The Imperial Advisors had made the preparations for Jian Chen’s group to travel to the Heavenly Kingdom via the Space Gate some time ago. Thus, they were able to arrive there extremely fast.
As soon as they stepped through the gate, Jian Chen’s eyes swept the area only to realize that the palace was still the same as it always was. The only difference was the fact that there was a slightly cold and tense feeling throughout the place. All over the area, there were war banners flying high with mimicking the fire-red symbol a flame.
Jian Chen was no stranger to these banners since they marked the Flame Mercenaries.
Suddenly, a series of footsteps quickly came echoing into the courtyard as several hundred men came flying toward Jian Chen, surrounding him and his group. As they moved to encircle them, the men glared viciously at Jian Chen.
“Who are you? State your names at once!” The leader of the group commanded.
“Jian Chen!” Jian Chen replied.
Straight away, the man’s face froze. He was no stranger to this name and was in fact quite familiar with it. That was the name of the captain after all.
The leading captain concentrated on Jian Chen some more before finally recognizing him. A startled look appeared on his face before he bowed his head down to his waist in salute, “Ah so it was the captain! Your subordinate would have no eyes if I was unable to recognize the captain, please forgive this one!”
The people around the captain recognized Jian Chen by this point as well. An immediate change overcame each and every single one of them, causing them to bow. “We pay our respects to the captain!” Several hundred voices called out at once, breaking the monotonous silence in the palace. Hence, the entire palace now knew that Jian Chen was here, causing everyone to file toward his position.
A faint azure glow made itself known as a young figure in white flew toward Jian Chen. When he came to a stop in front of him and saw Jian Chen’s face, the figure smiled widely, “Jian Chen! You’re finally back! Any longer and I would’ve gone out to look for you.” This youth was Ming Dong.
“Jian Chen, you’re back!”
“Brother, you’ve come back!”
At the voice of Ming Dong, the voices of two women rang out. It was You Yue, Huang Luan, and Bi Lian that came rushing toward Jian Chen with joyous expressions.
All of the higher-ranking members of the Flame Mercenaries gathered in the interior of the palace, so in no time at all, the empty space was quickly filled with people.
Jian Chen gave several words of greeting to everyone before he was guided into the grand halls. This specific hall was the hall where the nobles of the old Heavenly Eagle Kingdom had conducted business relating to the kingdom, but since the Flame Mercenaries had taken up residence, it had been repurposed and renamed to the Flames Hall.
Jian Chen was seated on top of the golden throne in the middle of the hall with Nubis, Jiede Tai, Wang Yufeng, and Little Fatty standing by his side without a word to say. Little Fatty was looking around filled with great curiosity. He had only just started to travel the continent, so every single thing he saw in this strange world was a new wonder to marvel.
Beneath Jian Chen and them were the Heaven Saint Masters, Ming Dong, and the others of the Flame Mercenaries standing together.
Jian Chen gave a cursory look around as if preparing to say something. He then started off with an introduction of Jiede Tai and the others, but he only gave a brief introduction of their backgrounds. He did not mention how strong they were.
After the introductions were finished, Jian Chen wasted no more words. He immediately got to the crux of the problem. Taking out the crushed jade piece he had in his Space Ring, he asked, “What was so serious for you to call me back using the twin jade stones?”
“What else but about the tungsten alloy? Jian Chen. Half a month ago, news of the vein was leaked to the world. The fact that the Flame Mercenaries are harboring a vein of tungsten alloy is making its way around so fast that everyone knows about it.” You Yue replied.
Jian Chen smiled, “Paper can’t resist being burned by fire. News that the tungsten alloy would be leaked was within my expectations, but I didn’t think it’d be revealed so quickly. What plans have the ones that know about the tungsten alloy made so far?”
“Ever since we garrisoned the Flame Mercenaries here, the strength of the seven factions grew dramatically especially with the Qinhuang Kingdom as support, but the surrounding kingdoms have grown jealous. While they haven’t made any open plans just yet, there is still one problem. The Sect of Dragon and Tiger.” Bi Lian explained. She and You Yue were very capable of managing the Flame Mercenaries, so Jian Chen had left the group in their care while he was away.
While there were plenty of strong individuals in the Flame Mercenaries where even Heaven Saint Masters were abundant, strength was not a decisive factor in regards to management. What was important was not talent in cultivation, but a sharp mind and intelligent soul.
At the mention of the Sect of Dragon and Tiger, a furious glare entered Jian Chen’s eye. He could still remember the Saint Ruler of that sect had done to him, and he would never forget it either.
“Does the Sect of Dragon and Tiger hope to seize the tungsten alloy?” Jian Chen asked with an increasingly colder glare. If it were before, the Sect of Dragon and Tiger would’ve brought a great deal of pressure onto him. However, right now, the Saint Ruler posed no problem at all to him.
You Yue nodded. “Correct. They want their portion of the soup, but their appetites are far too large. They’ve demanded two-thirds of the deposit; naturally, we refused. Maybe it’s because they fear the Qinhuang Kingdom, but they didn’t do anything after our refusal. They instead gave us seven days to think it over.”
“Brother, the Sect of Dragon and Tiger want to see just how the Qinhuang Kingdom will treat this affair. We’ve already made a detailed report on the strength of the Sect of Dragon and Tiger compared to our Flame Mercenaries. We’ve concluded that our Flame Mercenaries don’t have the power to refuse them. I’m afraid that if the Qinhuang Kingdom doesn’t partake in this, then the Sect of Dragon and Tiger will simply take the deposit straight from our hands.” Bi Lian spoke.
“Bi Lian is right, Jian Chen. Our only guarantee to the deposit is if the Qinhuang Kingdom helps us. Our only connection to them is through you, and with how there’s no time to lose, we had no other choice but to call you back using the twin jade pieces.” You Yue gave her input with a serious voice. This matter with the Sect of Dragon and Tiger had given her a tremendous headache.
“How many days has it been since they gave us seven days?” Jian Chen asked.
“It’s been six days already, tomorrow is the very last day!” Ming Dong grimly answered.
A cold sneer appeared on Jian Chen’s face at that response, “If that’s the case, then we’ll just wait for the Sect of Dragon and Tiger to come. There’s no need for everyone to worry, I’ll handle the matter myself.”
Everyone had let out a sigh of relief when Jian Chen replied. They did not doubt in his words at all. Even those not of his inner circle knew of his other identity. He was the Imperial Protector of the Qinhuang Kingdom, one of the Eight Great Empires. Just how could a person like that give his word so easily without the strength to back it up?
With the problem regarding the Sect of Dragon and Tiger resolved, everyone split up at the suggestion of Jian Chen. Soon enough, the grand halls of the palace became eerily empty with only a scant few people remaining.
Standing up from his throne, Jian Chen looked to Ming Dong and then the rest. In the months they had been apart, You Yue and Bi Lian both were the most fatigued-looking of the group. The past several days of managing the mercenaries must have taken a considerable amount of energy from them.
To apologize, Jian Chen gave a small smile, “You Yue, Lian’er, the past few days must have been hard on you. Perhaps I shouldn’t have thrown such a burdensome task to you two. I can tell that you two are far more exhausted than when I last saw you two.”
Bi Lian gave a sweet smile in response to him, “Brother, don’t worry about me. The Flame Mercenaries is just at the developing stage since it only recently was formed, so there’s lots to do. It should become easier with time.”
“I’ll be sure to find some people who are adept in management and are trustworthy. With such people around to help, that’ll alleviate some of your pressure.” Jian Chen proposed.
“Brother, I’ve already considered finding someone. There’s quite a number of people I think would be good at managing others. Zhan Tian in particular.” Bi Lian replied.
“Zhan Tian!” Jian Chen was alarmed. He remembered this man since he was the captain of the Carnage Mercenaries.
“Zhan Tian is a dependable person, let’s have him undertake this responsibility then.” Jian Chen spoke after some time to think.
Afterward, Jian Chen took out a small fist-sized fruit from his Space Ring and handed it to Bi Lian with a smile. “Lian’er, this is a Geofruit, a ten-thousand-year-old heavenly resource. I bought this in an auction house in Mercenary City to help change your cultivation. Once you eat this fruit, your body will become extremely suitable for cultivation. In the future, you’ll find almost no obstacles in your path.”
“Brother, you must have spent so much money for this.” Bi Lian was deeply moved. Her eyes stared at the Geofruit in front of her with the slight hint of tears starting to form.
Unable to stop himself from smiling, Jian Chen replied, “Money is of no concern. As long as it’ll benefit Lian’er, then all the money spent is worth it.”
From the side, Nubis stared at the Geofruit in Jian Chen’s hand, “Using a ten-thousand-year-old heavenly resource to change the body of an ordinary person. What a spendthrift you are. This is a treasure even Saint Rulers use to prolong their lives. Jian Chen, let’s make another deal. If you give this Geofruit to me, I’ll follow you around for another three years.”
In the human world, the Geofruit was a treasure, but it wasn’t extinct. Every year in Mercenary City another heavenly resource of the same level would appear, but as a magical beast, Nubis couldn’t simply walk into Mercenary City. Therefore, obtaining a ten-thousand-year-old heavenly resource became a whole lot harder. It was practically impossible to gain one in the human world as a magical beast.
The Cross Mountains had plenty of ten-thousand-year-old heavenly resources, but those were carefully seized by the Gilligan clan. Hence, Nubis himself was unable to take any. While he was a Class 7 Magical Beast, obtaining a ten-thousand-year-old heavenly resource wasn’t easy for him.
Jian Chen shook his head without even a second consideration, “This Geofruit is for Lian’er. If you still need one, I’ll buy one in Mercenary City when the time comes.”
“If that is what you say let it be then” Nubis was placated. A ten-thousand-year-old heavenly resource had the ability to prolong the life of the eater, and magical beasts were no exception to that.
“Ten-thousand-year-old heavenly resources aren’t something that can be eaten by anyone without consequence. Jian Chen, if you want to change your cousin’s body composition, you may want to invite an alchemist. An alchemist can craft medicines that can make the rich spiritual might of the heavenly resource docile so that your cousin may be able to eat it.” Jiede Tai suddenly spoke.
“Have the best alchemist come to me at once!” Jian Chen commanded without delay.