Among the great emperors originally belonging to Veluriyam Capital proper, Emperor Petalpluck had the highest level of cultivation. He was comparable to the late Emperor Shura in terms of sheer endowment.
Emperor Vastsea took second place after that.
Emperors Void, Mountaincrush, Skysplitter, and Coiling Dragon were slightly inferior compared to the previous two. Of those, Emperor Coiling Dragon was only initial great emperor.
In theory, the sole drop of kunpeng blood should have been left to the strongest of Veluriyam's emperors. That was the resolution that made the most sense.
But prolonged observation of Emperor Petalpluck gave Jiang Chen the feeling that the man's nature made him unsuitable for the kunpeng blood.
To put it kindly, Petalpluck was a pacifist. In other words, he put self-preservation above public good. He was irresponsible, without a strong sense of duty that encompassed the rest of the world.
Jiang Chen was none too pleased about that.
The Emperor Peafowl of yesteryear considered the fate of the realm in addition to Veluriyam Capital's own. His heart had enveloped the whole of the human domain.
Jiang Chen didn't expect Emperor Petalpluck to possess the same kind of nobility, but he had to be selfless enough to maintain justice in an hour of need, at least.
Evidence showed that the emperor couldn't manage such a thing. When Shura had convened the Vassal Meeting, Petalpluck had been the one most qualified to oppose the motion. But he'd done no such thing, choosing instead to go with the flow in silence. His inaction was no different from condoning what Shura had done.
Jiang Chen wasn't going to take him to account over it after the fact, but that'd enabled him to get a better understanding of what kind of person the emperor was. Petalpluck could be a solid supporter while the situation was advantageous, but it was difficult to rely on him in a time of need.
As for the others, only Jiang Chen's direct allies, Emperors Void and Coiling Dragon, were worthy of consideration.
Void was adroit enough about current affairs, but his martial dao talent was somewhat lacking. He couldn't compare to the abilities that Wellspring and Peerless had as the wandering six titans.
Coiling Dragon was quite talented, but he was descended from a dragon bloodline. There was no reason for Jiang Chen to give him kunpeng blood instead. He could consider giving the great emperor a drop of true dragon blood after Long Xiaoxuan broke through to empyrean realm instead. That would be several times better than what kunpeng blood could do!
Of course, that was a long-term plan. Coiling Dragon was only initial great emperor at the moment. His cultivation was miles away from what was necessary to benefit from the gift.
Emperor Wellspring had heard a few rumors on the wind the past few days. Some said that he had been used by Jiang Chen and Veluriyam as a stepping stone for Emperor Peerless and the city.
The emperor ignored this wholesale. The truth of the matter was exactly as Peerless had guessed. Wellspring had intentionally issued the challenge to help the young lord.
It had been part of his thinking ever since he chose to stay at Veluriyam Capital in full support of the youth.
In Wellspring's opinion, the human domain was currently a pile of loose sand. Only Jiang Chen could unify it under one banner. He saw infinite potential in the young lord. Given this, he had no problem sacrificing a little bit of his reputation in order to increase Jiang Chen's fame. Veluriyam Capital would surely benefit.
At this moment, he received an invitation to Sacred Peafowl Mountain.
"I almost missed your good intentions for the battle with Peerless, Emperor Wellspring. I would've without your friend's reminder." Jiang Chen smiled serenely after a soft sigh.
Wellspring blinked, then laughed. "What did Daoist Peerless say about me?"
"Emperor Wellspring, you used that battle to make both my name and Veluriyam Capital's name renowned in the human domain. Your noble, selfless spirit is admirable and commendable." Saying this, the young lord stood to bow to the emperor.
Emperor Wellspring hastily returned the gesture. "Young lord Jiang Chen, you are the ruler of Veluriyam. I don't deserve such honor."
"Your integrity is unparalleled, senior," Jiang Chen replied seriously. "If I pretended not to see it, how then could I deserve your kindness?"
"Ah, what I did wasn't all that important," Wellspring chuckled. "Plus, my hands were a bit itchy. The fight against Daoist Peerless was quite enjoyable. Multiple birds with one stone, as it were."
It was obvious that he had no intention of taking great credit.
Emperor Wellspring truly is worthy of Emperor Peerless' praise! In terms of disposition and heart, he was an exception to the wandering cultivator world's rule.
Jiang Chen found the man rather similar to Emperor Peafowl. If the emperor had had the same kind of status and resources of the other man, he would have undoubtedly done similar things for the world.
Regardless of one's relationship with a man like that, he was worthy of deep respect.
Looking thoughtfully at Wellspring, Jiang Chen opened his mouth once more. "Emperor Wellspring, I remember that Old Brother Mo likes to call you Old Brother Hui."
"Haha, that's right. I like that nickname rather more in private settings. Typically, we also call each other fellow daoists." Wellspring's name was Jing Zhonghui, hence the origin of 'Old Brother Hui'.
"Then if you'll excuse me, I too shall call you Old Brother Hui," smiled Jiang Chen. "I have an opportunity here that I'd like to give you, old brother."
"Oh?" Wellspring blinked, a little unsure what he meant.
"Before I tell you more about it, I must warn you of a few things beforehand. You must keep secret about everything the opportunity involves, and moreover use what you receive for only good. Of course, I trust that you will be able to do both of these, but it's still good to mention this beforehand."
The young man's solemnity piqued Wellspring's curiosity.
"Don't tantalize me so, young lord. My heart is bursting to know what you're talking about." Wellspring's tone was a little exaggerated, but he was sincere.
The Pinecrane Pill Jiang Chen had given him was a top rank pill he'd never seen the likes of before in his entire life. Therefore, his first thought was related to the Emperor Supremacy Pill. The reason perhaps, for Emperor Peerless's rapid growth!
"Hoho, if I might venture a guess, are you going to give me a pill? The legendary level-increasing Emperor Supremacy Pill, to be exact?" Wellspring was a bit agitated.
Any martial expert had wants and pursuits, even those that stood at the very top. They always wanted to become stronger.
Jiang Chen smiled and shook his head. "Gains from pills are largely temporary. The opportunity I am about to give you has much more widely applicable effects."
"Oh? There's something more attractive than the Emperor Supremacy Pill?" Wellspring's eyes lit up. "You've successfully stoked my appetite, young lord. What kind of opportunity are you talking about? Don't keep me guessing." He laughed, rubbing his hands together.
"This is an opportunity that surpasses great emperor realm." Jiang Chen grinned coolly.
What? Wellspring's mind exploded with shock. He almost thought he had misheard. What kind of an opportunity could transcend great emperor realm? An empyrean opportunity?
His age couldn't save the emperor from paling. He lost his composure for a time, stammering. "Young lord Jiang Chen, you… you mean… you mean an empyrean opportunity?"
"Quite so," Jiang Chen nodded pleasantly.
Wellspring's head rang with disorientation. An empyrean opportunity? An empyrean opportunity? How many years had it been since the human domain had an empyrean cultivator?
How could there be an empyrean opportunity?
Anyone else saying this to the emperor would have been laughed off, taken as a passing joke. There was a certain magic when Jiang Chen said it though, one that almost forced him into believing it.
The young man before him had produced far too many miracles and surprises for the world at large.
The reason that Wellspring was staying at Veluriyam still was precisely because of this trait. The emperor couldn't resist his desire to help the youth out. Without further ado, Jiang Chen took out the bottle with the last drop of kunpeng blood.
"Old Brother Hui, here is a drop of blood that belongs to the ancient kunpeng bloodline. Kunpeng blood is the very definition of extraordinary. Once you assimilate it, you will have no problems breaking through to empyrean realm, given enough time." Jiang Chen placed the bottle before the emperor.
Wellspring was stupefied. He gazed intently at the bottle, his eyes glassy. As soon as the bottle was brought out, a potent and fierce aura had blasted him in the face.
"What terrifying power!" The emperor blinked, waves of astonishment rippling through his heart. That a single drop of bottled-up blood was able to evoke such a fearsome aura…
The bloodline was anything but ordinary!
"Young lord Jiang Chen, are you really giving this to me?" Wellspring couldn't stay calm any more. The draw of the bloodline wasn't something that most cultivators could resist. That was true even in the face of the great emperor's seniority!
"Old Brother Hui, your kindness and support towards both Veluriyam and myself is unprecedented. I would be supremely rude not to return the favor. Your graciousness and goodwill deserves that much, at least!" Jiang Chen smiled.
"But… this is too valuable to give." Wellspring took a deep breath. His eyes were fixated on the bottle, unable to move in either direction.
Truthfully, his courtesy and what he actually thought were completely disparate. No one could remain nonchalant before a chance like this. But this opportunity was too weighty for him to receive just like this.
Emperor Wellspring was exactly this kind of man. Jiang Chen's prepayment of the Pinecrane Pill had made him feel that he owed the young lord, hence his staunch support of the young man's subsequent endeavors. The price of this opportunity far surpassed the Pinecrane Pill. Because of this, Wellspring was extremely conflicted.