Volume 9 Chapter 22 : Likes Or Dislikes
“Yesterday’s team final was very exciting. However, today, we will continue that excitement and enter the individual competition rounds!” Today’s broadcast changed to a female. It was no longer Meiko’s voice.
The classmates sitting in the audience were cheering. No one paid attention to who was broadcasting.
It was the individual competition. According to the calculations, in the two days of preliminaries, twenty people out of four hundred were needed to be selected for the competition. Although students were still gathering in the big arena at that moment, they would soon be scattered to watch the preliminaries in the small arenas where they wanted to go.
Pillar Nofu Academy had many small arenas, which were the kind where Lin Xiang competed with Kitashima. Ten of the competitors were drawn to participate in the preliminaries.
A lottery would determine which arena the contestants would be playing in the preliminaries. Lin Xiang drew the fifth group, Silent Water was third, Reidy was fourth, Dusty was tenth, Satsuki was sixth, Nagisa was sixth, and Kaoru was fifth. Kamiki did not participate because she knew that her own ability was only suitable for assisting teammates. If she played offense, her current state did not have the kind of magic power to launch attacks of poison and fog magic.
The list of contestants was quickly displayed on the big screen, and students set off to watch the preliminaries at the arena where they wanted to go.
If a group was drawn with a different ordinal numbers, the members would have to go to a different ordinal arena to compete. Seeing how everyone was separated, Lin Xiang was slightly relieved. He did not want to be against Silent Water and the others. However…
“I didn’t expect to be in the preliminaries with Young Master in the Fifth Arena. This might be an arrangement of fate.” On the way to the Fifth Arena, Kaoru walked alongside Lin Xiang with a wooden sword in her hand, looking quite excited.
“Yes, but if you can, I really don’t want to meet with Kaoru-senpai, otherwise, I will definitely lose miserably.”
“How could it be, everyone had seen the strength of Young Master… I really look forward to fighting against Young Master.” Kaoru’s eyes were full of fighting spirit. In fact, she was also quite combative.
“Ahaha-” Lin Xiang touched his head and smiled. His right hand’s consciousness was restored, but it was still a bit numb. Lin Xiang was deeply impressed by Kaoru’s sword skills that could crush other people’s weapons. If Lin Xiang was to be against Kaoru, then it would be over.
“Speaking of which, is the Young Master’s body alright?”
“Eh? Oh, um, it’s okay.”
“It would be the best.”
“How about Kaoru-senpai, is your body okay?”
“Well, thanks to the fire nuts brought by the Young Master, the chills in my body can be expelled. I haven’t thanked Young Master yet.”
“You don’t have to. Kaoru-senpai was hurt to protect me too.”
“That was necessary. In any case, Young Master is the life-saving benefactor of Suehiro’s family. My father is looking forward to Young Master’s visit to the house.”
While chatting and walking, Lin Xiang and Kaoru came to the Fifth Arena.
There were only more than two hundred seats in the small arena. The Fifth Arena was full of people at the moment. Some students did not even have a place to sit, and most of the people who came were girls. What in the world?
Lin Xiang really did not understand.
“Oh- How can there be so many spectators in just one preliminary match, Young Master, we have to give our all in the match.”
Other contestants in the preliminaries of Fifth Arena came one after another. Lin Xiang found Takahashi Nobuhiko in the crowd.
No wonder there were so many girls, that’s how it was. Nobuhiko was there too.
Takahashi also saw Lin Xiang and smiled at him.
“Hello everyone, I am the referee of the Fifth Arena.” A feminine voice sounded, and everyone looked at the match grounds. A graceful woman was standing in the center of the field.
She was wearing an OL outfit with a touch of red lipstick. The alluring look made the boys present howling. Of course, this was just an exaggeration. But it was true that the woman was beautiful.
“Teacher Meiko…” Lin Xiang, who had not seen Meiko for a long time, showed a smile. Although they did not have too much contact, the young and energetic sister-like teacher left a deep impression.
“Does Young Master know her?”
“Yes, a former English teacher.”
“From before? Is she not a teacher now?”
“Not anymore. I heard from the principal that she is now developing in the outer world.”
“Oh, the world beyond the skies.” Kaoru was curious at that moment. What kind of place was the outer world?
“Then from now on, contestants participating in the preliminaries please come to the center of the venue.”
After listening to Meiko, people who participated in the preliminaries headed towards her. There were a few boys who deliberately got close to her as if they had never seen such a beautiful woman.
“These classmates, if you just keep on coming closer, I will be troubled. Can you please line-up?”
“Hahaha.” Laughter flooded the scene as the boys stood behind embarrassedly.
“Yes, good boys. I will count the number of people now. One, two, three…” Meiko counted the contestants. “Well, forty people are here. Therefore, the preliminaries are about to begin. Before starting, let me talk about a few rules. Firstly…”
“Finally, there will be two finalists in each competition field to be short-listed for the match the day after tomorrow, so please do your best.”
“Yes!” The contestants answered with loud voices, especially the boys.
“Then please look at the screen above now, let’s group randomly.”
Two teams appeared on the big screen, each with twenty people. Among the twenty people in each group, the one who stood out would become the finalist. With two groups, there would be one finalist each. As there were ten preliminaries, there would be twenty finalists. They would be playing a knock-out match in front of many students in the big arena two days later. Finally, the winner of the individual competition was selected.
Lin Xiang found his name in the group’s list, while Kaoru found her name in another group’s.
“It’s a pity that I can’t fight against Young Master.” Kaoru said with a hint of regret.
“Ha! It would be better to say that.” Lin Xiang laughed. But, he stopped as he noticed Takahashi’s name on the list of his group.
It meant that Lin Xiang would have a face off against Takahashi.
After stretching his right arm vigorously a few times, Lin Xiang felt that he could still fight. He collected himself and continued listening to Meiko’s speech.
“The list is out. Next, let’s take a look at which group and which two people will be in the first preliminaries.” After Meiko finished speaking, the names on the big screen began to scroll, like the images of jackpot machines in casinos.
“Okay. The first game is… the first year of Pillar Nofu Academy… and the first year of Minai Academy…”
The two boys whose name appeared on the screen walked to Meiko respectively. The rest of the crowd retreated to the periphery and sat on benches to watch the game with the audience.
Kaoru sat right next to Lin Xiang and looked forward. While looking at the two players who were in the match, she turned her head and looked at Lin Xiang occasionally.
“What’s the matter, Kaoru-senpai?” Lin Xiang noticed Kaoru’s attention from time to time and felt a little uncomfortable.
“No, I always feel that it was rare for me to be alone with Young Master like this.”
“Aren’t there others around here…”
“I mean when Satsuki and the others aren’t here. Oh, I don’t hate them, but the Young Master is constantly with girls.”
“Huh? Now that you mention it, it seems so.”
“Yes, so there are very few opportunities to be with the Young Master like this.”
“Although it doesn’t mean anything special, I don’t hate it. Yes.” Kaoru said to herself then nodded wildly. It felt good to be in a situation like that.
“It…it is? Kaoru-senpai is very beautiful, haven’t you thought of having a boyfriend?” Looking at Kaoru’s side profile and curvy figure, Lin Xiang accidentally spoke his inner thoughts.
“Boyfriend? Me?” Kaoru was a little surprised that Lin Xiang would say this. She blankly stared at Lin Xiang.
“So about the venue for the match, how will you choose them?”
Meiko asked the two contestants.
“Boyfriend or something, no boy would like a lowly girl like me. My arms are muscular, not as tender as other girls.”
Looking at Kaoru’s arms, she who practiced swords did have more muscles than ordinary girls. However, she had slightly more resiliency so if he did not look closely, he would not be able to see it. Not to mention that Kaoru looked rather sluggish which made people have a kind of backbone beauty, but it’s not just the bones, even the convex places were still quite curvy.
“There’s nothing like that. Kaoru-senpai is very beautiful and has a majestic aura, just like the female swordsman in a period drama, very cool.”
“Really? People used to say that I was beautiful or something. I thought they were just flattering me. Listening to the Young Master say this, I’ve had a better understanding of my appearance.”
“I thought Kaoru-senpai was very confident in all aspects of herself.”
“Why do you think so?”
“Look, apart from your stern face, Kaoru-senpai doesn’t usually show other expressions at all. People like this will show others a stance of confidence in them, isn’t that right?”
“There are still such things? However, in terms of smiling, I can’t laugh as I like though, unless I’ve encountered something worthy to find joy with.”
“Maybe it’s because of the lack of smiling. Smiles are indispensable for making friends.”
“Like this?” Kaoru smiled stiffly, trying to force herself.
“Almost…but don’t force it. Just do whatever Kaoru-senpai likes best.”
“Oh… I thought that if I learnt not to laugh, Young Master wouldn’t let me stay by his side.”
“No, it’s not.”
“Well, allow me to ask Young Master one thing.” Kaoru looked at Lin Xiang with deep eyes that could absorb one’s attention like a whirlpool.
“What’s the matter?” Lin Xiang did not dare to look at Kaoru when she stared at him like that.
“How does Young Master feel…about someone unfeminine…like me?”
“What do you mean how?”
“I mean in terms of likes or dislikes.”
“This is because the young master just asked if I ever wanted to make a boyfriend. Therefore, I just wanted to ask what Young Master thinks of me.”
“Uh… I think Kaoru-senpai is a pretty good person. You are tall and beautiful… I think I like it.”
“Even if I don’t have the charm that women should have?”
“Who said that? Kaoru-senpai has her own unique charm.”
“Really? Thank you, Young Master. Thanks to you, I feel a little more confident in myself.” Kaoru showed a smile. That smile was not forced or rigid. Although it was only for a split second, it was a smile that held a special place in one’s heart.
“It’s not bad, Kaoru-senpai. That’s it. That was a pretty smile.”
“Is…Is it…” Kaoru heard Lin Xiang’s words and tried to recall the smile she just did, but she could not make the smile like how she did before.
The student of Pillar Nofu Academy was obviously stronger than the opponent, so the result of the match was decided quickly.
After a few more matches, it was Lin Xiang’s turn to step in. He had to fight against a boy from Daojie Holy Spirit Academy who looked a little wretched.
“How will you choose the venue of the match?” Meiko looked at the wretched-looking boy and Lin Xiang with a smile. Alas, she fixed her gaze onto Lin Xiang. Lin Xiang also looked at Meiko while smiling at her.
“Well, beautiful referee, I plan to give the choice to this boy with poor spiritual power,” said the wretched boy.
“Oh? This is really a gentleman’s behavior.” Meiko praised the wretched boy which made him smug a little.
“I can’t help it, this is my character. Beautiful referee, I don’t know if I can…”
“No, kid, you can’t get information from the referee.” Meiko stretched out her slender fingers, wiggled it left and right, and displayed a map cards to Lin Xiang, “So, little handsome guy, what map do you want to choose?”
“Well…” Lin Xiang’s wind speed state seemed to be unavailable at that moment so he could only win by relying on his own sword skills. Nonetheless, the immunity to flames could still be used well.
Looking at many maps, Lin Xiang finally decided to choose the one with the burning forest.
“Huh, you chose fire? I don’t know what you were thinking.” The wretched boy showed a disdainful smile. Although he knew Lin Xiang was great, it was only because of his speed. The wretched boy’s observation ability was very good. He observed Lin Xiang before and after the battle with Hyakukawa Sea and Matthew. The fast speed seemed to have weakened. In other words, when Lin Xiang was fighting against Hyakukawa Sea, his speed was impressive. However in the battle with Matthew, it was half a beat slow. The wretched boy came to a conclusion that his incredibly fast speed could not be used many times. It could not last long either.
There was also a move that was similar to Instant Slash, which made Lin Xiang have an uncoordinated posture before launching it. As for those few elementary fire magic used by Lin Xiang, it did not catch the wretched boy’s attention at all. He was hundred percent sure that he could defeat Lin Xiang.
“Forest of Fire, right? Okay.” Raising the card in one hand, the ground vibrated slightly as the surrounding temperature rose rapidly. A burning forest surrounded Lin Xiang and the boy.
“Then, the match is about to begin. Don’t be burned by the fire.” In her last sentence, Meiko specifically said it to the wretched boy, which secretly meant that he should not look down on Lin Xiang too much.
But the other party obviously did not understand it, thinking that Meiko was just caring for him which made him smiled happily.
The preliminaries’ venue was not wide, so the contestants were not needed to be sent to the starting point. With Meiko’s call as the horn, the match between Lin Xiang and the wretched boy began.
“Kiddo, I admire you for defeating Hyakukawa Sea, but it’s just your luck. Although I don’t have the strength of Hyakukawa Sea, I can end your luck.” The wretched boy took out a magic wand. .
Lin Xiang ignored the boy, he was just thinking about the kendo skills the coach taught him in the past.
If it took a long time, no matter how familiar he was with the skills before, it would lose its touch. Lin Xiang’s kendo was learnt in junior high school. He basically never touched a sword when he arrived in high school. After arriving there, he was very forgetful for some time because of Freed and Yalide, so he forgot a lot of kendo skills. During the match, he could only recall part of it.
“Hey, isn’t it a bit impolite for you to ignore others’ speech?” With so many people watching and a pretty referee nearby, Lin Xiang’s absence of answers made the wretched boy felt embarrassed.
“Well, I’m sorry. I was thinking about something just now.”
“Have you thought about what you are going to do after losing?”
“Heh-” Lin Xiang smiled and did not speak anymore. Holding the cold sword in his left hand and the scabbard in his right as he slowly pulled out the cold sword full of cold beams. Due to the fact that there were fewer dragon energies in him, the sense of rejection in it had become stronger than ever.
“That knife’s not bad, but it was wasted on you.” The wretched boy wanted to provoke Lin Xiang, but Lin Xiang remained indifferent. Instead, the boy became a little angry.
“Anything else you want to say? The game has already started.”
“Tsk.” The wretched man waved his magic wand, and a whirlwind flew towards Lin Xiang.
Lin Xiang dropped the scabbard, held the sword in both hands while watching the whirlwind. When he slashed, the whirlwind disappeared, leaving only a faint ice mist in the air.
“As you can see, I am a wind sorcerer. Although the place you chose is not where I am good at, it is definitely not a place where it’s not suitable for me.” The wretched boy ran behind a big burning tree and released several whirlwinds in succession.
That time, the whirlwind was mixed with flames, turning into a flaming whirlwind as it struck straight towards Lin Xiang.
Lin Xiang did not move. He stood on the spot, holding the handle of the sword tightly with both hands, took a deep breath. “Hong- Hong- Hhong-“ He dispersed the whirlwind with continuous and rapid slashing.
“You are too naive.” The wretched boy was behind Lin Xiang unknowingly. Another whirlwind drove Lin Xiang into the burning woods.
“Sigh- I really can’t do anything without dragon energy.” Lin Xiang slowly got up and patted the dust on his body.
‘It’s okay, at least you are immune to these ordinary flames.’
‘Immunity to flame…huh?’ At that moment, Lin Xiang seemed to think of something.
‘Remember that?’ Freed laughed.
Lin Xiang thought of the Elder Spirit, who had been taught to control fire. To control fire was to control the flames. There was no need to waste dragon energy and magic power. As there were so many ready-made flames in the woods…Lin Xiang had an idea at that moment.
“Beautiful referee, why haven’t you declared that I’ve won?” The raging fire among the trees blocked the sight of the wretched boy. He saw that Lin Xiang did not climb out immediately, so he thought that Lin Xiang had lost the ability to compete. After all, it was a big fire in there.
“No, I don’t think he will lose.” Meiko squinted. Through the fire, she saw a figure standing in a daze.
“Tsk, then let’s wait for a while longer.” The pretty referee seemed to believe in Lin Xiang, so he just waited. Even if he did come out, he would still be defeated in his own hands.
Just as the wretched boy thought that way, the Forest of Fire on the opposite side seemed to have changed. The flames that were originally drifting outwards flowed into it for some reason, as if something was absorbing fire.
“What’s wrong?” The students who watched the match also noticed that and debated on what was happening.
Hhong- A figure sprang from the Forest of Fire, it was Lin Xiang. The audience did not pay attention to why Lin Xiang could stay in the fire for so long, but focused on the fireball which was like the size of a car tire on Lin Xiang’s left hand at that moment.
“Ha!” Lin Xiang stopped using dragon energy because he was worried that Silent Water and the others would have no magic power again. Therefore, without wind speed, he ran towards the wretched boy with his own speed.
Although Lin Xiang’s speed was not slow, he was at a certain distance away from the wretched boy. When he was about to approach the boy, the wretched boy had already reacted.
The wretched boy dodged hastily and Lin Xiang’s attack failed. Originally, Lin Xiang wanted to directly hit the wretched boy with the fireball but there was no way because his situation was different now.
“This is very risky… This guy actually condensed such a huge and strong flame…” The wretched boy looked at the fireball in Lin Xiang’s hand and swallowed his saliva.