Jiang Chen didn't think that Emperor Shura would turn around and try to implicate him.
Emperor Vastsea also stood up. "Everyone, all I want to ask is this. Where was young lord Zhen when Emperor Peafowl went missing?
"I'm sure that everyone here is also curious as to where our famous and ingenious young lord Zhen hails from. Sacred Peafowl Mountain seems to have never taken in a disciple like young lord Zhen, hmm? So how did he suddenly appear and become young lord? Aren't we all a little surprised by his appearance?" Emperor Vastsea suddenly turned on Jiang Chen.
Emperor Coiling Dragon was certainly not going to take this lying down. He shot to his feet and roared, "Young lord Zhen is the successor Emperor Peafowl raised in secret. He and young lord Fan were like light and shadow. This is something a trusted aide of Emperor Peafowl such as I was aware of a long time ago. But you, an outsider to Sacred Peafowl Mountain, are worrying about our internal matters? Why don't you find something else better to do with your time, you old codger?"
"That's right, young lord Zhen is the successor that His Majesty secretly cultivated. In the end, his fortunes outstripped young lord Fan's. This is something all four of us monarchs are aware about." This time, the one who stood up in defense of Jiang Chen was Cloudsoar Monarch.
Emperor Vastsea sneered disdainfully. "Who gave you the right to speak, little cultivator? This is a discussion between great emperors!"
Cloudsoar Monarch responded neither obsequiously nor superciliously, "When it comes to Sacred Peafowl Mountain, yes, I'm more qualified to speak than you are."
Emperor Vastsea's face darkened. "How dare you! A little emperor dares rebuke a great emperor and yell during the Vassal Meeting?!"
Plumscore Monarch sneered before Cloudsoar Monarch could speak. "Oh, stop trying to frighten people with your cultivation already. I only have one question to ask. Did you ever dare raise your voice against me when Emperor Peafowl was present? Look at how fast you've changed your tone after the emperor is temporarily away? Can I rightfully call you a bully?"
The Vassal Meeting had just begun, and sparks of conflict were already flying all over the place. No side was willing to yield a single step to the other.
Emperor Shura suddenly waved his hand and stopped Emperor Vastsea from speaking. He stared deeply at Jiang Chen. "Young lord Zhen, I'm going to ask this again. Why have you done everything in your power to conceal Daoist Peafowl's whereabouts? What are your true motives?"
Jiang Chen answered disdainfully. "I have a better question. How exactly do you know that Emperor Peafowl is dead? Did you see it with your own eyes, or did you kill him with your bare hands? Should I interpret these rumors as something you've intentionally spread to further your purposes?"
"Slander!" Emperor Shura retorted expressionlessly.
"The heavens watch our every move." Jiang Chen pointed at his heart, and then up towards the sky. "I know what you think, and you know what you did, Emperor Shura. I can swear a heavenly oath right now and clear my name, but do you dare? If you dare swear a heavenly oath right now and prove that Emperor Peafowl's current whereabouts have nothing to do with you, I will immediately declare Sacred Peafowl Mountain's withdrawal from Veluriyam Capital and turn over authority to you completely."
Jiang Chen couldn't be bothered to waste any breath on these people. He cut straight to the heart of the matter. At this point, he was certain that Emperor Peafowl's disappearance absolutely had something to do with Emperor Shura. Even if the ermpror wasn't a direct participant of the ambush, he must have participated in the plan.
Emperor Shura looked disdainful as he spoke in an indifferent tone. "You are truly a child. There would be no conflicts in this world if everything is decided by swearing a heavenly oath. All I can say is that you're really behaving inappropriately. I have no idea how someone like you is qualified to be the young lord of Sacred Peafowl Mountain."
Jiang Chen laughed. "Emperor Shura, you can't hide the fact that you're guilty no matter how hard you try to change the topic. You're a man who doesn't dare bear the consequences of your actions. Emperor Peafowl once told me that he was waiting for you to rebel against him and declare that you want to succeed him. However, you never dared ventured even a squeak when you were in his presence. No wonder he said that you have the ambition, but not the courage, and that's putting it nicely. In my opinion, you are nothing but a coward. The truth is that you dare not even make a simple oath! What else does it prove except that you're a coward?"
Emperor Skysplitter suddenly broke his silence. "Young lord Zhen, why don't we forget about these rumors. If you want to talk about rumors, we even heard that you're of demonic bloodline and that the demons sent you to spy on Veluriyam Capital. They say that you're the young lord of Sacred Peafowl Mountain because you charmed Emperor Peafowl with your demonic powers. Are you asking us to verify these claims by making you swear a heavenly oath? How childish would the world be!"
Jiang Chen smiled. "I can swear the oath right now if you wish."
"How absurd!" Emperor Skysplitter said disdainfully, "Here's some advice, young lord Zhen. This is the Vassal Meeting. The more childish you act, the more unreliable people will think you are."
Although Emperor Skysplitter's words were meant to save Emperor Shura from his predicament, they did make a little bit of sense.
"Emperor Petalpluck, Emperor Mountaincrush, what do you both think?" Emperor Skysplitter asked smilingly.
Emperor Petalpluck sighed quietly. "These rumors are all so fantastic. Personally, I believe that it was spread with malicious intent to fracture the trust between us and start a civil war in Veluriyam Capital. Therefore, I suggest that we don't bring up these groundless rumors any longer. What we should do now is to solve the problems of Veluriyam Capital."
"I agree with Daoist Petalpluck's suggestion. We need to steady morale. Arguing will only make the situation worse." Emperor Mountaincrush also expressed his opinion.
Emperor Shura cupped his hands. "You are well known for your noble character and unquestionable integrity, Daoist Petalpluck. How do you think we should strengthen morale?"
"A sun must hang in the sky, just as there must be a ruler in a country. Veluriyam Capital is unsteady right now is because we lack a central pillar," Emperor Petalpluck expressed his opinion straightforwardly. "Therefore, I suggest that we elect a pillar to steady the situation until Daoist Peafowl returns. No matter where he's gone, we can return power to him once he comes back. But if he doesn't, then the temporary ruler shall become the permanent ruler of Veluriyam Capital."
Emperor Vastsea chuckled. "Alright. In that case, so who do you think is currently the most suitable ruler, Daoist Petalpluck?"
"That's up to everyone to decide." Emperor Petalpluck didn't take up the cue that Emperor Vastsea had prepared. The latter was displeased and cursed silently.
"I recommend Daoist Shura to rule Veluriyam Capital. To begin with, his prestige is second only to Emperor Peafowl. If he's given the chance to train and prove himself, he will not be subpar to Emperor Peafowl!" Emperor Vastsea declared loudly.
Emperor Skysplitter also nodded. "No matter how you look at it, Daoist Shura is the best and most acceptable candidate for now. I would recommend him as well."
Emperor Void sneered. "Recommendation? What recommendation? Of course the young lord of Sacred Peafowl Mountain is to rule Veluriyam Capital in the absence of Emperor Peafowl. Or did you think that young lord Zhen's Progeny Feather Medallion is mere decoration? I may be a foolish man, but even I know that young lord Zhen and the Progeny Feather Medallion are both the gifts of Emperor Peafowl to Veluriyam Capital. They are the representation of his will!"
"Daoist Void is right. Nothing cannot be done without following the rules. If anyone can change the rules as they please, then why can't I rule Veluriyam Capital tomorrow after you rule it today? Veluriyam Capital has stood for many years not because it is sustained by the ambitions of a few, but because everyone obeys the rules. If we lose even this bit of principle, then we will be Veluriyam Capital no longer." Emperor Coiling Dragon commanded great eloquence. Both he and Emperor Void made it clear that they supported Sacred Peafowl Mountain and young lord Zhen.
The standoff was two on two right now. This outcome wasn't beyond anyone's expectations.
Now it was Emperor Petalpluck and Emperor Mountaincrush's turn to vote. There was no need to ask Emperor Shura or Pill King Zhen's opinion because they were the candidates. Of course they would support themselves.
"Daoist Petalpluck and Mountaincrush, you two will choose a side, won't you?" Emperor Vastsea asked plaintively. He was obviously trying to coerce the two great emperors into making a decision.
Emperor Petalpluck smiled. "Young lord Zhen represents Sacred Peafowl Mountain, but Daoist Shura is more experienced. This is a difficult choice, so I shall abstain from voting."
Emperor Mountaincrush hurriedly followed up with, "This is a difficult decision to make, so I'm going to abstain as well. Why don't we let the vassals who should be our temporary ruler?"
In the end, Emperor Mountaincrush didn't want to be an accomplice to the devil. He didn't want vote for Emperor Shura.
Emperor Shura's face darkened. He shot Emperor Mountaincrush a meaningful and chilling glance. They were at an impasse. However, the answer would be clear if the nine hundred or so vassals were to make their votes. Emperor Shura stared at Jiang Chen. "I'll give you a fair chance to compete, young lord Zhen, just so that no one accuses me of bullying juniors."
Jiang Chen taunted. "You got that reversed, old man. I'm the one who's giving you a fair chance. Just in case you've forgotten, you're just the third greatest great emperor of Veluriyam Capital. Honestly, how on earth did you get the idea that you're the one who's giving me a fair chance?"
It was a vicious counter, but the worst was yet to come.
"I'm the holder of the Progeny Feather Medallion, so I can call for a Vassal Meeting whenever I want to. Meanwhile, you have to do everything in your power and use every trick in the book to just manage to get every great emperor to agree. What you need all the strength in your body, down to your littlest pinky, to achieve is something I can do with the raise of a palm. Now tell me, who do you think is giving his competitor a fair chance?" Jiang Chen sneered.
Emperor Shura wasn't a match for Jiang Chen in terms of verbal sparring, so he wasn't able to think of anything to retaliate. But Jiang Chen wasn't done yet. "By the way, all I'm trying to say is that I'm not planning on giving you a chance."
Emperor Shura's face turned cold, and Emperor Vastsea's eyes glinted with murder. This brat is making fun of us!