Chapter 36: Unwavering Determination
The first week had three matches in store for Hui Yue. Although he had to partake in those three matches, he only had to make an effort, if you could even call it that, in the first fight, as the following two consisted of forfeiting students.
Even though Hui Yue should be happy that he could save his Qi for more daunting opponents, he still felt bored. He had steeled himself to fight for his position in the final, but the first week seemed incredibly anticlimactic in comparison to what he had expected.
Looking back at the first week, Hui Yue felt as if it had rushed by with no important events. Looking at Ma Kong, it was impossible to tell his leg had been in a terrible state a few days ago. Healing of this magnitude caused Hui Yue to question whether or not the injury had even existed in the first place.
Hui Yue had been enlightened about the different elemental affinities. Previously, he had not thought about it that much and the only use he saw for wood affinity was that it could be mixed with fire to create medicinal pills.
Nevertheless, after that day, Hui Yue had finally understood that these elemental affinities had unlimited possibilities and ways in which they could be used. This, in turn, had caused him to train restlessly, setting his next goal at the middle dantian, his wish was to get the wooden elemental affinity.
Slowly one day became another. Each second day was a rest day with no tournament matches, and while the majority of students and adults entertained themselves at the stalls which had appeared all over the academy, some students focused solely on training.
Hui Yue was obviously one of the students who spent his days in training. He continued as before, fortifying his organs, practicing the sword from Transforming Weapons, practicing his Wushu and finally refining as much essence as he could while still keeping the quality true to his current Qi.
Every time Hui Yue closed his eyes, a smile appeared on his face as he remembered how strong Wang Ju Long had gotten. Excitement burned within as he wished to fight as soon as possible, however, he was also aware that, currently, Wang Ju Long was likely to have the upper hand.
Yes, Hui Yue had the Qi guard as a defence and now that he had gotten Transforming Weapons, he should be able to put up a fight against much stronger opponents, however, Wang Ju Long had the Qi Lightning, and since it had evolved it now worked as both attack and defence. It was indeed worthy of being called a high ranked skill.
Rong Ming was getting help from Rong Xing and they trained together. Deng Wu did everything in his power to spend time with the love of his life. Unfortunately, she was not interested in spending time with him, and instead he always went to Hui Yue’s courtyard where he would help with sparring while complaining about his luck with Rong Xing.
Gao Yan was the only one of the friends still participating in the tournament who did not spend his time on training. This was not because Gao Yan did not want to improve his cultivation base, but rather because the tournament was the best opportunity for him to earn money.
Gao Yan and his commoner followers were all selling information on the various participants. This information had been gathered by the commoners and written down in small leaflets, one for each student.
These leaflets were sold to both other students and the guests who were currently visiting the Royal Academy. Of these leaflets, the ones from Wang Ju Long, Hui Yue and Rong Ming sold as hot bread and everyone wished to have a copy.
The students who bought the leaflets, bought them for the sake of knowing their opponents. In a fight against other students it was definitely beneficial to know what you were to fight, and Gao Yan had made it very simple for others to know.
The audience bought the leaflets to understand which family the talented young students belonged to, as to prepare for getting closer to these families. They were also good to bring home afterwards and look at the various martial art skills that had been used, and if they could perhaps get a copy of it, if they came to help the families behind the children.
Every student and audience had long since sensed the tension between Wang Ju Long and Hui Yue, which had caused Gao Yan to sell an immense amount of leaflets of these two young boys. Even more leaflets were sold of these two than of Rong Ming, the top seeded contestant.
As the days went by, Hui Yue had a few matches where his opponents did not forfeit, and these opponents were all beaten within a few short exchanges of blows.
The days where there had been a previous fight, Hui Yue would spend the rest of the day relaxing together with his friends before he returned to cultivate within his courtyard. The days which were considered rest-days were days where Hui Yue would do nothing apart from training.
“Winner is the first year student, Hui Yue!” the judge announced as Hui Yue once again stepped down from the stage where his previous match had been held.
His previous opponent was lying on the floor, unconscious after getting hit by the martial art attack skill Stone Fist. The student was a four-star Disciple ranked cultivator, making him the strongest opponent that Hui Yue had faced so far.
Although Hui Yue still managed to escape from taking any of the blows from the opponent head on, it was no longer as gracefully nor as fluently carried out as it had been earlier this week. This was to be expected as Hui Yue was only a ninth-star Student ranked cultivator, one of the few Student ranked cultivators left within the entire tournament.
What had helped Hui Yue achieve victory was due to him starting his wushu again. Remembering what his teacher had taught him, which areas on the body to hit and how to defend, had caused a quick knockout.
It was obvious that Hui Yue could have had a smoother win if he had used his Qi knives from the Transforming Weapons or his improved Fire Spark, however, both of them were aces in the sleeve Hui Yue did not wish to reveal too early.
Fire Spark had been seen previously by the teachers and students within the Academy, so it was only natural that it had been placed within the leaflet. Nevertheless, Hui Yue wished to keep it secret, as it had evolved far above the expectations. It was an ability with devastating potential for destruction.
As Hui Yue stepped off from the stage, he looked towards the site where Rong Xing currently fought with a young male who seemed to be from the year above the Rong twins.
This student was standing slightly bent forward on the stage. His garments were shredded into pieces and the previously blue fabric had been dyed dark by blood.
Everywhere on his skin, marks were evident, as if someone had stabbed him with a knife repeatedly, but even so, the young man was staring at Rong Xing with an unwavering determination in his eyes.
The stage floor below him was slowly turning into a sea of red, as drops of blood were falling from his skin, but even so, the young man clenched his fists and once again rushed towards the unscathed Rong Xing.
So far, every fight Rong Xing had participated in had consisted of students who all forfeited so that she could win. This was for various different reasons. Some did it to curry her favor, others did it to avoid insulting the City Lord’s only daughter, and finally some forfeited due to the sheer difference in strength.
Now, in front of Rong Ming was the first student not willing to back down. His eyes did not see the beautiful, young, city lord’s daughter, nor did he see an overpowering difference in their strength. To this young man, Rong Xing was an opponent and only an opponent against whom he had to give it his utmost.
Not only Hui Yue, but everyone present felt an admiration towards this hard working young man. He was a year older than Rong Xing, however, his cultivation base was only at the eight-star Disciple rank. His Qi was not of superior quality nor could it be considered bad.
No matter which aspect the audience looked at, it was obvious that this young man was inferior to Rong Xing in every way. Nevertheless, this young man showed no intention of giving up, and as he stood there, he suddenly summoned the final amount of Qi within his body.
The blood vessels within his right eye exploded, causing him to look like a devil, and the Qi all gathered on his right hand as he shot towards the fragile-looking Rong Xing.
“He is cheating!” Deng Wu yelled by instinct as he feared what could happen to Rong Xing. Even though he was yelling like this, the judge paid it no heed as he was very certain that the attack adhered to the rules.
“Please be okay,” Rong Ming mumbled, as his eyes, filled with worry, were glued upon his sister who was currently fighting a serious fight for the first time in the tournament.
At this time, Hui Yue had reached his friends and noticed how all of them had suddenly entered a state of panic. Even if Rong Xing was stronger, it would not be possible for her to come from an attack like this unscatched. Although all the others were terrified, Hui Yue felt calm. So far, none of the attacks had managed to hit the young girl, and it was highly unlikely that this final attack would land on her, as the tenacious youth’s speed had not increased.
Hui Yue was correct. As the fist moved towards her, she elegantly stepped aside and allowed the exhausted student to rush past her until he collapsed on the floor.
Looking at this young man, a shocked expression filled the audience, as they realised how easily Rong Xing had won against her opponent. Just as the judge was about to announce the results, the other man stood up, his half-lidded right eye dripping blood, and a stream of blood trickled from the corner of his lip.
“I…. I can still fight…. Still…. Fight….” He said with much difficulty as more blood seeped out from his mouth.
Rong Xing looked at him tentatively, and afterwards glanced at her brother before a gentle smile appeared on her face.
“I forfeit,” she said with a voice that tolerated no questions from the judge, and as a judge he no longer had the right to declare her the winner.
“I will not…. Accept…. Your pity!” the wounded man said as he once again jumped towards Rong Xing only to see her escape once again.
“I might have a higher cultivation than you,” Rong Xing said with a voice as light as the summer breeze, “but raw strength is not the only thing which matters to a cultivator,” she continued.
“You beat me long ago with your determination to participate in this tournament, a determination I never had from the beginning. I did not lose in strength, I lost in mentality.”
Having said that, Rong Xing made her way of the stage and walked towards her friends who all looked much more relieved as they saw their friend with no injuries.
What Rong Xing had said was correct. As a cultivator strength was something anyone could get as long as they had patience, however an unwavering determination was something which was needed if the person wished for greatness.
Suddenly the sale of leaflets piqued as everyone wished to know more about this unknown cultivator who had just collapsed on top of the stage. This fight had definitely helped changing his future.