Chapter 505: The Conception of a Formation
After walking around for a while, Jiang Chen still chose the ground beneath a karst cave system. Although it didn’t have a naturally formed crater, Jiang Chen wasn’t worried. After all, he had a free labor force in the form of the Goldbiter Rats. After a day of excavation, they managed to dig out an enormous pit just slightly larger than the one that originally held the wood spirit spring. It was perfect for holding the lake’s waters.
There was also ample spirit energy in this area, so Jiang Chen planted many spirit herbs that had the wood attribute to conceal the presence of the Jade Vine. He replanted the Jade Vine before summoning Long Xiaoxuan to release the waters of the lake.
The spring was reformed in a mere two hours.
Jiang Chen circled the cave a few times and felt that the cave didn’t have much in the way of defenses. “Although a restriction is in place on the border of my residence, it really is appalling that none of my personal restrictions are in place around the residence.”
Since he now had his own place, Jiang Chen didn’t wish for just anyone to easily walk in and out of his territory. It wasn’t that he was unfamiliar with formation restrictions. The only thing he couldn’t immerse himself in during his past life was cultivation; everything else was fair game. The way of formations naturally wasn’t left unexplored.
However, formations were toys for the rich. The amount of spirit stones that a formation would consume was easily commensurate to the amount of resources that ten cultivators would consume. If Jiang Chen wanted to set up a formation of his own, the amount of spirit stones he’d consume for sage level defenses would be absolutely stunning!
With the current depths of his pockets, he wasn’t capable of affording this kind of black hole level consumption at all. But it was a good thing that he had an enormous flock of Goldwing Swordbirds, and an even greater group of Goldbiter Rats at his beck and call. Now that he had his own property, he could absolutely establish the Rats in the cave. Of course, the wood spring itself would still be Long Xiaoxuan’s territory. No one apart from Jiang Chen would be able to easily approach. The Goldwing Swordbirds and Goldbiter Rats would be arrayed as the first and second layers of defense. This way, he’d be able to set up multiple layers of manmade defenses.
However, this was just a temporary situation to deal with the current circumstances. There was still a urgent requirement for a strong defensive formation. Jiang Chen started to examine the terrain around his residence. The building structures weren’t that far from the karst cave. After analyzing the layout, the name of a formation rose in his heart—the Nine Gates Incineration Formation.
The terrain rose and fell in nine waves, as if the nine gates beneath the heavens. With this kind of topography, that particular formation seemed very appropriate.
The Nine Gates Incineration Formation was one that Jiang Chen had a deeper than usual impression of in his memories. This formation wasn’t a divine level formation, but one that combined all sorts of heritages in the mundane world. Jiang Chen was versed enough in the formation to hold off Titled Great Emperors if he could activate it to its fullest.
Of course, that wasn’t a realistic notion at the moment. He didn’t have that much in terms of spare resources. Only if he had the resources of the entire Regal Pill Palace at his disposal would he have seventy to eighty percent guarantee of fully activating the formation. But obviously, he didn’t even bother entertaining this kind of wishful thinking at all. His current goal was to defend against sage level experts, and that would be enough. Thirty percent of the formation’s power would be sufficient to handle those kinds of experts, but the amount of materials needed to barely reach thirty percent was equally stunning.
For one, refining the formation flag was a critical step. Although it wasn’t as complex as refining divine weapons, it was a direct determinant of how the formation would perform.
There were stringent requirements for the materials used to make the flag as well as the materials for drawing the formation. Apart from that, there was an exorbitant number of spirit stones needed to maintain and operate the formation.
With Jiang Chen’s current stipend, he’d have to save up for ten years to be able to activate and sustain thirty percent of the formation’s strength for a year. If he wanted to keep it running for a decade or a hundred years, then he’d need to save up a hundred to a thousand years of his stipend. It was an absolutely staggering amount.
Jiang Chen estimated that only the elders of the sect would be able to bring out such a figure, and the figure would cause no small degree of heartache at that. “I don’t expect it to operate for a hundred years. At minimum, five years. Five years is a must.” Jiang Chen estimated that five years was the lowest he would accept. However, even that required fifty years of his stipend. Despite being favored by Dan Chi, it was an unrealistic notion to think of getting a fifty year advance on his stipend. If he tried to obtain this amount through sect missions, one that would reward him that many spirit stones would be much more difficult than the eight star mission of refining the Hexarune Dragon Pill for Elder Yun Nie. Missions obviously wouldn’t resolve Jiang Chen’s immediate need for spirit stones.
“I still need to earn money in the end.” Jiang Chen once again felt the woes of not having enough money. Although he had quite a few valuables on him now in the form of the dragon blood, the crystal, and the wood spirit spring, these were all his trump cards. They couldn’t be exposed at any cost. Once they were exposed, Jiang Chen would have no end of troubles. He didn’t want to do this if he didn’t have to. Otherwise, one drop of dragon blood would’ve been enough to resolve all his problems.
Of course, it wasn’t as if he didn’t have any other viable avenues. If he went to find Palace Head Dan Chi or Elder Yun Nie, they might very well just lend him the resources he needed. However, Jiang Chen wasn’t willing to make this request. Only when one spent money they earned themselves would one feel satisfied about spending it.
When Jiang Chen had departed from the wood spring back then, he’d also received a large amount of spirit stones. He did a quick count of how much he had, and came to the conclusion that the not insignificant sum would resolve half of his need immediately.
But that’s only half. Where do I go to fill the hole for the other half? Jiang Chen quietly mused. He had many methods, but they all needed time. The one thing Jiang Chen lacked the most at the moment was time. He didn’t want to spend most of his time earning money for his formation and thereby neglect his cultivation. That would just be losing sight of the main goal for small gains.
“Forget it, I’ll take things one step at a time. I’ll be training in the Sovereign Area for the foreseeable future anyways, and there are already defenses set up in the outskirts of the Sovereign Area. Most ordinary folk won’t be able set foot in my territory.” Although Jiang Chen wanted to immediately set up the formation, he knew that it wouldn’t be done quickly. It was already a decent level of privacy from the restrictive formations set up in the outskirts of his private residents. Ordinary people couldn’t bypass those.
He wanted to set up some precautions to prevent unwelcome guests. If someone happened to visit uninvited and possessed great arts, his secret concerning the wood spirit spring would be revealed without a doubt. Although with Long Xiaoxuan sitting guard and capable of killing intruders to keep the secret, if the person who barged in was a senior executive of the Regal Pill Palace, he didn’t feel that he could kill the man.
When he returned to his house, Jiang Chen was about to enter closed door cultivation when a message glyph suddenly came in from outside his walls. “Senior brother Jiang Chen, I am here on behalf of my master to invite you to the monthly meeting of the Sovereign Area in three days, to sip tea and discuss pills as well as the overall development trends of the Myriad Domain.”
Gouyu made her way out just as the message sounded, returning with an invitation not long after. The invitation was quite exquisitely designed. It seemed a lot of attention had gone into making it.
“Daoist Jiang Chen, as Sovereign Area geniuses, we stand at the peak of the sect and look out over the world. I will be holding the monthly meeting at my humble abode in three days to engage in a session of tea tasting, pill discourse, as well as a conversation about the lay of the land and trends of the times. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? You have newly come to the Sovereign Area and are certainly interested in the literary pursuits. Your presence is requested. Please do not leave us waiting for long.” The name Shen Qinghong was signed with great flourish at the bottom.
Jiang Chen naturally remembered this character. He was one of the peak existences in the younger generation of the Regal Pill Palace. It was said that he was half step sage realm. That put him at one of the top three in the Sovereign Area.
The monthly meeting of the Sovereign Area?
Jiang Chen toyed lightly with the invitation. He knew that it was half a real invite and half a probe. If he didn’t go, it would mean a decisive split with the group. He would become the target of everyone’s suppression in the Sovereign Area in the future and the laughingstock of the entire Rosy Valley.
Although he didn’t mind that, he wasn’t willing to display weakness. If he went himself, he’d likely meet with multiple difficulties. This gathering would be a hotbed of malicious intent. These Sovereign Area disciples were all experts and would never show him a polite face. Throwing obstacles in his way was a bygone fact. If he didn’t handle it properly, it’d be very likely that he’d end up with a face full of dirt or even make a fool out of himself.
However, Jiang Chen didn’t bother thinking too much. No matter how complex this monthly meeting would turn out to be, he had no other choice.
He had to go.
If he didn’t, he would be painted as a coward and drop in the esteem of the entire sect. The most critical thing was that he had a great deal of Palace Head Dan Chi and Elder Yun Nie’s favor. If others looked down on him, it would be an indirect blow on the two as well.
Jiang Chen put the invitation down, having come to a decision already. Whether it was the lair of a dragon or the cave of a tiger, or mountains of blades and oceans of fire, he had no reason to decline.
Mu Gaoqi came visiting in a hurry after a short while. Jiang Chen had expected this as well. Mu Gaoqi must’ve also received an invitation and found it hard to decide. He’d come to ask for Jiang Chen’s opinion.
“Brother Chen, this monthly meeting is just an excuse to snub us at the very beginning. They don’t accept that you and I have already received a spot in the Pill Battles, and likely want to create all sorts of difficulties for us.”
Jiang Chen smiled faintly. “And so you’re afraid now?”
Mu Gaoqi’s heart spasmed as he thought of his honored master’s lecture two days ago. He resolutely made up his mind. “I’m not afraid, Brother Chen! I’m here to tell you that I’ll be going no matter what. I’m an innate wood constitution of high order and my pill dao potential is the greatest in Regal Pill Palace history. I cannot appear weak and lose face for my honored master.” Although this kind of expression was a bit stilted, Jiang Chen could still detect the undercurrent of Mu Gaoqi’s determination.
“Gaoqi, you and I share a common fate. I have here an art to train strength of heart and vision. I now pass them onto you, but you must promise to keep this a secret.” Jiang Chen passed on “God’s Eye” and “Boulder’s Heart” to Mu Gaoqi with his consciousness.
“Brother Chen, my accomplishments till today have been purely due to you. You’ve taken such good care of me, I won’t have a single word of complaint even if you smack me to death because of continued immaturity. I won’t share what you’ve given me even if others beat me to death.” Mu Gaoqi may have a weaker personality than others, but he still had his own principles.