Jiang Chen was hardly exaggerating.
However, the others thought he wanted to hog something precious. It was understandable, since it wasn’t reasonable to expect the valuable pill recipe to be shared for free.
No one in attendance was nearly so naïve. They’d made the request in order to guilt Jiang Chen into agreeing to what came next.
“Young Shao Yuan, we all know that the Taiyi Skymender Pill is your exclusive secret. We’re not going to push you for it. However, can we ask you to visit when convenient to refine the pill for us? We’re be happy to pay whatever fee you ask, as long as it’s not too outrageous!”
This was what most factions really wanted.
They had Taiyi Dragonscale Fruits, but no idea how to turn them into pills. If Shao Yuan could do that for them, their objective of getting more pills would still be accomplished in the end.
Such a service was common in the pill dao world. Obviously, it was very lucrative for the master doing the refining. Most didn't refuse these requests unless they were already of paramount importance in their own factions.
There was no need to get paid if one had a bevy of resources at beck and call. Jiang Chen wasn’t quite at that point yet. This proposal was attractive indeed. The monetary aspect was actually secondary. Rendering this service would allow him to expand his circle of connections to the entirety of the Ten Divine Nations. Knowing people in the high places would be advantageous to his future plans.
In the short term, they would be useful in his bid for Huang’er. In the long term, they could help him find clues about the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement. Not having enough friends made his reach quite limited in Myriad Abyss when it came to anything.
Therefore, he didn't outright refuse the request.
“I’m not an unreasonable person,” he smiled. “I can understand everyone’s strong feelings on the matter. If I happen to have time to travel Myriad Abyss and pass by your locale, I won’t disappoint you.”
This promise was made without the approval of the three primes, who could scarcely make decisions on the young man’s behalf anymore considering his strength and achievement.
They were none too pleased about it, but they weren’t in a position to arbitrarily reprimand a genius of this caliber. It was better for them to take good care of their talent. What if he flew off elsewhere one day?
All nine of the other divine nations would be overjoyed to have him—even Flora Divine Nation.
Shi Xuan was remarkable, but Shao Yuan was clearly superior. Recognition of this fact cleared away the three primes’ unhappiness.
The others’ impression of Jiang Chen was much improved by his acquiescence. The young man wasn’t so callous after all!
It seemed that his provocations and insults of the Flora Sacred Land and Shi Xuan had been entirely due to the enmity between Flora and Eternal, and not his own abrasive personality.
“You’re not just saying nice things to dismiss us, are you, young friend?” someone joked.
“That’s right, we’re definitely looking forward to your visit.”
Jiang Chen smiled. “My promises are set in stone. I won’t shirk any chances that do arise, you have my word.”
There was no need to doubt his sincerity after this second round of affirmation.
The Skymender Festival proceeded in a very relaxed atmosphere. Because of his Taiyi Skymender Pill, Jiang Chen inadvertently became the highlight of the festival.
In pill dao discussions, he often made astonishingly insightful comments and conversed easily with the other pill dao giants as equals. There was no hint of any shyness or uncomfortability that a first-timer would exhibit. He was a veritable veteran.
Even Ziju Min found this rather surprising. Some geniuses were born for momentous occasions; Shao Yuan was undoubtedly one of them.
Over ninety percent of the pill dao giants of Myriad Abyss were in attendance today. He himself would have trouble holding a conversation with some of them, since they were on an entirely different level far above him.
And yet, Shao Yuan could answer them effortlessly. His knowledge in pill dao appeared almost commensurate with these learned masters.
Jiang Chen’s exceptional performance spared Ziju Min a great deal of embarrassment. His own pill dao knowledge wasn’t quite sufficient to hold his own among his more distinguished peers.
When the festival was almost at its conclusion, the Eternal Sacred Land ‘accidentally’ released another piece of inside news.
Eternal was researching a ‘Crowning Empyrean Pill’ behind the scenes. Reportedly, it was a pill that enabled empyrean experts to ascend a level unconditionally!
There was widespread uproar at this explosive announcement. Many attendees’ waning interest was piqued once more with renewed vigor as they asked excitedly after the pill.
“Elder Ziju, is the Crowning Empyrean Pill in or past the theoretical stage?”
“Isn’t it too preposterous to give a free level to an empyrean cultivator? Elder Ziju, has the Eternal Sacred Land discovered some sort of primordial secret realm?”
Ziju Min smiled. “To tell you the truth, it’s entirely unrelated to any secret realm. The pill is definitely past the theoretical stage though, and it might very well come out into the open one day soon.”
The Crowning Empyrean Pill had already been realized, though only a few of the most important executives knew of of this. The Eternal Sacred Land had no intention to release the actual pill at present.
The Taiyi Skymender Pill was in the limelight now, and the Crowning Empyrean Pill would only distract from its fellow. Only after the enthusiasm faded away from the first could the second be pushed out. Eternal wanted to strategically maximize its influence.
Ziju Min’s words caused several of the oldest pill dao masters to shift in their seats. They knew better than anyone that Myriad Abyss was a blank slate when it came to pills of that variety. The pill dao industry would be turned upside down by the appearance of this new pill.
Perhaps the Flora Sacred Land’s title of being foremost in pill dao would be overtaken in only a few years!
The pill dao giants from the divine nations had rather mixed feelings about all of this. They were filled with curiosity and doubt as they instinctively thought that the Eternal Sacred Land was bluffing in order to create further momentum for itself. However, Ziju Min’s down-to-earth manner made the bluff significantly more believable.
The confidently assured smile on Shao Yuan’s face when they turned to him though…
“Could the Crowning Empyrean Pill be real as well? Is it once again related to Shao Yuan?”
The prospect sent shockwaves through everyone’s hearts.
If it was real, the Crowning Empyrean Pill would be far more meaningful than the Taiyi Skymender Pill. Which pill was superior couldn't be strictly said, but common sense said that the former was better and at a higher level.
Could such a pill exist?
Though the festival was about to end soon, the guests no longer wished to leave. Many were finding excuses to stay a few days longer in the Eternal Sacred Land. Their goal was clear: they wanted to find out more about the new pill.
The most direct way to do so was to visit Shao Yuan. Already, people plotted how to meet the young genius in private. Jiang Chen had become a hotcake in the public eye. Because of his youth, it was possible to use him as a point of attack.
Cup in hand, Ziju Min stood up. “Fellow daoists,” he boomed, “thank you for coming to the Skymender Festival. Please excuse any dissatisfaction caused by our hasty preparations. My speech signifies the conclusion of the festival, but before that, there is something else that I would like to ask the first prime to announce.”
Everyone was stunned once more. They’d become most sensitive to anything the Eternal Sacred Land said. The Crowning Empyrean Pill had been startling enough.
What other surprise was in store?
“The announcement has to do with Shao Yuan.” Ziju Min smiled serenely as he looked at the young man.
Jiang Chen returned the smile, realizing what the senior was getting at.
Ziju Min glanced towards the first prime in turn.
The smile upon the first prime’s face was very placid. She gazed upon Jiang Chen with great approval, unwilling to let go of the prized asset of a youth before her.
“This was supposed to have been a private matter, but we feel it is very important to seal the good news in stone.” The woman glanced in House Yan’s direction with good humor.
The patriarch felt rather uncomfortable at being the temporary center of attention. Why had House Yan become the focus?
“Patriarch Yan, the announcement relates to your house as well.”
The patriarch blinked. “First Prime, I am too foolish to understand. Please enlighten me.”
“Yes, we simply must have your support in this as well. Young Shao Yuan stayed with House Yan for a time, yes? He has some lingering affection for your house still, especially toward a certain daughter of yours. If you would be so kind to give her hand?”
House Yan’s patriarch colored immediately. His heart started racing. Yan Wanjun’s outstretched hand trembled as well, the liquid within his goblet sloshing about.
They had guessed at what was going to come next.