With Xiao Lei declaring hostilities with Muyou’s faction, the seemingly peaceful days appeared to have ended for them.
Every time they met a member of Xiao Lei’s faction, they would be openly taunted, teased and ridiculed. Even though these were merely childish verbal ridicules, they were just teenagers. After some time, brawls began to erupt between Muyou’s faction and Xiao Lei’s faction. The elders and instructors turned a blind eye to these incidents as long as they did not go out of hand with serious injuries.
Muyou’s faction was only 30-man strong while Xiao Lei’s faction was 100-man strong, so Xiao Lei had a numerical advantage. However, even without the numerical advantage, Muyou’s faction members were weaker than Xiao Lei’s faction members. Thus, most of the fights ended up with Muyou’s faction members as the losers.
Muyou and Yiqi had been challenged to fights several times too. Initially they were one-on-one fights, but when Muyou and Yiqi won the fights the battles became three-on-one fights and five-on-one fights. They started to lose some fights and had some minor injuries as well.
“Damn… Everyday we are being jumped on by the Xiao Lei’s faction members… This is pure torture man…” a student was grumbling as he took out some ointment to rub his bruises. It was the regular daily night meet-up for Muyou’s class as they previously gathered to train together. However since the daily battles with Xiao Lei’s faction, they did not have the energy nor strength to continue training at night. Thus, for the past 2 weeks, they gathered together to nurse their injuries and complain about their fights.
“If this goes on for another 2 weeks, I am going to die of the injuries… Every night I went to bed with aches everywhere…”
“This is not going to end, Zi Long recently defeated one of them and was only jumped at by another student. Even Muyou and Yiqi had to start fighting against 5 students each at one go!”
“Yea, 100 vs 30, we are just going to get swarmed by their numbers…”
The students were complaining incessantly, but it was hard to blame them. It was never a good feeling physically or mentally to be thrashed around for the past 2 weeks.
“Is this not a good chance for us to grow stronger?” Yiqi suddenly spoke up as everybody turned silent. “Each of these fights are a valuable experience for all of us. In these fights, there are no consequences if we lose. They cannot kill us or cripple us, but are just using their strength to oppress us. On the other hand, each of these fights allow us to gain battle experience. Fighting with stronger opponents with no consequences, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us to grow stronger!”
What Yiqi said was true. After fighting these battles every single day for the past 2 weeks, they had grown stronger at a faster rate. Just as how athletes and sportsmen would improve much faster if they constantly pit themselves against stronger opponents, this theory was the same for martial artists too.
“Yiqi, we understand what you are saying… But the next monthly event is in 1 week’s time. If this continues, we are not going to be able to win a single Panther Token…” Zi Long said what was on everybody’s mind at that time.
“Hmmm… True enough… Even if our strength are equal, they have the numerical advantage. When we are in the event, we will probably be targeted by Xiao Lei’s faction.” Muyou muttered as he rubbed his head. The monthly event is an important opportunity for all of them to earn some panther tokens. It would be best if they could complete the event smoothly, but judging from the current situation with Xiao Lei’s faction it would be highly unlikely.
“Actually I have an idea.” Yue Hao said. “In this 1 week, I can teach you all a formation. This will greatly boost our fighting capabilities as a team. Thus, during the event we will have a chance to fight back at Xiao Lei’s faction.”
“Formation? Are you sure this is effective?” Muyou asked. Formation was something very foreign to the students as their whole life’s training had always focused on raising one’s individual strength. Moreover so far their training in Panther’s Academy had been focused on strengthening individuals.
“Certainly! In war, the soldiers utilised formations to attack and defend. Those lone soldiers who are running around alone, are usually the first to die. Formations will be extremely useful in team fights.” Yue Hao said confidently. After all, formations and tactics were his fortes. He spent most of his times reading books on formations and tactics instead of learning new martial art skills.
“Now I am going to teach you all a formation called Core Elemental Formation. This formation has 5 gates, the metal, wood, water, fire and earth gates. In order to execute the full strength of this formation, it will require 5 users to act as the 5 gates. The moves of this formation will allow the 5 users to cover each other’s blind spots and weaknesses. It will minimise the openings and maximise the effectiveness of your attacks. ” Yue Hao lectured as he took 5 rocks and started imparting the formation to the other students.
“This formation has 3 different variations, namely Attack, Capture and Defend. With these 3 variations, the gates would shift accordingly. The Attack and Defend variations are very straightforward, they are used for offensive and defensive purposes. These 2 variations will allow you to take on numerous opponents simultaneously. As long as you stay in formation, you should not be easily overwhelmed by the opponents regardless of their numbers. The Capture variation is only effective against one opponent, and the formation must surround the opponent within it. The Capture variation is meant to trap and subdue a much stronger individual.” Yue Hao said as he moved the 5 rocks around to show them how the formation worked.
“Are you sure this formation can subdue a stronger opponent? By logic, a stronger martial artist is able to rampage through a group of weaker martial artists. Even if he is surrounded, all he had to do is to focus his attack on an area to break out of it.” Zi Long asked.
“As long as the strength level is not too big, formations will be effective. Have you all heard of the 5 Demons from the Bloody Asura sect? They managed to actually defeat a grandmaster. No grandmaster had managed to penetrate the defences of the 18 Bronzemen of Shaolin. Despite the 5 Demons and the 18 Bronzemen of Shaolin not being grandmaster-level, how are they able to fight against grandmasters? It was because of their formations, never underestimate the power of formations. With the Core Elemental Formation, you will not be able to fight against the Elders, but it should be sufficient for us to fight against Xiao Lei’s faction.” Yue Hao became increasingly excited. One could see that nobody is more well-versed and interested in formation than Yue Hao.
“Ok then let’s go with your plan.” Muyou said as Yue Hao’s eyes shone.
“Ok! Everybody look closely. The essence of this formation is…” Yue Hao gathered the students closer as he began demonstrating the formation. This was the first time which the students were learning formation.
Meanwhile at Xiao Lei’s side.
“Young Master Xiao Lei, the members of Muyou’s faction are very stubborn. Regardless of how many times we have beaten them up, they refuse to submit to us.” Xiao Zhen reported.
“Oh? Looks like they have some backbone after all. Is there any notable members in Muyou’s faction?” Xiao Lei asked casually.
“In Muyou’s faction, there are 3 incredibly strong members. Muyou and Yiqi are the two of them, we require more than 5 members to suppress each of them. I suspect that they are even stronger than the core members of our faction. The other one is a guy named Zi Long, he is not as strong as Muyou and Yiqi, but his endurance is insane. He is like a punching bag which cannot be knocked down.” Xiao Zhen said.
“Interesting. I am even more interested in them now, they are the kind of people I want to recruit the most. Strong people with backbone, if they join my faction I will be able to openly suppress that scheming bastard Pang Jing.” Xiao Lei nodded his head.
“Do not worry about that Young Master Xiao Lei! After next week’s monthly event, they will realise that their only option is to join our faction. They might be able to endure it now, but when they realise that they can’t earn any Panther Tokens during the monthly event, their only option is to join us. However…” Xiao Zhen paused as a concerned look appeared on his face.
“However what? are you worried about?” Xiao Lei asked impatiently.
“What about Ouyang Huo and Pang Jing’s factions? What if we drive them to the other 2 factions? Would we not become the public number 1 enemy?” Xiao Zhen asked as he furrowed his brows. This was his number 1 worry now. If they not only failed to recruit Muyou’s faction but ended up pushing them to the other 2 factions, their plan would backfire completely.
“Hahaha!!! So you are worried about that! Don’t worry about that. Ouyang Huo is a prideful person, all of his faction members are from his branch families and vassals. He will never recruit Muyou or Yiqi. About Pang Jing, I suspect he will play some tricks during the monthly event. During the event, I will lead the core members to crush Pang Jing. This way, with Pang Jing crushed and Ouyang Huo disinterested, Muyou’s best option would be to join us.” Xiao Lei rubbed his chin as he grinned.
For now, it looked like the next monthly event which was one week away would be the crucial factor for the factions.