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The Card Apprentice 392 An Unexpected Change

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Finally, in the 22nd episode, there was a big victory on the front lines!

There was jubilation at the Federation Comprehensive Academy, with nothing to be seen on campus of the dejection that had filled it not long before. The Federation Comprehensive Academy had won a truly significant victory that time. After Tang Hanpei had defeated the master of the Central Repository of the Classics in the full view of the world, his popularity had been propelled to the top once again. Now, following Song Chengyan's big victory, Tang Hanpei again showed the world his unrivaled ability.

The Federation Comprehensive Academy had only a single voice by then—the voice of Tang Hanpei. What could better show heroic glory than turning the tide of adversity by virtue of one's personal power? Tang Hanpei could be said to be at his zenith. Having just defeated the master of the Central Repository of the Classics, he had become the number-one ace in the federation in everyone's mind! Not only was he the fanatically worshiped idol of the scholars at the Federation Comprehensive Academy, but he was undoubtedly the most influential person in the federation, given its current state! He had become the final winner of the game.

The scene of jubilation at the Federation Comprehensive Academy influenced the entire capital. Previously, the capital had also been the jurisdiction of the federation government. However, following the decline of the government's influence, together with the overwhelming power of the Big Six, the capital had become dominated by the Federation Comprehensive Academy.

But the jubilation in the capital was nowhere near that of the Federation Comprehensive Academy. Although the Federation Comprehensive Academy had become the ones really in control of the capital, the citizens still needed some time to get used to that.

Those on campus were aroused, and there were cheering and excited students all over. When two students ran into one another, they both looked overjoyed.

"There's been a big victory on the front lines, senior classmate Wen Ruo! We finally won! How fantastic!"

"Yeah! The great Song Chengyan is so awesome! He really deserves to be called a tactical genius! But we still have to give credit to the great Tang! If it weren't for him, humph, that gang of pigs would have long since sold out the school!

"Ha ha! Let's not bring up those pieces of trash at such a happy time, senior classmate. In any case, he's not going to let them off when the great Tang Hanpei gets back! It's just…" He hesitated for a moment. "It's been so long since Tang Hanpei has returned that I wonder if something might have happened."

"Don't say that! How could it be? The great Tang Hanpei is the top ace in the federation, and no one could mean him any harm." Senior classmate Wen Ruo was glaring.

"That's so true!" that student sputtered, knowing he'd said the wrong thing.

"There's going to be a get-together tonight where everyone's getting ready to celebrate the victory!"

"Where is it? Where is it? I have to go! You can't just drop that on me, senior classmate!" His face was full of expectation as he looked at Wen Ruo pathetically.

Just as the Federation Comprehensive Academy students were getting ready to party, there was the sudden sound of a voice broadcast across the campus.

"Jie Yanbai from the Central Repository of the Classics wants to take a lesson from the Federation Comprehensive Academy! Who's going to fight me?"

All of the celebration that had just been going on at the Federation Comprehensive Academy abruptly quieted, and everyone's gazes turned toward the sky. The only thing in the sky was a raggedy youth holding his body proudly erect as his gaze swept slowly over the campus.

Is that guy nuts? That was the first thought that popped into everyone's mind. Then, after everyone had reacted a few seconds later, a huge uproar engulfed nearly the entire campus. Some of them were furious, and some were mocking.

Jie Yanbai?

The students at the Federation Comprehensive Academy were all too familiar with that guy. The fame of Jie Yanbai had an indelible connection to the Federation Comprehensive Academy. When Jie Yanbai had come forward to challenge Former President Pavchek, although he had lost, he had gotten Pavchek's praise. That had made his reputation.

Could that guy actually be so arrogant? Does he think he's the great Tang Hanpei?

Since the conflicts between the two schools weren't as sharp when he had last made his challenge, everyone had been able to rest easy. But the Federation Comprehensive Academy and Central Repository of the Classics had now become mortal enemies! It was a disgrace to have one's gate kicked in by a student of the enemy!

At about the same time that Jie Yanbai's voice faded, countless people's trails were converging at high speed in that direction. In an instant, Jie Yanbai had gathered all the aces among the students in the Federation Comprehensive Academy! The dense mass of student card artisans were looking at him murderously, making a scene that simply took one's breath away.

Jie Yanbai's expressionless face didn't change in the least.

"I never thought Brother Jie would still be alive and well! What a cause for joy! For the past little while, I've been hearing that Brother Jie had gone missing, which really distressed your little brother. I didn't think there would be any way to ask for your advice, which would be such a pity!"

A soft, feminine voice languidly mocked as a tall man came out from the crowd. When the other students saw who it was, they all made way. His eyes were narrow, and he had a high nose and thin, dark lips. Although there was a slight smile on his face, everyone felt an involuntary chill. He wore a white battle suit and an evil grin in the corner of his mouth, and he remained calm and unruffled in the midst of the turmoil.

Dou Bo was an upperclassman and one of the top aces of the younger generation at the Federation Comprehensive Academy. He had sparred with Mi Xiaqing, getting a narrow victory. Mi Xiaqing was the disciple of the master of the Central Repository of the Classics, and his fame far exceeded that of Jie Yanbai. When everyone saw Dou Bo emerge, they consciously chose to remain onlookers.

Although everyone looked furious, the scene remained orderly. No one was so stupid as to mob him just then. Since they had just gotten the news of the victory at the front lines, a lot of reporters were on their way to Federation Comprehensive Academy. Who knew if some reporters were there already? If they were being photographed, it would cost the Federation Comprehensive Academy a lot of prestige.

As they saw it, Dou Bo would likely win against Jie Yanbai. The two weren't at the same level whether on the basis of strength or fame.

"I heard Brother Jie's Rouged Finger had been used by a woman. When I see Brother Jie now, I'm still thinking it's something used by beggars." Dou Bo was smiling, and he drew a burst of laughter. With his ragged white clothes, Jie Yanbai did look vaguely like a beat-up beggar.

In his white bodysuit, Dou Bo looked heroic by comparison and rather threatening. He always wore a slightly evil smile, which made the hearts of women flutter. The two of them made a powerful contrast.

"Fight if you're going to, and don't waste words." Jie Yanbai had a serious expression. Although he was disheveled, he still gave off a powerfully formidable aura.

The students in the Federation Comprehensive Academy then fell abruptly silent and looked a little aghast. Perception! Powerful perception! So long as they were card artisans, they could all feel how powerful the perception emitted by Jie Yanbai was!

The look of mockery on Dou Bo's face quickly subsided as he squinted and slowly spoke. "No wonder Brother Jie dared to come alone to our Federation Comprehensive Academy, wanting to forge straight ahead. I should have known."

Jie Yanbai clearly didn't want to stay tangled up in talk and said with a low shout, "Let's go!"

* * *

Tang Hanpei was stunned to see his face so haggard as Song Chengyan lay on the sickbed. He didn't know what to say. On the way back to the Federation Comprehensive Academy after humiliating the Central Repository of the Classics, he had heard Song Chengyan was in a coma. In his shock, he had rushed day and night to get there.

Some guilt arose from his heart, but he quickly controlled his feelings and put on a weak smile.

"The hostilities are over with. You should rest, and get better. You don't have to think about anything." Tang Hanpei spoke softly, looking very concerned.

Wei Lan was watching coldly, a look of hatred flashing past her eyes. But she didn't say anything, only standing calmly by Song Chengyan's side.

Song Chengyan smiled with difficulty, as though the effort to move his facial muscles wasn't so hard. He said, "Big Brother Tang doesn't need to worry about me. There won't be anything wrong with me after a while. I still haven't congratulated Big Brother Tang. After defeating the master of the Central Repository of the Classics, your number-one spot in the federation is solid."

There was no joy on Tang Hanpei's face as he shook his head and said mildly, "It's only an empty reputation. If I could exchange that for restoring you to health, I wouldn't say I didn't want the empty name. I might even want a few more to grab for you." He wasn't impassioned but spoke as though he were reciting something common. But there was a powerful self-confidence between the lines, which was revealing!

Hearing what he said, Wei Lan, whose face had been stiff, finally relaxed a little.

Behind the thick black glasses, those weak but lively eyes became a little more expressive, though the voice clearly didn't have much breath behind it. "An empty name can sometimes be useful. Once we get through all this, Big Brother Tang's power will be established. When you add the help of Captain Wei…" Getting to that point, he took a look at Wei Lan before continuing on. "Big Brother Tang will already have real power in his hands."

He suddenly started to cough violently. Wei Lan became panicked, and she ran over to his side and patted him on the chest with a nervous expression while her tears dropped. Tang Hanpei also rushed to say, "Don't talk; just rest!"

Song Chengyan coughed for a while before stopping. He raised his head, and a touch of color floated onto his haggard face. A bad feeling arose in Tang Hanpei's heart.

"After getting through all of this, probably nobody would have the idea to fight us. After Big Brother Tang returns, just sort out the powers inside the school. Given the additional prestige we've gotten from this war, no one inside the school can pose a threat to Big Brother Tang."

Seeing the flush on Song Chengyan's face deepen, Tang Hanpei felt more apprehensive and jumpy inside. "Don't talk, Chengyan. Rest. You don't have to think about anything. Don't worry. Just take good care, and get better. I'll be waiting to campaign together with you and our brothers!"

"Let me speak, Big Brother Tang." The normally mild Song Chengyan had become unusually stubborn. "This chaotic situation has never happened before. The Big Six would be lucky if half of them survive. Big Brother Tang must be careful of the Star Academy! They are the most dangerous among all the powers."

"Why?" Tang Hanpei couldn't help but ask.

"Right now, it's the Big Six plus Faya who are the seven independent powerhouses. Faya is not worth being afraid of. They look powerful, but their true foundation is too shallow. They might win for a while, but they will lose in the end! The feud between Desert Camp and Moon Frost Island runs deep, on top of which the two sides share a border and are sure to be incessantly battling from now on. If there's no one leading the troops at the Central Repository of the Classics, the decline of their power has already been determined, and they'll be powerless to turn things around. Although the Bitter Solitude Temple is powerful and has a solid foundation, they'll never get rid of their religious background, which is their fatal flaw. Their religious nature makes them unshakable in the Fanasi District, but it also hinders them from further expansion. That leaves only Star Academy…"

Song Chengyan's voice rattled to a stop.

That night, the commanding general of the Federation Comprehensive Academy, Song Chengyan, died of his illness. That rocked the federation.
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