Chapter 695: Baiting a Fifth Level Sage Realm Genius
“Ah?” A hint of fear leaked out from Zhang Ole Third’s eyes when he heard that Ding Rong was the one he was going to bait over.
“What? Is there a problem?” Jiang Chen’s expression turned cold.
“You… Senior brother Ding… is with the elder. It’s very difficult to lure him out alone.”
“What if the bait is a sky rank spirit herb?” Jiang Chen asked indifferently.
Zhang Ole Third looked distracted. Then he asked suddenly, “Will you promise to let me live if I lure out senior brother Ding?”
There wasn’t much meaning to killing a small fry like him. Jiang Chen also understood that he had to promise something substantial in order to encourage Zhang Ole Third to take wholehearted action. Moreover, this Zhang Ole Third would become a traitor to Thunder Note Hall anyway if he successfully lured Ding Rong over. His life wouldn’t affect the greater picture in the slightest. When his thoughts reached that point, Jiang Chen smiled faintly and said, “I can swear a heavenly oath that I will not take your life. But don’t forget that if you fail…”
Zhang Ole Third gritted his teeth in determination and said, “I know. In the end, my life depends entirely on whether I can lure senior brother Ding Rong to this place.”
“Smart,” Jiang Chen smiled faintly.
“I want you to swear an oath that you will let me live and also give me the antidote if I do lure senior brother Ding Rong over.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve made up my mind, I won’t go back on my own words. However, you will have to find someplace to hide for several months in order to keep my plans from being exposed.”
“I can do that,” Zhang Ole Third had obviously steeled himself. Since the duo came to an agreement, Jiang Chen swore a heavenly oath to set Zhang Ole Third’s mind at ease. Zhang Ole Third was all fired up after he heard Jiang Chen’s oath. He might be a coward, but he was a smart coward. He knew his life depended entirely on his success.
Jiang Chen then turned to Huang’er and said, “Let’s disguise ourselves and pretend to be those two first.”
Huang’er was a master of disguise, and Jiang Chen himself wasn’t lacking in this area either. His Mu Gaoqi disguise had fooled everyone back at the Myriad Grand Ceremony, so it wasn’t a difficult thing for either of them. He quickly disguised himself as the senior brother Hua who’d been devoured by Long Xiaoxuan. Huang’er had disguised herself as senior brother Feng.
“Zhang Ole Third, it’s time for you to find Ding Rong and tell him that you’ve found a clue regarding the sky rank spirit herbs. Whether or not you succeed, and eventually live, will depend entirely on your own skills. Be smart. If this matter is exposed, then not even the gods can save your miserable life,” Jiang Chen reminded Zhao Ole Third once more.
Zhang Ole Third worked hard to try and bring his emotions under control and calm down. “Send me out then.”
Once Zhang Ole Third was aboveground, he took a deep breath to calm himself down and broke into a dead run towards the camp. Many patrol teams that saw Zhang Ole Third along the way, but none of them stopped him for questioning. There was nothing to be gained by questioning one of their own, after all.
Zhang Ole Third successfully returned to camp. In reality, he wasn’t qualified to meet Ding Rong. However, he was senior brother Hua’s follower and thus represented him in some meager way. Therefore, he was able to quickly meet Ding Rong using senior brother Hua’s name.
Ding Rong was very high up on the totem pole as one of the top three geniuses in the Thunder Note Hall.
“Zhang Ole Third? If I remember correctly, you should be patrolling right now. What are you doing here?” While Ding Rong might look genteel on the outside, his actions exuded the authority of a superior officer.
Zhang Ole Third snuck a furtive glance at his peers standing around Ding Rong before grinning, “Senior brother Ding, there’s something that I need to report to you alone.”
Ding Rong had red lips and white teeth, the very picture of an elegant gentleman. However, he couldn’t help but frown at Zhang Ole Third’s request.
The cultivators beside Ding Rong yelled, “Zhang Ole Third, stop being secretive and spit out whatever it is already! Senior brother Ding’s time is precious, and he has no time to waste on the likes of you.”
Zhang Ole Third only smiled apologetically and repeated, “Senior brother Ding, I was sent over by senior brother Hua. This matter is of great importance, and senior brother Hua instructed me to report this to you and you alone.”
Ding Rong looked meaningfully at Zhang Ole Third. He noticed that Zhang Ole Third’s expression was a little suspicious, but knowing his cowardliness and lack of skill, Ding Rong figured that there was just no way Zhang Ole Third could possibly harbor any malice towards him. Therefore, he waved his men away.
“Zhang Ole Third, you know the consequences if I find your words be nothing more than nonsense, don’t you?” Ding Rong warned indifferently.
When he saw that everyone else had gone away, Zhang Ole Third finally spoke in a low voice, “Senior brother Ding, senior brother Hua and Feng found a spirit herb by accident while they were on their patrol. It actually looks like a sky rank spirit herb, but since senior brother Hua dared not come to a careless conclusion, he…”
“What did you say?!” Ding Rong looked greatly surprised. He was well aware of what a sky rank spirit herb meant. Even the sect head of Thunder Note Hall himself might not necessarily possess a sky rank spirit herb! Only Titled Great Emperors had the right to use them.
One must say that Zhang Ole Third’s acting skills were top notch. He took a step forwards and spoke with a serious expression, “That spirit herb was sealed by a kind of power. Senior brother Hua himself attempted to unseal it, but he was constantly a step away from succeeding. He told me to return and report this, but I did not go to the elder directly for a certain… reason. I came to you instead, senior brother Ding.”
Ding Rong roughly understood the situation after listening to Zhang Ole Third. This Zhang Ole Third was trying to win his favor. That was why he’d told this information to only Ding Rong, a blatant attempt to curry favor. As one of the three greatest geniuses in the sect, Ding Rong’s status was incredibly high. It was normally impossible for someone of Zhang Ole Third’s stature to even have the opportunity to win his favor. Ding Rong quickly came to believe almost all of Zhang Ole Third’s words.
“Who else knows about this?” Ding Rong’s tone was heavy.
“Senior brother Hua and senior brother Feng are the only other ones, but they didn’t dare to move away from the spot. They sent only me to ask for help. I thought that if this sky rank spirit herb is destined to fall in someone’s hands, it might as well be the top genius of our Thunder Note Hall. That’s why…”
Ding Rong was a smart person. He understood that Zhang Ole Third was claiming credit for his achievements. Therefore, he patted Zhang Ole Third’s shoulder immediately, “You did well. I will treat you well if everything works out.”
His words were pretty to look at, but held nothing of substance. Zhang Ole Third cursed Ding Rong on the inside, but he continued to maintain a respectful look on his face. “I’ll lead the way and guide you, senior brother Ding.”
Ding Rong nodded and said, “Wait here for a moment while I make some arrangements.” His so-called arrangements were of course a bluff to keep others from questioning his whereabouts for the next while.
Ding Rong met Zhang Ole Third outside the camp a moment later.
“Lead the way.” Ding Rong was confident in his skills, so he wasn’t afraid to head out alone. Of course, he was a little wary, but considering Zhang Ole Third’s cowardliness, it was unlikely that the latter would lie to him. After all, there was no way a small fry like Zhang Ole Third would dare play such a prank. If he did, then he was obviously suicidal. However, despite his certainty, Ding Rong stayed cautious, not letting his guard down even once along the way.
“How much further to go?” Ding Rong asked.
“It’s just a bit further. We’ll be almost there once we pass this mountain ridge.”
“Here they come.” Jiang Chen’s consciousness was fully extended, so he could already see Zhang Ole Third leading a young genius in their direction. Jiang Chen might not recognize this person, but he was sure that this genius was Ding Rong.
“Do you need me to act, Sir Jiang?” If Huang’er were to act, she would definitely have to use her emperor realm domain. It was a surefire method to capture Ding Rong.
“No need,” Jiang Chen smiled faintly in a tone that was full of confidence. So what if he’s a fifth level sage realm expert? Even Cao Jin, an expert half a step away from emperor realm, could do nothing but suffer Jiang Chen’s wrath once he set foot into the trap.
Ding Rong and Zhang Ole Third approached the duo as they chatted. Jiang Chen and Huang’er pretended to be surprised and looked at Zhang Ole Third, “Why did you only bring senior brother Ding?”
Zhang Ole Third was an incredible actor, and looked entirely embarrassed as he scratched his head, “I… I thought that the matter would be exposed if we told too many people. Senior brother Ding takes good care of us, so I thought that it might be better for the sky rank spirit herb to fall into senior brother Ding’s hands rather than Eternal Celestial Capital’s.”
Ding Rong cast a cold glance over at Jiang Chen and said, “Do you have a problem with that, junior brother Hua?”
Jiang Chen shrugged, a wry smile on his face, “I couldn’t crack that seal myself. I hope that you might be able to do it, senior brother Ding.”
Ding Rong nodded indifferently. He cast a glance at both Jiang Chen and Huang’er, but didn’t see through their disguises.
They walked into the darkness, and Ding Rong immediately noticed a spirit herb brimming with spirit energy between the gaps in front of them.
A sky rank spirit herb! Ding Rong trembled and stared closely at the sky rank spirit herb. He could hardly suppress the hint of greed that flashed across his eyes.
“Senior brother Ding, is that a sky rank spirit herb?” Zhang Ole Third asked shamelessly.
Ding Rong muttered, “Yes, it has to be. Junior brother Hua, none of you shall reveal this to anyone. I will treat you well if this matter concludes positively.” He had already fished out a short sword and was walking towards the sky rank spirit herb.
Suddenly, he sensed something and abruptly paused. At that precise moment, the sky rank spirit herb shook and disappeared before his eyes, and an entirely different scene appeared instead.
A gnarled forest suddenly appeared around him, as countless vines rushed towards Ding Rong. He was furious as the vague suspicion that he was being tricked solidified into fact.
As towering rage engulfed his mind, three rays of golden lights appeared in the air as three sky sage realm golden armored warriors dropped to the ground. They surrounded Ding Rong in a triangular formation and attacked him madly. This was three sky sage realm golden armored soldiers pitted against one fifth level sage realm genius. It was an apt scene of lions using their full strength to fight a rabbit. While Ding Rong had amazing skill and a lot of trump cards, he didn’t even get the chance to unleash any of them. The three golden armored soldiers shattered his body to pieces before before he could even let his soul escape.
The scene caused Zhang Ole Third’s jaw to drop to the ground. Everything was cleaned up in a trice, and the trio returned underground once more. Zhang Ole Third was still trembling like a leaf. He was stunned beyond reason by what he’d just witnessed. Ding Rong had always occupied a lofty position in his heart. But that lofty person had just been manhandled like a doll, killed in a single blow. The psychological impact of this was far too terrifying for Zhang Ole Third to process.
“You did well this time, Zhang Ole Third. Here are three months worth of antidote. I will scatter the rest of them around the borders of Great Scarlet Mid Region three months later. Whether you can find them all will depend on your fortune. Remember, you must stay underground for three months. If your exposure causes my plan’s failure or even worse, your antidote will be destroyed as well.”
“Y-yes… I’ll be careful…” Zhang Ole Third nodded again and again.
Jiang Chen nodded indifferently before turning to Huang’er, “The next step will be to disguise myself as Ding Rong.”
Great shock appeared in Zhang Ole Third’s eyes. He suddenly thought of something and exclaimed, “Sir Jiang… you… you can’t be thinking of entering the Regal Pill Palace’s headquarters and targeting Gong Qi, are you?”
Zhang Ole Third was a smart guy. When he recalled Jiang Chen’s multiple questions about Gong Qi, the answer abruptly came to him like a thunderclap.
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