Regarding the conditions proposed by Li Yao, after careful consideration, the Institute had finally agreed to let Li Yao use the Demon Beast Detector as well as give the necessary details of the 2,000 students participating the match.
The Thunderbolt Cup was carried out under the banner of actual combat. In the real world, if there was indeed such a dangerous spy, it would be absolutely impossible for him to know nothing about his opponents.
More importantly, the Institute also hoped that Li Yao could hold on for a long while and give some more trouble to the Iron Fist Club and Chaos Edge Hall. He could add some itsy-bitsy bit of variability to the tournament that had been repeated again and again over a few decades.
Maybe with these conveniences, Li Yao could hold on for...30 minutes?
And as for the fourth point, it was absolutely impossible to be honored completely.
After all, the Thunderbolt Cup was just one match among series of matches held by the Combat Department; it was just a contest between the freshmen.
After the Thunderbolt Cup was over, the senior students of the Iron Fist Club and Chaos Edge Hall would start an even more intense match, which was the main highlight of the fight for the allocation of the resources.
However, after careful rumination, the Institute had made a public announcement:
If Li Yao could break through the heavy encirclement and win the Thunderbolt Cup, not only would he alone enjoy the reward of 10,000 credits, the Institute would invest ten times more resources into the Refining Department next year!
One must bear in mind that the resources invested in the Refining Department this year were calculated when the department had nearly a thousand people. And next year, even if the Refining Department remained, it would be impossible for it to recruit a couple hundred students. The Refining Department would certainly be taking a small but smart route. Maybe they could recruit one or two classes, or at most a hundred students.
In other words, as long as Li Yao won the Thunderbolt Cup, the cultivation resources that the students of the Refining Department would get to enjoy next year would be ten to twenty times more than the average amount of resources obtained by the Combat Department's students!
This was absolutely a second-to-none treatment in any university in the entirety of the Federation.
All this could come true under only one eventuality
Li Yao had to cross tens of kilometers under the encirclement and pursuit of 2,000 stalwart students. He had to fight his way out through them!
The crystal processor signaled that it was 7:00 AM in the morning.
In the dim morning twilight, Li Yao suddenly stood up and slowly walked out from the depths of the steel jungle.
Appearance wise, although he looked a bit haggard, his eyes were as sharp as two flame sabers that could melt and cut everything blocking their path!
Last night, he had already prepared all the magical equipment he would need.
For the following twelve hours, he had been quietly sitting in the depths of the steel jungle, trying to comprehend the mood of an evil expert in the darkness.
He tried to think, feel...
If the three cultivation sects, the Starfire Union, the Iron Fist Club, and the Chaos Edge Hall were indeed there, and if there was indeed a spy who was undercover for a decade, what would he do when he had flee, when his life was on the line?
The vague outline of a plan that had been circling in his head for past few days gradually began to clarify itself in his head.
As for whether it would work, it would become clear after four hours!
8:00 in the morning.
There were only three hours left until the match begin.
Since a couple days ago, the freshmen arena zone of the Wasteland Battle Network began to seethe. And at this moment, it was blazing to the extreme.
All the previous Thunderbolt Cups were just a civil war between the freshmen of the Combat Department, therefore, the students of other departments weren't very concerned about it.
However, this year's Thunderbolt Cup was quite different. With the variable known as Li Yao, the contention of 1,000 vs 1,000 that more or less remained the same over the years had now become a contention of 1 vs 2,000. Meanwhile, "1 vs 2,000" glittered at the topmost part of the arena zone!
Whether it was the Combat Department or other departments, the curiosity of all the students was piqued to the apex.
Everyone wanted to know, how would Li Yao actually deal with 2,000 heavily-armed, stocky and murderous opponents in the match?
Even before the match had started, various tactical prediction posts had been flying high in the forums. All the students were discussing Li Yao's tactics:
"I'm sure Li Yao will quickly flee into the jungle and deal with the 2,000 opponents with the help of the complex terrain there!"
"The Yellow Mist Ridge is huge and is also filled with a faint mist. It is the best battlefield for guerilla warfare. Even if all 2,000 participants head into the jungle, they would not be enough to comb through the entire jungle. If Li Yao is lucky, maybe he can make his way out of the dragnet!"
"Not to mention, he is obviously more powerful than everyone else. As long as he doesn't encounter Zhao Tianchong or Lu Tieshan-level experts, he could kill everyone else in seconds!"
Not even two minutes had passed since this thread was posted, it had been immediately submerged in angry posts like a tide:
"Since even you can think of this, then do you think that Zhao Tianchong and Lu Tieshan cannot think of it?"
"I agree that the main battlefield of this match is the jungle, however, if Li Yao wants to win, he needs to pass through the two-kilometer-long canyon which is surrounded by steep cliffs on either side. There is only a narrow and winding pass in the middle, where the base of Chaos Edge Hall is located. As long as there are a few dozen people blocking the way, no matter how strong is Li Yao, can he do anything? Can he kill a few dozen people in seconds?"
"Furthermore, as long as the slightest trace of him is discovered, the remaining 1,900 people would then all be on his tail. Slowly, the encirclement would become smaller and smaller, and finally, Li Yao would definitely be caught. He ain't got no opportunity!"
In a short period of time, similar kinds of tactical analysis posts popped up in droves. Tens of thousands of students discussed his chances at great length. However, the only conclusion that was drawn was that so long as the 2,000 members of the Chaos Edge Hall and Iron Fist Club remained clear-headed and eliminated Li Yao first, his defeat was certain. There was not a single thread of opportunity that Li Yao would win the Thunderbolt Cup.
And whether it was because of the tournaments rules, the identity settings of both sides, or from the pre-game speeches of both of the leaders' points of view, how could they lose their heads and give Li Yao any opportunity to sit atop the mountain and watch the tigers fight?
Thus, two and a half hours before the start of the match, the topic of discussion changed from what tactics Li Yao would employ to how long he could survive.
Because in everyone's opinion, continuing a discussion regarding Li Yao's tactics was meaningless. No matter what tactics he was going to employ, Li Yao was going to lose without a shred of doubt!
From the polls with the largest number of respondents, 57% of the respondents believed that Li Yao would surrender within half an hour, 22% of the respondents believed that Li Yao could hold on for one hour before he was captured, and 15% of the respondents believed that Li Yao could hold on for 90 minutes.
The number of respondents who believed Li Yao could win was zero. There was absolutely no one who believed in Li Yao's victory.
There were only two hours remaining until the match started.
The Chaos Edge Hall's headquarters glittered like ice and snow as 1,000 armed freshmen, each sporting soaring killing intent, assembled. All in all, there was an oppressive pressure in the air.
Meanwhile, a surround-type hologram repeatedly played a series of combat videos, where the protagonist was none other than Li Yao!
Not only were the battle videos from Verdant Tarn City were being played, even his awe-inspiring performance at the Devil Flood Dragon Island during the last year's Limit Challenge Competition had been dug up.
Zhao Tianchong, who stood before the surround-type hologram, tightly sucked in his lip. A grave look appeared on his face, while his eyes turned red as he tried to arouse 999 of the Chaos Edge Halls top freshmen:
"My fellow students, as you all know, the Thunderbolt Cup is the highest honor a group of freshmen can attain, and more importantly, it is also related to the amount of resources we are given next year. Therefore, it goes without me saying that everyone should go all out in the match, not just for the glory of Chaos Edge Hall, but for yourselves as well. Let us all fight to the bitter end!"
"However, this year's Thunderbolt Cup is different from previous ones. Not only are we going to be facing our old rival, the Iron Fist Club, there is a new enemy as well, the Starfire Union. Although the Starfire Union only has one student taking part in the much, dont make the mistake of underestimating this student, because...he is none other than Li YaoVulture Li Yao!"
"All of you have repeatedly studied Li Yao's combat videos for past couple of days, and you're all clear that his strength is absolutely not below mine. Furthermore, he is a guerrilla expert who is good at jungle warfare. And maybe, in this complex jungle terrain, he could display an even more aggressive battle force. He is also more likely to use various kinds of weird magical equipment!"
"Therefore, let me repeat it one last time, there is no doubt that the Iron Fist Club is our biggest enemy, but Li Yao is our most dangerous opponent. In the match, our first priority target is gonna be Li Yao; we are going to remove this variable first, and once we have captured the jade chip, only then will we compete with the Iron Fist Club!"
"I have faith in Lu Tieshan's wisdom, he must also be giving a similar briefing at the Iron Fist Club. There is a tacit understanding between us and no one is allowed to break it, not in a million years. Do you all understand?"
999 young sword cultivators shouted at the top of their lungs. Apparently, their blood was boiling.
"Alright! Let's get rid of Li Yao, capture the jade chip, and clash with Iron Fist Club. The final victory is gonna be ours!"
Zhao Tianchong, while zealously waving the Chaos Edge Hall's banner, shouted:
"Chaos Edge Hall members, move out!"
Almost at the same time, at the Iron Fist Club's headquarters, Lu Tieshan, with his head held high and Iron Fist Club's banner in his hand, marched ahead.
Following him were 999 robust teenagers, each strong as a bear and supple as a tiger. Every single one had a vivid spirit tattoo that radiated a powerful and majestic aura.
"Let's eliminate Li Yao, seize the jade chip, and steamroll the Chaos Edge Hall. The final victory belongs to us!"
"My brothers of the Iron Fist Club, follow me!"
10:00 in the morning.
Only one hour was left until the start of the match.
A dozen luxury flying shuttles smoothly and quietly flew into the Grand Desolate War Institution.
Aboard these flying shuttles were the executives of various combat sects in the Wasteland; they were all VIPs who had been specially invited for the Thunderbolt Cup.
A large part of the educational fund of the Grand Desolate War Institution was sponsored by these sects. As far these sects were concerned, the Grand Desolate War Institution was equivalent to a youth training center.
With the year at an end, they would most definitely want to check the good seedlings fostered by the youth training center this year.
If there was a freshman with incredibly good potential, he or she would become the key focus of their investment. Maybe they would even sign a contract with him or her on the spot, entice him or her into joining them.
It seemed that the news of three student unions contenting for the first time in twenty-seven years had piqued their interest. This year's VIP list was nothing but exemplary and magnificent. Many sects sent their elder-level executives to participate.
The Hundred Saber Alliance had sent their Vice-President, Long Wenhui.
The Devil Fist Sect had also sent their Elder, Bai Mushen.
Both of them were illustrious and super fierce people who had roamed the Wasteland freely for decades and left mountains of corpses and seas of blood in their wake. Both of them were in the Core Formation Stage!
As the matter stood, a total of four Core Formation Stage powerhouses, including the Dean of the Grand Desolate War Institution, Xiong Baili, and the head of the Combat Department, Xia Yanyan, were watching. Several dozen high-level Building Foundation Stage experts were also paying attention to the match at real time inside the VIP Hall.
Only 5 minutes left before the All-Freshmen Interdepartmental Thunderbolt Cup started!
. A coordinated attempt, usually by the police, to catch a criminal.