Chapter 19: Jiang Family’s Concealed Danger
After a few determined days of tough training and the support of medicine, Jiang Chen had finally strengthened his four meridians to a satisfactory level.
“The four meridians are the same, as if they are a blossoming flower with four petals; neither too fragile nor too hard, and they act almost in unison. The meridians have now increased in pliability and strength more than ten times compared to the first time I trained it.”
Jiang Chen was quite satisfied with this progress, even though he knew that compared to the training of others, the previous Jiang Chen was still many steps behind them.
But this wasn’t an excuse to proceed in haste, Jiang Chen still moved according to his tempo. Fine products come from slow work, and all would fall into place at the right time.
Finally, on the sixth morning, Jiang Chen welcomed his peak condition.
The four meridians true qi were like dragons, full of wild, explosive power. They formed an unpremeditated consensus, one that was aimed at clearing the fifth acupoint.
A doughty and extremely rhythmic true qi flow filled Jiang Chen’s entire body with a sense of calm.
Exhale, circulate qi!
Four meridians true qi were like four carps about to leap upstream. They were in fine fighting spirit and full of vitality. Under Jiang Chen’s guidance, they took the same action and coalesced as one, and as swift as a meteor, shot towards Jiang Chen’s long located fifth acupoint!
A feeling of warm agitation, similar to the sublime joy of a man and woman becoming one, filled every pore when the acupoint was cleared.
The acupoint was broken through like cracking an eggshell. The strong qi current rushed through the acupoint and thundered along the preset path, clearing the fifth meridian!
Fifth acupoint, breakthrough!
Fifth meridian, clear!
Fifth level of true qi, perfection!
As he welcomed the light of the dawning sun, Jiang Chen smiled his first heartfelt smile since reincarnation.
Five meridians true qi did not surprise him. What gave him happiness was the sense of achievement gained from training, from breaking through.
This feeling of accomplishment was something that his exalted past self, the son of the Celestial Emperor, had never enjoyed.
“Five meridians true qi is surely enough to not place me at the bottom of all the heirs anymore? And with my experience and potential, there shouldn’t be anyone within the realm of true qi, even the advanced realm of true qi, that can win out over me.”
Jiang Chen still possessed this little bit of confidence.
With his insights, and a foundational knowledge of this world, he could absolutely see through to the true essence of things with one glance. He would be able to fully read all of an opponent’s strategies before they even attempted a single technique. This was a huge advantage in this sort of competition.
When Jiang Chen walked out of the secret training room, he realized that it had been many days since he had called on his old man.
Since he had arrived on this world, the duke of Jiang Han had been Jiang Chen’s mental support, whether in terms of blood ties or first impressions.
From this man, Jiang Chen could experience what it meant to have love in this world.
Although he did not verbally express it, he placed great importance on this familial tie.
When he saw his father, the duke of Jiang Han was holding an invitation in his hand. His brow was slightly creased, and it was obvious that something was troubling him.
“Father.” Jiang Chen walked in.
“Haha, Chen’er, you’re here!” Jiang Feng’s mood was always exceptionally well when he saw his son, and he skillfully concealed the shadows overhanging his forehead. “How goes things? I’ve heard that you haven’t set foot outside in days. Have you truly hardened your heart this time and will pass the three foundational exams no matter what?”
Jiang Feng’s tone was half joking, but it caused Jiang Chen to be at a loss for words. This old man seriously had a positive attitude. He could still find it within himself to crack a joke at this time.
“The foundational exams aren’t important. Father, what were you looking at just now? I saw that you seemed to be worrying about something.” Jiang Chen asked decisively, seeing that his father would not bring it up.
“Ah, this. Haha! Chen’er, you’ve never expressed an interest in household affairs before. Don’t worry about these kinds of matters.” Jiang Feng bypassed the question and attempted to change the subject.
“Father, although I am your son, there should be a limit to the extent of your protection? Aren’t you afraid that you’ll spoil me into a worthless good-for-nothing?”
“Heh heh, Chen’er, what are you saying. An old man protecting his son is only just and proper! It’s actually nothing major, just that the duke of Soaring Dragon sent over an invitation, welcoming all the dukes to a reception in celebration of a major event of joyous tidings at his manor.”
“Soaring Dragon dukedom?” The first person that Jiang Chen thought of was that Long Juxue.
“Our relationship with the Soaring Dragon dukedom isn’t deep enough to be invited to a banquet, is it?” Jiang Chen asked probingly.
“Ai, duke of Soaring Dragon! This is a barely veiled display of power to run roughshod over the Jiang family. Chen’er, since you ask, I will tell you. Keep your wits about you when you’re out and about, and don’t offend anyone from the Soaring Dragon duchy. The land of our Jiang Han territory is rich and fertile because it’s in the southern part of the kingdom. We even discovered a piece of land with a spirit vein running through it. Thus, our family has always had a large business deal cultivating spirit ingredients for the Pill King Garden.”
Discovering a piece of land with a spirit vein naturally made it have fertile soil for planting spirit ingredients. It was also quite normal to have business relations with the Pill King Garden, a place that specialized in pill medicine.
Jiang Chen listened quietly because he knew there was more to it.
“But recently, the duke of Soaring Dragon has approached me many times to rent the piece of land with the spirit ingredients garden.”
“Rent? It’s not as if renting property doesn’t exist between the dukedoms. What was his offered rental price?” Jiang Chen seemed to be slowly forming the picture.
“When I say the Soaring Dragon duchy is bullying us, this is what I mean. Based on our business with the Pill King Garden, this piece of land brings us five million silver in profit every year. But the duke of Soaring Dragon offered three hundred thousand silver to rent our land.”
Cultivating ingredients for the Pill King Garden resulted in revenues of roughly five million a year!
But renting it out to the duke of Soaring Dragon would directly shrink revenues to three hundred thousand!
Robbery, highway robbery through sheer display of power!
Jiang Chen understood everything at once. This duke of Soaring Dragon was playing on his power as the first duke of the kingdom. The so called banquet was one of false pretenses. Inviting the duke of Jiang Han was undoubtedly to pressure him in person and force him to acquiesce.
If pressure only came from the duke of Soaring Dragon, that would be simple. We’re all dukes of Eastern Kingdom; if you pressure me, then I will just simply ignore you.
It would be a violation of ancestral code of conduct and a huge taboo if dukes easily warred with each other.
Seeing as his father was so troubled, Jiang Chen felt that the pressure must not only come from the duke of Soaring Dragon.
“Is it that the Pill King Garden has secretly made a deal with the Soaring Dragon dukedom?” Jiang Chen asked.
Jiang Feng thought it was a bit odd and looked at Jiang Chen. “Well Chen’er, you normally don’t ask after these matters, but you’ve identified the hidden currents within this one. That is indeed the case, Pill King Garden has let out hints that even if we don’t rent to the Soaring Dragon dukedom, they plan on terminating the relationship after the Hidden Dragon Trials.”
Jiang Chen finally fully understood the situation. This was adding insult to injury.
The two sides had teamed up to sideline the owner of the land with the spirit vein.
This duke of Soaring Dragon was too scheming, this was conducting business without any skin in the game.
When faced with a choice between the Soaring Dragon dukedom and the Jiang Hang dukedom, the Pill King Garden naturally fawned on the former. After all, that was the first duke in the kingdom.
“Then, tonight’s banquet is a dinner where treachery is planned?” Jiang Chen toyed with the invitation with some interest. The duke of Soaring Dragon’s arrogance, and a sense of a petty villain winning the day emanated between the lines of text.
The crucial point was, the invitation took particular pains to remind the duke of Jiang Han to bring Jiang Chen as well.
Was this to create a package out of father and son for joint bitter humiliation?
“Chen’er, I’m thinking that I should go alone. You…”
“Go of course! Why not. I really want to open my eyes.” Jiang Chen laughed heartily. “I’d like to see if this duke of Soaring Dragon really has three heads and six arms.”
After his father’s explanation of this matter and the combination of all that had happened before, Jiang Chen had full reason to suspect that the duke of Soaring Dragon was involved in the fart that the previous Jiang Chen had released during the Rites.
Even if he was not directly involved, he must be indirectly involved.
Plus, how could a mere duke of Soaring Dragon make Jiang Chen call for retreat?
Halting progress due to fear? Avoiding conflict and provocation? Those were the actions of the weak.
In this life, Jiang Chen would only be one of the strong!
Plus, Jiang Chen also wanted to see just what kind of fortuitous circumstances had happened to that upstart duke for him to bluster that it was a major event of joyous tidings.
The next day, the palace.
After a few days of busy activity, Eastern Zhiruo’s quarters had been remodeled according to Jiang Chen’s blueprints.
Eastern Zhiruo’s quarters were now clearly not as delicate and exquisite as before, but had a few traces of masculine lines.
Eastern Lu had also heard of this matter, and had come for a personal inspection today, accompanied by princess Gouyu.
“Haha, this Jiang Chen knows how to stir up something alright, how does this look like a princess’ quarters!” Although Eastern Lu said this, it was obvious to see that he did not really mind.
“Gouyu, what do you think about this Jiang Chen?” Eastern Lu smiled merrily and asked the princess next to him.
“Royal brother, if Jiang Chen can cure Zhiruo, then we can naturally allow his horseplay. But if this is all a sleight of hand, I will be the first to punish him!”
Eastern Zhiruo came bouncing over like a little deer as they were speaking.
“Father, auntie, you’ve come to see Ruo’er?”
“Yes, Ruo’er, how have you felt these past couple of days?” Eastern Lu felt a bit guilt ridden as he looked at the daughter who had weathered many hardships since childhood.
Zhiruo had been dealt an unfortunate fate since she was a child, but had never complained. On the contrary, she was very mature and always thought of others when doing anything.
Even with an illness ridden body, even knowing that she did not have long to live, she had always lived optimistically.
“Father, Ruo’er has been quite happy these days. Look at Ruo’er’s face, doesn’t it look much better than before? And, Ruo’er is no longer so afraid of the cold when it gets to midnight. I feel wonderful everyday and sleep much better than before.”
It was indeed apparent from Eastern Zhiruo’s spirit and complexion that her condition was much better these days. She also did not look as listless as before.
“Ruo’er, this means that Jiang Chen’s treatment is having effect?” Eastern Lu’s eyes gleamed.
“Yes, it must be credited to brother Jiang Chen. I keep two of the satchels he gave me on my body, and don’t feel that I get tired as easily as I did before. I don’t get woken up by cold air in the middle of the night either. Father, auntie, I contemplate everyday the diagram that brother Jiang Chen gave to me. I think it works really well!”
Hearing Eastern Zhiruo’s words and seeing that her body had taken an obvious turn for the better, Eastern Lu and Gouyu looked at each other, a meaningful expression on both their faces.