There was no need for Jiang Chen’s explanation. Ji San himself knew what true dragon blood meant. A family with a dragon bloodline understood the meaning behind that much better than most, regardless of how thin that bloodline happened to run. This was especially true for Ji San, since he’d read a plethora of ancient tomes on the subject. He was no stranger to the legends and myths surrounding true dragon bloodlines in particular.
In ancient times, the dragon race was one of the few races that reigned above all others. The bloodline that flowed through their descendants was diluted after generations of inheritance. It was one of the most depressing and helpless truths for the concerned parties. Both actual dragons and humans with dragon bloodlines had no solution whatsoever to the age-old problem of blood dilution; it was simply part of the natural order. It was impossible for bloodlines to become purer over time without genetic mutation.
The appearance of true dragon blood was a kind of ancestral reversion. No matter the race, true dragon blood was the best way for draconic descendents to attain bloodline reversion. ‘Bloodline reversion’ was the process through which a descendant with a diluted bloodline could return their level to the same level of their ancestors, or even surpass it in some instances. It was almost impossible for such a reversion to occur without at least discovering a pureblood true dragon.
Was the thing in Ji San’s hands really the true dragon blood of legend? Something that hadn’t appeared for the past thousand years? He wasn’t intentionally appearing incredulous, rather, it was just that he had never even dreamed of such a possibility happening to him. Even after Jiang Chen showed off his dragon’s roar and devouring art, Ji San had thought that it was his brother’s teacher who’d altered his bloodline. Thus, the young master’s reaction to the bottle of true dragon blood was understandable.
At this point, Jiang Chen had given out several portions of true dragon blood already. Ye Chonglou had received one, his good friend Tang Hong of the Precious Tree Sect had been given another, and Liu Wencai of the mysterious bloodline powers a third. Young master Ji San was the recipient of the fourth. Ye Chonglou aside, the other two lacked any substantial knowledge about the rarity of the blood. They knew that it was precious, but how uncommon was it really? That hadn’t been part of their considerations. They just knew that anything Jiang Chen gave them would be treasure.
Young master Ji San, on the other hand, knew even more than Ye Chonglou did about how valuable the substance before him was. He opened the stopper to take a whiff but was greeted by a wild aura that rushed from the bottle into his face. The aura felt like it could engulf him instantly. It called to every pore in his body, bringing the youth to a shuddering point. In the next moment, his entire body began to resonate. His bloodline began to awaken, down to every extremity of his capillaries. Ji San was shaking all over. Usually a carefree jokester, he couldn’t contain the fervent thrill in his eyes. He almost dropped the bottle he was holding.
Ji San wasn’t inexperienced, nor was he easily agitated. The blood of a true dragon was many times more crucial for him than for others. This was probably true even in comparison to Liu Wencai. Jiang Chen smiled, but didn’t say anything more. He was nonplussed by Ji San’s reaction. As the possessors of a draconic bloodline, the Coiling Dragon Clan knew exactly what the blood of a true dragon meant for them. Ji San recovered his wits after a long while.
“Pardon my bout of foolishness, brother.” Ji San paused. “No words can express my appreciation. Between brothers…” His voice was a little hoarse. He wanted to express a great deal more, but could not despite his eloquence.
Jiang Chen gave him a pat on the shoulder. “We’re brothers, aren’t we? Let the rest of your words remain unspoken. I just hope that after your bloodline reversion is complete, you can stomp all of these so-called geniuses underfoot.”
“All of them? Including you?” Ji San chuckled. He finally had the opportunity to make a joke, adjusting his emotions in the process.
“I’ll accept the loss… if you’re able to do so.” Jiang Chen grinned meaningfully, trailing off the sentence.
Ji San sighed. “You’re quite the piece of work, alright. Even if I defeat every genius under the heavens, you’ll still be an insurmountable mountain in front of me.”
“To completely assimilate the blood into your own will take a long time. I wouldn’t count on it for the Ranking battles.”
After some consideration, Ji San nodded in agreement. “There’s no point to them after obtaining true dragon blood. Why chase something so pointless?” He turned to Jiang Chen, eyes ablaze with expectation. “With that being said… I’ll leave the rest of the Ranking battles to you, brother.”
Jiang Chen’s gift of true dragon blood only increased Ji San’s hopes for him. Jiang Chen truly seemed to him like a god among men now. Each time he thought he had seen his brother’s limits, some new surprise would appear. There hadn’t ever been an exception to that observation. The Pinecrane Pill that Jiang Chen had talked about prior, and now the true dragon blood. If either of these made their way into the public eye, there would be a great deal of bloodshed. But for his brother, they were simple presents. It was not due to magnanimity and generosity alone, but rather, a kind of trust in him. In Ji San, the person.
If Jiang Chen didn’t have faith in him, why give Ji San any of these things? Precious treasures like these had the tendency to set their bearers aflame. It threatened the very lives of the people through whose hands it passed. But Jiang Chen seemingly had no reservations about the matter. Rather than the true dragon blood, what Ji San valued more was his brother’s trust. What did being brothers mean? This was the answer. He told himself many a time in his heart that this was the kind of secret that he could divulge to no one else. Not even the clan lord could know. Ji San had no possible way of repaying all of Jiang Chen’s help. The only thing he could do was preserve the secrets he knew.
“You should use the true dragon blood I’ve given you well, Brother Ji. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the one who rules Veluriyam Capital in the next three thousand years.”
“What, me?” Ji San was perplexed. “But I heard that His Majesty Peafowl wants to make you the young lord. You don’t need to say anything else. We’re brothers, and there’s no reason for me to not support you as the ruler of the city. I’ll listen to you all my life.”
A promise was all he could do in the face of his brother’s generosity.
Jiang Chen smiled. “Even if I do become Sacred Peafowl Mountain’s young lord, it’s not possible for me to stay here a whole three thousand years. If everything goes well, I hope that you can prop up the city’s future in my stead.”
Ji San was stunned. The leader of Veluriyam Capital was one of the most powerful positions in the Upper Eight Regions. It was a paramount existence. Did Brother Jiang Chen’s ambitions exceed that?
Jiang Chen didn’t explain what he meant. He merely maintained his smile. “You’ll know more about it, one day. I just hope that you don’t let the blood I gave you down.”
Burning blood surged through Ji San’s veins. “If I waste an endowment like this, then I really do deserve to be called a piece of trash. Don’t worry. I’ll show you what I can do!”
The next day, the ranking battles proceeded once more.
It was Ji San’s turn to issue challenges. To everyone’s surprise, he surrendered the opportunity. Though he’d informed the Coiling Dragon clan lord of the choice beforehand already, the clan lord still felt that it was a bit of a shame. He had asked Ji San the reason for it, but the young master had not given him one. He only told the clan lord to trust his judgment, and that he would give him a full and appropriate explanation in the future.
The Coiling Dragon clan lord had been mentally prepared, but no one else had. The ferocious young master Ji San had given up! Everyone was bewildered at this unforeseen outcome. In their opinion, someone with Ji San’s strength could at least fight to boost morale and show flair, regardless of victory or loss. But before he was even able to do so, he’d already signed away the chance. He hadn’t given up on only the consequences of this battle, but perhaps also the strategic movements of the Coiling Dragon Clan in the short term.
However, the young master was entirely expressionless. He had none of the dejection that one would expect to see. Those who’d always thought Ji San was a bit impulsive suddenly found themselves unable to understand him. For most people, Coiling Dragon’s young master had always been somewhat eccentric, a mold-breaker, and perhaps a bit too playful for his own good. This kind of added depth to his character was something new. The change was vexing. Where had his confidence come from? Why was he so impassive about it? Didn’t he know how much of a hit it would be to the Coiling Dragon Clan’s plans?
The other clans that wanted to replace Coiling Dragon gloated a little. They were the ones who’d had the highest hopes of Ji San ending up with a low ranking. A higher ranking meant a bigger gap between his clan and the rest. Some thought that young master Ji San might have had cold feet, and that he was probably scared of entering the arena once more. No matter how others perceived him, Ji San’s expression revealed nothing about his intentions. After Ji San came Pill King Zhen. With the Coiling Dragon young master’s example before him, there was the curious sentiment going around regarding whether Pill King Zhen would give up his chance to challenge as well. Would he be satisfied with staying number twenty on the rankings?
The three-ranked geniuses immediately above Jiang Chen were especially anxious. His fierceness in the prior rounds had been seen by all. The three geniuses had mentally substituted themselves into the battles and done some inference. They had to admit that their own chances of victory in the same spots were equally slim. They had no hope against the worldly genius who’d apparently come out of nowhere. Thus, they wanted Jiang Chen to also give up from the bottom of their hearts.
Unfortunately for them, Jiang Chen clearly had no intentions of doing so whatsoever. He challenged the 17th genius straightaway. The 17th ranked was a genius from Emperor Peafowl’s faction, named Yang Sheng. It was the first time Jiang Chen was fighting against a genius aligned with Emperor Peafowl. Yang Sheng was one of the four top geniuses under the emperor’s command. Yes, he was technically last place amongst the four, but nobody took him lightly nevertheless. Jiang Chen’s direct challenge lit an angry flame within Yang Sheng’s heart.