Naturally, that wasn't the main goal of the Parliament influence in this CHF; their objective was to demonstrate the emergence of their own power. Everything they had done in this CHF was the work of decades of planning and execution. Nevertheless, they had almost been wiped out completely in the round-of-16. If not for the disruption caused by Tianjing, Giant God Peak would have been the lone contender in the quarterfinals. Despite their planning and ambition, the reality wasn't as optimistic as they had envisioned. The Federation still remained under the rule of the aristocratic families.
The superiority of the aristocratic family squadrons in this CHF was utterly overwhelming, shattering the hopes and dreams that the parliament influence had placed on those commoner squadrons.
Frankly speaking, this didn't come as much of a surprise for the Parliament, though they were definitely disappointed by the results. It had never been an easy task for an up and coming entity to challenge the incumbent rulers, and wrestle power from them to establish a new system.
This was the nature of the aristocratic families. During the dark era, when the Federation had yet to be established, the entire Eurasian continent was protected by the aristocratic families. They occupied strongholds and cities, preventing the darkness from overrunning them and ensuring humanity's survival.
The Federation was, in essence, just a collaboration between the aristocratic families. However, across the couple hundred of years where humanity survived through the dark era, regardless of whether it was a huge, powerful family or just a small clan, too many had been lost in the river of time. The power void had to be filled, and while most of these cases resulted in another aristocratic family taking control, certain situations with unique circumstances would arise, eventually culminating in the rise of the commoner's parliamentary influence, where new elites would gain power among the gaps between the aristocratic families' control.
The meteoric rise of Skylink, the reestablishment of civilised society, and the increasing dissemination of knowledge to the masses, all contributed to a golden, where the Federation Parliament's development skyrocketed, finally reaching the level where they could stand toe to toe with some of the great aristocratic families, in terms of strength and status.
As a result, various kinds of power games began between the parliament and the aristocratic families in their struggle to obtain more resources, eventually becoming a daily occurrence. This CHF was the most recent one, and the one happening on the largest scale, with immense implications on the outcome of this tug-of-war.
The reason why they had pitched for Tianjing was to make Tianjing act as a shield for Giant God Peak, as fame and reputation were undoubtedly important for them. In the end, the priority was to ensure that the desired outcome was achieved. As long as Giant God Peak could win the championship, everything they envisioned would come into fruition. A few years down the road, people would only remember the champions, while the 1st runner up, black horses, and everyone else, would be forgotten in the annals of history.
Ma Dong was the only one within the Tianjing squadron who was genuinely busy. At this moment, too many parties were paying attention to Tianjing, and Tianjing was a prime target for both the parliament and the aristocratic families. Although not everyone was openly attempting to entice Tianjing, more and more requests were coming in every day in hopes of getting together with the Tianjing squadron.
There were those who were more direct in their pitch, wanting to immediately offer aid to Tianjing, with sponsorship amounts that could be said as gargantuan. With that amount, it would be simple to build 10 of the top-class training facilities from Stuart that Ma Dong had been drooling over. However, it was best to not underestimate simple sponsorships like this. Generally speaking, after accepting money from others, their instructions and orders would need to be followed, and gradually, one would become a mere subordinate.
There were those who were more discrete, and sent their younger generation members that held some clout to mix around and form connections with Ma Dong.
Naturally, there were also those who were more overbearing, or those who tried to use reasoning and emotions to pull Tianjing over. The parliament was one of these parties; on the surface, they appeared enthusiastic and showed that they valued Tianjing. However, their tone had already betrayed their aim, which was to have Tianjing as one of their subordinates.
However, Wang Zhong was simply not interested in those matters.
Be it the aristocratic families or the parliament, none of them was able to interest him in the slightest, nor did he bother getting involved. Wang Zhong wasn't dumb. Admittedly, he still had a youthful and emotional side. However, he also possessed a maturity that was rarely seen at his age. Due to his contact with the Hyperdimension, he was able to understand that there were some things and matters that were just out of his control. He was also unwilling to bring about disasters for Tianjing.
Naturally, if they wanted to have the freedom to decide, they needed the strength to obtain that freedom. If their journey ended in the top 8, their fame could potentially lead to them becoming a sacrificial pawn for the contest among the various great powers. They would be unable to rely on either side, as neither would let Tianjing off the hook, leaving them to die in their contest. However, if Tianjing became stronger and even more famous, both sides would refrain from targeting them, in fear of destroying a potential prized possession. Simply speaking, their strength would determine the weight behind their words, and their value.
The quarterfinals balloting ceremony was about to commence. Every single citizen of the Federation was paying close attention to this, as it directly concerned the fate of the top 8 squadrons in this CHF. Even powerhouse squadrons like Stuart were no exception; the matchup could affect them greatly.
Perhaps, for the aim of publicity, and also for the sake of putting an end to the rumours about underhanded manipulation that had been circulating around on Skylink, the entire process was conducted in an open environment under live broadcast. The location chosen for the ceremony was the large grounds of Stuart's victory arena stadium. Even though it wasn't an official match, the arena was already considerably packed, with reporters from various media outlets present in the venue. On the official CHF Skylink website, the comprehensive live broadcast had already started.
"The balloting ceremony is about to start."
The commentators for the ceremony's live Skylink broadcast were once again Ruo Zhi and Chen Yu'er, as the two were getting increasingly adept and skilful with their coordination. "There's not a single weakling present in the top 8 squadrons. However, strength is no longer the sole deciding factor on whether they will be able to continue down the path to the championship. Today, luck will be a more important factor."
"That's right. Even if those S+ rank powerhouse squadrons like Stuart, Martial Ghost Divine Emperor and Grozny were to get matched up, it's still possible for a comet to collide with Earth."
"Therefore, today's balloting results are extremely important, and will affect the hearts countless friends and family watching from the arena and Skylink. Both the arena and Skylink are rather lively today. The captains of the top 8 squadrons will make an appearance soon; it's gonna be the fans' lucky day."
Frankly speaking, although the outcome of the ballot was undoubtedly important, within the Federation where the ideology of heroes was prevalent, being able to observe their idols in close proximity was the most rewarding thing for the audience. Furthermore, this was the first time they would be able to see all of their idols together. This was extremely obvious, as everyone's eyes were completely out of focus during the explanation of the rules and a short speech by Long Mei'er, the chairwoman of the CHF organising committee. The low hum of people discussing buzzed across the arena, continuing all the way till the main characters appeared.
"Stuart squadron, Carolyn!"
Leading the captains of the top 8 squadrons was Carolyn.
Carolyn was undoubtedly the number 1 figure among the Federation's younger generation. The powerful Stuart Family and her individual strength established and cemented her position as the undisputed queen. She had truly made people look up and respect her, as she had accomplished everything she was credited for with her own ability. For example, the establishment of contact with Solomon as the Federation's representative; this was a task so unimaginably difficult, that even the other notable figures in the younger generation would never be able to understand it. The fame and reputation of this queen was already universally renowned. In fact, even Gui Hao would pale in comparison.
Today, she was dressed in a pure white dress, appearing completely unrelated to her role as fighter. Regardless of her outfit, appearance, or the air of nobility she gave off, they practically suppressed everyone around her. Despite not having a body as fiery as Laura, when coupled with her absolutely stunning appearance, she appeared just like a goddess that absolutely couldn't get desecrated.
Thunderous cheers, roars, whistles, praises, and claps, instantly rang out from the arena. This sounds lingered on, creating a lively atmosphere surpassing even that of Long Mei'er's opening speech.
Without talking about Stuart's supporters, even the fans of other squadrons did not have anything but good impressions towards this goddess.
Her exposure, the glory accorded to her, and even her positive image; it was simply too great. Carolyn had always been an eternal idol and goddess in the hearts of many. Furthermore, she was the representative of this CHF's host, and also the representative of Stuart, the strongest squadron in CHF history.
Under the eyes of the clamouring audience and Long Mei'er, Carolyn went up and took the first number of the ballot.
Number 6. A rather lucky number.
"Martial Ghost Divine Emperor squadron, Gui Hao!"
Dressed in casual attire, Gui Hao walked up, a radiant smile plastered on his face.
Although such an environment might be troublesome for some, Gui Hao found it rather entertaining.
Shrieks instantly rang out from quite a few girls in the arena. The number one successor of the Gui Family, one of the most powerful aristocratic families in the Federation, the resources, fame and reputation controlled by Gui Hao could only be matched by Carolyn and Carolyn alone. However, the genuine reasons behind his fame were his character, handsome appearance, and frightening combat accomplishments.
The 1 VS 5 provocation he had issued in this CHF had blown this fellow's fame through the roof. Regardless of the evaluations from the CHF officials or the Mo Family, Gui Hao was undoubtedly one of the strongest participants in CHF. Furthermore, the unconfirmed rumours about him and Carolyn had resulted in many enthusiastic discussions among Federation citizens. After all, those two were good matches for each other.
"Gui Hao has picked number 7! According to the balloting rules, 1 will be matched up against 2, 3 against 4, 5 against 6, and 7 against 8." said Ruo Zhi with a smile. "Without a doubt, Stuart and Martial Ghost Divine Emperor are the hottest favourites for this year's championship. There are even quite a few people who are anticipating for them to be matched up against each other/ If that happens, that would result in more opportunities for the other squadrons. However, the heavens aren't always that perfect."
"Grozny Academy, Vladimir!"
The Ice Prince was wearing a short sleeved T-shirt. He was yet another handsome guy, also hailed from a powerhouse S+ ranked squadron and similarly from one of the upper five families of the Federation. Regardless of strength or background, Vladimir was not inferior to Gui Hao in any way. Furthermore, the awe surrounding the younger generation from the northern regions was unmatched by anyone. Even Carolyn wasn't able to match up to him on this aspect!
However, Vladimir, who had chosen to walk on the cruel and callous way of life, had fewer fans than Gui Hao and Carolyn. Naturally, Vladimir did not care about this, as Vasilyevich only needed to properly govern the northern regions.
The audience gave Vladimir an extremely warm round of applause. Naturally, there was no lacking of shrieks from his female fans, as after all, their numbers were just a tad bit less than Gui Hao's.
"It's number 3! Grozny Academy has also avoided matching up against the other 2 S+ rank squadrons! I have to say that luck is a part of one's strength."
"Heaven's Fate Academy, Mo Wen!"
With a red runic cloth around his eyes, Mo Wen appeared in everyone's view.
To any hot-blooded youths who loved to fight, Mo Wen was definitely the benchmark figure at the top of their milestones. He was the role model of all who ventured into the martial dao.
He had mastered all of the Mo Family's Inner Fist Martial Arts, was a wrestling master, the number one expert within the Federation's younger generation, an instructor for the Federation Armed Forces mechanized battalion... he had way too many titles and honours attached to his name, things that people would never be able to achieve even if they were to pursue it for their entire life. Yet, a single person had achieved all of that: Mo Wen.
He was unlike Carolyn, Gui Hao and Vladimir. Although he also hailed from one of the upper five families of the Federation, the Mo Family, he was not from the main lineage. Instead, he had relied on his talent and hard work to achieve the recognition of the masses, to the point of being able to stand on equal footing as the heaven-gifted sons and daughters like Carolyn and Gui Hao!
Those youths not only possessed individual strength, they also possessed the power to rally supporters within the younger generation of the Federation.
Mo Wen was basically a living legend. Before the appearance of All Mouthy King, he was the greatest symbol of encouragement in the hearts of the Federation's youths.
The number of females shrieking out had lessened by quite a bit. However, they were replaced by the berserk roars from men. The noise generated by the audience instantly became thrice as loud as what the two men before him had received.
"Haha. Although captain Mo Wen always keeps a low profile, his fame and reputation can even give pressure to miss Carolyn! There are truly quite a number of people in the arena and Skylink cheering crazily for him."
"Captain Mo Wen always gives people a sense of security. I'm also a fan of captain Mo Wen." said Chen Yu'er with a smile. "It's time for captain Mo Wen to pick a number. Oh, it's actually number 1!"
"Fuck, is that too cruel?" a wave of miserable voices instantly rang out across Skylink.
The 4 S+ powerhouse squadrons had actually managed to avoid one another!