Volume 9 Chapter 14 : Valley of the Storm
“Today is the last day of the team competition. On this day, there will be the birth of the most powerful clan among these four academies. The clan that gets the championship will be nominated. Moreover, they will also get to participate in the national competition as well as the worldwide championship.” An old man spoke at the podium that was temporarily set up at the center of the arena. “Besides, after the team match, there will be an individual competition. Before the individual match, you may be friends. However, during the match, all of you have to leave your friendship behind. Some of you might not understand this now, but the world is definitely not what you see right now.”
“Is he trying to talk about the cruel outside world of predator and prey? Lin Xiang murmured as he continued looking at the old man who was giving his speech.
“Of course, winning in the competition would not ruin your friendship. In other words, if your friendship ended because of a mere competition, then that proves that you are not real friends after all.”
Sounds of applause echoed below the stage.
“Alright, I will not say any further about the individual match. Now, let the head judge announce the clan participants of the upcoming matches.”
A middle-aged man with a shaved head walked onto the stage. His name is Rick, feared by many students in Pillar Nofu Academy. He went everywhere alone and always put on a straight face. No one had seen his smile before.
“The competition is a knockout match. Today, there will be a total of seven matches so let me talk about the eight selected teams……” Rick’s voice is so strong and full of a male’s charm. The crowd not dare to not pay attention to his speech. “Lastly, Suehiro Clan. Now, the following teams please get ready. The first match will be flv Clan against the most powerful team.”
The first competition is between clans of other academies. If they are able to get into the Quarterfinals, it meant that they are still good.
As predicted, they fought very fiercely in that match, especially the flv Clan from Mi Nei Academy. Their members were even more vigorous as they launched a strong attack as soon as they entered the arena.
Only the defend action could made by Tofinlia’s most powerful team.
The match progressed to the nerve-wrecking stage as the most powerful team turned from defensive mode to counterattack mode. The captain of flv did not expect them to be so tenacious. It seemed that they have no choice but to resort to their secret trick.
It was said to be a trick, but it was better to say that it was a tacit understanding between the teammates. Their moves were intertwined as they each made up for the lack attributes of every teammate. The series of attacks made the most powerful team’s defense to be broken.
At last, the flv Clan got their victory.
It was Takahashi’s turn to enter the arena for the next match.
At the edge of his seat looking at his best friend Takahashi, Lin Xiang felt a sense of unfamiliarity. Well, it’s been a long time since they contacted each other, no wonder their relationship would fade.
Standing at the arena, Takahashi took a deep breath. Although he could not see where Lin Xiang was sitting, he knew that he was looking at him.
In the past, that was not my strength. Lin Xiang, I’ll let you see my true strength today.
With a clench of his fist, Takahashi looked at the enemy opposite him.
The match location will be drawn like before.
“What are you going to do about the match location?” asked a female referee.
“Just do it randomly.” answered Takahashi. He was the captain of his team.
The opposite team’s captain also nodded, “Randomly. Let’s see whose luck is better.”
“So, I’ll draw it randomly.” The female referee picked a card from the pile. After looking at it, she raised it high and announced, “Valley of the Storm.”
In her hand, the card showed a picture of a mountain valley. On the mountain peak, trees were bent due to the strong wind. What’s more shocking was that in the picture, there were also some small trees that were blown down from the mountain peak and onto the valley. This perfectly visualized the image of the Valley of the Storm.
“Shuahh.” Two big portals appeared beside the two teams. Once they entered, they would be able to reach their starting point.
“Please head to your starting point.” The referee said.
“Valley of the Storm, huh?” Takahashi murmured as he took the lead to enter the portal.
“Ha, we actually got the storm? Looks like luck is on my side.” The captain from the opposite team laughed as he spoke to his teammates. “Let’s go. Takahashi Nobuhiko is mine. As for the others, you guys will decide who to fight with.” The captain finished his speech and entered the portal with his teammates.
“Valley of the Storm… It seems that the other party is a wind envoy. Nobuhiko, are you going to be okay?” Lin Xiang looked at the split screen of the large main screen. Takahashi and his teammates were standing on the prairie. From time to time, the breezes of the wind blew the small grass freely. However, the prairie at that moment was rippled like a river with strong currents.
“Don’t worry, Takahashi is actually pretty awesome. Just wait and see.” After witnessing Takahashi’s matches before, Satsuki was not really worried about him because she knew that Takahashi was really awesome.
“Okay, I also believe that he’ll win.”
From the screen, Lin Xiang could tell that Takahashi had a different aura unlike before. He seemed more mature, steady, and most importantly, more confident, instead of the previous stupor when possessed by a devil.
“Lily, after a while, lay out the runes near the battlefield. Kaoru, you’ll stay behind and take cover after the match starts. Attack the enemies once they enter within our territory. Rin, you’ll need to fight alongside me at the front. As for you three, make an ambush nearby, once they meet with us, you guys will launch a surprise attack. Understand?”
“Yes, Sir!” the six teammates answered their captain concertedly. Even the usual carefree Rin had a serious look on the face today because that was a matter of their academies’ pride. Not to mention, his grandfather was the principal of the academy as well.
“Now, go to your designated area!” Takahashi commanded and the rest sped away. Their targets, was the center of the match arena. Generally speaking, that was where the participants fought.
Seeing how steady Takahashi was when assigning his teammates, Lin Xiang was in awe.
It’s been a long time since we last met, yet you are still out-standing. No wonder the bookworm Lin Xiang looked up to you.
At that moment, the girls nearby couldn’t help but screamed “Takahashi is so handsome!” when they saw how Takahashi looked like a commander assigning tasks to his teammates.
Not only Daojie Holy Spirit Academy’s girls, even the girls from other academies cheered for Takahashi. From what everybody had seen, Takahashi’s popularity was on another level.
The clan that Takahashi was fighting against was Colonda, one of the clans of Tofinlia Academy. Their captain, Kodak, was a boy who was quite as handsome. If you put him in a crowd, he would be a pretty boy. But, if he was compared to the chic silver-haired Takahashi, he would however be just an ordinary boy.
Of course, this was not one of the many reasons why he wanted to beat Takahashi. Kodak was just someone who yearned to become stronger. He was out-standing in his academy, at least in his grade, no one would dare to call themselves a ‘Number One’ if Kodak himself recognized as ‘Number Two’. In the past three days of matches, he secretly memorized those who could stand face-to-face with him at the battlefields.
Firstly, it was Daojie Holy Spirit Academy’s first place, Matthew. Matthew was not easy. Anybody could tell that those who could stand in place in an academy filled with such strong competitors, was a person that was truly incredible. Kodak noticed that in so many matches, Matthew did not really move an inch. What’s more to say? The ability to enter the Quarterfinals owed it all to his teammates’ result of hard work.
This eventually strengthens the mysterious aura around Matthew. Kodak subconsciously treated Matthew as a must-defeat opponent.
Secondly, it was Takahashi. All the magic that Takahashi used was kind of a shortcut magic, ice. Although it was a bit of a partial approach, it could not be look down upon. In Kodak’s memories, he had never seen anyone froze a flame before. That’s why Takahashi was eyed as his second opponent.
Thirdly was Hyakukawa Sea. However, Hyakukawa Sea was defeated by a weird boy. Instead, that boy became his third opponent.
Fourth was the one called Silent Water. She was teamed with the weird boy. That Silent Water looked gentle and virtuous. Kodak dared to say, that every boy that met her would immediately fell head over heels for her. However, the attack power of a girl like her, was amazing in a different way because her control on water could actually overpower the controls of a teacher. When the delicate water fell into her hands, it would be a strong and sharp weapon to defeat her enemies. Kodak never looked at a girl so seriously before. Now that he seen her, he knew it would be the first time that he finally looked at a girl as his worthy opponent.
For types like Reidy and Dusty, Kodak did not care. After all, these four opponents would his strongest enemies both in the team and the individual matches. If he could defeat them, then in this times competition, victory would be owned by his academy. For his strength improvement and his academy’s reputation, Kodak’s fighting spirit was over the top, not to mention his great confidence.
Even so, in this time’s competition, Kodak would be defeating his second greatest enemy!
“Listen, Takahashi is mine, as for others, just do whatever you can. We must win this match. After all that practice and effort, isn’t that all just to let us shine brightly in the game? All past champions had no chances with us. However, this time, we will be the first of our academy to win the championship.”
“That’s right!” The teammates were full of fighting spirit as they heeded Kodak’s words. Indeed, their small team had been their academy’s most promising clan. Furthermore, they too, secretly suffered a lot, all just to win this time’s competition.
“All hail Colonda!”
Tofinlia’s students were also mesmerized by Kodak’s great speech. Their words would definitely work out!
Kodak was already giving out his battle plan. His was of combat was similar to that of Takahashi’s. It was all having a few people staying in front and some at the back playing defense, then the rest would be preparing a surprise attack or something like that.
Just like that, both teams headed out with a speed of light towards the center point.
In other words, to the participants, the ability to reach the center point faster would be equal to them having more time to understand the terrain and be familiar with the location. From that, they could make good use of the surroundings to get a better winning opportunity.
Since both of the participated teams were at the starting point of Valley of the Storm, they were all on a grass field, nonetheless, on the exact center of the grass field, stood two tall mountains. Although it was all a hallucination made by Information Technology, the majestic spirit of the huge mountain did not seemed fake. In between those two mountains, that would be the Valley of the Storm.
Although in this world had no Valley of the Storm, it did not mean that it never exist. In reality, there was one beyond the skies that looked exactly like that. In other words, the Valley of the Storm right at the field was complete clone of the Valley from there. However, the Valley of the Storm right here could be considered as a Pocket Edition. No matter how high the mountains or how wide the field was, it could never surpass one third of the actual valley.
The actual Valley of the storm had grasslands nearby that showed beautiful scenery. Its boundary was endless. Refreshing breeze blew from time to time and there were even clouds above one’s head that lighten one’s heart with an invigorating feeling. However, the tips of the two huge mountains that were not far away from the grasslands were heavily clouded instead. Its clouds as dark as coal, in addition with the monstrous mountains gave men a strong oppression. It seemed out of place compared to the beautiful scenery of the grassland.
The origin of Valley of the Storm was due to its occasional wind currents that conquered the valley. The power of the gale was so immense that it could blow an elephant’s head away. Only trees that had strong root systems could barely hold itself to the ground. Moreover, the wind’s actions were stochastic. No one could ever predict when it would be a blustery day.
Although it was not the actual Valley of the Storm, battling in a condition like this, was no doubt a huge advantage for the Wind Spirit.
“Lily, quickly go to the center point while the wind does not stop.” Takahashi faced the girl he was moving along with as he spoke.
“Got it,” the girl nodded as she summoned her elf and attached it onto herself. In addition with the slight push from the breezes, her speed had increased a few times more.
In a blink of the eyes, she was gone from the eyes of Takahashi.
“Hey! I say, Takahashi, aren’t you afraid that the enemies will take advantage of her if you asked her to set up the wind rune?” asked Rin, who was going to combat alongside Takahashi. He knew that the opponent, Kodak was an amazing Wind Spirit. Although Lily was also amazing, but she was not in athe same league with the other party.
“If you don’t know, then don’t speak. Later, just let me concentrate on getting the attention of the enemies.” Takahashi did not answer Rin’s question.
“Hmph, I hate sarcastic people the most.”
Takahashi did not speak. The match location was big alright, but the range was limited. The two mountains were shrunk but the dark aura of the huge mountains did not decrease as they went closer to the mountains. He could feel the flow of the wind getting stronger.
“This is the opportunity to let Takahashi open his heart for me. I really must do a great job.” In the oppression of the wind, Lily quickly reached the center point.
At that moment, Valley of the Storm had no single wind current. The trees nearby stood silently which made people speechless because of the sudden change.
It was windy just moments before.
However, Lily did not think any further. After keeping an eye on the terrain, she started to arrange the rune ambush.
The valley at the bottom of the mountain was shaped like a “U”. At the bottom of the “U”, there were weirdly grown trees. They were truly weird because all of those trees were grown in a cursive way. It was a quite spacious area, at least that’s what Lily thought, there would be no problems to battle at the area she’s in.
Lily placed several wind runes at the bottom of the mountain where the opponents would appear. All of those wind runes contained large amounts of magic.
An ordinary wind rune could mostly only produce strong winds but Lily’s rune could release a tornado. In such a big number of wind runes, if all of them were activated, the consequences could be apprehended.
As she wiped the sweat drops on her forehead, Lily encouraged herself, “Keep it together, Lily. Just release a few more of these and you won’t let Takahashi fall behind.”
Just like that, she swiftly released more wind runes in the random corners of the valley.
The girl named Kaoru was standing at a place where she could see the whole valley at that moment, a place where it seemed like a bump in the middle of the mountain.
She was a lightning spirit. She was waiting for an opportunity at where she was, that was to wait for the opponent to enter her range. She could not summon lightning like Reidy did, but she could discharge a high-pressured lightning snake. Apparently, she could still paralyze the enemy.
Takahashi and Rin reached the center point. When Lily saw Takahashi’s arrival, she broke into a big smile as she ran towards him, “Takahashi, I’ve finished setting up the rune traps nearby.”
“Great job, Lily. Can you keep fighting?” asked Takahashi.
Releasing magic runes was equivalent to compressing the magic into words or characters. If triggered, the compressed magic would be released, thus attacking the one that triggered. Magic like that was very convenient but it consumes a lot of power, especially the tornado rune that Lily just casted.
“Yes, I can.“ Lily wiped the sweat on her face and nodded fiercely.
“Don’t push yourself too hard.” Takahashi laughed and looked to the front, waiting for the arrival of Kodak.
“No, I won’t! “ Lily’s face showed a satisfied smile. Every time, she would be on cloud nine if she got a word of consolation from Takahashi. She was one of his many admirers.
“So what? Aren’t you only praised a little?” Kaoru was a little unhappy. She also admired Takahashi. After all, most girls liked men with power and handsomeness.
Oh? At that moment, Kaoru felt the presence of wind blowing in front of her. At first, it was weak, but it got stronger and stronger.
It got windy?
Kaoru tried to stabilize herself as she opened her eyes slightly, trying to see the opposite entrance. She felt strange. Why isn’t anybody coming?
On the other hand, Takahashi frowned. He felt that something was wrong. It seemed that the opposing team knew the exact positions of the runes, that was why they were not activated. The team might be nearby by then.
Knowing this matter, a shadow followed the current of the wind and leaped really high. The sharp blade in its hand seemed blinding in the sunlight although the surroundings were covered by gloomy clouds. It sped towards Takahashi and his gang as it was speedy as light.
Did the opposing team reached here before we do?
Takahashi stepped forward, quickly raised his hand and unleash a magic circle. An ice shield appeared on top of Takahashi’s, Lily’s and Rin’s heads.
“Pang!” the sound of a sharp knife hitting the ice shield echoed. Ice debris was shot everywhere in an instant.
Takahashi noticed the strong power of the other party when the blade hit the ice. He swiftly pulled Lily away.
“Hong.” The ice shield cracked and the sharp blade hit the place where Lily was just standing. Dust were everywhere.
“Oh no, never knew you’d dodge that.” Kodak pretended to be disappointed and said it in a sad way.