After some consideration, Jiang Chen felt it was best to put off the Six Palaces of Heritage for now. He would think about returning after things settled down here. Whether his spacetime seal would even work here was a very good question as well. Was return to the Six Palaces even possible from here?
There was every reason for him not to want to test this at present, since the spacetime seal couldn’t bring anyone else along. If he wanted to forcibly take Huang’er and Ling Bi’er along for the ride, the six palaces would reject them by killing them outright.
This was why he’d had to separate the stone golems’ consciousnesses and bodies when bringing them back to Veluriyam. This could only be accomplished while they were inanimate.
Unfortunately, the secret method was effective only on stone golems. Humans couldn’t try the same trick.
If he couldn’t bring Huang’er and Ling Bi’er along, there was no point in even trying, even if the spacetime seal would work.
Going back was easy enough, but coming here again would be significantly harder. Where would the transportation formation send him next time?
Would it deliver him to Winterdraw again? That place was unbelievably distant from Eternal Divine Nation.
More importantly, Winterdraw was in the Rejuvenation Isles territory. Given the magnitude and seriousness of recent events there, it might be under heavy guard. He didn’t have the energy or time to spare to find out more about these possibilities.
After breaking through to empyrean realm, Jiang Chen valued every additional moment upon the banks of the Eternal River.
This was the most sacred area within the Eternal Sacred Land. The atmosphere here was quite enigmatic. Despite Jiang Chen’s wealth of past experiences, he liked the place very much.
The Eternal River’s inscrutability was in constant flux. Each moment contained a new conundrum and illusion, a new inspiring idea. He greedily spent all the rest of his time in cultivation.
Rising to empyrean realm polished all of his martial dao methods and techniques impeccably. The Bewitching Lotus of Ice and Fire evolved with each step Jiang Chen took. Its vigor and resilience had improved noticeably this time as well.
More remarkably, its bewitching nature had been drastically enhanced after his breakthrough. Each stalk of the lotus could replicate a different form as desired.
As a plant valuable even in the heavenly planes, the lotus had an amazing preternatural advantage. Moreover, its own consciousness had seemingly awakened after his empyrean ascension.
Communication between man and plant was becoming increasingly perfect.
Jiang Chen liked this feeling a great deal. His newfound finesse of control allowed him to feel like a duck in water.
“Empyrean realm is something special, alright. Getting here means I’m on the path to the heavenly planes. It’s a long journey, but I’m making steady progress.”
He relished all the changes he could feel, both internal and external. He was filled with satisfaction and remained intensely curious about the seal in his consciousness.
The nine-droplet chain appeared even more active now. Each water drop was very plump. Though they varied in look and style, all seemed to contain infinite mystery.
Jiang Chen observed the seal for a time via his consciousness. The droplets glittered like nine flawless stars, swelling with sublimity. They were beautiful enough to induce visions.
“What mystery is this seal hiding, really?” He sat cross-legged, attempting to communicate with it. There was a bit of uncertainty and unease in his heart, overshadowed entirely by interest and apprehension.
He had a feeling that the seal was getting closer and closer to being unlocked. The connection between it and his fate across both lives was pre-eminent. But how were they precisely connected? How did all of this come about in the first place?
He desperately wanted to find the answer straightaway, but didn’t dare act rashly. The seal wouldn’t appear in his consciousness for no reason. If his father had left it there, he only needed to feel it out slowly and naturally. He had a few concerns about frenzied excavation.
He had no idea what had happened to his father after the calamity that had stricken the heavenly planes. Where was he now?
He also wasn’t sure if the seal was some sort of clue that had left behind. If it were, would his premature activation alert his father’s old enemies?
Though Jiang Chen had been well-loved in his previous life, he knew that he had also been a burden. His father had given everything and more for his sake, even his own fortunes to refine the Sun Moon Pill. Perhaps the calamity of the heavenly planes had been partially the result of that.
But before he could find any proof of this, all of this remained speculation.
He was sure of one thing, though. The seal contained tremendous energy that Divine Abyss Continent could not possibly produce. The only explanation was that it stemmed from his previous life.
Jiang Chen tried to make cautious contact with the chain seal using his consciousness, attempting to induce a response. Alas, the chain seal absorbed his message without any response. But he wasn’t discouraged by this.
“Maybe contacting the chain seal needs some luck. I’m trying too hard right now. I have a feeling that it can unlock anytime. It’s quite likely that if the energy within is unleashed, it can destroy the entirety of Divine Abyss.”
If the seal really was related to his previous father and contained his great will and power, then devastating Divine Abyss Continent was no empty claim.
The power and ability of a celestial emperor was overpowering to Divine Abyss’s cultivators. Though the Eternal Sacred Land’s venerated forefather was a divine expert, there was an excess of both empyrean cultivators and divine spirits in the heavenly planes.
No divine, weak or strong, dared boast before the celestial emperors. The weaker cultivators didn’t even have a right to worship the latter.
Jiang Chen attempted to make contact with seal several times, but his efforts proved fruitless.
“Never mind. After breaking through to empyrean realm, my seal has become only more active. Maybe the only thing I’m missing is the right opportunity. I don’t need to strain myself.” The young man’s mindset was very positive after recognizing that fact.
The half-year period was almost up.
During this time, Jiang Chen had comprehended the heavenly dao, received and refined his empyrean decree, and solidified his claim to the empyrean realm. His battle strength had received a correspondingly large increase.
If the current him were to duel with Gan Ning once more, he would easily crush his opponent’s strength from that day.
Of course, Gan Ning surely hadn’t shown all his cards either. Both parties had held back somewhat. However, he trusted that he could now take on just about any genius in Myriad Abyss Island. The fabled Xiahou Zong included, of course.
“That competition between the Eternal Sacred Land’s geniuses is only a few more months away. I have to bolster and improve my cultivation as much as I humanely can. Xiahou Zong isn’t some superhuman monster, but the fact he’s closed his doors to cultivate for so long means that he is at least a mid empyrean expert. Plus, he has to have some kind of additional edge to have held on to the title of ‘number one genius’ here in Eternal Divine Nation for so long.”
His current circumstances meant that Jiang Chen could no longer ignore Xiahou Zong entirely. Their meeting was only a matter of time. Enmity would undoubtedly peak when they came face-to-face.
Jiang Chen didn’t want to lose in presence to his mortal enemy. He thirsted for any knowledge at all about Xiahou Zong. If the latter desired to attain greatness in the wider world, he wouldn’t necessarily bring his full strength to bear in the national competition.
The grander competition between all Ten Divine Nations’ geniuses in three years was the loftiest stage. Whoever was the best and most eye-catching there would decide the state of martial dao affairs for the next few centuries. It was impossible to hide one’s skills in those circumstances.
Regardless of whether Xiahou Zong would use all his strength in the more impending competition, Jiang Chen needed to prepare with the utmost seriousness.
What if Xiahou Zong was to participate without hiding his ability?
It was difficult for him to guess his enemy’s intentions. Since that was the case, he could only work on making himself stronger.
The six months concluded not long thereafter, and Jiang Chen could no longer stay once his time was up.
He was a bit reluctant to leave as he walked away from the riverbank. Ziju Min had awaited him for a while outside, and brightened when he saw the young man appear.
“Shao Yuan, marvelous phenomena occurred a while back near the bank of the Eternal River. Were you breaking through then?” The senior’s eyes were filled with astonishment.
Jiang Chen didn’t know how to respond. He had paid attention only to his own cultivation at the time, not his surroundings. What was he supposed to say?