Chapter 322 – Pressure
The astonishing battle that happened in the air finally had an ending, while the vast Spiritual Light platform had already collapsed and was destroyed at this point in time. The two deep holes had taken up close to half of the surface of the platform, while the scary webs of cracks extending out caused them to look all the more chilling.
There was still a sea of humans that covered the mountains and the plains around the stone platform. However, the sea of humans was still in a quiet state, most likely still reminiscing the astonishing confrontation that happened in the air.
Countless gazes locked onto the figure of the youth standing in the air above them, with some having respect in their eyes. If Mu Chen had previously made people assume that he was just a Freshman; after this fight, it had truly made him into an influential figure of the Northern Heavens Spiritual Academy.
On the Heavenly Rankings, he was sufficiently capable of being placed within the top three ranks.
This kind of accomplishment made quite a few people sigh in amazement. One had to know that Mu Chen had entered the Northern Heavens Spiritual Academy for, at most, half a year. However, the growth he had during this half-year had caused shock and astonishment to people.
Such an innate gift, such a monstrous talent.
“Mu Chen’s won!” Unconcealable joy and happiness erupted on Su Ling’er’s loveable face as she grabbed onto Su Xuan’s smooth wrist, while exclaiming out in excitement.
Beside her, both Li Qing and Guo Xiong had started to laugh while looking at the youth in the air with some complicated expressions in their eyes. They thought, Ever since we returned two months ago, this fellow’s strength has already improved to such a level.
Su Xuan had also shown a gentle smile as she cast her beautiful eyes, with a little peculiarity, at Mu Chen. Even she had never thought that Mu Chen would actually be able to defeat He Yao. After all, regardless of Mu Chen’s talent, He Yao was still a veteran amongst the influential characters at the apex of the academy.
“Looks like my third rank on the Heavenly Rankings will have to be given up…” muttered Su Xuan with a soft laugh. She did not have any unwillingness, since she did not have any particular care about it. If not for He Yao being too much of a bully, she might’ve even been too lazy to put up a fight.
In the distance, Wang Tong and the rest had also taken a deep breath of relief, before looking at the figure in the air, while smacking their lips. At this moment, the gazes they sent out had faint traces of change. When they had known that Mu Chen and Luo Li had slain that Spirit King, although they had some astonishment and admiration, it was still not as strong and intense as the feelings they got at this moment.
After all, He Yao was an influential figure at the apex within the Northern Heavens Spiritual Academy. Within the academy, the only people who could suppress him would be Shen Cangsheng or Li Xuantong.
However, there appeared a third person who could accomplish that; furthermore, he was a freshman.
The shock and astonishment that this brought forth far exceeded that of when Mu Chen had slain a Spirit King. Although, He Yao’s strength wasn’t any stronger than the Spirit King…
“Since Mu Chen has defeated He Yao, he will be awarded the third spot…” said An Ran suddenly.
Upon hearing this, the expressions of Wang Tong and the rest turned grave, as they casted their slightly fearful gazes at the majestic mountain summit that was encapsulated by clouds. On the peak of that mountain were the final protectors of this hunt.
They were the three Great Generals of the Punishment Hall.
They were strong existences that even the overlord of the Heavenly Rankings, Shen Cangsheng, had to show extreme dread. If they were unable to pass the checkpoint of the three Great Generals, all of the hard work that they had put in during the period of time in the hunting grounds would be all for naught.
At this time, Luo Li’s clear eyes had also faintly contracted. She was very clear that those three held the strongest places within the entirety of the students. This represented a kind of glory, while at the same time, they also represented a gigantic pressure.
The hunt was something that was anticipated by all the students throughout the year. As well as putting in hard work, they were willing to endure the loneliness of bitter training. All of this was to astonish people within the hunt, and to obtain Spiritual Lights in the end, because the Spiritual Light Empowerment was what made people drool.
However, the three great protectors in front of them had become a giant mountain in front of all the students. They were unable to cross it, and could only entrust their hopes on the shoulders of Shen Cangsheng, Li Xuantong, as well as Mu Chen, who had just obtained the final spot.
Similarly, following this kind of anticipation, the pressure was also present. Seemingly, the anticipation felt by all of the students that had participated in this hunt had transformed into a kind of pressure, pressing down on the bodies of the three. If the three were able to obtain victory against the three great protectors in the end, they would obtain the prestige from all of the students in the Northern Heavens Spiritual Academy, which would reach the apex. They would also gain true respect and gratefulness from all of them.
This was the glory that the victor should enjoy. However, what if they lose?
This anticipation would turn into disappointment. What kind of impact would that lead for everyone?
Luo Li gently clenched her jade-like hands as she stared at Mu Chen’s figure with some graveness present in her eyes. The third spot wasn’t something that was good to receive.
As Luo Li’s gaze started to fluctuate, Shen Cangsheng and Li Xuantong proceeded to descend from the sky, finally stopping beside Mu Chen. The both of them shot a peculiar look at the latter, sizing him up before saying with a smile, “Congratulations on defeating He Yao. However, we have to similarly inform you that the third spot had descended on your shoulders. I think that you should know what it represents. This isn’t some terrific achievement.”
Upon hearing their words, Mu Chen faintly hesitated before gently nodding his head. He naturally knew how gigantic the pressure was to possess this third spot. If he was defeated, he would gain too much disappointment from the students, and it would lead to all the efforts of everyone to go down the drain.
From the ground, Luo Li shot over and appeared beside Mu Chen. She shot a look at Shen Cangsheng and Li Xuantong with her beautiful eyes, without saying a single word.
Li Xuantong stared at Luo Li with a complicate gaze, before turning towards Mu Chen and said, “I think that you might still not understand the exact situation you’re in. Shen Cangsheng and I had already investigated the three Great Generals. The both of us are able to resist two of them, with the final result being not a victory and not a defeat..”
Hearing his words, Mu Chen’s eyes contracted. Not a victory and not a defeat. That meant that they would draw?
“According to the rules, we students have a slight advantage, which is to say that if we are able to achieve three draws, it would be our victory.” Shen Cangsheng explained. With a slightly helpless smile, he continued, “That also means that Li Xuantong and I would be able to guarantee two draws. At the same time, with our two draws, the critical point would be the third fight.”
A grave shadow surfaced on Mu Chen’s handsome, yet pale, face, while Luo Li faintly knitted her eyebrows.
“If you are able to achieve a draw in the third fight, we would win. And, if you lose, we will all lose. The hunt this time would end here, and everyone would return with empty hands.” Li Xuantong added indifferently.
Mu Chen’s face changed faintly upon hearing that. In other words, what he meant to say was that the pressure that was originally on all three of their shoulders, had now been completely transferred onto Mu Chen’s body. If he lost, he would have to endure the loss of all of their hopes. There might not be people who would criticise him. However, this kind of indescribable disappointment might lead to the collapse of one’s self-confidence.
This kind of conclusion seemed to be even more miserable than losing to He Yao…
Losing to He Yao, he would still not be criticised by people; after all, it was a personal matter. However, if he lost at the final checkpoint, that would be equivalent to losing all the hopes and hard work of everyone.
This responsibility was somewhat too heavy.
Shen Cangsheng and Li Xuantong stared at the quiet Mu Chen. They had stopped their lecture, and quietly looked at him. This indescribable, yet tightly knotted atmosphere diffused out, before spreading throughout the entire stretch of the world.
On the ground, countless people looked towards the few figures that had converged in the air. They were faintly able to understand what they were talking about, and this caused the expression on many people’s faces to turn grave. Bringing anticipation in their eyes, they cast their gazes towards the figures in the sky that would bear the weight of their hopes and dreams.
The fruits of bitter training they had endured would have to depend the performances of the few in the sky, who represent their greatest strength…
The loveable faces of Su Ling’er, Su Xuan and the rest had also turned grave. This spot seemed to be somewhat too heavy. Letting it drop on the shoulders of a youth that was still a Freshman was slightly too cruel.
Li Xuantong looked at Mu Chen awhile before faintly moving his gaze while saying, “If you feel that you’re unable bear the responsibility of this spot, you can give it up. I think there should be no one that has the qualifications to say anything about it. After all, you’re still a Freshman, as of now. There’s no need to bear such stress and pressure.”
At this moment, Shen Cangsheng had also smiled. The wind tussled at his scattered hair, before he patted Mu Chen’s shoulder. With a disdainful look in his eye that did not have the slightest degree of reducing, he said, “There’s no need for this much stress. What Li Xuantong said isn’t wrong. I’ve almost forgotten that you’re just a Freshman. If you feel that you don’t have the assurance, giving up is the best choice. Worst come to worse, I’ll have to put out a little more effort and put my all in my fight against Senior Lin Zheng. As if I’m scared of him.”
Under this stifling silence propagating across the entire stretch of the world, Luo Li extended her tender and jade-like hand and gently held onto Mu Chen’s palm. Looking at Mu Chen’s forehead, which had faintly wrinkled, she gave a light smile.
Even though everyone will be disappointed, you’ll always be the most dazzling in my eyes.
Mu Chen looked at Luo Li’s exquisite face that was akin to porcelain, before faintly closing his eyes. The palm that held Luo Li’s little hand gradually gripped tighter, before he suddenly opened his eyes.
His black pupils had changed back to its previous sharpness and brilliance, with the hesitation within already completely removed.
Raising his head, he cast his gaze towards the mountain peak that was covered in clouds. A smile rose from his handsome face as he spoke out in a gentle and soft voice, “Although I know that this will result in me bearing a lot of stress and pressure, giving up isn’t my style. Furthermore, if I don’t even have the courage to bear such pressure and stress, how will I be able to pursue the path to become the unrivalled expert?”
Saying those words, he turned his head towards the absolutely beautiful young girl with silver hair, and dressed in jet-black clothes. He had promised her that he would become an unrivalled expert and appear before her. He wanted to stand before her and completely shatter the pressure on her that was coming from all directions.
If he was unable to muster the courage to endure the pressure present now, how would he be able to continue along the path of an unrivalled expert?
Looking at the youth in front of them, whose imposing aura had started to rapidly rise with some astoundment, Shen Cangsheng and Li Xuantong felt some astonishment. In the next moment, they could not resist and smiled as they thought, This Mu Chen truly is more reliable than He Yao.
Mu Chen gave a smile as his gaze condensed on the cloud-covered mountain peak. Faintly, he could slightly discern the three figures that were akin to demon gods. The pressure coming from them was akin to Mount Tai pressing down on him. However, the smile on his face grew increasingly thick.
“These two Seniors. Leave the third spot for me. Regardless of victory or defeat…”
Mu Chen’s black eyes turned increasingly bright as he exclaimed with fervor,
“I’ll give my all!”