In the battle of Bayun Valley, two thirds of the Darkmoon Kingdom’s army were either injured or dead, and commander-in-chief Ren Feilong had been shot and killed in front of the formation by Jiang Chen.
The Darkmoon Kingdom’s vitality was greatly injured and the kingdom’s strength greatly decreased after this battle.
The Bayun Valley became an unlucky place for the Darkmoon Kingdom, with its citizens forever prohibited from entering.
As for the Eastern Kingdom, it had made a clean sweep, and all practitioners who had participated in this battle received the title of Brave Dragonslayer.
The battle was destined to go down in the annals of history, but it would be retold with two completely different moods in their respective histories.
When they learned of Darkmoon’s defeat in battle, the Eastern Kingdom had felt a bit baffled instead. One had to know that on the Eastern Kingdom’s side, various dukes had all gathered together and the great army had assembled, but no battle had been fought. They hadn’t even seen the enemy before the war was over, with even the enemy’s commander-in-chief Ren Feilong being shot and killed.
This battle caused Jiang Chen’s reputation to spread throughout the surroundings kingdoms. His name finally entered the horizon of the senior levels in the alliance of the sixteen kingdoms.
Even the first general of the Darkmoon Kingdom, Ren Feilong, had perished at the hands of this person. This caused the senior levels of the sixteen kingdoms to place a high importance on Jiang Chen.
The Darkmoon Kingdom didn’t rank amongst the top of the sixteen kingdoms, but Ren Feilong, the genius of troop deployment, was universally renowned throughout the lands.
Who would’ve thought that this publicly acclaimed god of the army would die so ignobly.
An awe inspiring life story and the reputation of a lifetime was wiped out in a single day, in this battle, on his deathbed.
River Wave City gradually recovered its calm half a month after the battle of Bayun Valley. The pack of true qi master practitioners that the Darkmoon Kingdom had sent out had planned on ambushing River Wave City, but received the grievous news of the end of the war, and the death of Ren Feilong as soon as they snuck into the city.
When this trump card received news of even the commander-in-chief passing away, they naturally lost all will to fight and retreated back to the Darkmoon Kingdom with dust on their faces.
They also knew that if they were to make a move now, they would undoubtedly be heading to their deaths.
On this day, Jiang Chen assembled all of the Jiang clan members and made a frank statement without any reservations.
“Everyone, my Jiang family has set down its roots in the Jiang Han territory for hundreds of years. Today, I, Jiang Chen, have made my decision to leave. I will support those of you who are willing to stay, and will not object if there are those of you who wish to follow me.”
“Young duke, you’re leaving? Where to? Will you come back in the future?”
“In the future?” Jiang Chen chuckled. “The world is so vast, and the Eastern Kingdom is but a small corner of this world. It would truly be a difficult thing to say whether I will return or not.”
“Chen’er, third uncle and Xiaoyu will absolutely go with you.” Jiang Tong expressed his stance.
However, the other elders were a bit hesitant. Although they knew that Jiang Feng and son were very strong, and that they would have a greater future if they followed the two, but they still had other thoughts.
Besides, they also felt that as opposed to leaving, why not remain in the Jiang Han territory, and continue to indulge in wealth and prosperity?
The most important thing was, if the Jiang father and son left, then the kingdom’s bestowment would fall onto their heads. Who knows, maybe they could strut around for a bit and enjoy the trappings of a duke of the first rank.
The clan members may have all originated from the same lineage, but as subsequent generations diluted their heritage, differences in intimacy between relations would naturally surface.
Jiang Tong was Jiang Feng’s younger brother, brothers from the same mother, and would naturally leave with Jiang Feng.
Jiang Yu was Jiang Chen’s younger cousin and was considered as his younger brother as well. He’d always been quite reliant on Jiang Chen, so it wasn’t a strange thing to him to leave as well.
As for the others, their blood ties to the Jiang father and son weren’t that strong. They were merely members of the same clan. They wouldn’t necessarily be willing to steadfastly follow Jiang Chen in drifting about.
At the heart of it, different people had different aspirations.
Jiang Chen knew what these people were thinking when he looked at them. In all honesty, he hadn’t planned on bringing all of them with him either.
Despite these people being his clan members in name, truthfully speaking, Jiang Chen didn’t feel much of a connection to them. Since all of them had their own selfish motives, Jiang Chen wasn’t at liberty to say anything. He couldn’t very well force them now, could he?
“Elder Xi, your status will be the highest in the Jiang family once my father and I leave. Our Jiang family has been good to the kingdom and good to the royal family. We’ve accomplished our share of achievements. If there are bequeathments, it’s alright if you want to divide it up. But remember this, family members cannot point swords at each other and brothers cannot harm each other. Otherwise, I will tell the royal family to withdraw all the honor and prosperity and have the family be a free and leisurely aristocratic family.”
Elder Xi chuckled, “With this old man here, how would they dare create trouble and point swords at each other?”
Elder Xi beamed delightedly upon hearing Jiang Chen’s promise. Who would’ve thought that he’d have the chance to enjoy the feeling of being a duke in his old age?
“Since this is the case, we’ll leave in a few days. The Jiang family will be in your care in the future.”
Elder Xi sighed, “Must you really go?”
This was already mere empty pleasantry. To be honest, he couldn’t wait for the Jiang father and son to leave. Only with the departure of Jiang Feng and son, as well as Jiang Tong and son, would he have the right to inherit the dukedom!
Although they were of one clan, everyone had at least this bit of selfish motive.
Jiang Chen shook his head inwardly when he saw how Elder Xi was and how no one else ventured any particular thoughts on this matter. A selfish nature alright! They immediately itched for us to be gone when they heard that we were leaving, so that we could hand over all honors and prosperity to them.
With this temperament, I wouldn’t take them even if they wished to leave with me, Jiang Chen thought privately. He was too lazy to bother with whether the spirit land in the Redbud Tribe region was a harbinger of fortune or disaster. People had their own destinies.
Since these clan members couldn’t let go of the prosperity in front of them, then Jiang Chen naturally would not worry about what disasters might befall them in the future.
Princess Gouyu arrived with Eastern Zhiruo two days later.
She’d come with the medallion of a dukedom from the royal family to once again, confer the Jiang family the title of a duke of the first rank, and to use the dukedom to protect the southern frontiers of the kingdom.
As the elder with the longest record of service, it was right and proper that Elder Xi became the new Duke of Jiang Han. He was absolutely bursting with happiness.
The bestowment was just a ceremony, Princess Gouyu was completely unconcerned with who would be the next Duke of Jiang Han. Her heart had been in complete disarray over the past couple of days.
When she learned that Jiang Chen would leave the Eastern Kingdom, she’d been in a state of utter stupefaction.
Although she’d also known that Jiang Chen wasn’t born to remain in a small pond, that he would be off to ride in the wind and clouds sooner or later and transform into a dragon that soars through the nine heavens, but she still found it hard to bear when this day finally arrived.
She knew very well that this could possibly be the final farewell. From henceforth, Jiang Chen would set foot on a great avenue of sunshine, while she, Gouyu, would be as if a flower in full bloom, with only a slow wither and droop left to her after blossoming to the perfection of beauty.
“Jiang Chen, must you really go?” Princess Gouyu held onto her last trace of hope. She really wanted to pray for Jiang Chen not to leave, but reason told her that the Eastern Kingdom truly couldn’t contain Jiang Chen.
“If I don’t go, I’ll bring disaster to the Eastern Kingdom sooner or later. The feud between Long Juxue and I will remain unresolved for every single day she remains alive.”
Jiang Chen knew this was a slightly cheap excuse.
“I so dearly hope that time can linger and stop at when we first met. Even if you scold me again, even if you scold me every day, that… that would be good as well.”
Gouyu’s tone was a bit sentimental. Tears actually started plopping out dispiritedly as this headstrong girl spoke.
She didn’t wipe them off, and only squeezed out a smile, smiling through her tears. “Alright, Jiang Chen, I know that you’ve always thought that I have a weird temper, that I’m violent, unreasonable, and a tomboy. Alright, I won’t conceal it any further today and let you see my weak side, and let you know that all girls shed tears… Actually, it’s really tiring for me to act like that everyday. I also rather envy Ruo’er, envy her light heartedness and naive innocence… Jiang Chen, I no longer have such pure unsophisticatedness, and will never be able to obtain it again… Would you say that it’s truly not that good for a girl to be so headstrong?”
Jiang Chen sighed lightly, “Everyone’s personality is different. There’s nothing wrong with keeping true to yourself and maintaining a resolute heart like you do.”
“Really?” Prince Gouyu’s beautiful eyes oscillated, a few traces of joy encompassed in her crystalline tears. This was the first time that she’d heard Jiang Chen compliment her.
“Of course it’s true. Although I yell at you often, but I’m yelling at the cocky side of you. In actuality, I rather admire your strong adherence to martial dao and the sacrifices you make for your family.”
Jiang Chen had no need to purposefully humor her with lies.
“Jiang Chen, do you know that I’ve waited half a year for a compliment from you? Are you purposefully amusing me now that you’re leaving?”
“Do you think I’m that superficial?” Jiang Chen smiled ruefully. “Alright, wipe off your tears. I’m seriously not used to the sight of you crying. If I must chose, I’d rather see the Princess Gouyu in high and vigorous spirits, with a sense of unwilling to admit defeat perpetually permeating about her.”
Gouyu wiped at the corners of her eyes, her beautiful eyes sparkling with light, “Do you mean that?”
“Absolutely, I guarantee it.”
Princess Gouyu broke out in a smile. “Alright, I’ve decided.”
“Decided what?” Jiang Chen was startled.
“I’ve decided not to be Princess Gouyu anymore. I’ve been a princess for three generations of the Eastern clan. It’s time to throw this identity away and truly live for myself.”
“Very good! Returning to your roots. This is as you should’ve been!” Jiang Chen laughed heartily.
“Princess Gouyu winked, “I’ve also made another decision.”
“And what have you decided?”
“Jiang Chen, listen up. From now on, I’m not a princess, but a martial practitioner of eleven meridians true qi. I want to be your follower.”
“What?” Jiang Chen was flabbergasted. He truly hadn’t anticipated this move by Gouyu.
“You haven’t misheard. I want to be your follower on your path of martial dao, just like your personal guards.” Gouyu drew up her well rounded bosom, gazing firmly at Jiang Chen with her beautiful eyes, as if not permitting Jiang Chen to voice a single word in protest.
“Is… is everything alright with your brain?”
“Cut your blather, I’m wide awake. Jiang Chen, you just told me to be true to myself and maintain a resolute heart, and return to the real me. Being your follower is my own intent. Don’t let your mind wander, although I’m treating you as my only man, but the reason I want to follow you is not to pester you, but to pursue the paramount of dao.”
“Paramount of dao? Do you think that’s something I sell in my family store? Do you think it’s something you can pursue just because you want to?” Jiang Chen rubbed his nose.
“Keep pretending. Don’t think I don’t know anything. Jiang Chen, there’s countless secrets on you. When you gave me a few pointers and helped me enter the ranks of the eleven meridians true qi masters, I had the vague inclination to hail you as my master. Now, this impulse has finally materialized into reality. I feel quite at ease and very happy.”