Chapter 641: Tragic Ruins
Because Jiang Chen hadn’t revealed his identity yet, he was still seen as Mu Gaoqi to others. However, it also left those very same people wondering why “Mu Gaoqi” was part of the group. Everyone recognized his potential, and he had indeed accomplished meritorious deeds in the Mt. Rippling Mirage Pill Battles. But, hadn’t he only recently assailed the sky origin realm? At best, that would put him at seventh level origin realm, no? How could he represent the Regal Pill Palace at such an occasion with that sort of cultivation level?
In the Rosy Valley, there were more than twenty geniuses who were eighth level origin realm and above, and a good handful of ninth level origin realm and above. But none of those had been brought along instead of Mu Gaoqi.
Everyone felt that this was Elder Yun Nie using his connections to sneak him in through the backdoor. However, no matter how they questioned things internally, no one could speak of their suspicions. After all, Mu Gaoqi’s potential was obvious for all to see. Who dared offend him? Offending him was to offend a future heavyweight of the Regal Pill Palace. The potential of an innate wood constitution meant that he would be able to affect the sect’s fortunes for a thousand years to come. It was likely that even the palace head would have to treat him with due respect and consideration in a hundred years.
The Regal Pill Palace hadn’t had a pill king appear in the last couple hundred years. Even the most exemplary Elder Yun Nie was still one step away from taking those exams. Mu Gaoqi on the other hand, was estimated to have the potential of a seventh rank pill king. This kind of potential would make him immensely popular even in a first rank sect. Therefore, apart from Elder Lian Cheng, who sported a darkened expression on the way, the others had no objections. They even laughed and chatted with “Mu Gaoqi”, occasionally displaying an act of brotherly love between fellow disciples. Everyone was well aware that they had to look differently at him now.
Mu Gaoqi was an existence they couldn’t afford to offend, so why bother being standoffish? They should instead try to build good relations with him as early as possible. Even Shen Qinghong became much more outgoing after breaking through to the sage realm. He was quite close with “Mu Gaoqi” and frequently gave him cultivation pointers. All of this greatly tired out the fake Mu Gaoqi. It wasn’t hard for Jiang Chen to pretend to be Mu Gaoqi. He only had to conceal his sage realm presence and no one would be the wiser. However, it was a lot more difficult to pretend to be an ignorant little boy and accept martial dao pointers from Shen Qinghong. Thankfully, Ling Bi’er stepped in to save Jiang Chen.
Only Ling Bi’er was aware that the “Mu Gaoqi” in front of her was an imposter, and that he was Jiang Chen instead. Whenever anyone found an excuse to approach Mu Gaoqi with great enthusiasm, she would always find another pill dao topic to discuss at length with Mu Gaoqi. Beauties came first, so the others didn’t have much to say about that. This helped out Jiang Chen greatly, and coincidentally turned into a scene that Elder Lian Cheng wanted to see the least. He was a bit depressed because Shen Qinghong seemed to be escaping from his grasp lately.
Shen Qinghong’s personality had changed greatly ever since breaking through to the sage realm. Some changes were good, but whenever Elder Lian Cheng complained about Palace Head Dan Chi and Elder Yun Nie suppressing him, Shen Qinghong would always dismiss it with a laugh and voice the opinion that the two were likely not targeting the honored master, but doing so out of consideration for the sect. Although these words were meant to comfort Elder Lian Cheng, they instead grated on his ears. You’re my top disciple, alright? Why do you sound like you’re making excuses for Palace Head Dan Chi and Elder Yun Nie? Were you brainwashed during this trip to Mt. Rippling Mirage?
The change in his best disciple further threw Elder Lian Cheng’s mentality off kilter. It was as if someone had stolen something from him, particularly as he’d continuously hinted at Shen Qinghong this time that he had to display a better performance. Setting aside the other geniuses in the Myriad Domain, Shen Qinghong had to at least firmly suppress the younger generation of the Regal Pill Palace. This was the only way in which Elder Lian Cheng would be able to obtain that remaining sky rank spirit herb.
Although he kept hinting that he wanted Shen Qinghong to take the sky rank spirit herb and present it to his master, his disciple’s responses always left that little bit to be desired. This further displeased Elder Lian Cheng. He felt that Shen Qinghong’s wings had filled out and was no longer heeding his words. Now that he saw Shen Qinghong laughing and chatting with Elder Yun Nie’s disciple, he was even more unhappy.
Although Palace Head Dan Chi vaguely detected some awkwardness in the latter, he pretended he didn’t know anything. He knew that emotions were running a bit high in Elder Lian Cheng, but it was something he would have to come to terms with himself. Others were unable to help him with what he was grappling with.
The Grand Myriad Ceremony was held in the ruins of the Myriad Empire. To be frank, the ceremony that happened once every thirty years was a memorial ceremony. They would honor the past glories of the Myriad Empire and remember the experts who had perished in that disaster. They were also reminding the geniuses of the Myriad Domain to never forget the humiliation of the Myriad Domain.
In short, a brainwashing ceremony.
However, there was great value for such a ceremony. That part of their history was indeed a humiliation for the Myriad Domain. Only through finding courage after this period of shame would there be a future for the Myriad Domain.
Even though the ancient site of the Myriad Empire was nothing more than ruins after a couple hundred years, the sheer prosperity of the Empire in its heyday was still obvious. Every corner and detail of the ruins was testament to the glories of yesteryear, and how impressive the Myriad Empire had once been. However, time washes even the sturdiest bulwark away.
Even the strongest empires and most glorious histories were but wisps of smoke after several hundred years.
As Jiang Chen followed the group traipsing through the ruins, he sensed the devastating atmosphere that seemed to linger around them. He couldn’t help but reflect, “The Great Scarlet Mid Region is entirely domineering alright. This was basically pulling the Myriad Empire up by the roots! Not only did they destroy the entire royal family, they also slaughtered all cultivators above sky sage realm.” In Jiang Chen’s eyes, this matter didn’t seem as simple as a mere sacred maiden of their area being defiled, even though this had been publicly touted as the region’s excuse for invading the Myriad Empire. From what Jiang Chen had heard from Palace Head Dan Chi, combined with what he saw in front of him, Jiang Chen felt that things shouldn’t have been so dire if it’d just been the matter of one sacred maiden.
Perhaps the Great Scarlet Mid Region had long since had ulterior motives, and their sacred maiden being defiled was just an excuse. After all, the Myriad Domain bordered the Great Scarlet and was also very strong. At that time, they were also showing an upward trend. How would the Great Scarlet allow competitors to coexist peacefully next to them? Therefore, from Jiang Chen’s perspective, the Great Scarlet destroying the Myriad Domain was very likely a power grab, and not about defending their sacred maiden’s honor.
Jiang Chen didn’t believe that the royal descendants of the Myriad Domain would’ve been so idiotic as to be unable to identify the sacred maiden of a neighboring region.
“Eh? What’s that?” A disturbance suddenly started within the Regal Pill Palace crowd as one of the followers pointed ahead, struck by fright.
There were two structures in the distance, wreathed by mist. As the group looked over, their hearts spasmed. Even Jiang Chen felt a wave of discomfort.
Of the two buildings, the one on the left was made of human skulls and rose several meters into the air, the skulls piled on top of each other to form a high tower. Various restrictions floated around the tower, appearing quite sinister and frightening. The one on the right also rose several meters into the air, but this one was made of various hacked off limbs. They were stacked together in an orderly manner to form a tall tower, also with strong restrictions around them.
Dan Chi sighed lightly when he saw the towers. “These are the towers of bones and bodies that the Great Scarlet Mid Region built from the corpses of Myriad Empire royalty in order to display their might and strength. They’ve erected these to warn the descendants in the Myriad Domain.”
“They were this ruthless and dominating?” Shen Qinghong was immensely taken aback. It was the first time the young folks had participated in the Myriad Grand Ceremony, so it was naturally their first time seeing such a frightening scene.
Elder Lian Cheng snorted coldly. “The strong reign as kings. The Great Scarlet Mid Region is strong and had a righteous excuse. They could naturally do as they wish.”
Palace Head Dan Chi followed up solemnly, “Take a good look; this is the shame of the Myriad Domain. As a member of the region, you all should never forget this humiliation. Just as Elder Lian Cheng has said, the strong can do as they like. If you fall behind, you can only passively accept this. How would any of us be willing to fall behind and forever be subject to beatings?”
One had to say, these two towers were more convincing than any amount of blood stirring words. Any cultivator made of flesh and blood would feel their blood froth and boil at seeing such shaming architecture and be greatly affected by them.
“This is only the first, there’s also Bloodlight River further on, as well as Petrified Infant Forest and Petrified Women Forest…” Dan Chi’s tone was heavy as he spoke of those. It was rather easy to understand Bloodlight River. Surely it was the river of accumulated blood from those who’d died that shone redly.
“What’s Petrified Infant Forest?” Someone was curious.
“You’ll know when you go further inside.” Dan Chi waved his hand.
They continued to pick through the ruins and arrived at the moat that surrounded the Myriad Empire’s imperial city.
“Do you see this river? The water within this river turned red after that disaster, and has yet to run cleanly even after hundreds of years. To this day, it’s known as Bloodlight River.”
As the group crossed the moat’s bridge, an incredibly strong scent of blood invaded their noses, along with a peculiar sense. As soon as they sensed it, everyone’s chest was compressed as scenes from that slaughter hundreds of years ago rose unbidden in their minds; the disaster that had been straight from the depths of hell…
It was as if they could still hear the howls and sobs of agony from the Myriad Empire’s royalty and the violent roars from the enemy, as well as the ear piercing sounds of clashing weapons…
“Everyone keep a tight leash on your consciousness. This sense of blood is very terrifying. It will give rise to all sorts of illusions through the restrictions. If you let it, it’ll impact your morale and eat away at your mind!” Dan Chi hurriedly reminded everyone.
Jiang Chen’s hairs also stood on end as he watched Bloodlight River flow through the ruins. An unspeakable sense of disgust and hate grew for the Great Scarlet Mid Region’s mercilessness. This was the height of villainy if the region had exacted such a price just because a sacred maiden had been violated.
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