“Winner, Zax!” Talhera declared.
The crowd of spectators stared in bewilderment. The fight might have seemed like it took a long time to conclude, but in truth it was over in less than four minutes after the three began to move.
“That’s… That’s it?! With the same single move he subdued Woren and simultaneously made Silvia forfeit?!” A spectator murmured to himself.
This was the second round, and nothing yet spectacular should have taken place, but the three way battle had three experts that any one of whom was fit to be among the top ten. It was reasonable for everyone to expect from the first stage to shine with the spender of high class techniques. With this expectation in mind, Woren and Silvia certainly complied to the crowd’s anticipation, but Zax… the winner of the three way battle… with just a flick of his hand, it felt as if not just his two opponents were defeated, but the great suspense of the crowd was crushed!
“What the hell?! What kind of soul attack did he employ to take down an expert such as Woren without giving him a chance to retaliate?!”
While there were many who voiced their shock, there were quite a few who sat with dejected expressions on their faces.
Yet again, all those who derided Zax before the first round felt like a sharp bone was stuck in their throat, and the one to swallow the prime rib was, of course, Razil. Not long ago he compered Silvia and her sister to Neyrar, claiming in the same breath that they are genuine Pearls in comparison to Zax. And now, the stronger of the two sisters lost to Zax without even trying to put up a fight.
Will it not be his turn, sooner or later, to receive Zax’s retribution?
Razil bit his tongue and inconspicuously glanced at Neyrar. Quickly color began to return to his face with additional red shine. Piously he put his fate in his the number one representative of his school and several major forces.
“Senior Ten, your kid seems fond of your Soul Binding formation, but am I seeing things wrong? The formations he used in this fight and the previous one a bit differs from what I remember…” The elderly third realm woman said with a piqued smile and even though she did not send her word through her Sublime Soul Sense, superintendent Ten was still the sole person to hear her.
“Mmm, student Zax cultivated my Soul Binding formation to perfection couple of years ago. What he used in the two fights was a variation of his creation. That is why it looks familiar to you, lady Takeda”. Superintendent Ten used the same technique to transmit his words directly to her ears.
In the past four years, while learning from the reading material in Eden Formation’s Summit and Grandmaster Kartion about the basis of soul formations, Zax had yet to attain a proficient enough level to create a formation that could match superintendent Ten’s Soul Binding formation. But he was able to experiment. And although, overall, the variation he came up with is not better than the original Soul Binding formation, he did manage to modify it for a more comfortable use for himself.
“But… I would rather suggest you to subtly take note of student Zax’s soul. There, lies his true fortitude as a Martial cultivator”. Superintendent Ten added.
The elderly female third realm expert, lady Takeda, carefully inspected Zax’s sea of consciousness with her Sublime Soul Sense as he came down from the fighting stage.
“I see… his soul is at the Peak of the first realm, but its strength comparable to a Peak second level Core Master, maybe even a Beginner third level Core Master. So he himself is yet another freak of nature…” Lady Takeda sighed. “Judging by that and his extraordinary bodily refinement technique, I’ll say that there are only three junior participants who can match his ability. As for age, only Nirger’s boy has surpassed his accomplishments”.
“Ahm”, superintendent Ten groaned. “Nirger’s boy is indeed exceptional, but student Zax traverses a Martial path unique to him alone, which none among the older generations sitting here can follow, and, perhaps, not one of the younger generation will ever repeat”.
Toward this steadfast comment lady Takeda had not say in response anything. The Martial path is known to be the same as an endless root system with countless small and big paths. Most are negligible, having nothing special to them but conformism. But a few rare ones possess the challenges that even fewer are really qualify to pass for attainment of transcendence beyond their peers.
If Zax was on such of a unique path, lady Takeda could make a guess to find out which. After all, a junior in the first realm could only traverse so far. Nevertheless, lady Takeda kept to herself. It will be unbefitting for a senior to dig into the affairs of a junior. Moreover, in her opinion, a third realm expert at her age should forget about everything and either die or continue cultivating for the alluding infinitesimal chance of true ascension.
The second round fights proceeded in high spirit despite the bland results of the three way battle.
There was a total of twenty battles for forty one participants to fight over the twenty places of the third round.
Susuya entered the fighting stage along with an independent female expert, seemingly thirty five years of age. The name of the female expert was Linor, and by the crowd reaction to her appearing in the second round, her popularity was really big.
Linor’s frame was bulky to a woman and her body, including her face, was scars ridden. From that, one could gather that it was not her unparalleled beauty that the crowd regarded with great exclamations, but the strength with which she dominated and gained her reputation as the number one assassin of the Basement Floor!
At the beginning of the fight, Talhera notified Susuya, and everyone else with the same idea, that from the second round onward it is forbidden to exploit the fighting stages’ formations. To everyone surprise, though, Linor did not mind whether Susuya use the power source of the stage to fuel her formations.
The battle was practically a reiterate of Zax’s fight with Elita, over in a blink of an eye.
Just as Susuya was forming the first seals of her formation, Linor’s figure flickered and appeared beside her. With a gentle tap at Susuya’s forehead, Liner transmitted a soul attack to rattle Susuya’s sea of consciousness and incapacitate her. The mere different from Zax’s fight, was that Linor surprisingly, considering her profession, was kindhearted enough to catch Susuya before her body hit the fighting stage.
Obliged, Don received Susuya from Linor’s arms. Couple of minutes later Susuya awakened, a bit muddle headed and confused.
The second round was over with couple of intense fight and a few just as dull as Zax’s and Linor.
“Winner of the last battle of the second round, Mahagen”. With Talhera’s declaration, two men in white scrubs ran to and climbed on the fighting stage.
The two men carried Mahagen’s beaten opponent as well as asked him to follow them to the medical area.
“Everyone, the break before the third round will extend to fifteen minutes for the next round pairing to be complete and for the remaining twenty participants to collect themselves. I would like to remind everyone; the next round will determined the Martial competition top ten participants. I urge anyone who wishes to, at least, earn the communal prize, to assess your physical and mental conditions and check yourself in the medical area before I’ll the summoning back to your seats”.
“That Linor is probably someone I will be forced against to use my Kinetic Force”. Zax solemnly admitted to Anet and the rest.
“She is really strong. I was down before I knew it. I don’t even remember feeling pain”. Susuya exuberantly nodded in agreement. Since she was not hurt and furthermore, was dealt softly by Linor, she felt both appreciation and reverence for her mighty opponent.
“It doesn’t matter. Since you are our last school’s representative and yet superintendent Ten chose not to attend this time briefing, I doubt there is a need for you to worry about the next round”. Uri discerned.
Indeed, with Zax being the last representative of Eden Formation, not only superintendent Ten skipped overseeing the briefing, Don also did not bother to convene the briefing with just she and Zax. At most, she erected a formation around their group to conceal to course of the conversation from everyone and warn off those who wanted to fawn over Zax.
“The competition is down to twenty participants”. Don suddenly said. “Zax, Linor is not the only dangerous participant in this competition. The three from Molten Core also made it to the third round. And Neyrar, the one who caught your fist, his battles till now have ended before even I could make up his movements”.
Don was an Intermediate phase second level Core Master, but that was not her point. She mentioned the Molten Core’s three since there was a high chance for Zax to encounter one of them in the next round, and more importantly, she wanted to make sure his violent temper was not subsiding. Against Neyrar she genuinely believed that he will need it.
Zax did not reply. Despite maintaining a casual countenance, his anger was still searing in his sea of consciousness. It was not showing because part of it was directed at Razil, an insignificant figure he already had an idea of how to punish, and the other part was aimed at the shadow of Neyrar’s father in his mind.
As for Neyrar himself… no matter how much he wanted to blame him, his heart did not consent, not for his father’s action or his Mor’s hostility, which left Zax a little irritated by this indecisiveness.
In contrast and a tint of harmony, with regard to Neyrar stopping his fist before, Zax was actually excited to confront such a strong opponent that was close to his age.
Fifteen minutes passed to some too fast and other too slow. Talhera called everyone back to their seats with the exception of a few participants that got severely injured in the previous round and were still being treated.
“Fourth stage, Hamer versus Zax Zel!”
After the battles started, in but no time, because each cycle of fights hold four battles at the same time, Zax turn to enter the fighting stage together with his third opponent has arrived.
Nervous and hopeful in his seat, Razil’s eyes lit up the instant he heard the first name Talhera mentioned. His head swiftly turned as fast as lightning to a certain young man sitting not far from him and who just stood up.
“Wait, senior Hamer!” He shouted in near desperation for this senior Hamer of his and pounced from his seat to grab his hand. “Please, senior Hamer, allow me to accompany you to the fighting stage”. He asked, trying to contain his stress.
Hamer tactfully gazed at Razil and then smirked. He cupped Razil’s hand.
“Little junior, you can cheer from the spectator’s seat”. Hamer shook Razil’s hand, squeezing it in a peculiar way to hint for something. “To follow me to the stage will be too embarrassing”.
Feeling his hand being squeezed, Razil was elated. His senior Hamer understood his true intentions and seemed to be willing to cooperate!
In haste, Razil used his index finger to tap and write on Hamer’s palm. When they let go, Razil returned to his seat with a devious smile and excellent mood.
If he could count on Neyrar to defeat Zax… Knowing this scary senior Hamer, offer the right price and he could count on him to do much, much worse!
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