Chapter 411 - The First Semester's Final Exam
Chapter 411 - The First Semester's Final Exam
“Woah!” Tang Wulin cried out. “Lizhi, what are you doing? You scared me!”
“Nothing really.” Xu Lizhi smirked. “I was just waiting to see when you would wake up.”
Tang Wulin sat up in his bed, fighting against his body’s lack of strength. Fortunately, dizziness did not strike him this time.
“Are you hungry?” Xu Lizhi asked.
Tang Wulin subconsciously rubbed his belly. It felt so empty that he could swear he felt his spine on the other side just by poking it. “I’m starving.”
After devouring some pork buns, Tang Wulin let out a sigh of satisfaction. He felt much better.
“Did we win?” he asked.
Xu Lizhi nodded. “We won. We won in the overall competition as well. Everyone who competed was rewarded with a lot of contribution points. You should go with Gu Yue to visit Wu Zhangkong later. You know, I really can’t believe you two hid it so well. Seriously! A soul fusion skill! That’s
Tang Wulin forced a smile. “Would you believe me if I told you that was our first time using it?”
Xu Lizhi stared at him with a dumbfounded look. “Your first time? No way!”
“I’m not lying! It really was our first time!”
“What was your first time?” Yuanen Yehui asked as she walked into the room with Xie Xie. Seeing Tang Wulin and Xu Lizhi together and hearing their mention of a “first time”, her expression contorted into a strange grimace.
Tang Wulin didn’t notice her expression. “We were talking about my soul fusion skill with Gu Yue! I honestly don’t know what happened. Were you guys hurt, Yuanen?”
Yuanen Yehui shook her head and stopped about five meters from Tang Wulin. “The Holy Spirit Douluo saved us. Listen. That attack of yours felt really strange. It was almost as if I were cut off from the rest of the world. Like the world itself was rejecting me. Did you guys really come up with it in the heat of battle?”
Tang Wulin smiled bitterly. “Do I need to make some sort of pledge for you to believe me?”
Yuanen Yehui snorted. “No, it’s fine. Just remember, you guys may have
won this time, but you might not be as lucky the next. I’ll definitely pay you back.”
“Sounds great.” Tang Wulin chuckled.
“I’ll leave you to rest then. And once you’ve recovered, you can get back to forging.”
“You’re so selfish,” Tang Wulin said with a wry smile. Yuanen Yehui waved goodbye then left.
Why was she acting so distant? Tang Wulin got an odd feeling from Yuanen Yehui. He didn’t know when it started, but he felt as if she were actively
avoiding him. I’m not ugly… and she wasn’t like that when we first met.
“Don’t mind her, Wulin.” Xie Xie spoke up. “Cultivating is the only thing she’s got on her mind.”
Tang Wulin rolled his eyes. “Whose side are you on?”
The question caught Xie Xie unawares. “Yours, of course!” “Why are you speaking up for her then?” Xu Lizhi asked.
Xie Xie glared at him. “I’m just stating the facts. What would you know? Now give me a bun and help me save some money.”
“I refuse. Buns cost soul power, you know!” Xu Lizhi snickered.
Tang Wulin shrugged helplessly. “Alright then. I’m going to cultivate for a bit, so you two keep it down.”
Xu Lizhi’s pork buns had given him some strength, enough for him to focus on recovering with his own effort. He sat down, crossed his legs, and began meditating. The second he began, he exhaled deeply. No wonder the Holy Spirit Douluo said Gu Yue and I would need a month to recover. My body’s condition is even worse than I imagined! I’m lucky my meridians weren’t damaged.
He was shocked by the state of his body. Only a few drops of soul power remained in it, his blood essence had no vigor, and his complexion was pale. He urged the energies within him to circulate slowly, careful not to harm his organs. If not for the pork buns, he wouldn’t have had even the
energy to sit with his legs crossed. Just what was that soul fusion skill? My entire body is a mess! Well, all I can do now is take my time to recover. I’m lucky I didn’t suffer any lasting injuries.
All Tang Wulin could do was use the Mysterious Heaven Method to direct his feeble blood essence and soul power throughout his body. A trickle of soul power soon formed within him.
The Holy Spirit Douluo’s evaluation of him had been wrong. His body far exceeded the norm. With the addition of Xu Lizhi’s pork buns, it only took
him three days to gather some soul power in his body. With this bit of soul power, his recovery hastened rapidly. He only needed ten days to recover to eighty percent of peak condition. The remaining twenty percent couldn’t be forced, and he would have to slowly work at it. According to his own observations, it would take him another ten days to get back to tip-top
Tang Wulin spent those ten days going through a monotonous routine. Attend class. Forge. Cultivate. Study.
But there was one difference. The students of the first grade were far more united than they had been at the beginning of the school year. All of Tang Wulin’s classmates now greeted him with sincere smiles when they saw him. Everyone was in a frenzy to grow stronger.
Tang Wulin didn’t try the soul fusion skill with Gu Yue again. The side
effects were costly. He had asked Wu Zhangkong, Feng Wuyu, and Zhuo Shi about it, but none of them could make heads or tails of their situation. The only thing they were certain about was that their soul fusion skill was so extremely domineering that it could possibly even be on the level of a divine fusion. The two Titled Douluos told him to wait until he gained
another soul ring before attempting to practice using it.
Tang Wulin didn’t dispute this. Being decommissioned for an entire month was too high of a cost for him. He couldn’t afford to lose a month of
As for Gu Yue, she acted as if nothing had happened, although she did distance herself from everyone else a bit more than usual. However, since everyone was busy with cultivating, Tang Wulin didn’t find it odd that he saw her less.
Ye Xinglan held off from making any more pieces of battle armor. At this point in time, she needed to increase her soul power rank. She had just barely succeeded in making Tang Wulin’s gauntlet by a hair’s breadth. It
was too dangerous for her to attempt making something of that level again, so everyone agreed that she had to wait until she had four soul rings.
All of them walked their own unique path of cultivation, all striving to advance. Xie Xie conspicuously disappeared the most often. As soon as lunch ended, he would scurry off somewhere only to return late in the
evening and pass out on his bed. Xu Xiaoyan also went missing for large chunks of time. They were all busy working toward their own goals.
Tang Wulin’s schedule was the most rigid of them all. He focused on forging, cultivated on the side, and gorged himself to improve his blood essence. He made small gains every day.
The days passed just like this, and in the blink of an eye, the end of the semester was upon them.
Shen Yi stood behind the lectern in the classroom with a shining smile on her face.
“The first semester’s final exam you’ve all been looking forward to is almost here,” she said.
Countless students sat up straight when she swept her gaze across them. The exam we’ve all been looking forward to? No way! No one looks forward to exams!
Apprehension gripped the hearts of many students. Ten students would be
expelled this year, and they didn’t know how many would be given the boot in this exam.
Sure enough, Shen Yi’s next words made the weakest students pale.
“Five people will be expelled according to the results of the exam. Work hard if you don’t want to be one of those five.”
Five people… Tang Wulin clenched his fists. Shen Yi looked at him. “Speak.”
Tang Wulin steeled himself. “Teacher Shen, is there any way to avoid having anyone expelled?”
She quirked a brow at his question. “There is.”
Huh? There is? Everyone had expected Shen Yi to say no. This was Shrek Academy after all!
Yet she said there was a way!
Chapter 412 - Preparing to Set Out
Chapter 412 - Preparing to Set Out
Tang Wulin lit up at Shen Yi’s words. “What do we have to do so no one is expelled?”
Shen Yi glanced at him before returning her gaze to the rest of the class.
“The results of the final exam will be based on how many points you score. If everyone meets the minimum score, then everyone might be able to pass. But then the bar for next semester’s exam would be raised by five percent.”
Tang Wulin furrowed his brow. He wasn’t naive enough to think Shrek
Academy’s exams would be simple. Passing the exam was definitely easier said than done.
Shen Yi smiled. “The only leeway we’ll allow is the option to share points with other students. However, let me remind you that these points are the same ones that will determine whether you get into the inner court. Be
careful of how many points you give away. They could be the difference between making into the inner court or not.”
Her words caused a stir, hushed murmurs breaking out among the stronger of the students. They all yearned to enter the inner court, but giving away their points would hurt their chances of making it in.
Tang Wulin lowered his hand and said no more. His strength was limited. Even if he wanted to help his classmates pass the exam, there were only so many he could help. He decided it was better to consider this matter closer to the end of the exam.
“Now, here are the details of the exam. The exam will span fifteen days. In those fifteen days, you will go to Bright City. You must visit at least ten
cities, including Bright City, and in every city you visit, you must defeat a soul master at least five soul power ranks above you. You may not receive any help with finding your opponents, defeating them, or travelling to
Bright City. All of you will have to figure out how to do this on your own.
“Furthermore, your soul storage devices, communicators, and any other resources you possess will be confiscated before you head out. That includes money. You will all leave empty-handed. Remember, you will only have fifteen days. As long as you can complete the assigned tasks and return within fifteen days, you’ll pass the exam. The number of points you earn will depend on the strength of the opponents you defeat. If you don’t manage to accomplish the assigned tasks in those fifteen days, you will unconditionally fail the exam and have half your points deducted. Do not
worry about how your points are being counted during the exam. The Academy will be dispatching teachers to shadow all of you.
“But don’t expect them to help you under any circumstances.” She paused, letting the words sink in. “Even if your life is in danger, they will not intervene. So act with caution during the exam. Don’t pick a fight with
someone you can’t handle.”
Tang Wulin could hardly believe his ears. There are exams like this? But after a moment of thought, he understood the aim of Shrek Academy. The exam was structured like this to be a comprehensive test of their abilities.
Previous benefits of food, clothing, shelter, and transportation were all
stripped away. Without a single penny, they had to visit ten cities, find and defeat opponents stronger than them, then make their way back.
Bright City was located on the western part of the continent while Shrek Academy sat right in the continent’s heart. Even traveling via high-speed
train would take three straight days of travel from Shrek City to Bright City. In other words, that was at least six days of travelling, not to mention the time they would have to spend in each city looking for opponents.
A grim silence descended upon the class following Shen Yi’s
announcement. Every student was deep in thought, planning just how they would tackle the exam.
“You may not form groups,” Shen Yi continued. “Everyone must take this exam alone. If any cooperation is discovered, everyone involved will fail.” Then she departed.
A smile tugged at the corner of Tang Wulin’s mouth. Interesting!
He glanced at his friends. They were all deep in thought as well, but none showed any worry. Ye Xinglan’s eyes blazed with determination. Gu Yue calmly contemplated the exam as if it were no big deal. Xu Lizhi and Xie
Xie both looked excited, and Xu Xiaoyan simply wore a sweet smile on her face.
The exam would begin the morning of the next day.
Sitting behind at desk in the headmaster’s office, Elder Cai smiled at Shen Yi. “So the arrangements for the exam are complete?”
Shen Yi nodded. “Everything is in order.”
“Good. There has always been a few surprises during the first final exam for new students. Let’s see what happens this year. Remember to be thorough with the body search. These are clever kids we’ve got. Who knows what they’ll do for an advantage?”
Shen Yi chuckled. “You can rest easy. I’ve gone through this once before, so I know exactly what they’re all thinking. Anything they can come up
with, their seniors have already done. Senior brother and the other proctors have already set out.”
“Excellent. This will be a good learning experience for them,” Elder Cai said.
With their business finished, Shen Yi left. Elder Cai laid back in her chair deep in thought. After a while, she stood up and walked over to the window.
She peered out and stared at a towering building on the horizon that pierced through the clouds. Then her mind began to drift among the clouds, moving back to another time.
“Cai Yue, Gu Yue is my disciple. Stop meddling in her business.” “How am I meddling?”
“Do you believe I don’t understand how you think? She has already joined the Spirit Pagoda and become my disciple. I’m certain she’ll do better under my tutelage than yours.”
“You want to go again? How many times have you lost already? Enough of this. We’ve already known each other for years. If you still can’t accept this, then you can come find me whenever you want. But in the end, I will take Gu Yue once she graduates from the outer court.”
And then she was back.
Elder Cai took a deep breath and narrowed her eyes as she opened the window. She stepped out into empty air.
Then her figure flickered, and she was gone.
Tang Wulin and his friends stood gathered around a map. He pointed to a few lines drawn on it. “This is the best route. It’s the shortest path possible to Bright City with nine other cities on the way. We’ll take the least amount of time possible if we follow it. We’re not allowed to work together though, so each of us will have to find our own way.”
Xie Xie eyed the map. “Wulin, I know we’re not allowed to bring anything, but what if we could sneak some things past the inspection?” he asked in a hushed tone. “We would have a huge advantage. Do you think there’s any way?”
Tang Wulin turned to him. “We can’t try anything sneaky like that. It’s a
waste of time. Do you think the Academy would impose such rules without a way to enforce them? The pre-exam inspection will definitely be
extremely strict. Besides, this a test of our abilities. We need to show that we can accomplish the tasks with just our own abilities.
“Our first problem is money. Without any money, we can’t take the soul train. Everyone use tonight to think of a way to earn some money.”
Xu Lizhi smirked. “I’ll just sell some buns.”
Xu Xiaoyan giggled. “I’ll put on a sad face and ask some senior brothers to lend me some money. The rest of you are going to need another way though.”
Xie Xie shrugged. “If worst comes to worst, I’ll just do some street performances. Wulin, you’re planning on going to do some forging assignments, right?”
“It’s the fastest way for me.” Tang Wulin nodded. Then he looked over to Gu Yue and Ye Xinglan. “How about you two?”
Gu Yue and Ye Xinglan shared a look, then answered at the same time.
In the early morning of the following day, all of the first grade students were gathered in Spirit Ice Plaza to prepare for their departure.
Any student who could make it into Shrek Academy undoubtedly possessed a soul storage device. The first thing Wu Zhangkong and Shen Yi did when they arrived was collect all of them. Apart from the clothes on their backs, the students were left with nothing.
“I can’t even bring my forging hammers?” Tang Wulin asked in shock.
“All you are allowed to bring are the clothes you’re wearing. Nothing else is permitted,” Wu Zhangkong answered coldly.
Tang Wulin reluctantly put his hammers back into his storage rings and handed the rings over. After using those storage rings and hammers for so long, he felt uneasy without them. It had already become a habit for him to put the storage rings on every day. Furthermore, those rings were filled with valuable chunks of metal and forged alloys.
Apart from the occasional alloy that had a harmony rate over ninety percent, those he gave to his friends, the majority of his successfully-forged alloys were in those rings. He hadn’t been in a hurry to sell the alloys. He instead chose to wait until he needed to break his fourth seal before using them to gain funds. They were sure to fetch a good price at Shrek Academy since it was a place where alloys were in high demand.
It was time for Tang Wulin to hand over all of his things, but his greedy nature made it hard for him to do so!
Chapter 413 - This Mountain is Mine!
Chapter 413 - This Mountain is Mine!
The students of the first grade were divided by gender for the body
searches. Most of the students had nothing to hide, but a few tried their luck at smuggling things out. However, one teacher’s martial soul was his eyes, and with his soul skills, he could see through every kind of deception the
A cold gust of air blew in through the gates. Although none of them truly felt cold, a few still shivered from the wind chill.
“That search was so thorough!” a student exclaimed as they shuffled through the gates.
“I’ll see you in fifteen days, Class President.” Luo Guixing waved to Tang Wulin as he left.
“Good luck everyone. Do your best to avoid getting eliminated. I’ll start forging for you guys next semester, so get the materials and your payment ready.”
The shivering students cheered. Tang Wulin was the only person in their grade who had a piece of battle armor at the moment. Even considering the fact that they chose to use ordinary metals for theirs, the rankers were still far behind in that regard. Making battle armor wasn’t an easy task after all.
Using spirit alloys may have made the crafting process harder for Tang Wulin, but the results were worth it. He could spirit refine it in the future
and upgrade it. Crafting battle armor like this was practically unheard of in the outer court. Therefore, the only way to get spirit alloys or spirit refined metal was to request it from the Blacksmith’s Association at a high price.
Tang Wulin’s promise was enough to buy the hearts of all his classmates. However, he only made this promise now because his alloy forging success rate had risen to forty percent recently. It was good enough for him to start profiting off of it.
After a semester at Shrek Academy, Tang Wulin had formed clear plan for his cultivation path.
It could be summed up in three words. Forge, eat, and battle!
Blacksmithing would make him money. With money he could buy food. With a full belly he would have the energy to fight!
Eating had already been incorporated into his daily cultivation routine. Shrek Academy’s food was highly nutritious. This fueled his powerful blood essence, which in turn led to faster soul power cultivation.
In truth, anyone could eat nutritious food to cultivate as well. The only problem was digestion! This path was only viable to Tang Wulin because his stomach had amazing digestive capabilities. In spite of this, the amount he could grow through eating ordinary meals still had its limits. If he
wanted to improve his soul power and blood essence, he would need even more nutritious food! The food had to be packed with the natural energies of the world until it was fit to burst. Then it wouldn’t be ordinary food, but spirit food! It was spirit food that had helped him break his third seal.
Tang Wulin was confident that if he could eat one or two spirit foods a month, his cultivation level would quickly surpass that of his peers.
However, to do so required tremendous amounts of money, and the best way for him to earn money was to forge!
On top of all of that, Wu Zhangkong had also told him there was only one true way to get stronger. Battle!
So Tang Wulin had come to that conclusion. He would do three things: forge, eat, and battle!
The students left one after another. Fifteen days seemed like a long while, but they had lots to do in that time. They had to earn some money immediately. Without any, they wouldn’t be able to advance!
“I’m going to go find some people to pamper me.” Xu Xiaoyan waved goodbye to her friends as she walked back toward Shrek Academy.
“I’m going too. If you guys hear about a Shrek student doing street performances later, don’t find it too weird!” Xie Xie took off running.
Xu Lizhi walked over to the side. He took off his coat and lay it on the ground, then he began conjuring up buns.
Tang Wulin turned to Gu Yue and Ye Xinglan. “So are you two really going to...?”
The girls smiled at him and nodded.
Tang Wulin sighed and facepalmed. He didn’t have the guts to look them in the eye. “Then I’m going to head out first.”
He needed to pay the Blacksmith’s Association a visit.
As soon as Tang Wulin left, Ye Xinglan turned to Gu Yue. “Who’s going first?”
“You can go,” Gu Yue said. Ye Xinglan nodded. “Alright.”
It was still early in the morning. Classes had yet to start, and students trickled through the gates in twos and threes. Not all of the students lived on campus. Some came from wealthy families that bought houses in the city for them to cultivate in.
But today was different from usual.
Someone was peddling goods right at the entrance. “Don’t miss your
chance to buy a bun! A single Recovery Pork Bun will fill you with vigor
and make your body healthier! An Agility Soup Bun will make you as lithe as a swallow! Or get a Bloodthirst Bean Bun and instantly double your fighting strength! It’s always good to be prepared! All buns stay fresh for a day.”
A boy about sixteen or seventeen years old instantly recognized that person as he walked through the gates. “Woah! Aren’t you the fatty from the first grade? Junior Brother, why are you selling buns here?”
Xu Lizhi chuckled. “I have no other choice! I need to make some money for this semester’s final exam. How about, Senior Brother? You want some buns? They’re cheap and delicious!”
“I’m good. I don’t have any use for your buns. They only last a day anyway.
Welp, I’ve gotta get to class. Good luck.” The student waved goodbye and continued walking through the gates. However, before he could go much farther, he was stopped.
Two girls stood in the way. The gate was very wide though, so they couldn’t block the entire path. The second grade student tried to walk around them, but someone moved in front of him to bar his path.
“This mountain is mine. These trees were planted by me. Uh… Hey Gu Yue! What was the last line?”
Gu Yue rolled her eyes. “‘If you want to pass, you must pay the mountain toll.’”
What’s going on?The second grade student stared at them with in utter stupefaction. “Junior sisters, there’s no mountain here,” he said
monotonously. “And there aren’t any trees either! Even if there were, they wouldn’t belong to you two!”
“Pay up.” Ye Xinglan held out her hand. “The toll is one hundred thousand Federal credits.”
The boy was stunned. “What the hell are you doing? Are you trying to rob me?”
“No. We’re borrowing money from you. We’ll pay you back twice as much later on,” Ye Xinglan answered.
“What if I don’t lend you money?” The corner of the boy’s mouth began to twitch. Ye Xinglan was a pretty girl and he didn’t want to make a bad impression on her, but there was a limit to his restraint when she was being so demanding.
A few other students had arrived by then and now watched from the side. One of them was a student who looked to be about twenty years old. He was clearly from one of the upper grades.
“Alright!” Ye Xinglan took a step forward, three soul rings appearing beneath her. Her Stargod Sword manifested in her hands, shining radiantly. “You don’t have to pay the mountain toll if you can beat us!”
Chapter 414 - Loan
Chapter 414 - Loan
The aura around Ye Xinglan intensified, her eyes twinkling brightly, sword in her hand. The second grade boy felt his entire body tense up as he
summoned his own martial soul in response. Three soul rings rose from beneath him, a match for Ye Xinglan’s own!
Battle? There’s no way I can beat her! He had witnessed the match between the first and second grades, which led to the first grade becoming renowned as the strongest class of new students in the last century. None of the five rankers in the first grade had joined the battle, yet the first grade had won! It was widely known that Ye Xinglan was one of the pillars of that team.
She had single handedly taken on Yue Zhengyu, He Xiaopeng, and Ye Xingmo after all! The boy knew that she was out of his league.
“Aren’t you guys afraid of being punished by the Academy?” the boy asked meekly as he retreated a step.
“We’ll deal with that when we get back,” Ye Xinglan tapped her foot impatiently. “Besides, this is just a loan. A fifteen day loan! And we’ll even pay you back double when we get back.”
She took in a deep breath and raised her sword, resplendent starlight gathering around it. She didn’t want to waste anymore time. One hundred thousand credits would be enough to cover all of their travel and food
“Fine! I’ll give it to you!” the boy shouted in despair. “Wait a minute,” someone said from behind him.
The boy looked back to see Xu Lizhi holding some buns in his hands, his fat jiggling as he jogged over to the second grade boy. “Senior Brother, if you eat one of my buns, you might not necessarily lose to them! My
Bloodthirst Bean Bun is very potent. It can boost your strength by thirty percent. You don’t have to defeat them. You just have to get past them! Do you think they would dare act so arrogantly once you’re on school grounds?”
The boy looked at Xu Lizhi suspiciously. “If I remember correctly, weren’t all three of you on the same team?”
Xu Lizhi stuck out his chest indignantly. “No way. We’re not a team right now. Everyone in the first grade is busy with our first semester’s final
exam. We might get expelled if we perform badly, so we’re all rivals here.”
The boy’s heart began to race. He was an agility-type soul master, so he felt quite confident that he could breakthrough if his power were boosted by thirty percent. Furthermore, neither of the two girls were agility-types.
“Alright. I’ll give it a try. Give me a bean bun and a soup bun. How much are they?”
“The Bloodthirst Bean Bun is thirty thousand credits and the Agility Soup Bun is ten thousand,” Xu Lizhi answered.
“How is that offer any better? You’re just trying to rob me too!” The boy rolled his eyes.
Xu Lizhi looked him straight in the eye. “You would save sixty thousand credits.”
“Fine! But I get a refund if the buns don’t work!” The boy looked back at Ye Xinglan as if she were a devil. He paid Xu Lizhi and immediately threw the bun in his mouth. As promised, the effects instantly took hold. He felt as lithe as a swallow, his body surging with strength.
“I’m charging through!” The boy instantly broke into a run, heading straight for the gate. He was extremely swift, just as expected from an agility-type
soul master who made it into Shrek Academy. Although his legs didn’t look particularly muscular, every step he took catapulted him forward. He flew like an arrow.
However, a yellow light suddenly enveloped his body and weighed him down. His entire body felt sluggish now. Then a thread of starlight wrapped around him.
“Why are you guys ganging up on me?” the boy shouted.
“We’re here to rob you! Oh, wait. I meant to say we’re here to borrow money. Who would face you by themselves?” Ye Xinglan poked her sword into the boys shoulder, pressing him to the ground. “So, will you lend me money?”
“I’ll lend you money!”
Ye Xinglan accepted the money from the boy then counted it. “Yeah. This is one hundred thousand. You can go now,” she said as she put her sword
The boy got to his feet and glared at the two girls before leaving for class. “Hold on a second,” Ye Xinglan shouted after him.
The boy turned back to look at her angrily. “What do you want now?” “What class are you in? And what’s your name?” Ye Xinglan asked.
The boy eyed her suspiciously. “Why do you want to know?” “So I can pay you back.”
“Really?” The boy was dumbfounded.
Ye Xinglan frowned. “What nonsense are you thinking about? Just hurry up and tell me. Stop wasting my time.”
“I’m in the second grade. My name is Xia Yuekong,” he answered in embarrassment before running off.
Seeing that the matter was settled, one of the students that had been
watching walked over. “Junior sisters, are you still borrowing money?” This upperclassman smiled courteously.
“No. We have enough now.” Ye Xinglan didn’t even look at him as she left with Gu Yue.
When the two girls passed by Xu Lizhi, Ye Xinglan turned to him. “You only managed to sell your buns because of us, so you’re responsible for one third of the debt.”
“Fine, fine.” Xu Lizhi beamed. Although he had a big appetite, forty thousand credits would be more than enough for the entire trip if he dieted.
He had asked the teachers beforehand if he could team up with another
student since he was a support-type soul master, and they had agreed. He had originally been eyeing Tang Wulin, but after some thought, he chose Ye Xinglan. However, the number of opponents they had to defeat together doubled to twenty.
“So they were actually working together!” The spectating students were dumbstruck as they watched the trio leave. There really are all sorts of people in this world!
“Those juniors are really creative! How come we never thought of this back then?”
Tang Wulin stood outside of the Blacksmith’s Association of Shrek City. However, Mu Xi stood in his way.
“Hm?” Tang Wulin looked at her curiously. “What are you doing here, Senior Sister?”
Mu Xi smiled. “I heard you had an exam, so I’m here to see you off!”
A hint of anxiety crept into Tang Wulin’s heart. “Why are you seeing me off? I don’t have much time. I want to go take some forging missions to earn some money.”
“Forget about it,” she replied. “The Academy has already contacted us and every other association in the city. None of us will lend any of you help.
You’re all forbidden from earning money at the associations, so you’ll have to think of another way to make money. You can still make money by forging, just not in this city. By the way, the Tang Sect is also cooperating with this. Hehe.”
Tang Wulin’s jaw dropped. “I can’t believe this!”
Mu Xi shrugged. “There’s nothing I can do about it. If you don’t want to
waste anymore of your time, then quickly think of some other way to make money.”
Tang Wulin couldn’t retort. He really was wasting his time here. What else can I do?
A moment later, his eyes lit up. I got it!
Tang Wulin waved goodbye to Mu Xi then ran straight for Shrek City’s train station. When he arrived, Tang Wulin looked around and was certain that he was the first of his class to come. Everyone else was still busy with earning money.
Tickets were checked before the train could be boarded. Tang Wulin
casually walked over to the departure schedule and examined it. He soon found what he was looking for. According to his plan, the first city Tang Wulin would visit was Heaven Dou City, which lay north-west of Shrek City. It was a major city, so he wouldn’t have any problems finding a
suitable opponent. There were also many trains from Heaven Dou City to Bright City.
Tang Wulin quickly found his way to the right platform. There were still five minutes left before ticket checking would commence, yet there was already a long line at the ticket checking window.
This time, truly everything had been confiscated from him. Even his student ID and blacksmith’s badge had been taken. He was completely empty- handed.
He walked over to the back of the line and took his place.
The ticket checking soon began and the line started moving forward. One by one, people had their tickets checked then passed into the next area. His turn soon arrived.
“Please show me your ticket,” said the clerk.
Tang Wulin moved his hand to his pocket, reached in, and rummaged
around for a moment. Then he looked off to the side and suddenly pointed. “Snake! There’s a snake!”
His shout frightened the people around him and they all where he was pointing. Sure enough, there was a golden snake about one meter long
sitting on the wall. It swiftly slithered over to the crowd. Several frightened shouts rang out and a portion of the crowd went into a panic. A moment later, a golden flash of light filled the area, and the snake disappeared.
“Huh? Where’d the snake go?” The panicked passengers and staff members searched everywhere for the snake, but it was nowhere to be found.
Tang Wulin had also long since disappeared. He had taken advantage of the distraction to leap past the ticket checking window. He then ran off to find a corner to hide in and retrieve Goldsong. He had succeeded in getting past the train station’s checkpoint.
Tang Wulin boarded his train and went to find some seats that weren’t tied to a ticket.
Chapter 415 - Onward to Heaven Dou City
Chapter 415 - Onward to Heaven Dou City
Once the train station staff confirmed that there was no snake in the vicinity, the crowds of people quickly calmed down. The brief snake scare had passed, and the train heading for Heaven Dou City quickly filled up. Once the embarkation process was complete, the train then started moving forward, gently at first, then picking up speed until it was zipping toward
Heaven Dou City.
“Damn it!” Xu Lizhi, Ye Xinglan, and Gu Yue had just arrived at the train station and could see the train carrying Tang Wulin leave the station. “We just missed the train. Well, at least there are a lot of trains going to Heaven Dou City. We’ll just have to wait half an hour.”
“According to the rules of the exam, it’s time for us to part ways here. Good luck.” Ye Xinglan fist bumped Gu Yue.
Gu Yue smiled. “Let’s see who gets back first then. I’m going to go buy my ticket.”
The vast majority of the first grade students were still busy making money. Tang Wulin was the only one whose journey had truly begun.
The soul train rapidly picked up speed until it reached a high-speed cruise. Tang Wulin found himself in the dining car along with around a dozen other people. He soon realized that he had made a mistake.
He was getting hungry.
The aroma of food hung in the air of the dining car. The food served on these trains couldn’t be called spectacular, but it didn’t matter to Tang Wulin when his stomach was growling! However, he was penniless. He
couldn’t buy any food. Money hadn’t been an issue when he snuck onto the train, but it was an issue now.
The other people in the dining car were already seated and eating breakfast. Tang Wulin patted his empty stomach as he looked around.
The Academy is so mean! They didn’t even let us eat breakfast before
starting the exam. Tang Wulin felt depressed. He firmly believed that if his stomach weren’t full, his strength wouldn’t be at one hundred percent. Well, there’s nothing I can do. I’ll just have to bear with it for now...
Tang Wulin soon faced another problem. The staff were checking tickets again! Tickets were checked once more on the train to prevent stowaways like Tang Wulin. The dining car was at the very center of the train. Since the staff started checking tickets from the front and back ends of the train, they would check here last.
At that moment, Tang Wulin saw ticket checkers appear from both doors of the car. He knew he was cornered, and he had no plans to lie either.
“I don’t have a ticket,” Tang Wulin calmly told the train attendant. “Huh? You don’t have a ticket?” The train attendant put on a grave
expression. “So you’re a stowaway then. Please buy a ticket immediately.”
Tang Wulin could only force out a bitter smile. “I don’t have any money either.”
The train attendant sized him up. “Kid, your clothes are so clean. How could you not have any money on you? Did you run away from home?”
Tang Wulin was only fourteen years old now. Even if he was tall, he still had baby fat left on his face.
“Yeah. I ran away from home.” Tang Wulin looked at the train attendant helplessly. “I have relatives in Heaven Dou City. I can get money from them to pay for a ticket. Would that be alright?”
“Come with me.” The train attendant brought Tang Wulin to the train
conductor was. Since he was just a child, the train attendant didn’t treat him too harshly. There was nowhere to run on the train anyway. Tang Wulin
They quickly arrived at the conductor’s room in the operations carriage, which sat at the center of the train.
“Ma’am, this kid is a stowaway and he doesn’t have any money for a ticket. What should we do with him?”
The conductor was a lady who looked to be in her late twenties. Although she wasn’t particularly beautiful, she did have a dignified air around her.
“A stowaway? Kid, why are you doing such things at such a young age?” asked the conductor. “Come on, tell me. What’s your situation?”
Tang Wulin took a deep breath. “Actually, I’m a student from Shrek
Academy. I’m currently in the middle of an exam and all of my possessions were confiscated by the Academy before I was sent out. My exam requires me to go all the way to Bright City, so I had no choice but to sneak on. Big Sis, I know I was wrong in doing this. I would be fine with you having
some of your attendants escort me to get money to pay for a ticket once we arrive in Heaven Dou City. I have ways to get money there. I’ll pay double the ticket price I swear.”
“You’re a student from Shrek Academy?” The conductor and the train
attendant stared at him in shock. Shrek Academy was a legendary existence. It was practically a holy site for ordinary people like them! Yet the ordinary looking kid before them claimed to come that holy place.
“Kid, you’ve already snuck onto the train. Don’t go lying now too,” the conductor said sternly.
Tang Wulin pouted. “I’m not lying! I really am a Shrek Academy student. I’ll prove it right now! Just watch!” He took a step back and urged the soul power within his body into action. Three purple soul rings rose from his feet and revolved around him, thrumming with a trace of power. This display stunned the conductor and attendant.
On the Douluo Continent, everyone had a martial soul, including the ordinary people. Those who were ordinary understood exactly what a soul master was, so when the conductor and attendant saw three purple soul rings, they could hardly believe their eyes. Most ordinary people would never personally see a purple soul ring in their entire lives.
“I-it’s purple,” the attendant muttered. “Is that a thousand-year soul ring? How are all three of them thousand-year soul rings?”
"Because I’m a student of Shrek Academy!” Tang Wulin proclaimed proudly.
His plan had been simple. All he had to do was flaunt his status as a soul master. Shrek Academy may have confiscated all of his possessions, but they couldn’t seal his martial soul. As long as he had his martial soul and
soul power, most problems could be solved with his status as a soul master. He had only realized it after Mu Xi had turned him away from the
Blacksmith’s Association. In the end, he was a soul master!
Soul masters stood at the peak of society tens of thousands of years ago. They still did so to this very day. Everyone looked up to soul masters.
Minor money problems could easily be swept under the rug as long as he revealed his status.
Tang Wulin’s current number one priority was saving time. He no longer even planned on going to the Blacksmith’s Association when he arrived in
Heaven Dou City. His focus was completing the exam as quick as possible, which would then allow him to use his excess points to help his classmates.
“Little Brother, you’re a three-ringed soul master. That makes you a Soul Elder, right? Are you really from Shrek Academy?”
Tang Wulin nodded. “Yeah! Big Sis, Shrek Academy is just too mean. They want everyone in my grade to to visit ten cities within fifteen days. Then we have to defeat a soul master at least five ranks above us too! And after all that, we still have to get back to Shrek Academy within the exam period. I won’t pass unless we do all of that.”
The conductor stared at him blankly. “And they’re having you do this all
alone? Just how old are you? I can’t believe they would send a boy like you out all alone! They’re terrible!”
The attendant tugged at the conductor’s sleeve. She was bad mouthing the legendary Shrek Academy!
Even silent cursing was not usually permissible. It was a holy land after all.
The conductor immediately realized her mistake and turned back to Tang Wulin with a warm smile on her face. “How may we be of help to you then, Little Brother? At the very least, I can use my authority to excuse you from paying for a ticket.”
Tang Wulin beamed as he recalled his soul rings. “Thank you, Big Sis! I need to visit a bunch more cities on the way and challenge some people too. Do you know if there are any places in Heaven Dou City where lots of soul masters gather? Um. Also, could I borrow some money from you? I’m getting kind of hungry. Don’t worry though! I’ll definitely pay you back once I return to Shrek Academy.”
Chapter 416 - Terrorists
Chapter 416 - Terrorists
Tang Wulin was a good-looking boy. He had large sparkling eyes that roused the maternal instincts of the conductor. Shrek Academy is just
awful! I can’t believe they would force a child like him through so much hardship.
“Don’t worry! This big sis will help you out,” the conductor said. “You need to visit ten cities right? Hm… How can I help you? There’s nothing I can do about finding opponents for you, but I do know that the security
captains for train stations are all soul masters with mechas. The thing is just that their strengths vary. Hmm. The captain at Heaven Dou City’s train
station should meet your criteria. Do you really have to fight him though? He’s an adult, and he’s really strong.”
Tang Wulin’s eyes lit up. If he could battle a suitable opponent as soon as he reached the train station, he would be able to save a lot of time!
“Alright! Sounds great! Please help me with that then, Big Sister!” He
sighed in his heart. He was lucky to meet such a kindhearted person He had begun calling her ‘Big Sister’ to act cute. Only in the end did he truly mean it.
“Xiaohu, please go get some food for this little brother while I step out for a moment. He’s just so pitiful. He wasn’t even allowed to eat breakfast.”
Tang Wulin restrained his appetite in order to avoid scaring the conductor, but even so, he ate enough food to feed five people.
The smell of food… It’s… Tang Wulin lamented his weak willpower. However, the train only carried so much food on it.
“Wulin, I’ve already made the arrangements. The security captain at
Heaven Dou City’s train station will be waiting for you. After you finish your battle, I’ll help you get a monthly train pass. With that pass, you'll be able to ride any train on the continent. And here. Take this money. You can use it to feed yourself during your journey.”
The conductor had only stepped out for a moment, yet she had already taken care of everything. It was clear that she had risen to the rank of a conductor through her own merit.
When Tang Wulin received twenty thousand credits from her, his heart burst with warmth.
She’s so kind!
At that moment, the communicator in the cabin crackled to life.
“Conductor! Conductor! Please come to the fifth carriage immediately! Terrorists have hijacked it! Please hurry!”
A hijacking? The conductor looked dazed. Damn it! This is a disaster!
A few months ago, another hijacking had occurred in the western part of the continent. That incident resulted in the train exploding. Over five hundred
casualties had been recorded. It was a tragedy that rocked the entire continent.
The conductor went deathly pale, yet she quickly regained her wits and spoke into the mic. “Attention all train attendants! Attention all train
attendants! This is your conductor speaking. We have an emergency.
Anyone with a weapon should head to the fifth carriage. Remain calm and do not alarm the passengers. Try to mitigate the disturbance.”
She rushed into her room and pulled out a key. She then opened a safe and took out a soul pistol.
“Wait here, Wulin. Don’t go in that direction.” After warning Tang Wulin, she ran out. Tang Wulin caught a glimpse of her face as she left. He could see the conviction blazing in her eyes.
The conductor was determined. She would do everything she could to protect the lives of the people on her train.
Tang Wulin called out to her as he ran to catch up. “Big Sis! I’m going with you.”
“You? No way. You’re just a child! What if you get hurt? What would I tell your parents?” the conductor came to a stop and pushed him back.
Tang Wulin smiled. “Big Sis, have you already forgotten? I’m a Shrek
Academy student! And a three-ringed Soul Elder! Trust me! I can help you deal with them.”
The conductor hesitated for a moment when she recalled this fact, but in the end, she shook her head. “Wulin, listen to me. I know you’re a soul master, but the security captain on the train is too. Let us grown-ups handle this.
You’re still a kid. You have a bright future ahead of you. Just stay here and be safe. If it really does get too dangerous, then I’ll have the eleven rear
carriages disconnect from the rest of the train. Just be good and stay put!” She pushed Tang Wulin back into the room, locked the door behind her, then ran off.
Tang Wulin bit his lip as he watched her leave. There are terrorists!
After leaving the operations carriage, the conductor slowed down to a walk and hid her gun in her pocket. She didn’t want to alarm the other passengers yet. She had to minimize the panic as much as possible. She plugged a pair of earphones into her communicator and put them on. Turning to the side
slightly, she whispered into the mic. “I’m almost there. What’s the situation?”
“There are six terrorists in total, Conductor. They’re heavily armed. They somehow managed to smuggle beam guns onto the train. Four of them are armed with beam assault rifles and one is armed with a soul cannon.
They’ve already planted soul bombs all over the carriage. It could blow up at any moment. We have ten staff members in position and engaged in a
standoff with the terrorists. But they’re better armed than we are.”
What the hell are those safety screenings for? They actually missed a load of bombs! The conductor took a deep breath. She cursed within her heart. This is a serious issue. These terrorists have bombs and heavy weapons.
We’re on a high-speed train right now, and there aren’t any stops before Heaven Dou City. We can’t let a firefight break out here.
The conductor promptly came to a decision. “Tell the operators to immediately cut off the sixth to sixteenth carriages after I enter the fifth. Are we able to contact headquarters?”
“Yes, we’ve already sent a message. Conductor, you…”
“Shut it. Just carry out my orders.” The conductor looked forward, facing the direction of the fifth carriage. Once the eleven rear carriages were
separated from the rest of the train, there would be no path of retreat. She would share the fate of the remaining passengers and staff. They would
either live or die.
Yet this was all she could do. She had made her decision and now it was time to follow through. She had to minimize losses. At the very least, the terrorists wouldn’t be able to destroy the entire train.
The situation in the carriages beyond the fifth one was unclear. All attempts to communicate with them resulted in radio silence. The terrorists had
already blocked them off. She had to handle them personally.
As she walked forward, she took out her wallet and opened it. Inside of it was a picture of a cute, chubby baby. It looked to be only a few months old. Tears welled in her eyes as she took the picture out, brought it to her lips,
and kissed it. “Mommy’s so sorry for this, my baby...” Then she tucked it back into her wallet and put her wallet away.
She wiped away her tears and picked up the pace.
The passengers in the sixth carriage had been evacuated to the seventh. A dozen or so armed staff members stood to the sides of the door to the fifth carriage. They were in a standoff against the terrorists.
The only weapons the train held in case of emergencies were beam pistols. They weren’t particularly powerful.
“What’s the situation?” the conductor asked the security captain as she approached.
The captain wore a grave expression. “It isn’t good. They’ve taken passengers as hostages. The carriages in the front are probably under their complete control as well. They’ve already installed bombs all over the train and a countdown has started.”
The conductor took a deep breath. She had to remain calm right now.
Terrifying as the situation may be, as the conductor, she had no other choice but to handle it.
She took a few steps forward and shouted into the fifth carriage. “Please don’t act impulsively! We can negotiate. Do you have any demands? I'll do my best to fulfill your them, but please don’t harm the hostages!”
The fact that they could smuggle so much weaponry onto the train showed that they weren’t any ordinary terrorists. Neither surrender nor threats
would be effective in dealing with such people. Her best option was to delay for time and hope for help.
“No need for bullshit!” a voice replied. “You’re the conductor, right? Our demands are very simple. Tell the Federal government to safely release the people they arrested twenty days ago. If they do that, I’ll release these hostages. I know you can cut off the carriages in the rear, but let me warn you: the first five carriages have already been rigged with bombs. I’m sure you know how many passengers are here. You don’t have much time. The bombs are set to detonate in thirty minutes. If you can’t fulfill our demands in thirty minutes… hehe. Looks like you’ll be buried along with everyone else.”
The conductor’s heart thumped. Twenty days ago? Who did the Federal government arrest twenty days ago? There wasn’t any news about that. These demands confused her, but she was certain these terrorists wouldn’t make impossible demands.
Chapter 417 - Obeying Orders
Chapter 417 - Obeying Orders
“Have you informed headquarters of their demands?” the conductor asked the security captain.
“I’ve already sent a message,” said the security captain. “But headquarters said they would have to consult the higher ups first. It’s impossible to fulfill their demands in half an hour. The people these terrorists want released are all extremely heinous criminals. If we give in to these demands…”
The conductor clenched her jaw. “When will backup arrive?”
“They should be here in twenty minutes, but... since the bombs are already ticking, by the time backup arrives…” Cold sweat ran down the security
An eerie look washed over the conductor’s face. “Have the crew withdraw to the sixth carriage.”
The security captain looked at her in shock. “Conductor, don’t tell me we’re sacrificing the hostages?”
“Who said we’re sacrificing them! Just carry out your orders,” the conductor barked.
In case of emergencies, the conductor held the highest authority on a train.
The attendants stood by, waiting for their orders. The security captain
clenched his teeth, then commanded the attendants to withdraw with a wave of his hand.
The conductor turned back to the fifth carriage. “Please don’t act impulsively! We’re fulfilling your demands as we speak, but we need more time! Thirty minutes is too short. Please extend the timer on the bombs. I beg of you to trust me. I will do my best to mediate and get you what you want. But I also need you to promise me you won’t hurt the hostages.”
All of the attendants and security staff withdrew to the sixth carriage.
“How do I know you’re not just stalling for time?” a hoarse voice shouted back.
The conductor remained calm. “You have bombs installed, so even if mechas come as backup, they wouldn’t be able to storm your carriage.
Hundreds of lives are at risk after all. I’ve already contacted headquarters and they agreed to your demands, but this matter involves the Federal
government. We need to get someone with more authority to approve it. It’ll take about one hour to do that. If you can trust me, extend the time limit to one hour. I’m certain you have some way to detonate the bombs at any time, so you don’t have to be worried if I’m lying.”
The terrorists in the fifth carriage went silent for a while, then the same voice as before spoke up again. “Fine. I’ll trust you this time. We’ll extend the bomb timers to one hour. But if you’re lying, everyone dies.”
The conductor took a deep breath. “Let’s discuss the demands then. Let me introduce myself first. I am this train’s conductor. My name is Mo Lan. I’m an ordinary person without any soul power. My father is the administrator of Heaven Dou City, Mo Wu. I’m sure that I am far more valuable as a hostage than ordinary people. So, I request that you release all the elderly, women, and children you have taken hostage. Take me in their stead.”
“Conductor, you can’t!” The security captain grabbed her arm.
Mo Lan threw him off. Despite being a mere ordinary person, she was able to shake off the grip of a two-ringed soul master. She turned to glare at him. The security captain couldn’t help but avert his gaze when he saw the imposing determination in her eyes.
The hoarse voice finally spoke up once more. “We can’t agree to your request. We have no way of verifying your identity.”
Mo Lan sucked in a breath of air, then stepped into the doorway, exposing herself to the guns of the terrorists. “You can search me up on soulnet and verify my appearance. If you also cross-reference my name with my father’s, you should have no trouble confirming my identity.” She scanned the carriage as she spoke. Most of the passengers were huddled at the back. She could see a bomb stuck to the roof of the carriage from where she was standing, but she couldn’t see the terrorists. Instead, their guns poked out of gaps between the hostages, aimed straight at her.
Perhaps affected by her calmness, one of the terrorists spoke up after a few moments. “Alright. We have confirmed your identity. We will release all the elderly, women, and children. But don’t even think about pulling any stunts. This is a game of trust now. We’ll release ten people first, then you’ll walk over. After that, I’ll release the rest. If you don’t keep your promise after we release the first ten people, I’ll kill ten others to make up for it.”
“Understood!” Mo Lan answered without hesitation.
The terrorists acted quickly. A few moments later, ten hostages walked out of the carriage and into the other. They thanked Mo Lan in between sobs as they passed her. Mo Lan remained stone-faced. She simply patted each hostage on the back as she directed them to the security captain, who inspected them to make sure no bombs had been planted on them.
“We’ve fulfilled our part of the deal. Now it’s your turn!” shouted the hoarse voice.
Mo Lan took out her beam gun and passed it to the security captain. With both hands high in the air to indicate she wasn’t armed, she walked into the fifth carriage. Her movements were slow and steady, and she soon reached the other hostages. A hand stretched out to point a gun right at her forehead.
Mo Lan kept her cool. “You can release the rest now.”
“Alright. You’re very brave, Miss Mo Lan. You certainly live up to your status as the daughter of an official. I really admire you. Release the others!”
There were about four hundred passengers in the first five carriages, with elderly, women, and children making up about a third of that number. Over a hundred people were released and began trickling into the sixth carriage.
A terrorist completely garbed in black restrained Mo Lan from behind. He held a gun to her head as he watched the procession of people leaving for the sixth carriage, not noticing the faint smile she wore. “We’ve shown our sincerity, so now it’s your turn. You guys have forty minutes remaining to meet our demands.”
Mo Lan was about to speak when a young voice called out from the sixth carriage. “Big Sis! Big Sis!” A small figure ran out, and was instantly met with three beam guns pointed at his head.
“Wulin? W-what are you doing here?” Mo Lan’s face turned pale.
Indeed, it was Tang Wulin who had just barged into the carriage. He
stumbled a few steps forward, tears in his eyes and panic on his face. A
couple more steps and he arrived in front of Mo Lan and hugged her waist. “Big Sis, don’t abandon me! They told me there are bad guys here.” He glared at the terrorist with childish rebellion. “Don’t hurt my Big Sis!”
“Huh? Is this kid your brother? How come you two don’t look anything alike? Is he a bastard child?” the hoarse voiced terrorist teased, soliciting hoots of laughter from his comrades.
“He’s my cousin. Stop talking nonsense,” Mo Lan said furiously as she sneaked a questioning glance at Tang Wulin.
“Don’t abandon me, Big Sis!” Tang Wulin still wore the mask of a sobbing child. “I don’t care what happens! Just let me stay with you!”
This kid… Mo Lan looked to the distant security captain. They were in a desperate situation now. She gave him a slight nod.
The security captain steeled his resolve and stepped into the fifth carriage. “Take me as a hostage too,” he said with his hands raised in the air.
“Conductor!” “Captain!” a few train attendants cried.
As the terrorists debated what to do, the sixth carriage detached from the fifth.
Chapter 418 - Wulin Acts
Chapter 418 - Wulin Acts
“Stop!” Mo Lan shouted, nary a hint of fear in her voice. “What do you guys have to be afraid of? I’m your hostage now, and you still have a
couple more. Protocol dictated that we disconnect the carriages, to minimize the losses. Do you not understand this?”
“Fine. Stay your hands!” the leader of the terrorists commanded. “Miss Mo Lan is right. We have a lot of leverage. The Federal government is a democracy, right? Let’s see if they’ll release our comrades in exchange for these hostages. Take her cousin to the back. Miss Mo Lan, you can continue talking with your headquarters. Just understand that, from this moment on, I will execute ten hostages every five minutes until the remaining forty minutes are up. Then boom! We all go to heaven.”
“Ow! That hurts!” Tang Wulin exclaimed as one of the terrorists pushed him toward the fourth carriage. Before he left, he managed to sneak a wink at Mo Lan.
That brat! Can he really do something? Helplessness gripped Mo Lan, then she shook it off and gritted her teeth. Trading her life for those of the
elderly, women, and children was all she could do to minimize the collateral damage. She understood just how vicious these terrorists were. She had no other options.
Tang Wulin let the terrorist drag him to the fourth carriage. Many more hostages huddled together in this carriage, too many to have all been from just one. As the terrorist pulled him along, he examined the carriage with his peripheral vision and added that information to what he already learned.
From what he had seen so far, only the leader of the terrorists was a soul master. He had the detonator for the bombs in his possession. The engine of the train was located in the first carriage, so it continued to glide along the tracks after the eleven carriages behind the fifth were detached. There was a terrorist armed with a soul cannon standing in the corner of that fifth
carriage. Now, he needed to figure out how many more terrorists there were and how they were situated in the other carriages.
“Don’t touch anything in here, kid,” the terrorist dragging Tang Wulin barked. “Number Three! Watch this kid. He’s a VIP.”
There were three armed terrorist standing guard over more than two hundred hostages in the fourth carriage. The women, children, and elderly were released. The people here should be the majority of the remaining hostages.
“Alright, hand him over.” The terrorist kicked Tang Wulin in the shin, forcing him to fall to the ground with a yelp of pain. “You better behave yourself, brat.”
The kick hurt Tang Wulin, but it was nothing he couldn’t handle. Yet instead of weathering the blow, he took the opportunity to get a better vantage point. He peeked through the gap between the terrorist’s legs into the third carriage.
He saw carnage. The floor had turned crimson, dyed with blood. There was nothing in the carriage other than death. Tang Wulin stared at the corpses
strewn about, aghast. It was the first time he had seen a dead body.
“What are you doing to him? He’s just a kid!” A man in his forties pulled Tang Wulin up and stepped in front of him. The terrorist snorted and pointed his gun at the man, forcing him to retreat a few steps.
Tang Wulin put on an expression of fear. “Uncle, I saw blood. There’s a lot of blood over there!” He pointed to the third carriage.
“They’re all dead.” A youth standing off to the side shuddered. “They killed anyone who resisted. They’re demons. Demons!”
They’re all dead… Tang Wulin clenched his fist. The youth was warning him. These hostages were gathered in the fourth carriage because the terrorists had killed the rest.
There were still forty minutes left on the clock before all of the bombs detonated. Six of the terrorists were gathered in the fifth carriage, and three in the fourth carriage. A grand total of nine. All of them were armed with
soul weapons, including a soul cannon. One was also a soul master, whom Tang Wulin judged to be a Soul Elder. He considered all the information gathered from his observations, and came to a quick decision. His eyes flashed gold.
I can do this. Let’s begin!
Tang Wulin concealed his right hand below a table that was nearby and
slowly released tendrils of bluesilver grass, his heart thumping nervously. He suppressed his anxiety and jitters with the experience gleaned from years of blacksmithing.
His heart was calm, his mind was clear.
With his spiritual power in the Spirit Connection realm, Tang Wulin could perceive his surroundings to a greater degree than ever before. He had an accurate grasp of the situation in the fourth carriage. Most of the hostages were in this carriage, and the bombs posed the greatest threat. He soon located every single bomb. Let’s deal with these first.
The hostages huddled together in fright, the terrorists watching their every move. The first sign of trouble, and they would shoot.
If only I had learned Ghost Shadow Perplexing Step… I’d be a lot more
confident about this. Frustration welled in Tang Wulin’s heart. He had been hard at work cultivating at Shrek Academy all this time. His soul power rank and blacksmithing skills progressed a significant amount, but this also led to him failing to visit the Tang Sect. I just need to complete a few more missions. Then I’ll probably be able to learn Ghost Shadow Perplexing Step. I’ll do that after the exam. I have to focus on what’s in front of me first.
He did his best to suppress the flash of purple beneath his feet, but the terrorists still noticed. All of them turned to look at him at the same time.
But it was already too late!
Three shining vines of golden bluesilver grass shot out from under their feet and impaled them! They were but ordinary people, not soul masters.
Wielding soul guns didn’t change the frailty of their bodies, and despite being skewered, they failed to even let out a scream. The effect of
Bluesilver Impaling Array took hold of them too quickly. Their bodies went stiff, their voices silenced.
The sudden attack sent the hostages into a panic, startled shouts filling the carriage. Tang Wulin had considered the possibility of this, but he didn’t bother trying to warn any of them to be quiet. He leaped into action, his right hand transforming into a dragon claw in a flash of gold. He thrust it into the roof of the carriage and tore it open as if it were tofu. He then grabbed one of the bombs and hurled it out of the opening.
Three bombs had been planted in different parts of the carriage. Tang Wulin quickly grabbed the second bomb and threw it out as well. Just as he was
about to go for the third, one of the terrorists walked in.
“What’s going on!” he yelled as he entered. Before he could even survey the scene, a vine of bluesilver grass wrapped around his neck and
constricted, preventing him from speaking another word. Tang Wulin continued his work and threw out the third bomb, then darted to the terrorist, knocking him out with a chop to the neck.
Four terrorists down, five to go.
Tang Wulin stepped into the corridor connecting the fourth and fifth
carriages. The second he did, he began slashing at the walls around him. His movements were quick and decisive, befitting a student of Shrek
Academy. His claw tore through metal, glass, and wiring until, with one final swipe, he separated the carriages. The fifth carriage buckled slightly at the sudden change, then slowly began to drift away from the rest of the train with all of its occupants.
“Boss, one of the cars was cut loose!” one of the terrorists shouted as he opened fire on Tang Wulin, showering him in beams of soul energy.
Tang Wulin crouched down behind his claw. Threads of light swirled
around his claw, materializing into his gauntlet. Soul guns were nothing in the face of battle armor. Even one-word battle armor stood high above mechas after all. Tang Wulin came out of the barrage of beams unscathed.
A vine of bluesilver grass wrapped around the waist of the terrorist who shot at Tang Wulin and promptly threw him out of the train. Then more
vines whipped out, intercepting another two terrorists and tossing them out as well. By this point, Tang Wulin had cleared out more than half the terrorists.
But the crisis wasn’t over yet. Now wasn’t the time to think twice about his plan of action. He could only resolve this situation with brute force!
Tang Wulin walked into the fifth carriage to face the last two terrorists. The leader already had Mo Lan in his clutches. He held a gun to her head with one hand, his other hand tightly gripping a detonator. The last of his terrorist flunkies stood with his soul gun pointed at the doorway.
Chapter 419 - Sacrifice
Chapter 419 - Sacrifice
Hostages screamed in terror, all of them shrinking against the walls of the fifth carriage as the two terrorists opened fire on Tang Wulin. Their soul guns spat beams that were too fast too dodge. His gauntlet couldn’t protect his entire body, but Tang Wulin had walked into the carriage prepared.
Bluesilver grass sprang up in front of him to form a shield. While soul guns were powerful, these weren’t the heavy beam guns that the military used.
They couldn’t penetrate the shield of thousand-year bluesilver grass.
Tang Wulin’s bluesilver grass was able to withstand the onslaught of beam fire because he was strong. Like all students of Shrek Academy, he was
courageous and possessed a martial soul of exceptional quality. In addition to that, he was capable of exerting an exquisite level of control over his martial soul. Only with such control was he able to bring out the full potential of his martial soul.
Ever since he first took action in the fourth carriage, Tang Wulin hadn’t so much as paused for even a moment.
Everything was going according to plan.
“Use the cannon!” the terrorist leader shouted, and his subordinate moved to obey.
But he didn’t have the soul cannon. Not at that very moment.
Before the carriages were detached, the train attendants had been doing their best to deescalate the situation. Then, when the security captain
entered the carriage, the terrorists were able to easily beat him into
submission. From that point onward, the terrorists figured that any threat to their control over the situation had been dealt with, so they let down their guard. This particular terrorist hadn’t seen any harm in setting the soul
cannon aside for the time being.
Of course, there was no way Tang Wulin would let him just pick it back up.
A burst of golden light flooded the carriage. A long tail whipped forth to wrap around the cannon. The light faded to reveal Goldsong, and with a flick of its tail, it hurled the cannon at the terrorist! It struck him with a resounding crack, breaking bone and tearing muscle.
“Don’t come any closer!” the terrorist leader shouted. He began backing away from Tang Wulin, dragging Mo Lan along in a chokehold. She quickly realized that the situation had changed and started struggling. The moment she did, the terrorist struck her with the butt of his gun, leaving a large gash on her forehead. The blow left her dazed. Blood trickled down her face.
“Stop!” Tang Wulin shouted, taking a step forward. His soul rings flared with energy.
“Take another step and I’ll blow your big sister’s brains out!” the man said with a cold snort, bringing the gun back up and pressing the tip of its barrel to Mo Lan’s head. Three yellow soul rings rose up from beneath him to display their brilliance.
The terrorist’s heart, however, was filled with disbelief.
This is insane! He never expected the teenage boy standing before him to be a three-ringed soul master, one even more powerful than he was! This brat has to be from some prestigious clan! He has three purple soul rings!
The leader of the terrorists knew that a soul gun of this caliber would be useless against a Soul Elder. He might have been able to put up a fight if he had the soul cannon, but Tang Wulin had already seized it. In addition to that, his men had been decimated. Out of the original nine terrorists, only he remained.
A metallic groan reverberated through the carriage, and Mo Lan was the first to realize what caused it. She could immediately tell that the fifth
carriage had begun decelerating. That meant it had been detached from the rest of the train!
She knew exactly what would happen next.
“Forget about me!” she cried. “Save everyone else!”
“Amazing! You sure are something, brat!” the terrorist exclaimed as he
caught on. His expression hardened. His chokehold on Mo Lan tightened. He brandished the detonator. A hint of madness shone in his eyes as he realized that his last bargaining chip had disappeared. “All of you can just die with me then!”
His thumb moved to trigger the detonator, but right at that moment, a flash of purple and gold blinded him. Pain seared his mind into oblivion, his thumb freezing mid-motion as his body went stiff.
The terrorist leader was only a Soul Elder with hundred-year soul rings. He had just entered the Spirit Connection realm and was weaker than Tang Wulin by over a hundred points. Even if he did possess the higher
cultivation level, he still wouldn’t have been able to resist Tang Wulin’s Purple Demon Eyes.
Just as the button was a hairsbreadth from being pressed, the arm restraining Mo Lan went slack. She had been struggling as hard as she
could to try and stop the terrorist. Now she wrenched the man’s arm down, tearing the detonator from his grasp. The second she did, Tang Wulin shot forward like a bullet and seized the terrorist’s neck in a vice-like grip.
He snapped it without hesitation.
The leader of the terrorists was never a threat to Tang Wulin. The
combination of his Golden Dragon King bloodline, his bluesilver grass, and his one-word gauntlet elevated his power far beyond that of a four-ringed
soul master. The terrorist hadn’t even thought of facing Tang Wulin as a
soul master. But all feared death, and Tang Wulin’s heart had nearly jumped
out of his chest when he saw the terrorist trying to detonate the bombs. He had only just managed to save everyone using his Purple Demon Eyes. Now the final terrorist was dead, and none of the hostages died.
“Watch out!” Mo Lan shouted.
Dread gripped Tang Wulin. He could see a beam of light out of the corner of his eye, but it wasn’t headed for him or Mo Lan. It shot toward a bomb!
A tenth terrorist had been hiding among the hostages! He had used a beam pistol to shoot at the bomb, which had more than enough power to detonate it. This would then cause a chain reaction, trigger the rest of the bombs in the carriage, and take everyone to the afterlife with him!
Only two people reacted in time. The first, Mo Lan, threw herself forward to block the beam with her body.
The second was the train’s security captain! After being beaten into
submission by the terrorists, he spent the entire time nursing his wounds
and biding his time. He knew he’d be able to do something eventually, and that time was now.
He leaped toward the beam at the same time as Mo Lan, placing himself in front of it before she did. He wasn’t as sturdy as Tang Wulin. He wouldn’t survive this shot. But as it pierced his chest, he managed to absorb enough of the beam to change its trajectory. The beam continued through the
security captain, slicing the air and through Mo Lan’s shoulder before burying itself into the wall of the carriage, leaving a small hole mere inches from the bomb.
Before Tang Wulin could even give a command, Goldsong rushed out with a swarm of bluesilver grass to capture the last terrorist. The surrounding hostages realized they were now free to move and quickly jumped away from the man.
Meanwhile, Tang Wulin caught Mo Lan as she fell. No blood seeped from the wound that the beam left. Instead, a dark green liquid bubbled from it. The smell of burning flesh lingered in the air. Soul weapons possessed
piercing capabilities and destructive power. A single shot killed nearly all victims.
Fortunately, Mo Lan had only been wounded in the shoulder. She didn’t feel any pain, only a scorching heat. Tears ran down her face. The security
captain’s corpse lay right in front of her. The beam had burned straight through his heart.
“Li Feng!” Mo Lan cried.
“Pull yourself together, Big Sis Mo Lan.” Tang Wulin sent soul power into Mo Lan’s body as exhaustion washed over him. Mo Lan was pale. An unbearable, numbing heat dominated her body. But as Tang Wulin's soul power coursed through her, a searing pain slowly began to radiate from her shoulder.
It’s over, but I’m still too inexperienced. I didn’t notice the terrorist hiding among the hostages. If those two hadn’t jumped out… we’d all be dead.
Tang Wulin could hear the boom of mechas rapidly approaching. Mo Lan and the captain… they saved everyone.
Chapter 420 - Running
Chapter 420 - Running
It took around an hour to reach Heaven Dou City. It was the first time Tang Wulin rode a mecha.
Standard issue military mechas were yellow-grade. They required a lot of skill to pilot and could be powered by both electricity and soul power. All the controls were manual, and the mecha utilize spirit souls in a simple manner.
The mechas stood at twelve meters tall. Their cockpits were large enough to fit two people and were quite snug, with the pilot’s entire body firmly fastened inside. All movements by the pilot corresponded with how the mecha moved. The greatest mecha pilots could even maneuver their mecha as nimbly as a human, but this was very demanding on the pilot’s skills and physical body.
Twelve yellow-grade mechas participated in the rescue operation. However, they had never expected the situation to already be resolved when they
There were ten terrorists. Eight were dead, while the rest severely injured.
Not a single bomb had gone off. Despite that, there were over a hundred civilian casualties. The third carriage was a scene of a bloody carnage
where even even the elderly and children could be found dead in pools of blood. Those terrorists had been absolutely ruthless.
During the hijacking, the security captain had sacrificed himself, while Mo Lan was gravely injured in an attempt to save everyone. Tales of their
fearless acts spread like wildfire throughout Heaven Dou City. As for Tang Wulin, his actions to save everyone instantly elevated him to hero status.
Tang Wulin quietly slipped away from the train station when he overheard some staff members gossiping that the city officials wanted to award him with a medal of honor. He had no choice but to run. Time was still ticking on his exam! He could only imagine how long and tedious the award
ceremony would be.
In truth, Tang Wulin didn’t feel proud of his achievements at all. The
security captain still died, and Mo Lan was in a serious condition. It was the first time he encountered such sinister people. The terrorists were vile and regarded human life like it was grass.
Tang Wulin left the station with a heavy heart. However, he soon realized that his pockets were much lighter than his heart.
Mo Lan had given him twenty thousand Federal credits and had said she
would get him a one-month pass once they arrived in Heaven Dou City, but she was currently in critical care in the hospital. She was in no position to help him find an opponent in Heaven Dou City either. Tang Wulin gained nothing from staying.
“I really can’t count on anything going according to plan!” Tang Wulin lamented.
What do I do now? I have to be decide quickly! Tang Wulin quickly thought things over, before gritting his teeth and hailed a taxi to the local Blacksmith’s Association branch.
If he spent frugally, he might survive the entire exam with just twenty thousand credits. . However, Tang Wulin’s stomach posed a problem! Twenty thousand credits was only enough to sustain him for a day or two and nothing more! He couldn’t bear the thought of starving himself.
All Tang Wulin ate today was a box meal, which was nowhere near enough to fill him. Right after that, he had been thrown into a harrowing battle
against the terrorists. His stomach was already growling.
Damn it, Lizhi! Since you can team up with someone, you should have teamed up with me! Tang Wulin longingly thought of Xu Lizhi’s buns. I wouldn’t starve if you were here!
Xu Lizhi’s Agility Soup Bun and Bloodthirst Bean Buns boosted a soul master’s strength by a large margin and were sought after by many.
However, Tang Wulin loved Xu Lizhi’s Recovery Pork Buns the most. Not only did the pork buns replenish his blood essence, they also filled his belly. Tang Wulin and the pork buns were a match made in heaven.
I’ll grab some food first, then I’ll forge some metals and earn some money. I need to earn enough for the rest of the trip. After that, I’ll ask the
Association to help me find a suitable opponent. This was the best plan Tang Wulin could come up with.
Heaven Dou City wasn’t as large as Shrek City, so it didn’t take long before he arrived at the local Blacksmith’s Association. After paying the expensive taxi bill, he got off and found a restaurant in the neighborhood.
I’ve gotta eat as much as possible! Tang Wulin thought as he walked into the restaurant.
When he walked out, the restaurant was completely cleaned out of all its ingredients. Hushed murmurs followed his footsteps. “That child is so pitiful. Did he starve to death in his past life?”
Tang Wulin had long since become accustomed to people talking about him. He rubbed his flat belly, his face full of satisfaction. Although the food wasn’t the most nutritious, it was still decent. He had come and left like a
storm. Now that his belly was full, he could concentrate on his work.
Tang Wulin looked up at the large signboard that said ‘Heaven Dou Blacksmith’s Association’, then walked in.
In Heaven Dou Soul Train Station, a tall and sharply dressed man stood there with a furious expression. “What? He disappeared? How could you let
this happen? You can’t even look after one person?”
This man was Mo Wu. His mood couldn’t be any worse right now. As the administrator of Heaven Dou City and one of the high-rank officials in the Federal government, his words carried a lot of weight.
When he received the news that his daughter had been taken hostage by terrorists who hijacked a train, his vision had gone black and he almost fainted. In his busy life, his only daughter was the apple of his eye.
Just a few months earlier there had been terrorists attacking another train. This incident was extremely tragic. Hundreds of innocent citizens had died. At that time, he feared for his daughter’s safety and asked her to resign, but she simply smiled and refused. He hadn’t expected another attack so soon, and that it would involve his daughter this time as well.
News on the situation slowly trickled in, but all of it was bad. Bombs were planted throughout the train, and the terrorists even had a soul cannon. The situation only got worse and worse. Then he learned that Mo Lan chose to trade herself for the other hostages before disconnecting the carriages, and he feared the worst.
According to the military’s analysis, the chances of successfully rescuing Mo Lan were slim. Even if they dispatched powerful soul masters and mechas, it would be difficult to rescue hostages in an enclosed space. If
they had a soul master with certain abilities the chances of success would be higher, but it was impossible to find someone like that on short notice!
Just when all hope seemed lost, they were notified that the crisis was resolved. Mo Lan was gravely injured but she would live, along with the rest of the hostages.
He could hardly believe his ears when he found out that his daughter’s savior was a young teen. Then he learned that this teen was from Shrek
Academy! His doubts disappeared and he rushed to thank his daughter’s savior. Yet when he arrived, Tang Wulin had already run off.
He was about order his subordinates to search for him when a person appeared in their midst.
“Who are you?” They were currently in a secure room where civilians were forbidden from entering, so Mo Wu was stunned to see a stranger in the room.
The stranger was a handsome young man,his expression stern and full of frost. “Did Tang Wulin leave already?”
Mo Wu’s heart raced. “Are you from Shrek Academy?” “Yes, I’m a teacher there,” said Wu Zhangkong.
Mo Wu relaxed and he let out a sigh of relief. No wonder he could sneak in. He’s from Shrek Academy!
“I’m looking for him too. He was resting here earlier, but then he disappeared.”
Wu Zhangkong furrowed his brow. He had specifically chosen to tail Tang Wulin. His disciple’s growth could only be described as miraculous. Tang Wulin started with a trash martial soul, yet he surpassed all expectations and rose to become the class president of Shrek Academy’s first grade. Such an achievement couldn’t simply be attributed to hard work. Wisdom, talent, hard work, and perseverance were all required to bring about such a miracle.
Out of all his disciples, Wu Zhangkong was proudest of Tang Wulin. This was why he had volunteered to follow Tang Wulin during the exam. He wanted to personally watch just how Tang Wulin would tackle each problem and his growth in the process.
Tang Wulin had boarded the train so fast, Wu Zhangkong had missed it and was forced to take the next one. Halfway through the trip though Wu Zhangkong’s train was forced to a stop because the carriages detached from Tang Wulin’s train blocked the tracks. Wu Zhangkong only managed to find out about the terrorist attack after the information blackout imposed by
officials was lifted. He had asked around to understand the situation then immediately rushed over here.
“I’ll take my leave then.” Wu Zhangkong nodded curtly to Mo Wu, then turned to leave.
Just as Wu Zhangkong took a step, he suddenly stopped and grabbed Mo Wu.
“What are you doing?” Mo Wu shouted in anger, but was powerless to resist as he was an ordinary civilian. He found himself by Wu Zhangkong’s side an instant later.
“Come out!” Wu Zhangkong shouted. His eyes flashed as he looked at a corner of the room.
Then a hoarse voice rang out.
“As expected of someone from Shrek Academy…”