Chapter 852: Plans to Visit Old Stomping Grounds
Just because He Hongshu's Wood Demon Parasites had been dealt with didn't mean that the entire affair had been resolved. Out of convenience, Jiang Chen had removed the demonic yin energy that had lingered on the wandering cultivator's body as well. It was something he could easily deal with, especially when compared to the parasites. However, the demonic yin energy had no reason to be present either. Jiang Chen could tell that it had come from a different source than the parasites.
That was to say, after He Hongshu had entered the wildlands, he had been attacked not once, but twice. He'd been the prey of two separate factions. Moreover, Jiang Chen felt some familiarity from the demonic yin energy, and his intuition told him that this matter wasn't so simple. However, without further clues, he had no way of making any additional inferences.
Pill King Lu Feng sidled over, curious. "Master, you've sealed away the Wood Demon Parasites inside that gourd, but you haven't killed them. How do you plan on dealing with them?"
"They're sealed away, so they won't be able to act up for now. I'll kill them when I find the chance to." Jiang Chen actually had a way to kill them completely, but revealing it in front of Pill King Lu Feng and friends was less than ideal.
Fire of Firstdawn could only be chanced upon with luck. Jiang Chen did have a way to obtain Dragonwhisker Water, though. The so-called Dragonwhisker Water was created from combining the spit of true dragons with regular water. Coincidentally, Jiang Chen had a true dragon very close by. Obtaining a little of its spit was a trivial matter. Therefore, he had no worries regarding the method of disposal.
After solving He Hongshu's problem and receiving the map and information from him, Jiang Chen left Pill King Lu Feng's residence in a hurry. He had no interest in listening to words of gratitude at this time. If He Hongshu was someone who took such words seriously, he would naturally remember it in his heart.
He Hongshu felt Jiang Chen's hasty departure to be deeply regrettable. "Ole Lu, your master moves with mystical elusiveness. He acts like a hermit above the world."
Pill King Lu Feng laughed proudly, "Isn't that true? My master's master is a sage above this world as well. The disciple of a sage has to feel a bit like one as well, of course. Hey, Ole He, do you think I look a little like a sage now?"
He Hongshu stammered; he didn't quite know what to say. "Ole Lu, considering how long we've known each other for, do you want me to be honest?"
Hearing that, Pill King Lu Feng's self-satisfied look was replaced with sadness. "If you put it that way… how could I not know what you mean, even if you weren't being honest?"
"Ole Lu, you should just be yourself," He Hongshu chuckled. "There's no way you'd fit the style of a sage above this world."
Mildly displeased, Pill King Lu Feng waved a hand, "Don't console me. I will follow my master for the rest of my life, so I'll learn how to be a sage sooner or later."
"Doesn't seem like it." He Hongshu was fairly casual in conversing with his friend.
Pill King Lu Feng ground his teeth, "I say, Ole He, you're all better now, right? What're you sticking around here for? I'm telling you, don't entrust your kid to me next time. I have no interest in being a dad."
He Hongshu knew that the pill king's crazy nature was kicking in again. "Ole Lu, I've really come to terms with something after all this," he smiled wryly. "I'm planning on leaving it all behind and retiring. I'd rather take care of my kids and get some peace of mind. I believe you'll come to see me around here a lot more often."
Pill King Lu Feng harrumphed. "Here or not is your business. I'm not going to provide meals."
He Hongshu knew as well that Ole Lu wasn't actually angry. Given their friendship, it was only a little joke. However, he really had learned a heavy lesson this time. The doorstep of death had released many burdens from his mind. "Ole Lu, I'm truly envious of you now. Just a little," He Hongshu sighed.
"What are you envious of?" Pill King Lu Feng glared back, grimacing.
"Envious of your foresight and courage. I wonder, you asked Pill King Zhen to be your master before the decisive battle that spread his fame. How did you possess such sharp eyes at the time?" He Hongshu was still quite interested in the topic. With Pill King Lu Feng's unconventional personality, the man rarely had such a sharp eye. How had he found such a golden thigh to hug so suddenly?
This was no exaggeration. Pill King Zhen's current position in Veluriyam Capital definitely made him a golden thigh. Someone who even Emperor Peafowl respected as a favorable honored guest… just how many of these kinds of people were still in the capital? He was still so young, too. Given enough time, he was sure to distinguish himself in the world. Such a rise was inevitable. And yet, a genius like that was Pill King Lu Feng's master. Even before Pill King Zhen's rise to fame, Pill King Lu Feng had latched onto this person for dear life in order to become his disciple.
Speaking of this matter made Pill King Lu Feng appear proud again. "Ole He, I've always said that the busywork you've been doing for all your life amounted to nothing. Look at me. I didn't go anywhere, I just waited right here at Veluriyam Capital for my lucky star to arrive. See, my master appeared right before my eyes!"
Pill King Lu Feng was extremely content with this fact. He felt that his discernment couldn't simply be described with normal words like 'extraordinary' or 'remarkable'. Although Pill King Zhen had some fame at the time, it had only been come about as a result of the conflict at Taiyuan Tower's opening with the Majestic Clan. At the time, the Majestic Clan had only sent a sixth-rank pill king.
Anyone could see the potential in the young pill king then, but only that and nothing else. He was far from exhibiting the level of strength that everyone in Veluriyam would respect. After the battle at Sacred Peafowl Mountain, Jiang Chen had defeated Pillfire City and sent the imperious Pill King Ji Lang scrambling. That battle had really spread his name to the entire world. Pill King Lu Feng had forcibly inserted himself between these two events and took Pill King Zhen as his master. What did this show? It showed Pill King Lu Feng's precognition and prudence. It showed how much further he saw than everyone else.
A ninth-rank pill king, taking a normal pill king as his master… was this something that just anyone could do? Only someone with Pill King Lu Feng's style could accomplish such a feat. The average ninth-rank pill king wouldn't be willing to do such a humbling thing. On another hand, Pill King Lu Feng was also tremendously loyal to Deviant Pill Faction. Upon finding out that Pill King Zhen was a noteworthy representative of the faction, he stopped at nothing to seek the young man as his master. Rather than Jiang Chen's potential, it could be said that Pill King Lu Feng valued his Deviant Pill Faction's status more. He didn't think that he would get such a stroke of fortune. Without even realizing it, Pill King Lu Feng had found a golden thigh which he could rely on. He was very smug about it.
Pill King Lu Feng really had done something to boast about this time. He looked forward to the prospect of revealing their master-disciple relationship the most. If not for the lack of approval from his master, Pill King Lu Feng would have done so much earlier out of impatience. He couldn't wait to share his joy with everyone else in the world, especially his enemies. More than anything, he wanted to loudly proclaim his relationship with Pill King Zhen to their faces.
He Hongshu had complicated feelings about the entire thing. He had known Pill King Lu Feng for several decades, and they'd always maintained a reasonably close relationship, with many back-and-forths. He Hongshu had always felt that Pill King Lu Feng possessed the mannerisms of a stubborn child. Though his pill dao talent was remarkable, there was no way for the pill king to reach the uppermost echelons of Veluriyam Capital.
He Hongshu had been focused on martial dao and was already a fifth-level emperor. His goal was only to attain the peak of martial dao. Thus, though he had always been close to the kooky Pill King Lu Feng, deep down he had always considered the latter to be inferior to him. But now, after some additional consideration, he noticed that although his strength surpassed Pill King Lu Feng by quite a bit, he could not remotely compare with the pill king in terms of position, fame, or network here in Veluriyam Capital. Not to mention the fact that Pill King Lu Feng had taken on such a remarkable master… he had a direct line of contact to even Emperor Peafowl!
These things affected He Hongshu greatly. He wondered to himself, was the path that he had insisted on taking really all that better than Pill King Lu Feng's? He had always thought so, but in that moment, he was shaken. In the instant between life and death, he had wavered.
Without Pill King Lu Feng, without the pill king's master, it was likely that he would have died in just a few days, and moreover become Veluriyam Capital's worst criminal-the harbinger of endless catastrophe. Cold sweat condensed on his body at the very prospect of the thought. He sighed, "Ole Lu, I've always thought that your ideas were different from mine. But now I see that you have your reasons for walking the path you trod on. What you are doing is the best for someone of your temperament. From the looks of it, you understand more of the dao than I do. I am merely a little clever, but you are very wise."
He Hongshu was not acting humble. He had come to the realization after being faced with the matter of his own mortality. Whether it was martial dao or pill dao, or any other dao, it was all still dao. All roads led to the same destination, and all daos led to the heavenly dao. Following, feeling, and seeking eternity in the heavenly law was every path's goal. It was just that each person's dao was different. He Hongshu had always firmly trusted in his own dao, looking down upon Pill King Lu Feng's dao. But from what he could see now, his understanding of the dao was not as deep as Pill King Lu Feng's understanding. Hidden beneath the latter's eccentricity was a considerable amount of acumen.
Jiang Chen returned to Taiyuan Tower and requested some Dragonwhisker Water from Long Xiaoxuan. He used it to kill off all of the Wood Demon Parasites. Jiang Chen felt stifled while those bugs still lived. Dragonwhisker Water acted upon the bugs like hot water boiling away ice, and the parasites were all exterminated in no time at all. Only after he was done did he begin to carefully peruse the map and information he had been given.
According to He Hongshu's information, his route into the desolate wildlands had been through the Myriad Domain and around the Eastern Kingdom. The time of my return to the Myriad Domain is much earlier than I'd thought.
After the fall of his sect and his own departure from the Myriad Domain, Jiang Chen had never returned to the place. During his time at Veluriyam Capital, he had begun to miss the place. After all, the Myriad Domain was the homeland of his current life. His relatives, his old friends, his sect—they were all there.
In that moment, Jiang Chen thought of many things. All kinds of experiences were compiled and flew through his mind several times, beginning from when he had first entered the wider world. He thought of the strange piece of spiritual land back in the Jiang Han province of the Eastern Kingdom, the spirit beast Mang Qi who'd swore an oath with him in the Boundless Catacombs, the demon sealed lands Ye Chonglou had always went on about… All of these mysteries made Jiang Chen profoundly aware that the Eastern Kingdom wasn't as simple a place as he'd thought, either.