Chapter 5 - 5: Su Mei
The stadium of the Scarlet Solaris Sect could be summed up in that single word. It spanned the distance of several miles and its walls encapsulated in an oval fashion, much like a colosseum of ancient gladiators. It was constructed from ironborn limestone with an obsidian layer.
The material of the colosseum was miraculous, exuding a hint of battle qi. It riled individuals minds and hyped them up for aggression. To those with simple spirits, their attitudes would become flamboyant in the face of battle and bloodshed, but to those true warriors, their minds would reach an unprecedented peak of clarity.
Since ancient times, battle qi was a rare form of metaphysical energy that was birthed from intent. To cultivate or gather it normally was nearly impossible. It would only form from the natural environment or from consistent exposure of particular events, such as from battle, death, or cultivation.
As it was birthed from intent it was classified as an Ethereal Qi, qi born from a disbalance of mind, spirit, matter, and essence unlike its base form which embodied a perfect equilibrium. In the case of Ethereal Qi, spirit and mind were the most prominent factors. A common example that many cultivators strive for is Weapon Qi, such as sword qi, saber qi, and spear qi.
There was also the opposing qi that was birthed by the environment instead of from. Scarlet Qi created by the Scarlet Mountain was a form of Material Qi, born from the opposing disbalance of matter and essence. This made it a lot easier to cultivate than its opposing counterpart.
Wei Wuyin marveled at the craftsmanship and aura of the colosseum. Regardless of the amount of times hed been here to fight with his future on the line or to settle a grudge, this place always left him in awe.
It was said that a cultivator used this very stadium to establish his Heart of Battle Qi where he faced ten thousand cultivators with only a set of armor and a sword and shield. It was also where that cultivator drew his last breath, allowing his will to permeate to the future generations where they could feel an ounce of what he felt during that time.
Wei Wuyin felt great respect for such a figure. His will and ability was something worthy of striving towards. Unfortunately, there were no photographic material or statues of that figure, but the battle qi alone was enough to prove that he existed.
As Wei Wuyin arrived at the stadium, he was greeted by several members of his faction. With slight nods, he acknowledged them individually. As a core disciple with nearly seven percent of inner disciples as a part of his faction, there were many he was familiar and unfamiliar with. Despite that, he made a conscious effort to memorize the basic information and faces of all those under him.
"Lord Wei, shall I escort you to the V.I.P section" A wrinkled old man, who worked as an attendant for this event, asked politely.
As a core disciple, there were many benefits offered to him that others couldnt enjoy, such as private lodging and a viewing box. This competition often lasted several days to even a week, so having a place to rest and relax during the downtime was appropriate.
However, he waved the attendant away. He decided to view the competition with Su Mei and the others. It wouldnt be too late to enter during the Core Disciple Competition.
The others didnt dare try to persuade Wei Wuyin otherwise, so they marched on until they found their designated seating.
Wei Wuyin looked at the stadium platforms. They were flat hexagonal blocks that seemed to be made from polished stone. Using his spiritual sense, he could garner that each stone contained a dense degree of earthen energies.
If someone wished to cultivate their earthen natural energies to birth the elements, those battle platforms that numbered in the hundreds would be suitable. That being said, those platforms definitely were dense, durable, and compatible with Earth Qi Arts. Even he wasnt certain he could shatter the stone platforms with a punch.
"Su Mei, good luck." Wei Wuyin offered blessed words before looking at the platforms. The others werent as important as Su Mei, someone who was destined to become an inner disciple with her Qi Condensation Realm cultivation.
"Mn," she softly nodded in response.
Soon, the announcer appeared and brought forth a black board that towered a hundred meters high and fifty meters wide.
"The designation board," Wei Wuyin muttered. The designation board was an object used to take pre-determined numbers and randomizing them in matches. Of course, it avoided placing seeded experts in the same group, but it was completely random outside of that.
White names soon appeared on the board with numbers corresponding to the platform number. The Outer Disciple Competition was already underway. Su Meis name was revealed and so did every other outer disciple who entered the competition.
Before long, the outer disciples were like a bunch of ants that leapt forward and made way towards their assigned platform. Unlike the Inner or Core Disciple Competition, the Outer Disciple Competition was held differently and with a much faster speed.
There were hundreds of platforms, and each platform had nearly a hundred people assigned. This was a massive multi-held battle royal! This was why it was a near certainty that those at the Qi Condensation would become Inner Disciples. With their Heart of Qi and Metaphysical Qi, their physical strength, stamina, and senses far exceeded their opponents.
Even facing a hundred, it was unlikely they would lose. To put it in perspective, it would be like sending a hundred babies to fight against a goliath. There was no suspense.
Su Mei arrived on stage with a stern expression, her eyes cold and indifferent. Like many of the competitors, she was vigilant.
In this battle royal style combat, there were very few rules. Firstly, fists and blades have no eyes, so being maimed or even killed was a real possibility. It was this reason why many outer disciples would opt out or simply try to last longer.
Everyone was given a number and when they are killed, surrender via verbal declaration, or kicked off the platform, that number would vanish and be placed on the matching boards score section. The earliest your name is listed, the less points you receive for resources in the sect, and the later your name, the greater your chance to advance and the higher the rewards.
The competition held was considered the event where the most contribution points were distributed, and reaching top hundred would be like doing a decade of missions suitable for honorary disciples. This chance made many unwilling to give up without a fight.
Su Mei was one of those people. Despite her looks and gender, no one would show her quarter in a fight like this, maybe not even her friends. She knew this and readied herself.
As she withdrew her sword, a longsword about two fingers wide, the aura around her changed. Her cultivation base had recently entered Qi Condensation, so as long as she was careful and didnt meet anyone like her, advancing to the next stage should be easy.
"Begin!" The announcer shouted with gusto.
The world went from tense to chaotic as fighters started attacking. Many had deadly weapons as they struck forth without hesitation. It wasnt long before a few resentful and pitiful yelps resounded.
A few had already lost their lives.
Wei Wuyin watched this as he was hit with a wave of nostalgia. Cultivation was fierce and there was only a limited amount of resources in the world. Those in a sect, especially the Scarlet Solaris Sect, were taught ferocity and a lack of mercy.
While they dont actively teach betrayal, they taught the fundamentals of desire and motivation. To step onto the higher peak, to watch from up high, you must first climb a mountain of bodies.
Wei Wuyin had long since created his mountain. Now, as he looked towards Su Mei, he wondered if she would be able to do the same.
With her cultivation base difference, every strike of hers was like a tiger in a horde of sheep. A single swipe reaped lives.
While many of the deaths and severe injuries seemed random and chaotic, in truth, there were fighters who teamed up with their faction if they were matched up, and fighters who went after those from opposing factions. Those who were more neutral or loosely allies, they would at most be knocked off the stage or knocked out and thrown away.
They were the lucky ones.
He could see Su Meis frosty expression as she slayed a fellow female cultivator. Her body split into two halves. Her intestines flowed out and her eyes were wide, filled with disbelief and pain. Wei Wuyin could see realization dawn on the young womans face as she used her hands to clutch at her spilled insides.
Her life was about to fade naturally when a warhammer smashed down and turned her skull into a shattered mess.
That woman fighter belonged to Tao Guis faction. Tao Gui was actively against his and Mei Meis faction. Su Mei delivered the fatal strike, but a hammer wielding behemoth of a man crushed her skull in the follow up. He was a part of Mei Meis faction.
Events like this happened continuously and no elders would interfere. Participation in the event was a choice and one was not protected. In fact, it was likely that during their own struggle, they went through the same situation and came out as top pillars of the sect, so how could they feel empathy
Su Mei targeted those a part of Tao Guis and Jiu Langs factions. She was merciless, her blade giving no quarter as she struck. For those she could not avoid, but had no enmity with, she would kick or palm them hard, sending them out of the stadium with some broken bones.
In the Outer Disciples, Wei Wuyin was very selective with who he chose. Su Mei was someone he had picked out from tens of thousands, and he had some minor hope for her. During the mission to hunt down and eliminate the remnant forces of the Violet Moon Sect, she was a lieutenant of his.
Her recent breakthrough likely had to be directly induced by the resources plundered.
"Shes ruthless and has ambition. She listens to orders quite well." Wei Wuyins eyes narrowed. Memories flooded his mind.
"You bitch, ptooey!" A middle-aged woman held a young girl with black hair, black eyes, a dirt stained face by her hair. A smidgen of spit accompanied the dirt. The middle-aged woman dangled the young girl about like a toy and aggressively pulled her hair back. A few strands were removed forcefully.
Surrounding them were a group of women ranging from their twenties to thirties. They wore uniforms of honorary disciples and snickered in laughter. If one looked closely, one would notice their eye color, hair color, and even skin tone was similar.
If someone were to make a random guess, they would assume they were all related. However, that wasnt the case.
The young woman tried to grab the arm of her attacker, but whenever she got a grip, the middle-aged woman would use her free hand to smack her arms away. Her strength was simply not sufficient.
"S-stop! Stop!" The young girl pled fiercely, tears welling in her eyes as she was humiliated.
"Stop You think you can use your looks and body to get more than us Youre trying to monopolize him You think hes only your dragon!" The middle-aged woman seemed to grow more and more enraged by the situation. She grabbed the young womans robe and pulled, ripping it apart and showing some skin.
"Youre nothing but a loose slut!" Her rage seemed to be ceaseless. The other women jeered and watched in amusement. Sometimes, a few would flash pity or guilt, but when the woman said those earlier words, much of that dissipated. Instead, it was filled with anger and discontent.
A young man was flying nearby on a variant eagle, indicating his status. He was high enough as he looked down in curiosity. Beside him was a chubby man with a goatee.
This was Wei Wuyin and Du Leng.
"Whats this" Wei Wuyin asked. He had just been flying to take on a mission and receive his sect given crane now that hed accepted his position as a core disciple of the sect.
Du Leng looked at the women gathered and the crowd that was also gathering and thought of something.
"Master, as you know, theres a saying: To rise, one can ride on the lap of a dragon. This was caused by the jealousy born from that journey." He laughingly replied.
In the cultivation world, the saying To rise, one can ride on the lap of a dragon had a few meanings, but the most common and used was that one would use someone else, through exchanging their body, to obtain fortune and benefits. This was often done by female cultivators, and while it did happen with male cultivators, the scene wasnt as easily spottable.
For example, these women all had similar features and skin tones indicating that they were selected because of those qualities. Essentially, a man of notable status had built himself a harem using honorary disciples. Now, this was a dispute within that harem.
"Seems the younger girl is the new favorite and the rest dont like it," Du Leng shook his head in pity. In the cultivation world, resources were scarce and cultivation was too difficult. To rise required the willingness to do anything and everything. Forming a harem was a resource, using the innate sexual energies to stimulate ones qi, create innate elemental energies, forming Yin, and growing Yang.
Throughout the entirety of the Foundation Establishment to the Ninth Stage of Qi Condensation could be bolstered by sexual energies via dual cultivation methods. Therefore, women in a harem would often bicker and fuss if one was getting all the attention and love. All the yang energy.
After all, the dragon was typically someone with a higher cultivation base and thus generated stronger energies for cultivation. Therefore, sex was a resource. Not to mention, because the dragon was often male, they wouldnt allow the women to be with other men under threat of death for the humiliation. Unless...it was their kink.
Wei Wuyin immediately understood. He had seen things like this in his clan and even around the sect. He was just curious as to why they were doing it so publically. Wouldnt the Dragon become enraged because they humiliated his favorite
Wei Wuyin looked at the woman being maliciously bullied. Her clothes were ripped and revealed her skin and breasts. She must be feeling humiliation enough to take her own life. The crowd grew more and more to watch.
Wei Wuyin was by no means a saint. Even he used women for their primal yin to generate energy for cultivation, so he wasnt feeling ashamed or enraged by watching this. However, that woman...
As he looked at her more and more, he felt an odd sensation in his chest. It was miraculous and birthed an impulse.
"Hm" Du Leng caught something with his eye. He saw a man eating some bread in the crowd. He was an inner disciple at the Dantian Establishment Phase.
"I think thats their man, hahaha." He pointed in laughter. Wei Wuyin looked at the man. He was middle-aged and had a teasing smile on his face.
"How can you be certain" Wei Wuyin asked.
"Because I remember him, aaaannnndddd...her." He pointed towards one of the younger women who were standing and watching. "They were together."
"Together" Wei Wuyin frowned. "I see."
Wei Wuyin steered the variant eagle towards the crowd.
"Master" Du Ling was shocked.
Wei Wuyin didnt respond. Instead, he landed within the crowd causing everyone to be startled. With a quick leap, he used his Second Stage of Qi Condensation cultivation to soar. He arrived next to the female honorary disciples.
They were all startled. They backed off in fear.
Wei Wuyin directly ignored them. He walked up to the young girl and middle-aged woman and didnt speak. Without any hesitation, he struck. His blow was fierce as it smashed heavily into the middle-aged womans chest. She was blown back as blood spewed from her body like a geyser.
Her body landed with a thud. It was unknown whether she was alive or dead. This caused everyone to be fearful. They panicked and ran away. Some backed off far away but stayed close enough to see what would happen.
The young woman was startled. She turned to Wei Wuyin and saw his silver eyes and handsome visage. Speechless, she froze.
"Your disgrace of a man watched as you were beaten and humiliated," Wei Wuyin plainly stated. He pointed towards the inner disciple in the distance, getting everyone to look over to see a middle-aged man who looked ready to run. His facial expression was confused for a second but then shocked and even a little enraged.
Luckily for him, he was too much of a coward to attack someone at the Qi Condensation Realm.
The young woman looked towards her man. Her eyes filled with all sorts of emotions, most prevalent was sadness and depression. It seemed that she knew, at least on some level. There was no shock in her expression.
Seeing that, Wei Wuyin nodded. "You hungry"
Du Leng was shocked, but he didnt say anything. His eyes flashed with all sorts of emotions and the way he looked towards that pitiful young woman instantly changed.
"I...maybe" The young woman softly replied in some hesitancy.
Wei Wuyin smiled, "then let me bring you somewhere you can figure it out." He laughed, removing his robe and placing it on her body to conceal her properly. "Whats your name"