Emperor Shura felt very conflicted.
He hated Emperor Void's advice because it was the painful truth. He swept a glance at the vassals and noticed that many seemed to agree with Emperor Void. Even the ones that supported him were keen for a comprehensive competition.
If he insisted on taking the throne through a martial competition, he might really never gain the complete trust and adoration of the citizens. The perfect ruler should be able to silence all naysayers by being multifaceted and exhibit a dominating advantage in every discipline. Otherwise, there would always be room for contention.
Emperor Peafowl was a leader who possessed those exact qualities and Emperor Shura was confident he did as well. Young lord Zhen had requested a large scale competition merely to show off his dominance in pill dao. Other than pill dao, Emperor Shura was certain that he had complete advantage over the young lord.
Emperor Petalpluck looked at Emperor Shura with an inquisitive expression. It was obvious that he agreed with Jiang Chen. This wasn't just a competition between Emperor Shura and young lord Zhen, but a measure of fortunes between Sacred Peafowl Mountain and Shura Retreat as well.
"Daoist Shura, why don't we let the vassals decide if there should be only a martial battle or a comprehensive competition?" Emperor Petalpluck suggested.
Emperor Shura swept another glance at the vassals and instantly realized that a comprehensive competition was unavoidable if the final decision was left to vote. The audience's eyes were already glittering in anticipation of an entertaining show.
If Emperor Shura insisted on having a single battle, his standing would suffer disastrously. He was already on shaky ground as the number of his supporters was on par with the young lord. If he lost any more supporters, the amount of vassals that supported him would surely decrease.
As the decision was going to be forced by a vote, he might as well make himself seem more generous and magnanimous. "Since young lord Zhen is so motivated, how can I say no? I will entertain him until the end. I only wanted to spare him from complete embarrassment." Emperor Shura smiled blandly.
Jiang Chen burst out laughing. "Spare me from complete embarrassment? Let's hope that you truly mean this, Emperor Shura, and not that you have no better option."
Of course he could tell that Emperor Shura had no other choice.
Emperor Petalpluck breathed a sigh of relief. Since both parties were willing, he could save the effort of trying to convince them. "Daoist Shura and young lord Zhen, what disciplines do you wish to include in your competition?"
Jiang Chen was very generous. "Emperor Shura can have the first choice. I'll defeat his faction in whatever discipline he's most confident in!"
The crowd was flabbergasted by those words. Such dominance! He was going to beat Shura Retreat at their own game? That would be incredibly heaven-defying! Was young lord Zhen really that well rounded at such a young age?
Emperor Vastsea hated seeing Jiang Chen strut around like this and laughed from anger. "Young lord Zhen, boasting to attract attention to yourself is truly distasteful."
Emperor Coiling Dragon was about to respond in kind with an insult, but Jiang Chen stopped him with a wave of a hand. He shot an indifferent glance at Emperor Vastsea and smiled faintly. "Emperor Vastsea, I know that you and Emperor Shura are on the same boat. Since you believe that I'm boasting, feel free to challenge me with a discipline your faction is most confident in."
Emperor Peafowl had once instructed Jiang Chen to learn about the individual emperor factions in Veluriyam Capital. After his investigation, he learned that a majority of the great emperors here were incredibly committed to martial dao. They did put in some effort to improve other disciplines, but the harvests from their labor wasn't great. Jiang Chen was actually rather unhappy with the great emperors' lackadaisical attitudes.
Every powerful faction should have talent in unique specializations. Martial dao was important, but so was pill dao, formations, talismans, traps, beast taming and other disciplines. There were unparalleled geniuses in every single discipline in the ancient times. It was the reason why the ancient age was also called the flourishing era. Various sects reached the pinnacle through the disciplines of pill dao, martial dao, formations talismans, and more.
In fact, such sects could be found in the modern age as well. A sect or faction would hold boundless potential if they were allowed to flourish in their own respective disciplines.
Pillfire City's influence was able to creep above Veluriyam Capital because they were much more open to the development of various disciplines, while setting up suitable platforms for them. Various talents and experts gradually gravitated towards the city, vastly accelerating progress. It was something which Veluriyam Capital sorely lacked.
The capital had a certain attractiveness, but it wasn't captivating enough to attract unparalleled geniuses of various disciplines due to the lack of a platform for them to continually improve. This was her greatest flaw.
Emperor Peafowl had noticed this and put forth great effort to improve pill dao. Unfortunately, the capital was simply too vast and there was only so much one man could do. He'd been hard at work all these years, but the results had been less than spectacular.
It wasn't Emperor Peafowl's limited capabilities either. Veluriyam Capital's foundation and heritage in these disciplines simply couldn't be compared to Pillfire City's. Jiang Chen wanted to use this opportunity to cast off stagnation and inject some vitality into the capital.
It was why he requested a comprehensive challenge. He wanted to have the other factions realize that there was so many more disciplines worth exploring other than martial dao, and that these disciplines could also bring them to the pinnacle. Jiang Chen had seen many powerful experts reach the apex through various disciplines in his previous life. Martial dao wasn't the only way.
Emperor Vastsea was thoroughly enraged by Jiang Chen's words. Feel free to challenge me? The young lord was clearly looking down on him!
"Fine! We shall see how much depth there really is to your cockiness!" He yelled furiously.
"In what discipline do you wish to compete?" Jiang Chen asked while looking at Emperor Shura with a cold smirk. "Emperor Shura, does he represent you?"
Emperor Shura was a little hesitant. He was worried that Emperor Vastsea would carelessly walk into Jiang Chen's trap. It'd be a waste if they lost a round for nothing.
"Why are you so hasty? The rules and scope of the competition hasn't even been set yet," he answered blandly and turned to face Emperor Petalpluck. "Daoist Petalpluck, what might you suggest for the scope of the competition?"
"You should discuss that among yourselves. If I suggest any, one might suspect me for being biased." Emperor Petalpluck refrained from giving any suggestions.
"Martial dao is naturally the most important discipline in our world. Other disciplines are only complementary. I suggest that we allocate three rounds for martial dao, one for pill dao, and one for talismans, to form a best of five competition." Emperor Shura muttered.
He suggested talismans instead of formations because he'd heard that young lord Zhen was incredibly adept in the latter. It was only logical to avoid something his opponent was good at. Pill dao however, was something he couldn't avoid. It wouldn't be illogical if he did. The crowd would think that he was afraid of young lord Zhen.
Losing a single pill dao round was fine. He could catch up in the martial dao and talisman rounds. He was quite confident in his mastery of talismans. Moreso since there were no rumors about young lord Zhen's exceptional talent in talismans.
Emperor Coiling Dragon laughed coldly before Jiang Chen could respond. "That's strange, why did you bring up only pill dao and talismans when there are multiple other disciplines? Is the art of formation making, beast taming, traps, and weapon refining unimportant?"
Jiang Chen smirked in response. "It's not often that we get to summon a vassal meeting. We should put on a show worth watching. I suggest that we let the vassals discuss, and we compete in whichever discipline they choose. It's the least we can do to thank them for making such a long and arduous journey to the capital. Also, we get to showcase the foundations of our factions in full."
Emperor Shura could hardly contain the urge to give Jiang Chen a fierce slap to the face. The young lord had been constantly currying favor with the vassals by being docile and tending to their wishes. If this went on any further, many would lean towards him. That would be extremely disadvantageous.
"Hmph! Our competition isn't child's play! If we have to compete in every single trifling discipline, we'll be going at it for who knows how long?!" Emperor Shura couldn't accept this.
Jiang Chen smiled. "Emperor Shura, the competition hasn't even begun yet. Why are you trembling in your boots already? How are you going to be the ruler of Veluriyam Capital if you're like this?"
Emperor Shura nearly snapped.
"Young lord Zhen, can I say that you're stalling for time?" Emperor Shura's voice was cold and harsh.
"Why would I?" Jiang Chen smiled blandly.
"If that isn't true, why are you being so unreasonable?" Emperor Shura's voice was suffused with a hint of anger.
"Me? Unreasonable? You summoned the Vassal Meeting, yet refuse to listen to their opinions. You've been rambling by yourself the entire time and picked subjects that best suit yourself. Don't you realize how discourteous you're being?"