The underground gambling hall was flourishing due to the recent influx of geniuses at the capital. Each had great backing behind them so they had plenty of money.
Many came to bet. Even big shots would show up sometimes with enough spirit stones to make others gasp.
This place naturally had a powerful force behind it too. This remained a mystery but many guessed that it was one of the four great clans.
The hall lord was a skinny old man that had lived for more than 600 years. His cultivation was unfathomable with an ethereal body resembling a phantom with long, long hair.
“10,000 spirit stones?” His eyes seemed to have two ghosts there, causing others to be afraid.
“Yes. A youth with a black hat bet 10,000 stones on Feng Ergou.” A fourth-level Heaven’s Mandate old man kneeled on the ground with his head lowered, completely intimidated by this hall lord.
“What’s the odds?” This lord’s eyes gave no insight into his thoughts, only a muddy expanse.
“1 to 30.”
“1 to 30?” His voice grew colder, clearly furious.
1 to 30 for the first place was an acceptable risk due to the difficulty. However, 1 to 30 to make it to the second round and the opponent was confident enough to bet 10,000? Clearly Feng Ergou had a great chance of doing so.
The hall would need to pay 300,000 if he were to win. This was a monstrous sum. A large mine excavated for several hundred years wouldn’t necessarily be able to yield it.
The hall lord spoke with a deeper tone: “And all of you still haven’t figured out this Feng Ergou’s identity?”
“About this… according to the enrollment information, this person came from Grand Southern, nineteen years of age so he shouldn’t be that strong.” The old man responded.
“From the Feng Clan down there?”
“No, just a vagabond cultivator.” The Feng was quite powerful down there but due to the high population, someone with the last name Feng wasn’t necessarily from this clan.
The lord sounded ready to kill now: “Fools! Don’t even know his cultivation before deciding the odds?”
“Back then… back then…” The old man nearly became paralyzed on the ground.
“No need to explain. This Feng Ergou is obviously a young master. We can’t let him win. Go organize some youths strong enough to kill him on stage.” The lord decided with a cold glare.
The first round of the groom competition would last ten days. Today was the second.
Feiyun wore the same black hat and a black outfit while Ningshuai chose white with a large Buddhist hat. The latter also had a cool fan and a large piece of jade pendant draping down his chest.
“Ergou, why is your aura different today?” Ningshuai asked.
Feiyun’s voice was distant and chilling: “I cultivated a sword art last night with too much murderous energy, it can shield my regular temperament.”
In order to avoid being exposed, he couldn’t use his regular techniques. This sword art would allow him to hide both his identity and aura.
“A sword art in just one night? Is it strong?” Ningshuai was skeptical.
After all, ultimate techniques couldn’t be learned in just one day. Even the best genius in Jin couldn’t do it.
“Enough to take care of the first round.” Feiyun answered with confidence.
“Bullshit! Ergou, gotta stop boasting, the young masters aren’t a joke and they have cultivated for thirty to forty years. What about you? Only several years. Don’t let someone kick you off the stage at that point.” Ningshuai saw the fierce battle yesterday with his own eyes.
It was early in the morning and the bell had rung nine times, but the imperial city was full of people.
Not just prodigies but cultivators from the last generation too. Some were dao protectors - supreme elders from large sects. They came to find good seeds for cultivation. The prodigies who did well on stage would be recruited afterward.
The top geniuses would be the overlords of the cultivation world in the future.
The Three Directors and Nine Ministers were in charge but they weren’t actually present. Big shots like them would only come starting from the second round.
The first round was watched over by an ancestor of the royal clan along with representatives from the officials mentioned above.
These representatives were strong enough with a massive aura, enough to deter the entire crowd.
There were ten stages in the imperial city with formations carved by Giants. They floated in the sky, connected to the ground by one-hundred-step passage made out of rocks.
Their names were: Heaven, Earth, Black, Golden, Law, Men, Grand, Desolate, Spirit, Soul.
Feiyun came to the entrance of the stage named Golden. It was massive with a banner carved with its title. It fluttered and emitted thunderous noises.
Just this entrance alone had tens of thousands of spectators and participants. Many seniors and nobles came to watch as well.
Feiyun finally understood why Ningshuai never even got the chance to climb on stage.
“The ones in charge of the stage are four old cultivators at the half-step level, guest elders of the royal clan.” Feiyun said.
The four old men wearing dazzling golden robe stood at the four corners of the stage like four immobile pine trees; shrouded in a golden aura.
Ningshuai looked over and noticed something: “Shit, that’s people from the Grand Tutor faction.”
Feiyun glanced over and saw a middle-aged man in a daoist robe sitting on a chair made out of sandalwood with his eyes closed. The front of his robe had an embroidered yin yang symbol; his forehead carried the seal of lightning, releasing tiny currents. His weapon of choice was a black whisker.
“That’s the Grand Tutor’s fifth disciple, Ling Luan. When I came to that mansion to rob the materials, he was at White Cloud Marsh. The guy is frighteningly strong and almost detected me.” Ningshuai felt his calves becoming tense.
Feiyun looked over with his phoenix gaze in order to see the guy’s cultivation.
Meanwhile, Ling Luan also detected the intrusion. He slightly opened his eyes and a massive primal energy surged over towards Feiyun’s direction like a falling sky.
Everyone could sense it - something akin to a massive beast awakening. This daoist actually had contained such a power in his body.
A divine intent circled around Feiyun’s area once before returning to Ling Luan.
“Oh?” Ling Luan’s eyes flashed with a hint of surprise: “Who was it that tried to spy on me? This person recalled his divine intent quite quickly.”
He looked around the place one more time before closing his eyes again.
Ningshuai got beads of sweat streaming down his forehead as he stammered: “Did he notice?”
“No.” Feiyun shook his head: “He’s relatively strong, almost at the peak of half-step, only one step away from being a Giant. This Fifth Disciple is not bad, that’s why the Grand Tutor sent him. He’s more than enough to deter the crowd.”
Half-step was a level but there were massive discrepancies. One half-step could easily kill a weaker one.
Ling Luan was at the half-step level, but he could also be considered a pseudo-Giant.
“Forget it, we should switch to a different stage. We won’t be able to handle it if that daoist geezer recognizes us.” Ningshuai said.
Feiyun nodded in agreement and wanted to switch to a different stage. However, his eyes became fixated on a familiar face in the crowd.
It was a beautiful woman with an exquisite figure, hair as long as a waterfall, shrouded in an immortal brilliance. Cold mist and yin energy gathered beneath her feet. Wherever she walked, she attracted the attention of all the prodigies who started salivating with their eyes agape.
The bright glow stopped others from seeing her features, but people still couldn’t avert their eyes.
“Immortal energy, jade physique, flawless and magical, and pure like a star. How come I haven’t heard of a beauty like this before?” Ningshuai felt his spring coming. If it wasn’t for his huge Buddhist hat, others would be creeped out by his current expression.
Alas, he couldn’t be blamed for this. The other prodigies nearby had ugly expression too, clearly swooned by her. She was too charming and beautiful with an innate seductive aura. No men could control themselves in front of her. In fact, even women would become her victims.
“Her name is Yao Ji, the most excellent disciple of Yin Void Cave.” Feiyun said.
Ningshuai stood straight up and no longer had any ideas: “I remember now that you say something, I’ve met her back at the sacred lake in Grand Southern. She stood on top of a gigantic grave with beautiful corpses, famous ladies in history. These girls became refined into corpses.”
He was quite emotional because though they were corpses, they were still too tempting, as beautiful as when they were alive.