“You sure are free, brother. You disappeared immediately after you finished the New Star Rankings battles. Have you forgotten your brother here?” said Ji San in a half joking, half begrudging way while throwing a fist at Jiang Chen’s shoulder.
Jiang Chen knew that Ji San wasn’t actually angry because he was smiling, despite his tone. He immediately returned the smile, “What if I tell you that I’m studying the Pinecrane Pill right now?”
Ji San froze before laughing foolishly, “Good, that’s very good. You truly are the model of youngsters and the aspiration of all in the world of pill dao! I am truly impressed by how hardworking you are, even though you’re so talented already. You chose the perfect time to cultivate behind closed doors! Absolutely perfect.”
Jiang Chen laughed, “I lied, I wasn’t researching the Pinecrane Pill. I spent the last month preparing for the Genius Rankings battles.”
Ji San’s smile immediately froze. A wry look appeared on his face. “Come on brother, don’t play with me like this. I know you must have figured out the ins and outs of the Pinecrane Pill already, right?”
Jiang Chen knew that the Pinecrane Pill was a sensitive topic for Ji San, so he immediately straightened up his act and answered seriously, “Don’t worry, you will have the Pinecrane Pill.”
Ji San immediately smiled with delight, “Really?”
“Would I lie to you?”
Ji San immediately hugged Jiang Chen and laughed loudly, “Good, good. You truly are a good brother!”
His particularly effeminate action caused Jiang Chen to break out in cold sweat, “Let go of me, let go of me! If you don’t then the Pinecrane Pill never existed, you hear?” When he felt the strange gazes glancing at him from all directions, all he wanted was to destroy this brother of his with his glare ten times over.
Ji San didn’t look ashamed in the least as he chuckled, “What are you people looking at? We’re best brothers for as long as we live! You jealous?”
Jiang Chen had nothing to say about this guy. It was at this moment that someone pushed his way through the crowd. It was Wei Jie of House Wei. When Ji San saw Wei Jie, he assessed the other with a bit of astonishment, “Did you achieve a breakthrough, Wei Jie?”
Wei Jie had always acted a bit reserved in front of Ji San. He was after all, House Wei’s superior. “Yes, young master Ji San. With luck, I managed to ascend to the ninth level sage realm,” Wei Jie was very modest and cautious before Ji San.
Ji San chuckled, “That’s great. Congratulations! I doubt there’s anyone else in House Wei who will question your abilities to succeed the family in the future.”
Wei Jie felt very pleased to hear this praise and nodded, “The elders of House Wei are indeed quite pleased to hear of my breakthrough.” Having said this, Wei Jie bowed respectfully towards Jiang Chen, “It’s all thanks to you, Pill King Zhen.”
Jiang Chen waved his hand, “Thank Ji Ole Third instead. That pill was gifted to me by the Coiling Dragon clan lord.”
Ji San was surprised, “You mean that Sage Smile Pill?”
Wei Jie finally understood what they meant, and he hastily saluted Ji San, “Please receive my thanks, young master. And please give my thanks to the clan lord.”
Ji San was very generous, “Don’t thank me, the clan lord’s the one who gave Pill King Zhen that pill as a greeting gift, so he can do whatever he wants with it. Pill King Zhen has already settled the debt between you and me, so this is between you and Pill King Zhen. I can’t accept your thanks for free.”
Wei Jie still said respectfully, “I’m still going to thank you, young master.”
Ji San waved his hand, “You and your rules, Wei Jie. Fine, you can thank me if you want. Now that you’re a ninth level sage realm expert, your chances of entering the Genius Rankings just became a lot higher.”
“I’ll do my utmost for this battle. I hope I’ll be able to come away with something.”
“It’s not a hope, but a must. House Wei has been neglected for several years, and even with Pill King Zhen’s backing, your family will be lucky to maintain their position. At your current state, advancement is almost impossible. However, if you can enter the Genius Rankings, House Wei will win back the status they’ve lost. Only then will your family have a bit of hope in advancing with Pill King Zhen’s help.”
House Wei was a ninth rank aristocratic family; advancing further would make them a great clan. Although a great clan was split into different ranks as well, a great clan was on another level compared to a ninth rank aristocratic family. After all, even the worst great clan was still a great clan.
A trace of anticipation appeared in Wei Jie’s eyes when he heard Ji San’s encouragement. He nodded resolutely, “I won’t disappoint your expectations, young master, Pill King Zhen.”
The competition of the Genius Rankings battle was no doubt going to be fierce. Every aristocratic family and great clan disciple was finally joining the array. Although the great emperor geniuses hadn’t joined the battle yet, the injection of the aristocratic family members, great clan disciples, and wandering cultivators who had fought their way through from previous battles was undoubtedly going to make the competition that much fiercer. There were ten thousand already from the New Star Rankings, adding the noble youths to that number made for a total of 12,800 people.
This number was the result of careful calculation.
Two hundred finalists were going to be decided through six rounds of combat and enter the Genius Rankings. So although the Genius Rankings battles were not as complicated as the previous battles, they were more desperate. The format would be the most brutal elimination process. Moreover, there were no such thing as seeding in this elimination tournament. Anyone could be eliminated in a single round no matter what level they were at. Therefore, luck was a huge element in this type of tournament.
Two of the greatest geniuses of the tournament might have the misfortune to run into each other early on. In that case, the top two hundred geniuses who were to enter the Genius Rankings might not necessarily be the strongest possible geniuses. Therefore, there were some mechanisms installed to avoid too many chance tragedies happening during the elimination contest.
After the six elimination rounds were over, the top thirty contestants who were defeated in combat would be given a shot at coming back. This shot at a comeback was the right to challenge any one of the top two hundred contestants. If they succeeded, they would replace their opponents and join the Genius Rankings instead.
This comeback rule was a chance to rectify things for those geniuses who had the misfortune of running into the most powerful enemies early on. Despite failing to become part of the top two hundred contestants the first time, they could still challenge another opponent and potentially win. This rule was very humane. After all, the top thirty who were unfortunately eliminated might be powerful experts. They might not necessarily be unqualified to enter the Genius Rankings. This comeback rule also flushed out the weak cultivators who were lucky enough to make it to the top two hundred, per survival of the fittest. Even Jiang Chen was very impressed by this rule.
“Everyone, I am sure that you are clear about the rules already. There will be six rounds, and the opponents you meet will be completely random. Once the battles are complete, you will be fighting again to decide your ranking. Only those who have are amongst the top thirty are completely safe and cannot be challenged by the comeback contestants. Everyone else is free game. Therefore, I hope that you will pay your full attention during these rounds and especially during the subsequent rankings battles. Otherwise, your position may be in danger even if you make it to the top 200 the first go around. Also, unlike the comeback contestants, you won’t get a chance at coming back in.”
The rules were harsh, but it was also fair to everyone. No one knew who would enter the Genius Rankings first and who would be eliminated first.
Ji San chuckled and swept a fearless glance at the crowd. He was the successor of the Coiling Dragon Clan, and out of every genius in Veluriyam Capital, the great emperors’ geniuses were the only ones he was afraid of. It was true that there were some great clan disciples amongst these people, and they shared almost the same talent as him, but Ji San didn’t think that those people were capable of disqualifying him at all. In the end, it all came down to how one performed in actual combat. The great clan disciples were good, but Ji San knew very well that they weren’t so good that they could kick him out of the top thirty. Therefore, he wasn’t worried about getting into the Genius Rankings at all. His target was the Ranking of Young Lords. Although he knew that that ranking would be very difficult, he was willing to give it a try. Even if he were to fail in the end, he would at least figure out how far he was away from those great emperor geniuses!
“Brother, I’m warning you first. If you run into me during the Genius Rankings, I’m not going to go easy on you,” Ji San chuckled.
Jiang Chen laughed involuntarily, “You think you can disqualify me?”
Ji San puffed up his chest, “It doesn’t matter. I’m not going to go easy on you. If you can beat me, then I will admit that you’re better.”
“You mean that you don’t think I’m better yet?” Jiang Chen chuckled.
“Oh, I’m like 70 or 80% there. At first I did think of you as my better, but then my clan lord secretly told me that I should surrender immediately if I see you. So I’m not giving up just yet. Hahaha!” Ji San couldn’t help but laugh when he said this, but a look of dejection quickly overwhelmed him, “The clan lord used to think highly of me, but this time he’s discarded his own and taken your side! This is so unfair.”
Jiang Chen couldn’t help but laugh at Ji San’s whimsical appearance. When he cast a glance at Wei Jie beside them, he noticed that Wei Jie was looking a little nervous. He immediately consoled Wei Jie, “Be more confident. You’re a ninth level sage realm expert, aren’t you? There is absolutely hope for you to make it into the top 200.”
Wei Jie nodded. He knew that the Genius Rankings battles were no pressure to neither Jiang Chen nor Ji San. However, he would have to put in 200% effort to have even a sliver of hope at winning a spot.
“Alright, we will start drawing lots now. First round contestants, once your names have been drawn, an arena will be generated for you. Please remember both your arena numbers and your opponents.”
12,800 people would have to go through six rounds of battles before the top 200 ranking could be decided. Therefore, the battle to enter the top 200 wasn’t exactly easy. It was highly unlikely for someone to be so lucky that they would meet no powerful opponents six times in a row. This also meant that the contestants who survived to the end were more or less the real deal. Sometimes, there were some insanely lucky people who made it to the end without much difficulty. However, the comeback contestants would definitely challenge them and take them out of the running.