"Empyrean? Are you certain that I can ascend to the empyrean realm?" When it came to such an important subject, even a man as great as Emperor Peerless was rendered a weak mortal. His voice trembled with anticipation.
In comparison, Jiang Chen was the image of calmness. "You're talented enough to become a great emperor as a wandering cultivator, Old Brother Mo. Breaking through to empyrean realm should be no problem at all."
"This… this bloodline's power! Is something like this allowed to exist?" Emperor Peerless was still doubtful. Not that he didn't trust Jiang Chen, but the prospect was a little too shocking for him to take in at once.
"The world of martial dao has things much more amazing than this," smiled Jiang Chen. "Empyrean bloodlines were relatively commonplace in ancient times, no?"
"The ancient times are just that, ancient," murmured Emperor Peerless. "We live in the present era, where not even a tenth of the heritages from back then have been passed down. The human domain right now can't rival even a tenth of the ancient times in resources and manpower. I've traveled the human domain for a long time, but I've never heard of any empyrean experts anywhere."
Having recovered from her shock, Madame Yun spoke up as well. "Wise younger brother, is it really possible to assimilate the empyrean bloodline? Can Brother Mo's mortal body really endure its stresses?"
"Don't worry, sister-in-law," laughed Jiang Chen. "If my brother couldn't, why would I give it to him so recklessly? The strength of this bloodline lies in its infinite potential. Old Brother Mo is a great emperor, but an advanced emperor realm cultivator would have a reasonable chance at using it just as well. It would be quite a bit more dangerous for them, of course, but it is possible. As for a great emperor as vigorous as old brother here, he should have almost zero risk."
"So there's a risk, after all?" As someone who'd been badly injured for a number of years, Madame Yun was more cautious than most.
"What are you worrying about, Ah Yun? Do you think my brother would hurt me?" Emperor Peerless's eyes glittered with enthusiasm. He rubbed his hands incessantly, breaking out into embarrassed laughter. "Actually, I was thinking your present to me is somewhat undeserving. Receiving something so precious out of the blue is… well, you know, it flusters me a little. There's so many other great emperors here in Veluriyam Capital…"
"I know there are many great emperors here in Veluriyam Capital, old brother, but not everyone is compatible with the kunpeng bloodline. Speed is already your strong suit, and you don't currently have any bloodlines that conflict. That's why this bloodline is most appropriate for you."
Jiang Chen had also considered giving the kunpeng bloodline to Emperor Coiling Dragon or Emperor Void. But after careful contemplation, he thought that it wasn't a good idea for the time being.
Of the three drops of kunpeng blood, one had been given to Emperor Peafowl. He was the man most compatible with the bloodline. Deliberation caused Jiang Chen to gift the second to Emperor Peerless. Recruiting a wandering great emperor to his side meant a wealth of hidden benefits, given the man's prominence in the wandering cultivator community.
As for the third, Jiang Chen hadn't yet settled on the best recipient for it. Emperor Coiling Dragon definitely didn't need it. The Coiling Dragon Clan possessed a true dragon bloodline already, the only problem being its excessive dilution. That was why Jiang Chen had given the true dragon blood to young master Ji San. Having assimilated the true dragon blood, his friend's new potential in martial dao was nothing short of monstrous.
"Little brother," Emperor Peerless's eyes shone with a keen light. He stared at Jiang Chen with great sincerity. "You're giving me a tremendous opportunity that I cannot honestly refuse. I would like to ask you one thing only. Once you've given me the kunpeng blood, what will you do for yourself?"
If Jiang Chen had been unwilling to use the only drop of kunpeng blood on himself, then Emperor Peerless couldn't accept it no matter his personal eagerness. This was a principle that he lived by.
"Don't worry about me, Old Brother Mo," smiled Jiang Chen. "Why would I give this drop of kunpeng blood to you if I didn't have something of my own?"
"Oh? Are you saying that you have an opportunity to break through to empyrean realm as well?" Emperor Peerless's eyes became even brighter.
Jiang Chen decided not to hold back. The old emperor was an intimate friend and they needed a morale boost. "Even if I don't use the kunpeng blood, there is no question that I will become an empyrean cultivator one day," declared Jiang Chen confidently.
Emperor Peerless slapped his thigh, roaring with laughter. "Worthy words from my equally worthy brother. That's the confidence I like to hear!"
Jiang Chen's poise had won him over.
"To dwell further on this would be duplicitous of me. I'll take the kunpeng bloodline, and with it, a record of your great kindness." The rims of the emperor's eyes reddened in passion.
For the past several millennia, everyone in the human domain knew that emperor realm was about the highest extents that cultivation could reach. Occasionally, news of time-worn great emperors' disappearances would arise. According to rumor, they had ascended to empyrean and gone elsewhere. However, Emperor Peerless didn't personally know whether there were empyrean experts in the world. In fact, he had no idea whether he could break through at all.
After all, he was just a wandering cultivator, not a member of a sprawling faction. Experts who were part of the strongest sects often contained reclusive great emperors who would eventually leave clues about empyrean realm behind them.
Emperor Peerless had no way of obtaining anything of the sort. An opportunity from Jiang Chen to ascend to empyrean realm was something he simply could not refuse. Deep down, he didn't want to.
"Old Brother Mo, there's no need for such talk between us brothers. When you become an empyrean expert one day, I too will bask in shared honor."
"May things turn out just as you say," chuckled the emperor.
Walking over with a serious stride, Madame Yun gave Jiang Chen a formal curtsy. "Good brother, I would like to genuinely thank you. Brother Mo making the acquaintance of a brother like you is one of the greatest blessings in his life."
"You are too kind, sister-in-law. I'm not deserving of such lofty praise. In terms of blessings, you should be counted far greater than me. Isn't that right, Old Brother Mo?"
"Slick words from a slick fellow," chortled Emperor Peerless. "Still, meeting a brother as noble as you has definitely made my life worthwhile."
"Then you should devote yourselves even more to our good brother's affairs," Madame Yun followed seamlessly.
"Hey! I've always been devoted," objected the emperor, rather innocently.
Jiang Chen hadn't worried about Mo Wushuang's lack of devotion even without the gift, but with it, there was no doubt that the old emperor would become even closer to him.
Within Emperor Shura's retreat, there was a different sight.
"Fellow daoist, the first wave of vassals for the meeting should reach the capital around tomorrow." Emperor Vastsea was one of Emperor Shura's staunchest allies.
"Very good." Emperor Shura inclined his head. His recent high spirits were written on his face. There was no hint of the depression from before.
The past few years had gone very poorly for the emperor. The Majestic Clan that he'd relied so heavily upon had been randomly arbitrarily taken out, the entire clan sentenced to death. At the Veluriyam Pagoda gathering, several of his most intimate disciples had been outshone in the trials. Though the rankings that they'd ended with had been spectacularly high, others had stolen all of their thunder in the nine obelisks' test.
Most importantly, the outside world had all guessed that Emperor Peafowl would slowly transition him in as the next ruler of Veluriyam Capital after young lord Fan's death. But out of the blue came a young lord Zhen, who was made heir almost on the spot, extinguishing his ambitions in an instant.
All of his loss had been due to one person: young lord Zhen!
That young man's abrupt rise into the spotlight had caused Emperor Shura and his faction to meet with a string of bad luck. Thankfully, all that was in the past now. Emperor Shura was ready to turn the tides. The Vassal Meeting was going to be the moment that he would obtain full formal control over the city!
"Vastsea, is there any recent news from Sacred Peafowl Mountain?" The emperor turned his head, glancing askance at his junior peer.
"Heh, the Sacred Peafowl Mountain has mostly kept its head down. Taiyuan Tower being suppressed didn't get anyone from them to come out. I think that young lord Zhen is either afraid or absent," chuckled Vastsea.
"Absent?" Emperor Shura furrowed his brow. He was disappointed rather than pleased that the young lord wasn't around.
Without him, the emperor wasn't able to straightforwardly secure authority over the city. After all, Emperor Peafowl still ruled over Veluriyam Capital in name. In his absence, young lord Zhen would be the most proper successor.
If Emperor Shura wanted to seize the throne, the easiest way to do so would be for him to show his dominance over young lord Zhen in every respect. There could be no complaints from the other party then. But, if young lord Zhen wasn't around, then there was a flaw in his takeover.
It was possible for young lord Zhen to one day overthrow him upon the former's return. With the Progeny Feather Medallion in hand, Sacred Peafowl Mountain's heir could convene a Vassal Meeting just as easily as he had.
"It doesn't matter whether he's here, fellow daoist. We will absolutely seize control of Veluriyam Capital this time. What will the current Sacred Peafowl Mountain fight you with?" Emperor Vastsea was much more optimistic.
"Vastsea, you've done a great deal for me in this. When my seat on the throne is secure, the spot of the second great emperor will be yours," promised Emperor Shura.
A spark of enthusiasm flashed across Emperor Vastsea's eyes. "I'm just worried that Emperor Petalpluck won't agree to it."
He was ignoring Sacred Peafowl Mountain entirely.
"When we have absolute command over the situation here, none of this will be a problem." Emperor Shura waved a hand. "Right, did you happen to find any clues about what happened at that pill store last time?"
The mention of the incident troubled Emperor Vastsea. "Not yet. The person involved came and went with equal speed. He left no clues at all. Fellow daoist, do you think there will be any aftershocks from it?"
"Sigh. Pillfire City sent the people involved with the store. They haven't made any demands of me yet, but I'm concerned that there'll be problems down the line." Emperor Shura frowned.