Jiang Chen had paved the road for the future. Gouyu and Xue Tong were put in charge of the slaves and allocating work. Jiang Chen also gave them the full management rights to every slave. They were flattered by his trust in both of them, but they also felt quite pressured. Jiang Chen didn’t meddle much with matters relating to the slaves. In fact, he distanced himself from the management of the entire residence. Gouyu and Xue Tong were in charge of everything. Two days had already passed and there was only one preparation day left. Since Jiang Chen was already fully prepared, he decided to go for a stroll around Sacred Peafowl Mountain while there was still time. He was, after all, still new here.
He decided to pay some of the elders a visit before he had to leave for the main pagoda. He visited the four monarchs, some high-ranked Peafowl Guard officers, and Elder Gu Yu, who was from the same generation as Emperor Peafowl. They were the ones who were supposed to visit him now that he was young lord. However, they decided against it, as they didn’t want to disturb what little time he had left for preparation. They were entirely astonished and fearful when Jiang Chen took the initiative to pay them a visit.
He was the owner of the Progeny Feather Medallion, making him the next heir to Sacred Peafowl Mountain. He held a higher position than any of them. Having the young lord visit them instead of it being the other way around was a slight miscalculation on their part, so the first thing they did was try to explain themselves.
“Young lord! We didn’t visit you in the past three days because we thought you’d be busy with your preparations for the main pagoda. This is truly embarrassing. I apologize that you had to come visit us instead.” Cloudsoar Monarch explained to Jiang Chen patiently. Jiang Chen was not the kind of person to quibble over such pointless issues. He was certain that the monarch had spoken the truth.
“Cloudsoar Monarch, His Majesty often tells me that I should pay you a visit if I have any questions about Sacred Peafowl Mountain.”
Cloudsoar Monarch smiled. “His Majesty truly flatters me. I must say that I am quite impressed by the amount of foresight His Majesty possesses. Back then, I was too short sighted to see what His Majesty saw in you when he revealed his intentions to make you his heir. I had even expressed my concerns to him regarding his decision. But time has proven me wrong.”
Jiang Chen didn’t stay for long. He said his goodbyes after chatting for a bit. After that, he visited Wildfox Monarch and Chronobalance Monarch. Wildfox Monarch had the temperament of a leisurely wild crane. He was slightly surprised by Jiang Chen’s sudden visit and acted neither overly distant nor overly close.
Chronobalance Monarch was slightly more laid back. He didn’t flatter Jiang Chen, but he did give the new young lord some encouraging words. Jiang Chen offered a gift of pills to every monarch he visited. It was the best thing he could offer right now. He visited Plumscore Monarch last, as she lived the furthest away. There were many mountain ranges in Sacred Peafowl Mountain, and every monarch possessed their own territory.
The Plumscore Retreat was at the northernmost region of Sacred Peafowl Mountain. It was the mountain range where the plum blossoms bloomed the most. Plumscore Monarch loved the flower, her personality just as cold and as lofty as her namesake. It was the reason why she had personally chosen the dao name of Plumscore Monarch. Jiang Chen had seen her many times, but they never truly interacted. He only knew that she had a slightly colder personality than the others.
Jiang Chen didn’t expect the four monarchs to be too courteous towards him. After all, only a few days had passed since he had become heir. The four monarchs had followed Emperor Peafowl for thousands of years and held very high positions within Sacred Peafowl Mountain. It was only natural that they would find it difficult to lower themselves to the new heir’s position. The barrier within their hearts was too high. It wasn’t easy for them to forgo their pride and dignity.
He had visited them on his own accord to shorten the distance between them. He was a young man. Dignity wasn’t a big concern to him. His relationship with the four monarchs, however, was. Visiting them seemed to have brought them closer. Of course, this didn’t necessarily mean that Plumscore Monarch was going to give him face like the other three monarchs had. According to his sources, Plumscore Monarch had opposed the hardest when he was first proposed to be the next heir. Although, it wasn’t truly an objection; she had merely voiced her concerns.
Jiang Chen stood outside the entrance of the Plumscore Retreat and admired the unique view. Because of the altitude and terrain, the mountains here were covered in snow all year round, except during the summer. There were all kinds of plum blossom species here. Every seasonal change produced a different view as the flowers bloomed and wilted. He was mesmerized by the scenery as he stood at the entrance.
One couldn’t help but praise the beauty of the Plumscore Retreat. The pristine mountains stood high above the clouds. One could faintly see them amongst the snow storm. It was like a view taken from a celestial realm. Plum blossom trees stood tall amongst the billowing snow. The plants here were green and full of life, even though all around them was a world of ice. They seemed to be unaffected by the ongoing snow storm. They must’ve been specially chosen for this climate.
In the midst of being deeply enthralled by the enchanting view, Jiang Chen suddenly heard a sharp cry. A white flash of light had shot down from above the clouds and was headed straight at him at a frightening speed. A youthful voice was heard crying out anxiously at the same time, “Whitey! No!”
Jiang Chen used his God’s Eye to take a closer look and noticed that a fierce eagle was barreling towards him. Its feathers were as white as snow, camouflaging it in the world of ice. It was diving at him! He was a little taken aback by the power of the eagle’s attack. It was equivalent to an all-out strike by an earth sage realm cultivator! Of course, there was no reason for alarm.
He cracked a gentle smile as golden brilliance surged from his body. A magnetic power instantly shot up thirty feet above his head. The white eagle came within range of the magnetic power and slammed into an invisible energy wall. Screech! It immediately cried out in pain. Some of its feathers fell off and fluttered away with the snow. However, the eagle’s aggression didn’t wane. It continued to glare at Jiang Chen, but it no longer dared attack. It was obviously wary of an unwanted guest like him. Jiang Chen found the eagle’s human-like expressions quite funny. It had probably attacked him because it thought that he was up to no good in the Plumscore Retreat.
Another white flash of light suddenly shot down from the sky. It was another snow eagle, but this one stopped halfway in the sky. A young girl, roughly about five or six years of age, was mounted on the eagle’s back. Her long black hair was wrapped up into many small braids, and her eyes shimmered like the stars in the night sky. Her white feathery dress only accentuated her fairy-like appearance. Jiang Chen was surprised by her sudden appearance.
One could easily tell how sorry she was by looking into her big watery eyes. “Sorry big brother! Whitey is a bad bird. Did he hurt you?”
The little girl’s voice was crisp and the tone tender. There was an innocence to the voice that could only be found in children. Anyone who heard her voice would feel an urge to dote on her.
“Whitey! Why did you attack big brother?” the little girl asked the eagle as she caressed its feathers. Her voice was full of compassion. “You’re lucky that big brother showed you mercy! You could have suffered from a much worse fate!”
Jiang Chen was equally as curious as he was entertained by her manner of speech. A weird feeling rippled through his heart. For some reason, he felt an instant connection to the little girl when he saw her. Her cuteness tugged on his heartstrings. Jiang Chen was full of smiles as he looked at her. He could feel a warm feeling permeate through his heart. He had very little experience with children in his previous life. It was genuinely a wonderful feeling to have a little girl suddenly barge into his world with such a beautiful scenery in the background. Sigh… I can’t believe that I’ve never had the opportunity to experience a carefree childhood even though I’ve already lived two lives. The little girl’s unique aura flooded his heart with tenderness for some inexplicable reason. It stoked feelings of benevolence from him.
The little girl could sense the kindness within his eyes. She looked back at him with lively eyes and asked, “Big brother, are you alright?”
Jiang Chen burst into laughter. “I’m fine. Little girl, what’s your name?”
The little girl breathed a sigh of relief when she heard that he was fine. The worry in her eyes diminished greatly. “My name is Nian’er. Mommy says that my name originates from the word ‘longing’,” she replied earnestly. [ref] ‘Longing’ in Chinese can be “si nian”.
“Nian’er? Mm. That is indeed a very lovely name. By the way, Nian’er, why are you playing alone at the entrance? Aren’t you afraid of bad people?”
Nian’er tilted her head and laughed. “This is Sacred Peafowl Mountain! Bad people wouldn’t dare come here! Grandpa emperor will send them running if they ever try to. There’s also grandma… they say that bad guys fear grandma the most.”
“Grandma? Who is your grandma?” Jiang Chen wondered if this child was Plumscore Monarch’s grandchild.
Multiple white silhouettes shot out from the entrance of the Plumscore Retreat while he was deep in his own thoughts. They were surprised to see Jiang Chen. “Young lord Zhen?”
Jiang Chen cupped his fists and smiled. “Greetings, fellow daoists. It’s been a few days since I’ve moved to the mountains. I’ve come to pay Plumscore Monarch a visit today, as I’ve finally found some free time.”
They became extremely courteous when they realized that he was young lord Zhen. They quickly bowed and greeted him. “We didn’t know that the young lord would be coming today. Please excuse us for not welcoming you outside. Young lord, please. Come in.”
Another cultivator went to the little girl and said, “Nian’er, it’s stormy outside. Come back in. Hurry!”
Nian’er seemed quite curious about Jiang Chen. Her big expressive round eyes darted around Jiang Chen’s body. “Big brother, you’re young lord Zhen? Nian’er hears that everyone in Veluriyam Capital sings you praises and calls you a great hero!”