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Chapter 122: Dai Yuehengs Determination

    Generally speaking, soul engineers could only use soul tools of the same class unless there were special processes involved during the crafting of said soul tools, or if the soul tool itself had something unique about it that allowed it to bypass class differences.

    How old was Meng Hongchen? The fact that she was already a Soul King was extraordinary; there was no need to ask to know how much importance the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy placed on her. It was almost impossible for her to have reached her current level of cultivation all by herself, and she'd also had to train in soul engineering at the same time.

    Huo Yuhao possessed twin martial souls, and the Ice Empress, Skydream Iceworm, and Electrolux all lived in his body simultaneously. Yet, even with all of these factors, even he wasn't confident that he'd be able to reach Rank 50 and be a Class 5 soul engineer by the age of fifteen.

    There was no question that both Meng Hongchen and Xiao Hongchen had had a lot of man-made factors involved in their growth. There was no use telling others what exotic treasures or herbs they'd ingested, but the sheer level of their cultivations also implied that their foundations weren't stable.

    Rank 30, Rank 60, Rank 70, and Rank 90 were the four important milestones that soul masters faced. Meng Hongchen and Xiao Hongchen would experience a decline in their cultivation speed if their foundations weren't solid enough. They would have to stabilize and consolidate their foundations over a sufficient period of time if they wanted to achieve real success in the future.

    This was the reason why it was so apparent that Meng Hongchen hadn't been the one to forge and produce the Class 6 soul armor that she was currently wearing.

    This didn't mean that she couldn't display formidable prowess using this soul tool. Instead, she was using her own aptitude and abilities to show Shrek what the future development of soul masters on the continent was likely to be.

    Meng Hongchen's speed increased exponentially as her figure flashed once. She didn't intend to clash directly with Dai Yueheng. Rather, the thin swords she was holding cut through the air as she stepped to the side.

    Two streaks of icy blue light appeared in midair like two bolts of lightning and formed something like a cross, then soared towards Dai Yueheng. They didn't appear as if they would dissipate either; it was as if they were part of a soul skill.

    Dai Yueheng didn't even attempt to dodge, as he was aware that he didn't have much time. He swung his tiger-like left hand and unleashed his soul power, causing five beams of golden light to collide with the center of the cross. His forward momentum remained unchanged and unaffected as he did so.

    The cross was immediately shattered into pieces, but thick white mist immediately permeated the air. There was no question that this attack had been charged with the Vermillion Clear Icetoad's intense venom.

    Dai Yueheng held his breath, but he still felt his entire body turning cold. It was as if something was invading his body with unstoppable force.

    He concentrated his soul power and relied on his body's powerful resistance to disregard this feeling as he continued his forward lunge towards Meng Hongchen.

    Meng Hongchen's first soul ring had been sparkling ever since she'd made her first strike, which represented her Vermilion Clear Icetoad's acute poison. At this moment, her second and third soul rings lit up one after the other.

    An icy-blue light ring extended out from beneath her feet and covered the entire competition stage in a matter of seconds. This was her second soul skill-Icevenom Ring.

    Every ounce of venom that belonged to her Vermilion Clear Icetoad would be amplified inside the Icevenom Ring. She'd taken advantage of the cover provided by Ling Luochen's Icemist previously to use the Icevenom Ring to amplify her first soul skill and eventually defeat Ling Luochen inside of her own Icemist.

    When her third soul ring lit up, something strange began to happen. A mirror-like solid piece of ice that was about five meters in diameter appeared beneath her feet. This ice block projected her reflection, but the scene that appeared was extremely peculiar.

    Dai Yueheng arrived in front of her just as she finished unleashing these two soul skills. He shot out the White Tiger's Fierce Light Wave at her as soon as possible.

    The White Tiger's Fierce Light Wave was extremely formidable under the amplifying effects of his three transformation skills. A beam of white light as thick as an arm tore through the air, booming and crackling with energy. If this beam of light hit its target directly, its power wasn't inferior in the least to that of a Class 5 energy-gathering soul cannon.

    A sinister scene appeared at that moment: Two Meng Hongchens suddenly appeared on the surface of the ice block. The streak of white light flashed by, and the Meng Hongchen that it was targeting simply dissipated like a shadow, while the original Meng Hongchen relocated to another position. Not only had she managed to evade the White Tiger's Fierce Light Wave, but she'd also managed to relocate to a position behind Dai Yueheng.

    Her thin swords sparkled and transformed into sword shadows that pervaded the skies before they stabbed right towards Dai Yueheng. Her swords' foot-long radiances became concentrated, causing the air around them to release chirping sounds.

    This was Meng Hongchen's third soul skill-Ice Reflection. It allowed her to switch positions with the light images of herself that were reflected on the surface of the block of ice that she'd released. Even though it wasn't as powerful as Instant Teleportation, it was an extremely practical soul skill that worked well in combination with her soul armor.

    Who was Dai Yueheng? He was the White Tiger's heir, and a Soul Emperor who'd stepped out from Shrek's inner courtyard. He could be counted as a veteran of countless battles.

    He was not in the least bit worried or frightened despite his opponent's unique soul skills. He immediately swept his tiger-like palms out behind him the moment that his left leg landed on the ground. The sharp talons on his tiger-like palms blazed with large patches of golden light when they clashed directly with the thin swords coming toward him.

    The thin swords in Meng Hongchen's hands were Class 6 soul tools; their offensive power was just as strong as Dai Yueheng's tiger claws. She relied on her soul tools' power to forcefully bridge the gap between their levels of cultivation.

    Dai Yueheng had severely wounded Xiao Hongchen before this, thus it was natural for Meng Hongchen to feel an acute sense of belligerence when she unleashed her full power.

    However, he was still a Soul Emperor after all. Dai Yueheng would be able to overcome Meng Hongchen in terms of strength, soul power, and martial ability if he didn't have worry about the effects of her venom. Even though a Class 6 soul tool was powerful, Meng Hongchen still wasn't a Class 6 soul engineer, thus she was only able to temporarily maintain this balance. When Dai Yueheng took the opportunity to spin around and face her directly, she started to crumble under the pressure.

    Meng Hongchen's figure flashed once more as she used her Ice Reflection to relocate herself again. Her thin swords slashed through the air, their shadows permeating through the entire arena as she relentlessly tried to find any weaknesses or loopholes in Dai Yueheng's defense.

    She could wait; she understood that Dai Yueheng was relying on his resistance to fight against her Icetoad's Venom. However, she was positive that this resistance was time-based. Dai Yueheng would feel the Icetoad Venom's effects more and more over the continuous passage of time, which would undoubtedly lead to her being the ultimate victor.

    This was the truth, and Dai Yueheng could feel a chill that pierced right into his bones incessantly assaulting his body. Even though his body was tough and he could delay this process for a long time, completely stopping it was impossible for him.

    Meng Hongchen was no match for him in close-quarters combat, but she was nimble and agile thanks to her Ice Reflection. In order to hold back Dai Yueheng for as long as she could, she tossed out explosive soul tools from time to time, meant to distract rather than damage her opponent.

    Their epic battle made the audience dizzy as they looked on, ear-piercing crackling sounds constantly audible. Dai Yueheng wasn't slow, but he wasn't able to gain any sort of advantage over Meng Hongchen, who had a Class 6 soul tool and the help of her Ice Reflection. The situation on the stage remained at a prolonged impasse.

    Everybody in Shrek's waiting area began to frown and curse. They could tell what sort of battle tactics Meng Hongchen was employing, but nobody had expected her close-combat prowess to be so formidable-she was actually able to hold back Dai Yueheng, and she didn't look like she would be defeated anytime soon.

    Dai Yueheng suddenly slowed down, his entire body shivering as a streak of icy-blue light flashed across his shoulder.

    However, he had the three amplifying transformation soul skills protecting him, thus the icy-blue sword radiance merely shaved off some of his golden tiger fur. It didn't damage his body at all.

    "Oh no." Wang Yan's expression suddenly changed. "I don't think that Yueheng can withstand the poison anymore."

    Dai Yueheng had used all three transformative soul skills from the beginning of the battle, which was the only way that he could raise his resistance, and in turn his offensive powers, to the highest possible level.

    However, Meng Hongchen had refused to clash with him directly; she was as slippery as an eel. Dai Yueheng had almost broken through her defense several times, but his attacks had immediately been dispelled by her automatically triggered Impregnable Wall. Meng Hongchen's soul power was greatly diminished whenever this happened, but Dai Yueheng's was being consumed at a far greater rate.

    "Believe in him. As a disciple from Shrek's inner courtyard, if he can't defeat an opponent one tier of cultivation below him, then he isn't worthy of stepping out from the inner courtyard." Ma Xiaotao was the only one able to remain calm, as only disciples from the inner courtyard could truly understand each other.

    Still, the situation on stage wasn't very optimistic. Dai Yueheng had slowed even more after he'd suffered that first strike-it seemed that the Icetoad's Venom had begun to take effect. The thin swords in his opponent's hands began to become more ferocious as more and more streaks of sword radiance criss-crossed towards him. His body was quickly cut several times.

    Even with the White Tiger's Shield, the White Tiger's Vajra Transformation, and the White Tiger's Devilgod Transformation, he couldn't completely defend himself against a Class 6 soul tool's attack. Traces of blood rapidly began to appear on Dai Yueheng's body. However, what was more important was the fact that Meng Hongchen's weapons were also tinged with venom as well. The poison would only spread faster now that it had made contact with his blood.

    "Urghh!" Dai Yueheng seemed to have become infuriated, or maybe it was because he'd realized the current state of his body. He suddenly roared into the sky, and a dense golden light erupted from his body as his sixth and final soul ring finally began to sparkle brilliantly.

    Dai Yueheng's most powerful soul skill, the White Tiger's Extermination, had finally been unleashed.

    A terrifying aura immediately enveloped an area around five meters in diameter as the intense golden light gathered together form a giant word "Kill" in midair. The shadow of the White Tiger also slowly came into view behind Dai Yueheng at the same time.

    Was this his final strike? Meng Hongchen's mouth curled into a cold smile and a beam of golden light immediately emerged from her body.

    She was naturally unable to withstand his White Tiger's Extermination; the result would be the same even if she used her Impregnable Wall. The gap in their soul power was ultimately too great, and the White Tiger Soul Emperor's most powerful strike when he was fully amplified was powerful enough to sap her entire pool of soul power, which would cause her to collapse and crumble.

    This ray of golden light wasn't from the Impregnable Wall, but... following the flash of golden light, Meng Hongchen was instantly moved ten meters away, completely evading Dai Yueheng's most powerful strike.

    One couldn't underestimate the power of shifting ten meters away in the blink of an eye. This was a Class 7 soul tool known as the ring of teleportation; even Xiao Hongchen didn't possess a soul tool like it.

    The ring of teleportation could only be used once per day, but it wasn't a disposable soul tool, and was often touted as a miracle amongst Class 7 soul tools. Possessing an item such as it was essentially equivalent to having a second life in most situations, even though its instant teleportation distance was limited to a hundred meters.

    Meng Hongchen had teleported a mere ten meters, and had been waiting for an opportunity like this.

    The White Tiger's Extermination had missed, thus her fifth soul ring finally started to sparkle with eye-catching luster.

    She'd been waiting for him to use his ultimate move. Now that he had, Meng Hongchen's heart was filled with self-confidence, and she was sure that she would emerge victorious. Her elegant figure flew into the air, her entire body starting to vigorously spin in the sky; it was as if she'd transformed into a whirlpool. She then launched herself directly at Dai Yueheng, who'd yet to recover from using his White Tiger's Extermination.

    Dai Yueheng was in the weakest possible state right now, as he was both suffering from her acute poison, and had just used all of his strength in his last attack. Meng Hongchen's opportunity of choice could only be described as optimal and impeccable.

    The Heavenfiend Douluo quickly arrived at a spot not far from where the battle was occuring at; he was prepared to end the contest at a moment's notice.

    Red light glimmered in the center of the whirlpool, which flickered icy-blue. That pale red light gave the spectators a searing sensation; it was as if there were a pillar of blistering fire in the icy whirlpool's center.

    This was the most powerful attack that Meng Hongchen could unleash-the Icefire Venomdragon's Corkscrew.

    This was a perfect combination of a ten-thousand-year soul skill and a Class 6 soul tool, and its power was enough to rival a formidable Soul Emperor's soul skill. It was apparent that she didn't intend to give Dai Yueheng any chance at all by using such a mighty soul skill.

    However, what Meng Hongchen didn't realize was that the mirror-like ice block that enabled her to use Ice Reflection beneath her feet had been shattered in her fight against Dai Yueheng.

    The Icefire Venomdragon's Corkscrew had already reached Dai Yueheng, whose eyes seemed to be growing more and more clouded, and whose aura was growing weaker. The Heavenfiend Douluo's hands were already raised into the air.

    However, Dai Yueheng suddenly moved at this moment.

    His move was simple: He stepped out with his left foot, then took a stance similar to that of using a bow and arrow as he crossed his arms in front of his chest.

    "Bang-"

    A series of explosions rang out as Dai Yueheng's right arm sparkled. A brilliant golden light covered and protected his entire body in an instant, stopping Meng Hongchen's Icefire Venomdragon's Corkscrew just like that. It didn't achieve anything at all.

    A searing white light glowed once more immediately afterwards, and Dai Yueheng's body was like a ferocious tiger as he entrapped Meng Hongchen.

    He'd activated the White Tiger's Extermination once more!

    Meng Hongchen had been waiting for her opportunity to strike Dai Yueheng down for good, but Dai Yueheng had also been waiting for the same thing all along.

    The resistance provided by the White Tiger's three amplifying soul skills were even stronger than Meng Hongchen had imagined. Dai Yueheng had deliberately revealed every single weakness or loophole that she'd discovered.

    Meng Hongchen was just too slippery and agile. As she was a soul engineer, Dai Yueheng was acutely aware that she had multiple tools and methods to protect her life. This was the reason that he'd chosen to reveal weakness-to lure his enemy deep within, and to let them think that he was no longer able to continue.

    How could Meng Hongchen's experience in battle compare to Dai Yueheng, who was the true veteran?

    Dai Yueheng's right arm flickered with light. This was a soul bone skill, and was something that he had yet to use throughout the entire competition. It was called Absolute Defense.

    It was dissimilar to Princess Jiu Jiu's absolute defense barrier from before, as his Absolute Defense could only be used for a fraction of the time, and only once a day. That miniscule moment would render him invincible, but it was imperative that his opponent's attack strike his right arm.

    Considering Dai Yueheng's current level of cultivation, he would be able to negate any attack or soul skill within that instant as long as his opponent wasn't a Transcendent Douluo.

    Meng Hongchen was relatively powerful, and Dai Yueheng had almost no way to deal with her Icetoad Venom. However, just as Ma Xiaotao had said before, a Soul Emperor from Shrek's inner courtyard was sophisticated. Dai Yueheng had relied on his own battle experience to finally force his opponent, who'd just won two rounds in a row, into desperate straits.

    Meng Hongchen had consumed a large amount of soul power in her hit-and-run tactics from before. Furthermore, she'd just unleashed her Icefire Venomdragon's Corkscrew, definitely not expecting Dai Yueheng to turn the tables at a time such as this. She, who wasn't even fifteen years old, immediately became hysterical.

    Her Impregnable Wall was triggered at the first possible moment. However, Meng Hongchen felt her soul power immediately drain at lightning speed following the golden light's protection. Her Impregnable Wall would only be able to last for two seconds before it crumbled under the White Tiger's Extermination.

    Frightening tiger claws slashed her Class 6 soul armor and made ear-piercing grinding sounds.

    "We admit defeat!"

    The Sun Moon Empire's teacher-in-charge's suddenly shouted, a ray of starlight descending from the skies to protect Meng Hongchen's body.

    In this short duration of time, dozens of cracks and marks had appeared all over Meng Hongchen's Class 6 soul armor. Its defensive capabilities were formidable, but Dai Yueheng's all-out strike was incredibly terrifying as well. If not for the Sun Moon Empire's teacher-in-charge and his quick reaction, Dai Yueheng would've shattered the soul armor to pieces after another second, and Meng Hongchen would've been ravaged and torn to pieces by the White Tiger's immense power.

    This was absolute strength! Dai Yueheng, as a Soul Emperor with White Tiger as his martial soul, had proved to everyone with his extraordinary prowess that Shrek was still as powerful as ever, even if their martial souls were restrained.

    Meng Hongchen was still held in the vice-like grip of terror even after the White Tiger's Extermination's radiance had dissipated. She could still feel how close to death she'd just been in that tiny amount of time. Her Impregnable Wall had been completely destroyed, while her soul armor's formations had been heavily damaged. This valuable Class 6 soul tool had been laid to ruin just like that, the only things left intact being her twin swords.

    "Ah-" Meng Hongchen suddenly vomited a mouthful of blood, and her body quivered as if she was about to fall over. She would've collapsed if she didn't use her thin swords to support herself.

    Dai Yueheng gazed at her coldly, the ferocity in his eyes sending a cold shiver down Meng Hongchen's spine. She knew very well that, without her Icetoad's Venom and her soul tools, she wouldn't even be worthy of battling this individual.

    What surprised everyone was that Dai Yueheng only shot a single look towards Meng Hongchen before quickly leaping off the stage and returning to Shrek's waiting area.

    He stepped before Ma Xiaotao. His body's transformations from his martial soul and soul skills were receding with dazzling speed, revealing his original form once more.

    "I didn't let Shrek down, team leader." Dai Yueheng's eyes sparkled as he gazed into Ma Xiaotao's eyes. This was the first time that he'd taken the initiative to address Ma Xiaotao as his team leader.

    Ma Xiaotao stood up and nodded heavily in his direction.

    Dai Yueheng raised his hand and removed a massive ring from the index finger of his left hand. The ring was light silver, and had a fearsome tiger head engraved upon it.

    "This is for you. I'm sure that you'll be able to use it. Shrek cannot lose, team leader. Please." He stuffed the ring into Ma Xiaotao's hands as he spoke. Immediately afterwards, his eyes closed and his burly body collapsed backwards.

    Ma Xiaotao grabbed onto his arm to prevent him from falling. Her red lips were pressed tightly together, and her perky chest undulated vigorously for a while.

    "An admirable resolve. You're not a good-for-nothing after all."

    Dai Yueheng had been victorious-he'd beaten Meng Hongchen. However, he'd also been knocked unconscious by her intense venom, and had lost all ability to continue battling.

    However, his ferocity galvanized every single member of Shrek, and rekindled the raging flames in every one of their hearts.

    Yes, Shrek had to win.

    Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong clenched their fists tightly. The two of them, along with Ma Xiaotao, were the only people still conscious in Shrek's seven-member participating team for the single-elimination battle.

    They looked at the others, who were either unconscious or severely injured, and their hearts were immediately filled with both despair and an unrivaled fighting spirit. Right now, they would place their lives on the line for Shrek's honor and glory without a single instant of hesitation. This was the only thought on their minds.

    "It's my turn." Ma Xiaotao put Dai Yueheng's ring on her right hand's thumb as she spoke, and was about to go up onto the competition stage.

    At this moment, the Heavenfiend Douluo loudly announced, "As the judge, I have confirmed that the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy have given up the rest of this round and have admitted defeat. Shrek Academy is victorious in this single-elimination round. Both parties will have one minute to rest. The 2-2-3 fight will then begin immediately afterwards. As both parties no longer have enough people to complete the third round, and as both parties have a single win each from the previous two rounds, the third round shall be completed with each team's respective reserve team members that did not participate in the single-elimination round."

    The Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy had admitted defeat?

    Ma Xiaotao, Huo Yuhao, and Wang Dong were all astonished.

    There were three people in their opponents' camp who were still able to participate. Ma Rulong, their team leader, was the most powerful one, and was still able to fight. How could they just admit defeat?

    Wang Yan grew solemn and muttered, "Impressive."

    Ma Xiaotao frowned and said, "What's wrong, Teacher Wang?"

    Wang Yan's expression was as dark as ever. He lowered his voice and said, "Although they've given up on the single-elimination rounds, this is them retreating in order to advance. They're aware that none of them will be able to defeat you one-on-one, and that, as soul engineers, they're stronger when they're together. Thus, the 2-2-3 battle will be more advantageous for them. Furthermore, of the original seven participating contestants, only three of you are still able to fight. Even though they also only have three contestants left, Meng Hongchen hasn't lost her ability to fight - she's simply overly exhausted. She'll be able to recover, given enough time."

    "The first people they'll send out will be Ma Rulong and Xiao Xiafeng for the first round of 2-2-3 battle, iso that Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen have enough time to rest. However, we only have the three of you left. Even if Ma Xiaotao wins a round with one of you, they'll almost certainly win the next one. Even if we get a win, it'll be equivalent to a loss for us."

    All three of them immediately understood the situation when they heard Wang Yan's words. What he'd said was true. Who else was left in Shrek's reserve lineup?

    Only He Caitou and Xiao Xiao were left. Xiao Xiao's injuries had yet to completely heal, while He Caitou was only a Class 4 soul engineer.

    The last round would be a three-versus-three. It wouldn't be a problem for their opponents to choose three Class 4 soul engineers from their reserve team then-Shrek didn't stand a chance for it.

    This meant that in the subsequent battle, their opponents would practically win the entire tournament so long as they won a single two-on-two battle.

    Meng Hongchen and Xiao Hongchen were both wounded, and weren't at their peak condition. However, Meng Hongchen's venom combined with the fact that they were both Soul Kings as well as Class 5 soul engineers still made them extremely formidable.

    Furthermore, they still had Ma Rulong and Xiao Xiafeng. Ma Rulong was a powerful Class 6 soul engineer, while Xiao Xiafeng was a Class 5. It would be extremely challenging for Shrek to win even a single round. This was the disparity between the two team's depths-Shrek had only had three official team members to begin with. The rift in their strengths couldn't even be compared.

    Wang Yan looked upwards and heaved a sigh, an expression of defeat on his face. Both he and his team had already given up so much, yet this was how they were going to be defeated in the end? He couldn't reconcile with this fate... he just couldn't! Everybody could only participate once in the 2-2-3 battle-they didn't stand a chance.

    "Yuhao, Wang Dong." Ma Xiaotao suddenly spun around and placed her hands on both of their shoulders.

    "Leave the first round to me. The two of you will have to face Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen in the next round. We can't retreat; we have to fight to the end. Look at the rest of your comrades who have already fallen-it's up to us to defend Shrek's honor and glory. Shrek must win."

    Ma Xiaotao's eyes flashed red. Her valiant fighting spirit hadn't wavered at all, even after Wang Yan's analysis.

    "Tell me-can you guys do it?" Ma Xiaotao's voice instantly became somewhat overbearing as her words resonated.

    Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong exchanged a look. The flame of passion in their hearts had been completely rekindled at this point.

    "Shrek must win!" They shouted in unison. Even though their voices were slightly hoarse, the resolute determination and unwavering spirit they displayed was filled with bravery, as if they were currently facing death with equanimity.

    Wang Yan felt a little dazed when he saw this. He felt as if his soul was about to jump out of its shell at this moment. These kids were just too cute. Nothing could describe the feeling he currently felt.

    Tears poured from his eyes uncontrollably as Wang Yan took a giant step forward and encompassed all three of them in a hug. "Children-it's all on you."

    Elder Xuan remained seated in the back, but he put his chicken wing down, as well as the wine gourd in his other hand. A radiant luster flickered in his eyes that were filled with vicissitude.

    These children were destined to become the source of Shrek's pride, no matter whether or not they emerged victorious in the end. They would leave a heavy mark on Shrek's history, and Shrek would be extremely proud of them.

    "Both teams, approach the stage," The Heavenfiend Douluo's voice could be heard once again.

    Both the audience inside of the Star Luo Plaza and the ruler and his ministers atop the royal city wall were completely silent at this point. They had all predicted that the finals would be exciting, but could this contest still be described as "exciting"?

    Both Shrek Academy and the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy's teams could only be described as bitter and desperate at this point.

    Yes, this was a bitter and desperate competition, but it was also a final that rattled everyone's hearts!

    Both parties had won one round each after the group battle and the single-elimination rounds. This was the ultimate round that would decide every; the 2-2-3 battle was the most uncertain contest format.

    Shrek had three able participants, while the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy had four. Everybody could tell that this competition was now the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy's to lose. Unless Shrek could emerge victorious in the first two battles of this round, they would lose the Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Soul Dueling Tournament's champion title for the first time in several thousand years. However, they didn't even have enough people to participate; how would they be able to outmatch their opponents?

    Just as Wang Yan had predicted, Ma Rulong and Xiao Xiafeng stood up from the Sun Moon team's waiting area and strode onto the competition stage in order to give Meng Hongchen and Xiao Hongchen enough time to recover. Their soul powers had been almost fully restored from the time they had to rest; it could be said they were nearly at their peak condition. Ma Xiaotao was the only one to step onto the competition stage from Shrek Academy's side.

    "You..." The Heavenfiend Douluo glanced at Ma Xiaotao, doubt in his eyes.

    Ma Xiaotao said plainly. "I'll represent Shrek for the first round. I'm sure that's allowed. We'll give up the other entry spot for this battle."

    The rules stated that only a maximum of two people were allowed to participate in the two-versus-two battle, but there wasn't a rule that stated that only one person couldn't represent a team. The Heavenfiend Douluo hesitated, then nodded his head and said, "Okay."

    Ma Rulong's eyes narrowed into slits as he muttered, "You're too condescending and disrespectful, Ma Xiaotao."

    Ma Xiaotao grunted indifferently as she looked up and shot a cold look at the two people before her. "So what if I'm looking down on you two? I along am enough to take down the two of you. Come. If you want take revenge for your fallen comrades, you'll have to take me down. However, that's if you have the ability to do so, because I'll destroy you if you don't."

    Even the Heavenfiend Douluo felt his heart skip a beat when he heard these words; this girl was truly ferocious and dauntless!

    How could Ma Rulong and Xiao Xiafeng not feel intense hatred when they heard her words? Two of their friends had just perished under Ma Xiaotao's hands, even if it hadn't been intentional. This feeling was intensified now that they were standing before the target of their vengeance, and was even further aggravated when Ma Xiaotao took the initiative to provoke them.

    Ma Rulong had no confidence at all if he was to battle Ma Xiaotao by himself. However, it was a different story with Xiao Xiafeng by his side, who was a Class 5 soul engineer. He would have a much easier time dealing with Ma Xiaotao with Xiao Xiafeng impeding and obstructing her.

    Xiao Xiafeng was infuriated at Ma Xiaotao's words, and nearly pounced forward before Ma Rulong held him back.

    "Do you guys really think you still stand a chance? You may not even be able to beat us, and so what if you do? Do you really think that those two little fellas over there can defeat Xiao Hongchen and his sister? Stop your wishful thinking; they have no way of countering Meng Hongchen's venom."

    Ma Xiaotao chuckled and said, "Is spouting nonsense all you know how to do? If you're trying to beat down my fighting spirit, then you're dreaming. That venom is bull**. Why don't you ask that immature little girl if she dares to face me in battle? I'll burn her alive. Stop this nonsense and let's get this over with." She then turned and walked to the edge of the competition stage.

    Ma Rulong took a deep breath, as he knew that Ma Xiaotao wouldn't be easy to handle. Her temper was fiery and explosive, but her thoughts and reasoning were meticulous and thorough, to the point where he wasn't even sure what Ma Xiaotao's true strength was. He had yet to see where Ma Xiaotao's baseline lay, even up to today.

    Ma Rulong led Xiao Xiafeng back to their corner, gradually distancing themselves from their opponent.

    This round could be said to be the ultimate showdown between the Shrek Academy and the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy's respective team leaders, and was also a clash of the highest level in the competition. Shrek Academy would have a shot at victory if she won, but if Ma Xiaotao lost, it would automatically decide the competition's result.

    Ma Xiaotao quickly backed off to the edge of the stage, her eyes flickering with chilly light. Nobody knew what was on her mind as her expression grew solemn.

    Ma Rulong whispered something into Xiao Xiafeng's ear as the two of them took their time arriving at their own corner.

    A light drizzle continued to flitter down. The current weather was extremely humid, which was naturally disadvantageous for Ma Xiaotao, but the negative impact she'd received definitely wasn't that great.

    The sprawling competition stage seemed to be riddled with gaping wounds from all of the battles that had taken place before; every surface was either damaged or smashed inwards like a crater.

    The Heavenfiend Douluo glanced at both parties. The finals were about to end at long last. Even he felt a little exhausted from fully concentrating for such a long time, despite his cultivation.

    "Let the competition begin!"

    The ultimate showdown had finally started. Ma Xiaotao dashed forwards, while her phoenix wings swiftly emerged from her body into the air and flapped backwards. Her body barreled towards Ma Rulong and Xiao Xiafeng like a meteor. As she did so, she opened her mouth, a Phoenix Fireline surging out from it and asserting long-distance pressure.

    Ma Rulong and Xiao Xiafeng weren't slow either. Ma Rulong was well-aware that the methods he'd employed against Jiang Peng would be useless against Ma Xiaotao. A thick, bluish-purple cannon barrel instantly appeared on his shoulder, which almost immediately fired a bluish-purple ball of light.

    He and Xiao Xiafeng shared a decent chemistry, as a unidirectional soul shield was unleashed that protected them both from the Phoenix Fireline attack when he did so. At the same time, he rooted himself to the ground and quickly released his Soul Tool Fortress. Metal clanging sounds could be heard as a series of cannons appeared on his body with lightning speed; there was no doubt that he intended to use his most formidable firepower to coordinate with Ma Rulong. Relying on his food-type soul master's salient characteristics, his ability to continue battling was the best amongst the other Sun Moon team members.

    The bluish-purple lightning strike that Ma Rulong had fired from the cannon in his hands wasn't directed at Ma Xiaotao. Instead, it struck the center of the competition stage.

    A bluish-purple light wall was immediately erected at the exact spot it struck, barricading Ma Xiaotao's advance. According to Ma Rulong's judgment, Ma Xiaotao was fearsome and ferocious, thus she would definitely attempt to forcefully charge forward. And when she so, she would fall into his trap.
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