Nobody backed out. The prizes were so rich and generous, who didn't want to give it a shot? Even if someone ended up on the losing end, they could still admit defeat. It was very unlikely for someone to die in a tournament that was focused on comparing soul tools.
"Very well. Since nobody has decided to back out, we shall commence the combat phase. May I invite 96 and 37 to start the first match?"
Huo Yuhao's individual bet with 98, along with the incredible value of their stakes, meant that they would probably be the last to fight. The first match would definitely be between the more unbalanced pairs.
37 fought against 96, and was already at a complete disadvantage in his aura and disposition. There was no suspense at all, and 96 took just five minutes to achieve an overwhelming victory. Then it was He Caitou's turn against 85.
He Caitou gradually stepped towards the competition stage with a large cannon on his shoulders. He had crafted five soul tools - the black heavy cannon on his shoulder, a round breastplate, a shield, a waistplate, and a helmet.
Those were his five different soul tools, and he was well-equipped in terms of both attack and defense. Almost every single contestant chose this direction.
He Caitou's opponent was a little simpler in comparison. His opponent had a breastplate, and one relatively smaller soul cannon on each of his shoulders. He also had a belt-like soul tool around his waist.
They were inside the Golden Hall's competition stage after all, and it was a lot smaller than the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament's competition stage. Neither party had much space to move around, and any long-range attacks could reach the other side in no time.
The three judges returned to their positions, and the chief judge exclaimed, "Begin!"
Both He Caitou and 85 unleashed their martial souls at almost the same time. He Caitou was very quick, and six soul rings rose up from his feet. On seeing this, the audience erupted into shouts and exclamations! He Caitou was a six-ringed Soul Emperor, and this meant that this tall and broad-shouldered man in a mask was likely to be a Class 6 soul engineer as well! The people who had placed their bets on He Caitou began to gasp and exclaim in joy and delight.
85 paled in comparison. He had two yellow and three purple soul rings; only five soul rings, and he didn't have the most optimal soul ring combination.
Both parties chose to unleash the same soul tool initially, a protective soul barrier. A layer of white light rose up and enveloped their bodies inside. Both soul barriers were Class 5, as they had only had ten hours to craft their soul tools.
The belt-like soul tool that 85 had around his waist burst with colorful light, and circle after circle of intense light rippled out from it. His soul power undulations began to flourish with lightning speed.
"Wow! Look, everyone! The soul tool around 85's waist is an extremely rare energy-gathering soul tool. It can focus and condense the user's soul power over a short period of time. It's very difficult to create a soul tool like that, and one has to be very precise in the crafting process! Otherwise, one mistake will cause injuries to the user. I can imagine right now that 85's subsequent attack will as vigorous and violent as a thunderstorm! With his energy-gathering soul tool's amplification, his attacks can rival that of a Class 6 soul engineer for a short period of time."
He Caitou didn't respond as he watched his opponent's energy-gathering soul tool. He calmly raised his left arm and blocked his chest, the footlong shield on his left arm beginning to chime faintly and radiate a layer of orangish-yellow light.
"Eh, look! What a great counter! The shield that 88 has chosen to use should be a soul reflecting shield! This shield is highly resistant and effective against all soul power attacks, or more accurately, all kinds of soul rays. The only problem is that I can't tell what this soul reflecting shield's Class is..."
The fight begun, and Ajin's saliva was spewing all over the place as he commentated excitedly on the battle.
An energy-gathering soul tool could temporarily increase a soul engineer's offensive ability, but it also consumed a lot more soul power. The user would have to achieve victory as quickly as possible.
85 felt his heart sink when he saw He Caitou's six soul rings. He knew that he only had one chance to win.
Because of this, he didn't wait for He Caitou to do anything else, and fired off the twin soul cannons on his shoulders. Two different lights blasted toward He Caitou.
The soul cannon on his left shoulder was a brilliant white soul ray. The air around it felt a little strange as this ray surged out, and everyone seemed to see cracks and tears in the air wherever this soul ray passed. The air seemed to become glassy and shatter in its wake.
The other soul cannon fired a pink sphere of light. This sphere was as big as a fist, but it grew increasingly larger as it flew through the air.
Every single contestant who could make it into the round of six had their own unique strengths, and 85 wasn't an exception!
Even Huo Yuhao was a little astonished as he watched those soul cannons. Both of them were Class 5 soul tools that were rarely seen.
The soul ray that cracked open the air as it flew was called a splitting shockwave. Even though it was similar to a shock bomb, there was a world of difference between them.
Shock bombs relied on intense and forceful shockwaves and undulations, but the splitting shockwave resembled uncountable knives and blades. Powerful cutting effects would be dished out to the target, and it would cut in very irregular patterns. The splitting shockwave was highly destructive, fierce, and brutal. However, it was very difficult to craft one of these, and it was quite challenging to control it as well. Splitting shockwaves were inherently unstable, and could easily injure their user. Therefore, soul engineers typically didn't opt for such a soul tool.
However, 85 seemed very confident, and it was clear that he was very familiar with using similar soul tools.
The pink sphere on the other side wasn't much worse, and it was known as an enfeebling cannon. This cannon could be considered a more primitive version of the aging ray which had been used on Wang Qiu'er.
It was difficult for any energy-based defenses to dispel a enfeebling cannon's effects, and anybody struck by it would immediately enter a weakened state. This weakened state was a prolonged and continuous one, and the victim would have to rest for a very long time to recover.
Both soul tools were considered incredibly difficult to craft among Class 5 soul tools. Furthermore, a lot of soul power had to be consumed when using them.
It was clear that 85 was prepared with his equipment. He had a Class 5 protective soul barrier to defend himself, and his energy-gathering belt boosted his soul power, while his two formidable soul cannons would take care of his opponent. His setup was quite impressive.
The splitting shockwave was the first to reach He Caitou. It clashed with He Caitou's soul barrier, shrill and ear-piercing sounds ringing out. The audience could see cuts and scars swiftly webbing out across He Caitou's soul barrier.
The splitting shockwave's most frightening characteristic was that it could be fired continuously. As long as the user had enough soul power to sustain his or her attack, this attack could be used continuously and without pause. Of course, this attacking style increased the chances of the soul tool itself breaking apart.
The enfeebling cannon shell followed immediately afterwards. It was not hard to imagine that He Caitou's soul barrier would definitely not be able to withstand the splitting shockwaves if he entered a weakened state, and it was likely that that would be instantly sliced and diced into pieces. 85 immediately took the upper hand as he made his first attack.
But He Caitou wasn't worried or panicky from beginning to end. He pressed his shield and its orange light, and the orange radiance seemed to materialize as it wrapped around his protective soul barrier and barricaded the splitting shockwave without. The cracks and scars immediately vanished.
He Caitou's feet moved as the enfeebling cannon shell came shortly after. He took a step to the left, evading the attack with incredible speed. The fact that his large and bulky body could make such agile and nimble dodging movements was astonishing.
The enfeebling cannon charge was locked onto him, however, and began to follow him as he waltzed around.
The helmet on He Caitou's head lit up, a bright silver beam erupting out of it and circling once around his body. The enfeebling cannon charge was pursuing closely behind him, so it was naturally encompassed within this beam's radius, and was instantly scooped up by the silver light.
"This… is this what's known as a Class 5 capturing hand? It can capture any powerful energy-based existence, and is primarily used to counter stationary soul cannons. It's quite a surprise that 88 has created a soul tool like that. It's a very clever creation."
He Caitou's capturing hand wrapped around the enfeebling charge, and its lock-on effects were immediately dispelled. He Caitou hurled the cannon charge back out towards 85, wanting to give his opponent a taste of his own medicine. The pink light sphere hurtled straight towards 85 at a speed faster then it had originally been launched at!
85 was overcome with shock, but his response was still appropriate. He Caitou's capturing hand could capture any energy-based entity at a certain speed, but it couldn't keep any lock-on capabilities. 85 dodged to one side and avoided this cannon shell, but his splitting shockwave paused for a moment because of his movements.
Right at that moment, a brilliant blue pillar of light surged across the competition stage. This blue pillar boomed like a thunderbolt, and the entire Golden Hall seemed to tremble and shiver along with it. There was only a protective dome around the competition stage; there wasn't a sound-proofing barrier. Therefore, everybody in the audience could hear the crisp and deafening boom.
The heavy cannon on He Caitou's shoulder was finally unleashed, a Lightning Cannon! This was one of He Caitou's favorite soul tools!