Chapter 31: The Tournament Begins!
Hui Yue was no longer the petite and effeminate boy he had been when he started to attend the Royal Academy. He was now a few centimetres taller than he had been when he arrived. The biggest change was, on the other hand, that his face, although still incredibly feminine, no longer resembled a girl’s but a feminine boy’s.
The more Qi Hui Yue gathered, the more he matured. Currently these were still small and subtle changes, in spite of this Hui Yue was aware that a major change would happen to his body once he broke through the bottleneck to the disciple rank.
Throughout the different breakthroughs Hui Yue should expect his body to be enhanced greatly, however, the magnitude of the changes varied from person to person depending on the purity of the qi contained within the body.
Nonetheless, it had to be understood that Hui Yue’s body was anything but ordinary. The fact that Hui Yue had opened the Chong Mai meridian was enough to ensure that he would no longer follow the usual route for enhancements to his body.
The opening of the Chong Mai meridian usually required a large burst of spiritual power and it would normally be something that most Master ranked cultivators would focus on as soon as they managed to break through to Master rank.
The reason these Master ranked cultivators would open this meridian would usually be for nothing more than the sake of seeing what one of the additional eight meridians granted.
Upon reaching the Master rank, cultivators are capable of refining their Qi into spiritual energy, and upon doing this, most cultivators would see no other use for their basic Qi, much like most lower ranked cultivators only saw essence as a way to gain higher and finer Qi.
Essence was an energy that was looming around in the world, absorbed by cultivators and refined into Qi. Every cultivator, no matter which rank, relied on this essence to gain in strength.
However, for a cultivator ranked Master or above, essence was not the only thing which needed refinement. For those who had unlocked the middle dantian, they were now capable of refining Qi into a much stronger type of spiritual energy. This, in turn, made Qi as important to them as as essence was to the lower dantian practitioners, and thus they usually did not want to waste it on fortifying their organs.
The fact that Lan Feng had taken over Hui Yue’s body had caused him to be catapulted far ahead of his peers in terms of progress. It also allowed him to fortify his organs and blood without losing Qi as it was a part of his training schedule.
Fortifying the organs and the blood was beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, these organs became much tougher while protected by the Qi, making it much more difficult for enemies to inflict internal injuries. Secondly, the Qi which has been gathered within the organs and the blood could be used in emergencies; of course, the price to pay for doing so was incredibly high.
When the Qi entered the organs it did not disappear, instead it gathered right under the surface and laid down a protective membrane. Upon withdrawing this Qi, the protective layer would disappear and should the cultivator wish it to return, they would have to start all over by fortifying the organs that had been drained.
This was a process taking weeks for each organ, and Hui Yue who had been performing this process for half a year could feel just how much effort had gone into fortifying his organs. To lose that in the blink of an eye would be extremely painful. On the other hand, Hui Yue also knew perfectly how much Qi he had in his internal reserves. Considering how this had taken half a year, if Hui Yue were to rely on said reserves, then he would definitely temporarily boost himself up to the rank of a three-star Disciple.
Although three-star disciple didn’t sound especially strong, it was an increase of such magnitude that it would definitely provide a chance for Hui Yue to defeat opponents a full realm above him.
Still, Hui Yue currently saw no reason to use up these reserves. He was realistic and he knew that it was unlikely for him to win the tournament, especially considering students such as the Rong twins were participating and had officially broken through to the Practitioner rank.
Hui Yue was fully aware those two were more than willing to give up the tournament if he asked them to, but Hui Yue had no interest in winning the tournament. What he really wanted was a rematch with Wang Ju Long.
Both boys felt the exact same way, and although they knew that they could have sparred anytime they wished, an unspoken agreement had been formed , causing the two of them to tacitly agree on having their grand rematch during the Royal Academy tournament.
The final month went exactly as the previous six months had with Hui Yue, spending all his time sticking to his training regimen and occasionally exchanging blows with Deng Wu.
During this month, only Hui Yue was capable of being so relaxed. Every other student within the academy was fidgeting about the tournament. This nervousness was not only due to the exorbitant stakes nor was it because the sale of tickets had started. No, the main reason why everyone was so nervous was because of the forced attendance.
Usually, the eight groups within the tournament were split among the students based by ranking for the sake of allowing students to fight a fair match for the top eight slots, however, this year the Academy Chairman had decided on another system. This year relied solely on luck, and looking at the board which had been displayed within the academy, one could see that it was very unlikely for first years to be able to proceed into the top eight.
Looking at this disappointed both Hui Yue and Wang Ju Long as the two of them were in group two and group seven respectively. Seeing that he and Wang Ju Long were placed in two groups so far from each other caused an unsightly expression to appear on Hui Yue’s face.
First, a winner would be found in each group. After that, they would fight against the winner of another group, with the victors from group one and two fighting each other while those from group three and four fought each other and so forth.
When a winner had been decided from the match between the winners of group one and two, they would fight against the winner of the match between the winners of group three and four. In the end, Hui Yue had no way of facing Wang Ju Long unless they both made it all the way to the finals.
A chill flashed through his handsome, blue eyes as Hui Yue decided that no matter how hard he had to fight he would make it to the final and fight Wang Ju Long.
Since long ago the enmity between the two had been growing steadily, however, it was not a hatred where the two of them wished for the other’s death; instead it was more inspired by an urge to prove their worth to the other. A strange feeling of rivalry Hui Yue had never felt before was telling him to do his very best. He knew that Wang Ju Long would do just that and in his heart he had already approved of Wang Ju Long and his hardworking ethics.
How could Hui Yue not know that Wang Ju Long worked hard to gain his title as a genius? Every lesson they shared, he spent cultivating, and he never stepped out of his courtyard unless it was absolutely necessary, otherwise he just stayed at home and cultivated.
Hui Yue started wondering whether Wang Ju Long had chosen the history classes for the sake of cultivating in peace rather than to annoy Hui Yue who also picked the class.
The reason why Wang Ju Long spent all his time cultivating and not training his skills like Hui Yue was due to his current martial art attack skill Qi Lightning.
Qi lightning was a high-ranked skill and the highest ranked skill he would ever be able to acquire for a long time. Wang Ju Long had already perfected it and being unable to find anything better, he would rather not take a step back to learn lower ranked skills. As such, his main focus was on improving his Qi spiral, and to jump into the disciple rank as soon as possible.
The only reason that Hui Yue was able to catch up was due to the help of Lan Feng. Without Lan Feng and the near limitless source of medicinal pills, it would not have been possible for him to reach the peak of the ninth star Student rank this quickly. Nor would it have been possible for him to possess the high-ranked skills allowing for his combat strength to increase, not to mention the cultivation method he was using to refine the purest of Qi.
However, although Hui Yue had received much from Lan Feng, Hui Yue was not feeling any sort of extreme gratefulness towards him as he still assumed that his death had been caused by the blue phoenix. If he had the guts to kill him, it was only natural to redeem himself with something as important as immense strength. Especially since Lan Feng’s revenge also relied on Hui Yue.
That being said, Hui Yue still listened to Lan Feng. He did not hate him for killing him, as long as it was possible for him to be reunited with Li Fen in her next life. Lan Feng was much more knowledgeable when it came to cultivation so it was only natural for Hui Yue to follow the orders, but only for as long as Lan Feng was useful.
Nonetheless, after ten years, Lan Feng had turned into the only person who knew everything about Hui Yue and the vice versa, and the two had become an odd pair of friends. Hui Yue sighed as he realized that he would never be completely free from this arrogant phoenix as their souls had completed a fusion. His lips curled upwards at the thought.
Hui Yue’s eyes locked on to Wang Ju Long only to find that the two of them were staring at each other. A soundless agreement was made and their sharp gazes obviously conveyed ‘don’t you dare lose before the finale.’
After the message had been relayed Wang Ju Long immediately turned around and started moving towards his courtyard, no doubt to refine more Qi in an attempt to charge through the bottleneck that existed between the nine-star Student rank and the first-star Disciple rank.
Hui Yue himself was at the same rank now as Wang Ju Long, but he was in no rush to try to attack the bottleneck just yet, the feeling of something lacking was simply too profound and instead Hui Yue focused on his martial art skills. In the entire Royal Academy no one could defeat him when it came to martial art skills.
Hui Yue was the focus of many students. Almost anyone within his group had offered to forfeit if they were to meet him, causing Hui Yue to become slightly aggravated.
Hui Yue had no intention of reaching the finals by not even fighting his opponents. If he could not defeat them, how would he be capable of defeating Wang Ju Long?
The tournament would go on for three weeks. The first day would be used to narrow down four thousand people to two thousand people. After each day, a day of rest followed before the number of participants was halved once again. This process continued until only eight students emerged as the group winners.
The first ten days of the tournament would go on like this. After finding the eight group victors there would be two days of rest before the eight was narrowed down to four. The four remaining would then have three days of rest before it was narrowed down to two. Another five days would then be given as rest before the grand finale.
The guests of the tournament were invited to stay the entire three weeks, and during these three weeks an extra mountaintop had been cleared for the sake of creating an extra residential area to be used as housing for the guests. This was a mountain top next to the one belonging to the teachers, ensuring that the visitors were unable to cause any trouble for the participating students.
Next to the arena mountain top was a large sign with the name and rank of all the participating students.