Xu Jingming tapped into the combat space and saw his four other companions; his five opponents were standing opposite him a distance away.
“Little Xu.” A short-haired, middle-aged man smiled at Xu Jingming.
“Senior Brother Dong,” Xu Jingming greeted politely. The middle-aged man in front of him was ‘Bizarro Twin Sabers’ Master Dong Xu. He was also Liu Hai’s disciple, but he was much older than Xu Jingming.
“Our team sure has a nice mix. Brother Dong Xu and Jingming, the two of you are veterans of the martial arts arena.” The chubby Panda Zhang Qian was the number one influencer in the martial arts industry and had a lot of connections. “Wu Sai is a world-class boxing champion of two classes. As for Wang Yi, she doesn’t need mentioning—the goddess of current-day archery.”
“Hello, everyone.” Wang Yi smiled; she was a woman of few words.
“I’ve never fought in martial arts before, so please forgive me.” Boxer King Wu Sai was very muscular, and he spoke with a smile. “We boxers use dual shields because it’s easier to pick up. When the time comes, I’ll be the vanguard to fend off the other party’s attacks.”
“I use a tri-point double-edged halberd,” Zhang Qian said. “I also use concealed projectiles.”
“Dual sabers and concealed projectiles,” Master Dong Xu said.
“A spear and dual shield,” Xu Jingming said.
“Bow and arrow,” Wang Yi said.
Panda Zhang Qian was delighted when he heard that. “Very good. Jingming and Wu Sai both use shields, so our team’s defense is much stronger. After all, the other party has Hercules Gao Chong.”
Gao Chong! Xu Jingming, Dong Xu, Wang Yi, and Wu Sai all turned solemn.
Of the five people in front of them, who caught their attention the most was Hercules Gao Chong because he had obtained first place in the World Martial Arts Tournament! The Martial Arts Alliance had given him the title of ‘Hercules.’
“Please have one team member choose a weapon and equipment.” The virtual game voice sounded.
“Equipment selection is done in alternating order,” Panda Zhang Qian explained. “One person on our side will choose before two people on their side chooses. Following that, two people on our side will choose, and the other side will have two choose. Finally, two people on our side will choose before a single person on their side chooses… This is because both parties can see each other’s weapons and equipment, so they can choose targeted weapons and equipment.”
“I’ll be the first to choose. I only know how to use dual shields.” Boxer King Wu Sai quickly donned armor and held two shields.
The number of viewers in China’s official livestream rapidly increased as the competition began.
“There’s already 380 million people, and it’s still rising. There are so many people,” Xu Hong exclaimed in surprise.
“Both parties are choosing their weapons and equipment,” Liu Xin said from the commentator platform. “Wu Sai is a world-class boxing champion of two classes. He’s famous for his footwork and evasion, as well as his heavy punches. He chose dual shields! On the other side are ‘Hercules’ Gao Chong and ‘Bloody Ax’ Wang Qiao, who have both selected their weapons and equipment.”
“Gao Chong chose heavy armor; it’s estimated to weigh at least 300 kilograms.” Head Coach Huang Yong sighed in surprise. “Even in the virtual world with everyone’s bodies having evolved, wearing 300 kilograms of heavy armor still isn’t a small burden.”
“Gao Chong is the world champion of the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament! He is famous for his extraordinary strength. From his physique that has become even more muscular than in reality, he should’ve practiced Giant Bear Evolution—which is known for its strength. His strength should’ve reached an even more terrifying level,” Qin Yiwen exclaimed in surprise. “Moreover, with his spearmanship, the threat he poses is very high.”
“Bloody Ax Wang Qiao first appeared in the 12th World Martial Arts Tournament, and he came in second at the 15th World Martial Arts Tournament,” Huang Yong said.
“The last contestant, the 97-year-old senior—Liu Jianfeng—chose a sword. Of the ten, he’s the only one who chose a sword. Goddess of War, Sun Yuting, has decided on a shield and sword combination. In melee combat with cold weapons, just having a single-handed sword puts one at a disadvantage.” Liu Xin was surprised, but she immediately said, “Alright, the five people on both sides have finished choosing their weapons and equipment. Coaches, any bets on which side will win?”
“The team on the left,” Huang Yong said. “Goddess of War Sun Yuting and Bloody Ax Wang Qiao both use shields and weapons, making them suitable for direct frontal attacks. There’s also Hercules Huang Chong’s frontal charge! Liu Jianfeng and Miao Blade Heroine Lian Shuang are speedy and can carry out sneak attacks and assassinations. Of course, the most important thing is… I think highly of Huang Chong!”
“I’m optimistic about the team on the right because it has our Sharpshooter. She’s the only sharpshooter out of the ten,” Qin Yiwen said. “Boxer King Wu Sai and Spear Demon Xu Jingming both use dual shields. Xu Jingming had also used dual shields in the World Martial Arts Tournament.”
“His dual shield techniques were imparted to him by his master, Liu Hai, after he joined the national team. He is very talented in shield techniques and has also used his dual shields to defeat his opponents in the World Martial Arts Tournament. He’s still very skilled,” Huang Yong added.
“The two shield-bearers can protect Sharpshooter, allowing her to freely unleash hellfire,” Qin Yiwen said. “I’m optimistic about the right team’s chances in this battle.”
“All the best, Jingming,” Grandpa Xu shouted excitedly.
“They always praise Gao Chong, but they don’t talk about Jingming,” Mrs. Xu said.
“Of these ten, Gao Chong is probably the strongest,” Mr. Xu said. Being an industry insider, he commented, “He did very well in the competition back then. When others compete, they need to use all kinds of wit, but he just runs rampant in the match without hiding at all! He literally charged his way to world champion. When Gao Chong retired, his master—Liu Hai—commented that when it came to spear dominance in China’s martial arts circle… Gao Chong is number one!”
“Don’t toot the horn of the enemy!” Grandpa Xu glared at him. “It hasn’t even started, and you’re already cowering? In a competition, there’s only one thing—fight!”
Xu Hong immediately smiled obsequiously. “Dad, you’re right. Jingming has the ability to become world champion after his leg recovers. At the very least, he can equal Gao Chong.”
“Yes.” Grandpa Xu looked at the combat space. “I’m most curious about that old guy named Liu Jianfeng. He’s 97 years old, and he reached Divine on the first day.”
“Uncle, do you know this Senior Liu Jianfeng?” Li Miaomiao asked.
“I’ve traveled the world and visited all the schools domestically, but I really don’t know him,” Xu Hong said. “However, his surname is Liu… Jingming’s master is Liu Hai, and in his hometown, every member of the Liu family in Jibeicang County practices martial arts. Many also have the surname ‘Liu.'”
“The battle has begun!” Li Miaomiao looked at the combat space.
“China’s first Divine battle in the virtual world begins,” Liu Xin said loudly. “The battle map for this match is the town map.”
It was drizzling in an ancient town.
The ten people were scattered around the town.
Xu Jingming wore dark-red light body armor, held a spear, and had a pair of shields on his back. He appeared on the second floor of a restaurant.
“Miao Blade Heroine Lian Shuang and Senior Liu Jianfeng should be good at assassination. We have to rendezvous and protect our sharpshooter,” Zhang Qian said through the team chat. “Of course, Brother Dong Xu can act alone.”
“Alright.” The five members of the team didn’t have any objections.
Through the map, they knew their teammates’ locations.
Xu Jingming went down the stairs of the restaurant and exited from the back door. The rain fell on his face like strands of silk, refreshing him.
Xu Jingming stuck to the wall and carefully walked forward, his ears carefully listening for any movements.
Meanwhile, the thin Master Dong Xu—who practiced Shadow Leopard Evolution—wore leather armor and moved like a ghost. He held two sabers as he traversed the alleys in search of prey.
The other team’s five members had already reached a consensus.
“Senior Brother Wang Qiao, Sun Yuting, you guys rendezvous with me first. Lian Shuang and Grandpa Liu Jianfeng, you can move about freely. It’s best if you can kill the sharpshooter at the start of the battle,” Hercules Gao Chong said through the team chat.
“The battle has just begun, so everyone is scattered across the town. It’s the best chance for me to assassinate the sharpshooter.” Miao Blade Heroine Lian Shuang’s figure turned blurry as she whooshed up to the roof. She then walked carefully and searched for her target from above.
Liu Jianfeng was thin like a monkey. He hung his sword at his waist, and in a few turns, disappeared from sight.
“What speed!” In the livestream, Liu Xin, Huang Yong, and Qin Yiwen had all noticed Liu Jianfeng.
Huang Yong even said, “Among the members of both teams—Dong Xu, Lian Shuang, and Grandpa Liu Jianfeng are probably good at movement speed, but it’s obvious that… Grandpa Liu Jianfeng is the fastest and most agile.”
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!
Grandpa Liu Jianfeng traversed the town and occasionally stopped to take a look. Once he made a move, he would appear in the distance before disappearing into an alley with a few steps.
Liu Jianfeng suddenly stopped, his ears twitching, and he carefully walked to a room in an inn. He quietly watched from the window and saw a figure walking carefully not far away—it was Xu Jingming.
“Grandpa Liu Jianfeng has discovered Spear Demon Xu Jingming!” Huang Yong shouted immediately.. “Xu Jingming hasn’t sensed it yet. He’s in danger!”