Emperor Heartcloud's consciousness was caught only for a moment. He reacted as soon as the mighty attack from the Heavenly Chalice Sword Formation hurtled down at him. But in the Great Dream of Spring and Autumn Formation, he only had that split second's worth of instinct to maneuver in to react and dodge the attack in time.
It was a pity that his reflexes were still a beat too slow.
The explosive point blasted into him with power enough to destroy heaven and earth.
The entire residence shook as Heartcloud's body was churned into nothingness by this terrifying might, leaving not a single trace behind.
Jiang Chen was awed by how thoroughly the former great emperor had been destroyed. He knew that the Heavenly Chalice Sword Formation was strong, but hadn't known just how strong.
"I'm just at 'minor achievement' right now and can utilize such power with sixteen flying swords. What happens when I can control twenty-five, thirty-six, or all eighty-one swords? Won't my attacks strengthen incredibly with each level of mastery?"
Still, he kept his head after a bout of gleeful celebrating. He knew that it wasn't just to the sword formation's credit that he'd been able to kill a great emperor, the other two formations had been a great part of the reason why.
In addition, his opponent's cultivation had been impacted by the palace and he hadn't deployed his full strength.
If it'd been in the outside world with no place for tricks or schemes, Jiang Chen knew full well that minor achievement mastery over a formation wouldn't be enough to beat a great emperor at all.
Having vanquished his foe, the young lord made a grasping motion and plucked away the great emperor's storage ring and Soul-Gripping Chain. Apart from vast sums of spirit stones, there were also some pills and other items in his ring. The presence of an Imperial Advent Defense and Onslaught Talisman was a pleasant surprise.
"My my. Emperor Heartcloud is a great emperor, so why would he have these kinds of talismans? Did he want to give it to his juniors? Well, it's mine now!"
What naturally pleased him the most was the amount of spirit stones he'd gained.
"Emperor Heartcloud seriously has a good sum of money. He brought three billion spirit stones with him on a random excursion! Tsk tsk…"
Jiang Chen had a great need of spirit stones everywhere. Three billion was close to the auction price of two Pinecrane Pills! Most great emperors wouldn't carry so much wealth on themselves. Likely only an affluent faction like Pillfire City would have such indifferently generous great emperors, with even greater fortunes at home.
The young lord cleaned up the premises and returned to his secluded corner, setting up a watch. He had all the patience in the world now.
"That bastard Pillzenith didn't want to come in himself and sent one of his men to die. I hope the next one to enter is him!" Jiang Chen would activate the restriction without hesitation if Pillzenith was the next one in.
Pillfire would scramble without their leader if Pillzenith died. Their situation would be much worse than Veluriyam without Emperor Peafowl. After all, Jiang Chen had still been there for the faction, but there was no one in Pillfire who could step forward and take over everything if Pillzenith fell.
"Let's see if that old fart has the balls to come in himself." Jiang Chen didn't go out to taunt his enemy into entering. He was going to quietly sit here and kill whoever came in. Although this method was slow, it was much more risk-free. The most important thing was, the rate of return this way was quite high. Just one Emperor Heartcloud alone had brought him such riches. Jiang Chen wished ardently for Pillzenith to send more in.
Pillzenith and the others waited a long while outside of the palace but heard nothing.
Impatience overcame one of them. "Your Majesty, Emperor Heartcloud's gone in for about an hour. He should've come out with something by now?"
"Right. He should've finished scouting ahead already. Something must be wrong inside."
"With his cultivation level, Emperor Heartcloud shouldn't be afraid even if he runs into anything, right?"
"Ai, who knows? That Jiang Chen brat has a ton of tricks up his sleeve, more than one great emperor have eaten a loss or died at his hands." The great emperors present kept up a lively dialogue, but no one was willing to step forward and volunteer.
"Your Majesty, there's another possibility. Perhaps Emperor Heartcloud's already caught the kid and is interrogating him?"
This question reminded Pillzenith that although Heartcloud was loyal enough, that loyalty might waver when faced with absolute profit. If Jiang Chen really had been captured, then his treasures might fall into Heartcloud's hands.
When his thoughts traveled here, Pillzenith grew alarmed and regretted slightly his brash decision. How had he only sent one person in? If he'd sent two in, they could keep an eye on each other. Things might be a bit better then.
"Your Majesty, we can't keep on just waiting on like. Why don't we all charge in together? There's so many of us that if anything happens, we can still put up a good fight." Such was Emperor Tallpeak's suggestion.
Pillzenith nodded. That was the only course of action they could take now.
"Everyone, there's something odd about this palace. Emperor Heartcloud has yet to return from his trip. Now is the time to be of one heart and go in together. Is there anyone who has cold feet on the front lines?" He swept a frosty glance across everyone present.
There were no dissenting opinions if everyone was to go in together. As frightening as the palace might be, with their numbers of supreme experts, they'd be able to carve a way out even if it led to hell itself.
"Your Majesty, you're the heart of our group. We all listen to you." The Empyrean River Palace was the first to offer flattery.
"That's right, please give the orders, Your Majesty."
Pillzenith's expression was forbidding. "Since this is the case, I want everyone on their toes. Success will be the only acceptable outcome for our operation! Those who help me capture Jiang Chen alive will be richly rewarded!"
Pillzenith couldn't actually bear to destroy Jiang Chen in one go. It wasn't that he held the young lord in any particular esteem, but that the great emperor coveted the young man's pill dao talent and foundations.
The Pinecrane Pill, Emperor Supremacy Pill, Emperor Ascension Pill…
These familiar names had upended the entire human domain and stunned Emperor Pillzenith as well. He almost doubted himself for a second. Had he become outdated? Was his era about to end?
Had this brat been sent by the heavens to end Pillzenith's time and draw the curtains on the age of Pillfire dominating the human domain?
But that notion vanished as quickly as it'd came. A defining figure of a generation would never give up until the final moments.
When he saw that everyone was chomping at the bit, Pillzenith repeated his warning. "Everyone, there must more than meets the eye if something is amiss. Emperor Heartcloud has gone in for quite a while. I'm afraid he's run into some trouble. Therefore, be careful and stay alert when you go inside. Keep to the formation at all times or you might give that brat an opening. Don't blame me for not giving you advance warning then!" He waved a hand. "Let's go!"
More than twenty great emperors poured into the palace. Their motion registered on Jiang Chen's consciousness and he took a closer look to see Pillzenith at the head of the pack!
His age-old foe was being extremely cautious. Pillzenith had caught a curious scent as soon as he entered the abode. It was a reaction that had saved his life many a time.
It was the thick scent of danger!
He wave a hand to command those behind him to halt.
"Don't rush, everyone. There's definitely something different about this palace. Its construction materials and arrangement are all very ancient, thus it must hail from the ancient times. Be careful when you move around so that you don't trigger any restrictions."
"Your Majesty, I can't seem to sense Emperor Heartcloud's consciousness." Emperor Tallpeak suddenly reported in. His words confirmed what Pillzenith had found as well.
The Pillfire leader had been searching with his mind ever since they entered, but no matter where he scanned, he couldn't sense the presence of their vanguard.
"How strange. This palace doesn't seem that big from the outside, but it seems terribly empty on the inside, as if the space stretches on for an eternity? There must be a spatial law contained within this residence, and its owner an expert from the ancient times. No modern day cultivator would be able to create something like this."
Pillzenith didn't relax his guard one bit as he sent out his consciousness again. But he came up empty handed no matter how he swept the area.
"Is it possible that Heartcloud's really fallen?" His heart spasmed without reason when he thought of this. The forbidding premonition within his mind loomed ever stronger. "Well, that's tough to say. Exceedingly sophisticated spatial techniques are employed within the palace, so maybe I just haven't come across him yet."
Much of that was just to make himself feel better. He'd already reached the preliminary conclusion that Heartcloud was dead. It was a thought that deepened the further the group entered the palace.
Suddenly, a frown creased Pillzenith's forehead and he waved a hand. "Everyone, stop."
The group immediately came to a swift halt. Pillzenith sucked a breath in because his consciousness had detected a frightening ancient restriction within!
It laid dormant for now, but brimmed with terrifying power. The level of that power made one even as strong as Pillzenith tremble with horror when he scanned it. The restriction could kill him five times over!