“Since the first day of battle, I have been posted to Soundwave Street and Brightflower Street to supervise the battles. The students’ performance is atrocious. We have suffered terrible losses, and yet, we have dealt little damage to the blood ants. Among the slew of bad performances, nothing is more promising than the unit numbered A-1, which contained a number of the student body elites such as Ai Hui, Shi Xueman, Sang Zhijun, Duanmu Huanghun, and some others. They are the most outstanding students of Central Pine Academy. Reportedly, the mayor and the dean had a disagreement over the use of the A-1 unit. The dean did not want his best students to die in a battle of attrition doomed to yield high casualties. The mayor argued that everyone in the city had to participate in the battle and give their best efforts, no matter the insignificance. Eventually, the mayor managed to convince the dean, and fortunately, the A-1 unit was dispatched to the conflict zone under my supervision.”
“I have finally met the A-1 unit that is most talked about in the magistrate office. The leader for this unit is Ai Hui. He is the one who discovered the blood bat’s infiltration and assisted Shi Xueman and Sang Zhijun in eliminating it, thereby achieving a meritorious service and the magistrate office’s attention. Surprisingly, he is not the one commanding the unit. This role has fallen into the hands of Shi Xueman. If I had not witnessed it with my own eyes, I would not have believed that Shi Xueman, Duanmu Huanghun, and the others would obey his commands completely. His performance has caught my attention.”
“Unlike other units that advanced using the streets, the A-1 unit proceeded down the west side of Soundwave Street. that side is packed with houses, shops, and residents. Like a bulldozer, they destroyed the houses, razing them to the ground and advancing by stepping over the ruins. They went on like this by repeating this process. Honestly speaking, it is the most unprofessional and foolish advancing technique I have ever seen. After a while, however, I was made to admit that it was brilliant. Though the A-1 unit’s performance was lacking, they have capable individuals upon whom they can rely on. Shi Xueman’s leadership is terrible, but she’s extremely courageous. She also possesses a strong sense of responsibility and loves to help her teammates. At times, she seems more like a leader than Ai Hui.”
“The A-1 unit’s advance was slow and steady, and the unit members displayed signs of adapting to combat. Shi Xueman boosted the morale of the unit greatly. It appears that though she is inexperienced and not good with words, her strong sense of responsibility propelled her to give her utmost in helping her teammates. If she can survive this catastrophe, she will become an outstanding leader in the future. In contrast, Ai Hui was cold and looked on without helping his teammates. It was as if he had nothing to do with the battle. As the leader of the A-1 unit, I would give him zero points, though I do admit his swordsmanship is exquisite.”
“There are a few units on the verge of destruction, and their performance was pathetic. The A-1 unit continues to advance, but they are beginning to encounter troubles as well. The number of blood ants is increasing. I predicted that they would suffer great losses like the previous units, but I have underestimated Ai Hui; he came prepared.”
With an overpowering rumble, the house collapsed, filling the air with smoke and dust. Before Duanmu Huanghun could wipe the dust off his body, a deafening noise pierced his ears. A shiver swept down Ai Hui’s spine. He instantly sensed that there were more than fifty blood ants in the area, the largest wave they had encountered in this battle so far. “Lou Lan!” Ai Hui yelled gruffly.
“Lou Lan is coming!” Lou Lan cheered.
The leaves covering the enormous fire vat on Fatty’s back were peeled back with lightning speed. Lou Lan then transformed into a sandy watering can and dipped half of his body into the fire vat. The long spout of the watering can extended over Fatty’s head and pointed towards the front.
Torrential red mist began spraying over a large area. The overwhelming scent of strong chili immediately pervaded the air, dousing the blood ants that had just shot out in a red chili concoction. Ai Hui became nervous. Using chili against the blood ants was purely his conjecture, unsupported by data. Instead of thinking about failure, his gaze fixated on what was going on ahead. His muscles strained, and the Dragonspine Inferno in his hand was in its optimal position; he resembled a beast that waited to pounce on its prey.
The blood ants doused in the chili concoction mist suddenly fell apart, descending into chaos. Terrifying shrieks sounded and startled everyone.
Everyone except for Ai Hui.
The chilli concoction in Fatty’s fire vat was specially concocted by him and Lou
A vicious light flashed across his eyes as he lunged forward. His Dragonspine Inferno swept up a cloud of fog before materializing in a streak of radiance.
Accompanied by an indiscernible buzz, the dazzling Dragonspine Inferno hit a blood ant with a piercing blow.
Ai Hui’s readied attack had astonishing destructive power. The blood ant exploded midair into a cloud of bloody mist.
With a slight twist of his feet, Ai Hui jumped through the air at an angle over the cloud of blood. Taking advantage of the momentum, he swiveled his sword and used the from from his momentum to execute an [Oblique Slash]. His move landed accurately on the blood ant’s neck and effortlessly beheaded it.
Only then did Duanmu Huanghun and the others realize what was going on.
Shi Xueman and her team began their attack against the oncoming wave of frantic blood ants. As of now, the students’ coordination was passable—not the best, but better than before. The unit was divided into three groups, each led by Shi Xueman, Jiang Wei, and Sang Zhijun respectively.
Everyone realized this was an opportunity to attack, and they all rushed forward. The blood ants that had just escaped the chili concoction mist descended into a panic, and in the blink of an eye, more than twenty of them were killed. The disquieted blood ants soon returned to their senses, however, and lunged towards Ai Hui and his unit in waves. The scene of the fight descended into chaos.
Seeing the disorderly situation, Lou Lan halted his movements; the chili concoction would harm the students as well, and though it was not deadly, it could possibly disrupt their momentum. They already struggled to coordinate with one another. If they were to be hit by the chili concoction as well, Lou Lan did not know how many students would survive this fight.
The battle had begun in earnest.
The students quickly found that this battle was completely different from the ones before. All they could see were the streaking after-images of blood ants all around them, which sent them into a panic. Screams and roars penetrated the air, and their previously acceptable coordination collapsed in an instant like fragile biscuits. Casualties accrued.
Some people clutched their throats as they collapsed onto the ground, struggling as they gasped in pain. Others rolled frantically on the ground, their bodies bloody and mangled.
Shi Xueman’s eyes were red. She tightly pursed her lips and darted back and forth. Her spear was like a moving cloud, reinforcing students at a disadvantage. Even so, she could not stop the students from collapsing one after another. The two most dazzling individuals on the battlefield were Ai Hui and Duanmu Huanghun. Ai Hui’s sword glinted crisply and sharply with abnormal deadliness. Very few blood ants could survive to escape his sword. Flying around him were the Red Dust Daggers that carved numerous streaks of sword traces into the air.
Duanmu Huanghun was another distinguished individual on the battlefield. His [Viridescent Flower] had become more complex and unpredictable. Under his feet, patterns of glowing vines, clouds, and lotuses were scattered and blossomed over his hands. He stepped on air and ascended into the sky, and from time to time, green flowers drifted around his body in a phantom-like image. Fatty stood off to one side. His speed was slow, so when facing the fast and nimble blood ants, he remained passive. His shield was like a wall, however, and his armor resembled a mountain. Wang Xiaoshan stood behind him while Lou Lan transformed into a swirling sandstorm that surrounded them and ground the blood ants to smithereens. As for the ones that made it through the sandstorm, they were faced with Fatty’s heavy shield. The battle became increasingly intense, and from the midst of the smoke and dust, the occasional blood ants were blasted out. Duanmu Huanghun had killed more than ten blood ants in one go, but as the elemental energy in his body began to deplete, his efficiency dropped and forced him to slow down his attack speed. He retreated to a less conspicuous position.
He was thoroughly satisfied with himself. Compared to previous battles, his performance today was brilliant. After coming to know more about himself, he conquered his fear and underwent a complete transformation. Even the style of his [Viridescent Flower] had unmistakably evolved. It maintained the same complexity, but it now focused more on killing power, making it intensely ruthless. With less pressure on him, his gaze shifted involuntarily towards Ai Hui. He was quite satisfied with his performance today and so felt confident that it was on par with Ai Hui’s. Eh?
Ai Hui’s attacks followed a certain pattern, the same two moves. However… his attacking rhythm did not seem to vary at all….
How is it possible? Doesn’t he feel tired? Doesn’t he use his elemental energy?
Duanmu Huanghun felt incredulous.
Ai Hui was extremely focused. He needed to face four blood ants at once which didn’t allow him any time for distractions. In such an intense battle, it was not enough to rely solely on [Misty Strike] and [Oblique Slash]. He had to use elemental energy several times, and in some situations, he needed to dodge, unable to use either [Misty Strike] or [Oblique Slash], and sometimes block.
[Oblique Slash] and [Misty Strike] both had their own unique characteristics. [Oblique Slash] could be executed quickly, but it was highly dependent on angles and the attack range was narrow. Fighting stance could make up for these weaknesses, but such an intense battle greatly limited his options.
[Misty Strike], on the other hand, had great attack power, but its execution time was long. Ai Hui could only use this move when the time was right and normally employed it once per strike. And like [Crescent Moon], these moves consumed large quantities of elemental energy, discouraging Ai Hui from using them too often. Once his elemental energy was depleted, death was the only way out for him.
Ai Hui did not know how many more blood ants were left. He forced himself to focus and pushed his mind to think of ways to use his [Oblique Slash] and [Misty Strike] to attack the blood ants. He felt himself becoming more adept with these moves, but his physical and elemental energy were gradually diminishing.
Ai Hui started to pant. He could feel the Dragonspine Inferno in his hand getting heavier. Fortunately, the blood ants were becoming sparser. The remaining students acclimated to engaging in combat after their cruel “baptism.” Clearly, they had improved. “A-1 unit, you can retreat now.”
The voice of the supervising elementalist resounded from the sky behind them, resembling a sound of nature. His mind rejuvenated, Ai Hui spoke quickly, “Myself, Shi Xueman, Duanmu Huanghun, and Sang Zhijun will take care of the rear. Jiang Wei, lead everyone out of the battleground and retreat as quickly as possible. Lou Lan, prepare the chili concoction and retreat one hundred meters. Provide support to us later.”
“No problem, Ai Hui!” Lou Lan quickly drew the chili concoction and sprayed it over the ground as he retreated.
The rest of the students left the battleground one by one. Behind them were nothing but ruins.
“There’s one last thing we need to do,” Ai Hui suddenly said to those who remained.