Chapter 1705: Open Hostility

No one had expected Jiang Chen to be so brusque towards Xiahou Ying.

No matter how good of an actress she was, she wanted to openly throw down when Jiang Chen mocked her to her face. However, she’d been strictly trained otherwise and suppressed her anger instead. Her eyes reddened and tears welled up. Soon, she wept brokenly.

Jing Yi and his white-knighting comrades gnashed their teeth. They desperately wanted to duke it out with Jiang Chen right away.

The young man in question shrugged at the murderous looks being pointed in his direction.

Jiang Chen had already mentally written off the geniuses he’d met today. A genius of the sacred land who couldn’t resist a few crocodile tears from a woman was destined for failure.

Jing Yi was furious at being ignored. He caught up to Gan Ning at the very front in three strides, muttering at his ear. “Senior brother Gan…”

Jiang Chen knew that Jing Yi was tattling on him for the sole purpose of having Gan Ning shame him in the arena. The reason? For Xiahou Ying’s sake, of course.

Turning, Gan Ning aimed a meaningful glance at Jiang Chen. A menacing look flashed across his eyes. Clearly, he was very unhappy with Jiang Chen’s rude and coarse behavior. In his opinion, only an uncivilized barbarian would be so uncouth to Xiahou Ying.

As a genius of the sacred land, Gan Ning considered it necessary to be courteous to women in all things. That was true gentility. Someone who didn’t know the basics to respecting women was a savage regardless of talent. Gan Ning looked down on people like that.

The group very quickly arrived at the arena.

Many came to the arena located in the genius’ quarters to spar with each other. Usually, no one came here without information on pending battles. Therefore, the arena was currently very quiet and undisturbed.

If any battles took place, perhaps then people would come because of the commotion.

Gan Ning leapt onto the stage. He looked down at Jiang Chen, who’d yet to approach the arena. 

“Your boorishness has angered your fellow peers, Shao Yuan. I wasn’t going to raise a fuss over it, but your repeated verbal abuse cannot be tolerated. On behalf of the entire Eternal Sacred Land, I’m going to teach you a lesson about how to behave.”

If he was going to start a fight, he wanted to take the moral high ground first. Gan Ning was clever enough to understand that he needed sufficient reason to fight Shao Yuan, given the latter’s current favor with the executives.

If the executives found out that he was maliciously quashing a newcomer, that wouldn’t be to his advantage. Even if they didn't intervene, he would make an undesirably bad impression in the three primes’ eyes. Therefore, he needed to appear reasonable before he could roll up his sleeves.

Jiang Chen chuckled. “Gan Ning, I had a shred of respect for you before, but even that doesn’t seem necessary anymore.

“You are a genius of the sacred land. If you’d said outright that you disliked me and wanted to fight it out, I’d see you as a sincere man who is true to himself. We can exchange blows, then laugh about it afterwards. But now… your face disgusts me.

“That’s right, you heard me correctly. You disgust me.” The young man had a tongue that was as sharp as any.

Gan Ning’s expression darkened.

“Are you trying to oppose every other genius in the sacred land, brat?” Jing Yi squawked shrilly. “An outsider should know his place.” He made another pass at clapping an egregious title on the young man he despised.  

Jiang Chen roared with laughter. “You think you can represent all the geniuses here? The real geniuses wouldn’t want to be lumped with someone as repulsive as you.”

“You’re good at talking. So what?” Jing Yi bristled with anger. “If you’re so confident, get in the ring. Senior brother Gan Ning will teach you the lesson you need.”

“Shao Yuan, didn’t you pass the Nine Winding Caves? How come you’re so scared to fight in the arena?” The other youths piped up noisily as well.

“Yeah, exactly. Is flapping your lips the only thing you know how to do?”

“If you’re a real man, show us the skills you showed off in the Nine Winding Caves.” These so-called geniuses wanted nothing more than anarchy. They showered Jiang Chen with provocation in order to spur him on.

Because of their inherent dislike of Jiang Chen, they wanted to take this opportunity to shame him. Their lines of reasoning were largely identical. Both first and second-rate geniuses in the sacred land were deeply xenophobic.

The fact an outside genius had made his way into the sacred land was annoying enough. That he enjoyed so much limelight only added insult to injury. Wasn’t conquering the Nine Winding Caves a slap to every other genius here?

Under these conditions, the group had an oddly uniform goal. Every member wanted to take this opportunity to put down the outsider, to teach him a lesson about how deep the sacred land’s waters were.

However, none of these geniuses necessarily had the strength for this, Jing Yi included. Though he clamored the loudest, he lacked the ability to back it up.

After all, a genius who had passed all nine of the Winding Caves in succession was sure to be no lightweight. Though he hadn’t broken through to empyrean realm yet, Jing Yi wasn’t entirely sure that he would emerge victorious.

But senior brother Gan Ning was different. Though he was the bottom-ranked among the Five Great Gentlemen, he was nevertheless fit to be mentioned with his more capable peers. Among the younger generation in the sacred land, his strength was remarkable. With his help, they would be able to beat this cocky outsider for sure.

Moreover, Xiahou Ying’s visit had been at an extremely opportune time. Her intentional instigation of the conflict had roused the emotions of all the geniuses at the tea party. Under these conditions, they wanted nothing more than to skin Jiang Chen alive.

If not for the first prime’s orders, they would definitely use a few underhanded methods to cripple this outsider. Right now, they couldn’t do anything remotely so serious, but the executives wouldn’t mind if they stirred up a little mischief now and then.

After all, no one’s rise could be sheltered by the executives’ protection. In fact, they enjoyed seeing competition between peers of the same generation. Without competition, how could there be growth?

If they could abrade Shao Yuan’s fighting spirit through a series of skirmishes under the table, the executives wouldn’t bat an eyelash at that. A genius who couldn’t weather this little bit danger wasn’t fit to be called a genius in the first place.

Everyone’s eyes were filled with an intense schadenfreude. The atmosphere of ridicule had only one goal: to force Jiang Chen into the arena.

A hot-blooded young man would be pushed into the ring immediately by the others’ mocking eyes and the general mood. However, Jiang Chen wasn’t so easily manipulated. In his eyes, this was a bunch of naïve children who’d enjoyed too much the protection of their seniors. 

Though they really were martial dao geniuses, their immaturity made them—at least in Jiang Chen’s opinion—inferior to even some of the human domain’s best geniuses.

At least those geniuses weren’t nearly so sheltered. They still had to experience the storm of the outside world. These other geniuses, Gan Ning aside, clearly hadn’t had much trouble in their lives.

Perhaps they were too important in Eternal Divine Nation thanks to being the sacred land’s geniuses. No matter where they went, they encountered little to no trouble. This meant that they lacked sufficient tempering from hardship. 

“Shao Yuan, you can talk the talk, but you can’t walk the walk. Do you not have the courage to go into the arena?” Jing Yi provoked after seeing Jiang Chen’s smiling stillness.

“You had a pretty sharp tongue before, eh? How come you’ve gotten cold feet now that we’re at the arena? You don’t have to go up, but you have to kneel and apologize to senior brother Gan Ning and Miss Ying. Senior brother Jing Yi too.”

“Yes, kneel and apologize. Maybe then we’ll forgive you.”

Even Xiahou Ying’s eyes glittered with contentment. She was happy to see Jiang Chen lose and no longer needed to hide it. She’d wanted to conquer Shao Yuan before, to make him part of her admirers.

Alas, this youth had rejected all her advances. The repeated refusal of her overtures had upset her a great deal. She’d never been scorned so among the younger generation of Eternal Divine Nation before. Not just because of her own beauty, but because she was Xiahou Zong’s sister as well.

After having been shamed several times by Jiang Chen, Xiahou Ying’s curiosity in him had slowly morphed to hatred. The fact that he’d come from the lowly House Yan incensed her especially. How dare he defy her, a highborn miss of House Xiahou?

What right did anyone from House Yan have to look down upon anyone from House Xiahou?

Jiang Chen’s gaze swept impassively across the group’s faces. Suddenly, he grinned. “Apologize, was it?”

“Hmph, it’s too late now!”

“You have to kowtow nine times to us! Maybe then we’ll let you off.”

Jiang Chen’s smile was icy. “What I mean to say is, do you think yourselves worthy to receive my apology?” His voice chilled suddenly as well. “Come on then, all of you! I’m not interested in wasting time with the likes of you. You too, Xiahou Ying.”

A scintillating ray shot out from the young man’s Evil Golden Eye. It hurtled toward Xiahou Ying like the keenest of blades.

The girl yelped and shook with dizziness. She almost fell to the ground beneath the pressure of the powerful consciousness bearing down upon her. It felt like someone had stripped her into nude helplessness.

If not for her quick reflexes and the fact Jiang Chen hadn’t wanted to kill her, she would be nothing more than a statue by now.

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etvolare's Thoughts

Time to lay the smack down, JC!