Chapter 568: A Dejected Elder Wu Hen
When he saw Jiang Chen vanish from his field of vision, a dense killing intent was birthed in Elder Wu Hen’s heart. It was the first time he’d gotten the feeling of going all out against someone and still finding it a difficult battle—and this was against a mere fifth level origin realm! If it’d been any other occasion, a fifth level origin realm was but an ant in Elder Wu Hen’s eyes. He could destroy the other with a mere flip of his hand. Why would he have to go to such lengths?
All his precautions and schemes today had failed, and he’d had to resort to swearing an oath which allowed Jiang Chen to leave in style. Although he was confident that he wouldn’t have a problem tracking down Jiang Chen, allowing him to leave with such flair was no small humiliation.
As for Wei Qing, he still had two holes drilled through his thighs. He took advantage of his newfound freedom to swallow several pills and apply some external medicine to his wounds. Although the medicines weren’t of the level of crafting new flesh over bone or reviving the dead, their effects were still praiseworthy. Wei Qing’s wounds quickly recovered to the point where they didn’t affect his movements. He walked over to Elder Wu Hen, nursing a bellyful of hate. “Elder, you let the kid just leave like that?”
Wu Hen rolled his eyes. “What would happen to you if I didn’t?”
Elder Wu Hen was actually very dissatisfied with the current situation. If it hadn’t been for Wei Qing underestimating their foe, how would they have ended up in these straits? Food that had been on the verge of entering their mouths had flown away. Although it was assured that they’d find it again, it would still consume much more time and effort to trap now. Wei Qing felt both humiliated and buoyed by Elder Wu Hen’s counter question. “I’ll go after him!”
“You shut up!” Elder Wu Hen roared furiously, glaring at Wei Qing. “Not good enough to accomplish anything, but more than enough to spoil things! Do you want our sect to be judged by the heavenly oath if you go chasing after him now?!”
Wei Qing was taken aback by Elder Wu Hen’s vehemence before he remembered this matter and was greatly embarrassed, particularly when he heard the elder’s first line. Hearing “Not good enough to accomplish anything, but more than enough to spoil things” was as if a whip had just snapped across his heart, bringing him enormous shame. However, no matter how arrogant he was, he wouldn’t dare throw his weight around in front of Elder Wu Hen.
Even though Elder Wu Hen wasn’t the strongest elder in the Walkabout Sect, he was the one with the highest pill dao potential in the Walkabout Sect. He was ranked as one of the top five people within the sect. No matter how much potential Wei Qing had, at the end of the day, he was still only a genius with potential. He was still a wet behind the ears rookie compared to one of the most influential elders. And, it was true that he had been the cause of the trap going awry. If he hadn’t been captured because he’d underestimated Jiang Chen, it was highly unlikely Jiang Chen would’ve left so easily.
Wei Qing was a proudly aloof genius in the end, and he couldn’t just sit there and be lectured harshly by Elder Wu Hen. He blurted out, “This Jiang Chen is really bizarre! Elder Wu Hen, your poison formations didn’t have the slightest effect on him! Does this kid not fear our poison formations at all?”
He looked like he was confused about Jiang Chen, but he was actually subtly sending a jab; aren’t you something, Elder Wu Hen? Why didn’t you keep him here with your formations?
This question was also one that Elder Wu Hen was most hard pressed to answer. “Wei Qing, I can give you only one suggestion if you bump into Jiang Chen again.”
“What?” Wei Qing started in surprise.
“Turn and run.” Elder Wu Hen said indifferently. “Run as far as you can.”
Wei Qing’s face darkened; he couldn’t contain his anger any longer as he exploded, “Elder Wu Hen, I know I made a mistake just now that led to my capture which ruined things. But you don’t need to jeer at me, do you? Who hasn’t made mistakes in their youth? Who hasn’t underestimated the enemy when young? If I hadn’t been so confident in your poison formations, I wouldn’t have let him so easily walk in front of me either!”
Wei Qing was indeed making some sense. If he hadn’t been so assured of the poison formations working, he really wouldn’t have been captured so easily.
Elder Wu Hen smiled faintly. “I’m also rather surprised by the formations failing. However, my suggestion just now wasn’t criticism towards you. Believe me if you wish, or not if you don’t.”
Wei Qing started. “Jiang Chen is just an overly slippery fellow; why is he worthy of so much admiration from you?”
“That kid is slippery alright, but the crux is that his methods are ever-changing and never seem to run dry. They’re not something you can defend against. I don’t know what kind of abilities he has, but he could even pick up on something as covert as me summoning a spirit creature to ambush him. Are you confident of facing off against an opponent of this caliber?”
Wei Qing stood there openmouthed with shock as he struggled to find words.
“Your specialty is poison, but even my poison formations couldn’t hold him. What good do you think your skills would be?”
Wei Qing wasn’t willing to accept this analysis. “Even if my poison skills don’t hold up against him, his cultivation level is only fifth level origin realm. I can crush him with pure strength alone.”
“You’d probably only die faster if you think this way.” Elder Wu Hen quirked his lips and then waved him off. “Alright, you go think things over. Don’t interrupt my thinking.”
He couldn’t be bothered to explain it further to Wei Qing. Wei Qing was a flighty and easily irritated character. Elder Wu Hen’s view of this disciple had changed greatly after seeing how he’d handled this matter.
This matter rankled greatly in Wei Qing’s heart. All he could see was Elder Wu Hen belittling him to enhance Jiang Chen’s prestige. But as unfair as he found things, he would never outright yell at Elder Wu Hen in argument.
Jiang Chen walked for roughly an hour before stopping. He located a source of water and changed his clothes, giving them a thorough wash. “That Elder Wu Hen is exceptionally devious alright. Although the poison formations didn’t pose much of a challenge, they still left trackable traces on me. That crafty old fox left backup plans at every step.”
Jiang Chen circulated his spirit power to renew the presence around his entire body, then summoned some agile Goldbiter Rats, giving them the clothes he’d just changed out of and sent them in different directions. In this way, not only had he cleanly wiped his trail, but he’d also laid many false ones for Wu Hen.
“Wu Hen, you think yourself clever, don’t you? Let’s see how you catch me.” Jiang Chen was quite confident in himself. If Elder Wu Hen could still catch up to him after all this, then Jiang Chen would really accept his defeat. As for Wei Qing, Jiang Chen was already thinking of him as a dead man. He knew how to use poison, just like those of the Walkabout Sect. Those arrows that’d been shot through Wei Qing had been smeared with a rather unique poison Jiang Chen had refined from the Divine Tree of Dreams.
Jiang Chen had used a similar poison refined from the Tree and a couple of other methods to take out Wei Wudao back at the wood spirit spring. This poison that he’d left in Wei Qing’s body had an incubation period, and would strike at him anytime between ten days to a month. Once it did, even gods and ghosts would find it hard to cure Wei Qing. It’d also be completely futile for the Walkabout Sect to dream of curing a poison that Jiang Chen had created.
Wei Qing would die a baffling death, and the Walkabout Sect would only be able to swallow this mouthful of blood. They wouldn’t be able to pin the blame on Jiang Chen, since the incubation period was so long. Moreover, Mt. Rippling Mirage was a strange and unpredictable place. Who knew if whether Wei Qing had run into some sort of bizarre poison in the mountain?
Jiang Chen was now more curious about the mountain after obtaining the sky rank Hidden Chameleon Cloudpine. Logically speaking, as abundant the spirit herbs were in Mt. Rippling Mirage, it was just a royal herb garden left behind by a Lower Realm empire. Sky rank spirit herbs wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in the Upper Eight Realms, but it was quite rare for one to appear in the Lower Eight Realms, particularly a destitute empire like this.
“This Mt. Rippling Mirage is an interesting conundrum.” Jiang Chen began to feel more and more certain that there was more than what met the eye after walking for a few more days within the mountain. There seemed to be many mechanisms hidden within the terrain.
Blue lakes with water as still as mirrors, for instance. Jiang Chen had run into three of them over the course of these few days. They all had abundant spirit power around them. However, there were no more sky rank spirit herbs in these ones, just a lot of true rank spirit herbs. They once again lined Jiang Chen’s pockets.
He ran into another lake on the ninth day, but it was obvious that someone had already passed by this lake. There were only a few low level spirit herbs left, with almost nothing else. Someone had already done a thorough sweep of the premises.
“It looks like everyone’s disinterested in spirit rank herbs.” Jiang Chen looked around and noted that there weren’t any signs of a sky rank spirit herb appearing in this lake either. He couldn’t help but laugh ruefully. “Not every lake will have a sky rank herb. If this was the case, then we’d be in the Upper Eight Realms instead of the Lower Eight Realms.”
Sky rank herbs weren’t that common even in the Upper Eight Realms. Jiang Chen’s curiosity about the mountain’s topography grew as the lakes appeared in increasing numbers. It was a pity that he couldn’t fly. Otherwise, he’d want to take a look from the heights to see just how many lakes were around. He took casual, leisurely strolls and immersed himself in the joy of harvesting spirit herbs.
On the other hand, Elder Wu Hen and his comrade Elder Wu Qi were having a particularly depressing time. It’d been several days since they’d started tracking Jiang Chen, but they hadn’t even managed to catch a hint of his shadow. Elder Wu Hen was holding a piece of Jiang Chen’s old clothing that he’d changed out of, and flung it viciously down. “This little scum is truly wily! Not only does he know that I left marks on his body, he even knows how to refine them and use them to lure us here!”
Elder Wu Qi also found this to be an incredible situation. How could he not understand how complex Elder Wu Hen’s methods were? But here he was, bested by a young disciple. This had never been seen before! “That Jiang Chen kid is this devious! Brother Wu Hen, are you sure that there’s a sky rank herb on him?” Elder Wu Qi had come up empty-handed after accompanying Elder Wu Hen on a wild goose chase for a few days. He couldn’t help but want to shift focus. After all, they were all here to harvest spirit herbs and accumulate wealth, not to engage in these completely meaningless games.
Elder Wu Hen’s expression was livid as he looked coldly at Elder Wu Qi. “What, do you think I’m playing you for a fool? Why would I waste time tracking him if it wasn’t for the sky rank spirit herb?”
Elder Wu Qi’s position wasn’t as high as Elder Wu Hen. He hastily offered a artful smile when he saw Elder Wu Hen was displeased. “Then let’s continue our chase. Since he swore not to leave, and we still have another eleven days, why don’t we notify all Walkabout Sect disciples who’ve entered to immediately report to us if they find any trace of Jiang Chen? We can even utilize those from other sects and offer them benefits for them to be our eyes and ears. We can heavily reward anyone who finds Jiang Chen!”
There would always be heroes putting themselves forward in the face of great rewards. Elder Wu Hen nodded enthusiastically at this idea. “Let’s do it this way then!”