Chapter 471: Scorch the evil
"What kind of luck is this..." said Ann Chaoyang, taken aback by the results of the lot drawing. Afterwards, he shook his head and smiled a self-mocking smile but returned to his relaxed manner because the pressure wasn't overwhelming. In fact, a part of him looked forward to the ﬁght.
From his point of view, he hadn't accumulated any losses which meant that he was safe from being disqualiﬁed even if he lost, and it would make such an excellent experience: having an intense battle with an Inhuman Mighty One who practices a different style of Martial Art. This idea was reinforced by Lou Cheng's ﬁght with Veigar the day before— how it gave Lou Cheng a boost in his proﬁciency in actual combat, and how it ﬁlled a void in his root pulp caused by overly fast advancements.
Seeing that Ann Chaoyang wasn't too bothered by the abysmal lot he drew, Lou Cheng immediately began poking fun at him.
"This is what you get for provoking me with the Eating Song just now!" Ann Chaoyang couldn't decide whether he wanted to frown or smile, then Lou Cheng continued, trying to sound serious. "You know, I have the supernatural ability to reﬂect curses and bad luck, and its basic application is that anyone that hurts me, provokes me or makes fun of me will receive retribution."
Then, he drew a cross on his chest with a ﬁnger, in the wrong sequence.
"Believe in Lou Cheng and you shall become immortal!"
"I almost believed it until you said that last line..." chuckled Ann Chaoyang after a short pause.
Unable to hold it in any longer, he burst into laughter along with Peng Leyun, Ren Li and Zhong Ningtao.
You almost fell for it? Quoting Xiao Ming's catchphrase— With your IQ, if you were a girl, I could swindle you go to bed with me twice, thought Lou Cheng, laughing along. "In a good mood aren't you?" said Ann Chaoyang, looking towards Lou Cheng as he bundled his long hair together.
"Indeed," replied Lou Cheng happily, feeling relaxed mentally and physically.
His trainings bore fruit, his morph was imminent, and his next opponent wasn't an Inhuman Mighty One. What was there to be unhappy about?
Then, Yan Zheke's reply to his previous message came.
"See! I told you you won't get an Inhuman opponent with my good karma blessing you! Now I can be completely at ease. I'll skip the cheering part later now that I have lent you all my good karma!"
Completely at ease? Completely? Ke, you seem to have exposed your true feelings... Lou Cheng chuckled, feeling even better. Then Peng Leyun's lot was drawn. His opponent was a Japanese samurai who was neither Tang Zexun nor Mouko Yamashita.
After him, there were only two brackets remaining, and after conﬁrmation, it was decided that Ren Li would be the lucky one to be awarded walkover.
"Do girls with a bad sense of direction have better luck in general?" whispered Lou Cheng, edging towards Ann Chaoyang.
"Possibly. If their luck isn't good, then they would be lost all the time," quipped Ann Chaoyang, playing along with Lou Cheng's joke.
The two glanced over, only to see Ren Li with her cheeks pufﬁng up slightly, looking very unhappy.
"What is she unhappy about?" Ann Chaoyang whispered, confused. Lou Cheng pondered. "I guess she's disappointed at missing out on a ﬁght..."
The two exchanged looks, then began pitying the unappreciated "walkover lot".
In the Lou Cheng Fan-club forums, "Eternal Nightfall" Yan Xiaoling had tagged "Unparalleled Dragon King".
"Is this Baco guy strong? What level is he at? How much weaker is he compared to our Lou Cheng?"
"Close to Inhuman probably," replied "Unparalleled Dragon King", "But his power mainly stems from Nanyang evil arts, and the strongest curses happen to be ineffective against Lou Cheng. It's ﬁne if he doesn't use them, but if he does it's going to turn into a real comedy. So, all things considered, he's a cut below Lou Cheng. Based on Lou Cheng's usual outstanding performance on the spot, Baco's chances of winning are slim. " "Haha, seems like our prayers came true! [swirling into a dance]" replied Yan Xiaoling.
"Seems like you have to start waking up on time. [funny expression]" replied "Okamoto's fan".
"[grovels with head in hands, shivering]" replied Yan Xiaoling.
"Don't worry, I'll make sure you follow through with what you said! (Pats shoulders) [arms crossing solemnly]" replied "Brahman".
Before the duel began, at the side of Shengxiang representatives, Wahku—a gaunt, olive-complected and barefooted Sadhu clad in red robes—walked down from the upper seats, and stopped before Baco. "Watch out for his supernatural ability to reﬂect curses."
"I have seen his data," Baco replied grufﬂy, adjusting the scarlet bandages on his hands.
Though he looked skinny for a famous Shengxiang boxer, every inch of his muscles was toughened like steel, capable of releasing explosive bursts of strength. His stumpy eyebrows curved at their ends and gave him a vicious appearance.
"Curses are not the end to my spells," he said conﬁdently.
Snap! Beneath his scarlet bandages, a cluster of what seemed like tiny life forms began to wriggle, a sight that would make one's stomach turn.
Knuckles cracking, Baco suddenly clenched his ﬁst, before striding past Wahku and towards the arena.
... Lou Cheng, who was impatiently lurking on the edge of the venue, hopped into the arena and got into position as soon as the previous ﬁght ended.
He was still in his good mood from before, and for once he did not make his presence known by visualizing the Army Formula, which would have applied mental and spiritual pressure on the incoming Baco. He was fairly carefree and at ease.
But of course! Once he mastered "Emperor Yan Statue", his Zhurong Force could soon be enhanced, which meant that he would soon begin morphing and ofﬁcially step into the threshold of Immortals.
This held great symbolic importance, similar to how mastering "Force Concentration" would put one into the Dan stage. It marked that one was truly ﬁt to be called a Mighty One, worthy of being in the upper levels of the Martial Arts world.
Once he reached this stage, even if he lost the competition and went home without any prize money, Wu Qinggui would still raise his spokesperson pay accordingly. On top of that, there was the bonus for winning the Nationals.
This was the worst case scenario—but objectively speaking, against Baco, who was not an Inhuman, he had a high chance of winning. Although he still took him seriously, there wasn't enough pressure to affect his mood.
On top of that, the ticket-booking to America went without a hitch, and Ke went out of her way to wake him up by waking up earlier than usual. Then there was that piece of news from Mom, telling him that the house they recently purchased went up in value by 50,000 RMB, in a matter of months. He was also getting along swimmingly with his new teammates...
Everything in life seemed so wonderful… ,thought Lou Cheng, without a care in the world. He didn't waste the waiting time either, and visualized the heavy, majestic, scorching and terrifying "Emperor Yan Statue" in his mind, slowly guiding the "Flame Force" in his body to condense and mutate.
This was the process of enhancing "Zhurong Force" to "Emperor Yan Force"! The truth was, even without the enhancement, with the basic mastery of "Emperor Yan Diagram", he could use the "Emperor Yan Force" through a series of steps and visualization. However, since he had to compress the force during battle, the visualization would have taken a good couple of seconds, making it quite useless in actual combat.
Once he had enhanced his "Flame Force" correspondingly, he can save those couple of seconds and effectively utilize "Emperor Yan Force" in battle. If his root pulp mutated and completed his morph, then he wouldn't even need the series of steps, every strike with brief visualization would be imbued with "Emperor Force".
Wisps of ﬂame merged as rays of scarlet turned white. Lou Cheng, while enjoying the changes within in his body, slowly built up a main path of "Emperor Yan Force" that branched out into more paths.
That was when Baco walked into the arena, and saw the young man casually standing in a relaxed manner, with a smile and not a trace of bloodlust. Such arrogance...such carelessness... thought Baco, the ﬂame in his eyes burning brighter.
Strangely, Lou Cheng felt no pressure at all, instead he felt like he was in the state of "enlightened mind" like in Xian Xia novels, even his "Flame Force" seemed alive.
Without paying much heed to his opponent's reactions, he smiled at Baco and bowed.
The referee raised his right hand.
"Begin!" he boomed.
With the wonderful feelings coursing through him, he felt mentally and physically at ease. He stepped out with his left leg, naturally visualizing the Attainment Formula.
In the low hum of the ancient character, he covered thirty plus feet within a step, appearing before Baco with a whoosh. Swinging his right arm using the forward momentum, his punch ﬂew out with a boom, imbued with a violent "Flame Force" from visualizing "Yan Emperor Statue" halfway.
Baco's heart skipped a beat. Seeing that he was unable to dodge in time, he steadied himself and held both hands in front of his chest.
Lou Cheng's punch went at the speed of lightning, enveloped with a layer of dazzling whiteness, landed right on his opponent's hands.
Amidst the sounds of explosion, waves of tumbling ﬂames and blasts of gusts, Baco involuntarily took a step back. That's when he realized his scarlet bandages were in ﬂames. A part of them was already charred, with black particles falling and turning to dust, ﬂuttering in the wind.
This... Baco's iris shrunk. Since when was Lou Cheng's "Flame Force" this powerful?!
Chapter 472: Made of Paper?
On the spectator stand, Ann Chaoyang took Lou Cheng's phone, followed his instructions to take some pictures occasionally and upload them onto the live thread with a sentence of explanation. This was to describe the development to "Unparallel Dragon King", "Eternal Nightfall" and the rest who couldn't witness this competition.
"Sob sob sob. Little Tiger, you are really a good man! [waving a handkerchief]" said "Wanton Seller".
"Even the Heavens and Earth are touched! [Igniting Fireworks]" commented "Brahman".
Seeing their excited compliments, the smile disappeared on Ann Chaoyang face as he couldn't help but criticise,
"I'm the one who did the good deeds without leaving my name behind!" If Lou Cheng had not told me that I'm the most reliable among them, I will not have done this so diligently!
He took a picture of the ring, appended the comment and uploaded it:
"Lou Cheng seems relaxed while waiting!"
Ka Cha! Ka Cha!
Ann Chaoyang seemed to have found something interesting and was uploading pictures after pictures:
"Baco looked like he has a deep grudge against his opponents." "The relaxed looks of Lou Cheng make it feels like he is attending a festival and not waiting for a battle to start."
As he commented, he suddenly paused. He was slow in pressing the 'capture button' and type the following words:
"Eh, Lou Cheng's is so ﬂuent with these two moves. His "Flame Force" was also stronger than expected!"
In the picture, the ﬁre waves were raging and extending outwards. It looked just like a real explosion!
At this very moment, not only did Baco lose the advantage of using Curses, both of his hands were also trembling and were clearly burnt. This was because he withstood the strong explosion from the Flame Force and had received a certain degree of damage. It was also clear that he was in pain and feeling sore.
In his contracted pupils, he could already see Lou Cheng raising both of his arms, formed seals and was ready to shout. This is bad!
Baco thought to himself. In a split second, he made his decision. He lowered his body suddenly and avoided the edge of the frontal attack instantly.
Following which, he pushed both of his hands on the ﬂoor, straightened his back and swept his right leg towards the ankle of the approaching Lou Cheng. He was forcing him to dodge, forcing him to be distracted so that he couldn't use the Army Formula!
This was the "Mantis Kick" from China that had the unique characteristics of Shengxiang mixed in it!"
If Lou Cheng was to use this move without Force Concentration and with only his hands as support to exert force, the power on the leg might be ﬁerce but would deﬁnitely not be considered as sharp. However, the ﬁst arts of Shengxiang focused a lot on the kungfu of kicking and withdrawing. Through training, their entire leg was just like metal. A "mantis kick" could even split a metal bar, not to mention the fragile ankle! Within the explosion sound, Baco predicted Lou Cheng to jump to avoid his low sweeping kick. The joints of his arms suddenly bent and then straightened instantly. This allowed his body to leap up creepily and towards his enemy in mid-air.
His elbow was tilted at an angle while his knee smashed upwards. With his metal-breaking momentum, he executed a series of consecutive attacks.
While in a perilous situation, Baco fully executed his strength and demonstrated what a grandmaster in national ﬁst arts was like. At the same time, he had forcefully negated the disadvantageous position he was in.
However at this moment, although he saw Lou Cheng had jumped, the seals made by both of his hands were not disordered in any sense. His expressions were serious, solemn and unchanged. He looked completely composed as though he was watching a ﬁght between children. Oh no! As the thought ﬂashed through his mind, he could already hear a low voice propagating throughout his ears.
The ancient voice resonated and Baco could hear a buzzing sound in his brain. He felt that he was drowning in the bloodthirst of thousands of people, resulting in the failure of his curse and caused frightening boomerang effects. He could only feel countless hideous face with grudges wanting to drag him to endless hell by pulling his legs.
No, no, no! He was screaming incessantly in his mind while trying his best to resist. However, he wasn't able to break free from the fear no matter how hard he struggled.
After connecting with the Army Formula, Lou Cheng quickly lowered his arms and swung his wrists as he descended. A glowing white light was emitted and headed directly at the enemy who was still in a daze while in mid-air. Each move connected tightly and consecutively. As compared to the battle with Veigar, he had indeed improved steadily. "Ice Sect" Twenty-sixth style. "Ice Burning"– Modiﬁed!
On the other side, Baco could see that he was on the verge of falling into hell. Suddenly, he felt pain cruising throughout his ﬁve organs and six viscera. It felt like there was something wriggling there vigorously!
Leveraging on this stimulation, he woke up in fear and broke free from the inﬂuence of the Army Formula!
At the crucial moment, secret arts "Body Protection"!
However just as Baco walked out from the fear and terror in his heart, he saw a ball of frost light coming straight at his face, burning quietly with cold ice ﬂames.
Baco tilted his head backwards and his thoughts almost stopped. If it wasn't for his strong body, he would have fainted directly.
While feeling a biting cold and stiffness, he wanted to shout but felt slow and powerless. Knowing that this wasn't good, he quickly released the fear in his body and instantly both of his legs landed on the ﬂoor.
Bam bam bam! His skeletal muscles exploded in an instance. Something seemed to be wriggling and expanding in every part of his muscles as he broke through the ice layer covering his face. At the same time, his body had creepily turned from slightly slim to exaggeratedly muscular. When compared to before, he was even taller by half a head!
The ring was shaking vigorously. Baco stomped his feet and threw his punch as he generated a gust of wind that could blow a kid away.
It's just the right time! He had long made his visualisation and completed his hand seals. With his hands pointing at himself, he wriggled his abdomen, involved his throat and shouted,
Bam! He had also grown taller. Surrounded by sounds of broken things, he pulled back his right arm and shot out a quick punch as though he was ﬁring an arrow. His ﬁst collided head-on with Baco's ﬁst which was wrapped in tattered black bandage.
This time, it wasn't a dull sound but a deafening explosion.
Both of them shook at the same time.
Baco, who was still experiencing lingering frost and damage, was slower by half a step. Instantly, he saw Lou Cheng had contracted his breathing and gathered his mind, residual force and recoil at his lower abdomen. This allowed him to stand ﬁrmly at his original position. Bam! The Dan aura in Lou Cheng's body gushed out like an erupting volcano. His left leg expanded and with a jerk in his knee, he had swung his kick towards Baco.
At this distance and attacking speed, Baco wasn't able to dodge. He forcefully stimulated his blood and breathing to drive out his potential. Following which, he contracted his leg muscles and kicked out.
After a dull sound, he, who was slower and had a weaker kick, bounced off and moved back. His body was still shaking and was about to fall.
Lou Cheng took a small step forward, covered his left arm with crystal cold frost and pushed upwards. He clenched his right ﬁst and struck solidly. A layer of ﬁre started burning as his ﬁst rubbed against the air at high speed.
"Zhu Rong Force", Exploding Fire Fist! Boom! Baco had no chance for counterattack and could only lower his elbows and cross them in front of him to defend. He looked extremely sorry after withstanding the blow from the ﬁst and the ﬂames caused by the explosion.
This wasn't over yet. Lou Cheng swung his left arm down with momentum, grabbed hold to Baco's shoulders and pulled him towards himself. Using the momentum, he moved to his side, raised his right arms and threw an elbow strike at the speed of lightning.
Bam! Baco barely withstood it with his arms. However, he was sent retreating from the blow. His chest had taken a hit making him felt pressured and wanting to throw up blood.
Lou Cheng moved again. His strength wasn't great but accurately kicked the side of his opponent's knee. Baco, who was already unsettled, ﬁnally lost his balance.
Bam! Lou Cheng twisted his waist and his other leg swung out closely behind. His leg was contracted tightly as though it was a battle axe. It was tough and ﬁerce and sent Baco ﬂying instantly.
Taking huge steps forward, he didn't give Baco the chance to use his curses to struggle. With a visualization of the dreamy and dark "Ice Spirit Holy Light", he threw an uppercut with momentum.
Bam! Baco lowered both of his arms and perilously tried to withstand. However, his vision suddenly went dark, and he seemed to have lost his thoughts too.
He had become a "stone" and fell heavily onto the ﬂoor. He fell right at the feet of Lou Cheng and Lou Cheng quickly stopped, his ﬁst at his throat! The face of the referee from Shengxiang immediately changed. He sighed secretly, raised his right arm and announced loudly,
"Lou Cheng wins!"
Till now, Baco, who had received consecutive blows, had not recovered from the freezing of his thoughts!
Ann Chaoyang had captured this moment and quickly switched to the live thread. He was still thinking of the explanatory note to be appended.
In the thread, "Eternal Nightfall" Yan Xiaoling was anxiously rushing him,
"And then, and then? What happened after Lou Cheng's Flame Force is beyond expectation?" "@Schrodinger Tiger, wake up! They must have exchanged several blows by now! What's the situation now? [Grabbing and shaking a person expression]" said "Brahman".
Ann Chaoyang paused for a while, quickly type some words and send over with the picture.
"And then Lou Cheng won..."
After a short period of silence, the forum users started expressing how they felt one after another.
"I really wanted to use quality three consecutive blows..."
"Is his opponent made of paper?"
"I heard that he is close to the inhuman stage?" "My mum is asking me why I'm kneeling down while looking at the forum..."
"Ahhhhhhhh, I'll like to see a comedy!"
Ann Chaoyang pondered seriously and explained,
"Baco didn't dare to use curses on Lou Cheng. Moreover, he was surprised by the erupted Flame Force at the beginning of the match and quickly lost the "medium" for his curses. Because of this, his overall strength has decreased by a huge chunk and he is no longer near the inhuman stage."
"...""Unparalleled Dragon King" sent an exclamation mark and said, "Just as I have said.
There should be a line drawn between sixth pins and inhuman stage. It should then be named after Lou Cheng. "The Road to Arena" seconded and continued, "It feels like his opponent is completely helpless against Lou Cheng!"
You guys wouldn't speak like this in just a few days... Ann Chaoyang withstood the urge to reply and thought to himself.
In just a few days, Lou Cheng will likely start morphing!
Chapter 473: Gathering Data
When the staff got onto the stage and tried to transport Baco to the ER room, he ﬁnally awoke from the lengthy darkness, shivering from coldness. He then saw Lou Cheng waiting to pay his post-match respects.
Subconsciously, Baco shriveled, his vicious countenance turning tense.
He quickly held down the conditioned response, stood up and managed a bow.
Out of all his battles against opponents from the same league, this was the worst one so far—he could not even do as much as return a blow.
He initially thought he had reached the peak of his league, nearing to Wahku's level; for his opponents to stand a chance of winning against him, they had to outperform themselves or it had to be mistakes on his part. Even if Lou Cheng was strong, he couldn't be much stronger than the others. Who would have thought, he turned out to be a monster—a monster that deﬁed all logic!
Had it been a real ﬁght, a ﬁght without a referee, the swift kick Lou Cheng landed on the side of his knee was sufﬁcient enough to break his leg!
—— No matter how much Shengxiang boxing can toughen one's limbs like metal, they couldn't be compared to real steel before the root pulps mutated. Even if they were like real steel, in a situation where one cannot channel his strength to defend, Lou Cheng would likely have broken it no less, especially when it was the vulnerable side of a knee.
Lou Cheng knew that Baco wasn't severely wounded, so he patiently waited until he stood up, then clasped a tightened ﬁst in his palm as a form of respect. After going through the formalities, he turned towards the stone steps without looking back.
Baco watched him in silence, until his opponent had vanished in the distance. Suppressing the lingering coldness in him, he stumbled out of the arena with a slight limp. ...
Over where the Shengxiang representatives were, the sixth seed, Gusai, stood up and walked beside Wahku with his eyes ﬁxed on the arena.
"How strong..." he muttered.
Had he been in that spot, he would have to go through a grueling battle to defeat Baco, and a moment of carelessness might even end with his defeat!
Gusai was also a Sadhu, but his plump body resembled a mountain of meat, and his skin shone a dark gold, which made a sharp contrast from the gaunt, olive-complected Wahku.
Wahku's eyes were on the arena as well, moving silhouettes ﬂashing in his eyes.
"Stronger every match, no less," he mused. Lou Cheng's strength grew by the day, and that was something visible to the eye!
Over at the Miluo representatives' side, the beefy Veigar had slipped into a red set of general suit, crowning a large brimmed hat as usual. Sitting at the highest level, he watched in silence, like a statue that embodied strength and beauty. But as he watched Lou Cheng take down Baco easily, a silvery white light sparkled in his eyes beneath the hat's shade.
Over at the Japanese representatives' side, Kaori Karasawa gently bit her lips and nodded in approval.
Mouko Yamashita stood unmoving, without a word.
On the day before yesterday, when the guide asked me if I had the conﬁdence to defeat Lou Cheng, I answered ﬁrmly without the slightest hesitation—I believed that even if he made the breakthrough, he wouldn't pose a threat to me.
But right now, after witnessing this battle, my resolve has slightly wavered... But of course, only slightly!
The Nanzheng representatives remained hidden in the desolate side of the grandstand. Banam sat in a yoga pose, eyes shut ﬁrmly as he meditated, not paying attention to any of the matches.
He wasn't about to be careless in the battle against Ann Chaoyang, because careless boxers didn't live long in Nanzheng!
Lou Cheng returned to his teammates and high-ﬁved them in sequence, before retrieving his phone from Ann Chaoyang.
Refreshing the live-stream thread after he had unlocked the lock-screen, he secretly gave a thumbs up to Ann Chaoyang. Well done! As expected from the most reliable one among us!
Ann Chaoyang returned a smile in high spirits, then stiﬂed his emotions to prepare for the ﬁght against Banam.
Lou Cheng switched tab to messenger, reporting the outcome to his "boss":
"See, I told you! [looks up, swelled with pride]" replied Yan Zheke, not forgetting to express her contempt at Baco, "What a weakling, did he even last for a minute?"
"No, less than that. [adjusts spectacles smugly]" replied Lou Cheng.
"Didn't they say he's stronger than that Sakata from Japan? How did he end up losing so fast? [sitting with a blank expression]" replied Yan Zheke, "Is it because your skills improved after your basic mastery of the "Emperor Yan Diagram", or did he panic after having his evil arts countered?"
"You said all there is to say, so what can I say? [snickering]" replied Lou Cheng, "All that's left for me to say is "Right, right, right, Coach Yan is absolutely right!""
Yan Zheke, who just left the dining table, giggled and shook her head at the reply. In high spirits, she walked to the dresser, tied her hair up, and put on a pair of black rimmed spectacles that covered almost half of her face.
Another joyous day! Motivated for today's studies!
It was seven A.M. where she was in America. She hurriedly packed her school bag, bid her farewells to Empress Dowager, boarded the car of full-time bodyguard, Aunt Du, and headed towards school—lessons began at eight.
During the journey, she quietly browsed through her lecture notes and books, occasionally chatting with Lou Cheng or swinging by the live stream thread, saving the images of anything related to her Cheng to her phone.
At seven-forty in the morning, her ride arrived at campus. With her belongings in hand, she exited the vehicle and walked towards the lecture building—where she ran into Huang Xiwen and two other upper class women, who were also from China.
She gave a slight nod as greeting, before walking past them breezily, disappearing into the building under the warm sunlight.
"So arrogant and unapproachable..." mused one of the upper class women.
"She really thinks she's something else!" added Huang Xiwen.
Lou Cheng was famous at Songcheng University, and Yan Zheke was well-known even before him, so Huang Xiwen obviously knew that they were in a relationship. However, from her point of view, if two people were countries apart, no matter how strong they felt for each other, the feelings will eventually diminish and die out because of temptations. Therefore, she felt that their relationship had already been sentenced to death. That's why she was proactive in inviting her and trying to establish a connection—which would in turn increase her popularity among her classmates.
Hmph, as the Heavenly Son of China at the moment, Lou Cheng probably has girls swarming around him. You won't be able to keep him in check even if you were right beside him, keeping an eye on him at all times, much less a long distance relationship. He might be able to restrain himself at the start, but as time goes on, he'll eventually move on to another girl. What kind of man doesn't cheat under such circumstances?
"Let's see you cry when that time comes!" muttered Huang Xiwen, shaking her head before joining the upper class women in school life gossip.
Tap, tap, tap. Yan Zheke walked up the stairs deftly, along the corridor sprinkled in sunlight, towards the lecture room. That's when she heard her Caucasian classmates beside her having a lively discussion.
"The King of the Youth Pro League is real dope!"
"You watched it too? You remember in the last match how he punched out like this? Freaking sick!"
One of the boys stepped out with his left leg, punching out in a sliding motion with his legs. It was evident that he was a diehard Martial Arts fan.
This movement was familiar to Yan Zheke, since it was Lou Cheng's punch that knocked out most of Baco's evil art antics—Ann Chaoyang took a shot of it too.
The corners of her lips went up, then she pressed her pinkish lips together, her pace brisker than before.
... In the Shengxiang stadium, a sea of cheers erupted as the highlighted match was about to begin.
Waving to his teammates, Ann Chaoyang dug out all of his belongings— cellphone, digital camera, headphones, wallet and other miscellaneous items—, and left them with Lou Cheng.
Just before he pivoted and headed out for the arena, a voice call out from behind.
Huh? Ann Chaoyang looked back in confusion, and Lou Cheng was there, smiling with his right ﬁst extended— an encouragement ritual before the match began.
At that moment, Ann Chaoyang was taken back to the days in Huahai University Martial Arts Club and the times he had during district contest and National Competition four years ago. He chuckled, lifted his ﬁst and bumped it against Lou Cheng's ﬁst.
"Do your best!"cheered Lou Cheng, waving his ﬁst vigorously.
Following his lead, Peng Leyun and Ren Li joined in, each ﬁst-bumping Ann Chaoyang before cheering him on.
"Go get them!"
Ann Chaoyang waved his ﬁst gently as a sign of thanks, then turned and strode towards the arena, with newfound determination and a ﬁghting spirit.
… Over at the Japanese representative's side, Mouko Yamashita turned to a man standing beside the coach. He had unkempt hair, a pair of spectacles ﬁxed on his nose, and was hammering away on his laptop.
"How's the data gathering coming along?" Mouko Yamashita inquired in a low voice.
The man with unkempt hair pushed a ﬁnger up his spectacles.
"It's starting to take shape. We can perfect it through more competitions, but we haven't gotten the most important bit— their genetic information. Unlike China, we don't have enough Mighty Ones for research, so we have to resort to other means. The most valuable ones are the samurais past mutation, and the Chinese aren't wary about this. Maybe they don't see its importance, so they pay little attention to the area," he paused, then looked towards Ichiei Sakata who was attracted by their voices, and said, "With their DNA, and the ones of Veigar and Wahku that we have collected over the past years, our research will advance by leaps and bounds. Ichiei- kun,whether or not you can attain the true "Hadou" might ride on this." "Even though China doesn't pay much attention to this aspect, they are still being quite cautious. We haven't gotten anything the past few days, looks like their coach did a good job cleaning up," Mouko Yamashita paused, then continued, "You think Shengxiang, Miluo and Nanzheng might be doing the same thing?"
The man with unkempt hair curled his lips.
"With their technology…..heh," he scoffed, fully expressing his disdain without having the need to ﬁnish his sentence.
Chapter 474: Striking the Iron While It's Hot
After sending Ann Chaoyang to the ring with their encouraging eyes, Lou Cheng and the rest went back doing their own things. One was in a daze, one was looking at his phone while the other was still researching a route to the washroom. They were all waiting for the start of the competition and didn't interact further.
"Why don't you guys talk a little more? Do you guys still discuss how you would approach the previous match? Or what your chances would be?" Guide Zhong asked with interest and broke the silence.
Lou Cheng took a look at him, smiled faintly and replied,
"Those are the matches that we are rather conﬁdent of… As of now, saying that Ann Chaoyang will lose would be like cursing him. Believing that he will win will accumulate bad karma for lying. Either option isn't right so we might as well not say anything." "Yeah yeah!" Ren Li nodded her head in approval.
"Yeah, it is just like he said," replied Peng Leyun as he returned from the "Heavens".
Lou Cheng's summary was on point!
As he took steps towards the ring, Ann Chaoyang retrieved a hair band from his clothes and secured his long hair so that it wouldn't interfere with his ﬁght.
After jumping onto the stage, he stood on the left side of the referee. He adjusted himself and tried to get the lake in his heart to settle down and have no ripples or waves willing himself to become calmer. At the same time, the reﬂections of his surroundings were connected to his thoughts and allowed him to clearly identify his opponent quicker and more accurately. "Water Sect" special kungfu, "Lake and Mirror Liked Wisdom"!
After reaching the physical invulnerability state, it could evolve further. Its name would still be "Lake and Mirror Like Wisdom". It was just that there were some words before it:
"Water Sect" Seventh Style!
His eyes became gloomy; there were ripples swaying lightly.
Ann Chaoyang's aura started to extend into his surroundings.
Banam's stature wasn't tall but was strong as an iron cast and his hands and legs were wrapped in white bandages. When he saw his opponent, he immediately felt as though he was facing a piece of boundless sea. It was deep and distant, swaying lightly and was capable of both holding and swallowing everything.
When this aura spread outwards, his surroundings became pressurized creating a feeling of anxiety and frustration. It was the calm right before the storm: the atmosphere before a major battle.
Banam's Zhahe Boxing was a traditional boxing art in Nanzheng. It was developed from the fundamentals of close combat martial arts from China, killing arts in the battleﬁeld, assassination techniques of the army, and various other martial arts. It was similar to the style of "Dark Inﬁnite Sutra" (Dark Sect). Although it allowed him to posses the secret technique to inﬂuence the mind of his opponent, he did not like to engage in head-on confrontation. By slowing himself to change his pace, he was like a ﬁsh in water and managed to creepily break away from the aura suppression of Ann Chaoyang. After arriving at the predetermined position, he didn't seem to be affected much.
It was only now that he started to seriously scrutinize the opponent opposite of him and making a comparison with the impression he had after looking through the information. He always looked like he was lacking sleep and seemed to be able to yawn anytime...
He's a very smart martial art practitioner. Smart wasn't describing his intelligence but rather his talents as a martial arts practitioner. Rumours had it that he often had his own perspectives…...
Because of the distance, language barriers and other factors, the information Banam had on Ann Chaoyang wasn't complete. Therefore he, who had just advanced, became even more careful.
Just as the two of them began scrutinizing each other, the referee raised his right hand and waved down quickly.
Banam pounced. He wasn't moving in a straight line, but instead made a beautiful arc to avoid the edge of his opponent. In just one moment, he had pressed into the side of his opponent.
Ann Chaoyang did not move. Seeing that he couldn't lock down his opponent, he decided to just remain in his position and waited for Banam to approach him — His biggest strength was his "Lake and Mirror Like Wisdom," and this technique had the limitation of distance!
The dull and deep lake in his heart just managed to reﬂect the ﬁgure of his opponent when his view suddenly turned black. It was as though all the lights of the stadium were turned off and there weren't any stars or moon to illuminate the place.
It wasn't just that. The silence from the area surrounding him gave him the creeps as there wasn't any sound at all.
If it was another martial arts practitioner, he would have panicked. However Ann Chaoyang had made mental preparations in advance. He didn't care about the darkness and the sudden creepy loss of "sight" and "hearing". As he followed the signs of the movements from the "Lake", he clenched his ﬁst tightly, shifted his elbows sideways and smashed across!
Bam! From his ﬁst to his arm, he felt a relatively cold bit of ﬂesh and an extremely dark and sharp force.
As the sounds of impact propagated, the darkness was broken instantly. Ann Chaoyang was able to see the light and hear the surrounding noise again! The creepy scene previously was the inhuman ability Banam had mastered, "Darkness"!
Bam! Banam failed in his ﬁrst attack and immediately switched to a close combat form. After a ﬁst blow, he immediately tilted his elbow and smashed across or changed it to a palm for slice attack or poke. At the same time, he used his knees to attack from the bottom too. The crazy series of attacks were as fast as a hurricane and caused Ann Chaoyang to be unable to use "Force Concentration" on time. Ann Chaoyang was completely overwhelmed by his strength and speed. With every strike, there was a dim shimmering at the edge of Banam's palms or ﬁngernails.
Relying on "Lake and Mirror Like Wisdom" Ann Chaoyang was always able to plan in advance. Using the advantage of being in the inner lane and the defensive characteristics of "Water Sect", he was able to barely withstand the attacks. It might seem that he was already on the line but in actual fact, he was not close to defeat yet.
As a boxing arts practitioner with a distinct style, Banam did not have the patience to accumulate his advantage slowly to a victory. As he fought to the point of satisfaction, he suddenly changed his tempo. He looked like he was going to continue ﬁerce attacks but in actuality, he was slower by half a beat. He was waiting for Ann Chaoyang to make the resulting response. As it happened, a dull light shimmered in his eyes and formed a creepy "ﬂair"!
Zhahe boxing, "Serene Sting"!
Seeing this, Ann Chaoyang's heart constricted. He could no longer care about other things. He made a decisive decision to directly constrict his blood, air, mind and force. As Banam was executing his secret arts, Ann Chaoyang poured all of his strength to his lower abdomen.
It was well timed without a moment of error! If he did not have Lake and Mirror Like Wisdom or practice multiple times during normal days, Ann Chaoyang would never have been able to achieve similar feats. It wouldn't matter if he was faster or slower!
With the dull light brightening then dulling once again, Banam took half a stride forward and shifted his arm quickly. He swifty extended his ﬁst and waited to leverage the time as his opponent was still affected by "Serene Sting".
However his "Serene Sting" felt like he had hit a dead man who had lost his ﬂesh and blood, and as a result, it didn't have much effect. With the force accumulated in the abdomen erupting, Ann Chaoyang regained his senses instantly. Using the momentum, he extended his arm and struck with his right arm out to stop the attack of his opponent on time.
In the dull impact, both sides were shaken. Banam who did not strike with full force was at a slight disadvantage. However, Ann Chaoyang grabbed hold to this opportunity by using the strength of his opponent against him and executed consecutive explosion at the Dan Stage. With the "momentum of the ﬂood" striking harder and harder with each strike, he was able to turn defence into offence. He continued taunting his opponent and gradually gained the upper hand!
Double explosion, triple explosion, quadruple explosion all the way to nine consecutive explosions. He was borrowing strength all along and was getting ﬁercer as the battle continued. His strike was heavier with each strike and his kick was ﬁercer than each before. Banam could only remain defending against the attacks or take steps back. His tendons, vessels and organs seemed to be experiencing drowning as he gradually felt obstructed!
This made Banam feel a little unwell. He believed that his attacks previously were too rushed with too many problems. They weren't compatible with his own thoughts on typical days. As a result, his opponent was able to grab hold on to this opportunity.
As he defended himself, he suddenly remembered something about mentally extracting aura from his opponents. The aura felt just like a frustrated hurricane approaching. Instantly, he realised he had fallen for the "trick" and made a mistake. He's indeed a very smart martial arts practitioner!
It was another ﬁerce attack. After that attack, Ann Chaoyang made a change to his pace and started to visualise "Approaching Raging ﬂoods and ever-increasing water level" in his mind. Following which, the image of a "Dam collapsing under pressure" appeared in his mind.
"Water Sect" Simpliﬁed Physical Invulnerability Move, "Deluge"!
Ann Chaoyang's stature became taller and bigger and cracked the ﬂoor with just his weight. Without throwing a punch, he tilted his body and leaned over.
Bam! Banam made the right response and defended on time. However his centre of gravity was still affected as he staggered two steps backwards.
Ann Chaoyang immediately pressed ahead and attacked consecutively with both of his arms. Inter-switching his legs, he continued with crazy consecutive explosions. From time to time, he would mix in other strikes from the "Water Sect" to supplement the Simpliﬁed Physical Invulnerability Move "Deluge". His strikes resulted in endless "Pa" sounds and forced Banam to a position of distraughtness.
"Is he going to win?" Zhong Ningtao wiped the sweat off his huge back and couldn't help but sigh.
Could Ann Chaoyang really defeat an expert at the inhuman stage? Even if his opponent had just advanced not too long ago?
After he spoke, Renli glanced at him, shook her head and said with a low voice, "Nope, he's about to lose..."
"Huh?" Zhong Ningtao didn't know whether he should doubt his eyes or ears.
Ann Chaoyang had clearly accumulated the momentum to win!
He immediately turned towards Lou Cheng and Peng Leyun. One of them was covering his mouth while the other seemed to be deep in thought. Both of them didn't seem to be harbouring high hopes.
In the intense battle, just when he was intending to execute one last "Deluge", Ann Chaoyang suddenly felt exhausted and the circulation of his strength wasn't smooth at all. As a result, his strikes were slower by half a beat and allowed Banam to escape from his suppression to his side.
This type of exhaustion did not disappear but gotten more serious. Ann Chaoyang suddenly remembered in the exchanges of blows with Banam previously, Banam's ﬁngernails, the edge of the palms and other areas were shimmering with some dull light. He also connected this thought to the killer move "Hidden Scent" used in the match between Ren Li and Lou Cheng!
Could Banam's "Darkness" subconsciously weaken his opponents till they were exhausted?
I was using Force Concentration constantly previously to negate the effects and that was why I lasted until now?
Without the ﬁrst strike, his advantage quickly dissipated. Ann Chaoyang was forced back into a difﬁcult situation. After being ambushed by Banam twice, he ﬁnally could not withstand further attacks and exposed his weakness. As his opponent exploited his weakness, the voice "Banam wins" sounded.
Puff. There's still a distinct difference in strength... He heaved out a sigh and bowed at Banam. After which, he turned around and left the ring. When he returned to his original position, he did not talk much about the previous match with Lou Cheng and the rest. They gave one-another a high-ﬁve and the hidden chemistry and encouragement thoughts were conveyed without using words. After a while, Peng Leyun quickly ﬁnished his opponents off and ended the third round of the double- elimination matches. There were a total of 6 people who had accumulated two matches of failure and therefore had to leave, leaving seventeen contestants remaining.
As it was only necessary to eliminate one contestant for the round of sixteen, it would be pointless to spend one day to conduct the fourth round. If the ﬁrst match conﬁrmed the contestant to be eliminated, the audience who arrived at the Shengxiang stadium would only able to witness a single match. The committee decided instead to immediately start the fourth round of double-elimination matches. They will ﬁrst draw out a pair for the match and then draw the second match after the ﬁrst match had ended.
Before Lou Cheng and the rest were drawn, the ﬁrst match had determined the seventeen ranked contestant in this four countries competition. He was the eighth seed, Li Shaokang. The top sixteen were out: The ﬁrst six seeds, four wild cards and 6 other contestants had successfully made it to the next round. At this stage, there would be monetary rewards. The top sixteen would receive a hundred thousand, top eight would receive two hundred thousand, top four would receive four hundred thousand, third place would receive ﬁve hundred thousand, second place would replace seven hundred thousand and the champion would receive one million and ﬁve hundred thousand.
"There will be two days of rest coming up. Don't run around." Coach Zhong Ningtao reminded them again after returning to the hotel. He made a point to emphasize that to Ren Li who was in front of him.
Lou Cheng nodded his head and had no objections. On his way back to his room, he took out his phone and sent Yan Zheke a message. With a [Pumping clenched ﬁst expression], he sent,
"I have to burn the midnight oil tonight!"
He struck the iron while it was hot and mastered the "Emperor Yan Force"! He had to start morphing within the next two days!
Chapter 475: Rebalancing ice and ﬂames
Yan Zheke, who was in the middle of her class, wasted no time in giving a short and sweet reply to Lou Cheng's declaration.
"You can do it hubby!"
Lou Cheng chuckled at the reply, then replied with a reaction image of a person in red headband striving to work hard. Putting his phone aside, he got into a stance and began visualizing the dense "Emperor Yan Statue", clad in liquid ﬂames— in order to control the "Flame Force" in his body, guiding and gathering it before compressing it.
With some breaks in between, four to ﬁve hours of training quickly passed. By that time, eighty percent of the world's lights had seemingly been switched off, and darkness ruled the world again. Lou Cheng's eyes snapped open, a ﬂare ﬂashing across his irises— dazzling white to red, like the dangling sun during dawn. Enhancing forces was neither an easy task nor a hard one. After the basic mastery of the essence of "Emperor Yan Diagram", and with the experience from practicing "Ice Spirit Force" as reference, he successfully completed the enhancement from "Zhurong Force" to "Emperor Yan Force". The ﬂame force in him turned from scarlet to white, became dense and heavy, and barely formed a circulation that saved him the trouble of having to train from the start after each use.
Lou Cheng twisted his neck, then shook his head about as his joints cracked like beans in a pot.
He took a moment to regulate his breathing, then grabbed his keycard and set off for the hotel pool on level 31, everything still fresh in his mind.
It was midnight. The pool had been closed off and not a person was in sight, but this was not a problem to Lou Cheng. He ﬂipped in through a window, then hopped past the obstacles on the outer walls as if he was traveling on ﬂat ground, before easily sliding in from the other side. In the darkness, the silent pool stretched endlessly deep to the extent that one could barely see its bottom, much like the ones in those horror ﬁlms.
Lou Cheng slipped out of his shoes and socks, then T-shirt and shorts. Half-naked, he dived into the pool. His entrance did not leave so much so as a splash, only ripples that slowly fanned out in rings.
He didn't decend long before he touched the bottom. He crossed his legs and sat down before shutting his eyes.
Holding his breath, his body was sequestered from the air. All that was around him was gentle waves , and it was as though Lou Cheng had returned to the time when he was still in his mother's womb. Calmness enveloped his heart, as his internal circulations naturally adjusted, and he no longer had to envision his organs, tendons, blood vessels and muscles.
"Ice Spirit Holy Light Diagram" and "Emperor Yan Diagram" intersected distinctly, and as Lou Cheng worked out the two forces, he slowly began to understand their reliance and inﬂuence on the delicate parts of the root pulp. In the environment he was in, the feelings were mysterious and unique!
Every once in a while, Lou Cheng has to resurface to renew his breath before sinking to the bottom again— feeling his control and attempting to manipulate it.
He failed over and over again— even though he had stepped into the realms of Inhuman, morphing had its own difﬁculties, and it was not something that could be achieved overnight.
Huff... it was just past ﬁve A.M. and the sky was still dark. Swimming to the edge of the pool, Lou Cheng held on to the ledge with both arms then heaved a heavy sigh along with his impatience.
When he regained his composure, the mirror of ice began forming again. Reluctant to give up, he tumbled and dived down once more.
This time, when visualizing "Emperor Yan Diagram" and "Ice Spirit Holy Light Diagram" bore no fruits, he began thinking from another direction and attempted to use "Force Concentration".
He withdrew his Qi and blood, then his spirit. Ice and ﬂame formed a balance, swirling and intertwining, forming a human body big dan that blended well with the starry sky in his lower abdomen.
Within the "Big dan", a sudden change occured, as the "Ice Spirit" spread out and stretched into an endless expanse of starry sky in the background— extremely cold, extremely vast and extremely dark, without a hint of heat or sound. Then the "Emperor Yan" collapsed, and when it gathered again, it spat out liquid ﬂames and other substances that turned into globes of suns and stars.
The perfect harmony between the two was like a reﬂection of the universe. It was similar, yet different from before.
Lou Cheng shuddered, and felt like the "human body big dan" he had generated was beginning to resonate with the night sky above him and his surroundings. With a buzz, something caused the Jindan in his lower abdomen to quiver. Ripples spread out on the water, below the dazzling radiance of the starry sky, unexpected causing a disharmony and imperfection.
The "Big dan" exploded, sending blasts of force out. At that instant, Lou Cheng felt a slight tremor in his root pulp, giving him a vague sense of conﬁdence.
He suddenly realized he was rising up in the water, all the way until he surfaced at the top. Opening his eyes, he recollected a summary of the events that just transpired. He felt as if the balance between ice and ﬂame and his human body big dan was closer to perfection as compared to the Longhu Immortal's Jindan. It was also more natural which was crucial when it came to connecting heaven and earth to achieve the physical invulnerability state.
As expected, as times change and things improve, so did training, thought Lou Cheng.
He was lucky to be able to stand atop the shoulders of all these amazing people! You can learn from people of the past, but you cannot copy them!
After he had inspected his body, he sank to the bottom again, following the path of thought he had come up with earlier, using "Force Concentration" to balance ice and ﬂames, in an attempt to inﬂuence his root pulp.
The sky began to light up. Daylight shone across the pool water, revealing large shards of frozen ice and frost marks, and also the gurgling spots of "hot spring" where hot, white steam rose into the air.
Splash! Lou Cheng stood up, right on top of the surface of the water, with only the sole of his foot submerged in water.
His wet hair laid ﬂat. His exposed muscles were well-deﬁned and beautifully shaped. Droplets of water slid down the surface of his skin, accentuating his masculine charms.
One step, two steps, three steps... Lou Cheng treaded on the water, without any signs of submerging. He ambled to the edge of the pool, collected and carelessly slid into his T-shirt, shorts, shoes and socks... then left the place.
Perhaps it was due to his natural possession of supernatural ability, but the miracle he had created was much more ridiculous than Peng Leyun's one.
When he returned to his room, he grabbed his phone as a smile crept up his face, and began frantically typing away.
"You are going to see my 5th Pin certiﬁcate by September! [snickering]"
Yes, he had tasted success in leading his root pulp to mutation, which meant that he had ofﬁcially began to morph. In a matter of ten or so days, he will be reborn into an Inhuman.
And starting from then, until the end of morphing, he will literally be getting stronger day by day— a visible change that anyone would be able to see. Yan Zheke, in the midst of her last lesson, replied in a ﬂash.
"[snickering] Cheng, the other way of describing an "Inhuman" is that they are not a human, and Cheng, you are deﬁnitely not a human~ [hammers the ground while laughing]"
Sensing the joy and excitement in her words, Lou Cheng felt like he was on cloud nine. Shaking his head gently, he let out a laugh, and suddenly he wanted to see her. He wanted to act on impulse and video chat with her— especially since he had been sparring for the past few mornings and missed out on the best times for video chatting.
But remembering that Ke was still in class, he managed to hold back and settled with a text reply.
During her class, Yan Zheke felt joyous and prideful, but there was also a tiny tinge of melancholy mixed in between.
Cheng is becoming better and better, what about me? She lifted her head and looked towards the lecturer, as a new found motivation for schoolwork coursed through her.
I too need to become a better version of myself!
"It's freezing!" exclaimed a girl.
"Ow, it's scalding!" screamed a guy ﬂopping out of the water, as if he just dove into a hot spring without mental preparations.
At the same time, Lou Cheng made a call to Geezer Shi to deliver the good news.
"Master, I have mastered the "Emperor Yan Force"!" He did not mention anything about the morphing. He wanted to tell his master when the time was right.
"Hm, not bad," replied Geezer Shi. He was hardly surprised since he already expected it to happen. Smacking his lips, he said, "Looks like you can attempt to morph now, smelly brat. Actually, other than making the breakthrough underwater, there are many other methods that I suspect might be more suitable for you, for example…"
Lou Cheng was thunderstruck.
"Master, w-why didn't you tell me earlier?" he stuttered after some silence.
I already began morphing!
After a gruelling session underwater! With Geezer Shi's experience, he instantly guessed the current status of his disciple and gave a heh-heh laugh.
"This is the ﬁrst time in this old man's life to see such a silly disciple. Who doesn't consult their master before attempting to make the breakthrough?" he said, before continuing,
"Even if we talked about these things before, it was hardly in depth… Haha, cough "
He was laughing to the extent that he was coughing. This was deﬁnitely going down as his joke of the year.
Lou Cheng reddened and secretly cursed at his master's playfulness.
"I was just planning to test it out myself and consult you only if I ran into any problems…" he replied with smiles. "Don't bother explaining, cough, haha, smelly brat, you have a long way to go…" laughed Geezer Shi, who before he hung up, began humming and dug out his treasured wine.
The day and a half after that, Lou Cheng caught a wink and carried on his morphing; he also found a suitable timing to video chat with Yan Zheke.
On August 20th, Shengxiang stadium was packed with people, the sea of enthusiasm returning along with more ﬁerce battles.
After ﬁnding their respective seats, Lou Cheng and the rest had to sit through a theatrical performance before the guest of honor walked up the stage to draw the lots for the Top 16 matches. Four matches were scheduled for that night, and four more on the following night.
The guest of honor dunked his hand into the box and retrieved a ball. Then he took a glance at the words. "China, Lou Cheng!" he announced, displaying the words for all to see.
Shit, I'm the ﬁrst to get picked... thought Lou Cheng as he let out a laugh. Straightening himself up, he waited for the conﬁrmation of his opponent's identity.
Once again, the guest of honor riﬂed through the ball box before grabbing one out and displaying it.
"Japan, Mouko Yamashita!"
The ﬁfth seed, Mouko Yamashita!
Chapter 476: The Plans Of The “All- Knowing Man”
"Japan, Mouko Yamashita!"
When he heard the announcement from the Guest, Mouko Yamashita's looks changed. He revealed a smile and mumbled to himself in a low voice,
When Lou Cheng easily defeated Baco in the third round of the double-elimination matches, his conﬁdence had actually shaken slightly. This was unforgivable. In the traditions of "Extreme Hadouken", there was no room for cowardice. He had to make amends immediately and win against him in battle. Now that I'm matched with Lou Cheng, this is just as I wish!
I will be using this victory to erase the "blight" in me! Moreover this can even help me to complete the secret mission!
A researcher with messy hair, who was standing beside Mouko Yamashita, adjusted his spectacles and beamed with delight. Sakata Ichiei and the rest of the members were all ﬁlled with anticipation. There were even some of them showing fervour who shouted,
"Mouku kun, it's time to show "Extreme Hadou Sect" to the world!"
Since the start of the competition, Mouko Yamashita's luck in the draw had been great. He had not met any strong opponents and wasn't able to fully demonstrate the dominance of "Extreme Hadou Sect". Moreover with Sakata Ichiei and other disciples were eliminated one after another, the sect had lost some respect from others.
Facing the request, Mouko Yamashita straightened his back, nodded his head with a serious face and continued, "Alright (Hai)!"
"Mouko Yamashita?" Lou Cheng was stunned for a second. He laughed in self-mockery and continued, "This luck is really bad!"
To meet one at inhuman stage at the round of sixteen!
With regards to the draws, he wasn't surprised nor disappointed at all. In the round of sixteen, they still followed the rules where contestants from the same country would not meet. Excluding himself and the other three, there were twelve other options. Among which, there were a total of ﬁve at the inhuman stage. The probability of drawing them was almost half. On his way to the Shengxiang Stadium, he had already made the mental preparations to face a strong enemy!
Not waiting for Peng Leyun, Ann Chaoyang and Ren Li to open their mouth, Lou Cheng lowered his head, looked at his phone, and said to Yan Zheke with a [crying from laughing expression],
"I got matched with another tiger (note: Literal interpretation of Yamashita is "Fierce Tiger")….."
"Schrodinger Tiger Vs the Wild Tiger from the mountains... My money is on the Quantum Physics Sciencers!" Yan Zheke made her replies very quickly. It was as though she was taking her phone out from time to time to check if the results from the draw were out. She "scratched her head" and said, "If you were drawn against him a few days ago, I'm deﬁnitely would not be conﬁdent. However you have undergone morphing over the past two days. I have high hopes for you! [pat on shoulder expression]"
"In that case, I must not let your hopes down! [Motivated expression]" replied Lou Cheng
Frankly speaking, he did have some conﬁdence. He was even interested to give it a try! Mouko Yamashita only managed to create "Ha" in May and advanced in level. His standards were at least half a step lower than Veigar. I could even ﬁght Veigar to that extent before my morphing. How hard could it be now?
Over the last two days, using the current lingo to describe my strength would be: It's rising even when I'm drinking water!
After replying, he seemed to feel something. He raised his head and found Peng Leyun, Ren Li, Ann Chaoyang and Zhong Ningtao were all looking at him.
"What's the matter?" asked Lou Cheng puzzedly.
"I was thinking of giving you some encouragement or even some consolation words. However looking at you now, it seems that there's nothing much I have to say.," laughed Peng Leyun.
This dude was happy playing with his phone and full of smiles. He didn't need our encouragement or whatsoever! Ann Chaoyang "opened" his eyes and nodded his head at the same time as Ren Li.
Lou Cheng laughed shyly and pointed to the ring.
"They are drawing the second group now."
For this group, Veigar was matched with an unseeded contestant who was also not a wild card contestant.
Using the break in between, Lou Cheng looked at the screen again and made his replies. At this moment, he saw "Talker" sent him a message:
"I heard that you will be going against an inhuman soon?"
"How do you know?" Lou Cheng replied with a [Shocked Expression]. I don't think I talked about the four countries competition to student Xiao Ming. We have just been talking about random things for the last few days.
"I suddenly felt like visiting your forum and found that you have been handed over to the nation and are taking part in some "King of Youth Pro League". You are even matched against a Japanese expert, Mouko Yamashita, who is at the inhuman stage... Is there some animosity between you and his parents?" said Cai Zongming. " I'm here speciﬁcally to tell you something and to console you for meeting a strong opponent."
"What do you want to say?" Lou Cheng replied casually without thinking.
Cai Zongming replied,
"[Sinister smile expression] You must persevere!"
"Scram!" Lou Cheng replied in a clear and concise way but still couldn't help but laugh. As time passed, the third group was drawn. Banam's luck was great and he was matched with an unseeded contestant who was also not a wild card contestant. After a short while, the guest started to draw the line-up for the fourth group. He shouted the name of Peng Leyun.
The atmosphere at the other representative group changed slightly and was slightly tense. Without letting them guessed for too long, the guest grabbed the next round ball, took a look at it showed it to the crowd and said,
The third seed, "Arhat" Wahku!
"Great..." Peng Leyun lazy expression corrected and a lightning-like light shimmered in his eyes. It seemed that he was looking forward to an opponent of this level for a very long time!
Lou Cheng and the rest didn't speak too much and only pitied Veigar for three seconds. It's ﬁnally your turn to witness who's the real devil!
At the place of the representative group of Shengxiang, Wahku stood upright with his chest forward. His expression was still sad and full of hatred. The expressions on the other members around had all became worse.
After that, another guest drew the match-up for the other four groups. Ren Li continued with her good luck and would be facing an unseeded contestant who was also not holding a wild card just like Veigar and Banam.
In the live thread, the place had erupted after Lou Cheng was drawn against an inhuman expert. Everyone was commenting fervently and arguing incessantly.
"Unparalleled Dragon King" said with a [joking expression], "Don't worry, Lou Cheng's chances in this match aren't small. Even if it wasn't half, he should still have about thirty percent. Think about it, he almost defeated Veigar and what's more, it's Mouku Yamashita who is weaker. As long as he has the same performance as when he defeated Baco, I wouldn't say he has no chances of winning!" However the feeling when ﬁghting someone weaker than you and someone who is one stage stronger than you will deﬁnitely be different. Lou Cheng probably couldn't replicate the smooth and ﬂuent performance." The "Pig-Riding Knight" pointed out the problem with that argument and received the recognition from the "road to the arena" and the rest.
"Invincible Punch" was more inclined to agree with "Unparalleled Dragon King's" judgement.
"When Lou Cheng fought with Veigar, he also had a performance above his norm!"
"It's different from that time. He had something new at that time. The "Army" Formula can be considered unexpected which caused Veigar to have miscalculated. As for now, everyone more or less has a good grasp of what Lou Cheng had. When facing an inhuman, it will be very hard for him to clinch the initiative and create chances," A Plumber Eating Mushroom" commented.
"You aren't wrong but it still goes back to that old question. Mouko Yamashita is weaker than Veigar. Taking a discount on both sides, Lou Cheng still has his chances!" Unparalleled Dragon King" insisted on his own views.
"Eternal Nightfall" Yan Xiaoling continued,
"[Observing in the Dark expression] What you all are saying all have good reasons... I choose to go and die. No, I meant to pray. Make a wish!"
"I support Xiao Long! Oh right, did anyone of you go and inform "All-knowing Man in Ganghood" to be prepared to delete his account. It will take at most three months!""Brahman" was using this to relieve the uneasiness and nervousness in her heart.
"I had already tagged him. Don't have to thank me for that. I'm a young pioneer!""Okamoto's Fan" replied with an "evil smile".
At this very moment, "All-knowing Man in Ganghood" was browsing the videos of the ﬁrst few battles of the four countries competition. His face got paler as he watched. "It will at most be two months...""It's about time to direct the trafﬁc to my public account. When I have to delete my WeChat account, it wouldn't be a big deal. In the worst case, I can just start a secondary account!"
Yeah, I better make the best of my time. Otherwise, Lou Cheng might have broken through before I redirected my followers.
8 o'clock that night, the representative groups walked out from their changing rooms respectively and returned to their original location.
Mouko Yamashita was resting both of his hands on his knees and remained seated while waiting. When the referee had arrived, he stood up suddenly like a mountain towering over the others.
"Mouku kun, it's all on you now!" The researcher with messy hair bowed at him from the side. Mouko Yamashita nodded his head slightly in response.
The sequence of the draw had Lou Cheng in front, so he had no choice but to give up on the white dojo suit he wore for karate and changed into the reserved red attire.
As he was about to walk towards the ring, he suddenly noticed the beautiful Kaori Karasawa from the edge of his eyes. She was standing at a position parallel to his position and her sweet and low voice transmitted to his ears.
"Are you really going to do as they say?"
Hmph? Mouko Yamashita showed a puzzled face and looked to the side.
Kaori Karasawa was looking straight and her voice went straight to Yamashita without spreading, "This would be an insult to martial arts. As long as you appear, you got to respect your opponent. Moreover Lou Cheng isn't weak. Are you really going to extract "materials" in a hurry? You might very well lose to him then. Mouku-kun, go all out and defeat him ﬁrst before seeing if there's another way."
Mouku Yamashita maintained silence for a while and didn't reply. He took huge strides and walked towards the stone steps with frightening momentum.
After walking two or three steps ahead, he nodded his head very slightly while back facing Kaori Karasawa.
After taking a look at the electronic clock, Lou Cheng also stood up. He took the initiative to do a ﬁst bump with every single one of them and receive various encouragement words of "All the best!". At this moment, the special reminder music also sounded. He picked it up and took a look at the oven photo sent by Yan Zheke. Inside it was a cake and other things. The color indicated that it was slightly burnt and it was oddly shaped.
"Cough, I have taken time to practise this!" said Yan Zheke.
"Therefore, what you wanted to say is 'All the best, I'm waiting for you to come back and have it'?" Lou Cheng helped her to complete her hidden words with smiles.
Yan Zheke replied,
"[Thumbs up expression], You know me the best and all the best!"
"Victory!" Lou Cheng shouted out the slogan and exited QQ. Switching back to the live thread page, he threw the phone to Ann Chaoyang and laughed, "Photograph me in a way that makes me look better!"
After speaking, he walked conﬁdently to the ring. There wasn't fear but only battle will!
Chapter 477: Twists and turns
"He's got good mentality," laughed Ann Chaoyang, turning towards Peng Leyun and Ren Li. He held his phone up, ﬁdgeted with it for a few seconds, then snapped a shot of his teammate's silhouette—a ﬁgure that was neither lofty nor hefty, but determined and full of ﬁghting spirit!
He studied the picture contentedly, secretly complimenting himself— please address me as Reliable Ann!
The thought ﬂashed in his mind as he uploaded the picture, along with the text he came up with—"He disembarks on another journey,
fearless in the face of a mighty enemy".
Right after posting it, he refreshed the page. To his surprise, a number of new replies had already popped up. This sub- forum is insanely popular to have so many people trying to leave early comments, he realized. "Good shot!"—A terse compliment from "Unparalleled Dragon King".
Next in line to reply was the young girl, "Wonton Seller".
"Hahahaha, I didn't know there was this poetic side to you, Little Tiger. Come, let me teach you how to cook!"
Eh... Ann Chaoyang's brows furrowed. His droopy eyes had narrowed into a slit. He hit refresh once more.
"This photo... is taken up close, @Schrodinger's Tiger, don't tell me you are at the grandstand, right next to them? [nibbling on thumb]" replied "Brahman".
Ann Chaoyang gulped, before uneasily replying "Yes."
At the same time, Lou Cheng approached the arena. Since his opponent was a powerful Mighty One, he could not be as relaxed and at ease like when he fought Baco. Shuddering slightly, the secreted hormones made him more focused and more excited.
He knew that the unfathomable state he entered during the previous ﬁght was something that came by chance, not something he can obtain intentionally. Without feeling upset, he retracted his thoughts and visualized— a mirror of ice, lake water caving in. His emotions were like ice. In an unmoving state, his insurmountable ﬁghting spirit and piercing bloodlust were clearly reﬂected. A layer of aura was naturally spread out, giving shape to a terrifying blizzard, and his ﬂesh was the holy mountain towering amid the natural disaster.
The wind whistled as the air grew thin. Lou Cheng went up the stone stairs, a step at a time, until he stepped into the arena and saw Mouko Yamashita, almost simultaneously, appearing across him.
The Inhuman samurai was taller and bigger than him. He had a rough look, with bushy eyebrows and terrifyingly well- deﬁned muscles. The juxtaposition made it look as if it was a ﬁght between an adult and a middle school student. Mouko Yamashita had a crazed expression, and an equally impressive aura. A faint white glow emanated from him, stiffening the mood of those around him— the audience was too scared to make a sound.
Wherever he marched, the wind seemed to be swirling.
At that moment, when Lou Cheng and Mouko Yamashita met eyes, the center of the arena seemed to brighten up.
The showdown between auras ends with a draw!
The referee, an experienced Inhuman mighty one, glanced left and right, before quietly raising his right hand as a signal for preparation.
Lou Cheng and Mouko Yamashita did not need to prepare. On their way there, they had already ﬁne-tuned themselves to peak performance.
The referee took a step back and swung his arm down.
"Begin!" he boomed.
As the words hit the ground, Mouko Yamashita pivoted his foot, lowered his body and swung his right ﬁst out on the spot.
He thrusted his arm, pulled his ﬁst back and glided forward in the whistling wind, like a train travelling at top speed, and in the blink of an eye, he appeared before Lou Cheng.
In that time, the white light around him suddenly grew strong, like a torch popped alight, leaving the afterimage of a dragon and tiger amidst the terrifying clangour. "Extreme Hadou Sect"—"Roaring Dragon, Howling Tiger Punch!"
Compared to Ichiei Sakata, Mouko Yamashita used the move at a higher mastery, perfectly combining with his tackle.
This was the level of someone at the Inhuman stage!
Come! Lou Cheng felt joy rather than fear, his ﬁghting spirit rising. He rapidly withdrew his Qi, blood, force and spirit, compressing them to one— the ice and ﬂames balanced, playing out a swirling miniature of the "starry sky".
With the image of "God Statue" in his mind, he pushed his feet and drew them together, then blasted a powerful punch forward with his swelling right arm. Bam! A layer of searing white ﬂame ignited around his ﬁst, continuously condensing and fortifying.
The imperfect "Emperor Yan Force"!
The sound of ﬁsts clashing was swallowed by the loud bang from the explosion. The tumbling waves of ﬂames and dispersing white light hid their ripped muscles and bulging veins. Mouko Yamashita staggered, but quickly found his balance again. Scorch marks appeared on his shirt. Lou Cheng took a step back, into the ground, his muscles sore and numb from the "Hadou".
After exchanging a hit at maximum power, he only had it worse off by a little!
At the grandstand, Peng Leyun's expressions changed slightly. "He already started morphing?" he blurted in awe.
To be able to infuse another force after "Force Concentration" was one of the main labels of stepping into the Inhuman stage!
Lou Cheng's punch made it clear that he had been morphing, and not just for a day or two!
Ann Chaoyang, witnessing the changes on the arena, heard Peng Leyun's words. "What speed!" he sighed.
How many days had it been, since the start of the competition between the four nations?
He's practically rushing towards the morphing stage at a steady pace!
Sigh, there's no way I could do that... Ren Li opened her mouth, wanting to say something, but bit her words back as her pearlescent teeth gently sunk into her soft lips.
"He's Inhuman!"— a forum reply by "Unparalleled Dragon King" that contained a word that was unbelievable to many.
Once someone began morphing, unless they suffer an unfortunate death or become crippled from heavy wound, it was certain that they would reach the Inhuman stage.
"My eyes must be playing tricks on me...[thunderstruck expression]" replied "Pig-Riding Knight".
"In such a short time! [angry laughter]" replied "Road to the Arena".
It hasn't even been four months from the end of Nationals! "Hahahaha!" Yan Xiaoling sent a voice message instead of typing, her voice not much different from an elementary school kid.
"All-knowing Man in Ganghood", who was working on a long Weibo post while watching live stream— hoping to get more people to his public account— went still. His face turned pale, in the colour of ashes.
Didn't he need two more months to make the breakthrough?
It has only been two minutes!
Two minutes from when I knew this!
What a beast...
... On the arena, Lou Cheng stepped back to unload his force, retracted his Qi and force, then launched a counter attack using the techniques from "24 Blizzard Strikes" and his limited experience with the "Yin-yang Twist".
His left leg swelled, heels tensed, then he pulled it back from the crack in the ground and whipped towards his opponent's knees.
Realizing that his enemy grew stronger yet again, Mouko Yamashita, in his battle form, converted all his shock and surprise into a ﬂame in his heart, a ﬂame that ignited his will and inspired him.
With a bend and release of his knees, he leapt into the air, avoiding Lou Cheng's crackling kick. At the same time, he stretched out his right hand and formed a palm knife. Riding on the downward momentum, he delivered it towards his opponent's neck in the blinding glow. "Fierce Tiger Shock Cutter"!
Lou Cheng put weight to his spine, his waist bending backwards in a sudden, not only avoiding Mouko Yamashita's attack, but also forcefully changing the trajectory of his left leg. His kick swept upwards, towards the enemy's descending body. A white radiance formed around his legs, turning everything to one as his kick shot out together with his "burning" Martial Art shoes.
After he began morphing, he could now imbue "Ice burning" in his kicks!
His Martial Art shoe turned solid like a rock, together with the pellucid liquid ﬂames, it went towards the part between Mouko's chest and abdomen.
In that instant, Mouko Yamashita swiftly raised his left palm, put it against his right palm that just missed, and chopped downwards, delivering a solid, dazzling white "Hadou" amidst the dragon's roaring. Pom!
The two glows of light scattered without a sound. Borrowing strength from the recoil, Mouko Yamashita landed backwards, composed in his movements. Lou Cheng straightened back up and stood ﬁrm.
Mouko Yamashita slid forward again, swinging his ﬁst. In the dense white light, amidst the roars of the dragon, Lou Cheng fought bravely without taking a single step back, withdrawing and releasing his Qi and blood to deliver blasts of force.
Bam, bam, bam! Mouko Yamashita delivered killer moves one after the other, going on a frenzied offense. White light shone like a torch, at times it brightened or dimmed, and at times it waved and shaked. His skills were worlds apart from Ichiei Sakata, who had to pause in between such moves.
Bang, bang, bang! Lou Cheng unleashed bursts of strength in the form of exploding ﬂame waves and freezing ice mists, ﬁercely retaliating against his opponent. Even though he was at a disadvantage due to being slightly weaker, there were no signs of defeat.
Bam, bam, bam, bang, bang, bang! The sound of ﬁsts and feet colliding reverberated, mixed with occasional loud bangs. White light and ﬂames spread out in layers, at times the ground splintered and cracked as ﬂames splashed against it and snowﬂakes landed on it. It was truly a ﬁght that deﬁned Inhumans.
Mouko Yamashita controlled the ﬁght at his pace— whenever Lou Cheng tried to charge up using the "24 Blizzard Strikes" version of "Force Concentration", he disrupted him with his whirlwind kick and Hadouken, forcing him to start from scratch again. In the meantime, he was charging up his own emotions, in preparation of a burst of killer moves.
As time passed, after a ﬂurry of attacks, a mirror of ice formed in Lou Cheng's heart. He knew that he cannot let things go on the way they were going, and he searched to ﬁnd a way out. Bang!
When the left ﬁst with concentrated energy imbued with imperfect Ice Spirit Force collided with the enemy's ﬁst, enshrouded in dense white light, "Hadou" turned into gorgeous snowﬂakes. Mouko Yamashita felt his arm go numb, and at the same time Lou Cheng glided backwards on the uneven ground, borrowing the strength from the rebound, at a speed not much different from going forward!
A crystallic layer of ice had unknowingly formed on the soles of his bare feet, reducing the friction to a minimum!
Without hesitating, Mouko Yamashita took a huge step and chased after him, growling and swinging out his ﬁst before he even got close, with dense white light burning around his body again. While retreating, Lou Cheng had already visualized the "Ice Spirit Holy Light"— dark, cold, magical, and beautiful. Against the incoming enemy, he stepped hard into the ground, pouncing up while jerking out his right arm to deliver a "Severe Warning". Seeing that their ﬁsts were about to collide, the white light in Mouko Yamashita's eyes suddenly intensiﬁed. The white glow around him condensed into one spot, turning into a glove that shielded his ﬁst as it shot out.
Knowing your trick of freezing the opponent's thoughts, how could I have not prepared for it in advance?
Lou Cheng's ﬁst landed with a boom, causing the white glow to rapidly fade, turning into a snowball that cracked into fragments.
Bang! Penetrating through the Hadou, the two ﬁsts met, each covered in black involucre and tendon.
Thumping back two steps, Lou Cheng's movements were disordered from not being able to freeze his enemy and realizing the difference between their strength. But he did not panic. Instinctively, he found his balance. Bringing his hands up, he formed a seal, visualizing the taunting Army character. Mouko Yamashita saw a chance. His brows shot up, and in an instant he released all of his gathered emotions. A shade of scarlet ﬁlled his pupils, the white light enveloping him turning to the color of blood. Thick and viscous blood.
Ultimate move from "Extreme Hadou Sect"—"Seven Sins Hadouken"! An assault on both one's spirit and body!
Unlike Ichiei Sakata who had to go all out to use it, Mouko Yamashita could activate it once he accumulated enough emotions.
The low hum of the ancient character reverberated, sending out ripples that glowed blood red. Mouko Yamashita's movements lagged for a moment, but nothing else happened, as if a rock was thrown into an ocean.
Snap! Mouko Yamashita stepped forward with his left foot, pumped strength into his shoulders, ﬂexed his arm and swung out with his right. The dense, bloodthirsty blood glow transformed into a scythe, dragging him forward, slicing towards Lou Cheng like a dash of red bolt, not giving his enemy a chance to evade.
I have seen you stop Ichiei Sakata's Seven Sins Hadouken with an original kungfu, but there's a huge difference when I'm the one using it. Play the same card and you'll regret it!
Though Lou Cheng's Army Formula was less than effective, it offset the spiritual assault from the blood Hadou, saving him from losing his cool and not being able to make visualizations.
Arching his back, he glided backward once more. He tried his best to dodge, but couldn't. In the blink of an eye, the "blood scythe" was before him.
However, he found a ﬂeeting opportunity—created by Mouko Yamashita's lagging movements and his backwards dodge— and visualized the dark and freezing background of a starry sky, in which contained a faint, pellucid and dreamy Ice Spirit glow. Boom!
Innumerable specks of dust piled up , igniting an enormous, heavy ﬁreball, crashing into the serenity. It shattered everything and caused a strong destruction!
After perfecting "Ice Spirit Force" and "Emperor Yan Force" respectively, Lou Cheng's mutated version of "Severe Warning" correspondingly improved through fascinating changes.
How long have I waited for this moment to take the "Seven Sins Hadouken" head-on!
Lou Cheng's eyes widened in anger, propelling himself upwards with a tap of the foot, he threw a crushing punch at the "blood scythe".
Pom! A terrifying vortex formed at his ﬁst, silently consuming the sanguine glow, putting an end to the terrifying and bizarre threat before it fully developed. The two ﬁsts brieﬂy suspended in the air when they were about to touch. Mouko Yamashita felt himself turning hollow as his strength seeped away, unable to even retract his arm.
What's going on?
This is completely different from what Ichiei Sakata described!
It's way stronger and scarier!
In his shock, Mouko Yamashita realized his sanguine glow was ﬂowing backwards, before the power scattered, jerking his own soul and body.
Thump, thump, thump! Blood ﬁlled his mouth as he took three backward steps.
How can Lou Cheng let such a chance go to waste!? He preyed after him with Attainment Formula, retracted his Qi and blood for another round of explosive punches.
Bam, bam, bam! Bang, bang, bang! This time he had the upper hand. Driving the "24 Blizzard Strikes" with "Force Concentration", he launched a ﬂurry of attacks— a dance of "Emperor Yan" and "Ice Spirit" that grew increasingly aggressive and vicious.
Mouko Yamashita struggled to hold his ground, but the opponent's increasing strength made it impossible. He took a step back, then another. Step after step, his situation grew more dire by the minute. The Japanese representatives fell silent in low spirits.
Is this for real? Mouko-kun is losing!
Bam, bam, bam! The ﬁght excited Lou Cheng. He began pumping more strength into his kicks and punches, mindless of the exertion. He's going to end it in one go!
My current stamina is slightly higher than a newly advanced Inhuman. Also, Mouko Yamashita is in a bad spot. Right now, every punch and kick he puts up in his desperate defense is going to take up more stamina than me, on the offensive from the high ground!
Let's ﬁnd out who wins in a matchup of stamina!
Bam, bam, bam!
The sound of punching and kicking ﬁlled the place, like a war drum being hammered in the audience's heart. The surface of the arena was in ruins, pieces of rocks ﬂew all over the place— the reason why the ﬁrst few rows of audience seating had to be kept empty during a ﬁght between Inhumans.
Mouko Yamashita was a patient samurai. Even in the dire state he was in, even as his stamina sharply decreased, he did not panic. Without a word, he accumulated more emotion.
He held out until he ﬁnally had enough emotion, and the white Hadou around him turned sanguine once more. Dark red. Flowing. Intimidating. Though he was prepared for it and used Forwarding Formula in time, his attacks slowed down, and Mouko Yamashita leapt back with a push of his legs.
Trying to run? Can you? Spirited, Lou Cheng concentrated his Qi and blood again, pouncing after him after leaving a trail of cracks.
Let's see how you are going to run in your current state!
The ﬁerce ﬁght that lasted until then had their blood boiling and their spirits high. Thankfully, Lou Cheng's Ice Mirror remained unaffected, reﬂecting his surroundings and making the right judgements.
Suddenly, when Lou Cheng had closed up to him, Mouko Yamashita lifted his hands to form a strange seal. His expression turned grave and solemn, his eyes locked on Lou Cheng.
You are strong, I'll give that to you. You deserve to considered a formidable and worthy opponent for pushing me to this extent. But in the end, the victory belongs to me!
Reﬂected in Lou Cheng's pupils was Mouko Yamashita wriggling his abdomen while opening his mouth.
Nine Word Formula- Wholeness Formula!
To think Mouko Yamashita knew one of the Nine Word Formulas!
The Wholeness character was strange and mystical, as if it stimulated his body through drawing from the essence of heaven and earth, and Mouko Yamashita became spirited again. His exhaustion and weakness vanished in a ﬂash, and he was at his peak state once again, fully compensated for all his exertions! What the... Lou Cheng's iris shrunk, the feeling of disappointment so strong that he could not suppress all of it.
After all that effort to get his powerful Inhuman enemy to a "dying" state, he got back to full health with a Wholeness Formula!
How do I win against that?
Snap! The ice mirror in his heart glinted. Suppressing his negative thoughts, he chased up to Mouko Yamashita and punched him with a bloated arm.
The sanguine glow around Mouko Yamashita ﬂickered rapidly. Instead of forming a scythe, it raised his speed and strength, allowing to hammer down in time and parry Lou Cheng's attack with a dull thud.
"Dynakinesis!" Stepping forward, with the sanguine Hadou shaking, Mouko Yamashita launched a ﬂurry of attacks around Lou Cheng, forcing him to desperately defend through Dan Force explosions. Lou Cheng's muscles trembled, his bones rattled, and his stamina went down rapidly. It seemed like a matter of time before he lost.
Huff... The Japanese representatives' side heaved a sigh of relief, their expressions relaxed, ﬁlled with anticipation.
"He just needed a little bit more..." sighed Guide Zhong.
In unison, Peng Leyun and Ren Li shook their heads at his words.
Eh, what's the meaning of this? Zhong Ningtao was confused.
"So you guys think Lou Cheng still got a chance?" mused Ann Chaoyang. "Not just a chance," Peng Leyun replied tersely.
"The Mouko Yamashita right now is not as strong as he looks..." Ren Li added.
That's what she said, but deﬁnitely not the case to Lou Cheng, who was on the arena. He felt the sanguine glow all around him so dense that it permeated him, evoking his fear and cowardice. Every hit from Mouko Yamashita felt so powerful, similar to his power at the start of ﬁght.
I have to ﬁght back. Getting suppressed like this won't get me anywhere!
Though there were changes in his emotions, Lou Cheng's desire for victory stayed true. When Mouko Yamashita's sanguine-glowed ﬁsts struck again, Lou Cheng actively put his arm up to defend, a thick layer of ice armor forming around them. In a loud snap, the ice armor shattered. Lou Cheng took the chance and ﬂicked his elbow joint, swinging his forearm forward at Mouko Yamashita's face, poised for counterattack.
Mouko Yamashita unhurriedly lifted his other arm to block the second injection of force from Lou Cheng's ﬁst. He tensed up his right leg, ready to put an end to his opponent's counterattack.
Suddenly, with the ﬂick of his ﬁnger joints, Lou Cheng's hand snapped open. Frozen to his nails were ﬁve sharp spikes of ice that shone like the aurora.
The third force injection!
A vicious look ﬂashed across Mouko Yamashita's eyes. He lurked backwards in a sudden motion, avoiding the deadly attack, then brought his right foot up in a kick, leaving a trail of light reminiscent to a "Razor". Offense is the best defense!
But after his third force injection, instead of attacking, Lou Cheng leapt backwards with the spring of his waist. Then, he lifted both arms, formed a seal and pointed it towards himself.
"Fighting!" he growled.
Even if I were to lose, I'm going to lose on my last bullet!
His muscles bulked and his frame enlarged. He swung out his right arm, which rested in front of his body, whipping up a blast of strong wind. Threatening.
A shade of scarlet ﬂashed in Mouko Yamashita's eyes, the sanguine light around him turning viscous, forming a scythe that enshrouded his outgoing ﬁsts.
The ﬁsts colliding made a sound of explosion. Mouko Yamashita's forward momentum was brought to an abrupt stop, he slid backwards for almost two feet, leaving two deep trails in the ground. Lou Cheng was enveloped by the sanguine light. Felt as if a bolt of lightning struck him. In the moment of weakness, he took a step back.
They recovered at the same time. The white light blanketed Mouko Yamashita once again, his expression feral. In the roaring of dragon and howling of tiger, he turned to a huge lump of white Hadou and went on the offensive.
Lou Cheng did not back down. Forming the seal again, he pointed it towards himself and shouted the ancient character that embodied indomitable ﬁghting spirits.
As the words hit the ground, he swiped upwards with the back of his ﬁst, which was resting at his lower abdomen— bulging muscles, blood vessels showing so clearly that every vein can be traced.
Boooom! The white light scattered. Mouko Yamashita ﬂew back by two steps. Lou Cheng went still, almost unable to regain his senses from the paralysis and burning sensation. He clearly felt that he was reaching the limits of his spirit.
Huff! He exhaled. Mustering his remaining might, he visualized the heavy "Emperor Yan Statue", hot like the scorching sun. He compressed all the remaining Flame Force in his body in a lump, got it under control by visualizing "Zhu Rong Flame God", then took a step forward and swung out a right straight.
Simpliﬁed trick of Flame Sect, "Internal Explosion"!
Lou Cheng chose this move since his previous "Severe Warning" got neutralized.
With a whoosh, a faint ﬂame kindled the surface of his ﬁst and his arm, ﬂying towards Mouko Yamashita who had just steadied himself. After the last wave of attack, he wouldn't have the ability to use simpliﬁed tricks of physical invulnerability state once more. But he had to do it, for it was not over until he said so!
White Hadou danced on the surface of Mouko Yamashita's skin, "igniting" him as he lifted his arm to block.
After the explosion, Mouko Yamashita felt his insides rumbling from the horrible concussion. He also felt an extraordinarily stinging from his blood vessels, as if it was being burned.
Lou Cheng didn't have it easy either. His mind was going blank and his muscles were sore.
But right now, he was euphoric. That's because the punch had revealed the weakness in Mouko Yamashita!
Seems like Wholeness Formula was only good for recovering stamina and wasn't capable of healing internal wounds. The wounds Mouko Yamashita suffered had remained and accumulated, and the Internal Explosion Punch had fully triggered it!
Now's the chance!
Spirited, Lou Cheng spread out his arms and activated Zen multiple times, his ﬁsts rained down on Mouko Yamashita's blocking hand and ﬁst in a chorus of dull thuds. His opponent's eyes dilated as a loud buzzing ﬁlled his ears and his insides continued rumbling.
After connecting eleven hits, Lou Cheng did a ﬁnal "Force Concentration", raises his swelled arm high up, supported it with Zen, then smashed it down viciously.
Bang! Mouko Yamashita jerked. He was seeing stars. Dark-red blood oozed out of his eyes, nose, ears and mouth. No longer able to stand, he fell on the ground of the arena like an avalanche, spitting out bile and nearly fainting.
The referee looked at Lou Cheng, who stood ﬁrm despite the tiredness in his eyes.
He raised his right hand before making the announcement.
"Lou Cheng wins!"
Chapter 478: Couldn’t Lie His Way Through
"Lou Cheng wins!"
The referee's loud and focused voice resonated throughout the arena. The majority of Japan's representative group, no matter male or female, all looked lost, angry and sad. It was especially so among Ichiei Sakata and other disciples of the "Extreme Hadou Sect" who found it hard to disguise their misery and disappointment.
How did Mouko-kun lose?
How could he lose!?
As one of the signatures of the "Extreme Hadou Sect", he had surprisingly lost to an opponent who was weaker than him by one level and in strength!
This was a disgrace! This was a blight to the "Extreme Hadou Sect"!
Now all the audience both in the stadium or in front of their screen will view "Extreme Hadou Sect" as a joke now!
Kaori Karasawa used her ﬁnger and poked her face. In silence, she shook her head, forced a smile and said,
"Mouko-kun is still too careless."
This was mainly because of his own battle style. Next, the information given by Sakata Ichiei was no longer up to date. Mouko-kun was too direct and too tough in his approach. Without roundabouts and gentleness, he went against the super killer move of his opponent head-on and suffered substantial damages. This had eventually become a serious hidden problem for the later stage.
If it wasn't because of this, even without the "Wholeness" Formula, Mouko-kun still had a substantial chance of taking this match. If he used the "Wholeness" Formula, he would have deﬁnitely won! It's really a shame...
Obviously, Lou Cheng's improvements, changes and performance really made others felt pressured from the bottom of their heart...
Hearing the sigh of Tang Zexun, Sakata Ichiei and the rest barely regained their conscious, broke free from their extreme emotions and starting to truthfully understand the battle previously.
When they looked towards the ring again, their gazes on Wang Zheng had changed. They were ﬁlled with more respect for the strong, astonishment for the one who kept on creating miracles and their anger for this terrifying enemy.
The researcher with messy hair was still in a daze and feeling both frantic enthusiasm and lost at the same time.
However not only had Mouko-kun, who promised to collect genetic materials for Great Japan, failed, but he was also beaten and had fallen. He was in a very sorry state as he bled and even threw up water...
Above the spectator seats, the audience, with darker skin tone, were initially stunned and unable to believe what they had just seen. After a while, they raised both of their arms and started applauding and dancing. This was to cheer on the boxing arts practitioners for his great performance and also for the young guy who defeated someone stronger than him.
An unseeded contestant had actually defeated a monster level ﬁfth seed!
No matter which country one was in, similar incidents would always receive admiration and compliments!
"Lou Cheng! Lou Cheng!" From just a few chants, the sound wave gradually gathered and quickly overlapped as one wave was louder than the previous wave.
"Lou Cheng! Lou Cheng!"
Standing sideways and hearing the cheers of citizens from different countries, Peng Leyun turned his head around and looked towards the ring. The lazy feeling in his eyes dissipated without a trace. In his eyes, there seemed to be light gathering, just like a ﬂash of lightning.
Subconsciously, he looked towards Ren Li who was beside him. From each other's eyes, they could see their own reaction.
Up till now, he might still have a small lead. However the three of them were almost at the same starting line now. Following this, it would be a race to see who could make the great leap and ascend to the top in one go!
-- People like these were all proud in their core. They were able to identify their weaknesses but would never believe that they were worse than others!
Ann Chaoyang sank into silence and could only stay so. It was only till he heard Coach Zhong Ningtao sighed, "One with a good reputation will never be without real strength", that he raised his head and spat out a breath.
At a remote corner away from the spectator stand, Banam with his hands and legs wrapped in bandages, Veigar wearing a general hat and Wahku closing his eyes and recuperating for his match subconsciously clenched their ﬁsts. A silvery- white light ﬂashed across their eyes and they were looking seriously towards the stage.
"Just as I have said! Lou Cheng might just win!" In the live thread, "Unparalleled Dragon King" used the all-purpose [joking expression].
"Pig-Riding Knight" answered, "[Bewildered Face expression], this was simply... One year to reach the Dan Stage, one year to reach the inhuman stage... It felt like I'm seeing "Dragon King" when he was young. No, he's more like the "Warrior Sage" currently."
"I no longer dared to doubt him...""Road to Arena" used a [go- and-die expression] to reply.
"Okamoto's Fan" sniggled, "Yeap, kneel down and lick my toes!"
"... We really do have foresight!""Wanton Seller" wasn't stingy with compliments for herself. "I always have high hopes for him and even passed him a "voluntary signature book"!
An inhuman younger than twenty had ample time to go for physical invulnerability. He could be considered to have entered the reserved forces!
"Hahahaha. He did not waste my efforts for waking up early for the last few days!" Yan Xiaoling sent a voice message once again. "Sleeping early and getting up early...""A Plumber Eating Mushroom" had recently gotten used to this fellow forum user who had a child- like face and voice. She couldn't help but insult her, "Sleeping at two-three o'clock in the morning and waking up at twelve in the afternoon, you are really "early"!"
As for "Brahman", she replied [unhappily], "If it isn't me calling you, Little Nightfall you will never have made it! Oh ya, oh ya, let's go tag "All-knowing Man in Ganghood" on Weibo and tell him that he can delete his account now! Quick quick quick!"
"All-knowing Man in Ganghood" was staring at the computer screen at the moment, looking at the private messages and tagged information he had received. The face turned grey and his eyes were ﬁlled with panic.
After a while, he resolved himself and intended to lie his way through!
The King of Youth Pro League isn't directly broadcasted after all and the majority of martial arts lovers do not know of such a thing. I can just pretend to be blind and deaf for ten days and pretend I did not see the reminders. I can decide what to do next after Lou Cheng completed his "Morphing" and obtained his ﬁfth pin certiﬁcation. I will try my best to direct as many followers as I can for this period!
After taking a deep breath, his emotions ﬁnally calmed down a little. "All-knowing Man in Ganghood" started typing words quickly on his keyboard while continuing to look at his Weibo. He got to make the best use of every second to direct his popularity away.
These were all money!
After completing his typing, he saved them and decided to refresh the page before editing. When he did so, he was dumbfounded to see the number of messages tagging him appearing like ﬂowers after a rain. There were already over a thousand messages!
"Number one in searches on the Wei Guangdan app!"
"You got to walk your talk!" "Don't be a coward if you are a guy!"
"I believe you are someone that will not go against what you promised!"
"[shaking his head left and right expression] Don't pretend you are dead!"
What just happened? "All-knowing Man in Ganghood" looked through messages after messages. He was both shocked and scared.
After researching in detail for a while, he found out that just ten minutes ago, star Mo Jingting who had a lot of fans, posted a video stream. At the same time, she used a [owl head expression] and appended a message: "To become an inhuman after less than two years of martial arts practice, my little uncle is really great. You are my idol!"
The face of "All-knowing Man in Ganghood" turned pale instantly as he allowed the video stream to buffer.
Just as he expected, that was a scene of the ﬁrst exchange of blows between Lou Cheng and Mouko Yamashita. It was clear that he had undergone morphing!
With his body shaking, "All-knowing Man in Ganghood" almost fainted. His complexion was extremely bad and was stunned for a full ﬁve minutes.
He stood up and started to walk around his room in a disorderly manner. He was just like ants on a hot pot. In his mouth, he was mumbling in a low tone constantly,
"You guys are forcing me to my death…. You guys are forcing me to my death..." After a period of time, he sat down with a face full of sorrow, anger and hatred. He could no longer pretend that he didn't see nor hear of the event.
His current fans were all attracted by sensationalizing news. If he didn't fulﬁl his promise, he would deﬁnitely be despised by them. Soon, no one would pay attention to him anymore...
"All-knowing Man in Ganghood" deleted the long article he wrong on Weibo unwilling as though his parents had died. He retyped new content and was making a last-ditch attempt,
"Alright. I admit that Lou Cheng is one of The Heavenly Son of this Age. I will also fulﬁl my wager and delete this account. I will pin this message on Weibo for one week as an announcement. When the time comes, I will ofﬁcially delete this account. If you wish to continue following rumours about martial arts and for those who wish to continue listening to my analysis if competition, please follow public account number xxxxx."
Phew. With a week of time, I should be able to direct quite a number of people there right? "All-knowing Man in Ganghood" clicked the "Send" button. His body lay on the backrest of the chair as though all his energy had been drained away.
After which, he login to the platform to observe the increment of followers. However, the increment was very small. After the wave of the hot topic, the number had even stopped.
"It's over, it's over...""All-knowing Man in Ganghood" seemed to be able to see a stack of notes growing wings and ﬂying away from himself. He closed his eyes and lay on the sofa.
Beside the driver seat of a moving car, Yan Zheke had made use of the time of the journey to watch the big match between Cheng and Mouko Yamashita. She was ﬁlled with anticipation but also uneasiness while watching. After ﬁnishing the video, she refreshed the forum excitedly and started to observe the Weibo of "All-knowing Man in Ganghood". The more she looked at it, the more radiant her smile became. Towards the end, she even let out a peal of clear laughter. Hearing this, the Dan Stage expert Du Yan, who was driving, turned around and took a glanced. Recalling what she had seen from the edge of his view previously, he asked with astonishment and envy,
"That brat in that competition is your boyfriend?"
How old is he and yet he has started morphing?
I think his name is Lou Cheng?
I had practiced martial arts for so many years and up until now, the inhuman stage was still only a dream for me!
"Yeah." Yan Zheke covered her mouth and nodded her head slightly. As her eyes turned, he supplemented another line in his heart:
The truth is, he's no longer my boyfriend... ...
On the ring, looking at Mouko Yamashita who was struggling to get up, Lou Cheng suddenly felt a million emotions.
In the match that just ended, he had won because of his bravery. If he was frightened by the "Wholeness" Formula of Mouko Yamashita and became depressed, desolate and not dared to counterattack, undoubtedly, he would have "died" in a prolonged re-match and suffer the bitter taste of defeat.
Truthfully speaking, he was a little arrogant before the match and felt that as long as he could continue the kind of performance he had previously, he would have an equal chance of winning against Mouko Yamashita with the improvements and surprise elements brought from the morphing stage.
However the truth taught him that it wasn't only him that could surprise others. The rest could do the same to him too!
Phew! Pride and self-inﬂation weren't things that wouldn't happen after one reﬂected on it. They would return frequently as one's individual strength increased and experienced broadened. Therefore there's no wonder that people in the past talked about reﬂecting oneself multiple times every single day!
Lou Cheng's emotions had settled and the elation brought by his broke through had dissipated substantially. In the cheers of the whole crowd, Mouko Yamashita who ﬁnally stood steadily and Lou Cheng bowed in respect to each other.
Turning around, he headed towards the stone steps and walked down. It was then that he completely regained his consciousness from the battle and his heart was ﬁlled with uncontrollable joy.
I won against the ﬁfth seed!
I won against an expert at the inhuman stage! His steps started to get faster and he couldn't wait to return to his original position. His target was Ann Chaoyang. No, his target was the phone in Ann Chaoyang hands.
Chapter 479: Impromptu Interview
Just as Lou Cheng ambled back, bare-footed, most of the lights in the Shengxiang stadium went off, except for the ones that illuminated the area connecting the arena and the China representatives' side. In the darkness, a dreamy and radiant path emerged, which ﬁtted quite well with the resounding chants of "Lou Cheng".
It was a commendation to the victor—a homage to the underdog hero.
Lou Cheng felt amazing, his pace growing brisker, as if he was back in his own country, back in the Songcheng University Martial Arts Club. He put his hands up in the air and clapped in the direction of the surrounding crowds, as a form of appreciation.
The voices grew louder, until he reached the grandstand, when all the lights switched on again.
"Not bad!" complimented Peng Leyun, restraining his competitive side, he extended his hand with a smile and high- ﬁved his teammate.
"It's your time to shine," Lou Cheng replied, happiness written all over him.
After high-ﬁving Ren Li, Ann Chaoyang and Zhong Ningtao respectively, he quickly took his phone back and logged into QQ.
A message from Yan Zheke—"You have truly met your coach's expectations![thumbs up]"
Lou Cheng grinned, feeling as if the happiness got ampliﬁed by a fold.
"And? What rewards does Coach Yan have in store for me? [snickering]" he replied.
"The handmade cakes weren't enough?! [turns around in shock and confusion]" she replied, before sending another along with a reaction image of a "tiny monster licking on an ice-cream". "You see, the rewards that follows includes handmade wafﬂes, handmade little biscuits... it will last you all the way to the champion's cup~"
Lou Cheng chuckled, for a moment he could not ﬁnd a comeback to his wife's reasonable explanation!
He replied after a few seconds. "This is quite different from the type of reward I had in mind...[lost expression]"
"What do you have in mind?"replied Yan Zheke. It would have passed off as an actual question, if not for the "Say it, say it and I will murder you" image that came along with it.
Lou Cheng shook his head, his lips curving upwards.
"Cough, for example, going home as a couple(title of a Huangmei Opera)..."he replied, intrepid. And what would the couple do after they reach home, heh heh.
"...You, you ruined the name of another good libretto! [ﬂips table]" replied Yan Zheke, sighing when she realized she got the double entendre instantly.
"What are you talking about, I don't get it?" replied Lou Cheng, mimicking the girl's usual tone when feigning innocence, topping it off with a "I'm very innocent" emoticon.
Yan Zheke gaped, debating between whether she should frown or laugh, rendered speechless for a moment. She could feel her Cheng's sense of shame degrading by the day.
"Go away! I don't have a disciple like you! [blows whistle and ﬂashes red card]" she replied.
Bending his head, Lou Cheng was all smiles as he typed and chatted. Ren Li studied him thoughtfully—his soft, unguarded smile; it was starkly different from his usual—reserved and distant—manner when dealing with girls. Is this the real him? Or are the conﬂicting personalities both part of him?
Over at the Japanese representative's side—Mouko Yamashita brushed off helping hands, and walked back difﬁcultly on his own strength.
"I will remember this day and get my revenge for this disgrace!" he hissed.
The expression on the other samurais turned grave, solemnly witnessing Mouko Yamashita's oath. This was a tradition of "Extreme Hadou Sect".
Of course! If you fall in the arena, you have to pull yourself up in the arena!
Once things settled down, the researcher with unkempt hair looked towards the arena, which was then under repair. "We need another plan!" he said with a tinge of impatience.
At the other side— Lou Cheng was having a blast in his conversation with Yan Zheke, sharing his joy of taking down a strong Inhuman enemy. But soon, Yan Zheke sent a emoticon of [whispering under a covered hand].
"Class is starting…"
That meant that she might take ten to twenty, or even thirty to forty minutes to reply a message—which meant that Lou Cheng, who was having a great time, had to restrain himself and distract himself with something else.
Even though he was completely understanding, he still sulked a little. Inhaling, he looked towards the ruined arena.
Soon, he shifted his gaze again. "Okay, study hard and study smart!" he replied, sounding optimistic and humorous.
After sending the message, he was lost for a few seconds, then he remembered another matter. Switching to his contact list, he found the display picture of the military contact
—"Rapid March". Clicking into it, he swiftly entered a few words.
"Japan "Extreme Hadou Sect" Mouko Yamashita controls the Wholeness Formula."
"Roger that." Rapid March always seemed to be online.
Or perhaps it's not just one person? Lou Cheng deduced quickly.
It was best to let the military handle the matter of Wholeness Formula, since he did not have the resources and manpower for the job! Being a Martial Artist did not mean that everything had to be done personally. It would be a waste to turn down large organizations when help is offered!
Having done that, he had time to browse through his other messages and texts—congratulatory texts from the Ice God Sect juniors, led by Mo Jingting. Some jokingly congratulated him on mastering godly kungfu, others solemnly congratulated him on entering morphing and his imminent Inhuman transformation.
An Inhuman mighty one, below the age of 21, can place top ten in the hall of fame across Ice God Sect's history!
Other than Lou Cheng, out of the other nine, ﬁve made the breakthrough to Physical Invulnerability State, which was a ratio of more than half. Considering the sky high threshold, it was a large probability.
Lou Cheng had already heard from Yan Zheke that Mo Jingting went out her way to make a post on Weibo, preventing "All-knowing Man of Ganghood" from feigning ignorance any longer, and carry out what he promised to do if he lost the bet. Politely, he replied "thanks."
After settling these matters, he spectated "All-knowing Man of Ganghood"'s Weibo from the shadows. Refreshing the forum, he realized Ann Chaoyang almost exposed him. This guy isn't very reliable either, he thought.
Though I messed up a couple of times, but overall, I myself am the most reliable after all!
While the previous arena received its emergency repairs, the preparations were completed at another arena. The second ﬁght in the Top 8 was about to begin.
Suddenly, Lou Cheng felt a presence. Lifting his head up, he looked towards the walkway. He saw a woman in suit and tie ambling towards him, her eyes ﬁxed on him, with two man in staff attire tailing her.
She looked half Shengxiangese and half Caucasian with her delicate and attractive features. She was about 30 and exuded maturity.
"Hi there, I'm Catherine, reporter from Fuluo TV station. Can I interview you?" she asked in standard English, with an engaging smile.
Recently, the English speakers Lou Cheng encountered mostly spoke with a thick accent, from which he could only understand a few words. He almost thought he was illiterate, and that the effort he made in obligatory education, three years of high school and two years of university had all gone to waste. When he heard English sentences that he could mostly understand, he was really touched.
I knew it, the one who's at fault isn't me, it's the others in Shengxiang!
Before he could speak, Zhong Ningtao replied in equally ﬂuent English.
"Sure, Miss Catherine. May I see your identiﬁcation? Where is the ﬁlming crew?" We best leave the negotiations to the guide… thought Lou Cheng, exchanging a glance with the others.
Catherine took out her identiﬁcation and passed it to Zhong Ningtao. "This is an impromptu interview, so we don't have a ﬁlming crew. Lou Cheng performed very well just now, everyone liked him, including me, so I wish to learn more about him," she said with a smile.
—Originally, there were no interviews planned for Wild Card Teams.
"Thank you, Miss Catherine. You may begin, you have ﬁve minutes," Zhong Ningtao said, glancing at his watch. "I'll handle the translation and interpretation."
Taking back her identiﬁcation, Catherine looked towards Lou Cheng.
"Hi, Lou Cheng. You seem to be pretty young. From your data, you are twenty years and six months old?" she asked, smiling. Even though Lou Cheng understood her, he waited until Zhong Ningtao ﬁnished translating.
"Yes, still half a year away from 21 years old," he replied in Chinese, smiling.
After hearing Zhong Ningtao's interpretation, Catherine seemed very interested.
"And what is your occupation? Are you in the professional Martial Art scene?" she asked.
"I'm still a student pursuing my studies," he replied frankly.
"Oh, you are still studying? In Shengxiang, you can already start your own dojo and have a huge following!" she exclaimed, unable to hide her surprise.
With the power Lou Cheng had demonstrated, he could already be representing a large Sect in Shengxiang, worthy of being addressed as a Master.
And it turns out he's still a student!
Lou Cheng stiﬂed his laughter, until Zhong Ningtao completed his "procedures".
"Is it strange to be a student? They are students too, undergraduates," he said, pointing towards Peng Leyun and Ren Li.
He could not help but add in a tongue in cheek comment. "You wouldn't be surprised if you were a reporter from Japan. Over there, it's always the students saving the world, and they return to their lessons afterwards too. (reference to animes with middle-schooler/high schooler protags)"
The guide will probably leave this part out in his interpretation, so there was no harm in having a little fun. As expected, amidst the laughter of Peng Leyun and the others, Zhong Ningtao only translated the ﬁrst part.
"Oh, how peculiar! Is this the newest trend in China?" said Catherine, stunned and in awe. After regaining her composure, she asked Lou Cheng a couple of other things—how long he had been studying martial arts, what competitions had he competed in before— and received answers that shocked her even more.
Five minutes passed quickly. She looked at her watch, exhaled.
"You are an amazing person, I am very honored to have the chance to interview you," she said with a bright smile.
"Thanks," Lou Cheng replied, smiling to show his appreciation.
During the interview, with the guide's "ﬁlter" in play, he answered every question unreservedly, fully demonstrating his roasting prowess with his savage replies. After waving goodbye, right before turning away, she beamed at Lou Cheng.
"Actually, I do know Chinese," she said in perfect Chinese.
"My grandmother is a scholarly Chinese. But during interviews, I have to use English or Shengxiangese," she said.
Ah… Lou Cheng paused, then blushed.
Wait, so you understood everything I said?
I just performed a one-man stand up comedy?
Catherine left trying hard to contain her laugh. An unrestrained laughter erupted around him, from Peng Leyun, Ann Chaoyang, Ren Li and Zhong Ningtao... F***, it's all Xiao Ming's fault that I picked up his bad habit, now I managed to embarrass myself overseas… thought Lou Cheng as he hid his face and sighed.
Veigar and Banam both won by a landslide in less than two minutes, and the fourth ﬁght was about to begin.
Peng Leyun VS No.3 Seed Wahku, a Sadhu who practiced the arts of Arhat!
Chapter 480: On One Thought, It Was Peace. On The Other Thought, It Was Hell!
Theravada was a branch of Buddhism commonly known as Hinayana. However, they would never call themselves that and hated when others called them that. At the same time, they rejected what was known as Boddhisatva or Mahayana Buddhism. Based on the viewpoints of the three sects of Semitic, heresy was worse than followers of other religions!
This branch was strict and highly disciplined. They followed traditions closely and practised asceticism. With "Sixteen Insight Knowledge" and "Four Sacred Teachings" at their core, they practised to become Arhat in the modern times. Arhat was also known as the "Self-practice Man" and lacked the desire to help mankind. After understanding the miseries in the world and that everything was just illusory, they would only seek individual reprieve. In other words, before they completely surpassed "reincarnation", they were very strong individually. It was especially so in the spiritual aspect as they were clearly unique and stronger than their peers.
Wahku was a monk like this and had practised the "Sixteen Insight Knowledges" to the eleventh stage of "Savkharupekkha Bana". Through this, he clearly understood the body and desires were illusory and no longer felt persistence nor nostalgic for things. He would also be ﬁlled with indifference and alienation. At this stage, his spirits would be in an extraordinary stage and his strength would be frightening. The fact that he was ranked as the third seed was a testament to it.
He wouldn't be weaker than Peng Leyun by much... Lou Cheng thought to himself. In his mind, various situations with Wahku ﬂashed past.
At this moment, he heard the voice from the announcement and saw Peng Leyun, who was beside him, stood up gradually. His eyes were focused and no longer drifting.
Lou Cheng secretly smiled to himself, clenched his ﬁst, and shouted softly,
"All the best!"
"Yeah!" Peng Leyun responded with a ﬁst bump. His muscles and tendons were all shaking faintly, indicating the agitation and excitement in his heart.
Seeing this, Lou Cheng didn't know why but wanted to mourn in silence for ﬁve seconds for Wahku.
The ﬁrst generation machine of Shangqing Sect had ﬁnished recharging!
After bumping ﬁst with Ren Li, Ann Chaoyang and Zhong Ningtao, Peng Leyun turned his body around and walked towards the ring with his aura rising. With every step, his surrounding seemed to get darker and pressurised. Dark clouds were almost formed and thunderous explosion sounds seemed to be sweeping every dissension in the world away.
Such an imposing momentum seemed to have materialised and was comparable to a senior inhuman stage ﬁghter. However Veigar who was approaching directly towards him still maintained a miserable face. Only those eyes of his seemed deeper as though he had seen through the surrounding illusions. He wasn't affected by it at all. With regards to that, Peng Leyun was neither disappointed or frustrated. On the contrary, radiant light was gathering within his pupils, similar to the lightning that was about to strike down. The ﬁghting intention was getting thicker and thicker.
When the two of them stood on the predetermined position respectively, the referee raised his right hand without any delay, swung it down and shouted,
Peng Leyun lowered his body, gathered his Qi and his body immediately leapt up like a piece of cloud swinging over. What followed the light-weighted leapt was a loud explosion and intense vibration of the ring, causing Wahku's body to sway.
His "Flash Attack" was no longer the same as previous.
In a ﬂash, as though there were afterimages, Peng Leyun "appeared" in front of Wahku. He extended his right arm and turned it to a large hammer. Surrounding it with buzzing visible silver-white lightning, he smashed it towards his opponents ﬁercely.
Wahku did not move. He didn't even try to resist the vibrations of his body. Facing this "hammer" of Peng Leyun, he heaved a sigh. After which, he took a simple stride ahead, stabilized himself and responded with a straight punch.
In the ensuing loud explosion, the hatred and will of abandonment in his eyes got stronger. His skinny stature seemed to be inﬂated and patches of gold started to appear on his yellowish skin. His punch had landed accurately on his opponent's wrist.
Silver light was ﬂickering and Wahku felt as though his hands had contacted countless needles. His body was shaking and couldn't complete the subsequent movements properly. However his expression and gaze did not change at all. It was as though the one who got an "electric shock" wasn't him. As for Peng Leyun, various uncomfortable feelings started rising. He felt just like being exposed in the rain and shine, enduring unbearable hunger and experiencing the various miseries of dehydration!
This caused him to be slower by a beat before regaining his conscious. As a result, he wasn't able to leverage on the opportunity when Wahku temporarily lost control of his body.
"Heart Reﬂection Punch", a secret ﬁst martial arts of Theravada. Through this, he would be able to reﬂect what was in his mind on his opponent's mind. At the same time, the opponent would experience the trials and the various feelings Wahku had suffered!
At this moment, radiant light started gathering in the eyes of Peng Leyun once again and the surrounding was illuminated. In his mind, he started visualizing a green-color jade amulet in the sky with electrical circuits forming complicated seals.
He straightened his body and his muscles started inﬂating as blood was pumping into it. Without dodging, he took huge strides ahead, holding his ﬁst and ready to strike.
Thunder Sect's simpliﬁed physical invulnerability move, "Thunder Seal"!
Seeing this, Lou Cheng couldn't help but smile. He opened his mouth and scolded,
"He's playing again!"
Since he knew the uniqueness of "Heart Reﬂecting Punch", the best choice for Peng Leyun would be to go with the momentum and used "Dan Force" to propel his "Machine Fist" and launched a series of ﬁerce attacks to not give Wahku the opportunity to reﬂect his heart on his. However, he had chosen to use simpliﬁed physical invulnerability move to attack and not avoid the "needle head". Other than wanting to "experience" the marvellous aspect of "Heart Reﬂecting Punch", there's no other explanation for doing so!
Facing an expert who was at the same inhuman stage as him, he actually still dared to allow his opponent to showcase his strength!
"'Play' is an apt word..." The bottled and gentle An Chaoyang nodded his head with approval. As for Ren Li, she was looking at the ring with a puzzled look. She was suspecting that Peng Leyun had something deeper objective hidden behind his decision to not go with the best response.
Hmph, it must be so!
Lou Cheng shook his head and laughed again,
"What would happen if he lost because he was playing?"
"What else could be done? Nonetheless, you are already in the top eight, Ren Li is ninety percent sure too and Ann Chaoyang also has his chances. Having one eliminated can still be taken as showing respect to the host country.," laughed Zhong Ningtao calmly. "This can also teach Peng Leyun a lesson so that he will not be so arrogant in the future. How good is this?" "Do you think this is possible?" Lou Cheng did not look at the Coach but turned and looked at Ann Chaoyang.
Would the big devil accept this type of lesson?
"I don't think this is likely..." Ann Chaoyang heaved a sigh.
"Me too..." Lou Cheng also heaved a sigh.
When they talked, the situation on the ﬁeld had changed. Facing Peng Leyun's "Thunder Seal", Wahku didn't attempt to dodge too. His gaze seemed to have seen through the material world and a faint golden light started enveloping his body. After which, he moved his elbow, clenched his ﬁst and threw it upward. He was going to ﬁght Peng Leyun head on and ﬁght toughness with toughness!
Rumble! The ﬁst collided the golden and dull green light intertwined. Their muscles and tendons could be seen and suddenly, a loud explosion propagated from mid-air as though a bolt lightning had exploded on the spot.
Peng Leyun's vision turned black and his mind had an unexplainable reﬂection. He was experiencing the ageing of his body and as time passed, he felt more and more powerless.
For an expert that habitually relied on his martial arts, this was the most brutal and painful thing. They had spent a substantial part of their lives to train diligently in order to obtain such strength. Yet because of the ageing of their body, they gradually lost their strength. Till the end, there would be nothing left and they might not even be able to defeat a young kid that had just started entering the path of martial arts.
How weak was this and how pathetic would this be!
Heart Reﬂecting Punch, "Old"!
This was opposite from the previous strike "Misery"! Although Peng Leyun was still in his prime years and couldn't understand such miseries, being in the Shangqing Sect allowed him to see the miseries of many elders after they aged. He had seen many of them plagued by the miseries of old injuries and the helplessness as they lied paralysed on their deathbeds. Peng Leyun had long felt strongly about these and Wahku through injecting his own experiences of ageing into Peng Leyun had caused him to remember those memories. Suddenly, the fear hidden deep within him suddenly erupted.
In an instant, he stood dazedly at the original spot. Cold sweat was breaking from his face and he seemed stuck in a nightmare that he could not wake up from. He even did not think of recalling "Thor's image" to suppress his mind.
As for Wahku who had received his punch, his clothes were already tattered. His arms that were emanating golden light were slightly burned and his whole body was twitching incessantly. He was completely paralysed and couldn't tell what was happening.
However, he had trained his body through miseries and had extremely strong resistance to pain, burns and lightning strikes. He had recovered ﬁrst. With a face full of miseries, he twisted his waist and threw out his left arm.
Seeing that Wahku's almost ﬂat ﬁst about to land outside the throat of him, without knowing why, Peng Leyun suddenly seemed to have suffered a double stimulation. He broke free from the nightmare of ageing and vitality reappeared in his eyes. Radiant light was gathering and a white ﬂash was formed in a blink of an eye.
The vortex in his body was circulating at extreme speed and the sound of "motor" propagated to the surrounding. In the face of Wahku's ﬁst, he became like a "paper" and was pushed back by the "wind pressure" and managed to dodge this lethal strike by the slimmest of margin!
This was a very simple application of unlike poles attracts and like poles reﬂects!
In the two "electric strike" previously, using his extremely strong control over the core techniques of the Magnet Sect of the Thunder Sect, Peng Leyun had spread a layer of electric charges, that could be maintained for several seconds, over the surface of Wahku's body. These charges were completely the same as those around his body and therefore when his opponent attacked, he got a response. Coupled and stacked with "Absolute Reaction", he broke free from the feelings transmitted from "Heart Reﬂecting Punch". He was able to execute the techniques of the Magnet Sect and salvage himself from a defeat.
Wahku wasn't depressed and activated "Heart Reﬂection" again and used the killer move of this technique:
"Six Paths of Reincarnation Punch"!
From his perspectives, the six paths of reincarnation did just exist in the books of Buddhism and also existed in the world. These were illusory things but manifestations of the human mind.
Among which, "Hungry Ghost Path" was synonymous to "Greed and unrestraints". "Animal Path" was synonymous to "uncontrollable desires". "Asura Path" referred to the "bloodlust and desire for violence" in everyone. "Human Path" was the manifestation of the cause and effects of various loves, hates and grudges. "Hell Path" was the extreme end of "Human Path" and represented the miseries caused from extreme love, extreme hatred and extreme jealousy and was the opposite side of "Human Path".
As for "Deva Path", it referred to the mental state for those who had great cultivation level. These people had gotten away from the remaining give paths and obtained peace and freedom. However this mental state had not reached the point of unconventional and had not escaped from reincarnation. They might be affected by other factors anytime, controlled by their emotions and fell back into miseries. As the saying went: On one thought, it was peace. On the other thought, it was hell!
"Six Paths of Reincarnation, a reﬂection of various aspects of the world!
Wahku's eyes shimmered in a layer of golden light. However the light was dull and alluring, calming his heart.
Pa! His punch started from his waist level and brought with it a crisp sound without any weird signs.
Six Reincarnation Punches, "Hungry Ghost Path"!
Peng Leyun struck again and used "Thunderbolt Fire" to withstand this strike. He did not experience the feelings of "Misery" and "Age" as before and therefore launched his attacks nonchalantly.
However unknowingly, he felt more and more frustrated as he fought and started to neglect the surrounding more and more. It was as though he was trying to ﬁnish his opponents quickly and ﬁnding out the weaknesses of his opponents quickly. Wahku defended patiently and used both of his ﬁsts and legs to drag for time. From time to time, he would supplement his attacks with another blow of "Hungry Ghost Path" While solidly defending, other than his skin turning a little dark from the burns and the stacking of numbness throughout his body, there were no other signs.
As they fought on, their intense ﬁght had reached the edge of the ring. As Wahku tilted his body to the side, Peng Leyun pounced forward and almost fell off from it.
As he twisted his waist, he suddenly awakened and realised the peculiar feeling in his body and mind. He immediately started visualising the utmost Yang "Thor's Image" to dispel all the distracting thoughts.
When Wahku saw this scene, the golden light in his eyes immediately started turning red till it became a dark blood-like red.
"Six Paths of Reincarnation Punch" could be applied on himself too!
While thinking of Arhat, he was practising the arts of Asura!
Kacha! Wahku's body seemed to have expanded as he grew by a few centimeters. The power of his muscles clashed towards Peng Leyun solidly as he tried to directly knock him off the ring. At this stage, it was too late to remain calm!