Jiang Chen didn't coerce Wellspring into taking the gift. Its significance was clear. Accepting it would be swearing fealty to the young lord. There would be no room for regrets after all was said and done.
All that was left was for Wellspring to make a decision.
He knew full well that he'd be forever subservient to Jiang Chen if he accepted the olive branch. Like the untold contract between master and disciple, there would be no going back, even though he was technically the seasoned veteran while Jiang Chen was merely a young genius.
From henceforth, he'd have to admit that he was one of Jiang Chen's and brand himself as the young master's loyal deathsworn. A storm was brewing inside of him.
The empyrean realm… to think that this opportunity would fall into my lap after so many years! There won't be a second chance if I let go of this. But if I grasp it firmly, I have to swear fealty to Jiang Chen and irrevocably join Veluriyam.
Having lived for so long, what haven't I seen? Veluriyam's Peafowl and Pillfire's Pillzenith are both extremely eminent figures of the human domain, but neither of them surprise me as much as the young lord. He's able to bend the world to his will at such a young age. One day, he'll become a leader that's encountered only once every hundred thousand years. Is it really that humiliating to follow someone like that?
When his thoughts settled down, Emperor Wellspring realized that he did indeed have a very high opinion of the young lord. It was an admiration that he'd never sought to hide. The offer before him was simply too enticing to reject.
The empyrean realm is so elusive that many could spend a lifetime, or maybe even ten lifetimes, and not reach it. There won't be a second chance if I miss out on this. Emperor Peerless' cultivation has improved by leaps and bounds in just a few short years. He's even begun to surpass me in strength. Following the young lord will surely have its advantages.
The last bit of hesitation had begun to melt away. He'd finally arrived at a decision.
"Young lord Jiang Chen, the kunpeng bloodline of yours is impossible to resist." Emperor Wellspring sighed gently. "From today onwards, this bag of old bones is yours to command. Whatever you need, just issue an order and it'll be yours, even if it means climbing mountains of daggers and crossing oceans of flames."
Wellspring's oath implied that he'd accepted Jiang Chen's offer.
Jiang Chen cupped his fist together and smiled. "Congratulations Emperor Wellspring, most people spend a lifetime seeking but never encountering an empyrean opportunity. I have three drops of the kunpeng bloodline, two of which already have an owner: Emperor Peafowl and Emperor Peerless. You're the third."
"Ah?" Wellspring was a little dumbfounded. "Am I worthy of such an honor?"
He'd initially thought that there was plenty of the kunpeng and didn't expect Jiang Chen to only have three drops of it. Furthermore, the list of recipients of the bloodline shocked him greatly.
Emperor Peafowl was the lord of Veluriyam Capital. It was to be expected that he'd receive one.
Emperor Peerless had sworn allegiance to Jiang Chen many years ago and was like a brother to the young lord. He'd offered his unconditional support when the young lord needed it the most. Thus, it wasn't surprising that he'd receive a drop of the blood as well.
However, the third and last remaining drop was given to him. He couldn't understand why, but he was certain that he didn't rank third in Jiang Chen's heart. Why had the opportunity fallen to him?
Jiang Chen wasn't surprised by Wellspring's shocked expression. He smiled. "Old Brother Hui, you must be wondering why the third and final drop of the kunpeng bloodline was given to you."
Wellspring's face turned red and he burst into embarrassed laughter. Jiang Chen had seen through his mind with a glance.
"Young lord Jiang Chen is truly perceptive. Not even my thoughts can escape your eyes." He didn't deny his thoughts.
"There aren't many great emperors in Veluriyam that's compatible with the bloodline. Emperor Petalpluck is the next most suitable candidate in terms of strength, but he's not destined for it due to his nature. I think most highly of Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Void, but their fortunes lie elsewhere. Neither are compatible with the bloodline for now." Jiang Chen answered meaningfully. "Another suitable candidate that remain are the Jiao brothers. Unfortunately, they are two. Giving the last remaining drop of blood to either of them might cause a huge rift between them and harm their relationship beyond repair."
Enlightened, only one question remained for Wellspring.
"Young lord, if that's the case, why don't you leave it for yourself?" He was suddenly embarrassed. "A gentleman doesn't take what others hold dear. Perhaps it's best that the young lord keeps the bloodline for himself."
Jiang Chen laughed easily. "I have my own ways to ascend to the empyrean realm. I have no need for the kunpeng bloodline." He had utter and indisputable confidence in himself.
If some other young genius had said that, Wellspring would surely think the person was dropped on his head as a child. However, he found it impossible to doubt anything that came out of Jiang Chen's mouth.
After witnessing the young lord's meteoric rise, who'd dare claim that the young lord wouldn't be able to ascend to the empyrean realm and bring forth a golden age to the human domain?
"I am grateful for any boons and repay them. Old Brother Hui, you gathered the wandering great emperors and gave me your staunch support back in the day. Other people might not know about this, but I'm not an ingrate who seeks to forget about a favor done or good deed performed. It was this precise moment that such thoughts began to surface.
"However, your staunch support wasn't the factor that ultimately led to this decision. I see in you some similarities with Emperor Peafowl. You're both magnanimous figures that possess great vision into the big picture."
Emperor Wellspring was a little taken aback. To think that this was actually the reason for his fortune! Complicated emotions flooded his mind.
A gentleman would sacrifice his life for a true confidante. He was an accomplished great emperor who'd lived for many millennia. One was often uninvolved in worldly matters at his age, but certain issues could never be ignored. Wellspring suddenly felt that Jiang Chen could be a confidante in this matter!
"Old Brother Hui, just as you've mentioned, the human domain is in grave danger. Unfortunately, the majority of cultivators, including the heavyweights of the great sects, are ignoring this grave issue and continue to live out their lives in short-sighted manners.
"The human domain has a great need for wise figures and a greater need for principled fighters. To be frank, the human domain would be wiped out if the demonic cataclysm erupts tomorrow. Only crushing defeat awaits us."
That was the unbridled truth. The human domain was too caught up in internal strife instead of consideration for the future of the race's destiny. Humans were just whiling away the days given the lack of wise men. The human race was a pile of loose sand; a storm would rip everything apart.
Emperor Wellspring sympathized with the thought. "You're absolutely right. Ever since the ancient cataclysm, the demon race has kept a low profile and barely stirred up any trouble. Because of that, humans have gradually forgotten about the threat they imposed. By the time disaster strikes, it'll already be too late."
Jiang Chen nodded and stood up gallantly, his eyes filled with valor. "Old Brother Hui, our faction is still lacking in strength, but we've gained a lot of support from our brethren over the years. I have great expectations for you, and I truly hope that you can lend us your strength."
"My reply is still the same. This bag of old bones is yours to command. I will follow you even if it means climbing mountains of daggers and crossing seas of raging flames."
"Old Brother Hui is truly a forthright person. Hopefully, I will have the backing of empyrean experts in the near future!" Jiang Chen had very high expectations for the recipients of the kunpeng bloodline.
The great titans of the wandering world such as Peerless and Wellspring were definitely extremely beneficial in the recruitment of other wanderers. Moreover, when they ascended to the empyrean realm, Jiang Chen would finally have pillars that he could rely on. They were of utmost importance in the next stage of his plan.
Pillfire was a thorn in his side, but Jiang Chen had never seen them as a threat. It would be overkill to consider them as such. Indeed, they were quite powerful, but they were destined to be overthrown by Veluriyam in the end.
Jiang Chen's greatest concern was the sealed demons. They were the biggest threat to humanity. Upon their emergence, the human domain would be dyed in a sea of red.
Jiang Chen and Wellspring were definitely on the same wavelength in this regard.
Their discussion spanned from the ancient demonic war all the way to the human domain's current predicament. After that, they moved onto humanity's current state of affairs, Pillzenith's ambitions, and the layout of the first rank sects in the Upper Eight Regions.
As a titan of the wandering world, Wellspring had a very thorough view of the human domain. In fact, his knowledge far excelled that of Peerless and the Jiao brothers'. Jiang Chen suddenly felt that all three recipients of the kunpeng bloodline were the perfect candidates to receive it.