Chapter 491: Events moved forward
Lou Cheng returned to the grandstand just as the ﬂickering ﬂames went off. Smiling, Peng Leyun extended his right ﬁst and bumped into his.
A compliment rather than a consolation.
"Bravo!" Ann Chaoyang greeted him in a similar way, in terms of action and choice of words.
Ren Li gave him a thumbs-up after the ﬁst-bump.
"Thanks." Lou Cheng smiled and shook his head, the gloominess in him diminishing.
"How is it? How's your injury looking? You need a trip to the emergency room?" Zhong Ningtao asked worriedly. Just a moment ago he had seen Lou Cheng spit out blood, and even then the unwashed wound on his left ﬁst looked hideous, though it had already been staunched.
"I'm ﬁne. Nothing but a ﬂesh wound. Give it a day or two and it'll heal by itself," said Lou Cheng, brandishing his left ﬁst. "No major internal injuries either. I didn't forcefully defend against it. Went along with the momentum and stepped back. With some medicine, I'll be full of energy before my morphing completes."
Of course, he won't be able to ﬁght at his full strength in the third-fourth place match one day later, but thankfully his opponent was Gusai.
"Thank goodness, thank goodness," said Zhong Ningtao, heaving a sigh of relief as he pointed towards the changing room. "Go clean yourself up."
"Okay," nodded Lou Cheng as he took his phone back. Yan Zheke had already sent a "shocked doge". "This was my ﬁrst time seeing Kaori Karasawa use Quadruple Aerial Ace..."
Lou Cheng pondered. "I guess you are right. [scratching head] I haven't seen her using it once in all the footage I went through. I have only heard that Xinzhai Sect had this combination move."
"[Eyes darting back and forth] Before mastering "Qi", she probably couldn't use it up to four times. After mastering "Qi", she didn't even have the need to use the Quadruple Aerial Ace at any point in time. To force that move out of her, my Cheng is the best!" replied Yan Zheke.
"Pfft, so that roundabout way of talking was to console and compliment me?" chuckled Lou Cheng, in a much better mood.
He walked steadily as he texted, scanning the road with the sides of his eyes. Peng Leyun and the others followed behind, taking refuge in the waiting room. It was chaotic outside with the milling crowd on their way out. "If not? [rolls eyes]" replied Yan Zheke. "Should I say Kaori Karasawa is very strong, and that it's normal for you to lose, or should I hug you tight and sing 'Cry, cry, it's not a sin for a man to shed tears'? Pep up and get that third place so you can go home earlier. You'll be seeing your little fairy in September!"
"You make it like sound like beating Gusai is easy. [snickering]" replied Lou Cheng.
"Isn't it? [looks at the sky in confusion]" replied Yan Zheke.
"Putting my injury aside since Gusai is injured too, the main problem is that I want to truly experience the Heart Reﬂection Punch and Six Paths of Reincarnation Punch. [cries while covering face]" replied Lou Cheng.
"I get it! You want to start playing around like Peng Leyun? It's only been a few days and you are picking up these bad habits from him! Are you doing any justice to me?" jested Yan Zheke, "harshly" reprimanding him. "After this time, I don't know when I'll get to face a strong opponent from Theravada again"," explained Lou Cheng.
Normally speaking, he always gave it his all in everything he did.
"Yup, yup, it's good to experience more," replied Yan Zheke, along with a cute emoji of [a tiny monster licking ice cream]. "But don't forget, there's a 100000 RMB difference between third and fourth place~"
"Shit, screw the experience, I can't wait to send Gusai crawling! [breathes ﬁre through nose]" replied Lou Cheng humorously.
Afterwards, Yan Zheke expressed more concern towards his injuries. She could only concentrate on class after making sure that he was alright.
When he almost got to the changing room, he habitually refreshed the live-stream thread. Not many were upset. Most were generally impressed. "...I was too engrossed! Forgot to take any pictures!"
Too engrossed ﬁghting, that is!
This kind of reason can only be used once...
"Haha, it's not your fault, Little Tiger. Everything else slipped off my mind when I was watching it too. [waving handkerchief]" replied "Wonton Seller".
"Right? Too f***ing exciting! Kaori Karasawa's Japan Kendo was f****** insane! Lou Cheng's predictions were even more insane!" replied "Unparalleled Dragon King", too excited to ﬁlter his words.
"I suspect Lou Cheng has discovered the signs given away by Flying Dragon Takeaway! He's out of this world! [prostrating in admiration]" replied "Pig-Riding Knight". Reading their discussion, Lou Cheng heaved his last sigh of unhappiness. He was ready to start anew once he takes a shower.
Wait, where's "Yan Xiaoling and "Brahman"? That's when he realized the two young and loyal fans were missing during the discussion.
Curious, Lou Cheng keyed in his own name and went into the fan forum.
He scanned through and went still. On the ﬁrst page of the forum, every thread shared the same title, but were posted by different people—"Yan Xiaoling", "Brahman", "Nie Qiqi", "Bull Demon King", "All The Good Names Are Taken By Dogs"— the usernames lined up in a neat formation.
"You are awesome!"
"You are awesome!" "You are awesome!"
Thumbing across, he realized not only the ﬁrst page looked that way. From the moment the competition ended, they had been spamming page after page. Even knowing that it wouldn't change a thing, they did everything they could within their capabilities express their support.
Touched, Lou Cheng's vision clouded. Touched by their pure love. By their unyielding support.
They were no longer following him for fun, or from a whim.
In this vast world, with oceans apart, they were strangers, yet they knew each other so well!
Lou Cheng took a deep breath and laid his phone down. He twisted the nozzle of the shower head. As the water washed away the sweat and bloodstains on his body, he felt himself gradually calming down. Examining the hideous wound on his ﬁst, he secretly rejoiced at the competition not being re-broadcasted in China. If not, he'll never hear the end of it from Mom, after she sees him spit out blood, or after she sees his bone-exposing wound.
Well,I guess I'll mention it myself and play it down when I video-chat with her later. Just in case someone who watched the live-stream tells her about it!
It's always a good move to mentally prepare someone!
After showering, Lou Cheng took the internal injury pills which Yan Zheke strongly requested him to bring, them stuck a huge band-aid on his wound.
After slipping into a new set of clothes, he walked out of the changing room. He saw Peng Leyun playing his mobile game instead of zoning out. Remembering about the Flying Dragon Takedown, he said, "Before Kaori Karasawa uses Flying Dragon Takedown, she makes an indistinct snap. I believe it's the sound of her compressing her fascias, bones, muscles and force." To him, the discovery was a stroke of fortune. If not for the Ice Mirror, who could have heard that nearly inaudible sound in the middle of a ﬁerce ﬁght?
Also, if he didn't have sharp survival instincts that told him when Kaori Karasawa was going to use the move, even with Ice Mirror, it will be natural for him to neglect insigniﬁcant noises, like the snap.
It was not by ﬂuke that the signs given away by Flying Dragon Takedown remained undiscovered for years!
Therefore, even after hearing it from him beforehand, whether Peng Leyun can seize the opportunity was another matter.
Forgetting about his game, Peng Leyun lifted his head and nodded thinkingly.
"So that's how it works..." Beside him, Ann Chaoyang chuckled and said, "Somehow it feels like Kaori Karasawa's win wasn't worth it. Just for a few hundred thousand RMB, she exposed one of the most important secrets of Xinzhai Sect to you."
"I'm getting a chill now that you mention it..." replied Lou Cheng, half-jokingly. "Do you think they'll hunt me down if they knew I found out about the signs?"
Then he answered his own question. "It's alright, if they have the balls to do it, I'll publish it on the internet! Let's see who outdoes who!"
Peng Leyun let out a laugh at that. He zoned out for a long time before "returning to Earth", his expression changing.
"Oh no... I trolled my team..."
Haha, you should stick to single player games, thought Lou Cheng mockingly. Ren Li rushed at the front to pull the changing room door open, poised to take charge and lead the way. In a panic, Zhong Ningtao called out and stopped her. With a creak, the bulky door opened. Ren Li saw a mixed race beauty with a group of photographers behind her.
"Hehe, we meet again," said Catherine with an amiable smile.
Ren Li tilted her head, thought hard, but couldn't recollect where she had seen her. Acting as if she knew her, she said, "Here to interview again?"
That's when it hit her. Remembering her identity, she quickly added, "You are the reporter who didn't tell us you know Chinese! The one who made Lou Cheng embarrass himself..."
Everyone burst into laughter at the mention. Lou Cheng scratched the back of his head and reddened.
After that incident, he tried to ﬁnd the article on Shengxiang websites, but aborted the mission since he couldn't read Shengxiangese. Catherine beamed. "I only did a simple press release at that time. Today we have an exclusive interview for you."
A wild card two with two Top 4 qualiﬁers and one ﬁnalist, of course there was a need for an exclusive interview. How else could they hype up the grand ﬁnals?
Thank goodness, thank goodness… , thought Lou Cheng, heaving a sigh of a relief, gloating at Peng Leyun who had to be the main character of the interview.
With the experience from before, the exclusive interview went smoothly and rigidly, without any "accidents". Towards the end, Catherine smiled.
"Lou Cheng, you have gained a nickname in Japan," she said.
"What is it?" blurted Lou Cheng, regretting it as soon as the words came out. He should have asked whether it was a good nickname. If it wasn't, don't say it! Catherine twinkled.
"The Kaiju from Nebula M78."
Lou Cheng's face darkened at the words.
After the interview, the wild card team returned to the hotel together before splitting up to do their own business in their own rooms.
After Lou Cheng video chaatted his Mom, Qi Fang, he began reminiscing about every tidbit in the ﬁght against Kaori Karasawa, analysing the situations and concluding the pros and cons. Yan Zheke loved to discuss this with him from a spectator's point of view.
The next morning, Lou Cheng continued doing his morphing training, his injuries not yet fully healed. In the afternoon spar, he held himself back and only did what counted as a warm-up. When they assembled for lunch, Zhong Ningtao clapped his hands.
"We have an activity this afternoon. The organizing committee invited us to pay a visit to the Golden Buddha Temple and interact with some of the Sadhus and young boxers. This is an ofﬁcial event for the Four Nation Competition, so the Top 16 qualiﬁers are expected to go," he announced.
"Why hadn't they said it before?" asked Ann Chaoyang, puzzled.
Zhong Ningtao shook his head. "I don't know either. Even though they held ofﬁcial events in all the previous years, it was usually after the end of grand-ﬁnals. For some reason they moved it forward this time," he replied.
"Okay, I have nothing planned in the afternoon anyway," replied Peng Leyun enthusiastically as he returned from "space". Indifferent, Lou Cheng, Ann Chaoyang and Ren Li just went with the ﬂow.
Chapter 492: Shoot Oneself In The Foot
The four-nation competition's ofﬁcial activities could be divided into three parts. The ﬁrst part was visiting the famous Golden Buddha Temple in Fuluo. The second part was listening to the scriptures lesson given by the living arhat, Zhao Wu. The third part would be having a sparring and teaching exercise with the monks and boxing masters that were not too old. Other than areas that restricted ﬁlming, the media followed them for the entire trip. It looked rather proper.
At noon, with the scorching sun high up in the sky, Lou Cheng and the rest entered the temple while enduring the steam cooker-like environment. They were able to appreciate the differences in style between temples in their own countries and temples in a foreign land from close distance.
The infrastructure here had sharp edges, was enveloped in gold and looked majestic. As they step in, the unique characteristics of ancient Buddhism were striking to them. As Theravada saw Mahayana Buddhism as extremists, they did not recognise the different realms of Buddhism nor the various Buddha mentioned in their scriptures. Therefore they only enshrined and worshipped the "World Honored Buddha", Gautama Buddha and his followers such as Mahākāśyapa and others. Outside the hall, there was a giant urn and the "Four Faces God", Brahmā guiding the door. It had a golden body that was still shimmering and eight extended arms holding to different items in each hand, looking extremely solemn.
As this was an ofﬁcial activity, Lou Cheng, Peng Leyun and the rest were all wearing their white base, red stripes martial arts suits that represented their group. This formed a strong contrast against the traditional clothing worn by Kaori Karasawa, Youko Yamashita and the other members of Japan's representative group.
As for Veigar, he was still wearing a large brimmed hat and general suit. He was walking with awe but was still domineering. It was as though he had forgotten about the scar of losing to Kaori Karasawa and the fact that he wasn't able to force her to use "Quadruple Aerial Ace".
Banam was in a classical attire of a Nanzheng boxing master. Both of his arms and legs were wrapped in white bandages and was walking at the back of the group where no one paid attention. The skinny and fat Wahku and Gusai were in monks' robes, blending in well with their surroundings. During the visit, they were moving around in groups of three to ﬁve based on their representative groups. There were clear boundaries between each group. Lou Cheng took out his cellphone and fulﬁlled his responsibility as a tourist. As long as the place allowed photography, he would just take a picture regardless if the workmanship was great or bad. He was intending to share them with his wife at night. As for Ann Chaoyang and Ren Li, their only use was to provide more pictures for him to "steal"!
Peng Leyun? His phone camera was ruined, and he would drift off from time to time. All he could do was continue being his relaxed and casual self.
Half past three, their visit had ended. They entered a structure that looked like a lecture room. At the front, there was a skinny, yellow-skinned old monk sitting with his eyes half-opened. There was nothing extravagant around him and one couldn't spot any vitality on him. This was the initial result of one who had mastered the way to becoming an Arhat and was equivalent to one who had just entered the realm of physical invulnerability. The name of this monk was Master Zhao Wu. Zhao Wu didn't bat an eyelid and was composed throughout. Seeing that everyone had gathered, he started giving a lecture using the Pali language that Buddha had used to write the scriptures in the past. Four middle-aged monks who were standing on his left and right were translating the content using English, Mandarin, Japanese and Shengxiang's language at the same time. Their voices stacked on and resonated in the Zen hall. This gave an unexplainable deep, solemn and loud feeling.
Lou Cheng was rather interested and listening attentively. Initially, he was just taking it as broadening his knowledge. However as he listened on, a strong sense of doubt arose in him.
Master Zhaowu wasn't talking about some stories in the Buddhism Scriptures but the true meaning behind "Sixteen Insight Knowledges". He was covering from understanding to how he mastered it step by step and using analogies to break it down. This made Lou Cheng felt that he could actually master part of it.
"It couldn't be that "Sixteen Insight Knowledges" is so worthless and he can just say it out for us to listen?" Lou Cheng leaned towards Peng Leyun and asked in a low voice.
This was equivalent to the core force of "Ice Sect" and "Fire Sect"!
Peng Leyun tilted his head, took a glance at him and his mouth started moving. The voice was barely audible but went straight into Lou Cheng's ears:
"He is only talking about the basics and will not talk about the deeper content. If you are really interested and decide to walk down this path, I believe he would be more than happy to welcome you and pass down the teachings to you himself."
Lou Cheng suddenly understood. He continued, "It's not bad just hearing about it. "Sixteen Insight Knowledge" isn't recorded in any scriptures books. They are the practical training methods and conﬁrmation methods that Gautama Buddha and various high monks had concluded after reaching the Arhat realm. It's indeed interesting." Lou Cheng scrutinized Peng Leyun and laughed, "It's normal for me to listen but you are a disciple of Taoism and half a priest. What are you listening for?"
I have decided to give Peng Leyun the nickname of "Priest. A priest that always drifts beyond the skies!
Peng Leyun replied with a laugh, "Since the Song Dynasty, there have been many exchanges of the Scriptures of Buddhism so as to perfect the philosophical system of various parties. Part of it had fused with the training principles of the other party. I might be able to understand something by listening about Hinayana a little more..."
As he spoke, he seemed to have thought of something. His gaze started to drift and his thoughts were no longer concentrating.
Lou Cheng felt something and immediately raised his hand. At this moment, he happened to see Master Zhao Wu looking and nodding his head slightly at him. He wasn't angry nor happy but that half-opened eyes of his had suddenly opened. As they opened, a radiant illusion seemed to have covered his eyes. All he could see was that Master Zhao Wu, who was sitting at the other end started turning gold, and grew three heads and six arms. His entire body was emanating dazzling light, looking sacred and solemn.
It couldn't be? Could there really be the Golden Body of Arhat? Lou Cheng was greatly shocked and subconsciously formed the "Ice Mirror" to reﬂect his surroundings. He suspected that his senses and mind had been affected by the mystical inﬂuence of Master Zhao Wu, resulting in his illusion!
Within the "Ice Mirror" a golden statue of an Arhat with three heads and six arms was emanating brilliant light!
Really... Lou Cheng still couldn't believe it. He did a "Force Concentration" and allowed the Ice and Fire to rotate to achieve equilibrium, forming a "Starry Sky" where darkness, light, cold and hot coexisted. This was to maximise the minute premonition that he could have felt with his body.
The surrounding suddenly became empty. He looked once again at Zhao Wu and discovered his muscles had bulged out forming wave-like patterns. His skin was glowing in dull golden light. Where was his 3 head, where was his six arms, where was the brilliant light emanating from his entire body!
No, in the void around him, his aura was condensing as though it had become the real body. Faintly, it had formed two blurry heads and four additional arms holding different items...
Up until now, Lou Cheng roughly understood what happened. The Golden Body of Arhat that he had seen previously was partially real and partially fake. It was formed by the aura of Master Zhao Wu's through his strong mental strength and the mutation of his body.
So this is an enlightened person similar to one in physical invulnerability stage...
Recalling the snow-covered environment that his master summoned, they were really the gods of these lands... As his thoughts ﬂowed, Lou Cheng became composed and was admiring the mysterious feeling Zhao Wu displayed casually.
His gaze swept to Peng Leyun and found that his eyes were out of focus and his expression was in a daze. No one knew where he had "drifted" to and he probably didn't pay attention to the Golden Body of Arhat.
Master Zhao Wu's ﬂirtatious look had landed on a blind man... Lou Cheng thought. Shifting his gaze, he saw Ren Li looking at the front in focus. The light in her eyes was dull and there seemed to be a storm gathering. As for Ann Chaoyang, he was mumbling to himself. He seemed to be reciting a poem.
Reciting a poem? Lou Cheng was shocked and turned his ear.
All he heard was Ann Chaoyang reciting softly,
"That year, I shaved my head and embrace the world, not because of Buddha, but to get closer to your warmth..." ... Lou Cheng's mouth twitched and couldn't help but mocked:
Hehe, this group of useless people!
They had wasted these scripture lessons!
Hmph, other than Ren Li...
I have to tell this to Ke. She will deﬁnitely laugh over it!
Ten minutes past four, the scripture lesson was over and the group of people left the Zen Hall. Lou Cheng casually glanced at Kaori Karasawa, Veigar and the rest as he wished to ﬁnd out if there were any signs of them after witnessing the "Golden Body of Arhat". However these people all had strong wills and their expressions had recovered, making him unable to tell. However the other boxing masters and martial arts artists seemed to be a little distracted and had clearly suffered an extremely large shock to the point that they were starting to have doubts about their lives. Following was the guidance exercise segment. Based on the arrangements of the organizing committee, they were divided into two groups. Several female contestants went to guide female boxing masters that were not too old. As for the rest, they headed to the canteen to try out the food of the monks while waiting for the rotations.
As he was worried that Ren Li would be lost, Guide Zhong Ningtao instructed Lou Cheng for a while before following her in a hurry. Youko Yamashita looked on quietly and nodded his head slightly.
In the canteen.
The food was served to them. The drinks were just plain water and the rice was coarse. It was as simple as it could get. Lou Cheng, Peng Leyun and Ann Chaoyang only consumed a few mouthfuls before stopping.
If they were not hungry, why would they torture themselves? Speaking of which, I'm starting to miss the various delicacies at home... Lou Cheng swallowed his saliva.
Soon after, the monks started to gather the utensils. Youko Yamashita was glancing over using the side of his eyes from a place not far away. Seeing that the three of them didn't react strangely and allowed the monks to collect their utensils, a smile appeared on his face.
This monk had been bribed. The utensils they used would be sent to Masane Otake for extractions!
Although Lou Cheng and the rest always had meals outside previously, they did not make any reservations and therefore he couldn't bribe the staffs in advance. Moreover their guide would always ensure they did not leave anything behind in the end.
This time, their guide had been diverted away!
At this moment, Lou Cheng suddenly remembered something. He immediately halted the monk who was leaving with their utensils, smiled at Peng Leyun and Ann Chaoyang and laughed, "You guys are too careless! Where are we? This is Nanyang where evils arts and curses are common. We can't leave behind anything that is close to ourselves to prevent people from casting spells on them!"
Yeah, this is based on what the Coach had instructed him!
Seeing that Peng Leyun and Ann Chaoyang were dumbfounded, Lou Cheng wiped the bowls and utensils he used previously. A dull ﬂame shimmer. The ﬂame did not burn the material but evaporated their saliva.
"This move isn't bad." Peng Leyun complimented.
To be able to use ﬁre to deal with the trails but not burning the utensils, this level of control was commendable!
Lou Cheng should be completing his morph soon right? As they spoke, he also stood up. Silverish-white sparks were coming out from his hands. He wiped his own utensils and did not leave behind any additional things.
Seeing them, Ann Chaoyang was also anxious to try it out. He had not unlocked a supernatural ability and could only attempt to destroy using special wavelength. In the end, he shamelessly took out wet wipes.
Youko Yamashita was watching from afar quietly and silently.
When the few female experts were giving guidance, suddenly a gust of wind blew past and blew away the boredom. Ren Li's hair was also blown up.
After she reached six pins, the roots of her hair became very strong. Without external force, it would be difﬁcult for her to lose a hair. When giving guidance, there's usually no requirement for her to tie up her hair. At this moment, Kaori Karasawa, who was near her, moved her ﬁngers quietly. A gust of wind mixed into the natural environment and was in perfect tune with the actions of the girl sparring with Ren Li. The wind "twisted" two strands of hair off Ren Li and pulled them off quietly without a trace. It looked just like an accident caused by the move of the female kid.
No one could possibly master the Absolute Reaction to their hair!
Two strands of black hair carrying the roots felled. Although Ren Li felt something, she didn't ﬁnd it strange and continue to feed moves to the female kid.
Kaori Karasawa 's expression was getting more and more carefree and the smile on her face was still as beautiful and sweet. After the guidance match was over, she pretended to have dropped something and rolled it to the side where she bent down to pick it up.
... When Ren Li was back in the canteen, Lou Cheng told her about the evil arts and curses of Nanyang to remind her to pay more attention.
Ren Li answered conﬁdently,
"That's nothing. I also know about curses."
"You know about curses too?" Lou Cheng was surprised.
"Yeah, there's a segment about black magic and curses in the "Plague Sect". However the preparations needed beforehand take a long time and aren't useful in battle. Moreover, it's useless if the materials gathered are useless and it would fail most of the time. Nonetheless, it will be a hundred percent accurate if I used it on myself," said Ren Li. "I happened to have lost some strands of hair and can cast a reverse curse on it..."
At this point, she looked at Zhong Ningtao, anxious to try it out. "Guide, I will like to apply to go out and buy some materials."
Oh damn, I have not expected Ren Li to be capable of this... I can't afford to offend her, cannot afford... Lou Cheng wiped away his cold sweat.
She can even use curses!
Eh, not right. I'm able to reﬂect curses...
Thinking about this, he no longer spoke any further and headed towards the open space with Peng Leyun and Ann Chaoyang to give guidance to twelve to thirteen years old boxing masters or monks.
Seeing the immature yet engrossed looks, and their well practised and ruthless actions, Lou Cheng couldn't help but feel a little emotional. In China, one would just have gotten into contact with martial arts at this age and the focus would be on forming the foundation and training the body. There were still several years before they would have ﬁghting strength. It wasn't that it would take long, but the society had a common understanding that getting too involved in martial arts at too early a stage would affect a person's growth and resulting in various negative consequences. The kid's mental health might even be
affected by it.
In this process, they would be taught other things too. This was to prevent them from being illiterate. If their paths of martial arts didn't work out in the future, at least they would not be useless.
However this wasn't the case in Shengxiang. Most of the people here were still very poor and led a very tough life. Although they might not have reached the stage where they did not have food for the next meal, they weren't much better. From a young age, they had to work in various kinds of jobs to keep themselves alive. Those who were selected to practice martial arts were the lucky ones. The earlier they mastered it and began to possess ﬁghting strength, the earlier they could serve the people nurturing them. This was something that both parties desired. As there were only a small number of high level experts, the referees in a lot of competitions were not up to standards. During battles, lost control was common and there was a lingering taste of blood and cruelty. Nonetheless, such boxing matches were abnormally popular. A lot of people liked to watch this kind of battle and were willing to pay money to watch.
Based on the reports he had read, the boxing masters of Shengxiang were in a group with a high fatality rate. Moreover for those who had not reached the stage similar to the inhuman stage, where one's core would mutate, they would likely be very prone to disease and pain after they passed their prime years, leading to an extremely sad life. Some of them might not even live past ﬁfty years old.
Obviously this was already considered as blessed when compared against many other professions. Not only was their income great, but they could also rely on their strength to bully the weak to earn some additional resources. As for transsexuals, their lives were brilliant for a moment but painful for many others. They could also die suddenly. The reasons why there were such differences between the two countries were because other than the path of martial arts, China had developed quite well in other aspects. For the kids in China, practising martial arts were more of a dream and for their future. To the kids of the same age in Shengxiang, martial arts were for survival.
Lou Cheng was giving guidance attentively. He wasn't discriminating against them, but he only felt pity.
The talent of the kid opposite of him was average and would likely not make it past the ﬁrst streaming. He would have to take the road of studying...
At ﬁve thirty in the afternoon, the activity ended. Lou Cheng and the rest didn't encounter any incidents and successfully found a place to have dinner before returning to the hotel.
That night, at the place where Japan's representatives were staying, the researcher, Masane Otake, was trying to keep his excitement in control as he started preliminary handling of Ren Li's hair. He was intending to separate the hair roots.
He was operating at full concentration when a dull light lit up in front of his eyes. All he could see was the two strands of hair burning rapidly and becoming ashes in an instant. At the same time, it was giving out a faint fruit smell.
"What has happened?" Masane Otake was dumbfounded.
After several minutes, the phone in the hotel room of the leader of Japan's representative group rang. He picked up the phone and realized it was Masane Otake. He was shouting with difﬁculty,
"Help, help me..."
Help you? The leader immediately rushed out and called for help. After opening the room door of Masane Otake, he saw lying on the ﬂoor, bent like a prawn and was vomiting incessantly, looking like he was in pain. "There's, there's poison!" said Masane Otake while struggling after seeing the "rescue personnel".
"It seems to have failed..." Ren Li mumbled to herself while staring at the countless decorations in front of her.
"There isn't anyone around right?"
"Forget it, it will not really harm the person after all. At the worse case, he would just feel terrible for a while."
"Yeah, it is considered done now!"
Ren Li clapped her hand and walked into the washroom happily, intending to have a bath.
... The second day, the twenty-seventh of August. Lou Cheng, who had almost fully recovered, felt that he would complete his morph in just two to three days as he truly entered the inhuman stage.
During the sparring session in the morning, he was resting to recover. He watched the videos while waiting for the next match and was looking forward to experiencing the "Six Paths of Reincarnation Punch".
As to who would become the eventual champion, he naturally would stand on the side of his teammate!
At seven thirty at night, they had their dinner and arrived at the Shengxiang Stadium. They entered the changing room and were making ﬁnal adjustments before the match.
Outside the door, there was a huge crowd of people as the heat wave swept towards the sky. It didn't seem like they were here to watch a ﬁnals but more like watching a grand celebration. In the room, Peng Leyun was holding his phone horizontally. On the phone was the battle video between Lou Cheng and Kaori Karasawa. However, his eyes weren't focused on the screen but had "drifted" to an unknown place. Suddenly, it seemed like he had connected something.
Ren Li who had nothing to do was lowering her head and playing on her phone. As she was swiping with her ﬁngers, her eyebrows were raised from time to time. She seemed to be wanting to quarrel with someone. However, she still managed to control herself in the end. Ann Chaoyang was wearing his headphones and listening to his music quietly, as though he was in a world of his own.
As for Lou Cheng, it was obvious that he was chatting with his little fairy girl.
"If you are to lose despite being the favorite, I will laugh at you for a lifetime, [cover mouth while smiling expression]" said Yan Zheke.
For a lifetime... The edge of Lou Cheng's mouth arced upwards. He typed quickly, "I'm really afraid... I have to think about how long I should play around in this match!" Just like this, time passed second by second. Lou Cheng kept his phone and intended to close his eyes to rest for ﬁfteen minutes.
At this moment, the side of his eyes saw the "return" of Peng Leyun. Vitality came back into his eyes. Remembering something, he asked in a low voice, "How do you think curses work? It felt rather creepy and scary. Is it based on the principles of quantum entanglement?"
He was guessing with physics knowledge that he barely understood half of it.
Peng Leyun tilted his head and look at him. He laughed heartily,
"This has dabbled into my knowledge blind zone. I'm just an undergraduate..."
"Eh, you know about this joke?" Lou Cheng replied with a surprised tone. "I'm not a primitive person." Peng Leyun waved the phone in his hands with a smile.
Lou Cheng and his mentality were rather relaxed.
In Japan's representative group, the guide heaved a sigh and threw all the distracting thoughts to the back of his mind. He looked with focused eyes at Kaori Karasawa and said,
"How do you feel?"
The following match is a battle for glory for Japan!
Kaori Karasawa moved her hands and legs before replying with a gentle smile, "Not bad, the injuries shouldn't have any effects on me now." "Great." The guide nodded his head in satisfaction.
In the other changing room.
Gusai who was making his preparation saw the guide walk over and said in a low voice,
"Lou Cheng defeated Youko Yamashita and Banam. He even forced Kaori Karasawa to use "Quadruple Aerial Ace" and is widely considered as a top four expert in this competition. As long as you can win against him, you could prove yourself and the Shengxiang country. You would receive the compliments of everyone and all the glory!"
Gusai was also an established monk. He wasn't agitated by what he heard and replied in a composed tone, "He's a real expert. There's still some distance between him and I. I'm unlikely to win."
In addition, he still suffered injuries during the match against Peng Leyun!
"Rest assured, we have contacted Wu Cheng from Miluo. He will be the referee for the match between Lou Cheng and you." The guide said in satisfaction.
"This would be discovered by Lou Cheng and doubted by everyone." Gusai shook his head slowly.
"No, they won't. This was because he will not affect Lou Cheng or disturb your battle. It is just that his supernatural ability can allow you to have better performance without others ﬁnding out at the most crucial moment! Try your best in battle. Go and show everyone who is the real artist!" The guide said in an elevated tone as he waved his hand.
Entering the ﬁnals will be too obvious. Number three is just right! Gusai pondered for a moment before replying,
"I only know about being myself. As for other things, I didn't hear them."
"Great." The guide left with satisfaction.
Wahku who came along and was sitting at a side was just watching quietly, not saying a word.
Perhaps this will be one of the obstacles in Junior Gusai's practice. He would only truly understand after experiencing it himself.
When he won against Lou Cheng but felt remorseful and plagued by remorse, he would then understand the pretence of his and started to hate everything in the world, giving rise to the thought of giving up everything in the world... Gusai was sitting there, not moving for a long time until he heard the announcement from outside. It was then that he wriggled his terrifying fats and stood up like a mountain.
Chapter 493: The beast in human form
August 27th, 8 P.M. In the Shengxiang stadium, the radio broadcast guided the ambience, drawing cheers from the audience in a sea of enthusiasm.
The third-fourth place match was in place to heat things up before the grand-ﬁnals took off!
Yan Zheke's message arrived punctually.
"Charge forward lad for the prize of money! No cheers for today! Coach Yan will have to slave-drive you! [brandishing foil]"
Slave-drive…chuckled Lou Cheng.
"The weakling in me shivers! [shudders with head in hands]" he replied. He added another line after that.
"I guess I have to give it my all! [getting all gung-ho]"
After a brief interaction, he signed out of QQ, and handed the unlocked phone to Ann Chaoyang. He repeatedly reminded him when they ﬁst-bumped. "Only start taking pictures when I'm almost on the arena...Try your best to not reply anything when you are posting on the live-stream thread…"
Now that he's out of excuses and reasons, he had to re-deploy Ann Chaoyang, the relatively reliable one out of the unreliable squad!
"Okay, okay," replied Ann Chaoyang, bobbing his head up and down to show that he knew what to do.
Didn't expect Lou Cheng to have this naggy side to him... After his brieﬁng ended, Peng Leyun moved closer to ﬁst- bump him.
"Don't play around too much and lose."
Huh...play around too much and lose? Does he know about it? How Ann Chaoyang and I dissed him during his matches? The familiar quote took Lou Cheng aback.
He reddened when he caught on. Beside him, Ann Chaoyang coughed drily like someone who was caught red-handed bad- mouthing others...
"Haha," replied Lou Cheng, laughing drily. "I won't, I won't."
That's when Ren Li extended her ﬁst too, looking at him with a tinge of guilt.
"It was a slip of the tongue…" she admitted frankly. "Haha, no biggie, no biggie," replied Lou Cheng, forcing a smile on his face.
In the light-hearted mood, he swung around and walked towards the arena along the walkway, his steady steps masking his overwhelming presence.
The live-stream thread was wrapped in an equally cheerful and lively ambience.
"Is this match even worth watching? In a nap's time, I'll be hearing all about Lou Cheng's victory!" jested "Okamoto's Fan".
"A Plumber Eating Mushrooms" raised his objections from a force of habit. "That's where you are wrong. What joy it is to watch an exciting match that's guaranteed to go your way, along with some icy beer and barbeque! That's what life is about!"
"Go squat around the corner, you two! Don't accumulate bad karma for my Lou Cheng! [whistles and deals a red card]" replied "Eternal Nightfall" Yan Xiaoling. Her ally "Brahman" didn't see it that way. "Snacks are ready! Waiting for the competition to start! [wags tail smugly]" she replied.
As the ebullient discussion went on, Lou Cheng stepped into the arena before his opponent, positioning himself on the referee's left hand side. Without exerting his aura, he silently watched as Gusai walked closer, his ﬂesh jiggling with every step.
Wrapped in a crimson Sadhu robe, his opponent was plump but burly like a frightening mountain of ﬂesh, and his skin shone of dark gold. Every part of him was mysterious.
His stretched features appeared small, and his countenance less bitter than that of Wahku. A profound look resided in his eyes, but not much of enlightenment and discardment.
As Lou Cheng sized him up, Gusai was eyeing him as well. What he saw was an energetic youth, gentle and reserved in demeanor, wearing a slight smile on his lips like that of a normal, harmless university student. Yet the way he stood felt immovable, as if in his outbursts he could bring a terror comparable to a mountain crumbling before someone.
His breathing sped up, but he quickly regained control. As he strolled into the arena,without realizing it himself, he tossed a glance towards the referee with the corner of his eyes.
The Miluo referee, Wu Sheng, had a swarthy face, slicked back hair that was scarce in number, and a no-nonsense, solemn expression. Towards Gusai's gaze, he did not return the slightest response, as though he did not see it.
He was experienced as an quasi-Inhuman mighty one.
Gusai looked away. Putting all his distractions aside, he stood across Lou Cheng with around 30 feet in between.
Wu Sheng glanced at the digital clock as it approached 8:10. He raised his palm, gesturing to his left and right respectively. Abruptly, he swung his right hand down. His voice was hoarse but loud enough for the entire stadium to hear.
The King of Youth Pro League third-fourth place match had ofﬁcially begun!
The tensed muscles on Lou Cheng's thighs clung tightly to his pants, leaving tight markings that were sharply-deﬁned. At the same time, he swung his waist, shifting his centre of gravity forward, poised to pounce out like a brutal blizzard that ﬁnished brewing.
Standing across him, Gusai instinctively leapt to the right. But Lou Cheng merely stomped forward with his left foot. It was just a test.
Snap! Cracks unfurled on the ground as Lou Cheng dashed to his left, sweeping up gusts and devouring the thirty or so feet between them, seamlessly getting in the way of his dodging opponent. Drawing a breath, Gusai rapidly lowered his body. His dark- gold glowing ﬂabs began gaining deﬁnition, turning into muscles that could take one's breath away. He planned to take Lou Cheng's attack head-on with his Heart Reﬂection Punch.
At that moment, Lou Cheng adjusted his fascias, ﬂexed his muscles and moved his feet correspondingly, changing his direction by force. A bang sounded as he smashed through the air, whipping up a frigid wind that fondled Gusai's face.
Ascension to Heaven's Stars, Shrilling Northern winds!
The strong wind made Gusai teeter, closing his eyes instinctively as he felt sharp blades scraping against his face.
Sidestepping, Lou Cheng pointed his toes inwards, kneecaps and legs pointing against each other, and swung out a ﬁst.
Gusai's ears registered a crisp bam. Unable to use Heart Reﬂection Punch in time, he directed all of his strength to his arm, raising it to defend his side. Pom! Lou Cheng's ﬁst smashed into his forearm, caving it in.
It sent ripples down his ﬂab, but did little to move him.
Twisting his waist and taking another step, Lou Cheng circled to his opponent's side, just as the latter was pivoting to ﬁnd him. He ﬂexed his arm and brutally slammed his elbow inwards.
Though he wanted to experience the Heart Reﬂection Punch and its killer move, The 6 Paths of Reincarnation Punch, he didn't want to play around as much as Peng Leyun did; taking attacks head-on right from the get go. He decided to start off with a dogﬁght approach, and after he fully grasped Gusai's ﬁghting abilities, he could conﬁdently proceed with further experiments.
That way, if anything went wrong, he would immediately realize it and perform a timely comeback, before it got to the heart-thumping point where defeat was possible!
Bam, bam, bam! In large strides, Lou Cheng moved as though he was dancing though ﬂowers and trees. He moved in series of threes that consisted of punching, kicking and grabbing. The close quarter combat gave Lou Cheng a good idea of what his opponent could and couldn't do.
This Theravada Sadhu is indeed gifted. His body is capable of absorbing damage, but at the same time packs a punch. His strength is close to mine, even though I'm at the Inhuman stage, he's only at a slight disadvantage… but from what I can tell, their way of martial arts focuses more on their spirits, and not so much on intricate ﬁghting moves...
With that judgement in mind, Lou Cheng backed away from the melee range and maintained his distance. Retracting his thoughts, he condensed an icy mirror with a glossy surface that produced a clear reﬂection of everything around him in a 4-inch radius.
It was as though his soul had left himself, and was now suspending in the air, emotionlessly scanning through the surroundings.
Once the Ice Mirror took shape, Lou Cheng immediately retracted his Qi and blood, pulled his arm back, and swung his shoulder out. Bam! His punch shot out, dragging through the air at lightning speed, kindling a searing white ﬂame that wrapped around it like a stylish glove.
With the break in between, Gusai caught his breath. Channeling his spirits, a look of misery ﬁlled his eyes as he lashed out with an ordinary straight. Dark gold radiance seeped out as it collided with Lou Cheng's ﬂame ﬁst.
Flames splattered, ripping away the dark gold on Gusai's ﬁst. Suffering from the combination of explosive Dan Force and waves of impact, Gusai dared not resist by force, and chose to retreat backwards. Lou Cheng felt a discomfort gnawing at his throat, smothering him. His lungs tightened and his insides burned, as though he was seriously sick.
Apart from that, his body felt weak. He felt as though he had been bedridden for a long time, and the days when he dominated the arenas seemed so far away. Heart Reﬂection Punch, Illness!
In life, no one can escape the torments of illness, and everyone experiences it for a few times. Lou Cheng's body remembered how it felt. And right now those memories were being provoked, resonating with the Fist Intent in Gusai's punch, breaking through the barriers of time and giving him a serious illness. His limbs lost its strength, and his defensive movements turned abnormally slow. He could only watch as the opponent's ﬁst neared him.
It all felt too real, but from Lou Cheng's towering view — in the reﬂection of the ice mirror, he saw his blood ﬂowing vigorously like wild torrents. He saw his muscles, energetic and youthful, as though it could smash through walls and stomp through the ground at any any time. Not a trace of illness lay within him.
Everything from before was merely illusions spawned from the brain in response to the external stimulus, and the realisticness of it came from the hormone secretions! It feels good to be healthy, thought Lou Cheng, comparing between his ill ﬁgure and his actual body. Taking a half-step with his left foot, muscles bulging, his right ﬁst boomed out, warding off Gusai's sneaky punch.
Their ﬁsts changed shapes in the dull thud. Gusai took a quick step backwards, his wavy Sadhu robes nearly catching ﬁre. With another look of misery, he drew his ﬁst back monotonously.
Heart Reﬂection Punch, Misery.
Lou Cheng chose to take it head-on. Concentrating and releasing his Qi and blood, his left arm grew in girth, sending out a vicious punch that went straight in its path.
The temperature in the area sharply fell. Gouts of water condensed on his ﬁst as white mist enshrouded it. The sparkling ﬁst landed on Gusai's forearms, denting it, turning his muscles back into fat, and his dark gold complexion into a shade of pale. The blow knocked Gusai back by six feet, marking the ground with two distinct lines through friction. His arms were enameled in a layer of white mist, and his lips quivered from the frost. On the other hand, Lou Cheng heard his stomach growl. An insuppressible hunger came over him, as though he had turned into a Sadhu himself, begging for a living in the sun and rain, binded by strict rules and forbidden to eat past noon.
The food tasted bland and dry and he ate with no joy. The discomfort from hunger made him feel as though his throat was reaching out for food. The rush of feelings came over him, and the only thing he wished for is to surrender at that instant, then head into a restaurant where he can stuff his face.
Or rather, hurry back to his own country, where he can gobble up all the delicacies he longed for!
Stir-fried eel, roasted eggplant from Old Liu Barbeque, beef and potato stew, braised pork ribs with lotus root, tomato and egg soup, Yuxiang shredded pork, spicy sautéed crab, braised crawﬁsh… the resplendent images ﬂashed through Lou Cheng's mind, amplifying the empathy he felt for what a Sadhu had to go through. Bam! He mustered up his strength, violently jerked his arm back and jabbed out. He had to ﬁght for the delicacies!
Of course, the Ice Mirror had never cracked and merely felt a ripple. The clear reﬂection reminded him that he was not hungry in reality, keeping his emotions in check, suppressing any anxiety and impatience.
The impact made Gusai stagger backwards just before he launched his counterattack, cracking the ﬂoor below him. He felt a ﬂeeting confusion, unbelieving of how Lou Cheng could produce such violent force in his state of "hunger".
Food makes the world go round! Swallowing his spit, Lou Cheng bounded after him in wide movements, his muscles clearly deﬁned and rock solid, like that of a Heavenly God that descended to Earth.
Again, he secretly chanted, enthusiastically whipping out his right arm, hurling a punch that went towards Gusai's throat like a lance. The imbued Emperor Yan force torched the surrounding air, pulling it into a condensed ﬁreball.
White sparks danced in Gusai's eyes. He dared not hold back, or make further attempts to gauge his foe's power. Channeling his spirits, the light of Skandha shone in his eyes. He stepped forward and drew his arm back, rushing forward in silence.
6 Paths of Reincarnation Punch, Hungry Ghost Path!
By insidiously injecting insatiable greed into Lou Cheng's mind, Gusai sought to drain his foe's patience and ﬁght with an unthinking bloodthirst.
The force was imbued in his punches, a subtle technique that oftimes left its victims unknowing. By the time they realized and tried to suppress it, it was always too late, for they were either on the verge of defeat or already defeated!
That was the reason why Gusai used it as a prelude! Boom!
The ﬁreball exploded, sending waves of ﬂames rolling. The Sadhu robe at the region of Gusai's arm was shredded to pieces, more cracks appearing on his dark gold aura.
His other hand rushed to protect his face, as he staggered backwards to neutralize the impact from Emperor Yan Force.
From its impact alone, his Flame Sect force was worthy of being ranked as top 3!
A ripple formed in Lou Cheng's Ice Mirror, and its pellucid surface almost cracked apart, but at the same time it unreservedly revealed the inﬁltrating "spy".
With preparations and a calm mind, he had detected the Fist Intent of Hungry Ghost Path! Not bad at all... He calmed his thoughts as water turned to ice, suppressing his impatience and eradicating his greed. Method characterized his movements once again. He fought at a steady pace, not giving away any openings.
Astonished, Gusai tried activating Hungry Ghost Path twice more, yet it did not affect his opponent at all. The gleam in his irises ﬂashed as he changed his Fist Intent out of desperation.
With a look that conveyed calmness and misery, he drew a deep breath. Lifting his hips, he raised his arm and sent a punch downwards, leaving the air undisturbed despite its speed and ferocity.
Lou Cheng lowered his hips, and raised his right arm from his lower abdomen,where he rested it. His backhand punch collided with his enemy's ﬁst, producing an echoing sound.
All of a sudden, Lou Cheng felt at peace as apathy came over him. He grew tired of the battle, the contest, and more so of defeating his enemy. Why am I standing here? Who am I? Where did I come from, and where do I go next… At that moment, Lou Cheng seemed to have entered Kenja Time. No earthly desires could pique his interest, and all that was in his mind were philosophical questions about the world and himself. He hardly felt like
dealing with Gusai's glancing elbow blow.
6 Paths of Reincarnation Punch, Immortal Path(Deva and Human Path combined)!
This move "helped" people overcome their desires, eradicating their emotions and freeing them from the prison of mind. When used in combat, it could corrode the opponent's ﬁghting spirits by reducing the right hormone secretion, throwing them into a languid state where they do not wish to defend themselves. Even if they blocked out of instinct, they can hardly put any strength into it.
The 6 Paths of Reincarnation each had its own quirks!
But this status effect was two sides of the same coin with Ice Mirror—suppressing emotions and detering interferences. Lou Cheng adapted quickly, his status impeccably reﬂected on the lake in his mind. He drove his body to work, as though he was carrying out the cold, merciless will of the Immortal.
Hormones were unleashed as his muscles swelled up again. Turning around and extending his arm, he pushed a palm out that caught Gusai's elbow. Flames gathered around. The explosion was coming.
Gusai hurriedly retracted his elbow, avoiding the fulminating ﬂames. His opponent, unﬂinching in the 6 Paths of Reincarnation, felt like a god to him.
The gleam in his eyes turned red, turning his disquiet to strength. He lifted his waist, tensed the heels of his feet and struck out a low kick. When Lou Cheng defended himself with a whipping kick, he clenched and swung out his hammer-like ﬁst.
Lou Cheng straightened his arm and blocked it. His ﬁghting spirits tumbled ﬁercely, and his blood gurgled more vigorously, stimulating his muscles and driving his fascias.
The desire for violence ﬁlled his body. A dark red could be discerned from his iris.
6 Paths of Reincarnation Punches, Asura Path!
A slight crack extended over the Ice Mirror, and the ripples almost turned to tides, but Lou Cheng barely managed to preserve it. He was pleasantly surprised to observe his Qi and blood turning more active under the inﬂuence of the Fist Intent of Asura Path. The hidden strength in parts of his muscles were being drawn out, similar to his state when activating the Fighting Formula, albeit less intense.
This isn't half bad, thought Lou Cheng. He was learning more about his body from a new perspective. There were subtle changes in his muscles, fascias, organs and spirit under the inﬂuence of bloodthirst and violence; like the rate of metabolism at his cells level increasing. Some changes were good, and some were bad, but all of them served well as future reference. Once he digested what he learned, the effectiveness of his Fighting Formula would increase by at least 20%!
Haha, what a good decision it was, playing around a little to experience the 6 Paths of Reincarnation Punch!
Muscles expanding and ﬁgure enlarging, Lou Cheng expanded into a giant. He stepped forward and ﬂung his ﬁst, delivering a blow from the above. Gusai's feet sunk into the ﬂoor, blubbers bouncing.
Smack, smack, smack! Whack, whack, whack! After grasping what Asura Path did to his body, Lou Cheng delivered blows after blows as though he was on steroids. Gusai's depression grew as he defended himself, coming close to a defeat.
All this time, Gusai did not see a semblance of Lou Cheng losing his composure.
What a monster! Does the 6 Paths of Reincarnation Punch not affect him?!
Or am I simply not good enough?
Doubt rose up in Gusai's mind; regarding the world, regarding life and regarding himself. He almost wanted to just screw it all and act impulsively and carelessly.
Luckily for him, with his decent mastery of Sixteen Insight Knowledges, he organized his thoughts and calmed down. A rainbow glow redolent of all worldly matters ﬂicked across his eyes.
Smack! The ﬂabs on Gusai bloated once more, expanding into muscles. He drew an arm back and clenched his ﬁst, poised for an attack.
6 Paths of Reincarnation Punch, Human Path! At that moment, he felt a savage force injected into him. His spirits sharply rose at the stimulation.
Could this be... From the corner of his eye, Gusai caught a glimpse at the referee, Wu Sheng. His demeanor remained grave and solemn, and his face emotionless, not paying him the slightest attention. However, without anyone noticing, he had lowered his left arm to face Gusai. A shade of dark blue ﬂashed past.
So it's a done deal...
I guess this is the critical moment...
The thought ﬂashed across Gusai's mind. With his unprecedentedly good state, he performed the Intents of life to the ﬁnest. When his attack was blocked by Lou Cheng's burning ﬁsts, he injected his force into it, letting it run its course and turning the life to hell.
When one's thoughts turns extreme, they will suffer pain and experience unescapable torment. Hell doesn't exist anywhere but in a person's heart!
One thought can bring you to the human world and another could bring you to hell!
That was the ultimate essence of 6 Paths of Reincarnation Punch. The 6 Paths of Reincarnation that even Wahku had yet to master!
Applying both Human Path and Hell Path!
The Emperor Yan force boomed, sending tides of ﬂames tumbling at will. Gusai had to dodge while taking multiple steps back to avoid the danger and stop its remaining impact.
Lou Cheng's vision fogged, as though he experienced ten years in that moment. In the beginning of the ten years, he ran to and fro between the two countries, driven by enthusiasm. Then, as he and Yan Zheke became more preoccupied with their own lives, the frequency between their meetings gradually decreased...
They used to share every interesting tidbit with each other, but as time went on they grew too busy. Too busy for small talk. Conversing became a chore, increasingly monotonous and boring...
After two to three scandals, they grew suspicious of each other. Being together was becoming more and more tiring. Slowly, the relationship fell apart by itself...
When it came to that, he even felt a sense of release and freedom...
Ten years later, when he had already settled into another relationship, he returned to his school for its anniversary celebration. At night, when he revisited the long bridge, he saw a familiar silhouette. She wore a white shirt that bespoke her intelligence, and an elegant long dress that crossed her knees. She stood there glancing at the lake. Her face retained its beauty, but gained a hint of maturity over the years.
"How have you been?" he asked after a brief silence.
"Great," she nodded with a smile, and without stopping she briskly walked past him.
When she had trailed off, far away from him, she mused to herself in a tone that teetered between amusement and sadness.
"When you confessed, you promised to wait for me forever…"
The deeply buried feelings surfaced at once, sweeping up strong winds and wild torrents in her heart. She wanted to turn around. To ﬁx things. But when she saw the wedding ring on her ﬁnger, she buried those feelings once more. The slender and beautiful silhouette gradually disappeared in the distance. His heart felt hollow as an intense regret ﬁlled him. Whenever he was reminded of it, he regretted it so much so that it felt like he lost a part of himself. On the day he heard that she got married, he spent an entire night sitting alone by
All the happenings of his youth, gone with the ﬂowing waters.
Seeing his enemy in a stupor, Gusai rushed forwarded, ﬂinging his arm to deliver a punch.
Another ten years passed, then another. His hair had turned silver, but there was no one beside him to sing "When you grow old"...
The regret in him never faded with time, and the pain dug deep into his heart…..
The scenes ﬂickered before him, overwhelming Lou Cheng with pain and regret. All he wanted was to redo everything, and this time, he'll never let go!
No, this is not the future I want!
With his emotions unstable, he awoke the Ice and Flames in him, wanting to throw a punch at the abominable fate and his detestable self.
The rebalance between Ice and Flames brought out the Starry Sky. That was the ﬁrst time he got to use it in actual combat ever since he could slightly manipulate the strength in his Jindan! With all his strength, he wanted to set things straight again!
Bam! His frame enlarged in an instant, his eyes pained and hideous, throwing out a punch at a speed beyond Gusai's imagination. It hit him before the winning punch he betted on had reached its maximum momentum.
Boom! Air currents exploded, leaving Gusai ﬂabbergasted under the ridiculous pressure. His right arm rebounded right away after being struck, landing on his chest and shattering the dark gold around it, almost snapping his bones.
With an enraged roar, Lou Cheng dashed forward, swinging his ﬁsts at his opponent's left arm that rushed to defend himself, unleashing his brute force in its full glory.
In the overlapping bang and snap, Gusai ﬂew out backwards, his arm broken and his chest caved in, himself on the verge of passing out. Heavily wounded, he remained stunned, unable to comprehend what had happened.
The audience fell into silence. They can hardly believe their eyes. Lou Cheng's last two punches were so terrifying that it made him look like a beast in human form.
The external force in Gusai was scattered by force before it was retracted. Lou Cheng only snapped out of it when he saw his opponent helplessly fall to the ground. Only then he realized what he saw were all illusions, illusions that ﬂooded him with pain just from thinking about.
Was my uncertainty and fear about my long distance relationships ampliﬁed?
Though the scenes he experienced were ﬁctional, some parts of it did make sense and he took something out of it; to never make such mistakes and live a life of regret "again"!
The referee drew a difﬁcult breath as though holding something down. He raised his right hand.
"Lou Cheng wins!" he rasped.
Shaking his head, Lou Cheng bowed, swung around and walked down the arena. He cursed Peng Leyun and Ann Chaoyun in his heart as he felt the weakness from manipulating the strength of the Jindan. These two unreliable bastards! Telling me Gusai's 6 Paths of Reincarnation Punch were nothing, and that it could be withstood with preparations...
What lies! The Path of Life straight up got him so good that he almost lost!
Right before he stepped on the stone stairs, behind him, the referee Wu Sheng opened his mouth and let out a mouthful of blood, splattering onto the gouges in the ﬂoor.
Wait, what? Why did the referee vomit blood? The audience exchanged looks of confusion, unsure of what to make out of it.
What made him vomit blood?
Chapter 494: Oh My Lou Cheng
Spitting out a mouth of blood after he was no longer able to hold it in, Wu Cheng's, face had changed instantly. Beads of perspiration were almost dripping down from his face.
Having such an abnormal reaction, he could already imagine the astonishment, the conjectures and the accusations of others on him!
What was originally perfectly hidden was exposed right in the face of all the audience!
His reputation would no doubt dive off of a cliff!
Gusai's eyes were lost, reﬂecting the pool of red that was thrown out from the referee's mouth. He felt as though he was possessed by a demon previously that made him took part in such a force!
What was more unacceptable was that he still lost. He had no excuse not to defend himself and no right to feel angry about it. At the last moments, Lou Cheng demonstrated strength that was more terrifying than what he usually did together with the "Fighting" Formula!
Haha. He suddenly felt like laughing. He wanted to laugh at the unfounded hopes, laugh at that desire, laugh at everything in the world and laugh at his greed.
"Not good! Has Gusai gone crazy?" Seeing the changes in the expression of that fat monk on the large screen, the audience in the stadium gradually understood what happened and revealed shocked looks. They suspected Gusai had gone mad from the beating from Lou Cheng and that he had completely collapsed afterwards.
Wahku raised his eyebrows and was in the ring in just a few strides. Clenching his right hand, he hit Gusai, who was not putting up any defence and panting profusely while laughing, in the back of his head. Gusai was knocked unconscious and was dragged and carried to the emergency treatment room.
From the looks of it, he didn't understand the illusions around him, thus giving rise to his disgust for the world. He seemed more like he had taken the extreme path and was blinded by the "sky devil". He had to be stopped immediately or he might really become crazy!
Seeing people walking past him combined with the things that had happened, the face of the guide of the Shengxiang representative team gradually turned pale as though he had contracted some severe illness or suffered grave injuries.
With things developed till this stage, he could already foresee his own outcome, the punishment he would receive, and the tragic events that would be happening to him.
You can't even win against Lou Cheng with the help of the referee. Gusai, you are useless, useless!
It's okay if you are useless. You even implicated me!
... "What has happened?" In the live thread, "Eternal Nightfall" Yan Xiaoling asked with [Picking Petals from Flowers expression].
"I didn't watch a lot of matches so please don't lie to me.
Since when does the referee get injured too?"
"I suspect I have watched a rigged match...""Unparalleled Dragon King" gave the same response.
"Pig-Riding Knight" wiped his cold sweat and said, "Yeah. Although the battle between inhuman stage experts couldn't be compared with matches between physical invulnerability stage experts, referees might occasionally suffer a certain level of side effects from trying to stop lethal strikes of both parties. It shouldn't reach the point where the referee would throw up blood! What the hell is going on?"
As the saying went, if abnormalities were common, there must be something wrong in it! For competitions between inhumans, since the control of both parties had reached a new level, only those who were near the level of Physical Invulnerability Stage would require senior experts to be referees. Under normal circumstances, a battle between ﬁve pins would just need a four pin. For matches between four pins, someone at the same level would do. After all, physical invulnerability experts were all ﬁgures of an area and wouldn't become a referee casually.
"This is still the ﬁrst time that I've seen someone injuring his opponent together with the referee. He's indeed a monster beast that came from M78 galaxy!""Road to the Arena" [laughed till tears expression].
"Invincible Punch" [Held His Chin With His Hands expression] and said, "Could it be that the referee had some injuries before the match? Subsequently, he was affected by the stacking of the shockwave caused by "Emperor Yan Force" and the ﬂames, caused him to not be able to suppress his injuries further?"
"How could it be? It isn't that they couldn't ﬁnd another referee? If he was injured, they just have to ﬁnd someone to replace him.," retorted "A Plumber Eating Mushroom". "With the micro-control an inhuman had over his own body, how would he not have known if he was injured and how serious his injuries were?"
"There must be some dirty transactions in it!""Okamoto's Fan" used the expression of Beethoven to show his expression.
At this moment, "Unparalleled Dragon King" who had been silent for a while, commented, "I just went to check on the information on the referee and discovered that his supernatural ability was very interesting. Translating will give "Resonance". Whenever his opponents collide with him, they will also suffer the same feelings he felt. In other words, his opponent would take a certain percentage of recoil."
"Eh, that sounds a little ﬁshy... Since "Resonance" can transmit blows and damages, can it also transmit positive effects? For example, an increment in power and mental strength?" guessed "Pig-Rider Knight".
"You found the right train of thoughts! [Detective Conan Pointing Ahead expression]" replied "Unparalleled Dragon King". "That is also what I thought. The referee was helping Gusai with "Resonance", hoping that Gusai could achieve the third position. In the end, who would have expected Lou Cheng to completely erupt and injure Gusai? At that moment, his "Resonance" wasn't cut off in time. As a result, he suffered the damages of the after effects. There's no way why he would suddenly throw out blood for no good reason!"
"Ya, ya, ya. That's so dirty!""Brahman" scored perfect in reading comprehension.
"Aren't the people of Shengxiang too shameless? Disregarding the rigged lots drawing, they even bribed the referee to help!" Facing such an unfair incident, "Above The Sky" said with indignation.
"Scheming! They knew that Lou Cheng has the supernatural ability to reﬂect curses and therefore couldn't deal with him directly and found a referee that could help Gusai instead. If they won, they just have to claim that Theravada has a unique skill of achieving an explosion in mental strength. One wouldn't be able to tell at all just from the video. Lou Cheng would also not suspect it. No one would have really known! [Fist Hitting Table expression]" said "A Plumber Eating Mushroom". "I have seen shameless people but have never seen anyone this shameless!"
"The trend in Nanyang had always been very dirty..."
"I believed that the forum in Japan must have the same conjecture, claiming that Shengxiang, Miluo and Nanzheng are all cheating in the lots. With the precedent of bribing referees, together with their ruthless personalities and dark skin, they would not entertain them anymore in the future."
"Haha, Lou Cheng won despite going against the two of them. He even made the referee throw up blood and exposed this incident. That feels so great, so great! I'll like to see how Shengxiang will deal with the international critiques?"
"What's there for them to be afraid of? No one respects them, what are they afraid of?"
"We still win despite all this, great!" ...
Ridicule, indignation and emotional comments popped out like ﬂowers blooming after the rain, making the live thread very lively. However since Lou Cheng clinched the victory "against two of them", severely injuring his opponent and the referee and ﬁnally revealed this incident to the eyes of the audience, everyone wasn't feeling as bottled up and angry about the incident.
"I ﬁnally understand what you guys are talking about... So infuriating! I want to complain, go on protest!" Yan Xiaoling ﬁnally became clear of what had happened after staying behind reading for a long time. "Besides, besides, besides, my muse is really cool!"
"Eh, Lou Cheng has been promoted to your muse? Indeed, not everyone could win when ﬁghting against two at the same time! Over the past ten years, he is the ﬁrst person that made the referee throw up blood!""Unparalleled Dragon King heaved a sigh before continuing, "I believe it will be pointless even if you go on protest. Shengxiang will deﬁnitely not admit to it. Let's just wait and see how they will explain this, how strange their explanation will be!" "I guess they couldn't just claim that the referee was injured by Lou Cheng's fart?""Okamato's Fan" replied with the always suitable [Joking expression].
Everyone had their views and Lou Cheng was blurred by what had gone on behind him. He had fought so many matches, watched so many battle videos and yet he had never seen the referee throwing up blood. Who would have expected he would be part of one such ﬁght today.
Strange... He frowned slightly and thought about it while walking back to the spectator stand.
"Awesome huh, you even won against "two"!" Peng Leyun extended his ﬁst and ﬁst bumped with him.
One against "two". It was until now that Lou Cheng suddenly understood. "The referee was helping Gusai in the dark? No wonder his "Six Paths of Reincarnation Punch" suddenly got so formidable!"
I apologise, "Priest" and "Hipster" aren't unreliable... "'Six Paths of Reincarnation Punch' suddenly got strong? That referee deﬁnitely was helping!" said Ann Chaoyang as he felt he completed the whole train of evidence.
"Let's go surround them. Yeah, surround that referee and ask for an explanation!" Light shimmered in the eyes of Ren Li as she was anxious to try it out.
"You guys don't create a fuss out of this matter. I will protest to the ofﬁcials and ask our ambassadors to represent us!" Zhong Ningtao immediately tried to calm down the "Heavenly Sons of the Era". If they were to really go berserk, they were just like a moving ammunition depot.
Moreover Lou Cheng even won. At this moment, there wasn't much anger in their heart. Instead, they felt great about it.
Who asked you guys to scheme against me? Look! See what kind of troubles you got yourself into! To go for wool and come home shorn! Gusai, so what if there are people helping you. Didn't I win too? Moreover, I was just dragging it most of the time!
He felt angry but it was hilarious at the same time. Shaking his head, he said,
"Guide, I'll leave this to you. I want to see what reasons Shengxiang will give."
What he was more worried and afraid of now was what he experienced in the "Rotations of Life". He couldn't wait and quickly got his phone back from Ann Chaoyang and unlocked it.
Yan Zheke had already sent him a [Dog with Dumbfounded Face expression].
"Cheng, what happened in the end? Why do I not understand it?... You've crushed Gusai with just two punches... and the referee even threw up blood..." "The referee might have been helping Gusai in the dark and therefore probably suffered the after effects." Lou Cheng quickly glossed over this incident and started talking about what he experienced in that "instance of ten years". After completing his words, he still felt a little weary and said, "Looking back now, I'm still afraid of that type of regret..."
Is a form of unexplainable heartache.
Yan Zheke was looking seriously but broke into a laugh. She was laughing at the fear of stupid Cheng and chided,
"[Knock Your Head expression] Are you silly? How could we just end without a cause? At that stage, we will at least need to complete the paperwork for divorce! As long as we meet up, we will deﬁnitely not bear to part and will reconcile!"
Lou Cheng was instantly stunned and replied with a blushed face,
"Yeah, I had forgotten about this at that moment..." We have collected our marriage certiﬁcate...
"Dumb!" Yan Zheke laughed while scolding. Typing quickly, she continued, "However, it's a good thing that you have such experience. You got to conclude what you felt seriously and write a reﬂection, marking out clearly things and attitudes to be avoided!"
"Yeah! [Nodding Head Violently expression]" replied Lou Cheng.
"You got to really write out a conclusion and send it to me. I will supervise you based on the terms! [Run Fingers Through Hair expression]" replied Yan Zheke.
Yeah, I will also revisit this "conclusion", remind myself at all times what to avoid and not to forget what I felt initially...
... Due to the uproar of critiques and the pressure from the Chinese Embassy, the organising committee gave an unusual notice ten minutes before the ﬁnals and made the explanation:
"Miluo's referee, Wu Cheng, had old injuries with him. Due to the effects of the explosion caused by Lou Cheng and the blow from the wind of the punch, he threw up blood. There was no cheating involved."
Wu Cheng who was sitting in the resting room heard the explanation from the broadcast. He suddenly clenched his right ﬁst and crushed a metal ball.
He would rather the organizing committee penalise him for accepting briberies than accepting such an explanation.
As a senior expert, he was injured by the wind of the punch.
How was he going to command respect in the future?
What was the wind of the punch? That's the wind brought by the punch! If I could be injured by this, how am I supposed to raise my head in front of others in the future!
Accepting bribes would at most be a problem with his
character. However an explanation like this concerns his
"Haha, the wind of the punch!"
In the live thread and various other forums, they were all laughing at this explanation.
They were really shameless.
"Oh my Lou Cheng, injuring an inhuman with the Wind of his punch, killing Dan Stage with just a gaze!" Someone was promoting his poem online.
Chapter 495: The curtains fall
"The wind from my punch, the wind from my punch...the wind from my punch!" Lou Cheng almost pounded the wall in hysterical laughter when he heard the announcement. Thumbs up to the organizing committee's thick skin and feigned ignorance.
Well, the next time I bring out my name, I can add the slogan "Injures with a graze, kills with a blow, capable of beating an Inhuman from a mile away".
How grand, how powerful and how manly would that be?
After sharing it with Yan Zheke, he looked towards Peng Leyun, who just managed to stiﬂe his laughter.
"About time you head out, Priest. There's only a few minutes left."
Not more than four before the grand-ﬁnals began! "Okay," replied Peng Leyun, who had by then changed into his martial arts suit. He stood up slowly and walked towards the entrance of the changing room.
About two steps later, he stopped and turned back to look at Lou Cheng.
"What did you just call me?" he asked confusedly.
"Priest," Lou Cheng answered calmly, before he went on to explain with a smile. "Think about it. You are a disciple from the Shangqing Sect, and you always look like you are cultivating to be an Immortal when you are— intensively studying the profound mysteries of nature. Aren't you a priest then?"
"If you say so…" Without much objections to his new nickname, Peng Leyun pulled open the entrance door and walked out.
Ann Chaoyang ran up to Lou Cheng and stood side by side with him. "Don't tell me you spent all your free time thinking up nicknames for us during the past few days?" he asked with a glance.
"No, of course not," Lou Cheng laughed drily as he shook his head in rebuttal.
Do I look like someone with nothing better to do?
The only times I do it is when I shoot the breeze with Talker.
That bastard is the one that always prompts me to such talks!
"Okay, fess up. What nickname did you give me? I can accept it as long as it's not too weird," Ann Chaoyang pressed suspiciously.
"Hipster, someone who is avant-garde!" Lou Cheng replied speedily. Ann Chaoyang heaved a sigh of relief, then laughed. "That does suit me," he replied with a satisﬁed nod.
Seems like Lou Cheng acknowledges my reliability from the bottom of his heart!
The corners of Lou Cheng's mouth twitched. He thought it was better to not explain his deﬁnition of hipster— someone who lives in their own world, enjoys being melodramatic, and doesn't ﬁt well in society. The unreliable type.
"Speaking of which, what nickname do you have for Ren Li?" Ann Chaoyang asked curiously, glimpsing at Ren Li who had the guide's eyes cautiously ﬁxated on her.
Lou Cheng laughed and adamantly denied. "None. I'm serious!"
"You sure about that?" questioned Ann Chaoyang. "It's true!" Lou Cheng guaranteed solemnly.
With that, Ann Chaoyang let him off the hook and later went on to forget about it.
Lou Cheng heaved a sigh of relief, and wiped at his non- existent cold sweat.
He felt it disrespectful to give nicknames to girls, so he almost never did. But if Ren Li caught wind of what he and Xiao Ming had casually discussed on one occasion, she would be hunting him down through streets and alleys.
The conversation on that night went like this.
"Um, what's Ren Li like normally?" asked Cai Zongming. He had a natural curiosity towards pretty girls, but he always kept his distance and never get too close. "Extremely bad with directions, moderately bad at memorizing faces. Intrepid and conﬁdent. Likes to squabble with people online, and in real life too. Always enthusiastic when it comes to stirring up trouble…" enumerated Lou Cheng with copious frankness.
"Small framed, large eyes and likes to stir up trouble. Isn't that the description of a Chihuahua...?" Xiao Ming had a way of connecting things in his mind.
Lou Cheng paused brieﬂy and barely stiﬂed a laugh. He screenshotted it.
"Hey, how long do you think you can survive if I showed this to Ren Li? [doubles over snickering]"
"Not long if I was the only one bad-mouthing her…" replied Cai Zongming, dismissive.
Come! If I'm going down, so are you! "You forgot the difference between us. I can defend myself, but you can't! Ren Li knows curses by the way! [despicably laughing so hard that it makes one's body tremulous]" replied Lou Cheng. "Bow once, bow twice, bow thrice! Relatives of the victim, please give your respects."
"Please spare me! [kneeling down]" replied Cai Zongming, begging for mercy without a hint of shame.
After reminiscing, Lou Cheng decided to treat the matter as if it never happened. He looked sideways and smiled at Ren Li politely, then sat back on his spectator seat and watched as Peng Leyun ascended the stone steps.
Two minutes later, both sides had assumed their positions, about 40 feet away from each other. The referee began looking at the clock, waiting for it to reach the exact time.
"How do you think Priest will approach this ﬁght?
Picked up the nickname real fast didn't you, thought Lou Cheng. "Kaori Karasawa has her Earth Treasury Takedown, so using Flash Attack can easily put him at a disadvantage," Lou Cheng analyzed thoughtfully.
"If it was me, I would purposely wait for the opponent to make the ﬁrst move. With 30 plus feet in between, there's ample time to make critical evaluations and react accordingly!" suggested Ren Li, excitedly joining in their conversation.
Their conversation went on until the referee raised his right hand before swinging it down.
"Begin!" he yelled.
The last match for the competition this time had ofﬁcially began! The winner ascends to the throne, and the loser joins the ranks with the other losers! Kaori Karasawa leaned her body forward as soon as the referee enunciated the words. Pushing off with her left leg, she sprang forward into a position where she could attack Peng Leyun, so quickly that it made the 30 meters between them seem unreal.
Xinzhai Sect, Shukuchi Technique!
Pom! The air current ﬂed at the impact as Kaori Karasawa was about to withdrew her right ﬁst resting at the left side of her waist and deliver a diagonal slash.
The Unsheathing Technique seamlessly connected with the Shukuchi Technique, extraordinarily compact and perfect, as if it was all completed in one motion.
Unlike during her battle with Lou Cheng, Kaori Karasawa gave it her all right from the start of this match.
But before she could swing out her right arm, a palm enwreathed in silver sparks had pressed down on the back of her hand, pushing her glinting "katana" back into its "sheath"! As predicted by his little companions in the unreliable godly squad, Peng Leyun had waited before making his move. Springing towards Kaori Karasawa, he closed the distance to her and pressed his palm down, impeccably disrupting her Unsheathing Technique!
In the zapping electricity, he turned his waist and slammed his left elbow towards his enemy. Kaori Karasawa was forced to jerk her right half backwards, her body turning sideways.
While dodging, she unsheathed again, her left ﬁst swiping upwards with a bam, leaving a shimmering white trail behind!
In that short time, the two had checked blow after blow colliding at an unceasing frequency. Everything used by them was used at its maximum potential— close quarter combat, Chin Na kungfu and joint techniques. At times, ﬁerce clangor of the battle resounded, and at other times they wrapped around each other in terrifying silence.
It was an eye opener for Lou Cheng and the rest, and as they watched, they reﬂected on themselves and looked for their own imperfections. Hmm, Priest's approach at the start of the match matches what we had in mind, which means that he isn't overly conﬁdent…
Finally, excluding the match against Ren Li, he's actually not playing around!
During the best part of the ﬁght, Peng Leyun ﬁnally heard the indistinct snap he had been waiting for since the start of the ﬁght.
A sonorous sound that made his heart tremble!
Good timing, Peng Leyun yelled silently. He clapped his hands together and produced a loud thunder right before Kaori Karasawa extended her just retracted arms.
Boom! The deafening roar of thunder shook Kaori Karasawa. A loud buzz reverberated in her head, slowing down the movements of her hand and nearly scattering the charged up force of Flying Dragon Takedown.
Capitalizing on the lag in her movements, Peng Leyun pulled his palms apart, producing a thin, glimmering blade of electricity.
At that point, even if the Flying Dragon Takedown was released, it couldn't reach in time!
Fast as it was, how can it possibly exceed the speed of lightning?
Lightning ﬂashed, and the blade found its mark, leaving a black-burnt trail on Kaori Karasawa. It left her muscles tremulous and dissipated every ounce of her charged up energy.
Snap! Peng Leyun pushed off with his feet and rushed forward. Visualizing a jade amulet, he dealt a Thunder Seal punch!
Kaori Karasawa, not severely paralyzed, managed to snap out of it in time. A white glow seeped out of her body as her clothes swelled outwards. Her right arm slashed out in a horizontal line, perilously landing on her opponent's ﬁst.
Her hair turned slightly permed, and her arms were wrapped in electricity, giving off a burnt smell and a faint trail of smoke. But her attack also left Peng Leyun wobbling and instinctively shaking his stinging right hand.
Thump, thump, thump! Kaori Karasawa backed off on her own, stretching their distance to buy time for reducing her paralysis with generated Qi.
When Peng Leyun pounced at her again without much ado, she arched her body slightly. There was another indistinct snap, but much faster and briefer than the previous, not giving her opponent any chances of using Thunder from a Clear Sky. Xinzhai Sect, Flying Bird Takedown!
Boom! In the blast, Kaori Karasawa slashed at her enemy with the back of her left arm, leaving afterimages behind.
At such a critical moment, she couldn't care less about the fact that the battle had only been in progress for two to three minutes!
Peng Leyun lowered his waist to stop in his tracks before violently jerking backwards, changing the direction of his punch as though he was prying a huge rock. His ﬁst ﬂicked upwards, accurately disrupting the glow from Kaori Karasawa's "blade" and catching her in the arm, fending off her counterattack.
But Kaori Karasawa's right hand had already formed a blade. She dealt slash after slash that was equally fast and vicious, as though she wanted to end things right there.
Suddenly, Peng Leyun's body emitted noises reminiscent of a madly turning turbo, one after the other, as though his power was accumulating.
A strong repulsion was produced between him and Kaori Karasawa, repelling and slowing down her attack!
Peng Leyun's punch shot out and landed right on the edge of the "blade". With the repulsion and rebound, he leapt backwards, putting some distance between them and forcing Kaori Karasawa's Triple Aerial Ace to end prematurely!
No matter how fast it was, a blade is useless if it cannot ﬁnd its mark!
However, Kaori Karasawa also took the chance to put herself in a much better position than the perilous spot she was previously in. The ﬁerce battle began again, and she grew more cautious knowing that Peng Leyun had probably learnt the secret of Flying Dragon Takedown from Lou Cheng. Carelessly using her ultimate move could end up giving more openings to her opponent, and she will have to go on the defensive again.
Without the intimidation of Flying Dragon Takedown and her weapons, Kaori Karasawa gradually became disadvantaged in the close quarter combat. She also had to use a good amount of her Qi to deal with the accumulating effects of paralysis. If not for her Aerial Ace that could push Peng Leyun back and the threat of Flying Dragon Takedown, she might have already lost.
After a few more minutes, Kaori Karasawa knew she couldn't let things go on. An idea passed through her mind.
That was when Peng Leyun heard the indistinct but sonorous snap once again.
Without hesitation, he clapped his palms together again and casted Thunder from a Clear Sky once again. Amidst the blast, the look in Kaori Karasawa's eyes did not waver, as though she was waiting for it. Taking a step forward, she deftly dodged sideways, in an attempt to let the Cloudless Thunder Blades miss its target.
Making the preparation for Flying Dragon Takedown was a deceptive move from her to bait Peng Leyun to strike ﬁrst! And now she can look for the ﬂeeting opportunity to use her ultimate move that will tear her enemy apart!
The snap came again, but the look in Kaori Karasawa's eyes changed when she saw Peng Leyun's palms still glued together.
He looked like he was having a hard time maintaining the stance, with perspiration beading on his forehead.
Cloudless Thunder Blades can be released after a delay!
Knowing that Kaori Karasawa wouldn't carelessly use her Flying Dragon Takedown, how could Peng Leyun not have any defensive measures? Bam! A silver spark ﬂicked past, landing on Kaori Karasawa. The strike resonated with all the paralyzing effects in her body, causing her to tremble ceaselessly. It was no longer possible for her to cast Flying Dragon Takedown or Flying Bird Takedown.
Stepping forward, Peng Leyun lashed out with his Machine Fist in a series of thuds. Retracting and releasing his Qi and blood, pulling and tensing his fascias, he delivered a ﬂurry of attacks that seemingly left afterimages.
With the lingering paralysis effects, Kaori Karasawa managed to block a few more moves before she was completely unable to keep up. She stared helplessly at her opponent's ﬁsts, stopping before her as the referee announced the result.
"Peng Leyun wins!"
Whew… Peng Leyun heaved a sigh of relief, but at the same time felt slightly disappointed.
Sigh, I didn't get to personally experience Flying Dragon Takedown. But then again, had Lou Cheng not warned him about the sign, the match would have been extremely hard. In fact, he could have very possibly been the one to lose.
Chapter 496: Gone Up
"Peng Leyun wins!"
With the announcement of the referee, the four countries' King Of Youth Pro League tournament had completely ended. Only the cheers from the crowd were still reverberating throughout the stadium, making the end of this journey even more pleasant to the ears.
Kaori Karasawa circulated her "Qi" throughout her body as she glowed in a layer of faint light. Carrying her still shivering muscles, she walked slowly down the ring. Her back view was slim and elegant, but appeared to be a little lonely.
In this match, she was in a passive position throughout. Although she fought intensely for a long time, she still didn't prove very much of a threat to Peng Leyun. What she had been relying on for a long time, the "Flying Dragon Takedown", had become her weakness. Until the very end, her enemy was making use of her and targeting her. This was one of the main reasons for her defeat today. As this thought struck her, Kaori Karasawa recalled the match between Peng Leyun and Ren Li. Throughout the ﬁrst half of the match, they didn't attempt an absolute killer move. It wasn't that they couldn't do so but they were wary of attempting it too casually. This was because once they were
disturbed while trying to gather momentum, or if their absolute killer move failed to hit the opponent, they would likely expose an opening, giving the opponent a great opportunity.
"Am I too reliant on "Flying Dragon Takedown"?" This thought ﬂashed through her mind as she looked at the group of members of Japan's representative group, who were dead silent.
Since she had mastered "Flying Dragon Takedown", no matter who she encountered, her opponent would always be wary and try to avoid it. Never did she ever expected to be defeated by something more profound.
No matter how strong it is, it should still only be used at the most appropriate moment... the most appropriate moment... thought Kaori Karasawa. She started to reﬂect on herself about various things in the past and concluding her experiences and lessons learned.
Peng-Leyun, I will try my best to catch up to you!
I'll look forward to battling against you soon. The next time, I'll deﬁnitely be bringing my "Fugumaru" along!
After a series of congratulatory messages and the prize presentation ceremony, Lou Cheng, Peng Leyun and others returned to the hotel.
At the lobby, Guide Zhang Ningtao clapped his hands and said with a face full of smiles,
"Congratulations to everyone for exceeding expectations for this mission. For the prize money, we will be consolidating and handling it together. It will be transferred to your account within ﬁve working days. Have a good rest tonight. The ﬂight will be at ﬁve o'clock in the evening. Do you all want to roam around Fuluo or head straight for the duty free shop in the airport?"
"I'm okay with both" Ann Chaoyang answered nonchalantly.
Peng Leyun was acting exactly the same.
Ren Li sank into deep thoughts and seemed to be in a dilemma. Lou Cheng took a peek at his phone and suggested, "Let's walk around Fuluo. Some of the stuff cannot be found in duty free shops."
Thanks to the reminder of Coach Yan, he ﬁnally recalled that he had to get some gifts for his parents as he was overseas. After an "intense" debate, the list of items had been written out. She even looked through the reviews to ﬁnd out where would be the best place to get the items.
Naturally, he had to get a gift for his wife too! "Alright, let's walk around Fuluo then. We will have some time to go to the duty free shops when we arrive at the airport anyway." Zhang Ningtao quickly made the decision without seeking further comments.
Not mentioning the shopping, the few of them successfully got on the plane on time and reach the seas of China at night.
Just before they bade goodbye, Lou Cheng saw Ren Li contacting her pickup employee with WeChat. He suddenly asked curiously,
"Priest, Hipster. You guys should have given me a nickname right? What is it?"
Typically speaking, nicknames were reciprocal. There were no reasons only he could give others a nickname!
After hearing the question, Peng Leyun, Ann Chaoyang and Ren Li took a glance at one another and shook their head in unison. "Don't have one!"
"Really?" asked Lou Cheng suspiciously.
"Really!" The three of them all nodded their head with force at the same time.
Alright, you guys are all obedient kids... Lou Cheng took a look at the time, bade farewell to his unreliable teammates and left the airport. He was heading towards a ﬁve-star hotel by Ice God Sect in China.
After completing his training on the second day, he boarded the high-speed train to pay a visit to his master. After getting some guidance, he took a plane in the afternoon and ﬂew straight to the Xing Province.
After a long journey, he was ﬁnally standing at the door of his house. It was already slightly past seven at night. "Eh, where are my parents?" When Lou Cheng entered the house, he only saw his cousin, Qi Yunfei.
She had remedial lessons during the summer break and would be staying here before the school reopened. In other words, he got to sleep on the sofa for several days again!
As for Chen Xiaoxiao, she had ofﬁcially entered the third year of high school and wasn't here with her sister to cause a mess.
Qi Yunfei was resting her head on her palms which was placed on top of the sofa. She smiled and answered, "They were talking about something happening in one of the small areas and they are heading there to help. They also asked you to eat ﬁrst. The dishes haven't gone cold yet. Also, also, I brought you fried dumplings, a huge bag of them!"
"Hehe. So you still remember you have a brother." Lou Cheng put down his bag and sat to the side of the dining table. He opened the wrappings and a strong salivating scent rushed towards him. Different from other places, there were only two ways of eating dumplings in Xiushan. One of them was steam and the other was frying them. The former could bring out the original scent of ﬂour very well and was more tender. As for the latter, it would be putting dumplings into oil and fry them till they
were golden-yellow. Different from grilled dumplings, the fried dumplings were so delicious that made it hard for one to stop eating.
Qi Yunfei left the soft and sat opposite to Lou Cheng. With one hand supporting her cheek, she stared at Lou Cheng who was eating one after another fried dumpling. In less than ﬁve minutes, a total of forty fried dumplings had vanished.
Moreover, he wasn't satisﬁed yet. He stood up and went to get a bowl. Filling it to the brim, he started sweeping dishes of delicious food in front of him.
"Brother Lou Cheng, you can really eat..." Qi Yunfei said with a stunned look.
As compared to when I last saw you, you have become an even bigger eater! Lou Cheng placed his chopsticks neatly, clenched his right hand, waved it and said, "Where do you think my strength to beat up people comes from?"
Speaking of this, Qi Yunfei's eyes immediately lit up. She opened her mouth and said rather emotionally,
"Brother Lou Cheng, you are different from the past. Last time, you would always take off your top during the summer!"
"Of course? I have the supernatural ability of Ice Frost. Should I be afraid of the heat?" Lou Cheng laughed and reply. "Moreover I'm older and know more about decorum now... You look like you are very disappointed?"
"Yeah, yeah!" Qi Yunfei nodded her head without trying to hide at all. "I was still thinking of taking a few photos of you secretly when you are topless. By then, all the girls in my class would all be so impressed by me!"
She was smiling ludicrously and was immersed in her imagination. Her cousin's ﬁgures could make many girls drool and the number of people admiring him at her level was super huge!
Lou Cheng's mouth twitched a little. He switched the topic and said with a face full of smiles,
"Fei Fei, how are your results for the end of semester examinations?"
"Twenty-something in the class. Hmph. About thirty- something in the class."
What are the subjects that you didn't do well? I remember you are always extremely afraid of mathematics and physics." Lou Cheng maintained his smile and continued asking further.
"Mathematics, I failed in Mathematics. Aiya. Brother Lou Cheng, why are you asking about these?" Qi Yunfei was getting uneasy from these questions. As a student who didn't have good results, she hated such conversation topics.
"I'm caring for you! I'm your brother!" Lou Cheng answered with a serious look. "How many marks did you get for Mathematics? What about Physics? Chemistry? Have you completed your summer homework?"
Qi Yunfei laughed embarrassingly, stood up suddenly, rushed towards the bedroom while answering in a soft tone,
"Brother Lou Cheng, I just remembered that I have something to do. We can talk later!"
Clang! She had closed the door and was stomping the ﬂoor angrily.
Brother Lou Cheng was too much. Why can't he just have a normal conversation! Lou Cheng picked up his chopsticks satisfactorily and continued his previous actions of sweeping the delicacies in front of him.
Haha. Still thinking of taking pictures of me secretly? Don't you know that I'm a conversation stopper?
After he was full and had enough to drink, he took a photo of the sofa, sent it to Yan Zheke and was "complaining in tears" about having to sleep in the living room for a few days. After some time, Lou Zhisheng and Qi Fang ﬁnally came back.
"It's the Ding Family. His son got into a car accident and his family is in a mess now," Qi Fang sighed. "He's just slightly over thirty. How can he just be gone like this? This is..."
"Sigh." Lou Zhisheng heaved a sigh and continued emotionally, "Life is unpredictable. Cheng, you have to be careful when crossing the road in the future. Don't always look down and play on your phone." Car accident? Even if it is a ten-wheels truck, I might not even suffer any injuries... Lou Sheng thought to himself. In his mind, the image of the son of the Ding Family ﬂashed past.
He was ten years older than Wang Xu and loved novels a lot. When he was poor during high school, he would borrow some books from him from time to time to read. He had not married all along and just had a successful matchmaking. Who knew that all of this would be gone just like that.
Life was really fragile...
I have to enjoy myself to the fullest…...
Although he was emotional for a while, such emotions quickly dissipated as he was an outsider after all. Lou Cheng changed the topic and started chatting with his parents about his ﬁrst experience going overseas. He also passed them their gifts and had not forgotten about Qi Yunfei's share.
He slept and woke up on the dot. After training, he felt that his morphing would be completed soon. It should be within the next day or two!
After eating his breakfast, Lou Cheng hailed a car and headed to the Yingjin Building of the Pingle District.
He had made an appointment to meet Wu Qinggui and had conﬁrmed the terms of the contract relating to the bonus -- Clinching the National Championship, placed third in the Four Nation Competition and entering the inhuman stage should all have their respective awards.
This time, Wu Qinggui came directly to the doors of the building to welcome him. With a radiant smile on his face, he asked,
"You don't seem to be too fond of shopping right?"
I'll still shop when I'm accompanying my wife... Lou Cheng shook his head with a smile and answered, "Rarely. I do internet shopping most of the time." "There's no wonder that you have not seen the few new direct selling shops that we have opened. Several models of martial arts shoes that we have designed speciﬁcally for you are all selling very well. This has helped us open up the market in the district. You might not know about this. In this district,
no, not just this district, you are really famous and popular! It is especially so with the teenagers. Every single one of them requested to have the Lou Cheng's model of martial arts shoes! They are even snatching up the publicity wallpapers of you that we have printed.
"Is it that far fetched?" Lou Cheng asked.
Wu Qinggui smiled and answered, "It's more far fetched than what you can imagine. This is also mainly because you do not have many commercial activities and all their passions are accumulated in this."
As they spoke, they entered the ofﬁce of Wu Qinggui. After the door was closed, a skinny but brilliant middle-aged man took out a check and pushed it towards Lou Cheng. This was the ﬁrst time Lou Cheng saw a check. After taking a peak and counting the number of zeros, he asked surprisingly,
This was substantially higher than the amount stated in the terms of the contract!
"You deserve it." Wu Qinggui was smiling radiantly with an "I don't want to follow the contract" look.
Chapter 497: New semester
"This amount of compensation is perfectly reasonable for all the beneﬁts you have brought to our company. If you are unsure, or worry about any future complications, we can sign an additional agreement. Frankly speaking, with your ability and stature, wouldn't I be asking for trouble if I were to scam you?" Wu Qinggui quickly added when he saw Lou Cheng's hesitation.
Reminiscing, he went on.
"Back when we signed the contract at the start of the year, I could already see the rising star in you. But who knew that in a short span of half a year you would reach the Inhuman stage, clinch the Inter-university Martial Arts Nationals, and even make leaps and bounds with the growth in your fans on Weibo and the follows on your forum…"
It felt all too unrealistic and dreamy even to a 40-something man like him. The contract he made him sign at that time was way too worth it!
"I'm ﬂattered," replied Lou Cheng modestly.
Ever since he entered the Inter-university Martial Arts Nationals as a ﬁnalist, the amount of fans on his Weibo had been increasing rapidly, and the rise was even more ridiculous when he emerged as champion. When the King of Youth Pro League rose in popularity, his fan count began climbing steadily again. Last night when he checked, it was around 300K. Excluding the ones that came for drama and the ones that were brought in by his Martial sister and the likes of Mo Jingting, the total amount was still impressive. After all, they were all genuine fans— he never bought any.
His forum had also shifted from a state of desertion to an active hub with a follow count of 40K.
It was hard to believe how much it had grown when looking back at the Feb-Mar period of the previous year, when the forum was entirely supported by Yan Xiaoling and Brahman. At that time, even he himself would never have thought of where he would be in a short span of nine to ten months!
But at his current stage, the fan count didn't matter much to him since ability meant more. At times, the Dragon King and Warrior Sage never updated their status or interacted with their fans for months, yet their Jianghu status and hidden authority never dwindled.
Thoughts racing, Lou Cheng had Wu Qinggui draft out a simple version of the additional agreement for insurance. After running it by Senior Sister Shi Yue through a photo-attached text, he briskly signed the contract and pocketed the check.
He chose not to enquire on how to cash the check, for it would make him look like a country bumpkin.
I might not know it, but that doesn't mean my wife doesn't know about it, and I can always search for it online!
As if they planned it beforehand, the two never brought up the topic of contract extension. After all, there was another one year and 4 months before the current one expired, and no one knew what Lou Cheng could achieve or how much his net worth would be by then. There wasn't a right amount to offer, and he will be suspected of trying to bind the other party. Therefore, he might as well build up their relationship and bring up the topic when the contract nears its end. If he made a competitive offer, then Lou Cheng would deﬁnitely be more
willing to work with someone he had worked with before.
Gathering from what he saw and heard, he could primarily evaluate Lou Cheng as a person who honored friendship.
By the time they signed the contract and took the promotional picture, it was already nearing noon.
"Let's have lunch together, I'll invite Chairman Wei to come along. Oh, and Wu Ting too. That girl's always going on and on about how she wants to see Sir Lou," suggested Wu Qinggui with an affable smile after glancing at his watch.
"Sure," Lou Cheng readily agreed. Frankly, he disliked socializing, but since they were in a business partnership, with personal ties no less, it wouldn't be too awkward or boring to dine together.
More importantly, Mom went to help out at the Ding household and asked him to settle his own lunch. What matters is where he eats...
When they were in the lift to the underground carpark, Lou Cheng's phone rang. It was from director Xing Chengwu.
"Hello. Are you back in Xiushan yet, Little Lou?" guffawed Xing Chengwu. "If you are free, drop by my house anytime these days for a meal. We haven't gotten to celebrate you placing third at the King of Youth Pro League."
"Haha, of course. Actually, I was going to visit even if you didn't bring it up, Uncle Xing," replied Lou Cheng.
Uncle Xing? Wu Qinggui chewed over the words. Suddenly, the wires connected in his head and he remembered why the voice from the phone came across him as familiar. He lowered his voice. "Director Xing?"
Lou Cheng, still on the phone, nodded afﬁrmatively .
"Why not ask him to come along? He's old buddies with Chairman Wei," suggested Wu Qinggui with a wider smile.
The police department's vice director who held real authority was someone he would love to have a connection with. It could solve a lot of problems if he ran into any trouble!
"Let me check with him…" answered Lou Cheng in a hushed voice, running the suggestion by Xing Chengwu.
"Sure, just as I was stressing over the horrible canteen food. Haha, Old Wei and I always talk about you," laughed Xing Chengwu.
Of course, he knew of the connection between Lou Cheng and Wei Renjie. After about twenty minutes, they congregated at the Leshui Villa. Xing Chengwu patted a hand on Lou Cheng's shoulder the moment he saw him.
"Little Lou, I haven't known you for more than two years have I? To think I'm not even your level now… Sigh, I'm mostly working on text documents these days, heh, and all that socializing too. The times when I can engage in actual combat is less than three times a year. And can you imagine how cautious my underlings are when I spar against them? Boring, too boring," he mused, half plaintive and half reminiscing. "Now my moves have gotten rusty. The only thing that remained half decent is my Gold and Jade-like Fortiﬁcation. Not as if there's much hope for any further advancements…"
That's where a life of decadence gets you, Lou Cheng concluded in his heart. Switching gears, he asked, "I heard Sister Jingjing is heading to Huahai in the middle of this month?"
That was something he heard from Ke. "She is. Now that Ann Chaoyang had graduated, Huahai is probably going downhill for a while. That girl, heh. Quoting those TV dramas, she's the kind that's tough on the outside but soft on the inside. She has been working hard on her martial arts, trying to help support the martial arts club, and for that she's speciﬁcally going to Huahai to ﬁnd connections that could
help her improve her supernatural abilities," replied Xing
Chengwu, pleased at the fact that Lou Cheng addressed her so familiarly. "But looking at your improvement now, she probably did something unnecessary."
After shooting the breeze for a while, Wu Qinggui fetched his daughter, Wu Ting, who soon became the life of the gathering with her perpetual chants of "Sir Lou".
For the ﬁrst time, Lou Cheng learned that she was classmates in the same grade with his cousin, Qi Yunfei.
They used to be acquaintances, but after discovering their mutual ties with Lou Cheng, they became besties in the blink of an eye. Needless to say, the assembly of two troublemakers did a fair share of damage. Wu Ting even confessed that she tried to talk Qi Feiyun into letting her go over in the name of giving swimming classes; her actual intentions were to admire the abs of the mighty ones. A pity she got cruelly rejected back in early July.
Nothing important was discussed over the meal, and it merely served to deepen their relationship. In the following two days, Lou Cheng visited his grandparents, then his other grandparents and sister-in-law at Ningshui, followed by his father-in-law who was alone at home, where he delivered the Ye Wei he had promised before.
The somewhat busy days ended quickly, and on the noon of August 31st, Lou Cheng packed his belongings and left for Songcheng by high-speed rail.
Though he had only left his campus for two months, it felt like an entire year to him.
Ah, the joys and sorrows that come with goodbyes and reunions.
... He hadn't seen any of those in such a long time— Songcheng University, Weishui Lake, the Martial Arts Club, the resplendent campus buildings. One by one they entered Lou Cheng's eyes through the window of the bus all but the slender and beautiful silhouette.
He silently watched them ﬂy past. Stepping off the shuttle bus, he walked in solitude, along the pedestrian path, past the road lined with shops he could name with his eyes closed. Yet he felt his mood starkly shift from before.
Block 7, Unit 2, hostel room 302. Darkness hastily retreated as he ﬂicked on the light of the living room.
He laid his backpack in the bedroom, now absent of the swots he used to live with. Then he knocked on the next door.
"Who's there?" came Cai Zongming's somewhat sonorous voice.
Without answering, Lou Cheng twisted the door knob and stepped into the room. He caught the bummer multitasking— entertainment programs running on his computer, a phone in his palms on which he was at a crucial part of his game, his mouth moving towards the Coke sitting on the right side of the desk before his teeth sunk into the straw.
"Hey, enjoying life?" laughed Lou Cheng. "Get up, let's go grab a bite."
"Pfft!" Cai Zongming spat out a mouthful of Coke that showered the monitor screen.
Forgetting about his game, he raised his head.
"You, inviting me to eat together? What about your wife?" he exclaimed.
Ever since Cheng got into a relationship with Yan Zheke, the bastard almost never invited me to the canteen anymore!
The pigs must be ﬂying today! Did he turn into a new man after going to Shengxiang?
"The co-cultivation plan was brought ahead by a year, so she already went to America," Lou Cheng replied honestly.
Since Talker never asked, he never mentioned it.
It took a while for Cai Zongming to catch on. When he did, he laid his phone down and patted Lou Cheng's shoulders.
"Now you can ﬁnally understand my pain! So, you need any advice from me? One of us is a lot more experienced when it comes to long distance relationships, and I suppose I don't need to tell you who it is," he said in a half-sincere and half- jesting tone.
Lou Cheng sniggered and whipped out his phone, displaying the information of the pre-ordered ﬂight ticket on its screen. "Shit…" gasped Cai Zongming, before making a contemptful hand gesture. "Shame on you! So what if you are rich! So what if you don't have to go to classes! So what if you are good at martial arts! You think that makes you better?"
"My apologies, but being good at martial arts and being rich does make me better!" replied Lou Cheng, stiﬂing his laughter to the point where his stomach hurt.
"Damn it, let's not talk about this saddening topic. I have nothing more to teach you. You have truly mastered the essence of my teachings!" sighed Cai Zongming, feeling more gloomy when he realized his in-game character got killed.
Switching gears, Lou Cheng asked, "Anyway, you didn't slack off during the summer break did you? I hope you didn't give up on your martial arts?"
Smugly, Cai Zongming ﬂexed his arms to showcase his muscles. "I think I'm nearing the ability of an upper Ninth Pin. The only problem is that I just can't ﬁnd the "retract" feeling you told me about," he said with a smile.
"You don't have to rush it. Patience is the key," reminded Lou Cheng.
"You are right," nodded Cai Zongming, then teetered between worry and fantasy. "I wonder if there will be any strong rookies joining the Martial Arts Club in the next intake…"
"Huh, were you the type to be bothered by such things?" Lou Cheng asked with a tinge of shock.
Cai Zongming glanced at him.
"I'm willing to bet that you don't remember me becoming the president of Martial Arts Club!" he said accusingly.
Lou Cheng reddened and laughed drily. "In my eyes, you are always Talker and Casanova, it's got nothing to do with…"
"The truth!" snapped Xiao Ming.
"I did forget about it…" admitted Lou Cheng, hiding his face in his palms.
Chapter 498: Little Fan Boy
In a canteen in Songcheng University, there were dishes after dishes in front of Lou Cheng and Cai Zongming.
"What did you say? Coach Shi has left too?" After getting the news, Student Little Ming exclaimed in astonishment.
"Why did it feel like everything has collapsed and everyone is going their own ways after winning the National Championship? "
"Senior Sun Jian and Lin Hua had left the martial arts club, "Straight Face Joker" Lin Que had returned to Shu Shan to recuperate from his injuries and was said to likely not return. Now even Coach Shi is also leaving Songcheng University. If it wasn't because Cheng is still here, the other members of the Martial Arts Club might even suspect that they have entered the wrong place when they return from the summer break!"
"Yeah." Lou Cheng chewed on his food and swallowed them down together with the meat shreds in his mouth. After which, he replied with a smile, "Isn't this expected? A Physical Invulnerability Stage expert teaching us for two years, isn't this enough yet? Relax, the school will ﬁnd a teacher who knows martial arts to take his place. However the leader of the team will still mainly be me bringing you guys. A new inhuman and a Heavenly Son of the Era is enough to teach and lead you guys!"
"Oh damn, Cheng, you are starting to show your arrogant side!" Cai Zongming accused with "grief". The anxious emotions in his heart had dissipated substantially. "Aren't you going to ﬂy to America every month and be a man in the air?"
To maintain this relationship, Cheng had also expended a lot of efforts.
Lou Cheng laughed, "I can spend half the month leading you guys while training on my own for the other half. Didn't you see that my master hardly ever guides me anymore? At the most, he will just correct me occasionally. Everyone had achieved mastery and learned what should be learned. There's nothing left to teach. At the very most, I can ﬁnd some time to talk about my practical battle experience with you guys. For the freshmen, Senior Li Mao's foundation is very solid. There shouldn't be a problem for him to provide daily supervision." Speaking till here, he supplemented, "Oh right, I wouldn't be participating in most of the matches to allow myself to consolidate. With the current strength of the members of the martial art club, as long as we are not facing a Dan Stage team, we have the chances to win the match."
"That's right, I've seen them over the last two days and even sparred with Senior Li Mao. He is slightly stronger than me and should have the standards of a top level professional ninth pin. However, he has not reached the edge of Dan Stage. He Zi also said that she is close to professional ninth pin. However she's the kind that will be more humble in front of others. I estimate that she has the strength of a weak professional ninth pin now. Wang Dali is similar to her. Jin Lu and Mu Jin are weaker by a little but could still barely be considered as an amateur ﬁrst pin. Now we are just seeing if there will be anyone among the freshmen understanding the feeling of 'withdraw' and enter Dan Stage..." said Cai Zongming as he recalled.
This made Lou Cheng a little surprised. He had not expected that Student Little Ming would have a serious and conscientious side to him. He was really suitable to become the President of the Martial Arts Club!
"Other than Senior Li Mao, if there's another person who could achieve Dan Stage by this year, our martial arts club would have successors and wouldn't be weaker substantially suddenly," remarked Lou Cheng emotionally. In the end, he took a look at Cai Zongming and laughed, "Don't be a burden to them!"
"Oh damn. I still thought you will say that I'll be the next Dan Stage in the martial arts club." scolded Cai Zongming. "If I can't achieve Dan Stage by the third year of University, what dreams do I have in martial arts? I might as well return home to take over my father's company!"
Professional nine pins could only compete in trial competitions and these were considered to be the lower end of the martial arts circle. It wouldn't be much more comfortable than being a second generation rich kid.
As for the amateur pins, they wouldn't even have the rights to really enter the circle of martial arts! "Really?" Lou Cheng retorted with a smile.
"Real..." Student Little Ming suddenly ran out of words. After swallowing his saliva, he heaved a sigh and said, "I can still give it a try in the fourth year. If I can't reach Dan Stage at the age of twenty-ﬁve, then it would be really meaningless."
"Why did you start getting further and further?" teased Lou Cheng. "No conﬁdence in yourself anymore?"
"I'm just setting the worst scenario!" sneered Cai Zongming. "Although I'm not as insane as you, I am still considered as the top 3 in terms of growth speed in the martial arts over the years!"
"Lin Que, Ke and I. Which one of us isn't faster than your growth speed?" Lou Cheng pierced through the braggings of the "Talker".
"Can't you understand human language? I said excluding the insane you, I'm top 3!" Cai Zongming was so angry that he felt amused. As they chatted happily, the two of them had ﬁnished their dinner. They walked towards the martial arts club together, partly because walking helps aid in digestion and partly because they were returning to "visit".
In the Songcheng University martial arts stadium, the lights were bright and ample. There were many students here to train and build up their bodies. Lou Cheng looked around and felt pleased.
Two years had passed and the atmosphere in this place was getting better and better!
At this moment, he caught a familiar ﬁgure from the edge of his eyes. Old Qiu, Qiu Zhigao was wiping off his sweat and entering into the weight room.
"Old Qiu has returned a few days earlier. He trained one round in the morning and another round at night. He even did revisions in the day. He is so hardworking that it makes me feel shameful to slack off." Cai Zongming followed the gaze of Lou Cheng and looked over. "If he had come here when he was in the ﬁrst year of his university, with that body of muscles, who would have dared to believe he was not at least an amateur third pin if he said so?"
Shameful to slack off? Who's the one who was always distracted previously... Lou Cheng smiled faintly, shook his head and continued emotionally, "Old Qiu's decision couldn't be considered as an error right? At least his results are a huge chunk ahead of us. If he can increase his martial arts strength in this year, it would be easier for him to ﬁnd a job in the fourth year of university. His salary wouldn't be low either. He came from a poor family and could only make the most practical decision. Not everyone could chase after their dreams..."
"Are you mocking me?" Cai Zongming teased himself. Speaking of his other roommate, "Model Worker is just like you. Other than accompanying his girlfriend, he is spending all his time on learning programming. I heard from Qiang that his standards are high now."
"What about Qiang himself?" asked Lou Cheng with interests. "His results are always the top few in our specialization. The counsellors have hinted to him that if he can maintain it for another year, he is very likely to get a scholarship to study for his masters. Qin Mo failed in two modules but eventually passed them after paying for the retest. However, he didn't mind it as his family isn't lacking in money. Old Mou and his girlfriend have the intention to pursue a PhD. God-man failed in several other modules and was reprimanded by the counsellors. They even threatened that if this goes on, he would be expelled," Cai Zongming explained one by one.
"God-man" is Tang Wen, a serial game-lover. He's the kind that could even forget about his examination times.
Lou Cheng burst into laughter from the different encounters of his friends. While he was busy in a relationship and practising martial arts, his interactions with his roommates weren't frequent. Now that he heard about them from Student Little Ming, he suddenly realised that the two years had left marks on everyone.
Just as he was about to say something emotionally, he suddenly saw a guy walking towards him. The other party was about 1.8 metres tall, looked handsome, had a rather buff stature and a vitality that was so strong that it almost materialised.
"At least he's a strong professional ninth pin..." Lou Cheng said with a low voice.
This should be the newly recruited year one student!
In the other batches, other than those in the martial arts club, there weren't any as strong in existence. As for those in the martial arts club, how could he possibly not know them?
That boy approached quickly and shouted with a radiant smile, "Senior Lou, good afternoon. I'm Deng Yang and I'm a disciple of Shizhou Island. I have enrolled in Songcheng University this year and I'm 18 years old..."
Speaking till now, he paused for a moment and supplemented enthusiastically, "You are my idol!"
This brat sure isn't shy... mocked Lou Cheng in his heart.
Eighteen years old, professional ninth pin. Strong vitality and a direct disciple of a large sect... This was similar to Lin Que and Fang Zhirong in the past... Lou Cheng revealed a smile and said, "We were still talking about if there will be a genius joining the Songcheng University Martial Arts Club this year. Now, I'm completely at ease. Yeah, our recruitment is after the military training. However you can join us for special training from tomorrow onwards. We will apply on your behalf for exemption of military training."
"Great, great!" Deng Yang answered enthusiastically. After which, he commented with conviction, "Before Senior Lou, there's no genius!"
That's right, he deﬁnitely can speak well and is a great nurturing target... Lou Cheng almost broke into laughter. After exchanging a few more words, Deng Yang waved his hand and bade goodbyes. He rejoined the training and Cai Zongming ﬁnally heaved a sigh,
"Seems like a person that will be easy to hang out with..."
"What are you worried about? If he is really a problem, I'll handle him with a single hand." Lou Cheng sharply picked up Student Little Ming's worries.
"But you will be going America once a month, 15 days each time. If we really encounter strong freshmen with a bad attitude, it will be really hard for us to handle." Cai Zongming looked with disdain at Lou Cheng.
Couldn't beat him in a ﬁght and couldn't control him. What else can he do?
"Surround him and beat him! It can't be people like Peng Leyun or Ren Li who had reached Dan Stage before university right? Otherwise, wait for me to come back and deal with them? Lou Cheng didn't ﬁnd these as problems. When his martial arts were strong, he would really be something!
"Why did it feel like he was asking for his parents' help after being bullied," Cai Zongming mocked himself.
"If you would like to see me as your parents, I wouldn't mind that either~" Lou Cheng purposely extended the pronunciation of the last word.
"Scram!" said Student Little Ming clearly.
In the dormitory of the Arts College, He Zi who had a boyish- looking short hair pushed open the door and entered the room. She looked to the left and right before asking, "Mian Mian, where is Xiaoling?" Mu Mian looked away from her computer screen and pointed outside. "She's taking a call on the balcony."
"Yeah, I have something to ask her." He Zi explained herself while waiting outside the glass door to the balcony.
She waited for 2 minutes but didn't hear anything sound from the outside. She suddenly felt worried, twisted the doorknob and stepped into the balcony. Looking across, she discovered Yan Xiaoling squatting at the corner, biting her lips with her eyes red.
"What has happened?" asked He Zi caringly.
"Nothing. Just something at home." Yan Xiaoling stood up hurriedly, wiped her face messily and revealed her trademark silly smile. "You are here to make a call too? What a coincidence!"
"Nope, I'm here to ask you something. Are you participating in this semester's special training." He Zi asked puzzledly as she diverted back to the serious matter. Special training? What did this mean?... It would mean saying goodbyes to her staying in bed and substantial lower television dramas, QQ chats, and gaming time... Yan Xiaoling started hesitating.
"Weren't you so determined to participate in the special training last semester? You even talked about how resilient and persistent you are and even downloaded a training software to supervise yourself and prove it to us?" He Zi teased purposely. "So what's the outcome?"
"Persisted for seven days..." answered Yan Xiaoling as her eyes drifted. After which, she retorted with conviction, "Don't you know me? My interests have always been ﬂeeting and disappear very quickly!"
"Pretty proud about it..." He Zi didn't know what to reply.
The next day, Lou Cheng felt like a body that had completely morph after he completed his training. Lou Cheng took out his phone and sent a message to Yan Zheke,
"[Sheepish Smile expression] Coach Lou going online soon!"
Chapter 499: Teachings with substance
It was a Monday on the ﬁrst of September. The special training members had gathered, in the Songcheng University Martial Arts Dojo after two and a half months of hiatus.
It hadn't been long since they clinched the Inter-university Martial Arts Nationals. Having made decent improvements on their own during the summer break, everyone wore smiles on their excited faces.
"He Zi, did you face get rounder again?" asked the brash Wang Dali when he spotted his familiar teammate with a careless glance.
His buzz cut above his vicious features made him look like a man who just ﬁnished serving time.
He Zi stared daggers at him, her hands forming a contemptuous gesture. "Why does it bother you that my face is round? Am I eating your rice or am I wearing your clothes? Don't make me transform you into a yaoi character by the end of this night!"
Since I was young, my face has not once been slim, even during my skinniest days! What do you want me to do about it? I'm the victim here!
Yaoi character... Then Wang Dali remembered. The round- faced girl was a well-known artist, a master at operating the graphic tablet, in the School of Arts. She once posted a series of drawings, under the title "hot-blooded Martial Arts Club", which ended up being well-received by the Internet.
Of course, no one knew whether she really drew yaoi in her spare time.
As Wang Dali teetered between acting tough and begging for mercy, Cai Zongming emerged from the changing room, in a white martial arts suit with black trim. He scanned left and right. "Great, we can form two tables of Mahjong..."
The fourth years remaining were Sister Xiao Wen and Senior Brother Li Mao. The third years Cheng and himself. The second years consisted of four members—He Zi, Wang Dali, Jin Lu and Mu Jinnian. Counting the student from the new intake, Deng Yang, who had conﬁrmed his attendance, nine members were there in total; but since that bastard Cheng had taken up a part-time job as a martial arts coach and had to travel back and forth, he was omitted, which makes eight of them— just the right number for two tables of Mahjong.
"After the intake, we should at least have twenty members, right?" Li Mao asked prudently.
An abundance of ﬁrst years took an interest in trying out the special trainings, but not many persevered. Martial arts classes that took place once or twice a week was, however, fully booked.
"That's why you have to cherish us, prez! For starters, you should organise more activities that can enforce our camaraderie and esprit de corps!" suggested He Zi with a serious expression, before adding with a grin. "Like Dou Dizhu(Chinese poker game) championships and werewolf games!"
Having known her for a year, Cai Zongming knew that the round-faced girl was a chatterbox beneath her cold and aloof appearance, and that she could take jokes once she opened up to someone, so he went on to tease her. "But aren't you the Dumb Duo with Yan Xiaoling? Can you really play a game like werewolves?"
Ehhhhh? When did we earn that title? It must be Xiao Ling's fault that my name is sullied since we hang out a lot!
"You have to be responsible for your words, prez! Check out my intelligent looks! How can you liken me to Xiaoling! I even ﬁgured out some tips and tricks to werewolves!" protested He Zi, pointing to herself.
"What tips and tricks?" Cai Zongming asked indifferently. "When in doubt, kill Dali!" she replied determinedly, grinning as she looked to her side.
"What have I done to offend you?!" Wang Dali being targeted for no reason made Mu Jinnian and the others burst out in laughter.
In the ebullient atmosphere, Deng Yang arrived. His hearty appearance told of his vigorous Qi and blood, which everyone approved. After Cai Zongming introduced him, they all felt surer of the Martial Arts Club's future. There wasn't a need to fear for the legacy to end after all.
At seven ﬁfty-six, Lou Cheng stepped into the Martial Arts Dojo, stopping before He Zi and the others. With a chuckle, he began his "self-introduction".
"From today onwards, I will be your coach. Coach Lou!"
Astonished voices rose and fell. Mu Jinnian, Wang Dali and the others exchanged confused glances.
"Um, in order to settle some matters, my master has already departed for the Ice God Sect. But fear not, as a part time coach this year, I believe I am capable enough to guide you. The school will also be sending a former martial artist to instruct you, but his role is mainly to act as the captain. Sister Xiaowen, you are a fourth year, so you should focus on ﬁnding a job. Not everything needs to be done on your own. Pick some people to help you, teach them the ropes. " Lou Cheng's well-paced advices slowly put everyone at ease.
It wasn't all that different to have a Heavenly Son of China, who recently reached the Inhuman stage, to replace their Physical-Invulnerability State Mighty One coach. After all, Coach Shi had been missing for the most part.
At that moment, they felt as if Lou Cheng was the pillar that held the Martial Arts Club in one piece. As long as he was there, the Martial Arts Club will not crumble!
"Okay, I'll check with Xiaoling to see if she has the time to help me out," nodded Li Xiaowen, smiling.
"Other than being lazy and short-tempered, Xiaoling doesn't have any shortcomings…" He Zi jested in a hushed voice.
Lou Cheng laughed, sweeping his eyes across every member as he pondered his next words thoroughly.
"Seems like everyone made good use of the summer break. Let's start off by making a small goal for this year— pushing more of you to the Dan stage." The words that concerned them caused a stir among the youthful and energetic crowd. Excitement grew as they exchanged information on the threshold to Dan stage, hopeful about their own futures.
According to Coach Shi, mastering Force Concentration was where one's path of martial arts truly began. After that, no matter where they went, they could be sure to lead a decent life!
Lou Cheng listened with a smile, until their discussion began to die down, and cleared his throat.
"First, let me tell you about my experiences when I made the breakthrough to Dan Stage," he announced.
The words took the breath out of everyone, quieting down as they eagerly stared at "Coach Lou".
Though there were many Dan Stage experts who shared their experiences on the internet, no one could conﬁrm their validity. How could something like that hold a candle to a live explanation from a living High-Pin Dan Stage expert?
Lou Cheng brooded, then began in a sonorous voice.
"Back then, my master only said ten words "The Human Body Big Dan, round and emits dazzling brilliance". "Human Body Big Dan" refers to turning into one with the forces surrounding one's body. Forming one entity. During your trainings, don't leave any loose ends by avoiding the things you deem as unnecessary. "Round" refers to the all-round clarity of force, Qi, blood and spirit. It should be mellow and unclouded. Removing the "impurities" from your body is going to be a long haul, and it won't do you any good to rush things…"
"What I just mentioned are all long hauls. The most important part is the three words "emit dazzling radiance". This refers to a state of mind, that is, your willpower. I remember an ancient one's quote that went like this: "What is there to say, when my heart is the light!" And what do I mean by willpower? It's the reason that drives you to practice martial arts. It's the reason why you willingly pour your heart and soul into martial arts! It's not about lip service, shouting empty slogans or doing foolish things on a whim. You have to constantly reﬂect on yourself. Delve deep into yourself, and ﬁnd the power that truly keeps your heart beating. Then put it to test. Enhance it. Over and over again until your willpower truly condenses and takes shape... "
"Perhaps it would come across some of you as easy. If so, allow me to give an example that might be hard to swallow. Everyone has dreams, but how many actually puts it to action and ﬁghts for it? And after putting it to action, how many can overcome the hurdles and obstacles? Like most motivational speeches, this overlooks many elements in reality, but you get my point... "
Combining his ﬁrst-hand experiences, Lou Cheng explained the abstract concepts of seeking inner power and condensing martial arts willpower in a down to earth fashion. He Zi, Deng Yang and the others pondered over his words, somewhat taking away something from it.
Coach Lou's teachings had substance in it!
"Unlocking your hidden potential is not something you can achieve overnight. It might require you to go through certain things. It's the reason why Theravada Sadhus in Shengxiang frequently go through Tapas. Of course, I'm not asking you lot to beg for your meals, to not eat past noon, or to torment yourselves. What I'm asking you to do is to ruminate about the method that best suit yourselves…"
On the surface, Lou Cheng's effortless manners was that of a tempered guru, but in reality he was on the verge of breaking into a sweat.
Being a master and coach wasn't easy at all!
Even though if was something he already mastered, expressing it in succinct words turned out to be no easy task.
The description he gave at best conveyed 50-60% of what he actually meant...
"Alright, we'll stop here for today. Take the time to digest it, don't rush things. Come look for me if you run into any problems," said Lou Cheng, secretly heaving a sigh of relief. "Begin your stance practice." "Yes, Coach Lou!" they answered in unison.
Then, they exchanged glances and smiles. Once again, they found the feeling of when they stomped the Nationals as a team!
When He Zi got back to the dormitory room, Yan Xiaoling had just gotten up, and was climbing off the double-deckered bed.
"Coach Shi went back to Ice God Sect, so we have Coach Lou now," He Zi said, trying to sound nonchalant.
Yan Xiaoling froze, one foot in slipper and another on the stair. "Coach Lou?" she repeated.
"Yes, Lou Cheng!" replied He Zi, her lips curving into a sweet smile. "... I, I'm attending the special training!" blurted Yan Xiaoling. "I want Lou Cheng's personal guidance!"
"Three minutes of enthusiasm," He Zi said sharply, tossing the words right back at her.
"..." Yan Xiaoling was rendered speechless. Suddenly, she slapped a hand on her thigh. "Oh shit, I forgot to apply for it! When does the recruitment for special training start?"
"After the ﬁrst years go through their mandatory military training," she replied. "Xiao Ling, is something wrong? You don't look like you are in a good mood these days."
In fact, she was on the verge of tears during her call with her family.
Yan Xiaoling twitched her lips before letting out a sigh." It's nothing serious, just that...every time I go home, it feels like...right, it feels like I'm at a stranger's home. I can't wait to make my own living and get my own home." He Zi didn't press on the topic and managed a smile.
"Thank goodness, I thought someone had bullied you! Come to me if you run into any problems in the future! I'll be rushing to your rescue with wings on my back! My forces awaits your signal!(Kung-Fu Hustle reference)"
She never knew the happy-go-lucky Xiaoling went through such experiences and sorrows...
" He Zi (Box), your boyfriend power level is over the charts! " praised Yan Xiaoling, her mood lifting as her thumb did.
He Zi nodded with a smile.
"Well said! From now on I will monitor to ensure that you wake up on time, do your homework and memorize English words!"
"Ah?" Yan Xiaoling looked even worse than before. ...
"Ding!" came the message ringtone. Picking up his phone, he saw the 500,000 RMB prize money from King of Youth Pro League arriving in his account.
That increases his total savings to 2,450,000 RMB. He wouldn't have to worry about the cost of being a "a man in the air" for the year. He would most likely be in the professional martial arts the following year, so income wasn't a concern.
He snapped a screenshot of his balance and sent it to Yan Zheke.
"Waiting for September 14th! [clenching ﬁst, radiating]"
But before that, he had to pass the test and upgrade his 8th Pin certiﬁcate to 5th Pin!
Chapter 500: Lou Cheng, The One That Is Great In Preparation
September 7th, Sunday afternoon, Songcheng City Martial Arts Association, Internal Training Field.
"Can I start now?" Lou Cheng tightened his cuff and faced the three assessors with a smile.
He got his professional certiﬁcation from Songcheng previously and therefore had to come here to change it. However the district Martial Arts Association and the Capital had sent personnel to the ground to conduct a joint assessment. The whole process was in the name of justice and fairness.
"Yes, you may begin." The leading old man, who had a head of white hair and a peaceful look, nodded his head.
An inhuman at an age younger than twenty-one. Who knew how far he would reach in the future? Although they were all seniors of higher ranks and were authoritative ﬁgures, they also wouldn't offend the other party for good no reasons over a small matter.
In the world of martial arts, there was a saying. "You would rather bully a rich old man than a poor young one!"
Lou Cheng paid respect to them and strode to the side of the ﬁeld, facing a hanging sandbag.
He lowered his stance slightly and allowed his blood and breathing to ﬂow back, gathering at the diaphragm of his lower abdomen. It felt a little empty and borderless while also feeling a little like being compressed into a ball that was terrifyingly smooth.
His Dan Qi was overﬂowing, and his muscles were expanding with the shape clearly deﬁned. Following which, he shrugged his shoulders and threw out his arms as though he was punching directly ahead.
In this whole process, his punch burnt through the air with scorching red ﬂame. It was as though he was wearing a violent and explosive glove.
His ﬁst landed on the target. An explosion like situation happened. The whole sandbag suddenly collapsed. Every grain of sand seemed to be covered in a layer of scorching red ﬂame and was shooting ahead as it moved along with the shockwave. The burning sound it made would have sent chills down people's spines.
When all of this ended, an oval shaped fan was formed with the sand in front of him. Seeing the area where the sand grains had scattered, the assessors couldn't stop their eyelids from twitching.
"Emperor Yan Force" was indeed something!
To be able to use the real material and complete "Emperor Yan Force" while doing a "Force Concentration" was enough to prove that he had completely morphed and no longer was a typical human! "It's true that most heroes showed themselves while they are young!" laughed the grey-haired old man. "We have no issues on our side. You just have to sign your name on the certiﬁcate and send it back to the headquarters at the Capital later. After waiting for about ten minutes, you can head directly to the
ofﬁce to collect your certiﬁcation."
Although the other two assessors were a little angry about the dictatorial-like actions of the grey-haired old man, who announced the results without consulting them, they could only smile and say, "Congratulations pal, it has been several years since Songcheng had an inhuman." They didn't create a fuss about the incident as the grey-haired old man was their senior and this incident was simple and direct.
"Sorry to have troubled my three seniors.," Lou Cheng replied courteously.
After chatting for several minutes, he bade farewell to the assessors and went to the ofﬁce to wait. He didn't have to wait very long before he collected the Professional ﬁfth pin certiﬁcation from the employee. There was a serial number, his name and a red stamp! The whole certiﬁcation collection process didn't take more than twenty minutes. For Lou Cheng, who was well known recognised by the public, this was really just a formality.
Puff. Lou Cheng heaved a sigh. Opening the certiﬁcation on his hands, he took a picture of it and felt a million emotions welling up in him.
When he came to collect his Professional eighth pin certiﬁcation last year in September, he had never expected to be able to attain a high pin in just a year. He had even planned to take part in one or two pin certiﬁcation competitions.
Plans really couldn't keep up with the changes!
From now on, everyone could ofﬁcially address me as a high pin Dan Stage expert!
Lou Cheng kept the certiﬁcation and sent the photo to Yan Zheke to take a look. After ﬂirting with his girl for a while, he then uploaded it to his Weibo. He didn't append any words and click the "send" button directly. The certiﬁcation by itself could tell a thousand words!
After refreshing and reading through the congratulatory and impressed messages, Lou Cheng walked along the corridor and headed out of the city Martial Arts Association.
He only took a few steps when he suddenly saw a familiar yet foreign ﬁgure entering the building.
When the guy noticed him, he was apparently shocked. After a short moment, he was enlightened suddenly and asked with a smile,
"You are here to collect your ﬁfth pin certiﬁcation?"
"Yeah." Lou Cheng took a glance at the other party and mumbled in his heart. Who is this guy? He looks pretty familiar! The guy had a common hairstyle, typical facial features, distinct parting and a steady aura that made him look like a cultured person. He did not notice the hesitation from Lou Cheng and exclaimed with a radiant smile, "When I lost to you last year, I was not convinced at all. Who would have known that in just a year's time, you'd have left us in the dust?"
After hearing what the guy had said, Lou Cheng instantly remembered who he was.
He was Peng Chengguang from Mingwei Martial Arts School and he'd fought him in the preliminaries!
At that time, he was 24 years old and had held the professional ninth pin certiﬁcation for 3 years. His vitality was so strong that it had reached the limits of that level. Within his punches and kicks, there were also some feelings of "Withdraw". He was considered to be one of the most pressing opponents outside of the Dan Stage.
This guy became famous at a young age and was the most sought after body-reﬁning stage martial artist in Songcheng and was a target of various large martial arts schools. However, in order to preserve the independence of the "Mingwei Martial Arts School" left behind by the previous school owner, he preferred to practice kungfu that was very ordinary. Because of this, he had stagnated at the level before Dan Stage and couldn't achieve a breakthrough.
After scrutinizing him, Lou Cheng revealed a sincere smile.
He clasped his ﬁst to his palm and said,
"I guess I should be congratulating you too?"
The intense vitality that was overﬂowing had completely gone under control and others couldn't observe it easily!
As someone who had been through this process, Lou Cheng knew clearly what this represented!
Peng Chengguan accepted the greeting honestly and replied emotionally, "I have just achieved the breakthrough a while ago and is here to collect my certiﬁcation. Sigh. I can't be compared with you, I can't."
After speaking, he clasped his ﬁst to his palm too to congratulate Lou Cheng for reaching the inhuman stage.
Both of them weren't particularly familiar with each other and left after chatting for a short while. Just before he stepped out of the main gate, Lou Cheng turned his head and took a look at Peng Chengguan, who was disappearing at the corner of the corridor. He sank into deep thoughts and nodded his head. After searching for his information, Lou Cheng found out that he was still in Mingwei Martial Arts School. Relying on the "work" he was doing for the Martial Arts Association, he got a rather average martial arts education in exchange.
To be able to persevere in what he believed in after experiencing through so many ordeals, facing temptations, failures, disappointment and pain yet remaining unmoved, this level of willpower, is something that even I am ashamed to admit that I'm not a match. After getting past the threshold of Dan Stage, Peng Chengguang will not face any more obstacles before the inhuman stage!
As for what's after that, he did not have the foresight yet to see so far into the future.
After leaving the building where the Martial Arts Association was, he made his way to a martial arts school in the vicinity and took out his phone. He opened the app and was intending to book a ride.
At this moment, he suddenly felt thirsty. Therefore he went to a supermarket at the side. While choosing performance drinks, he was thinking of the trip to America next week.
His longing over the last month started to swell up little by little. The lingering disappointment started to dissipate little by little. Lou Cheng was ﬁlled with anticipation as he started dreaming about the scene when he would meet up with Yan Zheke again. Subconsciously, he started conjecturing what kind of emotions and topics he would have with his girl. Should he let his emotions ﬂow and give her the most passionate and intense hug, or should he showed his emotions slowly, allowing her to get reacquainted to it gradually...
As he thought, Lou Cheng had already created a few Television Drama scenarios in his mind, all of them about the romantic time they would have together.
Naturally, as an adult male and a married person, it was inevitable that he would recall and hope for some matters that were not suitable for children's knowledge. As he continued thinking, he got even more thirsty.
He stopped such a trend on time. Grabbing the overly iced performance beverage, he headed to the payment area.
Suddenly Lou Cheng stopped. Because of his imagination just now, he remembered something that he should be taking note of. I'm already inhuman. Based on what Ke's grandfather has said, there's a good chance that he might get Ke pregnant...
I can't be as reckless as before. I have to take all safety precautions...
Oh damn, I have not bought those things before. Should I post a thread to ask around? The title will be "How do I act like I have bought condoms before when I'm buying them for the ﬁrst time?"
He's getting a little embarrassed just from the thought of it...
Ask the search engine! Lou Cheng put down his drinks and took out his phone. After ﬂipping through page after page, he had a plan in mind.
Based on what others had said, the payment area for most supermarkets would have condoms for sale. He just has to point at it when checking out, and the cashier would understand what to do. There wouldn't be a need to converse during the whole process to minimise the awkwardness. Cough. Lou Cheng wore his black framed spectacles, resolved himself, took the iced drink and waited behind the people at the cashier. After two to three minutes, it was ﬁnally his turn.
His gaze quickly swept through as he attempted to verify his target quickly.
Oh damn, why are there only chewing gum, lollipops and batteries? Where are those things that I needed? Lou Cheng was stunned.
"You want this?" The cashier picked up the lollipop and asked.
"Uh…..." Lou Cheng didn't know how to explain and just nodded his head. He took out his loose change, took the iced drink and lollipop and left.
After leaving the supermarket, he ﬁnally regained his senses.
He took a sip of his drink and thought to himself. What the hell am I doing right now!
After ﬁnishing his lollipop, he resiliently found another supermarket. This time he wasn't anxious but still did a detailed surveillance of the surrounding and locked on to the position of his target. Hmph. They have a rack solely for selling condoms!
Seeing that no one was around, he quickly took a peek and realised there were several brands and each brand has different models.
There's no time to go search about which brand is better. He took a box of each model, activated his "Ice Mirror" to control his emotions and went to the queue for payment nonchalantly, disregarding the occasional looks from others.
After a while, he came to the front of the cashier. The cashier saw the different colourful boxes and asked with bewilderment,
"All of them?" "Yeah" answered Lou Cheng simply. His "Ice Mirror" almost failed.
The cashier looked at him with a strange look and didn't continue. He completed the process quickly.
After payment, he put them in a bag and walked out of the supermarket calmly. When he reached the roadside, he ﬁnally felt relaxed. He felt just like he had crossed some extremely difﬁcult obstacle.
Back in his room, seeing that Zhao Qiang and the rest were all not around, Lou Cheng couldn't help but ﬂip through his "Spoils of War".
As he looked through them, he suddenly had another question. How do I even use this thing? If I embarrassed myself at the critical juncture, wouldn't Ke laugh at me for a lifetime?
Moreover there's different models and types here...
After thinking seriously about it for a while, he opened up the wrapper and started reading the instructional manual. After which, he took a few of them and went to the bathroom...
After some time, he ﬁnally resolved all his queries. He walked out happily and conﬁdently from the bathroom and happened to see Cai Zongming opening the door to his room
"Eh, Cheng, you look horny. Are you thinking about your trip to America next week?" tease Student Little Ming.
Lou Cheng was shocked and retorted, "You can tell?" "Of course. Do you not know who I am?" answered Cai Zongming conﬁdently.
You will be going to America next week. It will be strange if you are not thinking about it!
I can't tell from the looks but I can deduce it!
Lou Cheng was stunned from being trick and was once again impressed by "Casanova's" knowledge in this aspect.
After which, a week passed by like an eternity for Loy Cheng.
Finally, the date September 14th stood out in his eyes.