Chapter 620: A Storm Brews Again Over Mt. Rippling Mirage
Cao Jin wasn’t surprised when he saw that the two lacked fighting spirit. Instead, he chuckled softly and tossed out another piece of important news. “Even if the two of you didn’t gain anything from Mt. Rippling Mirage, there’s one more thing that we can be absolutely certain about.”
Cao Jin smiled triumphantly, “There is another person in Mt. Rippling Mirage who possesses five stalks of sky rank herbs, more than a hundred earth rank herbs and even a few thousand stalks of Sage Fledgling Grass.”
When Zhu Changsheng had initially revealed the secret of the ancient herb garden, he’d emphasized Jiang Chen, especially how the disciple had extorted half of each sect’s spirit herbs by taking advantage of the Miasma antidote. In addition, the way Elder Tan Lang had exaggerated Jiang Chen’s feats had left a very deep impression on Cao Jin. What was more, Zhu Changsheng had reminded him that Jiang Chen had been the one who had beheaded the owner of the azure phoenix constitution, Long Juxue. That had caused the third ranked of the ten great disciples, Yong Xingyun, to lose his cultivation furnace and had affected him to the point where he still had not progressed in his Dragon Phoenix Sword. Moreover, the second rate genius Ding Tong, that the Sky Sect had sent to the Myriad Domain, had likely died at Jiang Chen’s hands. Since so much had happened, it was impossible for Cao Jin to forget who Jiang Chen was.
Cao Jin had also reflected on those events carefully after he’d lost at the Regal Pill Palace. He was a little regretful that he’d been so rash. He suspected that Jiang Chen had not emerged from Mt. Rippling Mirage not because he couldn’t, but rather because he didn’t want to. After all, if he emerged, he would have to split his sky and earth rank herbs with his sect. Cao Jin judged people using himself as a barometer. He thought that Jiang Chen chose to remain on Mt. Rippling Mirage as a form of insurance because that way, he would not have to share his sky and earth rank herbs with his sect.
In all fairness, Cao Jin felt that his deductions were fairly reasonable because he was speculating about Jiang Chen with the mindset of a petty, vile character. And if his deductions proved correct, Jiang Chen had to have at least five sky rank herbs and a hundred earth rank herbs on him. In addition, the members of the Sacred Sword Palace had also verified Jiang Chen to be in possession of several thousand stalks of Sage Fledgling Grass! Besides these, this Jiang Chen had also refined the Longevity Pill. In other words, the Longevity Pill recipe was in his head.
A person so laden with treasure had remained in Mt. Rippling Mirage! Even if Cao Jin made no other gains during this trip into the mountain, just capturing Jiang Chen alone would net him an enormous profit. He hadn’t been planning to speak of Jiang Chen, but when he saw that these two had no motivation to fight, he could only reveal this matter to light a fire in them.
Second rank pill king Shi Zhen muttered, “Senior brother Cao, you’re not just making things up to persuade us to go, are you? A single person has pocketed five stalks of sky rank herbs? Aren’t there only a total of twelve stalks?”
“That’s right. Who could have so much face as to take almost half of that?” Fatty Wu was also doubtful.
“I’m a hundred percent sure of this. I swear on my character that I’m not lying to you. This person also knows how to refine pills. He’s already refined a Longevity Pill that extended the life of a sage realm elder by five hundred years.”
With this, Shi Zhen lost his cool, “Extended by five hundred years? Longevity Pill? Senior brother Cao, forgive my bluntness but this… this is…”
If the members of the Tristar Sect had not vowed so solemnly, Cao Jin would not have believed it either. But the Tristar Sect definitely wouldn’t have risked the destruction of their sect on a lie. Hence, Cao Jin strongly believed that their information couldn’t be false. The senses of an expert were also telling him that this matter was likely to be true.
“Junior brother Shi Zhen, I’ve already said what I can. Make your decision. At worst, I’ll invite another genius,” Cao Jin sounded somewhat displeased. He’d already gone against his usual code of conduct by explaining so much to these two disciples who were completely inferior to him, yet these two were still jabbering nonstop. He was naturally rather upset with this situation.
Shi Zhen spoke up without hesitation, “I’ll go.”
It was clear that the description of the Longevity Pill had turned this second rank pill king a little crazy.
Cao Jin nodded at Shi Zhen’s reply. “Junior brother Shi Zhen, the existence of the Longevity Pill is absolutely true. The one who received the pill was the Sect Head of the Great Cathedral, Xiang Wentian. That old man had apparently less than five hundred years to live and his cultivation was about to scatter to the winds. But after he took the Longevity Pill, the effects were nearly instantaneous. Time itself seemed reversed—he looked several hundred years younger. This was something that the Tristar Sect saw with their own eyes. There’s no possibility for it to be fake.”
Shi Zhen’s lips trembled slightly. His eyes glowed as he breathed, “Senior brother Cao, promise me. If we get our hands on this Longevity Pill recipe, I must receive a copy.”
Cao Jin smiled calmly, “Naturally.”
Wu Heng replied hastily, “My martial prowess is average, but still, this Longevity Pill should be split by the rules. I won’t ask for much, just that I receive twenty-five percent of the benefits from this Longevity Pill.”
Cao Jin glanced at Wu Heng before he said, “Twenty percent for you. Forty percent each for junior brother Shi Zhen and myself.”
Wu Heng opened and closed his mouth, but did not argue further. After the three had settled the matter, they didn’t dally, choosing to set off immediately.
The three maintained a low profile along the way, only entering the Myriad Domain after a month’s journey. They played by the rules and their plan, arriving at the outskirts of Mt. Rippling Mirage without alerting anyone.
Mt. Rippling Mirage had been the imperial medicine garden left behind by Myriad Empire. Therefore, it was remote but not difficult to find. The three people entered the main hall of the mountain before examining their surroundings.
“Judging from this place, no one has come here for nearly two years,” Fatty Wu said after he completed his survey.
Cao Jin nodded, “The people of the Myriad Domain all believe that the outskirts of Mt. Rippling Mirage are closed off to all, with the restrictions lifting only once every thirty years. It’s impossible to lift them before that cycle is up. I guess the next time someone comes will be the next Pill Battles.”
Fatty Wu nodded in agreement as he walked out of the main hall, arriving at the exterior of the restricted area. Cao Jin and Shi Zhen stood behind the fatty without a word. In terms of formation techniques, Wu Heng held the greatest right to speak, so they naturally would not want to disrupt his line of thought.
Fatty Wu finally lowered his gaze after looking around for half an hour.
“How is it?” Cao Jin hurriedly asked.
“This formation is far from simple.” As a genius on formations in a first rate sect, Wu Heng had seen various kinds of intricate formations. “If I’m guessing correctly, this should be an ancient formation,” Fatty Wu muttered.
Cao Jin was delighted. “Then, you’re saying that this place is really an ancient ruin?”
Wu Heng’s tone was grave. “I can sense from its presence that it’s definitely ancient. The formation is extremely complicated and protects a large area. There are almost no flaws. I wonder what kind of genius its creator was for this ancient formation to have lasted until today while still retaining such strong defensive abilities?”
“Junior brother Wu, you’ve spoken so much but you’ve veered off topic. Can you break this formation or not?” Shi Zhen asked with displeasure.
Wu Heng murmured, “There’s no possibility that I can break the formation. However, I do have a formation shattering technique that gives me a twenty to thirty percent chance of penetrating this formation. That would allow me to enter the interior of the mountain.”
“Formation shattering technique?” Cao Jin perked up as he heard this.
“Yes, the formation shattering technique is a remarkable ancient art, and I’ve only scratched the surface with my cultivation. It’s said that formation experts in the past could refine treasures that could directly penetrate all restrictions and formations, but these kinds of treasures are beyond rare. There are also some experts who research formation shattering techniques. These techniques rely on finding the weakest link in the formation, tearing a gap there, and passing through.”
“Then, junior brother Wu can open a crack through this formation?”
Wu Heng didn’t give his word. “I only have a twenty to thirty percent chance, and that only because this formation has weathered countless eons since the ancient era. Otherwise, even the heavyweight formation masters of the sect could not possibly break this formation, much less me.”
“It’s that powerful?” Cao Jin was moved.
“Which ancient formation isn’t powerful? If it wasn’t powerful, how could it have persisted for so long without collapsing?”
Cao Jin and Shi Zhen both nodded in turn.
Shi Zhen hurriedly replied, “Since it’s like that, then let’s see junior brother Wu display his might.”
Wu Heng didn’t protest. Since everyone was cooperating, he’d be looked down on if he refused to show a few cards. He would also lose any right to speak from then on.
He circled the outside of the formation before choosing a position and making some preparations. He turned his head to Cao Jin and Shi Zhen. “Senior brothers, there’s only a twenty to thirty percent chance of success. If this fails, you can’t blame me. But if it succeeds, we have at most the span of a few breaths. The moment you see me rush in, you must follow on my heels. Once time is up, the formation will naturally recover.”
Cao Jin and Shi Zhen both nodded again.
Wu Heng crushed a talisman in one hand, shattering it. He made a string of rapid hand seals before his hand slashed downwards sharply with a battle axe.
The exterior of the formation rippled rapidly like illusionary water. Faint cracks appeared on its surface. However, the cracks only stayed for an instant before the surface swiftly returned to its formerly pristine state.
Wu Heng’s face fell. He shook his head with a rueful smile. “Just one move away, just a little bit more. I cracked the surface, but the cracks weren’t enough to let us through. My battle axe doesn’t seem to possess the necessary quality.”
Cao Jin furrowed his brows. “You’re saying that the problem wasn’t with your technique, but that your battle axe itself wasn’t strong enough?”
“The technique was flawless,” Wu Heng sighed. “If the final cut had been two or three times stronger, I’d definitely have broken through.”
Cao Jin nodded before he took out an object—the Moonshatter Awl he’d initially used against the Regal Pill Palace.
“Fatty, this Moonshatter Awl is an emperor rank treasure that specializes in breaking formations. How does it compare to your battle axe?”
Fatty Wu’s face was instantly flushed with wild glee at the sight of the Moonshatter Awl. “The Moonshatter Awl? Senior brother Cao, you’re seriously pampered! This Moonshatter Awl is a godly formation breaking treasure. Why didn’t you say anything earlier? With this Moonshatter Awl, I have at least an eighty percent chance of breaking through!”
“Then do it.” Cao Jin didn’t like to waste words.
Wu Heng nodded and began to build up momentum without further ado. He shattered another talisman in his hand, the light rays travelling towards the formation.
His figure shot outwards in a beautiful arc, the Moonshatter Awl carving a stunning line through the air.
A huge hole was torn in the void of the formation.
Three shadows seemed to react simultaneously as they raced into the formation. The moment the three shadows entered, the illusion-like restrictive formation wavered slightly as it once again regained its original form.
Within the sacred grounds of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect, Jiang Chen sat cross-legged on the floor. Inner energy circulated rapidly within his body, suffusing it with resplendent light. He had reached the crucial step in assailing the sage realm. Once he crossed this step, he would be completely free of the shackles of the origin realm and have successfully stepped into the sage ream.
He’d spent nearly two entire years in the sacred grounds of the Ancient Crimson Heavens Sect in preparation for this moment. In these two years, he had only one goal in mind—reach the sage realm, receive the inheritance and leave this place! And today, after enduring so much pain and struggle, he’d finally reached the most important step!