That shuttle was the official prelude to battle.

Qiao Yuan didn't say anything to stop it, though of course he knew those two assassins certainly had something in mind by luring them there. But he had sufficient confidence that the forces he had on hand were enough to overrun all of Pomelo. Moreover, he had plenty of confidence in himself alone.

By then, apart from the tiny forces defending the transit route, most of the rest of the power of even the Federation Comprehensive Academy in Pomelo had been completely wiped out. Any intrigue had faded away in the face of such absolute power.

He had locked in on the assassins with his perception. They hadn't left but were hiding in the dark.

The card artisans from the Central Repository of the Classics, nursing their bellies full of fire, turned their fury onto those card artisans whose power was so deficient compared to their own. They brought the fighting immediately to a lopsided disposition.

The card artisans in the manor kept falling.

Qiao Yuan coldly observed it all, partly paying attention to the two assassins hidden in the dark. He wanted to see what they were up to in the end. After a while, however, Qiao Yuan felt something wasn't quite right.

How could there be so many card artisans?

Doing a simple calculation, he couldn't help but shift his expression. In that minor skirmish, the adversary had lost nearly 70 or 80 card artisans. But the adversary's firepower seemed to be getting more and more powerful. Only massive numbers of card artisans could create such a situation.

Something was wrong!

Qiao Yuan immediately realized what it was. Some of the people in Pomelo had been taking advantage of that period to amass a concentration of card artisans, in which he sensed danger.

Pomelo was almost completely under his control. The appearance of such a concentration of power undoubtedly increased the level of uncertainty. That was something he didn't want to see. If people had been plotting in the dark to manipulate everything, there would have to be some suspicious motive.

* * *

Deep in the manor, the sound of violent explosions had startled everyone from their dreams.

"What's going on?" the madam asked Butchie with an unhappy tone. She had been racking her brain for that period and hadn't been sleeping well. To be called awake really messed with her mood.

Ever since Butchie and the rest had realized what she was doing, they had been bowing down to her. Butchie even consciously assumed the responsibility to be her bodyguard.

"I still don't know, Madam." Butchie's face was full of confusion.

Just then, Hugo and the Beard charged in. The Beard spoke in a deep voice with a worried expression. "Madam, the Central Repository of the Classics have found us, and they are storming us!"

Butchie's expression changed, but the mask the madam wore prevented anyone from seeing her expression.

"How did they get here?" The madam maintained her calm.

The Beard shook his head. "I don't know."

Hugo's and Butchie's expressions shifted. They had felt a powerful and terrifying bout of perception!

* * *

Qiao Yuan's brow was furrowed. The card artisans in the manor were as thick as ants! Although their people had a lot more strength, the crowds of their adversary meant casualties had begun to appear on their side.

Who could have gathered so many card artisans together? Their adversary had lost nearly 200 card artisans, but there were still mobs of them battling. The two sides were both red-eyed with rage by that point.

The card artisans in the manor had never thought they would so abruptly suffer such a fierce attack. The moves had simply surged to a terrifying extent, one or two levels higher than their own. But when they watched their comrades fall one by one beside them, their grief made them bring a lot more power than normal into play.

Men with enraged eyes were terrifying, no matter how slight their power! To put it another way, although they were far below the level of the elite from the Central Repository of the Classics, they could kill people just the same!

They then simply divided into seven or eight groups, each one composed of more than 50. Every group would attack one person at a time. When the power of 50 ordinary card artisans was concentrated, it was strangely terrifying! If they hit with an attack, even the power of the Central Repository of the Classics propped up by four-star power couldn't withstand it; they would be pulverized in an instant. The card artisans' energy cloaks were then quickly turned into a sieve by countless energy bodies, with the Central Repository of the Classics card artisans inside them. Some of the card artisans were even directly vaporized by the hot beams of energy.

Every time one of those from the Central Repository of the Classics fell, the card artisans within the manor would raise a cheer.

A chill arose in Qiao Yuan's heart. By that time, he harbored no resentment toward the two assassins. If it weren't for them, they would never have known how long that power might have remained in hiding. He may have been a little uncertain before, but he had determined by now that there was a big problem inside that manor.

In his eyes, whether it was those two assassins or the manor, none of it was good. If they threatened them, he wouldn't hesitate to level them.

His side had already sacrificed five men. Although his adversary had no strength to speak of, they had terrifying numbers. Qiao Yuan wondered if all the card artisans in Pomelo had been gathered there.

Qiao Yuan decided to make his move.

The card artisans only saw countless red, leafy shuttles in the dark in front of them, rolled up into a field of red rain. A powerful bout of energy fluctuation caused their hearts to pound and changed all their complexions.

Like a lion, it then roared to the heavens in rage.

The card artisans in the manor, who had just been so inspired, now looked as though a bucket of ice water had been dumped on their heads. It chilled them to the bones, finally destroying their will to fight. Hopelessness pervaded!

Pop, pop, pop, pop!

The leafy shuttles penetrated the energy cloaks of the card artisans within the manor without expending any energy. Spurting blood could be seen all over the place. Those red, leafy shuttles, which didn't look like anything special, were incredibly powerful. A single one of them often penetrated two or three card artisans.

Chen Mu's expression shifted as he looked on from the side. If he hadn't been careful and had been grazed by one of them, he was afraid he wouldn't have even half a life anymore.

Qiao Yuan's first move had put down a large part of the card artisans in the manor. A legendary ace had appeared in front of them, casually firing off an attack that caused heavy casualties on their side. The biggest blow was to their morale.

The energy fluctuations of ordinary card artisans were like ripples on the water in a deep well, but Qiao Yuan's energy fluctuations were like a surge in a huge river, whose raging waves made a line of spray between Heaven and Earth.

His move was stunningly sharp and immediately created about 70 or 80 casualties among the card artisans in the manor. Such a staggering blow was something none of those card artisans had ever seen.

Chen Mu wore an ugly expression, finally understanding why ace card artisans could be so awesome! Qiao Yuan wasn't going to rely on numbers to achieve victory. Chen Mu believed Qiao Yuan alone could wipe out all the card artisans in the manor. If such an ace weren't facing an ace of the same caliber, then once he raised a guerilla attack or a stealth attack, he could brazenly rub people out.

The entire manor was enshrouded within the scope of his perception, and even Chen Mu and Wei-ah had been firmly locked in.

Hugo's and Butchie's expressions were both bizarrely off. Such a powerful energy fluctuation couldn't have come from anyone in all of Pomelo other than Qiao Yuan.

How had that freak been so provoked? An involuntary, horrified expression showed up in the eyes of those few. They had been trying to avoid Qiao Yuan in their thinking; they really had no business provoking that freak.

We need time…

Underneath her mask, a sense of some misgiving floated onto the madam's pretty face. She had been fully prepared, but who had thought to leak where they were in advance? She still didn't know how they had been found out by Qiao Yuan. For those last few days, in order to avoid being implicated in the battle between the Central Repository of the Classics and the Federation Comprehensive Academy, she had destroyed the holdouts and had constrained those beneath her, prohibiting them from going out, now only to be discovered in advance. That had thrown all of her steps into chaos. Not only that, but she was even imperiled herself.

The air was as heavy as lead with its oppressive atmosphere. Everyone knew the critical time was approaching. Suddenly, a sharp ringing broke the silence. It was her apparatus. Taking a look at the number, her pretty eyes became overjoyed.

She quickly took the call and said with a trembling voice, "Uncle Peng, where are you?"

"Ha ha, I'll be in Pomelo right away." A middle-aged man with a smooth, white face appeared on the screen, full of smiles. But he looked a little messy. Seeing him, Hugo and the rest were unspeakably overjoyed.

"Old Peng!"

"Great Peng!"

The madam spoke quickly, as though she were spitting out pearls. "Hurry, Uncle Peng. We are under attack by Qiao Yuan." Even in such an anxious time, he voice was still sweet and melodious.

Uncle Peng's expression turned abruptly solemn. "I'll be there right away."

After disconnecting, the madam ordered without the least bit of ambiguity, "Hugo and Butchie, tie up Qiao Yuan. The rest of you, come with me."

Hugo and Butchie looked at one another and immediately flew into the sky toward where the energy fluctuations were the most powerful in the entire manor.

The one who made the first move was Butchie. She had long waited to try out the power of 013.

The light blue folding wavy blades lined up in an orderly fashion to form a long arrow, which went whistling toward the place in the manor where Qiao Yuan was so conspicuous.

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