Chapter 168: Can I Sit Here?
"Yes, Sovereign!" Zhao Shu and the other two acknowledged Huang Xiaolong's words in unison.
Huang Xiaolong turned around and stepped out from the inn with Zhao Shu and the rest in the direction of Duanren Imperial Palace's main entrance.
Walking into the streets, there were heads bobbing along everywhere in the packed crowd, flowing to one destination point.
The main entrance of Duanren Imperial Palace!
Huang Xiaolong's group of four walked patiently, following the flow of the crowd to the square's direction. Half an hour later, the four arrived at Duanren Square.
Ginormous was not an apt enough description to describe Duanren Square. Duanren Empire's military parade that was held every decade took place in that very square. Thus, one could imagine the monumental size of Duanren Square.
Straight across Duanren Square was Duanren Imperial Palace's formidable high walls. The Imperial Palace walls were about the same height as the Imperial City walls, but the difference was in the majestic aura emanating behind the Imperial Palace walls.
Teams of intimidating soldiers were stationed around the perimeter of the square.
Huang Xiaolong, Zhao Shu, Yu Ming, and Fei Hou walked into the arena where ten battle stages were erected, as well as a guest platform.
The outer edge of the battle arena was also heavily guarded by soldiers barricading the crowd from getting too close to the stages. Only geniuses representing their kingdom like Huang Xiaolong were eligible to enter.
By the time Huang Xiaolong arrived, Duanren Square was already filled with people, but luckily the kingdom's representative geniuses had a special tunnel entrance to the battle arena
Stopping before the special entrance, Huang Xiaolong said to his three companions, "Wait for me outside."
"Yes Young Lord!" The three answered.
Walking along the tunnel, Huang Xiaolong emerged at the front section of the battle arena, taking out the participation token which Sun Zhang and Xiong Chu had given him. Seeing the token, the soldiers on guard opened up a small gap, allowing Huang Xiaolong to enter the battle arena area.
Entering within, Huang Xiaolong made his way to the rest area prepared for the participating talents coming from all kingdoms. When he arrived, Huang Xiaolong noticed that quite a number of them were already there, and after sweeping a cursory glance around, he made a rough estimate that there were seven to eight hundred people.
His arrival, however, attracted quite a commotion when geniuses from other kingdoms noticed him walking into the rest area.
"This kid is also a participant in the Imperial City Battle? Please don't joke, he looks like he's no older than eighteen years old!"
"Barely eighteen and this kid came to participate in the Imperial City Battle; if it's not him having great confidence in his strength, then he's probably an arrogant idiot!"
The genius disciples from Duanren Empire's fealty kingdoms looked at Huang Xiaolong with different meanings to their gazes. One of the requirements for participating in the Imperial City Battle was being at or under thirty years old. Therefore, most of these geniuses would cultivate until the age of thirty or close to thirty before coming to participate in this event.
An ounce stronger meant a slightly higher chance to achieve a more favorable result.
People who came to participate in the Imperial City Battle before reaching the age of twenty were scarce, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say it had never happened before. As high as Huang Xiaolong's talent might be, these other kingdom's geniuses were reluctant to believe that a seventeen-year-old 'boy' was strong enough to shake them.
Of course, behind these gazes, contempt swirled within.
Still, amongst this group of geniuses, there was a young man in white robes around twenty-seven to twenty-eight years old who was looking solemnly at Huang Xiaolong ever since his appearance.
Huang Xiaolong! It's actually Huang Xiaolong!
This little punk also came to participate in this year's Imperial City battle?!
Why, why so fast?!
The white-robed young man was traumatized.
Two years ago, in the Yuwai Kingdom, the white-robed young man saw the entire scene where Huang Xiaolong defeated Yang An on the street.
Two years' ago at that time, Huang Xiaolong should have only been a Ninth Order warrior, not even breaking through to a Tenth Order warrior! He remembered that day clearly, the talent Huang Xiaolong had shown greatly impacted him.
He previously thought, give Huang Xiaolong ten years' time to cultivate, and at that time, the first place of Duanren Empire's Imperial City Battle would be none other than him, Huang Xiaolong!
Unfortunately, it did not take ten years. In just two short years, Huang Xiaolong was here, participating in the Imperial City Battle!
Two years, how much did his strength increase? Tenth Order? The white-robed young man contemplated inwardly.
This white-robed young man was Yuwai Kingdom's representative for this year, Zhou Jie.
"Just a mere Tenth Order warrior and he dares come take part in the Imperial City Battle?" Zhou Jie furrowed his brows.
In the white-robed young man's opinion, a mere two years was too fast even with Huang Xiaolong's cultivation speed. At most, he should only be a Tenth Order warrior; moreover, he probably just had a recent breakthrough to the Tenth Order.
A Tenth Order cultivation base in all the kingdoms' academies could be considered an expert, but in the eyes of the many geniuses that came to participate in the Imperial City Battle, that was the bottom rung as cannon fodder.
However, since Huang Xiaolong clinched Cosmic Star Academy's overall championship, his strength was definitely not limited to a Tenth Order warrior's level. This was Zhou Jie's final assessment.
Huang Xiaolong listened to the discussions around him, ignoring the gazes directed at him as he walked up to an empty seat. He sat down quietly and waited patiently for the battles to begin.
After Huang Xiaolong arrived, many geniuses from other kingdoms also arrived in succession, when suddenly, there was a commotion in the crowd of people.
"Xie Puti! Xie Puti is here!"
"According to rumours, Xie Puti has a top grade thirteen martial spirit, Black Flame Phoenix! And he supposedly broke through to Xiantian Second Order a year ago!"
"Xiantian Second Order! Black Flame Phoenix martial spirit! This Xie Puti is too scary, no doubt this time's first place is his! Most of the big families and forces in Duanren Imperial City are betting that Xie Puti will take first place this time!"
Hearing endless praises of admiration towards this Xie Puti, Huang Xiaolong became curious and looked over. A young man in fire-red battle gear was walking in his direction.
This young man had a tall stature, as if every muscle in his body contained unimaginable explosive power. Even his eyebrows were fire-red in color. As he walked, a faint ember glow seemed to trail his movements.
This was Xie Puti!
Aggressive and domineering!
Xie Puti? The name flickered in and immediately passed through Huang Xiaolong's mind.
Judging the from the crowd's reaction, this Xie Puti was likely the strongest participant in this year's Imperial City Battle.
Top grade thirteen martial spirit, Black Flame Phoenix? Xiantian Second Order!
Undoubtedly, this Xie Puti would be a strong opponent.
Walking into the resting area, Xie Puti made his way to the empty seats close to Huang Xiaolong and chose a seat five meters away from him.
As Xie Puti sat down, a burst of hot air rushed out. The geniuses originally sitting in that area exclaimed in surprise, all scurrying far away from their seats, recoiling from the sudden burst of heat.
The hot air rushed towards Huang Xiaolong, but when it was still one meter away, it stopped like it met with an invisible barrier of resistance.
Huang Xiaolong sat in a meditative pose, calm as day.
"En?" Xie Puti uttered a surprised sound. Looking over at Huang Xiaolong, a fiery-red spark glinted in his eyes because he did not expect his Phoenix fire qi would actually be resisted by some youth aged no more than eighteen.
The faces of possible top ten candidates flashed one by one in his mind, yet none of them matched the features of this young man near him.
Interesting, Xie Puti thought.
The other geniuses present were also surprised seeing Huang Xiaolong stop Xie Puti's Phoenix fire qi.
"What? That little kid actually stopped Xie Puti's Phoenix fire qi!"
"Where did this kid come from?!"
However, those geniuses that had just avoided Xie Puti's fire qi sneered.
"It was because this little punk cultivates in cold element battle qi, coincidentally restraining Xie Puti's Phoenix fire qi. Moreover, Xie Puti was kind enough to hold back. Do you really think this little kid is so great that he can withstand the heat?"
"Right, that must be the reason!"
Huang Xiaolong remained calm even as the ridiculing words continued.
"It's Yanggang, Yanggang's here!"
At this time, another wave of commotion swept the crowd.
"Yanggang, peak-late Xiantian First Order, his martial spirit is a top grade twelve, Celestial Yin Beast!
A young man in a green brocade robe was seen walking in. Yanggang!
Huang Xiaolong glanced at the new arrival, unperturbed.
Another superb talent martial spirit possessor. He did not expect that in this year's Imperial City Battle, so many of them would appear. And to top it off, even meet two geniuses in succession that had superb martial spirits above grade eleven.
Including Huang Xiaolong, it totaled at three!
In the past, the Imperial City Battle had only gathered grade eleven martial spirits. At most, the number of those applicants maxed out at two.
Yanggang's appearance sent the surrounding geniuses into another bout of whispers; this Yanggang was the most probable candidate for second place.
Walking in, Yanggang was dumbfounded by Xie Puti's presence, and strong flames of war burned in his eyes as he headed straight towards Xie Puti's position. Yanggang's actions instantly attracted the attention of many geniuses, and they turned to watch.
Coming to a stand before Xie Puti, Yanggang said, "As for this year's Imperial City Battle... I will definitely get the first place! Xie Puti, I will absolutely defeat you!"
Xie Puti laughed calmly after hearing these words, "Defeat me? We'll see after you defeat him." His eyes hinted at Huang Xiaolong five meters away.
Yanggang looked over in the same direction, and seeing Huang Xiaolong's face, he was stunned and turned back to face Xie Puti angrily, "What do you mean?"
In Yanggang's opinion, Xie Puti was comparing him with a seventeen-year-old greenhorn, and there was a strong feeling that he was being underestimated, or worse, disdained!
Xie Puti did not bother to answer.
And that made Yanggang's face darken gloomily, glaring at Huang Xiaolong. "Little punk, I hope you won't run into me on the stage. If you do, I'll make sure you get off the stage sideways!"
Yanggang directed all his rage onto Huang Xiaolong.
"Really?" Huang Xiaolong reacted placidly.
Seeing that Huang Xiaolong dared to retort him in public, the temperature in his eyes dropped dangerously, fierce light glinted in his eyes. However, before the Imperial City Battle began, it was forbidden to fight below the stage. Even he dared not break this rule.
Yanggang's icy gaze cut across Huang Xiaolong's face, then let out a harrumph and sat down in an empty chair.
"Heihei, that brat offended Yanggang, if lady luck is not on his side, and he really runs into Yanggang later on the stage, he'll end up truly miserable!"
Some of the geniuses that ran away unable to withstand Xie Puti's Phoenix fire qi turned schadenfreude at Huang Xiaolong's impending misfortune.
A short while later, the crowd became worked up again.
This time around, it was not a young man, but a beautiful young woman dressed in a flowy turquoise long dress. Her name was Cui Li. She appeared to be in her late twenties and had a sweet smile hanging on her ruddy lips, along with a pair of glistening bright eyes.
The commotion raised by Cui Li's appearance was comparable to Xie Puti's.
Most of the geniuses participating in the Imperial City Battle this year were men, and this was the obvious attraction of the opposite sex.
"Can I sit here?" Arriving, Cui Li seemed to make a beeline towards Huang Xiaolong, and as she stood in front of him, one delicate finger pointed to an empty seat beside him.
Huang Xiaolong became dazed for a moment before nodding, "Feel free."
Sending Huang Xiaolong a sweet-honeyed smile, she said her thanks, "Thank you," and sat down next to Huang Xiaolong.
Her alluring fragrance wafted into Huang Xiaolong's nose.
In that moment, the surrounding kingdom geniuses were all staring at Huang Xiaolong. The many pairs of eyes seemed to spew a strong fire of jealousy.