TGL Volume 3, Chapter 19 (2)

How did things end up like this? Because of one oversight—albeit a major one—I’m now on an arena’s stage, watched by millions of people like some sort of caged animal being kept for entertainment. Aren’t these people cultivators? Shouldn’t they be busy cultivating to achieve immortality? Why would they show up to watch me fight a few disciples? Maybe that’s the most frustrating part; I already know why they’re here. The disciples of the strongest figures in their sect, why wouldn’t these cultivators want to watch them battle? Maybe they’ll gain insights while examining the fight. I’m just an add-on, the poor person whose sole purpose is to highlight these personal disciples’ greatness. I don’t think I’m a very prideful person, but this situation still pisses me off.

“Accepting bets! How many moves will the invader last against Martial Sister Hong? Quickly, before she arrives, come and make your bets!”

They’re not even betting on who will win. They’re betting on how fast I’ll lose. I’m extremely curious though; how are they balancing their books? They know nothing of my strength, and supposedly, this Martial Sister Hong hasn’t fought in a long time. What gives these bookmakers the confidence to declare their odds and still be able to make a profit? Now that I’m looking at their return rates, I understand. The returns for me surviving one move is one percent. Two percent for two moves. And that goes all the way up to ten moves. Do they really think I can’t survive ten moves? I dared to invade their sect! Phew. Calm down. Why am I so agitated? Calmly, I have to be calm; being calm leads to the greatest chance of survival. Isn’t that what I learned when being dragged around by Lucia? I suspect there might be a defensive formation subtly influencing my thoughts; it should be an underhanded trick from the Holy Beasts Sect to maintain their superiority on their home turf.

Alright. Now that I’m calm, I’ll remove some of the sources of my irritation. I took my messenger out of my interspacial ring and sent a message to Jin Mo. “Bet a trillion spirit stones on me lasting longer than ten moves.” Even if I win, I’ll only make them bleed a hundred billion spirit stones. It sounds like a lot, but if there’s at least ten million disciples participating in the bets, they each only have to bet ten thousand spirit stones on the other stakes for the bookmakers to not suffer any losses. If I had the money, I would bet ten trillion spirit stones to make sure they were crushed, but sadly, I don’t. What if I’m not able to survive ten moves from Old Hong’s disciple? Then I lose a trillion spirit stones. It’s as simple as that. With my wealth, money is just a number.

“One trillion!? Are you insane!?”

It seems like Jin Mo’s fulfilling my request. Anyways, it’s about time for the friendly competition to start. The agreed upon time was when the sun was directly overhead. Of course, I’ve been waiting here all along since the Holy Beasts Sect doesn’t want me wandering around. It makes sense for them to keep me here. Anyways, I’m completely ready for this battle. I’ve simulated fights against Lucia thousands of times while developing my formations and weaponry to deal with her. With my anti-Lucia plans, I should be fine dealing with close combat. And as a magician, I don’t believe I’ll lose in a ranged firefight.

As a disciple of Old Hong, this Martial Sister Hong should have techniques related to the vermillion bird. Her attacks should be mostly fire-based, and I should be able to anticipate some of her attacks by extrapolating from phoenixes’ techniques. Probably, the most important thing I have to watch out for is a rebirth; whether it be after she’s exhausted or even dead, I can count on her restoring herself to full vitality, perhaps even multiple times. Phoenixes also have particularly strong souls and wills, so illusionary techniques won’t work on them. I can forget about using any of my anti-Lucia measures that target her weak will. Not only that, but phoenixes have a strong sense of danger; sneak attacks aren’t very effective against them. Thankfully, their strength and defense are just so-so compared to the strength of their soul. It seems like a straightforward fighting style is my best option.

“Martial Sister Hong has arrived!”

Huh. I’ve seen that face somewhere before…. Could she be related to that sky-realm expert who Jin Mo captured when I first invaded the sect? It’s rare to see two women more beautiful than Softie, but it’d make sense if the two were related. Her face is pretty expressionless though. It doesn’t seem like she’s angry at me for capturing her relative. Well, it was only capturing, after all. I didn’t get to tort—err, question her before she was saved.

My opponent positioned herself across from me and cupped her hands in front of her chest. “Hong Tian Ji.”

Ah, the very old-fashioned etiquette. I don’t think I’ve seen that much since Lucia always smacked her opponents before they could introduce themselves. I cupped my hands in front of my chest as well, mimicking Hong Tian Ji’s action. “Ilya Pentorn.”

Hong Tian Ji took a step back, and a massive illusionary bird surged up from the ground beneath her feet, overlapping her body. She raised her arms in front of herself and put her weight on her back leg, taking a fighting stance. In response, I took an orb out of my interspacial ring and tossed it against the ground. With a shattering sound, it exploded, and a silver mist rose up, encapsulating me, turning my skin silver. It was a one-time-use defensive artifact guaranteed to block all attacks for thirty seconds.

The crowd erupted with noise. “What the heck!? That’s a defensive orb of a silver turtle-dragon! One of those costs fifty million spirit stones! Aren’t you ashamed!?”

Shame? No, as a non-native resident of the Immortal Continent, face isn’t all that important to me. What is important is the thirty seconds of time this artifact bought for me. I’ll ignore Hong Tian Ji for now and set up a defensive formation instead. With thirty seconds, I should be able to build a defensive formation that can prevent Lucia’s attacks—from a decade ago—for at least a minute. And with that minute, I can build a defensive formation that can prevent her attacks for two minutes. And with that two-minute long defensive formation, I can build another one that lasts three minutes. Right, the most important part of this battle isn’t winning. It’s winning that bet. As long as I last ten moves, I’ll recoup a hundred billion spirit stones, which is exactly what I’ve paid for those two quasi-immortals that I might lose. What can I say? I’m a very practical person.

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