There was no reason for them to go all out against an opponent that was much stronger than them in the last round. They wouldn't win and they'd exhaust their energy. Worse, they'd be too worn out to compete, even if they were given a chance to make a comeback. The smartest thing to do was to give up if they were paired against an incredibly strong opponent to preserve strength and energy. It might not be the most honorable thing to do, but it was the most logical one. These were precisely Wei Jie's thoughts right now. Of course, he was also hoping that he wouldn't be paired against someone much stronger than him.
Unfortunately, life often didn't happen as planned. The more one was afraid of something, the more likely it was going to happen. Wei Jie's name was drawn from the lot, and his opponent's name soon followed.
Wei Jie versus Pill King Zhen!
Wei Jie is actually paired against Pill King Zhen! The audience was rendered speechless by the dramatic drawing. This was an incredibly huge coincidence. There were at least four hundred contestants, yet Wei Jie had somehow managed to find himself paired against Jiang Chen. What sort of twisted play of fate was this?
Pill King Zhen was still the guest pill king of House Wei in name. Also, Pill King Zhen's rise to fame had started from House Wei. This was a duel between host and house guest! Nobody would have thought that Pill King Zhen could win in this matchup during his initial arrival at Veluriyam Capital. But now, nobody seemed to think that Wei Jie could win instead.
Wei Jie couldn't help but smile wryly. His father Wei Tian also shook his head grudgingly. He already knew what Wei Jie's choice was. The only thing his son could do when met with such a speechless pairing was to admit defeat. He'd been incredibly fortunate during the previous five elimination rounds, but the last one was a direct kick to the head. However, Wei Jie was still quite glad that he was paired against Jiang Chen, because the pill king was definitely going to end up in the top thirty.
There was still a chance for a comeback even if he admitted defeat. He was just as likely to get into the top two hundred as long as he made good use of the second chance he would soon be given. When they heard that Wei Jie had admitted defeat, many houses that had bad relations with House Wei began to disdain them. They felt that House Wei was being incredibly shameless. How could the host admit defeat against their own house guest?
Jiang Chen rather wanted to admit defeat himself to save House Wei some face. Unfortunately, with Wei Jie's abilities, it'd be difficult for him to gain a spot in the top thirty. If he admitted defeat, it was unlikely that Wei Jie would get a second chance. Thus, he had no choice but to let Wei Jie take the loss.
The sixth elimination round was supposed to be a nerve-wracking affair, but because Wei Jie had admitted defeat, he and Jiang Chen were able to relax and watch others fight instead. Wei Jie revered Jiang Chen greatly. Thus, he didn't feel that it was humiliating for him to admit defeat. In fact, he actually felt some relief instead, because he was the most afraid of encountering an opponent that was only slightly stronger than him. If that happened, he would have to put his life on the line to win the fight. There would be no second chance for him if he lost. Thus, Wei Jie genuinely believed that this wasn't the worst thing that could happen to him.
Ji San, on the other hand, was quite fortunate during the final drawing. He was paired against a cultivator from an aristocratic background. Even though that person was also at the ninth level sage realm, there was still a large difference in cultivation between them, as he was already a half-step emperor. Of course, that didn't mean that there weren't any other notable matches in the sixth round.
For example, there was the genius wandering cultivator, Sunyu Xiaosheng, who had performed well during the formation trials. He defeated numerous powerful opponents and was definitely a dark horse in the battles. This time, he was paired against a disciple from one of the great clans, Miao Suo from the Spirit Branch Clan. Jiang Chen had seen Miao Suo before. They'd crossed paths when Ji San brought him to Sacred Peafowl Mountain to meet a girl. It was obvious that Ji San wasn't on very friendly terms with Miao Suo.
The Spirit Branch Clan was ranked sixth amongst the twenty-eight great clans in Veluriyam Capital. Thus, Miao Suo was actually ranked somewhere around fifteenth or maybe even within the top ten amongst all disciples from the great clans. On one side was a top disciple hailing from the great clans, and on the other was a dark horse from the wandering cultivators. It was only natural that the fight between the two would garner a lot of attention.
Jiang Chen looked through the matchups and concluded that while there were a few matches worth watching, he was most interested in the one between Miao Suo and Sunyu Xiaosheng. He had seen Sunyu Xiaosheng's performance in the formation trials. Because of this, he was paying a little more attention to the always smiling, frivolous lad. Even though Miao Suo was one of the top disciples of the great clans, it didn't necessarily mean that he would be able to crush Sunyu Xiaosheng.
Jiang Chen may not know much about the wandering cultivator's background, but he was certain that Sunyu Xiaosheng had received training and pointers from an extraordinary teacher. He could easily tell just by looking at the wandering cultivator's aura. Jiang Chen could also tell that Sunyu Xiangsheng was a genuine wandering cultivator, as he possessed the same traits that many other wandering cultivators had. A wandering cultivator who's received pointers from an extraordinary teacher? He's probably much more worthy of note than a common disciple from a great clan.
"Wei Jie, don't challenge Sunyu Xiaosheng when you get the chance to," Jiang Chen warned.
Wei Jie was taken aback. "Sunyu Xiaosheng? Can he even beat Miao Suo?"
Jiang Chen smiled plainly. "Miao Suo only looks strong on the outside. He doesn't impress me at all."
It wasn't that Jiang Chen was looking down on Miao Suo. Sunyu Xiaosheng just seemed a little more enigmatic to him. The final elimination round officially began with the banging of the gong. Even though Jiang Chen was also looking at the other arenas, he was focusing most of his attention on Miao Suo and Sunyu Xiaosheng.
Confident in his abilities as a disciple from a great clan, Miao Suo started the bout with an extremely fierce strike. His attacks were incredibly powerful, as he was a disciple from a sixth-ranked great clan. The flurry of kicks and punches were like tidal waves, incessant and incredibly imposing. His fighting style matched his body type very well. He was like a ferocious bear; his attacks were crude and unsophisticated, yet somehow also very powerful. Miao Suo was planning on using the dark horse as a testament to his martial dao skills. He wanted to use this chance to show off and boost his own reputation.
However, Sunyu Xiaosheng was obviously a much smarter fighter than Miao Suo. He'd chosen not to follow Miao Suo's lead in battle, even though he was every bit capable of fighting head on. Instead, he chose to fight a guerrilla warfare. He was constantly switching up methods, sometimes harassing, other times defending. Occasionally he would even lay an ambush. This only served to enrage Miao Suo greatly.
Miao Suo wasn't the kind of person that couldn't hold his temper, but it didn't take long before he was truly enraged by Sunyu Xiaosheng's battle tactics. It wasn't necessarily a good thing to provoke one's opponent during an exchange in martial dao. Sometimes, it would actually lead the opponent into gaining an extra burst of strength and power. However, it was soon evident that Sunyu Xiaosheng was very experienced in handling such situations. In the end, he was able to easily defeat Miao Suo and achieved victory in the sixth elimination round after incessant provocation.
This truly was an unexpected outcome! The audience booed and hissed after the fight. One had to understand that Miao Suo was firmly ranked in the top fifteen among all the great clan disciples! He was also a strong contender for the top ten spots in the Genius Rankings! Who could've known that he'd be defeated by a wandering cultivator? Wei Jie was also flabbergasted by the result. "Miao Suo was defeated? Who in the world is Sunyu Xiaosheng?"
Jiang Chen looked at Sunyu Xiaosheng, intrigued. He now had an even higher opinion of this mysterious wandering cultivator. The way the wandering cultivator had won might not seem honorable, but those with keen eyes and senses were able to see minute details that others couldn't. Even though it seemed like Sunyu Xiaosheng had won by despicable means, Jiang Chen believed that the reason why Sunyu Xiaosheng didn't fight Miao Suo head on wasn't because he couldn't win, but simply because he didn't need to.
Jiang Chen guessed that he probably didn't want to tire himself out by facing Miao Suo head on, and also because he didn't want to reveal his trump cards too early on in the ranking battles. One would stand to gain more advantage in the later stages of the tournament if one kept their trump cards hidden.
Revealing everything at the start would lead to satisfying wins at the beginning, but the trump cards would become less effective the longer the fights dragged on. Sunyu Xiaosheng was quite smart. He'd utilized his brains better than most people in battle. He only used this tactic during the duel because he already had a good inkling of his and his opponent's abilities, and knew that there was a good chance of victory in doing so . Such a tactic would be meaningless otherwise.
Even though the results were within Jiang Chen's expectations, they'd served as a reminder for him that there were many hidden talents and geniuses within the Genius Rankings battles. A good example of such a talent was Ye Tianzuo, an incredible genius in sword dao. Sunyu Xiaosheng was obviously also a genius of such magnitude. The duels in the other arenas were a lot less interesting in comparison. Ji San had crushed his opponent easily and was successful in advancing to the next level.
The sixth elimination round soon came to an end. Two hundred finalists were finally chosen. The subsequent round were the battles amongst the two hundred. They were divided into twenty groups, with ten to each group. Not everyone was seen as equals in the ranking battles. For example, Jiang Chen was assigned to the first group because he was ranked first in the formation trials, had won every round in the New Star Rankings battles, and had also easily won every single battle in the six elimination rounds. Being assigned to the first group meant that he was already ranked within the top ten. This also meant that Jiang Chen only needed to participate in the battles between the top ten cultivators. There was no need for him to fight with anyone in the lower ranks.
Very intricate calculations had been made before ten geniuses were assigned to their own respective groups. This also took their previous battle records into consideration. If battle results were similar, then the judges would consider the time it took for them to achieve victory. There were many detailed rules and specifications to divide everyone accordingly. The entire process was fair and just.