There was steely resolution in Forefather Embittered Bamboo's tone. Through it, Jiang Chen heard his sincerity.
"Now, you understand why I didn't kill you," the young man laughed in applause. Saying this, he placed a jade slip and a pill bottle upon the table.
"The jade slip contains the latter half of the Way to Grand Ascension. The pill within the bottle is the Crowning Ascension Pill. It will grant you a free level within empyrean realm. I see that you're not far from seventh level empyrean, so you don't necessarily have to use it right away. You can wait until after your breakthrough to advanced empyrean."
There was no need to elaborate on the Crowning Empyrean Pill's benefits.
Forefather Embittered Bamboo had no conceivable response to Jiang Chen's gifts. He hadn't imagined such incredible generosity in his wildest dreams.
The young man found the savage's helpless attitude mildly amusing. No one could remain calm before such attractive prizes.
“Don’t get complacent, Embittered Bamboo. I’m giving you these things, but I have many methods of taking them back with interest. I told you already that I’m not after your enslavement. I hope that one day, when the demons invade, there will be another group willing to declare war against them. Have you that courage?”
The forefather immediately turned incredibly resolute. “The demons, young lord Jiang Chen? I can’t promise anything else, but I will spearhead an attack against them without fail!”
“Is that so? Well, that’s not quite necessary yet. Your job is to return and unify the Embittered Savage Tribe, then get a better understanding of things from the surrounding territories. How are the other tribes around you faring? Knowledge is the first step of victory, and we have precious little of it,” Jiang Chen sighed.
Under ordinary circumstances, he wouldn’t have given Forefather Embittered Bamboo these things. But extraordinary times called for drastic measures. As long as his goals were advanced, Jiang Chen didn't care about the price.
He could’ve kept Embittered Bamboo down, but he wanted the old expert to wholeheartedly work for him. The forefather was definitely more capable than someone like Old Crane.
Embittered Bamboo lacked Old Crane and his comrades’ craftiness. People who were too calculating were destined to waver. There was no decisiveness to be found in their actions.
“Stay at Veluriyam for now, Embittered Bamboo. I need you to put on a show. Though Sacred Peafowl Mountain currently reigns supreme in the human domain, there may be factions in the Upper Eight Regions who don't understand the trend of the times. I would like to make use of your show of support to keep them in line. They should put away their selfish inclinations in light of the human domain’s difficult situation. Otherwise, they have more than enough ability to be a detriment when the outbreak happens.”
Jiang Chen had never believed the Upper Eight Regions capable of resisting the demons. Demons were extremely powerful beings, and the factions had nothing that could stand against them.
In fact, he was much more worried about potential betrayal due to weak wills. They might very well join up with the demons and become willing puppets – or worse, take the demon bloodline. In any case, he didn't want to see race traitors.
Embittered Bamboo became thoughtful. “Don’t worry,” he nodded, “I know what to do.”
“Alright. You may go for now. Wait for my summons.”
The savage forefather was thoroughly won over by Jiang Chen’s mixture of compulsion and volition. Though he knew this was also part of the young man’s manipulation, what could he do?
There was no conspiracy. Jiang Chen’s intentions were bare for all to see!
Could he refuse the Way to Grand Ascension or the Crowning Empyrean Pill?
The empyrean decrees the young man was able to produce offhandedly also made his heart race. The meaning behind them was too scary to contemplate.
How many empyrean experts had he slain to obtain this many?
Mo Wushuang arrived as soon as Embittered Bamboo left. Booming laughter rushed in from a distance. “Brother, you’re finally back. I’ve missed you!”
The man was in a good mood after breaking through to second level empyrean realm. He had cultivated with great fervor these past few years, far more diligent than he had ever been in the past.
Wellspring was with him. A great emperor no more, but a second level empyrean expert as well.
The Jiao brothers were close behind.
They weren’t as high as Mo Wushuang and Jingzhong Hui – first level empyrean, to be precise. They hadn’t obtained drops of kunpeng blood, but empyrean decrees instead.
Refining said decrees had been enough to allow them to break through to empyrean realm, though with significant limitations. However, the Jiao brothers’ former talents and positions made them quite pleased to be where they were today.
They knew they couldn't possibly compare to Peerless and Wellspring. Among the six wandering cultivator giants of yesteryear, even Sabledeep was only half-step empyrean realm.
That comparison alone satisfied the brothers to no end. Regardless of what Sabledeep’s future prospects were, at least they were much better off right now. More importantly, their status in the world was a cut above the other wandering great emperors as well.
Jiang Chen felt a surge of familiarity when he saw all the old faces around him.
“Old Brother Mo, Old Brother Jingzhong, Jiao Yun, Jiao Feng! Looks like none of you slacked off during the years we’ve been apart! Well done, well done!” He was pleased with their progress.
The four men sensed the drastic change that had taken place in their young lord as soon as they came in. Mo Wushuang had always been the closest to Jiang Chen, and was consequently the most comfortable with speaking to him.
“Brother.” His eyes studied Jiang Chen rapidly. “Your sister-in-law’s been telling me all about how different you would be when you came back. We’ve been trying to guess at what level your cultivation has reached. It looks like her eyes are keener than my own.”
“Oh? What did she say?” Jiang Chen recalled that Mo Wushuang’s dao partner was Madam Yun.
“Well, she said that perhaps your cultivation will have surpassed mine.” Mo Wushuang sighed with some embarrassment. “Some people say that women tend to be foolish, but it seems that I am the foolish one today.”
Jiang Chen smiled wryly. “What was your guess, then, Old Brother Mo?”
“I guessed you would’ve reached empyrean realm, but she said you might’ve gotten to mid empyrean already. She’s right, isn’t she?”