Frankly, Jiang Chen's understanding of Emperor Petalpluck was pretty much close to zero. This was a great emperor who normally kept apart from worldly affairs, so he shouldn't have chosen a side at a critical moment like this. However, it was also a fact that Emperor Petalpluck had agreed to attend Emperor Shura's Vassal Meeting while glorifying it as an act for the greater good.
In reality however, Veluriyam Capital's future would've been better if nothing had changed. It wouldn't have fallen into disorder as quickly if the general summons hadn't been issued. But now, all kinds of conflicts had arisen and changed the direction Veluriyam Capital was heading towards.
"Yes, persuade him and Emperor Mountaincrush as well. Emperor Mountaincrush was forced into supporting the Vassal Meeting because he couldn't withstand the combined pressure of Emperor Shura and Emperor Vastsea. His relationship with Emperor Shura is average at best, so it's impossible that he would support this willingly. Emperor Shura and Emperor Vastsea aren't alone now as even Emperor Skysplitter has joined their side. They now stand as a united front."
The power structure of Veluriyam Capital's great emperors was shifting from complex to increasing clarity. Emperor Shura, Emperor Vastsea, and Emperor Skysplitter had formed an alliance while Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Void were allied with Sacred Peafowl Mountain. Had Emperor Peafowl been still around, he wouldn't even need an ally to get himself out of this predicament. He could've easily crushed any opposing force who stood in his way.
But after the rumors that Emperor Peafowl had been lost to the demon race had spread, the situation in the capital suddenly became uncertain. Worse, Emperor Petapluck and Emperor Mountaincrush had temporarily foregone their neutrality and chosen to support the Vassal Meeting, whatever their reason might be.
Although they still couldn't be considered as allies of Emperor Shura, the scales were slowly tipping in the enemy's favor. It was now up to Sacred Peafowl Mountain to counter the momentum. If they played their cards right, they could overturn the tides. But if they played their cards wrong, then Sacred Peafowl Mountain would lose all influence and become Emperor Shura's next target for elimination. Reality was truly a cruel mistress.
Jiang Chen pondered for a moment before sighing softly. He responded in a serious voice, "Their alliance is not my greatest worry."
"What is then?" Emperor Void and Emperor Coiling Dragon were both puzzled.
"Why is Emperor Shura so confident? How did he dare issue the general summons? Isn't he afraid of maddening Emperor Peafowl? And does Emperor Shura know something? Or does he know where Emperor Peafowl is right now?"
"Young lord Zhen, you mean?" Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Void's expressions instantly turned ugly.
They had run through all the worst case scenarios before. They just weren't willing to accept it in any capacity, even now. After all, Emperor Peafowl was invincible to them. They didn't believe that Emperor Shura had the ability to kill Emperor Peafowl.
In fact, the three enemy great emperors shouldn't be able to defeat Emperor Peafowl even in tandem, not to mention that Emperor Vastsea hadn't left Veluriyam Capital all this time.
While it was true that Emperor Shura and Emperor Vastsea had made brief trips out of Veluriyam Capital one after another, it was impossible that they could defeat Emperor Peafowl, much less silence him before the great emperor could send word of his demise. No matter how they looked at it, it was just plain impossible.
Still, they couldn't help but be worried for Emperor Peafowl. It was also undeniable that the great emperor had left for a very long time without a single word. If Emperor Peafowl really was safe and sound, would he really allow Emperor Shura to do as he pleased and wreak havoc in Veluriyam Capital?
Jiang Chen frowned. "I believe that Emperor Peafowl is still alive. At the very least, I don't believe that Emperor Shura can cause his demise. He simply doesn't have the power to do so, even if every great emperor in Veluriyam Capital were to attack Emperor Peafowl together. He may have been defeated, but there's just no way he would die."
Jiang Chen was at least certain about this. He had given Emperor Peafowl a drop of Kunpeng blood,which happened to be extremely compatible with Emperor Peafowl.
If Emperor Peafowl had refined the blood, his strength would've increased by leaps and bounds. It wouldn't be a surprise if he instantly broke free of the shackles of a great emperor and ascended to the empyrean realm.
After all, the great emperor had detected the laws of the world and felt the beckoning of the empyrean plane a long time ago. If he hadn't suppressed that calling, he might have ascended already.
With the assimilation of the Kunpeng bloodline into his bloodline, Emperor Peafowl would assuredly be equipped to break through. So how could a half-step empyrean cultivator possibly be killed by a couple great emperors?
While Jiang Chen was extremely confident in Emperor Peafowl's abilities, there was one last nagging worry left in his mind. He was worried that Emperor Shura might collude with external forces. He originally hadn't thought that Emperor Shura would fall so far no matter how much he coveted power and position.
But after Jiang Chen returned to Veluriyam Capital and saw that pill store right next to Taiyuan Tower, he was no longer certain that Emperor Shura would preserve his bottom line. At the very least, Jiang Chen didn't think that Pill King Hong belonged to Emperor Shura.
Emperor Shura's faction had far more shallow pill dao foundations than Sacred Peafowl Mountain, so there was no way they could've nurtured someone like that. Moreover, Pill King Hong didn't carry himself in the way of Emperor Shura's faction at all.
Jiang Chen strongly suspected that Pill King Hong hailed from a foreign power. That was why he'd made a bet with Pill King Hong and forced the poor fellow to jump into his trap. He had wanted to figure out a true identity.
Unfortunately, he hadn't expected his opponent to be so shameless as to kill their own men. Bonds and ties hadn't come into consideration at all. The fact that this enemy would eliminate witnesses so ruthlessly worried Jiang Chen even more so. No matter who his opponent might be, it was enough to make his blood run cold. Would an enemy who could kill even their own man show any mercy?
"Young lord Zhen, if you don't believe that the combined force of every great emperor in Veluriyam Capital is enough to kill Emperor Peafowl, then what exactly concerns you?"
"I'm worried that Emperor Shura might've colluded with foreign powers." Jiang Chen finally voiced his doubts.
"What?" Emperor Coiling Dragon jumped to his feet. "He colluded with foreign powers? He… Does he have no morals at all?"
Emperor Void's expression also changed drastically. "Colluding with foreign powers? If that really is the case, he will be condemned as a traitor! It's true that we have done all kinds of things for power since ancient times, but we've never colluded with a foreign power. Veluriyam Capital has its own pride, and we've always dealt with our internal issues ourselves. Emperor Shura can't possibly be foolish enough to break this ancient rule no matter how bold he is, can he? Assuming that he did collude with another foreign power, how on earth does he plans to obtain the support and acknowledgement of everyone in Veluriyam Capital?"
Jiang Chen sighed. "I wish that I've made an error in judgment as well, but my words aren't just empty accusations. I believe that both of you have heard about about the incident of Vermillion Bird Avenue some time ago, correct?"
"You mean that store that opened right next to Taiyuan Tower?"
"Mm, that's the one." Jiang Chen nodded. The pill king who gave lectures there possessed a deep foundation. It's extremely unlikely that he's a member of Veluriyam Capital."
"A pill king who doesn't belong to Veluriyam Capital, able to open a pill store in the most prosperous street that is Vermillion Bird Avenue, and give a lecture without care? That is indeed suspicious."
Jiang Chen's words caused the two great emperors to form ugly expressions on their faces. Emperor Coiling Dragon muttered angrily, "Now that you mention it, it's strange that that has happened. The pill factions of Vermillion Bird Avenue are normally very xenophobic. That pill store must wield incredible power and foundation to open right next to Taiyuan Tower in challenge."
"Before I came, I received a secret report saying that someone had caused a stir at that store. That lecturing Pill King Hong was then killed on the spot by an unknown power. Following that, an uninvited guest entered the store and caused quite the disturbance."
Jiang Chen responded indifferently, "I'll be honest. I was that uninvited guest."
"Ah?" Both Emperor Void and Emperor Coiling Dragon stared at him with stunned looks. "W-was it really you?"
Jiang Chen nodded. "I have proof. Please come with me."
He led the two great emperors into a private room. The door slid open automatically to reveal the high rank emperor realm old man whom Jiang Chen had captured. Right now, the old fellow was sealed from head to toe and curled up in a ball at the corner of the room. He looked as sorry as a dead dog.
"This old man is in charge of that store. I captured him and brought him here. Do any of you recognize him?"
Emperor Void and Emperor Coiling Dragon studied the old man's features for a long time. They finally shook their heads. "He looks like a stranger to me."
"Then he probably isn't a Veluriyam denizen. Still, this old man seems to be quite powerful." Emperor Void looked a little surprised.
"He's a high rank emperor cultivator. I caught him by surprise." Jiang Chen didn't try to hide anything.
"You? You caught a high rank emperor cultivator?" Emperor Coiling Dragon's eyes widened with astonishment. He couldn't help but examine Jiang Chen anew.
Of course, he was aware that Jiang Chen was an unbelievable genius who was equally monstrous in both pill dao and martial dao. However, it was still rather shocking that he was able to capture a high rank emperor cultivator alive. If the captor was themselves, great emperors, then it would be a piece of cake. But Jiang Chen… what was his cultivation level again?
Jiang Chen had performed exceptionally during the Genius Ranking battles of the Veluriyam Pagoda gathering, but he was currently at best a half-step emperor cultivator. Even if he had power beyond his apparent realm, an initial emperor cultivator should be his limit.
But he had captured a high rank emperor cultivator alive. What the hell was going on here? For a moment, the two great emperors felt like they needed a couple more brain cells to comprehend this unbelievable twist.
"Gentlemen, if either one of you can pry his background out of his mouth, we will practically be one step away from the truth." Jiang Chen smiled.
Emperor Coiling Dragon nodded before looking at Emperor Void. "Daoist Void, you are more familiar with interrogation than I, aren't you?"
Emperor Void nodded darkly. "Leave it to me. I'll get something useful out of his mouth no matter how tough he might be!"