Of course, this didn't mean that every great emperor in Veluriyam Capital was worth recruiting.
"Emperor Vastsea has been in close relations with Emperor Shura since his youth. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that half of Emperor Shura's ambition stems from Emperor Vastsea. Their alliance has only emboldened the former," Emperor Peafowl said with a stern expression. "You needn't bother to rope Emperor Vastsea in. He is a sworn ally of Emperor Shura. If you ever find yourself up against Emperor Shura, remember that you will be facing two emperor factions."
Jiang Chen was already mentally prepared. He smiled faintly. "Everyone in Veluriyam Capital knows that Emperor Shura and Emperor Vastsea are on the same team. Did they do that on purpose to empower Emperor Shura?"
"You are correct. The capital has a precedent rule to prevent emperor factions from forming an alliance. They might not be a true alliance, but it is a known fact that they have close ties to each other. They are practically no different from an alliance."
"What about the other great emperors? What are they like? And what kind of relationships do they have with Sacred Peafowl Mountain?" Jiang Chen was wondering what attitude the other great emperors had.
"Emperor Petalpluck is a hermit indifferent to the matters of the world and doesn't seek fame or fortune. He is ranked second amongst the great emperors, but his presence is less than that of Emperor Shura and Emperor Vastsea. However, this doesn't mean that his faction is a pushover. Those who provoke him would have to face his wrath. If he had to choose between us or the Shura faction, he would definitely choose us. That should remain true unless we do something to disappoint him and cause him to see no future with us."
Jiang Chen nodded with a smile. He somewhat understood Emperor Petalpluck's stance. As long as he remained competent, the emperor would always side with Sacred Peafowl Mountain when push came to shove. He was absolutely confident that this status quo would remain.
"Emperor Mountaincrush is the fifth great emperor. He has a straightforward personality and is likely the most simple-minded amongst the seven great emperors. He'll be the easiest person to pull to your side. However, it's also relatively easy for Emperor Shura to do the same. Therefore, your personal skills will be the deciding factor on which side he will pick.
"The sixth emperor is Emperor Void. You needn't worry about him, as it is I who gave him support throughout his rise to power. He owes me a big favor and will never abandon us. Emperor Shura would never trust him even if he chose to switch sides."
Jiang Chen didn't think that Emperor Void would be Sacred Peafowl Mountain's sworn ally. It didn't seem that way on the surface. With a loyal supporter like Emperor Void, Sacred Peafowl Mountain's situation no longer seemed as dire.
"Emperor Skysplitter is the seventh emperor. He has risen to the ranks of a great emperor in the recent millennium. Thus, his foundation of power in Veluriyam Capital has yet to solidify. However, he is a fiercely stubborn and headstrong person. It wouldn't be easy for either factions to pull him into their ranks. For all we know, he might become the next Emperor Shura in two or three millennia."
"Another headstrong person, eh?" Jiang Chen's curiosity was piqued.
"Mm. With that said, he's still a lot more open-minded than Emperor Shura and has a firm view on what is right and wrong. He'll show fealty to you if you are able to show him strength that is far beyond his reach. He's confident in his own abilities, but he's no conceited fool. He knows when to step back."
Jiang Chen roughly understood the current situation now. Emperor Vastsea and Emperor Shura were sworn allies, but the rest of the emperors were viable targets. It would not be easy to rope in someone with great ambition like Emperor Skysplitter. However, the situation wasn't entirely terrible, as Emperor Void was a sworn ally to them. This meant that he only needed to bring in two more emperors out of the remaining five.
Emperor Mountaincrush was an easy target due to his straightforward nature. Thus, he was a primary target. Emperor Petalpluck was apathetic by nature. To gain his support, Jiang Chen would need to demonstrate more talent and potential so that the emperor would see a brighter future in siding with him. Sacred Peafowl Mountain's position would be safe and secure as long as Jiang Chen could bring them to his side. Moreover, the Coiling Dragon Clan might soon also become the eighth great emperor faction.
"Your Majesty, the Coiling Dragon clan lord requests an audience." Their conversation was interrupted by a sudden announcement.
The Coiling Dragon clan lord? Jiang Chen and the emperor exchanged glances. The latter knitted his brow slightly. He was clearly surprised. Jiang Chen nodded in response. "The pill was refined roughly five days ago. It should be about time."
"Show him in!" The emperor immediately ordered.
Moments later, the clan lord walked into the hall, seemingly full of life. "Your subordinate pays his respects to Your Majesty and the young lord." He immediately kowtowed. Gratitude flashed across his face when he noticed Jiang Chen.
The emperor waved his hands to send the messengers away. "You may leave." The emperor glanced at the clan lord and smiled when everyone else had left. "It seems I must congratulate you, Clan Lord. There was nothing I could do to save you from your predicament, but as it turns out, fate eventually granted you a new lease in life. It seems you haven't just regained your vitality; you've also made some progress in martial dao!"
The clan lord sighed while wearing a complex expression. "I would've been one with the dirt by now if it wasn't for young lord Zhen."
"Haha! This young lad is always full of surprises. However, his new surprise has gone a little too overboard. It'll be a great shock to Veluriyam Capital if rumors of this spreads." Emperor Peafowl sighed.
"It's not just the Capital. The entire human domain will be shocked by this. Therefore, this subordinate believes that it'd be for the best if we keep it a secret. If anybody else asks, I will tell them that my advances in martial dao has led to a large increase in my life energy."
"That excuse will work for now, but you'd better make a breakthrough to the great emperor realm as soon as you can. Otherwise, people will see through your lie."
"This subordinate has come today to ask for some pointers. Your Majesty, please guide me through some of my questions so I may gain some inspiration for a breakthrough." The clan lord was only a hair away from a breakthrough. However, there was a barrier he simply couldn't overcome. He was only a slight intent away from a breakthrough. If he was struck by inspiration, he would immediately grasp the way forward and break through.
Many find themselves stuck before this barrier, never to comprehend things unto death. The clan lord was an example of a person with such fate. He had remained inches away from his breakthrough until his lifespan had run out.
The Pinecrane Pill had given him a thousand years worth of life. His confidence and spirit were multitudes greater than before. His body was back at its prime, as was his spirit and soul. He felt that this was his chance, which was why he had decided to seek guidance from Sacred Peafowl Mountain. He hoped that the emperor would give him some pointers.
The emperor sighed gently. "A breakthrough at the peak of martial dao is as enigmatic as it is perplexing. I can offer you some pointers, but they might not be of use to you. This barrier of yours is one which you will have to overcome yourself. Your dao heart should be a lot more resilient after beating death. You should have gained a lot of insight. The fate of certain death is as terrorizing as it is meaningful. Maybe you should explore this even further."
The clan lord mused deeply. Jiang Chen was impressed by the emperor's advice. The master could lead the way, but the path of learning should be walked by the student. A martial dao master could impart martial arts, techniques, or even treasures to their students, but cultivation was something deeply personal and individual. Everyone walked a different path of dao.
Nobody could understand their own dao better than themselves. Martial dao could be imparted, but one could only rely on oneself to comprehend it. Unfortunately, he couldn't voice such words, as he was their junior. However, the emperor seemed interested in Jiang Chen's opinion. "Young lad, your talent in martial dao is much more monstrous than both of ours in our youth. You break through bottlenecks as easily as taking a walk in the garden. You should tell us your opinion. Maybe we can learn a little something from you?" He smiled.
Jiang Chen smiled wryly. He did have some opinions, but it might be a little too shocking for them. He had no choice but to use flowery speech and speak in vague terms. "Your Majesty, Clan Lord, my understanding is simply too shallow to offer you anything of substance. However, my mysterious master had once told me something related to this matter. He said that everyone walks their own path of dao. Dao is within oneself as is within one's heart. The clan lord is extremely powerful, has a stable foundation, and possesses an ancient bloodline. There's definitely a path of dao meant for him and only him."
"Dao is within oneself as is within one's heart!? Wonderful words!" Emperor Peafowl laughed joyfully. "Clan Lord, nobody can give you any pointers for your own dao. However, who's to say that you won't gain inspiration from our conversation?"
The clan lord sported a somber expression. He pondered deeply over those words. Suddenly, a flash of light appeared in his mind. It was as though a ray of sunshine had suddenly emerged in an endless night sky. A blinding light filled his soul. A meteor shower of inspiration was found within the light. The clan lord trembled from head to toe as tears trickled down his cheeks. "Why didn't I think of this earlier? Dao is within oneself as is within one's heart! My dao was already in my palms, yet I've failed to grasp it! My mind was too occupied by my issues of cultivation dissipation and the loss of my life! How could I have grasped my own dao when I was too terrified of death?" The clan lord murmured to himself. Each tear drop contained some form of enlightenment and comprehension.