Initially, Li Yingjie had wanted to launch a test attack once to probe Qi Long's depths, but the thought had barely crossed his mind when the other's right fist had appeared unexpectedly before his eyes. It was coming at him fast and furious, the wind blasted towards him by the punch causing a mild ache in his cheeks.
Li Yingjie reacted quickly. He leaned backwards to put as much distance as he could between the two of them, and crossed his arms in front of him to block the punch ...
A soft "bam!" — the sound of a fist striking flesh. Li Yingjie was sent stumbling back three steps before the force behind Qi Long's punch dissipated. But with this retreat, he had lost the initiative.
Taking advantage of the opponent's inability to attack, Qi Long rained a heavy barrage of combo attacks on Li Yingjie. This was Qi Long's favoured style of attack to begin with, so he was truly fighting just as he liked. In the few advancement matches at the beginning, his opponents had all been thoroughly defeated by these wild attacks of Qi Long. Mind you, it wasn't easy for opponents who were slow to rev up and get their head into the game to get used to Qi Long's unreasonable attacks.
Qi Long's fierce attacks in this match led all the watching teachers to nod repeatedly in approval, all of them thinking that he was good at timing his attacks, and had good instincts — a true natural-born fighter.
When Coffin-face, who was intently watching Qi Long fight from the side, saw this, his expression became heavy, as if thinking of something.
Seeing this, Smiley-face couldn't hold back his curiosity. "You noticed something?"
"Just keep watching, if it really is what I think it is ... Yun Ye, maybe, I've hit the jackpot." Coffin-face's eyes, which were originally as calm as still water, were actually shining with an unusual light; it was clear to see just how turbulent his emotions were.
Smiley-face understood his good friend very well, and knew that his friend would not talk about things he wasn't sure of, and so he did not continue to question, but instead turned to put his full attention on watching Qi Long and Li Yingjie's match. Perhaps he would be able to see something, for Smiley-face knew very well who his good friend was excited about.
Although Li Yingjie was so cocky and arrogant that he invited dislike, it could not be denied that his abilities were really not bad and that he had really solid foundations. Even though he had been taken off guard by Qi Long's fierce attack right out of the gate, it wasn't long before he gradually managed to hold his ground. Although he was still more on the passive side, he still managed to find several opportunities to fight back. This performance of his also gained the acknowledgement of quite a number of the teachers in attendance.
Of course, this was not to say that Li Yingjie had turned the tables around and was fighting Qi Long on even ground. Truth was that Qi Long still had the advantage; it was pretty much impossible for Li Yingjie to wrest control back within 100 moves.
Li Yingjie also understood that this situation was bad for him, and as this was also the first time he was disadvantaged in a fight, he couldn't help but become a little anxious and impatient. Since he had first entered the Central Scout Academy, his father had already told him that the first ranking tournament was very important. Its importance did not lie in the treatment one would receive after having their ranking confirmed, but rather in its function as a test to highlight the cream of the crop, so that the most exceptional students could receive the cultivation of the most exceptional instructors under the Initiate Program, which was unique to the Central Scout Academy.
However, very few children would have the chance to experience it, for the Initiate Program was extremely covert, and its education system was on a one-on-one basis — other than the children who had been selected to participate in the program, the majority of children would never get to know of its existence.
Of course, with regards to some of the older elite families, those upper-ranking individuals with power and authority, this secret was no secret at all. Thus, they would remind their children to pay special attention to the first ranking tournament, which was how Li Yingjie knew of this as well.
Frankly, the Central Scout Academy was also aware of this 'leak', so the concealment of this program was actually only targeted at the commoners. However, the academy was not at all concerned, because those children who emerged with great potential and exceptional abilities were typically all from these elite families and high-ranking upper class. After all, these people possessed excellent genetics, so the quality of their descendants was guaranteed to a certain extent.
Although Li Yingjie was a little irritable and impatient, under the solid foundational teachings of the Li family, he still managed to hold himself back, exchanging up to 100 moves with Qi Long. He had originally thought that the situation would slowly get better, but after 100 moves, he found that his passive state in the match was still unchanged. At that moment, his heart started to become agitated, and the way he fought became more and more impatient.
Seeing this, Smiley-face lifted an eyebrow and said, "Tai, looks like the outcome is set."
Coffin-face nodded. "Crew cut boy's opponent's patience is lacking. This is a good chance, but whether or not he can take hold of it, still depends on what the crew cut boy's going to do." If it really was as he thought, the boy could not lose ...
Li Yingjie decided that he could not afford to continue dragging things out with Qi Long — he needed to regain the initiative and quickly end this match and advance. Only then could he get the opportunity to train under the strongest instructor.
Just by coming to that mental decision, Li Yingjie's entire aura changed. His initial bit of impatience disappeared in a split second and a cold air started emanating from his entire body.
The students in the audience may not have been able to sense this sort of change in aura, but the eyes of the watching teachers all turned serious. Smiley-face and Coffin-face were not excluded, especially Coffin-face, who surreptitiously prepared a Federation coin in his hand, just in case.
At this moment, Qi Long seemed to have sensed the difference in Li Yingjie, but did not stop attacking with his hands and legs, instead increasing the intensity of his attacks.
Coffin-face's eyes were coldly focused, and his expression became even grimmer. Could it be that Qi Long had sensed the danger and so was attacking with all his might?
Li Yingjie parried attack after attack as he systematically retreated one foot after another. Meanwhile, his gaze became exceptionally cool and analytical, and there was even a trace of not too subtle killing intent.
No matter how berserk Qi Long was, his attacks would always have a moment of pause, and Li Yingjie was just waiting for that moment. He wanted to defeat Qi Long in one strike, so he needed to put enough distance between them, otherwise he would be too busy handling Qi Long's relentless attacks to even unleash his trump card.
That's right, Li Yingjie was so confident because he still had a powerful trump card. His father had cautioned him not to use this trump card frivolously, because this was a killing art of the Li family, and was one of the true combat arts that had been passed down the Li family over thousands of years.
There was enough distance now — Li Yingjie finally got into the stance of the Li family's sure-kill technique ...
When Coffin-face saw this, his expression changed subtly. His fingers flipped, and the coin held in his palm was now poised between his index finger and his middle finger. If Qi Long charged forwards to attack, he would immediately launch the coin to send Qi Long flying out of his opponent's attack range.
Just when everyone thought that Qi Long would continue rushing forwards to attack Li Yingjie, Qi Long did something which stunned all the spectators. As if suddenly sensing something, Qi Long, who had been preparing to attack, frowned and actually stopped moving forwards. Not only that, he also retreated swiftly, putting a considerable distance between him and Li Yingjie.
When Qi Long stopped once more, his pose had already changed from its original attack stance to a defensive stance, expression cautious, seemingly very concerned about Li Yingjie's change.
Seeing this, Coffin-face's emotionless face suddenly became animated. Retrieving the coin between his fingers to envelop it once more in his palm, he muttered to himself, "That's right, this is it, this is it."
"Tai, what exactly is it?" After watching for so long, Smiley-face found that he was still clueless, and so couldn't resist opening his mouth to ask again.
"Don't rush, Yun Ye, once the results are out, I'll explain." Right then, Coffin-face just had no thought to spare for explaining things to his good friend. His spirited eyes were fixed squarely on Qi Long, a deep yearning in his gaze. Initially, he had only wanted to take on Qi Long as an initiate disciple because of Smiley-face, but now, he truly wanted to do so from the bottom of his heart.
The spectating Han Jijyun's expression also became grim — although he couldn't sense it as accurately as the instructors, he could still tell that something wasn't right with the change in Li Yingjie's aura. Along with Li Yingjie's strange pose, Han Jijyun knew that this was going to be trouble. The clever Han Jijyun deduced instantly that Li Yingjie must have brought out his deeply hidden trump card, for this somewhat fear-inducing pose had not been seen in any of his previous matches.
At that moment, Han Jijyun couldn't help but muse to himself — no wonder the top of the rankings had been monopolized by the old elite families for many years; their roots were indeed deep. It should be noted that for them, who were from middle-class families within a militaristic system, being able to learn a high-level military basic art was already considered extraordinarily lucky. But for those old elite families, they had more than one set of this sort of combat arts, and the types were varied, some even including real hereditary combat arts, such as the case of the Li family.
Just like that, Qi Long and Li Yingjie faced off, and this time, Qi Long displayed his rare patience, holding back instead of charging forwards recklessly to attack.
Li Yingjie couldn't help but swear internally — why was this Qi Long so d*mn lucky?! Right now, the stance he was holding was the Li family's strongest defensive counterattack move. As long as Qi Long launched an attack, he could instantly take advantage of the opponent's fatal weakness during his attack, and achieve a one-hit-kill effect. Unfortunately, Qi Long suddenly refused to attack ...
Li Yingjie did consider that perhaps Qi Long had seen through his stance, but the moment this notion popped up, it was ruthlessly quashed by him. His father had said before that all opponents who saw the Li family death combat arts were dead — Qi Long definitely couldn't know what he was thinking.
In the end, the one who lost in terms of patience was still Li Yingjie. Li Yingjie decided not to wait any longer because this one killing move wasn't all he had; he still had many killing moves which required him to take the initiative.
So, Li Yingjie changed his stance. He rushed towards Qi Long, reaching Qi Long's side in a flash, and two fingers of his left hand headed straight for Qi Long's right arm, while his right hand splayed open vertically like a blade ...
Seeing this, Qi Long was startled, and then without even thinking about it, his right fist hurtled toward the other's left fingers.
In Coffin-face's low hanging right hand, that little coin once again appeared between his fingers.
Another "bam!" of bodily impact, and two figures were sent flying in separate directions.
Then there was a loud "Ah!", which was quickly followed by two bodies violently crashing onto the ground. Both combatants had been unable to withstand the force behind the other's blow and had crashed heavily to the ground.
One of the figures smashed onto the floor of the arena stage, continued to roll over and then bounced off the edge, directly tumbling off the stage to fall below the arena.
Meanwhile, the other person smashed onto the stage as well, and actually made deep scratches on the arena floor as he slid towards the edge of the arena. Just as it looked like he would fall off the stage, that person swung out his left hand in a claw and resolutely struck out with all his might at the arena floor.
His fingers sunk into the ground with a resounding noise, but even so, score marks roughly 3 centimetres long were left on the surface of the arena floor. However, because of this force, the person managed to halt his falling body, and then with a somersault, he was once again standing firmly on the edge of the stage, clearly telling everyone that he was the winner of this match.
The referee teacher stood at the edge of the arena, glanced down at the figure lying below the stage, and then looked at the student who was already standing securely beside him. His expression was incredulous. Looks like the first grade Class-A was really going to riot.
"I declare, the winner of the advancement fight is —— Qi Long!"