Chapter 808: The Peafowl Guard
"Everyone, please back off ten meters!" A captain of the Peafowl Guard waved his token around. "The Peafowl Guard is keeping the peace here. Your cooperation is appreciated."
The Peafowl Guard was an untouchable presence within Veluriyam Capital. They signified the most elite forces under Emperor Peafowl's command. Any position in the Guard was hotly contested for by countless people. Most remarkably, the Peafowl Guard never disturbed any of the commoners despite their strength. They took a hard line, but were ultimately fair. Thus, they were well-loved by the people.
Seeing that the Peafowl Guard had arrived, everyone was in a cooperative mood and collectively backed off ten meters or so to give sufficient room for the guardsmen to work. Two men, whose robes gave away their identities as pill kings, stood near the captain. In particular, their garments also spoke of their status as ones who answered directly to Emperor Peafowl. Either of them were heavyweights in Veluriyam Capital's pill scene, and didn’t ordinarily show themselves in public. But now, both had appeared at the same time!
"What’s going on?" The crowd was filled with uncertainty.
Those who couldn't stand the Majestic Clan's actions enjoyed a moment of schadenfreude. "The Majestic Clan's attack on House Wei must have angered Emperor Peafowl. This is their just desserts, eh?"
It wasn't just a few people who shared this opinion, especially after the Majestic Clan had set the price of the Longevity Pill at ten million. The slight bit of goodwill that they’d accumulated evaporated instantly. The Majestic Clan was still the bloodsucker they all knew. How could one expect sudden generosity? Selling a single Longevity Pill for ten million was tantamount to robbery. Three or five million would be an acceptable price for most people. Ten million, on the other hand… everyone knew that it was too high, and not just by a little! There were many present who were only in attendance to watch a spectacle. For them, the arrival of the Peafowl Guard was unexpected, but they had wanted to see something along those line. Now this - this was the main event they had come to see.
The Peafowl Guard were hardly here to take afternoon tea. The captain who led the guardsman was a man of high standing. He walked towards the clan lord with an imposing gait. "You are the lord of the Majestic Clan, yes?"
The clan lord furrowed his brow a little, not particularly satisfied with the man's way of speaking. But, the speaker was a member of the Peafowl Guard though, and thus representatives of the foremost faction in Veluriyam Capital. Even though the Majestic Clan had a backer themselves, this was no place for impudence. He nodded, tamping down his irritation. "Correct, that's me."
"My name is Kong Quan, First Captain of the Peafowl Guard." The captain's voice was coolly indifferent.
"What business does Captain Kong have with me?" The Majestic Clan leader had a hunch that the other man was here to pick a fight, and so chose his words carefully.
"Were you selling the Longevity Pill here just now?" the captain asked.
There was nothing for the clan lord to deny. "Yes."
Captain Kong nodded, and suddenly changed the subject. "This Taiyuan Lodge… is it property of the Majestic Clan?"
The clan lord found it difficult to contain his rising irritation, but inclined his head nevertheless. "The Majestic Clan owns this place, correct. Captain Kong, today is the grand opening for our store. If you are willing to grace us with your presence at the festivities, then please come on in. But acting like this on our big day is a little inappropriate, don't you think?"
Captain Kong smiled faintly, neither confirming nor denying the accusation. "How many Longevity Pills has Taiyuan Lodge sold today, if I may ask?"
The clan lord made no sign to hide his anger now; this was the last straw. "Is that something I must report to you, captain?!"
The Shura Guard stationed nearby disagreed as well. One of their captains walked towards the two of them with large strides. "Ole Kong, what is the meaning of this? Are you trying to make trouble?"
Captain Kong returned a nonchalant glance. It was easy for him to identify the other man. Besides being a guard-captain, this man was also one of the Moon Monarch's most valued henchmen. However, Captain Kong was content to feign ignorance as he smirked. "And who are you?"
"Ole Kong, don't play the fool with me. If you're here to stir up trouble, then be upfront about it. What's the point of all this playing around?" The Shura guard captain retorted angrily.
Captain Kong examined the other man closely. "Your uniforms… the Shura Guard, hmm? Not impostors, are you? Men directly serving the emperors rarely meddle in worldly affairs. Has Emperor Shura not taught you the slightest tidbit of common sense? Or perhaps you really are all fakes, after all?" The captain waved a hand, completely denying them face. "Take this rabble away. Don’t let them obstruct the Peafowl Guard's work."
Rabble? The Shura Guard was Emperor Shura's private army. It was astounding that they would reduced to mere rabble in the mouth of the Peafowl Guard. Indeed, everyone was taken aback in the moment. The Peafowl Guard had clearly made ample preparations. At the command, its best experts charged forward and surrounded all of the Shura Guard in front of them. To begin with, only about a dozen from the Shura Guard were actually present. The Moon Monarch had left them there to hold down the fort against casual troublemakers. Who would dare to make trouble at the Majestic Clan's opening ceremony while the Shura Guard was present? Thus, the Moon Monarch thought that a dozen men was enough. That over a hundred men of the Peafowl Guard would appear was entirely unexpected. Moreover, they were hand-picked, elites even amongst the other guardsmen. Those from the Peafowl Guard completely outclassed the few Shura Guard that were around.
The Shura Guard captain was enraged. "Kong, don't be an ignorant fool. The Peafowl Guard is strong, but we of the Shura Guard aren't pushovers, either!"
Captain Kong's reply was just as serene as ever. "The Shura Guard? Don't make a fool out of yourselves. How could the great men of the Shura Guard disgrace themselves to the point of acting as domestic security? You riffraff, calling yourself the Shura Guard… you're besmirching Emperor Shura's reputation! Such malice must be punished by death. Even if your claim was true, you would still be scum. Otherwise, how would you not know of the pact between the seven great emperors? Those under the emperors' direct command do not participate in worldly affairs."
Clearly composed beforehand, the speech was filled with righteous indignation. The Shura Guard captain was flabbergasted, and was momentarily at a loss for words. They really were here to serve as domestic security for Taiyuan Lodge. There was nothing inaccurate in Captain Kong's words. However, the Shura Guard weren't people who could be taken lightly, either. Though he was outnumbered, the Shura guard captain did not wish to lose this war of words. "You say that the Shura Guard is participating in worldly affairs, but what about the Peafowl Guard? Isn't this a case of the pot calling the kettle black?" He sneered.
Captain Kong didn’t reply, but gave him a piteous look, as if this guard captain in front of him was truly a fool. With a wave of his hand, Captain Kong directed his subordinates, "Watch them closely. If they do anything suspicious, cut them down where they stand!"
Cut them down where they stand! The order amazed everyone present. Even the Majestic clan lord felt a pang in his heart. Everything in the Peafowl Guard's actions was directed at his clan! Had the Peafowl Emperor come out of seclusion, and personally sent men to squelch the Majestic Clan? That didn't seem likely. If so, then the four monarchs under Emperor Peafowl's command would surely have come as well. There was no reason to send just a single captain. Although he was still as perplexed as before, the Majestic Clan lord felt a little more secure with his analysis. "Captain Kong, this is just an ordinary opening ceremony for Taiyuan Lodge. What have we done to offend you that you would make such a big ruckus?" He inquired in a low voice.
Captain Kong grinned coldly. "Majestic Clan lord, there is no need to play tricks with words! You know what you have done. Personally, I do not know who you are at all, so there's no need to speak of offense. I come here today only to enforce the law."
"The law?" The Majestic Clan lord spoke in soft reply. "The Majestic Clan has always followed the rules, and we keep to ourselves. We are model citizens here in Veluriyam Capital. What law has been broken, may I ask?"
"You're not taking revenge for a private slight, are you?" The Shura Guard captain sneered from behind the Peafowl Guard.
Captain Kong burst into laughter. He gave the Shura Guard captain a hard stare. "Private slight? I'll take that to be an admission of guilt, hmm, for kidnapping the Wei father and son from earlier? How brave of you. I appreciate you being so candid. Not to worry, if it's a personal slight, it will be resolved when Emperor Peafowl leaves seclusion."
The Shura Guard captain's face instantly colored. "Don't misunderstand me!"
If that statement was taken as fact, the Shura Guard would become a public enemy. Kidnapping the Wei father and son because of a private slight was an act that would incur public resentment, even to a group as prominent as the Shura Guard.
"No need to quibble so. The truth is as plain as day in our hearts." Captain Kong did not tolerate the mincing of words, and cast the nature of the event in stone.
The Majestic Clan lord barely choked back his ire. "Captain Kong, I have no interest in private slights and revenge plots! I only ask one thing of you. What regulation has Taiyuan Lodge broken today, on our grand opening?! What is the cause for this mass mobilization? Though I am a humble man, I still know that nothing should be done without reason!"
Captain Kong snickered. "Majestic Clan lord, there's no need to bluff your innocence. We came here because we have sufficient evidence. There are so many people here, and no one is missing their eyes. Are you scared of being wronged? When has the Peafowl Guard falsified criminal proceedings?"
Hearing that their business was purely official, the Majestic Clan lord was somewhat relieved. Even taking everything he knew into account, he still didn't see anything that Taiyuan Lodge could be attacked for. They were pristine enough to withstand any test. The other party could be as unreasonable as they wanted, since the Majestic Clan had the moral high ground. The opening ceremony last time was a subversive tactic against Taiyuan Tower, and thus could be attacked. But there was no problem this time, they were on their best behaviour. The Majestic Clan lord felt immensely certain of his innocence, and with that certainty came the courage to speak. "The Peafowl Guard does not make up crimes, yes? Then, please tell me what law Taiyuan Lodge has violated."
Captain Kong's gaze was chilling, and he affixed an intense, almost piercing stare upon the Majestic Clan lord. "Taiyuan Lodge's Longevity Pill… where does the recipe come from?" His voice was sudden and lance-like.
The abruptness of the question caught the Majestic Clan lord completely off guard. He’d never imagined that Captain Kong would ask about that, and a brief moment passed as he recovered. Having thought things through, the clan lord laughed mockingly. "Captain Kong, there's no need for me to answer that question. Should the Majestic Clan's business arrangements be laid bare for you? If I remember correctly, there's no law like that here in Veluriyam Capital. Furthermore, just like you said, the great emperors cannot interfere in worldly affairs. Don't you think you're being a little hypocritical?"