Chapter 733: Gouyu Awakens
House Sikou wouldn't choose the path of mutual destruction unless it was the only choice they had left, and on a certain level, it gave Jiang Chen some freedom to prepare. With the memories of his past life, Jiang Chen had an extremely stable foundation in formations. As such, laying down a formation wasn't a problem for him. The crux of his problem lay in making each strike true. Given that he could only spare one attack for a seal, it was imperative to make the strike count. If he were to fail and alert the sealer to what he was doing, he would be in grave trouble. If in the worst case scenario, the sealer was alerted and flew into a rage, he could very well fly into a rage and kill all the slaves. Then, Jiang Chen's failure would become an unredeemable failure in his heart. As such, Jiang Chen would not attempt anything until he was sufficiently assured of success. Time passed by day by day. Seven days later, Jiang Chen finally performed his last modification of the formation, according to the results of his experiments and deductions. This newly modified formation seemed even more precise and thorough than before, thanks to the Crimson Heaven formation flag.
"Everyone, this is the best I can do. Failure or success, I hope you don't blame me," Jiang Chen closed his eyes to offer a silent plea to his sect members. He had truly done everything he could up to this point. He had devised a method to create sixty four clumps of energy that would be held by the formation. Once the formation was activated, all the knots of energy would come alive at the same time. Fifty four of those clumps were meant for his sect members from the Regal Pill Palace, whereas the remaining ten was assigned to ten relatively strong cultivators. They were all at least earth sage realm cultivators, and some even sky sage realm cultivators. "Miss Huang, I will be starting now."
At the center of the formation, Jiang Chen nodded at Huang'er standing outside and began activating the formation. The formation slowly rumbled to life as sixty four rays of light flew towards the people inside the formation like meteors. After the flashes of light started to dissipate, countless formation glyphs crawled through the surrounding space like newly born tadpoles.
Wham! The light entered the people's qi oceans.
"Everything depends on this!" Jiang Chen gritted his teeth and started to make rapid hand seals. The light kept growing thicker and stronger with each seal. Every slave was gradually enveloped by the light; Jiang Chen could make out everyone's qi oceans as clouds of nebula. Each qi ocean seemed to entrapped by spiderwebs of restrictions. Those were the seals outside their qi oceans!
"Break, break I say!" Jiang Chen growled as he urged the formation to its full power. The light slammed into the seals surrounding everyone's qi oceans, causing illusory sparks to scatter into the air. Bzzt!
The ear-piercing noise continued for a moment.
One breath, two breaths… It had only been three breaths of time, but it felt as long as an eternity.
No sound would've sounded sweeter to Jiang Chen's ears as cracking sounds marked the moment the restrictions around the slaves started to crumble. With a sound like torn sheet metal, all the seals completely disintegrated! Jiang Chen let the formation dim, and shut down. His forehead was covered in sweat, but his eyes were shining with delighted pleasure. "It worked!"
Outside the formation, Huang'er was also wearing a look of joy as she stepped quickly into the formation and asked, a tad concerned, "How are you feeling, Sir Jiang?"
"It's nothing. I'm just a little tired because this formation used up too much energy. It won't affect my core," Jiang Chen scanned himself briefly and found nothing wrong other than a little over-expenditure of consciousness. This formation was extremely sophisticated and exhausting. It really wasn't something that a mortal sage realm cultivator should be able to control. In fact, a sage realm cultivator simply didn't possess the qualifications to control this formation. If Jiang Chen hadn't possessed exceptional advantages in every aspect of his cultivations, he wouldn't have been able to utilize this formation.
The moment the formation broke through the seal, Sikou Nan was abruptly jolted out of his meditation far, far away at House Sikou. His command seals had all disintegrated on their own! It was the middle of the night, and he'd just been about to enter a meditative state. Unfortunately, it'd also given Jiang Chen the opportunity to break the seals without Sikou Nan noticing. By the time Sikou Nan realized what was happening, his command seals had already been shattered to bits. He took out their corresponding tokens, but noted that they too had all been reduced to fragments. When his consciousness swept through his tokens, he noticed that a total of sixty-four tokens had been broken. Sikou Nan's expression changed greatly as he swore non-stop, "Damn it! Damn it!"
He knew that the destruction of these tokens meant that all sixty-four seals had been destroyed. Moreover, the method his enemy had used to crack these seals was extraordinary! His enemy's timing and cracking method were absolutely top notch. He hadn't the slightest chance to react.
"Who is it? Who is it?!" Right now, Sikou Nan's feelings were utterly messy. Despite the fact that it was midnight right now, he ran straight to his father's doorsteps.
Sikou Yuan was also shocked when he heard the news. Father and son exchanged looks with each other as they stared at the shattered remains of the tokens. Their fear and anger battled each other relentlessly inside, but they had no place to vent. They weren't afraid of enemies who would come after, but an enemy who they didn't even know felt far more threatening. At least, looking at the results in front of their eyes, it was obvious that this person wasn't the type they could get away with underestimating. Even Sikou Yuan himself couldn't break through sixty-four seals all at once in just a few breaths of time.
"Nan'er, has the Million Puppets Pavilion offended anyone as of late?" Sikou Yuan sounded a bit conflicted.
Sikou Nan answered almost absentmindedly as he kept staring down, "We're businessmen who seek profit. Why would we offend someone for no particular reason? Plus, there aren't any amazing customers who have showed up as of late."
"Was there anyone of great influence amongst our goods this time?" Sikou Yuan asked again.
Sikou Nan thought for a moment and shook his head, "There really isn't anyone on the Divine Abyss Continent that could be considered as a person of great power to Veluriyam Capital. Our sources as of late have been pretty clean too. They all came from those middle and lower regions. Not a single one came from the Upper Eight Regions."
"Are there any foreign races involved in our trade?" Sikou Yuan asked again.
"Father, I am not an idiot. The Million Puppets Pavilion only works with the human trafficking trade, never other races."
Sikou Yuan nodded, "This is strange then. The fact that this robber could instantly crack sixty four seals in an instant means that his strength is terrifying. This person… could it be that they cultivate some sort of evil art that uses cultivators as cultivation furnaces?"
"Father, why do I get the feeling that House Wei probably has something to do with this?" Sikou Nan said sullenly.
"House Wei?" Sikou Yuan shook his head, "House Wei themselves are in a complete mess right now, not to mention that I know very well what level they're at. There's no way they could unlock sixty four seals at once in just a couple of breaths of time. Even in the Veluriyam Capital, only those who belong to those top forces are capable of something like this."
Sikou Nan was feeling very dejected. He dearly wished that this was done by House Wei so he could at least have the pleasure of wiping the ground with them. It was at least better than knowing nothing right now.
"Father, I'm afraid that this person will unseal the slaves one after another now that they've had their first success. If that happens, then all our slaves would become his in just half a month's time." The fact that their seals were broken meant that these slaves were no longer under House Sikou's control.
"Can we check where these unsealed slaves came from?" Sikou Yuan asked again.
Sikou Nan shook his head with dejection, "Our sources have plentiful as of late, and since they're numbered based on cultivation and potential, they cannot be differentiated at all once they've been grouped together. Moreover, we never pay attention to where our goods come from unless their identities are unusually sensitive."
If they couldn't figure out the source, then they wouldn't be able to investigate the identity of the culprit using that lead. Therefore, that line of investigation was a dead end. Sikou Yuan let out a long sigh, "Just who has a bone to pick with House Sikou?"
Ferocity flashed through Sikou Nan's eyes, "Father, in my opinion, it is best if we just bear the losses and kill off the remaining slaves. If we can't get them back, then we will at least make sure that that robber gets nothing in return." It was the second time Sikou Nan had brought up this suggestion.
Sikou Yuan was still hesitant to accept that choice. It was a final choice that he didn't want to make unless he had no other choice, because it gained them nothing except embarrassing their opponent. Moreover, Sikou Yuan was still hoping that they could somehow regain these slaves. It was just too wasteful to kill all of them just like that. In addition, this method of mutual annihilation might provoke this hidden enemy into anger. They might end up taking revenge because of this.
Sikou Yuan was old and wise, and he didn't wish to unknowingly make such a big enemy for House Sikou. "Nan'er, if this really is the act of those deviant cultivators wanting to use our slaves' physical bodies to practice their cultivation, then he will only do worse if we destroy these slaves. If this person turns vicious and causes trouble to the family from the shadows, it will become a rather troublesome issue. We may not fear them, but there's no denying the fact that it'd be an annoyance."
"Hmph, are you saying that we should endure such a huge loss and do nothing about it? Not only that, we even have to consider the robber's feelings?" Sikou Nan was ultimately in the prime of youth. He couldn't accept this conclusion at all.
"Nan'er, we must look at the bigger picture. We must not do this unless we are pushed to the cliff's edge."
Inside the secret room, Jiang Chen had to meditate for a full day as he slowly healed his consciousness. Although the seals on those now freed slaves had been destroyed, their senses were still sealed away. They wouldn't be able to return to the person they'd been before unless these particular seals were eliminated too. However, these particular seals were not explicitly controlled by House Sikou. Therefore, their safety was no longer a concern. Moreover, unlocking the seals on their senses was a lot easier compared to unlocking the seals on their qi oceans.
When Jiang Chen had recovered, the first thing he did was to unlock the seals on Gouyu, Xue Tong and a few others. These five bodyguards had followed him all the way since the Eastern Kingdom, and their loyalty had never wavered during the whole ride. The five of them slowly regained their consciousness after their senses were unlocked. Gouyu was the strongest out of all of them, and she was also the first to open her eyes slowly.
When she saw what was before her, she thought that her eyes were blurry or she was experiencing an hallucination. She even blinked a couple of times as she alternated glances between Jiang Chen and Huang'er. "Young master, am I… dreaming?" Gouyu felt like crying. Even with her unyielding temperament, she couldn't help but feel the agitation that came after being granted a new lease on life.
"Gouyu, I'm sorry I didn't manage to save you all earlier," Jiang Chen sighed.
Huang'er's eyes had also reddened a little, "Big sister Gouyu, Sir Jiang has walked over countless miles and gone through innumerable obstacles to come to Veluriyam Capital. Thankfully his efforts were ultimately not wasted, and all of you are fine. You are safe now."
Gouyu stared at Huang'er, but wore an expression of blank puzzlement on her face, "You… are you little sister Huang'er?" Other than her clear and bright eyes, Gouyu wasn't able to connect this exquisitely beautiful girl to the Huang'er she knew back then at all.
PS. There will be some celebratory releases today I will also be doing a live reading of at 10am GMT+8! That's 9pm US EST 12/14, so please tune into the then~ The new novel will launch this weekend!
Chapter 734: Intra-Sect Friendship
After Gouyu came to, Xue Tong and the others also woke up one after another. Jiang Chen wasn't in a rush to unseal the senses of the others from the Regal Pill Palace. These particular people were those of his inner circle. After parting ways for almost a whole year, they had too many things to say to each other. If he were to unseal everyone else's senses now, it would sour the atmosphere instead. Just like Gouyu, everyone was surprised to see Huang'er's true appearance. They'd never imagined that the ugly-looking Miss Huang'er was in reality an outstanding beauty. There was nothing wrong in calling her a goddess who had descended to earth. Even Gouyu, for all her competitiveness, was completely convinced by Huang'er's temperament and beauty and felt no resistance towards her whatsoever. She naturally came to the firm opinion that Miss Huang'er was the most perfect match for the young master.
Of course, there were psychological reasons behind her acceptance. Back in the Regal Pill Palace, Gouyu had been close enough with Huang'er to be called sisters. Even before this revelation, Huang'er's behavior, temperament and grace had already won over those in Jiang Chen's circle. Now that Huang'er had revealed her true countenance, not only did they feel not repelled by it, they even thought of it as the way it was supposed to be. It was only right that Huang'er's natural and unrestrained manners, amiable and approachable temper, and extraordinary qualities were complemented with an equally unrivalled beauty. Everyone's voices grew thick with emotion as they described their experience.
"Young master, countless experts descended on the Regal Pill Palace back then, and the great formation didn't even last an hour under their attacks. All of the sect experts who'd sustained the formation were slaughtered to the last in just an hour's time. At that time, Elder Yun Nie had come to Rosy Valley to gather up the geniuses and retreat, but we recalled the young master's instructions and chose not to escape. Instead, we convinced Elder Yun Nie to hide with several dozen others inside the formation. To its credit, at first, they weren't able to break through the formation at all. But later, an even more powerful emperor realm cultivator appeared and joined hands with several other emperor realm cultivators to attack the formation in unison. Only then did they finally managed to break through the formation. As a result, all of us became captives…" Gouyu talked about that day in great detail. The sheer desperation of that battle was so vivid in her story that they felt as if they truly were present then. "Young master, those people had originally wanted to kill us all. However, it sounded like they spared us because they wanted to interrogate us about a certain pill recipe. At first, Elder Yun Nie refused to submit even in the face of death and said not a word. However, the enemy began to kill a Regal Pill Palace disciple for every question that went unanswered. After killing a dozen or so people, they hauled Mu Gaoqi in front of Elder Yun Nie… and…" Gouyu cast a glance at Jiang Chen, looking a bit hesitant as to whether she should continue.
Jiang Chen waved his hands and said, "Continue."
"If Elder Yun Nie still refused to speak, then Mu Gaoqi would be slaughtered too. Therefore, Elder Yun Nie finally revealed the pill recipe. Young master, if it wasn't for the pill recipe, we might have been killed outright by the enemy already. Those people were extremely savage, and they'd never planned to leave anyone alive at all. In fact, they were going to execute us on the spot after obtaining the pill recipe. However, someone brought up the fact that they had a group of slavers at their place, and they could sell us to them and earn quite a lot of spirit stones…"
Gouyu didn't know from beginning to end who had destroyed the Regal Pill Palace or taken them captive. They naturally didn't know where they'd been sold to either.
Jiang Chen more or less understood the entire situation after Gouyu had finished her tale. He actually felt relieved after hearing her story. He had to admit to feeling a bit of hesitation when he discovered that the Longevity Pill recipe had fallen into the hands of the Eternal Celestial Capital. Although he didn't believe that Elder Yun Nie was a coward, it was a fact that he'd leaked the Longevity Pill recipe. Now that he learned that Elder Yun Nie had done it to save Mu Gaoqi, the last bit of suppressed emotion clogging up Jiang Chen's heart had vanished completely.
Xue Tong asked, "Young master, who on earth did the Regal Pill Palace provoke? Was it the Ninesuns Sky Sect?"
"The Ninsuns Sky Sect was indeed involved in this matter, but the main culprits are the Eternal Celestial Capital and the Great Scarlet Mid Region. The Eternal Celestial Capital was the mastermind, and the Great Scarlet Mid Region acted as the butcher's knife. Moreover, the Regal Pill Palace was not the only victim of this incident. The entire Myriad Domain and in fact almost every sect, regardless of their size, have been eliminated."
"What?" Gouyu and everyone else was greatly shocked by this news, especially Gouyu, "What… what about the sixteen kingdoms alliance?" The sixteen kingdoms alliance might be a small place, but it was still their home.
"There is no news from the sixteen kingdoms alliance, but I notified the Precious Tree Sect about something like this a long time ago. They should have put some countermeasures in place. As for the secular kingdoms, they never even entered these forces' eyes. No matter how idle those bastards are, they wouldn't eliminate the lowest of kingdoms," Jiang Chen explained. He knew that Gouyu was worried for the Eastern Kingdom. It was her home after all, and the place where her relatives lived. To a sect, a secular kingdom was like an ant beneath an elephant's foot. It was doubtful that they would even see it, much less bother to eliminate it.
If a sect had rooted out and razed even a place like that, then they would literally draw ire from all sides. The cultivation world had its own unspoken rules. If they had really gone to bully a tiny ant, then even the heavenly laws wouldn't be able to tolerate such a despicable action, much less societal customs.
"Young master, how did you find us?" Wen Ziqi was naturally shy, and hadn't spoken a word till now.
The answer to this question however, would be quite lengthy. Jiang Chen smiled easily, "It's a long story. I'll tell you guys about it in the future."
Contrary to expectations, Huang'er actually smiled and spoke up, "Your young master is acting humble. Please allow me to tell you this story."
Huang'er wasn't a talkative person, but she'd experienced firsthand Jiang Chen's innumerable efforts during this trip and the terrible hardships he'd undergone to save his people. It was not a story she wanted to go untold.
She started from the Myriad Grand Ceremony and described everything that had happened up until their rescue. The story greatly stunned and moved everyone. The young master had traveled over several million kilometers into the Upper Eight Regions, braving innumerable obstacles and dangers, all to save them from disaster. How could they not be moved by this act? If the young master hadn't been strong enough, or if the young master had been any later, they would've been sold off as slaves already. If that happened, then not even the young master with all his power would have been able to find them again. Everyone was touched and grateful for their good fortune when their thoughts reached that point. They knew very well what kind of life a slave faced.
When they thought of the amount of opponents Jiang Chen had obliterated along the way, they couldn't help but feel the pleasure of vengeance suffuse them. Although they hadn't taken revenge personally, they all felt their blood boiling as they listened to Huang'er's narration. No matter how fierce or terrifying their opponents were, they were never able to escape their young master's grasp. In fact, their young master had even killed dozens of emperor realm cultivators! It was only now that they realized just how incredible and wonderful their young master was!
"You may keep this in your heart, but please don't tell the other Regal Pill Palace disciples about this. Although we are at Veluriyam Capital now, the Eternal Celestial Capital and the Great Scarlet Mid Region won't give up just like that. The Ninesuns Sky Sect is also waiting for an opportunity to jump into the fray. That's why we absolutely cannot let our guard down!" Jiang Chen reminded them.
They all nodded, "You're right, young master. We've become your burden once, and we mustn't drag you down a second time."
"Mm. We won't be able to leave Veluriyam Capital for now. Here at least, those forces wouldn't dare to act wantonly. We may very well be hunted down again the moment we leave."
"We obey your orders, young master."
"Yeah, we'll do as you say, young master."
Jiang Chen nodded as the crowd stared at him. He had in fact formed this plan long before today.
"We'll be living in Veluriyam Capital for the foreseeable future. However, we'll have to change some of our identities. The Regal Pill Palace will become a thing of the past until we can fully guarantee our own safety. No matter what, our identities are our greatest secret. I'll think of a way to help you all settle in," Jiang Chen cast another glance at the unconscious fellow sect disciples. "I'll have to arrange these people properly as well. If any one of them is exposed, we will all fall prey to disaster."
Huang'er also remarked, "Considering the number of people involved, this will need proper planning. Sir Jiang, in my opinion, it'll be best if we build a force of our own in Veluriyam Capital. If people are relocated into someone else's domain, it's only a matter of time before they're exposed." It was a certainty that they would be interrogated and investigated if they were to live under someone else's roof. As a result, it was very likely that their real identities would be exposed. If they had their own force, then they would have their own territory and no fear of investigation.
Jiang Chen pondered for a moment and said, "I've given it some thought. We will definitely draw a lot of attention if we were to establish a sect in Veluriyam Capital. I personally think that there's no need for us to do that. If we must build a force, then we should establish a business group or operate a store. That'd be the safest method."
It was quite normal for a sizable store to accommodate several dozens of people. It'd also be much easier to make arrangements for these people and hide their identities.
"Mm, that's a good idea," Huang'er nodded in full agreement. Gouyu and the others naturally had no opinions regarding this matter. Right now, they only wanted to avoid becoming Jiang Chen's burden and dragging him down. They wouldn't mind whatever Jiang Chen planned to arrange them. Seeing that no one else had an opinion to offer, Jiang Chen cast a glance at his other sect mates, "Let's wake these people up. They are our sect mates, and I hope that they wouldn't act stupidly."
If he were to be frank, he hadn't stayed at the Regal Pill Palace for long enough to form connections with these people. He had no real feelings for the others, and the only reason he even bothered to care, arrange and rescue these people was his principles and morality. Their rescue was for Palace Head Dan Chi's sake and as a member of the Regal Pill Palace. If these people chose to act stupidly and disobey his arrangements, then he would have no qualms in employing a more forceful method.
As their senses were unsealed, the Regal Pill Palace disciples slowly awakened from their slumber. Everyone's first reaction when they fully woke was that they were dreaming. Some of them even thought they were dead already. More or less, their reactions were similar across the board.
Jiang Chen didn't speak up immediately. He waited until they had calmed down a little before speaking to Shen Trifire, "Shen Trifire, do you still remember me?"
Shen Trifire was one of the top geniuses in Regal Pill Palace. He was steady and had a clearer mind than most. "Senior brother Jiang, were you the one who saved us?"
Shen Trifire was very smart, and had placed himself in a very good position. Although he was quite a bit older than Jiang Chen, and had entered the Regal Pill Palace much earlier, he still addressed Jiang Chen as his senior brother. This way of addressing was rather quick thinking on his part. If he were to call Jiang Chen junior brother Jiang, he would sound too arrogant and full of it. But if he were to call Jiang Chen brother Jiang, he would sound a little too distant and fail in displaying the relationship between sect members. Right now, Shen Trifire knew better than anyone just how important this relationship was.
PS. There will be some celebratory releases today I will also be doing a live reading of at 10am GMT+8! That's 9pm US EST 12/14, so please tune into the then~ The new novel will launch this weekend!