Yan Zhenhuai couldn’t be more surprised by Yan Qingsang’s actions. At the same time, he was concerned. He hoped the younger genius knew what he was doing, or he’d be asking for humiliation.
Yan Qingsang had become the center of everyone’s attention. Even the top geniuses looked at him with bafflement.
Had the unreliable kid from House Yan lost his mind? The first question was plainly very difficult. Clearly it was meant to intimidate the contestants. How dared he raise his hand? Did his boldness stem from ignorance?
The crowd looked on with different expressions. Some scoffed derisively, some expected him to make a scene. Others considered him with a frown, trying to discern if he knew the answer, or had raised his hand in panic. Yet others shut their eyes and ignored him completely.
Yan Qingsang slowly got to his feet beneath their scrutiny.
He cleared his throat in an exaggerated fashion and smiled. “Autumn is the season of killing. There aren’t a lot of spirit herbs that can meld with the Bonemending Sunflowers during this period of time, but there are still a handful of them. Flowercide Grass and Heart Crabapple come to mind. Autumn Reedgrass is another. There are other possibilities, but these three are the best options. What do you say, Senior Ziju?”
The thing about Yan Qingsang was that he was insensitive to the outside world. Given the circumstances, he was still able to grin and ignore the others’ gazes.
Jiang Chen rather appreciated that quality about him. A strong mentality could be counted as one of Yan Qingsang’s positives.
Back in the Jade Revel Lodge, he had spoken up against everyone at the table despite Xiahou Xi’s forceful attitude. Now, even with all eyes on him, he was standing boldly and answering the question without fear, unperturbed by all the attention he was getting. He’d even asked Sir Ziju Min for his opinion, not something that every youth could do.
Many young people feared the seniors and experts like vicious beasts. Even if they weren’t afraid, they remained respectful. Thus, Yan Qingsang’s performance was rather surprising.
Even Yan Zhenhuai gave him another scan of careful consideration. This young man suddenly seemed like a stranger to him. Was this the Yan Qingsang he knew?
As the top genius of the younger generation, he knew better than anyone how ordinary the house’s foundation in pill dao was. They were definitely mediocre when compared to the other big factions in Eternal Divine Nation. And Yan Qingsang had never shown any talent in pill dao whatsoever.
Why had he been able to respond to the first question before anyone else, and looked so confident when doing so? Had he not been taking a wild guess?
For some reason, Yan Zhenhuai had a feeling that the boy wasn’t making things up as he went.
The other members of House Yan looked at him doubtfully. They were of different minds about him.
Some of them were thinking of the greater good of House Yan and hoped that Yan Qingsang wasn’t messing around. Others hoped that Yan Qingsang would make a fool of himself. The more he embarrassed the family, the better.
Yan Jinnan was of course among the latter. His relationship with Yan Qingsang had always been poor. He secretly envied Yan Qingsang for splurging fifty million to partake in the contest, because he himself couldn’t afford to do the same.
More importantly, a part of the fifty million came from the stones he’d lost to Yan Qingsang at the jade festival.
That intensified his resentment for Yan Qingsang. He wanted nothing more than for the latter to make a fool of himself. They were both youngsters of House Yan, so why should Yan Qingsang be able to do something that he couldn’t do?
The other factions were more aligned and straightforward in their thinking. They were curious if Yan Qingsang’s answer was the right one. They turned their attention to Sir Ziju Min.
Obviously they didn’t want House Yan to be the first to win points. Any other faction would be acceptable, but not that house. They hadn’t taken House Yan seriously to begin with. It was there solely to fill a spot and to be the cash cow of a hundred million sky spirit stones.
Therefore, no one wanted Yan Qingsang to be right, House Xiahou included. Even though the latter were the organizer and weren’t participating, they looked down on House Yan.
The pill sovereign became the center of attention.
Originally, he’d his eyes half-closed as if in meditation, but he suddenly widened his eyes, a keen light shooting out of his eyes at Yan Qingsang, due to the boy’s answer.
“Master, Yan Qingsang was only spouting off nonsense, wasn’t he?” Xiahou Ying asked quietly.
Ziju Min sighed. “He was a hundred percent correct. I didn’t expect him to know about Autumn Reedgrass. How extraordinary!”
Surprise rippled through the crowd. Had House Yan just made a lucky guess and earned the first ten points?
The moderator from House Xiahou had no choice but to announce, “First question, ten points to House Yan!”
It was a dramatic turn of events. The least regarded house had been the first to win ten points.
Even Yan Zhenhuai gaped at Yan Qingsang in surprise. For the moment, he didn’t know how to react.
“Good job, Qingsang,” he marveled. “You’ve got some tricks up your sleeve!”
Yan Qingsang grinned. “I’m just lucky! I encountered some opportunities in Bluesmoke and gained knowledge of pill dao from the heritage found in a piece of ancient jade. I didn’t expect it to be of use! What a happy coincidence.”
The others fell silent. A venomous glint flashed through and instantly vanished in Yan Jinnan’s eyes.
Ten points on House Yan’s scoreboard while the other factions were still at zero seemed far out of the realm of possibility. Yan Qingsang felt like he was in a dream as well. He hadn’t expected everything to go so smoothly.
He even hadn’t noticed when Jiang Chen’s eyelids had first moved. He came to his senses only after being prompted several more times. He’d been panicking a little, but when Jiang Chen transmitted the answer, and he blurted it out without thinking.
Yan Qingsang sat down in delight after a correct answer. He wanted to say something to Jiang Chen, but Jiang Chen messaged him, “Focus. Don’t get distracted.”
It wasn’t the first time he ended up benefitting from Jiang Chen, so he collected his thoughts and calmed his excitement.
He had a feeling that Brother Shao Yuan had urged him to participate in the contest with winning in mind. Shao Yuan wouldn’t have joined in with a hundred million stones just for fun.
Yan Qingsang felt even more driven.
“Listen carefully to the next question. Here is the recipe of a pill. It’s the right recipe, but two of the supplementary spirit herbs are problematic. Raise your hand when you find the two flaws. Remember, once you raise your hand, you must give your answer immediately, or it’ll be considered cheating and you’ll get ten points deducted! Therefore, peruse carefully before you raise your hand.”
With a wave of his hand, a virtual scroll appeared in the air. Lines of text materialized on the scroll. It was a pill recipe.
Jiang Chen scanned it and smiled to himself. It was an ancient pill recipe, and an uncommon one at that. The pill was rarely used. Only pill grandmasters who had nothing better to do would study this.
As a pill grandmaster in his past life, Jiang Chen had had a lot of free time. He’d read more books than he could count and there wasn’t a pill recipe in the world that he didn’t know.
He recognized the recipe immediately.
The answer came easily to him as his gaze swept through the text. He threw Yan Qingsang a pointed look.
Yan Qingsang wasn’t paying attention to the recipe. His sole focus was on Jiang Chen. He knew there was no use for him in looking at the recipe. He wouldn’t be able to understand it even if he spent ten years studying it. Brother Shao Yuan was the only thing he could depend on.
As soon as Jiang Chen’s eyelid moved, he raised his hand without hesitation.
That created an uproar. Frustration exploded because of him.
What was going on? Was Yan Qingsang determined to stir up trouble? Couldn’t he let the others have some fun? How were they going to get a chance to win if he continued like this?
What mattered most was if he could give the right answer. Would he make another lucky guess? No one could be that lucky, could they?
“Again?” Xiahou Ying was surprised. She looked at him frostily from only the corner of her eye, her tone irritated.
Yan Qingsang cackled, paying no attention to her doubt.
He turned to Ziju Min. “This is the recipe for the ancient Bluespirit Pill. It can be used to enhance spirit energy. It possesses a cleansing quality for those who use methods of a particular element. The two flaws exist in the use of Watercharm Seed and Cleansing Grass. The names of the two ingredients may seem perfect for Bluespirit Pill from the name, but in truth, the two herbs are too potent for a refining pill like it. That’s my answer.” He bowed dramatically to Ziju Min after delivering his words.