Chapter 524: Formation Preparations
The various matches that Jiang Chen had accepted in the ring had already brought in thirty thousand spirit stones for Jiang Chen. The five thousand each from Palace Head Dan Chi and Elder Yun Nie made for ten thousand. Elder Lian Cheng had sent over another ten thousand, and Jiang Chen had fleeced another ten thousand from the fat target that was Shen Qinghong when they tied. Add all that to Jiang Chen’s store of spirit stores brought him to a sum total of close to sixty thousand upper rank origin spirit stones—a full threefold increase over his original expectations.
“These sixty thousand stones can power fifty to sixty percent of the formation. Once it’s set up properly, it can be maintained for ten years.” Jiang Chen made a couple of quick mental calculations. According to his initial plan, roughly twenty thousand stones would’ve been enough for thirty percent of the formation. There was great hope for sixty thousand stones to bring forth fifty to sixty percent of its power.
“When it comes to formations, naturally the more powerful the better. If I can activate all of the power behind the Nine Gates Formation, then even an emperor realm expert will be hard pressed to break through it. Even fifty to sixty percent of its power will be enough to defend against a sky sage realm expert.” It wasn’t that Jiang Chen didn’t trust those of the Regal Pill Palace, but that the wood spirit spring was of such importance that he didn’t wish for its existence to be revealed.
If its existence was leaked, it would incite mass chaos across the Myriad Domain and even attract attention from still stronger powers to come seize it. While this formation may look like it was preventing those from the Regal Pill Palace from intruding, it was also protecting the sect from the disaster that could strike if the wrong news was spread.
After he’d obtained his newest ingredients, Jiang Chen had collected everything he needed for the formation. But of course, when it came to formations, especially such a big one, it wasn’t something that could be completed in two or three days.
Jiang Chen was in no hurry. The first step was to refine the flag formation. The fifty kilograms of aubergine gold he’d gathered from Elder Lian Cheng had been for the flag formation. This material wasn’t the optimal material for the formation flag, but it was already an exceedingly good material in the Myriad Domain. He would likely unable to find better here, or not in the Regal Pill Palace.
The starcloud dust and vermilion cinnabar were all materials needed to set up the formation and to carve the runes. A formation would cover a broad area, but it was made up of many small details. It had to be completely flawless, since a slightly weaker link in the chain would affect the quality of the entire formation.
Since Jiang Chen had gone to so much effort and cost for all this, he naturally wouldn’t allow any errors to develop. This formation would be one of his guardians for at least the next decade. But of course, his goal wasn’t satisfied by simply stopping here. This formation could be continuously improved, and his aim was to deploy the full power of this formation so that it could truly defend against an emperor realm cultivator. This would naturally be a long term endeavor and not something to be completed overnight.
Refining a flag formation would require specialized equipment. He didn’t have any such facility in his residence. It was a good thing that there was a Hall of Refining that specialized in all matters of weapon forging. It ranked sixth amongst the nine halls of the Regal Pill Palace.
A minimum of eighty one flags would be needed to have the formation realize its maximal potential. Since Jiang Chen didn’t have such high aspirations at the moment, he was looking to refine only thirty six flags. This would only decrease the formation’s power and range.
He had made a promise with the little Cicada last time that he would let it bathe in the waters of the spring after ten days. There were still a few days left until the promised time, so Jiang Chen decided to refine the flags first. Since time was of the essence, he didn’t linger and headed straight for the Hall of Refining.
With his current reputation, no one dared treat him lightly when he arrived. Who didn’t know that he was the favorite of Palace Head Dan Chi and Elder Yun Nie? Even Hallmaster Lian Cheng of the Hall of Might had accepted Jiang Chen’s current position. Therefore, although Jiang Chen didn’t command the same treatment and prestige as Shen Qinghong, he wasn’t far off.
Although the Hall of Refining was an important organization, there was still quite a difference between it and the Hall of Might or Herbal Hall. When an administrator saw Jiang Chen, he used an almost fawning tone to ask, “What pleasant wind has blown you to our hall, junior brother Jiang Chen? Do you need to refine some sort of weapon? Our Hall of Refining specializes in solving these kinds of problems for sect geniuses!”
Jiang Chen smiled and looked at the administrator. “Is it possible for me to borrow your refining room?”
An awkward expression appeared on the administrator’s face. “Borrow the refining room? Junior brother Jiang Chen, there… there is a strict rule that no one outside of the Hall of Refining can borrow our facilities.”
“Please make an exception in my favor.” Jiang Chen reached out his hand and shook the administrator’s hand, handing over a pill flask.
The administrator clutched a pill flask and beamed at him. “Junior brother Jiang Chen is the premier genius of our Regal Pill Palace. There are always some exceptions to the rule! I’ll go make the request for you in a bit. There will be no problem at all if the Hallmaster nods in assent.”
“Then I’ll ask the senior brother to speak a few more good words on my behalf.”
The administrator understood completely, smiling, “Of course, of course. It’s also the honor of our Hall of Refining to put forth some effort on behalf of junior brother Jiang Chen!”
The administrator knew that Jiang Chen was a genius at pill refining. The items that he gifted would certainly be uncommon. How would the administrator not put forth some effort on Jiang Chen’s behalf now that he had received some benefits? He gave an order, “Treat junior brother Jiang Chen well, I will go discuss with the Hallmaster.”
When the administrator entered the inner hall, he surreptitiously took out the pill flask and peeked inside. It was ten upper rank Origin Fostering Pills! His heart rate doubled at the sight. One had to know that an administrator like him only received a stipend of roughly thirty Origin Fostering Pill a month, and all of them at lower rank at that. These ten upper rank pills were the same as thousands of lower rank pills! This was a good ten months of his stipend!
“Tsk tsk, he who has wealth speaks louder than others! He’s a pill refining genius alright! It looks like growing close to one is the only way forward!” The administrator was delighted and even more resolute that he had to handle this properly for Jiang Chen. If he could use this opportunity to build a relationship with Jiang Chen, he’d have no end of good benefits if Jiang Chen randomly bestowed some pills on him in the future.
Hallmaster Lu Duan personally came over after a short while. This hallmaster was a big fatty, resembling a rolling meat ball as he walked over with quick steps. “Jiang Chen, I am so ashamed that I didn’t come welcome you!”
It was the first time that Jiang Chen had met this hallmaster, so he was rather surprised by this hearty greeting. A fleshy hand grasped Jiang Chen’s and shook it vigorously. “Jiang Chen, my Hall of Refining rarely sees an honored guest like you. Come come come, come sit, come sit. Your presence graces my hall, and I will personally prepare a cup of tea for you.”
Jiang Chen was rather embarrassed by Fatty Lu’s fervor. “How is Jiang Chen worthy of Hallmaster Lu’s hospitality?”
“Haha, worthy indeed, quite worthy!” Lu Duan grinned and tugged Jiang Chen into walking inside. Jiang Chen could only follow him inside out of resignation. Jiang Chen was a bit at a loss for words to have a fatty, and a male fatty nonetheless, holding onto his hand.
It was a good thing that Fatty Lu went off to brew tea after heading inside. Jiang Chen sat down, attended by the administrator.
“Come Jiang Chen, have some tea. Our Hall of Refining is a bit crude and there’s nothing particularly good here. Don’t mind our weak tea, I hope you don't mind.” Fatty Lu had come back bearing tea. He was enthusiastically offering Jiang Chen high quality tea, but describing it as weak tea.
“Hallmaster Lu, I’m here to borrow the refining facilities of the Hall of Refining. This request may be a bit out of line, so if it’s possible, I’d like to make some reparations.” Jiang Chen wasn’t willing to stand on pleasantries as he once again explained his intentions.
Fatty Lu chuckled so much that his cheeks and jowls jiggled. “The rules don’t allow it, but Jiang Chen, you’re an utmost genius of the Regal Pill Palace, so you should naturally be treated as an exception.”
“Then I must thank Hallmaster Lu for helping me achieve my aims. Consider this as a small token of appreciation from me, I hope the hallmaster doesn’t look down on it.” Jiang Chen naturally wouldn’t be miserly since Lu Duan had agreed so forthrightly. He pushed a flask of pills to Hallmaster Lu.
The fatty chuckled but didn’t accept the flask. He pushed it back to Jiang Chen. “Jiang Chen, if you really want to thank me, I have a favor to ask.”
Jiang Chen started, then said, “Please feel free to speak frankly, Hallmaster Lu. If it’s something that Jiang Chen can do, then I will surely try my best!”
“The matter is this. My cultivation level has dithered at the peak of the origin realm for two decades. Whenever I start to sense the sage realm, I’ve always been afraid to try because I lack that bit of skill. It all comes down to missing a Hexarune Dragon Pill. I’ve heard that you helped Elder Yun Nie refine that pill, but don’t know if…”
Jiang Chen knew what the other meant when he heard these words. He took a glance at Lu Duan. This fatty truly had halted at the peak of the origin realm and was lacking that final step.
Lu Duan sighed dejectedly. “Jiang Chen ah, I am 160 years old this year and past the prime age to break through. Once a young man like you enters the peak of the origin realm, it wouldn’t be too farfetched for you to break through to the sage realm, even with the tribulations from some internal demons. But for someone like me with immense internal demons, I’m afraid that the tribulations will be too strong when I attempt to break through. If only I had a Hexarune Dragon Pill, my chances would be so much greater. I’m not afraid of death with this fat body of mine, but my poor eight year old daughter and five year old son…”
As the fatty poured out his heart amidst sobs, his style and acting skills reminded Jiang Chen of an old acquaintance in the Eastern Kingdom, Fatty Xuan.
Two fatties, similar styles and the same acts.
“Hallmaster Lu, the Hexarune Dragon Pill belongs to Elder Yun Nie. I really don’t have any, but if you can collect all its ingredients one day, I can help refine it for you. I can’t promise a supreme rank, but certainly a mid rank version.”
Fatty Lu’s eyes gleamed. “Do you mean that?”
Jiang Chen laughed. “I am a disciple of the Regal Pill Palace and my words carry weight.”
Fatty Lu laughed heartily. “Good, great! In that case, the facilities of my Hall of Refining are always open to you. Use them as long as you’d like, however you’d like! Let me know if there’s anything you need me for!”