Chapter 724: A Candid Interaction
"Were we seeing things just now? Where did such a fairy come from?"
"Right? Judging from her temperament, she appears superior even to the ladies of the Upper Eight Regions."
"Absolutely, even a first rank sect wouldn't be able to raise a lady of such demeanor."
The discussion wasn’t taking place among the wandering cultivators, but between the disciples of the Eternal Celestial Capital. Being part of a first rank sect themselves, they felt they had the right to compare. There were in fact, no shortage of beautiful geniuses within the Eternal Celestial Capital. There were even goddess-like existences amongst their ranks. However, even those existences seemed a far cry from the lady who had passed through just now in terms of elegance and temperament.
Demeanor was a mysterious thing. There was no definitive method by which one could measure and compare, but even simple commoners would be able to identify who was superior with a single glance.
The Wei convoy entered a large city within Veluriyam Capital borders after a day of travel. True to his word, Jiang Chen put together the relevant antidote for Wei Jie during this recess. "Young master Wei, once you take this antidote thrice daily for three days, I have no trouble guaranteeing your recovery."
Wei Jie accepted the medication with solemn gravity. "I'm deeply grateful to the venerable pill king for saving my life."
Jiang Chen gestured, "There's really no need to be. It was only by virtue of young master Wei's efforts that I was spared a great deal of complications at the northern gate."
The laughing Wei Jie wasn’t quite convinced of the service he had rendered. "That was a matter involving no great effort on my part. Even without the venerated pill king amidst us, I wouldn’t have allowed them to inspect House Wei's convoy."
That was indeed the truth—Veluriyam Capital had their own way of doing things—how could they allow a mere Eternal Celestial Capital to inspect their people? Jiang Chen developed a somewhat favorable impression of him after seeing Wei Jie refrain from taking credit. After a while, Jiang Chen raised his hand, "In that case, I bid you farewell then."
Wei Jie started, "Is the venerated pill king already leaving?"
Jiang Chen merely nodded with a smile.
"Venerated pill king, please wait," Wei Jie appeared somewhat alarmed.
Wei Jie strode forth and spoke sincerely. "Venerated pill king, we aren't too far from the heart of Veluriyam Capital now. Although I'm not privy to your purpose for visiting the capital, I hoped to entertain you at House Wei. Do allow me the opportunity to express proper gratitude for saving my life. If you require some assistance, it can be said that House Wei possesses some level of prestige within Veluriyam Capital. I would be happy to provide any assistance within my means."
Jiang Chen was momentarily silent. Originally, he had planned to leave House Wei as soon as their deal had been concluded. He was slightly moved after hearing Wei Jie's words and seeing the sincerity in his eyes. I came to Veluriyam Capital to search for leads and ultimately save my people. Since I'm not familiar with the area, local assistance could prove to be quite helpful. Although Wei Jie is quite young, he is anything but mediocre and might prove useful. Besides, these people don't look like the type that'll turn hostile… The more he deliberated, the more he was swayed.
"Venerated pill king, to be completely honest, House Wei is sorely lacking in the field of alchemy, despite our influence in the Veluriyam Capital. We've been desperately seeking to engage a talented guest pill king but to no avail…"
Jiang Chen was slightly distracted as he recalled what Elder Yun Nie had once told him about pill kings and pill emperors back at the Mt. Rippling Mirage Pill Battles. He'd learned that certain third rank sects had the qualification to hold certification tests for pill kings. Second rank sects had the right to certify fourth to sixth rank pill kings, while first rank sects were authorized to certify those from the seventh to ninth rank. Since House Wei family was a ninth rank aristocratic family, they should at least be comparable to first or second rank sects. How could they not have a guest pill king?
Wei Jie hurriedly added after seeing Jiang Chen's hesitation, "House Wei once had a fourth rank pill king. However… ah… certain matters took place in the past and unfortunately, House Wei's pill king perished. From then on, we were left in an awkward state without a pill king."
Jiang Chen appeared pensive after listening to Wei Jie's explanation.
"If even a fourth rank pill king met his end at your Wei household, how much help can a mere second rank pill king as myself offer?" Jiang Chen smiled faintly.
Wei Jie sighed lightly. He didn't attempt to explain further and only forced a smile. "That… Venerated pill king, it seems I've overstepped my bounds. Out of eagerness, I rashly invited you to join our family struggles. Come to think of it, I am being somewhat selfish. I already owe you my life—it was absolutely improper of me to ask you to shoulder such a risk."
"Risk?" Jiang Chen stared blankly.
Wei Jie smiled awkwardly. "Yes, being a guest pill king of House Wei indeed involves some risk. But it was truly not my intention to harm you. I only invited you to stay so that I can entertain you as an honored guest and express my gratitude. I seem to have lost control of my thoughts and strayed from our original discussion."
Wei Jie had expected the pill king to leave in anger after hearing what he'd said. Contrary to expectations, Jiang Chen just laughed nonchalantly. "Risk? It wouldn't necessarily be greater than the risk you take in travelling with me."
Wei Jie was stunned momentarily and failed to comprehend Jiang Chen's words. However, he was an intelligent man. It took a moment, but his suspicions from before came back in full force and a flash of insight let him connect the dots. His expression changed, and finally, let out a rueful laugh. "Which means, you… you truly are the person that the Eternal Celestial Capital was after?"
Jiang Chen was as free as the fish in the vast ocean or the birds in the boundless skies once he'd entered Veluriyam Capital territory. If they were to work together in saving those of the Regal Pill Palace, Jiang Chen would have to come clean about his identity sooner or later. This kind of thing couldn't be hidden for long.
"Is young master Wei feeling regretful?" Jiang Chen smiled faintly and glanced at the group from House Wei with a meaningful expression, as if he could see through to the depths of the latter's heart.
Wei Jie suddenly slapped his forehead with a laugh. "Who would've thought? How truly unexpected! I'd indeed entertained this suspicion before. But after careful scrutiny, my doubts were gradually erased. And yet, my hunch unexpectedly proved true in the end. But then… who's pill king Zhen Shi?"
Wei Jie was indeed easy going. Despite his astonishment after learning Jiang Chen's identity, he was soon able to recover his disposition and continued to chat and laugh naturally.
"Pill king Zhen Shi?" Jiang Chen barked with laughter, "Just flip the words over."
"Shi Zhen? Who is that?" Wei Jie was obviously not familiar with the name.
"Someone from the Eternal Celestial Capital might perhaps be familiar with the name. Zhen Shi was a second rank pill king from the Ninesuns Sky Sect."
Wei Jie's expression was one of great incredulity. How was this even possible? However, he immediately realized that while the name on the medallion was Shi Zhen when read from left to right, it was Zhen Shi when read in the opposite direction. These tokens were designed differently depending on the location of issuance—some were carved left to right while others were engraved from right to left. There were even those written from top to bottom. It was just that when Jiang Chen had flashed the medallion at that critical juncture, he'd claimed himself to be Zhen Shi. Therefore, everyone had assumed that the token was carved from right to left, playing right into that assumption.
Moreover, Shi Zhen himself was by no means a grand character in the Ninesuns Sky Sect. His name was far from being well known. With that, when Jiang Chen announced himself as Zhen Shi, no one immediately thought of Shi Zhen. Although Holy King Mu had heard of Jiang Chen killing Cao Jin of the Ninesuns Sky Sect, he had no desire to further enquire about relatively minor characters like Shi Zhen and Fatty Wu. After all, there was possible way an aloof existence like Holy King Mu would know of a mere second rank pill king. Jiang Chen thus took advantage of this to fool Holy King Mu.
Wei Jie was momentarily stunned silent, and spoke only after a while. "Sir, you're truly bold and attentive to details. At that pivotal moment, even I didn't doubt a thing, to say nothing of the Eternal Celestial Capital… hahaha!"
Wei Jie also burst out in laughter at that point. He obviously didn't mind. As for being taken advantage of, it was a fact that Jiang Chen had saved his life. A life in exchange for passing a gate—no matter how one looked at it, Wei Jie was the one who had profited from this trade. Jiang Chen was still calm and collected even while facing an eighth rank emperor realm cultivator. As a youth of more or less of the same age, Wei Jie couldn’t help but admire his superior mentality and courage.
He didn't know much about matters regarding the Myriad Domain and the Eternal Celestial Capital, but he had heard of the general situation. He naturally knew that the Eternal Celestial Capital had invaded the Myriad Domain to wipe out all its sects. Although he wouldn't rashly stand out to condemn them, Wei Jie was inwardly contemptuous of the Eternal Celestial Capital's actions. What’s more, the Eternal Celestial Capital's brazen attitude in wanting to inspect his family entourage right at Veluriyam Capital's doorsteps was enough to cause Wei Jie to involuntarily side with the Myriad Domain. Now that he'd discovered that the person who saved his life was the very Jiang Chen whom the Eternal Celestial Capital had been chasing so desperately, he was rather astonished and, at the same time, filled with admiration.
Jiang Chen didn't let Wei Jie's praises go to his head, smiling faintly. "Young master Wei should realize by now whose risk is greater."
Wei Jie appeared unconcerned. "Brother, you jest. It's not their place to act so unbridled in Veluriyam Capital. House Wei has absolutely no need to consider their stance. My offer stands unchanged—as my savior, if you're willing to come to our house as a guest, I will do my best as a host. If you require anything done within Veluriyam Capital, I will assuredly do my best to help you."
Wei Jie was was apparently not an ingrate who would burn bridges after crossing the river. He was cognizant of gratitude and returning favors. Apart from that, he also admired Jiang Chen greatly. A Myriad Domain youth who was able to stand strong against the persecution of the Eternal Celestial Capital and the Ninesuns Sky Sect—this alone was enough for Wei Jie to form a friendship with him. Others may fear the Eternal Celestial Capital and the Ninesuns Sky Sect, but Veluriyam Capital certainly did not. There was absolutely no place for those two sects to act atrociously within Veluriyam Capital borders.
"Young master Wei, you must know that my second rank pill king status is fake." Jiang Chen reminded with a smile.
"Brother, wouldn't I be too condescending and short-sighted if I were to invite you solely for being a second rank pill king?"
After Jiang Chen saw how frank Wei Jie was, he laughed. "Very well then. It appears I was being too pragmatic. On that note, I'm still well capable of concocting anything a second rank pill king can. However, the reverse might not necessarily be true."
Wei Jie was momentarily dazed after hearing Jiang Chen's words. But recalling his poison, he realized that a normal second rank pill king might not have been able to dispel it so easily. Surprise and delight in equal measure bloomed within Wei Jie.