The Empyrean River Palace and Sublime Chord Temple immediately volunteered as well. Their fates were tied to Pillfire City's. There was no going back. Being proactive would only benefit them.
Six volunteers from the three factions immediately departed for the Moon God Sect.
Jiang Chen had naturally witnessed everything. Pillfire had lowered themselves to the point where no underhanded method was beneath them.
They sure are going all out against me. He fretted, no longer afford to sit around idly. I mustn't let Qingxuan fall into their hands or the consequences will be unimaginable. I must stop them! He wracked his mind for a solution.
Moments later, he came up with a plan. First, he'd have to depart the premises. There was no consequence for leaving the residence here as he'd fully refined it. No one could take it. Additionally, the palace had multiple exits and Emperor Pillzenith was only guarding one of them.
That bastard Pillzenith! How dare he set up camp in here? There's no way he'll leave until the other group returns. He won't know if I sneak out. That blithering idiot will think that I'm still inside!
After confirming that nobody was guarding the outside of the residence, Jiang Chen left the palace from a hidden exit. Pillzenith, oh Pillzenith. Do take good care of my palace while I'm not around. He jeered mockingly, but didn't let his guard down for even a second.
Jiang Chen pushed the Kunpeng Meteoric Escape to its very limits and reached maximum speed. However, keeping up with great emperors was still quite an enormous challenge. Fortunately, the group of six wasn't exactly rushing for time while he was going all out.
Time was money. Every second had to be fought for. He needed to reach the Moon God Sect before them or the consequences would be unimaginable.
Even though he was taking the shortest route, he'd still have to cut across Sublime Chord Temple and Pillfire territory before heading northwest towards the Moon God Sect. There would also be plenty of smaller territories and factions along the way. The distance he had to cover was quite daunting.
By rushing at top speed, he eventually caught up to the six great emperors and left them behind in the dust. When he arrived at Pillfire City, a bold thought suddenly emerged.
Since Pillzenith intends to threaten me with Qingxuan, why don't I give him a taste of his own medicine?
There was no going back after the bold thought took root. He was a doer, not a dreamer. Putting on a disguise, he entered Pillfire City and sat in the busiest tavern for four hours to gather intelligence.
Emperor Pillzenith had two sons and three daughters; one of his daughters had passed away when young. He'd welcomed one son in his youth and the other in recent decades. His youngest son was said to be extremely talented and the emperor's favorite child.
Emperor Pillzenith had always supported Pill King Ji Lang in pill dao, but he had even higher hopes for his youngest son in martial dao. The youngest son wasn't even fifty yet, a mere infant in the world of martial dao.
Since the great emperor drowned his youngest with love and placed such great hopes on him, it was a given that the latter had already entered emperor realm.
Only a few could ascend to the emperor realm between thirty to eighty years old. They were normally seen as the top notch geniuses in the Upper Eight Regions. Those who failed to ascend to the emperor realm before eighty years old were seen as second rate geniuses.
Moreover, Pillzenith had always been extremely protective of his youngest son. There was no conceivable way for Jiang Chen to kidnap him from the residence. Like his own young lord residence, their complex was likely surrounded by extremely powerful formations.
I must lure the snake out of its hole if I wish to capture it. The youngest son was apparently extremely close with the Temple of Cleansing Fire, a name familiar to Jiang Chen. He'd attended the temple's bounty arena before by disguising himself as Sir Shao.
It seemed that Emperor Pillzenith's youngest son had nicknamed himself as Sir Tian Lin and visited the temple every day. Jiang Chen couldn't be certain of the rumor's authenticity, but it was worth a gamble.
Whether I succeed or not, I can stay for only two days. Based on his speed, he deduced that he was at most two days ahead of the other group. There was a high chance the great emperors would catch up if he lingered any longer.
As expected, Sir Tian Lin really did visit the temple everyday like clockwork. Unfortunately, there were bodyguards constantly by his side. One was a great emperor, another a half-step great emperor, while the remaining two were peak ninth level emperor realm.
The four bodyguards stuck to their master like glue, leaving no opening at all. Jiang Chen wanted to trick them by impersonating Emperor Heartcloud, but with so many powerful experts by Sir Tian Lin's side, there was little chance that it would work. He could only watch helplessly as Sir Tian Lin and his guardians set foot into the temple.
No rush. There's always next time… Jiang Chen comforted himself. The temple was an open space with plenty of human traffic. Nobody could recognize a disguised him. Naturally, no one stopped him either.
After entering the temple, he noticed that Sir Tian Lin's bodyguards had taken positions in all four corners of the temple, keeping an alert eye on their surroundings. Protecting Emperor Pillzenith's son wasn't an easy job.
Jiang Chen kept his distance to avoid alerting them of his presence. Why has Sir Tian Lin come here? Why aren't his four bodyguards allowed inside?
He secretly summoned the Goldbiter Rat King. "Ole Gold, head over there and check what the young emperor realm cultivator is up to."
This was a task that only the Goldbiter Rat King could complete. The Temple of Cleansing Fire didn't have restrictions and formations everywhere like Emperor Pillzenith's residence, or else the four guards wouldn't have been on such high alert.
The Goldbiter Rat King was only gone momentarily.
"Young lord, there's a group of pill masters inside researching some kind of pill. The young emperor realm cultivator seems to be the overseer. A bunch of white-bearded men are listening to his orders. Based on their conversation, they might be studying the Pinecrane Pill."
"The Pinecrane Pill?" Jiang Chen was taken aback. He hadn't given out many Pinecrane Pills. Moreover, the recipients would never have handed it over to Pillfire City. However, there was one that made it out to the open market. The Sublime Chord Temple had gotten their hands on one during the Dragon and Tiger Meet auction.
As expected, the Sublime Chord Temple is just like the Empyrean River Palace, an utterly submissive follower of Pillfire City. Comprehension dawned on Jiang Chen.
The pill had fallen into Pillfire City's hands, but they were in for a big surprise if they think that it could be easily be replicated. If it was so easily copied, it wouldn't be that rare and precious.
Tsk Tsk. It seems Sir Tian Lin is quite the ambitious man! Does he really believe that he'll succeed? Jiang Chen sneered inwardly.
"Ole Gold. How people many are there inside? What's the social structure?"
"There are three old men, a group of pill servants and pageboys, as well as Sir Tian Lin. If I'm not mistaken, the old men should be pill emperors."
"Pill servants and pageboys too?" Jiang Chen's eyes shone. This was his chance!
The temple's hidden chamber was extremely large. It didn't just consist of a single room, but multiple like a residence.
"Old Gold. Lead the way. We'll make a move if an opportunity comes!" With the Goldbiter Rat King to lead the way, Jiang Chen didn't worry about exposing himself. At his current cultivation, he could suppress almost any earth movements.
After all, he possessed the Earth Bodhisattva Orb and very fine control over the earth. He could move undetected underground without worry, as though moving on flat land.
"Ole Gold, keep your eyes peeled. Inform me if a pill servant or pageboy leaves the premise."
The Goldbiter Rat King completely abided by Jiang Chen's orders.
"Young master Chen, a pill servant seems to be leaving. It's your chance!" The rat king informed roughly an hour later.
As the name suggested, a pill servant was in charge of menial tasks. The servant was dragging trash out of the secret chamber for disposal. Jiang Chen took this opportunity to strike.
Tentacle-like vines from the Bewitching Lotus of Fire and Ice pierced out the ground, grabbed the servant's leg, and dragged him underground. He was subdued before he could even utter a sound.
The Goldbiter Rat King chuckled playfully. "Lord Chen, a successful start is an auspicious sign!"
Jiang Chen dragged the servant deeper underground and threw him down. "Spill the beans. Tell me everything you know!"