Ten out of twenty three great emperors ended up agreeing to the deal. The rest remained skeptical and decided not to participate. Emperor Wellspring, a top expert, was amongst the ten, as was Emperor Inferno and Emperor Reliance, whose strength matched Emperor Peerless. This lineup was more than adequate.
"Young lord Zhen, since we've already finalized the deal, when do you want us to take action?" Emperor Inferno asked impatiently.
"Now." Jiang Chen flashed a faint, but sincere smile.
"Now?" Emperor Inferno frowned. "Against who? Surely you're not going to have us kill each other?"
"Of course not." Jiang Chen laughed. "There are a few pesky little pests wandering around Sacred Peafowl Mountain, wanting to cause harm. They're causing me a headache and I won't take this lying down. Since all of you have graced my capital, I wish to borrow your muscles to get rid of the unscrupulous scum."
The young lord paused for a moment before he continued. "As I've mentioned before, feel free to renege on your promise if you find this request inappropriate. I won't fault you."
The great emperors exchanged glances without saying a word. They were mulling over the pros and cons. It felt like they'd walked into young lord Zhen's trap, but they quickly came to terms with the fact that it wasn't inappropriate at all.
A Pinecrane Pill in exchange for a minor task? Clearly the deal of a century! Moreover, if they reneged on their promise, who knew for sure that the young lord wouldn't blacklist them?
They weren't afraid of being blacklisted by Veluriyam Capital. However, the Pinecrane Pill was something that they truly yearned for. They'd never be given an opportunity like this again if they were blacklisted. They didn't want that to happen. Even though they felt used by the young lord, they harbored no anger towards him, nor did they intend to renege upon their promise.
Emperor Wellspring chuckled. "Young lord Zhen, do you know their backgrounds and cultivation levels?"
"To be honest, I'm not sure. They could be old acquaintances of ours, hidden enemies plotting against us, or forces from an enemy faction. Their identity really doesn't matter. What matters is the fact that they're trespassing and we have the right to defend our territory. This isn't against the rules of jianghu. No?"
Jiang Chen had actually guessed that it was Emperor Shura and a few other men from Pillfire City. He couldn't verify his theory right now, but that was likely the case.
Emperor Springwell laughed. "Everyone, since we've already agreed on a deal, it's better that we do this sooner rather than later. Since we're doing this on Sacred Peafowl Mountain territory, our actions are perfectly justifiable. What do you think?"
Emperor Inferno nodded. "It's settled then."
Emperor Reliance smiled. "I agree."
"Young lord Zhen, do we really have enough men to handle them?" one of the great emperors suddenly asked.
Jiang Chen smiled. "If we include Old Brother Mo, our lineup is so powerful that we could flatten any faction in the Upper Eight Regions. Surely our numbers aren't a cause for concern?"
"That may be the case if you only want to defeat the enemy. If they're hellbent on escaping though, there's no guarantee that we'll be able to stop them. What happens to our deal then?"
That was everyone's biggest concern.
Jiang Chen smiled. "As long as everyone gives it their best effort, I won't blame you if a fish or two manages to slip past. However, I do hope that you'll be able to get all of them in one go."
Emperor Springwell nodded. "Everyone put your best foot forward. Don't be complacent."
"Don't worry, I'll definitely honor my end of deal. My capital stands to gain nothing by offending so many reputable seniors of the wandering world. Moreover, I'll also come up with a plan. As long as you follow it, we will absolutely net them all in one fell swoop." Jiang Chen spoke with complete and utter confidence.
The wandering cultivators were taken aback. The young lord was very young, but definitely no a pushover. He was fearless and unflinching in front of so many great emperors. He would most certainly go on to become one of the greatest leaders of the human domain one day!
The wandering cultivators had quickly realized that the young lord wasn't to be trifled with. Making enemies with this young genius would be a grave mistake. It was better to offend a wealthy old man than a poor, flourishing youth.
The great emperors who'd opted not to partake in the deal were filled with regret when they heard how simple the condition was. Why hadn't they agreed?? It was such a simple request!
Unfortunately, the deal was already struck and there was no possibility of a renegotiation. They were beside themselves with frustration that they'd thrown such a great opportunity away.
Somewhere in a hidden corner around Sacred Peafowl Mountain, Emperors Shura and Vastsea had disguised themselves as wandering cultivators and were lying in wait.
"This brat is more slippery than a frog! It's been days! Why hasn't he shown up yet!" Emperor had set up an ambush in the vicinity, but to no avail. Jiang Chen simply hadn't showed up.
Emperor Vastsea didn't have much faith in the plan. "Brother Shura, must we take the risk? That brat must have at least a few great emperors accompanying him now. Although we have five great emperors, who's to say that we can kill him in one strike? Even if we do succeed, can we really escape Veluriyam Capital in one piece?"
Emperor Vastsea's faith had wavered greatly in recent days. Regret was constantly looming in the back of his mind.
Emperor Shura answered coldly. "Vastsea, this is our only chance to turn the situation around! After killing that brat, the capital will surely fall into chaos! Why should we leave? We can saunter back in! Don't forget, we have roots in the capital too!"
"But… the other great emperors might gang up on us immediately after we appear!"
Emperor Shura snorted coldly. "Impossible! Petalpluck and Mountaincrush are both spineless fence-sitters! Emperor Skysplitter's foundation hasn't solidified yet, so he's another one. Void, Coiling Dragon, and Peerless might put up some resistance, but we're five! This is basic math! Five against three, it's obvious which side will win! After that brat is dead, do you really think that Petalpluck and Mountaincrush will continue to side with the three like some loyal hound? Don't they know how to assess the situation and act accordingly?"
Emperor Vastsea sighed. "But what if we slip up? We'll be trapped and surrounded by all sides then. Everyone will be after us like we're a rat crossing the street!"
"We mustn't make any mistakes then." Murderous intent exploded from Emperor Shura. "How can there be accidents when we've planned this so meticulously? We're in the shadow while he's in the light. We have the element of surprise. Without any formations to protect him, how can an initial emperor realm cultivator possibly withstand my ultimate attack?"
Emperor Vastsea sighed and said nothing else. He agreed that Emperor Shura's plan was almost flawless, but for some reason, he had a feeling it wouldn't work. After so many frustrating defeats, he'd begun to feel that young lord Zhen's fortune was simply insurmountable. Even though the plan seemed flawless now, things could still go awry when it was put it into action.
After all, Emperor Shura's previous plans had also seemed just as flawless at the beginning, but young lord Zhen was always the one with the last laugh.
Would this time be an exception?
Emperor Vastsea didn't think so. He'd always been Emperor Shura's firmest believer. But the seedling of doubt had grown too big to be ignored this time. It felt like he was walking on a path of no return with Emperor Shura. They'd be goners with one misstep.
No… don't! Emperor Vastsea's inner voice constantly droned on the back of his head.
"Vastsea, keep a lookout from this position while I check on the others. Remain vigilant. We can't afford any slip-ups!" Emperor Shura never would've imagined that his most loyal ally was faltering.
"Mm. Go." Emperor Vastsea nodded and pretended that nothing was out of the ordinary. He was consumed by a state of panic after Emperor Shura left. Moments later, he grit his teeth with an idea. He retrieved a message glyph, imbued some of his consciousness into it, and sent it soaring.
The glyph arrived at the young lord manor in a blink of an eye. It fell into the possession of the Geng brothers who were patrolling the gate. They immediately took it to Jiang Chen, who smirked mischievously when opening the unexpected message.
Emperor Vastsea? Jiang Chen was slightly taken aback. Isn't he Emperor Shura's diehard follower? Is he planning to turn his sword against his friend?
Jiang Chen had always looked down on Emperor Vastsea. To him, Vastsea was merely Emperor Shura's obedient hound. If someone like him was switching sides, it could only mean that Emperor Shura was in a terrible situation and that there wasn't much of a future by being on his side.
Jiang Chen pondered every other possibility. Could this be a scheme from Emperor Shura and Vastsea? He concluded soon after that there was little reason for them to hatch such a plot in Sacred Peafowl Mountain territory. Perhaps Emperor Vastsea was really betraying Emperor Shura?
Should I or should I not accept his offer? Jiang Chen didn't think very highly of Emperor Vastsea's offer.