Chapter 41: Talk of the Town
Jiang Chen walked out of the secret room after roughly four hours.
To be honest, the process of curing the poison had only taken about an hour. Jiang Chen had then taken another hour to fully pass onto his father all the aspects of the “Secret of the Nine Laughing Oceans”.
In addition to that, Jiang Chen had used this time to go over the mysteries, the keys to training in, and several details of the “Secret of the Nine Laughing Oceans”.
Bridging the gap between the “Vast Waves Method” to the “Secret of the Nine Laughing Oceans” wasn’t that difficult. After all, the “Vast Waves Method” was derived from the ““Secret of the Nine Laughing Oceans”.
The “Secret of the Nine Laughing Oceans” was merely an upgraded method at the end of the day.
Of course, the mysteries contained within the “Secret of the Nine Laughing Oceans” were more than ten times that of “Vast Waves Method”.
As a duke of a territory, Jiang Feng’s potential was quite good. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to train to the peak level of the “Vast Waves Method” at thirty some odd years old.
If it hadn’t been for the restrictions of the method, his current level of practice would definitely not be as simple as nine meridians true qi. With Jiang Feng’s potential, it was a sure bet that he would enter the ranks of the true qi masters.
When Jiang Chen walked out from the secret room, Jiang Ying and everyone else immediately rushed up to him.
“Young duke, His Lordship…” Jiang Ying was the most concerned with Jiang Feng’s well-being. He was admonishing himself quite severely, and he felt that the duke had been hurt because he hadn’t properly protected him.
“Father has sealed the doors.” Jiang Chen didn’t precisely explain why.
Jiang Feng was naturally going to make use of the opportunity of gaining the “Secret of the Nine Laughing Oceans” to assail ten meridians true qi. After all, he had spent quite enough time occupying the peak of nine meridians true qi.
Now that he had received a method heritage, this was a tremendous opportunity bestowed by heaven. He made use of this excuse to seal his doors, one to confound the outside world, and two to increase his strength. This was killing two birds with one stone.
Qiao Baishi was obviously already viewing Jiang Chen as an ally. He walked over, extremely concerned. “Young duke, how is your father’s injury?”
“Thank you for your concern third hallmaster, my father’s injury is no longer a serious concern. I will personally pay a visit to the Hall of Healing in a few days to thank the third hallmaster for making this trip. However, I would like to request the third hallmaster to keep the events of today a secret.”
“Naturally.” Qiao Baishi was well aware of Jiang Chen’s intentions.
With the current situation in the capital, obfuscating the status of Jiang Feng’s injury would possibly cause the outside world to not have a full grasp of the picture and therefore be unwilling to act rashly.
Seeing that Qiao Baishi sported a face that yearned for knowledge, Jiang Chen smiled. “I will explain to the third hallmaster in detail the method I used in curing the poison when I have time.”
Qiao Baishi smiled broadly, he had been waiting for this sentence. As a spirit alchemist, Qiao Baishi was eager for knowledge, of this Jiang Chen was well aware of.
After sending off Qiao Baishi, Jiang Chen gathered Jiang Ying and the others.
“Jiang Ying, the manor needs increased security in these days. There can be no carelessness about this.
Jiang Fu, handle the matter of the duke’s injury in an ambiguous way. Let the outside world speculate as much as possible, it would be best if it became the talk of the town.”
“Yes.” Unbeknownst to everyone, they had all grown used to taking orders from the young duke Jiang Chen.
It was as if the news that the duke of Jiang Han had been ambushed on his own doorstep grew legs, and it spread like wildfire.
Rumors and speculations abounded in a moment as this issue became the talk of the town.
The vaunted duke of a territory and a provincial magnate had been ambushed on his own doorstep, and it was said that his injuries weren’t light – that his life was in precarious danger.
This gave all the other dukes a sudden sense of danger.
Even though they could all guess that the duke of Jiang Han had offended someone he shouldn’t have, resulting in his demise, but still, even the duke of a province had experienced an assassination attempt in the capital. Some of the dukes even held sympathy for one of their own kind.
After all, the duke of Jiang Han was the unlucky one today, but tomorrow? Who knew if it’d be someone else’s turn.
Once a precedent had been set for things like this, no one knew what else might happen afterwards.
Apart from those who were unfriendly with the duke of Jiang Han, other dukes who were neutral were quite sympathetic towards the Duke Jiang’s circumstances.
Within the Soaring Dragon manor.
The duke of Soaring Dragon was holding a private banquet within his manor and was feting his honored guests.
Those who could appear at such an exceedingly private banquet were all esteemed guests and the duke of Soaring Dragon’s best friends and confidantes.
Beside the main seat, next to the edge of Duke Long’s seat, sat a man wearing silver long robes with fey and strange flowers embroidered on them.
This man emanated a phantom and exotic air. His hair was like a yin yang fish – half of it was black, while the other half was a silvery grey, clearly delineating the left and right sides of his head.
Tranquil blue light flashed out of a pair of eyes, suffused with a bizarre, elusive aura.
“Master Violet, I personally salute you with this cup of wine.” The duke of Soaring Dragon lifted his cup and said to the fey and exotic man.
“Heh heh, Your Lordship is too polite. Drink!” The exotic man was quite straightforward as he threw his head back and drained his glass.
Grand Courtmaster Wang from the Pill King Garden laughed sinisterly, “Thanks to Master Violet’s action this time. Otherwise it would’ve taken quite a bit of effort to kill Jiang Feng without anyone noticing.”
The exotic man Master Violet laughed faintly, but unceremoniously accepted Courtmaster Wang’s flattery with no hint of humility.
The duke of Yanmen, Yan Jiuzhuang, chuckled. “Without Jiang Feng, those within the Jiang Han household will be a host of dragons without a head. That brat Jiang Chen is a mere sixteen years old, how much insight and capability can he possibly have? Without Jiang Feng, the Jiang family business will find it difficult to defend itself. We will be one step closer to what the duke of Soaring Dragon seeks.”
The duke of Soaring Dragon chuckled merrily. “Getting rid of Jiang Feng was the first step. The second step is to seize the Jiang Han dukedom. Only when the medallion signifying the ownership of that dukedom is in the hands of our own people will this step be viewed as complete and perfect.”
“That Jiang Han steward Jiang Fu was so pitiful. He actually came to my Pill King Garden to ask for a spirit alchemist to save Jiang Feng. It looks like the Jiang family is turning to any doctor they can find in their time of need.” Courtmaster Wang felt that he had vented quite a bit of his ill humor whenever he thought of this.
“And what of Jiang Feng’s injury?” The duke of Soaring Dragon asked.
Courtmaster Wang hastily responded. “With Master Violet making his move, Jiang Feng is dead without a doubt. Even a true qi master would find no antidote if struck with this poison, much less his nine meridians true qi.”
“The Jiang family and the Hall of Healing have a strong relationship, I am worried that the Hall may come between our goal.” The duke of Soaring Dragon still wasn’t at ease, since he hadn’t seen Jiang Feng die.
Master Violet said lightly, “Duke Long is overly worried. With my methods, even the Lord Hallmaster of that Hall of Healing would only have a thirty percent chance of understanding what happened. And that Lord Hallmaster Song Tianxing was not present in the capital the last couple of days. Those left in the Hall, heh, are all worthless.”
Master Violet’s tone was wildly arrogant, and he held extreme confidence in his methods of poison.
The duke of Soaring Dragon also seemed to rely heavily upon this person. He smiled, “Your aid in this time’s matter is representative of even the heavens helping me.”
“Duke Long, I will not spend too much time on polite words. You and I have both gained what we need. Don’t forget to materialize what you have promised me today, after you seize the throne in the future.”
“This duke is hardly someone who burns bridges after crossing them. Be at ease Master Violet, when I ascend to the throne in the future, the position of minister of the state will be yours without a doubt. However, the caveat is that you must help the Pill King Garden topple the Hall of Healing. Before I start my business, I don’t want such a mammoth figure as the Hall of Healing standing on the side of the Eastern clan.”
Master Violet said faintly, “If I couldn’t handle even this little bit of business, what right would I have to haggle over rewards with Duke Long?”
The duke of Soaring Dragon laughed heartily and raised his glass again, “Then here’s to a happy partnership and to building a great cause together!”
Within the depths of the palace, Eastern Lu had also received the news of the ambush at the Jiang Han manor.
“Tiandu, what is the latest news?” Eastern Lu was in an exceedingly poor mood. He had just taken down Du Ruhai today, and had obliquely struck at Duke Long’s arrogance.
Who would’ve thought that this Long Zhaofeng would pull out this on the flipside, and pointed the spearhead at Jiang Feng.
If Jiang Feng died because of this, the impact to the royal family would undoubtedly be greater than the one caused by the pruning of Du Ruhai. Regardless of how one looked at it, it was still him, Eastern Lu, who had come up short.
After all, Jiang Feng was a provincial magnate and his meaning in recent strategy had increased abruptly.
Du Ruhai was just a minor character. In the capital, his influence made him out to be someone on the outskirts, someone who was unable to make it into the inner circle.
“Your Majesty, things don’t look so good. The Jiang family has sent for the third hallmaster of the Hall of Healing, but the third hallmaster left not too long after arriving. It would seem that Jiang Feng’s injury is not very optimistic.”
Eastern Lu violently threw his cup onto the ground, his tone sinister and cold. “Long Zhaofeng, are you publicly putting aside all considerations for royal face?”
“Your Majesty please cease to be angry. Long Zhaofeng is demonstrating his power this way, it’s likely that his preparations are not yet complete. Your Majesty still has much time to prepare.”
Eastern Lu immediately resumed his royal dignity after his brief rage. “We must greatly comfort and appease the Jiang family in this issue no matter what. We must also prepare for the worst. If Jiang Feng succumbs, how to help Jiang Chen successfully navigate the transition will be an exceedingly difficult problem.”
This was indeed the case. If Jiang Feng died, they would be hard pressed to convince the public that Jiang Chen, at the age of sixteen, should immediately inherit the dukedom.
Would the powers on the Jiang Han territory that the duke of Jiang Han ruled over submit to a teenager, much less the officials and courtiers at court?
A duke’s territory encompassed a wide area of land, with many cities that had many powers deeply rooted and interlocked with each other. If there wasn’t a strong duke ruling over them, then these local powers would be the first to jump out in rebellion.
“Your Majesty, no matter what, we must appease Jiang Chen. Otherwise, if he slackens, it will be disadvantageous to Princess Zhiruo’s illness.”
Eastern Lu nodded his head, feeling likewise. Eastern Zhiruo’s illness dictated that Eastern Lu couldn’t discard Jiang Chen, to say nothing of the strategic meaning of the Jiang father and son in opposing the duke of Soaring Dragon.
“Tiandu, go select a few strong underlings and send them to the Jiang manor. I am worried that targeting Jiang Feng was merely the first step. To fully seize the Jiang dukedom, Jiang Chen will undoubtedly be some people’s next target. Nothing must happen to Jiang Chen.”
“Your subject understands.” Tiandu nodded.
“Go get Gouyu.” Eastern Lu rubbed his forehead slightly, a bit tired. At this moment, only his sister Gouyu could set Eastern Lu’s mind at rest.
When Princess Gouyu had learned of the ambush on Jiang Feng, she also felt surprised and inexplicable. She had just finished raiding Du Ruhai’s home when she heard of Eastern Lu’s summons, and immediately hurried back to the palace.
She prayed inwardly for Jiang Chen, hoping that nothing would happen to Jiang Feng.