Jiang Chen was incensed.
The voice sounded well advanced in years, but the young man was indescribably disgusted with the self-satisfaction in its seniority.
"If I don't kill him, do you not think a foreign hyena like him will bring disaster to the human domain? The Order of Wind and Cloud's ambitions are quite peaceful, I'm sure!" Jiang Chen's tone carried plenty of righteous passion. "If you have the power to interfere, then you are no ordinary person. Why not show yourself? Let me know who you are."
Though he didn't know where this interloper had come from, Jiang Chen's rage wasn't likely to subside. He hated people who didn't mind their business, especially when they interrupted at the most inopportune times.
"You have quite a temper for one so young. There's no need to ask where I've come from. I've lived in the human domain for more than ten thousand years. I think I know ten times more about the human domain's affairs than you."
Ten thousand years?
Jiang Chen's heart beat a bit faster. The expressions of the great emperors from Veluriyam Capital changed greatly.
A secluded expert? One that lived in the human domain? An empyrean expert?
There had always been rumors that the human domain did have its own empyrean experts, though they preferred to remain hidden rather than conduct business in public.
Some said that the experts were uninterested in mundane affairs. Others claimed that this was because spirit qi was scarce in the human domain. Yet others said that the experts were unwilling to expend their mortal lifespans on trivial matters.
There was a large variety of conjecture about the topic. However, no one had seen a real, live empyrean expert in the human domain for at least three thousand years.
The voice's existence hinted at its identity as a secluded expert of the human domain. Any existence that had lived for more than ten thousand years was sure to have surpassed great emperor realm into a higher form.
It was the first time these great emperors had ever come into contact with someone like that.
Jiang Chen paused a little, then snickered. "From your tone, you sound like an empyrean senior of the human domain, hmm?"
"What? Junior, do you still think you can call the shots here? Do you think your actions represent the fortune and future of humanity? I can tell you that you think too much of yourself!" The aged voice was somewhat mocking. It appeared that its owner had a bit of attitude toward Jiang Chen.
Veluriyam's young lord was far from pleased to be treated with condescension. He responded with raucous laughter.
"What are you laughing about, junior?" The voice reprimanded with some annoyance.
"What am I laughing about?" Jiang Chen turned frosty instantly. "Is that what you're asking about? I'm laughing about the fact that you lack wisdom in your old age! All you know is to use your age to your benefit!"
"You're courting death!" The disembodied voice's volume intensified. The wind picked up and the clouds roiled.
The eight stone golem brothers rushed to Jiang Chen's side and surrounded him to protect their savior.
Jiang Chen was unafraid of the sudden weather change. He'd seen all kinds of turbulence in his previous life and he wasn't going to let a mere empyrean expert scare him.
"Such an awe-inspiring show from an empyrean expert!" Jiang Chen sneered. "Alas, it appears you were absent when Demon Emperor Bloodmalva of the blood demons was rampaging about. You were also absent from the scene when the celestial demon lord broke free of his seal. And if I may ask, where were you when the Southern Celestial Tribe smashed past the Boundary Stele? What about the devastation that the Order of Wind and Cloud has wrought upon the people? Have you done anything about the danger that the Boundary Stele in the northwestern wastes is in right now?"
Jiang Chen was absolutely furious. He had no inborn hostility to the voice, but he was enraged by the foolishness of the speaker's actions. He was actually disgusted more by this voice than by Xiahou Jing.
Xiahou Jing was a locust from Myriad Abyss Island, come to the human domain to ransack and destroy it.
But this supposed empyrean senior of the human domain had appeared at the wrong time for all the wrong reasons. He'd ruined Jiang Chen's perfect plans. Most irritating of all was that he was abusing his old age to rebuke Jiang Chen from a self-satisfied position!
If the voice really was an honorable senior with morals as polished as Emperor Peafowl's, Jiang Chen would give him plenty of respect. But he was far from the shining example he considered himself to be, but he was quite affecting the tone and posture of a great senior.
This utterly disgusted Jiang Chen. Moreover, the young lord had missed an opportunity to kill Xiahou Jing because of the voice's interference. How could Jiang Chen simply accept the situation?
He had worked very hard for humanity's fortune and future, expending every effort for others' sake. This so-called empyrean senior had done absolutely nothing in several of humanity's crises, but chose to come out swinging with his cane at the most inopportune time.
If he did dare come forth, Jiang Chen wouldn't hesitate to spit on him.
The voice was noticeably exasperated by the young man's words. It went silent for a long while before it could muster up a resentful reply. "Alright, brat. Alright! How many years has it been? I didn't expect that a few thousand years later, there would be such a high-achieving human junior who dares talk like this to me!"
"If you've hid yourself for a few thousand years," Jiang Chen retorted with some frustration. "Shouldn't you have freed yourself from the shackles of mortal affairs? Why are you meddling and sticking your nose where it doesn't belong? You didn't come out when responsibility was required, so don't come out and pretend to be a savior now. At least figure out what's happening before you try to save the world."
The voice was clearly agitated. "Good, good, very good! I'll remember what's happened today, brat. One day I'll teach you the consequences of not respecting your seniors!"
Jiang Chen shrugged. Insubstantial threats didn't bother him one bit.
"Why one day? Today's perfect. Do your worst and I'll take the brunt of it. What else are you scared of if you help even invaders escape?" He didn't know why, but Jiang Chen had the urgent need to pull the old codger out of his hiding hole and give him a good beating. He wanted to cut the voice's pride down a notch.
"Hmph. I have more important matters to attend to. I'll let you live for a few more days." The voice disappeared into the distance like rolling thunder.
Jiang Chen's Evil Golden Eye pierced the remote skies, his eyes full of killing intent.
It was at this time that the others swarmed out from Sacred Peafowl Mountain.
"Members of the Order of Wind and Cloud, kneel! Those who don't will die on the spot!" Jiang Chen glared coldly at the now listless grunts.
These ordinary Order members were largely human domain cultivators. Now that their supreme lord had fled in panic, anyone that had the ability and mind to run had already fled. Those that hadn't lacked the sufficient spirit to fight to the death.
As such, there was a wave of kneeling at Jiang Chen's command. There was no room for modesty or egoism before the grimness of death. They'd already lost all sense of self-respect when they joined the Order.
"Jiao Yun, Jiao Feng, tell me which of these joined the Order of their own volition and which were coerced into it. The former is to be executed on the spot and the latter let go, depending on circumstances." Jiang Chen had no desire to execute every former Order member.
Many had been strong-armed into their ranks. Those left at Agarwood Valley's entrance a few years ago, for example: Emperor Peerless, the Jiao brothers, and others.
There was no need to seek any kind of reckoning against these people. Their hearts had never been to the Order in the first place. They were just victims of the circumstances.
It was at this time that Madame Yun approached him with reddened eyes. "Sage brother Jiang Chen, I've never asked anything much of anyone. But this time, I have to make a desperate request. Please, save my dearest Mo!"
Jiang Chen was shocked. He hurriedly took the lady's arms. "Madame, please relax. As my good brother's wife, you are free to ask anything of me at your leisure."
But Madame Yun was inconsolable.
To the side, Emperor Peerless was a little embarrassed. "Excuse the lack of decorum, young lord Jiang Chen. Women are sometimes a bit more emotional than polite."
"Ah, please explain what is exactly wrong, Old Brother Mo." Jiang Chen quickly replied. "Your wife's sadness means this is no small matter."
"The supreme lord of the Order of Wind and Cloud fed the Order's members a certain 'Exultation Pill of Wind and Cloud'," Coiling Dragon followed up. "It's a potent poison, and victims may be hard to save after it acts."
Jiang Chen tensed when he heard this. "Old Brother Mo." He glanced at the man. "And what happened to your face?"
Emperor Peerless chuckled. "Nothing much. There's no need to mention it."
"Young lord, Brother Mo is a righteous man," Coiling Dragon advised. "His loyalty to humanity and Sacred Peafowl Mountain are well-tested. He did that himself to avoid detection from those familiar with him, so that he could stay hidden within the Order."
"It was something that couldn't be helped, really," Emperor Peerless smiled wryly. "The Order gathered many human experts together. Even wandering cultivator giants like Emperors Everviolet and Sabledeep joined up. Many of them know me, hence this unfortunate plan. Plus, the special bloodline abilities I've been cultivating lately masked much of my original martial dao. The two combined meant that I was able to successfully fool them."
Jiang Chen was both affected and respectful when he heard what the emperor had relayed.
"Old Brother Mo, Madame Yun. Don't worry. I'll find an antidote for the Exultation Pill. I may not have full confidence in other areas, but I can cure pretty much any removable poison!"
Emperor Peerless wouldn't have believed this of anyone else. After all, he knew firsthand how fearsome the Exultation Pill was. However, the fact that Jiang Chen was the speaker convinced him a great deal.
"My friends, the impression I got from the voice before was that it belonged to an empyrean expert in the human domain. Do any of you know what secluded experts we have?" Jiang Chen hadn't forgotten about the events that had just happened.
The appearance of secluded expert made him even more anxious than before. The situation in the human domain was becoming more and more complicated.
After crushing the northern alliance and slaying Pillzenith, Jiang Chen had thought the situation here to be within his grasp. It seemed that he had been too naïve.
The rise of the Order and the appearance of a hermit empyrean expert… all signs pointed toward things in the human domain gradually coming to a boil.
Jiang Chen swept his eyes across everyone before him. Unfortunately, he gleaned no useful information from what he saw. Evidently, most of the human domain thought hermit experts to be too far beyond their own realms of expertise…