Though many factions had decided to join Jiang Chen and affiliate themselves with Veluriyam Capital, the young man didn't forget himself because of this.
Veluriyam's raw strength had unquestionably been improved by the addition of new blood. But with new arrivals came new logistics and issues of all stripes.
Jiang Chen gave authority to resolve these issues to Emperor Wellspring. A man of his talents and prestige could coordinate everything quite capably. He could take on a pleasant or harsh demeanor as necessary.
The young man's own attention was focused on the Embittered Savages. His Goldbiter Rats gave him an unparalleled advantage in terms of gathering information. He was able to gain the knowledge he wanted from the frontlines rather swiftly.
"The Embittered Savages have occupied the Moon God Sect's former grounds?" Jiang Chen was a bit surprised upon hearing the news. So the Embittered Savages were maintaining their composure!
They hadn't rushed headlong into enemy territory after hearing about the Moon God Sect's retreat. Instead, they'd opted for a more reliable approach in occupying the sect's former grounds first.
From Jiang Chen's point of view, the Embittered Savages were supposed to be descended from ancient savages. They were known for their single-track minded brutality, not strategic thinking! But it seemed he'd underestimated the tribe.
He recalled his battle in the northwestern wastes and remembered very clearly the defensiveness of the bodyguards around the prince. He'd made several attempts at assassinating the prince, but there'd been no opportunities to do so.
This detail revealed that these savage tribesmen were no mere brutes. Alas, Jiang Chen rather preferred to deal with mindless people. He found a measured, steady Embittered Savage Tribe much more annoying.
"Old Gold, tell your descendants to stay safe. The observations must continue. Any tiny bit of unrest in the human domain must be reported as quickly as possible."
The Goldbiter Rats' high reproductive abilities enabled scouts to be scattered all over the human domain. It was the greatest advantage that Jiang Chen presently had available to him. With the Rats as his lookouts, he could find out any changes anywhere and plan accordingly.
In actuality, Jiang Chen had hinted to the Moon God Sect to abandon its home for a secondary purpose. He hadn't intended to throw the sect to the wolves, but to show weakness to the enemy. Sadly, the Embittered Savages hadn't fallen for the ruse.
If Gunuo Village's vanguard had become drunk on pride at the Moon God Sect's perceived weakness and proceeded blindly, Jiang Chen would've chosen to set an ambush at an appropriate place.
It couldn't be helped. Gunuo Village had chosen to take the safe route by taking over the Moon God Sect's grounds. They were digging in for the long haul. This was significantly more troublesome than the alternative.
"Never mind that. It'll take quite a while for the Embittered Savages to get to Veluriyam. I'm already advanced emperor realm, which means I qualify for the third palace of heritage. When in the second palace, Venerated Skysoarer told me that this was the minimum level of cultivation to stand a chance. Now I'm here, there should be no problem."
This was something that had been on Jiang Chen's mind for a while now. Given the current circumstances, he needed to head into the third palace to procure more assets as soon as possible.
Each of the Six Palaces of Heritage was superior to its predecessor. These palaces were the ultimate heritage of Veluriyam Pagoda. Venerated Skysoarer had also told him that the palaces were sorted into pairs of the same rank.
The first two palaces didn't have much of a difference between them, but there was a much bigger one between the second and third. It was quite possible for an incredible opportunity to be contained in the third palace that would be unthought of in the second.
The fourth palace though, was probably similar to the third. But the fifth would naturally be a rank higher than both. Jiang Chen was ready to dive into the third palace. He was going to brave its depths!
Having settled on this idea, he summoned forth the stone golem brothers, the Vermilion Bird, and a few great emperors closest to him.
"My friends, I have a martial dao opportunity before me that demands a few days in closed door cultivation. It'll take half a month if I'm lucky, and three to five months if not. No matter what happens in the outside world during this time, Veluriyam should ignore it and defend its own gates.
"If the Embittered Savages come, use your collective wits to delay them. There's no need to rush into battle. Everything can wait until I come out of cultivation."
How fast Jiang Chen grew would decide Veluriyam's and even the human domain's fate. Everyone was excited to hear about his breakthroughs in martial dao comprehension. The public had borne witness to the speed at which his skills had increased. Though the situation right now was less than ideal, there was still great interest in Jiang Chen's recent developments.
"Young lord, you can't neglect your martial dao growth no matter what happens. Don't worry, the Embittered Savages aren't invincible. Even if they reach our gates, we will have ways to fight them."
"We will obey your commands and take things slow and steady."
"Jiang Chen, I don't respect that many humans, but you are one of them," the Vermilion Bird declared. "Don't worry, I promise that the Embittered Savages will not be allowed to infringe upon Veluriyam territory even if you are in seclusion. I was able to keep my oath to the Primosanct Sect and I will do the same for you. As long as I am here, those savages won't set a foot on Veluriyam soil. I did not once bow to the ferocious demon race despite their strength. What can these worthless savages amount to? Go and cultivate in peace."
Though the Vermilion Bird was proud, it still perceived humans as a race that had led the demon-sealing war of yore. What was an Embittered Savage Tribe worth?
They appeared quite violent, but they had been most insignificant in the ancient demon-sealing war. The demons hadn't even visited their ancestral lands because of how sparse they'd had been. Frankly, the bird didn't care for such a lackluster race.
"Don't worry, Savior." Big Stone thumped his chest. "We brothers don't care whether they are embittered or happy savages. We're better at fighting than anybody."
Jiang Chen was reassured by the high morale of the defenders.
"Very well!" He grinned. "I haven't anything to worry about given your concerted efforts."
After making the necessary arrangements, he found a secret room and activated the spacetime seal. A passage opened, sweeping him into the third palace of heritage.
This was his second time here.
The last time he was here, both arrival and departure had been a thoroughly hasty affair. He had no impression of what had gone on here, and only remembered the guardian to be a senior with a lazier-than-usual voice.
Truthfully, it hadn't been long since then. The only events that had taken place in between were the battle with the Order and the trip to the northwestern wastes. Nevertheless, he felt an indescribable pressure upon re-entry.
He vaguely remembered the guardian to be mildly displeased about being used as a shortcut. It seemed to be a personal affront. Though Jiang Chen had been let through in the end, he was worried he had left a bad impression.
When his footsteps resounded upon the palace's floor, the scenery before him evoked a sense of familiarity. He'd taken note of a few things on his first trip, despite the relative haste.
At the time, the guardian of the third palace had said he would consider increasing the difficulty.
Jiang Chen wasn't scared of a harder challenge. The only concern he might have had was about the guardian's potentially peculiar nature. Someone really mean could intentionally nitpick and thus delay his progress.
Because war was waging outside, he wouldn't be at peace even if shut in in the third palace.
"Ah, it's fine. Let's just deal with problems as they arise. I've seen and weathered a lot in my previous million years of life. What can he possibly do to nitpick me with?" This thought calmed Jiang Chen down a great deal, dispelling his anxiety.
"Little kid, are you sure you're not playing a joke on me?" The languid voice sounded at Jiang Chen's ear, colored with a hint of displeasure.
Jiang Chen steeled himself. Though the voice sounded lazy, there was also a sense of authority imbued within. From the aura it contained, he could observe that this guardian of the third palace was higher in cultivation than Master P'eng and Venerated Skysoarer.
Jiang Chen offered a cupped fist salute. "Senior, I had urgent business when I came by last time. Now that the problem has been resolved, I came to apologize straight away."
"Hmph. Your words are sweet enough kid, but I don't see any contrition from you any more. You were a bit fidgety when you just entered, weren't you?" It was as if the voice could read Jiang Chen's mind. It perceived his thoughts with only the smallest of details.
Jiang Chen was taken aback, then embarrassed. He'd been highly uneasy about what would happen here. But he calmed down after thinking things through. The keenness of the guardian of the third palace was remarkable.
"Senior, I'm sure you wouldn't want the person to get here to be a spineless coward or a trembling sheep, no?" Without emotional baggage, Jiang Chen became a lot more decisive and forthright.
The six palaces of heritage were a place to test the entrants' talent and poise. It was highly improbable that the master of the Veluriyam Pagoda would have invited anyone narrow-minded to become a guardian for his palaces.
At least, that was what Jiang Chen personally believed. He was willing to stake his bets that this was the case.
The voice fell silent for a moment, taking some time to judge the daring youth. It had been countless years since the Pagoda's construction, but very few had managed to make it to the third palace of heritage. Moreover, someone audacious enough to use the third palace as a shortcut like this youth was a first!
Moreover, the kid didn't seem at all remorseful about his actions. He had no guilt whatsoever for his disrespectful actions last time!
There was something to this kid!
However, as the third guardian of the palace, he wasn't going to elevate or castigate someone solely for this small detail.