Book 12: The Strength of the Preparatory Team
Chapter 97.2: The Conjecture Regarding Multiple Fusion Skills
Today should mark Shrek Academy's fourth appearance in the round robin stage of the tournament. However, nobody knew whether they would participate today, and if they did, whether they would emerge victorious in the end.
Shrek's Seven Monsters had relied upon their incredible perseverance and determination, as well as their extraordinary talent, to overcome stronger opponents during their last battle. Their lineup had been composed of four soul ancestors, one soul elder and two soul grandmasters, but they still defeated their opponents, Justsky Academy, who had had three soul kings and four soul ancestors in their lineup. Despite their victory, they had paid a painful price for it. Six of them had hit the deck the moment their battles ended, and some of them were severely injured. It was hard to say whether or not Shrek Academy had enough people for the next round.
Furthermore, could they recreate the same miracle if they went on to the next round? Could they win today's contest with an exhausted and wounded team?
All the spectators had already arrived on scene way before the appointed time, and they were all silently standing in wait with these doubts in mind. They either wanted to see another phenomenal performance from Shrek Academy, or Shrek Academy's exasperated and helpless defeat.
It was already midday, but dark clouds were moving aimlessly in the sky and the heavens seemed a little gloomy. A light drizzle had begun as miniscule raindrops drifted downwards. This was the first time there had been rain since the beginning of the competition, and there was no doubt that the teams would carry on the contest in the rain.
"Here they come!" Somebody shouted into the air as the audience, the participants and the other students turned towards the entry tunnel.
Indeed, the troupe of participants from Shrek Academy were here, clad in their dark green school uniforms.
Bei Bei, as the team leader, led the entire company. He Caitou, Jiang Nannan, Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong and another young girl who looked like she was around twenty years of age followed closely behind in that order. Nobody had seen this girl before in this competition.
This young girl was elegant and pretty, but her expression was ice-cold. Their teacher in charge, Wang Yan, was behind her. This meant that only six people would represent Shrek Academy in today's contest - Xiao Xiao and Xu Sanshi were both absent, as Xiao Xiao had been heavily injured, and Xu Sanshi's vitality had been damaged.
Xu Sanshi needed to recuperate after bruising his vitality. Even though Xiao Xiao's injuries had been stabilized, there was no way she could participate in the competition for the time being. There was a silver lining to her injuries - she was now at the bottleneck of Rank 30, and was on the brink of becoming a soul elder once she broke through. All she had to do was gain another soul ring.
Therefore, it could be said that Xiao Xiao had remained at the hotel to recover and cultivate at the same time. The girl with the chilly expression that walked behind every other participant was Ling Luochen, who was a control system battle soul master with an ice-type martial soul.
Even if there were people who were familiar with the participants from Shrek Academy in the previous competition, those who recognized Ling Luochen were few and far between. Puberty could change a girl's looks in all kinds of ways, and Lin Luochen was but fourteen or fifteen years old five years ago. She was nearing twenty now, and there had been many transformations in her physical appearance since the last time she had competed. Furthermore, she had never made an appearance for Shrek Academy when she was only a reserve participant. This was the reason why nobody was familiar with her abilities.
The Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy's team had the biggest reaction upon seeing her appearance. Ma Rulong's eyebrows creased as he muttered under his breath, "Are they finally sending out members of the official team? If I remember correctly, their team at this competition consists of ten people. This is the first appearance of someone outside of the reserve team."
Wang Yan didn't arrange any tactics or strategy when they entered the resting lounge. Due to Shrek's Seven Monsters' outstanding performance in the last round, Wang Yan had completely let go of his authority and handed it over to Bei Bei.
Bei Bei wasn't severely injured, and was but a little exhausted. He had already recovered after two days of rest, and with the help of his Blue Lightning Tyrant Dragon martial soul and the physique of a Golden Holy Dragon soul master.
Instead of sitting down, Bei Bei stood before his comrades and said, "Our opponents today are from the Longpeace Academy of Star Luo City. It can be said that they're battling us on their home ground. Even though their strength cannot be compared to Justsky Academy's, they're not that weak, and they have a soul king amongst their ranks. I will decide on the order of battle after drawing lots."
The judge swiftly arrived on stage and the announced the drawing of lots. Bei Bei displayed his unnaturally lucky touch, and it was clear that luck was on Shrek's side today. In light of the fact that they were a man down, a group battle gave them the best edge, and the result of the ballot was as such.
Bei Bei was about to step off of the stage after the ballot was drawn when the team leader from Longpeace Academy exclaimed, "It seems the task of defeating Shrek Academy has fallen to us."
He was big and tall, with a center parting to his hair. There was a tinge of arrogance in his eyes, and he looked at Bei Bei as if he was looking at an opponent that he had already defeated.
Bei Bei glanced at him from the corner of his eye and curled his mouth a little. "Just like the bamboo shoots in the mountains. A sharp mouth and tough skin - but empty inside." As he spoke, he had already stepped off the stage.
Longpeace Academy's team leader was boisterous in speech, and he had been loud enough for the other members of Shrek Academy, who had already entered the waiting area, to hear him.
He Caitou was indignant. "Seems like everybody wants to bully Shrek Academy. We will surely teach them a lesson later."
At this moment, Ling Luochen stood up and stepped over to Bei Bei's side. She lowered her voice and said, "Do they really think we have no depth? Leave this group battle to me, Bei Bei. Let Huo Yuhao and I take this round. I will make them pay the price for their outrageousness."
Bei Bei hesitated. "Just the two of you? Senior sister, this…"
Ling Luochen lowered her voice again and said, "I never joke about Shrek Academy's honor and glory."
Bei Bei contemplated his options for a moment, then nodded his head. "Alright. Do be careful."
Ling Luochen gestured to Huo Yuhao and whispered something in his ear. Huo Yuhao nodded his head repeatedly before he followed Ling Luochen onto the competition stage.
All seven members Longpeace Academy's team had moved swiftly to the stage after the conclusion of the ballot. Even though they hadn't stepped back into their corner, their cone formation was set up, and the person standing at the forefront was their outrageous team leader.
The judge was a little confused as he only saw two members from Shrek Academy on stage. "This is a group battle, Shrek Academy. It's not a two-two-three fight or anything - please get the other members on stage. If not, they'll be considered to have forfeited this round."
Longpeace Academy's team leader laughed condescendingly. "Shrek Academy is truly disappointing! Making such a low-level mistake when under stress." He sighed, "What bad news for the reputation of the number one academy on the continent. Let's get ready, boys. We will not lose this round due to a moment's lapse in concentration."
Ling Luochen said plainly, "We only need two people for this group battle." She hadn't even looked at her opponents once as she took Huo Yuhao to the other corner of the competition stage.
The judge was slightly taken aback, and couldn't help but press the issue. "Will it really just be the two you?"
Ling Luochen nodded her head without even turning back as she sauntered away.
Longpeace Academy was a little perplexed as well. "Are they too arrogant, or are they preparing to admit defeat?"
One of the participants beside him said, "I think it's more likely they're trying to admit defeat. They are too depleted from the last round, and they barely managed to bring six people here today. I've never seen this girl before. They only have two people on stage - what else can it be, but attempting to admit defeat? This is a kind of self-assurance, as losing a battle to seven people when they're only two isn't embarrassing at all. However, a loss is a loss, and Shrek Academy will still have lost this battle."
All seven members of Longpeace Academy's team seemed to agree with this argument. This was the Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Soul Dueling Tournament, and they refused to believe that these two people on stage were about to challenge them in any way.
The judge heard their flagrant discussion, and his eyebrows furrowed. He said with a serious voice, "Step back, all of you. Get ready for battle."
He disagreed with their assessment. As a powerful soul sage, he could feel the fearsome ripples of soul power coming from Ling Luochen's body. It was clear that she was at least a soul king - a soul king from Shrek Academy. As such, she was at least thirty percent stronger than the soul kings from other academies. With a participant of her level, how could Shrek Academy just be admitting defeat?
Ling Luochen had already retreated to the edge of the stage. She took point, while Huo Yuhao stood behind her. Her expression was typically chilly, but right now her face was so icy that it was frightening. It was even a little pale.
She was a member of the official team from Shrek Academy. She didn't have an explosive temper like Ma Xiaotao, but the pride deep within her heart was no different from the same pride shared by the other members of Shrek. She would never swallow any humiliation suffered by Shrek Academy.
Following the lowering of his right hand, all of the members of Longpeace Academy's team immediately released their respective martial souls. It was hard to deny the reason behind their outrageousness - besides their team leader, who was a soul king, the other six were soul ancestors. Furthermore, their team leader had the optimal combination of two yellow, two purple and one black soul ring. This was the origin of his arrogance.
Ling Luochen unleashed her martial soul as well - she also had two yellow, two purple and one black soul ring. Huo Yuhao had two white soul rings behind her, as usual. Nobody knew the true level of his soul rings, and this included Wang Dong and his other friends, let alone his opponents.
Ling Luochen raised her right hand and exclaimed, "Begin." Following the flickers of her first soul ring, the Icy Staff appeared in her hands, and the surrounding air instantly became freezing cold.
She was naturally speaking to Huo Yuhao. Huo Yuhao stepped forward and closed his eyes as he pressed both of his hands to Ling Luochen's back.
Immediately, Ling Luochen's eyes turned even colder as an inexplicable aura started to emanate from her body. In the next moment, she directly channeled her fifth soul ring - the black one - and she began to radiate a pressurizing effulgence as the brilliant color extended outwards.