The Imperial College opened its doors one day every month for the imperial capital's noble heirs. In the morning, they would practice poetry and etiquette, and in the afternoon, the palace's martial arts depository would be available to everyone free of charge.
The previous openings of the Imperial College held absolutely no meaning to Long Chen since even if he attended, he would just be the object of ridicule for everyone there.
But now that was no longer the case. After consuming the FengFu Pill, Long Chen had already condensed an embryonic form of the FengFu Star.
Although it was just an embryonic form and couldn't store that much spiritual energy, it was still able to store much more than what could be stored in just the body's meridians. After all, the meridians were like rivers while the Dantian was like the ocean that fed the rivers, even sometimes being called the 'energy sea'.
Although a river might appear large, its capacity was limited. Without the Dantian to support it, it would quickly be used up. But this problem was completely resolved with the condensing of the FengFu Star. And the most important thing was that now that the embryonic form of the FengFu Star had been condensed, as long as there was enough energy, it would eventually become a complete FengFu Star.
At that time, Long Chen would have something unique to himself to use as a 'Dantian'. This was the most unique point of the Nine Star Hegemon Body Art.
When all nine stars were condensed, it would be equivalent to having nine Dantians. Anyone could understand just how powerful that kind of forceful spiritual energy source was.
Long Chen was in possession of the entire Nine Star Hegemon Body Art. Unfortunately, such a cultivation technique was something that defied the heavens, and his understanding of it was still very low, so he still needed to spend an endless amount of meditation on it.
Once he managed to completely condense his FengFu Star, he would be able to store an extremely large amount of spiritual energy. Then he could attempt to agglomerate his blood vessels and enter the Blood Condensation stage, thus becoming a true martial artist.
The Qi Condensation stage was just the first step of training in martial arts. Only by stepping into the Blood Condensation stage, having your blood and qi surge, and having your martial powers sharply rise, only then could you be considered a genuine martial artist.
Long Chen didn't know what Heavenstage of Qi Condensation he would count as, but with the formation of his embryonic FengFu Star, his body's strength had been increased by a surprising amount.
The current him could let out a very simple punch, and it would cause the wind to whistle, so much so that the force it generated would have enough power to break apart a vase even two meters away. Essentially, it was like his whole body was brimming with strength.
His goal in going to the Imperial College this time was to enter the martial arts depository. With his FengFu Star's embryonic form, his body's spiritual energy had risen, and he could already begin to train in martial Battle Skills.
These so-called Battle Skills were all created by extremely powerful seniors. They were powerful fighting techniques that used a person's spiritual energy, qi, and meridians.
Battle Skills were extremely terrifying. They could allow a martial artist to release an extremely formidable power that was several times stronger than their ordinary strength. It was impossible to be courageous in front of them.
Therefore, each Battle Skill was extremely important to a martial artist. Now that Long Chen had spiritual energy capable of training in Battle Skills, he was itching to obtain one.
The Imperial College was located to the north side of the imperial capital. It spanned tens of kilometers, and other than the Imperial Palace, it was the grandest and most imposing building in the entire imperial capital.
After Long Chen showed off his identification plate, he entered into the Imperial College and went straight to the literature hall. That was where the morning lecture took place and where the noble heirs would listen to the studies of the Dao from lecturers talking about everything and anything, from etiquette to poetry, and even to ancient theories of literature.
Entering into the literature hall, he saw that due to how early he was, the extremely large literature hall only had several dozen people.
"Haha, brother Long, you came."
Just as Long Chen entered, several youths came over and cordially greeted him.
These youths were similar to Long Chen; for various reasons, they also had no way of cultivating. Although they couldn't be considered best friends, they were still fellow sufferers who empathized with each other.
In the golden age of martial arts in the Phoenix Cry Empire, these youths might not have been bullied in such a miserable way like Long Chen, but they were also frequently sneered at and suffered from a cold and indifferent treatment.
Thus, these people who suffered from similar torments ended up becoming closer to Long Chen. They were especially glad to see him now since it had been a long time since they'd seen each other.
"Haha, you guys came here pretty early," Long Chen laughingly greeted. With the success of the condensation of his FengFu Star, his mood had improved greatly from the formerly depressed him.
"I heard a few days ago that brother Long put up a huge display of his awesome power, defeating Li Hao. Ah, you really make us admire you. Don't tell me that brother Long can actually genuinely cultivate now?" one skinny teen extremely enviously asked.
Originally, they were all the same level as Long Chen. Hearing that Long Chen could actually defeat Li Hao who was at the third Heavenstage of Qi Condensation, they were all extremely shocked while also feeling a slight jealousy.
"Hehe, it was just luck. But most recently, I did learn a new Divine Technique." Long Chen didn't want to continue on this subject, so he brought up a new mysterious topic.
"Divine Technique? What's that?" Sure enough, everyone immediately became distracted by this new change in subject.
"Hehe, this little brother recently obtained a rare clairvoyance book, and after painstakingly reading this book, I learned quite a few things," Long Chen said somewhat complacently.
"Clairvoyance technique? Isn't that just what the fortune tellers on the streets use to scam people?"
"Not quite. With what I learned from that clairvoyance technique, I saw that Li Hao's face had a dark omen of misfortune on it, and it was only then that I decided to duel with him. And as for the result... hehe." Long Chen laughed and stopped there.
Everyone momentarily was dubious for a moment when someone suddenly brightened with understanding and exclaimed, "It seems to be true! I heard that Li Hao seemed to have been bewitched that day, and his whole body didn't have even the slightest bit of energy before he was defeated by brother Long. "
The details of Long Chen and Li Hao's battle were known to everyone, but there were many people who felt that Li Hao's defeat was quite a deep mystery. Nowadays, there was a great deal of discussion over Long Chen.
"Hehe, brother Long, since you are proficient in reading faces, can you help take a look at me and tell me why my fiancée always avoids me? Why won't she agree to see me?" one person somewhat vexingly asked.
"No problem. Come, come, let's first find a place for us all to sit. Standing here is somewhat unsuitable."
Their group found a table in the corner to sit at, and the table even had some refreshments for them.
Long Chen pointed towards the table's desserts and laughingly told everyone, "Let's all eat a piece."
"Ok," the other people didn't stand on courtesy and all took a piece. Everyone seemed a bit confused as they looked at Long Chen.
"How's the taste?"
"Let's eat another piece?"
That person once again picked up a piece and took a bite. But when he had only eaten one bite, his face suddenly brightened, and he respectfully turned towards Long Chen and said, "Many thanks for brother Long's advice. This little brother understands now. I was being too greedy and brother Long was reminding me that people need to be content with their situation, right?"
Everyone looked at Long Chen in admiration. Who would have thought that Long Chen had the profound skills to use some small desserts as food for thought? However, Long Chen still sighed and shook his head. "Wrong. What I wanted to remind you of is that you're already this fat, and yet you're still eating this much. Soon you won't even be able to fit through the door. The fact that your fiancée is still with you and hasn't left you is already an enormous accommodation; you should be happy with just that. With a body shape like yours, any woman would be scared to sleep beside you. What if you roll over in your sleep? You'd crush her so hard, she'd turn flat."
That person's face reddened, and with Long Chen's reminder, he looked at his five foot tall height with his four and a half foot wide stomach. Apparently, he had previously felt that he had only fattened by a little bit.
"Fatty Yu, don't waste brother Long's precious time; hurry up and go lose some weight. Big bro Long, hehe, how about you take a shot at reading my face?" A different slender youth respectfully asked with a smile.
"Oh, you?" Long Chen made a big show of acting very seriously as he looked at him for quite a while before saying, "Your face ordains that before you are thirty, you will be destitute and frustrated, but the good thing is that after you are thirty..."
That person became jubilant, saying, "Is it possible that after thirty I can suddenly rise in my cultivation?"
"No. After you are thirty you will slowly become accustomed to your situation and will no longer be frustrated," said Long Chen.
Everyone couldn't help but to burst into laughter, but just as they were laughing, they suddenly saw two bitter eyes staring at them, causing everyone's laughter to break off.
Long Chen had long since noticed that person. Turning around, they all saw Li Hao glaring daggers at them.
"Senior Li Hao, are your wounds better now? Congratulations! Your outer wounds are all healed, but what about your inner wounds?" Long Chen asked, seeming deeply concerned.
Li Hao's face twitched. That day, his face had been smashed flat by Long Chen, and he had needed to be carried home. The Li family had hurriedly asked for the help of an alchemist from the alchemist guild and paid an extremely large sum of gold coins to let Li Hao recover.
Having money was truly good; in such a short time, Li Hao had already returned to a point where he looked the same as a normal person.
But after Long Chen brought the subject back up, Li Hao's groin started to hurt as if he was remembering that one kick from Long Chen.
At that time, Long Chen's kick had been very vicious, just a little bit off from turning him into a cripple. The thing that pissed him off the most though was that only after he got carried home and healed did he notice that he was missing a certain something. When his estate noticed this, they hurriedly rushed back to the martial arena, but by that time, they found that the arena had already been cleaned, and it was reported that that something had been taken away by a wild dog.
When Li Hao had woken up and heard this news, he almost died from his anger. But now there was no way to fix it, and no matter how amazing an alchemist was, there was no way for them to fix what he had lost.
What had been two was now only one. Although the loss of one family jewel wouldn't tilt him while walking, the loss of the originally symmetric pair was hard on him.
And now that Long Chen had brought it back up, his face became exceedingly ugly. He glared daggers at Long Chen, his teeth grinding in fury. "Long Chen, you son of a bitch. I challenge you to a life and death duel! Do you dare to accept?"
Long Chen's originally amused expression tensed immediately. Being called in such a way was exceedingly insulting, especially since it also insulted his mother.
It really was the case of not knowing to value one's life. Fine, if you want to be free from the mortal world's worries, then I'll help you.
"Same thing as before. I want to add stakes."
Long Chen stared back at Li Hao. Since you want to die, you had best offer me up some benefits. Although they came from the same empire, he didn't care about Li Hao, and his death would be trifling to him.
"Fine! No matter how high you make the stakes, I, Li Hao, will accept." Sneering in his mind, he thought to himself that no matter how high the stakes were, once Long Chen was dead, there was no way he could spend it. Li Hao was under the impression that last time he had simply been careless, and Long Chen had grabbed onto that opening and thus he had lost. Now he would definitely not make the same mistake, so this fight would definitely not go the same way as the last fight.
In addition, this time was different in that he had declared a life-or-death duel; in last time's duel, although you would not be held responsible for killing your opponent with a blow, as long as the opponent conceded, it was not permitted to continue attacking them.
But in the life-or-death duel, once the two people went onto the stage, it was equivalent to putting their lives on the line. Even if someone admitted defeat, it would be useless. The victor could do as he pleased. The loser's life would be in their hands.
"Ok, tomorrow, three quarters after noon, we will meet on the life and death stage." Li Hao coldly laughed, and when he looked at Long Chen, it was like he was staring at a dead person.
Long Chen coldly sneered inside. Now was the time for him to kill the chicken to warn the monkeys. Seeing Li Hao leave, he slyly laughed, "Careful to stay balanced while walking; don't trip."
Hearing Long Chen's words, Li Hao, who had already turned to leave, stiffened, and his face became contorted as he inferred the hidden meaning behind Long Chen's words.
Taking a deep breath, he acted like he hadn't heard anything as he slowly walked to a different part of the literature hall.
But Long Chen's words seemed to be like a steel needle piercing through his sensitive parts, and every time he lifted his leg, it would trigger memories of that bone-chilling attack.
He continued to act as if nothing had happened, but the more he tried to do so, the more unnatural his gait became, which caused everyone to stare strangely over at him. In the end, Li Hao waddled away similarly to a duck.
One person turned to Long Chen and reminded him to be careful, "Brother Long, why did you accept his challenge? This is a life and death battle you're going into; one of you will end up dying!"
"No problem. Today I read his face and saw a dark aura of death around his him. With it twisting around him, it's basically like a ghost sealing his life; he's doomed to die within two days. That's right, I now have something that I need a few people's help for," whispered Long Chen.
Everyone exchanged glances and in the end, the person who had been nicknamed fatty Yu clenched his teeth. "Brother Long, since you've asked, I'll give you my entire savings."
Saying this, he handed over a crystal card to Long Chen. Long Chen hadn't expected that this fatty Yu would actually have such a strong spirit of brotherhood with him. His crystal card had over eighty thousand gold coins on it.
Although they were all noble heirs, mostly they were born in far off branches, so they weren't considered very important. These gold coins should be an extremely large sum to fatty Yu.
"Fine, I have sixty thousand here, take it."
"I don't have that much here, only thirty thousand. Brother Long, I only have this little capability."
Originally, Long Chen had thought that just borrowing ten or so thousand gold coins would already be quite a lot. He hadn't thought that they would actually completely empty their pockets to help him.
"Everyone, if by chance I were to die, then your money would basically be lost." Long Chen looked at the crystal cards in his hand, and he couldn't help but to give everyone a reminder.
"Does brother Long look down on us? None of us are capable of cultivating, and every day we have to suffer through other people's torments. Brother Long, the fact that you dare go all-out in a battle against one of them means you have the courage that none of us possess. Even if we don't have your courage, helping you out this little bit is still something we can do."
When these people saw Long Chen agreed to the life and death battle, they couldn't help but become excited since they were fighting a common enemy. Seeing Long Chen begging for help, they became even more heated and in the end, they didn't even care about the consequences.
Long Chen nodded. He recorded this feeling in his heart as he held the over two hundred thousand gold coins in his hand.
At this moment, a group of people walked into the literature hall, and the originally noisy literature hall immediately turned completely silent.