Chapter 44 – The Preliminary Round
The sounds of sparrows chirping and the sweeping noise of a broom resounded in the disciple lodgings.
It was still a bit early for the disciples to wake up, as they were all comfortably sleeping in their warm beds.
A lone, dark haired boy inside a small hut was seated on a mat, as he deeply immersed himself in meditation.
Faint tendrils of golden lightning bounced around his skin as waves of essence floated above him.
The dark haired boy no longer appeared to be as skinny as he was a few months ago. Cords of dense muscle covered his body, giving him a lean constitution but not making his appearance overly bulky. His face had also lost some traces of its chubbiness, as it made his jaw seem more angular, while emanating a feeling of fierceness.
After months of intense training in both Martial Arts and cultivation, the dark haired boy currently had a completely different aura and composition!
Calron abruptly opened his eyes, as golden lightning flashed across his pupils!
Taking a deep breath, Calron ended his cultivation and slowly stood up.
Grabbing the towel on his bed, he went outside his hut and gazed at the empty courtyard.
“So, today is the day that it all begins… “
Calron murmured as he glanced towards the horizon.
In the past few months, Calron had grown several inches and he was now just as tall as Fatty, or maybe even slightly taller! Whereas Fatty had a much more muscular frame, Calron was leaner with thick whipcord-like muscles.
Both brothers had been vigorously training for the tournament and the changes were clearly visible. It was finally time for the Preliminary Round!
Wiping his sweat with the towel, Calron deeply inhaled the fresh morning breeze as he waited for the sun to completely rise.
This was a new hobby that Calron had recently adopted. For some unknown reason, he felt serenely peaceful as he watched the sun slowly rise, as it gave life to another day.
After the sun finally rose and several disciples exited their huts after they woke up, Calron went back inside and prepared to get ready for the first round of the tournament.
“Big brother! Big brother! Here!”
A cheerful Fatty jumped up and down as he waved both his hands in the air to get Calron’s attention.
The Preliminary Round was set at the school’s Arena. Throughout the year, the Arena would be mostly empty and only during the rare occasion of a duel or a big ceremony, would the Arena be opened. Until a few weeks ago, Calron had not even known that a stadium as large as the Arena existed within the school!
Seeing Fatty over in the crowd, Calron gave a wide smile and rushed forwards to meet his brother.
“Yo Fatty! Are you ready to finally showcase your awesome talent?”
Calron teased Fatty as he locked his arms around Fatty’s neck.
There was a large crowd of disciples gathered around the entrance of the Arena, as they excitedly chattered about the battles they would participate in, and then later watch their friends’ battles. Although not many had the hopes of reaching the top fifty ranks of the tournament, the Arena was a perfect place to showcase their talent and cultivation prowess!
For the disciples who had not yet been taken under the tutelage of a Master, the tournament would be the perfect opportunity for them to gain a Master if they performed well in the battles!
It was a tournament where everyone competed to be acknowledged as the most talented and powerful!
“Eh? How could I possibly be considered talented, when big brother will be participating as well? Wouldn’t everyone be just shocked by you?”
Fatty answered in a mock pitiful voice as he gave a quick wink to his brother.
“Hahaha, you don’t have to worry, I will intentionally lose in the first round.”
Calron stated as he continued to walk towards the Arena.
“W-what! Why would you do that? You could easily reach the ranks of the top fifty, so why would you want to lose in the Preliminary Round?”
Fatty asked in shocked voice. The two brothers had both been zealously training for months and right before the tournament had started, his brother suddenly announced that he wanted to lose in the very first round! How could Fatty not be shocked?
“Sigh… Fatty, this whole thing is pointless. What do you think will happen once I reveal my strength? Although Master has given me permission to use the Formless Fist, would anyone here be able to take even a single punch from me? It just doesn’t interest me anymore.”
Calron lazily replied as folded his hands above his head.
In truth, within the past few months of training, Calron had already broken into the fifth rank! Just with his physical body alone, he would be able to easily defeat any cultivator of the sixth rank!
With the average strength of the Red Boar’s disciples being at the third rank, it would hardly be a challenge for the current Calron to defeat any of their outer disciples!
“But there will be other elites of the outer disciples! I remember my big sister telling me that there were some outstandingly strong disciples in the school! If big brother reaches the top ranks, then you will be able to fight them and at the same time, receive one of the rewards for the top three placements!”
Fatty exclaimed in a passionate voice.
“Uhh, fine! I’ll try it out, but if it gets boring, I will just quit and leave.”
Calron conveyed in an exasperated tone.
Although he had training continuously for the past few months, it was not for the tournament, but instead to beat his Master!
Calron had sparred countless times with Elias, and not once had he ever come close to defeating him or landing a strike against him. Battles with his Master always excited Calron and ignited the raging battle spirit inside him!
That was how true battles were supposed to be like!
What was the point of a fight where one’s heart did not violently pound against one’s chest? Or when the blood did not boil with unrestrained excitement?
Calron was only participating the tournament because it was a rule of the Red Boar School, otherwise, he would not even have entered the Preliminary Round!
The reward for the first place did somewhat rouse Calron’s curiosity, however, it was not enough for him to waste his time by fighting multiple battles. His essence was already in the liquid state, so the elixir would hardly be of any use to him.
“Big brother is so lazy! Whatever, that means I get to shine instead! Hehe.”
Fatty boasted as he puffed up his chest.
Within the past few months, Fatty had not been lazing around and had actually trained with just as much intensity as Calron. He had broken into the third rank and cultivated his essence according to his family’s secret arts!
A while ago, Felice had found out that her brother had mysteriously awakened to an element! After being stunned and speechless for a long moment, she soon burst into tears as she tightly hugged her little brother.
Without the slightest hesitation, she had discreetly handed out Fatty the Axier family’s cultivation techniques and made him promise to not reveal it to anyone.
Currently, only Calron and Elias knew exactly how much of a freak Fatty really was!
Finally reaching the inside of the Arena, both Calron and Fatty gaped at the sight in front of them.
The Arena was simply massive!
There were thousands of chairs and booths surrounding the stadium and a huge crowd of disciples wearing different colored armbands.
There were also several older men and women, who Calron guessed were the current Masters of the disciples there.
Unfortunately, since it was secret that both Fatty and Calron had Elias as their Master, they would not be having anyone to wish them good luck besides themselves. However, their Master had promised that he would definitely be watching from within the audience.
Walking towards the stand where the other disciples were receiving their different colored armbands, Calron and Fatty hoped that they would not receive the same colored armband.
It would be a cruel twist of fate if they were placed in the same batch for the first round, as that would mean that only one of them would be able to reach the top fifty ranks!
“Good luck, big brother!”
Fatty whispered next to Calron.
“You too, Fatty. Hold nothing back, even if we are pitted against each other!”
Calron whispered to Fatty, as he gave him an optimistic wink.
A detached voice sounded from the stand when Calron and Fatty approached the front of the line. A fat pot-bellied man sat in a chair that was too small for him as he lazily handed out the colored armbands.
“Hmm, registered under… the city Lord!”
The fat man abruptly sat up straight as he saw who the sponsor of the boy was.
Noticing the pot-bellied man’s frenzied actions, Calron did not know whether to laugh or cry. If the man knew who he really was, then he doubted the fat man would be so respectful.
Enjoying the antics of the man, Calron responded.
“Yes, that would be me.”
“Alright, you are under the seventh batch. Here is your armband. Best of luck!”
The pot-bellied man sincerely said as he handed out Calron a black armband.
Patting Fatty on the back, Calron stepped to the side and started wearing his armband.
“Hey look! That trash has the same colored armband as us. Keke, how unlucky for him!”
A nearby disciple exclaimed as he saw Calron wearing the black colored armband.
Irritated by the voice, Calron lifted his head and looked up towards the group of disciples in front of him.
Calron’s eyes suddenly widened as his eyes locked with the person who stood at the front of the group!