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Chapter 108: The Princess

    The Star Luo Emperor smiled faintly and said, "In order to ensure the safety of the semi-finalists and the finalists, I have decided that the Empire's Protector Douluo will be the judges for the subsequent rounds, and be hosts to the contest. Senior Huang Jinxu shall be the host for today's balloting and the first round. His title is the Heavenfiend Lonestar."

    The emperor's introduction stirred up a wave of applause from the citizens in the audience. However, the participating teams were all slightly taken aback.

    Wang Yan was surprised and remarked, "Huang Jinxu, the Heavenfiend Douluo. I thought he was long dead - who knew that he joined the Star Luo Empire instead."

    Ma Xiaotao was already walking up to the stage. Huo Yuhao whispered to Bei Bei beside him, "Senior brother, what's the deal with this Heavenfiend Douluo? Is he very powerful?"

    Bei Bei nodded his head without hesitation and said, "Yes, very powerful. The Star Luo Empire is trying to assert their dominance and flaunt their national strength. The Heavenfiend Douluo's martial soul is extremely special - he uses the stars in the skies above as his own martial soul. Legend has it that there was a star that was especially bright on the day he was born. His martial soul was automatically awakened after his birth. On the same night, his mother died from losing too much blood, and his father passed away when he was eight years old. After this, his friends also died one by one. It was later discovered that his martial soul was the Heavenfiend Lonestar that targeted his family and friends. Because of this, he is destined to be alone for the rest of his life."

    Huo Yuhao's mouth hung open in shock. "There can be martial souls like this?"

    Bei Bei smiled and replied, "Soul masters can have any kind of martial soul; what isn't possible? This elder's Heavenfiend Lonestar martial soul caused him to lose his family, but at the same time, it gave him great power. It's been claimed that he cultivated without a master, and that everything he knows is self-taught. He has continued his journey alone over the years, and eventually attained the title of Heavenfiend. He's around sixty years old this year, and he is around Rank 91 or 92. However, it's been said that star power of the Heavenfiend Lonestar enables him to hold his own against a Rank 95 Transcendent Douluo."

    "He has had to rely on himself for everything, since he lost all his family and friends at a very young age. Perhaps this explains why the Heavenfiend Douluo is a very capricious person with a fickle nature, becoming extremely cruel and brutal at times. However, rumor has it that he picked a fight with several powerful sects some time ago, and they chased him down like a dog."

    Just as Bei Bei was introducing the Heavenfiend Douluo's background to Huo Yuhao, the respective team leaders of the final four teams arrived on stage.

    Ma Xiaotao represented Shrek Academy, while Ma Rulong represented the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. The team leader of the Imperial Mystical Academy was a youth with broad shoulders and an average build; he had a calm disposition, and looked as firm as a rock. The representative from the Star Luo National Academy was a young girl. A female team leader was a rare sight. Huo Yuhao and the others from Shrek Academy had seen this girl before - she was the chief auctioneer from the Star Luo Auction, Princess Jiu Jiu.

    It wasn't just the company from Shrek Academy who were astonished. The participants from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy were equally surprised as their eyes widened - they had also been there during the top-ranked auction!

    The Star Luo National Academy's uniform was a pale-yellow warrior robe. The princess was a lot different compared to her dignified and elegant look during the auction that day. Donning a warrior robe changed her aura, and now she seemed to emanate a rippling heroic spirit. Her flowing blonde hair was tied up in a ponytail, and she wore a faint smile on her pretty face. The yellow warrior robe was tailored to her body, and it brought out the distinct features of her perfect and alluring figure.

    Even though Ma Xiaotao's aura wasn't inferior to hers- in fact, Ma Xiaotao's figure was even slightly better- there was a still a feeling that she was outdone by this princess on the whole.

    Ma Rulong only glanced at the princess once, and his eyes betrayed a tinge of astonishment before he turned his gaze elsewhere. The team leader from Imperial Mystical Academy stared at Jiu Jiu for a long time before he shifted his eyes away.

    Wang Yan furrowed his brows as he watched the princess on stage. She hadn't appeared in the Star Luo National Academy's lineup before today. However, according to what he knew, the Star Luo National Academy's reserve team had a single vacancy.

    Whether it was him or the other three academies, nobody knew anything regarding this princess.

    Suddenly, Wang Yan's eyes flickered as a trace of bewilderment flowed out from within. "I remember now. Yueheng, the Star Luo royal family's martial souls should be..."

    Dai Yueheng arrived next to Wang Yan and nodded. "Your guess is correct, Teacher Wang. My father has evaluated the emperor's martial soul before, but he only said a few words - enigmatic and impossible to predict. My father also said that the emperor is the most talented and prodigious individual in the past three hundred years. However, I have never heard of the princess..."

    Wang Yan took a deep breath and said, "Let's watch the lots first."

    The four representatives from the final four academies were already on stage, and the lot drawing had begun.

    The four team leaders arrived before the Star Luo Emperor under the watchful eyes of four Titled Douluos. The Star Luo Emperor smiled and said, "It's a pleasure to meet such outstanding youths such as yourselves. Before the competition begins, I'd like to remind all of you that friendship takes priority over anything. I hope you can finish the competition with that in mind. I will toss four inscribed balls after this, and you guys will vie for them at the same time. Are you ready?"

    Ma Xiaotao narrowed her eyes slightly as she stole a glance at Princess Jiu Jiu beside her. "Ready."

    Princess Jiu Jiu smiled and nodded her head as Ma Rulong and the Imperial Mystical Academy's team leader tilted their heads in response as well.

    "Pay attention." The Star Luo Emperor squinted his eyes. Immediately after - and nobody saw how he did it - the four golden balls were tossed into the air at the same time.

    Ma Xiaotao was already lying in wait. She shot into the air the moment the Star Luo Emperor made his move. Releasing her martial soul and using soul skills wouldn't affect her speed at such a short distance. Her choice was the same as Ma Rulong and Imperial Mystical Academy's team leader, as all of them leapt into the air towards the four golden balls in the sky as fast as they could.

    Princess Jiu Jiu was the only one that didn't move an inch - she just stood there with a grin on her face.

    Ma Xiaotao lived up to her status as Shrek Academy's team leader. One shouldn't underestimate her just because she was a girl- her enchanting figure was like a spring as she shot up into the air. She caught the tiny ball in an instant before she drifted back down. As she was descending, the Imperial Mystical Academy's team leader and Ma Rulong caught theirs respectively, while Princess Jiu Jiu casually reached out to catch the last remaining golden ball as it dropped down.

    A faint smile appeared on her face. She glanced at the tiny ball in her hands. Even though she was the last one to catch the ball, she was the first to report.

    "One."

    Ma Rulong said, "Two."

    Ma Xiaotao stared straight at Princess Jiu Jiu's face. "One."

    Even though the Imperial Mystical Academy had yet to report their number, the results of the ballot were decided. Shrek Academy would face off against the Star Luo National Academy today, while the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy would go against the Imperial Mystical Academy.

    After the Star Luo Emperor personally checked the lot numbers, he announced the results to the audience. The audience roared with a mix of excitement and surprise the moment they heard their home team was up against Shrek Academy.

    On the surface, it appeared as if Ma Xiaotao drew the better number for Shrek Academy. According to Wang Yan's analysis the previous day, the team from Star Luo National Academy was the weakest one amongst the final four teams.

    The semifinals and the finals followed the same rules as the previous elimination rounds and were carried out over two days, with both group elimination rounds and single elimination rounds. The only difference was that both rounds had to be won before they could advance. If both parties won one round each, the format would be changed to a 2-2-3 round. This meant that winning the group battle no longer gave a team any advantage.

    While the semi-finals were held throughout the course of a day with breaks in the middle, the finals' group elimination, single elimination and 2-2-3 rounds were to be completed in one go. In the end, it wouldn't just be a battle of strength - it would become a battle of attrition, endurance and determination.

    The Star Luo Emperor smiled and said, "I hope all four teams will give their best in the subsequent rounds of the competition. The balloting has been concluded, so make your preparations. Shrek Academy and the Star Luo National Academy will start off today's group battles, and the second match will be between the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy and the Imperial Mystical Academy."

    Ma Xiaotao returned to the resting area. Wang Yan was the first to step up as he lowered his voice and said, "Xiaotao - what do you feel about the princess from the Star Luo Empire?"

    Ma Xiaotao shook her head and replied, "I can't see through her. She's very complicated. I had hoped to gauge her mastery through her physical strength during the lot drawing, but she didn't move at all. She didn't activate any soul power either, and there was no way I could discern her abilities. Yuhao, try using Spiritual Detection."

    Huo Yuhao's eyebrows creased as he said, "I've already tried. However, the princess seems to be carrying some sort of special item. When my Spiritual Detection landed on her body, there was a mysterious layer that blocked me. I couldn't detect her soul power's circulation or predict her actions. My Spiritual Detection is also affected when the gap in mastery is too great."

    At this point, everybody circled around as the semi-finals were about to begin. There was a sudden and unforeseen change in circumstances with their opponents, and this wasn't good news at all for Shrek Academy. They weren't even all from the official team.

    Wang Yan's expression was solemn as he said, "We will follow the original plan. Don't think too much about this, and trust your own abilities. Ma Xiaotao and Yueheng will anchor the single elimination rounds. Even if Princess Jiu Jiu is a powerful Soul Emperor, we must not let our self-confidence fall. Since this is the case, winning the group battle is a must. I will announce the order of battle for the group elimination round."

    "Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng, Ling Luochen, Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi, Huo Yuhao, and Wang Dong. The seven of you will start the battle. We can't let anything go wrong in the group battle. I have a feeling that Star Luo National Academy will have some sort of advantage in the 2-2-3 battle. If we lose the group battle, the competition may slip out of our control."

    Everybody nodded their heads as He Caitou and Jiang Nannan exchanged a look. They both saw the surprise in each other's eyes; they had assumed that they would be part of the lineup for the group battle. He Caitou's battle prowess with his soul tools was already proven in the previous rounds, while Jiang Nannan's close-combat abilities were incredible as well. Even Soul Kings would find it hard to fight her if they let her get close. However, Wang Yan choosing Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong to fight in this crucial group battle was unexpected for everyone.

    Wang Yan stepped in front of Huo Yuhao and lowered his voice. "It's fine if you don't fight, but the moment you make a move, you have to be confident of victory. I trust you know what I'm trying to say."

    "Yes." Huo Yuhao nodded curtly.

    Wang Yan took a deep breath as he reached out his right hand, palm face down. "I've said this before, kids. You guys have already exceeded all expectations, and fought in all the previous rounds successfully. Whether our glory will continue today in today's battle is entirely up to you. I have done all I can as the teacher in charge. Now, I can only pray for everyone from the side of the stage. You guys will be the heroes of Shrek regardless of whether we win or lose. Do watch out for Princess Jiu Jiu- if I'm not wrong, her martial soul should be the Starcrown."

    Hand after hand was stacked on top of Wang Yan's, one after another. Ma Xiaotao was the last to extend her right hand. She glanced at Wang Yan with a serious look and said, "Teacher Wang Yan, I know you are trying to bolster our fighting spirit. Don't worry- as members of Shrek Academy, our determination to guard our academy's glory is no less than the others. Even if we have to use our lives to fuel the flames of Shrek's glory, we will never let it burn out."

    "To victory!" Everybody roared out in unison. The flames of their fighting spirits erupted in an instant.

    Compared to Shrek Academy's energetic aura, the Star Luo National Academy appeared to be a lot quieter and calmer. The participants of this round stepped up one after another. Princess Jiu Jiu, who was standing at the forefront, glanced at Shrek Academy casually. The first person that she searched for wasn't Shrek's team leader, Ma Xiaotao. Instead, she was looking for Huo Yuhao.

    Huo Yuhao was glancing over towards their camp at the same time, and their eyes met at that very instant. Huo Yuhao was slightly taken aback as he realized, to his astonishment, that the dignified princess' eyes betrayed a provocative undertone.

    "Why is she trying to provoke me? I don't think I'll be the one fighting her."

    Huo Yuhao was a little baffled. His eyes squinted a little as they sparkled with a green light. The two parties may have been a world apart in mastery, but that single flash of light in his eyes sent a chill up Princess Jiu Jiu's spine.

    "Participants from Shrek Academy, Star Luo National Academy, please step on stage." The judge responsible for today's group battle was the Heavenfiend Douluo from before.

    The Star Luo Emperor had already returned to the imperial palace under the protection of the other three Titled Douluo, and was watching the stage from the top of the city wall.

    Ma Xiaotao walked in front with Dai Yueheng, Ling Luochen, Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi, Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong following closely behind as both parties stepped onto the competition stage at the same time.

    The semi-finals had yet to begin, but the sharp smell of fireworks drifted through the air as both parties eyed each other.

    Princess Jiu Jiu's eyes changed as well. Her originally bright blue eyes began to emanate a pale golden radiance. Her gaze felt as vast as the ocean.

    On the other side, Ma Xiaotao's eyes were like two raging flames, and the scorching aura that she let off gave her opponents an intense pressure.

    The Heavenfiend Doulou's swept his eyes across Ma Xiaotao's body, and betrayed a single trace of astonishment before his expression quickly returned to normal. His face was cold as he said, "Step back. Before I announce the beginning of the contest, nobody is allowed to release their martial souls."

    Both parties stepped up to their respective corners, but their eyes had never left each other since the start. While retreating, both teams' formations swiftly changed.

    Shrek Academy took up a different formation than the one they had always used. Dai Yueheng and Ma Xiaotao took the lead as per usual, but Xu Sanshi stood behind them guarding Ling Luochen, who stood behind him. Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong stood side by side behind Ling Luochen. Bei Bei was up at the front beside Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng, establishing a three-pronged powerful attack force.

    The Star Luo National Academy also had a unique formation. Six people formed a triangle, with one person in front and two members behind them, followed by three more members standing behind them. Princess Jiu Jiu stood behind this triangle formed by these six people. The golden flashes in her eyes grew stronger, as if she were the general of the company.

    Xu Sanshi watched the princess with a grin. His eyes darted back and forth from her as a mischievous smile snuck up on his face.

    People were already familiar with the powerful effects of his Mysterious Underworld Displacement. Still, being familiar didn't mean that they wouldn't fall for the same trick- just like when Shrek Academy faced off against Justsky Academy in the previous round.

    Everybody thought that Shrek Academy wouldn't use the same tactics again. However, the moment he stepped up, Xu Sanshi played the same trick without hesitation, and forcefully swapped Ye Wuqing into his own formation.

    Ye Wuqing wasn't given a chance at all before he was trampled over. Not every participating party had an expensive disposable soul tool like the Invincible Barrier. Xu Sanshi, that indecent fellow, triggered the Mysterious Underworld Quake after swapping with his opponent to slow the others down. He had then leapt off the stage before his opponents could surround him.

    Justsky Academy didn't stand a chance without Ye Wuqing, and the remainder of the contest became a walk in the park.

    Princess Jiu Jiu's brows creased as she watched the eager look on Xu Sanshi's face. It was clear that she was wary of soul skills that were hard to handle like the Mysterious Netherworld Displacement.

    "Begin." Just as both parties were closely observing each other, the Heavenfiend Douluo announced the start of the competition as a single ray of golden light shot across the center of the stage. In just a split second, the powerful Titled Douluo disappeared without a trace.

    The reactions of both parties were extremely quick, and everyone released their martial souls at the first possible instant.

    Huo Yuhao unleashed his Spiritual Detection at once, and cast his gaze towards Princess Jiu Jiu. He was very curious- what was her martial soul, exactly? Wang Yan didn't have enough time to explain it to them in detail, and all he said was that the Princess was an auxiliary-type battle soul master.

    "Doesn't that mean that she's a tool soul master?" Huo Yuhao already had his doubts back then, but he didn't have time to think too much before he had to get on stage.

    A single ray of golden light lit up on Princess Jiu Jiu's forehead. It was a golden, diamond-shaped jewel. Huo Yuhao immediately thought about his Eye of Life the moment he noticed the position of that jewel - wasn't it oddly similar to the position of his Eye of Life?

    However, Princess Jiu Jiu didn't have a third eye. The golden diamond-shaped jewel started to radiate brilliant golden light the moment it appeared before proceeding to leave her forehead and drift upwards with rays of golden light encircling it. A magnificent crown glimmered above her head just like that before it descended and landed gently on her head.

    This crown seemed to have been formed by countless stars, with all the stars shimmering with a golden hue. With the diamond-shaped stone at the front of the formation, the stars swiftly retreated as eighteen relatively bigger stars on the crown flew up to form an exquisite tip.

    The Starcrown. This was Princess Jiu Jiu's martial soul.

    Two yellow, two purple and single black soul ring appeared around the princess' body- she was a powerful Soul King.

    The six others in front of Princess Jiu Jiu were all the same opponents that Wang Yan had previously explained to the members of Shrek Academy in detail. They released their martial souls one by one; they too were all Soul Kings.

    Surprisingly, the lineup from the Star Luo National Academy was comprised entirely of Soul Kings.

    Xu Sanshi's martial soul was already unleashed. As if he was afraid of others not knowing, he roared into the sky, "Mysterious Netherworld Displacement!"

    The Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle erupted with black light - and the rays of light were pointing right toward Princess Jiu Jiu.

    At this moment, the Starcrown on Princess Jiu Jiu's head burst with light as well. The third ring on her body lit up as a flaring pillar of golden light shot up into the sky.

    The inner regions of the golden pillar of light was filled with a golden-colored mist with specks of starlight spiraling up towards the sky- it was mystical sight. It was impossible to fathom what the effects of this soul skill were from its appearance.

    The Shrek Academy team charged forward at once. Ma Xiaotao took the lead, while Dai Yueheng and Bei Bei followed closely behind. Ling Luochen's Icy Staff was once again in her hands as she raised it high over her head. A dense and chilly mist permeated their surroundings and enveloped Xu Sanshi, Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong and herself. This patch of icy mist began to spread towards both ends of the arena with dazzling speed, and formed a gigantic shroud that slowly clamped down on their opponents. All four of them were completely hidden within this icy mist.

    This was Ling Luochen's fourth soul skill, and she had never used it before until now.

    "Just kidding." Before he was swallowed by the icy mist, Xu Sanshi waved at the princess, as he never intended to use the Mysterious Underworld Displacement.

    Princess Jiu Jiu's face froze as she shot a cold look at him. The golden light mist that was rising into the air started to spread in all directions and blanketed her six teammates.

    In the next instant, every member from the Star Luo National Academy was covered with a layer of golden light. The golden radiance around Princess Jiu Jiu's body hadn't dissipated yet as starlight continued to surge out of her Starcrown.

    Ma Xiaotao was lightning fast, and shot to the front of her opponents' formation in the blink of an eye. Blazing phoenix flames surged into the sky as she extended her enormous phoenix wings and blasted her Phoenix Fireline towards the Soul King right in front of her.

    This Soul King's name was Huang Heyun. The fact that he was standing in front naturally meant that he was an assault-type soul master. Before Princess Jiu Jiu's appearance, he had been the Star Luo National Academy's team leader.

    Huang Heyun's martial soul was also extremely fearsome. Following the release of his martial soul, dense black energy started swirling around his body, and his body suddenly erupted in size. His muscles grew and became more defined, while a "King" character appeared on his head, similar to Dai Yueheng. The difference between the two of them was that the hair all over Huang Heyun's body wasn't white or a yellow-chalk color. Instead, it was black, just pure black.

    His martial soul was the Darkdemon Tiger. It was a rare darkness-type martial soul, but he wasn't an evil soul master. The fearsome power of darkness imbued him with natural prowess that was not much inferior to Dai Yueheng's White Tiger.

    At this moment, a mist of golden light diffused from behind his back, fusing together with his black soul power. The light didn't clash with the darkness - instead, it painted his soul power a dull golden hue that flickered with specs of starlight, causing his body to no longer be just pure black. It was peculiar.

    Huang Heyun howled into the sky as he faced Ma Xiaotao's Phoenix Fireline. He rushed forward without hesitation and punched out with his fist. His first soul ring radiated with yellow light, and a dull-golden arc of light with a diameter of over one meter instantly burst out into the sky.

    Sparks crackled and flew, but the Phoenix Fireline was surprisingly not able to pierce even a single inch through that arc of light before it was stopped in its tracks. It was the Darkdemon Tiger's first soul skill - Aphotic Darkwave.

    Ma Xiaotao was still a little bewildered by what had just taken place before the Aphotic Darkwave, which now flared with a fiery red color due to the Phoenix Fireline, arrived before her.

    Even though the Phoenix Fireline under the Soaring Phoenix's amplification was only Ma Xiaotao's first soul skill, she was a powerful Soul Emperor with extremely solid foundations. How could her opponent even compare to her? Nonetheless, her opponent still managed to fend off her Phoenix Fireline with just his own first soul skill.

    However, the Aphotic Darkwave was right before her eyes, and she no longer had time to contemplate. Ma Xiaotao held out her right palm out against the Aphotic Darkwave, and it shattered into pieces in an instant with a "puff" sound. Ma Xiaotao's right hand flared with raging flames once more as abundant phoenix flames poured out and surged towards her opponent - this was her second soul skill, the Phoenix Baptism.

    Faced with Ma Xiaotao's ferocious onslaught, Huang Heyun made a retreating motion as his body appeared to sit down. His third soul ring lit up, and his soul power, which sparkled with dull-golden starlight, accompanied a bright tiger roar as it surged out as well and transformed into the form of a tiger while it crashed towards Ma Xiaotao's phoenix flames.

    This was the thousand-year soul skill of his third soul ring- the Demontiger's Heavenshock.

    Ma Xiaotao's sensations were much more acute as they clashed once more at close quarters. She discovered that when her opponent's soul skills collided with her phoenix flames, the golden starlight in her opponent's soul skills would break out first. Those tiny specks of starlight were like miniature bombs that continuously detonated inside her phoenix flames, and these unassuming explosiveness actually grinded down Ma Xiaotao's offensive power. The full force of Huang Heyun's soul skills clashed with Ma Xiaotao's phoenix flames only after the dampening of the golden starlight.

    This shocking realization caused Ma Xiaotao to cast an astonished look at Princess Jiu Jiu behind her opponent. What kind of martial soul was that? She could actually provide such powerful group auxiliary support for her entire team. This rivalled the effects of even the Seven Treasures Glazed Pagoda, which was widely claimed to be the most powerful auxiliary-type martial soul.

    Ma Xiaotao concentrated as she searched her mind for a suitable answer to the Starcrown. As a student from Shrek Academy, Ma Xiaotao's knowledge was especially abundant, and she finally recalled what the Starcrown martial soul was.

    This martial soul was simply too rare in the continent, even though it had existed for a long time. The number of times it had appeared in the past thousand years was just too few, and thus it was forgotten. Still, one of the lessons she had once taken in Shrek Academy had introduced the Starcrown before. Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao had spent too little time in the academy, and had yet to reach that level.

    The Starcrown martial soul used to be held in high regard within the Douluo Continent. It had been around since more than ten thousand years ago, and could be considered the most ancient amongst the top-ranked martial souls.

    Over ten thousand years ago, the entity that handled soul masters was an organization called the Soul Hall. Back then, the Star Luo Empire and the Heaven Dou Empire, the only two most powerful empires at that time, had to pander to them. The Soul Hall once possessed six especially powerful martial souls, and each one of them respectively represented the most powerful entities in the world at that time. One of them was the Starcrown.

    The Heaven Dou Empire and the Star Luo Empire had three seats each back then, and the Star Luo Empire's royal family was still the White Tiger Duke's bloodline. However, the White Tiger martial soul wasn't one of the six great martial souls. Instead, the Starcrown martial soul was the strongest of the three seats that belonged to the Star Luo Empire.

    The only problem was that the Starcrown bloodline's inheritance was thin, and thus it was rarely seen on the continent. It was similar to a hidden sect. Over four thousand years ago, the Sun Moon Continent collided and merged with the Douluo Continent, eventually instigating the conflict between the Sun Moon Empire and the empires that resided within the Douluo Continent. The Star Luo Empire took the lead and absorbed most of the external pressure, causing the White Tiger Duke bloodline and the royal family to almost be driven to extinction. During this period, the Starcrown sect stepped out of reclusion to unify and lead the Star Luo Empire's armies in a valiant effort against their enemies. After intense and fearsome battles did they manage to defend the Star Luo Empire and consolidate the Star Luo Empire's position as the leading sovereignty amongst the three nations within the original Douluo Continent. The White Tiger Duke bloodline waned, and was left with a meager lineage. The position of the royal family was passed on, and the Starcrown bloodline took over as the new leaders of Star Luo Empire. Of course, the new royalty did not choose to employ any underhanded tactics against the White Tiger Duke bloodline. They won over their citizens' hearts and minds and succeeded the throne via proper means, which caused the empire to flourish for over a thousand years.

    Even if the Dou Ling Empire and the Heavenly Soul Empire formed a coalition, their combined power would still not be enough to compare with the Star Luo Empire.

    The Starcrown bloodline managed to turn the tide all those years ago, and this went to show their extraordinary power. In terms of pure auxiliary capabilities, the Starcrown was probably inferior to the Seven Treasures Glazed Pagoda. However, the Starcrown wasn't just about support- it possessed incredible fighting power, and even its auxiliary capabilities leaned entirely towards boosting fighting power. This was vastly different from the Seven Treasures Glazed Pagoda's overall capabilities. It could be said that the Starcrown martial soul existed purely for battle.

    Ever since the Starcrown sect took over Star Luo Empire, they became low-profile once more. The passage of a few thousand years caused people to forget that the Star Luo Empire's royal family was one of the more powerful soul master sects in the past, and the Starcrown martial soul was never seen again in the outside world for many years.

    Even though Ma Xiaotao was recalling this information regarding the Starcrown martial soul, her movements did not slow down at all. Her opponent's Demontiger's Heavenshock that was amplified by Princess Jiu Jiu's third soul skill, the Starglory Spell, ultimately broke through the Phoenix Baptism's flames and reached Ma Xiaotao.

    Ma Xiaotao grunted coldly. Instead of retreating, she chose to advance, and rushed toward the Darkdemon Tiger's light shadow. She roared into the sky as she extended her fiery wings. In this moment, Ma Xiaotao's entire being appeared to transform into a real fire phoenix. The phoenix flames' searing red colors were raised to a white incandescence, and the instant outburst of heat caused even Dai Yueheng and Bei Bei to distance themselves from Ma Xiaotao. The blistering flames scorched the Darkdemon Tiger's light shadow in an instant. Ma Xiaotao's body flashed once more, and she closed in on her opponent while launching another stream of Phoenix Fireline. This time, the phoenix flames had the same white incandescent hue.

    Normally, she wouldn't dare to raise her phoenix flames' powers to such a level like she did just now. The reason for that was because unleashing the phoenix flames like this made her highly susceptible to a backlash from the evil fire within her body. If she didn't handle it correctly, she had a high chance of losing her mind again.

    Ma Xiaotao wasn't afraid this time, as she had an Ultimate Ice martial soul master beside her. With Huo Yuhao around, she was no longer fearful of suffering the pain from the evil fire's backlash. In fact, she hadn't had any problems at all since the last time she had received help.

    The reason why Ma Xiaotao could become a team leader and repress Dai Yueheng was entirely due to her prowess. How could Shrek Academy's teachers not know that she possessed a very impatient and short-tempered nature? However, she was one of the most powerful ones amongst her age. Dai Yueheng was actually inferior to her by an entire class, and Ma Xiaotao could only be described as terrifying when she was in full eruption mode.

    Wang Yan had been riling their fighting spirit over the past few days. Even though she didn't express it, how could she not be affected? All the energy, vigor, and overflowing belligerence that she had been suppressing were on full display today as she faced off against a powerful opponent.

    Huang Heyun was shocked as the sweltering flames blazed before him. He discovered, to his intense fear, that he seemed to be completely unable to defend himself. The white-hot phoenix flames surrounded him, and all the air within a few meters of him was completely distorted. The sky-high temperature of the white circle of fire triggered and detonated the Starglory Spell's energy in the sky, perfectly blocking off the Starglory Spell's effects. This meant that the Starglory Spell was no longer able to provide support for him.

    Just as Huang Heyun was in an incredibly dangerous situation, he felt the pressure lift from his body as Ma Xiaotao's white-hot flames started to tilt towards the side before they began to drift up into the sky.

    A girl appeared not far behind Huang Heyun. Her looks were average, and she looked like a simple and normal girl. She had long dark-purple hair behind her back, and had freckles on her face. Her most defining feature was her eyes- it seemed as if her eyes were blazing with fire. All five of her soul rings were undulating on her body as her right hand reached out toward Ma Xiaotao's phoenix flames in the distance. She was the one that had drawn Ma Xiaotao's Phoenix Fireline away.

    Fire control type. An explanation instantly rang out in Ma Xiaotao's head.

    Wang Yan had reminded Shrek Academy's students of this purple-haired young girl specifically. Before Princess Jiu Jiu appeared in the Star Luo National Academy's team, the two individuals that Wang Yan was most wary of were two control-type soul masters.
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