The atmosphere suddenly froze. A long moment later, Emperor Void finally let out a long sigh.
"Unimaginable, truly unimaginable! To think that Pill King Zhen's pill dao fortunes are this extraordinary. Everyone in Veluriyam Capital would be blind to give up such a genius. Alright, I will support young lord Zhen for as long as I, Void, am still in Veluriyam Capital. No one, whatever their ambitions may be, shall harm young lord Zhen while I still draw breath."
Emperor Void had finally voiced his official support.
"Hehe, you're not going to count the Coiling Dragon faction out, are you?" Emperor Coiling Dragon declared heroically. "Maybe there are others who thought that we're supporting him out of either selfishness or past favors, but they don't know that our decision is made out of consideration for Veluriyam Capital's future as well. I've always believed that Veluriyam Capital will be brought to greater heights in young lord Zhen's hands. This is also something Emperor Peafowl himself declared back when he was around."
"That's right. Who else but young lord Zhen could win such praise from Emperor Peafowl?" Emperor Void also nodded.
Of course, the king of Bluesky Nation was aware that their show was meant for him.
"Your Majesties, Chunyu may be weak, but I also know the saying that one should repay a favor many times over. I owe both Emperor Peafowl and young lord Zhen many favors, so of course I and Bluesky Nation swear to defend the orthodoxy of Sacred Peafowl Mountain to the very end!"
Emperor Peerless chuckled. "Well, I owe young lord Zhen my life, twice over. Of course I'm going to support him with all I've got."
The four monarchs also seized the opportunity to declare, "We, the four monarchs, swear to defend Sacred Peafowl Mountain's honor and young lord Zhen's position to our deaths!"
They were beyond words right now. They were no fools; they knew what the Pinecrane Pill represented.
The human heart could be a very materialistic thing sometimes. Prior fame and contribution became quite flimsy when viewed through the lens of reality and one's own interest. Many might admire young lord Zhen deeply and be sympathetic to his plight out of everything he'd done, but when push came to shove, they might not necessarily support him.
After all, any normal person would choose to support a great emperor who had made his name for the past thousand years over a new young lord. Such was reality. A great emperor's strength and power were his dominant advantage.
However, "profit" was equally present in the world, and it was just as decisive as the other factors. It might not be possible to equate Pinecrane Pills with actual profit just yet, but who wouldn't want such an amazing pill for themselves?
Right now, they had to choose a side. If they chose to join Emperor Shura and offended young lord Zhen as a result, they wouldn't be able to change their minds later. It would be a pipe dream to think that young lord Zhen would give them a Pinecrane Pill in any capacity after that.
The four monarchs were careful thinkers. It didn't take them long to realize that the Pinecrane Pill commanded tremendous strategic value in the upcoming Vassal Meeting.
At the beginning, they'd thought that young lord Zhen only had a ten to twenty percent chance to beat Emperor Shura in the upcoming Vassal Meeting. But after the Pinecrane Pill was factored into the equation, his chances of winning had ballooned to at least thirty to forty percent. It delighted them just thinking about it.
"A few vassals have arrived and are requesting to see you, young lord."
"The vassals of the Seven Southern Cities have requested to see you, young lord."
All of the kings and city lords would be arriving in a few days' time. Naturally, those who came to them first were those who had been personally promoted by Emperor Peafowl. As the line of visitors streamed continuously into the store, Taiyuan Tower's atmosphere grew lively. The four monarchs felt warmth grow in their hearts as they watched the stream of vassals coming to pay homage. They berated themselves for underestimating Emperor Peafowl and young lord Zhen's charisma.
A long time ago, Emperor Peafowl had gone against many opposing voices and promoted these people to importance. Naturally, they hadn't forgotten the kindness the great emperor showed them. As the saying went, strong winds prove resilient grass, and troubled times identify faithful ministers.
Those who had rushed over to visit young lord Zhen were reliable. Of course, it was entirely possible that there might be a spy or two in this crowd who had secretly joined Emperor Shura's side. They were here to spy and report back to the great emperor everything they knew, and it was impossible for the four monarchs to identify them. Still, the vast majority of the visitors had to be Sacred Peafowl Mountain's supporters.
Taiyuan Tower had made all sorts of preparations and had no problems welcoming the guests. Moreover, Emperor Coiling Dragon had opened his former residence to the public so as to add to the accomodations. All of this was sending a clear message that Sacred Peafowl Mountain didn't plan to give up just like that.
Of course, news of Sacred Peafowl Mountain's popularity had reached Emperor Shura's ears at first light.
"A lot of people rushed to meet young lord Zhen, you say?" Emperor Shura looked a little displeased. "They have no understanding of the times, I see."
Emperor Shura had greeted, hinted and even openly invited all these people to join him. Unfortunately, very few had actually accepted the olive branch he offered.
Traitors were few in the world of martial dao. Most hadn't forgotten their pride as a cultivator, and they weren't stupid either. They couldn't tell if the olive branch Emperor Shura offered them was just a temporary measure. What if he turned against them after he came into a position of power? It was something they couldn't simply overlook.
Emperor Vastsea sneered. "These people were all done a favor by Emperor Peafowl in the past. According to my calculation, they number less than a third of the total, after deducting those we managed to pull to our side. Therefore, they are utterly incapable of overcoming you, brother."
Emperor Shura snorted coldly. "Veluriyam Capital stinks too much of a certain person right now. If we don't cleanse this city of his mark, we will never be able to break out of our shell and breathe some fresh air."
Naturally, the person Emperor Shura was referring to was Emperor Peafowl. He was right too. Emperor Peafowl's image in Veluriyam Capital was too strong. The great emperor's handiwork could be seen almost everywhere in the city. Emperor Shura had encountered a lot of friction when he attempted to spread his fame and power. Even he admitted that Emperor Peafowl was a tall mountain to overcome.
"He's not coming back though, hahaha!" Emperor Vastsea looked and sounded very pleased as he said this.
"Mm." Emperor Shura nodded. "All in all, we executed this rather cleanly. Had we failed, we would've had to live under his shadow for the rest of our lives."
"Are you absolutely certain he's not coming back, brother daoist? There is no room for carelessness here." Emperor Vastsea still sounded a little uncertain.
"There were a lot of experts who contributed in the ambush. There will be no problems." A trace of ruthlessness flashed through Emperor Shura's eyes.
"But no one saw his corpse, did they?" Although Emperor Vastsea was full of hatred when Emperor Peafowl was brought up, it wasn't without a trace of fear.
"He was attacked by multiple great emperors and had to escape with severe wounds. Unfortunately for him, the place he chose to escape to was the desolate wildlands. Do you think he can come out of there alive with his level of injuries?" Emperor Shura responded coldly.
"I wouldn't worry if he was anyone else, but he's Emperor Peafowl… I don't know why, but I can't help but feel unsettled for some reason.""What are you worried about? Emperor Pillzenith told me personally that even he wouldn't have been able to recover from those kind of wounds unless a pill emperor healed him on the spot. Even then, his chances of surviving was only one in a hundred, not to mention that he fled into the land of sealed demons. He may be powerful, but do you really think he's more powerful than Emperor Pillzenith?" Emperor Shura asked coldly.
"I think… they're at about the same level, aren't they?"
"Even if they are, Emperor Pillzenith himself said that he wouldn't be able to recover from those wounds. Do you think that he's better than Emperor Pillzenith in terms of pill dao? There's no doubt who's the inferior one in this regard!"
"Then I guess he really isn't coming back." Emperor Vastsea slowly relaxed. "Still, I think we should visit the desolate wildlands when the time is right. I would much prefer confirm this with my own eyes."
But Emperor Shura waved his hands. "There's no need. Even if he does manage to return from that place, there's no way he can recover from his wounds, and his cultivation would've fallen off greatly. Even better, he has nothing that could prove our involvement in this matter. Do you think the people would still obey his every whim if he becomes much weaker?"
The strong was king in the martial dao world.
No matter how powerful Emperor Peafowl used to be, it was law that he had to give up his position if his cultivation weakened. There was no such thing as a middle ground here. Maybe the populace would still respect a weakened Emperor Peafowl like they used to in the past, but they would never entrust their lives to him.
Emperor Vastsea began to chuckle. "Then all is well. The way you put it, I'm actually looking forward to him returning, brother."
"Why?" Emperor Shura frowned.
"Just think. What does it mean if his cultivation declines greatly? He will be a tiger without claws or teeth! I so want to see his sorry look!" For whatever reason, Emperor Vastsea seemed to hate Emperor Peafowl to the bone. Maybe it was because the latter's presence had prevented him from exercising his ambitions].
"Hehe, I understand what you mean, but it's not going to be easy in Veluriyam Capital. He is prestigious. We may be able to strip him of his position, but the people of Veluriyam Capital won't allow us to ridicule him."
"Hehe, of course I'm not going to do that in front of everyone. Still, I want to see him in tatters and low spirits. Say, what was the that poison Emperor Pillzenith used? How powerful it must be to prevent Emperor Peafowl's cultivation from recovering!"
"This isn't something you and I should worry about." Emperor Shura said coldly. He truly didn't want to discuss Emperor Pillzenith in any capacity because he was worried over whether his decision to ally with his enemy was correct or not. Emperor Peafowl had been eliminated from the board, but if Emperor Pillzenith decided to make a move and plunge his hands into Veluriyam Capital, he would be hardly be able to mount a resistance.
There was a saying called "to quench one's thirst with blood". His current situation was similar to that. He was so thirsty he couldn't stop himself from drinking poison to quench it.
"Your Majesty, the vassals have all been settled accordingly. Everyone is gathered in one place and are waiting for you to see them." Another reported to Emperor Shura.