There were ten major tribes within the entirety of the Jiang Han territory, and there were many more smaller tribes beneath each of the major tribes.
Each of these tribes was controlled by a family clan.
The Redbud Tribe, for instance, was controlled by the Jing family.
The Yinglan Tribe, for instance, was controlled by the tribe of Jiang Chen’s mother, the Lan family.
Of course, each tribe would have many subordinate family clans apart from the core family clan. They would thus jointly form the ruling power.
Therefore, several hundred family clans had gathered in the main square of River Wave City today. Every single family clan was represented by at least twenty or thirty people – the gathering was truly great in strength and impetus.
Jiang Feng wasn’t in the Jiang Han territory, so Jiang Tong was the acting duke. However, he naturally wouldn’t steal his nephew’s thunder today. Jiang Tong clearly knew that his nephew Jiang Chen was the star of today’s show.
“Everyone, we have called you here today in the name of the duke because we have a joyous event of cosmic proportions to announce to everyone!”
A faint smile creased Jiang Tong’s face as his gaze swept in a circle, sweeping past the face of every tribe’s chief.
“Heh heh, the third lord has even mobilized the name of the duke to summon us here, this joyous event must be very important.”
“Indeed, third lord, don’t keep us guessing. Out with it, so everyone can share in the joy!”
Jiang Tong smiled, “Alright, then I won’t keep you in suspense. Everyone knows that the duke and his son have gone to the capital to participate in the Hidden Dragon Trials. The young duke has suddenly returned this time for none other than to come back and recruit for his personal guard. Once this guard is formed, it will form the basis of core power of the Jiang Han dukedom in the future!”
The young duke was recruiting for his personal guard?
That seemed nice, but none of the tribal family clans were tempted. All of them lowered their eyes, not wishing to exchange gazes with Jiang Tong, deathly afraid of Jiang Tong taking a fancy to them.
If any other young duke was recruiting for his personal guard, the powers under his rule would have vied for the chance to sign up. However, this young duke had always been a good-for-nothing. If any of their sons or disciples associated with him, it was more than likely that they would end up facing disaster in the future.
Everyone was jittery in the Jiang Han territory now. Nine out of ten people all felt that Jiang Chen would be unable to retain his dukedom.
Therefore, how could they possibly be excited about the young duke recruiting for his personal guard? They couldn’t avoid it like the plague fast enough!
Their reactions were within Jiang Tong’s expectations.
“The requirements for these personal guards are also high. Not everyone can sign up. First, personal training must be at six meridians true qi. In addition, your age cannot be greater than twenty, and it would be preferable if the mind is both intelligent and smart…”
The people beneath the stage all snickered inwardly as Jiang Tong listed out a long list of requirements. You should be thanking the heavens and earth if anyone signs up when the young duke of your Jiang family is recruiting for his personal guard, and you’ve even got a list of requirements to boot?
There was naturally no response from anyone for a while. It was so silent that even a pin drop on the ground could be heard.
“These are the requirements, who would like to sign up?” Jiang Tong asked in a clear voice.
After Jiang Tong asked this question, whenever he swept his gaze in their direction, everyone ducked their heads or looked in another direction, afraid to meet his eyes and be called upon.
The atmosphere of the scene was beyond bizarre in the span of a moment.
Jiang Tong’s clan members all had grave expressions. They wanted to laugh, but didn’t dare to. They knew that Jiang Tong was doing this on purpose, wanting to test the influence of these tribes.
Jiang Tong circulated his gaze three times, and still no one responded.
Jiang Tong sighed and was about to say something when suddenly, an enigmatic voice rang out from outside the square. “Ah would like to sign up!”
Another voice also sounded, “Ah would also like to sign up!”
Two male youths who looked to be strong as a bear in the hips, and with a back as supple as a tiger’s, walked out with large strides towards Jiang Chen. One of them wore a large axe on his back, and the other wore a brass rod.
“Young duke Jiang! Ah am Qiao Shan, this is mine brother Qiao Chuan. The Qiao Third Hallmaster of the Hall of Healing is mine uncle. He introduced us’ns to come here.”
Qiao Shan, Qiao Chuan. Those twin brothers had arrived!
Jiang Chen chuckled, “You have also arrived. This is Guo Jin, the direct grandson of royal tutor Guo Shun. His training is at six meridians true qi. You will be fellow comrades in the future, and should be close to each other.”
The nephews of the third hallmaster of the Hall of Healing, the direct grandson of royal tutor Guo Shun.
These identities immediately became sensitive information in the ears of those tribal chiefs.
“Hmm? Something’s not right. The Hall of Healing has such a renowned reputation, and its hallmasters also have awe inspiring reputations. How would one let his nephews fool around with the son of a duke? The direct grandson of a royal tutor was an existence that could be connected all the way to the royal family, why would he be hanging around Jiang Chen?”
Some of the more sensitive tribal chiefs seem to have vaguely caught onto a few hints of something.
Guo Jin was a bit infuriated and walked out after he greeted the Qiao brothers. He swept his gaze over the crowd and said coldly, “My surname is Guo. I was born in the capital and grew up in the capital. I’ve seen quite a few royal and noble sons. I find it rather odd though, now that I’ve arrived in the Jiang Han territory. The followers of other princes and noble sons all fawn over and curry their master’s favor. They’re extremely deferential and subservient. But all of your attitudes are as if being too close with your master is a type of disgrace?
Guo Jin smiled coldly. “However, according to my knowledge, those who can compete with our young duke in the Eastern Kingdom are as rare as the feathers of a phoenix and the horns of a unicorn. Even the heirs of the Duke of Soaring Dragon have quite a bit of dread when it comes to our young duke. I wonder what sort of mighty existence is worthy of your servile obeisance?”
Guo Jin came from the capital, and his words naturally carried some weight.
“My grandfather was a tutor at the royal court. The king and princess have all once benefited from my grandfather’s tutelage. These four big brother from the Sheng battalion are the elites of the Tiandu army, and are the personal guards that the princess herself picked for the young duke. I’m rather curious, even the elites of the Tiandu army are willing to acknowledge their allegiance to the young duke. Can it be that in your eyes, the young duke is still unworthy for you to declare yourselves for him?”
Guo Jin’s voice rang out clearly, thundering through the gathering like resonant bell, causing the blood of these tribal clans to thrum loudly.
No one dared suspect that Guo Jin was speaking falsely at such a gathering.
Besides, the aura of the four brothers from the Sheng battalion were right there. They were a presence that the duke himself, Jiang Feng, may not have even been able to suppress!
But at this moment, these four people were obediently standing beside Jiang Chen, awaiting his orders without the slightest hint of non acceptance or rebellion.
“Eh? Is this to say that us two brothers have made it here in time for a good show? Now this is hilarious. Even my uncle, at his level of existence, has committed himself irredeemably to the young duke. Do all of you think you’re more awesome than a hallmaster of the Hall of Healing?” Qiao Shan also spoke up.
“Heh heh…” Jiang Tong stepped out chuckling at this time. “Everyone, forgive me for not speaking clearly just now. The young duke is actually competing for the position of duke of first rank at this time’s Hidden Dragon Trials. He’s returned this time to execute the second mission and recruit eight personal guards.”
Duke of the first rank, mission of the first rank, and this was the second one!
The gathering was in an uproar when the news percolated through the crowd. Which of those present wasn’t a wily old fox? How could they not understand such sensitive connotations?
“Damn it, damn it. I misjudged and missed the prime opportunity to express my loyalty.”
“That damned Jiang Tong, why didn’t he say this earlier? He’s making us look bad on purpose!”
All the tribal chieftains were privately depressed. They didn’t blame themselves for their attitude of keeping discreetly out of harm, but rather blamed Jiang Tong for not being clear with his words.
“Everyone, the young duke is recruiting for eight personal guards this time, and three of the slots have been filled. There are five left. If you fulfill the requirements, then hand in a signup form.” Jiang Tong announced loudly.
In the span of that moment, all of the tribes started discussing amongst themselves
If it was a direct son of the tribal chieftain, they may not be willing to be a personal guard, even to a duke of the first rank.
Therefore, it was still a good thing if they could fight for a spot for their non direct descendents.
Around twenty applications were quickly handed in.
One had to say, a territory still had many young talents. There were quite a few youths under 20 years old with six meridians true qi.
This didn’t even include the direct heirs of the tribal chieftains.
“Third uncle, help me go through the names on the list. Although potential is important, personality is even more so. My Jiang family doesn’t need the allegiance of those cowards who would get cold feet at critical times.”
Recruiting eight personal guards was still just a small interlude to Jiang Chen at the end of the day. His ambitions did not halt here.
Executing this mission was just going with the flow and the bigger picture. He merely didn’t wish to lose to anyone on the Hidden Dragon Trials!
With the aid of the Jiang family clan elders, Jiang Tong quickly decided upon three names.
These three were ones that they all felt were more dependable. They were all powers that were absolutely on the Jiang family’s side, whether in terms of birth or reputation. These three people were also not within the core center of power in their families. This would give them the impetus to make great efforts in forging ahead.
“Chen’er, the name has been erased from this application. There’s something fishy about this.” Jiang Tong frowned. “From the traces that were erased, this application should be the one for your cousin, Xue Tong, also the son of your mother’s younger sister?”
Jiang Chen had very few memories of this person in his past self’s memories. He seemed to faintly recall a vague, thin figure. In his impressions, this person was someone on the sidelines who his grandmother didn’t love, and his father didn’t care for.
“Has anyone signed up from my mother’s side of the family?” Jiang Chen was curious.
“Yes, Lan Yizhou, the son of your oldest uncle. However, his training is only at five meridians true qi and hasn’t met the requirements at all. He’s messing around, and we aren’t considering him.”
“Then what about Xue Tong?” Jiang Chen asked.
“Xue Tong is of six meridians true qi, but seems to be quite dismissed in your mother’s side of the family. It looks like someone has tampered with his application.”
“What are their reputations?”
“Lan Yizhou is the second son of the chief of the Yinglan Tribe. His personality is a bit proud and ungovernable. As for Xue Tong, he’s always been a character on the sidelines, and has been bullied by Lan Yizhou since young. He’s the type that holds his tongue but has a lofty and unyielding character.”
“Then it’s Xue Tong.” Jiang Chen settled on the seventh spot.
If he recruited a proud and ungovernable character like Lan Yizhou, it would only be providing an unstable factor for the team. Jiang Chen didn’t wish to create such unnecessary trouble for himself.
It didn’t matter if he was of five meridians true qi, Jiang Chen had ways for him to breakthrough.
But issues with personality, that was out of the question. A bad apple would ruin the bunch.
“I’m sorry I’m late, can we still sign up?” Just as Jiang Chen decided on the seventh spot, a weak and gentle voice sounded from the side. It seemed a bit familiar.
Jiang Chen tilted his head to the side, also slightly startled.
A young girl pushed through the crowd. She was wearing a downy yellow robe, had fair, translucent skin, and beautiful features. Because she had been traveling in a hurry, her face was red from exertion. She eep’ed when her gaze met Jiang Chen’s as her charming face blushed even redder.
Jiang Chen was astonished and baffled. This girl was the disciple of the Star Argus Palace North Sect in the Tianhu territory, Wen Ziqi!
She was also one of the young girls that Jiang Chen had rescued from the Lotus Harvester not long ago in the Tianhu territory. Jiang Chen involuntarily thought of the scene in the cave when he saw her.
Wen Ziqi was weak and lacked strength as her clothes accidentally dropped down, allowing Jiang Chen to gaze fully upon the two orbs in front of her chest…