Briabel was the toughest opponent of that day, but Xiaoxia still struggled for the remaining two matches. He expended too much Ki when he slipped and was forced to activate a strong Ki defense against the incoming onslaught of attacks.
In addition to this, the Ki burst that countered Briabel’s last attack and the redirected focused Ki, left him with little to spare. If the match continued farther, Xiaoxia by then will totally deplete his Ki reservoir and his life will be on the line.
The next opponent after Briabel was a Tetsudian, its armor was tougher than Briabel’s, but it lacked speed. Thick shell like protection covered its front and back, and it had a stubby tail that did nothing useful. What was most troublesome, is that it could retract its head and limbs into its body.
It took Xiaoxia some effort to disable the opponent, but managed successfully after a few minutes with well-placed focused Ki blasts. The Tetsudian was out for the count when multiple blasts hit its torso. The focused Ki blast did not penetrate the shell, as Xiaoxia could not afford to expend too much Ki, but it generated enough impact for its effects to be felt.
The last opponent for that day was Xiaofeng, and he forfeited the match without contest. Xiaoxia actually looked forward to it, as he felt Xiaofeng would put up some challenge, and was disappointed when it did no go the way he wanted it.
The day ended early for Xiaoxia, and he left the stadium at the 16th hour. He spent four hours resting and met up with Menon and Yulia to further hone the redirection of Ki technique. It would come in handy in the later stages, as it had already proven against Briabel.
In the minutes before midnight of the 6th day, two figures met up in a secluded place. One was obviously a child, the other an adult.
“Are you sure this is ok?” the adult was asking.
“Yes its only restricted and not forbidden,” the child replied.
“There is no honor in this,” the adult stated.
“Who cares! When it comes an enemy, no honor is needed. Innocent defenseless people are killed in war, is there any honor in that?” the child angrily said.
“But it was before their time, we shouldn’t hold them acco..”
“Enough! As long as I live, I will never let them off,” the child interrupted, and walked off into the night.
It is now the 7th day of the singles competition, 32 contestants remain, and there will only be 3 matches for each winner. From this day, all winners will be given a title at each stage.
For the winners of the round of 32, they will be move on to the last 16 and will be given the ‘Elite 16’ title. After winning the last 16, winners will proceed to the Quarter Finals and the title of ‘The 8 Lords’ will be bestowed.
Winners of the Quarter Finals will proceed onto the final day. On the 8th and final day of the tournament, there will be 2 matches for both the winners and the losers. After the semi-finals, a 3rd and 4th place match will be held before the finals.
The final four contestants will be known collectively as ‘Si Shou”. The fourth will get the title of ‘Gui Xian’, the third ‘Qilin’, the second ‘Feng Huang’ and the champion ‘Tian Long’.
( Shi Shou ~ 4 legendary mythical creatures of Chinese folklore, it is prevalent in Japan as well. Certain Buddhist / Taoist countries have similar creatures. ‘Gui Xian’ Tortoise Diety, ‘Qilin’ or Kirin, ‘Feng Huang’ Phoenix, ‘Tian Long’ Celestial Dragon.)
These titles are highly regarded, and it plays a big part for the children, as it meant more benefits financially, politically and academically. It is however not permanent, and the titles can be challenged.
Due to the nature of it being held once every seven years, peers or juniors can challenge the title holders any time before they graduate. On their final academic year when they are 15 years old, an Inter-Continent graduation tournament will be held. If they managed to defend their title, it will be permanent.
Many title holders of past tournaments are key members of public and private sectors. Almost all of them are held in high regards, and many have their names recorded in the histories of their cities, nations or empires.
It also enabled students in the Academy of the Six Elements to expedite the Mentor-Disciple contract. Instead of waiting a minimum of 2 academic years or more, they could apply to an Instructor for Discipleship once they had a title.
Other academies have different benefits, but most importantly, it is the sense of accomplishment that is the most beneficial for these students. Something that cannot be taught, but earned through one’s own self.
The matches for the day were held one after another on a single stage, and Xiaoxia’s match was the first. Regrettably his opponent forfeited, as he sustained injuries he could not recover from. This promoted Xiaoxia immediately into the last 16, achieving the title ‘Elite 16’.
Instructor Wei was looking at the information on the round of 32, Xiaoxia was grouped on the right side and had the opening match. Since then a few others matches have been done,
Of the sixteen in Xiaoxia’s group, there were two Dragonians, one Nosferatian, two Lythians, and a few others from the races, who have yet to compete.
The other side of the table did not fare any better and had almost the same number of humanoids, but there were no Dragonians in that group. This may prove to be the easier side, however there is twice the number of Tetsudians who are no walkover themselves.
Instructor Wei was looking at one name in particular from Xiaoxia’s side of the group. It was Princess Huiling, and her first opponent was a Lythian. With her abilities, she should be able to win against her highly offensive opponent.
The Lythians were humanoids who value attack over defense. They are covered entirely with a grey colored fur, have the usual four limbs and a bushy tail. Offensively, they fight with claws extending from both their hands and feet, as well as a snout full of sharp teeth.
Her battle will be the last match for the round of 32, just before Xiaoxia’s final 16 match.
If she won her next two matches, she will be Xiaoxia’s quarter-final opponent. Instructor Wei decided to keep this from him till it was an actuality. She heard from Amelia on what Huiling tried to pull off, and there was no point in distracting Xiaoxia till then.
“Xia Er,” Instructor Wei called for him, as she placed the information script on the table.
“Yes Mentor,” Xiaoxia replied.
“Your next opponent will be a tricky one. Do you know anything about the Calmareese?” Instructor Wei asked.
“I learnt it during one of Sem’s lessons, aren’t they the humanoids with tentacles growing from their backs?” Xiaoxia replied and asked.
“Yes, they bear similar features like the races, but the tentacles is what sets them apart,” she informed him.
The Calmareese were another one of the humanoids who bear remarkable resemblance to the races. Except for their skin color and the tentacles, everything about them was similar.
“According to the details from the information mongers, your opponent is a high class Calmareese,” Instructor Wei added.
“High class? I did not learn this,” Xiaoxia asked and stated.
“They are the Calmareese royalty, and their tentacles are more versatile as compared to the lower classes. Unlike the lower classes who can only reinforce their tentacles with Ki, the high class Calmareese are able to project Ki energies with it,” she informed him.
“Oh wow!” Xiaoxia could only remarked surprisingly.
“If the Dragonians are the epitome of defense in this competition, the high class Calmareese are the epitome of attack,” she further added.
“Mentor, ten avenues of launching Ki attacks is a plenty to avoid. What is the best case scenario for me?” Xiaoxia asked.
“I think I mentioned this before, the more offensive an opponent is, the more chances its defense is weak. Most apply the principal of the ‘best defense is a good offense’, and this is the area you must capitalize on. This is as much as I can impart to you, or I may as well fight the competition on your behalf,” Instructor Wei replied and left it to him to figure out the details.
“Thank you Mentor, I will observe my opponent carefully,” Xiaoxia bowed towards Instructor Wei.
“Xia Er, by getting this far you have already showed all the thanks in the world to me,” Instructor Wei complimented him and advised him, “You should cultivate all the Ki you can before the match, it may be required.”
Xiaoxia nodded and headed to the cultivating platform in the room, he only started using it on the 6th day. It proved extremely useful, as he was able to rapidly regain the Ki he expended.
His opponent was rather tall for one of the races, most of them were not even five feet. But this boy who was facing him was over five and a half feet.
Luquoes was not a tall youngling himself, being hardly four feet, but with his tentacles assisting him, he rose up to about 6 feet.
“Greetings, my name is my name is Zhen Xia, Academy of the Six Elements, Sha Mo Ren, 1stColony, Hu Yuan Empire,” the boy introduced himself.
“Luquoes, Academy of the Eight Diagram, The Empire of the Eight Seas,” he replied, sounding a little nonchalant.
“So this boy is a Duelist Realm 9th Tier, pretty good for a racial being at this age,” Luquoes thought to himself.
Xiaoxia was observing Luquoes, and it seemed like his opponent was bored. This intrigued him more than angered him. In all appearances, Luquoes looked like a young boy below seven years old. He will be considered pretty small for someone his age among the races and comparable to the Fan Ren.
The only thing that caught Xiaoxia’s attention was the writhing tentacles sprouting out from his back, and they looked suspiciously like the seafood he had in MeisterSchloss. Xiaoxia was wondering why humanoids have the tendency to look like food, and was not paying attention to the referee who was making the standard speech for the match.
“….nd so you may take your positions,” the referee was saying.
Luquoes was gathering Ki in all his tentacles even as he took position at his side of the zone, he wasn’t going to go easy on this opponent. He went easy on all the others, as they were really not worth the effort.
This boy on the other hand, had some remarkable victories in his previous matches, and could prove an interesting opponent. He wondered how the boy was going to fight against him. Even at 7th Tier, Luquoes have defeated some of his academy seniors who are in Adept Realm Lower Tier.
Luquoes immediately braced himself and viciously fired ten Ki attacks at Xiaoxia who stood fifty feet away.
Backing off right at the whistle blow, Xiaoxia dodged left then right and right again, and was soon more than a hundred feet from Luquoes.
“Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!”
It was the right decision, as at the exact instant, ten Ki attacks blasted onto the spot where he was. Fist size impressions were made on the ground and dust rose up from the points of impact. The area became hazy, but did not affect visibility as both of them could still clearly see each other.
By this moment, the two contestants began to move rapidly and covered the entire area of the battle dais, they released Ki attacks at each other even as they both dodged and changed directions mid stride.
“What polished reaction and agility, but it is exactly as I thought, ” Luquoes was thinking, as he continued widening the gap between them. He fired off two more Ki attacks while he was moving.
They were immediately countered by Xiaoxia’s own attacks, and the two colliding Ki energies set off a loud bang that could be heard loud and clear throughout the stadium.
“Ranged attacks are getting nowhere,” Xiaoxia monitored the situation.
Luquoes can release ten Ki attacks at once, while Xiaoxia only two. This is a big disadvantage for Xiaoxia, especially in ranged attacks. Luquoes could clearly counter Xiaoxia’s attacks by judging their paths from a distance.
Even if Luquoes’s individual Ki attacks were much weaker than Xiaoxia’s, he could fire multiple attacks to nullify a single one of them.
But all is not lost, as a plan begun to form in Xiaoxia’s mind. He is beginning to notice something every time he shifted to the opposite direction Luquoes was facing.
Luquoes was smiling inwardly as he got Xiaoxia exactly where he wanted. Close combat was not his thing, even though he had eight tentacles in addition to his two hands.
“He won’t be able to do anything from this far. As long as I keep up this distance, it will be a battle of attrition,” he thought inwardly.
By keeping Xiaoxia at a distance with ranged attacks, his stamina and Ki will be depleted much faster as he used his physical strength and foot technique to acrobatically avoid the Ki attacks from Luquoes.
Sometimes more energy was expended as Xiaoxia had to block these attacks with his Ki defenses. In addition, he was firing off his own Ki attacks as well.
Ultimately, he was going to run out of Ki way before Luquoes, who was just moving to increase the distance and firing off Ki attacks.
Xiaoxia confirmed his suspicion during the last barrage from Luquoes, after he fired off the Ki attacks, there was momentary pause before he shifted to face Xiaoxia who had skilfully dodged and used his foot technique to appear on the far left of Luquoes.
There were even more obvious signs of weaknesses and Xiaoxia planned to make it work during the next barrage from Luquoes.
In order to do that, he needed a distraction first.
Gradually Luquoes felt the battle was in hand and victory would be near, he did not change his tactics and fought constantly from a distance. As long as Xiaoxia was not close enough, Luquoes had no problems at all.
However even as he was feeling that victory was close, his opponent suddenly fired off his own barrage. They were not fired all at once, but timed extremely close. These attacks appeared to be random and were much weaker in intensity as the ones before.
“So he hopes to get me with a lucky shot,” Luquoes thought to himself, while a hint of pity showed on his face for the opponent’s desperation.
Immediately he tracked the attacks with his eyes and sent off his own attacks to counter them in midair.
“BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!”
When the attacks collided, a cacophony of sounds erupted and at the same time bright flashes were released. The intensity of the light discharged from more than a dozen explosions were enough to temporarily blind Luquoes.
“Got you!” Xiaoxia said to himself in a low voice, while shutting his eyes momentarily to prevent being blinded.
As he released the barraged, he prepared his foot technique. Just before the attacks collided, he poured a tremendous amounts of Ki towards his feet and launched himself towards Luquoes.
He had never done it before and the force took the breathe out of him as he zipped over a hundred feet to the right side of Luquoes. Xiaoxia almost tripped from the great force as he arrived slightly behind Luquoes, and made a roundhouse kick to the midsection of his back.
Luquoes recovered quickly from the temporary blindness, only to sense Xiaoxia on his right slightly behind him. He is now less than two feet away.
Turning instantly towards him, he lashed out with his tentacles and at the same time brought up his Ki defenses.
An unfortunate thing happened right at this moment and all Luquoes could do was shout, “OH SHIT!!”
Just as Xiaoxia predicted, Luquoes’s tentacles were all jumbled up, as every one of them tried to change their direction and attack him at the same time. Even much better, is that Luquoes’s Ki defenses were totally lacking.
Xiaoxia’s kick broke his shield and landed straight in the middle of where the tentacles sprouted from. He could hear an audible crack, as it dislocated their joints.
Luquoes’s did not even scream and his eyes rolled back instantly as he fell into a sprawling heap, his tentacles twitching even in his unconscious state.
“Red side unable to continue! Blue side wins the match!” the referee announced loudly, with a looks that indicated his clear appreciation of the battle.
The entire stadium suddenly erupted in a loud roar, even as the event announcer declared over the broadcast system.
“Congratulations to Chen Zhen Xia, awarded title of ‘The 8 Lords’ and first to qualify for the Quarter Finals!”