House Yan's forefather was almost a legendary character in Great Scarlet Mid Region. None of the region's three great sects knew that he was still living. However, his resources were still limited by the scope of his location. He'd managed to break through to great emperor, but his level was mediocre. He was inferior to any one of the Jiao brothers, which put him far below Mo Wushuang.
Being surrounded by four great emperors put him in a state of alarm. He accelerated as much as possible in order to make an attempt at a full-speed escape. He knew intimately the danger that he was currently in. He wasn't sure if he could get out of here alive, much less kill Jiang Chen.
As a decisive man, the forefather was single minded in his pursuits. There was no need to consider anything aside from his current plan of fleeing.
He drew his fingers across empty space, materializing a powerful talisman that illuminated its surroundings like a golden sun. In the blink of an eye, the forefather was swallowed up by the sun's rays, turning himself into a fleeing streak of light.
"Hmph!" Emperor Peerless seemed to have known about the forefather's plans beforehand. He rubbed his hands together, creating two enormous palms that crushed inward like two icebergs.
Emperor Vastsea sniggered. "Leaving so soon? I don't think so!"
The emperor raised both arms, sending wave-like ripples into space. The beautiful ripples created a watery veil that stretched around several dozen yards of surrounding space, enclosing the area within.
Jiang Chen was astonished at Emperor Vastsea's ability. The young man had had the wrong impression of the emperor given the penchant for flattery and a weak spine, but the man was actually quite strong.
The Jiao brothers traded a look with similar sentiments. They hadn't thought much of Emperor Vastsea either. But from the looks of this, the great emperor's prowess was definitely above either one of the brothers!
Emperors Peerless and Vastsea's simultaneous attacks rendered House Yan's forefather's escape attempt futile. His streak of golden light collided with walls left and right, but was unable to clear a path out.
The forefather's face paled, anxiety rising in his mind. Once the space was fully locked down, he would be a sitting duck. Someone of his strength would struggle against even a single one of the Jiao brothers, which meant he had no chance whatsoever against four great emperors together.
Emperor Vastsea had a vested interest in showing off his strength before his new master. He showed off a wide variety of methods, sending House Yan's forefather scurrying every which way.
"There's nowhere for you to run! Give up already!" Snickering, Emperor Vastsea sent wave after wave towards the old man.
The forefather was already tired from evading the prior barrage of attacks and could only continuously retreat from Emperor Vastsea's new wave of merciless attacks.
Emperor Peerless was content to sit back and watch. He wasn't going to take the spotlight from someone who clearly wanted to put on a good performance before the young lord. He was more than fine with simply backing Emperor Vastsea up for the moment.
The Jiao brothers on the other hand, watched with predatory eyes. They wanted desperately to put themselves in there, but were unwilling to join Emperor Vastsea's relentless pursuit. They didn't want a reputation of ganging up on their opponents. Therefore, they refrained from participating in the fight.
One on one, House Yan's forefather wouldn't have fared nearly so poorly against Emperor Vastsea despite his inferiority. Unfortunately, because he wanted to escape very badly, the difference in their strengths made it harder for him to weather Emperor Vastsea's attacks.
There was a collision of forces. The forefather's body was sent flying. Emperor Vastsea kept up the attack, sending forth a one-two punch. His boxing aura created a horrifying wringing force, like two azure dragons forming two watery twisters. Every path of retreat for the forefather was cut off. He was swept involuntarily into the enormous vortex by the twisters.
Once he was dragged inside, he was within Emperor Vastsea's domain of influence. His fate was now in the emperor's hands.
Thump, thump, thump!
Emperor Vastsea moved as quickly as lightning. He landed a flurry of lethal blows upon House Yan's forefather. The old man couldn't move to evade them; his movements were forcibly restricted by the twisters.
"Pfft!" The forefather spewed blood everywhere. The golden light about him evaporated almost instantly, and his entire person exploded like an overfilled balloon. Emperor Vastsea's attacks had destroyed the old man's ocean of qi and shattered his meridians.
The forefather's body fell hopelessly down, his limbs twitching like a near-dead dog's. His body curled up, and he tried to struggle to his feet, but the flow of blood from his mouth was unceasing.
His natural survival instincts fueled a half-hearted crawl. Unfortunately for him, a great emperor who'd his ocean of qi destroyed was effectively crippled. The severity of his wounds meant that he had very little life left in him, if he wasn't about to die outright.
"Haha, congratulations, Daoist Vastsea." Emperor Peerless smiled serenely. "This man must be an forefather-level character in Great Scarlet. You've done valuable work today."
Emperor Vastsea chuckled. He didn't dare put on airs before Emperor Peerless. "I know that the three of you held back for my benefit. I do appreciate it plenty. I'll be sure to remember the favor next time!"
"Let's go down and take a look, shall we?" Emperor Peerless smiled.
The captured minister, Old Guo, felt his face utterly pale. The sight of House Yan's forefather being defeated so swiftly had deadened his heart. If the forefather died, House Yan would have no more cards up its sleeve.
"It's all over!" Old Guo was despondent.
"Young lord, my job is done." Emperor Vastsea dashed excitedly to Jiang Chen's side, like a child who'd just won a prize.
"Yes, you've done good work today." Jiang Chen frowned at the House Yan forefather still struggling on the ground. "End his misery," he said coldly.
"Please don't," Old Guo pleaded mournfully. "Young lord Jiang Chen, this old man is House Yan's forefather. He didn't participate in Great Scarlet's incursion into Myriad Domain. In fact, I'm sure he had no knowledge of it in the first place. You've rendered him useless already. Why kill him?"
Those from Regal Pill Palace were furious when they heard this.
"Why are we not supposed to kill him? What gives you the right to say that? Did you think of showing mercy back in Myriad Domain?" Shen Trifire couldn't resist jumping out.
"That's right. Crimes must be punished. We won't kill innocents for no reason, but these people from the Great Scarlet Empire must be destroyed!" Every disciple of the Palace was filled with righteous fervor.
"I'll do the honors," Palace Head Dan Chi cupped his fist to Jiang Chen. Walking over, the palace head cut off the old man's head with a single flashing stroke.
House Yan's forefather died with his eyes open. The look in his lifeless orbs resembled a dead fish's, full of despair and tinged with regret.
Old Guo wailed, his entire body shivering. "Jiang Chen, you petty thief! You deserve a cruel death!"
"Silence!" Jiao Yun swatted the old man into unconsciousness.
"Young lord, this is House Yan's forefather. He is the imperial family's last bastion of reliance. Showing his head off to the public will shatter any lingering thoughts of resistance," Emperor Vastsea advised.
"There's no need." Jiang Chen's tone was cool. "The forefather is already dead. The formation should be trivial. Continue breaking through the it."
With the death of the forefather, the imperial family's last trump card was done for.
Great Scarlet's emperor had seen the proceedings from beginning to end. He'd felt uneasy when the forefather's preemptive strike failed, and trouble when the old man was encircled by four other experts.
Alas, his knowledge made no difference. A man like him had no strength or courage to rescue his relative, and there was little he could do but watch as his forefather was smacked down to earth and decapitated.
"Emperor of House Yan, this is your forefather's head! Take it home with you and wail!"
"House Yan's forefather is dead. The remnant of House Yan should come out to their deaths!"
Dread spread through the palace upon House Yan's forefather's death. The emperor in particular became like a soulless corpse. The din outside elicited no reaction from him.
"You must take hold of yourself, Your Majesty!"
"The future of the empire rests in your hands, Your Majesty."
But the emperor reacted as if he hadn't heard any of those words. His face was emotionless as a paralyzed man. How could he collect himself in such a situation? The death of his house's forefather had torn his last sliver of hope to shreds.
Veluriyam Capital's army waited watchfully outside, and four great emperors were tearing into the palace's formation. It was a powerful one, but its destruction was inevitable under the great emperors' combined strengths.
Everything was over!
Great Scarlet's emperor dragged himself toward the inner courtyard with heavy steps.
"Your Majesty, Your Majesty, you can't abandon us now!"
"Your Majesty, we still need you to maintain order here. Your Majesty…"
Anarchy filled the entire palace. Everyone knew that this was the end. This really was the end!
"Stop shouting, everyone!" A man in the robes of a military officer stepped forward. "This empire belongs to House Yan," he said indignantly. "The invasion of Myriad Domain all those years ago was due to that family's willingness to act as the Eternal Celestial Capital's dogs. We didn't participate in their crimes, so why should we pay for them?"
"Yes, Grand Commandant Huo is right. We've all been working hard on the empire's domestic affairs. None of us has ever laid a hand on anyone or anything from Myriad Domain. Why should we die for House Yan?"
"Yes, let's arrest all the members of that clan. We shall deliver them unto young lord Jiang Chen!"
"Come on, everyone! Don't let a single one from House Yan escape. They are a helpful layer of protection in these troubled times!" One person's incitement was enough to evoke a tide of responses. Like a boiling-over pot of soup, the palace became more chaotic by the minute.