"Have they entered the tent yet?" Jiang Chen leisurely waited for news atop Sacred Peafowl Mountain. Sure enough, the Goldbiter Rats soon informed him that Forefather Embittered Bamboo and the three chieftains had taken King Gunuo up on his invitation.
"Without a doubt, young lord Chen," the rat king answered firmly.
Jiang Chen casually rose to his feet and barked with confident laughter. "Haha! They say that the best way to win a battle is through the use of strategy, resulting in a bloodless victory!"
He'd already assembled a large army that could go toe-to-toe against the Savages, but just because he could, didn't mean he should. A war had to be avoided if possible as the Savages were ferocious and deadly. With Veluriyam's current strength, the war would only end with huge losses on both sides. Victory would have to come at great cost.
That outcome was wholly undesirable as many of his close subordinates could lose their lives in the war. Even the thought of it pained him greatly.
"It's about time." Jiang Chen stated nonchalantly and summoned the golem brothers. "You will accompany me on the action, the rest of you stand ready for my orders!"
Inside King Gunuo's tent, the forefather's contracted spirit creature suddenly shifted restlessly and wouldn't stop growling. Bizarre fear and anxiety could be seen clearly in its eyes.
"Holy Beast, battle is on the horizon. Why are you throwing a tantrum?" The forefather rebuked.
Its fur on end, the beast alternated between growling fretfully and shrieking ferociously.
"What's wrong?" The forefather asked his contracted spirit creature. Moments later, his expression darkened. He examined his qi ocean and felt inexplicably weak. His current condition was night and day from his usual self. What was happening?
The forefather was completed taken aback. He suddenly rose his arms high to slice through the tent, as if his palms were two blades. The tent fell down on two sides, its occupants exposed to the world.
Almost all of the executives from all four tribes were gathered here. They were completely dumbfounded as they couldn't understand why the forefather had done such a thing.
"Forefather, what's wrong?" One of them asked with a perplexed expression.
The forefather glared at King Gunuo ferociously. "What treachery are you trying in your tent?"
At this point, the king had already retreated several feet away. A sinister smile materialized on the corners of his mouth. "Forefather, what do you mean? Why are you in a rage?"
The forefather yelled furiously. "You numbskulls! Have none of you realized that you've been poisoned?"
The color drained from everyone else's faces as they hastily checked their bodies. The results horrified them even further. None of them could muster any strength! Their qi ocean was empty!
"W-what's going on?" King Yuanqing was dumbfounded. Terror and angst could be heard in his voice. Clearly, the sudden turn of events had distressed him greatly.
King Flowerback glared at Gunuo, thoroughly enraged. "It must be you! The path from the Moon God Sect to the Heavenly Dragon Sect is riddled with danger! With two sects to plunder, you should've arrived last! But your tents were already up by the time I arrived! You must've been up to no good when you invited us to your tent!"
King Gunuo retorted mockingly. "You might eat a crock of shit, but there's no need to spew it from your mouth. Flowerback, we've had our differences in the past, but surely you don't need to slander me like this?"
The forefather glared at Gunuo coldly. "Why do you stay so far away if you've really done nothing wrong? Our movements have all been hindered by the poison, yet you're able to retreat effortlessly. Do you still wish to deny your involvement?"
Gunuo decided to tear down all pretences after the forefather had ousted him.
"That's right, it's all my doing! You've all been poisoned! You'll feel weak and powerless and you won't be able to muster any strength. Is this straightforward enough for you?"
A deathly hush fell over the crowd after he admitted his involvement. Pain, confusion, and despair were written over their faces.
Flowerback laughed ghastly. "Bastard! I always knew you were traitorous scum! Forefather, we should tear him into pieces while we still have strength and seize the antidote from him!"
Gunuo burst into laughter. "Antidote? Do you really believe that the antidote is in my hands? I had the same idea when I was in your shoes! The more you struggle, the faster the poison spreads! Hahaha!"
Reinforcements from the other three villages quickly arrived. The forefather shouted, "Stop! Stay away from here! The poison has yet to dissipate!"
The braves screeched to a hlt.
"Surround the area! Don't let a single Gunuo bastard escape!" Flowerback commanded.
"Yes! Surround them and make them give up the antidote!" Yuanqing added.
Greenplume issued an order to his warriors as well. "Stop hesitating! You must surround the Gunuo traitors!"
The warriors of Gunuo Village had already gathered at their king's side, forming a squadron at one of the corners. The warriors from the other villages moved to surround them.
At this time, a crisp peal laughter echoed through the air.
"Tsk tsk. It's certainly lively here! How fortunate that I've made it in time." Jiang Chen had arrived with the Stone Golems.
Powerful experts from various factions had assembled and stationed themselves on Veluriyam's outskirts in preparation for war! Almost every single elite of the human domain had gathered at Veluriyam Capital. No matter how one looked at it, they held the advantage, both in terms of numbers and morale.
Jiang Chen slowly solidified, like a mirage taking shape. His image gradually sharpened as he made his way closer. It almost seemed like he'd materialized out of a primordial age.
He snapped his fingers once as he walked, causing the land in a ten-mile radius to tremble and shake. The sound of rumbling earth was bone-chilling.
Torrents of golden waves emerged from the ground, answering his call. It wasn't any kind of water, but an enormous army of Goldbiter Rats!
The tide of rats had appeared once again!
Their numbers spanned for as far as the eye could see, surrounding the area with their overwhelming presence. There was no end to their numbers.
"Forefather Embittered Bamboo?" Jiang Chen glanced at the forefather with the Evil Golden Eye. One could easily identify the latter due to being as skinny as a stick of bamboo, accompanied with an ill-fittingly large head.
The forefather glared daggers at Jiang Chen.
"You're the young lord of Veluriyam, Jiang Chen?" Frustration filled his heart as he assessed the youth.
A young man was prancing around in front of him, yet there was nothing he could do. To a sixth level empyrean master, the humiliation was worse than death.
"That's correct." Jiang Chen smiled nonchalantly. "Embittered Savages, why do you covet our land when clearly your own territory is more than enough to suit your needs? Do you truly believe that the human race is beneath small and insignificant invaders like you?"
"How dare you speak such nonsense!"
"You despicable humans have no right to say that our tribe is small and insignificant!" The embittered Savages were extremely proud of their identities. They'd always naively believed that they were superior to the humans. This confidence seeped deep into their very bones.
Jiang Chen wasn't in the mood for bickering. He flashed a bland grin. "Shout all you want. Your fate is already set in stone. You can mock and ridicule to your heart's desire. That's all you can do now."
He taunted the Savages brazenly.
The forefather inched closer to Jiang Chen, a lethal strike kept in store. He'd yet to give up on the hope for a counterattack. Unfortunately for him, Jiang Chen had seen through his intentions.
The young lord smiled blandly. "Embittered Bamboo, you can save the effort. The more you move, the sooner you'll die. Since I've appeared before you, I can guarantee that I have ways to deal with you. In fact, even if you hadn't been poisoned, it's unlikely that you'll be able to harm me in any way."
Such was Jiang Chen's confidence.
The forefather's anger dissipated after Jiang Chen hit the nail on the head. He sighed with despair. "I've run rampant through the world all my life, but to think that a human youth would cause me to eat a loss! Oh, the irony!"
The forefather's tones were tinged with despair. Everything was out of his control.
Jiang Chen didn't let his guard down just because of this. All he did was smile coldly at his foe.
"The winner reigns over the defeated. I have nothing else to say." The forefather was surprisingly straightforward. "Name your terms. What must we do for you to let our innocent warriors go?"
"Innocent?" Jiang Chen roared into laughter. "Did they not kill or pillage? How are they innocent?"
"Embittered Bamboo, don't take me for a fool! Right now, you're in no position to talk terms, understood?" he warned solemnly.
The forefather was an eminent figure after all. He burned with impotent rage after the human's lecture. But when he marshalled his strength to attack, he discovered to his great chagrin that he wasn't confident he'd be able to hit his target.