Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
He had previously thought that two combat masters for each grade would be more than sufficient to assess all of the candidates.
Who would have thought that the candidates from Hongyuan would wield the power to incapacitate his subordinates? In any case, it didn't seem like the test could continue on like that.
After a moment of hesitation, Zhuo Qingfeng raised his hand and said, "Since that is the case… Xu Hong and Ye Jun, suppress your cultivation to Consonant Spirit realm pinnacle. You two will be assessing the Grade-1 candidates!"
"Yes!" Two young man clasped their fists and stepped forward.
The both of them were at Cosmos Bridge realm pinnacle, and in their eyes, one could vaguely see a bridge connected with the world. With just a look, it was apparent that they had immersed themselves within this cultivation realm for a very long time, and they wielded strength far superior to ordinary cultivators.
Zhuo Qingfeng raised his hand, and the zhenqi from his body gushed out and shrouded the duo.
In just a few short moments, the cultivation of the duo plummeted to Consonant Spirit realm pinnacle.
Wo Tianqiong frowned. "Combat Master Zhuo, won't having a Cosmos Bridge realm cultivator fight against Consonant Spirit realm cultivators be equivalent to raising the difficulty of the test?"
Even though the cultivation of the two Cosmos Bridge combat masters had been sealed, their reflexes and comprehension of battle techniques were still not something that Consonant Spirit realm cultivators could match. That was a considerable hike in the difficulty of the test.
"Don't worry, I will have them control their strength. As long as they keep their strength in check, the difficulty shouldn't be too different from before," assured Zhuo Qingfeng with a nod.
Through limiting the fighting prowess of the two new invigilators, it was possible to maintain the difficulty of the examination.
Wo Tianqiong was still slightly hesitant after hearing those words of reassurance, but eventually, he still nodded. "Un."
Considering the current state of the two Consonant Spirit realm cultivators, there was no way that the test would be able to continue any other way. Whether he liked it or not, he had to accept it.
Leaping to the stage, Xu Hong declared loudly as he scanned his surroundings, "I am Xu Hong, and I am now in charge of invigilating the Grade-1 tests. As long as you can withstand three moves from me, you will have cleared the selection."
A young man amid the crowd stepped forward and leaped onto the dueling platform.
Zhang Xuan recognized the young man.
It was the champion of Yunxu's internal selection, and the prowess he had shown in the display earlier was amazing as well.
He didn't disappoint in the duel as well. Against Xu Hong, even though he was being suppressed right the start, he still managed to withstand three moves and clear the selection.
Upon seeing someone succeed, others also went up the dueling platform enthusiastically.
However, they didn't fare as well as him. Five challengers from Yunxu, Luoqing, and Qingzhu lost consecutively, and the situation fell into a standstill once more.
Seeing that no one was going up, a young man from Hongyuan stood up and stepped forward.
"That's Zhao Chuan, who is second last!"
"I remember that fellow from the power display. He is roughly equal to Zhu Xi in terms of strength!"
"Un. I would say that he doesn't stand a chance with cultivation like his, but… there is just something a little bizarre about the students from Hongyuan!"
"It isn't 'a little bizarre' but 'very bizarre'!"
Upon seeing that another candidate from Hongyuan had gone onto the dueling platform, a commotion broke out amid the crowd.
Hongyuan's performance in the power display earlier had been unimpressive, so no one had thought well of them at all. Yet, who would have thought that they would be the dark horse of the selection round? So far, they had two candidates who had gone up and both of them had incapacitated a combat master each. At this point, there was no one who dared make any guesses about the outcome of the battle anymore.
Zhao Chuan leaped onto the dueling platform.
"Let's begin," Xu Hong said before charging forward with his fist.
On the other hand, seeing that Xu Hong wasn't using a weapon, Zhao Chuan also decided not to wield one either. Clenching his fist, he rushed forward to face Xu Hong's punch with a kick.
As the punch and the kick collided, Zhao Chuan instantaneously felt immense might overwhelming him, knocking him down onto the floor. Under the impact, his face paled, and a stifling sensation assaulted his chest.
Without even withstanding a single move, he had been defeated.
Seeing Zhao Chuan's defeat, the crowd heaved a sigh of relief.
It seemed like the situations before were indeed just exceptional circumstances. Not everyone in Hongyuan wielded such monstrous strength.
Beneath the stage, Zhu Jian yelled anxiously upon seeing such a sight, "Zhao Chuan, what the hell are you doing? Have you forgotten Principal Zhang's teachings?"
"Think about the combat techniques Principal Zhang has imparted to us and get it together!" Zhu Xi shouted as well.
How could Zhao Chuan even think of going head-to-head with his opponent? In the very first place, their greatest disadvantage against the combat masters lay in their inferior zhenqi and strength. Moreover, the other party was a Cosmos Bridge realm cultivator who had his cultivation suppressed; the other party's control over his strength was surely to be far superior to theirs. If they wished to achieve victory, the only way was to make full use of the combat techniques that Principal Zhang had imparted to them.
"The combat techniques that Principal Zhang has imparted us?" Zhao Chuan muttered feebly as he struggled to his feet. He contemplated over the content of Principal Zhang's lecture for a brief moment to allow the wisdom contained within it to wash over him before exhaling deeply and turning his gaze to Xu Hong once more. "There are still two more moves, right? Let's continue!"
Seeing how that fellow, who couldn't even withstand a punch from him, wanted to continue the battle, Xu Hong couldn't help but sneer derisively at the other party's foolishness. "You are courting death!"
With a swift step off from his current position, Xu Hong's figure disappeared from the spot, and several afterimages appeared on the dueling platform. Each of them had a concrete presence, which made it impossible for one to discern the real from the fake.
Principal Zhang says that when facing a maneuver utilizing feints, one must not allow oneself to be blinded by the false grandeur put up by the opponent. There is a thin but clear line between truth and falsehood. No matter how powerful a battle technique may be, as long as one can find the point where truth and falsehood overlap with one another and focus one's attack on it, one will surely be able to neutralize the opponent's attack. Hearing the shouting beneath the dueling platform, Zhao Chuan suddenly recalled these words from Principal Zhang's lecture.
Even though Principal Zhang had only had an hour to lecture them, he had managed to cover a diverse range of common combat techniques. The opponent he was facing, Xu Hong, was able to produce numerous afterimages through capitalizing on his powerful movement technique, and with Zhao Chuan's current limits, the only way he would be able to overcome such a profound movement technique was to find the point where truth and falsehood overlapped and exploit it.
Focusing his gaze, Zhao Chuan stared at the other party's movements intently, and his eyes suddenly lit up.
I found it! Zhao Chuan exclaimed internally in delight. Clenching his fists tightly, he charged right toward an afterimage opposite him and struck it decisively.
It was a sound reminiscent of a fist sinking into a sandbag. Xu Hong had been moving at a speed so quick that one could hardly see him, but in that moment, his figure suddenly converged into a rapidly retreating figure, which crashed forcefully into the ground before he could even release a howl of agony, blacking out.
Zhao Chuan's fist was directed at a point through which Xu Hong was unable to drive his zhenqi, thus inducing an energy backlash within the latter. Not even a Cosmos Bridge realm expert would be able to withstand that.
"I won?" Seeing Xu Hong fainting over, Zhao Chuan's lips began trembling in agitation.
Having faced the other party's punch head-on earlier, he had gotten a glimpse of the huge power difference between the two of them. Yet, just by following Principal Zhang's teachings, he had been successfully knocked out the other party with just a single move. Wasn't this a little too good to be true?
On the other hand, upon seeing this sight, Zhuo Qingfeng's body began trembling in disbelief.
It is one thing for your guys to knock out my Consonant Spirit realm combat masters, but to do the same to my Cosmos Bridge realm cultivators with their cultivation suppressed? Are you all actually experts disguised as Consonant Spirit realm master teachers?
More importantly… you were beaten up helplessly like a dog on the first move, unable to put up a fight at all. Yet, on the second move, you were suddenly able to turn the tables and defeat my combat master so easily… Don't you think that you are changing too quickly?
All of a sudden, Zhuo Qingfeng couldn't help but remember the shouting beneath the dueling platform right after the first move. "Just a moment ago, they mentioned combat techniques that their principal imparted to them earlier. What is going on?"
At the same time, the same thought struck Wo Tianqiong and Shen Pingchao, and they couldn't help but widen their eyes in astonishment. "Could the hour-long lecture that Principal Zhang conducted for them… have something to do with this?"
They had been thinking that a last-ditch effort to enhance the students' fighting prowess right ahead of the selection would have been completely futile, but who would have thought that Principal Zhang's last-ditch effort would not only be useful but extremely effective as well?
If that wasn't the case, why would Zhao Chuan suddenly experience a burst in power that allowed him to knock out even the Cosmos Bridge realm Xu Hong after a reminder to follow the combat techniques imparted by their principal?
"An hour-long lecture?" Hearing Wo Tianqiong and Shen Pingchao's words, Zhuo Qingfeng frowned.
While it was indeed possible for formidable master teachers to impart the essence of combat to their students, what could one possibly teach within the span of an hour?
Perplexed, Zhuo Qingfeng hesitated for a moment before turning to the young man in front of him and instructing, "Ye Jun, you will head up to challenge the candidates from Hongyuan."
"Yes!" Responding with a nod, Ye Jun leaped onto the dueling platform.
This time, instead of issuing a challenge to all of the candidates of the Four Great Master Teacher Academies, he turned to the candidates of Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy and challenged just them.
"I will go!" One of the Grade-1 candidates from Hongyuan stood up.
"Try to remember Principal Zhang's teachings. As long as you adhere to what he taught us, you won't lose," Zhu Jian quickly advised.
"Un." After watching so many battles, that candidate had also realized that Principal Zhang's teaching was beyond ordinary. With a nod of his head, he walked up the dueling platform.
With this realization in heart, his fight was significantly easier.
Within two moves, he had already found Ye Jun's flaw and crushed him with a palm, leaving the latter convulsing uncontrollably on the ground.
"The knowledge that Principal Zhang imparted to us is really formidable."
Seeing that yet another one of their own had cleared the selection to become a combat master, even knocking out the invigilator while doing so, the other candidates of Hongyuan felt a huge boost of confidence.
If they had still harbored any doubts regarding their principal's teaching previously, after witnessing this, the apprehension they had felt vanished, leaving nothing but awe and admiration for their principal.
Zhu Jian, Zhu Xi, and Zhao Chuan… As fellow Grade-1 students from Hongyuan, they were well aware of the strength that those three wielded. Under normal circumstances, putting aside defeating the combat masters, they wouldn't even have been able to match the top fifteen candidates from the Yunxu Master Teacher Academy.
Yet, all three of them had managed to emerge victorious through utilizing the teachings their principal had imparted to them an hour earlier. It was inconceivable, but their principal had managed to make the impossible happen!
"The heck… are they on drugs?" Looking at the two additional combat masters lying on the ground, Zhuo Qingfeng felt as if the limit of his sanity was being challenged.
A single person defeating a stronger opponent could be rationalized as extraordinary combat talent and luck. Two people was pushing it, but it might just have been overwhelming coincidence. But four people consecutively?
It was apparent to all that all four candidates from Hongyuan were significantly weaker than their opponents, be it in terms of zhenqi, strength, agility, or reflexes. Yet, all of them had still been able to floor the combat master they were facing with ease as soon as they made a move. Were they hacking?
Or could it be just as they had said, the hour of lecture really had such mystical effects?
But if that was really the case, wasn't that lecture a little too fearsome?
Unable to hold himself back, Zhuo Qingfeng turned his sight over and spoke with a questioning tone. "Principal Zhang, your students…"
Wo Tianqiong, Shen Pingchao, and Wu Ran also turned their gazes over.
They were also bewildered by the situation before them, and they direly wanted to know what was going on.
"Oh. I lectured them on combat techniques for an hour just before the battle, so perhaps they might have been able to comprehend some of it." Understanding the intention behind their gazes, Zhang Xuan nodded. Following which, helplessness and frustration surfaced on his face. "It really pains my heart to see them see that these fellows weren't able to comprehend the true essence of the combat techniques I imparted to them, using them crudely and sloppily."
He felt that it was truly a pity that he only had only been able to lecture them for an hour.
If only he'd had another hour, he would have been able to reinforce their knowledge further. Perhaps then, their movements wouldn't have looked so cringeworthy to him.
"Comprehend some of it? Pains your heart?" Zhuo Qingfeng couldn't help but shudder upon hearing those words.
This is the freaking result of only comprehending some of it?
If they really comprehend all of it, won't our entire Combat Master Hall be destroyed by your students?
Furthermore, we have only tested four of your students so far and four of our invigilators have already been floored. How do you expect us to continue the test?
In any case, our combat masters will lose anyway!
And more importantly… pains your heart? Pain your ass!
Your students were able to subdue my combat masters without even sustaining the slightest injury, and you say that your heart is in pain?
The one who should be in pain is me, alright…