Every great emperor had expressed their stance on the matter. Emperor Shura understood that a transition period was necessary, even if he was quite irritated by it. He would appear too unsightly otherwise. Moreover, he knew better than anyone that Emperor Peafowl was never returning to Veluriyam Capital. His injury was so severe that even Emperor Pillzenith had declared there was no way the man would survive.
Emperor Peafowl was undoubtedly strong, but he was far from being invincible. Even if he did somehow survive his injuries, the place he'd run to was the desolate wildlands. Could he really escape the demon race's wrath in the state he was in? That was why Emperor Shura didn't care if the power was temporary or not. It was only a matter of time before Veluriyam Capital fell into his grasp.
"Then we shall do as everyone says. This way, we can avoid being disrespectful to Daoist Peafowl." Emperor Shura wore a sanctimonious look.
Emperor Petalpluck nodded and ordered someone to prepare the jade tokens. A head count revealed that there were a total of eight hundred and twenty six vassals in Veluriyam Capital.
"We have prepared eight hundred and twenty six jade tokens to represent everyone present today. All of you will receive a jade token each. These jade tokens contain a unique mark of my own, and you need to inscribe the name of your desired temporary ruler onto them. Once the voting is complete, the great emperors will count the votes together. The one who acquires the most votes will become the temporary ruler of Veluriyam Capital. Are there any objections?"
Emperor Petalpluck waved his hand and ordered his subordinates to pass over the jade tokens into the vassals' hands.
"This is my warning to all of you: don't cheat. You must fill in your jade token with your signatures and unique mark, or render the vote invalid." Since Emperor Petalpluck was the main person in charge of the voting process, he wanted to make sure that no party could exploit holes in the voting process in their favor. The vote would be meaningless otherwise.
It didn't take long before every vassal had a jade token of their own. Individually, the tokens might not mean anything. But together, they could determine the very future of Veluriyam Capital.
Emperor Petalpluck shot a glance at Jiang Chen and Emperor Shura. "Do either of you wish to say anything?"
Emperor Shura hurriedly said, "It's fine, it's fine. I'm sure everyone is tired of our voice already. Let us get this process started already. Cultivators shouldn't fool around, right?"
It wasn't that he had nothing to say. He just couldn't beat young lord Zhen in a verbal spar no matter what. Young lord Zhen was such a silver tongued devil that the great emperor was at risk of losing supporters every time the young man spoke.
Jiang Chen smiled as he shot Emperor Shura a meaningful glance. "Emperor Shura, is it just me, or did you look a bit afraid just now? What is it? Are you afraid that I'll expose how lily-livered you are?"
Emperor Shura smiled arrogantly. "Young lord Zhen, I know you're just putting up a front! If you're afraid, I can give you a bit of leeway since you're a junior and all."
"Enough, both of you. Keep this up and those below will laugh at you." Emperor Petalpluck reminded with a frown.
Jiang Chen shrugged and fell silent. He had done everything he could in this meeting, and truthfully he didn't care what the final results might be. He had already mentally prepared himself to face the possibility of defeat.
Even if Emperor Shura really did win the election, it wasn't like Jiang Chen would be ruined in one fell stroke. At worst, he would sheath his edge and bide his time. If everything went well, Jiang Chen believed that it was absolutely possible for him become a great emperor within a hundred years.
Even if he didn't, he was confident that he could outstrip Emperor Shura in every way the moment he reached peak emperor realm. When that happened, Sacred Peafowl Mountain could easily regain control over the capital.
Currently, he was more worried about Emperor Peafowl's whereabouts. Emperor Shura's wrath and revenge didn't worry him in the slightest. He had the Nine Sparks Petalstorm Formation at Sacred Peafowl Mountain. It would take at least a couple of great emperors to break open, so no matter how powerful Emperor Shura might be, the possibility of a breach wasn't really a concern.
Jiang Chen had both a plan of attack and retreat. It was why he was able to keep as calm as he was. If there was one nagging worry in his mind, it would be Pillfire City, especially after he saw the holy emperor of Eternal Celestial Capital and Emperor Pillzenith himself here today.
Emperor Peafowl had long since seen through that Emperor Shura was a man who lacked the courage to carry out his ambitions. That was why Jiang Chen's worries deepened. If a man like Emperor Shura really was colluding with foreign enemies, it would be no different from leaving Veluriyam Capital wide open to attack.
Jiang Chen didn't want to see Emperor Peafowl's efforts and three thousand years of prosperity washed down the drain because Emperor Shura had invited the enemy into their midst.
In a way, his relaxed composure gave the four monarchs of Sacred Peafowl Mountain some more confidence. After all, they couldn't help but be a little worried. Although the young lord had recruited many helpers to his fold, such as the unanticipated Emperor Peerless, Emperor Shura had been a great emperor of Veluriyam Capital for three thousand years. He was the second most senior in the capital's history besides Emperor Peafowl. Even if he had contributed nothing to Veluriyam Capital, three thousand years of accumulated authority wasn't so easy to overcome.
The vassals holding the jade tokens all had serious looks on their faces. Both sides had been awash with emotions when they'd been hurling abuse at each other earlier, but when it actually came time to vote, the matter required serious thought. They all know what this token truly symbolized.
For a time, the atmosphere grew extremely heavy. There was an unanimous stifling presence that descended on everyone. Emperor Petalpluck didn't urge them to make a decision either.
Emperor Shura stared firmly at the vassals beneath him like a hawk, but Jiang Chen acted with relaxed indifference. He didn't try to exert more psychological pressure because he knew that Emperor Shura's efforts were pointless. The people wouldn't give him a vote just because he was glaring at them. Most of the people who were present today had likely decided who they wanted to vote for a long time ago.
If Emperor Shura wanted to play the bad guy, Jiang Chen didn't mind playing the good guy. He wouldn't be an effective bad guy anyway since he was younger than Emperor Shura, so he might as well be more generous.
A little more than an hour passed, and the jade tokens were passed onto the stage one after another. The great emperors besides Emperor Shura and Jiang Chen were helping with the collection efforts, with Emperor Vastsea and Emperor Coiling Dragon being the most eager of the lot. It was obvious that no one wanted to lose out in this situation.
Emperor Vastsea might have pretended to be friends with Emperor Petalpluck earlier, but the great emperor was quite the paranoid person. He watched Emperor Petalpluck closely throughout the process, worried that the great emperor would break impartiality.
Just the same, Emperor Coiling Dragon was worried that Emperor Petalpluck had been bought out by Emperor Shura. Although there were many signs pointing to Emperor Petalpluck not being an ally of Emperor Shura, much less a friend, it was still better to be safe than sorry.
Some time later, all eight hundred and twenty six jade tokens were collected. Emperor Petalpluck inspected every single jade token personally to ensure that none of them had been switched out, putting an end to all possibilities of cheating.
"Everyone, I guarantee that nothing is wrong with the jade tokens. Now, shall we begin calling the votes?" He looked at the other great emperors.
"Then let us begin. I'm sure that everyone is anxious to know the results." Emperor Vastsea smiled. Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Void exchanged a glance with each other. They both knew that the announcement was going to go through whether they liked it or not.
Emperor Mountaincrush volunteered. "I can call the votes."
In the end, Emperor Petalpluck decided that Emperor Coiling Dragon and Emperor Vastsea would supervise himself calling out the votes. Meanwhile, Emperor Void and Emperor Skysplitter would supervise Emperor Mountaincrush tallying the votes. This way, fairness to both Sacred Peafowl Mountain and Shura Retreat was ensured.
"One vote to young lord Zhen…"
"One vote to Emperor Shura…"
The most intense moment of the process had finally arrived. Everyone beneath the stage was waiting with baited breath. Would Emperor Shura replace Sacred Peafowl Mountain and change the three-thousand-year old structure of power in Veluriyam Capital? Or would Sacred Peafowl Mountain continue to rule Veluriyam Capital with young lord Zhen as the temporary ruler?
Everyone had their own expectations and thoughts. The good news was that Emperor Petalpluck didn't report the names of the vassals. Otherwise, the atmosphere would've become even more oppressive. Even then, everyone was tense to say the least. A single spark could set the place on fire.
To Emperor Shura's annoyance, both sides shared almost an equal number of votes. Although he was a few votes ahead of young lord Zhen, they were close enough for it to be a draw.
The fact that he couldn't pull ahead of Jiang Chen irritated Emperor Shura greatly. Before this, he'd thought that his plans and the number of factions he controlled guaranteed a pleasing conclusion. He'd even managed to persuade the vassals of other great emperors and even Emperor Peafowl's to join his side.
All things considered, he should've had near to six hundred votes at least. Even if great numbers of them ultimately couldn't bear to support him and abstained, he should still have around five hundred votes. This should've been a landslide victory!Emperor Shura was right about one thing at least. A lot of people had chosen to stay neutral. However, the dream in which he achieved overwhelming victory over young lord Zhen still hadn't happened.
It made Emperor Shura very unhappy. Even Emperor Vastsea was seething on the inside. The latter was cursing inwardly about the vassals not keeping to their promise and changing their votes at the last minute. That being said, Emperor Shura was still in the lead.