The demise of Forefather Goldenbell gave Prime Puresmoke great confidence. She understood that the youth before her really had the ability to change the direction of the war. He wasn’t all the way there yet, but no ordinary man would be able to command both a vermilion bird and a true dragon.
Nevertheless, she was assured that he would prevail. The success of the Eternal Sacred Land was plenty of evidence that this cooperation would potentially be a turn of good luck.
The sacred land would be rescued from danger, and their Taiyi Dragonscale Fruit would drastically increase value. It was two birds with one stone.
The only thing required as compensation was a copy of an ancient text, worthless in the hands of any other.
After the terms were discussed, the two parties drafted a strategy.
They came to an agreement that the enemy leaders needed to be dealt with first and foremost. If the three other demigod forefathers could be slain – or even just two! – the rebels would crumble and scatter.
The rebels didn’t have any solidarity to speak of in the first place. They had come together merely temporarily against a common enemy for a common goal.
If their interests conflicted, or the circumstances changed, it would take no time at all for them to be scattered to the wind. There was nothing substantial at all holding them together.
They weren’t connected by the camaraderie of a sect, bonds of blood, or a common belief in a higher truth. They fought together for the sake of profit alone.
The idea that had been used to lure and kill Forefather Goldenbell remained a pretty good one. However, it was unlikely to work a second time; the other three forefathers would be much more alert and attentive after hearing about their comrade’s death. It would be difficult to assassinate them all… but certainly doable.
Jiang Chen had many other tricks up his sleeve. With the Vermilion Bird as his trump card, he was confident in his ability to take down one or two demigods. Especially amid an ambush, a forefather wasn’t that hard to deal with.
The Vermilion Bird was about to break through to divinity anytime. It was already far stronger than demigods, rivaling a full-fledged one in strength.
In the end, multiple plans were formalized.
The details of each were studied in a methodical manner: execution, emergency procedures, and backups.
After doing so, Jiang Chen mentioned his departure. “Prime Puresmoke, my companions are still outside. I can’t stay for too long. I’ll be waiting out there, ready to leave at anytime.”
Cupping his fist in farewell, he strode back into the outside world.
Prime Puresmoke had mixed feelings as she watched him go, persisting even after his figure completely disappeared from vision.
“How unexpected. The Eternal Sacred Land cultivated a genius like him without anyone knowing.” Saddened, the prime glanced at Holy Girl Yu Ling.
Both Yu and Jiang were young geniuses, and the holy girl was already the cream of her generational crop in Myriad Abyss. Alas, she couldn’t compare at all to Jiang Chen. They were practically a world apart. Was there no way to bridge that gap?
Puresmoke became mildly wistful.
“Master, is Sir Jiang unreliable?” Holy Girl Yu Ling asked when she saw her master’s sorrow.
“No.” The prime hastily shook her head. “Yu Ling, if you can build a good relationship with Sir Jiang, it may just be a blessing in the future.”
Yu Ling reddened. “A good relationship? Why?”
“You’re still young, Ling’er. I haven’t allowed you to test your mettle in the wider world much, and though you’re more than clever enough, you need to learn how to adapt. You still need practice in many things. Look at this Jiang Chen: he’s far ahead of the pack when it comes to others in his generation. Among the Martial Sacred Land’s younger generation, we don’t have any geniuses who would be equal to the late Xiahou Zong, much less this Jiang Chen.”
Prime Puresmoke’s opinion was reasonably fair.
“Master, is he really as great as you say?” Yu Ling’s competitive spirit was riled up again. She didn’t believe that the young man they’d seen could be so far above her.
“Look at Forefather Goldenbell’s fate,” Puresmoke declared coolly. “Let’s put it this way: if Jiang Chen wanted to harm the Martial Sacred Land, our formation here wouldn’t be able to stop him. If he wanted to raid this place, we wouldn’t be able to prevent him. Thankfully, he’s not here to kick us while we’re down.”
As an experienced member of society, Prime Puresmoke had witnessed many a dark side of humanity in the past. She had brought a number of elites when meeting Jiang Chen outside the valley precisely for not letting down her guard.
After the fact, she could believe that Jiang Chen had been sent by the Eternal Sacred Land and was in fact sincerely helping the Martial Sacred Land get out of its bind. Though the young man had made a few requests, his forthrightness only highlighted that he was more than trustworthy.
“Master, do you really want to accompany him to the sacred land’s headquarters to reinforce them?” Yu Ling asked curiously.
“Yu Ling, the base is safe for now. The rebels won’t be able to marshal many more people to attack the place. As long as no demigod forefather appears, there should be no problems here,” Puresmoke comforted her beloved disciple.
The holy girl fell silent. She knew that her master had always been concerned for the sacred land’s safety. She wouldn’t possibly pass up this golden opportunity.
“Master, can Ling’er come with you?”
“No! Your cultivation is insufficient to influence the direction of the war. You will only cause trouble! It’s better for you to stay here. Your status as the holy girl will help you keep a good grasp on the defensive position. This is a test for you as well, Ling’er. You need to learn how to manage on your own eventually. Do you want to live in my shadow forever?”
Holy Girl Yu Ling hung her head. She understood that her master only meant the best.
The next day, Puresmoke made all the necessary arrangements before exiting the valley.
“You are quite efficient, Prime Puresmoke. You made your decision and preparations so quickly?” Jiang Chen praised.
“We are attempting to put out a furious blaze. The more we delay, the more risk the sacred land is exposed to.” The prime was straightforward about her intentions.
“Come on, then,” Jiang Chen nodded.
The female prime blinked, then scanned the empty space nearby the youth. The Vermilion Bird and Long Xiaoxuan were nowhere to be found. “Sir Jiang, where are your companions?”
“Don’t worry, they’re with me still. Their size has simply been reduced for the time being, which is obviously helpful to avoid mortal eyes. Quite frankly, catching sight of them is too astonishing in this day and age.”
Sightings of the four sacred beasts would be a hot topic anywhere. Even in the heavenly planes, they would be hunted down with incredible voracity once a rumor was confirmed. Thankfully, there haven’t been any organized efforts to round up the Vermilion Bird and Long Xiaoxuan yet.
They’d done a good job at lying low, and were abominably strong compared to their available competition.
Those who dared prey on them would first and foremost need to be wary of that.
Along the way, Jiang Chen learned from Prime Puresmoke a bit more about Martial Divine Nation’s culture and society.
“Prime Puresmoke, the total obliteration of the regiment outside the spirit herb base must be common knowledge to the rest of the rebels by now. Perhaps they’ve dug a trap for us to jump into, and we’re headed straight for it.” Jiang Chen wasn’t joking with the suggestion.
Puresmoke furrowed her brow. “What should we do then? Shall we simply watch as the sacred land is besieged and conquered?”
“We have backup plans, don’t we? We can take an alternative route.” Jiang Chen was much more optimistic.
However, the atmosphere became much more serious as they approached the sacred land’s headquarters. There were blockades on every path.
But, Jiang Chen and company weren’t planning on taking the straightest road to the headquarters. It wouldn’t have been hard for them to disguise themselves and pass on by, but they turned to the southwest instead.
After about two hours, they came to a much quieter place. Evidently, this was the mountainous base of some sect.
“This is the place,” Puresmoke intoned in a low voice.
“The mists here have an almost dreamlike quality. The Dreamhaze Sect is true to its name. Alas, why must a beautiful sect like this become a criminal?” Jiang Chen joked.
“Shall we go in right now?” asked Puresmoke.
“No need to hurry. Let’s ask around first. We want to hit the three demigod forefathers where it hurts, yes? For that, we need to know what their weaknesses are. How else will we be able to force their hand?”
“How do we ask around?” Puresmoke found this baffling. Were they supposed to ask the Dreamhaze Sect’s people themselves?
Jiang Chen snapped a finger, summoning the king of the Goldbiter Rats.
“Young master Chen, what is it?”
“The Dreamhaze Sect of Martial Divine Nation is before us. Their main force is out against the sacred land right now and their base should be largely empty. I hear the sect head has a grandson who has been tested with prodigious talent. Apparently the Dreamhaze Sect is investing a lot into him. Go investigate, and let me know anything you find out as quickly as possible.”
“Yes, sir!” The rat king was very pleased to be of service.
Prime Puresmoke tasted wryness on the roof of her mouth. She was the first prime of a sacred land, and yet her treasures and other methods weren’t comparable to a young man’s.