Chapter 69: Changes in Attitudes
These elders couldn’t help but lean forward slightly, wishing to hear more clearly. Their reactions were all extraordinarily in unison, as they all thought they’d heard incorrectly.
One had to know that, a genius who was overflowing with talent such as Jiang Feng, his grasp over the Jiang Han territory so strong, had only won a position of duke of second rank.
Out of all 108 dukes in the kingdom, being ranked at 14 seemed to be the limit of the Jiang family.
These elders all had to admit that Jiang Feng’s role couldn’t be overlooked in the Jiang family’s current day development. It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say that he had achieved the greatest accomplishment for the Jiang family to date.
Their highest expectations for Jiang Chen during this time’s Hidden Dragon Trials were merely to retain their current standing. Even if their ranking descended a few places, it would be nice if they didn’t lose the title of duke of the second rank.
However, based on Jiang Chen’s usual performance, they all knew that this was all pure folly. The bigger question was whether or not he’d be able to keep the Jiang family’s dukedom, not to mention the position of duke of second rank.
After all, his usual reputation was simply too poor.
However, the affairs of the world are thus inconstant.
Just when they had deemed that Jiang Chen wouldn’t do – when they had long since given up in their hearts – Jiang Chen suddenly announced that he was competing for duke of the first rank.
And, he had even returned this time to execute the second mission of the first rank.
What did this entail?
This meant that Jiang Chen had already completed a mission of the first rank!
A mission of the first rank corresponded to the position of duke of the first rank.
Being able to complete missions of the first rank, no matter if one could only complete one, how could the person in question be a mediocre person of the masses?
The Hidden Dragon Trials were no game, and the rules were harsh. Every single mission of the first rank was strictly partitioned – it was impossible for anyone to be opportunistic or gain an advantage by trickery.
To think that Jiang Chen had already completed a mission of the first rank!
There was no need for boasts, no need for theatrics. Jiang Chen merely raised his cup, spoke a few words, and gave transparently delineated particulars of all matters.
If this crowd of old geezers lacked even this bit of comprehension, then it wasn’t a matter of them debating whether or not to support Jiang Chen, but rather Jiang Chen contemplating whether or not they were worthy of him!
“Duke of first rank, duke of first rank…” Jiang Tong turned over these words again and again in his mouth. Suddenly, a gleam of surprised light shot out from his unfocused gaze. “Chen’er, you mean that you’ve already completed the first mission?”
“Yes, and this second mission rather needs some connections. I will need to impose on the networks and face of the various seniors in the clan.”
Jiang Chen was neither prideful nor impatient, and there was a complete lack of a desire to flaunt himself in his tone. There truly was nothing for him to make a display about in such a small matter.
Jiang Zheng, on the other hand, couldn’t help but speak up when he poured one. “A scholar who has been away for three days must be looked at with new eyes. Our house’s young duke is the man of the hour in the capital. Those from the palace are common visitors, and even spiritual medicine heavyweights such as the Hall of Healing need to curry favor with our young duke.”
There were no outsiders here, so Jiang Zheng couldn’t contain himself and had to say a few words. He truly couldn’t hold it in anymore. He had been ignored and passed over by others ever since he had started following Jiang Cheng. Now that he’d finally found the chance to hold his head up high. Where else could he make a display if he didn’t put on a show within the family?
Those from the palace were common visitors?
Even the Hall of Healing curried favor with the young duke?
How could this be? Those elders were all surprised beyond expression, not to mention Jiang Tong. They all inhaled sharply, extremely uneasy in their seats.
Jiang Chen however, smiled faintly. “There’s no need to always speak of these small things, Jiang Zheng. Assembled elders, I have need of your efforts at the tribal convention tomorrow.”
Elder Xi had the longest record of service, and the fastest reactions. He hastily smiled and said, “It seems our Jiang family has produced a genius such as the young duke, and us old geezers probably would’ve never known if Jiang Zheng hadn’t said anything. Haha, the ancestors and forefathers of the Jiang family in the heavens above have bestowed upon us such a genius as the young duke. Our Jiang family is sure to attain our goals with further efforts. I’m going to use these old bones in my body to strive mightily for some results. I’m sure to attend the tribal convention tomorrow with these old bones!”
“Go! We’ll naturally go! Our Jiang family has always been united as one in our control over the Jiang Han territory. Otherwise these tribes will really think that our Jiang family is one to ride roughshod over.”
“Indeed, we can’t allow a thorn such as Jing Man to appear within the tribes again!”
The elders all expressed their stances, and each one was more cooperative than the last. They were all experienced, and could naturally tell that the changes that had occurred in Jiang Chen weren’t false.
Besides, Jiang Chen would never lie about the Hidden Dragon Trials.
Some elders couldn’t help but think, “Could it be that this Jiang Chen has been a foppish dandy since young just as a disguise to deceive the outside world, and that his sights were set for the duke of first rank all along?”
Almost all the elders had the same thoughts as their gazes upon Jiang Chen changed. They no longer capitalized on their seniority, but instead held a few more traces of respect and modesty.
In this way, everyone made merry to their heart’s content, and returned home with satisfaction from this banquet.
At the end of the day, the elders of the clan were delighted to see and hear of Jiang Chen’s strength. A strong heir with mighty strength would support the family and even bring it to higher prosperity.
Elder Xi had partaken of a bit wine because he was happy, so he returned home slightly tipsy.
“Grandfather, I’m going to go shopping with Xiaoqian tomorrow. I won’t be going to the tribal convention.”
“Father, I’m going to purchase some spirit medicine tomorrow. I also don’t want to go to the convention.”
“Granddaddy, tomorrow I…”
Elder Xi slammed a heavy palm onto the table as his long mustache bristled from his anger.
He had originally been in fine fettle, but so many people had popped out of the woodwork to request time off as soon as he’d sat down. Every single one of them wished to shirk their duties, obviously not paying attention to tomorrow’s convention at all.
How could he not be enraged at this!
“Who is it that’s not going? I’ll break the damned legs of whoever doesn’t go!” Elder Xi was truly enraged, and poked his finger angrily at a middle aged man. “Jiang Xiong, you’re my son. Just try saying again that you won’t go! Purchase spirit medicine? Don’t think this old man doesn’t know that you have a mistress in the Qinghua Alley, and that you rush there to fool around everyday!
And you, Jiang He! You’re my direct grandson, do you have any prospects for a future ahead of you? Spending your days tied to that chit of a girl at such a young age, do you have any aspirations at all?
And you, Li You, you’re my daughter’s son. If you have no loyalty to the Jiang family at all, then what are you doing here?”
The elderly lord frothed at the mouth and glared with rage, pouring out such a torrent of abuse that the recipients didn’t even know where to look.
“Father!” Elder Xi’s son Jiang Xiong felt that he had lost quite a bit of face.
“Save your blather, all of you must go tomorrow. And, resolve all those inconsequential matters starting from tomorrow. As a disciple and son of the Jiang family, and as clan relatives, what use are you if you can’t resolve the difficulties and anxieties of the family?”
Elder Xi spoke with an awe inspiring sense of self righteousness.
This actually caused those present to be at a complete loss. They were this undisciplined and scattered usually, and they’d never seen the elderly lord object.
What was wrong with him today? Why had his tone changed after a bout of drinking wine? Had he been brainwashed by that Jiang Chen?
Jiang Xiong asked timidly, “Father, it’s not like you don’t know that our Jiang family will be unable to retain the dukedom. Even if you say this much, you will be hard pressed to stop this trend. Didn’t you say that you’d long since let it go?”
“Bullshit! When did I ever say those words?” Elder Xi denied vehemently. “All of you remember this well. Not only will our Jiang family retain our dukedom, but we may even take another step forward and ascend in the ranks, to that of a dukedom of the first rank!”
Elder’s Xi’s tone was also vaguely agitated when he spoke of this.
Duke of the first rank was completely apart from those of the other ranks.
A duke of the first rank had the power to enfeoff others. The sons of the family could then be granted land and flourish!
The wealth and prosperity then, would be absolutely different from the current situation.
“Eh? Father, have you grown confused from the wine?” Jiang Xiong couldn’t hold his laughter in.
Elder Xi flung a huge slap across his face and rapidly stood up. “You bumbling idiot who hasn’t learned your lesson! I’m reminding for you for the last time that you must go to the convention tomorrow. And, you must display full courtesy and utmost deference. I won’t be able to save you if you offend the young duke!
And all of you, where’s your sense of propriety? Looking down on the young duke? Thinking he’s good-for-nothing? Bullshit! That’s him being a wolf in sheep’s skin, concealing his strength, and numbing the opponent! The young duke is attempting the rank of first this time, and he’s already completed the first mission. He’s already killed the once infamous rapist, the Lotus Harvester!”
“What?” Jiang Xiong was flabbergasted, his hand covering his face without a trace of temper.
He had killed the rapist, the Lotus Harvester?!
Although the Tianhu territory was quite far from here, information flowed between various territories. The were quite a few rumors in the Jiang Han territory regarding the infamous name of the Lotus Harvester.
It was said that this Lotus Harvester possessed training between eight and nine meridians, and that he was adept in using sinister poison. His qinggong was excellent, and his being wily. He was an extraordinarily difficult person to handle.
The young duke had killed this rapist?
And had taken not even a month from receiving his mission to do so?
“All of you crawl back to your places and think carefully! If you no longer wish to be here, then get out of this family as early as possible. If you still want to be here, then look sharp and serve the young duke well!” Elder Xi huffily threw down these words and left.
Similar scenes were repeating continuously in the various homes of the elders.
All of those negative, sluggish fellows who wanted to layabouts were thoroughly rebuked by the elders without exception. Some were even subjected to a beating, like Jiang Xiong.
The next morning, titanic changes had occurred in the entire atmosphere of the Jiang family. A family clan that had been like scattered sands was suddenly tied together with an invisible rope.
Those who usually slept in, and those who usually slipped out early to fool around, all unusually showed up in the core areas of the Jiang Han manor. All of them were alert and ready for action, dressed up finely.
Some of them with more clever minds hastened to step forward and greet Jiang Zheng with a smile when he walked out, “Jiang Zheng, has the young duke risen yet?”
“Risen? The young duke gets up at midnight every day to start training, and you ask if he’s risen yet?”
“Oh oh, my mistake, my mistake! Apologies, my apologies!”
Jiang Chen walked out from inside at this moment and smiled, “Everyone’s nearly here. The tribes should also be nearly here by now?”
1. A daughter’s son isn’t considered a direct grandson in Chinese culture, because the daughter has married into another family and her children bear another surname.↩