The scenes kept flickering until they locked onto this astounding genius. “It’s number 8… number 8… isn’t that Pill King Zhen?”
The seven emperors might not have remembered anyone else’s number, but who wouldn’t remember the genius behind number eight? The darkest of all horses from the Genius Rankings, having won his eighth rank on the Ranking of Young Lords after thoroughly trouncing Gao Zhan with flair.
Pill King Zhen! This was a name deeply branded into every one of their minds. Emperor Peafowl designating the pill king as his heir afterwards had raised an even greater furor amongst them. It had shocked and stunned many of the emperors and made the Capital erupt in jubilation.
“Haha, Daoist Peafowl, your eye for talent is as keen as ever. Pill King Zhen is indeed an uncommon genius,” Emperor Mountaincrush spoke with obvious admiration.
Emperor Skysplitter also sighed. “Daoist Peafowl always recognizes the gems from the masses. You discovered young lord Fan back then, and now young lord Zhen as well! With each of them more accomplished than the last, I really am a bit jealous. Brother, all of Veluriyam Capital is speculating that you had long since placed young lord Zhen as a hidden pawn. Are these rumors true?”
The other emperors also looked inquisitively at Emperor Peafowl, evidently curious as well. He laughed softly. “A true genius is born as a result of the times. I only discovered him. It’d be too much to say that I had cultivated him or made specific plans for him from the start.”
“I really wonder how you raised him. Pill King Zhen possesses such stunning pill and martial dao potential that it truly makes him a one-of-kind cultivator in Veluriyam Capital history.”
“He’s not only one of a kind; he’s as rare as the scale of a dragon or the feather of a phoenix!”
Emperor Peafowl smiled slightly. “It’s too early to say all this. After all, perhaps he’s already comprehended the mysteries of the Obelisk before?”
That made sense as well. Pill King Zhen possessed a wide breadth of experience and astounding talent. Perhaps he had already come in contact with this technique in the past. Having mastered the first obelisk, Jiang Chen continued onwards and proceeded to the second. The second was one that involved tempering the heart and mind, with its difficulty being noticeably higher than before. Not only was a strong understanding of martial dao required, but an even stronger strength of mind, observation, and perception was also needed.
There were ninety-nine images on this obelisk, and each one represented a blade technique. What the candidate had to do was discern which of these blade techniques was unlike the rest. All of the techniques looked like they derived from the same school of thought, so there was no fundamental difference between them. This made the test much harder, as all the techniques looked the same.
Jiang Chen fully deployed his Psychic’s Head and observed the ninety-nine images, the different blades trailing imaginary paths in his mind. This was undoubtedly a complete set of blade techniques and even encompassed an entire martial school of thought. It would serve as good material for an emperor realm cultivator. If they couldn’t identity which stroke of the ninety-nine blade techniques was different, that meant that the cultivator hadn’t fully comprehended the technique. They could only guess blindly as a result, and their chances of success would be exceedingly low.
Given the standards of the Ranking of Young Lords, they would all certainly be able to tell which stroke stood out given enough time. And time was precisely the field that they were competing in. They only had half a month to spend on three obelisks, which immensely increased the difficulty level. The other key point was that the order of the strokes was jumbled, so there was no hope in finding the answer by successively sorting out each stroke. The contest not only involved the foundation of martial dao, but martial dao potential and understanding as well.
Thankfully, discerning such things happened to be one of Jiang Chen’s strengths. They were all required to deconstruct this blade technique, but his mind operated at a much higher speed than that of most of his peers. He called upon the immense collection of memories and foundations from his past life, deploying them to the utmost. He entered each stroke into his mind and reordered them, organizing and analyzing them… He immersed himself in this task as the technique became increasingly clearer to him.
After roughly eight hours, the various strokes had slowly settled themselves into a certain order. Jiang Chen’s eyes suddenly widened with joy. As I thought. This stroke looks different, but its meaning overlaps with the one preceding it, and it transitions stiffly to the next stroke. It doesn’t look different if analyzed separately, but when it’s put in order like this, it’s apparent that it could possibly follow the one before it, but it couldn’t possibly precede the one following it . Mm, it’s this one without a doubt.
Although Jiang Chen had identified his answer, he wasn’t in a rush to submit it. He went over the technique a few more times in his mind until he was certain there was no doubt that he had chosen the correct answer.
This is it! He locked onto that jarring stroke with his mind. According to the rules, the candidate would fail after four incorrect choices and be transported out. They would be given acceptable if they picked out the right answer within three tries, excellent within two, and perfection within one. Not even a day had passed for Jiang Chen to reach his answer, which made for astounding speed indeed. If they can see our performance in the outside world, would mine be a bit over the top?
Despite his thoughts, he didn’t slow down and submitted his answer. The familiar azure color appeared once again. Another correct answer, another perfection grade! A trace of a confident smile appeared on Jiang Chen’s face. His two attempts had gone very smoothly, and he was now more assured in his strength and capabilities. Although he also surmised that the outside world would be surprised by his results, he still underestimated their shock.
“No way! Him again? He’s passed the second obelisk?”
“This speed is simply too heaven defying! Pill King Zhen’s martial dao talent is absolutely frightening!”
It was no wonder that the seven emperors were stunned. One had to know that during this time, only three out of the premier geniuses had completed the first obelisk, and that was a much simpler task. Here Pill King Zhen was full speed ahead, already passing the second obelisk. The difference in comparison was simply too great, and even the top three cultivators on the Ranking of Young Lords suffered a great loss of face. It was a good thing that no one knew of anyone else’s scores during this period, so there was no risk of anyone’s mentality being affected. But once this stage was over, their scores would all be announced publicly to goad the geniuses into trying harder and stoke their competitive spirit.
“Daoist Peafowl, I completely submit to you. Young lord Zhen is a heaven-defying genius and he outshines the top three geniuses of the Ranking of Young Lords. He’s only at the sage realm now. What heights will he reach in the emperor realm?”
“He’s truly the foremost genius of three millennia. It looks like the heavens favor Veluriyam Capital. Our fortune is still exceedingly high!”
“Haha, indeed! Why would such a heaven-defying genius appear if it not for great fortune?”
Emperor Shura was the most depressed to hear all this. His true disciple Li Jiancheng stood at the head of the rankings, but even he seemed subpar in comparison now. The most important was that the more brilliantly Pill King Zhen performed, the more people would approve of his position as the young lord of Sacred Peafowl Mountain. That position would be cemented as time went on, and everyone would naturally assume that he would take over running Veluriyam Capital as well.
But what of Emperor Shura then? The emperor was greatly put out. He was ticked at Pill King Zhen and Emperor Peafowl. Emperor Peafowl owes me! I’ve been number two for so many years and deserve recognition for my efforts, and if not, at least for my achievements! Why not let me inherit the Capital? Why raise another young lord? Is your Sacred Peafowl Mountain going to rule over the Capital generation after generation? Why don’t you ask how others feel about that?
Jiang Chen didn’t pause and continued onto the third obelisk. The difficulty of this one was raised a bit further. On the obelisk, an image of two experts fighting each other was shown. The fight lasted for roughly an hour, and one was to identify three moments of when one side could seize victory from the other. There were always crucial points in a fight; it was just a matter of seeing who would first grasp the opportunity and win.