Chapter 221: Public Hearing (1)
A large group of generals sat in a large hall.
These generals were all on the same level as Li Chongshan. Almost all of the generals and garrison commanders stationed in the Flowing Gold Fort were present.
Su Chen stood at the very bottom of the hall.
The individual presiding over the hall was a white-haired old man.
Su Chen knew that this man was the Commander-In-Chief of the Ravager Extermination Army, Hong Qianzhu.
Hong Qianzhu was of the Brightlake Hong Clan. He possessed the Killer Overlord Beast Bloodline, a Demonic Emperor’s bloodline, giving him tremendous strength. During his peak, he had single-handedly charged into a formation of Ravager soldiers and emerged totally unscathed. Shortly thereafter, he was crowned with the title of “God of War” and the number one individual in terms of status below the imperial family.
However, the Killer Overlord Beast’s peerless strength came at the cost of vitality. When you factored in the old man’s dauntless style of battle and the many wounds he had sustained, his lifespan had been severely impacted, and he had gradually drifted past his prime. His current state was actually quite similar to how Sachar had been before his untimely death.
As he had gotten older, his Qi and blood had thinned out, causing him to lose some of the majestic aura he once had. Currently, his cultivation was primarily for maintenance, and his primary duty was to support the many direct subordinates he had at the Flowing Gold Fort.
The young man next to him was his new subordinate commander, His Highness Lin Wenjun, the Crown Prince.
As his name indicated, this Crown Prince was quite handsome.
However, this handsome Crown Prince always seemed to have a moody expression hanging on his face, making it impossible for those around him to be happy either.
This Lin Wenjun’s expression was incredibly dissatisfied when he saw Su Chen.
So this person was the one who had saved the Heavenly Might Battalion and caused him to lose a great deal of face?
After all, he was the one who had strongly advocated for the Heavenly Might Battalion to attack, and he was the one who had even more strongly advocated to give up on the Heavenly Might Battalion
While he was figuratively cutting off his own arm, Su Chen had gone and rescued the entire battalion.
A single man had accomplished all of this.
This was the same as slapping his face directly!
This bastard, how could he ignore the prestige of a Crown Prince just like that?
Lin Wenjun’s mood only grew worse the more he thought about the situation.
He glanced below him from his seat high up in the hall. The scholar, Qiu Qingzhi, understood his intentions and barked at Su Chen, “Su Chen, we have already made clear investigations. During your return, the Ravagers didn’t make any attempt to try and stop you, not even sending out a single soldier. Answer me honestly - did you make some kind of an agreement with the Ravagers?”
Su Chen smiled slightly. “You made such a big commotion just to ask me this? If I say I didn’t, would you believe me?”
Qiu Qingzhi smacked the table and said, “Whatever the hall asks you, answer the question. Don’t waste our time with so much irrelevant nonsense.”
Su Chen thought for a moment, then replied, “I know how to use illusion techniques, and I had a mount to ride. Because I was traveling alone, it was very difficult for the Ravagers to spot me. That’s how I managed to make it out unscathed.”
Qiu Qingzhi laughed coldly as he said, “You make it sound so easy.”
Su Chen immediately replied, “It wasn’t that hard in the first place. As long as you are strong enough, you can easily travel through Ravager territory. Their defenses really aren’t anything to write home about.”
“Your tone is quite arrogant.”
Su Chen said with a slight smile. “I’m telling the truth. If you don’t trust me, feel free to try it out. If you don’t manage to make it out…… well, sorry about that.”
Qiu Qingzhi froze as the generals in the hall began to chuckle quietly amongst themselves.
Qiu Qingzhi’s expression was extremely ugly. Of course he did not dare to directly answer Su Chen’s challenge. He might have the guts to provoke Su Chen here in this hall, but he did not have the guts to take a walk through Ravager territory.
He stared intently at Su Chen and wanted to rebut in some way when one of the generals nearby spoke up.
“Su Chen, please don’t misunderstand. We are not interrogating you because we are worried that you sold out the humans. No matter what, we must first thank you for saving the Heavenly Might Battalion. The only reason we are investigating you is to make sure that you didn’t reveal any of the army’s secrets while saving them.”
Su Chen nodded. “Of course. That’s quite a good excuse…… Even the most absurd actions need a logical reason that can see the light of day supporting them. That’s a pretty good one.”
The general didn’t grow angry. Instead, he chuckled, “As the hero who saved eight thousand individuals who were part of the Heavenly Might Battalion, I don’t blame you for considering your situation absurd. However, I can promise you that as long as you can prove that you didn’t sell out any of our secrets, you will be totally fine.”
Su Chen asked, “May I know your name?”
The general replied, “My name is Wei Feng.”
“So you’re in charge of the Earthly Ferocious Battalion,” Su Chen said. “So my reward for saving an entire battalion is that I am guaranteed that nothing bad will happen to me?”
Hong Qianzhu, who was sitting in the middle, said, “Of course not. You saved the Heavenly Might Battalion, and you will be rewarded for your contributions. As long as we can find the evidence, we will naturally repay you in kind. This grievance will only be temporary, but unfortunately it is still necessary.”
Su Chen smiled slightly. “So that’s how it is.”
He turned to face Qiu Qingzhi and said, “Did you hear that?”
Qiu Qingzhi’s expression was a bit ugly. “Hear what?”
Su Chen said calmly, “You seem like you don’t fear me at all, but I think you should be afraid.”
Qiu Qingzhi’s figure trembled slightly, while Lin Wenjun’s expression hardened.
Even so, Su Chen had the right to be arrogant.
If someone who hadn’t made a single contribution could strut around in front of him by relying on this stand, why couldn’t he act a bit arrogantly?
Su Chen ignored Qiu Qingzhi and turned to face Hong Qianzhu as he spoke. “Since that’s how it is, then if Commander-In-Chief and everyone else present have any questions, please, ask away.”
He didn’t mention the deputy commander, causing Lin Wenjun’s expression to darken even further.
“Why don’t you tell us about how you rescued the Heavenly Might Battalion.” The asker was Xiao Feinan this time.
He was purposefully creating an opportunity for Su Chen here - the Heavenly Might Battalion had already returned, so it was impossible for everyone to know exactly what Su Chen had done. As such, asking him this question was equivalent to giving him an opportunity to show off.
Indeed, Su Chen didn’t let him down. He began to, in great detail, describe what he had done in Ravager territory, starting from how he had convinced the Heavenly Might Battalion to take a different route, continuing to how he had brought them large quantities of resources, then to how they infiltrated the Beasts’ territory and stimulated a Beast Wave. Everything he did affected the Heavenly Might Battalion’s chances at survival greatly, and it all culminated finally in how he had instructed Iron Cliff to create a path for them to successfully retreat.
Even if those present already knew what had happened, they were still just as stunned now hearing it recounted in their presence. They all felt as if their blood was boiling with excitement.
Even though Su Chen’s words were calm and peaceful, he couldn’t suppress the current of emotion that was roiling in the hearts of anyone who was listening to his words.
After he finished talking, the hall was completely silent.
After a long time, Hong Qianzhu suddenly raised his hands.
He began to clap.
One general after another began to join in with this clapping until the hall was filled with the sound of applause.
Even Lin Wenjun began to clap his hands.
He might not have been a qualified general, but at least he was a qualified actor.
Su Chen quietly stood there, appreciating the applause enveloping him.
This was an affirmation by the generals, by the military, and even by the whole human race of what he had done. Even a person who possessed an immense amount of authority might not be able to receive this kind of affirmation, because it was the instinctual respect that people had for heroes.
As he quietly soaked up the applause, he felt no discomfort or uneasiness. He displayed quite a bit of self-confidence, as any successful general should.
Once the applause subsided, the main hall quieted down again.
Hong Qianzhu spoke. “We’ve already asked what we needed to confirm. Do you all have any more questions?”
Lin Wenjun said, “I have a question.”
Hong Qianzhu made a motion indicating that he could do as he pleased.
Lin Wenjun stared intently at Su Chen as he spoke with clear enunciation, “I do not wish to dampen what Prince Su has accomplished by infiltrating Ravager territory and saving the Heavenly Might Battalion. However, I do want to know how you were so clear about the situation of the Ravagers?”
Before waiting for Su Chen to reply, he continued, “Let me put this another way. You would at least need a map in addition to your camouflage ability in order to traverse the Iron and Blood Country like a fish in water, right? Maps are important treasures to a country and are hard to come by. So how did you manage to get one?”
Su Chen didn’t immediately respond.
Lin Wenjun’s words had managed to strike Su Chen at one of his weak spots.
His relationship with the Immortal Temple was his greatest weakness. If this secret was ever revealed, Su Chen might immediately be considered as a human traitor. On the other hand, he had been doing business with the Immortal Temple for so long, and it was possible that this secret had spread. As a result, it was indeed the easiest secret that could be revealed.
Just selling the Three Yangs Medicine alone had cast quite a bit of suspicion onto him.
The effects of this matter were far too great, to the point that even the Immortal Temple weren’t able to trick everyone. Someone was bound to discover that the original sellers of the Three Yangs Medicine were linked to the Immortal Temple.
The worst part was that, after creating the Hemolytic Totem, the fact that Su Chen was Cloud Bat was spread far and wide to all seven human countries. Basically anyone and everyone was aware of Su Chen’s true identity.
When you combined these two lines of reasoning, even an idiot would be able to tell that Su Chen had dealings with the Immortal Temple.
Of course, that didn’t necessarily mean that they would be able to do anything to him.
Su Chen had contributed the techniques for reaching the Blood Boiling Realm and the Yang Opening Realm without bloodlines, the Hemolytic Totem, and a bunch of other related techniques. His contributions to the human race were quite staggering. Under these kinds of circumstances, no one would probably make too much of a fuss even if Su Chen had collaborated with the Ravagers, let alone the Immortal Temple. Many people had sold human secrets before without consequences entirely because of their status or their contributions.
However, all of this depended on whether or not they would accept it.
If they were willing to accept it, then they would be able to spin it as he had done everything for his country and for his people. Even though he had made some small mistakes here or there, they were all forgivable, and his contributions more than made up for it.
If they were unwilling, then it could easily be turned into a matter of him growing arrogant because of his accomplishments and selling out his country for some personal gain. Even though he had helped his country, his actions had also affected the commoners. He should be rewarded for his contributions and punished for his crimes. His rewards would be a number of precious stones and resources, while the punishment was even simple - a single blade would suffice.
No matter how they chose to spin it, reason was on their side.
This was Su Chen’s situation. If the higher-ups were happy with him, everything was trivial; if they weren’t happy with him, they could absolutely take his life with just those charges alone.
Did Lin Wenjun like him?
Of course not.
But there was not really a reason for Lin Wenjun to want him dead.
Lin Wenjun obviously had his own thoughts on the matter, but before they were manifested, he thought it best to first try and suppress Su Chen’s influence first so that public opinion wouldn’t sway too far against him.”
Su Chen didn’t know what Lin Wenjun was planning, but he was very clear that nothing good would come from admitting his relationship with the Immortal Temple.
As such, he cleanly responded, “I didn’t have a map.”
Lin Wenjun pressed, “So how did you find the Heavenly Might Battalion and grasp what was going on in Ravager territory so clearly?”
Su Chen replied, “I asked around as I walked. After all, I can speak the Ravager tongue. Anything I learned I would put onto a map. Before leaving, I didn’t have a map, but when it came time to go, I had already developed a map that I could use for leaving the Iron and Blood Country. Your Highness, did you not say that maps are important country treasures? So if I hand this map over to you all, how much will I benefit?”