The Ranking of Young Lords had become incredibly suspenseful after Jiang Chen’s victory. The appearance of an outlier like Jiang Chen had caused a great disruption in the clear-cut rankings of the top ten. He was like a butcher’s knife suspended in midair. The question was… who was he going to strike at next? Would the pill king choose to continue challenging ranks above his own? Would there be a change within the top ten? The various possibilities threw an interesting twist into things. Everyone was certain that the pill king wouldn’t give up his final challenge after so many battles.
According to the rules, he was allowed to challenge six ranks ahead in his second challenge. In his third challenge, he was allowed double of that. He could now challenge twelve ranks ahead. Since he was ranked 11th, he was now qualified to challenge the champion of the Ranking of Young Lords. However, was he really going to do that?
Jiang Chen was in deep consideration as well. Since he had replaced Zhuang Min as the 11th ranked young lord, he clearly understood what sort of challenges awaited him in the ranks ahead. Defeating Zhuang Min would have been an incredibly difficult task if Long Xiaoxuan hadn’t quietly dealt with his water abilities. Every single opponent from henceforth would be even more powerful than him. According to his optimistic calculations, there was no chance of him defeating anyone in the top three if he couldn’t utilize the rest of his trump cards. In fact, making it into the top five was only a pipe dream as well. Those monsters were all third level emperor realm geniuses.
Even the overweening Gong Wuji from yesteryear was only a third level emperor. Back then, all Jiang Chen could do was flee when he’d encountered him. The Divine Befuddlement Miasma in Infant Shriek Valley was the only reason why Jiang Chen had managed to eliminate him in the end. It had all been due to fortunate timing and favorable conditions.
Jiang Chen was certain that he could challenge a young lord within the top five if he could use all of his trump cards. There was a possibility that he could win as well. Unfortunately, there were just too many restrictions preventing him from doing so. His current goal was to make it into the top nine. Only the top thirty-six finalists of the Ranking of Young Lords were qualified to enter the Martial Pagoda to cultivate.
There were all kinds of legacies from the ancestors of Veluriyam Capital and all sorts of encounters waiting to be stumbled across within the Martial Pagoda. Most importantly, a single day of cultivation within the Martial Pagoda was equivalent to ten days outside of it. And of course, not all thirty-six young lords were treated equally. Only the top nine would receive the best treatment. They were granted access to the highest region in the pagoda that allowed for the ten day equivalent cultivation. The rest would be allocated to other lower levels in batches of nine. Since Jiang Chen had fought his way up the rankings, he was going to aim to finish in the top nine even though he was temporarily incapable of challenging the top five. He made the decision to continue the climb. However, he wasn’t going to challenge twelve, or even six ranks ahead of him. Instead, he was going to challenge the eighth rank genius who was only three ranks ahead of him. Of course, there was a proper reason for why he had decided to challenge the eighth rank genius. His target was actually a disciple from Emperor Shura’s faction that went by the name of Gao Zhan, but he preferred for others to call him the Beheader.
He was ranked second amongst Emperor Shura’s true disciples, and he had a cold and ruthless personality, as he was focused on the ways of demonic slaughter. He was a genius in the art of killing.
People were mildly surprised when Jiang Chen challenged Gao Zhan. Nobody had expected this. After all, Gao Zhan was a famous killing maniac! He possessed the aura of a demon hailing from the depths of hell due to the cultivation path he chose to pursue. Ordinary cultivators would collapse just from the might of his killing intent alone. Challenging Gao Zhan was like challenging a young lord ranked within the top five.
Jiang Chen could have challenged the ninth ranked young lord if he had wanted to make it into the top region of the pagoda. The latter was equally as powerful, but there was still some disparity between him and Gao Zhan. Moreover, Gao Zhan had cultivated the path of demonic slaughter. Even the higher-ranked geniuses were reluctant to go face to face against him.
Gao Zhan was in slight disbelief. “You’re challenging me?” he asked while licking his lips. A cold smile flashed across his face as killing intent came bursting out of his eyes. There seemed to be no limit to his thirst for blood.
“Gao Zhan, don’t belittle your enemy. His opponents have all thought that he had overestimated his capabilities, when in reality it was quite the opposite.” Emperor Shura reminded blandly. The emperor had a very deep impression of Jiang Chen. Pill King Zhen was actually the perpetrator behind Majestic Clan’s downfall during the battle that took place in Veluriyam Capital. It hadn’t been Sacred Peafowl Mountain. Rumors that Jiang Chen would become heir of Sacred Peafowl Mountain that had recently arisen definitely spelled bad news for Emperor Shura. The heir was very likely to gain reign over Veluriyam Capital after Emperor Peafowl’s retirement, meaning that he would be sidelined yet again. He disdained Jiang Chen because of this. However, despite his hatred, he couldn’t just ignore an incredible young genius that had come from nowhere, especially since said genius had just challenged his own disciple! Emperor Shura was certain that this was no coincidence. The pill king had done it on purpose as a demonstration of Sacred Peafowl Mountain’s power.
“Esteemed master, please set your mind at ease. Your disciple is not the same as those other simple fools. This pill king may be somewhat abnormal, but your disciple is already familiar with his tricks. My demonic slaughter emperor domain will shred him to pieces once we get into the arena.” Gao Zhan’s cold voice was filled with killing intent.
Emperor Shura was quite pleased with his disciple, as he had inherited the emperor’s thirst for blood along with his path of demonic slaughter. Unfortunately, his young disciple was too focused on the pursuit of martial dao to be interested in anything else. Thus, Emperor Shura had no choice but to train him as a second rank true disciple instead. Gao Zhan didn’t care about all this. He was more interested in improving his martial dao and breaking through to higher levels.
“Fool!” Emperor Shura yelled as soon as he heard Gao Zhan’s words. “This child is as unfathomable as he is obscure! You will not win if you think that this is all there is to him!” Emperor Shura didn’t often scold Gao Zhan like this. However, the importance of this match had caused his mood to sour. He could tell that Gao Zhan had already belittled his enemy in his mind.
Gao Zhan was much stronger than Zhuang Min. There wasn’t much he could study from Zhuang Min’s match, as it was far too beneath him. However, there was a high chance that he might be tricked by the pill king if he went into the match with that kind of mindset. The pill king was much too cunning.
Fortunately, the sky was already getting dark. The match would have to be held on the second day. Emperor Shura believed that there was still time to alter his disciple’s mindset by giving him a small lecture.
Upon nightfall, Emperor Peafowl left the Veluriyam Pagoda to visit Jiang Chen.
“Your Majesty?” Jiang Chen was surprised by Emperor Peafowl’s sudden arrival, as the emperors were usually in the pagoda at this hour.
Emperor Peafowl had a smile on his face. “Good lad. Your climb is a lot more aggressive than I’d imagined! I thought you’d stop when you reached the 20th spot, but you didn’t! You just keep surprising me again and again. I can still hear the entire capital talking about you even after covering my ears.”
“What are they talking about?” Jiang Chen laughed.
“What? Are you asking for praise from me?” Emperor Peafowl laughed. “You are now the biggest idol for all the youths in this Capital. Even the five strongest young lords are no match for you in terms of popularity.”
Jiang Chen smirked. “Those geniuses are high and aloof. How can they gain the adoration of the city’s citizens when they won’t even bother stepping on the same soil as commoners?”
He felt that young lord Fan had done a great job in this regard. The late young lord was similarly adept at gaining the adoration of the masses even though he possessed a status just as high and beyond reach as that of the other young lords. It was truly a pity that the demon race’s bloodline had coursed through his veins
Emperor Peafowl burst into laughter. “Kid, you’re so unorthodox compared to them. By the way, how do you plan on challenging Gao Zhan? Do you not know that Gao Zhan is said to be the most likely candidate to break into the top five?”
“Who else in the top twelve doesn’t possess that same potential? Potential is one thing, but reality is another. He should be in the top five if he truly was that powerful. Potential is nothing but empty talk.” Jiang Chen made a great point with his argument. Competition was intense, as there were only so many places within the rankings. True strength was still the most important factor in the end. There was still a legitimate reason why seven people were ranked higher than him.
“Seeing as how you could say such a thing, I’m sure that you’ve thought this all through. However, the reason why he is said to have such high potential is all due to his focus on the path of demonic slaughter. He will be a lot harder to deal with than the common enemy.” Emperor Peafowl paused for a moment before he continued with a smile. “If I’m not mistaken, Emperor Shura must be giving him a small lecture right now. He isn’t willing to lose this match. He believes that he cannot afford to.”
“Emperor Shura has no choice but to spend an eternity as runner up as long as Your Majesty is around,” Jiang Chen replied with a laugh.
“An eternity in second place? Haha! What an amusing thought!” Emperor Peafowl burst into laughter. “Since Emperor Shura is giving a lecture right now, it is best that I grant you some knowledge as well. Let me tell you a little something about this path…”
Jiang Chen had only just realized the motive behind Emperor Peafowl’s sudden visitation. He was here to offer him advice. He appreciated Emperor Peafowl’s good intentions even though he had no need for the advice. The emperor hoped that Jiang Chen wouldn’t lose this crucial match, as he was about to announce the lad as his heir.
1. Gao = high. One of the characters for Zhan is kill/behead.
2. Gao = high. One of the characters for Zhan is kill/behead.