Chapter 1471 - Fight for Face

Almost immediately, people turned and looked at Tianming and the Seven Dragon Imperials, wondering whether he would agree and whether the rest would let him. The trap Li Shenjian had laid out was obvious, so there was a chance they wouldn't let it happen.

However, Long Wanying smiled and said, "So you're the ninth son of the sun emperor, right? Do you think you'll get your duel that easily? How old are you, eh? You're no doubt among the most talented people of your age, yet you're challenging someone half your age. Are the celestial orderians shameless or what? You sure are thick skinned for someone who's lost so much face. You might as well challenge a three-year-old to a fight to show off your talent." She didn't hold back her insults at all. They even made Li Shenjian speechlessly blush.

"Yeah! Pick a fight with someone your own age! n.o.body's going to give you the Dragonblood Desecration for free!"

"If you can challenge Li Tianming, then you wouldn't have an issue with challenging the Whitedragon Empress too, right? Age is just a number, after all."

Those on the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect's side mocked and laughed at the notion. In fact, those insults were targeted at the celestial orderians, not the Veildragon Palace, much to the anger of Apothecary Li, Li Xiaoyan, and the rest.

Apothecary Li said, "For all the talk of talent, it's all a waste if they don't live to grow to their full potential." That was a veiled threat. He looked at Long Wanying, subtly hinting at the fate of her late husband, Long Junxuan. It was a long-time grudge.

"Alright, it's pointless. Let's go back!" Li Xiaoyan shrugged and personally grabbed the Dragonblood Desecration, suppressing it and fully intending to leave with it without fighting. Even though they couldn't use it, they had still managed to deprive Xiaoxiao of a divine artifact and the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect were the ones suffering a net loss from the exchange.

"Let's go!"

"The Flamefiend Lord is right. It's pointless to stay."

"Let's leave."

"The Lord Apothecary is right. Talent is pointless if they just lose their lives."

They all began turning to leave. Tianming knew that this was the moment. He had to be forced to accept the challenge for it to appear reasonable. No fool would willingly fight someone so much older than them if they didn't have a good reason. All of a sudden, he said, "Li Shenjian, I'm willing to fight you to decide which side gets to keep the Dragonblood Desecration, but there's a catch."

Everyone's ears perked up, especially the ones on the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect's side. They gaped at Tianming, completely taken aback by his courage. Talent had no bearing in a fight with someone twice his age. Even if Tianming lost, he would still be an undisputed genius. But if Li Shenjian lost, the sky might even fall. Not even the elites of the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect would count on Tianming to be able to win due to the sheer age difference.

"Saintdragon Emperor...." Many people turned to the Dragon Imperials in the hope that they would stop Tianming. Even though this was the only way they could get the bow back, it also presented the risk of losing its blood arrows to the enemy, adding to their power. The Seven Dragon Imperials feigned a troubled look.

"I wish to give it a try," Tianming sincerely said. His performance was perfectly reasonable.

Li Shenjian and the rest tried suppressing the excitement they felt. Before the Saintdragon Emperor spoke, Li Shenjian asked, "What’s your condition?"

Tianming waited for the Dragon Imperials to nod before he said, "I want you to be holding the Dragonblood Desecration during the fight."

"Haha!" Li Shenjian burst out laughing, fully knowing his intentions. Holding the weapon meant stopping it from running away. Essentially, it was a handicap. "Alright, I'll fight you with one hand tied then!"

The celestial orderians laughed at how cute, for the lack of a better word, the condition was.

"Tianming?" The Dragon Imperials still appeared hesitant.

"Everyone, please give me the chance to win back what rightfully belongs to Xiaoxiao," Tianming 'pleaded'.

"Alright, we have no other choice." The Seven Dragon Imperials continued looking troubled, and the other Xuanyuan Dragon Sect members were helpless to do anything about it as well. It wasn't that they didn't trust Tianming, but rather that everything about the battle was unfair from the beginning. Still, they had gotten into this predicament because they weren't able to keep Xiaoxiao adequately safe from the beginning. How could normal and uninvolved people like them be aware of the deeper battle that was going on?

After Tianming got their permission, he gently smiled at Xiaoxiao. Then, with masculine bravado, he stepped up and looked at Li Shenjian. "I’ve decided to accept your challenge! Seniors, please make way."

"Very well. However, fighting right here and now won’t be that interesting, and there isn't enough of an audience. I suggest we pick a more formal place to suit the occasion. We'll give the audience at least two hours to come to watch our fight," Li Shenjian said.

"Are you trying to avenge your little brother's loss?" Tianming asked with a wry smile.

"You can think of it however you like," Li Shenjian nonchalantly said, knowing that it would be important for the confidence and morale of the young celestial orderians. No matter what, their race had to be number one and undefeated! Even though Li Shenjian was quite a bit older than Tianming, it would still be a good consolation for them if he defeated Tianming.

"Alright. Where do you suggest we fight, then?"

"The Infernal Dragon Purgatory."

The crowd burst into chatters after the revelation. Not only was that a formal ground, it was also a place with great historical significance where the Veildragon Palace had broken off from the Xuanyuan Dragon Sect. More importantly, it was where death duels were held. People who chose to fight there all went in with the full conviction of killing their foes.

In two hours, tens of millions of people across the Myriaddragon Mountains would go there in antic.i.p.ation of the duel. It was a sudden event that took place without any buildup, yet few knew that it was actually part of the script Tianming and the Seven Dragon Imperials had penned. The rest depended on Tianming's performance.

"Li Tianming, do you dare fight me there?" Li Shenjian's arrangement of bane-rings brightly shone, even more intensely than the gaze he shot Tianming.

"No problem," Tianming said, his response so quick that many seniors began worrying.

"I heard that the justice emblems are able to unleash even more power around a flaming environment."

"Li Tianming agreed too quickly. He fell for the trap."

"Why didn't the Dragon Imperials warn him about it?"

It seemed like they were falling for one trap after another. The situation was starting to look quite desperate.

"Alright, it’s a deal. I'll wait for you there with the Dragonblood Desecration. Do make sure you show up." Li Shenjian turned and left for the arena with the elites. Many transmission stones were sent out to inform everyone in the mountain range about the duel that would decide the fate of the Dragonblood Desecration. Naturally, the more important stake was the face that would be won or lost. If Li Shenjian defeated Tianming and crushed his undefeated streak swiftly enough, he would at least be able to salvage the reputation of the celestial orderians somewhat.

"The Infernal Dragon Purgatory is under the Torchdragon Emperor's control. While the seniors might hesitate to kill a Sky Palace disciple like him, Li Shenjian could even claim that he couldn't adequately control his power enough to kill Tianming or even cripple him by killing his lifebound beasts. His relative youth is the perfect excuse."

"That's right. There's also the precedent of Long w.a.n.gyu's death. They'll be sure to bring that up."

"Li Tianming was too hasty when he agreed to the duel. It's like he was being led around by the nose the whole time! If he isn't able to defend himself properly, this will turn out badly."

"Did you see how dark the expressions on the Seven Dragon Imperials were? The Whitedragon Empress is chewing Tianming out about it."

"What a worrisome fellow...."

Now, the Ninedragon Army's morale was at a new low in antic.i.p.ation of the worst. Tianming had been a symbol for the Myriad Solar Sects, and the Ninedragon Army had adopted him as a symbol of hope as well. However, even as worried as they were, they would still be on his side.

"Brothers, let's cheer for him! The Myriaddragon Mountains are our territory! We can't let outsiders beat us in terms of fighting spirit!"

"Let's go! Call as many people as you can to come for moral support!"

Without the Saintdragon Emperor's explicit orders, the elites of the sect swarmed toward the Infernal Dragon Purgatory. The entire time, the sect had been trying to fend off the invaders. Even though this was a battle between juniors, it was still incredibly important and related to life and death. This could be the spark of a larger conflict!

The two groups lined up like two long dragons as they headed toward the arena, clas.h.i.+ng with one another from time to time. Li Shenjian, being the son of the sun emperor, was naturally guarded by a group of celestial orderians. Tianming, however, had the entire sect's support as a result of his impressive performance at the Azurecloud Continent.

The temperature around them rose the closer they came to the venue. Tianming could already see the Infernal Dragon Purgatory, marking the border between the Skydragon and Earthdragon peaks. It looked like a short, broad mountain, one that was far shorter than the other peaks. At the top of the mountain was a huge hole, out of which burst raging flames. The flames looked like a miniature Voidsky Flame Pillar.

The Infernal Dragon Purgatory was located below the hole. The Veildragon Guard, celestial orderians, and the Ninedragon Army had gathered near the huge hole in advance; two hours were more than enough for people to come over. With a deployment of this scale, a full-scale conflict could easily be sparked. However, neither side could afford to hold back—the potential for real conflict was far too high. The duel's stakes were too high, almost as if it could affect the larger conflict as a whole. It was a symbolic duel that could greatly affect the morale of the armies on both sides, for the youths that represented them also represented the futures of their factions. The victories of the younger generation were a.n.a.logous to the victories of the factions' future!

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