Watching the White Drake girl and her men beat a hasty retreat, Mistress Han puffed out her chest, flush from the victory of reconquering lost territory.
Her outfit wasn’t particularly revealing, but it nevertheless displayed curves in all the right places, showcasing the superiority of her womanly charms.
Sensing Jiang Chen’s strange gaze on her, she tittered as she took a seat, her expression instantly brightening.
“Let me introduce myself. The name’s Han Shuang. You may address me as Madam Han, or Sectmistress Han. Little Gou mentioned you were interested in joining our Fiendstar Sect? That’s why I came here as fast as possible. To think White Drake would bully my people in public! How ludicrous! Some might be afraid of her, but not this queen! Hehe, little brother, don’t be shy… There’s nothing to be afraid of.”
Jiang Chen found himself dumbfounded. This girl looked like a spicy number. Had he mentioned anything about fear? She was simply putting words in his mouth.
And since when did he become part of her people?
But she rattled off before he could reply. “That witch’s hobby is to collect handsome men and frolic with them behind closed curtains. She’ll keep the obedient and useful ones for a little while. The rest become ostracized servants. They’ll be lucky to survive then.”
Jiang Chen cared little about this piece of gossip.
The morals or private life of White Drake’s young mistress had little to do with him. He was merely a passerby stopping in Crimsonwaters before his final destination.
Looking at his absentminded expression, Han Shuang plopped down opposite him and rested her chin in her hands, her eyes as wide as her grin. “How is it, are you considering this sister’s offer? Or are you more tempted by that witch?”
Jiang Chen chuckled. “Is feminine wiles how White Drake and Fiendstar entice fresh talent?”
Blinking, Han Shuang froze. “Of course not. Everyone on Crimsonwaters will tell you I’m a right and proper lady. Do you think I’d stoop this low? Brother Zhen, I can tell you’re no ordinary man. You can achieve great deeds with us. A guest elder’s nothing to speak of. If you join us, I’ll promote you to the seat of a formal elder. No one in the sect will contest your status, I promise.”
Forceful and straight to the point, this woman spoke with forthright enthusiasm. She leaned over the table, her two pure, ravishing white hills vaguely visible beneath her slightly open collar. Someone without the young lord’s iron will might have been overwhelmed by the stimulus and agreed on the spot.
Yet, she herself seemed unaware of the tantalizing figure she cut. As earnest as ever, she continued her lobbying. “Our sect’s indeed in an awkward spot, so we need more capable people. To establish a base at the Heavenly Crimson Lake would be an immense boon. Not to mention, it’s the dream of many to gain an audience with His Majesty, isn’t it?”
Jiang Chen didn’t know how others might feel, but said audience left him apathetic.
He’d once been in daily contact with a celestial emperor, a genuine one to boot, rather than a fake without the blessing of the supreme dao.
Jiang Huan’s footsteps sounded from below, interrupting their conversation.
“My companion’s back.” The young lord smiled leisurely. Let him deal with it. He was indifferent either way. There was no harm in joining. It might facilitate their information gathering.
Jiang Huan was a little surprised by the fuss upstairs, especially by the sight of a girl sitting with Jiang Chen.
The young lord is quite a flirt. He’s already caught a target in the short time I was gone!
He was no stickler for propriety or the like, at least not in this department. A slight weakness for women was rather harmless, in his opinion, as long as it didn’t deter men from greater things.
“Hehe, sonny Shi, who might these guests be?” Their aliases had long been agreed on. Once in Taiyuan’s sphere of influence, the young man would be Zhen Shi, and he Zhen Huan.
“She’s the Fiendstar Sect sectmistress. Those are her men,” Jiang Chen briefly introduced.
Han Shuang glanced at the older man. He seemed more seasoned, and was roughly his junior’s equal in cultivation.
Her previous attitude immediately gave way to a more reserved smile. “Fellow daoist, your friend came into conflict with the White Drake Sect, so I had to do something for justice’s sake. We started chatting once they left. It’s a good thing you’ve come back. We can discuss some things together.”
Han Shuang was obviously a skilled chameleon. She was bold and untamed with a jaunty youngster like Jiang Chen, but more modest with the mature Jiang Huan.
“What’s there to discuss? Is there something interesting afoot?” Surprisingly convivial, Jiang Huan sat beside the young lord with a chuckle.
Han Shuang patiently repeated her sales pitch, clearly expressing her desire to recruit them.
“That’s a good thing,” Jiang Huan responded happily, much to the young lord’s surprise.
“Haha, indeed. Friend, I take it you’re agreeing?” Han Shuang hadn’t expected him to be so straightforward. She’d thought the younger one a softer target, but this middle-aged uncle was the one first to be roped in. She replied with a smile. “As you say, it’s a win-win for us both.”
Though a little taken aback, Jiang Chen waved a hand without batting an eyelid. “Whatever you say, Uncle Huan. Your nephew will follow along.”
Jiang Huan smiled. “Sectmistress Han, we’re absolutely open to the idea. But we must first agree on the terms. I don’t want bad surprises down the line.”
Han Shuang grinned broadly. “Feel free to ask around. When have I ever sold someone short? You can count on Han Shuang to treat people fairly.”
“Very well, since you’re so plain-spoken, my nephew and I won’t be coy either. We’ll wait here for your sincerity. We’ll happily join as long as your conditions are to our liking. Do you need to go back and discuss with the other elders?”
“I don’t. I’m the sectmistress, my word is law!” Han Shuang replied unequivocally. “But I have to go back and think about the specifics of my offer. I can’t disappoint you, after all.”
“Good, then we’ll stay here and respectfully look forward to hear from you.” Jiang Huan raised his hands in a cupped fist salute.
With a buoyant smile, Han Shuang stood up and saluted back. She led her men away in brisk strides, warning repeatedly before departing, “Don’t back out on me now, gentlemen. No matter who tries to poach you away, our sect will more than match their price. We’ll stop at nothing to acquire new talent!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter