Following that, the emperor made many preparations, summoned some important scions of the imperial family, and detailed the perilous situation to them.
"Each of you is an elite child of House Yan. Great Scarlet is on the verge of collapse, so our bloodline's future falls upon your shoulders. You shall leave Great Scarlet and go incognito. You may return in a few decades if it's safe. If we end up destroyed, then this enmity will be yours to carry. Never forget your mission. There's hope as long as you're alive. Are there any cowards in our House Yan?"
"We obey all of your orders, Your Majesty!"
"Why would the great men of House Yan cower in front of an upstart?" Most of these juniors bubbled with the vigor and hubris of youth. They rejected Jiang Chen from the very bottom of their hearts. Even now, they couldn't associate a country bumpkin from the sixteen kingdoms alliance with the earthshaking young lord Zhen.
"Your Majesty, can the intelligence be faulty? How could a nobody from Myriad Domain suddenly become the young lord of Veluriyam Capital in a mere decade?"
"Maybe it's just hearsay?"
"I think so too…"
"Silence!" The emperor's shout rumbled like the clap of thunder.
These young men stared at the emperor in fright, their mouth sewn shut. Only a few of the younger ones looked a little rebellious.
"Is there no one with brains amongst the scions of House Yan? If these really are your thoughts, I wonder whether if the clan's bloodline is safe with you, if any of you can be given the great task of revitalizing the house!?"
"You say Jiang Chen isn't young lord Zhen? Then why was the Eternal Celestial Capital the only first rank sect to be absent from the Dragon and Tiger Meet? How do you explain that? Why didn't we hear a single word from them after sending so many emissaries?
"Make use of your brains, use your eyes! The Eternal Celestial Capital is using us as scapegoat!
"You might become stray dogs from a destroyed nation tomorrow or in a few months. How can you be so blind?"
The emperor waved his hand, his face purple with rage after his furious roars. "Elder Guo, you're in charge of escorting them out of Great Scarlet. I've already done all I could for you. Whether you die or strive and prosper, our ancestors are watching from above!"
Covered in cold sweat, the imperial descendants finally realized the severity of their predicament.
Elder Guo's face was expressionless. "Young masters, please keep in mind His Majesty's sincere efforts. Now let's not tarry, time is pressing. This old servant will arrange for your departure."
After the crown prince, he now needed to send off these imperial descendants. He took this matter to heart because he knew that Great Scarlet faced certain ruin if assistance from Pillfire City couldn't reach them in time.
Jiang Chen's troops had already reached Swordfield Mid Region in secret with the help of the Nirvana Sect, one of the three great local powers.
The True Heavensfall Iron transaction had induced the sect to be dead set on following Veluriyam Capital. They'd received a secret missive from the capital and been fully prepared for this operation.
Swordfield Mid Region wasn't far from Great Scarlet. The Nirvana Sect was found in the region's southwest and was the local faction closest to Great Scarlet.
"Young lord, Sectmaster Wei Lang is here," Jiao Yun reported.
Wei Lang beamed from ear to ear when he spotted Jiang Chen. "Wei Lang is here to pay respect to young lord Jiang Chen. I broke through to eighth level emperor realm thanks to the pill bestowed by the young lord, so I have to repay this debt of gratitude."
Jiang Chen sized him up before smiling. "Sectmaster Wei, you were too anxious. Wouldn't it have been better to save it for ninth level emperor realm?"
"Hehe, I couldn't wait. I simply couldn't wait when I thought about this pill's miraculous effect!" Wei Lang blushed.
Jiang Chen could understand the temptation of the Emperor Ascension Pill, a pill that could allow any emperor realm cultivator to gain one level.
"Oh well, with your foundation, it shouldn't be too difficult to break through to the ninth level once opportunity knocks. As for great emperor realm, that'll depend on your fortunes."
The clever Wei Lang immediately picked up on the undercurrents behind those words. He kneeled, his eyes glinting. "I merely hope to follow the young lord. Once the young lord stands at the peak of mankind, any good luck you are willing to impart will be a great blessing of mine."
Jiang Chen smiled faintly at the glib tongue, but didn't reject the sectmaster. He was in need of loyal men. If Wei Lang was sincerely devoted to his cause, the young lord wouldn't mind helping the sectmaster again in the future.
"Sectmaster Wei, I'm certain you'll be met with good fortune as long you work hard. This is always a possibility in the world of martial dao. Oh right, where's Elder Luo?"
Wei Lang's eyes shone as he took a step forward. "Young lord Jiang, I sent him on an errand. He might be back soon if everything goes well."
"Oh?" There was a subtle tone in Wei Lang's words that surprised Jiang Chen.
"Hehe, if everything goes well, I might have a small gift for you, young lord." Wei Lang played up the suspense.
Jiang Chen was about to respond when he heard Elder Luo's loud and excited voice coming from outside. "The young lord is already here? Haha, I'm not late, am I?"
Luo Tianshu strode in quickly, dragging a tightly bound man with him. The captive's acupuncture points were sealed.
"Luo Tianshu here to pay his respects to young lord Jiang," he greeted.
"Elder Luo, what is this?" Jiang Chen was puzzled by the bound man.
"Young lord Jiang, earlier today, we heard that an important figure was going to sneak into our Swordfield Mid Region. Since he had to pass through our sect's territory, the sectmaster sent me on patrol. And as luck would have it, here he is."
Luo Tianshu grinned and threw the man down. "Young lord Jiang, there's quite a story to why he's came here. He apparently has the momentous task of going to Pillfire to be a hostage prince and informing them of Great Scarlet's willingness to submit."
"Hm?" Jiang Chen's eyes glinted with a peculiar light. "Someone from the Great Scarlet Empire?"
"Not only that, but apparently the crown prince." Luo Tianshu poked his captive with a shoe to unseal the acupuncture points.
The man regained consciousness with a groan, but froze in shock when the first thing he saw was unfamiliar faces, some young, some old. "W-who are all of you?"
Luo Tianshu teased, "Heh, who do you think I am?"
The man shouted, "Senior, I'm wandering cultivator of no consequence, why did you capture me? I beg for your magnanimity, please release me!"
"Hahaha, the crown prince of the Great Scarlet Empire is a nameless wandering cultivator? You certainly learn something new everyday!" Luo Tianshu cupped his hands and saluted Jiang Chen. "Young lord Jiang, I've already verified the kid's identity. There's no doubt he's the crown prince. There are imperial identity tokens inside his storage ring, as well as all sorts of imperial treasures."
Jiang Chen failed to hold back his laughter. "So not only he was on a mission to request for help, he was never meant to go back?"
The man in question was staring at Jiang Chen as if he'd seen a ghost after hearing the title 'young lord Jiang'. The merest mention seemed to electrocute him.
"Jiao Yun, pry out his secrets," Jiang Chen ordered with a wave of the hand.
Jiao Yun grabbed the man with a sinister leer and dragged him to the back with an eerie laugh.
Shrieks and wails rose from the back not long after, each louder than the last, before finally settling into quiet sobs like the whimpers of a dying dog.
Jiao Yun reported back, "Young lord, he's the genuine crown prince from the Great Scarlet imperial family. He was on a mission to ask Pillfire City for help in resisting us while he stayed there as hostage!"
Jiang Chen's face was chilly. "They couldn't latch onto the Eternal Celestial City, so now they're trying with Pillfire City? Great Scarlet Mid Region is certainly full of schemes." He smiled at Wei Lang. "Sectmaster Wei, I will remember your sect's contribution."
"No, no! Young lord Jiang is a distinguished patron of our sect. How would I dare claim any credit for something so trivial?" Both Wei Lang and Luo Tianshu knew better than to put on airs.
Jiang Chen waved it off. "Don't be modest, merit is merit. I don't need your sect to participate in the war against Great Scarlet. Just remember, if escapees come to your domain, don't let a single soul slip away. Can you do that?"
"It shall be done!" Wei Lang and Luo Tianshu pledged.
"The Great Scarlet Emperor is cunning enough not to put all his eggs in the same basket. This prince tried to slip away to Pillfire City, which means other princes are also on the loose. Great Scarlet is already searching for a fallback plan. Sectmaster Wei, have your sect intensify the patrols. Make sure no one suspicious gets away!"
"Understood," Wei Lan obeyed.
"Go tell Emperor Vastsea to depart tonight and seal off Great Scarlet. I want every exit locked down tight!" Jiang Chen ordered.
Emperor Vastsea had brought almost his entire faction with him for this campaign. He rushed to Great Scarlet as soon he received word. Tension descended on the border between the Nirvana Sect and Great Scarlet Mid Region, heralding storms to come.