Ancestor Ninecrows smiled, refusing to give up despite the Purple Mist Sect forefather's silence. "Come on now, say something."
Purple Mist's forefather snapped, "Old man, did you come here for gossip?"
Ancestor Ninecrows smiled, "Hehe, of course not. But how can I not be curious? A great emperor is a rare sight in our region. To think your sect's managed to invite one of them! Are you hiding something about Agarwood Valley?"
"What now? Trying to sound me out?" Purple Mist's forefather retorted indifferently.
"Don't misunderstand. My sect wants no part of the valley. It's just, my imagination can't help but run wild. I never thought your sect could become friend with this particular senior!"
Purple Mist's forefather froze. "Do you know him?"
Ancestor Ninecrows blinked. "Don't you know him?"
"Hmph, how would I be so lucky? Fine, I'll tell you since you're dying to know. He came to cause trouble. Thankfully, we cleared the misunderstanding, so everything ended well."
"What?" Bemused, Ancestor Ninecrows stared for a long while. "Old friend, old man, is that a joke? Does your sect dare offend great emperors now? I really admire your luck. That senior's famous for his violent temper!"
"Alright, don't leave me hanging. Who is he?"
"Hehe, in fact, I've only seen him once before, and from far away at that. He wouldn't know me at all, I'm ashamed to say," Ancestor Ninecrows explained with self-derision. "Why did he come alone though? It's rare to see him away from his brother."
"His brother? Don't tell me his brother's also a great emperor?" Purple Mist's forefather jumped in fright.
"Duh. The Jiao brothers of Mount Huai are famous wandering cultivators, second only to the six titans. Look at you, you're bold enough to offend one of the most brutal seniors. It's a miracle your sect's still standing."
Purple Mist's forefather blanched. He'd naturally heard of the Jiao brothers. Apart from the six titans, they were undoubtedly among the most famous wandering cultivators. More importantly, the two of them had each other's back. When fighting together, even the strongest wandering titans wouldn't be assured of victory.
Their reputation resounded far and wide across the human domain. Their vindictiveness and ferocity knew no bounds. They never forgot the most trivial of offenses.
The entire Purple Mist Sect froze in shock. Had such an ominous character really come to their doorstep?
It would have been his style to eradicate the sect without saying a word. It would've taken mere minutes.
"Old friend, it's one thing to throw your weight around Phoenix Cry. Why did you have to put on airs elsewhere?" Ancestor Ninecrows was puzzled. How had the Purple Mist Sect offended mighty figures like the Jiao brothers?
Purple Mist's forefather wanted to cry. How could he even explain?
"Don't even mention it, my friend. How would we ever dare? It was all a misunderstanding."
"Misunderstanding? Do you think he'd care? In the past, he'd have smashed your sect to dust already. What a close call!"
"What do you mean?" A shiver ran through the crowd.
"Don't tell me you don't even know that. Ever heard of Veluriyam Capital?" Ancestor Ninecrows chuckled.
"Of course. It's the strongest faction in the human domain, everyone's heard of them."
"The Jiao brothers have joined Veluriyam. You know that, right?" Ancestor Ninecrows smiled. "They used to be close to Pillfire's Pillzenith, but for some reason, they ended up surrendering to young lord Jiang Chen. I hear the young lord's fair and benevolent. Maybe it's thanks to his influence that the brothers aren't as wild as they used to be."
As it so happened, he'd left Phoenix Cry not long ago and participated in the Dragon and Tiger Meet. He simply hadn't stood out. He'd tagged along with the wandering cultivators and heard many things about the Jiao brothers. He'd even seen them in person.
The Purple Mist Sect's members suddenly understood. The senior hadn't become more merciful. Instead, Veluriyam's young lord was keeping him in check.
Purple Mist's forefather smiled wryly. "To think there would be so many twists and turns. We were fortunate indeed."
However, a certain elder suddenly realized something. "Forefather, Veluriyam's young lord is named Jiang?"
The forefather nodded, but then caught his meaning and paled.
"Ninecrows, wasn't the young lord named Zhen before? Now he calls himself Jiang Chen. Is Jiang Chen his real name?" The forefather been cultivating in seclusion, paying no attention to the outside world. He'd exited not long ago, but the news hadn't reached the sect yet. Hence, he'd only heard vague hearsay about Veluriyam.
"Nonsense! Of course Jiang Chen is his real name. You don't know even that? When did you become so ignorant, my friend?"
Purple Mist's forefather turned grave. Instead of answering the teasing, he merely murmured to himself with a rueful smile, "Jiang Chen, young lord Jiang Chen… Perhaps it's truly so!"
Many sect members had already made the connection.
Like the young lord, Jiang Tong and Jiang Yu were surnamed Jiang. One of the Jiao brothers had come in person to escort them away. Even a child could tell the father and the son were related to Jiang Chen. They might clansmen, or even close relatives.
Purple Mist's forefather trembled at the thought. If so, his sect would be in enormous trouble! They might have captured the young lord's clansmen and imprisoned them for ten years!
These ten years were crucial for the development of a young cultivator. No one dared continue down this line of thought. They might faint with further contemplation, or their legs might give out.
The terrifying possibility dazed the entire sect. They both were both glad and worried. The senior hadn't slaughtered them down to the last. But when young lord Jiang Chen learned of their actions, would he forgive the sect?
No one knew for certain.
After all, someone of his standing certainly cared about reputation. Their preposterous behavior was tantamount to a slap to his face. No one would blame him if he sent men to exterminate them!
A shadow seemed to veil their future, obscuring their vision. They'd already forgotten all about Ancestor Ninecrows' visit. They could only beg for benevolence from the young lord. Otherwise, they were all dead.
Their arrogance and swagger only applied inside Phoenix Cry. Outside the region, they were insignificant characters. Jiang Chen could decide their fate with a few words.
They sent off the delegation from the Spirit Crow Lodge. A heavy atmosphere permeated the sect, as if the end of days were upon them.
The stifling mood made Yin Hongxue uneasy. She now understood the disaster she'd caused and how powerful a man she'd offended. And most ludicrous of all was that Jiang Yu and his father had been lowly ants to her.
How ironic was that? If the bloodline of Veluriyam's young lord was lowly, then who could be called noble in this world?
At the same time, if Jiang Yu truly was the young lord's relative, it made him one of the most influential men in the human domain. Even currying favor with a second rank sect was out of her sect's reach, to say nothing of a faction that stood above first rank sects.
How could I have let this golden opportunity slip through my fingers? She was so filled with regret that she wanted to drown herself.
"Everyone, how should we proceed? Please share your opinion." The forefather broached the subject amidst the suffocating atmosphere.
They'd never dreamed they'd offend Veluriyam's young lord. Not just a small offense, but an outright slap to the face. The sky was caving in on them.