Utter silence! A deathly silence descended!
No one had anticipated that Jiang Feng would suddenly erupt so thoroughly. This was thoroughly destroying all their relations with Soaring Dragon, and starting a feud with the first duke in the kingdom!
In just that single moment, even those friendly with the duke of Jiang Han broke out in a cold sweat on his behalf.
As for the neutral parties, they didn’t even dare to look at Jiang Feng. To do so might cause the duke of Soaring Dragon to misunderstand and think that they too supported Jiang Feng.
The banquet’s atmosphere was bizarrely still.
It was at this moment that an ear piercing round of applause started sounding.
Jiang Chen stood up lazily, “Good scolding, aptly done! You’re my old man alright. I’m curious about one thing though. Isn’t there a single backbone to be found amongst you so-called dukes – so-called elite nobles?
Do we need to rely on you weak-willed, sycophant, mediocre layabouts to defend the frontiers of our Eastern Kingdom?
Do your only remaining capabilities lie in suppressing your peers, seizing land from your peers and robbing your peers of their profits?
As for you, Pill King Garden is it? For a mere businessman, do you have any achievements to your name? Have you rendered any services to the kingdom? Where do you get the courage to lecture a duke of the second rank with that sort of tone?
Who gave you that courage? Does the king know how cocky you are? He who observes the greater picture and takes action accordingly is the clever one, is it? See the bigger picture, is it? Alright, I’d like to see what kind of bigger picture is the picture that you, Pill King Garden, are referring to. Partnership termination? I spit upon that. This young duke tells you clearly now, the Pill King Garden has been banned by my Jiang family!”
The grand courtmaster snickered coldly. “Banned? Who do you think you’re fooling? Your Jiang family is but a dispirited duchy. Ban my Pill King Garden? Your family’s land with the spirit vein can only be used to raise pigs without my Garden’s support, to say nothing of anything else.”
Jiang Chen smiled faintly. “Is that so? Third hallmaster of the Hall of Healing, this Grand Courtmaster says my family’s land can be only used to raise swine. What say you?”
The third hallmaster chuckled and rubbed his nose. “It would be a pity to raise livestock on a piece of land with a spirit vein. Our Hall of Healing is willing to offer ten million silver and sign a five year contract with the Jiang family. No, ten years, twenty years… you determine the length of the contract!”
What? Everyone present, including the duke of Soaring Dragon, all thought that they had heard incorrectly. The third hallmaster from the Hall of Healing had offered ten million silver to sign a contract with the Jiang family under these circumstances?
If it was any other time, and they were signing a contract for purely business dealings, then it wouldn’t be such a big deal.
But with these happenings, the Hall of Healing’s actions were publicly supporting the Jiang family, and ran the risk of antagonizing the duke of Soaring Dragon.
This was odd.
Who didn’t know how dominant the Hall of Healing was?
Who didn’t know how crafty the Hall of Healing was?
It wouldn’t be a surprise for the Hall of Healing to not have an opinion in these circumstances. But, it was truly odd thing for a hallmaster from the Hall to step forth and express their opinion.
When had the Jiang family connected with the Hall of Healing, and formed such strong ties?
No one felt that the Jiang family commanded so much face as to cause the Hall of Healing to publicly declare its support for them.
The grand courtmaster’s expression changed, “Hallmaster Qiao, this isn’t the thing to do?”
Out of the three market incumbents in the capital for spirit ingredients, the Hall of Healing was the leader of the market, and held fifty percent of the market share.
The Temple of the Farmer God and Pill King Garden shared the remaining half of the market.
Although the three parties engaged in fierce competition, they also respected a hidden rule of avoiding stealing each other’s business maliciously.
This was a principle that no one voiced, but a line that everyone toed.
The third hallmaster smiled faintly. “Courtmaster Wang, I clearly heard you declare the end of your business relationship with the Jiang family just now. If this wasn’t the case, how would my Hall possibly intervene? We all understand the rules of business. You no longer wish to pursue this deal, and thus we picked it up. There’s nothing untoward here, is there?”
The Hall of Healing wasn’t in the wrong whether it came to the defined rules or hidden rules.
The grand courtmaster wore an ugly expression on his face. He had put himself forward so publicly and destroyed his relationship with the Jiang family because he wished to curry favor with the duke of Soaring Dragon.
Conducting business was all the same, regardless of who they did it with. If the Long family controlled the land with the spirit vein, then they would do business with the duke of Soaring Dragon. There wasn’t a single bit of downside for the Pill King Garden, and they could in fact use this opportunity to pave the way for a relationship with Soaring Dragon. There was only good to be gained, and no bad.
Plus, he had calculated that even if he said that the Garden had banned the Jiang family, the Hall and Temple wouldn’t step forward to take the business.
After all, a business deal worth five million silver a year wasn’t worth the risk of offending the duke of Soaring Dragon.
The grand courtmaster hadn’t counted on things spiraling beyond his control.
Not only had the Hall of Healing stepped forward, but they had upped the ante and doubled the partnership rate. Their attitude was clear, they would support the Jiang family!
The grand courtmaster didn’t understand, he really didn’t understand. The Hall of Healing was so shrewd… was it worth that little bit of profit to offend the duke of Soaring Dragon at this time?
Could the Hall of Healing be unable to understand even the tiniest hint of the bigger picture?
It was obviously difficult for the banquet to continue now that things had progressed to this point.
Many guests knowingly took their leave, upon seeing the duke of Soaring Dragon’s face darken in anger. The duke had intended to use this banquet to flaunt his wealth and power.
But now, thanks to the Jiang father son duo and additional participation from the Hall of Healing, it had turned into the Jiang family striking down the face of Soaring Dragon.
The situation was exceedingly odd.
No matter what, the peace of Eastern Kingdom was likely to be broken.
Because, the duke of Soaring Dragon was quite enraged!
The consequences from the anger of the first duke of the kingdom would be quite severe.
As the representative of the royal family, Princess Gouyu was feeling complicated emotions. She had been biased against Jiang Chen, but had suddenly realized that this insufferably cocky, venom tongued fellow really did have a few traces of a dominant aura and a hint of a backbone!
Jiang Chen’s aggressive lecture, his ease in facing off with all sorts of noble elites, the mysteriousness of the Hall of Healing’s intervention — all of this forced Princess Gouyu to privately admit —
Even she had been wrong about this Jiang Chen kid before!
When the banquet was over, the grand courtmaster stood outside the door and smiled coldly at Jiang Feng. “Jiang Feng, it’s over for you and your son. Offending the duke of Soaring Dragon means the future for the Jiang family will be so arduous that it will be difficult to even take a single step forward.”
“Courtmaster Wang, I’m actually curious. As a business person, is it so fascinating to be a dog for others and eagerly make the way for others?”
Jiang Chen chuckled as he swept past the Grand Courtmaster with a disdainful look.
“Jiang Chen, you brat, keep strutting. Time is running out.” Courtmaster Wang grit his teeth.
“You’re correct, time is running out. Pill King Garden, heh heh… the kingdom may be vast, but there doesn’t seem to be a need for three market participants in the field of spirit medicine.”
Jiang Chen dug in with his heels after delivering his words and galloped away.
To suffer such impudence from Jiang Chen’s arrogant attitude, Courtmaster Wang was so incensed that he wanted to spit blood. It was a depressing day.
His business deal with the Jiang family was over for nothing, and he’d played the role of a villain for free. No benefits had been forthcoming at the end of the day, just a thorough lecture.
Except, even if Courtmaster Wang was the slightest bit displeased, he dared not take it out on the duke of Soaring Dragon. Even if Duke Long had been the main culprit in the Pill King Garden losing this partnership.
“Ah, forget it. A business deal is a small matter. Losing it doesn’t harm the foundations of my Pill King Garden. As for this Hall of Healing, some good can still be salvaged from the situation if the Garden takes advantage of them offending Duke Long. We can make use of this opportunity to oppress them.”
Courtmaster Wang’s thoughts were exceedingly flexible as he thought of Duke Long’s great reach, and some barely voiced rumors within several circles.
The greater Soaring Dragon’s influence grew, the bigger of a threat they would become to the Eastern Kingdom. And now, Miss Juxue had garnered the attentions of a hidden sect.
In time, the possibility of the Long family replacing the Eastern family and becoming king was not inconceivable.
“Duke Long has grand aspirations. I hope this day can soon be materialized. At that moment, the Garden can take advantage of the change in fortunes to strongly beat down on the Hall of Healing and seize the premier position for spirit medicine within the kingdom. This is inevitable…” Courtmaster Wang’s mood abruptly lightened as he thought of this.
Jiang Feng’s emotions had slowly calmed down after they’d returned to the Jiang Han manor. Although it had felt good to erupt like that today, there were still bound to be serious consequences.
If they were just speaking of their respective territories, the lands of Jiang Han and Soaring Dragon were spaced far apart and thus there was no need to fear Soaring Dragon.
After all, without royal order, war could not be declared casually between dukes.
But now that everyone was gathered in the capital, everyone knew that Duke Long’s eyes and men were placed everywhere. He also had dealings with all the various powers in the capital.
Many of the officials at court also hailed the duke of Soaring Dragon as their brother.
Jiang Feng smiled upon seeing Jiang Chen’s serious expression. “Kid, you’ve got guts. You’ve brought great face to your old man today.”
“They say that a tiger father doesn’t give birth to a dog son. Old man, your performance today was pretty strong too.”
Jiang Feng stared at Jiang Chen with a meaningful smile. “Kid, stop pretending and speak truthfully. Why did the Hall of Healing step out and prop us up under those circumstances?”
“All underneath the heavens congregate for profit. All underneath the heavens disperse for profit. The Hall of Healing naturally has their reasons for doing so.” Jiang Chen smiled. “Father, I only have one line. The days of our Jiang family being jeered and mocked by others, strung up like sheep led to slaughter are gone, forever!”
Jiang Feng’s eyes lit up as he heard those words. “Chen’er, many dukes have said today that we’ve hidden our true strength and were wolves in sheep’s clothing. Have you truly been hiding your strength, and even conned your old man?”
“Wolf in sheep’s clothing?” Jiang Chen smirked. “I think they’re thinking too much. Our Jiang family doesn’t need sheep’s clothing, and they’re no wolves themselves!”
A sense of unquestionable pride could be gleaned from Jiang Chen’s words. His confident smile made Jiang Feng suddenly feel that he suddenly couldn’t see through his son.