Chapter 169: Imperial City Battle (1)
Huang Xiaolong treated the burning, jealous gazes directed at him from the surrounding kingdoms' geniuses as if they did not exist. He sat there with the same placid expression on his face.
"You're called Huang Xiaolong, right?" Cui Li asked as she faced Huang Xiaolong sideways after sitting down on the empty chair next to him.
Huang Xiaolong turned sideways to look at her.
Observing Cui Li up close, he noticed underneath her sweet, innocent smile, there was a trace of seductive charm mixed within. A small exquisite nose and cherry red lips on a small mouth made it hard not to be attracted.
They were sitting quite closely, only a gap the width of an adult's arm existed between them. Huang Xiaolong could easily touch Cui Li's face and other body parts if he just stretched out his arm a little.
Cui Li's mesmerizing eyes looked straight into Huang Xiaolong's eyes. Their four eyes were locked in a gaze, lasting more than thirty breaths of time.
"That's right." Huang Xiaolong nodded.
Since this Cui Li knew his name, approaching and then sitting next to him was clearly not a coincidence.
"According to the rumors, you are only seventeen but you've already reached the level of peak late-Tenth Order warrior!"
A Seventeen-year-old, Houtian realm, peak late-Tenth Order warrior!
The crowd of geniuses were taken aback, finding what Cui Li said hard to believe as all of them looked at Huang Xiaolong, including Yuwai Kingdom's Zhou Jie.
Xie Puti and Yanggang were also surprised.
Huang Xiaolong looked at Cui Li, frowning slightly as he shot her a stern glare before looking away, no longer bothering himself with her.
Being so obviously ignored, Cui Li did not show any anger on her face.
Time passed and another two geniuses that possessed superb talent martial spirits arrived, Pang Yu and Dai Shanni. Pang Yu was a man whereas Dai Shanni was another beauty, but compared to Cui Li, Dai Shanni possessed a soft, gentle kind of beauty.
Not long after that, the participating geniuses from all of the other kingdoms arrived and gathered. By this time, the sun was high in the morning sky, shining down on the land as the hot temperature rose.
The sunlight felt warm against Huang Xiaolong's skin. In the next moment, the tightly shut red doors to the Duanren Imperial Palace creaked and opened. A small eunuch scurried out, announcing in his high pitched voice, "His Imperial Highness Second Prince has arrived~!"
Imperial Second Prince-Duan Wuhen!
As the eunuch's voice fell, Duan Wuhen was seen riding out of the palace doors on a majestic lion mount amidst a protective circle of palace guards.
Since thirty years ago, Duanren Empire's Imperial City Battle and the Military Parade affairs was overseen by Duan Wuhen. This was proof of Duan Wuhen's importance in the Empire.
Along with some ministers, Duan Wuhen approached the arena area as the palace guards spread out, defending the four perimeters of the arena.
When Duan Wuhen entered the arena area, all the kingdoms' geniuses stood up from their seats, saluting with half a bow, "Greeting Your Imperial Highness Second Prince!"
"Everyone need not stand on ceremony!" Duan Wuhen waved his hand. His voice sounded laid-back yet majestic, "Please sit!" He moved towards the main seat in the middle of the main platform and sat down.
The ministers that were with him took their seats, and only then did the geniuses from the different kingdoms sit down.
Duan Wuhen's eyes swept across the many faces of these geniuses, and when they came to Xie Puti and Yanggang, they paused momentarily before moving away.
While Duan Wuhen was scanning through the crowd of geniuses, Huang Xiaolong was also observing Duan Wuhen. Compared to two years ago at the Enlightenment Lake, the invisible oppressive aura emanating from Duan Wuhen felt more daunting, like an insurmountable mountain pressing down heavily.
The atmosphere in the square became solemn upon Duan Wuhen's arrival.
At this time, the person sitting next to Duan Wuhen, an older man with a head of white hair and a large build wearing battle gear, moved to the center of the platform. Next, he brought out an imperial edict and starting reading what was written on it out aloud.
The imperial edict came from the Duanren Emperor himself, announcing the regulations of the Imperial City Battle and the rewards.
The white-haired old man's powerful, sonorous voice reverberated in the air above Duanren Square. Every word rang clear in everyone's ears.
Surrounding the battle arena, many different forces and common subjects were listening quietly as well.
It was a full ten minutes later when the white-haired old man finished reading the imperial edict.
Like in previous years, the winners of the first one hundred places from the Imperial City Battle were eligible to enter Duanren Institute to cultivate and study, becoming a student of Duanren Institute.
But, compared to previous years, the rewards this year were doubled.
In the past, from the eleventh place winner to the one hundredth place winner, each person would be rewarded with one hundred pieces of grade two spirit stones and one low-Grade Six Spirit Dan. This year, however, the rewards were two hundred grade two spirit stones and two low-Grade Six Spirit Dans!
From second place to tenth place, each winner was rewarded with two hundred pieces of grade two spirit stones and one mid-Grade Six Spirit Dan. This year, the rewards doubled up to four hundred pieces of grade two spirit stones and two mid-Grade Six Spirit Dans.
The rewards for the first place winner, the champion of them all, was previously ten pieces of grade one spirit stones, one high-Grade Six Spirit Dan. It too also doubled this year to twenty grade one spirit stones and two high-Grade Six Spirit Dans.
Even in the past, the rewards were already extremely attractive. This year however, it was even more enticing!
When the white-haired old man finished reading the imperial edict, the entire area within and surrounding the arena started to boil with excitement!
Especially the many geniuses taking part by representing the different kingdoms; each of their eyes glittered and excitement was written all over their faces.
While the many forces fell into a guessing game over the reason for Duanren Emperor doubling the rewards this year, most of them were of the same opinion. Everyone thought it was likely because this batch of talented geniuses was more impressive than the years before, which made Duanren Emperor increase the rewards.
The Imperial City Battle in the past usually had no more than two geniuses possessing superb talent martial spirits, but this year, six emerged. Furthermore, it had been over three hundred years since a grade thirteen martial spirit genius appeared, and one just so happened to this year.
"That twenty pieces of grade one spirit stones and two high-Grade Six Spirit Dans for the first place winner this year is going to fall into Xie Puti's hand!" Outside the battle arena area, an expert standing beside Zhao Shu, Yu Ming, and Fei Hou exclaimed enviously.
Zhao Shu, Yu Ming, and Fei Hou glanced at that person from the corner of their eyes but said nothing.
The first one hundred places' rewards were doubled, and the rules of battle were quite similar to when Huang Xiaolong was competing for Cosmic Star Academy's year division first place.
Half of the participants were to draw lots to determine their opponents. The number of geniuses that came to participate in the Imperial City Battle this year totaled to one thousand three hundred and sixty-two people this time around.
Thus, six hundred and eighty-one people were arranged to draw lots, and Huang Xiaolong was divided into the group that did the picking.
"Number sixty-two, Mo'er Kingdom, Bai Shou." Huang Xiaolong looked at the token in his palm which represented his first round opponent, Mo'er Kingdom's Bai Shou, number sixty-two.
There were ten stages in the arena area, and ten groups will be battling at the same time on these ten stages. Huang Xiaolong was arranged to go up in the sixth round.
After the drawing of lots finished, the first round participants each walked up to their intended stage. What surprised the crowd and the rest of the participants was that Xie Puti actually went up the stage in the first round!
Watching the owner of the grade thirteen martial spirit, Xie Puti, going up on stage, excitement amongst the crowd shot up, which also included the geniuses below the stage.
Xie Puti's opponent was a young man named Chen Bailu from Nike Kingdom.
Chen Bailu was no pushover as an opponent, having a Xiantian First Order strength. Despite that, the majority of the people around could not help feeling pity in their hearts towards him-to go against Xie Puti in the first round, this Chen Bailu was really unlucky.
With Chen Bailu being a Xiantian First Order expert, he would've had a high chance of entering the first one hundred places otherwise.