Jian Chen smiled and cut in onto Shan Xiong before he could speak any longer. “I believe the three of you know that to become a major power on the Tian Yuan Continent requires both power and a strong patron. Your Carnage Mercenaries are indeed strong enough in the Cloud Capital to call yourselves a hegemon, but you are struggling to maintain that position. There are plenty of families or sects that are comparable to yours in this city, and the six families here are most especially strong in comparison. Even if they’re divided into six powers, they may as well hold hands as a symbol of how close they are. Should the time come for them to stand together against a common enemy, there won’t be a single faction within the city strong enough to fight them.”
Zhan Tian and Shan Xiong had said nothing at Jian Chen’s words and had a pensive look on their faces. Even Shan Xiong had found reason in Jian Chen’s words and grew somewhat subdued, but he still found it hard to suppress the anger on his face.
“Brother Jian Chen, I will have to admit that there is logic in what you say. Our Carnage Mercenaries may seem glorious to the city as one of the major powers here, but in our minds, we can only fear the six clans. Truly, no one would be able to go against their combined might if they join together. However, there are more to this city than the six clans; there are plenty of other considerable forces. If the six clans do indeed ally themselves against us, then not a single one of those factions will sit idly and await death to come for them, they too, will unite the others to fight.” Zhan Tian spoke calmly with an equally calm face. It was as if Jian Chen’s suggestion for the Carnage Mercenaries to submit to Jian Chen had not bothered him.
With his keen eyes and sharp mind, Zhan Tian had already figured that Jian Chen was not some ordinary person. Although he couldn’t estimate his strength, he was able to see Ming Dong and Dugu Feng’s strength as Earth Saint Masters very clearly due to the aura that was radiating off their bodies. The fact that these two Earth Saint Masters were subordinates to Jian Chen and sat behind him without a word had only added to Jian Chen’s status, and so Zhan Tian found it prudent to treat him carefully.
“Sire Zhan Tian, there is logic to your words as well. Yet, that would only help maintain the Carnage Mercenaries’ status within the Cloud Capital. Do you and your Carnage Mercenaries plan to stay within this piddling city forever, do you not yearn to expand into the outer world?” Jian Chen smiled.
“Hah, kid, your ambitions are grand, I give you that. Who hasn’t wished to expand their might into the world? However, a feat like that is easier said than done. Without a tremendous amount of power, survival by itself will be hard.Do you think your Flame Mercenaries has that ability?” Shan Xiong sneered.
Confidently, Jian Chen nodded his head, “Correct, our Flame Mercenaries does have that ability.”
“You braggart!” Shan Xiong rebuked with a taunting expression.
Zhan Tian’s heart had skipped a beat. Observing Jian Chen thoughtfully for a moment, he finally said, “This world is a world where power is equal to respect. A veritable showcase of the strong and where the weak are food for the strong. That is a rule that is ingrained deep within my body.” His voice left off after that sentence so that he could stare down Jian Chen with a serious expression, “Brother Jian Chen, having my Carnage Mercenaries enter your Flame Mercenaries is not an easy task. Would it be possible for you to tell me what power your Flame Mercenaries has, or what patron it is that supports you? Or at the very least, a direction you wish to expand in in the future.”
A victorious smile appeared on Jian Chen’s face at those words; he knew that Zhan Tian was more or less won over. All he needed was proof of power, and the Carnage Mercenaries would swear their allegiances. A development like this had let Jian Chen’s worries decrease by one.
A nervous expression appeared on Shan Xiong’s face as he realized Zhan Tian’s intentions, “Captain….”
But then Zhan Tian put a stop to Shan Xiong’s next words, “Shan Xiong, there’s no need to talk, I alone will make this decision.”
Biting his lips in unease, Shan Xiong finally pursed his lips together and sat there without a word.
“Sire Zhan Tian, the scale of our Flame Mercenaries will not be in the scope of your Carnage Mercenaries in numbers I fear. We have no strong power supporting us, as my Flame Mercenaries rely only on each other. But with time, the Flame Mercenaries will become the strongest in the Blue Wind Kingdom, and even the strongest power in this part of the continent.” Jian Chen spoke.
Furrowing his eyebrows, Zhan Tian questioned, “In the surrounding kingdoms to this area, it is perhaps the Changyang clan in the Gesun Kingdom that could claim the right to being the strongest around. There are none that would dare provoke them, but brother Jian Chen, do you mean to tell me that your flame Mercenaries can overcome the Changyang clan? Let us forego that topic for now and focus on the Blue Wind Kingdom. As of right now, there are still several Heaven Saint Masters that sit on top of the kingdom. Does your Flame Mercenaries have the power to deal with them? I don’t believe that the Heaven Saint Masters of this kingdom will allow you to expand your influence by the sidelines.”
Jian Chen gave a smile of contempt, “Worry not. If the strongest of the Blue Wind Kingdom really does try to trouble my Flame Mercenaries, then even if they send the Heaven Saint Masters, my Flame Mercenaries will see that none of them will return alive. The Changyang clan in the Gesun Kingdom is something you will never need to worry about, for it is an impossibility for a conflict to ever arise between them and I.”
A flash of light appeared on Zhan Tian’s eyes, “Did you originate from the Gesun Kingdom? Or is there some sort of connection between you and the Changyang clan?” At those words, Zhan Tian suddenly realized something and swung his head to look at the silent Ming Dong to to the side with shock. “Ming Dong? Is that your name? Are you the very same Ming Dong from the Gesun Kingdom that used a Heaven Tier Battle Skill to wound a Heaven Saint Master?”
A toothy smile appeared on Ming Dong’s face as he responded, “Correct, that person is me. I didn’t imagine that even captain Zhan Tian would know of my little name. It is a humbling experience.”
Zhan Tian, Mu Chi, and Shan Xiong had sucked in a deep breath when they heard Ming Dong confirm his identity. Giving each other a thunderstruck look, they turned back to Ming Dong with a whole new opinion of him.
They all knew that this youth right in front of them wasn’t even thirty years old but he was already a Sixth Cycle Earth Saint Master. Becoming a Heaven Saint Master was merely just another step away, and this Ming Dong was also in possession of a Heaven Tier Battle Skill, an item that any person would salivate at the mouth for. Furthermore, he had used this battle skill at one of the strongholds of the Gesun Kingdom to heavily injure a Heaven Saint Master. If not for his compatriot, then the Heaven Saint Master would have been known as the very first one to die at the hands of an Earth Saint Master.
“I had no idea that you would be the very same Ming Dong that injured a Heaven Saint Master. How blind I was, truly. And captain Jian Chen, that isn’t your true name either I would imagine. If these old eyes of mine can guess correctly, then captain Jian Chen, you are the Imperial Protector of the Gesun Kingdom and the fourth master of the Changyang clan, Changyang Xiangtian.” This time, the speaker had been Mu Chi who stared at Jian chen with shock.
Jian Chen had not denied it and smiled in return, “You are an elder of tremendous intellect. I can only admire your keen eyes on being able to see me through.”
Smiling, Mu Chi spoke, “What person doesn’t know about the fourth master of the Changyang clan, and the power he wields? Rumors of how the Ming Dong that injured a Heaven Saint Master being close friends with the fourth master is already widespread even here. It is also known that Ming Dong frequents the Changyang Manor. Then Ming Dong suddenly joined the Flame Mercenaries and is willing to take a spot as a vice-captain rather than the captain spot. The captain is similarly a youth in his twenties, similar to the fourth master. With these few details, it is simple to conclude the identity of this captain. If I couldn’t do something like this, then I would be a very ignorant man.”
With a bright smile, Jian Chen spoke, “Then, would you be willing to join my Flame Mercenaries?”
The three men gave another look at one another with hesitation before Zhan Tian finally spoke, “Fourth master, please allow this one to impose a question.”
“Speak it then!” Jian Chen replied.
“If I may, when the fourth master established the Flame Mercenaries, who is it that we swear fealty to? The fourth master, or the Changyang clan?” Zhan Tian asked seriously.
“The Flame Mercenaries isn’t as complicated as you think it is. It is completely managed by me with there being no connection between the Changyang clan and the Flame Mercenaries. You can take the Flame Mercenaries to be a completely independent faction without any allegiances.”
Zhan Tian hesitated once more as he spoke, “Fourth master, my Carnage Mercenaries would be willing to join with your Flame Mercenaries as part of a whole, but you must guarantee that my Carnage Mercenaries will be managed by me.”
“I can agree to that. The Carnage Mercenaries will remain under you three as you see fit. I won’t interfere with any of your internal affairs, but I hope that you will make sure to act in the best interest of the entire Flame Mercenaries and listen when I call upon you.” Jian Chen didn’t hesitate to agree to Zhan Tian’s request.
“Then that’s fine. If that’s all, then my Carnage Mercenaries will join with your Flame Mercenaries. I trust that this will be the most sensible choice for us to make.” Zhan Tian laughed carefreely. Although he knew that he would be swearing fealty to the Flame Mercenaries, he didn’t seem to mind it all too much.
Jian Chen had felt rather happy at this rather easy process of subjugation of the Flame Mercenaries as well. “Worry not, in a short amount of time, the Flame Mercenaries will shake the entire continent with its name.”
After the major discussions had finally reached an end, Jian Chen did not stay much longer within the courtyards. After agreeing to meet tomorrow morning at the inn to discuss some more, Jian Chen and the others left the Carnage Mercenaries.
When Jian Chen and them left, Shan Xiong spoke to Zhan Tian with an unwilling expression, “Captain, are we really going to submit to the Carnage Mercenaries so easily?”
Letting out a sigh, Mu Chi responded with dim eyes, “Shan Xiong, forget your past status for now. At the current moment, joining the Flame Mercenaries gives us not only a chance, but a chance to return.”
“Mu Chi is correct. Shan Xiong, you must look at the long-term benefits. Joining the Flame Mercenaries is an opportunity that rarely comes by. It is by no means a demeaning trait to our statuses. Despite the Flame Mercenaries not being too large, as long as Changyang Xiangtian is there, then it will definitely become a major power within the area.” Zhan Tian spoke. “Changyang Xiangtian was able to become a Heaven Saint Masters in his twenties. That alone speaks wonders of his perverse talent at cultivation. I am fully convinced that Changyang Xiangtian will ascend into the higher realms any given day now, and with such a person leading the Flame Mercenaries, it would be impossible for the mercenaries to not flourish. This’ll make our own development that much easier, it isn’t easy to become a Heaven Saint Master after all.”