Chapter 183: How Long Since We Saw That Shy Face?
Meng Hao’s expression was the same as usual. He wasn’t the least bit moved. He looked calmly at the sneering Li, and Zhou Shanyue, who stood next to him, face grim.
Chen Fan looked angry. He knew that Elder Brother Li and Zhou Shanyue were on good terms, and that neither of them liked him very much. It was only because of his flying dagger that they never did much to him.
However, having Meng Hao at his side had caused innumerable difficulties with this sinister pair.
“If you want a fight, how about you two versus me?” said Chen Fan coldly.
“As fellow Sect members, we have nothing to learn from each other,” laughed Li. “I want to see if I can pick up a move or two from this outsider. Junior Brother Chen, you aren’t really going to prevent such an exchange, will you?”
Chen Fan gave a cold snort, grabbing Meng Hao to leave. Meng Hao smiled. He found the whole situation quite amusing. However, Chen Fan seemed devoted to keeping Meng Hao safe, and he didn’t want to refuse his good will. He was just about to follow along with Chen Fan when Zhou Shanyue’s dark voice rang out.
“If you’re scared, we understand.” The surrounding Solitary Sword Sect disciples all laughed loudly. “How about this: Elder Brother Li will restrict his power to that of the mid Foundation Establishment stage. That would make things fair. We really want to see what magic you outsiders have. Junior Brother Chen, this matter has nothing to do with you. You can’t keep him hiding behind you forever.”
Solitary Sword Sect Cultivators generally stay away from outsiders. Many of them, although they didn’t want to sneer at Elder Brother Chen, were getting excited at the scene which was playing out in front of them.
Chen Fan ignored them, continuing to pull Meng Hao away. However, hearing Zhou Shanyue’s words caused Meng Hao to suddenly stop in his tracks. He turned and looked at Li and Zhou Shanyue, forcing an outraged expression to appear on his face.
“Since a battle to the death is out of the question, we need to make a wager,” he said, making his voice seem out of control.
Hearing this, the surrounding Solitary Sword Sect Cultivators burst into more laughter. Many of them had Cultivation bases lower than Meng Hao, but they were disciples of the Solitary Sword Sect, the number one Sect in the Southern Domain. It was only natural for them to feel somewhat superior.
Zhou Shanyue laughed, as did middle-aged Li.
“Excellent,” said Li. “If you stop hiding behind Junior Brother Chen and dare to fight me, then there’s no harm in making a little wager. I have a treasured sword as well as several tens of thousands of Spirit Stones!” Laughing, he slapped his bag of holding to produce an azure-colored sword. The sword aura which swirled around it wasn’t spectacular, but wasn’t ordinary either.
“Little Junior Brother, you….” said Chen Fan.
He was about to continue when Meng Hao, eyes bloodshot, interrupted him. Glaring, he said, “A handful of Spirit Stones and a sword aren’t enough for Meng Hao. Put some more onto the table, sir, and then I’ll fight you!” His loud voice rang out. The words he had spoken, and the expression on his face, were something he had long since become accustomed to using. He had faced many situations like this in the State of Zhao. Furthermore, he still had an unused golden spear in his bag of the Cosmos….
The crowd around them laughed loudly. Li looked at Meng Hao, his sneer growing larger.
“Very well,” he said. “Whatever you put up as stakes, sir, I will match in value.”
Next to him, Zhou Shanyue laughed. “No matter,” he said. “Whatever you produce, if Elder Brother Li matches it in value, then so shall I!” He glared at Chen Fan, and deep in his eyes, killing intent swirled.
Meng Hao gasped. His eyes darted around as if he wished to run away. “Are you serious?!” he said, his voice sounding forced.
“You’re in the Solitary Sword Sect, now,” said Zhou Shanyue haughtily. “Do you really think we would lie?”
Chen Fan grabbed Meng Hao’s arm and was about to say something.
Trembling, Meng Hao looked over at him and said, “Elder Brother Chen, can you please loan me your flying dagger?”
Chen Fan looked at Meng Hao for a long moment. Finally, he lifted his hand up, and the black flying dagger appeared, a blade which could unleash the power of the Core Formation stage!
This dagger was extremely important to Chen Fan. If he lost it, his position within the Sect would immediately become unstable. The repercussions would be dire. However, it only took the space of a few breaths for him to make up his mind to place it in Meng Hao’s hand.
This display of brotherly affection caused Meng Hao to look deeply at Chen Fan. A warm feeling filled his entire body, creating a memory that would exist for the rest of his life.
“Junior Brother,” said Chen Fan, his eyes glowing with encouragement, “if you’re really going to fight, then do so with a light heart. If you lose, it won’t matter. No big deal. And if you win, then win something good!” Although he didn’t have much faith that Meng Hao could win, this was his style.
Everything was quiet around them as the crowd stared at the black flying dagger in Meng Hao’s hand.
The silence lasted only for a moment before a buzz of conversation filled the air.
“That’s Patriarch Zhou’s Core Formation flying dagger!!”
“That’s the symbol of the Seven Solitary Sword Sons, and Elder Brother Chen is actually giving it to a stranger to put up as stakes for a bet….”
“These stakes are incredible!!”
The surrounding disciple’s eyes shone brightly, and more than a few produced transmission jade slips to notify other fellow disciples of what was happening.
“This is what I’m putting up. Now it’s your turn. No bet, no fight!” Meng Hao’s voice was resolute, and his eyes shone with a do-or-die look. To the onlookers, however, it appeared that his coolness was forced, and that he was simply trying to bluff Zhou and Li into leaving him alone.
Zhou Shanyue’s body trembled as he glared at the black dagger in Meng Hao’s hand. He panted, as did middle-aged Li. They exchanged an excited, shocked glance.
They had never imagined that Chen Fan would actually take out the flying dagger and give it to his Junior Brother to put up as stakes in the bet.
“If you don’t have anything to bet, then you can’t blame me for not participating,” repeated Meng Hao, preparing to hand the flying dagger back to Elder Brother Chen. Zhou Shanyue obviously couldn’t allow this to happen. His hand shot up and he ripped open the top of his robe to reveal a jade pendant hanging around his neck.
“This is a life-saving jade forged by my father himself with blood from his Cultivation base. It has no attack power, but it can stand up against an attack from the Nascent Soul Stage! If you win, then it’s yours. I’ll even give you some of my Cultivation base blood to use to refine it! I, Zhou, never go back on my word!” His tone of voice could chop nails and slice iron. As they rang out, Chen Fan, along with the rest of the onlookers, gasped. Chen Fan stared at the life-saving jade. It was a treasure his master had bestowed upon his son to protect him. In terms of value, it definitely exceeded his flying dagger.
Meng Hao put on a look of complete shock. He began to breathe heavily, causing Zhou Shanyue to laugh coldly, his eyes shining coldly.
In a seemingly forced voice, Meng Hao said, “That’s not enough. You just said that both of you would match the value of whatever I put up!”
Hearing this, middle-aged Li laughed heartily. He glared coldly at Meng Hao, and then gave pale-faced Chen Fan a sinister look. At the moment, he was convinced of what to do. He knew Chen Fan and Chen Fan’s personality. He wouldn’t do anything devious, so clearly his expression revealed his true feelings.
“I, Li, don’t have any precious treasures like Junior Brother Zhou. However, I do have some Spirit Stones saved up. Fellow disciples, if you are able to loan me some Spirit Stones, it will be to your benefit. I will pay them back with an additional one stone for every hundred you give.” He laughed again, watching as the hundreds of surrounding Cultivators saluted him respectfully. A few of them flew over to him, and then more and more.
“No problem, Elder Brother Li. Of course we can help you.”
“Hahaha! I don’t have a lot of Spirit Stones, just a few thousand, my savings from the past few years. If you need them, Elder Brother Li, then they’re yours.”
“Don’t worry, Elder Brother Li. We can definitely help you out.”
The voices of hundreds of Cultivators filled the air. All of them produced Spirit Stones, in amounts ranging from hundreds to thousands. Soon, they had been piled together into a group of several tens of thousands of Spirit Stones.
“These Spirit Stones can’t compare in value to Junior Brother Zhou’s precious treasure. Fine, fine, I won’t try to take advantage of you. I have some magical items in my bag of holding that are worth tens of thousands of Spirit Stones. In total, their value is roughly 500,000!” He flicked his sleeve, and then shot into the air, transforming into a beam of light which shot toward the Battle Arena. Amidst the excited cries of the surrounding Cultivators, he landed in the middle of the arena and turned to stare at Meng Hao.
Chen Fan looked at Meng Hao with a forced smile. He was just about to give some advice when Meng Hao put the flying dagger on the ground and then flew up in the air toward the Battle Arena.
No one made a move to stop him.
As he entered, the surrounding Cultivators craned their necks to watch. Middle-aged Li stood there arrogantly. He pressed his finger down onto the space between his eyebrows. Immediately, his Cultivation base sank down from the late Foundation Establishment stage to the mid Foundation Establishment stage, as if he had six Dao Pillars.
“Li is not the sort of person who would bully you,” he said, sticking his jaw out, “so I’ll only use the power of the mid Foundation Establishment stage. Under no circumstances will I use the power of late Foundation Establishment.”
“Actually, there’s no need for that,” murmured Meng Hao. He stood there in the Battle Arena, his expression very different than before. There was nothing fake about his expression now. He smiled, and within the smile was happiness, as well as a bit of shyness.
The people here weren’t familiar with this shyness. But the people from the Violet Fate Sect who had traded with him years before in the State of Zhao would know it well. It would cause their scalps to grow numb if they saw it. They would think themselves to be in some kind of nightmare, and would most likely fly into a violent rage.
“In a bit, you’ll have to eat your words….” said Meng Hao shyly. He looked just like the young scholar that had stood there on Mount Daqing years ago. He seemed a little embarrassed as he took a step forward.