On the small hill in the woods, everything was eerily silent as the work-study students and Boss Xiao's group faced off in a tense standoff.
All the workshop students stood behind Xiao Wu, glaring angrily at Boss Xiao's group on the opposite side.
Boss Xiao's group consisted of over twenty senior students, and they were formidable opponents.
On the work-study students' side, their grades varied, with only Xiao Wu and Ao Tian, along with Wang Sheng, who were considered formidable.
It was no wonder that the work-study students had been bullied so badly by Boss Xiao's group in the past.
Boss Xiao was tall for his age, already reaching a height of 1.7 meters at the age of eleven or twelve. Despite his once-handsome face, it now sported some bruises that inevitably drew people's attention.
Xiao Wu was the first to speak, "Boss Xiao, it seems you haven't learned your lesson yet. Didn't that fall knock some sense into you? People like you will face consequences."
But being reminded of his humiliation, Boss Xiao retorted with resentment, "Wasn't it you guys who did that? Otherwise, how could all eight of us have fallen down the stairs together? You must have ambushed us from behind!"
Xiao Wu was momentarily stunned and replied angrily, "Don't spew baseless accusations! At that time, we were still some distance away from you. How could we have pushed you down?"
Boss Xiao turned to two of his henchmen and asked, "You two were at the back that day. Did anyone push you?"
The two henchmen quickly nodded and said, "Yes, yes, we felt a force pushing our backs. It was Wang Sheng and the others."
The two henchmen pointed at Wang Sheng, looking extremely certain.
A smug expression appeared on Boss Xiao's face as he said, "Since that's the case, let's settle old and new scores today. If you lose, all your gold soul coins will belong to me, and this little girl will be my pet bunny."
Xiao Wu's face turned pink, her left hand on her hip, and her right hand pointing at Boss Xiao in an attempt to look fierce, but it came across as somewhat cute. She said, "Boss Xiao, since you're so shameless, let me show you what work-study students are capable of today. If you lose, you'll have to avoid us whenever you see us in the future."
"No problem," Boss Xiao agreed readily. He continued, "I won't bully you either. I see you have exactly eleven people, so we'll send out eleven too. One-on-one battles, and if we win, we can continue to the next opponent until one side's all defeated."
Wang Sheng knew Boss Xiao well and quickly whispered to Xiao Wu, "Xiao Wu, don't agree to this. All of them on his side are senior students, and one of them can easily overwhelm everyone here except for you, me, and Ao Tian. They'll wear us down in a tag-team fight, which is not in our favor."
"Tag-team fight? I love those! I'll knock them all down," Xiao Wu replied with excitement, showing no signs of worry. She said loudly, "That's settled then, let's not waste time. Let's begin."
Boss Xiao grinned broadly, looking like he had successfully executed a cunning plan. He shouted to the back, "Liu Long, you go first."
"Yes, boss," a boy named Liu Long walked out.
He was tall, already a sixth-year student, and one of Boss Xiao's strongest henchmen.
Wang Sheng's expression darkened, and he gritted his teeth, saying, "Xiao Wu, let me handle this guy."
Xiao Wu looked surprised and asked, "Do you have a grudge with him?"
Wang Sheng nodded. Liu Long was in the same class as him, and they had fought several times before, with Wang Sheng losing miserably each time. The reason was that Liu Long's martial soul was a long staff, and Wang Sheng's Battle Tiger martial soul hadn't yet reached the stage where he could manifest it, so he couldn't defeat Liu Long, who wielded a weapon.
Xiao Wu nodded and said, "Alright, go ahead. If you lose, I'll avenge you."
Wang Sheng stepped forward to the front, and Liu Long also walked out from the opposing group.
"A defeated underling, why embarrass yourself?" Liu Long taunted.
Wang Sheng, with a serious expression, said nothing and directly activated the power of his martial soul. He let out a low roar, and his body lit up with soul power, making him appear much fiercer, like a tiger.
Seeing Wang Sheng's lack of response, Liu Long felt disdainful and coldly brandished a long staff that suddenly appeared in his hand, measuring two meters in length.
Both of them fell silent and began to fight.
Ao Tian walked up and stood beside Xiao Wu, watching the battle unfold.
Right from the start, Wang Sheng was at a disadvantage. Liu Long's staff defense was impenetrable, making it impossible for Wang Sheng to get close. Moreover, each strike was powerful and left immediate bloodstains and bruises on Wang Sheng's body.
Wang Sheng roared like a tiger, fighting back with all his might, but the odds were increasingly against him.
Xiao Wu, worried, asked, "Ao Tian, do you think Wang Sheng can still win?"
Ao Tian showed no concern, smiling and saying, "Why not? As long as you believe he can win, he will."
Xiao Wu glared at Ao Tian discontentedly, saying, "It's not the time for jokes."
"At this rate, Wang Sheng is unlikely to win," Tang San's voice suddenly rang out. Xiao Wu turned to see Tang San standing on her other side.
"Wang Sheng can only win if he breaks through the opponent's defense and gets in close for an attack. But with his current combat skills, he can't break through their defense," Tang San spoke with conviction, making his judgment seem credible.
He glanced at Ao Tian, then at the opposing lineup, and continued, "Dueling them today is too hasty. We should wait for my return, and our chances will be greater. Fortunately, I managed to come back in time."
"Are you saying that if you didn't come back, we would lose?" Ao Tian asked.
Tang San didn't look at Ao Tian, saying calmly, "The possibility of losing is high. While you have great strength and speed, there are many strong opponents on their side. Boss Xiao has also become a spirit master, and the power of soul skills is beyond your imagination. Being a spirit master and not being one are two entirely different worlds."
Ao Tian chuckled, "Is that so? In my eyes, being a spirit master is nothing special, and Wang Sheng might not necessarily lose."
Xiao Wu angrily said, "It's not the time for both of you to argue."
Tang San ignored Xiao Wu, shook his head, and said, "Ao Tian, in terms of judgment, you're not as good as me."
Ever since he lost to Ao Tian last time, Tang San had been unconsciously trying to win a round against Ao Tian.
"Is that so? I say Wang Sheng can win, so he can." Ao Tian still wore a confident smile.
As Wang Sheng was on the verge of defeat, Tang San had already prepared a small pebble in his hand to secretly assist him. However, upon hearing Ao Tian's words, he couldn't help but challenge Ao Tian and put the pebble back.
"Well, I'll just wait and see how Wang Sheng wins," Tang San said calmly.
"Tang San, how can you say something that boosts others' morale while undermining your own prestige?" someone from behind objected.
Tang San stood there calmly. If Wang Sheng lost, he lost. With him and Xiao Wu here, and Ao Tian's likely intervention, their side would still come out on top in the end.
He just wanted to deflate Ao Tian's arrogance a bit and see how Ao Tian reacted to the challenge.
On the battlefield, Wang Sheng was covered in wounds, finding it increasingly difficult to fend off Liu Long's attacks.
"Within five moves, Wang Sheng will lose," Tang San confidently declared.
Ao Tian responded, "Within five moves, Wang Sheng will win, that's what I say."