Chapter 271 – Bizarre Battle
Chapter 271 – Bizarre Battle
In reality, it really did play out this way.
Student number one’s eyes glinted as his first soul ring lit up. He shot his hand into the air, an illusory sphere of light materializing close to his palm, strands of blue, green, and white light dancing around his fingers.
He chanted a few verses and a protrusion clawed its way out of the initial sphere. Once it reached the ground, it transformed into an enormous illusory hound.
The hound’s body was lit in a wreath of flames, and as the yellow and orange grew brighter and more turbulent, its shape began to resemble a lion. Though smaller than lion-type soul beasts, it still seemed domineering.
A lion mastiff?
Is this a soul skill or a spirit soul?
Tang Wulin was in awe. Could it be a summoning-type martial soul? But this lion mastiff doesn’t look like something a Soul Elder should be able to summon!
The lion mastiff roared at the heavens, the air trembling at its declaration of might. Its gaze landed on Gu Yue, killing intent almost tangible.
“Materialize!” Student number one jabbed a finger at the beast, conducting rays of light into its form. In an instant, the lion mastiff’s body became more corporeal.
“Little Lion, go!” Student number one was dead set on Gu Yue’s defeat. Like a flash of lightning, the lion mastiff pounced on her.
He has three purple soul rings, so that means he only has one spirit soul. Since the summoned beast has a name, maybe that’s his spirit soul?
Never before had Tang Wulin witness someone using their spirit soul as the primary means of battle. But it was nothing too bizarre in Shrek Academy.
It wasn’t as if Gu Yue stood twiddling her thumbs while her opponent prepared his attack. She waved her hands in the air in a controlled beat, her three twinkling soul rings revolving around her. Then, her rhythm changed. All three soul rings lit up at once, trembling slightly in unison. Which soul skill she was using was anyone’s guess.
In a flash of azure light, Gu Yue conjured a ball of ice in her palm that was half a meter in diameter. She slapped it again and again, and the sphere of frozen water trembled with each strike.
The lion mastiff charged at her. As it accelerated in speed, its fur stuck out like the tail end of a blazing meteor.
Yet, Gu Yue was the picture of boredom. To her, this was nothing more than a chore. She shot an ice ball at the beast when it neared..
Her next action was incomprehensible to class zero. Gu Yue began walking back toward Tang Wulin with her back to the lion mastiff.
Just what is she doing?
While almost everyone was flabbergasted, the lion mastiff stretched its maw wide, firing a scorching golden-red fireball.
However, the meeting of fire and ice played out breathtakingly.
The ice ball exploded into countless icicles, all homing toward the lion mastiff. Jaws dropped when the projectiles flickered, changing from a frigid blue to a deep green mid flight. At the same time, a third of them vanished in a flash of silver, before reappearing right in front of student number one’s
nose. These paragons of sharpness surrounded him in a dome and attacked on the spot.
“Not good!” This was his first time encountering something like this.
Because his priority had been strengthening the offense of his lion mastiff, he left himself open to attacks.
Several of the green wind icicles melted on impact, but some evaded that fate. Aided by gusts of wind, the projectiles spiraled in the lion mastiff’s direction, leaving it to endure the barrage. The lion mastiff roared, its coat of flames diminishing, its figure growing transparent.
And then, it disappeared. The battle ended.
Before student number one was impaled, Shen Yi jumped in to protect him. Lucky for him, or else he’d be a glorified pincushion.
Shen Yi had not been optimistic about student one’s chances from the very beginning. True to that, Gu Yue’s control of the elements utterly suppressed him.
After all, she was someone the Silver Moon Douluo had recognized! It was obvious that Gu Yue, the girl who caught Elder Cai’s fickle eye, would
emerge victorious. Though, Shen Yi hadn’t expected the match to finish so quickly.
By the battle’s official end, Gue Yue was standing at Tang Wulin’s side, looking as calm as ever. She had decided on an instant victory since night had already descended.
There was no doubt that Gu Yue got a full ten points, granting her a total of forty-eight. Her chances of entering the outer court were looking hopeful with two trials left.
Xu Xiaoyan was the last to go. Before she went up, Tang Wulin whispered a few words into her ear.
She raised her head in astonishment. “Really? Like that?’
Tang Wulin raised a brow, a gentle smile on his lips. “Just try it out. It’s time for you to go.”
“Okay.” Xu Xiaoyan nodded.
She didn’t have much confidence in herself. Among the students of class zero, she was undoubtedly the weakest. Assisting in team battles was
doable with her control abilities, but fighting one-on-one was practically out of the question. To make up for her weaknesses, she focused more on her
strengths than her brother, as evident in the differences between their Ice Spears.
While her brother’s focused on penetrating power, Xu Xiaoyan’s was all about freezing. In fact, Tang Wulin’s cultivation plan for her perfectly maximized her strengths!
So, this trial was disadvantageous for her either way. Night or day, it didn’t matter.
Thankfully, she calmed down once she stepped foot in the arena. After three years of combat experience with her teammates, Xu Xiaoyan obtained a firm grasp on her emotional state. Besides, she was just as devious as her
Her opponent was the muscular young man, student number six! “Begin,” Shen Yi promptly declared.
Two yellow soul rings materialized around Xu Xiaoyan, making her seem weak and pitiful. She stumbled to catch the item conjured in her hands.
Her opponent also released his soul rings, but when he saw her nearly topple over, he hesitated.
The scene of the frail little girl before him screamed outlandish.
Although Xu Xiaoyan held her staff after releasing her soul rings, her right hand gripped a jet-black hammer. No one could make it out clearly from the
distance. Even so, its heaviness was noticeable, since she had to lean on her staff to keep balance.
Just what is going on? Is that a soul device? But this trial forbids them!
Shen Yi eyed Xu Xiaoyan for a moment, but she held her tongue in the end. The reason was simple; that hammer wasn’t a soul device because it lacked the slightest bit of soul fluctuations!
After Xu Xiaoyan’s first soul ring lit up, a massive ice wheel appeared in front of her, its diameter no less that a third of a meter. Then, she duct-taped the hammer to it.
She levitated the wheel of ice, which swayed back and forth from the added weight.
Looking like a struggling kitten, she raised her staff, directing the contraption at her opponent.
Her actions went beyond strange. They transcended to the realm of bizarre!
Bearing the weight of the hammer, the ice wheel flew forth like an inebriated snail. It looked like it would drop at any moment.
T-this is how she’s attacking?
The Shrek Academy students watched with odd expressions, furrowed brows and pinched noses. They had seen astonishing things before, though never something so uncanny!
It was an unprecedented battle style. She expects to win like this? Will that toy even reach him?
Xu Xiaoyan paid no regard to their stupor. Her second soul ring lit up and a spear of ice congealed before her.
Chapter 272 – Nice Acting!
Chapter 272 – Nice Acting!
Student number six finally made his move, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Is this girl a comedian? How did she make it all the way to the eighth trial? Did she give up on all the previous trials? Does that mean she’s just going through the motions of taking the trial now?
But when he thought of the guillotine trial, a shiver ran down his spine. No way, that trial isn’t that easy! I can’t underestimate her just because of how delicate and strange she looks.
A flash of light lit his surroundings and, a crystal ball, flickering with opaque light, appeared in front of him. His three soul rings moved to hover above it.
Tool martial soul: Crystal Ball.
“Crystal, crystal, deviate!” He shouted, ignoring the ice wheel in the air. It was just a slow plaything that posed no threat to him.
His first soul ring lit up and white filled his eyes. The crystal shone in response. Suddenly, Xu Xiaoyan’s ice spear changed paths mid-flight and instead, flew toward the ice wheel that slowly spun in the air.
His move was quite clever, using Xu Xiaoyan’s ice spear to attack her own ice wheel.
This isn’t good! Xu Xiaoyan’s heart thumped. If she let him have his way, then she would lose this match! Left without a choice,, she chose this
critical moment to reveal her cards.
Purple light shone within her eyes, stunning her opponent.
Xu Xiaoyan’s Purple Demon Eyes wasn’t any weaker than Tang Wulin’s, powerful enough to disturb her opponent’s mind despite his strong spiritual power. His control over the ice spear slipped.
Xu Xiaoyan waved her staff, regaining control of her ice spear. With
spiritual power over two hundred points now and an elemental control-type martial soul,long distance control was her forte.
The ice spear traced an arc in the air, aiming at student number six again.
At this moment, everyone’s attention was focused on the ice spear. No one noticed the ice wheel speeding up. Though it wasn’t much, there was a clear difference.
Xu Xiaoyan raised her staff high in the air, an air of divinity enveloping her. “The stars in the heavens that shine forever tranquil, grant me strength!
Lines of resplendent starlight descended onto her Ice Staff, transforming it into the Starwheel Ice Staff
Her first soul ring lit up again, a golden starwheel appearing beneath student number six.
The moment Xu Xiaoyan used her Purple Demon Eyes, she dropped her epitome-of-clumsiness act and her moves became smooth like a cat’s!
Everything, including her ice spear, changed under the influence of her mutated martial soul.
Once her staff transformed into the Starwheel Ice Staff, it cut her connection with the ice wheel and ice spear.
And only now did the others notice the ice wheel above student number six’s head. No longer supported by Xu Xiaoyan’s Ice Staff, it plummeted
under the weight of the hammer straight toward student number six’s head. At the same moment, the ice spear arrived before him.
The dazed student number six abruptly discovered that the ice spear had appeared right in front of him.
His second soul ring lit up. His Crystal Ball followed suit, light spiralling out to disintegrate the ice spear into specks of ice element that quickly melted. He had used his second soul skill, Decomposition.
In a certain sense, Xu Xiaoyan had chosen the weakest of the ten available opponents. Student number six was an auxiliary-type soul master, and was not suited for direct participation in battles.
But this did not mean he was weak. His forte was givings others a taste of their own medicine.
His instincts screamed warning.He raised his head just in time to see the spinning hammer fall toward him.
Is she trying to distract me with the ice spear so her hammer will hit me? Isn’t her plan weird?
But if I get hit by that hammer, even I will…
He subconsciously tried to take a step to the side, the easiest way to evade the hammer.
However, something strange happened.
The starwheel underneath him illuminated. He hurriedly roused his soul power to activate his third soul skill, but it was too late.
Chains of starlight shot out of the ground and bound him tightly. His head still looking upward, he could only watch in horror as the hammer descended and arrived before his eyes in a flash.
That hammer would surely knock him out, or even break his skull!
However, no matter how he struggled or urged his soul power to move, his body remained motionless.
This was the absolute control of astrological-attributed soul skills!
Bullets of sweat ran down student number six’s forehead. The hammer had stopped an inch above his head.
Shen Yi took the hammer in her hand, curiously weighing it before moving to stand in front of Xu Xiaoyan. An odd smile peeked out. “Girl, nice
Xu Xiaoyan smiled sweetly, “Thank you for your praise.”
Though those thousand refined tungsten hammers weren’t light, they
weren’t heavy for a two-ringed soul master. Even a ranged-type soul master wouldn’t stagger when holding it. Xu Xiaoyan had purposely pretended to stagger under the weight of the hammers to draw everyone’s curiosity and mislead her opponent into , giving her the chance to set up her attack. This was why Shen Yi had called it an act.
This girl would have lost if she made the slightest mistake. Who would’ve thought a metal hammer without the slightest bit of soul power would be the deciding factor in this match?
The greatest weakness of the Starwheel Shackles was its lack of offensive power. Apart from that, it also immobilized Xu Xiaoyan during its use, meaning she could not follow up with an attack.
So, Tang Wulin had secretly given her one of his heavy silver bracelet rings when he whispered the battle plan into her ear, telling her how to take out the tungsten hammer.
He hadn’t needed to instruct her any further than that. She knew best how to take advantage of her frail appearance to win.
Shrek Academy’s students may have plenty of combat experience, but they were sorely lacking in emotional matters. Xu Xiaoyan, being the little
enchantress pampered by the elders in her family, would have them in the palm of her hands in such a battle.
Apart from Xie Xie, the other three all received ten points.
After the eighth trial, Tang Wulin had sixty points, Gu Yue had forty-eight points, Xie Xie had fifty-one points, and Xu Xiaoyan had fifty points.
With two trials left, their chances of passing were great. Of the four, only
Tang Wulin no longer needed to worry as much about the following trials. It was for this reason that Tang Wulin had gone all out in the eighth trial.
“Let’s move on to the next trial.” Complex emotions twisted within Shen Yi’s heart.
Senior brother’s four disciples are really excellent. Though their martial
souls aren’t spectacular, they don’t need to be; after all, not everyone has a mighty martial soul. The only one who stands out in this regard is Gu Yue. That Xie Xie has homogeneous twin martial souls, but they can’t compare with true twin martial souls. While Xu Xiaoyan is quite capable, the restrictions on her abilities are too harsh.
Chapter 273 – Survive
Chapter 273 – Survive
Now that Tang Wulin is a real freak. He got full marks in six trials. I can’t make heads or tails of him. His martial soul is plain old Bluesilver Grass, but that golden soul ring…It’s definitely unrelated to his martial soul. He hasn’t had any trouble so far either. Throughout the entire exam, he has
steadily progressed, getting one full score after another.
Though his talents aren’t great, his strength is formidable. This isn’t the fruit of just his potential, but his potential combined with his temperament.
Gu Yue is far ahead of the rest of class zero in talent and potential. But in overall strength and temperament, Tang Wulin shines the brightest and fully deserves the position of captain.
Senior brother, your insight is so great!
Thoughts weighing on her mind, Shen Yi led the four students into a small room.
This room was different from the rest so far. The lighting was dim and the surroundings lacked lavish decorations, with only a single large screen hanging from the metal walls.
A sense of familiarity flooded the four students. This place seems similar to the spirit ascension platform! Does the ninth trial like that?
“Your goal for the ninth trial is to survive. I believe you’ve all been in the spirit ascension platform before. Well, this is similar to that. In a sense, all the soul beasts in it are real. If you kill one and are at a bottleneck, then
you’ll be able to gain a soul ring. Alright. Prepare to enter.” Shen Yi pressed a button and several metal capsules slid out of the walls.
When Gu Yue, Xie Xie, and Xu Xiaoyan had heard this, they shifted their gazes in Tang Wulin’s direction, eyes brimming with confidence.
After receiving a paltry three points from the previous trial, Xie Xie had felt anxious. The details of the ninth trial blew away all his insecurities.
They had spent countless days in the spirit ascension platform over the years, so anything that resembled that would be a walk in the park. As long as they didn’t jump head-first at a high-level beast, of course.
In that case, Tang Wulin’s leadership and the team’s coordination would pull through splendidly. Together, they were unbeatable.
“Teacher Shen, will we be taking this trial together?” Tang Wulin asked.
Shen Yi eyed him. “Yes. No matter the number of participants, they will all take the trial together. This trial tests your coordination in addition to your ability to survive. You all came together, so you have an advantage here.
“Thank you, Teacher Shen.”
The four examinees split up and entered the metal capsules. This marked the start of the ninth trial.
Unknown to the four, two people entered the room after the capsules slid back into the walls. Among them was a cranky old lady they were all too familiar with, the Silver Moon Douluo!
An old man was by her side. His nose was high and his deep-blue eyes
sunken. He stood tall with gray hair down to his shoulders, accenting his unyielding aura. Just his presence could stifle others. .
“Teacher,” Shen Yi respectfully greeted the old man.
The old man nodded. “How have these kids done so far?”
After a long moment of contemplation, Shen Yi found the right words. “They’re unbelievable.”
The Silver Moon Douluo laughed. “That’s right! They’re really unbelievable! I didn’t let them take the fifth trial, but there’s actually someone who managed to score full points so far! That Tang Wulin is
marvelous! His blood essence is strong, almost a bit like yours, Zhou Shi. Let me be frank. I don’t care about the other three, but I’ve already set my eyes on that Gu Yue.”
Zhuo Shi shot her a look. “What do you mean you’ve set your eyes on her? Don’t forget that they’re all my granddisciples. They don’t have anything to do with you.”
“What?” The Silver Moon Douluo arched her brows. “Are you trying to go back on your word?”
Zhuo Shi smirked, the domineering air around him receding. “I’m not going back on my word! I’m just stating a fact. I’m saying you eye them as much as you want, but that doesn’t mean I’ll just hand them over to you. They have to be willing too. You’ll need to ask Gu Yue if she wants to be your disciple first. If she rejects you, then there’s no use in forcing it.”
“That’s nonsense! I like how stubborn she is.” She stomped with fury.
“What would separate kids from walking corpses if they didn’t have such strong wills? Her temperament is precisely what attracts me.”
Shen Yi silently watched from the sidelines. She dared not speak out of turn in front of these two elders.
Zhuo Shi said, “We can talk about this after they finish this trial. If they
can’t pass it, then it doesn’t even matter how high they scored on the other ones.”
Unexpectedly, the Silver Moon Douluo reigned in her vexation and nodded. It seemed she held the ninth trial in high regard as well.
“Teacher, what test level are they taking?” Shen Yi softly asked. Zhuo Shi contemplated for a moment. “The highest level.”
Dumbstruck, Shen Yi tried to steady her thoughts. The highest level? Even adults find that level hard! That’s…
“Hurry up now,” Zhuo Shi urged when he noticed her hesitation. “Yes.”
Space warped around him, a minor matter to Tang Wulin who had
experienced the spirit ascension platform countless times. With his sturdy body and sharp mind, this sudden sensation didn’t affect him at all.
In a flash of light, the four examinees found themselves in an empty space. A world came into view in a blink of an eye.
Class zero appeared in this world together, and after exchanging glances, they immediately shifted into their usual battle formation.
Bluesilver Grass sprang out from beneath Tang Wulin’s feet, slithering out to probe their surroundings.
Their environment was similar to the spirit ascension platform. That said, the lush forest here seemed more ancient.
“So the ninth trial tests our ability to survive. Fantastic. Isn’t this the easiest possible trial for us?” Xie Xie rejoiced.
Tang Wulin raised his hand, silencing him. After a moment, he said in a hushed voice, “This place is different from what we’re used to. At least from the elementary one, anyway. I’ve been in the intermediate level once before with Teacher Wu, and I can say for a fact that the plants here and there are similar. Don’t forget that this is still part of the Shrek Academy entrance exam. Teacher Shen said that we have to survive, but she never
mentioned for how long. We need to be careful. If my guess is right, and this place is like the intermediate spirit ascension platform, then we’ll run into a lot of thousand-year soul beasts. Maybe even some at the ten- thousand-year level.”
Ten-thousand-year soul beast? His three teammates sucked in a deep breath at the thought.
Xu Xiaoyan said quietly, “Captain, if I can breakthrough to rank 30, then can’t I get a soul ring here? If there’s a ten-thousand-year soul beast…”
“Don’t even think about it,” said Tang Wulin, frowning. “With your current abilities, it’s impossible to absorb a ten-thousand-year soul ring, let alone kill a ten-thousand-year soul beast. Don’t forget, this would just be your third ring. Normally, soul masters don’t get a ten-thousand-year soul ring until rank 50. Your body isn’t that strong to begin with, so don’t think so
wishfully. Otherwise, you might encounter a problem. Like the time I evolved my spirit soul to the thousand-year level.”
Hearing the severity in his voice, Xu Xiaoyan stuck out her tongue. “Got it!”
Tang Wulin said, “Let’s go. We should find a vantage point to survey the land first. Once we have a good line of sight, we’ll rest and recover the
energy spent on the previous trials.” “Alright.”
The four proceeded cautiously. Gu Yue was in charge of scouting, sending off wind birds further into the surrounding thicket. On the other hand, Tang Wulin monitored their immediate vicinity.
When the wind birds discovered nothing, as if this was just a normal forest, Tang Wulin didn’t believe it for a second. This was part of the Shrek exam after all.
A while later, they chanced upon a hill with a large field of view. Tang Wulin took out the steamed buns from his storage device and began
handing them out to everyone. After eating, they took turns resting. All was tranquil without the slightest hint of trouble.
Two hours later, they were fully recovered.
“Captain, something’s strange! It’s been two hours already yet we still haven’t met any soul beasts, “ Xie Xie said in a low, nervous voice. “Do you have any idea what’s going on?”
Chapter 274 – The Ninth Trial
Chapter 274 – The Ninth Trial
Tang Wulin harbored the same doubts as Xie Xie. Naturally, they would
earn more points the longer they survive this trial, yet two hours had passed without the slightest peep. How could this be called a trial of survival then? It was easy to forage for food in a forest and survive.
“Should we go exploring?” Xie Xie asked.
Tang Wulin looked at the sky before answering, “Not yet, it’s still early in the afternoon. We’ll wait until nightfall. It’ll be safer if Xu Xiaoyan can use her Starwheel Ice Staff.”
Impatience was their number one enemy. Tang Wulin refused to give in to
anxiety, calmly contemplating the best way to help his teammates maximize their points.
Since we’re safe here, we can wait until everyone’s in their best condition before exploring.
The sun gradually sunk beyond the horizon. In the twilight, Tang Wulin stood up and quietly climbed up a tree to gaze into the distance.
The world he found himself in truly resembled the Great Star Dou Forest. In the last glimmers of daylight, he could make out trees as far as the eye could see.
Then a howl shattered the silence and flipped the forest upside down.
Tang Wulin broke out into goosebumps as terror racked his body, but. his blood essence chose that moment to flare up. It quickly dispelled his fear,
his heart finally calming and returning to its earlier state. What was that?
Then realization hit him and he climbed down the tree madly.
If just a single howl could upend the forest, just how terrifyingly powerful was this beast?
The Three-eyed Demon Ape, of which he had absorbed its spirit energy, was the strongest soul beast he had encountered so far. He could never
forget the battle between the ten-thousand-year Three-eyed Demon Ape and Wu Zhangkong. Yet, this howl had shaken him to his very core!
The moment he landed on the ground, he saw his companions all had horror-stricken expressions.
“W-what was that sound? That scared me to death.” Xie Xie was pale, his face aghast.
Everyone wore a similar expression, though Gu Yue was more restrained.
Tang Wulin grimly said, “I don’t know either, but it doesn’t seem too far from here.”
Another roar thundered just as he spoke. Compared to before, this one was sharper and seemed to penetrate their bodies, instantly dispelling their fear.
This is so strange!
“Let’s go take a look.” Gu Yue said to Tang Wulin. Tang Wulin nodded. “Let’s go.”
There was no way a trial would be as simple as they first thought. Even if they didn’t check it out, perhaps the two soul beasts would come looking for them instead. It was far better to take the initiative to attack.
After all, regardless of who held the exam, there must be a way for examinees to pass the exam. .
Gu Yue released her wind birds to scout far ahead of them and the four began to advance toward the origin of the roar.
Tang Wulin took the lead, opening a path for his teammates while also doing his best to help mask their scent. Since they weren’t strong enough, this was all they could manage.
Gu Yue’s face twitched and she whispered, “There’s a valley up ahead on the left. It’s over there. My wind birds were dispersed by a gust of wind, though.”
“Everyone, be careful. Follow closely behind me.” Tang Wulin urged his blood essence to greater heights. Golden scales rippled into existence from his arm to his shoulder while a golden soul ring appeared beneath him. Not only did his blood essence aura mask their smell, it also calmed everyone’s nerves. At the very least, they no longer felt oppressed by the roars.
Just as Gu Yue had said, a lush valley lay before them as soon as they exited the forest. The closer they approached it, however, the more stifled they felt.
The four circulated their soul power to resist the waves of power emanating from deep within the valley. They proceeded cautiously and solemnly.
“We’re crawling from here onward.” Tang Wulin dropped to the ground, and the pressure instantly lessened. The other three also copied him and together, they inched to the edge of the valley and peered over it.
They sucked in a deep breath at the scene before them.
Inside the valley, booms resounded as two lights over thirty meters in diameter clashed countless times.
. Every time they struck together, the earth trembled while the air whipped into a frenzy.
A purple light appeared in his eyes. When Tang Wulin looked back at the two lights again, shock rooted him to the ground. They were a pair of soul beasts!
One shone with dark-gold light, its immense figure intimately familiar to Tang Wulin. They had encountered this beast several times before, and
every encounter had struck fear into them.
It was the Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear, the ruler of the forest.
However, this bear was far mightier than the ones they met previously, a
colossus towering over ten meters in height. Dark-gold light spilled from its body and flowed down its thick and solid arms. Every slash of its claws had the power to tear open the heavens and destroy the earth, sending boulders flying everywhere and leaving numerous deep gouges in the valley walls.
That should be a thousand-year Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear, right? Or maybe it’s a ten-thousand-year one?
A hundred-year Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear had forced a pride of Blazing Demon Lions to beg for mercy. A thousand-year one could rule as the
absolute tyrant of the forest. So then, what about a ten-thousand-year one?
A ten-thousand-year Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear could easily tear apart normal hundred-thousand-year soul beasts! Its destructive power was simply incomprehensible.
Yet, this formidable beast was currently locked in battle with another no weaker than it.
Tang Wulin strengthened his eyesight further and examined the other light. Inside the ball of blinding golden light was another soul beast.
It had body translucent like crystal, its form similar to that of a lion but with flaming draconic claws and a longer snout. Fine golden scales peeked out
from beneath its fur. Most peculiar of all, it had a vertical slit on its forehead wherein its third eye rested.
Its two ordinary eyes were gold, but its third eye glared with a bewitching red glow.
What soul beast is that? Tang Wulin had never heard of such a beast, let alone seen one.
He turned to his friends and described what he just saw.
“Xie Xie, do you have any idea what that golden soul beast is?” Tang Wulin knew Xie Xie was the most knowledgeable of them all.
Xie Xie furrowed his brows. “From what you’ve said, I think I might know. Give me a moment to think.”
Chapter 275 – Auspicious Emperor
Chapter 275 – Auspicious Emperor
“These two soul beasts are too powerful,” Gu Yue said. “They could instantly eliminate all of us with a single swipe. I don’t think being here will help us pass this trial, but why else would they have us discover these soul beasts?”
Tang Wulin shook his head. “Let’s quietly observe the two first. They seem to be evenly matched. If we wait until they’re both exhausted, maybe we
can reap some rewards? If they defeat each other and only have a single breath of life left, then even we should be able to deal with them!”
He knew his own strength, as well as the strength of his team, better than anyone else. He also knew it would be foolish to these mighty lords of the forest head on.
The single difference between this place and the spirit ascension platform was the lack of an escape button! In other words, dying was the only way to get out early. Having encountered these two beasts, death had become a very real possibility for them, one in which not even a single scrap of their corpses would remain. They needed to exercise extreme caution if they
wanted to avoid such an agonizing end.
The four of them gathered at the edge of the valley and peered at the soul beasts once more.
The clashes between the two lights grew increasingly fierce. They couldn’t tell which one held the advantage.
Suddenly, the two lights shined intensely bright, explosively colliding one more time. After separating, the lights grew dim and revealed the soul
beasts within them.
The Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear was in terrible condition, and its opponent showed no sign of weakness, almost as if it were a spirited horse. Its third eye shone a brilliant red. Fear crept into the bear’s eyes as the dark-gold light that surrounded it dimmed even further.
“I’ve got it!” Xie Xie blurted.
“So what is it?” Tang Wulin asked.
“I think that golden soul beast is the auspicious beast of legends!” Xie Xie answered.
Tang Wulin, Gu Yue, and Xu Xiaoyan looked at him doubtfully. Xie Xie nodded.
“Legend has it that, in the Great Star Dou Forest, there once lived an
auspicious beast known as the Auspicious Emperor. It has been said that, as long as it resided in the forest, fortune would smile upon all the beasts that inhabited the forest and their cultivation would progress much faster than normal. However, when it died, misfortune plagued the Great Star Dou Forest and drove the soul beasts to attack Shrek City in a beast tide. You guys should remember this from the Spirit Ice Douluo’s legend.
“The Auspicious Emperor is a Three-eyed Golden Lion. The legends say that the Spirit Ice Douluo absorbed its soul ring and soul bone. It provided a skull, the strongest spiritual-type bone that has always ranked number one. It’s no wonder that not even the Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear is able to beat it. This is the Auspicious Emperor after all! It’s on a whole different level!”
A Three-eyed Golden Lion… called the Auspicious Emperor? Even its name sounds powerful!
“It looks so cool!” Xu Xiaoyan exclaimed, her eyes practically twinkling with stars. “It would be great if it could become my spirit soul.”
“Keep dreaming,” Xie Xie scoffed. “That’s a Three-eyed Golden Lion, a beast that is supposedly even smarter than humans. Oh, right! I just remembered something. In the Spirit Ice Douluo’s biography, the story says that the Three-eyed Golden Lion transformed into a human and fell in love with the Spirit Ice Douluo. It later sacrificed itself to become his soul ring
and save him from a deadly crisis. Yet its selfless act then led to the decline of the Great Star Dou forest and the wave of beasts attacking Shrek City.”
“Why haven’t I ever seen anything like that in the biography I read?” Tang Wulin asked.
Xie Xie smirked. “My family collects biographies! We have biographies that normal people would never have access to.”
“So soul beasts are approaching extinction because that Three-eyed Golden Lion sacrificed itself?” Gu Yue asked, a pensive expression on her face.
“But… why would the Auspicious Emperor sacrifice itself for a single human? Didn’t it even consider its fellow beasts?”
“You wouldn’t understand,” Xie Xie said. “Logic doesn’t matter when
someone falls in love. A person would forsake everything for love. I bet that’s the reason why the Three-eyed Golden Lion sacrificed itself. Didn’t it fall in love with the Spirit Ice Douluo?”
Gu Yue couldn’t understand why, but she suddenly glanced at Tang Wulin. The earth shook as a deep rumble resounded throughout the valley.
Tang Wulin attached strands of Bluesilver Grass to his three teammates, keeping them safe as the four of them crawled away.
The wind whistled, suddenly growing in intensity. Tang Wulin turned around to see the two beasts taking their battle elsewhere.
The end of the valley was nowhere in sight. The sounds of battle continued to grow quieter and quieter as the two clashing beasts disappeared into the
“Are they gone?”
The four of them let out a collective sigh of relief.
They were mere ants before those two almighty beasts, and they were lucky to avoid being noticed.
“Aren’t those two the reason why we didn’t meet any soul beasts in the forest?” Xu Xiaoyan asked.
Tang Wulin nodded. “This valley and the surrounding area are probably a part of the territory belonging to one of them. The other must have come to seize it or some other benefit..”
“We don’t know whose territory it is though. It would be great if this region belonged to the Three-eyed Golden Lion. Since it’s a sign of good luck, there would definitely be some treasures hidden here.” Xie Xie’s eyes lit up. “Didn’t they say we could bring anything we find in here back to the real
Tang Wulin looked at him. “How about we go take a look then?”
“Yeah! Let’s go!” Xie Xie exclaimed, bursting with excitement. “This is an illusory world anyway. Even if we die here, we won’t really die in the real world. This is an amazing opportunity. If we don’t go take a look, we’ll regret it forever!”
Tang Wulin shifted his gaze to the two girls. Gu Yue nodded. Xu Xiaoyan smiled. “It’s up to you, Captain.”
“Then we’re going!” Fire seemed to blaze to life in Tang Wulin’s eyes as he quietly stood up and ventured into the valley.
Like a newborn calf that didn’t fear a lion, they didn’t fear death in this illusory world. Since failing didn’t have any real consequences, they
confidently ventured into what could be the lair of a legendary Auspicious Emperor.
Using Tang Wulin’s Bluesilver Grass, the four of them slowly rappelled down the side of the valley. Although it was steep, it didn’t prove much of a challenge for them. Progressing slowly and steadily, they soon reached the bottom.
Gazing at the thick mist in the distance, they could no longer see any trace of the two great soul beasts. It seemed like they wouldn’t return anytime
They proceeded deeper into the valley, their guards up as they scanned in different directions.
The scene of the two formidable beasts battling was still fresh in their minds. Their hearts thumped louder and louder with each step.
The battle had truly been terrifying.
As they moved, they saw countless deep scars that the wandering battle had left throughout the winding valley. The stone of the valley was no different than tofu in the face of the attack of the beasts. The vast expanse of the valley floor was devoid of vegetation. This was evidently the work of the heaven-shaking battle from before.
“Captain, look!” Xu Xiaoyan pointed.
Tang Wulin’s gaze followed her finger and his eyes then lit up.
Not far from them was a cave, the entrance of which was about five meters tall. Darkness shrouded this cave, and its destination was a mystery.
“Is that the lair of one of the two beasts?” Tang Wulin muttered to himself.
“Let’s go find out!” Xie Xie immediately began running, forcing the other three to chase after him.
After reaching the entrance to the cave, Xie Xie took a moment to scout the area before waiting for his teammates to catch up.
“Captain, I think this could actually be the lair of the Three-eyed Golden Lion!” he shouted, gulping nervously.
“Huh? What makes you think that?” Tang Wulin asked.
“Since we’ve fought a Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear, you might remember its rancid odor,” Xie Xie said. “This cave, however, smells fresh, yet a bit musky. Legends have described the Three-eyed Golden Lion smelling like this, so I think this is its lair.””
“Alright. Let’s go see for ourselves,” Tang Wulin immediately decided. This was not the time to hesitate, just in case those two beasts suddenly returned!
The four of them dove into the cave, swiftly advancing into its depths.
The cave was pitch-black, as if it were a completely different world. The
ceiling soon grew beyond five meters tall and opened up into a wide space. After they came around a bend, twinkling lights appeared.
Gemstones littered the ground, shining with a myriad of brilliant prismatic lights.
Chapter 276 – Three-eyed Golden Lion
Chapter 276 – Three-eyed Golden Lion
To young boys and girls like Tang Wulin and the others, gems were nothing more than pretty stones. They were far more interested in the kind of place a Three-eyed Golden Lion would choose to reside in.
“Do you think we can take the gems?” Xie Xie gazed at the mountain of jewels longingly.
“Don’t be so greedy,” Tang Wulin said. “Do you see me trying anything? If anyone could just waltz in and take those gems, why would Shrek even leave them for us? Use your common sense.”
After they turned another bend, the cave opened up into a wide open space. A growl reverberated through the air, and a figure shrouded in golden light pounced at them.
The instant he heard that growl, goosebumps appeared all over Tang Wulin’s body. He instantly came to the conclusion that a second Three-eyed Golden Lion lived here!
Three-eyed Golden Lions were beasts that could fight head-to-head with a ten-thousand-year Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear!
Tang Wulin and the others no longer had a chance to escape since this one noticed them.
“Run!” Tang Wulin shouted as he exploded with golden light. He activated Golden Dragon Body and his right arm swelled with power. His right hand transformed into a claw as he swiped at the incoming golden figure.
He held nothing back in the face of death. Three meter-long dark-gold blades of light shot from his claw.
The golden figure dropped to the ground with a metallic thud, landing near Tang Wulin. Tang Wulin retreated seven or eight steps backward before finding his footing. He stood firm, waves of blood essence rolling off of his body.
At that moment, his teammates got into their usual battle formation. Their refusal to obey his order filled him with joy.
Gu Yue had created a shield of water to cover Tang Wulin’s retreat. Instead of surprising him, her action delighted Tang Wulin.
“Even if it doesn’t seem as powerful as the other one, we still need to be careful,” he said, holding his claw in front of them protectively.
They could now make out the appearance of the beast shrouded in golden light. While similar to the Three-eyed Golden Lion they saw before, this one was much smaller! It was probably best to call it a miniature Three- eyed Golden Lion.
This Three-eyed Golden Lion stood less than one and a half meters tall, and its shoulders were about two meters wide. Aside from its size and the fact that its third eye wasn’t open, it was identical to the one they saw before.
“Is this… a juvenile Three-eyed Golden Lion?” Xie Xie cried. “Could we be any luckier?”
“Luckier?” Tang Wulin glanced at him.
“Having a third eye is the strongest trait of Three-eyed Golden Lions,” Xie Xie said. “Although they can only open their third eye upon reaching a
certain level, they can become super powerful once they do! They can also
bring a good fortune to their companions. This one isn’t that powerful though. I’d say that it’s probably at the ten-year level, maybe the hundred- year level at most. This is an amazing opportunity for us! Xiaoyan, don’t let the fact that it’s probably a hundred-year soul beast bother you. If you can
absorb its soul ring, it’ll be more powerful than a ten-thousand-year soul ring! It could even yield a soul bone! Soul bones from Three-eyed Golden Lions are ranked number one you know!”
Gu Yue furrowed her brow and whispered to Tang Wulin. “Is this a good idea?”
“I think we can do it,” he answered.
Tang Wulin had just knocked the Three-eyed Golden Lion down, but it
wasn’t such an easy nut to crack. Although its defenses were formidable, its scales bore a few deep claw marks. They were no match for Tang Wulin’s Golden Dragon Dreadclaw.
Tang Wulin was a bit weaker than the lion, but the difference was negligible. Their first clash had only sent him backward a few steps, after all.
Tang Wulin had no cowardly thoughts. He stepped forward and beckoned to the lion, welcoming this challenge with open arms.
“Come. Let’s fight.”
Bluesilver Grass flew out from under Tang Wulin as he swiftly advanced toward the lion, and his three teammates released their martial souls.
Tang Wulin was in peak condition. He held his claw to his chest as he rushed forward. His blood essence surged, but his golden soul ring grew faint while his two purple soul rings became distinct. The three soul rings emitted a purple-gold light.
This was the first time since breaking the second seal that Tang Wulin used both his bloodline power and his martial soul at the same time. He felt his
blood essence envelop his Bluesilver Grass, slowly changing its innate nature.
However, this change wasn’t something that would finish in just one or two days. Just like when he broke the first seal, it would take a while for him to fully adapt to his new power. Given enough time, his Bluesilver Grass
would evolve once more.
Bluesilver Grass swarmed toward the Three-eyed Golden Lion as Tang Wulin activated his first soul skill, Bind!
The lion was quick to retreat, disappearing in a flash. Its body burst with golden light, shooting out a beam of light that resembled lightning at Tang Wulin.
Tang Wulin snorted. Not moving a single inch, he brought his Golden
Dragon Body to full power, his blood boiling as he struck out with his claw.
Tang Wulin and the luminous Three-eyed Golden Lion met with an
explosive boom. He was forced to back a few steps, but the lion completely overpowered.
Strengthened by both his soul power and bloodline, Tang Wulin’s golden dragon claw soared to new heights of power. Its nails were now longer by
an inch, and more importantly, it consumed much less soul power. Since his greatest weapon was now fueled by his blood essence, it could be used much more freely.
Stone spikes sprouted out of the ground around the lion on after another, imprisoning it.
The lion’s golden light flared up, instantly demolishing the stone prison. Having freed itself, a dangerous light flashed through its eyes as it leaped out of the remains of the prison.
A wave of dizziness struck Tang Wulin and Gu Yue, forcing them to take two steps backward.
The Three-eyed Golden Lion took advantage of this opening to slash its claws at Tang Wulin, its strike aiming to disembowel him!
In that instant, three figures descended like a tornado to obstruct the lion. Light Dragon Storm!
His Light Dragon Clones and Light Dragon Storm combined to unleash a terrifying attack. A series of sounds reminiscent of a knife tapping glass rang out as he used an onslaught of attacks to hold the lion in mid-air.
As expected of an juvenile Three-eyed Golden Lion, its defenses were
sturdy. However, it wasn’t without weakness. Although it was quick and excelled at both physical and spiritual attacks, the strength of its body
wasn’t really that impressive. At the very least, it wasn’t tough enough to endure the endless assault from the class zero team.
“Xiaoyan, we’re blitzing it!”
As Tang Wulin said this, his second soul ring lit up and his Bluesilver Grass surrounded the lion in the spiky embrace of the Bluesilver Impaling Array.
A blitzkrieg strategy was their only option since the adult Three-eyed Golden Lion could return at any moment. Once it returned, any hope of survival would be gone.
Bizarre golden light gushed from the lion to hold off the grassy spears. The Bluesilver Grass went limp when they touched the light, barely failing to pierce the lion.
But at that moment, a starwheel appeared beneath the Three-eyed Golden Lion.
Its body instantly went stiff.
In a flash of silver, two figures appeared right in front of the lion. It was Gu Yue and Tang Wulin.
Gu Yue’s control over space allowed her to bring one person along when she teleported short distances.
No other ability could be more appropriate for this situation.
Chapter 277 – Decisions
Chapter 277 – Decisions
Tang Wulin’s dragon claw descended upon the Three-eyed Golden Lion’s head.
Tang Wulin flew into the air high above the Three-eyed Golden Lion’s head. Since Xu Xiaoyan’s starwheel immobilized it, the lion couldn’t do anything but watch as Tang Wulin swung his claw down at it.
He struck the lion’s head, using his claw to spike it head-first into the ground. However, instead its crushing effect activating, the dragon claw rebounded off of the lion’s head.
The Three-eyed Golden Lion crashed into the floor of the cave with a resounding boom, unconscious, but alive. For the moment.
“Captain!” Xie Xie hurriedly spoke up. “Don’t destroy its head, it could leave us a soul skull.”
Tang Wulin withdrew his claw, deciding not to follow up with another attack. Having struck the lion, he an odd hunch that the crushing effect
wouldn’t activate no matter what he did. It was undoubtedly the influence of the Auspicious Emperor’s luck. It truly was a strange soul beast!
“I think it’s only a ten-year Three-eyed Golden Beast. If it were at the hundred-year level, we wouldn’t have been able to beat it so easily.”
The unconscious lion that lay before them was practically a lamb ready for the slaughter! Its tough scales were nothing in the face of Tang Wulin’s golden dragon claw.
His claw may have bounced off of the lion’s head, but the scales on it had been smashed to bits. Golden blood trickled from the wound..
“Now we need to decide who gets the spoils,” Tang Wulin said, turning to his companions. “Xiaoyan, if you can make a breakthrough, then the soul ring goes to you. I’ll pass on the soul bone… so Xie Xie and Gu Yue, you two talk it over.
His three companions went silent.
This was an Auspicious Emperor, a Three-eyed Golden Lion! They could no longer be found in the real world, yet they encountered one here and
even had the chance to obtain its soul ring and soul bone. Anyone who fused with either would receive a massive boost in strength.
Despite the fact that it was only a ten-year soul beast, its soul bone wasn’t ranked number one for no reason. Its effect on one’s spiritual power was unfathomable.
“Why are you giving up on the soul bone, Captain?” Xu Xiaoyan exclaimed suddenly. “It’s the soul bone of a Three-eyed Golden Lion!”
“I already got the Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear’s right hand bone, so it wouldn’t be right for me to take this one too,” Tang Wulin answered.
“We’re a team after all. I can’t hog all the good stuff, so go on. You guys decide how you want to distribute it.”
Xie Xie looked at Gu Yue, then at Xu Xiaoyan.
It would have been absolutely spectacular if Xu Xiaoyan were already at rank 30 and could absorb the soul ring of a legendary Three-eyed Golden Lion. However, she was currently one step shy of it at rank 29. The gap
seemed small, but it was actually enormous, so all they could do was decide on who gets the soul bone.
The three of them were supposed to split a single soul bone—a priceless one at that!
Xie Xie gazed at the lion on the ground, then reluctantly took a step back to stand beside Tang Wulin.
“I’ll pass on it as well.” After retreating from the lion, he seemed to relax. “I’m a man, so I understand that ladies go first. Besides, the Three-eyed Golden Lion’s skull bone mainly affects spiritual power, which doesn’t matter as much to me anyway. It would be better for either of you girls to get it. You two can decide. Or you can play rock-paper-scissors if you
Gu Yue and Xu Xiaoyan stared at him in astonishment.
While Xie Xie seemed aloof on the outside, in reality, he was a guy who really cared about his friends. He was the first one to bring up the value of the Three-eyed Golden Lion’s soul bone, yet he still chose to give it up so quickly. Such a decision wasn’t easy to make!
Gu Yue and Xu Xiaoyan looked each other in the eye.
They both excelled at ranged elemental attacks, and there was no doubt that the lion’s soul bone would suit either of them. Whoever fused with it would experience a fundamental change to their cultivation base. It was hard to
come by such and opportunity and even rarer to encounter one like this again.
Fusing with this soul bone could even have a permanent effect on their fates! Just how would they decide? Who would get it in the end?
Tang Wulin stood there silently, lips pressed together tightly. He had no suggestions to give them in this situation. As their captain, whatever he proposed would be unfair to the person who ended up with nothing.
This situation would have been far easier to resolve if it were an ordinary soul bone. All of them would have plenty of chances to obtain one in the future. However, this was the soul bone of a Three-eyed Golden Lion! It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
Gu Yue turned around and walked over to Tang Wulin. Meeting his gaze, she said, “Let’s give it to Xiaoyan. I’m passing on it too.”
“Big Sis Gu Yue!” Xu Xiaoyan yelped.
Gu Yue turned around, a gentle smile playing at her lips. “The Three-eyed Golden Lion’s soul bone will grant you luck. I don’t want luck. I want
strength. Besides, you’re the youngest, and weakest, of the four of us. If you want to catch up, you’ll have to take every chance you get. Go on. Absorb it.”
Tears welled in Xu Xiaoyan’s eyes.
First Tang Wulin backed off, then Xie Xie, and now Gu Yue. All of her companions had renounced the soul bone.
If it were a matter of compatibility, then Gu Yue was definitely the most suited to the soul bone. The power of her Elementalist martial soul would increase proportionally to her spiritual power. Absorbing the soul bone of this Three-eyed Golden Lion would definitely allow her to break into the Spirit Sea realm and experience an explosive increase strength.
Yet, she still chose to give it up without complaint.
Tang Wulin’s only response was a thumbs up. He was proud to have teammates like them!
One by one, they turned their backs on a precious treasure capable of tempting every soul master in the world. To them, their companions were far more important than material items. This refusal was proof of their
Xu Xiaoyan crouched down and examined the Three-eyed Golden Lion.
She shook her head and stood up once more, quickly walking back to Tang Wulin.
“Captain, I’m giving up on it too.”
“What?” He stared at her in shock. “Why?”
“If it were a different soul bone, I wouldn’t hesitate at all, but this…” Xue Xiaoyan shook her head. “This is the soul bone of a Three-eyed Golden Lion. My heart would never be at ease if I took it for myself. And besides, it’s still a child. It can’t have been born too long ago. Just think about how sad its mother would be if she came back to see her child dead! We might have already killed a lot of soul beasts, but all of them attacked us first. We acted in self defense. This time, however, we were the ones to break into its home. It wouldn’t be right to kill it for our own benefit, and I definitely
wouldn’t be able to bear doing such a thing. So… I don’t want the soul bone. Let’s leave.”
Her words surprised Tang Wulin, but a moment later, a smile formed on his lips and he gave her a big thumbs up.
It would be best for us if we didn’t get this soul bone. Besides, my gut tells me that this trial definitely isn’t as simple as we think it is.
It didn’t matter which of the four them took the soul bone. All of them would forever be haunted by it.
Furthermore, Xu Xiaoyan had a point. This Three-eyed Golden Lion was just a cub. They weren’t monsters who would indiscriminately slaughter beasts. No, all the beasts they had killed until then had attacked them first. This cub had merely been hiding in its home. It didn’t actively target them in any way.
Xie Xie and Gu Yue were both moved. In their adolescent mindsets,
slaughtering soul beasts in the spirit ascension platform had always been a game.
Yet, Xu Xiaoyan’s choice had sparked a flame their hearts.
Is it right for us to kill soul beasts? Or is it wrong? Are soul beasts evil? Do they harm people? Or is it just our greed that has driven them to the brink of
Some soul beasts still exist in the world today, but what about in a hundred years? Or a thousand? If soul beasts really become just a part of history,
what will happen to humanity?
“Since you’ve all decided to give it up, let’s get out of here. I’m afraid the big one will return any minute now.” Tang Wulin swiftly made a decision. As their captain, he had to put his team’s safety first.
He started running for the cave’s entrance. We can talk more after we leave.
The cave’s exit soon came into view. Stars filled the sky, casting a mystical light onto the valley.
Off in the distance, three eyes appeared, two golden and one a demonic red.
Tang Wulin, Xie Xie, Gu Yue, and Xu Xiaoyan immediately froze as the space around them hardened, locking them in place.
Chapter 278 – No Regrets!
Chapter 278 – No Regrets!
Frozen in place, Tang Wulin, Xie Xie, Gu Yue, and Xu Xiaoyan saw the lion’s maw open wide. In the next instant, a torrent of flames spewed forth.
I-it came back! That adult Three-eyed Golden Lion is back! Do I regret this?
All four of them asked themselves the same thing as they were engulfed by in flames.
Tang Wulin resolved himself. No! I have no regrets. I’m lucky to have comrades like them.
Xie Xie had similar thoughts. I’m a man, and a man doesn’t second-guess his decisions!
Gu Yue didn’t have any regrets either. She felt perfectly calm. Renouncing the soul bone had been the easiest choice for her since she never wanted it in the first place.
Xu Xiaoyan was at ease. Like the others, she harbored no regrets.
Why would I regret anything? I already made my choice. At least the mom lion will be happy when she sees her child is fine. They’re just data anyway. To us, this is just a virtual world… but to them, this is reality.
A soul bone could change a person’s life forever, but so could loss of a child!
And their vision went black.
In the next instant, light shone through the darkness as their metal capsules slid out of walls.
Tang Wulin, Xie Xie, Gu Yue, and Xu Xiaoyan each lay in a capsule, and all four of them sat up at the same time.
They were in the same metal room as before. A large screen displayed the cave they were just at.
Inside of the cave, the mother lion crouched to her cub’s side and enveloped it in golden light. The light healed the cub’s wounds, and it opened its eyes.
Once she saw her child regain consciousness, the mother lion took the cub into her bosom, a gentle golden light surrounding them both.
Tang Wulin and his companions silently watched the scene play out on the screen. For some reason, when they saw the mother lion nuzzling its cub, the weight in their hearts disappeared.
The four of them couldn’t help but smile.
Tang Wulin was the first to get out of his metal capsule, then he went around the room to help his teammates out of theirs.
“I have no regrets!” Tang Wulin grinned at his teammates. “Me neither!”
“No regrets here!”
“My conscience is clear!’
The other three responded in kind, sharing the same knowing smile. Tang Wulin extended his right hand. Familiar with his personality, Gu Yue placed her hand on top of his. Then Xie Xie and Xu Xiaoyan placed their hands on top of theirs. At that moment, their joined hands symbolized their
All of a sudden, steady clapping resounded throughout the room.
The four of them turned to see Shen Yi watching at them, eyes filled with admiration.
“I have been overseeing the entrance exams for many years now, but I still remember when I took mine. Back then, I was just like you four. You might not know this, but you just took the hardest level of the ninth trial. The
challenges presented to you were the most difficult that we had available. This trial tested your patience, your ability to survive, and most importantly, your character.
“I’m sorry that I tricked you earlier. Your individual character was the true focus of this trial. If a powerful soul master lacked kindness, honesty, and justice, they would be a danger to the entire Federation. Shrek Academy refuses to accept such people.
“Your first test in this trial determined whether or not you had the patience to find the valley. No points are assigned for the first test. The second test checked if you could recognize the power of the Three-eyed Golden Lion and the Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear. To pass the third test, you needed to have the courage to enter the cave. This is the most important test of the three, and you needed to pass it in order to get any points.
“You faced your fourth test after encountering the lion cub. If you had lost to it, you would have gotten zero points. However, the most important test in the entirety of the ninth trial began after you were presented with the possibility of acquiring the soul ring and soul bone of a Three-eyed Golden Lion cub.
“You were faced with a choice. Who would get the treasured soul ring and soul bone? I have witnessed many teams fall apart at this decision, turning their backs on their companions and fighting over the soul bone out of greed. They would quickly descend into an abyss of wickedness.”
Tang Wulin couldn’t help but speak up. “So when you told us that we could fuse with the soul rings and soul bones in that world, it was all a lie? It isn’t possible to fuse with the soul bones in there, is it?”
“The Auspicious Emperor, the Three-eyed Golden Lion, has only appeared once in the past twenty thousand years,” Shen Yi said. “Even if Shrek
Academy possesses many detailed records on it, we wouldn’t be able to create perfect imitations of two of them, let alone allow examinees to
absorb them. They were just illusions. Nothing more.”
Her words made odd expression come over the faces of the four of them..
Seriously? That’s just…
“If you had killed the Three-eyed Golden Lion and then calmly decided who got the spoils, everyone would have gotten six points,” Shen Yi
continued. “However, you four made a decision that surpassed our imagination. All of you chose not to kill.”
She paused for a moment, letting her words sink in.
“I now understand how kind you four are. As you saw on the screen just now, soul beasts are living beings too. Shrek Academy has never advocated the mindless slaughter of soul beasts. Unfortunately, the Great Star Dou Forest has only declined while humanity has grown stronger and stronger.
Battle armor has given us a decisive advantage over soul beasts. Humans were too greedy for what soul beasts could offer us, and that greed has led to soul beasts being driven to the verge of extinction. If we of Shrek
Academy participated in this, soul beasts would have already been completely wiped out.”
Shen Yi calmly looked into the eyes of all four of them one at a time.
“You need to remember that, if you become students of Shrek Academy, you must not enter the Great Star Dou Forest to hunt soul beasts.”
Tang Wulin’s eyes lit up with respect. Although he was only thirteen years old, he had could kind of understand the gravitas of Shen Yi’s words regarding the relationship between humans and soul beasts. Savage soul beasts definitely existed, but that didn’t mean that all soul beasts were
“Judging by your performance in this trial, I can give you nothing less than a full score. I’ll also tell you this—if you had failed this trial, you would have been rejected by Shrek Academy even if you had earned a full eighty points up to now. We call this the overruling trial. If you were lacking in moral character, nothing else would have mattered.”
Tang Wulin and the others were startled, but secretly rejoiced on the inside. Their choice hadn’t been wrong.
“With the conclusion of this trial, Tang Wulin has seventy points. Xie Xie, you have sixty-one points. Xu Xiaoyan and Gu Yue have sixty points and fifty-eight points respectively.”
Three of them already earned the minimum number of points required to pass the exam. Now, only Gu Yue lacked two points.
Shen Yi nodded to them as she pushed open the door that led out of the room.
All four students of class zero shared a smile. They were one trial short of joining Shrek Academy. After all of their efforts, it was nearly time.
Shen Yi led them down the hall and up another flight of stairs to the roof where three people awaited them.
In the center of the three was an elderly grey-haired man. On his left was Elder Cai, the Silver Moon Douluo, and on his right was the elder that had administered the first trial.
The three of them stood in a row, inspecting the new arrivals.
The expressions of Tang Wulin and the others soured when they saw Elder Cai.
What does she have to do with the last trial?
Chapter 279 – Grandteacher?
Chapter 279 – Grandteacher?
Shen Yi walked over and bowed to the three elders, then stood to the side.
“The tenth trial is also known as the Three Hall Review. These three elders will evaluate your previous performance in the trials and give you a
comprehensive score that will be added to your total,” Shen Yi explained. Three Hall Review?
But with that Elder Cai who failed us twice here… This trial is…
Tang Wulin glanced at Gu Yue. Though she furrowed her brows, her eyes still shone with a stubborn light.
She’s only short two points! This trial…
The elder in the middle spoke up, his voice deep as he said, “Tang Wulin, come up.”
Tang Wulin hastily stepped forward and bowed.
“Full marks for seven trials and zero for two… Your performance has been remarkable, simply outstanding. You’re brave, wise, and a capable leader. We’ve been watching you the entire time. However, we will hold off on your score until later as we want you to take a makeup trial.”
A makeup trial? Tang Wulin thanked the elder despite his confusion and quickly returned by his companion’s side. With seventy points, he was safe either way.
“Xie Xie,” The grey-haired elder called out. Xie Xie rushed forward.
“Your talent is slightly higher than average and your situational awareness is poor. However, you have the courage to charge head-first in the face of danger. So, overall, your performance has been satisfactory. You get six points.”
“Thank you, Elder.” Xie Xie let out a breath of relief. He had sixty-one points so he feared getting a negative score the most. After all, his performance in some trials had been quite embarrassing. And yet, unknown to him was that his accomplishments had already surpassed the average.
“Your talent is average, but your uniqueness lies in your absolute control with the astrological attribute of your variant martial soul. Not only that, you work well with your team and have a clever mind, undiscouraged by your weaknesses. Your potential is actually quite impressive. So, you get seven points.”
“Thank you, Elder.” Xu Xiaoyan smiled shyly as she returned to her friends. Now she had caught up to Xie Xie.
Gu Yue went up and bowed.
This time, the grey-haired elder did not say anything. Instead, he looked to the Silver Moon Douluo at his side.
Elder Cai coldly snorted. “Gu Yue, you’re arrogant and insolent. Though you might be gifted, you lack situational awareness and have impacted your entire team with your actions. Not only that, you’re both impulsive and unreasonable. I don’t think you’re suitable for Shrek Academy. One point. Your total is fifty-nine.”
One point? She only gave Gu Yue one point?
Gu Yue raised her head to glare at Elder Cai, biting her lip as she trembled.
The grey-haired elder said, “Tang Wulin, Xie Xie, Xu Xiaoyan, you have been accepted into the academy. Tang Wulin, you will take the fifth trial
again in a moment. Gu Yue, you only have fifty-nine points, so you can go now.”
Tang Wulin, Xie Xie, and Xu Xiaoyan were stupefied.
Fifty-nine points? Everyone shared the opinion that Gu Yue was the most amazing of them four, yet she had only received fifty-nine points. She was just one point shy of making it into Shrek Academy, but that one point meant she was rejected and had to return home now.
When they had first arrived in Shrek City, they all assumed that if only one of them made it to Shrek Academy, it would definitely be Gu Yue! None of them expected this outcome.
Gu Yue’s curled her hands into tight fists but obstinately remained standing there, her face full of pride.
A hand grabbed her shoulder.
She turned around, and her gaze connected with Tang Wulin’s resolute eyes.
He gathered her trembling body into his arms, then looked straight at the elders.
“I don’t accept this!”
Zhuo Shi was taken aback. He wouldn’t have been surprised if Gu Yue had spoken these words, but no, it was Tang Wulin who said them!
“Why do you not accept this?”
Tang Wulin said, “Respected elders, may I ask if Shrek Academy is fair?”
A cold smile formed on Elder Cai’s lips. “Nothing is fair in this world. If you want fair, then you need strength. Justice is fought for, not freely and
willingly given. Of course, that is under the condition you’re powerful enough to suppress everyone.”
Tang Wulin was stunned. He had never expected such a reply.
He nodded to Elder Cai and gave a slight bow. “Thank you for your advice, I have learned from it. Since this is how things are, I have nothing more to say. Elders, I renounce my Shrek Academy admittance. One day, I will return. One day when I’m strong enough, I will come back to enforce justice.”
Tang Wulin turned towards Xie Xie and Xu Xiaoyan and sternly said, “You two don’t need to follow me, this is just mine and Gu Yue’s business. You
should stay and properly cultivate.”
Xie Xie chuckled. He stuck his hands into his pant’s pockets and, as if he hadn’t heard Tang Wulin’s words, casually strolled over. “Since my talent is only average, it seems Shrek Academy doesn’t think too highly of me.
Captain, are you trying to ditch me? No way. Back when you defeated that Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear and avenged me, I swore I would follow you for the rest of my life. I can only become strong by following you. I like your plan. We’ll return when we have the strength to demand justice.”
He arrived next to Tang Wulin and placed his hand on his captain’s shoulder.
“I never wanted to be a soul master anyway, it was my old man that forced me. The pressure here is a bit too high for me. Let’s go back now.” Xu
Xiaoyan also stood beside them. Speaking as if this was a trivial matter. “You guys…” Tang Wulin was at a loss for words.
He turned to Shen Yi. “Teacher Shen, my apologies. I’m afraid we aren’t qualified to be Shrek students. It was once my dream, but now my dream has shattered. May I ask where Teacher Wu is?”
Emotions warred within Shen Yi’s heart as she stared at them.
At that moment, the grey-haired elder said with a gloomy expression,
“Good, you’re all really stubborn. That stubbornness must have been taught to you. Very good, nicely done. Now leave. You can all get out now.”
His cold words stunned the four that were preparing to leave.
Shen Yi sent them a meaningful look as she quietly explained, “This elder is senior brother Wu’s teacher as well as your grandteacher. Hurry up and pay your respects.”
Grandteacher? Teacher Wu’s teacher?
Tang Wulin’s heart thumped. He tugged on Gu Yue’s sleeve then bowed to Zhuo Shi. “I pay my respects to grandteacher.”
Xie Xie and Xu Xiaoyan quickly followed suit. Nudged by Tang Wulin, Gu Yue was the last to bow.
Zhuo Shi’s expression lightened a few shades, but his voice was as cold as before. “Do you guys think you’re something amazing, renouncing
everything for the sake of your companions huh? You fools. Each and every one of you are fools. Why did you even come here? Was it to show off your stubbornness? Your pride? Do you not know what effort is? All you know is how to fight, but not how to beg? Did Wu Zhangkong teach you his
stubbornness? It really is just as they say: like teacher, like student. You’re all a bunch of stubborn fools.”
The corner of Shen Yi’s mouth twitched as she silently cursed. Aren’t you the one who taught senior brother? Don’t your words apply to yourself too?
“Grandteacher, may I ask you a question?” Xu Xiaoyan asked in a cute voice.
“Hm?” Zhuo Shi eyes shifted to her.
Xu Xiaoyan’s eyes welled, then reddened as she choked back sobs. “Grandteacher, is this grandma more amazing than you?”
Her question completely blindsided Zhuo Shi, and he was left unable to answer. He sneaked a glance at Elder Cai. “We’re about equal.”
Tears escaped from the corner of Xu Xiaoyan’s eyes before it began to
stream down her face. “Grandteacher, it’s said that once a teacher, forever a father. We’ve treated Teacher Wu like a father, and Teacher Wu definitely treats you like one too, so you’re our grandfather. How can you let your grandchildren be bullied when you’re such a powerful Title Douluo and a battle armor master? We would have had enough points to pass the exam long ago if it wasn’t for this grandma. Is it because you are afraid of her, you don’t speak out when your granddaughter is being driven out?”
Zhuo Shi was stunned. He was famed for his old-fashioned ways and
stubbornness throughout Shrek Academy, and he had a stern expression that cowed all the inner court students into submission. Yet, he never expected the girl before him to speak such words.
“Me, afraid of her?” He inadvertently let slip his thoughts.
Xu Xiaoyan, throat stifled with emotion, said, “You’re not afraid of her, yet you don’t care when your granddaughter is being driven out?” After a dumbstruck moment, Zhuo Shi said, “That’s right! Why wouldn’t I care if my granddaughter is being driven out? Cai Yue’er, what are you trying to pull? Why are you bullying my granddaughter?”
Chapter 280 – Fifth Rank for a Full Score
Chapter 280 – Fifth Rank for a Full Score
Elder Cai was stunned. “Stop bullshitting! You’re an old hermit without a wife! Where did you get a granddaughter from?”
Zhuo Shi snorted. “This girl is right. I don’t care what you say. Today, I
want all four of these children to join Shrek Academy. Don’t forget the final score is decided by the three of us together. You say Gu Yue deserves one point, and I think she’s earned at least four. That should give her enough to enter the outer court.”
“Enough with your nonsense.” Elder Cai’s voice dripped with wrath. “We decided on this earlier. What are you trying to pull now? No, I refuse.”
Tang Wulin lowered his head, a trace of doubt growing in his heart. That grandteacher sure changed his mind quickly!
“Then what will it take for you to accept?” It was obvious Zhuo Shi was not taking her stubbornness well.
Elder Cai eyed him, cold enough to freeze. “Have you forgotten why we’re having Tang Wulin take a makeup trial?”
Eyes shimmering, Zhou Shi came to a startling realization and swerved toward Tang Wulin. “Right! The makeup trial. According to Shrek
Academy’s rules, a student can make one request if they score full marks on all the trials. Tang Wulin, you’re on the road to this in the seven trials that
you got points. Just one more full score and you can request an extra point for that girl.”
Tang Wulin flicked his gaze from Zhuo Shi to Elder Cai. “But the fourth trial…”
Elder Cai said, “Fine, I’ll give you ten points for the fourth trial. If you manage a perfect score for the fifth in the makeup, then your tenth trial will also have full marks.”
The fifth trial? The second profession test?
Although Tang Wulin felt something was amiss, he nodded immediately anyway. “Alright. I’ll take the makeup trial.”
Gu Yue remained silent throughout the exchange. Tang Wulin had been
waving a finger behind his back at her the entire time, warning her to keep calm, and she did so obediently for the time being. She wasn’t a fool. Of
course she wished to enter Shrek Academy! Besides, her friends would follow if she was forced to leave, and that would harm their futures!
“What is your second profession? Are you confident?” Zhuo Shi asked.
Tang Wulin answered without any hesitation, “I’m certain I’ll ace this test.”
This prompted a snort from Elder Cai. “Don’t be so confident, brat. Do you even know the requirements to get a full score?”
Tang Wulin said, “Please advise me, Elder Cai.”
“It’s impossible to get a full score unless you have reached the fifth rank in your second profession,” Elder Cai said.
At her words, Zhuo Shi and Shen Yi’s eyes popped wide, almost comically. When did the fifth trial start demanding fifth-rank professionals?
Most outer court graduates don’t reach that level. In fact, isn’t that a requirement to enter the inner court? He’s just an examinee for the outer court though!
Tang Wulin was dumbstruck. Fifth rank?
For a blacksmith, reaching the fifth rank meant being capable of Spirit Refinement! Which, unfortunately, he had not accomplished yet. Tang
Wulin was at the peak of the fourth rank and had been in the fourth rank for quite some time now, but he lacked the soul power necessary to advance further, even though Mu Chen had taught him the techniques of Spirit
Spirit Refinement was the great divider for blacksmiths, separating the ordinary grandmasters from the master craftsmen. The chickens from the phoenixes. Bridging the gap was like ascending from the earth to the heavens.
To put this in perspective, thousand-refined metals were required to make one-word battle armors, whereas two-word or higher battle armors had to be forged using metals that were spirit-refined. Not only that, one-word battle armors weren’t much stronger than mechas. So only two-word battle armors and higher were considered real battle armor.
Tang Wulin glanced at Gu Yue, sparks of worry settling in his heart, but she met his gaze with a gentleness like no other.
As he stared into her eyes, Tang Wulin was overcome with courage, turning to Elder Cai and nodding. “I’ll do it.”
“What is your second profession?” Zhuo Shi asked with narrowed eyes. “Blacksmith!”
“Follow me then.”
The three elders led him into a room, instructing staff members to bring out a forging table and rare metals.
Zhuo Shi, Elder Cai, and Elder Li stood to the side while Tang Wulin’s companions watched behind him.
He approached the forging table. Then, he shut his eyes.
After the string of trials, Tang Wulin was both mentally and physically
exhausted. Not only did he have to mind himself, he had to keep an eye out for his teammates as well, wracking his brains in order to get each and
every one of them inside Shrek Academy’s doors. All this responsibility
weighed heavily on him, and he wasn’t even fourteen years old yet! Even if he was more mature than his peers, he was still a boy.
He stood there contemplating in silence.
Spirit Refinement normally required a blacksmith to have four soul rings. However, because of his innate divine strength and talent for forging, Mu Chen said he only needed three rings to attempt it.
Spirit Refinement connected one’s soul power with the metal in question. He needed to imbue the metal with spirit. It was the process of breathing life into metal.
The Thousand Refinements brought out the full potential hidden within a chunk of metal, but Spirit Refinement completely transformed the metal at a fundamental level!
In order to succeed at spirit refining, Tang Wulin’s body and mind had to coexist in harmony and his focus must be absolute. In the moment of
completion, he would have to bring the metal to life.
In fact, Mu Chen had mentioned just this: to spirit refine was to create life.
Tang Wulin recalled his teacher’s evaluation of Spirit Refinement and reviewed the techniques needed, countless images flashing through his mind.
He stood there for a full quarter of an hour without moving. No one hurried him. The three elders watched in silence.
Finally, Zhuo Shi shot Elder Cai a look and whispered, “What’s the matter with you? Why are you acting so crazy? Are you calm yet?”
“Aren’t you the one who taught Zhangkong how to be so stubborn? So what are you then?” Elder Cai retorted.
“What are you trying to accomplish by setting such a high requirement?
Really? Fifth rank? Last time I checked, you only needed a third-rank
second profession to score full marks. Do you think he’s some sort of child prodigy? When have you ever heard of a thirteen-year-old fifth rank professional?”
A chilling smile formed on Elder Cai’s lips. “You used such a flimsy pretense to create this situation earlier, so why does it matter if I take it another step further? Anyway, you just need to come up with some
explanations after this. Wouldn’t it be easy to get them to stay? These
children are far more mature than others their age.” She rolled her eyes. “They need to be challenged if we want them to continue growing. The
more pressure they experience young, the stronger they will become. That Tang Wulin is the most resilient of the bunch. How else are we going to get him to reach his max potential without putting him a tight spot? I’m sure you know he showed off a golden soul ring in the fourth trial right? You
saw it in action in the ninth trial too. He has the soul skill of the Duskgold Dreadclaw Bear, so what can’t he accomplish? If you don’t force him, then will he give it his all?”
Zhuo Shi snorted. “Let’s just wait and see.”
At that moment, Tang Wulin opened his eyes, a purple light twinkling in their depths. He darted to the shelf of metals and picked an ingot he was all too familiar with: heavy silver!
Heavy silver was the very first metal he thousand refined, and he chose to use it this time as well.
He placed it on the forging table and pressed a button, lowering it into the furnace to be calcined.
In a flash, his heavy silver hammers appeared in his hands.
He closed his eyes once more, losing himself to the vein-like patterns
spanning throughout his hammers with his fingertips. It was as if his blood was melting into them.