They knew that the death of Long Yinye was only the start of this conflict. The true battle was not even on the horizon yet.
After a short while, the Duke of Jinshan and the Duke of Hubing had also heard the news and arrived.
These two were Jiang Feng’s best friends, and even if they hadn’t set foot on the Jiang family ship, the Duke of Soaring Dragon wouldn’t let them off the hook either.
Jiang Chen was overjoyed to see that Hubing Yue was safe and sound. This made him feel a little bit less guilty.
However, at this moment, Jiang Chen had no time to catch up with Hubing Yue. He had already secretly called for Qiao Baishi.
Qiao Baishi rushed to meet Jiang Chen as soon as he received the summons.
“Baishi, I’m sure you also know of the sudden changes within the capital and the conflicting sides.”
Qiao Baishi’s emotions were also similarly agitated. “Honored master, there were rumors earlier in the capital that you had fallen in the Boundless Catacombs, but I refused to believe them. I know that honored master is one with great fortune and would never die prematurely. However, to think that honored master would return in such a legendary manner…”
“Heh heh, legendary manner? That’s just rumormongers embellishing the facts. Baishi, you’re a calm person and thus should know that the capital will soon be engulfed in chaos.”
“Mm.” Qiao Baishi sighed lightly, but his eyes gleamed. “What marvelous ploy does honored master have?”
“The greater picture has already been formed for the capital’s chaos. I cannot stop it either. With my Jiang family’s strength, we will be unable to save the situation. It would be a joke to directly confront the Duke of Soaring Dragon.”
Although Qiao Baishi wasn’t willing to admit it, he also knew that Jiang Chen spoke the truth. As the first duke beneath the heavens, the Duke of Soaring Dragon’s foundations were simply too deep.
He definitely wasn’t someone that the Jiang family, a mere duke of the second rank who had risen to power within a short period of time, could contend against.
“Baishi, I’ve decided to retreat.”
“Retreat?” Qiao Baishi was startled.
“Of course. However, not retreat back to the Jiang Han territory. With the current situation, I won’t make it far out of the capital. I plan on breaking the whole up into parts, dissolving the personal guard of my Jiang family, and hiding them in every corner of the capital. I plan on having you arrange some of the core people.”
Qiao Baishi’s blood boiled at seeing Jiang Chen place so much trust in him. “Please be at ease honored master, the foundations of the Hall of Healing within the capital will only be deeper than the Duke of Soaring Dragon’s, and not shallower. There will be no danger of anything going wrong in concealing a few people.”
“Mm. If I don’t have family considerations, I’ll be able to thoroughly play with the Long family.” A trace of a cold smile leaked out from the edges of Jiang Chen’s lips.
“Honored master, you’re going to battle the Long family all by yourself?” Qiao Baishi asked in shock. This was simply too legendary?!
“Single-handedly? I’m not that bored. I have my methods, you don’t need to ask. You’ll know about them when the time comes.”
Jiang Chen smiled mysteriously.
For some reason, Qiao Baishi had already grown accustomed to Jiang Chen’s somewhat mysterious, yet greatly comforting smiles.
Every time, at a critical moment, honored master had been able to claim victory with unconventional tactics.
The truth had proved this point time and time again.
So upon seeing Jiang Chen smile like this, Qiao Baishi’s heart was at ease.
“Honored master, I’ll go back and make some preparations. I’ll be able to take your people in at any time.” Qiao Baishi rose and took his leave.
“Baishi, you’ve gone to great trouble. I will remember your service when this matter is concluded satisfactorily.”
Qiao Baishi was in fine fettle. The benefits he had enjoyed under Jiang Chen were already quite high. Those amazing pill recipes had caused Qiao Baishi’s position within the Hall of Healing to almost now be on par with that of the Lord Hallmaster’s.
Except, Qiao Baishi’s worldview was now also broader. With such a master, why should his vision be limited to a mere kingdom?
Looking at his honored master’s posture and disposition, it was obvious that a mere kingdom would not tie him down.
After concluding his discussions with Qiao Baishi, Jiang Chen walked towards the main hall. At this moment, Jiang Feng, the Duke of Jinshan, the Duke of Hubing, and others were discussing nervously.
They had discussed a few responding strategies, but always felt that these strategies were useless in the face of absolute power.
“Brother Jiang, it looks like the strategy to take now is still to seek help from the royal family.” The Duke of Jinshan sighed softly.
Jiang Feng shook his head lightly. “Two wise younger brothers, I am not opposed to you seeking help from the royal family. But according to my knowledge of Eastern Lu, the two of you shouldn’t have high expectations from him.”
One could hear that Jiang Feng was both utterly and bitterly disappointed in Eastern Lu.
Even with the Jiang family’s accomplishments, the Tiandu army had retreated just like that. How was this the behavior worthy of a king? This was practically a treacherous and a ruthless ruler.
Hearing his father’s opinions of Eastern Lu, Jiang Chen clapped his hands together and laughed loudly. “Father, you’re finally seeing it clearly. The Eastern clan is indeed unworthy of our loyalty. I have a plan for the situation at hand, will all of you listen to it?”
“Oh? Chen’er, what marvelous plan do you have?”
Whether it was Jiang Feng, the Duke of Jinshan, or the Duke of Hubing, none of them dared to view him as a foppish dandy anymore.
Jiang Chen smiled and described his plan.
“Breaking the whole up into parts, avoiding the edge of advance?” Jiang Feng murmured.
The Duke of Jinshan nodded slightly, “Sage nephew’s plan is sound. Except, one needs exceedingly deep connections in order to avoid the Duke of Soaring Dragon’s pursuit within the capital.”
“I naturally have my ways with regards to that. Uncles, are you willing to trust your nephew?”
The Duke of Jinshan sighed. He too had heard of his son’s “great act” that had thoroughly offended those of the Soaring Dragon family.
His son had even committed the deed of hauling Long Yinye and Long Yi’s head to the Soaring Dragon manor as a show of force. The Duke of Jinshan knew that there was no way back for him. He had to take the same path as the Jiang family and see it through to the end.
“Wise nephew is as if a man of great wisdom who often appears the fool. All sorts of miraculous feats have been enough to demonstrate this. My line will follow your arrangements.”
“Ah, whatever. Having been an official all my life, it’s a rare thing to have two good brothers such as you two. My Hubing line will live and die with you.” The Duke of Hubing also expressed his attitude.
The three dukes actually didn’t have that many troops at their temporary manors in the capital. The Jiang Han manor had just over a thousand, and both the Duke of Jinshan and the Duke of Hubing had only a few hundred people.
After dispersing the various people on the outer fringes, there were only a hundred or so core people left in each house.
They added up to three, four hundred people, a figure comparable to a stone sinking to the bottom of the great sea in the large capital.
It was because Jiang Chen had forcefully shot and killed Long Yinye that the capital had been plunged into a state of chaos.
This type of chaotic situation was the best cover.
As for the Soaring Dragon manor, all of Duke Long’s underlings were also discussing their grand plans within the manor at the moment. All intelligence networks existed in a state of half collapse.
This made Jiang Chen’s plan of withdrawal even more convenient.
After six hours, Jiang Chen’s plan of retreat was completely concluded.
There was not a single soul left in the empty corridors of the three great manors.
“Chen’er, are you not leaving?” Night had fallen and Jiang Feng pushed a door open and stepped through. He asked Jiang Chen considerately, sitting in the middle of the courtyard.
“Father, I’m the biggest target. If I don’t go, the bulk of their attentions will be placed onto me. By not leaving, I can provide the greatest cover to you all.”
Jiang Chen was clearly aware that the others were all of little value and interest to the Soaring Dragon household. If they could cleanly slaughter the others in one fell swoop, that’d be great.
But, if Jiang Chen disappeared, then the Soaring Dragon household would never be satisfied no matter how many people they killed.
As long as he, Jiang Chen, was present, then the others wouldn’t be the focal point and would thus be a bit safer.
Jiang Feng was vaguely moved. A hundred emotions crisscrossed his heart when he looked at his son’s calm and relaxed face. When had his son become so dependable?
He was gratified but said nothing more. He quite admired his son’s manly courage.
Patting Jiang Chen’s shoulder, he said, “Son, your old dad’s most accomplished achievement in this life isn’t attaining that ranking of duke of second rank, but you. Since you’re not leaving, you naturally can’t force your old man to leave! Even Fatty Xuan can fight by your side. At the end of the day, your old man is still a true qi master. How little face would I have in hiding hither and thither?”
Jiang Chen laughed involuntarily. He knew that this was fatherly love, true fatherly love.
Father and son going into battle together. What else could be more persuasive evidence of fatherly love?
Slight ripples of emotion spread out throughout Jiang Chen’s heart. He was touched.
“Alright, then us father and son will simply let it all go and do something great. We’ll cause even the mountains and rivers to change color and the moon and sun to be without light.” Jiang Chen was also voiced a lofty sentiment.
To be honest, with his current circumstances, Jiang Chen had long since seen through that Duke of Soaring Dragon and that royal family. Who cared if you, Duke of Soaring Dragon, had an impressive backer? Who cared if you, the royal family, had some elderly grandfather?
Jiang Chen ignored them all.
The Duke of Soaring Dragon was nothing good, and how was that Eastern Lu anything good either?
Jiang Chen had already decided that he held his destiny in his own hands. This was more persuasive than anything. Depending on the heavens or the earth, in the end, one still had to depend on themselves.
And he, Jiang Chen, had already grasped enough strength.
“Your Lordship.” Jiang Ying’s body suddenly dashed out of the darkness.
“Jiang Ying, what news?”
“In response to Your Lordship, the Duke of Soaring Dragon has summoned the dukes on his side and raised the call of clearing out the evil ministers from the king and exterminating the crafty sycophants. He has pointed the spear at our Jiang Han manor.”
“Despicable.” Jiang Feng trembled from his rage. In terms of crafty sycophants, was there anyone who was greater than the Duke of Soaring Dragon himself, Long Zhaofeng?
“Father, don’t be mad. Long Zhaofeng is but rotten bones in the graveyard, a grasshopper after autumn. He won’t be able to hop around for too long.”
He was waiting, waiting for the moment of the final battle to arrive.
Jiang Feng also didn’t know from where Jiang Chen was getting his confidence. But upon seeing Jiang Chen thus, the former more or less gained some confidence as well.
After all, with the Goldwing Swordbirds, they would have no trouble fleeing if they couldn’t win in battle.
The father and son duo thus sat in the courtyard for the entire night. The moment dawn broke, Jiang Chen patted his father’s back.
“Father, we should go.”
“Go where?” Jiang Feng felt it a bit odd.
Jiang Chen whistled lowly and two Goldwing Swordbirds shot out from the shadows.
“Father, hop on. Come with me.” Jiang Chen whistled and the two Goldwing Swordbirds took the father and son duo shooting into the clouds, vanishing in the dawn over the capital.
“Chen’er, where are we going?”
“To find reinforcements of course.” Jiang Chen smiled and pointed at the valley ahead. “The advance guard is up ahead. The main army will also be here between a few hours or half a day.”
Jiang Chen muttered something after finishing speaking. In the span of a moment, countless Swordbirds fluttered out of the valley as if locusts, covering the sky and blotting out the sun, filling half the sky instantaneously.
Within one full division, there were more than ten thousand Swordbirds. Each Greenwing Swordbird was equivalent to four meridians true qi.
Each Silverwing Swordbird, of which there were several hundred, was equivalent to a practitioner in the advanced realm of true qi.
There were also ten Goldwing Swordbirds. Each of them was equivalent to a human true qi master.
The most important thing was that the Swordbird division controlled the skies, holding an advantageous vantage point. Once battle was engaged, the benefits of that advantage would be more than readily apparent.
The feathers of the Swordbirds were as if knives. Ordinary arrows wouldn’t even be able to make a dent at all.