130 Chapter 130
Back in Jade Grass City Zhang Liu and his friends were moving through the stalls, they had some food in their hands something that looked like to be a shish kebab on a stick. All of them were munching while walking forward, wondering if they would get to see a good show at the arena.
"Hm, wonder if someone good will be battling, would be nice..."
"Yeah, someone like our Patriarch... we missed his fight with that Demon hunter..."
"The leader taught him a lesson, he was a hundred years too early to even try that!"
The young men chatted around, Zhang Liu didn't talk all that much as he didn't know these junior and senior brothers all that well himself. His old 9th platoon buddies weren't here and the only one from them was someone that he was in a feud with.
"Ah yes, shame that I could not see Master's fight, supposedly the Demon Hunter was just misguided, but Master was magnanimous in his decision and let him live."
The other young men nodded, their eyes shining brightly as they heard Zhang Liu call their Patriarch, Master. They thought that it would be an honor if they were also his disciple, this was also a reason that they were pumped up. If they managed to reach a high standing in the tournament, or even beat this Zhang Liu than maybe Zhang Dong would notice them and give them some pointers.
"We are here brother Liu."
While they were chatting and eating they finally arrived at the spot, they were greeted by a large gate, behind the gate were stairs that went upwards. There were some people in front of the gate, you had to pay the toll to get inside which the youths did. After slowly walking up they saw a large open space, in the middle of that area, was a large square ring made from some kind of brick-like material.
On the west and east side of that ring, they saw many regular looking seats. There were already some people sitting there and cheering for some warriors that were battling it out. On the North side, besides some more seats closer to the ring stood a large tower, in that tower were the more expensive seats for the more influential customers. They came from the south side and above them was a more narrow looking tower and on it was the booth with the announcers that commented on the fights and introduced the fighters before each fight.
To their immediate left, you could go under the seats. Inside were various booths and stands for betting purposes but you could also by some refreshments. The young men looked at each other, people were going back and forth from within that area.
"Well... I'm not really interested in betting, don't even know the fighters... how about you brothers?"
Zhang Liu asked, not really keen on spending his allowance that his mother and master gave him. He would rather spend it on something like interesting treasures, he knew that Zhang Dong was quite a skilled craftsman. Maybe if he found something curious, his Master would praise him, he always said something about needing more treasures for deconstruction.
Some of the men went in to take a look, but the complicated board that had some numbers and names on it was quite confusing. Though they found something quite interesting, if you signed a contract you could participate in the arena. You didn't even need to face other cultivators, in particular, you could fight untamed beasts or even have small skirmishes with your clan members against other clans.
"Quite interesting...though the grand elder told us to not cause trouble and not fight."
They all looked at each other, the warrior inside of them was telling them to go for it as they all wanted to prove themselves in a fight. But the Dao festival was coming along, what if they got injured or used up too much Qi during combat. There was also the threat of their opposition seeing their hidden techniques, then having something in store for them if they ever clashed.
"Let's just see who is fighting... maybe after the Festival is over we can try our luck in here, you can apparently earn quite a sum if you keep winning."
They headed out and found themselves a good spot to sit in, the area was slowly getting filled up and they were lucky enough to get enough seats for all. They could see someone getting carried out by two buff looking uncles, they were holding him by his wrists and ankles the person was just dangling like a ragdoll, probably the loser of the bout.
Zhang Liu looked inside the ring, there was one person standing there he was waving at the people a large smile plastered all over his face. He was wearing a red robe and had similar short red hair. The robe was peculiar in the way that it had no sleeves and you could see the young man's quite thick muscular arms.
"Oh, looks like the fiery youth has taken another victim, can no one stop him?"
You could hear the loud voice of the announcer that traveled around the arena, apparently, this youth had been on a winning streak.
"Can no one stop the blazing inferno? Already four people have failed!"
Zhang Liu squinted with his eyes, getting interested in this youth, he looked to be of similar age as he was. By the looks of it, he was also in the same cultivation range as him. One of the laws of this arena was that opponents had to be close to each other in cultivation realms. They wouldn't allow someone in the early stage of foundation establishment to fight someone in the great circle, unless the weaker person could use some treasures to lower that gap or something similar.
"I will be your opponent you shitty brat!"
A large burly man with tree trunks for arms jumped into the ring, his descent causing a commotion in the arena.
"Oh, if it isn't a brave challenger, let me remind you that everyone is allowed to challenge the winner of the previous bout! Fighters that are participating in this year's Dao Festival are also allowed! Just remember to register, if you want to participate!"
Apparently it was some kind of challenge event, where anyone of a similar cultivation realm could confront the previous winner. The more someone won, the more money they would get, you could also steal the previous winner's stash and then call it quits. The winning person could fight up to ten bouts but after winning all of those he wasn't allowed to participate anymore, this was a safety measure for the arena owners. This law was created to lower the losses if some kind of overpowered master appeared. The no fighting before the Dao Festival decree was apparently abolished in this neutral zone, you could participate at your own risk.
The large cultivator charged at the red-haired youth, he in response moved his forearm upwards to block the man's punch.
"Ha, idiot. I'll snap that toothpick in half!"
The red-haired youth had a good physique, but his enemy was far larger than him. You'd expect that giant fist to snap his arm in half, but this wasn't what happened. The fist flew at the forearm that started glowing red, soon it was engulfed in flames. It was too late for the attacker to stop and when his fist collided with the fire an explosion occurred. The large man was forced backward his hand smoking, his flesh charred.
"Hm, what were you saying?"
The fight wasn't over just yet, but the burly man's right fist was out of commission. The two were apparently close range specialists, the burly man probably being a body refiner. Zhang Liu observed from his spot, the red-haired man charged in. He had both of his hands clad in flames with some strange patterns showing up on both his arms.
Each time the two clashed the burly man got pushed back, he was even using his damaged arm to block some hits his face contorting in strange ways as the pain struck.
'Quite the will power there...'
Zhang Liu thought while complimenting the older man, who showed quite some resilience. This wasn't enough though, soon he was pushed back, well more like he flew in a glorious arc and left an imprint of a human on the arena wall. The defensive formation activating so that the residual rubble didn't hit the audience members.
"Oh no, the challenger is down! Only five more to go can no one stop this fire demon? If you think you are up to the challenge please register with one of our staff members!"
Apparently, the people around here measured your strength before the fighting took place. They couldn't just have random people jumping in from god knows where. Someone could also setup easy fights for himself and cheat. This was possible but hard to pull off, also if you got caught cheating you would be severely punished.
"Brother Liu, maybe we should register..."
Some of the Zhang members got excited after hearing that fighting in this arena was allowed even for festival participants. This was quite an alluring proposal, Zhang Liu never got much practical training mostly training his techniques alone and his sister wasn't quite up to par when they sparred with each other, he as the older brother couldn't really go all out in fear of injuring his younger sibling.
"We could do that..."
"We will be holding a short intermission, please place your bets or register if you want to participate in the event."
The announcer proclaimed while the red-haired man at the arena crossed his arms over one another, even a bigger grin plastered over his face.
"Hah, let's go..."
The young men all nodded at each other, the more elder members that were keeping tabs on them weren't that thrilled about what these youths were doing. It looked like fighting before the festival could cause unneeded injuries, but it also could be a big confidence booster for their clan members. They let it slide, for now, they were just registering and weren't fighting just yet.
Every one of the Zhang Clan youths, Zhang Liu included got a certain engraving on their palm. It was the rank that they were deemed worthy of fighting with, they also noticed that the exact same emblem, the emblem looking like a tiger was next to the man's name that was currently in the ring.
"Huo Kong... the Huo clan?"
Zhang Liu read his name that was on the betting board, he knew the name of this clan they had fought together with them in that secret ground but he didn't know this young man.
'He wasn't in there with us at that time... guess he stayed behind?'
The Huo Clan was a larger family that owned five cities and other various assets through the lands. It was one of the largest clans from the Dark Palm sect area, with more resources and manpower than what Zhang Clan could produce.
"Oh, is it a brother from the Huo Clan? The elders said that we are allied with them and our Patriarch and the son of their Patriarch are close friends..."
The Huo Clan and the Zhang Clan had formed an alliance after what happened in the secret ground. They weren't the only ones as the ladies from the Feng Clan also became their supporters. This was quite advantageous for the Zhang Clan, who had gained two powerful backers and business partners. Zhang Dong had sold quite the amount of treasures and crafted weapons to both of those clans, who gave him beneficial prices.
"Guess we should cheer the brother from the Huo Clan on."
The youths felt a sense of comradery with this fire family, mostly Zhang Liu that fought with them against the countless beast waves.
'I should exchange greetings with him, Master had quite the favorable opinion of that clan.'
Thinking nothing about it, Zhang Liu moved closer to the edge of the arena wall, closer to where the youth was standing and waiting for the intermission to be over. The youth suddenly heard someone calling out to him, his eyes fixated on a certain white-haired youth with a patch of black hair wairing a blue robe.
"Greetings brother from the Huo Clan, we from the Zhang Clan send our regards."
He was being formal with his greeting as he wasn't sure who this person was, the order of not causing trouble was still on his mind. Huo Kong while still having his hands closed looked to the side, one of his brows moving upwards as he looked at the man that spoke out.
"The Zhang Clan? You're from that small clan?"
He replied in a mocking tone, the grin never vanishing from his face as if he was trying to start a fight.