“Liu Zhen, come here.” Jiang Chen signalled Liu Zhen over with a solemn tone. “What exactly is your relationship with that companion of yours?”
Liu Zhen stuttered. “He’s a martial dao friend that I met by chance. We got along well, so we eventually became sworn brothers after going through life and death together.”
“Does a person you met by chance warrant such loyalty from you?” Jiang Chen was a little skeptical.
Liu Zhen was visibly agitated. “Sir Shao, I’m not a capable man, nor do I speak the code of brotherhood and loyalty. But my companion and I, while we may not be brothers of the same blood, we’ve been through thick and thin together. I have very few friends, of which only a few I call brother. This is the least I should be able to do for someone I’ve managed to meet whom I get along so well with.”
Even the weak had their convictions and noble sentiments. Of this, Jiang Chen had never doubted. He determined that Liu Zhen wasn’t lying after seeing the conviction on the man’s face.
The strong weren’t necessarily good, and the weak weren’t necessarily despicable. Liu Zhen wasn’t outstanding in any way, nor was he an exceedingly virtuous and upstanding person. However, even a normal person would have things they cared about and wanted to protect, like their kin and friends.
Jiang Chen sucked in a deep breath. “That companion of yours, what is his surname?”
Liu Zhen looked at Jiang Chen warily before he shook his head. “I know it, but I cannot tell.”
“Why not?” Jiang Chen couldn’t resist asking.
“No reason. I refuse to say a thing.” Liu Zhen was unrelenting.
Jiang Chen pondered deeply for a moment before he glancing back at Liu Zhen. “His surname is Jiang, isn’t it?”
Liu Zhen trembled like a leaf while staring at Jiang Chen suspiciously, like he was staring at a monster. His expressions and body language betrayed him.
Jiang Chen was visibly agitated. “Is his surname really Jiang?” Emperor Peerless was suddenly lost in thought. He seemed to have gotten the gist of things after listening to their conversation. However, it was merely a conjecture. He hadn’t gotten confirmation yet.
Jiang Chen frantically picked Liu Zhen up by his collar. “Tell me! Is his surname really Jiang?”
Liu Zhen closed his eyes without putting up any kind of resistance. “I don’t know.”
The emperor immediately tried to diffuse the situation. “Brother, you should calm down. Don’t be so hasty. Liu Zhen, you shouldn’t be too stubborn either. My brother has no evil intentions.”
Jiang Chen immediately let Liu Zhen go and looked at him apologetically. “Apologies, I was too hasty. Liu Zhen, I admire your loyalty. I really do. However, the companion of yours is very important to me. I really hope that you can tell me more about him. I guarantee you that I have no evil intentions, or may I be destroyed by heaven and earth!”
Liu Zhen still seemed a little hesitant as his eyes flitted to and fro with uncertainty. “Truly?”
Jiang Chen smiled wryly. “Do I seem evil or something? I’m not trying to boast, but what could an origin realm cultivator like you possibly have that I might desire? The Radiant Celestial Grass? Why would I need to con you when I can just take them off your hands?”
Liu Zhen sighed. “Sir Shao, I’m not trying to keep you on the tenterhooks on purpose. My companion has told me that because of his unique background, someone might try to capture him in order to threaten his kin. This is why I’m not willing to disclose his identity. However Sir Shao, you’ve already guessed his surname correctly, so why are you being so relentless and overbearing?”
“His surname really is Jiang? Is he called Jiang Feng?” Jiang Chen was very solemn.
“How did you know?” Liu Zhen reacted with utter disbelief. Did he reveal a hint by mistake?
Jiang Chen’s mouth began to quiver. He seemed very agitated all of a sudden. “Old Brother Mo, let’s head inside and search. I’m still rather cynical of the Heavensfall Society. Elder Ke might be playing us for a fool.”
The emperor nodded. “Let’s go.”
Liu Zhen was panicking. “Sir Shao, you still haven’t told me how you know!”
Jiang Chen shook his head without saying anything. He was visibly anxious and charged into the building.
Long Xiaoxuan glanced at Liu Zhen and sighed. “Liu Zhen, you’ve made a smart decision. Your future is set if your companion is somehow rescued.”
The latter responded with a blank expression. He didn’t understand the meaning behind Long Xiaoxuan’s words. “Sir Long, what exactly do you mean?”
“All I can tell you is that the so-called Sir Shao is actually a Jiang too.”
Liu Zhen quivered as though he’d realized something. He seemed extremely dumbfounded as he stared at Jiang Chen’s back. “He’s a Jiang too? C-can it be…?” he muttered to himself. He grew increasingly agitated. He and Jiang Feng had been through thick and thin together and became as close as brothers over the years. They’d also shared their backgrounds with each other.
Liu Zhen’s parents were no longer alive. He once had a dao partner, but it was a story filled with tragedy as well. He sympathized with Jiang Feng greatly after hearing his side of the story. They grew closer after realizing their similarities and eventually became brothers. Jiang Feng had always been a straightforward man. As their friendship deepened, he decided to reveal his background. After all, it’s been a long time since he began wandering the jianghu by himself. He probably felt the need to vent a little to a brother who he could trust with his life. This was why they practically hid nothing from each other.
When Jiang Feng left the Skylaurel Kingdom, he’d brought Jiang Ying, the leader of the Jiang Iron Guards, with him. However, they met with misfortune a mere six months after they’d left the kingdom. Jiang Ying sacrificed himself to save Jiang Feng, but from then onwards, Jiang Feng was by himself. Jiang Feng was devastated by Jiang Ying’s death, but eventually got back to his feet. The goal of finding his missing wife was what pushed him onwards.
This goal had stimulated his potential and caused him to attain multiple breakthroughs. After all, he’d taken the Five Dragons Opening Heavens Pill. His body and talents had all been significantly upgraded. His progress in martial dao accelerated. A few months after Jiang Ying’s death, he met Liu Zhen and they eventually swore brotherhood.
His cultivation level was much inferior to Liu Zhen’s when they first met, but he’d surpassed Liu Zhen within a decade. Liu Zhen was awed by Jiang Feng’s martial dao talent. As time went on, Jiang Feng eventually became the older brother, while Liu Zhen became the follower. However, Liu Zhen didn’t regret this one bit. He took instructions well and would occasionally share his input.
Over the past decade, they’d gone through thick and thin together. Tenaciously, they survived the cruel and ruthless world of cultivation. During a fateful encounter, they stumbled across an ancient ruin and discovered the Radiant Celestial Grass. Unfortunately, it was all there was in the ruins.
These poor origin realm bumpkins were suddenly so rich that their wealth could rival the wealth of nations. It was a pity that they couldn’t sell their treasures in the market. After all, they were mere origin realm cultivators. Openly selling the Radiant Celestial Grass in the market would be seeking their own death. Liu Zhen was incredibly cautious and vigilant for that reason.
Jiang Feng had wandered the Upper Eight Regions for a better part of a decade, but he simply couldn’t find any news about his wife. The only reason he visited Frostmoon City was because the city was located at the most remote part of Upper Eight Regions. He didn’t even know if he’d find his answers in this city. He’d only visited the Heavensfall Society to try his luck and not because he’d received some kind of outside information.
Every time he visited a new place, he would visit the local underground factions because they were the ones who were best at acquiring information. He heard that the Heavensfall Society was the strongest underground faction in the city, which was why he visited them. Unfortunately, this was a place of no return. He’d walked right into a trap.
Jiang Feng had been to many places in the Upper Eight Regions, but this was the first time he’d ever encountered such a thing. Money had always been king when it came to acquiring information. Even if the investigation didn’t go smoothly, as long as he paid his dues, nobody would ever give him any trouble. But that wasn’t the case in Frostmoon City.
When Liu Zhen learned that Jiang Feng had been captured by the Heavensfall Society and 500 million saint spirit stones was required as ransom, he immediately headed to Pillfire City. This was how he met Jiang Chen and Emperor Peerless. It truly seemed like the fates itself had a hand in this encounter.
The doors inside the Heavensfall Society were all sealed shut. The fight outside had frightened the inhabitants greatly. Even Elder Ke had been killed almost instantly. Some of the senior executives inside were quite strong, but none of them were quite as powerful as Elder Ke. None of the Society lords were at the headquarters either.
The people inside the headquarters were incredibly afraid of the murderous invaders. Unfortunately, the tightly shut door and the formations they set up were of little hindrance to Emperor Peerless and Jiang Chen. At the end of the day, they were still an underground faction. Compared to the great sects, their heritage paled in comparison.
Great sects were often located in restricted mountains protected by powerful formations. These formations weren’t something the common person could easily get through. Even an unparalleled cultivator would find it difficult. The Heavensfall Society were protected by formations as well, but they paled greatly in comparison. All crumbled under Emperor Peerless’ might. Those who blocked their way were promptly crushed and flattened.