Jiang Chen’s seriousness led Su Huanzhen to sober up as well. “What is it? Go ahead and ask, young lord.”
“I want to know if there are any suspicious ancient formations or sites within your sect’s territory.” Jiang Chen’s eyes glittered as he gazed intently at Su Huanzhen.
The older woman pondered a moment. “Our lands are in the southeast and weren’t a core area to Divine Abyss in ancient times. Still, there are a few ancient sites scattered around. The sect’s past generations have investigated them to a degree, but no secret realms exist so far as we can tell. Obviously, no treasure was to be found either.”
“Can you take me to see them, Sect Head Su?” Jiang Chen looked extremely keen.
He hadn’t come to brave any secret realms or excavate any treasure. He wanted to look for a secret formation leading to Myriad Abyss Island. A formation like that was sure to exist only in a mysterious ancient site. Normal people wouldn’t be able to even comprehend what they were seeing.
Intelligence told him that there weren’t many points of travel between the island and the human domain. The information Huang’er had left behind and bits he’d obtained from coerced questioning were both incomplete. Nevertheless, he’d gleaned a good guess from what he knew. The Celestial Cicada Court’s lands was likely one of the most important bridges between the two.
Ancient sites often held passages for dimensional transportation. Such a passage wouldn’t necessarily take him all the way to the island, but he could probably reach some kind of relay point instead, from where he would be able to find the coordinates with which to head to Myriad Abyss.
Though island was technically in the same plane as Divine Abyss, it was just in a separate pocket from the main continent. Without the correct coordinates, it was essentially impossible to reach.
Though Jiang Chen didn’t explicitly declare why he was looking into these ancient sites, Su Huanzhen trusted Jiang Chen enough not to press him. “Shall we go now?”
“As soon as possible.” Jiang Chen was quite forward.
Su Huanzhen nodded receptively. “Alright. I know three suspicious sites like what you’ve described. Let’s go check them out one by one.”
She could see how important this was to the young lord. Jiang Chen’s manifold gifts had been a bit embarrassing for her to receive, which fueled her helpfulness in this situation.
She firmly believed that he had only come for altruistic purposes. Moreover, the Court had already excavated said sites countless times without return before. There was nothing she was loathe to give up about them, nor was she going to be forbidding about Jiang Chen’s own investigation.
She would have considered things a bit longer if another sect had made the request. But there was nothing to consider in Jiang Chen’s case. Only two men in the world warranted such treatment, and it was a coincidence that both were rulers of Veluriyam Capital.
The first site wasn’t far from the sect’s headquarters, so the two arrived very quickly.
“This is one of the sites, young lord. I’ve studied this place often, but I haven’t found anything out of the ordinary here.” Su Huanzhen led Jiang Chen into the ruins.
Jiang Chen walked around the place for a bit before shaking his head disappointedly. “This place is what’s left of an ancient battlefield. There is clear evidence of a large-scale brutal conflict here, with a formation to reflect that fact. However, nothing useful remains to us.”
A single loop and several scans was enough for him to form his judgment.
Su Huanzhen was unsurprised. “The sect’s past generations came to the same conclusion. It seems that we are in agreement, young lord Jiang Chen.”
The duo flew toward the next site. The second was more out of the way, situated in a valley.
“Young lord Jiang Chen, this site is rather more confounding. The Celestial Cicada Court comes here often to research it, but we can’t make heads or tails of it.” Su Huanzhen clearly put more importance upon this site.
Jiang Chen nodded, beginning his own sweep of the ruins. There wasn’t nearly as much of a mess here; everything was comparatively more secluded. He strode back and forth, expanding his consciousness fully outward to pick up any stray details. Unfortunately, there seemed to be no connection here to Myriad Abyss Island.
“Sect Head Su, I believe an ancient expert once dwelt in this place. There are many things to be found here, but it’s not possible to see that from the surface. There’s a well-hidden formation around this place that creates an extrdimensional pocket. If you weren’t familiar with it, you wouldn’t know that there was far more to this place than met the eye.”
Su Huanzhen was elated. “Are you saying that this is an ancient secret realm?”
“Very likely so,” Jiang Chen nodded.
The older woman’s eyes widened at the discovery. This had simply come too sudden.
“Do you understand this dimensional formation’s secrets?” Su Huanzhen’s clear eyes looked at Jiang Chen expectantly.
“A little bit.” He smiled.
“Then…” Su Huanzhen was interrupted by Veluriyam’s young lord.
“Sect Head Su, I don’t have time to open this secret realm for you right now. However, there is information related to dimensional principles in the books I gave you. In addition to that, I will draw out a blueprint of the principles behind this realm operates for your reference. Remember: any secret realm is dangerous in its own right. Even if I were to explore this place personally, I would observe ten steps for any one I took.”
Su Huanzhen was somewhat downcast. “I feel uncertain without your participation, young lord.”
“Your words are weightier than I can bear,” laughed Jiang Chen.
Without delay, he began to analyze the formation, casually sketching down its lines in the process.
Su Huanzhen felt rather apologetic when she saw Jiang Chen’s earnest work. It wasn’t easy for the young man to draw out every line and trail he perceived.
He handed the schematic to Su Huanzhen. “Here’s everything I can see, Sect Head Su. If you are going to venture into this formation, you must remember exercise every precaution. Don’t get in too deep all at once. Otherwise, you might be trapped and never get out again.”
Taking the schematic in her hands, Su Huanzhen uttered a word of sincere thanks. “I don’t know how many times this is now, young lord, but the Celestial Cicada Court owes you a great favor.”
“You are treating me like an outsider, Sect Head,” Jiang Chen laughed. “If you have time, let’s go to the third set of ruins. I hope we can find what I’m looking for there.”
Su Huanzhen nodded. “Alright.”
The duo set off again for the third site. They arrived very quickly thanks to their shared swiftness.
These ruins were set by a riverside. Green mountains stretched off into the distance on both banks, the towering scenery a wonder to behold.
“Young lord, these ruins are set in the nicest place out of the three.”
Jiang Chen stood by the rushing river, taking in the mountains’ inspiring presences. He felt his heart sing in the presence of their greatness.
“Excuse me a moment, Sect Head. Let me delve into things here a little.” The youth called upon his Cicada’s Wings as he said this, taking the sky.
These ruins were well-hidden between the sheer cliffs of a mountain range.
He opened his consciousness up entirely in an effort to probe the environment more closely. He didn’t know why, but the first impression he got was that this place was far more likely than the previous two.
Though it was remote, he could clearly feel strange turbulence coursing through the air. These chaotic winds were light enough to be usually imperceptible. Normal people would have thought them to be part of the wind created by the ambient geography.
It was normal for things to be windier by a river. But Jiang Chen was a man with a wealth of experience. He knew the difference between turbulence and regular wind.
The most important distinction between them was that turbulence had no direction or rule whatsoever. They embodied anarchy to the fullest degree.
He sought after the feel of these chaotic currents, following the entire way. The more he proceeded, the more he furrowed his brow.
His premonitions were intensifying as he walked. This place was likely an outpost for Myriad Abyss Island into the human domain. Though there was no man-made aura remaining at present. Nevertheless, Jiang Chen’s sharp senses picked up the otherness of this place.
“Did you find something, young lord?” Su Huanzhen asked candidly when Jiang Chen returned to shore.
“Sect Head Su,” Jiang Chen replied gravely, “I must come clean with you about something. Perhaps this will have a significant effect on the Celestial Cicada Court.”
“Oh? What is it?” It was obvious to Su Huanzhen that there was an important matter at hand.
“It’s very likely for this place to be an outpost from Myriad Abyss Island into the human domain. If the inhabitants of that place is planning a large-scale intrusion one day, your Court will be forced to bear the brunt of their assault.”
The news struck Su Huanzhen like a bolt from the blue.
“What? Myriad Abyss Island?” The sect head paled. These three words were still quite scary to her.
“Yes.” Jiang Chen saw no reason to lie. “The trouble with the Order of Wind and Cloud last time… its supreme lord, Xiahou Jing, was someone from Myriad Abyss Island. An average genius from a middling house was enough to send an earthquake through the human domain. If Myriad Abyss Island comes in force, I’m worried that…”
He wasn’t willing to continue with the hypothetical, especially because of Su Huanzhen’s rapidly whitening visage.
“Don’t worry too much,” he comforted. “Myriad Abyss Island has a rule forbidding its scions to return to the human domain for frivolous reasons. You needn’t worry about a large-scale invasion from there before this rule is removed.”