Chapter 391: Sincere and Honest Little Ming
Overjoyed at the question, Geezer Shi could only nod his head and say,
"It'll be a good experience."
"Okay!" Classmate Little Ming replied, tears almost streaming down his face.
After waiting for this long, was he ﬁnally going to have the chance to open up a tournament by himself?
Furthermore, according to Geezer Shi's opinion, Jinfeng was arranged in order from weakest to strongest. If he used a verbal attack ﬁrst to throw them off their guard, it was possible that he could easily defeat the Ninth Pin Liu Chunlai. If he was able to strike down this ﬁrst opponent, it'd be praiseworthy, and even more so if he could end up facing Fang Yuan! Beside him, Lou Cheng saw that Yan Zheke looked a bit defeated. He secretly pulled her hand and quietly said,
"This just means that you'll have to prepare all of your strength for Capital!"
When they face Capital, simply relying on him or his brother-in-law wouldn't sufﬁce. Every team member that went out into the arena would have to stretch themselves to the limit, and only then could they hope for victory!
Amongst all of the substitutes, his own Ke was the strongest!
"I hope so... " Yan Zheke replied meekly, longing for the semiﬁnals and also envying Cai Zongming and Li Mao, who were about to ascend onto the arena.
Inside Jinfeng University Martial Arts Club's locker room. Rubbing his blonde hair between his ﬁngers, Wei Rong looked in the eyes of Coach Zheng Fei. Seeing that he didn't have any expression, he nervously patted a section of the bench's surface, minding his own business along with Gao Shengli, Liu Chunlai, and the others.
"Our hearts aren't really in this competition. Hehe, I know myself, and I'm the same. Any experienced person could ﬁgure out Lou Cheng and Lin Que's behavior."
"Now that it's come to this, we can't sit here and expect a miracle to happen. We need to honestly and frankly plan out our little objective."
Gao Shengli's skin was dark; it seemed as if his entire being was made of metal. After hearing Wei Rong speech, he replied with suspicion, "What little objective?"
At this moment, with something of a scholarly air, Zheng Fei chuckled and said, "Songcheng University will probably let their other substitutes come out ﬁrst and ﬁght to do some physical training and accumulate real battle experience. Afterwards, it'll be Lou Cheng to settle it once and for all in one fell swoop. They won't let Lin Que come out, since he needs to conserve his strength for the match against Capital."
"Then our objective is not to allow Lou Cheng to defeat all three of us?" Gao Shengli asked again,
"Not allowing Lou Cheng to defeat the three of us, is it really that simple?" Liu Chunlai artfully retorted. "If we don't lose to Songcheng University's substitutes, Lou Cheng will have to defeat all of us."
Taking this logic into consideration, there wasn't any kind of fault in it!
Wei Rong breathed in and rolled his eyes as he looked at Liu Chunlai. Then he stood up.
"I hope the three of us can defeat Lou Cheng in a war of attrition. While this is a distant hope, it's not as if there's no chance of it happening. Lou Cheng still has to consider the semi-ﬁnals, so he's not going to go all out. If we do our best, there's a chance we can defeat him!" "Shengli, you go out ﬁrst and defeat Songcheng University's substitute quickly. This way, Lou Cheng won't have as much time to keep up his peak battle strength, and they'll have to substitute one injured player for another. It'll be a blow to his conservative mindset."
"Alright!" Gao Shengli said resolutely.
Wei Rong pointed to himself. "I'll go out second and wear Lou Cheng out some more. Chun, you'll take up the rear, and hopefully we'll be victorious."
"No problem." Liu Chunlai unexpectedly appeared to have no pressure.
After determining who would go out in which order, Jin Feng lined up and proceeded out of the locker room doors, heading towards their seats. They still had not been seated when they heard an explosive clamor all around them, rolling over them like an imminent tide. When the Songcheng University group came out of the locker room... Wei Rong and Gao Shengli looked at themselves and the others, becoming aware at the same moment. It was a feeling like they'd been unfairly mismatched. When they had come out, there was some meek clapping and the occasional toot of vuvuzelas!
After a short pause, they could see who the leading player was in the list of names that Songcheng University had submitted, but they hadn't thought that Lin Que would be this name!
"Isn't this a bit too much, to look down on us like this?" Veins popped out of Wei Rong's forehead, and he couldn't keep his voice from rising.
Songcheng University had unexpectedly allowed their second leading player to come out?
Did this mean the conﬁdent Lou Cheng felt that if one man guarded the pass, ten thousand would be unable to get through? Yes, he was quite impressive. He had quickly ascended through the ranks, and his luck was side by side with Peng Leyun's. He surely was hoping that he would smash through their troops, but it also wasn't 100% guaranteed!
This was far too dismissive of them!
Who does he think we are, pushovers?
A feeling of scorn and being looked down upon rose up in the hearts of every Jinfeng University Martial Arts Club member. As they looked at one another, Wei Rong waved at the judge and said to Gao Shengli,
"Are you going to stand for this?"
Jinfeng City was a Guanwai League location, and the martial arts atmosphere was quite heavy over there. All of the people over there had an attitude that one may lose the battle, but not the war! "No!" Gao Shengli gnashed his teeth in response.
"Then go ﬁght! Go settle this as quickly as possible!" Wei Rong clenched his ﬁst tightly and waved.
Gao Shengli had formed his Iron Cloth around himself. It was more suitable for bullying the weak and puny, and turned him into something akin to a sharp spear.
At the Song Cheng University Martial Arts Club seats, after Li Xiaowen had conveyed to them the order in which Jinfeng would ﬁght, Cai Zongming's mouth was gaping open. Feeling puzzled for a moment, he subconsciously turned his head, looked towards Geezer Shi, and said,
"Didn't you say that Jinfeng would come out from weakest to strongest?" Hadn't they agreed that it would be the Ninth Pin Liu Chunlai?
Hadn't they agreed that it would be an awe-inspiring victory for him?
Recalling the Jinfeng videos that he'd seen as well as the gorilla-like ﬁgure of Gao Shengli, Classmate Little Ming couldn't stop trembling. It was as if he'd gone back to that time when he'd faced the ex-club manager, Chen Changhua, who also had a history of behaving like a terrifying ape...
Geezer Shi's eyelids didn't lift even the slightest as he said,
"It seems I spoke carelessly."
Even when Fighting Jinfeng, he still wouldn't use a serious analysis?! Lou Cheng restrained a smile, patted Talker on the shoulder, and with a look of accepting one's fate on his face he said,
"You should get out there, the judge is indicating for you to come out."
Cai Zongming directed his eyes towards the arena and blurted out, "How should I ﬁght this?"
"Take advantage of the talking time," Lou Cheng honestly advised.
"So lean on the verbal attack to confuse him, and then seize an opportunity?" Little Ming asked while in the midst of thought.
"No, what I mean is that you should take advantage of the talking time to clear your head, and if you can say a few things during that time then it'd be convenient too, wouldn't it?" Lou Cheng chuckled. When talking to someone like Talker, the more you comforted them, the more useless it was. Limiting it to these two sentences was for the best!
Cai Zongming looked as if he was a terminally ill patient taking advice from a doctor telling him to eat better. His heart was frozen, but he carried no burden, and he glared at Lou Cheng as he said,
"I, Cai Ritian, will be victorious!"
"Not bad, this kind of attitude is very good," Lou Cheng complimented.
Cai Zongming extended his right hand, gave everyone a high ﬁve one by one, and ﬁnally slapped Lou Cheng's shoulder. Like an ancient general heading into battle, he walked towards the stone steps.
After ascending the arena and arriving in the middle, he saw Gao Shengli with a furious anger in his eyes. Thoughts whirled in his head, and he pondered his plan. The judge waited for the electric clock to arrive at the proper time and then raised his hand, waved it, and said,
"Begin the talking time."
While "weakly" directing his eyes towards his hands, Cai Zongming sincerely said,
"We're not looking down at Jinfeng, it's just that we're taking risks to progress to the ﬁnals."
Eh?... Gao Shengli had never come across someone who had used the talking time to explain the situation like this. He was temporarily dumbfounded and didn't know how to respond.
Cai Zongming continued,
"Capital is very intense, so we need to continue to put together all of our strength and extract all of our hidden potential. Only then can we hope to succeed. Lin Que doesn't seem to have the abnormal strength of Lou Cheng. By resting for a day, he can once again be ﬁt as a tiger, so we have to let him rest this round. That way, we can go to Capital in our most peak condition."
There was truth to his words... Gao Shengli thought carefully, and unexpectedly couldn't help but nod his head slightly.
Cai Zongming continued honestly, "We know allowing Lin Que to rest will make the outcome of this match uncertain, but for the sake of beating Capital, this is our only option. All we can do is taking the risk; it's really not that we're looking down on you all... "
When he got to this point, he laughed bitterly. "It's actually that we're walking a bit of a tightrope."
Seeing how honestly and extremely courteously he was speaking, and how he was ridiculing their own choices, Gao Shengli's fury was extinguished slightly. Still being careful not to be completely enraptured by his opponent's words, he nodded his head and said, "If it were us, I reckon we'd do the same. In any case, Lou Cheng has enough strength to go through all of us."
Upon hearing this, Cai Zongming laughed, and with a certain kind of bitter sweetness at not having met this man earlier said, "And furthermore, this can serve as an opportunity for us substitutes, to allow us to gain true experience and ﬁnd out what it's like to graduate from a weak battle to a stronger one. To experience the Dan Stage's Iron Cloth is remarkable. If we were to take Lin Que and put him in my place, would it not be a bit of a waste of this opportunity?"
This guy was really something to listen to... Gao Shengli's heart softened, and while looking in Cai Zongming's eyes, he slowly became more good-natured. He modestly said, "It's no greater than other moves at this stage, like Golden Bell Cover, Vajra Body Defending Divine Skill, Immortal Flesh, Forging Jade Spell, and others like that."
"As far as I'm concerned, they're all the same. After all, they're all in the name of defense." Cai Zongming had taken the opportunity to take the talking time period and make it just an idle chat, making Gao Shengli's mood more and more lighthearted. At the last minute, he purposely glanced left and right, and said in a low voice,
"Actually, our coach has put me out here just to polish and reﬁne me. Why he'd choose me instead of other substitutes... hmm... have you seen my proﬁle and previous ﬁghting videos before?"
"I've gone through your proﬁle. I've only seen two videos," Gao Shengli replied bluntly.
"Last February, I formally joined the special training team. Before then, it'd all work in ﬁts and starts. I'd trained in Kung Fu for a few years, but had only achieved Amateur Fifth Pin." Cai Zongming feigned a sound of sobbing. "After doing special training for a few months, I went from a Fifth Pin to a Ninth Pin. Now, have a look at my Qi and Blood, it's about as strong as a Ninth Pin, am I right?"
"Yes. You've done this training for a year and two months?" Gao Shengli was a bit astonished. When he looked at his proﬁle, he only paid attention to what level he was currently at and hadn't closely followed his previous backstory too closely. This kid had some skill... was it really just that the coach had assigned him to come out here for some polishing?
"Yep, so I've got a bit of skill." Cai Zongming laughed. "This is why our coach thinks highly of me... "
He directed his eyes towards the electronic clock, coughed twice, and said, "The other reason is... "
While Gao Shengli had focused his attention towards hearing the answer, the judge unexpectedly raised his right hand, and suddenly threw it down.
The talking time was over!
What was the other reason? That he had a supernatural ability? That he had an innate skill for battle? When the ﬁght began, Gao Shengli was unable to keep his imagination from roaming.
By this point, Cai Zongming had already closed his mouth and straightened his back. His feet were like arrow strings and they shot out, half pouncing and half taking a step forward, arriving in front of his opponent.
Cai Zongming's shoulder twisted and his right ﬁst shot out. His ﬁve ﬁngers spread out, heading straight for Gao Shengli's eyes.
The Iron Cloth may be impressive, but it still had a few weak spots!
At the same time, he pressed together his backbone and stuck out his right foot, stomping between his opponent's two feet. He was laying a foundation for a strike!
Just then, Gao Shengli ﬁnally came to his senses and understood what Cai Zongming had purposely been doing before. He'd made him absent-minded, thus creating a golden opportunity for a sneak attack.
All of his previous courtesy, honesty, and respect, it'd all been an act. It was all to make him drop his guard!
In an explosion, Gao Shengli's heart soared into a raging blaze of fury that came from the feeling that he'd just been cheated, that he'd trusted him with his goodwill, and that his intelligence had been insulted!
He made me become his friend! I thought he was a good, honest person!
Gao Shengli twisted his waist and thigh so that it blocked his opponents kick, and aimed his forehead towards his adversary's oncoming ﬁngers. Bam!
Cai Zongming's kick landed on his opponent's bulging thigh. It was if he'd kicked an iron panel. His ﬁve ﬁngers that had previously been like bow strings suddenly became soft and changed from grab to press. After being pushed away by Gao Shengli's forehead, he bounced back and quickly withdrew his entire body.
Fury consumed Gao Shengli, and all he could think of was his Qi and Blood and his exploding Dan strength. He braced both of his legs, and with the sound of snapping beneath his feet, ferociously leapt towards his opponent.
Cai Zongming had seen this and already straightened his back, forcing him to change direction, narrowly avoiding his opponent's pounce. Of course, this was all due to how he'd taken advantage of his enemy beforehand.
While he was atop the arena, his thoughts were quite clear. To prevail against an Iron Cloth Eight Pin Dan Stage ﬁghter was nearly impossible, so his goal was to consume him, to consume the larger part of his energy! In order to achieve this goal, he needed to provoke him and not give him any time to calm down!
He had succeeded by depending on the talking time period.
It just so happens that I'm quite good at this!
Come on, hit me! Classmate Little Ming's cunning thoughts ﬂashed through his mind.
Chapter 392: What The Hell Was I Doing Just Now?
Cai Zongming avoided his pounce, but Gao Shengli had already bounced back and twisted his body around. He pinched his waist, shook his ﬁst, and struck out with a force that could seemingly move mountains.
Although rage was ﬂowing through his mind, his basic knowledge remained, so he proceeded with Double Explosion. If it was anything less than the crucial point, he wouldn't do this move!
Cai Zongming barely changed his direction and it felt like a strong wind was blowing. There was no time to dodge. His thigh muscles, calves, and stomach suddenly twisted into strands. His two feet pinched together and bore into the ground with drill-like strength.
Snap! The ground sunk in as his legs stuck out, and Cai Zongming's lower back tightened up. His right arm suddenly rose up and ﬁercely struck out with an explosive power towards his opponent, as if to split him in two.
This was a widely known ﬁghting technique that combined Firm, Urgent, Sudden, and Ferocious. Geezer Shi had ﬁrst taught this technique to Guo Qing in accordance with her disposition and power. It was a shame that after Guo Qing had grasped the technique, her strength still couldn't compare with the others, even though it had transformed and progressed quickly. After she was attacked by another new Martial Arts Club member, she became discouraged and her hopes had been shattered. As a result, she'd chosen to withdraw from the special training group.
She'd backed out, but this technique had been studied by many people before. Due to it being a part of the 24 Blizzard Strikes, by grasping it you could grasp the others as well as they were not too different. You were bound to ﬁnd new ways to make up for deﬁciencies that you had in other areas.
Bang! As the two skilled opponents' ﬁsts collided in mid-air, it created a great echo. In the end, Cai Zongming's state fell a bit short and it was if he'd collided with a mountain. His arm shot back and his feet fell back a step.
He had no choice but to do this; otherwise, his stance would be immediately broken!
Crack! He sunk down, and cracks extended like a spider web.
He'd done well by retreating! Gao Shengli screamed furiously in his mind. He was unable to seize an opportunity. His right foot sunk down as he leaned his body and aggressively relied on the past, creating a slipstream.
When confronting this, Cai Zongming didn't have the slipperiness of his former days. He knew that when facing a colossal mountain such as this, he had to summon his courage and be fearless. He could not retreat, but instead had to move forward! His right foot that had just reached the ground trod on. His ankles trembled and bent forward. His muscles stretched tautly and he propelled his body onward, launching himself forward.
At such a short distance, the two bodies collided together, shoulder to shoulder, arm to arm.
"Come on!" Gao Shengli roared, his muscles bulging like freshly melded iron as Cai Zongming collided and staggered back in retreat.
Compared to my strength, you've still got a ways to go!
Slam slam slam! Although Cai Zongming was falling back, he was not feeling or allowing the attacks to cancel out his strength. His retreat was not disorderly, but rather extremely methodical! Gao Shengli had succeeded in the collision, so he immediately performed a sliding step to continuously attack the enemy. Taking advantage of his weakness would be his savior!
Cai Zongming fell back two steps. When he noticed his opponent attempting to gain the advantage, his heart tightened and, unable to deal with anything else, he bent backwards and withdrew his arm, doing a backwards ﬂip.
While ﬂipping backwards, his two feet lifted up in succession, and from the bottom to the top, kicked up towards the space between his enemy's legs.
Gao Shengli had been too rash and didn't have enough time to change direction. He could only stop and lean as he felt a strong gale brush against his crotch. He nervously recomposed his stance and drew closer to his opponent. During Cai Zongming's descent to the ground during his ﬂip, his body had already shot out horizontally, narrowingly avoiding the chain of attacks and once again creating distance between them.
In this kind of hand to hand ﬁghting, Gao Shengli had many other and better choices, but the more furious he became and the faster he tried to win, the less likely he was to actually do so!
Having just avoided another attack, Classmate Little Ming hadn't forgotten himself, and although he was quite busy at the moment, he twisted the corner of his mouth, revealing a deep sneer as he smiled.
There is no medicine for stupidity!
Have I really duped him?
Seeing Cai Zongming smile from the corner of his eye, Gao Shengli attempted to constrain his anger as he exploded outwards. His mind buzzed and all he could see was red. I've never met someone so capable of provoking others!
Bang! There was a crisp and clear smashing sound as Gao Shengli compressed his Qi and released it. Both of his thighs momentarily bulged, and it was if his entire body had created a strong wind, landing in front of his opponent with a whooshing sound.
During this split second, Cai Zongming had done a sliding step and gotten out of the way of the front.
Bang! Gao Shengli again performed Force Concentration as his Qi and Blood exploded. His left leg bulged and he violently kicked to the side!
He now only had one thought in his mind: Feel free to ridicule me. If I can't ﬁnish you within a few moves, then I'll consider myself the loser!
Gao Shengli's side kick was ﬁerce and quick. Cai Zongming was powerless to avoid it. He hurriedly sunk down, shook both of his arms frantically and moved them both towards the front of his stomach.
The Dan Stage ﬁghter released his kick with a wild, barbaric velocity. Cai Zongming's stance was immediately broken and his body ﬂew backwards.
Stomp stomp stomp! Not waiting for him to land, Gao Shengli rushed forward a few steps, shook his shoulder, and threw out his left ﬁst, grasping towards his shoulder. He pulled him towards him, bending his elbow upwards.
Just then, the judge extended his palm, pressing it against his elbow joint and forcing the two people apart. Afterwards, he raised his left hand and proclaimed with a clear yell. "Round one, Gao Shengli wins!"
Upon hearing these words, Gao Shengli ﬁrst felt a burst of happiness, and felt that he'd regained his honor. He hadn't used too many moves and he'd been able to defeat this unctuous individual, but after sobering up for a moment, he suddenly felt that this wasn't correct. With his Iron Cloth resistance and offensive abilities and his Dan Stage superiority, there shouldn't have been a need to use Force Concentration, and it all had been because he so greatly desired to defeat his opponent!
Not only did I use the Dan Stage explosion, but I even used Double Explosion!
I... what the hell was I doing just now?
Watching his expression change, Cai Zongming felt much better. Even though he might not have accomplished an awe- inspiring feat, his intelligence and verbal abilities were nothing to sneeze at. In some respects it could be considered a victory. He blew out a breath of air and inwardly hummed a song to himself as he turned around and left the arena.
At that moment, standing in front of him, Gao Shengli's lips trembled, and he suddenly blurted out,
"What on earth was the second reason?"
This had been bothering him all along, and he urgently wanted to know the answer. Regardless of whether his opponent had cheated him or not, there had to be an explanation. Otherwise, it was like a bad ending to a novel or TV show that left you on the edge of your seat without any answers.
Cai Zongming was startled upon hearing this, and with his eyes twinkling, he chuckled and said,
"It's a secret." Personal secret, no comment!
Gao Shengli's eyes widened. If it weren't for the judge right there, he would have thrown himself at him and come to blows again!
Hahaha... Cai Zongming snickered and went down the stairs with an air of superiority, heading back to the Song Cheng University Martial Arts Club seating place.
When he saw this, Li Mao stood up with excitement in his eyes. There was no trace of nervousness because now they had Lou Cheng to provide ﬁrm and solid support for them.
All of a sudden, Geezer Shi leaned his head forward and laughed slightly as he added a few words.
"When you go on stage, you can walk a bit slower." Walk a bit slower? Shouldn't he get on stage as quickly as possible so as to not give Gao Shengli more time to recover? Li Mao responded in bewilderment, "But... why?!"
"It's my idea, doesn't matter if you understand or not." Geezer Shi ﬂaunted.
Umm... Li Mao furrowed his brow. Forgetting to bump ﬁsts with Lou Cheng and the others, he subconsciously proceeded according to the coach's instructions, slowing down his pace.
Meeting with Cai Zongming at the halfway point, he extended his right hand and, trying to control his doubt, he asked full of curiosity,
"What did you say just then? How could Gao Shengli be that angry?"
Pow! He and Classmate Little Ming high ﬁved each other. "Hehe, I can't do it justice in just two or three sentences, I'll tell you later," Cai Zongming said, full of pride and not showing any trace of dejection at having been defeated. "Brother Li Mao, you'd better get up there. He's pretty depressed due to what I said, and there's still quite a bit of anger remaining."
"Alright." Li Mao had just responded when he again recalled Geezer Shi's command. This and Cai Zongming's suggestions were the complete opposite.
Umm... would walking slower just give Gao Shengli time to calm down?
If he waited for him to no longer be angry and give him free time. wouldn't he be able to reﬂect on what had just happened?
After reﬂecting, wouldn't he be able to learn from the painful experience and subconsciously choose to ﬁght oppositely?
This was deﬁnitely possible! When ordinary people encountered this kind of experience, they'll most likely be like this and choose to move in the opposite direction! Once bitten, twice shy, and what's more, what if it was a couple minutes after?
In other words, Gao Shengli would most likely be cautious and conservative, and in his waiting he wouldn't again use Force Concentration.
This will be my chance!
With his heart and mind clear, Li Mao looked towards Gao Shengli standing in the center of the arena and once again slowed down his pace.
In the course of waiting, Gao Shengli controlled his breathing and stewed with deep frustration over what had originally occurred.
Should he not "conservatively" deal with Cai Zongming and Li Mao and save the larger part of his energy for Lou Cheng? He had already used more than half of his Dan Stage power on a nameless ﬁghter!
In this vagueness, it was if he could see Brother Wei's disappointed eyes and hear Liu Chunlai's private jabs. His heart had a burst of sadness and he decided that starting with the second round, he'd make up for it!
I can easily win against a Ninth Pin if I use the Iron Cloth!
Cai Zongming returned to the seating placements with a look of pride on his face, and looking at Lou Cheng, he said,
"I found out that it doesn't take much to make Gao Shengli explode!"
Quick! Quick, ask me how I made him so furious! Lou Cheng barely acknowledged him. He only snickered and said,
"What I think, it's because you stooped so low, to the point where you could say you belong to those that possess negative supernatural abilities. Mmm, a devil will always want to destroy an angel. Ah, do you know I've been working harder? It's all through hard effort, and eventually you can work to control your mystical powers."
Cai Zongming looked at him askance and laughed full of good humor.
"Next time, during a special ﬁght, we'll have some cross talk."
Chapter 393: Suspense
While ascending onto the arena step by step, Li Mao had decided how he would take on Gao Shengli as a top-level Ninth Pin ﬁghter with brute force who had been practicing the Iron Cloth. He wouldn't consider using Force Concentration unless it was a critical moment. It wasn't very likely that he'd waste his Dan Stage explosive powers again.
His heart calm and his gait steady, Li Mao gained more and more conﬁdence as he walked up and faced Gao Shengli, to the point where he even entertained the fact that he could perhaps win the ﬁght!
No ﬁghter would like to taste the bitter taste of defeat!
The judge looked around, then slowly raised his right hand and waved it down light as a feather.
"Begin!" Li Mao suddenly straightened his back. He adopted the Avalanche pose with his body and powerfully and violently pounced towards Gao Shengli, not in the least bit aware of his weaknesses as a ﬁghter.
Not bad! Gao Shengli said inwardly. Not dodging or evading, he forged ahead and his body unfurled. The contours of his muscles seemed almost as if they were forged out of black iron!
Ever since I had made achievements in the Iron Cloth, I favored close and body-to-body ﬁghting. Under these circumstances, so long as the opposition doesn't have any simpliﬁed physical invulnerability, I could defeat even a Seventh Pin!
Bang! Just as he was approaching, Li Mao paused and twisted his waist. His pulled back his right arm and threw out his ﬁst, making a beeline for the bridge of his opponent's nose.
The Iron Cloth was impressive, but his head had become a problem. After all, the iron didn't extend to his head! Seeing the situation, Gao Shengli threw out his shoulder and withdrew his left arm, putting it in front of his face without pausing his movement in the slightest. It was as if he was a soldier bravely facing a cannon blast. Urgently depending on a sliding step, he threw out a whip kick. Both of them were attacking one another, both of them were risking it all!
Li Mao's backbone undulated, and he spread out his left ﬁst's strength, pulling it back and dodging to the side.
In a battle where Iron Cloth was involved, the most important point was to be patient. One couldn't be rash in order to avoid falling into a trap and making it a free for all. You had to wait until a true opportunity presented itself, and then you had to do your best to seize that opportunity!
Bang bang bang! Crash crash crash! Li Mao unceasingly changed directions towards Gao Shengli's eyes, ears, nose, mouth, temples, throat, eyes, and other places that he felt he could harm through attacks. His ﬁsts whizzed by and his legs were like whips, but as long as his opponent resisted and launched counter attacks or pinched his waist and twisted his thighs, the places he insisted on harming were safe. He was promptly withdrawing his body and not greedily attacking. He was not advancing prematurely and was not getting in a snag.
The ﬁght continued in this way for a while. Playing it safe, the conservative Gao Shengli's strength slowly but surely deteriorated, but throughout the entire ﬁght, he couldn't ﬁnd an opportunity to grasp his opponent.
Li Mao's exhaustion also began to accumulate, but he remained as calm as before. Amidst the entanglement, he observed his opponent and noticed that Gao Shengli's ﬁsts and legs seemed to have a bit of a feeling of impatience to them, and his eyes suddenly sharpened.
If it continued like this, his opponent would once again be unable to control himself from using Force Concentration!
He had to seize this point in time now, not before and not after!
Bang! His right ﬁst shook and went towards his opponent's temple as quick as lightning.
Gao Shengli lifted his left arm to brace himself and at the same time strode over using his right foot to attack, aggressively throwing out his other arm like a whip.
Just then, the previously prepared Li Mao's right arm struck out, and he twisted his waist. Taking advantage of the moment, he leaned his body forward and, by using the sliding step, he slid behind his opponent.
His entire body straight, his two arms struck out with a snap and his palms cracked in opposite directions at his enemy's temples. "Strike opponent's ears with both ﬁsts"!
Gao Shengli was not nervous nor rushed. His left foot suddenly went back, and stomped on top of Li Mao's foot. At the same time, his mind contracted and his body went to the side. His right arm bent upwards and the tip of his elbow violently slammed back.
A powerful and distinct sound resounded all around!
In these circumstances, Li Mao had unexpectedly not retreated, but rather had changed his strike that was amined at opponent's ears with both ﬁsts into Downward Cut with Fist, pursuing his opponent's focused the mind!
Following this chopping attack, his waist rebounded and he abandoned the stance. His entire body ﬂew horizontally through the air, narrowly avoiding Gao Shengli's rear kick and causing his attack to merely scrape the side of his ribs.
Bang! Li Mao's ribs were sore and sweat dripped down his forehead. When he had struck both ﬁsts down to attack his opponent's head, he had lost the greater part of his strength.
Fortunately, he had prepared earlier. Bearing the pain, he shot out all ten ﬁngers towards his opponent's eye sockets to grab and pluck them out! Gao Shengli's line of sight was suddenly entirely occupied by Li Mao's ﬁngers. His heart tightened. Unless he used Force Concentration, he'd be unable to cancel out this attack!
The judge saw the situation and hurriedly rushed over, and using his right hand with lightning speed, pushed Li Mao's shoulder slightly, moving him horizontally in order to avoid the disaster of causing Gao Shengli to go blind.
He then lifted his other hand and said,
"Round Three, Li Mao wins!"
Agh, agh! Gao Shengli gasped twice. It was unbelievable that he had suddenly lost. He still could do two more Dan Stage strikes!
Li Mao covered his right rib. It was hard to conceal his happiness. He'd unexpectedly won against an Eighth Pin Dan Stage ﬁghter!
Even though it had been at the cost of an injury, even though it was because Cai Zongming had previously made him use up most of his energy, this was still an extraordinary event!
Gao Shengli's face ﬂushed red with scorching pain. Seeing reality clearly, he did not wish to remain there and he turned to stomp towards the edge of the arena. He went down the steps and proceeded to rush towards the Jinfeng University Martial Arts Club seating area.
On the way there, when he saw the dyed blond hair of club manager Wei Rong, he lowered his head in shame. His lips trembled and he didn't know what to say.
Wei Rong was furious, and he was bitter that Gao Shengli had not lived up to his expectations, but ﬁnally he sighed and said,
"This is how it is. We're unable to win." He agreed with Liu Chunlai that they simply had no hope of defeating Lou Cheng. There was no other way...
Forget it, today's ﬁght could be considered an experience for his pride. Afterwards, they wouldn't necessarily have the same opportunity...
He was on the verge of leaving the University Martial Arts Circle and entering professional competitions. It was quite clear that he had almost no hope of entering the Inhuman stage. Afterwards, he would likely undeservedly drift amongst districts in the north and south, punching his way through individual ﬁghts. His income would be generous and his position wouldn't be bad, but his pride wouldn't be the same as a result of today. Unless he had good luck, he wouldn't come into contact with things such as "Warrior Sage", "The King", or other title match selections.
In the arena, the pain in Li Mao's right rib intensiﬁed and he didn't dare try to go another round. Without waiting for the other opponent to enter the ring, he turned and headed towards the stone steps, strolling back. "Third round, Wei Rong wins." the judge calmly proclaimed, announcing the result of a ﬁght that had never begun.
Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke bumped ﬁsts and welcomed Li Mao, asking full of concern,
"Are you okay?"
Li Mao inhaled a breath of cold air, and with not a little bit of pain, he smiled and answered,
"I'm alright, it's most likely just a little fracture."
A fracture and he could still say "It's alright"? Lou Cheng was dumbstruck, then shook his head and said, "Brother Li Mao, you don't need to be this tough! Anyway, even if Gao Shengli had beaten you, he'd also have used up all of his strength and wouldn't have had any inﬂuence towards me."
Li Mao lowered his head, laughed, and said, "Everyone who's a Martial Arts Club member, they always see how tough you and Lin Que are, so I can't let it show that this injury is affecting me. If I do, I'll feel very... very ashamed, very embarrassed.
"So if I get an opportunity in the arena, I hope I can get a victory so as to be worthy of the name of a Song Cheng University Martial Arts Club substitute... "
After saying this, in order not to arouse too much sympathy, he laughed and said,
"Anyway, I probably won't be in the rotation in the next round against, so let me show off a little bit here.
"Only in this way can I feel that I'm a member of the Martial Arts Club and feel that I'm on the same team as you guys…
"If in the end I can acclaim that supreme honor, at least there's something that I can say I've done, and that I've made at least a signiﬁcant contribution!" Lou Cheng sighed gloomily. He repeated himself and bumped ﬁsts with Li Mao and said,
"You fought well. I thought you wouldn't be able to win."
"Hehe, ah… " Being complimented by him in such a genuine way, Li Mao was unable to keep from smiling even though his pain had graduated from normal to something sharper.
Crossing over to Li Mao, Lou Cheng's heart suddenly felt full of warmth, and he headed to the arena slowly and unhurriedly.
In the live broadcast, the guest presenter, Chen Sansheng, smiled at the host, Liu Chang.
"Next up, all there is is suspense." "There's still suspense? What?" Liu Chang expressed his disbelief.
"It's just how long will it take for Lou Cheng to mow through them all." Chen Sansheng chuckled.
"I reckon it won't be too long. For the two matches, it won't go over a minute. No, I estimate it won't be more than 30 seconds!" Liu Chang guessed with a smile on his face.
Chen Sansheng nodded his head. "That's what I'm thinking as well. Lou Cheng's methods are so plentiful, and he can directly catch up to Peng Leyun and Ren Li."
Facing the arena and seeing his dyed blonde hair, Lou Cheng could see that Wei Rong had stood up a long time ago. It seemed as if he was recoiling somewhat, and he didn't have much will to ﬁght, as if he didn't have any desire to win at all. He doesn't have enough energy... Snickering to himself, Lou Cheng's mind schemed as he walked in front of Wei Rong and began adjusting his spirit and his body's condition.
He arrived at the spot in advance, and after half closing his eyes, the judge lackadaisically directed his eyes towards the both of them, raised his hand, and waved it down.
His voice still hadn't faded when Lou Cheng suddenly opened his eyes. His pupils contracted and his body's power broke out!
Suddenly, Wei Rong's eyes seemed to brighten, as if he'd seen the clouds break over and reveal a brilliant, snow white cover atop a towering and majestic mountain peak.
At that very moment, Lou Cheng's body and mind were as tall as a mountain peak, astonishingly powerful! In a split second, he condensed his spirit and unexpectedly was bafﬂed.
Seizing the opportunity, Lou Cheng lifted up both hands, moving towards his prize, and he stately and serenely called out,
Chapter 394: On Such Short Notice
His deep and low voice echoed in Wei Rong's ear. It made him feel like he was ﬁghting in a ﬁerce war, surrounded by violent enemies. The atmosphere became so heavy that Wei Rong felt as if one of his enemies had put a sharp knife against his neck and the ferocious power was about to penetrate his body. It gave him goosebumps.
Just as he was wavering and had lost all his spirit, Lou Cheng reverberated and condensed his qi, blood, and spirit. Then he exploded.
He rushed about seven meters forward and came to stand face to face in front of Wei Rong. He raised his arm and made a downward cut with his ﬁst while visualizing a scene of tidal waves rolling. The waves froze, including the ones that seemed to contain immense power. POP!
With the Thunder Cloud Roaring in his mind, Lou Cheng struck out a movement, Severe Warning!
At this point, Wei Rong had barely recovered from his fear and anxiety. He saw a ﬁst coming towards him. Covered in a chilly white and blue-black mist, it grew as it approached him, gradually occupying his sight and the whole world in front of him.
"Not good!" He had no time to dodge and it was too late for him to do the Dan Stage explosion. All he could do was pull the fascia to raise his arms quickly and cross them above his head.
Wei Rong suddenly felt a ﬂow of cold force exerted into his arms. It froze his mind instantly and he passed out. When he ﬁnally recovered from the temporary shock and was able to see other colors, the ﬁrst thoughts to come into his mind were "Crap", "I need to escape now", and so on. However, he found that Lou Cheng had already taken a step back and was standing with his hands crossed behind him. He was looking calmly at the referee.
The referee raised his right hand to announce the result.
"Round four: Lou Cheng wins!"
"Lost? I've already lost?" Even Wei Rong knew clearly that there was no hope for him to win against Lou Cheng. However, he had never thought that he would be defeated at the very beginning of the match. It was what they called a second-kill.
This was a defeat that he had never experienced. Even back when he was a Professional Ninth Pin ﬁghter and needed to ﬁght with an Eighth Pin ﬁghter, he had never encountered such a situation! He blushed at his poor performance. He felt so embarrassed that he wanted to ﬁnd a hole to hide in.
This match, it's just like bullying an elementary school kid, and I' m that kid...
I haven't even had time to perform and I've lost!
In the broadcast studio, Liu Chang was momentarily shocked. Then he let out a smile and glanced over at Chen Sansheng. He said,
"How many seconds did it take?"
"Well, if we don't count the time that Lou Cheng took a step back and when the referee announced the result... Not more than three seconds..." Chen Sansheng tried to hold back his laughter. He had predicted that Lou Cheng would have a quick victory, but he had never expected that he would defeat his opponent within such a short time span. Especially when his opponent was a weak Seventh Pin!
If this was a match for life and death, Lou Cheng could have killed his opponent in two or three seconds!
Filled with emotion, Liu Chang sighed before asking, "Well, to be honest, Wei Rong is strong enough to trade more than ten blows with Lou Cheng. How did he lose the match in mere seconds?"
Chen Sansheng thought for a while, then answered him in a deep tone,
"This was a problem of mentality. Let us put it this way. After the ﬁrst round, Gao Shengli and Wei Rong had probably already lost all hope.
"They probably didn't harbor much hope to begin with. In such a condition, even though they couldn't release their full strength, they would still be able to withstand pressure. Probably like normal. Then, when they realized that Songcheng University didn't have any intention of letting Lin Que ﬁght - not seeing his name in the list of competitors, Jingfeng most likely felt angry. Like they had been slighted.
They wanted to take the gamble. To gamble, they would need the ﬁrst ﬁghter, Gao Shengli, to quickly take down Cai Zongming and Li Mao so that they could retain three ﬁghters to battle against Lou Cheng. Only like this would they have had a glimmer of hope to win."
"Well, in the end, Gao Shengli was infuriated by Cai Zongming and beat him down at all costs with several movements. I'm not an expert on lip reading, so I have no idea what Cai Zongming said during the ﬁrst round. Even though he made a quick victory, his consumption was way more than what he estimated. So, in the second round, relying on his Iron Cloth, he still held hope to save stamina to ﬁght with Lou Cheng. He didn't want to perform Force Concentration easily. But he was confronted with Li Mao, who was never afraid of getting injuries and tried his best to ﬁght with him. Under such conditions and within such a short distance, Gao Shengli had no time to play Absolute Reaction.
"In this match, Gao Shengli not only underestimated his opponent, he also became too conservative. We can use one idiom for everything that he has done today - ﬁghting in a dilemma. He failed to play out all of his strengths."
Liu Chang gave considerable thought to his words. He said, "Is mentality a signiﬁcant factor in martial arts competitions?"
"Yes, of course. Why else would we have the conversation time? Some ﬁghters are good at creating a nervous ﬁghting atmosphere and dealing with the mind. They could easily make their opponents feel angry, depressed, or frightened. As a result, their opponents would fail to play all their strengths out. Someone wrote about 'defeating your opponent with tricks' in 'The Art of War.' There is also an antithetical couplet that reads: 'One who is good at dealing with the mind can solve his own weaknesses.'" Chen Sansheng boasted his knowledge with a grin. "Gao Shengli was infuriated in the ﬁrst round, so he made a mistake. Then he continued to make more mistakes, which made him ﬁght in a dilemma in the second round and lose his calmness. Even though he lost this match, he actually had some stamina in the end, enough for him to win against another Professional Ninth Pin ﬁghter."
Liu Chang thought for several seconds. He was confused. "I'm not surprised that Gao Shengli lost the match. It's clear that he had difﬁculty when he was ﬁghting in the second round. He made some mistakes and failed to perform all his strengths. But how does it relate to Wei Rong? When he found that Gao Shengli had lost the match, did he still hold any hope? In such a situation, he would enjoy the match with his positive
mentality. But why did he become so negative?"
At some point, everyone made mistakes and failed to play as well as they could, including ﬁghters of Dan stage. When they had mental problems or when they felt exhausted, they would experience similar things. This was also why top Professional Ninth Pin ﬁghters would choose to go all out when they were ﬁghting in the Warrior Sage Challenge Tournament.
"It would be an exaggeration to say that Wei Rong lost his calmness, but he deﬁnitely didn't enjoy the match..." Chen Sansheng continued to say, "It's better for people to have no hope from the beginning to the end. Once they have hope, they will be disappointed when their hope is ruined. So they'd rather escape from the hopeless situation as soon as possible, or they'll feel frightened instead of ﬁghting with all of their strength. What's more, I've told you before that ﬁghters of Dan stage always use Will to control their Spirit and connect it with their body. It turns out that Will can also reﬂect their own momentum. The more powerful the ﬁghters are, the stronger their Will and their momentum will be." "Is this the reason why there is a confrontation of momentum?" Liu Chang was familiar with this kind of common sense about Dan stage.
"Yes, it is. This effect won't be so obvious if you are only a ﬁghter of Professional Seventh or Eighth Pin. But when you become a Sixth Pin ﬁghter, your momentum will be strong enough to affect your opponent's Spirit. Do you still remember the previous match between Lou Cheng and Zhang Chaoyang? Because of this effect, I said that these two ﬁghters performed with the same strong momentum in that match. Also, this effect is one of the uses of the conversation time." Chen Sansheng explained to him in detail, "When you are ﬁghting with such a Mighty One, once you have a mental ailment, he'll absolutely take this opportunity to use his momentum and suppress your Spirit directly."
Liu Chang nodded slightly and said, "No wonder people talk about the impact of psychological shadow. Even normal people would be inﬂuenced. So if a ﬁghter is suppressed by another ﬁghter's momentum, the result will be very obvious."
"Wei Rong experienced what I've said just now. Because of his ﬂinch and his negative mood, he was easily caught by Lou Cheng. He was then suppressed by Lou Cheng's momentum and lost his normal state. Then he was attacked by the Bing Formula. His opponent moved to his side using the Dan stage explosion and controlled him with the simpliﬁed physical invulnerability of the Ice Sect. With these continuous attacks,
he had nothing else to do but to be beaten down by his opponent." Chen Sansheng took a glance at the replay and ended his commentary just on time.
In the Jinfeng University Martial Arts Club, seeing that the club president, Wei Rong, had lost the match within several seconds, Liu Chunlai's brows jumped a little. He turned to his coach, Zheng Fei, and asked in an embarrassed tone,
"Can I throw in the white ﬂag now?"
He felt a bloodthirsty glare from Gao Shengli.
"Haha, I'm just joking. One can only be regarded as a true man, a true ﬁghter, once he has lost in the ring. If he gives up without even trying, he must be cowardly. No balls, a eunuch," Liu Chunlai said with a wry smile. He walked toward the stone stages. One inexplicable phrase ﬂashed across his mind:
"Bring your opponent down in seconds!"
He passed Wei Rong, who was rushing back to the team with embarrassment, and stood in the arena. His heart and mind were at peace. All he could think about was how long he could stay in the arena. Every second counted.
"Only if I can keep ﬁghting for 100 seconds can I be regarded as a true man!" Sometimes his jokes included himself.
The referee lifted his right arm like a machine and announced,
"Start! " Just as the referee said the magic word, Liu Chunlai started to make his move. He copied Piao Yuan's stance from a match a few days prior. He lowered his waist and back and shifted his weight to his feet. He sprinted towards the right like a rabbit that had been shot by an arrow.
Even if a ﬁghter had mastered the best body reﬁning, he or she would still leave some traces or signs of their upcoming moves. Since Lou Cheng had mastered the Ice Mirror, he could sense the change in the muscles and fascia of his opponent's hands. After accumulating so much experience, he could be considered an expert in this matter. Before Liu Chunlai even took a step, with just a look, he had already predicted the move accurately. He took half a step forward and arched his body a little. He then threw out his left arm in a hook and shot a freezing light beam towards his opponent's right.
In an odd-sounding explosion, Liu Chunlai, who was rushing to the right side, was hit directly by a beam of cold white light. Ice Burning! The surface of his body was covered in a layer of glittery frost! Lou Cheng moved toward the "ice sculpture" with large steps.
Liu Chunlai trembled and struggled to escape from the ice- bound state. He saw Lou Cheng smiling. Then he heard the referee's announcement,
"Round ﬁve: Lou Cheng wins!"
"The ﬁnal result: Songcheng University Martial Arts Club wins!"
The whole arena cheered and trumpets sounded. For some strange reason, some of the audience members started to take pity on the Jinfeng University Martial Arts Club.
"I only took a sip of water!" Yan Zheke crinkled her nose and pursed her lips. She shook her thermos cup to greet Lou Cheng, who looked at her from the ring. She kept smiling because she was so proud. …
In the live broadcast, the guest presenter, Chen Sansheng, smiled and chided Lou Cheng in a joking manner.
"Lou Cheng is spoiling the market for everyone! If everyone ﬁghts like him, how will we sell the tickets and rights for martial arts in the future!?"
How will the TV stations proﬁt from the advertisements?
"Haha. How many seconds did he take this time?" Liu Chang laughed.
"Eh, less than two seconds... " Chen Sansheng decided not to continue this embarrassing topic, so he said, "First of all, let's congratulate Songcheng University for advancing to the ﬁnal round. There will be some tough matches waiting for them." A moment later, Lou Cheng and the other members went back to the locker room. Except for Li Mao, who had gone to the emergency ward to deal with his injuries. He was accompanied by Cai Zongming and was warned not to do any vigorous exercise for the next two weeks.
They watched the match between Capital and Guoyang University in the locker room. Ren Li had not yet gained much strength because she had only fought with one weak opponent, one whom Chen Diguo and Jiang Jingfeng had forgotten to defeat. With this, it was difﬁcult for Lou Cheng to estimate her level.
— Kongtong School was famous for setting up the Wind Sect and had part of the Plague Sect.
After the dust had settled, the commenter, Liu Chang, did a closing. "In this match, both Chen Diguo and Jiang Jingfeng of Capital played in a conservative way. They chose to get down in the ring when they felt tired, saving their stamina well.
"The other two quarter-ﬁnals have also ended. If there are no unexpected events, Songcheng University will win against Capital in the semi-ﬁnals.
"Let's look forward to this match!
"Let's look forward to the match between Lou Cheng and Ren Li. Both of them are favored ﬁghters of the age!"
Chapter 395: The Great War Is Coming
In the Song Cheng University Martial Arts Club locker room.
After watching the match between Capital and Guoyang University, Geezer Shi clapped his hands to attract the members' attention. He coughed a little and said, "You don't need to go out for a midnight snack to celebrate that we made the ﬁnal four tonight. You should go to bed early and do your exercises as usual. In three days, the semi-ﬁnals will start."
Speaking of this, he laughed,
"I know that you guys are not tired at all. I only want to warn you to stay focused and serious. You need to stop being so mellow, because this time you are going to ﬁght with Capital."
Hearing what Geezer Shi said, Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke looked at each other and both of them realized that the great war was coming. They felt nervous but excited. "Yes, Sir (coach)!" All the members answered him in unison and began to think about the upcoming night.
This match would determine whether they could win the championship or whether they would need to accumulate their energy so as to try next time!
On the way back to their hotel, they changed their discussion from "how to defeat Jinfeng University easily" to how to deal with the match with Capital College Martial Arts Club. All of them talked with excitement, so the atmosphere on the bus became very animated.
When they were about to reach the hotel, Yan Zheke suddenly covered her mouth and let out a chuckle as she thought of Ren Li's Kung Fu. Lou Cheng looked at her in surprise.
"What's wrong?" Why did she think Ren Li's Kung Fu was so funny?
"I was just thinking about something funny that happened," Yan Zheke answered him in a slight tone. Then she jumped off the bus and stood at the entrance of the hotel.
"Like what?" Lou Cheng smiled and watched her every movement. He walked behind her at a steady pace.
This attracted Cai Zongming's attention. He whispered to Li Mao, "Look at Cheng, how can he smile like thiat? Damn, even I can see the sweet love in his smile!"
With envy, Li Mao, who was still single, said, "I want to have a girlfriend to whom I can give a sweet smile to. Ay, Talker, you have no reason to complain. You behave the same way in front of your girlfriend!"
"No, actually, in front of my girlfriend, I need to smile humbly..." Cai Zongming said with his hands outstretched. "Normal people like you will never understand my aesthetics and my special tastes." At that moment, Yan Zheke looked up and said with a sweet smile, "Isn't Kongtong School famous for having the Wind Sect as its basis and owning part of the Plague Sect?"
"Yes," Lou Cheng conﬁrmed.
"But they only own part of the Plague Sect and lack the most important thing. The forefathers of Kongtong School tried to mix it together with the Wind Sect and create new moves. They used the killer move Road to Death, one of the Plague Sects' physical invulnerability moves, to create many strange moves." Yan Zheke shared these funny stories with Lou Cheng while walking into the hotel hall, holding his hand.
"How strange are they?" Lou Cheng asked with interest.
"Well, for example, some forefathers of Kongtong School who mastered these strange moves have been given several interesting nicknames, such as 'Humanoid Biochemical Weapon', 'Walking Gas Bomb', 'International Convention Ban', 'Physical Invulnerability of Mass Destruction'..." As Yan Zheke was saying these names, she wanted to laugh. "It seemed that our country will make an ofﬁcial and solemn announcement that we will never use Kongtong School's ﬁghters of physical invulnerability."
Lou Cheng was shocked by what she said. After a long time, he said, "This is quite horrible... Fortunately, Ren Li has not reached the inhuman level. Even though she had the chance to learn these strange moves, she still hasn't mastered them yet."
Yan Zheke pursed her lips and smiled with her beautiful dimples. "Little boy, you don't need to worry about this. Because these strange moves contain strong murderous characteristics, the ﬁghters who've mastered these could easily hurt innocent people. Kongtong School is strict with the teaching of these moves and only allows the direct descendants, disciples, and elders who have passed through many experiments and have a good character to practice them. So these moves are barely seen, even in top matches. Or I would have said 'those nicknames are horrible' rather than 'they are funny'."
"They rarely appear in the top matches, no wonder I don't know them ..." Lou Cheng suddenly understood. Talking and laughing together, they entered the elevator and came to the ﬂoor where they lived.
BEEP! Yan Zheke swiped her room card to open the door. Just as she was about to close the door, she suddenly turned and looked at Lou Cheng through the gap with her bright eyes and sweet smile.
"Do you want to watch the Capital videos with me tonight?"
Lou Cheng's blood boiled when he received such an invitation. He was so excited that he wanted to open the door and hold his fairy in his arms and kiss her with passion. However, he recalled his master's warning and recalled the coming of the great war. He was a little hesitant because he still needed to stay focused, keep calm, and make full preparations.
While stuck in his temporary hesitation, he saw a knowing look in Yan Zheke's eyes. Then she said in a happy tone,
"It seems that you don't want to. Forget it." Before she ﬁnished her words, she closed the door as quickly as she could because she had prepared a lot for this moment. She was so proud of what she had done.
At that moment, Lou Cheng suddenly realized she had been tricking him. She was very sure that Lou Cheng would consider the match with Capital and his master's warning because of his strong character, although he would certainly hesitate. Which meant that from the very beginning, she had never planned to let Lou Cheng come in her room!
"You actually know how to turn me on! You can even trick me now!" Lou Cheng took out his phone and sent her this message with an exclamation point to express his surprise.
"Hey..." Yan Zheke responded him quickly and continued to say, "I only dare to turn you on when you are unable to do sexual things to me~"
... "Who told you this? Who said 'don't you want to kiss me?' in front of the door?" Lou Cheng ridiculed her.
He had understood a fact for a long time. It was not enough for you to blindly please the girls or say sweet things when you were getting along with them. You needed to make fun of them or tease them from time to time to increase intimacy.
"Forget it! I never said that!" Yan Zheke replied to him, annoyed.
I took so much courage to take the initiative and ﬂirt with you once. How dare you laugh at me! Hmmm, I won't do anything intimate with you in the future!
Lou Cheng had achieved his goal, so he changed the topic. "Can you guess what I am thinking now?"
Yan Zheke sent him the "rolling eyes" emoji and said, "You are thinking that if I dare to ﬂirt with you next time, you won't hesitate? Well, there will be no next time!" "No." Lou Cheng snickered. "I am thinking about whether should I break in and how much I would have to pay the hotel for the broken door!"
Never mind the door, even the wall cannot stop me!
Yan Zheke replied to him with burning anger. "Go home and sleep right now!"
"Well, okay." After they ﬂirted with each other for a while longer, Lou Cheng returned to his room. He took a bath and lied on the bed. While chatting with Yan Zheke, he also started looking through the news on the forum, websites, and Weibo. Occasionally, he needed to reply to Talker or Fatty Jiang's messages.
At this moment, the ofﬁcial lottery website of Weibo announced the latest odds regarding the semi-ﬁnal between Capital and Songcheng University:
Capital, 1-1.3 (including principal). Songcheng University, 1-
1.5 (including principal). The odds were quite close. However, Capital's odds of winning were slightly lower than Songcheng University's, which indicated that the public thought there was more of a possibility they would win.
"It looks fairly reasonable ..." Lou Cheng looked through and then began to read the game analysis and predictions from famous martial arts commentators.
Three Gentlemen of Chen said,
"Lin Que is stronger than Chen Diguo, but Yan Zheke is clearly weaker than Jiang Jingfeng and Jiang Kongchan. So the ﬁnal result to a large extent will be determined by Lou Cheng and Ren Li. If Lou Cheng can defeat Ren Li and consume some of Chen Diguo's stamina, Lin Que can save more stamina to ﬁght with Jiang Jingfeng or Jiang Kongchan. So even though he would still lose, he could consume his opponent's stamina as much as possible so that Yan Zheke could have more hope to win the match. After all, both Jiang Jingfeng and Jiang Kongchan are only ﬁghters of Eighth Pin and have no supernatural abilities." "If Ren Li wins, she will consume Lin Que's stamina in advance. Under this condition, when he confronts Chen Diguo of normal Professional Ninth Pin later, he will probably be defeated if he makes a careless mistake. Even though he could win the match, he would feel exhausted and have little stamina left to ﬁght with Jiang Jingfeng and Jiang Kongchan. They
could then save more stamina to ﬁght with Yan Zheke. The
result will be very obvious if their mentality stays normal and they can perform as well as usual."
"So, Lou Cheng or Ren Li? Who will win the match? Lou Cheng has become a really powerful ﬁghter at the top of Professional Sixth Pin, while Ren Li hasn't shown her current strength yet. But we are sure that she is in the level of top Sixth Pin, maybe she has even almost reached Inhuman now. "
"There seems to be no difference between their strengths from this perspective. But another aspect is that Ren Li knows Lou Cheng very well, while Lou Cheng isn't familiar with Ren Li's abilities. I think that Ren Li will win by a narrow margin and Capital will advance in the ﬁnal round!"
All-knowing Man in Ganghood wrote a short sentence: "The odds: Ren Li has a 60% possibility of winning, while Lou Cheng has 40%. Capital wins!"
Superstitous Belief is Bad posted the same thing:
"The bench ﬁghters of Songcheng University are too weak to beat members of Capital?"
"Yes, his cursing words sound all right ..." Lou Cheng laughed and was about to look through the comments about this on Weibo when Yan Zheke sent him a link to an interview. "Watch it now. It's an interview with Ren Li after the match!"
"Eh ..." Lou Cheng clicked to open it and began to watch carefully.
On the screen, Ren Li wore a cute haircut and stood in front of the reporters like a doll. She was of medium height. "Today I will ask you three questions, but none of them are about the match," said the reporter who was obviously familiar with Ren Li.
"Okay." Ren Li nodded slightly.
"First of all, everyone is really curious about why you chose to enter the university instead of obeying what Kongtong School had arranged for you and participated in the professional competitions step by step since you are not like Peng Leyun, who was obsessed with physics." The reporter questioned her with great interest.
Ren Li opened her mouth slightly and looked up while saying,
"My parents are university professors. If I don't get a bachelor's degree, I would feel like I'm illiterate and have a gap with them. In addition, the more knowledge I have, the more martial arts I can comprehend by analogy." "Oh, it turns that you were born into an intellectual family," the reporter praised her. "The second question: I heard that you always behave with confusion in your daily life, especially that you are extremely terrible with directions."
Ren Li unconsciously pouted and answered him with a slightly aggrieved tone,
"They always say that I'm often in the state of 'Who am I?', 'Where am I?', and 'What am I doing?' But I think that one person's energy is limited, so he can only concentrate on two or three things in his whole life. As for other aspects, just let them go... "
"Haha, why, I sense a helpless feeling in your words." The reporter laughed. "The third question is: what do you think of the match between you and Lou Cheng? Who will achieve victory?"
"From the perspective of strength, it's hard to tell. Both of us can win. So the person who can ﬁght better on the spot will win," Ren Li replied honestly. The reporter shook her head and said, "No, you are wrong. You have not exposed your killing move in this national competition. You have some advantages in this aspect!"
Ren Li looked at her helplessly as if saying, "Don't expose my secret."
There were many comments on the video sliding across the screen. All of them were to the effect of, "Wow, so cute", "She is so cute", "Ren Li, I will always support you", "I support you in beating Lou Cheng!
While watching the video, Lou Cheng felt angry but amused. He was looking forward to the next semi-ﬁnal more and more.
Of course, before this match, there was one more thing for him to do. He had to watch the match between Peng Leyun and Ann Chaoyang so he could learn Peng Leyun's current strengths!
Chapter 396: Time Is Up
At 7:56 PM, April 20th.
Peng Leyun had defeated Ann Chaoyang three times in three years. He showed that he was only half a step away from the Inhuman Stage. He then defeated Piao Yuan even in his exhausted state in the following match. He'd created a miracle defeating two powerful opponents by himself in such tough matches!
Once Xu Wannian defeated Xing Jingjing using his Corvine Mouth, Huahai had to bid farewell to the national game. This was their worst rank in ﬁve years. Also, Ann Chaoyang, who was once the champion, now had to leave the ring.
As this once powerful ﬁghter left dimly, the audience could only see a lonely ﬁgure who had been beaten by Lou Cheng.
The result of the match was decided by one's strength and power, not his passion or glorious past. …
At 9:07 AM, April 21st
A news website released an interview with Huahai University Martial Arts Club. Piao Yuan and Ann Chaoyang described the characteristics of the simpliﬁed version of physical invulnerability in detail in this interview and suspected it to be the Internal Explosion Fist of the Fire Sect.
Everyone was shocked by this news because they had never expected that Lou Cheng, as a direct descendant of the Ice God Sect, had also inherited the Fire Sect. Some people began to wonder if he had an intimate relationship with Longhu Club.
In the fans forum, Brahman was so excited and elated that she updated her photos. Her lovely and cute appearance attracted a lot of attention from strange old men.
In the Longhu Club forum, the moderator Pig-Riding Knight and active posters like Above the Sky and A Plumber Eating Mushrooms were seriously discussing the possibility of Lou Cheng joining their club in the future. They even tried to give him a better nickname, which made Lou Cheng feel embarrassed. He was silently watching their conversations in the forum. But he could not think of any satisfactory nickname that could lead the trend either.
At 3:30 PM, April 21st.
Because there was a rumor that Lou Cheng had a relationship with the Dragon King, the odds set by the lottery company changed again. Capital's odds increased, while Songcheng University's odds decreased, so there was almost no difference between them.
After the many professional gamblers studied the odds carefully, they bet on one team in the end in all kinds of lottery shops. In addition, even those who normally didn't gamble bet on this match, either in the shops or online, because they wanted to have fun. …
At 7:11 PM, April 22nd.
There were many spectators from all directions waiting in line in front of the Capital martial arts building entrance.
With a bag of popcorn in hand and eating a roast sausage, Ding Yixin looked around and said to Qiu Hailin and Du Yiyin excitedly, "It's really crowded here!"
After the semi-ﬁnal match list was conﬁrmed, Capital College Martial Arts Club had gotten part of the rights to sell tickets because they were the local team. The students of their university and their supporters were able to come to the arena and cheer for them. Because Qiu Hailin knew some students working for the student union, her roommates were able to get tickets.
"I'm considering..." Du Yiyin was inﬂuenced by the enthusiasm of the cheering crowds who were singing and dancing around her. "What are you considering?" Qiu Hailin asked blankly, her bright forehead exposed in the air.
"As a girl who is obsessed with handsome boys, will Yixin support our school martial arts club or will she support Lou Cheng?" Du Yiyin looked at Ding Yixin, who was eating her food cutely, with a smile.
Ding Yixin heard what she said and stood stunned for a moment. Then she swallowed her sausage and said,
"I will join you in cheering for our Martial Arts Club, but in my heart, I still look forward to Lou Cheng's victory. I devote my body to our university but my heart to him!"
"Why do these words sound so familiar ..." Qiu Hailin thought it sounded funny but was puzzled as she tried to place where she had heard them.
Just then, they saw a group of boys wearing plaid shirts pass by holding a banner and shouting loudly, "Ren Li! Ren Li!"
In such a lively and noisy atmosphere, everyone seemed to shout like this, half-jokingly and half-solemn.
At 7:23 PM, April 22nd.
All the light and cameras had been set up and the broadcast was ready to start.
"Welcome everyone at home to the two semi-ﬁnals of the University Martial Arts Competition. The ﬁrst two competing parties are Songcheng University and Capital. Then Shanbei is going to ﬁght with Guangnan." The host, Liu Chang, said with a professional smile, "Tonight, our old friend, Chen Sansheng, will join me to comment and narrate the matches." "Thank you, everyone. Thank you, Liu Chang." Chen Sansheng clasped his hands and shook his head with a smile.
After a brief greeting, the scene moved to the arena. The audience could clearly see that the stands had gradually ﬁlled up.
Capital's supporters were well organized and occupied one side of the stands. Some of them held banners and cartoons, some of them played trumpets, others sang happily. Everything ignited the spectators' enthusiasm. Other audience members had scattered around them and sat in fragments. Some of them wore Songcheng University's black and white martial arts suit. There also were some people holding the cartoon characters of Lou Cheng, Lin Que, and Yan Zheke.
At 7:29 PM, April 22nd. Yan Xiaoling got up and sat in front of her desk. She opened her computer and took out her snacks. As she was reading through the forum and chatting with Brahman, Unparalleled Dragon King, and other people, she was also reading Chen Sansheng and Liu Chang's comments. She closed the live comments function on purpose.
Mu Jinniane, who was sitting behind her, ﬁngered her Buddhism beads and prayed for her university's club.
At 7:35 PM, April 22nd.
In the Song Cheng University Martial Arts Club locker room, Geezer Shi clapped his hands to wake the resting ﬁghters. He coughed and said,
"Today, let's stop considering how Capital will arrange their team and formation. We should try our best to challenge them with our strongest state!" "Lou Cheng, Lin Que, and Yan Zheke. That's the playing order today, from strong to weak just like a ferocious striking spear. You need to let all of your energy out to ﬁght with them one by one till the last minute!"
"If Capital doesn't choose Ren Li as their ﬁrst player, then Lou Cheng, you need to beat Chen Diguo or the other ﬁghters as soon as possible so that you can seize the opportunities. If the ﬁrst ﬁghter actually is Ren Li, then you don't need any other instructions, right?"
"Don't think about saving energy for the ﬁnals. Don't worry about the problems of fatigue or injuries. If you lose this match, all these things will be useless!"
"Do you understand?"
Lou Cheng, Lin Que, and Yan Zheke took a breath and then replied in unison,
"Yes, I understand. " …
At 7:36 PM, April 22nd.
In the Capital College Martial Arts Club locker room, Shen You, who was a part-time coach, looked around with glassy eyes and said with a smile,
"Do you still remember what happened after the ﬁnals last year?"
Capital had been defeated by Shanbei by just a slim margin in last year's ﬁnals, so they had failed to win the championship.
All the members recalled the sad but touching scene last year, including the leading players from last year's ﬁnals, Chen Diguo and Jiang Jingfeng, and the bench ﬁghters, like Jiang Kongchan. They recalled the scene of all of them holding hands and shouting "We will win the championship next year" together. "Of course I remember! How could I forget it? This year we are going to take the championship!" Chen Diguo shook his ﬁst. "After the ﬁnals, I want to stand in front of Peng Leyun and show off my victory. Then I'll share my favorite sentence in a novel with him arrogantly, 'Pain is my friend, please allow
me to introduce it to you!'"
Shen You smiled and nodded. He then stood up and said,
"It's so fortunate that all of you remember this. Our goal is to win the championship. Going forward, we will encounter more opponents, so there should be no slacking or contempt!"
"We have walked for a year and ﬁnally reached it again. We can no longer just 'walk' like we used to. We need to sprint! Sprint!"
"Sprint!" Chen Diguo, Jiang Kongchan, and the other members suddenly felt their invincible will aroused. Ren Li also became very focused and joined them in shouting.
… At 7:40 PM, April 22nd.
In the locker rooms of these two clubs.
Lou Cheng and the other members came together in a circle again. Each person had their left arm on the shoulder of the person next to them, with their right hands in the center, piled up one on top of another.
Ren Li, Chen Diguo, and Jiang Kong took out of their ﬁsts and pounded ﬁsts with each other in the air.
"We'll win!" the members of Songcheng University cried out powerfully.
"Sprint!" All the leading players and the bench ﬁghters of Capital College Martial Arts Club shouted in unison and bumped ﬁsts.
CLANG! The locker room door ﬂew open on both sides at the same time. The rolling sounds and the shining of bright lights from the outside world came into the room.
At 7:41 PM, April 22nd.
As the referee set his foot in the ring, the broadcaster shouted in his hoarse voice,
"Capital College Martial Arts Club's playing order is: Ren Li, Chen Diguo, Jiang Kongchan!"
Surrounded by an outbreak of cheering, he continued to announce,
"Song Cheng University Martial Arts Club's playing order is: Lou Cheng, Lin Que, Yan Zheke!" Even before he ﬁnished his words, the whole audience began to scream and cheer.
Needless to say, everyone was very clear about what the ﬁrst match was.
At 7:45 PM, April 22nd.
The semi-ﬁnal of Capital College Martial Arts Club against Songcheng University Martial Arts Club had ofﬁcially started.
First round, Ren Li VS. Lou Cheng!
Chapter 397: Wind-like Movement
In the martial arts arena of Capital city, a dazzling light shone above the arena. The atmosphere here was also very lively, which made everyone in the arena feel excited. Cheng experienced such huge excitement that he could not help but tremble.
Lou Cheng saw the referee waving his hands to both sides to gather players and that the hand on the clock had turned to 43. He slowly stood up and took off his thin coat. He then looked at his girlfriend and wondered how she would cheer for him this time.
Yan Zheke also stood and clenched her ﬁsts. She shook her ﬁsts slightly and shouted in a tender but ﬁrm voice,
"Lou Cheng! Lou Cheng! Lou Cheng, come on!"
Hearing the familiar voice, tone, and words, Lou Cheng suddenly felt like he was living in a dream. It was as if he was going back to the past. He was so touched and excited. He cherished all the happy and sad moments they had experienced together this year.
This is the ﬁrst cheer I've received, in my very ﬁrst Challenge Tournament!
He had not expected that he would be able to participate in the semi-ﬁnals of the National University Martial Arts Games. He hadn't expected to ﬁght with Ren Li, a favored ﬁghter, on such a great stage in the second semester of his sophomore year either.
It had taken him a year and seven months to get here. Whether he could advance to the ﬁnals or not depended on this match!
"I will try my best!" Lou Cheng replied to her with the same words that he had said back then, but he added an action, stretching his ﬁst and bumping it with hers.
During his free time, he sometimes read through old chats with Yan Zheke. Sometimes he even exported them and saved backups.
Yan Zheke seemed to recall the scene and the dialogue. She smiled at him.
Other members who stood next to them, like Li Mao, Sun Jian, and Cai Zongming, were confused by their cheering style. They thought it did not ﬁt into their dating style. Usually, the couple showed off their romantic relationship in public. Shouldn't they be more and more intimate as time went on?
"When we were ﬁghting with Huahai, although we did not look back at you, we still clearly knew that you guys had done something intimate behind us!" they thought.
Why was this couple behaving so innocently and normal now?
Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke were aware of their confusion. They once again looked at each other and gave a shared smile. They had a secret that belonged only to them. Lou Cheng said nothing and bumped his ﬁst with Lin Que, Cai Zongming, and the other members one by one. Hearing the cheering of his club members, he turned around and walked toward the stone stairs of the arena. A large screen could be seen above.
He became more and more conﬁdent with every step he took forward, because of his past memories. The faster and ﬁrmer he walked, the more buoyant his momentum was.
Lou Cheng entered the ring and saw Ren Li. She was wearing an elegant haircut. His momentum was like a snow peak piercing into the clouds and standing in the chilly north wind, steady and cool, steep and holy. The audience kowtowed him in worship.
Ren Li stood rootless and invisible, like the wind which sometimes snuck into the night, silently hidden; sometimes vigorous and sharp, blowing people's faces like a knife; and other times swept through everywhere as if doomsday was coming! The most magniﬁcent part of her momentum was that her will hid in the wind. It was so erratic and ethereal that Lou Cheng was unable to target it. When confronting her, he could only perform passive defense. However, of course, it was hard for a hurricane to shake the snow peak.
"The Wind Sect really is a little bit mysterious..." Lou Cheng praised her martial arts in his heart and stood in a position which was on the side of the referee but kept a distance of eight to ten meters from Ren Li.
In the broadcast studio, Chen Sansheng could not help but clear his throat as he said to the audience who was watching the show,
"The match between the two favored ﬁghters is about to start!"
No matter whether they were in Lou Cheng's fan forum or in Ren Li's, the IDs that had been having an animated debate stopped posting new messages and began to focus on their screens. The audience in the arena also held their breaths and watched the clock move to 45 with full attention. The referee raised his right hand.
"The talk time starts!" Because the referee was a ﬁghter of high-ranking Dan Stage, his voice easily covered the whole arena.
As an expert who was about to become a senior staff in the martial arts circle, he clearly knew how much attention this match had received. Not only would there be martial arts fans, elders, and disciples of the Ice God Sect and Kongtong School watching this match, but also Dragon King and Dong Baxian were said to have devoted time to watch this match in particular.
TICK! TOCK! As the time on the clock went, Ren Li opened her big eyes suddenly and asked Lou Cheng with slight confusion and curiosity,
"The simpliﬁed physical invulnerability that you just mastered, is it the Internal Explosion of the Fire Sect?" As a direct descendant of a famous martial arts school and as the last disciple of the elite master, Qi Ling, Blazing Sword, she knew that Geezer Shi had a close relationship with the military. And every ﬁghter of physical invulnerability knew that the military also had some connections with the Longhu Club!
This had been exposed to the public before, so Lou Cheng did not intend to hide anything. He replied frankly,
Why is she asking me this question? Is she trying to target my mentality? But she is said to be bad at this. It would be more likely for Chen Diguo to perform like this.
Not everyone can be regarded as a Talker!
Ren Li sighed with satisfaction and once again asked him, "Then the movements that you are practicing, are they Emperor Yan Force or Fire Force?"
These two movements were the core of the Fire Sect, known as two of the most ferocious Kung Fu moves of physical invulnerability.
Lou Cheng blushed slightly. He thought for a while but still chose not to lie or boast. He answered her honestly,
"Zhu Rong Force..."
If Ren Li did not believe him and began to think other things, that would be her own problem.
What exactly is she trying to do?
Lou Cheng wondered to himself, "Should I take this opportunity to perform like a Talker so that it will affect my opponent's mood?" "Oh, I see ..." Ren Li let out a smile as if she had solved a problem which had confused her for a long time. She pondered for a while and then said, "You answered two of my questions. Well, I will tell you two secrets. As a matter of fact, I have not only mastered the simpliﬁed version of the Wind Sect's physical invulnerability, but also the simpliﬁed version of the Plague Sect's physical invulnerability. What's more, the force I have mastered is Postwind Force."
Eh... After hearing her secrets, Lou Cheng was a little dumbfounded.
My dear student, we are in an arena competition, not playing truth or dare!
What exactly do you think this holy stage, this talk time, is? (Quoted from Talker).
After Ren Li ﬁnished speaking, she closed her mouth tightly. Her eyes gradually became bright and seemed to emit a spark which brought out the best of her beautiful martial arts suit, in light green and white color. At this moment, Lou Cheng recovered from his confusion. He was not sure whether she was telling the truth or not. He also did not know what her real intentions were.
Is she really telling me the truth to reciprocate or is she taking the chance to mislead me so that I will separate more spirit to defend against the invisible simpliﬁed version of physical invulnerability of the Plague Sect?
Forget it, I shouldn't think about it anymore. Anyway, even if Ren Li hadn't told me this, I would still defend against her so as not to be attacked by the powerful movements of the Plague Sect.
He thought for a while and gradually calmed down. He focused more on the match and once again his physical state became more concentrated.
The two ﬁghters stood there in silence. The referee glanced at the clock and raised his right hand suddenly. He then announced loudly, "Start! "
Ren Li took the initiative to move her feet to the left and then to the right. With the combination of her footwork, fascia, muscle, and force, she made a small rolling and howling whirlwind in the position she stood.
People could see the whirlwind clearly. With a howling sound, the whirlwind, which shook people's hearts, rushed straight toward Lou Cheng, rolling up dust from the ground.
Ren Li walked in the whirlwind. It seemed that she was going to vanish.
"Buddha Voice!" "Cloth invulnerability!" These two terms suddenly ﬂashed across Lou Cheng's mind. He intended to perform Bing Formula. He understood that Ren Li had made a great and incredible achievement in Wind Step, which meant that she was at the inhuman level. This was similar to Buddha Voice and Cloth Invulnerability. However, Qiu Lin, who Lou Cheng had confronted before, was only qualiﬁed to learn Great Thunder Cloud Voice, Great Roaring Lion Voice, and Great Wisdom Voice because he had not achieved physical invulnerability. He had only mastered Lotus Step and Thundercloud Movement. In addition, he had only learned a little of Sound of Thundercloud and never achieved the inspiring and striking effect.
However, Ren Li had obviously reached the threshold of this movement instead of only knowing it on the surface level. If comparing her to Qiu Lin, her level was close to the top of Lotus Step and Thundercloud Movement because she was able to make the strong wind swirl to protect her and howl to deafen her opponent!
This was not only about footwork but also a sound attack!
The sound kept humming in Lou Cheng's ears. It made people's scalps tingle as if demons were coming soon. Lou Cheng also saw Long Juan Zhi Feng (Whirlwind) come toward his face, so he changed his moves quickly. He began to outline a new ancient formula in his mind and said with a deep voice, "Forwarding!"
The Forwarding Formula could suppress any evil thing!
Chapter 398: The Battle Between the Favored Fighters of the Age
The Forwarding echoed in the air and Lou Cheng quickly calmed himself from the thrill and horror. The illusory heavenly devil disappeared from his head, but the small whirlwind remained in his vision.
Protected by the strong wind surrounding her, Ren Li no longer needed to worry about being hit directly by the Burning Ice and Flame or inﬂuenced by the Army Formula. Seemingly, Lou Cheng had no other option but to dodge and wait for an opening.
The competition of momentum continued. If he was forced to duck about from the beginning of the ﬁght, he would feel mentally inferior, which would leave negative inﬂuences on the following bouts of the ﬁght and might be the key to the result of this ﬁght when it came down to the ﬁnal face-off.
An idea ﬂashed in Lou Cheng's head. Instead of backing off or ducking about, he took half a step forward and swung his right arm to throw a punch at the howling whirlwind. Bam!
The punch hit the void and the air expanded, ﬂame blazing and rolling against the whirlwind.
A basic use of the supernatural power of blaze, the Bursting Punch!
The sound of the wind abruptly raised to a higher pitch and waves of ﬂame and the whirlwind scattered, ﬂowing in all directions. A human ﬁgure jumped out of the disintegrated wind eddy and drew a small arc to the side of Lou Cheng.
Lou Cheng saw this coming and tightened his thighs to launch a left kick with a crispy sound.
Ren Li felt it before getting too close. She further lowered her body and opened her right ﬁst into a palm blade, slashing down at the bone right above Lou Cheng's ankle, launching an attack as a means of defense! Bang!
Lou Cheng felt a sudden ache in his calf as if something was broken. He swung his leg backward and pulled it back subconsciously.
Ren Li lifted her palm blade to face her left palm with a tiny gap of the thickness of a piece of A4 paper in between.
Bam! Her back twisted, tendons and bones sounded, and force boiled. Her two palms rubbed brieﬂy and created a wind blade thin like the wing of a cicada spinning outward.
Following a whiz from the Absolute Reaction, Lou Cheng felt his scalp numbing and lowered his head without thinking.
A sudden gale blew by and a tiny thread of his short hair fell down sharply.
The 18th move of the Ice Sect, Stern Gale! Lou Cheng's head was lowered and his body didn't stop acting. He swung his left arm forward and shook and hooked his wrist to ﬁre out a cold beam of light along the ground, launching an attack as a means of defense to interrupt Ren Li's combo. He also turned his body sideways and dashed out following the icy ﬂame like a nonstop Brutal Blizzard.
They were close enough to have a melee. After her Stern Gale, Ren Li planned to throw herself at Lou Cheng, but his Ice Burning came ﬁrst. Understanding she couldn't dodge this attack, she lifted her thigh, turned her ankle, exerted strength, tightened her instep, and created a strong gust of wind.
The two were separated by the blast and the cold ﬂames within.
Bam! Lou Cheng smashed through the white and cold blast towards his rival. All of a sudden, Ren Li became light like a feather and ﬂoated backward riding the strong wind created by the exploded Ice Burning and the bump along the hill. Lou Cheng's strike missed.
She landed on her left foot and immediately shrank and released her qi and blood. The green tile was broken under her feet as she rushed out and bumped sideways.
Between the cracks, Lou Cheng had no time to adjust his bump. He concentrated his force, stretched his body, bloated his muscles, and met force with force.
The sound of the wind lowered and the two of them moved backward at the same time. They straightened their spines simultaneously to charge forward and threw a punch at each other as if they had practiced this hundreds of thousands of times. Lou Cheng was certain that Ren Li had mastered some martial arts style that could sense the enemy's movements, which might not be as mysterious and profound as his Ice Mirror.
Bam! Their ﬁsts shot out from their waists and crashed into each other, one suffering a ﬂow of scorching air and the other experiencing waves that hurt the tendons and vessels and tore the skin apart.
The Zhu Rong Force versus the Postwind Force!
Woo... The heavenly gale killed the ﬂowing ﬁre at the cost of its own force.
The gale didn't settle. It raged on and on.
The most distinct feature of the Postwind Force was its continuance that was longer than any other force. Lou Cheng had learned about it before. After his Zhu Rong Force extinguished, the cold wave within his body driven by the balance between ice and ﬁre ﬂooded out and completely killed the invading gale.
One suffering a sharp pain in his muscles and tendons and the other bearing the burning sensation in her veins, they both slowed down. Lou Cheng's force was strengthened by his supernatural ability and had caused more damage in his rival. He recovered faster and bent his right leg to launch a knee kick at her lower stomach.
Ren Li clenched her teeth, turned her body slightly, and bent her knee to confront the kick with a kick.
The same look of pain was shared by Lou Cheng and Ren Li at the very same time. Joints, including knees, were usually considered the weak spots of the human body. Neither of them dared withdraw the force as they both could foresee a comminuted fracture in their legs. Despite the acute pain, Lou Cheng popped out his calf to throw a sidekick. Ren Li remained calm and tilted her waist to duck the kick.
At once they each took a step back and tried to focus their force and spirit again.
Bang! The Dan force was gushing. Ren Li turned her waist and threw a whip kick with her left leg so fast that there was almost a shadow following behind. Lou Cheng bloated his muscles and confronted the whip kick with a whip kick, exerting strength from the tip of the sheath.
A dull sound. Their insteps were frozen in the air for a brief moment with white airwaves rolling around.
Pam! Pam! Ren Li rapidly withdrew her leg, turned her body and threw seven kicks in a row in the manner of a combo of a series of explosions. Her entire body rose into the air. The 27th move of the Ice Sect, Whirlwind!
Bam! Bam! Lou Cheng confronted the series of explosions with the Mega Avalanche. He couldn't absorb much strength from his rival, but he managed to catch up with her Whirlwind, keeping his body impregnable.
Neither of them moved. Within the ring, there were shallow pits, crevices, powerful gales, and broken rocks; it was as if it had been hit by a missile.
The Whirlwind seemed faster and faster, repeating itself in endless cycles. Lou Cheng couldn't confront it with the 24 Blizzard Strikes much longer. After the eighth explosion, he abruptly visualized thunder clouds shaking and shuddering, tightened his insteps, calves, and thighs, and threw a Thunder Zen.
His performance of the Thunder Roar Zen had improved dramatically in the past several months.
Poom! Their legs met in the air and a violent vibration traveled up along Ren Li's leg, shaking her qi and blood and muscles.
The vibration interrupted her Force Concentration. She couldn't complete the Nonuple Explosion, but her whirlwind still forced Lou Cheng to shake and move backward.
Once his foot touched the ground, Lou Cheng lifted up both hands, formed a seal, and stately called out,
Many bouts into the ﬁght, Lou Cheng ﬁnally got an opportunity to use the Army Formula.
The wind sound became intense as a brutal stream of air ﬂew out. Ren Li felt as if she was on the battleﬁeld in front of hundreds of horsemen armed with metal helmets and chain mail who suddenly dropped their masks, lifted their spears, and bent their bodies. Next, they pressed their legs and charged forth with their spears pointing forward, ever triumphant and victorious!
Thump! Thump! Thump!
The ground was shaking and the chill was invading. Any inexperienced ﬁghter would feel terriﬁed, including Ren Li. However, her determination and spirit were formless, like a puff of wind. Under pressure or irritation, they would disperse and then gather together. The expression in her eyes recovered quickly.
Lou Cheng had no idea how long his mediocre Army Formula could affect Ren Li, a direct disciple of a great sect master. He had performed it to take the initiative.
As his voice echoed in the air, he exerted strength from his back left foot and threw his entire body out, visualizing a heavy and scorching red Great Sun.
Lou Cheng had learned from his ﬁght with Ann Chaoyang and decided to perform the Internal Explosion of the simpliﬁed physical invulnerability of the Fire Sect!
Once the red Great Sun appeared, hot currents in Lou Cheng's body shrank at once as if pulled by gravity and then gathered and became one.
The scene in Lou Cheng's head changed and the half-man half-beast Zhu Rong emerged on a red dragon, keeping the ﬁre buff calmer and under control.
Lou Cheng strode forth and swung his arm, launching a right punch at his rival.
Ren Li had recovered when he launched the counterattack. Knowing that she couldn't duck it, she settled her mind and visualized a pale green whirlwind that spanned from heaven to earth, devouring rocks, trees, and water, and sending them into the sky.
Her muscles tightened, organs waggled, waves were created, and the visualized scene was replaced by a goddess, suppressing all the chaos and disorder. Facing Lou Cheng's ﬁerce ﬁst, Ren Li leaned to the side slightly, exerted strength from her shoulder, swelled her arms, and performed the Hai Di Lao Yue (a martial tactic) in the river move with her left palm.
The 10th movement of the Wind Sect's simpliﬁed physical invulnerability, Heavenly Breath.
Her ﬁst met his and a violent gale ﬂooded out, blowing a bigger half of the ﬂame away but unable to stop the rest of it from entering Ren Li's body. The ﬂame exploded abruptly, ﬁre waves rolling out, shaking her organs and shattering her qi and blood.
While Ren Li felt a taste of rusty metal in her throat, Lou Cheng heard the wind blustering up from his feet, attempting to tear his muscles and fascia apart and lift him into the air.
Ren Li clinched her teeth and straightened her back. Her arms bloated suddenly and were raised, lifting Lou Cheng into the sky as if he was light like a feather.
The special feature of the Heavenly Breath was that it could send one's rival to heaven!
When a martial artist without the supernatural ability to ﬂy was lifted above the ground completely, he would usually be in danger.
A foreign ﬁghter experienced it and gave it a romantic name, the Dragon Lifting Tyrant!
As Lou Cheng was ﬂying in the air, Ren Li quickly concentrated her force and dissolved most of the effects resulted from the Internal Explosion. Facing the falling enemy, she performed the Wind footwork and turned her body into a spiral gale that rose with a shriek.
Blessed by the strong wind, her two hands clenched like two drills. Combo! Another combo!
While Ren Li was concentrating her force, Lou Cheng had adjusted his weight and prepared himself for her deadly combo. He gathered streams of hot currents, pressed down and hooked up his left palm, and threw out a brutal red ﬁreball.
The ﬁreball hit Ren Li from the front, but a whirlwind scattered it into pieces. As the ﬁreball pieces fell down, Ren Li's ﬁgure leaped out from the gale and rose rapidly to the same height as Lou Cheng.
Lou Cheng felt fortunate that he didn't compress all his supernatural power of blaze into a bold attempt to completely blow the rival away, or he would have landed in an awful predicament and would've wasted everything in vain. Bam!
His right wrist hooked and shook, ﬁring out a cold beam at Ren Li's face. In the meantime, his left hand held tight and threw a hook at her lower stomach.
Lou Cheng was still rising and Ren Li's upthrow motion had just terminated.
Seeing the ice ﬂame approaching, Ren Li's right ﬁst, which was sitting in front of her neck, opened up in a calm manner and pushed out into the void.
A violent blast burst out with a crispy sound, igniting the cold beam.
To confront Lou Cheng's left hook, she lowered her palm and received it with ease. Ren Li then took a deep breath, expanding her body and slowing down her falling as if a parachute had been opened on her back or a blow of wind was carrying her.
As one was falling rapidly and the other dropping slowly, there was soon a difference between Lou Cheng and Ren Li's height.
Pam! Ren Li exhaled a puff of turbid air and resumed her original falling speed. She threw a ﬁerce left kick at Lou Cheng's head from a higher position.
Lou Cheng lifted his right arm to engage her strike, keeping his heart as an ice mirror to sense all the subtleties.
Strengthened by the force from falling, Ren Li kicked Lou Cheng's arm away and followed up closely with a right kick with the force from bouncing. "If one kick is not enough to knock you out, I'll give you another one!"
Lou Cheng lifted his left arm and barely blocked the strike. Taking advantage of Lou Cheng's loose stance, Ren Li turned and kicked again in hopes of ﬁnishing him off, but the kick missed.
After receiving two kicks, Lou Cheng was dropping at a faster speed and was smashing into the ground.
As soon as Lou Cheng reached the ground, he took steps backward to dissolve the great force from falling. When his body almost resumed stability, Ren Li landed on the stage and created a small whirlwind with her wind steps striding to the left and then turning to the right, blowing a low whistle to the audience's hearts.
In the mind-thrilling sound, Lou Cheng's Ice Mirror collapsed and he felt dizzy. But he managed to stay calm and ﬁrm, visualizing an ancient character and shouting out in a low voice,
His mind was clear again. The wind sound became sharper and Ren Li shot out from the Whirlwind and reached him in no time. The audience could hardly follow her movements.
Movement 22 of the Wind Sect, Roaring!
As the distance between them was quickly shortened, Ren Li visualized a human body with numerous streams of black air going in and out.
Her feet stopped and the scene in her head was replaced by a blue-faced, red-haired, three-headed, six-armed, and deep-eyed god coming down from heaven holding a seal, a bell, and a banner in his hands. Pam!
When the god in her mind waved the banner and sounded the bell, Ren Li shook her right arm and threw a downward punch out!
The simpliﬁed physical invulnerability of the Plague Sect, Illness!
Protected by the Forwarding Formula, Lou Cheng didn't suffer long from the sound attack of the wind steps. He had pretty much sobered up when Ren Li got close. Understanding that he might be hit even if he attempted to dodge, he decided to meet force with force and answer Ren Li's strike with the Internal Explosion by visualizing another blood red Great Sun and Zhu Rong the god of ﬁre.
"Since she's close to the Inhuman stage, she's probably able to dissolve the power of the Internal Explosion with the force and waves of the simpliﬁed physical invulnerability. Even if I can't damage you terribly in three bouts, I can cause you severe internal wounds and signiﬁcantly lower your strength." "This is going to be the second bout!"
Pam! Lou Cheng suddenly felt empty of content, short of breath, and weak in the limbs, as if he was going through a severe illness.
Ren Li took one step back, her sparkling eyes bloodshot, abdominal organs rolling, head bloated, and stomach upset.
"I can't let him concentrate his force to ease the illness!" Ren Li clenched her teeth and shook her arms, aiming at the rival's head, despite the physical pain and discomfort in her body.
Out of breath and feeling weak, Lou Cheng had difﬁculties wielding his strength. He struggled to lift his arms to block the attack.
Pang! He was pushed back, staggering. Ren Li, with stars shining in her vision, swung her back to rush a left kick. Lou Cheng moved further back, stumbling, feeling weak and light, and just got away from the ﬂying kick.
Ren Li wanted to push forward and take this opportunity to defeat her rival, but she was too dizzy from her rolling blood, qi, and organs to move. She took a deep breath and let her blood and qi, strength, spirit, and effect from the Internal Explosion gather at her Dantian.
Lou Cheng drove his spirit with his willpower and forced his force to concentrate, compressing the illness between his ﬁre and ice.
This was the very ﬁrst gentle section of this ﬁght.
"Beautiful!" In the broadcasting studio, Chen Sansheng was very tempted to express his feelings with the f-word.
"Fxxking Beautiful!" Ren Li and Lou Cheng had taken the upper hand in turns since the beginning of this ﬁght. They actively pursued opportunities to attack and tried hard to keep the initiative. The ﬁght had been so intense that no one had a second to spare because loads of things could take place in a split second.
If the ﬁght was cut into sections, we could easily see that they had been ﬁghting with their lives all this time until now. Any other Professional Sixth Pin ﬁghter would have broken down in front of such aggressive strikes, but they were both still hanging there.
"They live up to the title the favored ﬁghter of the age!"
"What else can I say?" An interesting emoji appeared in Chen Sansheng's head.
The audience cheered and screamed and then fell silent. When Lou Cheng and Ren Li separated, they came back to reality as if waking up from a long nap, shouting and yelling like crazy. "Great!"
The sound waves thundered like the ocean, bringing Yan Zheke back to reality. She loosened her ﬁsts and her bite on her bottom lip, recovering from the unbearable intensity and catching her breath.
Her eyes locked on the ﬁght again when Lou Cheng and Ren Li both concentrated their force and dashed forward, taking advantage of the rival's weak moment.
Chapter 399: The Hidden Scent
Lou Cheng and Ren Li each had their forces concentrated and threw themselves at each other. In a split second, they were close at hand.
Ren Li suddenly paused and turned into a paper man, leaning backward and then sideways through the strong wind resulted from Lou Cheng's high-speed charge. She agilely avoided the frontal confrontation and broke up the rhythm.
Bam! She lowered her weight and concentrated her force, launching a straightforward blast punch with the pound from the Dan stage eruption.
Lou Cheng knew exactly why Ren Li did this, to disrupt his rhythm. She was afraid of having another frontal confrontation with his Internal Explosion because she knew she would suffer fairly severe injuries from it which would pretty much determine the result of this neck and neck match. Three Internal Explosion punches had a chance of killing some Professional Sixth Pin ﬁghters who couldn't achieve the simpliﬁed physical invulnerability.
To not confront Lou Cheng from the front when he was well prepared, she would have to disturb his rhythm at all costs to waste his preparation.
Lou Cheng had kind of predicted it. He didn't think he could give the favored ﬁghter of the age another Internal Explosion easily.
However, he had ﬁgured out a substitute plan.
Lou Cheng's eyes narrowed and his qi, blood, and strength were gathered together before being shot out into his right arm. All the muscles in his arm tightened and closely stuck to each other.
Internal Explosion leaves the organs shivering. I'll ﬁnd another means to ignite it. "Come and try my Thunder Roar Zen!"
At the very last second, Lou Cheng visualized thunderclouds vibrating and whirled his right arm to meet Ren Li's Blast Punch.
Following the loud explosion sound, all the muscles on Ren Li's body's surface shook and the discomfort in her Five Viscera and Six Bowels intensiﬁed. She hurried to concentrate her force to calm her blood and qi and dissolve the shiver.
Lou Cheng was about to whirl his arms to cause more shiver with another Dan stage explosion when a faint fruity fragrance that he had never experienced hit his nose. The fruity scent awakened the shortness of breath, oppression in his chest, and weakness in his limbs. He felt a minor ache in his head, sick at the stomach, and short of breath.
"Could this be the odd martial arts style invented by the Kongtong School Ke mentioned before?"
"The killing gas? The biological weapon?"
Ren Li didn't perform it earlier because she hadn't reached the Inhuman stage or the physical invulnerability yet, which meant she couldn't cause much of an impact on him. However, after Lou Cheng got hit by the simpliﬁed physical invulnerability of the Plague Sect, a seed was planted in his body, and the scent could work greatly to worsen his symptoms and performance in battle.
As ideas ﬂashed through his mind, Lou Cheng instantly ﬂew his blood and qi back and concentrated his force to eliminate the inﬂuence. He held his breath and turned right, whirling his left arm as if wielding a huge hammer at Ren Li. The force in Ren Li's Dantian was gushing and her arms were bloated. She threw a left upward punch to block Lou Cheng's terror Zen.
Her body pulsated slightly out of her control and her qi and blood were boiling and rolling again, more intense than earlier. The fruity scent became stronger within a one-meter radius, and it condensed inward and spread outward.
Lou Cheng held his breath, gathered his Dan, and prepared for another thunder Zen, attempting to completely ignite the shake left in Ren Li's body by the Internal Explosion before his physical condition affected his combat performance.
He had recently mastered some new moves of the Ice Sect, but at this very moment, the Thunder Roar Zen was probably the most effective strike. A martial artist couldn't always go after the far-away at the expense of the near-at-hand to take the enemy by surprise. In short, the essential rule for any martial arts battle was to defeat the enemy with the most suitable moves at the most suitable time.
Ren Li concentrated her force again and again to dissolve and restrain the physical discomfort and sent out more hidden scent with her punches and explosions in hopes of breaking down Lou Cheng's combat strength before the shock within her got ignited and winning this ﬁght.
This was the most effective means she could think of right now.
Triple Explosion and then Quadruple Explosion and Quintuple Explosion. Lou Cheng clenched his teeth, held his breath, and whirled his arms to launch the thunder Zen over and over again frequently like a blacksmith bloating his muscles and hammering weapons.
One, two, three, and four... He forced his eyes open wide and punched again and again despite his narrowing pupils, tightness in his chest, and weakness in his body. Bam! Bam! Bam! Ren Li held her ground and completed multiple explosions herself while keeping her force concentrated to suppress the rolling qi and blood and shaking organs.
More and more of her blood capillaries were broken, turning her fair skin rosy pink and eyes bloodshot, making her gums bleed and giving her a taste of rust in the throat.
Something is not right! Lou Cheng should have reached his limits long ago! He should be out of breath and weak by now. He should be showing more signs and symptoms!
Sextuple Explosion and then septuple and octuple! Ren Li saw Lou Cheng imposing and overwhelming, his hair and beard shooting out like a warrior returning from death. It was impossible to tell his actual status.
"No... I can't continue like this..." Feeling overwhelmed, Ren Li was no longer sure about her current strategy and thought about changing her means. After another Force Concentration, she pushed her back forward and lifted her right foot to launch a series of ﬂying kicks like a whirlwind, which forced Lou Cheng back and gained herself some space to adjust her breath, gathering her Dan realm and calming her physical discomfort.
Lou Cheng had long quitted holding his breath in such a violent battle and intense collisions. He inhaled the fruity fragrance and began to feel dizzy, short of breath, and worn out.
As soon as Ren Li withdrew, Lou Cheng released his blood and qi and shot his body out to the side like a lightning bolt to take in fresh air as much as possible.
"I couldn't last long if I didn't have this break."
Ren Li couldn't help feeling slightly upset as she didn't realize Lou Cheng had already been pushed to his utmost limits when she could have handled three if not four Tremor Punches. In Songcheng University Martial Arts Club's seating area, Yan Zheke noticed how thirsty her boyfriend was for air and realized what had happened in the ring. Her heart was aching, she felt very concerned and rather proud, and she began to pray.
Has Cheng forced Ren Li to perform that move?
She probably intended to save it as her trump card for Peng Leyun.
The slightly recovered Lou Cheng didn't think too much. He quickly formed a seal in his hands and visualized an ancient character in his head before calling in a low voice,
His ﬁgure charged out at lightning speed and reached Ren Li in no time, very eager to ﬁght. "Care less about life and death and ﬁght on if you don't want to accept your defeat!"
His blood and qi were gathered and then spurting, driving the remaining fragrance apart. Lou Cheng pulled his arms back and launched another ferocious thunder Zen!
Ren Li's bearing was cracked and negative feelings were brewing, affecting her status. She failed to keep the distance between Lou Cheng and herself and had to focus at her Dan realm again to send off more hidden scent.
Ren Li's muscles quivered and more blood streaks appeared in her eyes. She could barely keep the rolling qi and blood down.
Lou Cheng held his breath and released his qi and blood while whirling his left arm. Bam! Bam! Bam! His punches at Ren Li echoed in Liu Chang, Chen Sansheng, Yan Xiaoling, Mu Jinnian, and every spectator's heart.
Lou Cheng's vision became blurry. He reached his right arm out and threw another downward thunder Zen.
Ren Li lifted her arms to block the strikes and her qi and blood were shocked again. The effect left in her body by the Internal Explosion was completely ignited. Her Five Viscera and Six Bowels experienced convulsions at the same time. The dizziness in her head was unbearable and there seemed to be blood spilling out from her throat. Ren Li's stance fell apart.
Lou Cheng widened his eyes and infused strength into his shoulders to launch a side hook at his rival's temple.
Everything in front of him became blurry, like the replay of a ﬁlm in slow motion.
"Am I at my limits?" He saw his ﬁst slowly moving towards Ren Li's head and she slowly swung her arm, aiming at his throat.
Their ﬁsts were grabbed by the referee at the same time. In the last bout, Lou Cheng took the initiative, but his strength was at its limit and his movement was slow. Ren Li was not much better, but she saw it as an opportunity to sink together with her rival.
Ren Li was able to block Lou Cheng's strike, but she wouldn't have much strength left to launch a counterattack after. She wasn't sure how exhausted Lou Cheng was at that moment. It made perfect sense for her to take the risk.
Lou Cheng couldn't have gone this far without his ﬁrm and tough determination and the bearing developed from the tempering between life and death. How could he have any strength left? He couldn't throw another attack if this punch missed.
The referee thought about it carefully before lifting his right arm and announcing loudly,
"Round One, tie!" The very ﬁrst tie in this national university martial arts tournament!
While giving the announcement of the result, the referee shook his arms and created a sudden strong wind which blew clear the hidden scent around Lou Cheng. His head was clear again and he resumed his full consciousness. Things no longer moved in slow motion.
Lou Cheng didn't feel disappointed at the result of this ﬁght. He was actually pleased about it. Ren Li was stronger than him in terms of actual combat strength and way stronger than Peng Leyun was last December. If he didn't suppress her in momentum with his determination, he would have been dealt a rout.
After this match, I can summarize and improve again!
Terriﬁc. I did much better than in the last ﬁght of the favored ﬁghters of the age.
I didn't lose face again! Lou Cheng turned sideways and waved his ﬁst at Yan Zheke sitting in Songcheng University Martial Arts Club's seating area. The wave was weak but high spirited.
Yan Zheke felt very relieved and the shine returned to her eyes. She gave him her thumb subconsciously. The audience, also relieved, clapped and cheered for this exciting match between Lou Cheng and Ren Li and their graceful martial arts bearing.
"They are indeed the favored ﬁghters of the age!"
Chapter 400: No Ridicule Lasts Overnight
The applause came in waves, each louder than the one before. Lou Cheng was panting heavily, trying to ease the tightness in his chest. He could feel his muscles cramping, evidently drained of all energy.
After struggling for several seconds, he ﬁnally managed to calm down. He felt his mind clear up enough to focus, allowing him to concentrate his force.
His muscles bulged as he condensed and released his qi and blood. His chest lifted and fell as he opened his mouth and expelled a breath of foul-smelling air. He ﬁnally felt like he was alive again.
Even so, he still felt weak and out of breath. He would have to depend on his robust body and high metabolism to gradually ease him out of his fatigue. It wouldn't be something quick and easy. As expected, he had lost all strength to ﬁght again. He barely managed to eek out the last two moves through the sheer power of will. Some light ﬁnally returning to his eyes, he saluted Ren Li and thanked her for the worthwhile match.
During their match, Ren Li had also managed one Force Concentration with much difﬁculty. She was barely recovering from the raging qi and blood in her. She reciprocated Lou Cheng's bow and was about to say something when she suddenly pressed her hand over her mouth and spat blood into her palm. She could also feel that a few of her teeth had loosened from the shockwave and were close to falling off.
Capable Dan stage martial artists were known for their vigorous qi and blood and rich life force. Even if their teeth were knocked out, they would grow back over time. These weren't considered injuries at all.
Ren Li thought that she was going to practicing non-speaking vows for the next few days. She pressed her lips together, no longer speaking. She then turned around and climbed down the ﬂight of stairs. As her limbs were still suffering from cramps and convulsions, every step she took felt unnatural and she was trembling all over. Shen You, Jiang Kongchan, and the others immediately rushed forward and supported her.
Lou Cheng didn't fare any better. On his way down the stairs, his calves were cramping with each step he took. He also felt short of breath and had to constantly take deep breaths.
Yan Zheke, Cai Zongming, and the others ran to him to support him by the arms.
"Freaking awesome! You actually managed a draw!" With his idle hand, Cai Zongming gave his friends a thumb up.
"Are you complimenting... or ridiculing me?" Lou Cheng joked. He paused in between his question, indicating his poor condition.
Cai Zongming grinned. "Of course I'm complimenting you. I wonder how many gamblers are now heading for a rooftop. Nope, I bet the rooftops are full. The ground is full of bodies, piled up so high that they reach the edge of the roof." The vast majority had betted on a victory or a defeat!
"It's not like I can do anything about that… Honestly, Ren Li should've won, but I forced a draw..." Lou Cheng said, honestly admitting that he was still lacking compared to Ren Li.
Before he could ﬁnish his sentence, Yan Zheke interrupted him both out of irritation and concern. "Don't talk anymore! It's already so hard for you to talk… do you want to go to the emergency ward?"
"No need, I'm feeling much better… I'll be ﬁne in a few minutes." Though Lou Cheng had just received a scolding, his smile was actually so much brighter now.
Since it was a tie, there was no rush for the next round to begin. The referee motioned for Lin Que and Chen Diguo to wait for the staff to clean the arena. In the studio, the host, Liu Chang, took this opportunity to jokingly lament the outcome of the match.
"Who would have guessed it would be a tie... This is so rarely seen!"
He added, "It's probably really difﬁcult for the referee to make such a decision. In my opinion, he could've named any of the two the winner and an amateur spectator like me would be none the wiser."
Chen Sansheng chuckled. "The referee had taken into consideration that they would both be hurt badly in the last bout and thought a draw wouldn't be unreasonable. Ren Li and Lou Cheng were obviously at their limits. I'm not talking about their physical limits; it's their negative condition that stopped them from further combat. They could have lowered their heads or tilted their necks to avoid attacks, but neither would be able to make another attack after."
"Haha, that's true. Their physical conditions were noticeably turning for the worse," Liu Chang said thoughtfully. "After taking Lou Cheng's Tremor Punch, Ren Li probably sustained injuries. Afterward, she had to suffer his Force Concentration directly. With so many injuries stacked on her, her negative condition was triggered. It was very easy to understand what happened to her, but what about Lou Cheng? His strength had inexplicably become weaker and weaker…"
Chen Sansheng pondered over it carefully for some time, motioning for the producer to air a replay of several highlights from the match.
"Pause! Pause right there! Did you see it? When Ren Li was withdrawing, Lou Cheng rushed to the side instead of pursuing her. He was panting as if he had been holding his breath for a long time."
"You mean Lou Cheng didn't breathe that much in the collision earlier? Or perhaps, he didn't dare to breathe?" Liu Chang asked, looking rather terriﬁed.
"Yes. The secret moves of the Plague Sect are all odd and unpredictable, harming their opponents imperceptibly," Chen Sansheng replied. "I can't tell exactly which move she performed, but I can guess how it affected Lou Cheng. In their second major confrontation, he likely suffered Ren Li's simpliﬁed physical invulnerability of the Plague Sect and sustained a certain impact. Ren Li certainly wouldn't let go of this weak point in the following bouts, likely continuing the use of her secret move to strengthen the impact."
"Her Plague Sect secret move seems to act through the respiratory system. How mysterious!" Liu Chang said, stunned. "Why didn't Lou Cheng adopt the guerrilla strategy and avoid the area with Ren Li's 'special scent'?"
"This was a martial arts competition, a match between two ﬁghters. He couldn't do as he pleased." Chen Sansheng smiled, shaking his head. "Didn't you notice? Ren Li was obviously grasping the chance to break down Lou Cheng's combat force with a series of Dan stage explosions, which would leave him no chance to escape. Judging from this point, we can tell that she had the upper hand during this part of the match and had a higher chance of winning compared to Lou Cheng. But she didn't think she could hold on and couldn't see an end to this match, and she had the option to retreat. Lou Cheng didn't have this option. "However, the tables were turned when she retreated. Lou Cheng also forced himself to shoulder on, grabbing the opportunity to use guerrilla warfare. Ren Li took her time to calm her qi and blood, ease her wounds, and shake off her uncertainties. Considering their performance in the earlier bouts, she would probably soon regain her initiative and boost her winning chances. It was hard to predict the outcome at that point, but the odds were deﬁnitely against Lou Cheng."
Liu Chang looked like he was suddenly hit by a realization. "I see... Tsk, tsk. Lou Cheng was truly shockingly imposing. He threw punch after punch as if he had no limits, with the sole aim of knocking his opponent down even at the cost of his life! No wonder Ren Li's conﬁdence was shaken and she chose to take a step back…"
"That's right. When they reached that point, they could no longer accurately determine each other's condition. Everything depended on their will, every move sustained by their conﬁdence and vigor. At that moment, they couldn't accurately tell the rival's condition. It took all they had to affect each other. Lou Cheng did better here, using those aspects to make up for his inferiority in strength. Hehe, I'm not calling him weak. It hasn't been that long since he started practicing martial arts, but he already has a tie with Ren Li! He's doubtlessly a favored ﬁghter of the age!" In his analysis of the match, Chen Sansheng sincerely complimented Lou Cheng.
Yan Xiaoling, also known as the Eternal Nightfall, as well as Brahman 001 and Unparalleled Dragon King, tagged An All- knowing Man in Ganghood on Weibo just then.
"I'm just here to laugh a little. Haha, haha. I'll cover my mouth and leave."
"The more I see you, the more I feel you have the potential to be the next Poison Milk. Looks like you're ready to replace Master He (the Go Die emoji)."
"He had a tie with Ren Li after only one and a half years of martial arts training. If he's not considered a favored ﬁghter of the age, who is?"
"I'm sitting tight and waiting for your long post. Let's see what kind of nonsense you'll make up this time!" …
An All-knowing Man in Ganghood started breathing heavily after reading all the posts that tagged him on Weibo. He suddenly grabbed the mug sitting on his desk and hurled it away.
The mug hit the wall and broke into small pieces.
Meanwhile, many users were leaving comments under Superstitious Belief Is Bad's prediction post on Weibo.
"I feel like this time you've served a good cup of poisoned milk to the Capital."
"Now that Lou Cheng wasn't cursed with rebound effects, you're ﬁnally showing your specialty to the fullest. I have faith in you!" "Don't put it like that. What Master He predicted was the overall loss of Songcheng due to their weak bench ﬁghters. Isn't it still too early to say he's wrong? After this post, I'll go and put in another 100 bet on Songcheng."
In the seating area for the Songcheng team, Geezer Shi clicked his tongue after taking a quick glance at Lou Cheng.
"Not bad. You've managed to push it to this extent. Let's see if Qi Ling, that old spirit, will brag about her disciple in front of me from now on."
Old spirit... Feeling much better now, the corners of Lou Cheng's mouth twitched as he said, "Isn't Master Qi much younger than you?"
She looked to be in her early ﬁfties. "Yeah, she's younger." Geezer Shi scoffed. "But she has no respect for seniors and still calls herself an elder sister in front of ﬁghters of a younger generation."
Wasn't this quite ordinary for women… Lou Cheng didn't quite get his master. He returned to his seat, accepted the Sedative and Brain-invigorating Fluid from Yan Zheke, and took a huge gulp from it.
"Back then, Master Qi was a known beauty in the martial arts circle. She had knowledge and versatile talents; she was also well-versed in poetry and painting…" Yan Zheke lowered her voice, momentarily gossiping before began to complain. "Why can't you care more about yourself? Why did you have to ﬁght with Ren Li like that?"
She knew Lou Cheng did what he thought best after a thorough consideration, but she couldn't resist nagging him about it.
Lou Cheng took a deep breath and smiled. "There might be other moves I could've used to lower the inﬂuence of Ren Li's secret move, but there's no way to stop or isolate the inﬂuence. I could only slow it down. Under the circumstances where I was getting weaker as the match continued, I wouldn't have any chance to turn the tide if I didn't use tremor punch to intensify her shivers and weaken her..."
The referee inspected the ﬁghting ring while they were still talking and waved at Lin Que and Chen Diguo.
Lin Que was already up, standing at the edge of the seating area. He gave each of his team members a ﬁst bump before walking up the stone stairs. His expression was serene and his eyes were energetic, hiding a ﬁery passion inside.
Whether or not Songcheng could win against Capital would completely depend on this upcoming match against Chen Diguo!
The audience had also stopped reminiscing about the exciting match earlier and focused on the arena once again.
"Good luck, Chen Diguo!" the supporters of the Capital College Martial Arts Club cheered in unison. Several scattered voices started shouting in the arena.
"Good luck, Lin Que!"
After an intense ﬁght, only one of the two favored ﬁghters of the age would be able to advance to the semi-ﬁnals.