Li Yao's movements sped up exponentially. Every part of his body left a few blurred afterimages behind, as if a clear reflection in the water was stirred by the intrusion of a stone.
Li Yao withdrew from No. 9's storm of attacks. He dashed backwards like a slippery loach.
Had he not seen it with his own eyes, No. 9 would have never believed that someone could drive a super-heavy crystal suit as swiftly as a light one.
Before No. 9 came back to himself from shock, Li Yao had launched his counterattack!
The two Honeycomb Flying Sword Containers on his shoulders were opened, like the mouth of a fierce beast baring its fangs. All the flying swords were unleashed and targeted at No. 9's outline!
No. 9 sneered. He released all his Bait Bugs and condensed his spiritual shield to its maximum in the meantime.
Since he had much more spiritual energy than Li Yao did, he could resort to a war of attrition without worrying he would run out of resources.
However, the flying swords suffered no interference from his Bait Bugs, nor did they hit his spiritual shield. Instead, they found their way down into the desert and boomed underground, causing a sandstorm that was even more violent than the previous tornado.
Most of the crystal cameras on No. 9's suit were blocked. He couldn't see through the dust. His ears were full of the growling of the wind. The enemy's movement had been entirely covered.
No. 9 felt that a strong wind was coming at his neck, as if a cunning beast decided that it had lurked enough.
He could even feel the sting in his veins.
"This is your plan?"
No. 9 smiled. He raised his right arm. With a boom, electrical sparks were dancing on the suit. One electromagnetic axe was tossed far away into the desert.
"Disturbing my senses with dust before launching a critical attack with a flying axe. It was a good plan. But you underestimated me!"
The four axes on the arms and legs of the Thunder Axe Battlesuit were all designed to be detachable. In critical moments, they could be wielded and thrown away as a weapon, which was more dangerous than the flying swords.
No. 9 had both talent and determination. He had been using the Thunder Axe Battlesuit ever since he entered the camp. How could he not know that?
He'd known that this was Li Yao's only chance the whole time!
Another two flying axes came from the dust. No. 9 didn't even bother to look at them. He crossed his arms and cast them away easily. In the meantime, he sprinted 30 meters forward.
Although his senses of vision and hearing were both greatly diminished, he still discovered a vague figure right in front of him by his instinct.
His opponent seemed to be caught off guard. Not expecting him to arrive so fast, his opponent was still waving the last electromagnetic axe.
No. 9 roared and threw himself at his opponent at full strength, who was blown away more than ten meters and lost his last electromagnetic axe.
"Your four electromagnetic axes are all gone. Your tiny flying swords have been used up, too. You're on my chopping block now, boy!" No. 9 screamed and created a steel millstone with his four electromagnetic axes which enveloped Li Yao from head to toe.
"Ka! Ka! Ka! Ka!"
Li Yao had lost the ability to fight back. Fragments of his crystal suit, which No. 9 had completely torn apart, were all over the place.
It seemed that he couldn't stand it any longer. His legs shaking, he fell to the ground.
No. 9 didn't care. He raised his axe and slashed at Li Yao's head.
Everything had come to an end.
The sandstorm had settled down. In the middle of the glorious sunset and the yellow desert, two crystal suits stood still, which was indeed a beautiful picture.
Li Yao's suit had almost been entirely shattered. There was not a single plate that had suffered no damage from the battle. Many parts of the suit were gone, exposing his skin to the air. Half of his helmet was cut away, and the remaining half was sparking nonstop.
As for No. 9's suit, it had been contaminated by dust. Other than that, it was perfect without any damage, except for a tiny hole under his arm.
"The steel man has won. He beat the newbie really hard!"
"Half of his head has been chopped off. Well well well. That was a little bit too much. Could almost be called a sadist."
"Zhou Zhenghao, the 'steel man', is indeed the top muscular man in the training camp. He's not reserving any of his capability when his opponent is just a green hand."
"But why is he not moving?"
Many students were amazed by No. 9's toughness and Li Yao's suffering.
After a moment, No. 9 moved.
His almost intact crystal suit shivered, before it collapsed slowly.
At first, he was on one of his knees. He tried to raise his right hand and give Li Yao one last shot, only to lean towards one side of his body and fall down to the ground with a cracking sound.
No. 9 was ejected out of the crystal suit and tossed into the soft sand far away.
"No. 100 wins!"
"No. 9 fails. Eliminated!"
When the cold and indifferent announcement came from the voice rune array, all the students were so shocked that they seemed to be too choked to ask how it happened.
Even Long Qianyue, who had been watching the match emotionlessly, leaped from her seat in admiration.
Yuan Yeshi, who'd made fun of Li Yao before, was pulling his hair and trying to figure out how a newbie such as Li Yao could miraculously win the game.
In the endless desert, No. 9, or Zhou Zhenghao, the 'steel man', was sitting on the ground completely stupefied.
He was eyeing his opponent's crystal suit in such a perplexed way that it might be pierced through by his look at any moment.
The crystal suit opened like the blossom of a lotus. Li Yao walked out exhaustedly and staggered to Zhou Zhenghao. He sat down beside him.
His dry lips curled, forming what could almost be called a smile.
Zhou Zhenghao understood what the smile meant.
It was his opponent's respect for his performance in the previous battle.
Zhou Zhenghao was 28 years old, 2.1 meters tall, 175 kilograms of weight, with a square face and a beard, who had been crazy about training.
Respect or contempt from his opponent meant nothing to him.
He just wanted to know how he was beaten.
He looked at Li Yao and asked earnestly, "I have almost torn you into pieces, I even cut off half of your head, why on earth could you still attack?"
Li Yao was moved by his pursuing and curious look, which was exactly the same as when he was training crazily.
He explained carefully, "Thunder Axe Battlesuit is not a new model of the super-heavy type crystal suits. It was an extended model based on the 'Thunder Saber Battlesuit', a heavy type crystal suit, with additional attack and defense modules. But its main framework has the same structure as the Thunder Saber Battlesuit.
"What you tore apart was just the attack and defense plug-ins and the plates of the Thunder Axe Battlesuit. You never really damaged the main framework.
"You did cut off half of the head. As a result, I lost most of the crystal cameras and surveillance magical equipment.
"However, the core crystal processor of the Thunder Axe Battlesuit is located at the bottom of the head. You only peeled off its shell. Its computational capability was not affected, so the suit could still function normally."
Zhou Zhenghao was speechless for a while. Then he reluctantly added, "Even though I failed to launch a critical attack, how did you manage to put me down in such a short time?"
"Because of the design defects of the Thunder Axe Battlesuit, or the congenital deficiencies, if you will," Li Yao explained. "Thunder Axe Battlesuit has too many attack and defense modules added to it. It was not perfect in the aspect of coherence of the modules. For example, there is a minuscule gap under the left arm which expands the arm's waving range so that the power of the electromagnetic axe can be maximized.
"Besides, generally speaking, the gap is hardly possible to target.
"The gap is thinner than a hair. It seems inconceivable that the gap can be located during a fierce combat. In the meantime, the gap contributes a lot to the expansion of attack range. Therefore, the Armadominus decided to keep the gap after weighing the advantages and disadvantages.
"I was observing your strategies and habits in order to find out in which of your attacking postures would expose the gap. Then, I changed 13 different defending postures and finally managed to let you expose the gap by attracting you with my head and making you raise your axe with both of your arms."
Zhou Zhenghao was not convinced. He said, "Suppose you did find the gap, how could you penetrate it when your electromagnetic axes and flying swords were all gone?"
Li Yao explained patiently, "Not all of them. When I released the flying swords, I caught one of the swords on the way and hid it in my hands. In the end, when the crucial moment came, I pushed it into the gap.
"Had we been in a real battlefield and the magical equipment not been suppressed, that attack would've hit your heart.
"Therefore, the system determined that you failed."
Zhou Zhenghao was dazed.
"How were you able to 'catch one of the swords on the way'? Is it even possible?"
"It's very simple."
Li Yao frowned, "It is much easier than the training of catching miniature beast puppets, don't you think?"
Zhou Zhenghao had no idea what he was talking about, "What kind of training involves catching miniature beast puppets?"
"The one in which a hundred miniature beast puppets are released and Okay, never mind."
Li Yao curled his lips, knowing that he was fooled by the chief instructor again.
Nobody except him had ever done that kind of insane training.
"Everything's clear now."
Zhou Zhenghao was not a beginner. He had thought everything through soon after Li Yao explained the key to his victory. He smiled bitterly, "You were passive at the beginning because you were analyzing my attack patterns and styles and also because you wanted me to be less wary. After I took away the attack and defense modules from your suit, your weight was reduced and your speed was higher, making your critical attack easier to launch.
"And I thought I was the one winning the match!
"I'm sincerely convinced by your performance in this combat that you're more qualified to stay in the Thunder Training Camp than I am.
"Thank you for explaining everything to me. No. 100, no, I should call you Li Yao. I really appreciate it. Now I can die without regret."
Zhou Zhenghao stood up and nodded at Li Yao. Then he turned around and walked out of the arena.
Li Yao suddenly stopped him, "May I ask if your left knee was seriously injured before?"
Zhou Zhenghao came to a halt. He turned his head, shocked, as if he had seen a ghost. He cried, "How did you know?"