After arranging the last few battles for the day, the Crystal person returned to his room. Then, he sent out his messenger.
After a few cups of wine, his messenger brought back the news he was expecting. He had obtained a face-to-face meeting, just like in the past.
The Crystal person wore his most lowkey clothes and left the Arena. He arrived at a treehouse bar, a place that was assured to be absolutely safe by the tree people. The tree people guaranteed that the conversations here could not be eavesdropped on by any means.
"Old friend, long time no see! You cheated me greatly back then, yet you still dare to look for me?"
A goblin welcomed the arrival of the Crystal person.
The Crystal person bowed slightly. "Old friend, that cannot be considered cheating you. It was just a minor mistake. Moreover, didn't you receive 50% of the profits from that battle? That one made us a lot of coins."
"But I originally had the chance to receive 300% of the profits!"
"A trickle will last a long time. Old friend, I believe that you know about the direct relationship between risk and return. We are no longer rookies who have nothing. Is avoiding risk what we have to focus on now?" the Crystal person asked with great confidence.
The eyes of the goblin boss flashed, as if they were brewing with a rage that was about to burst forth. However, in the end, his stiff smile suddenly relaxed. This time, it was a real smile. "Indeed, old friend, you are still so skilled in convincing others. Speak. What do you plan to do this time? I heard that you were bitten by the vampire and that you're in a financial crisis."
"Indeed, but this is temporary. It is still the same old pattern. I believe that you are deeply familiar with the name Aiolos, old friend. Your people have interacted with him more than once, right?"
"He is a powerful gladiator. I wanted to obtain him very badly back when he was a slave… The same old pattern? He has enough value for us to design a battle. But are you willing to sacrifice him? You should know that without him, the quality of your Arena will fall again just after it rose up."
"Why would I be unwilling to part with a free being who I can't control? There will always be good gladiators around. You and I are the most familiar with this, right? However, you should first confirm whether your gladiator has sufficient ability. This is a fellow that can kill even a Golden Titan. An ordinary Solid Core will run into trouble when facing him." The Crystal person's gaze was solemn. He could only carry out such a plan once. Solid Cores were not invincible either. Some Solid Cores who did not focus on fighting skills could easily protect themselves when faced with combat-type Void Cores, but it would be extremely difficult if they wanted to defeat their opponent, and they might even lose.
"It's Khaisha. You should know his strength well since that fellow almost landed in your hands. Now, even among the Solid Cores, only a few are able to directly defeat him. Let's follow the old practices. I will arrange the bets, and you attract the crowds. You should know that I have held back Khaisha for a very long time. This battle must be big before we can break even." Having said that, the goblin boss's expression was obviously much more ferocious than before. It was not easy to nurture such a gladiator. Thus, he would definitely not agree if the rewards were not generous enough.
When he heard Khaisha's name, there was a glimmer in the Crystal person's eyes. Only a very few people knew that Khaisha, who was viewed as a Void Core in the battlefield, was actually a Solid Core. Furthermore, among the Solid Cores, his abilities were ridiculously high. This was an ancient pattern for winning in the Arena. They would disguise a true expert and even make him lose a few times so that people did not pay attention to him. Then, in an important battle, he would suddenly emerge as a new force to be reckoned with. They would earn several times or even a dozen times more profit than usual from the fight through the manipulated odds.
This was called "chopping the vegetables", where they collected a substantial amount of Star Coins from the fans who blindly admired a certain gladiator. This was not the only time they had worked together. Of course, the secret cooperation between different Arenas was illegal, but when earning money was so easy, why would they not do so? The Machinery race was too lazy to even care about such matters.
The Crystal person relaxed and raised his wine glass. "It's a deal. This time, I assure you that you will receive 500% of the profits."
"No. First, you have to show me your sincerity."
"What do you mean?" The Crystal person looked up in dissatisfaction.
"How much can you invest?" The goblin boss did not seem to concede as he stared at the Crystal person.
The Crystal person laughed ruthlessly. "Everything! You will see it. I am going to see Thumbel next."
To give the goblin more confidence, he revealed his itinerary and plans.
The goblin raised his eyebrows. "Thumbel? You want to borrow money from him? Aren't you playing it too big?"
"Well, if you're willing to lend me money, perhaps I can save on his match…"
"Heh heh. I don't want you to provoke Thumbel because you borrowed money from him. No one dares to steal his business, right? But with such a huge investment, will Aiolos be able to attract so many people who will bet on his victory?"
"Yes, he has the power to rally supporters. I have tested it out, and 90% of the spectators will bet on his victory! Furthermore, you also have to let me see your sincerity, right?"
"Of course, let's stick to the usual practice. I will invest in it first. However, do you want to include some tricks? So that we are prepared for any eventualities?"
The Crystal person's eyes dazzled, and he hesitated. Should one care about saving face when doing business? Despite using Khaisha's strength to suppress Aiolos, the goblin boss was simply shadier and more brutal in his methods. Many "on-the-spot breakthroughs" in the Arena were actually performances as everyone loved watching programmes where the weak defeated the strong. It was not that Aiolos was very strong, but it was just too difficult to find a Void Core opponent for him.
"Sure, I will prepare some. We are absolutely safe, and there will definitely not be any mistakes!"
The Crystal person felt that the goblin was more shameless than he was. However, this was the way of business.
"Very good. We'll stick to our usual practice!"
"We'll stick to our usual practice."
After ending this secret meeting, the Crystal person did not directly go to look for Thumbel. He was only truly sure of himself when the spy he had planted at his old goblin friend's reported that everything was as expected. Only then did he invest all the capital he could invest.
These tense times flew past. Very quickly, everything was prepared and set.
"Aiolos, your fights are becoming harder and harder to arrange. This time, we received a Void Core challenger after much difficulty. You absolutely cannot kill your opponent! If not, even if you go to other Arenas, I will ensure that you will no longer have any battles to participate in."
Aiolos looked at the Crystal person, who had a serious expression on his face, and simply shrugged his shoulders. "Let's put this off for later. To be honest, I am already tired of this level. If you're unable to even get me appropriate opponents, I will change arenas."
The Crystal person's heart instantly tensed up. Then, he turned cold. His guess was not wrong, and this human wanted to run away. However, as long as he fought this battle, it was enough.
This would be his last battle.
"Then you have to pay more attention to your reputation, right? If this is your last battle."
Aiolos simply smiled. His gaze irritated the Crystal person.
The pre-competition preparations were all smooth-sailing, and the Crystal person confirmed his old goblin friend's investment in this gambit from his spy. They had invested an amount enough to build a new Arena on Aiolos losing this competition.
Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority betted on Aiolos winning. They were familiar with Aiolos and had come to the Sacred Arena to see Aiolos fight. What about this challenger called Khaisha? They had never heard of him. Furthermore, this challenger had losses in his record? No one hesitated about who they should bet on and who would win. More and more people started to surge towards the gambling area. As per the previous battles, they were all betting on Aiolos.
The Crystal person repeatedly confirmed the odds and eventually bet all the betting chips he had on his end. He typically did not gamble. However, every time he encountered a crisis, he would get a large heart that dared to take risks. In the past, he had used this method to tide through countless crises. He believed that this time would not be an exception!
His old goblin friend was already waiting in his reserved booth. When the Crystal person stepped into the booth, the main highlight was starting in the battlefield below.
Aiolos looked at his opponent. His opponent was a thin fellow with four hands. His face was filled with scales, making him look like a lizard. However, his appearances made him seem like a celestial.
Khaisha also observed Aiolos. Then, he took the initiative and attacked.
The two of them suddenly clashed. Aiolos almost immediately formed his God of Combat Armor. The moment they came into contact with each other, he had determined that his opponent's body contained terrifying power, which was different from the opponents he had previously encountered. Even the Spirit Dragon, who was analogous to a Solid Core, was a far cry from his current opponent.
There was a golden sheen in his opponent's eyes as he let out a hissing cry. He excitedly stared at Aiolos as if he was observing his prey.
They collided once again. This was a clash between soldiers as their power burst forth with violent sparks. It was very obvious that Aiolos was at a disadvantage!
A shadow that resembled a clone appeared from Khaisha's body, creating confusion for Aiolos. The surrounding environment was then controlled by this clone. It suddenly fluctuated between light and dark, and switched between cold and hot. Most of the time, these were insignificant factors, but under the control of the shadow clone, Aiolos's actions started to slow down. It was becoming harder and harder for him to determine his opponent's attacks.
In the booth, the Crystal person raised his wine glass. He saw that Khaisha had the upper hand, and this expected situation caused him to flash a smile. "A long delay means trouble. Khaisha should quickly end this fight."
"He will. We only need to admire the fight."
The goblin boss flashed a smile.
There was danger all around Aiolos on the battlefield. His God of Combat Armor was filled with dents from the attacks. Khaisha's quick attacks made it very hard for him to get a chance to re-form his armor. This somewhat-unknown Khaisha was far more powerful than expected.
However, at this moment, Khaisha's attacks suddenly became desperate. Then, a flaw appeared in front of Aiolos's eyes among Khaisha's excessively wild attacks. Aiolos did not hesitate and leaped forward and charged straight at Khaisha. Enveloped by lightning, the Pampas Spear pierced through Khaisha.
The Crystal person's smile froze. He widened his eyes and watched this with disbelief. The collapsing figure was Khaisha, who he had placed immeasurable confidence on!
Lightning pierced through Khaisha's body, and charred lightning marks covered half of his body. He let out a blood-curdling shriek and tried to counterattack. However, Aiolos's second attack landed right after.
Khaisha completely collapsed. He struggled and wriggled, but was unable to climb up. The spectators throughout the Arena cheered as usual. Aiolos was still unbeatable, and this opponent was not even a match for his previous one.
The question was, why were the odds this time so good?
Well, no one cared as Aiolos still allowed them to earn great profits. Thus, the cheers in the Arena grew even more fanatical. Aiolos was no longer just the God of Combat, but also the God of Wealth.
Aiolos, who had obtained victory once more, waved his hands and looked in the direction of the Crystal person's booth. He knew that the Crystal person was looking at him.
There was no color on the Crystal person's face. At that moment, the typically calm and wise Crystal person looked like an idiot.
He had lost?
There should have been no risk at all, and their plan was perfect, but he had lost???
No. With such a major situation and so much invested, this definitely could not be a coincidence. He had been tricked. He was the prey!
The Crystal person's entire body was icy cold. He suddenly turned around and fiercely stared at his old friend. "You! These are your arrangements! No, it can't be. Your investments were massive!"
"Indeed. For so many years, you have planted more than one spy on me. Did you really think I was that foolish? Or did you think that the goblin race was just easy to manipulate? It's a pity that I am not a rabbit goblin. Burning Gusil, you should not have taken the profits that were supposed to be mine."
"Just because of the previous battle? You didn't lose anything the previous time! It was just slightly less than what was expected! Now, both of us suffered because of your plan against me! Was it worth it? Have Khaisha get back up. It's not the end yet! Quick, you can still make it!" The Crystal person shouted in shock, "I can compensate you!! I will give you however much you want!"
"Don't you know that I am mainly made out of rage? Indeed, both of us have suffered, but you are not the one who will compensate me." The goblin smiled very happily.
This human Aiolos. His arrogance had been faked. He had actually been contacting the Crystal person's enemies in the dark all along. He knew about the ancient patterns in the Arena and had set up a big trap for the Crystal person!
And Burning Gusil, the Crystal person, just walked himself into it.
However, what gave a gladiator, a mere Earthling, the right to establish such a big trap? It was impossible, simply impossible!
The Crystal person grabbed his head in a frenzy. At this moment, the door of the booth was slowly pushed open, and a figure covered in golden lightning calmly walked in. "Long time no see, old friend. Burning Gusil, you don't seem to be in a particularly good state."
At this moment, it was as if the Crystal person had been struck by lightning. When he saw the Golden Titan who had just come in, his lips started to tremble noisily. "You— It's you! You're still alive? How? This was a trick! It was your trick!"
In an instant, everything made sense. However, the Crystal person did not feel delight from seeing through this complicated plan. He only felt deep fear!
"Mister Thumbel has given me your contracts. There is another hour until the promised repayment time. You should know what the consequences of not paying up according to this contract are!"
He would become a slave!
The Crystal person had invested everything for this grand gamble!
He had raised a mortgage from everything he could front, including his Arena and the 1,000-year estate contracts that had taken up almost all his effort. Furthermore, he had even placed himself as a deposit. In order to give Thumbel more confidence, he had even agreed to set the repayment time at one hour after he would obtain his great earnings from this venture.
He had imagined that he would earn big profits from this battle. He had had enough of the pain from not having any cash flow after paying back the vampire. He wanted to settle this matter once and for all and resolve his insufficiencies!
Tsarilorhuan laughed extremely happily. He had planned all of this early on, ever since he faked his death and freed himself.
He was a Golden Titan who was young and had natural endowments. This meant that the family would "forgive" him and compensate for him.
To the goblin boss, defeating his opponent and receiving the friendship of the Golden Titan family… He would build a relationship at the very least and even be able to earn a large sum of money at the same time. Why not do it?
The only one who had lost was the Crystal person.
Everything had started very early on, including Aiolos's performance, the poisoning, and borrowing money. After all, the Crystal person was also a cash cow.
Tsarilorhuan smiled as he looked at the Crystal person, who resembled a yapping little chick. The humiliation that had been built up for over half a year was set free at this moment.
Even if Tsarilorhuan returned to his family, he could not do whatever he liked. He had to show his abilities to prove himself. This time, he had obtained enough benefits for his family.
"That's right. You do know what you need to do when you become a slave, right? How about becoming a gladiator? I hope that you can stick around in the Arena for a little longer. After all, this place has extraordinary significance to you."
The Crystal person's dazed eyes swirled. Closely after, he saw Thumbel and a notary from the Machinery race behind him. According to the contract he had signed with Thumbel, he had less than one hour to pay up!
With the involvement of a notary, even if he was a member of an aristocrat race, there would be no chance for him to back out. It was just like how Tsarilorhuan could only become a slave after being locked up in the Arena.
Now, it was his turn.
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