The pagoda was still the symbolic and sacred architecture of Veluriyam Capital, but the capital knew very little about it now.
Even the Veluriyam Pagoda Gathering barely touched upon the pagoda. The most carefully kept secret they knew of was that there was an empyrean relic within it.
Jiang Chen speculated that the relic was but a red herring passed down from the ancient times, to distract people from the real secret. The true profound mystery within the pagoda was much more than a singular empyrean decree.
He’d considered the possibility back when he first learned about the pagoda, but hadn’t had a good grasp of the overall layout of the Divine Abyss Continent back then. There also hadn’t been any evidence backing any speculations up.
Then he’d entered the Six Palaces of Heritage and encountered seniors such as Honored Master P’eng, Venerated Skysoarer, and Mad Fiend. Seals on their power had prevented them from showcasing their full strength, but Jiang Chen could tell they were mighty fighters. More so than the promise of an empyrean relic would suggest.
An empyrean relic had been an attractive prize back then because even Emperor Peafowl, the most powerful being in Veluriyam Capital, had yet to ascend to empyrean realm.
Of course, he’d mistakenly chosen not to make the breakthrough due to rumors circulating in the human domain; that anyone reaching empyrean realm would be too much for the domain to accommodate, and would thus be forced to depart for a higher plane.
This was later proven to be a lie passed down from generations before.
Even someone like him had been misled by the lies! Emperor Peafowl had sensed the heavenly law many times, but he’d chose not to ascend to empyrean realm. Instead, he’d stayed in the Sacred Peafowl Mountain to safeguard the fortunes of the Veluriyam Capital.
The human domain was a far cry from what it’d been in the ancient times. The golden age of prosperity had passed, followed by an age of ignorance and complacency.
If not for Jiang Chen, the human domain would’ve continued to live in ignorance until the demons invaded.
“You mentioned the reason the human domain has declined. Does that have something to do with the Veluriyam Pagoda?” Jiang Chen suggested as realization struck.
Xia Tianze cackled. “You’re a clever one. Not because of the pagoda per se, but because of decisions made by a few experts in the ancient times. When the demon-sealing war had been at its fiercest, many demons were kept at bay in the barren lands by the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement. Only a few demon figureheads ran rampant. The ancient cultivators exhausted their options to prepare for the final battle. At the same time, some of them began to consider the future of the human domain post-war.”
Jiang Chen listened wordlessly with rapt attention. He had a feeling that there was a secret here for him to discover.
“They had different ideas about what direction the domain should take. Through multiple discussions and arguments, they finally reached a consensus.
“The most popular idea at the time was to conduct business as usual,” Xia Tianze continued in a complicated tone. “The human domain would focus on recovery after sealing the demonic army, and each sect would defend themselves while they rebuild, aiming to recover past glories.”
Jiang Chen frowned. “That wouldn’t have been easy, no?”
“It wouldn’t have been. Great Divine Veluriyam was opposed to the idea. Many of the leading cultivators knew they were likely to die in the final battle. No matter which of them fell, it was unrealistic to believe the sects would be allowed the luxury to recover. Firstly, each faction suffered different degrees of losses. Secondly, there would be fights breaking out to consolidate the new world order. Those who had made great sacrifices in the war would be marginalized or even eliminated.”
Jiang Chen sighed. “That’s a valid concern. We humans do tend to fight among ourselves. When there’s a danger that will threaten our survival, we’re able to stick together to fight our enemies. Once that outside threat is taken care of though, infighting breaks out. Considering the losses the human domain had suffered, if the same thing had happened back then, the human domain would’ve...” His expression tightened. “Senior, it wasn’t because people ended up taking that route that the human domain ended up declining, was it?”
Xia Tianze laughed. “It wasn’t. Great Divine Veluriyam vehemently voiced his objections. The idea seemed solid on paper, but it wouldn’t have worked.”
“Another option was more radical. Some believed that with the experience under their belt, the cultivators on the continent should spread their wings and invade other planes. Offense is the best form of defense.
“That proposal garnered some support. People had gained some confidence after fighting demons. Since demons were able to run rampant in many different planes, why couldn’t the cultivators on the Divine Abyss Continent do so as well?”
Jiang Chen huffed. He had to admit there was some value to the idea. Given the power of the ancient Divine Abyss Continent, they stood a chance to invade a lesser plane and win.
After the demonic war though, the factions had lost many of their elites. A successful invasion wouldn’t be easy. So that plan hadn’t been terribly realistic, either.
It was clear that the ancient cultivators hadn’t chosen to do that. There must’ve been a third alternative.
“What exactly did they do back then, senior? Please tell me now. I’m getting antsy.”
Xia Tianze laughed heartily. “You’re impatient, young man, but please understand that I’ve been alone for many nights since the ancient times. Regular people can’t even begin to imagine the solitude. That’s why I’m being a little too talkative today. I hope you don’t mind.”
Jiang Chen smiled. He understood. Even an ancient cultivator was human, and loneliness a most human feeling.
“The last plan was proposed by Great Divine Veluriyam, which gained the support of many figureheads. They were all going to fight in the final battle against the demonic army. They should have and did have the final say in this matter!”
There were ten leading factions fighting in the war, the respective leader of which must’ve been the ones making the decision.Previous Chapter Next Chapter