Chapter 197: The Natural Favorite (1)
A gladiator match began on the afternoon during Su Chen’s second day in the palace.
The arena was filled to the brim with Ravager nobility, all keen on spectating the match.
Anubi stood in the best viewing box, flanked by a host of nobles, officials, and beautiful women.
It was only here that Su Chen realized that even the Ravagers had beauties amongst them.
Anubi had almost an entire platoon of beauties all to himself, and most of them were very attractive. In addition, because the Ravagers lacked social customs, they dressed however they liked, which meant that many of them were wearing quite provocative clothing.
They sat there demurely, callously observing the men below them fighting for their lives.
The match below had already begun.
The first to come forth was a tall, brawny Ravager. All he had was a pair of short pants and a steel pitchfork. His body was covered with Totemic Inscriptions, and the symbol of a stone axe had been imprinted on the back of his hand, indicating that he was a descendant of the nearly extinct Stoneaxe Tribe.
The Ravager’s opponent was a high-tier Vicious Beast, a Knotted-Tail White Lion.
Its long, white tail, which had distinct bulges like that of a bamboo segment was its most prominent feature. Its massive body exuded an incredible pressure as it began to sprint at the Ravager warrior.
The Ravager warrior nimbly leapt aside, then stabbed at the giant lion with his steel pitchfork.
This Ravager was obviously nimble and had quick reactions.
However, he was facing a high-tier Vicious Beast, and his strength was somewhat lacking in comparison.
The Knotted-Tail Lion unleashed a savage rush of attacks against the Ravager warrior, who did his best to dodge and avoid the attacks with his speed. But during a moment of carelessness, the pitchfork in his hand was knocked aside.
An instant later, the Knotted-Tail Lion pounced, sinking its incisors deep into the Ravager’s shoulder.
The Ravager activated his Totemic power to its greatest extent, resulting in him grappling with the Knotted-Tail Lion in a deadlock.
However, blood continued to flow from his wound, making it impossible for him to hold on forever. Even though his iron-like fists had managed to heavily wound the Knotted-Tail Lion, it was of no use.
He felt his gaze grow dim as his strength began to fade. The Knotted-Tail Lion, however, was still howling madly.
He knew that his end was nigh.
As his gaze swept across the cheering Ravager nobility, he squeezed out every last bit of his remaining energy to howl out, “Curse you, Inferno Tribe!”
This howl was cut short as the lion devoured him.
After this Ravager warrior died, the next match was two Demonic Beasts pitted against each other.
The two Demonic Beasts had been captured from a battle. They were spoils of war that the Ravagers had paid blood, sweat, tears, and even lives for, but they were going to be expended in this pointless gladiator match.
The two Demonic Beasts howled and paced in their cages. Their intelligence made it so that they knew what their fate was, and they weren’t willing to fight one another for the sake of the “lowly” Ravagers.
However, the Ravagers were very prepared for this situation.
They injected medicine into the bodies of these Demonic Beasts, which quickly engulfed the beasts with madness.
Their eyes turned red as the last shred of intelligence they had disappeared.
The person in charge of the gladiator arena opened the cages at this moment. The two Demonic Beasts charged out of their cages and began to viciously attack each other once they determined that there were no other targets nearby.
Because they were Demonic Beasts, their battle was incredibly intense, and the arena was quickly made slick with blood.
Guttural howls rang throughout the arena, and chunks of flesh littered the ground. The powerful recovery abilities of these Demonic Beasts made it impossible for them to die quickly, so their battle was exceptionally brutal and ruthless.
Even though they had reached the point that their bodies were torn open and any remaining skin was covered in lacerations, they continued to gather all their strength and exchange blow after blow until finally, one of them fell and couldn’t get back up anymore.
The watching crowd jeered and roared, constantly making bets on who would win. Once the result came out, some cried out with joy, some cursed bitterly, some were enraged, and some celebrated excitedly. All kinds of reactions to the outcome of the battle could be seen.
The only person who wasn’t interested was probably His Majesty Anubi himself.
“What a pointless battle,” Anubi yawned loudly. Then he howled, “Get this trash out of here! Let me see something really exciting!”
“I will arrange it for you now, Your Majesty,” an official by his side hurriedly said as he began to wave a banner.
Very quickly, the Knotted-Tail Lion was taken away, and two teams of twenty Ravagers each took center stage.
For most people, there was not too much interest in watching a beast on beast battle. An all-out fight between members of the same race, on the other hand, was worth seeing.
As the drums were beaten loudly, the two Ravager teams leapt at each others’ throats.
Anubi’s interest was finally slightly aroused.
He opened his eyes wide, enjoying the carnage unfolding below him. It satisfied his unique craving for what his peculiar sense of beauty.
Finally, the drums stopped, as did the slaughter in the arena.
The red-clothed Ravager team had won, but only three of them were standing.
Broken limbs and corpses were strewn everywhere, and a bloody river had stained the ground of the arena a deep red.
The spectators cheered wildly for the victors, but the victors stared at their fallen comrades in sorrow.
“A bunch of idiots with no experience,” Anubi muttered disdainfully as he gazed at the nobility making such a clamor.
In his eyes, this battle was only half-way decent.
After the large battle was another one-on-one duel. This time, two Ravager females with decent appearances were pitted against each other, the battle essentially equivalent to a dessert course after a meal.
Even though the Ravager females’ fight was not as powerful in terms of physicality, there was still a special kind of beauty to it. Even Anubi, who had been constantly complaining up until this point, didn’t have any criticism to offer. He just quietly observed the gladiator match all the way until the end.
What Hanbull had said was completely true. The Ravagers had already arranged all kinds of gladiator fights, so it was very hard to come up with something fresh and exciting that could amuse Anubi.
After the winner had been decided, Anubi stood and said, “Send the woman who is still alive to my chambers. That is the glory assigned to the victor.”
He chuckled madly as he left.
Licentious, lascivious, ruthless, and bloodthirsty.
Su Chen silently formed an evaluation of this Crazed Monarch.
Hanbull walked over and asked, “What do you think?”
“Those were quite the marvelous battles,” Su Chen replied.
“But to His Majesty, they are at most enough to sate his appetite and quell his boredom.”
“It’s hard to satisfy His Majesty’s appetite.”
“But you must satisfy it.”
Su Chen chuckled. “That’s absolutely true.”
Hanbull stared at him deeply before offering Su Chen a “best of luck” and leaving.
Su Chen was just about to leave as well when he suddenly heard a voice behind him. “It seems like you have yet to obtain His Majesty’s favor.”
He knew who it was without even needing to turn his head around.
Su Chen chuckled. “I didn’t know that you came here as well.”
He turned around and found Danba behind him, as expected.
Danba shrugged. “When I thought about His Majesty’s request, I guessed that you might have attended this event today, so I just came along to join in on the fun.”
“Just to join in on the fun?” Su Chen asked.
“And to tell you something.”
“I’m heading back.”
Su Chen remained silent.
Danba continued, “Thank you for all that you’ve done for me. Right now, I can already sense Origin Energy, absorb it, and use it all on my own. Perhaps not long from now, I’ll be able to reach a new breakthrough on the back of my own strength. But unfortunately I cannot stay here forever; the Gravel Lizard Tribe needs me, and I cannot be gone for too long.”
“So you just came to say goodbye to me?”
“There’s also a few loose ends that need to be tied up,” Danba replied.
Su Chen asked, “Concerning my identity, right?”
Before he had entered the imperial palace, Su Chen had entered the temple as a member of the Gravel Lizard Tribe.
If the issue of his identity was not resolved, then Danba would get into trouble as soon as Su Chen started making trouble in the imperial palace.
Even though Danba was going to face off against the Inferno Tribe sooner or later, he preferred to have more control over the timing than Su Chen.
“So what are we going to do?” Su Chen asked.
Danba smiled slightly. “That’s easy. I’ll just beat you up a bit.”
Danba punched out, his fist landing squarely on Su Chen’s face and sending him flying.
“So Head Chieftain Danba believed that you betrayed the Gravel Lizard Tribe and beat you up to relieve his resentment? And he also declared that he was exiling you from the Gravel Lizard Tribe?” Hanbull asked as he applied medicine to Su Chen.
“I don’t really get it, Sir Hanbull. Everyone is a subject of the Iron and Blood Country, and our loyalties should ultimately all lie with His Majesty. Serving His Majesty should be a matter of glory for our Gravel Lizard Tribe. Why would he do this to me?” Su Chen asked as he sucked in a mouthful of cold air.”
“I very much admire your intelligence and courage, Lontu. The fact that you were able to attract His Majesty’s attention under these kinds of circumstances fully demonstrates your quick wits. But I don’t like it when you pretend to be stupid with me. That’s just a humiliation for me.”
Su Chen chuckled. “You are indeed a senior worth honoring.”
“You’re better off figuring out a way to satisfy His Majesty first. If you can’t do that, then I can only take care of your corpse no matter how much respect you give me.”
“Don’t I still have two more days?”
“What plan do you think you can execute in two days?”
“Sir Hanbull, you should know that the value of a plan does not necessarily lie in the plan itself but rather in the target of the plan. A blooming flower can cause a beautiful woman to stop and smell it, a delicious banquet can cause a noble to drool with delight, a beautiful ballad can intoxicate a music lover, an intricate charcoal drawing can draw the gaze of an art collector…… No matter how good or how bad a plan is, it needs to be tailored to its target to attract his or her interest. Only when you understand and have control over this key aspect can you truly begin to develop a plan that will astound people with its brilliance.”
Hanbull was momentarily startled. “That’s quite the interesting theory. But you should know that the person you are trying to satisfy is the hardest person to satisfy in the whole kingdom.”
Su Chen shook his head. “That’s where you’re wrong, Sir Hanbull. Even the pickiest individual is not as hard to satisfy as the masses. A group of people is extremely variable and fickle. Each has their own interests and pursuits, and something you might consider interesting might be considered dull and lackluster by someone else and neither good nor bad by yet another person. No matter how picky an individual is and how hard it is to satisfy them, as long as they have needs, you can create plan around meeting their needs, and it becomes very easy to satisfy them…… At the very least, it’s much easier than trying to satisfy a large group.”
Hanbull was stunned.
He stared at Su Chen, slightly in a daze.
After a long time, he said, “You make very good points. It seems like you already have a plan in mind.”
Su Chen cracked a smile, revealing two rows of neat teeth. “I still need your help, Sir Hanbull. But I also need you to keep it a secret.”
“Say it. His Majesty sent me here to help you, and I am loyal only to His Majesty.”
Su Chen nodded. Of course he was aware of this. As such, he explained his plan in detail to Hanbull.
Once he heard Su Chen’s plan, Hanbull shook his head and sighed, “That is insanely absurd, ridiculous, and illogical. But there is also indeed a very good chance that it will obtain His Majesty’s favor.”
“So I have your approval?”
Hanbull didn’t reply directly.
He stared at Su Chen for a long time, then said, “You will be a natural favorite subject of his, Lontu.”