Ye Chong removed his helmet hurriedly. The helmet was indeed a product of the advanced technology, such astonishing capability of dissociating the viewer’s senses from the outside world.
Before both of them came to a realization, the tournament had already arrived at the final match of the day. Every final match of the day would be considered as the show of the day, where Tianhua dojo would arrange two ace martial artists fighting against each other, which one of them happened to be Lan Yixing for today.
For the sense of majesty, the match would be carried out at the enormous colosseum which was usually used for major mech combats. This colosseum also happened to be the grandest field of Tinahua dojo, which its length and width both happened to be 3km respectively and the field was bounded by the spectator area. That sounded dangerous indeed. To cope with the possibilities of how the parts of exploded mechs would be flying at the spectators, the whole battleground was capsuled inside a protective field. The colosseum was another huge investment by Hua Tiankai even way before mech combats became a thing in his field. People would truly compliment his prescience and daring decision.
The spectator area was empty however. Considering how the schedule was a pretty tight one for the day and how it would cost some time for the audience to shift themselves between venues, eventually everyone succumbed to viewing the match via the projector or the helmet, including those judges at the table. It was inevitable keeping in mind that the colosseum was pretty distant from their seat. Tianhua dojo had taken that into account, no worries. Hundreds of sets of cameras were installed at every corner inside the colosseum. The audience could just feel the match right on their seat. If this was not a grand setting, what would be?
Lan Yixing, with his boy Ye Chong had entered the preparation room. Every participant would do their stretching or warming up here. There was a long narrow corridor which would lead them to the field directly.
"I’m going," stated the master.
"Alright," replied Ye Chong nonchalantly.
Lan Yixing glanced at Ye Chong, "You are the most diligent among all the apprentices I had so far. You are here to witness what true martial arts is." The tone was indifferent as usual, but Ye Chong could discern the underlying passion. Lan Yixing was like a legendary dragon long sealed underground, and at that moment he would erupt and show them what tyranny truly was!
Ye Chong, in response, did not say a word. He only nodded his head, expressing curiosity towards the level of his master. He had yet seen his master in actual action other than teaching him a few tricks. His master had always been keeping everything under his sleeves.
"Ye." Shang spoke, "His opponent is one by the name of Zuo Ling." Zuo Ling? That’s a new name. It was not surprising to see Ye Chong responding so, since he was a newbie in the field. He barely knew anything about the artists. His mind could go blank if he were asked to name a few martial artists. Mu had once searched for information on close-combats in Virtual World yet similarly he had hardly any knowledge. Shang? Nevermind.
Coincidentally, a trainee from Tianhua dojo came into the scene, "Master Lan," courteously he spoke, "You are the 77th seeded player in this match. According to the outcome of randomized matchup performed by our processor, your opponent would be the 1st seeded player, namely Zuo Ling."
"Zuo? That’s his surname? Zuo Ling?" asked Lan Yixing. His soulless, dark eyes were suddenly lit by something as lustrous they grew. The wrinkles on his forehead twitched a little. Such detail did not escape Ye Chong’s eyes, as he wondered if Lan Yixing had something to do with Zuo Ling.
"Zuo family of Tian Luo?" The corners of his eyes twitched.
The trainee reacted in shock, "You knew the family too? I thought my brothers were pulling my legs when I heard it. So the family does exist? Are they really that great?"
"Yes," expressionlessly he replied.
"So they are truly great…" The trainee’s face was filled with astonishment, "Well, you could prepare yourself at the moment. You may enter the field once prompted by the tune and announcement. Good luck." He left the room afterwards.
"Zuo family! It really is the Zuo family… is this what they called ‘fate’?" Lan Yixing raised his head upon the ceiling, muttered, with a droplet of tear rolling from the eyes’ corners. Ye Chong of course was astounded by the act.
He regained his calmness very soon after. He turned to Ye Chong, his eyes were grim. A moment lapsed and he finally spoke, "Go to my room, on the second drawer from your left, there would be a red microchip inside, which contains all techniques from the Lan family. You get it right after the match begins and leave Windstar the quickest as possible, the farthest as possible! Never be caught by the Zuo family. Never." His tone was flat, as if it had nothing to do with himself.
"He’s making a will," reminded Shang, as he immediately deciphered the underlying meaning.
"Why?" Ye Chong agreed to Shang’s judgement as he asked quickly.
"Merely because he’s one of the Zuo family." The words came calmly. Ding! Dong! An electronic tune played, "Mr. Lan Yixing, Mr. Lan Yixing, No.77, please enter the field right away."
He turned away, headed to the corridor, "Make sure the Lan family techniques remain till the end of time." And he disappeared at the glaring end of the corridor.
"This old guy probably has some issues with Zuo family. And the issues must be really, really bad." Mumbled Shang and he became excited out of sudden, "Ye, let’s head back and grab the chip! Hehehehe, that’s an excellent item you know what!"
"No," he disagreed as he shook his head. "We will go, after the match."
"Oh, fine. This is in fact a match between the real deals. Would be a waste if we just miss it."
"Could you control all the cameras in the dojo?"
"I could… but why? Do you have the need to do so?"
"Yes, just seize the control for now…"
The spacious ground glistered by the spotlight at every corner. The two participants stood face to face. That well-trained body of theirs suddenly felt so tiny on the field. The field was for mech combats after all, the spectator’s area was a little far away from the field. If anyone were to watch the match at the seat, he or she would probably only see two dots jumping around. This was also why Hua Tiankai decided to use the eyes of the cameras instead, which gave a much better view.
Lan Yixing shot cold stares at the man before him. Zuo Ling was still he himself, with that apparel of his, exposing half of his chest, flashing that iron hard muscles along with that easy smile on his face. The female spectators were screaming in their helmets.
Compared to Zuo Ling the macho guy, Lan Yixing was just a normal middle-aged man one could see every dusk on the street.
"Zuo family from Tian Luo galaxy?" Initiated Lan Yixing.
"Yes," flinched slightly Zuo Ling, for the foe before him actually being able to identify his background at first glance. "And you are…?" He would not want to be reckless on this middle-aged man, in delay he asked.
"Hehe, Zuo family from Tian Luo galaxy, I had heard of names of your family. What a grand family back then." His laugh was more terrifying than crying, as his expressionless face being squeezed into something a monster would shriek upon.
Zuo Ling captured the meaning right away. This man before him must have had bad blood with his family before. He took a careful glance at the man yet his mind could not get him a name. He did remember the trainee informing him that his foe happened to be Mr. Lan… something Lan…
Wait, Lan? Astounded Zuo Ling, "You are the Lan family of September?"
"Such memory for the family who actually remembers a nobody like ours. Hehe, it took me forever to hide from the family yet here I am today, right in front of another Zuo. Fate is capricious indeed," Lan Yixing stared as he spoke word by word.
Zuo Ling’s heart pumping hard, since he was very much knowledgeable of the history of his family. Of course he was informed about the case with Lan family. Back during the prime time of Zuo family, in motivation of expanding the forces of his family, the members started plundering upon the other families in the dark, including the Lan family of September, which their muscle control techniques were the killer moves on their list. Zuo family did attempt a variety of test in imitating the technique but the development turned out to be rather insignificant. In the end, they took action, a radical action.
The Lan family was not the grand kind of family one would expect from movies, although they held members of an amount of hundred. Wait… based on the records of our family, under the magnificent plan of the operation, the family was plundered, members had been completely annihilated. There should have survivors. Did my ancestors miss someone out? The operation was not a total success in fact, since the ultimate technique of the Lan family never came into their hands. They left the scene with a tiny clusters of microchips eventually. Nevertheless, those were more than enough for the family to make significant development in muscle control.
The irony was, when Zuo family expected the next era being theirs, the field of martial arts started degrading during the continuous raise of pilots in the galaxy, which lastly conquered the galaxy in absolution. The Zuos realized how the techniques were kept deep inside their zipped mouth. The techniques were locked up and never taught to the following generation. The microchips became the junk piling on the ground. Most of their own techniques had been lost from generation to generation. The family had broken down.
Zuo Ling could not really feel the tension from the record. He could feel the imperialism behind the plunder and conquer of his family however. He saw the need in it judging by the era in the past. The only confusing part was the man before him still had that hatred from generations before. Those plunder-and-conquer, bloodshed and murder were none other than historical incident to him, something already far and incomprehensible.
Well, no matter what, he was born under the Zuo family and he shouldered the honor of his family. Since he had come across a nemesis on such a formal occasion, alright then, he should be speaking with his strength, which he had great confidence of. The Lan family shall once again lose against the Zuo family, thought the man proudly.
Lan Yixing’s face returned to its calmer state as he took off the shirt he had been wearing all day long. And that was the moment of silence where everyone shut their mouth, including the judge, who were exchanging whispers vigorously at their table. Gasps were heard.
They simply did not expect Lan Yixing’s physique to be such a view… Not the slightest sight of the normal bits of muscle was seen on his body. His body was connected with bundles of strands of tendons about the width of thumb. It looked like countless yellowish brown snakes slithering over his body at one glance. The shape of the bundles was clear and obviously strong, that no one would doubt the strength within.
Even Ye Chong dropped his jaws. It was the first time he saw such abnormal form of muscles on a living man. He got to admit, such an appearance could provide actual visual impact to humanity.
Zuo Ling on the other hand lost the color of his face. Among every witness to such anomaly, he was probably the only one who recognized the threat those bundles could pull off. Most importantly, the muscles presented the man’s identity being the Jie expert, one who stood on top of his own field, the Jie expert of the Lan family… such appearance. Zuo Ling suffered the loss of confidence this drastically the first time.
Lan Yixing stood there. His expression stayed still. He had hidden his capabilities for long enough and today would be the day where he would disregard everything else and solve this resentment once and for all.
Both of them got into position. Not a single word was spoken.
The copper bell chimed long and gracefully. That clear sound resounded at the spacious field.
Almost simultaneously, both of them acted like two strikes of lightning as they crashed into each other. Wham! One thunderous roar, both of them switched positions right away, as if they had read moves of each other.
Both of their moves went so rapid that the audience could not capture the frames with their eyes. Gasps were even heard from the panel.
Ye Chong right at the side of the field had witnessed everything clearly. Both of them had exchanged fists and kicks 22 times upon contact. As they went so fast, audience could only capture that one wham, which in actuality was a heavy stack of 22 whams.
Zuo Ling was put into such disadvantage on the first match. One could tell that from that shaking left arm of his. With that master control of Lan Yixing over his own muscles, a crash would be the best way to begin the match, even Ye Chong could know a few methods to magnify the strength in seconds by times. Utilizing the knowledge with that bundles of alien flesh of his, Ye Chong would also be in slight fear.
Zuo Ling did not panic however. His expression was calmer than water as he lifted his right arm and formed a blade. His left arm rested behind his back, his leg slightly crossed… yes, it was a strange posture indeed.
Lan Yixing treated the action with nonchalance as the muscles on his shoulders wriggled disturbingly. Underneath the tight pants of his, the muscles were expanding. The audience could see the frightening strength in the muscles. Lan Yixing looked as if he had redistributed muscles of his entire body over the limbs. That lost in proportion was bizarre to Ye Chong as he turned deaf over Shang’s commentary.
A true fearsome manipulation over muscles! Fiasco brewed at the seats right when such a groundbreaking phenomenon happened, which science was disobeyed, burnt and tossed away.
The fighters on their seat were holding their breath in tension, as they anticipated the next move.