Chapter 39: The Final Eight
Looking at Cheung Chan Ti’s martial art attack, it was impossible for Gao Yan not to feel a rush of adrenaline. Their friendship was obvious to the onlookers and neither expressed an intent of seriously harming the other, but it was impossible for them to get through the fight unscathed.
These Qi thorns on top of Cheung Chan Ti’s knuckles looked exactly like knuckle dusters made from energy, and they were moving towards Gao Yan at a frightening speed, aiming for his head, ready to pummel into his jaw with the force of a thousand suns.
Gao Yan moved back slightly as to increase the time before the impact and in his hand a swirl of Qi was spinning around turning into a great ball of Qi. As the ball reached palm-size it suddenly started to flatten itself and turned into a shield, which Gao Yan hoisted forth as he rushed towards Cheung Chan Ti.
A loud bang resounded, reverberating through the air as the Qi knuckle dusters hit against Gao Yan’s protective shield. Both young men stumbled back while fighting hard to keep their balance.
Cracks had appeared all over Gao Yan’s Qi Shield, hiding it beneath a sleeve, and his arm was stuck in a strange shape. Cheung Chan Ti did not look to be in a much better condition. A small line of blood was slipping down the corner of his mouth.
Although both of the young men were battered, neither seemed ready to forfeit and slowly got back into position. This time Cheung Chan Ti took a defensive stance, while Gao Yan was getting ready to attack.
Gao Yan and Cheung Chan Ti had grown up in a part of town where only the strong survive. These children grew up with nothing but their fists and kicks as their style of fighting. Naturally a lack of rules and a formless style followed this growth.
The skills these two youngsters had learned attested to exactly that type of fighting. Gao Yan mustered forth the same knuckle dusters on his fists, and just like Cheung Chan Ti, the formed Qi possessed the same slightly grey shine of low purity to it.
Everyone observing the scene held their breath, as Cheung Chan Ti released a shield similar to what Gao Yan had used earlier, and the two got ready for yet another clash.
Silence filled the air as no one said a thing. The seated audience was on the edge of their chairs observing the two young boys in the arena with bated breaths.
Usually the fights would be decisive and ruthless, yet today two young men were having a no-holds-barred sparring match. A match where it did not matter who won as both would benefit from the outcome.
Even the entirety of the martially involved audience had gained a profound understanding of the two martial art skills the two combatants were using during this match, and they would most likely be able to copy them later.
Both the Qi Shield and the Qi Thorns were considered low ranked martial art skills, nevertheless, both of them caused great damage to the opponent when struck.
A bang much larger than the first thundered through the air. The impact was so hard that a shockwave filled up and went beyond the stage, and both youngsters were sent flying back from the ricochet.
This time, it was Gao Yan who was wiping away blood from the corner of his mouth while Cheung Chan Ti was unable to move his right arm.
“I forfeit”, rang through the silence, as Cheung Chan Li managed to climb back up. As a part of the audience, it was obvious to see that both times Gao Yan had managed to inflict more damage to his friend than what he himself had taken.
When Cheung Chan Li had called out his forfeit, the entire audience stood up and gave an applause for the youngsters. Although these high ranked experts and their family admired the students capable of winning frantic battles, they also enjoyed watching a good old sparring match where two friends were willing to put their all on the line. This was the way real cultivators showed respect.
Both Gao Yan and Cheung Chan Ti were smiling widely and leaned on each other as they got ready to walk towards the infirmary. Both seemed exhausted but satisfied with the way that the fight ended.
As Gao Yan was together with Cheung Chan Ti, Hui Yue and the others stayed behind, showing him a thumbs up before they quickly returned to watch the following match. The match between Wang Ju Long and Rong Ming.
Where the previous fight had been one of mutual friendship and respect, the one about to unfold was one that according to theory should be a walk in the park for Rong Ming.
Nevertheless, Rong Ming’s face did not sprout a smile as he entered the arena, nor was he showing any sort of arrogance or superiority as he looked at his opponent. This caution alone should prove to others just how much of a genius Wang Ju Long really was.
Wang Ju Long and Rong Ming faced each other on the stage, both having no room to look at neither the audience nor the judge who was there to ensure that everything went according to the rules as their entire focus was on the other.
A slight nod was all the two showed each other as respect, and after a second, both took a defensive stance. As soon as the announcer’s voice rung through the air urging the fighters to begin, a strong wind blew into the air, allowing it to gather around a whirlwind of Qi within Wang Ju Long’s hand. The whirlwind grew in size and within less than a second, Wang Ju Long was once again covered by his evolved Qi Lightning skill.
Hui Yue could not help but sigh in praise as the skill had evolved into a skill which provided both defence and attack. Lan Feng had told him that it was indeed a skill worthy of being considered a treasure for a family such as the Wang family. It was a skill he himself did not yet have.
Rong Xing and Rong Ming were from the Rong family, and although this family was currently the City Lord they had not always been such a prominent family. In fact, it was Lord Rong Liang who had managed to bring his declining Rong family from being relatively poor to suddenly becoming the City Lord, taking over the position from the Wang family who had allowed their assets to decline in recent times.
Today the match was not only about two students who were facing off against each other, nor was it about two geniuses from the younger generation. This was a match between the previous City Lord family and the current one.
The audience was certain that the tension which could be felt between these two youngsters was due to their eagerness to win, and prove which family had the best foundations for the position of City Lord..
What the audience could not understand was the actual reason behind the sudden hostility. Every time Wang Ju Long looked at Rong Ming, he did not think about how his family once had been the City Lord’s family. For him, this did not matter.
Wang Ju Long had grown up within the Wang family while it was a high ranked noble family within the city, but he had never experienced living within the City Lord’s mansion and due to this, he had no hostility towards the current City Lord.
What he did mind was that every time he saw Rong Ming, he would be reminded of the fight against Hui Yue; reminded of how his pride had been tarnished. To Wang Ju Long, Rong Ming was nothing more than a stepping stone on the way to fight Hui Yue once again.
Wang Ju Long had no intention of making the first move, as he was being protected by his whirling Qi Lightning, causing Rong Ming to swear slightly. Quick as an arrow Rong Ming moved towards his opponent, both silent and swift as the wind.
Seeing Rong Ming approaching, a focused expression etched onto Wang Ju Long’s face and a bolt of Qi lightning shot out from the hurricane, aiming towards the rushing Rong Ming.
As he sensed the danger incoming, Rong Ming relied on his instincts as he dipped down, rolled on the floor and used the speed to jump back up. In doing so, Rong Ming managed to avoid the first of the Qi lightning bolts, and the distance between the two had significantly narrowed down.
While Rong Xing used small daggers, Rong Ming used a martial art attack skill known as Qi sword. Much like the name suggested it provided Rong Ming with a pearl white sword.
This sword was created by white Qi, however, although this Qi had no hints of grey, it did not light up with the same kind of shine and lustre which could be seen on Wang Ju Long and Hui Yue.
Lightning bolt after lightning bolt shot out from the defensive Qi barrier only to be met by Rong Ming’s Qi sword. Upon impact both the sword and the lightning bolt would explode with force, but this force was easily dodged by Rong Ming as he sidestepped, and dived around the stage.
Looking at the fight from the outside, shocked expressions were evident. Although Rong Ming was known as a peerless genius who had broken into the practitioner rank at the age of fifteen, he was currently struggling against a ten-year-old child.
A ten-year-old child which had broken through the barrier into the Disciple rank at this age was also considered an amazing achievement.
Rong Ming gritted his teeth as he realised his current plan was making no progress and instead sidestepped all the Qi lightning bolts sent his way and rushed straight for Wang Ju Long who was currently protected by the whirlwind surrounding him.
Thick threads of Qi were gushing out of Rong Ming, merging with the sword in his hand, transforming it into a bigger and heavier sword which he in turn swung with all the power in his arm.
As the sword landed on the whirlwind sparks of Qi lightning were sent everywhere, causing a fluctuation to appear within and eventually both whirlwind and sword collapsed. The whirlwind became unsteady before the wind slowly laid down and only seven Qi Lightning bolts appeared next to Wang Ju Long.
Watching this caused Hui Yue’s eyes to narrow yet right as he expected Wang Ju Long had lost, he noticed that the sword within Rong Ming’s hand had cracked into small pieces.
As a student practicing with Qi weapons, Hui Yue knew exactly what that meant. Having a Qi weapon broken meant that it could not be recalled before he had reabsorbed the Qi which had been spent.
Wang Ju Long, on the other hand had also lost his whirlwind. Unlike what Hui Yue had expected, a smile rose on Wang Ju Long’s face and his arms spread out beside him revealing twenty sparkling Qi Lightning balls, all of them bustling with energy and ready to be unleashed at any time.
Looking at this, a wry smile appeared on Rong Ming’s lips and he knew that he had lost. Even though Rong Ming was much stronger when it came to raw strength he had given Wang Ju Long far too much time to create one Qi Lightning bolt after another, and no matter how strong he was, as long as he relied on his lower dantian, an attack from twenty Qi lightning bolts would be enough to severely damage him.
“I forfeit”, Rong Ming sighed as he shrugged his shoulders. In a way, he was not sad that he had lost as he looked at Hui Yue. Currently the little boy was looking at Wang Ju Long with sparkling eyes and a bloodthirsty smile sprawled across his mouth which made it obvious that Hui Yue wanted to fight Wang Ju Long more than anything else.
Hearing that the son of the City Lord was the one to forfeit made everyone present shocked, and they discussed what kind of influence this would have on the future. Some nobles considered changing factions to join the Wang family, while others said that Rong Ming had not used his full potential as he did not wish to injure a weaker opponent.
After this fight, only one remained, however, what Hui Yue cared about was the fact that he was now within the top eight, and so was Wang Ju Long.
Blue eyes locked onto black eyes, as the two children faced each other tacitly. Neither willing to give in and look away, but at the same time ordering the other to do so.
“You better not lose the next matches”, Wang Ju Long mouthed before turning around and walking the opposite way towards his brother and family.