Chapter 5: If I can’t cure you, then I’ll go down with you --- Part 2

“Eh? Brother Chen what’s that you say? You were too convincing when you were playing dead, I completely believed you. I cried too hard because I was heartbroken and injured my eardrums. I can’t hear very well now. No no this will not do, I need to go find a doctor. Brother Chen, rest up and I’ll be back to see you….”

Fatty had already slipped out the door before his last sentence was delivered.

In addition to Xuan fatty, Hubing Yue and Yang Zong were steadfast friends with Jiang Chen.

Seeing that fatty Xuan had fled, Hubing Yue spoke briefly with Jiang Chen and took his leave as well.

Yang Zong had wanted to offer an explanation, but said nothing in the end after Jiang Chen clapped his shoulder. He left as well.

When all had left, only the Jiang father and son were left in the hall.

Jiang Feng drew his sword without a word. Brilliantly cold light flashed with a shake of his wrist, and the ebony coffin occupying the center of the hall promptly splintered away into wood fragments.

“Come, someone clean up and take that away to be burned. Clear out this unlucky air!” Mere words could not describe how elated Jiang Feng was to regain a son he thought he’d lost.

On the other hand, Jiang Chen looked at his father with a small smile, “Father, do you not have anything to ask me?”

“Hahaha,” Jiang Feng laughed heartily and patted Jiang Chen’s shoulder. “You are my son, I will deal with the consequences no matter what you do!”

That left Jiang Chen speechless. This dad was seriously lacking in principles.

But one had to know that the prior Jiang Chen in this body was as close to an incorrigible rascal as one could get. If he had really died, then only one line needed to be written for his epitaph: Here lies a noble who did everything but his duty.

A small mishap every three days, a large calamity every five days.

Jiang Feng had almost forgotten how many times he’d cleaned up after his son.

Of course, that wasn’t to say that this kid didn’t have any positive traits about him. At least he was loyal and had that smallest amount of dependability. Otherwise he wouldn’t have a crew of fellow ne’er-do-wells around him calling him their leader.

To sum up, it would have been difficult to find something positive to say about Jiang Chen. It would have been easier to find a needle in a haystack. But to identify some of his cons… those were numerous and easy to pinpoint.

It would have been fine for the privileged children of noble households to have some character flaws. But this kid’s greatest failing was that he was extremely lazy about training!

“Ai, what a fellow who didn’t value what he had,” Jiang Chen had to admit that much when he had finished sorting through the previous fellow’s memories. That Jiang Chen had truly been a bit of a lost cause.

An unconditionally supportive old man, and not too shabby potential. He had been born with a gold spoon in his mouth in the Eastern Kingdom.

But amongst his peers, this fellow had fallen to the last in his class.

As the heir to each respective dukedom, they could not take up residence within the kingdom’s capital. They should have actually been in their own territory.

The heirs and rulers of each dukedom had gathered in order to participate in the vicennial Hidden Dragon Trials.

There were 108 dukedoms in the Eastern Kingdom, but the rulers of these dukedoms were not carved in stone. The Hidden Dragon Trials that took place every twenty years were a test for the designated heirs.

Only if the heir successfully passed the Hidden Dragon Trials was he allowed to retain command over the family’s dukedom, territory and heritage.

If he failed, the family would have to relinquish command, have their lands seized and their title revoked. They would revert to being a wealthy family with no power or prestige.

If they became a family with no might or clout, then their collapse and eventual demise would be very likely. Just as monkeys scatter when a tree falls, it would be a foregone conclusion that their influence would be diminished, and that people would abandon the family.

After all, losing the dukedom meant that the family had lost all trappings of power and many sources of income. The family would have to subsist on their savings, and that was not enough to feed an army of underlings and guards.

The royal family would also not allow those who had lost their dukedoms to thrive and grow stronger than the current dukes.

The Hidden Dragon Trials were quite lengthy as they spanned over three years.

At the end of the three years, a ceremony of inheritance would be held in the capital for the heirs who had successfully passed the tests. This meant that the power of a duchy and its lands were retained for another twenty years.

And after twenty years, a representative from the new generation must be sent to participate in the Hidden Dragon Trials.

The purpose of the Hidden Dragon Trials was to ensure that each dukedom maintained a situation of cultivating a plethora of talents, and to avoid halts on the path of self-improvement.

If you couldn’t pass, then you lost the family’s dukedom.

These were the rules of survival in this world.

Simple. Direct. Brutal. Violent!