Zheng Zhan's eyes lit up, and he tilted his head as he muttered under his breath, "This fellow from the Tang Sect is not bad indeed! He's combined a luring net and a shock bomb. This can control, repel, and carries offensive effects all at the same time. This is a very innovative soul tool indeed, and it is meant to buy him enough time for something. If his opponent's reaction is too slow, this soul tool can directly take them down."
He Caitou immediately made his move at the same time that he fired his luring net and shock bomb. He moved in the standard way that soul engineers typically did, and he followed the stage's edge and rapidly shifted along as he lifted a heavy cannon on his shoulder. Large amounts of rupturing shells burst out and blasted towards his opponent, and he activated the flying-type soul tool on his back at the same time, soaring into the sky as he fired off his rupturing shells.
The shock bomb repelled Xiao Ping, and he displayed his own strengths as a wave of rupturing bombs followed immediately after. Soul thrusters shone on his palms, feet, thighs, and behind his back as soul thrusters of many different sizes complemented the flying-type soul tool on his back and brought his body diagonally into the sky. Xiao Ping surged into the air with incredible speed, and raced towards He Caitou as he evaded those rupturing shells. He pointed the spear in his hands forward, and blinding white light erupted from the spear's edged tip right towards He Caitou.
He Caitou had been observing his opponent this entire time. The soul thrusters on Xiao Ping's body were all hidden within and attached to that armor of his, which covered the most important parts of his body. Xiao Ping wasn't wearing full-body armor, but a lighter and more flexible style. He displayed how advantageous this agility was as he soared through the air, and all those soul thrusters allowed him to make some movements that seemed to defy natural laws.
He Caitou shifted three feet horizontally while he was still in the air, and evaded the light beam just like that. The wings behind his back turned down and allowed him to hover in midair. He Caitou switched out the weapon on his shoulder, and a strangely-shaped cannon appeared.
The back of this cannon was conical, but it was rectangular at the front when he placed it on his shoulder, and there were eighteen cannon mouths split into three rows. Dense and intense bluish-purple light began to shine out from it.
In the next moment, lightning that seemed to blanket the entire world poured towards Xiao Ping.
"What soul tool is that?" Even Zheng Zhan was taken aback. He had immersed himself in soul tools for almost a hundred years, but even he couldn't recognize He Caitou's soul tool with all the experience that he had. This meant that He Caitou's soul tool was self-invented!
Every lightning streak that this strange cannon fired was as thick as an arm. The most frightening part was that these lightning streaks detonated once they were fired, and each streak split into even more lightning streaks. Eighteen streaks transformed into a web of lightning bolts in an instant and barreled towards his opponent, who was still charging towards him. This web had a large surface area, and there was no way Xiao Ping could dodge this no matter how agile and nimble he was.
He Caitou had an extremely calm look on his face, and there was some straightforwardness amid all that composure that had always been there. However, there was nothing straightforward about the soul tool in his hands.
Xiao Ping was equally astonished by this soul tool that he had never heard of nor seen before. He kept his spear pointed forwards, and his armor glowed all over as ray after ray of light condensed to form a white barrier that protected his body within.
He Caitou's pupils contracted. That was a Class 7 protective soul barrier!
Xiao Ping only had five soul rings, and it was evident that he wasn't strong enough to use something as powerful as a Class 7 protective soul barrier. The only possibility was that this soul tool had special characteristics that allowed him to operate it.
This soul tool probably made use of resonance technology and merged many soul barriers at the same time, which allowed it to erupt with such formidable power. It was the only way Xiao Ping could produce defensive capabilities that matched a Class 7 protective soul barrier, as Class 7 was the rank of a Soul Sage!
Naturally, this was also because Xiao Ping was a close-combat soul engineer. If Xiao Ping had been a traditional soul engineer like He Caitou, he wouldn't use this resonance soul barrier even if he had it, as it would consume far too much soul power. Attaching something like this to himself meant it would be very difficult to use other soul tools, because resonance technology had to be in tandem with the soul power undulations at every spot on his body. There was no way to switch out to other soul tools.
Xiao Ping released his Class 7 soul barrier and immediately shot forward like an arrow. He didn't intend to avoid those lightning streaks anymore, charging straight for He Caitou.
Xiao Ping's Class 7 soul barrier had impressive defensive capabilities, indeed! The soul barrier repelled every single lightning streak, and Xiao Ping didn't slow down at all. He was about to arrive before He Caitou at any moment.
He Caitou could already see the murderousness and sinisterly evil expression in Xiao Ping's eyes. Zheng Zhan had already risen into the air from ground, and he prepared himself to end this battle as soon as was needed.
A vigorous explosion erupted between He Caitou and Xiao Ping. Xiao Ping still had his Class 7 soul barrier up, but his entire body was sent hurtling through the air like a bullet. His Class 7 soul barrier broke apart from the impact, and if he hadn't unleashed his Invincible Barrier, the crackling lightning streaks in the sky would have torn him to pieces.
He Caitou was still hovering in midair, as if he hadn't moved at all. A cannon barrel with a mouth about the size of a bowl closed gradually near his chest, still flickering with light.
He Caitou switched out the soul cannon on his shoulder once more, and a golden-red cannon that was about as thick as an arm and about three meters long appeared on his shoulder. The cannon's sight swung into place before his eyes, and he locked onto Xiao Ping in the distance. There was a large burning cigar sticking out from the corner of his mouth, releasing wafts of green smoke. The cigar and the green smoke complemented his doughty look, and he appeared as valiant and fearsome as could be.
Xiao Hongchen leapt off his chair in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy's camp once this long golden-red cannon appeared.
"A Class 7 stinger cannon! He… how can he have a Class 7 stinger cannon?!"
Stinger cannons were considered the most destructive single-target soul cannons. More accurately put, a stinger cannon should be considered a soul ray, and it was only called a cannon because it was just too forceful. Not many soul engineers used stinger cannons because they required manual aim and consumed a lot of soul power. However, stinger cannons had a very long range, and were typically used to assault fortified positions.
A stinger cannon's greatest weakness was that it couldn't lock onto its target, and it couldn't track its target. However, its power was incredibly frightening. Xiao Ping wouldn't be able to take a hit from this stinger cannon even if he had his Invincible Barrier activated; the best solution against a stinger cannon was to dodge its attack, exploiting the weakness that it couldn't lock onto a target.
But Xiao Ping was hurtling through the air after He Caitou had tossed him away with some unknown method, slamming against the competition stage's protective barrier and bouncing back. Xiao Ping's Invincible Barrier could protect him, but it couldn't help him absorb the impact. Could he react in time to dodge the stinger cannon's attack?
Nobody knew the answer to that question.
Therefore, Zheng Zhan grew hesitant. He knew that stopping He Caitou at this moment would mean that he was declaring He Caitou victorious. However, Xiao Ping would have another chance to get back in the game if he dodged this attack.
Zheng Zhan no longer believed that Xiao Ping had the fighting strength to defeat He Caitou, who had already displayed a Class 7 soul engineer's prowess. However, the Sun Moon Empire's team was already down two to one; how could he let them lose another point just like that?
He Caitou naturally didn't care what the judge was thinking about. He aimed, and he fired, it was that simple for him.
More than half of the cigar in He Caitou's mouth disappeared when he fired his stinger cannon, as smoke and ash billowed in all directions. A golden-red beam as thick as a finger cut across the air straight towards Xiao Ping.
This enormous pressure heralded mortal danger to Xiao Ping. Even though he was still dizzy and concussed from the collision, goosebumps began to break out all over his body, and his hair stood on edge from the sudden pressure, allowing him to recover within the blink of an eye.
Xiao Ping didn't have time to look up to see what was happening, and neither did he have the time to make accurate judgments. He immediately activated his soul thrusters and attempted to fly out diagonally in an attempt to dodge this attack.
However, he felt an intense numbness course over this body at this moment. Xiao Ping looked down subconsciously, and saw a tiny needle protruding from his chest, a needle that shone with bluish-purple light. The overwhelming numbness was coming from this needle!
That's… did he stick that into me before I opened my Invincible Barrier when my Class 7 soul barrier was blasted away?
But that should be considered a stationary soul tool even though it's a needle! This was Xiao Ping's final thought before he watched a golden-red beam swallow that slender needle. The tiny needle was destroyed, and he himself could clearly feel that he had lost something as well.
A hole no bigger than a thumb appeared in Xiao Ping's Invincible Barrier and his heart at the same time. His eyes grew slack and were filled with incredulity. Not in his wildest dreams did he expect to die this way.
A dash of cold light flickered across He Caitou's eyes, but he quickly returned to his simple and honest look as he withdrew the cannon in his hands and gradually descended from the sky.
Zheng Zhan caught Xiao Ping as fast as he could when the latter dropped down from the sky. However, Zheng Zhan quickly discovered that Xiao Ping couldn't be saved, his heart had been shot straight through. How could anybody save him?
"He… he…" Xiao Ping's eyes were full of exasperation. There was nothing else he could say, and he puked out a whole lot of blood before he finally passed into the void.
Two combat deaths from three battles!
The audience erupted into furor when Zheng Zhan announced Xiao Ping's death. They were inside the Sun Moon Empire, and not inside the Star Luo Empire like last season. The Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy's team was representing the Sun Moon Empire in this competition, and three people had perished, one after another, in this round. How could the citizens not be upset?
Huo Yuhao's eyes betrayed a faint look of surprise despite his ice-cold expression beneath the stage, and he glanced at He Caitou on stage.