When Jiang Chen finished calculating the results, the overall score of the refining segment had been decided upon as well. Subsequently, the combined score of all three segments of the pill battle was swiftly calculated. Wandering cultivator Lin Yanyu had taken the number one spot and defeated every noble youth in Veluriyam Capital. When the ranking list was displayed, an uproar overtook the scene. No one expected that a mere wandering cultivator would beat out every noble youth and pill genius in Veluriyam Capital. For a time, everyone discussed the results heatedly. However, the scores had been calculated carefully by the eight judges. Naturally, there wouldn't be a mistake in the results.
Pill King Yi began announcing the results, "The ranking list is out, and the top thirty participants who passed the tests are the final winners of the Pill Pagoda battles. In accordance to your rankings, each one of you will get a chance to cultivate inside the pill pagoda. Besides that, the top hundred wandering cultivators will also have the chance to join a faction of your own choosing, and change your fate!"
When he said this, all one hundred wandering cultivators broke into a cheer. Lin Yanyu was the only one who remained relatively calm, but the rest of the wandering cultivators appeared as if they had gone mad with joy. Wandering cultivators were ultimately just wandering cultivators. No matter how prideful they were, they knew that they were incomparable to those noble youths. For a cultivator, a patron made a world of difference in the world of martial dao. The descendants of a wandering cultivator might still be a wandering cultivator.
The things a wandering cultivator had to work his entire life to earn might be the same things that a noble descendant was born with. Number one Lin Yanyu aside, the second greatest genius amongst the wandering cultivators sat at the twelfth spot on the ranking list. This showed that the top hundred wandering cultivators were actually quite far behind the top hundred noble youths. The wandering cultivators only had ten seats in the ranking list, but the noble youths had twenty. Still, all those who had fought their way to the top more or less had some potential in them. Even if they were not worthy of the seven great emperor's attention, it wasn't entirely hopeless for them to enter an average aristocratic family or great clan.
Of course, the ten genius wandering cultivators who'd made it to the top thirty were the ones who were truly in high demand. Naturally, Lin Yanyu was the most popular choice of them all. In fact, the fight for him had started immediately after the results of the preliminary contest were announced. Other than Sacred Peafowl Mountain, who maintained a neutral attitude, every other power had more or less thrown Lin Yanyu an olive branch. Speaking of which, it was now time for the wandering cultivators to choose their faction.
"Wandering cultivator Lin Yanyu, the top cultivator amongst the wandering cultivators. Please make your choice."
Lin Yanyu was pushed up on the stage before everyone's eyes. Pill King Yi smiled while looking at him, "Young friend Lin, you may now declare your choice before every person in Veluriyam Capital. Remember, you don't need to be afraid of anything. Just follow what your heart tells you to do and make your choice."
Although Lin Yanyu was a wandering cultivator in name, he was in fact the descendant of a great clan. He had been given noble training since young, so he wasn't that afraid of being on stage. He spent some time thinking about his choice, but the determination behind his eyes was clear from the beginning. While looking at Jiang Chen, he said loudly, "I have come to Veluriyam Capital for one reason only, and that is to join Pill King Zhen. He was my only choice since the beginning, so I will join whichever faction he belongs to. Some of you may be wondering why a mere wandering cultivator like me would be so loyal to Pill King Zhen even though I shouldn't have met him before. I can only tell you this. Half a year ago, Pill King Zhen saved my life and enlightened me about many things." Naturally, Lin Yanyu was talking about the time in the desolate wildlands. However, he didn't speak in detail because he hadn't obtained Jiang Chen's permission to do so.
A murmur rippled through the crowd when they heard his words. The seven great emperors' factions were especially frustrated. This outcome was even more displeasing to Emperor Shura's faction because they'd thought that it was almost certain that Lin Yanyu would join them. In the end, however… Not only had they failed to get Lin Yanyu to join their faction, but they'd even lost Pill King Bu in the process. It was obvious that Emperor Shura's faction had been completely defeated in the Pill Pagoda battles.
When Pill King Yi heard Lin Yanyu's choice, his wrinkled face immediately bloomed into a wide smile. As he'd thought, Pill King Zhen's name had all the rallying power in the world. If someone asked, which faction did Pill King Zhen belong to? Why, Sacred Peafowl Mountain of course! This is Veluriyam Capital, so why is that even a question? This meant that the wandering cultivator Lin Yanyu was joining Sacred Peafowl Mountain! His addition to the fold was, without a doubt, like adding a pair of wings on the tiger that was Sacred Peafowl Mountain's pill dao inheritance.
A huge tidal wave of emotion was also surging inside of Emperor Shura's heart. For the first time, he grew cognizant that this mysterious Pill King Zhen had transformed the entirety of Veluriyam Capital. His influence was truly starting to change all kinds of things inside Veluriyam. Suddenly, Emperor Shura recalled Emperor Peafowl's earlier words and fell into deep thought.
The wandering cultivators after Lin Yanyu continued to make their respective choices. Sacred Peafowl Mountain was without a doubt still the most popular choice out of all the powers due to Pill King Zhen's presence. At least thirty wandering cultivators had chosen to join Sacred Peafowl Mountain out of the hundred wandering cultivators who had qualified. As a result, a lot of good seeds came to Sacred Peafowl Mountain. Of course, this didn't mean that the rest of them didn't admire Pill King Zhen—they just had their own considerations and circumstances. They knew that if everyone joined Sacred Peafowl Mountain, the amount of resources and level of attention that they'd receive would be affected. The leader of the ranking, Lin Yanyu, was already enough to make them pale in comparison, much less the legendary Pill King Zhen. Thus, the wandering cultivators ultimately made the smarter choice for their own future.
When the wandering cultivators were done selecting their factions, the Pill Pagoda battles officially announced its closure. However, due to everyone's previous demands, Jiang Chen still had to lecture for another ten days. After discussing with everyone, he decided that the lecture would start three days later. Although everyone was anxious to hear what Jiang Chen had to say, they didn't force him to start earlier.
There was still a month or so before the Martial Pagoda battles started anyway, so they have plenty of time. They all could afford to wait. It was understandable that a ten-day lecture would require a certain amount of preparation. The lecture would only be better if Jiang Chen could prepare everything he needed. They could understand the necessity of his request. However, Jiang Chen hadn't delayed the lecture to three days later because he needed to properly prepare for it. Rather, he needed to report everything he'd learned from the desolate wildlands to Emperor Peafowl.
In Sacred Peafowl Mountain, Emperor Peafowl's face had taken on an unprecedented level of seriousness.
"The reason that holes have appeared in the seal must be due to the influence of the demonic aura in the area. Can the demonic calamity truly not be averted?" Deep sadness colored Emperor Peafowl's tone. Even he, a titled great emperor who had been famous for three thousand years, was feeling a deep sense of helplessness. His views regarding the demon race had always been quite broad and insightful. However, this wasn't something that he could simply change with his power alone. The desolate wildlands' seals had isolated it from the outside world, and even he could only try to glean bits of information from the edges. He couldn't see what was going on inside the desolate wildlands at all.
He could only determine some of the demon race's movements and the state of the seals by observing the foundations of the outer formations and gleaning some other clues. Although these things were all proof that the demon race was plotting something, they weren't actually rampaging across the land yet. Emperor Peafowl was deeply saddened by the large groups of human cultivators who had been lured into the desolate wildlands through the tattered seals and turned into food or pawns.
"You did very well in this matter, young friend." Emperor Peafowl praised him. He was referring to Jiang Chen sealing the holes with his formations and preventing the human cultivators from entering. As long as more human cultivators weren't lured into the desolate wildlands, the resurgence of the demon race could be delayed for at least a little while longer. Otherwise, if an endless amount of human cultivators were baited into the desolate wildlands and turned into the demon race's food or puppets, the demon race would only grow stronger.
Although resealing the holes wasn't a long-term plan, it was the only plan Jiang Chen could think of at the time.
"I am only doing my duty, Your Majesty. Still, the resurgence of the demon race can hardly be stopped. In my opinion, they will break out in ten years at best, or three years at worst. They will definitely reawaken, leave the desolate wildlands, and invade the human domain en masse." Jiang Chen's warning was absolutely not just alarmist talk.
From the commotion caused by the Shadow Demons and Wood Demons inside the desolate wildlands, it was obvious that the demon race had already started making preparations. It was just that they couldn't do anything on a large scale quite yet.
Although the restriction at the entrance of the desolate wildlands was a seal to prevent the demons from entering the outside world, it was also a barrier to humans. Even if the experts of the human race wished to enter the desolate wildlands, the seal was stopping them from doing so. Moreover, the desolate wildlands was without a doubt the best protection the demon race had. Even if the human race were to send in all their elites and even if the demon race were to falter before the humans, they could still hide themselves inside the desolate wildlands.
Therefore, although it looked like the demon race was just starting to make their move, the human race didn't really have many ways to eliminate them while they were still weak. After all, the desolate wildlands had been the demon race's domain since the ancient war.
After contemplating the situation for a very long time, the light of determination abruptly shone in Emperor Peafowl's eyes, "Even if the demon race's resurgence cannot be stopped, that is no reason for us cultivators to sit here and do nothing about it. Young friend, I have sensed the heavenly dao, and I may be summoned by it in just a hundred years' time. I must do something about this threat before that happens. I only have one request I'd like to make today, and that is to transfer the inheritance of Sacred Peafowl Mountain to your hands."
"What?" Jiang Chen was shocked. Although there were some promises between the two of them, he still thought that the emperor's decision to pass control over Sacred Peafowl Mountain on to him was a little too hasty.
"Considering how urgent the situation is, we cannot take things step by step any longer. After the Veluriyam Pagoda gathering is over, I will declare you as the young lord. However, even though you will only be known nominally as the young lord, you will actually be the one who decides every important matter that goes on in Sacred Peafowl Mountain."
"But what about you, Your Majesty?" Jiang Chen exclaimed.
"I will be your shield, but my main attention will not be directed towards Veluriyam Capital." Emperor Peafowl's voice was distant and heroically determined.
"You're planning to head to the desolate wildlands?" Jiang Chen broke into an involuntary cry.
"There are some things that must be done. If my departure can raise everyone's awareness regarding the demon race, then whatever happens, I won't regret my decision." Emperor Peafowl sighed, "I know that I am making your life difficult by putting such a heavy burden on your shoulders so soon. However, the emergence and greatest successes of all geniuses start from troubled soil."