Finally, Jiang Chen's eyes settled upon Emperor Everviolet's undecipherable face. "Emperor Everviolet, I'm surprised that a character like you has been fooled by this idiot Pillzenith into fighting an unwinnable battle. Is your rumored haughtiness and pride all for show?"
The wandering great emperor harrumphed. "Everyone knows you're a fast talker, kid. If you're trying to incite me into doing anything, you'd better give up now."
Jiang Chen waved a hand. "I don't need to do that. Anyone who stands with Pillzenith stands as an enemy against me."
"Enough!" Emperor Pillzenith shouted suddenly. "Jiang Chen, I let those people go already. Now you're the only person left. Do you think that you'll be able to turn the tables with just a silver tongue? If you know what's good for you, surrender now!"
"That's right. What are you waiting for? Just give up already."
"Your Majesty, I'll lead the attack. Let me capture that kid and present him before you."
"Allow me, Your Majesty!"
Emperor Pillzenith laughed viciously. "Don't get ahead of yourselves. I'm going to take him down myself. I'd like to see what a so-called genius that managed to foil Emperor Shura can do!"
Everyone was surprised at his declaration.
"Don't forget our agreement, Emperor Pillzenith," Long Baxiang called out immediately. "We don't need anything else except that true dragon."
Emperor Pillzenith had only been able to mobilize the Heavenly Dragon Sect on account of said dragon. He'd made an important sacrifice in the distribution of the spoils. There was no other way the Heavenly Dragon Sect would have willingly listened to the emperor's commands.
Pillzenith cursed to himself. Long Baxiang is a humongous killjoy. He liked to put everything under the table in the open; his careless transparency made even the ruler of Pillfire City blush. The enemy hadn't yet been vanquished and he was already talking about divvying up the goods?
"We need the Longevity Pill's recipe." The lord of the Eternal Celestial Capital was not to be outdone.
"The Sublime Chord Temple would like the Emperor Ascension Pill's recipe. I don't think that's asking for too much, hmm?" A great emperor belonging to the Sublime Chord Temple spoke up.
The head of the Empyrean River Palace stayed silent, but his eyes glittered with desire. He was just as interested in the valuables from this battle as the rest. It was merely out of habitual subservience to Pillfire City that he hadn't made any demands.
"Friends, we don't even have the owner of these things in our grasp yet," Emperor Pillzenith voiced his displeasure. "Why are you discussing the spoils now?"
Thankfully, the only people present were on their side. It would be tremendously embarrassing for news to get out about this.
Opposite them, Jiang Chen barked strangely in laughter. "Feel free to discuss as much as you like. Let me know when you're done, alright?"
A talisman activated as soon as his sentence finished. It was the ancient Skyclearer Talisman from before. Once activated, it had the power to break through formations and escape through a crack in space.
Emperor Pillzenith had set a layered formation that encompassed the entire mountainous region surrounding them. All the nearby lands were included within and controlled by it. They hadn't thought of the possibility of Jiang Chen escaping. How could a young genius escape from under the noses of so many great emperors?
Alas, they came to the realization too late upon the activation of the Skyclearer Talisman that Jiang Chen hadn't been caught yet. Talking about what they were going to do with the winnings was really a bit early.
"Uh, he's running away. After him!"
"Don't let that kid escape. Get him!"
Many of the great emperors beat their chests with regret. They hadn't expected Jiang Chen to use such a powerful talisman.
Emperor Pillzenith was also a tiny bit surprised. He huffed coldly as he saw Jiang Chen fly towards the west. "What's the rush? This whole mountain range is within the range of our formation. He has nowhere to run to or hide this time!"
The emperor was supremely confident. He had set up a superb snare this time. He was sure that his mark was trapped regardless of any escape glyphs or other means of travel.
As long as the formation remained intact, the territory for thousands of miles around was locked down. Jiang Chen couldn't flee merely by turning himself into light.
The others had been allowed to leave only because he had wanted to avoid extra trouble. His main goal was Veluriyam's young lord and he would stop at nothing to achieve victory.
Emperor Pillzenith was completely unconcerned with the development. Instead, he felt the thrill of a predator hunting his prey.
"That kid won't escape this deathtrap today even if he sprouts wings!" snickering to himself internally, Emperor Pillzenith waved to the rest. "Let's go."
Thanks to the opening created by the Talisman, Jiang Chen shot out of the area under his enemies' direct control. But when he looked around, it all seemed to be in a state of nebulous fog. Mists and clouds obscured his vision, making it impossible to determine the cardinal directions.
"Hmm? What's this?" Jiang Chen opened up his consciousness to scout around. As soon as he did so, he saw the clear obstacle before him.
"This is an ensnaring formation. There is a formation within a formation!" He was no stranger to formations in general. This one in particular had been constructed as a chain, a series of unbroken loops.
The Skyclearer Talisman had only broken a single link of the formation. Escaping one link only exposed another outer link. Furthermore, it was very likely that there were multiple of these outer links stacked upon one another. The chained nature of the formation awed Jiang Chen.
"That old bastard Pillzenith. As expected of one of the top men in the Upper Eight Regions, his skill at formations is incredible as well." The young lord fully extended his consciousness in order to seek out a way out of the formation.
Alas, it was watertight wherever he looked. The formation's fabric behaved like a literal link of chains, one lock fastened to another. Like an excessively complicated knot, it was difficult to solve or sort through.
"Is it the will of heaven for me to stand and fight?" Jiang Chen had originally planned on taking instant flight. He was perfectly happy to marshal his forces to fight another day; vengeance on Pillzenith could wait.
However, the surrounding mountains were enshrouded in a burdensome formation. It would take him quite a bit of time to break it - a resource that he didn't actually have, at least not if Pillzenith had anything to say about it.
Of course, Jiang Chen had numerous other ways of leaving. The spacetime seal from Veluriyam Pagoda's six palaces of heritage, for example. If he were to trigger it, he could vanish in the next second, transported back to the safety of the six palaces.
He was simply uninterested in using any of his trump cards at the moment.
If he were to disappear now and leave a furious Emperor Pillzenith behind, the leader of Pillfire City would set his sights on the others. Sect heads Han Qianzhan and Su Huanzhen perhaps, or the Jiao brothers.
They did have a head start, but the chance of Emperor Pillzenith's success despite that was too high. Not much time had passed since their evacuation.
Jiang Chen suddenly stopped in his steps, his eyes landing upon the heart of a valley. There was a tranquil place within this valley in particular. He turned into a ray of escaping light, descending in a radiant pulse.
"This is the place." Jiang Chen tossed something into the air without delay. In the next instant, the mid empyrean senior Guo Ran's palatial residence appeared within the valley.
Turning into a ball of light, the young lord shot inside the building. There was a powerful restriction around the palatial residence set by its former owner. Once triggered, it could demolish even great emperors in moments.
The thousand-year battle between the Ninesuns Sky Sect and the Eternal Celestial Capital over Myriad Domain was nominally to pursue Emperor Featherflight, but both sects were actually after this senior's - Guo Ran's - ancient empyrean heritage. They were far more interested in the heritage itself than Emperor Featherflight, who had merely been a recipient and disciple.
Within the Paramount Realm, Jiang Chen had used the restriction once before against Great Scarlet's pursuing great emperor. There was only one use remaining.
"If Emperor Pillzenith runs into this trap, I don't mind sending him to the next life." The leader of Pillfire City was on Jiang Chen's hit list. If he had the chance to kill the emperor now, that would be ideal.
Veluriyam's young lord was as secure as the mountains around him. Even if all twenty of the great emperors came in all at once, an active restriction could likely slay all of them on the spot.
Others may not know the strength of empyrean cultivators, but Jiang Chen knew it well. They were reasonably average from the viewpoint of his previous life, but great emperors and empyrean experts were simply incomparable.
Jiang Chen entered the residence and sat down cross-legged.
He waited a few moments for Emperor Wellspring and the rest to get a bit further away. Now, Emperor Pillzenith and his gang wouldn't have much success even if they decided to turn on them.
"Still, the more time I can wring out of them, the better. If they venture in here, I don't mind using the restriction to send them all to kingdom come."
Jiang Chen didn't want to weaken the human domain as a whole, but he felt no compassion or mercy for these great emperors. Their behavior today was no better than banditry.
He wasn't one to infringe upon the rights or domain of others. However, any offense against him would receive retribution tenfold!
That was Jiang Chen's personal principle. These ambushers had stepped past his bottom line for tolerance.
Within the mists, Emperor Everviolet's Everviolet Eye pierced into a certain deep valley. "There!"
Though the wandering great emperor was slightly weaker than Emperor Pillzenith in terms of pure strength, his sight and eye abilities were second to none. He didn't know anyone that he would lose to, at least.
Emperor Pillzenith waved in the direction Everviolet scoped out. "Come, let's go that way!"
The twenty-odd great emperors dropped one by one into the empty valley like a hail of stones.
"Hmm? Where'd this palace come from? This is strange!"
"Daoist Luo Jue, did the Eternal Celestial Capital build this palace in the middle of nowhere?"
"This temple looks quite extraordinary. I'm surprised that you were hiding something like this!"
The lord of the Eternal Celestial Capital looked grim. "These mountains are a place of trials for the sect's disciples. What palace could there be? We would've discovered it if there was one," he muttered.
Emperor Everviolet harrumphed. "This land belongs to the Eternal Celestial Capital. Shouldn't you know it better than anyone?"
The sect head didn't know what to say.
"Could it be an unrevealed secret realm?" ventured another. "Appearing with the disintegration of a seal of some sort?"
Emperor Pillzenith led the charge. He stood outside the residence, carefully examining the place all over. After a while, he sank into deep thought.