Chapter 718: Many Troubles
The city lord of Myriad Peoples City, Ji Geng, was nursing a particularly strong headache these past few days. His usually peaceful city was being trampled by unwelcome guests from the Eternal Celestial Capital. Myriad Peoples City was just a border city of the lower regions. Since it was right next to Veluriyam Capital's domain, this area had always been relatively prosperous, so the city had become quite large. As a result, the city lord had always enjoyed a comfortable life despite technically being part of a lower region. He possessed more than enough authority, and accumulated plentiful profit from his position. The benefits he had managed to squirrel away was no lesser than those who held sway over big cities of middle regions. All in all, Ji Geng had been quite content with his life.
Although Veluriyam Capital loomed over his city, they had never exerted their considerable might to bully him. He was also rather friendly to them, so he enjoyed an amiable relationship with Veluriyam Capital. He lacked for nothing; even immortality would be enough to tempt him into trading lives.
However, a group of people had came to Veluriyam Capital half a month ago. Leading them was a powerful holy king of the Eternal Celestial Capital. Moreover, this newcomer was at peak eighth level emperor realm, but a one step away from ninth level emperor realm. His power made the initial emperor realm expert Ji Geng feel tremendous pressure.
Although the lower region they belonged to didn't have any ties with the Eternal Celestial Capital, no one amongst them dared ignore someone from a first rank sect of the Upper Eight Regions. Naturally, there was also no reason not to curry favor with a first rank sect if the opportunity presented itself. However, the Eternal Celestial Capital's demands this time were obviously over the top. They wanted to take over Myriad Peoples City's northern gate for the entire year.
The northern gate of Myriad Peoples City was a vital checkpoint that couldn't be avoided if someone wished to travel to Veluriyam Capital. It was also the most popular and most profitable entrances in Myriad Peoples City. Veluriyam Capital was akin to an unblemished pearl in the Divine Abyss Continent. Reputed as the land of freedom, it was also one of the preeminent factions of the Upper Eight Regions. There were countless people who travelled to Veluriyam Capital every year. As a result, the tolls from that gate was a significant portion of Myriad Peoples City's revenue. Therefore, the city lord of Myriad Peoples City subconsciously wanted to reject the Eternal Celestial Capital's unceremonious request the moment he heard it.
Thankfully, the Eternal Celestial Capital wasn't completely unreasonable despite their oppressive ways. They offered compensation that exceeded what the northern gate would earn in a year. If the city lord of Myriad Peoples City had been a shortsighted person, he would've had no reason to turn down such an extravagant reward. However, even in the face of such profit, he hadn't accepted the offer at first glance. As a city lord, how would he not know of the grudges between the Eternal Celestial Capital and the Myriad Domain in the past half year? He'd also naturally heard of the rumors that a group led by Eternal Celestial Capital's Gong Wuji had been utterly annihilated.
As a city lord, he had no intentions of commenting on the grudges between the Eternal Celestial Capital and the Myriad Domain. He wanted even less to be involved in them. If Gong Wuji had not been killed, Ji Geng would've agreed to this request without any hesitation.
But after Gong Wuji had been killed, anyone who had paid even the slightest attention to this affair would know that the Eternal Celestial Capital had suffered a huge loss at Jiang Chen's hands. That monstrous genius of the Myriad Domain was capable of eliminating even someone like Gong Wuji! Naturally, a place like Myriad Peoples City absolutely didn't have the ability to become involved in something like this. In addition, this matter had become quite the hot potato issue.
If he somehow offended that Jiang Chen over this matter, then there was no telling if his city would be met with endless troubles in the future. As a man who had gotten used to living a peaceful life, it was natural that Ji Geng had no wish to get involved in this conflict. However, he had obviously underestimated the Eternal Celestial Capital's determination. When Ji Geng revealed a reluctant expression, this holy king of the Eternal Celestial Capital had tripled the rewards without a second's hesitation. Furthermore, the words he had used when presenting the offer had a clear underlying meaning. If he refused this offer, Myriad Peoples City would become the Eternal Celestial Capital's enemy. The city lord of Myriad Peoples City had no choice but to accept the offer in the face of such a threat. However, he had also openly declared that the city was not getting involved in their conflict. Moreover, he demanded that the Eternal Celestial Capital must announce publicly that the Myriad Peoples City had relinquished their control over the northern gate only because he had been forced to, and not out of cooperation with the Eternal Celestial Capital.
The Eternal Celestial Capital knew that Myriad Peoples City was trying to absolve themselves in this matter. Although they were dissatisfied with this lack of full cooperation, they had no wish to cause further trouble either. Therefore, they accepted the city lord's demands. And so, the city lord of Myriad Peoples City reluctantly turned over the control of the northern gate to the Eternal Celestial Capital.
However, since he had washed his hands clear of the matter, anything that happened from then on was the Eternal Celestial Capital's business. He neither needed to worry about Jiang Chen's vengeance, nor did he need to worry about Veluriyam Capital's potential wrath. After all, this northern gate lead towards Veluriyam Capital. The mere fact that the northern gate had been taken over by the Eternal Celestial Capital was in a way, a provocation to Veluriyam Capital. If they decided to split hairs over this matter, it would result in quite the quarrel.
In due time, Jiang Chen arrived at the southern gate of Myriad People's City. Once they entered the southern gate and exited the northern gate, they would reach the Capital's borders. If he was correct about this city being the last line of defense, the city should be strictly locked down. However, there didn't seem to be any signs of that as he passed through the southern gate. He had only faced a few routine questions from the city guards before being allowed to pass. The heavy fortifications and rigorous checking he had anticipated was nowhere to be seen. It was a completely different sight than what he'd encountered outside Tai-ah City.
"Was I mistaken?" Jiang Chen was very surprised. In his opinion, the city should've been so heavily guarded that not even a fly would be allowed entry without being verified. But since he was inside the city already, Jiang Chen didn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth. He might as well go with the flow. He simply needed to be more careful.
Although Myriad Peoples City belonged to a lower region, it wasn't actually too far behind Tai-ah City in terms of prosperity. In fact, they were superior to Tai-ah City in certain facets. Jiang Chen was able to learn much from a different land with a different culture.
Since the two were posing as wandering cultivators, naturally they gravitated towards a place where more of their kind congregated. It didn't take long before Jiang Chen and Huang'er arrived at a spot where wandering cultivators rested. For the purposes of legality, it was called a training ground. But it had been opened specifically for wandering cultivators, so it acted more as an inn than a training ground. But, it also provided a private place for cultivation. To put it bluntly, it was a place where wandering cultivators were provided holistic, high level hospitality.
As the saying went, it took wealth to be able to cultivate martial arts. Therefore, even wandering cultivators were willing to enjoy high level service and not stay in inns like the rest of the commoners. That was why this training ground enjoyed great business. The moment the two walked in, they glimpsed a wide public square filled with many tables. There were at least a thousand wandering cultivators clumped in groups of three or five scattered here and there as they enjoyed delicious wine and alcohol.
"F*cking hell, what the hell is going on with this Myriad Peoples City! Why have they suddenly barred passage through the northern gate?"
"I know right? I must've gone through this northern gate at least ten times in the past, but this is the first time I've encountered something this f*cked up!"
"I heard that the northern gate was taken over by a certain force. In the future, we will have to inspected by them whenever we attempt to pass through the northern gate. I heard that the inspection is very strict."
"Which power's gotten so bored to do such a f*cked up thing?"
"Ssh! Quiet! I heard that it's a first rank sect from the Upper Eight Regions."
"Bah, so what if they're a first rank sect? Are they stronger than Veluriyam Capital? Seriously, what is this!?" The majority of the wandering cultivators in this area were proud and unrestrained people. Most of them also had a bad temper that emboldened their unyielding spirit. If it wasn't for their temperament, they would've entered a sect long ago instead of remaining wandering cultivators. It was exactly because they were so bad tempered that they couldn't endure the suffocating air of a sect. That was why they were willing to become a wandering cultivator. Naturally, these wandering cultivators did little to watch their mouths.
Jiang Chen happened to overhear their conversations as he walked past. His heart sank as he realized the implications. As I thought, it's easy to get in but difficult to get out. Getting into the city was a simple task, but leaving by the city's northern gate and entering Veluriyam Capital's domain wasn't going to be nearly as easy. Even if he were to leave now, the Eternal Celestial Capital would likely keep an eye on him. Exiting the city right after they entered was practically a confession. Moreover, there were three paths leading to the Veluriyam Capital, with each one requiring passage through a city. The other two cities must be facing the same situation.
We have to get through that gate no matter what. But I wonder how strict their inspection is? They obviously can't track me down using the mark they left on me. Jiang Chen had already refined the tracker mark on his body a long time ago. However, if the mark could be erased, he guessed that the Eternal Celestial Capital knew about this as well. That was why their inspection wouldn't be as simple as checking for the mark.
All kinds of things could happen in the martial world. This was the final opportunity for either the Eternal Celestial Capital or the Ninesuns Sky Sect. They would most likely have covered every base in their inspections. It wouldn't be easy to pass.
The duo passed through the public square and went into the great hall. They booked two rooms and asked for a table. After ordering some dishes, they made their way back to the public square. Where there were people, there was information. It wasn't convenient for Jiang Chen to ask about things because this place might not necessarily be completely free of the Eternal Celestial Capital and Ninesuns Sky Sect's eyes and ears. He would be getting himself into trouble if someone paid attention to him because of his questions.
"Everyone, I heard that the inspection this time is really strict. But it seems that women are fine. They're almost always let through. But young men between twenty to forty years must first have their cultivation base and age inspected. They then have to go through a series of intense interrogations. Apparently they also possess a strange kind of treasure that can check if someone has disguised themselves. They must reveal their true faces the second they are confirmed to be wearing a disguise."
"What? This is too much. They're looking for Jiang Chen, but won't others who have a bounty on their heads also be exposed as well? Isn't this a little too unfair?"
"Hehe, like they care if they're being fair or not. They're a first rank sect, you know." The crowd bandied rumors and information freely with each other, but Jiang Chen was secretly frowning on the inside. If the inspection really was as strict as they claimed, then this would really be quite the hurdle. It would be unbelievably difficult to get through the roadblock.
The reason they were able to come all the way here was exactly because they had altered their looks constantly and sealed off their consciousness from detection. But if the enemy could detect if he had altered his looks, then it really would be difficult to pass through the roadblock. After all, a picture of his features had been plastered on every city gate for quite some time now. Even the people with the poorest memories would know what he looked like.