Chapter 177: The flabbergasting and annoying martial arts community (3)

The Heaven and Earth Arena… was unexpectedly a football stadium.

Or at the least, the shape of the arena was similar to that of a football stadium An Fei had once observed whilst she was a carefree student at Beijing.

The dimensions of the building were similar, causing the young girl to marvel at the resources dedicated to the construction of the arena.

After all… the Heaven and Earth Arena was built underground.

The building on the right side of the street its end was no more than a simple pavilion serving as a disguise for the arena concealed underneath the Peaceful Road of the Bone Spirit Town.

When An Fei had knocked on the door, she discovered that outside of a simple registrar manned by three young female workers dressed in revealing clothes, all that existed was a staircase of stone leading downwards.

The three people before her had tossed out a single word before sauntering down the stairs, thus An Fei mimicked the same, slightly surprised at the carefree attitude of the workers.

With a few moments of detailed observation, the young girl noticed that the situation was not that simple in the slightest.

The types of people that visited the Heaven and Earth Arena of the Bone Spirit Town could only be divided into two general categories.

Challenger, and Spectator.

To spectate a match, all that was required was a stature befitting that of a cultivator and a simple declaration of intent to enter the Heaven and Earth Arena.

Though An Fei did not reveal a cultivator’s aura or possess a concrete clue in dispersing a unique fluctuation of spiritual essence, the abnormality that was the little raven perched on her shoulder was sufficient evidence.

The three workers did not even spare the young girl a glance before motioning for the next person to step forward towards the registrar.

Combined with her plain appearance and dress, it was evident that An Fei was no more than a maidservant at a powerful clan seeking some entertainment after a few weeks of grueling service.

“To challenge another person, you need a proof of identity for both sides, and a clear grudge that is to be publicized, ah.”

The young girl tapped the base of her chin with a slender finger, her countenance displaying a quirky smile of interest.

The ordeal in undertaking a challenge against another cultivator was a rather intricate and complex process.

The challenger was to convey a token of identity that validated both their and their opponent’s identities, as well as a clearly defined grudge that was to be declared before the beginning of each match.

The Heaven and Earth Arena strictly mandated that the grudges be personal and vindictive, without any physical incentive triggering the initial conflict.

Thus, hardly any challenges were enacted to assuage a person’s greed, and a greedy challenger would be slain on the spot by the Heaven and Earth Arena, if not declaring a kill order on their head.

Next, the challenge could be enacted if the defending opponent agreed to the resolution offered by the Heaven and Earth Arena, but the challenger could fork over a gold coin to coerce a clash on the arena stage.

The arena had established the standard of a single gold coin, the massive consolidation fee barely affordable by the domestic clans of the Bone Spirit Town.

And finally, the Heaven and Earth Arena stated that due to upholding impartiality in the proceedings of the challenge, all life and death of the participants were left to their own fates.

Thus, whilst the battles on the arena were gruesome at times, many, many people frequented the arena whenever a challenge was declared.

When An Fei thought about many people, she expected a few hundred or so people, but she didn’t expect a sea of human heads to be crammed into a single stadium.

After a constantly winding and dimly lit three hundred and twenty-seven stone steps barricaded by a constricting wall of granite on either side, the young girl walked into a massive underground cave.

The cave’s dimensions were approximately that of a football stadium, with a depth of seventy meters between the ground and the ceiling.

The stadium was fully lit with an enormous crystal ball the size of a regular house in the Bone Spirit Town, raining a soft golden glow that eradicated the darkness of the cave.

The stadium’s seating for the audience was constructed from a thin but durable wood, and An Fei finally realized where the occupants of the Peaceful Road had disappeared to.

Thirty thousand people, not one less.

Thirty thousand people were seated in the prepared wooden seats that wound around the arena, with an unknown number housed in the secluded private rooms that observed the scene from above.

The young girl blanched as she quickly found a vacant spot near the front rows of the stadium, her eyes wide with disbelief as she gazed at the excited and agitated countenances of the spectators surrounding her.

Was it that exciting to stare at a massive empty stretch of sand at the bottom?

“Young lass, is it your first time at the Heaven and Earth Arena?”

A raspy voice broke into An Fei’s thoughts from her left, causing the young girl to blink in surprise. Turning around, the young girl discovered an elderly scholar in his eighties or nineties, dressed in grey scholarly robes.

His beard trailed below his knees and a wooden cane could be seen clasped between his hands. As the elderly man gazed at her in expectation, the young girl carefully nodded in response.

“Are you surprised by the sheer number of people who attend this arena?” the elderly man asked once more, his beady eyes revealing a kind intent.

The young girl nodded again, her eyes flickering with an expression of confusion whilst her countenance remained impassive.

The elder swept a trembling finger throughout the filled stands reserved for the spectators, his voice hoarse and shaking with emotion.

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“Look at them all – farmers, merchants, clansmen, businessmen from afar, rogue cultivators – all of these people come under the same roof to witness a battle of life and death between two individual cultivators,” the old man sighed.

“Why are we fatally attracted to the spillage of blood? I do not know, even after my advanced age. But hear, young lass, do not trigger a challenge at this Heaven and Earth Arena regardless of your anger, and never accept a challenge.”

What was this elderly man attempting to convey?

“Esteemed elder, do you know something about this Heaven and Earth Arena?”

An Fei asked with a cautious tone, her fingers tightening on the strap of the leather bag in concern. The young girl palmed her bosom, the faint sensation of the handle of the qama and the snow-white lotus petal in her hair reassuring her confidence.

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“Hah… I’ve witnessed hundreds of duels in my life at this Heaven and Earth Arena,” the elderly man’s countenance dimmed with sorrow.

“Too many youthful cultivators had their futures maimed and ruined at the same stage of sand you see before you today.

Becoming a victor assures you great renown and fame, but losing a duel at this arena – you are bound to lose everything.”

“Everything?” the young girl echoed with a raise of her eyebrow.

“Yes, everything.”

The elder gazed into the blank sea of sand, his eyes revealing a different mystery of sorrow and despair than the atmosphere of excitement and anticipation that burned at the spectator’s souls.

The old man tapped his cane against the ground, daring not to glance at the confused young girl and the cautious little raven.

“When initiating a battle at the Heaven and Earth Arena, both the challenger and defender sign away all rights to the victor – their fortunes, their properties, and their lives. Wives are snatched away, daughters are forcefully seized through a victory, the loser of a duel, if they are not killed, are treated like slaves by the victor.”

“What’s horrible about this arena is that not only will the Bone Spirit Town defend the loser against the atrocities they face, they even encourage it with open arm – “

“Attention, everyone!”

The booming voice drowned out the remainder of the elderly man’s words, prompting An Fei to narrow her eyes in contemplation.

The young girl swept her gaze throughout the stadium, searching for the mysterious speaker but to no avail.

“The first duel of today will begin in five minutes! Spectators, please return to your seats!”

The crystal sun at the middle of the cave’s ceiling flashed with a cautionary purple light, and the Heaven and Earth Arena welcomed its next spillage of blood.

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