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    Chapter 230: The Tournament Begins

    Lu Qingyuan and Wen Xinxin led them to the demons' seats, all located in the front row.

    Beros sat next to Wen Ying, while Lu Qingyuan sat beside her. Wen Xinxin had mentally prepared herself for a long time before stiffly sitting down beside Beros, inwardly cursing the stadium designer for not considering the need for social distance between people – the chairs were placed too close together.

    The hellhound was truly intimidating; even without deliberately doing anything, just being near him made one feel immense pressure. Wen Xinxin had discreetly probed her classmates before and found that their reactions weren't as intense as hers, bordering on a fight-or-flight response.

    She wondered if her heightened sensitivity was due to the demonic bloodline passed down from Wen Dingjue.

    She had asked her great-grandfather what kind of demon he was, but he refused to say, only fueling her curiosity. Having seen so many different types of demons at the academy, she was incredibly curious about which breed of demon she was a hybrid of.

    Audience members began to fill the stands, voices echoing throughout.

    Muershi spoke to Wen Ying across Lu Qingyuan, "Who do you think will win?"

    "I'm not sure," Wen Ying replied, "Not many chose me during the bonding ceremony, so I didn't sense the magical levels of many people."

    To be precise, students who believed themselves to be of average strength barely joined the line for the Mirror Demon summoning. They preferred to choose from the other twenty-nine options rather than risk the embarrassment of being picked by the last-place Mirror Demon.

    Lu Qingyuan's expression was a mix of emotions. Who could have guessed that the despised Mirror Demon would turn out to be the strongest among this batch of young demons? It remained to be seen if he was truly the strongest in combat, but his overall performance clearly ranked first.

    For him, it felt like a stroke of luck had fallen from the sky. Ever since the news spread that the Mirror Demon topped the rankings among the demons, the attitudes of his classmates and even teachers towards him had significantly changed. The most obvious transformation came from those who previously looked down on him due to his background as an exorcist family member.

    Now, they would ask him to join them for meals in the cafeteria or invite him to hang out on weekends, generously covering all expenses. However, Lu Qingyuan didn't accept these invitations, fearing that he might accidentally reveal Wen Ying's secret through a magical mishap.

    The memory of Wen Ying casually producing a pile of poisonous demon potions left a deep impression on Lu Qingyuan, etched into both his DNA and soul.

    Koroy leaned towards Wen Ying, "Didn't you have something else you wanted me to test yesterday? Come to my dorm after lunch."

    Wen Ying's eyes curved into a smile, "Thank you." Free and voluntary – who wouldn't appreciate that?

    Brushing aside the inexplicable niggle in his heart, Wen Ying reminded himself not to doubt Koroy's intentions. Koroy wasn't an Evil Bird; his enthusiasm shouldn't be questioned just because it was free.

    Upon hearing their conversation, Wen Xinxin curiously observed Koroy. That demon was a Witch Fairy, and she had heard that almost everyone in his family were females, all of them gifted with the ability to predict the future.

    How wonderful, to be able to foresee the future at any time.

    Koroy noticed Wen Xinxin's gaze and offered her a warm and radiant smile.

    Wen Xinxin hurriedly returned the smile, inwardly wishing that Koroy was the one she had contracted with, for Koroy was both beautiful and exuded an aura of confidence.

    Lost in thought, Koroy took out her phone and sent a message to Muershi.

    "Do you think Wen Xinxin resembles Wen Ying at all? But it seems like Wen Xinxin doesn't recognize Wen Ying."

    "She must have had her bloodline tested when she entered the academy."

    "I'll use the crystal ball to check later."

    The crystal balls of a witch fairy mainly served as fortune-telling tools for the future, but occasionally, they could also reveal glimpses of the past. However, such a feat required immense magical energy and was highly unlikely. Witch fairies believed that if something from the past appeared in the crystal ball, it was surely connected to destiny.

    Muershi felt that Koroy had only a one percent chance of success, so he casually typed back, "As long as you're happy."

    Wen Ying surfed the internet with great interest. Today, the public's attention was almost entirely captured by the friendly match. The online community was full of creative activities, and the witty netizens' antics made Wen Ying hold back her laughter with difficulty.

    With cameras rolling, Wen Ying initially assumed it was just an ordinary friendly match. However, the presence of multiple large cameras and professional photographers suggested otherwise.

    This was a live broadcast, announced abruptly in the middle of the night. Wen Ying found the situation absurd. Who would suddenly decide to host a live broadcast, akin to a major sports event, that would air on television?

    Despite the majority of the live audience being from the Flower Nation and supporting their home team, Asaph's team remained unfazed, exuding an aura of calm authority as if they were the masters of the situation.

    The two teams' rest areas were situated next to each other, allowing a clear view of both groups. The seven students representing the local academy also had strong presences, both sides brimming with youthful competitiveness.

    Even before the start, their rivalry was palpable. The live broadcast captured this tension, drawing astounding viewership ratings across the nation.

    Among the Flower Nation's academy team, there was someone Wen Ying recognized. It was the person who had knocked on his door when he first awakened his demonic lineage. Upon seeing Wei Ranfeng, Wen Ying was taken aback.

    That guy still hadn't graduated? That was ridiculous.

    Participation in this friendly match was restricted to students who had yet to graduate, so Wei Ranfeng mustn't have finished his studies yet.

    Wen Ying leaned sideways and whispered to Belleros, "Belleros, who do you think will win?"

    "It seems evenly matched," Beros commented nonchalantly, unaffected by the atmosphere, or perhaps he was simply incredibly irritable.

    It was one thing to find Wen Ying being stared at by a crowd, but to be surrounded by weak creatures upon entering was a disaster within a disaster.

    Recalling Beros's temperament, Wen Ying sighed helplessly. "Let's endure it for now."

    When the time was nearly right, An Meng flew to the center of the arena. Without using a microphone, he projected his voice magically, "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this friendly match against the Acsifa Academy. Even as exorcists, we uphold the principle that friendship comes first, competition second..."

    After An Meng's lengthy official speech, it was the turn of the Acsifa Academy's team leader to speak. Instead of flying onto the field, he stood up from his seat and used magic to amplify his voice, leaving many ordinary people and average magic users in the audience momentarily confused.

    Those watching the live stream, however, were not bewildered. The camera immediately zoomed in on a close-up of the opposing team's leader.

    The opening remarks didn't last long, filled with standard diplomatic language about prioritizing friendship. Everyone's attention was fixed on the outcome of the competition.

    Despite not participating, Wen Ying found himself strangely fired up by the surrounding energy.

    The rules stated that one team would go first, with the other team responding, and the order for the second round would switch. The order for the first round was determined by a draw.

    Acsifa Academy won the draw and got to go first.

    In the first match, Asaph Academy fielded a female exorcist named Lena, while the local institution countered with a senior named Xiaoyang.

    A mage against a warrior – it seemed so, and Wen Ying watched the duel with keen interest.

    During the final exams of the previous semester, he had battled some exorcists in the Human Realm but had never witnessed an exorcist showdown.

    All thirty demons were attentively watching, even Perseus, who usually showed little interest in weaker creatures, was giving them an uncommonly serious look.

    Observing the level of the human side's new talents was part of their mission. These fourteen individuals could be considered the cream of the crop among the upcoming generation. The demons naturally wouldn't miss this excellent opportunity to study them closely.

    The competition was in full swing, while behind the scenes, the domestic academy's covert investigation had quietly begun.

    Next to Dean Chang Mufeng sat the two team leaders from Asaph. Though they maintained a cordial atmosphere, their conversation was laced with subtle tensions.

    "That girl is quite impressive. She's mastered earth magic at such a young age."

    "Nothing extraordinary. That boy surpasses many of his peers in physical training; he broke Lena's earthen wall with just a few punches."

    "Lena's casting speed could use some improvement."

    "You really speak the language of your Flower Nation well."

    "Thank you for the compliment. I have a great appreciation for your country's culture and took the initiative to learn from a teacher."

    A few senior members of the academy joined the conversation with warm smiles. During the exchange, some of them couldn't help glancing at their phones repeatedly.

    They wondered how the search party they had dispatched was progressing.

    The luxurious cruise ship was almost deserted. Leading the team, Chang Ningsheng skillfully avoided the crew members and the few guests who hadn't attended the live competition, silently infiltrating the various rooms on board.

    Through the custom-made earpiece he wore, he heard a voice ask, "Have you found anything over there?"

    Chang Ningsheng pressed his hand against the magical earpiece and spoke softly, "Not yet, let's keep looking."

    As Wen Ying had guessed, the academy had hurriedly sold tickets and organized a massive live broadcast to evacuate the tourists from the cruise ship and divert the attention of those remaining to their mobile phone and television streams. This would allow their people to conduct a covert investigation.

    In the first match, the academy's Xiang Yang had emerged victorious, while Lena lost due to her inability to cast her magic fast enough.

    Cheers erupted from the audience, and hashtags like "#First Match, Victory!" quickly trended on various platforms.

    In the second match, the academy representative was someone Wen Ying didn't recognize. On Asafa's side, a seemingly assassin-like figure emerged. He appeared slender and taciturn, with an inconspicuous yet sharp aura that didn't radiate as openly as others. There was an intangible hunting intent concentrated within him.

    The second bout was even more intense than the first. Asafa's Vincen moved in an eerie manner, leaving the academy's contestant flustered and disoriented. Soon, his defenses were breached, leading to his defeat.

    The atmosphere instantly became tense and nerve-wracking.

    Now, the score was tied at one apiece, with five matches still to go.

    The third match dragged on for a long time, extending until eleven o'clock. Each clash between the competitors stirred the emotions of the spectators. Some cheered encouragement, while others held their breath in anticipation. Some wished they could fast-forward time to learn the outcome.

    Ultimately, Asafa's team emerged victorious. Wen Ying heard a mix of sighs and non-disparaging murmurs from the crowd behind him.

    The entire arena was filled with a pleasant aroma, as the large gathering of humans generated numerous negative emotions. Their sweet life force, emanating like an irresistible bounty, made the demons feel like rats in a granary, surrounded by an abundance of grains.

    A few demons' pupils dilated, displaying signs of a hunt. They grew restless in their seats.

    A close-up shot from a camera captured this moment, and some viewers noticed the peculiar behavior of these demons, sensing danger. However, these scattered comments were drowned out by the overwhelming focus on the competition and didn't attract much attention.

    Wen Ying gently sniffed the air, sensing that the sweetness of the surrounding vitality was somewhat off. He turned his head to look at Pelos, instinctively observing the other's condition.



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