Lin Yanyu was feeling as pleased as punch lately, but he was nagged by a tiny bit of worry. Thankfully, it was the happy kind. Half a year ago, after leaving the desolate wildlands, he had heeded 'Daoist Huang's' suggestion and traveled to Veluriyam Capital. He had heard that the Veluriyam Pagoda gathering that was held every sixty years was about to start, and that even wandering cultivators had the qualification to participate in the event and potentially advance their status.
This news invigorated Lin Yanyu greatly. He was a stray dog in Pillfire City, and Veluriyam Capital was Pillfire City's sworn enemy. If he could earn his place in Veluriyam Capital, he might be able to take revenge for his family someday. If he allowed this chance to slip by, he couldn't see a sliver of hope of taking revenge, even if he were to live for another few thousand years. Therefore, he had registered to participate in the Veluriyam Pagoda Meeting almost without thinking. He would be participating in the pill battles as a wandering cultivator.
Lin Yanyu was very confident in his own pill dao talent. However, he was aware that there was a legend who was even greater than him in Veluriyam Capital—Pill King Zhen. Pill King Zhen was Lin Yanyu's idol. This was especially true after he'd heard that Pill King Zhen had defeated that insufferably arrogant Pill King Ji Lang in the clash for the Longevity Pill. After all, Pill King Ji Lang was an old enemy of Lin Yanyu's father. Lin Yanyu had always thought that the true mastermind behind the Lin Family's destruction was that particular pill king.
That was why Lin Yanyu quite admired the man who defeated Pill King Ji Lang. While 'Daoist Huang's' suggestion was one of the reasons why he came to Veluriyam Capital, his wish to meet the world famous Pill King Zhen was also a factor. However, he couldn't find any news about Pill King Zhen no matter how he tried to ask around. When the Veluriyam Pagoda gathering was about to begin, and after countless pill dao geniuses had requested specifically for Pill King Zhen to be the judge of the pill battles, Lin Yanyu finally learned that the famous Pill King Zhen had been absent from Veluriyam Capital for quite some time already. This news disappointed him a little.
Still, he progressed triumphantly in the pill battles and was placed first amongst the top hundred wandering cultivators. Plenty of forces within Veluriyam Capital sought out Lin Yanyu in an attempt to recruit him after the rankings were released. Out of all the powers, the most proactive faction of them was, without a doubt, Emperor Shura's faction. However, Lin Yanyu still hadn't made up his mind even now. Although Veluriyam Capital's state of affairs wasn't very clear to him, he knew that the strongest great emperor in Veluriyam Capital was Emperor Peafowl. Moreover, the famous Pill King Zhen was closer to Emperor Peafowl. Therefore, Lin Yanyu didn't make any hasty decisions, despite facing much enticement.
However, the top hundred names were about to be immediately declared. After that, the semi-finals would ensue to decide the top thirty-six cultivators who would enter the pill pagoda of Veluriyam Pagoda. The pill pagoda contained every pill dao inheritance that ever existed in Veluriyam Pagoda. It was a secret vault of pill dao. Here, there would be many opportunities.
Inside Sacred Peafowl Mountain.
"Your Majesty, the top hundred names of the pill battles have already been finalized. What will be your plan after this? I shall execute it straight away," Cloudsoar Monarch asked.
Emperor Peafowl smiled faintly, "I have no plans for now, I'm afraid. What would be your plan of action, Cloudsoar?"
Cloudsoar Monarch was slightly caught off guard by the counter question. He smiled wryly, "The internal situation of Veluriyam Capital right now is somewhat awkward, Your Majesty. Everyone thinks that you are planning to abdicate soon. May I know if this is true, Your Majesty?"
Naturally, everyone in Sacred Peafowl Mountain was very concerned with this question. If Emperor Peafowl truly planned to abdicate the throne to Emperor Shura, then his strange inactivity as of late would make a lot of sense. But if the emperor truly planned to abdicate, he should have informed his subordinates beforehand and given them some time to prepare themselves mentally, shouldn't he have?
Emperor Peafowl didn't say anything, however. In fact, he hadn't revealed even the slightest hint of his plans. His silence caused the situation to become even more awkward than before. Although everyone had all sorts of guesses, no one could tell what the emperor was thinking for sure. As Emperor Peafowl's most trusted aide, Cloudsoar Monarch had never stopped trying to figure out his emperor's true intentions. But he'd failed, and now he could no longer stop himself from asking.
"Abdicate?" Emperor Peafowl sighed softly. His gaze on Cloudsoar Monarch suddenly turned meaningful, "Did you know that I sensed the heavenly dao a thousand years ago?"
His answer was like a clap of summer thunder. It rang so loudly in Cloudsoar Monarch's ears that he was stunned for a very, very long time. "Your Majesty… did you just say that you've sensed the heavenly dao?"
Emperor Peafowl sighed softly, "There is no point in hiding it any longer. I've tried to suppress this feeling for a thousand years, but the heavenly dao is unavoidable once you sense it the first time. Emperor Shura is full of ambition, but unfortunately he never had the courage to rise to power and confront me for the throne. Sadly, I can only wait for him to come to a decision, but even to this day, he still lacks the courage and the strength to make that move." Emperor Peafowl spoke as if he wasn't included in the story he was currently narrating. In fact, he sounded a little despondent. "Everyone thinks that I am getting old, and that Emperor Shura will replace me one day. However, no one has realized that I am hoping that he can replace me as soon as possible."
Cloudsoar Monarch was speechless. This revelation was just too surprising to him. He never realized that Emperor Peafowl had reached a height so great that no one could understand him. Now, it would appear that the outside world's so-called worries were completely unnecessary.
Emperor Peafowl had sensed the heavenly dao and wanted to abdicate the throne since a long time ago. This was because a great emperor who had sensed the heavenly dao was the equivalent of a half-step empyrean cultivator. If he truly wished to hold onto his authority, then no one could have replaced him. There was only one reason why he would abdicate his throne, and that was because Emperor Peafowl had transcended to a level where worldly power no longer meant anything to him. His horizons had long since surpassed everything in Veluriyam Capital. Compared to Emperor Peafowl, they were as pitiful and amusing as frogs at the bottom of a well.
Cloudsoar Monarch was absorbed in emotions of pride and sadness for a while. He was proud because the emperor he'd pledged allegiance to was so capable that he'd actually sensed the heavenly dao. But he was also sad because the emperor would eventually heed the call of the heavenly dao and leave Veluriyam Capital one day. If that day were to come, where would Veluriyam Capital go, and what would be its fate in the future? Would the glory that Sacred Peafowl Mountain had maintained for such a long time be lost forever after his absence? And would they really have to allow Emperor Shura's faction to take control of Veluriyam Capital?
"You don't need to worry about this, Cloudsoar. For a thousand years I was troubled by this predicament, but the answer finally came to me in recent years. The fog that once enshrouded Veluriyam Capital's future is slowly clearing, and it has enlightened me to a whole new path."
Cloudsoar Monarch trembled and looked at Emperor Peafowl in shock, "Have you made up your mind already, Your Majesty?"
Emperor Peafowl smiled faintly, "Not until recently, but yes, I have something in mind. Emperor Shura has proven himself to simply be a good agitator, but not the courageous ruler this power truly needs. Therefore, he can only be my second choice."
"Second choice?" Cloudsoar Monarch frowned visibly, "Who is the first choice then?" He didn't know why, but Cloudsoar Monarch suddenly recalled the deceased young lord Fan. His heart ached at the loss.
"Who do you think is most suitable, Cloudsoar?" Emperor Peafowl suddenly asked meaningfully.
"Alas…" Cloudsoar Monarch sighed softly, "The late young lord Fan may be the most suitable candidate. Unfortunately, his passing remains somewhat unclear even to this day."
Cloudsoar Monarch had always thought that young lord Fan's unexpected demise was most likely caused by Emperor Shura's faction. However, Emperor Peafowl had forbade them from discussing or making wild guesses about his demise. That was why Cloudsoar Monarch had never spoken of it in public.
But Emperor Peafowl suddenly laughed and shook his head, "Oh, Cloudsoar. Even you were fooled by him, weren't you?"
"What do you mean?" Cloudsoar Monarch was caught off guard.
"As matters stand, I can now tell you the truth. I killed young lord Fan with my own hands." Emperor Peafowl said calmly.
"What?" Cloudsoar Monarch's head buzzed with shock. He stared blankly at Emperor Peafowl in utter disbelief.
"A demon bloodline is a justifiable cause for execution. I had been waiting to see if any one of you could discover his bloodline. I was planning to choose that person as Sacred Peafowl Mountain's successor. Unfortunately, not one of you managed to discover the truth."
"The demon race?" Cloudsoar Monarch's expression changed yet again. These surprising series of revelations were starting to overwhelm him. He worked hard to swallow a few times until he finally calmed himself down, his belly full of regrets. He'd never realized that the great emperor had been testing them. Unfortunately, none of the peak emperor cultivators had passed the test. However, another question immediately appeared in Cloudsoar Monarch's mind. If Emperor Shura was only Emperor Peafowl's second choice, then who was his first choice? Cloudsoar Monarch's mind was once again filled with doubt.
"Your Majesty, your servant is truly slow-witted. No matter how much I mull it over, I can't figure out who could possibly be your first choice. Just who is your best candidate?" Naturally, the only person in Veluriyam Capital who was more suited to rule than Emperor Shura was Emperor Peafowl himself. But Emperor Peafowl had already made it clear that he planned to abdicate. So who could possibly be the future master of Veluriyam Capital?
"This person has risen to attention for some time already. Are you truly this slow, Cloudsoar?" Emperor Peafowl sighed.
The answer abruptly flashed through his mind, and Cloudsoar Monarch couldn't stop himself from exclaiming, "Pill King Zhen? Do you mean Pill King Zhen?"
"You've finally guessed it."
"But where does Pill King Zhen's martial dao talent stand? It hasn't been verified yet, has it?" Cloudsoar Monarch couldn't describe how shocked he was at present. He didn't doubt Pill King Zhen's pill dao talent in the slightest, but even at best Pill King Zhen had only displayed tremendous potential during a previous exam. True geniuses could only be identified through competition. Therefore, whether or not Pill King Zhen possessed a superior martial dao talent and strength that surpassed all other young geniuses was still pending a reality check. In addition, Pill King Zhen was much too young. If Emperor Peafowl's plan was to groom him as a young lord, then the possibility wasn't completely out of the question. But succeeding Emperor Peafowl's throne? Wasn't that a little too early? Could he even grow up to become a suitable ruler without at least three to five hundred years of time?