Jiang Chen was remarkably determined to take on the seventh cave. Among the geniuses of the Eternal Sacred Land, the best performance in history was passing the eighth cave. Therefore, his goal was to progress through all the trials and conquer the Nine Winding Caves.
“What a man, what a man!” Yan Qingsang felt nothing but surprise and admiration. He finally understood where Jiang Chen’s confidence came from.
Most people would tremble at the mention of Xiahou Zong’s name, but there was no trace of nervousness or fear in his brother. Yan Qingsang had always believed that Xiahou Zong was unrivaled among the youths in the nation, and that he could never be surpassed.
But Jiang Chen refused to accept this fact.
Yan Qingsang had always attributed that to overconfidence and pride. How could Xiahou Zong possibly be beaten? However, it was more than apparent now that the confidence wasn’t unfounded.
The seventh cave.
Jiang Chen entered it without hesitation.
Waves after waves of a fiery ocean spanning the entire cave came into view. It was as if the Grand Supreme Elderly Lord in heaven had kicked over his pill cauldron, pouring down an endless stream of heat from a hole in the sky.
The wall of fire soared to hundreds of meters in height. The heat became smothering as he walked closer.
“The Cave of Tumultuous Fire?” Jiang Chen summoned the Bewitching Lotus of Fire and Ice as he mused. It was the best solution to this problem.
“Heh, this cave is a purgatory of fire. This challenge can end up being fatal. The kid has overestimated himself and is going to fail miserably.”
“What a shame for a genius like him to die in that cave.”
“Don’t be so pessimistic. He passed six challenges without much difficulty. Who knows? Maybe he’ll pass the seventh as well.”
“Tsk, if he can, we sure have hit the jackpot. He’s a genius in both pill and martial dao. How many people in the Eternal Sacred Land can claim to be a perfect combination of the two?”
“Is Shao Yuan going to surprise us all?” More and more elders had come to watch the evaluation.
Ziju Min had calmed down from his excitement. His back continuously straightened after witnessing Shao Yuan’s extraordinary performance. He’d been the one to bring Shao Yuan into the sacred land. His success would prove that Ziju Min’s decision was to the sacred land’s benefit.
Though Ziju Min had reason to be proud, he wasn’t. He only hoped that Shao Yuan could persevere and pass the Cave of Tumultuous Fire.
If he passed, his performance would be the second best in history. Over the past thousands of years, only a handful of people had passed the seventh cave. Every one of them had become pillars of the sacred land later in life.
Don’t let us down, Shao Yuan! Even the three primes wouldn’t be able to sit idle if Shao Yuan was successful.
In fact, his reputation and performance must’ve drawn the three primes’ curiosity already. If he could pass the eighth cave, even the venerated forefather might put in an appearance.
Such was his speculation. The last time someone had passed the eighth cave, the venerated forefather did come to the evaluation.
Therefore, Ziju Min had high hopes for Jiang Chen. Elders who were close to the pill sovereign hoped the young man would create a miracle as well.
In his extreme focus, Jiang Chen didn’t know that he’d attracted a crowd outside. He had to admit that this was quite a challenge. Even with the Lotus shielding him, he was having a hard time braving through the fire.
When the fire was about to reach him, however, he could feel that it seemed to be sentient and didn’t intend to kill him. It was as if the fire was afraid or reverent of something on him. It avoided him whenever it got close.
He was puzzled by the realization.
At first, he suspected that the seal on his consciousness to be responsible, but that didn’t seem likely. The seal only protected him against attacks on his consciousness, not this. So what was it?
No answer was forthcoming, but there must be something.
The Vermilion Bird suddenly came to mind.
“That must be it!” Jiang Chen was reminded that the Vermilion Bird had gifted him with a feather. In hour of need, he could refine the feather, and the bird would come to his aid as soon as it could, no matter how far away it was.
The Vermilion Bird was a divine beast from the ancient times. The feather contained its blood essence, which had an affinity with fire.
“It must be the feather. I wonder how Senior Vermilion and the others are doing in their cultivation?” Jiang Chen’s heart settled once he figured out the cause of the unusual phenomenon.
The feather must have invoked an inherent friendliness to Jiang Chen. That was why the fierce fire hadn’t devoured him.
Other people would be faced with great dangers in this cave. Many would choose to run away when an insurmountable challenge presented itself. But Jiang Chen never even thought about giving up.
After overcoming countless difficulties, he finally reached the fringes of the cave. He was one step away from exiting the seventh cave. He thought briefly of the rough trip, then walked out without another moment of hesitation.
Yan Qingsang jumped up and down in ecstasy to see his brother conquer the seventh cave.
“You’re amazing, brother. You passed seven caves in a row! Hahaha! Even the most remarkable geniuses are no better than you are!” He could barely contain his excitement.
Jiang Chen, on the other hand, was unusually calm for someone who’d just come out from the Cave of Tumultuous Fire. Seven down. Two more to go. He could foresee that the last two caves were going to be grueling.
“Congratulation for passing seven caves, Shao Yuan. Even if you stop now, Eternal Sacred Land will give you the best treatment. Your performance ranks first over the past thousands of years.” Ziju Min’s elation was clear on his face. He didn’t expect the young man to pass seven caves. What a pleasant surprise!
Rays of light split through thin air, tearing open a breach. Out came a wave of tremendous power from different sources.
“Your Excellencies, the primes!” Every member of the Hall of Elders bowed to the newcomers.
Three people walked out from the breach: the three primes of Eternal Sacred Land. Their possessed terrifying might.
Jiang Chen felt from them power greater than any he’d felt before ever since he came to this world. No other people he’d faced before could rival them.
The primes? Jiang Chen bowed to them in greeting. “Shao Yuan greets Your Excellencies.”
One of them was a woman. She was of average height and build, but there was an intrinsic air of nobility to her that demanded deference. Her presence alone was enough to make others submit to her.
The other two lords were an old man and a middle-aged man. There was a mellow strength to both of them that marked them as seniors with incredible hidden strength.
I hear that the three primes are all at peak empyrean. It seems that the rumors are right.
Jiang Chen could feel their might. He was more relieved than surprised.
To be honest, reaching ninth level empyrean wasn’t that much of an achievement in his past life. Many of those who’d served him at the time were in the divine realm. Empyrean realm experts weren’t significant in any way.
His tens of thousands of years of experience in the heavenly plane was the reason why he could remain calm and collected in face of ninth level empyrean experts. It was far from the first time he’d met one.
Ziju Min was concerned by his reaction. He was surprised that the young man remained fearless even before the three primes. Did he really have the ability to back up his confidence?
“Haha, good on you, young man,” commented the middle-aged woman. She was the grand leader of the three primes. “It seems that we have acquired another hidden gem. Your recommendation is a great contribution to the sacred land, Elder Ziju. It’ll be accumulated to your points.”
“Haha, it’s my duty to work for the sacred land. If Your Excellencies can spare the time, please offer the young man some guidance. He won’t disappoint the sacred land with his achievement in the future.” Ziju Min knew better than anyone what a treasure Jiang Chen was.
The first prime nodded with a smile. “Of course. Any genius who’s passed seven caves deserves to be treated with the utmost care.”
Jiang Chen finally had the opportunity to talk. He asked quietly, “Excuse me, am I not allowed to keep going? Is the seventh cave the last I can take on among the nine caves?”
His words stunned everyone.
Was he not satisfied yet? He wanted to keep going? That hadn’t happened for a thousand years. Shouldn’t he quit while he was ahead?Previous Chapter Next Chapter
My other novel ROS reached 300 chapters yesterday, woot! I'm running a small giveaway of goodies from Taiwan and my inaugural pin, so check it out if you'd like some snail mail! (Pardon the awful lighting in the pics, we had some drearrrryyy weather today.)