Chapter 693: The Counterattack Begins
The two stayed underground for a full two months before finally suppressing Huang’er’s Generation Binding Curse, perfecting their duet of “Ethereal Soothing Melody” along the way. The two communicated with each other’s souls through their music, and slowly came to understand each other more and more. Jiang Chen also didn’t hesitate to use all of his Sage Fledgling Grass to make Heroic Sage Pills. Although he didn’t have enough to treat them as everyday snacks, he did eventually accumulate enough for a hundred sage cultivators. Naturally, it was a sweet sensation to have it all to himself. Using them, he diligently trained until he easily broke through second level sage realm, and rose to a step away from third level sage realm. When Huang’er’s affliction grew more and more controllable, his desire to leave the underground world grew stronger and stronger.
Huang'er had always been empathetic and naturally knew of Jiang Chen’s thoughts. She also felt deeply apologetic that Jiang Chen had kept her company underground for two months out of his concern for her. So, she brought up the matter herself, “Sir Jiang, my curse is no longer in danger of acting up; perhaps this is the time to find out what has happened to sister Gouyu and the others? Why don’t we head upwards?”
Jiang Chen knew that Huang'er was trying to save him some awkwardness. He gratefully followed her lead, nodding, “I’m also worried about them as well. I wonder how Palace Head Dan Chi, Elder Yun Nie, junior brother Gaoqi, and senior sister Bi’er are now.”
Although the Regal Pill Palace had been destroyed, he hadn’t found any of their bodies. He guessed that whether it was Elder Yun Nie or Mu Gaoqi, all of them had been taken away. They were important witnesses, and were likely taken as prisoners to be interrogated about the sky rank spirit herb and Longevity Pill. As for Palace Head Dan Chi, Jiang Chen surmised that when they’d returned to see the sect razed, they’d come to the conclusion that charging headfirst into the fray would be a futile exercise. That meant that there was a high likelihood that the palace head and the others were still safe for now. As for whether or not they could escape from the grasp of the Great Scarlet Mid Region and Eternal Celestial Capital, that would be up to them. Although Jiang Chen was worried, he knew that there was nothing he could do for now.
He had to look forward. Palace Head Dan Chi had even made preparations to disband the sect before the Myriad Grand Ceremony, but everything had happened too quickly in the end. They’d thought that the greatest enemy was the Ninesuns Sky Sect, but hadn’t ever imagined that the Eternal Celestial Capital would manipulate the Great Scarlet Mid Region into invading the Myriad Domain.
The two left their underground cave and took a quick look around. They were still within Regal Pill Palace territory, but cultivators from the Great Scarlet Mid Region were spread throughout the region, guarding every way in and out. It would be quite the feat to escape. But escape was the furthest thing from Jiang Chen’s mind at the moment. His sect had been destroyed, and he himself had nearly been captured. The embers of anger that had been slumbering in his belly for the last two months started to grow hotter.
These embers hadn’t just slumbered for the last two months, they’d simply become more potent. Every time he’d remembered the ruins of the Regal Pill Palace, the corpses of disciples and elders, the gore-spattered cave where the swordbirds had resided…. The urge to obliterate the Great Scarlet Mid Region and the Eternal Celestial Capital would rage ever hotter. Even surrounded by enemies as he was, he wasn’t afraid. It was high time to collect some interest on this debt they’d accrued.
“Miss Huang’er…” he began to say.
Huang'er smiled, “Sir Jiang, you’re the master of the house and I the guest. I will listen to whatever your arrangements may be.”
She was quite aware of what the most appropriate action was, but didn’t want her thoughts to impact Jiang Chen’s dao heart. Jiang Chen nodded, “I plan on collecting some interest before I leave. The Thunder Note Hall and Great Roc Sect are the ones occupying Regal Pill Palace territory at the moment. That Holy King Gong Wuji is just here for moral support. There shouldn’t be many from the Eternal Celestial Capital here.”
“Mm. The Eternal Celestial Capital is the mastermind behind the scenes. They’re not at liberty to freely reveal themselves,” Huang'er agreed with Jiang Chen’s judgment.
“The Thunder Note Hall and Great Roc Sect are fourth rank sects. Although they’re stronger than the fourth rank sects of the Myriad Domain, each sect has only a few emperor realm cultivators. They certainly wouldn’t send out all of them out on a single foray. It’s highly likely that the emperor realm cultivators we saw that day are all the ones they’ve sent.” Jiang Chen continued, “Only, that many emperor realm cultivators can’t possibly seal off all of Regal Pill Palace territory. Therefore, we still have a lot of opportunities.”
Huang'er nodded slightly, “We should take one alive and ask where the others are.”
“That’s the plan. We’ll have to be careful in exacting our interest. It won’t be good if they vent their rage on Gouyu and the others.” Jiang Chen had clearly weighed the pros and cons of his idea. The two discussed for a bit and decided to target a young disciple, at least a core disciple. Only core disciples had the right to know more of the bigger picture. Regular minions wouldn’t necessarily know where Gouyu and the others had gone. With this in mind, the two carefully travelled, looking for a good target.
Half a day later, they came across a potential target in a remote territory. Filled with deep and secluded valleys, it was formerly the territory of one of the sixth rank sects that was subordinate to the Regal Pill Palace. At least a hundred invaders had set up camp there, and from a distance, they looked like they were the central hub of search operations in the area.
“The strongest of them ought to be an elder of eighth level sage realm. There’s also a fifth level sage realm true disciple. They’re all from the Thunder Note Hall.”
Although their fourth rank sects were stronger than their Myriad Domain counterparts, that difference in strength was only a hair. In the Myriad Domain, the pinnacle of cultivation was the fifth level sage realm, whereas their counterparts in the Great Scarlet Mid Region held the sixth level sage realm as their peak. As such, the Thunder Note Hall true disciple at fifth level sage realm was at the top of his class. It was likely that even Xiang Qin wouldn’t have been able to defeat him. He had his trump cards, but so did the the geniuses of the Thunder Note Hall. However, Jiang Chen didn’t plan on making his move against the fifth level sage realm cultivator from the very beginning. He remained in the shadows with Huang’er, quietly observing all of their moves.
The group had been split into four troops, each with about thirty people. Each troop was further split into patrolling teams. Those teams made their rounds fairly frequently, and often crossed paths with other teams. The frequency and concentration of the teams made it almost impossible to find an opening. But that didn’t mean that opportunity didn’t exist. While watching them, Jiang Chen ran a couple of detailed simulations in his mind. If he could compress his entire ambush inside ten breaths while preventing them from calling for help, then he could capture one of them alive. The difficulty lay in capturing them alive; killing them would’ve been a hundred times easier.
“That group of three has one at second level sage realm and two at peak ninth level origin realm. This is the one!” Jiang Chen slowly approached them after he’d locked onto his target.
Huang'er’s Generation Binding Curse only limited her consciousness and emperor realm abilities; it didn’t affect her movement ability. As long as she kept from using those two abilities, she didn’t have to worry about backlash from the curse. However, Jiang Chen knew that he couldn’t let Huang'er fight again. If she aroused the violent nature of the curse one more time, she would find it even harder to suppress. The backlash from the curse awakening each time would only increase in ferocity.
The three Thunder Note Hall disciples had a decent amount of status in their sect and were laughing and chatting with each other.
“Senior brother Hua, we’ve been here for three months. When can we go back to the sect?” One of them asked the youth with the striking brows standing in the middle.
The youth with the striking brows snorted coldly, “Why? You weren’t amounting to much back there, were you? We got lucky this time and were assigned to the Regal Pill Palace. It’s one of the wealthiest marks among the Myriad Domain sects.”
“Yes they’re rich, but it’s not like we’re getting much out of it. Besides, we’re not at headquarters, so what kind of riches can we possibly get?”
“Hmph, the executives have spoken. Whoever can offer up intelligence about that kid Jiang Chen will receive fifty Heroic Sage Pills and an earth rank spirit herb.”
Heroic Sage Pills were the resources of dreams for sage realm cultivators. Although the Thunder Note Hall was a fourth rank sect, it wasn’t that wealthy, so it didn’t have many Heroic Sage Pills to dole out to its disciples. Fifty pills was an astronomical figure, an amount that they wouldn’t normally be even able to dream about in the sect. Senior brother Hua was second level sage realm and naturally had a deep desire for Heroic Sage Pills. The young man at peak origin realm in front of him however, spoke listlessly, “Senior brother Hua, I’ve heard that Jiang Chen is very strong and difficult to handle. Apparently…”
Senior brother Hua glared at him, “Shut up! Are you tired of living? Stop fecking gossiping about Jiang Chen! What if Jiang Chen is close by? We don’t have to be the ones to capture him, just be the ones who discover traces of him.”
Fifty Heroic Sage Pills and an earth rank spirit herb had been dangled just for some clues. If they captured Jiang Chen themselves, the reward would be five hundred Heroic Sage Pills, three earth rank spirit herbs, and a favor from Gong Wuji himself!
The other peak origin realm disciple had remained silent up until now. He was a scrubby looking shorty, and his face had slipped into a lustful leer, “I heard that apart from Jiang Chen, a beautiful genius called Ling Bi’er also slipped away. Apparently she’s Jiang Chen’s woman. It’ll be much easier to get the woman. We won’t have to worry about Jiang Chen not coming to find us once we’ve got her!”
“Zhang Ole Third, what the feck are you dreaming about everyday? I heard that that Ling Bi'er genius is also in the sage realm! And you’re dreaming of capturing her!? Shut up and do your job well!” Senior brother Hua lectured them loudly.
The three of them were still searching and chatting when the world in front of their eyes suddenly changed. A boundless forest world of vines and leaves filled the sky for an instant. They gaped, but in the very next moment, the world turned black as the entire world of vines seemed to slam into them.
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