There were many restrictions on who could be selected to take the field. Apart from Jiang Chen and Emperor Shura, the other three personnel selected had to be two followers and one personal disciple. Moreover, the disciple had to be a member of the younger generation. This meant that Pill King Lu Feng and Pill King Bu weren't allowed to compete. Although these rules limited Sacred Peafowl Mountain greatly to some degree, they also meant that Shura Retreat couldn't do as it pleased either.
Therefore, Emperor Peerless couldn't participate because he was both just a friend and invited reinforcement. He wasn't a real member of Sacred Peafowl Mountain, so it would be breaching the rules to have him take a slot. Although his offer was a surprise and delight, the group knew that it just couldn't be done. This was a faction war between Sacred Peafowl Mountain and Shura Retreat.
Not even Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Void could participate in this match. The same went for Emperor Vastsea on the Shura Retreat side, no matter how loud he barked. The atmosphere weighed a bit heavily. Emperor Coiling Dragon was aware of Emperor Peerless' reputation. He also knew that this legendary wandering cultivator had risen to fame earlier than either Emperor Void or himself, and was probably stronger as well.
"Daoist Peerless, your friendship with young lord Zhen is a great story to be sung for years to come. However, the rules are the rules. We all wish that you can show off your might, but…"
Emperor Void also nodded slightly. "Daoist Peerless is both famous and powerful. Our Emperor Peafowl may be the only great emperor in the entire Veluriyam Capital who can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you. We rather wish that you could take part in the competition, but alas, the rules are against us."
That was slight exaggeration. Emperor Peerless himself knew that Emperor Peafowl was better, despite his own fame. Emperor Peafowl aside, he truly feared no one else in the entire Veluriyam Capital, not even Emperor Shura. It was why he'd been furious when he learned that Emperor Shura was trying for a coup and wanted to harm Jiang Chen in the process. To the great emperor, Jiang Chen's troubles were his troubles as well.
Emperor Peerless nodded in response, but his eyes remained as determined as ever. He suddenly smiled. "I know. All participants must be a member of Sacred Peafowl Mountain, am I right?"
"Ai, it is as you say," Emperor Coiling Dragon also sighed.
"In that case, I hereby formally request to join Sacred Peafowl Mountain. Countless factions have tried to recruit me, Mo Wushuang, in the many years I roamed the world, but none have tempted me until Sacred Peafowl Mountain, and especially you, young lord Zhen. I wholeheartedly pledge allegiance to you, so I sincerely request to join Sacred Peafowl Mountain. Let this battle be my proof of allegiance!"
The famous Emperor Peerless wishes to join Sacred Peafowl Mountain?
Everyone suddenly felt that their brains were malfunctioning. The crowd stared at him with shock, trying to determine if the great emperor was joking or not. He wasn't, not in the slightest.
Can it be?
Does Emperor Peerless really wish to join Sacred Peafowl Mountain? Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Void's eyes gleamed with enthusiasm. If Emperor Peerless really did join Sacred Peafowl Mountain, then the hole with Emperor Peafowl's absence would be mostly filled!
The thought lasted for only an instant. Who knew if Emperor Peerless wouldn't try to upstage his host, threaten young lord Zhen's status, or wrestle control from the young lord?
It wouldn't be funny if they fought off the tiger only to be backstabbed by the wolf.
It was normal for Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Void to harbor such doubts because they hadn't interacted with Emperor Peerless before. Although it was rumored that the great emperor was a straightforward and upright man, not all rumors were to be believed. That was why they didn't dare voice an opinion, even though they suddenly felt very hopeful about the future.
The four great monarchs of Sacred Peafowl Mountain more or less felt the same way. They had volunteered to take part in the competition, but that didn't mean they felt confident. They weren't absolutely certain because Emperor Peafowl was missing. But if Emperor Peerless were to officially join them, his presence would undoubtedly be a great morale boost. He might even tip the balance just enough that the tides were overturned. He might not be the better of Emperor Peafowl, but he was at least the equal of Emperor Shura.
However, Emperor Peerless' great fame and influence worked against him as well. The four monarchs looked forward to his aid, but they couldn't help but harbor the same doubts as Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Void. Everyone turned to Jiang Chen. Obviously, young lord Zhen should be the one to make a decision here.
He was also slightly taken aback by Emperor Peerless' offer.
"Brother Mo, I've heard your sentiments. But this relates to your freedom." Jiang Chen's worry was different from his subordinates. While everyone else was worried that Mo Wushuang would become too powerful and threaten to upset his position, the young man was worried that the great emperor would lose some of the freedom he enjoyed as a wandering cultivator.
Mo Wushuang laughed. "Are you worried that I'll lose my freedom after I joined Sacred Peafowl Mountain? Relax, I'm only going to join you as a guest elder. I won't be playing a part in any matters of Sacred Peafowl Mountain unless it's of utmost importance."
A guest elder?
Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Void's eyes brightened even further. Now they could see how this arrangement might work. If Emperor Peerless made a lot of demands prior to joining Sacred Peafowl Mountain, then his participation might not be a good thing. But if he only wanted to become a guest elder with no responsibility at all, it was entirely acceptable as long as the young lord agreed.
Mo Wushuang frowned when he saw the young man still hesitating. "Young lord Zhen, you saved my life and Ah Yun's. Won't you give me a chance to repay the favor?"
There were too many people present in the scene, so Mo Wushuang couldn't speak as frankly as he might have. He even addressed Jiang Chen by his title of young lord Zhen instead of the usual "younger brother".
Now they understood why Emperor Peerless had acted the way he did. He was trying to repay young lord Zhen for saving his life. It was rumored that Emperor Peerless' wife was saved by none other than young lord Zhen himself. Many knew about this.
Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Void felt sudden respect towards Emperor Peerless. The former spoke up. "Young lord Zhen, Emperor Peerless is a famous great emperor and leader in the wandering cultivator world. It isn't easy for someone at his level to act as fairly as he does, so I believe that you should consider his request."
"Yes, young lord Zhen. Sacred Peafowl Mountain will be a tiger with wings if Daoist Peerless were to join us," Cloudsoar Monarch echoed.
Emperor Peerless had already declared his intentions to become a guest elder with no real authority. This was recruiting a great emperor at almost no cost. The monarch would be very foolish to turn down such good business.
Jiang Chen sighed quietly. "Brother Mo, I would be pretentious if I turn you down any longer. Alright, on behalf of Sacred Peafowl Mountain, I sincerely invite you to join Sacred Peafowl Mountain. I've already thought of your title. You will be an esteemed guest elder."
It would be unreasonable to appoint Emperor Peerless as a mere guest elder. It wouldn't have matched Emperor Peerless incredible status outside. But an esteemed guest elder, now that was a different story. The word "esteemed" gave the post entirely new meaning.
"Good, good! This will be a wondrous story for generations to come!" Emperor Coiling Dragon rubbed his palms together and laughed loudly.
Emperor Void looked very elated as well. "On behalf of Daoist Peafowl, I welcome you to Sacred Peafowl Mountain, Daoist Peerless. Your participation is a great boost to Sacred Peafowl Mountain's fortunes!"
Emperor Peerless knew that the two great emperors were Jiang Chen's friends and allies, so he cupped his fists in reply. "There is no need for such courtesy, my friends. I owe young lord Zhen such an enormous favor that I may not be able to repay it during this lifetime. To be honest, it is I who owes young lord Zhen, not the other way around."
He spoke from the bottom of his heart.
"Young lord Zhen…" The Geng brothers could no longer keep still. The elder brother, Geng Qianzhang, looked expectantly at Jiang Chen, "If a man like Brother Mo wishes to join Sacred Peafowl Mountain, then… we would be so thick-faced as to want to join Sacred Peafowl Mountain as well."
The Geng brothers were brothers of Emperor Peerless. They were also famous in their own rights. Although they were no great emperors, they were still a peak ninth level emperor realm and a peak eighth level emperor realm cultivator. Cultivators like them were top tier even in Veluriyam Capital.
The successive boons pleasantly surprised the members of Sacred Peafowl Mountain.
Emperor Peerless chuckled. "Young lord Zhen, my two brothers have always had my back. If you don't mind…"
Jiang Chen smiled. "The Geng brothers are famous upright men in the wandering cultivator community. Why would I ever turn you down after you've shown me so much trust in me?"
"Good, good. Congratulations, young lord Zhen! Two more fierce tigers have joined Sacred Peafowl Mountain." Emperor Coiling Dragon smiled.
Jiang Chen nodded and looked at the Geng brothers. "Would you like to become esteemed guest elders just like Old Brother Mo?"
"Oh no, oh no. We aren't deserving of the title "esteemed". We are satisfied with just being guest elders," Geng Qianzhang hurriedly responded.
They weren't great emperors yet, so there was no way they would dare accept such a post. They were satisfied with just being guest elders of Sacred Peafowl Mountain, not to mention that they trusted Jiang Chen and wanted to follow Mo Wushuang further. Earning a lofty status wasn't part of their goals.
Mo Wushuang also said, "Young lord Zhen, my brothers aren't really interested in positions of power, so it's fine to make them guest elders of Sacred Peafowl Mountain. The important thing is that the public accepts their presence."
"Yeah, we brothers trust Brother Mo and are fully impressed by young lord Zhen!" Gen Qianchi also declared loudly.