"Okay. Thank you for the response."
Red Phoenix smiled back and turned to Hao Tian. "The legendary Hao Tian, are you confident that you will win today's match?"
"You'll see." Hao Tian did not pay attention to the reporter, as if his face was saying, I am focusing now, please do not disturb me.
He had always been a quiet man and never liked being interviewed before the battle. He felt that using the time before battle to prepare his mental state was the professional thing to do.
Moreover, his opponent was Star Chess. Hao Tian had no comments about him. In the professional circle, everyone knew that Star Chess had started his business after retirement, but he had returned for the competition after his business went bad. It was obvious that he wanted to use his popularity to milk some cash.
Since they were on different paths, there was nothing worth talking about.
The audience all laughed. They knew the personality of Hao Tian, and they all loved to watch his cold, calm demeanor.
Red Phoenix's face froze as she did not know how to respond. However, she was one of the most experienced hosts in the professional league, so she suppressed her awkwardness and backed away from Han Tian. "Okay. Looks like both of them are confident that they will win. Let's start the thirty-second countdown, and once it reaches zero, the competition will officially begin!"
The screen showed a thirty-second timer, and the audience in the arena all quieted down, tens of thousands of pairs of eyes focusing on the two men on the ring.
The nervous atmosphere froze the ring and the stadium.
Within the countdown, the judges started the pre-game analysis.
"It seems that both of them are from the Pugilist class, and both of them are LV 46. They are at the same level, so we can expect to see a high-level pugilist battle. This is the fight between two generations, and I also feel that this battle has a sense of ceremony. There's no doubt that Hao Tian is in his peak condition, judging from the uncountable wins. Plus, I'm worried if Star Chess has maintained his game after being away from the scene for five years."
The other judge then replied, "There's no need to worry about that. All professionals know how to adjust their own status before the game, and Star Chess is already a veteran, which means he has more experience than Hao Tian. I have a feeling that this will be an intense and cutthroat battle."
Han Xiao sat up and straighten his back and looked at the dense atmosphere on the ring. After training Hao Tian for so long, it was time to see the result.
"Three… Two… One…"
As soon as the countdown finished, Hao Tian stomped his feet into the ground and charged toward the opponent with surge of energy covering his body, as if he was a siege tank.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
The two pugilist exchange fists and kick with each other. The sound of punches landing on the two's bodies was deep and loud. The audience could see that the status bars of both sides, such as the health bar, energy bar, and stamina bar, were dropping.
The veterans would not fight like a rookie player, who fought as if they were video gamers smashing all the buttons. Even in a lower-level battle between Pugilists, it was essential to understand the timing of the use of skill and how to distribute energy to continue to activate buffs. They also needed to learn dodging techniques, reset timing, damage calculation, and cooldowns of skills.
In the fight of elites, detail determined the victor!
The battle between the two men on the ring was filled with subtle techniques from both fighters. Some spectators understood, while other did not, but in the end, it did not matter if one was able to identify the techniques—the audience all certainly felt a special atmosphere in a professional battle.
And it could be described in one word: steady!
The rate of decrease in their status bars was slower than the battle between average players. It meant that both players used a lot of small techniques that dodged a large amount of attacks from the enemy. This was the clear distinction between professional players and normal players.
The words of the judges were coming out faster than bullets from a machine gun. The commentator was also a skilled man, and he quickly analyzed the situation for the audience.
"It is still a stalemate on the ring. They are testing the water and only using normal attacks with some small skills. Both of their health bars are above eighty percent, and now, we'll have to see who can grab the chance to deal a combo attack."
There were countless styles of players in battle, but using combos was always one of the most popular techniques among the players, especially the Pugilists. If they could break through the defense and get a brief opening, the skillful players could take away huge portion of health bar from the enemy, and it was even possible to one shot the enemy with one combo.
Just like the 'Girl and the Floating Island', once one got knocked into the air, it was unavoidable that one would lose a huge amount of his health. Moreover, as professional players, Han Xiao and Star Chess had mastered the art of combos, and there was rarely any chance of error. Now, they needed to see how they could start the first combo.
"Wait, Star Chess is going in!"
After they exchanged blows, Star Chess suddenly lunged and stomped his front foot on the ground. An invisible wave shook the ring as it traveled across.
Knock up skill, [Ground Stomp]!
Any target within two meters would get knock up if hit by the shockwave. This was a rare skill, and Hao Tian did not react in time. His feet left the around, and he was around thirty centimeters in midair.
"This is bad. It seems like it is a rare skill. Hao Tian got hit, but he wasn't knocked very high, so there's no opening for combo… Star Chess charged forward and landed the first punch of the combo!"
The lower the height of knock up, the harder it was to start a combo, but Star Chess successfully found the opening, and a torrent of skills and attacks bombarded Hao Tian. The random and colorful energy splashed on his body, landing seven combo hits in an instant. Hao Tian's health dropped by a large portion.
The judge shook his head and commented, "Star Chess could still grab the slim opening for a combo. Indeed, the older, the wiser. Let's see how Hao Tian will react to this situation. Everyone knew that before the competition, Black Phantom sold out a class advancement knowledge called [Energy Burst]. It will use up a large amount of energy in exchange for a status of rage buff and knock back all the enemies. This skill can stop the combo of the enemy, but it will use a lot of energy. From the attributes of this level of players, they can only use this skill once in a competition. Both of them have definitely learned the skill, so let's see if Hao Tian will use it first."
While floating in the midair, Hao Tian curl his body into a ball to reduce the damage taken. The dropping health bar, however, did not affect his mental state. He was still focused and waiting for his chance.
Suddenly, he found a mistake in the combo, and he opened up from his defensive stance and caught Star Chess's fist with one hand while swinging his body open the head of the opponent, trying to get behind Star Chess.
"He used [Return of Cloud]! Oh no, even though this skill is a midair escape skill, the successful rate is very strict—you need at least ten points higher in Dexterity than your opponent to have a few more percentage increase in successful rate. But they are at the same level, so their attributes should be the same! If the skill does not go through and fails, he won't be able to move, and the next combo from Star Chess will finish him off. Seems like Hao Tian will…"
The judge suddenly stopped his tongue as he saw that Hao Tian escape the combo with the skill and land right behind Star Chess. Then, without any delay, Hao Tian's elbow landed on the back of Star Chess' head, stunning him.
Making use of the opportunity, Hao Tian grabbed Star Chess by the shoulder and swept the floor with a kick and made Star Chess float in midair without any defense. Then it was time for Hao Tian to perform his mesmerizing combo.
The situation suddenly changed, and the audience was left in shock.
"How did the skill succeed?" The judge had no time to freeze and shouted with his eyes wide open. "Now it's time for Hao Tian to counterattack… Why is Star Chess' health bar going down so fast?"
Just now, half of Star Chess' combo took away twenty-five percent of Hao Tian's health, but after only a few punches, Star Chess had already lost forty percent of his health points.
Part of it was because Star Chess was stunned and could not define, but the main reason was that the damage from Hao Tian was too high.
Star Chess could not believe his eyes as the damage numbers popped up on the interface.
"Hao Tian should have the same Dexterity as me; there was no way that [Return of Cloud] could have succeeded!"
The flowing energy again highlighted the serious expression of Hao Tian.
He was indeed on the same level as Star Chess. However, his skill level was much higher than not only Star Chess but also the entire professional players in the scene. Han Xiao's reward of experience had all been used to increase the level of skill, and that was why [Return of Cloud] worked and his damage was unexpectedly high.