Chapter 401: Force of Storm
The ring had been cleaned up. Except for some pits, the ﬁghting ground had been taken care of. Standing in the center, Lin Que saw Chen Diguo come step by step with a red handkerchief on his head. Chen's body was as strong as a bear, looking calm and imposing.
The second-leading ﬁghter in the Capital College Martial Arts Club was directly inﬂuenced by Ren Li and Peng Leyun. He was somewhat gifted, considering that entering the Dan Stage before graduation was worth his time and effort. Of course, he was going to graduate with a college degree, so he would be doing just ﬁne if he were to choose another profession. However, when he met Ren Li in his sophomore year, he realized how narrow-minded he was and how trivial his pursuits were. Therefore, he was inspired to make a difference by not wasting his youth and energy!
Assisted and guided by Ren Li, Lin Que kept working on martial arts. Finally, he was admitted to Kongtong School and inherited the Wind Sect. It was in May, his sophomore year, that his strength integrated as one and his Qi arose from within his body. He entered the Dan Stage. Over nearly two years, he had advanced gradually. Now he was a true Seventh Pin ﬁghter who had entered the Dan Stage, ranking as the second-class Mighty One among ﬁghters of the college level.
Of course, he paid the price. He was "infected" by Ren Li and was often lost in the martial arts world when he was walking. He even picked a place to practice any time he felt like it. He ended up becoming a "road idiot"—somewhat different than Ren Li. And although he knew the road, when he came back around to himself, he found that he was in the middle of nowhere.
Once, the club manager and deputy manager of the Capital College Martial Arts Club had gotten lost at the same time...
"He can be a tough enemy..." Lin Que thought. All the details of his enemy ﬂashed across Lin Que's mind.
Chen Diguo obtained his certiﬁcate of Seventh Pin half a year ago. Now he was getting stronger... Stepping forward a little, Chen Diguo held his body still and took the stance with his right palm stretching ahead. This was called the Fighting Stance.
"His Qi is guiding his moves," Lin Que thought, keeping a close eye on his opponent.
Lin Que lowered his position and got ready to ﬁght. The atmosphere turned serious immediately.
In the area of the Songcheng Martial Arts Club, Yan Zheke put her hands together, feeling nervous, and stopped chatting with her boyfriend.
Lou Cheng leaned forward, putting down the energy drink, Sedative and Brain-invigorating Fluid. He crossed his hands and stared at the ring.
He had barely accomplished their goals. Their results now depended on his brother-in-law's performance. Ren Li will enter into the Inhuman State this year, becoming a high-ranked ﬁghter of the Dan Stage. Peng Leyun will be even faster. As for me, my martial arts competence is of top Sixth Pin, yet my inner state is far below theirs.
Danqi was a great leap, while Inhuman was just a promotion. Essentially, Danqi had a greater inﬂuence on ﬁghters, but in actual ﬁghting, entering the Inhuman Stage could enhance a ﬁghter's competence more than entering into the Dan Stage could.
But why was that so? Because as martial arts competence was improved, stronger Might was gained. Even if it was only a tiny increase in competence, the effect would be signiﬁcant.
As the audience held their breath, the referee raised his right arm and then put it down swiftly.
Lin Que stopped trembling. He held his breath and then directed his Qi to his feet. His thigh and calf were swollen up immediately. His knees bent forward. Click! Lin Que leapt ahead as fast as a shooting star.
As a ﬁghter, Chen Diguo had repeatedly watched Lin Que's ﬁghting videos, and he was ready for Lin Que's opening attack.
Chen Diguo raised his right leg. His twisted his ankle in midair, kicking out with a strong wind toward Lin Que's eyes.
This was the Stern Blade. But Chen Diguo's strength and competence were less than Ren Li's, so he could not bring about a sharp wind sword. He could only use that skill to attack his enemy's weak points and to disturb his sight.
However, Lin Que's leap was so fast that if he was hit by the wind blade, the impact would be so hard that it could result in damage to his eyes and blind him! The wind was howling. Lin Que put his left arm at his chest and defended himself while still leaping forward. He endured and directly broke through the Stern Blade.
Of course, Chen Diguo never thought his Leg Blade was enough to ﬁght back his enemy. After kicking, Chen drew back, concentrating his Qi and blood, strength, and spirit.
Chen's Danqi was erupting out. He stepped forward and dragged his left arm behind. He looked serious as if he was under a heavy burden.
Meanwhile, Lin Que stood still. His muscles vibrated and his fascia trembled. He turned the momentum into the power of his blast punch with his clenched right ﬁst.
"Boom!" Lin Que's ﬁsts were like a cannonball, igniting the air in front of him and causing a blast that would have hurt any ordinary man. "Bang!"
Chen Diguo's left arm had reserved all of its strength and now he pulled it forward like a steel whip, waving against Lin Que's Meteor Blast and refusing to yield an inch.
Chen swung his left arm and stirred a strong wind toward the ground. The noise that resounded in the hall was proof of Chen's Might. If the ground had not been cleaned up before, the ring would have been covered in dust by now.
This match between top ﬁghters was legendary!
Chen broke through the air blast by force, and then he stepped back. He then raised his leg and slanted forward.
He was fully aware that Lin Que's Earth Cracking was the next move after Meteor Blast. So Chen carried out the Whirlwind, a secret skill in the Wind Sect, as an attack and a way of escaping Lin's movement.
Pop! He kicked with both of his legs, arousing a continuous wind blast that made him ﬂoat in midair.
Seeing this, Lin Que bent his body and lowered his position, stretching out his arms. He kept punching wildly by his resilient fascia and ﬂexible joints as if he had more than two arms.
This was the Eight-Arm Divine Punch, the 113th skill in the Fighting Sect.
Bang! The sound was intense and deep. Chen Diguo's Whirlwind was completely blocked. Before Chen switched to another move, Lin Que changed his strategy and visualized a ﬁery shooting star across the sky.
His shoulders and arms swung swiftly and he launched the Meteor Force onto his enemy's feet. Bam!
It seemed as if Chen Diguo had stepped on a mine. He could feel the paralysis climbing up from his feet.
He even felt that his right leg was no longer part of his body.
It seemed disconnected somehow.
He drew back, with his Qi and blood ﬂuctuating. His toe pointed to the ground, allowing him to endure by using Force Concentration to ease the impact. He decided to visualize a storm to control his muscles, fascia, and organs. The interaction would create a series of vibrations that would restore the body.
This was called the Storm Force of the Wind Sect!
He knew very well that if his Qi and blood reﬂuxed now, Lin Que would seize the opportunity to carry out the Earth Cracking. And then he would thoroughly lose his balance and, afterward, Lin Que's Doomed Death would take him down. So Chen needed to use another move. Chen Diguo's body was permeated with Qi, drifting in midair.
At that moment, Lin Que ﬁnished the gathering and realizing of his Qi and force in a short instant and then stepped heavily onto the ground!
The ring was moving as if there were a volcano within it. The ground where Chen Diguo stood was cracked, with erupting steam and rocks.
But Chen Diguo was like a ﬂying kite, ﬂoating away swiftly.
Lin Que seemed calm. He raised his arm and made a seal, shouting out,
"Move!" He bounced ahead like lightning, arriving in front of Chen Diguo.
Chen Diguo drifted along with the Dan realm, and his Qi and blood were reﬂuxing, which stabilized his body.
By doing so, he eased the impact of Meteor Force and, at the same time, he swung a Forward Punch to ﬁght back. It seemed that Lin Que was moving toward his ﬁsts.
However, Lin Que was too fast. Chen had not even completed the stance.
At that point, Lin Que stopped on a dime. His Yin and Yang were recycling. His muscles trembled and the momentum of leaping forward turned into the drive that stabilized his balance and fascia.
"Bang!" Lin Que dodged Chen Diguo's ﬁerce Forward Punch by moving aside. And then he stretched his arms and limbs, lifting his left arm toward Chen's head.
"Nice..." Lou Cheng smiled and nodded.
Since the match began, Lin Que seemed anxious, but he had it all ﬁgured out. Now he ﬁnally had the upper hand.
Chapter 402: The Fierce Combo
Chen Diguo got a sense of a crisis when his punch missed Lin Que. Without hesitation, he counterattacked by bending back to raise his right arm like a seesaw, blocking Lin Que's left ﬁst when it was about to approach him.
While Chen Diguo's arm bounced off Lin Que's ﬁst, the latter swung back his left arm with the help of 24 Blizzard Strikes and Yin-yang Twist. Then he took a step with his right foot to change his direction and then threw his right ﬁst toward Chen Diguo's chest.
Chen Diguo, a top Professional Ninth Pin ﬁghter, had already made his name before being accepted by Kongtong School and was now learning the Chen clan's ancestral Taiji Pound. At this urgent moment, he again straightened his backbone and waist with the reaction that came from his right arm. Then he shook out his left ﬁst under the inertia to block Lin Que's attack. Bang! In the dull thud, Chen Diguo had to quickly take a step back to keep balance after defending himself. However, what Chen Diguo had suffered up to now was only part of the Mega Avalanche. Withdrawing his ﬁsts and straightening his leg, Lin Que bounced to make a ﬁerce and ﬂexible kick at his opponent at a low height, giving Chen Diguo no chance to use Force Concentration. It seemed as if Lin Que wanted to defeat his opponent directly with an endless series of attacks.
In the continuous sounds of explosions, Chen Diguo struggled to block Lin Que's Brutal Blizzard-like attacks and gradually lost his breath.
He neede to stop it, or Lin Que would gradually accumulate advantages and ﬁnally defeat him without much effort.
Raising his left arm in a hurry, Chen Diguo blocked Lin Que's blast punch with great strength as if he was ﬁghting against a great ﬂood. While his body was still shaking, he swung his right wrist at a high speed to make a gust of boomerang-like ﬁerce wind with the help of Storm Force, which ﬂew directly toward Lin Que's eyes.
Wrist Sword, the Chen clan's special Kung Fu!
As a normal disciple in Kongtong School, Chen Diguo had no access to the top Kung Fu of the Wind Sect, which belonged to those direct core descendants. So his Storm Force was not as competitive as Lin Que's movement, and it could not be promoted to a core force directly, like Lou Cheng's Frost Force, either. As a result, Chen Diguo's Stern Blade driven by his Storm Force was not as powerful as the same movement made by Ren Li.
Though Chen Diguo accepted that fact, he was not willing to accept the result, which drove him to study and practice Stern Blade every day. Under the guidance of Ren Li and all kinds of reference ﬁles, he succeeded in adapting the skills of Stern Blade to his own condition and thus created a special Kung Fu, Wrist Sword.
Though its effectiveness did not get any visible promotion, it could now be used quickly and secretly, which made it one of Chen Diguo's trump cards. Now Chen Diguo wanted to break Lin Que's series of attacks and ﬁghting rhythm with it!
The reason why he had plenty of time to create new Kung Fu was that he was unable to increase his strength as fast as Lou Cheng and Lin Que, who were always learning, practicing, and advancing, having no spare time to think about anything else.
Hoot! Lin Que felt his eyes aching to warn him of the danger as the Wrist Sword approached him.
Though it could not really hurt him, it was enough for him to feel a constriction in his eyes, which could affect him a little bit, as if being slapped in his eyes by a child.
He was about to launch another attack and was thus unable to block it in time. So he immediately lowered his center of gravity and bent his head.
Chen Diguo's actual purpose was to decelerate Lin Que's attack! Swinging his Wrist Sword, Chen Diguo drove his Qi and blood back without hesitation as Lin Que's Mega Avalanche paused. Then Chen Diguo made an explosion in his Dantian, which gave him the force to throw his left ﬁst at Lin Que as a counterattack.
Lin Que was also an experienced ﬁghter, so he knew he would immediately be at the mercy of Chen Diguo's serial attacks if he chose to dodge the Wrist Sword. So he withdrew all of his Qi, blood, and force into his Dantian at the same time when he lowered his center of gravity and then punched at Chen Diguo's pouncing ﬁgure without hesitation as if a meteor ﬁnally collided into the ground, or a volcano ﬁnally made a horrible eruption.
The muscles in their ﬁsts bulged slightly, and the blue tendons and vessels could be seen clearly. It seemed as if their ﬁsts were stuck to each other and frozen in mid-air.
In an instant, a strong wind arose, picking up the rubble that was on the ground. Trying to keep their balance in that wave of Qi, the two in the ring both bent back while swinging their arms backward.
At that moment, Chen Diguo again gathered all of his strength in his Dantian to make a double explosion, which helped him to move his center of gravity and kick his right leg out.
He clearly knew that now that he had gotten an opportunity with the Wrist Sword, he must make as many explosions as possible in a short period and force Lin Que to take the same actions. Thus, he would drain Lin Que's energy before he lost the match, and thus offer Chan, the last ﬁghter in his team, a good opportunity to defeat Lin Que.
It could be seen from the previous matches that Lin Que had been advancing rapidly and that he might be able to make seven or eight explosions at his peak. Besides, Lin Que had learned the special Kung Fu of the Fighting Sect, which enabled him to be as powerful as a strong Seventh-Pin warrior. But Chen Diguo himself was also a tough ﬁghter, even though he did not know much about the movements of the Wing Sect and was unable to get access to the top Kung Fu of his school. After all, Chen Diguo was an experienced Seventh-Pin ﬁghter who could also make seven or eight explosions in a short time.
Lin Que must take Chen Diguo's serial explosions seriously since they were made by a ﬁghter who was at the same level of him. So he had to withdraw his Qi, blood, and the force gathered from the collision just now and make another explosion. Withdrawing his leg immediately, Lin Que blocked Chen Diguo's kick and again a ﬁerce wind arose.
Bang! Bang! Chen Diguo seized the opportunity to make a Triple Explosion and then a Quadruple Explosion with kneeing followed by elbowing at the same time, giving Lin Que no chance to counterattack.
Bang! Bang! Lin Que mixed the 24 Blizzard Strikes and Yin- yang Twist into his serial explosions of the Dan Stage to make a stiff resistance. With the help of the strength he borrowed from blocking Chen Diguo's attack, Lin Que was even able to make his counterattack more ﬁerce over time.
Though Chen Diguo had already known that Lin Que was good at ﬁghting with borrowed strength, he had never expected Lin Que to attain perfection of it. When his Quadruple Explosion came to its end, Chen Diguo was frightened to notice that there was not enough strength left for him to restrain Lin Que!
Gathering all of his strength in his abdomen, Lin Que took advantage of the explosion to stretch his body and then punched toward Chen Diguo with great effort.
Gritting his teeth, Chen Diguo restrained and then set his Qi and blood free, making a Quintuple Explosion while blocking Lin Que's attack directly with his left arm!
He had no choice but to do this, or Lin Que would have immediately beat the sh*t out of him. The well-designed scene that he had designed to trap Lin Que now turned out to be a cage for himself!
Bang! His ﬁst hit his arm and made an explosion sound. Chen Diguo felt his opponent's surging force that he could no longer resist, so he began retreating at a high speed.
Focusing on Chen Diguo with his deep, black eyes, Lin Que withdrew his Qi and force without taking any actions to preserve his energy. Then he made an explosion with his surging force to tighten the muscles in his legs.
Taking this opportunity, Lin Que stepped heavily onto the ground with his right foot, doing a forward roll and creating an opportunity for himself to use Earth Cracking, a special movement of Unique Skill of the Fighting Sect, before Chen Diguo was able to drive his Storm Force!
A Sextuple Explosion!
Boom! The ring shook and cracked around Chen Diguo's foothold, and then the surging force spouted from the break in the ﬂoor, which again made Chen Diguo lose his balance. After borrowing the force from his stepping onto the ground, Lin Que straightened his knees to pounce forward at Chen Diguo. Then he stretched out his right hand, trying to grasp his opponent's shoulder with ﬁve ﬁngers, which was actually the last movement of the serial attack, Doomed Death.
When Lin Que was about to touch Chen Diguo's shoulder, the latter drove his Qi and blood in time and then bent to narrowly dodge Lin Que's grasping hand. Then Chen Diguo drove the force in his Dantian to swing his arm and grasp Lin Que in turn.
The 14th move of the Wind Sect, Tangle!
However, Lin Que's Doomed Death was not as easy as Chen Diguo had hoped. When his grasping hand missed its target, Lin Que immediately took a step forward and bent to curl his arm, directly blocking Chen Diguo's arm with his elbow. Now Chen Diguo could no longer gather strength since Lin Que had hit at his acupoints.
Lin Que defused an explosion of the Dan Stage with the most normal movement! Then Lin Que turned sideways to smash himself into Chen Diguo like a falling meteor.
Out of Chen Diguo's expectations, Lin Que's Doomed Death was not only the last move of his attack, but the start of a new one!
Chen Diguo raised his arm to block Lin Que while continuing to retreat.
Lin Que slid to catch up with him and again stretched out his right arm to grasp him for another Doomed Death!
When Lin Que was about to grasp Chen Diguo's shoulder, the latter took a quick breath, visualized wuthering wind in his mind, and then poured his force into every part of his body. All his muscles were bulging as if they were ﬁlled with gas. Lin Que tried to close his ﬁngers, but they immediately rebounded from Chen Diguo's muscles.
How could the "wind" be caught?
Noticing this dilemma, Lin Que again turned sideways.
This time he used Force Concentration to stretch his body, and then again smashed himself toward Chen Diguo with greater force.
Chen Diguo had just withdrawn his arm and put it in front of his chest when Lin Que's ﬁerce attack broke his stance. He immediately lost the feeling of ﬂying in the sky, because he was unable to drive another ﬂood of force to support his movement in time.
Lin Que's attack was as impermeable as a tempestuous wave, and all the audience believed he would easily win this round. But Chen Diguo had been dodging and struggling without being caught by Lin Que, which tightened Lou Cheng and the others' hearts even though they knew Chen Diguo had already reached his limit. In Lou Cheng and the audience's eyes, Chen Diguo would immediately ﬂy out of Lin Que's attack range like
a gust of wind once Lin Que made a small mistake, which
would result in another round of ﬁerce battling.
No wonder Chen Diguo was an experienced Seventh-Pin ﬁghter!
At that moment, Lin Que pounced at Chen Diguo a third time, still trying to use the Doomed Death with his right arm.
On the other side, Chen Diguo, who had already lost his stance and balance, had no other choice but to bend and struggle to drive his Qi and force back.
However, Lin Que had learned from his previous mistake and immediately turned his grasping hand into a palm. Crack! He hit Chen Diguo on his shoulder with the help of his swinging elbow, which shocked Chen Diguo greatly and ruined his half- completed Force Concentration.
While Chen Diguo was still trembling, Lin Que ﬁnally grasped his shoulder, visualized a meteor ﬂying across the sky in his mind, and then poured his force into Chen Diguo's body, restraining the movements of his tendons and vessels and thus defused his resistance.
Curling his elbow, Lin Que jumped up with Chen Diguo and then smashed him onto the ground with great force.
The Fighting Sect's 10th move, "Doomed Death"!
In the ﬂying rubble and dust, Chen Diguo lay on the ring, feeling dizzy and disoriented. His whole body was aching and he could not even move at the moment. Then he heard the referee's loud voice. "Round two, Lin Que wins!"
Chapter 403: Jiang Kongchan (Kongchan is actually the transliteration of the word Utsusemi in Japanese, which means a human body without a soul in it.)
"Great!" Chen Sansheng slapped his thigh while cheering for Lin Que's performance in the studio, showing his favor of the young ﬁghter.
Upon hearing the sound of the impact made by Chen Sansheng, the host, Liu Chang, trembled with fear and moved his thigh away from the commentator's attacking range. Then he asked with a smile, "Pretty good. Sansheng, could you please make the best use of our time and explain to our audience about why you said 'great'?"
"Timing, rhythm, and connection, all of them were great! Lin Que has made his Doomed Death famous!" Chen Sansheng continued to praise Lin Que. "For example, Lin Que showed great timing during his ﬁnal movement that caught Chen Diguo. If he had turned the grasping hand into a palm a little earlier, Chen Diguo would have taken the opportunity to lower his shoulder and thus defuse Lin Que's attack, which would have enabled him to totally block Lin Que's attack with the following Force Concentration. On the other hand, if Lin Que had made his action later, Chen Diguo would have completed his Force Concentration and began withdrawing his Qi and blood, which would have weakened Lin Que's punch as if he had knocked into a bunch of cotton."
"So, if he had done it sooner or later, it would not have worked?" Liu Chang asked, echoing him.
Chen Sansheng nodded. "Yes, and that is exactly the core of Doomed Death. When Lin Que had trapped his opponent with Doomed Death, he would begin tangling them and interrupting their movements with a series of attacks. So his opponents could do nothing but struggle to block his attacks and ﬁnally drop into a hopeless situation. As a result, it was Doomed Death, not simpliﬁed physical-invulnerability moves, that was named the 10th movement of the Fighting Sect!"
"Great, great." Liu Chang praised and then asked, "Sansheng, how much strength do you think Lin Que still has now? Will he be able to beat Jiang Kongchan from Capital College in the last round?" "It's hard to say." Chen Sansheng shook his head and smiled. "I know what you are thinking about. But actually, I'm brave enough to make a judgment, or even a prediction, of the last round since I have been a commentator for so many years and am long accustomed to criticism for my wrong predictions. But this time, I indeed don't know who will be the winner because neither Lin Que nor Jiang Kongchan has shown their peak states to us in the past two months."
"Yeah, Lin Que defeated his opponents without much effort in the previous several matches, and Jiang Kongchan hasn't even appeared in the ring yet." Liu Chang nodded to agree with him. "But it seems that the ﬁght against Chen Diguo has consumed much of Lin Que's energy."
The program director turned the camera to Lin Que standing in the ring, who was now gasping to compose himself, and his hair was damp with sweat.
"Yeah, Chen Diguo is a tough guy and only second to the top one among all the second-leading ﬁghters, so Lin Que might have, at most, 30% or 40% of his strength remaining after that ﬁerce battle. Jiang Kongchan reached the Dan Stage this year and was enrolled by Kongtong School to be the successor of the Kung Fu of the Wind Sect. And although what she learned was also not the core content, it was enough for her to advance by leaps and bounds. Now two months have passed, and it's really hard to analyze her present condition. Well, it is her, and not Jiang Jingfeng, that was chosen by Capital University, so it proves that at least she is better than a normal Eighth Pin ﬁghter," Chen Sansheng said quickly.
After reaching a new stage, most of the warriors would advance by leaps and bounds over a period of time because there was new Kung Fu and knowledge for them to practice and learn. Lou Cheng, Lin Que, Ren Li, and Peng Leyun had all had this period, and Jiang Sansheng believed that Jiang Kongchan was no exception, even if the improvement she got was not as great as that of those abnormal ones.
"So, Jiang Kongchan is likely to win the match? It seems that Songcheng University is in danger…" Liu Chang said with a thoughtful expression on his face.
Then suddenly he smiled. "You reminded me of something interesting. Is Capital College the training base for Kongtong School? There are so many disciples of Kungtong." "Not all of them are. Take Jiang Jingfeng, for example." Chen Sansheng smiled. "Now that Ren Li is in Capital University, all of the talented students will soon be sent to Kongtong School because of her relationship with them, and no other schools are as competitive as they are."
"But things are different in Shanbei…" Liu Chang refuted him unconsciously.
"Fang Zhirong was selected as the successor of his ancestral Kung Fu before he entered the university. As for Xu Wannian, he hasn't made any improvements for a long time, except for advancing his supernatural ability, so he couldn't be enrolled by the Shangqing Sect. But anyway, now he is counted among the Shangqing Sect. Now you know that things are different in the martial arts clubs of the different schools." The moment Chen Sansheng ﬁnished his speech, the program director immediately turned the focus to the scene.
Round three was about to start!
... "Sigh…" Lou Cheng breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Lin Que ﬁnally catch Chen Diguo. Then he was soon struck by self- accusation, for there was a moment that he dared to doubt Lin Que's strength.
But Doomed Death was really interesting.
"Sigh…" Yan Zheke tapped her chest and sighed with relief without hiding her feelings.
A joyful expression appeared on her face, but it was soon replaced with a worried look. She then asked in lowered voice,
"Cheng, how much strength do you think my brother still has?"
Looking at Lin Que in the ring, Lou Cheng said in his girlfriend's ear, "I fought with your brother for learning purposes just before the National Competition, and I know that his limit is making seven explosions in a short time."
The remaining force of the Hidden Scent was still stirring up trouble within Lou Cheng's body. Lou Cheng found it a little hard to breathe but soon pulled himself through the effect with the help of his strong physical body and active metabolism, and thus there was no need for him to go to the doctor.
"My brother has made the Sextuple Explosion and several other separated ones. He even used his special force and serial moves…" Yan Zheke turned her gaze upward while counting seriously, "Is he still able to use Force Concentration two or three times?"
The degree of difﬁculty of a Dan-stage explosion was superimposed according to its level. Though Lin Que could make one Septuple Explosion or two Quintuple Explosions, he was merely able to make a Triple Explosion instead of a Quadruple Explosion after a Sextuple Explosion. So the result of the next round was not as optimistic as they hoped, not to mention that Lin Que still had consumed a lot in the last round.
Lou Cheng thought for a while and then comforted the girl.
"We just fought to learn from each other, so what I saw might not be your brother's real strength. Besides, more than half a month has passed and your brother has been learning and practicing in the ring, so I'm sure he has made some improvements, and now he may be able to make an extra Double Explosion and one or two Force Concentrations after expending so much energy. He is now in the same condition as those who have just reached the Dan Stage."
"But the premise is that he won't use his special force in the next round… While my brother is almost tired out, Jiang Kongchan is a new ﬁghter at her peak…" Yan Zheke said with great concern in her eyes.
Lou Cheng laughed and then took the girl's hand in his. "You should trust your brother. There are many winning factors in an actual ﬁght, and he will certainly take advantage of them. Even if he loses the match, he will force Jiang Kongchan to use up all her energy before he leaves the ring."
Though speaking like this, Lou Cheng was actually feeling a little nervous since none of them knew Jiang Kongchan's real ability except for that she had just reached the Dan Stage this year. In her previous matches with other ﬁghters, she had been ﬁghting in a straight and narrow way without exposing her real style.
Yan Zheke was about to say something else, but she suddenly stopped as Jiang Kongchan appeared in the ring.
Round three was about to start!
"I'm so nervous, so nervous." Brahman posted a "trembling" emoji in Lou Cheng's forum. "Nothing serious. The worst result is that we lose the competition, but we will at least be one of the top four, right?" Unparalleled Dragon King said jokingly with a "you should be strong" emoji.
Eternal Nightfall, Yan Xiaoling, appeared. "Get out! I don't remember having an elder like you! I don't want to see Lou Cheng's efforts be in vain."
All Good Names Are Taken By Dogs and the other fans appeared one by one to sigh with emotion and then disappeared, turning their gazes to the broadcasting screen.
Round three was about to start!
In the seats of Capital College, when Chen Diguo was snatched and then thrown onto the ground, Jiang Kongchan, the girl with a cute, round face, did not stand up immediately. Instead, she still stared at the ring with her hands joined together at her heart, as if Senior Brother Chen was still able to turn the tide.
When the referee announced the end of the match, she ﬁnally sighed and left her seat.
Ren Li, who had just recovered from her inner injury caused by the shock, waved her clenched ﬁst at Jiang Kongchan and yelled like a member of the cheering squad.
"Chan, good luck!"
"Kongchan, just try your best and do not worry about anything else. I'm sure you will win." Shen You encouraged her in his usual, calm manner.
Jiang Kongchan smiled. "Senior Brother Shen, I'm not nervous at all. Every day I was at the mercy of my senior sister, and now I'm trained to be calm under any circumstances." "You upset me by saying that…" Ren Li murmured.
Instead of showing her great concern of the result of the match, she was still joking and laughing to cheer her junior sister up.
Jiang Kongchan took a deep breath and walked toward the ring.
She encountered Chen Diguo halfway, who was still suffering from aching muscles and dizziness.
Chen Diguo gave her a ﬁst bump and then warned her in his low voice.
"Do not be frightened by Lin Que. He might not be your match if you ﬁght against each other directly."
Lin Que's last attack exposed his present condition to Chen Diguo. "Yeah!" Jiang Kongchan nodded hard and withdrew all her distracting thoughts before stepping into the ring.
She had made up her mind when she stopped in front of Lin Que.
She should neither be frightened by Lin Que nor look down upon him. Though she needed not worry about being defeated within a short time, she also knew it was impossible for her to win the match through ﬁghting directly with Lin Que, since he might not be at his limit as she expected.
She should make the most of her strong points and ﬁght in her usual style as she liked!
Looking around, the referee decided not to waste time. So he raised his right hand, waved it downward, and announced,
"Start!" Round three started!
As the cheering sounds came from the stands, Lin Que took action before Jiang Kongchan. In the audience's eyes, he was just like a cheetah pouncing on his prey from seven to eight meters away!
Jiang Kongchan felt both relieved and frightened. On the one hand, Lin Que had really used up most of his energy in the former round and now he was unable to use the Dan-stage explosion and the Xing Formula at the start as they would cost him too much energy. On the other hand, Lin Que had not lost his momentum at all in Jiang Kongchan's eyes, which showed he was really a tough ﬁghter.
Taking a step sideways, Jiang Kongchan turned in a clever way to dodge Lin Que's attack and ﬂash to his side at the same time.
Coming to an abrupt stop, Lin Que transformed the kinetic energy into an impact force with his trembling muscles and fascia and threw out his arm to the right, making a thunderous sound. When Lin Que was about to complete his movement, Jiang Kongchan ﬂew backward with Absolute Reaction, stopped herself by stepping onto the ground with her toes, and then bounced back to punch at Lin Que like a bolt of lightning.
Flying along with the ﬁerce wind, Jiang Kongchan blocked Lin Que's ﬁst with hers, making a loud grinding sound.
As the two in the ring both swayed for a moment, a joyful look appeared on Jiang Kongchan's face.
Now Lin Que's strength had declined to the same level as hers!
Chapter 404: An arrow at the End of Its Flight
Though their present strength was still at the same level, Lin Que had been ﬁghting for a long time and was now suffering from an accelerated physical decline. On the other side, Jiang Kongchan had just joined in the competition and her condition was still at its peak, which would be able to support her to ﬁght for a long time. So it was clear who had the whip hand now.
Thoughts ﬂashing through Jiang Kongchan's mind, the girl felt much more conﬁdent now, and the burning bravery within her immediately fueled her momentum, which even surpassed Lin Que's at the moment. As soon as her right ﬁst swung back, the girl immediately made a forceful explosion in her left shoulder and leaned forward to shake out her upper arm, lower arm, and wrist one by one. After straightening her whole arm with great force, the girl punched directly at Lin Que's temple.
The moment that Lin Que's punch was blocked by Jiang Kongchan, he immediately borrowed the strength to step backward and turn his body to face Jiang Kongchan directly. Then he raised his left arm, which was put in front of his chest, to block Jiang Kongchan's punch while launching another attack.
At that moment, Jiang Kongchan took a step to the left and again ﬂashed to Lou Cheng's side. Her punch with her left ﬁst was forced to change its route but continued to ﬂy at Lin Que along another route!
The original force that she gathered in her punch had already been used up, so she drove her joints and stretched her fascia to gather another quantity of force. Then she stretched her ﬁngers to hit Lin Que's temple with an abrupt explosive force!
It was the Dan-stage version of Wuthering Eight Movements, which mixed the eight movements together and thus made lots of derived moves, among which the most special move was called Wind Step.
Instead of referring to its high speed, it actually meant that the core of this movement was under the ﬁghter's feet. The user should guide his or her body with footwork and then change the punching direction with body movement, which would fog their opponent's eyes and make it hard for the poor guy to use Absolute Reaction. Even Dan-stage warriors found it hard to deal with an opponent that suddenly changed directions within a short distance, even if they were able to notice it in time.
Though Jiang Kongchan made sure that Lin Que was tired out, which added to her conﬁdence, she did not let the success go to her head, since Lin Que's real level was still much higher than hers. She knew that Lin Que was still able to make one, two, or even three counter-attacks; thus she chose the Dan- stage version of Wuthering Eight Movements to ﬁght in the beginning and set traps in her skirmish-ﬁght, leaving Lin Que no chance to attack her back. She was sure that Lin Que would be worn down soon by this war of attrition!
She was ﬁghting like a wolf in sheep's clothing!
When Jiang Kongchan stretched out her ﬁve ﬁngers, Lin Que felt a sharp pain in his temple and turned his head sideways to dodge unconsciously. Meanwhile, he swung his elbow and turned his right palm into a blade to hit the key acupoint in Jiang Kongchan's wrist.
Jiang Kongchan immediately withdrew her left arm, slightly arched her back, and stepped her right foot forward to kick toward Lin Que's ankle. At the same time, she hid her right ﬁst beside her waist and then punched toward Lin Que's waist secretly. The series of attacks were connected smoothly like a continuous gust of wind. In fact, her attacks were mostly formed by secret killer moves.
Lin Que took a breath and then shifted his center of gravity to the left side, which helped him to ﬂash sideways and dodge the round-faced girl's serial attacks.
The moment that Lin Que stepped on the ground with his toes, he turned his body into a dropping meteor and dashed against the girl ﬁercely.
However, Jiang Kongchan had already stepped her right foot onto the ring and ﬂashed to another side the moment that she missed the target. It was still the tricked set she had been using, the Dan-stage version of Wuthering Eight Movements. "Great." Chen Sansheng praised her in the studio. "She really has touched the core of the Wind Sect by herself. Now she is even able to make such great destruction with a normal Wind Sect movement, and there might be no one at the same stage that could surpass her in the most recent ﬁve years, except for
What he referred to was not the ﬁghters' strength but their understanding of the core of Martial Arts.
"Yeah, I still remember the day when Ren Li, who was merely an Eighth-Pin ﬁghter then, challenged a warrior stronger than herself. She kept moving like a gust of wind and no one could predict where she would land." Liu Chang echoed him.
Ren Li was usually not strong enough compared to her opponents, and thus she was used to relying on her ﬁghting skill instead of limited stamina and energy. In her previous matches with Lou Cheng, Ren Li regarded Lou Cheng as an opponent at the same stage as her, and thus did not treat him seriously and fought directly against him to gain the upper hand. When the host and the special guest were still discussing it, Jiang Kongchan and Lin Que had exchanged lots of movements while continuing to move in the ring, making continuous cracking sounds.
"But Lin Que can't persist for a long time." Chen Sansheng tut-tutted. "No matter whether he intended to show the white feather in front of Jiang Kongchan and confuse her, he should now change his ﬁghting style, or he will eventually be worn out by Jiang Kongchan."
That round-faced girl had been ﬁghting in a patient and careful way without any sign of relenting.
As his voice faded, Jiang Kongchan dodged Lin Que's attack with a sliding step and then ﬂashed to his back, where she shook out her right arm to strike the back of Lin Que's head. Her movement was so quick and ﬁerce that it tore the airﬂow.
However, Lin Que did not react to her attack in the usual manner. Instead, he lowered his head and stepped forward with his left foot. An opportunity!
As an experienced warrior, Jiang Kongchan immediately noticed Lin Que's ﬂaw and decided to take advantage of it. Instinctually, she made a forceful explosion in her shoulder and swung her elbow out to punch toward the back of Lin Que's neck within that short distance.
Lin Que had made such a perfect pose for her, so she could not help but give him a punch!
At that moment, Lin Que suddenly withdrew his Qi, blood, force, spirit, and all the other senses as he stepped heavily onto the ground. In an instant, all of the protective facets within and outside of his body disappeared!
Then, without hesitation, he made an explosion in his Dantian and drove all of that force into his neck, making it swell immediately as if a snake had turned into a horrible Chinese dragon!
Bang! Jiang Kongchan felt as if her punch landed on a ball ﬁlled with water that could not be broken or bored into at all.
At that moment, Lin Que suddenly raised his head, straightened his neck, and bounced Jiang Kongchan's ﬁst back, destroying all her intentions to pour more force into it and launch a further attack.
Meanwhile, he shook his whole body to drive all of his borrowed and initial force into his right foot and then stepped heavily onto the ground.
The 16th move of the Fighting Sect, Earth Cracking!
Jiang Kongchan, who was unable to escape in time, felt the ring under her feet shaking. A huge ﬁssure appeared on the ground, which was still expanding and spewing out a horrible force ﬂood. Jiang Kongchan could no longer keep her balance and was about to fall back. "Too bad!" Jiang Kongchan said to herself. Daring not to hide her real strength, she immediately drove all her Qi and blood to ﬂow back in order to keep her balance. Then she tightened the muscles in her arm and gave Lin Que a blast punch, making a thunderous sound.
At this urgent moment, she chose to attack him back instead of defending herself!
On the other side, Lin Que immediately bounced back and turned around to throw his right arm toward Jiang Kongchan with great force.
In the echoing, dull thud, Lin Que was unable to resist the Dan-stage explosion of Jiang Kongchan, though he had borrowed some force to block it. It seemed that he was about to take steps backward.
However, he suddenly shook his muscles and fascia, withdrew his Qi, blood, and spirit and then made a Force Concentration connected with the skill of Yin-yang Twist!
Boom! Taking half a step forward, Lin Que swung his arm at a high speed and then threw it at his opponent in the exploding sound of airﬂow.
"I should hold on for a while and wait for another one of Lin Que's Dan-Stage explosions..." While thinking of it, Jiang Kongchan had no choice but to make the same Force Concentration and drive her left ﬁst with Double Explosion to throw it at Lin Que.
As the cracking sound became louder, Jiang Kongchan took steps backward, which showed that she was still a little weaker than Lin Que, who had borrowed some strength. Then the girl took the opportunity to bend her back and ﬂashed several meters backward like a gust of wind.
Of course, Lin Que would not let go of this opportunity. He immediately raised both hands, visualized ancient characters in his mind, and announced in his deep voice,
While Lin Que's voice was still echoing in the ring, he had already ﬂashed to Jiang Kongchan and stopped in front of her. Then he again withdrew all his Qi, blood, force, spirit, and all the other senses to make a punch as if a dropping meteor ﬁnally collided with the earth.
When he breaks Jiang Kongchan's defense with this attack, his Doomed Death would begin to work!
Jiang Kongchan had already made a Double Explosion and was now unable to withdraw all the force into his Dantian within a short time. Taking a deep breath, she adjusted all her muscles, fascia, and organs and then visualized the corresponding scene in her mind.
Crack! She blocked Lin Que's attack with a normal movement. Bam!
As if a bomb suddenly exploded near them, a strong airﬂow appeared to block Jiang Kongchan's attack. Struggling to pierce into the airﬂow, Jiang Kongchan narrowly blocked Lin Que's ﬁst.
Blue tendons and vessels soon appeared in her arm as she was no longer able to resist Lin Que's horrible force. The moment her arm was bounced away, Jiang Kongchan soon lost her stance and began retreating while trembling.
When Lin Que was about to take a sliding step and punch at the girl with another Doomed Death, he got a sudden feeling of weakness, as if all his energy and stamina were hemorrhaging quickly!
Is it… the force of the Plague Sect?
Has she mastered her own force? Jiang Kongchan had just reached the Dan Stage two months ago without any supernatural ability. Even if she could have gotten access to a special force, there could not have been enough time for her to master it. In other words, her performance proved that she was not majoring in the Wind Sect and minoring in the Plague Sect. Instead, the Plague Sect was her real major!
With pupillary constriction in both of his eyes, Lin Que felt that he was tired out and unable to gather strength in his muscles. He could not even take steps forward within a short period.
Considering his physical abilities, even though he had used up most of his energy and stamina in the previous match, he should still be able to defuse a Plague Sect force like this at the beginning of this round and prevent it from injuring him badly with a single Force Concentration. However, after making three Dan Stage explosions, he was now at his limit and could no longer resist such a horrible force.
Though he could bear the pain, he was unable to keep ﬁghting while suffering from such a debuff! Besides, he could not defuse the effect of Jiang Kongchan's force with Force Concentration for the moment, because he needed to make another Double Explosion to manage it! However, he could no longer make any serial explosions after the previous three Dan Stage explosions.
When Lin Que was forced to stop, Jiang Kongchan immediately adjusted her body condition with the skill of mercurial balance and soon got her balance back. But she did not use skirmish-ﬁghting this time after stopping her steps. Instead, she bounced forward to ﬂash to Lin Que's side and took the rare opportunity to kick him her right foot.
When Lin Que narrowly blocked her kick with his leg, Jiang Kongchan again jumped into the air and launched a series of kicks at Lin Que.
The 27th move of the Ice Sect, Whirlwind!
Crack, Crack, Crack! Lin Que was too weak to get any chance to make a Force Concentration, and his stance was soon broken by Jiang Kongchan. The referee pushed Jiang Kongchan's shoulder down in time to stop her serial kicks and then announced,
"Third Round. Jiang Kongchan wins!"
"Well, it seems that Jiang Kongchan actually majors in the Plague Sect. If she had majored in the Wind Sect, Lin Que would have still been able to pull himself through and defeat her with Doomed Death. Plague Sect force, it is really a surprise!" Chen Sansheng sighed. "Now Songcheng University is in danger. Though Jiang Kongchan used up much of her energy, she was still able to make at least one Dan Stage explosion and several explosions with the Plague-Sect force. So it was very difﬁcult for a top Professional-Ninth-Pin ﬁghter to defeat her."
The ability to use force was a symbol of the Seventh Pin. As long as Jiang Kongchan's physical quality was up to standard, there was a great possibility for her to get a certiﬁcation of Seventh Pin. As a result, Chen Sansheng did not think Songcheng University was able to be the winner.
Chapter 405: The Final Round
As Chen Sansheng was sighing with emotion, He Xiaowei wrote a weibo:
"Still remember what I said? Songcheng's substitutes are too weak to compete with Capital College! Even Homer sometimes nods, so you shouldn't curse me by foretelling my victory just because I make some mistakes occasionally. Now do you believe what I said?"
"Occasionally…" Someone replied to him with the emoji "smile through tears".
There was a line of similar comments following his.
"I'm done. I'll jump out of my balcony after ﬁnishing this cigarette…"
"I'll jump with you!" "Wait for me! I won't let you go alone!"
An All-knowing Man in Ganghood, who had been silent for a few days, also wrote a weibo:
"Everyone has his or her ups and downs, and warriors are no exception. Though Ren Li didn't perform well today, the result won't change."
The implication was that although Lou Cheng defeated Ren Li today, he was actually still not her match because she was not herself today.
As for whether Ren Li performed well or not, it was easy for him to ﬁnd enough "evidence" since everyone knew how to look for a bone in an egg. If there were still people doubting his conclusion, he would shove the result in their faces!
For the moment, there was no one in the comments section calling him shameless, because in Lou Cheng's forum, Yan Xiaoling and the other fans of Lou Cheng, who were likely to do that, were all worrying about the fourth and ﬁnal round.
"Are we really going to lose the match?" Brahman asked with a "depressed" emoji.
"I, I, I don't know…" Eternal Nightfall replied with a "crying face". "I'll make a vow! If we beat Capital College today, I'll get up early for one month!"
"Well, did you skip all the lessons this morning?" Unparalleled Dragon King was surprised.
Yan Xiaoling replied with a "smiling while feeling tired" emoji. "Thank you, but all of our courses are selective and most of my professional courses in the morning are adjusted to be in the afternoon or evening, except for martial arts lessons! But it is not important! Now I wish you to pray along with me. We will ﬁnally beat Capital College!"
"Why should we do that? It's normal for us to lose the match to Capital College since victory and failure are common to see at martial arts competitions," Road to the Arena added.
As a ﬁghter who majored in the Wuthering Eight Movements, he always regarded himself as a disciple of Kongtong School, so it was obvious which team he supported.
"No! Someone told me that once a warrior doesn't care about failing, instead of feeling depressed, the competition will blunt his response to glory and he will no longer get any stronger." Brahman replied with a "beating a wooden drum" emoji. "The same for us fans and supporters. If we are indifferent to their victories and failures, we wouldn't love them any longer."
"Applause! You make sense." Yan Xiaoling did not know what to say in such a situation. "Come on, make a wish one by one!" "If Songcheng University wins tonight, I'll go streaking in the public bathroom!" All Good Names Are Taken By Dogs said.
Bull Demon King said jokingly, "If Songcheng University wins tonight, I won't date any girls next week."
"I won't barbecue for half a month!" Unparalleled Dragon King added.
While everyone was making their wishes, Yan Xiaoling sighed with relief and then @Many Cats:
"Box, Box. No, dear cat reporter, are you nervous? Do you want to disclose the inside story?"
Many Cats did not reply in time, for everyone in the seats of Songcheng University Martial Arts Club was focusing on the ring with a serious look. They did not even have time to check their cellphones. Lou Cheng followed Yan Zheke in standing up and smiled deliberately.
"In which way do you want me to cheer you up? I will do everything for you, even if you want me to dance the hula!"
He tried to diffuse his girlfriend's tension and stress with some jokes.
Yan Zheke smiled. Taking a deep breath, she encouraged herself.
"If I win, you must give me a massage tonight until I fall asleep. You can't do anything else!"
"Okay, no problem. Come on! Seize this opportunity and I'm sure you will win the match!" Lou Cheng promised her without hesitation. Stretching his hand to give the girl ﬁve, he grasped the girl's hand secretly. "Ah!" Yan Zheke nodded.
In order to save time, she did not high ﬁve Li Mao, Cai Zongming, and the other fellows one at a time. Instead, she turned sideways and waved her ﬁst at them.
Then she walked toward the ring along the path that Lin Que had just covered.
In the seats of Capital College Martial Arts Club, Chen Diguo exhaled like a bellows and then sighed.
"What a tough battle!"
If Jiang Kongchan had not mastered the Force of the Plague Sect, she would have lost the match to Lin Que, and the ﬁnal year of her university martial arts career would have ended in regret. Fortunately!
"Be careful, Kongchan…" standing near Chen Diguo with his arms crossed over his chest, Shen You said to himself with great concern.
"Chan is always careful." Ren Li was drinking a can of soup called Jiuan, which helped nourish and regulate organs, while keeping her eyes on the ring.
Chen Diguo nodded. "Yeah, though Chan is childlike and even logy sometimes, she treats everything with great caution and patience. So there is a very fair possibility of her defeating a Professional-Ninth-Pin ﬁghter."
"Well, you said that Chan was logy." Ren Li got the point without turning her gaze to Chen Diguo.
When Yan Zheke walked into the ring, all the leading ﬁghters and substitutes of Capital College Martial Arts Club suddenly calmed down as if they all had turned mute for a moment. It was the round that would determine success or failure!
The audience in the stands also reacted differently to the round since they supported different teams, and the cheering sounds gradually faded down. Ding Yixin was a fan of both teams, so she could not even dare not to look at the ring. Finally, she sat huddled beside Qiu Hailin, burying her face in Qiu Hailin's shoulder.
"How come you are so nervous?" Qiu Hailin was amused.
Her heart was also racing uncontrollably, and she did not know whom she was actually worrying about, her mother school or her present schoolmates.
"Of course I'm nervous. The loser will say goodbye to this place and go back home in regret. No matter how much effort they have put in, even if they have spent most of their youth on martial arts, they will have to accept the cruel reality. How could I feel happy now?" Ding Yixin said sincerely. She majored in Chinese in Capital College.
"You have the heart of an artistic, young person…" Du Yiyi said jokingly, but the great concern in her face gave her away. She also did not want to witness this doomed tragedy.
In the broadcasting booth, Liu Chang looked through the stands and seats of each martial arts club along with the camera and then sighed with emotion.
"The knockout round is always cruel. Only the winner will remain in the ring, and the other teams must go home to improve themselves until next year's competition, but some of them may miss the competition forever."
"And maybe regret it forever," Chen Sansheng added.
In order to keep suspense, Liu Chang asked, "Sansheng, it there any possibility that Songcheng University will win the match?"
"Yeah, but there is not a high chance of that, and it still depends on the performance of both teams." Chen Sansheng thought for a while and said, "To be honest, the previous round cost Jiang Kongchan much stamina and energy because of the use of the Plague Sect force. On top of that, she blocked Lin Que's Meteor Blast with great effort and the shock may be still within her body. If her next opponent were Lou Cheng or Lin Que at the pre-Dan Stage, Songcheng would be likely to win the competition, considering their previous competition with the tired-out Wei Shengtian and Zhou Zhengquan. However, her next opponent is Yan Zheke, who is much weaker than they are…"
He suddenly stopped since the program director again changed the scene to the seats of both martial arts clubs. He saw Lou Cheng, Ren Li, Lin Que, and Chen Diguo all stand up, hold their substitutes' hands, and turn their gazes to the ring. They were actually praying while cheering for their teammates, telling them they were always standing hand in hand! The atmosphere in the gymnasium suddenly turned serious and tense.
"Sigh, let's enjoy the last performance of Songcheng University or Capital College in the National Competition," Liu Chang said.
In the ring, Yan Zheke had already lowered her center of gravity and made a stance in front of Jiang Kongchan.
On the other side, Jiang Kongchan was still adjusting her breath. Her pale face and black lips showed that she had suffered a lot from the match with Lin Que.
Taking a glance at the girls, the referee raised his right hand and announced,
Round four started! The last match of Songcheng University or Capital College began!
Swinging her center of gravity forward, Jiang Kongchan ﬂashed towards Yan Zheke with wind-like footwork.
She intended to attack at the ﬁrst opportunity and chase Yan Zheke with her Wind Step. When she found the ﬂaw of Yan Zheke's defense, she would suppress her opponent with Whirlwind and the other moves, forcing Yan Zheke to block her Weaken Force directly. She was also saving some strength at the same time in preparation for another Force Concentration to avoid anything unexpected.
Instead of standing still, Yan Zheke jumped backwards lightly like an antelope, trying to ﬁght a running battle with Jiang Kongchan.
In the audience's eyes, the chasing and running ﬁgures were actually dancing around the ring. As time went by, Jiang Kongchang, who had the upper hand in every aspect, began changing her direction constantly with mercurial balance and gradually narrowed the gap between herself and Yan Zheke. Finally, she targeted and approached Yan Zheke after turning abruptly like a ghost and then kicked her tightened legs out.
At that moment, she saw the beautiful girl raise her hands to make a gesture that she was familiar with!
"It's impossible!" While Jiang Kongchan was still doubting what she had seen, she heard a low but dulcet voice say,
Nine Words Formula, Army Formula!
Now that Li Que was able to learn the Xing Formula, why did Yan Zheke not know the Nine Words Formula?
She had not only learned the Attainment Formula, but also the Swordsman and Army Formulas! In order to help his girlfriend, Lou Cheng even begged his master to borrow the original rubbings of the Army and Zhe Formulas instead of using his own copy!
In order to make the most of the Nine Words Formula, Yan Zheke, who had not appeared in the ring in the previous matches, had kept that word in her mouth until Jiang Kongchan approached her. If she had used the formula from a long distance, Jiang Kongchan might have recovered quickly with her tough willingness, and thus Yan Zheke would not have gotten the chance to launch an attack!
Yan Zheke's spirit began invading Jiang Kongchan's mind like hundreds and thousands of blades, and she immediately suffered from a nervous breakdown and was about to cry and beg her to stop.
Now was the time! Yan Zheke visualized a dropping meteor in her mind to gather the Qi within her body, then she swung her right arm quickly to punch at Jiang Kongchan.
The move of the Fighting Sect, Meteor Force!
Though Yan Zheke could not advance to the Dan Stage, she could make herself be at the top of Professional Ninth Pin. Now that her brother could master the Meteor Force before he reached the Dan Stage, she could do that as well!
She had not wasted a second over the past few months!
Her punch triggered a ﬁerce gust of wind.
Jiang Kongchan raised her arm to protect herself as soon as she had sobered up. Then she began preparing for another Force Concentration to remove all of the hidden danger. Bam!
As if being hit directly by the blast wave, Jiang Kongchan felt like the remaining shock in her body was activated and her Qi, blood, and all her organs began burning. Her groaning mind stopped her from gathering all her force to make another attack.
Yan Zheke shook her left arm and threw it toward her opponent, which stopped near Jiang Kongchan's throat.
The referee was stunned for a while and then raised his right hand to announce,
"Round four, Yan Zheke wins!"
"The ﬁnal result, Songcheng University Martial Arts Club wins!" Yan Zheke sighed with relief upon hearing the referee's words. If she had failed to defeat Jiang Kongchan with that attack just now, Songcheng would now be the losers!
Then a sudden joy overpowered her, making her turn around and wave her ﬁst at all her teammates, who were still stunned.
The whole gymnasium was silent.
Chapter 406: This World Changes Too Quickly
"Round four, Yan Zheke wins!"
"The ﬁnal result, Songcheng University Martial Arts Club wins!"
As the judge's voice unfurled, with the exception of Lou Cheng and Lin Que, who were prepared, Cai Zongming, Li Mao, and others who were sitting in the seats of the Song Cheng University Martial Arts Club, were full of bewilderment in response to Yan Zheke's victory. They were dumbfounded and felt it hard to believe that that she'd won.
In their minds, even if Yan Zheke was able to defeat Jiang Kongchan, it was bound to be a bitter struggle. It should have been a long and drawn out affair, how could it be that it had been that easy and that simple?
This sudden but pleasant surprise took them aback and caused them to not properly have time to bask in the joy of the victory. The crowd, watching from the grandstands, were the exact same as them; they'd forgotten to shout, clap, and cheer. Everything was silent.
This isn't how it should be!
Didn't Jiang Kongchan clearly have superior strength?
How is it that she could lose just like that?
She clearly and deﬁnitively lost, without any kind of resistance!
Hold on, Songcheng University's Yan Zheke unexpectedly could also use the Nine Words Sound!
She was their secret weapon! During the live broadcast, Chen Sansheng was speechless for a dozen or so seconds, then blurted out,
"Army Formula? Yan Zheke has also been trained in the Nine Words Sound?"
"Right, how it is that seemingly every member of Song Cheng University Martial Arts Club possesses this secret discipline... " The presenter, Liu Chang, still was in a state of shock.
Similar grades and levels of the Nine Words Sound secret discipline are all highly valued, regardless of their faction, group, or clique. Wouldn't disciples who lacked the basic foundation and other essentials not be able to receive that kind of instruction?
Is Songcheng University Martial Arts Club marching on into a kind of communism?
Chen Sansheng ﬁnally breathed in and, still not understanding, said, "As we mentioned before, Capital takes place in the rear gardens of Kongtong. In that case, what can this mean for Songcheng University?"
"I don't know either... " said Liu Chang as he stretched his hands. He was at a loss at how to process the dramatic ﬁnish of this competition. Other than astonishment, it was like he couldn't feel anything at all.
In the Capital College Martial Arts Club seating section, Chen Diguo also had a similar feeling. He sat there in a daze and gazed at the arena, seeing the empty spot where Jiang Kongchan had once been and Yan Zheke was jumping for joy, excitedly pumping her ﬁst.
All of the color faded from his vision, and the two ﬁgures seemed as if they'd become characters from a black and white silent movie, like a distant fantasy.
"She won? Just like that, she won?" in Lou Cheng's fan forum, Eternal Nightfall Yan Xiaoling posted, stupeﬁed. "It's not that I don't understand, it's that this world changes too quickly!"
"That's not true... " Brahman said, also perplexed.
Being too surprised all at once could actually lead to no emotion at all.
Just now, Many Cats had popped up, and she replied to Yan Xiaoling with a despising emoji.
"You think I'm nervous? Back then I almost couldn't help from laughing!"
Spoken to like this, Yan Xiaoling momentarily searched for the correct feeling, then replied honestly, speedily typing at the keyboard.
"Hahaha, I should have thought of it sooner. Hahaha, Lin Que had already been trained in the Attainment Formula, and due to Sister Yan's relationship with Lou Cheng, how could she not have been trained in it? Hahaha, I'm so stupid and was blinded by my nervousness! Hahaha, this is great. Starting tomorrow, I'll be getting up early!"
"Not bad. It looks like making a vow still has some effect. I'm also formally making a vow of chastity for a week. Yesterday my girlfriend went on a business trip for ten days!" Bull Demon King said comically.
Unparalleled Dragon King said, "Yan Zheke took a big risk just then! She waited for Jiang Kongshan to lean in close and then use the Army Formula. If she had been nervous and been slow by half a beat, then she'd have been kicked by her opponent and there'd have been no time to use the secret discipline… "
He was still reﬂecting on the battle that had just occurred and felt that the way in which Yan Zheke had executed the Army Formula move seemed a bit familiar. Her arms had shaken with great speed and her ﬁsts shot out like comets, causing the muscles in Jiang Kongshan's body to tremble. He felt it was exactly the same as Lin Que's! "Haha, don't mind all of these details! Quick, Unparalleled Dragon King, throw away your barbeque! Also, also, that streaking guy, get running!" Yan Xiaoling excitedly blabbered.
"Allow me to ﬁnish eating this last piece of kidney, then I can begin fasting." Unparalleled Dragon King replied, covering his face and sighing.
Yan Xiaoling didn't pay any attention and obliviously continued,
"Hahaha, I think we're all going to be pretty busy for a while. We're going to have to moderate all the spam posts and watch out for all the haters. If there's any negative stuff out there, we'll have to make up for it with our own posts praising Songcheng University and Lou Cheng so that they don't jinx them! Very busy, very busy indeed!"
Just then, under the Weibo article, a comment by Superstitious Belief is Bad popped up like a weed, "I must confess that I'm suspecting that Master He may have jinxed them. I apologize… "
"I'll take three sticks of incense and pray to Master He for a week, and then another, and another after that. My dear Lord He, your wish is my command. Anything to reverse some of my bad karma!"
"Master He, I beg you, please insult me! Quick, say that I'm worthless, that I spend every day playing games and watching competitions, how can I possibly pass my tests?"
"Hey, all of you cocky S.O.B.s, you can be next!"
"You're… shouting… too… slowly… "
Compared to He Xiaowei's humor, An All-knowing Man in Ganghood leaned towards a different style. Using a dancing emoji, Eternal Nightfall said, "Hahaha, hahaha, I'll just laugh. I have nothing to say."
"Damn, you're too much!" Wonton Seller replied, using a cat emoji.
Brahman001 replied with her mouth wide open, "Lou Cheng's fan circle has started to migrate."
"Songcheng University's fan circle is following closely behind."
"Push, push, don't line up with the rest of the travelers."
Seeing all of this, the veins popped in An All-knowing Man in Ganghood's forehead. His ﬁngers slid down and he deleted the previous few Weibo posts that he had made. He then shut down his computer, put his phone on silent, logged out of the app, and tried to keep as far away as possible from all electronic devices. Everybody thinks themself a hero until the wind starts blowing!
Atop the arena, Jiang Kongchan shook hands with the excited Yan Zheke, then she turned and ran back towards the seating area to share her joy with Lou Cheng.
Although she was telling herself she always needed to be reserved and ladylike, she couldn't help but have a little pep in her step.
Suddenly, she heard the silence of the arena start to break. One voice after another started to converge and come together until the sound of it reached her ears.
"Yan Zheke! Yan Zheke!" She subconsciously slowed down and looked all around her, bewildered. This was her ﬁrst victory against a major opponent in a key match, and the ﬁrst time that she had received such intense acclaim.
The crowd had regained their vitality. Naturally, they were quite excited to see an underdog take the victory. Not only that, but Yan Zheke was also an extremely pretty and feminine girl.
"Yan Zheke! Yan Zheke!"
The rallying cries came in great waves. Hearing it made her spirits soar, and her entire body from top to bottom brimmed with happiness.
She raised both of her hands above her head and waved in all directions. She then quickened her step and rushed towards the Song Cheng University Martial Arts Club seating area. She couldn't wait to share everything with her little Cheng. Lou Cheng and the others used their hands to pull each other. It was as if they were enveloped in a surging wave that obscured Yan Zheke's line of sight. Lou Cheng was extremely excited, and it was evident in his expression. Lin Que was a bit stiff; it was obvious that he was not used to being in such close contact with others, but the corner of his mouth was still raised in a slight grin.
Forgetting herself for a moment, Yan Zheke stepped across and hugged Lou Cheng tightly. Her mind then cleared and she blushed shyly as she bumped ﬁsts one by one with Lin Que, Cai Zongming, and Li Mao.
They smiled from ear to ear and it was if they'd forgotten any other words. All they could do was repeat that one word over and over: "Victory!" Yes, we've won, and we can go on to win the Capital!
Yes, we've won, we're going to the ﬁnals!
Seeing the excited ﬁgure of Yan Zheke as well as the revelry of all the members in the Songcheng University crowd, Jiang Kongchan was frustrated and disappointed at her loss. Her mind was empty and barren, as if her soul had been lost. There was nothing inside, and all she could feel was a dull pain that seemed to ﬂow within her.
Yan Zheke hadn't merely grasped the Army Formula, she'd also trained in the Meteor Force of the Fighting Sect!
Both of these were two sides of the same coin. Her own Force Concentration should have been sufﬁcient to guard against any accidents. Who knows, it seemed things always tend towards the worst.
Jiang Kongchan breathed in and puffed out her cheeks in order to control her desire to break out in tears. By then she had gotten rid of most of her heartache and returned to the Capital College Martial Arts Club seating area. Ren Li had already come to welcome her, reaching out with both hands to hug her.
Smelling the dull scent of orchids and feeling her sister's embrace, Jiang Kongchan was unable to control herself. She buried her face in Ren Li's shoulder and tears ﬂowed from her swollen eyes.
"I'm sorry, Sister, I'm sorry… " she sobbed, choking with tears.
"It's ﬁne, it's ﬁne." Ren Li stared ahead, patting her back.
"I… I… Brother Chen's last year… " Jiang Kongchan was unable to continue through her cries.
Beside her, Chen Diguo heard this and, not wanting to dwell on any unpleasant things, wished to console her with a few words to show that he was able to accept it. However, no words came out and he sadly was unable to say anything. He turned his head to look at Ren Li and saw that her large, cartoon-like eyes were glistening with a layer of moisture. The pain and loss was obvious.
Even acting as the favored ﬁghter of the age, it was hard to make up for this loss… these words rang true in Chen Diguo's heart. He signed inwardly to himself and walked towards the Capital College Martial Arts Club supporters and looked at them. He raised both of his hands high and moved them horizontally before lightly clasping them together, bidding his ﬁnal farewell.
Not knowing who should start, these supporters were the same as they'd always been, and they shouted out his name,
"Chen Diguo! Chen Diguo!"
With this familiar scene and familiar cheer, Chen Diguo forgot the old adage that men should shed blood, not tears. The edges of his eyes glistened and his nose became stuffy, but he persisted in accomplishing his farewell. "I'm sorry, I couldn't make everyone a champion… "
"I'm sorry, I'm again unable to win this championship… "
Seeing the regret in his far away ﬁgure, and seeing how his heart was aching, the crowd chanted loudly all around him,
"Chen Diguo, Chen Diguo… "
Beside him, Qiu Hailin and Du Yiyi also were struck by sadness and began to cry.
Happiness and revelry, perhaps it all can be mixed together amidst the noise and clamor, but heartache is forever etched in one's memory.
Goodbye, Chen Diguo. ...
In the dusky light of the locker room, the tightly closed doors were suddenly opened, and a youthful-looking student, before entering, shouted in a loud voice,
"Songcheng University has won!"
"Songcheng University is going to the ﬁnals!"
Following his words, dazzling bursts of light from outside ﬁlled the entire room with light. One clean and collected youth was awakened from his almost meditative state.
"Songcheng University?" he said in a low voice.
Chapter 407: Enveloped in Excitement
Fireworks will burn out, and sadness will disperse. Excitement and happiness are much the same, and a few minutes later, Lou Cheng, Yan Zheke, and the others headed back to the locker room. Ren Li and Chen Diguo dejectedly went back. Only a few whoops remained of the crowd's previous cheering and screaming. The workers seized the moment to clean up the stadium, lifting up the green bricks and once again making the arena's surface clean and smooth.
After a bit of bustling around, the ﬁnal curtain had been pulled on the second round of the semi-ﬁnals: Shanbei versus Guangnan.
Under this enormous pressure, Zhen Huansheng exhibited his greatest level of strength and discovered that he had surpassed his previous decline in energy. Unfortunately, he encountered an opponent called Peng Leyun who had been ﬁghting for a long time, so he was as helpless as before and was defeated. Peng Leyun persisted and, by risking it all for victory, defeated another opponent before voluntarily leaving the arena, setting aside Li Xiaoyuan for Fang Zhirong. The disparity between the two of their reputations had been quite close. One faible Seventh Pin and one expectant Seventh Pin. In the intense ﬁght, Fang Zhirong leaned on his present strength to oppose the opposition's traditional ways. By
hedging his bets and storing his strength, he guaranteed the end of the match and found his way to victory.
This was the third time in three years that Shanbei had charged into the National University Martial Arts Competitions ﬁnals match. Further, they had twice before managed to snag the championship!
Sometimes it wasn't that you weren't strong or not trying hard enough, it simply was that your opponent was stronger than you and was also trying hard!
In this competition, there were some special individuals amongst the crowd that didn't seem as excited as the others and didn't throw themselves into it like everyone else. Examining the ﬁght closely were observers of the Haiyuan Club. They were considering whether Li Xiaoyuan and Fang Zhirong were worth bringing into the fold and the prices they were willing to pay. Peng Leyun, Ren Li, Lou Cheng, Lin Que, Ann Chaoyang, and Zhen Huansheng had already been claimed, and at the moment, there were very few members that had the power of Li Xiaoyuan and Fang Zhirong who could attract attention!
After the splendid battle, the observers felt they had seen everything they needed to see and left the martial arts arena of the Capital City thoughtfully.
In the live broadcast, the host, Liu Chang, was doing a "wrap- up speech".
"The two rounds of the semi-ﬁnals really exceeded the normal level of excitement, just splendid. Even after looking forward to this for so long, it didn't in the least disappoint anyone, particularly the match between Songcheng University and Capital. Worries, complications, unexpected occurrences, small probabilities and all sorts of other elements; they were all there. This is deﬁnitely one for the University Martial Arts history books. We'd like to congratulate Peng Leyun, Lou Cheng, Lin Que, and the others. Congratulations to them for entering the ﬁnals. They've all come from the same division, and they'll once again meet in the ﬁnale. "Also, I'd like to express my blessings and thanks to Chen Diguo, Ann Chaoyang, Zhen Huansheng, and their other classmates who are on the verge of leaving our University Martial Arts circle. Thank you to them for their four years of devotion towards this brilliant arena, and best wishes to them. May their new journeys in life only get better and better.
"I've spoken this long, I'm starting to repeat myself. Let's look forward to two days from now, where the winner amongst the two strongest teams in the University Martial Arts Club will be decided. Let's see who will be able to grasp the highest honor!
"The evening of April 25th, same time, old friends. See you there!"
After he ﬁnished speaking, the broadcast switched to the currently dilapidated arena with the crisp sounds of clapping in the background, and two lines of text popped up.
"April 25th at 7:40 PM, the National University Martial Arts Competition Final Match:" "Shanbei University Martial Arts Club VS Songcheng University Martial Arts Club!"
One year of effort comes to a close!
On the bus back to the hotel, Lou Cheng and the others still didn't feel like they'd entered the ﬁnals. They were still soaking in the happiness of their narrow victory at the Capital.
Yes, narrow victory! If Yan Zheke had been forced to use her secret moves too early, then the previously prepared Jiang Kongchan absolutely would not have taken the bait that easily and she'd have trapped her in a "consecutive moves" trap. There would have been more than a 70% chance that she'd have won!
If there is certain victory against a faible ﬁghter, then happiness won't last for long because it's regarded as inevitable. However, if you go through hell, rack your brain, and use every ounce of your strength to overcome a strong opponent, then the excitement and happiness afterwards will remain for quite some time, to the point where a few days, dozen days, even a few hundred days afterwards, you'll occasionally recall the event with a certain fondness.
Yan Zheke currently resided in this state. She was obviously excited, and if it wasn't for Geezer Shi forbidding celebrations and staying up all night in order for them to keep their minds on the ﬁnals, she'd surely go out and celebrate with everyone.
Watching his girlfriend turn into a little "chatterbox", Lou Cheng chuckled and said quietly,
"Should we wait a while and sneak out to have a little date, eat some food?"
He actually would rather go back to the hotel and move on to a massage and whisper sweet nothings to one another, but seeing how happy little Ke was, it was obvious that she was hoping to do other activities to allow her soaring spirits from the previous competition to continue ﬂoating high for a while longer. "That's not good... " Yan Zheke stared out of the bus window at the brightly lit streets.
Although she said this, her eyes were ﬁlled with eagerness.
Sigh... don't blame me, it's that Cheng is always seducing me to do bad things!
"What are you scared of? My master is actually a big softie at heart. As long as it's not everybody going out, he'll surely look in the other direction." Lou Cheng snickered, his mouth moving close to the girls ear out of fear that behind them, Shi Jianguo would hear them talking.
Yan Zheke's ears were extremely sensitive, and just the slight caress of air caused them to become a tender pink, which was very attractive.
She leaned her head, turned her eyes, and with an embarrassed face said, "Since you've invited me so earnestly, then I'll have to think about where we should go and what we should eat."
While she was talking, the bus stopped at the entrance of the hotel, and everyone got off the bus in succession. Geezer Shi was the ﬁrst to enter the lobby and headed towards the elevator, seeming to be in a hurry.
Damn, he'd been so excited that he'd drunk all the alcohol he'd brought with him!
Just then, out of the corner of her eye, Yan Zheke saw that there were a couple of shared bikes parked by the road. Her heart jumped, and she blurted out a proposal.
"Cheng, should we take a bicycle and ride it to the capital? We've been here for so long but still haven't gone out for a stroll."
Seeing the brightness in her eyes, he couldn't imagine anything more beautiful. Without the slightest bit of hesitation, Lou Cheng was about to respond, but Yan Zheke had already furrowed her brow and changed her mind, "No, you're in the midst the Plague Sect, so your body still has a void. We can't ride this kind of bicycle... "
She actually wasn't very tired. Due to the speed of her victory, she hadn't used up much energy. All she'd used was the Army Formula along with Meteor Force, and that had been her full set of moves and evasions. Therefore, she still had energy to spare and wasn't the least bit exhausted.
"It's ﬁne, I recuperated earlier and got rid of all the negative inﬂuences before. Actually, back then, Ren Li and I hadn't reached our limits." Lou Cheng voluntarily consoled.
His own spirit still hadn't been used up, and as for his strength, he had the Jindan to help replenish it, so he had even less of a problem. At the moment, the worst that could be said was that he felt he felt like he was ﬂoating slightly, like his roots weren't too stable.
"No, no!" Yan Zheke shook her head with concern and pursed her lips. She was deep in thought, trying to come up with a method that would be the best of both worlds. Suddenly, her dimples appeared as she smiled and said sweetly, "How about this: I'll ride the bicycle and escort you to the Capital? Before, you carried me on your back, so this time allow me!"
"Uh... " Lou Cheng went blank for a moment, and then with great interest replied, "Alright!"
He wasn't worried that Ke wouldn't have the strength to carry his greater body weight. She had practiced the Swordsman Formula and her Qi and Blood was vigorous. She was at a peak Professional Ninth Pin level. He'd wait for her to get tired, then he could take over, but ﬁrst he'd let her fulﬁll her strange fantasy!
"Wow, decided so quickly." Yan Zheke raised her chin adorably.
However, her tone lowered, and she again furrowed her brow.
"A shared bike doesn't have a back seat... " How could I carry someone with this? There is only a small frame in the front for storing things, so how could I ﬁnd a place to put a Cheng this large?
"This is deﬁnitely a problem..." the thought of Lou Cheng passed through her mind as she pondered on how to ﬁnd a solution.
In this moment, Classmate Little Ming happened to come over and said slyly,
"Do the two of you need a bike with a back seat?"
"You heard?" Lou Cheng blurted out in response. "Wait, wait, shouldn't you have already gone into the hotel?"
The same as the others!
"I'm waiting for Fang Yuan." Cai Zongming said with a sly expression, "You both were talking so loudly, I heard it from over ﬁve meters away. You need to consider our friendship and banter, of course I had to come over and offer assistance!"
Lou Cheng got his meaning. Pleasantly surprised, he asked, "You've got a solution?"
"Of course. My good friend Fang Yuan's school is quite far from here, so every time she comes here, she rides a bike, and it has a back seat." Cai Zongming smiled. "Tell me, how should you thank me?"
"I won't be mean to you for three days?" Lou Cheng tentatively replied.
"You ass, how is this thanking me? How about this: later on, you teach me the Nine Words Formula movements and pronunciation. It's not that you'll be giving private lessons, rather it's just that you'll be correcting my form that I've studied on my own," Classmate Little Ming said shamelessly.
"If it's merely the movements and the pronunciation, then there's no deﬁnite visualization, and there's no point!" Lou Cheng responded with bewilderment.
"I've got the wits of our ancient ancestors." Cai Zongming replied, immensely proud of himself.
Lou Cheng suddenly realized something and laughed. "Have you heard of the story about the wolf coming?"
"There's no need for you to worry." Cai Zongming laughed.
After it'd been settled, he headed outside to meet Fang Yuan. Yan Zheke pursed her lips and, while keeping back a smile, said, "Cheng, I'm suddenly starting to look forward to your banter."
"Mmm, when you're this skilled, you'll accidently stumble upon all sorts of gems. If you try too hard, you won't be able to come up with anything nearly as good." Lou Cheng pretended to answer with utter seriousness, once again teasing her. Not even a few minutes later, Fang Yuan came in wearing dark clothing to let them borrow the bicycle.
After a short chat, the two of them pushed the bike to the curb. Yan Zheke ﬂipped her wrist to look at her watch.
"We don't have too much time, we'll just ride to a place that's close."
"Okay! Whatever Coach Yan says, we do! Wherever we ride, that's where we go!" Lou Cheng snickered.
Yan Zheke rolled her eyes at him and arranged the frame.
She patted the back seat, full of smiles.
"Come on, Sister's going to take you out to play."
"Feels like you're kidnapping me... " Lou Cheng laughed slightly as he sat down on the seat and grasped towards the support frame. "Let's go!" Yan Zheke said excitedly, her tone rising.
Her feet pressed down on the pedals as she carried Lou Cheng, shakily riding towards the other side of the road.
After waiting for her riding to become steadier, Lou Cheng lifted up both of his hands and put them around the front of her soft and slim waist. At the same time, he brought his upper body closer, breathing in the scent of her perfume.
It was the ﬁrst time that Yan Zheke had escorted someone and the ﬁrst time that she'd been held this way. Her body stiffened for a moment and the bikes trajectory wobbled slightly.
"Careful, careful!" Lou Cheng quickly adjusted his muscles and center of balance to help them become steady.
"Don't wander off with your hands!" Yan Zheke protested playfully. "My hands aren't moving... "
"Keep them there, they're not allowed to wander off!"
Their voices gradually got farther away, and their two ﬁgures remained on the roadside as the bike once again became steady. In this moment, the sky was profoundly dark and the lights all around them were like rainbows.
Chapter 408: Speak of the Devil and He Doth Appear
In the nighttime of the Capital, there was a street that was even livelier than the hustle and bustle of the daytime. Every kind of vehicle was parked there, shops were sporadically open, there were plenty of tranquil alleyways, and in the darkness there were also old city walls and ofﬁcial residences.
Lou Cheng sat on the back seat, his eyes ﬂoating towards Yan Zheke's rolling hair lingering on the end of her nose and her beautiful fragrance. In his hands he could feel her soft, ﬂexible, and slim waist. The cold wind swept by his ears along with her crisp and clear voice. He would gladly be carried by her through the clamor and frenzy of the city, through the light and through the dark, through ancient history and the present day. Heaven and earth and everything in between seemed like it had faded into the background. All that remained was this bicycle and the two people on it, leaning against one another. No matter where they rode to, they had no fear.
Basking in this beautiful feeling, the two of them would stop to take photos from time to time and lazily chat about their lucky victory before at the semi-ﬁnals, how painful it must feel to be eliminated at the Capital, and how difﬁcult it would be to ﬁght against Shanbei and their expectations of that ﬁght. Talking and talking, topics came and went like rumors in the night. Two lines of trees at the side of the road swayed in the wind as they spoke about their dreams, their shared future, and how they would keep in contact while they were abroad in a year's time. They were conﬁdent that together they could overcome the trial of distance and time, that their hands would never part, and they would remain together until they were old and grey.
With the optimism of youth, they quickly took the topic of their early separation and put it in the back of their minds, instead planning on where they would go travelling during the May holidays. It was almost a pity that they'd entered the ﬁnals, as they would have to miss the ranking event.
In Lou Cheng's opinion, he didn't care if they did or didn't join. He believed he could still improve himself. In about a year's times perhaps he could enter the Inhuman state and go straight to a Fifth Pin. At the moment, he didn't need a Sixth Pin qualiﬁcation to prove his abilities or level, so he could use this as a stepping stone to enter professional competitions or be a security guard for rich and powerful individuals. This was opposed to Yan Zheke, who was congenitally deﬁcient and had no path to the Dan Stage. Her aspiration was to receive a Professional Ninth Pin certiﬁcation. Next October she would have some opportunities. When the time came, one possible opportunity would be to become one of the top two names in the division and enter the group phase of the ranks at Songcheng University. There would be no need to join the ﬁrst few rounds of the knockout and there would be no conﬂict in the ranking event. The second would be that the substitutes would have grown up and they would have to ﬁnd time to join the ranking event so they wouldn't be any inﬂuence there.
Yan Zheke rode the bike under the bright lights and through the gentle wind, escorting Lou Cheng and returning to the entrance of the hotel. Her face was full of cheer and she appeared quite happy.
Ebbing and ﬂowing, leaving and returning, and along the entire way there was her lover who would be with her for the rest of her life. All of this beauty had caused her to feel a kind of intoxication.
"What room is Talker in? We need to give the keys back to him." Yan Zheke locked up the bike. At this moment, Lou Cheng saw that her shoelaces were undone, so he bent down and helped her tie them as he laughed. "Do you want to go and knock on his door?"
"Not me, you." Yan Zheke lowered her head, her lips twisting into a smile, seeming like a little girl as she watched her boyfriend tie the loop.
"I can't either! God knows what those two are doing right now. If I go knock, won't I be ruining their good time?" Lou Cheng responded with a snicker.
"You've got such a dirty mind! You think everyone's the same as you and loves to get fresh?" Yan Zheke shot back.
"This is dirty? When a boyfriend and girlfriend are together that long, this is a normal thing. Also, what if he and Fang Yuan also went out on a date?" Lou Cheng fastened the shoelaces, then stood up and added, "I'll give Talker a call ﬁrst to see if he's actually in his room and if he's doing anything. Afterwards, I can take the keys and give them back as insurance!" "Don't... " Yan Zheke suddenly stopped, and the corners of her mouth shrank.
"Why?" Lou Cheng responded as he took out his phone, bewildered.
Yan Zheke looked at him as if he were stupid and said, "You just said you didn't want to ruin their good time, have you already forgotten?"
"It's just a phone call, I... " Suddenly, it was all clear to Lou Cheng, and he tittered, "So you understand?"
Yan Zheke turned her head and looked to the side, saying, "I've read enough romantic novels and seen enough soap operas. The leading actor is always about to seal the deal and on the verge of the critical moment when inevitably his phone will go off and he'll be really depressed... "
As she spoke, her voice lowered two octaves, as if this was an attractive image in her mind. Since she didn't have enough time, she would very rarely read romance novels or watch soap operas. Usually she'd have to depend on Li Liantong to tell her all about the latest developments and crazes.
"Right, totally depressed." Lou Cheng repeated, "Then I'll send Talker a text."
Actually, according to what I know about Classmate Little Ming, he's someone with rich experience and history when it comes to the sexual realm. If it's close to the critical moment, he'll deﬁnitely shut off his phone and pull out the room's phone cord. If that's the case, I'll have to go up and knock like I proposed before.
Otherwise, how could he be called "Casanova:?
"Mmm." Yan Zheke nodded her head up and down.
Lou Cheng quickly pressed down on the keyboard and sent Cai Zongming a message with an evil laugh, "Anybody there? If there's no one there, then I'll come knock on your door!"
A period of time passed, and no one responded. Lou Cheng put away his phone, smiling, and looked at Yan Zheke with his hands outstretched.
"Was I right or what?"
"Hmmph!" Yan Zheke stared straight at him but said, "Then I'll give you the keys. Whenever he responds to your message, you can give them back to him. If he's fallen asleep, then you can give them back tomorrow morning."
While talking, she handed over the keys to Lou Cheng, and afterwards looked down at her body, pinching her calves and stomach and smiling. "I've carried you this long, it's time for you to give me a massage so I can relax!"
Before, when they werecycling on their nighttime date in the Capital, there were several times when she had refused when Lou Cheng asked to switch places. They'd attracted the attention of many curious onlookers on the side of the road as she escorted her boyfriend for the entire trip.
"Okay!" Lou Cheng was also very much looking forward to this.
Hearing his response, Yan Zheke didn't know what to think. Her face suddenly went pink and she reluctantly said, "You should pass by me. Tonight you can't get handsy or take advantage!"
"If I can't get handsy, then how can I give you a massage?" Lou Cheng laughed lightly.
"You know what I mean!" Yan Zheke started at him, half angry and half amused.
Under the reﬂection of the lights, the look on her face shook him to the core. "Alright, alright, alright, I won't get fresh," Lou Cheng said as he pulled little Ke into the elevator.
Hehe, if I can't move my hands, I can move other things. I'll say it again, how is it that you can call this taking advantage when it's between boyfriend and girlfriend?
"Cheng, why is it that there's something weird about your smile... " Yan Zheke eyed her boyfriend suspiciously.
"What's weird about it? Just look at how normal my face is!" Lou Cheng pointed to his forehead.
Talking and laughing vivaciously, they arrived at their ﬂoor and stopped at Yan Zheke's door. Not knowing what to do, the two of them went quiet at the same time. The atmosphere subtly changed, and in the dusky lighting, there was an inward change in the both of them.
"I... I'll open the door." Yan Zheke didn't understand why she had blurted out such nonsense. Lou Cheng was about to say something when his phone violently vibrated in his pants pocket, shattering the previous atmosphere. Yan Zheke didn't know what to think, then covered her mouth and laughed, shaking like a leaf.
Helplessly taking out his phone to have a look and discovering that it was Mom and Qi Fang's number, Lou Cheng even more hopelessly decided to answer.
Yan Zheke didn't swipe her card and with her back towards the room door, groaned with laughter as she looked at her boyfriend.
"Hello, Cheng, are you okay? I heard that you got hit by some kungfu from the Plague Sect, a really terrible kind," Qi Fang immediately asked.
She and Lou Zhisheng were always following the international competitions. After the previous match had ﬁnished, she'd called out of concern for her son, but it was when Lou Cheng was outside for his midnight snack celebration. The surroundings were too noisy, so they'd rescheduled to around 10 o'clock. "I'm ﬁne, it only affected me for a short time. My body is doing great. Just listen to my voice, Mom, doesn't it sound ﬁne?" Lou Cheng consoled her.
"That's good, that's good." Qi Fang laughed. "Then I have to commend you, I'm a bit embarrassed. You know your father, he's gone and opened another bottle of alcohol... "
Talking up until now, she suddenly felt something wasn't right, "... Is it that your dad is looking for an excuse to drink?"
"Very smart, Mom!" Lou Cheng sold out his father, Lou Zhisheng, without the least bit of shame.
Qi Fang rambled on for a bit, then carelessly mentioned, "That girl in your Martial Arts Club... Yan Zheke. Right, Yan Zheke. Isn't she also from Xiushan No.1 Middle School? I seem to remember running into her at your school once or twice before."
"Uh...Mom unexpectedly was the ﬁrst to mention Keke..."
Lou Cheng winked at Yan Zheke and replied to Qi Fang with a laugh, "Yeah, she was in the classroom next to ours. Both of us were admitted to Songcheng University."
It was truly meant to be! Mom, your daughter-in-law has arrived!
"I knew it! Your father didn't believe me. When you were in the Youth Tournament before, I also saw her." Qi Fang spoke as if she'd discovered a truth.
After talking for a little while longer about Yan Zheke, she ﬁnally hung up and Lou Cheng looked towards his girlfriend with a smile. "It seems that my mom is keeping an eye on you. What do you think, is she suspicious of our relationship?"
During the competition, when Keke had used the Army Formula that even Lin Que didn't fully grasp... While they were celebrating, the arena was a bit chaotic and they'd only given each other an ordinary hug, but the feelings between him and Keke were still rather special... "Hmph, are you scared that your mom will ﬁnd out?" Yan Zheke wrinkled her nose.
"It's not that I'm scared. I'd take you to see my parents any time," Lou Cheng said as he laughed.
Yan Zheke raised her eyebrows when she heard this and her eyes softened. She turned around, swiped her card, and entered her room.
"You need to give me a good massage... "
She hadn't ﬁnished speaking when she abruptly paused, turning back to look at Lou Cheng as she said,
"Cheng, if your mom is suspicious, then will my dad... "
Yes, up until now, Dad still hasn't called to congratulate me.
It wasn't like this with previous competitions!
Chapter 409: Put On A Good Show
Lou Cheng thought for a moment and arrived at a grim conclusion. "I think it's possible…"
My mother must have noticed something, even though she doesn't know much about Ke... Not to mention my father-in- law, who dotes on his amazing daughter.
Looking at the closed door, he said half-jokingly, "Ke, do you think your dad and Empress Dowager are in there right now and waiting for us to come in?"
"Are you stupid? Even if they came to the Capital earlier on, they wouldn't have been able to get in. Don't forget that I'm the one with the room key." Yan Zheke rolled her eyes playfully and swiped the room card.
After the beep, she pushed open the door and walked in, slightly hesitantly, as if she actually was afraid of ﬁnding her parents in the room. Fortunately, the room was empty, clean, and neatly set, with a hint of faint fragrance.
"I'm just trying to lighten the tense atmosphere in case you're nervous," Lou Cheng said with a smile. He walked in and closed the door behind him before hesitating for a moment and asking, "Ke, if your father really does eventually ﬁnd out, what should we do?"
"If he ﬁnds out. I'll, I'll... I'll bring you home!" Yan Zheke stammered while waving her hands before ﬁnally ﬁnishing ﬁrmly.
With a sigh of relief at having come to a decision, she felt less anxious. She then took out her phone and dialed Ji Mingyu's number.
She still didn't dare to face her father and was preparing to avoid him.
Yes, if he can't reach me, then I don't need to confront him! Lou Cheng was now full of courage and conﬁdence, but he was still restless when it came to his girlfriend's parents. There were still some misgivings. After all, there were some people who were unable to succeed in anything and enjoyed trying to spoil things for others. Family gossip was perhaps one of the
last things that might damage his relationship with Ke.
This was also the reason why he was still secretly dating Ke, even after he got the championship in the Youth Tournament at the provincial level. Before they could talk about marriage, their relationship had to be stable. If their parents meddled carelessly and messed up everything, many conﬂicts could arise, which would weaken the relationship a lot.
Thus, as Yan Zheke waited for the call to connect, Luo Cheng subconsciously slowed his breathing. Of course, he'd prepared his men to cover their tracks.
"How are you, Mom?" Yan Zheke asked in a sweet voice.
The women on the line said with a smile, "You're ﬁnally calling back." "Mom, how can you say that! I talk to you every day, right? I won an important match today, can't I share the good news with you?" Yan Zheke rebutted with a pouting smile as she blushed. Soon, she continued, "Ohh, yeah, where's dad?"
Tonight, Empress Dowager sent a few messages praising me, but Dad didn't respond.
"Your dad?" Ji Mingyu suddenly said with a grin, "He's buying a plane ticket to the Capital."
"Ah?" Yan Zheke became dumbfounded, while Lou Cheng was taken aback by this news.
Hearing her reaction, Ji Mingyu replied with a smile, "Isn't expected for a father-in-law to see the son-in-law who abducted his only daughter?"
"Does, does he know everything?" Yan Zheke stuttered. Will Dad over-react? Cheng will not be able to resist at all, poor him...
She leaned over towards her boyfriend in spite of herself.
"Do I have to proffer a birch and ask for a ﬂogging?" Lou Cheng thought of an amusing idea.
"You and Lou Cheng ﬂirted with each other and even used the word 'Army', to celebrate. Your dad is not a fool, you know; how could he not notice that?" Ji Mingyu said gleefully.
Empress Dowager's tone made Yan Zheke less tense and she asked with concern, "How... how did Dad react? Did he say something?"
"He was amazed, surprised, stunned, angry, and disappointed," Ji Mingyu teased her daughter as if recalling Ke's father's face when he caught them dating. My father didn't beat him to death at the scene. He was good- tempered enough to spare him at that time... mused Yan Zheke thoughtfully.
"Then, then what happened?" Yan Zheke asked while Lou Cheng listened more carefully.
"Your father gave me a look and asked me whether I already knew. I said it was very obvious. After all, I couldn't just ignore what happened. He looked so lost as if saying 'My dear daughter, you disappoint me.'" Ji Mingyu chuckled and continued, "So I reminded him of what we did when we were dating. He was speechless! When I told him what you're thinking now and Lou's promise, he kept muttering that you two were so inconsiderate and had hidden everything from him. He also said that he was not a domineering dad and could not understand why his own daughter was so disenchanted with him. Your dad is so dramatic!"
Yan Zheke laughed and said with relief, "Has he accepted it?"
"He didn't admit it, but he decided to look up Lou's information. If your dad was skilled in witchcraft, I think he would have cursed his son-in-law to death. Then he sat there alone for half an hour and smoked two cigarettes for the ﬁrst time...." With those words, Ji Mingyu began to pity her husband and continued, "You say you're in love, but do you have to display it so ostentatiously? Can't you just keep it a
secret until you graduate?
"Since your dad is so worried, he's already started picking ﬂight tickets. He says it's so that he can cheer for you in your ﬁnal competition and check out whether 'that Lou Cheng fellow' is an honest and reliable boy, for the fear that you may be cheated. Alas, he's worrying too much."
Hearing these words, Yan Zheke's heart warmed up and she asked, "When will you get here?"
"He booked tickets for the day after tomorrow. He has two operations tomorrow and doesn't want to disturb you before the ﬁnal game. 'Play well and we will talk about everything else after the competition' is what he wanted me to tell you." Ji Mingyu clicked her tongue and continued, "Your dad has ﬁnished bathing. Do you want to talk to him?" "Yes, please." Yan Zheke was full of guilt as she prepared to talk to her father.
"Hello, Ke. Are you back in the hotel after the celebration?" Yan Kai's voice was low and magnetic, but he sounded a little tired.
Yan Zheke answered in a ﬂutter, "We didn't celebrate, because I have to prepare for the ﬁnal competition. I, I was out walking around with Lou Cheng and just came back."
Since Dad doesn't want us to hide it from him, then I'll just tell him...
"..." A short silence followed, until Yan Kai sighed and said with a smile, "Time really does ﬂy... My daughter has already grown up! I don't want to stop you from dating in university, but I also don't want you to lose the freedom to be yourself. When you become more mature, then, well... Forget it. Just do as you wish. Anyway, love yourself. If you have any problems, Mom and Dad are here for you. Er... After the ﬁnal match, we can have dinner with Lou." "Okay!" Yan Zheke nodded slightly, her eyes misting over, even though her father couldn't see her.
"Well, have a good rest for tomorrow's competition." Yan Kai hung up the phone with mixed feelings.
Yan Zheke stared at Lou Cheng for a few seconds and she put her ﬁst into his chest and said, with a half-sigh, half-smile,
"You must behave yourself, boy!"
"Okay!" Lou Cheng reached over and took her hand, taking her in his arms.
It's even more nerve-racking than beating Peng Leyun...
I have to put on a good show for the ﬁnal competition. Even though Yan Kai must have seen my games before as his daughter's classmate, this time is different. As a father-in-law seeing his son-in-law, he will probably be a lot more picky! After they had snuggled up for a while, Yan Zheke suddenly said, "Oh, no!"
"What if my Dad sees us? My grandparents, uncles, and cousins, what if they can see us?"
She took the phone, turned it around, and said, "Ugh, I'm not calling them back to ask anyway... Whatever!"
Lou Cheng wanted to laugh after hearing that, and he jokingly replied, "It's rare to see you like this. Well, either way, my fairy is cute! Do you want a massage?"
"Of course!" Yan Zheke gritted her teeth.
Lying in bed and having her muscle tension relieved by the Tremor force, the girl was half nostalgic and half sad. "My mom said that when I was born, at ﬁrst he wished I was a boy. Then he bought many books related to family education from infancy to adolescence. Once he got time, he studied them, trying his best to become a good father..." "What a sweet and loving father-in-law," Lou Cheng praised him.
He thought that Ke wasn't in the mood to make out with him, so he abandoned this idea and concentrated on massaging her while chatting away with her.
I'm not that kind of person, a man who only thinks about that!
"My dad expects a lot from me. He hopes that I can be an independent girl and establish good values towards love and marriage..." Yan Zheke said with a tone of regret, thinking that she had let him down.
But I don't really feel regret...
Time moved quickly as they chatted away. The girl fell asleep while enjoying the massage. Lou Cheng stayed the night as he had the key. He took the supple and beautiful body in his arms, feeling quite satisﬁed and peaceful in his heart. Looking at the ceiling, he thought of the meeting with his father-in-law, the ﬁnal match, and Shanbei.
What's Peng Leyun doing now... With this thought ﬂashing across his mind, Lou Cheng closed his eyes and fell asleep.
In two days, I'm going to have to ﬁght him.
In the swimming pool, on the top ﬂoor of the hotel.
Bare-chested, Peng Leyun sat in swimming shorts by the swimming pool, watching the shimmering ripples spreading as if he was in wonderland.
He held his breath while his heart beat audibly as if he had returned into his mother's womb, which was surrounded by water. Return to nature and seek the root pulp!
Everything around him faded away and all sort of thoughts came to mind. Peng Leyun lost all sense of time, and everything else. He felt every subtle detail in his body as he sustained this wonderful state.
All of a sudden, he felt a shock and rose to the surface before taking a deep breath of cold air. He wasn't muscle-bound but still had an explosive force.
"Good, much better than last time! Another two minutes!" Next to the swimming pool, Xu Wannian held up his phone in his hand and gave him a thumbs up.
Getting to the bank of the swimming pool, Peng Leyun replied with a smile, "It was so-so."
His hair was wet and stuck to his head, giving him a masculine charm. "You take a rest, I'll have a swim and relax a bit." Xu Wannian put down his phone and plopped into the pool.
All of a sudden, he gave out a bizarre yell as if he had been poked by something, saying in confusion, "Was that an electric shock!?"
When he said this, he suddenly realized that his feet were treading on water, and he lifted his head, looking up at Peng Leyun, who was seated in the deckchair and lost in thought.
Chapter 410: Will There Be a Deﬁnite Feeling This Time?
On the same night Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke went cycling and Peng Leyun practiced in the pool, the Capital College Martial Arts Club was silent and empty with all its lights off.
Moonlight was spilling on the ﬂoor through the window when Chen Diguo stood before the door of the locker room.
He paused for a few seconds before taking out the key, opening the door, and walking in. Under what little light there was, he stuffed his hands in his pockets and looked around the place carefully. He took in the metal benches, the isolated bathroom, and the clean washroom.
Chen Diguo took two steps forward and stood before the lockers. With another key, he opened the one with his name on it.
His locker was cluttered with things, like shampoo bottles and backup razors. He took them out one by one and stuffed them inside his backpack. His movements were slow, as if he was weighed down by something heavy. It took him nearly three minutes to ﬁnish cleaning out everything.
His lips stammered when he looked at the empty room. Using all his strength, he closed his locker shut and locked it again.
Instead of taking out the key, he allowed it to hang there.
The key swayed, hitting the locker with a quiet clatter.
The corner of his mouth lifted when he gazed at the paper with his name on it. He turned away, eyes glistening. He pulled the paper off, smoothing and stroking it carefully before tucking it inside his wallet.
He strapped on his backpack, put away his wallet, and walked to the door.
Taking another step backward, he stared far into the distance. Ten seconds later, he grasped the door handle and closed the door of the locker room.
With the faint sound of the locking door, Chen Diguo was lost in thought as if reﬂecting on his misdeeds.
Once again, he left the key on the door and toured the martial arts club carrying his backpack. He went to the strength-training gymnasium with its many equipment, the arena with its well-worn stone stairs, the ﬁve-row stands, and the ﬁeld marked with all sorts of practice.
With each step as heavy as lead, Chen Diguo entered the Honor Room and came to the display case with the championship trophies belonging to the Capital College Martial Arts Club.
He held out a hand, feeling the cold glass against his ﬁngers. He withdrew his hand after a moment, turned around, and walked out. His backpack was not heavy, as if he had taken nothing away.
Chen Diguo looked around carefully before arriving at the door of the martial arts club at a snail's pace.
He craned his neck to give the place another look and heaved a deep sigh. He forced a smile on his face.
The front door slowly closed and everything familiar gradually disappeared from his sight, leaving nothing behind.
The moon above was shining as usual. Chen Diguo turned around, his shadow stretching and swaying behind him.
Standing in the shadow outside the martial arts club ofﬁce, the long-haired Ren Li and melancholic Shen You were looking on quietly. Neither said anything nor left the shadow.
Two sighs followed after a long silence.
On the same night, the long-haired Li Xiaoyuan was dressed in an elegant, vintage style. She was seated on the corner of a cafe, opposite an elder who was reclining on the couch.
"These are the conditions the Haiyuan Club had set out. Once you agree, you can immediately choose a martial art of the Dan stage from the martial arts suit, the Magnetism Sect, and the Plague Sect. They're all incomplete, though," the elder dressed in a dark-colored, old-fashioned martial arts suit said with a smile. "It's true we're not in the top professional games now, but you know, the Witch grows fast. This old man here still has a good ﬁve years in him. We'll also be inviting other Mighty Ones with physical invulnerability and nurturing the potential backups in schools. Either way, we'll join the top twenty before your graduation." Li Xiaoyuan took a sip of the black tea and nodded with a smile. "Sounds pretty good."
"Intrigued?" The elderly raised an eyebrow.
"We can ﬁrst draft a contract. When you have your formal contract and we make sure nothing's out of place, then we have a deal," Li Xiaoyuan said indifferently as if he was simply going the supermarket instead of making a decision critical to his martial arts career.
No! Even if one was going to the supermarket, one would still struggle with the choices! But Li Xiaoyuan was not struggling at all.
The elder looked surprised. "Are you not giving it a second thought or want to discuss it further? It's a done deal?"
Li Xiaoyuan agreed so easily that he found it unbelievable! "I have my reasons." Li Xiaoyuan smiled.
"Do you have any special reasons?" the elder asked curiously.
Li Xiaoyuan took another sip of the black tea and said, "My father grew up watching your matches."
"Ah..." The elder was stunned.
He thought to himself that Li Xiaoyuan was already over 20. That meant his father was likely in his forties. To hear that Li Xiaoyuan's father grew up watching his matches did not sound like a compliment...
Just as the elder was lamenting this, Li Xiaoyuan chuckled.
"I'm just kidding..."
The elder was stunned speechless. Li Xiaoyuan leaned back in his chair and said with a smile, "The real reason is that you're the ﬁrst one who ofﬁcially sent me an invitation."
"You're not joking?" the elder asked doubtfully.
"Do I look like the sort of person who is constantly joking?" Li Xiaoyuan solemnly replied with a question of his own.
The elder pondered for a moment.
"Then let's make a draft contract."
Two days passed in a rush. It was too short a time for most ﬁghters to see signiﬁcant improvement. On April 25th, the Capital City saw clear skies and white clouds. The temperature was just nice, not too high or low.
It was before sunset when Lou Cheng and his team left the hotel and boarded the bus. Everything was so bright and hopeful.
With the bus stopping and moving along with the trafﬁc, it did not take them long before they arrived at the martial arts club of the capital. People were already gathered outside in groups of twos and threes, looking relaxed.
Yan Zheke's phone vibrated just as they were about to get off the bus and her ringtone blared. It was Empress Dowager calling.
"Hey, Mom! Are you calling in advance to cheer me on?" Yan Zheke tried her best to sound light-hearted so her parents would not notice her nervousness about the upcoming match.
No matter how mentally strong one was, it was normal to feel nervous once they ﬁnally reached the ﬁnals after ﬁghting in the tournament for an entire year.
Ji Mingyu chuckled. "We're cheering you on by being present here. Your dad and I are waiting in a cafe and spotted your bus."
"You're here this early?" Yan Zheke blinked, glancing at Lou Cheng.
Lou Cheng coughed once and straightened his back. When he got off the bus, he looked particularly conﬁdent and at ease.
Keeping his posture straight, he turned and helped his girlfriend off the bus lest she stumbled while speaking on the phone.
The stress of the ﬁnals was ﬁnally surfacing!
... The sky was gradually darkening and the number of spectators gathering outside was increasing. There were banners, cartoons, vuvuzelas, inﬂatable hammers, and songs going on verse after verse.
It was not a home match for Shanbei nor Songcheng. There were very few diehard fans, and most spectators only had slight inclinations toward one team or the other. Thus, they got along well with one another.
In the locker room of the Shanbei team, the members were preparing methodically for their match. No one was too excited or tense, as it was their third time in the ﬁnals.
The club manager, Xu Wannian, knocked at the metal bench when everything was ready. He grinned at them.
"I haven't gone clubbing for a long time just for this ﬁnal match."
The blonde young man from a Nordic country laughed and replied in a strange accent, "Club Manager, don't talk. Keep your mouth closed from now on. Don't curse us!"
He was rather large and carried an air of conﬁdence.
"Don't you think you will be struck by lightning for saying that?" Xu Wannian said in faux anger.
"That's enough. Wannian, you're a fourth-year student with only a few months left in your university life. Put up a good show this time and leave no regrets," the coach, Huang Qing, said.
Xu Wannian nodded and glanced at the silent Peng Leyun and Fang Zhirong. He shrugged his shoulders and got up, wrapping his ﬁst in his hand.
"Then bid me farewell with a beautiful ending!"
... In the locker room of the Songcheng team.
Geezer Shi looked and coughed twice.
"There's no doubt we're not good as Shanbei. But we didn't come here to lose or serve the championship on a platter to them! Think about it. Our Songcheng has never had a national championship. The Honor Room is waiting for you to ﬁll it!"
"There's nothing to lose or fear. Just go for it!"
Lou Cheng glanced at Lin Que, who was burying his head without a word.
Ke had once told him that the best achievement their club had ever made was by Lin Que's father, also his uncle. However, he was defeated in the ﬁnals and ended up as the runner-up. Lin Que had given up the professional matches and applied to Songcheng University to compensate for this regret!
Now they, every one of them, would make up for that regret together!
In the studio, the giant screen was showing the footage of the recent matches Shanbei and Songcheng had participated in.
"Shanbei overcame Songcheng, coasting comfortably to a victory in the division matches."
"It wasn't only Lou Cheng and Lin Que who grew through hardships, the substitutes also improved by leaps and bounds."
"The defending champion defeated their opponents in the group matches and advanced to the next round." "Though in the death team, Songcheng handled all their opponents with ease and even effortlessly defeated Huahai. Lou Cheng turned the tables at the last minute by beating Ann Chaoyang, showing the capabilities of the top Six Pin ﬁghters. Lin Que won one-against two, not giving the opponent a chance."
"They advanced to the quarterﬁnals without any turbulence."
"In the semi-ﬁnals, Shanbei once again won against a strong opponent. The championship almost within grasp, Peng Leyun was deserving of the title Great Devil of the National Games."
"Songcheng endured a ferocious ﬁght and ﬁnally won against Capital after pushing their leading and substitutes players to the maximum."
"Now they confront each other at the biggest of stages, ready to end all their past enmity once and for all."
After the footage ended, the host, Liu Chang, appeared emotional. "There's actually no need to make a feature show or play up to its atmosphere. One word is good enough to describe this match."
Liu Chang paused before speaking in a louder voice.
Yes! The word "ﬁnals" comprised all the signiﬁcance, passion, and anticipation in the competition.
The ﬁnals of the National University Martial Arts Games.
Shanbei versus Songcheng!
Peng Leyun versus Lou Cheng! April 25th, 4:40 PM. The match was about to begin!