Lei Wujie wiped the sweat off his forehead, faced the sword wielding man and cupped his fists, “If you’ll excuse me.”
The man’s right sleeves had already been ripped to shreds by Lei Wujie’s attack but he didn’t seem to mind all that much. Instead, he flashed a dashing smile and said, “Looks like I was found lacking.”
Lei Wujie pointed at the stairs, “I’ll be off then.”
“Go, but your opponent upstairs won’t be an easy one to handle.” The man sheathed his sword and patted Lei Wujie on the shoulders. “You’re in for a rough fight.”
“That hard?” Lei Wujie patted his sack and smiled confidently, “Well, I haven’t revealed my entire hand yet.”
“I can see that, so stop showing off. I know you’re a straightforward person, but your next opponent is a cunning one, not very accomplished in the martial arts but a ton of tricks up his sleeves. Be wary.” The sword wielding man stepped aside, “You may proceed.”
‘Cunning? But can he compare to that wily fox, Xiao Se?’ Lei Wujie immediately thought of that debtor of his who was probably still sitting at the bun store below, waiting for his five hundred taels of silver. He grimaced then thanked the man before proceeding upwards. Upon reaching the thirteenth floor, he cupped his fists and yelled in a clear voice as per his usual habit. “Lei Wujie of the Lei Clan is here to pay his respects to the tower.”
Yet no response was forthcoming. Lei Wujie raised his head to sweep the room and found a white mantled person standing in front with his back facing him. On that mantle, was a single word imposingly stamped on it:
“Lei Wujie of the Lei Clan is here to pay his respects to the tower.”
The figure ignored him.
“Lei Wujie of the…” Lei Wujie decided to repeat himself once more.
“Shhh!” The figure finally turned around -it was actually a teenager around his age! The teen had a fair complexion, though his brows were furrowed in annoyance. He placed a finger to his lips and glared at Lei Wujie.
“What’s the matter?” Asked a stunned Lei Wujie.
“You, come over here.” The teen whispered and waved.
Lei Wujie hurried over to the teen who stepped aside to reveal two lifelike mannequins behind him. Between the two of them was a chessboard looking contraption, positioned as if a match was going on right this second.
“Do you know what this is?” The teen asked.
“No, I don’t.” Lei Wujie replied honestly.
“Over a chessboard six and under a mountain grand, immortals gather for a wager. That is known as Six Gambles, and that is what is known as a deadlock. It has been said that this deadlock contains the essence of an ultimate martial arts. Unlocking it confers a benefit exceeding twelve years of hard practise.” The teen explained further, “I just managed to unlock a tiny portion of it when you barged in. Well, how do you plan on compensating me?”
“Don’t tell me it’s going to be another five hundred silvers…” Lei Wujie’s face cramped up slightly.
“Now that’s a good brother.” The teen patted Lei Wujie on the shoulder and gave him a thumbs up, “I’ll give you a discount, just three hundred will do.”
‘I should really introduce him to Xiao Se…’
“How about after I finish my challenge of the tower?” Lei Wujie said after a brief pause.
The teen nodded his head and snapped his sleeves downwards. “Alright, then what are we wagering?”
The teen scowled impatiently. “Chupu, Six Gambles, Cards of Nine, Xuanhe. I’m asking what we will be wagering with, pick a game.”
“I still don’t get what you’re saying…”
The teen sighed, clearly disappointed in Lei Wujie’s denseness. He then fished out a whole bunch of gambling implements and laid them out on the table. “All you brutes and your martial arts. Just because we have to compete, it doesn’t mean we have to fight with our fists, do we? You’re here on my floor, so you have to listen to my rules. I don’t talk with my fists here, just with my gambling skills! So what will it be? Are you in or not? If you aren’t, get off my floor.”
“I’m not gambling, and I’m not leaving either.”
“Then you just have to kill me.” The teen stretched out both his arms, face the very picture of shamelessness.
“You either wager with me or you can beat me to death and step over my dead body. One or the other, choose.”
All Lei Wujie could think of then was how perplexing this teen. It was also then that he understood the meaning of that man’s warning. He shook his head continuously, “If you won’t fight back, how do you expect me to fight you?”
“So you won’t take the wager then?”
Lei Wujie was stunned once more, only replying a good while later with, “I don’t know a single one of them.”
“Not even a single game?”
“Not even a single game.”
“How about you give it some more thought?”
“Well…I think I know one.”
The teen sighed. With a wave of his hand, he swept aside the heap of gambling implements onto the floor, leaving only an exquisite box of dice behind. “Dice throw it is then… how boring.”
“We really can’t fight with our fists?” Lei Wujie tried asking.
“No! It’ll be the best of three matches.” The teen firmly stated, and as he did so, he laid his hands on the cup atop the box which had been spinning around for a good while now. “What’s your guess.”
“Big then…” Lei Wujie answered in an unsure tone. He had neither Tang Lian’s ability to perceive by sound nor Xiao Se’s gambling prowess, thus he could only blindly guess.
The teen lifted up a tiny crack and revealed a rueful look, “Pity, you guessed wrong, it’s small.”
All Lei Wujie could think then was how much harder this match was than the one he just had downstairs. Back full of sweat, he said, “Really?”
The teen revealed the dice, “Three Three One, it couldn’t be any smaller!”
Lei Wujie listlessly collapsed down.
“Ready for a second round?” The teen was already in the midst of shaking the dice as he said that.
However, Lei Wujie thought about it for a second and said, “I think I’ll go grab a bowl of beancurd first, we can continue with our wager then?”
“But there’s just one more match left.” The teen confidently smiled. “Well, go on then, just remember to bring up those silvers on your way back.”
Lei Wujie nodded his head, turned around and leaped out of the window.
That single leap was a leap that shocked the entire city of onlookers below. In all these years, there hadn’t been a person who had made it past the tenth floor. Furthermore, said person had just leaped off the thirteenth floor, and was even such a young kid -truly a jaw dropping leap.
The red clothed teen was completely unhurt after his leap and dashed off towards a nearby bun store where he promptly plopped himself down onto a seat. The waiter who had been belittling him not too long ago was now stunned. All he could do was stare slack jawed at this teen who was practically an immortal to him at this point.
Xiao Se was in the midst of enjoying a pot of tea right now. Even with all the ruckus Lei Wujie caused, he didn’t even spare his companion a look. He merely blew on his hot tea and lazily said, “So you got beaten on the thirteenth floor? You’re even weaker than I thought.”
“Not yet, but I met a strange fellow there. He wouldn’t fight with me, instead he wanted to gamble with me. You have to help me here, haven’t you been bragging throughout our trip about how you gambled in the Ring of a Thousand Golds in Revelations City.” Lei Wujie eagerly poured Xiao Se another cup of tea.
Xiao Se merely tapped his fingers on the table thrice, “Another three hundred silvers. That will be eight hundred silvers.”
“Fine!” Lei Wujie bit down on his teeth.
“Tell me what happened.” Xiao Se lifted up his eyes. Lei Wujie proceeded to recount his experience all the way up to where he met that strange teen and lost horribly in the first match.
“That should be a disciple of Yin Luoxia’s; she is known for being an avid gambler. Because she lost to the Spear Immortal thrice in a gambling match, she ended up being forced into the role of an elder in Snow Moon City. I’ve heard that she only has one disciple, and that disciple is just as avid of a gambler as she is.” Xiao Se thought about it for a second. “When you’re gambling with him, did you notice any strange actions?”
Lei Wujie thought about it for a second and said, “He first lifted up a tiny crack, looked inside, then declared my loss.”
“That box has a hidden mechanism of some sort beneath that cup.” Xiao Se answered without any hesitation. “First he will take a look, if you’re wrong, he will lift the cup right away. If you’re right, he will lightly activate that mechanism and flip the dice around, it would be your loss then. Naturally, I will still say this: the essence of gambling is very simple. If you believe that you will win, then, you will win!”
Ignoring the overwhelming grandeur in the latter half of Xiao Se’s words, his eyes went wide at what he learnt from the first half, “So that’s why! But, Xiao Se, why do you know so much…”
Xiao Se lowered his cup and raised his eyebrows slightly.
Lei Wujie immediately dashed off towards the tower in fright. There, he found Xie Yanshu whom he had sent flying away with a punch not too long ago still basking in the sunlight at the entrance. “Brother Lei is back again.” Xie Yanshu smiled as he turned towards Lei Wujie.
However, Lei Wujie had no time to spare for the man so he leaped over and upwards.
Xie Yanshu scratched himself for a second then sighed, “I guess I deserve that for being so bad at martial arts.”
“Junior martial uncle, that red clothed boy just left again. Looks like he was really just here for a quick break, and not because he was defeated. At this rate, he will snatch away all the limelight.” The attendant stated anxiously.
“Be patient, once he reaches the sixteenth floor, just watch this young master over here chase him down. That way I get to save all the effort of climbing upwards.” The scholar answered nonchalantly as he laid on his horseback and slowly flipped through a book.
“Junior martial uncle, can you be any lazier…” The attendant tossed aside the reins in exasperation.
“Since we’re all waiting for him to descend from that tower, how about a cup of tea?” A voice suddenly cut into their conversation. The attendant turned around in shock to find a blue robed teen smiling at them while holding a cup of tea.
It was Xiao Se.
The scholar lowered the book in his hands and gave Xiao Se an interested look.
“The purple myrtles discern qi, the eye of dao seek a dragon. What do you see?” Xiao Se asked.
The attendant’s eyes went wide and the peach wood sword on his back began to tremble, as if it was about to pierce through the heavens.
“Fei Xuan, do not be hasty.” The scholar gently waved his hands and placated the sword, “The gentleman over here doesn’t know any martial arts.”
“The art of clairvoyance has three realms: To Perceive the Qi, To Read the Heart, and To Seek the Dragon. Seems like you’ve mastered the first.” Xiao Se stated.
“Is the gentleman saying I was wrong in my reading? Is the gentleman actually a peerless expert?” The scholar smiled.
“No, you were definitely right, I do not know any martial arts. I was just asking if the two of you would like to join me for a cup of tea.”
“Just a cup of tea?”
“Since I’ve had the fortune of meeting some daoists from Qingcheng, I naturally would want to have my fortune read as well.” Xiao Se gazed at the scholar.
However, the scholar suddenly laughed, “That’s where you’re wrong, I just learn the art of swordsmanship from my teacher, not the daoist arts.”
“And our young friend over here?” Xiao Se turned towards the attendant.
“Hmph.” The attendant coldly snorted.