Jiang Chen felt like he'd been taken for a ride. He didn't know how to respond to Emperor Peafowl's speech.
Jiang Chen didn't know what to say. If his father the Celestial Emperor knew about his current circumstances, his father would never encourage him to take the coward's way out and escape from it all.
"I don't know how I'll do, Your Majesty, but I will work as hard as I can." Meeting Emperor Peafowl's fervent gaze head on, Jiang Chen made a manly promise.
"Excellent! I'd expect no less from someone as unparalleled as you." Greatly pleased, Emperor Peafowl showered Jiang Chen with praise. "I don't know why I feel this, but I feel that you are the only one that can break down the invisible barrier holding back the Divine Abyss Continent. Only you can bring an end to this warring chaos." His words weren't baseless. Though his All-Seeing Eyes were only open to a certain degree, he could still see things that ordinary people could not. The fortune surrounding Jiang Chen's fate was one of them.
It wasn't the first time that Jiang Chen had heard similar words from Emperor Peafowl. However, he wasn't particularly optimistic. True, his cultivation had seen significant improvements as of late, but the Divine Abyss Continent was still shrouded in mystery. There were many things he did not understand. The human domain, the domains of other races, the desolate wildlands, even the deeply hidden Myriad Abyss Continent... Jiang Chen couldn't put everything together yet.
There was one thing for certain, however—the Divine Abyss Continent wasn't just any normal mortal plane. There were many secrets for him to unravel. For now, Jiang Chen didn't feel like he had to think too much about it. Overthinking was meaningless without the strength to match. His composure strengthened Emperor Peafowl's belief in the youth. Any other youth would perhaps be puffed up at his success. However, the emperor saw a different impassivity in the youth that belied his actual age.
"This time around, Majesty, I'd like to speak about the demon race for a bit. Is there anything in particular that you would like me to relay?"
Emperor Peafowl paused at that. "The demon race?"
"That's right, I'd like to publicize my recipe to resist the Wood Demons."
The young pill king's seriousness was respectable and praiseworthy. "Good child. It's a valuable formula, just like the Hundredfold Marrow-Cleanse Pill's is. The readiness that you show in presenting it forward so simply puts many other, more prominent individuals to shame."
Jiang Chen didn't think it was a particularly grand gesture, though. He didn't need to make money off these formulas. There was no way he could remain unscathed in the event of a demonic invasion in any case. Profiteering in such a circumstance would be immoral. After he bade farewell to Emperor Peafowl, Jiang Chen left Sacred Peafowl Mountain to prepare for his ten-day lecture. He came across Ji San on the outskirts of the mountain just as he was leaving. The latter was visibly cheered up when he saw Jiang Chen come out.
"I thought His Majesty would keep you a few more days, brother." Ji San's eyes were full of worry and concern. Jiang Chen knew why the young man was waiting.
"Aren't we brothers, Brother Ji?" He patted the young master on the shoulder. "I'm not about to let the Coiling Dragon Clan fall to the wayside. The clan lord has looked out for me time and time again. We'll talk more about it after we get back."
Jiang Chen's words reassured Ji San. He knew that something was going to come of it. "Come, come!" He shouted happily, pulling on Jiang Chen's arm. "Let's talk more at the lord's residence. The clan lord wants very badly to see you as well. The old lord is understandably quite anxious."
Jiang Chen smiled and nodded. Any worries were purely natural. Few men could defy the threat of mortality. The clan lord was at the end of his days. A weaker man would likely have already been scared to death by the daily approach of his demise.
The clan lord's face was full of smiles when he saw Jiang Chen's arrival at the residence. "Pill King Zhen, it's been over half a year. Your cultivation has improved again, has it not?"
Jiang Chen was perfectly polite, showing deference to the clan lord before laughing, "You look pretty well yourself, Clan Lord. Your health seems good, as of late, at least."
The clan lord smiled wryly. "I can maintain this for about two or three more years, but given how things are, I don't think that'll be enough time for them to change. His Majesty Peafowl's attitude is pretty unclear. Many think that Emperor Shura will take the throne once the former retires. As the foremost clan under Emperor Peafowl, at best I expect that we'll undergo absolute disintegration."
Disintegration? Jiang Chen had to chuckle at that. "I know you're always looking ahead, Clan Lord, but isn't that a bit too much?"
"No, no, not at all." The Coiling Dragon clan lord's expression was very solemn. "If Emperor Shura takes the helm, everyone from Sacred Peafowl Mountain will have to retire. But that's not going to be the case for us clans and houses, right? We'll be used to set an example for others."
With Emperor Shura at the helm, something like that wouldn't necessarily happen, but it was fairly likely. There were many hidden enemies for a clan as prominent as the Coiling Dragon.
Any change to the people in power meant a change in their respective subordinates. Nobody could guarantee that the Coiling Dragon Clan would be left untouched.
"Brother, there are no outsiders here, so do forgive my haste. Is it true that you've acquired an acorn from an Invisible Chameleon Cloudpine?" This was a more important matter for Ji San. He wanted to know about it without delay.
The Coiling Dragon clan lord looked towards Jiang Chen with equally brilliant interest.
"Am I the type of person who would joke about that?" Jiang Chen grabbed at the air casually and produced an acorn between his fingers.
"Is that… is that a Cloudpine's acorn?" Young master Ji San was overjoyed. His eyes weren't the only ones on the acorn. The Coiling Dragon clan lord stared fiercely at it with a deathly fixation, as if it was the source of his life.
"Yes. With this acorn and the Cloudcrane's heart, we have both of the main materials required for the Pinecrane Pill. The remaining materials are easy to obtain." Jiang Chen nodded.
"Then… when can it be refined?" Ji San wasn't a hasty man, but he couldn't sit back idly either with something so intimately related to the Coiling Dragon clan lord. In the greater scheme of things, it directly affected the clan's fate.
"Refining it… will take a bit more time and effort." Jiang Chen sighed softly.
"Why? You can't contact your master?" The Coiling Dragon clan lord's body shook. He was very interested in the answer to that question. "As long as he is willing, I will pay any price. Anything that the Coiling Dragon Clan has is his."
"It's not a matter of the price." Jiang Chen smiled. "I really can't contact my master. He is a secluded man, and I've tried the method he gave me without much success. Perhaps he has gone to a place sealed off from the outside world."
"What?" The Coiling Dragon clan lord's expression became dull at once.
Ji San was in a panic. "Is there no other way?"
"Probably not in the short term." Jiang Chen shook his head. "However, my master did teach me how to refine the pill once upon a time."
"Huh?" Ji San's sadness was replaced with a renewed vigor. "Then you can refine the pill too, right?"
The Coiling Dragon clan lord clutched at his chair's handles. He looked at Jiang Chen, not knowing how to feel.
Jiang Chen didn't deny it. "Yes. But I haven't refined the pill before, so I suppose I only have a fifty percent chance at success."
The Coiling Dragon clan lord was ecstatic. "I'm willing to bet with even ten percent. Fifty is more than enough. If your master really cannot be reached, I will have to rely on you instead, little friend."
Ji San grabbed Jiang Chen's shoulder as well. "Brother, you're lucky by nature. Fifty percent for you is at least seventy to eighty for someone else!" He became animated at once, shrugging off his previous despair. "What other materials do you need? I'll go prepare them right now."
"No rush," Jiang Chen laughed wryly. "Refining the Pinecrane Pill isn't child's play. I need some time to remember it and figure things out. If I rush headlong into it, there's no way I'll succeed."
"Right, right, my bad." Ji San quickly changed his tune. "Yes, you should take some time and think about it. I'll go prep the materials in the meantime."
Jiang Chen gave the acorn to Ji San. "Keep the acorn for now. I'll give you a list in a bit. Refining the pill… well, that'll have to wait until the gathering's finished." He raised his head to the Coiling Dragon clan lord. "Are you willing to wait, sir?"
"Haha, the Veluriyam Pagoda gathering only lasts for a few more months. I can wait for that long. I wonder how long the refining process will take, though?"
The Pinecrane Pill was a sky-rank pill, and thus difficult to attempt.
Jiang Chen did some quick mental math before giving a conservative estimate. "Anywhere between fifteen to sixty days."
The Coiling Dragon clan lord breathed a sigh of relief at the quote. "Okay, then I will patiently await your good news. If you manage the feat, the Coiling Dragon Clan will forever be in your debt." As the lord of a great clan, it was rare that the Coiling Dragon clan lord would say such things.
"Mm. I'll go write up the materials list, then I have to do some lecture preparation. I'm off. Please be patient."
The Coiling Dragon clan lord laughed. "Haha, no problem. Ole Third, see our friend out for me."
The two of them left Coiling Dragon Clan territory. Jiang Chen wrote up the list, then gave it to Ji San.
"Brother, I don't think you told the truth in front of the clan lord. How sure are you really about refining the Pinecrane Pill?" Ji San couldn't help but ask.
"Didn't you say it already?" Jiang Chen smiled. "Seventy to eighty percent sure."
"That high, really? So you're basically entirely certain!" Ji San was amazed.
The Pinecrane Pill was just a normal pill for the Jiang Chen of his previous life. It wasn't a divine-rank pill, so he didn't expect to have any trouble with it. But, Jiang Chen hadn't quite restored his pill proficiency to his previous life's level yet. Furthermore, making empty guarantees simply wasn't his style.