Chapter 798: The Loyal Captain Zhang
A young clan lord? Jiang Chen sneered. This one-eyed burly fellow was a ruthless killer from head to toe. He'd slaughtered Captain Zhang's subordinates without even blinking, the way one would kill chickens. Jiang Chen naturally wouldn't spare a cruel and brutal man like this just because of a few words of deterrence.
“It's best if he doesn't come. If he dares come, then I can also kill him just like how I’ll kill you today,” Jiang Chen said while flashing the Featherflight Mirror. This one-eyed fellow wanted to dodge, but the Featherflight Mirror's speed was far beyond his ability to avoid. The continuous flashes didn't leave him anywhere to hide, and soon, the Mirror's glare landed on him. A lotus opened wide and, with a squish, directly swallowed him whole.
The evolution of the Bewitching Lotus of Fire and Ice required constantly devouring food, and powerful cultivators like him were the best type of nutrients. Every time the Lotus swallowed a cultivator, it would absorb the life essence born from their cultivation, furthering its own evolution. The Bewitching Lotus of Fire and Ice was a sky rank species to begin with. Its shape the first time Jiang Chen had obtained it was much inferior to now. Back in the spirit realm, the Lotus had been Jiang Chen's trump card. Now that he'd stepped into the sage realm, the Lotus was still an effective killing tool.
After dispatching the one-eyed man, Jiang Chen tidied up the scene and removed all traces of fighting, not leaving a single clue behind. Only after that did Jiang Chen transmit with his consciousness, “Captain Zhang, you can come out now.”
Captain Zhang highly respected Jiang Chen. As such, he hadn't dared stay and observe the scene of the fight after Jiang Chen had ordered him to leave, but he'd stayed on alert. It didn’t take long for him to stride to Jiang Chen’s location.
“Hm? Where are they?” Captain Zhang was bewildered when he saw the scene restored to its former state, not a trace of fighting to be found.
“I killed them all, and I also tidied up the surroundings. I've stored your brothers' remains inside this storage ring. Take it back and give them a proper burial. I'm the one who dragged all of you in this matter. I'll make sure to give you due compensation later.” Jiang Chen wasn't one to be unreasonable, and even less one to shirk his responsibilities. He knew full well that he shouldered a large part of the blame in this matter.
From the very beginning, the one-eyed man and his band hadn't been after some spirit beast. They'd been after Huang'er. While the two of them traveled here, they must have been inadvertently spotted from afar. People had come and gone along the way, Jiang Chen hadn't paid much attention to them. Who would have imagined that Huang'er's outstanding temperament would attract this group of evil dogs?
Captain Zhang was feeling very ashamed. “It's due to our insufficient skills that we couldn't accomplish the mission entrusted to us. How would I dare ask compensation from the honored pill king?”
Jiang Cheng said, “Let's talk about it later. First, take your people and retreat, as to avoid any further mishaps.”
“Mishaps?” Captain Zhang blinked.
“Those people were rabid dogs in the service of the Murong Clan. Their master isn't far away and he'll be here very soon. You should hurry up and leave, or you'll be implicated too.”
However, Captain Zhang was a stubborn man. He raised his eyebrows. “How could we do that? Wouldn't we be shirking our duties again if we were to leave now? How would we be worthy of the Coiling Dragon Clan's care then?”
Jiang Chen was caught between laughter and tears. “This matter doesn't involve the Coiling Dragon Clan, it's merely a private feud of mine. I wouldn't rest easy if I were to drag all of you into it.” His face turned stern when he saw Captain Zhang still of a mind to argue. “Captain Zhang, if you care about the brothers under your command, then take them and leave right this second. This matter is already beyond the scope of your duties. If the clan lord raises the issue, I'll put a word in for you.”
Captain Zhang let out a helpless sigh when he saw Jiang's Chen's resolve. He glanced at Jiang Chen and clenched his teeth. “Brothers, we're leaving!”
Jiang Chen sighed in relief when he saw Captain Zhang lead his men away. Jiang Chen wasn’t afraid of this young clan lord of some Murong Clan or another. He'd met Wang Teng, the young lord of the Majestic Clan, already. Why would he be afraid of this particular young lord?
Jiang Chen might not know how the Murong Clan ranked among the twenty eight great clans, but the thing he could be certain of was that it paled in comparison to the Majestic Clan. The Majestic Clan was strong enough to contend with the Coiling Dragon Clan for the position of number one, so its status was certainly a cut above the other great clans. Even if this Murong Clan had some foundations, it still couldn't possibly be as strong as the Majestic Clan. Since he'd already offended the Majestic Clan, why would he fear a Murong Clan?
As they said, familiarity breeds contempt. Jiang Chen wasn't one to stir up waves, but when trouble befell him, he didn't have any reason to be afraid. In the end, he wasn’t the one who'd provoked them. They were the one who'd provoked him, and for no rhyme or reason to boot.
“Huang'er, these crude pigs spoke groundless nonsense and wronged you.” Though he'd destroyed the one-eyed man and his band, the anger in his chest still hadn't entirely abated.
As for Huang'er, she responded with a faint smile, “A trifle like this isn't much of a wronging. Rather, Huang'er is the one who’s dragged Brother Chen down.”
With that, she let out a soft sigh. Although she didn't agree with what they’d said about whatever femme fatale, she was still aware that her looks attracted some unwanted troubles sometimes. That was also a reason why she’d previously concealed her appearance. Neither fearful nor guilty, she just wasn't willing to cause unwarranted trouble when traveling.
In fact, she'd already somewhat hidden her true features in this appearance. Since she and Jiang Chen had confessed their feelings for each other, she naturally wasn't willing to wear her previous ugly facade. Nevertheless, even with that, she'd attract unwanted trouble even. This made Huang'er slightly apologetic.
However, Jiang Chen's smile was free and easy. “Huang'er, your innate beauty is ingrained in you. You can't hide your charms even when you try to. How laughable, I even felt pity for you back then.”
“Pity?” Huang'er giggled. “Did you pity Huang'er for being an ugly duck?”
Jiang Chen let out a gentle chuckle. This scene, these feelings; they made him feel warm and happy like never before. He'd never met a woman like this in his previous life, one who could give rise to such emotions, such urges— At that very moment, Jiang Chen very much desired to possess this woman in front of him, to possess her for a lifetime, and never leave her even after they grew old and their hair white.
“I wonder how Brother Long's breakthrough is going?” Jiang Chen suddenly realized with a start that if the Murong Clan's young clan lord came to this place, it would probably be difficult to avoid disturbing Long Xiaoxuan's cultivation.
Hence, Jiang Chen actually said, “Huang'er, it seems there's no choice but to wrong you again. Please wear your mask for a moment.”
With a soft giggle, the obedient Huang swept her sleeves over her face, a mask settling gently on it. Even Jiang Chen had to gasp in admiration at her peculiar sleight of hand.
“Let's get out of here first.” In Jiang Chen's estimation, if this one-eyed fellow had really sent news back to the young clan lord, the latter would find his way to them in a short time. From the one-eyed man's tone, this young clan lord was bound to be a despicable playboy. The reason Jiang Chen told Huang'er to wear a mask wasn't out of fear of the young clan lord, but because he knew they would certainly disturb Long Xiaoxuan's cultivation if they started a fight here.
For that reason, even if they had to fight, they couldn't fight here and now. They had to delay things for as long as they could. Long Xiaoxuan's breakthrough would definitely not happen immediately. Maybe three to five days, or perhaps ten days to half a month. Jiang Chen wouldn't allow anyone to cause a disturbance during this time.
Long Xiaoxuan had put his trust in him and tied his fate to Jiang Chen as an ally. Jiang Chen was a man of his word. Since they were allies, he had to scrupulously abide by his duties at a time like this. Not to mention that Long Xiaoxuan had become something of a hired muscle during their travels, sharing difficulties and tribulations together. This was something Jiang Chen firmly kept in mind. He couldn't leave Long Xiaoxuan, while the dragon also needed him.
Just as Jiang Chen was about to leave, a figure quickly strode in from a mountain path on the side. Jiang Chen looked over and saw Captain Zhang coming back. “Captain Zhang, didn't I tell you to leave?” Jiang Chen frowned. He didn't actually dislike this man. In fact, he rather admired the captain. The captain might be a little blindly loyal, but he was certainly a man who took his duties to heart.
Captain Zhang stayed silent a long time before finally saying, “I'm going to stay here and protect Pill King Zhen.”
“Captain Zhang, do you know the consequences of intruding on this matter?” Jiang Chen couldn't become angry when he saw this fellow's serious eyes. He meant well, after all.
“I'm aware,” Captain Zhang said with a clear, concise nod. “Even so, I must stay here. I don't want to send my brothers to death, but that doesn't mean this ol' Zhang is afraid of dying. If not for the Coiling Dragon Clan promoting me, I never would’ve gotten so far in this life. A cultivator is always ready to die for one who puts his trust in him! I've never married throughout my life nor any descendants precisely because I'd planned on selling my life to the Coiling Dragon Clan! Those people insulted the clan, so they're my enemies. When their comrades come here, they'll certainly be the clan’s enemies as well. Even if I'm going to die, I will die on this piece of land. This is my domain!” Old Zhang had clearly been holding these words for a long time. The eloquent speech had not a shred of hesitation, only his strong resolve.
Jiang Chen and Huang'er exchanged a glance. Neither of them had foreseen that this Captain Zhang would be so devoted that he was ready to die. Since he'd said so much already, it seemed inappropriate to chase him away.
Jiang Chen immediately nodded. “Ol' Zhang, the Coiling Dragon Clan won't fall with people with you at its core. Believe me, the clan will stay the number one clan. No other clan in the Capital will overtake its position.”
Captain Zhang's eyes shone. “Pill King Zhen, do you think so as well?”
Looking at this hot-blooded fellow, Jiang Chen nodded in all seriousness. “I don't simply think so. I'm stating a fact!” With such loyal and devoted subjects, the Coiling Dragon Clan was worthy being of the number one clan. Such foundations, such faith and loyalty; this was a core that only the number one clan had. In contrast, the Majestic Clan lagged far behind. Jiang Chen only saw fawning and flattery from the Majestic Clan's underlings, and only fairweather friends. He'd never seen such unyielding loyalty!
Captain Zhang was delighted when he saw Jiang Chen's certainty. He was about to ask something, but Jiang Chen suddenly cut him short with a wave of the hand. “Someone is coming. Captain Zhang, take cover first.”
Captain Zhang quietly swore, “Must be those guys' companions. Don't worry, Pill King Zhen, I’ve already contacted the clan. I'm certain reinforcements will be here very soon as well.”
“You already notified them?” Jiang Chen was a little taken aback.
“Yeah. Those guys seemed like trouble to me when they came, so I'd already made a report to my superiors. Considering the amount of time that’s gone by, they should be here soon.” Captain Zhang gave a firm, decisive nod.