Chapter 8: Life and Death Battle
Quite a few people had already assembled around the martial arena. Other than some idle people who regularly enjoyed watching, there were also a few of the imperial capital's noble heirs.
Today was the day of Long Chen and Li Hao's life-and-death battle. Although this place would normally see a constant stream of duels and fights, life-and-death battles were still very few in number.
What was even odder about this situation was that despite that the two noble heirs who were fighting didn't have shockingly high cultivation bases, countless people had still come to watch.
In addition, Gambler You Lan, the most famous gambler in the entire imperial capital, had also came to open up a public betting pool.
Li Hao's victory: 2 times the odds.
Long Chen's victory: 10 times the odds.
Since no kinds of counterfeit could occur during a life-and-death battle, and adding their high statuses as noble heirs, betting on the outcome was extremely exciting to many people.
Even some people who weren't gamblers also started to place bets, but for the most part everyone bet on Li Hao's victory.
Although Long Chen did defeat Li Hao last time, at that time Li Hao was completely off guard and Long Chen had taken advantage of that opening. Such a miracle would not occur a second time.
Only an extremely small portion of people who liked to either play around or were desperate decided to take a long shot and bet on Long Chen.
The betting place was located not far from the martial arena, and the section to bet on Li Hao's victory was completely packed with people, whereas the section to bet on Long Chen was completely deserted.
"300000 gold coins on Long Chen."
Suddenly a large and lofty man appeared and tossed a crystal card over to the person in charge of the betting.
The handler was completely shocked by this amount; throughout the entire morning he had only collected ten thousand gold coins till now. Hearing this new bet, he almost didn't believe his own ears.
That huge figure was of course Shi Feng. He had been entrusted by Long Chen to put all his gold coins onto his own victory.
Because of his status, Long Chen knew that with Gambler You Lan's power he would definitely open up a betting pool, and so he had already preemptively told Shi Feng to bet on him.
Even if Gambler You Lan ended up in a deficit from opening up the betting pool, he would definitely end up losing his popularity and the trust in him if he backed out.
Most of the money he normally earned was from his own personal bets, and as for these outer public bets, he didn't actually make much off of them. The main reason he had to hold public bets was to keep the people satisfied.
And even if he were to take a loss, with Gambler You Lan's imposing wealth, it could easily be brushed off. It was for these reasons that Long Chen decided to join the betting.
Originally he had planned on having this money be bet with Li Hao, but now he could get ten times the profit compared to if he bet with Li Hao. Long Chen wasn't an idiot, so of course he knew which was better.
Yesterday, with the help of Fatty Yu and his friends he had collected over two hundred thousand gold coins. When he had handed it over to Shi Feng, Shi Feng saw how assured he was acting and clenching his teeth, he increased the amount to three hundred thousand.
Shi Feng's family was not actually very rich, mostly since they had a tendency to be rather hot-tempered and were not that good at handling business. The families of Fatty Yu and the others tended to be better off.
In order to collect this much money. he had actually used all his weapons and armor as additional collateral.
All this was just for Long Chen's wild and crazy bet. Shi Feng couldn't hold back having his heart jump a couple times in nervousness. Brother Chen, you have to stay calm and steady… all your brother's belongings have all been put on the line.
Li Hao arrived just before noon. With a light push on the ground, he jumped several metres into the air to land on top the martial arena, arousing a burst of cheers.
However this time the cheers weren't for his appearance, but rather because everyone was excited to see the start of a good show.
Today Li Hao was wearing clean and neat robes that were quite attractive, and a proud thought arose in his mind: Long Chen, the humiliation you've given me will be returned to you tenfold!
But even after quite a while passed after Li Hao went onto stage, no one saw Long Chen appear. No one understood why he hadn't appeared, and some people began to wonder if perhaps he had chickened out.
Just as everyone was puzzling wondering, an old man in charge of the martial arena coldly told him, "Your appointment for your battle is for 12:45 so you're early by almost an hour. You can either continue to wait on top the stage or you can come off to wait."
Everyone booed in disappointment when they heard this, and the originally full of vigor Li Hao also became a bit dumbstruck as he had forgotten to check the time.
"Whatever, I'll just wait for him on the stage. In any case he's a person who's about to die so his remaining time is more valuable than mine."
Li Hao indifferently smiled, and just like that he sat down cross-legged on top the martial arena, taking the air of an expert. However his attempt to maintain an expert's manner was only maintained for a short while before becoming a bit strange….
Because it was noon, the sun was extremely powerful, and to make it worse, the martial arena was topped with black stone tiles, and by now it was already boiling to the point where it could fry an egg.
But since Li Hao had already sat down, he couldn't stand back up or it would ruin his act. Therefore all he could do was suffer.
Of course some sharp-eyed people had already noticed that Li Hao's bottom had already begun smoking slightly, and in just a moment it became very obvious and the crowd's expression became very strange.
"This guy is such an idiot; is he trying to save face? The fight hasn't even begun and his butt is already burning," a woman gently laughed. In the distance two veiled women were indifferently looking at the martial arena.
"Speaking frankly, he's just a hypocrite," responded the other woman, shaking her head.
"Sister Meng Qi, we've already been here for several days. When do you plan on withdrawing from the marriage agreement?" asked one of them.
The woman who had been called Meng Qi elegantly creased her brows and somewhat awkwardly said, "Currently he's in a very difficult predicament, and if I were to bring up withdrawing from the marriage to him at this time then it would be too cruel. Even I don't know what I should do."
"But delaying this matter isn't a solution. Master has already urged us several times. If we don't return back to the mountain soon then we'll probably be punished."
"Furthermore with big sister's talent you'll definitely reach Xiantian and be able to touch Heavenly Daos. The two of you will be in completely different worlds; there's no way for you to work it out." The woman sighed.
"But I still feel that doing it in such a manner is still extremely unfair to him… sigh, let's just watch a bit more." Meng Qi lightly shook her jade-like head, and a trace of distress appeared within her beautiful eyes.
As Meng Qi hesitated, they saw a disturbance within the distant crowd. Turning to stare, they saw a black-robed man with sword-like eyebrows and bright eyes slowly walk up. His body seemed to have a unique aura, giving people a very profound sense.
He appeared just like a well; on the surface he appeared like nothing out of the ordinary, but it was impossible to see through him. No one could manage to see through his depths and his existence appeared like a mystery to them.
Even Meng Qi and the other woman couldn't help but to feel some fluttering in their hearts when they saw his form. Compared to the Long Chen they had seen just a few days ago, it was like the difference between heaven and earth. The current him appeared to be full of self-confidence.
Seeing Long Chen arrive, Li Hao jumped up, feeling a burst of scorching pain from his bottom.
Blaming Long Chen, his anger rose even more and he angrily shouted, "Long Chen, come up to die!"
Long Chen didn't even spare a glance for Li Hao, and instead he scanned the crowd and met Shi Feng's gaze. Shi Feng gave Long Chen a slight nod, causing Long Chen to feel relieved.
Not only did he see Shi Feng, he also saw Fatty Yu and the others who had apparently come to cheer him on.
Long Chen smiled over to them before turning his body to walk onto the martial arena. Li Hao had jumped up to show off his skill, but Long Chen decided to simply walk up….
For the moment, the people who had bet on Long Chen's victory all felt that the money they had gambled was about to be lost forever.
"Long Chen." Seeing Long Chen walk up, these two words were angrily forced out of Li Hao's clenched teeth.
"Idiot, your butt's scorched, isn't it?" Long Chen sneered to Li Hao.
Actually he had long since arrived, merely he just stayed in the shade further away and no one had noticed him. However he had seen very clearly what had been going on on the stage.
"12:45 has arrived; both parties must sign the life and death contract."
At this moment the old man took out a document, and Long Chen indifferently smiled and signed his name on top of it.
This time was different from the last duel; conceding to the victor would have no effect this time. Life and death was held within the victor's hands.
Li Hao also signed, and with a sinister expression he said, "You little bastard, today I will return all the humiliation you gave me one hundredfold!"
Now that the life and death contract had been signed there was no more need a referee. The current martial arena had now became the ground where they would decide who would die today.
"Blade wounds heal quickly; insults can't relieve anger; looks like you don't understand; you've come to provoke me so many times and I'm not enduring any longer."
Long Chen took a deep breath… an extremely dense killing intent appeared within his eyes. Ever since Zhou Yaoyang had first said that he wasn't Long Tianxiao's son, many people had started using the same kind of insult against him.
"Go die bastard!"
Li Hao sneered, and with a loud bellow his whole body's spiritual qi started to circulate, and a spiritual energy visible to the naked ear could be seen fluctuating around his body.
The crowd watching all nodded when they saw this. Last time Li Hao had been extremely unlucky; he hadn't made any preparations to protect his body and Long Chen had used one quick sneak attack to beat him. But this time he had properly prepared and set up his defences.
Although this was only the spiritual energy of Qi Condensation and had no way of leaving the body, circulating spiritual energy within the body for protection meant that an ordinary person would have very great difficulty causing injuries.
After Li Hao set up his defences, an evil smile appeared on his face. He charged towards Long Chen, both hands turning into claws aimed towards Long Chen's shoulders.
These two claws of his were filled with spiritual qi, making them no different from iron fangs. If an ordinary person was to be hit by it, their shoulders would immediately break.
"Good! Li Hao, completely degrade him!"
From below the arena a loud shout came from the person who Long Chen had sent flying within the Imperial College, Wang Mang.
Wang Mang had now already lost half his teeth while still a youth. And as for any bone growing medicinal pills, those were far too expensive for his family to buy. Nowadays he was already full of hatred for Long Chen, and seeing Long Chen about to be assaulted, he couldn't hold back from cheering.
But Shi Feng, Fatty Yu and the others all became extremely worried. From the very start Long Chen had not shown even the slightest cultivation base, causing their hearts to momentarily get stuck in their throats.
Long Chen coldly smiled as he looked at Li Hao charge towards. Taking one step, his whole body turned into a shadow as it charged forward towards Li Hao.