Xiaoxia did not understand why Huiling insisted on locking horns with him. As far as he can tell, he did not provoke her, or said anything to have caused this unwanted hostility.
At this point, her aura was filled with killing intent. Strangely there was another unmistakable malignant aura mingled with hers, and its presence more formidable and overwhelming than her own.
“Oh damn, I overlooked this,” Instructor Wei could sense the additional aura in the battle dais as well.
She made another glance at the details given to her by the information mongers, and under the registered weapons and articles section, there was an item registered by Huiling before the start of the competition.
The details were sketchy at best, and the only thing known is that it was a ‘Family Heirloom’.
Contestants could register any articles or weapons for their matches, however almost none of them did so. This is primarily due to the inherent difficulty and astronomical costs to obtain an item of suitable benefit.
On the other hand without a higher Ki Realm, or proper technique, trying to battle with one, is comparable to opening a tap for your Ki to gush out ceaselessly.
‘Family Heirlooms’ are uncommon but not rare, however their costs are far greater than usual. The only class of articles and weapons above them are the unique and legendary types, these are considered priceless, and no fortune in the world could obtain them.
Forbidden articles and weapons in the competition are those that do not require the person’s abilities or techniques to use and causes direct harm by means of a third party effect. These includes but is not limited to articles that have poison, life steal/absorb and its own source of Ki.
“Xia Er, you must be careful, if she could use this item, it means she has capabilities that far exceeds all your other opponents,” Instructor Wei was thinking, hoping that he realizes it as well.
“Contestants approach me,” the referee said.
Both Xiaoxia and Huiling did as instructed, while not taking their eyes off each other.
“No killing or serious endangerment, no hitting the opponent on their reproductive organs, no use of forbidden skills or weapon, no unregistered weapons and articles, maintain proper pugilist honor at all times. Contestant Huiling, do you have anything to declare?” the referee made the usual speech, however this time it included ‘articles’, and he asked if Huiling had anything to declare.
This was standard in every competition in Yuan Zhong, as it was only fair if both opponents knew what the other had. It was asked this time, as Huiling had a registered article, unlike other times when none of the contestants had one.
“Yes, this leather bracelet is a family heirloom. It adheres to the criteria set forth in the competition,” Huiling informed the referee while indicating to the bracelet.
“Contestant Zhen Xia, you have been duly notified. If you wish to challenge this, the match will be postponed and the proper procedures will be applied, before a future time is announced for another match today,” the referee informed Xiaoxia.
When a participant decides to object to the match being carried out for any reason, he or she will have to present their findings to the tournament advisory board. In this case, if there is sufficient grounds for successful objection, Huiling will have to battle without her family heirloom.
“No I do not challenge this,” Xiaoxia replied.
He did not see the reason to, and was wondering to himself how bad could it be. If it met the competition criteria, it would mean it was under the fair use policy, and thus he did not need to worry about any unfair advantages.
Little does he know, the other two opponents she had used in on, the Dragonian and the Lythian, had the exact sentiments as him. They lost overwhelmingly because of this. He did not realize its danger as Instructor Wei hoped he would.
“Xiaoxia! Challenge it! This competition is not about wealth!! It’s about skills!!!” Amelia was heard shouting above the crowd.
Her sentiments were mirrored by everyone in the stadium, especially those in higher Ki Realms who could feel the malignant aura emitting from it.
“Boo!!! Get of the stage b*tch!”
Xiaoxia’s fans filled the entire stadium with loud jeers and angry cries. If the earlier insults hurled at Huiling after the announcement was bad, the current ones could turn the most seasoned criminal pale.
Huiling seemingly remained calm, even as she ignored their taunts. In her mind she was boiling with rage, but now these spectators were not the cause of it. She is facing the boy she detests, and she is going to pay him back a million folds for this.
“If there is nothing else, contestants please take your positions,” the referee announced.
Huiling walked towards the spot indicated on the ground, and turned around to face Xiaoxia. Looking at him, made her want to smash his face into a bloody pulp.
In her whole life, she had never been denied taking immediate actions against someone. When she did not like someone or if they said something a tiny bit wrong, they will be gone in less than an hour. It was unprecedented that Xiaoxia had lasted so long, and the humiliation in the form of Amelia made her deliriously mad.
She did not even blink, as she applied her technique after observing Xiaoxia for a split second.
Xiaoxia had information from Instructor Wei, that Huiling was adapted to both close and ranged combat. The only normal advantage he had over her was his God given physique and Ki Realm with little else. The details she gave, indicated Huiling entered the Duelist Realm way before him. This gave her an advantage, as she was able to train and hone her abilities in this realm way before him.
She had been training even before she entered the Hu Yuan Imperial Academy, and before Xiaoxia came along, was known throughout the world as the freshman with the highest Ki Realm.
Once the whistle blew, he took off with his foot technique. By applying tremendous Ki to his feet, he launched himself towards her in a direct assault.
He earlier practiced the full Ki launch of the foot technique immediately after leaving the luncheon gala. Although it was less than an hour, it proved rewarding, as he grasp how to avoid being tripped by bracing himself.
Having almost fallen flat on his face using a full Ki launch during the match with Luquoes, he decided to hone it properly. It will be one of the more useful techniques he could use constantly in battle.
With this, he arrived almost instantly to face Huiling where she stood, but a totally unexpected situation occurred. She was behind him instead.
“Take this a**hole!” Huiling vehemently cried out as she plunged her fingers towards Xiaoxia’s exposed back.
Her hand was flat opened, and a red aura surrounded it. The aura formed a sharp apex as all her fingers gathered closely, and the edges surrounding her fingers tips tapered off. It resembled a blade.
She could feel her fingers sliced into him like a hot knife through butter, but he seemed to blur at the point of contact.
“Phreeee!” the referee immediately blew his whistle.
“No usage of vulgarities!” he warned and continued, “No further warning!”
Huiling just nodded but didn’t utter a word, her prey was not in front of her.
Blood was trickling down Xiaoxia’s right upper arm, he had underestimated Huiling. He only managed to avoid her attack by the skin of his teeth, but still could not totally get off unharmed. The instant he realized she was behind him, he dodged to the left, causing her attack who was aimed directly for his upper spine to miss and slice into his arm.
“Darn she can use foot technique as well,” he lamented, while picking himself up from the ground.
He used another full Ki launch when dodging and did not brace himself, tumbling more than 30 feet to his left.
Xiaoxia was definitely faster than Huiling when it came to the same technique. However it took him longer to cover the distance between them, than it took for her to avoid it and arrive behind him.
The distance between contestants, when they faced each other at the start was fifty feet. It took Xiaoxia comparatively more time to cover this distance, as compared to Huiling who needed less. As he nearly reached his intended destination, she perfectly judged the timing and moved less than six feet to his back.
“Blue side, are you able to continue?” the referee asked, seeing the blood dripping down from Xiaoxia’s arm.
“Yes,” Xiaoxia replied.
He took a vial from his quantum bag which contained a purple liquid, and showed it to the referee. The referee placed it in a device on his belt, then removed it and gave it back while giving his approval.
At this point, Xiaoxia applied it on his gaping wound. The pain was intense as the liquid made contact with it. It was far worse than what initially caused it and Xiaoxia gasped audibly. Within seconds, the wound no longer bled, but it still hurt and the wound was still present.
The liquid staunched the blood flow, but it did not heal the wound. It was against regulation to use healing elixirs in a match. This was the reason why he showed it to the referee before applying it, as a caution against being accused of using a healing one.
“Phreeee! Phreeee!” the referee immediately blew twice, something both Xiaoxia and Huiling never encountered before.
“Match suspended five minutes for consultation,” he announced, and with a thoughtful expression on his face, moved out of the battle dais.
Huiling was furious, she had missed the opportunity to cripple Xiaoxia. Even worse, the match was suspended for five minutes, this will enable him to formulated a plan.
She is going to apply similar techniques again, and one of them is bound to finally get through.
“What’s the freaking problem with the referee?” she cursed under her breath.
It was very unusual to suspend the match, and this is perhaps the first known time in the competition it has been done.
Five minutes passed quickly and the referee returned from where he went.
“Contestants approach me,” he instructed.
Xiaoxia and Huiling walk towards him from where they were previously waited.
“After a consultation with the advisory committee, the match will continue,” the referee said.
“It’s about time!” Huiling responded loudly, and before she could turn to take up her position, the referee announced.
“Contestant Huiling, you are hereby warned and penalized for serious endangerment. Under my advisement, the advisory board has reviewed the earlier incident. They found irrefutable evidence, that you were deliberately aiming to cripple your opponent with an attack that could sever his spinal cord. If you do not abide by the regulations again, no matter how minor, this match will be forfeited. Furthermore, your title of ‘Elite 16’ will be removed if you do not win this match fairly.”
Huiling blanched visibly, she wanted to claim it was an accident if ever asked, unfortunately the advisory board had evidence against it.
“Boo!!! B*tch!! Get the @#$@ off!!”
“Oh my #@$@ Goodness, what a S!#$!!!”
The spectators were already upset when she injured Xiaoxia, but now that it was made known she had intended to cause him grievous harm, they burst out in obscenities.
Items were being thrown towards Huiling from all areas of the stadium, most could not reach and even those which did, bounced off harmlessly against the shielded battle dais.
“Kick her @$$! Give her a good beating! Rip her to shreds! Slap her silly!” Amelia was now heard screaming her voice out loudly over the amplifying device.
In the meantime, Huiling’s father was nowhere to be found. Before then, he was vociferously challenging Amelia in a shouting match for their respective side.
Xiaoxia needed more time to observed Huiling, he only knew very little of her battle abilities. Although he thought it likely she had a slower foot technique and reaction time.
That aside, her brilliance was clearly shown when she perfectly judged the timing to counter his approach.
There was one thing that was really bothering him, somehow she could generate Ki to a level where it could slice through his Ki defense easily. This was no small feat, as for their level, Xiaoxia had an extremely strong Ki defense.
“Contestants take your positions,” the referee was saying, as Xiaoxia turned his attention backed to the match.
“Remember a fair fight from you and no more breaking the rules,” the referee added as he looked towards Huiling.
Huiling was rather bothered by the turn of events, she intended to seriously harm and cripple Xiaoxia right from the onset. It had backfired and no matter how much she wanted to do it again, it will be impossible without breaking the rules. She could only nod in agreement to the conditions set by the referee.
However she had achieved an unexpected consolation. The incident earlier had made her opponent worried, and she could tell this just by looking at him.
It is definitely going to be her victory.
“Huh, that scrub is so slow, I easily got behind him without even much effort. I overestimated him too much. Pfft, he is just one of those Ki Realm retards who are only good at cultivating realms, but a total trash when it comes to combat,” Huiling thought to herself.
She readied herself in her position, preparing something she planned.
Xiaoxia’s face is now showing some pain, the adrenaline and endorphin that was rushing through his veins earlier wore out during the five minutes wait. In his pre match excitement, his elevated heart beat overdosed him with both of them, and he felt only a little pain as the attack sliced his arm.
It is a three inch long wound that almost reached his bones, and it will definitely leave a scar. This needed medical treatment as soon as the match ended.
On the battle dais where they waited for the whistle, there were a few scenarios playing out in Xiaoxia’s mind. But unlike what Huiling suspected, he did not only form one plan, but various ones. He will not make the same mistake again.
He had underestimated her, and made a bad judgement call that resulted in his injury. So all that is left now is to wait for the whistle blow.
In what seemed like ages, the whistle finally blew, and he launched himself with the foot technique, an exact duplicate of what he did earlier.
“Hah! That idiot still thinks this will work! Let’s see who is better,” Huiling smiled evilly to herself, as she put her own plan into action.