Yan Qingsang’s performance was so striking it amazed even Ziju Min. He stared at Yan Qingsang deeply, unable to believe his ears.
“Your name is Yan Qingsang, isn’t it?” he asked after a deep breath.
“Yes, this junior is Yan Qingsang.”
“You’ve correctly answered two questions in a row. Where does your knowledge of pill dao come from? Has House Yan been hiding deep foundations in pill dao all along?” Curiosity had flared to life about this sudden competency. The two questions might not seem particularly difficult, but they took a stunning amount of experience and understanding to answer correctly.
“Senior Ziju, it’s happenstance that I’m able to answer the two questions. Some time ago, I went to the Bluesmoke Isles for the jade festival and received some heritage from ancient jade. One of them was from a pill dao senior, which contained many of his memories about pill dao. Therefore...”
The crowd broke into a furor of discussion. Jealousy flashed through the expressions of those assembled. How ridiculously lucky this genius was!
If he’d inherited the memories of a ancient pill dao master, didn’t that mean he would dominate the contest?
Ziju Min didn’t know what to say.
No wonder this young man was performing so well. The goddess of fortune had smiled upon him. However, that put him in a difficult position. If Yan Qingsang continued the way he was, it would be a heavy blow to everyone else’s ego. It would be an utter slaughter.
Not even Ziju Min dared say he was better than an ancient pill dao master, let alone these young geniuses. Curiosity yet flared. “What level is the master whose memory you inherited at?”
“Just a pill emperor,” Yan Qingsang responded humbly. “He hadn’t yet reached empyrean realm.”
Lower than empyrean realm? Ziju Min relaxed slightly, but he wasn’t going to just take Yan Qingsang’s words for it. He gave the boy a once over. “Are you sure he was just a pill emperor?”
“I’m sure. I wanted it to be an empyrean expert’s memory, but if that were the case, I wouldn’t be able to refine his heritage.” Yan Qingsang played the part of a disappointed man perfectly.
His reasoning was convincing. If the level of the heritage had been too high, Yan Qingsang, who hadn’t reached empyrean realm himself, wouldn’t be able to fully take it all in.
“Alright, you answered the second question correctly.” Ziju Min had no further comments. If it was just heritage from a pill emperor, at least he wouldn’t end up dominating the entire contest.
House Xiahou was stuck between a rock and a hard place given the circumstances. The one faction they didn’t want to see winning was performing the best so far. The other factions had had no opportunities to even answer the first two questions. It would be ridiculous if things continued as was, and they would risk offending the other factions. If the contest ended up benefiting only House Yan, it would be a slap to the face for the others.
House Yan had nothing to lose, like a dead pig that didn’t fear hot water. House Xiahou, on the other hand, was in the stage of rapid growth. Naturally, they didn’t want to make enemies and cause the other factions to turn on them.
Therefore, Xiahou Ying barely stopped herself from warning Yan Qingsang to restrain himself. She even thought about kicking him out.
The birthday celebration was a way to increase her value. Top geniuses had been invited to boost her fame, and she could make use of the opportunity to build relationships with them to lessen the tension between House Xiahou and other factions.
Yan Qingsang was a nobody in her eyes. No one from House Yan was to be taken seriously, not even the most remarkable Yan Zhenhuai, let alone the lesser Yan Qingsang.
The problem lay not in Yan Zhenhuai, but in House Yan as a whole. Xiahou Ying was a proud woman. She despised House Yan and wouldn’t for her life consider any of its members a potential partner.
That was why Yan Qingsang’s performance upset her so much.
Nonetheless, she knew it wouldn’t do for her to kick House Yan out now. That would make the two houses’ relationship completely unsalvageable. Additionally, people would see her as nothing but a snob. That would be detrimental to her efforts to build a good image.
She threw Yan Qingsang a pointed look, warning him to read the room and show some restraint.
He pretended to not notice her at all.
Yan Zhenhuai gave him a thumbs-up. “Good work, Qingsang. Don’t feel pressured. Show everyone what you’ve got!”
He realized that even he himself could only play sidekick in the contest. He wasn’t that talented in pill dao, but as the top genius of House Yan, he took his responsibility to the family seriously.
He knew if Yan Qingsang stood out too much, the other factions would be offended. At this moment, however, House Yan couldn’t afford to let any opportunities slip by if they hoped to recover their status.
They had to make a showing even if they would offend House Xiahou and other factions. It was imperative that they recovered their reputation and rise again. If they missed this chance, there would be increasingly few opportunities such as these. Thus, Yan Zhenhuai would sooner cheer on Yan Qingsang than stop him.
The one most depressed and perturbed was Yan Jinnan. He was sitting right across from Yan Zhenhuai and could clearly see how differently the top genius was looking at Yan Qingsang now. Clearly, Yan Qingsang was now solemnly considered an equal.
Who among the youths in House Yan had ever won such respect from Yan Zhenhuai?
Yan Jinnan’s heart was filled with venomous thoughts. He couldn’t be more jealous.
Jiang Chen appeared to be meditating, but he was silently taking in the reactions of every member of House Yan. Yan Jinnan was undoubtedly the most hostile.
He’d have to pay more attention to that one in the future. This young man was narrow-minded prone to jealousy. He didn’t care about the honor of the family, and felt no sense of belonging. He wouldn’t hesitate to betray his house if it came down to that.
The other youths were equally fairweather. The only exception was Yan Zhenhuai. He lived up to his title as the top genius in House Yan. He was a dependable young man.
Jiang Chen silently evaluated the scions. He was planning on staying in House Yan for a long time, so he had to gain a basic understanding of everyone.
Members of the other factions kept looking at House Yan’s table. This house was now a strong opponent in the contest. Jiang Chen kept his eyes open and his ears keen. He knew people were getting antsy because of Yan Qingsang. He was on high mental alert.
He told Yan Qingsang to answer two questions in a row because he wanted him to take the initiative and intimidate the others. With that accomplished, there was no need for them to keep going at full speed.
If they didn’t let other people have an opportunity to answer, the contest wouldn’t go on. And if the other factions gave up prematurely, their efforts would be in vain.
Therefore, when Ziju Min announced the third question, Jiang Chen played dumb even though he knew the answer. His eyelids remained motionless.
Yan Qingsang stared at him doggedly, his shoulders trembling slightly in preparation to raise his hand. He was a little disappointed to see a genius from the Jade Lake Sect answer the third question and receive the ten points.
Jade Lake Sect had a good foundation in pill dao compared to other sects in Eternal Divine Nation. Their success wasn’t that surprising.
Everyone had been distracted when the third question was announced. They were nervously waiting to see if Yan Qingsang would once again answer immediately. Almost all of their attention was on him. Thus, they were highly surprised when he didn’t say anything or show any reaction.
Once again, they lost their chance to answer before they realized it.
With it, however, brought relief. At least Yan Qingsang’s impetus had been interrupted. Twice was coincidence, but third time was a pattern. If he did it again, the others would completely lose their confidence.
Fortunately, that hadn’t happened and the contest could go on.
His silence gave the others hope. They regained motivation and shifted their focus back to Master Ziju Min.
Yan Zhenhuai wasn’t disappointed. It was normal for Yan Qingsang to not have an answer. It would be rather ridiculous if he could answer everything. Even though he wanted his clan brother to continue dominating the contest, he was realistic enough to stop himself from expecting too much.
Every genius present was remarkably talented. Other than those absent due to closed door cultivation, almost every talented youth in Eternal Divine Nation was in attendance. They were anything but mediocre.
When the the fourth question was announced, Jiang Chen still knew the answer. But once again, he played dumb and didn’t give Yan Qingsang a chance to wow the crowd.
As long as he played dead, the genius could only remain silent.
The fourth question was answered by a genius from House Feng, one of the seven biggest houses. That put House Yan at the top with twenty points, followed by the Jade Lake Sect and House Feng.
Yan Qingsang keeping silent twice made the others relax their guard. He’d just been lucky enough to encounter two questions he happened to know. So he’d inherited the memories of an ancient pill emperor. So what?
It seemed that an ancient pill emperor was no better than an average pill expert.