since the emperor had saved her. She'd long since relied on and respected the emperor like a father. The thought of receiving such bad news on her first day out of seclusion had never occurred to her. "Cui'er, do any of the rumors say where the emperor was last seen?"
"Miss, the rumors only say that His Majesty has disappeared, but don't say where. Don't worry, miss. Young lord Zhen's said that His Majesty is alive. The young lord's words can be trusted." Worship suffused the maid's tone.
"Young lord Zhen… young lord Zhen…" Dan'er repeated the name softly. "Cui'er, why do people submit to such a young person? How does he command everyone's respect?"
"Miss, young lord Zhen is amazing! I heard that he battled Emperor Shura during the Vassal Meeting and took all of the emperor's attacks. They fought to a draw! It was a difficult fight that preserved the status of Sacred Peafowl Mountain and prevented Shura Retreat from a successful coup."
"He tied with Emperor Shura?" Dan'er's mind couldn't work fast enough to process this. The emperor was second to only Emperor Peafowl! Wasn't young lord Zhen a young man less than thirty years old? How could he have tied with Emperor Shura?
"Miss, Cui'er doesn't understand all this violence, I only heard it from other people. Oh right, young lord Zhen is holding some pill dao lectures today. You heard people cheering for him just now, miss. Everyone was yelling his name."
Dan'er nodded woodenly. She didn't have much of a relationship with the young lord, so she didn't care about just how strong he was. She only knew that Sacred Peafowl Mountain belonged to Emperor Peafowl. If the emperor wasn't here, could the mountain still be called that?
"Cui'er, how's Nian'er now?"
"Nian'er's still training with Plumscore Monarch. Cui'er hears that young lord Zhen cares about Nian'er a great deal and wishes for Plumscore Monarch to raise her well."
Dan'er sighed softly. "Everything you speak of is something you've heard from someone else. I don't know what I should trust. Forget it, since this is the case, I'll go take a look myself."
"Where are you going, miss?"
"To look in on Nian'er."
"Miss, didn't you say that you wouldn't go see her before she has certain accomplishments with her cultivation?" Cui'er trotted after her mistress.
Dan'er's footsteps paused and she swayed slightly. The words were a hard blow to her heart. She had indeed said those words before, but that was because she wanted only the best for her daughter. In actuality, other than the figure who couldn't be erased from her heart, the only person she was most concerned with was the child from her womb.
"Cui'er, I'll just sneak a look at her from far away before leaving." Dan'er sighed softly.
"Will you come back after you take a look, miss?"
"No, I'm going to take a look at young lord Zhen and see if he's the sort who just pursues a good name. I'll be happy for His Majesty if the young lord truly has inherited His Majesty's legacy. But if he's just a superficial character intending to profit off of a good name, I won't let him off the hook!" Dan'er's figure wavered as she spoke and she disappeared into the bamboo woods.
"Miss, miss…" Cui'er chased after her mistress but couldn't even catch a shadow. The maid was quite depressed. "Her strength seems to have increased a great deal after a few years!"