Jiang Chen was wrapping his mind around Ziju Min’s point. The Eternal Sacred Land was the core faction of Eternal Divine Nation. If House Xiahou was left unchecked, it’d grow to be a threat.
Xiahou Zong claiming to be the top genius of the nation was a blatant insult. The subtle currents of tension between the two factions were obvious enough, despite them never being voiced aloud. Jiang Chen was naturally sharp enough to figure out Ziju Min’s point without further prompting.
“Xiahou Zong is extraordinary, Senior Ziju, but I believe it’s not impossible to surpass him. I’m confident even though I haven’t ascended into empyrean realm yet. I’ll be even more confident once I do.” Jiang Chen really did think so.
Since Ziju Min had asked, he didn’t want to put himself down to appear humble, especially not when Xiahou Zong was the one he was comparing himself to.
Ziju Min was rather surprised. If they were discussing talent in pill dao, he wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with Jiang Chen’s claim. However, they were obviously chatting about martial dao — which Xiahou Zong was wildly famous for. He turned to consider the boy wordlessly.
Jiang Chen met the gaze calmly and didn’t waver after making the declaration. He knew he was being assessed.
After a long while, Ziju Min gave a quiet sigh. “You know, Shao Yuan, it’s been a very long while since a young man like you has appeared in Eternal Divine Nation.”
“Oh?” Jiang Chen smiled. “Does Xiahou Zong stand out so much that all the other geniuses can’t even keep their heads up? Are they too afraid to even talk big?”
He was rather curious now. Was Xiahou Zong really powerful enough to stop young people from even daring to dream? That would be ridiculous.
“It’s not that no one dares dream about defeating him, but that many think of him as an insurmountable obstacle. Over the years, a good number of young geniuses have challenged him. Even those from the Eternal Sacred Land challenged him as well. However, no one has ever defeated him..”
There was a bleak tinge to Ziju Min’s tone. “Alright. We’re going on a tangent here. Consider my suggestion, young Shao Yuan. I won’t judge you for daring to hope. I welcome you to join us and prove yourself right. Prove that someone in Eternal Divine Nation is able to defeat Xiahou Zong.”
Jiang Chen was already half-convinced. The only thing that concerned him was Huang’er. He wouldn’t be able to stay at her side once he left. Something might happen in his absence.
“I may not be able to promise you anything else, young friend. House Xiahou and House Yan had been at odds for generations. The Eternal Sacred Land won’t intervene without a good reason. That is, unless you impress us with your ability and make us feel we must become involved. Do you understand?”
“I do, Master Ziju. What I’m worried about now isn’t my potential. I just worry that I won’t be able to return in time if Xiahou Zong suddenly exits closed door cultivation.”
“Don’t worry about that either. If he comes out of closed door cultivation, we will be informed as well. Besides, he can’t come to House Yan for Huang’er immediately after he exits. Preparing a human vessel takes time and multiple steps. He’ll never come so soon.”
Jiang Chen chewed over the words. They made sense.
Besides, he’d still be in the capital. It wasn’t that long a trip to House Yan. As long as he was informed immediately when something happened, he would still be able to make it back in time.
For now, his top priority was to improve himself. The gap between Xiahou Zong and him was significant, and he wasn’t sure if he’d be able to take out the other at the moment.
There must be something impressive about Xiahou Zong that enabled him to remain as the top genius. It wasn’t that Jiang Chen was afraid, but he’d be more assured after improving himself.
Well, it seemed that he’d made up his mind.
“You’ve extended several invites, Master Ziju. It’ll be rude of me to turn you down again. The Eternal Sacred Land is the most powerful faction in Eternal Divine Nation. Perhaps it is indeed a place that suits me more. I’ll go with you. I’ve done my part for House Yan. Unfortunately, I’ll be disappointing those in the house who support me. To pay them back, I’d like to ask you a favor.”
“Do tell,” Ziju Min said with a smile.
“Yan Qingsang from House Yan is my brother. Could he enter the sacred land as well? The opportunity alone will be enough.”
“Haha, that’s quite alright. However, if Yan Qingsang fails to meet our standards, he’ll be expelled. You have to be prepared for that to happen.”
“I won’t complain if he falls short of your expectations. I’m asking this only to pay back House Yan and Elder Yan Wanjun in particular. This way, I’ll be able to cultivate without distractions.” Jiang Chen clearly laid out his points.
Ziju Min was delighted. “Good on you, young man. That’s how a true man should be! There are people for you and against you in House Yan. The same will be true of the Eternal Sacred Land. I hope that you’ll be able to stay true to yourself then. Don’t let skepticism and difficulties knock you down.”
Jiang Chen smiled. “Only I can defeat myself. No skepticism or difficulties will be able to keep me down.” His tone wasn’t particularly assertive, but it was convincing.
Ziju Min was overjoyed that Jiang Chen had accepted his offer. He wasn’t worried about House Yan’s reaction at all. Before his visit, the patriarch had said that even though the family needed someone like Shao Yuan, they would let Shao Yuan go as long as he agreed.
The patriarch’s stomach dropped when Ziju Min gave him the news. He laughed wryly. “You ended up persuading him in the end, Master Ziju.”
Ziju Min couldn’t be more pleased. “I’ll be sure to compensate your house. I owe you one and the Eternal Sacred Land does too. When Shao Yuan makes a name for himself, he won’t forget about his time here.”
“That’s true, but House Yan’s fortunes didn’t run deep enough. We failed to give him the treatment he deserves. He’s talented, but also loyal. It’s admirable that he offered to take Yan Qingsang with him.” The patriarch was regretful.
Given Shao Yuan’s personality, if House Yan had been more determined, if they’d treated the young man better and valued him more, he might’ve still stayed.
However, the patriarch knew that there were a lot of dissenting voices within the family. Shao Yuan would’ve still been forced out sooner or later.
He was quite dejected and deeply contemplative. Was the core of the clan truly rotten? A young genius with great potential had come to House Yan, but they’d failed to keep him. The boy wasn’t leaving because he was unloyal, but because of the family’s attitude.
During the meeting in the great hall, they’d discussed the young man’s future like he was an item for sale. It had been a serious blow to the pride of a genius. Perhaps that was when Shao Yuan had started considering leaving.
The patriarch agreed to let Ziju Min take Shao Yuan away after a few days. Before that, Ziju Min was to resolve the conflict between the Jade Lake Sect and House Yan.
The pill sovereign naturally wouldn’t decline. He knew House Yan didn’t want to be the Jade Lake Sect’s enemy.
Afterwards, the patriarch returned to the great hall with a dark and dejected expression.
The elders had remained in the hall. They didn’t dare leave while Ziju Min was on the premises. If word got out that the house executives were dilly-dallying every which where, he might think they didn’t respect him.
They had all been waiting for the patriarch and blinked when they saw the patriarch return on his own. “Where’s Master Ziju, patriarch?”
“He’s left,” the patriarch responded remotely.
“He’s gone?” Yan Wanyou couldn’t help ask. “Has he seen that kid Shao Yuan?”
“He has. What else do you have to say, Venerated Elder Wanyou?”
Yan Wanyou chuckled. “It doesn’t matter now. There’s no need for us to argue over a young man who doesn’t share our surname. In the end, it’s Yan descendants who can make the family strong.”
“You’re right,” the patriarch said in a frigid tone. “We don’t need to agonize over the problem anymore. Shao Yuan has agreed to join the Eternal Sacred Land after Master Ziju made him another offer. He’s out of your hair. You don’t have to think about him anymore.”
“What?” The news shocked all those assembled.
Yan Wanyou gaped, thinking the patriarch was joking. But a closer look told him otherwise.
“As… as expected, he isn’t loyal to us at all! We can’t depend on people from outside the family at all. See, I was right!” Yan Wanyou considered himself wise to have disapproved of the young man. Just look at the betrayal in such a short amount of time!
“Shut up!” The patriarch had had enough. “Proud of yourself, aren’t you? Yan Wanyou, you played an important role in driving Shao Yuan away. One day, you’ll realize what a genius the house has lost. We wronged him, yet he didn’t betray us. He’s bringing Yan Qingsang to the Eternal Sacred Land with him. Master Ziju has agreed to mediate the conflict between us and the Jade Lake Sect, and he says he owed us a favor. This is all thanks to Shao Yuan.”
The patriarch’s tone was cold. “This young man has been ostracized and judged like wares in a marketplace. A genius’ pride and dignity was trampled and affronted. And yet, he pays us back with kindness and didn’t strike back despite his rise in status. Setting aside our young, how many of you old men would be able to show such magnanimity and clemency?”