Chapter 710: Huang’er’s True Face Is Revealed
Huang’er’s comprehension ability and talent far exceeded Jiang Chen’s imagination. The speed at which she refined the cicada’s blood was so fast that it left him stupefied. Jiang Chen himself had spent quite a lot of time to refine the cicada’s blood, but Huang’er actually completed it in just a few hours. Moreover, Jiang Chen had checked the degree of her assimilation and found it to be no poorer than his.
“Miss Huang’er, I’m not a gossipy person, but sometimes I really can’t help but wonder just where on the Divine Abyss Continent could someone as smart and talented as you be raised?” Jiang Chen’s exclamation wasn’t just empty praise; his breath really had been stolen away by the surprise that Huang’er had brought him. Huang’er’s bearing, temperament and talent couldn’t be found in even the first rank sects of the Upper Eight Regions, much less the Myriad Domain.
Jiang Chen had seen plenty of first rank sect disciples in the past, such as Cao Jin and Gong Qi. Setting aside Gong Qi, while Cao Jin’s composure was decent and not as frivolous as the geniuses of the Myriad Domain, it was still a far cry from Huang’er’s. The difference between them was night and day, like the gap between Wang Han and Cao Jin. There was an enormous gulf between the two.
Huang’er’s expression turned stiff for a brief moment, as near indiscernible sadness flashed across her eyes. It was there only for a fleeting instant, but Jiang Chen didn’t miss it. He couldn’t help but be startled, before a bit of regret surfaced in his heart. He realized that his question might have been a little too forward, and that it would be difficult for Huang’er to answer. After the time they’d spent together, Jiang Chen had come to admire Huang’er’s character and conduct. This was especially true when they were performing music together. It made him feel like he’d found a soul mate.
He had never experienced this feeling from any other woman. In fact, Jiang Chen had almost forgotten about her background and her looks. It was as if her mortal shell no longer mattered to him.
Huang’er suddenly let out a sigh. “Sir Jiang, there is something I’ve wanted to apologize for, actually, for the longest time now. It all started because a silly thought of mine that I’ve perpetuated to this day…” She looked up and stared at him with eyes that shone with sincerity. Then, she raised a hand, and wiped off the disguise she wore on her face in one pass. A face that was as exquisite as a painting abruptly appeared in front of Jiang Chen.
He was completely flabbergasted for a moment. Countless words used to describe a woman’s beauty flashed through his mind, but at that moment, they all seemed so dull and lacking. He was a loss for words; nothing seemed to encapsulate his feelings right then. No turn of phrase, no metaphor or analogy could describe how shocked he was right then. Just what kind of force of creation did it take to create such a perfect and flawless human fairy? Her skin was creamy white, her breath the scent of orchids. She was as beautiful as a bright flower blooming through the mist, a painting within a painting. Even if the beautiful women of his past life were to descend to this realm he was in right now, they would still be inferior before Huang’er.
“Sir Jiang, back when Elder Shun took me along to find a cure for my sickness, I was timidly worried that I would encounter many lechers. That was why I changed my appearance on purpose. But I didn’t realize that Sir Jiang is a true gentleman until later on, and it would appear that it was I whose thinking was too narrow-minded. Please forgive my past mistakes, Sir Jiang.”
Jiang Chen broke free of his reverie and sighed softly, “Unbelievable, truly unbelievable. It is entirely normal that you would decide to hide such an unworldly, exquisite countenance, Miss Huang’er. Otherwise, you would attract attention wherever you go.”
Huang’er had heard countless words of praise as she’d grown up, but she’d never been so pleased to hear them as she was today. Praise from someone one disliked was only torture. Only the praise from someone beloved would elicit true happiness. On the other side, Jiang Chen’s composure slowly returned. He may have been somewhat startled at the transformation, but he hadn’t completely forgotten himself. .
“Sir Jiang, it wasn’t that I wanted to hide things from you. It’s just that my background and origins involve too many complications. If I were to tell you, then I may bring trouble upon you instead.”
If a regular people had said these words, then they were likely just maintaining a half-hearted pretense. However, Jiang Chen knew that Huang’er was absolutely not such a person. Moreover, Huang’er’s clear, endlessly pure eyes were proof of her sincerity. The clarity in her eyes brooked not even the slightest inkling of lies. Jiang Chen had never seen such a pure and clean pair of eyes in either his past or current life. He nodded and didn’t ask further into her background. Instead, he smiled broadly, “Miss Huang’er, I was simply blurting out my thoughts without thinking just now. I wasn’t trying to inquire into your background on purpose.”
“Mm, I know,” Huang’er smiled faintly at him.
“In any case, it’s about time. We should be going now,” Jiang Chen stood up and revealed a trace of a meaningful smile. “I think they’ve almost caught up to us.”
“Oh?” Huang’er was startled for a brief moment before she smiled faintly in response, “I thought that you hadn’t noticed it yet, Sir Jiang. Does this mean that you sensed them from the start?”
Jiang Chen smiled and nodded to her, “That little trick of theirs might have been well hidden, but they can’t fool my senses just yet. That being said, I couldn’t have stopped them from applying a mark on me in that kind of situation anyway.”
“Mm, I took a look at this mark just now. I believe that it will be rather troublesome to wipe it off. It might be very difficult to erase it without at least three days of time,” Huang’er’s slender brows raised slightly.
“Hehe, it’s true that erasing it won’t be a simple task, but I have my own ways to conceal it from detection. That being said, we don’t need to do that right now.” Jiang Chen was familiar with this kind of tracking mark from his past life. He had also seen marks that were at least tens or hundreds of times better than this one. But he was loath to give up such a good opportunity.
Back when they had hidden amongst the thousands of wandering cultivators, they had been singled out by the Eternal Celestial Capital because they were travelling as a pair. There, they’d been tagged with unique tracker mark. Jiang Chen was different from the other wandering cultivators. He knew very well what they had done to him and Huang’er. He’d just been incapable of stopping them from doing so at the time. Doing so would only reveal their identities.
Considering that there were thousands of people who had been tagged with the same tracker mark, it was unlikely that the Eternal Celestial Capital would quickly hone in on him. That was why Jiang Chen had chosen to wait patiently. However, as time passed, the Eternal Celestial Capital would remove more and more suspects from their lists. He figured that it was about time they’d narrowed their targets to the two of them. Moreover, Jiang Chen had purposely left behind many clues along the way because he wanted to draw his pursuers over.
He had a new plan.
After the duo emerged from the ground, their relationship didn’t change just because Huang’er had revealed her true appearance. Everything was as usual. However, Huang’er was feeling like a weight had just been lifted off her shoulders. She was no longer burdened by self-blame and guilt. She didn’t think to ask Jiang Chen where they were going at all. She simply thought that travelling and adventuring with Jiang Chen like this was the happiest and most pleasant experience she had ever had in her twenty years of life.
The duo travelled in secret for an entire day, eventually arriving at a dark valley. Almost entirely covered in shadow, the valley seemed to sink into the depths of darkness, with no way to tell how deep or long it was. It looked like the personification of hell in the Divine Abyss Continent. An eerie atmosphere pervaded its outskirts, and it only seemed to grow more sinister further in.
“What is this place?” Huang’er asked curiously.
“A valley called Infant Shriek,” Jiang Chen answered calmly.
Its name alone sent chills down one’s spine.
Gong Wuji appeared on an open plain about three hundred kilometers away from Infant Shriek. This open plain was rather large, serving as a crossroads for many travellers who sought to cross the region. Roads lined every cardinal direction, with many splitting off in the distance.
“Master Gong, we have tracked down four out of the seven pairs of solo cultivators who were travelling towards Veluriyam Capital. We’ve also homed onto another two pairs who’ve entered another city. The last pair has strayed slightly away from the path leading towards Veluriyam Capital, but only slightly.”
Intelligence flowed in steadily to Gong Wuji. He spread open his map and looked at it for a moment. Then, he ordered, “Contact the local forces of those cities, and send some men to arrest the two pairs who’ve entered the city!”
“Aren’t we going after them, Master Gong?”
“We will be heading towards the northwest. I have a strong feeling that the pair on the northwest path is the real target!” Gong Wuji smiled savagely. He pointed at the map and searched up and down, finally pointing at a certain location, “This is the place. There’s no way they could bypass Infant Shriek no matter how hard they try!”
Some expressions changed slightly when they heard the name ‘Infant Shriek’. “Master Gong, I’ve heard that that Infant Shriek contains an enormous amount of yin energy. Even the locals don’t visit it too often. These kind of places are only frequented by spirit alchemists.”
Gong Wuji sneered, “Locals? Are there any places we cultivators are afraid to travel to? If someone like Jiang Chen isn’t afraid of that place, then why should we be afraid of it?”
Jiang Chen had become Gong Wuji’s internal demon. Be it for revenge or for the secrets of the Paramount Realm, Gong Wuji had more than enough reason to capture Jiang Chen. He was tired of this endless tug-of-war already. This time, he would kill Jiang Chen no matter what the cost!
“Anyone amongst you afraid to go can stand forth now!” Gong Wuji’s cold gaze swept across everyone’s faces.
Their group was extremely powerful in their own right. Three thousand strong, they were all elites from the Eternal Celestial Capital as well as the Great Scarlet Mid Region. Which cultivator would admit to cowardice? This was especially true when they were standing right in front of Gong Wuji. The Great Scarlet Mid Region forces only wished that they could demonstrate on the spot just how courageous they were. What better opportunity was there to flatter Gong Wuji than now? They all cried out, “There’s nothing to be afraid of! We’re willing to follow the holy king and kill that little rat Jiang Chen as soon as possible!”
“We will listen to the holy king and grind that maggot to pieces! If we fail to catch that little rat Jiang Chen, then what joy is there to be found in our purposeless lives?”
“That’s right, I will not be able be able to sleep or eat well if I don’t catch this kid!”
“Let’s go, we’ll all go! Anyone who doesn’t go is a coward!”
A tiny smile finally appeared on Gong Wuji’s face. He nodded, “Alright, I’ll say this to all of you. I have not forgotten your hard work, and if we really manage to catch Jiang Chen, then I will owe all of you a favor. I will not stand by in the future if anyone troubles your sects in the future!”
Every Great Scarlet Mid Region sect became highly motivated upon hearing Gong Wuji’s promise. Obtaining the favor of an Eternal Celestial Capital holy king was no different from finding a patron who was willing to support their sects!