One vs. two thousand?
Such a massive difference between the two sides was more than enough to deter the vast majority of people.
However, Li Yao wasn't just everyone.
His eyes started to squint ever so slightly as though a venomous snake was eyeing prey that was a hundred times bigger than itself.
"Assuming that my Refining Department's student union can register for the tournament, what kind of match is it gonna be?"
"Will there be 2,000 participants on one side of the ring while I'm on the other side, just fighting directly?
"And I think that as this tournament relates to the allocation of resources for the next year, the Iron Fist Club and Chaos Edge Hall are going to be true opponents, but I'm sure they are not monolithic. I guess that it will impossible for them to act together to fight me, right?"
Very calmly, Li Yao shared his thoughts.
Having pulled the specific information about this year's tournament from the crystal processor, Ding Lingdang said:
"The Grand Desolate War Institution pays more attention to the actual combat. And of course, the competition is not some simple hand-to-hand combat. Each match is equivalent to a small-scale drill. There is a backdrop, and victory conditions as well. It's not necessarily enough for one side to eliminate everyone from the other side, but"
"At present, you are an influential figure of the Grand Desolate War Institution. The illustrious name and fame of 'Vulture Li Yao' have spread throughout Wild Waves City. You, Zhao Tianchong, and Lu Tieshan are known as the top three experts of the freshman class. Moreover, you are also in the leading position."
"Leaving your strength aside for the moment, just wandering around the field while carrying ten Hellfire-Lightnings was enough for everyone to know your ferocity."
"If you really do sign up for the tournament, do you think that everyone will not fight you to the death? Do you think that everyone will let you relax in the cool shade? Do you think that everyone is so stupid!?"
"Besides, the rules of the tournament would absolutely not let you reap profits without lifting a finger while the rest fight with each other. The victory conditions of the tournament will definitely be set so that it will be highly difficult for you to win."
"After all, if you won, the credits awarded to you will be a thousand times more than the others."
"Therefore, it will be a thousand times more difficult for you to win and it's also right and proper!"
"A thousand times," these three words made Li Yao's pupils constrict suddenly.
Li Yao didn't utter a single word as he sucked in his lip while carefully looking at the hologram.
This year's match would take place after ten days and would be carried out in a world fragment with a very complex environment using various kinds of terrains.
Just as before, only the Iron Fist Club and Chaos Edge Hall would be participating this year at present.
Each side would be sending 1,000 freshmen, many of which would have reached the 3rd level of the Refinement Stage or maybe higher.
In order to stick close to the actual combat, each year a theme would be set for the tournament. The winning conditions would be formulated around the theme for both sides.
The theme of this year was "The Mayhem of Jade Chip". There was also a backdrop around the theme:
"The Iron Fist Club and Chaos Edge Hall are two contradictory cultivation sects. There have been many conflicts in order to compete for their commercial interests and military contracts."
"According to the legend, both sides have fought in the dark many times already and have even lost many experts. An endless blood feud has been forged in between them."
"The Chaos Edge Hall, in order to completely disintegrate the Iron Fist Club, had sent a spy who had infiltrated the Iron Fist Club for two decades and had been scheming day and night to get ahold of concrete information. Finally, he stole highly confidential secrets, including a variety of secret array glyphs, exercises, and even commercial secrets of the Iron Fist Club, all of which are stored inside a jade chip. Now he is preparing to flee to the Chaos Edge Hall."
"Unexpectedly, his escape has been discovered and 1,000 clansmen from the Iron Fist Club are on his tail."
"Meanwhile, a reinforcement of 999 clansmen from the Chaos Edge Hall is also in front."
"A great battle between 2,000 people to seize this jade chip is imminent!"
Li Yao frowned:
"What nonsense is this?"
Ding Lingdang pursed her lips:
"A backdrop setting! This is done in order to increase the sense of competition between the students and also make the competition interesting!"
"In short, the theme of this year is a jade chip battle. This kind of theme, rather than asking one side to completely decimate the other side, asks the participants to bring the jade chip to their base and insert it in a huge crystal processor for a certain amount of time. If the opponent has not been able to grab it back in that stipulated amount of time, they would win."
"In fact, in order to foster a combative atmosphere among the students, the Institute very much wants to encourage other departments to participate in the tournament. The winning condition will also be made a bit more flexible"
"Twenty-seven years ago, the student union of the Medical Department, the Lancets, participated in the tournament. The theme at that time was 'The Great Escape'. As long as the members of the Lancets could flee from the Iron Fist Club and Chao Edge Hall, they would win."
"However, no matter how flexible the conditions were, at the end of the day, fists and swords had to be used to decide the outcome."
"Five hundred Lancets members were wrapped up in just three minutes. All of them were captured and they became a big joke."
Since then, there have been no other departments willing to register for the tournament."
"If you do register, I think, the Institute will probably set an escape-like winning condition for you. In other words, as long as you can escape from the combined assault of 2,000 members of the Iron Fist Club and Chaos Edge Hall, you will win."
"However, like I said, you are a well-known dangerous figure. If you took part in the competition, others would definitely crucify you first. They would absolutely not let you have an opportunity to sit back atop the mountain to watch the tigers fight. So save your breath!"
Li Yao's eyes spun in circles before they burst forth with a sharp gleam:
"Escape-type mission? If I can escape from the encirclement of 2,000 participants, I will have the opportunity to win 10,000 credits?"
"2,000 participants, among which a vast majority are cultivators. And there are experts like Zhao Tianchong and Lu Tieshan as well. Since the two have been cultivating for so long, they might have also reached 5th level of the Refinement Stage, yeah?"
"Plus, there will also be hundreds of 3rd and 4th level Refinement Stage experts; it will be really frightening."
"However, at the end of the day, they are still not monolithic. As long as I could find a gap between them, I do have the opportunity..."
Having thought of this, Li Yao's eyelashes shook as he said while gnashing his teeth:
"I am going to represent the Refining Department's student union, the 'Starfire Union', and sign up for the All-Freshman Interdepartmental Thunderbolt Cup!"
Ding Lingdang pursed her lips:
"I knew it, you brat. Theres no way you would not give up on your sinister designs. You can fill out your details on the Battle Network. Well then, I'll give you this soy egg."
Grabbing a soy egg from her bowl, Ding Lingdang stuffed it into Li Yao's mouth.
"Why?" Li Yao was dumbfounded.
Ding Lingdang rolled up her eyes:
"If you are going to eat so little, how will you have the strength to take the beating of 2,000 robust fellows?!"
The news of Li Yao's participation in the tournament spread like wildfire, setting off a huge uproar in the campus.
After a lapse of twenty-seven years, a group other than the student unions of the Combat Department was going to sign-up for the Thunderbolt Cup for the first time.
And the group participating turned out to be just a single student from a tiny student union.
Li Yao would be competing alone, challenging 2,000 stocky and murderous students from the Combat Department!
In a moment, the entire Institute was in an uproar.
Half of the forum's posts were discussing Li Yao's suicidal and crazed behavior:
"Oh, no! Li Yao is actually going to represent the Starfire Union and will be challenging the Iron Fist Club and Chaos Edge Hall? Each side will be sending 1,000 members, while he is just one man!"
"This is too reckless, right? Although we all know that he is one of the three experts among the freshmen, so what? There are still two others who are neck and neck with him! Even though Zhao Tianchong and Lu Tieshan's levels are lower than his, both of them are pure battle-type cultivators. Their battle force is not much weaker than his!"
"He's just one man! Does he think that he can fight with Zhao Tianchong and Lu Tieshan who will be leading 2,000 students?"
Although the winner would be awarded 10,000 credits, no matter how much everyone wracked their brains, they could not imagine Li Yao having any chance of winning.
Even if it was an escape-type mission, his chance of escaping from a heavy encirclement of 2,000 Combat Department students was close to zero!
After this matter spread, a fair share number of people immediately went to interview the two leading figures of the freshmen, Zhao Tianchong and Lu Tieshan. They wanted to ask how were they going to deal with Li Yao if he really participated.
The two strongly expressed that Li Yao was the most dangerous and most terrifying figure among the freshman without any doubt. If he did participate, the Iron Fist Club and Chaos Edge Hall would first eliminate him before they confronted each other.
"We both are Li Yao's friends. We do know that he needs to earn 10,000 credits in one month."
However, as far as the tournament is concerned, the Thunderbolt Cup is related to the honor of two student unions. In addition, it is also related to the allocation of resources next year, which concerns thousands upon thousands of students."
"If necessary, we are willing to team up with Li Yao and head north to hunt, helping him amass credits."
"However, we will most definitely not throw the game."
"If Li Yao is going to be participating, we will certainly knock him outmercilessly!"
Zhao Tianchong and Lu Tieshan resolutely and decisively said.
The Institute was also a bit surprised by Li Yao's application.
Although the match each year had turned into a civil war between the two major student unions of the Combat Department and become a bit boring since the last two decades or so, the Institute very much hoped that even more student unions would participate and add some unknown variables to the tournament. They might even give a bit of trouble to the Iron Fist Club and Chaos Edge Hall, which would help the Institute assess their ability to adapt to chaos.
However, the Starfire Union was the smallest student union in the history of the Grand Desolate War Institute. It had only one student. Even if it did participate, what would be the use?
He was no different than a tiny mouse sandwiched in between two colliding crystal battleships which could barely make a squeak before being crushed to death.
However, Li Yao turned a deaf ear to all these criticisms.
After having set off a huge uproar, it was as though it was of no concern to him. He was still wandering and hunting alone in the Wasteland.
However, no one was aware that he had consciously increased the training of his camouflaging and escaping techniques.
The most common method he used was swaggeringly appearing under the eyes of a group of middle-rank Demon Soldiers. Occasionally, he would even cut his finger and bleed some blood to increase the appetite of demon beasts. After attracting their attention, he would escape from the chasing group of Demon Soldiers at lightning-fast speed; he would flee like crazy!
After five days, Li Yao received the reply of the Institute.
His application had been approved. In this year's All-Freshmen Interdepartmental Tournament, the Starfire Union, Iron Fist Club, and the Chaos Edge Hall would be participating together, vying for the Thunderbolt Cup!
The theme of the match remained the same. It was still "The Mayhem of Jade Chip", but they changed the corresponding backdrop slightly. It read:
"The Starfire Union is the most secretive, evil sect in the world of cultivation."
"Li Yao, who is an evil expert from the Starfire Union, has infiltrated and spied on the Iron Fist Club for years. Finally, he has stolen the core secrets of the Iron Fist Club, which are stored inside a jade chip."
"Right as he left, his identity was discovered and now a thousand clansmen of the Iron Fist Club are on his tail."
"On another side, the Chaos Edge Hall, which was hostile to the Iron Fist Club, also came to know of this matter. They too sent a thousand elites and set up an ambush along the route Li Yao had to take in order to return to the Starfire Union. They want to kill Li Yao and grab the jade chip."
"And although the hatred between the Iron Fist Club and Chaos Edge Hall runs as deep as the seas, they are determined above all else to win the jade chip. After having learned of Li Yao's identity as an 'evil expert', they will stop at nothing to capture him and satisfy their vengeful desires."
"Once they encounter him, Li Yao will be the priority target. Although they may experience intermittent skirmishes, only after they have captured the jade chip will the large armies fight each other all-out."
"Li Yao will face pursuit by a thousand students from the back and a blockade of thousand students in the front. If he can cut through the entire battlefield and reach the designated Starfire Union's point of contact while in possession of the jade chip, he will be the final winner and claim the Thunderbolt Cup. He will also get to enjoy 10,000 credits alone!"