When Zhou Yuan’s voice sounded once again on the stone plaza, it caused the atmosphere to instantly freeze as gaze after gaze was cast over in shock.
No one had expected Zhou Yuan to favor the other two factions...
After all, out of Saint Genesis Peak’s three current factions, Lu Hong’s was clearly the most superior.
However, this choice was no surprise to Zhou Yuan himself. From the very beginning, he had already decided not to choose Lu Hong’s faction.
It was because he could feel a tiny sliver of hostility in Wu Gang’s words and elder Lu Hong’s seemingly unconcerned gaze, hostility that was likely due to his relationship with Lu Feng and Lu Xuanyin.
Elder Lu Hong was obviously far from being as open-minded as Wu Gang had said.
Zhou Yuan could already foresee the endless amount of trouble that would be sent his way if he joined Lu Hong’s faction. Furthermore, it would more than likely that Lu Hong would not support him if Lu Xuanyin and Lu Feng came seeking revenge, and instead easily discard him to appease the two of them.
Therefore, Zhou Yuan would most certainly eliminate Lu Hong’s faction from his choices to avoid such trouble. After all, he felt that as long as he was provided with cultivation resources, it would not make much of difference regardless of which group he joined.
Truthfully speaking, as the possessor of the Decoder Saint Rune, Zhou Yuan did not require anyone to guide him in the area of Genesis techniques.
Zhou Yuan’s rejection also stunned the disciples under elder Shen Taiyuan and elder Lu Song. Zhou Yuan’s choice had likewise surpassed their expectations.
“This junior brother is somewhat interesting.” Zhou Tai grinned, a trace of admiration now present in his gaze when he looked towards Zhou Yuan.
Lu Yan’s cheeks balloned slightly for a while, the icy haughtiness on her pretty face fading substantially as she said, “At least he has some backbone…”
The other disciples from the two factions also cast friendly and welcoming gazes towards Zhou Yuan.
In contrast, hostility began to rise in the eyes of the disciples under elder Lu Hong, their slightly chilly gazes looking towards Zhou Yuan. It was obvious that they felt Zhou Yuan’s rejection to be an act of humiliation towards their group.
Especially Wu Gang, whose expression fluctuated indeterminately between anger and embarrassment. He had previously been under the impression that Zhou Yuan had tactfully chosen to join them. Who could have imagined that his earlier words were merely a ruse, turning the former’s earlier words into a joke.
Wu Gang’s gaze turned piercingly chilly as he stared at Zhou Yuan and sarcastically said, “Junior brother Zhou Yuan really has character, it seems that you believe that as the champion of the peak selection ceremony, teacher Lu’s faction cannot do without you?”
“Do you really think that every champion is like the Cangxuan Peak’s senior brother Chu Qing?” There was no lack of mockery in his words.
There were many champions of the peak selection ceremony in the Cangxuan Sect. After all, there was one for each generation of disciples. Amongst them, there were no lack of amazingly successful disciples, but at the same time also many that ultimately fell back into mediocrity.
After rebuking Zhou Yuan, Wu Gang’s tone softed slightly as he said, “Junior brother Zhou Yuan, you do have some talent, but I advise not to be too rash. If you fail to grasp this opportunity, regret will do nothing for you in the future.”
Zhou Yuan merely chuckled in response. “Teacher Lu’s faction is not too unsuitable for me, senior brother Wu Gang does not need to speak any further about this.”
Wu Gong’s words were always secretly threatening him, something that Zhou Yuan very much dislikes. Hence, he could no longer be bothered to talk it out nicely.
Wu Gang’s eyes hardened as an ominous look appeared on his face.
He was about to speak again, but saw elder Lu Hong open his eyes, indifference within them as he waved at the former. Hence, Wu Gang closed his mouth and venomously glared at Zhou Yuan.
Lu Hong nonchalantly said, “Forget about it since he is not willing. We do not lack a so-called champion of the peak selection ceremony.”
He did not give Zhou Yuan a second glance. In his opinion, not joining them was undoubtedly destroying one’s own future. Once Zhou Yuan began to experience hardships in the future, he would naturally begin to understand how foolish he had been today.
Moreover, it was only a champion of the peak selection ceremony, someone who was merely number one amongst the outer mountain disciples. Who in the inner mountains had not gone through rigorous and careful selection? Zhou Yuan would soon understand what it meant to vanish into averageness.
Lu Hong had originally been a little interested in this batch’s champion. If the latter could be recruited, Lu Hong would first make him apologise to Lu Xuanyin and Lu Feng, before giving him proper guidance. But from the looks of it, this individual was clearly not going to cooperate.
Wu Gang understood Lu Hong’s character, and knew from his words that Zhou Yuan’s actions had already turned off teacher Lu. A gloating smile immediately revealed itself on Wu Gang’s face.
However, Zhou Yuan paid no attention to them. He really disliked Lu Hong from the bottom of his heart, and did not know what kind of terrible future awaited him if he were to join the latter’s faction.
Hence, his gaze turned towards elder Shen Taiyuan and elder Lu Song as he cupped his fists together and said, “This disciple hopes to study under either of the two elders.”
Shen Taiyuan and Lu Song exchanged a look as their expressions softened somewhat. They too never imagined that Zhou Yuan would actually end up rejecting Lu Hong.
Shen Taiyuan’s stern face was now much more relaxed than before. He was a rather inflexible and old-fashioned person by nature, but treated his disciples with amazing earnesty. Hence, numerous disciples both respected and feared him in Saint Genesis Peak.
He looked towards elder Lu Song and asked, “What does elder Lu Song think?”
Elder Lu Song laughed and said, “As the one who became the champion of the peak selection ceremony, he’s naturally a good seedling. This old man is tempted, but you should know that I'm a pretty mischievous one. The little guy will likely ended wasting much time with me.”
Elder Lu Song knew that Shen Taiyuan had been brooding over elder Lu Hong’s shift to Saint Genesis Peak. However, due to the repeated failures for so many years, Shen Taiyuan could only accept the arrangements made by sect master and the other hegemons.
Although Shen Taiyuan was strict and old-fashioned, he did give his all when he came to his disciples. The only problem was that it was an exceedingly difficult task to find any good saplings to nature in their Saint Genesis Peak, hence why his disciples still found it hard to compete with the other peaks.
Now that a champion of the peak selection ceremony had at long last came their way, and had even declined to join Lu Hong’s faction, Lu Song knew that although Shen Taiyuan appeared calm on the surface, his heart was surely churning with emotions.
Lu Song knew that Shen Tiayuan would never give up, and was definitely going to duke it out with Lu Hong.
“So I believe that it will best for this little guy to join elder Shen’s ranks.” Lu Song smiled.
Shen Taiyuan’s eyebrows moved, but that face of his remained impassive. After some silence, he nodded to Lu Song.
Shen Taiyuan gazed at Zhou Yuan and said in a slightly soft voice, “Since that’s the case, you shall join us today, and I will earnestly guide you.”
Zhou Yuan cupped his fists together towards Shen Taiyuan and bowed.
As Shen Taiyuan watched, a smile finally surfaced on his stern face. With a wave of his hand, a flash of gold flew towards Zhou Yuan, turning into a golden sash.
Faint, complicated runes were etched onto the golden sash as it gave off a peculiar ripple that was actually able to gather the surrounding Genesis Qi. It had clearly been inscribed with a Genesis gathering rune, and could be said to be a support type Genesis treasure.
“As the champion of the peak selection ceremony, I have bestowed upon you a gold sash.” A rarely heard kindness could be detected in Shen Taiyuan’s voice.
“Thank you teacher Shen.”
Under the many envious gazes, Zhou Yuan received the golden sash. He knew that he was now formally a gold sash disciple of Cangxuan Sect’s inner mountains.