Chapter 411: Request for Battle
"It's the ﬁnals…"
When Yan Xiaoling heard Liu Chang's voice through her headphones, she became inexplicably nervous. Her body trembled and she felt her breathing become labored.
Was this the atmosphere and feeling of the ﬁnals?
She logged into the fan forum and found many fans leaving their wishes in her prayer post. Unparalleled Dragon King, Road to the Arena, and Okamoto's Fan were talking in high- sounding phrases, arguing what Songcheng should do to grasp the scarce opportunity and win.
Based on her character, this was the part where she would chime in with her brand of nonsense and jokes and brighten the entire forum. But today she was too nervous to spam anything. Fanfan, Little Wonton, Eaten By Dog ,and Qiqi… Those who were discussing in the forum earlier had all disappeared… Were they beginning to feel nervous like her?
Drinking a gulp of water, and yet another gulp, Yan Xiaoling only felt her chest feeling tight. She could not help getting up and pacing back and forth in her room.
She then noticed that Mu Jinnian was breathing deeply and asked with concern, "What's wrong, Jin?"
"I'm ﬁne, just feeling out of breath now that the match is about to start," Mu Jinnian replied. She was dressed in her favorite hanfu.
On her desktop, a cartoon version of Lin Que was set as her background.
Ah… Yan Xiaoling was relieved to know she was not the only one getting nervous like a quail. Jin was so tough that not even ﬁve of Yan Xiaoling would be capable of defeating her. But she was also out of breath now!
He Xiaowei, who had been making mistakes, once again posted a prediction on Weibo without shame. This time, he even bet on his reputation and future.
"I don't believe Shanbei will lose today! No matter which aspect you look at, they're sure to win. If they still lose, I'll change my nickname to Poison Milk Hierarch. You can call me whatever you like from then on!"
He had been quite riding on the hype during this period of time, thus many comments ﬂooded his post as soon it went up.
"Damn, the secret force from the east is beginning to demonstrate its power!" "I'll kneel to you. I have just betted on Shanbei…"
"What should I do? Should I sell my pants and bet the money on Songcheng? Can someone give me an answer? It's quite urgent!"
"Just wait! If Shanbei loses tonight, I'll deliver you a car full of blades."
"Can cursing the team by foretelling its victory really change its fate?"
Amid all this jesting, An All-knowing Man in Ganghood resurfaced with a Weibo post after disappearing for several days.
"I won't make predictions, but I want to tell you that Peng Leyun has crossed the threshold and began morphing into a warrior of the Inhuman stage. You all know what this means."
A breakthrough was a process, not a milestone.
An All-knowing Man in Ganghood sighed with relief after making the post, feeling the moodiness that had haunted him recently had largely dissipated. Picking up the cup to have a drink, he refreshed his page to check for new comments.
"That means it'll be another 10 to 15 days before Peng Leyun reaches the Inhuman stage?"
An All-knowing Man in Ganghood spurted out water from his mouth. The water dirtied his computer screen.
Though the commenter was not wrong, that was not his main point!
Once Peng Leyun began morphing, he would soon gain some inhuman ability. That meant his strength would once again see an improvement!
Shanbei, with their great advantage in the ﬁrst place, would be sweeping the Songcheng team clean!
He took out a tissue and cleaned the screen before reading the rest of the comments.
"Well, Poison Milk Hierarch has just demonstrated his power… Is Peng Leyun going to challenge the heavens and destroy Poison Milk's supernatural ability directly?"
"Though your analysis and predictions are often inaccurate because of your obvious subjectivity, your insider news is always on point. No wonder you're dubbed the An All-knowing Man in Ganghood."
"What can I say? As a Songcheng University student, I can only pray that Lou Cheng and his team doesn't lose too badly this time. 3:2 is good enough, 3:2!" "Peng Leyun really found a good timing to morph. He's the true Big Devil…"
Reading these discussions, Yan Xiaoling and the rest on the fan forum became more nervous.
The handsome Yan Kai was seated on the stands of the martial arts gymnasium of the capital. He took Ji Mingyu's hand in his as usual as he looked at the arena with a serious expression.
"Stop wearing that expression. You make it look like you have some deep grudge against Lou," Ji Mingyu said, teasing her husband. "Do I?" Yan Kai touched his face, not ﬁnding anything wrong with his expression.
Ji Mingyu shook her head and smiled, "Well… Ke will eventually grow up, fall in love, and have her own family. It's just that she did all this a few years earlier."
Yan Kai sighed. "I'm just worried student romance won't last and hurt Ke. They're still too young and naive at this age."
"Do you think you're the only one worrying? That's my daughter too. I'll watch over them," Ji Mingyu complained. She turned her gaze to the arena. "Stop worrying about this and watch the match properly. It's the ﬁnals!"
She had never participated in the ﬁnals in her entire life!
Yan Kai nodded. When he looked around, he could feel a sensation called 'the ﬁnals' gradually brewing. …
The host who livened up the atmosphere, Liu Chang, turned to look at the guest presenter Chen Sansheng on the live broadcast.
"Sansheng, looks like you haven't made your prediction for the ﬁnals yet."
Chen Sansheng smiled. "It's relatively easy to predict the result of the ﬁnals, so I didn't make an extra Weibo post."
"Peng Leyun has proved himself better than Ren Li and Lou Cheng in the previous matches, but he still hasn't reached his limit. He may begin morphing at any moment, enabling himself to defeat two opponents on his own. Even if he can't, he would create a good opportunity for Fang Zhirong to defeat the remaining opponent.
"Yan Zheke may have proved herself a top Ninth Pin ﬁghter with various moves and ﬁghting styles, but even Xu Wannian, the Corvine Mouth, is able to defeat her with ease. Never mind Fang Zhirong.
"No matter how we look at it, Shanbei has 70 to 80% chance of winning.
"But there are still many aspects to consider in a match, like their on-the-spot response and counteraction. Take how Lou Cheng's kungfu ﬁrmly prevails against Xu Wannian's. Even if the former is injured, he would still be undefeatable by the latter. That's why if something similar happens in this match, Songcheng still has the hope of winning.
"That will have to depend on how hard they work to create that kind of opportunity!
"20 to 30% winning chance doesn't mean Songcheng is doomed to lose. I hope they won't give up and show us their spirit and tenacity!"
Liu Chang could not help laughing. "That last sentence sounds like you're cursing Songcheng." "No, no! I'm sincere." Chen Sansheng shook his head with a smile.
"I know! You're cursing them sincerely!" Liu Chang joked.
They tried hard to follow the guidance of the broadcasting director to exaggerate the tense atmosphere.
In the locker room of the Shanbei team, the grey-haired young coach Huang Qing stood up after checking the time.
"This is the ﬁnals. Any mistakes are irremediable. I need to remind everyone to be as careful as possible!"
"We'll show Songcheng our strongest welcome. Leyun, you'll go ﬁrst. Don't worry about the follow-up matches and just try your best to defeat as many opponents as possible!" Peng Leyun snapped out of his daze, his eyes gradually turning luminous as he nodded.
His voice was indifferent and calm as if his victory was a matter of fact.
Huang Qing turned to Fang Zhirong and said, "Zhirong, you'll go up next. Try to ﬁght to the end so Wannian won't need to enter the match."
Fang Zhirong knew this was a crucial match and how fearsome Lou Cheng could be. He was also aware how Lin Que had won over him the last time. He did not show his attitude or vie to be the ﬁrst player.
Huang Qing then smiled at Xu Wannian. "If it's really your turn to enter the match, your performance will determine whether the outcome is a brilliant or a tragic one. Understand?"
Xu Wannian waved his ﬁst at his coach and promised in a loud voice, "Yes! I'll go all out!"
Being infected by his emotion, Bernhard and the other substitutes all yelled at him.
"Go all out!"
In the changing room of the Songcheng team, Geezer Shi was about to make player arrangements when he saw Lin Que step up.
He said, "Coach Shi, I want to go ﬁrst." This… Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke exchanged surprised looks.
They waited in silence for Geezer Shi's reply.
Instead of feeling surprised, Geezer Shi was grinning.
"Think it over. You're likely to encounter Peng Leyun at his peak if you go ﬁrst. I'm not trying to make a hit on your conﬁdence, but you will most likely suffer a defeat."
Lin Que kept his eyes on Geezer Shi.
"I know, but this is the only way we can win the competition.
"Lou Cheng didn't have the chance to showcase his superhuman stamina in previous matches. Only if we take advantage of this point can we have hope to defeat Shanbei."
Though Lou Cheng could restore his stamina with the Jindan within his body, he did not use it frequently after reaching Sixth Pin. The exception was the match against Ann Chaoyang and Piao Yuan, where he was forced to use up his stamina to his limit. But the reason why he reached his limit was his use of the Power of Blaze with all his strength in a hurry. Thus, the other ﬁghters were not aware of his true limit even if they knew his stamina was not inexhaustible.
Of course, Lou Cheng could ﬁght for a much longer time compared to other Sixth Pin ﬁghters.
Since Geezer Shi just nodded without replying, Lin Que continued,
"Lou Cheng is only slightly weaker than Peng Leyun. If I give it my all and consume as much of Peng Leyun's strength as possible, Lou Cheng may have a chance of victory. And as long as he's left in a better condition than when facing Piao Yuan, he'll be able to defeat Fang Zhirong as well. As for Xu Wannian, he's too arrogant. Without Corvine Mouth, he's not even Cai Zongming's match."
Hang on. Was he as weak as Lin Que had described him to be? Little Ming thought to himself with self-deprecating humor. Lou Cheng was even more perplexed, not because Lin Que's analysis was wrong but because he felt like the brother-in-law in front of him was a fake.
He had actually spoken so many words!
Could it be that the more concerned he was, the more words he had to say?
He turned to look at Yan Zheke and noticed the same look on her face.
Geezer Shi looked at Lin Que with a rare serious look. "You're not wrong, but your burden will be immense. If you're eliminated by Peng Leyun at his peak, we can just pack up and go home."
Lin Que's psychological problems had always persisted. Geezer Shi was worried he might be traumatized by the results of this competition. Lin Que nodded without any change in his expression.
"I'm willing to take the burden."
"Great." Geezer Shi agreed without saying anything else. He looked at Lou Cheng and said, "Brat, you will take the second round and defeat Peng Leyun!"
"Okay!" Lou Cheng took a deep breath and promised conﬁdently.
"Yan, you'll round up the team. If you're lucky enough to ﬁght Xu Wannian, don't be afraid. Just don't give him any chance to speak." Geezer Shi gave Yan Zheke a smile.
"Yes!" Yan Zheke nodded with all her strength.
Geezer Shi laughed and looked at Li Mao, Sun Jian, He Zi, and Cai Zongming. "Do you feel regret since I give you no chance to join the ﬁnals?"
"Not at all!" Cai Zongming replied immediately. "That's how I like it, Coach Shi! Just think about it! I just need to cheer for Cheng and Lin Que when they win and I'll be able to get my bonus! What a wonderful thing!"
Facing such a shameless Little Ming, Geezer Shi was momentarily speechless.
Time ﬂew and soon, it was time for the ﬁnal match.
In their respective locker rooms, both teams were gathered in a circle.
The Shanbei team took each other's hand, shook it, and yelled, "Champion!"
On Songcheng's side, Lou Cheng and his teammates put their arms around each other and yelled,
The doors to both lockers room opened and the coaches and players on both teams ﬁled out. Under the leadership of Lou Cheng and Peng Leyun respectively, the teams walked under the spotlight.
The referee stepped into the arena to check the time.
On April 25th at 7:40 PM, the ﬁnals of the National University Martial Arts Competition began!
Chapter 412: No Regrets
As darkness fell outside, the audience began ﬂooding into the martial arts gymnasium and cheering on their favored team with the slogan "Champion!".
Suddenly, the radio announcer shouted,
"The National Martial Arts Final Match, round one…"
A wave of cheers burst out of the stands to welcome the two leading players. The majority of spectators began yelling, forgetting their usual demeanor and demonstrating their excitement. The referee standing in the center of the arena closed his eyes, tilting his head and soaked in the atmosphere.
He sighed, not knowing if he was feeling nostalgic over his youth or regretting that he had come to the end of his martial arts career.
Finals. Youth. These were such wonderful words!
The referee immediately checked his mood and waved at both teams, signaling them to enter the arena.
Seated with the Shanbei team, Peng Leyun was not wearing his usual coat. He stood up slowly, eyes shining with excitement as he transformed from an inconspicuous spectator into an imposing monster.
After giving his teammates high ﬁves, he walked toward the arena with a calm mind. Over on the Songcheng side, Lin Que, who had asked to go ﬁrst, was already on his feet. Upon seeing the referee's gesture, he gave his right hand to Lou Cheng.
Instead of simply exchanging high ﬁves with Lin Que, Lou Cheng grasped his hand as if to pour all his strength and courage into him.
"Fight!" Lou Cheng shook Lin Que's hands with great force.
Lin Que nodded ﬁrmly but did not respond.
Following Lou Cheng's example, Yan Zheke and the rest shook Lin Que's hands while giving him high ﬁves as if they wanted to turn all their wishes and expectations into extra strength for Lin Que.
Lin Que thanked each of them for their wishes, something he rarely did. He then turned to walk toward the arena, eyes focused on it.
Under the spotlight, the arena glittered so brilliantly, as if it was a scene out of a dream. There was nothing different from any of his previous matches, but Lin Que felt like he was in a trance. He felt his memories from many years ago overlapping with the scene he was looking at.
It was still the same glittering arena in his dream, also the same ﬁnal match of the competition, also the same Songcheng ﬁghters surrounding him.
The only difference was he could only watch from the sidelines then, helpless to change the match outcome and to alleviate the sadness of his father and siblings. This time, he would be stepping on this arena of glory in their place and would give it his all so he would not leave any regrets.
He had struggled on this path for so many years and had ﬁnally made it here.
On the live broadcast, the guest presenter, Chen Sansheng, sighed with emotion.
"As expected, Songcheng is using the riskiest yet most promising strategy."
"Exactly," Liu Chang echoed his words. "If Lin Que can force Peng Leyun to consume most of his stamina and energy, Lou Cheng can defeat him with his superhuman stamina. Songcheng will then improve their winning chances. But if Lin Que loses within a short time, there will be no hope for Songcheng to turn the tide. I think the latter is the more likely scenario. After all, we've seen a precedent for that." "You can't be so sure. Lin Que suffered an easy defeat in Peng Leyun's hands last December, but that was because he went through a tough battle against Fang Zhirong and had only about 30% of his strength left. In the six months after, Lin Que has been advancing by leaps and bounds and has the strength of Seventh Pin. We can't consider him the ignorant guy that he was. On the other hand, Peng Leyun has been improving as well, but at a much slower rate. Their gap has been narrowed," Chen Sansheng explained.
The Inhuman State was a struggle for every warrior. Even Peng Leyun would inevitably ﬁnd himself in a bottleneck with his progress stagnating.
Liu Chang laughed heartily. "Sansheng, you should also consider another fact. In the match last year, Peng Leyun wasn't using all his strength against Lin Que."
"That's true… Besides, once Peng Leyun begins morphing, there'll be some deﬁnite improvements…" Chen Sansheng paused. "We'll be able to see for sure once they start ﬁghting." He did not make any judgments or predictions this time because there was not enough information to draw a conclusion, but it was evident from his attitude and words which team he was rooting for.
The number of stone steps reducing under his feet, Lin Que gradually got a clearer look at the arena as well as Peng Leyun, who was approaching from the other side.
In that moment, Lin Que suddenly felt the oppressive aura of his opponent as if he was an inexhaustible and unfathomable chasm of natural power. He felt awe and reverence rising involuntarily in him as if he was watching a thunderstorm or a starry sky. Such a feeling made him tremble.
This was the kind of pressure that only belonged to a Sixth Pin ﬁghter!
Lin Que suddenly realized that Peng Leyun had not used his entire strength at all when in their ﬁght last December! Peng Leyun was just testing his ability and strength back then!
No wonder Peng Leyun was called the Big Devil…
Lin Que lacked similar methods and thus was unable to counterattack. He could only stabilize his mood and not allow himself to be shaken. His eyes were like two deep pools of water and his mind like an endless sky dotted with meteors.
When the two of them reached their positions, Lou Cheng and his team adjusted their postures. The audience also held their breaths. They could smell gunpowder; the battle was beginning soon.
After checking the time, the referee raised his right hand.
"Talk time begins!" Lin Que immediately closed his eyes. No one knew what he was thinking or scheming about.
Peng Leyun lowered the center of his gravity and entered his stance. A smile appeared on his face. With much grace, he left Lin Que undisturbed in his own thoughts.
With each passing second and minute, it was as if everything on the arena had come to a standstill. There was only the subtle rise and fall of Peng Leyun's chest.
"I want to make a record of all of Lin Que's words throughout all the tournaments he has participated in and see if he has spoken more than 10 words," Chen Shanseng said, poking fun at the quiet Lin Que.
Liu Chang could not help laughing. "Isn't this pretty nice? Either way, we won't be able to hear what they say during the talk time."
"I'm just trying to relieve the tension before the ﬁnals," Chen Sansheng explained, "I see that though many netizens are watching, they're being very quiet."
"I myself am quite nervous! It's the ﬁnals after all." Liu Chang sighed.
Their voices never stopped during their soothing conversation. Before long, three minutes had passed.
Lin Que opened his eyes. His eyes were deep and dark, like the night sky glittering with countless stars.
The rise and fall of Peng Leyun's chest gradually slowed as he created a suffocating pressure that enveloped the entire gymnasium.
The referee again raised his hand and waved it down with strength.
He announced in a loud voice, "Start!" The ﬁrst round had begun!
The ﬁrst round of the National Martial Arts Final Match had started!
Lin Que abruptly raised his hands and pressed them together before his chest. Visualizing the ancient characters in his mind, he spoke in his deep voice.
Once again, he decided to start with a powerful attack without changing his style! He was not prepared to give Peng Leyun an inch at all.
The mysterious sound reverberating in the arena, Lin Que dashed forward like a bolt of lightning to stop Peng Leyun's Flash Attack. In the audience's eyes, it was as if a ghostly shadow was following him because of his high speed.
In an instant, Lin Que was close enough that Peng Leyun was within his range of attack. Peng Leyun drew his right arm backward as he lowered the center of his gravity, retaining his earlier posture. No one knew if he was unable to dodge or simply unwilling to.
Just then, Lin Que felt every inch of him go numb as if he was about to suffer a terrible attack.
Before his eyes, Peng Leyun's ﬁgure began to distort subtly.
Weak waves appeared on screen, with specks of 'snowﬂakes' ﬂying about. It fogged the arena, making the broadcast appear fuzzy.
"This…" Chen Sansheng seemed stunned. He blurted out, "Peng Leyun is really beginning to transform!"
Since his root pulp had changed, he could now release an even greater power of thunder and lightning!
"Transformation…" Liu Chang murmured to himself in astonishment.
Though there were rumors pointing out such a possibility, it was still a shock to witness it truly happen.
Once a ﬁghter began to morph, he would no longer be an ordinary man!
Peng Leyun could certainly get the certiﬁcation of Fifth Pin before he entered the ﬁnal year of university! With his thunder and lightning supernatural ability supporting his present strength, it was not impossible for him to get three straight wins today!
Songcheng and Lin Que's risk were now all for nothing!
Peng Leyun was the Big Devil indeed…
Lou Cheng gasped, unconsciously standing up.
He was not the only one. Yan Zheke, Cai Zongming, and the rest were also on their feet.
In the most critical moment, Peng Leyun had actually achieved a breakthrough. Was he the freaking hero of this novel…
Right on cue, An All-knowing Man in Ganghood wrote on Weibo, "I told you so." He followed this with a shrugging emoji in a self-satisﬁed tone. Superstitious Belief is Bad replied with a silly dog emoji.
"Well, this is the strength of the favored ﬁghter of the age!"
Over on Lou Cheng's fan forum, Unparalleled Dragon King sighed.
"If Peng Leyun gets three straight wins thanks to his breakthrough, then Songcheng will lose the game regardless of Poison Milk's curse. Peng Leyun is insanely lucky!"
The situation in the arena was already shifting as the audience was feeling both shocked and emotional.
Lin Que felt pain numbing his entire body as if every inch of his skin had been touched with static, evoking his Absolute Reaction!
Amid these chaotic sensations, he gradually slowed his footsteps to a sudden halt. With his fascia and muscles grinding against each other sharply, he turned the kinetic energy into power channeled into his punching ﬁst.
At the same time, he tilted his head and listened to the wind to determine Peng Leyun's next move.
With the withdrawal and release of his qi and blood, Peng Leyun tightened all the muscles in his arms, which were entwined with small electric currents, while swinging forward. Like a dragon emerging from the sea, he punched at Lin Que's waist.
This was the Divine Wrath Force, an advanced version of the Thunderclap Force! It was one of the most important forces in the Thunder Sect!
Bang! Lin Que instantly swung his arm, returning a punch at Peng Leyun like a meteor streaking across the sky.
The ﬁsts met with a burst of ﬁerce wind, setting off a whistling gale. The snowﬂakes and weak waves obstructing the screen dissipated instantly.
Peng Leyun shuddered as if hit by an explosive, and his muscles trembled and ached. On the other side, Lin Que's hair was standing on end. He even heard his body sizzling from the inside.
He felt half of his body temporarily paralyzed and found it hard to gather strength and make any moves.
Due to the gap between their strengths, the collision exerted little inﬂuence on Peng Leyun. He was the ﬁrst to recover his composure and made a Force Concentration. Half a second later, Lin Que also concentrated all his qi, blood, force, spirit, and all the side effects in his Dantian.
With his Dantian exploding, Peng Leyun turned sideways to stretch his body and pounce at Lin Que like a giant with the power of thunder and lightning.
Lin Que was half a step behind Peng Leyun, so he had to block his attack with tightened muscles and qi bursting out of his Dantian!
With Peng Leyun's Static affecting his senses, Lin Que began to make mistakes in his judgment of his opponent's attacks. He fell behind with each step, increasingly so.
Bang! The thud on the arena was so loud, it piercing through the cries and cheers of the audience. Unable to hold on any longer, Lin Que's body swayed and he had to take several steps backward.
When Lin Que was about to drive his qi and blood back to maintain his balance, Peng Leyun immediately lowered the center of his gravity. He then swung his body into the mid-air like a cloud and dashed to Lin Que's side.
The 36th stroke of the Thunder Sect, Flash Attack!
Peng Leyun's eyes began glinting like two bolts of lightning as he approached Lin Que.
The visualization in his mind kept changing until it stopped at the vision of a cyan jade suspended in the air. Each stroke carved on the jade was formed by lighting, forming a complex text.
Sizzle! The lighting ﬂickered silver and white as the qi of yin and yang began colliding with each other.
The 11th item of the Thunder Sect, a simpliﬁed trick of physical invulnerability: the Thunder Seal! This was specially designed for Peng Leyun.
Peng Leyun's muscles tightened, with every segment ﬁlling with blood. Just then, it was as if he was a descending God of Thunder, punching downward with his hammer-like ﬁst to punish on behalf of the natural rule!
Sizzle! A layer of electric current seemed to envelop his ﬁst.
At his current realm, his simpliﬁed movement of physical invulnerability was in any way inferior to Lou Cheng! Unable to dodge in time, Lin Que once again used Force Concentration to keep his balance. He tightened his muscles with the power of the qi explosion in his Dantian and punched upward with his left ﬁst.
With the explosion reverberating loudly, their ﬁsts were momentarily frozen in midair.
A burst of light ﬁlled Lin Que's sight as all his hair stood on end. Invisible smoke came out of his seven apertures while his muscles trembled. His body was completely paralyzed. He could not move no matter how strong his will was, rendering his Force Concentration unable to be completed!
Having not used his Dantian explosion for self-protection, Peng Leyun also retreated a few steps. After regaining his balance, he instantly pounced at Lin Que, who was still suffering from numbness. Shaking his shoulders, Peng Leyun was about to throw a punch.
In the studio, Chen Sansheng lamented, "As expected…"
As expected, Lin Que lost to Peng Leyun!
It was not that he did not work hard or strong enough, it was just that his opponent was too fearsome!
Yan Xiaoling covered her eyes with both hands in front of the computer screen, not daring to see what would happen and the upcoming ending.
Mu Jinnian's teeth were clenched, sadness and regret coloring her eyes.
Over at the Songcheng team, Lou Cheng and his teammates did not react. They were watching the arena with blank looks. They stared as if Peng Leyun was stretching out his arm and punching Lin Que in his temple in slow motion.
Even if Lin Que was able to recover from the numbness and make a Force Concentration to protect himself, it was already too late.
"Great!" In front of the screen, An All-knowing Man in Ganghood waved his clenched ﬁst.
This was the end!
Peng Leyun was the true favored ﬁghter of the age!
When Lin Que ﬁnally pulled through the numbness and regained his consciousness, he saw Peng Leyun's ﬁst approaching him.
Thoughts ﬂashing across his mind one after another, he could sense nothing except for Peng Leyun and his ﬁst. He was practicing in front of an aged arena when his father came to him. His smile was full of expectations as he said, "It's the ﬁnals tomorrow."
Under the spotlight, he saw a ﬁgure being ﬂung out of the arena. He remembered his father's unusually dejected expression. He was holding onto the railing, standing in front of his seat as a little boy, not quite clear of what was going on.
Then it was his father's old wounds resurfacing and his face gaunt and aged. He stood in front of the display cabinet of all his trophies and said self-deprecatingly, "The only thing missing is the National Competition championship trophy…"
He recalled the pungent smell of sterile water, walls painted blue and white, doctors and nurses running back and forth, his father who could only make weird noises with his throat, and his constantly-crying mother. He saw himself huddled in a corner with a frightened look.
These old memories lit not only the ﬁre within Lin Que's body but also the determination in his eyes. Just then, Peng Leyun's ﬁst suddenly slowed down as if trapped in a swamp or loaded with a heavy burden. His body began 'sinking'.
The power of the stars! The power of the earth!
Noticing Peng Leyun ﬁnally showing surprise on his face, Lin Que clenched his teeth. All his muscles began squirming abnormally.
His root pulp had begun showing signs of variation since the spring festival!
Based on the regular procedure and experience of the predecessors, he ought to control the variation and slow down the changes within his body so as not to evoke a horrible backlash that would injure himself. He should be waiting until he reached the top Sixth Pin in one or two years before advancing at a normal speed. That would help him surpass many ﬁghters and enter the inhuman stage. But he could not wait to compete for the championship in one or two years. He wanted to grasp the opportunity now at any costs!
In January last year, Lou Cheng had awakened his supernatural ability on the arena and defeated Ye Youting, who was one Pin superior. Today he wanted to do the same against Peng Leyun!
He did not use this method in the semi-ﬁnals because he might get badly injured and end up unable to return to the arena for half a year.
He had been waiting for this opportunity!
Lin Que's indifferent eyes were fogged with a rare sentiment.
He had never been more determined in his life.
He wondered if his dad could see him now. He was ﬁghting for the championship for Songcheng! Bang!
Lin Que swung his right arm, punching Peng Leyun. A layer of ﬁre and glaring light appeared on his arm as it rubbed against the air.
The meteor was really streaking across the sky!
In the ancestral house of the Ji family in Jiangnan Province.
Ji Jianzhang smashed the rosewood teapot with one punch.
He roared in a low voice, "What a farce!"
The moment Lin Que threw his ﬁst, Peng Leyun felt the invisible restriction around him vanish. He immediately withdrew his arms with the muscles in his upper half and placed them in front of his chest. Bam!
The true explosion reverberated as the meteor ﬁnally crashed onto the ground with sparks ﬂying off in all directions. Peng Leyun was forced to take a few steps back, but he soon drove back his qi and blood to balance himself!
With the complete release of his fearsome power, Lin Que withdrew the force into his Dantian and dashed to his opponent's side. Without hesitation, he began attacking Peng Leyun with as many Meteor Blasts as possible.
Bang! Bang! Bang! After making three successive explosions, Lin Que stared at Peng Leyun without breaking eye contact. He clenched his teeth tightly, enduring his pain.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Peng Leyun made a series of Force Concentrations while retreating in the rolling blaze, but he showed no sign of losing. His clothing was slightly burnt and his face looked pale. The Shanbei team were shocked as they exchanged glances, checking if they were daydreaming. The special commentator, Chen Sansheng, was also momentarily speechless, forgetting to give the audience an explanation. Lin Que was about to take a step forward to continue his attacks, but his body began trembling and he could no longer keep his balance. The sharp pain ﬁnally caught him as if he was dismembered!
He paused and hopelessly stood in his place. He seemed close to collapse.
The referee instantly seized the moment to announce,
"The ﬁrst round, Peng Leyun wins!"
Before the referee's voice even faded, Geezer Shi appeared on the arena. He pointed at Lin Que's points to freeze him as quickly as possible. He then shook his head.
"What a farce!"
He kept scolding Lin Que as he helped him down the arena. It took him only two steps to get back to their seats. The surroundings were completely quiet. Lin Que said nothing, only titling his head to look at Lou Cheng and the rest who were running up to him. For the ﬁrst time, he gave them a clear smile, a pure and child-like smile.
"I've tried my best…" Lin Que looked at Lou Cheng. "I leave the rest to you."
"No problem." Lou Cheng nodded ﬁrmly, blood burning in him.
He looked up at the arena, staring at Peng Leyun. His emotions were in a turmoil and he could not contain himself. He could not help yelling out of excitement.
His voice seemingly coming from far away and nearby, Lou Cheng dashed toward the arena. His momentum was like the whistling northern wind. It became ﬁercer and ﬁercer by the second! Just leave Peng Leyun to him!
Chapter 413: The Big Devil
"What just happened?" Liu Chang remained stunned until Lin Que left the arena with Geezer Shi. He turned to Chen Sansheng with a blank look.
The series of changes in the last stage of the ﬁrst round had been so abnormal that he still couldn't understand it. At ﬁrst, Peng Leyun, who was about to win the game, suddenly slowed down, acting like a puppet, giving Lin Que a miraculous opportunity to turn the tide. Then Lin Que, who was originally much weaker than Peng Leyun, had begun to launch ﬁerce attacks at his opponent as if he had advanced to an immortal overnight. However, the exploding sound and blaze didn't last long. Lin Que had given up and the referee hurried to stop the match, announcing that Peng Leyun was the winner.
The whole process was just like an amazing dream!
The world is just marvelous! It's not because I'm too stupid to understand what has happened! Liu Chang's words startled Sansheng, who checked his mood and then replied,
"Lin Que awakened his supernatural ability…"
"Supernatural ability?" Liu Chang gave him a blank look.
He had never seen a disciple of a great sect awaken his or her supernatural ability in such a horrible way without controlling it.
"Yes. You see," Chen Sansheng pointed to the slow-motion replay the broadcasting director was playing, "Lin Que was not standing still. He was actually moving slowly as if being trapped in a swamp. Chang, does it remind you of anything?"
"The power of earth, one of the features of the Fighting Sect!" Liu Chang suddenly realized what had happened. "Lin Que awakened his supernatural ability and thus restricted Peng Leyun for a short time while saving himself. After that, he tried to defeat Peng Leyun with force gathered from the explosion made by his awakened supernatural ability, but Peng Leyun was still tough enough to block his attack and ﬁnally defeated him since he'd begun to suffer from the backﬁre of his supernatural ability."
All Liu Chang's problems were solved.
"But, but he is a disciple of the Shushan Sect. Haven't his masters and parents taught him how to awaken his supernatural ability in a slow, safe way?" Liu Chang raised a new question.
Only those without the support of a great sect would encounter such a situation when awakening their supernatural abilities.
Chen Sansheng was a warrior many years ago and had collected much relevant information. He knew that Lin Que's father was once a coach at Songcheng University. He sighed with emotion. "Lin Que knows the risks involved in doing this. And he knows he might suffer a lot but gain little. But he must do it at any costs without hesitation as a responsible warrior!" Liu Chang was about to continue when Lou Cheng appeared on the broadcasting screen.
Liu Chang saw Peng Leyun's burnt clothing and pale face. He was still trembling. He couldn't help saying in surprise,
"Peng Leyun is injured!"
"Things are becoming more and more interesting…" Chan Sansheng raised his eyebrows and sighed. His emotions were complicated.
Lin Que's "blaze" had really lit the ﬁre of hope for everyone of Songcheng University. They would wait to see if Lou Cheng could seize the opportunity and defeat the Big Devil!
"Ah…" Yan Xiaoling opened her eyes after hearing the host and special guest's conversation. She wanted to cry in joy. Turning unconsciously to look at Mu Jinnian, she found her roommate sobbing and wiping her face with a tissue.
Posts ﬁlled with acclamation and emotion began to pour into Lou Cheng's forum.
"Lin Que was really a tough ﬁghter. He even dared to risk his life," wrote Unparalleled Dragon King.
"I can't believe it..." He Xiaowei touched his small, thick beard and murmured to himself, "Have I really acquired a supernatural ability like Poisonous Milk?"
Checking his Weibo, he found several new comments.
"I kneel down to you sincerely. I shouldn't have doubted your ability." "Immortal one, can I be your disciple?"
"How could he turn the tide in such circumstances? I can't believe it (covering ears with hands emoji)."
"In the beginning, I believed only in destiny. But it was you, Poisonous Milk, that I could never see clearly."
In another room somewhere in the city, an All-knowing Man in Ganghood took a deep breath and told himself that even an injured Peng Leyun was still able to defeat Lou Cheng or force Lou Cheng to use up his energy. Thus, he could easily be defeated by Fang Zhirong in the third round.
In the stands, Ji Mingyu sat clenching and unclenching her ﬁst.
"That brat, that brat…" She didn't know how to scold Lin Que.
He must have inherited the ancestral traits of the Ji clan, headstrong and stubborn.
"It was indeed his style…" Yan Kai sighed. He had experienced a lot and thus knew how much it had cost Lin Que to do something like that.
Taking a glance at his wife, he put his hand on her shoulder to comfort her.
"Don't worry. Coach Shi and our parents are all taking care of him. They won't let him suffer much. We have all done things in our youth without considering the outcome, right?""
His wife, Ji Mingyu, sighed and then replied,
"Now he only has a ﬁfty percent chance of reaching the physical invulnerability stage." If Lin Que had been learning and practicing in a normal way, it would have been easy for him to reach the upper inhuman stage and prepare for the physical-invulnerability stage. He would have enough time and potential. Now, however, it would take him at least a year to recover from the injury. Though he might have a better physical condition because of his awakened supernatural ability and reach Sixth-Pin in a short time, it would be difﬁcult for him to reach the inhuman state, and
there would be more challenges and obstacles on his martial
Yan Kai opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something, but he immediately gave up. The guy who had stolen away his princess was now standing in front of Peng Leyun.
The atmosphere in the gymnasium again became tense, choking all the audience.
In the substitutes' seats of Songcheng University, Geezer Shi stopped the backﬁre within Lou Cheng's body and then asked Li Mao and Cai Zongming to carry him to the emergency room for further treatment. Yan Zheke almost burst out sobbing when she saw her pale-skinned brother covered with a layer of frost. Clenching her ﬁsts tightly to hold back the tears, she was determined to shoulder the burden with her brother.
Turning her gaze to the arena, she could see nothing but Lou Cheng's ﬁgure.
There is not enough time for me to cheer you up this time, but I'm always with you!
In the seats of Shanbei University, Fang Zhirong, Xu Wannian, and the others had serious looks as they were stressed.
For the ﬁrst time, they were not sure if they could win the championship!
The next round would determine the ﬁnal result! …
Lou Cheng's voice was still echoing in the arena, as if it had turned into a pillar piercing into the sky and giving out an acoustic wave that shocked the audience's minds.
Fueled by the desire to ﬁght, Lou Cheng turned into a gust of wind, bolted into the arena and stopped in front of Peng Leyun.
With the increasing adrenaline, his blood was pulsing through his body. Lou Cheng felt like his qi and blood were even more exuberant now, enabling him to be quicker and more powerful than usual, as if he had taken stimulants.
Normally speaking, with the help of such momentum, it was time for him to launch a direct attack and thus suppress his opponent and defeat him within seconds. However, Lou Cheng knew clearly that Peng Leyun was a real tough warrior. He deserved the title favored ﬁghter of the age and the nickname "Big Devil." Even though Peng Leyun was injured, he was still not a normal ﬁghter whom Lou Cheng could defeat without hesitation. If Lou Cheng underestimated his opponent, Peng Leyun might win this round quickly!
Of course, his present condition fueled by his inner blaze and excitement would help him a lot. He couldn't abandon this advantage. He should ﬁght using the style Geezer Shi had once taught him.
Fighting ﬁercely while keeping your mind cool!
As aggressive as ﬁre, as calm as ice!
Peng Leyun couldn't resist more than three Internal Explosions under such circumstances!
Thoughts ﬂashing across his mind, then he saw the referee raise his right hand. In front of him, Peng Leyun's eyes were glittering like two bolts of lightning that lit up the surroundings. Lou Cheng felt his soul trembling. The referee waved down his palm and announced,
Crack! Lou Cheng and Peng Leyun took action at the same time. Lou Cheng made an explosion in his Dantian, tightening the muscles in his legs and then pouncing toward his opponent. Peng Letun withdrew and then released his qi and blood, lowering and lifting the center of his gravity in a short time. After which, he ﬂashed towards Lou Cheng with a Flash Attack.
They both chose to attack their opponents directly from the start!
This round was already at a climax, and it had just begun!
They were ﬂying towards each other at high speeds and had no time to adjust themselves in mid-air. They had to change directions slightly and tighten their muscles in preparation for a collision. BANG!
It was like a two-car collision in the arena with a loud cracking sound and rolling air billowing.
Lou Cheng and Peng Leyun seemed to be pinned in mid-air, and the audience could see their trembling muscles and springing tendons clearly. In an instant, they separated and began to take steps back, cracking the stones under their feet.
As soon as he balanced himself, Lou Cheng arched his back with both arms hanging naturally and then shook his wrist to throw a sphere of icy light and a ﬁreball at Peng Leyun.
The attack of ice and ﬁre!
Lou Cheng made the series of attacks within a short distance. Peng Leyun was unable to take his Big Dipper stance in time. Now he could do nothing but block Lou Cheng's attack with his ﬂesh. The light in Peng Leyun's eyes became even brighter. Strips of lightning appeared in his palms. He clapped both hands in front of his chest.
Unlike the sharp snap everyone had just heard, this time there was a clap of thunder bursting overhead. The sound waves and air surge immediately swept Lou Cheng's balls of light and blaze, which hadn't formed completely yet. Lou Cheng was shocked.
Peng Leyun separated his hands, showing the blade-like lightning in between.
He lashed out at Lou Cheng with a horrible lightning blade! If he hadn't been affected by the thunder, Lou Cheng would have noticed the moment Peng Leyun was about to separate his hands and would've taken action in time. However, now the die was cast!
With a sizzle, Lou Cheng's hair stood on end. His clothes were burned, exposing the scorched skin underneath.
"Thunder from a Clear Sky. Cloudless Thunder Blade…" Chen Sansheng said in astonishment. He had never expected Peng Leyun, who was injured, to still gain an advantageous position and make an opportunity for himself within such a short time!
It was a physical invulnerability killer move of the Thunder Sect. Peng Leyun hadn't actually mastered it yet, even its simpliﬁed version. He was just imitating its key moves to create a similar movement!
Peng Leyun bounced back smoothly and shot to Lou Cheng's side. Then he visualized lightning attacking the ground and catching everything on ﬁre. As if stimulated at the hub of qi and blood, his Dantian, and coccyx by the lightning, a horrible force burst out of Peng Leyun's body. Tightening the muscles in his arms, Peng Leyun covered his ﬁst with red blaze and charged toward Lou Cheng at the speed of spreading ﬁre.
The ﬁfteenth item of Thunder Sect, a simpliﬁed trick of physical invulnerability: Thunder Seal!
This move helped him enhance his strength quickly with the blaze covering him. It wasn't until he'd begun morphing and acquired advanced supernatural ability that Peng Leyun mastered its core!
At this moment, Lou Cheng recovered from his numbness
Though he knew that Peng Leyun was a tough guy and that he had the ability to defeat him even after suffering such a great injury, he had never expected that Peng Leyun should be so powerful and horrible as to endanger him at the beginning of the round! Turning his mind into an Ice Mirror to reﬂect every detail of the battle, Lou Cheng stopped completing his unﬁnished Force Concentration as a thought ﬂashed across his mind. Instead, he drove the cold wave to ﬂow within his body and ﬁnally gather in his right arm.
Crack! He made an explosion in his shoulder and raised his arm to block Peng Leyun's Thunderbolt Fire in a hurry!
As soon as Peng Leyun's arm hit Lou Cheng's upper arm, he felt a burst of ice wave. Lou Cheng had lowered his center of gravity and then gathered all his qi, blood, Force and spirit in his Dantian, giving Peng Leyun a feeling as if he had punched into the air.
The blaze that should have been spreading outside was restricted in its original position and put down by the icy mist.
Lou Cheng was actually applying a strategy Ann Chaoyang had once used in a previous competition. He predicted Peng Leyun's movement with his Ice Mirror and then blocked the Thunderbolt Fire with Force Concentration!
Of course, things were different now. The attack Lou Cheng was facing this time was different from Ann Chaoyang, and thus he must arrange the actions he should take in a different order. With Ann Chaoyang, he had to prevent his mind from freezing from the Severe Warning, which had forced him to withdraw his spirit. This time Lou Cheng was worrying about the burn entering into his body and causing internal injuries. As a result, Lou Cheng had to spout out the frost mist in advance to counteract the inﬂuence of the blaze.
At this moment, since Lou Cheng had gathered all his feelings in his Dantian, the balance within his body was broken and the wave of Force began ﬂowing towards his left arm.
Taking the opportunity to visualize the Thunder Cloud in his mind, Lou Cheng shook his shoulders, tightened his muscles, and stretched out his left ﬁst to punch downward.
The ﬁrst blow of Thunder Roar Zen! Peng Leyun sensed the danger when his Thunderbolt Fire hadn't been completed. He had already withdrawn his qi and blood to make the same explosion as Lou Cheng. He ﬂung his right arm to draw an arc in the air.
The moment Peng Leyun's ﬁst collided with Lou Cheng's, he felt a power much greater than his and a spreading wave of impact, shocking his muscles, tendons, and vessels immediately and sharpening his inner injuries from Lin Que's Meteor Blast.
Peng Leyun was forced to step heavily into the ground under such a horrible force. It stopped him from taking steps backward and defusing the inﬂuence.
With the help of the Force he'd borrowed from Peng Leyun's previous attack, Lou Cheng forced Peng Leyun to stop with just one joint attack. Now he had the opportunity to adjust his muscles and visualize a Great Sun in his mind.
The torrent of blaze gathered together and began to shrink to a core in a pre-exploding state. Then a divinity with a human head and beast body appeared, suppressing all the force in the arena.
The simpliﬁed physical invulnerability, Internal Explosion!
Just as Lou Cheng was about to raise his arm and make a key attack, the part of his body that had been hit by Peng Leyun's Thunderbolt Fire suddenly began to ache.
It was dangerous to defuse a simpliﬁed version of a physical- invulnerability movement with Force Concentration, not to mention that Thunderbolt Fire was well-known for its explosive power. Though Lou Cheng had weakened the power of Peng Leyun's attack by defusing and borrowing, the remaining power had still injured his shoulder, fascia, and bone, adding difﬁculty to his gathering force… Lou Cheng began analyzing the present situation quickly. Maybe the bone in his right arm was broken!
Damn it! Just seize this opportunity at any costs!
Lots of scenes began ﬂashing through Lou Cheng's mind, like Lin Que's child-like smile, Ke's expectations and sadness. Lou Cheng clenched his teeth, swung his right arm, and punched at Peng Leyun's abdomen.
The moment Peng Leyun felt the shock and was forced to step into the ground, he immediately understood what would happen next. He rushed to withdraw his qi and force to alleviate his inner injury while maintaining his Double Explosion.
He stretched the ﬁngers of his left hand and pressed down at high speed to make room for Lou Cheng's punch while pushing it out at the same time! BAM!
As if a time bomb had ﬁnally exploded within his body, Peng Leyun felt his ﬁve viscera and six bowels shaking. His qi and blood began to roll.
His internal injury had gotten worse!
Peng Leyun hurried to take a breath and made the third Force Concentration.
On the other side, Lou Cheng had lost his balance from the explosive force and was now tottering backward.
When Lou Cheng ﬁnally balanced himself, he immediately withdrew his qi and blood and jumped up to pounce at Peng Leyun.
Crack! He punched Peng Leyun's temple. Peng Leyun remained calm in the face of Lou Cheng's attack. Taking advantage of the force bursting out from his Dantian, he shrugged to block Lou Cheng's ﬁst with one arm.
Bang! With a dull thud, Lou Cheng's joints and fascia snapped and stretched to drive his ﬁngers at Peng Leyun's head like ﬁve awls.
There was a beam of cool light glimmering atop each ﬁnger like arrows and needles!
Ice Sect, 21st move, Aurora!
In an instant, Peng Leyun felt his blood freeze. His temple was aching. He was forced to turn sideways to dodge using Turtle Shell. Then he felt Lou Cheng's Aurora.
Of course, Lou Cheng wouldn't let go of this opportunity. He immediately visualized another great sun and was about to make another Internal Explosion with his left ﬁst. Whirlpools appeared within Peng Leyun's body. They began spinning at high speed, covering Peng Leyun with a layer of vague electric spark.
Lou Cheng felt a sudden repulsion force and was immediately pushed back one meter.
Peng Leyun charged towards Lou Cheng. The visualization in his mind kept changing. A piece of jasper appeared in the air, formed by lightning. It had complicated characters on it.
SIZZLE! A dazzling light surged out as the two great forces representing Yin and Yang collided with each other,
Crack! Peng Leyun raised one arm, tightened all his muscles, and punched downward with the power of a deity.
An item of the Thunder Sect, a simpliﬁed trick of physical invulnerability: Thunder Seal! Lou Cheng immediately withdrew all his force and gathered it together in his Dantian. He punched upward to block Peng Leyun's attack.
Lou Cheng's hair stood on end once more and his head seemed to be fuming. He was now suffering numbness all over his body and couldn't keep balance. On the other side, Peng Leyun was forced to take a few steps back from the explosive force of Lou Cheng's Dantian.
Peng Leyun's retreat gave Lou Cheng several seconds to take a breath and get rid of the numbness with Force Concentration. Without hesitation, Peng Leyun began making the same crazy serial explosions, throwing as many bolts of lightning at Lou Cheng as he could.
Crack! Crack! Crack!
Peng Leyun's attack was much like the Divine Punch that had once appeared in the arena, but it was slower and more powerful than that. It came in hard on the heel of Dan stage explosion.
With no time to gather strength, Lou Cheng had to make continuous explosions with the help of Ice Mirror's prediction to block Peng Leyun as fast as he could.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
The two began running and chasing, shattering all the tiles they stepped on into ﬂying pieces.
"What a match…" Chen Sansheng ﬁnally got a chance to make his comment, "a little ﬁerce."
Yes, he used the word "ﬁerce" instead of "great" or "wonderful"!
Both Lou Cheng and Peng Leyun were able to create opportunities for themselves in the split second when their opponent was preparing for another movement. As a result, the collision of simpliﬁed versions of physical invulnerability hadn't appeared on the arena as expected yet, for the two ﬁghters had been blocking each other's attacks with the explosion of Dantian, which seemed to be so ﬁerce.
It proved that they had both met their match in the arena.
Neither of them had taken the upper hand yet!
"Maybe Lou Cheng must endure this to defeat Peng Leyun, the Big Devil," Liu Chang echoed with emotion.
Crack Crack Crack! Bang Bang Bang! When the two had both ﬁnished their ninth explosions, Peng Leyun came to an abrupt stop and took a deep breath.
BUZZ! The whirlpools within his body began to spin crazily, creating an odd suction under the cover of lightning. Lou Cheng, who was punching at his opponent with Tremor Punch, was caught off guard and suddenly skidded forward! As an experienced ﬁghter, Peng Leyun obviously knew more ﬁghting skills than Lou Cheng!
A chance appeared!
Instead of gathering his Force in his Dantian or preparing to use the simpliﬁed version of physical invulnerability, Peng Leyun tightened the muscles in his right arm and threw it at Lou Cheng's neck as a Single Kick!
Facing the approaching ﬁst, Lou Cheng had only two choices. One was to give up his stance and roll sideways to dodge this attack. The other was to stand still and create an opportunity at the cost of getting himself injured. However, Peng Leyun's punch was followed by a series of attacks, and Lou Cheng couldn't resist them each time.
Keeping calm, Lou Cheng lowered the center of his gravity and moved an inch to the right, "welcoming" Peng Leyun with his shoulder.
He's ﬁnished…" Chen Sansheng murmured. Crack!
Peng Leyun hit Lou Cheng with his Single Kick. However, it was not Lou Cheng's bone that had broken but a layer of ice covering his shoulder. No one knew when or where the ice had appeared.
Ice Sect, 15th move, Ice Armor!
It was an application of supernatural ability that had only taken Lou Cheng three days to master back in March. Though Lou Cheng still couldn't block the simpliﬁed version of physical invulnerability and the Dan stage explosion, it was enough for him to resist other normal attacks!
In a competition between the mighty, any mistake would lead to a crazy counterattack from the other side. Without hesitation, Peng Leyun drove his qi and blood back to prevent Lou Cheng's killer move.
Of course, Lou Cheng couldn't miss this chance. He had already begun visualizing a great sun and the god of ﬁre in his mind when he turned his body sideways!
Stretching his body, Lou Cheng drove the condensed ﬁreball into his ﬁst, despite the ache in his right arm, and gave Peng Leyun a quick punch.
The simpliﬁed physical invulnerability, Internal Explosion!
The second bout!
Though Peng Leyun punched downward in time to repulse Lou Cheng's attack with the explosive Force of his Dantian, the horrible Force in Lou Cheng's ﬁst still bit into his body and worsened his inner injury. He was aching all over, as if on ﬁre, and almost spat blood.
As a ﬁghter with the same ﬁrmness of will as Lou Cheng, Peng Leyun immediately withdrew some Force to release the pain and launched a ﬂash attack at Lou Cheng!
Lou Cheng kept his stance with the Dan stage explosion and was about to evoke Peng Leyun's inner injury thoroughly with Thunder Roar Zen as he had done in the competition with Ren Li!
However, Peng Leyun had noticed Lou Cheng's injured right arm. He adjusted his footwork and began attacking the right half of Lou Cheng's body, forcing him to block with his right ﬁst. With the rising pain in his bone and fascia, Lou Cheng had to slow down.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Thunder Roar Zen echoed. Peng Leyun struggled to keep withdrawing and releasing the Force in his Dantian with ten explosions. As for Lou Cheng, his forehead was now covered with cold sweat as it became harder and harder to raise his right arm. Clenching his teeth, Lou Cheng tried to stimulate himself with the pain. In the next round of attacks from his opponent, he suddenly stretched out his right hand to grasp Peng Leyun without defending himself.
It was the time to take action!
Crack! Lou Cheng felt his broken bone get even worse as he grasped Peng Leyun's ﬁst. Blue veins stood out on his hands and ﬁngers like Chinese dragons.
He poured the frost and cold current within his body into Peng Leyun's directly instead of continuing to punch him.
Peng Leyun became stiff for a moment but soon recovered. He immediately withdrew qi and blood instead of attacking back with his thunder and lightning supernatural ability.
With the explosion of Force in his Dantian, Peng Leyun jumped backward to dodge Lou Cheng's attacks. He was unable to resist another Internal Explosion!
However, Lou Cheng didn't use a simpliﬁed version of physical invulnerability as expected. Instead, he used a Force Concentration to release the pain in his arm.
Tightening the muscles in his legs, Lou Cheng stepped heavily onto the ground, shattering tiles, and then jumped up to dash towards Peng Leyun.
He raised both hands to make a gesture while visualizing ancient characters in his mind. He spoke with a low voice,
Peng Leyun, who was about to attack back, became stiff again. He was now at the limit of his strength, and every move Lou Cheng made was like a blade aimed at his neck. However calm he was under normal circumstances, he was now unable to visualize the god of thunder in his mind to make a counter attack as he usually did. His inner injury had begun to stir up trouble and affect his spirit!
Now was the time!
Fueled with excitement, Lou Cheng again visualized a great sun with horrible blaze in his mind.
The god of ﬁre stepped out from somewhere in the air with his ﬁre dragon to suppress the explosion in time.
Staring steadily at Peng Leyun, Lou Cheng tightened all his muscles and threw his left ﬁst somewhere between Peng Leyun's chest and abdomen.
The third blow of Internal Explosion! Peng Leyun struggled to raise his arms and block Lou Cheng's attack.
Peng Leyun's capillary vessels broke and painted everything he saw in red. A feeling of dizziness blocked all his senses.
Despite his aching arm, Lou Cheng stepped up to make his last punch and stopped his ﬁst near Peng Leyun's neck.
The referee raised his right hand and loudly declared,
"Round two, Lou Cheng!"
Round two, Lou Cheng had won… Lou Cheng ﬁnally relaxed his muscles and took a deep breath. This might have been his most difﬁcult battle ever. Peng Leyun had calmed down and was about to say something. Then suddenly he spat a mouthful of blood and fell onto the ground.
The Big Devil had ﬁnally fallen.
Chapter 414: Fighting With One Hand
In the pool of blood that surrounded Peng Leyun, there were four teeth. The teeth rolled over and over.
Looking at the scene before him, Lou Cheng felt as if he was watching the end of a ﬁlm in slow motion, frame by frame, like a dream.
He'd ﬁnally defeated the Big Devil! Though Peng Leyun had been injured before this round, he was still the Big Devil…
Recalling all he had done in the match, Lou Cheng found that every second had been ﬁlled with danger. Frankly speaking, he would have lost the game if Lin Que hadn't injured Peng Leyun beforehand.
It was the ﬁrst time that Peng Leyun had fallen due to lack of stamina since he'd begun ﬁghting in the arena! In the past three to four years, he had lost several times in combat battles. But each time he had been able to maintain his public image. He had never been in such a wretched state!
Lou Cheng exhaled to refresh his body. He knew he was lucky to have pulled himself through the ﬁerce battle. The fact that he had ﬁnally defeated the invincible Big Devil was so exciting that he couldn't calm himself down.
Though Peng Leyun had been injured in the ﬁrst round and some might thus look down on Lou Cheng, the fact that the Big Devil had already begun morphing actually added to the difﬁculty of the second round. It made Lou Cheng feel at ease and justiﬁed. Not to mention, he had actually gotten the honor on behalf of all his teammates at the cost of Lin Que's injury!
Lou Cheng was so excited that he wanted to shout with joy, but he ﬁnally got himself under control and mixed all his excitement into his momentum. He turned his gaze to the freckled man, Fang Zhirong, who sat in one of the seats of the Shanbei University Martial Arts Club. Fang Zhirong felt as if two suns were shining straight into his eyes to force them closed. At the same time, a dreamy whistle began echoing in his ears as if there was going to be a blizzard.
Fang Zhirong's trembling body reminded him of the fact that Lou Cheng's momentum had reached its peak after the competition with Peng Leyun!
If Lou Cheng had run out of stamina or been badly injured, Fang Zhirong wouldn't have been so nervous. Lou Cheng wouldn't have defeated Peng Leyun without the help of momentum. The second round had come to its end before Lou Cheng reached his limit. With his inhuman stamina, it was possible for Lou Cheng to win another round. His momentum was of great importance under such circumstances.
Taking a deep breath to calm himself, Fang Zhirong stood up and walked towards the arena without looking at the others.
... "This is the ﬁrst time I've seen Peng Leyun in such poor condition." Liu Chang sighed in the broadcasting room.
"Yeah, it was a really ﬁerce battle," Chen Sansheng replied. He was writing something on a piece of paper. "I never expected an injured Peng Leyun to be so hard to deal with. And I never knew Lou Cheng could persist so long. Lou Cheng's good timing and indomitable will are really admirable. Of course, Lou Cheng's martial arts base is still shallow compared with the experienced Peng Leyun. Well, what I mean is not Lou Cheng's Kung Fu, but his application and his ﬁghting style in an actual combat. All in all, Lou Cheng is still too young."
"Yes, or he wouldn't have suffered so much." Liu Chang nodded with a smile. "But Lou Cheng really is a talented warrior, and he's good at ﬁghting. And his performance in the arena always brings us a surprise. I'm sure he will soon be ready for another competition with a warrior at the top level below the Inhuman stage."
Chen Sansheng nodded. "Peng Leyun's failure was perfectly logical and reasonable. The combination of Lin Que's courage and Lou Cheng's strength and invincibility have created miracles." Though he was a little incoherent with excitement, he managed to make himself understood.
"Okay, Peng Leyun was helped out from the arena. Sansheng, how serious do you think his injury is? Could you please predict Lou Cheng's competition with Fang Zhirong?" Liu Chang asked.
Chen Sansheng thought for a while and then answered,
"Peng Leyun was hit by three Internal Explosions and dozens of Tremor Punches, and he was also suffering from an internal injury. If he hadn't begun morphing and thus enhancing his physical condition, he would have been badly injured and would have to stay in bed for at least several months. But his morphing enabled him to persist until Lou Cheng made the third Internal Explosion. This extended the ﬁght longer than we expected and actually worsened Peng Leyun's injury. On the other hand, Peng Leyun's enhanced physical condition helped considerably. In conclusion, it might take him one to two months to recover. "Though the battle cost Lou Cheng a considerable amount of energy, his inhuman stamina is different from ours and thus I can't make a normal deduction. In my opinion, Lou Cheng should still have enough stamina to ﬁght against a normal Seventh-Pin warrior. But have you realized that Lou Cheng's
right arm is injured? His last attack worsened the injury, so he won't be able to use his right arm in the third round."
Liu Chang nodded. "Yes, Peng Leyun also noticed it, but there was not enough time for him to take advantage of it. Lou Cheng was actually ﬁghting with one arm."
"So there is a good opportunity for Fang Zhirong in the third round as long as he takes advantage of it. There might be a sixty percent chance he will win." Chen Sansheng added, "If Lou Cheng struggles to defeat Fang Zhirong, Songcheng will be the champion. Xu Wannian is much weaker than Lou Cheng and will soon lose the fourth round as long as Lou Cheng is still able to move."
"Are you sure? Even though Xu Wangnian can't use his Corvine Mouth supernatural ability, he is still a Professional- Ninth-Pin ﬁghter." Liu Chang doubted Chen Sansheng's comment. Chen Sansheng smiled. "It depends on how powerful his opponent is. For example, Lou Cheng could make him suffer substantially with an Army' Formula, for Xu Wangnian is unable to resist it. The fact is that Lou Cheng is a ﬁghter of a higher level than Xu Wangnian. He has various ﬁghting styles, enough to suppress Xu Wannian's movements. Unless Lou Cheng's right arm is injured badly again, and he is unable to make a gesture, he will… No. Even if Lou Cheng loses his right arm, his momentum fueled with the victory of defeating the Big Devil is enough to frighten Xu Wangnian to death."
"According to your analysis, Xu Wangnian is one unlucky guy. But now that Lou Cheng has reached his limit, will his supernatural ability to rebound against Xu Wangnian also be weakened?" Liu Chang asked in confusion.
Since the supernatural ability always came from the variation of a warrior's root pulp and cells, it was closely related to the warrior's physical condition.
"Maybe… But will Xu Wannian dare to take the risk…" Chen Sansheng murmured and then straightened himself under the broadcasting director's instruction. "Anyway, Lou Cheng is likely to win as long as he can pull himself through the third round and meet Xu Wangnian in the fourth round. The coming round will likely determine the champion."
"The third round is about to start. Will Lou Cheng be able to get two straight wins with great momentum? Will Fang Zhirong take advantage of Lou Cheng's injured arm and help Shanbei get its third championship? Let's wait and see!"
"What a tough battle…" Wonton Seller appeared in Lou Cheng's forum and sighed with emotion.
She was worried about Lou Cheng. Her heart was beating.
Unparalleled Dragon King replied jokingly, "That's why Peng Leyun is called the Big Devil. There was a moment where I believed Lou Cheng would lose the game." "I have dropped my cup out of excitement," Brahman cried. "Our idol has suffered a lot! I hope he will get the Feitian Cup soon!"
"Don't be so excited. We are still unsure which team will be the champion. Lou Cheng can't use his right arm in the next round and we don't know whether he can defeat Fang Zherong," Unparalleled Dragon King analyzed rationally. "God prefers tragedy. Is it more expressive to see an aspiring boy ﬁght to his last minute and ﬁnally fail in regret?"
"I prefer to see your tragedy…" Eternal Nightfall Yan Xiaoling replied. She was nervous again and felt choked with sadness.
They had been ﬁghting their way to this stage. No one wanted to fall down outside the door of victory!
The girls forgot to show their idol off on Weibo. Instead, they began praying for Lou Cheng in the forum. On the other side, Okamoto's Fan and the other fans began covering the web page with posts of just two words: "Winning streak!"
"Damn it, even the Big Devil was killed with your poison!"
A series of comments with the same contents appeared under He Xiaowei's Weibo.
"Am I as powerful as they say?" He Xiaowei rubbed his beard and clicked onto the nickname-changing page. Thinking over and over again, he decided to ignore it and again posted on Weibo, "I don't believe that Lou Cheng will defeat Fang Zhirong with only one arm! Shanbei will end up winning the championship!"
The number of comments on his Weibo began to skyrocket.
"Well, it seems that you won't give up until Shanbei is killed with your poison!"
"I admire you so much!"
"Be careful. Shanbei might hire someone to kill you after the match!"
"Is Shanbei really our rival…"
"How much did Lou Cheng pay you for your poison milk?" An All-knowing Man in Ganghood also saw the Weibo post. It made him feel like he'd been hit with a stick. He wished he could be in charge of Weibo and kick Poisonous Milk out.
He'd felt his heart skip a beat when Peng Leyun lost the round. He was even about to fall down with Peng Leyun. Just as he was soothing himself with the comment "Lou Cheng has an injured arm, while Fang Zhirong is at his peak", Poisonous Milk's Weibo post suddenly appeared before his eyes, making him even more depressed.
He was encountering nothing but bad luck tonight!
In the seats of the Songcheng University Martial Arts Club, Yan Zheke clenched her teeth tightly when she saw Lou Cheng's injured arm and slower movement.
Cheng still needed to join in the next round with his injured arm… As thoughts ﬂashed across her mind, she suddenly recalled the time when Lou Cheng had gotten injured before. Lou Cheng had once shown off to her how he could still eat with his left hand, but then screwed up his meal with a blank look. As a result, Yan Zheke had to feed him with ﬂushing cheeks.
With the help of these sweet memories, Yan Zheke smiled unconsciously. She felt her tension and hesitation release slightly.
Despite the serious situation, she almost burst out laughing!
Adjusting her facial expression quickly, Ke brought her hands together at her heart to pray sincerely.
Lou Cheng was recalling the same thing.
In order to enjoy Ke's tenderness like that, he must prevent himself from leaving the arena in regret! He decided not to release the numbness with the help of Jindan. His remaining stamina was enough for him to make four or ﬁve explosions, and the Jindan would help him make three to four extra explosions. Fang Zhirong was unable to do this!
Now that he was likely to win the match, he should seize the opportunity tightly!
Lou Cheng stopped planning for the next round and turned his gaze to Fang Zhirong in front of him. He heard the audience cheering.
The referee raised his right hand.
The key round that would determine the competition's result was going to start.
The referee waved his arm down. "Start! "
Chapter 415: The Overwhelming Stage
The hoary, deep voice echoed in the martial arts stadium, quieting the cheers and claps and drawing all the attention to the ring.
"It's time to decide the champion of this National University Martial Arts Competition!"
While carrying Peng Leyun towards the emergency ward with Mao Chengjun's help, Bernhard was distracted and turned around unconsciously. "One is easily disturbed when concerned."
He heard the sound of electric currents and then the silver electricity ﬂew through his body. All his hair stood up.
The numbing feeling went away immediately as Bernhard turned to look at Peng Leyun blankly. Mao Chengjun on the other side suffered the same electric shock and experienced shivering in his muscles.
Peng Leyun chuckled and said,
"Sorry, I had an emotional wave motion."
Due to suffering from a severe internal injury, his supernatural ability of thunder and lightning went out of control as his mood ﬂuctuated.
"No worries. We are also concerned about the match." Mao Chengjun understood exactly how Peng Leyun felt upon hearing the word "Start".
Listening to them talking, Bernhard could only think of one thing.
"I was actually struck by the lightning..." …
Before the referee's voice vanished in the air, Lou Cheng already lifted his hands and formed a seal in front of his lower stomach despite the pain he was suffering.
Almost at the same time, an ancient character was sketched in his head, his stomach began to wiggle, and his throat opened up to chant in a low voice,
A ﬁgure in a black-edged white robe broke the air screen and dashed into Fang Zhirong in a ﬂash.
Fang Zhirong had expected the overwhelming Lou Cheng to take the initiative to unleash his advantages and suppress the rival's morale. He bent his back into an arch and moved in the manner between a wolf and a snake to avoid the frontal confrontation just in time and turn the match into a guerrilla ﬁght.
He moved swiftly in a rather strange way, blocking the light and creating a black shadow on the ﬂoor.
The shadow wiggled as he turned and twisted, sending a chill down the audience's spines.
Every style of the Dark Sect was intimidating in some way!
Lou Cheng transformed into the North Wind, chasing with a whistle and shortening the distance between them, fast and agilely.
His progress had been so rapid that he constantly had many new techniques to learn and master with not much effort to spare on improving his footwork. He still wasn't close to the Treading Dubhe and Alkaid stage, not to mention catching up with Ren Li. He didn't have enough time to mature and brew.
A few minutes later, Fang Zhirong, assuming Lou Cheng had thrown away his advantages, suddenly turned and launched a counterstrike, aiming at Lou Cheng's injured right arm.
He tightened his thighs and lifted his knee. His right foot rose slightly above the ﬂoor and stamped down at Lou Cheng's foot.
In the meanwhile, he exerted strength from his shoulders and threw his left arm out to punch the rival's right arm along with the tramp.
A trample plus a punch like a stab in the back!
Fang Zhirong was taking advantage of the injury in Lou Cheng's right arm and painful movements. Knowing Lou Cheng was capable of forming a suit of Ice Armor for defense, he had made a plan for his following moves. Once his punch broke the crystal ice, he would stretch his ﬁve ﬁngers out toward the rival's heart.
The mouth of a bamboo snake or the sting of a wasp.
Before his stamp landed, Lou Cheng, as if having telepathy, pulled his own foot back and turned right to perfectly duck the punch and the trample.
A master of the Ice Mirror by now, Lou Cheng was able to sense every subtle movement within a radius of dozens of centimeters. Fang Zhirong's attempts had nowhere to hide.
Lou Cheng wouldn't have survived Peng Leyun's Interlinked Thunder Strikes without this.
After the duck, a seal was formed in his hands and an ancient character ﬂoated in his head. All those dashes and chases Lou Cheng had done were on purpose to lure this counter-strike from Fang Zhirong so he could duck with the Ice Mirror and launch a sound attack after.
"Damn it!" Shocked by Lou Cheng's response, Fang Zhirong had to quit his move and begin to visualize.
A faint, ghostly green glow shone in his eyes like a toxic viper, his neck bloated, and his tongue stuck out.
The Spirit and Vigor Secret Art of the Dark Sect, Nightmare!
As the mysterious ancient sound ﬂew out, a bloody, evil feeling of a massive war invaded Fang Zhirong's heart. He shivered with fear, his courage collapsing and his body becoming sluggish. With a very peremptory, powerful determination and his familiarity with the Spirit and Vigor Secret Art of the Dark Sect, Lou Cheng quickly recovered after a brief shiver and visualized the Forwarding Formula.
Instead of calling the spell out loud to attempt a full recovery, he suppressed the impact through the visualization and grabbed the rare opportunity to slide forward and launch a left pound at the rival's chest.
An acute pain suddenly woke Fang Zhirong up. He immediately struggled to make a Force Concentration and put all his thoughts aside. Pulling back his blood and qi, force, and spirit, he curled up to form a ball on the ﬂoor and dodged Lou Cheng's mountain-shattering pound.
The squat was followed closely by a bounce. Fang Zhirong ignited his Dan force and threw his body out ﬁercely, as if ﬁring a cannon towards Lou Cheng's vital part.
However, Lou Cheng had quickly withdrawn his ﬁst, pulled back his blood and qi, and gathered them at his lower stomach like a well-experienced ﬁghter. Bam! His muscles bloated and right leg tightened into a whip, cracking towards Fang Zhirong's lifted arm.
A dull sound came out when Fang Zhirong, who was ﬂoating in the air, was kicked out like a football.
Lou Cheng drew in a deep breath and performed another explosion. His feet pushed the ground, sending his body out like a bomber after Fang Zhirong.
Following two loud bangs, Fang Zhirong, who was struggling to stabilize his body on the ﬂoor, saw the rival approaching rapidly, pulling back, and then releasing his qi and blood. The muscles on his opponent's left arm were bloated and a ﬁst shot out.
Great Snowslide Triple Explosions! Suppressed in every possible way, Fang Zhirong felt like his every movement had been predicted by the rival. He dared not take it lightly and hurried to visualize a turbine spinning inside his body like crazy, boosting the pressure.
Bam! Every muscle of his was suffering an excessive accumulation of blood, making his body taller and bigger. His right ﬁst punched out with supreme force.
The Turn of Two Ends of the Magnetism Sect, the Magnetic Field Spinning!
Airwaves rolled and rocked as the dark blue vessels stood out on their ﬁsts. Their muscles roused even more.
In a ﬂash, Lou Cheng's body began to shiver, blending techniques of the 24 Blizzard Strikes into the Force Concentration and once again pulling back his blood and qi and spirit. It left Fang Zhirong no other option but to make another Dan stage explosion; otherwise, he would be swallowed by the Brutal Blizzard.
Bam! The muscles on Lou Cheng's right leg bloated, kicking his foot out.
The fourth consecutive explosion!
Bam! Fang Zhirong confronted him with a whip kick passively.
Pong! The dull sound made by his leg was instantly followed by another explosion as Lou Cheng tramped the ﬂoor with the tip of his foot and dashed forth sideways, relying on his advantageous physical strength.
His terrifying strikes were so overwhelming, as if he intended to crush Fang Zhirong once for all. Fang Zhirong had to respond with his second explosion. His body bloated, his feet touched each other, and his body leaned forward.
The bump was deep and loud. Fang Zhirong swayed and fell back.
He felt numb on his scalp and immediately pulled back his blood and qi, stabilizing his body and getting into a defensive stance.
Lou Cheng, like an endless snowstorm, withdrew his blood and qi and then made the Quintuple Explosion mightily while his right foot stepped forward, aiming at the enemy's knee.
Bang! As their insteps hit, their martial arts shoes scattered into the air like hundreds of butterﬂies.
Fang Zhirong knew that he couldn't let this continue. He was someone who focused on the use of poison because his physical strength was weaker than that of his peers of the same rank. He claimed to be an inferior Seventh Pin ﬁghter, but he was merely able to complete the Quintuple Explosion in a row, while the overwhelming rival seemed capable of performing eight continuously. If they continued like this, he would be very close to his doom.
Unconsciously, his heart was suppressed by Lou Cheng's presence and his spirit was affected.
"Fight!" Fang Zhirong clenched his teeth and touched the ﬂoor with the tip of his feet, taking the initiative to make the fourth Force Concentration.
It was immediately followed by his left hand with ﬁve ﬁngers spread wide and green veins bulging outward, reaching out to grab Lou Cheng's right arm. His ﬁngers bore a ghostly, faint, green glow which would cause dizziness and nausea.
The Dark Sect 's Dark Poison Force!
Normally, the launch of a Dan stage explosion along with the use of a sect force would be considered a great strike, which usually could only be performed by martial artists in the Inhuman stage. However, Fang Zhirong's toxin was stored within his body and inside his ﬁngers so that he could fuse it into his Dan stage explosion. Though this mave had te risk of a possible boomerang effect.
At that crucial moment, he made that killer move at the cost of his own health in hopes of turning the tide.
As soon as Fang Zhirong reached out with his left hand, he realized that something was off from a very brief delay in Lou Cheng's Brutal Blizzard. Instead of completing another explosion, Lou Cheng lifted his hands and formed a seal!
He had read the target of Fang Zhirong's desperate move through his Ice Mirror telepathy and decided to take a reckless counterstrike.
Crack! With horrible fear, Fang Zhirong's ﬁngers broke the ice armor on Lou Cheng's right arm, tore his sleeve, and planted poison in his body.
Although stunned by sudden physical weakness and mental weariness, Lou Cheng managed to keep his face straight and began to chant in a low voice,
Once the qi of blood and evil invaded his head, Fang Zhirong lost his consciousness, trembling with fear as if surrounded by enemies. As the Dark Poison Force crept in, Lou Cheng's internal injury from the earlier thunder strikes was triggered, resulting in his body and mind weakening extremely fast and his capability of performing the Dan stage explosions decreasing.
He struggled to make one last Force Concentration, suppressing inﬂuences from all aspects, turning them into the Dan force, and ﬂowing it into his left arm.
With such a short distance between them, his ﬁst reached out like lightning and stopped right before Fang Zhirong's throat before he could recover.
The referee raised his right hand and announced loudly,
"Round Three, Lou Cheng wins!" Lou Cheng had fought ﬁercely in this round and exhausted himself to the ultimate extreme. Despite the worsening injury in his right arm, he had managed to keep the entire ﬁght under his control thanks to the Ice Mirror and the new tempo change technique he had just learned from Peng Leyun. Fang Zhirong had no chance to shine or to perform his newly mastered skills of the Plague Sect, Dark Sect, or Magnetism Sect.
Lou Cheng was completely overwhelming on the stage!
He felt entirely free from worry, physically and mentally, and his ﬁghting will rose up high. He could restrain himself no longer and let out another long shout like a response to the earlier one.
"Yes! I made it!"
As his shout echoed in the air, he turned to the Shanbei University Martial Arts Club's seating area. His eyes, which were like burning torches, locked on to Xu Wannian. Once their eyes met, Xu Wannian shivered unconsciously just like how he would shake during every urination.
Chapter 416: The Quick-Witted Lou Cheng
Moved by Lou Cheng's passion and ﬁghting will or aroused by his long shout, the majority of the audience in the stands were fuming with enthusiasm and began to call,
Today's Songcheng University, Lin Que, and Lou Cheng deserved the championship.
Xu Wannian ﬁnally broke free from Lou Cheng's stare and thought to himself blankly, "Damn it! I'm still here waiting to ﬁght... Don't ignore me like that!"
To be honest, he was very disturbed and short of conﬁdence. Lou Cheng, like Big Devil, should be high up there to worship, not to ﬁght with. "I wouldn't be like this if his supernatural ability didn't restrain my Corvine Mouth..."
The middle-aged, white-haired coach Huang Qing took a silent sigh before tapping Xu Wannian's shoulder and urging him gently,
"Don't be afraid. Zhirong's Dark Poison Force is much stronger than it was last year. I'm conﬁdent Lou Cheng is already at the end of his rope. Keep your mouth closed and take this ﬁght seriously. You have a decent chance of winning!"
Comforted by these gentle yet certain words, Xu Wannian was mostly relieved from the nervousness and fear he was feeling. He nodded strongly.
"Yes, I'll do my best!"
"I'm in my ﬁnal year of university. It has been remarkable if not perfect. I don't want a defeat to end my season!" He stood up and took a deep breath, about to stride to the ring.
Huang Qing, his eyes sparkling, reminded him,
"Try your Corvine Mouth if you're in a hopeless position!"
The effect of most supernatural abilities would weaken as the bearer's physical condition worsened. As Lou Cheng was already at his utmost limit, he might no longer be able to repel the Corvine Mouth.
However, there was always an exception. Even if Lou Cheng's supernatural ability had been weakened, it might still be able to suppress Xu Wannian's curses. Attempting his Corvine Mouth at the very beginning would be a gambling, unwise move with a 50/50 chance of success or suicide.
So he better play this as the last attempt when he was in a desperate situation. "Yeah!" Xu Wannian became a miser with words, imagining zipping up his mouth with a zipper as a reminder for himself not to talk recklessly.
Dong, dong, dong. He strode out with fast and heavy steps.
Fang Zhirong in the ring ﬁnally shook off the effect of the Army formula. Although he was not severely harmed, his face was pale and his eyes were ﬁlled with anger towards himself and everything.
"In front of the worn-out Lou Cheng with internal injuries after a ﬁerce battle with Peng Leyun, I had such an utter rout from the very beginning till the end. The entire ﬁght was pretty much a joke.
"One and a half years ago, he was a greenhorn with no martial arts experience, far from me."
Too ashamed to stay in the ring, Fang Zhirong turned around and headed to the locker room of the Shanbei University Martial Arts Club, his face red and eyes bashful and ﬁerce. He clenched his teeth as Xu Wannian walked by and murmured with an attitude,
"Don't be fooled by Lou Cheng. He's at his limits already!"
In the last bout, he had grabbed Lou Cheng's right arm, infused his poison force, and sensed his poor health condition.
Xu Wannian nodded and his conﬁdence was strengthened.
"I'll ﬁnish this ﬁght! I'll bring the third championship home!"
"I have to admit that the progress of this match went beyond my expectations." Chen Sansheng in the broadcasting studio sighed. "You didn't think Lou Cheng would win?" asked the host, Liu Cheng, in shock.
"Didn't Sansheng just say that Lou Cheng had a 40% chance of winning?"
"No. I knew Lou Cheng might win, but I didn't see it come so easily. Everything was so under his control." Chen Sansheng took a moment to think and added, "When I said 'easy', I was not talking about saving his physical strength. It was an easy win because he had no actual threat at all and kept the initiative throughout the entire ﬁght. He picked the right time and the right move to take his enemy down.
"What does it mean? Not only his physical quality, moves and supernatural abilities, he is actually superior to Fang Zhirong in many aspects, maybe even more than one stage or one rank."
It was very rare for a martial artist below the Inhuman stage to master the Ice Mirror. Most top Professional Sixth Pin ﬁghters couldn't do it. Of course, some favored ﬁghters of the age, like Peng Leyun and Ren Li, were able to perform something similar more or less, yet most of them didn't have the right martial arts style, which indirectly proved the Queen of Thought's remarkable vision since Ann Chaoyang had preliminarily grasped the Lake and Mirror Liked Wisdom.
"That's right... I also noticed some tempo change from Lou Cheng in this ﬁght. He is highly gifted indeed. He had a lesson just now and mastered it at once!" Praised Liu Cheng. "The fourth round is about to start. He-heh. Sansheng, according to your earlier comments, Songcheng University has pretty much secured the championship, right?"
"Not yet," said Chen Sansheng modestly. "I just have a lyric line for Xu Wannian."
"Which one?" asked Lou Cheng curiously.
"I can see it already. A tragedy is on..." Sang Chen Sansheng.
Liu Chang laughed. "You are spilling your poisonous milk on Songcheng University and Lou Cheng." "No worries. Lou Cheng has the supernatural ability to bounce away curses and poisonous milk," answered Chen Sansheng in a humorous way.
In Lou Cheng's fan forum, the very excited Yan Xiaoling, Eternal Nightfall, posted a whip-cracking emoji.
"What tragedy are you talking about? I'm waiting for a comedy show."
"Alarm! No water drinking in the next couple of minutes..." replied Brahman, just as excited.
As their conversation went on, Yan Zheke's eyes softened and shone more brightly in the Song Cheng University Martial Arts Club's seating area. She muttered quietly, "Idiot Cheng, didn't you say you hated that nickname? Why did you yell again and again then?
"The nickname is perfect for you." She burst into a laugh with a very beautiful curve on her lips. After the ﬁght with the Old Fellow Mu, she became more conﬁdent in her boyfriend and less worried. Joy and excitement began to brew.
"Heheh. I have contributed to this championship. I have worked hard for it. I'm not just a cheering spectator."
Li Mao and Cai Zongming had stood up, waiting to get on the stage and throw Lou Cheng up into the air after the ﬁnal comedy show.
Dong! Dong! Dong!
Taking his position in front of Lou Cheng, Xu Wannian suddenly felt anxious under Lou Cheng's overwhelming gaze. His calves tightened and an idea came to his head.
"His presence is really frightening!" Despite his tough looks and imposing presence, Lou Cheng was actually in a very poor health condition.
Fang Zhirong had improved signiﬁcantly through hardcore training. His Dark Poison Force could cause chest tightness and shortness of breath and weaken and wear out the rival's body and mind. Lou Cheng felt sleepy and numb. He could no longer maintain the Ice Mirror even with the supplementary strength from his Jindan, not to mention performing Force Concentration or simpliﬁed physical invulnerability.
The Swordsman Formula could temper one's body and improve his body quality and mental concentration internally and help recover others' physical strength externally. It couldn't heal the bearer or assist him to rise up high to the peak. Fang Zhirong's Dark Poison Force actually bore a toxin that couldn't be efﬁciently reduced by the Force Concentration. Lou Cheng would have ﬁnished the ﬁght in a much worse condition had he not completed one Dan stage explosion before the poison broke out.
"However, others can't see my current state... I still have a chance of defeating Xu Wannian with the stratagem of the Empty City..." Lou Cheng lowered his waist slightly and resumed his stance, attempting to crush the rival with his presence.
The injury on his right arm was not much worse than earlier because Fang Zhirong's ﬁnal grab focused on infusing poison. Before he could pull and tear, he was stunned by the Army Formula. As long as Lou Cheng could bear the pain, his right hand could move about.
The referee raised his right hand and took a deep breath before calling,
The possibly last match had started!
Dong! Dong! Dong! Lou Cheng lowered his back and transformed into the northerly wind again, rolling and whistling towards Xu Wannian. His imposing presence advanced ahead of his move. Xu Wannian, short of conﬁdence, was afraid of any frontal confrontation with Lou Cheng with fear for his Army Formula and the simpliﬁed physical invulnerability. He twisted his feet and employed the Yu footwork to duck away before taking his stance and wielding his right arm like a giant hammer.
The 24 Pounds of the Thunder Sect, Plank Shuddering Pound!
He believed he had to give Lou Cheng enough pressure to prevent him from recovery.
Xu Wannian kept his mouth shut, scared of anything slipping out of his mouth out of his usual practice. The good might fail and the bad might work.
Lou Cheng's spine straightened and then his waist bent, his weight rolling smoothly. He adopted the guerrilla war style to dodge the strike and then slid to the side of the enemy.
Pam! His knee joint popped and his right foot quickly kicked out towards Xu Wannian's ankle.
"Beautiful! He's of the Professional Sixth Pin indeed, way more ﬂexible than me..." Never good at footwork or agility, Xu Wannian knew he wouldn't have enough time to throw his leg out unless he wanted to offer his joint to the enemy. He pulled back his waist as well as his left foot to avoid the trample.
Lou Cheng's right foot gently touched the ﬂoor and his left foot quickly caught up to throw another low kick, aiming at the rival's ankle joint again.
Pop! Pop! Pop!
He kicked three times and Xu Wannian took three steps back, his panic gradually replaced by calm.
The engagement between them had revealed how weak Lou Cheng was. His lost faith began to return and his morale increased! Lou Cheng continued with another stamp, and Xu Wannian retreated again, preparing to throw his leg out to begin a ﬁerce wave of counter-strikes.
Lou Cheng's body leaned back, pulling the force away from his leg as he had planned. His leg became soft, as if boneless.
Both of his hands were raised and a seal was formed, his face solemn and serious.
"This is a tempo change. This is the Army Formula!"
Xu Wannian was terriﬁed to death. Since he was in the middle of a step back, he wouldn't be able to avoid the frontal confrontation of secret discipline this time unless he quitted his stance.
In a ﬂash, he stopped thinking and pressed his tongue against his teeth. He took a gentle bite in hopes of irritating his brain with pain to resist the invasion of the Army formula, which was his planned countermeasure after watching many match videos. One of his hands lifted and the other pressed down, blocking his vital parts.
"As long as I can survive this bout, he will be at his limits and victory will be mine!" Xu Wannian cheered himself up.
In front of his eyes, the serious-looking Lou Cheng suddenly put on a smirk. His left hand, with a formed seal, reached out at lightning speed. His wrist hooked and then shook to shoot out a white beam along the ﬂoor.
"I'm sorry, but this is not the Army Formula!
"Where would I ﬁnd the strength to perform another Army Formula?"
"Holy crap!" Anger rose in Xu Wannian's heart and the pain traveled from the tip of his tongue to his head. His stance couldn't be changed in a ﬂash. "Holy cow! This b*tch!" Cai Zongming opened his mouth wide and blurted out, amused and annoyed.
"Cheng just stole my idea!"
The cold beam hit Xu Wannian's legs and a white crystal ﬂame rose and froze his body.
"Now is the time!"
Lou Cheng bucked up and straightened his back to throw another beautiful kick gracefully at the vital part between Xu Wannian's legs.
Xu Wannian was shivering in the cold, but his head suddenly cleared up, remembering the last words from his coach. He squeezed his ass and shouted, "Strained!"
His Corvine Mouth ability was very limited at that moment. No meteor would fall if he called for that. With such a distance between them, it probably wouldn't work if he called for a miss.
Lou Cheng was completely unaffected, his ﬂying kick continuing ﬁercely.
The referee threw out his leg to block this kick and then raised his right hand.
"Round four, Lou Cheng!"
"The ﬁnal result of the match... Songcheng University Martial Arts Club wins!" After a second of silence, the audience began to shout,
"Songcheng University! Champion!"
"Lou Cheng! Champion!"
Among the cheers and claps, Xu Wannian turned to the referee with a pained look on his face.
"Could anybody give me a hand? My ass has a cramp...
"Maybe my gluteus muscles are strained..."
Chapter 417: What Happened in the Past Stays in the Past
"Round four... Lou Cheng wins!"
"The ﬁnal result of the match: Songcheng University Martial Arts Club wins!"
As soon as the referee began to give the announcement, Li Mao and Sun Jian rushed out excitedly and carefreely towards the ring, screaming and shouting.
If it were a win over Peng Leyun or Fang Zhirong in the last round, it might've taken them much longer to respond, to believe, and to accept. However, after two extremely tough ﬁghts, Lou Cheng's ﬁnal round was with Xu Wannian, whose supernatural ability was completely suppressed. Their expectations had expanded and they had been waiting for this moment to vent off their feelings.
Among the cheers and claps, the strongest bench ﬁghter, Yan Zheke, rushed to the ring the ﬁrst, like an agile deer, and hugged Lou Cheng.
At that very moment, she could suppress her surging feelings no more. In front of the audience and all the spectators in front of the TV, she showed her love to the world.
"Whatever! My dad already knows anyway."
During the process, though extremely excited, she carefully avoided her boyfriend's injured right arm.
Unlike his well-prepared teammates, Lou Cheng was still in a trance. He had quite some conﬁdence in defeating Xu Wannian despite being at his limit, but he wasn't completely assured. He had even planned for the worst that he would lay a good foundation for his little fairy's victory. The win came so sudden, like a dream. That hot, tender and fragrant body in his arms brought him back to reality. With joy rolling in his heart, he asked in an uncertain tone,
"We are the champions?"
"Yeah!" Yan Zheke nodded, her eyes sparkling.
"We are the champions!"
Looking at her joyful but tired boyfriend, she found him extremely handsome; even his strong sweat odor seemed refreshing and pleasant. Highly passionate and enthusiastic, she opened her lips slightly, about to get on her tiptoes to give Lou Cheng a deep kiss in front of the entire world.
Coming back to reality, Lou Cheng felt his emotions explode. He couldn't restrain himself anymore and lowered his head to give his little fairy a french kiss in which he could share his feelings with her. As their eyes locked, the kiss came really close, but Cai Zongming and the other teammates arrived, surrounded them, and grabbed him by his waist, legs, or shoulders.
They cheered as they threw Lou Cheng up in the air and then caught him ﬁrmly.
The celebration continued and Yan Zheke took a step back with a much-amused smile, her right hand upon her pink lips unconsciously. She was shocked by how she had lost control and felt sorry that the kiss had gotten disturbed by their teammates.
Up in the air, Lou Cheng turned around to look at the pretty Ke, his eyes ﬁlled with joy and innocence, showing his pity. As their eyes met, Yan Zheke burst into a laugh more beautiful than all the ﬂowers. When one thing suddenly came to her head, she opened her mouth with a worried look.
"His arm has injuries. Be careful! Careful!"
Listening to the ear-deafening screams and watching the excitement of his daughter and all the other members of the Song Cheng University Martial Arts Club, Yan Kai took a deep breath before giving a neutral comment while recalling Lou Cheng's performance earlier.
"Very determined, of good quality, and fairly powerful."
Quick-eared and sharp-eyed, Ji Mingyu chuckled and said quietly, "My girl has a good eye. When they ﬁrst started going out, I didn't think Lou could improve to this level."
Almost deafened by the shouts around them, Yan Kai, of average martial arts skills and no supernatural ability, turned around and asked blankly, "Ahh? What did you say? I didn't hear!"
Ji Mingyu burst into a laugh and threw a glare at her husband, who was dumb like a wooden cock.
She grabbed his hands and raised them up as she shouted out,
"Being elegant and reﬁned in manners isn't a ﬁt for this scene. "Letting yourself have your own way once in a while is great for your mind and your health."
Inﬂuenced by his wife, Yan Kai began to assimilate into the celebrating crowd, putting his gentleness and elegance aside for the moment.
However, something was still bothering him. Lou Cheng had earned his fame at such a young age. With such a bright future, would he give in to temptations, fall for comfort and luxury, and indulge and become promiscuous?
These things had happened to countless young individuals.
A father would worry if his little girl was dating a poor man. He would worry still if she was seeing a very successful guy. A father of a girl just couldn't quit worrying.
… "Round four... Lou Cheng wins!"
"The ﬁnal result of the match: Songcheng University Martial Arts Club wins!"
In the emergency ward, Lin Que heaved a sigh upon hearing the result from the doctor. His tightened body relaxed and his clenched ﬁsts stretched open.
He closed his eyes and a very tough, manly middle-aged gentleman appeared in front of him.
"Father, I made it! I got the Feitian Cup..." Lin Que muttered silently.
That middle-aged man smiled gently, with much comfort on his face.
In the room on the other side of the wall, Bernhard and Mao Chengjun clinched their ﬁsts ﬁrmly while pained looks appeared on their faces.
The championship they thought they had secured was gone!
Peng Leyun, who was lying in bed, was not in a trance or thinking, he was lost and dejected.
Ever since he picked up martial arts, he had never suffered such a setback!
"I thought I could quit next year's university tournament..."
The corners of his mouth twitched into a smirk at himself.
Fang Zhirong had long gotten in the locker room, burying his face in a white towel. Xu Wannian, supported by some staff by the arm, stepped down from the ring very slowly, bearing the cramp and pain in his ass.
He didn't think he would end it so sumptuously. …
"Round four... Lou Cheng wins!"
"The ﬁnal result of the match: Songcheng University Martial Arts Club wins!"
In the broadcasting studio, the very responsive host, Liu Chang, quickly began to comment with a smile,
"Congratulations, Songcheng University. Congratulations, Lou Cheng and Lin Que. Congratulations, everyone from the Song Cheng University Martial Arts Club. Congratulations for the championship of this year's National University Martial Arts Tournament. Congratulations for the very ﬁrst national championship in Songcheng University's history!"
He ﬁnished everything in one breath, feeling very passionate.
Chen Sansheng continued with a tinge of emotion, "I'm sure it is obvious to everyone that Shanbei University is stronger than Songcheng University. However, Lin Que's courage, determination, and self-sacriﬁce overcame the difference. Then Lou Cheng's resolution stood up to the pressure and his outstanding performance as a favored ﬁghter of the age brought them the ﬁnal victory.
"What I really want to say is that the strongest team lost the title to the best team!
"Congratulations, Song Cheng University Martial Arts Club!
You are the best!"
After letting out these words with his suppressed emotions, he took a moment to catch shis breath and then added with a smile,
"Right now I'm really looking forward to seeing how my old friend will honor his promise."
Staring at his Weibo page, in front of all kinds of replies, He Xiaowei was lost for a minute. He struggled dearly to move his arm and ﬁnally clicked on his nickname.
He took his time to prepare himself, closed his eyes, and typed in a new name in the dark.
Poison Milk Hierarch!
Phew... As soon as it was done, he leaned back and shut his eyes again sorrowfully, feeling his old soul of Superstitious Belief Is Bad dying.
After the referee's announcement, An All-knowing Man in Ganghood pounded the table with fury, breaking his treasure into pieces. A sharp pain came from his wrist.
Once he calmed down, he realized Lou Cheng might reach the Inhuman stage this year and he might have to delete his account as he had promised... …
"Round four... Lou Cheng wins!"
"The ﬁnal result of the match" Songcheng University Martial Arts Club wins!"
In the dorm room of the Faculty of Art in Songcheng University, Yan Xiaoling, instead of posting, telling jokes, or celebrating upon seeing the victory, began to cry, her eyes very red and her vision blurry.
"It was not easy... Not easy... It was not easy for Lou Cheng or Lin Que...
"How many setbacks have they gone through? How much effort have they devoted? Finally, they won the title!"
Through tears, she browsed the forums, which were ﬂooded by the word "Champion," and cried even harder. "It was not easy for any of us!"
Yan Xiaoling turned around unconsciously to check on Mu Jinnian, who was also dropping tears, eyes red and makeup smudged.
"You are also crying..." Yan Xiaoling sobbed.
"Would it be very odd if I called it a coincidence?"
"Yeah... I'm happy but worried..." Mu Jinnian whimpered. "Ling, your wish has come true!"
"Of course..." With tears on her face, Yan Xiaoling looked rather proud.
Mu Jinnian dried her tears and changed to a serious tone, "To not cause them any boomerang effect, I'll make sure you get up early from tomorrow on."
"Ahh..." Yan Xiaoling opened her mouth wide. On her face was a dumbfounded expression.
After the celebration, the staff began to clean the stage. They carpeted the ﬂoor, during which singers and dancers were performing.
Twenty minutes later, everything was set. Fang Jinjue, the chairman of the national university Martial Arts Federation led several guests up onto the stage. They ﬁrst awarded the 2nd place silver medals to the low-spirited, dismayed Shanbei University members.
"Next, welcome the champions of this National University Martial Arts Tournament, Songcheng University Martial Arts Club!" called the host loudly. Woooo!
Among waves of vuvuzela blows, all the members followed Geezer Shi up onto the stage. Gold medals were held by Miss Etiquettes, and the Martial Apsara cup was placed on the desk in front of them.
In a split second, all their emotions were surging up again. Lou Cheng, tears coming to his eyes, turned around to Yan Zheke, noticing her eyes blurry and a crystal tear dripping down her ﬁne face, extremely beautiful and charming.
"You said you never cried..." Lou Cheng calmed himself down and poked a joke at Ke.
Yan Zheke quivered her lovely nose and threw a glare at him before answering with sobs,
"I said I never cried when I was sad and gloomy. Right now I'm very glad and thrilled..." Li Mao and Cai Zongming supported Lin Que by the arms, stepping out of the emergency ward. Once his injuries were stabilized, he strongly demanded to attend the ceremony.
Lou Cheng moved closer to Yan Zheke to make some room for his brother-in-law to his right.
Before they could share any words, the old gentleman, Fang Jinjue, approached and awarded them each a gold medal.
"How much alcohol can I get out of this?" Geezer Shi mumbled, giving Fang Jinyu a great deal of shock, who had been pretending to be a total stranger.
After some coughs, Fang Jinyu placed a gold medal around Lin Que's neck and praised with a smile,
"You have persistence, courage, and ability to take action, what a true martial artist is made of." Lin Que nodded gently as his answer, trying to remain cool and calm, but his eyes faltered.
"A young talent, you deserve to be one of the Heavenly Sons." Fang Jinjue moved forward and gave a very positive comment to Lou Cheng while putting on the gold medal for him.
"I have just begun," answered Lou Cheng in a humorous manner.
After awarding all the gold medals, Fang Jinjue picked up the Apsara Cup, the highest honor, and handed towards Coach Shi Jianguo.
Geezer Shi waved and pointed at Lou Cheng. "He will take it."
"Give it to Lin Que." Lou Cheng inserted in a hurry.
Without asking why, Fang Jinjue handed the Feitian Cup to Lin Que in a very serious way. Lin Que accepted it with both hands. His eyes suddenly blurred with tears as the heaviness landed on him.
He didn't take a moment to recall any old memories; instead, he raised the cup high in the air. The championship cup of the National University Martial Arts Tournament.
The audience cheered. Lou Cheng and everyone from the team cheers!
Bam! Bam! Bam! Guns were ﬁred and countless white and black paper pieces ﬂew, becoming a glorious background behind Lin Que, Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke.
Chapter 418: The Fervor Has Gone
In a nicely decorated private room in a BBQ restaurant, Lou Cheng and the others toasted one another time and time again, celebrating their hard-won victory as champions of the National Competition.
After the awards ceremony, they were interviewed and then took a group photo, then each of them had lifted up the trophy cup and walked around the arena, sending their greetings. They had then returned to the locker room amidst the raucous applause of the spectators.
After showering, they had gotten on the bus and returned to the hotel to drop off their things. They then met back up and came to this place to continue their team celebration, except Lin Que, who was seriously injured.
Seeing how happy everyone was, Geezer Shi had relaxed his restrictions and allowed them to drink in celebration. They could drink anything they wanted, but he only had one demand: that they couldn't get drunk!
Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke had their own principles and wouldn't make an exception even for this occasion, so they chose to drink soda and plum juice while toasting among their senior and junior brothers and sisters.
After another round of toasting, the slightly red-in-the-face Sun Jian took a bottle of beer and grunted as he reﬁlled his cup, afterward pulling Lin Hua to his side. He glanced at everyone and said humorously,
"Alright, I myself, as a useless onlooker, hereby suggest a toast to everyone."
Lou Cheng, Cai Zongming, and the others roared with laughter, one after the other saying, "If you want to toast, just do a toast, why make Sister Lin join you?"
Sun Jian laughed, took a deep breath and said, "I've been waiting until now to say this. When we head back to Songcheng, me and Huahua won't be continuing in the Martial Arts Club. I want to take this opportunity to give everyone a farewell toast."
He and Lin Hua were going to go to Huahai to work, and there were a few things he had to take care of. In order to complete his ﬁnal thesis, he would have to pack his schedule to the brim, and he'd simply be too busy in the meantime.
Lou Cheng had already foreseen this and prepared himself internally for it. However, actually seeing and hearing Sun Jian say it, he felt emotional. Everyone had been together for nearly two years now, attending special training and sweating blood and tears together; how could they not feel as if they were close friends?
However, every banquet must end and everyone must go their separate ways when it's ﬁnished.
Not waiting for Cai Zongming and the others to open their mouths, Sun Jian said with great emotion, "Even though during this National Competition, I wasn't like Huahua and I couldn't drag up a chance to get in the arena, my impression is just as strong as before. I don't feel like I'm not a member of this team."
Arriving at this point, he smiled. "When I ﬁrst entered the Martial Arts Club, all I wanted to do was train in order to be in a competition and be able to vent out my frustrations. I never imagined that I'd be at any kind of district contest or National Competition until I met Brother Chen and you all... you all... ah, forget it, I can't say anything bad about you guys. Anyway, for those two years, I never felt that I was really a member of the Martial Arts Club. It was just that when I had time I'd use the arena or the Strength Training Gymnasium. If I didn't have time, then nobody would really pay me any mind."
"These two years though, doing special training, exercises, and working and struggling together with everyone to get to the National Competition, I really started to feel that I was a member of the Martial Arts Club. If we lost, I was sad, and if we won, I was excited. As my Dad would say, I had a collective sense of honor..." As he went on, Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke watched and listened quietly. Reaching the tail end of his speech, Sun Jian grunted and drank from his cup of beer and then broke out by saying,
"This cup is a toast from the eternal substitute Sun Jian!"
Lou Cheng and the others each lifted up their glasses and, after drinking a mouthful, responded in unison,
"Let's make a toast to Senior Brother Sun!"
Sun Jian once again poured himself a small cup of liquor, and pulling Lin Hua's hand said,
"I read a book once, and it said a vast majority of one's life is plain and ordinary. There's not much worth writing home about, and it's just a cycle of one day after the next. Every once in a while something will stand out and there will be a spark that gives your life a different color. "Perhaps in the future, my life will be this ordinary, but I can proudly say that in my prime, Huahua and I, along with you all, all came together to realize our dream. Together we tasted the bitterness of defeat and the sweetness of victory. Together we created a miracle!
"After the ﬂames of youth die out, some sparks remain. It's great, great!"
He and Lin Hua toasted together, and with voices full of both sadness and joy said,
"Afterwards, whoever comes to Huahai don't forget to get in touch with us.
"We truly will meet again!" As he spoke, he suddenly began to cry and emptied his glass.
Lin Hua also ﬁnished her glass while holding back her tears.
Li Xiaowen and the others also had tears in their eyes as one after the other they toasted, symbolizing that they would certainly meet once again.
Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke also were wet in the eyes. With heavy hearts, they clinked glasses and drank all of the contents.
Smiling yet crying, joyous yet melancholy, excited yet downtrodden, the celebration by the Songcheng University Martial Arts Club was reaching its end. Sun Jian, contrary to Geezer Shi's restrictions, had drunk himself into a stupor, endlessly repeating the phrase, "Goodbye, we'll meet again!" but no one blamed him and no one scolded him.
Standing in the restaurant, they talked throughout the night. Each and everyone of them was bright and happy, their minds free and clear. "Hic... I won't go back to the hotel with you all, I need to hit the streets with my friend Fang Yuan," he said as he pointed to the girl sitting on a bicycle across the road. Cai Zongming's alcohol tolerance was quite high.
"Go, only two days have passed and you've become this much of a scoundrel!" Lou Cheng replied humorously.
He would soon be separated from his girlfriend again!
Watching the ﬁgure of Classmate Little Ming as he crossed the road to make sure he was safe, Geezer Shi coughed. "While we've been occupied with the National Competition, ever since we've gotten to the Capital, I haven't met my old friends. You all go back, this old man has some things to do."
"Yes, Master!" Lou Cheng, Yan Zheke, and the others waved goodbye.
Waiting for Shi Jianguo to leave, Li Xiaowen and He Zi became more excited and said to the two couples Lou Cheng, Yan Zheke, Sun Jian, and Lin Hua with a smile, "We're going to go walk for a bit and have some drinks, we don't want to interrupt you lovebirds."
"Be careful!" Lou Cheng warned.
"There's no need to be worried, we've got a bodyguard!" Li Xiaowen laughed dryly as he pointed towards Li Mao.
As they laughed, they all crossed the street, taking their leave abruptly.
At the same time, Lin Hua ﬂagged down a taxi. Pointing at Sun Jian, he said to Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke, "He's so drunk, I've got to take him home. Are you two going together?"
"The hotel's not very far, we are planning on walking back," Lou Cheng said with a grin, helping Lin Hua lift Sun Jian into the car. "Bye bye!" Lin Hua sat down and lifted down the car window, waving his hand at the two of them.
"Bye bye!" Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke responded with a laugh.
As the car started to move and leave, suddenly all that remained was the cold night wind. The clamor and liveliness of before had already transformed into silence and tranquility.
After getting used to this for a moment, Lou Cheng held in a smile and put his left hand over his chest. With a gentleman's posture, he bowed his waist and said,
"My beautiful madam, no, beautiful fairy, may I invite you to join me for a stroll?"
His right shoulder was wrapped with several layers of bandages and bound together with a clamp. As a result, he could only clumsily wave ahead. According to the doctor's advice, due to his body's healing abilities, he'd be much less hindered after a couple of days passed. After three weeks or so he'd be as good as new. Of course, this was on the condition that he didn't hurt himself again.
Yan Zheke burst into laughter and said,
"Such a damaged individual shouldn't be acting so much!"
Even though she said this, she still gave her right hand and allowed Lou Cheng to hold it.
With the wind blowing, the two of them leisurely wandered down the street, bathing in the neon lights and enjoying the afterglow of being together.
"Ah, when Brother Sun Jian and Sister Lin Hua said goodbye just then, I really was sad..." Yan Zheke suddenly sighed in the midst of their idle chat. Lou Cheng also had the same feeling and nodded his head, but he teased, "Coach Yan, I remember what you taught me. There are two kinds of friends. One kind only crosses paths for a short period of time and inevitably, gradually drifts apart. There's no need to be so heartbroken."
A vicious smile gathered on Yan Zheke's face and she gritted her teeth as she rolled her eyes at him.
"I understand this!"
But there was no reasoning with emotions.
Being subjected to such a ﬁerce and angry gaze by Yan Zheke, Lou Cheng's heart suddenly skipped a beat. Using his periphery to look around, he used his chin to point towards a quiet alley with no one in it. "Let's go over there."
"Eh?" Yan Zheke blinked in bewilderment. "We can take a shortcut over there," Lou Cheng said without skipping a beat, pulling her closer as they entered.
Seeing her boyfriend be this insistent, Yan Zheke's face was full of confusion. However, she didn't have any hesitation. As their pace once again quickened, the bricks shook underneath each step they took, and her skirt waved like in a dance.
Lou Cheng clung to her and looked ahead. After they had gone a few steps inside the alley, he suddenly used some force to pull her close into his chest.
"..." Yan Zheke raised her head and was just about to say something when Lou Cheng used his own mouth to block up hers, passionately and fervently.
"Oh, oh!" she uttered as her body softened. Her two hands grasped Lou Cheng's clothes and she was the ﬁrst to stick out her tongue, allowing her boyfriend to taste its sweetness.
Lou Cheng kissed harder and more intensely, breathing in her warm and supple smell, feeling her delicate and splendid body.
After a moment, they ﬁnally separated, breathing softly.
Yan Zheke's eyes again lit up as she looked at Lou Cheng and said full of happiness, " You... how are you so excited? You just want to head straight back to the hotel!"
Lou Cheng snickered. "I thought that tonight your mom and dad would surely come and ﬁnd you to have a heart-to-heart, so when we get back to the hotel, we have to separate after a short time. So kiss ﬁrst and talk later!"
"Ah, you've become a master!" Yan Zheke's eyes seemed to swirl as she thought about his reasoning.
"It's all because Coach Yan taught me well." Lou Cheng lowered his head and placed his forehead on the little fairy's. In contrast to his previous haste, he spoke slowly from his heart as if he was in a dream. "It's great... we're champions... together with you, we've become champions..." In the face of this posture and this voice, Yan Zheke's entire heart melted. She lifted up her head. Her pink lips separated slightly and her eyes sparkled as the looked at her boyfriend, waiting for him to kiss her.
Lou Cheng naturally gave her what she desired.
The two of them were intertwined, continuously stroking and brushing lightly. A path that should have taken a few seconds took half an hour. As they ﬁnally arrived at the entrance of the hotel and saw the ﬁgures of Ji Mingyu and Yan Kai, a car rushed up and stopped beside them.
The door opened. Stepping out in a pair of casual pants and t- shirt, a cool and collected Lin Que stood in front of them conspicuously.
"Brother," Yan Zheke subconsciously yelped.
Lin Que nodded his head slightly. Looking them both in the eyes, he said gloomily, "I might not go back to Songcheng University."
Ah... Lou Cheng stared blankly for a moment. Yan Zheke seemed as if she had predicted this earlier.
Lou Cheng knew that Lin Que had come to study at Songcheng University to make up for his father's regret and to become the champion of the National Competition. He wasn't like Peng Leyun, who loved to study regularly, and he also wasn't like Ren Li, who simply didn't want to be illiterate. Getting through all the ordinary classes and obtaining a degree didn't mean too much in his eyes. Once his dream was realized, he naturally wouldn't be enthusiastic about returning.
However, Lou Cheng still hadn't thought that Lin Que's farewell would come this quickly, or that it would come at a point when he wasn't prepared.
Lin Que was still calm and collected in appearance, but he spoke more than he normally would. "I heard a song before and remember a line in it. It goes 'In the frivolous days of youth, all sensible things must come to an end.' "
Pausing for a moment, he again revealed an extremely minute smile, and using a tone that wasn't quite the same as his usual apathetic one, said,
"In the frivolous days of youth, all sensible things must come to an end."
Finished speaking, he turned and pulled open the door, getting back in and sitting down. Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke could only see his lonely silhouette.
As the car pulled away, Lin Que didn't turn his head. He only slowly raised his hand, giving them a seemingly careless wave.
The car, and him along with it, faded into the distance until there was no silhouette. Their previous fervor had gone, and in its place was a cold cheerlessness.
Lou Cheng closed his eyes, and in the emptiness, it was as if he could still hear Lin Que's words ringing in his ears.
"In the frivolous days of youth, all sensible things must come to an end."
Chapter 419: Life Goes On
Amidst the muddled yellow of the evening light along the side of the road, Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke remained there in silence for a moment, then turned their shoulders and headed towards the main entrance of the hotel.
"My brother's sudden awakening is probably a result of him being scolded by Grandpa…" Yan Zheke said indistinctly as she walked.
Lou Cheng sighed. "He's invested so much… Anyway, he's gotten the championship and achieved his dream, so there's no need for him to butt heads with your grandfather."
While he was in high school, he was relatively inexperienced when it came to parting ways and the sadness that followed. Back then, his wisdom and viewpoints weren't fully formed. He was ﬁlled with hope for the future and felt that meeting again would be a regular occurrence. All other feelings were indistinct, vague, and their profoundness was lost in his muddle-headedness. Now he knew more. He struggled together with everyone, sweat blood together, and together they had faced the day, treasuring each other's company more and more as they went along. He knew now that everyone had their own paths, and when it all was ﬁnished, there wouldn't necessarily be another
time. Consequently, he was unable to control his sadness.
It was okay; Lin Que was his brother-in-law. In the future, he would also enter professional competitions, so their opportunities for meeting again would be plentiful. It was just that he was sad for the previous two years, as they had worked together to achieve the same goal, worked together brilliantly, and tasted both victory's sweetness and defeat's bitterness together.
"Yes, but I'm still depressed…" Yan Zheke ﬂattened her mouth, her face looking like she'd been wronged.
Lou Cheng was about to repeat the two sentences when he suddenly saw his own mother and father-in-law emerge from the revolving doors. He hurriedly straightened his back and cleared his throat. However, he did not loosen his grip on Yan Zheke's hand, as if he were to say something.
"Mom, Dad…" as Yan Zheke said these two words, her cheeks quickly ﬂushed red, but she never withdrew her right hand.
"Uncle Yan, Aunt Ji," Lou Cheng said immediately afterward.
It was if there was no feeling in his arms or legs.
Yan Kai saw that they were tightly gripping each other's hands, nodded her head lightly, and responded to Lou Cheng's greeting,
His mouth opened and then closed as if he wanted to say something, and in the end didn't open again.
Ji Ming Yu chuckled. "Lou, how's your injury? Is it alright? You did really well in tonight's competition. It was quite eye- popping."
"You're exaggerating Auntie, it's nothing major. After a few weeks, it'll be ﬁne," Lou Cheng responded straightforwardly.
"Not bad, look after yourself. Keke, sleep together with Mom tonight. Us two girls can talk and make your father sleep on the sofa outside," Ji Mingyu said laughing as she glanced at her daughter.
"Mmm." Yan Zheke nodded, then she leaned her body towards Lou Cheng to say, "I'll go with my parents ﬁrst."
She paused her lips and leaned her head slightly to the side as she said, "See you tomorrow."
"See you tomorrow!" Lou Cheng replied with a smile, waving at Yan Kai and Ji Mingyu as he said, "Aunt, Uncle, goodnight." "See you tomorrow." Ji Mingyu lightly smiled as she repeated her daughter's words. Yan Kai courteously nodded his head.
Seeing the three of them head off, Lou Cheng sighed. The atmosphere upon meeting his mother and father-in-law has been somewhat awkward and subdued, but it was as he expected. He'd been overcautious in his expectations of a grand scene.
He didn't know if Talker was this kind of Mighty One if he had been his usual unrestrained and carefree self when he met his mother and father-in-law.
Letting his imagination run wild, Lou Cheng returned to his own room and turned on the lights.
On the right was a bed that he had not slept in for quite a few days. On the left was an array of chaotically arranged items. Lou Cheng suddenly had the feeling like he'd come back from a several months long business trip to a lonely home. As the room ﬁlled with light, it also ﬁlled with loneliness, and was striking in its unfamiliarity. Was this what a night after seizing the crown should be like? Only me by myself? Lou Cheng sighed, didn't change his shoes, and went to lower the curtains. The building towered above the outside. The lights of thousands of homes were lit up like stars in the sky, ﬂourishing but also lonely.
After staring in a daze for a moment, Lou Cheng suddenly felt his phone vibrate. Taking it out, he saw that Yan Zheke had sent a message.
"I'm talking with my parents, they've got a good impression of you," Little Ke said with a shy smile.
The corner of Lou Cheng's mouth rose. It was as if his injury had disappeared and there wasn't a trace of it left. He replied with a wicked grin,
"So, can we get married?"
"Wow, what a great thought! The revolution still hasn't succeeded, you must continue to ﬁght hard, comrade!" Yan Zheke said, replying with a hand making a ﬁst. Lou Cheng laughed despite himself and lifted his hand up to see the pledge ring on his ﬁnger, then he once again glanced towards the outside.
This time, he felt that the lights in the night outside put out a calming and soothing warmth in order to help the passerbys help ﬁnd their way home.
The next day, the National Competition champion Lou Cheng rose early as he always had. There was no slacking or gooﬁng off.
His arm had an injury, so it was hard to perform a lot of moves. He could only focus on inner training, footwork, and his legs. The morning light could always shift and give way to wind, blowing in contrast to ones wishes.
At 7:40, Lou Cheng ﬁnished his usual training and returned to the hotel, washing his body with some difﬁculty. At that point, with nothing to do, he suddenly felt some strange emotions. It felt as if them obtaining the National Competition championship wasn't real and that it had been some sort of dream. If it wasn't for the gold medal hanging by his side, he was afraid he truly would be unable to believe it.
"It hasn't even been one day, how can I already be reﬂecting on it..." Lou Cheng shook his head and laughed despite himself. With his heart pounding, he took the card, left the room, and prepared to hail a cab to the Capital's martial arts arena.
Unconsciously arriving at his desired destination, he put on a pair of sunglasses, stuck his hands in his pockets, and slowly walked towards the entrance of the martial arts arena.
Around the square inside, there was no trace of the waves of spectators who had come and gone the night before. Even the ﬂoor had already become neat and clean. Not a single trace or vestige had been left behind. Passing by a few men and women who were coming to open their stores, Lou Cheng's didn't know why his mood had become so splendid. Even the shadows on the bricks underneath his feet as he walked seemed pleasing to his eyes.
The main entrance of the arena re-opened. It was desolate, with not a trace of any human beings inside. On both sides of the walls hung posters of his and Peng Leyun's "confrontation".
Laughing lightly, Lou Cheng stuck his hands in his pockets and slowly walked closer to the arena, looking for a place to sit down. He looked softly at the spot where last night's great bout had taken place, at the spot where two children had fought tooth and nail.
Their ﬁghting style was on the straight and narrow path, but their bodies had still not yet developed. Their power wasn't sufﬁcient, their footwork was aimless and didn't have any real substance or might to it. While watching ﬁlm and television, they would bellow with every strike in a burst of excitement, using their full vitality.
"Hey, be careful!" "Don't hurt yourself!"
A few elders sitting by the side incessantly reminded him until they were led by the coach over to the viewing platform.
Noticing Lou Cheng laughing as he observed the arena, one outgoing elder laughed and said, "You young folks don't need to study style. We old folks have no choice, so all we can do is ﬁnd the time to come and have a look."
As Lou Cheng thought, he said with a smile, "Practising style is a good thing."
While speaking, he got up quickly and added, "The appropriate training can promote development. If it's not the appropriate training, then it can hinder development."
"Ah..." The elders looked at one another with some confusion. Lou Cheng didn't say anything further as he stuck his hands in his pockets and headed towards the entrance. As he was about to leave, he turned back his head and glanced towards that familiar yet unfamiliar arena.
From this angle, it was if he was a spectator seeing Lin Que lift up the trophy, himself lifting his head up to the sky and crying out, and Yan Zheke rushing towards the arena...
The corner of his mouth twitched, and he turned around, leaving this place.
Outside of the arena, Lou Cheng took out his phone, snapped a picture of the entrance, and sent it to Yan Zheke.
"Ah... the martial arts arena!" Yan Zheke was ﬁrst astonished, and then, with a furious anger, said, "And you didn't take me along!" "Next time we'll go together!" Lou Cheng said with a goofy laugh. "I just got carried away on a whim is all."
Yan Zheke sent an emoji covering its mouth in laughter. "My foolish Cheng still can be this goofy!"
After saying this, she added, "Empress Dowager invites you to come and eat lunch, the address is..."
Lou Cheng's previously carefree and pensive mood vanished and he hurriedly replied, "Should I buy anything? Cigarettes, alcohol, fruit? It seems I should bring something if it's my ﬁrst visit..."
"No need..." Yan Zheke said perplexedly. "It's not an ofﬁcial visit, just eating a meal together, and we're still just students."
"But it's still my ﬁrst time meeting your parents. When meeting my mother and father-in-law, I need to show how important it is to me!" Lou Cheng sent an emoji of a hand rubbing the chin. Everybody likes someone with manners!
"I'm so inexperienced... I'll... I'll ask Empress Dowager!" Yan Zheke hesitated for a moment and then decided to ask someone with experience.
Lou Cheng snickered. "Empress Dowager also probably won't understand. For your father, it's the ﬁrst time having such a meeting so many years after your birth."
"Don't worry! Anyway, the important thing for my mom and dad is that they're not so fussy!" Yan Zheke stopped for a moment and then said, "Empress Dowager said there's no need to bring anything. She says to relax and not be so reserved."
"Fine... then should I just come over directly without any shame?" Lou Cheng asked.
Yan Zheke sent an emoji with its eyes spinning. "There's no hurry, you can go back and change your clothes. Wear... wear that dark shirt and the, the..." Seeing her instructing him aimlessly, Lou Cheng couldn't keep from laughing as he said, "Ke, are you a little nervous?"
"I still don't know what a silly child like you is going to do!" Yan Zheke rolled her eyes.
"Hehe." Lou Cheng didn't press. He sent sent a pair of hands giving a salute. "I'll listen to every word of Coach Yan's commands!"
Because she cared about her own and their future together, Ke was nervous and ﬁdgety...
Agh, I'm the same...
Getting back to the hotel, he rummaged through his clothes and dressed according to Yan Zheke's previous tips. After dressing, he called a car and prepared to leave. On his way down to the lobby, he ran into Li Mao, Li Xiaowen, and the others, who were giggling as they were about to go out. He could feel their happiness.
Waving his hand, Lou Cheng stood at the entrance waiting for a car. At this moment, the sun shone brightly, and all was well with the world.
Chapter 420: Settling Down
The place they'd arranged to eat at was in a courtyard without any signs. As Lou Cheng walked towards the entrance, Yan Zheke was already waiting outside wearing a knee-length white dress. Her beautiful, jet black long hair swayed in the wind that passed through the alleyway. She was so beautiful, it was as if she'd come out of a painting.
Her eyes brightened when she saw her boyfriend. She took two steps forward and reached out with her hand to help Lou Cheng arrange his shirt collar and get rid of any creases. Her lips formed a smile as she said, "Don't be nervous, it's just a normal meal."
"I wasn't nervous before, but when you say this, it makes me a bit nervous," Lou Cheng joked deliberately.
Yan Zheke's eyes were ﬁlled with beauty. She looked him in the eyes and, pulling his non-injured hand, turned and headed towards the courtyard.
"Let's go!" Passing through the worn and aged entrance, going through the arch that was covered with ﬂowering vines, and over a small, crystal clear pond that emitted a fresh fragrance, Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke entered through the east side of the house. They came into a secret room that felt quite warm.
A simple and unadorned table stood by the window. Outside, ﬂowers were in bloom, which created an air of elegance as they swayed lightly.
Lou Cheng was unable to make heads or tails of the calligraphy paintings that hung on the wall. Lots of trinkets and adornments stood on top of the cabinet. Then he turned his gaze towards the four-sided table, and towards his mother and father-in-law.
"Hello, Aunt, Uncle."
"Sit," Ji Mingyu said with a smile, pointing to the place opposite of Yan Zheke. "Okay." Lou Cheng went back a half step and sat down along with Yan Zheke.
While the subtly awkward atmosphere was brewing, Ji Mingyu laughed. "When it comes to local dishes in the Capital, this restaurant ranks among the top ﬁve in my mind, and the atmosphere is quite suitable. Hehe, while I myself prefer food similar to food from Xiushan, you should quite like it."
"Actually, I'm not a picky eater. Strange ingredients and ﬂavors aren't a problem." Lou Cheng smiled in response.
Ji Mingyu nodded. "Using the best ingredients to produce delicious food isn't a big deal. You can use ordinary ingredients to create food that people will praise to the heavens. If you really have skill and you combine the best of both worlds, the best ingredients and true skill, then you can create truly marvelous food."
"Like this place for example?" Yan Zheke asked rhetorically, livening the atmosphere. As the full-of-energy Empress Dowager took the initiative of leading the conversation, the awkwardness dissipated and Lou Cheng became more relaxed. He spoke and interacted all within the norms that the occasion dictated.
Yan Kai didn't speak to him, he would merely add a sentence or two to Ji Mingyu's from time to time or sigh as he watched Yan Zheke feed her "crippled" boyfriend, his heart aching at his daughter's affection and attention towards others.
Ke really had grown up...
A whirlwind of dishes came and went. While Lou Cheng had an inhuman appetite, he didn't have to nerve to reveal this skill of his, and he instead attached the most importance to speaking and placed eating second.
Yes, the food deﬁnitely wasn't bad, it was just that the portions weren't quite enough.... Fortunately, Empress Dowager had ordered enough for ten people...it really was something worthy of a martial arts aristocratic family. None of these details went unnoticed as he silently thought to himself. As the lunch winded down, Yan Kai looked him in the eyes, took a sip of tea, and for the ﬁrst time was the one to initiate conversation as he asked,
"Lou, what plans do you have for the future?"
Plans? Lou Chen went blank for a moment and was in the process of organizing his words when Yan Kai added, "Your master and the military are very close, so these aspects are unavoidably entangled. Are you thinking of pursuing this path or entering professional competitions?"
"Uncle Yan, I'm actually scared to death about this," Lou Cheng thought, and then, mocking himself, said, "If it wasn't for the fact that I had to, I wouldn't want to take any risks in life. Still, at least for today, entering professional competitions seems more suitable for me."
Yan Kai faintly nodded. "Then what goal do you have? To achieve physical invulnerability?" "Yes," Lou Cheng answered calmly, "One thing is that my impression of ﬁghters is all about physical invulnerability. I hope to be able to challenge their abilities and be capable of ﬁghting with them for a long length of time. Two is..."
Coming to this point, he paused, "Two... because Ke's grandfather and grandmother both achieved physical invulnerability."
Speaking brieﬂy yet powerfully, Yan Zheke listened with a furrowed brow, a smile just below the surface. She bit her lower lip and wanted to playfully retort, but she was hindered by the presence of her mother and father, and thus restrained herself.
Yan Kai looked as if he was thinking about some previous events and seemed touched. After a long period of silence, he said,
"Not bad. You shall work hard." Even though I've asked myself whether or not all that I've accomplished up until now could be considered enough, every time I think about my mother and father-in-law, who are Mighty Ones with Physical Vulnerability, I feel it's a bit more complicated... Also, Ming Yu's business largely relied on the Ji family and depended on those two with physical invulnerability.
Yan Kai didn't again speak at length, and Ji Mingyu changed the topic, once again making the atmosphere more natural. At the last moment, she chuckled and glanced at Lou Cheng as she said, "Lou, are you going back to Songcheng tomorrow morning?"
"Yes, my ﬂight is a little after 10," Lou Cheng answered honestly.
Ji Mingyu turned again and looked towards Yan Zheke. "Ke, you spend today with us. As we're at the Capital, we should pay a visit to some of our older family members."
"Okay," Yan Zheke answered timidly. After saying their goodbyes, she escorted Lou Cheng to the entrance of the courtyard.
"Is this it?" Lou Cheng asked dumbfoundedly as he turned his head and glanced at her.
This wasn't at all what he had imagined his meeting with his mother and father-in-law would be!
"Yes! If this isn't it, then what do you still want to do?" Yan Zheke blinked, asking with a smile.
"Shouldn't they have asked me more speciﬁc questions about my situation? Like my name, what to call me, where do I live, how many people are in my family, are we wealthy or not..." Lou Cheng said with a slightly joking tone.
According to other people's experience, meetings such as this were more like interrogations! "Ha..." Yan Zheke laughed brightly. "They don't want to dig up your speciﬁc situation. They ﬁgured that they shouldn't and rather should ask me privately. How could they just directly ask you? If they were that rude, it'd be so awkward!"
"Fine." Lou Cheng exhaled.
Yan Zheke pursed her lips, and with a sudden urgency, looked around and added,
"Empress Dowager right now is really.... really happy about you.... She thinks that you've got a gift and that you're a reliable person. She says you can do whatever you want to accomplish.... She supports you. My dad... my dad has no choice but to accept."
Lou Cheng's heart was ﬁlled with happiness, and he purposely said boastfully,
"Could you say that the more the mother-in-law sees her son- in-law, the more satisﬁed she is?" "Don't ﬂatter yourself!" Yan Zheke turned her head and rolled her eyes at him, but she was unable to conceal the joy in her eyes.
The two of them exchanged a few words and then each headed back. Lou Cheng had no plans for the afternoon and was relaxed, but he was unable to ﬁnd a few of his highschool classmates in the Capital to meet up, so all he could do was chat with them on QQ for a while and waste the day away.
When it was night time, Qi Fang, according to her everyday ritual, gave him a call a little after 10 o'clock and shared how much praise she had received that day.
The next day, Lou Cheng still did not slack off and went to the park nearby to do physical training as he always had.
When he was almost ﬁnished, he suddenly noticed that his master at some point had come to get some alcohol from the stand beside him. "Lin Que has been seduced by the studies of Shushan, so he probably won't be coming back. What are your plans?" Geezer Shi pointed at him with his chin.
Not waiting for Lou Cheng to respond, he heedlessly added, "Since I've helped your school president get the championship, I'm going to rest for a while as well. I suppose you're going to barely graduate as well and leave when it's time. Hey, brat, do you want to enter professional competitions or what?"
So Master will also be going... Lou Cheng was dumbstruck for a moment. The thoughts in his mind were even more clear and deﬁnite as he muttered,
"Master, I've gotten to this level in just a year and a half. I've progressed quickly and rapidly. This National Competition has revealed a lot of problems. I want to bear down and settle down for a year, really reﬁne myself, and wait until I've entered the Inhuman Stage to enter professional competitions. Yes, this would be best.
"Also, Lin Que has left, and you're also leaving, so I also must go. Isn't the Martial Arts Club just returning to its original state? Yes, it's stronger than it was before, but no one has time to truly dedicate themselves to growing. Next semester, more than half of us will be unable to advance to the Division level. This will bring a lot of setbacks, and it will be difﬁcult for our Songcheng University classmates to support us once again.
Their enthusiasm and zeal will return to its original point. They'll certainly be disappointed and saddened...
"I think... I think I'll stay for one more year, bring in others, and wait for them to mature. This way, there will be some new blood afterward. When I leave again, heh... when that time comes, I'll be a senior and won't have too many classes, so I can leave early and get my diploma..."
Geezer Shi laughed at what he'd heard, drank a sip of alcohol, and said,
"I knew it. You kids are so high and mighty. I'm all too familiar with the BS you're spewing. Lin Que would suddenly break out his supernatural abilities, and you'd surely choose to stay for another year... however! When that time comes, this old man also has some things for you to do." "What things?" Lou Cheng asked, astonished.
"It concerns the Nine Words Formula and the Emperor Yan Force. I'm going to choose a few simple things to let you do yourself. Since I've already let you have some rewards, I'll also give you some sharpening methods. When the times comes, we'll talk again." Geezer Shi seldom spoke with such seriousness.
Because he didn't have the advanced Emperor Yan Force of the Zhu Rong Force in order to achieve the balance between ﬁre and ice, Lou Cheng's Frost Force had never progressed towards the Ice Spirit Force.
"Okay." Lou Cheng pressed down his curiosity and didn't pursue the topic further.
At that moment, Geezer Shi tsked with his hands behind his back.
"Settle down well, and before long you'll be able to enter the Inhuman Stage." …
Finished with training, the Martial Arts Club members met up and headed towards the airport to ﬂy back to Songcheng. Along the way, all of them laughed heartily, except for Lin Que, who knew he would go back to Shushan to study. There really was the excitement and feeling that they were returning to their hometown as heroes. Lou Cheng revealed to Yan Zheke that their master would also be leaving, and the two of them were downcast.
After getting off the plane, a school bus came to pick them up. Lou Cheng and the others headed back to the Songcheng University's new school campus area that they had been away from for so many days.
This time, the school bus stopped directly outside of the martial arts arena to allow them to ﬁrst put the National Competition championship trophy in the awards hall. On Monday, they would go to meet the president to accept his commendation. As they got off the bus and headed towards the martial arts arena entrance, Lou Cheng leaned his head to the side and grinned as he remarked to Yan Zheke,
"Suddenly, it's all a little unfamiliar..."
While speaking, the two quickly arrived at the entrance and faltered, as the inside was ﬁlled with seated classmates. It was spontaneously ﬁlled with seated classmates, boys and girls, a few thousand of them!
They hoisted up a banner, and as a group they shouted in unison,
"We're champions! "
The warm welcome assaulted their senses. Lou Cheng's heart opened, and he unknowingly smiled. "We're champions! "
End of Part 2