Chapter 2021: Unstoppable Momentum

The grey wolf alpha was able to use its pack to its advantage. Jiang Chen’s breakneck charge tipped it off to the fact that something was very wrong. It commanded its underlings to continually ram themselves against the human interloper, like a chain of a dozen or more meaty cannonballs.

Jiang Chen braced himself. The alpha was clearly feeling cornered to resort to desperate tactics. His speed gave him an incredible advantage over the wolves, allowing him to zigzag left and right rapidly to dodge all the wolves.

The alpha was astonished at the human’s approach. It tried everything it could, but the human was not to be deterred.

With slight acceleration, Jiang Chen leapt onto the alpha’s back.

The alpha roared, bristling and shaking in order to get rid of its undesirable rider. It tried to turn its head in order to turn its maw upon Jiang Chen.

Alas, none of these things actually had much effect.

Jiang Chen delivered a light smack against the wolf’s forehead. The wolf alpha felt its head spin. In a daze, it was no longer able to mount an effective resistance.

The young man on its back plucked three hairs in order to complete his task, which his jade slip immediately reflected.

Stroking the hairs, Jiang Chen chuckled, then landed outside the valley in a bolt of lightning. He had been incredibly fast on the second island, to the degree that he himself was a bit embarrassed about it.

The other competing geniuses were still stuck in the first island’s mists. Meanwhile, he neared the third.

Since copies of the jade slips lay with the judges, his progress was witnessed in real time. That a genius could pass through two islands so quickly was almost unheard of, but the slips’ anonymity prevented the judges from knowing exactly who it was.

The judges traded confused looks. Some wondered whether the slip itself was having issues. This genius was doing a bit too well, wasn’t he?

“Two islands in two hours? Which faction do they belong to?”

“I wonder who it is?”

Before the answer was revealed, several of the sacred lands hoped that they belonged to them.

The Eternal Sacred Land’s first prime was no different. Her intuition told her that this high-performing genius was probably Jiang Chen.

She didn’t have many expectations for the others. The Five Great Gentlemen were known to be quite mediocre. Sui Chen was middling at best, and the others were worse than him. It was unrealistic to think they’d do particularly well.

Right now, Eternal only had Jiang Chen to rely on.

“Haha, Daoist Qi, what are you thinking about? Are you perhaps wondering if this leading genius is Jiang Chen from your sacred land?” Someone intentionally posed this question in a loud voice.

The first prime didn’t deny it. “According to what I know of him, perhaps he is.”

“Impossible! I think it is Lu Mingye from the Flora Sacred Land.”

“No, the Poison Consort seems more likely.”

“Why can’t it be our very own Hu Lei?”

“I have faith that the genius hails from Void.”

Each speaker was more thick-skinned than the previous. None of them shied away from boasting about their own.

Ziju Min smiled coolly. “I guarantee that genius is Jiang Chen,” he said with some certainty. “If you don’t believe me, we can bet on it.”

“What are we betting on?” a dissenter piped up.

“Anything you like,” Ziju Min shot back instantly.

His confidence cowed the person who’d disagreed with him. He had stated that it wasn’t Jiang Chen purely out of envy and dislike for the youth.

Ziju Min’s conviction in light of that was tremendously damaging to the others’ assurance, especially given that a strong performance from Jiang Chen was the most likely outcome.

Heated discussions grew among the judges and their audience about exactly who the mystery genius was. Many tried to use examples of their own’s past exploits. However, the commentary from the peanut gallery was self-gratifying at best.

“Elder Ziju,” transmitted the first prime, “are you really so sure it’s Jiang Chen who’s doing so well?”

“It has to be him.” Ziju Min laughed. “Shouldn’t you know him by now, First Prime? Who else could the first place be? Jiang Chen was born to win anything he participates in.”

Meanwhile, the genius of the hour broke through each trial with impossible speed.

The third, fourth, then fifth…

He completely indulged himself in the joy of success. True, there was a point of difficulty with every trial, but none posed a serious problem for him.

The first few trials especially were almost trivial. Jiang Chen’s knowledge and experience surpassed all of his peers in every way. He utterly crushed the first five trials.

Not so for the other cultivators. Several who lacked sufficient talent or ability were eliminated quickly.

The unluckiest among them failed in the second trial, but there were several for the third, fourth, and fifth trials as well, and in increasing numbers.

While the other geniuses were busy with the first few, Jiang Chen was already past the sixth and onto the seventh. The seventh island was quite different from the ones before.

Built like a veritable maze, it was filled with misdirection and confusion. Anyone caught unawares would never be able to find the exit in the limitless labyrinth.

Jiang Chen was quite familiar with ensnaring formations like these, yet the seventh island was remarkable in that its formation incorporated the terrain.

Solving the puzzle was no problem though. After checking a few calculations in the sand, Jiang Chen found some clues as to its operation.

Once he had a place to start, the maze practically became his playground.

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etvolare's Thoughts

Phew, for a second I was worried we'd get a play by play of all the islands.

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