Jian Chen’s eyes gained a determined light to them, “Huang Luan, don’t worry. I, Jian Chen, will exhaust my entire efforts to help you. You won’t be betrothed to a man you do not love.”
Jian Chen’s words were firm and decisive. There was resolution in his voice and a strong conviction in himself.
When Huang Luan heard him, her heart immediately felt nice and warm as it pulsated with emotions. In the end, she couldn’t help but hug Jian Chen tightly once again. Her entire body began to shake from her spasmodic sobbing. In the silent moment of crying, tears could be seen flowing down her face.
“Jian Chen, I feel satisfied enough with those words. As I thought, I’ve always been in your heart, haven’t I?” Huang Luan spoke through her sobs with a gentle voice filled with emotions.
Jian Chen said nothing and instead chose to hug Huang Luan tightly. This was a problem he found difficult to answer and simply had no time to even ponder it.
Continuing, Huang Luan spoke, “Jian Chen, this union between the Huang family and the Huanggu family cannot be changed. You shouldn’t waste your time with this, it’s useless. The Qinhuang Kingdom won’t be in favor for you to interfere either.” Huang Luan’s voice was filled with sorrow.
From the touching appearance of the two, it seemed as if they were a happily married couple on the verge of being broken apart while they tried their best to find a way to resist.
Gently taking Huang Luan’s arm off of himself, Jian Chen replied, “The situation has not yet reached a situation where it cannot be saved. Don’t worry, I will do my best to help you away from this abyss of suffering. I will go speak with your ancestor.”
With that said, Jian Chen wasted no time and turned around to leave Huang Luan’s place of residence.
She made no move to stop him either and only stared blankly at the retreating back of Jian Chen. A soft look was in her eyes as tears slowly stole away from her eyelids and trailed down her beautiful face — a face that could bring a kingdom to its knees.
Jian Chen did not stay long at Huang Luan’s pavilion. Not even an hour later, he walked out from the pavilion, but the elders Feng and Yun were nowhere to be seen.
A white-robed, middle-aged man had been walking toward Huang Luan’s pavilion from far away. When he saw Jian Chen walking out from it, he called out from a long distance away, “You must be the Imperial Protector of the Qinhuang Kingdom!” The man spoke with a friendly smile and cordial tone.
Jian Chen looked at the middle-aged man; he looked to be an Earth Saint Master in strength, but his imposing presence that brought forth dignity from it overwhelmed the area with his hegemonial air.
Although the man was only an Earth Saint Master in strength, Jian Chen could think of no reason to feel any contempt for him and cupped his hands in greeting instead, “This one is Jian Chen!”
Receiving a polite response from an Imperial Protector like Jian Chen to an Earth Saint Master like him, the middle-aged man showed an approving light in his eyes. The smile on his face grew even warmer as he cupped his hands back in salute, “This one is the family head of the Huang family — Huang Qinglan. Huang’er is my daughter, which brings the topic to mind; it seems Huang’er and the Imperial Protector have quite the history.”
Upon hearing that this middle-aged man was actually Huang Luan’s father, Jian Chen revealed a surprised look in his eyes. Though, he quickly recovered and smiled, “So you are the head of the Huang family, it is nice to meet you!”
“Imperial Protector, the previous representative for the Huang family was my grandfather. When he went into isolation behind the mountains, he was unable to greet you. If we have slighted you, then please forgive us. Allow me to bring you to the Jade Cloud Pavilion, we’ve already prepared a feast for the Imperial Protector. The other five honored guests from the Qinhuang Kingdom are already there, we are just waiting for the Imperial Protector.” Huang Qinglan smiled.
Jian Chen hesitated for a moment before shaking his head, “Lord Huang, this one truly apologizes, but this one has an important matter to discuss with the senior at the top of the mountain peak. For that, I cannot accompany the lord, please forgive me.”
Upon hearing mention of the senior on top of the mountain, Huang Qinglan thought to the ancestor and immediately grew apologetic and venerable, “If it is so, then I won’t delay the Imperial Protector’s time any longer.”
“Goodbye then!” Jian Chen spoke before flying into the air to travel to the mountain.
Seeing Jian Chen disappear into the sky, Huang Qinglan displayed a look of undisguised admiration and envy in his eyes. Muttering to himself, he said, “Who would have known that in so few years, Jian Chen would reach the realm of a Heaven Saint Master. Truly a sight that makes any yearn in envy.”
After speaking his laments, Huang Qinglan continued on his path toward the small pavilion, but when he passed by the spot where Jian Chen had stood, his body came to a halting stop. Sniffing the leftover fragrance in the air, Huang Qinglan suddenly let out a drawn out sigh, “This is the scent of essence of orchid. I did not think that Huang’er would actually be willing to use it for Jian Chen, ai…”
Huang Qinglan displayed a look of helplessness on his face. The essence of orchid was a type of fragrance that wasn’t very well known to the common populace of the Tian Yuan Continent, but the majority of the females knew about it. In the eyes of the females, the essence of orchid was a symbol of pure love, the sacred flower for depicting love. A woman could only use this essence once in her entire life. Using this on the man the woman loved represented that she wholeheartedly fell for him and her feelings would never change.
When any single woman used this essence on a man, it illustrated the fact that the woman was prepared to give everything she owned to that man, including her chastity.
That was because the essence of orchid was a natural medicine that would confound the senses and evoke the most primal desires of man.
Huang Qinglan never thought she would be willing to use the essence of orchid on him in the short amount of time they knew each other. This was truly out of his expectations.
There was nothing else Huang Qinglan could do but sigh and continue to sigh. Jian Chen was truly a superior candidate. He was such a superior candidate that Huang Qinglan wouldn’t even be able to find a fault with him even if he tried. Jian Chen was nearly perfect, but the future of the Huang family was in imminent peril. Therefore Huang Luan had no choice but to be the expendable victim — betrothed to the Huanggu family without any power to choose who she would love.
Huang Qinglan walked into the small pavilion and up to the second floor. The entire room was filled with that essence of orchid, leaving him no choice but to shake his head helplessly. Then, looking to the tear-stained face of his daughter, his heart began to feel unwell.
“Huang’er…” Huang Qinglan opened his mouth. He wanted to speak some words of comfort to his daughter, but when he opened his mouth to speak, he realized that there were no words he could say to comfort her.
Using a yellow handkerchief to wipe at her tears, Huang Luan turned her back to face Huang Qinglan, “Father, your daughter wishes to be by herself.”
Seeing the icy demeanor of his daughter, Huang Qinglan sighed to himself. “Huang’er, your father knows your heart holds only Jian Chen. You are right, Jian Chen is a superior man in every way to the second master of the Huanggu family except in background. If it were any other time, your father would be happy to have you wed to him, but in this time of peril for the Huang family, you know just as well as I do. This choice we chose was never one we were able to select from.”
His daughter said nothing, and the father no longer wished to remain in this orchid-smelling room any longer. “Huang’er, your father doesn’t wish to bother you. Do calm yourself well and properly.”
Jian Chen came back to the mountain peak where the ancestor of the Huang family was. Bowing and cupping his hands in front of the wooden house, he spoke, “Senior, this junior has something I wish to discuss for a while.”
“Come in!” The ancestor called out calmly from within.
Jian Chen strode into the narrow and simple house. The scholarly old man remained seated on his stone seat with a smile on his face.
“Jian Chen, what might you wish to discuss with this old man? Perhaps you’ve changed your mind and are willing to lend the power of the Qinhuang Kingdom to my Huang family?” The ancestor spoke calmly.
“It seems senior is fond of jokes. This matter is far too important of a decision. This junior cannot represent the Qinhuang Kingdom in such a matter, and even if this junior agreed, the other Imperial Protectors would not agree.” Jian Chen replied.
“Then what is it you’re here for?” The ancestor asked.
“Senior, this junior may not be able to persuade the Qinhuang Kingdom help the Huang family, but if I am able to find another individual to help, I hope that the betrothment of Huang Luan to the Huanggu family can be annulled.” Jian Chen stared seriously at the ancestor. He knew that the man in front of him held unbelievable power and might, but as long as he could convince him, there was a chance for the problem of Huang Luan to be resolved.
The ancestor’s eyebrows rose up in hesitation, “Jian Chen, the betrothment between the Huang and the Huanggu has already been set in stone. The girl Huang Luan has a talent that is seen within my Huang family once every hundred years. She was able to become an Earth Saint Master at the prime age of twenty. This is a talent that the Huanggu family favors highly. In the past, they’ve thought of every possible way to arrange for a marriage, so now that one is set in place, the Huanggu family is very happy. Wishing to annul this betrothment is easier said than done, even if we were to do so, the friendship between the two families would be broken.”
Jian Chen’s face shifted slightly, with some urging, he said, “Senior, then what do you propose needs to be done to absolve this betrothment?”
Seeing the anxious look on Jian Chen’s face, the ancestor suddenly broke into a smile, “Jian Chen, could it be that you’ve come to favor Huang Luan? Do you wish to wed to her instead? If an Imperial Protector from the Qinhuang Kingdom wishes to connect to our Huang family by marriage, this old man would be very happy to do so.”
Jian Chen forced out a smile, “Senior, you are still joking around with junior. This is far too major of an issue, the Qinhuang Kingdom will not interfere still.”
The ancestor revealed a look of disappointment on his face, “Ai. Jian Chen, this old man will be honest with you. My Huang family and the Huanggu family have a history of several hundred years of friendship with each other. If this marriage were to be unilaterally absolved, it will destroy the connection between both our families. Although you are capable of finding help for my family, I will not act in such a manner still. Unless you are able of finding help capable of rivaling the Qinhuang Kingdom in strength, then I will not be willing to put my family at such risk.”
Jian Chen hesitated. “Senior, this junior knows not how strong that man is, but he is presumably not far away from the Huanggu family.”
“What layer has this Saint Ruler reached?” The ancestor’s eyes began to gleam in noticeable interest at this topic.
“This junior knows not!” Jian Chen replied innocently.
Hearing this, the ancestor looked disappointed once again. Before he could say anything, Jian Chen’s next words caused his facial expression to freeze.
“This junior does know that that senior has lived for 5000 years as a Saint Ruler.”
“What!? He has been a Saint Ruler for 5000 years!?” The ancestor could no longer hold his calm and came flying up to his feet with a crash of the seat underneath him and a look of shock on his face.
“Correct. 5000 years ago, he became a Saint Ruler!” Jian Chen repeated. This abnormal reaction from the ancestor caused Jian Chen to feel hopeful once again.
The ancestor stared hard at Jian Chen, his voice quivering as he spoke, “Is… is… is he still alive?”
“He is alive and well!” Jian Chen replied.