The capital of the Skylaurel Kingdom, in front of Jiang Chen’s new manor.
“What? Who did you say you were?” Qiao Shan put one hand up to his ear with the composure of someone who had not heard properly. “I say, did you not eat your breakfast or something? Can’t you speak louder?”
Lu Wuji’s face was livid. Such humiliation!
How could he not realize that Jiang Chen’s personal guard was purposefully shaming him and riling him up?
But, given the circumstances, as awesome as he, Lu Wuji was, he didn’t dare to raise a fuss. He firmly repressed the anger within his heart and raised his voice, “I am Lu Wuji and I am here to offer my apologies to Jiang Chen.”
“Lu Wuji?” Qiao Shan started and turned back to the companions by his side. “Who’s Lu Wuji? Have you guys heard of him?”
The others all chuckled and shook their heads.
How could Lu Wuji not know that these personal guards were purposefully making fun of him? With his usual lofty and arrogant demeanor, Lu Wuji almost wanted to pull his sword out on these fellows who were insulting him.
However, his remaining bit of reason had yet to be swept away by hatred. He gathered up his courage and said loudly, “Brothers, I’ve already brought the items that the master of your house wanted. It was my fault previously for not seeing Mt. Tai. I’m here to apologize to your young master.”
At this time, a round of hearty laughter rang out from the yard as Jiang Chen and Tian Shao walked out side by side.
“Commander Tian, you’ve gone to great trouble over the past couple of days. I have already settled in here so you can return to the Dragonteeth Guard to report in. Please give my greetings to the directors.”
Tian Shao cupped his hands, “Not at all, not at all. Younger brother Jiang, I will see myself out.”
The two chatted and laughed as they arrived at the door, completely disregarding Lu Wuji on the side, as if he was nothing but a cloud of air standing there.
Particularly Tian Shao, his eyes only swept past Lu Wuji’s face once when he exited through the door. He didn’t even look at Lu Wuji when he left.
Lu Wuji was incredibly incensed. He had always been high above others with his eyes on the top of his head. Within the Dragonteeth Guard, even Tian Shao’s supervisor was quite friendly when he saw Lu Wuji, greeting him as General Lu.
This Tian Shao dared to ignore him, Lu Wuji! He’d dared to ignore a vice general who was higher ranked than his own rank of a commander!
“Tian Shao, when the matters of today pass, I will teach you how heavy the price of offending me, Lu Wuji, is!”
Lu Wuji glared viciously at Tian Shao’s departing back as he grit his teeth internally.
“Stop looking at him. Before you want to exact your revenge, you should first consider whether or not you can make it through this current trial.” Jiang Chen thoroughly understood the human heart. Due to his training of Boulder’s Heart and God’s Eye, he was quite accurate with regards to his statements.
“Jiang Chen, you’re quite proud right now, aren’t you?” Lu Wuji couldn’t help but ask.
Jiang Chen laughed leisurely. “Yes, you’re not a complete fool! You’re able to tell even when I’m proud of something. You’re right, I’m quite proud. Why shouldn’t I be? Someone who wanted to step on me is now begging me to accept his offerings and pleading for my forgiveness. You tell me, wouldn’t you be proud if this happened to you?”
If this matter had happened to Lu Wuji instead, he would surely be even more proud and unbridled.
Even Lu Wuji himself couldn’t deny this point.
“Jiang Chen, the items are all here. Please look over them.” Lu Wuji wasn’t an utter fool in the end. He knew that verbally sparring with Jiang Chen now would only be bringing trouble onto himself.
“Put them down. I think you don’t have the guts to skimp on any of them.” Jiang Chen laughed faintly.
“What about the matter of the three great sites?” Lu Wuji was most concerned about this. If the three great sites didn’t ease up, he’d be skinned and stripped of his tendons when he went back.
“What do the three great sites have to do with me?” Jiang Chen smiled.
Lu Wuji’s face turned ashen, “Jiang Chen, what do you mean by this? You’ve already accepted the items. Do you want to go back on your word?”
Jiang Chen laughed leisurely and said nothing before speaking to Qiao Shan and Qiao Chuan, “Bring the items inside.”
Jiang Chen walked into the yard with an even pace after giving his orders, leaving Lu Wuji outside. Lu Wuji wasn’t sure if he was to go or to stay.
“Jiang Chen, don’t go too far in taking advantage of others!” Lu Wuji grew a bit anxious.
“Going too far in taking advantage of others?” Jiang Chen’s coolly composed voice traveled out from within. “Lu Wuji, you think too much. In my eyes, you’re not even a human being. What right do you have for me to bully you? Get out of here, don’t make a fool of yourself in front of my front door. I’ll feel embarrassed even if you won’t.”
Lu Wuji rather wanted to erupt in a rage, but he also knew that if he lost his temper now, it would give Jiang Chen an excuse to take his revenge. This was Jiang Chen’s territory and a good man didn’t fight when the odds were against him.
“Jiang Chen, just you wait. You accepted the items but didn’t uphold your part of the agreement. I can’t do anything to you right now, but the same doesn’t hold true for my uncle!” Lu Wuji thought and immediately had an idea. “Right, I’m going to go back right now and tell my uncle all this. I’ll greatly embellish it and enrage uncle so that he’ll make a move to suppress this Jiang Chen.”
Lu Wuji went back to Yang Zhao’s manor in high spirits and great enthusiasm, greatly exaggerating the events of the day and enlarging Jiang Chen’s domineering arrogance by more than ten times.
After he’d blathered away a huge chunk of words, Yang Zhao raised one foot and stomped down on his butt. “Idiot! You’re a boor compared to Jiang Chen!”
“What… what did I do now?” Lu Wuji was unreconciled and had a face full of innocence.
“What? Do you really think that Jiang Chen is as stupid as you to accept the items and not do anything? We’ve just received word from all sides that all cooperation is back on.”
“Ah?” Lu Wuji was stunned. His efforts in wagging his tongue had been a complete waste.
Raising his neck, Lu Wuji had another idea. “Uncle, now that the partnerships are back on, this means that the three great sites are no longer up in arms. Then, are you just accepting the fact that Jiang Chen swindled us out of so much? This isn’t your style.”
“Accepting this?” Yang Zhao laughed coldly in succession. “That Jiang Chen must have the appetite to swallow all my items for me to accept this!”
Lu Wuji was immediately invigorated when he heard this. “Uncle, what brilliant scheme do you have in mind?”
“Wuji, do you know where you went wrong this time? You were wrong in that you charged too far out. Of course, I neglected my supervisory duties in this matter as well. For now on, don’t rush too far out in front. Jiang Chen’s offended the Northern Palace, why should we charge the enemy lines on the Northern Palace’s behalf? Remember, don’t act as weapons for others in the future. Instead, be the one to compel those of the Northern Palace to stick their necks out.”
Lu Wuji slapped his thigh. “That’s right! I truly did miscalculate this time. It was a Northern Palace affair to begin with. I was only a bit more proactive because I wanted to put on a strong performance in front of the first prince.”
“Be smarter in the future!” Yang Zhao analyzed. “The first prince will certainly keep how much you’ve sacrificed this time in mind. You can make use of this opportunity to engender more goodwill from the first prince. Remember, you’re in control of whether you’re a dragon or a snake. When he ascends to the throne in the future and becomes king, it’s up to you if you continue to be cowardly and timid, or rise to the position of general director. I can support you from behind, but am also limited in what I can do.”
Lu Wuji was deep in thought.
Within the manor of the fourth prince Ye Rong.
Ye Rong laughed heartily. “Younger brother, I have to say that I’ve once again underestimated your ability. Come, I salute you with this cup of wine.”
“I also salute younger brother Jiang Chen.” Tian Shao also raised his cup. He was very grateful to Jiang Chen. That kind of gratitude was very similar to Feng Yan’s gratitude to Jiang Chen.
“I’m ashamed. I hope I didn’t involve the fourth prince this time.” Jiang Chen raised his glass and made an indication, saying to Tian Shao again, “Brother Tian, congratulations on being promoted to vice general.”
“Involve me?” Ye Rong smiled. “This is precisely the kind of situation I wanted to see when I invited you to the capital. The more trouble you can stir up, the prouder I feel. This proves that my assessment was quite accurate and true.”
Tian Shao also smiled. “Younger brother Jiang Chen, this time’s matter isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the fourth prince. At least, there has never been anyone who emerged from an exchange with the first prince bearing the upper hand. Although the first prince hadn’t made an overt appearance in this matter, but privately, every prince knows full well that the first prince wanted to use this matter as an excuse to oppress the fourth prince. However, he’s miscalculated this time.”
Tian Shao was a military man. Whether he was a commander or a vice general of today, his words were always straightforward and candid. He wouldn’t beat around the bush.
This was also what Ye Rong admired about Tian Shao.
“Come, let’s drink.” Jiang Chen hadn’t thought that this matter would actually be embroiled in the covert struggles and open competition between the princes. He wouldn’t set himself on a pedestal when he heard them talk thus.
After the wine had filled their stomachs, Ye Rong said again, “Younger brother, although I don’t know why the three great sites would go to this much effort at the same time, but I must remind you of one point. Your position and your status have now changed. The number of people keeping an eye on you will have increased as well. Be careful of what you do. Neither Vice Director Yang of the Dragonteeth Guard nor those of the Northern Palace are kind folk.”
“Right, you must be on your guard against a counterattack from them.”
Jiang Chen nodded. “Thank you for your reminder. I understand.”
Ye Rong laughed frankly and suddenly thought of something. “Right, younger brother, I’ve come to find you this time to tell you something.”
“What is it?”
“The matter is as follows. My teacher, Tutor Ye, Ye Chonglou, will be holding a birthday banquet in half a month. All of us princes will be going to offer our birthday tidings. I only have three spots on my side so I can bring three people with me. I wonder if you, younger brother, have any interest?”
Offer birthday tidings to someone? Jiang Chen honestly didn’t have much interest in that. But since Ye Rong had put it this way, he wasn’t actually asking for Jiang Chen’s opinion, but rather, inviting him to participate. He obviously couldn’t turn it down.
Jiang Chen smiled and nodded, “The teacher of the prince must be an elder who is of noble character and high prestige. It must be very be exciting then. If I can attend and broaden my knowledge, that’d be a good thing as well.”
“Indeed, indeed. You can also increase your network and raise your level of recognition. You’ve just arrived in the Skylaurel Kingdom and likely don’t have a direct impression of Tutor Ye.”
When Tian Shao heard Tutor Ye’s name, he had a face full of respect and worship as his entire body straightened.
“Younger brother Jiang Chen, Tutor Ye is the spirit king protector of the kingdom for the current dynasty. His level of training is mysterious and unfathomable. It’s said that even the elders of the Precious Tree Sect quite admire Tutor Ye’s level of martial dao training.”
“Spirit king protector?” Jiang Chen started. He knew that only a practitioner at the peak of the spirit realm had the right to be called a spirit king. Those who were labelled spirit king would be those who were placed above the peak of the spirit realm.
“Yes.” Tian Shao’s tone was very reverent. “Younger brother Jiang Chen, do the four great sites have great power? Yes, but even the heads of the four great sites must call themselves juniors in front of Tutor Ye. How strong would you say that Tutor Ye is?”
Even Jiang Chen felt surprised now. The Skylaurel Kingdom had such a strong kingdom protector? In contrast, that so-called elder grandfather of the Eastern Kingdom who’d never shown his face was basically a joke.
“Tutor Ye is also an elder grandfather of the royal family?” Jiang Chen was quite curious.
Ye Rong sighed, “Royal father has never mentioned his status to us. We only know that his surname is Ye, but we don’t know if he’s an elder grandfather of the royal family. We also only know that he’s celebrating his birthday, but don’t know how old he is.”
Such a mysterious old man rather gave rise to a trace of yearning in Jiang Chen’s heart.
Spirit king protector of the kingdom. Just based on these words, Jiang Chen decided that he would go meet him no matter what. He also wanted to see just what the practitioners at the peak of the spirit realm within this world were like.
Perhaps, he would be able to obtain a trace of inspiration regarding the spirit realm from him?