Of course, everyone knew the rise of the Regal Pill Palace had to do with Sacred Peafowl Mountain. It had risen again entirely by borrowing the greater faction’s strength, as well as Jiang Chen’s status there as young lord.
Upon Jiang Chen’s return to Sacred Peafowl Mountain, he discovered that the human domain was much calmer than he imagined.
His greatest worry back at Myriad Abyss had been the outbreak of the demonic invasion. He wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it, given his removed distance.
Thank heavens for the human domain’s extraordinary calmness. Even the criticism from the rabble had quieted down. Having dealt with Pillfire City, the Embittered Savage Tribe, and the Order of Wind and Cloud, the main threats to peace had been eliminated.
There were a number of empyrean experts hidden away from the rest of the domain, whom Jiang Chen had visited before his journey. The benefits and presents he had given them had had considerable effect.
He had gifted them the Way to Grand Ascension to convince them of his righteousness and morals. He wanted them to feel more of a sense of duty to the human domain and recognize his worth.
These hermit experts wisely came to Sacred Peafowl Mountain to meet Jiang Chen upon hearing of his return. The young man was completely different from when he’d left. He had only been a great emperor back then. After weathering Myriad Abyss’ storms, he was growing into the prime of his strength.
After the countless empyrean experts he’d seen in Myriad Abyss, the handful in the human domain somewhat paled in comparison. That didn’t mean they were to be underestimated though.
The Way to Grand Ascension had helped these human domain experts a great deal, and Jiang Chen wanted to unify them under one banner.
Though he wanted to stay a bit longer with his family, he needed to respect the time and greeting cards of these empyreans. He had fought many more far stronger than they in Myriad Abyss, but they nevertheless represented the human domain’s peak strength.
Because of Jiang Chen’s past gifts and displays of ability, these experts showed immense respect to the young lord of Veluriyam.
“Long time no see, young lord Jiang Chen. You seem to be much, much stronger than you once were.” Old Crane was the leading man among these human domain empyrean experts, with a keener eye than most. He instantly noticed the drastic difference in Jiang Chen’s aura compared to years prior.
Liu Yuan and Zhu Yun had grown quite close to Old Crane in this time, becoming his dedicated assistants. The old man’s words piqued their interests. They scrutinized Jiang Chen carefully.
Instead of boasting about his newfound strength, Jiang Chen smiled faintly in reply. “The peace this world has enjoyed is all thanks to your help, fellow daoists. It looks like you’ve benefited from studying the Way to Grand Ascension!”
If they hadn’t, that would throw into question their ability to do much of anything.
“What else could we do, young lord Jiang Chen? We accepted your request. Now that you’ve come back, we old-timers can let out a breath of relief.”
Jiang Chen wasn’t so optimistic. “Old Crane,” he smiled wryly, “do you think this an age of peace has arrived for the human domain?”
“Ah, I’ve been thinking whether I should retire. I’ve still got a bit of fire left in me, but…”
Jiang Chen chuckled. “It would be a tremendous loss for the human domain if you were to retire back into solitude, Old Crane. Plus, you know so much about empyrean realm and the finer points of cultivation. Don’t you think it a shame for you to simply put all that away? In the age of strife that is to come, everyone is champing at the bit to reveal their strength. You have a lot more to lean on than most!”
“Do you mean to ask my old and decrepit bones to labor awhile longer, young lord Jiang Chen?”
Jiang Chen smiled coolly. “There’s no need to be so humble, sir. Even if the human domain grits its teeth in the wake of such a huge loss, what if the demons end up seeking you out?”
He wasn’t trying to scare the old man. That possibility definitely existed.
If the demonic invasion broke out into full swing, the human domain wouldn’t have an inch of ground anywhere spared.
If the demons knew that a hermit empyrean expert like Old Crane existed, he would be their top priority. In fact, they would likely want to consume his body with their spirit. Demons didn’t much care for consequences with their reckless behavior. Thus, it would be impossible for Old Crane to live quietly for long.
The old man thought about this for a moment before glancing at Jiang Chen thoughtfully.
The young man shrugged nonchalantly. The look from Old Crane didn’t garner much of a response from him. He wasn’t the one at a crossroads here. On the contrary, he didn’t like forcing people into doing anything.
Suddenly, Old Crane chuckled. “You’ve inspired and spurred me to understand and care a bit more about mortal life, young lord Jiang Chen. I suppose I can’t ignore the common folk’s plight. If I did, I would be too ashamed to face my ancestors.”
“Indeed. There will be great suffering in the demons’ wake. We hermit experts should do something about that, yes?”
“Young lord Jiang Chen has sacrificed so much on the human domain’s behalf. How can we drag him down with our actions?”
Old Crane’s sentiments were echoed by the other empyrean experts as well. They uniformly realized that it was no longer the right time to live in seclusion. It was high past time to set aside their lofty pride.
Jiang Chen smiled at the old man’s budging attitude. “If we look upwards to the sky, there is no limit. That’s what my trip to Myriad Abyss taught me. The human domain has fallen behind. If we all close ourselves off out of pride, that will be even more disastrous than the demonic invasion.”
If he’d said this before the trip, it would have been very disrespectful towards Old Crane. After his baptism by fire, however, he stood at a higher vantage point.