Chapter 589: Appearance of the Sky Rank Spirit Herbs
The altar appeared both sacred and dignified on the third platform, looking down at everything from its position at the top. In the moment that the crowd set foot on the third platform, they felt a wave of an ancient presence wash over them. The altar had stood for countless years, its thick sense of desolation instilling an urge in those assembled to genuflect at the altar. Despite the years, the sand grains from the river of time had left nary a hint on the altar. Not even a speck of dust adorned its surface. It was almost as if someone had been dusting it off every day. However, everyone present knew how impossible that supposition was. The ancient herb garden opened but once in three thousand years. There was no one who could come day after day to clean the altar. Nevertheless, no hint of the time that had passed was visible on the altar, not a single detail out of place.
It was as if the countless years had only left behind a feeling of desolation, and nothing else. Jiang Chen stood at the rear of the crowd, not a ripple of emotion visible on his face, but great waves surging in his heart. When he’d set foot on the third platform, he’d felt some sort of connection with this presence. But when he analyzed it further, he realized that this tenuous unknown connection didn’t seem to be between him and the ancient garden, but between the altar and the nameless blade on his back instead!
This discovery left Jiang Chen quite astonished. He’d always known that this treasured blade was extraordinary. Although he’d used it against enemies, the blade technique of “Vast Ocean Current Splitter” wasn’t really at a high enough level to truly excavate the blade’s potential. He’d only tapped into the barest surface of its abilities, but what had puzzled him the most was that Jiang Chen had obtained this blade from the Eastern Kingdom, when the second organizer of the Hidden Dragon Trials Du, Ruhai, had been arrested and his house sealed. Princess Gouyu had been present as well, and he’d taken almost nothing, just this simple blade. And now, he’d unexpectedly discovered a clue about it in this altar.
Although this connection was nebulous at best, Jiang Chen was very sensitive and had clearly grasped it. “A blade from the Eastern Kingdom and a divine altar within Mt. Rippling Mirage of the Myriad Domain. What’s the connection between the two?”
Jiang Chen couldn’t even begin to extrapolate the answer no matter how hard he thought, but of one point he was certain, and that was that the two had something in common. Even if they weren’t directly linked, they were certainly indirectly connected. As for why the blade had come into the Du clan’s hands and had its shine dulled, obscuring the splendid radiance it should’ve had—this was an ancient mystery that no one would be able to solve.
Jiang Chen didn’t outwardly reveal his discovery, but discreetly observed the altar instead. There were twelve round pillars to the towering altar, with exceedingly profound, ancient runes carved on each pillar. All of them formed a perfect whole together with the twelve pillars. The dome of the altar topped the pillars, with even more lifelike pictographs inscribed into it. Although quite a sight, no one knew what they meant.
This altar looked simple and apparent to one glance, but that solemn, holy presence made everyone unconsciously avert their eyes. Jiang Chen took a close look and noted steps made of white jade around the altar, with ripples that shimmered in and out of existence around the jade steps.
Jiang Chen recognized that to be an exceedingly strong formation. It would appear that although the altar had weathered many years, the restrictions had yet to fade. This meant to say that the interior of the altar was a forbidden area, not to be ventured into. The shimmering ripples looked as gentle as water, but Jiang Chen was certain that even if Elder Xiang Gan barged in, he would be instantly slaughtered by the formation.
Elder Xiang Gan observed the altar’s outskirts for a bit and revealed a hint of a solemn look. “Everyone be careful, don’t venture in mistakenly. Be careful of being destroyed by the formations!”
Elder Xiang Gan was someone who recognized the value of what was staring him in the face. Everyone snapped to solemn attention, but they weren’t here for the altar either. Although the altar was incomparably holy, it was apparent at a glance that it was empty, with nothing of value within. Therefore, everyone felt that the altar was just for worship. It might’ve held special meaning in ancient times, but there wasn’t much meaning to it now for them.
However, Elder Xiang Gan still approached, gravely reverent, and bowed respectfully towards the altar. “Oh ancient gods, we are but passersby from the Myriad Domain. We dare not desecrate the altar, but only wish to beg for some sky spirit herbs for the future of the Myriad Domain. We pray that the gods do not fault us for doing so.”
The other elders also came forward to pay their respects as well. Although no one had any idea if there was any use to this ritual, everyone felt more at ease after doing so. There were beams of spirit power ensconcing the four corners around the altar, but in between them, one could still glimpse them, the sky rank spirit herbs!
There were three sky rank herbs in each plot of land, making for twelve total. Elder Tan Lang of the Tristar Sect instantly heaved a sigh of relief. His sect was ranked sixth from the lottery, so if the total number of spirit herbs wasn’t a multiple of six, it would be a loss for his sect. But since it had turned out to be so, each great sect would be able to receive two sky rank herbs.
But now it was Elder Xiang Gan who was a bit dejected. Since there were twelve herbs, there wasn’t anything extra that his Great Cathedral could skim off. If there’d been thirteen, then they would’ve been able to take another one. But since it was an even twelve, everyone would receive the same amount. However, he wasn’t overly depressed as there were two sky rank herbs earmarked for him. He chuckled, “The same rules apply. My Great Cathedral chooses first. Since there are twelve, each sect will receive two. That’s fair.”
Elder Wu Hen was one who played his cards close to his chest, but he couldn’t help but feel moved at the sight of the sky rank herbs. He’d chased after Jiang Chen for so long for just a single sky rank herb, right? But now, there were twelve in front of him. And of those, two would be coming to his sect!
However, there were spirit power forcefields around the spirit herbs, so it would take some effort to harvest them. But with the strength of the sage realm cultivators present, even though it would take a bit of time to break through the forcefields, it was still a sure bet. The only difficult part was to do so without harming the spirit herbs. Otherwise, they would’ve easily broken through the forcefields through brute force with just a couple blows.
Jiang Chen took a look at the heavyweights grouping together and didn’t step forward to become involved. He started walking down the third level platform. When Mu Gaoqi and Ling Bi’er saw him do so, they grew curious.
“Brother Chen, where are you going?” Mu Gaoqi asked inquisitively.
Jiang Chen waved his hand, “I’m going to take a look around on the second level; you can just stay here.”
Although Jiang Chen’s actions were a bit odd, no one paid any attention to him at this critical moment. Even Wang Han only smirked disdainfully when he saw Jiang Chen walk down to the second level. Is something wrong with his brain? Is he hoping that something’s been left behind on the second level?
It was impossible for anything to be left behind after so many sage realm cultivators had swept through the area. Wang Han might’ve followed Jiang Chen down at any other time, but now that a sky rank spirit herb was about to emerge, there was no way he wanted to miss the show. Therefore, after he flicked a contemptuous glance at Jiang Chen’s diminishing back, he retracted his gaze and turned his attention to the sky spirit herbs.
Jiang Chen arrived on the second platform and found a relatively quieter corner, taking out the Skyweave Cauldron and a pile of spirit herbs from his storage ring at the same time. These were the herbs he’d collected after setting foot on the island. Almost all of the young geniuses had been furiously raiding the spirit herbs back then, with the exception of Jiang Chen. He’d targeted very specific herbs, a move that had elicited surprise from Elder Wu Hen. But no one knew why Jiang Chen had done so, and now he was taking out the herbs he’d gone to great pains to collect. Naturally, he had his uses for them.
Ever since he’d arrived at the banks of the lake with everyone else, he’d felt that the environment around the lake had been rather special. The multi-hued haze over the lake had attracted his particular attention. When he set foot on the island, the presence hidden within the rainbow colored haze had made him even more certain that a Miasma was hiding within this seemingly splendid colored fog, within the interplay of rainbow colored spirit power.
The haze was the Divine Befuddlement Miasma!
Although completely different from the one that afflicted Ling Bi’er’s father, it was only stronger than it and not weaker. The complexity within was many fold over the one that plagued Ling Bi’er’s father.
Jiang Chen had kept watch along the way, and he concluded that this Miasma was likely intentionally left behind by the great personage who’d created the ancient herb garden. To put it plainly, it was a test. If one could sense the Miasma, they would also know that there would be a corresponding cure for it on the island.
This was a great scheme of life and death. There was death in life, and life in death. But apart from Jiang Chen, everyone’s eyes had been on the spirit herbs on the island, and no one had understood this plan!
It was only Jiang Chen who’d detected the slightest incongruity when he arrived near the lake. Add to that his previous experiences in his past life, it quickly enabled him to see through this life and death scheme. The spirit herbs that he’d picked were precisely those that could counteract the Miasma. And now, he was going to take advantage of the time everyone was so busy harvesting the spirit herbs above to refine the antidote on the second level.