The first arena became the oddity of the New Star Rankings. It took only ten challengers for its lord to receive a flawless record. Regardless of whether other champions matched this achievement, they would still be marked as latecomers. This was entirely due to Jiang Chen’s first arena advantage, decided during the formation test prior. Moreover, securing first place in the New Star Rankings with only ten matches was an unprecedented record in the history of the Veluriyam Pagoda gathering. Though these rankings weren’t as heated as the Genius Rankings and the Ranking of Young Lords that would take place afterwards, it was still no stranger to fierce conflict over its positions. A placement concluding in a mere ten challenges had never happened before.
In addition, nobody doubted the authenticity and ability of this particular first-place finish. Perhaps not everyone had seen the fights firsthand, but too many had nonetheless. Rumors, stories, and gossip of all kinds abounded, but there was no doubt about the actual result. This was because Pill King Zhen had met an expert who was at least at ninth level sage realm in battle, possibly even at half-step emperor realm. Using the power of glyphs, the opponent had wielded a great emperor’s might for a short time. That Pill King Zhen was able to perform a reversal in such circumstances was the most astonishing of all.
Faced with sudden danger, many people could only wait for their inevitable demise. Some geniuses, however, distinguished themselves from the rest. Put into the same kind of situation, they would instead turn the tables in an incredible manner. Pill King Zhen was a genius of such a caliber, an expert amongst experts. There was no debate, and could be none, about his first-place position on the New Star Rankings.
Even the few factions that weren’t as friendly with Pill King Zhen had nothing to say on the matter. Because Jiang Chen’s results had been decided in advance, he no longer needed to participate in any upcoming battles. The next two months that would have been spent in the New Star Rankings’ battles were thus freed up for him. He had no intentions of letting his newly-acquired two months of interim go to waste. He returned to Taiyuan Tower in order to further cultivate and refine his strength.
He hadn’t trained the Divine Five Thunderclap Sword Technique very much yet. He needed more time to understand its intricacies. He had only managed to cut down Xiao Paohui because the latter hadn’t been on his guard. As a result, he’d been able to exploit his opponent with the simple use of a decoy. But many people now knew about this technique because of the battle. Given another opponent on Xiao Paohui’s same level, it was unlikely he’d be as lucky. Thus, he still had much to learn and practice with this technique.
The Thunderclap Sword Technique wasn’t for delivering a sneak attack, but for killing the opponent with stateliness and majesty. The technique had been used by the Vastsky Divine Emperor of yesteryear. No matter if his opponent was at his same level or much stronger, he was able to crush his opponents in a dominant fashion once the technique was in full swing. The technique relied on both the exertion of one’s aura and an overwhelming sword intent to annihilate everything in its path. The ‘five’ in the technique’s name corresponded to the five elements, as did the ‘pente’ in the Pentecolor Divine Swords’. The two fit each other extremely well. Even Emperor Peafowl hadn’t foreseen this fact.
Of course, the technique wasn’t suitable for the average cultivator. Only a cultivator like Jiang Chen, who cultivated all five elements, could take up a sword technique like this. He had thought this problem through long ago when he was still entering spirit realm. In martial cultivation, many geniuses focused on one or two elements according to their personal talents. It was impossible for the vast majority of cultivators to refine all five, and they had none of the requisite knowledge and resources anyway.
Jiang Chen was different. Because he had kept the issue in mind when he was still establishing his foundation, he’d used the Five Dragons Opening Heavens Pill to coalesce all five types of qi within his body and cleave open spirit realm. As a result, energy of all the elements ran through his meridians. This special advantage allowed him the option of refining them all. Perhaps there was no visible edge in the short term, but its benefits would certainly be clear over a long period of time.
Because he was tempering all five elements at the same time, he could learn any technique he wanted. On the other hand, a cultivator with only one or two elements available to them had no way of learning a great number of superb techniques, even when presented with the option to do so. The stronger one’s level was, the more pronounced this difference became. Many cultivators had no way of breaking through once they reached a certain point because of this. They hadn’t established a solid enough foundation all those long years ago, at the very beginning.
Jiang Chen had delayed entering spirit realm specifically for this purpose. It was better to be slow and steady and do everything correctly. Now, he was reaping the benefits.
“My Thunderclap Sword possesses only sound and fury. It lacks substance. I haven’t understood even a little bit of the technique’s intent.” Jiang Chen knew himself better than anyone else. For him to reach that kind of understanding required calling upon his own energy to summon the five thunders.
Accompanied by the swords’ aura movements, the five thunders carried a destructiveness potent enough to shatter worlds. If the Vastsky Divine Emperor knew about how Jiang Chen was using his trademark technique, he would likely find it both amusing and annoying.
The most basic of basics for the Thunderclap Sword technique was refining qi. All five types of qi had to be abundant and perfectly balanced. Only if one were to sufficiently gather enough qi would one be able to balance them well, thereby summoning the five thunders and form sufficient killing power in the technique.
Jiang Chen had always been attentive to refining all five qis. Assisted by his Bewitching Lotus, his water and fire qi were the most solid. His metal qi was honed by his magnetic golden mountain, and thus easily rivaled his water and fire qi. As for his wood qi, he had the wood spirit spring, fueled endlessly by the Taiyi Jade Vine.
Gong Wuji had taken the spring once upon a time, but Jiang Chen had recovered it later. Ultimately, he didn’t lack much in this regard either. The only elemental treasure he was lacking was earth. To make up for it, he used a variety of spirit herbs and medicines. There was a gap between earth and his other four elements, but it wasn’t enough to severely hamper him.
Was there some effect? Of course. If Jiang Chen’s earth qi matched his other elements’, then his practice of the Thunderclap Sword Technique would be made a fair bit easier. Because that wasn’t the case, he felt some difficulty and restriction in his attempts. Still, he was in no hurry to make up for this imperfection. He knew that finding something appropriate was entirely up to luck and fate. His own desires had very little to do with it. Actually, earth element treasures were not uncommon; Jiang Chen simply hadn’t encountered any. “If I can find an earth element treasure one day and exert all five of my elemental attributes with the same degree of effectiveness, then my Divine Five Thunderclap Sword Technique will be complete.”
Though the technique wasn’t entirely complete yet, the power behind the technique still allowed him a fifth or tenth of its actual strength. Opponents on the same level, or even two or three levels higher, were easily swept up by its might, even at a fraction of the technique’s true potential. Grabbing two stalks of earth element earth rank spirit herbs, Jiang Chen sighed softly. “To think that I’m eating earth spirit herbs like snacks… if anyone else knew about it, I’d be the target of widespread contempt.”
Earth rank spirit herbs were appropriate for emperor realm cultivators. The average emperor rank certainly didn’t have a limitless supply of earth rank spirit herbs, but Jiang Chen had the luxury of simply snacking on them.
A month passed. Countless swarms of meteors suddenly soared across Jiang Chen’s consciousness, which had become as vast as a borderless universe.
“Is this the intent of ten thousand swords in flight?” Jiang Chen suddenly opened his eyes; they were glittering like stars. His face was flush with excitement. The month or so of contemplation had finally paid off. He could finally feel the sword intent! Every cell in his body carried an explosiveness that could not be contained. He desperately needed an outlet for the energy. He wanted more than anything to pour his entire body’s strength into this sword intent and vent all his excess intensity.
“Vastsky Divine Emperor, I will definitely spread the name of your technique far and wide, into every corner of this Divine Abyss Continent! All masters of the sword everywhere will find embarrassment from it!” Jiang Chen had an endless confidence. The sudden revelation was like a ray of light cutting through immeasurable darkness. His dao heart cleared up quite a bit more. He’d learned a lot from the enriching experience.
Jiang Chen couldn’t wait to return to the arena and find another strong opponent. He wanted to test his newfound understanding. He left his secret room and was congratulated by everyone he saw.
“Senior brother, New Star Rankings number one, congratulations!” Shen Trifire was the first. Liu Wencai, Lu Yali, and various others trailed closely behind.
In contrast, Gouyu, Xue Tong, and his other personal guards showed themselves comparably less. All they needed to do was cultivate and cultivate. Though it had only been a short while, Gouyu and company’s cultivation levels increased at a drastically rapid pace. They were catching up to Shen Trifire and his peers very quickly. With enough time, it wasn’t inconceivable for them to surpass the people from Regal Pill Palace.
Still, Jiang Chen had the highest expectations for Liu Wencai in terms of martial dao. He’d always taken good care of Liu Wencai. Back at Eternal Spirit Mountain, he’d given the young man Redscaled Firelizard blood essence. As expected, Liu Wencai hadn’t let him down at all. He had almost caught up to Shen Trifire, a genius of a former fourth-rank sect.
The sight of Liu Wencai reminded Jiang Chen of Tang Hong from Precious Tree Sect. Jiang Chen thought favorably of both brothers, an opinion that had persisted since the beginning. The entire Precious Tree Sect had gone into seclusion, though. Who knew where they were now?
“Come with me, Wencai. I have a few questions I’d like to ask,” Jiang Chen specifically called his brother to the back court. Knowing that Liu Wencai was Jiang Chen’s sworn brother, the others didn’t think much of it.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Fifth release of the day and this concludes the celebratory releases for Return of the Swallow release milestone! Woot woot!
I'll be hosting a Q&A session on the volare Discord at 10am GMT +8 this Saturday, April 14. That's 10pm US EST 4/13 for you folks in the west, so tune in and let's chat about ROS, SOTR, life of a translator, and Jiang Chen's