Jiang Chen's lips curved in appreciation. He couldn't help but admire Emperor Wellspring's keen insight and unique understanding of the situation. None of the great emperors from Veluriyam could compare, not even Peerless or the Jiao brothers.
With an encouraging look from the young lord, Wellspring continued, "The human domain stands at a crossroad. Either Veluriyam or Pillfire will become its leader. There can be only one.
"You might cower, or you might rejoice. War will come in any case. Pillfire's viewed us as their greatest threat ever since Emperor Peafowl's reign. However, perhaps you don't know why the young lord's avoided open hostilities until now?"
The great emperors looked at each other. Wasn't it because Veluriyam was weaker and didn't have as many allies? What other reasons could there be?
All eyes fell on Jiang Chen. The young lord's smile was as cool and serene as ever, as if undaunted by the enemy's grand army. Such equanimity in one so young was worthy of praise.
Wellspring explained after a brief pause, "You're probably accustomed to thinking that it's because Pillfire is too strong, while Veluriyam keeps to itself and lacks vassals? Wrong! The young lord has never considered Pillfire the greatest threat.
"In fact, they're no threat at all!" Wellspring's voice resounded like thunder.
Other than Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Void, the great emperors were at a loss for words. No threat at all?
"Everyone's heard Emperor Wellspring," Jiang Chen suddenly interjected. "As he said, Pillfire is an annoying fly and not the real danger. I lacked strength before and didn't test their limits. But after several run-ins, I've roughly plumbed their depths. They're inconsequential clowns, despite their airs. I might have left them in peace, but they keep getting in the way. Since they have a death wish, we might as well indulge them."
His words seemed absurd, but his confidence made the crowd sit up and listen. He might have been the only one in the human domain able to command such respect. Anyone else would have been called deranged. After all, Pillfire was widely acknowledged as the number one faction.
"Gentlemen, we can no longer afford to hesitate. I hope you can see that we cannot create without first destroying. The greatest threat looming over us all is demons!"
This word had been a recurring nightmare haunting mankind throughout its long history.
"Let all witness what happens when Veluriyam flexes its muscles! Let them know the Heavenly Dragon Sect isn't mankind's leader, nor is Pillfire. We are the only ones qualified! Let us be off!" Jiang Chen had bided his time for far too long to waste more time on pointless debates.
After some reflection, he decided to leave Guo Ran's palace in the young lord residence. With the Vermillion Bird and the eight golem brothers at his side, the palace was best left behind to guard against future dangers.
In fact, he'd long planned on refining it and fuse it with the residence's formation. With the palace at the center and the restriction in its core, the young lord residence would become an impregnable fortress.
In the Great Yu Skysword Sect, Han Qianzhan's eyes shone when he received Jiang Chen's secret missive. "Is war finally upon us? It seems the status quo will soon crumble."
Upon receiving the same secret missive, the Celestial Cicada Court's Su Huanzhen murmured, "The student might have surpassed the master. Perhaps this war will propel Veluriyam to even greater heights."
The two great sects summoned all of their elites, ready to meet up with their ally.
The border of Bluesky Nation had always been a strategic location for Veluriyam. The kingdom's king and his crown prince had both submitted to Jiang Chen. So after careful deliberation, the young man decided that was the best place to confront the northern alliance.
"Senior, you don't need to spearhead the frontlines. I simply need you to look menacing." He smiled at the bird's volunteering.
The ancient beast persisted, "I must take the field. Those great emperors are all mine. My vital functions are rather weak, so I need to replenish my energy."
Many ancient divine beasts swallowed the life essence of other creatures to supplement their own.
"Hehe, you gotta leave some of them for us brothers." Big Stone laughed, brimming with eagerness. Golems couldn't absorb someone else's life essence, but they enjoyed fighting. They didn't want to miss out on the action.
Jiang Chen couldn't be bothered with setting up formations. There were no intricate plans, no defensive arrangements, no nothing. He would resort to the most primitive of brute force, crushing his enemies so hard that they wouldn't even be able to recover from the attack.
He summoned the entire Goldbiter Rat clan. The excited rat king knew how big a chance it was. As the main vanguard, they would suffer heavy casualties, but that was of no importance.
They had to fight and swallow their prey to grow stronger. Many would die, but the survivors would become fiercer and more powerful. Such was the survival of the fittest.
Goldbiter Rats reproduced very fast in any case. Rather than numbers, the rat king was only concerned about his clan's overall fighting potential.
"Ole Gold, remember, your clan will be our main force this time. Teach these fellows a lesson they'll never forget!"
"Hehe, don't worry young lord. They'll have nightmares for the rest of their lives!"
Everything was in order. The young man stood there, hands clasped behind his back, while his great emperors observed him, extremely conflicted. They weren't fully aware of all of his trump cards yet, so they couldn't help being apprehensive.
"Young lord, our scouts have spotted the northern alliance's troops three hundred miles away. They'll soon cross the border!"
Jiang Chen waved his hand. "Keep watching." He also told the rat king, "Ole Gold, stay inside the Millionditch Stonenest for now and keep your descendants in check. Don't alert the enemy and ruin the surprise effect!"
The rat king cackled. "Hehe, understood!"
Jiang Chen nodded, suddenly looking back. "Here they are!"
The elites from the Skysword Sect and the Celestial Cicada Court had also arrived as agreed upon. The young lord welcomed them with a smile. "Sectmaster Han, Courtmaster Su, you're indeed people of your word."
Han Qianzhan laughed. "Haha, it's an honor for us to fight alongside you!"
Jiang Chen smiled easily. "Sectmaster Han, how's the Emperor Supremacy Pill? It might not work immediately for someone of your level."
Han Qianzhan hurried to say, "It's definitely effective. I haven't broken through yet, but I can tangibly feel my cultivation increase. I might soon break free of the shackles that've held me back for so long!"
The pill worked slower on advanced or peak great emperors. But even if they couldn't break through immediately, it would nudge their progress forward.
Jiang Chen nodded. "Everyone, don't be nervous. It might be enough for your presence to add to our momentum. You might not need to fight."
Han Qianzhan frowned. "That won't do. We're allies, so we rise and fall together. How can we sit by and watch? Are you looking down on us? The Skysword Sect fears no battle."
"Right, we are fearless and dauntless!"
The sect had brought along brave and unyielding elites on this campaign. Not a single coward was to be found.
Su Huanzhen also remarked, "Young lord, you can't make an omelette without cracking eggs. We are one and shall face whatever difficulties the heavens throw our way as one. We don't fight for Veluriyam, but for ourselves and for the sake of the human domain."
Touched, Jiang Chen nodded. "Please don't misunderstand. I won't hesitate if your sects are needed, but let's watch the show first… Here they are, right on time!"
He looked into the distance, his tone suddenly strange.
Like an ominous black cloud, a formidable aura inched ever closer, seeming to dim the sun and darken the heavens. Over thirty factions comprised of thousands upon thousands of elites encroached on the border.
The young lord shot into the sky like an air current, his Evil Golden Eye firing forward as a rainbow.
"Pillzenith, I see you really can't teach new tricks to old dogs! My warning seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Since you're so eager to push your son into the abyss, let me help you!"
With a wave of the hand, he pushed Sir Tian Lin forward.
Pillzenith charged ahead of his men. "Jiang Chen, if you dare kill my son, I'll make your sister hate you for life!"
He also pushed someone forward. The young lord froze, instantly recognizing the Moon God Sect's second sectmaster!