Chapter 588: The Sacred Altar
The enormous three-tiered altar looked sacred and majestic from a distance. The closer the group approached, the more they perceived the altar’s ancient, desolate atmosphere, inspiring a sense of awe. Upon arrival, the elders of the various sects began their foray by circling the first platform to eliminate any hidden risks.
Elder Xiang Gan then spoke, “Alright, there are four spirit herb fields here with over ten thousand true saint rank herbs, and only twenty some origin realm cultivators. Therefore, I propose that the origin realm cultivators can keep half of the herbs they harvest, and offer up the other half to their sects.” Over ten thousand true saint rank herbs divided by twenty some origin realm cultivators meant that each cultivator would still receive three to four hundred true saint rank herbs. This number was quite stunning.
No one objected to this proposal; half of the herbs collected should indeed be handed over to the sect according to the normal harvesting rules of Mt. Rippling Mirage. With these rules, it became easy to divvy up the herbs. Jiang Chen's God’s Eye searched to and fro, and he soon found the Thousandmesh Jaderoot in the second spirit herb field. There was also more than one of them as well. Luckily, no one had taken it by the time it was Ling Bi’er’s turn. Thus, it fell into her hands, and at long last, the two of them had collected all four herbs on Jiang Chen’s list. After roughly an hour, all the true saint rank herbs on the first level had been claimed and the group proceeded onwards to the second layer platform.
“Brother Jiang Chen, how many earth rank herbs do you think there are on the second level?” Mu Gaoqi asked curiously.
Jiang Chen smiled, “The more the better.”
Mu Gaoqi was a bit sullen. “We won’t have a share even if there are a lot. In fact, I hope that there aren’t any so they’ll be less pleased with themselves.”
Wang Han was walking in front and looked back with a contemptuous smile when he heard Mu Gaoqi’s muttering. “Is this an act of denouncing the grapes as sour since you can’t have them?”
Mu Gaoqi’s lips twisted as he growled back, “And what are you so proud of?”
“What now? I can’t be proud? I have a share of the earth rank herbs from the second layer coming to me. Do you?”
Clearly, Wang Han was deliberately showing off. It was Jiang Chen who yanked on a corner of Mu Gaoqi’s robes and said, “Gaoqi, it’s pointless to argue. As good as these earth rank herbs are, who knows who they’ll end up with in the end?”
Wang Han scoffed arrogantly. “No matter whose pocket they end up in, they won’t end up in your sub-sage realm level hands.”
“Really now? “Jiang Chen smiled indifferently. “Do you want to bet again? If an earth rank herb lands in my hand, will you go eat shit?”
The words of ‘eat shit’ had become taboo to Wang Han, so when he heard this, his expression went black. “You pathetic origin realm level insect! You’re merely at the level of an ant, what are you so proud of? If you ever fall into my hands, I will let you know what it means to wish for death!”
At this time, that Elder Chen suddenly laughed. “Wang Han, what are you arguing with an origin realm cultivator for? Don’t forget your own identity as a sage realm genius. You need to look upwards, not always pay attention to the rabble below.”
This young and old duo were putting on quite a show. Mu Gaoqi’s face was flushing beet red, and he was quite livid. Shen Qinghong had also been silent, but he’d been mentally flying through certain plans. When I return to the sect this time, I must go into closed door seclusion and not come out until I break into the sage realm! Ling Bi’er, on the other hand, was still immersed in joy. Her mind was no longer here in this ancient herb garden, but had instead flown back to the Rosy Valley, back to her own residence, and back to her father's side. All she wanted was to leave as soon as possible so that she could remove the Divine Befuddlement Miasma from her father’s body.
On the other hand, Jiang Chen’s face was a mask of detachment. How many ultimate experts in his past life had scraped and bowed in front of him? How could a mere first level sage realm Wang Han be mentioned in the same breath as them? Even a Titled Great Emperor was not qualified to be a doorman in the divine levels. As strong as they were, they were only experts in the secular realm, but minor characters in the greater picture. Thus, it was useless for Elder Chen and Wang Han to try and provoke Jiang Chen like this. Their words were like the passing breeze, not leaving a single trace behind.
Four hundred stone steps later, they finally reached the second platform. This platform was rather spacious, and its floor was marked by various strange drawings. Ancient characters, ancient pictograms, and dense tadpole-like runes decorated the ground. They looked particularly abstruse and mysterious. This place should have been used for sacrifice in the ancient times. Jiang Chen took a look around, roughly gleaning the meaning of the drawings and understanding that the drawings had no attack power in and of themselves. Apart from him though, there was an obvious lack of comprehension from the others. However, they had also guessed that these drawings were highly symbolic, and were likely some sort of ancient totem. Thus, they looked upon them from a distance and didn’t dare approach.
The four spirit herb fields had been scattered to four corners. The fields were lush and full of herbs, all striving to outdo each other in appearance. It was as if the place had flourished from ancient times till the present. Jiang Chen’s gaze swept through the fields, and the results were greatly surprising. There was almost a hundred earth rank herbs in each field, indicating around four hundred herbs in total.
Thus, the thirty plus sage realm experts would each receive around ten earth rank herbs. This number was slightly out of Jiang Chen’s expectations. The elders of the six great sects were just as excited, as shrewd light radiated from their eyes.
“Haha, since we’ve already said the Great Cathedral would go first, this old man is going to help himself!” Elder Xiang Gan was extremely domineering. After wandering through the four fields for a bit, he immediately locked onto two earth rank herbs and stashed them into his storage ring. The Great Cathedral’s other six participating members all waded in afterwards as well.
Next, the Walkabout Sect took their turn. Elder Wu Hen took the lead unceremoniously as he put two spirit herbs into his storage ring that he’d earmarked quite a while ago.
The Walkabout Sect was only allowed five harvesters but even so, the number of earth rank herbs once again decreased by another small amount. Next was the Sacred Sword Palace with a quota of six people allowed.
They had the same numbers as the Great Cathedral, so another batch of herbs went into the pockets of the Sacred Sword Palace. According to the previous rules, an earth sage realm cultivator could pick two herbs while a mortal sage realm cultivator could only pick one. When it was the Regal Pill Palace’s turn, only Elder Yun Nie could harvest two earth rank herbs, as he was the only one in the earth sage realm. The other three elders could only pick one during their turn. Earth rank herbs also had different levels of quality to them, so those harvesting earlier naturally had an advantage. Fortunately, the overall quality of any of the earth rank herbs was not low. Plus, everyone had different needs, so they ended up taking what they needed with little conflict.
There were ten earth sage realm experts and twenty five mortal sage realm cultivators, meaning that forty five herbs would be harvested in each round. Thus, the four hundred or so earth rank herbs were enough for the sage realm cultivators to go through the harvesting order nine times. This meant that each earth sage realm expert would end up with eighteen earth rank herbs, while each mortal sage realm cultivator would have nine. As envious as the origin realm cultivators were, they could only stand on the sidelines and look on at the others earning a fortune.
“Ai, who knew that there would be so many earth rank herbs? If this is the case here, then there are probably many sky rank herbs above as well.” Mu Gaoqi’s tone was somewhat forlorn. According to his calculations, the Regal Pill Palace would only receive forty five earth rank herbs out of the total of four hundred.
This number was quite low compared to the Great Cathedral and the Sacred Sword Palace’s haul. The Great Cathedral in particular, was able to obtain seventy two earth rank herbs after nine rounds with their two earth sage cultivators and four mortal sage cultivators. Moreover, since the Great Cathedral was number one in the pick order, if any herbs remained after the nine rounds, they would get to go again.
There really were another fourteen herbs after the ninth round. Thus, the Great Cathedral went a tenth round and harvested another eight herbs. The remaining six herbs then went to the next in order—the Walkabout Sect. As a sage realm genius, Wang Han ended up with nine more earth rank herbs in the end and obviously wanted to mock the Regal Pill Palace with his gains.
Displaying the nine earth rank herbs in his hand, he looked at Jiang Chen and sighed, “Though the distribution of the earth rank herbs is complete, it seems like some people’s hands are as empty as ever. Where are their so-called earth rank herbs, ah?”
Mu Gaoqi curled his lips and cursedly quietly, “Puffed up scoundrel!”
Wang Han looked at Jiang Chen. “It seemed that someone wanted to bet with me earlier? Do I remember this correctly?”
Jiang Chen smiled leisurely, “What are you so proud for? Life is fickle. Maybe in just a little while, you will beg me to take your earth rank herbs!”
Hearing this, Wang Han gave a scornful laugh and then suddenly spat out, “The f*ck you sprouting in broad daylight?”
Jiang Chen smiled silently, and did not continue to argue.
At this time, Elder Xiang Gan’s voice once again sounded out, “Alright, we’ve finished distributing the earth rank herbs. Next up is the real show. Once we reach the third level, everyone must be extremely careful. Rash behavior will not be tolerated. Whoever affects the harvesting of the sky rank herbs will become the eternal sinner of the Myriad Domain.” Elder Xiang Gan issued a reminder in advance; he would not forgive any lapses in attention at this point. Faces full of tension, everyone nodded. Although they were all happy from dividing up the earth rank herbs, that was just an appetizer. The main course was on the third level of the altar!
Although the group was still on the second platform, they were already able to feel a rich concentration of spirit power falling from the third level. This kind of atmosphere was as if a desolate and sacred air was passing through a river of space and time, traveling directly from the ancient times. As if with an unspoken mutual understanding, everyone remained silent as they walked towards the third layer of the altar.
The hundreds of stone steps were like a bridge from the current times to the ancient past; everyone felt immersed in the atmosphere; it was as if they were on a holy pilgrimage. Only Jiang Chen’s mind was as calm as water. He had opened his God’s Eyes to the fullest and had spent his time observing this mysterious altar. Though he also knew that the third level would have sky rank herbs, he had a feeling that the most noteworthy and valuable things on this ancient altar might not be the sky rank herbs at all.
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