Chapter 574: The Rippling Mirage Formation
Each of the remaining five sects had assigned an elder to stay behind after a little conversation amongst themselves.
All eyes turned to affix the Sacred Sword Palace. Evidently, if the sect tried to blather or argue again, they would attract harsh criticism and combined suppression from the other five sects.
Elder Chen’s face looked hard and bitter. “We’re all from the Myriad Domain. We should be crossing the river in the same boat in this situation. Are you all trying to band together to shunt the Sacred Sword Palace aside?”
Everyone remained silent. At this time, silence was golden.
Elder Xiang Gan waved his hands dismissively and said impatiently, “Ol’ Chen, you’re just wasting everybody’s time now. Right now, everyone is trying to persuade you with fair and kind words; you don’t want to incite mass outrage, do you?”
“That’s right! Are you staying or not? We just need a single word of agreement from your Sacred Sword Palace. Stop wasting our time.”
“Elder Chen, either you stay behind or all of your Sacred Sword Palace remains here.”
“Elder Chen, you could stay here with the younger generation of Sacred Sword Palace if you’re afraid they’ll be bullied inside. You can then enter together with all of your people when they arrive three days later. We won’t object to that either.”
The situation looked like it would soon grow out of hand in the face of such boiling emotions. No one could remain calm when the ancient herb garden was right in front of them. Think of the rumors! This herb garden had caused the Myriad Empire to enter an unprecedented era of glory! Now that it had appeared three thousand years later, this presented another chance for the Myriad Domain to shake up their world. They would lose out tremendously if they didn’t take advantage of this.
If it was even Palace Head Wang Jianyu in front of everyone here at this moment, the crowd might still refuse to show him face, much less a mere Sacred Sword Palace elder.
Jiang Chen had kept quiet all along and hadn’t fanned the flames further. He knew that whether in terms of status or martial dao strength, he had no right to speak. It’d be best if he kept quiet and silently collected his wealth.
Since the Walkabout Sect now had a good relationship with the Sacred Sword Palace, Elder Wu Hen tried to help resolve the issue. “Ol’ Chen, if you have faith in me. I will help look after the disciples from your sect after they enter. Although I can’t guarantee they will do such-and-such, but I can promise you that they won’t be mistreated.”
If there was anyone who could be called the most eager to enter the ancient herb garden, that would be Elder Wu Hen. So, it was a matter of course for him to try smooth things over. Elder Chen contemplated this new offer for a while. He noted the other sects’ covetous demeanor; if he didn’t agree to this, then Sacred Sword Palace might really be ostracized and be a common public target.
“How could I possibly refuse Brother Wu Hen’s words? Ol’ Xiang, I can stay behind, but I want you to promise me that you won’t let our younger generation suffer or get taken advantage off inside there.” Elder Chen knew of the enmity between Du Lihuang and the Great Cathedral’s Yue Baize. If by any chance, the Great Cathedral’s younger generation were to create trouble, the Sacred Sword Palace’s youngsters would absolutely come off worse in the following exchanges.
Xiang Qian said faintly, “I can only make sure that my Great Cathedral won’t seek revenge from the Sacred Sword Palace. Other than that, I cannot promise anything else.”
Elder Chen was actually worried that those crazies from the Great Cathedral would take the opportunity to make trouble for them. “As long as Great Cathedral doesn’t make trouble for us, then there’s nothing for me to be worried about. Not to mention that Elder Wu Hen will look after my people.”
Elder Xiang Qian nodded, “Then, it’s decided. You six will stay behind and wait until the third batch of people has arrived before you enter again. Remember, make sure they swear to the heavens. There must not be a single loophole. Whoever refuses to make the oath shall become the common enemy of the entirety of the Myriad Domain. Anyone will have the right to punish them.”
Everyone was in favor of those words.
The elders who’d chosen to stay behind sat down cross-legged as a group after making various agreements, whereas the others all dashed inside, one after another.
More mirror-like lakes appeared in front of everyone after moving approximately twenty kilometers inward. Jiang Chen had seen many of these lakes when he was outside. He’d thought it odd then, and had felt that there were certainly a lot of lakes in Mt. Rippling Mirage. He’d obtained his Hidden Chameleon Cloudpine from one of them as well.
It was a pity that although there were many spirit herbs growing around the lakes, but they were mostly low level. Even earth rank spirit herbs were rare, with a complete absence of sky rank spirit herbs. It was obvious that Jiang Chen’s had been a happy accident.
The more they walked in, lakes started appearing in higher frequencies, ranging in size and ship and dotting the landscape like stars in the sky. The appearance of a hundred lakes and the rippling mirage. Casting an eye over things, there were many more than a hundred lakes here.
Muffled rumbling sounds like rolling thunder traveled into everyone’s ears in the distance as they walked another fifteen kilometers. Everyone unconsciously picked up the pace. Elder Yun Nie issued some reminders in a low voice, “Everyone be careful, and don’t panic. It’s impossible for there not to be any risk in the ancient herb garden.”
A waterfall that looked like the rivers of the nine heavens soon came into view. It was as if someone had torn a rip in the bed of the heavenly rivers, forcing it to crash down endlessly. The waterfall extended into the clouds, and its width was unmeasurable. It pounded the rocks from great heights with dominating momentum, causing a slight pain as one’s eardrums began to ratter.
There were hazy ripples of water around the waterfall, seemingly real but also illusory. They were tangible mirages without material form, presenting the visual impact of indistinct, ethereal beauty. When the sunlight shone on the ripples, it fractured into stunning colors that interwove in the air, creating long arcs of rainbows and appearing extraordinarily beautiful in the air.
“Tsk tsk, is this the true Mt. Rippling Mirage?” Everyone was captivated by the marvelous sight in front of them. They’d just entered Mt. Rippling Mirage, but hadn’t thought that there would be even more beautiful illusionary sights within. It gave rise to endless wonderful daydreams.
However, Jiang Chen could discern that the layers of intersecting ripples were actually part of a very strong defense formation. If ordinary folks didn’t detect the formation and rushed up to examine it, they would absolutely be instantly destroyed by the formation. However, he could also see that the formation seemed to be slowly opening as the ripples shifted and changed. Apparently the three thousand year cycle was marked by the opening of the formation.
“It looks like the rumors weren’t false.” Jiang Chen knew that the formation would be thoroughly open after another hour of helping it along, loosening up its layers.
“Heh heh, Baize, behind the waterfall must be the entrance to the ancient herb garden. How about you and I take the lead?” Xiang Qin from the Sacred Elephant family was chomping at the bit and invited Yue Baize from the Sacred Lion family to come be part of the vanguard.
However, Elder Xiang Gan not quite shouted, “Don’t be reckless!”
Xiang Qin started. “Elder, I remember that the rumors say that when the water curtain of the waterfall opens, that is considered the entrance of the herb garden. Was that wrong?”
“It’s accurate, but to recklessly charge in like you’re doing and disturb the formation is no different from just going to your death!” What level was Elder Xiang Gan’s cultivation? He’d naturally see through the ripples to the profound mysteries of this formation.
“Formation?!” Xiang Qin’s eyes widened, betraying his astonishment, as he took a closer look at the hazy mirages. “Those beautiful rainbows are a formation?”
“Hmph, would it be called the ancient herb garden if it was so easy to enter? A formation that opens once in three thousand years, even emperor realm cultivators likely don’t dare charge in blindly, much less you!”
Apart from the elders present, it was likely only Jiang Chen who’d been able to detect the formation in the younger generation. Even if the Dark North Sect specialized in formations, or whether its young disciples curbed their impulses and were patiently listening to an elder analyze the formation, they were only scratching the surface. There was no hope for them to thoroughly analyze the formation. But even so, they were able to tell that the formation was slowly opening.
Xiang Qin was dejected. “So there’s a formation; do we just sit here and wait? Or do we team up to try to break through it together?”
Lin Hai from the Dark North Sect suddenly laughed. “Brother Xiang Qin, although I don’t fully understand this formation, I can tell you that even if all of our strength increased by tenfold, we still wouldn’t be able to break the formation.”
“That ridiculous?” Xiang Qin knew that the Dark North Sect specialized in formations, and so didn’t doubt Lin Tai’s words.
“Don’t worry, the formation is slowly opening. It looks like the rumors of the formation opening once every three thousand years were true. If the formation doesn’t open by itself, I’m afraid that we would be at a loss for options even if all the experts in our six sects were here.” Elder Xiang Gan nodded.
Elder Wu Hen looked expressionlessly at the Rippling Mirage Formation and occasionally flicked a hurried glance at Jiang Chen. It was obvious that his emotions were indisputably complicated at the moment. He lusted both for the ancient herb garden and Jiang Chen’s sky rank spirit herb.
Jiang Chen’s consciousness was strong, and so even though Elder Wu Hen hid it well, Jiang Chen still sensed it every time Elder Wu Hen snuck a peek his way. “Hmph, that old man is still coveting my sky rank herb.”
Jiang Chen wasn’t afraid. With so many present, Elder Wu Hen wouldn’t dare to openly seize his spirit herb, no matter how domineering he was. He didn’t become distracted either, but took the opportunity to carefully examine the formation. It should be something created by an ancient expert back in the day. He estimated that the one who could set up this formation was a formation master who was at least a Great Titled Emperor, or even beyond.
“It looks like the Divine Abyss Continent didn’t survive the ages with its present level of strength. The strongest people in the Myriad Domain sits at the peak of the sage realm, and curiously enough, Mt. Rippling Mirage is already present in a mere lower realm like the Myriad Domain. This indicates that there were at least Great Titled Emperors present here in ancient times.” Jiang Chen felt that the Myriad Domain had suddenly become entirely mysterious, with all sorts of secrets just waiting to be discovered.
A flare of bright light marked the two hour point, and the hazy, ethereal ripples as well as the intersecting rainbows all suddenly evaporated into the air. Next, that unending water curtain parted from the middle, revealing a set of ancient and simple silver-colored stone stairs. The stairs were full of an ancient and desolate air, giving one the feeling of setting foot into a desolate and barren era.
“The formation’s open, let’s go!” Those from the Great Cathedral charged in as soon as Elder Xiang Gan’s mouth finished the order.