Chapter 5: Imperial College Palace
The Imperial College Palace would open its doors for one day every month for the imperial capital's noble heirs. In the morning they would practice poetry and etiquette, and in the afternoon the palace's martial arts depository would be available to everyone free of charge.
The previous openings of the Imperial College Palace had absolutely no meaning to Long Chen since even if he attended he would just be the object of ridicule for everyone there.
But now that was no longer the case. After consuming the FengFu Pill Long Chen had already condensed an embryonic form of the FengFu Star.
Although it was just an embryonic form and couldn't store that much spiritual energy, but it was still able to store much more than could be stored in just a body's meridians. After all, the meridians were like rivers while the Dantian was like the ocean that fed the rivers, even sometimes being called the "energy sea."
Although a river might appear large, but its capacity was limited; without the Dantian to support it, it would quickly all be used up. But this problem was completely resolved with the condensing of the FengFu Star. And the most important thing was that with the embryonic form of the FengFu Star being formed, as long as there was enough energy it would eventually became a complete FengFu Star.
At that time, Long Chen would have something unique to himself to use as a "Dantian"; this was the most unique point to the Nine Star Hegemon Body Arts.
When all nine Stars were opened, it would be equivalent to having nine Dantians. No matter how dumb you were you would still understand just how powerful this kind of forceful spiritual energy source was.
Moreover Long Chen was in possession of the entire Nine Star Hegemon Body Arts. Unfortunately, such a cultivation technique was something that defied the heavens, and his understanding was still very low so he still needed to spend an endless amount of meditation on it.
Once he managed to completely condense his FengFu Star he would be able to store an extremely large amount of spiritual energy. Then he could attempt to agglomerate his blood vessels and enter the Condensed Blood stage, becoming a true martial artist.
The Qi Condensation stage was just the first step of training in martial arts. Only be stepping across the Condensed Blood stage, having your blood and Qi surge, having your martial powers violently rise, only then could you be considered a genuine martial artist.
Long Chen didn't know what Heavenly Stage of Qi Condensation we would count as, but with the formation of his embryonic FengFu Star, his body's strength had been increased by a pleasantly surprising amount.
The current him could let out a very simple punch and it would cause the wind to whistle, and the force it generated would have enough power to break apart a vase even two metres away. Essentially it was like his whole body was brimming with strength.
His goal by going to the Imperial College Palace this time was to enter the martial arts depository. With his FengFu Star about to be completely condensed, his body's spiritual energy had gradually rose and he could already begin to train in Martial Battle Skills.
These so called Martial Battle Skills were all created from extremely powerful seniors. They were powerful fighting techniques that used a person's spiritual energy and meridians.
Battle Skills were extremely terrifying; it could allow a martial artist to release an extremely formidable power that was several times stronger than a person's ordinary strength; it was impossible to be brave in front of them.
Therefore each Battle Skill was extremely important to a martial artist, and now that Long Chen had a spiritual energy capable of training in Battle Skills he was itching to obtain one.
The Imperial College Palace was located to the north side of the imperial capital. It spanned tens of kilometres, and other than the Imperial Palace it was the most grand and imposing building.
After Long Chen showed off his identification plate he entered into the Imperial College Palace and went straight to the literature hall. That was where the morning cultivation took place and where the cultivators would listen to the studies of Dao from lecturers talking about everything and anything, from etiquette to poetry, and even to ancient theories of literature.
Entering into the literature hall he saw that due to how early it was the extremely large literature hall only had a couple dozen people.
"Haha, brother Chen, you came."
Just as Long Chen entered a couple youths came over and cordially greeted him.
These youths were similar to Long Chen; for various reasons they also had no way of cultivating, and although they couldn't be considered best friends they were still fellow sufferers who empathized with each other.
In the golden age of martial arts in the Phoenix Cry Empire these youths might not have bullied in such a miserable way like Long Chen, but they were frequently sneered at and despised, suffering from a cold and indifferent treatment.
Thus these people who suffered from similar torments ended up becoming closer to Long Chen, and especially since it had been a long time since they had seen Long Chen come to this place they were especially glad to see him now.
"Haha, you guys came here pretty early," Long Chen laughingly greeted. With the success of the condensation of his FengFu Star his mood had improved greatly from the formerly depressed him.
"I heard a couple days ago that brother Long put up a huge display of his awesome power, defeating Li Hao. Ah, you really make us admire you. Don't tell me that brother Long can actually genuinely cultivate now?" One slender man extremely enviously asked.
Originally they were all the same level as Long Chen. Hearing that Long Chen could actually defeat Li Hao who was at the Third Heavenly Stage of Qi Condensation they were all extremely shocked, while also feeling a slight jealousy.
"Hehe, it was just luck. But most recently I did learn a new God Technique." Long Chen didn't want to continue on this subject so he brought up a new mysterious topic.
"God Technique? What's that?" Sure enough everyone immediately became distracted and changed the subject.
"Hehe, this little brother recently obtained a rare clairvoyance book, and after painstakingly reading this book I learned quite a few things." Long Chen somewhat complacently said.
"Clairvoyance technique? Isn't that just what the fortune tellers on the streets use to scam people?"
"Not quite. Since I managed to obtain a bit from this clairvoyance book I saw that Li Hao's face had a dark omen of misfortune on it, and it was only then that I decided to duel with him. And as for the result… hehe." Long Chen laughed and stopped there.
Everyone momentarily half-believed it and half-doubted it when someone suddenly brightened with understanding and said, "It seems to be true, I heard that Li Hao seemed to have been bewitched that day, and his whole body didn't have even the slightest bit of battle energy before he was defeated by brother Long. "
The details of Long Chen and Li Hao's battle were known to everyone, but there were many people who felt that Li Hao's defeat was quite a deep mystery. These days whenever Long Chen was brought up everyone would all bring forward their own opinions and comments on him.
"Hehe, brother Long, since you are proficient in reading faces can you help take a look at me and tell me why my fiancée always avoids me? Why won't she agree to see me?" One person somewhat vexingly asked.
"No problem, come, come, let's first find a place for us all to sit. Standing here is somewhat unsuitable."
Their group found a table in the corner to sit at, and the table even had some refreshments for them.
Long Chen pointed towards the table's desserts and laughingly told everyone, "Let's all eat a piece."
"Ok," the other people didn't stand on courtesy and all took a piece. Everyone seemed a bit confused as they looked at Long Chen.
"How's the taste?"
"Let's eat another piece?"
That person once again picked up a piece and ate a bite. But when he had only eaten one bite his face suddenly brightened and he respectfully turned towards Long Chen and said, "Many thanks for brother Long's advice. This little brother understands now. I was being too greedy and brother Long was reminding me that people need to be content with their situation, right?"
Everyone admiringly looked at Long Chen; who would have thought that Long Chen had the profound skills in order to use some small desserts as food for thought. However Long Chen still sighed and shook his head, "Wrong, what I wanted to remind you of is that you're already this fat, and yet you're still eating this much. Soon you won't even be able to walk through the door.
The fact that your fiancée is still with you and hasn't left you is already an enormous accommodation, you should be happy with just that.
With a body shape like yours any woman would be scared to sleep beside you; what if you roll over in your sleep? You'd crush her so hard she'd turn into a painting."
That person's face reddened, and with Long Chen's reminder he looked at his 5 foot tall height with his four and a half foot wide stomach. Apparently he had felt that he had only fattened by a little bit.
"Fatty Yu, don't waste brother Long's precious time, hurry up and go lose some weight. Elder brother Long, hehe, how about you take a shot at reading my face?" A different slender youth respectfully asked with a smile.
"Oh, you?" Long Chen made a big show of acting very seriously as he looked at him for quite a while before saying, "Your face ordains that before you are thirty you will be destitute and frustrated, but the good thing is that after you are thirty…."
That person became jubilant saying, "Is it possible that after thirty I can suddenly rise in my cultivation?"
"No. After you are thirty you will slowly become accustomed to your situation and no longer be frustrated." said Long Chen.
Everyone couldn't help but to burst into laughter, but just as they were laughing they suddenly saw two bitter eyes staring at them, making everyone's laughter break off.
Long Chen had long since noticed, and turning his head around he saw Li Hao glaring at him, with two eyes that seemed like swords as they piercingly stared at him.
"Senior Li Hao, are your wounds better now? Congratulations! Your outer wounds are all healed, but what about your inner wounds?" Long Chen asked seeming deeply concerned.
Li Hao's face twitched. That day his face had been smashed flat by Long Chen's face and he had needed to be carried home. The Li family hurriedly asked for the help of an alchemist from the alchemist guild and had to pay an extremely large sum of gold coins to let Li Hao recover.
Having money was truly good; in such a short time Li Hao had already returned to a point where he looked the same as a normal person.
But after Long Chen brought the subject back up, Li Hao's family jewels started to hurt as if they were remembering that one kick from Long Chen.
At that time Long Chen's kick had been very vicious, just a little bit off from turning him into a cripple. The thing that pissed him off the most though was that only after he got carried home and healed did he notice that he was missing a certain ball. When his estate noticed this they hurriedly rushed back to the martial arena, but by that time they found that the arena had already been cleaned, and it was reported that that ball had been taken away by a wild dog.
When Li Hao woke up and heard this information he almost died from his anger. But now there was no way to fix it, and no matter how amazing an alchemist was there was no way for them to make a new ball for him.
Although this wouldn't tilt him while walking, the originally symmetric pair suddenly became just one, making it difficult for him to adjust.
And now that Long Chen had brought it back up, his face became exceedingly ugly. He unwaveringly glared at Long Chen, his teeth grinding in fury. "Long Chen, you son of a b*tch. I challenge you to a life-or-death duel, do you dare accept?"
Long Chen originally amused expression immediately tensed. Being called in such a way was exceedingly insulting, especially since it also insulted his mother.
It really was the case of not knowing the value of one's life. If you want to be free from the mortal world's worries then I'll help you.
"Same thing as before, I want to add stakes."
Long Chen stared back at Li Hao. Since you want to die you had best offer me up some benefits. Although they came from the same nation, he didn't care about Li Hao and his death would be trifling to him.
"Fine, no matter how high you make the stakes, I, Li Hao, will accept." Sneering in his mind, he thought to himself that no matter how high the stakes were, once he was dead there was no way he could spend it. Li Hao was under the impression that last time he had simply been careless and Long Chen had grabbed onto that opening and thus he had lost. Now he would definitely not make the same mistake, so this fight would definitely not go the same way as the last fight.
In addition, this time was different in that he had declared a life-or-death duel, while in last time's duel, although you would not be held responsible for killing your opponent with a blow, as long as the opponent conceded it was not allowed to continue attacking them.
But in the life-or-death duel once the two people went onto the stage it was equivalent to putting their lives on the line. Even if someone admit defeat it would be useless. The victor could do as he pleased, so the loser's life and death would be in their hands.
"Ok, tomorrow, three quarters after noon, we will meet on the life-and-death stage." Li Hao coldly laughed, and when he looked at Long Chen it was like he was staring at a dead person.
Long Chen coldly sneered in his mind. Now was the time for him to kill the chicken to warn the monkeys (make an example), and seeing Li Hao leave he slyly laughed, "Careful to stay balanced while walking, don't trip."
Hearing Long Chen's words, the Li Hao who had already turned to leave stiffened and his face became contorted as he inferred the hidden meaning behind Long Chen's words.
Taking a deep breath, he acted like he hadn't heard anything as he slowly walked to a different part of the literature hall.
But Long Chen's words seemed to be like a steel needle piercing through his sensitive parts and every time he lifted his leg it would trigger memories of the bone-chilling attack.
He continued to act as if nothing had happened, but the more he tried to do so the more unnatural his gait became, which caused everyone to stare strangely over at him. In the end, Li Hao waddled away similar to a duck.
One person turned to Long Chen and reminded him to be careful, "Brother Long, why did you accept his challenge? This is a life-or-death battle you're going into, it's going to result in someone's death."
"No problem. Today I read his face and saw a dark aura of death around his him. With it twisting around him it's basically like a ghost sealing his life- he's doomed to die within two days. That's right, I have something that I need a couple people's help for." Long Chen whispered to a couple people near him.
Everyone exchanged glances and in the end the person who had been nicknamed fatty Yu clenched his teeth. "Brother Long, since you've asked I'll give you my entire savings."
Saying this, he handed over a crystal card to Long Chen. Long Chen didn't expect that this fatty Yu would actually have such a strong spirit of brotherhood. His crystal card had over eighty thousand gold coins on it.
Although they were all the aristocrat's noble heirs, but mostly they were born in far off branches so they weren't considered very important. These gold coins should be an extremely large sum to fatty Yu.
"F*ck it, I have sixty thousand here, take it."
"I don't have that much here, only thirty thousand. Brother Long I only have this little capability."
Originally Long Chen had thought that just borrowing ten or so thousand gold coins would already be quite a lot. He didn't expect that they would actually completely empty their pockets to help him.
"Everyone, if by chance I were to die then your money would basically be lost." Long Chen looked at the crystal cards in his hand and he couldn't help but to give everyone a reminder.
"Does brother Long look down on us? None of are capable of cultivating and every day we have to suffer through other people's torments. Brother Long, the fact that you dare go all out in a battle against one of them means you have courage that none of us posses, but helping you out this little bit is still something we can do."
When some of these people saw Long Chen agree to the life and death battle they couldn't help but to become excited since they were fighting a common enemy. Seeing Long Chen begging for help, they became even more heated and in the ended they didn't even care about the consequences.
Long Chen nodded, and remembering this feeling in his heart he held the two hundred and something thousand gold coins in his hand.
At this moment a group of people walked into the literature hall, and the originally somewhat noisy literature hall immediately turned completely silent.
Hey guys, sorry for the short break, I'll try to release 4 more chapters within the next 2-3 days. Just a bit stressed/busy/figuring out terms in the novel.
A couple terms have been set by me now, so thing's like noble son will become noble heir, and Heavenly Stage/Heavenly Layer will become Heavenstage. This should stay pretty consistent in future chapters. Just a heads up but right now there are still two terms that may change in the future: desolate border and Man Huanghou, simply because the Chinese used there is a bit confusing and there wasn't much context. The desolate border is based on a friend's recommendation (otherwise I would actually have no clue what it was) and Man Huanghou is confusing just because I'm not sure whether it's a person, a title, or a family name. Also the last word Hou might be a typo, but I don't think it is (I thought it was in chapter 1), because it's literally one line away from the word for aristocrat (as in it could mean the Manhuang aristocrat/noble family if it was a typo). Currently I'm under the impression it is a family name thing.
Good news is that I found an apartment for my next semester so I won't have to stress too much about that anymore. I'm also probably going to edit the first four chapters to fix up a couple terms either today or tomorrow (it won't be anything that'll change the plot so you don't need to go reread it, it's just for consistency).
Hope you're enjoying the novel so far ^.^ look forward to reading more.