“Ah Tang?” The commander rubbed his eyes, scarcely able to believe what he was seeing. It really was his wife emerging from the room! She’d been confined to bed all this time, unable to walk. But here she was, pushing through a door to set foot outside!
Though her steps were a bit weak, it was obvious that she’d recovered a great deal. She had the occasional stumble, but was able to lift her feet and walk out of her own volition.
Most importantly was that there were new traces of vigor in her face. The dullness from prior had been largely displayed, replaced by a trace of ruddy healthiness. This was the complexion of a healthy person.
The commander was beside himself with joy and ran up to welcome his wife, but quickly remembered how the killing intent within him had been the culprit of his wife’s sickness. His hasty steps petered out.
Jiang Chen smiled faintly. “No worries, Commander Young. After the baptism of the wood spirit energy, your wife’s body now contains a circulation of the five elements. As long as you don’t intentionally attack her, the excess murderous aura you exude will no longer harm her.”
Upon Jiang Chen’s explanation, Commander Yong swept his wife up in his arms. “Ah Tang!”
Ah Tang’s own eyes were as red as could be. “You found a wonderful doctor, Brother Yong.”
The commander was overjoyed. “Yes, yes, I found a good doctor!” he half-shouted with laughter. “Sir Jiang, you are truly my lucky star. My entire family thanks you.”
The two little ones were very excited to see their mother come out from the house. They hurtled madly at her from a distance, exhilarated that their mother was free of the confines of her bed after such a long time.
The happiness of the family made Jiang Chen happy as well. He hadn’t come for money or power. The delight of the family he saw before him was what made his journey worthwhile.
The family was locked in a tight embrace, both crying and laughing. Only after a long while did the commander come over to Jiang Chen with the others, bowing deeply to the young man.
“You saved my entire family, Sir Jiang. I will never forget this debt.” The commander was immensely serious.
Jiang Chen smiled. “Every doctor should have a compassionate heart. I’m pleased to have the fortune of saving someone. Now that my work is done, I won’t hold up the family from catching up. As long as you follow my directions and bathe like that every day, it’ll be only a week or two before your wife is completely recovered. It may even be able to change her constitution for the better.”
The commander didn't doubt for a second what Jiang Chen said. He had an implicit trust in his young savior that was virtually unshakable. This was someone who stuck to his promises.
“Uncle Jiang, Li’er wants to thank you for saving our mommy. You can’t go,” the girl said in a childish, muffled voice.
Jiang Chen laughed. “Uncle has other things to do and you have a lot to talk about. I won’t be in your way any longer than I have to.” Saying this, he cupped his fist in farewell.
Commander Yong knew he couldn't keep the young man any longer. He patted Ah Tang on the back. “Ah Tang, I’m going to see Sir Jiang off. You should talk to the kids a bit. They’ve been quite worried and scared these days.”
He strode out the door, catching up to Jiang Chen in only a few steps.
“There’s no need, Commander Yong,” the young man hurriedly cut off.
“Don’t be in such a hurry to leave, Sir Jiang. I haven’t paid your fee yet. The spirit essence you gave costs money too, no? All that added up isn’t a small sum. You saved my wife. Am I supposed to see you lose money over it?” Commander Yong was a man who paid his debts. It was nonsensical that someone who’d done a favor to him would be short money because of it.
Jiang Chen smiled faintly. “I don’t let money get in the way of saving lives, Commander Yong. I wouldn’t go so far for money alone. The fact that I was able to save a family by doing something so trivial is a blessing in its own right. What need do I have for monetary compensation? Please, dispense with the courtesy.”
Commander Yong was nettled. “Paying doctors is a fact of life, Sir Jiang. Plus, you’re far superior to those so-called pill dao masters. I doubt even pill immortals would be as expert as you, and it costs a fortune to move them. I don’t have much money on hand, but I have to give you what you deserved.”
Jiang Chen broke out laughing at the seriousness. “Commander Yong, I know you can’t afford much. Your kids are still young and rearing them costs a lot of money. Take what you want to give me and consider it a gift for your cute children instead. There’s not much point to me taking it. Your family and your children need the money more.”
Jiang Chen wasn’t being pretentious. If the family he helped had been a wealthy one, he wouldn’t have minded extracting an exorbitant sum for his efforts.
Commander Yong’s mouth moved as if to say something, but Jiang Chen transformed into a stream of escaping light before his eyes. The commander looked a bit forlorn as he gazed in the direction of the young man’s disappearance. His eyes and mouth were agape with shock.
He’d heard his subordinates say that Sir Jiang had a terrifying consciousness, but the commander was rendered speechless upon witnessing the youth’s incredible speed.
“Where did this Sir Jiang come from? He’s so young, but his pill dao skills, consciousness, and speed… just one talent alone would be incredible. How could a young genius like him have been exiled to Winterdraw?” Commander Yong was nothing short of perplexed.
From what he could see, Sir Jiang’s talents and cultivation made him a genius of a large faction. It was likely he wasn’t even native to the Rejuvenation Isles. Only geniuses from the Ten Divine Nations could have such amazing talent at this young an age.
But the Ten Divine Nations were so distant from them. How could a genius from there be in Winterdraw?
Commander Yong was completely confused when he returned home. He had been given a lot to think about.
Ah Tang saw his dejected perplexity. “What is it, Brother Yong?” she asked devotedly. “Sir Jiang left without taking the fee?”
“He didn’t want it,” Commander Yong replied in a muted voice. “He said that it was his present to Zhen’er and Li’er. Apparently, he really doesn’t need the money and he thinks our family needs it far more.”
Ah Tang was stunned. “He didn’t take the money?”
“No.” Commander Yong shook his head. “Sir Jiang must come from an important background. I was very lucky, Ah Tang. I was worried that even a pill immortal wouldn’t be able to solve your problem, but serendipitously coming upon Sir Jiang Chen did. I still feel like I’m still dreaming.”
Ah Tang’s eyes reddened. “Could Sir Jiang be a pill immortal, Brother Yong?”
The commander was shaken. He hadn’t considered that possibility before as he thought Sir Jiang was far too young to be one. All the other pill immortals he knew were ancient existences who’d lived millennia, if not tens of millennia. They were a uniformly conservative and reclusive bunch.
Pill immortal was synonymous with old man. The existence of a young one was almost inconceivable.
“We have to remember Sir Jiang’s kindness no matter what. He’s the benefactor of our entire family,” Commander Yong stated solemnly.
Ah Tang and both children nodded, gratefulness brimming in their eyes.
Jiang Chen returned to the inn to find that Xing Hui and Xing Tong had been waiting for him for awhile. Their taut nerves finally relaxed to see the young man return.
Due to a previous interview, both father and daughter knew that Jiang Chen’s late return was likely due to Commander Yong. They largely knew what the commander intended for the young man, and thought it rather risky for him to brave the residence of anyone related to the city lord. If Sir Jiang failed to heal the illness, he would very likely be blamed and punished in turn.
Their worries were assuaged when Jiang Chen returned in high spirits.
“Many apologies, Sir Jiang. The first thing that Commander Yong did when he came in was ask me about how you saved me. I told him everything, which… may have been burdensome for you.” Xing Hui sounded quite contrite.
“Even if you hadn’t said anything,” Jiang Chen smiled, “the city guards already told him everything. He would’ve come for me anyways.”
Off to the side, Xing Tong piped up with a blush. “Brother Jiang, have you signed up for the selection?”
“Yes, I have. I’m ready for it anytime,” Jiang Chen laughed. Having little else to relate, he returned to his room. It was better to make more preparations than not. Currently, he was in very good condition for both pill and martial dao. Though he wasn’t quite indomitable on Winterdraw, he had faith that he would be able to protect himself and rise to the top.
At noon the next day, Commander Yong came to visit once more. “Sir Jiang, I can’t help you in other ways, but I heard them say that you only have a temporary residency seal. I went and got you a silver residency seal – the best I can do with my authority.”
The silver residency seal allowed Jiang Chen to live in Sin City for upwards of a century, and was something he actually needed.
Jiang Chen found no reason to refuse pretentiously. In fact, it was better for him to accept, since the commander desperately wanted to repay him. “How is your wife, commander?”
“She looks even better this morning. Your skills are simply amazing, Sir Jiang. I must inform the entire world of them!” Commander Yong grew excited when he mentioned his wife. He was clearly in a good mood, a stark difference from the pessimism he had displayed before.
The commander was plainly attempting to create momentum and reputation for Jiang Chen. On this day, he had told anyone that would listen about his wife, describing Jiang Chen as a pill dao master unrivaled in the world.
Commander Yong went so far as to believe that Sir Jiang outpaced all of the other pill dao masters. This was why he wanted to make Jiang Chen famous.
Sometimes the truth was more effective than advertisement. Many in Sin City knew of the plight of Commander Yong’s wife. They were curious as to how exactly she had been cured. Jiang Chen hadn’t expected his reputation to begin forming before he’d participated in the selection competition. The commander was surprisingly helpful in that regard.