650 The 21st Checkpoin
After 6 p.m., Lin Huang had finally broken through the 20th checkpoint and arrived at the 21st checkpoint. He had primarily managed to break through each checkpoint within ten minutes for first to the ninth checkpoints. However, he and the Mighty Ape took more than 15 minutes to get through each checkpoint since the 10th one; some even took more than 20 minutes to break through, especially the 20th checkpoint that they had just passed. For that particular one, they needed half an hour to break through it.
From the 21st checkpoint onwards, there were finally branches on the Stairway Tree. Lin Huang looked up at the branches that extended up to the sky. All of them surpassed his field of vision. They were like pillars that disappeared into the sky. It felt like they were scaling a massive wall when they were climbing on the trunk earlier. In no way did they think that they were climbing a tree. When he saw the branches, he finally realized that they were not climbing a tree, but an ancient, gigantic tree. He finally had a sense of the proportion of the Stairway Tree.
"Yao Lan said that places above the 21st checkpoint with leaves are safe. There's an isolation bubble on the last leaf of each branch. Those are the refuge spots for humans. The Life Power in the isolation space can accelerate our recovery, and we won't be attacked by monsters when we're there. It even isolates humans from attacking us. Even an imperial-level human can't break through it."
Although Lin Huang did not see leaves anywhere, he knew that the place must be the gathering point for humans. Below the 30th checkpoint, only the 21st checkpoint had branches. It was the first formal gathering point for humans on the Stairway Tree, and it was also the most crowded point. As soon as he arrived at the checkpoint, Lin Huang did not plan to climb further up. It was late, and the parasitic monsters on the tree would be out hunting for food when the sky turned dark. He would be digging his own grave if he were to climb the tree at night. Moreover, he wanted to see how the human gathering point looked like.
Lin Huang then instructed the Mighty Ape to head to the branch that was nearest to him. Riding on the Mighty Ape, they soon arrived at that branch, and the ape leaped onto the branch. The Mighty Ape's appearance caught many people's attention. Many of them were afraid as they thought it was a local monster from the Stairway Tree while some of them noticed a person sitting on its shoulder and realized that it was a summoning monster.
Lin Huang jumped onto the branch and just when he was ready to recall Mighty Ape, a young man in white shirt walked towards him. The man was an immortal-level rank-1.
"Name me a price for the giant ape." The man in the white shirt was apparently from a wealthy family as he sounded obnoxious.
"You want to buy it?" Lin Huang thought that was a ridiculous idea. Then he looked at the Mighty Ape. "It depends if he wants to go with you."
The Mighty Ape shook its head immediately and glared furiously at the man. It did not want to leave Lin Huang as he had made it into a triple mutated monster as well as obtaining the Mighty Ape's bloodline which gave it the possibility to level up to a quadruple mutation. It was natural that it did not want to leave its master. Even without all those advantages, a Monster Card would usually have 100% loyalty towards its master (except for special conditions).
"Did you see that? It doesn't want to go with you." Lin Huang turned around and smiled at the man.
"10 million Life Crystals." The man did not give up and named his price.
10 million Life Crystals was a high offer. Although an immortal-level triple mutated monster was rare, the market value of an immortal-level rank-3 monster would usually cost around 5 million. Even a monster with ancient monster blood would require, at most, 8 million. It would not exceed 9 million if it were sold at an auction. Since the man offered 10 million, it was clear that he knew the market value.
All of the people watching discussed among each other when they heard the offer. Many of them knew the man in the white shirt and his background, so they knew he could afford the ridiculous price that he offered.
"Take a good rest, Herculean King," Lin Huang ignored the man and said to the Mighty Ape, "We shall continue tomorrow."
He then recalled the Mighty Ape into its card form.
"12 million!" The man in the white shirt insisted.
"Not selling." Lin Huang glared at him and left without bothering to talk to him.
The onlookers buzzed with conversation.
"The guy is stupid to not sell it for 12 million. He'll be lucky enough if that triple mutated ape can be sold for 9 million at auctions."
"The guy is an Imperial Censor. Perhaps he has feelings for his pet."
"What can feelings do? Can that compare to money? That's 12 million Life Crystals! He could get a pretty impressive ancient relic with that money."
"15 million!" The man in the white shirt teleported and blocked Lin Huang's way, glaring deadly at him.
"You must know that 15 million is enough to purchase an immortal-level rank-9 triple mutated ancient blood monster. Your ape is just an immortal-level rank-2. If you miss this opportunity now, I won't offer such a price anymore."
"I've told you that I'm not selling!" Lin Huang stared into the man's eyes. He lost his patience with the man's stubbornness.
"Is it so hard to understand?"
"How dare you talk to me like that? You're only a blue flame-level. Do you want to die?" The man became mad. On the one hand, he was repeatedly rejected by Lin Huang while on the other hand, he did not like Lin Huang's tone.
"You can try and see who'll die first." Lin Huang grinned as he did not mind sending the man to the beginning point of the Stairway Tree as he would obtain half of the man's accumulated points.
The people who were watching were excited. Some of them pulled out chairs from their storage space while some even started munching on snacks as they watched.
"They're going to fight! Who wants to bet? 1-5 for the new kid and 1-1.2 for Sun Yu!"
"1-5 for the new kid? Isn't that way too low, Zhao San? It should be 1-10."
"1-10? You'll take the lead then!" The guy named Zhao San glared at the other man who spoke.
"Never mind, I'll bet 10 points on the new kid that he'll win!" The man, who had shouted earlier, said.
"Aren't you ashamed of yourself for betting only 10 points?!" Zhao Yan rolled his eyes.
"Hehe, then I won't lose much, and I'll get 50 points if the new kid wins."
"I'm betting 100 points on Sun Yu!"
"I'm betting 200 points on Sun Yu!"
"I'm betting 300 points on Sun Yu!"
Most of them bet on Sun Yu while only some of them bet on Lin Huang. Those who bet on Lin Huang were only wagering with 10 and 20 points. Only one person placed an ante of 30 points.
Zhao San was grumbling, "What the hell? Wouldn't I lose a lot as a maker?"
"Hey, can I join the bet as well?" Lin Huang asked Zhao San as he noticed that everyone was betting.
Zhao Sun was shocked to hear that, and he nodded immediately. "Yes you can, but you can only bet on yourself."
"Then, I'll be betting with all of my points." Lin Huang was confident in himself.
"No, you can only bet on half of your points. If you're killed, half of your points will go to Sun Yu, and you'll only be left with half," Zhao San explained.
"You don't have to transfer your points to me. I shall hold your account since everyone is watching. There's nowhere you can run to later."
"Sure, let's do that." Lin Huang nodded.
"What're your total points?" Zhao San wanted to record Lin Huang's points. Since he was a newbie, he thought Lin Huang would not have that many points.
"5,728 points," Lin Huang declared.
Besides Zhao San, all of the onlookers were shocked when they heard the figure. Even Sun Yu raised his eyebrow.
"How is that possible? Is that a mistake?" Zhan San went to Lin Huang and looked at the personal details that Lin Huang projected. Besides his name Lin Xie and the organization that he belonged to, there was only the total of his points showing. The figure was indeed 5,728 as Lin Huang had announced earlier.
"How is it possible that you already have so many points when you're new here?" Zhao San was skeptical.
"I killed some monsters along the way," Lin Huang explained.
Each checkpoint from the first to the 10th checkpoint earned one point. From the 11th to the 20th checkpoint, one would receive 10 points per checkpoint. Killing a holy fire-level monster would only gain one point, 10 points for an immortal-level rank-1, 20 points for an immortal-level rank-2, and 30 points for an immortal-level rank-3. The points would double up accordingly for every rank.
Lin Huang managed to get so many points because he had killed many monsters along the way. The least powerful one was a holy fire-level while the most powerful one was an immortal-level rank-3. Besides the monsters that he killed, the monsters that the Mighty Ape killed would add to his total tally as well.
However, Zhao San and the rest did not think that Lin Huang obtained the points by himself. They doubted that his points came from his summoning monster that would have helped him killed the monsters. They reasoned that to get more than 5,000 points below the 20th checkpoint would mean he had killed a massive amount of monsters. Many of them speculated that Lin Huang had acquired the points from other members of the Sweep Alliance. Even Sun Yu thought the same as he did not believe that Lin Huang could depend on an immortal-level rank-2 ape to obtain that amount of points.
"Half of my total points would be 2,864, so I'll bet on that. Please record this down for me." Seeing that Zhao San had confirmed that what he said was accurate, Lin Huang proclaimed the points that he was betting on out loud.
"If that's what you want, I shall give it to you then." Sun Yu laughed.
"I have 12,000 points now. I'll bet 6,000 on myself!"
"Sure! I've recorded both your points. After the battle ends, the loser will transfer the points to me!" Zhao San agreed on their bets. Soon, the people gathered to watch the show. Lin Huang and Sun Yu stood 30 meters across each other, and Zhao San who was the maker became the judge of this battle.
"3, 2, 1. Fight!"