The Skysword Sect's proclamation was very convincing.
Su Huanzhen agreed in earnest. "Though the Celestial Cicada Court has many women, there is no reason we should do any worse than our fellow male members of the alliance. We know as well as anyone that when a land suffers, so too does all its people. It's all our duty to defend humanity!"
Her words moved all the other sects. When a land suffers, so does its people!
These words hit everyone head on. If the land suffered, how could any singular resident truly remain separate?
It was a simple principle in hindsight.
The Order of Wind and Cloud clearly wanted to subjugate all of the human domain. Every sect and faction either existed under its banner, or not at all. Furthermore, its ambitions weren't limited to the human domain. Its hand in the destruction of the Boundary Steles were a blatant sign of its true intentions.
This was where the suspicion about the supreme lord's race had come from. It was common opinion that something like that didn't seem quite possible from a normal human. No matter how ambitious a man was, he would never toy with the safety of his own race like that.
Opening up the Boundary Stele realms offered paramount glory or absolute destruction. If the head of the Order was capable of any rational thought, there was no way he wouldn't have thought of that. Still, he had proceeded against all opposition.
This threw his true identity and race into great doubt. This was the primary reason why Jiang Chen considered it unlikely for the supreme lord not to be a human hermit.
A human hermit wouldn't ignore humanity's fortunes so brazenly.
Well, there were some who reached a certain point where their loved ones died due to the passage of time. Because of this, they tended to become unusually cold and impassive. Their actions also became callous and unfettered. However, most never reached absolute nihilism.
All of the first rank sects expressed their willingness to pursue altruism for the sake of the greater good. Jiang Chen found no problem with them in terms of attitude.
"Young lord, now that our alliance has formed, is it time to raise an army and attack the Order of Wind and Cloud?"
"That's right, the Order has been too overbearing recently! It needs a harsh lesson."
"If they're allowed to go on like this, the entire human domain will be stirred up!"
Recently, the Order of Wind and Cloud had indeed been too tyrannical. It was making ready to attack the Ninesuns Sky Sect while also sending out letters to almost every sect demanding their surrender.
Everyone was unmentionably wary of the Order of Wind and Cloud. One or two sects couldn't take it on individually, but now that everyone was in an alliance, wasn't this the best time to do so?
All expectant eyes trained upon Jiang Chen, waiting for him to speak.
He mused for a while before responding. "The Order of Wind and Cloud must be punished for its misdeeds. Unfortunately, it's too mysterious right now. We have almost no understanding of its methods and capabilities. If we attack now, we might walk right into a trap."
He wasn't afraid of the Order. No faction in the human domain could cow him. However, he was also long past the age to be hot-blooded.
Why was the Order of Wind and Cloud so overbearing and arrogant? Didn't they know that that kind of attitude would draw public ire?
But it acted with wanton disregard on that issue, never making an attempt to hide its insolence. It seemed that the Order of Wind and Cloud was unafraid of consequences from other factions. That meant it must have some kind of backing.
It was potentially their own tactic, done to provoke the other factions.
Because Jiang Chen had been chosen as the alliance leader, he couldn't think as simply as the rest. He needed to be steady for now. Any rash decision he made would affect the human domain and race as a whole, and potential the fortunes of the entire human race.
"Everyone, have some patience!" Su Huanzhen exclaimed. "I think young lord Jiang Chen has a point. Victory can only come after knowing one's enemy. How much do we really know about the Order of Wind and Cloud? If not for Emperor Everviolet's boasting, we wouldn't even have known that their supreme lord was an empyrean expert."
It was true. The Order of Wind and Cloud's rise had been meteoric and common knowledge about it sparse.
"Young lord Jiang Chen, we're all ears. Our entire sect will be mobilized against the Order of the Wind and Cloud whenever you give the word!"
"Yes, we will defer to you in all things."
"There's too many here," Jiang Chen smiled, "so we can't make a battle plan right away. Otherwise, word might immediately get to the Order. Even if we are going to attack right away, the bigger sects will need to discuss the matter first to figure out the gist of our strategy."
In the world of martial dao, it was rare to mobilize a horde of troops like one might in wars between ordinary kingdoms.
"Let's wait and see before the strategy is drafted."
Emperor Everviolet was gone as quick as he'd come. After he left Veluriyam's territory, he grabbed a message glyph from the air. He grinned oddly when he saw what it contained. "An alliance? Absurd!"
There was disdain in his tone.
"Still, I'm surprised that Jiang Chen was able to maintain calm despite his youth. He didn't order an attack on us straight away. Even though we're putting so much pressure on him, he didn't use the formation of the alliance as an impetus… an astute leader, it seems."
Emperor Everviolet's entourage returned very quickly to the Order's headquarters in Unbounded Mid Region.
"Supreme Lord, that Jiang Chen brat doesn't know what's good for him. He publicly refused your invitation, and insulted us several times besides!" Emperor Everviolet had never held Jiang Chen to be in high regard. He was adding as much fuel to the fire as he could.
But Jiang Chen's refusal didn't defy the supreme lord's expectations. After hearing Everviolet's recounting, he nodded a little in reply.
"Protector King Shockcloud, you represented the Order of Wind and Cloud well on your trip. Good job."
Protector King Shockcloud was Emperor Everviolet's title; he was slightly surprised that the supreme lord had no admonishment. Instead, it almost seemed that he had expected all of this.
"Supreme Lord, shouldn't we teach that kid a lesson for his rudeness?" Everviolet was one to hold a grudge. He felt deeply wounded by Jiang Chen's disrespect.
"We have plenty of time to teach him a lesson in the future. Emotions will only make the whole plan go awry." The supreme lord spoke with meaning and depth. A strange smile playing at the corner of his mouth, he turned to another. "Protector King Stormwind, how are things in the northwestern wastes going?"
Stormwind was a big man with a covering over his face. "Supreme Lord," he stepped forth respectfully. "The foundations of the Boundary Steles in the northwest have been shaken. If the Embittered Savage Tribe senses the wavering, and if they're still as bloodthirsty as they once were, then they should smell the blood in the water."
The supreme lord flashed a pleased smile when he heard this. "Good, very good!" he clapped. "Don't worry about the Embittered Savage Tribe's senses! They're sharks and desert wolves. They naturally lust for blood, and their instinct for bloodshed is almost supernatural."
"You are very wise, Supreme Lord," bowed Stormwind. "However, I'm still a bit worried. It's been far too many years since ancient times. Can a race like the Embittered Savage Tribe really last until now, given how starved they were for resources? Even if they still exist, can they fight as fiercely as their ancestors did?"
Most people's first impression of the Embittered Savage Tribe was their poverty and starvation. How could a race survive under those incredibly adverse circumstances for such a long time?
"Don't worry. You don't know the nature of the Embittered Savage Tribe. Perhaps a comfortable life would wear away their fighting spirit and dull their senses. Theirs are only honed under the razor of adversity. They are like that down to their bone. Therefore, I'm almost certain that the Embittered Savage Tribe is ravenous for battle."
The supreme lord had a natural charisma that inspired trust from others. It was difficult for anyone to question his authority.
"What do we do next, Supreme Lord?"
"Everyone is ready to attack the Ninesuns Sky Sect, Supreme Lord!"
The supreme lord smiled once more, his expression full of wisdom.
"We shall practice deception in this campaign. Hold off on the attack on Ninesuns for now." The supreme lord's words greatly took everyone aback.
The seventy-two elders in reserve weren't even qualified to attend the meeting today. It was a very high-level affair.
That the supreme lord would say something so astonishing floored everyone. Hadn't they spent all this time preparing solely to take down the Ninesuns Sky Sect? So that they would have two first rank sects beneath their heels?
This was what the supreme lord had led them to think. And so the announcement to refrain from attacking Ninesuns was quite unexpected.
"Supreme Lord, are we attacking another sect? The Moon God Sect instead, maybe?"
The Moon God Sect was located in the northwest. If they went through former Heavenly Dragon territory, it wouldn't be a long way there; west and northwest weren't too far apart.
Going from the Heavenly Dragon Sect to the Moon God Sect was drastically different from starting out from Veluriyam. The former was more advantageous in several ways.
The supreme lord smiled, but said nothing.
"Not the Moon God Sect? It must be the Empyrean River Palace or Sublime Chord Temple then. I think the Palace is a bit far though."
"Your guesses are too far off. Maybe the supreme lord wants to go for the Veluriyam Capital directly?" Someone ventured something more daring.