Chapter 545: A Triple Champion
Time swiftly progressed until the seventh and last day dawned. The participants all had extremely solemn expressions on their faces. That is, all of them, apart from Jiang Chen. He was completely confident in his results. Under the yoke of the Art of Spirit Reaping, the five seventh level saint rank seeds had grown exceptionally well. Even if the judging was to start at that very moment, they would be identified supreme rank spirit herbs.
The twenty seedlings in the left half were shrunken, as if they really hadn’t gotten the chance to grow. That was only natural, since the formation was siphoning the spirit energy they produced and using it to fertilize the five seedlings in the other half. The growth of the twenty seedlings had been purposefully stunted. They had only grown so as to keep the formation active. However, removal of the five seedlings that was the recipient of their energy would allow the twenty undernourished seedlings to return to their original vitality. In the end, they would be none the worse for wear.
On the seventh day, the heavyweights of each sect started craning their necks to examine each of the candidates’ seedlings. Although they were too far away for a detailed observation, the color and size of the seedlings could allow them to form a rudimentary judgement.
Jiang Chen’s seedlings had soared ahead of all the others. The most astonishing thing about his crop was they their growth had been evenly distributed across all the seedlings. As if they’d shaken hands on an agreement, each of the seedlings were even in height, size, looks, luster and quality. They were flawless. This kind of balanced development was the most frightening aspect of his seedlings.
In contrast, although Ding Tong’s seedlings had had the aid of a heaven defying spirit liquid, there was still obvious individual differences between all of his seedlings. This was enough to demonstrate that his abilities had yet to reach perfection. In contrast, Mu Gaoqi had performed extremely well, ending up neck and neck with Ding Tong.
Although Wei Xing’er possessed an innate constitution of fire, it didn’t prove to be an advantage in this round of spirit herb cultivation. Her performance was just passable, yet Wei Qing’s crop was only surpassed by Jiang Chen, Ding Tong, and Mu Gaoqi.
The seventh day finally came to an end, and the candidates were all instructed to vacate their area. A loud hubbub occurred as the candidates made their way out of their respective areas. Once again, each of the crop yields were carefully scored, and their totals tallied. Jiang Chen once again took home full marks for this round with no contest at all, becoming a stunning triple champion. His overall score was an absolutely flabbergasting 1400 points. His grasp on the champion’s seat was almost a sure thing.
Ding Tong was runner up for this round, but he’d only received 540 points in this round for a total of 1,270, placing him second overall.
The most surprising result came from Mu Gaoqi. He’d actually received 540 points as well, and his overall score had shot up to a stunning 1,250 points, vaulting him into third place overall!
Wei Qing had leveraged his performance in this round to overtake Wei Xing’er, taking the fourth place in rankings with 1,220 points.
Wei Xing’er was now in fifth place with 1,200 points due to mediocre performance in the third round.
Ling Bi’er had done better then Wei Xing’er, closing the gap and now occupying sixth place overall. She was just 10 points behind.
Next, Shen Qinghong, Zhu Feiyang, Lin Hai, Yuan Yuan and Wang Han actually all had identical scores: 1,180 points, and occupied the seventh to eleventh positions. That did mean that the difference between Wei Xing’er’s fifth ranking and Wang Han’s eleventh rank was simply a matter of 20 points. It also meant that one of the top geniuses was destined to be pushed down to eleventh. A single rank’s difference may be small, but there was a world of difference in the level of treatment between tenth and eleventh.
The top ten could enter Mt. Rippling Mirage and harvest for twenty days, but the next ten could only enter for ten days and then only after ten days had elapsed for the top ten. It was obvious that their chances of getting anything good would be greatly decreased.
Therefore, after the three rounds were over, the competition for the top ten instantly heated up. The struggle over number ten was actually fiercer than the struggle over the championship. With how things had developed, the championship was originally up to the top four candidates. However, Jiang Chen’s momentum in taking full marks for each round was slowly sending his competition up a wall. Those going up against him could only feel a deep sense of helplessness. No matter how optimistic they tried to be, they had to admit that as long as Jiang Chen performed at his usual level in the fourth round, there was almost no hope for them to seize the championship from his hands.
Ding Tong in particular had a belly full of ire and nowhere to vent. He’d almost gone on a rampage when he learned that Jiang Chen had taken full marks again. He’d used a heaven defying spirit liquid in this round, barely skirting the lines of cheating. Even with that, he’d not only failed to close the distance between them, but the gap had widened instead. What was the point of the fourth round if this sort of pattern continued?!
Ding Tong was here for the championship. Taking home second place would be nothing but a humiliating failure. But sadly, the only thing he could do when faced with this kind of Jiang Chen was to huff, puff and glare. On the other hand, it was Mu Gaoqi who surprised everyone. Apart from Palace Head Dan Chi knowing what had happened behind the scenes, all the other heavyweights of the sect found this batch of Regal Pill Palace candidates to be incredibly mystifying.
“Dan Chi, your Regal Pill Palace is quite odd. Shen Qinghong and Ling Bi’er have the biggest reputations, but the true talents seem to be this Jiang Chen and Mu Gaoqi. Was this a facade to allow them to shine brilliantly?”
Dan Chi only smiled and refrained from commenting when he was asked these kinds of questions.
“We all know of Jiang Chen’s background, but where did this Mu Gaoqi come from? The Regal Pill Palace disciples truly take our breath away in astonishment.”
Dan Chi smile faintly. “Wei Wuying, do you want to investigate Mu Gaoqi now? I’m afraid you’ll be sorely disappointed. He’s always been a Regal Pill Palace disciple, he’s just kept a lower profile.”
Mu Gaoqi’s sudden rise and unimpeded momentum to reach the top three was now forcing Wei Qing and Wei Xing’er of the Walkabout Sect to occupy fourth and fifth. Wei Wuying was finding this a rather bitter pill to swallow.
However, Mu Gaoqi’s heaven defying performance in the spirit herb cultivation round was above reproach, and the farce of investigating Jiang Chen couldn’t be repeated on Mu Gaoqi. It would only invite contempt and scorn. Face was as thin as tree bark, and although Wei Wuying was thick-skinned, he wasn’t that shameless.
Instead, it was Wang Jianyu who spoke sourly. “One at fifth level origin realm and the other at third level origin realm. Are the pill dao geniuses of the Regal Pill Palace all cultivated on the foundation of sacrificing martial dao?” At this point, he was reduced to nitpicking, like looking for a bone in an egg.
“Ole Wang, this should resonate deeply with your Sacred Sword Palace! Sacrificing pill dao for martial dao—why else does your Sacred Sword Palace always come in last at the Pill Battles?” Dan Chi laughed softly, obviously not leaving Wang Jianyu any face.
The latter snorted coldly, “Martial dao strength is ultimately the support for the establishment of a sect. As strong as pill dao is, it will never amount to much!”
Dan Chi was quite contemptuous of this kind of perspective. “There’s only a few years until the Myriad Grand Ceremony. We’ll see just how much weight your so-called martial might holds then!”
Whether folks accepted it or not, Jiang Chen’s dominating score was evident, and brooked not an ounce of skepticism.
After seven days of spirit herb cultivation, many of the candidates were exhausted, and so the competition was paused for everyone to rest for a day. This was a perfect time to adjust themselves, but it didn’t matter to Jiang Chen. His performance in the three rounds had left him assured that the championship was already in the bag.
The fourth round was one of pill refining, and he believed that as long as he performed up to his usual standards, the championship wouldn’t go to anyone else. Pill refining was one of his strengths, after all.
“Brother Chen, a triple champion! That’s wonderful! I knew those people were just gifting you the spirit stones, hahaha!” Mu Gaoqi looked sincerely happy for Jiang Chen.
“You’re performing well, Gaoqi. It looks like your strength of heart has increased. Keep your cool and you may remain number three after the fourth round.”
Mu Gaoqi was in noticeably good spirits. He laughed, “Brother Chen, my goal before was to enter the top ten. Now, it looks fully attainable, so I don’t have any mental pressure and can display my abilities to their fullest. Everyone is strong in refining pills, but I’ll try my best to remain in the top ten and go for top five!”
“Mm, Wei Qing and Wei Xing’er from the Walkabout Sect are all strong opponents. It’s a logical outcome if any of you three can make it into the top ten. However, I believe that you’ll be able to widen the gap between you and the others in at most ten years.”
An innate wood constitution of high order was a rare existence in even the Upper Eight Realms, and was absolutely a potential that lorded over everyone else in the Myriad Domain.
Ling Bi’er came to visit as they were chatting, and Mu Gaoqi smiled ambiguously when he saw her. He chuckled, “I’ll go away now, Brother Chen.”
Jiang Chen pretended that he was going to smack Mu Gaoqi a good one when he saw how the latter’s smile was asking to be hit. Mu Gaoqi ducked, clutching his head, and scurried off with that cheeky grin still plastered on his face.
“Junior brother, it looks like that little scamp Mu Gaoqi is truly looking up to you.” Ling Bi’er also smiled softly when she saw Mu Gaoqi thus. She felt that relationships between fellow sect disciples should indeed be this heartwarming.
“Please take a seat, senior sister Bi’er.”
Ling Bi’er nodded slightly. “Congratulations to you, junior brother. It looks like you’ve locked in the championship of the Pill Battles already.”
Jiang Chen didn’t put on airs as he nodded with a smile. “The palace head and Elder Yun Nie have given their marching orders, I dare not return without it!”
Ling Bi’er immediately felt her heart lighten when she saw how serious Jiang Chen was. She somehow felt a boundless source of magic from Jiang Chen, that somehow anything that was impossible would be possible if he put his hand on it. After repeated psychological impacts, she now had great confidence in Jiang Chen. Perhaps he really could cure the Divine Befuddlement Miasma that had tormented her father for more than ten years. When she thought of this, Ling Bi’er had to suppress the urge to sob. Jiang Chen’s image had become greater and greater with increasing clarity in her heart. He would unconsciously float to the top of her mind every day and night.
The two of them looked at each other, and Ling Bi’er somehow felt a bit shy when she met Jiang Chen’s relaxed and easy gaze. She hadn’t had much of a purpose in visiting him this time, merely wanting to take a look at Jiang Chen and congratulate him.
It was at this time that a sweet and soft voice travelled in from outside. “Senior brother Jiang Chen, little sister Wei Xing’er is so bold as to come visit you.”