The human domain whirred into action at Jiang Chen's command. Even though the Order of Wind and Cloud had stifled the atmosphere throughout the land, this newest development filled it with new life.
Veluriyam's stance had finally been made clear. The young lord's statement carried with it tremendous consequences. No one in the world doubted that Jiang Chen had the right to call a general meeting of every faction beneath the heavens. In fact, he was the only one with that right.
The news excited every third rank sect and above. They all highly anticipated the event. Some of the ones in more of a hurry immediately gathered a team together, heading for Veluriyam.
The Dragon and Tiger Meet prior had already proven a more than pleasant surprise for the world at large; this general meeting could only hold even greater things in store. Perhaps even more wondrous things awaited?
Even without that, this meeting was clearly targeted at the Order of Wind and Cloud. The entire human domain had lived beneath the Order's shadow for the past four years. If the young lord's appearance could clear the air, that alone would be more than enough.
Therefore, there was universal enthusiasm at Jiang Chen's call. Things in the human domain were about to change once again.
Jiang Chen was very surprised to see how things had developed in his absence. He had only closed his doors for three years and some change, yet the Order of Wind and Cloud had stirred up a storm within that time. Their actions had deeply affected the human domain's circumstances.
"What is with that Order?" He was full of questions. If not for his lack of intel, he would have gone to their headquarters straight away and eradicated every single person there.
Old Brother Mo and the Jiao brothers' disappearances… could they be related to this Order? This was a serious topic of consideration.
Jiang Chen's eyes peered incisively at Veluriyam's emperors. "Friends," he asked, "do you have any clues as to the origins of this Order of Wind and Cloud? Or a more nuanced perspective, maybe?"
"Young lord, the experts of the human domain are typically known individually by name. The Order is definitely not founded by human hands. Still, it's hard to say for absolutely certain… there are many ancient hermits who refuse to communicate with the rest of the world. It could be that one of them has taken a sudden interest in starting his own faction...?"
"I don't mind if a human expert is responsible for this. Experts of other races, however…"
Jiang Chen didn't know why, but his heart wasn't at ease despite having defeated Pillfire three years prior. Things weren't resolved in the human domain yet.
"Friends, there are no outsiders here. I'd like to hear your opinions about a few things." Jiang Chen's tone was serious.
Everyone braced at this. The young lord was going to talk about something really important.
Jiang Chen made straight for the point. "These past three years, I've achieved some breakthroughs in my martial cultivation behind closed doors. However, I've also spent that time considering humanity's prospects for the future. Don't you feel that we've been trapped by the Boundary Steles? Like frogs at the bottom of a well, we see only peace in the little patch of sky directly above us rather than the storm brewing all around us. Our fate is not firmly grasped within our own hands."
It was exactly as he had said. Ever since ancient times, humanity had been trapped within this land, devoid of knowledge of the outside world. No human had any idea whatsoever how the rest of the continent was doing.
The frog comparison was harsh but accurate. Still, these great emperors had lived for millennia already. Their minds and thoughts were stuck in the old ways, finding no fault with staying the course.
Therefore, Emperor Petalpluck was a bit surprised by Jiang Chen's shocking statements. "Young lord Jiang Chen, after the ancient demon-sealing war, the Boundary Steles were established to keep the races peacefully separate. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything. Without the Boundary Steles, how would humanity have had these hundred thousand years of peace? How would it have received the rest it sorely needed?"
Petalpluck wasn't entirely wrong.
Under the protection of the Boundary Steles, the mandated peace wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps it was even the right order of things. After the ancient war, the races had required peace between them to recover and recuperate. Therefore, the steles had done what was essentially a public service.
However, times had changed. Not by much, but changed they had. As time went on, self-isolation wasn't a good enough strategy anymore.
Jiang Chen took in a deep breath before continuing coolly, "Emperor Petalpluck has a point. The Boundary Steles had a purpose from the ancient era to the present. However… have you considered that humanity's very ignorance about the outside world makes it extremely vulnerable?"
This wasn't an exaggeration. The Southern Celestial Tribe's three empyrean experts were a warning for the human race. It was a notification that the Boundary Steles' uneasy peace was no longer reliable.
The passage of time was weakening the steles' sealing power.
"I'm not doomsaying for no reason. At Agarwood, there were three empyrean experts of the Southern Celestial Tribe who destroyed the stele there without any trouble. If not for their lust for achievement and accidental release of the celestial demon lord from his binds, terrible things would've taken place in the human domain already."
Though the three empyrean experts wouldn't have destroyed the entire human domain, they would also have done significant damage to it. As long as they maintained patience and the intent to seriously set up operations here, it wasn't that hard to take over the human domain.
What did this mean?
The peace that the Boundary Steles had mandated was becoming increasingly unreliable. The situation in the human domain required drastic change.
"Young lord Jiang Chen," Emperor Coiling Dragon asked in a low voice. "After experiencing the breaking and repair of the Boundary Steles, you are the most authoritative voice to speak on this matter. Do you have any ideas to inspire the rest of us?"
The emperor's proximity to Jiang Chen was revealed in this statement. The young lord's words instantly seemed less authoritarian.
Jiang Chen nodded slightly. "I've been mulling that over for the past three years. I feel that the human domain needs to shatter its old conventions before it can be built up again. If we turtle up within the bounds of our Boundary Steles and pretend to be asleep, we won't have peace for very much longer."
"Why do you say that?" Everyone grew serious.
"The Southern Celestial Tribe is most certainly only the first of many. Aren't there many Boundary Steles within the human domain? When the east falls, we must repair the east, and the same is true for the west. But have you considered the possibility that the steles can fall in every direction at once? Where are we supposed to repair then?"
The human domain was a run-down shack. There was no problem in fair weather, but when rain and storm came, anyone who lived within instantly felt the negative effects.
Emperor Petalpluck's tone was grave. "Young lord Jiang Chen, the Boundary Steles have existed since the ancient times. Perhaps Agarwood's stele being broken was only an isolated, random event. Why should it be representative? I think that the Boundary Steles don't need to be touched if they're still just fine, right?"
Jiang Chen didn't actually want to touch the steles. He merely wanted to use them to make cracks in these people's heavily limited mindsets.
To put it bluntly, these old codgers had lost their youthful keenness. The only thing they had on their minds was maintaining their current lands and holdings. It was extremely difficult to force their minds to actively roam outside that conservative goal.
Aside from Emperor Coiling Dragon's relative readiness, even Emperor Void preferred caution on this matter. The latter simply didn't want to voice his opinion publicly.
Not that Emperor Petalpluck intended to openly oppose Jiang Chen either. It was understandable for him to have such thoughts. Old men lose their ambitions. Moreover, Emperor Petalpluck was naturally the harmonious sort, preferring tranquility and placidity.
As they spoke, someone hurried in from outside. It was a pretty, slender girl; Jiang Chen's dear sister, Xu Qingxuan.
Because she was nominally a disciple of the Moon God Sect, Xu Qingxuan theoretically had no right to enter this exclusive meeting. However, she was in a humorless hurry today.
"Brother, the Moon God Sect's Holy Maiden Xu Shan is here. She says…" Xu Qingxuan was hesitant here, looking worriedly at the great emperors congregated here.
"Don't worry. We're among good company here. Go ahead and say what you have to say."
Xu Qingxuan nodded. "Holy Maiden Xu Shan has arrived with news that the Moon God Sect's northwestern Boundary Stele has shown signs of cracking. The three sectmasters and all available elites have gone to investigate. The holy maiden is here to inform you of this sudden development."
There was absolute silence at the news. The northwest was a broad and desolate place, a veritable wasteland devoid of life. In that wasteland, ancient experts built a Boundary Stele to defend against the barbaric tribes of that direction.
This Boundary Stele was far more important than the rest. In ancient times, a terrifying race lived in that direction - the Embittered Savage Tribe.
The Embittered Savage Tribe was true to its name: extremely savage and barbaric. The place it lived had harsh and bitter living conditions. It was precisely because of the difficulty of those conditions that the tribe had a naturally resilient and primitive nature!
That was why they carried their name.
The Embittered Savage Tribe had ever been the mortal enemy of humanity in ancient times. Every time they mounted an invasion, humanity suffered a correspondingly devastating loss. It could be fairly said that before the demonic invasion, the Embittered Savage Tribe was the humans' number one enemy and nightmare!