Chapter 518: Elder Lian Cheng
Shen Qinghong’s face was as cold as permafrost as the temperature dropping several degrees around him. Shen Trifire’s actions had obviously enraged him. He had never imagined that Shen Trifire would take his spirit stones to challenge Jiang Chen and then just enter closed door cultivation without another word.
“That trash must’ve lost!” Nie Chong took the opportunity to add fuel to the flame.
Shen Trifire’s actions had caught the entire Shen Qinghong group on the back foot. Multiple people had gone to challenge Jiang Chen and failed in the attempt. If they let this go and didn’t continue to challenge Jiang Chen, then all their momentum, all their previous plans and carefully created slander, would go down as a pitiful whimper. Instead, all it would serve would be prime marketing service for Jiang Chen!
On the other hand, who would be their next challenger when even Shen Trifire had failed? Rong Zifeng? Nie Chong?
These two were Shen Qinghong’s strongest confidantes, but their pill dao potential wasn’t necessarily stronger than Shen Trifire. Then, who would go? Shen Qinghong himself?
Shen Qinghong rather wanted to, but reason told him that he had to be exceedingly cautious before making any decision. With his position as the top genius in the Sovereign Area, his every action against Jiang Chen would be minutely examined and exaggerated in the telling. Whatever the result, it would be spread far and wide.
If he won, it would be a natural course of order because he was the top genius. But that wouldn’t be enough to prove Jiang Chen as a fake. But if he lost, then his reputation would be ruined, and he would inadvertently raise Jiang Chen to becoming the representative of the Regal Pill Palace’s younger generation. And there was no way he would ever accept that.
“You guys are dismissed for now. I’m going to make a trip.” For all his faults, Shen Qinghong was a decisive man. He didn’t hesitate as he made his way to the Hundred Elders Peak. He appeared at the doors of a certain residence before long.
This residence was tElder Lian Cheng’s, the foremost of the venerated elders. Shen Qinghong’s grandfather, the Hallmaster of the Hall of Spring and Autumn, Elder Jin Gu also happened to be there as well.
“Qinghong, you’ve really gone overboard this time. It’ll be difficult for you to salvage the situation now.” Elder Lian Cheng was an old, bald man, but his brows and eyes were as sharp as a hawk’s.
Elder Jin Gu sighed lightly. “Old brother Lian Cheng, who would’ve thought that this Jiang Chen would be so wild and intractable? Qinghong should’ve been respected as the highest ranked personage in the Rosy Valley, but this Jiang Chen didn’t even have the most basic of manners. We can’t blame Qinghong for growing angry in this.”
Elder Lian Cheng smiled slightly, a shrewd light flickering in his eyes. “What do you say we do then, Jin Gu? Challenge Jiang Chen? If Qinghong wins, it will be seen as nothing more than the natural course of nature. If he loses, then all our previous efforts are lost.”
Elder Jin Gu was also exceedingly dejected. “It’s all Elder Yun Nie’s fault in the end. If it hadn’t been for him ardently backing his proposal, how would Jiang Chen had made it to the Sovereign Area if it’d just been decided by martial dao?”
His was a typical personality of blaming everyone else for his faults, the type to fault the latrine if he was unable to take a dump.
Elder Lian Cheng however, was completely dismissive of his complaining. “Jin Gu, you’re just deceiving yourself if you truly believe your words. If Jiang Chen is a true genius, he would have made it into the Sovereign Area sooner or later. In my view, the older generation has no need to overly intervene now that things have developed to this point. Let the youngsters handle it. Whether they succeed or fail will be up to their methods and plans.”
Elder Jin Gu hastily spoke up. “Old brother Lian Cheng, Qinghong has too many problems to cope with in this situation. He’s the first genius of the sect and exists in an environment of unfair competition to begin with. There’s nothing to it if he wins; everyone will think that it should’ve happened. But if he happens to fall behind by just even a tad, he is destined to be mocked. This isn’t fair!”
Elder Lian Cheng shook his head slightly, a bit speechless at Elder Jin Gu’s method of education. He couldn’t be bothered to respond and turned to Shen Qinghong. “Qinghong, do you think yourself that your position is unfair to you?”
Shen Qinghong had nothing to say in response. He didn’t know what his honored master meant.
Elder Lian Cheng’s voice was quiet, “Your current position is one that receives the pinnacle of treatment and resources. Have you ever considered that it is likewise unfair to others? If you wish to complain now about unfairness, I will be sorely disappointed in you.”
Shen Qinghong grew solemn. He’d actually come to ask his honored master for advice for his next step, but he hadn’t expected his master to lecture him even to the extent of a verbal smack on the head. He was at a loss of what to do for the moment.
Elder Lian Cheng sighed softly. “For you, Qinghong, a noble birth and a high start is both a boon and a crutch. Your cultivation path has been smooth and easy, having experienced almost no obstacles in the Regal Pill Palace before. Unfortunately, it is also the reason why you now find yourself at the end of your rope.”
“What say you, Jin Gu?”
Elder Jin Gu was actually rather dissatisfied at the moment. You’re Shen Qinghong’s martial dao master; are you going to sit there and allow your disciple be met with setback after setback on your watch?
Even though Elder Lian Cheng did make some sense, Elder Jin Gu didn’t care about that in the slightest. What he minded was that his grandson’s position was being challenged! This was no different than his own territory being threatened. Why would Elder Jin Gu bother spending any time thinking about theory and philosophy? The only thought he would spare was to defend his territory, and destroy anyone who even considered threatening him.
“Old brother Lian Cheng, I feel that no matter what, Qinghong can’t lose this amount of face. If we let that petty character Jiang Chen succeed, then Qinghong’s position in the Sovereign Area will certainly be impacted in the future. Furthermore, with this recent uprising, Jun Mobai and Ling Bi’er have started to make their moves as well. I’m afraid that this is causing a chain reaction!”
Jun Mobai and Lin Bi’er had cast covetous eyes on Shen Qinghong’s position to begin with. With the addition of an even more unreasonable Jiang Chen, Shen Qinghong had to deal with three hotly ambitious disciples harrying his position. This did not bode well for him. As such, Elder Jin Gu didn’t want to foster the development of such an atmosphere. He wanted to suppress this ill wind and make an example out of Jiang Chen.
Elder Lian Cheng was momentarily speechless by Elder Jin Gu’s resolve. He is truly so short sighted! He turned to his disciple, “Qinghong, you speak. How do you intend on resolving this? What kind of help would you like from your master?”
“Your disciple still harbors hope, and I wish to put an end to things with a decisive fight against Jiang Chen in the pill competition.” Shen Qinghong didn’t hold back his true thoughts
“Are you certain?” Elder Lian Cheng asked slowly, a look of judgment in his eyes.
Shen Qinghong nodded firmly. “Jiang Chen has already affected my dao heart. If I don’t suppress him, then cracks are sure to form.”
Elder Lian Cheng sighed softly. “We are born with nothing into this world, and we leave with nothing in our hands. Troubles do not exist innately in our hearts, but are shoved in as we pursue material goods and psychological enjoyment. Qinghong, your master read these words a long time ago in an ancient tome and reflected on them for sixty years before comprehending them. You think far too much, which creates the chance for your dao heart to be affected by others. If you followed the dao with a resolute heart and avoided creating so much trouble, paying no heed to contests of pride, then you wouldn’t have caused so many things to happen at all.
“Your martial dao potential is extraordinary, and you are a genius but half a step away from entering the sage realm. Why are you so inflexible as to not have this slightest bit of tolerance? With your level, would you not gain a spot for the Pill Battles? Even if Jiang Chen and Mu Gaoqi have claimed two, there is no question that you and Ling Bi’er would take the other two with no contest at all. But now? You’re merely using your position of utmost genius to hassle a few newly ascended geniuses.
“Don’t you think that your goal should be placed at the Myriad Grand Ceremony yet to come? Or even the mysterious Myriad Paramount Realm?” Elder Lian Cheng spoke persuasively, but his gaze never left Shen Qinghong’s face. It was as if he wanted to see through all of his disciple’s thoughts.
Shen Qinghong’s reply was wooden, “Honored master’s teachings make sense. Your disciple is indeed a bit blinded by the circumstances, and not seeing Mt. Tai. However, I have made up my mind regarding this challenge and wishes that the honored master will support me.”
A trace of disappointment flashed through Elder Lian Chen’s heart. He really wished that Shen Qinghong would experience spontaneous enlightenment and let go of his convictions towards this challenge, forgetting the troubles that Jiang Chen had brought him. In all honesty, his disciple had never personally placed himself on the opposing end from Jiang Chen. He could absolutely remove himself with grace and dignity at any moment, displaying his bearing as the first genius. It was even possible to become friends with Jiang Chen.
Shen Qinghong hadn’t made this decision.
Elder Lian Cheng was disappointed in him. He absolutely did not look favorably on Shen Qinghong’s decision to battle. Although he and Elder Yun Nie had yelled at each other and pounded on a table at each other, they still admired the other. However, neither of them would ever admit that.
Seeing Palace Head Dan Chi and Elder Yun Nie both so supported Jiang Chen, Elder Lian Cheng would never believe that this youth was someone who’d cheated his way to where he was. When Shen Qinghong had made trouble for Jiang Chen all along and slandered his name a month ago, none of this had been Elder Lian Cheng’s idea. It was just that he was Shen Qinghong’s martial dao teacher, and he naturally couldn’t take a public stance to pour cold water on his disciple. At the same time, he wanted to make use of this opportunity to thoroughly assess Shen Qinghong’s will. It now seemed that although his martial dao potential was exceptional, his maturity still needed to undergo necessary tempering.
“How do you plan on competing with him?” Elder Lian Cheng asked.
“Your disciple wishes to compete in pill refinement with him, with one match declaring the winner. Therefore, your disciple would like to borrow the Skypeak Cauldron.”
Elder Lian Cheng’s gaze sharpened as he looked thoughtfully at Shen Qinghong. “As I understand it, Jiang Chen’s cauldron is the Skyweave Cauldron that Palace Head Dan Chi gifted to him. Borrowing my Skypeak Cauldron would place you on the same footing.”
There were five treasured cauldrons in Regal Pill Palace history. They were the Skyscatter, Skyweave, Skypeak, Skyorigin, and Skywood Cauldron. Of them, the Skyscatter and Skywood Cauldron were honored in the Hall of Ancestors in the Regal Pill Palace. There was yet anyone to appear who was destined to use them.
Palace Head Dan Chi owned the Skyweave Cauldron, and he’d given it to Jiang Chen. Elder Lian Cheng owned the Skypeak Cauldron, and Elder Yun Nie owned the Sky Origin Cauldron. These five treasured cauldrons had witnessed the Regal Pill Palace’s rise and glory. The Skypeak and Skyweave Cauldrons hadn’t appeared in public for a hundred years. Therefore, Elder Lian Cheng hesitated when Shen Qinghong made his request.
When the five divine level cauldrons were used against each other, it would become one of the great, momentous occasions for the sect and be recorded in the annals of history. The elder was hesitating because he didn’t want this battle to become a public and memorable record of Shen Qinghong’s failure.