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177 Chapter 177 – Returning Sho

 His footsteps didn't stop for even half a second as he shifted his position in order to keep a consistent angle of thirty degrees and a safe distance of 70 meters from Lily. This accurate use of evasion and mobility without the need to think was already above what the word 'expert' could be used to summarize. It might also just be an innate talent of his.

To be suppressed was just a natural occurrence. Heavy hot weapons were simply the natural enemies of heavy soldiers, even more so with an expert like Simon.

Those cheering voices quickly died away as everyone watched the fight in silence.

Lily's performance had indeed made everyone feel astonished as she had made huge improvements. The current her even gave others the feeling as though she possessed the qualifications to rush into the elite division. It was just a pity that her opponent was even stronger than she.

Nothing could be criticized about her opponent's choice of combat techniques and strategy. He had acute eyesight and extremely rich combat experience. Regardless of whether one considered his care for details or the disparity in soul power, Lily was inferior by a notch.

This wasn't a fight between equals. Her opponent's cannon fire was too heavy. If she were to be hit directly by it, she might not even last three hits. Only if she could take on the shots would she have been able to endure through and launch a strong counter-offensive.

"She can't escape anymore! If she does, she'll end up against the wall!"

"Just that little bit! Just a small spurt of strength! What's there to be afraid of! Kill him!"

Various emotional voices rang out from the surrounding audience, but not the slightest bit of fluctuation could be seen on Lily's face.

If Simon was regularly calculating and locking down her movements, then she was similarly calculating his positioning and firing habits.

In the past, she had always loved to use simple unyielding force to solve everything head on. It was only after practicing with Wang Zhong and the rest for the last two months that she realized a huge change in her perception and understanding of the fight and combat as a whole.

It was just that laughably bastardly air coming from Wang Zhong and Grai that intimidated her, but it was due to the training environment.

Inside Saint Judgement she would rely purely on her strength and violence and use charging techniques to deal with her training partners. Reeves was stronger than her, but he never bothered to accompany her in her training. This made her feel a misconception that nothing was better than using head-on force. When she met people she couldn't defeat, she would just assume it was due to her not being powerful enough and she didn't wonder if her combat techniques, fighting style, or any other point was the issue.

Sparring and interacting with Wang Zhong, Grai, and the rest made her realize how laughable her previous perception had been. One's character was determined by how one was nurtured. Only an expert could raise up other experts. Due to this, she became open-minded and asked for much guidance from her two junior brothers. In fact, she even asked Scarlet for help. She never imagined that Scarlet would have such talent as she never openly revealed her abilities in the academy.

Therefore, she had changed the concepts behind her combat techniques and even her fighting habits. She learned many new things that she once felt disdain and contempt for. As an example...

A flash appeared in Lily's eyes as she welcomed an oncoming cannon shot that was leaned just a bit to the right. In the next moment, akin to a taut bowstring suddenly snapping and twisting, her silver-armoured body moved in a zigzag pattern as she furiously dashed through the shot and toward Simon!

"Bhander's Layering Dash?"

"No, its Zorrof's Lightning Steps!"

They were similar layering dashes, but Zorrof's Lightning Steps weren't as exquisite as Bhander's Layering Dash. The difference was small, easily allowing one to make the wrong judgement. The speed of Bhander, however, was definitely faster than Zorrof's.

After being shot at for such a long time, she had calculated the impact zone of Simon's cannon shot. She even calculated where he would move to next!

The energy cannon shot seemed to rub against her body, scraping a layer of armor off her back. This didn't in the slightest have an effect on her speed. In the blink of an eye she broke through the binding shots and shot forth toward where Simon would head to! That instantaneous eruption of speed from her Lightning Steps allowed everyone to imagine the miserable expression on Simon's face as he faced this heavy sword soldier that would appear in front of him within the next three seconds!

When the saw the scene before them, the entire competition grounds seemed to turned dead silent in an instant. Then a number of students stood and roared as they saw the brilliance of Lily's actions and her astonishing Lightning Steps.

But at that moment, a cannon shot violently hit her square in the back. Lily stumbled forward, her Lightning Steps ruined. An instant later, another cannon shot howled from her opponent and struck home. She lost control of her body and was sent flying back violently. Before she could land, however, another heavy cannon shot hit her directly once more!

Bang! Bang! Bang!

Lily's soul power defense was instantly shattered as she flew from the stage. A moment later, Simon's posed with his cannon placed leisurely against his shoulder. Those three cannon shots had been enough to shatter Lily's soul power, and the last one was even able to knock her unconcious. If he had fired one more shot, she might really have died.

Injuries were unavoidable in such official competitions. Even death was something one couldn't avoid perfectly. Still, to purposefully kill someone wasn't permitted. No matter what, all soldiers who sparred needed some level of restraint. Especially those in such a dominant position as Simon.

The watching Tianjing audience turned silent. They had been prepared for a shining star to appear, but in the end they discovered it was all just a nightmare.

Returning Shot!

This was the shot that suddenly appeared and caught Lily off guard. She had placed all of her concentration on evading his frontal assault and had been struck squarely by it.

The returning shot and arc shot could be called the core techniques of long-ranged combat. It wasn't as difficult to execute as the arc shot, but the critical element lay in the control Simon had throughout the entire fight. He had long predicted Lily's dash and used it as part of the trap he had set up. The positioning of his shot gave Lily the chance to dash forward and narrow the distance. He used that shot as bait, something Lily couldn't simply ignore.

This was such a terrifying calculative and analytical ability. The fight could be rated as the classic example of a planned fight. In Simon's eyes, the hard-working Lily was just reduced to a moving live target.

First Round. Adolf Academy's Simon wins!

Hymin was currently helping Lily with her treatment. In fact, the injuries had been rather light. She had only been knocked unconscious due to the intense and abrupt impact that shut down the flow of blood to her brain momentarily. It was good that their opponent had control over his yardstick. It proved that his strength and eyes were indeed better than hers.

Tianjing's side didn't feel flustered over the lost. Their group of nine new exactly how strong they were compared to their opponents.

Regardless of whether it was the heaven-defying dueling abilities of Grai or the master of pen and sword, Wang Zhong, the two were labeled as the two great trump cards. So long as they weren't played, the team wouldn't lose.

But this didn't mean those watching or others thought the same.

Everyone's gaze converged on Wang Zhong's body. It was as though they were trying to exert invisible pressure from all directions. It even made the Tianjing Squadron feel a bit solemn and grave.

The use of Lily in the first round led to her facing a counter. While many wished to curse and shout out, they all knew their reason for cursing wasn't enough. There was even the slight feeling of them trying to nitpick.

Tianjing Academy's strength was just at that level. Sending Lily in the vanguard was in fact the most stable choice. If someone else had been chosen to face the terrifying Simon, chances were they wouldn't be able to do much better than Lily. Even the King of the Freshmen, Grai, might not have differed any better.

Those with more acute eyes knew the critical element would be in the second match. Since the hope of a good beginning had turned into a failure, and both sides' opening probe was complete, the lineup that followed would be the key change. After all, they still had Grai. If they used some ingenious lineup, they might be able to stay clear of Adolf's strength and cut a bloody path to victory.