“Rules are dead, life and death is alive.” Dan Fei’s tone was noncommittal and it suddenly turned faint. “The rules say that men shouldn’t bully women, but didn’t you still bully me?”
Jiang Chen smiled awkwardly and rubbed his nose, at a loss for words.
The atmosphere was a bit strange as an ugly silence prevailed. It was Dan Fei who broke this awkward atmosphere.
“Jiang Chen, I’m sorry.”
“What for?” Jiang Chen frowned. “It seems that I should be the one saying that.”
“I shouldn’t have been willful and I shouldn’t have drawn on your face.” Jiang Chen hadn’t thought that Dan Fei’s tone would be like this.
“Alright, I admit that the pressure from last night’s matters may have been a bit great and it got to me for a bit. It’s never a right thing for a man to hit a woman.”
In actuality, Jiang Chen hadn’t really laid into her with those swats. It’d been like an adult lecturing a child and giving them a bit of punishment.
“You keep talking about it.” Dan Fei admonished with a pout.
“Alright, I won’t speak on. I just want to say… nice elasticity.” Jiang Chen laughed heartily.
“Damned scoundrel!” Dan Fei cursed in her anxiety, and then sighed remotely. “Jiang Chen, you’re really a little demon. I’ve never suffered so much in my entire life.”
“You suffered? I’d think you probably wanted to laugh in your sleep after getting four baby spirit animals.”
Dan Fei’s emotions indeed changed immediately when the baby spirit animals were mentioned. She had a faint and proud smile as she lowered the bamboo basket on her back.
The four furry and fuzzy babies were obviously not familiar with the ways of the world. They gurgled and emitted all sorts of sounds, making various faces at Jiang Chen.
“Jiang Chen, would you say that they’re hungry?”
“No sh*t, don’t you see that they’re so hungry that their eyes are tinged green?” Jiang Chen threw a couple of fruits that he’d gotten from the cave in the basket.
The four babies started violently fighting each other for the food, as he had expected.
What Dan Fei hadn’t expected was that although the four babies seemed to coexist in great harmony normally, the four of them became abnormally fierce when food appeared, and all that seemed to affect the posture of laying their lives down on the line in fighting for food.
“The world of the spirit creatures is indeed that of the weak becoming prey to the strong and survival of the fittest!”
“What do you mean?” Dan Fei didn’t quite understand.
“It’s simple. Although these four baby spirit apes are born of the same mother, only one will survive in the end. They must kill and eat their kind , with one emerging from the masses as the final winner in the end. You can tell from their posture in fighting for food. Perhaps, when they’re fully grown, they might even fight the adult giant apes who gave birth to them to the death in a bid for territory. These are the rules of survival of spirit creatures. Survival of the fittest in natural selection. They were born into this cycle of life and no one can escape it.”
Jiang Chen wasn’t speaking in vain. His understanding of spirit creatures identified most spirit creatures as thus. The higher their intelligence was, the more they were so.
One mountain would not allow two tigers to exist on it. Such was the philosophy.
It was rather those lower beasts whose intelligence had yet to flower, or those spirit beasts who, by nature, liked to form packs, and gathered in large groups.
The Goldwing Swordbirds for instance.
Of course, it wasn’t just limited to the Goldwing Swordbirds. There were too many spirit creatures species to count in this big, big world. The numbers of spirit creatures who liked to gather together were as many as the hairs on an ox. Some were in such large numbers that they became a disaster, such that kings of spirit creature that were stronger than them by tens or hundreds of times had to give way in front of them.
Dan Fei was deep in thought as her charming eyes rested briefly on Jiang Chen’s face. She sighed, “Jiang Chen, is there anything you don’t know?”
“Is there anything I don’t know?” Jiang Chen chuckled as a tragic trace suddenly shot through his face. There really was something he didn’t know.
He suddenly thought of his father, the Celestial Emperor, in his past life. How was he now? And how had he reincarnated into this world?
He really didn’t know this. Even if he was unsurpassed in his knowledge and his learning from his past life crossed all planes of existence, he knew nothing when faced with this problem and he had no clues at all.
“Miss Dan Fei, take for instance, if we’re in a circle right now. All that we know is what’s in this circle. There are many more unknowns in the world outside the circle. It’s only when we set foot outside of that circle that we know our original knowledge was much, much too little.”
Jiang Chen’s round of emotional reflection wasn’t putting on a contemplative air, he was truly speaking from the heart.
A beam of surprise shot out from Dan Fei’s beautiful eyes. She didn’t think that Jiang Chen, with his openly humorous personality, would suddenly voice such deep words.
“Let’s go.” Jiang Chen called out to her, just as Dan Fei was slowly turning over Jiang Chen’s words in her mind.
“Where are we going?” Dan Fei asked.
“Liu Can is part of Ye Dai’s group. I keep thinking that his appearance was a bit odd. We should go take a look and see if that kid Ye Dai is up to something.”
Dan Fei started. She didn’t actually want to become involved in the struggles and politics between the princes. From her aloof perspective, it was all the same no matter who was Crown Prince or king.
Even if Ye Dai or Ye Rong was king, they wouldn’t dare act atrociously in front of her, Dan Fei.
However, after last night’s battle, Dan Fei seemed to have unknowingly accepted the fact that their roles had changed. She’d gone from keeping a death grip on the reins of power to naturally listening to Jiang Chen’s orders.
Jiang Chen’s speed was neither fast nor slow as his route didn’t seem to have been decided by any particular scouting ahead or thought.
“Jiang Chen, can you find Liu Can and the others by blindly walking around like this?” Dan Fei couldn’t help but ask.
“Heh heh, just follow me!”
Dan Fei had long since gotten used to Jiang Chen not playing by the book. She could only keep her head down and continue to follow him.
After two or three days, they’d still had no results. Dan Fei almost wanted to suspect that Jiang Chen had gotten things wrong somewhere? But seeing his look of complete confidence, Dan Fei still restrained the questions that almost bubbled up to her lips several times.
“Alright, it looks like we’re close. Sister Dan Fei, do you want to go with me or wait for me outside?”
“Are you sure they’re close by?” Dan Fei was still a bit suspicious.
“What am I doing here if I’m not?”
Jiang Chen was about to say something when he suddenly grabbed Dan Fei’s hand and dashed into the bushes by the side of the road. He said lowly, “Don’t make any sounds.”
The two of them hid for a while behind the bushes and they saw that two people quickly walked down from the mountain road ahead of them. One of them was first prince Ye Dai.
The other had an arrogant expression with his face tilted towards the heavens. His body shape was mediocre and he wore a uniform. He was a Precious Tree Sect disciple!
However, a sect disciple willing to participate in the Maze Realm Autumn Hunt most likely didn’t have any particularly high status either. At the very least, he wouldn’t be one of the top disciples within the sect.
“This is the place.” Ye Dai halted at the beginning of the road. “Brother Chen, let’s wait.”
The Precious Tree Sect disciple nodded and didn’t say anything. His gaze was like a hawk’s as it patrolled the surroundings, obviously on high alert.
However, Jiang Chen and Dan Fei had long since been prepared and they couldn’t be detected by him.
Ye Dai’s eyes lit up after a while, “They’re here.”
Indeed, a group of people were quickly approaching from the western side of the road. It was a small team with eight people. Third prince Ye Zheng was at their head.
“Number three.” Ye Dai called out.
Ye Zheng quickly walked up, smiling, “Big brother, I’ve finally met up with you.”
Ye Dai clapped Ye Zheng’s shoulder and said quite intimately, “Number three, their positions have been locked onto. My scouts can basically be certain that number four’s small team is in a mountain valley about fifty li in the southeastern direction. They seem to be hunting a spirit creature.”
“Heh heh, that kid Ye Rong has really thrown himself into this.” There was a trace of sarcasm in Ye Zheng’s tone.
“Number three, there’s nothing untoward about the people you brought with you, right?” Ye Dai’s gaze took a spin and looked at all of them.
“Big brother, do you still not trust me? Rest easy about the people I’ve brought, they’re all my confidantes. As long as we pull this matter off flawlessly, I promise that no one will be able to trace it back to us when we leave.”
A trace of ruthless bloodthirst seeped out from Ye Zheng’s mouth.
“Alright, we’ll get rid of number four first and then number two.” There were a resolute intent to kill in Ye Dai’s tone, as if he wasn’t killing his own brothers, but discussing on how to kill chickens.
“Big brother, we’ve discussed this. If you take the throne in the future, you can’t decrease the amount of fortune you give me.”
“Haha, number three, we’ve been close since we were small, would I mistreat you? Us two brothers are the same kind of people. When we pool our efforts together in the future and expand into new territories, perhaps the neighboring sixteen kingdoms will be unified because of us? At that time, I’ll definitely bestow the largest piece of land upon you and have you be in control of the borders of multiple kingdoms!”
Ye Zheng chuckled, “Alright, us two brothers will join hands and do this!”
“Come, rendezvous with my team first.” Ye Dai was quite intimate as he walked abreast with Ye Zheng, heading up the mountain.
When the group of people got far, Dan Fei sighed lightly, “The lordmaster didn’t form a wrong opinion of Ye Dai.”
“Let me guess what the lordmaster said? Hmm, grandiose ambition but puny talent is definitely part of the assessment, perhaps words like pretending to be sanctimonious but willing to do whatever it takes to reach his goals?”
“Mm? You did guess some of it correctly. But a great majority of the noble sons pose as a person of high morals, so the lordmaster wouldn’t have said that. ‘Great ambitions but little talent, extremely cruel and merciless’ was the lordmaster’s assessment of Ye Dai. Therefore, when Ye Dai fancied himself clever and asked that question about unifying the sixteen kingdoms, this actually greatly reduced the lordmaster’s impression of him.”
Jiang Chen firmly condemned Ye Dai, “Grandiose ambitions but puny talent, his abilities are insufficient but he harbors ambitions that his abilities cannot match. This isn’t a good thing, it will bring about disaster to the Skylaurel Kingdom.”
Dan Fei was rather surprised by Jiang Chen’s powers of comprehension, to see that he understood that with the merest of hints. This made sense. Although Jiang Chen came from the Eastern Kingdom, when it came to the greater picture of any single kingdom, the matters were all mostly the same.
“Do you want to know what the lordmaster’s view of Ye Rong is?” Dan Fei suddenly asked with a smile.
“Oh? Let’s hear it.” Jiang Chen was close to Ye Rong after all, and so he was a bit curious.
“The lordmaster’s view of Ye Rong was only thus — if he can endure for this moment, he will be worthy of assuming the world.”
“His praise was that high?” Jiang Chen did indeed have a good impression of Ye Rong, but he’d never thought that the lordmaster would have such high praise for him. One had to know that Ye Rong had been exceedingly low key before. His existence amongst the princes was that of being ignored by everyone in all sorts of occasions.
“Yes. Ye Rong has the finesse of a royal son and the even rarer breadth of the mind of a monarch. He’s not blindly cruel and ruthless like Ye Dai, nor is his mind as narrow as Ye Dai’s as to be unable to hold the world.”
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