Chapter 436: Suppressing Wang Chong's Chess Style (II)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Wang Chong had humiliated Xu Qiqin three times, three times that she would never forget. The last time in particular, he had given her a beating that she, as the big sister of Longwei Training Camp, had never suffered before, and it left her with terrible shame.
Wang Chong had broken the precedent!
Whether it was to wash off her shame or for the sake of her pride and dignity as a daughter of the Xu Clan, Xu Qiqin could not lose again to Wang Chong.
Wang Chong's last words to her had throbbed with pain in her mind over the last few months, and no one could possibly know how much effort she had put in to rid herself of them.
In this period of time, she had silently endured the humiliation of the crowd. If there was a test being held in the Chess Hall, she would always be a spectator.
She had carefully watched Wang Chong's every step and move, engraving them in her mind. When she went back, when she went to sleep, she would still be deeply pondering them, contemplating the subtle changes that happened with each move.
But that was not all. Xu Qiqin had always regarded herself highly, not even giving much face to the princesses of the palace.
And in the game of chess, she had never believed that she would lose to Wang Chong.
But this time, to deal with Wang Chong, to clear herself of this shame, she had put down all her pride and dignity and studied the books that Wang Chong had written on chess.
From the shallowest introductory texts to the highest-level chess manuals, she read through all of them. Even in the winter, she was still studying the chess books that Wang Chong had written for the students of the Chess Hall.
The patient suffering of several months had all been for revenge.
Her talent, the books that Wang Chong had written, and her observations of every one of Wang Chong's games… had finally allowed her to completely grasp the shifts and thoughts in Wang Chong's style and to also find a way to suppress it.
The current Wang Chong was no longer anything mysterious in her eyes!
She wanted to beat Wang Chong into the ground before all these students of the Chess Hall who so worshiped him.
"Wang Chong, it's your turn!"
Xu Qiqin raised her eyes, her manner aggressive.
"Young Lady, good job!" The maid from the Xu Clan had hidden herself in the crowd. Her eyes glowed as she watched, her hands clenched and her expression excited.
Only Wang Chong remained calm. Accompanied by his gentle chuckle, the next white stone came down onto an unexpected spot on the board. Not only did it break Xu Qiqin's assault, it also reversed the situation and began to counter.
"An excellent move!"
The crowd's eyes shone. This was as they expected of the young master. Xu Qiqin wanted to defeat their young master, but this was no trifling task.
"Hmph, I want to see how long you can keep up that smug look!"
Without waiting for the crowd to cheer, Xu Qiqin thrust two slender fingers into her box and took up her fifth black stone.
Her move this time was targeted at the fourth stone that Wang Chong had used to salvage the situation. Not only was she restraining Wang Chong's pieces, making Wang Chong's efforts on the board vanish into smoke, she once more put Wang Chong in a disadvantageous situation.
The Chess Hall fell silent once more.
Xu Qiqin's fierce and swift attacks were like some invisible hand clutching at their throats. The atmosphere grew stagnant.
Even the slowest people in the crowd had begun to realize that Xu Qiqin was now a completely different person. No longer was she as easy to push around as they had first imagined.
Hopes of a short game of chess were now slim, as were the chances of an easy victory for Wang Chong.
For her sixth stone, Xu Qiqin went for the center.
For her seventh stone, Xu Qiqin placed her black piece on Wang Chong's upper left corner.
And for her eighth stone, Xu Qiqin placed it right in the middle of Wang Chong's pieces.
Her playing style became more and more extreme, faster and faster, and all of these moves were very targeted. Even the most confused and incompetent of chess players could tell by now that Xu Qiqin had specifically studied Wang Chong's way of playing chess.
Her playing style had preserved Wang Chong's ferocity while also harshly impeding Wang Chong's own playing style.
To put it simply, everyone could tell that her chess style had been specifically constructed to suppress Wang Chong.
"Things are getting problematic!"
In the crowd, Wei Anfang and Old Eagle frowned, and the rest of the crowd was beginning to assess Xu Qiqin differently.
The crowd still felt the same about Wang Chong, but Xu Qiqin seemed to have gotten stronger.
This was the first time since they had gotten to know Wang Chong that they had seen someone on equal footing with Wang Chong, perhaps even a little superior to him.
The chess board was still being divided. Though Xu Qiqin's assaults were fierce, Wang Chong's counters were equally terrifying.
His sixth stone had cut down Xu Qiqin's assault.
His seventh stone had shattered the connections between Xu Qiqin's stones.
His eight stone had once again penetrated into the middle of Xu Qiqin's camp.
This was the crowd's first time seeing a game of this level. Both Wang Chong and Xu Qiqin were like the sharpest of swords, cutting at their opponent's most fatal areas.
They were both almost completely disregarding defense, adopting postures of absolute aggression.
Unwittingly, everyone had stopped breathing, having placed all their attention on this intense warlike chess game. Chess was a reflection of strategy, and if such a strategy played out on the battlefield without a sufficiently strong opponent, the result would be one-sided dominance.
That kind of battle was called 'surround and annihilate' and really couldn't be called a battle.
But if the two opponents were equally matched and highly talented, a completely different but grand spectacle would emerge. That war could no longer be called a war. So sublime would it be that it would become art, the 'art of war'.
Such was the art that Wang Chong and Xu Qiqin were exhibiting to the crowd.
That intense combat had completely enraptured them. Many of the students who had only learned of chess and strategy so that they could cultivate in the spirit vein were now coming to the realization that this was also a way that chess could be played.
Although they also played chess every day, using the same chessboard and the same chess pieces, Wang Chong and Xu Qiqin seemed to be playing a completely different type of chess.
They had all been hypnotized, subdued, by the art of chess displayed by Wang Chong and Xu Qiqin.
Just when everyone was captivated by the battle between Wang Chong and Xu Qiqin, this intense battle reached its first critical moment.
"Wang Chong, you've lost!"
With a swish, a palm of white jade stretched out and took away three white stones on the board, sweeping the first lot of white stones into her own box.
Finally, Xu Qiqin had taken the initiative and taken Wang Chong's stone for the first time since the start of the game.
Just from this point alone, Xu Qiqin's proficiency in chess had already surpassed everyone in the Chess Hall excluding Wang Chong.
Not one person had ever managed this feat.
"The one who laughs last laughs best. Xu Chong, isn't it a little too early to talk about victory and defeat?"
Wang Chong lightly smiled at the smug Xu Qiqin.
Wang Chong had to admit that Xu Qiqin was the strongest chess opponent he had encountered, excluding the war god Su Zhengchen.
Even to Wang Chong, she was an exceptionally rare talent. Even Marchioness Yi would probably be a little lacking in front of her.
Although he had placed many chess manuals and strategy texts in the Chess Hall, it wasn't like they had been there from the start.
For Xu Qiqin to raise herself to such a high level by studying him was truly too stunning!
"Hmph, if I can take three of your stones, I can take thirty of them, perhaps even more! Your loss in this game is assured. Better for you to think of how you will concede in front of everyone! I'm already impatient to hear those words from you admitting that your skills can't compare to mine!" Xu Qiqin proudly said. Although she was still pretending to be Xu Chong, she was already impatient to see Wang Chong's face when he lost.
"Although I must admit that you've made great progress, you're still a far cry from beating me. If this is all you have, such a feat will be very difficult for you. Don't forget, if you lose, you have to agree to one condition of mine!"
Wang Chong grinned, his demeanor calm and confident.
"You're still so stubborn!"
Xu Qiqin inwardly cursed. Looking at the board, she couldn't see how Wang Chong wasn't on the losing end. Wang Chong was in such an awful situation and in front of so many people, and yet still stubbornly refused to say what she wanted. Even Xu Qiqin had to admire him.
But the more Wang Chong acted this way, the more unconvinced Xu Qiqin was, and the more she wanted to win. She had already lost too many times in the Chess Hall.
Her intense sense of dignity made her want to win a match fair and square against Wang Chong at least once, to thoroughly defeat him.
"Hmph, don't worry. If you want to lose, it won't be that easy. I'll definitely fulfill your wish!"
With an icy expression, Xu Qiqin took a black stone and immediately placed it in the middle of Wang Chong's stones.
Turn thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two…
Wang Chong's situation on the board grew worse and worse while Xu Qiqin's offense continued to strengthen. Black and white stones crisscrossed the board like two flood dragons, clawing and biting at each other.
With just a glance, one would feel an aura of violence and danger exuding from the board.
Even the formerly unconcerned Old Eagle had been drawn in by this chess game.
On the thirty-eighth turn, Wang Chong finally managed to take two of Xu Qiqin's pieces, but Xu Qiqin had won even more.
But no matter how much he lost, Wang Chong remained calm, not the slightest bit panicked. Even the haughty Xu Qiqin had to admire this.
On the fortieth round, a stone was placed on the side of the board facing Wang Chong, a seemingly unimportant area.
But this seemingly casual move seemed to have a weight of ten thousand jun, instantly transforming the stalemate on the board.
The easygoing and indifferent Wang Chong felt a shiver run through his body and his complexion instantly changed.
Almost subconsciously, Wang Chong fiercely raised his head to look at Xu Qiqin.
This move was not one of his style, nor was it a move that he had ever once used. This move belonged to a completely different playing style.
Wang Chong glanced at the board once more.
On the large chessboard, a small line of black stones spanned between two mighty white dragons. Though the black stones were small, they were like a towering range of mountains, firmly preventing Wang Chong's left and right dragons from working together.
"An excellent move!"
Even though he had been called a War Saint in his last life, Wang Chong had to admit that this move of Xu Qiqin's was superb, a move of wondrous genius.
"It's finally appeared!"
A lightning bolt flashed through Wang Chong's mind as he began to look at the daughter of the Xu Clan across from him with a completely different gaze.