Yang Chen licked the grease and bits of meat off his lips before he spoke. “Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Your chefs are top-notch. Did they add any special herbs by any chance? The roasted suckling pig had a tinge of herbal medicine which enhanced the flavor.”
“Good to know you enjoyed it,” Tang Dianshan awkwardly replied. “This is a medicinal cuisine unique to the Tang Sect. Our chefs are actually the elderly and the disciples tasked to research and develop new beneficial drugs. Oh, about the Tower of Scrolls...”
“Where is it?”
“The tower. Where is it located?” Yang Chen quickly repeated.
Tang Dianshan and the others were confused at his sudden request.
“What? Are you going to deny my entry again?” Yang Chen frowned as his tone shifted to being slightly hostile.
Tang Dianshan was quick to deny his speculations. “Of course not. We might have full restriction towards outsiders entering the Tower of Scrolls, but you are a unique exception to the case. Furthermore, with your Endless Resolve Restoration Scripture cultivation technique, Master Yang, worrying about your greed has become the last of our concerns.”
“So all that nonsense just to say you’ll allow me to enter?” Yang Chen pouted as he shook his head in disbelief. “You people have the lowest efficiency I’ve ever seen. Who beats around the bush nowadays?”
Tang Dianshan and the others awkwardly grinned but were not agitated by his crude remarks. To have a cultivator of his level and proficiency to share a meal with them was already more than what they could have hoped for.
When they thought about it, geniuses of an array of sectors had always been excluded from the confinement of societal restrictions, just like this young man before them. His free-spoken personality might be the reason why he had achieved such heights.
Tang Luyi took the conversation over as she added, “The Tower of Scrolls is located at the backhills of the Tang Ancestral Fortress. In the case of intrusion, there are up to a hundred different booby trap formations. In addition to that, there are Xiantian cultivators rounding the area in case of any possible failures in the traps.
“If you wish to enter tomorrow, my brother and I will personally diffuse the traps and allow you a safe passage. I know they are probably not a big deal for you but we have protocols to follow here.”
With that, the elders reaffirmed Yang Chen’s primary motivation to visit the Tang sect, which left him rather satisfied by the progress. Well aware of how Cai Ning was reminiscent of the venue of much of her adolescence, he thought to accompany her for the next few days as she reconnected with her elders and seniors.
Besides, Yang Chen knew he himself might require slightly more time to fully interpret and decipher the literature of his liking.
Tang Dianshan and the other elders shared a glance before he hesitatingly questioned, “Master Yang, if I may, what do you think the level of the perpetrator's cultivation is at?”
Yang Chen chugged a mouthful of wine before he replied, “I’m not too sure myself. But I can say for sure that his level is above the Soul Forming stage. It is entirely possible that he had the assistance of a divine artifact to shield himself from me. But rest assured that your sect will be left unharmed by him in the near future. His goal was to extract the Endless Resolve Restoration Scripture from me.”
The crowd was horrified by his reply. The fact that there was someone so powerful under their noses was something that took a little longer than a moment to comprehend.
An elder spoke up. “Logically speaking, Hongmeng would not pull such a trick on a generational ancient martial arts sect. It goes against their principles. We’re now talking about someone above the Soul Forming stage yet dispassionate towards research and intellectual studying towards the betterment of their cultivation. Could it be...”
“Impossible!” Tang Luyi instantly shunned his deduction. “They wouldn’t do such a thing!”
The crowd erupted into a discussion upon the subtle deduction.
Yang Chen peculiarly sneaked a glance at Tang Luyi, before he frustratingly took to ask, “What is it, I suppose all of you had somebody in mind?”
Tang Dianshan sighed. “Actually, we chose to avoid jumping to that conclusion which was why we decided to keep it a secret. Nevertheless, Master Yang possesses cultivations far beyond ours, so I am rather convinced that you might cross paths in the future.
“Our assumptions point towards the other ancient sect of Hongmeng, on the same footing as us on its reputation as an ancient power, or should I say, clans. The rumored ‘great ancient clans’.“
“Great ancient clans? What’s that?” Yang Chen finally decided to stop eating and pay attention to their words.
Tang Dianshan elaborated, “I’m certain Master Yang is fairly familiar with Hongmeng at this point. That said, Hongmeng is the foundation of China’s defense. It is founded by cultivators of the Soul Forming stage and beyond. While we don’t know how they operate, we’re sure that their existence is to fulfill some kind of role.
“The great ancient clans, on the other hand, do not have a known role. They do not have their loyalties tied to China.
“According to folklore, they are the descendents of the mightiest of deities from the prehistoric times.
“Among Hongmeng, however, they all practise the descended cultivation techniques from us ancient sects. Reaching a certain point would only bring you to the Soul Forming stage.
“Meanwhile, the great ancient clans have inherited much of the cultivation techniques from their prehistoric ancestors. In their eyes, the Soul Forming stage is nothing special. Only when one achieves the Tribulation Passing stage would one be considered a master. They don’t care about China’s welfare. They live for one thing and one thing only, to break through the ceiling their ancestors have set.”
After hearing this, Yang Chen was rather shocked.
Knowledge like this was certainly not public. Even the likes of Yan Sanniang were not privy to it.
“This information was passed down to us by our predecessors. The great ancient sects would occasionally have capable disciples who would train within the realms of mortals to get rid of their internal demons which are mental barriers hindering their training. As a result, there have only been rumors of their existence.“
Yang Chen instantly thought of a certain someone. Xue Zijing?!
She’s not from the Tang Sect nor Hongmeng. Yet she speaks of a certain Xue and Luo clans?! But someone ridden with that much poison doesn’t seem to be from one of those great ancient clans, he thought.
Nobody noticed Yang Chen peculiar reaction as Tang Dianshan frustratedly added, “What worries me is, if it was the great ancient clans, why would they go through such lengths to obtain your cultivation technique, so far as to control the entire Tang Sect?
“Unless… the scripture is not just a cultivation technique that is extinct, but something much more?”
Cai Ning deciphered his words as she deduced, “What if… the culprit was one person from the clan who decided to take matters into his own hands. It might explain why he had to mask himself and still be unsure if Yang Chen was the one he was after.”
Tang Dianshan and the elders seemed to agree with Cai Ning’s deduction. “Good presumption, Cai Ning. That might just be the case. After all, even the ancient great clans
would have set their own regulations.
“If anyone chose to carelessly take action, it might affect the harmony and balance between both sides, triggering a counter-reaction from Hongmeng. Now that I think about it, this might be the most likely of reasons. But I still can't, for the life of me, understand why they are after the Endless Resolve Restoration Scripture.”
Yang Chen seemed to have come to the realization that comprehending these matters might prove a challenge to the people who did not possess the same cultivation level as him.
Nonetheless, Yang Chen did not feel the need to explain his thoughts to the elders. “Are you aware of the names of all the great ancient clans?”
Tang Dianshan shook his head in fair discouragement. “That we are not sure, we were only briefly told by our ancestors.”
Tang Luyi meanwhile suspiciously glanced towards Yang Chen, seemingly with something in mind.
Yang Chen’s heart sunk. He was convinced that with his current level of cultivation, there should hardly anything left for him to comprehend unless Athena or Zeus decides to play their hand. But then again, they had no reason to target him which such hostility.
Now that the circumstances evidently took a complicated turn, in addition to his ‘fateful’ meeting with Xue Zijing who seemed to originate from those clans, everything was flung way out of proportion!
This is bad. I never expected people to target me for my cultivation technique of all reasons! I’ve had nothing but misfortune since returning to China! he thought.
Yang Chen could hardly relieve himself of his thoughts for the rest of the banquet. After a group discussion, they had come to the conclusion that the enemy was after Yang Chen and not the Tang Sect. At least they were safe in the meantime.