“Master… was that… was that really a legendary true dragon?” Hua Ming’s mouth was dry. His brain was frying just trying to process all this information. He’d lived in Oriole Valley all his life and had never seen anything remotely grand. Seeing a dragon was an incredibly eye-opening experience.
“Yes,” Jiang Chen smiled faintly.
Hua Ming’s eyes opened wide. He was shaken down to his core. “I thought… true dragons were sacred creatures that only showed up… in stories?” he swallowed. “Will the dragon become a divine spirit one day?”
“Sure,” Jiang Chen agreed readily.
Thought was driven out of the boy’s mind. He was beginning to get the feeling why his master had said he didn’t care much about the Ten Divine Nations. If a true dragon served his master, what did that mean for the latter’s origins?
Is there something even greater than the Ten Divine Nations? Hua Ming felt his little mind overloaded with realization. He couldn’t say a single word for the longest time.
“That’s enough of that, I think. Wait here a bit. I think our draconic friend is about to break through, so he’ll need some time.”
Jiang Chen could see that Long Xiaoxuan’s cultivation couldn’t be held back any more. The dragon had sensed the law of heaven and was about to ascend to empyrean realm.
This was a pretty desolate area. Though it was somewhat risky to break through here, it was far better than a crowded place like Oriole Valley.
Jiang Chen summoned the Goldbiter Rats, instructing them to set up defenses with a radius of three hundred miles. Any suspicious movements was to be reported on ahead of time.
A true dragon’s breakthrough to empyrean realm would cause quite a commotion. Jiang Chen needed to make some preparations for it. Fortunately, Long Xiaoxuan didn’t need near as much time as a human would; the process was hardly as complicated. This was one of the advantages to the race.
There were no humans around for about four thousand miles. Thus, Long Xiaoxuan’s breakthrough was reasonably smooth. Draconic aura blasted into the heavens in the last moments of the process, triggering natural phenomena. Thankfully, not many neighbors were disturbed.
When those further away arrived at the scene, Jiang Chen and his entourage had already long since disappeared.
The Astral White Tiger was stimulated by Long Xiaoxuan’s breakthrough. Jiang Chen could detect an intensification of its fighting spirit. A healthy rivalry was to be encouraged. When dragon and tiger competed against each other for accomplishment, both would grow up more quickly to become his strongest helpers.
Admittedly, their bloodlines played an intrinsic part in their rampant growth. He and Long Xiaoxuan were cultivating at essentially the same speed. He was already cultivating extremely quickly, but Long Xiaoxuan had surpassed him into entering empyrean realm first, on merit of his bloodline alone.
“Ah, divine spirit creatures are all incredible monsters. Human geniuses really can’t match them!” But Jiang Chen didn’t think any less of himself. He knew the advantages and disadvantages of different races. There was no point in envying the divine beasts’ natural talents.
Two hours or so after their departure, various local experts gathered at the spot of the disturbance. The extraordinary commotion that Long Xiaoxuan had caused was enough to draw out all the secluded experts around.
A true dragon’s breakthrough was shocking indeed. The draconic aura hadn’t yet entirely dissipated even after two hours.
“What kind of spirit creature caused this?”
“The change in heaven and earth prior was majestic. It didn't seem ordinary at all. Perhaps a sacred beast was breaking through here?”
“Why would one live in the wilderness?”
“Hard to say. Perhaps it was inspired by something it saw?”
“This aura is ancient. It’s doubtless a primordial bloodline – possibly even a divine creature’s!”
“Why do I feel like the aura is draconic? The Bluesmoke Isles has never had true dragons before, but we’ve had its descendants and wyverns. The aura here is similar, but stronger!”
“A true dragon? That couldn’t possibly be the case. Since when has Bluesmoke had anything like that? Absolutely impossible!”
“Myriad Abyss Island has no stories about any dragons.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. There have certainly been legends about true dragons in the history of Myriad Abyss.”
“True dragons don’t just pop up anywhere so easily, you know! One that appears signifies the dawn of a new, greater era!”
“The endless seas of Myriad Abyss Island must contain true dragons somewhere. Still, the development of a dragon takes a very long time. Who knows when they will appear?”
“Perhaps the seas has witnessed a new dragon’s birth? And it happened to pass by here?”
“The aura isn’t very strong for a true dragon. It must be a young one.” The experts discussed the possibilities among themselves.
When ‘young one’ was mentioned, everyone’s thoughts accelerated. A young dragon evoked the ambitions of every listener.
“A true dragon and a young one… a dragon that hasn’t reached adulthood yet. If someone manages to tame it, that would be such an enormous gain! A true dragon is worth far more than a single territory or collection of isles! At the peak of its strength, a true dragon can easily crush an entire nation! A single motion would be enough to cut down a swathe of empyrean experts…”
All of the experts found their faces contorting in strange ways.
“Friends, let’s not announce the news of this young dragon, hmm? We’ll keep this information to ourselves.”
“That’s right, we can’t. If we do, the Bluesmoke Isles won’t know another day of peace.”
All of the cultivators had their own ambitions. They didn't want news about a dragon to get out. If stronger experts got wind of it, their plan to capture it would be done for.
“We have about forty of us here. Let us agree to swear a stern oath not to reveal this information to outsiders. The young dragon won’t have gotten very far. We’ll see who gets his hands on it through his own skill, eh?”
“Very good. It’s settled, then!”
“That’s the way it should be. Anyone who leaks the information will be hunted down by the rest of us!” These experts swore oaths, then indulged in their daydreams.
Jiang Chen was already several thousand miles by now, headed for Miracle City. There were more than a hundred thousand miles between here and there, so the trek wasn’t easy.
Now that Long Xiaoxuan had hidden himself, there wasn’t a trace of his draconic presence whatsoever. The delusional cultivators back there would have no luck whatsoever trying to catch their mark.
Jiang Chen didn't rush along. Whenever he encountered a reasonably sizable city, he went inside to experience the local culture and gather information.
There was something he didn’t know how to react to though. Every city he passed by had a rather conspicuous wanted poster issued by Polylore. It was just as Hua Ming had said: the bounty had been increased. Ten million had doubled to twenty.
Jiang Chen found it rather funny, honestly. The more Polylore increased the bounty and raised a bigger fuss, the more stinging their self-inflicted shame was. What if the culprits were never caught? Were they going to infinitely increase the bounty then?
He was a bit worried on Su Hong’s behalf though. He wasn’t worried about being hunted, but he couldn’t say the same for the other youth.
Jiang Chen had never shown his true face in Winterdraw. No one was going to draw a connection between the bounty and himself. As long as he never assumed the identity he had used back there, Polylore would never get their hands on him – unless he revealed himself voluntarily.
Hua Ming found the bounty quite amazing. “Master, just how strong are these two? Polylore has put a lot of stones for their heads, you know? Do you think you can catch them, master? You’re so strong ‘n all…”
“I’m not interested,” Jiang Chen laughed. “Twenty million sky spirit stones isn’t worth my time.”
He looked like a complete outsider as he said this. In fact, he almost believed himself that the persons wanted by the bounty didn't include him.
Hua Ming thought for a moment, then agreed. His master was far too loaded to be attracted by just twenty million sky spirit stones. The boy had already been taught Boulder’s Heart. If he couldn’t stay cool in the face of just twenty million, his master might think lowly of him…
Polylore Divine Nation’s bounty request had spread throughout the millions of miles that composed of the whole of Myriad Abyss Island in only a few months.
Information and rumor about it was everywhere in the Ten Divine Nations. The gaffe that Polylore had committed couldn’t be kept back any more. All ten nations knew what had happened in Winterdraw now.
Polylore Divine Nation suffered a twofold failure. In particular, the three houses became the butt of everyone else’s jokes.
Winterdraw Island and the Rejuvenation Isles were a terrible backdrop to the humiliation. Rumor had it that the three houses returned to vent their fury upon the Rejuvenation Isles. Its imperial family struggled a great deal to offer compensation and abate the onslaught against them.
Winterdraw Island had become practically pointless. All its exiles and prisoners had fled, aside from the old, infirm, and ill.
Though most proceeded to die in the surrounding seas as fish food, its ignoble exit from history was an undeniable fact. The island had lost all the formations and restrictions around it. There was no value in a place like that any more.
The Eternal Divine Nation resided on a certain mysterious and grand continent in the midst of an endless sea. The landmass was at least ten times as large as the Bluesmoke Isles. In fact, it was one of the largest in Myriad Abyss Island. It contained countless great sects and houses. Of course, an even stronger imperial authority reigned above all of those.
Once a first-rate house here, House Yan was experiencing a recent decline for a mixture of reasons. Many of their peers had surpassed them. Right now, Huang’er resided deep within House Yan’s manor.