Jiang Chen was highly perturbed that the Eternal Celestial Capital had arrived together with the Moon God Sect and immediately asked for clarification.
"The two holy maidens are Holy Maiden Xu Shan, the senior sectmaster's newest disciple, as well as Holy Maiden Zi Qiong, the third sectmaster's direct disciple."
"Holy Maiden Qingxuan didn't come?" Jiang Chen couldn't resist asking.
"The calling card states that only Holy Maiden Xu Shan and Holy Maiden Zi Qiong are here."
Jiang Chen took the calling card and nodded after a short glance. The second sectmaster was eccentric and overprotective of her most beloved disciple. A stubborn old woman like her would never allow Holy Maiden Qingxuan to come to Veluriyam Capital. She was already suspicious even though Jiang Chen had only spent a brief moment alone with Xu Qingxuan during the Moon God Precious Tree incident.
Jiang Chen didn't have a good impression of the second sectmaster. Setting aside the fact that she'd separated his parents, she was shackling Xu Qingxuan with unreasonable rules.
He was rather fond of his sister even though they'd only met once. Her playful yet straightforward personality was very refreshing. Because of their shared blood, he felt an indescribable sense of kinship with her. Naturally, he didn't want his sister to be restrained by such an unreasonable antique.
He was most worried that the second sectmaster's incessant brainwashing of Xu Qingxuan would turn her into an ingrate who would betray her parents. It'd be awful if she was turned into a puppet whose sole purpose was to cultivate, abandoning everything else that made her human.
Fortunately, Xu Qingxuan was rather resilient to the second sectmaster's brainwashing. Jiang Chen was quite consoled. Even though he was a little disappointed that his little sister hadn't come, he was equally relieved. Without her, he could be more straightforward in his dealings with the Moon God Sect.
If the sect had truly joined forces with the Eternal Celestial Capital, he had no qualms taking them down a notch through a show of force. Of course, that wouldn't be the case if the sect was being manipulated by the Eternal Celestial Capital instead.
"The Moon God Sect, where are they staying?" the young lord asked.
"Young lord, lodgings for the representatives of the eight first ranked sects have been arranged at the Coiling Dragon Clan's old manor."
The Coiling Dragon Clan Manor was one of the most prominent manors in Veluriyam Capital. It had been left empty after Emperor Coiling Dragon had achieved a breakthrough and established his own faction.
The emperor generously offered to let his manor be used in the event. Once the largest and most prominent clan in Veluriyam Capital, its manor was fittingly spacious and magnificent. It was perfectly capable of housing eighty factions, let alone just the representatives of the eight great sects.
"Invite Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Peerless for a visit right now." Jiang Chen ordered.
Both arrived in no time at all. "Gentlemen, do you mind accompanying me to the Coiling Dragon Manor?" Jiang Chen asked with a smile.
"Oh? Only the representatives of first ranked sects are there right now. Young lord, who do you seek?" Emperor Coiling Dragon smiled faintly.
"The representatives of the Moon God Sect," Jiang Chen answered bluntly.
"Oh? Have they arrived as well?" Emperor Coiling Dragon had yet to receive news of their arrival.
"Not just them. The Ninesuns Sky Sect and the Eternal Celestial Capital have arrived as well. The eight great sects have all convened." Jiang Chen laughed.
"Tsk tsk, all of the great sects are here. Young lord, your influence knows no bounds." Emperor Coiling Dragon sighed.
Emperor Peerless laughed. "These factions are each more and more shrewd than the other. With so many attractive rewards, it was only a given that they'd come."
A messenger arrived during their conversation. "Young lord, the representatives of the Moon God Sect and the Eternal Celestial Capital request an audience."
Jiang Chen was stunned. Emperor Coiling Dragon cracked a joke. "It seems our young lord has saved himself a trip. Your influence is so great that they show up at the door themselves! The entire Upper Eight Regions must be itching to exchange moves with you!"
"Show in the Moon God Sect representatives first. The men from Eternal Celestial Capital can wait in the side hall." Jiang Chen would rather not receive both of these factions at the same time.
The third sectmaster, Holy Maiden Xu Shan, and Holy Maiden Zi Qiong were soon shown in.
"Third Sectmaster, it's a pleasure to have you here. I apologize for not greeting you sooner. Older sister Xu Shan, it's been a long time! You've grown much stronger since we last met! This is a cause worthy of celebration!" Jiang Chen was openly admitting that he was young lord Shao Yuan.
Xu Shan turned as red as a tomato when Jiang Chen called out her name. "Should this older sister call you young lord Zhen or Sir Shao?"
"You may call me anything you like." Jiang Chen answered with a grin.
A chill ran down the third sectmaster's spine when she saw how casual Jiang Chen was behaving. Xu Shan's blush extended to her ears and her eyes glittered with joy. This wasn't a good sign for a holy maiden. Love was clearly blossoming in her heart.
The senior sectmaster had entrusted Xu Shan to the third sectmaster and implored her not to let Xu Shan fall under young lord Zhen's spell. Thus, the sectmaster panicked and walked forwards to interrupt them. "Young lord Zhen, we have yet to repay you for the incident related to our sacred tree. I've come with a gift of thanks. We hope that you'll accept it."
The third sectmaster wanted to hand over a storage ring, but Jiang Chen stopped her with a sweeping gesture.
"We should leave matters of the past behind. I would've asked for a reward back then had I wanted one. Truly, it was nothing. If the third sectmaster insists on giving me a gift, I'll take it as an insult to me and my capital."
The third sectmaster froze. She couldn't push the gift onto the young lord after all that. The sect had planned on making a statement with the gift that help would be returned with kindness, but he had to leave their holy maidens alone.
Unfortunately, the young lord had refused their gift. Can it be...
The third sectmaster was depressed. Did young lord Zhen really covet the holy maidens? It'd be a huge headache if that really was the case. His fame, talent in pill dao, and countless legendary stories were an extremely lethal combination for these young maidens.
Xu Shan idolized him and viewed him as a savior. Even Xu Qingxuan was showing too much concern about the young lord's matters. It was unfortunate that Holy Maiden Xiyuan hadn't shown any interest in the young lord as she was the most likely candidate to be married off. She lacked wisdom and was more tinged with mundane impulses.
Jiang Chen didn't realize that the third sectmaster was besieged by thoughts. He smiled warmly. "I heard that the Moon God Sect and the Eternal Celestial Capital arrived together. Are your factions close?" he asked probingly.
The third sectmaster thought nothing of the question. "We met by coincidence on the way here and thus travelled together. Our sect consists of mostly women, so we don't have much contact with the other sects. Sadly, the Eternal Celestial Capital was simply too enthusiastic, making it difficult to turn them down. Young lord Zhen, in a way we must thank you for getting them off our backs," she responded nonchalantly.
Holy Maiden Xu Shan and Zi Qiong nodded in agreement. They were clearly annoyed by the Eternal Celestial Capital's harassment as well.
Jiang Chen had expected as much. The Eternal Celestial Capital was putting on a show to fool the world into thinking that the two were about to form an alliance.
"That's good to hear." Jiang Chen flashed a warm smile.
"Good to hear?" The third sectmaster was flabbergasted. Why?
"Third Sectmaster, you might not know this, but I'm rather fond of the Moon God Sect. However, I can't say the same about the Eternal Celestial Capital. Their nature is awful and it reflects in their reputation. Since you two aren't close, I won't have to give them face. This is why I said that this is good to hear."
The third sectmaster finally put two and two together. Veluriyam Capital and the Eternal Celestial Capital had a great falling out because of the Longevity Pill. During the Vassal Meeting, they were the only faction that supported Emperor Shura other than Pillfire City. It was natural that Sacred Peafowl Mountain would be on bad terms with them.
"Young lord Zhen, please don't misunderstand. Due to our sect rules, we have always kept a distance with other sects. We aren't affiliated with the Eternal Celestial Capital whatsoever," the third sectmaster immediately clarified.
"It's true. Young lord Zhen, our factions only met by coincidence along the way." Xu Shan explained with a blush.
"Mm. Of that I have no doubt." Jiang Chen said while smiling. "I must say, I'm very grateful that the Moon God Sect would travel all the way here to participate our event."
The third sectmaster smiled. "Rumors of the Tiger and Dragon Meet's rewards have spread far and wide. Are the ones related to the Pinecrane Pill and Myriad Abyss Island true?"
"What do you think?" Jiang Chen smiled enigmatically.
"We naturally know what you're capable of. If it hadn't been for your help, our Precious Tree might no longer be alive. Thus, we remain quite impressed by you, young lord."
Jiang Chen sent them off politely after another round of pleasantries.
By now, the representatives of the Eternal Celestial Capital had waited for over four hours. They were furious when they learned that they'd be seen only after the Moon God Sect left.
"Young lord Zhen, our factions arrived at the same time, yet you're only showing them preferential treatment. This is extremely subpar treatment. Your neglect has been most unpleasant." The saint holy king immediately raised a torrent of complaints after laying eyes on Jiang Chen.
Jiang Chen smiled coldly at the Saint Holy King. "I never imagined that the Eternal Celestial Capital would actually be brave enough to come."
"Young lord Zhen, what are you trying to say?" The saint holy king feigned ignorance.
"All first ranked sects in the Upper Eight Regions are welcome in my capital except yours. I won't be killing you today. Hurry on home and praise your holy emperor for escaping so quickly with his tail between his legs back then. He won't be so lucky next time. And now, scram!" Jiang Chen didn't give the Eternal Celestial Capital any face or leave any grounds for negotiation.