Chapter 38
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After spending over an hour in a waiting room it was finally time for Timothy to head over to Stadium 4 where the tournament was being held. The coliseum had six stadiums and each one either represented a tournament or for that particular day one on one matches. Each stadium also had a total of 6 stages so even some of the bigger tournaments like the one Timothy partook in, would be easy to conduct at least on the coliseum's end of things for administrative needs.

As he walked through the entrance where only competitors were allowed to enter, Timothy quickly realized just how large the stadium was and how large of a crowd over three thousand people sitting down together looked. He would lead hundreds of thousands of soldiers on the battlefield in his previous life, but the battlefields were so large that eventually it was hard to really take in just how many people were involved on both sides. But in a much smaller spot like this, and with all of the cheering and talking happening, it blew him away.

His strategy was to avoid any other competitor who could potentially pose a problem to him and he felt that he should focus on using his battle qi to take others out instead of using both his battle qi and mana. Since over ninety of the competitors in his bracket were warriors, it would be rather hard for him to try and use his mana solely while keeping his battle qi in reserve as to not give as much away in this preliminary round. No one but him knew that he used the fire element so in a way, it could potentially catch one of the competitors in the top eight off guard enough for him to win if he found himself in a tough spot.

It was somewhat strange to him, but as he walked up onto the stage, Timothy noticed that the other ninety nine competitors were separated into small groups of seven or eight cultivators. There was no rule concerning teaming up with those you were friendly with and because no one knew who he was as well as six other cultivators who had to suffer being alone, the situation was starting to not look good. Not just that, but the other competitor who was at the same level as him was surrounded by nine allies who seemed to also be from her organization!

With no other options, the six competitors who were alone like Timothy decided to merge and become their own little group just so that they would not be the first competitors to be knocked out. However, when they asked Timothy to join them, he respectfully declined due to the artifact telling him that this would be a good way to test himself since there will inevitably come a time where he is surrounded alone by a large group of enemies looking to destroy him. If he did not do this now, when the time came where it was between life or death, there was a good chance that he would not be able to remain focused and end up losing his life because of it!

"Now that all competitors in Bracket B have arrived, it is time for the preliminary round for the bracket to begin. Remember that you can give it your all in this round because we will provide you all with medical treatment and energy pills to restore you all to your peak condition even if you are unable to advance to the next round. Without delaying any further, I will begin the countdown and I wish you all good luck!"

"3, 2, 1…. Begin!" The referee shouted out after the protective barrier went up, trapping everyone on the stage. What Timothy did not know until one second later, was that every group began to ignore him while attacking other groups who they seemed to have ill intentions towards. It was in his moment that Timothy was not sure if he should just spectate until only he and another group remained, or if he should attack one member of each group to make sure that each group's numbers would decline until there was only one member per group left by the time it was time to find out who would make it into the top eight.

However, he only was hoping that he could do this but the independent group of six who he declined to join was left alone as well and in order to not bring the wrath of another experienced group, they chose to target him instead. Luckily, Timothy withdrew his sword and saw that all six were actually warriors so he did not need to worry about a long range opponent trying to make it difficult for him to move around as he wanted to.

The first several blows, Timothy chose to simply defend against so that he could test out his defensive capabilities, but he realized that none of the six members of the group were very strong and it even appeared that their foundations as a rank two warriors were not very solid. So instead of taking the time to test himself out by an equivalent of sparring with the six, Timothy quickly used an old technique he had with his fighting style in his previous body and was able to disarm all six as they all yelled that they surrendered.

This all took less than a single minute and as they all collected their weapons off the ground before exiting the stage, Timothy took another look around and realized that the majority of the other groups were now taken out as well. Out of the roughly seven groups, only him and three others remained while the number of members in the three remaining groups were down to two or three each! This actually made sense when he thought about it since out of him and the remaining members of each group, only him and three others seemed to be at the very least above average in strength and experience.

"If you guys want to try to take him out first, I promise to allow you to fight it out for the other spot in the top eight and promise that the remaining members of my group will surrender immediately once it is decided who the other one besides me to move on to the next round will be." the girl who Timothy was somewhat worried about shouted to the two other groups. It was obvious that the leaders of each of the two groups nodded and they all charged towards his direction. Two mages and three warriors was not something that Timothy wanted to battle it out with as a single target, but at this point, he simply had no other choice.

Using the battle qi in his body which he did not need to use yet due to how weak the first six opponents were even as a group, Timothy took the initiative to charge at them as well in order to close the distance between him and the two mages. If the three warriors were able to defend against his attacks while the mages could use long or mid-range techniques, he would surely be in trouble and would either have to use his mana to compete or simply try to endure and hope that the girl's group who had put him in the situation in the first place would go back on her word and take out the two groups while his energy was dried up almost completely.

He guessed correctly that the three warriors who all used swords as well tried to block his advance towards the two mages so that they could set up a winning scenario. However, now that Timothy was very efficient with utilizing his battle qi since his skills spoke for themselves, he was after three minutes able to make the three warriors admit defeat while the girl's group defeated the two mages who were from separate groups and did not know what to do in all of the confusion. It was true that Timothy was outnumbered originally, but what his opponents lacked was the amount of combat experience he personally had. Sure it was combat experience in a different world that did not have battle qi or mana, but it was still enough for him to make into a very big advantage given his decades of experience while his opponents were under the age of sixteen.

Surprisingly, as it was him, the girl, and a warrior left in the girl's group, she actually nodded towards the warrior before they approached Timothy's position and they both halted their movement as the warrior raised his hand and admitted defeat. Since the girl did not know if Timothy would specifically target her as revenge for using him as a scapegoat to deal with the other competitors, it was better to just guarantee that she could move on to the top eight. And so, without struggling too hard, Timothy was able to advance into the top eight.

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