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The Dragon

The Dragon By Oct 26, 2023 7 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 24

Chapter 25

A Duel to the Death

After the two sides signed the life-and-death agreement, the sound of golden bells rang, ringing twelve times in succession. The sound was clear, heard both inside and outside.

Outside the gambling house, there was a spectator stand. The lady in red stood in front of it and announced, “Place your bets for the fight on the dueling platform, make your decisions and don’t delay.”

Not long after the bell chimed, people started pouring in steadily. Noise and excitement filled the establishment.

As per the rules of the gambling house, whenever there is a duel, the house acts as the banker and opens the betting.

This first match between Gu Fuyou and Yu Dongsheng marked the start of the season and was relatively quiet compared to the busiest times in the market. When the most exciting matches happen, the stands are packed with people shoulder to shoulder, and there’s not a single spare spot.

After signing the life-and-death agreement, both parties began their preparations.

Gu Fuyou gazed at Zhong Michu’s long hair, her arm resting on her chin, deep in thought.

Zhong Michu asked, “What’s the matter?”

“Senior Sister Zhong, for the upcoming duel, it would be better if you tie up your hair and sleeves,” suggested Gu Fuyou.

Zhong Michu touched the strands of hair cascading down her shoulder, “I can manage my hair, but how do I tie my sleeves?”

Gu Fuyou rummaged through her storage bag and pulled out an arm tie. Realizing that Zhong Michu didn’t know how to use it, she moved forward to help her.

Unaware of Gu Fuyou’s intentions, Zhong Michu stepped back when she approached.

Gu Fuyou laughed, “Senior Sister, don’t shy away. I’ll tie your sleeves for you.”

Realizing her intention, Zhong Michu no longer retreated. Gu Fuyou said, “Stretch out your arm.”

Zhong Michu hesitated momentarily before extending her arm. Gu Fuyou pushed up the sleeves, revealing a portion of her forearm. It wasn’t just the delicate slenderness typical of women; due to her years of sword practice, the skin was firm, and the forearm’s contours were elegant.

Gu Fuyou peeked and praised silently, “Beautiful, as expected of Senior Sister Zhong, flawless as white jade; she’s beautiful everywhere.”

After tying her sleeves, Gu Fuyou went to check the odds. Against Yu Dongsheng, he had 1-to-1 odds, while hers were 1-to-10.

By the time she returned, Yu Dongsheng had already entered the arena, and the golden bells rang again.

Taking a deep breath, Gu Fuyou produced two talismans. She handed one to Zhong Michu and then, using the sharp edge of her sword, cut her fingertip, dropping a bead of blood onto the talisman she held.

Watching Zhong Michu, she saw her make a similar cut on her finger, smearing her blood onto her talisman.

They then exchanged the talismans. Gu Fuyou placed the talisman bearing Zhong Michu’s blood near her heart, while Zhong Michu tucked the one with Gu Fuyou’s blood into her waistband.

Zhong Michu softly called out, “Gengchen.”

With a flash of the sword’s light, Zhong Michu grasped its hilt and handed it to Gu Fuyou, who took it in her hands.

The sword felt incredibly heavy, as if she were holding a mountain, weighing over a thousand pounds.

She gripped the hilt, using all her strength, her face turning red, but she couldn’t lift Gengchen.

The weapons of cultivators have spirits. Other than the owner, only those with higher cultivation can lift them.

Gu Fuyou said, “Good Gengchen, obedient Gengchen, we need to get along well in the future. Do. Not. Throw. A. Tantrum!”

She stressed each word but couldn’t move it at all.

Zhong Michu coldly called out, “Gengchen.”

The sword suddenly leapt up as if startled, its light swirling, magnifying its size several times. With a turn of its blade, it carried Gu Fuyou flying down from the stands.

Zhong Michu followed swiftly, descending with the wind and landing on the platform alongside Gu Fuyou and the sword.

The golden bell rang three times, and many spectators gathered in front of the four-story railing. The lady in red stood on the topmost stand and announced loudly, “The duel will continue until one side admits defeat or is unable to continue fighting, at which point a winner will be determined.”

With the lady in red’s proclamation, the stands erupted with cheers and shouts.

Yu Dongsheng tapped the ground with his wooden staff, and the dueling platform shimmered with radiance.

Gu Fuyou, with sword in hand, looked ready. She told Zhong Michu, “I won’t be able to protect you when the fight starts. Stay on the edge of the platform to avoid getting caught.”

Zhong Michu did as she was told and moved to the edge of the platform.

Yu Dongsheng scanned them both, his expression a bit cloudy, and finally settled on Gu Fuyou, snorting coldly, “A sword cultivator? If you can’t even get close to me, what good is your swordsmanship?”

As soon as the words were spoken, vines rolled out from the spiritual glow, thick as barrels, the vines as lively as if they had life, each one like a giant python swallowing the sky.

Wanyao Pavilion nurtures various spiritual plants and refines pills; naturally, most of the people inside have spiritual roots like water, wood, fire, and the like. This Yu Dongsheng has both water and wood spiritual roots.

Facing Gu Fuyou, he didn’t directly use his spiritual power to suppress her. Instead, he cautiously maintained distance, staying on guard. He seemingly ignored Zhong Michu.

Gu Fuyou wielded Gengchen, cutting down the attacking vines smoothly and efficiently.

To the onlookers, she appeared to be a skilled sword cultivator.

Little did they know, it wasn’t the person controlling the sword, but the sword controlling the person.

Gu Fuyou was merely posing; the true control of Gengchen and the source of the spiritual power was actually Zhong Michu.

Gu Fuyou was already feeling weak in the knees from the spiritual pressure unintentionally emitted by the two Golden Core Stage cultivators and felt nauseous.

But Yu Dongsheng had already taken the bait, no matter how uncomfortable, she had to persevere and not show any flaws before Zhong Michu made her move.

Yu Dongsheng, although in the late stage of the Golden Core, was proud of his ability, but he wasn’t overly arrogant and started with cautious probing.

Cultivation for external practitioners is more difficult than for internal practitioners. In the world of cultivation, there’s the concept of ‘years of accumulation leading to sudden success’. With equal cultivation, an external practitioner is more formidable than an internal one.

If the cultivation levels are similar, internal cultivators have always been wary of close-quarter combat with external cultivators.

Therefore, Yu Dongsheng held back and didn’t want to go all out from the start. But this was precisely what Gu Fuyou had anticipated.

Zhong Michu had already moved from Gu Fuyou’s side to the edge of the dueling platform where Yu Dongsheng was.

Yu Dongsheng noticed but remained indifferent, not considering her a threat. He summoned his spirit beast with a tap of his wooden staff.

It was a colorful venomous snake, its tongue flickering as it slithered out from the summoning circle. Slightly lifting its head, it was as tall as Zhong Michu.

This venomous snake was in the early Body Tempering Stage, more than enough to deal with Gu Fuyou. However, it was up against Zhong Michu.

The venomous snake had just emerged, showing its sharp fangs, its snake eyes sharp, head held high, but as soon as it got near Zhong Michu, it immediately lay flat on the ground.

The people watching the battle from the highest level of the stands found it strange and asked, “Why is Master Yu so cautious against a Qi Practicing cultivator, but doesn’t take the Golden Core cultivator behind him seriously at all? What’s the reasoning behind this?”

“And that spirit beast, it’s at the Body Temperng Stage, isn’t it? How come it doesn’t resist at all, letting that Golden Core cultivator approach its master from behind?”

“Are they fixing the match?”

Boss Biao, fanning himself, chuckled, “I don’t think so. From what I see… it seems like he’s been blinded by — One Leaf Blinds The Eye.”

The lady in red commented, “Boss Biao, you have a keen insight.”

Boss Biao stroked his chin, “I just wonder why Master Yu’s spirit beast doesn’t resist at all.”

The lady in red gazed at the figures on the dueling platform, smiled slightly, but remained silent.

On the dueling platform, Yu Dongsheng kept probing, but Gu Fuyou only defended and didn’t attack. As the battle progressed, she looked increasingly panicked, her breathing erratic and her steps disorganized.

Yu Dongsheng finally sensed something amiss. Using half of his spiritual power, he directed the vines to whip out. The force was so immense that Gu Fuyou felt pain in her wrists and lost her grip on her sword, Gengchen, which flew to one side.

The vines wrapped around Gu Fuyou’s waist, making it hard for her to breathe.

Yu Dongsheng, as if waking from a dream, changed color and exclaimed, “One Leaf Blinds The Eye!”

He had been deceived by such a simple trick.

The so-called One Leaf Blinds The Eye technique makes it hard for the opponent to think clearly.

Yu Dongsheng could discern the cultivation levels of both Zhong Michu and Gu Fuyou. He only remembered that one of them was at the Golden Core Stage and the other was at the Qi Practicing Stage, but he couldn’t clearly identify which was which.

At the beginning of the duel, Gu Fuyou’s statement seemed to be directed at Zhong Michu, but in reality, it was meant for Yu Dongsheng’s ears.

Gu Fuyou asked Zhong Michu to stand behind her, putting on a protective stance.

Yu Dongsheng was influenced by the One Leaf Blinds The Eye, his thinking rigid. From the information he got from Gu Fuyou’s words, he naturally thought that Gu Fuyou was stronger than Zhong Michu. Guided by the directed thinking deliberately led by Gu Fuyou, he naturally assumed Gu Fuyou was at the Golden Core Stage, and Zhong Michu was at the Qi Practicing Stage.

This One Leaf Blinds The Eye technique was hidden in the talisman. Before the match, Gu Fuyou and Zhong Michu had exchanged talismans imbued with their respective auras.

Talismans store techniques, and the strength of a talisman depends on the cultivation level of the person refining it.

The One Leaf Blinds The Eye created by someone of Gu Fuyou’s level of cultivation, naturally wasn’t as powerful as those crafted by more proficient practitioners.

Her gap in cultivation with Yu Dongsheng was too great. This talisman used to confuse Yu Dongsheng couldn’t withstand scrutiny.

As soon as she approached Yu Dongsheng, he could immediately detect it, or if he had exerted his spiritual pressure from the beginning, Gu Fuyou would have immediately given herself away.

But Gu Fuyou knew that the identities of the people in Wanyao Pavilion were divided into five categories. This was determined by the objects embedded in the blood vine bracelets they wore on their hands. From highest to lowest, they were jade, gold, silver, and copper. Those who wore these four types of bracelets were people of status, while those without any bracelets were apprentices and subordinates.

Yu Dongsheng wore a blood vine bracelet inlaid with silver, meaning he likely had dozens of apprentices and subordinates under him. His status wasn’t low. With his dual water and wood spiritual roots and being in the late stage of Golden Core, he was very confident and proud.

Given his pride in his status, he wouldn’t really care about the inclusion of a Qi Practicing phase practitioner in their duel, nor would he take such a practitioner seriously.

However, his role in Wanyao Pavilion involved caring for spiritual plants, a task that demanded meticulous attention. He couldn’t afford to give the plants even an extra drop of water or a surplus ray of sunlight. Similarly, when concocting pills, there was no room for error, either in the intensity of the fire or in the quantity of the ingredients. These precise requirements suggested he was a careful and attentive person.

Being such a cautious individual, during a confrontation, he was more likely to adopt a cautious, step-by-step approach rather than a direct and aggressive advance.

Indeed, just as Gu Fuyou had predicted, when Yu Dongsheng noticed one of them was a sword cultivator, he immediately kept his distance, set up barriers, and cautiously probed.

He neither approached the two directly nor unleashed his full power from the start. Consequently, the One Leaf Blinds the Eye technique created by someone of Gu Fuyou’s cultivation level seemed extremely fragile before him, breaking upon contact. However, he missed the best opportunity to disrupt Gu Fuyou’s plans, being completely fooled.

Had Yu Dongsheng acted even slightly out of character, all of Gu Fuyou’s plans would have been in vain.

But he didn’t.

Gu Fuyou’s “One Leaf Blinds the Eye” technique only lasted for the time it takes to brew a pot of tea due to her cultivation level. Although it was weak, it was enough.

Zhong Michu had already circled behind Yu Dongsheng; the spirit beast didn’t dare to move. The moment Zhong Michu channeled her energy, the vines immediately lost their moisture and withered quickly.

When Gu Fuyou’s sword, Gengchen, was knocked away, it spun around and returned to Zhong Michu’s hand.

Grasping the hilt of the sword, Zhong Michu’s attack was as swift as lightning.

Yu Dongsheng waved his wooden staff, and his full spiritual power burst forth.

Gu Fuyou couldn’t withstand this kind of pressure, spat out a mouthful of blood, and blood also flowed from both ears. Even though she was covered in defensive talismans, she still felt like her internal organs were about to be crushed.

Out of the corner of her eye, Zhong Michu noticed Gu Fuyou’s plight and immediately summoned a protective barrier around her, ensuring that she wouldn’t be severely injured before the outcome between Zhong Michu and Yu Dongsheng was decided.

Zhong Michu held the sword in her right hand, stepped forward, and ice blossomed under her feet, instantly spreading and freezing the incoming vines.

With one slash of her sword, the ice shattered, and she charged forward.

Originally, Zhong Michu was only a few steps away from Yu Dongsheng. Once she broke through the vines, she was immediately upon him.

While Golden Core cultivators can cast spells almost instantly, their sword techniques are even faster.

Even though Zhong Michu was slightly less advanced in cultivation than Yu Dongsheng, once she got close, their odds were even.

Moreover, Yu Dongsheng had lost the initiative and was mentally disturbed by the “One Leaf Blinds the Eye” technique. He hadn’t fully recovered.

He couldn’t avoid Zhong Michu’s sword strike.

Zhong Michu placed her sword against Yu Dongsheng’s neck. After exerting so much energy in her last move, she was slightly out of breath.

Yu Dongsheng looked intently at Zhong Michu and asked, “Are you a dual cultivator, both internal and external?”

Before Zhong Michu could answer, he shook his head with a wry smile, saying, “I admit defeat. I’ve lost.”

From the stands, the ringing of a golden bell sounded again, and a lady in red announced, “The match has been decided.”

The audience erupted in a chorus of jeers and sighs of disbelief.

Gu Fuyou’s unexpected victory had caused many to lose their bets.

Zhong Michu took a step back, bowed to Yu Dongsheng in acknowledgment, and then hurried over to Gu Fuyou.

Gu Fuyou, dizzy from the pressure of their spiritual powers, had just regained consciousness and saw Zhong Michu shaking her.

Upon seeing Gu Fuyou wake up, Zhong Michu’s eyes sparkled, her face lighting up with a radiant smile, “Gu Fuyou, we won.”

She had never fought so fiercely against someone. Defeating someone of equal cultivation brought satisfaction, but defeating someone a rank above felt not only satisfying but exhilarating.

She had always believed her heart was like an ancient well, undisturbed. Yet now, she could feel the rapid and uneven beats of her heart, her labored breaths, and the euphoria that enveloped her.

Gu Fuyou saw Zhong Michu’s smile again. It was different from the last time; previously it was gentle and serene, but now it was the vibrant joy of youth. This smile was so bright and dazzling.

Gu Fuyou thought she might still be in a daze and laid back down, saying, “I might not have woken up yet.”

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Previous: Chapter 24

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Anon
Anon
8 months ago

I honestly thought the duel was going to last several chapters like in dragon ball lol

Kat
Kat
2 months ago
Reply to  Anon

Ohh, me too. It was quick that I’m surprised that Michu find it exciting. The things they experienced in the inner layer was more dangerous haha

tar
tar
8 months ago

Ahhh they are so cuteee….

dadin
dadin
8 months ago

fuyou’s really informative and smart ..
also what’s fuyou’s spiritual roots again?

Khriss
Khriss
6 months ago

AWWWWWW ZMCCCCC SO CUTE!!!.

MatrixM
MatrixM
3 months ago

That end with the smile was so cute.

Hatimo
Hatimo
28 days ago

Babiesssssss, I thought after training in that realm and even go to inner later, Fuyou will feel significantly stronger