Those words crossed a line.
Gan Ning had had enough. He shoved aside his reservations and exclaimed, “Honored Holy Girls, I’m much below your rank and shouldn’t interrupt your conversation, but one has to speak honestly and responsibly with the gods as their witness.
“Senior brother Jiang Chen never actively targeted anyone. Those who lost their orbs to him attacked us first. They simply got a taste of their medicine. How is that us robbing innocent people? They made the first move. Should we have surrendered our orbs to them without resisting?”
It was clear from his agitated tone that he was furious. If the two women weren’t holy girls, he would’ve cussed them out already.
“You must have misunderstood,” Wu You agreed. “Anything goes under the rules of the competition, but senior brother Jiang Chen has held true to his principles and never committed anything unethical for the orbs. Every orb he possesses, he got fair and square. Their previous owners were far from innocent.”
The holy girl in white was even more upset upon hearing them defending Jiang Chen.
“You’re his sidekicks. Of course you’d speak up for him!”
Jiang Chen smiled and cupped his hands. “I’m not here to argue semantics. People will believe what they want to believe, and that’s how rumors spread. I would never expect everyone to be fair and objective.”
“You’re just saying that because your reputation is ruined beyond hope of recovery.”
“Haha, first of all, that’s not true. Second, most of the contestants would do anything to further their goals as well. Even if we’re part of their ranks, why are you singling us out with your critique?”
Jiang Chen didn’t give an inch. He wouldn’t tolerate anything just because the holy girls were superior to him in status. He was a man of principle.
The holy girl dressed in orange broke her silence. “Daoist Jiang Chen, I am Si Tong. This is my sister Holy Girl Yao Guang. She’s straightforward and blunt. Please forgive her if she’s offended you in any way.”
Holy Girl Si Tong had a vastly different personality from Yao Guang.
They were both stunningly beautiful, and their contrasting grace seemed even more exceptional when they were together. The sixteen golden hairpins, especially those who ranked among the top, did indeed live up to their reputations.
Jiang Chen smiled easily. “I don’t mind. I hear that Sui Chen was taken after greeting you. Could you share the reason for that?”
“We were keeping to ourselves and playing our instruments here. He knows absolutely nothing about music theory, but interrupted us and spouted off a ton nonsense, fancying himself a gentleman. Shouldn’t we have punished him for that?” Yao Guang spoke of Sui Chen with contempt.
Jiang Chen smiled wryly. If that was the case, Sui Chen only had himself to blame. It was obvious that the young genius had wanted to catch the holy girls’ fancy, but had ended up interrupting their fun and captured for his impertinence.
He lacked charisma, manners, and knowledge of music. All of it combined had offended the two holy girls.
Jiang Chen cupped his hands. “You’ve given him the punishment he deserves. I believe you aren’t the unreasonable sort. Why don’t you release him and let bygones be bygones?”
“Release him?” Yao Guang huffed. “Why should we do that? Besides, we were trying to lure you here.”
Jiang Chen paused. The holy girl’s blunt honesty was surprising. He kept his guard up, knowing he was the real target.
“We know you have many orbs,” continued Yao Guang.
Jiang Chen smiled faintly. He did, but what did that have to do with them? Were they trying to take the orbs from him?
He didn’t say anything in response, but his expression made it clear that he would not surrender his orbs.
“We know you’re good, Jiang Chen, and that even Poison Consort Shi Qinglu lost to you,” said Yao Guang. “So we don’t intend to fight you.”
“Then what would you like?” Jiang Chen asked coolly.
“A bet?” Jiang Chen smiled. “I know nothing about you. A bet doesn’t seem appropriate.”
“You have to take it.” Yao Guang was determined.
“Oh?” Jiang Chen quirked his lips into a half smile. “I don’t think so. You can’t force me to take the bet if I don’t want to.”
“Daoist Jiang Chen,” Holy Girl Si Tong silenced Yao Guang. “There will be winners and losers in this competition. We know you have a lot of orbs. We have quite a few as well. Either one of us will take first place if we acquire the other’s orbs. There’s no doubt about that.”
Jiang Chen smiled. He would be first even without the holy girls’ orbs.
He shook his head. “I don’t care if your bet is fair or not. I don’t want your orbs and you’d be wise not to covet mine. Sui Chen may be from the same faction, but he’s not a good enough bargaining chip. We all know the rules. You can’t kill him. The worst thing you can do is to take away his orbs and put him at the bottom of the ranking. In truth, he put himself in this situation. It’ll serve him good to live with the consequences.”
However, Si Tong gave him a faint, confident smile.
“Daoist Jiang Chen, this is more of a test than a bet. Our respective sacred lands aren’t interested in leading Myriad Abyss. According to our analysis, the leader of the future alliance will either be Flora or Eternal. Our mission in this competition is to observe you, Shi Qinglu, and Lu Mingye. From you, we can deduce the future of your sacred lands.”
Si Tong hadn’t mentioned a word about the bet, but had taken all options away from Jiang Chen.
If he didn’t take the bet, he’d be considered lacking in personal charisma.
How could a mediocre genius led the Eternal Sacred Land? How would he make Eternal the leader of the alliance?
Si Tong was quite a master of the art of persuasion.
Jiang Chen sighed inwardly. He knew this was a trap, but he had to step right into it.
“What do you want to bet on?”
He wasn’t afraid of the two holy girls. Whether they wanted to bet on martial dao, pill dao, or other disciplines, he was confident in his ability of them all.