The formation that Jiang Chen had set was unconcealed. He was absolutely sure that unless several top-rank emperor realm cultivators struck in tandem, the formation would remain unbroken. Even a great emperor would have some trouble breaking through the formation that had taken him three days of time to set up. After all, this formation had been one of the cornerstones of an ancient sect.
Huang’er looked at the formation, then at Jiang Chen. Her clear eyes welled up with renewed adoration. She was naturally quite comforted that her man was so responsible. What girl didn’t desire for the boy of their heart to be indomitable, able to hold up the heavens and the earth on their own? The act that Jiang Chen had performed benefited the entire world. Using his own resources and time, he was working for the good of all human cultivators. Many would not know of his sacrifice, much less remember it. It was more likely for others to curse him for his gesture—after all, the formation blocked their way into the wildlands. But what did a truly responsible cultivator care for empty reputation?
Looking at the monument and formation, Lin Yanyu had a lot to think about as well. After a long while spent in amazement, he came before Jiang Chen and deeply bowed. “Daoist Huang, I haven’t respected many people in my life, but you have my sincerest gratitude for your righteous gesture.”
Jiang Chen gave a lackadaisical wave. He didn’t have much interest in such words. “I’m only doing what I can. How useful it ends up being… well, that’s up to the heavens.”
The formation would stop the average wandering cultivator in their tracks. Even a typical emperor realm cultivator had very little chance of success. However, if a large number of top-rank emperor realm cultivators pooled together their strength, the formation could be broken through after some time. Jiang Chen simply hoped that the words on his Demonward Obelisk would serve as a fair amount of warning to newcomers.
Lin Yanyu was forlorn. The greed of human cultivators was incalculable. When news of the wildlands spread, only more and more cultivators would arrive. The formation was strong, sure, but it could only block things off for a short while. It wasn’t a permanent solution. It made Lin Yanyu respect Jiang Chen all the more.
Jiang Chen had some additional temporary solutions for this as well, though. He’d tucked a multitude of image crystals away into various corners. When someone did manage to break through the formation, the image crystals would record who it was. If they took his flags in the process, Jiang Chen would be able to see who had taken them away as well. He had no intention of just throwing away his flags. They were intrinsic to the Crimson Sect’s traditions, and he had no right to simply dispose of them. Having done all of this, Jiang Chen looked to Huang’er for affirmation. Her voice was soft with emotion, “You’ve done enough. Stopping the demon race isn’t a job for one cultivator alone. More must join the cause, especially the strong ones.”
“But human cultivators are largely concerned with only money and power. Those with vision and wisdom are few and far between.” Jiang Chen smiled wryly. He’d only seen a few cultivators who were like that during his time in this world. People like Ye Chonglou and Palace Head Dan Chi had limited strength. Even though they were quite insightful, they couldn’t affect change on a large scale. The only one he knew that could was Emperor Peafowl.
Lin Yanyu felt the same way. “Truly, Daoist Huang. I doubt there are even a few leaders of the big sects who have their minds set on the well-being of the world. It’s a shame. They’ve climbed so high that it’s distanced them from the rest of us… what do they care if we live or die? They only care about power, profit, and immortality.”
No cultivator could be faulted for pursuing their own dao. But compared to most, Emperor Peafowl was willing to stay within the great emperor realm despite having experienced communion with the heavenly dao. He did so only to keep an eye on the demon race, a gesture of remarkable honor and uprightness that even Jiang Chen had to respect.
“Daoist Lin, what are your plans next?” Jiang Chen asked, once the group was out of the valley.
Lin Yanyu sighed softly, “I’ll keep traveling, I think. Add a bit to my life experiences. Maybe after that, I’ll return to Pillfire City.”
“Then we’ll part ways here,” Jiang Chen nodded. “I hope to see you again someday.”
Lin Yanyu had something on his mind he wanted to voice, but he’d held himself back all this time. After a brief moment of silence, he finally mustered up the courage, “Daoist Huang, I’ve always wanted to know… which great sect’s genius disciple are you?”
He had his guesses, but he didn’t feel that any of them were right. He only had an expectation of the sect’s general level. There was something more to it, though. Daoist Huang had been even stronger than the typical true sect disciple. Especially with regards to the formation he’d set up! Lin Yanyu hadn’t been able to make heads or tails of it, but he could feel its strength. A formation like that required great strength, wealth, and presence of mind. The combination of all three was nothing short of extraordinary.
Jiang Chen smiled. “My identity is a little special. I’m not sure you want to know. But I’m also curious about you, friend. If you really don’t have a place to go, perhaps you can come find me at Veluriyam Capital.”
Veluriyam Capital? Lin Yanyu gasped aloud in surprise. His expression changed several times as he looked at Jiang Chen.
Still smiling, Jiang Chen inclined his head and presented a cupped-fist salute. “Let us meet again someday.”
He was in a rush to find a place where he could remove Huang’er’s Generation Binding Curse. He couldn’t possibly tell Lin Yanyu who he was right now. Why risk complicating things further?
Jiang Chen’s departing figure induced a sense of loss in Lin Yanyu. “Veluriyam? …Veluriyam Capital?” His eyes suddenly lit up. “Isn’t that Pillfire City’s mortal enemy? If Daoist Huang wants me to go to Veluriyam Capital, does that mean he’s a scion of some great faction there?”
Lin Yanyu was very excited now. Though he had been born in Pillfire City, Lin Yanyu held only endless hatred for his birthplace. He didn’t hesitate in his decision. “I’ll go. Only Veluriyam can give me the opportunity to enact revenge!” A glimmer of resolution flashed across his eyes.
Jiang Chen’s flight took him over the skies of the Eastern Kingdom. He passed by the Boundless Catacombs. As he was preparing to soar past Skylaurel Kingdom, he noticed that there was a gruesome battle taking place in the kingdom’s airspace.
Usually, Jiang Chen would have no interest in such a low-level battle, but a closer look revealed the Dragonteeth Guard to be one of the parties involved. Moreover, there were two old friends of his in the group—Tian Shao, who had received many promotions because of him, and Tang Long, whose destiny he had changed. Both of these men were backbones of the Guard now. Because Skylaurel Kingdom was controlled by other factions behind the scenes, the Guard’s power in the kingdom’s capital had become much weaker than it had been prior.
At the moment, a dozen guardsmen were being attacked by a group of men in black. The latter group had roughly fifty members, all of them in the spirit realm. As for the guardsmen, because of Jiang Chen’s connections to the Precious Tree Sect, the sect had invested more into Skylaurel Kingdom accordingly. Thus, there were a number of spirit realm cultivators in the Dragonteeth Guard now as well. In particular, Tian Shao and Tang Long were at the sky rank spirit realm.
Unfortunately, the men in black were no slouches either. Many guardsman corpses were strewn across the ground. It was a grisly sight to behold. Tian Shao and Tang Long led their remaining men in a small circle of resistance. They were fending for their lives. From the looks of it, they were at their limits. Their assailants could overwhelm them any minute now.
“Director Tian, you should go first. I’ll cover you!” Tang Long shouted.
“That’s right, Director Tian. Go on without us. Go as far as you can, away from Skylaurel Kingdom!” The guardsmen were evidently Tian Shao’s most trusted associates. Though they were almost spent and faced inevitable death, their loyalty never wavered.
“Am I the kind of person who would leave my men behind to die?” Tian Shao roared, his face bloody.
One of the men in black snickered, “Tian Shao, what goes around comes around. How did you get your promotions? Wasn’t it through flattery? You chased after Hidden Death all those years ago. Did you think about what would eventually happen one day?”
Hidden Death? Jiang Chen suddenly frowned. Remembering the name, he smiled out of extreme anger. It had been such a long time ago that he’d almost forgotten about them. The faction had done as they’d wished in the sixteen kingdoms. They’d been one of the most elite killer organizations. There had even been a killer sent after him, who had tried to kill him here with the Long family’s help. When Jiang Chen had returned to Skylaurel Kingdom later on, another stronger assassin had been delegated to accomplish the same. Xue Tong had been briefly captured in the process.
Jiang Chen had caught a few from the organization at the time, but there were always fish that slipped through the net. Because he’d been busy going on to bigger and better things, Jiang Chen hadn’t taken them to task for their crimes. But now, Hidden Death was openly violating the peace in Skylaurel Kingdom?! Something perplexed him, though. Wasn’t Hidden Death a, well, hidden organization of killers? Why were they moving about so openly?
Tian Shao and company were at the end of their rope. Jiang Chen shook his sleeves. A golden stream of air poured down from the sky like a cascading waterfall. It crashed down onto the men in black below, wrapping them entirely within. The golden waterfall was actually powered by magnetic energy. Even sage realm cultivators would have a very difficult time escaping from such a prison. The men in black were stuck in place. They couldn’t move no matter how much they struggled. They were powerless to resist.
“Who? Who is ambushing us?!”
“Who dares meddle in Hidden Death’s affairs?” The men in black were too used to running amok! Even in captivity, they were still quite ferocious. Their tone was filled with an arrogance that showed a complete lack of awareness.
The Dragonteeth Guard on Tian Shao’s side had been prepared to fight to the death. They weren’t sure what had just happened. This turn of events was shocking.
“Director Tian, we…” Tang Long had no idea what was going on either. Tian Shao had long since been promoted to vice director of the Dragonteeth Guard, but despite that, with regards to the situation at hand, he knew about as much as the rest of his crew.