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613 A sliver of ice in the midst of despair 3 in 1

 A deathly silence hung over all of the Tianjing fans in the stadium. Although they knew about the disparity between Barran and Noriba, the former was still their God Ba that had created miracle after miracle! Hopes for a miracle to happen were present in the hearts of each and every Tianjing fan out there.

However, it had taken only 4 chops.

Only a brief moment had passed since the ringing of the competition bell to the end of the duel. Although quite a few experts knew that one of the reasons behind Barran's quick defeat was due to the existing injuries on his body, the main factor was that Noriba was simply too strong! Even if he were to be in tip-top condition, the disparity between their strength would still be undeniable. Furthermore, the real challenge of the CHF lay in the capabilities of the rest of the team on the benches.

2 : 0!

"What a real and pure man! Do you think that Vasilyevich can be challenged by you sissies!"

"Almighty brother Noriba!"

"He's too weak! Is there anyone else that can fight for real!"

The northern viewing gallery turned noisy yet again. In contrast to their excited cheers and roars, silence reigned over the Tianjing fans.

Having gone entirely limp, Barran was stretchered from the stage. The final chop was just too frightening! Despite condensing all of his Soul Power into his runic shield, it was still cleaved into half the by the chop! Furthermore, the surging power had almost damaged his Soul Sea after destroying all of his defences! The muscle convulsions happening all over his body would take quite a long time to recover. The disparity between him and Noriba had crossed the boundaries that willpower could make up for.

All of the Tianjing fans, including the Tianjing squadron members, sent worried gazes towards Wang Zhong. Now, Tianjing had already fallen into the pit of despair. Grai had fallen, while the only one else that could create miracles, Barran, did not fare much better. Tianjing had seemingly exhausted all of their possibilities. Although they had expected Barran to lose, they believed that he could waste Noriba's energy in the process. However, instead of that, Barran was utterly incapable of holding Noriba back! As for the others...

Would it really end up with the disaster of brother King being used by his opponents to vent their anger, ending his CHF journey with a pointless victory over a substitute?

However, the most pertinent question in that moment was, who he was going to send up for the 3rd duel? Would Brother King personally grace the stage? That was the most likely possibility, and would most likely be countered with Vasilyevich sending a substitute. This would allow Vladimir to easily clinch victory in the following duel! When that happens, he would be able to use absolute strength and the selection advantage to completely crush Tianjing from this CHF!

It would not be difficult for them to do so!

However, if brother King didn't go up, the final result wouldn't really be different. Perhaps Emily, who had displayed rather good performances in this CHF, might be able to put up a challenge for Vasilyevich. However, Grozny still had 2 more soldier mainstays on their bench. Their occupational advantage, coupled with their S rank level strength, would definitely be an impossible hurdle for Emily to overcome.

Tianjing had lost!

A miserable atmosphere descended over the Tianjing fans present in the stadium and Skylink. Nevertheless, Mo Xingchen, Mo Wen, Carolyn, Gui Xinying, as well as Vladimir, clearly did not entertain such thoughts. Instead, all of them were paying close attention to Wang Zhong's expressions. At the instant when Barran had lost, none of them had noticed any presence of disappointment or anxiety appear on his face. A lot of people felt that Tianjing's victory for this match depended on them pulling a reversal. However, it was clear that Vladimir would not make the same mistakes Tianjing's earlier opponents had made.

"It's up to you now!" said Wang Zhong towards Scarlet. Nodding her head, Scarlet took a deep breath before standing up. There were only 2 choices left for Tianjing, Scarlet and Emily. On the aspect of breadth of mind, Scarlet was still better than Emily. Furthermore, she was also willing to take on the responsibility of being the one who decided Tianjing's fate.

With a smile, Scarlet smiled, turned around, and walked towards the stage. As she proceeded, she could sense everything happening around her, including the disappointed sighs coming from the Tianjing fans. Even the hardcore Tianjing fans had only placed their hopes in Wang Zhong and Grai, with Barran barely being considered. As for the other members of the Tianjing squadrons, everyone basically didn't have good impressions of them.

Of course, this was unavoidable. After all, the other Tianjing members had indeed not had any spectacular performances and combat results to warrant that. However, that was not important at this moment. The most important thing right now was still the stage of this semifinal, as well as the stage that everyone yearned for! Being able to stand there to duke it out for Wang Zhong, for Tianjing, and for a greater future was something that Scarlet felt extremely fortunate about.

Wang Zhong had previously mentioned that this duel was for her to display her style for the world to see. Regardless of the result, he would go up for the fourth duel and take a point. Regardless of the eventual outcome, they would have given their all for it!

Old Greene's eyes were filled with gratification and encouragement as he stared at his granddaughter standing on the stage. He was already extremely satisfied at the results that Tianjing, as well as Scarlet, had achieved in this CHF. Being able to witness his granddaughter standing on such a stage was undoubtedly the greatest honour and glory he had ever felt in his life!

Having seen Tianjing's selection, Vasilyevich quickly made theirs, as a soldier wielding a runic sword stood up.

"A ranged soldier VS a soldier. It's over." Sighs immediately blanketed the silent Tianjing viewing galleries.

"What's more, it's an assassin-inclined soldier."

"Can any hopes be placed on Scarlet's Ice attribute special ability? A ranged soldier with an Ice attribute special ability can slow down the air in their surroundings, allowing them to unleash a perfect kiting combat style. This has a certain level of effectiveness against assassins."

"It's useless. The information provided clearly indicates that De Gea also possess an Ice attribute special ability. This means that his resistance to frost and ice will definitely be very high. Scarlet basically has no chance of winning. Her victory against Torres with the surprise formation of ice mirrors has already been analyzed and dissected. This time, she will not be able to recreate that miracle."

"Is there anyone else from Tianjing that can help brother King! Grai, sigh..."

The dejected atmosphere emanating from the Tianjing fans caused the entire stadium to be filled with a feeling of misery. The possibility of their brother King being eliminated from this CHF via a substitute was definitely the most miserable way for Tianjing to lose.

Scarlet was dressed in her usual combat outfit. The figure-hugging black spandex outfit was the standard attire for a ranged soldier. Coupled with her beauty and her 1.2m long legs, Scarlet appeared rather eye-catching. Although she didn't give people the blood-racing feeling they would get from ball queens like Laura and Sharmie, she appeared more like the big sis of the neighbourhood, well worth a second look, while giving people the feeling of being close with each other.

However, the more eye-catching feature was the pair of shoes she was wearing. Unlike other ordinary combat footwear, they appeared to be fashioned out of some kind of mutated beast. Furthermore, their surfaces were filled with runic engravings, causing the shoes to radiate with a gentle glow.

"Those shoes appear quite glamorous. Runic shoes?"

Many experts had taken notice of them, including Vladimir.

"What pretty flower patterns! I've never heard of any runic shoes! What a joke!"

The Federation's Runic Engraving industry mostly worked on weapons; at most, they also engraved armour. However, the effects they had on armour pieces were not especially powerful, thereby limiting its uses. Furthermore, runes could only be engraved on alloys which contained a certain amount of dimensional crystals. The runes on those shoes... were most likely just for cosmetic appeal, or a good luck charm.

"I hope that Scarlet can create another miracle like what she had done with the ice mirrors. She is a soldier that relies on her intelligence to fight."

As everyone started to discuss with one another, Scarlet looked over towards De Gea, who was standing before her with an ice-cold expression on his face. For a northerner, De Gea didn't have a big frame, standing at around 1.9 metres tall. He also wasn't overly muscular like Noriba or Pomo, having more of a slender, athletic built. His frame and build had been always looked down on by the northerners.

While living in the northern regions, he had been criticized by some super soldiers for his overly skinny build, causing him to labelled as a loser from a young age. In fact, he had been bullied and nicknamed as a skinny monkey. This had lasted all the way until the awakening of his special ability; he used his speed to carve a path completely different from that of the other soldiers from the northern regions. Finally, he managed to obtain a slot as a mainstay in the Grozny squadron, as well as the recognition from the Vasilyevich Family!

However, having that recognition alone clearly wasn't enough, as true experts needed to achieve spectacular combat results to change the views of everyone around them.

He had always yearned to stand on this stage in this CHF. Indeed, his opponent was slightly weaker than he had expected. However, regardless of their strength or gender, he needed to show everyone that he was giving his all, and not showing even the slightest bit of mercy.

He wanted everyone to remember his name --- De Gea!

Whoosh...

As he unsheathed his long sword, the clear ring as it left its scabbard rang out across the entire stadium.

Fighting intent blossomed in Scarlet's eyes as she lowered her stance slightly and placed her hands at her waist.

Waves of energy rapidly surged out from both people. Although they were not as overbearing or overwhelming like what Vladimir or Carolyn had displayed, they were able to immediately flood and replace the nervous atmosphere in the stadium.

Ding!

The competition bell was rung! With a light tap using the tip of his foot, De Gea shot forwards like an arrow!

The soldiers of the northern regions did not excel at speed. However, that clearly wasn't the case for De Gea. Not only was he quick, his movements felt rather smooth and graceful. Showdowns between any closed ranged combatant and a ranged soldier were completely dependent on distance, where the former would give their all to close the gap, while the latter would do anything to maintain a safe distance.

De Gea's advance was quick and swift, just like a gust of wind. In response, Scarlet whipped her hands out, unleashing a hail of fire from her Kalum pistols. Beautiful trails appeared in the air as the bullets formed a net that travelled right towards De Gea.

Bang bang bang bang!

Unlike the obstructive hails she had unleashed in the earlier matches, this bullet hail appeared significantly denser, while the net formed was clearly on a level higher than before. Her improved proficiency in her special ability resulted in a great increase of the power present within her Soul Power bullets. The most frightening trait of an expert ranged soldier was that they did not need to care about energy consumption. Not only that, the removal of this concern over energy consumption would allow for a greater range of potential combat tactics, and also allow them to adopt a better mindset during combat. In fact, it could be hailed as a door that opens other doors, creating a positive feedback loop.

The hail of bullets instantly sealed up all of the paths De Gea could take to advance. Furthermore, he was now forced to pay attention to his follow-up movements. If he were to dodge and evade, he would continue to become a target for her. If he were to retreat, it would buy more time for Scarlet to unleash attacks at him. While this was happening, Scarlet had already made her move that increased her effectiveness against De Gea!

Heightened emotions started to appear in the hearts of the Tianjing fans. Scarlet's display of strength, as well as the hail of bullets she unleashed, had stirred up excitement in their hearts. Even the Mo's List ranged soldiers like Alasi were nodding their heads slightly in acknowledgement. This girl had really improved a lot since the start of this CHF! Due to the Casted Soul Stage limit, there was no such thing as an absolute disparity between the greater majority of the participants present. If one were to train hard and frequently, they would be able to gain enlightenment when unique circumstances or situations present themselves. Once enlightenment was gained, one would gain a completely different understanding of the world they lived in. This was precisely the case for Scarlet and Barran.

However, this show of strength was still insufficient to defeat her current opponent.

Not the slightest bit of change was present in De Gea's eyes as the hail of bullets approached him. To him, evading them or retreating were both easy actions for him to accomplish. Nevertheless, his advancement has been disrupted. Being forcibly pulled into a battle of attrition was not something that he wished to happen. He wanted to prove to the entire northern region that he was capable of winning against an opponent like her, and he wanted to do so in a clean and perfect manner!

Conveniently sliding his left foot to the left, his body started to sway and flicker. In the next moment, those flickering afterimages rushed through the incoming bullet hail at high speeds, appearing as though he had just "phased" through the bullets! Not a single bullet had managed to graze him! In fact, there wasn't even any reduction in his advance!

50 metres! 40 metres!

The countless fans who had started to place their hopes in Scarlet immediately became nervous, their hearts jumping to their throats upon seeing the scene unfolding on the stage. De Gea was indeed unlike an average soldier from the northern regions! The swiftness and deftness of his bodily movements were utterly different from the usual style of the northern regions! From the speed of his advance, could he really close the distance with Scarlet in an instant?

"No! The most optimal range for the Kalum pistol series is about 20 to 30 metres. We have to wait for De Gea to enter that range before victory or defeat is apparent."

"Scarlet still has her Ice attribute special ability that can slow his speed down!"

As whispers rang out in the viewing galleries, the fight on the stage had rapidly heated up. De Gea had already closed into the sweet 30-metre optimal zone for Scarlet's attacks. When that happened, the energy she had quietly accumulated exploded out in an instant!

The rhythmic shooting instantly changed into flinging shots! Numerous bullet trails were unleashed out as Scarlet swung her hands in the air!

Bang bang bang bang bang!

It was the same high-speed hail of bullets. However, this time, they appeared to fly towards a place far away from De Gea!

However, no one would believe that this was a mistake!

Arc Shot! Furthermore, it was a bullet formation composed of 7 to 8 Arc Shots!

The reason why Arc Shots were hard to defend against was due to their flight paths being extremely hard to predict. If you guessed that it was coming from the left, it might come from the right! At the very least, the bullet had to travel 50% of the distance before one could make any judgement of its final target. However, when Arc Shots were fired in succession to form a criss-cross net that was constantly weaving about, it would screw one's judgement up even if one was capable of predicting their final targets!

De Gea's eyes narrowed slightly, while he started to move even more intensely than before in an attempt to use his increased speed to rush out of the obstruction zone created by the incoming hail of Arc Shots. Clearly, Scarlet had already taken this into account. Those curving bullets started to converge, before suddenly flying right towards the area in front of Dea! After crisscrossing about, they instantly arrived before him!

Arc Shot formation! Furthermore, they were shot such that they would land simultaneously! De Gea furiously halted his forward motion as well as his swaying. The extremely unpredictable flight paths of Arc Shots coming in as a formation was basically the nemesis of any nimble and deft movements. In the next instant, the runic sword in his hand quickly sparkled with radiance!

Invisible Gale Sword!

That was one of the quick sword techniques within the Federation's list of combat moves! The sword shades unleashed by De Gea were so numerous that they appeared to form a void in the air! The barrage of sword shades blocked every single Arc Shot coming his way. If he wasn't even able to defend against this attack, he would be totally unqualified to say in the Grozny squadron.

Ding ding ding ding ding !

Bang bang bang bang bang!

Although every single Soul Power bullet was blocked by the dense sword formation, every single one of them exploded upon being destroyed, sending massive amounts of ice-cold air blasting outwards in all directions! The entire area was instantly covered with a dense ice fog, while a layer of frost rapidly formed on the ground!

The Freezing Constriction created from an Ice attribute special ability. Naturally, Scarlet was worlds apart from the level Vladimir could unleash. The reduction in speed and frost on the ground and air would pose a certain level of disturbance to a soldier. However, the problem was that she was faced against a soldier from the northern regions. That was an absolutely depressing matter for Scarlet, as the northerner soldier's resistance to ice and frost was among the highest within the Federation.

However, De Gea suddenly slowed down his advance! There definitely had to be a hidden goal behind this!

Almost all of the northerner soldiers present were basking in the glory of Vladimir, Noriba and Pomo. However, that did not mean that they were weak. Furthermore, Grozny had made sure to properly analyse Scarlet before the start of this match. With Barran still recovering from his injuries, she would be Tianjing's only hope in the case Grai fell. Letting Barran go first definitely had to be due to Wang Zhong's habitual combat strategy of letting his opponents feel relaxed before unleashing a big move.

Yes, the ice mirror combat technique she had used before would not be useful now. However, who could be sure that they did not create new combat techniques just for this duel?

De Gea wasn't the only person feeling that something was fishy, as the members of the Grozny squadron too felt that something was amiss. A ranged soldier that was unleashing her shots recklessly before her target even reached her optimal range. Could she be planning on a battle of attrition against a northerner soldier?

Scarlet was basically showing off her amateur skills before an expert! The sharp and cold bullet hailstorm was just like one's struggle before death. However... this definitely wasn't the case for Scarlet. In fact, she was well known for being able to keep her cool during combat! In other words, she was planning on using the frosty air she had unleashed to write her story!

Due to her "wanton" shooting, the entire stage was covered in a fog of frost. Although it did not pose any danger at all to De Gea, a feeling as though he had sunk in to a trap continued to nag at his heels.Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click for visiting.

Truthfully speaking, Scarlet was also shocked by De Gea's reactions. Indeed, just as Wang Zhong had predicted, her opponent was already caught in her trap. If De Gea had bet his life and continued to rush straight towards her, there was nothing she could have done. After all, she was indeed incapable of contending head-on against an S ranked soldier. However, there were times that being overly cautious was not a good thing. De Gea's over-vigilance had given her the time to implement her plan.

All of a sudden, the fight happening on the stage fell into a deadlock. De Gea's decision did not arouse much suspicion, as being calm and cautious was usually the surefire way to obtain victory. Although Scarlet's attacks were quick and accurate, they were not powerful enough to break through De Gea's defences. Once the effects of those attacks dissipated, his counter attack would definitely overwhelm Scarlet!

As they continued to watch the fight, many experts could not help but shake their heads, though it wasn't due to them looking down on Scarlet. Being able to play with an S ranked mainstay while unleashing textbook level kiting tactics, and being able to barely maintain an equilibrium for this fight was more than they had expected from her. However, it was a pity that the other people from Tianjing, inclusive of her, were just dragging Wang Zhong and Grai down in this CHF semifinal match.

Originally, Tianjing had the qualifications to rub shoulders with S+ ranked powerhouse squadrons. Originally, All Mouthy King had the chance to duke it out with Mo Wen for the title of the number one youth under the heavens. However, if Scarlet lost, that chance would disappear into oblivion.

"She's still lacking a bit..." said Sharmie in a regretful tone as she shook her head. "Barran's strength isn't up to par. With only 2 trump cards in their line up, it's too difficult for Tianjing to handle an S+ powerhouse squadron. In fact, there isn't even any leeway to employ combat strategies, nor is there any room for any mistakes. However, who can completely prevent mistakes from happening in a competition like this?"

"Ah, how good would it be if one of us was over there in Tianjing's lineup." Laura nodded in agreement as she clenched her fists in nervousness. It was a real pity! It would really be too miserable for Tianjing to get eliminated from this CHF in such fashion.

"Tianjing's lost."

A feeling of suppression started to appear on the stage. Without talking about Laura and Sharmie, many of the experts present in the viewing galleries, as well as some of the more acute people in the audience, were slowly beginning to feel it. However, it was definitely a feeling of helplessness. If it was a fight between Wang Zhong and Vladimir, none of them would feel any regrets or complaints regardless of the outcome of the match. However, this... was just a show of Scarlet being played with until her death!

Furthermore, her opponent was still holding back, and not even showing any intention of unleashing a powerful attack.

From the infinite confidence in Grai, to the expectations for Barran, ending with the little bit of hope in Scarlet. However, all of these were smashed apart by Vasilyevich's display of absolute strength! Indeed, those with S+ statuses would not allow anyone to easily shake their foundations.

Truthfully speaking, this was also the conclusion various experts had drawn before the start of this match. In fact, the greatest problem wasn't Wang Zhong; it was the other Tianjing members. With the exception of Wang Zhong, the rest had been completely analysed by the rest of the world. Even Grai had suffered defeated in the face of a complete counter! Furthermore, no one knew that Pomo had any other killing moves hidden up his sleeves!

At this moment, Scarlet was still "struggling desperately" on stage, continuing to run around as she unleashed suppressive fire towards De Gea. However, despite all of her hard work, the effects of her moves were slowly diminishing. Nevertheless, she continued to strive on, not giving up for even one instant, maintaining a calm composure that every top-class ranged soldier should have in combat.

Perhaps having felt her spirit, or being indifferent to it, the audience started to react.

"Win and loss are not important! If you're unwilling to lose, just give your all!"

"You can do it, Scarlet!"

"Go go Tianjing!"

"Brother King will be up later to return the favour! Tianjing's still the best!"

Starting from the shouts of a few male fans, it quickly turned into the roars from a significant number of people. Being Tianjing supporters since the very beginning, they were already extremely satisfied with their run in this CHF. With Tianjing's strength and history of combat results, being able to reach the semifinals was already a heaven-defying achievement! What more could they wish for?

The depressing atmosphere in the stadium quickly disappeared as the Tianjing fans seemed to have walked out from the shadows of defeat, causing the entire stadium to be filled with excitement and life. However, it did nothing to change anything in the fight happening on the stage.

Scarlet's movements had been completely sealed, while her opponent was bearing down on her, narrowing the gap to only a dozen metres! This range was more than sufficient for De Gea to unleash a lethal attack at her! De Gea was planning on forcing her to make the first move. As long as she did that, this duel would be over!

No loss could be tolerated! No accidents were allowed to happen!

A burst of light erupted from De Gea's eyes, while the runic sword in his hand was already prepared to unleash attacks that sealed of all paths that Scarlet could escape from! With a tap of his feet, he continued to advance forward, pressuring her with a ferocious rush!

The rapid speed of his rush as well as the absence of escape paths for Scarlet caused many Tianjing fans to close their eyes, as they were couldn't bear to witness the inevitable! However, it was at this instant that a sliver of a smile appeared on Scarlet's face. Ever since her trip down the mountain alongside Wang Zhong, Scarlet had gained an understanding: a situation of despair, might not really be despair at all! Nothing was absolute in this world! As long as one was willing to change their perspective, a situation of despair might become give birth to for new hopes and dreams!

This was the lesson that Wang Zhong had taught all of them. By changing one's perspective, one would be able to overcome a difficult obstacle!

Unknowingly, the entire stage was already covered by a layer of frost, as both sides continued to unleash their Ice attribute special abilities. As they continued to unleash attacks, the frost layer had gained a significant thickness. While people could see that this was not beneficial towards Scarlet's mobility, in her imaginative thoughts, Scarlet felt the stage had become her personal heaven!

Cold air started to converge around Scarlet's legs, something that caused strange feelings to surface in De Gea. He did not know what Scarlet was doing, as it was completely illogical to do so! However, this clearly did not affect his intent to obtain victory in this fight!

It's over!

With an explosive rush, the distance between Scarlet and De Gea was reduced to just several metres! The runic sword in De Gea's hands blossomed with dazzling brilliance!

Left hand wielding his runic sword, right hand holding an ice shield! Offence and defence in unity!

Dashing Gale Thrust!!

This thrust came with incomparable speed! Being a ranged soldier, yet forced into such a closed ranged combat, Scarlet was utterly incapable of mustering any defence! However, it was at that instant that Scarlet suddenly twisted her body. Fluttering elegantly in the air, she evaded De Gea's attack in a spectre-like manner! At the same time, she proceeded to slide speedily across the ground, increasing the distance between her and De Gea to over a dozen metres in the blink of an eye!

What was that speed?!

De Gea was dumbfounded by what he saw! In fact, countless people watching in the stadium were stunned by her moves!

In that earlier instant, Scarlet had basically moved slipped through the air like the wind, while moving at a speed akin to a bolt of lightning!

Even Napier Mo, who was crowned as the strongest assassin in this CHF, was dumbfounded by what he saw! What exaggerated speed was that! Furthermore, that change of direction and speed was too inconceivable! It had completely broke all the laws of physics and power generation! She had moved just like a bullet unleashed for an Arc Shot! Could that be considered as... Arc Steps???

After an instant of shock, the images shown on the various large screens immediately cleared everyone's confusions. At this moment, there were actually... ice blades present beneath Scarlet's feet!