Chapter 41: Physical and Internal Strength
It did not take long for Xu Min and Yong Meilin to once more reach the training grounds, the place where Xu Min previously had battled against the guards.
These guards, the ones who were currently fighting and training, were a mixture of Young family members and hired guards. This Young family was a side branch to the main Yong family. Although they were fairly new within the Ri Chu City, they had existed for a long time in the capital of the Hekou Province.
Now that they had brought the entire side branch of the sect with them to Ri Chu City and had set up an auction house of their own, the family had flourished and soon became one of the top factions within the city. One of the reasons that this was possible was due to wealth. The family had been given a handsome amount of money to set up the Alluring Treasure Pavilion. This had made it easy to become one of the leading factions.
The Alluring Treasure Pavilion was different from the other families and clans within Ri Chu City. They did not gain their fame through high ranked experts, tournaments, or talented individuals from within their families. For them, talent depended on how much money one managed to earn for the family. What they spent their time on was promoting the children that could take over and manage their auctionhouses. Those who were not talented on this behalf were the children who started focusing on cultivation. They would cultivate to as far as their talent allowed them to, and work their lives as guards for the Yong family and the Alluring Treasure Pavilion.
Family members were not enough to keep the blooming business safe and all the branch families had to spend coin to ensure that they managed to have enough safety for their auctions. With enough gold, experts could be bought to protect their business. For the Yong family, this was far more beneficial than risking cultivation materials and time to promote youngsters who were not certain to provide the safety needed for their auction house.
Making his way to the training grounds, Xu Min developed a smile on his face as he saw warriors of almost any rank and strength in front of him. The majority of the guards were ranked from One-Stars to Three-Stars. These were the cheapest experts to hire and also the rank most warriors managed to reach. It was the limit of their talent.
Some Four-Star Warriors and Five-Star Warriors were conversing at the back of the training grounds. Some Six-Star Warriors were shouting at a group of young men who were clearly Student Warriors currently undergoing training to become experts much like Xu Min did back at the Zhong family mansion.
“So, how is training going?” Xu Min asked casually as the two of them stood in the training area. His eyes swept across the many experts who were training and a whistle of respect was heard from his lips. These experts were indeed serious about their training.
Some were standing still, practicing specific stances while others were moving swiftly, practicing physical training. There were those who ran and others who were doing push ups. Some had Qi leaving their bodies in specific shapes above their head or behind their backs. They were preparing to strike. Some were attacking dummies, raining down kicks and fists against the straw-dolls. The heavy sound of the fighting resounded through the massive training grounds.
What caught Xu Min’s eyes were not the ones training in various ways, but instead the arena that was located at the very back of the training grounds. On this arena, two warriors battled each other. One was a Two-Star Warrior while the other was a Three-Star Warrior. Looking at the two, one could truly see just how much difference there was between a Two-Star Warrior and a Three-Star Warrior. It was as though a cat was toying with a mouse.
The battle quickly ended. Soon after, another hopeful expert stepped onto the platform where yet another battle commenced. This time, there were two Three-Star Warriors who battled one another.
This arena was very simple. The winner was to stay until he no longer could fight. The longer one stayed in the arena, the bigger one’s bonus would be that month. Staying in the arena meant that one was strong enough to be considered the elites of the guardsmen.
This was only for the Three-Star Warriors and below. Everyone above already got such a high sum of money protecting the Alluring Treasure Pavilion that even if the other families of Ri Chu knew about it, they would almost be choked in their tea by shock.
Xu Min made his way to the arena. Without much ado did he stand in the queue, waiting for it to be his turn. By his side, Yong Meilin was standing.
“You can battle the guards anywhere you wish,” she complained as she saw how the man who never seemed to spare one moment of the day was suddenly just standing there, waiting for it to be his turn to battle.
“It’s fine,” Xu Min assured her. He knew how she wished to give him anything he wanted, not just because they were friends, but also because that her grandfather had ordered her to do so.
“I wish to battle these experts,” Xu Min stated with a serious expression in his eyes. “These experts need to have won a battle to be able to stand up there on the arena and accept challenges from others,” he started explaining as he saw how Yong Meilin looked confused. “These men are all higher ranked than I am. I might have an advantage against the Two-Star Warriors when it comes to my physical strength. But when it comes to Three-Star Warriors, I am in in a complete disadvantage. I do not have the same physical strength as them, and I definitely do not have even half of their Qi. So when it comes to battling them, I need them to have some kind of disadvantage. For instance, they had already battled in one or two fights and he been forced to use their inner energies beforehand. This makes it slightly more equal.” Xu Min finished. A gentle smile was on his face as he patted Yong Meilin on her head as she was listening to him with complete attention. Her focus was solely on him, not paying any attention to the many guards around them.
While Yong Meilin paid no attention to anyone else, the guards paid quite a lot of attention to her and the young man by her side. They had long since heard rumors about how their family’s ice-queen had taken a liking to a stranger who had appeared from out of nowhere. These guards had even been given information from the maids that the mysterious stranger had visited the family leader together with Yong Meilin. Could it mean that he had given them his blessing to have a relationship? They hoped not.
No one dared saying anything when they saw Yong Meiling laughing and smiling to the young man in front of her. Also, they didn’t dare to say anything to the man who was smiling carelessly back at the woman. While a few felt content to see Yong Meilin this happy, others were anything but on her behalf. Instead, they were glaring at Xu Min.
These people, looking at the young man by her side, were grimacing as they noticed that the aura of this young man was only a One-Star Warrior. Although it was astonishing that he had reached this rank before the age of twenty, it was not all that unusual if he was a young master from a large family and had access to medicinal plants and pills.
While looking at this One-Star Warrior who was standing in the queue, many of the guards felt like laughing out loud. The queue consisted mainly of Three-Star Warriors and a few Late Stage Two-Star Warriors. None of them were One-Star Warriors, and yet here he was, a young man who was smiling leisurely as he chatted with the woman that all guards considered the goddess of the Yong family.
If this young man was that disillusioned that he thought he could battle these veteran guards of the Yong family, they would gladly welcome him. While they would not seriously wound him out of fear for their own lives, they would still give him a thrashing, one so painful that his ego would be slammed straight down into the ground.
None of the guards spoke a word, but as their eyes landed on one another it was easy to see that they all felt the same way. While these guards were busy planning. Xu Min was standing with Yong Meilin. The sword was hanging over his shoulders and his face was filled with a smile.
Standing on the arena was still a Three-Star Warrior. His breathing had started to become shallow after battling multiple opponents. His eyes stood unyielding but his power would soon to be completely deflated.
Seven people stood in the queue in front of Xu Min and the next man who went to the stage was a late stage Two-Star Warrior.
“I don’t understand why he looks this happy,” Yong Meilin said with a frown on her face as she saw how the Two-Star Warrior was grinning from ear to ear as he made his way to the stage. “He is only a Two-Star Warrior, yet he looks as though he is going to be the winner of this match.”
Hearing the words Yong Meilin said, Xu Min could not help but to laugh out loud. After having met Yong Meilin, the once somber and serious Xu Min had learned how to laugh and feel happy. Yong Meilin was his very first friend, and somehow Xu Min had come to truly value her. Having her around made his life far more interesting than what it had been before.
“Look at me,” Xu Min laughed at Yong Meilin, “If I, a One-Star Warrior, dare to go against a Three-Star Warrior, then why would a Two-Star Warrior not give it a try?” He asked gently as he once more patted the woman’s head. Somehow, this action had become a habit for him and he greatly enjoyed it.
Hearing Xu Min’s words, Yong Meilin pouted slightly as she said with a whispering voice, “You are different from the rest of them. It doesn’t count.”
Although she had whispered it, how could the rest of the queue not hear what she said? All of them were Two-Star or Three-Star Warriors. Their bodies were enhanced by constantly refining by the essence of the heavens and the earth. Their senses were improved by the constant influx of energy flooding their bodies. How could they not hear the whisper of Yong Meilin?
The guards were taken aback by the partiality which Yong Meilin was clearly showing the young man in front of her. Some started to take him serious and others still looking down on him. The only two who could not afford to listen in on the conversation was the two guards currently at the arena.
Although the Three-Star Warrior was exhausted, he was still a Three-Star Warrior. Even with almost no energy left, the Three-Star Warrior seemed to have the upper hand. His Qi was equal to that of the Two-Star Warrior; however, his physical strength was far superior to the lower ranked expert.
Having patted Yong Meilin’s hair, Xu Min’s eyes once more focused on the battle in front of him. He did not notice how everyone else in the queue was looking at him. They were determining whether or not he was worth putting in their eyes, or if they should keep on ignoring him. The majority of these guards ended up coming to the conclusion that this young man was not as simple as he seemed. Seeing how he was focused fully on the battle in front of him, his eyebrows frowned from time to time. His lips moved as he could not help but whisper a few remarks about the battle he was watching.