Chapter 271: I Hate The Phone
There was only confusion in Lou Cheng's blank and silly face. Turning away to hide her smile, Yan Zheke explained herself with ﬂushed cheeks. "I was just beginning to feel an attachment to you back then. When I found out what you've done, I didn't have a strong reaction. After we went steady, I'd be frightened each time I thought about it. I even have nightmares. What if something happened to you then? What should I do… "
Her gaze shifted and the rim of her eyes turned red.
His heart tightening, Lou Cheng stretched his hand to pull the girl into his arms. They sat by the bed, the girl leaning on him. "I was really too impulsive and immature then. I won't do it again."
Dating, marriage, and companionship in their late years. These were not just about romantic feelings, but also about real life. They both used to live in their own worlds and fend for themselves, but they now shared a common fate. They should consider for their other half when making their every decision. This was their duty.
Though it would cost them a large part of their freedom, nothing could be gained without expense.
She felt Lou Cheng's gentle touch on her hair as she leaned on his chest and softened her voice to say, "Of course I trust you. I'm not angry. I'm just trying to tell you what worries and frightens me. There are some things that the other person will never truly understand if I don't say it out loud. And I'm not stupid enough not to do that."
She paused, not looking up at him. "I know there are things that you must do. My grandpa often told me that all of us, men or women, have responsibilities that we must undertake, sometimes even at the risk of our lives. But you can't be impulsive. You must weigh them carefully before acting. It's no big deal to react based on impulse. Even a street hooligan can do that. Thinking thrice before making your decision is what makes you a true hero… "
"If you reencounter such situation and have things you simply must do, I won't stop you again. I just want you to tell me and let me go through it with you."
"Grandpa really speaks wisely." A chord was struck in Lou Cheng's heart. Sure enough Ke was better at communicating than him, for he was likely to be illogical and would be unable to highlight the key points. "I'll think thrice and consult you before acting from now on!"
He smiled and said, "I really want meet grandpa."
"Who's your grandpa!?" Yan Zheke looked at him reproachfully, but couldn't help asking in curiosity, "Why do you want to meet him?"
"I want to know how great the elder is to turn you into such a good girl with such a perfect worldview, values, and life philosophy." Lou Cheng laughed.
"Bah! You're so disgusting! Could you stop racking your brains to praise me?" Yan Zheke giggled, her mood signiﬁcantly improved. "Let me punch your chest with my little ﬁsts!" "Your little ﬁsts can break stones… " Lou Cheng smiled obsequiously.
Laughing for a while, Yan Zheke raised her head and pursed her lips. Still uneasy, she asked, "Cheng, you really don't mind all those gossips and insults?"
He had done nothing at all. It was all her...
"If I say I don't mind, I'm just lying to put you at ease. But it's not as serious as you think. At ﬁrst I felt I was wronged out of nowhere, but I'm now relieved since you've made things clear to me. What you've done is what I've done. I can only eliminate their prejudices with one victory after another. Once I show an indisputable strength, those gossips and insults will no longer mean anything. I can't hope that everyone likes me. There will always be those with malformed personalities," Lou Cheng explained his feelings with a smile.
Yan Zheke gnashed her teeth as she listened to him. With great concern, she asked, "Will it bring you a lot of pressure?" To eliminate people's prejudices with one victory after another? Was he planning to win two matches tomorrow?
That will bring him great mental pressure!
Lou Cheng was stunned before he burst into laughter. "Ke, were you infected with my silliness? I don't mean just this Youth Tournament."
"There's no such thing as a 100% winning rate when you're similar to or weaker than your opponent in a martial arts competition. The Dragon King had tasted defeat. Warrior Sage had tasted defeat. Among all the famous martial arts practitioners these days, who have not once failed? What I mean is that as long as I push on, I'm sure to gain more victories even if I lose the match tomorrow."
He deeply inhaled the girl's fragrance.
"Hmph, so you know your stupidity is contagious!" Yan Zheke sneered, her mind ﬁnally put at ease. She broke free from Lou Cheng's embrace and said, "I've to go down now. Sister Jingjing and the rest are waiting for me in the car."
Under the soft light, Ke's beauty was bewitching. The more he looked at her, the more attractive she became. It reminded Lou Cheng of his initial expectations. Swallow his saliva, he told her his suggestion.
"Ke, why don't you ask Sister Jingjing to go back? You can sleep here tonight."
A startled Yan Zheke blushed furiously at a visible speed and stammered, "You, tomorrow you… "
Before she could ﬁnish, she was propelled forward and felt herself pulled hard into Lou Cheng's embrace. Her pink lips were covered with his in a deep, passionate kiss, blocking the rest of her words.
With their lips and tongues entwined, Yan Zheke's face was as red as if she was drunk. She began to respond to Lou Cheng, even as her head reeled. Without being aware of it, she was gradually pressed onto the bed. There were several times where she wanted to speak, but she was unable to due to his endless kisses.
Aroused, Lou Cheng sucked on the sweetness in Ke's lips. With one arm around her, he could not help caressing her body with the other.
Sliding his hand along the curve of her body, he stopped at the back of her waist and began tugging at her chiffon shirt. Her exposed skin was smooth, delicate, and cool. Lou Cheng breathed heavily and continued to explore upwards, slowly and cautiously.
She stiffened and trembled lightly. A faint groan came from the back of her throat. She weakly pushed Lou Cheng away, but her hands were grasping his shirt as if she was resigned to fate.
An ear-splitting ringtone rang through the air, over and over.
Lou Cheng pretended not to hear and was about to throw the phone far, far away with one hand. But Yan Zheke had recovered. She sat up and pushed him aside with great force.
The girl's face was ﬂushed a deep red, her eyes swimming with tears, her lips glistening with moisture. She picked up her phone as she gasped and berated Lou Cheng at the same time. "Pervert! Pervert! Pervert!"
The call was from Gu Shuang. Yan Zheke calmed herself before answering.
"You took so long to answer… " Gu Shuang's giggle deepened the color of Yan Zheke's face. She did not dare to reply. "I'm worried we'll be waiting in vain, so I'm calling to make sure if you'll still leave with us. You can't let us sleep in the car, can you? Did I disturb you two?"
"What are you thinking?! I-I'll go down now!" Yan Zheke said reproachfully. Lou Cheng helplessly covered his face.
He was so close to success! Little Miss Gu Shuang should have called just one minute later!
Yan Zheke glared at him, eyes still glittering, before letting out a humph.
"I'm leaving… You still have a match tomorrow!"
Looking aside shyly, she jumped off the bed like a little white rabbit and went to the door as she straightened her clothes.
Lou Cheng sighed, not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
Following her, he bent over and sent the girl off.
Yan Zheke took an accidental glance at him and became embarrassed. "Hello, pervert! Bye, pervert!"
"Good night." Lou Cheng stepped forward, hugging her and planting a gentle kiss on her forehead.
Yan Zheke turned to look somewhere else with her watery eyes.
Worried she would not want to leave if she stayed with him any longer, she turned and ran towards the elevator.
She had such violent mood swings today that she almost lost control of herself…
... Zhang Zhutong got inside his car after the matches ended and rested in the back seat, ignoring his female companion. He closed his eyes and he recalled the last two matches: one was between Lou Cheng and Meng Jiefeng, the other between Han Zhifei and Qiu Shan.
The car sped past the streets, stopping in front of a 29-story building instead of his villa. Two glowing large characters were hung on the building.
Taking a deep breath, Zhang Zhutong entered the building from a side entrance with his female companion. When they took the lift to the 11th ﬂoor, they saw a sign hanging outside the door: Shenhuo Club.
"You're here?" A man wearing a lab coat walked towards them, smiling.
It was nearly 10 at night. No one was on this ﬂoor except for them. "I have two matches tomorrow. I need to recover." Zhang Zhutong smiled as a way of greeting.
The man in the lab coat laughed heartily. "It's not like you've never tried the ultra-low-temperature cryotherapy system. Most of your exhaustion will be eliminated with the assistance of acupuncture, moxibustion, and red pellets. You'll return near to your peak form soon."
As they conversed, they went through a series of doors before ﬁnally entering a room that belonged in a sci-ﬁ movie. The room looked it was designed to be a space capsule.
The ultra-low-temperature cryotherapy system used liquid nitrogen to create an environment with the temperature of minus 110 to 140 degrees. When a human was subjected to extreme cold in a short time, the stress-protective mechanism in the body would be activated and gain control of the relevant hormone secretion. This would immediately accelerate blood circulation to protect all the organs and tissues and maintain body temperature. These reactions helped the body get rid of impurities and reduce the production of metabolic wastes, easing muscular aches and accelerate the recovery from exhaustion. After the brief cold stimulation, muscles would be more relaxed after returning to normal temperature. The enhanced blood circulation would carry more energy to the body and help it recover as soon as possible.
Taking off his clothes as he did many times before, Zhang Zhutong wore a device to prevent his respiratory system from being damaged by the cold air. He opened the door and walked in.
Almost instantly, they could see from the observation window how the white air ﬁlled the room and surrounded Zhang Zhutong's naked body. The temperature inside was recorded on a LCD screen.
It was minus 130 degrees!
... At the same time, another round of overtime began in the TV station.
Rapping the table, the leader asked, "Have you decided on the nicknames of the top 4 yet?"
The young man with disordered hair said tentatively, "Since we have Six Vajra and Eight Little Immortals, what about Four Heavenly Kings?"
"Four Heavenly Kings? Only the mighty ones are qualiﬁed for that title. These young warriors aren't even at high-ranked Dan stage yet. The title would only bring them hate comments." The man who liked reading web novels sneered at the suggestion. "Since these young people are all talented, maybe we can call them Four Heavenly Sons."
"But it's not easy to make any nicknames of that title. If you have to call someone so-and-so Heavenly Son, how unpleasant it would be!" The others protested the suggestion. "It's not necessary to call them so-and-so Heavenly Son. We can just give them four corresponding nicknames." The man who made the suggestion tried to explain.
The leader nodded.
"I'm pretty happy with this suggestion. We'll use the title tentatively and give them nicknames according to their ranking after this competition. We need to show the difference in their levels."
Chapter 272: The Final Night
In the early summer in early August, the air was humid and warm. It was so stiﬂing that it made people feel like they were in a sauna.
Lou Cheng sat by the bed, his emotions as he keenly felt the remnants of his passion. He wanted to take a cold shower to calm himself, but he recalled the effects of Cold Force and gave up on that idea. Since he had to be in tip top form for the matches tomorrow, he could not do anything else either.
Shaking his head while laughing at himself, he picked up his phone and sent a message to Yan Zheke with a pitiful emoji.
"I don't dare to turn on the air-conditioner or to take cold shower, I can only keep my mind clear and cool down naturally… "
... In the lift, Yan Zheke could still feel the heat from Lou Cheng's hand touching her waist earlier. She scoffed and pursed her lips. She took out a pocket mirror from her bag and stared at her reﬂection.
Flushing cheeks, moist lips, and watery eyes with joy and embarrassment in it. With just one glance at her, anyone could tell she was up to no good...
"That pervert Cheng!" She quietly cursed him. After stepping out of the elevator, she stayed in the lobby, not daring to directly meet Gu Shuang and Xing Jingjing.
After a few minutes, she checked her reﬂection and made sure her face was back to normal. Only then did she stepped out of the hotel and returned to Gu Shuang's car.
When she opened the co-driver's door and was about to sit down, she saw her close friends carefully looking at her from top to bottom. Gu Shuang giggled. "I still feel like I've ruined your little rendezvous!"
"It's not a rendezvous!" Yan Zheke replied grufﬂy.
It was obviously an evildoing!
Being a wise person, why was she so irrational as to fool around with Cheng knowing he has a match tomorrow? She must be bewitched!
Yeah, she must be infected by him!
"I can't quite believe you," Gu Shuang giggled. "While relishing in the passion of winning a key match and with a beauty like you by his side, I wouldn't be able to control myself if I'm him. I don't believe your Cheng, as an ordinary man, will be able to bear it!" "What can't you bear?" Yan Zheke dared not to continue this topic. Instead, she grasped a certain point and used that as her reply.
Gu Shuang who was twisting her car keys stopped, laughing her head off. "I was just talking with Sister Jingjing about it!"
"What?" Yan Zheke wore a blank expression and looked at Xing Jingjing, who was sitting in the back seat with a neutral and innocent expression.
"We were saying you have a good ﬁgure. I get envious whenever I see it. I want to make it mine!" Gu Shuang's laughter rang throughout the car. "Look! My thighs are thicker than yours, my waist is fatter than yours, even your breasts are ﬁrmer than mine. I really want to cry… "
"At least you're busty," Xing Jingjing complained.
"You're right. When you put it that way, I've regained my conﬁdence." Gu Shuang raised her chin and turned the key to start the car. "You female hooligan! It's time for you to lose weight!" Yan Zheke scolded jokingly. When she took out her phone, she saw Lou Cheng's text.
Cool down naturally… The girl once again blushed as she typed a gruff reply.
"Dirty hooligan! Pervert Cheng!"
Lou Cheng sent an astonished emoji. "It's a misunderstanding! I meant the weather. The room is too hot without air-conditioning."
"Hmph, aren't you called the Walking Air-Conditioner? Are you still afraid of the hot weather?" Yan Zheke replied with an emoji that said 'there is only one truth'.
What a bad guy! He was deﬁnitely referring to that thing. "I'm worried I'll trigger the remnants of Cold Force." Lou Cheng forcibly gave an excuse.
"Oh." Yan Zheke sent an angry emoji. "If you can't turn on the air-conditioner or cool yourself with the Power of Frost, why are you still asking me to stay there? Did you want to die of heat? Or do you want me to keep my mind calm to cool down naturally?"
"I-I'm wrong… " Stunned, Lou Cheng soon began laughing.
Damn it. Ke tricked him again!
Yan Zheke curved her lips, showing dimples. She was happy and relaxed.
"Tsk, tsk." A driving Gu Shuang glanced at her.
... After laughing and chatting with Yan Zheke for a while longer, Lou Cheng ﬁnally felt calm and cool enough. He went to the window and drew the curtain partially. Breathing in the warm, dry night air, he dialed his master's number.
"Hey, you brat. You still remember you have a master?" Geezer Shi could not help teasing him.
"No, no such thing. I just don't want to bother you with small issues. " Lou Cheng grinned. "Master, I've reached the Dan stage! I've made it to the top 4 of our provincial Youth Tournament. The semi-ﬁnals are tomorrow!"
Lou Cheng showed off his achievements to surprise, no, please his master.
"Not bad. Your progress is a little quicker than I'd expected," Geezer Shi emphasized the word 'a little' in his calm reply. "As for the so-called Youth Tournament, do you think I care about such a low-level competition? But it's good that you made the top 4. I'd be ashamed of you otherwise." He chuckled and continued, "Did you mix the elements necessary for cultivation when entering the Dan stage?"
"I did. That's also what I want to consult you about," Lou Cheng replied frankly.
Geezer Shi grinned. "Let me guess. Did you get inspired by Longhu Immortal's method of forming a Taiji Bagua within one's body with ice and ﬂame as yin and yang to balance his condensed Dan? And then apply such a balance into your Force Concentration?"
"Ah… Master, how did you know?" Lou Cheng was confused.
He said as if he had witnessed it! No, it was impossible to determine such an abstract thing even if he had witnessed the whole process!
Geezer Shi laughed cheerfully. "I can guess it even with my toes! Without any other reference materials, that's about the only thing you can do… What's your plans for future martial arts learning and practicing?" He dared not to say more, worried that Lou Cheng might sense his excitement.
"I want to get used to the Dan stage ﬁrst and review the basics to thoroughly understand each detail and relearn them. Then I'll ask for your protection in the new semester when I'm once again enhancing my ice and ﬂame supernatural abilities," Lou Cheng explained his plans.
"Not bad. You're patient and didn't lose your head from your victories. You're calm too," said Geezer Shi, praising him. "Many brats devote themselves to pursuing more powerful kungfu as soon as they reached the Dan stage. They completely forgot to lay a solid foundation or understand the process of the physical body gradually breaking its limits. These are all useful for reﬁning your root pulp in the future. Don't worry. I'll teach you the corresponding knowledge to the Dan stage in the new semester."
"Okay, master!" Lou Cheng answered joyfully.
He hung up the phone. Lou Cheng then checked the time, lied down in bed, and said good night to Yan Zheke. He began meditating with concealment of spirit and qi, basking in the natural wind.
The next day, Lou Cheng woke up on time. He felt fresh and energetic, without any signs of catching a cold.
He continued to practice the martial arts movements and ﬁghting style he had learned into his cultivation of the Dan stage in his morning exercise. The key point was the 24 Blizzard Strikes.
For the whole day, Yan Zheke worried that Lou Cheng's little outbreak of passion would ruin his tip top condition. Thus she refused Cheng's invitation to come to his hotel room and chose to use video calling for their discussion instead. In the end, Lou Cheng had to bury himself in videos of Zhang Zhutong, Han Zhifei, and Liu Xunzhen's matches to familiarize himself with their ﬁghting styles and come up with countermeasures. He would occasionally stand up to rehearse those moves. Though there were many obstructive items in the room, he never knocked down or stumbled over anything no matter how he stepped back and forth, throw his ﬁsts and kick his legs. Cupping her face with one hand, Yan Zheke could see nothing in the screen, but Lou Cheng's ﬁgure.
Lou Cheng turned off the laptop when evening came. He took a shower and dressed. Overlooking the martial arts stadium not far away, he could see a crowd outside and heavy trafﬁc on the roads.
Fastening the last button his shirt, he turned and walked to the door.
It was the ﬁnal night of the Youth Tournament!
The familiar procedure and process remained unchanged, except for fewer seats for the ﬁghters. At 7.30 in the evening, the ceremony ﬁnally came to the drawing lots segment after the opening song, speech, and review of previous matches. This was the last lots drawing.
Chairman of Xing Province Martial Artist Association, Yin Huaming reached his hand into the drawing box and drew a ball. He read the name printed on it.
"First seed Zhang Zhutong."
Cheers burst from the audience in the stands and pushed the atmosphere to an exciting climax. They soon calmed down and held their breaths in anticipation for the birth of the ﬁrst match.
Outside the Xing province satellite TV studio, the woman wearing half-rimless glasses was reporting to her leader in excitement.
"The ratings record is broken! The record is broken!" Despite his excitement, he only smiled gently. "Not bad.
Everyone did well."
First they published a major scoop and sensationalized the issue, then they paid for headlines on major news channels. If the ratings did not skyrocket, then that would be a huge problem!
Coming home after her additional evening training, Ye Youting took a shower and lied on her bed. She began browsing Weibo out of habit.
After watching Zhou Zhengquan's match against Lou Cheng and Lin Que, she was deeply shocked. She immediately went home and trained for the Yanling Division Play-Offs. Washing away her worries, she overcame the effects of her innate superhuman strength and ﬁnally reached the 'withdrawing' three days ago. If she made progress step by step, she will be a master of the Dan stage in a few months!
Buoyed by joy with her thoughts, she noticed a post with a familiar name in it.
"Who will be the No. 1 of Xing province? The Youth Tournament of Xing province is in full swing and will reach its climax tonight. We're going crown the winner. Zhang Zhutong, Han Zhifei, Lou Cheng and Liu Xunzhen: Who will be the No. 1 young warrior in the Xing province?"
Lou Cheng? No. 1 of the Xing province? Ye Youting subconsciously clicked into the post and saw photos of the ﬁghters, conﬁrming it was indeed the Lou Cheng that she knew. She read his brief introduction.
Eighth Pin warrior at Dan stage!
Eighth Pin? Ye Youting went blank as she looked at herself. This guy was really inhuman…
Under the watchful eyes of the audience, Yin Huaming drew the second ball from the box. He took a look at the ball and smiled.
"No. 18 Lou Cheng!"
"The ﬁrst round of the semi-ﬁnals: ﬁrst seed Zhang Zhutong versus No. 18 Lou Cheng!"
"Zhang Zhutong… " Lou Cheng closed his eyes. He was neither surprised nor disappointed. There were only three ﬁghters left as his opponents. It was the same no matter who it was.
Coming from a martial arts club background, Zhang Zhutong had mastered a unique martial arts method named Wind Flame Disaster along with Furnace Force. He was now a member of the Gaofen Shenhuo martial arts club, currently busy joining the North-South Division Tournament.
He became a Ninth Pin ﬁghter at the age of 18, Eighth Pin at 20, and Seventh-Pin at 22. He made the top 8 of the last Youth Tournament as a new Eighth Pin three years ago, but was defeated by the champion Gao Zhen, who was now a Sixth Pin ﬁghter.
Since his Furnace Force was not too powerful and only caused minimal burden to his body, he could use it as a normal move. But its effects could be stacked and activated gradually. It was that fearsome.
In other words, it would be more dangerous for Lou Cheng the longer he fought Zhang Zhutong.
Information about the ﬁrst seed ﬂashed through Lou Cheng's mind and he instantly developed a direct impression of Zhang Zhutong. No wonder he was the ﬁrst seed!
Chapter 273: 7:3
Chapter 50 7:3
"No.1 seeded ﬁghter? Is he the most powerful one?" Lou Cheng's mom asked, her voice trailing off.
Jiang Fei still heard her question due to the temporary silence in the stadium. He nodded, even though he was unwilling to admit it.
"In theory, he is… "
"Then isn't Cheng in danger now?" Qi Fang hissed.
As a cultured man who cared about his son, Lou Zhisheng had already studied the seeded ﬁghters. He comforted his wife upon hearing her worries. "What are you worrying about? Cheng has already made into the semi-ﬁnals. He has achieved his goal, so it doesn't matter if he loses now. To borrow the words of the news anchor, what's important is enjoying the match and giving his best performance. So what if it's the No.1 seeded ﬁghter?"
Lou Zhisheng was not a heavy internet user, so he was not aware of the derogatory comments and quarrels involving his son online.
"What's wrong with me caring about our son? If you're not concerned about the result, then why are you still here?" Qi Fang stubbornly retorted. Musing to herself, she said, "The top 4 will be awarded 200,000 RMB each. That's good enough… "
Jiang Fei and Qiu Hailin exchanged looks of worry.
If Cheng ended up losing to Zhang Zhutong, God knows what those antis will post online!
And there was a high probability that Lou Cheng would lose... As the No.1 seeded ﬁghter, Zhang Zhutong had been under the spotlight the past few days. His match naturally attracted the most spectators. After watching one of his matches while trying to kill time, Tao Xiaofei and Cao Lele became deeply impressed with the powerful ﬁgure known as the No. 1 youth ﬁghter in the Xing province.
"I didn't expect Brother Cheng's next opponent would be him… " Qi Yunfei murmured.
She recalled when Brother Cheng and Zhang Zhutong met at the side entrance of Ming Qi International Hotel. No one knew or cared about Brother Cheng then. He was not invited to that dinner party before the tournament. His opponent did not even get a chance to look at him. On the other hand, Zhang Zhutong was the center of the attention and the favorite to win the tournament. He was surrounded by numerous cameras and fans.
Who would expect these two, whose circumstances were so sharply different, to meet in the semi-ﬁnals? Brother Cheng must win… Qi Yunfei, Chen Xiaoxiao, and Maxi all prayed silently.
In the living room of Lou's family house, Lou Yuanwei subconsciously looked at his grandpa after the draw, afraid that he will be calling friends and relatives again.
It was not a good time to brag.
Lou Cheng might lose!
"See, I told you so. There's no need to call Old Xin." Lou Zhiqiang straightened his back and took this rare opportunity to make his retort.
He may not be well-educated, but he still knew that the No.1 seeded ﬁghter would be much stronger than ﬁfth or sixth seeded ﬁghter! Wang Lili glared at him, not opening her mouth to reply.
The phone rang. Lou Debang picked up the phone.
"Lou Debang, this match is pretty risky for your grandson. My eldest son told me the opponent is a huge shot, the strongest young man in our province." The voice from the other side of the phone was energetic and animated.
Lou Debang laughed.
"He's in the top 4, you know, the top 4 among all the youngsters in our province. We're pretty satisﬁed. If the match will be dangerous, then so be it. We're not asking him to be the champion. There can only be one champion. Sometimes that takes luck and blessings."
Lou Cheng's grandparents repeated their words again and again as one call came after another. It wore them down quickly. After all, it was different from bragging. ...
In the QQ group of Lou Cheng's senior year classmates.
"Damn it! Why did they draw Zhang Zhutong? I wanted Cheng's opponent to be Liu Xunzhen. When he makes the ﬁnals, he can use his indeﬁnite strength to exhaust the guy." Tao Xiaofei sent a frustrated-looking emoji smashing the table.
As someone who spent all year jumping from one bar to another, Tao Xiaofei was involved in the trifecta of drinking, smoking, and gambling. After the top 16 ﬁghters were determined, he placed a 10,000 RMB bet on Lou Cheng winning the championship.
Had he foreseen the drawing result, he would have spent all that money on 'investigating' the nightlife in Gao Fen.
"Isn't it normal for Lou Cheng to encounter either Zhang Zhutong or Han Zhifei? The real news is if he doesn't encounter any of them," Du Liyu answered with a head- scratching panda emoji. "Yep, I know. Never mind, it's just me complaining," Tao Xiaofei said with an emoji with outstretched hands.
Other schoolmates started joining the conversation, suggesting the Saudi Arabian to send a red pocket as a way to wish Lou Cheng well.
"Little Sun, what do you think of the match? Who do you think will?" Wei Renjie rubbed his eye bags and looked at Sun Yixing, Wu Qinggui, and Chu Weicai.
Sun Yixing thought for a while and said, "It's acknowledged that Zhang Zhutong is the No. 1 among all young ﬁghters under the age of 26 in our province. Han Zhifei recognized this himself, but he just thinks his chances against Zhang Zhutong are 6:4. A rather big probability."
He threw some English in his words. After all, he did take a relative course in language in the martial arts school. "If Lou Cheng can defeat Zhang Zhutong, he'll be No. 1 in our province regardless if he wins the ﬁnal. He's indeed impressive, but I think he's still at least a year or a half away from that title," Sun Yixing said, sharing his opinion.
In consideration of the television broadcast, the semi-ﬁnals and ﬁnals were packed so closely together that the ﬁghters only have an hour and half to rest. In other words, the physical strength of the ﬁghter and his opponent in the semi-ﬁnals and the intensity of their match will all affect the ﬁnal match. The loser may not necessarily be weaker and the winner may not necessarily be stronger.
"Sir Lou doesn't care about being No. 1. He's a superstar!" Wu Ting said, butting into the conversation and making Chu Weicai and Wei Renjie laugh.
When she turned around, she saw Zhang Qiufan and Yao Ruiwei with downcast expressions and it made her worry again. She subconsciously furrowed her eyebrows.
Sir Lou will be meeting the real devil this time… ...
"Hahahaha! Look. This hypocrite who reached the top 4 with unacknowledged kungfu is gonna get his ass kicked."
Yan Xiaoling punched her bed when she saw those nasty posts on the forum.
She was so pissed off!
She wanted to argue with the antis, but she did not have enough knowledge to back her up. What she could do was stare at the screen, looking for some support from that grandfatherly guest on live.
"Teacher Yu Hong, can you analyze the probability of the outcome for us?" the host asked.
Yu Hong gave his answer with a smile. "Let me put it in this way. Let's disregard his strength, power, and speed. How many successive bursts can he pull off? Has he achieved the crushing force? Or has he even mastered the moves of physical invulnerability? Lou Cheng is a real ﬁghter of Seventh Pin in the Dan stage, and a good one. But if we look at him as a whole, his foundation is still lacking. At most, we can treat him as a
weak Seventh Pin. Plus he had only stepped into the Dan stage a couple of days ago and he's learning 'withdraw' for less than two months. His ﬁghting experience and techniques in Dan stage are far inferior to Zhang Zhutong."
"Meanwhile Zhang Zhutong's record is seven successive bursts and he has even completed Furnace Force. What's left for him is simplifying the moves of physical invulnerability."
"Going by this analysis, I think the probability should be 7:3. Zhang Zhutong's winning rate is 70% and Lou Cheng 30%. It's not that he doesn't have a chance at all. He had even pulled off several miracles in the past."
The guest's words depressed Yan Xiaoling even further. She secretly prayed. "Primeval Lord of Heaven, Jade Emperor, Queen Mother, Buddha, God, amen. Please bless Lou Cheng so he can defeat his opponent!"
"The top seed? Zhang Zhutong? I know him. He's super awesome!" Gu Shuang clapped her hands in excitement.
Realization hit her when the two people sitting next to her shot her a look. She chuckled, feeling guilty. "Ke, your man is even better!"
Yan Zheke pursed her lips and looked at Lou Cheng who was seated in the guest seats, her gaze affectionate.
When she looked at her phone, she abruptly stood up and walked towards the other end of the aisle.
"Ke, where are you going?" Gu Shuang asked curiously. "Restroom." Yan Zheke's answer was simple.
"Why aren't you asking me to go with you?" Gu Shuang was used to going to the restroom with her entourage of close friends.
"You just went there with Sister Jing." Yan Zheke did not turn around.
"Haha, I almost forgot," Gu Shuang replied, ﬁddling with her hair.
The match was beginning soon. Spectators who needed to use the restroom had already gone. The next round was yet to come, so the restroom was silent without the usual line of people.
This was exactly the environment Yan Zheke needed. Standing in front of a mirror, she took out her phone. With her even, white teeth biting on her bottom lip, she gathered her courage and spoke at a neutral pitch. "D-Darling, go for it!"
She blushed after ﬁnally saying those words, beyond embarrassed.
"D-Darling, go for it!"
Lou Cheng never thought he would receive this voice message as he did not have time to request this of Coach Yan.
The corners of his mouth lifted and a wide smile appeared on his face. Lou Cheng listened to her voice over and over again and carefully added this voice message to his Favorites inbox. "Ke, your cheering is such a surprise that I don't have much reaction. I just listened to that voice message for like 38 times." Lou Cheng expressed his excitement and happiness in an amusing way.
"Well, do your best!" Yan Zheke answered alooﬂy.
"Yes, Madam!" Lou Cheng put down his phone with a big smile and took advantage of the remaining time to adjust his mental and physical state.
Yin Huaming, the chairman of Martial Artist Association in the Xing province, stepped into the arena ﬁve minutes later. He was the referee for the match. The arrangement showed how much importance the martial arts circle placed on these young ﬁghters.
"The ﬁrst round: Zhang Zhutong versus Lou Cheng!" His voice was neither loud nor soft, but it echoed throughout the stadium and set off the cheers from audience. The whole stadium was now echoed with cheers and jeers. Lou Cheng walked to the arena with all the spotlights blazing his path.
It may surprise people, but it was indeed his ﬁrst time ﬁghting in the semi-ﬁnals.
The stone staircase was like a road to glory. Lou Cheng was the ﬁrst to step into the arena. He watched as Zhang Zhutong walked towards him, slowly and proudly, the same way he did that night.
Zhang Zhutong wore a cyan and red martial arts suit with phoenix stripes, looking tall and handsome. His pupils were extremely dark.
"Talk time starts," announced the referee.
Zhang Zhutong gave a gentle smile. "Lou Cheng, have you checked the internet? People are saying you made the top 4 with unacknowledged kungfu."
"Are you saying Meng Jiefeng isn't that powerful?" Lou Cheng's reply was indirect as he did not want to fall for Zhang Zhutong's trap and affect his mood.
Besides, his reply was already incisive. Meng Jiefeng and Zhang Zhutong were both mainstays in the Gao Fen martial arts circle. Meng Jiefeng just happened to be in the police system. If Zhang Zhutong thought he was not strong enough and was unqualiﬁed to be in the top 4, then Zhang Zhutong and Meng Jiefeng's relationship in the future would be very interesting.
These kinds of conversations were not all lies. Otherwise who would be tricked?
"Nope. I'm just musing. When you participate in a tournament, it's not only your strength that matters. There's also your luck," said Zhang Zhutong. "I competed in the last Challenge Tournament as well, you know. I was so conﬁdent that I had what it took to make the top 4 even though I just stepped into the Dan stage then. In the end, I met Caption Gao early and only made into the top 8."
His eyes turned terrifying sharp.
"Let me judge if you're qualiﬁed to be in the top 4!"
His muscles abruptly bulged, bursting with strong belligerence. A soft storm rose around them.
Chapter 274: Fierce Battle between Giants
In the studio of the Xing province TV station, the host asked his ﬁnal question in a hurry.
"Teacher Yu Hong, you seemed to have missed an important point. You failed to mention Lou Cheng's gift in strength The Youth Tournament lasts too long and each match exhausts the ﬁghters, except for Lou Cheng. Now it's the semi-ﬁnals. I think he has inﬁnite strength as his advantage, so why didn't you mention this in your analysis?"
Yu Hong smiled.
"Because I'm only analyzing this match. Zhang Zhutong won't have any problems with his strength because Shenhuo Club has just introduced a new cryogenic system for cold therapy right before the New Year. I guess you're all unaware of it. The system stimulates the body through extremely low temperature, ranging from minus 110 degrees to 150 degrees. It helps in recovering from fatigue or injuries. As for its result, let me put it in this way: this system costs Shenhuo Club a fortune, but they get what they pay for." "This system is already popular in foreign top professional events. Fighters with physical invulnerability beneﬁt from this system as well, but they have to further lower the temperature for it to work."
"Zhang Zhutong is arrogant, but not thoughtless. He deﬁnitely used the system last night. With the addition of acupuncture and medicine, any fatigue leftover is at its minimum. That man standing there is at his best. If Lou Cheng's strength is at 100%, then Zhang Zhutong's strength won't be lower than 90%... "
"Technology has changed martial arts remarkably. No wonder you think Zhang Zhutong's winning rate is above 70%. What an interesting match! Based on your words, if he consolidates his foundation, he will have high hopes of obtaining his qualiﬁcation as a Professional Seventh Pin in only a year or a half. By then, he'd only be 20. Zhang Zhutong became a Professional Seventh Pin when he was 22. We can completely regard them both as heirs to our martial arts circle," the host said.
"Will the back wave push the front wave away? Or will it be the other way around? Let's wait and see." Some were delighted while others were dismayed as they listened to the analysis. In the arena, Lou Cheng was neither angered nor saddened by Zhang Zhutong's provocations. He was prepared after Yan Zheke's warning last night. He said calmly, "I don't need anyone to judge my qualiﬁcation. One or
two or even three years later, I hope you still have the nerve
and conﬁdence to say something like this."
He hid his tough personality behind a gentle appearance. On one hand, he wanted to show that his conﬁdence in martial arts would not be compromised by one or two losses. On the other, he implicitly compared the speed of their growth. "Last year I was just an ordinary guy with no knowledge of any kungfu. In January, I became a good Amateur First Pin. In April, I defeated all my opponents and became a Professional Ninth Pin. Beginning this August, I stepped into the Dan stage and became a Professional Eighth Pin. I'm likely to earn my qualiﬁcation as a Seventh Pin April next year. Give me another year or two and I might become a Sixth Pin. I might even have the chance to enter the inhuman stage."
"What about you? With your current potential, will your rank be the same as me or will there be a disparity between us in a couple of years?" "When that times comes, do you think you will still have this courage and conﬁdence to judge my qualiﬁcation?"
He was not at all exaggerating. What he said just now was a sensible and objective analysis of their current situations. But the truth hurt the most. Zhuang Zhutong was an experienced ﬁghter who had participated in numerous tournaments and had these conversations for hundreds of times. Yet upon hearing Lou Cheng speak, his breath became haggard and his expression changed. His response was stiff.
"Who knows the future? At least for now, I'm stronger than you and strong enough to hamper your growth."
Lou Cheng shook his hand with a smile, but did not talk again. He was aloof, as if nothing mattered to him. That upset Zhang Zhutong even more.
After so many tournaments, Lou Cheng was no longer that awkward guy who wasted valuable talk time… He looked down and his heart lake was so cold it could freeze water. Countless thoughts ﬂashed in his mind. The talk Zhang Zhutong had with Lou Cheng was like using a "clenched ﬁst" hit the cotton. His strength was wasted for nothing and he was even stung by its thorn. Worse yet, he had no idea how to retort. His vigor at that moment was somehow weakened.
This guy was so young, but why did he have such a good attitude?
Just as he was about to recapture his momentum and inﬂuence Lou Cheng's mind and spirit again, the referee Yin Huaming lifted and waved his right arm downwards.
The ﬁrst semi-ﬁnal of the 3rd Youth Tournament in Xing Province had begun.
Without any hesitation or thought, Zhang Zhutong straightened his back and stepped towards his opponent. Like a rolling heavy tank, he gradually increased his speed and brought a strong wind to the ground, which made Lou Cheng squint.
"Wind Flame Disaster", Wind Flame Step!
In his last step, Zhang Zhutong contracted his body muscles and rushed forward. A loud burst echoed in the air, he charged at Lou Cheng as if the ground had shrunk. With his left hand in front of his chest and his right arm working like an iron rod, he condensed all his explosive power and let it lash out at Lou Cheng's chest and abdomen!
Zhang Zhutong took his time building his momentum, leaving Lou Cheng too much time to prepare his Severe Warning, and still had the nerve to do a frontal attack. Lou Cheng could sense something was not right.
Lou Cheng could afford the risk in this issue, but not Zhang Zhutong. He may be a Professional Seventh Pin in the Dan Stage, but he could also become stiff when Severe Warning hit him. Stiffness meant a lot when strengths of two ﬁghters were the same. In other words, that stiffness almost equaled victory! Instead of competing in moves and Wind and Flame Step, Lou Cheng pushed his feet inward and expanded the muscles of his thighs. He twisted his waist and lowered his shoulder to launch a blast punch that tore the wind apart, successfully blocking the enemy's attack.
When they almost collided, Zhang Zhutong ﬂicked his wrist and ﬂung a bullet. The ﬁst became like a cloud among the wind, gently ﬂoating to the side. Opening his palm, he ferociously held onto Lou Cheng's forearm.
"Wind Flame Disaster", Wing Swaying Clouds!
So what if Lou Cheng knew simpliﬁed moves of physical invulnerability? As long as he avoided any collisions and only hit Lou Cheng's weak points, everything would be ﬁne!
Lou Cheng had long prepared for this. He successfully blocked the incoming force with his shoulder. Softening his arm muscles, he wielded his hand like a long whip and avoided Zhang Zhutong's grasp, before turning away from him. As his center of balance shifted forward, he tightened his arm and aimed directly at his opponent's wrist with might. At this time, Zhang Zhutong pushed down his qi and blood and formed a human body big Dan. He lifted his left leg and stamped the ground powerfully.
Bang! He pointed all the force from the Dan stage explosion onto the arena, shaking the entire place. A visible crack appeared under his feet, rapidly expanding all around. The cracks were deep and large, making the audience tingle with fear.
That was the power of a Professional Seventh Pin in the Dan stage!
Zhang Zhutong's timing was excellent! His stamping happened exactly when Lou Cheng was shifting the center of his weight forward, making him feel like the ground beneath him was rising and falling. He was about to topple over.
Crap! Lou Cheng adjusted the muscles and forcibly pulled himself back to the balance in mercurial form. Thanks to the rebound force of his stamping, Zhang Zhutong's body was hurled forward like a whirlwind. He entered Lou Cheng's defensive circle and stopped by his side. He thrust the left arm on his chest was akin to a big gun, aiming at Lou Cheng's throat. This move was so quick and ferocious that it looked like a prairie ﬁre blazing.
"Wind Flame Disaster", the wind fueling the ﬂame. A one-hit killer move!
Zhang Zhutong's plan was out of everyone's expectations. He did prolong the match to make the most of his Furnace Force. Instead, he actively created opportunities to launch killing moves from the very beginning.
This series of attacks, demonstrated vividly his experience, techniques, and ability to grasp opportunities as a Professional Seventh Pin in the Dan stage.
In such a short distance, in face of such ﬂame, one might not have time for Force Concentration, let alone avoiding the attacks. If Lou Cheng had been affected by their talk, he might have lost his vigor, resulting in him making slightly off judgments. With the slightest hint of hesitation, Lou Cheng would have lost this match immediately.
Luckily his heart lake was so frozen that he was able to make his judgment in a split second. By sinking his lower half and shrinking his neck, he barely managed to avoid the attack that went straight to his throat in a semi-fowler position.
However, Zhang Zhutong's killing move would not be that simple. When his left arm punch failed, muscles around his belly bulged and tugged at the surrounding tendons. He drew his vertebra and shoulder, allowing his body to collapse to the side and forcibly dragging his arms to change his direction. He then smashed his ﬁst downwards.
From the way he retracted his body and punched, it showed his masterful and exquisite control of Zhang Zhutong over his force.
The strong wind was assaulting Lou Cheng's face, its crisp sound ringing in his ears. It gave him a terrible headache. There was no time for him to think too much. He could only rely on his experience and consciousness. He abruptly leaned backward to do the good Iron Bridge Move. Yet something was different this time. His leg caved in, forcibly sticking his right foot into the cracks on the arena. That allowed him to keep his balance. He thrust his tightened left thigh out and kicked between Zhang Zhutong's legs at a close range.
Zhang Zhutong did not panic. He squatted down and grabbed Lou Cheng's leg with his right hand. Strange noises came from the joint tendon of his left arm. Depending on his short changes, he made a second successive burst, one after another, aiming at Lou Cheng's chest.
Lou's right foot sank deeper and he managed to lift both hands to block the punch.
When he defended himself, his enemy's right hand reached for his leg.
But Zhang Zhutong could not feel the sensation of ﬂesh where he had caught Lou Cheng's leg. The movements in Lou Cheng's muscles, paired with Force Concentration, successfully borrowed strength from Zhang Zhutong. Now Lou Cheng's qi, blood, strength, and spirit were condensed into one single point.
Qiu Lin's technique "Wisdom King Guards Temple"?
As the thought occurred to him, Zhang Zhutong noticed the explosion in his opponent's Dantian. Lou Cheng's legs became swollen and ended up abruptly throwing off his hand.
"That lad is pretty creative." The guest commentator could not help praising Lou Cheng upon seeing this scene. "Through perfect meditation, he imitated all the techniques of Qiu Lin's 'Wisdom King Guards Temple'."
Most Professional Eighth Pin in the Dan stage could not accomplish perfect meditation. Neither could Professional Seventh Pin in the Dan stage. Lou Cheng retracted his leg and stood upright with a ﬂip. He resumed his position. As he blocked his opponent's arm, he turned sideways using the Dan stage outbreaks and struck ferociously with his elbow.
This was the product of Lou Cheng's difﬁcult few days of training. Referencing Qiu Lin's Wisdom King Guards Temple, he developed it using Listening Skill in Perfect Meditation as the foundation. He also fused it with the borrowing strength of
24 Blizzard Strikes and Force Concentration, pushing the method to the Dan stage.
Come on! He will show him what the real blowing Blizzard Strikes looked like!
The blizzard grew larger and faster as their battle grew more and more violent!
Chapter 275: Into the Clouds
Zhang Zhutong's ground-shaking stamp stunned Qi Yunfei, Cao Lele, and the other spectators who hadn't watched many martial arts ﬁghts before, and held Yan Zheke in suspense. Covering her mouth with one hand unconsciously while watching his subsequent killer moves as her boyfriend dodged on a razor's edge. She dared not breathe until Lou Cheng found an opportunity to make a comeback with 24 Blizzard Strikes imitating the Wisdom King Guarding Temple. She felt relieved, listening to her own heartbeat.
He is worthy of his reputation as a capable Professional Seventh Pin ﬁghter!
This is going to be a tough battle...
Good luck, Cheng!
Strengthened by the Dan stage explosion, Lou Cheng's side elbow hit gave off a sharp shriek, sending a shiver down Zhang Zhutong's spine and a warning. Close at hand, Zhang Zhutong, instead of stepping back as his instinct urged, reached a decision calmly. His back sank, gathering the human body big dan at his lower stomach. His arms expanded as the strength grew. He lifted them up in front of his chest.
Recorded in many martial arts classics, "A punch bites like a tiger and an elbow hit devours like a dragon." The former was comprised of numerous tiny bones while the latter was one solid piece. The difference in intensity could be easily imagined. Facing Lou Cheng's elbow hit with the Dan stage explosion, Zhang Zhutong couldn't block it with one hand or meet force with force. His left hand pushed upwards and right hand moved sideways, together neutralizing and countering the strike. His counterattack managed to push Lou Cheng's elbow away, saving himself from a potential series of dense body blows.
Considering Zhang Zhutong's physique and his superior Dan stage explosion, he should have been able to get a tie in this exchange, even though he lost the pre-emptive opportunity. However, his body swayed backwards, distancing himself further from his opponent. Lou Cheng's 24 Blizzard Strikes was known for being steady and continuous, especially when he used Force Concentration. All the strength within him became one. Without pulling strength from his feet, the muscles of his upper body tightening was enough to launch a fatal strike, which allowed his 24 Blizzard Strikes to ﬂow without a break, like Zhou Zhengquan's Fly Fall Punch!
As his left elbow hit was blocked, his muscles wiggled to borrow more force, which was then fused with his qi and blood into a big dan.
The big dan exploded like a volcanic eruption, sending Lou Cheng to the right, his waist lifted and his right arm swelled as if it was a terrifying iron whip. He threw his arm backwards at his opponent's neck.
This Single Kick parted the air, creating a gust to each side. The skin around Zhang Zhutong's neck pulsated and his pores shut tightly. Biting Chill Double Explosion!
Zhang Zhutong didn't dare to disregard this move. He performed another Force Concentration in response. Muscles on his right hand became more obvious through the blue and red martial arts suit and the back of his hand turned the color of tendons and vessels.
Strength came from his shoulder, pulling his elbow to throw his forearm out like nunchakus to block Lou Cheng's Single Kick.
Bam! A deafening roar pierced through the air. Lou Cheng's body tilted forward but his qi and blood quickly circulated, pulling part of Zhang Zhutong's strength into his Dantian.
He turned right again, leaving his side facing towards his opponent. His back sprung as he threw a powerful sidekick without any rest. Brutal Blizzard Triple Explosion!
He understood himself and the opponent, who was no Meng Jiefeng. If he went on the defensive again, he might not get another opportunity to turn the tide. He would be defeated in the storm of the opponent's offensive moves. To win this battle, he must continue advancing with the aggressive Mega Avalanche, giving Zhang Zhutong no chance to catch his breath. "After a delay comes a let."
Zhang Zhutong took a step backwards and immediately lowered his center of gravity to ease the shivering. His legs jerked up, launching a deadly kick to confront Lou Cheng's sidekick, creating a shadow of the wind.
Triple Explosion v.s. Triple Explosion!
Referee Yin Huaming felt high winds blowing against his face and saw two legs frozen in the air after the collision, their shoes and the bottom part of their suits scattering away. After a course of strength borrowing, Lou Cheng's power was ﬁnally a match for Zhang Zhutong's.
Lou Cheng lowered his center of gravity as if sitting on a throne and withdrew his right leg in a nearly impossible way, while borrowing some strength to help him stand ﬁrm. Sweat came out of his pores but didn't drip down.
With his dantian full of energy, Lou Cheng tightened his back muscles, his clothes at the edge of bursting. His thick left arm suddenly launched a punch upward at the opponent's stomach!
It happened too fast, right after his last strike, like a nonstop storm that couldn't be avoided.
Great Snowslide Quadruple Explosion!
Four strikes with increasing power ignited Lou Cheng's supporters' passion. They cheered and screamed disorderly. After taking his leg back, Zhang Zhutong stepped back again as if he was waiting for something. However, Lou Cheng's punch arrived instantly, forcing him to gather his energy in his dantian and meet Lou Cheng's Quadruple Explosion with his. His left hand threw out a Seabed Burst Punch.
Bang! The sound of a bomb exploding... Waves of wind spread in all directions, causing those broken pieces of the green tile to roll across the ﬂoor.
Such a collision and such a ﬁght had gone beyond normal human limits.
Lou Cheng borrowed strength again from the collision and formed another human body big dan to expand the aggressive Great Snowslide.
Zhang Zhutong swung his body backwards and then pushed his back to pull himself away from the downside.
Since Lou Cheng had launched his 24 Blizzard Strikes by imitating the Wisdom King Guarding Temple technique, Zhang Zhutong, with plenty combat experience and knowledge about the opponent's style, knew he must prevent himself from falling into an extreme passive position under the Brutal Blizzard's attack.
With less than one arm's distance, ducking or stepping back blindly would be a suicidal move. He quickly made up his mind to meet force with force and managed to block four blows in a row, taking one small step back each time to gradually distance himself from Lou Cheng.
By now he had gained enough space to complete many moves!
Seeing Zhang Zhutong about to retreat, Lou Cheng detonated his danqi and threw himself at his opponent, ﬁlling the gap between them at once.
Lou Cheng threw a powerful punch at Zhang Zhutong while the latter combined the Wind Fire Step and the Wind Swaying Clouds technique and slid to the side swiftly on his bare toes like a willow branch. Zhang Zhutong successfully avoided the strike and got himself out of the pressing 24 Blizzard Strikes. Yan Zheke heaved a sigh of pity.
Her expectation had gradually built up. She could almost see the light of victory.
However, this was a Professional Seventh Pin ﬁghter in the Dan stage. This was the No. 1 seed in this tournament. "He's lived up to his great reputation!"
Lou Cheng lost the chance to launch his Quintuple Explosion and held back his desire to continue the offense.
It would be great if I could suppress Zhang Zhutong till the end with the Brutal Blizzard. However, I shouldn't bet everything on it or I would set myself up. Strategies must be adjusted to the current events in actual battles.
"It's not easy... " As the thought ﬂashed through his mind, Zhang Zhutong moved close to his side, his eyes wearing a thin layer of red and his right arm swinging back to launch a Forward Punch. To ensure his moves could ﬂow smoothly, Lou Cheng didn't fuse the Thunder Roar Zen into his 24 Blizzard Strikes. Finally, he had time to visualize Thunder Clouds. He tightened his arms into hammers, preparing to throw a punch.
No matter what move he makes, I'll give him a Shivering Zen!
His muscles and fascia were tightened a lot more than before.
As the strength exploded, a terrifying blow was created.
Bam! Zhang Zhutong's body shivered and his arm shrank back. Bearing the rolling qi and blood, he managed to move slightly. Lou Cheng suffered an intense burning sensation in his forearm's tendon and vessel.
The Smelter Force!
Zhang Zhutong moved to Lou Cheng's side, with a pair of red eyes, and threw another punch at his spine. With no fear, Lou Cheng turned sideways and tightened the muscles on his right arm to engage his opponent with a single whip.
Come on! Let's see whether you can take more Thunder Roar Zen or I can bear more Smelter Force!
Bam! Bam! Bam! Zhang Zhutong resumed his usual style, moving about and throwing the Smelter Force at Lou Cheng over and over again. Whenever Lou Cheng attempted to concentrate his force, he would notice it and withdraw to dodge with the Wind Swaying Clouds technique.
With no other options, Lou Cheng mixed the Thunder Roar Zen and the Frost Force to confront his opponent. The burning sensation and discomfort became sharper and sharper.
Yan Zheke's heart was in suspense again. "Zhang Zhutong is playing in his ﬁeld. Once he ignites the accumulating Smelter Force in Lou Cheng's body, he will win!"
I don't know if Cheng's killer move will work... Zhang Zhutong thought it was time! He dissolved the shiver with his Internal Training Methods and waited for an opportunity to launch his ﬁnal Smelter Force to light up the accumulated force inside Lou Cheng.
At this very moment, Lou Cheng visualized the red sun falling down, crashing into an ice-bound river.
He was not performing Severe Warning. He was going to make his supernatural abilities of ﬁre and ice collide to stir up a storm and drive off the remaining enemy force within his body, just like in the last ﬁght.
A cold current hit a ﬁre wave, a storm swept through his meridians, moving towards his hands.
The accumulated smelt force was digested, becoming part of the storm. Bam! Two ﬁsts collided head-on. Zhang Zhutong was astonished by the cold and hot streams coming in through his hand. He could feel the familiar smelter force blended in the streams.
His eyes narrowed as he realized his opponent had not ignited at all!
Lou Cheng dissolved my Smelter Force?
He can still perform the 24 Blizzard Strikes and concentrate his force to suppress me?
And his physical strength hasn't run low!
How can I win this battle?
As Zhang Zhutong's mind was terribly disturbed, Lou Cheng felt pretty awful himself. There was a terrible pain kniﬁng his tendons and vessels and weariness striking his head. However, he pretended to be perfectly ﬁne and full of energy. His body straightened as he roared,
"I'm not done yet. Again!"
His imposing aggressiveness shook Zhang Zhutong's Heart Lake and interrupted his thinking. Once again, Lou Cheng gathered his energy at his dantian and lifted his right hand like the thunder god. His arm cut down with the sound of wind.
With no room to duck, Zhang Zhutong concentrated his force and expanded his arm which raised up to meet the incoming attack.
Zhang Zhutong's body wobbled as if hit in the head by a bomb. Lou Cheng absorbed strength from his opponent to reﬁll his body, while squatting into a pose like he was sitting on a throne. He launched the Mega Avalanche Double Explosion.
His body leaned forward and his left hand formed an iron hammer, smashing down ﬁercely.
Zhang Zhutong was forced into a double explosion to meet the iron ﬁst with a powerful punch.
Triple explosion and quadruple explosion! Lou Cheng gritted his teeth and put up with the mental weariness and physical pain, leading a frenzied attack like a Brutal Blizzard.
Pushed by Lou Cheng, Zhang Zhutong relied on his combat experience to resist with a Quadruple Explosion.
At this moment, the pair were both fading away. However, Zhang Zhutong didn't know Lou Cheng's condition since he appeared imposing and vigorous. No longer conﬁdent in winning this match, he took this opportunity to step back, but Lou Cheng strode forward, grinding his teeth together.
They continued to engage, circling around the ring, perturbing and brutal. Spectators, including Yan Zheke, forgot to breathe.
Two minutes later, a blast of emptiness ﬂashed inside Zhang Zhutong, slowing him down, which gave Lou Cheng an opportunity to shorten the distance between them.
Extremely exhausted mentally, Lou Cheng still had plenty of physical strength left thanks to the restorative Jindan. He glared into Zhang Zhutong's face like an invincible warrior, his imposing manner stunning the latter.
Lou Cheng sent strength to his feet, scooping up a broken rock and shooting it at Zhang Zhutong's face. He gritted his teeth, wiggled his muscles, fascia, and organs, and visualized a scene of the red sun breaking the locked ice. Zhang Zhutong blocked the rock with his hand by instinct and then noticed the fatal punch.
I have to block it. I have to fence it!
Bam! A brief rattling noise sent Zhang Zhutong back to the low-temperature therapy room from last night. His train of thought was frozen. Lou Cheng's head was also in a chaotic state but he bumped sideways, into his enemy, instinctively. Zhang Zhutong ﬂew out of the ring!
Bang! Zhang Zhutong fell outside of the ring. Yin Huaming's face changed and raised his right hand without hesitation. He shouted out loud,
"Lou Cheng won!" Zhang Zhutong, the No. 1 seed in this youth tournament, lost!
Near the point of collapse, Lou Cheng straightened his body and shouted, with the last stream of qi in his body, upon hearing the referee's announcement,
After the shout, he bent over, steadying himself with his hands on his knees and breathing heavily. The audience ﬁnally saw his weariness. The Superman also had his limit.
This was a difﬁcult match.
Chapter 276: In the Interval
Watching Zhang Zhutong knocked out of the ring and after hearing the referee's announcement about the result, the entire stadium fell silent with no cheers or cries for victory. They probably wanted to but their hearts were still strained and shocked, after feeling the intensity and tension from the previous ﬁght. At the end of the match, no matter who they had come here to support, the ﬁrst feeling they had was relief, followed by mentally and physically exhaustion.
When Lou Cheng ﬁnally stood upright and shouted with his arms high in the air, the audience's excitement exploded and thundering voices ﬁlled the hall.
"Lou Cheng! Lou Cheng!"
Screams and shouts echoed in the arena, raising the roof with their cheers. But soon they fell into silence as Lou Cheng, while still in the ring, bent his body and rested his hands on his knees for support while gasping hard for breath. On the big screen, his sweat dripped down unto the broken green tiles and splashed into countless tiny drops. His eyes were glazed and unfocused like a blind man peering in the dark.
He also feels tired?
Can he also be exhausted?
His exceptional physical strength also has a limit?
The audience ﬁnally realized that this young ﬁghter who just had a tough battle was not Superman but made of real ﬂesh and bones like everyone else. The seemingly insurmountable distance between them was gone and they felt that they could touch him if they stretched out their arms. He had given his everything to defeat his rival of a higher class and to claim victory.
Their already good impression of him became even better. Yan Zheke kept her hand over her mouth, her mind was weary but she felt so excited and alive.
Watching Lou Cheng exhausted in the ring and recalling his imposing and overwhelming bearing earlier, she found her heart ﬁlled with love, concern, pride, excitement and joy. She wanted to jump into the ring to give him a big hug.
Lying on the ﬂoor next to the ring, Zhang Zhutong gradually regained consciousness. Through the transparent glass ceiling, he saw the rising moon shining with a backdrop of countless lights. It was so peaceful that he thought that he was still in the ultralow temperature cryotherapy system shrouded by thick fog.
I've waited for three years and I've trained for three years.
Yet, I lost.
Although winning or losing a battle is a common occurrence, I won't have another chance to ﬁght in the youth tournament and take the championship to prove myself as I'll be 26 years old in three years, beyond the age limit. Even if they eased the restrictions on me and allowed me to register, how great would Lou Cheng be by then? It's terrifying just thinking about it.
I can never be the champion of the youth tournament.
Once you miss it you can never get it back.
With no strength left in him and aches all over, Zhang Zhutong wished he could just lie here in peace forever, away from the brutal reality of the loss. Then he heard heavy gasps through the quiet.
He tilted his head and looked up, seeing Lou Cheng and his weary eyes gazing without focus.
Is he tired?
His physical strength does have a limit! In a ﬂash, intense sorrow and regret ﬂooded into his head, crushing his spirit.
If only I knew he would feel tired... If only I knew he was at his utmost limit... Why did I freak myself out and lose focus? Why was my mind disturbed and my moves slowed? Why did I reveal my own weakness?
I would have won if I stuck to my previous style!
Realizing Lou Cheng was also exhausted and struggling on his last legs, Zhang Zhutong grit his teeth. He felt certain that victory would have been his if he could only have hung on for ﬁve or ten more minutes. However, the match was over and the clock couldn't be set back.
A defeat is a defeat. All the glory goes to the victor and the loser is humiliated.
He subsided into helpless laughter and slowly rose to his feet, knocking the dust out of his suit before walking to the lounge, isolated and despondent. His heart was full of regret. This was martial arts. And this was life.
As soon as he started to take steps, some of the audience suddenly recovered from the shock and began to shout,
"Lou Cheng! Lou Cheng!"
A sharp yet young female voice pierced through the air.
"Lou Cheng! Superstar!"
Wei Renjie turned to look at Sun Yixing and Chu Weicai with a complicated smile upon Wu Ting's screaming and jumping.
Without a word, Chu Weicai and Sun Yixing both gave a thumb. Yes, Lou Cheng is now the champion of our province's young ﬁghters!
Yes, he is now the No. 1 ﬁghter of our province!
Lou Zhisheng could barely believe his son had just snatched victory. He jumped up despite his usual reserved manner and cheered like the other young people in the stands.
"Victory! Victory... " Qi Fang pulled his arm, her worried eyes staring at the ring. She asked nervously, "Is Cheng OK?"
When he was in middle school, a classmate of his died suddenly while running on the track! "Fine. Fine. Look! He's recovered, waving at the audience now." Lou Zhisheng's eyes were ﬁxed on the ring and the big screen. He saw Lou Cheng circling around the ring and clapping at the audience as the light slowly came back into his eyes.
"That's good... That's good!" Qi Fang felt relieved and joined in the human wave in spite of her age.
"Martial arts competitions are so exciting!" thought Qi Fang. But she probably wouldn't attempt to talk her son out of this for his safety.
Son, we are so proud of you!
Watching her cousin circling in the ring as the victor and thinking about his tired face and blank eyes, Qi Yunfei suddenly realised how hard he had trained and how much pain he must have endured given his quiet, reserved and low proﬁle nature. His exhausted eyes were manlier than those men who could only brag. Recalling every punch and kick that was branded in her heart, the thundering shouts, the powerful muscles and his rival who shook the ﬂoor with a single stamp, Qi Yunfei ﬂushed scarlet and murmured to herself with a tender smile.
"I'm becoming obsessed by my brother "
She looked around, very shy and afraid that others would see through her thoughts. Fortunately, Chen Xiaoxiao, Ma Xi, Qiu Hailin, and Cao Lele each had their own thoughts and were too distracted to spare her any attention.
In the living room of Lou family.
Lou Yuanwei's clenched ﬁsts loosened as joy ﬁlled his heart.
Almost at the same time, more emotions hit him. He stared at the TV blankly with all kinds of feelings churning in his mind as he watched the exhausted Lou Cheng running a lap of honor.
He could hardly remember how Lou Cheng was like over the past 10 years.
He has completely changed. So much so that even a close relative felt that he was unfamiliar.
I can't believe it is Lou Cheng...
I wish I could be like him... No, even just half of this or one- tenth of it.
Lou Debang held an unlit hand-rolled cigarette in his mouth and muttered blankly,
"He won?" "He defeated the No. 1 seed?"
About half a minute later, he suddenly came back to himself and reached his hand out. The thing he wanted was not there, which enraged him a bit. He yelled powerfully,
"Zhiqiang, bring my phone over!"
"I'm calling them back one by one!"
Lou Zhiqiang shivered at the yell and glanced at his ferocious wife before responding deﬁantly in a low voice,
"He won. So what?"
The QQ group of Lou Cheng's high school classmates was quiet for a few minutes. Wang Jie, another classmate with whom Lou Cheng used to share a desk with wrote,
"I'll announce Lou Cheng as my idol!"
Cao Lele replied,
"He's already my idol!"
Tao Xiaofei sent a sticker of Yao Ming's signature smile.
"Brother Lou has long been my idol!"
You are too late!
Only a few wrote in the group chat while the others were just being there, excited about the victory but unsure what to say to this former classmate's great glory and success. His success was shocking!
In Xing Province TV station, the host remained silent for a moment before forcing a wry smile.
"Master Yu Hong, what do you think of the match?"
Yu Hong commented with emotions,
"Lou Cheng is a man who can accomplish miracles."
If they fought ten more times within one or two months and Lou Cheng would probably only win one of two out of the ten. However, he has just won the most important one!
One victory that is greater than 10! From now on, no one could call him weaker than Zhang Zhutong!
The aged guest host's comment and Lou Cheng's gradually recovering mobility gave Yan Xiaoling a feeling of relief. The emotions she had suppressed for two days ﬁnally broke out and she started a chat thread by creating several posts in a row.
"Come on! You slanderers! Who thought Lou Cheng's advance into the top four was due to dirty tricks? Who predicted Lou Cheng's defeat to Zhang Zhutong or Han Zhifei?"
"Come on! Admit it!"
"Our Lou Cheng is in the top four. He'll keep advancing to the ﬁnal and crush the No. 1 seed!" "It was not his dirty tricks. Someone else practiced dirty tricks to avoid confronting him!"
"Come on! Damn your dirty tricks! Damn you hypocrites!
Damn you slanderers!"
Yan Xiaoling couldn't help breathing heavily after the posts, exhausted but satisﬁed.
The whole forum was quiet to these new posts. Slanderers dared not reply and others were probably too shocked to respond.
A while later, Brahman wrote, terriﬁed, "So scary... I came to scorn those slanderers but Little Changye, your posts scared me away... Honey, I didn't know you could say such words... "
"Didn't know our Little Changye was so good at swearing... " Unparalleled Dragon King followed, also terriﬁed. Yan Xiaoling read through her earlier posts and covered her face with both hands. "I lost my temper... I'll delete it. Can't leave it in my history... "
"No need. It won't be the ﬁrst dirt in your history. I've taken screenshots of it and kept them safe for my children and grandchildren!" Laughed Okamoto's Fan.
"Yeah. Don't delete it. I ﬁnd bad words make you more adorable, Yan Xiaoling." Unparalleled Dragon King sent a waggery emoji.
"When there's enough dirt, it will be clean again. Honey, keep it up!" Brahman tapped her shoulder as an encouragement.
The lip language expert Bull Demon King followed, "Miss Moderator, I'd like to propose a nickname."
"What is it? Better be nice!" Yan Xiaoling began to feel emotional, almost tearing. I was once a sweet child, pretty and cute!
The forum is such a bad inﬂuence that I've abandoned my graciousness and principles!
Bull Demon King sneered, "In ancient times, men of great accomplishment were addressed as Lord. You said so many 'damns' in a row and completely ruined your image. I have decided to call you Lord Damn."
Recovering from the dizziness and shortness of breath, Lou Cheng waved at the stand where Yan Zheke and his parents were sitting. Tolerating his headache and the weariness of his mind, he moved himself to the side of the ring and took his mobile back from the supervisor before heading to his lounge with slow, painful steps, amidst the thundering cheers and shouts.
He didn't go straight to sleep to restore his energy as he wasn't able to achieve the control of spirit and qi right now to achieve deep sleep through meditation. 1.5 hours' rest at this level would not relieve his tiredness and might make it worse.
He needed more time to let the weariness reduce before practicing Solemn Silence to fall into a long, deep sleep.
Sitting on the couch, he didn't feel like doing anything at all
— not even moving his ﬁngers or taking a hot shower — though his muscles had been restored to their normal state by his Jindan.
Of course, on the other hand, he had a very ﬁrm will. He picked up his phone and sent a message to Yan Zheke on QQ with excitement.
Holding her mobile tight in her hand, Yan Zheke had been longing to write him a message but was afraid of interrupting his rest. The message took her by surprise. She replied with a cracking head emoji, "Why are you still up? Sleep and rest!" There's only 1.5 hours until the second semi-ﬁnal match ﬁnishes!
Lou Cheng explained that he couldn't meditate to enter deep sleep right now and added a sneer before continuing. "Unfortunately I have to prepare for the next match or I could go back to the hotel room to share my victory with you and enjoy your head massage... "
"Your head hurts a lot?" asked Yan Zheke, concerned.
"Yeah. My head is pounding and my temples are throbbing." Lou Cheng revealed his true state to her.
Men are supposed to be strong and stoic. However, showing your vulnerable side to your loved one from time to time would arouse her maternal instinct. It would let her feel needed, and prove that there's no barrier between them and that she is the most special one.
Yan Zheke looked about, seeing cameras focusing on the ring again and Han Zhifei and Liu Xunzhen walking into the ring. She replied without any emoji, "Should I come and massage your temples? It might help you recover and sleep through meditation."
She knew the VIP lounges each had a physical therapist on standby but she couldn't resist the impulse.
"Great! I'll wait for you at the door!" Lou Cheng didn't think about physical therapists at all. He shook off his exhaustion and pulled himself up from the couch.
"Okay." Yan Zheke stood up, holding her phone, and headed towards the washroom along the aisle, intending to take a circuitous route.
"Ke Ke, where are you going?" Immersed in her thought that "Ke's man has defeated Zhang Zhutong", Gu Shuang was brought back to reality by her best friend's move.
Yan Zheke's eyes shone like stars and her face ﬂushed. "The lounge."
"The lounge. We can go together. Err... What lounge?" Gu Shuang slowly came to realization, winking at her.
Xing Jingjing pulled her arm and interrupted in a low voice, "Ask no more."
"Oh... " Gu Shuang dragged her voice long as she understood which lounge she was going to, with a thoughtful smile. "Aren't you afraid of disturbing his recovery? I guess it doesn't matter. He's already exhausted. 1.5 hours are not enough to recover at all. Maybe some love works better!"
Yan Zheke clicked her tongue in response and picked up her pace towards the aisle.
With great caution, she tried to avoid all possible cameras and entered the half-closed door to the lounge while everyone else had their eyes locked on the ring. She saw Lou Cheng waiting there with his heartbreaking weariness. "I don't know why but my tiredness is suddenly gone seeing you," said Lou Cheng with a bright smile, his heart ﬁlled with strength from joy and happiness.
"Blufﬁng!" Yan Zheke sent one glare at him. "Go back and rest!"
Lou Cheng grabbed her hand, ignoring Fang Siqi's gaze, and walked back to his lounge.
As soon as the door closed behind them, he hugged the girl tight and began to kiss her, savouring her sweet scent.
The pair kissed gently but passionately.
A few minutes later, Yan Zheke pushed Lou Cheng away and looked seductively at him, "Still thinking about doing bad stuff though you are so tired! Didn't even take a shower. So smelly!" After expressing her fake annoyance, she asked with concern, "Feeling better?"
"Much better with your love. I think I can control my spirit and qi now." Lou Cheng snickered. "Let me take a shower ﬁrst."
"No need. Just lie down. You will sweat a lot in the next ﬁght anyway." Yan Zheke settled him in the big, comfy couch, took a seat next to him and began to massage his temples. "Fall asleep soon."
"I don't want my smelly sweat to disturb you," said Lou Cheng with concern, putting his mobile down.
"Hmm! As long as you know how big a sacriﬁce I'm making right now." Yan Zheke had learned some physiotherapy massage techniques. She put forth her strength, massaging away the uncomfortable feeling from Lou Cheng's head slowly and deliberately.
The musky smell of her boyfriend's sweat rose to her nose but surprisingly she didn't mind it at all. On the contrary, she found it manly and masculine.
She paid particular attention to the changes in Lou Cheng's body during her massage. He fell asleep within a minute.
She continued massaging with one hand and unlocked her boyfriend's phone with the other to put it on silent. Then she did the same to her own mobile.
"Can't wake Lou Cheng with the terrible noise!" thought Yan Zheke with a faint smile without slowing down her hands on Lou Cheng's head, quite proud of her thoughtfulness.
Her mobile suddenly began to ﬂash, showing the name
Empress Dowager! The terriﬁed Yan Zheke picked it up and whispered, "Mom?" Ji Mingyu chuckled, "Pretty quiet over there? Are you in Lou Cheng's private lounge?"
"You... How do you know?" Yan Zheke was very impressed by Empress Dowager's accurate guess, feeling amazed, in disbelief and astounded.
"Your dad and I are in the stadium," answered Ji Mingyu leisurely. "I've been keeping my eyes on the door to the lounge and our silly daughter showed up."
"What are you doing in the stadium? Why didn't you tell me?" Yan Zheke kept her voice low. "Did dad see me, too?"
Empress Dowager is too good!
"Don't you worry! He's slow as always." Ji Mingyu twitched her mouth. Standing in the quiet outer corridor of the stadium, she burst into a laugh. "Ke, like mother like daughter. You've got my eyes for men. Not bad." When they ﬁrst started dating, Lou Cheng was merely an amateur martial artist with some potential.
"Mom, why did you say that?" Yan Zheke looked bashful.
"Just saying. I've never been against your relationship with Lou Cheng and I've always trusted your taste in men. Now he's capable of taking care of you, giving me one more reason to be supportive. However, marriage is not easy. It takes time and hard work because there are so many differences between two people in terms of thoughts and personality. Like a pair of new shoes, you are the only one that knows if it is suitable or not. Your dad is a doctor but we've been really good with each other." Ji Mingyu sounded sentimental. "I hope you two can take your time and make sure that you are the right one for each other so that you can grow old together. Don't burn with passion too quickly."
"Mother, I understand," answered Yan Zheke after a deep breath.
After the call, she continued to massage Lou Cheng's temples. Looking at this not-so-handsome but just right face, smelling his manly scent, and recalling everything that had happened between them, Yan Zheke was lost in her thoughts.
How empty and depressed would I feel if one day Cheng was not by my side?
I can barely breathe just thinking about it!
Liu Xunzhen did not make a breakthrough in his supernatural ability. Although he managed to trouble Han Zhifei, after a few minutes, he lost because he could not overcome the gap between different ranks.
Han Zhifei was panting but not particularly exhausted, which upset Lou Cheng's supporters badly. They remained silent after the match. In the next 1.5 hours, the two ﬁghters in the ﬁnal match were introduced with a montage of the many highlights of the tournament together with a song and dance performance.
Lou Cheng's journey was tough, battling capable rivals with a lot more challenges than the other, which made the audience appreciate his efforts more as they fell silent.
Watching Han Zhifei come back and take an acupuncture and moxibustion treatment along with some red pellets, Zhang Zhutong resisted the impulse of inviting him to the low- temperature therapy together.
It will take just over ten minutes to get to the Divine Fire Club and the cryotherapy only takes up a short time. There's more than enough time.
However, will it look like Han Zhifei and I have teamed up against Lou Cheng?
Zhang Zhutong's pride didn't allow him to issue the invitation. ...
One hour and twenty minutes later, Yan Zheke woke Lou Cheng up gently like his personal alarm.
"How do you feel?" Yan Zheke blinked, very concerned.
Lou Cheng shook his head and smiled. "Almost half recovered mentally. My physical strength has no problem but my tendons, vessels, and muscles are still suffering from the Smelter Force, aching and uncomfortable."
Very different from the Chill Force, the Smelter Force could cause more physical damage and would accummulate over time. Although dispersed a bit, it still damaged Lou Cheng's body.
"Hmm. Go and get changed." Yan Zheke kept it short. In a new martial arts suit and shoes, Lou Cheng washed his face with cold water, looking refreshed and brisk again. He asked with a gentle smile, "Are you going out later or watching the ﬁght here?"
"I'll be here." Yan Zheke pursed her lips, her eyes smiling. "Waiting for your return in triumph."
"Terriﬁc!" Lou Cheng chuckled, "Don't you want to cheer me up again?"
"Pervert!" Yan Zheke ﬂushed before muttering, "Turn around. Turn around now!"
"Okay." Lou Cheng turned to the door, facing her with his back.
Yan Zheke took one step forward, put her arms around his waist and buried her face in his neck, whispering, "Hon, honey, go for it!"
No matter if you win or lose, I'm proud of you.
The broadcast began to introduce the two ﬁghters of the ﬁnal match in the stadium. The winner of the ﬁrst semi-ﬁnal ﬁght was invited to enter the ring ﬁrst by convention.
"The ﬁnal match of The Third Youth Fighters Championship of Xing Province is about to start. Give a round of applause to our ﬁrst ﬁghter, No. 18 Lou Cheng!"
"He made it to the ﬁnal after defeating the No. 9 seed, the No.
5 seed, the No. 6 seed and the No. 1 seed!"
The audience was moved by the introduction. They remained silent as if expecting yet another surprise. Lou Cheng stepped out of the lounge and walked towards the ﬂight of stairs along the path under the glare of the spotlights.
He suddenly heard a shout,
The whole stadium was ignited. Voices echoed in the air.
"Champion!" "Champion!" "Champion!"
Chapter 277: My Enemy and Me
"Champion!" "Champion!" "Champion!"
What began as white noise gradually became the clear chanting that created the enlightening sound torrent rolling through every corner of the arena.
As they witnessed Lou Cheng beat the No.1 seeded ﬁghter through a bitter struggle, the audience recalled how he had systematically beaten his opponents, one by one. Almost everyone believed that he should be the winner of the Youth Championship this session. No matter what the ﬁnal result was, he was the real champion, the champion in the people's hearts.
Under this match system, the ﬁnal result mostly depended on luck and result of lots drawing. However, in the previous matches he had won, showed more of the glory of martial arts!
"Champion!" "Champion!" "Champion!" Hearing the crowd cheer with such feeling and approval, Lou Cheng had been relaxed and in a pleasant mood, but suddenly he felt anger welling up in his heart and he fumed.
Now that I have gained everyone's approval in the Youth Tournament, what else could I ask for?
He slowed down and raised his hands to wave at the audience in all directions.
At this moment, I am the king of this arena and the king of this match!
The audience fell silent before breaking out into an even warmer cry,
"Champion!" The cheering became almost like a mantra. Yan Zheke could hear the cheers from inside the restroom, her excitement caused her eyes to shine as bright as stars.
The camera panned around the room, landing on a few beautiful girls, before coming back around and ﬁlming more of Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke suddenly had an idea. So, she then took out her phone to send her boyfriend a message.
While surrounded by the sounds of cheering under the shining sun, Lou Cheng indulged in the rush of hot blood and looked around the arena that symbolized his championship.
He would be lying if he said he didn't want to win, especially after he had advanced to the ﬁnal round!
Even if I am weaker than Han Zhifei or if I have try my best to beat Zhang Zhutong, which means I will have to consume more energy than Han Zhifei did while he fought against Liu Xunzhen, I still have a chance. I am not going to throw in the towel since I have already come so far! To be honest, in this ﬁnal battle, it would be imperative for him to confront Han Zhifei. He had been the best of the four ﬁghters from the last session. At twenty-ﬁve years old, he had to ﬁght Han Zhifei now because he wouldn't get another chance if he missed this match. As the No. 2 seeded ﬁghter, Han Zhifei also carried the expectations of others, so he too felt a lot of pressure.
As for him, he wasn't really suffering from pressure now because he had already achieved his goal and his ranking is now even better than expected. He'd gotten more bonus points than he had expected. He even received the audience's adoration and became the uncrowned king in this tournament. So, regardless if he won or lost the match, he wasn't concerned with other factors. The reason why he wanted to win was only the desire within his heart.
Win or lose I feel no pressure at all.
As he had been ﬁghting Zhang Zhutong, Lou Cheng, whose goal was to only advance to the ﬁnal round, almost had this kind of feeling, but he still felt a little burden about proving that he didn't need other attacks. In fact, the victory didn't mean a lot to him. Even if he lost, he would likely quit Weibo, forum, and stop talking about this match with his friends. He would then take up reading novels, playing games, watching TV series or programs for a week, or at least until the heat died down. After everything had subsided, he would again start to brush off his failure with victory after victory. However, he knew that Yan Zheke would feel guilty and it would be painful, so, frankly, he bore this pressure for his beloved.
Now, without the burden, he focused purely on the match, and on the martial arts.
As he relaxed his footsteps, Lou Cheng recalled every piece of information about Han Zhifei he remembered.
Male, twenty-ﬁve years old, and three years ago, he was a mature ﬁghter for the Professional Eighth Pin. Two years ago, he got a certiﬁcate of the Professional Seventh Pin. He also was one of the vice hall masters of "Sage Hall".
He grew up on the streets and also mingled among the underworld gang. Later he was lucky enough to meet a nice boss who helped him master martial arts. After he received his professional certiﬁcate, he gradually changed his bad reputation and took part in the "Sage Hall" where he mastered the "Punch with Virtual Print". People guessed that the reason he was able to wash his Hands in a Golden Basin without incident and escape the gang was because the boss of the "Sage Hall" was one of the most powerful men of the underworld. He
was very mysterious and people only knew that his nickname was "Master Ba".
Once the "Void Imprint Fist" was mastered and was hit out, all the power in his body would go up and leave no hint regardless the Force Concentration. That was its feature. Also, this punch had the quite extraordinary force which was known as rigid and soft. It didn't target on the enemy just like a person used this punch to attack mountains across cattle. Right, to attack mountains across cattle was like mountain collapsed while the cattle were not shocked.
Han Zhifei was still far away from the highest level of the "Void Imprint Fist", but he had mastered some essence of it. He was good at the rigid or the soft changes of force. He also was good at attacking the tendons, vessels, and bones of his opponent invisibly, which could be regarded as the bane of directly practicing martial arts. Although his strength had also broken through the limits of the human, he could only complete six explosions of power, not as many as Zhang Zhutong had exploded.
After he had thought about it, over and over again, he realized dealing with this Han Zhifei would be much more difﬁcult.
He won't be weaker than Zhang Zhutong by much. I am afraid that the difference between them is like the difference between one hundred and ninety. As for me, if I encounter him in my normal condition, I will probably lose the match, not to mention that I just fought with the No.1 seeded ﬁghter just now. My spirit hasn't recuperated and my tendons, blood vessels, and muscles are in pain which affects my attack force. However, Han Zhifei's enemy, Liu Xunzhen, was relatively weak.
But, I still have a chance! Yesterday, last night to be precise, Han Zhifei's opponent was the No.3 seeded ﬁghter, Qiushan!
He competed hard and won the match, with such force, that he might have been injured by his opponent!
Even so, the "Sage Hall" wouldn't be able to completely restore his physical strength within the hour and a half, even if it had some good ways to eliminate fatigue, after that high- intensity battle. He wasn't likely to recover even 80% of his physical strength.
Unfortunately, while I was trying to rest and recover I missed the battle between Han Zhifei and Liu Xunzhen, so I didn't see if he's wounded...
While he thought about this, Lou Cheng walked to the edge of the arena. Taking out his phone he was about to hand it over to the match supervisor.
This is when he checked his phone and saw the message from his girlfriend: "Han Zhifei has a small wound on his left rib. When he swings with his left ﬁst he is going to be slow. Just now, I, as your sister in martial arts, didn't forget to watch the game and I never forgot to turn off the sound. Quickly, praise me now~".
Lou Cheng suddenly thought about the ﬁght where Han Zhifei had used his skills that mixed Force Concentration with the "Punch with Virtual Print" to stop the strong piercing ﬁnger force of Qiu Shan last night. He, at that time, looked like nothing was wrong, but he had still been hurt by the ﬁnger force.
The corners of his mouth turned up as he replied to Yan Zheke under the staring eyes of the audience.
"Praise Coach Yan! You are witty, cautious and beautiful!"
"Hey, yeah, yeah, look at the spoiled smile of our dear Lou Cheng. He really has a girlfriend ah! (wringing emoji)". Eternal Nightfall, Yan Xiaoling, found out this fact with her sharp observation skills. Brahman appeared and ridiculed her sharply, "Unfortunately, your chest is too small to hammer... "
"Do not say that. An A-cup is also called a chest," Okamoto's Fan replied.
Yan Xiaoling said, in a mock rage, "That's nonsense. Compared to my height, my ﬁgure is kind of sexy because of my chest!"
"Oh, right. Lingling is as tall and small as a primary school student, only 4 foot 9 inches in height (manual funny face emoji)." Unparalleled Dragon King also began to make fun of her.
"Wow, God, I am so mad. I'm obviously 5 feet high! How can you erase the two centimeters? Do you have any idea that how important it is!" Yan Xiaoling joked along with the rest.
For them, watching Lou Cheng advance to the ﬁnal round had achieved their dreams and hopes, so they felt very relaxed and they cared nothing about the victory. However, Yan Zheke who had stayed in the restroom typed on her phone's keyboard and replied Lou Cheng with a "turning around proudly" emoji, "Flamboyant!"
She then saw Lou Cheng hand the phone over to the match supervisor. He then walked along the stone stage, step by step, towards the ring before he ﬁnally stood under the spotlight.
As the light shone on him, the radio announcer began the other ﬁghter's introduction for the ﬁnal round.
"Let's welcome the second ﬁghter, No. 2 seeded ﬁghter, Han Zhifei!"
"He's already defeated so many strong enemies in this tournament, including the No.3 and No.9 seeded ﬁghters. Now, he's going to ﬁght the biggest black horse in this tournament!"
As soon as the announcer spoke the words, the stands burst out into to cheers. They were shouting, "Han Zhifei." As a local ﬁghter in Gao Fen and a member of the "Sage Hall", Han Zhifei had become well-known. Because he participated in the preliminaries as a member of "Sage Hall" and a ﬁghter who was challenging the higher level, he certainly received a lot of support in his half of the home arena.
He walked along the road and ascended the stone stage. At last, he stood in front of Lou Cheng.
They did not speak. They saw the referee as he raised his right hand, as they heard the radio shout,
"The third session of the Youth Tournament Championship Match, the ﬁnal round, starts now!"
The host cried out the last word which ignited the enthusiasm of the audience. The cheering vuvuzela grew in volume.
The referee waved everyone to attention before he announced, "The talk time starts now."
Han Zhifei had a shallow scar on his face and his glare was not very ferocious. He smiled with a serious face,
"I was one of the ﬁrst people who noticed your potential and power in this tournament."
"Did you start paying attention to me before or after my match with Xiong Yu?" Lou Cheng asked questions of every opponent, so he naturally knew that both Han Zhifei and Xiong Yu were members of "Sage Hall".
"Yes. I read your information and then checked the match agenda. Then I cursed, in my heart, whoever had arranged the agenda to where it was set for you and me to battle in the semi- ﬁnal on the same night! Doesn't this give a guy like you who has great stamina all the advantages?" Han Zhifei laughed and shook his head, "But, who knows, in the end, it seems that I have the advantage this time. Nothing can be predicted." Before Lou Cheng replied, he added, "I'm a little embarrassed, the championship seems to belong to you."
As he talked about this, he became serious. "I am not about to let you win easily and I am not going to feel stressed out about this thing. Not just because I want to be the champion and be victorious, but also because I want to give you my most signiﬁcant respect that I can give you and that is to give it my all!"
"What a coincidence! I think so too. I will not easily throw in the towel. I also will not retreat from the challenge. To make every effort to defeat you is the greatest respect I can show you!" Lou Cheng answered just as solemnly.
After they ﬁnished exchanging words, they smiled at each other. They had a tacit understanding during this competition.
During the rest of the downtime, they adjusted their state. Lou Cheng quickly came up with a ﬁghting strategy and it was to bank on his opponent not guessing that his stamina hadn't been completely consumed and that half of his spirit had already been recovered. Of course, a spirit can't be measured by data. He could only say that his head had been cleared now and his reaction time hadn't slowed down.
In addition, because the ﬁghters of Dan stage regarded martial arts as their foundation, as the source that emphasized the spirit and mind, the confrontation of the momentum had become very important!
As he was thinking the time ﬂew by. The referee glanced at the clock. Once again he waved his right hand for attention,
With that, the ﬁnal round began!
Chapter 278: When You're Run Ragged
Han Zhifei's martial arts suit swelled up as he stepped forward. His entire body seemed like it was a high-speed mack truck. While the platform shook gently, he rushed forward and was in front of Lou Cheng. Twisting his waist and arm to form a Forward Punch, he violently slammed forward.
This attack looked no different than an ordinary Forward Punch, but there was absolutely no sound while he carried it out. This kind of attack and manner brought a frightening kind of silence, to the point where even the sound of the wind couldn't be heard.
With two warriors facing each other, this was quite surreal!
By understanding the concept of 'receiving', Lou Cheng could attack silently by tightening his muscles to offset the inherent explosive sound of the hits. However, he couldn't do it as well as Han Zhifei. This corresponded with the special strength he had in rotating as well as his ability to undulate and get free. Lou Cheng realized this and understood that Han Zhifei acted in this way with a purpose for he showed no fear when he left Lou Cheng with sufﬁcient time to prepare "Severe Warning", and he must have corresponding countermeasures just like Zhang Zhutong before.
As for how to counterattack, and how to adapt, Lou Cheng could think of a few possibilities. However, he couldn't make a precise plan of attack. All he could do was proceed cautiously. Visualizing a Thunder Cloud, he braced all of his arm muscles, stepped forward, swung his shoulder, and with his veins and arteries bulging, threw a Blast Punch.
At that moment, amongst the crack and their two ﬁsts about to exchange blows, Han Zhifei's martial arts suit suddenly bulged, revealing sharp and clearly deﬁned muscles like those of an ancient hero. As it disappeared amongst the movement and Rest, it caused a stir of sound amongst the people, as it was an interesting turn of events.
Boom! The air stirred like a strong gale was taking over, and Han Zhifei's ﬁst mysteriously changed. There was a strange feeling of nothingness or emptiness as the surrounding airﬂow began to reverse and coalesce. It was obvious to even the naked eye as a cushion of air was momentarily created.
With the protection of this cushion, this could be a considered a simpliﬁed version of physical invulnerability. I need to break away!
And with his 'empty' ﬁsts condensing air for future use, it wasn't just limited to this!
Whoosh! The two collided and the air cushion cracked. Han Zhifei pulled back, and without the slightest warning ﬂicked his wrist, rising above Lou Cheng's own ﬁst.
Han Zhifei's ﬁve ﬁngers opened, exposing blackish blue veins as he grasped for his opponent's wrist.
Lou Cheng remained calm as he stretched his muscles, the sound of thunder echoed through his mind. Bang!
Han Zhifei's muscles bulged and shook from the attack while his ﬁngers and wrist trembled.
Shaking his shoulders loose, Lou Cheng's right hand traced a splendid arc and headed for his opponent's opposing wrist.
Big or Small Hand Wrap!
Han Zhifei's expression twitched slightly. He abruptly sucked in air and his body became a vacuum, consisting only of his right arm.
Lou Cheng pressed down with all of his ﬁngers, but it was if he was grasping air. All he could feel was the emptiness inside him. Like a ﬁsh, he wriggled free and slipped away with ease and began to recover his power. How could it be this simple! Lou Cheng focused his eyes, threw his elbow joint out with a sharp crack, and twisted his own arm free. Accelerating like electricity, his palm and ﬁngers formed together to become like a sword, stabbing towards Han Zhifei's right wrist.
This wasn't any kind of special style, but rather, he was simply utilizing his elbow muscles to throw out two hits!
It wasn't possible to maintain a vacuum state for long. Han Zhifei didn't dare lower his guard while straightening his waist. He hurriedly threw his right shoulder backwards and quickly pulled his arm to hide from Lou Cheng 's pointed 'sword'. At the same time, he tensed up his muscles and threw out his left arm in an attempt to hit his opponent.
Simultaneous retreat and offense!
Lou Cheng followed his right hand closely. This was the moment he'd been waiting for to create a strong chain of attacks. As expected, when Han Zhifei threw out his left ﬁst, it was hindered by the injury to his ribs. The movement wasn't sufﬁciently smooth, and there was a split second of sluggishness!
In that split second, Lou Chen's Qi and Blood came surging back. Using his spirit to hold onto his lower muscles, he stood in a Human Body Big Dan.
Due to Han Zhifei's experience, he knew that Lou Cheng was seizing the moment to take advantage of his mistake. Han Zhifei abruptly stopped his movement and followed up with "Force Concentration".
When everything was condensed to such an extreme point, the backlash would also be extreme. Lou Cheng's body expanded a few centimeters. With his energy bursting, he stepped forward and swung his left arm with a Forward Punch so explosive that it seemed to tear through the air and leave a trace. Now that everyone knows from my last match that my bodies consumption rate is too big, and after a half hour's time I'll be unable to recover completely, I might as well go with it. I'll open up my Qi for a frantic attack. Something that'll really wow them.
In that case, I'll ﬁrst arrange that "small objective", and achieve three consecutive explosions!
Han Zhifei was too slow by a beat. In the face of his enemies' aggressive assault, there was only time to for him to allow the Dan stage to reach his arms, crossing them in front of his body.
At the impact point, there was a wafting of air. Though Han Zhifei remained standing, solid as a rock, Lou Cheng wound back up, wriggled his muscles, with an echo resounding inside his body, he once again consolidated his Dantian so that he wouldn't in the least let up his full bodies strength. Lou Cheng took a small step forward and leaned his body downwards like before. After his right arm swelled up to an astonishing degree, he abruptly formed a ﬁst and slammed down. While performing this stance, it was as if he'd somehow grown, and it seemed as if he'd slam his opponent's lower body directly into the arena.
Brutal Blizzard Double Explosions!
Han Zhifei simply didn't have enough time to evade. He could only once again do Force Concentration and raised his arms up to block.
As Lou Cheng's ﬁst hit, Han Zhifei pulled back, losing a large part of his power. After ﬂipping and pausing, he abruptly blocked.
Bang! Lou Cheng's body shook again, but he quickly recomposed his balance. His spirit, Qi, Blood, and movements were all focused together. As Han Zhifei blocked, he bounced back, sliding back a step, quickly gaining some distance. Bang! Lou Cheng's internal strength surged forth. He put his waist forward and tensed his thighs. With almost no rest time, his right foot thrust out. As it went through the air it seemed like a phantom ﬁlling the blank space that his opponent had created a moment ago, landing in front of his opponent like an avalanche.
As Han Zhifei fell back, he lost his balance again and used Force Concentration, making his entire body an empty vacuum. Then, with his temples pulsating, his leg ﬂew out, kicking Lou Cheng's foot.
Cracks exploded on the sides of their shoes, and the pieces fell to the ground like butterﬂies. Han Zhifei had learned a lesson from Zhang Zhutong, making sure to break away from Lou Cheng's fast and violent "24 Blizzard Strikes" in advance. He launched into his stanch, coiling into a pillar and striking.
Lou Cheng had tentatively arrived at his objective. He had applied pressure to Han Zhifei and now held the upper hand by cutting down on his dissipation. Actually, just then, at most he could have done four strikes. Five strokes would have completely emptied him regardless of whether he relied on the Jindan, so his plan was always to aim for three strikes. This way, by taking it nice and easy, he could throw in a few Tremor Punches and still be able to throw two consecutive strikes.
His current tactic was to make Han Zhifei believe Lou Cheng failed in his attack. When he was near the end of his rope, he would use an attack that didn't take a lot of energy like the Tremor Punch and he could piece together his opponent's dissipation!
This was similar to the ﬁght with Zhang Zhutong, but that time he had done his utmost to avoid this aspect of it.
His choices changed as he faced different opponents. The previous "Smelter Force" was a minimal burden to his body, yet the overlaying power was quite scary. The longer he fought, the more Lou Cheng was at a disadvantage. Han Zhifei was someone who had fought many battles. The power consumption of his "Phantom Fist" was probably equivalent to that of the Frost Force, so he ﬁgured that he had much more physical strength than him! As for the "Phantom Fist" changing and becoming a hidden attack, Lou Cheng ﬁgured that the Tremor Punch could handle it. Just a moment ago when they made contact, it had immediately "detonated" his muscles and caused him to shake and break up the invisible move.
Even though this would reduce how much of a shock Han Zhifei would receive, it was dependable, and all that he could do.
Bang bang bang! Crash crash crash! Lou Cheng ﬁrmly carried out his plan and responded to Han Zhifei's assault with unending Tremor Punch's regardless of whether he was or wasn't using the "Phantom Punch" move.
In the course of this, he could not defend himself since he had so few opponents that were as strong as him, he had grown somewhat complacent!
As long as he seized the advantage, Lou Cheng could immediately counter-attack, suppress his opponent, and then respond with steady defense. Ordinarily, Han Zhifei would not give him too many opportunities, but today his left rib had an injury. It was obvious through the holes of his clothes, and when it was revealed from time to time, it could be attacked.
With ﬁsts and feet ﬂying, the two men hit with abnormal intensity. Staring from the packed spectator's lounge, Yan Zheke's heart was in her throat as she waited anxiously for the victory to become clear.
Lou Cheng's body had an injury. There was still the inﬂuence of the 'Smelter' in his muscles and veins. The more he hit, the more painful and harder to bear it was. His punching strength was also inﬂuenced the more he fought. In contrast to the beginning, in this kind of state, in front of Han Zhifei, he simply wouldn't be able to last more than 10 moves. Fortunately, today Han Zhifei also seemed exhausted and hadn't been able to take advantage of the several times he'd shown weakness.
Another spell of ﬁghting passed. Even though Han Zhifei didn't perceive anything deﬁnite, through relying on his original street smarts and bloodthirst, as well as his rich ﬁghting experience, he could sense that something wasn't right. Under this kind of attack, it looked as if his opponent, who was on the verge of collapse, was afraid that he also wouldn't collapse. At that time, his physical strength declined down to a thread, to a point where it was truly dangerous!
He couldn't let him pull him down! Han Zhifei narrowed his eyes and made a decision. At once, he revealed the hole in his clothing, showing the weak and injured left rib.
Lou Cheng made his move and slid forward. His left hand lifted to protect his body and his right arm waved, his ﬁst shooting forth, exploding towards his opponent's left rib.
Han Zhife had a grave expression. Unexpectedly, he hadn't gone to take care of his opponent's violent attack. He abruptly drew in a breath of air, made his body an empty vacuum, and again did Force Concentration!
As Lou Cheng punched, he felt as is Han Zhifei's bones had contracted, his muscles had caved in, and he'd created a stiff 'empty cavern' in its place. It was dangerous to do this in order to avoid the explosive burst.
No good! He straightened his body and spread his legs apart, but he discovered that the 'Empty Cavern' had reduced his spirit, Qi, and blood, and it was exerting some kind of mysterious force on his physical body, making it so that he was leaning forward against his own will.
A similar thought once again ﬂashed through his mind, and Lou Cheng didn't hesitate. He summoned his willpower, dipped his body, and caused his Qi and Blood to ﬂow back, using it to correspond with his spirit and physical strength, allowing him to stand ﬁrmly and withdraw his ﬁst.
Coming to this situation, he was unable to consider doing a few more Dan Stage explosions!
Just as Lou Cheng ﬁnished his Force Concentration, Han Zhifei threw out his left ﬁst. His muscles momentarily burst through his martial arts suit and once became strong and deﬁned as ancient warriors. They moved and came into friction with the air, creating a sound just like a long dragon's roar!
Lou Cheng's eyes widened his Qi and Blood instinctively agitated. His Dan Stage power surged forth and he lifted up both of his hands to obstruct his opponent's ﬁsts.
Whoosh! He felt like he'd been hit by a strong steam of water, canceling out his own block, which was in strange contrast to the appearance that the punch had seemed to have taken on.
A split second after, the softness turned hard as a great power and intensity arrived.
The Phantom Punch Technique, Joining Strength and Gentleness!
Bang! Lou Cheng was pressed back two steps by this forcible punch. He left behind two crack-ﬁlled footprints as he stomped down and lost his balance!
He had no choice, he could only do "Two Consecutive Strikes". It was a ﬁrm and dependable stance, but a vague thought.
Han Zhifei saw that victory was near. Without hesitation, he once again used "Force Concentration", swelled up his body, and slammed into him with his side!
Bang! Lou Cheng blocked the hit with some difﬁculty, but the stance of his two hands was loosened, creating an opening to his stomach and lower abdomen.
It seemed as if his response had also become sluggish. He was so tired he felt like he could collapse right there on the spot.
Han Zhifei's body was also exhausted. He couldn't ﬁnish three consecutive strikes, but he couldn't let himself miss this opportunity. Gritting his teeth, he wriggled his muscles, stomped forward, threw out his left arm with an explosion and Phantom Fist!
Burning himself dry wasn't too bad!
At this moment, there would be a victory!
As everyone watched the situation change, they all continuously held their breath, perhaps out of anticipation, or perhaps due to saying a prayer.
There was no time to block, so Lou Cheng did something that he had thought over for a long time but had never actually used in battle.
If you've been run ragged, how would you temporarily raise your spirits?
First, you could splash some cold water on your face to wake yourself up. This was perhaps seen as the most common reply. So Lou Cheng worked into the Power of Frost, making a cold current condense and rush up into his mind, ﬂoating past his face and out to the surface!
If agitated by approximately zero degree temperatures, the body's protective mechanisms would start up. Hormones started to secrete. He suddenly felt clear-headed and his train of thought was if it had been restored back to normal!
Was this just a "method" of drawing out his own body's potential?
Lou Cheng seized this short moment to stir up his spirits. He lowered his waist down to his thigh, congealed his blood into its own power, and stretched his muscles. Observing to the side, the referee raised his eyebrows.
Whoosh! Han Zhifei hit the center of Lou Cheng's stomach but it was as if he'd hit a rotten piece of wood. The power of Lou Cheng's Qi and Blood rushed forth. His muscles expanded and he rushed forth with a mad attack, making a frightening vibration. Boom!
Han Zhifei's body bounced. His Qi and Blood boiled over, while in his mind there was a spell of dizziness. Relying on his instinct and Chinese boxing techniques, Lou Cheng straightened his arm and stabbed towards his opponent's throat with his ﬁst like a sword.
Afterwards, he himself felt that this attack would be blocked.
At this very moment, Lou Cheng's spirit was extremely drained, and he simply wasn't able to consider what kind of situation he was in. In front of his eyes was darkness, and he was dizzy to the point where he couldn't quite see the top of the arena.
The referee reached out his hand for support, covered his hand with his palm, raised his right hand and announced clearly,
"Final round, Lou Cheng wins!"
Chapter 279: Everyday Is Valentine's Day
"The ﬁnals, Lou Cheng wins!"
Since he still felt dizzy and disoriented, it took Lou Cheng a while to ﬁgure out what the referee was saying.
Did I win the game?
Did I defeat Han Zhifei with the last blow?
Am I still in the arena?
As all these thoughts ﬂashed through Lou Cheng's mind, he ﬁnally found his bearings and got a clear view of his surroundings. He saw Hang Zhifei hufﬁng in front of him, two footprints embedded in the ﬂoor behind him. He was in a broad arena with the referee standing nearby, who was familiar yet strange for him. Sensing Lou Cheng's gaze, the referee gave him a kind smile before asking, "Are you okay?"
"I'm, I'm ﬁne now," said Lou Cheng. He felt his mind numb and turn into chowder, which weakened his control of his lungs and throat, adding difﬁculty to his breathing pattern and causing him to make a series of gasps.
His eyelids were heavy as if he would immediately fall asleep.
Holding back the feeling of being sleepy. He struck a blaze with two ﬁngers and gave the back of his hand a quick burn. His body trembled slightly at the sharp pain, immediately waking up his brain by stimulating his nerves.
At this moment, all the scenes and sounds outside Lou Cheng's world came back to him with the eruptions of cheering from the excited audience.
"Champion!" "Lou Cheng! Champion!"
Lou Cheng was stunned while feelings of joy and happiness began emerging from his heart, drop by drop, echoing within his body along with a feeling of tiredness.
"I'm really a champion! Champion of The Third Youth Fighters Championship!"
At this moment, he wanted nothing more than to turn around, run down the arena and rush to the restroom to give a big hug to his fairy, pick her up, and then spin her with excitement.
Having seen Hang Zhifei break Lou Cheng's stance twice with Double Explosion, Yan Zheke already covered her mouth with both hands stiﬂing a regretful sigh. Though she had already prepared for Lou Cheng's probable failure, she never stopped expecting that Lou Cheng would ﬁnd a way out and create a miracle at the last minute.
As long as he doesn't give in, I'll never give up.
As Han Zhifei was about to land a winning hit, Lou Cheng uniformly distributed all his scattering forces throughout his body to strengthen his defense against his opponent. Seizing the opportunity to launch a counterattack without hesitation, Lou Cheng turned defeat into victory in an instant, stunning the audience, including Yan Zheke, who immediately jumped up from the sofa to wave her ﬁsts and yell excitedly regardless of her politeness and elegance.
"Victory! Victory! Victory!"
At this moment, a quick glance at Lou Cheng immediately calmed her knotted stomach as she noticed the boy's dim eyes, trembling body, and halting steps. He might've fallen if the referee hadn't steadied him. What's wrong with him?
Is he okay?
Did Cheng deplete his supernatural abilities again? Is he about to suffer another rebound?
Frowning with a dismal and unhappy look, Yan Zheke felt an urge to rush to Lou Cheng's side.
Fortunately, the lump of tension in her chest didn't stay long. Lou Cheng soon came around and burned himself with a ﬂame of supernatural ability to heighten his awareness.
"You great nitwit… " Yan Zheke murmured in both joy and anger. Obviously, Lou Cheng was trying to stay active using external stimuli. His brain couldn't keep up with the body movements.
How could he choose such a stupid method! Why must he burn himself?
Drastic emotional changes in a short time mentally exhausted Yan Zheke, forcing her to sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. She had been focusing on the screen and the ﬁgure of this idiot.
There was a one-minute silence in Lou Cheng's fan forum where no posts were made.
Unparalleled Dragon King was the ﬁrst to regain his composure. "He wins… @Eternal Nightfall, @Brahman, come out and see God!"
In their previous discussion, even the two girls, who were Lou Cheng's biggest fans, had believed there was little chance for Lou Cheng to defeat Han Zhifei, the second seed, in his current state. "My idol wins! My idol is the champion! I can't believe it! Wait, why should I say I can't believe it?" Brahman confessed with a crying emoji, "I didn't have enough faith, I was wrong, please forgive me!"
"Eternal Nightfall" Yan Xiaoling replied with a blank look. "I was just scared silly… "
"I was so frightened my wig almost fell off… " Naive sent an emoji widely opening its eyes.
"I was convinced that Lou Cheng was going to lose the game right before he turned the tables." Bull King was unsure whether to cry or laugh.
Unlike the battle between Lou Cheng and Qiu Lin, Lou Cheng's recoil after using Severe Warning gave him the chance to launch a counterattack. He took the opportunity to defeat his opponent. This time there wasn't an obvious transition before the situation was thoroughly turned around, which gave the stunned audience no time to ﬁgure out what happened. "Luckily I didn't bet I would streak this time… " All Good Names Are Taken By Dogs sent a "let go" emoji in bewilderment.
Yan Xiaoling, who was watching their discussion with a blank look, suddenly sent a post:
"I still feel as if it was a dream, it was too dramatic. Did my Lou Cheng really win the championship? @Okamoto's Fan, hurry up! Come out! Send me some porn to let me know I'm still living in the real world!"
"Gosh! Lingling, you're getting dirtier and dirtier." Okamoto's Fan joked.
Rubbing her face, Yan Xiaoling went on watching the forum and game broadcast at the same time. She was hoping to get an afﬁrmative answer from the old special guest.
... In the studio of Xing Province Satellite Television, after a long silence, the host sighed with discontent.
"I'm afraid he'll be the most unexpected champion in the past three sessions of competition."
Who would've expected that Lou Cheng could win the championship, before the competition or even several days after the competition started?
At that time, Lou Cheng was a stranger to most of the audience!
Yu Hong shook his head and took a deep breath, calming himself down, then smiled and said, "But he's the most powerful among all the three champions we've ever had."
On his way to victory, Lou Cheng had defeated the ﬁrst, second, ﬁfth, sixth and ninth seeded players, one after another, which showed his incomparable strength, and that hadn't ever been seen in former champions. It was likely that no one would be as prominent as him in several sessions to come! "Professor Yu Hong, what do you think about that match just now? It was obvious that Lou Cheng had almost lost the game, so how could he turn the tables in an instant?" The host asked while still confused.
Yu Hong gave him a smile. "Throughout the whole match, we could tell that Lou Cheng had chosen the proper strategy since he was able to restore stamina at an unexpected speed. Of course, he would drag Han Zhifei into a situation where they could only rely on the replenishment of stamina and energy. But Han Zhifei was not fooled, as he noticed Lou Cheng's attempt in advance. He risked worsening his injuries to launch a counterattack without considering consequences, which helped him in almost reaching victory.
"However, he ﬁnally lost the game, what a pity. On one hand, he didn't restrain the stamina consumption of his body enough to provide his injured body with sufﬁcient energy to support his ﬁnal outbreak of strength. On the other hand, Lou Cheng seems to have used some special means."
"Special means?" The host asked in confusion. "Let's rewind and look at Lou Cheng's facial expression." Yu Hong said and made a sign to the director, "You see? Lou Cheng was obviously so tired his eyes were glassy. But he sudden shivered and then immediately gained energy that lit up his eyes and refreshed him to an extent, helping him to execute the ﬁnal movement of Force Concentration… I wonder
if he used some secret technique to stimulate his body or
overdraw his potential. Either way, he reacted in time to counterattack and claim the victory."
"Yeah, I see! Professor Yu Hong, I wouldn't have noticed his change if you hadn't mentioned it, and I do believe there are many people in the audience that are still in the dark like I was," said the host, immediately realizing what just happened.
When he announced the results, the live audience listened with a blank expression, unable to believe what they had witnessed.
Why is Lou Cheng the winner? Though it's conﬁrmed by the referee, It obviously looked like Han Zhifei was the winner!
In a weird silence, Tao Xiaofei burst out laughing while pounding his legs.
"I win, I win! 80 thousand yuan, I gained 80 thousand yuan!
Haha, this is my ﬁrst time earning a fortune on my own!"
He used to be called "Loser of Every Bet".
Awakened by his laughter, Qiu Hailin sighed with relief, though she was still in bewilderment.
"It's just like a dream… "
In the dream, Lou Cheng, who had originally been predicted to reach the top 32, or at most the top 16, defeated a string of tough opponents, working his way to the semiﬁnals as one of the top 8, and ﬁnally entered the ﬁnals to win the championship!
It was just like a dream…
In the dream, she was still a college student with no achievements.
Jiang Fei turned to look at her, silently sighing. "Yeah, it was just like a dream, with a ridiculous plot where Cheng would have asked Yan Zheke to be his girlfriend… "
Standing by in silence, Cheng Qili saw all their reactions and feelings welling up in their hearts. Besides the joy and excitement, he also realized how weak he was, and had an urge to bravely advance towards his own goals.
"I never realized before that a plain-looking boy could also be handsome… " Cao Lele murmured while looking at the arena. Turning her gaze to Qi Yunfei and the other girls, she found all of them ﬂushed with shining eyes. "He won… Is Cheng the champion?" Qi Fang asked while tugging at her husband's sleeve excitedly for the ﬁnal conﬁrmation.
Lou Zhisheng took a deep breath and nodded.
No matter how many ﬁghters below the age of 26 were in the whole province, Cheng had made himself the most powerful one among them!
In the abundance of cheering and applause, Lou Cheng's parents were greatly moved with their eyes welling up.
"When will we check out of the hotel?" Qi Fang asked wiping away her tears.
The cheering gradually settled down, Lou Zhisheng smiled and said, "Why are you so excited to leave? You don't want to stay a few more days? We'll check out of the hotel Fatty Guo booked tomorrow at noon, then we can ﬁnd a cheaper one."
Even though Cheng would get the championship bonus, his parents wanted to maintain frugal spending habits.
"No, I want to go back, I want to go back home now!" Qi Fang's eyes were extraordinarily bright, "I'll share the news! I'll visit all our relatives! I'll invite my friends for dinner!"
It was time for her to show off in front of all the relatives and friends who used to pay no attention to her!
This time Wu Ting didn't bounce and dance in excitement as she usually did at previous competitions. Instead, she had been yapping at her father, Wu Qinggui, and uncle, Wei Renjie, about Lou Cheng. "My coach is the champion of the provincial Youth Tournament!"
"My coach is the champion!"
Amused by the little girl, Wei Renjie took a glance at Sun Yixing and Chu Weicai, then sighed longingly and said, "Any differing opinions on inviting Lou Cheng to teach our team for preliminaries?"
"Nope, how dare we object!" Chu Weicai answered happily.
Sun Yixing also shook his head and replied, "No, it's my honor to have such a teacher."
To be honest, the ﬁrst time he met Lou Cheng, who was younger than him, was when he gave them special training. At that time, he was slightly reluctant. Yet now it meant he was going to be taught by the provincial No.1 ﬁghter, which was a great honor! ...
In the Lou family living room.
"He won?" Lou Debang leaped to his feet asking Lou Yuanwei.
"Yeah, he won!" Lou Yuanwei said and nodded happily.
"Champion?" Lou Debang added.
"Champion!" Lou Yuanwei replied in excitement.
"Hahaha." Lou Debang burst out into rambunctious laughter and said, "Ancestors bless us! Ancestors bless us! Let's visits their graves and tell them the good news when Cheng comes back!"
After speaking, he picked up the phone again. "The champion of the provincial youth tournament, what a great honor… " Wang Lili asserted while staring at Lou Zhiqiang and gnashing her teeth.
Lou Zhiqiang continued to murmur, "Why are you so excited? He's not our son… "
After realizing what he said, he stopped suddenly and looked at Lou Yuanwei.
Lou Yuanwei gave him a wry smile.
Though he realized his mediocrity, he still longed for an extraordinary life, which forced him to struggle frivolously. What a pain it was…
"Senior brother Zhou? Have you seen the match?" After calming down, Ye Youting texted Zhou Zhengquan. Zhou Zhengquan sent a "wry smile" and replied, "Yeah… I never expected to be surpassed by him in such a short time."
Wasn't his victory against Lou Cheng in May?
Now, he even gave up comparing himself to Lou Cheng. He was sincerely convinced by the boy's strength!
"Well, you can rest for a minute. Don't forget the awards ceremony in half an hour or you'll miss the bonus." The referee, Yin Huaming, reminded him jokingly.
"Okay, thanks for your hard work." Lou Cheng replied politely, regardless of his aching head, then walked towards Han Zhifei with his right hand stretched out.
After he stopped gasping, Han Zhifei looked at Lou Cheng for a while, then gave him a high-ﬁve. Click. The moment was captured in a ﬂash of light.
"Though I still didn't know how I lost, the fact is, I should accept it without giving excuses. Congratulations, you deserve it." Han Zhifei said sincerely.
Lou Cheng didn't want to conceal his condition from Han Zhifei, so he replied with a smile. "At the last second, I stimulated myself with my supernatural ability to squeeze my potential and overdraw energy; I'm going to be weak the next several days."
At least several days…
"I see… " Han Zhifei was completely relieved. Han Zhifei turned around to leave the arena, shaking his head self- deprecatingly.
He was walking at a slow pace because of his body aches. Lou Cheng left the arena in the opposite direction. Though he was able to support himself with his remaining stamina, he was stumbling and even swaying.
"Hello, Lou Cheng. Congratulations for becoming the most powerful young ﬁghter in this province." Wu Wei came out of nowhere, as she always did, and blocked the new champion who was actually a Big Devil.
No matter how Lou Cheng develops in the future, this championship was enough for him to go down in provincial Martial Arts history!
"Thank you." Lou Cheng said and gave her a smile, though he could no longer bear the uncomfortable feeling.
Now, I just want to see Ke and celebrate with her!
"Obviously you're very tired, therefore I have just three questions for you." Wu Wei put on a professional smile and continued, "Could you please share your feelings and thoughts after winning the championship with us?" "I'm truly overjoyed and screaming in my head, but my worn out body prevents me from showing my excitement on the outside." Lou Cheng took a deep breath and replied jokingly, "As for my feelings, I want to thank every opponent for giving me different tough experiences, thanks to my parents for supporting my wayward behavior to stick with Martial Arts, and ﬁnally, thank you to my friends for encouraging me. My
coach is the one I would like to thank the most, without my
coach I wouldn't be here now."
By "coach", he was thanking both Coach Shi and Coach Yan.
On the one hand, if he hadn't met coach Shi, he would have taken many detours before growing into a qualiﬁed ﬁghter, and he might've even died practicing kungfu in unsafe ways. On the other hand, it was Coach Yan who motivated him to join the Martial Arts Club for fun, and to go for a night jog around the lake where he found the Jindan.
In the restroom, Yan Zheke burst out laughing and immediately turned her gaze away from Lou Cheng. "Cheeky! Cheeky Cheng!" Yan Zheke gnashed her teeth and pursed her lips. But her eyes were glittering while her face was ﬂush, which made her look more joyous and charming.
He really said that in the interview!
"I have never seen such a disciple before… " Geezer Shi complained grumpily in front of the screen.
If I were the only one the brat wanted to thank sincerely, he would've directly said "master"!
If it was ancient times, a disciple like him wouldn't survive three days!
"You're really a grateful boy," Wu Wei said, smiling politely. "The second question is: how did you manage to ﬁnally turn the tables? Our special guest professor Yu Hong said you used a secret technique to stimulate your body into overdrawing stamina." "It was far from being a secret technique. When I was in middle school, I would wash my face with cold water to refresh myself when studying wore me out, then I would be able to gather strength." Knowing his method would soon be exposed by checking frame by frame, Lou Cheng decided to tell the truth. "Indeed, I was exhausted before the last blow with no other way to save myself. In desperation, I stimulated my body with the Power of Frost, and it worked unexpectedly well at waking me up for a few seconds. But, If I use this method again, it wouldn't work as well."
Stimulating himself with ﬂame force also enabled him to make a few basic moves, however, it's impossible for him to use Force Concentration again.
"Well… When I was still at school, washing my face with cold water was a good way to wake up." Wu Wei echoed him and she was suddenly enlightened.
On the other side, Yu Hong added in the studio. "Well, Lou Cheng was somewhat good at dealing with emergencies with a quick wit. What he used was a secret principle based on a method to squeeze out potential, which could cause major damage if he used it beyond the capacity his body could tolerate."
Wu Wei again asked with a big smile, "The third question, since you are sure to be at the top of Apotheosis of Fighters, do you have any suggestions regarding your nickname?"
"As long as it is neither unpleasant nor odd." Normally Lou Cheng would make a nickname for himself in advance, but he didn't have the energy now and had to reply with a wry smile.
"Okay, hurry up and get some rest. The awards ceremony is coming." Wu Wei got out of Lou Cheng's way. She watched the boy rush into the restroom, then turned to catch up with Han Zhifei waiting on the other side.
"Zhifei, I'm not going to mention anything unpleasant," Wu Wei had been to Jianxian Club several times and was quite familiar with Han Zhifei. "The ﬁrst question, what do you think of Lou Cheng getting the championship?" "He deserves it," Han Zhifei kept looking down. "Since he defeated so many tough ﬁghters and fought his way to the championship, it doesn't matter whether it was his good luck or our contempt for him. He proved to be a tough warrior with great strength, who was powerful enough to be the champion
of the youth tournament."
"Most importantly, he is still young and growing at an amazing speed," Wu Wei added. "The second question, could you please share your feelings with us?"
"I'm actually disappointed. I feel regret and pain as well. But this isn't only youth tournament out there for me to conquer during my martial arts career. I can still move on to pursue my dream. I'll adjust myself as soon as possible to meet the third phase of the preliminaries." Han Zhifei exhaled and his facial expression changed slightly.
"We're expecting you to bring honor to yourself and this province." Wu Wei nodded, "The third question, do you have any thoughts about your nickname?" "In the apotheosis of ﬁghters from the previous session, my nickname was Ghost General, and I hope this time it won't be more unpleasant than that… " Han Zhifei complained, which he seldom did.
After getting his phone back, Lou Cheng raised his hands to thank the audience for their applause. Then rushed into the restroom, where he saw Yan Zheke with a ﬂushed face and shining eyes.
Yan Zheke pursed her lips and then said, "What were you thinking when you stimulated your body with the Power of Frost? The human brain is fragile and sophisticated, even those mighty of physical invulnerability don't dare to touch it. What if you accidentally injured your mind? You are already naturally silly!"
Saying this, she couldn't help laughing at ﬁrst. Taking a glance at Lou Cheng with her watery eyes, she said in timidness and joy, "Welcome back, my champion Cheng… " "Aren't you going to do something to congratulate me?" Lou Cheng said and grinned as if having forgotten his aching head.
Am I risking my life to tease my little fairy?
"Hmm, what shall I do? It's time for you to take a bath and relax, Smelly Cheng~!"Yan Zheke approached Lou Cheng and walked him to the bathroom.
At this moment, Lou Cheng ﬁnally realized he should explain what happened. "I didn't stimulate my brain, only my skin."
Yan Zheke was about to say something but suddenly stopped to scratch her forehead. "Since you overdrew your stamina, a hot bath might harm you. You should recover from the tiredness by yourself at ﬁrst. Just sit here and I'll knead your temple."
"No, you were hit in the chest by Han Zhifei, so I'd better apply some ointment on you and massage the injured area to prevent future trouble… " Taking a step back in embarrassment, she raised one hand like a student in class and said, "Give me some time to sort out what I should do now... I'm a little confused."
She was very excited and concerned about Cheng.
Lost in her own thoughts, Yan Zheke suddenly sensed a strange silence in the room. When she looked up, she found Lou Cheng staring at her quietly with brooding eyes and a big smile.
The moment their eyes met, Lou Cheng stretched out one hand to grasp Yan Zheke's wrist, drawing her towards him.
Though he couldn't gather much strength because of his aching head, she was as light and soft as a feather, and she approached him on her own initiative, raising her face to welcome a hot kiss.
Sticking out her tongue secretly to let the boy suck softly with restrained passion, Yan Zheke tasted the feeling called happiness. After a while, she carefully pushed Lou Cheng away. Turning her gaze aside in shyness, she swiped her hair and ordered him, "Sit down and take off your clothing!"
"Okay." Lou Cheng gave her a smile and then took a step back to seat himself on the sofa. He then took off his shirt to show his sweaty chest as well as a dark red wound.
Though he ﬁnally defused the force of Xuyin Fist with Force Concentration, his chest was still badly injured because the muscles there were not as tough as those in the legs and arms.
Unconsciously taking a glance at Lou Cheng's chest, Yan Zheke's face ﬂushed again. She hurried to take out the ointment, crouching down while scooping out a handful and then kneading with great force to spread it.
Feeling both joy and pain while seeing the little fairy's facial expression, Lou Cheng grinned again.
"Does it remind you of the half nude photo I sent you? Well, is my ﬁgure nice?" "You rascal! You cheeky guy!" Yan Zheke scolded him out of embarrassment and worry, while still kneading Lou Cheng's injured muscles gently.
Having received enough attention, Lou Cheng stopped teasing her so he could close his eyes and relax. There were only 20 minutes left before the awards ceremony.
After a while, Yan Zheke ﬁnished her work and stood to seat herself on the sofa. She then said in a pretend heroic manner.
"Come on and rest your head on big sister's leg! I'll knead your temple to help relax your mind before your bath."
"I'm too heavy." Lou Cheng didn't want to hurt her.
"I'm a ﬁghter that's going to join in the Professional-Ninth- Pin competition, how can you hurt me? Come on~!" Yan Zheke patted her leg while looking away in shyness. "Okay." Lou Cheng laid down cheerfully and rested his head on her leg so she could massage his temple.
Along with the comfortable feeling and familiar fragrance, Lou Cheng's beating heart gradually calmed down, while his nervous tension also relaxed.
"Ke, sing a song for me, a quiet song." Lou Cheng murmured with his eyes closed.
Looking at him with a smile, Yan Zheke thought for a while and began cooing.
"When you are old and grey and full of sleep."
"When you are old and slow and dreaming of your youth beside the glowing bars."
… "When you are old and bending down in dim light."
"When I'm old, I do hope this song is for you."
Lou Cheng set his thoughts on the song echoing in his ears, leaving his mind full of peace and joy.
Chapter 280: The Glorious Curtain Falls
At the meeting room of the TV station, the director bent down and braced his hands on the table, roaring at the employees.
"The tournament is over, and you still haven't thought of any good nicknames?"
"Do you still want to stay in this area?"
His surging voice and splattering saliva made the young employee tremble and back way. He raised his hand in a very timid way and said, "Me, I have an idea!"
"Why didn't you say so before?" the director asked, staring at him.
"The meeting just began! I didn't get a chance to speak yet!" The young employee silently complained about him, but he dared not say it out loud, and then he honestly gave his idea, "Considering that we already have the name Four Heavenly Sons, we can continue to name the rest in this way. We can name them after mythical creatures that ﬁt them but also classiﬁes them according to their strength."
The director remained silent for a moment and then said, "Well... tell me your opinion then, what name should we give to Lou Cheng?"
The young employee expected this question so he replied immediately,
"The Sky Shaking Roar!"
The woman in glasses glanced at him secretively and bent her head, pretending to write something in the notebook. Some had different facial expressions but most of them were trying not to laugh.
"The Sky Shaking Roar?" The director frowned expressing doubt in his voice. "'The Sky Shaking' because Lou Cheng is good at Tremor Punch, and it also means he gave this Youth Tournament a shocking impression. I think it... ﬁts?" The young employee was so conﬁdent before but now he felt more and more nervous.
The director nodded slightly, "It's kind of Ok, because you made a pun. But why Roaring? Why not a hornless dragon? Lou Cheng has already achieved Frost Force, and he has also mastered some Simpliﬁed Physical Invulnerable techniques. Isn't Hornless Frost Dragon more suitable?"
"Hornless Frost Dragon is too soft, and it doesn't ﬁt well with Sky Shaking... it loses the strong and manly feel. Plus, when Lou Cheng defeated Zhang Zhutong in the semi-ﬁnals, he roared, right?" The young employee tried to explain.
"Then The Sky Shaking Roar it is. We don't have much time." The director gave some ﬁnal words, "Since we have decided on the nickname for Lou Cheng, I have ideas for the others as well. Give me your opinions. Void Roc for Han Zhifei, Wind Fire Dragon for Zhang Zhutong, and Formless Eagle for Liu Xunzhen. What do you think? Any comments?" The young employee and the woman in glasses looked at each other and replied simultaneously.
"Really? I came up with these names just now, so they aren't perfect." The director said it very modestly.
"Indeed not, but I think they're better than the nicknames we've used the last two years." The girl in glasses replied honestly.
At least they're not as bad or as weird!
Only... only that... they seem like the name of Mountain King, or the names of passersby A, B, C, D...
Anyway, it's progress! The director beamed with joy as he happily announced,
"So it's settled then!"
The gentle sound of singing was heard for quite a long time, and the tune still lingered in the air. Lou Cheng somehow managed to fall asleep after totally relaxing. He kept dreaming until he was woken up by Yan Zheke, and saw the light from the suspension lamps.
"The award ceremony will begin in just a few minutes, you'd better hurry and get a quick shower," said Yan Zheke with a smile. "Actually it's ok if you don't take a shower. You can just suffocate them to death with your stinky smell!"
The short nap only made him even more tired, so he didn't care about the details anymore. He turned around, held onto his little fairy, and went back to sleep. However, his mind wasn't as empty as before. He sat up, strong willed, and began to massage her lap out of instinctive pity, which helped ease the pain that she felt from being used as a pillow for 20 minutes.
At the same time, he spoke in the laughter, "If so, then tomorrow I will be nicknamed 'Monk.' Then I'll really be infamous."
"Aha, infamous... " Yan Zheke was laughing because of his joke, but her eyes were still ﬁxed on the protective behavior in his gentle expression. She pushed him a little bit and said, "So why don't you hurry up!"
Lou Cheng didn't procrastinate. He jumped back a step and stood up, taking out his new boxer briefs and martial arts suit, after which he went into the bathroom.
Yan Zheke took out her phone, which was on mute, and looked at the messages that she had ignored.
Among them, Gu Shuang asked in excitement, "Ke, has your man recovered enough? How about we go out tonight? Take him out to celebrate! He is the champion of our province's Youth Tournament!"
Yan Zheke smirked and chuckled as her hands tapped on the screen keyboard.
"He's rested but he still needs to keep his schedule for training. How can he have time for a party? He still has to exercise very early tomorrow morning! So do I!"
When she ﬁnished typing, she waited to send it, temporarily leaving it as a draft.
After Lou Cheng ﬁnished his quick shower, she looked at him while he was drying his hair with the towel and asked with a smile that exposed her dimples, "Gu Shuang wants to have a party later tonight to celebrate your victory, do you want to go?"
"Do you want me to go?" Lou Cheng asked in return, smiling. Yan Zheke smiled as well with her curved eyebrows, "I'm ok with either, you decide."
"Then just forget it. I'm too tired and I have to keep my schedule. I can't miss morning training." Lou Cheng resisted the temptation to go to the party, and he said it resolutely but in a very gentle way to her.
The victory is temporary, but the training is forever.
Yan Zheke immediately gave him a smile and looked at him delightfully. Then she looked down and clicked the "send" button. She sent the draft that she had written earlier to Gu Shuang.
I knew he would refuse!
It's not the meeting of minds, but the mutual afﬁnity and mutual understanding accumulated little by little over time! Of course, even if I knew he would say so, I wouldn't make the decision for him either. It's necessary to ask him for his own opinion. It's basic mutual respect. I just typed it in advance to save time.
"What's wrong?" Lou Cheng was a little surprised by how she reacted and he added, "I think you don't want to go either, because right now your strongest desire is to become a Professional Ninth Pin ﬁghter. You wouldn't want to miss your morning training either."
Yan Zheke turned her eyes to him and lifted up her head. She was about to say something when they heard a knock on the door.
"Mr. Lou Cheng, the ceremony is about to begin. You can prepare to enter the stage." Fang Siqi reminded him.
"Ok." Lou Cheng answered loudly.
Then, he looked at the girl and asked her in a hurry, " Ke, how about staying at my place tonight? And we can do the exercises together tomorrow morning? I, I have no bad intentions, it's just that my head is still throbbing and I want my little fairy to massage it a little bit."
Suddenly Yan Zheke thought of Dirty Tong's joke about men, "I swear I won't do anything". She couldn't help feeling shy as she rolled her eyes at him. Then she smiled and said, "It's a pity but my parents are in Gao Fen as well. They are watching the game right now. I have to see them tonight."
It's not like we are travelling together. Why is he always thinking about sleeping together!
"Ok." Lou Cheng forced a smile and sighed, realizing just how powerful the Empress Dowager was. Somehow, she always showed up at the most inopportune moment!
Seeing his reaction, Yan Zheke secretly smiled and murmured,
"However, we can go on a date tomorrow!" "Ok!" With his spirit lifted, he turned around to open the door, walking out of the lounge.
Yan Zheke followed him with her eyes and took out her phone again, receiving Gu Shuang's message,
"He had two ﬁghts tonight and he also won the championship yet he doesn't even get to take a break? Still thinking about his morning training? Oh my godness, doesn't he know there has to be a balance between work and rest?"
What a crazy man!
Yan Zheke smiled and hung up the phone. She left the lounge and quietly walked along the aisle. She went back to her seat while everybody's attention was on the arena.
... Just after Lou Cheng appeared on the stage, there was a wave of sound from many vuvuzela and the inﬂatable sticks. The atmosphere was very animated.
He walked to the center of the stage slowly and waved to the audience. The enthusiasm of the audience created a festive atmosphere.
In this environment, he ascended the arena again, and he saw Han Zhifei, whose left arm was in a bandage, Zhang Zhutong, who was fully recovered, Liu Xunzhen, whose complexion was pale white, and the previous judge, who had changed into a white and clean martial arts suit.
"Next, Mr. Yin Huaming, the chairman of the Martial Artist Association, and the government of our province, will present the prize to the Top 4 winners of this Youth Tournament!" the voice from the broadcast was enormous.
While the host was speaking, Miss Etiquette entered the stage with four crystal trophies. In the center of the tray was the symbol of the champion's ﬁst. If it was just a competition that wasn't held by the government, there would probably only be a large check. But in this case, the experts wouldn't seem so honorable, and the higher level management of the Martial Artist Association would reject them.
"First, the provincial government will present the award to candidates Zhang Zhutong and Liu Xunzhen." After the broadcast, most of the big screens in the stadium were separated into two kinds, each showed Zhang Zhutong and Liu Xunzhen performing during the championship respectively. From the fourth and ﬁfth, all the way up to the double- elimination competition. Top 32, Top 16, Top 8, and then it ﬁnally played the video of the Top 4 elimination matches.
When the video stopped, the guest in a suit took the trophies and gave them to Zhang Zhutong and Liu Xunzhen respectively.
Then, in the same way, Han Zhifei took his award as the second prize winner. "Finally, Mr. Yin Huaming, the chairman of The Martial Arts Association of Xing Province, will present the champion award to the candidate, Lou Cheng!" The voice in the broadcast announced very loudly.
Lou Cheng saw the kind-looking Yin Huaming, and he also saw the video of how he won this prize on the big screen.
The ﬁrst round, beating down Xiong Yu. the ﬁfth round and the two rounds before the double-elimination game were easily won by Lou Cheng.
The last round before the double-elimination match, he ran into the No.9 seed ﬁghter, Liu Xunzhen, where he declared his presence by using Tremor Punch six times in a row.
In Top 32 elimination match, with him beating Xing Jingjing, who was a very tough competitor with a resistance ability.
The Top 16 elimination match, where he repulsed Qiu Lin using Severe Warning. The Top 8 elimination game, when signs of danger appeared everywhere, but he still ﬁnally defeated Meng Jiefeng because of his superior capacity.
Then in the semi-ﬁnal, he defeated Zhang Zhutong, the No.1 seed ﬁghter, after going through a difﬁcult ﬁght.
The images showed scene-by-scene, summarizing Lou Cheng's excellent ﬁghts in several minutes.
Yin Huaming raised up the trophy, gave it to Lou Cheng with his two hands, smiled, and said,
"You deserve this prize!"
Lou Cheng was still thinking about the images that just played, so he took the trophy unconsciously.
Suddenly, the screen ﬁxed on the moment when he vanquished Han Zhifei with his unexpected counterattack! The crowd broke into a chorus of the hottest and craziest cheers of the whole evening.
Lou Cheng raised his trophy, and he felt like he could only sense the bright light in front of his eyes, surrounded by hundreds and thousands of people and their waves of cheering voices.
At ten o'clock in the evening, he returned to the hotel, subconsciously moving to the window, and once again overlooking the Gao Fen City martial arts arena that brought him so many beautiful memories.
The arena's lights were not yet out, and there was a dreamy glow against the darkness all around. At this moment, Lou Cheng's phone rang, so he picked it up and looked at it. Suddenly he couldn't hide his joy.
Yan Zheke sent him a sentence with a smirking face.
"I have good news, Empress Dowager's weight is back to normal, so she doesn't need me do the morning exercises with her anymore!"
At nightfall, inside the hotel room of Ming Qi International Hotel.
Lou Zhisheng's heart was extremely excited, and it was difﬁcult for him to sleep. Right then, he felt his wife Qi Fang turn over and he heard her muttering something in her dream.
"Cheng's the Champion!" "Cheng's the Champion!"