Book 5: The Capital || Chapter 63: The Tournament Begins (5)

The moment the referee called the start of the match, Shin immediately cast his Spiritual Body Enhancement on his arms and legs bringing out hundreds of cerulean scales in the process. At the same time, Shin congregated his mana into his four limbs to complete his mana strengthening and effectively give himself a double layer of protection. 

With his preparation completed in less than a second, Shin’s two legs started to blur to the outside eye as the air around him seemed to distort. A rich cerulean aura spilled out from his limbs as he disappeared from view, leaving behind a line of dust and a gush of rapidly flowing wind.

“BANG!!!” Expecting a hit to come from behind, Vidrine flung her mace a hundred and eighty degrees backwards and felt a thunderous collision that shook her bones to the very core. Thankfully, she had used her own form of mana strengthening to protect herself, but nonetheless, the vibrations that came from Shin’s outreached fist really took her by surprise, and the sentiments were mutual.

‘Tch, she anticipated that I would aim for the back of her neck and blocked the Soul-Piercing fist with her mace that efficiently?!’ Shin clicked his tongue and kicked off the mace to open up the distance. ‘She does live up to her name as a martial arts expert!!!’

What Shin feared the most when fighting Vidrine were her martial arts that were amongst the best in the cohort. Even though she probably wasn’t able to keep track of Shin when he performed the Lightning Swallow Steps, her years of battle experience could vaguely tell where he would end up, and she immediately moved to protect that area. 

‘But that surprise attack won’t work twice…’ Watching as the earthen mace lit up in a dense aura, Shin sighed as his one and only chance to end the match quickly dissipated into nothingness. Vidrine now had the freedom to sit back and make Shin bring the battle to her. Furthermore, with her first spiritual ability that creates a small force field around her, breaking through her defences would become twice as hard.

‘Let’s try this again!’ Speeding forward once more, Shin seemed to have broken through the sound barrier as only afterimages of his figure remained. Reappearing once more right in front of the girl, Shin pivoted his left ankle as his right leg flung forward at a mesmeric speed. 

“Whipping the Crocodile’s Tail!” Shin’s leg glowed in a deep oceanic blue light as it broke through the yellow barrier surrounding Vidrine. However, before it could land on his intended target, an ancient mace halted Shin’s attack once more, but this time, it was a full-blown strike by the girl instead of a standard defensive pose. 

Equally sharing the full brunt of the attacks, both Shin and Vidrine flew back a few metres. Shin, being the one with the higher endurance, had little trouble getting up from the blow and readied his posture once more. Vidrine, on the other hand, was much slower in recovering, creating an opening that the black-haired tyrant could exploit. 

Dashing forwards once more, Shin took one second to launch yet another phantom kick that defied the laws of physics. This time, since she was unprepared, Vidrine could only poorly defend herself by raising her mace. Flying off like a kite that had its string cut, the lean girl felt her world spin as the sharp whistling of the wind entered her eardrums. Only after being airborne for two seconds, did she feel her back hit the concrete ground.

Being the warrior that she was, Vidrine got up from the impact and acted as if she wasn’t impeded by the strike. Unfortunately, her consciousness started to whirl, and the Star Class student was forced to summon out yet another barrier to give her a little time to regain her bearings. 

Shin saw this as an opportunity to strike and bolted with all his might. Reaching the top speed that he could, the black-haired boy broke through the yellow barrier with a shoulder thrust and used his right index finger to strike Vidrine’s acupoints in rapid succession while she was still in a daze. 

“!!!!” The lean warrior felt a surge of electric shocks run through her body as her limbs stopped moving. Opening her mouth, Vidrine would attempt to scream, but no sound escaped through her vocal cords. Confused at what was happening, the girl desperately tried to move her frozen body, but the only thing that she saw was the soft tremors that her limbs produced.

“It’s useless… I sealed your movements by piercing through your acupoints.” While she was scared stiffness by the unknown occurrence that her body was experiencing, a soothing voice beckoned to her from the side. Although she was unable to move her body, Vidrine’s eyes were largely unencumbered. Glaring at the only person who knew what was going on to her, Vidrine shot a look that demanded an explanation for her current plight.

“Don’t look at me like that. You won’t be in any harm. I’ll free you once the referee concludes the match.” With a playful smile, Shin turned to the stunned teacher at one remote corner of the ring. “Please, senior. Announce the outcome of the match.”

“A-Ah, yes! Winner, Shin Iofiel!!!” Once the referee hollered out those words, the audience broke out in hysteria. 

“What the hell just happened?!”

“I don’t know!!! I couldn’t even follow their movements for half the match!!!”

For the majority of those present, Shin’s match with Vidrine was just a plethora of blurred movements and gusts of wind. After all, they were just students and Shin’s top speed could match that of Rank 30 Spirit Adepts. 

“Sealing an opponent using his knowledge of acupoints… That brat has really grown to be quite the dangerous individual huh?” Up in the VIP stands, Principal Erudito muttered out in shock. 

Unlike his first performance against Edgar, the technique that Shin had shown was at a much higher level. Anyone with a little bit of knowledge of the Twelve Lesser Meridians and the Eight Greater Meridians could hypothetically knock down an opponent in the same manner that Shin had done to Edgar. However, the move that Shin had employed on Vidrine was much more clinical, and even the most experienced of healers would have trouble using in open battle.

To perform a feat like Shin, one had to have the relevant knowledge of all the two thousand acupoints in the human body, and how each acupoint related to one another. Not only that, when executing the technique, the user must be extremely cautious not to use excessive force, lest the acupoints get entirely destroyed. Moreover, in a battle, no enemy would simply stand there and allow the practitioner to perform such a clinical manoeuvre. 

When all these factors were combined, it proved to be overwhelmingly difficult for any martial artist to efficiently perform the art. Thus, there weren’t many fighters that would employ this technique. However, that didn’t deter Shin from learning and eventually mastering it. 

“…” By the bronze-faced scholar’s side, the Duchess of Highgarden was wearing a stoic expression that seemed to be frozen in time. 

‘Kanari, oh Kanari… Now I know why you’re so obsessed with this boy…’ Thinking back to the numerous times that her daughter pleaded for help to recruit Shin into the Duchy, the black-haired woman mentally sighed as she cooled herself with a feathered hand fan. ‘He learnt this much martial arts in just one year… If he was given the time, what heights could he possibly reach?!’

While the audience was busy deliberating on what had just happened, Shin released his Spiritual Body Enhancement and forced the divine cerulean scales on his body to fade away. Walking towards the immobilised Vidrine, Shin put on an apologetic face as he raised his fingers once more.

“Alright, I’ll free you now,” Shin assured the girl.

Hitting the same exact spots, Shin freed the blocked acupoints, and Vidrine collapsed onto the floor, panting heavily to get oxygen pumping to her brain. “Y-you… What the heck was that?!”

“I just bound your movements for a while. You weren’t in any danger you know?”

“No, I mean… What the hell?!” Still in shock, Vidrine couldn’t find the words to express herself and could only viciously glare at the black-haired youth.

“Just relax and breathe. It will take some time for you to get back to normal.” Shin knelt down and tapped the girl on her back, monitoring her symptoms throughout. Although in theory, there should be no after effects after releasing a bound acupoint, every human body reacts to situations differently. Patiently watching Vidrine recover, Shin made sure that there were no adverse effects for at least two minutes.

“God damn it… I really lost that convincingly huh?” A mist of sadness escaped through Vidrine’s mouth as she pieced together the entire fight like a puzzle piece. 

“No, you gave me a hard fight. I was worried for some moments there you know.”

“Don’t bullshit me, Shin! I know for a fact that you were holding back!” 

“…” As much as he wished to deny her claims, Shin knew that if he continued to act modest, Vidrine would undoubtedly get more aggravated. Furthermore, in the later stages of the tournament, Shin would surely be forced to show all of his cards, and if he lied right now, he might lose a friend in Vidrine, who was a classmate that he admired greatly. Therefore, the boy just kept quiet.

“Ah, this is depressing…” Now that she had ample of rest, Vidrine got up from the ground and sauntered off the ring, but before she could disappear from sight, the lean warrior hollered out:

“Hey, Shin!”

“Hmmm?”

“I won’t forgive you if you don’t get into the finals alright?!”

“Haha, I’ll try…”



~~~



“Acupuncture techniques? That’s a rare martial art that he had developed.” Spectating from the stand, Suji rubbed his chiselled chin as he carefully analysed the martial art that Shin had executed. Even though he wasn’t trained in the healing arts, being born into a combat-oriented household, Suji had some basic understanding about the Two Thousand Points, Twelve Lesser Meridians, and Eight Greater Meridians of the human body. 

“It’s going to be a potent skill if it lands. We have to be careful…” True to his Son of War moniker, Suji carefully analysed the dangers that Shin’s newly demonstrated ability possessed.

“Yeah…” Danroy, who looked like a broken toy in a workshop, merely nodded his head, not really listening to the insights that his childhood friend was giving him.

‘He became so strong…’ Danroy reflected on the first time he had ever challenged the black-haired youth. Back then, using his Bangeo Rhinoceros, the obese boy could easily toy with Shin as if he was a ragdoll. However, after witnessing Shin’s power up, he wasn’t so sure that he could win in a straight up battle.

‘Suji became so strong… Kanari became so strong… And now this guy?’ Danroy entire soul trembled at the thought of being the only person left behind in the race for the top. 

From birth, the young teen had always been compared to his counterpart, Suji. Since the Son of War’s name was so resonant in many people’s minds, Danroy had always had to play second fiddle to Suji. However, even though he was relegated to the side, Danroy never lost faith in his own abilities, and he had consistently kept pace with his friend’s cultivation and combat level.

However, as he grew older, Danroy got exposed to other prodigies of the Empire and realised how short-sighted he truly was. When he first met Kanari, Danroy was absolutely overwhelmed by her presence. Being the fastest in their generation to reach the Spirit Apostle realm, Kanari was in a league of her own. Her Kumiho Spirit was an absolute cheat that allowed her to manipulate three elements while her combat abilities far surpassed anything that was in Danroy’s arsenal. Not to mention, Kanari’s cultivation speed was untouchable, permanently sealing her position as the top dog in the golden generation.

And Danroy was okay with that. Chasing Suji was hard enough, but now he had to aim even higher at an unobtainable target? He would much rather sit in one corner and chug chicken wings down his throat. As much as his family tried to push him to be the best in the generation, some hurdles were too high for him to jump over. So what if he was below Suji and Kanari? In his mind, claiming third place wasn’t that bad.

Nonetheless, deep inside the recesses of his mind, Danroy always felt a sense of inferiority, and he couldn’t quite place his finger on why. And then, came the arrival of the Freak of the Dundlewoods, Shizen. Months before the start of the academic year, the entire Capital had been buzzing about the appearance of yet another wonder kid, further relegating Danroy’s name down into the mud.

Not happy about the sudden shift, Danroy decided to confront Shizen early on in the year, so that he could put things back into order. Unfortunately, the outcome of that duel didn’t turn out as he expected and Danroy’s name got downgraded even further. However, he could take the defeat on his chin, and he trained even harder so that once the rematch against Shizen came about, Danroy could finally right the wrong that he had committed.

But before that could happen, yet another name became prominent as Shin topped the interest board when he advanced into Rank 19. Once again, Danroy was unsatisfied that yet another competitor had appeared and sought to stop Shin in his tracks. This time, the battle went swimmingly well for him. Smashing Shin bit by bit, Danroy had dominated the match and stamped his position as someone superior. 

However, time was a bitch to the youth. Fast forward to the end of the year, Shin had condensed his Spirit Core and had advanced his martial arts to a level that Danroy could never hope to reach. Kanari had skipped forward multiple steps and reached Rank 24, Suji and Shizen had achieved Rank 19 and were one step away from condensing their own Spirit Cores, and Elrin had secured the top seat in the auxiliary course. 

And where was Danroy? Other than promoting to Rank 18, there were no significant achievements to his name. His battle technique had remained stagnant, and his name was long forgotten by the public. The gossips that filled the town were the news of the advancements of Black-Haired Tyrant or the Witch in the South. Sometimes, Danroy’s name would be mentioned, but it was always in the form of an afterthought. 

The fate that he dreaded the most had finally come into fruition. No longer within the top five talents in his generation, Danroy had been relegated from number two to god knows what number, and it was of no fault of his own. The talent pool in his cohort was just too powerful. But of course, the obsessive aristocrat didn’t see it that way.

‘What have I been doing?’

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