Huang’er nodded a little at Yan Qingsang’s words. Her limpid eyes looked pleadingly at Jiang Chen.
The object of her gaze sighed softly. “I was full of irritation with House Yan before I came to Myriad Abyss. That Elder Xi was especially rude back at Sacred Peafowl Mountain, throwing his weight around in front of everyone. At the time, I thought everyone in your house was the same kind of jerk. But now I see that’s not the case. For example, Yan Qingsang and your grandfather Yan Wanjun are fine people.”
Both grandchildren of the old man let out a sigh of relief. They knew that this meant Jiang Chen was no longer so biased against House Yan as he once was.
“It’s not my place to criticize House Yan any further, but I’m sure of one thing: the patriarch would make an acceptable leader in peaceful times, but is completely unable to reverse the house’s decline. His indecisive nature will actually bury the house’s future. I’m not in a position to say these things, but since there are no outsiders here, I don’t wish to hide my personal judgment. After all, I hope for your sakes that House Yan will rise rather than fall.”
Yan Qingsang sighed. “There’s no way to solve that problem. After our forefather died, the entire house became a kite with its string snapped.”
Huang’er became silent as well.
A moment of silence was followed by a deep breath. “That’s right, brother,” said Yan Qingsang, “when are you planning to reveal your actual identity? I don’t see much of a problem anymore. Being from the human domain isn’t much of an issue in Myriad Abyss—we’re not that xenophobic.”
Jiang Chen laughed. “I don’t want to cause too much unnecessary trouble. Plus, I did anger quite a few factions back at Winterdraw. If they connect the dots, I’d be the maker of my own problems."
He didn’t exactly enjoy mystery, but it was more convenient to be ‘Shao Yuan’ rather than ‘Jiang Chen’ right now.
Ling Bi’er chose this moment to break her silence. “Junior brother, when are you returning to the human domain?”
She missed her homeland, her father, and her sister. The news that they were alive and well had only amplified her wistfulness. Disregarding the current situation, she wanted to throw away everything in Myriad Abyss and be reunited with her father and sister, back in the human domain.
She wasn’t interested in her newfound status as a princess here, nor the prosperity that came with it. A peaceful, even plain life was enough for her. A simple kind of existence that she’d once led back at the old Regal Pill Palace, filled with quiet tranquility.
“It’ll take a bit more time before we can go back to the human domain. There are at least two things that remain to be done.”
“Which two?” Yan Qingsang asked curiously ahead of the others.
“First, House Xiahou must be stamped out to remove the possibility of any future trouble. Second, the heritage relating to the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement must be found. Only when the formation is reactivated can the demons be sealed away once more.”
“Demons?” Yan Qingsang was flabbergasted. As a descendant of Myriad Abyss’s settlers, his understanding of the demon race was limited to hearsay.
There was a ban on discussion of the demon race, and in fact the human domain and Divine Abyss Continent in general. As such, the young man found mention of them to be quite fresh.
“Does Myriad Abyss Island not know of the demon race?” Jiang Chen harrumphed.
“Not quite, but we only know that name. What are some characteristics of the race?”
“The demons?” Jiang Chen sighed softly. “A race that can easily destroy Divine Abyss entirely. If they are allowed to conquer the mainland, they will arrive in Myriad Abyss too one day. After conquering the entirety of Divine Abyss, they will subjugate us all as their slaves.”
The appearance of the demon race meant the beginning of a neverending nightmare for any other race that lived here.
“Are they really that strong?” Yan Qingsang was stunned.
“Far more than I can hope to describe. Myriad Abyss…” Jiang Chen wanted to go on, but Huang’er interrupted him with a wry smile.
“Brother Chen, that’s enough about Myriad Abyss’s ancient history. That topic is totally off-limits here because no one wants to admit they were descended from ancient deserters. Myriad Abyss’s historical records tell an entirely different story.”
It was a deceptive practice that fooled no one, not even fully themselves. Myriad Abyss had chosen to selectively forget about the past because of their shame.
“Ah right. Do you know if there’s a faction in Myriad Abyss that’s especially expert with formations?” Jiang Chen asked.
In the ancient times, the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Containment hadn’t been an effort from a single faction. Many had cooperated to set it up and activate it.
Jiang Chen knew the portion that the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect had been responsible for, but not the parts that the Earth Bodhisattva Sect and others were in charge of. He knew nothing about the diagram and function of the formation, so he couldn’t even interpret and speculate anything.
That he had zero clues was the biggest tragedy of all. Therefore, he wanted to gather some information.
“Factions good with formations? Ninedark Divine Nation comes to mind first. According to the rumors, the Ninedark Sacred Land is one of the most complicated places in Myriad Abyss to navigate. Countless experts have gone inside, only to lose their way and be unable to return.”
“Ninedark Divine Nation?” Jiang Chen nodded. “I see. Were any representatives at the Skymender Festival?”
“Sure. Everyone from that nation tends to keep a low profile, though. They’re not that interested in pill dao as a rule. It would’ve been hard for you to notice them at all.”
Jiang Chen had an impression of a group that fit that description, and was about to mention it when the smooth slab of stone wall in front of his residence glowed brightly once more.
In the next moment, a powerful consciousness pressed down. The venerated forefather’s image appeared on the slab.
“Not bad, Shao Yuan. You’ve achieved two out of the three goals I set for you. Only one test remains.” The forefather went right for the throat.
A single sweep of his potent consciousness was enough to render everyone else unconscious.
“Now that they’re out of the way, don’t feel too pressured. I once promised you I would personally test you, and the right time for that draws near.”
Jiang Chen was curious as to the forefather’s intentions. He couldn’t understand why a divine cultivator wouldn’t rule over the sacred land himself. Why had he delegated his authority to the three primes? Was the forefather simply uninterested in worldly influence?
“A few questions first. I’d like to see how you answer them.” The image of the forefather’s consciousness retained its usual might.
“Please feel free, Venerated Forefather,” Jiang Chen replied even-handedly.
“First question. Where are you really from? Remember, the test has already begun. I advise you to speak truth over falsehood,” the forefather reminded.
Jiang Chen was a little taken aback. They’d discussed the human domain earlier. Did the forefather already know? Then, he remembered that the consciousness of a god could encompass hundreds of miles with a single thought. Perhaps the forefather already knew the details of their conversation here?
He needed to come clean. “I come from the human domain.”
The forefather’s eyes were as serene as ever. He didn’t seem surprised by Jiang Chen’s answer at all. After a while, he cracked a roguish smile. “Congratulations. In telling the truth, you’ve passed the first question.
Jiang Chen was shaken. The forefather really had perceived his origins. So he really was a divine cultivator! Only a god had such widespread reach with his consciousness.
“Do you feel that the residents of Myriad Abyss Island are descended from deserters in the ancient war? Is there great bias in your heart as to the inherited factions here?”
This question was just as pointed as the first. Jiang Chen found it very difficult to answer something so ingrained in his heart.
Gritting his teeth after a moment, he nodded. “The information I discovered back in the human domain tells me so, yes.”
“Third question. Did you acquire many ancient heritages in the human domain?”
“Yes.” Jiang Chen saw no reason to deny this.
The forefather stopped with his questioning here. “Alright,” he sighed softly, “that’s enough for now.”
Jiang Chen let out a breath of relief, but his heart remained anxious. Was the forefather satisfied with his answers? The second especially could have potentially angered him.
The forefather mused for a long time before exhaling. “Is Jiang Chen your true name? You removed the Generation Binding Curse upon that House Yan girl, yes? There wasn’t a heritage as impressive as yours even in ancient times. I wonder if you really are a reincarnated god?”
This was a subject of keen interest for the old man. Gossip had circulated to that effect; apparently, at least part of Jiang Chen’s skill came from his awakening memories.
The young man himself was unsure how to reply.