Chapter 646: Huang’er, Bi’er, and the Lingering Affections of Young Women
Naturally, all the rules were forever advantageous to the strong and disadvantageous to the weak. The ceremony’s martial arts segment was no exception. Difference in strength meant difference in levels, and difference in levels meant difference in treatment.
This knockout competition’s first priority was to protect the interests of the fourth rank sect geniuses. Any disciple who didn’t belong to a fourth rank sect would not be qualified to become a seeded candidate, no matter how talented they were. Moreover, there were differences even amongst fourth rank sect disciples. All geniuses above the sage realm were categorized as first seeds. Ninth level origin realm cultivators were categorized as second seeds, and anyone beneath ninth level origin realm were all categorized as third seeds.
This was to protect the first seeds from running into each other before reaching the final twenty participants.
While this rule appeared to be unfair at first glance, it was also the most common and popular rule in martial arts competitions. It also made a certain degree of sense. After all, everyone in the world of martial arts pursued strength. Therefore, it was only natural that those who had great strength and talent would be given better treatment than others.
Jiang Chen was currently assuming the false identity of Mu Gaoqi. Naturally, he found it inconvenient to present himself at his true level when he was masquerading as Mu Gaoqi. As a result, he was categorized as a third seed. Of course, Jiang Chen didn’t need to participate in the first round of competition as the disciple of a fourth rank sect.
The several hundred geniuses who didn’t belong to fourth rank sects began fighting intensely against one another to obtain a spot for themselves. Jiang Chen observed the first round contest for a brief moment. Even though the participating geniuses all hailed from second or third rate sects, it quickly became apparent that even fifth or sixth rank sects were not lacking in geniuses. This was especially true for the roughly thirty fifth rank sects.
Every one of these sects contained a number of origin realm experts, and some of them had even reached the ninth level origin realm. There were at least twenty to thirty cultivators who had reached the eighth level origin realm. Cultivators at the seventh level origin realm were practically everywhere. Of course, most of these fifth or sixth rank sect youngsters were at the sixth level origin realm. After all, these second rate sects in Myriad Domain didn’t even come close to possessing the same amount of resources, talents and supplies that a fourth rank sect did.
After observing the competition for a while, Jiang Chen believed that there were indeed a small group of people among these second and third rate sect geniuses who genuinely possessed the ability to fight for a spot on the rankings.
The Myriad Domain Hidden Dragon Trials would only rank the top hundred candidates. Jiang Chen estimated that these second and third rate sects would take up to a fifth of the available slots. “It would appear that Palace Head Dan Chi’s analysis is correct. No one below seventh level origin realm has any chance to gain a place on the rankings.”
Back when Palace Head Dan Chi had formed an alliance with the Precious Tree Sect, he already mentioned the Myriad Grand Ceremony and the Paramount Realm to Jiang Chen. At the time, he told Jiang Chen that only those who had cultivated to the seventh level of origin realm could guarantee themselves a spot in the Myriad Domain Hidden Dragon rankings. Jiang Chen made a quick calculation. He would be able to enter the top 100 and secure himself a spot in the Myriad Domain Hidden Dragon Trials as long as he could survive three rounds of battle. He didn’t need to participate in the first round of battle. Which meant that he could guarantee himself a spot in the rankings as long as he could defeat his opponents in the second and third round of battle.
Regal Pill Palace’s Shen Qinghong and Jun Mobai were all sage realm geniuses. Naturally, they were categorized as first seeds. Ling Bi’er and Nie Chong were both at the peak of the ninth level origin realm. They were categorized as second seeds. There was no doubt that these four were guaranteed spots on the Myriad Domain Hidden Dragon ranking. Therefore, the only thing they were competing for was a higher placement. It was rather because everyone thought Jiang Chen was Mu Gaoqi that they were all doubtful of his chances to earn a placement at all.
The disciples of all fourth rank sects were all scattered throughout the audience. It was obvious that those of the Sacred Sword Palace were aiming for the Regal Pill Palace. With Wang Han as their leader, the geniuses of the Sacred Sword Palace sat on the opposite side of the Regal Pill Palace’s disciples. They all looked aggressive and murderous, and continuously flared their auras to exert pressure on the Regal Pill Palace disciples. This was especially true in Wang Han’s case. His hatred for ‘Mu Gaoqi’ right now was second only to his hatred for Jiang Chen, because he was ridiculed by ‘Mu Gaoqi’ earlier. Even his hatred for Shen Qinghong had been moved to third place.
“Mu Gaoqi…” Wang Han’s chilly eyes locked onto Jiang Chen’s figure from afar. His murderous intent was overflowing, and he didn’t bother concealing a whit of it.
Countless formless murderous intent attacked Jiang Chen continuously, like an unending army. Wang Hang’s intent to strut around and show off his might was quite obvious. However, no matter how hard he pushed his sage level aura towards Mu Gaoqi, his efforts always disappeared like a rock sinking into the sea without a trace. This result greatly surprised Wang Han.
The Regal Pill Palace was an enemy sect. Naturally, the Sacred Sword Palace had researched the enemy disciples inside and out. This was especially true for Mu Gaoqi since he was known to posses an innate wood spirit constitution. The Sacred Sword Palace had appraised Mu Gaoqi several times, and come to the conclusion that he was a pill dao genius of average martial dao potential, timid personality, and an unstable realm of consciousness. It was exactly because Mu Gaoqi was such a person in Wang Han’s mind that he’d continuously attacked the other in secret with his sage level aura.
His intentions were obvious. He wanted to wholly destroy Mu Gaoqi’s consciousness and fighting will. In fact, he wanted Mu Gaoqi to have a mental breakdown. If a pill dao genius’ consciousness crumbled, then his so-called talent in pill dao might as well be nothing. Plans always appeared ideal in one’s mind, but reality in execution greatly surprised Wang Han. He exerted his powerful consciousness without letting up, but not only did Mu Gaoqi’s consciousness fail to crumble under pressure, he wasn’t even frowning from stress. It was as if the disciple hadn’t even noticed his sage level aura.
“How is that possible? Since when did this Mu Gaoqi become so powerful?” Wang Han didn’t believe for a second that Mu Gaoqi had changed. He observed Mu Gaoqi with cool eyes for a brief moment.
Wang Han came to a certain preliminary conclusion, “Hmph. It would appear that the Regal Pill Palace is aware that Mu Gaoqi’s martial cultivation is lacking. That’s why they’ve sent an expert to disguise himself as Mu Gaoqi’s subordinate to protect him. If this expert isn’t a master in disguise, then why else would he need to wrap himself in a cloak in broad daylight?”
As a matter of fact, Huang’er had been sitting obediently besides Jiang Chen all this time. She seemed to be disinterested in the battles happening on the arena. However, her mysterious attire caused Wang Han to misunderstand her as an expert sent by the Regal Pill Palace to protect Mu Gaoqi.
This was the first time Huang’er was associating with Jiang Chen in such close proximity. Although Jiang Chen had disguised himself as Mu Gaoqi and hidden his own aura, Huang’er could feel the sense of security Jiang Chen normally gave her all the same. In the past, the scent of a youth of the opposite gender had only filled Huang’er with repulsion. But Jiang Chen was so much different from others.
Huang’er’s origin, breadth of her vision, the environment she lived in when she was young and the level of characters she’d previously come in contact with were countless times more sophisticated than anything seen in the Myriad Domain. However, Huang’er had never sensed such natural warmth from any other young man except Jiang Chen. He made her, a young woman who had never felt any ambiguous emotion during her twenty years of life, feel a little tipsy.
While it was true that Jiang Chen was born of the Eastern Kingdom and thus occupied the bottommost level of this world, the temperament he possessed couldn’t be compared to anyone she’d ever seen. Huang’er hadn’t thought this way when she’d first learned of Jiang Chen, and neither had Elder Shun when he first started paying attention to him. But when Jiang Chen easily and indifferently deduced that she was suffering from the Generation Binding Curse inside the Eternal Spirit Mountain, a crack appeared in the walls that Huang’er had surrounded herself with. Later on, when Jiang Chen broke through to the origin realm beneath the Precious Tree of the Rosy Dawn and triggered a natural phenomenon, the crack in her walls grew wider and wider. When they came to interact with each other every day in Rosy Valley, and she came to witness every step of Jiang Chen’s swift growth, she came to recognize this young man’s unique temperament from many different perspectives.
After Jiang Chen was imprisoned in Mt. Rippling Mirage for three years, and guarding over Rosy Valley in his absence, Huang’er finally understood what she kept looking for every day.
Yes, it was this proud, lonely, and peerless figure that she was gazing upon. Even if he had disguised himself, even if he’d hidden his aura, Huang’er could, with her eyes closed, sense the unique temperament that he seemed to be born with. Blades sang and swords rang above the arena, and a soft breeze caressed her face beneath the cloak. Suddenly, Huang’er wished that this moment could last forever. She wished fervently that this faint feeling of happiness could be preserved for all time, until the seas dried up and rocks rotted.
What Generation Binding Curse? What generations of marriage? She neither wished to think on nor face them. She only wished that she could stay with this young man in this strange land until forever came, even if she never confessed her feelings to him. However, all things must end, and her feeling of happiness was broken by the approach of a beautiful figure.
Ling Bi’er’s graceful and perfect figure walked over from a bit aways and sat down a foot away from Jiang Chen. “Junior brother, that Wang Han is treacherous and malevolent. You must watch out for him.”
Jiang Chen replied with a calm smile on his face, “He is nothing more than a grasshopper after autumn. He won’t be able to hop around much longer.”
If these words had come out of Shen Qinghong or anyone else’s mouth, Ling Bi’er would’ve felt disgusted. That was because she’d never liked boastful men. However, Ling Bi’er thought that it only natural when the same words came out of Jiang Chen’s mouth. She let out a quiet sigh on the inside when she saw the confidence that Jiang Chen brimmed with. Coldly aloof and proud as she was, for a time she’d actually felt inferior to him.
She could still remember when Jiang Chen had first entered the Regal Pill Palace, only at first level origin realm. In just four short years, he had leaped an entire realm to become a sage realm cultivator. Yet, she still stood at the peak of the origin realm. She had never been able to take that most important last step. In just the four years since his admission, Jiang Chen had accomplished a great deal in his cultivation, but she hadn’t even managed to surmount a single, small step.
Ling Bi’er was seldom impressed by anyone, but Jiang Chen had won her over entirely. He had challenged the limits of her beliefs again and again with his astounding achievements. Be it his talent in pill dao or his talent in martial dao, Jiang Chen was like a deep, vast sea whose limits of potential were eternally unfathomable.
Although Ling Bi’er had long since thought of Jiang Chen as the one in her heart, her icy cool temperament was fated to warm slowly. She had so many things she wanted to say to Jiang Chen, but when the words reached her tongue, she had no idea which to say first. The sight caused a slight ripple in Huang’er’s heart, but it quickly faded away into nothing. She was the wise, unmarried daughter of a noble house. While her behavior was easygoing and calm, she also possessed a pride that no one could truly understand.
Even when love was involved, even when knowing that Ling Bi’er was a powerful rival, she did not feel even a shred of jealousy. I like what I like. Why should I care for others?…
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