When the eight teams stood atop the flight of golden stairs, deafening cheers permeated the atmosphere. No matter which Spiritual Academy they hailed from, or whether their team was qualified for the final match, it did not hamper their anticipation of the final match that was about to begin.
After all, the eight teams at hand stood out from myriad teams from Spiritual Academies and to a certain extent, their capabilities were representative of the highest combat prowess of all the Spiritual Academies.
In the sky, the Chiefs of the Five Great Academies glanced down at the flight of golden stairs but their expressions were somewhat different.
Chief Tai Cang's nonchalant expression morphed into a smile when Mu Chen and his team appeared, as his heart was filled with shock and amazement.
He was not surprised that Mu Chen and his team could enter the final match, but he had never expected them to clinch first position.
Chief Wu from the Martial Spiritual Academy glanced at Mu Chen before commenting with a smile, "Haha, Chief Tai Cang, it seems like the Northern Heaven Spiritual Academy has a highly skilled new recruit this time."
"They were just lucky. Wu Ling from your Spiritual Academy is also not one to be underestimated. I guess the reason he didn't vie for the top three positions was because he wanted to conceal his true capabilities?"
Chief Tai Cang smiled but he could not contain his happiness, as the Northern Heaven Spiritual Academy had not obtained such exemplary results in many years.
"Looks like the Northern Heaven Spiritual Academy has indeed made progress and improved," the usually silent Chief Tian Sheng finally remarked with a faint smile.
"Congratulations, Chief Tai Cang."
Chief Tian Sheng had a faint smile and his deep gaze revealed nothing. It was difficult to decipher his thoughts and emotions. It seemed he was indifferent to Ji Xuan failing to clinch the top position.
"You are too polite, Chief Tian Sheng. It was merely an elimination phase, hence it cannot be counted."
Chief Tian Sheng was a crafty fox but Chief Tai Cang was no slouch, either.
He smiled and remarked, "No matter how powerful the opponent is, Northern Heaven Spiritual Academy will strive to do our very best."
"I do look forward to it then."
Chief Tian Sheng nodded with a smile and glanced at the three of Chiefs of the Spiritual Academies.
"Since the top eight teams have emerged, shall we begin the final match?"
The three other Chiefs nodded in assent.
Chief Tian Sheng rose from his massive seat, his figure a mere speck in comparison to the vast world. However, it somehow seemed that even the heavens and earth were in his grasp. An indescribable majestic aura permeated the atmosphere and faced with this immense power, the cheers gradually faded into silence with everyone looking in awe and reverence.
Standing at the apex of the golden stairs, Mu Chen lifted his head and glanced at the figure clad in white robes. That power shook him and caused him to feel affected. This was the strength of truly powerful characters. Currently, Mu Chen still had a long way to go before he could attain that level of power. However, he would not allow himself to feel discouraged, as he knew that he would certainly be able to achieve his goal. He just needed time to hone himself.
"To begin with, congratulations to the eight teams who are eligible for the final match. No matter the results, all of you have emerged as some of the best among all the Spiritual Academies."
Chief Tian Sheng announced this calmly, his voice resembling strong sound waves that could move heaven and earth, even causing spiritual energies to circulate in others' bodies.
"The elimination tournament has ended. Now, we will begin the final match of the Spiritual Academy Competition.
"Only the champion of the final match will be deemed as the strongest of all the Spiritual Academies, and he will represent the pinnacle of power among all the Academies."
Countless disciples listened with fiery enthusiasm, as the pinnacle of power was a glory that they were unable to attain. Now, there were only eight teams that could fight for that glory.
"For the winning team, every member will receive 1,000 drops of Sovereign Spiritual Liquid and one Sovereign Pill."
All the disciples gasped in shock upon hearing the statement, many with envious gazes. They were clear about the significance of possessing the Sovereign Spiritual Liquid, as that was the crux of overcoming the Sovereign-level.
One thousand drops of Sovereign Spiritual Liquid were already a considerable amount even to some sects.
The Sovereign Pill was an even rarer item, as it was the result of condensing Sovereign Spiritual Liquid to a certain degree before it could coagulate into a pill. Thus, the value of a Sovereign Pill was comparable to that of a Low Rank Divine Artifact.
Everyone knew that if one wanted to advance into the Sovereign-level, even if they pulled through the Three Grades of the Spirit Disaster, they would need copious amounts of Sovereign Spiritual Liquid to sustain themselves, and this breakthrough was not a guaranteed success. The moment they failed, the Sovereign Spiritual Liquid that they worked hard to collect would go to waste and everything would be for naught. However, if they possessed a Sovereign Pill, although it was not a guaranteed success, the probability of success was bound to be several times higher.
Such wondrous effects were even more valuable than Divine Artifacts to people who had yet to attain the Sovereign level.
"A Sovereign Pill... How generous of them."
Even Mu Chen gasped in awe. As he possessed the Spiritual Condensing Bowl, although possessing 1,000 drops of Sovereign Spiritual Liquid sounded very tempting to him, he was not entirely wonderstruck. The Sovereign Pill however, did appeal to him greatly.
"Rewards gathered by the Five Great Academies are certainly impressive."
Luo Li smiled. Although the Sovereign Pill was a precious artifact, it was not enough to move her.
"You are the future Empress of the Luo God Clan, how would royalty like you be able to understand peasants like us?" Mu Chen teased.
Luo Li scoffed at him playfully, her unintentional charisma enchanting many, drawing attention from the audience below the golden battle stage.
Mu Chen's heart skipped a beat at Luo Li's charm, but he suddenly felt a cold glare directed towards him. He turned his head and saw Ji Xuan staring at him.
Ji Xuan's expression was gloomy and downcast, unlike his usual warm and genial countenance. It was evident that he felt frustrated, as he could not best Mu Chen. Ji Xuan rapidly gained 50,000 points in the critical last moment, thinking that he would trample over Mu Chen, but he did not have long to gloat before Mu Chen's points skyrocketed. Ji Xuan's top position was only momentary, as Mu Chen overtook him.
At that moment, shock and rage swelled in Ji Xuan's heart, clouding his shrewdness. If he had not retained the last shreds of his rationality, he would have formed an alliance with one of the top eight teams to snatch Mu Chen's points...
However, Mu Chen did not give him much time to consider. At the very moment when Mu's points overtook his, eight out of the 16 Academy Plaques were aflame.
Hence, in this elimination tournament, Ji Xuan originally had the intention to play dirty tricks against Mu Chen but he did not expect for the plan to backfire on him, as his actions caused the elimination phase to end prematurely, resulting in the decisive results.
Although the rankings for the elimination tournament had no relation to the final match, the frustration of failure and being trampled on filled Ji Xuan with rage.
He had not suffered such a loss in all these years. Even the battle with Mu Chen in the Spiritual Road ended with his victory.
Mu Chen glanced at Ji Xuan's ghastly glare and smiled faintly, cupping one hand in the other as a gesture of respect.
Upon hearing Mu Chen's statement, Ji Xuan felt even more suffocated with rage and took two deep breaths. His expression gradually calmed but his gaze turned colder.
"I'm afraid it's too early for you to gloat now."
Ji Xuan smirked coldly.
"You better pray that you won't meet me in the first round in your current state, otherwise, I'm afraid you wouldn't even be able to enter the top four."
"I would say likewise for you." Mu Chen smiled, a chilling glint flashing in his dark eyes.
"Don't worry, I will be sure to give you a good fight this time."
"It seems like the previous fight has made you overly confident." The corners of Ji Xuan's mouth curled upwards into a smirk.
"You should be more careful, pride comes before the fall, and this fall would be very painful."
"You should be careful that you don't die in the fall." Mu Chen shrugged.
Both of them traded barbs in chilling tones and the tension between them was palpable.
Luo Li stood silently by Mu Chen, her clear eyes glancing nonchalantly at Ji Xuan. Although she stayed silent, it was apparent she was fully supportive of Mu Chen. The veins in Ji Xuan's arms throbbed in anger.
"Now, begin to draw lots to determine your opponent!"
In the sky, the majestic voice of Chief Tian Sheng rumbled again and with a flourish of his sleeve, eight spheres of light fluttered from his palm, finally hovering above the battle stage.
"Each person will choose their own sphere. Among the eight spheres, the colors of every other two spheres will differ. The teams that receive spheres of the same color will be opponents."
Upon hearing this voice, Mu Chen and his team lifted their heads. Captains of the eight teams then sucked a sphere of light over to their palm.
The sphere of light hovered in Mu Chen's palm, as he glanced at Luo Li and Shen Cangsheng, the latter members nodding in return.
Mu Chen gently exhaled a puff of white air, as his gaze turned sharp. He clenched his fist and exerted force on the light sphere, causing it to explode.
With the explosion of the light sphere, a crimson beam of light resembling flames emitted from his palm and burst into the sky.
At the same time, the other seven teams exerted force on their light spheres. Seven beams of light soared into the air.
With that, the anxious gazes of the masses were directed towards the eight beams of light.