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Jiang Chen’s remarkable performance in the Eternal Sacred Land sent a great ripple through the calm Eternal Divine Nation. No one expected that the young man House Yan had brought back from the Bluesmoke Isles would be this talented. He’d broken the sacred land’s record for the Nine Winding Caves!

House Yan was collectively shocked when they received the news. Incidentally, they became the laughingstock of the great factions in the nation once again. Almost everyone, including the patriarch, regretted their behavior greatly. Yan Wanyou and others who were antagonistic to Yan Wanjun were the few exceptions.

The only thing maintaining their last shred of dignity was Yan Qingsang. A young man from House Yan had somehow managed to pass the sacred land’s evaluation and became one of its official geniuses! He offered the house some comfort in its awkward state.

For his remarkable performance, Jiang Chen was given the best abode located in the best area of the sacred land. Only the true disciples could reside here.

As a core disciple, the treatment Yan Qingsang received was one level down. His abode was a tier lower than Jiang Chen’s, both in the structure itself and its location.

Ziju Min personally led Jiang Chen to his new residence.

“Thank you for everything, Elder Ziju. It’s been quite a bit of trouble for you this time” Jiang Chen was very grateful for the pill sovereign’s help.

Ziju Min chuckled. “I was the one who prompted you to join the sacred land. I must finish what I started. Besides, you’re my greatest achievement during my time here.”

Jiang Chen smiled in response to the compliments.

“To be honest, I don’t entirely approve of your decision to take on the ninth cave, Shao Yuan. The Eternal Sacred Land is fair, but there are some hidden rules. The tallest tree is the first to be bent by a wind. You’ve only just arrived. I worry that your dramatic ascension in status will make your life difficult.”

“Oh?” Jiang Chen smiled slightly. “Is Elder Ziju worried that someone in the faction will target me?”

“They’re unlikely to harm you, but young people are impulsive. It’s difficult to predict if the other geniuses will welcome you with open arms after your achievement. My guess is they’ll be hostile towards you.”

Jiang Chen wasn’t surprised. Only mediocre talents garnered no jealousy.

“I’m ready for that, Elder Ziju, and I’m not afraid. I didn’t join the sacred land to compete with or defeat others. Petty arguments won’t trouble me. You don’t have to worry. I know what I’m doing.”

Ziju Min was slightly surprised. He’d thought the young man had lost his ability to think carefully in the heat of the moment. It seemed that Shao Yuan had considered the consequences of his actions. He did indeed have quite a strong character.

He didn’t conceal himself even when knowing full well what troubles may follow.

“I’m curious, Shao Yuan. Are you really so eager to prove yourself just to gain our support in your fight for Yan Qinghuang?”

It was said that even heroes couldn’t help but fall for beautiful women, but he still found it difficult to believe.

“That’s right,” admitted Jiang Chen.

“That’s the only reason?” Ziju Min pushed.

“The only reason.”

Ziju Min considered him carefully. The young man’s expression seemed genuine. He sighed. “Shao Yuan, when you were in the ninth cave, many of the senior executives from the Hall of Elders questioned your background. They worried that you might be a spy from our enemy factions. Do you know how the first prime responded?”

Jiang Chen smiled. “I don’t know, and I don’t care to know.”

Ziju Min paused. “Why?”

“Because I wasn’t sent here by any faction,” Jiang Chen said calmly. “No one can order me around.”

Ziju Min was silent for a long moment.

“I introduced you to the sacred land because of your remarkable talent in pill dao,” he finally responded. “You’re the kind of pill dao genius that rarely appears even once in ten thousand years, but it turns out the same is true of your martial dao talent. 

“My observations tell me that you possesses unparalleled talent and potential, Shao Yuan. There’s very little that I can teach you. As someone who’s walked the path however, I want to remind you to not take your talent and potential for granted. Don’t do anything that’ll sabotage your own future. As long as you’re loyal to the sacred land, we’ll help you become renowned and feared throughout the lands. We can give you more than any other faction can. This is where you can develop your talent to the fullest. Do you understand?”

Jiang Chen knew what he was getting at. “I understand your concerns, Elder Ziju, but I can swear that I didn’t join the sacred land on anyone’s order. My one and only goal is to save Yan Qinghuang. If I lie, may the heavens and earth destroy me.”

He didn’t like making oaths, but it was the most effective way to earn trust in the world of martial dao. He didn’t want any troubles. It was better for him to take himself into the clear and reassure everyone of his intentions, lest the senior executives doubt him and hinder his progress.

Ziju Min was overjoyed. “Wonderful. I am at ease. I believe the venerated forefather and the three primes will all appreciate you greatly.”

“I will treasure this opportunity,” Jiang Chen said humbly.

“Good. With their approval, you can afford to be a little reckless. I mentioned that the other geniuses might be hostile to you, but that’s not that serious a problem. Be yourself and make no compromises. In the world of martial dao, you don’t make friends through compromises, but with power and force.”

The weak were prey for the strong. Being polite without ever being assertive marked one as a weakling that anyone could bully. It was necessary to be aggressive when the situation called for it. 

Suddenly, Jiang Chen’s consciousness reacted. His expression changed slightly. Ziju Min noticed something at the same time. He tensed and whispered, “It’s the venerated forefather, Shao Yuan. He’s come to visit!”

The venerated forefather?

The only cultivator who’d reached godhood in all of the sacred land. The famed divine spirit.

Jiang Chen’s heart pounded. He could feel a stupendous power ripped through the air without warning. It was near his residence.

Ziju Min dropped down to his knees. “This subordinate Ziju Min greets the venerated forefather. All hail the venerated forefather for your eternal existence.”

Seeing that Jiang Chen was still on his feet, Ziju Min glanced around and nervously dragged the boy down, telling him to kneel in respect.

Jiang Chen resignedly got on one knee. “Junior Shao Yuan greets the venerated forefather.”

The air rippled with a great will, but neither Ziju Min and Jiang Chen saw where the venerated forefather was. Suddenly, a vortex of air swept over one of the rocky walls of the residence. A vague, shifting projection appeared.

“You’ve done well, Ziju Min,” the shadow figure boomed in an authoritative voice. “You are to be commended for bringing us a genius.”

Ziju Min was bowled over. He blurted out, “That is this subordinate’s duty. I dare not claim any credit. I’m honored to receive a compliment from the venerated forefather.”

It was clear from his reverent tone just how much he respected the forefather.

“My true form is in closed door cultivation still,” the forefather remarked faintly. “This is an apparition from a piece of my consciousness. Leave us for the moment. I’d like to talk to the young man in private.”

Ziju Min nodded hurriedly. “Yes, yes, of course. This subordinate will leave you alone at once.” He shot Jiang Chen a pointed look. “The venerated forefather has materialized before you, Shao Yuan. Be sure to show proper respect and not to be rude.”

He was worried that Jiang Chen might offend the venerated forefather in youthful recklessness.

Jiang Chen smiled slightly. “Worry not, Elder Ziju. I know the gravity of the situation.”

Only then did Ziju Min walk gingerly away from the residence. He couldn’t have held the venerated forefather in a higher regard and didn’t dare listen in on the conversation inside. Instead, he put a great distance between him and the entrance for fear of going against the forefather’s will and angering him.

A knee still on the ground, Jiang Chen looked at the shimmering projection on the wall. “The venerated forefather has formed an apparition with your consciousness. I am truly in awe witnessing your immense power.”

There was a lick of truth to his praise.

It was the first time he came face to face with a divine cultivator in this world. Although it was only a piece of the forefather’s consciousness, forming a projection was precisely attainable by only those who’d attained godhood. Not even a peak empyrean expert would be able to do the same.

“You’re the first person to finish all nine challenges of the Nine Winding Caves in our history, young man. I noticed you despite being in closed door cultivation. Your conversation with Ziju Min has piqued my curiosity.”

“The venerated forefather is all knowing. Nothing escapes your attention.” Jiang Chen flattered.

“It’s not necessarily a good thing to be able to keep secrets from me. Quite the opposite, in fact. How surprising it is that the most remarkable genius in Eternal Sacred Land history has joined us for a dao partner!”

Jiang Chen didn’t deny it. “I’ve embarrassed myself before the venerated forefather.”

“Geniuses join the sacred land for a great variety of reasons. Yours is one of a kind. Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter why you joined us. What’s important is if you’re telling the truth.”

“This junior wouldn’t dare lie.”

“For most people, the problem you face is a difficult one. The feud between House Yan and House Xiahou has spanned many generations. Most will hesitate to get involved. However, the Eternal Sacred Land is an exception!” The venerated forefather’s tone was casual, like he was talking about something trivial.

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