The one hour they spent together undid several emotional knots that Ling Bi’er had been nursing. The three of them were able to open up more to one another.
Huang’er was greatly moved when she heard that Jiang Chen had decided to join the Eternal Sacred Land because of her.
“Don’t worry, Huang’er. I’ll be prepared. Even if Xiahou Zong exits his cultivation tomorrow, I’ll do everything I can to take you away.”
“I trust you, Brother Chen. I’ll rather die in your arms than take a single step into Xiahou territory.” Huang’er was as determined as he was.
Jiang Chen felt much better after validating each other’s feelings again. He was a little less worried about going to the sacred land, but at the same time his new promise was another weight added to his shoulders.
The Eternal Sacred Land was the most powerful faction in Eternal Divine Nation. Even the royal family of the nation was raised in the sacred land.
It was a big deal to House Yan that Jiang Chen was joining the faction, but for the sacred land, it was trivial. Countless geniuses joined throughout the year. He might be well-known at the moment, but mostly for his ability in pill dao. Although pill dao was valued in the faction, it wasn’t as noteworthy as achievement in martial dao.
Therefore, the Eternal Sacred Land didn’t pay a lot of attention to Jiang Chen and Yan Qingsang.
Yan Qingsang, especially, was widely speculated to have entered through nepotism. He could only be considered a probationary disciple. If he didn’t perform well enough during the probation period, it was very likely he’d be kicked out.
There wasn’t a welcoming celebration for them, which didn’t surprise Jiang Chen. Given the sacred land’s status, two young men from House Yan weren’t important enough to warrant a festive welcome.
“Shao Yuan, Yan Qingsang. Starting today, both of you are probationary disciples of the Eternal Sacred Land,” said Ziju Min. “You will undergo a test one month later. It may not be particularly difficult, but it’ll determine if you can stay for the long term. You’re known for your ability in pill dao, Shao Yuan, so you should be able to stay even if you don’t pass. Yan Qingsang, however, will be sent home if he fails.
“This is how we operate. I hope you’ll understand.” Ziju Min was upfront with them.
Reality was cruel, but it was as Jiang Chen expected. The Eternal Sacred Land was the top faction of Eternal Divine Nation, after all. They wouldn’t be thus if they didn’t impose high and rigid standards.
“Your ability is the only thing that matters here. The greater the talent and potential you demonstrate, the more valued you’ll be. I know you’re extraordinarily talented, Shao Yuan, but I’m the only one who knows at the time being. You have to prove yourself to others as well. I can pave the path and be the wind at your back, but you must work hard to win the other senior executives over on your own.
“As for Yan Qingsang, your top priority now is to pass the evaluation next month. You don’t have much time. You must be prepared for everything.”
Yan Qingsang had been able to come because of Jiang Chen.
“If I don’t do well here, Master Ziju, I’ll never return to House Yan,” Yan Qingsang responded with great conviction. “I’m a man. What other people can achieve, I can as well!”
“Good. I’m glad that you’re confident. To be honest, I want you to stay as well. I don’t want the other senior executives to use your failure against me.”
“What does the evaluation entail, Master Ziju?” asked Jiang Chen. He wasn’t worried if he could stay. He was more worried about Yan Qingsang. If Yan Qingsang failed, his recommendation would be all for nothing.
“The evaluation isn’t needlessly harsh. I can tell you about it...” Ziju Min didn’t keep the information from them. He explained briefly what the evaluation would be about, giving them a basic understanding.
Jiang Chen didn’t find it that difficult himself. On the other hand, Yan Qingsang had a fifty percent chance of passing. But they still had a month. Jiang Chen believed that he would be able to help Yan Qingsang increase his likelihood to succeed.
“You should spend some time and go over the evaluation in more detail. There are other important things I have to tell you in advance about the Eternal Sacred Land.
“We have three heads known as the three primes. They are all half-step divine realm. It’s also said that we have a venerated forefather, but that’s above my position to know.
“In addition to the venerated forefather and the three primes, there’s also the Hall of Elders, which is composed of hundreds of elders. The elders are categorized into upper elders and lower elders. One has to reach at least seventh level empyrean to be an upper elder, and fifth level empyrean to be a lower elder. Only those who have made extraordinary contribution or possess unique talents can be lower elder at fourth level empyrean.
“You may think that it sounds easy to be one of hundreds of elders in the hall, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Might alone doesn’t make you an elder. Many sixth level empyrean experts are unable to become one. Cultivation is a prerequisite to be an elder in the Eternal Sacred Land, but it takes more than that to actually make be one.
“If you’re wondering what the specific criteria are, my apologies, there aren’t any. If someone is talented enough, the Hall of Elders will conduct an observation. If the person fails any part of the observation, the elders will consider him unqualified.
“The other sects and houses in Eternal Divine Nation may not have such high standards, but this is how it’s always been here.
“You have a remarkable talent in pill dao, Shao Yuan, but that’s no excuse for you to be arrogant. In the sacred land, your talent in pill dao may be able to win you many friends, but it won’t grant you any privileges. Only when you’re able to earn the approval of everyone with your pill dao skill will you be granted any real privileges.”
This was as Ziju Min had promised Jiang Chen. If he could show enough potential to win over the entire faction, he’d be given not only privileges, but also leeway to do whatever he wanted.
Such was the reality of the martial dao world. If someone had enough talent and potential to upset the balance of the world, he could have anything.
“Master Ziju, who are the noteworthy geniuses among the younger generation here?” Jiang Chen abruptly changed the subject. “What are they like?”
“There are a great number of geniuses among the youths in the sacred land. On average, our youths are much stronger than those from the other big factions. Xiahou Zong has styled himself the top genius in the nation, but the other young geniuses in House Xiahou are lesser than ours both in quality and quantity.
“Of course, there’s no telling if Xiahou Zong truly is the top genius yet. We will be hosting a sword competition next year for our nation’s geniuses, and one for all young geniuses in the Ten Divine Nations three years from now. Perhaps we’ll know the answer then. The general competition is when true geniuses will shine. Talented cultivators from all nations will pop up like bamboo shoots after a rain. Before then, rumors are nothing but rumors.”
A sword competition for all Eternal geniuses and then a further one for all geniuses from the Ten Divine Nation three years later? Jiang Chen had certainly come at the right time, when major events were on the horizon.
“I’ll prepare a dossier on the geniuses in the sacred land for you so you have a rough understanding. Here, as long as you have enough potential and might, there’s no need for your to care what kind of genius your opponent is and where they’re from. We believe that a single flower does not spring make.”
Ziju Min gave them a few more pointers before leading them to the residential area for probationary disciples.
It was more simple and crude compare to the other areas, but Jiang Chen didn’t care. It was a rare bout of free time for him. First, he formulated a cultivation plan customized to Yan Qingsang’s needs, ruminating carefully to base it on the upcoming evaluation.
Yan Qingsang now implicitly trusted everything Jiang Chen told him. And the plan his brother had drawn up did indeed fit him and his martial dao style perfectly.
“If you follow this plan, Brother Yan, your chance of passing will reach seventy to eighty percent. As long as you perform at your usual level during the evaluation, you will become an official disciple of the sacred land.”
“You’ve changed my life for good, brother. I don’t want to leave either. I’ll show House Yan that I’m just as good as the other members of the family!” Yan Qingsang had been under a lot of stress over the years. He’d simply been keeping it bottled up.
Now, he was in Eternal Sacred Land’s territory, playing by the sacred land’s rules. Growing ambitious was a most natural reaction. The plan Jiang Chen put together for him allowed him to see many new possibilities and helped him better understand where his potential lay.
Meanwhile, Jiang Chen set out to reach peak great emperor himself. He was close to reaching that level and he still had an ace in the hole - the Emperor Supremacy Pill. He planned to use the pill to push himself to peak great emperor in a month.