Chapter 571: Once in Three Thousand Years
Wang Han and Du Luhuang also immediately transformed into two rays of light and sped in the direction Yue Baize had left in.
The place remained silent for a moment, and a figure emerged from the ground. Surprisingly, it was Jiang Chen. He’d sensed Du Lihuang’s chase and remained hidden, drawing closer only when he sensed Du Lihuang and Yue Baize exchanging blows. When he saw that Du Lihuang had unintentionally gotten himself into quite a bit of trouble, and saw Wang Han facing off against Yue Baize, Jiang Chen had thought that he was in for a good show between the geniuses. Who knew that the two parties would immediately set aside their grievances and instantly leave after receiving some messages?
“The appearance of a hundred lakes and ripples of mirages? Ancient ruins, hidden herb garden, what’s all this?” Jiang Chen suddenly received two message glyphs in quick succession as he stood there, puzzled. One was from Elder Yun Nie, and the other from Ling Bi’er. They both mentioned the same thing; the emergence of a hundred lakes and ripples of mirages…
Elder Yun Nie’s glyph also mentioned that Mu Gaoqi had met up with him already.
This was actually the person Jiang Chen had been the most worried about. With Mu Gaoqi’s cultivation level, he was without a doubt the weakest genius participating in the Pill Battles. Now that he had met up with Elder Yun Nie, Jiang Chen was much more at ease.
An ancient ruin, and a hidden herb garden. This string of news greatly tempted Jiang Chen. He was about to walk forward when he suddenly came to a halt.
“If even I’ve received news, then so must have those of the Walkabout Sect. Perhaps it might turn out to be a smokescreen that they’ve sent out to lure me out? Perhaps hoping to catch me halfway?” Jiang Chen was thinking through things with an extra layer of caution. If this news was true, then the elders of the Walkabout Sect could very well ambush him halfway and take the sky spirit herb. But if this was false, the elders would still attack him on his way in. No matter whether this news was true or not, things wouldn’t look too good for him if he just charged in haphazardly. As he worked out the ramifications of the news, Jiang Chen decided to still be as careful as possible.
He decided to first take a walk around the outskirts. Everyone was charging inwards to the meeting point right now, so the area would be rather busy. The outskirts actually turned into a haven for him, and he made many gains after wandering around for another day.
Things were precisely as he had surmised. Elder Wu Hen and Elder Wu Qi had thought that Jiang Chen would fall into their trap like a moth to a flame. However, they still came up empty-handed even after keeping careful watch for quite a while.
Elder Wu Qi was a bit dejected, “Brother Daoist Wu Hen, I feel like that kid has been thoroughly scared out of his wits. He’s probably made up his mind to not show up. In my opinion, we should go to the rendezvous first. If we’re any later, they’ll probably leave us behind and go by themselves.”
Elder Wu Hen gritted his teeth. He hadn’t thought that Jiang Chen would be so slippery and not even show a sliver of his face under these circumstances. His irritation was sky high, and he had no place to vent his anger. “Ancient ruins, hidden herb garden…” Elder Wu Hen’s heart was also dripping blood. He too knew of that herb garden’s existence and how it had once propelled the Myriad Empire to new heights. However, he just somehow felt that compared to the sky rank herb that Jiang Chen definitely had, those unknown rumors weren’t worth that much. What if they’d been exaggerated?
“Brother Daoist Wu Hen, if that ancient herb garden is real, there may yet be sky rank herbs once it opens. Jiang Chen could find a sky rank herb even in the lakes of the outskirts, how could there be none in the herb garden itself? With our Walkabout Sect’s strength, we’ll figure out a way to seize a sky rank herb as long as it appears!” Elder Wu Qi continuously tried to convince Elder Wu Hen. His heart was actually afire with anxiety. He didn’t want to waste time on this pointless waiting. He felt that waiting for Jiang Chen to walk into their trap was a nothing more than fanciful thought. What if he didn’t come? They’d have wasted their time for nothing. He’d already gotten a sky rank spirit herb, there was no need to become embroiled in these muddy waters again.
Elder Wu Hen was still a bit hesitant. He really didn’t want to give up just like this. “Let’s wait a bit longer. We can go to the meeting point if he still hasn’t shown up by daybreak.”
Elder Wu Qi sighed lightly, realizing that Elder Wu Hen must hate Jiang Chen a great deal. From a certain aspect, the sky rank herb was no longer the primary motive here, but rather Elder Wu Hen’s own pride.
“Alright, let us hope that that scum shows up tonight.” Elder Wu Qi also knew just as well that there was little hope of that.
There were indeed a handful of disciples who passed by them, but they were all of other sects. Elder Wu Hen kept watch almost all night long, but not hair nor hide of Jiang Chen was seen. When light began to appear in the east, Elder Wu Hen knew that there was nothing to be done and didn’t voice a word of protest. He silently withdrew the poison formation with Elder Wu Qi and made for the gathering spot.
“There’s no need to be frustrated, Brother Daoist Wu Hen. If Jiang Chen appears at the meeting point, we’ll still have a chance to make a move towards him. If he doesn’t, we’ll also have the chance to obtain a sky rank spirit herb with the opening of the ancient herb garden.” Elder Wu Qi attempted to comfort the other. With the way things had progressed, these were the only platitudes that he could offer.
Jiang Chen was loitering around the outskirts but remaining in contact with Ling Bi’er. They weren’t far away from each other now, and could speak to each other silently.
“Haha, it seems that Elder Wu Hen is indeed laying in wait for me outside and only rushing to the meeting point now. Mm? Elder Wu Qi is also accompanying him?” Jiang Chen had made an agreement with Ling Bi’er that she would tell him as soon as Elder Wu Hen appeared at the rendezvous point. He’d just received her message that Elder Wu Hen had appeared, as well as Elder Wu Qi.
“Elder Wu Qi, hmm?” Jiang Chen was a bit surprised. “That Elder Wu Hen wouldn’t have really gone and violated the oath to leak news to Elder Wu Qi, would he?” His thoughts instantly started turning another direction after these words. “Ah, he was purposefully playing for time earlier and must have messaged Elder Wu Qi before swearing to the oath!”
He was sweating profusely when he finished speaking aloud. Elder Wu Hen was truly a wily old fox. Jiang Chen had been so careful, but had still almost fallen victim to a trap. If he hadn’t retreated in time, then he really might’ve been ambushed by those two old fellows by the time Elder Wu Qi made it there!
“That old fox Wu Hen is really thoroughly slippery. I need to be even more careful when I meet him next.” This Elder Wu Hen didn’t display his emotions easily and kept his cards close to his heart. He was clearly adept at creating falsehoods that lured others into relaxing their guard. Unless one could completely trample him, one had to constantly be on their guard against him, no matter what. But since Elder Wu Hen had already gone to the rendezvous point, Jiang Chen was no longer worried about traps.
He quickly sped over and arrived at the meeting point with an enormous bound after roughly two hours. Almost all the forty people in the two successive batches that had entered the mountain had gathered here at this point. Elder Wu Qi was slightly surprised by his presence and glanced quickly at Elder Wu Hen.
Jiang Chen caught this small movement out of the corner of his eyes. This made him even more certain that the old fox had long since used some method to notify Elder Wu Qi. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have dared reveal the secret of the sky rank herb after the oath was sworn. The heavens themselves would’ve descended to deliver calamitous judgement onto the Walkabout Sect if he’d broken that oath. The human heart could be lied to, but the heavenly dao would brook no falsehood.
“You’re finally here, Brother Chen!” Mu Gaoqi was overjoyed to see Jiang Chen. Although Ling Bi’er didn’t wear her heart on a sleeve like Mu Gaoqi, her delicate features also relaxed slightly as she saw him.
Jiang Chen joined up with the Regal Pill Palace retinue and ignored the looks of assessment from Elder Wu Hen and Elder Wu Qi. These two fellows were likely burning with fury, but didn’t dare do anything to him.
“Junior brother, I found one of the spirit herbs on your list—Tranquil Jade Sumi.” Ling Bi’er walked over joyfully to tell Jiang Chen her good news.
Jiang Chen smiled slightly and responded in a low tone, “I’ve gotten one as well. Let’s talk about it later.”
He didn’t dare talk about the Aletheia Icegrass. Once that was exposed, he would attract hatred from both Ku Zhu and Du Lihuang.
Ling Bi’er was overjoyed by his news. Jiang Chen had once said that he would have seventy to eighty percent chance in awakening her father if they collected these four main ingredients. Now that she’d found one and junior brother Jiang Chen had found one, there were only two spirit herb ingredients away from curing her father.
There was finally a glimmer of hope after a decade of struggling with this ailment. Ling Bi’er felt her nose tingle in this moment as she suppressed the urge to bawl loudly. She looked at Jiang Chen, a vague, murky feeling arising within her heart to join the gratitude that had already settled there. Her heart, which had remained serene and tranquil for twenty years, had now begun to stir to life. Her junior brother Jiang Chen had descended from the skies as if an immortal on a white horse, pulling her out of the mire to resolve all her problems. Before he’d arrived, all those forefathers of pill dao and those so-called geniuses had all run their mouths, but none of them had stepped forward to resolve the issue.
Jiang Chen nodded at Ling Bi’er and walked over to Elder Yun Nie, speaking a few words before confirming the veracity of the rumors, that it wasn’t something Elder Wu Hen had made up. “Jiang Chen, no one had known of those rumors before either. There were quite a few ancient books in the ruins of the Myriad Empire after it had fallen. Apart from the heavyweights of the fourth rank sects in the Myriad Domain knowing of this, it hasn’t traveled to anywhere else.”
The emergence of a hundred lakes, a rippling mirage, ancient ruins, hidden herb garden…
“How much of these rumors are true?” Jiang Chen was curious.
“Since they were recorded in even the annals of Myriad Empire history, there shouldn’t be much falsehood to them. History speaks of this ancient herb garden as a divine miracle, and that the Empire was truly strong for a while because of its appearance. To put it bluntly, this ancient herb garden is what created the strong Myriad Empire of yesteryear.” Elder Yun Nie explained patiently, but gave a sigh as he came to a close. “It’s a pity that this scene has only appeared once, three thousand years ago. Therefore, everyone suspects that this herb garden appears only appears once in three thousand years.”
Jiang Chen nodded lightly. With his understanding of ancient ruins and forbidden areas, they usually all had their own pattern in opening. If they lost that pattern, then there would be only one reason—
Order had collapsed.