The venerated forefather smiled wryly when he noted Jiang Chen’s glum mood.
He knew the young man wasn’t terribly happy. Jiang Chen had made great contributions to the Eternal Sacred Land, but in return, the sacred land hadn’t offered much to him.
There were the resources in the vault, but the forefather had only let Jiang Chen take whatever he wanted because the most valuable hadn’t been stored there. What had been available for selection was far from the best treasures.
Moreover, rewards had been promised to Jiang Chen for aiding the Martial Sacred Land, but the promised payout had yet to materialize. He’d been too busy to even meet with Jiang Chen until now.
“Jiang Chen,” the forefather said with a smile. “It’s not like you to be so quiet.”
Jiang Chen shrugged and responded with a hint of displeasure, “You made a lot of promises before you sent me to the Martial Sacred Land, Forefather. You haven’t fulfilled any of them.”
Feeling guilty, the forefather smiled coyly. “It’s all my fault. The sacred land is running a little low on resources. But… for those who have contributed to our cause, the sacred land won’t be stingy. Tell me what you want. I’ll make it happen.”
“I don’t want to make things difficult for the sacred land,” Jiang Chen replied faintly. “I only want spirit stones.”
If he’d asked for anything else, the sacred land might’ve been able to weasel out of it, claiming that the times were too tight to give him what he wanted. However, spirit stones were something the sacred land must be able to afford.
“Spirit stones?” The forefather smiled. “How many? I know you want to reactivate the Great Formation, but that will consume a considerable amount of stones. Even we may not be able to afford to do so. You know, Jiang Chen, the sacred land can’t even keep everyone fed now…”
Jiang Chen rolled his eyes. He hadn’t even gotten started and the forefather was already claiming to be poor..
“I’m not asking for much,” Jiang Chen said with a smile. “How about the sacred land contributing ten percent of the stones I need?”
The forefather considered the proposal, rubbing his chin. He slapped his thighs. “As long as you agree to partake in the genius competition, we’ll try our best to get you the stones!”
“Try your best?” Jiang Chen’s voice was tinged with annoyance.
“We… we will get you the stones,” the forefather promised through gritted teeth.
He hadn’t been lying when he said the sacred land was poor. If they hadn’t raided a few families after putting down the rebellion, they’d have been even poorer. The offworld battlefield was an endless maw of consumption. No matter how wealthy one was, the wealth would be depleted sooner or later.
More importantly, the invaders had grown a lot more active these days. The sacred land was finding it very difficult to fight them off, which was why the forefather barely had any time to stay in the sacred land.
Noting Jiang Chen’s disinterested mood, the forefather couldn’t help but ask, “How many more stones do you need, Jiang Chen?”
“Many. The more the merrier.” Jiang Chen had realized that he needed to keep some secrets from the forefather. If he admitted he only had to collect twenty percent of the total he needed, the forefather wouldn’t take his request seriously and might even complain even more loudly about how poor he was.
The venerated forefather tried to bring Jiang Chen to his side. “The genius competition this year is different from what it was before. It’s being jointly hosted by all ten sacred lands. Every genius, no matter where you come from or what cultivation level you’re at, will be given priority.
“It’s going to be a very exciting event. Many rewards are being offered. It’ll be a great opportunity for you to make a fortune! Don’t you know how to refine the Taiyi Skymender Pill and the Crowning Empyrean Pill? At the competition, you can exchange the pills for a good amount of spirit stones.”
Jiang Chen smiled wryly. “Has the sacred land stooped so low that you need me to sell pills for money?”
“To be honest with you, the sacred land isn’t in decline. It’s just that we’re really very poor. The offworld battles are sucking up all of our resources. You don’t know how difficult it is to maintain the faction!” The venerated forefather was determined to play up his suffering.
Jiang Chen shrugged. “I can sell pills for the stones, but I’ll need the sacred land to provide the ingredients. How else am I going to find all the rare ingredients otherwise?”
The forefather pulled a reluctant face. He responded after a moment, “You’re our most promising young genius. Of course we’ll do our best to fulfill your request. Ah yes, the offworld battlefield is seeing a lot of action lately. Are you interested in checking it out?”
Jiang Chen shook his head without hesitation. “No, not for now.”
The forefather cackled but didn’t insist. He’d promised Jiang Chen that the young man wouldn’t have to go until the Great Formation of Heavenly Soul Confinement was activated, ensuring that the human domain was fully protected. The domain was their back door, and securing it was of utmost importance.
So seeing how resolute the young genius was, he didn’t try to convince otherwise.
The young man was no longer someone whom the sacred land could order around. Instead, they had to cater to the young man’s needs. For one, Jiang Chen had the Vermilion Bird on his side. In addition, his personality, ability, and potential alone warranted the sacred land’s special treatment.
If they failed to keep Jiang Chen happy, other factions would immediately make a move to steal him away.
Sensing the forefather’s single-minded focus on the offworld battlefield, Jiang Chen asked, “What do the ten sacred lands think about the inmates escaping from the Boundless Prison, Forefather?”
“The Boundless Prison? Quite a lot have escaped, but they haven’t gained a foothold in Myriad Abyss yet. I don’t think they’re going to cause that much trouble anytime soon.” But the forefather wasn’t entirely sure of his answer.
Jiang Chen frowned. “Forefather, the ten sacred lands will suffer greatly if you underestimate them.” This wasn’t him being an alarmist.
“What do you mean?” the forefather asked with a grave expression.
“My instinct tells me that those fugitives will try to topple the ten sacred lands’ rule over Myriad Abyss.”
Jiang Chen had already met two groups of fugitives: Divine Kasyapa and his men, and the group at Cloud Camel Mountain. Neither were easy prey. If allowed to settle down, they were bound to stir up trouble and plunge Myriad Abyss into chaos.
The forefather looked a little lost. He sighed. “If they have even a lick of conscience, they won’t do anything now. Myriad Abyss can’t afford another civil war. If conflict breaks out again and we run out of people and resources to sustain the war against the offworld invaders, Myriad Abyss will meet its doom…”
Everyone understood that logic.
Jiang Chen reminded him, “Forefather, don’t forget that not all of the inmates are from Myriad Abyss.”