Come tomorrow, Li Mo advanced into the quarter-finals, all thanks to his free pass, all while the rest had to toil long and hard for those other seven places.
The other qualifiers were Jiang Qingxue, Shan Ji, Lin Qingrou, Zheng Wufang, Chuan Province’s Wang Xiao, Handong Province’s young master Hai, and Mobei Province’s Earthshaking Sage Zhang Jin.
Overreaching Sage Zhang Ji lost at the hands of Wang Xiao, forced out of bounds with the latter’s flying sword art.
“I only lost because of our opposite natures. Wang Xiao is a ranged fighter and I’m a melee fighter. Such rotten luck.” Zhang Ji complained.
“While your luck is godlike. You didn’t do anything and here you are in the quarter-finals. But that’s all you have, dumb luck.”
Zhang Ji ran over to Li Mo to vent and harass, two birds with one stone.
“And now you have no choice but to step on that stage and get spit right back out. The three ferals are merciless, then there’s Chuan Province’s Wang clan’s flying sword art and Handong’s Hai group’s Hydromancy Art. And let’s not forget about my Mobei Province’s strongest below leader, Earthshaking Sage Zhang Jin. All of them trumps you, all of them are going to crush you.”
Li Mo snapped, “Give a man some space, will you?”
Zhang Ji glared, “Well well, who do you think you’re talking to? Did you already forget who sent you running in fear?”
Li Mo was taking long breaths. ‘In and out, in and out.’
The quarter-final matches were settled by drawing lots again. Li Mo didn’t even get to look at his number when Zhang Ji started shouting.
“Oh, you’re done, finished, kaput. You might have had a lucky streak so far, but now you’re dead. Anyone else would’ve been better by far, but you just picked the fierce Jiang Qingxue. It’s off to the hospital with you, maybe even the morgue.”
Li Mo looked on the paper, and there she was, Jiang Qingxue.
Jiang Qingxue had been smoothly moving up in the world. And of her opponents’ fates, the lightest were a few dozen holes – give or take – and the heaviest, well, that guy wouldn’t be waking up anytime soon.
“Shenjing’s Li Mo versus Xixiang’s Jiang Qingxue!” The referee announced.
Li Mo calmly walked on stage.
Zhang Ji shouted, “Let me give you a piece of advice. Don’t go up there and just forfeit.”
“Are you two close?” Bai Wudi fanned himself next to Zhang Ji.
“Not in the least. I just find him miserable and thought of taking him as a disciple.”
“Him, your disciple? You think you’re so tough?”
“Damn right. I may be the last among Mobei Province’s 18 sages, but I’ll still be the strongest in Shenjing.”
The match was on.
Jiang Qingxue waved and turned to walk off the stage, per usual. She’d been having a smooth sailing so far and thought nothing more about Li Mo as well.
Jiang Qingxue left the stage, but when she looked back, she froze.
Li Mo was still standing. He wasn’t even bleeding, just… standing.
Jiang Qingxue still waited but nothing untoward happened to Li Mo.
Jiang Qingxue’s face twisted.
“Jiang Qingxue left the stage, Shenjing’s Li Mo wins!” The referee declared.
Under the bug-eyed crowd, Li Mo casually left as well.
To an outsider, his win this time was ever smoother than any others…
“That luck is insane. I can’t take it…” Zhang Ji shouted his disbelief.
While all thought Li Mo relied on his godlike luck once again, Jiang Qingxue begged to differ.
No one noticed Li’s spot on stage, but she did. Dead bugs laid there…
They didn’t even get to touch Li Mo before falling lifeless.
Jiang Qingxue went beet red…
Since she always one-shot them, she got careless and lost so miserably. Her habit got the best of her this time, leaving the scene without checking the results.
Jiang Qingshuang went to the baffled Jiang Qingxue, “Grandma always told us that everyone meets their better sooner or later. Your talent is worlds apart from mine, and beating me every time, but winning against me does not make you the strongest.”
The second match of the quarter-finals was between Zheng Wufang and Living Diamond Shan Ji. Shan Ji started the match with his trademark skill, Golden Shield. Zheng Wufang tried countless times to get past it but had to forfeit in the end.
People found his defeat so natural that Li Mo regarded it the exact opposite.
With Celestial Eye on, he saw Zheng Wufang overcoming Shan Ji’s Golden Shield every single time he approached it. This proved his power was on the same level as Shan Ji.
In the third match, Wang Xiao versus Zhang Jin, was a stalemate, where both were equally matched. The fight lasted for half an hour, at which point, Wang Xiao grabbed his chance, striking Zhang Jin’s back with his flying sword. But the strike left the heavily wounded Zhang Jin fling at Wang Xiao’s chest with both his fists. Wang Xiao spat blood, and only after a long time did he finally get his feet under him.
Zhang Jin was unconscious and Wang Xiao barely squeezed a win.
The last match was between young master Hai and Silver Heroine. Young master Hai wielded his Hydromancy Art to move large amounts of water. In fact, he was in the low fourth level. His advancement in the testing was smooth just like the ferals’, enough to make him an underdog in this competition.
Lin Qingrou started, and finished, the match with a flying kick, sending young master Hai out of the ring.
Not even a fourth level could withstand Lin Qingrou’s leg.
Lin Qingrou had been called heaven’s daughter since young. Lin clan put her wellbeing above everything. And she returned their expectation fully. Regardless of domain, she excelled in all.
Young master Hai wiped the blood from his mouth then left.
Lin Qingrou’s kick sent the crowd into total silence for five seconds, before blowing up in thunderous applause.
“She’s so cunning.” Lan Yue scoffed. He didn’t find her an eyesore for cheating him with another mask back then, but because Lin Qingrou let him take her first mask on purpose.
The referee shouted, “Semifinalists, please draw your lots.”
Lin Qingrou, Li Mo, and Shan Ji stood on stage. Wang Xiao came a bit later, but not by himself, he had to be carried by two others.
Zhang Jin’s last strike turned his sternum into splinters. Even walking was torture.
“I-I have a bad feeling about this…” Zhang Ji wiped his brow.
“You and me both.” Bai Wudi fanned himself.
As the two sweated, the referee shouted the results, “Shenjing’s Li Mo versus Chuan Province’s Wang Xiao and Tiannan’s Silver Heroine versus Tiannan’s Shan Ji!”
The crowd went wild.
Li Mo walked on stage and so did Wang Xiao, with help. But when his crutch left, Wang Xiao hit the ground like a ton of bricks and was out like a light…
‘Is this how fights go nowadays?’
“T-this guy’s possessed!” Zhang Ji wailed.