After settling in Dan Fei and Nian'er, Jiang Chen declared he would go into seclusion, not for cultivation, but to refine Pillcrane Pills. Acquiring two Goldencrown Cloudcranes had eased the pressing issues of ingredient shortage.
Two of the spirit creatures were enough for three cauldrons of Pinecrane Pills. A total of twenty-five pills was a conservative estimate; more than thirty wasn't out of the question. The final amount depended on refining skill and heat control.
Jiang Chen possessed utmost confidence when it came to pill-refining. The last time he'd refined this pill had been the first time since his reincarnation that he'd tackled such a difficult pill, hence his technique hadn't been perfect.
But this second attempt was different. With the experience garnered from his first attempt, he was even more confident in his success, as well as in the quantity he could produce. More importantly, the Goldencrown Cloudcranes were adult ones, unlike the young one from last time.
As for the Invisible Chameleon Cloudpine, he had enough to spare.
Jiang Chen took longer for the refinement, since he was going to manage two in a row. When he opened the lid, spirits seemed to be prancing and dancing inside the pills. He smiled with satisfaction at the result.
"This batch's quality is higher. It seems I've already grasped the essence of the Pinecrane Pill." Jiang Chen admired his pills, pleased with his handiwork. He even flirted with the idea of continuing on with the Emperor Supremacy Pill. But this was an equally difficult pill, so he decided to wait until his return from the Moon God Sect before tackling this task.
Of course, it was also because he only had two stalks of Heavencloud Ganoderma, or else he might have attempted it before leaving.
"Forget it. As long as these things don't grow legs and run away, it doesn't matter when I refine them. Mother's had a long and arduous time under house arrest. As her son, I can't delay any further. A man has to follow his instincts. To have too many reservations is to miss life's opportunities."
Jiang Chen didn't want to make the wandering great emperors wait any longer either, else they run out of patience. He received word about Han Qianzhan and Su Huanzhen's arrival that day as well. They agreed on a gathering place and that those who arrived first would wait for the others.
He secretly summoned every great emperor in Veluriyam and told them about his departure. He left Veluriyam in their hands and asked them not to give a hint of an opening for their enemies to stir trouble.
Nowadays, almost no one dared make waves in Veluriyam when Jiang Chen was present. Pillfire's Emperor Pillzenith had been miserably chased away when he'd tried it. His sorry example was a lesson for others. However, some people might secretly try to cause chaos in Veluriyam if they learned of the young lord's absence.
So Jiang Chen warned the great emperors to stay on their guard and pay attention to any suspicious activity. That being done, he set off with his father. He brought only the Jiao brothers and left the others to guard the young lord residence.
"Lady and gentlemen, our procession will be too eye-catching if we leave together. It's better to travel separately and meet up once we're at Tilted Moon Region's border." Jiang Chen summoned all of the wandering great emperors to give an overview of his plan.
"No problem. We'll attract less attention if we split up," everyone agreed.
Jiang Chen's party left the city in secret. On the way, they sensed subtle undercurrents running through the Upper Eight Regions, but the situation hadn't reached overt tension yet.
On this day, they smoothly detoured around Pillfire's borders and entered Tilted Moon Region. The wandering great emperors also appeared at the border and assembled at the scene.
Jiang Chen's last trip to Tilted Moon Region hadn't been that long ago, but it felt like an eternity to him.
He'd made friends in the sect last time, Third Master Jing and Gu Xintang for example. Thus, he wasn't worried in case he needed contacts, but he wanted to propose marriage for his father without playing any tricks.
The notable figures he'd invited finally congregated inside Frostmoon City. Jiang Chen called everyone together and shared the details of his plan. Since everyone had come for his sake, they naturally followed his lead.
The Moon God Sect hadn't been entirely at peace as of late. After the third sectmaster had taken a few geniuses to participate in the Dragon and Tiger Meet, Pillfire had reacted with clear hostility. Their colossus of a neighbor seemed faintly intent on blacklisting them.
It gave the senior sectmaster an enormous headache.
As the main leader of the sect, she had to consider her sect's interest above all. So, she had to show restraint in front of Pillfire's suppression, whether it was deliberate or not.
On this day, she was in the middle of sect affairs when she received a calling card.
"Senior sectmaster, someone outside the sect is requesting an audience. He says he's the Great Yu Skysword Sect's Han Qianzhan here to pay a visit."
"The Great Yu Skysword Sect? Han Qianzhan?" The senior sectmaster was grave as she scanned the card. Her figure shook as a conflicted expression appeared on her face. "What is he doing here? Between first rank sects, visits rarely involve figures of our level. Even if it's not unheard of, it wouldn't be so casual."
Uncertainty gnawed at her. After all, the two sects were separated by a vast distance and rarely interacted with each other. What was the meaning behind this sudden visit?
Another subordinate came in as she puzzled over the question. "Senior sectmaster, here's another calling card. It says it's from the Celestial Cicada Court's head, Su Huanzhen."
She frowned even harder. What was going on? Were all the first rank sects of Upper Eight Regions going to visit together?
Before she could make sense of it, she received a third card. It was one of the six titans of the wandering cultivators this time, Emperor Wellspring.
Like snowflakes blown in by the wind, more than a dozen visit cards flurried inside in quick succession. She'd been at the helm of the Moon God Sect for a long time and had experienced great things in her life. Nevertheless, her heart started pounding when she saw this strange phenomenon.
Why had more than a dozen great emperors sent their calling cards on the same day? Was it all planned? What were they here for?
Her heart trembled in faint anxiety as questions whirled in her mind. With so many great emperors at her doorstep, both sect giants and wandering cultivator titans, it was difficult to stay perfectly calm.
This gathering of powerhouses was strong enough a force to raze two Moon God Sects to the ground. Just as she wavered with indecision, she received the last and also the most ostentatious card.
"Jiang Chen? Veluriyam's young lord?" An epiphany suddenly struck her. The mystery was finally solved. "So it's young lord Jiang Chen. He's probably the only one with this sort of influence." She herself could never gather so many great emperors.
"What's his intention? Why did he bring so many here? Did he come to raid my sect?" Her first reaction was a notion of incoming danger. But then she carefully thought it over.
While her sect had benefited considerably from him, she couldn't say that they'd offended him.
"What's this fellow up to? Our sect will be even more of a laughingstock if I turn them away now." She was a decisive person. She knew she couldn't put on airs in this situation. After all, Jiang Chen was Veluriyam's young lord. True, he was on the young side, but his status and influence were unquestioned.
Free and confident, Jiang Chen stood amidst a crowd of great emperors outside the sect's gates, waiting for a reply. Just as he'd expected, the mountain gate opened, revealing the senior sectmaster's figure come to welcome them in person, along with the third sectmaster and a few holy maidens.
"Young lord Jiang Chen, you helped us cure the Moon God Precious Tree's issue and also unearthed a Ying Yang Reverse bloodline talent for us. I haven't had the pleasure of thanking you in person yet. I'm very grateful to see you grace my sect again."
These were mere courtesies, so Jiang Chen didn't pay them much heed. He simply replied with a smile and polite greetings.
"Senior sectmaster, I came here for an important matter. Should we go inside and discuss at our leisure?"
The senior sectmaster smiled unhurriedly. "Those who come from afar are guests. My humble sect is honored by the presence of so many great emperors."
Jiang Chen smiled and abstained from further trite courtesies. He fixed her with an earnest stare and said quietly, "The worthy doesn't beat around the bush, so allow me to be frank. I came here today to propose marriage. I invited Sectmaster Han and Pagoda Master Su Huanzhen as my guarantors, while Emperor Wellspring and the other wandering great emperors are my matchmakers."
"Marriage?" Clear disgust marred her face. Did so many great emperors come to my sect to propose marriage?
Why don't you call it by the proper name of carrying off the bride?
"Young lord Jiang Chen, it's the tradition of my sect that our holy maidens are future sectmaster candidates. They don't marry outsiders. I beg your forgiveness. I also heard you have a dao partner? Why would you pay any attention to my holy maidens?"
The baffled Jiang Chen suddenly realized the senior sectmaster thought he'd come to find a wife of his own. He slapped his forehead and laughed despite himself. "Sectmaster, you're mistaken. I didn't come for myself, but for someone else's sake."
Jiang Chen's eyes swept through the women by her side. The second sectmaster hadn't shown herself, enough though everyone else was here. She was clearly reticent toward the young lord of Veluriyam.
Holy Maiden Xu Shan's eyes flashed with imperceptible disappointment when she heard Jiang Chen hadn't come for himself.
The senior sectmaster blinked. Jiang Chen wasn't looking for a wife? Who was he here for then?
Her eyes swept through Jiang Chen's party. She could recognize each of them at first glance. Did those great emperors with longstanding fame need to come to her sect to find a woman? She racked her brains but couldn't find an explanation.