Chapter 53: Heart of War
“Chris took him to the contestants' rest area! He's really participating in the selection?!”
“His relationship with Chris is that close? Doesn't Chris only care about training usually, plus she has severe facial blindness and can't remember anyone?”
“Participating in the selection in his first year already? Can he come out victorious from so many fights and join the school team?”
Ayrin didn't clearly hear the discussions over in the stands in the midst of the brouhaha. Rather, his heart slowly stirred up.
He liked this sensation on the eve of battle, he liked this atmosphere!
“I like this blood-boiling feeling, I like competition!” He silently told himself.
“There are more people in the selection this time. There's a total of twenty groups, the group stage is a sudden death stage. Only after coming out first from the groups does it become a double elimination stage, that's why you can't forfeit any match.” Chris didn't pay any attention to the stares coming their way from the surrounding stands either. She made a do-your-best gesture at Ayrin. “Several fights will start at the same time next. You just need go to the teacher and prepare for your fight when you hear the teacher call your name.”
Ayrin likewise firmly brandished his fist, his hot blood boiling in his veins.
He'd already made up his mind. No matter who he faced, he had to knock them out!
Five areas around the same size had been simply mapped out from the field originally devoid of any mark. A Holy Dawn teacher was already standing inside each area.
Chris really hadn't wasted any time. Just two or three minutes later, the teacher Carter Ayrin was familiar with walked to the center of the field and declared the start of the selection.
Someone beside him suddenly called his name.
“Hm?” Ayrin turned his head around and immediately recognized the one who just called him. It was Kybaver, the one who'd brawled with him, Belo, and also Rinloran back then, the one he'd ended up knocking down. “Kybaver, you also came to participate in the selection?” He actually smiled as if he just saw a friend. “What about Dyfer? Why didn't he come to the selection?”
“You...” Seeing Ayrin greeting him like a friend after the two of them fought, Kybaver who originally burned from head to toe with fighting spirit suddenly became a little helpless. He found that he couldn't become angry no matter what. “Ayrin, I can condense arcane particles now. Last time I lost to you, this time I'll definitely beat you.”
“Ah, you already condensed arcane particles, so fast!” Ayrin's face immediately filled with envy. He immediately moved to Kybaver's side. “How is it, what do you feel when arcane particles are inside the first arcane gate? Aren't they like little glittering stars, and they feel especially powerful? What kind of feeling do you have when condensing arcane particles? What kind of feeling do you have when arcane particles flow inside your body?”
What the hell, was this an enemy or a friend?
“...” Kybaver was momentarily speechless.
“Anson versus Rowan...”
“The fifth group is starting with a duel between such heavyweights already.”
“They're both ruthless characters, I don't know who's going to win.”
Exclamations and comments rose from both the stands and the contestant area at this time.
Ayrin felt that the name sounded very familiar. Then he remembered the next second. It was that class tyrant he and Belo said they were going to join hands and fight against.
He lifted his head and looked that way. He immediately saw, standing in the middle of a field, a boy with a pointy chin and loose hair draped over his shoulder, just the same as on Belo's card. Facing him stood an exceptionally sturdy boy close to two meters tall.
“Rowan? Belo said he's the strongest one in one of the classes in second year, his close-combat skills are more or less at the same level as yours, but his arcane skills are even stronger than Dyfer's. That's the guy?” He couldn't resist pointing at Rowan and asking Kybaver beside him, “Who's that Anson then, he's also very strong?”
Kybaver was also startled when he saw a duel between two such persons. He subconsciously said, “Anson is a third year student. He has the nickname of “Impassable Iron Wall” in third year. His defense is particularly strong. He's the same as Rowan, he's one of the popular candidates people think can pass the selection.”
“Defense? He doesn't smash and pound like Moss with such a big body?” Ayrin was suddenly confused. “What use is only defending?”
“What do you know! If the one who takes the initiative to attack doesn't obtain results, he will naturally consume more stamina and arcane particle. Also, he's expert at using close-range body skills to defend himself. Arcane masters who duel against him, as long as they can't break through his defense and cause him genuine injuries, then they'd die just from the attrition. As soon as their arcane particle consumption becomes too big, they'll definitely be unable to to block his ultimate counterattack!” Kybaver threw a contemptuous glance at Ayrin. He turned his head back, but then he suddenly became speechless. He didn't understand why he would talk so much with Ayrin.
“Oh, I get it now. I wonder who's going to win.” Ayrin actually shifted his butt and got even closer to him. It made Kybaver even more at a loss what to do with Ayrin.
The selection officially began. Although five matches kicked off at the same time every turn, it was obvious that the vast majority of Holy Dawn Academy students focused their attentions on Anson and Rowan.
It was very obvious that Rowan had a very good understanding about Anson's characteristics as well. So, under the many cheers and battle cries from the second year students, he nevertheless stood motionless in his original spot, and didn't take any initiative to attack.
But Anson also exceeded his expectations, approaching step by step in his direction, not slow nor hurried.
A crashing sound crackled in the air. The focus of everyone's attention, the duel between Rowan and Anson, genuinely began in a flash.
Rowan merely stepped the tip of his feet twice in succession on the ground that he already arrived in front of Anson.
“Flurry of Leaves!”
Kybaver subconsciously exclaimed in a low voice. Rowan's silhouette and the blurs of his palms were already everywhere around Anson.
“Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa Pa...”
In a flash, rapid explosive sounds overwhelmed the sounds coming from the other fights.
Anson's body actually rotated in place like a spinning top. His arms blocked all the palms slapping his way. Fluttering elbow blurs actually filled the periphery of his body!
None of Rowan's strikes hit their mark. Rowan took his hands back. His body actually began circling at flying speed around Anson, forming a rotating hurricane around Anson. Rowan's silhouette entirely disappeared inside this spinning hurricane.
Kybaver's expression immediately turned unsightly. This was an arcane skill emphasizing physical strength. Just by Rowan's performance when displaying this arcane skill, he could see that Rowan's physical strength was far above his.
A sharp, thorn-like mass of air suddenly stabbed out from the spinning hurricane behind Anson's back, piercing toward his waist from a treacherous angle.
Anson seemed to have grown eyes on the back of his head. He just faintly bent his body and countered with an elbow strike, his elbow crushing this air thorn. Alarmed shouts rang through the stands at this moment however. Even Ayrin shouted a “Ah.” Another thorn-like mass of air flew parallel to the ground, almost pasted to it, then soared and stabbed at the front of his belly.
It seemed Anson had no time left to dodge or crush this air thorn, but his right leg suddenly moved. A patch of magnificent arcane particles lit up. A ball of fire struck the mass of air dead center without the slightest deviation, scattering it away.
“Flying Flame Meteor! This is an offensive skill a little weaker than Explosive Blazing Punch, he actually used it as a form of defense!”
“This guy can even use this kind of way to fight!”
Kybaver couldn't help but be startled.
Piercing masses of air rushed out continuously from the whirling tornado the next second, continuously colliding with the fireballs sent out by Anson's arms and kicks.
Looking at the scene, Anson seemed very miserable, barely resisting in a messy flurry of hands and feet. However, surrounded by the tornado, Anson's face slowly lit up with the confident smile of one who achieved his objectives.
With the speed at which Rowan circled around him and attacked him, his consumption of arcane particles was much higher than his. As long as he showed enough patience, the time of his triumphant counterattack would come in a few minutes!
“The way Rowan is fighting, consuming so much stamina and arcane particles, he's going to lose without a doubt.”
“A second year student, his strength isn't bad, but his fighting experience is a little lacking after all.”
Such voices came to Ayrin's ears.
Rowan's stern shout suddenly rang in the field just at this moment. The tornado revolving around Anson disappeared all of a sudden. Rowan appeared behind Anson's back, his hands wrapped in thick layers of arcane particles, pressing down towards Anson's back.
Anson's eyes faintly shrank. His entire body started to spin.
“You fell into the trap!”
Rowan's cold laughter suddenly rose at this time.
Shouts of surprise ran through the entire arena.
Anson's face turned pale-white in a split instant. His confident expression stiffened on his face.
He couldn't move his body. A thick layer of earth restricted his feet, all the way to his knees. It even resembled a pair of giant hands tightening their grips, squeezing him hard enough to cause his legs heart-wrenching pain.
He didn't even have time to cry out in pain yet that Rowan's palms had already turned into fists, mercilessly striking the back of his neck.
He suddenly lost consciousness and passed out. However, his two legs were tightly wrapped inside the layers of earth, so only his upper body fell forward, looking as if he were fiercely bent.
“It's Earth Bind!”
“Rowan used Tornado Cover at the beginning and spun around Anson, that in itself rolled up a bunch of soil that continuously fell on Anson's legs, that's the reason why Anson didn't pay attention to this attack! He had this plan in mind from the beginning already when using Tornado Cover, it was all for the purpose of making Anson fall into the trap!”
“Anson actually lost, Rowan's really treacherous!”
“So powerful!” Ayrin never though this duel would end in such a manner. The cries of surprise and sounds of discussions came to his ears one after another. He was like a sapling short on water receiving the pouring rain. He subconsciously absorbed the nutrients from these comments for all he was worth!
This most intuitive of impressions made him realize the true importance of targeted fighting tactics!
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