"Young lord Zhen, don't be mistaken. The Vassal Meeting has been convened to discuss the future of our capital. It's not a place for you to swagger about!" Emperor Vastsea had finally had enough.
Jiang Chen smiled mockingly. "Unlike you, I have no need to throw my weight around. I'm only saying all this out of the consideration for the capital. Emperor Peafowl has already declared that Emperor Shura isn't suitable to rule. Out of my respect for Emperor Peafowl and consideration for the capital's future, I have to carry out my duties as the young lord of Sacred Peafowl Mountain."
"Hmph! You can twist his words however your like! Without any proof, who'd believe you? I can also say that Emperor Peafowl has decided to make Daoist Shura his successor!" Emperor Vastsea was also very good with words.
"Without proof?" Jiang Chen sniffed coldly and continued in charged tones. Emperor Peafowl had indeed said those words, but he really did have no proof. "You've also claimed without any proof that Emperor Peafowl has fallen, conjured blatant lies, tarnished my background, and assembled the Vassal Meeting. What a wonderful show of hypocrisy!"
Emperor Shura answered blandly. "Young lord Zhen, we're not lacking proof. We've launched an investigation and found out that there's a great chance that Daoist Peafowl is dead with his disappearance. Even if he's still alive, rumors of his death are enough to instill fear and anxiety in our citizens. Our capital needs a new ruler and I was elected by everyone as a potential candidate. My actions are lawful and honorable. How can you claim that I'm trying to seize the throne?"
"Lawful and honorable?" Jiang Chan burst into a cold laughter. "I suppose it's lawful and honorable to hire Pillfire City to assist you in your plans as well?"
Emperor Shura's expressions darkened as he shifted his gaze towards the crowd. "Young lord Zhen, don't mouth groundless rumors. Emperor Pillzenith is merely passing by our capital and came to visit when he heard about the Vassal Meeting. He's a guest and should be treated as one. We may have some differences, but mortal enemies we aren't. Why can't a citizen of Pillfire City visit our capital? Didn't you just recently slip into their territory while concealing your identity?"
Emperor Shura was also very gifted with words. Over at a guest box seat, Emperor Pillzenith burst into laughter. "Everyone, I have no interest in participating in your squabbles. Daoist Peafowl and I have known each other for a long time. He once told me that Emperor Shura is the only qualified successor if he wasn't around one day. These were his exact words, and I believe that it's right that I tell everyone this."
As expected, Emperor Pillzenith was on Emperor Shura's side.
Han Qianzhan, the sect head of the Skysword Sect, snorted. "That's odd, I've known Emperor Peafowl for a long time too, but he told me that he was fostering young lord Zhen to become his successor and the next ruler of Veluriyam Capital. Daoist Pillzenith, perhaps the Emperor Peafowl that you and I speak of are not the same person?"
It was an impasse between the main opponents. It was time for the helpers to take the field. Emperor Shura had Emperor Pillzenith on his side, while young lord Zhen had Sect Head Han Qianzhan.
In terms of jianghu ranking, Emperor Pillzenith was ahead of Han Qianzhan. However, the latter was still the sect head of a first rank sect. Surrounded by his men, his presence didn't seem any bit weaker than Emperor Pillzenith's.
The Holy Emperor of Eternal Celestial Capital joined the conversation. "Daoist Han, I've never even heard about your relationship with Daoist Peafowl. Are you making this up?"
Su Huanzhen of the Celestial Cicada Court responded coldly. "When did the Eternal Celestial Capital suddenly gain so much interest in Veluriyam Capital's matters? When it comes to knowing Emperor Peafowl, I think no one knows him better than me. Based on my knowledge, the emperor did bestow young lord Zhen his position so that he can carry on Emperor Peafowl's legacy. Of this, I can guarantee with my life!"
The Eternal Celestial Capital and The Celestial Cicada Court were both first rank sects. All who previously spoke were incredibly influential people in the Upper Eight Regions. Yet, they'd all convened at Veluriyam Capital to engage in a battle of words.
Emperor Void yelled. "The older generation knows that Sect Head Su and Daoist Peafowl have some history together. Daoist Peafowl has always viewed Sect Head Su as his soulmate. Her words definitely hold more weight than these outsiders!"
Su Huanzhen and Emperor Peafowl had almost become dao partners, once upon a time. If not for an unforeseen circumstance, they would've become lovebirds.
Emperor Pillzenith and the Holy Emperor were the outside factions supporting Emperor Shura, while the Sacred Peafowl Mountain had the outside support from the sect head of the Skysword Sect and Celestial Cicada Court. The two sides were once again equally matched. Perhaps the capital's future really did lay in the hands of the vassals?
Emperor Shura glared at Jiang Chen disparagingly.
"Young lord Zhen, you're a smart man. This matter must be resolved today as a country can't be without a leader. You may leave if you're afraid. The capital doesn't need cowards!" His animosity for Jiang Chen was clear. He too, was good at making unfounded accusations. Jiang Chen had previously called him a coward and he'd returned the accusation in kind.
Jiang Chen laughed coldly. "Emperor Shura, I'm afraid you're the only coward here. Do you know that you had a very good chance of becoming the next ruler of Veluriyam Capital? It's unfortunate that you were too much of a coward in front of Emperor Peafowl. Timid like a cat, you couldn't even show an ounce of ferocity. You were already given a chance, but you threw it away. Do you really think that a person like you is deserving to be the ruler?"
Emperor Shura's expression darkened. He knew very well that Jiang Chen's words were true. Emperor Peafowl had indeed dropped a few such hints after young lord Fan's death, but he didn't go through with his decision for some reason.
Perhaps I was really too docile and meek in front of Emperor Peafowl? Jiang Chen's words struck Emperor Shura's sore spot.
"Do you truly believe that your cynical remarks can make my dao heart waver?" Emperor Shura snorted coldly. "Save your breath!"
"You must be mistaken. Why would I want to make your dao heart waver? Do you think that you have one? Would a person with a dao heart cavort with the enemy and harm his own brethren?" Jiang Chen laughed mockingly. "Stop trying to feign ignorance. Let me ask you one thing, how are you going to face Emperor Peafowl when he comes back one day?"
Emperor Shura was enraged. He didn't know why young lord Zhen was so certain that he was the one who'd harm Emperor Peafowl. Was it because of a hunch? If so, young lord Zhen was truly overstepping his boundaries.
Emperor Peafowl is never coming back! He screamed internally. But on the surface, he maintained a wise ruler facade. "I'd be more than happy if Emperor Peafowl returns. Naturally, I'll return power back to him."
Jiang Chen responded with a hearty laugh. "You speak as if the capital is already yours!"
"Do you think you're able to stop me?" Emperor Shura said nonchalantly. "It was only in the recent decade that you became famous, but I've been renowned for more than three thousand years. A mere half-step emperor like you wishes to go against a great emperor like me? In terms of connections and fame…"
"Connections and fame my ass!" Jiang Chen didn't hold himself back. "You're nowhere even near as qualified as Emperor Petalpluck in terms of seniority! Your martial prowess doesn't even stand out among the great emperors! Your reputation and your connections? Absolutely foul smelling as well! Your contributions to Veluriyam Capital? Nothing to write home about! You've been here for thousands of years, but what have you contributed to the capital? The biggest stir you've ever caused is probably today's rigged vassal meeting!"
"That's right!" Emperor Coiling Dragon clapped his hands in agreement. "One cannot defend a nation with only wit or win over the citizens with only brawn. Your past conducts are terrible and your contributions almost zero. A person like you actually wants to rule the capital? Everyone, will you really allow a person with no contributions like him to become the ruler of our beloved capital? He has the ability to contribute, but what has he ever done? He's lived under Emperor Peafowl's shadow for so long because he's lazy and cowardly. He only takes care of his own interest and hasn't bled a single drop of blood in service to our capital! If he becomes the lord, I can't help but be skeptical if he can truly lead us out of a difficult situation whenever it arises!"
One's contribution to the capital was truly an important criteria. Emperor Peafowl's position in the capital was so stable because everyone could see the blood and sweat that he'd contributed. His strength was also something that known to all.
Since all pretense and cordiality had been already shed, Emperor Coiling Dragon no longer held back. His argument won the hearts of many. Emperor Shura's personality was indeed too cold, lofty, and very unapproachable.
He was the opposite of Emperor Peafowl. If the citizens of Veluriyam Capital were to receive unfair treatment outside, Emperor Peafowl would definitely exact some justice for his citizens as a form of consolation. The people couldn't sense the same about Emperor Shura.
"Take a look at Pill King Zhen for comparison. It hasn't been long since he became famous, but he's always been working hard for the sake of our capital. He's helped us retain the Longevity Pill, defeat the overweening Pillfire City, and founded Taiyuan Tower and Taiyuan Lodge, which has given countless lectures over the years. His every action inspires all of us. Young folks now aspire to comprehend all nine Veluriyam Obelisks like him. He's still very young, but he's already emperor realm. For all we know, he might become a great emperor within the century! How many geniuses have we ever seen that can do such a thing?" Emperor Coiling Dragon unloaded his thoughts in one go. Every single word he uttered was truthful and well-grounded.