After having vented their anger through the treasure auction, Northmont Baiwei, Hun Wuji, and Ji Ning were now chatting and laughing amongst themselves. They were in quite a good mood. Time passed on slowly, and night began to approach.
“Midnight comes, and the time for the betting arena comes as well.” From outside the window, the voice of Miss Ziyi could be heard. Ning looked out through the window, only to see that the hall had now become completely empty. There were two jewels placed in a corner of the room, and Miss Ziyi was standing in one of the corners while speaking.
“The betting arena duels are absolutely berserk,” Baiwei said as he looked out the window. “Most of the people here are Wanxiang Adepts, and astonishingly talented ones at that. They will send some of their Zifu Disciple followers or retainers to engage in battle against other Zifu Disciples and Zifu-level Diremonsters. The masters on each side will engage in a gamble on the duel.” Ning sighed to himself as he listened. What a tragic sight!
“The Immortal cultivators and monsters who engage in the betting arena duels participate for the sake of survival or for the sake of acquiring treasures,” Baiwei said. “However, a duel must be between two competitors at the same level; there absolutely would never be, for example, a Wanxiang Adept battling a Zifu Disciple.”
Ning stared down at the hall below. An Immortal practitioner with a sword on his back had entered the hall, and a red-haired man had entered as well. The two stared at each other, their eyes filled with murderous intents.
They first walked to stand before the two jewels at the two opposite corners of the hall, filling them with their elemental energy and causing each to radiate light.
“The Immortal cultivator under the command of young master Qu is a peak Zifu Disciple.”
“The Diremonster under the command of Miss Leshan is also at the peak Zifu level.”
Miss Ziyi called out in a loud voice, “Activate the grand sealing formation.” Whoosh! Instantly, a watery, rippling layer of light that was nearly a kilometer in circumference suddenly appeared within the hall, covering the Immortal practitioner and the red-haired man within it.
“Qu Yihang, I think you had best admit defeat obediently. Otherwise, not only will you lose your money, you will also lose your man!”
“Hmph. Just wait and you’ll see.”
Voices rang out from the two private rooms…and the battle below them instantly began. The red-haired Diremonster instantly transformed into a strange, four-hooved monster of fire. Its body was covered with armored scales, and it howled as it charged towards the Immortal practitioner while belching forth fiery light from its mouth.
“Vermin, accept death.” The sword-wielding Immortal practitioner let out a cold laugh. Swish! The sword on his back instantly flew out, and as it slashed through the air, it left a rainbow-colored scar through the air…
Ning watched the battle progress beneath him. He nodded to himself. “The Immortal practitioner should be the winner.” After having battled for some time, the Diremonster let out a grief-stricken bellow, then collapsed. The Immortal practitioner’s face was ashen as well; he had been forced to execute a forbidden technique in order to achieve this victory. However, in the end, he had won. Previously, his master-uncle, Qu Yihang had told him that so long as he won, he would help him become a inner disciple.
“Success.” The Immortal practitioner had excitement in his eyes. Although he had used a forbidden technique, he hadn’t used it for very long. In a year or so, he would be fully recovered.
“Hahaha….” Young master Qu immediately began to laugh. As for Meng Leshan, she had an ugly look on her face.
In Ning’s private room. Baiwei said with a laugh, “Meng Leshan and Qu Yihang are both dazzling, outstanding talents. Both of them have joined the Raindragon Guard as well. Rumor said that while on a mission for the Raindragon Guard, the two formed a grudge against each other. Outside Stillwater City, the two would most likely be plotting each other’s deaths. Within the city itself, they are still going all out to harm each other.”
“Much like you and Northmont Fox, actually,” Wuji said with a laugh. “Hahaha, yes, just like me and Northmont Fox,” Baiwei replied with a loud laugh.
Wuji looked towards Ning. “Brother Ji Ning, although these betting duels appear casual, in truth, many mysteries hide within. You have to select a particularly astonishing individual at the Zifu Disciple level…but the more talented an expert is, the less willing they will be to risk their lives. Thus, it’s actually quite difficult to arrange for these betting duels. Both sides have to come up with a way to recruit someone, and if they lose, not only will they lose money and their fighter, they will also lose face. Sometimes, if they grow desperate due to their losses, they might even personally join the field of battle.”
“Personally join the field of battle?” Ning was surprised. These Immortal practitioners all had extraordinary statuses; they would personally join and fight?
“What’s so surprising about this? These geniuses rose to prominence through combat to begin with. When enraged, they will personally join the field of battle. Every year or two, there will be Wanxiang Adepts, unparalleled geniuses all, who will fight a duel to the death here in the Carefree Caverns. If someone dies, no one can be blamed for it!” Baiwei continued, “But of course, aside from those who have grudges against each other, most are just trying to win some money through using the servants and retainers under their command.”
“For example, myself,” Wuji said with a laugh. “I have quite a few servants and retainers. I can send them down to engage in betting duels, and the stakes for each duel must be at least two hundred taels of liquefied elemental essence. I can make quite a bit of money in this manner.” Ning nodded.
Ning now understood that although Hun Wuji and Northmont Baiwei were two of the more amiable figures amongst these exalted young masters…they were still figures of high status. They had high standards. It was precisely because they thought well of Ning that they were willing to treat him as an equal and as a friend. To them, ordinary Zifu Disciples were nothing more than retainers or servants; why would they care about their deaths?
Some time later. More than ten betting duels had already been carried out, and the atmosphere of the entire hall had become noticeably more heated and wild. There was currently a very tall and muscular Fiendgod Body Refiner standing in the middle of the hall. As a Zifu-level Fiendgod Body Refiner with a divine ability, he possessed astonishing combat power.
“Hahaha, everyone, I’ve won six rounds in a row. It seems that the ‘spiritfruit wine’ for today’s betting duels will be mine for the drinking.” A chubby-faced, big-eared youth in a private room was laughing merrily. “Is there anyone else? As long as you can beat my subordinate, you will gain three hundred taels.”
“Su-Su! You’ve won enough. Have your man go down.” A deep voice rang out. Instantly, Ning turned to look; the speaker was Northmont Fox. Fox flashed a fierce glance towards Ning, giving him a long stare, then grinning with a clearly wicked idea in mind.
Ning laughed as well. He had overheard quite a few things today, and now understood that these young masters couldn’t quite be considered the movers-and-shakers of the Commandery. The truly top-tier figures of Stillwater Commandery were the likes of Northmont Blacktiger. Northmont Fox? Ning didn’t fear him at all.
“Bang!” The hall suddenly trembled. A two-meter tall horned man with massive muscles and azure skin strode into the hall, his every footstep causing it to shake. His eyes radiated with azure light as well. Upon seeing him, every single person understood…that this was a Diremonster! Normal people could rarely reach the height of six meters, much less be horned.
The giant, muscular, horned Diremonster strode to the two jewels in the corner, then filled them with his elemental ki and his divine power. “Fiendgod Body Refiner, Ki Refiner. A dual refiner.” Miss Ziyi, standing in the corner, immediately made this report. “Both are at the peak Zifu level. A Diremonster under the control of young master Fox.”
Whoosh. The grand sealing formation once more lit up, and the Diremonster stared directly towards that Fiendgod Body Refiner cultivator. “Die, then.” The azure-skinned, horned Diremonster let out a loud roar, transforming into a rhinoceros with a single horn that was more than thirty meters tall. Its entire body then radiated with light, and the body of the Monoceros once more swelled, transforming to sixty meters in height. The enormous Monoceros…it stared at its opponent as though he were an ant.
Bang! The Monoceros moved as fast as lightning, intending to trample its opponent. Whap! Whap! Whap! After three exchanges of blows, the Fiendgod cultivator had been trampled to the point of having only half his body left. He immediately called out in a high voice, “I admit defeat!” Only then did the azure-skinned Monoceros come to a halt.
If one side perished or admitted defeat, that represented the end of the battle! If one insisted on forcibly killing someone who had surrendered, one would be punished with a fine equal to ten times the stakes of the bet.
“Grrr…” The Monoceros raised its head, letting out a growl, then transformed into mist before recondensing into that azure-skinned, horned man who was six meters tall.
“Northmont Baiwei. Three hundred taels. Dare you engage in a betting duel with me?” The distant Northmont Fox pointed from his window towards Baiwei. “I know that you are as cowardly as a mouse, and won’t possibly dare to engage in a betting duel. Hahaha…as cowardly as a rat!”
The sound of his laughter was so repugnant and vile. Ning now finally understood why some people would personally go enter the arena.
“I didn’t expect that Northmont Fox would be here today. If I did…I would never have allowed him to act so arrogantly for so long.” Baiwei gritted his teeth, so hard that they were at the point of splintering. He was an incomparably proud person; how could he not be enraged after being mocked repeatedly?
“Brother Wuji, do you have any powerful retainers present?” Baiwei looked towards Wuji. Wuji was like a young God of Wealth; he often relied on betting duels to earn money. Naturally, he had some formidable retainers under his command. Nodding, he said, “I do have a powerful retainer amongst the servants I brought today. However, I truly do not feel confident in his chances. That Diremonster retainer which Northmont Fox brought out is a Fiendgod Body Refiner with a divine ability; he truly is extraordinary.”
Ning nodded as well. Monsters were powerful to begin with, and those who trained as Fiendgod Body Refiners were even tougher to deal with, much less those who also had divine abilities. Their combat power was at a level higher than even Jadechild had been at. Generally speaking, those with such a great level of power would disdain from serving as retainers and engaging in betting duels. However, this person was a Diremonster who had definitely been captured and tamed; thus, he must have been forced to obey the order to go take part in a betting duel.
“No matter what, let’s give it a try,” Baiwei said. “Alright,” Wuji nodded. “Attend me.” Baiwei called towards the servant outside, then waved his hand and produced three hundred taels worth of marks, then tossed them over. “Let’s bet on a duel.” The servant nodded.
Soon, a black-robed cultivator entered the hall. He stared coldly towards his opponent, underwent the test, and was verified to also be at the peak Zifu level in power. “Kill him!” From far away, Northmont Fox let out a roar.
That six-meter tall, azure-skinned and horned man stared at the black-robed cultivator, then roared, “You are dead.” And then, it once more transformed into a towering, massive Monoceros, then executed its Heavenly Transformation divine ability and increased in size yet again, to sixty meters in height! Its entire body filled the area with a savage aura, causing the corners of the eyes of the black-robed cultivator to crease.
“A stupid cow.” The black-robed cultivator let out a cold laugh. Whoosh! A black fog appeared out of nowhere in the area around them, filling the entire area, including that Monoceros. The only thing that could be seen within the black fog was an enormous, rainbow-colored serpentine phantom.
“Die, die, die!” The enormous Monoceros wildly charged and trampled about. The black fog swirled around it, and the massive phantom serpent also coiled around the Monoceros, causing its body to crackle and pop. Its body was beginning to rot, and its bones quickly became visible.
“Bangbangbang…” The Monoceros rampaged about, its power seemingly great enough to shatter the skies and overturn the mountains.
“No, I….” Suddenly, a miserable scream rang out. BANG! An explosive sound…and the black fog dispersed, along with the illusion of a serpent. The enormous Monoceros stood there in the hall, vestiges of blood and gore visible beneath its feet. Its body was completely rotted away, and thick white bones could be seen on its back. Still, quite soon, in just a few breaths, its body completely healed.
“Northmont Baiwei. Is that all you have to show?” Northmont Fox arrogantly mocked him yet again. “I’m so very sorry…but your three hundred taels of liquefied essence is now mine. I would now like to propose a challenge of six hundred taels of liquefied essence…dare you accept?”
Silence. Complete silence. The entire hall had fallen silent, and nobody said a thing. Although they weren’t afraid of Northmont Fox, they truly didn’t have any Zifu-level experts who were capable of battling that Monoceros monster. Everyone was waiting to see how Baiwei would respond.
Within Ning’s private room. Baiwei stared towards the outside, his gaze narrowing. “Nine hundred taels! I’ll wager nine hundred taels on a bet with you. Dare you accept it?” Northmont Fox was continuing to shout provocatively. He wanted to seize this opportunity to deeply humiliate his old foe. His father, Northmont Yin, strongly encouraged him to suppress Northmont Baiwei whenever Fox had the chance.
Wuji didn’t say anything. He didn’t have any retainers who were more powerful than the monster. Baiwei’s veins began to protrude from his face, and he muttered to himself, “Endure, endure, endure…”
“Let me go.” Ning suddenly rose to his feet. “I will go kill that rhinoceros monster.” “You?” Wuji and Baiwei both stared towards Ning in astonishment.
“No way. Ji Ning, if you train for a few more years, it will be simple for you to kill him, but you’ve only trained for ten or so years to date,” Baiwei said, shaking his head hurriedly. “You can’t take this risk.” But in his heart, he couldn’t help but feel slightly moved; he understood that Ning simply couldn’t watch any longer, and wanted to fight on his behalf.
Ning glanced at the outside. Nine hundred taels of liquefied elemental essence? What he lacked the most right now was liquefied elemental essence; upon killing the rhinoceros monster, he should acquire quite a bit of it.
“Don’t worry. Killing him?” Ning let out a chuckle. “That will be as easy as killing a chicken.”
Wuji and Baiwei were both stunned. These words were simply too dominating!
“Fine. Then I’ll bet against him. If we win, the liquefied elemental essence will be yours, Brother Ji Ning!” Northmont Baiwei felt incomparably excited.