Chapter 412: No Regrets
Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
As darkness fell outside, the audience began flooding into the martial arts gymnasium and cheering on their favored team with the slogan “Champion!”.
Suddenly, the radio announcer shouted,
“The National Martial Arts Final Match, round one…”
A wave of cheers burst out of the stands to welcome the two leading players. The majority of spectators began yelling, forgetting their usual demeanor and demonstrating their excitement.
The referee standing in the center of the arena closed his eyes, tilting his head and soaked in the atmosphere.
He sighed, not knowing if he was feeling nostalgic over his youth or regretting that he had come to the end of his martial arts career.
Finals. Youth. These were such wonderful words!
The referee immediately checked his mood and waved at both teams, signaling them to enter the arena.
Seated with the Shanbei team, Peng Leyun was not wearing his usual coat. He stood up slowly, eyes shining with excitement as he transformed from an inconspicuous spectator into an imposing monster.
After giving his teammates high fives, he walked toward the arena with a calm mind.
Over on the Songcheng side, Lin Que, who had asked to go first, was already on his feet. Upon seeing the referee’s gesture, he gave his right hand to Lou Cheng.
Instead of simply exchanging high fives with Lin Que, Lou Cheng grasped his hand as if to pour all his strength and courage into him.
“Fight!” Lou Cheng shook Lin Que’s hands with great force.
Lin Que nodded firmly but did not respond.
Following Lou Cheng’s example, Yan Zheke and the rest shook Lin Que’s hands while giving him high fives as if they wanted to turn all their wishes and expectations into extra strength for Lin Que.
Lin Que thanked each of them for their wishes, something he rarely did. He then turned to walk toward the arena, eyes focused on it.
Under the spotlight, the arena glittered so brilliantly, as if it was a scene out of a dream. There was nothing different from any of his previous matches, but Lin Que felt like he was in a trance. He felt his memories from many years ago overlapping with the scene he was looking at.
It was still the same glittering arena in his dream, also the same final match of the competition, also the same Songcheng fighters surrounding him.
The only difference was he could only watch from the sidelines then, helpless to change the match outcome and to alleviate the sadness of his father and siblings.
This time, he would be stepping on this arena of glory in their place and would give it his all so he would not leave any regrets.
He had struggled on this path for so many years and had finally made it here.
On the live broadcast, the guest presenter, Chen Sansheng, sighed with emotion.
“As expected, Songcheng is using the riskiest yet most promising strategy.”
“Exactly,” Liu Chang echoed his words. “If Lin Que can force Peng Leyun to consume most of his stamina and energy, Lou Cheng can defeat him with his superhuman stamina. Songcheng will then improve their winning chances. But if Lin Que loses within a short time, there will be no hope for Songcheng to turn the tide. I think the latter is the more likely scenario. After all, we’ve seen a precedent for that.”
“You can’t be so sure. Lin Que suffered an easy defeat in Peng Leyun’s hands last December, but that was because he went through a tough battle against Fang Zhirong and had only about 30% of his strength left. In the six months after, Lin Que has been advancing by leaps and bounds and has the strength of Seventh Pin. We can’t consider him the ignorant guy that he was. On the other hand, Peng Leyun has been improving as well, but at a much slower rate. Their gap has been narrowed,” Chen Sansheng explained.
The Inhuman State was a struggle for every warrior. Even Peng Leyun would inevitably find himself in a bottleneck with his progress stagnating.
Liu Chang laughed heartily. “Sansheng, you should also consider another fact. In the match last year, Peng Leyun wasn’t using all his strength against Lin Que.”
“That’s true… Besides, once Peng Leyun begins morphing, there’ll be some definite improvements…” Chen Sansheng paused. “We’ll be able to see for sure once they start fighting.”
He did not make any judgments or predictions this time because there was not enough information to draw a conclusion, but it was evident from his attitude and words which team he was rooting for.
The number of stone steps reducing under his feet, Lin Que gradually got a clearer look at the arena as well as Peng Leyun, who was approaching from the other side.
In that moment, Lin Que suddenly felt the oppressive aura of his opponent as if he was an inexhaustible and unfathomable chasm of natural power. He felt awe and reverence rising involuntarily in him as if he was watching a thunderstorm or a starry sky. Such a feeling made him tremble.
This was the kind of pressure that only belonged to a Sixth Pin fighter!
Lin Que suddenly realized that Peng Leyun had not used his entire strength at all when in their fight last December!
Peng Leyun was just testing his ability and strength back then!
No wonder Peng Leyun was called the Big Devil…
Lin Que lacked similar methods and thus was unable to counterattack. He could only stabilize his mood and not allow himself to be shaken. His eyes were like two deep pools of water and his mind like an endless sky dotted with meteors.
When the two of them reached their positions, Lou Cheng and his team adjusted their postures. The audience also held their breaths. They could smell gunpowder; the battle was beginning soon.
After checking the time, the referee raised his right hand.
“Talk time begins!”
Lin Que immediately closed his eyes. No one knew what he was thinking or scheming about.
Peng Leyun lowered the center of his gravity and entered his stance. A smile appeared on his face. With much grace, he left Lin Que undisturbed in his own thoughts.
With each passing second and minute, it was as if everything on the arena had come to a standstill. There was only the subtle rise and fall of Peng Leyun’s chest.
“I want to make a record of all of Lin Que’s words throughout all the tournaments he has participated in and see if he has spoken more than 10 words,” Chen Shanseng said, poking fun at the quiet Lin Que.
Liu Chang could not help laughing. “Isn’t this pretty nice? Either way, we won’t be able to hear what they say during the talk time.”
“I’m just trying to relieve the tension before the finals,” Chen Sansheng explained, “I see that though many netizens are watching, they’re being very quiet.”
“I myself am quite nervous! It’s the finals after all.” Liu Chang sighed.
Their voices never stopped during their soothing conversation. Before long, three minutes had passed.
Lin Que opened his eyes. His eyes were deep and dark, like the night sky glittering with countless stars.
The rise and fall of Peng Leyun’s chest gradually slowed as he created a suffocating pressure that enveloped the entire gymnasium.
The referee again raised his hand and waved it down with strength.
He announced in a loud voice, “Start!”
The first round had begun!
The first round of the National Martial Arts Final Match had started!
Lin Que abruptly raised his hands and pressed them together before his chest. Visualizing the ancient characters in his mind, he spoke in his deep voice.
Once again, he decided to start with a powerful attack without changing his style! He was not prepared to give Peng Leyun an inch at all.
The mysterious sound reverberating in the arena, Lin Que dashed forward like a bolt of lightning to stop Peng Leyun’s Flash Attack. In the audience’s eyes, it was as if a ghostly shadow was following him because of his high speed.
In an instant, Lin Que was close enough that Peng Leyun was within his range of attack. Peng Leyun drew his right arm backward as he lowered the center of his gravity, retaining his earlier posture. No one knew if he was unable to dodge or simply unwilling to.
Just then, Lin Que felt every inch of him go numb as if he was about to suffer a terrible attack.
Before his eyes, Peng Leyun’s figure began to distort subtly.
Weak waves appeared on screen, with specks of ‘snowflakes’ flying about. It fogged the arena, making the broadcast appear fuzzy.
“This…” Chen Sansheng seemed stunned. He blurted out, “Peng Leyun is really beginning to transform!”
Since his root pulp had changed, he could now release an even greater power of thunder and lightning!
“Transformation…” Liu Chang murmured to himself in astonishment.
Though there were rumors pointing out such a possibility, it was still a shock to witness it truly happen.
Once a fighter began to morph, he would no longer be an ordinary man!
Peng Leyun could certainly get the certification of Fifth Pin before he entered the final year of university!
With his thunder and lightning supernatural ability supporting his present strength, it was not impossible for him to get three straight wins today!
Songcheng and Lin Que’s risk were now all for nothing!
Peng Leyun was the Big Devil indeed…
Lou Cheng gasped, unconsciously standing up.
He was not the only one. Yan Zheke, Cai Zongming, and the rest were also on their feet.
In the most critical moment, Peng Leyun had actually achieved a breakthrough. Was he the freaking hero of this novel…
Right on cue, An All-knowing Man in Ganghood wrote on Weibo, “I told you so.” He followed this with a shrugging emoji in a self-satisfied tone.
Superstitious Belief is Bad replied with a silly dog emoji.
“Well, this is the strength of the favored fighter of the age!”
Over on Lou Cheng’s fan forum, Unparalleled Dragon King sighed.
“If Peng Leyun gets three straight wins thanks to his breakthrough, then Songcheng will lose the game regardless of Poison Milk’s curse. Peng Leyun is insanely lucky!”
The situation in the arena was already shifting as the audience was feeling both shocked and emotional.
Lin Que felt pain numbing his entire body as if every inch of his skin had been touched with static, evoking his Absolute Reaction!
Amid these chaotic sensations, he gradually slowed his footsteps to a sudden halt. With his fascia and muscles grinding against each other sharply, he turned the kinetic energy into power channeled into his punching fist.
At the same time, he tilted his head and listened to the wind to determine Peng Leyun’s next move.
With the withdrawal and release of his qi and blood, Peng Leyun tightened all the muscles in his arms, which were entwined with small electric currents, while swinging forward. Like a dragon emerging from the sea, he punched at Lin Que’s waist.
This was the Divine Wrath Force, an advanced version of the Thunderclap Force! It was one of the most important forces in the Thunder Sect!
Lin Que instantly swung his arm, returning a punch at Peng Leyun like a meteor streaking across the sky.
The fists met with a burst of fierce wind, setting off a whistling gale. The snowflakes and weak waves obstructing the screen dissipated instantly.
Peng Leyun shuddered as if hit by an explosive, and his muscles trembled and ached. On the other side, Lin Que’s hair was standing on end. He even heard his body sizzling from the inside.
He felt half of his body temporarily paralyzed and found it hard to gather strength and make any moves.
Due to the gap between their strengths, the collision exerted little influence on Peng Leyun. He was the first to recover his composure and made a Force Concentration.
Half a second later, Lin Que also concentrated all his qi, blood, force, spirit, and all the side effects in his Dantian.
With his Dantian exploding, Peng Leyun turned sideways to stretch his body and pounce at Lin Que like a giant with the power of thunder and lightning.
Lin Que was half a step behind Peng Leyun, so he had to block his attack with tightened muscles and qi bursting out of his Dantian!
With Peng Leyun’s Static affecting his senses, Lin Que began to make mistakes in his judgment of his opponent’s attacks. He fell behind with each step, increasingly so.
The thud on the arena was so loud, it piercing through the cries and cheers of the audience. Unable to hold on any longer, Lin Que’s body swayed and he had to take several steps backward.
When Lin Que was about to drive his qi and blood back to maintain his balance, Peng Leyun immediately lowered the center of his gravity. He then swung his body into the mid-air like a cloud and dashed to Lin Que’s side.
The 36th stroke of the Thunder Sect, Flash Attack!
Peng Leyun’s eyes began glinting like two bolts of lightning as he approached Lin Que.
The visualization in his mind kept changing until it stopped at the vision of a cyan jade suspended in the air. Each stroke carved on the jade was formed by lighting, forming a complex text.
The lighting flickered silver and white as the qi of yin and yang began colliding with each other.
The 11th item of the Thunder Sect, a simplified trick of physical invulnerability: the Thunder Seal! This was specially designed for Peng Leyun.
Peng Leyun’s muscles tightened, with every segment filling with blood. Just then, it was as if he was a descending God of Thunder, punching downward with his hammer-like fist to punish on behalf of the natural rule!
Sizzle! A layer of electric current seemed to envelop his fist.
At his current realm, his simplified movement of physical invulnerability was in any way inferior to Lou Cheng!
Unable to dodge in time, Lin Que once again used Force Concentration to keep his balance. He tightened his muscles with the power of the qi explosion in his Dantian and punched upward with his left fist.
With the explosion reverberating loudly, their fists were momentarily frozen in midair.
A burst of light filled Lin Que’s sight as all his hair stood on end. Invisible smoke came out of his seven apertures while his muscles trembled. His body was completely paralyzed. He could not move no matter how strong his will was, rendering his Force Concentration unable to be completed!
Having not used his Dantian explosion for self-protection, Peng Leyun also retreated a few steps. After regaining his balance, he instantly pounced at Lin Que, who was still suffering from numbness.
Shaking his shoulders, Peng Leyun was about to throw a punch.
In the studio, Chen Sansheng lamented, “As expected…”
As expected, Lin Que lost to Peng Leyun!
It was not that he did not work hard or strong enough, it was just that his opponent was too fearsome!
Yan Xiaoling covered her eyes with both hands in front of the computer screen, not daring to see what would happen and the upcoming ending.
Mu Jinnian’s teeth were clenched, sadness and regret coloring her eyes.
Over at the Songcheng team, Lou Cheng and his teammates did not react. They were watching the arena with blank looks. They stared as if Peng Leyun was stretching out his arm and punching Lin Que in his temple in slow motion.
Even if Lin Que was able to recover from the numbness and make a Force Concentration to protect himself, it was already too late.
“Great!” In front of the screen, An All-knowing Man in Ganghood waved his clenched fist.
This was the end!
Peng Leyun was the true favored fighter of the age!
When Lin Que finally pulled through the numbness and regained his consciousness, he saw Peng Leyun’s fist approaching him.
Thoughts flashing across his mind one after another, he could sense nothing except for Peng Leyun and his fist.
He was practicing in front of an aged arena when his father came to him. His smile was full of expectations as he said, “It’s the finals tomorrow.”
Under the spotlight, he saw a figure being flung out of the arena. He remembered his father’s unusually dejected expression. He was holding onto the railing, standing in front of his seat as a little boy, not quite clear of what was going on.
Then it was his father’s old wounds resurfacing and his face gaunt and aged. He stood in front of the display cabinet of all his trophies and said self-deprecatingly, “The only thing missing is the National Competition championship trophy…”
He recalled the pungent smell of sterile water, walls painted blue and white, doctors and nurses running back and forth, his father who could only make weird noises with his throat, and his constantly-crying mother. He saw himself huddled in a corner with a frightened look.
These old memories lit not only the fire within Lin Que’s body but also the determination in his eyes.
Just then, Peng Leyun’s fist suddenly slowed down as if trapped in a swamp or loaded with a heavy burden. His body began ‘sinking’.
The power of the stars! The power of the earth!
Noticing Peng Leyun finally showing surprise on his face, Lin Que clenched his teeth. All his muscles began squirming abnormally.
His root pulp had begun showing signs of variation since the spring festival!
Based on the regular procedure and experience of the predecessors, he ought to control the variation and slow down the changes within his body so as not to evoke a horrible backlash that would injure himself. He should be waiting until he reached the top Sixth Pin in one or two years before advancing at a normal speed. That would help him surpass many fighters and enter the inhuman stage.
But he could not wait to compete for the championship in one or two years. He wanted to grasp the opportunity now at any costs!
In January last year, Lou Cheng had awakened his supernatural ability on the arena and defeated Ye Youting, who was one Pin superior. Today he wanted to do the same against Peng Leyun!
He did not use this method in the semi-finals because he might get badly injured and end up unable to return to the arena for half a year.
He had been waiting for this opportunity!
Lin Que’s indifferent eyes were fogged with a rare sentiment. He had never been more determined in his life.
He wondered if his dad could see him now. He was fighting for the championship for Songcheng!
Lin Que swung his right arm, punching Peng Leyun. A layer of fire and glaring light appeared on his arm as it rubbed against the air.
The meteor was really streaking across the sky!
In the ancestral house of the Ji family in Jiangnan Province.
Ji Jianzhang smashed the rosewood teapot with one punch.
He roared in a low voice, “What a farce!”
The moment Lin Que threw his fist, Peng Leyun felt the invisible restriction around him vanish. He immediately withdrew his arms with the muscles in his upper half and placed them in front of his chest.
The true explosion reverberated as the meteor finally crashed onto the ground with sparks flying off in all directions. Peng Leyun was forced to take a few steps back, but he soon drove back his qi and blood to balance himself!
With the complete release of his fearsome power, Lin Que withdrew the force into his Dantian and dashed to his opponent’s side. Without hesitation, he began attacking Peng Leyun with as many Meteor Blasts as possible.
Bang! Bang! Bang! After making three successive explosions, Lin Que stared at Peng Leyun without breaking eye contact. He clenched his teeth tightly, enduring his pain.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Peng Leyun made a series of Force Concentrations while retreating in the rolling blaze, but he showed no sign of losing. His clothing was slightly burnt and his face looked pale. The Shanbei team were shocked as they exchanged glances, checking if they were daydreaming. The special commentator, Chen Sansheng, was also momentarily speechless, forgetting to give the audience an explanation.
Lin Que was about to take a step forward to continue his attacks, but his body began trembling and he could no longer keep his balance. The sharp pain finally caught him as if he was dismembered!
He paused and hopelessly stood in his place. He seemed close to collapse.
The referee instantly seized the moment to announce,
“The first round, Peng Leyun wins!”
Before the referee’s voice even faded, Geezer Shi appeared on the arena. He pointed at Lin Que’s points to freeze him as quickly as possible. He then shook his head.
“What a farce!”
He kept scolding Lin Que as he helped him down the arena. It took him only two steps to get back to their seats.
The surroundings were completely quiet. Lin Que said nothing, only titling his head to look at Lou Cheng and the rest who were running up to him. For the first time, he gave them a clear smile, a pure and child-like smile.
“I’ve tried my best…” Lin Que looked at Lou Cheng. “I leave the rest to you.”
“No problem.” Lou Cheng nodded firmly, blood burning in him.
He looked up at the arena, staring at Peng Leyun. His emotions were in a turmoil and he could not contain himself. He could not help yelling out of excitement.
His voice seemingly coming from far away and nearby, Lou Cheng dashed toward the arena. His momentum was like the whistling northern wind. It became fiercer and fiercer by the second!
Just leave Peng Leyun to him!