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Chapter 289.1: Tactical Surrender?

    The second elimination round of the Continental Advanced Youth Soul Master Tournament had ended. Forty-two teams advanced to the third round. Among those forty-two teams, only thirty-two of them could enter the round-robin stage. That would be dependent on their performance in the third elimination round.

    Victory would ensure progression into the round-robin stage. Even if they failed, they still had an opportunity to fight for points in an additional qualifier round. After the last two elimination rounds, some of the weaker teams were showing signs of fatigue even though they had made it through. Their team members were hurt, and there were fewer of them who could compete, along with other reasons that weakened their chances of progressing in future rounds. These constituted huge problems for them!

    Such problems didn't exist for the Tang Sect. However, the atmosphere within the sect became tenser after the lot-drawing for the third elimination round was completed.

    Xu Sanshi lowered his head to look at his right hand, and a weird expression appeared on his face.

    Huo Yuhao patted his shoulder and said, "Third senior, it's fine. You can't be blamed."

    Jiang Nannan looked gloomy. "You still dared to volunteer to draw the lot even though your luck is bad. Hmph!"

    Everyone's expression was also very weird and serious at the same time.

    Huo Yuhao chortled, "It's just Team Sun Moon. Years ago, we also defeated them even though we were just members of the preparatory squad. Don't tell me that we are scared today even though we've improved significantly since five years ago?"

    Yes, Xu Sanshi's luck was pretty bad, as he had managed to draw the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy's team in the third elimination round. This was only the elimination round, it wasn't the finals yet! There would still be many rounds and stages after this round. It was going to be tough no matter the outcome, which would affect their energy in the future rounds even if they won.

    Fortunately, defeat didn't mean direct elimination.

    He Caitou nodded and said, "Yuhao is right. In fact, we can advance through the additional qualifiers. Even if we don't risk everything against them, we can still enter the round-robin stage. At most, our ranking will become worse, but that's all."

    Xiao Xiao was displeased. "Do we really have to give up against them? No, we mustn't!"

    Huo Yuhao turned his gaze towards his teammates, and all he saw were their determined faces.

    Jiang Nannan said in a firm voice, "Yes, we must not give up! Even though it's unwise, we shouldn't bow down in front of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. Although we're representing the Tang Sect, we are also from Shrek Academy! Shrek Academy never loses to the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy! It is especially true since we're representing the Tang Sect in this edition of the tournament, and Shrek might not be able to last all the way until the finals. Yuhao, I wish to fight to protect Shrek's glory!"

    "I'm willing too," Xu Sanshi said dryly as he stopped looking at his hand.

    "Get lost, you unlucky chap!" Jiang Nannan rolled her eyes at him.

    Xiao Xiao said determinedly, "I also hope to fight for Shrek and the Tang Sect's glory."

    He Caitou immediately added, "I'll give my best as long as everyone is willing."

    Out of the seven of them, four had already expressed their stand. Na Na's status in Tang Sect couldn't compare to Shrek's Seven Monsters. Everyone's gaze was focused on Wang Dong and Huo Yuhao.

    Huo Yuhao opened his mouth and wanted to say something. However, he was stopped by a gentle hand on his shoulder. Wang Dong'er took a step forward. She stood in front of Huo Yuhao's wheelchair.

    "Second senior, third senior, fourth senior, fifth senior. I agree with all of your thinking. However, have you thought of one point? If we go all-out against them, we must treat victory as our goal. In that way, how much fighting strength can we conserve even if we beat the Sun Moon team? We don't have any substitutes. Eldest senior's injury hasn't recovered either. All of you know about Yuhao's current condition too. Shrek and the Tang Sect's glory isn't completely dependent on this tournament. I would also like to give my all, but what if we sustain more injuries? We might even die if things go awry. We are without Shrek's halo as protection this time, and we are also arch-enemies with the Sun Moon team. I understand all of your intentions, but I don't agree that we should go all-out against them at such a time. If we give up on this round, we can still qualify. We'll also have more time to rest. We'll be able to fight in the round-robin stage in our best state."

    After she established her relationship with Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong'er rarely opened her mouth in a discussion. Huo Yuhao's words were usually more defining. Her sudden speech left everyone a little stunned.

    There were four Soul Emperors and three Soul Kings among Shrek's Seven Monsters. While Wang Dong'er was the youngest, she was a Soul Emperor that had twin martial souls. No one could neglect her presence!

    Jiang Nannan furrowed her brow and asked, "Dong'er, are we going to give up our glory just like that?"

    Wang Dong'er said, "Sister Nannan, true glory lies in being the champions. This is only an elimination round. Even if we give up, no one will underestimate us. This is purely tactical! It's true that I'm partly selfish, too. I don't want Yuhao to go all-out against the Sun Moon team right now, while only his right arm can move. I've already struggled to accept his decision to compete in this tournament. He's only in this state because of me! I don't want him to get into any sort of harm again. If all of you choose to fight the Sun Moon team, I'll have no objections. However, my only request is that I be the first to compete!"

    Wang Dong'er revealed a cold and ferocious look in her eyes after she finished her last sentence. All this while, she had been labelled as Shrek Academy's genius along with Huo Yuhao! However, Huo Yuhao had been shining too brightly, and made many important contributions to the academy. Along with her tendency to stay away from the limelight, her talents had been concealed.

    Among the four who had suggested that they fight the Sun Moon team, He Caitou was originally not very willing. His thinking was very similar to Wang Dong'er. Furthermore, he also knew that both he and Huo Yuhao had to compete in the underground tournament too! Xiao Xiao, Huo Yuhao, and Wang Dong'er came from the same class. The three of them had passed the academy's test many years ago and they shared a close relationship with one another. Right now, Xiao Xiao's gaze became gentler as she saw how Wang Dong'er stood out for Huo Yuhao.

    As for Xu Sanshi, he only followed Jiang Nannan's wish. Jiang Nannan was the key figure out of the four of them, and so Wang Dong'er directed all her words to Nannan.

    Jiang Nannan bit her lip lightly, and looked at Wang Dong'er with a stubborn look in her eyes. She eventually sighed and said, "Alright. However, we must never give up if we meet Team Sun Moon again, no matter the circumstance. We must give it our all."

    Wang Dong'er heaved a sigh of relief, and took two steps forward to hug Jiang Nannan. "Sister Nannan, thanks." Her nose was getting a little runny, and tears almost flowed.

    Jiang Nannan hugged her back and said as she smiled, "I didn't consider the facts thoroughly. There's no need to thank me. Dong'er, it'd be great if you were a guy."

    Xu Sanshi started coughing tremendously to one side. He was watching Wang Dong'er with a more alert look in his eyes.

    "Yuhao, you let your wife court my wife. Is that very interesting for you?"

    "Who's your wife? It's all because of your unlucky hand. From now on, you won't be allowed to draw lots anymore!" Jiang Nannan glared at him, and he turned honest-looking and selfless once again.

    Huo Yuhao didn't speak from the start until the end. However, his gaze was filled with softness as he watched Wang Dong'er. Rationally speaking, it wasn't the best time to fight the Sun Moon team. However, he wasn't going to object if everyone wanted to go all-out against them.

    "I still need to ask eldest senior regarding this matter before we decide," Huo Yuhao said.

    Bei Bei agreed with Wang Dong'er. After that, Huo Yuhao told the tournament organizing committee that they had decided to give up the fight during this elimination round.

    ------

    "What? The Tang Sect has given up against us?" Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen were astonished when they heard the news.

    Xiao Hongchen muttered, "Does this mean we've beaten Shrek? They are Shrek Academy's stronger team! Besides the team leader, the rest of Shrek's team isn't that strong this time around!"

    Meng Hongchen pursed her lips and said, "Brother, don't lie to yourself. How are you shameless enough to claim that we've beaten them without fighting them at all? Aren't you embarrassed? However, isn't it a good thing that they've given up? If we fight them, we won't have it easy either. The future rounds will also be closer and closer together, which will affect our chances."

    Xiao Hongchen laughed bitterly. "Just let me feel good in my heart, alright? Champions? Are you still thinking of becoming the champions right now? Don't you know that..." As he spoke to that point, he paused for a moment, and his eyes were filled with resentment.

    Meng Hongchen laughed coldly and said, "Why not? Will they necessarily win? I don't believe we can't beat them if we go all-out. Brother, with your lack of confidence, I'm afraid that you've already..."

    Xiao Hongchen covered her mouth and stopped her from speaking. "Secret. This is a secret!"

    Meng Hongchen groaned at him and said, "Alright, I won't say anything. The Tang Sect didn't give up because they were scared. Didn't you realize that they have no substitutes? They are more afraid than us that their abilities will be depleted. That's why they chose to give up! We'll win if we face them. Since they conceded defeat once, there's no way they can beat us again."

    Xiao Hongchen caressed his sister's head and said, "I'm only praying that you won't meet Wang Dong. Are you confident that you won't be merciful on him when you meet him?"
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