Why had Niu Wuhua come out so hastily to welcome Jiang Chen? He'd seen the Silver Dragon Medallion and knew that it was second to only Emperor Coiling Dragon's Golden Dragon Medallion. That was why he didn't suspect Jiang Chen's identity at all. He knew that this was an important figure and backer who could change his fate.
Although Manager Qiu guessed from Jiang Chen's appearance that he was probably an extraordinary young man, he didn't believe him entirely. A bit of doubt and suspicion still lingered in his eyes. Naturally, his suspicion didn't escape Jiang Chen's attention. He smiled casually at Manager Qiu.
"Manager Qiu, you seem to be suffering from some hidden illness. Did you experience an inner energy reversal three to five years ago? And did you almost experience a cultivation deviation?"
Manager Qiu's entire body shook when he heard this. An astonished light filled his eyes. Only a few people close to him knew about this matter, much less an outsider. But this young master Ji San had figured out this many of his symptoms with just a few glances. Just… just how great were his observation skills?
"It wasn't really a big issue, but unfortunately you didn't resolve it in time. That's why it became a substantial problem after a few years. For the last few months, you've realized that your cultivation efforts have been useless, haven't you?"
Niu Wuhua couldn't help but cast Manager Qiu a slightly surprised glance. The manager's face was pale white, like he had just seen a ghost. Jiang Chen smiled, knowing that he had struck the most sensitive spot in the manager's heart. He immediately stopped talking.
Manager Qiu trembled all over. He knew very well that his actual condition was even worse than what young master Ji San had described. As of late, the troubles he had encountered during his cultivation and business made every day feel like a living hell.
Manager Qiu's face contorted and spasmed. He couldn't stop himself from asking in a shaky voice, "Young master, can my illness still be treated?"
It was obvious that he feared for his life. Jiang Chen stared at Manager Qiu with a half-smile. "Naturally, there is a way to treat your illness. However…"
Manager Qiu collapsed on his knees before Jiang Chen could say another word. "Please be merciful and show me the light, young master."
The Prancing Pony had no relations to the Coiling Dragon Clan. Therefore, Manager Qiu didn't count as a subordinate of the Coiling Dragon Clan. On the other hand, Niu Wuhua was slightly related to the clan. His status was just too low that he'd almost never had an opportunity to curry favor with the clan directly. Right now, Jiang Chen's appearance in the guise of young master Ji San invigorated him greatly. He thought that his savior had arrived. That was why Niu Wuhua had acted as humbly as possible. He knew exactly what kind of situation he was in.
He couldn't help but give Manager Qiu some guidance when he noticed that the manager was still somewhat confused. "Manager Qiu, you're a smart person. It wasn't easy for you to get to where you are now. However, if you have a better backer, I am sure that you can climb even higher, considering your abilities. The young master has pointed out your problems and shown you the light, so what else are you waiting for?"
Manager Qiu was a smart person to begin with, so he grasped the situation after Niu Wuhua's advice. He hastily knelt on the floor. "Young master, I am a foolish man. If you are willing to enlighten me, I will give my life to the Coiling Dragon Clan. You will be my savior, young master."
Niu Wuhua was also staring at Jiang Chen with hope and expectation. He held a genuine appreciation of Manager Qiu. Although they were friendly with each other, they weren't particularly close because they didn't belong to the same faction. However, if they could solidify their alliance through a connection with young master Ji San, then their chances against Grand Steward Dong Sheng would be much greater. Plus, young master Ji San would be around to help as well.
"Please, get up so we may speak properly. Your illness isn't too serious nor too minor. It depends on who your doctor is. I will write out a prescription. Take your medicine as suggested, and if you experience any lingering effects, you may visit me in Veluriyam Capital. That being said, I believe your illness can be cured completely."
Be it the nations or the cities under Veluriyam Capital's rule, they all greatly admired the rich and powerful of Veluriyam Capital. The Coiling Dragon Clan had been unapproachable even when it was just the number one clan of Veluriyam Capital, much less the great emperor faction it is now. Therefore, Manager Qiu didn't suspect Jiang Chen's words at all. Rather, he was quite filled with joy.
"Thank you, young master. I must have done much good in the past to be saved by the young master himself. From today onwards, I shall obey all of young master's commands."
Niu Wuhua smiled. "Manager Qiu, this is a favor that others cannot earn even if they wanted to. You are right to say that this is a fortunate occurrence."
Manager Qiu nodded repeatedly. Jiang Chen grabbed a brush and paper before writing out a prescription. "Take this two times a day. I guarantee that you'll be cured three months later."
Manager Qiu's illness wasn't really all that serious; it was just that he had no idea how to cure it. As the saying went, education separates the fool and the wise. Jiang Chen looked at Niu Wuhua again and said, "Shopkeeper Niu, do you still remember the details of that information?"
Niu Wuhua snapped to attention since Jiang Chen had moved onto the main topic. He thought carefully before responding, "I believe this incident should have happened six, seven, or even eight years ago. I don't quite remember the details because it has been a very long time. However, I recalled that a man had posted a bounty here because I was reviewing some old missions a few days ago. I thought that it was somewhat related to the clues the clan had asked us to investigate."
"Do you still remember what the man who posted the bounty looked like? What exactly did the bounty say?" Jiang Chen worked hard to suppress the excitement in his heart.
"He was a vigorous, middle-aged man. His cultivation wasn't very impressive, and the reward for the bounty wasn't very high either. I vaguely remember that he had a black mole at the bottom right corner of his mouth."
A black mole? Jiang Chen was moved. He remembered clearly that his father had a black mole at the bottom right corner of his mouth. This revelation made his blood boil with excitement. He was almost certain now that this person was his father, Jiang Feng.
"Do you still have the bounty he posted back then? Show me."
"Yes, I do. I've already made a copy of it. Please, have a read." Although Niu Wuhua didn't know why young master Ji San was so concerned about this bounty, he could clearly feel the deep emotions behind his inquiry. Since the reward wasn't high, the contents of the mission were very simple. The issuer wanted to know if a baby girl had been abandoned in the Myriad Domain by any Upper Eight Regions power within the past fifty years and had been brought back twenty to thirty years later.
The content of the mission was somewhat vague. Jiang Chen read through it a couple of times, and the more he looked at it, the likelier he thought that it was his father's. In this lifetime, he was twenty plus years old. If his parents had been very young when they'd given birth to him, they should be around their forties at most. Therefore, the request for information about a baby girl abandoned in the Myriad Domain fifty years ago did fit his mother's supposed age. The specification that she had been taken back to the Upper Eight Regions later also fit.
All these details proved that the mission had most likely been posted by his father, and the small bounty indicated that his father had been rather poor at the time. As a result, no one had accepted the mission. It was very likely that the reason the mission remained untouched even though seven or eight years had passed was because the reward had been too small.
Seeing that Jiang Chen was quietly pondering, Niu Wuhua and Manager Qiu dared not let out a sound.
I was in Veluriyam Capital for about three years and for another five in the Veluriyam Pagoda. The Eternal Celestial Capital and Great Scarlet Mid Region likely hadn't started hunting for me when the mission was posted, had they? If the hunt had started around that time, Jiang Chen was sure that his father wouldn't have been able to hold himself back. He wouldn't have the mind to post that bounty either. In that case, seven to eight years was actually a conservative estimate. The bounty had likely been posted almost ten years ago.
Ten years had passed since the bounty had been posted, and Jiang Chen dared not make any further inferences. Although his father had some money with him, he'd probably ran out on the way from Skylaurel Kingdom to the Upper Eight Regions. Without money, his father's situation could only be worse in a place like the Upper Eight Regions. Jiang Chen's heart burned with anxiety at the thought of this.
"Shopkeeper Niu, were there any new clues regarding this mission?" Jiang Chen suddenly looked at Niu Wuhua and asked in a complicated tone.
Niu Wuhua shook his head. "The person who posted it never showed up afterwards. That being said, I believe that I've heard a similar story somewhere."
"Hmm?" Jiang Chen raised his eyebrow. "You mean the story of an Upper Eight Regions baby being abandoned in the Myriad Domain?"
Niu Wuhua seemed worried that he might say the wrong thing. He only nodded after thinking for a moment. "It's just gossip that I picked up somewhere. I can't say for sure whether it's actually true."
"Tell me." Jiang Chen shot him an encouraging look.
"Um. I accidentally came upon this during an outing. I was executing a mission and had to pass through the Tilted Moon Region. It was there that I heard that a holy maiden of the Moon God Sect, a first-rank sect in the Tilted Moon Region, had once gone missing."
"Moon God Sect? Tilted Moon Region?" Jiang Chen's eyebrows moved. "Is this reliable?"
"I don't know if it's reliable. I heard the rumor in a pub. The Moon God Sect seemed to have rediscovered their holy maiden, but the holy maiden felt no sense of belonging in the Moon God Sect. Sadly, this holy maiden was tied to the Moon God Sect's fortunes, so opinions regarding the holy maiden were incredibly divided. Some people hated her deeply because they thought that a holy maiden who had lost her purity while astray in a lower region should be punished by death from a thousand cuts. On the other hand, some people thought she was the key to maintaining the Moon God Sect's fortunes, and that killing her would be the equivalent of slaughtering their sect's fortunes..." Niu Wuhua' words caused Jiang Chen's insides to churn with emotion.