The root of the issue was now resolved. Earning Jiang Chen's forgiveness was the same as being forgiven by Emperor Peerless. However, Nan Gongjun didn't dare to celebrate just yet. He immediately visited Emperor Peerless to admit his wrongdoings. The emperor was aware that Jiang Chen had already come to a settlement with the Nangong clan.
"Nangong Jun, I'm not the kind of person that seeks trouble, but that doesn't mean I'm afraid of it. If this had happened two thousand years ago, you wouldn't even have the chance to beg for forgiveness right now."
Nangong Ping trembled with fear. "I-I understand. We will forever be grateful for Your Majesty's leniency." He forced a smile. He wasn't saying this out of courtesy. He genuinely believed that the emperor had been lenient with them. If it'd been some other hot headed emperor, his son would've already be dead before he had the chance to hire goons to cause another round of trouble.
"Take your men and leave. This emperor hopes that your clan will be smart enough to nip the issue in the bud."
Nangong Ping understood the gravity of things. "This will absolutely be the last you'll ever hear of this," he reassured.
"Leave." The emperor was losing patience. He chased them away with a sweep of his hand.
The Nangong clan quickly scuttled away. The clan elders shivered in trepidation as cold sweat poured down their foreheads. The emperor had been so dominant that it felt like they'd escaped death. Even though Nan Gongjun was ninth level emperor realm, he was extremely relieved that it was all over.
Jiang Chen watched the Nangong clan leave. A glimmer of excitement appeared in his eyes when he looked at what looked like the Cloud Devouring Tiger beast. However, he was aware that the issue was only resolved peacefully thanks to Emperor Peerless. He was using the emperor's influence. Since there was still some time before the start of today's Bounty Arena, he asked Lin Yanyu to take care of the spirit beast while he visited Emperor Peerless.
All of the arena lords resided in the Temple of Cleansing Fire for the duration of the Bounty Arena.
"Haha, little fellow, I thought you'd come by!" The emperor wasn't surprised to see Jiang Chen at all. He seemed to have foreseen the visit.
"This junior is here to thank Your Majesty." Jiang Chen wasn't the kind of person that would feign ignorance of the kindness shown to him by others.
"Why thank me? You had no fear of the Nangong clan either."
"The issue was only resolved so quickly because of Your Majesty's influence. Your magnanimity was the only reason I was able to go up against them. " Jiang Chen replied with a smile.
"Haha! You're truly a likeable lad!" The emperor burst into laughter. "Come! Sit with me!"
The emperor was obviously very fond of Jiang Chen. He respected the genius greatly for being on equal footing in the Bounty Arena, despite his youth.
Jiang Chen knew that Emperor Peerless didn't like him just because he claimed that he was from Myriad Abyss Island. The emperor had already shown a lot of goodwill before Jiang Chen had revealed his background. Jiang Chen sat down without the slightest hesitation.
The emperor secretly praised him for being able to maintain his composure before a great emperor. He wasn't anxious or uneasy like many other young juniors.
"Young lad, I've been observing you the past few days. You're able to instantly solve missions that even Pill King Blue Phoenix can't. It's unfortunate that everyone places so much importance in seniority. The pill king is everyone's first choice for pill dao bounties, and yet you don't mind this even though he's your biggest competitor. This temperament of yours is truly exceptional." The emperor was first to speak. His words shocked Jiang Chen greatly. He never thought that the emperor would observe him so closely under such a hectic environment. Moreover, his observation was incredibly accurate too.
"Are all youths in Myriad Abyss Island as talented as you?" The emperor's words didn't contain any doubt. In fact, there was even hints of fascination.
Jiang Chen could feel cold sweat running down his back. "This junior has been blessed with great fortune. Thus, I am one of the best in pill dao even on the island.".
The excuse he made wasn't exactly the greatest, but it was easier for others to accept.
The emperor nodded. He mused deeply before he suddenly asked, "Little junior, since the island is a place of legends, there should be pill dao masters that exceed even the level of pill emperor, right?"
Jiang Chen was taken by surprise. "Your Majesty, why do you ask?"
"Just answer my question first."
Jiang Chen pondered deeply before nodding. He wasn't sure if there was one, but since it was a place of legends, empyrean realm pill dao masters was most definitely present.
"Is it true?" the emperor was visibly moved by the answer.
"Mm." Jiang Chen nodded again.
"Surely… pill dao masters of that level will have arts that even pill emperors lack…" the emperor muttered to himself.
"Yes, that's definitely the case."
"Little junior, how many pill dao masters of that caliber are there on Myriad Abyss Island?" The emperor asked unrelentingly.
No pill emperors or empyrean pill saints could ever hope to match Jiang Chen. He was the strongest pill dao master in the entire world, even in the heavenly planes. In his previous life, empyrean pill saints were only suited to be his pageboy. They weren't even worthy to be his assistant. "Emperor Peerless, why are you asking these questions?"
The emperor revealed a hint of sadness. He sighed gently. "I didn't want to bring it up at first as it unearths some sad memories."
Jiang Chen was at a loss for words when he saw the sadness within his eyes.
"But for some reason, I feel an indescribable connection with you. It'd be a shame if I hide this from you any longer. It's all related to my dao parter. Speaking of dao partner, you might've heard a few rumors in the Upper Eight Regions, and it's all true. For the sake of love, I dueled a great emperor that had already been inaugurated for three thousand years. The duel ended with my loss for I was weaker. When he was about to take my life, my love rushed to my side and took half a strike in my stead…"
"Why only half?" Jiang Chen asked curiously.
"Ai… because of that man was also blindly in love with her. He was able to retract half of his force when he saw her rushing to my side. Ever since that duel, I've made a vow to live the rest of my life as a wandering cultivator, never to establish my own faction. Unfortunately, my love had to spend the rest of her life in illness after that. Two thousand years have passed, and her progress in martial dao has come to a halt. Her lifespan was also reduced by half. My pitiful Ah Yun. She was born intelligent and sharp, and was on track to become a great emperor. But because of me… the years of her prime was ended prematurely, leaving her with nothing but a life of slow decline…" Emperor Peerless was extremely sorrowful. A great amount of despair could be glimpsed within his eyes. He must've toiled over this issue for an extremely long time without ever seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
One of the most painful things in the world was to see one's love fall into decline before their time. The pain that the emperor felt pierced through Jiang Chen's heart like a knife. He was suddenly reminded of his father from his previous life. It was a different kind of love, but the great love knew no bounds. Parental or romantic love was the same in the end.
"Your Majesty, may I ask what cultivation level your dao partner is at?" He suddenly asked.
"She's younger than me, but she was already eighth level emperor realm two thousand years ago and would've broken through the great emperor realm by now. Unfortunately, circumstances have caused her cultivation to stagnate at the ninth level emperor realm. Without a breakthrough, she's unable to overcome her injuries, leading to an early decline."
"Emperor realm eh?" Jiang Chen wanted to recommend the Longevity Pill, but since she was at the emperor realm, only a Pinecrane Pill could possibly extend her life.
"Yes. If she can ascend into the great emperor realm, she will surely overcome her injuries. It's unfortunate that her life energy was reduced by half after sustaining the injury, which also reduced her lifespan by a great amount. Sigh… she's even showing signs that she will not make it past another thirty years."
Thirty years was a long time in human years, but to a great emperor realm cultivator, it was like only three months.
"Your Majesty, are you perhaps thinking about crossing the endless ocean with your dao partner to seek help in Myriad Abyss Island?" Jiang Chen asked after connecting the dots.
"At the very beginning, no." the emperor sighed. "If you hadn't mentioned that you were from Myriad Abyss Island, I'd never have believed that it was real."
Jiang Chen felt a little guilty. Surely the emperor wouldn't travel all the way to Myriad Abyss Island for help because of his thoughtless claim? He would be a great sinner if the emperor really did such a thing. The emperor's chance of surviving the ocean crossing was very miniscule even if he went by himself, let alone with his injured dao partner.
"I will not lie, I'm only considering this because you brought up the island. Truth be told, I've traveled far and wide in search of great pill dao masters, even the reclusive hermits. Unfortunately, there wasn't a single person who could cure Ah Yun's injuries. I only joined the Bounty Arena because I was passing through the city and wanted to help the Temple of Cleansing Fire raise the prestige of the Bounty Arena. All this trouble for that glimmer of hope…"
Jiang Chen finally understood the emperor's reasons for joining the Bounty Arena. After all, the event that was clearly beneath his stature. As it turned out, he was searching everywhere for the slightest bit of hope. It was like searching for a needle in a haystack...