Chapter 24: Interesting

“To be more exact a Nosferatian,” Instructor Wei informed him.

“Thank you Mentor,” Xiaoxia replied.

He learnt from Sem, that the Nosferatian are a one of a handful of humanoid beings who bear striking resemblance to the racial beings. They have slit eyes and tails, and their canines start getting longer when they reached puberty.

They are an agile people and have superior intelligence. Their combat abilities are excellent as well, younglings go through rites of passage in extreme environments in order to be known as a proper individual in their communities.

“You need to be wary of their tails, it can both be used as a weapon and shield,” Instructor Wei cautioned him.

Xiaoxia nodded and asked, “Mentor, are there any know weaknesses for them?”

The lessons from Sem, gave detailed information on many different beings in Yuan Zhong, however it fell short in actual combat situations. These were handled by the various Instructors in the Academy, who instructed the proper ways to handle different opponents.

“They have the same weaknesses as the other opponents you faced, however their agility, strength, reaction time and superior intelligence, will make them much harder to face than others from the same Ki Realm,” Instructor Wei enlightened him.

“Mentor, what about his previous opponents?” Xiaoxia asked.

“Based on the past six matches, he won all of them with overwhelming victory,” Instructor Wei said and passed him the information slip.

Xiaoxia eyes only focused on one name on that list, it was Charlotte. She had been the humanoid being’s 5th opponent, and the results showed that the match only lasted 2 minutes. The duel was stopped due to the inability for one side to continue the match.

“Mentor, do we know what happened for this match?” Xiaoxia asked while showing Instructor Wei which match he was referring to.

“No, I did not ask for full details or recordings of the match,” Instructor Wei replied and asked in return, “Is there something troubling you?”

“Mentor, the girl in that match is my friend. Based on what I know, she should be competent enough not to have suffered a crushing defeat,” Xiaoxia informed her.

Charlotte did not train like the others not because she wasn’t sponsored by an empire or alliance, it was actually due to her abilities. Everyone in prestigious academies had a head start in their Ki Realm, due to the trend of families providing the best resources for their children, and Charlotte was no exception.

The only exception was Xiaoxia, who entered the Academy at Apprentice Realm 3rd Tier. It was laughable, as most of the Titled Class freshmen were already close to achieving Duelist Realm when they registered for the Academy.

“She is at least Duelist Realm 2nd Tier, just below this humanoid being,” Xiaoxia added.

“Xia Er, most humanoids can take down opponents who are slightly higher in tier than them. Their natural born abilities are comparable to a few tiers ahead of the racial beings,” Instructor Wei said and further added, “Although your opponent is Duelist Realm 3rd Tier, depending on how well he honed his natural abilities, he should be comparable to a 6th or 7th Tier.”

“The only exceptions are the Daemoniacs, who are very rare. They exhibit abilities that are very similar to mythical beings and elementals. These humanoids can take down opponents a whole realm higher than them, sometimes even more. Fortunately according to records, there is none in this year’s competition,” Instructor Wei summarized.

“I understand Mentor,” Xiaoxia replied, his mind still thinking about Charlotte.

Xiaoxia forgotten to check on his friends the previous day, it was mainly because he was distracted by swarms of fans rushing to speak with him. On top of that, Amelia had visited him and their conversation lasted till he almost fell asleep talking.

**********

“Xiaoxia! Go for it! Win all your matches! Beat the hell out of all the others! No mercy!” a clear voice shouted out over the noise of the stadium.

Xiaoxia heard it clearly as he was approaching the battle dais and looked towards the direction where it came from. He saw Amelia beside Instructor Wei and Menon at the VVIP area, she was standing with one foot on the railings and the other on the ground.

In her hands was something that amplified her voice, and whenever she shouted her support, it could be heard clearly and loudly in the entire stadium. This created much embarrassment for Menon who was trying to act like he wasn’t there. How Instructor Wei took it was unclear, as she seemed to be shrinking from sight when Amelia was shouting her support.

The rest of her entourage had slightly red faces, their Imperial Arch Duchess was acting like a hooligan in front of the hundreds of thousands of spectators in the stadium, and millions more who were watching the broadcast. But no one dared to say anything.

Xiaoxia could only shyly smile and scratch the back of his head as he moved to the platform, it is the 3rd one in the stadium. As soon as he entered, his opponent was already waiting.

“Competitors please come to the center,” a referee instructed them, he was different from the ones Xiaoxia had seen previously. This referee was from the Nature Elves and he exuded a commanding aura.

“Greetings, my name is Vlad Aluc, School of the Night, Race of the Nosferatian, Nation of the Night,” Vlad greeted Xiaoxia.

“Well met, my name is Zhen Xia, Academy of the Six Elements, Sha Mo Ren, 1st Colony, Hu Yuan Empire,” Xiaoxia responded in kind.

Vlad’s eyebrow shot up when he heard Xiaoxia was from a colony. The humanoid races in Yuan Zhong were not high in population, as such they do not inhabit any colonies. Hearing that someone was from another planet was one which generated much interest amongst them, especially so for the younger children.

Hidden among the rafters, a figure in the shadows was observing the Nosferatian, thinking to himself, “What a troublesome opponent.”

It was Jay. Unlike Instructor Wei, he had fought many times with their kind over the millenniums.

“You should be careful, this guy is no walkover,” Jay thought.

“No killing or serious endangerment, no hitting the opponent on their family jewels, no use of forbidden skills or weapon, no unregistered weapons, maintain proper pugilist honor at all times and finally have a good duel!” the referee was saying. It is the standard proclamation before each match, only the ‘family jewels’ part was changed if one or both the competitors are girls.

“Competitors please take your positions, you have ten minutes,” he concluded.

“Phreeee!”

Vlad immediately vanished from his spot. It almost caught Xiaoxia by surprise, as he instinctively moved to his left, feeling a force strike out on his right, where his chest previously was.

“Ha! Good reflexes!” Vlad said as something shot out from behind him and stabbed at Xiaoxia.

“Boom!” Xiaoxia ducked in time to see the battle dais’s energy shield shimmering from a Ki attack shot out from Vlad’s tail.

This time Xiaoxia took the initiative and used his foot technique to appear on Vlad’s bind spot and at the same time striking out with a downward slashed of his left hand.

“Whoosh! Poom!”

It was blocked by Vlad’s tail, however the impact caused him to be pushed a few feet away.

“You have good reflexes as well,” Xiaoxia returned the compliment given earlier.

Vlad smiled as he started circling and observing Xiaoxia. His stance changing to a more aggressive one.

Xiaoxia took up a defensive posture and mimicked Vlad by circling. He did not underestimate Vlad and it was clearly the right thing to do.

At this point Vlad lunged directly at Xiaoxia, at the moment he almost reached him, he suddenly detoured and appeared on the left and send a kick into Xiaoxia’s mid-section.

Xiaoxia immediately raised his left thigh and activated his defense as the blow slammed into it.

“Poom!” the impact was not great, but it managed to push Xiaoxia a couple of feet away.

“Nice Ki defense!” Vlad’s eyes sparkled.

Vlad did not stop and strike with both his left hand and tail. Ki energy surrounded them as it hit Xiaoxia.

“Piak! Piak!” it was deflected by both Xiaoxia’s left and right hand.

“Is this the best you can do?” Xiaoxia asked, clearly being able to block or dodged the attacks. His battle senses already heightened in the short time the duel had started, every second enabling his eyes to adjust to the speed Vlad had.

“It’s only just beginning,” Vlad said, as he retreated back a dozen feet of so, while continuing to observe Xiaoxia.

Xiaoxia did not hesitate and dashed at him head first, at the moment of impact, he struck out his right fist.

Vlad grinned as he raised his defense to block the blow.

At this point Xiaoxia did the unexpected and jumped in a half somersault over Vlad, in a split second while directly overhead, he pointed his left index finger at Vlad’s exposed right shoulder and release a controlled burst of focused Ki.

“BOOF!”

“Errrggh!” Vlad grunted as the Ki attack hit his right shoulder, it slumped immediately as it was dislocated.

While landing on his feet, Xiaoxia immediately sent a right kick into the exposed back of Vlad.

By this time Vlad knew Xiaoxia was behind him and used his tail to repel the attack, again the force caused him to be pushed several feet away from the point of impact.

“Phreeee!” the referee blew the whistle while motioning for both of them to stop.

“Competitor are you able to continue?” the referee looked at Vlad noticing the dislocated shoulder.

“Yes this is nothing,” Vlad said, while at the same time his aura was gradually increasing.

“Are you sure?” the referee asked again.

Suddenly strong Ki energies burst forth from Vlad as an intense glow surrounded him. After the glow dissipated, the wrist device indicated ‘D6’. He had somehow risen 3 levels in the match.

“To think I needed to resort to this,” Vlad spoke with some form of regret.

At this time Xiaoxia was a little worried, Instructor Wei had told him that Vlad’s people could take on someone 3 to 4 tiers above them. Given that Vlad is now Duelist Realm 6th Tier, it would mean he can take down someone at the peak of the 9th Tier or perhaps even Adept Realm lower Tier.

“Pop!” a clear audible sound distracted Xiaoxia’s train of thoughts.

“See I am all fine now,” Vlad told the referee as his shoulder popped back into place, not even a hint of pain on his face.

“Ok, you may continue at the whistle blow,” the referee had backed away when the burst of energy rushed forth, and was standing more than 2 dozen feet away. His face bearing a look of surprise.

Back on the rafters, Jay was thinking, “So now the real fight begins, Xiaoxia you better go all out.”

In the meantime, Menon was only staring at Vlad, his eyes gleaming and he could only think, “I want to experiment on him!”

Amelia did not even care, she was still loudly shouting her support, seemingly with never ending enthusiasm and energy, “Xiaoxia crush him! Show him who is boss! Destroy that tiny puke!”

Among the four of them, one was silently cursing, “Damn it! I hope I don’t lose all my money on this!”

It was Instructor Wei.

Back on the dais, the referee had motioned for them to return to their start position.

“You better bring it with everything you have,” Vlad grinned impishly at Xiaoxia, hinting he won’t go easy on him.

“It will be my pleasure,” Xiaoxia replied smiling at the same time. He was mentality removing the barriers in his thought process, the ones Instructor Wei placed when she cautioned him of his powers killing someone.

Against Vlad, it was not necessary. He wasn’t a normal opponent, and if Xiaoxia did not go all out now, he will be in danger himself.

“Phreeee!”

Once again Vlad took the initiative and looked as if he materialized at Xiaoxia’s left side, he left an after image at his original spot.

Totally caught by surprise at the increase in speed, Xiaoxia activated all his defense at once, not knowing where Vlad was going to hit.

“BA BOOM!”

The impact was tremendous and a small but visible shockwave rippled away from the point of impact.

“Boof!”

Xiaoxia was thrown unceremoniously by the impact onto the ground some thirty feet away, a little winded and bones aching all over, but otherwise not sustaining any serious injury.

“I got to say, really nice Ki defense you got there,” Vlad complimented Xiaoxia yet again, visibly impressed.

“Thank you, I can say the same for your Ki reinforced attacks,” Xiaoxia returned the compliment again, while standing up.

This time Xiaoxia did not hold back and from where he stood, shot out two focused Ki blast from his right and left index fingers in rapid succession

“PIAK! DA BOOM!”

“BOOF!”

“Ungh!” Vlad managed to barely deflect the first blast with his right hand, but could only block the second one with both his left arm and tail. The first deflected blast slammed into the battle dais’s energy shield, causing a crack in it, while the second one slammed into Vlad’s defenses.

“This is amazing!” Vlad smile excitedly, it did not however masked the pained look on his face.

At the same time, he shot out his own Ki blast from his tail and right hand, at that time he was already pushed back forty feet or so from Xiaoxia. As he attacked with his right hand, he winced a little from the damage as a result of deflecting Xiaoxia’s attack.

“Boom! Boom!”

The attacks were not powerful, and both of them missed Xiaoxia, as he dodged acrobatically over the floor of the dais.

“Damn it stop moving around like a monkey!” Vlad was starting to get frustrated, Xiaoxia was too agile for him to fight long distance.

“Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!”

Vlad relentlessly shot out Ki blasts in Xiaoxia’s direction, but all of them missed as Xiaoxia was skillfully avoiding them. Sometimes he floated and slide, while other times he used his natural physiques to perform jumps, backflips and others acrobatics to dodge.

“BOOF!”

Instantly Xiaoxia retaliated from the last barrage by sending another focused Ki attack at Vlad, this time Xiaoxia noticed something.

The focused Ki was blocked at the last minute by Vlad with his left thigh.

“Arrgh!” Vlad cried out, as he fell to his knees momentarily. He stood up instantly with a wince while biting his lips.

“You will regret this!” Vlad screamed as his aura raised again, this time his Ki realm did not increase, but the aura had a threatening feel to it.

Instead of setting up a defense, Xiaoxia immediately lashed out with Ki blasts using punches, instead of the focus Ki he used earlier.

“BOOF! BOOF! BOOM!”

“ARRRGGHHH!!! EEERRRGH!!!” Vlad screamed in pain, as he blocked two with his left arm again and fell to his knees, the third narrowly missing as it flew overhead and hit the energy shield.

Just as Vlad fell, a fourth was heading straight for his face. Xiaoxia panicked at this instant, it would kill or seriously injure Vlad if he took it head on.

What was worse, is that Vlad did not have any defense set up and was unaware of the fourth attack heading for him, as he was grimacing in pain with his eyes shut.

“WHAM! CRACCCK!”

“BA DA BOOM!”

The fourth attack miraculously changed direction in midflight and slammed straight into the energy shield where the crack was earlier. It broke cleanly through and detonated against the wall below the spectator’s stand, causing all those nearby to cringe in fear.

Somehow Xiaoxia managed to link with the forth attack and redirected its path in the nick of time.

“Phreeee!” the referee immediately blew the whistle.

“Red side is unable to continue,” the referee proclaimed, immediately knowing over the course of the battle that Vlad had damaged his left arm on the first blocked and it was now broken after being hit twice in a row. On top of this he could clearly see other damages to Vlad’s left thigh as well as right hand.

Xiaoxia had already noticed the damage to the left arm earlier, as Vlad was guarding his left arm and did not engage in close combat. By blocking another attack with his left thigh, Vlad had suffered additional damage and his movements were effectively sealed.

Only 3 others watching the duel were not thinking about this, they saw the fourth attack being redirected. There was no outside elements involved, and not one of them could even do it. It was a new skill for them.

They were Jay, Instructor Wei and Menon, all three of them had the same thought, “INTERESTING!”

Back at the VVIP stands, Amelia was hysterical at the outcome of the match and her shouts and cheers got more rowdy and soon vulgarities were being spewed.

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