Others might be unfamiliar with that voice, but he was extremely familiar with it. It sounded old, yet was filled with might. The owner of this voice was the one who had intercepted him back then and left Elder Xuan terrified.
He was the Dragon Emperor Douluo Long Xiaoyao; a Rank 99 Ultimate Douluo, and the only one left from the Twin Holy Dragons of Black and White.
He was actually here, and had personally paid a visit to boost the Sun Moon Empire's presence. Huo Yuhao was now certain that the Holy Ghost Church and Sun Moon Empire were very close with each other.
Ju Zi cleared her throat at this moment. Her moving voice resonated through the sound-amplifying soul tool, and everyone heard her. If Long Xiaoyao's voice was a demonstration of his strength, Ju Zi's voice was a demonstration of the Sun Moon Empire's cutting-edge technology.
"Citizens of the Sun Moon Empire and distinguished guests from afar, I'm here to welcome all of you on behalf of the Prince Regent! At the same time, I announce on his behalf that the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament has officially begun!"
Her opening speech was very straightforward. She didn't ramble about superfluous stuff. That was Xu Tianran's style. Everything was about one's abilities. To him, talking more was only a big waste of time.
"Long live the Prince Regent." The citizens of the Sun Moon Empire knelt down towards Xu Tianran, the likely successor of the current Emperor.
Xu Tianran continued to wear a smile on his face as he sat in his wheelchair. He reached out his right hand towards Ju Zi.
Ju Zi placed her right hand on his palm before sitting beside him as she leaned on him. She wore a light smile on her face.
Xu Tianran patted her hand and didn't say anything. He gazed calmly at the tournament stage below.
"My beloved subjects, take a seat," Xu Tianran said calmly. The officials only dared to sit at this point. Every seat was tagged according to their statuses in the empire, so they couldn't sit in the wrong seat.
The person sitting on the other side of Xu Tianran wasn't Jing Hongchen. It was a middle-aged man wearing a long black robe with golden sleeves. This person was expressionless, and had a pale look on his face. The weird thing was that there seemed to be a hazy layer around his face, and it wasn't possible to see his face clearly. Jing Hongchen was sitting on the other side of Ju Zi.
"The tournament rules and regulations will be read out now," a sonorous voice sounded. After this, the tournament's rules and regulations were read out. They were unchanged from the instruction booklets disseminated to every team.
After the reading was done, an elder walked up to the sound-amplifying soul tool and said loudly, "First battle of the preliminary round: Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy against the Dragonslayer Sect. The members of both teams, please proceed to the waiting area."
The waiting area was a special region in front of the pergola. Seven chairs were placed on each side, and the two rows of chairs were separated by a horizontal distance of twenty meters.
Huo Yuhao revealed a smile on his face. No wonder Shrek Academy was given the empty lot. It was on purpose!
According to the tournament rules, the first battle should involve the current title holders. Since Shrek Academy was given the empty lot, the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy would replace their spot, as they were the runners-up of the previous tournament. This was undoubtedly a trick played by the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy.
Very soon, Huo Yuhao saw someone familiar. Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen were in front, and behind them were five young soul masters that he had never seen before. They directly entered the waiting area.
The unfortunate Dragonslayer Sect also sent seven members into the waiting area. However, Huo Yuhao was surprised that the seven members from the Dragonslayer Sect were very confident. They weren't fearful because their opponents were the runners-up in the previous tournament. They were quite imposing!
However, Huo Yuhao didn't know that most sects didn't look up to academies. After all, the instructors and students in academies were limited by time. Apart from some special cases, the students from academies and disciples from sects were vastly different.
A disciple remained in their sect for his entire life. For most sects with rich histories and legacies, they had something special about them.
In the first Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournaments, sects had been included. However, they were subsequently removed for some reason. The Dragonslayer Sect was a sect that had a legacy of more than ten thousand years. They came from the Heavenly Soul Empire, and were a traditional soul master sect. They discriminated against soul tools, and were scornful towards the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy's team. They didn't think they were going to lose.
"Referee, please enter the stage. The first competitor for each side, please enter the stage too," the elder who was emceeing instructed them.
Huo Yuhao compared this tournament with the last one. Although he didn't want to admit it, he was certain that he preferred this edition of the tournament more. It was simpler, less flowery, and more practical for fighting. This was the true meaning of a tournament! It was a way to increase the sparring, interaction, and learning between soul masters and soul engineers.
The referee was an elder more than fifty years old. It was impossible to tell his cultivation before he unleashed his martial soul. The first competitor from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy was Meng Hongchen. She was the only one on the team that was inferior to Jing Hongchen, and was the first to compete. This showed how much the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy wanted to win the first battle. This wasn't just about victory; it concerned the face of the Sun Moon Empire!
A young man from the Dragonslayer Sect was first to compete. He had a somewhat special appearance. His head was a little flat, he wasn't tall, and he looked a little thick. His palms were extremely large. As he opened them wide beside his body, they looked like fans.
At this point, the spectators maintained their silence. They hadn't recovered from the Dragon Emperor Douluo's suppression, as only a short period of time had passed.
"In this individual elimination round, I will decide who's the winner once either of you loses your fighting strength, or concedes defeat. You must not harm your opponent. Understand?" the referee instructed both parties.
"Yes." The youth representing the Dragonslayer Sect appeared full of energy. After acknowledging the referee's words, he turned around and walked towards his own side. He didn't even carry out the formalities. According to the rules, both parties had to be a hundred meters apart from each other before the fight started. This was fairer to some soul masters and soul engineers who were skilled in long-range attacks.
Meng Hongchen had experienced great transformations and become a lady. Her slender figure was proportionate, and she was very charming. Although she wasn't as good-looking as Wang Dong'er or Jiang Nannan, she was still a beauty. However, the other party didn't even glance at her before walking away. Meng Hongchen was greatly displeased by his attitude, and a vicious look flashed across her eyes. She snorted and turned to the other side of the stage.
Very soon, both parties were in position.
The referee lifted his right hand high. When his palm swiped down, the first battle of the tournament began.
There was a boom that resonated from the youth's leg just as the referee's right hand swiped down. The tough, metal floor was dented as he leapt out. His short and stocky body burst towards Meng Hongchen like a fired cannon shell.
While he appeared to look down on Meng Hongchen, he didn't truly underestimate her. When a soul master fought against a soul engineer, it was important to close the gap. His soul rings lit up as he burst forward. It was easy to tell that he was an assault-type soul master from the power that he unleashed. The sudden burst of strength allowed his cultivation to temporarily rival that of an agility-type soul master.
Two yellow, two purple and one black soul ring - the best combination - lit up on the youth's body. In this tournament, a five-ringed soul master was considered quite strong. There were only a few six-ringed soul masters and soul engineers from a few outstanding academies.
The Dragonslayer Sect didn't have a high standing, but they sent a five-ringed Soul King right from the start. This showed how solid their foundation was. The expression of many leaders from the various academies changed when they saw this.
Meng Hongchen didn't rush forward, and didn't even retrieve the soul tool that she always used. She walked forward leisurely, and only an icy-blue halo slowly spread from her feet. Two yellow, two purple and two black soul rings slowly rose up, and caused the spectating Dragonslayer Sect team members to change their expressions.
As sects weren't allowed to compete in the last tournament, and each edition was five years apart, the Dragonslayer Sect knew very little about the Sun Moon Soul Engineering Academy's team. They felt that they had bad luck after drawing the previous runners-up, but didn't think they would lose.
However, they felt pressured when they saw Meng Hongchen's soul rings. Six rings of the best combination! Was that even possible for soul engineers? There was an age limit of twenty years!
The youth had already reached Meng Hongchen as they were thinking of all this. He was the second strongest member of the Dragonslayer Sect's team. Furthermore, his fighting style was that he would never retreat! Even when he saw Meng Hongchen's six soul rings, he wasn't afraid. His first and third soul rings lit up as he charged her.