Ziju Min and Gu Yunjin exchanged a look. They read shock in each other’s eyes. They knew Shao Yuan meant his words.
Elder Zimu’s death had been the thorn in the sacred land’s side for the longest time. Both of the elders were old enough to have witnessed the tragic end of this great senior.
Of course they wanted one of their own to take a stand and give the arrogant Flora bastard a taste of his own medicine. To avenge Elder Zimu and the Eternal Sacred Land!
Before Jiang Chen though, no one in the sacred land had even dared think about taking on the responsibility. Everyone knew that the Eternal Sacred Land, with its limited foundation in pill dao, was unlikely to raise a pill dao genius proficient enough to complete the task.
Therefore, the Flames of Vengeance had remained largely ignored over the past decades.
Elder Ziju had thus been drawn to Jiang Chen when he first glimpsed the young man’s pill dao talent during the competition in House Xiahou. And he’d willingly stepped down from his pedestal as an elder to befriend the young man. After several offers, he was finally able to move Shao Yuan with his earnestness.
The young man had returned his trust and appreciation with real action.
In the match with the Jade Lake Sect regarding the Mirage Introspection Pill, Jiang Chen had fully defeated the sect and rendered its pill dao figureheads speechless. The pill dao masters, including Old Immortal Brightstar, had all wholeheartedly admitted defeat to him.
The incident further convinced Ziju Min that his decision had been the right one. The young man was a wondrous genius in pill dao.
After that, Jiang Chen proved himself again by going through all nine of the winding caves during the evaluation, a most pleasant surprise.
But for Ziju Min, Jiang Chen’s talent in pill dao was the most valuable. He’d been worried that the young man would choose to focus on his prodigal potential in martial dao instead, but taking on this mission caused Ziju Min to reevaluate his assumptions.
Hope flared up in the elder’s heart. If the sacred land was to send a young genius to take the mission, Shao Yuan was the one.
“It looks like you’ve made up your mind, Shao Yuan.”
“Don’t you think I can win, Elder Ziju?” Jiang Chen smiled.
“That’s not it. But you should still get to know your opponent beforehand. You’ve already taken the mission, that we can’t change. However, you still have a year’s worth of time. We can still make some preparations.”
Gu Yunjin had done all he could as the keeper of the Hall of Merit. He could provide nothing but emotional support from now on.
Not long after Jiang Chen and Ziju Min left the hall, news got out that the new addition, Shao Yuan, had accepted a sovereign mission, and one that had never been attempted before at that.
The sacred land erupted in enthusiasm, including even the oldest secluded ancestors and the older disciples.
The younger disciples were the exceptions. Elder Zimu’s death had been before their time. They didn’t have an emotional connection to the incident. Some of them might have heard about Elder Zimu from their seniors, but hearing about what had happened was entirely different from living through it themselves.
Despite the lukewarm reaction from the younger generation, the news continue to spread throughout the sacred land. Even those who rarely paid attention to the outside world started looking into Shao Yuan, trying to find out who exactly the young genius was.
The sacred land was vast. The senior executives, the middle management, and the regular disciples amounted to at least a couple million people in total. Most of them didn’t know each other.
Of course they knew the three primes, the elders, and a number of outstanding geniuses, but none of the rest. Most were focused on their own responsibilities and didn’t pay much attention to other affairs in the sacred land.
However, the mission to avenge Elder Zimu was something almost everyone in the sacred land knew. As soon as they heard the mission had been taken, the first question that came to their minds was: who?
The name Shao Yuan soon spread to every part of the sacred land.
Meanwhile, Jiang Chen kept an unusually low profile after taking the mission. He remained in Ziju Min’s residence to study his opponent. He didn’t actually need to know his opponent to win; getting the other to accept his challenge without reservations was the difficult part.
“Shao Yuan, when Elder Zimu died sixty some years ago, the pill dao genius was in his thirties. He’s just reached a hundred now. He’s still considered young for someone pursuing pill dao, but he’s already a pill dao sovereign in Flora Divine Nation. He’s among the top three sought after figures in that nation.
“He might be top ten or even top six in the whole of the Ten Divine Nations. Many think the world of him. They think that he may become the top pill dao master in the Ten Divine Nations before he reaches five hundred years of age.” Ziju Min’s tone was conflicted.
He didn’t want to praise the man at all, but he had to admit that the man lived up to his name. It weighed heavily on him.
“What’s his name?” asked Jiang Chen.
“Shi Xuan of Flora Divine Nation. In the pill dao community, he’s called Master Shi Xuan.”
“Shi Xuan?” Jiang Chen repeated thoughtfully.
“Here’s some information on his rise in status. We’ve been collecting data ever since that incident and so know quite a lot about him. The man’s resilient, but also very cruel. There isn’t much he wouldn’t do to further his goal. He’s an anomaly in the pill dao world.”
Different from martial dao cultivators, most pill dao experts veered on the mild-tempered side. Aggressiveness was integral to pursuing martial dao, but detrimental to pill dao.
Jiang Chen took the file and read it thoroughly. He had to admit that Shi Xuan was a genius in pill dao. There was a clear trajectory to his rise in power, and every major event he’d attended unfolded like a story in the legends.
Elder Zimu wasn’t the only victim Shi Xuan claimed. He’d defeated many contemporaries in pill dao, including fellow geniuses, well-respected masters, and pill dao figureheads from powerful factions.
Several masters of Elder Zimu’s level had also lost to Shi Xuan. Elder Zimu’s death was what made him a special case. It was clear from Shi Xuan’s personal history that he was a ruthless man who’d do everything to achieve his goal.
People like him didn’t care much about morals. They made for formidable foes.
Jiang Chen didn’t know just exactly how Elder Zimu died of rage. Only Elder Zimu and Shi Xuan were privy to the details. He put down the file and looked gravely at Ziju Min. “Elder Ziju, how do we arrange a match with him?”
Seeing his self-assured expression, Ziju Min couldn’t help but inquire. “I appreciate your confidence, Shao Yuan, but this isn’t a simple challenge. What are your odds of winning?”
Jiang Chen smiled. “My conservative estimate is at fifty percent. If I allow myself to be confident, I’ll say seventy to eighty percent.”
In truth, he was a hundred percent sure he’d win. After ascending to empyrean realm, the restrictions previously imposed on him had disappeared.
His progress in martial dao had considerable impact on his pill dao. He was absolutely confident that he’d now be able to defeat anyone on the Divine Abyss Continent when it came to pill dao.
“Seventy to eighty percent?” Ziju Min found it hard to believe. “This isn’t a game. You’re at the perfect standing in the sacred land at the moment. If you fail the mission, both your reputation and fame will be undermined, and even your status may suffer. Have you considered that risk?”
“I have, Elder Ziju. To be honest with you, failing the mission is not an option nor a possibility.” Jiang Chen’s confidence was contagious.
Ziju Min studied the genius for a while before sighing quietly. “Never has a young man earned so much of my trust like you have, Shao Yuan. Alright, I’ll arrange the match for you.”
“As soon as possible,” Jiang Chen emphasized.
“Haha, that won’t be easy. In the pill dao community of Myriad Abyss, you’re only known for your innovation with the Mirage Introspection Pill. You haven’t established yourself yet. It’ll be difficult for you to challenge Shi Xuan. Regular methods won’t work.”
“Then we’ll go unorthodox,” Jiang Chen immediately responded.
“Then we need a good plan.”
“Isn’t it enough to say that I’ve inherited Elder Zimu’s knowledge and want to avenge him?”
“Of course not.” Ziju Min shook his head. “Based on my understanding of Shi Xuan, he’ll proudly say that since Elder Zimu lost to him, a mere disciple has even less of a right to challenge him.”
Jiang Chen burst out chuckling. “That’ll be a problem. Alright, how about I insult him?”
“Insult him? Like what?”
“In the harshest way possible until he accepts my challenge.” Jiang Chen smirked. “Isn’t he one of the pill dao figureheads in Flora Divine Nation? He’s bound to be angry if a nobody calls him names and undermines his reputation. In the end, he’ll be left with no choice but to take the stage.”