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480 Balloting

 At this moment, the CHF was about to test the strength of the entire squadron. The Tianjing squadron's strength of their bench would continue to remain their Achilles heel as they headed further into the CHF. After defeating the Divine Dragon squadron, they were no longer a black horse. Their future opponents would unleash even more suitable strategical arrangements to counter them. Everyone now wanted to know exactly if the omnipotent All Mouthy King would be able to continue his miraculous journey or not, especially while his only knight still possessed the condition of his hyper allergy to pollen.

However, it had to be mention that Zhao Zimo had in fact been foolish. A person that was used to underhanded schemes should not reveal himself to the light. In fact, it would be alright for him to cover himself up with perfume while under the spotlight. However, once his weaknesses were exposed to the light, they would be targeted by everyone. In other words, what Zhao Zimo had done was to give free benefit to the other squadrons.

This was also the primary reason why the Tianjing squadron was able to be ranked 8th among the top 16 squadrons.

No.9, Copperfield... the squadron with Laura as their core. After supplementing their lineup with one of the 5 great Mo's List ranged soldiers, Karkel, they had completely covered up their previous weaknesses, which now allows them to utilise their selected strategic plays and arrangements to their full effect. Laura's progress, as well as the improvement of her other squadron members, were exceedingly clear for all to see. Coupled with the powerful Karkel, the Copperfield was able to advance into the top 16 ranks.

No.10 Blazing squadron... the powerful black magician Mario had brought incomparable surprise to everyone. If not for Giant God Peak and Tianjing having overly astonishing performances that whipped up massive storms everywhere, Mario would be even more hyped up than he was now. In fact, Mario's combat style had already attracted the attention of the Federation's Institute of Sciences.

The pair of cores of the Blazing squadron in the form of him and Sharmie were both extremely astonishing. As long as they were able to push their matches into the group battle phase, they were a squadron that was able to give birth to unlimited miracles.

No.11 Blazing Angels squadron. Under the leadership of Papada and Oli, they were a squadron that possessed willpower forged from steel. Their faith was their driving force in their advancement in the CHF, with the prerequisite being that they were able to make it into the group battle phase of their match.

No.12 Eye of the Storm squadron...the sudden emergence of a new force. They were assumed to be weak versions of Soul Beast Masters, though they were, in fact, up and coming beast tamers. They possessed the special ability to tame mutated beasts, while also being able to control a mysterious runic array that allowed them to store the large numbers of mutated beasts in their possession. This caused the Eye of the Storm squadron to gain the attention of countless people. Nevertheless, their captain, Kyle Rayner, had maintained an extremely low profile, and had rejected all interviews sent their way. However, his 5th rank peak mutated praying mantis was sufficiently capable to cause his opponents to lose their guts and courage. In the best of 32 match, the Eye of the Storm squadron had unleashed a Pandora's box. As of now, the question was if their mutated beasts were allowed to step on the stage, as speculations of new restrictions to limit their use were present everywhere.

No. 13 Asuna Ocean God squadron, an all water attribute special ability squadron led by Misa Asuna. Every single member of their squadron possessed a powerful water attribute special ability, as well as self-recovery capabilities. Their combat prowess in group battles was also extremely outstanding, as were renowned as a military squad of wet nurses. If their opponents were unable to finish them off within a short amount of time, they would be crushed to death by the impending abyss of hell that awaited them.

No.14 Mammoth squadron... all of their members possessed the Giant Bloodline brought forth by their special abilities. During combat, they were able to stimulate their bloodline to instantly become giants, towering at over 4 metres in height. For both offence or defence, these giants were more than sufficient to cause people to feel terror and despair. Furthermore, their captain, Panta, possessed the Golden Giant bloodline. Although it couldn't compare to Divian's dragon bloodline, it was still an extremely rare bloodline to possess.

No.15 Highland Knights squadron... squadron that has inherited the spirit of knights. Their captain, Mo Fei, possessed an outstanding AOE gravitational special ability, which allowed the squadron to advance all the way to this stage.

No.16 Barbarian squadron... the squadron that has a style close to that of the empires. Their fighting styles were extremely cruel and vicious, with every member being extremely strong. Their sole weakness is their lack of group battle strategies and arrangements. Their captain, Hoffenheim, is renowned to be a thousand-man killer, and possessed the strength to contend with those on the Mo's List.

Very quickly, during the official statement being released by the CHF, the official rankings of the top 16 squadrons were all announced. The first 4 squadrons were clearly dominated by the top tier squadrons with basically no weaknesses, sufficiently deep and strong benches, and have the possibility of obtaining the champion. These were quickly followed up by the next 4 squadrons that possessed a definite chance to enter the top 4 rankings, though that would have to depend on their luck in the ballots. Nonetheless, their spots in the top 8 rankings were guaranteed. As for the other 8 squadrons, they would have to make improvements, with them making miracles to enter the top 4 rankings being completely reliant on their trump cards and luck. From this, one could see how important the balloting results were.

Some people welcomed the rankings while others were worried about it. However, the Tianjing squadron was so excited that they felt as though they had drunk until they were in a dazed state. Unexpectedly, they had been ranked at 8th place by the officials!

Qian Duoduo had turned even wilder with madness as he completely ignored all costs as he brought along the Tianjing Academy students present in Stuart for a bout of madness-filled fun and celebrations. He understood the benefits of what he had paid, which would give him over a 100-fold return in the future. At this moment, he was even boasting to everyone about how accurate his eyesight was to be able to see the great potential Wang Zhong possessed which led him to sponsor the Prodigy Society.

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Compared to Tianjing, the 7th place Giant God Peak was now enduring a never-before-experienced wave of doubt and suspicion on various websites and discussion forums in Skylink. Did they truly possess the qualifications to be ranked above the Tianjing squadron? Based on the current combat performance in the CHF, the Tianjing squadron had successively defeated 2 S ranked squadrons, so they shouldn't just be ranked at 8th place.

Naturally, such a discussion topic did not intensify, as everyone was in fact extremely clear that the rankings given by the officials had only one purpose, which was to give a certain level of quantifiability to the strength of the various squadrons. However, there were a lot of precise matters that would turn blurry when placed in actual combat. In other words, ever since the start of the CHF, the performances of the various squadrons had a certain possibility of being a feint, for the sake of creating confusion. Only when met with formidable opponents that were genuinely able to threaten them would they unleash their true strength and might.

"Tianjing is ranked at 8th place. This is already quite a markup in estimation; it's probably due to them defeating the Divine Dragon squadron. Rationally speaking, the 8th place should have been where the Divine Dragon squadron would have stood."

"Haha. From what I think, could the top 8 just come from the top 8 places given by the officials?"

"You're thinking too much about it, as this will require the results from the balloting. What's more, the Blazing squadron truly is very terrifying. The great awakening of Mario, and his ultimate move in the form of his super special ability flames of hell. I feel that even Divian with her Dragon Crystal armour might not be a match for him."

"Copperfield too, has yet to showcase their genuine strength. Even defeating the Hell City squadron still isn't enough to remove the veil of obscurity around them. Copperfield's the squadron that has been underestimated the most. I feel that they should be the ones ranked at 7th place."

The various discussions and debates continued all the way to the final show, which was the balloting.

After the announcement of the rankings, the organising committee held a grand balloting ceremony for the very same night.

Attending the ceremony, the chairwoman of the organizing committee, Long Mei'er, emotionally announced the names of the top 16 squadrons, before encouraging them to continue their perseverance to create outstanding results in this CHF. She proceeded to announce that the top 16 squadrons would get a five day rest period before the start of the round-of-16. If required, they could approach the organising committee to request for medical treatment. The organising committee had enlisted the services of water special abilities users that had an abundance of experience, and specialized in recovery and healing techniques and arts, to guarantee that all squadrons would be able to be at their optimal condition for the intense battles that awaited them.

"It alright even if you aren't injured. The healing arts of the water attribute special ability has extremely beneficial effects towards one's psychological state." said Long Mei'er in her announcement, causing laughter to fill the ceremony venue.

Following the end of her speech, Long Mei'er officially invited the leaders of the top 16 squadrons, in order of their placings, up the podium to undergo the balloting for the round-of-16. The entire balloting was broadcasted live on the various media networks and Skylink.

The atmosphere in the round-of-16 was completely different than the earlier ballotings, with everyone on stage having solemn expressions on their faces.