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The spirit of a Raging Serpent was Shen Fan’s most powerful move. Its failure was the last straw that made his dao heart waver.

The audience marveled at what they saw.

“Are you seeing this? What is that?”

“I think that’s the projection of a true dragon.”

“Is Shao Yuan a descendent of a true dragon? He wouldn’t be able to use its bloodline otherwise.”

“The dragon bloodline is one of the most powerful bloodlines there is! There hasn’t been anyone of a pure dragon bloodline in Myriad Abyss, has there?”

“No, there hasn’t been any… There’ve been a few instances, but their bloodlines were diluted or impure.”

“Who would’ve thought that Shao Yuan is from a line of true dragons? This is crazy!”

“The sacred land is the sacred land after all. Their ability to excavate geniuses is admirable.”

“There are reasons why it’s been able to rule over Eternal Divine Nation for so many years.”

“Even the Raging Serpent failed. Shen Fan is done.”

Xiahou Zong had ended his match some time ago. He was calmly watching Jiang Chen fight with an impassive expression.

“Brother, it seems that Shao Yuan has been holding back,” Xiahou Ying muttered in a conflicted tone.

“Hmph, I hope he’s hiding more from us, or I’ll be disappointed.” Xiahou Zong still spoke like he reigned over all.

“My brother is the best of all geniuses. Shao Yuan has a few tricks up his sleeve, but that’s it. You need to teach him a harsh lesson and cripple him to the point where he’ll have to be carried off stage, brother!”

“Just you wait for a good show,” Xiahou Zong responded calmly.

The emperor wore a slight frown. He hadn’t expected things to pan out this way.

“Your Majesty, Shao Yuan comes from a true dragon bloodline? The Raging Serpent’s power is greatly diminished in face of that.”

The emperor sighed. “Looks like we’ve underestimated him.”

“Let’s match him with Xiahou Zong next,” the imperial supervisor said in a low voice.

The emperor smiled slightly. The imperial family had been targeting the sacred land without masking their intentions. According to their original plans, the sacred land should be eliminated completely during this round. However, Shao Yuan had turned out to be an unexpected cockroach.

All strength drained out of Shen Fan’s body after the serpent spirit was defeated. He backed away before Jiang Chen could even use any techniques. It was clear that he had lost.

As everyone expected, Jiang Chen won easily and kicked his opponent off the stage. It was an utterly humiliating way to lose.

Jiang Chen didn’t strut about like a cocky winner. Instead, he looked as if it was only natural for him to win.

Cheers erupted from the audience. The Eternal Sacred Land was especially enthusiastic in showing its support. 

Their fight had been the most exciting one during this round. The twists and turns had been absolutely exhilarating.

The sacred land could maintain a shred of their dignity thanks to Jiang Chen’s victory. He was their only remaining candidate. 

Even the densest fool could tell there was something wrong with matchmaking. Factions that supported the sacred land were especially sensitive to what was happening and couldn’t be more shocked.

The sacred land was the true ruler behind the scenes. The imperial family was brazenly challenging and displaying open defiance. Would the sacred land stand for this? Or would it strike back after the competition?

Those more observant realized that a serious conflict was on the horizon for the nation, and the current order would be disrupted. No matter what, the sacred land’s image had been greatly damaged in the competition, and their authority fundamentally challenged.

There had been a shortage of talent within the sacred land in recent years, but the Five Great Gentlemen were among the best compared to geniuses from the other big factions. And it was undeniable that the top geniuses from the sacred land outnumbered those of the other factions.

However, the sacred land barely had a single spot in the final sixteen! This was the utmost of humiliation in all of its history, and completely unacceptable.

Besides, Shao Yuan’s victory meant very little. Given what had happened, he was going to encounter a powerful opponent, or even Xiahou Zong in the next round.

Jiang Chen exited the stage and returned to the resting area. Those from the sacred land came up to offer words of encouragement. This fight had finally earned him the respect and approval of his peers.

Jiang Chen had thought the first prime would urge caution, but instead, she only told him to do his best and not think too much. It was puzzling. Even he, a new recruit to the sacred land, could tell that they were being targeted. The first prime must know as well.

What is she thinking? Has she not realized that the imperial family is doing this on purpose? No way. The only explanation is that she’s refraining from doing anything out of consideration for the greater good. Perhaps she has a bigger plan as well.

Jiang Chen didn’t want to be involved in politics between senior executives, but he couldn’t just ignore it. Power might change hands because of the struggle. Things were going to get bloody no matter who won.

If the sacred land lost their control over the nation as the forefather predicted, they’d be destroyed. On the other hand, heads would also roll if the sacred land was to eliminate the threats.

It was a zero sum game.

Jiang Chen’s keen intuition shrieked that the sacred land was in danger. Many top Eternal factions seemed to have reached an understanding and were acting together. He couldn’t be sure if all factions had turned on the sacred land, but a good number had.

Tempestuous times were about to descend on Eternal Divine Nation.

He tried his best to regain calm. He was already on the sacred land’s side. There was no changing that. They were bound together through thick and thin, or elopement with Huang’er was his only other choice. 

The latter was obviously not viable. Even if Huang’er was willing to run away ignobly with him, he couldn’t be a deserter and flee like a coward.

No matter if there was a grand conspiracy against the sacred land, or how perfectly it was designed, what he had to do was to disrupt it.

Perhaps even Xiahou Zong was part of it.

If he’s involved, I’ll start by eliminating him.

Xiahou Zong’s defeat was bound to hinder their plan no matter how many steps were involved. His defeat would be the loss of a strategic pawn for the ambitious House Xiahou. What would happen if one of their key players was killed in this competition?

Jiang Chen was thrilled by the prospect. Ever since he’d learned of Xiahou Zong, he could tell that the man would be his rival, an obstacle he had to overcome.

And now, the time had come.

No matter how well-known and respected you are, Xiahou Zong, it will all be in the past after this fight! This I swear!

If Jiang Chen’s speculations were right, there was a ninety percent chance that he’d encounter Xiahou Zong tomorrow. He didn’t know how the hosts had been manipulating matchmaking, but they were certainly doing something.

Hopefully they’ll keep doing what they’ve been doing. I want to fight Xiahou Zong next. The wait is getting tedious.

Jiang Chen wasn’t interested in being champion. His only goal was to kill Xiahou Zong. The rest of the matches didn’t matter much.

And his guess was proven right. The hosts weren’t even trying to hide their trickery now. They shamelessly paired Jiang Chen with Xiahou Zong in the fourth round.

Xiahou Zong seemed to have seen it coming. He had a knowing smile on his face when he saw who his opponent was.

A good number of people had foreseen the result as well. There were no shortage of sharp folks here. They’d connected the dots and pieced together what the imperial family was doing.

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