1181 - Opened

Chapter 1181 - Opened

It was said that one’s bones would become buried in azure clouds as soon as one steps on to the Azure Cloud Platform.

How many of those experts who stepped onto the Azure Cloud Platform would eventually survive?

Many a time, even the victors on the Azure Cloud Platform would perish not long after stepping off the platform in glory. This was because their injuries were too serious and could not heal.

Endless battle transpired upon stepping on to the Azure Cloud Platform.

When the disparity in strength was not too large, the battle on the platform would often be a competition of tricks and willpower. In reality, the two parties who would agree to step on to the platform together basically did not differ much in strength, and, before the battle, believed that they could defeat the other party. This was the reason for the saying that “one’s bones would become buried in azure clouds as soon as one steps on to the Azure Cloud Platform”. The process and result of this type of battle were often highly miserable for both parties.

 The numbers didn’t lie.

Looking back at the past five thousand years of the Guardian Royal City’s  history, there had been a total of forty-five battles on the platform, of which twenty ended with both parties dying and fifteen ended in a pyrrhic victory, with ten of these victors eventually succumbing to their injuries and the remaining five also suffering great damage to their constitution such that they nearly could not recover. There were only ten battles in which the victors did not pay a heavy price.

Without exception, every one of these forty-five battles engendered drastic changes in the balance of power in the Guardian Royal City and even the entire Dark Realm.

They were known as the Battles of the Azure Cloud Platform.

The battle between Zhang Longcheng and the King of Zhenyuan this time appeared to be somewhat different from previous battles in terms of reason and cause. Moreover, there was a huge disparity in status between them. Regardless of how large a stir Zhang Longcheng had caused in Royal City, he was ultimately just a military judge, and was vastly inferior in rank and status to a king of great heritage and military achievement like the King of Zhenyuan was.

After the Sky Fox clan had made the announcement, the atmosphere over the past few days had taken shape. In everyone’s eyes, the gulf in strength between the two parties was huge.

Without a doubt, nobody could deny that the battle on the platform this time was the iteration when the disparity between the two parties was the greatest.

And also the iteration with the least suspense.

The day finally arrived.

As the sun broke free of its shackles and leapt up from the horizon, wisps of golden light shone upon the land, illuminating the dew beads that coated the leaves and flowers. This was a rare day of spring, and the weather was unprecedentedly fine.

Early in the morning, all of the nobles in the city who were qualified to watch the battle arrived on the plaza of azure clouds.

In the middle of the plaza was a towering, bagua-shaped arena, made from azure bricks which were mottled in texture and covered in knife marks and sword holes. Although the bricks looked nothing out of the ordinary, a Quasi-emperor level expert and above would be able to sense that a terrifying, majestic force was circulating indistinctly within every one of them.

This azure-bricked arena was the Azure Cloud Platform.

In consideration of the possibility that inner conflicts would arise among their descendants, the ancient sages and emperors who built the Guardian Royal City had designed this arena so as to prevent the city from being damaged or destroyed. Every brick and tile was thus enchanted with the force and will of these ancient sages and emperors.

Today was a day when the arena was opened.

Banners and flags fluttered above the plaza, while the military personnel who specialized in managing the arena had started various rituals to worship the ancestors early in the morning. At the same time, all kinds of formations were activated on the plaza and platform to power them up to peak state in advance so as to get ready for the battle.

The entire place was bustling like never before.

There were stone benches and chairs on the plaza for the spectators to rest on. After all, the battle would likely go on for several dozen days. The longest ever duel on the platform went on for a full two years before ending with both parties dying.

There were also battleships patrolling the sky.

Despite the huge disparity in status between Zhang Longcheng and the King of Zhenyuan, and the likely lack of significance of this duel, it was customary for there to be a large ritual that had to be respected and taken seriously at the start of every battle on the platform.

The spectators were all prominent characters.

The nobles from the King of Zhenyuan’s residence formed the largest group.

The Crown Prince of Zhenyuan, Princess Poison Flower, the Second Prince Yuan Wenguo, and others arrived less than fifteen minutes before the start of the duel to an ostentatious guard of honor. Clustered around by countless people as they arrived, their radiant faces, shiny hair, and huge smiles suggested their swagger and extremely high profile. Wherever they passed, the various nobles who had already taken seats would hurriedly stand up and greet these three personages from the King of Zhenyuan’s residence to express their extreme closeness.

“Good day, Crown Prince.”

“Haha, your beauty truly outshines all today, Princess. You’re indeed the most dazzling pearl of Royal City.”

“Your cultivation seems to have deepened, Second Prince. Congrats!”

Compliments were heard wherever the people of the King of Zhenyuan’s residence passed.

Already extremely powerful to begin with, the new-found support of the Sky Fox clan was like wings being added to a tiger, allowing them to reach an all- new level. Even Nie Tiankong, the upstart of the military headquarters, had clearly decided to seek peace with them.

Of the people on the plaza, practically none supported Zhang Longcheng.

“Huh? Is that really him?”

The Crown Prince’s glance froze at the instant that he turned his head back, for he saw three “familiar people”.

It turned out that sitting on some stone chairs at the edge of the plaza was Marquis Tingtao and his daughter, while beside them was Linghu Buxiu, who had long been abandoned by Nie Tiankong. The trio was like the god of plague, such that the stone chairs and benches near them were all left vacant. All of the nobles stayed far away from them.

Everyone knew that they were supporters of Zhang Longcheng.

“Your Highness, what’s wrong?” Marquis Moling, the military Marquis who had all along been close to the King of Zhenyuan’s residence, looked toward the same direction as the Crown Prince. His heart jolted when he saw the trio.

He leaned close and laughed, “It must be these three pitiful dogs. Hoho, Your Highness, Marquis Tingtao has only managed to drag out his existence these days by depending on Zhang Longcheng’s might, while Linghu Buxiu is also friendly with Zhang Longcheng. Like locusts in late autumn, they don’t have long to live. I shall go over now and send them packing.”

Just then, others also took notice of the trio.

How do they still dare to come?

These three pitiful dogs really won’t concede defeat until the very end.

Laughing grimly, the Crown Prince came up with an idea and shook his head, “Heh heh, let’s not get our hands dirty for now. Go invite them to the first row. I want them to sit in front and watch this duel with me.”

He clearly intended to humiliate the trio from a close distance.

“Haha, Your Highness is truly magnanimous,” a small noble complimented opportunistically.

Of course, everyone knew that this was not the case.

The Crown Prince was notorious for seeking revenge for even the smallest grievances, and had never been magnanimous.

Amid a flurry of hearty laughter, the Crown Prince, Princess Poison Flower, and the rest of his group arrived in the VIP zone, where the seats were the best and the most prominent, at the very front of the spectating area.

Soon, escorted by dozens of experts, the trio of Lin Xuan arrived beside the Crown Prince’s party, looking glum. They had apparently been threatened and compelled to come and sit over here. Even after they took their seats, Quasi-emperor-level attendants from the King of Zhenyuan’s residence continued to surround them to prevent them from escaping.

“Hahaha, enjoy the show and see how your source of hope, Zhang Longcheng, gets crushed by my father.” The Crown Prince guffawed, his eyes revealing the delight of revenge.

Both Linghu Buxiu and Marquis Tingtao dared not speak up despite their anger.

The hot-tempered Lin Nanzhu was about to retort, but was hurriedly restrained by Lin Xuan.

Given that they were presently meat on someone else’s chopping block, verbal contentions were completely meaningless.

They had come here today to send Zhang Longcheng off and acknowledge their acquaintance with him. After this battle, Marquis Tingtao’s residence would soon no longer exist, while Linghu Buxiu, who had all along been close to Zhang Longcheng, would find it most difficult to escape retaliation from the King of Zhenyuan’s residence, having already been abandoned by Nie Tiankong.

In reality, the trio had already thrown caution to the wind.

“Who would’ve thought that an old dog like Marquis Tingtao could have such a beautiful daughter. Hoho, cheap slave-girl, if you agree to go to the King of Zhenyuan’s residence and serve as a maid that satisfies the Crown Prince at night, perhaps his heart will soften and he will spare your parents.”

Marquis Moling gazed sinisterly at Lin Nanzhu and verbally humiliated her.

A hint of anger flashed across the latter’s face before she said sneeringly, “The one thing that we of Marquis Tingtao’s residence certainly don’t lack in is backbone. We’ll never beg our enemies for mercy even if our entire clan was to die. You may yourself be shameless enough to seek favor from a titleless child, but you don’t have to use this kind of childish rhetoric to make a fool of yourself. I really wonder how you obtained your title of military marquis.”

“Bitch, you...” Struck on a raw nerve, Marquis Moling became so enraged that he nearly lost it.

“Heh heh, let it go.” The Crown Prince smiled sinisterly.

Gazing lustfully at Lin Nanzhu, he said, “Let’s watch and appreciate this battle till the end before we take care of Zhang Longcheng’s supporters. Heh heh, when the time comes, even the most untamed of women would have to obediently strip naked and be used. It so happens that Royal City recently has a shortage of comfort women for officials.”

Marquis Moling had no choice but to sit down despite still being angry.

He had already vowed inwardly that, after Lin Nanzhu had been deflowered by the Crown Prince and sent to the officials’ comfort women camp, he would go and violate her brutally to vent his anger.

The hullabaloo on this side had attracted many people’s attention

Seeing the miserable state of Marquis Tingtao and his group, some people felt sympathetic yet could only sigh and hide themselves far away. It was only a matter of time before the trio were dealt with. After Zhang Longcheng perished in battle, they would probably suffer an even more tragic end than him.

Just then, a beam of flowing light flickered momentarily in the sky.

Swish!

A figure appeared on the Azure Cloud Platform.

He was dressed in white clothes and burly in stature, while on his not-so-handsome face was a rarely-seen fortitude and toughness. He showed no sign of panic despite knowing the odds he was up against. Unquestionably, this was Zhang Longcheng, the military judge whom everyone was sure would be defeated.

“I, Zhang Longcheng, am here. Why is the King of Zhenyuan still not here? When is he coming?” Ye Qingyu spoke up.

His voice resounded above the plaza.

He was already eager to get this battle started.

“You really can’t wait to die, can you?” A majestic and domineering voice was heard as the King of Zhenyuan appeared on the platform.

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