Chapter 35: You Won’t Die if You Don’t Seek Death
The repressed, bone-deep, wild nature of Jiang Chen’s past and present life came abruptly roaring out uncontainably when he had the idea of traveling a bit in the outside world.
Of course, this travel wasn’t something that Jiang Chen could arbitrarily decide.
First, he had to pass the Hidden Dragon Trials before leaving. Otherwise, leaving the capital without permission meant forfeiting the Trials.
The Trials were Jiang Chen’s first major objective upon arriving in this world – there was no way he would give up.
For one, he had to fight for his father’s right to continue holding the dukedom.
In addition, the great undercurrent of power that had formed in the capital left Jiang Chen with no avenues of retreat – he had to fight!
Jiang Chen woke up early the next morning and went for a round of practice in the manor’s practice field. He had prepared to pay a visit to the Hall of Healing when he saw that the sun had risen to the height of three connecting bamboo segments.
He had signed a contract with the Hall of Healing and naturally wouldn’t break his appointment.
Except, he didn’t have time to set foot outside before fatty Xuan and Hubing Yue came hurriedly rushing in. Their faces looked like the sky was caving in.
“Brother Chen, why are you acting like nothing is going on?” fatty Xuan almost dashed into the door with a rolling posture, and came out at the very start with this question when he saw Jiang Chen.
“What about me?” Jiang Chen was baffled.
“Brother Chen, something major has happened!” A sense of anxiety also pervaded throughout Hubing Yue’s clumsy honesty, a type of anxiety that accompanied the sky caving in.
“What?” Jiang Chen felt that the expressions on these two weren’t a joke.
“Brother Chen, you didn’t pass your foundational exams!” Fatty Xuan was almost to the point of tears in his worry. “Brother Chen, you lectured us yesterday, how…”
“Didn’t pass? Impossible!” Jiang Chen shook his head resolutely. He was firm, that was absolutely impossible. “You guys also saw my exams.”
“We saw it alright, you passed the first and second exams. However, you didn’t pass the third exam.”
The third exam, the theory exam, but that was one that no bystanders could watch.
“I didn’t pass the theory exam?” Jiang Chen thought back and resolutely shook his head. “I still don’t believe it. I wouldn’t have erred on a single one of the rote memorization portions. It was enough to guarantee passing. I also felt that I elaborated quite well in the creative portion, unless the examiner was blind.”
Fatty Xuan was like an ant on a hot pan in his haste and he kept pacing around in circles.
“No, no. Brother Chen we can’t sit still in the face of such adversary such as this. Didn’t you get strike up a relationship with Princess Gouyu? Hurry and enter the palace to request that the princess think of something. This matter will be irredeemable when the final results are announced!”
According to the rules of the foundational exams, if one of the three foundational exams had yet to be passed before the deadline, that meant the candidate hadn’t passed the exams.
If the foundational exams weren’t passed, then the candidate had no qualifications to participate in the Hidden Dragon Trials afterwards.
Therefore, there was naturally nothing to speak of when it came to retaining the dukedom.
Although Jiang Chen was a bit dumbfounded, he didn’t panic. As he was lost in thought, the duke of Jiang Han also trotted out quickly from the manor. He had obviously also just received the news.
“Chen’er, you…” Jiang Feng walked towards Jiang chen.
“Father, I feel that something must be amiss here. The only thing I can guarantee is that there is no way my answers wouldn’t’ve passed the exam.”
Jiang Chen’s tone was quite firm with no room for doubt.
Jiang Feng had originally wanted to console his son, but blanked for a moment upon hearing his words. His eyebrow crooked, “Then this is to say that someone is conniving against our Jiang family!”
“Damn, daring to do something even to the Hidden Dragon Trials, is this not giving the royal family face? No, Brother Chen, we can’t let them get away with this!”
“Right, we must thoroughly investigate. We must understand why if we are to die!”
Jiang Chen spread out his hands, “I must get to the bottom of this. Father, stay within the manor and avoid throwing ourselves into disarray. Your son will go to the Trials testing site to look up my answer scroll. If it truly was my fault, then I, Jiang Chen, am not someone who cannot take a loss.”
He paused, and his words turned in another direction as his tone hardened. “But if I learn of someone being up to no good, then they have very successfully infuriated me this time.”
The news of Jiang Chen not passing the foundational exams quickly spread like a plague throughout the capital. Some felt it was unimaginable when they recalled how formidable Jiang Chen had been in the first two exams, whereas others gloated over misery.
Of course, even more people took a wait-and-see attitude. Those with even a little bit of brains could sniff out the undercurrents of conflict and could hear the bloodthirsty sounds of armored cavalry in this.
When Jiang Chen had arrived at the Trials testing site, it was already packed to the brim with people who were all waiting to see the show!
“I want to check my answer scroll!” Jiang Chen was straightforward.
There was nothing for Jiang Chen to be low key about, now that someone had taken their bullying to his face.
“Check your answer scroll? According to the rules, you only have the right to apply for such after three days.” The eyebrows of the official in charge quirked slightly and he didn’t even raise his head. His voice was lazy, as if he was almost about to die.
“I want to check it now!” Jiang Chen said diffidently.
“Who do you think you are? Checking it because you say so? On what basis?”
“On this basis!” Jiang Chen’s palm slapped down hard on the table, and the dragon medallion representing the royal family actually embedded itself on that metallic table, leaving a big, easily noticeable mark.
“What?” The official in charge immediately woke up upon seeing this item. He frantically stood up and left a panicked and battered sentence behind. “Please wait here, I will inform my superiors.”
With the engraved dragon medallion beating a path, this meant he had Eastern Lu’s imperial decree within the Trials testing ground. All difficulties became but floating clouds in front of royal power.
Finally, a middle aged organizer called Organizer Ma arrived.
“Young duke Jiang, according to the rules, a three day period are requisite before an application can be made for checking your answer scroll. However, since you have a royal token, you do indeed possess the qualification for special treatment. Let’s do it this way, wait a moment while I pull up your answer scroll. In addition, checking scrolls needs to be conducted under the personal supervision of our main organizer. Now, since our Lord Du has not yet arrived, you may need to wait.”
“No need to wait, I will personally supervise.” At the moment, a crisp and sonorous female voice traveled in from outside.
Heads turned and saw that it was Princess Gouyu, dressed in leather and boasting of a body so sexy that it would cause nosebleeds.
A royal princess and royal token appearing all at once in the Trials testing site. This immediately caused the site’s atmosphere to become fervently excited.
Everyone knew that Princess Gouyu ordinarily didn’t give much heed to the affairs of the Hidden Dragon Trials. She would only control it remotely sometimes and occasionally tell Du Ruhai to give a report.
Princess Gouyu was the main organizer – the first in charge, in name. But, it had always been Du Ruhai in charge of these matters. It wouldn’t be unrealistic to say that Du Ruhai was shutting out the heavens with one hand.
Except, no one had thought that the normally aloof Princess Gouyu would descend personally today.
“What? Can it be that even I, who ranks as the number one main organizer, has no authority to decide upon the matters of the Hidden Dragon Trials?”
A frosty expression materialized on Princess Gouyu’s face.
Organizer Ma’s forehead sweated and he didn’t even dare breathe. He immediately went to pull Jiang Chen’s answer scroll.
After going through the process, the four answer scrolls were finally unfurled one by one. Scroll checking commenced under the witness of several examiner authority figures.
“This isn’t my answer scroll!” Jiang Chen shook his head with a cold smile after flicking his first glance.
Organizer Ma shifted his gaze to the officials from the various subjects who were in charge of reading the exams. He asked, “You were the ones who graded these answer scrolls. Take a look and see if these are the ones that Jiang Chen handed in.”
The officials all took a look and said, “These were indeed the answer scrolls that we graded. Look at these answers, unbearable mistakes and omissions, answers irrelevant to the question, completely nonsensical responses. We really couldn’t pass him with these kinds of answer scrolls.”
The various subject officials had been chosen to read exams naturally because they had authority, possessed integrity, and were able to garner acceptance from others.
Bystanders’ first opinion was that Jiang Chen’s answer scrolls were indeed quite terrible after hearing the officials’ words.
Princess Gouyu’s phoenix eyes made a quick movement as she looked towards Jiang Chen.
“Don’t look at me. These idiotic answer scrolls definitely didn’t come from me. You’re the main organizer of the Hidden Dragon Trials, you take care of it.”
Princess Gouyu inwardly ground her teeth. Would it kill you, you brat, to speak a bit more smoothly? She would have to take a slight turning point and make a bigger fuss out of this matter in order to create some room to maneuver.
“Everyone has their own explanation of this matter. As the organizer, I cannot be partial to any side. How about this, let’s have Jiang Chen take the exam again right now?” Princess Gouyu’s proposal was born out of compromise.
The various subject officials didn’t care either way. It was just reading the scrolls again.
However, someone didn’t agree.
“Princess, this must be avoided at all costs. The ancestors laid down the law that no makeups can be taken if the exams were not passed after the deadline. The princess is the main organizer and a royal princess. How can the writs of the forefathers be abolished for a mere heir of a duke?”
It’d been said that he wasn’t here yet, but Du Ruhai had appeared in the nick of time.
“Du Ruhai…” Jiang Chen faintly guessed at something when he saw Du Ruhai’s face.
“Jiang Chen, you disregard law and discipline, greatly disturb the Trials testing site, your crimes are heinous!”
“Breaker of rules, tempting the princess into chaos, scheming to abolish the writs of the forefathers, you’re a traitor!”
“You’re a mere heir to a duke, how dare you!”
Du Ruhai’s words sprayed one after another and one large hat of crimes after another was buckled onto Jiang Chen’s head.
The former’s nose had almost traveled to Jiang Chen’s vicinity.
At this moment, an incredible scene happened!
Jiang Chen’s arm whirled as he viciously flung a slap onto Du Ruhai’s face.
“Jiang Chen, do not be reckless!” Princess Gouyu spoke hastily.
But, a burning, stinging big slap had landed solidly on Du Ruhai’s face. A bright red mountain formed by five fingers was imprinted on Du Ruhai’s face, appearing all the more conspicuous due to his grim, darkened face.
“Du Ruhai, I’ve warned you not to mess with me. But, you are indeed incorrigible. One won’t die if he doesn’t seek death. Since you seek death, I, Jiang Chen, will gratify you!”
“Come, I want you to accompany me to the Aurum Imperial Hall. I want to confront you in front of His Majesty. If my answer scroll is wrong, then I will docilely hand over the dukedom. If someone is playing a trick, then Du Ruhai, the head on your shoulders is mine!”
Jiang Chen completely ignored the complete shambles that the scene had fallen into, completely ignored those gobsmacked expressions as he strode out like the shooting stars, speeding straight towards the Aurum Imperial Hall.
Leaving behind a site full of a dumbfounded – utterly transfixed – crowd of people.
Princess Gouyu was expressionless as she too left swiftly, leaving Du Ruhai with no time to even squeeze out tears if he’d wanted to cry.
“Oh heavens! This Jiang father and son want to rebel! Beating up the organizer of the Hidden Dragon Trials, greatly disturbing the Trials testing site, abolishing the writs of the forefathers! I too want to present my case to His Majesty in the Aurum Imperial Hall. This official seat will seek the annihilation of the Jiang family clan!” Du Ruhai’s expression was beyond grim!