Ye Xiu jumped off the arena to the stands where Xiao Tu and Shang Yang were observing the battles from. He had noticed that it wasn't just the freshmen who were watching the fights but also the senior students. They were probably watching to see who they could recruit or who they had to watch out for. Shang Yang had obtained some information about the academy from her father so she had some knowledge of what to expect.
Several of the seniors had looked over to where the three of them were sitting and had pensive looks on their face before returning to the matches or talking to other students.
Ye Xiu sat down in a meditative pose, recovering his Qi whilst speaking. He had mastered the technique to be able to converse with others even though he was meditating. The technique would allow him to stay in meditation as long as he was in the Lotus position.
"What do you guys think of the average fighting ability?"
Shang Yang kept on watching the matches for a few seconds before replying. "There are definitely a lot of people of similar strength to us. I spotted a few that had high cultivation during the assessment and they fight like they have experienced life and death situations. We haven't been bloodied yet so I can't say for sure if we can be of a similar level but I think your suggestion of laying low, for now, would be good."
Xiao Tu nodded to the reply before adding his own thoughts. "We should catch up to their cultivation realm. It doesn't mean we should slack off with our other training but it's definitely important. It's either that or we cultivate techniques that can allow us to fight above several cultivation stages above us."
Ye Xiu took in those comments before speaking his mind. "If Yang Shang and I can start crafting elixirs or Grade 3 pills, then we'd be able to boost our training speed without any potential being lost. We'd lose a tiny amount of time from removing the pill toxicity, but I think that the both of us should be able to help you to get rid of the pill toxicity with relative ease."
"We should try to slowly move ranks as the first year progresses to see if we have improved. I've noticed from a lot of the matches that there were simply just too many people who had a higher stage of cultivation due to their age or through being genii. Most of the freshmen look to be between fourteen to sixteen but I can't tell for sure due to cultivation maturing people so that they can fight at an earlier age."
"I'm just guessing from their general appearance to tell guess the age so it's not entirely accurate. Whilst we train, we'll need to gather some information about our fellow freshmen and seniors. If what Shang Yang had said was true about there being multiple groups in the Academy, then it'd be best for us to know information so that we aren't caught unprepared."
The trio nodded seriously just as one of the announcers called Ye Xiu for his third match. "I'll be off, try to keep your eye on the stronger ones so that we know whose information would be more important to us."
The two wished him good luck as he got down from the stands and into one of the arenas.
Stepping up onto the arena platform, he met the gaze of a boy of similar height and youth to him. The boy bowed deeply before speaking a few words whilst getting into his fighting position. "I wish for a good fight."
The boy readied his fists as he waited for the teacher overseeing the match to begin the fight.
Hearing the boy say such words to him, he decided to say them back as a courtesy. "I wish for a good fight as well."
The moment he finished his words, the teacher started the match instantly.
Ye Xiu didn't bother pulling out his weapons from his dimensional storage this time. He decided that he should test out his unarmed combat skills against someone who is a specialist in that field. The other boy closed the distance in a few steps, making Ye Xiu go on the defensive for the first few seconds because he wasn't able to dodge in time.
Crossing his arms together to lessen the blow's impact, he was pushed back by a few steps. Taking note of that distance, he used it to build up his momentum for his roundhouse kick as the boy was still in the middle of his punch's follow through. The boy was able to retract his arms in time to block the kick with his body turned sideways but he was sent flying from the kick because he couldn't brace himself enough.
The boy flipped in the air before cartwheeling to get back on his two feet. The boy shook his arms for a moment and checked them for a moment. The boy's face showed surprise at the minor bruises that he got from the single kick. The boy smirked before the atmosphere around him changed to become more energetic.
The boy dashed at Ye Xiu again but he was ready for the attack this time. The boy barraged Ye Xiu with punches who quickly dodged them with his movement technique. He was utilising 'Deer's Canter' to try and conserve his energy. Ye Xiu knew that the fight would probably be a short one because he didn't have too much stamina for prolonged bare-handed combat.
If it was a battle attrition, then Ye Xiu's opponent would've won instantly due to him being a bare-handed combat specialist. With this in mind, Ye Xiu decided to dissect the boy's movements just like he did with his previous opponent. He did this to figure out the weaknesses of the opponent's style, the flow of the style and to use that knowledge to add to his own combat skills by training and reviewing the things he's seen.
Ye Xiu didn't have much combat experience in the way of different types of opponents because he only had Xiao Tu, Shang Yang, the five adults: Mei Ling, Ye Qiu, Xiao San, Yu Er and Shang Xian. He wasn't able to spar with Lao Xiu because he was too busy with the Alchemy whilst Lao Lan was too lazy to fight even though he had the most time out of everyone.
He only had knowledge of a few styles and weapons so it wasn't very helpful for him to improving his styles to have no flaws.
When the boy realised that his assault was futile, he quickly stopped his attacks before stepping back and assessing the situation. The boy had noticed that Ye Xiu was being extremely passive and opting to evade every single one of his attacks. The boy adopted a different stance to the one he had employed earlier.
His two arms were in a relaxed pose while he walked at an average person's pace towards Ye Xiu. Once he got into striking distance, he slowly lifted his hand and extended his palm in a calm and slow manner. His movements were similar to the tai chi practitioners he had seen in the parks.
Knowing this, Ye Xiu didn't let down his guard but instead moved further away from the boy. Ye Xiu knew that the basic principle of Tai Chi was to use an enemy's force against them similar to what Shang Yang does. Figuring out a plan to defeat the boy wasn't hard it just depended on whether he could overpower the boy in time so that he wouldn't be able to use his force against him.
Knowing that this strategy had worked on Shang Yang a few times, he decided to test it out against the boy to see if it work. He wasn't too sure it would work because the boy was significantly stronger than him which he had realised when he braced himself for the first attack.
Deciding to not just use his physical body against the boy, he started to infuse some Qi into his strikes. He had utilised the lessons he had learned with Lao Lan to make his Qi similar to scalpels. With this technique, he'd be able to at least try and cut the skin of the boy so that he could try to make him faint from his injuries.
The first few hits had left some very shallow cuts on the boy's skin. The boy hadn't noticed until he saw the back of his hands as he was blocking. Scrutinising his injuries, he looked at Ye Xiu's hands before realising what was possibly happening. The boy encased his arms with his Qi and utilised his defensive technique.
As they stood, staring at each other. The boy spoke, "Shi Die, that's my name."
Ye Xiu responded, "Ye Xiu, it's good to meet you."
With that short conversation over, the two went back to their battle. Ye Xiu's observation technique was on and saw that Shi Die had covered his arms with his Qi. Abandoning his Qi scalpels, he decided to kick him where he was unprotected. The flaw for most cultivators in the early realms of cultivation was that they were unable to move their Qi fast enough to different parts of their body.
Hitting Shi Die's legs who was had actually managed to conceal the glow of his defensive technique on his legs. Thus there were no injuries to Shi Die's body.
Shi Die manoeuvred his legs around to trip Ye Xiu. Ye Xiu suddenly surrendered to Shi Die and bowed to him before thanking him for the match. "Thank you for the match but I think I'm outmatched in bare-handed combat by you. I hope that we can meet again to spar and hope that we'll be friends."
Shi Die's eyes were wide at the sudden request of him wanting to be friends. Shi Die was extremely surprised to the request but he accepted it tentatively. Grasping the outstretched hand of Ye Xiu he shook it to seal their friendship.
The teacher announced the winner of the match, "Shi Die will move onto the next match of the day when we call your name. Be ready and rest up for your next fight."
With that being said, Ye Xiu dragged Shi Die with him over to the stands towards Xiao Tu and Shang Yang. The two noticed the new addition to their gang and greeted him before turning their attention to Ye Xiu.
Ye Xiu pointed at Shi Die. "Shi Die. Meet Shang Yang and Xiao Tu. Shang Yang's the girl and Xiao Tu's the boy. I hope that the three of you can be friendly with each other because I'm not friends with Shi Die. Xiao Tu scrutinised Shi Die's appearance and demeanour when he was with Ye Xiu before nodding his head satisfied.
Xiao Tu whispered a few words to Shang Yang, "He's not a threat to our competition so we can treat him nicely. The only thing we have to watch out for is if he would betray us in the future. Currently, he looks extremely harmless and rather shy so he could be a person who doesn't have much experience in socialising."
Shang Yang smiled at the examination of Shi Die that Xiao Tu had given before she grasped Shi Die's hand firmly. "Now that you are our friends, I guess it's best for us to get along."
Shi Die blushed at the contact and quickly tried to release Shang Yang's hold on his hand. Shang Yang noticed and let go with a slight smirk on her face. "You seem quite shy, have you never had contact with a female besides your mother?"
Shi Die's face became even more crimson before a meek voice could be heard, "I've never had a mother because I'm an orphan. It's also my first time having friends so I'm sorry if I'm shy."
Xiao Tu took control of the conversation, "Well you won't have to be shy around us. We'll be here to support you and we'll also be relying on you to help us too. Will that be okay with you?"
Shi Die nodded his head. "Sure..."
With that confirmation, the group that would be known throughout the Region was now finally formed.