Chapter 752: The Veluriyam Pagoda
Both the House Tong and Sikou were diehard loyalists to the Majestic Clan, and understandably wanted it to replace the Coiling Dragon Clan's position in the capital.
"Clan lord, I hear that the lord of the Coiling Dragon Clan has entered a bottleneck in his cultivation which he cannot progress past. His lifespan cannot increase, and he has been fully focused on a breakthrough in recent years to do so. Is this rumor true?" The lord of House Tong asked probingly.
Sikou Yuan nodded as well, "I have heard of this rumor also. The Coiling Dragon clan lord is at his wit's end, and his strength has almost left him entirely. There are several others with the qualifications for the next clan lord, accompanied by much internal strife. The Coiling Dragon Clan has no energy to focus on the affairs of the Veluriyam Capital. Is all of this true?"
Though they were only ninth-ranked houses, they were still privy to a few secrets of the great clans. Information about the Coiling Dragon Clan's lord occasionally circulated the upper echelons of the Veluriyam Capital, but its authenticity was never known. They wished to receive a definite answer from the Majestic Clan's lord, but they were doomed to disappointment. A faint smile hung on the Majestic Clan lord's face, its meaning uncertain.
"Clan Lord?" The lord of House Tong was unwilling to give it up.
The lord of the Majestic Clan spread his hands, his lips curved slightly. "Next year, the Veluriyam Pagoda opens once again. All seven of the emperors must attend the ceremony. The same is true for all the leaders of the notable factions. All rumors will be confirmed or not then.”
The Veluriyam Pagoda? The expressions of all present tensed at those words, a sense of fascination surfacing. The symbol of the Veluriyam Capital, the Pagoda held the empyrean decree and relic that had belonged to the Veluriyam King of yore. The light and miracles from the Veluriyam King had shone upon the fortunes of the Veluriyam Capital for a hundred thousand years. Every resident of the capital held the Pagoda in highest faith and regard. It was the ultimate totem in their hearts. However heinous or benevolent one was, the Pagoda was held as a mark of pride. The people's hearts were universally filled with fervor and fanaticism towards it. The Veluriyam Pagoda commanded unshakable devotion from the Capital.
The Pagoda opened for a single year every sixty years. During the entire period of its opening, the Capital celebrated their grandest and most festive holiday. From the Titled Great Emperors at the top to the ordinary peasantry at the bottom, everyone was filled with anticipation for the year in which the Pagoda opened. The Pagoda was composed of a main pagoda and two ancillary pagodas.
Standing at the very center of the city, the main pagoda was sacrosanct and inviolate. No matter what vantage point one was at in the capital, the sacred Veluriyam Pagoda rising to the heavens from the center of the city was always visible. The two ancillary pagodas flanked the main pagoda from the left and right.
One was the Pill Pagoda, and one was the Martial Pagoda. True to their names, the Pill Pagoda opened for those advanced in pill dao, and likewise the Martial Pagoda, for martial dao. The opening of the Veluriyam Pagoda was split into three stages.
The first stage was the opening of the Pill Pagoda.
The second, the Martial Pagoda.
Only the third stage was the opening of the main pagoda.
Not everyone had the right of entry to the three pagodas. There was a grueling series of contests, filtering away the chaff at every layer, until a limited number of such privileged candidates arose. This sort of competition was very fierce, largely because of the extremely controlled availability of entries as well as the timeframe—threescore years was a long time.
To receive the right of entry was a paramount glory. Not only that, but the ability to cultivate inside the pagoda was a great reward as well. One day within was equivalent to a fortnight without. Thus, all of the pill and martial dao geniuses of the Veluriyam Capital saw the Pagoda's quota as a superb honor. Their energy was fully saved up in order to secure a spot.
Both the house lords of Tong and Sikou were uncommonly elated at the news of the Pagoda's opening. The Majestic Clan lord's gaze swept past their faces. "The geniuses from the Coiling Dragon Clan have taken first place in the last three consecutive terms. That is the reason they are considered the foremost clan of the Veluriyam Capital. If we are to overtake the Coiling Dragon Clan, we must completely crush them in the competitions to enter the Pagoda. Otherwise, the thought of becoming the foremost clan is nothing but hot air."
Infected by emotion, the house lords present all rushed to express their loyalty.
"Let the clan lord bear witness, all the geniuses of House Tong will fully exert their strengths!"
"We at House Sikou will not hold our faction back!" Not wishing to fall behind, the other house lords thumped their chests as well in guarantee.
Finally, the Majestic Clan lord settled his gaze on his son, Wang Teng. "Teng'er, I leave the matter of House Wei in your hands. However, you must remember, before we shed all pretenses with the Coiling Dragon Clan, you cannot openly use force. Instead, you must use your wits, so as not to leave a source of gossip." The Majestic Clan lord was quite satisfied with his son. He wished to use this as an opportunity to test him, to see if his son was worthy of weighty tasks.
As time passed, the day for the grand opening of Taiyuan Tower approached ever closer. Jiang Chen's time passed in a very fulfilling manner. He would spend at least half his days on training his fellow sect members from Regal Pill Palace to become professional pill masters. After witnessing them firsthand, his peers all held Jiang Chen's pill dao skills in heartfelt reverence, and they were wholly grateful for his tutelage. They learned with great haste and concentration.
This was also to their great fortune. The Jiang Chen from his previous life would not even accept them as herbal apprentices, much less tutor them personally. Shen Trifire's fire constitution revealed its advantage now. His increase in ability could only be described as miraculous, and he almost seemed to match the Elder Yun Nie of yesteryear. Jiang Chen was very satisfied with his speed.
Rong Zifeng and Ouyang Chao closely followed after Shen Trifire. However, though they were quite talented as well, Shen Trifire still forged ahead. Jiang Chen did not demand much more of them. Difficult work must be slowly trudged through. There were many days ahead of them, and under his guidance, it would be more difficult for them not to progress. "Trifire, your talent is outstanding and greatly surprising to me. I hope that in three months, you can become skilled enough to pass the pill king test in Veluriyam Capital."
"Pill king?" Shen Trifire was mildly taken aback.
Jiang Chen grinned slightly. "Don’t be surprised. I say these words to you alone. Though Rong Zifeng and Ouyang Chao are reasonably talented as well, I doubt they will be able to pass the pill king test even in three more years. But you… you are different. In terms of talent, yours is comparable to Mu Gaoqi's. Though his natural gifts are measurably better than yours, what is lacking in natural temperament may be made up through learning. In particular, your talent in this area is exceptional, and I look forward to your future achievements in the art of pill dao." His speech was almost like that of a senior to a junior.
However, Shen Trifire didn’t feel uncomfortable in the slightest. How could he not see Jiang Chen’s talent after all this time? Jiang Chen's pill dao knowledge was more vast than all of the elders at Herbal Hall put together! The skills that Jiang Chen had showed at the Regal Pill Palace were only the tip of the iceberg. How laughable that he had tried to challenge Jiang Chen at the time with the bet and the pill competition. It’d ended in embarrassing loss, but he was only thankful it hadn't been worse.
Shen Trifire was sure by now that though Jiang Chen was only senior brother by name, he should be treated as a venerated master, perhaps even a forefather of pill dao. Following Jiang Chen would result in a future brighter than Regal Pill Palace's by a hundredfold!
"Trifire, I have only one thing to ask of you. No matter how great your accomplishments in the future, never forget that you are a disciple of Regal Pill Palace. You have a mission to restore the Palace. Perhaps it is not yours alone, but you must remember it eternally."
"Senior brother Jiang Chen, that Shen Trifire is here today is completely thanks to Regal Pill Palace. A man must show gratitude, how would I forget the sect's nurturing kindness? As long as I still draw breath, I will not forget the sect!"
"Very good," Jiang Chen nodded, "I hope you quickly grow capable enough to stand on your own feet in the Veluriyam Capital. That would lighten my burdens a bit."
Jiang Chen was helping his fellow sect members entirely out of moral considerations. He had no interest in a life of babysitting. If Shen Trifire could become strong enough to maintain Taiyuan Tower on his own, he had no qualms about letting Trifire take charge while he worked behind the scenes.
Jiang Chen took out two pill bottles, placing them on the table. "There are two pills here. One is the Origin Doubling Pill, and the other is the Holy Screening Pill. The Origin Doubling Pill allows you to raise your cultivation level within the origin realm without limitation once, and the Holy Screening Pill will give you a thirty to fifty percent increased chance to breakthrough to the sage realm!"
Shen Trifire was overjoyed. His eyes rolled wildly, glowing with excitement as he seemed to think of something.
"Trifire, if you wish to attain the title of pill king, your martial dao ability must be at least sage realm. You are only eighth level origin realm, so you cannot do so without outside help. I hope these two pills are of help to you!"
Refined from Firstcloud Dew, the Origin Doubling Pill had been given to Jiang Chen from Elder Yun Nie himself, three of them in total. One had been used by Jiang Chen himself, and another was given to Lordmaster Ye Chonglou. Jiang Chen had wanted to give the last one to Gouyu, or perhaps Xue Tong and the rest. But the ensuing changes in circumstance meant that he never had the chance to give the pill away. Now, Shen Trifire would make the most use of this remaining Origin Doubling Pill. As for Gouyu and Xue Tong, Jiang Chen would make it up to them through other ways.
Shen Trifire's face was flushed red, his heart filled with eagerness and gratitude. There were a few hints of shame as well, upon remembering his opposition of Jiang Chen at the Palace. In that instant, he was at a loss for words. Buying popularity was not Jiang Chen's intent. He was giving Shen Trifire these two pills out of realistic considerations, not because he wished to be repaid.
“Do well. I hope that you'll reach sage realm earlier rather than later, and obtain a pill king's token. With that token, no one will underestimate you anywhere in the world."
"Senior brother, I am slow of tongue. You need only see my actions!" Shen Trifire nodded emphatically.
Smiling, Jiang Chen patted Trifire's shoulder before he walked outside. He was greeted with the sight of Wei Jie's arrival.
"Brother Zhen, I have some good news and some bad news. Which would you like to hear first?" Wei Jie opened with a playful question.
Jiang Chen started, glancing at Wei Jie in surprise. Playing a trick like this... he seems in a good mood!
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