Feminine wiles weren’t likely to work on Jiang Chen. Moreover, the holy girls and young ladies among the sixteen gold hairpins had their own reputations to uphold. Aside from the naturally lascivious ones, they generally couldn’t stoop so low as to approach him themselves.
Two or three tried to use their natural and supernatural charms to get closer to Jiang Chen, but he dealt with them distantly. Nothing they did worked remotely well on him. They tried very hard, but couldn’t find an opening.
Jiang Chen kept his agreement with the sacred land in mind. He remained affable throughout the opening segment. No one was turned away.
He greeted everyone with warmth and civility. This garnered him a certain amount of goodwill, since no peer of his was more renowned than he.
Jiang Chen’s martial dao talent was a mystery to the world at large. Some said he was only initial empyrean realm, while others claimed he was mid.
Because he was reserved rather than commanding, his cultivation remained largely a secret.
However, the ten sacred lands never lacked for top geniuses.
Several of the best didn’t recognize Jiang Chen’s strength. According to their sources, Jiang Chen had helped the Eternal and Martial Sacred Lands through various strategies and his helper, a sacred beast.
Because he couldn’t employ the latter in combat during the competition, they believed that they would be more than a match for him.
Common sense dictated that since Jiang Chen had only risen to prominence in recent years, his strength was limited. Given how he had traded blows with Xiahou Zong a while back, he was probably only mid empyrean. What could two more years of progress give him? Fifth, maybe sixth level?
Quite a few made this kind of assumption.
Yes, the rumors about him were intimidating, but most chose to believe that the gossip had been spread in order to exaggerate his exploits in the eyes of the world. The grand competition of geniuses would serve to test his true mettle against his fellows.
Though the various factions had largely arrived, the competition was in no hurry to begin.
In the first few days, their leaders gathered together to figure out a set of rules for the event. They wanted to reach a consensus as best as possible.
The younger geniuses took this time to connect with and test each other. Some formed groups and cliques.
The ten sacred lands were the driving forces behind the rest, flags that showed which way the wind blew. Considering Jiang Chen had assisted the Martial Sacred Land in the past, its young people favored him.
Aside from Martial, Abyssal Divine Nation was on good terms with Eternal as well. These three sacred lands formed a bloc, of which there were a total of four blocs.
After gathering some information, Jiang Chen understood the gist of the undercurrents. Some of the sacred lands didn’t have high hopes of winning in the competition, but others were set upon the crown.
Those in the latter category were hostile toward him. Their young geniuses occasionally chatted with him, but only in order to assess what kind of person he was.
The second and third-rate factions had come largely to partake in the festivities and make themselves better known to their superiors. Catching the eye of the sacred lands was in itself a success.
Accordingly, a segment before the actual competition was the selection of geniuses from the weaker factions. If they were particularly excellent, they had the chance of being chosen by the sacred lands and becoming their disciples.
This was a show of sincerity from the latter. The ten sacred lands wanted to take the first steps toward publicizing the offworld battlefields.
Jiang Chen knew that they hadn’t done so before out of worries that it would cause rampant chaos.
However, not doing so had already led to rather disastrous consequences, and the sacred lands felt quite strained in any case. It was necessary to find new recruits and a wider field of participants to bolster their numbers.
For the second and third-rate factions, this was an opportunity. If even one of their geniuses was chosen, they might very well rise to the top too. Thus, each genius from every faction was diligent and involved.
Though Jiang Chen didn’t have much work to do, Ziju Min drafted him to strategize.
“Young master Chen, I think highly of your keen eye. The Eternal Sacred Land would like to obtain every genius available to us, even if that means choosing a few in error. Your very presence could help attract other promising talents toward us.”
Jiang Chen wasn’t going to oppose the sacred land’s plans. He was happy to see it take in new blood. “Don’t worry, I’ll do my best to help.”
The first prime and Ziju Min were both very pleased with his attitude.
“That’s right, Jiang Chen. When the competition begins, the forefathers from all the sacred lands will be in attendance. The prizes are particularly abundant here, as is the renown from the final ranking. In fact, it may very well influence your position in Myriad Abyss in the days to come. Be sure to do your best. Don’t hold anything back.” Ziju Min uttered some additional advice in a low voice.
Jiang Chen knew that the rules had likely been decided on. “I’m here already, so I might as well give it my all.”
“Alright. I’m counting on you.” The elder was gratified to hear it.
There were several hundred second and third-rate factions in attendance at the competition. Even Rejuvenation and Tritalent had participants present.
The factions that Jiang Chen had recent run-ins with, like Heavenlight and Bluesmoke, were here as well.
The people from Bluesmoke seemed to know that he had been responsible for slaughtering a large contingent of Blue Eagle Guards. They looked at him with muted hostility and a complicated swirl of other emotions.