“Why did they go in?” Tang Long raised a brow.
He was surprised but not mad because he never thought that the Stardust Sixteen would betray him. They had followed him ever since they were young and had never ever once disobeyed a single order from him.
Was it really destiny?
Tang Long watched from afar, somehow feeling like it was destiny.
He was not stupid, but he found it difficult to believe! Otherwise, what else should he believe in? The father who dumped him since he was young? The superior mother who was always missing and never even wanted to see him? Or Higan who left him without a second thought?
If he could not even trust the Stardust Sixteen, the people he had grown up with, his life would collapse right away.
Similar to what he said earlier, was it easier to be alive or dead?
The words were actually a thought that he buried deep in his mind. Someone as proud and perfect as Tang Long would never reveal it to others.
However, for whatever reason, he simply revealed his inner thoughts to the copper-faced man. Maybe he was too depressed.
Tang Long walked into the colosseum without any emotions and the crowd cheered thunderously upon his arrival. The girls even screamed infatuatedly.
Tang Long turned a blind eye to all the cheers and applause as he looked up at the giant silver screen and knew that it was the live broadcast of all the young geniuses, but he did not see Tang Ling’s figure anywhere.
Is he not here? Tang Long was surprised for a moment before he walked into the passage.
Behind him was a sea of anticipatory gazes. It had always been like this. Wherever he went, he could not escape the expectation of him.
Do they trust me this much? Actually…I hate this kind of trust.
A while after Tang Long went in, Tang Ling and Han Xing finally arrived at Hell Ledge.
Compared to the other young geniuses who dressed properly for the occasion, Tang Ling and Han Xing came in ordinary shirts and pants, which made them seem a little shabby.
“Let me have a look! Stop blocking me! Where’s my Ro Xin?” Right after he came in, Han Xing noticed the giant silver screen and he quickly searched for Ro Xin.
Tang Ling glanced at all the scenes and saw the rankings on the monolith. He was delighted that Ro Li was first at the moment.
Did he clear stage 12 with an A rating? Quite impressive.
Tang Ling and Han Xing might have been late, but since the day was a special one, during which all the geniuses would challenge Hell Ledge, they played the competition along the way as they came here.
They also knew all the rules about this competition, including stage 12’s Bronzemen Alley, stage 15’s Blazing Road, and the three prizes.
The decision to broadcast the competition to the public was because the colosseum was almost filled with people with statuses, so it was considered a rare occasion for Darkness Port to flaunt its generosity to the common citizens.
Or maybe it was to expand the competition’s reach.
Tang Ling, of course, did not care about the meaningless question. He was pondering why Ro Li got an A rating.
Did he make a round trip in that alley? It will surely increase the rating. Moreover, he used his puppets to inflict certain damage to the Bronzemen, plus he destroyed three of them, so that must be the key to increasing the ratings as well!
Tang Ling was very concerned about the details because he remembered his bet on himself! He must clear all the stages with SSS ratings, including stage 12!
When Boss Huang bet on his name on his behalf, the odds were only 1 to 20 or more, but when the Simpering Pierrot announced stages 12 and 15, the odds skyrocketed to one to 271!
It sounded ridiculous, but it was a proud achievement because there was only another person who had lower odds than Tang Ling, and that was Tang Long.
If Tang Long could clear all the stages with an SSS rating, the odds were one to 269.
Tang Ling did not really care. On the contrary, he hoped he was the one with the lowest rating because the odds would skyrocket to one to 500 or more!
His mind was already counting how much 100 Black Sea coins multiplied by 500 was.
His breath hurried when he got the answer, and he really wanted to slap himself. Why could he not pretend to be a retard or an idiot, or someone with extremely good luck?
The odds were only one of the many aspects. The most important thing was the Great Captain’s Belt, the tactical movement disk! The equipment that Tang Ling had dreamt about for day and night! If he could really get the belt, making his own tactical movement disk would no longer be necessary!
Many thoughts popped up in Tang Ling’s mind all of a sudden and he could not help but show a silly smile on his face.
The crowd was stunned.
Tang Ling was not a regular challenger and barely appeared in public. Other than several miracles, his performance did not really captivate attention.
What was with his silly smile? His dumb look was worlds apart from Tang Long’s calm and proud bearing.
Those who placed heavy bets on Tang Ling felt their hearts start to pound nervously and the girls who supported Tang Ling were somewhat embarrassed.
As for Han Xing? No one cared about his perverted behavior anyway despite him dancing and screaming on his own.
“Hey, isn’t that Ro Xin?!”
“Little Xin Xin! You are amazing! You’ve already reached stage 7? I love you!”
Stage 7? Was that something to be proud of? While competing with the other young geniuses, Ro Xin’s progress was considered slow, so what was there to be impressed by? Even though Ro Xin’s talent was medical knowledge, it was still…
However, the public knew that Han Xing liked Ro Xin, and after all the farces and jokes, this screaming was nothing.
The Simpering Pierrot got frustrated at Tang Ling and Han Xing’s reaction.
He had just started to arouse the crowd’s excitement and this competition was being broadcasted throughout the world, so all the major factions were watching! He could not allow these two idiots to ruin the atmosphere, especially Han Xing!
“Ahem! What have we here? Tang Ling and Han Xing? The duo whom many anticipate? You two are falling behind,” said the Simpering Pierrot.
Tang Ling looked asquint at the Simpering Pierrot and Han Xing did not even spare a glance as he was infatuated about Ro Xin. His mouth was mumbling gibberish like, ‘Beautiful! Cool! What slick action, as expected of my woman!’
Simper Pierrot did not know whether or not these two idiots were here just to steal the crowd’s attention, but they would not hold him back!
He turned away from the two idiots and spoke to the crowd, “Maybe it’s because of the outstanding performances that I forgot to mention a little detail about the prizes, but it’s not a major one. As all of you might have known, be it the Captain’s Mail or the underwater breathing device, the produced amounts are limited. There’re only around 20 or less Captain’s Mail, and I’m not sure about the number of underwater breathing devices.
“My guess is that if the number of prizes isn’t enough, we will have to give it out on a first-come-first-served basis. In that case, Ro Li is really lucky because at least, he secured himself a Captain’s Mail…”
Before the Simpering Pierrot could finish, a tiny gale whipped up in the colosseum.
It was actually Tang Ling and Han Xing pushing each other as they dashed into the passage. In less than 3 seconds, the two of them disappeared beyond Hell Ledge.
The crowd laughed amusedly.
There were also some who were embarrassed by the two of them. Some of them were the girls who supported Tang Ling and a number of men who believed that Han Xing was a real man.
As for the Simpering Pierrot, with his signature smile, he added, “Actually, I’m just joking. Darkness Port values this competition a lot. How can we not be prepared? I’m just trying to lighten up the mood and inform everyone that even if we overproduce, we will support the geniuses.”
Unfortunately, Tang Ling and Han Xing could not hear what the Simpering Pierrot said after that.
After going into Hell Ledge, unless one withdrew or was forced out of the scene due to injuries, they could not go back to the colosseum.
Withdrawing on purpose? Impossible! Tang Ling had to get an SSS rating in all the stages!
Therefore, the most exciting miracle happened before the eyes of the audience. Tang Ling’s initial result was the last on the ranking list and he had only cleared stage 3 with SSS ratings.
However, after 1 minute and 15 seconds later, he cleared the fourth stage in record-breaking time.
Another 1 minute 44 seconds later, he cleared stage 5 in record-breaking time.
After that was stage 6, the stage that held up most of the young geniuses for a long time. Tang Ling cleared it within 2 minutes 7 seconds which was also a record-breaking time.
As a matter of fact, since Tang Ling was the last and was late for the challenge, the crowd had gotten bored by the early stages. No matter how well Tang Ling performed, he could barely attract the crowd’s attention.
However, his record-breaking time slowly shifted the crowd’s attention back to him, the miracle kid.
What was going on? Had he gotten used to creating miracles? The record that he broke was none other than Tang Long’s records!
Could this mean that Tang Ling was stronger than Tang Long? No, it was not that. It was because Tang Ling had not been actively challenging and Tang Long had cleared up to stage 6 a few months ago.
Therefore, after a few months, it was certain that their levels of strengths were different. Even so, Tang Ling’s attempts were considered amazing!
What about Tang Long? How did he perform?
In fact, had Tang Ling not cleared multiple stages in record-breaking time and reached stage 7 in a single run, the people’s attention should have been focused on Tang Long.
Tang Long cleared two stages in record-breaking time, but he had not started stage 9. Instead, he was waiting in the resting room.
It was simple actually. After Tang Long cleared stage 8, he unintentionally saw Tang Ling on the monitors in the resting room.
He paused because he wanted to clear stage 9 with Tang Ling. The persistence in his heart was acting up and driving him to compete with Tang Ling. Regardless of the result, his heart would never be calm.
Thankfully, he did not have to wait long. If Tang Ling was mediocre, he would not be worthy of Tang Long’s match anyway.
Tang Ling cleared stage 7 with 1 minute 59 seconds but did not break Tang Long’s record.
He then cleared stage 8 with 2 minutes 3 seconds, breaking Tang Long’s record.
Tang Ling then ended up in the resting room, preparing for stage 9.
Breaking the records of normal stages was no longer important to both Tang Ling and Tang Long. A slight distraction would result in the biggest difference in result and it was not a true reflection of their strength.
Their strengths should be displayed at the important stages, should they not?
Tang Ling also glanced over Tang Long in his resting room on the screen, he could not have missed it because it was too eye-catching.
The two of them looked at each other through the screen. The tacit understanding between them was strong; not all feelings should be made verbal.
The two of them disappeared from their resting areas and the challenge for stage 9 started!
However, when they were spiraling into the scene, Tang Ling felt something strange. The odd feeling had been troubling him ever since he glanced over at the silver screen and started to think.
He thought of having another glance at the silver screen back then but the Simpering Pierrot distracted him.
This time around, it was his and Tang Long’s rivalry and he could not afford any delay.
Nevertheless, Tang Ling tried to turn around for a glimpse, but his body was spiraling as he was being transported. He could not even control his body, so how could he catch a glimpse of the screen?
Tang Ling and Tang Long appearing at the same time and starting the same stage together added a lot of spices in the viewing experience.
The girls who supported Tang Long got more frantic and the girls who supported Tang Ling forgot about their embarrassment and cheered for him as well.
“I’m jealous of the two of them. So many upper-class lasses like them. I guess this is what you call being youthful and proud, am I right?” A male audience started to mock the reaction from the girls. Even though his tone sounded sour, he was also an upper-class individual, so his emotions were under control.
“They are the incredible duo after all. But I think both Tang Ling and Tang Long won’t spare a glance at the girls. Since Tang Long’s identity and status are there for all to see and Tang Ling seemed to have unsevered ties with the famous queen…” Those who watched Tang Ling and Tang Long’s competition somehow felt assured.
As if what they were discussing was something reasonable and logical, to the point that they could calmly gossip for a while.
“Hey, how old are they exactly? How can they be part of a love drama?” A female fan overheard the conversation and stopped the two men from gossiping.
It was then that an elder angrily stomped his crutch on the ground and said, “This is an era full of stars. Don’t just pay attention to the incredible duo! No matter how great Tang Ling and Tang Long performed today, their combined light won’t be able to outshine all the other young geniuses…”
Before the elder finished, thunderous cheers came from the audience.
The True Capital Seven were all on stage 12, the Bronzemen Alley. They had been performing steadily up until now, but they were outshone by the other young geniuses.
However, it was finally time for them to grab the spotlight.
As though they agreed to it beforehand, on the silver screen, the seven of them started to emanate a faint crimson glow.
An insightful spectator recognized the glow on the True Capital Seven amidst the thunderous cheers, so he shouted excitedly, “The War Aura! Is it the War Aura?!”
“It really is the War Aura! And it’s already a faint crimson color! They’ve finally decided to go all out!” the elder with the crutch smiled and commented.
On the screen, the True Capital Seven’s presence was unlike before. Even though they were still teenagers, every one of them felt like they were veterans on the battlefield who had been through countless merciless battles. At the same time, their aura made them feel like they were a one-man army!
As they wrapped themselves with the War Aura, the Bronzemen’s attack no longer threatened them.
The seven of them had to dodge the Bronzemen’s attack at the start of the stage, but now, with their muscles bulging and glowing a strange red color, they no longer evaded. Instead, they attacked in an unusually violent way.
Was it a crazy move? Of course, it was not!
With the War Aura buffering their bodies, their pain receptors were numbed for a certain period of time. Numbing their pain receptors was just one of the many effects of the War Aura. On a deeper level, it could bring out their full potential.
Be it their body defenses or bone integrity, they were at least twice as strong and their attacks would increase according to their strength.
This would be the War Aura, a top-tier cultivating method that came from some mysterious place. It was known as one of the few most difficult cultivations.
It was said that when the War Aura reached a certain zenith, the aura could materialize into a war seed, and someone in the True Capital military had achieved it. On top of that, the War Aura could continue growing!
“It seems like the True Capital has invested heavily in the seven of them. Cultivating one’s War Aura requires tremendous resources.” Someone with a better insight into the War Aura was impressed by the True Capital Seven’s astounding performance.
“Sometimes, resources aren’t the key to success. Without an unyielding will, one may not even cultivate the War Aura, yet these seven kids were able to cultivate their War Aura to faint crimson at their age. The True Capital really has seven treasures in their possession,” another man with sufficient understanding of War Aura added.
“I know that, but I have a new question. All seven of them unveiled their War Aura at the same time. What do you think it means?” asked the first man who commented on the War Aura.
The second person was silenced! What else could he say? Anyone with a better insight into the War Aura knew that there were many ways to cultivate it with the hardest of them all being the Cumulative War Aura which involved several people cultivating the same War Aura together and using a certain special method to synchronize their auras together.
The Cumulative War Aura was a terrifying one as it could connect a part of True Capital Seven’s strength and life force together although only those who cultivated it knew it.
Another fact that silenced the audience was the True Capital itself. Its practicality, low profile, and strength were things that people admired and could never surpass!
Even though the True Capital Seven might not be the most eye-catching ones such as Tang Ling and Tang Long, when the seven of them got together, among the young geniuses, could Tang Ling or Tang Long even be their match?
The True Capital Seven might not even need the most strategic tactics to fight as they could settle with a less effective tactic and overpower their opponent with cumulative strength.
On the screen, after the True Capital Seven unleashed their aurae, they moved through Bronzemen Alley with ease and they would certainly clear the stage with a high rating.
However, were their trump cards only the War Aura? Why did they not show off their talent or abilities? If they were without any talents or abilities, they would never be the young geniuses of the era.
It meant that they were handling the situation with ease, they did not need to use their other trump cards!
Others might not know, but the higher-ups of Darkness Port understood it clearly. Darkness Port had its own pride to protect as well and its rival had always been the True Capital.
The competition between young geniuses might seem childish and the powers they displayed were still shallow, but it was related to the future.
The True Capital Seven had always laid a low profile, but Darkness Port had studied them for a long time. Unfortunately, after a few years of studying, Darkness Port failed to find out the difference between the True Capital Seven and the common geniuses.
Today, the True Capital Seven revealed one of their playing hands and finally provided Darkness Port with a glimpse of their true powers.
What about the Dark Nine Feathers? It seemed like they were not performing as well as the True Capital Seven even before the seven of them unveiled their War Aurae.
Did Dark Nine Feathers have any trump cards under their sleeves?
Fortunately, it was the Hell Ledge Challenge the young geniuses were taking part in.
The question even troubled many of the higher-ups of Darkness Port, but the answer would soon be revealed in the colosseum.
Of course, the nine of them had their own trump cards!
The Dark Nine Feathers had always made it to stage 12, and as if they saw the True Capital Seven’s taking on the stage, the moment the nine of them entered, they unveiled their true strength.
All nine of them emanated a faint black glow with a dash of silver glimmer around them!
What was that? Was it a type of War Aura as well?
No, the Dark Nine Feathers were emanating Kill Aura, another type of aura comparable to War Aura! It was also one of the hardest aurae to cultivate and was around the same tier as the War Aura.
What was the Kill Aura?
It was a type of energy that repaired one’s spirit, and when it exploded, it would pressure the enemy and force control on them.
Other than that, it forfeited the defense of the War Aura and focused fully on speed. Once activated, the Kill Aura would grant its user at least 1.5 times their speed, and when coupled with the control ability from their spirit, it was another heaven-defying ability.
Lastly, its offense was without a doubt stellar. If the Kill Aura rebuffed one’s attack more than the War Aura since the former was mostly used for instant attack, the best outcome would be an instant kill, hence the requirement for a stronger offense.
It seemed like the Kill Aura was much stronger, but as a matter of fact, the two different aurae had their own forte. It depended on the situation and the user.
If it was a risky situation, the Kill Aura would be more effective. If it was on the battlefield, the War Aura was indubitably stronger.
After all, the Kill Aura did not work on its user defense and it even used a secret method to forfeit defense for offense. On top of that, the Kill Aura’s duration was much shorter than the War Aura, but it would be enough, more than enough, to be precise!
The higher-ups of Darkness Port were excited. The nine of them had kept the secret from the higher-ups very well, too well, in fact.
The moment the Kill Aura was activated, the nine of them neglected the attacks of the Bronzemen and flew across the alley like the wind.
However, they were searching for a chance to destroy the Bronzemen and, without a doubt, an attempt to gain a better rating than the True Capital Seven. At least, they must fight for a draw.
In order to achieve a better rating, because the Bronzemen must be destroyed, they could not simply dodge and shuttle across the alley.
The crowd was silenced.
Had Darkness Port finally unveiled their hidden trump card? Had the Dark Nine Feathers been cultivating the Kill Aura all this while? Was it because the higher-ups got intel about the True Capital Seven cultivating the War Aura, hence they specifically told the nine of them to cultivate the opposite?
Darkness Port would never give an answer to the questions, so it was all up to the people’s guesses.
However, from another aspect, it also showed that Darkness Port’s intelligence network might be even stronger than the True Capital’s. At least, Darkness Port now had the foundation to challenge True Capital.
After all, intelligence was important regardless of time and era.
Moreover, the Dark Nine Feathers were as strong as the True Capital!