“It’s not a good thing to gain fame. Just look at Murong Yunlan. She’s famous, isn’t she? So, people keep finding fault with her,” Chen Chen said plaintively, seeming repulsed by the idea of getting famous.
Zhang Ji brooded over what he heard, reflecting that what Chen Chen said was very true. Moments later, he shook his head with a bitter smile.
“Big brother… You’re right about that, but with your talents, it’s almost impossible to avoid fame!”
Chen Chen was stunned for a second, then he couldn’t help but burst into laughter.
He adored Zhang Ji’s serious attitude. Although it seemed like he was fawning over him, Chen Chen knew that all his words came from the bottom of his heart.
This absolutely delighted him.
After a peaceful night of rest at the tavern, Chen Chen and Zhang Ji made their way to Ji Zhou City’s drill ground early in the morning.
This was where the military troops usually trained, but it was reserved for Tianyun Clan’s recruitment of pupils for the day.
When Chen Chen and Zhang Ji arrived at the drill ground, thousands of people had already gathered there.
Among those thousands, two of them were particularly eye-catching.
One of them was Murong Yunlan. At that moment, she was standing quietly in the crowd, no one in the surroundings daring to go near her.
In comparison to the serenity she had displayed a few days ago, she was wearing a cold, stern look at the moment, which drove people away from her.
Aside from her, one other man was receiving the same treatment. He was simply standing there, with a wide vacant area around him, as though he ate humans.
“Who’s that guy? Why is he so cool?” Chen Chen asked randomly, and some people around him replied right away.
“He’s the son of the Ji Zhou General. He’s gotten used to killing from a young age, so there’s a murderous aura about him. No one dares to go near him.”
‘Ji Zhou General… So his background is even cooler than Murong Yunlan’s!’ Chen Chen mused inside.
The Ji Zhou General was in charge of the military affairs of Ji Zhou, with authority that was only one grade lower than the Ji Zhou Governor.
As the second most powerful figure of a big state, he had greater power than the most powerful figure of a city.
After some chattering with the people around them, they started to get on well.
Moreover, with Chen Chen’s expertise in swindling people, the men he was talking to looked as if they regretted not knowing him earlier.
Right at that moment, an elderly man with white hair and beard stepped onto the massive platform above the drill ground.
With that one order, the voices of the thousands of people on the drill ground were drowned out. Everyone knew the old man’s identity the moment they saw him, so they shut their mouths and didn’t dare to speak a word.
“Those of you who possess the keepsakes of Tianyun Clan, come up to the stage right now,” the old man went on after everyone fell silent.
When he finished speaking, less than a hundred people among the thousands on the drill ground moved, marching towards the platform.
All of them looked proud and confident.
Murong Yunlan and her servant were among them, along with the son of the Ji Zhou General.
“Big brother, I’ll go first!” Zhang Ji told Chen Chen, taking out the keepsake.
Chen Chen gave him a look of encouragement and patted him on the shoulder, gesturing for him to go onto the stage with ease.
Watching Zhang Ji’s back as he left, Chen Chen let out a silent sigh.
If he hadn’t appeared, this dude would have been much wealthier than he was now.
And the dude happened to be extremely grateful towards him too, even treating him like his own older brother.
‘Fine, when I become the chairman in the future, I’ll make him the vice chairman or something,’ Chen Chen comforted himself.
The old man on the platform collected the keepsakes, then looked down at the drill ground once again.
“Those of you who have parents or elders with cultivation, come onto the stage.”
Right after he announced that, about another hundred or so people moved towards the stage.
Cultivation talent depended on inheritance. Usually, if the parents were cultivated, they would most likely give birth to children with cultivation talent.
In order to enhance efficiency, it was reasonable for the Tianyun Clan’s elder to call them onto the stage in that sequence.
The elder inspected them intently after they got onto the stage. Eventually, only less than fifty of them left in a dejected state.
More than half of the people had cultivation talents. If that ratio was applied to the people standing below the platform, it would be unimaginable.
By the time he was done inspecting that group, the old man on the stage was already losing interest.
Based on his past experiences, it was almost done at this point. If there were a few dozen people among the remaining thousands who qualified for cultivation, they would be fortunate enough.
Having thought of that, he was ready to command the remaining people to line up and get onto the stage in the prescribed order. Before he could speak, however, an idea struck him out of nowhere and he changed his mind.
“If you consider yourselves extraordinarily talented, please come onto the stage.”
When they heard him, the thousands of people at the scene fell dead silent, not a single soul daring to budge.
If they went onto the stage and got disapproved by the elder, it would be immensely embarrassing. They would probably become famous in all of Ji Zhou, and how were they ever supposed to face people again?
Not only would they be ashamed of themselves, their actions would even embarrass their parents…
However, Chen Chen wasn’t bothered by it in the least bit. He wanted to get through the crowd and went on stage, but a few of the dudes who hit it off with him earlier held him back.
“Brother, if you’re the only one that goes on stage and you’ve got no cultivation talents, I’m afraid you’ll end up the laughingstock of Ji Zhou!”
“That’s right, brother. Confidence is a good thing, but there has to be at least a group of people who go on stage together, so that you can blend in without being noticed too much!”
Looking at the concerned looks on their faces, Chen Chen said solemnly, “Rest assured, guys. If I’ve got no cultivation talent for real, and become the laughingstock of Ji Zhou, just let them laugh. The path of cultivation is an adverse path in itself. It’s normal to die along the way.”
After he finished speaking, Chen Chen shrugged off their hands resolutely and made his way towards the stage.
As they stared at Chen Chen’s lone, somewhat forlorn back, the looks on the guys’ faces were complicated.
“He marches on despite the thousands of eyes on him… This guy is truly the role model of our generation.”
“Haih, even if he really ends up as the laughingstock of Ji Zhou, I will not ditch this friend. Brother, what do you think?”
“What do you mean? Do I look like a coward who huddles with benefits and shuns danger?”
With the few of them seeing him off, Chen Chen slowly approached the platform.
Everyone on the drill ground had noticed him by now.
Feeling the countless eyes pinned on him, Chen Chen flashed a placid smile and stepped on the stage.
“It’s him? That damn brat! I can’t believe he arrived safely at Ji Zhou.”
Behind the old man, Murong Yunlan’s servant was surprised when she saw Chen Chen.
Murong Yunlan herself looked at Chen Chen on the stage, her expression turning extremely somber, as if she had thought of something.
“Little Huan, he was right not to have followed us. Think of all those who were slaughtered by the demon clans…”
Murong Yunlan couldn’t go on anymore, starting to sob.
However, Little Huan flashed a disdainful smile and replied, “My lady, don’t blame yourself for what happened. You did not force them to follow you. It was their lack of capacity and affinity with cultivation that killed them.
“As for this dude, he didn’t follow you because he loves being special. It’s got nothing to do with right or wrong. Everyone followed you, except for him, and now no one came on stage, except for him. I’ve seen a lot of people like him, who think that it’s cool and eye-catching to do such things, when in fact, they are simply ridiculous.”
“Big brother will always be the big brother. That confidence… That aura… When will I ever become someone like him?”
In contrast to Murong Yunlan’s reaction, Zhang Ji was exhilarated, fighting the urge to cheer.
Apart from the discussions among the people on the stage, the people below were also making tons of comments about him.
“Who’s that? How arrogant!”
“Not even a prodigy like me dares to go on stage. What does he have?”
“Brother, since you’re a prodigy, how about you go up there?”
“I was kidding, I was kidding. Don’t take it too seriously.”
The elder on the stage was amused when he saw that someone had actually come up on stage, but his amusement vanished in an instant, replaced by extreme solemness.
“Brat, who are you?!” he asked in a loud, bright voice, causing the entire drill ground to fall silent.
Everyone yearned to know the identity of this savage guy.
Faced with his inquiry, Chen Chen gave a small bow and introduced himself in a calm, placid voice.
“Chen Chen, from Stone Village, Shichuan County, Feiyun City, Ji Zhou.”