One had to say, Jiang Chen’s emotions had also infected Qiao Baishi’s. Qiao Baishi widened his eyes and bellowed, “Qi Can was it? My house’s young master has already spoken his piece. Leave while you still can! Envoys can’t be slaughtered in the battle between kingdoms, otherwise I’d be the first to chop you up and feed you to the dogs.”
Qi Can was also dumbfounded. He had realised that in the eyes of others, his eloquent speech just now had been nothing but a joke?
Was this Jiang family crazy? Did they think that they could rely on their own paltry strength to defend against the entire Darkmoon Kingdom?
“Young master Jiang, you… really won’t consider it for a bit?” Qi Can still didn’t give up.
Jiang Chen shouted softly as a current of true qi shot out. Qi Can’s entire body flew through the air as the formless current surged violently and washed him out of the door like a kite in the wind.
Just as he was about to gather his qi and fight back, his feet suddenly touched ground as he landed solidly on the road.
“Outward projection of qi, lifting heavy items as though they weigh nothing! Could he be… an eleven meridians true qi master?” Previously, Qi Can had still been a bit arrogant, but now he’d been frightened into breaking out in cold sweat.
How could he dare to continue behaving atrociously?
Jiang Chen’s strength had surpassed his imagination. A youth in his teens was actually able to utilize true qi so ingeniously!
Qi Can’s forehead broke out into a cold sweat when he thought of this and didn’t dare to voice any more foolish words. He cupped his hands and scampered off. Jiang Chen had let him go, but he was afraid that Jiang Chen’s underlings would be displeased and refuse to let him off the hook.
The news of an invasion from the Darkmoon Kingdom had indeed not been random drivel from Yue Qun.
“Honored master, what should we do about this?” Qiao Baishi also seemed to be at a loss. His chest was filled with the passion of patriotism but he also clearly understood that with the Eastern Kingdom’s current strength, at least half of the 108 dukes were without battle capabilities at the moment.
Of the remaining half, their hearts were jittery and they would be of not much use.
As for the royal family, their elites had almost all perished in the chaos caused by the Long family. The newly rebuilt royal strength was basically just the result of a hasty last minute effort. Their power was limited.
Observing the kingdom as a whole, there was almost no elite strength that could fight against the Darkmoon Kingdom on the front lines!
“What else can we do? When water rises, the earth will dam it. When enemy soldiers advance, the general will fend them off.” Jiang Chen wasn’t panicked. The battles and wars of ordinary kingdoms were not a great source of stress for him.
Even the experts of a sect hadn’t been enough for him to bow his head in submission. How would a mere Darkmoon Kingdom give him cause for concern?
“Baishi, accompany Song Tianxing and the others back to the capital with greatest haste. I don’t wish to have dealings with the royal family, but when it comes to a war between two kingdoms, they should still be informed of everything as soon as possible.”
Jiang Chen couldn’t help but sigh when he finished speaking. The Eastern Kingdom was really in quite a mess. The order of their entire system had collapsed in the wake of the chaos caused by the Long family.
Logically speaking, with the strength of the Eastern Kingdom, they were sure to have agents undercover in the Darkmoon Kingdom who could provide them with flows of intelligence.
However, after that battle, almost all of the strength of the Eastern royal family had completely perished. Even if they had intelligence networks, this network had almost all crumbled.
When its intelligence network broke, the entire country would be like a headless fly.
It would be impossible for normal operations to commence within three to five years.
If it wasn’t for Jiang Chen accidentally obtaining this information, the royal family would likely still be in the dark when the Darkmoon armies appeared at the border.
Desperate times called for desperate measures.
Jiang Chen sent out two Goldwing Swordbirds to lead a flock of Silverwing Swordbirds and take the Hall of Healing retinue back to the capital at the fastest speed possible.
The speed of the Silverwing Swordbirds was quite astonishing. Coupled with the fact that the birds took turns to carry the riders, their progress was exceedingly fast and they made it back to the capital on the same day.
Song Tianxing and Qiao Baishi were both born and bred citizens of the Eastern Kingdom. Patriotic fervor flowed in both their veins.
They didn’t hesitate and directly sought an audience with Princess Gouyu.
Logically speaking, they should’ve sought an audience with the king, Eastern Lin. But Eastern Lin was a teenaged youth and basically acted only as a figurehead at the moment.
Princess Gouyu was ruling in place of the king behind a screen.
If Song Tianxing had been alone, he might not have been granted an audience with Princess Gouyu. But Qiao Baishi was different. He was Jiang Chen’s trusted subordinate, of that Princess Gouyu was well aware.
She quickly dressed herself appropriately and summoned the two into the palace.
“We greet Princess Gouyu.” Song Tianxing and Qiao Baishi came forward to pay their respects.
“How come the two of you are united again? You’ve come to find me in such a hurry, has something urgent happened?”
Song Tianxing looked at Qiao Baishi and indicated for him to speak.
Qiao Baishi didn’t shirk either and said gravely, “Princess, we’ve received news this noon that the Darkmoon Kingdom has gathered a large army and will invade our Eastern Kingdom within ten days’ time.”
“What?” Princess Gouyu’s face changed drastically. Recently, she had felt a vaguely foreboding sensation and had also held a certain anxiety.
Except till now, she had naively comforted herself that the Darkmoon Kingdom may not make a move, or that they may not move so quickly.
However, this kind of self comfort was in the end, just merely self consolation.
Not only had the Darkmoon Kingdom made their move, but the speed of their action had been faster than she’d anticipated.
“This news, are you certain?” Princess Gouyu had lost her composure slightly but immediately recovered the poise and calmness of someone in a superior position.
“Without a doubt.” Qiao Baishi responded. “An envoy from the Darkmoon Kingdom came to the Jiang Han territory to recruit the Jiang family this morning. He promised countless wealth and prosperity and the vacant seat of first duke as an invitation to the Jiang family.”
Princess Gouyu couldn’t help but feel a bit frantic when she heard these words. She knew full well that Jiang Chen wouldn’t be drawn by wealth and prosperity, but she still couldn’t help but ask, “Did Jiang Chen agree?”
“My house’s young master turned up his nose and berated the envoy harshly before rejecting him.” Qiao Baishi held nothing back.
For some reason, Song Tianxing’s heart contracted painfully when he heard Qiao Baishi voice the words, “My house’s young master”, as if he had suffered a loss.
Princess Gouyu was somewhat moved by these words as she looked deeply at Qiao Baishi. She then said, “Now that I know of this matter, I will immediately set off to see Jiang Chen.”
“Alright!” Qiao Baishi nodded.
“Wait a moment, I’ll bring Ruo’er with me.” As though she was slightly unconfident, Gouyu suddenly thought of Eastern Zhiruo.
Perhaps, in Gouyu’s heart, Eastern Zhiruo was the best emotional card she could play, and also the best chip to persuade Jiang Chen with?
When Gouyu had heard that the Darkmoon Kingdom was about to invade, she’d initially felt a bit panicked. But somehow, after a while, she relaxed internally for no reason at all.
It was as if she had received psychological support which made her feel that it was impossible for the Darkmoon Kingdom to invade the kingdom successfully.
As for this subconscious psychological reliance, she was no longer shy or embarrassed now to admit that it was naturally because of Jiang Chen.
The strong shock and impact of the battle of the Second Crossing had left an imprint on her heart that would be difficult to forget even in a hundred lifetimes. It was a type of mental brand that could never be erased.
Jiang Chen’s mysticality, strength, enigma, guts, pride, and character had been thoroughly displayed without regret in that battle.
This kind of youth was a perfect man in the proud Princess Gouyu’s eyes. He was the only man who could conquer her proud heart.
Eastern Zhiruo had already fallen asleep but was overjoyed upon hearing that they were going to see Jiang Chen. Her drowsiness was completely swept away and she chattered about, wanting to set out immediately.
Since this was a matter of grave importance, Qiao Baishi didn’t hesitate as he brought Princess Gouyu, Eastern Zhiruo, and a crowd of royal personal guards along with him in his return to the southern border.
They flew all night and arrived back in the Jiang Han territory before daybreak.
When she saw Jiang Chen again, Princess Gouyu felt a mix of emotions. Strands of change seemed to have taken place on the youthful yet resolute face of the teenager.
This face wasn’t strange to her and was as familiar as always.
But that feeling was as though the distance between the two had grown a lot longer again.
Truly, there was a type of bearing on Jiang Chen that made even Princess Gouyu feel ashamed of her unworthiness. It was an indescribable sort of nobility, an unspeakable kind of mysticism.
“Jiang Chen, you’re already an eleven meridians true qi master?” As she recalled the rise of this youth, Princess Gouyu still felt that it was quite surreal.
Half a year ago, he seemed to have been someone who couldn’t even pass the foundational exams of the Hidden Dragon Trials!
How could someone undergo such complete metamorphosis in half a year’s time?
Princess Gouyu couldn’t make sense of it, and neither did she want to.
Jiang Chen nodded his head slightly, “Let’s not mention this small matter. Right, Gouyu, I’ve heard that your Eastern clan has an old ancestor? He hadn’t appeared during the Long family’s rebellion. Will he still fail to appear even when a strong enemy is about to invade?”
Princess Gouyu smiled ruefully, “The ancestor is undergoing closed door cultivation. But he should be coming out soon?”
She wasn’t sure of herself when she said those words. Besides, the Eastern clan might have an ancestor, but so did the Darkmoon Kingdom.
If it came down to their elders facing each other, it was said that the ancestor of the Darkmoon kingdom was an old freak who had lived for a thousand years. Both his lifespan and level of cultivation were higher than those of the Eastern clan’s ancestor.
Jiang Chen smiled and didn’t speak further.
“Right, that girl Zhiruo has also come?”
“Yes, but we hurried here overnight so she didn’t rest well. She should be catching up on sleep now. You’ve missed her?” Princess Gouyu’s tone was a bit odd.
“Miss her?” Jiang Chen broke out in laughter. “You lass, your mind is always filled with random things. You don’t mean to tell me that this time, the two of you have come here to fulfill your promise?”
Princess Gouyu’s charming face reddened. Of course she knew what Jiang Chen was referring to. She had once promised that if he could suppress the Long family in the Hidden Dragon Trials, he could have his pick of either Zhiruo or her, or even both of them together.
Princess Gouyu herself didn’t know where she’d gotten the courage then to say those words. To be honest, she felt extremely conflicted. She felt a bit embarrassed and afraid, but also vaguely felt that if that was really the case, it wouldn’t be so bad.
However, hearing Jiang Chen bring up this matter when they were standing face to face, even the normally brash Princess Gouyu scrambled for a bit as a red blush danced across her cheeks.
“Jiang Chen… you… you… you…” Princess Gouyu really wanted to one up him and say something that would fortify her will. However, when her sexy lips parted, she didn’t know what to say.
“See, you’ve regretted it haven’t you? Pretend I haven’t said anything then.” Jiang Chen purposefully said with a dark look on his face.
“No, it’s not that. Jiang Chen…” Princess Gouyu hastened to explain, her eyes sparkling with the light of shyness, a sight that would normally have been impossible to see. Her voice was so low that even she herself couldn’t hear it. “Jiang Chen, you… don’t misunderstand me. If you really desire it, you… you can… have me.”
This headstrong woman immediately bit her lip afterwards and gathered her courage, “I know you… you may not think much of me. But, apart from you, I, Gouyu, will never look favorably upon any other man in this life.”