One of the officials stood up and gathered everyone's attention. He smiled brightly and said, "First, I would like to congratulate every team that's managed to qualify for the quarterfinals. As you all know, this is the first tournament that sects have been allowed to participate in, and it's been a lot more competitive than previous seasons…"
This official went on with his formalities for fifteen minutes before finally touching on the topic that everyone was waiting for.
"Now, we will draw the lots for the quarterfinal matchups. This lottery will not only determine who you will face in the next round, it will also determine the teams that you might face in the subsequent rounds. I trust that the outcome of this lottery will be beneficial for your preparations. The rules are as follows...
"We will invite the four first-place teams onto the stage, and they will take their turns drawing lots to decide which teams will be in the first group and which teams will be in the second group. Every first-place team will draw lots against a second-place team, and the only rule is that the first-place team cannot be matched against the second-place team in their same group during the round robins. Who you draw shall be your opponent in the quarterfinals! After the pairings have been settled, the winners from the first and the second group will enter the semifinals.
"The winners of the semifinals will proceed into the grand finals!
Huo Yuhao frowned faintly as he listened to the official's announcement. According to their lottery rules, it was still possible for the Tang Sect to meet Shrek Academy's team in the semifinals. This wasn't something they wanted to happen.
The four first-place teams quickly sent their representatives up on stage.
Wang Qiu'er was undoubtedly the representative for Shrek Academy's team, Tang Ya represented the Holy Ghost Church, and Mu Xue represented the Snowdemon Sect. Huo Yuhao was familiar with all of them. The Proudsword Sect sent up one of their youths.
The teams couldn't help but feel a little nervous, as they were about to choose their opponent in the quarterfinals. There was no doubt that the Snowdemon Sect and the Proudsword Sect were the weaker teams amongst the first-place finishers, and the Holy Ghost Sect was assuredly the strongest team. Shrek Academy had Wang Qiu'er to anchor things down, so they were still considered quite powerful.
Not a single second-place team wanted to be matched up against the Holy Ghost Sect.
The groupings were drawn first.
Shrek Academy was the first to draw their grouping. They were the champions from the previous season after all, and considered a legendary team. The Sun Moon Empire had to give the Shrek Academy respect at a time like this, no matter how much they didn't like them.
Wang Qiu'er looked very calm and composed. She would give everything she had against whichever team she would eventually draw, and there was no such thing as anxiety or fear in her heart.
"Shrek Academy, first group."
Wang Qiu'er drew into the first group.
The Holy Ghost Sect was the second team to draw lots.
Tang Ya was dressed in a long black robe as she had always been. Her exquisite features were hidden beneath a veil, but how could her frame and her eyes fool the Tang Sect's team, who were all so familiar with her?
Bei Bei was standing right behind Huo Yuhao, and Huo Yuhao almost instantly felt Bei Bei's hands tighten around his wheelchair's handles. It wasn't hard to guess what he was feeling inside.
Tang Ya didn't hesitate at all, and drew her lot.
"The Holy Ghost Church, second group."
Everyone could feel that Shrek Academy's team was relieved when they heard "second group". The Holy Ghost Sect in the second group meant that Shrek Academy's team would only meet them in the grand finals.
The Snowdemon Sect, represented by Wei Na and Mu Xue, were next.
Mu Xue was the one responsible for drawing lots. She hesitated for a moment before she stuck her hand inside the lottery box. Her expression became gloomy when she drew her card.
"The Snowdemon Sect, second group."
It was no wonder Mu Xue seemed despondent and agonized. The Snowdemon Sect was in the same group as the Holy Ghost Sect!
The youth representing the Proudsword Sect smiled. "I don't need to draw anymore, right?"
"The Proudsword Sect, first group."
The four first-place teams finished drawing their groups. Shrek Academy and the Proudsword Sect were in the first group.
The Holy Ghost Sect and the Snowdemon Sect were in the second group.
This was a good draw for the two teams in the first group.
"Next, we will draw lots for the quarterfinal matchups. Shrek Academy will draw first."
Wang Qiu'er raised her hand and drew her card. However, she was dazed for a moment when she withdrew her card.
"Shrek Academy has drawn… the Tang Sect."
Everybody's expressions froze in the Tang Sect's team. Huo Yuhao smiled bitterly at Wang Qiu'er on stage, and his lips moved and trembled, but no sound came out.
Wang Qiu'er subconsciously glanced in the Tang Sect's direction after drawing them, and coincidentally saw the words that Huo Yuhao was mouthing. She could tell that he was saying, "Do you hate us that much?"
Wang Qiu'er mouth twitched as she placed the card back inside the lottery box.
The official responsible for the lottery announced, "Shrek Academy's team and the Tang Sect belonged in the same group before this, so this lot is nullified. The Shrek Academy will draw one more time."
Yes, because of the round robins, Shrek Academy's team would not go up against the Tang Sect in the quarterfinals.
Wang Qiu'er drew another card.
"Shrek Academy's new opponent is…" The official paused for a moment to build up the suspense.
The Tang Sect had no response at all, but the other second-place teams focused on his words.
"…the Radiant City Soul Engineering Academy!"
"Heh…" Somebody from the Tang Sect laughed out loud. It was Xiao Xiao. The Sun Moon Empire really had some hate going on with Shrek Academy. The lottery was so coincidental. Shrek Academy had just taken care of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, and now the Shrek team had to face off against the Radiant City Soul Engineering Academy. This conflict and vengeance was really swelling.
The lottery official looked helpless and exasperated as well. The students from the Radiant Academy didn't seem so surprised, but instead, every single one of them appeared as defiant as could be. There was no question that the only thought in their minds was, What if we defeat Shrek Academy and regain our nation's glory? Our honor and glory will overshadow the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy!
The Proudsword Sect was second in line to draw.
Huo Yuhao became truly nervous at this point. The scenario that he absolutely did not want to see was the Tang Sect and Shrek Academy being allocated into the same group, because that meant they would have to fight each other before the grand finals. Therefore, the Proudsword Sect's draw was very important to Huo Yuhao and his team. Even though the Proudsword Sect seemed a little weaker than the others, the Tang Sect would rather face off against a stronger team.
"The Proudsword Sect's opponent in the quarterfinals is… the Heavenly Dragon Sect."
Once this was announced, everybody in the Tang Sect was overcome with delight, and they all heaved sighs of relief.
Over on Shrek Academy's side, Dai Huabin, Wu Feng and the others also heaved sighs of relief. They didn't want to fight the Tang Sect either, and no matter what personal vengeances they had with Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong'er, and the others, these were but internal matters. Furthermore, it was because of this very fact that they knew how formidable Shrek's Seven Monsters were. Even if Shrek Academy's team had Wang Qiu'er, their team strength was still a far cry from the Tang Sect's overall strength.
The first group's lots had been completely drawn. The two remaining teams that hadn't been allocated yet were the Tang Sect and the Star Luo National Academy.
Princess Jiujiu of the Star Luo National Academy didn't look so good. The Holy Ghost Sect was in the second group, and even if the Star Luo National Academy was to fight against the Snowdemon Sect in the quarterfinals, and even if they could beat them, they would have to go up against the Holy Ghost Sect or the Tang Sect in the semifinals. Both teams were far too strong for the Star Luo National Academy to fight against.
"The Holy Ghost Sect will draw next."
"The Holy Ghost Sect is against the… Star Luo National Academy."
Xu Jiujiu's expression turned grey when she heard that. She had a tough and unrelenting personality, but she was still overcome with shock. She understood that they had no chance at all against the Holy Ghost Sect, because the Holy Ghost Sect was possibly stronger than even the Tang Sect.
There was no need to draw the last lot. The Tang Sect would be up against Mu Xue and Wei Na's Snowdemon Sect in the quarterfinals.
This was a fantastic draw for the Tang Sect, as the Snowdemon was evidently weaker than the Holy Ghost Sect. It didn't seem like it would be very difficult for the Tang Sect to defeat their designated opponent, while they would have a showdown against the Holy Ghost Sect in the semifinals. The Holy Ghost Sect would be greatly weakened no matter what the result was. Of course, it was better if the Tang Sect could win this battle, but even if the Tang Sect lost, they would have smoothed the path ahead for Shrek Academy.
One precondition was that Shrek Academy had to get through their own group. Their opponents were not weak, and it was still uncertain whether they could fight their way into the grand finals.
Huo Yuhao exhaled deeply and turned around to look at Bei Bei. "This should be the best outcome."
Bei Bei's eyes had been fixed on Tang Ya from beginning to end. He nodded and said, "Yes! If we can defeat the Snowdemon Sect, you will be in charge when we face the Holy Ghost Sect."
"Alright." Huo Yuhao knew what he was trying to say. His eldest senior bother was afraid that he would lose himself if they went up against Tang Ya.
"Alright, the lottery is over. The quarterfinals will commence the day after tomorrow! The first group will fight it out in the morning, and the second group will battle in the afternoon. Make your preparations, everyone, as the tournament has reached its final phase. Every round will be exceptionally important to every team here today, I hope everyone can achieve the best results!"
The lottery was over, and the officials retreated one after another. The eight quarterfinalists also took turns exiting the grand banquet hall.
"Huo Yuhao!" a charming voice rang out.
Huo Yuhao turned around and saw Mu Xue and Wei Na walking over together. Wei Na's face was full of regret as she said, "I didn't expect us to meet you guys in the quarterfinals. This is a terrible draw for us."
Huo Yuhao chortled and said, "How can that be? You guys came in first in the group stages, but we were second in ours."
Mu Xue grunted coldly and said, "Stop pretending! Everyone knows what you guys were doing against Shrek Academy. Don't think that you will definitely defeat us! We will meet again in the arena when the time comes!"