It was an impasse.
Given the circumstances, neither side was going to convince the other. Moreover, it’d be difficult for Skypillar to take down Crimsonwaters and his supporters, given that Hoarfrost was on Crimsonwaters’ side.
The godkings had split into different factions. It might seem that there were only two sides, but that wasn’t the case. Multiple agendas abounded.
Whiteriver abruptly chuckled. “Let’s go through the matters at hand one by one. The creation token is the most important at the moment, isn’t it? And to get it, we need Celestial Emperor Taiyuan. No matter if we release him or not, we have to at least visit the old emperor. That, we all agree on, don’t we?”
Greenwood nodded. “That’s right.”
Ninecauldrons followed suit. “I have to agree.”
“What do you think, Your Majesty?” Whiteriver turned to Skypillar with a smile.
Skypillar huffed. “I’m not opposed to paying Celestial Emperor Taiyuan a visit, but we have to discuss things more before we let him go. There’s always a possibility that he may retaliate once he’s freed.”
He didn’t sound as adamant as before. After calming down and considering the circumstances, he could tell that he was in more danger than he’d initially thought.
“My proposal isn’t a personal attack on you, Your Majesty,” interjected Crimsonwaters. “However, Celestial Emperor Taiyuan’s release may not be a bad thing for you. Please consider that carefully.”
Skypillar contemplated the godking’s words with a frown. Was he respected as a celestial emperor? Judging from how the godkings acted today, how many of them actually took him seriously?
Almost no one.
A mournful look flashed through his face. What was the point of being the celestial emperor then?
What did he expect would happen if he remained on the throne? Would he be able to win others’ respect? No, not likely!
None of the keyholders were to be underestimated. They’d never treated him like they would a celestial emperor.
Skypillar was swayed.
Hoarfrost smiled faintly. “Since there’s no consensus, the solution is simple. We’ll put it to a vote. Majority rules. What say you?”
The suggestion was the ultimate dismissal of Skypillar’s authority. The celestial emperor should’ve had the final say. Putting the issue to a vote meant the emperor’s opinion mattered as much as the other keyholders.
Skypillar swallowed the bitter taste in his mouth. Had he been such a terrible leader? Voting on the issue was an insult to him!
Still, there was nothing he could do. There was no reason for Godking Hoarfrost to fear him.
“I agree that we should put it to a vote,” said Godking Crimsonwaters.
Greenwood nodded. “We’ll vote.”
“It’s a viable solution. I agree.” Whiteriver seemed calm.
Ninecauldrons nodded after some deliberation, but didn’t say anything.
With all of them agreeing to the suggestion, it was a foregone conclusion that they were going to put it to a vote. Darknorth’s expression was tight. He’d put in so much effort into preserving Skypillar’s authority, but it had been all in vain.
The emperor was going to cast a vote along with these godkings. How pathetic!
Nonetheless, that was how things panned out. Darknorth couldn’t do anything to turn the tide. He threw Skypillar a weak glance. He’d done all he could.
Skypillar opened his mouth, but found himself at a loss for words. He waved weakly. “It seems that I no longer hold enough respect to be the celestial emperor. Do whatever you want. I’ll abdicate the throne from now on.”
Skypillar might seem cowardly once his steely facade was peeled away, but he wasn’t a fool. If he didn’t cut his losses while he could, he might not come out of this mess alive.
Seven keyholders, seven votes.
The results came quickly. Two were in favor of releasing Celestial Emperor Taiyuan. Three were in favor of visiting the old emperor but not releasing him. Two gave up their votes.
Darknorth and Skypillar were the two who abstained.
Crimsonwaters and Hoarfrost wanted the old emperor released, while Greenwood, Whiteriver, and Ninecauldrons supported a simple visit.
Whiteriver smiled. “The majority rules. We’ll pay Celestial Emperor Taiyuan a visit.”
The crowd was very unhappy with the result.
“All godkings should have the right to vote!” exclaimed Godking Righteous. “Why are the seven of you the only ones who have a say?”
“That’s right. The fate of Taiyuan Plane should be decided by all of the godkings, not just you!”
“Shut your mouths!” snapped Ninecauldron. “We’re the keyholders, which gives us control over the fate of Taiyuan Plane. It’s a power entrusted to us by fate. How dare you simple godkings start a ruckus? If you keep going, you’ll be guilty of disrupting the order of the Sky Palace, the punishment of which is execution!”
“That’s right!” Whiteriver said with a smile. “You’ll only make things more complicated and mislead the group.”
The two godkings killed the spark of a consensus.
Jiang Chen had been watching as an outsider, but no more. A faint smile tugged at his lips. It was time for him to act.
He could say for sure that the mastermind must be among Greenwood, Whiteriver, and Ninecauldrons. It was also possible that all three of them had been involved.
Before Jiang Chen could stand up, Godking Hoarfrost cracked a strange smile. “Whiteriver, Greenwood, Ninecauldrons, you all suggested paying Celestial Emperor Taiyuan a visit rather than releasing him. You’re after the creation token, aren’t you?”
“So what? Without the creation token, Taiyuan Plane has no future. We’re doing this for the sake of our world!”
“You’re been thinking only about the return of the old emperor, Hoarfrost, but have you considered that Taiyuan Plane fell because of Celestial Emperor Taiyuan defying the heavenly dao?”
Hoarfrost’s smile deepened. “You sure are self-righteous, Ninecauldrons. Dare you say the same thing to Celestial Emperor Taiyuan himself?”
“Hmph, I won’t shy away from making the accusation in person!” Ninecauldron retorted with false indignation.
Jiang Chen had had enough. He shot to his feet. “You’re all bark and no bite, old man. I’ll represent Celestial Emperor Taiyuan today and slap you for running your mouth!”