Translator: Transn Editor: Transn
At the entrance of Songcheng Martial Arts Arena, Lou Cheng and his friends said their good-byes with fist bumps. Guo Qing had just started learning Mountain-moving Punch a month ago and had not crossed its threshold yet, so she did not have the confidence to enter the competition for Amateur Third Pin. Instead, she went to the No.3 hall for the Ranking Event of Amateur Fourth Pin with Li Xiaowen, Jiang Fusheng and Wu Meng. On the other side, Sun Jian and Li Mao, participated in Amateur Second Pin as planned, entering the No.2 hall with Yan Zheke, for whom competition at this level was a bit of a risk. As for Lou Cheng, he would certainly follow his girlfriend.
Cai Zongming did not come this time. Having neglected martial arts practice for such a long time and having just restarted, he did not have any hope to achieve increases in his ranking.
No.2 hall looked much like Songcheng University Martial Arts Arena in size and was now filled with a writhing mass of people, most of whom were fighters and their families and friends. According to Lou Cheng's estimate, there were thousands of people here.
After lining up for the group list and competition schedule, Yan Zheke put on a sweet smile.
"Not bad, only five participants."
There were 439 fighters entering the Amateur-Second-Pin competition, which had already been published on its official website.
Normally, the largest groups entering the Amateur Ranking Event were the Ninth-Pin and Eighth-Pin fighters.
These two ranks were mostly targeted by students and trainees from the hundreds of martial arts clubs and gyms scattered in and around Songcheng City!
Since most of them either had full-time jobs or were still in high school, they had a limited amount of time to learn and practice martial arts. As a result, if not gifted, they would merely build up a good physique and improve their health, or at best be proficient in Basic Moves through life-long exercise. For them, ranking Ninth or Eighth Pin would be a great honor worthy of showing off in front of families and friends. This could even help them to scare off gangsters and save a beauty!
Given this reality, Ranking Event for these two ranks was not arranged at Songcheng Martial Arts Arena but in schools or surrounding counties with players divided into different divisions.
Then came the higher ranks. Although every year there was a large number of Amateur Eighth Pin fighters which had accumulated over the years, most of them did not have the confidence to enter for the Amateur Seventh Pin competition. Thus the number of participants began to decrease sharply from this rank.
From Seventh to Fourth Pin, very few fighters could come out on top without talent or constant hard work. While those gyms were unable to help their trainees achieve these goals, only the elites in those martial arts clubs were equipped with such ambition. Being originally at this level, Cai Zongming was such a fighter who was talented but unwilling to work hard.
Ranking Events for these four ranks were arranged in No.3 and No.4 hall.
Logically there should be much fewer people entering for Ranking Events above Four Pin, since only gifted fighters who kept practicing every day were qualified to target them. Those fighters would be valued and accepted as disciples in most martial arts clubs.
However, this was not the case, for there was another group of fighters that were divided into different martial arts schools and sects from the beginning, and they would directly enter for competitions of this rank.
Among the fighters, there were a few elites and they shared the same goal of entering Dan stage and achieving rank Professional Eighth Pin, while the rest of the outstanding ones would start from the Professional Ninth Pin ranking event. Fighters of medium levels would target Amateur First Pin, while those of lower levels would enter Amateur Second Pin or at least the Amateur Third Pin ranking event.
Every year many students from martial arts schools in Songcheng would participate in the event, and thus increase the number of participants in Amateur Third to First Pin competitions. But they would not have too much of an effect on the local martial arts environment since most of them would find themselves a proper job after graduation like joining in the army, being a policeman or serving in security forces.
As mentioned before, this year there were 439 participants in the Amateur Second Pin competition, which was a little more than last year but still in a reasonable range considering the large population base of Amateur Third Pin fighters. There were a variety of reasons for those who were ranked Amateur Third Pin to temporarily or permanently give up on entering a higher level Ranking Event. Some of them would decline naturally in physical fitness due to advancing age. Some may be satisfied with their present grade and would no longer seek progress. Some were too busy due to other commitments and would have less time to exercise, while some knew that they would not be able to succeed at this time and decide to wait for next year's event.
The number of fighters allowed to pass the Ranking Event for Amateur Second Pin was 40, less than ten percent of the participants. They were divided into 80 groups with five or six fighters each. They would compete against each other within a team in the form of a single circle match and finally be ranked according to their performance and accumulated points. When two fighters got the same grade, they would fight against each other. When there were three fighters of the same grades, they would start another single circle match and so on.
After that, all the 80 group winners would draw lots to determine their opponents in the next round of matches, the 40 winners of which would be ranked Amateur Second Pin.
In other words, a fighter would need to fight at least five times before getting himself ranked, while all the matches were arranged over weekends, which was a real test of endurance.
Taking the list and schedule from his girlfriend, Lou Cheng looked at it carefully and then smiled.
"Chen Jun of Songyue Martial Arts Club…"
Yan Zheke was going to fight against Chen Jun this morning, after which she still had three more matches: one at three this afternoon, one at seven tonight, and one tomorrow morning. If she performed well, then she would be qualified to participate in the draw for the knockout battles tomorrow afternoon to obtain her rank—If there were over 20 winning teams in the first round, the knockout battles would begin without waiting for the rest of the winning teams.
Chen Jun was an Amateur Third Pin, he had only entered a Challenge Tournament of Amateur fighters and had never appeared in any preliminaries before. So it was difficult for Lou Cheng to research his match videos on the Internet. Now that he knew Chen Jun was a disciple of Songyue Martial Arts Club, Lou Cheng decided to find some videos recording the styles Chen Jun was good at, in order to give Yan Zheke an idea of his techniques.
Seeing his boyfriend doing research for her battles, Yan Zheke smiled as she searched on the Internet as well. The two of them sat next to each other, discussing and analyzing the characteristics of all the techniques and move. Sun Jian and Li Mao's could only watch them with a hint of jealousy and envy.
At nine in the morning, all the players' families and friends moved to the top of the stand as the organizers got ready.
The field was divided into four standard rings, which looked almost the same as during the Warrior Sage Challenge Tournament.
Knowing his girlfriend's match was scheduled for around ten, Lou Cheng sent her a smiling emoji. She settled herself on the edge of the arena. "Don't think too much about it. Let's continue our discussion on your opponent's kungfu. Wait a minute, I'll get you some fruits and energy drinks first."
Lou Cheng was optimistic about Yan Zheke's performance since he was her sparring partner!
"Not bad, you're pretty attentive! I'm going to give you a 'like'~" Yan Zheke grinned.
Leaving No.2 hall, Lou Cheng bought a lot of fruits from a nearby store and then picked up several bottles of energy drinks while still chatting with her. Though it was reasonable for him to ditch friends for a girl, he'd better make preparation for Sun Jian, his senior brother and the other schoolmates!
Lou Cheng went back to No.2 hall with all his purchases and found himself a seat which allowed him a good view of Yan Zheke. There were quite a few male fighters secretly admiring her with their glances, while Yan Zheke was busy replying to his messages with her undivided attention.
At ten o'clock, Yan Zheke stood up and walked towards the ring. Many eyes followed her as they were attracted by her beauty.
"Wow, such a gorgeous girl is my girlfriend…" Lou Cheng felt proud and happy as he noticed this.
At this time, he noticed that there were two figures approaching him. While one of them stopped not far away, the other was still approaching.
He took a glance at this person automatically.
Lou Cheng's heart did a complete somersault when he saw who it was, as he had this sinking feeling in his heart.
It was an elegant lady with her hair pinned up, who seemed to be in her thirties. She had exquisite facial features usually seen in the southern regions. But her eyebrows were sharp, which added to her heroic spirit.
What was more important, Lou Cheng realised that this lady resembled his girlfriend!
How could it be so coincidental? Hadn't she just finished an 'inspection' here? Why has she returned?
While Lou Cheng was thinking about this in a state of shock, the elegant lady in a black business suit stopped in front of him, smiling. "You're Lou Cheng, right?"
"Uh, yeah." Lou Cheng forced himself to keep calm.
Ji Mingyu smiled slightly and began to introduce herself.
"Nice to meet you, I'm Ke's mother."
Boom! Lou Cheng felt that his brain was about to explode!
She's really Yan Zheke's mother!
She has performed a back thrust!
Just after Ke and I believed that we had survived her inspection!
"Calm down, calm down, she hasn't caught Ke and me at the same time…" Lou Cheng took a deep breath, glanced at Yan Zheke who was talking with her opponent, and then hurried to stand up with a forced smile. "A-Auntie, nice to meet you."
"According to the reaction on your face, I'm sure you're Ke's boyfriend." Ji Mingyu smiled.
Lou Cheng was stunned. Finally at this moment he realized why Yan Zheke predicted that he would be seen through within three minutes after meeting her mom…
Did I appear too nervous?
"No matter how calm you pretend to be, I'll say this for sure, since I saw the two of you entering the hall hand in hand." Ji Mingyu was still smiling. She came to sit beside Lou Cheng and then looked at her daughter in the ring.
Lou Cheng was struck dumb by her words and did not know what to do next.
What an astute and powerful lady Yan Zheke's mother is!
Does she come to break us up?
Shall I say something I learned from those TV series like "we love each other very much" "don't bully the poor but aspiring youth" "don't insult me with money" or "the pendulum might swing back"?
"Take a seat." Ji Mingyu sighed. "To be honest, I wanted to tell you to stay the hell away from my daughter when I found Ke had been lying to us. However, watching you two reminded me of the days when I was struggling for my own happiness. It was even worse than what you have done, so how can I still get angry with you? It's only when I became a mom myself could I understand my own mom's feelings."
While talking to Lou Cheng, she kept gazing at Yan Zheke without turning around.
Taking a deep breath, Lou Cheng steeled his mind and plucked up the courage to sit down. Then he said seriously, "Auntie, you have something to say to me, don't you?"
Ji Mingyu finally took a glance at him and laughed to herself.
"Don't worry. I'm not here to break you up. Ke resembles me in personality you know? However weak and delicate she looks, she's actually so stubborn that if we forbade her, it would help her make up her mind to stay with you. When I was young, I left everything behind and escaped to Xiushan. I'm sure she would do the same."
"Neither will I give you a sum of money to leave my daughter, although I know that you come from a poor family. Lou Cheng, I'm sorry but I hope you understand a mom's desire to protect her daughter after knowing that she has a boyfriend. I have to be clear of your background."
"She's so scary…" Lou Cheng suddenly understood Yan Zheke's feelings. He said sincerely, "Auntie, I understand how you feel."
Ji Mingyu nodded.
"Good. Though your family is not rich, you have great potential to advance in martial arts like what you've been doing recently. As a young man, you are definitely ambitious and have already set a goal of making a big fortune in the future. So I don't think giving you money will work."
"I won't set goals for you in exchange for Ke. Ke will continue to get better and better and you'll definitely feel inferior and leave her if you can't catch up with her in martial arts."
Lou Cheng gradually calmed down but he felt uncertain.
"Auntie, what do you want to tell me actually?"
"Also, didn't you just find out that we're dating? How are you able to get all my details within such a short period of time?"
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