The Embittered Savages was only one of the tribes situated beyond the Boundary Stele realms. There were many more of them besides the northwestern one. If Boundary Steles all over were broken and the aliens came rushing in, the human domain would be a cake to be divided up by others at their leisure.
The atmosphere became even more tense.
Han Qianzhan broke into sudden, hearty laughter. "What are you all getting so depressed for? So what if the Embittered Savages are a bit fierce? Didn't they lose to young lord Jiang Chen? Same with the Southern Celestials! Their three empyrean experts slunk home with their tails between their legs, no?
"The overweening Order was also smashed into submission. Chaotic times breed heroes, and whenever the human domain is in danger, countless great characters rise up to save it from trouble. In the ancient demon-sealing war, humanity fought far more dangerous foes than these. The situations we were embroiled in back then were far more complicated too. We survived all that, didn't we?"
Clearsky nodded as well. "Since he first made his way into the world, young lord Jiang Chen has enjoyed remarkable fortune. To be honest, we Ninesuns Sky Sect used to harbor quite a grudge against the young lord. After a while, I noticed that his rise was so meteoric as to be unstoppable and wisely made peace with him. Look at his achievements today. I can declare with certainty that the young lord will surely lead the human race out of its current quagmire!"
The heads of the two strongest sects had spoken, somewhat relieving the strain in the air.
Wellspring chuckled. "I used to be a wandering cultivator, so I can't contribute much to the discussion. However, I have my own methods of judging a person's worth. Young lord Jiang Chen is destined for greatness. If we're to defeat the Embittered Savages, the Southern Celestials, and even the demons, it will be with the young lord at the helm. No one else."
As one of the six wandering cultivator titans, Wellspring was just as prominent as most of the first rank sect heads. His words were equally convincing.
Peerless smiled serenely. "I won't say much here. Young lord Jiang Chen has saved my life at least three times. I only want to say that from my years of laying low among the Order… its supreme lord is good at putting on a persuasive show, but he has no actual leadership to speak of. The Order is just a clown compared to Veluriyam Capital."
The joint support of these two wandering cultivator titans was credible indeed.
Jiang Chen waved a hand, smiling himself. "I am a little embarrassed that you think so highly of me. That's enough with the courtesies. now isn't the time for them. Everyone here today who's willing to fight to the death is my kind. Anyone who lacks the resolution to do so, please leave now. I guarantee that I will not stop or trouble you if you decide to do so!"
"We shall fight with young lord Jiang Chen to the bitter end!"
"Please lead us, young lord! We shall follow you with our very lives!"
"We would rather die standing than live on our knees!"
"How can we human cultivators become slaves to another race? We can't let aliens trample our dignity!" The attendees felt their blood ignite. They shouted loudly, each trying to best the others in volume.
"A claim isn't enough. The Ninesuns Sky Sect is willing to swear an oath!"
"Quite so! A blood oath that heaven and earth will utterly destroy you if you betray it!"
"Anyone who betrays humanity for alien invaders is less than an animal!"
"Exactly. The young lord has done so much for us humans. If we can't stand firm on a point as minor as this, can we even count ourselves as human?"
"Who can lead humanity aside from young lord Jiang Chen and Veluriyam Capital? Who can stand against the alien races?"
All the factions requested the swearing of a blood oath. In doing so, the most hesitant individuals were revealed. The indecisive and reluctant were relatively few in number. Most sects were emphatic with their oaths.
Jiang Chen didn't pursue the sects and factions who weren't. Instead, he politely sent them out. The sects that remained were all adamant allies.
"My friends, if you've decided to stay, I recommend that you remove as much of your heritage and personnel as you can while things are still peaceful. According to my estimates, great chaos is going to descend upon the human domain very soon!"
The Order swiftly received news of what had happened at Veluriyam Capital.
Supreme Lord Xiahou Jing was quite dejected. "Daoist Shu," he sighed. "We've overestimated Jiang Chen's high-handedness."
"He's truly shrewd," replied Shu Wanqing coldly. "But you shouldn't be too anxious. Even if he doesn't gather forces to the northwest in a large-scale battle against the Embittered Savages, do you think the Savages will just leave him in peace? Right now, essentially every major sect and faction has withdrawn into Veluriyam Capital. If the Embittered Savages makes its way south unhindered, it will come upon Veluriyam sooner or later."
Xiahou Jing was a bit jittery. "But then I don't know how long I'll have to wait."
"Do you have any ideas?" Shu Wanqing inquired coolly.
Xiahou Jing sighed. "I have to come up with one to push them forward a bit faster."
Shu Wanqing considered this for a moment before smiling strangely. "There are ways to do that. If someone important to that tribe were to be ambushed or harmed, they'll surely be enmaddened. Given their natures, they'll disregard everything else to engage in mortal combat with Veluriyam Capital."
Xiahou Jing's eyes lit up. "A great idea, Daoist Shu! Are you willing to perform this momentous task for the Order?"
Shu Wanqing chuckled. "It's not impossible as long as I'm appropriately repaid for my efforts."
A man of his age had little remaining convictions and morals. He sought profit first and foremost. He would do anything for the right price, even pierce the skies through.
"If you can pull this off," Xiahou Jing mused, "I guarantee that I will give you a position on Myriad Abyss Island!"
"Truly?" Shu Wanqing intoned in a low voice.
"If I lie, may heaven and earth smite me!" Xiahou Jing responded seriously.
Travelling to Myriad Abyss Island was what Shu Wanqing most desired. He wanted to go to the legendary holy land of martial dao. He felt no hope for his future here in the human domain.
"Supreme Lord Xiahou, wait for my good news!" Shu Wanqing disappeared in a streak of light as he said this.
Watching the cultivator leave into the distance, a sneer curled at the corner of Xiahou Jing's mouth. The lack of a backbone in this human empyrean expert made him look down on the residents of the human domain all the more.
"Jiang Chen, I don't believe for a minute that you can revitalize the human domain as someone who's not even a great emperor." The young man from Myriad Abyss was filled with resentment whenever he mentioned his bitterest foe.
In the northwest, Gunuo Village's army of savages had been delayed - if not seriously hurt - by their combat against Jiang Chen.
On this day, scouts finally brought back more comprehensive information about the human domain.
"Your Highness, the Moon God Sect has retreated from the northwestern lands. Its ancestral holdings are totally empty and defenseless."
"What?" Gu Tianqing blinked when he heard the news.
The reaction from his closest bodyguards was similar. They'd been adjusting and thinking of a battle plan for the past few days, calculating all kinds of eventualities related to a hard-fought battle.
Naturally, they'd made preparations to crack a hard nut. In fact, a request for help had been sent back to the village's chieftain to ask for a few more capable experts.
Their wariness of Jiang Chen and the stone golem warriors was evident. Their current troops were more than sufficient to take on the Moon God Sect alone, but on the off chance that Jiang Chen had remained there for a decisive battle, they would have a very hard time winning.
This was the reason for their present delay.
Their reinforcements would be here very soon and the Savages would really move forward then. Who would've expected such shocking news about the sect's activities?
The Moon God Sect had withdrawn!
Not only that, but the lands they'd ruled over were devoid of any resistance. These northwestern gates into the human domain were wide open, ripe for the Embittered Savages' taking.
"Damn it!" Gu Tianqing realized that he'd been tricked by the Moon God Sect into missing his best opportunity. If the Savages had pressed the attack, there was no way the sect would've been able to evacuate so quickly. Alas, the short postponement of only a few days meant that the withdrawal had been leisurely.
"Has the Moon God Sect left anything behind?" Old man Gu Qi asked.
The scout shook his head. "Aside from their main doors, essentially every material good has been taken away. Not even one lowly servant or steward remains."
Their flight had been extremely thorough!
Gu Tianqing gnashed his teeth. "Human are slippery! Our ancestors were absolutely right. Not only that, but they have no spine! They're running from a fight they know they can't win. But they won't be able to take this land with them! If the Moon God Sect's former base is available, then we'll take it for our own!"
In the absence of loot and plunder, some new land to live on wasn't bad. The Embittered Savages needed their own base in the human domain anyways. They couldn't emulate locusts by destroying everything wherever they went.
Without the support of logistics, an army that ventured too far into enemy territory risked being encircled and devoured.