The news about Jiang Chen concluding his closed door cultivation didn't spread. The young lord had many things to prepare for and found it imprudent to do so for the moment.
Palace Head Dan Chi, Elder Yun Nie, Mu Gaoqi, Ling Hui'er, Shen Trifire… and more from Regal Pill Palace were congregated within a hall in the young lord residence.
Seated at the head position, Jiang Chen scanned the room. "My friends, we're fortunate to gather here after the destruction of our sect and Myriad Domain. I only have two questions for all of you today: Does hot blood still beat through your hearts? Do you remember the sights of our homeland?"
His words moved the emotions of all present.
"Brother Chen, you…" Mu Gaoqi was so happy he could barely contain himself. "Are you planning to take back Myriad Domain?"
Jiang Chen nodded coolly. "Veluriyam Capital sits at the core of the Upper Eight Regions. I was slightly concerned that you had forgotten our shared past. The reason I've gathered everyone here today is to see whether you still possess the steely resolve needed to rebuild our sect."
Palace Head Dan Chi stood up suddenly. "No matter how nice this place is, it's not our homeland. After I survived the catastrophe, my heart has been fixated on rebuilding Regal Pill Palace. Jiang Chen, you are the young lord of Veluriyam Capital now. You've grown from a lowly carp into a magnificent dragon. That you haven't forgotten your origins is respectable indeed. As the head of Regal Pill Palace, I hereby formally request your assistance in taking everyone here back to our homeland - and retaking it once and for all!"
Elder Yun Nie was excited as well. "This place is nice, but I would like to return to the Regal Pill Palace even on risk of death. Young lord Zhen, you are the lord of Veluriyam Capital now. We can't ask you to return to Regal Pill Palace with us, especially since you have so much you'd have to leave behind. It'd be unrealistic and frankly impossible. Veluriyam Capital is a momentous undertaking, ten or a hundred times more important than the Palace. Without this faction's support, rebuilding our sect would be a fool's errand anyway."
"Yes. The Regal Pill Palace's former backers were entirely useless in our time of need. Senior brother Jiang Chen's position as the young lord of Veluriyam Capital is an unprecedented stroke of fortune for us. We must use this chance to rebuild the sect. With his help, there is no way we will stop at being just a fourth rank sect."
"Exactly! We have to rise to the occasion. Who made the rules about the first rank sects having to stay the same. It's our turn to shine! With senior brother Jiang Chen's help, the Regal Pill Palace can become a first rank sect for sure." Ling Hui'er was one of the most excited people present.
Palace Head Dan Chi, however, kept his cool. He waved a hand to quiet his disciples down. "Everyone, please behave yourselves. There is no need to add pressure to senior brother Jiang Chen."
Jiang Chen smiled. "What pressure do I have? Junior sister Ling Hui'er is entirely correct. None of the first rank sects today were born into their status. The 'Regal' of 'Regal Pill Palace' represents a heavenly right to rule - similar to how many of the other first rank sects distinguish themselves. So, we're rather well-equipped in that department." Jiang Chen said jokingly.
It was a novel way of looking at things that made everybody laugh.
Elder Yun Nie chuckled. "Young lord Zhen. Or maybe I should call you young lord Jiang. Ah, I'm conflicted…. What should I call you?"
"Jiang Chen is fine." Jiang Chen smiled faintly. "My old acquaintances from Regal Pill Palaces are my family. Any nickname makes me happy."
Palace Head Dan Chi nodded. "All my life, I've attempted to raise the sect up to third rank with my meager talents. Alas, my failure to do that resulted in our destruction and almost losing my own life. If not for my keenness all those years ago in bringing you from the Precious Tree Sect to us, our sect would have perished utterly in that disaster like the rest. What chance would we have had in congregating here today to discuss its rebuilding?"
These words came from the heart. Elder Yun Nie, Mu Gaoqi, and the others all nodded in agreement. Without Jiang Chen, no one else would be here, much less be able to rebuild the sect.
Perhaps other sects had survivors as well, individuals who'd kept to the shadows with thoughts about their homeland and lost sect. But it was impossible for anyone from the Myriad Domain's sects to face such a powerful enemy as the Eternal Celestial Capital. Their lack of resources made even Great Scarlet Mid Region an insurmountable enemy.
The Regal Pill Palace was different. It had not only the capital necessary for rebuilding the sect, but a surplus for pursuing loftier goals. All this was thanks to Jiang Chen as their sole benefactor. The one and only young lord of Veluriyam himself!
Jiang Chen laughed. "You were instrumental in discovering and elevating me all those years ago, Palace Head Dan Chi. Moreover, Mu Gaoqi is like a brother to me, and Elder Yun Nie my senior. I spent a short amount of time at the Regal Pill Palace, but I did so with great happiness. Perhaps everyone thought thought junior sister Hui'er's words were a joke?"
They all nodded smilingly. Of course they'd taken her words to be a joke. Given its available resources and manpower, Regal Pill Palace was lucky to be restored as a fourth rank sect. Veluriyam Capital's backing might raise it up to third rank at most.
Second rank was a too-large stretch of imagination, much less first rank. What first rank sect didn't have at least several millennia of history behind it? Some had accumulated wealth and heritage over thousands of years.
"You might think it over the top, but I think differently." Jiang Chen gazed at his captive audience seriously. "I can't deny that Regal Pill Palace has never had the resources and heritage as fitting of a first rank sect before. I'm sure the palace head and Elder Yun Nie will agree. However…"
The young man paused before continuing, his tone even more sincere than before. "As of now, the Regal Pill Palace has a sliver of hope. This sliver comes not only from my status as Veluriyam Capital's young lord, but also from the palace's possession of something noteworthy as its heritage. Plus, it has several once-in-millennium geniuses."
"Palace Head Dan Chi, I've already told you that the jade token you obtained as a wandering cultivator has an ancient method recorded inside. Its potency rivals that of a first rank sect's strongest signature methods, likely surpassing them in several aspects.
"That's not an empty claim. If this ancient method is used effectively, then Regal Pill Palace will become a sect to be reckoned with given sufficient time. With enough time, talent, and timely help from myself, there is no ruling out the Regal Pill Palace's potential ascension to a first rank sect!"
Jiang Chen's words sounded at his friends' ears like a thunderclap, shaking them to the core.
Palace Head Dan Chi and Elder Yun Nie had both heard Jiang Chen talk about the jade token's ancient method before. However, the prophecy about the sect's advancement to first rank someday was unheard-of.
The youngsters weren't the only shocked ones. The palace head and the elder traded awed glances in an attempt to recover their composure. Becoming a first rank sect was something they had never dreamed of doing.
"Perhaps something like that is a bit far off. We are only a few dozen strong and a single jade token isn't particularly transformative in that regard. We still lack a great deal in knowledge and resources. Thus, accomplishing this goal requires a concerted effort and iron-clad resolve from everyone here. With the palace head's shrewdness, charisma, as well as geniuses like Mu Gaoqi, what reason is there for the Regal Pill Palace to not flourish?"
"Senior brother Jiang Chen is right."
"We must rebuild our sect!"
"We shall retake our homeland!"
The disciples felt their passions ignite at Jiang Chen's speech. This hadn't been the young man's intent, per se. He'd only wanted to provide a degree of motivation to help them overcome possible lethargy. The pleasant conditions in Veluriyam Capital was a breeding ground for complacency.
"Good. This is what I want to hear from Regal Pill Palace's good people. No matter how comfortable and sublime life here may be, you are still refugees from a broken homeland. To regain your dignity, you must one day return there to retake it. Conquest and reconstruction are goals that a real cultivator should pursue with gusto. If you can last until the day when the Regal Pill Palace becomes a first rank sect, how exalted will you be then? Your ancestors and descendants will share in that glory for ages to come!" Jiang Chen spurred his former peers on.
Nodding to himself internally, Palace Head Dan Chi spoke up as well. "Jiang Chen is perfectly right. We have powerful methods, a powerful backer, and powerful geniuses. We are far luckier than most other sects from Myriad Domain. We must return to our homeland and fulfill the lost sects' unfulfilled wishes. Myriad Domain is our real home, and the place where we ultimately belong. The Eternal Celestial Capital and Great Scarlet Mid Region invaded our homeland, killed our loved ones, and slew our peers. I've had enough of letting their crimes sit unpunished!
"Jiang Chen." The palace head turned to the youth, his eyes clear and candid.
"My cultivation is insufficient at present, and the same is true with all of the other disciples here. We can't restore peace to Myriad Domain by ourselves. Therefore, we would like to ask for a reasonable plan of action that we can proceed from."
"I have some ideas for that already," Jiang Chen inclined his head. "The Eternal Celestial Capital is a first rank sect, so I don't want to head into an all-out war with them just yet. Still, all of the factions squatting in Myriad Domain should be utterly destroyed or failing that, their remnants exiled. Regardless of whether the Eternal Celestial Capital or Great Scarlet Mid Region is behind them.
"One more thing. We can't let Great Scarlet Mid Region sit next to us with a sharpened blade. Myriad Domain has suffered twice at the region's hands, and it's high time we repay our debts with interest. Before we war against the Eternal Celestial Capital, we can use Great Scarlet Mid Region as an appetizer - a sacrifice to demonstrate our dedication!"
Everyone brightened at this prospect.
The Eternal Celestial Capital was the puppeteer behind the scenes, and therefore not the direct target of their hatred. Great Scarlet Mid Region was a much closer enemy. Innate hostility and a desire to hurt Myriad Domain had been ingrained into their heads since childhood,. There was that incursion several centuries ago in addition to the one ten years ago...
The two successive assaults had taken countless lives and destroyed countless sects. The latter had been several times crueler than the former, its inflicted damage devastating enough to uproot the entire domain entirely. How could the gathered survivors not be pleased about a counterattack on their most hated nemesis?