Given his position amongst the Earthly Fiend elders, Jiang Chen smoldered with rage when Gentlewind returned with the Precious Tree Sect captives.
The Order has no bottom line alright!
He'd already foreseen this issue and informed the Regal Pill Palace beforehand, but the Precious Tree Sect was in a mundane kingdom. Such factions were rarely ever dragged into the conflicts of the martial dao world.
But obviously, the Order didn't have a whit of morals and laid their hands on the Precious Tree Sect anyways.
It was most likely one of Xiahou Jing's subordinates who'd come up with the idea, because a man of his stature would never think to exploit a mundane sect. Moreover, the cunning foxes had targeted those closest to Jiang Chen, such as Ye Chonglou and Tang Hong! There was no way he could turn a blind eye to them!
The angrier he grew, the calmer he became.
Four Stone Golems were pummeling the Order's foundations whilst Veluriyam's army slowly encroached. The Order members were all anxious and jittery. There was no saying what they might do under these circumstances, and as such, no room for risky antics.
"Daoist Shu, care to join me for a walk?" Xiahou Jing smiled leisurely.
Shu Wanqing couldn't wait for a good show. "Naturally."
"Protector King Gentlewind, bring them along and keep your eyes on them. They're so very precious to me right now." Xiahou Jing ordered jokingly.
"Understood." Gentlewind made a sweeping gesture and had his men take the prisoners away.
Jiang Chen followed the crowd without a break in cover, but a new plan was brewing inside of him. He'd wanted to take advantage of the disturbance to eliminate Xiahou Jing and Shu Wanqing, but his plans had been thrown into disarray when the captives appeared.
Veluriyam's army had made camp at a distant three hundred miles away, but the Order was already on high alert.
Xiahou Jing and Shu Wanqing soon arrived at the frontlines.
"Greetings to the Supreme Lord." The senior executives in charge of defenses filtered up to pay their respects.
"Let us forgo the formalities. Good work, everyone. I know that all of you are worried about Veluriyam's army, but please believe in me and put your hearts to ease. Their army might seem large and intimidating, but their stay will not be for long as they cannot afford a drawn out battle. Unless they wish the Embittered Savages to raze their home, they will have to retreat without a fight if we hold out half a month!" Xiahou Jing smiled blandly.
"Moreover, I hold a few bargaining chips. Jiang Chen is the kind of person who refrains from shooting at the rat for fear of breaking the vases. He won't act rashly."
Xiahou Jing waved a hand and had Gentlewind bring over the captives.
"The people you see here are all from the same sect as Jiang Chen. That brat has always stuck to his loyalty. He won't turn a blind eye to them if he doesn't wish to become the object of scorn."
The crowd's apprehension was alleviated when they saw the captives.
"Alright, that's all I have to say. Continue the hard work until Veluriyam's army arrives. Make sure that the defenses are laid down perfectly. Remember, our pain is only temporary. We are destined to be the rulers of the human domain, because I am the one true lord of this land!" Xiahou Jing boomed with confidence.
His natural talent for theatrics was truly worthy of praise. The fact that he was from Myriad Abyss Island further added to his credibility.
The Order was much easier to control because of these reasons. Even though the faction was on the verge of collapse, there were still a lot of devotees that would listen to his every command. His background and origin were advantages that Jiang Chen lacked.
"Protector King Gentlewind, take your most trusted men and keep a close eye on them. They will be most useful when Veluriyam's army arrives." Xiahou Jing didn't want to reveal the captives just yet. They were of utmost importance and there was no room for error.
The situation at the front was stable for now, but the golems' siege on the Order's foundations was still ongoing. Pieces of bad news continuously streamed in.
Xiahou Jing finally flew into rage. "That bastard Jiang Chen! His army stands three hundred miles away, yet he sends his golems to attack my foundations? Does he really think that I can't deal with those enormous fools?!
"Daoist Shu, those stone fools are Jiang Chen's greatest trump card. If we eliminate them, Veluriyam will be a declawed tiger. Why don't we join forces to take them out?"
Shu Wanqing smiled blandly. "As you wish."
He'd already witnessed the tribe's might with his own eyes and knew that they were still far from peak condition. Going up against one or two wouldn't be an issue. But his chances of getting away were close to nil against all eight. However, it was clear that only four had come this time. The others must be defending the Capital.
There wasn't much to fear in that case, so he accepted Xiahou Jing's invitation without any hesitation.
Xiahou Jing ordered three protector kings and a dozen elders to accompany then. The rest were left at the forefront of the battleground.
Though Jiang Chen had disguised himself as an elder, he wasn't selected because of his low rank. This was without doubt the best scenario that could've happened.
After Xiahou Jing and the others left, he immediately excused himself in the name of patrolling. He headed in the direction that Gentlewind had disappeared in.
It only took him a moment to track down the protector king. The captives were being held in Gentlewind's abode, a highly secure location.
Jiang Chen might have located his target, but didn't rush in headlong to save them. This was Order territory. Brash actions should only be a last resort. If the sect was alerted of his presence, he could easily make it out alive, but the same couldn't be said of the Precious Tree Sect captives.
A stroke of brilliance suddenly flashed across his mind.
He found a remote corner and disguised himself as Emperor Everviolet, also known as Protector King Shockcloud.
Jiang Chen had encountered Everviolet multiple times before and was rather familiar with the emperor's bearing. Moreover, he could also the imitate the Everviolet Eye Technique very convincingly thanks to his mastery in other eye techniques.
After putting the finishing touches on his disguise, he swaggered into Gentlewind's abode.
"Who goes there?!" When Jiang Chen showed himself, Gentlewind's subordinates alertly blocked the path. They were extremely cautious, even towards Everviolet.
"Protector King Shockcloud? What noble errand brings you here?" one of them asked warily.
It made no sense for Shockcloud to visit so soon after they'd gone their separate ways.
Jiang Chen was naturally prepared for this since he'd been so daring as to disguise himself as Everviolet. An authoritative golden light appeared in his gaze.
Hearts raced when the crowd met his eyes, and they grew short of breath as well. Those who met his gaze were immediately flustered and short of breath.
"The supreme lord ordered me to. Need I explain more? Where is Daoist Gentlewind?" Jiang Chen answered blandly, imitating Everviolet's tone.
It was easy enough for a cultivator to imitate another's speech, and even more so for Jiang Chen, who had a natural talent when it came to imitation.
As expected, the guards were overawed by Jiang Chen's aura. Shockcloud wasn't someone they could afford to offend.
"P-please wait a moment, Sir Shockcloud. We will inform Protector King Gentlewind of your visit immediately."
Low-level subordinates like them naturally wouldn't dare delay a protector king's errand.
Gentlewind found Shockcloud's unwarranted visit a little surprising, but immediately strode out to receive his guest.
"Daoist Shockcloud, we just parted ways! What brings you here?" Suspicion tinged Gentlewind's tone.
"Hmph! It's because the Veluriyam rats are causing too much disturbance! The supreme lord is worried that they might come for the captives, so I was ordered to help you!" Jiang Chen added a bit of contempt. "My eye techniques have always been used in combat, but I've been assigned guard duty! That's just my luck, huh!"
Alarm bells in Gentlewind's heart stopped clanging with this response. Jiang Chen's behavior and manner of speech was completely in-line.
He chuckled amiably. "Heh. With Daoist Shockcloud's help, nobody can hope to approach us. The supreme lord is wise."
He was more than happy for another helping hand, especially someone like Shockcloud who could share some of his burden.
Shockcloud grasped various heaven-defying eye techniques. There was nothing in the vicinity that could possibly escape his eye! Gentlewind thanked his lucky stars
"Daoist Shockcloud, please do come in!" He was the epitome of hospitality.
"Hmph!" Jiang Chen didn't break character. Based on his analysis of Everviolet, high irritation was the most appropriate way to react in this situation.
Gentlewind's abode was immensely opulent and luxurious, but the defense systems were quite mediocre. This was the clearest illustration of the Order's shallow foundations.
The more Jiang Chen observed, the more elated he was. The more flaws there were, the more opportunities he'd have!