At the northernmost region of the map, Zhao Tianchong ordered a hundred members of the Chaos Edge Hall to remain at the base, blocking the canyon so that not even a drop of water could trickle through.
And in order to prevent Li Yao using some kind of flying magical equipment to fly over their head, all the contestants left by Zhao Tianchong were flying sword experts.
In the event that Li Yao tried to traverse the canyon through the sky, dozens of flying swords would immediately greet him and treat him as a live target!
Afterward, Zhao Tianchong led 900 remaining experts from the Chaos Edge Hall to the jungle, pressing towards the center of the map.
Before the Iron Fist Club had a chance, they must find Li Yao, eliminate him, and grab the jade chip. The first one to seize the initiative would be the one who would take the jade chip back to their respective base and insert it into static-type crystal processor.
Following which, they would just have to hold the line while facing the fierce attack of the opposition, that's all.
A defensive war was always a bit more advantageous.
"Time is pressing, keep up the pace!"
"There are 1,000 of Iron Fist Club's members behind him and they can only head north. Everyone, please maintain formation, you can't be too scattered. The mist in the jungle is quite dense, so everyone has to make sure that each of you has at least two of your companions in your sight!"
"Once you have found Li Yao attacking your companions, do not engage. First, you have to greet with at least two of your companions and form a tactical team of three; only then should you respond to the enemy attack!"
"I repeat, three, at least three people; only then should you go and engage with Li Yao. In any case, we have 100 people posted at the canyon, the sky is also completely blocked. Even if he has wings, he cannot fly through!"
"And most important of all, before anyone has taken the jade chip, no one, and I mean no one, is allowed to engage with Iron Fist Club!"
On the live broadcast system in the Wasteland Battle Network, an enormous hologram displayed a translucent three-dimensional map of Yellow Wind Ridge. It was spotted with 2,001 tiny dots of light.
The red dots represented the Iron Fist Club.
The blue dots represented the Chaos Edge Hall.
While the lone black dot represented the Starfire Union, or to say, Li Yao!
After having scurried into the jungle, the black dot seemed to be aimlessly moving around in circles. Li Yao seemed to have qualms regarding the hunters in the front. He dared not proceed forward and tried to find a hiding spot at the center of the jungle.
Not long after, a large number of red and blue dots slowly fanned into the jungle, pressing onwards from the both sides towards the center.
In order to prevent anyone being left alone and subsequently being attacked by Li Yao, both sides maintained a tight formation; they did not spread throughout the jungle at all, leaving many gaps behind.
Nonetheless, it seemed that they were gradually tightening the noose. As they moved back and forth, the room for Li Yao to move was definitely getting smaller and smaller. But they would always get noticed for a short moment.
Both sides gradually got closer. Finally
The blue and red dots representing the vanguard teams overlapped. Both sides made the first contact.
In the mist-filled jungle, the vague towering trees looked as though they were gigantic beasts that were bearing their fangs and brandishing their claws.
Amid the shrubs, the croaks and shrieks of unknown demon beasts made the already tense atmosphere even more scorching.
Everyone's forehead was drenched in sweat, their nerves highly taut.
Meanwhile, their eyes moved here and there; taking precautions against any kind of sneak attack made by Li Yao from each and every direction.
From the opposite side of the mist, a tall and stalwart human silhouette gradually revealed itself, its eyes not concealing its hostility.
"Slow down and sheath your swords. Now is not the time to fight with the Iron Fist Club!"
Zhao Tianchong shouted at the top of his lungs.
He knew that everyone was a hot-blooded youth. Generally, their relation was already anything but harmonious. In the past, small conflicts had taken place just to compete for training equipment and field space.
It was difficult to ensure that no one would do a stupid thing in a moment of hot-headedness. If so, then everything would be finished.
Meanwhile, from the opposite side, Lu Tieshan's voice likewise resounded from the mist.
Zhao Tianchong was quite pleased.
Lu Tieshan's temperament was rather stable. He was not some boorish fellow who had well-developed limbs but a moronic head. Furthermore, during the battle of Verdant Tarn City, they had also forged a deep friendship.
Now that he was found, presumably the scene would not get out of control.
"Lu Tieshan, it's me, Zhao Tianchong. Lets have a chat."
Soon, Lu Tieshan, along with a few capable and vigorous-looking Iron Fist Club members vigilantly drilled their way out of the mist.
Spreading his hands, indicating that he had no malicious intentions, Zhao Tianchong, along with a few core members of the Chaos Edge Hall, walked to the center of the jungle.
"Lu Tieshan, although your Iron Fist Club and my Chaos Edge Hall have had many contradictions in the past, at the end of the day, we both belong to righteous factions. At this instance, we're hunting a notorious evil expert. We don't have any reason to seek each other and mutually destroy each other first, do we? I think that you are very clear on the meaning of the saying'Fisherman benefit from the tussle between sandpiper and clam'!"
Since it was a simulation of true combat, Zhao Tianchong had also completely entered into the role as he gradually spoke in accordance with his identity.
Lu Tieshan nodded and said:
"Indeed, I have already informed all brothers that without finding the jade chip first, no one is allowed to engage with the Chaos Edge Hall. I just hope that your people do not act on impulse!"
Zhao Tianchong slightly smiled as he said:
"You don't need to worry, over these days, we have repeatedly studied Li Yao's combat videos. His aggressiveness and craftiness have left a deep impression, they will not act rashly and give Li Yao any opportunity to sit atop the mountain and watch the tigers fight!"
"Well, I've got a better idea, how about we divide the jungle between you and me? You will be responsible for the southern part of the jungle and I will be responsible for the northern part of the jungle. We will slowly search inch by inch, leaving no stone unturned. Only after having found Li Yao and the jade chip should we resolve our grudges!"
Lu Tieshan's eyelid dropped down. Just as he was about to nod, a shriek suddenly came from a distance.
Both of them happened to have their pupils constrict to the limit at the same time, cold sweat appeared on their foreheads in anxiousness as both of them coincidentally and simultaneously shouted:
"WHAT'S GOING ON? DON'T DO ANYTHING!"
Having said that, each led a dozen core members towards the direction of the scream.
At the same time, they also transmitted orders to various members of their respective clubs via the crystal processor telling them to remain calm, relay all of their information, and to not take any action until further notice.
Unfortunately, the Yellow Wind Ridge was filled with mist and was a world fragment that was quite far away from the Heaven Origin Sector, making the network unstable and filled with interference; the network was going on and off every now and then.
Many battle teams seemed to have thrust into the enemy's rear, and when the mist cleared slightly, they discovered that they were already entangled with each other.
However, everyone did keep in mind that they could not engage, so all they could do was give a black look to each other.
When Zhao Tianchong and Lu Tieshan arrived, they discovered a three-man team from the Chaos Edge Hall and a similar team from the Iron Fist Club side in a stalemate.
Both sides were poised on a razors edge; there was a chill in the air, and a conflict could break out at any moment.
"What's going on? Haven't I told you that without finding the jade chip first, no one is allowed to..."
Zhao Tianchong and Lu Tieshan snapped at the same time. However, they were not able to berate them in full.
Because at that moment, they noticed a giant tree between the both sides which happened to have its bark peeled out, thereby revealing its white part, upon which two crooked characters were engraved.
There was also a small arrow pointing towards a tree hole.
Meanwhile, half of the jade chip was sticking out of the tree hole.
In the blink of an eye, Zhao Tianchong and Lu Tieshan had an impulse to swear, while a sense of helplessness and powerlessness welled up in their heart.
"Everyone please remain calm!:
"This is obviously a trap, can't you see that? Li Yao just wants us to kill each other, this jade chip is obviously false. There might even be a bomb hidden at the back of the jade chip, and as long as we moved it, you might all be blown away!"
Zhao Tianchong shouted in a strict voice. Having said that, he too was having some doubt in his own speculation.
As Li Yao could only a backpack full of magical equipment, which even if it was filled with bombs, no matter how they were arranged, the subsequent explosion would not be that big. Whereas in an open terrain, the explosion would not even be able to blast a few people away.
"Everyone, retreat, hide behind the trees, I'll check it out!"
Everyone retreated a dozen meters away and took cover behind the towering trees.
Releasing his spirit threads, Zhao Tianchong slowly approached the jade chip.
The moment his spirit thread touched the jade chip, a mutation occurred as a small paper crane suddenly flew out of the tree hole, dancing in the air.
It was the most common magical equipment in the Star Glory Federation, the "Transmitting Paper Crane".
From the paper crane rang Li Yao's voice:
"Friends of the Iron Fist Club and Chaos Edge Hall, hello!
"Please don't doubt the authenticity of the jade chip in front of you, I am sincerely handing the jade chip over to you."
Assuming an air of self-conceit, the Transmitting Jade Chip spoke freely and frankly just like Li Yao:
"If I don't hand over the jade chip, all 2,000 contestants will treat me as their target. I will be hunted down by all of you. I simply did not have a single shred of opportunity!
"Therefore, my plan goes like thisfirst I will hand over the jade chip to you and let all of you fight to the death with each other. In the best case scenario, both sides will be defeated and wounded, then I will swaggeringly come and effortlessly reap the spoils of a contest fought between you two!
"If you are worried about the authenticity of the jade chip, it's very simple; you can take it to a static-type crystal processor on any of your bases and check it out. You can check whether the stored data are authentic or not. The chip is encrypted with special telepathic thoughts that I am unable to copy or tamper with."
Having finished speaking, the paper crane paused for a long while; seemingly giving both sides time to consider.
Only when both sides were somewhat dazed did the paper crane continued as it flapped its wings:
"Of course, even if say this, there is 90% chance that everything I just said is a lie, this jade chip is false and I am just luring both sides into a fight.
"You can all think that I am bluffing and continue to hunt me down. I believe that under the web of 2,000 contestants, I cannot hide for too long.
"However, it has never been my style to play the pig to eat the tiger, so let me forewarn you.
"I have already advanced into the 6th level of Refinement Stage, my spiritual energy can now be used in combat and as such my battle force has advanced by leaps and bounds. I can say for sure that three to five of you can't deal with me.
"If you truly want to eliminate me, you have to form a team of thirty to fifty people!
"However, friends of Chaos Edge Hall, I advise you to be a bit slower when hunting me down; do not rush too fast, or all of you will become my hunting targets!
"Once you have formed an alliance to hunt me down, I will specifically target your Chaos Edge Hall members!
"Anyone armed with swords and sabers will become my hunting target!
"Believe me when I say that before you can eliminate me, I will take thirty to fifty members of Chaos Edge Hall with me!
"From the beginning, your Chaos Edge Hall's strength has been worse than the Iron Fist Clubs. In all the Thunderbolt Cups held in the past decade, you have only won twice. Just last year you suffered a crushing defeat; it was quite miserable already!
"I am quite sure that with my 'help', you will lose even more miserably!
"Especially Zhao Tianchong you are the most crucial member of the Chaos Edge Hall. Youd better hope that you don't encounter me in the jungle, for I will eliminate you at any price without any hesitation, maybe even die along with you.
"If you come to kill me, I will take the Chaos Edge Hall down with me!"