Chapter 21: The Pride of the Long Family
Jiang Chen had not anticipated that a few careless sentences from him would have such a sobering effect. The spirited conversations that had been taking place in twos and threes suddenly all quieted down.
Countless pairs of eyes looked towards Jiang Chen in synchronized movement.
Those present were all heavyweights in the Eastern Kingdom, and all of them knew that the duke of Soaring Dragon had always wanted the piece of land with the spirit vein running through it. He had been scheming and plotting to seize it from the duke of Jiang Han.
Judging from his posture, was Jiang Chen planning on declaring war? Was he going to engage in a public dispute with the duke of Soaring Dragon?
Jiang Chen, the subject of their speculation, was completely insensitive to it all. He pulled a chair towards himself, and sat down with an air of generosity, sneaking a glance at Eastern Zhiruo’s body. He muttered, “Looks like you’ve been busy these past couple of days. At this rate, you’ll have no issues getting past sixteen.”
At least three or four people fumbled their wine glasses after hearing these words. They were so shocked by Jiang Chen that even their wine glasses fell to the ground.
The minority that had not known Jiang Chen already could not contain themselves and started surreptitiously quizzing their neighbors. Which family did this young duke hail from? This was simply too brave.
This was the king’s most beloved daughter, after all.
And beside the princess sat elder Princess Gouyu, one whose face was already starting to sink down in disapproval.
Seeing that Princess Gouyu’s face had sunken low enough to draw water, those who wanted to watch the show did not dare to brazenly cast their gazes over here.
Everyone knew that Princess Gouyu was the martial dao genius of the Eastern Kingdom. She was an exceedingly influential person in the Eastern Kingdom who held true power.
And not to mention, just by her status as the main organizer of the Hidden Dragon Trials, which duke at the banquet would dare to insult her?
Yet Jiang Chen seemed to be completely oblivious and had no idea that he was sitting in the most prominent area, and gave no indication that he realized he had become the center of attention.
Jiang Chen had basically observed everyone with side vision after he sat down. What surprised him was that there were a few familiar faces.
The third hallmaster of the Hall of Healing for instance; the duke of Tianshui who had slapped himself for another.
It was apparent that the duke of Tianshui was behaving today. He kept to himself. If he had been as before, he would have surely led the offense to make life difficult for the Jiang family.
However, whether it was the duke of Tianshui or his heir, they were both oddly quiet today.
The duke of Tianshui was obviously still haunted by what had happened at the Jiang Han manor. Although he did not take any action himself, it still gladdened his heart to see others picking on the Jiang family.
These fellows did not know anything of the agreement between Jiang Chen and Eastern Lu, and thus did not have any reservations in bullying the Jiang father son duo.
Indeed, a few duchy heirs walked over in tandem just as Jiang Chen wanted to ask Eastern Zhiruo how she had been lately.
The leader of the band was the heir to the White Tiger dukedom, Bai Zhanyun.
“Jiang Chen, do you know what day it is?” Bai Zhanyun’s face was a study in indignation. “Today is miss Long Juxue’s sixteenth birthday. How dare you say it’s a filthy place! I command you to apologize!”
“And I, Hong Tiantong, order you to apologize to the host and other guests in the name of the Vermillion Bird dukedom!” Hong Tiantong had departed from his usual modus of inciting others to pick the fight, and actually took the initiative today.
It was apparent that Hong Tiantong had no desire to let Bai Zhanyun claim all the glory for fawning on Long Juxue in a setting like this.
These two came from an impressive background.
The strength of the 108 dukes in the Eastern Kingdom varied accordingly, but the top four dukes had always been firmly ranked in the top four. No matter what changed in the kingdom, their position had never changed.
Soaring Dragon duchy ranked first, White Tiger second, Vermillion Bird third, and Black Tortoise fourth!
Two heirs of the four major dukedoms had stepped forward, and had brought some of the heirs of other high ranking dukedoms with them. They encircled Jiang Chen with an aggressive air.
Jiang Chen kept his cool and flicked a noncommittal glance at Hong Tiantong. He then asked lightly, “Are you commanding me?”
“You can take it that way.” Hong Tiantong responded arrogantly.
“Oh… “ Jiang Chen smacked his forehead lightly, smiling without seeming to at princess Gouyu. “Princess Gouyu, is this fellow part of the royal family? Or have I remembered incorrectly? Do dukes have the power to command each other? I seem to remember that only the royal family has the power to issue commands to dukes!”
He looked at Hong Tiantong lazily, laughing, “The heir to Vermillion Bird is it? When did you change your surname to Eastern? Why didn’t you make a big proclamation out of such a big event? You should’ve notified us earlier so we could be mentally prepared!”
Hong Tiantong, who had occupied the aggressive high ground a moment ago, was suddenly at a loss for words by this simple question. He became as transfixed as a statue.
“As for you, Bai Zhanyun is it? If I remember correctly, this is the third time that you’ve provoked me. I didn’t want to lower myself to your level before, but today, what do you mean by standing here and hollering your head off if you claim that this isn’t a filthy place? Are you blind? Do you not see Her Highness sitting there? Do you know anything about noble etiquette? Yelling and jumping up and down in front of the princess, do you have any notion of decorum?”
“And the others, what do you want? Accompanying these two idiots in making a spectacle of yourself, are you trying to tell everyone present that there is no longer a need to conceal your mutinous hearts?”
Jiang Chen’s torrent of words caused the crowd of youths to be tongue-tied, red in the face, and minds to go completely blank. They wanted to find the words to retort, but had absolutely no idea what to say.
Bai Zhanyun was trembling in his rage, “You… Jiang Chen… your mother… you’re spitting blood from your mouth!(1)”
“Does your mother not spit blood from her mouth? If your mother didn’t spit blood, where did you crawl out of? Or are you some runt that your father picked up from the streets?” When it came down to verbal sparring, Jiang Chen had had a career in cursing others for millions of years in his past life. His spiteful tongue had once cursed everything under the heavens.
These jokers were absolutely no match.
But Eastern Zhiruo did not understand the last part of his words. She tugged on his sleeve with a face full of naive innocence. “Brother Jiang Chen, what does his mother spitting blood have to do with him being picked up from the streets?”
“Eh….” It was Jiang Chen’s turn to be halted in his tracks as he stammered, “This question isn’t suitable for children. You’ll understand when you go and get married.”
Princess Gouyu on the sidelines was also perplexed. She thought that Jiang Chen was cursing a bit randomly and had no idea what he meant. But after his explanation, she suddenly thought of the scenes of childbirth…
Was that not literally spitting blood?
Gouyu’s gaze sharpened with killing intent as her thoughts wandered down this path. This damnable Jiang Chen! He was sure to pollute Ruo’er if she spent more time with him!
She decided to vent her rage on Bai Zhanyun and Hong Tiantong. Those two were still dumbly standing there like blockheads. She slammed her hand down on the table, “You two, what do you have to say for yourself? Do you still retain any of your noble decency?”
The atmosphere abruptly worsened as Princess Gouyu lost her temper.
This was no ordinary individual. Many times, Princess Gouyu’s attitude had represented the king’s attitude!
The representative hearty laugh of the duke of Soaring Dragon traveled in from the main hall at this awkward moment. “Ladies and gentlemen, please calm down. It’s a rare occasion that we have so many present, and it happens to be my youngest daughter’s sixteenth birthday. I’ve invited everyone here to, one, celebrate my daughter’s birthday and, two, share the news of a great event of joyous tidings with everyone.”
“Oh? Your Grace, what happy event is this? You have kept a tight seal on the news.”
“Yes, Your Grace, out with it! We can’t wait.”
“Haha, let’s not be in such a rush everyone. It appears that I’ve hidden the news too well. I shall do that no longer. To be honest, this matter is also an issue of great joy for the Eastern Kingdom, and is a momentous occasion for the kingdom. My daughter Juxue, due to her Azure Phoenix Constitution from birth, has attracted the attention of a hidden master and been picked as his direct disciple. The master will personally come to welcome my daughter to the Purple Sun Sect after the Hidden Dragon Trials!”
“What! Purple Sun Sect? That’s the head sect of the four great sects of the sixteen countries!”
“All hidden masters are the equivalent of a prominent heavyweight within a sect. Who would’ve thought that Long Juxue would have such good fortune. Congratulations indeed!”
“An azure phoenix constitution even sounds extraordinary!”
“This kind of joyous occasion should be celebrated through all the lands! Felicitations to Your Grace, the future of Soaring Dragon duchy is indeed one of unlimited wealth and endless potential!”
In that moment, all sorts of greasy remarks poured in like the unending river waters.
Long Zhaofeng was in fine fettle. He had long since planned for today. He was completely unsurprised by the situation.
“To be honest, the heavyweight of the Purple Sun Sect had decided upon this master and disciple relationship the moment my daughter was born. But, I’m a low-key person and thought of Juxue’s growth and childhood. I didn’t want to overly draw attention to her. But now that my daughter is sixteen years old, this news naturally doesn’t need to be concealed anymore.”
Long Zhaofeng’s words were the epitome of pride.
In actuality, how could this be called low-key. If this was called low-key, then nothing under the heavens could be labeled high profile.
And, it was not that Long Zhaofeng had avoided speaking the truth, it was that he did not dare speak of it.
When Long Juxue had been born, a strange phenomenon struck the sky. A great rainbow appeared in the vast sky, with vague impressions of the legendary phoenix dancing in its rays. All the birds on earth paid their respects and lingered long thereafter.
It was true that an elder in the Purple Sun Sect had heard of this phenomenon and surmised that the Soaring Dragon dukedom in the Eastern Kingdom had given birth to an Azure Phoenix Constitution. He had not set foot outside sect territory in several hundred years, yet he rushed to the Soaring Dragon dukedom at first light and established the master disciple relationship.
Except, absolute perfection didn’t exist in the world. What it meant to have an Azure Phoenix Constitution was that an evil humour of extreme yin existed within the body. If this evil humour was not resolved, then that person would not live past 30 years old, and any and all talk of genius potential would be as tangible as the clouds.
Long Zhaofeng had been wracking his brains and trying all possible methods over the past couple of days and had finally dispelled the evil humour within Long Juxue. This way, there was no longer any restrictions on the Azure Phoenix Constitution.
At the same time, the Purple Sun Sect elder had sent word that Long Juxue would be officially initiated into the Purple Sun Sect after half a year.
Long Zhaofeng’s first thought after receiving such confirmation was to proclaim it far and wide!
There was no way that Long Zhaofeng would pass up such a prime opportunity to flaunt his family. To that regard, almost all the dukes of importance, ministers, and royal officials, had received an invitation from the Long household.
Even the high and mighty Princess Gouyu had been no exception.
At that moment, Long Juxue was standing next to her father like a proud phoenix. She sparkled such that no one dared look at her directly. Modesty and pride suffused her eyes.
Even to a hidden power like the Purple Sun Sect, an Azure Phoenix Constitution was still an exceedingly rare talent. She had sufficient reason to be proud.
Bai Zhanyun and Hong Tiantong’s gazes on Long Juxue were full of desire and adoration.
Jiang Chen finally understood what the duke of Soaring Dragon had meant by an event of joyous tidings in his invitation.
“Azure Phoenix Constitution?” Jiang Chen searched his memories, remembering that all sorts of body constitutions existed in the common world of martial dao.
But on the path of martial dao, no matter how great the potential, the practitioner would still not make it far if an appropriate disposition did not go hand in hand with the potential. There were many examples of that, too.
But at the end of the day, even something like the Azure Phoenix Constitution did not amount to much in Jiang Chen’s eyes.
His past self had seen too many top talents. How many of those had actually successfully developed and matured?
1. Chinese saying that this is a malicious attack, slander/slur