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Chapter 849: A Leaf From the Requiem Tree
It hadn't been long since He Hongshu returned to Veluriyam Capital, but he wasn't deaf. How could he be ignorant of all the rumors about Pill King Zhen? Only, he'd never imagined that this pill master who was so famous in the Capital and throughout the human territories would actually turn out to be Pill King Lu Feng's master! This relationship was completely beyond belief.
He Hongshu actually had a little trouble wrapping his head around it. He looked at Jiang Chen, then at Lu Feng. This pair actually did look like master and disciple, were their roles reversed. However, to have the young man as the master and the one with white hair and white beard as the student instead was rather head-scratching.
Lu Feng didn't think of it as a shameful matter. It was a source of great honor for him. "Hehe, Ole He, normally I wouldn't even tell anyone. I tell you because of our relationship. How about it, is my master qualified enough to treat you? If you really don't want to, then forget about it."
He Hongshu's face turned green before words spilled from his mouth in a torrent, "I'm willing, I'm willing! To have someone as famous as Pill Master Zhen treat me is nothing less than the accumulation of good karma from several lifetimes!" He indeed had a way with words, as expected of a seasoned traveller of the jianghu.
Jiang Chen hadn't uttered a word yet, but he'd been paying close attention to this He Hongshu, silently examining him. He suddenly asked, "Sir, do you perhaps feel as if countless ants are crawling through your veins? Do you feel fidgety all over, like you'd rather be dead than alive?"
He Hongshu froze. He looked at Lu Feng, thinking that Lu Feng had already mentioned his condition. However, shock was written all over Lu Feng's face. He immediately looked at Jiang Chen reverentially. "Master, you can see what's wrong with him with just a few glances?"
He Hongshu was shocked when he heard Lu Feng's exclamation. Judging from his tone, it seemed Ole Lu hadn't told his symptoms to Pill King Zhen? If so, being able to discern his problems with a simple glance, it seems this Pill King Zhen's reputation was truly well deserved.
"It's easy. Look at the surface of his skin, you can see that his veins seem to be throbbing. In turn, that causes all the hair in his pores to stand erect. An abnormal condition like that wouldn't be too surprising if it only happened now and then. But this condition persisted from the moment I came inside, so it was easy to pick out."
He Hongshu and Lu Feng shared a look, a trace of admiration flashing through their eyes. Lu Feng spoke, his voice full of respect, "Master, I'd always thought that you were only lucky enough to have met a good teacher who taught you some theory. Now I realize how short-sighted I've been. Even with a good teacher, obtaining so much ability is thanks to your unsurpassed innate talent. Otherwise, why would your teacher take a fancy to you and teach you so many formidable techniques, when they'd never taught anybody else? Your keen insight and your ability to get things done, that's definitely your own talent, and not something a master can teach."
It wasn't flattery, just an expression of the deep admiration that rose from the bottom of his heart. Jiang Chen gave a slight nod and didn't contradict him, instead looking at He Hongshu. "Sir, I presume you won't mind if I take your pulse?"
He Hongshu hurried to say, "I would be honored."
Without further ado, Jiang Chen took the patient's wrist and inspected him in great detail. He spent a long time taking his pulse, a full half-hour. Only after a long time did he release He Hongshu's wrist with a shallow nod.
He Hongshu had long been resigned to his death. He'd found serenity after making peace with the idea. Though his eyes were inquisitive, he didn't lose his composure. Unlike him, Lu Feng looked restless and impatient. He sidled up to the duo anxiously and asked, "Master, how is it, is there still hope for Ole He?"
Jiang Chen heaved a soft sigh. "Ole He, is it? Would it be rude to call you so?"
"It's not rude at all, it's not rude at all. Pill King Zhen, calling me Ole He would be my honor," He Hongshu hurriedly replied.
"I only want to to ask you one question. Where on earth have you gone to?" Jiang Chen frowned. "There's not only a demonic yin deep within you, but also parasites. You don't have a single affliction, but two of them."
"What? Two of them?" Lu Feng was also startled. He'd only found one. Jiang Chen was as composed as ever, his eyes flashing with an authoritative aura that brooked no question. Lu Feng's smile was a little awkward. "If master says there are two afflictions, then there must be two of them. My judgment can't compare to yours, master."
Lu Feng wasn't being falsely modest in this regard.
He Hongshu sighed, "I travelled very far this time. I went southeast, through the Myriad Domain, all the way into the desolate wildlands."
Lu Feng was taken aback. "You went into the wildlands?"
He Hongshu nodded with a wry grin. "I did."
"Then what about what you said yesterday about going to some hidden realm? Were you lying to me?"
He Hongshu looked ashamed. "Ole Lu, I did lie to you. Only, I didn't lie to harm you, but to save you."
"Bullshit, what kind of monkey logic is that?!" Lu Feng flew into a rage.
He Hongshu rushed to explain, "Ole Lu, old friend, I'm already at death's door, so why would I try to cheat you? I just wanted you to look after my youngest son in my stead, so I didn't want you to face danger. That's why I told you about some fake place. Otherwise, maybe you would have been tempted by a treasure like the Requiem Tree. But that place is definitely somewhere no one can return alive from!" He Hongshu's face was full of terror at the mention of that place, as though he were recalling some terrifying memory. His eyes fairly brimmed with dread.
Lu Feng stared at He Hongshu for a long while before finally nodding. "You really didn't deceive me on purpose?"
"I lied to you, but I absolutely didn't do it out of ill intent. If I lie about this, may my whole family die a wretched death!" He Hongshu was becoming a little anxious.
Jiang Chen didn't breathe a word, instead watching them coldly. Whether or not this He Hongshu had really come across the Requiem Tree was a matter of great importance. If he hadn't come across the Requiem Tree and mentioned it on purpose in order to survive, then his character would be questionable. He wouldn't be worth saving.
Lu Feng seemed to guess Jiang Chen's thoughts and asked again, "Then what you said about the Requiem Tree, is it true or false? Don't lie this time."
"It's real. Only, I can't be sure whether it's a genuine Requiem Tree or not. But with my experience, my judgement tells me it should be the Requiem Tree." His expression seemed a little lost in memories. "The situation was very dire back then, so I only caught a glimpse of it and didn't manage to examine it in detail. Out of the wandering cultivators who'd gone with me, eight had perished for no reason. The rest all ran madly away. I don't know how many made it out in the end. Oh, that reminds me." He Hongshu suddenly slapped his head and took out something. "Back then, I took this leaf in passing from the tree. I don't know if it's the Requiem Tree. Ole Lu, see for yourself."
Lu Feng roared in anger, "You hid that from me as well?"
He Hongshu said, a little embarrassed, "I was afraid that you wouldn't be able to sleep after seeing the Requiem Tree. I didn't want you to lose your appetite after becoming obsessed with it. That's why I didn't give it to you. If something happened to you, then what about my son?"
He Hongshu seemed to understand Lu Feng very well. He knew that Lu Feng was impulsive, and wouldn't be able to sleep if he came across something like that. If he'd told Ole Lu about the tree, Lu Feng would have searched high and low for it. Lu Feng was about to take the leaf when Jiang Chen slapped his hand away, berating him, "Have you lived all these years in vain? Haven't you wisened up at all?"
Lu Feng blinked, then vaguely understood something. He looked at Jiang Chen, flabbergasted, and stammered, "Master, could there be a problem with this leaf?"
He Hongshu was also startled. "It can't be, can it? I took this leaf from the tree, is there a problem with it?"
Jiang Chen couldn't reach an immediate conclusion on whether the leaf was part of the problem. However, He Hongshu had escaped from such a dangerous place. Jiang Chen would be rather skeptical if anyone claimed that there was nothing wrong with the leaf. He gestured with his chin. "Ole Lu, get a jade plate to hold the leaf first."
Jiang Chen's mind was surging like a stormy sea. Through the appraisal of his God's Eye and Evil Golden Eye, this leaf seemed no different than a leaf from the Requiem Tree. In other words, there was a ninety percent chance this leaf had truly come from the Requiem Tree. To begin with, it was an extremely peculiar tree, with leaves shaped in a strange way. The veins on the leaves were filled with a mysterious aura, resembling the characters inscribed on a talisman.
Such a shape was a distinctive characteristic of the Requiem Tree. It was impossible for ordinary plants to obtain such an appearance. However, although the Requiem Tree's leaves shared the same effect as the Requiem Tree, they simply couldn't replace the tree itself. Jiang Chen wanted to obtain the Requiem Tree itself. A simple leaf wouldn't cut it.
After putting the leaf on the jade tray, Jiang Chen examined it for a long time before finally confirming that it indeed came from the Requiem Tree. Happiness welled up in his chest. He'd searched everywhere in vain, but he accidentally obtained news of the tree today. And from the looks of it, the news didn't seem fake.
The next question now was how to deal with this Ole He. He had to give Ole He a big enough an enticement if he wanted to know the whereabouts of the tree. And for the present, the greatest temptation was his life.
However, Ole He's condition wasn't so easy to handle. Jiang Chen had some confidence in his success, but it was a very thorny issue. And, the most important thing was to make sure Ole He wouldn't randomly run his mouth after being cured. Otherwise, as soon as the news of the Requiem Tree spread, countless powerhouses would certainly rush there no matter the danger, even if they had to break open their own skulls. This issue also increased the difficulty for Jiang Chen.
A great emperor's relic was all one needed to purchase this kind of information, and it would cause a frenzy if it did leak. For that reason, Jiang Chen needed to save He Hongshu, and also seal his mouth. Seeing Jiang Chen remain silent, He Hongshu carefully asked, "Pill King Zhen, is there hope for me?"
Lu Feng also looked at Jiang Chen. "Master, if possible, please save him at all costs. I don't even have a wife or children myself, do you think I'm in the mood to take care of his child? I'm not a nanny."
Jiang Chen thought for a moment before nodding. "Your issue is very tricky, I don't have complete confidence either. That said, I have a few conditions if you want me to save you." He didn't want to beat around the bush when it came to the Requiem Tree.