The arena of the Royal Institute of Education.
It was becoming increasingly overcrowded, tickets were running out fast even though the duel match was far from starting. The institute decided to charge viewers entrance tickets because a huge team of personnel was required to maintain the order. After all, it was a normal business practice.
More importantly, it was easy money for the institute!
The matchday’s crowd consisted of various demographics, from commoners to aristocrats and members of the royal family. Even the emperor himself came to watch the duel. Individuals from every class in society were present- people of various occupations came. Everyone from farmers to businessmen to labourers to officials- it was a full house!
And all of them were united by one purpose: to support Ye Lang!
But where was Ye Lang? Will he only emerge at the last minute? Will it be just like Zhen Xiaoyan’s competition?
Quite the opposite happened. Ye Lang was already there. In fact, he was a little earlier than the rest. In his own words: he was a very responsible person, of course he couldn’t keep anyone waiting.
Ye Lang took a slow stroll around the arena. He was observing his surroundings with such detail and intensity as if he was examining every patch of dirt.
“Master Thirteenth, we’re rooting for you!” a cheer rang from the audience, clearly expressing their support.
“Thanks, I’ll treat you to lunch later!” smiled Ye Lang, who waved back.
“Master Thirteenth, there’s so many of us! You sure about that?” joked another one. He had no idea that Ye Lang would actually treat them to lunch, there were probably tens of thousands of people there.
However, Ye Lang was a known prodigal son, of course he would be glad to spend a little money on them...
“Yup, I’ll treat every one of you to lunch! Anywhere you want! Just send the bill and I’ll reimburse you,” Ye Lang quipped.
“Hell yeah! You’re the best, Master Thirteenth!”
“Let’s have dinner at the restaurant later…”
“We can have two bowls of soy milk, two sticks of fritters…”
“Hey boss, a bowl of fish soup…”
Within moments, the audience became increasingly excited even though the match has yet to start. The crowd’s support for Ye Lang became increasingly obvious.
With such one-sided support, surely it would have been enough to scare Li Danteng into submission. Then again, it was still too early to say…
“This little shit doesn’t understand the value of money! There’s like a million people here! How much is he gonna spend?!” Long Anqi raved from the stand.
“To treat so many people to a meal is unheard of!” the emperor exclaimed as if to say that even he, as emperor, had never treated that many people to a meal before.
When it came to a matter like this, it was only Ye Lang, the most prodigal of all prodigal sons, who had the guts to pull it off. If such an unprecedented act really took off, it’ll become a legend across generations!
Li Danteng and his family arrived at the arena only moments before the duel was about to start. After finding out that Ye Lang was already at the ring, he was caught off guard.
Observing Ye Lang’s actions, they were starting to suspect his intentions…
“Well Master Thirteenth, you’re early. Did you tamper with the venue or something?” mocked Li Danteng.
“Nope, I’m just being a gentleman,” replied Ye Lang, who shook his head.
Ye Lang’s statement suggested a hidden meaning: he didn’t directly accuse Li Danteng of being a despicable person, but he was suggesting that Li Danteng had used a despicable mindset to evaluate a decent person’s intentions.
“Rest assured Danteng, Grandmaster Edward and the others are here too. Should Ye Lang cheat, they would’ve noticed immediately,” the First Swordsman reassured him calmly.
On the surface, it seemed as if the First Swordsman was soothing Danteng. However, there are some who knew, the First Swordsman included, that Grandmaster Edward was just waiting for someone to question Ye Lang’s integrity in the duel.
As for the reason behind it, Grandmaster Edward was a prominent Royal Grandmaster of Alchemy, even he had tricks up his sleeves during duels. So, he expected Ye Lang to be no different.
After all, Ye Lang was an alchemist. If he really had any tricks up his sleeves, it would be related to the art of alchemy. At least, that was the common perception.
In reality, Grandmaster Edward and the others came to watch Ye Lang duel for another reason. They were interested to see how Ye Lang, as an alchemist, would defeat his opponent. And if they were lucky, they might be able to catch Ye Lang using Ban’s skills and techniques!
As everyone knew, Ban was one the most powerful and skilled alchemist the world had seen. Everyone also knew that Ye Lang was holding onto Ban’s notes, thus it was assumed that Ye Lang may have picked up a skill or two.
But there was one thing that everyone didn’t know, Ban’s notes were actually hidden underneath Ye Lang’s desk…
“Relax, Master Thirteenth was just loitering at the arena. He wasn’t doing anything, nor are there any alchemy formations on the ground,” mentioned Grandmaster Edward, rather coldly, as if to distance himself from Ye Lang.
Grandmaster Edward and the other Royal Grandmasters of Alchemy had rather favourable impressions toward Ye Lang. This was because Ye Lang had brought Ban’s notes to them, which had allowed them to greatly improve and hone their alchemy techniques in recent years.
In short, all of the Royal Grandmasters of Alchemy had come to support Ye Lang in the duel.
“Actually, from an alchemist’s perspective, it’s better to set up our alchemy formation beforehand to improve the chances of winning. But I decided not to because I might be accused of cheating. So, I’ll let him have a head start. After all, with his abilities, I don’t have to prepare much beforehand,” explained Ye Lang, rather bluntly.
However, from a third person’s point of view, Ye Lang sounded as if he was underestimating his opponent, with a hint of disdain.
“I’ll let you brag for now, but I advise you to have a medic ready for yourself,” Li Danteng snapped back, with a degree of hostility.
Everybody knew that Li Danteng’s statement had an insulting undertone, which meant that he considered Ye Lang to be weak. This angered the crowd, some of them furious.
“Oh don’t worry about that, I’ve already hired a medic for the duel, one of the best actually. He can heal all kinds of injuries- except for death of course,” replied Ye Lang, as if he didn’t catch Danteng’s message.
Was this kid playing dumb? How could someone so smart act so dumb at the same time? His reply was concise but also a perfect comeback to Danteng’s insult.
“Alright, since you’re here, let’s begin! Watch out, I’m pretty good,” Ye Lang said as he stretched his arms. He flexed his fingers and faced his palm to Danteng.
‘Who are you fooling? Your skills are a joke!’ Danteng thought to himself, agitated.
Almost everyone else in the arena had the same idea. They thought Ye Lang’s statement was merely a baseless taunt, with no real proof accompanying it.
“Who are you fooling? Show us what you’ve got!” Li Danteng snapped.