Chapter 1971: An Utterly Astounding Bluesmoke Isles.

Jiang Chen was unaffected by these rivulets of aggression. Captain Yan had informed him that there was a divine cultivator behind Bluesmoke’s curtain. Just what kind of ambitions were they harboring with their presence here?

Regardless, now wasn’t the time to drag that into the open. Statements without evidence were meaningless and would only serve to put him on the back foot.

There were roughly three thousand young geniuses taking part in the selection. One or two rounds of elimination reduced that to about two hundred. 

These were comparatively elite among their brethren, but only a tenth were actually empyrean realm. That meant somewhere between more than a dozen to two dozen.

Even the best geniuses of the second and third rate factions couldn’t compare to those of the ten sacred lands, nor could they contest the first rate factions in the divine nations.

What Jiang Chen didn't expect, however, was that Rejuvenation and Tritalent each had a genius among the top two hundred.

Heavenlight had two, while Bluesmoke had five. The difference between the former and the latter was immediately evident.

The Bluesmoke Isles was very close to being a first rate faction. Its strength far outstripped a second rate one.

Now that the top two hundred was decided, there would be round after round of matches between the geniuses to calculate their precise ranking.

Jiang Chen thought this process too convoluted, but those involved seemed perfectly happy to be wrapped up in the busywork. Though it felt like a waste of time, he was obligated to watch the entire thing.

“Do you think the selection is boring, Jiang Chen?” Ziju Min asked, smiling.

“The competition of geniuses should be between the ten sacred lands, shouldn’t it be? Isn’t this preliminary selection too complex in light of that?” Jiang Chen tried to be tactful.

“Haha, it wouldn’t have been like this before. Because the ten sacred lands want to gather others to itself, a sense of participation for the second and third rate factions is key. To put it bluntly, we’re trying to win over their hearts. There’s another reason as well, thoughthis is a good chance to audit all the other factions. This’ll give us a better picture of how strong Myriad Abyss is as a whole.”

Jiang Chen understood the explanation immediately.

The factions of Myriad Abyss were manifold and scattered far and wide, with essentially no opportunities to gather together. Without a call from the ten sacred lands, they wouldn’t possibly be out in such force.

Therefore, it had always been a mystery as to exactly what the waters held. This was the best chance they had to clarify that.

There would be people and factions hiding their power, to be sure, but most were perfectly happy to show off their muscles in front of the ten sacred lands.

Anyone that did hide their strength had ulterior motives and designs.

Because the selection went into such detail, it took a very long time to complete. After half a month’s time, the final ranking was finally revealed. Of course, the ranking was directed towards the geniuses alone rather than their factions.

As expected, Bluesmoke took the top spot.

Perhaps more surprisingly, two more among the top ten were from Bluesmoke as well.

This astonished practically everybodyJiang Chen included. So Bluesmoke’s heritage wasn’t just for show, then? Its young geniuses were nothing short of exceptional.

It had taken first, fourth, and eighth place.

The faction itself became prominent through proxy. The remaining two geniuses who came from there were among the top forty.

“Bluesmoke, was it? A faction to be reckoned with,” Ziju Min commented to Jiang Chen.

“The Bluesmoke Isles has a tradition of ancient jade. There are many opportunities for young geniuses to drastically improve there.”

Though Jiang Chen’s last stay there hadn’t been pleasant, that didn’t stop him from giving an objective analysis. He was unsurprised at Bluesmoke’s results. In fact, he wondered whether it had sent all of its geniuses to the competition.

Regardless, it quickly became a hot topic after the selection process. Its second and third rate peers envied and resented it.

Some resorted to flattery to get into Bluesmoke’s good graces. Everyone had the feeling that it was going to become a lot more important very soon.  

The first prime had observed the participating geniuses in secret. “Jiang Chen,” she declared seriously, “Lan Huang from Bluesmoke is first place in the selection. We have to figure out a way to get our hands on him. Any ideas?”  

It was obvious that she put a lot of stock in the champion’s performance.

Lan Huang was talented enough to rank among the ten sacred lands. Even Eternal’s Five Great Gentlemen didn't have an absolute advantage over him.

Though he had reported his cultivation to be third level empyrean, Jiang Chen doubted whether he was any weaker than Xiahou Zong had been. A certain amount of praise and currying favor was thus expected.

But because he was from Bluesmoke, Jiang Chen was unsure of how to judge him.

The young man’s silence prompted the first prime to frown. “Is there some difficulty, Jiang Chen?”

Jiang Chen smiled a little. “I have a few disagreements with the Bluesmoke Isles, so I’m not sure how I can help without having the opposite effect.”

The first prime blinked with some disappointment, though she quickly cleared it away. “That’s alright. If Bluesmoke knows what’s best for them, they’ll be happy to wipe the slate clean.”

Jiang Chen laughed, but said nothing more. I’m not so sure that a few words will be enough to resolve the enmity between us.

Moreover, all ten of the sacred lands were likely to have their sights set on this Lan Huang. Since he was obviously a proud youth, it would be extremely challenging to make him join Eternal specifically.

Finally, the fact of the matter was that Jiang Chen didn't have nearly as high an opinion of him as the first prime did.

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etvolare's Thoughts

Word. C’mon now ESL.