"Young lord, why do we need to wait for Emperor Peerless?" Outside the palace, Emperor Vastsea fidgeted left and right, eager as he was to lead his elites and raid the imperial clan.
Jiang Chen smiled faintly. "What do you think about this formation?"
"Your subordinate thinks that with the strength of us great emperors, sheer force will be enough even if there are some gimmicks to it. Wouldn't that be easier and more satisfying?"
Jiang Chen responded with a small smile, "If that's what you think, then the imperial clan will probably be delighted. This formation is special, you see. Even great emperors might be trapped if they try to force it open. It won't be lethal, but it'd still be dangerous."
"Oh?" Emperor Vastsea was a tad skeptical. Could a trivial region have such a mighty formation? As a long exalted powerhouse in Veluriyam, even an Upper Eight Regions first rank sect wasn't much to him, to say nothing of the trivial Great Scarlet.
"Young master, is this formation really so peculiar?" Vastsea couldn't help asking again as he carefully studied the design.
"I'm certain it's an inheritance from ancient times. The imperial palace itself must also have been rebuilt on top of ancient ruins, so its layout enhances the formation. Its effect isn't limited to simple confusion, it can also trap and kill. This is an ancient composite formation of remarkable power. If you make careless use of brute force, there might really be something hidden in its depths to make you great emperors suffer."
Jiang Chen might not fear Great Scarlet's cultivators, but he dared not look down on its ancient legacies. Ancient formations, ancient methods, and anything involving the ancient times was to be taken seriously, because things had been quite different during the ancient era.
Upper Eight Regions might not have been mankind's core area back then, and Great Scarlet might not have been a backwater region. And even if Great Scarlet had been a comparatively remote area, inheritances from that era were strong enough to be a menace for current experts.
Vastsea's contempt vanished somewhat when he heard Jiang Chen's words. The young lord already inspired deep veneration in Vastsea, but that veneration was nowadays combined with great trust in his judgment.
Even Emperor Shura had been forced to yield in front of young lord Jiang Chen. It was impossible for Vastsea not to have faith in someone like this.
The outer formation's battle finally abated an hour later. With their superiority in troops, the three sects slaughtered the last of the imperial guards and palace experts.
"Young lord, everything's settled here. Should we storm the palace ourselves now, or should the three sects continue to be the vanguard?" Jiao Yun came back to report, the three sects' sect heads in tow.
Pained expressions appeared on the three sectmasters' faces when they heard Jiao Yun. It wasn't that their sects had suffered disastrous losses, but they were exhausted from the fighting and had indeed lost quite a few men. If they continued as the vanguard, it wasn't out of the question that they might be annihilated during the assault against the inner palace's formation.
"Heh, the arduous fighting has made the three sects weary. To have them charge the formation now would be no better than sending them to their own death." Jiang Chen glanced at the three sect heads with a smile. "Don't worry, I've seen your sincerity."
The three leaders were comforted by Jiang Chen's words. A strange idea even flashed through their minds, that this young lord wasn't as frightening and unreasonable as they'd imagined. At the very least, he was showing some consideration for them instead of forcing them to their demise.
"Take a breather. I'm still counting on your sects to handle the mopping up after we break the inner formation."
The sect heads nodded, beaming with delight. The breaking of the formation was the part they dreaded, not the killing. A fight pitting man against man, the glint of blades and the shadows of swords, the cutting of flesh and the spraying of blood, those were things they could see.
What they feared were formations. They had no experience dealing with formations and could only batter with brute force, a method that was both ineffective and certain to require a heavy cost in lives. Hence, all three of them sighed in relief when they heard they would only be required for the mop up.
The imperial clan was an arrow at the end of its flight. As long as the formation broke, the combined force from the three sects was certain to wipe it out.
A ripple suddenly appeared in the void inside the formation at this moment.
Someone shouted. "Jiang Chen, you little lowlife from the Regal Pill Palace! I have no idea what underhanded tricks you used to latch onto Veluriyam. But no matter what airs you put on, you're nothing more than a stray dog, so why do you come and bark at our doors?" The voice was filled with exaggerated derision.
Jiang Chen frowned while Vastsea and the Jiao brothers seethed with anger.
"Young lord, these scum have no manners. Let this subordinate of yours lead a group of elites and storm them. I'll cut off that dog emperor's head!" Emperor Vastsea once again urged Jiang Chen to battle.
"Young lord, I'll go!" Jiao Yun was even more direct.
"Hmph, do they think they can anger this young lord with these clumsy methods?" Jiang Chen smiled with indifference. "The more they act like this, the firmer my determination to induce a bloodbath." His tone was impassive, but a foreboding, murderous aura exuded from his entire being.
"Jiang Chen you little whelp! Take a good look, these are things we looted from the Regal Pill Palace. We robbed this from the Regal Pill cultivators we killed. Aren't you quite the wild thing? Then why don't you keep at it? Come here and take those things back if you dare!"
"Also, your Regal Pill Palace had quite a few female disciples. Hehehe, we turned all of them into slaves for our imperial family. I can't begin to describe how amazing it feels to enjoy them… Hahaha, I wonder if there's a relative of yours among them?"
There was unexpectedly more than one voice provoking Jiang Chen. Their tone was incomparably vulgar and impertinent, like street gangsters hurling abuse at each other.
The Regal Pill Survivors couldn't endure it any longer. Fists were clenched, eyes glowering with anger.
Jiang Chen had no relatives in the Regal Pill Palace, but these survivors did. For that reason, the provocation didn't anger the young lord, but it fanned the rage of those survivors as they recalled their past grief.
"Senior brother Jiang Chen, these bastards are truly lawless. What are we waiting for? Let's charge in and capture all of them, then crush them into a thousand pieces!"
"Right, these scum are worse than pigs. Our anger can't be appeased if we don't rip them to pieces!"
"Senior brother, just give the order! We'll have no regrets even if we die in battle!"
Jiang Chen smiled faintly. "The one they're provoking is me. I'm not angry at all, so why are you all getting worked up?"
Palace Head Dan Chi added, "Shut your mouth, all of you. Your senior brother has always acted prudently. He knows what to do, why are you so anxious?"
All sorts of provocation sounded from inside the formation in an unending stream, the voices using every trick in the book.
Old Guo also sneered. "It turns out the young lord Zhen whose prestige shakes the entire world is nothing more than a coward without balls!"
Jiang Chen glanced at the old man with a contemptuous smile. "Are men of the imperial clan all so idiotic?"
Two figures them quickly approached from the rear at this time. Jiao Feng had finally arrived with Mo Wushuang.
"Young lord, am I late to the party?" Emperor Peerless asked.
""Not at all." Jiang Chen smiled and pointed at the formation. "You four great emperors, take a look at this formation. It can't appear any more ordinary, but it's been crafted according to techniques inherited from ancient times. Drawing support from the local terrain, this combination of heavenly order, earthly layout, and human formation is a rare sight.
"The four of you must attack from all four directions. You need to coordinate your efforts and disrupt the formation's internal cohesion together. To break it open, you must break all four of its gates. Otherwise, breaking one gate, two gates, or even three gates will be futile, because this formation has an incomparable ability to regenerate itself. That's already brilliant in itself, but it becomes astonishing and when combined with the terrain.
"Emperor Peerless, take some elites and raid the eastern side.
"Emperor Vastsea, take some men and batter the formation from the west.
"Jiao Yun and Jiao Feng, you're in charge of the north and the south.
"I'll coordinate the four of you. Listen to my orders, I'll communicate with you through my consciousness. All of you must obey my words without hesitation and act in tandem. There are four gates inside this formation linked with each other. The only way to break through is to destroy all four gates at the same time and prevent them from reinforcing each other."
Jiang Chen wasn't being an alarmist.
He hadn't thought much of the formation at first, but he became more apprehensive the longer he studied it. He didn't have the slightest doubt that a single great emperor blindly charging in would more likely than not be trapped inside. Without special means of survival, they might even perish inside.
When Old Guo heard Jiang Chen's plan, his indifferent face instantly became deathly pale. He naturally knew where the crux of the palace's inner formation lay. Judging from Jiang Chen's method to cope with it, it seemed the young lord had entirely seen through its core as well. It meant the palace's final barrier was in grave danger.
Old Guo panicked. If not for his whole body being restricted, he would already have shouted at the top of his lungs and warned the men inside the palace to be careful and to make contingency plans. Unfortunately for him, he was restricted and powerless to disclose any information.
"These four sub-formations follow the principles of water, fire, wind, and lightning. All of you need to be careful. Don't let your focus waver for even a second," Jiang Chen admonished again.
"Understood." The four great emperors grew grave when they heard Jiang Chen's repeated warnings.
"Brother Dragon, provide support for me from the shadows. Don't reveal yourself, act as my eyes and ears. Does that sound good?" Jiang Chen transmitted silently to Long Xiaoxuan.
"Hmph. Kid, you're pulling all the stops for a trivial Great Scarlet. If you'd taken all the great emperors in Veluriyam with you, you could have spared yourself the effort and just rolled right over them," Long Xiaoxuan lazily mocked.
"Haha, Brother Long, who will defend Veluriyam if every great emperor came here? Just get ready, we're breaking the formation soon!"
In fact, Jiang Chen had no desire to drag things out. He wanted to finish things as soon as possible. But he had to exert every last precaution when facing this formation of surprising might.