Liu Wencai was by nature a cautious man. In this regard, he was different from the somewhat careless Tang Hong. He had a few reservations about Jiang Chen’s summons. Was he not good enough? Had he let senior brother Jiang Chen down? Jiang Chen’s care of him at Eternal Spirit Mountain resulted in Liu Wencai viewing the former as a dear brother, worthy of lifelong respect and admiration. Even Forefather Ninelion, the sect head of Myriad Spirit Sect, couldn’t compare at all.
The young man’s hesitance was plain enough. This was when Jiang Chen wondered if he was being too serious. It wasn’t intentional, of course. His stoic demeanor had been entirely in order to alleviate the doubts of others.
“Senior brother… have… have I done something poorly?” Liu Wencai rubbed his palms continuously against his clothes.
“Done… something… poorly?” Jiang Chen smiled wryly.
Liu Wencai was red in the face. “We’re eating and sleeping here for free, and we haven’t been able to contribute much… we’re… we’re like freeloaders, right?”
Jiang Chen laughed upon hearing that. He finally remembered that Liu Wencai wasn’t the same as Tang Hong. His discreteness, while sometimes positive, also meant that small things would be arbitrarily magnified. Liu Wencai was a sensitive youth.
“Look at how large Taiyuan Tower is. Do you think that I can’t afford a few living expenses?” Jiang Chen smiled with mild irreverence, “Really, don’t sweat it. I didn’t tell you to come here to get you to do anything. There’s only one mission here.”
“What mission?” Liu Wencai’s eyes lit up. Senior brother Jiang Chen was finally giving him something to do! He felt a lot more important somehow. There was no more worry of not earning his keep.
“Your mission is to fully devote yourself to cultivation. You must tap into all of your latent strength. Wencai, do you remember what I said to you back at Eternal Spirit Mountain? Just like a buried treasure trove, your body carries endless potential. I didn’t have the ability to dig it all up before, but we’re at Veluriyam Capital now. I can provide a relatively stable environment with my ability and position, as a convenience for you. I don’t know how long it will last, though, so you should work extra hard. Seize the day, and beware of time,” Jiang Chen was entirely serious as he said these things. He obviously wasn’t joking.
Liu Wencai was stunned. “Cultivate? Senior brother, is that really a mission? I’m taking up resources here, but I’m not doing anything… I’m worried that other people will talk about me.”
“This place belongs to me. As long as I don’t say anything, who’s going to contradict me?” Jiang Chen was impassive. “Don’t worry about what others say. Taiyuan Tower’s motto is make the best of men and material. You don’t have talent for pill dao, and you can’t manage external or internal affairs. Your biggest asset is your cultivation potential, and the thing I need for you to do most is develop it.”
Jiang Chen didn’t actually want to borrow Liu Wencai’s power. He simply felt that it was better for his own brother to be stronger. Who knew what the future held for the Divine Abyss Continent? In a chaotic world, more strength meant a better chance to survive. Liu Wencai had a lot of talent, and his gifts would be wasted elsewhere. Not even the heavens could tolerate that kind of waste.
Liu Wencai’s eyes reddened, and his nose grew stuffy. He was a sensitive person, but rarely heard such heartfelt comments. Even Forefather Ninelion had promoted and trained him solely because the old man knew about his potential. Only senior brother Jiang Chen had honestly and sincerely cared for him from beginning to end.
“Senior brother, I… I’m worried that I’ll let you down.” Liu Wencai’s throat was a little clogged. His tone carried a tinge of bawling.
Jiang Chen sighed softly, “Wencai, you’re a big softie, but sometimes you shouldn’t overthink things. You should know that I’m not the type of person to be so preoccupied about every little detail. We’re brothers, and that’s what you’ve called me, right? Who am I supposed to take care of, if not you?”
Liu Wencai’s eyes were entirely puffy now. He could do nothing but nod, his lips trembling.
Jiang Chen gave him a light pat on the shoulder. “Letting me down or not, that’s not important. You should worry more about not letting the heavens down, or your parents down, instead… they were the ones who gave you your talent and body, after all.”
His words brightened up Liu Wencai’s expression instantly. Having been an orphan since he was very young, Liu Wencai clearly felt strongly about his parents. He strongly nodded at Jiang Chen’s comforting advice. “Senior brother, I understand. I will train and train with all my might and help you in the future, when I am stronger.” A statement like that was positively unique for Liu Wencai—definitely one of the bravest he could muster.
Jiang Chen made no attempt to hide his joyful acknowledgement. This kind of Liu Wencai was the kind he wanted, brimming with confidence. He fished out a small bottle. “Wencai, this bottle contains something very important for you. I hope you can make the most of it.”
“What is it, senior brother?” Liu Wencai was somewhat confused.
“This is the blood of a true dragon,” Jiang Chen said softly. “I once gave some to the Precious Tree Sect’s Ye Chonglou. Tang Hong had some as well. But you’re the one that can make the best use of it. I can feel the potential in you. Perhaps there will be an unexpected breakthrough once you are stimulated by the dragon blood.”
“The blood of a true dragon?” Liu Wencai’s entire body shook. He suddenly remembered the image of a true dragon Jiang Chen had conjured up in the arena. “You have this much, senior brother?”
Jiang Chen smiled faintly, but didn’t say anything. If I told you I had a true dragon, would you be scared to death instead? He muttered internally.
He casually handed over two dragon crystals alongside the bottle of blood. “These are dragon crystals. They have a similar effect to dragon blood. I hope that with time, you can become a great emperor who hails from the Myriad Domain.”
Great emperor? Liu Wencai’s gaze wavered. There was great yearning in his eyes.
“There is no doubt that you have the potential. The Myriad Domain is a lower region not because it lacks geniuses, but because it has been robbed of all its resources. Maybe one day, you too can contribute to the recovery effort.”
“Senior brother, to do so would be an honor and a duty.”
Jiang Chen nodded, “You should either refine these or carefully store them away. Remember, never reveal them to anyone.”
Not everyone had the qualifications to use dragon blood. Jiang Chen had a modest amount of the material, and he wasn’t going to just hand it out like candy. That would only do more harm than help. Only those who were compatible with the blood and could make the most of it were deserving of being given dragon blood. Liu Wencai was definitely the best candidate for it.
Holding the bottle and crystals in hand, his fingers trembled a little. He was trembling with anticipation. Either of these two things could be sold in an auction house for an absurd price. They would have been impossible to find in the Myriad Domain, end of statement. Liu Wencai hadn’t heard of any treasures as valuable as dragon blood during the length of his stay in Veluriyam Capital either. He was really quite curious—had senior brother Jiang slain a dragon once? A question like that was a bit too sensational. The thought passed by like a flash in Liu Wencai’s heart, but he didn’t dare actually ask.
Watching Liu Wencai’s figure gradually disappear, Jiang Chen exhaled with every emotion. “If Wencai really makes full use of the dragon blood, then becoming a great emperor is no empty promise. I just hope he still has enough time to grow.”
Given his current position in Veluriyam Capital, Jiang Chen could absolutely feed and clothe Liu Wencai and company for an indefinite amount of time. The problem was that he was unsure when the demons of the wildlands would finally invade. Once the demonic invasion was fully underway, the entire human domain would descend into chaos. Though Veluriyam Capital was very strong, it would nevertheless be impossible for it to remain unscathed.
No cultivator could remain removed in midst of such an invasion, even the ones that hid themselves in the wilderness. Everyone would be caught up in it, regardless of whether they wanted to or not—much like an avalanche sweeping everything it passed along for the ride. Jiang Chen could only hope that the invasion would begin later rather than sooner. The people close to him needed some room for growth.
Ten, twenty years? Jiang Chen was more hopeful for thirty or fifty. After that many years, even the weakest amongst his friends; such as Xue Tong, Guo Jin, and the Qiao brothers; would be able to hold their own. They had low starting points, but the resources they possessed now matched those available to a first-rank sect’s disciples. They didn’t lack the potential, but potential without the proper catalyst was useless. With both the resources and the tutelage in place, everyone grew at a rapid pace. Those who came later were seemingly poised to surpass the average geniuses from Regal Pill Palace. Even Shen Trifire, previously amongst the top ten at Regal Pill Palace, no longer had a commanding lead over the newcomers.
After a month or so of battles, the competition for New Star Rankings was finally over. The ten-thousand-man New Star Rankings were finally ordered. Pill King Zhen was at the top of the chart, a placement that nobody had any doubts about. Sunyu Xiaosheng followed closely after, taking second place. There was a series of names that came afterwards, all of whom had been highly ranked during the formation test. Conversely, there was another batch of high-ranking names that had only shown an average performance during the formation test. Evidently, these people in particular had clearly hidden their strength during the test. Jiang Chen didn’t care much about this, however
Most of the people on the New Star Rankings would have to stop here. The next round of competition meant that these ten thousand cultivators, plus the early-qualifying noble scions, were competing for only two hundred slots.
The Genius Rankings. Thirty-six of those slots were reserved for those directly tied to the great emperors. Thus, the two-hundred-man Genius Rankings was in actuality only a hundred sixty or so. Ten thousand plus people, vying for a hundred sixty placements… it was quite the cruel squeeze.