Within this inner sanctum, Jiang Chen finally laid eyes upon the Martial Sacred Land’s Taiyi Dragonscale Fruit. There was only one specimen.
It had blossomed and grown a smattering of offshoots. This allowed it to produce quite the formidable amount of fruit. Jiang Chen marveled at the sight of the plant.
He had seen other occurrences of the spirit herb before, but a specimen that could bear this much fruit was exceptional, even for him.
“This is a natural wonder.” He clucked his tongue as he examined it more closely. “It’s hard to find another just like this anywhere else. A priceless treasure! Prime Puresmoke, the Martial Sacred Land should definitely protect and cherish it, lest a treasure be wasted.”
“Of course,” Puresmoke smiled and nodded. “What do you consider the quality of this fruit to be, Sir Jiang?”
“Upper rank, I believe.”
“Not supreme?” The prime was mildly disappointed.
“Supreme rank is attained only through natural circumstance. Heaven must bless a specimen for it to reach such perfection. That’s not something we as humans can actively pursue, unfortunately.” Jiang Chen’s response was filled with wisdom.
Prime Puresmoke grew thoughtful. She mulled over the deeper meaning behind the young man’s words.
After checking out the Taiyi Dragonscale Fruit, Jiang Chen was brought to the residential area of the base. A few moments later, Holy Girl Yu Ling appeared with a jade tray.
“Sir Jiang, here are six Taiyi Dragonscale Fruits. Please take it as a token of our appreciation,” Prime Puresmoke declared.
Jiang Chen was somewhat taken aback. He had thought the Martial Sacred Land considered these fruits dearer than life itself. That he would be given six of them at once was generous beyond his wildest dreams.
“If you refuse, Sir Jiang, we’ll assume you did so because you received too few.” The prime smiled coyly.
Jiang Chen chuckled. “If that’s the case, who am I to refuse? Honestly, I do like this gift a lot.”
“Good! Your appreciation gives these fruits value.”
Without further ado, the young man put away the Dragonscale Fruits he’d just been gifted.
“Perhaps the fruits will achieve their maximum value only in your hands, Sir Jiang. If you didn’t care to use them for refining pills, they would be much more ordinary.” Puresmoke made the remark as an emotional afterthought.
What she had said was true. The fruit had only shot up in value because of Jiang Chen’s Taiyi Skymender Pills. Since he was the only one who had the recipe, no one else could actualize the hypothetical value in them.
The prime was wise enough to know that the favor she was doing today in giving away six fruits was more than a worthwhile investment.
“That’s true. When not used in the Taiyi Skymender Pill, they are much less useful. On another topic, Prime Puresmoke, several of the divine nations have quelled their rebellions already. How is the Martial Sacred Land doing? Any news lately?”
“Quelled their rebellions?” Having been holed up here for quite a while, Puresmoke knew less of the outside world than the youth she was hosting.
“Yes. Only a few sacred lands are still struggling with their would-be usurpers. Some sacred lands have successfully crushed theirs, while others prevented them from occurring in the first place. The ten sacred lands may experience gaps in strength as a result.”
Jiang Chen wasn't exaggerating. The sacred lands in nations that hadn’t been ravaged by civil war were left intact, which gave them an advantage.
The sacred lands in those nations filled with strife were seriously harmed, and their influence and strength would be comparatively lowered. This was so obvious that it didn’t need to be said.
Prime Puresmoke became much more depressed. “If that’s the case,” she sighed, “the Martial Sacred Land isn’t well off at all, is it?”
“Aside from the Martial Sacred Land, the Radiance and Sunrise Sacred Lands are also battling with rebels still. The other nations are done with their troubles, or nearly so,” Jiang Chen recounted honestly.
“What? Just us three?” Puresmoke felt quite defeated by this revelation.
“Yes. Our venerated forefather informed me of this himself from the latest reports. He sent me here to help the Martial Sacred Land because of our two sacred lands’ friendship. This spirit herb base was my first stop.”
Gratefulness welled up in the prime’s heart.
Regardless of everything else, Eternal had respected the sacred lands’ mutual bond. It must’ve been difficult to do anything at all so soon after stamping out its own fire, much less send such capable aid.
“I don’t want to use a few simple words to thank you, Sir Jiang. If you have any requests you need to make of me in the future, I will do everything in my power to fulfill them. Perhaps your prospects are so bright as to not need that though, eh?”
“Haha, you humble yourself too much, First Prime. Let us put courtesies aside and talk about the situation your sacred land is in. We must deliver a swift stroke to conclude the rebellion decisively. The longer it drags on, the worse off the sacred land and nation will be.”
“Astutely said, Sir Jiang. But the rebels are numerous and the Martial Sacred Land doesn't have enough men. We are in a very passive situation right now. This spirit herb base wouldn't necessarily have held without your help.” The prime’s analysis was reasonably objective.
“The spirit herb base is defensible enough with the formation, isn’t it? If you really bunkered down, you should have a seventy to eighty percent chance of enduring.”
This was more of a cordiality. Jiang Chen wasn’t going to be dismissive when the first prime had already disparaged things herself. Deep down, he agreed with her conclusion.
“It seems you have some expertise with formations as well, Sir Jiang?” Puresmoke ventured.
“I’ve a deep interest in them, yes. My studies have yielded modest fruit. I hear that the Martial Sacred Land is quite adept with them?”
“In the ten divine nations, the Martial Sacred Land boasts the greatest mastery in them.” The prime made no attempt to hide her confidence when she claimed this. Clearly, she was very self-assured regarding them.
“If I may ask, is the Martial Sacred Land’s ancient heritage related to a great formation sect of the past?” Jiang Chen asked again.
He had come to the Martial Sacred Land for another reason: asking after the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement. Eternal’s venerated forefather had told him that the Martial Sacred Land excelled at formations.
Information about said formation was one of the biggest reasons Jiang Chen was still here in Myriad Abyss. Anything he could find out would mean a lot to the human domain.
Jiang Chen had been gone from the human domain for quite a few years. Though the demonic invasion would theoretically need at least fifty years to come into full swing, his calculations were far from certain fact. What if the invasion happened ahead of schedule?
He anticipated returning to the human domain more than anything else.
Puresmoke blinked. “Are you well versed in the ancient times, Sir Jiang?”
“One of my favorite things during my childhood was to study ancient history. The ancient era was a perfect era. Without foreign invastion, Divine Abyss back then was a heaven for cultivators, a golden age of progress.”
Puresmoke glanced toward the youth with some astonishment. What kind of child was this? How come he was so proficient in everything?
“Do you have any insight into ancient formations, Sir Jiang?” she couldn’t resist asking.
“There were only two top formation sects back then. One was the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect; the other, the Earth Bodhisattva Sect.”
“The Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect? Was that really a top sect?” Puresmoke was doubtful.
“That sect once possessed immense knowledge and prestige, more than enough to elevate it so. The Earth Bodhisattva Sect, on the other hand, benefited from a bevy of powerful treasures: the Earth Bodhisattva Orb that bears its namesake for example, was something the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect had no answer for.”
Puresmoke was shocked by what she was hearing. How was this youth speaking so eloquently about that bygone era?
Had he begun learning in his mother’s womb? How else would he be such an accomplished scholar?
She was stunned into silence for a long time.
Jiang Chen was observing her expression closely. “The Martial Sacred Land is skilled in formations. Can it be that your heritage is from one of the ancient sects?”
Primesmoke wavered, wanting to shake her head, but not managing it in the end. She sighed softly. “To think that a young man would know the name of the Earth Bodhisattva Sect! Ai! I learned of these ancient matters from our historical tomes. Apart from the primes, no one else may look through them.”
“The Earth Bodhisattva Sect? Truly?” Jiang Chen was overjoyed.
“Are you connected to it somehow, Sir Jiang?” Puresmoke was amazed.
Jiang Chen denied it. “No. I only read in ancient texts that the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect and the Earth Bodhisattva Sect were both instrumental to the ancient demon-sealing war effort.”
Pride flashed across the prime’s face when she heard mention of the ancient war.
“Indeed. The Earth Bodhisattva Sect was one of the leading sects in the demon-sealing war, one of the primary contributors. That the demons have been held back for so long is a testament to the sect’s merit. The Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect provided important assistance as well, but the Earth Bodhisattva Sect spearheaded the effort.”
Evidently, the prime felt a sense of honor and belonging to the sect.