Chapter 558: The Start of the Grand Competition
The moment Xiao Yan reported his number, Bai Cheng's expression immediately stiffened. On top of it stiffening, there was even an additional paleness.
Bai Cheng had bore a grudge for Xiao Yan ever since he had been defeated by his hands, and he had been blaming his defeat on the matter of Xiao Yan swallowing the 'Dragon Strength Pill'; perhaps this was because he did not want to admit to the true reason for losing. However, at this instant, an extremely faint fear rose in his heart. It appeared that although he was unwilling to admit it with his mouth, but in a deep region of his heart he did indeed feel a fear toward Xiao Yan.
Bai Cheng tightened his grip on the bamboo stick in his hand and eyed the playful smile that hung on the corner of Xiao Yan's mouth. His face twitched a little as he lowered his eyes. That gaze was like he had grabbed a ravenous wolf with his hand. Dammit, even if I have to go all out this time around, I won't give you the opportunity to place in a top ten position on the 'Strong Ranking'.
Xiao Yan calmly eyed Bai Cheng who had lowered his head. He played with the bamboo stick in his hand, but was not too worried in his heart. Back then, when he was only a one star Dou Ling, he had been able to defeat Bai Cheng. Now that his strength had advanced quite a little, he no longer needed to do something like tire himself out from expending too much effort which he did the last time.
After Xiao Yan, there were some people who continued to pick the bamboo sticks. Among them, Wu Hao's opponent was a one star Dou Ling that was ranked 43rd on the 'Strong Ranking'. This kind of strength could only be considered to be at the back of the 'Strong Ranking'. Although Wu Hao's strength was merely at the peak of the Da Dou Shi class, his chances of victory were quite great if he went all out. From the looks of his smiling appearance, it was clear that he was rejoicing at his luck.
After the final competitor picked his lot under everyone's gaze, the order of the matches in the arena had mostly been settled. The number of dispirited people with helpless looks on their faces was not lacking. This was because their opponents were those experts who were ranked at the top of the 'Strong Ranking'. Among them, a fellow who had reached the strength of a four star Dou Ling had coincidentally picked a number that was the same as Liu Qing. The instant the number had been read out, this fellow's expression immediately turned ashen. Although his strength could be considered to be at the middle level on the 'Strong Ranking', his chances of victory undoubtedly fell to an insignificant value in the face of a top expert like Liu Qing.
What was interesting was the opponent of Zi Yan. This fellow was a dark horse that had recently stolen the limelight and entered the 'Strong Ranking'. Moreover, from the looks of his manner, he seemed to be a person who only knew how to undertake a retreat and train. This resulted in him not having much knowledge about Zi Yan. Therefore, when he saw that his opponent was actually a little girl, he began to part his mouth and laugh disdainfully under some gazes from around him were reserved for looking at an idiot. Seeing this scene, Xiao Yan and the others controlled their laughter. Perhaps this fellow would immediately cry until dusk once the competition began.
Su Qian's gaze slowly swept across the entire place. When he saw that all the competitors had figured out their opponents, he nodded slightly. A faint old voice reverberated throughout the stadium, "Since the drawing of lots is over, all of you should return to your seats first. The order of the matches will be drawn in succession."
Once his words sounded, Su Qian's hand drew a bamboo stick from a cylinder in front of him. He glanced at it and said faintly, "Number seven."
The bodies of two people among the competitors in the arena suddenly sprang straight up upon hearing the number that Su Qian called.
"Those people who have the blue and red bamboo stick bottom with the number seven should stay. The others should leave." Su Qian ordered as he waved his hand.
Everyone immediately rushed out upon hearing Su Qian's order. Only two people were left.
The two people in the arena also knew the rules. In the next moment, they swiftly focused their attention. Their faces were tight as faint Dou Qi overflowed from their bodies. Each of them took out their weapons as their gazes sharply gauged their opponent.
The viewing gallery which had become much quieter eyed the gradually permeating fiery fighting intent in the arena, and private conversations once again broke out. Some of the gazes had also become boiling hot at this moment. The 'Strong Ranking' Grand Competition which they had anticipated for a long time finally had its curtain drawn.
Xiao Yan and Wu Hao returned to the tall platform. The former gaze met with Lin Xuya not far away, exchanging a smile and a nod of their heads.
"These two fellows are ranked 35th and 38th. Their strength is not too far apart from one another. There will be some anxiety when they fight." Wu Hao eyed the two people in the arena and laughed.
Xiao Yan randomly nodded. His body leaned on the guardrail as his gaze lazily stayed in the arena.
"It is unexpected that Xiao Yan ge-ge's opponent is actually Bai Cheng again." Xun Er covered her mouth and laughed softly.
"He is just someone who was defeated by me." Xiao Yan smiled and replied. His gaze had some unknown feeling to it. Although there were a couple people who would say that his victory over Bai Cheng was because he relied on the help of a medicinal pill, even after he had put up a stage and accepted challenges back then, it did not remove the root of the issue. Now that they were going to meet again, he could coincidentally clearly display his strength for everyone to see in public. If he could defeat Bai Cheng once, then he would be able to defeat him a second time and even a third time!
"But that fellow appears to hold a grudge against you. Your meeting this time around might really end up in an all out match. Although you are not afraid of him, you should also be careful. In the event that he injures you after going all out, you would be disadvantaged in the matches that follow." Wu Hao frowned and reminded.
Xiao Yan smiled and nodded. His character was originally very cautious. Naturally, he would take precaution against such matters. Whether he was able to enter the top ten of the 'Strong Ranking' affected the important matter of whether the 'Fallen Heart Flame' would end up in his hands. Therefore, he adopted an extremely cautious attitude to this competition, afraid that a simple mistake would occur that would result in a deviation from his plans.
As the few of them conversed, the two people below had already abruptly collided under the waves of fiery noises from the viewing gallery. Powerful Dou Qi interacted with one another, erupting with waves of low, deep explosive sounds. As the human figures flashed, a clear metal sound repeatedly appeared and sparks flashed out. From the start of the fight, the warmup was omitted and they entered into a true all out fight.
One of the two people in the arena was of the fire affinity Dou Qi while the other was of the wood affinity. Although the strength of the latter was a little stronger, he appeared a little strenuous in his defense of the other party's attack due to his Dou Qi being suppressed by the other party. The fire affinity Dou Qi competitor was also quite smart. He understood the essence of going all out in one go. As his attacks were unleashed, fiery, hot wind appeared continuously. The pale-red Dou Qi were like clusters of substance-like flames that rose up, drawing numerous arcs through the air and violently hacking toward his opponent. However, under this ferocious and vicious attack from him, that wood affinity Dou Qi student did not show the slightest panic or change in expression. The latter's face was calm as he received all the attacks from the opponent. Although he appeared to have fallen into a disadvantage, he did not receive any serious injuries.
The fight in the arena could barely be considered a high level fight even within the Inner Academy. Hence, the audience in the surrounding viewing gallery was focused on it. Their eyes did not blink as they stared at the two human figures in the arena. Rousing shouts and unified cries were emitted and reverberated unceasingly in the arena.
Although the fight in the arena was extremely exciting to the students in the viewing gallery, it could only cause Xiao Yan and the others to nod their heads slightly. After all, with their strength being different, it was natural they would view things differently. No matter what they saw, they would look at things from a different point of view.
"That fire affinity Dou Qi student is about to lose." Xiao Yan lazily glanced at the fight in the arena before suddenly opening his mouth to speak.
"Huh?" Wu Hao and Wu Jia by the side were a little stunned when they heard this. Currently, that fire affinity Dou Qi fellow basically held the complete advantage in the fight.
"Although the fire affinity Dou Qi has powerful and vicious attacks, it cannot last very long. It is clear that his opponent's fighting experience is even richer than him and knows how to dodge and drag things out. Wood affinity Dou Qi may have a weaker attack strength than fire affinity Dou Qi, but it is superior in its endurance. Moreover, it can also automatically heal injuries. If you were to carefully sense things, you would be able to discover that the fire affinity Dou Qi student's attacks are already becoming slower. His opponent, on the other hand, is turning the situation around. From the looks of things, it is likely that the victor will be determined within ten minutes." Xun Er by the side smiled and explained the situation in a soft voice. Her insight was not the least bit weaker than Xiao Yan. From a certain point of view, she was even able to see more accurately than Xiao Yan.
Wu Hao and Hu Jia also became more attentive when they heard Xun Er's analysis. A moment later, they nodded their heads in surprise. "Indeed."
Xiao Yan glanced at the smiling face of Xun Er beside him. This little girl looked at things more accurately than him. At the very least he was unable to determine that the victor of these two people would be determined within ten minutes.
Things were exactly as Xun Er had predicted. At the eighth minute, a sudden change occurred in the anxiety filled battle. The wood affinity Dou Qi student, who had been passively defending, suddenly unleashed an extremely sharp attack. The pale-green Dou Qi in his hand was like a beam of light as it shot out. Finally, it passed through the defense of the opponent in a lightning fast manner and heavily smashed into his chest. Immediately, that fire affinity Dou Qi student's face turned pale-white. A mouthful of fresh blood spilled down from the corner of his mouth. His body violently fell out of the arena. By the time he climbed up, he could only hear the roaring thunderclap-like applause throughout the stadium. That face of his was downcast and dissatisfied.
"The first match is won by He Bu!"
Su Qian indifferently announced the result of the match from the high platform. This match could not be considered as very intense. It was like child's play to him. There was not much for him to praise.
As the applause sounded throughout the stadium, Su Qian leaned gently on the back of his chair. He once again picked up a bamboo stick from the bamboo cylinder. After being slightly startled, he immediately shed out an involuntarily smile as he spoke toward the few Elders by his side, "Looks like we will see a more interesting match than the last one."
"The second match, number twenty-eight."
TL: Error on author's part
As Su Qian's voice fell, a human figure suddenly flashed up the stage. The person was a man whose face was haughty and arrogant. As the dark horse whose recent limelight had even exceeded that of Xiao Yan's, he charged into the 33rd position in the 'Strong Ranking' from outside of it. Moreover, this fellow appeared to have let out some arrogant words saying that if he was given five days, he would definitely also triumph over Xiao Yan. This caused quite a number of people to admire his pride. However, Xiao Yan did not give a reply to this. The latter was busy with his retreat, and did not have the time to be bothered by some fellows who had just become successful.
Not long after the man got onto the stage, a little body appeared under everyone's gaze. The little girl wearing white clothes slowly climbed onto the stage under the snickering laughter in the eyes of Xiao Yan and the others.
"Ha ha, little girl, relax. I will definitely hold back!" The man could not help but laugh as he eyed the white-clothed little girl. He appeared to already be able to see the beautiful scene of him advancing.
Xiao Yan, Lin Xiu Ya, Liu Qing, and the others on the tall platform wiped the cold sweat off their foreheads in the face of the arrogant laughter of that man.
"This pitiful fellow..."