“Jiang Chen, you needn’t overthink this. I just wanted to give you a word of advice to thoroughly use this great selection to soar into the skies. You’ve been repressed far too long in a mundane kingdom and the time has come for you to astound them all with one brilliant stroke. However, this great selection is sure to be chaotic and I cannot promise that there will be no one holding malicious intentions towards you. I’m almost certain that you’ll run into much obvious and covert oppression. You’ll have to employ your intelligence then. Once you enter the legacy realm, this old man will have his hands tied even though he wants to be your backer.”
The old tutor did indeed view Jiang Chen with different eyes. He had never before voiced these words to a youngster in all his years.
None of the royal sons of the Skylaurel Kingdom had received such treatment.
Jiang Chen was quick on the uptake and understood the old tutor’s meaning. He nodded and said with gratitude, “I understand the old tutor’s meaning, I will adapt my strategy and momentum according to the changes in circumstances.”
“Yes, that’s precisely it. Control your pace well and don’t start off going at it with hammer and tongs, but don’t drag things out either. Keep a low profile when appropriate, show your shine when you must. Only in this way will the splendor of your genius illuminate the sixteen kingdoms!
The old tutor could only give these words of advice.
“Jiang Chen, this old man has a feeling that you will be as the morning sun rising in the east this time, inevitable your rise as your glory spreads over the sixteen kingdoms!”
Dan Fei stood silently off to the side with a strange light dancing in her eyes as she listened to the old tutor praise Jiang Chen. Strange feelings rippling through her heart.
Come to think of it, although she too had been happy before when the old tutor praised her, her emotions had never been this agitated.
It was as if this young man called Jiang Chen had unknowingly grabbed ahold of one of her heartstrings deep within her heart and commanded the gamut of her emotions with it.
However, Dan Fei allowed this thought to flash through her mind without looking at it face on.
She was unwilling to admit to herself that she cared so much about this fellow.
Perhaps she only admired his potential, his talents? There was nothing to do with any of the other random things in her mind, right?
But if this was the case, why did those strange feelings rise in her heart whenever she saw him with his charming follower?
“Little Dan, see Jiang Chen out for me.” The old tutor smiled.
Jiang Chen hastily rose to bid his farewell. “Honored tutor, your words today have enlightened me. I will be sure to try my best during the great selection to not insult the honored tutor’s high opinion of me.”
“Haha, not an insult, not an insult at all. I only have one wish now, and that is to see a young man whom I favor surpass me whilst I am still alive.”
The old tutor creased his eyes into slits after speaking, seemingly sinking into meditation.
Jiang Chen smiled after following Dan Fei out the door, “Sister Dan Fei, here is good.”
“I’ll accompany you a few steps further.” Dan Fei sighed hiddenly. “Jiang Chen, perhaps you’ll rise to the sky after the great selection, and we’ll be on different planes. By that time, will you still remember me, a woman that you sometimes disliked?”
“Dislike?” Jiang Chen couldn’t help but laugh. “Who dares take a disliking to the first beauty in the Skylaurel Kingdom? Sister Dan Fei, I’ve never spoken words like those. I don’t want to become the public enemy of the kingdom.”
Dan Fei broke out in a smile, “Alright, stop your flattery. You speak one set of words and think another set, but you’re different from those rascals.”
“Hmm, those dandies. Their mouths are as sweet as honey whenever they see me, but devious intentions fill their minds.” A displeased ring was evident in Dan Fei’s tone when she spoke of those good-for-nothings.
“It’s hard to blame this one on them. Sister Dan Fei is thus extraordinary that it only proves that there’s nothing wrong with their eyes!”
“This is why I say you’re different from them. Although your words are equally sweet, I know that you’re just humoring me. In your heart, I am likely far below your sweet and quiet little follower? Not to mention that feisty and gracious big follower.”
The sweet and quiet little follower was naturally Wen Ziqi.
The feisty and gracious big follower was Gouyu of course.
This question truly did stump Jiang Chen. He’d never compared them in his heart before.
If he really had to talk about rankings, he felt guilt towards Gouyu and thus likely placed the greatest importance on her.
As for Dan Fei, Jiang Chen viewed her as a friend, an ally, and different from his followers.
“You can speak frankly, don’t worry of hurting my feelings.” Dan Fei tried her best to project a calm demeanor.
“Sister Dan Fei, the nature of a friend and a follower is different. I’ve never really compared the two. Besides, there’s no point in doing so. I can lay down my life for my followers in the Skylaurel Kingdom, and I also put my life on the line to save you from the Silvermoon Monsterape in the maze realm. Therefore, I really can’t answer your question when it comes to importance. Besides, this question isn’t important, is it?”
“Friend?” A sliver of a rueful smile swept past Dan Fei’s heart as she chuckled. “Alright, Jiang Chen, I’ll see you off to here. I hope your future is illustrious and that you rise above all through the great selection!”
“My appreciation for your auspicious words. I wish Sister Dan Fei to remain forever young and enjoy eternal life, haha!”
“What is the point of long life without someone who understands? Without someone to share eternal youth, all is as meaningless as the floating clouds…”
Dan Fei lightly waved her hand after speaking and turned to leave, leaving Jiang Chen with an indecipherable back.
Jiang Chen had long since become used to Dan Fei’s fluctuating personalities. So when he saw her suddenly stop and leave, he didn’t think it odd and turned his head as well with a wry smile.
However, he hadn’t imagined that Dan Fei would stop beneath a laurel tree after turning the corner, a few crystalline tears sparkling in the corners of her eyes as she leaned against it.
Tears that she hadn’t shed once in twenty some years slid down her cheeks, appearing all the more moving beneath the moon’s radiance.
“Jiang Chen, Jiang Chen… you brat. I really want to split your heart open to see what kind of woman can enter it.”
Dan Fei murmured softly. She had brought up those topics just now in order to test Jiang Chen, hoping that he would voluntarily reveal something.
In that moment, she had already opened her heart. As long as Jiang Chen expressed his feelings, Dan Fei would accept him without hesitation, accept the only young man she had ever admired in her life and let him walk into her heart.
It seemed that Jiang Chen didn’t return her feelings.
Friends. The carelessly spoken word “friend” had pulled Dan Fei back to reality. Jiang Chen viewed her merely as a friend.
Not all the young men of this world would flock to her like those noble sons and disciples of the Skylaurel Kingdom.
Of course, Dan Fei had never cared about that so-called admiration and flattery.
For an extraordinary woman like Dan Fei, the love and adoration of thousands was less than a single word of love from the one she loved.
But Dan Fei knew that she may wait in vain all of her life for that single word of love.
“Jiang Chen, ah Jiang Chen, just what kind of man are you?” Dan Fei murmured in her heart. Before she’d met him, she’d never believed that there would be a man within the sixteen kingdoms that would make her expose her weak side and think of him in the depths of her heart. She felt rather self-conscious.
Indeed, when she thought of Jiang Chen’s incredible feats, Dan Fei would sometimes compare herself with him and become despondent afterwards.
Jiang Chen was indeed at a level in which even she was hard-pressed to reach.
No matter from what angle she looked at it, Jiang Chen seemed far above the bottom line of the sixteen kingdoms.
Beneath the splendor of the moon, under a laurel tree, Dan Fei stood lost in her thought until the deep of night…
Jiang Chen actually had no idea of Dan Fei’s sentiments. Dan Fei was different from Gouyu; although Dan Fei was similarly gracious, she had a certain reservation and pride within her heart that set them apart.
This sense of pride made her always carefully hide her thoughts. Whenever she felt that she wanted to come clean, she would subconsciously hide them again.
In contrast, Gouyu had openly declared to Jiang Chen that she would only be his woman in this life. Even if she was unsuccessful, she wouldn’t look at other men. She was happy and content being his follower as well.
The news of the great selection quickly spread throughout the Skylaurel Kingdom. Many rumors and hearsays surfaced, causing a great clamor.
But Jiang Chen had no interest in these little tidbits.
All rumors were meaningless before any official news were revealed.
As opposed to trying to hunt out rumors, he preferred to spend the time training seriously and raise his strength, meeting the arrival of the great selection at his peak.
Finally, after half a month, the official authorities announced news of the great selection.
The news electrified both hearts and minds.
Any who had reached the level of the advanced realm of true qi and belonged to any of the sixteen kingdoms could participate.
Of course, only those below the age of forty could participate.
Forty years was actually already relaxing the rules. Usually speaking, the flexibility of someone past thirty years decreased greatly.
They had raised the bar to forty years old in order to make sure that no late-blooming geniuses would slip through the cracks.
The heart of this great selection was to unearth and recruit geniuses.
Therefore, all those above the advanced realm of true qi could participate.
There was no registration fee and no restriction based on birth set for this time’s great selection. Whether one was of a rich or a poor house, so long as their martial dao potential reached the requirements, they would be able to participate.
There was also no limit to the number of people. Come if you meet the conditions!
Such lax conditions made all the practitioners that fit the bill in the sixteen kingdoms descend into frenzy.
Everyone knew that this was a once in a hundred years experience, and likely the only chance they would have to attract the attention of a sect.
Under normal circumstances, sects very rarely took in mundane practitioners. They believed in the theories of bloodlines and heritage. It wasn’t that there weren’t any geniuses in the mundane world, just that there were too little of them.
The sects wouldn’t waste effort on such low probability.
After all, finding a needle in a haystack never led to a great payoff.