The same two people had faced off once more, and Yan Yiming had fallen in defeat and once again lost completely.
Jiang Chen was once again the victor and had used the same Eastern King Point to win.
The only difference was that Yan Yiming had employed his family’s heritage this time and his mindset had been adjusted from underestimating his opponent to full battle readiness.
But, Yan Yiming had still been the one to fall.
And, it was within the agreed upon three moves.
That was to say, Yan Yiming still hadn’t been able to take three of Jiang Chen’s hits even when the former had been fully prepared.
Of course, Yan Yiming hadn’t been so lucky this time. Jiang Chen had left him some face during last time’s spar and he hadn’t really used his true qi.
This time, Yan Yiming’s repeated provocations had crossed Jiang Chen’s bottom line. Thus, Yan Yiming had tasted at least 70% of Jiang Chen’s strength.
After this loss, Yan Yiming probably wouldn’t be able to get out of bed without recuperating for three to five months first.
“How does the saying go? A full bucket of water doesn’t sway, but half a bucket of water likes to sway back and forth; those who are knowledgeable don’t like to boast, but those who are ignorant love to strut and preen. This saying was probably meant for people like you, was it not?”
Jiang Chen didn’t care if Yan Yiming was still alive or dead. Brawls between heirs were more than common in the capital, not to mention that the Hidden Dragon Trials were originally designed to increase competition between heirs.
The heirs who were unfriendly with Jiang Chen all took subconscious steps backwards when they saw Yan Yiming lying prostrated on the floor.
They were deathly afraid of being seen by Jiang Chen. They didn’t even possess the strength of Yan Yiming to fight back if he were to challenge them.
By this point, no one believed that Jiang Chen only possessed three meridians true qi.
Only a fool would believe that Jiang Chen was in the initial realm of true qi after that poke.
Could someone in the initial realm have inflicted that type of injury on Yan Yiming?
Jiang Chen didn’t think much of defeating a mere nobody such as Yan Yiming. After all, his current strength was at the peak of five meridians true qi.
With all of his advantages, it was a foregone conclusion that he could defeat Yan Yiming, who was at six meridians true qi.
If he found it difficult to defeat someone with even six meridians true qi, then all the advantages that had been conferred upon him in his past life would be a joke.
As for Jiang Zheng, he puffed his chest out with elation. He had already enjoyed the treatment of being waited upon by others last time in the Hall of Healing. And today, he was once again receiving looks of respect from those around him.
What was the key point in being a servant? That was for things to go smoothly, and to be able to walk proudly upright, no matter where he went.
And today, Jiang Zheng’s waist was quite upright.
“Organizer, my house’s young duke wishes to sign up for the three foundational exams.” Jiang Zheng’s voice was also louder than normal.
If it had been before, Jiang Zheng would’ve found it too embarrassing to sign up for the foundational exams at such a shameful timing.
But things were drastically different after Jiang Zhen had trampled over Yan Yiming. How couldn’t a superior practitioner, who had run roughshod over Yan Yiming, be unable to pass even the three foundational exams?
Why hadn’t he come before? That was because our young duke had been too busy to come and pass the exams!
Other than Jiang Chen, there was no one else who had not yet passed the three foundational exams before the deadline.
However, no one dared cause trouble for Jiang Chen in this step of the process.
He quickly arrived at the testing site for the first exam.
There was a large disc in the center of a ring. The disc was punctuated by twelve holes. Each of the holes had a white jade column erected in the middle of them.
These were the true qi columns that were used in testing true qi.
No one was able to cheat in this test. The candidate would be able to light the number of white jade columns according to how many meridians true qi he possessed.
One could reserve his strength, but could not falsely inflate his strength.
That was to say, if you had ten meridians true qi, you could display eight levels, or even four meridians true qi.
But if you only had four levels, there was no way you could materialize an additional meridian out of thin air.
Therefore, this was a test that no one could cheat in.
“No wonder the past Jiang Chen couldn’t pass this test. How would it be possible for three meridians true qi to pass?” Jiang Chen shook his head slightly and walked forward, placing his palm in a depression and circulating the five meridians true qi within his body.
The disc started turning with a crackling sound.
The white jade columns on it started lighting up one by one.
One column, two, three, four, five…
Some in the crowd breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing the light stop at the fifth column, whereas a few others were slightly disappointed.
All sorts of reactions were present, but Jiang Chen paid them no heed. He did not reserve his strength for this particular test.
“Eh? Look. Although there are only five columns lit, this light…” Other people immediately noticed this after one person had pointed it out.
“That’s right, we only give rise to faint blue light normally. Jiang Chen’s true qi light is green! And look, there are no impurities within the light, every column is quite balanced and pure…”
“Such perfect true qi. No wonder a mere five meridians true qi was able to easily defeat Yan Yiming!”
“Looks like we’ve underestimated this Jiang Chen!”
“Makes sense! With this kind of true qi purity, I think he’d be able to put up a fight even if he challenged someone in the advanced realm of true qi!”
The lowest barrier to the advanced realm of true qi was seven meridians true qi. Such an assessment was high praise indeed.
Even the official in charge of this exam was slightly moved by Jiang Chen’s true qi columns, and he cast a complicated look at Jiang Chen.
Jiang Chen could see praise and doubt in that look. Perhaps, in the official’s eyes, Jiang Chen had even held back some of his true qi.
“Alright, Jiang Chen, five meridians true qi. You pass the first foundational exam!”
The official continued speaking brightly, “Jiang Chen, congratulations. Your passing grades and performance will be recorded and used for reference.”
“Thank you for going to the trouble.” Jiang Chen smiled faintly. He would naturally respond in good grace if someone was polite to him.
He had easily passed the first foundational exam. Jiang Chen had also anticipated this.
He arrived at the second foundational exam site after walking through a few hallways.
The second exam took place in a sealed off room with sword aura.
“Jiang Chen, the second exam is not the same as the first, and it embodies a certain amount of danger. If you don’t possess four meridians true qi and your Amethyst Eastern Qi hasn’t been trained to the realm of “perfection”, you are very likely to fall victim to the aura inside this room.” The organizer of the second exam reminded Jiang Chen of the dangers, as according to the rules.
Jiang Chen nodded. “Thank you for your reminder, I am ready.”
“In that case, go on in.” The organizer nodded and said no more. Since the candidate had already come, there was no reason for the candidate to leave just because of his words of warning.
The sword aura room was a square space measuring roughly ten meters by ten meters.
Countless mechanisms were installed within this room. They would randomly shoot out all sorts of sword aura, following no rules or reason.
Candidates must endure an hour within the room.
In addition, one or two flying beetles would be placed into the room at regular intervals. Candidates must shoot down at least ten flying beetles within an hour.
They had to remain unharmed in the room and shoot down at least ten flying beetles within the designated time.
This exam was, in comparison, only slightly harder than the first exam.
A practitioner wouldn’t be able to shoot down the flying beetles if he had yet to reach four meridians true qi. The flying beetles speed, flight patterns, as well as the hardness of their armor, would not be easily overcome by someone in the initial realm of true qi.
“This exam is a bit interesting.”
A current of sword aura came shooting at him just as Jiang Chen was thinking those thoughts. But these simple sword aura currents posed no threat to him.
The face of the second in command of the Trials, Du Ruhai, was turning ghastly pale as he listened to the reports from a trusted man within a secret room in a highly restricted area.
“This brat had concealed his true strength of five meridians true qi. And the purity of his qi is actually on par with the heirs of the preeminent dukedoms!”
Du Ruhai’s face darkened considerably upon viewing the results of Jiang Chen’s first exam. He had been harshly lectured by Princess Gouyu on that day at the Soaring Dragon manor. Although he hadn’t been fired afterwards, he was facing tremendous pressure from the rumors in the outside world.
His credibility and influence had also been similarly impacted with the team in charge of the Hidden Dragon Trials.
This was what he least wished to see. Du Ruhai had made his way up from the bottom of the ranks. His desire for power outweighed everything else.
And now, the duke of Soaring Dragon had given him an ultimatum. If he wasn’t able to stop Jiang Chen, then he would lose Duke Long’s trust.
Losing Duke Long’s trust meant losing his biggest backer. It could even be said that without the duke’s support, all his vaunted riches and power would quickly become a joke.
Therefore, he had to suppress Jiang Chen. He simply had to suppress Jiang Chen at all costs!
He had to take the risk. Duke Long’s ultimatum wasn’t a mere joke. If the duke became unhappy, then perhaps Du Ruhai’s corpse would be found on the streets tonight.
“Xiaoma, come here. I want you to…” Du Ruhai issued a series of commands to his most trusted man.
This Xiaoma was absolutely loyal to Du Ruhai. He thumped his chest in affirmation after hearing Du Ruhai’s instructions, “Be at ease sir, I will complete the task with competence, and leave no clues behind!”
“Mm. If this matter is conducted smoothly, I will ensure a life of riches for you.”
Within the sword aura room, the bodies of more than fifty flying beetles lay haphazardly in the smooth floor. Time elapsed had been one hour exactly.
Jiang Chen did not leave the sword aura room, and had, in fact, become more and more excited.
“No human opponent can match this sword aura room. Who in the same level can deploy such abstract, unsystematic moves like the mechanisms of this room? Where else could I go to find a free opponent like this one?”
Jiang Chen was hooked on this room.
Although the force of the room’s sword aura attacks would double every hour, Jiang Chen grew more invigorated from battle, and his interest intensified.
He also became more skilled at utilizing his five meridians true qi as time went on. The clashes between true qi and sword aura further heightened his battle intent and potential.