All the great emperors of Veluriyam Capital were gathered within the young lord residence. Jiang Chen had prepared a banquet and invited them in secret. They were surprised to hear that the young lord had opened his doors once more, but even more so at the secrecy he was employing. They glanced at each other inquisitively once seated, curious as to each other's thoughts.
"Young lord Zhen has arrived!"
As they sat in mild wonder, Jiang Chen entered from the front door with Emperor Peerless and the Jiao brothers.
"Haha, I do apologize for any inconvenience in calling all of you here." Jiang Chen politely saluted with cupped fist. The seated emperors stood to return the gesture.
"Please, take your seats." He ushered his guests into their seats. Everyone was smiling; the atmosphere was very pleasant.
The young lord raised his glass in a toast to the room as the banquet began. "My friends, after the battle at the Vassal Meeting, Veluriyam Capital is finally enjoying a moment of stability. I am blessed that all of you think highly enough of me to elevate me so. Without your coordinated efforts, our wandering cultivator meet wouldn't have met with nearly the success that it did. A toast and my gratitude for your efforts!"
Everyone raised their cups. "Ah, young lord Zhen, you praise us too much. We are all great emperors of Veluriyam Capital and its business is our business!"
"We lent you only our brute strengths at the Dragon and Tiger Meet. Without your strategic planning, there would've been no success. It's us who should drink a toast to you."
"That's right. We admire Daoist Peafowl's foresight and keen eye, young lord Zhen. It was a miracle that he was able to find someone as capable as you to stand in for him. Let this cup of wine represent our compliments to you."
The emperors all raised their goblets to the young man. Smiling, Jiang Chen drained his cup.
"I've never been interested in idle boasting, but I did have something I would like to tell everyone today."
This elicited a mass clattering of cups upon the table. The guests looked intently at Jiang Chen, awaiting his elaboration.
"I'm sure you've heard some rumors these past few days about my origins and background. I don't care to explain these things to outsiders, but all of you here are pillars of the city. I can't in good conscience withhold the truth from you.
"Yes, my surname is not Zhen, but Jiang. I come from Myriad Domain. A few years back, I was the target of the Eternal Celestial Capital's relentless pursuit, so you may have heard of me." Jiang Chen's eyes were completely forthright, meeting the surprised gazes of the emperors head on. He was willing to be sincere about the matter. After all, it was going to be revealed to the world sooner or later.
The atmosphere became a little tense.
Emperor Coiling Dragon chuckled, breaking the silence. "Young lord, we've been mentally prepared for something like this. We came to a consensus a while ago that heroes should not be constrained by their origins. Emperor Peafowl certainly was not when he chose you. Young lord Fan wasn't a native of Veluriyam Capital either, but he was made young lord all the same. As long as you're fully devoted to the city's cause, that's still a blessing for the rest of us."
"Yes, yes, yes. Veluriyam Capital isn't some elite sect that focuses overly on the bloodline of its members. We've always emphasized bringing in talent from all over. We only want the best of the best, no? As long as you're a real genius, you're more than welcome to join us. And you, young lord Zhen, you're the best proof of the success of our strategy!" The first to support Emperor Coiling Dragon wasn't Emperor Void, surprisingly. It was Emperor Vastsea. Having joined up with Jiang Chen, he was now a loyal dog.
"Emperor Peafowl has a unique way of assessing people. He's never made a mistake about anyone," Emperor Void mused. "I don't care what others think. I shall maintain my ever-reliable support of young lord Zhen. Ah, I should say young lord Jiang Chen."
"Hohoho, I don't mind either. Veluriyam Capital cares not for birthrights. It would be a dreadful loss for us all to allow young lord Zhen's talent to drift away from here." Emperor Mountaincrush grinned.
After Emperor Peafowl's disappearance and Emperor Shura's death, only six out of the city's eight titled great emperors remained. Of these, four had made their opinions clear.
Emperor Petalpluck smiled serenely. "A man of young lord Zhen's talents would do well anywhere in the world. Veluriyam Capital, on the other hand, would be completely lost without him. I'm too old and I don't have the confidence to deal with the ensuing chaos. Therefore, I am firmly behind either young lord Zhen or young lord Jiang Chen."
Emperor Skysplitter was the only one left.
"I am one of the newer great emperors," he sighed softly. "So I've always thought myself to be a genius beyond comparison. Seeing young lord Jiang Chen has informed me of how foolish my pride was. I too, support the young lord."
All six great emperors had made their stances clear. Emperor Peerless and the Jiao brothers were Sacred Peafowl Mountain's subordinates and naturally aligned with Jiang Chen.
The universal support prompted Jiang Chen to raise his cup once more. "I'm touched that you've chosen to back me. From today onwards as ever, I shall use all my strength to lead the city to greater heights! I shall repay your trust in me a hundredfold!"
"Cheers to young lord Jiang Chen! Another toast, gentlemen!" Emperor Peerless led the drinking.
"Absolutely. Young lord Jiang Chen is so capable, yet so young. His future is brighter than we could ever imagine. Here's to a generous toast!" Emperor Coiling Dragon chuckled.
The atmosphere became more lively after a few drinks.
During the banquet, Jiang Chen relayed a few interesting and odd stories about the world and his experiences before the conversation shifted to the Dragon and Tiger Meet. Even the elderly, conservative Emperor Petalpluck lavished the event with praise.
The Dragon and Tiger Meet and its ripples had taken the entire human domain by storm. A marketplace, an auction, treasure identification, pill and martial dao lectures… each and every segment was recounted favorably by countless wandering cultivators all over the world.
"A single Pinecrane Pill easily countered Pillfire City's Pill-Martial Summit. I hear that a lot of wandering cultivators went there too, but only twelve great emperor wandering cultivators were in attendance. We had way more than that!"
"Heheh, we crushed them despite this being our first time!"
"Pillfire City has oppressed the world for too long. They deserve a good beating!"
"We haven't fully defeated Pillfire City yet, but their position of authority is definitely shaken."
"Of course, of course. Young lord Jiang Chen's Pinecrane Pill and Emperor Supremacy Pill are totally impossible for Pillfire City. Simply having these two is more than enough to loom over them." Having said this, everyone looked inquisitively at Jiang Chen.
He smiled coolly back. He knew what they were thinking.
"Unfortunately, I don't have any Pinecrane Pills left at the moment. Neither have I refined the Emperor Supremacy Pill just yet. When you need them in the future however, I will make sure to reserve them for you. Because of the scarcity of the materials, I can't guarantee when the pills will be available. Still, you'll have priority for sure."
A wave of joy surged through the room. Emperor Coiling Dragon smiled. "I'm only interested in the Emperor Supremacy Pill. I've used a Pinecrane Pill already."
"The Emperor Supremacy Pill's main material is the Heavencloud Ganoderma," Emperor Petalpluck spoke. "After the Dragon and Tiger Meet, I would think that this spirit herb's price will be on the rise. It is already exceedingly rare, and future demand will only make it more difficult to find."
The other emperors inclined their heads in agreement.
Jiang Chen remained carefree. "The price of the Ganoderma will increase, yes. But difficult to find? Not necessarily."
"Without me, the Heavencloud Ganoderma is just another regular sky rank spirit herb. There's no one else in the human domain capable of turning the herb into the pill. The seller won't find many other willing buyers for his merchandise, and I'm the only person willing to pay the corresponding price." Jiang Chen explained calmly.
"Haha, you're right. If they don't sell to young lord Jiang Chen, they won't have anyone else to sell to!" Emperor Coiling Dragon slapped his thigh.
"Not necessarily. If Pillfire City is willing to pay a high price for them simply to keep them from us, what then?" Emperor Skysplitter raised a concern.
"That's not a possibility but a certainty." Jiang Chen shook his head. "However, even if he does, they won't be able to buy up all of the specimens. A good reputation requires careful buildup and maintenance. As long as Veluriyam Capital is better regarded than Pillfire City, there will be people willing to sell to us over them. Not everyone is interested in doing business with Pillfire City, after all."
"I suppose you're right. Now that young lord Jiang Chen is on the scene, Pillfire City cannot dominate any longer."
Smiling, the young lord continued. "As I'm sure you've already seen from the Dragon and Tiger Meet last time, the wandering cultivator community has plenty of treasures, too. They are held back only by an inability to find an appropriate and trustworthy buyer. We at Veluriyam Capital must present ourselves as an open channel, so that wandering cultivators are receptive to doing business with us. As time passes and our good reputation spreads, Pillfire City's experience and knowledge will be rendered pointless. My own far outpaces theirs, in any case."
Jiang Chen's confidence shook everyone's hearts. Admiration and respect flashed in their eyes. When it came to pill dao, the youthful young lord was second to none. He had incredible knowledge and experience in that area.
"Alright, let's put pill dao matters aside. I have a question I'd like to ask all of you." Jiang Chen changed the topic. "Does the Upper Eight Regions have any master weapon refiners? Top of the class, at that?"
"Master weapon refiners?" Emperor Peerless blinked. "I hear that the Ninesuns Sky Sect has such a master, though he's usually removed from the outside world."
"Yes, the Ninesuns Sky Sect is the most renowned for its weapons refinement. They have a long-standing heritage in that subject."
"The Ninesuns Sky Sect, was it?" Jiang Chen was moved by the thought.