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However, it was undeniable that in killing Xiahou Zong, Shao Yuan had more than proven himself an undeniable existence not only among the youths, but in the entire divine nation.

He may be too young to rival the true figureheads yet, and was far from the level of advanced empyrean experts. But given the astounding speed at which he progressed, it was possible he’d be on the same level as the masters in a few years.

Thus, It wasn’t that inappropriate for him to speak to the patriarch of House Yan in this manner.

Patriarch Yan trembled in fury and snapped, “Shao Yuan, you’re the champion of the sword competition, but you’re not yet the foremost of the nation. It’s too arrogant for you to talk to me like that. Aren’t you afraid that your cockiness is going to get you killed?”

He rarely showed any flashes of temper, and wouldn’t have said that if he hadn’t lost control of his emotions.

The first prime’s expression turned frosty. “Patriarch Yan, none of our geniuses are arrogant. They appear to be so only because some have gone much too overboard. As the patriarch of a major family, aren’t you afraid of the world mocking for going back on our agreement?”

The patriarch didn’t dare talk back to the first prime. He muttered, “First Prime, I only know that one woman can’t be given to two men. Since Yan Qinghuang has been promised to House Xiahou as a cultivation vessel, we can’t possibly renege on our words.”

The first prime smiled coolly. “Stop wasting my time. We made a deal during the Skymender Festival about Yan Qinghuang’s future. It’s unbecoming of you to try to get around that.”

Jiang Chen scoffed. “Thank you for taking a stand for what is just, First Prime, but there’s no need to waste your breath on them. Elder Wanjun has given me his word. As Huang’er’s grandfather, it’s reasonable that he decides who she should be with. No one else has any right to intervene.”

He excised any relationship between Huang’er and House Yan, leaving no room for the patriarch to argue.

The patriarch trembled in fury, but there was nothing he could do. The first prime had openly shown her support for Shao Yuan. He couldn’t possibly publicly go against her and the sacred land.

Even if House Xiahou supported them, House Yan still didn’t want to make an enemy out of the sacred land. They would only become cannon fodder in the resulting conflict. The patriarch would never let that happen.

“House Yan has been struck with a series of misfortunes,” said the patriarch. “Yan Wanjun has betrayed the family and vanished without a trace. Naturally he and his descendents shall be excommunicated from the family. From now on, Yan Qinghuang has nothing to do with House Yan. She is but a regular woman in jianghu.”

The patriarch was smart enough to cut his losses once he realized he’d lost the argument. He immediately cut ties with Yan Qinghuang and removed his house from the situation.

Many of the young geniuses from House Xiahou were indignant. To them, this was a blow to their ego. Although Xiahou Zong was dead, it didn’t mean Shao Yuan could just take Huang’er away! They would never allow that!

“You’re the champion of the competition, Shao Yuan, but that doesn’t give you the right to be this arrogant! Yan Qinghuang was promised to our family. It’s against the rules of propriety for you to take what’s rightfully ours!”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Jiang Chen scoffed. He wasn’t afraid of either a verbal duel or a physical fight. “Yan Qinghuang didn’t promise you anything. Patriarch Yan was the one who did. Now that he’s announced she’s not part of House Yan anymore, what does his promise have anything to do with her? Go to the patriarch if you have any complaints.”

He swept his Evil Golden Eye across them. “You’re welcome to fight me if any of you refuse to accept things as they are. You can also come at me together if you’re so inclined.”

He was giving them permission to gang up on him. However, the youths from House Xiahou exchanged a look and didn’t make a move. There were a lot of geniuses in the family, but quite a few had died. Shao Yuan alone had killed Xiahou Jing, Xiahou Xi, and the most powerful Xiahou Zong!

His remarks were humiliating, but none of the geniuses dared respond with a challenge. What could they do when even Xiahou Zong had failed? Strength in numbers wouldn’t be enough against Shao Yuan’s skills.

The sword competition of Eternal Divine Nation came to an end, leaving some in high spirits and others dejected. The sacred land wasn’t entirely triumphant, but at least the championship was theirs.

Other factions varied in the way they felt about their performances. House Xiahou was naturally the most dissatisfied. They’d planned to sweep the floor, but ended up suffering a catastrophic defeat.

News about the competition and its outcome spread to every part of Eternal Divine Nation. Soon, people throughout the nation hadheard how Shao Yuan, a genius from the sacred land, had made an amazing debut. He had been the ultimate dark horse and demonstrated extraordinary skills in vanquishing Xiahou Zong and taking home the championship.

Even those who’d never heard of him knew of him now. His name was at the forefront of everyone’s minds and they furiously dug for his information.

The more they looked, the more astounded they were by his amazing talent. Not only had Shao Yuan killed the invincible Xiahou Zong, he’d also defeated pill sovereign Shi Xuan from Flora Divine Nation in the Skymender Festival.

He was a genius in both pill dao and martial dao. This rising star couldn’t be stopped.

Shao Yuan was the hot topic in all parts in the nation. His fight with Xiahou Zong, especially, was spread with great embellishment. Many people didn’t care how exaggerated the story they heard was. A mythical tale was exactly what they wanted.

Jiang Chen’s victory was celebrated in the sacred land as well. Xiahou Zong’s death roused the faction into a great reaction. Even those who didn’t care about the outside world were thrilled. Xiahou Zong had been too famous for too long. He’d always been considered unbeatable.

And yet, he’d been defeated by one of their own!

Jiang Chen was treated like a hero upon his return. But he didn’t care about this at all. He wanted nothing but to return to his residence as soon as possible and share the good news with Huang’er and Ling Bi’er.

With Xiahou Zong dead, Huang’er’s inner demons could finally be eliminated.

“Huang’er!” vJiang Chen spotted her at the entrance from afar. They rushed to clasp each other tightly like the opposite poles of two magnets, inseparable by any outside forces.

“I’m so happy, Brother Chen.” Huang’er’s eyes brimmed with happy tears. Memories about their shared history flashed through her mind.

When she’d first seen the Heavenly Karma Pill, Jiang Chen had still been a stranger to her. She’d only heard of the ludicrous story of a duke’s son beaten to death during the Rites of Heavenly Worship.

A variety of innovative pills appeared after that, drawing Elder Shun’s attention. Jiang Chen was unstoppable after that, partaking in the civil unrest within the Eastern Kingdom, then the four trials at the Skylaurel Kingdom.

It wasn’t until the trial in Eternal Spirit Mountain that Elder Shun and Huang’er had finally come face-to-face with Jiang Chen. It was during their first meeting that Huang’er had known her ailment was the Generation Binding Curse. The two songs Jiang Chen gifted her had cracked the ice encasing her heart.

After Elder Shun left, Huang’er followed Jiang Chen to the Precious Tree Sect, then the Regal Pill Palace. When the latter fell, they two stuck together through thick and thin and went to hell and back together. Slowly, they fell in love. They confessed their feelings and swore to a lifetime of companionship.

Then there was the Veluriyam Capital. Jiang Chen slowly ascended in rank, and Huang’er was taken back to House Yan by Elder Xi. Thus began the years of longing and yearning. 

In recent years, Elder Shun had brought news of a man called Jiang Huang, shining a ray of hope into Huang’er’s desolate heart.

She’d managed to meet up with her love in Bluesmoke Isles. Later, Jiang Chen first joined House Yan, then the sacred land, erupting in open hostilities and killing Xiahou Zong...

It all seemed too good to be true.

Many times she’d been helpless and lost. She’d cried alone in the dark and woke up from nightmares about Xiahou Zong. She’d been tortured to within an inch of her life by the curse...

It was all over.

What awaited her was her lover’s strong arms.

She felt like the happiest woman in the world. Only through suffering would one understand how precious happiness was.

Ling Bi’er watched the couple hold each other tight, her heart filled with a myriad of emotions. She realized suddenly how much more sentimental and sensitive she’d become after she left Regal Pill Palace, but she just couldn’t control herself.

“Hahaha, should I be calling you my brother-in-law?” Yan Qingsang cut in with his signature voice, interrupting the moment.

Huang’er pulled away from Jiang Chen and glared at her cousin. “You call him your brother-in-law, cousin Qingsang. So, what dowry have you prepared for me?”

Yan Qingsang paused and came to a halt with an awkward smile. “My brother-in-law knows all and has seen all. He doesn’t need a poor man like me to prepare your dowry, does he?”

He was still the buffoon of the group.

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