The Ninesuns Sky Sect had sought reconciliation due to the shallowness of its grudge. Meanwhile, Eternal Celestial Capital was the entire reason behind Myriad Domain's fall and current ruined state. It was the culprit behind the demise of Regal Pill Palace.
Aside from the small group that Jiang Chen managed to rescue, most had perished. There were also many still lost and missing. The palace head and Ling Bi'er were very good examples. Though Jiang Chen had stayed only a short while at the palace, he'd still formed emotional ties to his peers and former home.
In all honesty, if the Regal Pill Palace hadn't gone against majority opinion in allying themselves with the Precious Tree Sect, Jiang Chen's path of martial dao would have been much rougher. Being brought to the palace was a crucial part of his experiences.
The days that he'd spent there convinced him of the palace's unique spirit. In spite of its rather average fourth rank status, it managed to thrive in surprising ways. He had a nostalgic affection for the sect and almost everything that had been associated with it.
So naturally he wouldn't spare any pleasantries for the main cause of its destruction. The Eternal Celestial Capital's head had also recently participated in Shura's rebellion, a fact that Jiang Chen was unlikely to forget any time soon. Their history of enmity meant that Eternal Celestial Capital was his most-hated first rank sect.
The saint holy king was here to test the waters of Jiang Chen's attitude. Remote as the possibility might seem, he wanted to confirm that reconciliation was indeed impossible. Jiang Chen's rebuke had popped the bubbles of the sect's improbably desire.
Still, he had every right to be angry. "I can understand youthful recklessness," he shot back coolly, "but you're wrong to think that the Eternal Celestial Capital will fear you!"
Surprisingly, the young lord wasn't angered at all by the retort. A faint smile hung on his face. "When you know the meaning of fear, it'll already be too late."
The young lord swept his sleeves dismissively. "Now get out!"
The saint holy king was incensed, but he wasn't quite bold enough to test his luck on Sacred Peafowl Mountain land. Suppressing his fury, he walked back outside.
"Have Emperors Peerless and Coiling Dragon drive out Eternal Celestial Capital's entourage from the capital. Don't let them cause trouble." Jiang Chen could dispense with civility entirely; his identity wouldn't be hidden much longer. Since he was doing so, he couldn't afford to keep anyone from the enemy sect around. They were sure to incite misbehavior and cause general chaos otherwise.
The Dragon and Tiger Meet was very important. He wouldn't allow anything to go amiss. The first step of his overarching plan hinged on the Meet's success.
Reproaching the saint holy king had no effect whatsoever on Jiang Chen's mental state. He was going to turn on them sooner or later. To Veluriyam Capital's young lord, Eternal Celestial Capital was no longer an insurmountable peak.
Sure, it was unrealistic to destroy the sect at present. His grudge with Eternal Celestial Capital was rooted in his former status as a member of Regal Pill Palace. He didn't want to use Veluriyam's clout as a club against his opponent, regardless of what Emperor Peafowl had said. In any case, the present was a troubled time.
His thoughts were interrupted by a surge of energy underfoot. The Goldbiter Rat King popped out from beneath.
"Young lord, there's a situation."
After many years of breeding and Jiang Chen's painstaking care, the Goldbiter Rats had dramatically grown in both size and number. The beasts were now a powerful underground task force. As the primary beneficiary, the Goldbiter Rat King was unquestionably loyal to his young master.
This time, the rats were responsible for running a subterranean patrol all around Veluriyam Capital's surrounding lands. Tens of millions acted as Jiang Chen's eyes and ears, monitoring every cultivator that came into the city.
The influx of cultivators into Veluriyam Capital was quite sizable, but the sheer abundance of the rats dwarfed the cultivators' number. Therefore, Jiang Chen actually had a very good grasp of the seemingly chaotic circumstances in the city.
"Ole Gold, you've worked hard the past few days," Jiang Chen praised generously. "Have you discovered anything new?"
"I've personally been patrolling Sacred Peafowl Mountain's premises these last two days. Several energy signatures are hovering nearby. They're definitely malicious."
"Oh?" Jiang Chen raised an eyebrow. "What else?"
"If my senses are correct, they're great emperor realm cultivators for sure. However, they seem to be suppressing their cultivation for some reason."
The Peafowl Guard protected Sacred Peafowl Mountain around the clock. Anyone who dared to plot against the faction despite the security were enemies without a doubt. They couldn't exactly be here for tea!
"Roughly how many are there in total?" Jiang Chen asked.
"Three to five." The Rat King gave his judgment.
Jiang Chen's brow became even more furrowed. Three to five great emperors lying in ambush near Sacred Peafowl Mountain indicated a clear and singular purpose. They were here for the life of its young lord.
"Keep an eye on them, Ole Gold. If there's any substantial change, come and tell me. Make sure you remember to keep your own safety a priority."
The Rat King smirked. "Don't worry, young lord. Even a great emperor wouldn't be able to do much to me underground. Plus, there's the Nine Sparks Petalstorm Formation protecting the entire mountain. I can flee to within its line of defense in seconds."
Having said this, the beast dove into the ground once more, disappearing with a burst of wind. It had broken through to emperor realm as well; its cultivation was growing at an even faster pace than Jiang Chen's. Still, the Rat King couldn't shake free the timidity that was natural for one of its kind.
Jiang Chen wasn't at all worried about his furry friend. Goldbiter Rats were too overcautious for that.
"Three to five great emperors…" The young man fell into contemplation. He was unafraid of a direct assault even from that many when within Sacred Peafowl Mountain.
The Nine Sparks Petalstorm Formation had a defensive prowess that even a couple of great emperors couldn't easily break. But they clearly didn't intend on mounting a frontal assault. They were hiding in the shadows in order to waylay him.
It was much easier to dodge a spear from the front than arrows from the shadows. He had no desire to see them maintaining their wraith-like hovering. Being constantly scoped out for an attack wasn't enjoyable at all. A sudden burst of anger emboldened him. Can I kill them all?
The thought flickered across his mind in a frenzied flash. He had the tools on hand to do so, but an uproar would occur if he were to use them. After all, he was living in the middle of Veluriyam Capital. It was a densely populated place. If he were to bring forth the residence of the ancient empyrean expert, Guo Ran, and use the restriction inside, it would be beyond sensational.
"Can I lead them away from the city into the wilderness? It'll be a better place to take care of trouble," Jiang Chen mused. But the Dragon and Tiger Meet was about to begin. A departure now would be odd and eyebrow-raising. It would attract his ambushers' suspicions.
Unfortunately, nothing better came to mind.
As he mulled things over, the two emperors he'd delegated made their return to the young lord residence. Emperor Peerless blinked at the sight of the pensive youth. "Is there anything wrong, young lord?"
Jiang Chen waved a hand, signaling for both of them to be seated.
"Old Brother Mo, how many of the wandering cultivator world's six titans have arrived? Can you contact them?"
"Other than a brief rendezvous with Emperor Wellspring, I haven't met any of the others. I know that Emperors Reliance and Inferno are here already, and there's no news yet from Everviolet and Sabledeep. Perhaps the latter two are here as well, but haven't yet made themselves known."
Jiang Chen nodded. "Emperor Coiling Dragon, how many sect-affiliated great emperors have arrived so far?"
"Each of the first rank sects has sent a few experts. Moral support, if nothing else."
The youth looked thoughtful upon hearing that.
"Why do you ask, young lord?" Emperor Coiling Dragon inquired.
The young lord answered with a question of his own. "If I recall correctly, Old Brother Mo, aren't there twenty to thirty great emperors in attendance here in Veluriyam Capital besides the six giants?"
"Yes, just about."
"How many of them do you know? How many do you trust? How many are unrelated to Pillfire City?"
"How many do I know? Most of them, at least as passing acquaintances. I don't particularly trust any though, no. Wandering cultivators rarely have much to do with the sects and factions. Despite Pillfire City's prominence, it's not well-regarded in the wandering cultivator world. The only reason they go there in droves is because it has what they need, not because it attracts them on an emotional level. Desires and actions can't be correlated."
"Hmm. Well, I have something that I must trouble Old Brother Mo with."
"What is it, young lord?"
"I'd like you to gather up the great emperor wandering cultivators so that I can make a deal with them," smiled the young man.
"A deal?" Emperor Peerless looked perplexed.
"Yes, a deal. Do you think they'll come?" Jiang Chen's smile widened.
"They will attend the banquet without a second thought, young lord. Your stature and fame guarantees it. A deal, on the other hand… that will depend on what you offer. The wandering cultivator world has its own rules. They won't be moved without sufficient profit." Mo Wushuang was very forthright.
"Naturally. I just need them to be gathered up."
"Where to? The young lord residence?"
"The young lord residence is fine," Jiang Chen nodded. "You can inform them that I'm interested in listening to their opinion on the proceedings. I'd like to know what they want from the Dragon and Tiger Meet."