Chapter 462: The Demigod of Wood
Yan Hongtu attempting to take Jiang Chen down a peg wasn’t out of the latter’s expectations. Jiang Chen would have anticipated something along these lines even if Dan Chi hadn’t warned him beforehand.
He was a foreigner after all, and had suddenly taken up residence in the core disciples’ territory. It was virtually impossible for everyone to accept him straight off the bat, not to mention the reputation that came along with him. The sage one himself had deigned to ally with the Precious Tree Sect because of Jiang Chen!
Just this point alone was enough to make Jiang Chen a target of public censure.
Everyone was a genius here, and what genius would submit to another?
Jiang Chen was the genius from a small place and had suddenly received so much attention from Dan Chi. Who wouldn’t nurse some little grievance or plot in their hearts? How many wouldn’t suffer from the slightest upwelling of jealousy? This Yan Hongtu was just one of their representatives. Of course, Jiang Chen also knew that some things were unavoidable and had to be subdued head on in order to survive in the sects.
“Young master, it seems that this Rosy Valley isn’t all that either. Vile characters seem to abound like ghosts around here.” Gouyu huffed.
Jiang Chen was rather noncommittal. “Where there are people, so will there be the jianghu.  Where there is the jianghu, so will there be conflict. Since we have arrived, let us relax and enjoy things.”
He was about to return to his courtyard when another voice rang out. “Daoist Jiang Chen, please hold your steps.”
Jiang Chen turned his head to see a young man standing a few paces away. He possessed a natural grace and elegant brows, dressed in an outfit that looked almost like a priestly frock. All of this culminated in an ethereal feeling even at his young age.
“I am Mu Gaoqi, a newly ascended core disciple last to enter the Rosy Valley before you. I have heard of your name and come to pay a visit. Am I intruding?” Mu Gaoqi seemed even a year or two younger than Jiang Chen.
So the saying went, whoever comes is a guest. Jiang Chen wasn’t an unreasonable person, and one didn’t reach out to slap a smiling face. This Mu Gaoqi had come ever so politely and didn’t seem to possess malicious intent.
“Please come in.” Jiang Chen nodded, showing the other the way in. The female followers excused themselves when they saw that they had guests. Being even more of a reclusive person, Huang’er would never appear in front of strangers.
Xue Tong had also planned on dismissing himself after he’d brought in tea for the guest. It was patently obvious that the mockery the followers had been subjected to after entering the Rosy Valley had made them more or less self conscious. They were deathly afraid of losing more of Jiang Chen’s face if they stayed.
“Xue Tong, you’re not an outsider. Stay and listen to the discourse of a Regal Pill Palace genius. This will also be a learning opportunity for you.” Jiang Chen wasn’t willing to let cracks appear in the dao hearts of his men. His actions were an attempt to goad Xue Tong and the others into triumphing over their low self esteem.
Mu Gaoqi hastened to bow at the waist and smile, “You praise me too highly.”
Jiang Chen smiled faintly, “I’ve only just arrived and don’t know the rules of the Rosy Valley. I’ll salute Brother Mu with this cup of crude tea first then.”
Being a humble man, Mu Gaoqi was a bit startled and flattered by Jiang Chen’s proactive toast. Jiang Chen observed the young man’s language and countenance and felt that the other truly wasn’t here to create trouble. Mu Gaoqi was careful and deliberate in his every motion, acting cautiously in all affairs. He appeared quite different from the other sect geniuses, not at all the type that threw his weight around in a domineering fashion.
“Brother Jiang Chen, this younger brother should be a year or two younger than you. You can call Xiao Mu or Gaoqi. Brother Jiang Chen’s name has pierced my ears like thunder these past few days in the Regal Pill Palace. I’ve specially brought over some pills for my intrusion today, I hope Brother Jiang Chen doesn’t think little of them.” Mu Gaoqi brought out a few small pill flasks as he spoke and placed them on the table.
“Heh heh, my martial dao potential is quite mediocre in the Regal Pill Palace, but I have a bit of potential in the area of pills due to my innate wood constitution. My path into the Rosy Valley was crafted from pills and the small advantage I have in refining them. Contained in these three flasks are: the Origin Fostering Pill that enhances the effects of cultivation in the origin realm, the Spirit Consolidation Pill that will quickly raise a spirit realm cultivator’s level, and the Seven Star Coalescence Pill that will instantly recover half of your origin energy after prolonged battle. I was limited by various conditions and couldn’t refine too many higher quality Origin Fostering Pills due to its high requirements. The Spirit Consolidation Pill, on the other hand, functions very much like the Divine Fruit from the Precious Tree of your Precious Tree Sect. Heh heh, it was thanks to this pill that I made it into the origin realm!” Mu Gaoqi gave a careful introduction of these unexpectedly very precious pills.
“Daoist Gaoqi, isn’t it a bit too precious to present such valuable pills at our first meeting?” Jiang Chen smiled slightly.
Mu Gaoqi hastily responded, “These pills may be more precious to others, but I can easily refine them again after they’ve been used up due to my mastery of the dao of pills. In addition…”
“In addition what?” Jiang Chen laughed.
“Alright…” Mu Gaoqi’s handsome face reddened. “I actually have some personal motives in coming here. I have a matter to request because I’ve heard that Brother Jiang Chen has a natural affinity for fire and water.”
“What makes you say that?” Jiang Chen couldn’t help but laugh when he saw Mu Gaoqi blush as he spoke. This fellow is such a bashful character; he likely isn’t one of those with evil in his hearts.
“It’s just that I was training in the outside world a while ago and discovered a clear spring with a few other sect disciples. It looked like a spring with an underground water source. When I took a sample of the water to test it, I discovered that it was a spring containing very pure wood spirit energy. I’m naturally very sensitive to wood spirit power since I have a natural born wood constitution . Therefore, we decided to try and locate the source of the spring, but discovered that the spring travels through a deep cavern. We were blocked by the exceedingly complex terrain inside the cavern after walking less than a tenth of its length. The cavern fluctuates wildly between hot and cold temperatures. Fire spews out from beneath the ground and rampages around like a dragon when it’s hot, and the surroundings become as cold as the highest peaks, seemingly able to freeze our very blood when it’s cold.” Mu Gaoqi’s gaze was fixed on Jiang Chen as he spoke.
Jiang Chen seemed to grasp something at this point, an understanding of what Mu Gaoqi’s intentions were.
“Brother Jiang Chen, we’d strike it rich if we can find the source of the innate spring.” Mu Gaoqi’s tone became a bit agitated. “My natural born constitution is one step away from the innate level. The potential in my body will surely evolve to an innate wood constitution if baptized in the spring. And it’s not just me, any cultivator who undergoes treatment from the spring will see their bloodlines and potential evolve. This is an enormous opportunity!”
“And you want my help?”
“No no…” Mu Gaoqi quickly denied. “How would this pitiful amount of pills be enough to solicit your help? I merely wish to offer a favor and invite you to join us.”
“Invite me to join you?” Jiang Chen was actually a bit tempted. ‘When do you set out?”
“I think roughly three months from now. There’s still plenty of time for us to make our own preparations. Of course, not that many know of this yet. The disciples who found it have a tacit understanding that none of us will spread the word about this. Otherwise, we won’t be able to claim any of it if any of the stronger disciples found out.” Mu Gaoqi’s personality was a bit more introverted, and his network within the Regal Pill Palace was nothing special. Most introverted folks were slow to warm up to others and found it difficult to trust others. This was why he hadn’t dared to invite any of the stronger geniuses.
In addition, according to his speculations, one with the ability to train in both the fire and water attributes was eminently suited to go adventuring through that cavern. Add to that Mu Gaoqi’s complete idolization of Sage Dan Chi; he’d felt that the one who his idol valued so highly was worthy of trust—this was why he’d taken the relatively bold move of inviting Jiang Chen after careful consideration.
When he saw Jiang Chen remain silent without a word, Mu Gaoqi hastened to add, “Brother Jiang Chen, if you think that I’m not showing enough sincerity, I can promise you that I can be in charge of all the Spirit Consolidation Pills that your followers need in the future. You don’t even have to prepare the ingredients. What do you say?” As a resident of Rosy Valley, Mu Gaoqi naturally knew that Jiang Chen’s people had become the butt of all the jokes in the area.
A vaunted core disciple in the earth spirit realm with small spirit realm cultivators as his followers? This was a unique sight within the Rosy Valley, and it was difficult not to become a laughingstock.
“Daoist Gaoqi, I will agree for now since you think so highly of me. However, I will withdraw my participation at any moment if I find that the truth is different from what you’ve described or if you’ve sought to conceal anything from me.” Jiang Chen said everything up front first.
Mu Gaoqi was overjoyed and cried out excitedly, “May the heavens smite me if I’ve held anything back! However, those who discovered the spirit spring with me all have higher cultivation levels. I’m afraid we might run into some trouble later on.”
“Worry not about any of that.” Jiang Chen wasn’t worried about the strength of others, but more concerned with if there was any scheme or trap here. At least presently, he could be at ease since Mu Gaoqi had offered his sworn word.
Mu Gaoqi’s psychological defenses against Jiang Chen gradually relaxed after the two had hammered out the details. He began to speak of some of the details behind the Valley to Jiang Chen. “There are roughly a thousand disciples in the Rosy Valley. One who has just entered the origin realm as I is at the bottom of the heap. It’s a good thing that others don’t bully me too much because I’m well versed in refining pills. They call me the “Demigod of Wood” [3. Mu is his surname and also translated to “wood”] due to my proficiency in the dao of pills.”
“Haha, you do have a bit of an ethereal air about you that the immortals would have!” Jiang Chen laughed.
“It might have something to do with my natural wood constitution. Oh right, Brother Jiang Chen, I’ve heard that Yan Hongtu has summoned you? Was there such a thing?” Mu Gaoqi asked.
“Indeed, how is this person?” Jiang Chen continued to ask.
Mu Gaoqi revealed a trace of a wry smile. “This person is one not to antagonize in the Soaring Clouds area. Brother Jiang Chen, I recommend you find an opportunity to express that you’ve submitted to him.” Mu Gaoqi’s personality was cautious and one that didn’t easily speak ill of others. It could be seen from his tone and attitude just how domineering and rampant this character normally was.
Jiang Chen smiled faintly and didn’t keep speaking. He shifted direction to ask, “Is this Rosy Valley divided into different sections?”
“Indeed. There are four: Soaring Clouds, Peerless, Sky Pillar, and Sovereign areas. The Soaring Clouds area holds the lowest amongst the core disciples. Those in the Peerless area are a bit higher, but the true apex core disciples dwell within the Sky Pillar and Sovereign areas. Those who have the right to enter the Sovereign area are the real true disciples of the Regal Pill Palace and the premier geniuses. There aren’t too many of them. They have the right to assail the sage realm and have too big of a gap with us.” Mu Gaoqi’s tone was also filled with fear and admiration when he spoke of the Sovereign area.
“Yan Hongtu is the tyrant of the Soaring Clouds area, isn’t he?”
“You could say that. Senior brother Yan’s strength is actually enough to enter the Sky Pillar area, but he gains much in controlling the Soaring Clouds area. He’s king here and naturally doesn’t want to leave.”
In his current, easily abused position, Yan Hangtu was the recipient of all sorts of fawning; he could even collect protection fees. There was no way in hell he wanted to leave!