The turning point of the battle had been when Emperor Peerless passed crucial information to a certain Goldbiter Rat.
Everything had proceeded virtually perfectly from that point on. Alas, the disruption of the supposed human empyrean expert had ruined everything. What should have been a bang-up ending turned into a questionable whimper.
"On my orders, all who joined the Order must renounce their allegiances. If any are set in their erroneous ways, they will be branded traitors to the human race!
"Moreover, make it known in the entire human domain what happened in the battle here. Especially the fact that the supreme lord of the Order fled with his tail between his legs. The bulk of the Order is no more. Let the world know that the presumptuous Order of Wind and Cloud has nothing more than the illusion of strength!"
Though Jiang Chen hadn't managed to kill Xiahou Jing, Veluriyam Capital was undisputedly the winner today.
Xiahou Jing had gotten out alive at the end of the day, but his most valued accomplices had been exterminated. Because of the Order's catastrophic loss, it would be significantly harder for him to gather a new group of human cultivators together under his banner.
Jiang Chen wanted to avoid the possibility altogether. That was why he had to warn the human cultivators who lacked a bottom line by announcing his victory to the world.
To tell the truth, Jiang Chen despised those who willingly joined the Order. If Xiahou Jing had been a human senior expert, it was understandable that others would join him.
But it was ridiculous to thoughtlessly worship someone with unknown origins and a penchant for delusion. Jiang Chen wondered whether they had any brains at all.
The Order's defeat had taken Xiahou Jing's personal subordinates out of the equation, but it did have many auxiliary main forces remaining.
Out of the eight Protector Kings, the six that hadn't come with him had been busy with other tasks at the time. In theory, these key members of the Order were still alive without much injury. Moreover, these people were under the control of the Exultation Pill. They would likely be forced to comply with the supreme lord's further orders.
"Old Brother Mo, come with me for a moment." Jiang Chen picked out his sworn brother and took him toward a secret room. "Old Brother Mo, you've suffered quite a bit for the past few years. I have many ways to restore your original appearance with no side effects, of course. However, I do need to research the Exultation Pill of Wind and Cloud. I might need a sample of your blood…"
Mo Wushuang chuckled. "No need for all that trouble. I have a bit of the pill with me." Saying this, he produced a quarter of a pill like performing a magic trick.
The Exultation Pill of Wind and Pill was as large as a lychee, so the quarter-pill that the emperor possessed was reasonably sizable.
"The Order periodically gives out antidotes as well as new Exultation Pills. I l found an opportunity to keep behind a quarter of a pill. Because of the amount, I wasn't detected."
The sect was perpetually kept on high alert. Typically, any sort of under-the-table behavior was forbidden.
However, Emperor Peerless had been skillful enough to receive this risky payoff. Hiding a quarter of an Exultation Pill had certainly been quite dangerous.
Jiang Chen was overjoyed. "Very well done, Old Brother Mo. This will make everything much easier. I'm even more sure of my success than I was before!"
He hadn't done that many serious things in his previous life of a million years. The most he had accomplished was learning pill dao. He learned every kind of pill dao heritage there was, regardless of its perceived social status or faction origin. His scholarly talents from back then had allowed him to navigate pill dao with ease.
The young man was confident that the Exultation Pill would pose no challenge to him in light of his studious nature.
"Young lord," Emperor Peerless sighed. "I can't remember how many times you've saved my life. This is quite embarrassing."
"Not at all, Old Brother Mo. Without the huge risk you took in passing the news onto me, Veluriyam Capital would have been faced with a life and death situation. My gesture to you is minor compared to the grace in your actions. Who else could've done what you did? Who can destroy their own face and lie in wait behind enemy lines for another's sake?"
Jiang Chen had already a deep appreciation of his sworn brother's integrity before this. The matter of the Order had only proven all the more that Mo Wushuang was someone extremely trustworthy, with robust morals that withstood trial.
Emperor Peerless didn't think as much of it. "Many cultivators could've done the same, I'm sure. Destroying one's face did require a bit more courage and cleverness though."
"Regardless, you are a great hero of humanity, Old Brother Mo. There would've been grave consequences if Veluriyam had been taken by the Order."
Jiang Chen wasn't being humble. He was grateful to the great emperor from the bottom of his heart. His family and foundations lay within the city's walls. If anything had happened to them during his absence, he would've regretted it for the rest of his life.
Having a fragment of the Exultation Pill on hand lightened much of Jiang Chen's workload. He was able to forgo a multitude of complex procedures because of it. Instead, he could directly analyze the pill's contents.
Jiang Chen had his unique methodology when it came to analyzing pills. He knew of a plethora of ways and applied what he felt was the most appropriate to his circumstances.
Time waited for no man.
Jiang Chen was in a very big hurry to figure out the characteristics of the pill in order to formulate an antidote. The antidote wasn't only useful for saving Emperor Peerless and the Jiao brothers; but had another use as well.
His reliability when applying his skills was as remarkable as ever. After four days in seclusion, Jiang Chen was able to decipher the Exultation Pill's medicinal properties and find a recipe that applied appropriate countermeasures. Even Emperor Peerless hadn't expected such rapid research and development from the young lord.
The Jiao brothers were overjoyed. "I've always said that young lord Jiang Chen could remove our poison!" Jiao Feng exclaimed.
The trio were much happier after being freed of the Exultation Pill's shackles.
The return of the three great emperors increased the strength of Jiang Chen's forces as well. Veluriyam's young lord was in need of any and all manpower. The timing for Emperor Peerless and the Jiao brothers' restoration was impeccable.
"Old Brother Mo, do you think that the people who followed the Order were pressured into it by the supreme lord's aura, or because of the toxicity of the pill?"
Jiang Chen wanted to know the answer to this very badly.
Emperor Peerless thought about it for a moment. "Well, it depends. Some people must have felt compelled by the effects of the pill, but others went with the supreme lord willingly, lured by promises of an empyrean opportunity.
"Of course, most were pressured into it as you said. Coercion was sadly an effective tool."
"What if I announced my antidote to the world? What kind of effect would that have then?" Jiang Chen asked.
Emperor Peerless's expression froze. He furrowed his brow in thought for a moment before slapping his thigh. "That would be a wonderful thing! If the antidote is made available to the public, I think that many stuck with the Order would leave!"
Jiang Chen nodded. "The ones coerced into it in the first place are the only ones who'd be given the pill. The die-hard loyalists wouldn't need them anyway."
He'd already considered the topic when developing the antidote. Hearing Emperor Peerless's conclusion only assured him.
Antidotes were only difficult during the development stage. Mass production was trivial once that was over with.
Xiahou Jing was lucky to have escaped alive. Filled with anger and hatred, he took it out on many of his current subordinates. Without his most loyal retainers and the Elders Peng and Mo, his future in the human domain looked much dimmer than before.
"That petty, vile thief Jiang Chen! That bastard! As long as I still draw breath, killing you will be my goal!" Xiahou Jing couldn't control his rage whenever he remembered his shameful loss.
"Pass on my order. All Protector Kings in the outside world should return to headquarters without delay!" Xiahou Jing was quite anxious. Without his trump cards, he was unsure what the future held.
Without his subordinates from Myriad Abyss Island, he could only rely on followers from the human domain. If he couldn't steady the hearts of these people, the Order would crumble in an even shorter time than it had risen in.
However, trouble always came in pairs.
"Supreme Lord, Veluriyam Capital has spread the news about the Order's crushing defeat. They claim that our forces were almost entirely wiped out and that you…"
"What about me?" Xiahou Jing's face darkened.
"You… you ran away with your tail between your legs…"
Xiahou Jing was irate enough to cough up blood. He forced himself to calm down and continued on. "Tell me, what other terrible news is there?"
"There's… there's more. The young lord of Veluriyam says that all the cultivators under heaven will be branded as traitors if they stay loyal to the Order. Those who wish to renege on their mistaken allegiance can receive an antidote to the Exultation Pill."
"What?!" Xiahou Jing couldn't sit tight any more. Where had Jiang Chen gotten an antidote from?
His exclusivity to the antidote was key to his current control over the Order!
If the antidote was disseminated into the world, he would have no more cards available to play. He couldn't even maintain a semblance of calm now. His brows were furrowed deeply. "It's only been a few days. That brat must be making things up! He has to be!"
Still, Xiahou Jing couldn't stay cool despite knowing that.
The Order wasn't in the best of shape after its painful defeat. Xiahou Jing could just imagine the numerous executives that would take this as an opportunity to leave him behind!