Huang'er was a meticulously-minded girl. Though she'd exclusive remained within the young lord's residence, she had an acute grasp on all the goings-on within Veluriyam Capital. Her analysis was clear to every detail. Her systematic overview of the city's specifics revealed everything to Jiang Chen. The young man's brows furrowed after hearing his female companion's retelling of recent events.
"That explains why other pill stores have opened up near Taiyuan Tower. This is obviously a pointed attempt at inciting a response from us." It was as if Jiang Chen's eyes had been opened.
Even if the pill stores had not been set up by Emperor Shura's direct instructions, they were definitely related to that particular emperor.
"Brother Chen, I have to take partial responsibility for it having gotten so out of hand. Taiyuan Tower asked us for help many times. Pill King Bu, Pill King Lu Feng, Lin Yanyu, and Mu Gaoqi all requested to be sent to the store's aid. I made the decision to force them to stay."
Though she appeared gentle and quiet, Huang'er had a certain presence when conducting affairs that made it hard for people to question her decisions. Pill Kings Lu Feng and Bu were both relatively unruly men, but even they dared not misbehave in front of the girl.
Huang'er's unwillingness to let them out translated to their staying put here, despite a bellyful of complaints. Jiang Chen knew that Huang'er had to have a reason for doing what she did.
"Huang'er, are you worried that there's a conspiracy involved?"
Huang'er nodded. "Brother Chen, things have become much more muddled here in Veluriyam Capital after rumor of Emperor Peafowl's fall got out. Many ensuing events seem to be closely related to this. That's why I think Taiyuan Tower's plea for help and the unwarranted appearances of those new pill stores were both tentative measures. They seem to want a reaction out of us so that they can string us along. That's why I thought staying put was the best course of action."
The girl had incredible composure despite her youth. She could easily keep her cool in the heat of the moment, unlike Pill King Lu Feng and the rest. No amount of blood rushing to her head could sway her. If their unknown adversaries were brave enough to open pill stores right beside Taiyuan Tower, then they had something strong enough to back them up.
Jiang Chen had first-hand experience of Pill King Hong's expertise. In terms of pure skill, the pill king was not at all inferior to Pill King Lu Feng and the rest. Though Mu Gaoqi and Lin Yanyu were remarkably talented, they were still young. Given enough time, they would definitely surpass Pill King Hong, but they were not currently able to compete with him.
Moreover, the pill king was probably the mastermind's first step. In that case, more powerful moves were almost certainly ready to ensue. After extended deliberation, Huang'er had settled on not sending anyone after all.
Even Emperor Peerless, Madame Yun, and the Geng brothers were asked to stay within the residence. They didn't take a single step out of it. As Jiang Chen's cultivation partner and a girl of exceptional talent and manners herself, Huang'er was trusted and respected by all. Her usual grace lent more than sufficient gravity to her claims. Therefore, the emperor himself was the staunchest supporter of her decision.
Given this fact, no one else had a word to speak on the matter. After all, none of them truly believed themselves smarter than Miss Huang'er. When the young lord had departed his residence, he'd entrusted every affair, great and small, to the girl. What did that mean?
It showed exactly how much the young lord valued her. She was the young lord's representative, and acted with the full force of his will and authority.
That she never used it to make any demands of anybody was already an extraneous kindness. Instead, she patiently spent the time to explain to everyone the external situation, possibilities, and outcomes. Her attempt at diplomatic resolution of the crisis had worked out in the end. Her conclusions were consented to by all. Huang'er had an inborn charisma that lent her significant advantage in this area.
The analysis he had heard just now impressed Jiang Chen as well. "Well done. Staying put was the best course of action. My heart is relieved by your presence, Huang'er."
The girl smiled gently. Acknowledgement from her beloved was what made her painstaking care and effort worthwhile. She considered his recognition to be a hundred times more important than any praise.
"I can only do a few trifling things for you, Brother Chen. The situation in Veluriyam Capital is very delicate right now, and any move slightly off could cause a huge shakeup of things. There needs to be a decisive breakthrough somehow, or this will never clear up."
"A decisive breakthrough?" Jiang Chen sounded a bit conflicted. "Can Veluriyam Capital not avoid infighting after all?"
Though he was depressed, he knew that great strife had lied in wait beneath the city's surface for a long time now. It could even be said that Emperor Peafowl had fostered it through overindulgence. The emperor had his own reasons for doing so. He'd wanted to tap into Emperor Shura's potential to help the other man grow to a level sufficient to rule the capital. If that had occurred, Emperor Peafowl would've been perfectly happy with handing over power.
But when test after test yielded similar results, he came to the conclusion that Emperor Shura lacked something at the end of the day, whether in terms of strength and resolution.
Jiang Chen's appearance was the other emperor's nail in the coffin. Unfortunately, though Emperor Shura's potential and charisma hadn't met Emperor Peafowl's expectations, his ambition and appetite for power now more than exceeded his station.
This was the source of the animosity between the Shura and Sacred Peafowl Mountain faction. The complicated stage currently within Veluriyam was merely an extension and eruption of this problem.
"Ah, Your Majesty…" Jiang Chen murmured, laughing with helplessness. "Did you leave this issue intentionally for me as a test, or… are you really in trouble elsewhere?"He knew Emperor Peafowl was a sage who sometimes did inexplicable and enigmatic things. Perhaps he had set this stage himself.
Of course, there was another possible alternative. Perhaps Emperor Peafowl really was in trouble. Maybe… Emperor Shura's faction was even the culprit?
Emperor Coiling Dragon had mentioned this hypothetical when Jiang Chen had returned from the Tilted Moon Region. There was more. The emperor had mentioned that not long after Emperor Peafowl's departure that Emperor Shura and Emperor Skysplitter had also taken trips away from the city.
Everything about these present conditions oozed strangeness. It was no wonder Emperor Coiling Dragon was being so paranoid.
Jiang Chen smiled wryly. After mulling it over, he realized that he couldn't do very much at the moment. Sacred Peafowl Mountain's current level of strength didn't allow for a sortie against Emperor Shura. Furthermore, infighting did not fit the city's tradition. Emperor Peafowl, for one, would be extremely displeased to see such a thing.
If the emperor was the one who'd left things as they were now purposefully as a puzzle, Jiang Chen could readily admit that it was extremely difficult for him to solve it. If not, if the emperor had truly encountered trouble, or had even died, then Sacred Peafowl Mountain was in much direr straits.
If Emperor Shura had verification that Sacred Peafowl Mountain's leader was no more, he would surely be impatient enough to move against the faction. If that was the case, then what Jiang Chen did as Sacred Peafowl Mountain's young lord was key.
A single misstep could lead to his infamy or death. It was down to a struggle of raw power. Jiang Chen honestly believed that if given the chance, someone as wolfish as Emperor Shura wouldn't hesitate to eliminate him.
Emperor Shura wasn't like Emperor Peafowl. Once in power, he didn't have the tolerance to allow any potential competitors to thrive and flourish. This was character that Emperor Peafowl alone possessed, partially because the emperor stood at a much, much higher place than his fellows.
"Miss Huang'er, the four monarchs are waiting for an audience outside." A servant suddenly entered with a report.
Huang'er traded a look with her beloved. Jiang Chen nodded in permission. "Go ahead and meet them. See what their attitude is like."
Though Jiang Chen was acquainted with the monarchs, he didn't know the extent to which they supported his rule. From another perspective, his appearance indirectly restricted their own possibilities. Without him, they might perhaps have been able to rise higher. Jiang Chen's ascendance into the inheritance of Sacred Peafowl Mountain meant that any possibility of one of them commanding the faction was once again out of the question.
Everyone in the world of martial dao had their own aspirations, and the four monarchs were no exception. They had been wholeheartedly loyal to Emperor Peafowl, but would they be the same way to a different, much younger master?
That was hard to say. Therefore, he wanted to take the opportunity to gauge Sacred Peafowl Mountain's internals as well.
Huang'er quickly invited the monarchs into the residence.
As the one who had interacted with Jiang Chen the most, Cloudsoar Monarch was the first to speak. "Miss Huang'er, where has young lord Zhen gone to again these days? Do you have news of him?"
"Young lord Zhen is behaving most inappropriately. His Majesty's absence from Sacred Peafowl Mountain means that the young lord should not be out and about so often. The mountain needs a master over its affairs." It was a female voice who uttered this complaint.
Having hidden himself, Jiang Chen nevertheless recognized that it was Plumscore Monarch, the only woman of the four. There had to be an important matter for the four of them to come together like this.