Book 14: The Finals!
Chapter 122.3: Dai Yueheng's Determination
"The first people they'll send out will be Ma Rulong and Xiao Xiafeng for the first round of 2-2-3 battle, iso that Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen have enough time to rest. However, we only have the three of you left. Even if Ma Xiaotao wins a round with one of you, they'll almost certainly win the next one. Even if we get a win, it'll be equivalent to a loss for us."
All three of them immediately understood the situation when they heard Wang Yan's words. What he'd said was true. Who else was left in Shrek's reserve lineup?
Only He Caitou and Xiao Xiao were left. Xiao Xiao's injuries had yet to completely heal, while He Caitou was only a Class 4 soul engineer.
The last round would be a three-versus-three. It wouldn't be a problem for their opponents to choose three Class 4 soul engineers from their reserve team then—Shrek didn't stand a chance for it.
This meant that in the subsequent battle, their opponents would practically win the entire tournament so long as they won a single two-on-two battle.
Meng Hongchen and Xiao Hongchen were both wounded, and weren't at their peak condition. However, Meng Hongchen's venom combined with the fact that they were both Soul Kings as well as Class 5 soul engineers still made them extremely formidable.
Furthermore, they still had Ma Rulong and Xiao Xiafeng. Ma Rulong was a powerful Class 6 soul engineer, while Xiao Xiafeng was a Class 5. It would be extremely challenging for Shrek to win even a single round. This was the disparity between the two team's depths—Shrek had only had three official team members to begin with. The rift in their strengths couldn't even be compared.
Wang Yan looked upwards and heaved a sigh, an expression of defeat on his face. Both he and his team had already given up so much, yet this was how they were going to be defeated in the end? He couldn't reconcile with this fate… he just couldn't! Everybody could only participate once in the 2-2-3 battle—they didn't stand a chance.
"Yuhao, Wang Dong." Ma Xiaotao suddenly spun around and placed her hands on both of their shoulders.
"Leave the first round to me. The two of you will have to face Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen in the next round. We can't retreat; we have to fight to the end. Look at the rest of your comrades who have already fallen—it's up to us to defend Shrek's honor and glory. Shrek must win."
Ma Xiaotao's eyes flashed red. Her valiant fighting spirit hadn't wavered at all, even after Wang Yan's analysis.
"Tell me—can you guys do it?" Ma Xiaotao's voice instantly became somewhat overbearing as her words resonated.
Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong exchanged a look. The flame of passion in their hearts had been completely rekindled at this point.
"Shrek must win!" They shouted in unison. Even though their voices were slightly hoarse, the resolute determination and unwavering spirit they displayed was filled with bravery, as if they were currently facing death with equanimity.
Wang Yan felt a little dazed when he saw this. He felt as if his soul was about to jump out of its shell at this moment. These kids were just too cute. Nothing could describe the feeling he currently felt.
Tears poured from his eyes uncontrollably as Wang Yan took a giant step forward and encompassed all three of them in a hug. "Children—it's all on you."
Elder Xuan remained seated in the back, but he put his chicken wing down, as well as the wine gourd in his other hand. A radiant luster flickered in his eyes that were filled with vicissitude.
These children were destined to become the source of Shrek's pride, no matter whether or not they emerged victorious in the end. They would leave a heavy mark on Shrek's history, and Shrek would be extremely proud of them.
"Both teams, approach the stage," The Heavenfiend Douluo's voice could be heard once again.
Both the audience inside of the Star Luo Plaza and the ruler and his ministers atop the royal city wall were completely silent at this point. They had all predicted that the finals would be exciting, but could this contest still be described as "exciting"?
Both Shrek Academy and the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy's teams could only be described as bitter and desperate at this point.
Yes, this was a bitter and desperate competition, but it was also a final that rattled everyone's hearts!
Both parties had won one round each after the group battle and the single-elimination rounds. This was the ultimate round that would decide every; the 2-2-3 battle was the most uncertain contest format.
Shrek had three able participants, while the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy had four. Everybody could tell that this competition was now the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy's to lose. Unless Shrek could emerge victorious in the first two battles of this round, they would lose the Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Soul Dueling Tournament's champion title for the first time in several thousand years. However, they didn't even have enough people to participate; how would they be able to outmatch their opponents?
Just as Wang Yan had predicted, Ma Rulong and Xiao Xiafeng stood up from the Sun Moon team's waiting area and strode onto the competition stage in order to give Meng Hongchen and Xiao Hongchen enough time to recover. Their soul powers had been almost fully restored from the time they had to rest; it could be said they were nearly at their peak condition. Ma Xiaotao was the only one to step onto the competition stage from Shrek Academy's side.
"You…" The Heavenfiend Douluo glanced at Ma Xiaotao, doubt in his eyes.
Ma Xiaotao said plainly. "I'll represent Shrek for the first round. I'm sure that's allowed. We'll give up the other entry spot for this battle."
The rules stated that only a maximum of two people were allowed to participate in the two-versus-two battle, but there wasn't a rule that stated that only one person couldn't represent a team. The Heavenfiend Douluo hesitated, then nodded his head and said, "Okay."
Ma Rulong's eyes narrowed into slits as he muttered, "You're too condescending and disrespectful, Ma Xiaotao."
Ma Xiaotao grunted indifferently as she looked up and shot a cold look at the two people before her. "So what if I'm looking down on you two? I along am enough to take down the two of you. Come. If you want take revenge for your fallen comrades, you'll have to take me down. However, that's if you have the ability to do so, because I'll destroy you if you don't."
Even the Heavenfiend Douluo felt his heart skip a beat when he heard these words; this girl was truly ferocious and dauntless!
How could Ma Rulong and Xiao Xiafeng not feel intense hatred when they heard her words? Two of their friends had just perished under Ma Xiaotao's hands, even if it hadn't been intentional. This feeling was intensified now that they were standing before the target of their vengeance, and was even further aggravated when Ma Xiaotao took the initiative to provoke them.
Ma Rulong had no confidence at all if he was to battle Ma Xiaotao by himself. However, it was a different story with Xiao Xiafeng by his side, who was a Class 5 soul engineer. He would have a much easier time dealing with Ma Xiaotao with Xiao Xiafeng impeding and obstructing her.
Xiao Xiafeng was infuriated at Ma Xiaotao's words, and nearly pounced forward before Ma Rulong held him back.
"Do you guys really think you still stand a chance? You may not even be able to beat us, and so what if you do? Do you really think that those two little fellas over there can defeat Xiao Hongchen and his sister? Stop your wishful thinking; they have no way of countering Meng Hongchen's venom."
Ma Xiaotao chuckled and said, "Is spouting nonsense all you know how to do? If you're trying to beat down my fighting spirit, then you're dreaming. That venom is bullshit. Why don't you ask that immature little girl if she dares to face me in battle? I'll burn her alive. Stop this nonsense and let's get this over with." She then turned and walked to the edge of the competition stage.
Ma Rulong took a deep breath, as he knew that Ma Xiaotao wouldn't be easy to handle. Her temper was fiery and explosive, but her thoughts and reasoning were meticulous and thorough, to the point where he wasn't even sure what Ma Xiaotao's true strength was. He had yet to see where Ma Xiaotao's baseline lay, even up to today.
Ma Rulong led Xiao Xiafeng back to their corner, gradually distancing themselves from their opponent.
This round could be said to be the ultimate showdown between the Shrek Academy and the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy's respective team leaders, and was also a clash of the highest level in the competition. Shrek Academy would have a shot at victory if she won, but if Ma Xiaotao lost, it would automatically decide the competition's result.
Ma Xiaotao quickly backed off to the edge of the stage, her eyes flickering with chilly light. Nobody knew what was on her mind as her expression grew solemn.
Ma Rulong whispered something into Xiao Xiafeng's ear as the two of them took their time arriving at their own corner.
A light drizzle continued to flitter down. The current weather was extremely humid, which was naturally disadvantageous for Ma Xiaotao, but the negative impact she'd received definitely wasn't that great.
The sprawling competition stage seemed to be riddled with gaping wounds from all of the battles that had taken place before; every surface was either damaged or smashed inwards like a crater.
The Heavenfiend Douluo glanced at both parties. The finals were about to end at long last. Even he felt a little exhausted from fully concentrating for such a long time, despite his cultivation.
"Let the competition begin!"
The ultimate showdown had finally started. Ma Xiaotao dashed forwards, while her phoenix wings swiftly emerged from her body into the air and flapped backwards. Her body barreled towards Ma Rulong and Xiao Xiafeng like a meteor. As she did so, she opened her mouth, a Phoenix Fireline surging out from it and asserting long-distance pressure.
Ma Rulong and Xiao Xiafeng weren't slow either. Ma Rulong was well-aware that the methods he'd employed against Jiang Peng would be useless against Ma Xiaotao. A thick, bluish-purple cannon barrel instantly appeared on his shoulder, which almost immediately fired a bluish-purple ball of light.
He and Xiao Xiafeng shared a decent chemistry, as a unidirectional soul shield was unleashed that protected them both from the Phoenix Fireline attack when he did so. At the same time, he rooted himself to the ground and quickly released his Soul Tool Fortress. Metal clanging sounds could be heard as a series of cannons appeared on his body with lightning speed; there was no doubt that he intended to use his most formidable firepower to coordinate with Ma Rulong. Relying on his food-type soul master's salient characteristics, his ability to continue battling was the best amongst the other Sun Moon team members.
The bluish-purple lightning strike that Ma Rulong had fired from the cannon in his hands wasn't directed at Ma Xiaotao. Instead, it struck the center of the competition stage.
A bluish-purple light wall was immediately erected at the exact spot it struck, barricading Ma Xiaotao's advance. According to Ma Rulong's judgment, Ma Xiaotao was fearsome and ferocious, thus she would definitely attempt to forcefully charge forward. And when she so, she would fall into his trap.