Chapter 599: The Formation Closes
By the time two hours had passed, the fifth rank sects had all emerged, followed closely by the Tristar Sect. However, even within that group, Ding Tong was nowhere to be found. Sect Head Zhu’s expression grew colder with each step he took, “Elder Tan Lang, where’s Ding Tong?”
Elder Tan Lang seemed to have anticipated his sect head’s question, but had a baffled expression on his face. “It’s odd. I tried to get in contact with him as soon as we entered Mt. Rippling Mirage, but never received a response. It’s as if he hadn’t entered the mountain at all.
Sect Head Zhu’s expression was stricken as all thoughts of being lucky withered and vanished. Judging from the situation, Ding Tong must have perished not long after he’d entered.
How would any of them understand how prideful Ding Tong had been; how sure of himself he had been to immediately go after Jiang Chen, only to be promptly killed? As for Elder Tan Lang attempting to contact Ding Tong, he had indeed received the elder’s missives, but he was far too arrogant to listen to Elder Tan Lang. He just couldn’t be bothered to respond, and had set about planning Jiang Chen’s death by himself. Therefore, his mysterious disappearance almost made Elder Tan Lang suspect that he hadn’t even entered Mt. Rippling Mirage at all.
“Could he have been sent into a patch of turbulent space when the formation activated?” Everyone started to voice their own speculations, a hubbub of discussion quickly growing around his possible fate.
The only ones left within were those from the Sacred Sword Palace and the Great Cathedral. However, the Sacred Sword Palace soon made their appearance after the Tristar Sect. They looked quite worse for the wear, and were even missing two from their group. Their leader, Elder Xi, seemed to have suffered some serious injuries while he was inside.
This bedraggled appearance made Sacred Sword Palace Head Wang Jianyu frown. “Elder Xi, what happened?”
Elder Xi spat out, “Elder Xiang Gan of the Sacred Sword Palace was domineering and utterly unwilling to listen to reason. He’s the one who injured me. If we hadn’t taken advantage of the opportunity to crush the jade token and transport out, I likely would’ve lost my life.”
The crowd broke out into shocked murmurs as those words rang in the air. Elder Xiang Gan of the Great Cathedral had done this? Why?
Wang Jiangyu was enraged and turned to glare ferociously at Xiang Wentian of the Great Cathedral. “Family Head Xiang, just what does your Great Cathedral mean by this?”
Xiang Wentian smiled with a distant look on his face. “Ole brother Wang, who should I look to for answers? Elder Xiang Gan hasn’t come out yet, so I don’t know what’s happened either.”
Wang Jianyu’s rage was already burning white hot. “Would my people lie with a straight face? Only your Great Cathedral was named, not a single other sect!”
However, the Great Cathedral wasn’t the type to just roll over either. The family head of the Sacred Lions snorted coldly upon hearing Wang Jianyu’s unfriendly tone. “What do you want to do huh, Wang Jianyu?”
That instantly stopped Wang Jianyu in his tracks. What could he do? Lay his life on the line against the Great Cathedral? He’d have to be able to beat them to do anything of the sort! Yet, he wouldn’t take this lying down no matter what! He combusted his aura as an enormous sword shimmered into being behind him, hovering gently as it flickered in and out of sight. Wang Jianyu’s voice was a menacing growl, “Although the Great Cathedral is strong, they cannot bully others for no reason at all. Even if I am weaker, I will not idly sit by and see my disciple bullied like this! You may be domineering and strong, but you can’t stopper the mouths of everyone beneath the heavens, can you? Can you do as you want in the Myriad Domain just because you’re a bit stronger than everyone else?”
One had to say, his words were ones that fanned the emotions of every sect there, and his tone was nothing short of provocative.
As the tension grew, the formation took the opportunity to tremble one more time as the final group from the Great Cathedral walked out. Elder Xiang Gan cackled when he saw the tense atmosphere. “You haven’t died yet, Xi? Good, let’s go again!”
This was akin to dousing a fire with oil. If looks could kill, Wang Jianyu’s glare would’ve killed him a hundred times over. It was a good thing that Xiang Wentian stepped out to cool things down with a shout, “Xiang Gan, what’s going on here?”
Xiang Gan chuckled. “Family Head, the Sacred Sword Palace is simply too shameless. They had ulterior motives towards the Regal Pill Palace and I simply couldn’t stand it any longer. Then, Xi went on to talk a load of nonsense, so I had no recourse but to angrily strike out.”
Elder Xi almost spat blood in anger when he heard these words. “Xiang Gan, can you be any more shameless? You wanted to interrogate me as to where Elder Chen had gone! You…”
This was when Wang Jianyu remembered that there was still one more elder who wasn’t present in the Sacred Sword Palace group, Elder Chen. “Elder Xi, what’s going on here?”
Elder Xi didn’t actually know how to respond to this. Should he just say that Elder Chen had gone off to pursue Jiang Chen, and Xiang Gan had wanted to follow behind to pick up the spoils? There was no way he could spin it into something honorable no matter what he said.
It was Elder Yun Nie who immediately sized up the situation with a clear mind. He couldn’t help but become anxious. It looked like the Sacred Sword Palace was using some sort of method to track Jiang Chen with the intention of killing him. Although the Great Cathedral was restricted by the heavenly oath and couldn’t do anything to Jiang Chen, they could set their sights on the Sacred Sword Palace and act as the oriole behind the mantis. The Sacred Sword Palace had been crafty enough to split into two groups and lure the Great Cathedral people away. This meant that Elder Chen had gone off to chase after Jiang Chen alone!
“Yun Nie, what’s going on here?” Palace Head Dan Chi seemed to have guessed at something, since only Elder Chen and Jiang Chen had yet to emerge, and those who hadn’t exited yet had been confirmed as perished.
Elder Yun Nie was also a bit nervous at this time as well. If Elder Chen had gone off alone to hunt down Jiang Chen, there would be no end of trouble on that front. Although Jiang Chen was highly competent, he still had quite a gap to bridge when compared to Elder Chen. One was at fifth stage origin realm, the other at the earth sage realm. This enormous difference spanned an entire realm, and was normally grounds for a complete trampling!
Elder Yun Nie’s mouth twisted into a bitter smile; he really was a bit regretful that he hadn’t stopped Jiang Chen from going off. He could only respond, “Palace Head, this is a long story. It all starts off with the ancient herb garden…”
They’d all sworn not to reveal the secret of the ancient herb garden, but were allowed to mention it in a report to their sect heads when they emerged. The caveat was that their respective sect heads couldn’t reveal the secret of the ancient herb garden either. Therefore, it didn’t count as Elder Yun Nie violating the oath as he reported the full story to Palace Head Dan Chi.
With the floodgates opened, everyone else started making their own reports as well. Everyone present had a clear picture of what had happened after roughly half an hour, particularly how Jiang Chen had used one bottle of antidote to seize so many sky and earth rank herbs in the end. The sect heads were all immensely taken aback at the reports. Wang Jianyu even cursed audibly, “Jiang Chen that brat! This is absolutely despicable!”
Palace Head Dan Chi’s growing irritation was sparked by that comment. He snorted coldly, “Would any of your people have made it out alive if not for Jiang Chen? Wang Jianyu, I’ve seen shameless people, but none as shameless as you!”
Wang Jianyu glared back fiercely. “Dan Chi, we all know that you protect your own, but I won’t let this matter lie! You’ll have to return all of the spirit herbs that your people scammed out of us!”
“That’s no problem. I’ll give them back to you as soon as all of you commit suicide!” Palace Head Dan Chi laughed indifferently.
“Palace Head Wang, don’t you mangle things! Your people were the ones who begged Jiang Chen to make this transaction with thick faces. He didn’t beg them to trade with him!” Elder Yun Nie also roared out angrily. “Why don’t you talk about how he saved seven of your people? And why don’t you talk about how shameless Chen is to immediately chase after Jiang Chen to kill him?!”
Wang Jianyu snorted coldly several times, glowering at the Regal Pill Palace.
Xiang Wentian suddenly spoke, “Wang Jianyu, you should be satisfied with your lot. A few spirit herbs for seven lives. Jiang Chen has responded to your hatred with kindness. If it had been the Sacred Sword Palace in the same position, you likely wouldn’t have been so generous with the antidote, hmm? Perhaps you would’ve been happy watching everyone die from the poison and then gone to pick up the spoils!”
Xiang Wentian had been irritated by the conflict just now as well. In standing out to say this now, he could suppress the Sacred Sword Palace and indicate goodwill to the Regal Pill Palace at the same time.
Honored Master Tian Ming of the Dark North Sect also chuckled. “Indeed, sage nephew Jiang Chen’s actions have actually been exceedingly kind. After all, much was to his credit, and so it’s only right that he receive some of the spirit herbs. If it hadn’t been for him, not only would everyone not obtain the antidote, they wouldn’t even have their lives. And now, sage nephew Jiang Chen isn’t even out yet!”
Wang Jianyu’s position immediately weakened when faced with the words of three other great sects. He looked at the Walkabout Sect as if looking for help, but they didn’t speak up. Sect Head Zhu didn’t have the heart to participate in the verbal sparring because of what had happened to Ding Tong. It was obvious that Ding Tong’s supposed death had plunged the sect head’s emotions deep into the abyss.
Palace Head Dan Chi’s gaze was just as solemn as he looked at the transportation formation. As time dwindled, the formation was already showing slight signs of closing. If Jiang Chen didn’t exit before the formation closed, then he’d be in great trouble. The difficulty in trying to survive the interior of Mt. Rippling Mirage alone for thirty years was far from ordinary, not to mention the pursuit of Elder Chen. This was a threat on both sides for him.
If Jiang Chen really was lost somewhere in the ancient herb garden, then the Regal Pill Palace would still be unable to rescue him in time for the next Pill Battles. After all, the ancient herb garden operated using different rules from Mt. Rippling Mirage. There was no way anyone from the Myriad Domain could open that formation if not at the end of the three thousand year cycle.
Three thousand years…
Palace Head Dan Chi’s head went numb at the thought of that number. He’d be decrepit then, and likely half of those present would’ve died already. Those who yet lived would be doddering antiques.
Palace Head Dan Chi was filled with mixed emotions as concern filled his heart. Jiang Chen had, at some point, become someone who could impact the fortunes of the sect. The importance attached to him was almost on par with the palace head himself!
How would he be able to explain himself to Elder Shun later if Jiang Chen went missing? Dan Chi stared fixedly at the formation with a steely face.
Each grain of sand in the hourglass marked the passed time as they fell. Elder Yun Nie’s mood was also extremely heavy as he glanced at the hourglass. There really wasn’t much time left.
In the end, all the grains of sand had fallen through to the bottom. Wham!
The formation abruptly vanished before everyone, and Ling Bi’er suddenly weakened as she fainted, right next to Dan Chi.