Chapter 534: Bi’er’s Pursuer
Wang Jianyu departed with a flourish and left behind a slightly awkward atmosphere. Palace Head Dan Chi had a faraway expression on his face, a slight curve upturning his lips, obviously wholly unaffected by this kind of provocation. It was rather Shen Qinghong whose darkened face showed how he’d been impacted by this exchange. When he heard that the geniuses of the Sacred Sword Palace had already made it to the sage realm, and saw that he still remained that one step from this advancement, it made him feel quite dejected. Jiang Chen, on the other hand, had come to the silent conclusion that the Sacred Sword Palace and Regal Pill Palace were far from friends. They might even be rivals.
Indeed, Elder Yun Nie spoke lowly, “Relations between the Sacred Sword Palace and our Regal Pill Palace have chilled due to a dispute over a vein of spirit energy a few decades ago. The old palace head had yet to pass on then, and he used the strength of the eighth level sage realm to thoroughly suppress Wang Jianyu to seize the spirit vein.”
So that was what had happened, no wonder Wang Jianyu was so hostile towards them. When the old palace head had passed on, the sect had hastily erected Dan Chi as his successor. Honestly, it’d been slightly forcing Dan Chi beyond his abilities, akin to driving a donkey to dance. However, Dan Chi had prevailed mightily against adverse forces even at his young age, which resulted in him winning support from all over the sect. Even Elder Lian Cheng, the one who had been most heavily favored to be the next palace head, had to admire Dan Chi’s charisma and methods.
Honored Master Tian Ming chuckled, “Ole brother Dan Chi, Wang Jianyu’s vile mouth is renowned throughout the Myriad Domain. Come, let us walk over as well. My disciples are waiting to greet you. Did you know that you’re the goal that the younger generation works towards? You are their idol at having gained control of the Regal Pill Palace at less than fifty years old!”
Palace Head Dan Chi laughed loudly. “I’m afraid I’ll have to blush from old brother’s words.”
The group headed in as they chatted and laughed, with an immediate increase in people as they walked into Rippling Mirage Hall. Those of the 6 fourth rank sects were the center of attention no matter where they went.
As Palace Head Dan Chi walked in, many from the fifth rank sects walked up to greet him courteously. There were eight spots each in the Pill Battles for the 6 fourth rank sects, and four spots each for the 20 fifth rank sects. The strength of the fifth rank sects was obviously far inferior to that of the fourth rank sects. Each fourth rank sect was roughly the combined strength of three to five of their weaker brethren. A strong fourth rank sect like the Great Cathedral might even be ten times the strength of a fifth rank sect!
It could be seen that the various Myriad Domain sects were placing great emphasis on the Pill Battles, as all the sect heads had personally led the groups from their sects. Several heavyweights standing at the most prominent position focused their gazes over at Dan Chi and Tian Ming when the two walked in. When Jiang Chen looked back over, he saw that there were seven sitting at a long table.
“You can move about freely for a while, I will be speaking to the sect heads for a bit.” Dan Chi spoke as he moved in that direction with Tian Ming. “The four sitting together in that direction are the family heads of the four great families in the Great Cathedral. They are the strongest four in the Cathedral and are at least sixth level sage realm. The strongest of them is the head of the Sacred Elephant family. At ninth level sage realm, he is widely held as the strongest expert in the Myriad Domain.
“You all have just met Wang Jianyu. You should’ve met Sect Head Zhu of the Tristar Sect previously, and no matter whoever else, you should never overlook the wizened elder in the corner. He looks simple and honest, like a farmer from the countryside, but he is one of the characters you should be the most careful of in the Myriad Domain. Some would rather offend the head of the Sacred Elephant than this elder from the Walkabout Sect. He’s Sect Head Wei Wuying and he shares a similar cultivation level with Honored Master Tian Ming. However, his skills in poison make him devious and mysterious, and incredibly hard to defend against.”
Judging from the set up, it was apparent that the Great Cathedral was the strongest amongst the six great sects in the Myriad Domain. All of the others had only the sect head sitting at the table, but the Great Cathedral had all four family heads present. They didn’t seem out of place at all since no one doubted their right to sit there.
Wang Jianyu’s obvious display of his power made Jiang Chen recall Feng Wanjian, the one who’d been present on that trip to the wood spirit spring. Their styles were very similar. Those who liked to show off their abilities may be strong, but they didn’t inspire fear. The Walkabout Sect was unpredictable and eerie, just like Sect Head Wei Wuying, who was still insisting on sitting in the most remote corner even when everyone was together. He was one of those who instinctively concealed himself deeply. Compared to everyone else, this was the type that was frightening.
Tristar Sect Head Zhu seemed to be middle of the pack from all aspects. He never sought the limelight and was the sect head that kept the lowest profile in the Myriad Domain. Honored Master Tian Ming was the nice guy of the Myriad Domain. With a smooth and tactful personality, he only spoke good words, and never offended anyone. In contrast, the Great Cathedral was the most domineering. It was just as Xu Gang and Yue Pan had demonstrated during the trip to the spirit spring, they were both domineering and intelligent. The Great Cathedral was indeed the first sect in the Myriad Domain, and had always viewed themselves as such as well.
Elder Yun Nie was naturally quite popular in these kinds of situation. Many old friends came up to chat with him, and he spoke to the four youngsters, “You all should go and mingle. Young folks should interact with each other more.” He left the four where they were and went off to catch up with several old friends.
It was Mu Gaoqi’s first time at such a celebrated gathering, and so he felt more or less ill at ease. Jiang Chen however, was cool and collected, showing not the slightest hint of nervousness. This slightly surprised even Ling Bi’er, someone used to gatherings like these. Junior brother Jiang Chen was from a small place like the sixteen kingdoms, and logically shouldn’t have seen much of scenes like these. She’d been worried that he wouldn’t be used to things.
But now it seemed that she’d been overly worried. Ever since the two had struck up a friendship, Ling Bi’er had felt closer to Jiang Chen and would sometimes think on his behalf in things.
Shen Qinghong had always fancied himself the boss of the younger generation of the Regal Pill Palace. He took the opportunity to laugh heartily, “Junior sister Bi’er, you and I are more familiar with the various disciples of the great sects. Why don’t you show junior brother Jiang and Mu around?”
Ling Bi’er’s delicate brows knitted together slightly. “Senior brother Shen, please call me junior sister Ling instead.”
For some reason, she had an instinctive rejection of Shen Qinghong being so forward as to call her so intimately. She was even faintly repulsed by it. She had somehow relegated “Bi’er” as her private property and refused to allow just anyone to call her that.
Shen Qinghong felt slightly awkward, but still smiled dashingly. “Junior sister Ling, it’s our two junior brothers’ first time at such a gathering in the Myriad Domain. We should show off our attitudes as their senior brother and sister.”
Ling Bi’er nodded slightly but didn’t say anything, unconsciously flicking a glance at Jiang Chen.
Jiang Chen shrugged. “Everyone can do as they wish. What do you think, Gaoqi?”
Mu Gaoqi was quite honest, “I’ll follow Brother Chen.”
When Shen Qinghong saw Jiang Chen and Mu Gaoqi thus, he only thought it was because they were feeling self conscious about their low cultivation level and inwardly sniggered. He struck up an elegant air and said to Ling Bi’er, “It looks like junior brother Jiang and Mu aren’t quite interested. Junior sister Ling, why don’t you take a spin with me? I took a look and saw that each sect has basically sent out their strongest line-up. This is indeed a grand gathering.”
When Ling Bi’er saw that Jiang Chen had no intention of taking a walk around, she was naturally disinterested as well. She responded faintly, “I’m a bit tired after the long journey. You go, senior brother Shen, I’ll stay here and take care of the junior brothers.”
Shen Qinghong was shamed and angered by Ling Bi’er’s repeated rejection. He had long since viewed Ling Bi’er as a chunk of meat for his own consumption, and had even often fantasized about the beautiful scene of taking both sisters at the same time. When he saw how indifference was written all over Ling Bi’er’s icy cool face, it was obvious that she wasn’t that interested in him. This poured a bucket of cold water all over Shen Qinghong’s pride and self respect. However, he possessed some shrewdness and understood the theory of haste not necessarily being a path to success. He comforted himself with the thought that Ling Bi’er was uninterested in anything right now because of her father’s illness. One day, I’ll get both sisters!
He flashed a gallant smile as his thoughts traveled down this path. “Since this is the case, this foolish brother will not continue to force junior sister. I will go catch up with a few old friends.”
Shen Qinghong obviously wanted to flaunt to his network as he started continuously greeting others after taking a few steps forward. He was the top disciple in the Regal Pill Palace in name, so others naturally had to give him a bit of face. In this regard, it rather appeared that he knew a lot of people and was quite popular.
He was quite proud of himself and looked at Ling Bi’er every now and then. However, his actions were merely playing to the gallery in Ling Bi’er’s eyes, not to mention that her thoughts weren’t on him at all. Shen Qinghong was flirting with someone who was completely blind to his efforts.
“Long time no see, junior sister Ling.”
A green shadow suddenly flashed out from a pillar to the left. A young cultivator in the outfit of a Walkabout Sect disciple walked over, smiling merrily at Ling Bi’er.
When she saw this person, a hint of distaste flashed through her previously distant eyes.
“Junior sister Ling, do you not remember your foolish brother after just two years? Do you know how painfully I’ve yearned for you in these two years?” The young man had an exaggerated expression on his face that was tempered with a few hints of sinister ruthlessness, giving others an eerie and forbidding feeling. It seemed that the entire Walkabout Sect subscribed to this style.
Ling Bi’er spoke indifferently. “My memory isn’t too good. Who are you?”
The man laughed leisurely and smacked his forehead in an overdramatic fashion. “Ai, it looks like junior sister Ling still holds a grudge against me. I’ve been thinking of your father’s matter every day the past two years, and as long as the junior sister is willing to marry me, I, Wei Qing, guarantee that I will cure your father’s Miasma.”
When Ling Bi’er had been unable to find help in the Regal Pill Palace, she’d once visited the Walkabout Sect by herself and called upon many poison experts. Wei Qing was the one most adept with poison in the younger generation and furthermore was the sect head’s nephew. That made him one of the most popular people in the younger generation of the Walkabout Sect.
When he’d set eyes on Ling Bi’er, it was as if he’d seen a fairy. Compared to the scheming and caustic women of the Walkabout Sect, he’d fallen in love with Ling Bi’er’s heavenly demeanor. However, she was quickly on her guard when she saw how exaggerated and uncircumspect he was. This kid was just like the lecherous farts in the Walkabout Sect, only thinking of how to conquer Ling Bi’er and not bothering with the Miasma at all.
When Ling Bi’er thought of matters of the past, she naturally wasn’t kindly disposed towards those from the Walkabout Sect. She responded frostily, “No need, my Regal Pill Palace was founded on the basis of pill dao and so will have the antidote sooner or later.”
Wei Qing chuckled, “If the Regal Pill Palace could find a way, you wouldn’t have gone to my Walkabout Sect either. Why must you keep me at arm’s lengths after two years? How do you know I’m unable to cure the Miasma if you don’t even give me a chance?”
While this person looked urbane and genteel, he actually had a gift for shameless, tireless pursuit.