The entire island continent of MeisterSchloss had seen the golden light, it shot through into the sky and beyond the outer atmosphere of the main world.
Many people were amazed at it, some even cowered in fear, while others bowed their heads in prayers.
Some colony planets who were facing that direction, caught the phenomenon a few minutes later as the light from the event finally reached them.
About 70 million leagues away on the main world, in unknown lands, an eye opened. It belonged to a massive creature more than ten thousand feet in length and five thousand feet in height.
It was roused from its slumber by the phenomenon as it laid on the top of a mountain range cloaked in dense clouds.
“Friends, an anomaly has appeared,” its thoughts reached out.
Across the massive world, other creatures began to rouse in respond.
“It’s aura is only comparable to that of a seedling,” replied one on the direct opposite of the planet. This creature was similar in size, it was submerged in a gigantic magma chamber beneath the planet’s crust.
“But seedling grows,” another said, its thoughts came west of the previous creature. It was laying on the ocean floor, chewing lazily on a sea dragon which was caught as it swam by.
“There is no need to be alarmed,” yet one more replied, from the east. The earth shook as it swayed, creatures scattered immediately from its base, “These young species do not live as long as we do.”
“The young ones are aggressive, over the aeons they have killed each other without thought,” a fifth replied, hidden deep in a labyrinth of caves. It was feasting on raw adamantium ore.
“We do not need to worry ourselves with these insignificant beings, they are but gnats that comes and goes. The one whom this aura comes from is not one like us, we who have been since the world was born,” the final creature said, it’s thoughts a cacophony of two. This creature was hidden in the spatial void of the world.
“This is true, but there are times insignificant species have brought great calamity to this world,” the first creature remarked.
“Then we shall continue to monitor this being, if a threat does appear, eliminate it,” the final creature said.
There was a pause and together the other five agreed in unison, “We concur.”
“AH!” a voice shouted, it shattered the calm and quietness of the night.
“This is simply not working!” the figure cried out in frustration. It was Xiaoxia.
It was only two more days to the Freshmen Competition, and he had train vigilantly under the guidance of Instructor Wei. During the night, he secretly trained alone.
Slightly more than a month ago, he had saved the female upperclassmen. She turned out to be one of the princesses of a major empire across the ocean from MeisterSchloss. The incident brought about a big commotion in the Academy, as the security of its students was in doubt.
He did not have much recollection what happened later, as he collapsed and slept for 3 days. A few days later when he woke up, he read news from the Academy’s news bulletin regarding the incident.
The syndicate behind the planned abduction, was still not found. The empire in question, could not find any leads and all clues ended with the death of the four intruders.
The Council of Elements, as well as the Vice Chairman and Chairman, were extremely furious with the turn of events. There was no one who could enter the Academy without being detected. They had to be in cahoots with someone within the Academy in order to remain undetected.
If the incident did not occur at the mall where there were many people, they would have succeeded in abducting the girl. It was only by stroke of luck and bad judgment on the intruder’s part that it was unsuccessful.
The many loss of lives of both students and instructors who were involved was truly regrettable. The affiliated empires and alliances of these students, as well as the Academy had been in contact with the empire of the princess, and compensation have been agreed on.
Jay lead the after incident report, and left out Xiaoxia’s name from it. He warned Xiaoxia to keep a low profile after what happened, as many people had seen him in battle with the intruder.
Besides this, he cautioned Xiaoxia not to try activating or train the skills he displayed in the battle. Jay surmised this based on the two times the golden energy has appeared, once when he measured Xiaoxia’s stats and during the intruder battle.
It was only when Xiaoxia was in extreme danger or life threatening situations that it had manifested itself. Jay said that it was akin to forbidden skills and techniques employed by certain individuals in history at great costs. Xiaoxia himself collapsed as a result of the tremendous Ki required of it.
Most of these skills required extreme measures and on many occasions the sacrifice of human lives. Some do not require it, but those came at the cost of the life essence from the individuals practicing it, reducing their own lifespans. Hence any skill or techniques requiring any of these are strictly forbidden.
“Maybe I should just forget it,” Xiaoxia mumbled to himself.
Xiaoxia had tried unsuccessfully since then to access these skills, the teleportation and golden aura. He even tried to reach into his special meridian, which was at his heart, as Jay informed him earlier. Unfortunately, the meridian started to absorb Ki at an astonishing rate, causing Xiaoxia to immediately withdraw for fear of his life.
“So you are here,” a voice spoke from behind him, it was Instructor Wei.
“Mentor!” Xiaoxia exclaimed, surprised at her presence.
“What are you doing so late after classes?” she asked.
“I was training for the competition,” Xiaoxia replied, not really lying, since he was training earlier as well.
“Good, I came here to pass you this and some other information,” Instructor Wei said and passed him a device.
“Put this on, it will register you for the competition as well as indicate your Ki Realm,” she added.
“Yes Instructor,” Xiaoxia answered and took the device.
Placing it on his wrist, the device came to life and on its surface it read ‘Duelist Realm 9th Tier’. He had gained 2 more tiers within 30 days.
“Impressive, even though you have not been earnestly cultivating your Ki and expanding your Ki vessels, you have already risen by 2 tiers,” Instructor Wei complimented him.
“Thank you Mentor,” Xiaoxia bowed and cupped his hands.
“That’s not necessary, this year’s competition is an inter-continent event, held once every 7 years. The total participants for the freshmen throughout the competition is over 3 million from more than 10,000 empires. They are the elites of the freshmen on Yuan Zhong, most have already achieved Duelist Realm,” she informed him.
“As such, all freshmen in the Academy who have not attained Duelist Realms are not required to attend. Attendance is compulsory for those who have,” she then took out her prism and a hologram appeared.
“There is more information here,” she added.
Academy of the Six Elements
107,931st Year Inter-Continental Freshmen Competition
Total Empires/Nations/Cities: 10,037
Total participants: 3,207,318
Duration: 15 days
Days to Opening Ceremony: 2 days 3 hours 28 minutes 14 seconds
It was a live screen mimicking the one situated at the main stadium, which is the arena for later stages of the competition. Detailed information of each match was in it as well, the information showed the current Ki Realm, race, academy they are from, and the empire/alliance of each individual.
“There are humanoid beings in this competition as well,” Instructor Wei told Xiaoxia.
Humanoid beings were very different from the racial beings. They had looks and physiques closely resembling the racial beings, but some had extra limbs, tails and even horns. The racial beings were races like Xiaoxia’s and Winfrey’s group.
The twins who are Xiaoxia’s friends are not humanoid beings, they are part of the racial beings as well and they only had feline features. Their eyes (not pupils), nose bridge and cheekbones gave them feline appearances, they do not have felines ears, nose, paws, tails or teeth. The habit of saying ‘meow’ was not inherent of their race, it was something picked up by the sisters somehow.
(Author’s note: The twins are Bao Ya Ren ~ panther teeth people, even then panthers don’t meow)
“You have to be careful when you meet one, especially those who have natural attacks and defenses,” Instructor Wei was saying.
“Yes Mentor,” Xiaoxia replied, having learnt that during lessons from Sem.
After Xiaoxia became an official Disciple, Instructor Wei stopped the evening training and she managed to restart Xiaoxia’s lesson with Sem. Initially Sem thought he dodged the bullet when it was first cancelled, and was very hesitant to restart it again.
Only after Instructor Wei bribed him with the hair regrowth elixir, he finally relented and taught Xiaoxia. Sem or Uncle Sem as he likes to call himself, is a top class scholar. The lessons Xiaoxia took, broaden his horizons by many folds.
Xiaoxia was literally overwhelmed with information, it was beyond his imagination. Sem not only taught what the alliances teaches their students, he added many other topics. These included alchemy, engineering, subjects on crafts, folklore and the world of Yuan Zhong.
He learnt about mythical beings, they were supernatural beings who did not have the physiques of the racial/humanoid beings. There were also mythical creatures, who are limited to folklore and are rarely seen.
The most dangerous among the living creatures in Yuan Zhong were the elementals. These were born of the elements they lived in, fire, water, wind, wood and earth. All of them attacked trespassers of their domains without provocation. There are no known elementals of light.
The only thing that was not taught, was the dark element. In many of the studies involving the light element, passing references were made regarding the 7th element. Even Xiaoxia’s test results from Menon stated he had alignment suitable for 7 elements, not only the 6 commonly known ones.
When he inquired about it, Sem just shrugged his shoulders and said he has no knowledge of this mysterious elements. What he taught Xiaoxia was all he knew.
The lessons proved beneficial, as he now understood most of what Instructor Wei says. Some idioms and phrases were still new, but he could roughly gauge their meaning.
“Remember, sometimes attack is the best defense,” Instructor Wei told Xiaoxia.
“Opponents who concentrate on attacks, usually have weak defenses and will create many openings,” she further informed him and continued her lesson, “the strongest defense is only as good as its weakest link.”
“Mentor, how will I know where is the weakest link?” Xiaoxia asked.
“It is simply a matter of observation during a battle, everyone has a tendency to over protect the weakest part of their body,” she taught him.
“So I will need to distract them sufficiently, in order to damage that area?” Xiaoxia asked.
“Yes, but it’s easier said than done. The best way is to disable the person’s ability to defend that area, which can be done by putting either side of their arms out of action,” Instructor Wei replied.
“However this is mostly true for racial beings, while not always true for humanoid brings,” she emphasized.
There are some who train all four limbs to defend, rare in cases among racial beings, and even rarer among freshmen. But it was not a forgone possibility, there is still a chance some of the elite freshmen in this year’s competition can manage that.
Humanoid beings on the other hand are not limited to just 4 limbs, some have extra limbs and others even tails for their defenses or a combination of both.
“The toughest ones are those who have natural defense, like the dragonians, tetsudians or crustanians. These have shells or scales growing only on the most vulnerable parts of their bodies, you may not be able to break through without killing them,” she warned.
“Do not use focused Ki on these areas, the idea is to create an impact to knock them out, not pierce through and kill them,” she instructed him and continued, “The tournament regulations do not allow killing or serious endangerment, however accidents are known to happen. The penalties are very harsh, expulsion or even being held in prison by the victim’s side is not unheard of.”
“Otherwise, against one of the races, there should not be much problem. All that I ask is for you to do your best and not embarrass me, or my brother is not going to let me hear the end of it for the rest of my life,” she concluded.
“Yes Mentor, I promise not embarrass you,” Xiaoxia placed his right hand over his heart as a sign of sincerity.
Instructor Wei acknowledged it, then left him and exited the training hall. As she was walking towards the spatial portal, a figure appeared and spoke, “So he is all prepared?”
It was Jay.
“Yes, there is nothing more to prepare him for,” Instructor Wei replied.
“You do know there is a huge risk, if he attends the competition right?” Jay asked.
“From what you have told me, there is no risk for him,” she observed.
“No not for him, but for the audiences and his opponents,” he answered.
“As Duelist Realm, it is compulsory for him to attend, there is no way for me change that ruling. Even the Vice Chairman and Chairman are unable to do anything. They already stuck their necks out when he entered the Academy, doing anything more within such a short time is going to arouse suspicion,” Instructor Wei said.
“Well I can’t argue that fact, but if it were me I rather take the chance. Unfortunately its out of my hands,” Jay said, as he shook his head.
“This aura of his, you said it is not done consciously. However powerful is it?” Instructor Wei asked, while changing the subject.
“I do not know, it is still growing and it’s already on another level as compared to us. It puts to shame those whom we have encountered over the millenniums, and yes even those who could wipe out our race,” Jay replied seriously.
“There are many things on this damn world that could wipe us out,” Instructor Wei angrily said.
“But we should not focus on these, he is the most important thing now. I hate to say this, but he may be the only hope to reconcile the races if history repeats itself,” Jay digressed.
Instructor Wei nodded, it was before their time, and over fifteen thousand years ago, when the four highest ranked races were almost wiped out from the face of this world. It was led by unknown entities who were extremely powerful and waged a worldwide war against them.
Then one day, just as they had arrived out of the blue, they vanished. No one knew where they went, but they knew these entities were still around.
“In the meantime, I shall continue to observe and be alert of any changes,” Jay said as he turned and disappeared into the night.
Xiaoxia woke early on the day of the freshmen competition. Fred, Miley and Anthony had not arrived.
The previous night, the empire which he had saved its princess, sent emissaries to pay him a visit. They arrived before he got back to his dorm from the training hall, and were waiting at the forum. How they knew he was the one who saved her was beyond him, Jay had not mentioned his name in the after incident report.
They had brought gifts and even an invitation to the empire from the emperor. Xiaoxia did not reply immediately and sent a message to Maling and Amelia, requesting the possibility if they could reject it on his behalf.
When he woke up, it was the first thing he checked, unfortunately there was no reply from either of them. There wasn’t an update on his cousin Xiuxiu as well, he had sent Menon and Captain Jongbae the information from his parents.
According to his parents, who he had spoken to a few days before, Captain Ling Han Wei* had found out some new information. He saw Xiuxiu’s father on the main world, it was in one of the cities in the Hu Yuan Empire.
(*Author’s note: refer to chapter 4 for who this person is)
However he lost sight of him after being distracted by a nearby brawl. The subordinates he sent to follow up did not manage to find anything, hence it was another dead end.
“Argh! Not again,” Xiaoxia grumbled sleepily as he got up from bed and headed to the shower. He had hoped for some news, either from Maling/Amelia or Menon/Captain Jongbae.
“Welcome to the 4022nd Inter-Continent Freshmen Competition!” the announcer warmly greeted everyone. The broadcast was seen everywhere on campus with many holographic screens placed at all around.
If the welcoming festivities for the freshmen was great, this made it look like child’s play. There were not only 3 million participants, but more than a few hundred million students. All these students came from across the world to support their schools, as well as to open festival stands and booths.
Uniforms of various colors could be seen, humanoids and the races mixed into the crowds as if it was the most natural thing in the world. The atmosphere was filled with hustle and bustle of all the activities and people.
Elites from each school had lackeys accompanying them wherever they went. There were tons of fan boys and fan girls who supported their idols, as they loudly cheered and even had fan club booths opened everywhere.
Xiaoxia hurriedly weaved his way through the crowd, trying to get to the rendezvous point. Instructor Wei had sent a message via Fred to meet her at one of the many venue points for the competition. He had slept in the bath tub during shower and woke up late, hence the rush.
“Ooof!” He accidently bumped into someone, causing the person to fall down.
“Sorry! Are you okay?” Xiaoxia apologized immediately, while reaching out his hands to assist the person.
“Yes I am fine, next time look where you are going,” the person responded angrily. It was a guy around Xiaoxia’s age.
As he stood up, Xiaoxia saw he was wearing another academy’s uniform.
“I am really sorry, it won’t happen again,” Xiaoxia apologized again.
“Yea it sure won’t happen again,” the guy said and suddenly punched Xiaoxia.
Xiaoxia reacted immediately and blocked the punch. His defensive aura radiating from his palms, as the opponents fist radiate with aura as well.
“Haha! Good good! So there are some worthy opponents here after all,” the guy laughed.
At this time, Xiaoxia notice he had an insignia on his breast pocket. The insignia was not what caught Xiaoxia’s attention, but the bold ‘S’ vermilion custom grade Ki crystal on it.
At the background a voice was repeating the same words at set intervals, “Welcome to the Freshmen Competition!”