The group reached a common consensus after some internal discussion. They greatly liked Jiang Chen's future plans for the capital. They understood how Pillfire City had come to surpass Veluriyam Capital after hearing his explanations and why the gap between the two factions was growing wider and wider.
The next day, the vassals gathered at Sacred Peafowl Mountain to discuss the founding of the pill dao academy. They were all very enthused, to say the least.
"Young lord Zhen, you must be the headmaster of the academy! We have complete faith in your knowledge of pill dao!"
"Yeah! We're in complete favor of the academy construction! The Bluesky Nation will contribute fifty million saint spirit stones to the cause!"
"Heh! The Great Qin Nation will contribute fifty million as well!"
"So will we!" The vassals were more than happy to donate generously. They were the leaders of their own respective factions. Veluriyam Capital oversaw a vast and expansive territory, rich with resources and fertile lands. Thus, many of them were quite wealthy.
What they lacked instead were opportunities and knowledge, and the pill dao academy would fill precisely that spot. Once the academy was built, their children and disciples would have easy admission as they'd contributed to its construction.
The crowd was riled up. Jiang Chen smiled faintly and listened to their chatter without interruption. Their enthusiasm was clearly due to personal reasons. By donating generously, they were hoping that they'd gain some recognition and benefits for their own factions.
He wasn't too bothered by that as it was proof that they were still hopeful and wanted something from Veluriyam Capital. Words alone wouldn't be enough to unite Veluriyam. He'd have to fulfill their personal desires and combine various self-interests into a common goal. Mutualism was the answer to a tightly knit society.
He'd combine common goals, his personal charisma, and various other governing techniques to propel Veluriyam towards a more prosperous and well-governed future.
The discussion was still roaring strong after three days and three nights. Various titans of Veluriyam Capital were also involved in the discussion. Finally, there was a unanimous decision to build the academy on the Luojia Ridge as it had fertile lands and good fengshui.
It was the region where spirit herbs were widely grown and harvested. The mountain ridge spanned thousands of miles and was located in the northwestern region of Veluriyam Capital. It acted as a natural barrier, shielding the capital from any threats. It was also a hunting ground.
Building a academy there was clearly the best choice and an enormous undertaking that wouldn't be completed in a day. Fortunately, the vassals were more than willing to donate. The great emperor factions were also very generous and supportive of Jiang Chen's proposal.
Money was no longer an issue, but the same couldn't be said for labor and materials. Normally, vast territories like Veluriyam Capital wouldn't have an issue with either as long as money was in abundance. However, Jiang Chen wasn't going to be half-hearted and lazy if he was going to build a academy.
He wanted the academy to be big and monumental. It would become a sacred ground for pill dao in the Upper Eight Regions! Jiang Chen had very lofty goals. He wasn't just aiming to snatch the crown away from Pillfire City. It would become the new hub for the entire human domain.
Veluriyam Capital would come to mind first whenever pill dao was brought up, not Pillfire City. Thus, he couldn't afford to skimp on the construction of the academy. He'd much rather extend the construction period a little.
"Everyone, I've long contemplated whether I should found a academy. If I'm going to build one, I intend to make it the holy land of pill dao. My goal is to make everyone think about our academy instead of Pillfire City whenever pill dao crosses their mind. This isn't something we can achieve in one day, but I hope to gain your support in this matter. I'm but one man. No matter how exceptional I am, I can never achieve this goal without your strenuous support!"
Jiang Chen spoke with utmost sincerity. He glanced at the crowd and continued. "I know that you may still have some doubts and think that my ambitions are incredibly unrealistic, but that's perfectly fine. Keep your doubts and give me the chance to prove you wrong. After I was made young lord, Emperor Peafowl tried to entrust Veluriyam Capital to me. I was too young then and never gave him a clear answer. With his disappearance, Veluriyam Capital is in greater peril than ever. If I don't do anything, we'll be targeted by the other factions like a piece of dangling meat. I'm not trying to raise false alarms. When Emperor Peafowl was around, no outsider would ever dare spy on our capital. However, snakes and rats have come poking with the rumors. Do any of you really believe that Emperor Pillzenith and the Holy Emperor were merely passing through during the Vassal Meeting?"
"Young lord Zhen makes a good point. Emperor Peafowl has always been our guardian. He's the very reason we've led such peaceful lives all these years. Now that the rumors have spread, trouble will surely come our way. Young lord Zhen is building the academy to unite the various factions in Veluriyam Capital and to demonstrate our resilience to the outside world!" Emperor Petalpluck spoke solemnly.
"Yes. We shouldn't leave anything to chance. Only after leaving home will one realize what they once had. Emperor Shura has deserted our capital. Thanks to his abilities, he can defect to any faction he wants to. However, do you think he'll ever receive the same prestige he had here? I think not!" Emperor Void piped in meaningfully. "The same applies to all of you. If the capital collapses, you'll never be granted the same title again even if you defect to another faction. No one will take a stray dog seriously."
The vassals nodded as they reflected upon those words. This wasn't a hoax. They were respectable vassals in Veluriyam Capital, but this title would be theirs no longer if the capital collapsed. Even if it was, their position would no longer be as secure as before. Also, they'd have to adapt to a new environment and face all kinds of prejudice and bigotry. Life would be so much better in their current territory.
Jiang Chen smiled faintly. "Everyone, you needn't overly worry. Veluriyam Capital will not collapse easily as we've been blessed with endless fortune since the ancient times. Moreover, Emperor Peafowl gave us a contingency plan before he left. It'll give us moments of respite during dire times. Haven't we already seen how Emperor Pillzenith ran away with his tail between his legs this time?"
This 'contingency plan' was a white lie. Jiang Chen knew that he needed to comfort his people during such times of insecurity. The best way to do that was to borrow Emperor Peafowl's name.
Even though the emperor hadn't given Jiang Chen any contingency plans, he did give important advice on how to rule the capital. Jiang Chen was told to rope in the other great emperor factions to keep Emperor Shura in check.
That particular angle had worked nicely. Without the complete support of the other emperors, Emperor Shura didn't have enough momentum to stir up much of a storm. It was a testament to Emperor Peafowl's judgement.
Jiang Chen suddenly turned towards Emperor Peerless. "Old Brother Mo, I have something to ask of you."
"Old Mo is currently Sacred Peafowl Mountain's honorary esteemed elder. Young lord Zhen, please feel free to speak your mind." Emperor Peerless emphasized Jiang Chen's status by publicly calling him 'young lord Zhen' instead of 'younger brother'.
"Old Brother Mo, since you were a renowned titan amongst the wandering cultivators, do you think that it's possible for us to host a gathering in the upcoming months?
"A gathering of wandering cultivators?" Emperor Peerless was taken aback. He pondered deeply. "They're proud and unbridled. It won't be easy to get them to attend. Unless..."
"Unless I tempt them with an offer they can't refuse?" Jiang Chen smiled meaningfully.
"Yes. I'm rather familiar with the wandering cultivator community. I have an old group of brothers that will surely heed my call, but I daren't place any bets on my ability to summon the rest of them."
Jiang Chen nodded. "Enticing them with profit is the best course of action."
Wandering cultivators were very different from cultivators belonging to a sect. They were more self-minded and independent. Or in other words, egoistic and self-centered.
Most of them had very cautious and proud personalities, and would never let themselves be ordered around. It was the biggest difference between them and the members of a sect.
One couldn't rely on power or authority to gather wandering cultivators. Only those who possessed great charm could do such a thing. They did exist, but they were far and few between. Profit was the best and surest way to summon the wandering cultivators.
"Young lord, why are you hosting a wandering cultivator gathering?" Emperor Peerless suddenly asked.
"I won't lie. Veluriyam Capital is in desperate need of talent and there are many crouching tigers and hidden dragons amongst the wandering cultivator community..."
Emperor Peerless smiled wryly before Jiang Chen could finish his sentence. "Young lord Zhen, surely you're not planning to recruit them?" His expression clearly implied that this would be no easy matter. "Then I'll cut straight to the point. There's no lack of powerful experts amongst the wanderers, but the stronger they are, the more eccentric and difficult to handle they are. The mediocre ones are of no use either. Like a pile of loose sand, they can't be relied on during a crisis. Loyalty is very hard to come by among the powerful. Truthfully, I don't think that it's a good idea to recruit them…"
Emperor Peerless was the only one who dared speak in such a blunt and straightforward way.