Chapter 63 - The Golden Tong
The news of the Hundred Years Longevity Peach was disseminated very rapidly. In just the short span of a few months, it had spread far and wide, to hundreds of islands in the Thousand Islands Seas, and it was still fermenting rapidly.
Ten Hundred Years Longevity Peaches and a Hundred Years Longevity Peach were two completely different things. It was not like, the more they were, the more people would care about them; on the contrary, the less they were, the more they were worth cherishing. And the Hundred Years Longevity Peach was last of its kind, a second would not appear in the next hundred years.
And this last Hundred Years Longevity Peach was taken by an Xiantian Stage cultivator!? Just an Xiantian Stage cultivator!?
In a flash, the Golden Core Stage powerhouses of various islands who had not entered the Xiantian Endgame World came out of their seclusion and rushed to Nine-Five Island.
Nine-Five Island, Tiger Cage Pass...
Sitting in a hall of Gu Mansion, Gu Qin and Gu Han listened to their subordinates as they relayed the intel.
Listening to the intel, the two slightly frowned as they sank into deep thought.
"Great Brother, more and more cultivators are approaching our Gu Mansion, monitoring our Gu Mansion constantly. We are in a precarious situation!" A frown appeared on Gu Han's forehead as he said this.
Gu Qin nodded in agreement, and said, "I have informed Hall Lord through the Clear River Sect, and Hall Lord has promised to shelter our Gu Mansion. That's why the outsiders are afraid to act recklessly and are only monitoring!"
"They are waiting for Foster Father to return, but...!" a wry smile appeared on Gu Han's lips.
"There is no need to worry, Foster Father is wiser than you. With so many cultivators around Gu Mansion, why would Foster Father rashly rush back here? Don't worry, we still have to do what ought to be done, just treat them as if they don't exist!" Gu Qin assured him calmly.
"I understand this, I am just worried about Foster Father's safety...!" said Gu Han in concern.
"You don't need to worry about Foster Father. Foster Father is a dragon, and now that he has entered the Xiantian Stage, he is like a dragon swimming in the sea. How can those thieves and rascals block Foster Father?" Gu Qin said calmly.
Gu Han nodded. They could only comfort themselves in this way.
Clear River Sect…
Long Wanqing and Grandmaster Liunian were playing weiqi. Suddenly, Long Wanqing frowned slightly.
"Grandmaster, do you think Gu Hai can return safely?" asked Long Wanqing, wrinkling her brow.
"Hall Lord, you don't need to worry about it. When we were in Xiantian Endgame World, I saw how formidable Gu Hai was. He alone fought against tens of thousands of people! Ha, do you think, someone who could fight with tens of thousands of cultivators alone will be in danger in a situation when the enemy is in the dark?" replied Grandmaster Liunian, laughing.
"It's different from Xiantian Endgame World. Everyone was at the Xiantian Stage there!" stated Long Wanqing as she placed the piece, knitting her brow.
"You are right, but Gu Hai wasn't even at the peak level of Xiantian Stage in the Xiantian Endgame World! Hall Lord, don't worry about it. You just have to send someone to protect Gu Hai's adopted sons, that's all! We have to do something for him! After all, he sure helped us find Wei Shengren!" replied Grandmaster Liunian, shaking his head.
"It's just that Throne Master Ding wants to avenge Meng Tai, but...!"
"She is making things difficult for you?" Grandmaster Liunian laughed.
Long Wanqing nodded. The Ascendant Hall had its own rules. Even though Gu Hai had helped her big time by finding Wei Shengren, he had also killed Meng Tai in due process, making it difficult for Long Wanqing to come to a decision.
"Hall Lord, how about you drag it out?"
"From what I have observed, Gu Hai isn't an oil-saving lamp. Since Throne Master Ding wants to kill Gu Hai, then, we should let them fight it out!" suggested Grandmaster Liunian, narrowing his eyes.
Long Wanqing's expression flickered before she nodded.
"Ah, one more thing... you should stay away from that Divine Battalion commander, Li Haoran!" A frown crept up on Grandmaster Liunian's brows as he warned her.
"En? Why? Grandmaster, since the start of this trip, why have you been against Li Haoran?" Long Wanqing looked at Grandmaster Liunian with a frown.
Grandmaster Liunian shook his head as he said, "Hall Lord, do you remember what your mother told you before she died?"
Long Wanqing nibbled her lips; she was somewhat reluctant to speak up. But in the end, she took deep breaths, suppressing the sadness in her heart, and only then did she nod and reply, "My mother said that I have to listen to Grandmaster!"
Looking at the sad look on Long Wanqing's face, Grandmaster Liunian heaved a sigh before speaking, "Li Haoran? He is a very fierce and ambitious man. In the past, he pursued your mother, but was finally rejected by her!"
"Oh? He pursued my mother?" Long Wanqing exclaimed in surprise.
"That's right! When Li Haoran was young, he made achievements by taking the Divine Battalion on campaigns everywhere, spreading the Divine Battalion’s name far and wide in the world. Such an outstanding man would naturally attract a bevy of admirers. However, he was too proud and ambitious, he never fell for a woman's charms. Naturally, your mother also noticed this. Any woman who would accompany him would never be happy!" explained Grandmaster Liunian.
"I think, this is an outsider's prejudice...!" Long Wanqing tried to defend Li Haoran.
Grandmaster Liunian shook his head and said, "Hall Lord, I know what your current state of mind, I also know I can not stop you for too long. I just have one request, before you have avenged your mother, do not get too close to Li Haoran, okay?"
Looking at Grandmaster Liunian, Long Wanqing nodded after a moment of silence. "Grandmaster, don't worry, I cannot live under the same sky with my mother's killer. I will not have any other idea before avenging my mother!"
"Very well!" Grandmaster nodded.
In a hall of Clear River Sect...
A big map was spread before the golden-armored Li Haoran, it detailed the topography of Nine-Five Island, as well as other nearby islands in all directions.
Standing before him was a group of Divine Battalion disciples.
"Commander, more and more cultivators are converging on Nine-Five Island!" a subordinate respectfully reported.
Looking at the map, Li Haoran calmly said, "Those jumping clowns are nothing to be feared!"
"Yes! However, we just got news that a flood dragon and Bixi appeared in the northern sea some time ago, where the two sea beasts displayed their terrifying might and fought in the sea for several days!"
"Oh?" Li Haoran's eyebrows twitched as he moved his gaze away from the map.
"Your Subordinate only got this information just now!"
Looking far away outside the hall, Li Haoran narrowed his eyes and said, "Did those two vermin induce something?"
"Your Subordinate doesn't know!"
"Send someone to keep an eye out for those two vermins. As long as they appear, report it to me immediately!" ordered Li Haoran grimly.
In another hall of Clear River Sect...
Old matron Ding Rui, leaning on her walking stick, looked at the Song Jia Sect Chief.
"Throne Master Ding, more and more cultivators are catching up, and Gu Hai's information has spread far and wide! The ships that departed from Tianyuan Island have arrived already, but there is still no sign of Gu Hai!" reported Song Jia Sect Chief, knitting his brow.
"He will be found sooner or later. Let's see where he is going to run with more and more people looking for him!" Throne Master Ding's eyes flickered, gleaming coldly.
"We have already sent people to monitor Gu Hai's family, should we capture them?"
"No, they are bait. Sooner or later, Gu Hai will appear, he can't run away!" said Ding Rui coldly.
Song Jia Sect Chief nodded.
"Right, over these years, I have asked you to detain him, did you get anything from him?" Ding Rui looked at Song Jia Sect Chief.
"We still have not gotten anything!" Song Jia Sect Chief shook his head.
Ding Rui furrowed her brow and nodded reluctantly in acceptance.
More and more cultivators were entering Nine-Five Island. As long as anyone entered Nine-Five Island, they would be searched and investigated by a bunch of cultivators. Having seen Gu Hai slip so easily from Tianyuan Island, all the cultivators were inspected meticulously. However, there was still no information on Gu Hai.
While everyone was looking for Gu Hai and waiting for him to walk into a trap, unbeknownst to everybody, Gu Hai had arrived at Nine-Five Island several days ago.
It was just that his arrival was rather uncomplimentary.
Gu Hai's upper face was covered with a bronze mask, his hands and legs were bound with chains, and the clothes he wore were tattered. And presently, he was being whipped by someone, forcing him to move forward.
Apart from Gu Hai, there were a hundred people who looked just the same as him.
Bound with chains and a bronze mask up to their nose that revealed just their eyes, and looking all around.
Clank! Clank! Clank!
The clattering of chains from hitting the ground made everything even more grim.
"Hurry up, do you want to get whipped? Walk quickly!"
A group of black-robed men swung their whips, herding the group of bronze-masked men.
Even if the bronze-masked men were being whipped, there was still a ruthless look on their faces as they shouted out.
"Humph, what are you roaring for? Do you still want to get whipped? Walk!” Crack! The black-robed man angrily lashed the group of bronze-masked men.
Gu Hai didn't struggle and followed everyone walking in front him.
"My Lord, maybe if I reveal my identity..." Chen Tianshan's panic-stricken voice came from behind him.
Chen Tianshan and Gao Xianzhi were also in the same situation; they were bound with chains and had a bronze mask on their faces.
"Aren't you afraid they will kill you to keep your mouth shut if you reveal your identity?" the nearby Gao Xianzhi said in a heavy tone.
"But… but… but what should we do?" Chen Tianshan was so scared that he was about to cry.
"Be patient, we will find an opportunity and escape!" whispered Gu Hai.
"We can't escape, we can never escape from here. Throne Master, don't you understand, this mask on our face can explode. If we run, they will explode the mask. If you forcefully try to remove the bronze mask, it will explode, it will fu**ing explode! Furthermore, our cultivation is also sealed by Golden Tong's special sealing technique. We are no different than a mortal now," said Chen Tianshan, downcast.
"Golden Tong? Chen Tianshan, do you know where we are?" asked Gu Hai grimly.
Chen Tianshan nodded and smiled wryly as he replied, "Yes, I have been here before. But I never thought that I would come here like this. We are at Nine-Five Island's Golden Tong, it's one of the five major sects of Nine-Five Island!"
"Golden Tong, one of the five major sects of Nine-Five Island?" exclaimed Gao Xianzhi in disbelief.
Chen Tianshan nodded. "Golden Tong is also the richest sect of Nine-Five Island. They don't even need to mine spirit stones, the spirit stones flow into their pockets in a steady stream. There are countless experts inside the tong!"
"To be precise, Golden Tong is a big casino, a casino for cultivators. Cultivators from all around the Thousand Islands Seas come here for gambling. And today, we have already become gambling tools for the Golden Tong!" explained Chen Tianshan with a bitter smile.
"Yes, gambling tools, one of the gambling events of the Golden Tong is the Colosseum! The men wearing bronze masks are all utterly evil characters of the Thousand Islands Seas. Of course, that's what the public is told. I only know now that this is not the case. Otherwise, why would we also be caught and brought here?"
"Colosseum? What's that?"
"It's a huge arena where fighters called gladiators fight with humans or beasts. The weakest of the gladiators are in the Xiantian Stage and strongest in the Golden Core Stage. They are a fierce group of people. Inside the Colosseum, they fight with one another until their opponent is dead. The fights are extremely bloody and savage. In there, there are people responsible for helping you make a bet. Previously, I came here to gamble. But I never thought that someday I too would become an object of gambling, and carry out life and death fights to amuse others!" said the horrified Chen Tianshan.
At this moment, the group of bronze-masked men had already been herded into a huge valley entrance.
The mountain valley was surrounded by billowing mist. Gu Hai could see that it was covered in a huge array with one glance.
"Valley of Crooks? This is Valley of Crooks!?" Chen Tianshan's face turned extremely ugly.
 - Difficult to deal with.