Book 11: The Continental Advanced Academy Soul Dueling Tournament
Chapter 69: Evil Soul Master
“We’ve already informed the guards from the Star Luo Empire stationed near the Ming Dou Mountains before we departed. They’ll provide us with a detailed map and accurate information in due course. If there are no further questions, we have to depart at full speed. Keep your Guardian Rings properly. You can only wear them when you’re executing a mission.”
Everyone expressed that they were ready one after the other. Ma Xiaotao then said, “The ones with lower cultivations will slow us down. There’s no way we can accommodate to you guys, so we’re going to do things this way. I’ll take Huo Yuhao along with me. Dai Yueheng, you take Wang Dong. Ling Luochen, you take Xiao Xiao with you. Let’s go.”
Ever since Ma Xiaotao started giving her presentation regarding the Guardian mission, Elder Xuan hadn’t said another word - everything was in Ma Xiaotao’s control. This was not only his conﬁdence in Ma Xiaotao’s ability to command a group, but it was also a way for her to polish her skills. It would be no good if a dragon lacked a leader. This Guardian mission was also the ﬁnal learning curve for them all before the tournament started.
“I want senior sister Ma to take me with her.” Wang Dong suddenly spoke before rushing to Ma Xiaotao’s side. He continued talking as he smiled with admiration, “Senior sister Ma, I admire you the most. Can you take me along with you?”
Ma Xiaotao was stunned for a moment before she smiled and said, “Fine, I’ll take you with me. Dai Yueheng, you take Huo Yuhao with you. Let’s go.” As she spoke, she dragged Wang Dong’s underarm up with her right hand and leapt up, taking off on their journey.
Dai Yueheng and Ling Luochen also reacted in the same way, taking Huo Yuhao and Xiao Xiao respectively as they accelerated.
Huo Yuhao was silently cursing in his heart. Since when did Wang Dong admire Ma Xiaotao? It actually seemed as though the ineffable hostility he had directed toward senior sister Ma before was real. What was that guy doing?!
Just because he knew this didn’t mean that Ma Xiaotao knew it too. With Ma Xiaotao’s help, Wang Dong now had a contented look on his face. He was extremely pleased with
himself for what he’d done. Only he knew of the little scheme he’d concocted in his heart.
This full-scale acceleration revealed how powerful the inner courtyard disciples were. Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi and Jiang Nannan were already going all-out, but they were still ﬁnding it extremely tough to follow along. On the other hand, He Caitou was in slightly better condition than them because he had an accelerator soul tool helping him. He could control how much he wished to speed up with a Rank 4 accelerator soul tool. Adding onto the fact that he had a robust body, it wasn’t that strenuous for him to follow closely behind Ma Xiaotao.
Even though Ma Xiaotao was bringing Wang Dong along with her, she’d remained at the forefront since they’d set off. She even had to slow down from time to time and wait for those behind her. The immense speed stemming from her torrential ﬁre phoenix soul could be seen as clear as day.
Huo Yuhao felt like he was riding on clouds as Dai Yueheng pulled him along. Dai Yueheng supported Huo Yuhao’s underarm with his wide and powerful palm, just like a steady and soft support. Dai Yueheng would cover more than ten metres every time the tips of his feet touched the ground, darting forth like an arrow. When he was just about to slow
down, the tip of his foot would immediately touch the ground once more, causing him to speed up. As a result of that, he was extremely stable even though they were advancing very quickly. Huo Yuhao didn’t have to do anything, but could still move forward at such a high speed thanks to Dai Yueheng.
The scenery on both sides of the road was a blur. Even with his Spirit Eyes, Huo Yuhao still felt rather dizzy at the sight.
“Yuhao, I heard that things aren’t pleasant between you and my younger brother?” Dai Yueheng asked Huo Yuhao as he ran at full speed.
Huo Yuhao was taken aback, not because of what Dai Yueheng said, but because he could actually talk without the slightest hint of a tremble in his voice while running at such a high speed. He spoke just like he was holding a normal conversation. Dai Yueheng was really a person of formidable ability!
“Yeah.” Huo Yuheng ambiguously snorted out.
Dai Yueheng had a sincere look on his face as he said, “Even though I don’t know how you guys became enemies, I think Huabin is in the wrong. As his elder brother, I’ll apologise on his behalf. Huabin’s been exceptionally talented ever since he was a kid, which eventually formed the arrogant attitude he has now. I’ve already reprimanded him before, and even slapped him across the face. Now that I think about it, that was the ﬁrst time I’ve hit him. Let bygones be bygones. We’re all in Shrek Academy to cultivate. You’re now a member of the Guardian team, so we’ll be brothers-in-arms and fellow soldiers from now on. I hope you won’t hold any more grudges in your heart, and speak up if you need help. I’ll repay what Huabin owes you on his behalf.”
Dai Yueheng worded his sentences too beautifully. If it wasn’t for the fact that Huo Yuhao had truly felt the maliciousness and strong killing intent coming from Dai Yueheng before, he might’ve really felt embarrassed by his actions before because of what Dai Yueheng said. However, he could only sneer at the other party in his heart now. Is Dai Yueheng trying to rope me in?
“Senior brother, I am actually in the wrong as well. You’re right. Let bygones be bygones.” Huo Yuhao really couldn’t mask his expressions like Dai Yueheng; he couldn’t put such a sincere look on his face. He could only try his best to remain
calm. How could a few apologetic sentences settle the grudge he held towards them for killing his mother, along with the miserable and hard life that he’d faced since he was a child? What’s more, Huo Yuhao’s perception was sharper than most people’s. With the Spiritual Detection, Huo Yuhao saw that Dai Yueheng’s pulse was calm all throughout when he was talking a moment ago, with nothing out of the ordinary. That also meant that he was in a stable frame of mind, which was incompatible with how one would usually be a little excited when being sincere.
Dai Yueheng was slightly more pleased when he heard what Huo Yuhao said. He could see that Huo Yuhao still harboured ill feelings in his heart, but from his point of view, Huo Yuhao was only a child who didn’t reveal his emotions regardless of how talented he was. Conversely, it was normal for him to show reluctance and hesitation in his expression. However, it wasn’t a bad start, since he was willing to let the previous matter pass. From his point of view, it wasn’t that difﬁcult to rope in a child. Moreover, Huo Yuhao’s skill was quite good, but his level of cultivation was too low after all was said and done. At the moment, his level of cultivation was still far from a level that could threaten him. Thus, Huo Yuhao was far worse than Dai Huabin if he were to compare the both of them.
Dai Yueheng smiled faintly and said, “That would be for the best. Once we spend more time together, you’ll get to know what kind of person I am.”
If Huo Yuhao had been who he was before he entered Shrek Academy, he might not have been able to mask his emotions, and would deﬁnitely have been at a loss when confronting Dai Yueheng. However, he had matured a lot over the past year. He knew that it was deﬁnitely not possible for him to get his revenge in such a short time. Since that was the case, he could only feign civility.
“Senior brother, I heard senior sister Ma mention an evil soul master just now. What’s that?” Even though Huo Yuhao wasn’t at Dai Yueheng’s level of cultivation, he hardly needed to expend a great deal of effort in running now. As a result of that, he could still use soul power to protect his nose and mouth to speak.
Dai Yueheng chuckled and said, “I knew you were going to ask that question. Evil soul masters are also soul masters, but they’re very scary.” Even with his cultivation and self- conﬁdence, Huo Yuhao actually caught a smudge of fear in Dai Yueheng’s eyes when he uttered the words ‘evil soul master’. Huo Yuhao had originally asked this question without thinking
it through. However, he was secretly shocked that an elite of Shrek Academy like Dai Yueheng was actually afraid of an evil soul master.
“Evil soul masters have been in existence since long ago. It is said that Ancestor Tang San, who was part of the ﬁrst generation of Shrek’s Seven Devils encountered a powerful evil soul master one year. What’s more, that individual was also an evil Douluo. He was nevertheless able to obtain a domain-type ability from the other party. A so-called evil soul master is a soul master who has a few very exceptionally evil martial souls.”
Huo Yuhao was shocked when he heard this and said, “There are evil martial souls too?”
Dai Yueheng nodded and said, “Martial souls can be anything. There’s no distinction between good and evil if you view a martial soul on its own. But when the martial soul needs to be cultivated through special means, then that martial soul must deﬁnitely be evil. You’ll understand when I give you an example.”
“More than six hundred years ago, a powerful evil soul master appeared on the continent. He eventually became a Titled Douluo powerhouse, and granted himself the title of Blood Baby. His cultivation method was extremely unique, and his martial soul only awakened when he was eighteen years old. After his martial soul awakened, he had a certain craving for babies. He needed to suck a baby’s brain and swallow a baby’s heart before he could cultivate. Don’t you think this kind of soul master is evil? How many babies did he need to kill to cultivate from being a normal soul master to a Titled Douluo?”
Huo Yuhao felt a shiver run up his spine, all the way up to his scalp. That feeling that resembled pins and needles almost made him cry out in surprise. He never thought that a soul master like that actually existed in this world.
Dai Yueheng had a same look of fear in his eyes, “Titled Douluo Blood Baby was tyrannically strong. In a short span of twenty years, he attained the rank of a Titled Douluo through that evil cultivation method of his before he even turned forty. When he was using his soul power, a blood baby would appear, and with it would come incomparably frightening ﬁrepower and corrosive abilities. Amongst all of his nine soul rings, the lowest one was a thousand years old, and he even had two ten thousand-year soul rings. Later on, the previous commander of
the academy’s Guardian squad personally undertook the task of disposing of him. It took him ﬁve whole years to ﬁnd him before eradicating him from the face of the earth. Before that, he had killed tens of teachers and students from our academy. What do you say, isn’t this evil soul master frightening?”
“Perhaps evil soul masters weren’t born evil, but the strength and power of every soul master is the same, and so it is very easy for one to walk the path of darkness. Who can resist the temptation of obtaining such powerful and readily available power? In the end, one can only follow the devil’s path and fall from grace. These evil soul masters are the biggest enemies of the Guardian squad, and they are also the most difﬁcult for us to deal with. But once we realise that an evil soul master has appeared, we must quickly eradicate them as fast as we can, because not only are they extremely destructive, but their growth is very rapid. Even though it is very difﬁcult for an evil soul master to live too long a life, they can cause massive destruction in the years that they walk the face of the earth.”
Huo Yuhao suddenly felt enlightened, “So it’s like that! Thank you, senior brother!” Even though he’d been on his guard around Dai Yueheng from the start, he couldn’t help but admit that as an inner courtyard disciple, Dai Yueheng’s knowledge and experience was far greater than his.
“Senior brother, I still have a question. Senior sister Ma said that we have to complete this mission in three days. We’ve been progressing very quickly, but our academy is in the Heavenly Soul Empire, bordering the central north region of Star Luo Empire. On the other hand, Ming Dou Mountain is to the west of Star Luo Empire, and is more than a thousand miles away. We might not be able to hurry there in three days even if we were to give it our all! Let’s not even talk about killing the enemy!”
Dai Yueheng gave him a mysterious smile. “Don’t be impatient, you’ll know all about it in the afternoon. I believe that every single member of the preparatory team shares the same doubts as you. We’re just an academy, but the amount of strength we have hidden is much greater than you can imagine. Regardless of whether we’re talking about current students or ones who’ve already graduated, every single person related to the academy is a source of wealth. This includes manpower, and connections.”
After a simple conversation, Huo Yuhao gradually got used to talking with Dai Yueheng. At the same time, he did his best to suppress his hatred to the depths of his heart. The two quickly became familiar with each other. Dai Yueheng wasn’t as serious as he looked from the outside, and unlike his silent brother Dai Huabin, he was much more entertaining. During the journey, he shared a few interesting stories about his assignments as a Guardian, opening Huo Yuhao’s eyes to the larger world. After all, travelling ten thousand miles was better than reading ten thousand books. Huo Yuhao began to recognise that he simply knew too little about the world. When compared to the entire Douluo Continent, he was still a piece of white paper which only had an outline of a drawing sketched on it.
The swift journey lasted all the way till midday before they stopped to rest. The students from the inner courtyard all had normal expressions, and their breathing was only slightly hurried at most. However, other than He Caitou, who’d ﬂown the entire journey with the assistance of a soul tool, the other three Soul Ancestors from the outer courtyard were drenched with sweat.
Jiang Nannan was an agility-type soul master, and she had a nimble and agile body. As a result, she was left in a slightly better state. Though her sweat dripped from her body, her clothes weren’t drenched. However, the assault-type Bei Bei and the defense-type Xu Sanshi were left in a miserable state. This was especially true for Xu Sanshi. He was the heaviest of the four, and he left a huge mark of water when he landed on the ground.
“Huo Yuhao, show off some of your abilities.” Ma Xiaotao put Wang Dong down, then turned towards Huo Yuhao.
“Ah? Show what off?” Huo Yuhao asked, astonished.
Ma Xiaotao laughed. “What else? Food, of course! I don’t think everyone here knows this, but at the very start, he sold roasted ﬁsh by the entrance to the academy every night to pay off his school fees.”
“Right, right. I approve. Yuhao’s the best at this.” Xu Sanshi, who was panting violently on the ground, raised his hands and feet. His appearance looked somewhat comical.
Bei Bei laughed, “You really look like an overturned tortoise.
It’s no wonder you’re the Xuanwu Turtle!”
“Psh…” Jiang Nannan couldn’t help but laugh after hearing Bei Bei’s words.
Xu Sanshi was about to explode, but he immediately changed his expression after hearing Jiang Nannan’s laugh. He said angrily, “Seeing as you amused the goddess in my heart, I’ll forgive you.”
At this moment, the gazes of everyone present were gathered on Huo Yuhao. Even Elder Xuan wasn’t an exception to this. When everyone had been travelling earlier, there were no
traces of him to be seen. When everyone stopped to rest, however, his alcohol-drinking, chicken-eating ﬁgure immediately appeared.
Somewhat embarrassed, Huo Yuhao said, “But, I have no ingredients. Actually, I only know how to make a few simple dishes. I don’t know how to make any complicated ones. I only brought a few seasonings.”
“Simple.” Elder Xuan suddenly appeared by Huo Yuhao’s side, and the latter was startled the moment he opened his mouth.
“Xiaotao, you’re in charge of lighting a ﬁre. Dai Yueheng, Chen Zifeng, I’ll give you a task. Go catch some ﬁsh, the more the better. Ling Luochen, Xi Xi, go catch some wild game. Gong Yangmo, go follow them.”
Yao Haoxuan hurriedly raised his chest to volunteer himself. “Elder Xuan, what about me?”
Elder Xuan glared at him unhappily, “You? Just stay there obediently. Do you think this old man will eat something that a
bastard like you spits out?”
“Urp… actually, it’s very clean.” Yao Haoxuan said ﬂatteringly.
“If you don’t want to stay hungry, quickly get to work. Huo Yuhao, you’re the chef today. Everyone else, go ﬁnd some charcoal. Don’t just laze around.” As he spoke, Elder Xuan sauntered over to Huo Yuhao, then whispered, “Is the roasted ﬁsh you make really delicious?”
Huo Yuhao scratched his head. “It should be quite decent.”
Elder Xuan nodded, “Then this old man will stay hungry for a bit to try your work. If I’m not satisﬁed, humph humph, I’ll make you wear tiny shoes in the academy.”
“This…” Huo Yuhao didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry at seeing Elder Xuan’s expression. The latter seemed as though the heavens and the earth didn’t matter compared to food.
It had to be said that the elites of Shrek Academy were absolutely impressive at completing tasks. Within a mere ﬁfteen minutes, a sufﬁcient amount of ﬁrewood was placed in front of Huo Yuhao, who’d built a temporary stove by using the rocks around him.
After a few more moments, Gong Yangmo, Xi Xi, and Ling Luochen returned with two hares, two pheasants, and even a plump deer in tow.
“Start, start.” Elder Xuan waved his bottle gourd at Huo Yuhao, signalling for the latter to start.
As Huo Yuhao watched astonishedly, Ling Luochen revealed a delicate use of soul power. Under the effects of her Ice element, the ﬁve wild animals ﬂoated up into the air. Then, she stripped them, tidied them up, and cleaned them as though she was skillfully carving an ox. Within the blink of an eye, ﬁve cleaned up pieces of ﬁrst-rate game appeared in front of Huo Yuhao.
What a powerful control of Ice! Huo Yuhao sighed inwardly in praise. Although he had an Ultimate Ice martial soul, he was much, much weaker than Ling Luochen in terms of control.
After peeling away the outer layer of wood from the charcoal, Huo Yuhao started cooking. Sure enough, he’d brought a few seasonings along with him. Furthermore, there were quite a few types of them.
Perhaps it was due to his destitute childhood, but even though he had a ﬁxed amount of savings already, he still brought a few of these things along with him whenever he went out.
The amount of oil that was present in these animals that had grown up in the wild was sufﬁcient, and hence he didn’t need to add too much oil. However, the most important thing was still his control of ﬁre. Just like when he was roasting ﬁsh in the past, Huo Yuhao rubbed his own seasonings on the stomachs of the animals before starting to control the ﬁre. His roasting technique was actually rather simple. After asking Ma Xiaotao to ignite the charcoal, he took a stick of dry wood and occasionally prodded the charcoal within the stove. At the same time, he ﬂipped the animals on the stove. The facts had once again proven that Spiritual Detection was rather good when cooking...
After a while, the fragrant smell of meat started to diffuse outwards. The wild animals on the stove had turned an even, golden-yellow colour, and hissing sounds had begun to ring out from the stove as a result of the fat dripping into the ﬁre. However, it was at this exact moment that the fragrance of the
meat was at its strongest.
Currently, Elder Xuan looked like a gluttonous child. He wasn’t even drinking his alcohol as he squatted beside Huo Yuhao, waiting anxiously. Furthermore, he would even glare viciously at the others who were swallowing their saliva, as if he were claiming the area around Huo Yuhao as his own.
At this moment, Dai Yueheng and Chen Zifeng returned. From a distance, the two of them were able to smell the fragrance that came from Huo Yuhao’s stove. They were greatly astonished at Huo Yuhao, who was busily working his skill in a familiar manner. He’s only a second year student, which means that he isn’t even thirteen. Just how is he this good at cooking?
They’d brought back the ﬁsh, and Chen Zifeng had even fashioned his outer shirt into a pocket that contained a clump of mushrooms. The delicate mushrooms even contained a few
traces of last night’s dew, and their fresh and tender surface resembled the skin of a young girl.
The two of them walked up to Huo Yuhao, and Dai Yueheng said, “Yuhao, we’ve brought the ﬁsh back.” The two of them had indeed brought back a large amount of ﬁsh. The two of them had brought back a total of seven to eight kilos worth of ﬁsh, and they’d threaded them through using a string. As a result, the string resembled a bridge that separated him and Chen Zifeng by a total of ﬁve meters.
Huo Yuhao looked up, then revealed a look of happiness as he looked at the mushrooms in Chen Zifeng’s bosom, “Two seniors, I need a wooden wok. Sister Ling, I’ll have to trouble you to help clean these ﬁshes. You don’t have to descale them, just cleaning their innards is ﬁne.”
“Okay.” Ling Luochen nodded. Unexpectedly, she revealed a seldom smile as she looked at the serious Huo Yuhao. Her impression of her seemingly-omnipotent junior brother grew increasingly deeper, and she couldn’t help but think of her own naughty little brother.
The problem of the wooden wok only needed two minutes to be resolved. Dai Yueheng used brute force to overturn a large three, then allowed Chen Zifeng’s Soulchasing Sword to carve it up. Then, a perfectly round large wok appeared in front of Huo Yuhao. However, Ling Luochen quickly used her Ice
element to clean it up as a result of the bloody smell coming from the Soulchasing Sword.
At this moment, the ﬁve wild animals were nearly cooked. The ﬁrst of which to be ﬁnished were the two pieces of chicken.
The moment Huo Yuhao took them off the grill, he instantly felt his hands lighten. A ﬁgure had already run off into the distance with two chickens in tow, only leaving behind the words “I’ll leave the rest to you guys.”
Yao Haoxuan couldn’t help but sigh at this scene. “A wild chicken’s still a chicken! Elder Xuan should be called Elder Chicken.”
“Are you trying to die?” An unclear voice suddenly exploded out like a bolt of thunder. Right after that, Yao Haoxuan was
sent ﬂying into the air, landing in the fork of a nearby tree as he let out a miserable wail.
Xu Sanshi let out a mufﬂed laugh with his hand covering his mouth. “Senior Yao actually called Elder Xuan a gay dude. Isn’t he just waiting for a calamity to befall him?”
Bei Bei nodded in agreement. “Right. The gay dude’s clearly you.”
“Bullshit, this brother of yours only likes girls. I like girls with big butts!” Xu Sanshi said indignantly. However, he didn’t expect to see Jiang Nannan’s murderous eyes again after he spoke. She humphed angrily, then left to the side.
“Fuck! Bei Bei, this old man wants to ﬁght with you.” Xu Sanshi ran towards Bei Bei, red in the face.
“Then you’d better not think of eating my junior brother’s roasted meat.” Bei Bei said calmly.
Xu Sanshi’s hand was about to touch Bei Bei’s body, but he instantly stopped. He angrily stayed his hand. “I’m gonna take care of you once I’m done eating. Bei Bei, do you know what I hate most about you?”
Bei Bei shook his head in a very serious manner, “How is a man supposed to know what a pig is thinking?”
“You…” Xu Sanshi had no choice but to stay indignant due to Bei Bei’s threat, “This old man hates the fact that you keep spouting bullshit with an innocent look on your face. You’re clearly an evil bastard. I really don’t know why Xiao Ya likes you.”
Bei Bei instantly replied, “Because mine’s bigger!”
“Bullshit.” Xu Sanshi immediately rose to his feet. “Is yours as big as this daddy’s?”
Bei Bei raised his index and middle ﬁngers towards Xu Sanshi. “First off, I won’t compare myself to shelled peanuts.” Afterwards, he put down his index ﬁnger, which left only his middle ﬁnger extended. “Second, I was referring to my age.”
“I can’t take it anymore!” Xu Sanshi ﬁnally bared his fangs and pounced towards Bei Bei. However, it was at that exact instant that Huo Yuhao’s voice distracted him.
“The rabbit’s done.”
To a human, being ripped apart by ﬁve horses was deﬁnitely one of the most miserable tortures they could suffer. However, the most appalling tragedy that could occur to two wild rabbits was being divided amongst ten or so people.
The instant that Huo Yuhao spoke, the two rabbits were torn apart and scattered. This was a classic example of there being too many wolves, yet too little meat! The funniest thing that Huo Yuhao took away from this was the fact that his seniors even had to compete with each other in terms of strength while eating...
Ma Xiaotao was the strongest of the lot, and was also the quickest. As such, she was also the ﬁrst person to make her move. Dai Yueheng wasn’t much slower than her, thus the two were able to split one of the roasted rabbits amongst themselves. The rest of them, on the other hand, had to split a single rabbit amongst them.
Xu Sanshi was once again the most miserable of the lot. As an extremely slow defense-type soul master, he was only able to obtain a rabbit head.
Of course, there were still a few people who were a bit worse off than him. Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao, who had the lowest cultivation levels amongst the fourteen, didn’t get anything. However, Huo Yuhao had managed to keep two rabbit legs for them when Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng had grabbed the ﬁrst rabbit.
There were too many wolves and not enough food. As such, Huo Yuhao’s busy job had just began. He didn’t begin roasting ﬁsh immediately. Instead, he had Ling Luochen ﬁll the wooden wok with ice, then had Ma Xiaotao heat it till the ice had melted and begun to boil. Afterwards, he added the mushrooms that Chen Zifeng had brought back, then threw two ﬁsh into it.
Ma Xiaotao’s current appearance was deﬁnitely enough to overturn a country. In one hand, she held one half of a rabbit and ate it heartily, with her other hand she heated up the wooden wok using her phoenix ﬂames. Her control over ﬁre wasn’t any less than Ling Luochen’s control over ice, thus the water within the wooden wok gradually began to boil. Due to her meticulous control, only the outer layer of the wok started to blacken; there were no signs of it being burnt.
Huo Yuhao was even more skilled at roasting ﬁsh than they were at controlling ﬁre. The stove was large enough for him to roast four ﬁsh at once.
A fragrant smell soon began to diffuse outwards. By this point, the plump deer had almost was almost done.
Even Teacher Wang Yan, who usually didn’t have many requirements regarding food, was moved by the smell. He retrieved a few leather bags, each of which contained some black-colored foodstuffs, then passed them to everyone present.
These were the prepackaged meals that inner courtyard disciples usually ate when they went out on assignments; they were made using more than ten different types of medicinal herbs, alongside several reﬁned ingredients that were highly nutritious. They had an extremely high amount of nutritional content, and could help one recover their physical strength in an extremely short period of time; they were very useful to inner courtyard disciples. However, there was just one problem with these foodstuffs: They didn’t taste very good...
Considering the fact that Wang Yan had tagged along this time, their current mission was relatively difﬁcult. Not only did he have to serve as the leader of the team for the Continental Advanced Academy Soul Duelling Tournament, but he also had to deal with the logistics for the students. Considering Elder Xuan’s personality, would he be the sort of guy to do something like this? The importance of his appearance was more to act as a deterrent.
They all ate lunch together, beaming with joy. They had originally planned to rest for only an hour or two, but in the end, they stayed for over three hours.
Everyone ate until they were ﬁlled to the brim. Both the ﬁsh’s size and Huo Yuhao’s cooking technique were more than enough to sate everyone’s appetite. Once everyone had ﬁnished their meal, the seven seniors from the inner courtyard and the seven students from the outer courtyard immediately gathered together, which caused their relationships to improve by a decent amount. This was especially true for Huo Yuhao, who had become the most popular of the bunch now.
The thick soup that had been made with mushrooms and ﬁsh was also delicious. Huo Yuhao had only added a pinch of salt, but the soup tasted very good. The funniest thing was that, Elder Xuan hadn’t been able to ﬁnish his soup because he’d already eaten two chickens and four ﬁsh. However, he’d taken out a large calabash and proceeded to pour half a wok of the soup into it, supposedly to ﬁnish it during their journey. Everyone else couldn’t help but think of the phrase ‘If you can’t eat it all, you’ll have to take it home’, but nobody dared to say anything about it after what had happened to Yao Haoxuan.
“Yuhao, I’ll carry you this time. I’m not much slower than Dai Yueheng.” Yao Haoxuan laughed cunningly.
“Forget about it,” Chen Zifeng said unhappily, “it’s already good that you can keep up with the rest of us. It’d be best if an assault-type soul master like us did it instead. Junior brother, following your brother Chen can’t go wrong. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of any ingredients you need in the future.”
“Ice is still more suited to be with Ice. I can also take you along with me.” The normally-cold Ling Luochen unexpectedly spoke up. The moment her words rang out, the entire place turned silent. The Ice Lady, who was famous in the inner courtyard as such, had never spoken such nice words to a male before; she’d never even been to a formal marriage interview held in the inner courtyard! Yet, she seemed to treat Huo Yuhao somewhat differently.
In the end, Huo Yuhao ended up continuing onwards with Dai Yueheng. His reasoning was sufﬁcient: One, his strength; secondly, to continue with his arrangements from the morning.
The fourteen students were truly quite quick. Even though they’d rested for such a long time, they’d still obtained a sufﬁcient amount nutrients. They ﬁnally arrived at the border between the Heavenly Soul Empire and the Star Luo Empire after two hours. When they arrived, a large army camp blocked the path in front of them.
Dai Yueheng put Huo Yuhao down, then entered the barracks by himself. Huo Yuhao rapidly learned why Dai Yueheng had been so secretive in the morning.
They didn’t enter the barracks, yet Dai Yueheng borrowed more than ten military-grade ﬂying-type soul tools.
If a soul master wanted to ﬂy, the only way for him to do so other than having a martial soul that could ﬂy would be to wait until he’d become a seven-ringed Soul Sage. However, one could only rely on pure soul power to ﬂy short distances at that rank. Only Titled Douluo-ranked super experts were capable of ﬂying extended distances.
However, ﬂying-type soul tools ﬁrst began to appear in the Sun Moon Empire following the rapid development of soul tools. Their appearance brought about enormous trouble to the
neighbouring Heavenly Soul and Star Luo Empires. The two countries used almost all of their strength to obtain the blueprints for the Sun Moon Empire’s ﬂying-type soul tools, then manufactured their own.
A ﬂying-type soul tool could naturally only be utilised by soul masters, and it also had a relatively high cost of production. Normally, only soul masters with at least four soul rings could use one. The army didn’t have many of these soul tools either; after all, four-ringed soul masters were simply too few in number!
Despite this, Dai Yueheng had managed to borrow more than ten ﬂying-type soul tools in one go; this wasn’t something that a normal person could do. This made all sorts of feelings well up in Huo Yuhao’s heart. Right! Dai Yueheng’s father was the White Tiger Duke—the commander of the Star Luo Empire. If he used his identity as the eldest son of the Duke’s ﬁrst wife, what did borrowing a few ﬂying-type soul tools amount to?
Huo Yuhao clenched his ﬁsts when he thought of that person. Fortunately, a large part of his attention was drawn to the ﬂying-type soul tools, thus he didn't lose his composure in front of everyone else.
The Star Luo Empire’s ﬂying-type soul tools were somewhat cumbersome. The main body of the soul tool was a meter-long, half-meter wide, and one-foot thick metallic box. The two sides of the box were connected to a set of folded wings, which would have a four-meter wingspan when they were unfurled. These ensured that the user would have enough buoyancy in midair.
This wasn’t their ﬁrst time that the inner courtyard disciples had used a ﬂying-type soul tool. However, Dai Yueheng patiently gave a simple tutorial to the students from the outer courtyard.
The most important step in using a ﬂying-type soul tool was the take-off, during which the user had to pour their soul power into the soul tool and shoot it towards the ground. The user could unfurl its wings once they’d risen into the air, then could rely on the turbulence in the air to ﬂoat. After that, they only needed to convert their downwards propulsion into a parallel one via the soul tool to be able to accelerate in midair.
However, there was a certain difﬁculty involved in the usage of a ﬂying-type soul tool. Only a soul master with four or more soul rings could use one due to the amount of soul power required to reach an altitude of a certain level. If the user
wasn’t that strong, they wouldn’t be able to reach that height, which in turn meant that they wouldn’t have enough buoyancy to even ﬂoat in the air, much less ﬂy.
At that moment, a problem arose due to Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong, and Xiao Xiao’s cultivation levels. However, there was a more pragmatic solution to this, which was relatively simple. That solution was for them to let someone else bring them into the sky, then let that person ﬂy using the ﬂying-type soul tool.
Of course, it was somewhat simpler for Wang Dong, as he could ﬂy in the ﬁrst place! It wouldn’t be too hard for him to rely on the Radiant Butterﬂy Goddess’ wings to rise into the air, then ﬂy forwards with the ﬂying-type soul tool. Thus, the real problem lay with Huo Yuhao and Xiao Xiao.
He Caitou didn’t use the ﬂying-type soul tool that Dai Yueheng had brought over, as he’d brought one himself. Furthermore, his one was much more compact and delicate. His was only half the size of the Star Luo Empire’s, while its wings were somewhat smaller. Despite this, it was clearly more effective. Not only had he brought one for himself, he’d also brought one for Huo Yuhao as well.
Wang Yan said, “Students from the outer courtyard, go practice using your ﬂying-type soul tools for a bit. Students from the inner courtyard, you’re responsible for teaching and protecting them.”
Dai Yueheng had originally planned to help Huo Yuhao, but he now had no choice but to extinguish this thought when he saw He Caitou helping the latter get used to the delicate ﬂying- type soul tool made by the Soul Tool Department.
As He Caitou helped Huo Yuhao put on the ﬂying-type soul tool, he said, “Yuhao, once you reach a higher level of cultivation, our teacher will teach you how to make a ﬂying- type soul tool. The soul tools made by our Soul Tool Department only need their users to have three or more soul rings, and they’re more economical with their use of soul power. However, these aren’t the most advanced types of ﬂying-type soul tools on the market. Supposedly, the Sun Moon Empire has managed to add a special gem that’s capable of storing and replenishing soul power to their ﬂying-type soul tools. Even a one-ringed soul master is able to use them once it’s stored enough soul power.”
Huo Yuhao was astonished. “Can soul power even be stored in a soul tool?”
He Caitou smiled bitterly. “Exactly. Currently, this is the greatest gap between us and the Sun Moon Empire. However, it isn’t that easy to complete this piece of research. The Sun Moon Empire wants to allow ordinary people to use soul tools, however if a day like that truly comes, a great war would be inevitable.”
Chapter 70: Flying-type Soul Tool
Huo Yuhao felt his heart immediately go cold. Right! If ordinary people could master the use of soul tools—even if it was only the lowest-ranked Soul Ray—then an army of over tens of thousand soldiers equipped with soul tools could be created. How terrifying would such a thing be!?
“Senior brother, then can you explain why our Tang Sect declined? In any case, ordinary people aren’t able to use soul tools yet. However, our mechanical hidden weapons don’t need soul power!
Bei Bei, who was attempting to ﬂy, sighed when he heard Huo Yuhao’s words. “They’re trying to overcompensate. Furthermore, the army’s best long distance weapon is still the bow and arrow. Our hidden weapons have quite a short range of effectiveness, while their cost of production is very high due to the quality of the materials we use. As such, the army naturally wouldn’t equip itself with our weapons. In the past, we mainly sold our hidden weapons to large-scale sects. However, they’ve since switched to soul tools.”
Huo Yuhao suddenly felt a ﬂash inspiration ﬂit through his mind, but he wasn’t able to tell just what this inspiration had been about.
“Yuhao, come here. Let’s test out our ﬂying-type soul tools. The process should be relatively smooth. Here, I’ll help you up.” Once he’d ﬁnished, He Caitou grabbed Huo Yuhao’s arm, then released two beams of white light from the ﬂying-type soul tool on his back, which propelled the two into the air.
The feeling of one’s feet leaving the ground was somewhat mystical, yet was also terrifying; after all, this was Huo Yuhao’s ﬁrst time ﬂying.
Ma Xiaotao’s had already begun to help Xiao Xiao ﬂy on the other side, albeit with some screeching on Xiao Xiao’s part.
To use a ﬂying-type soul tool, one ﬁrst had to gather one’s thoughts, then needed to channel their soul power from their back into the core formation of the ﬂying-type soul tool in order to produce a propulsive force. The contraption had a few buttons on it for the sake of adjusting its wingspan. However, a larger wingspan didn’t necessarily mean a that one would ﬂy faster; that was determined based off the change in one’s
turbulence. As long as the user was able to maintain a high amount of forwards momentum, they wouldn’t fall down.
As Huo Yuhao was a soul engineer, controlling such a soul tool didn’t pose a challenge to him. Right now, all he needed to do was learn how to control his balance.
However, he couldn’t really calm down at the moment; he was currently distracted by the astonished voices of both the Skydream Iceworm and the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion, who were currently engaged in a conversation in his mind.
“The humans actually have something like this. Isn’t this equivalent to simply putting on a set of wings?” The Ice Empress asked, astonished.
The Skydream Iceworm replied, “The reason that humans— not soul beasts like you and I—are ruling the continent, is mainly due to the disparity in our creativeness! When I was in the Great Star Dou Forest, I saw even more powerful soul tools. Those weapons were truly terrifying; even hundred thousand year soul beasts didn’t dare to take them head-on.”
The Ice Empress said in a somewhat lonely voice, “The life of a human is truly much more colorful than that of a soul beasts. I’ve lived for nearly four hundred thousand years, yet I only have ice and snow in my memories.”
The Skydream Iceworm hurriedly consoled her, “Aren’t things different now? Isn’t this proof that you’ve made the right decision? We’ll deﬁnitely see more interesting things as we watch Little Yuhao grow up! Unfortunately, we can’t just spoil him. If we could, I’d have considered making him more powerful quicker.”
The Ice Empress sighed. “This is rather good, I guess. Only, I’m not to sure how the Snow Empress is faring. Her situation isn’t much different from my previous one. Actually, she might be in an even more dangerous position than I was. I’m afraid that she won’t be able to make it past her next bottleneck!”
The Skydream Iceworm replied, “Why don’t we head back and retrieve Snow Empress as well?”
“If you’re trying to die, don’t bring me along,” The Ice Empress unhappily said, “don’t tell me that you think you can persuade her. At that time, if it weren’t for the fact that you’d
trapped me and threatened my very existence, do you think that I’d have chosen this sort of passive route that I can’t control? The Snow Empress can control her desires even more than I can. Furthermore, she’s the true master of the Extreme North. It’s impossible for her willing to in a state like this, where she’d be attached to a human.”
The Skydream Iceworm laughed mischievously. “That isn’t completely impossible! If she were to fall in love with me, she might risk everything to be together with me.”
“Have you no shame!? Don’t blame me for not telling you this! When the Titan Snow Devil King tried to ask the Snow Empress out, do you know what happened? All of the bones in his body, including his skull, were crushed by her! It took him over a thousand years to recover his strength. And that’s only because the Snow Empress decided to leave him a trace of his life due to the wisp of the Ice God’s bloodline he possessed. If you want to be crushed into a gallon of juice by the Snow Empress, you’d best get far away from this place ﬁrst.”
“Eep, I was just joking, just joking! The only person I love is you. Who cares about some Snow Empress? She’s just some ﬂeeting clouds, some ﬂeeting clouds!” The Skydream Iceworm said in an extremely resolute tone.
The Ice Empress snorted coldly. “Get your evil spiritual power away from me. The Snow Empress can undergo a metamorphosis utilizing her innate skill, and she’s already managed to break through various calamities. If I’m not mistaken, she shouldn’t be to far from her seventh calamity now. I hope that she succeeds.”
While they spoke, Huo Yuhao had already begun to control his ﬂying-type soul tool. The omni-assisting Spiritual Detection once again played a wonderful role in this: He was able to clearly detect the changes in turbulence in the air, and accurately react by changing the angle of his wings. It only took him a short while of testing to master ﬂying in a straight line. Afterwards, he began attempting to glide through the air. On the other side, Xiao Xiao had already fallen from the air thrice. If it weren’t for Ma Xiaotao, she would’ve been smashed into several pieces already...
Even Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi, Jiang Nannan, and the rest had trembled in fear when they’d ﬁrst tried out their ﬂying-type soul tools. Despite their experience, they still needed a certain amount of time to familiarise themselves with its usage.
Good things naturally couldn’t be enjoyed by just a single person. The others were soon able to enjoy the aid of Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection. After an hour of practice, everyone was at least able to stay in the air. Once everyone had reached this point, they all naturally entered a state of meditation to recover their soul power, then took ﬂight again.
For the sake of receiving the help of Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection, the outer courtyard disciples all gathered behind him. Wang Yan was now above them, while Elder Xuan had disappeared off to some unknown place again. With Ma Xiaotao in the lead, the seven from the inner courtyard opened up a path in the shape of a ‘V’ and ﬂew straight ahead at full speed.
The greatest advantage of ﬂying was the fact that one wouldn’t be blocked by the terrain; instead, one could take the shortest path to one’s destination. Huo Yuhao didn’t know how his seniors were able to keep track of their bearings, but all he needed to do right now was maintain his Spiritual Detection in order to help out his teammates around him.
At this moment, Wang Dong and Huo Yuhao were practically inseperable. Wang Dong was ﬂying beneath him, and had unfurled his ﬂying-type soul tool’s wings. On the other hand,
Huo Yuhao had stretched his hands out and was currently holding onto his neck.
The moment they’d started to ﬂy like this, they’d suffered questions from the others. However, the two of them naturally wouldn’t talk about the Haodong Power. As a result, they both shook their heads mysteriously at the others’ questions.
With the Haodong Power circulating through their bodies, their ﬂight speed wasn’t one whit inferior to that of Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi, Jiang Nannan, or He Caitou’s. Unlike Xiao Xiao, who had a rope tied to her waist—which made her look like a kite as she was pulled along by Ma Xiaotao—they were able to ﬂy by themselves.
The others were occasionally able to faintly see a faint golden light momentarily appear on Wang Dong’s body. Afterwards, that faint golden light would gradually ﬂow from his body to Huo Yuhao’s.
They were able to ﬂy a total of ﬁve hundred miles in two hours, but this was their limit, due to the outer courtyard disciples with relatively lower cultivation levels. However, Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong had actually been able to persist without the assistance of any outside parties, much to the surprise of the inner courtyard disciples.
Due to their earlier hold-up, the sky had already begun to dim by the time that they landed to rest.
“This isn’t good; we won’t make it in time. This old man will carry you guys for a while.” Elder Xuan’s voice rang out as his leisurely ﬁgure materialized from the nearby forest, as if he’d instantaneously teleported there.
“However, before we set off, I’m a bit hungry. You guys should know what to do!” Elder Xuan walked over to Huo Yuhao with a smile on his face, then patted his shoulder with a somewhat encouraging look.
This time around, they didn’t need Elder Xuan to divide them up. Everyone immediately took up their positions, while the cook, Huo Yuhao, had to enter the limelight again before he’d even had the chance to recover his soul power.
Besides the Haodong Power, a large reason that he and Wang Dong had been able to last for two hours was due to the latter’s Golden Light left arm bone. If it weren’t for the fact that they’d been able to continuously recover their soul power throughout the journey, they would’ve been exhausted already.
They weren’t able to ﬁnd any ﬁsh for dinner, but the smell of wild game couldn’t be any easier for them to track. Combined with a few mountain berries and bamboo shoots, they once again enjoyed another sumptuous meal. The inner courtyard disciples were so pleased that they praised Huo Yuhao incessantly; with Huo Yuhao present, it was practically like they were on vacation.
It took another two hours for them to ﬁnish dinner, and it also took quite a while for everyone to recover their soul power afterwards. The sky had already turned dark by the time that everyone had fully recovered. Fortunately, the stars lit up the evening sky, so their sight wasn’t impeded.
Huo Yuhao was the person least affected by the darkness. With the visual acuity his Spirit Eyes granted him, there wasn’t much difference between nighttime and daytime to him.
“Here, fasten this to your waist.” Wang Yan passed a long length of rope to Huo Yuhao. The rope had a specialised lock fashioned to one end of it, such that it could be fastened to a person’s waist and thigh. The entire rope was over thirty meters long.
Huo Yuhao took the rope and fastened it to himself. He already knew that a rope such as this was meant to be used alongside a ﬂying-type soul tool. When there were soul masters with different cultivation levels, using a rope like this would allow the soul master with the higher cultivation level
to take the one with a lower cultivation level along with them, so as to increase the joint distance ﬂown by the two people, thus allowing the two to maintain a quicker ﬂying speed.
Huo Yuhao wasn’t the only person to receive a rope; everyone else did as well, including Wang Yan. Once everyone had received a rope, the ends to all of them were handed to Elder Xuan.
“Little fellas, you’ll have to do your best to protect yourselves in a bit. Once we ascend, everyone should maintain a forwards- facing position. Once I give you the signal, activate your soul power to prevent yourselves from being injured by the turbulence around us. Understood?”
Elder Xuan’s going to make a move? Huo Yuhao’s mind shook. He Caitou, who was behind him, rose into the air with
him in tow.
Nobody could see what Elder Xuan had done, but a ﬂying- type soul tool that was half as thick as Huo Yuhao and He Caitou’s had appeared on his back. A set of dark-red wings quickly unfurled until they were about two meters or so wide, which wasn’t considered too wide. However, there were twelve thrusters on the ends of his wings. It had to be known that the militarised versions of the ﬂying-type soul tools, along with even Huo Yuhao and He Caitou’s ones, only had two thrusters! Just what sort of ﬂying-type soul tool was this?
Huo Yuhao quickly understood what these twelve thrusters signiﬁed. Once everyone had gotten into a forwards-facing position in the air, Elder Xuan’s voice rang out, “Is everyone ready? Three, two, one, let’s go!”
Following Elder Xuan’s shout, all twelve thrusters on his wings simultaneously burst into life with blazing white light. Immediately afterwards, Huo Yuhao felt a large burst of force at his waist. Due to the enormous tension acting on him, the wings on his back automatically slightly withdrew. Afterwards, he wasn’t able to clearly see his surroundings anymore.
At the same time, the ear-piercing whistles coming from the turbulence around him affected his hearing. After only a few short seconds, he found it somewhat intolerable. Merely relying on his soul power to protect his body didn’t seem to be sufﬁcient anymore.
Wang Dong was still holding on to his legs from below, but he wasn’t in a much better condition either. Their Haodong Power circulated at high speed through their bodies, while the golden-reddish color coming from his left arm ﬂickered unceasingly as it protected his own body.
Huo Yuhao didn’t dare to be negligent; he immediately released the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion, which caused a resplendent layer of crystalline diamonds to cover the surface of his body. This was the Ice Empress’ Armor.
Sure enough, the pressure that had envelop him immediately lessened the moment that he activated the Ice Empress’ Armor. Huo Yuhao also tried to release his Spiritual Detection in order to check his surroundings, but to quickly discovered, to his astonishment, that he wasn’t able to release his soul skill more than a foot away from him.
This… just what was going on?
“You’re travelling too quickly. As such, your spiritual power is being severed and scattered the moment it leaves your body. Be a bit more obedient and don’t try to do anything else. That human’s really strong.” The Skydream Iceworm gave Huo Yuhao a timely reminder.
The Ice Empress was somewhat unresigned. “He wouldn’t even be my opponent if it was the previous me.”
The Skydream Iceworm immediately changed his tone and said, “That’s because my Bing Bing is awesome!”
As he was only using a defensive soul skill, the drain on his soul power wasn’t too large. After using the Ice Empress’ Armor for a period of time, Huo Yuhao switched over to a Class
2 Soul Shield, which had a decent amount of defensive capabilities. At the very least, there wouldn’t be any problems with it protecting his body from the turbulent wind.
The pinnacle level of speed that Elder Xuan was travelling at made Huo Yuhao made it so that he was only able to sense a patch of pitch-blackness. Even raising his head to see the stars and moonlight was impossible. As a result, he could only do his best to protect himself. This was Elder Xuan’s strength!
Anybody could remain in equilibrium in mid-air using a ﬂying-
type soul tool, and the air didn’t normally have much resistance at all. However, Elder Xuan was actually able to travel at such a terrifying speed by himself with so many people in tow! Just how could this be explained using the word ‘strength’ alone?
Previously, they’d travelled around four to ﬁve hundred miles in a timespan of two hours. Now, if they were to travel for two entire hours, would they really just stop at a thousand miles?
Chapter 71: White Tiger Duke's Mansion
Western border of the Star Luo Empire.
It was already so deep into the night that you couldn’t see the stars or the moon anymore. In fact, it was so dark that, in the wilderness, you couldn’t even see your hand if you were to hold it up in front of your face. This time of night was the darkest part of the night, as it was right before the sun would rise in the faraway east, and a new day would begin.
But at that instant, a white light cut through the sky, leaving behind a magniﬁcent glowing tail; it seemed as if the sky had suddenly been cleaved in two.
This white light looked like a meteor that was descending towards the earth. However, it seemed to be slowing down as it fell.
Suddenly, it grew larger, and the white light transformed into a huge platform that was dozens of meters in diameter. Afterwards, several black forms slowly descended to the earth from the platform.
The sound of people retching continuously echoed in the night air. Once the white light had disappeared, the dozen-or- so ﬁgures that had appeared were either staggering, squatting on the ground, or leaning against tree trunks. Furthermore, over half of them were in the process of vomiting.
“You all have some skills after all.” A hoarse voice echoed. An old man with greasy clothes came forwards, a large calabash in hand. Afterwards, he took a large swig of alcohol. This man was one of the elders of the sacred Sea God’s Pavilion of Shrek Academy, and was also the commander of the Shrek Guardians, Elder Xuan.
All of the pale-faced ﬁgures who were currently puking were obviously the students he’d brought along.
Even the likes of Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng were in a sorry state; they were having a hard time suppressing their gastric
He Caitou and Xu Sanshi were in the worst state of those with a higher level of cultivation; they were almost unable to suppress their bile. Who told them to have the largest bodies amongst the disciples of the outer courtyard?
Xiao Xiao, Huo Yuhao, and Wang Dong all threw up several times. Luckily, Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong had the protection of the latter’s Golden Light Left Arm Bone, which had sustained itself with their Haodong Power that they had continuously circulated during their turbulent journey. As such, they were slightly better off than the others.
Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong, and the others on the preparatory team had thought that their schoolmates were extremely strong. Yet, compared to Elder Xuan, everyone from the ofﬁcial team were nothing.
Elder Xuan had carried the ﬁfteen of them here by himself; he’d maintained that incredible speed for over four hours, crossing what appeared to be over 1500 miles. Furthermore, if you were to compare his current appearance to that of before he’d begun, you wouldn’t ﬁnd any differences. This might have
something to do with his ﬂying-type soul tool, but the main reason was due to Elder Xuan’s boundless soul power! Of course, his soul tool had been an important factor too; even if it was Elder Xuan, he wouldn’t have been able to ﬂy whilst carrying more than ten people for so long with just his power alone. From this, it should be seen just how important soul tools were for the Douluo Continent.
“Little Dai!” Elder Xuan lazily called out.
Dai Yueheng’s face twitched, but he still stepped forward and respectfully said, “Elder Xuan.”
Elder Xuan said, “When I descended to the ground just now, it created a large ruckus. The army should’ve discovered us by now. We’re currently only about 25 kilometers away from the western army of the Star Luo Empire. They’ll probably send someone over here in soon. Go and take care of it while I take a nap. Your body will become weak when your old like me! Luckily, today’s food was quite good.” Once he’d ﬁnished speaking, his muttering ﬁgure disappeared without a trace.
As expected, several ﬁgures descended from the sky not long afterwards. They were headed towards them.
Dai Yueheng raised his hand towards the sky, then punched the air. Immediately afterwards, a ball of white light appeared around three meters above his head, then slowly spread upwards and morphed into a white halo.
The ﬁgures that were descending from the sky immediately locked onto their position, and a total of thirty men clad in tight-ﬁtting black leather armor landed on the ground.
The ﬂying-type soul tools they wearing were also black, although they were slightly different from the ones that Shrek’s group had previously received from the army. Their quality seemed comparable to the one manufactured by He Caitou.
When they’d reached the ground, they quickly encircled Shrek’s group. Their leader, an old man with a cold expression, then stepped forward.
“Who are you and why did you use a ﬂying-type soul tool to approach our army?” After he’d said this, the old man and the soldiers all released their martial souls.
The surrounding area was instantly lit up from the dazzling radiance of their soul rings. What was surprising was that the old man in front was a Soul Sage. He had three yellow soul rings, two purple, and two black. Even though it wasn’t the best combination, it was still quite incredible.
All of the soul masters he’d brought along all had at least four soul rings as well. Furthermore, there were also several Soul Kings among them. However, the youngest of them appeared to be in their thirties.
The white tiger’s head engraved on their leather armor gave off a pale white glow beneath the radiance of their soul rings. It’s head was very large, and covered the majority of the leather armor. It looked lifelike and was quite awe-inspiring.
Thirty men, all of which were at least Soul Ancestors… this was quite the display of power. It wasn’t surprising that they’d been able to arrive so quickly using ﬂying-type soul tools.
“Old Du, you don’t recognize me?” Dai Yueheng smiled as he stepped forward.
The old man was immediately taken aback. He shone his soul ring’s light on Dai Yueheng’s face and carefully scrutinized it. When he conﬁrmed who it was, he was slightly surprised. “Ah! It’s the young master! What are you doing here? And who are these people…?”
“They’re also students of Shrek Academy,” Dai Yueheng replied with a faint smile, “I sent a letter to father earlier. Is he here right now?”
The old man in front of Dai Yueheng’s was a member of the White Tiger Duke’s Mansion known as Du Leisi. He’d accompanied the White Tiger Duke through several different fronts, and had obtained outstanding achievements. Besides his great power, he also possessed the title of Viscount in the Star Luo Empire. The reason he’d called Dai Yueheng ‘young master’ rather than ‘young duke’ was due to the Dai Family’s strict rules. For one to inherit the duke’s title, they needed to be the most outstanding out of all of the the Duke’s consanguineous sons. Therefore, even though he’d already grown up, Dai Yueheng still needed to rely on his own ability to inherit the title. This was also why the other two sons of the Dai Family were trying so hard to become stronger, as they were the only two sons of the Duke’s main wife. As for the sons of concubines, only Huo Yuhao existed. However, at this point,
even the White Tiger Duke himself must’ve forgotten about him.
Du Leisi raised his hand, after which all of the soldiers withdrew their martial souls. “I see. The commander should be in the military camp. He should already be up for his morning exercise. I’ll lead you and your friends to him.”
Dai Yueheng smiled bitterly. “Just look at us, do you really think that we can travel as we are? Let us rest a bit; we’ll see father once we’ve recovered.”
Du Leisi said, “Fine. I’ll send someone to make a report to the Duke,” then called over a Soul King-ranked subordinate and told him a few things to relay. The Soul King jumped up after Du Leisi had ﬁnished and used his ﬂying-type soul tool to return to the military camp.
Even though his insides were currently a mess, when Huo Yuhao heard the discussion between Dai Yueheng and Du Leisi, Huo Yuhao’s mood changed drastically. His pale face had become red due to the excitement he felt.
He hadn’t imagined that he’d be able to meet that person whilst participating in the Elite Continental Soul Master Academy Tournament. Would he really be able to see him?
Half of his life had come from this man. Yet, ever since the day he’d been born, he’d never once seen this ‘father’ of his.
Huo Yuhao’s memory regarding him consisted of a single picture: It was the picture of him that his mother used to draw on the ground with a tree branch. When she had, his mother’s eyes would become full of gentleness and devotion
Huo Yuhao remembered his mother say that the fact that she’d been able to stay together with him and bear his son were the best things that had happened in her life. She wouldn’t regret her actions, even if she wasn’t ever able to see him again.
Was he really such a great person? Huo Yuhao clenched his ﬁst so tightly that his nails left deep marks in his palms.
“Will he recognize you?” Wang Dong gently whispered into Huo Yuhao’s ear. Only he was privy to Huo Yuhao’s
background. As such, he was a little anxious right now; he was worried for Huo Yuhao.
Huo Yuhao shook his head lightly. How could he possibly recognize him if he hadn’t ever seen him? Inside of the Duke’s Mansion, he was nothing more than a small handyman inferior to even the domestic servants. Moreover, his appearance had gone through an earth-shaking transformation over the last year.
Wang Dong could see that Huo Yuhao’s body was as taut as a wire. Thus, he reminded him in a low voice, “Waiting ten years to take revenge isn’t too long for a wise man. Yuhao, try to calm down a bit.”
“I know.” Huo Yuhao nodded. He knew that he had to stay calm. However, doing so was easier said than done!
After two hours of rest, they’d more or less recovered from the aftereffects of their ﬂight. Their complexions were still ugly, but they’d recovered most of their soul power and physical strength. Currently, even if a true delicacy were placed front of them, they wouldn’t even be able to touch it.
Dai Yueheng informed everyone of Du Leisi and the other soul masters’ background. They were all soldiers who’d been personally chosen by the White Tiger Duke, the White Tiger Bodyguards. They only followed the Duke’s orders, and also resided in the Duke’s Mansion.
Of those in the White Tiger bodyguards, everyone was at least a Soul Elder. Moreover, one’s families needed to have held a position inside the Duke’s Mansion for at least three generation before one was eligible to become one of the White Tiger Bodyguards. Therefore, besides them being very strong, they were also extremely loyal.
The White Tiger Bodyguards had a total of ﬁve hundred members and were the White Tiger Duke’s biggest trump card. They had several different types of soul tools, and they were always present at the Duke’s side. Wherever he went, they went. Of course, the treatment they received was also the best. Every single one of them had their own residences inside of the Duke’s Mansion. As such, it was obvious how important they were to the Duke.
When he’d lived inside of the Duke’s Mansion, Huo Yuhao had also seen the White Tiger bodyguards a few times. But
because of his status at the time, it had been impossible for him to even approach them.
Now that they’d recovered, everyone once again ascended into the air. After being tormented by Elder Xuan, they all began to enjoy the feeling of ﬂying slowly. At the very least, their complexions improved somewhat from doing so. If one were to use Elder Xuan’s previous speed along with both his strength and his ﬂying-type soul tool as references, they’dd be able to calculate that Elder Xuan would be able to travel to any corner of the entire Douluo continent within a week. Huo Yuhao was growing more and more curious about Elder Xuan’s true strength. The latter shouldn’t be just any Titled Douluo; it was likely that even Dean Yan Shaozhe wouldn’t be able to compete with Elder Xuan in cultivation alone.
At that moment, the sky had already begun to brighten; the sun had risen from the east and bathed their bodies in a faint golden glow.
A large military camp slowly appeared in front of them. This camp was set up right next to the mountains, while a few more camps were visible in the Ming Dou Mountain Range itself.
The word ‘military camp’ was somewhat inaccurate; the undulating cotton walls to the west of the camp were over thirty meters tall and nearly ﬁfty meters wide. Just how large of a project was this!?
Even though it wasn’t quite daytime yet, an endless number of military carriages that were carrying blocks of stone away from the mountains could still be seen.
At that moment, Dai Yueheng was ﬂying relatively close to Huo Yuhao. Their relationship had deepened slightly after their previous talk. He smiled and asked, “Yuhao, is this your ﬁrst time visiting an army camp?”
Huo Yuhao nodded.
Seemingly familiar with the matter, Dai Yueheng explained, “The southern, eastern, and southeastern regions of our Star Luo Empire borders the ocean. We’re second only to the Sun Moon Empire in size. Our army consists of two sub-armies: the Eastern Army and the Northern Army. Of these, the Eastern Army is the most important, as it has to guard against the Sun Moon Empire. Its total military strength numbers around ﬁve hundred thousand.”
“The Ming Dou Mountain Range has treacherous and ever- changing terrain, making it extremely hard for troops to march through. Furthermore, every country now has specialised soul masters who scout the mountain range every day. Both the Sun Moon Empire and our empire station our
troops at a relatively low-lying part of the mountain range that’s advantageous for them, of which there are only three in the entire mountain range. The mountain range itself spreads towards the south, and takes up almost two-thirds of the border; the other third is a soul beast-containing forest that’s around half the size of the Great Star Dou Forest. This forest is known as the Great Ming Dou Forest, and is an area populated by a variety of soul beasts. It isn’t as dangerous to us soul masters as the Great Star Dou Forest, but it’s even more dangerous than the former to an army. This is due to the fact that the soul beasts there are even more aggressive than the ones in the Great Star Dou Forest. It’s because of this, that we’ve stationed our troops at relatively low-lying parts of the Ming Dou Mountain Range.
“Oh, right. Yuhao, I haven’t asked you this yet, but where are you from?”
Huo Yuhao had originally calmed down somewhat when he heard Dai Yueheng’s explanation, but his expression changed
yet again when he heard this question. He lowered his head and said, “I’m also a citizen of the Star Luo Empire.”
“Oh? Which part of the Star Luo Empire? I didn’t think that we’d be fellow citizens!” The smile on Dai Yueheng’s face grew much larger.
“A small village near Star Luo City,” Huo Yuhao replied, “I’m sure that you wouldn’t have heard of it.”
Dai Yueheng chuckled. “Even better! Not only are we fellow citizens, we’re even from the same area. I also grew up near Star Luo City!”
As the two conversed with each other, they arrived at the army camp. However, the White Tiger Bodyguards who were leading the way didn’t descend. Du Leisi, who’d led the pack, raised his right hand and released something similar to a ﬂare that released a multicoloured array of light. Afterwards they continued forwards unobstructed.
However, Huo Yuhao was able to tell with his visual acuity that a large number of defensive fortiﬁcations had immediately
reacted the moment they’d approached the barracks. A somber atmosphere seemed to have pervaded the entire camp. Even though it was still early in the morning, a large number of soldiers had already begun their training drills. Not only were they orderly, but they also released an awe-inspiringly
murderous air; they seemed like a pack of iron-blooded lions.
“The Eastern Army has the most elite troops within the Star Luo Empire,” Dai Yueheng proudly said. “The hundred thousand men from the Central Legion you see in front of us are elites amongst elites.”
Even though Huo Yuhao hadn’t ever seen his biological father before, he was still somewhat aware of the inner workings of the White Tiger Dukedom. As the marshal of the empire, the White Tiger Duke commanded the Eastern Army. At the same time, he was also the Legion Commander of the Eastern Army’s Central Legion. The amount of trust that the Star Luo Empire’s imperial family had in him could be seen from this. Supposedly, the hundred thousand men in the Central Legion were enough to rival the combined ﬁghting strength of all of the other soldiers in the Star Luo Empire. Although this was somewhat of an exaggeration, the strength of the Central Legion could be clearly seen with a single glance.
They ﬂew past one barrack after another. Once they’d ﬂown for nearly ﬁfteen minutes more, a large, leather tent appeared in their ﬁeld of vision.
This leather tent was much larger than the other army tents. Furthermore, it was hexagonal in shape, and was made entirely of dark-brown leather. There weren’t too many guards around it. Only two squads of the White Tiger Bodyguards, each of which numbering about thirty, patrolled the perimeter.
Huo Yuhao’s gaze quickly landed on a single person who was standing in front of the large tent. Although their ﬁgure was somewhat unclear, he was still able to sense a startling pressure from them; it was the sort of tyrannical pressure that came from the combination of a powerful cultivation and an aura of slaughter. That person seemed to be training his ﬁsts, though he hadn’t released his martial soul. His movements were simple and succinct, yet a mufﬂed explosion of air would appear whenever he punched outwards.
Du Leisi, who’d been ﬂying in front, slowed down, then descended along with everyone behind him. They began to sense the violent ﬂuctuations in the air when they were a hundred or meters in the air.
Huo Yuhao focused his gaze and was able to clearly see the man in front of them. He was currently facing towards them, his golden hair ﬂuttering freely about in the wind. His upper body was naked, which revealed his rugged, copper-colored muscles. His tall ﬁgure was almost two meters in height, and one could see just how stalwart his chiseled face was from the side.
His seemingly slow movements had a very natural and ﬂowing tempo to them. Every step he took and every punch he released were followed by a mufﬂed explosion of air. The valiant undulations of qi and blood he was releasing had reached the very pinnacle, which in turn caused Huo Yuhao to feel his blood roil about somewhat as he continued to stare.
That man slowly pulled back his ﬁst, then stood up straight as if he’d sensed their arrival. He exhaled, inhaled deeply, then released a lion-like roar. A gale instantly erupted in the several hundred meters surrounding the leather tent; it truly resembled the descent of an actual lion. The stern aura coming from him caused every single disciple of Shrek Academy to feel their hair stand on end.
The pressure that Ma Xiaotao emanated during battle was already relatively astonishing, but she was still quite a ways
away from the tall man in front of them.
Is that him? Huo Yuhao was stunned, and all sorts of mixed feelings suddenly arose in his heart. He’d never expected to meet his father in such a situation. Was this the man that his mother could never forget? The man who she held no regret for, even when she lay on her deathbed?
As everyone slowly landed, the foremost Du Leisi had already stepped forward. He bowed slightly and said, “Marshal, the young master and people from Shrek Academy have arrived.”
Everyone was able to see his full appearance at this point: He didn’t look a day over thirty, and his facial features were proper. His deep azure eyes each contained ﬂickering pupils. He looked somewhat thin, yet his entire body gave off a metallic feeling. This was especially true of his gaze, which ﬂickered like an enormous blade as it swept across everyone, which caused them to involuntarily stop moving. However, his gaze quickly turned warm.
Handsome, stalwart, tall, and an iron-blooded temperament. When they saw him, even the Heaven’s Chosen of Shrek Academy felt like serving him. An extraordinary splendor
repeatedly ﬂickered through Ma Xiaotao’s eyes; a steel-like man like this was just her type.
Dai Yueheng stepped out of line, then took a few quick steps forward. He kneeled down in front of that tall man, then said respectfully, “Father.”
There was no doubt about it—the tall man in front of them was deﬁnitely the current Iron-Blooded War God who stood above everybody in the Star Luo Empire, Dai Hao. He was also Dai Yueheng and Dai Huabin’s father, as well as Huo Yuhao’s…
The moment Dai Yueheng said the word ‘father’, Huo Yuhao felt all the blood in his body surge towards his head. His eyes instantly turned red, and he was nearly unable to control the ﬂood of emotions he felt.
It’s him, it’s him! This is the person my mother was harmed by, yet couldn’t forget. He’s the father I’ve never seen before! It’s truly him…
His mother’s smiling face instantly ﬁlled every corner of Huo Yuhao’s spiritual sea, and he nearly began to cry.
Wang Dong silently stepped to the side, blocking Huo Yuhao from view. At the same time, he stretched his right hand out, planning to sober him up by grabbing his sleeve. However, he didn’t think that his hand would just so happen to grab Huo Yuhao’s special area.
Wang Dong’s body stiffened, and he immediately let go as if he’d been electrocuted. His pretty face instantly turned bright red, but luckily everyone else had been captivated by the White Tiger Duke.
Oddly enough however, his grab was incredibly effective. Huo Yuhao only felt his lower body tighten up, and his originally teary eyes vanished. The mixed feelings in his eyes subsequently transformed into those of astonishment. Even though Wang Dong hadn’t used much force, the feeling of being assaulted caused him to wake with a shudder.
“What’re you doing?” Huo Yuhao whispered astonished.
Wang Dong acted as if nothing had happened. “Waking you up a bit.”
“Then do you want me to grab that part of your body when I wake you up next time?”
Despite what had happened, Huo Yuhao’s heart had stabilised quite a bit after this interruption. Furthermore, he and Wang Dong were standing in the back, which had made their actions difﬁcult to notice.
At that moment, Dai Yueheng stood up and whispered a few words to the White Tiger Duke Dai Hao, who then took a few large strides and smiled. “Greetings to Teacher Wang Yan and the various talented students from Shrek Academy.”
“Greetings to the lord Duke.” Wang Yan lead the inner courtyard disciples and outer courtyard disciples behind them in bowing to the White Tiger Duke. The Duke wasn’t just the marshal; he also stood at the apex of nobility on the entire continent. Naturally, they’re manners couldn’t be lacking.
The White Tiger Duke shook hands with Wang Yan, then said, “Everyone, please step inside. Let this Marshal act as a host now.”
Wang Yan smiled, then replied in a neither servile nor overbearing manner, “There’s no need for Lord Duke to be so polite. We’ve come this time to carry out our mission. It’ll be enough if Lord Duke can just give us some clues to help us out. We know that you have a multitude of problems to deal with every day, so we won’t bother you too much.”
The White Tiger Duke didn’t attempt to remain, he simply nodded slightly. “Since that’s the case, Elder Du, you’re in charge of taking care of these distinguished guests. If any of you wish to join the army once you’ve graduated, the Central Legion of my Star Luo Empire’s Western Army will always have
its gates’ open to you. You might not get paid very well here. However, this is the best choice for men who want to accomplish something in life.”
Ma Xiaotao suddenly spoke up, “Lord Duke, are you looking down on us women?”
The White Tiger Duke was slightly stunned. He couldn’t help but reveal a trace of astonishment on his face when saw Ma Xiaotao; from his point of view, the young and beautiful woman in front of him held a wild aura. Furthermore, she clearly wasn’t weak.
“It’s not that I’m looking down on you, but because there are many inconveniences for women within the barracks. However, your cultivation is another cup of tea. If you’re willing to follow this marshal after graduating, I’d be honored to accept you.”
Ma Xiaotao revealed a brilliant smile, then remained silent; she looked very pleased.
Wang Yan was somewhat helpless. Even though he was the leader of the group in name, he was still inferior to Ma Xiaotao when it came to cultivation. Naturally, he couldn’t restrict a brilliant student like her. He apologetically said, “Lord Duke, we won’t bother you anymore then.”
“Alright then. I hope that I’ll have the chance to meet all of you again.” Once he’d said this, the White Tiger Duke turned towards the leather tent and entered it.
Huo Yuhao felt like a heavy weight had been lifted from his shoulders when he saw the White Tiger Duke disappear into the leather tent. He’d never felt this nervous before—not even during his ﬁght against Wu Feng when he was much weaker. Currently, he felt like he was about to collapse.
Du Leisi led them to another tent, where he allowed them to rest after he’d arranged for some food to be brought to them. Afterwards, he went to gather the information that they needed. Before he left, he glanced at Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong, and Xiao Xiao with a somewhat doubtful look in his eyes.
Wang Yan said, “We’ll rest for six hours after we ﬁnish eating, then head into the Ming Dou Mountain Range. I’m
conﬁdent that we’ll have the information we need by then.”
Everyone was somewhat exhausted after yesterday’s journey. Their current task was to ensure that their bodies were in peak condition before they set out for a ﬁght in the mountains.
Xu Sanshi couldn’t help but ask, “Teacher Wang, since the White Tiger Bodyguards beneath the White Tiger Duke are so strong, why hasn’t the Duke simply sent them to eliminate the bandits?”
“He has,” Dai Yueheng replied for Wang Yan, “however, if he sends too many people, they’ll catch wind of it and run away. Contrarily, if he sends too few people, it won’t be of much use. The bandits from the Hand of Death are both rather strong and extremely crafty. They might even have a few spies planted within the army. Father has sent several people in the past to eliminate them, yet they’ve all returned without any success and a large number of losses. The area in which the bandits have stationed themselves is an extremely sensitive part of the border, thus the Central Legion can only endure silently, in order to prevent a needless war. As students of Shrek Academy, we’re different; we aren’t restricted by any countries. As such, we must make sure to thoroughly wipe them out this time.”
Once they’d ﬁnished eating, everyone immediately began meditating and recuperating. This was already a familiar task to the inner courtyard disciples, while Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi, He Caitou, and Jiang Nannan were relatively older, thus they were able to take everything in somewhat quicker. However, Huo
Yuhao’s trio were merely twelve years old. This task was truly a bit too early for them. From another standpoint, they were just kids.
However, this matter had been decided by Elder Xuan, and nobody present could change that. Wang Yan clearly understood that Elder Xuan hadn’t done this in order to allow the preperatory team to directly participate in the massacre. Rather, he wanted them to experience what a mission was like ﬁrst-hand, and hasten the growth of their mental maturity. No matter how good the academy’s tests and live-combat training was, it was still incomparable to the improvements gained from a real battle in a situation like this. In reality, the main combatants in this mission would be the seven from the inner courtyard.
Elder Xuan didn’t enter their barracks, as he wasn’t willing to concern himself with government ofﬁcials. With his strength and status, he alone could represent Shrek Academy. However, an old man like him would never lose track of his
students. Furthermore, he was conﬁdent that he could carry these young people through a battle if need be.
After six hours of meditation, everyone’s exhaustion had been swept away. Noon had already passed, and after they’d eaten the lunch that Du Leisi’s men had left for them, Du Leisi himself brought over the information that the Central Legion had gathered over for them.
According to the information he’d gathered, the Hand of Death mainly carried out its activities in and around the central region of the Ming Dou Mountain Range. When they had a designated target, they’d rush down the mountain and plunder them at the greatest possible speed. The entire bandit group numbered around three hundred in total, all of whom were young men in the prime of their lives. Of them, about a tenth of their entire group were soul masters. Unexpectedly, nobody knew who the leader of their leader was; the only thing they knew was that he was at the very least a Soul King. Nobody knew exactly how strong he was.
The reason why there was so little information about them was because the Hand of Death never left any survivors; their methods were extremely brutal.
The most recent piece of information was from roughly half a month ago: They’d ﬂed into the Ming Dou Mountain Range after looting a group of merchants. This report also included the general direction in which they’d ﬂed.
The army only had this much information because there was a possibility of a quarrel if they were to enter the domain of the Sun Moon Empire. As such, the Western Army couldn’t help them out at all, to the extent that they couldn’t even bring the ﬂying-type soul tools they’d been lent into the mountains.
However, time was of the essence; they still had to participate in the Continental Advanced Academy Soul Duelling Tournament. Hence, they immediately set off once they’d obtained a map. They ﬁrst ﬂew to the entrance to the mountains under the guidance of the White Tiger bodyguards, then descended and handed back their ﬂying-type soul tools. After that, they immediately entered the Ming Dou Mountain Range and began to utilize the map provided by the army to navigate the mountains.
“Maintain your formation. Dai Yueheng, Chen Zifeng, and I will remain in front. Control-type and auxiliary-type soul masters will remain ten meters behind us. Huo Yuhao, come over here. Follow me, and make sure to keep your Spiritual
Detection up. Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi, you two keep up the rear. Let’s set off!”
The person who’d sent out their commands was their leader, Ma Xiaotao. Huo Yuhao felt very depressed when he was expropriated by her. Thus, he could only follow her orders and release his Spiritual Detection Sharing.
His omni-purpose skill once again helped enormously. In complicated terrain such as a mountainous forest, the three- dimensional image provided by his Spiritual Detection was an enormous beneﬁt. Even though Huo Yuhao could only extend it ten meters from him, these ten meters were still enough to allow everyone to enjoy its beneﬁts.
With Ma Xiaotao’s trio leading the way, they travelled forwards at an extremely rapid pace. The effectiveness of Chen Zifeng’s Soulchasing Sword was extremely evident; as he hold his sword in front of them, the brambles in front of them were all cut apart rather quickly. Combined with Dai Yueheng and Ma Xiaotao’s strengths, they were easily able to cut a smooth path through the foliage in front of them. They’d already penetrated deep into the Ming Dou Mountain Range by the time that the sky had begun to dim.
When Wang Yan saw that the sky was beginning to dim, he reminded Ma Xiaotao, “Let’s let everyone take a rest and eat something.”
Ma Xiaotao nodded. “Everyone, let’s rest where we are for now. Don’t light a ﬁre, so that we don’t alert them inadvertently. I’m afraid that we’ll have to continue our search throughout the night.”
The students sat in a circle to rest, but Teacher Wang Yan soundlessly left. Ma Xiaotao didn’t pay any attention to the fact that he’d left. Instead, she turned towards Dai Yueheng, who was next to her, and said, “Dai Yueheng, your father’s rather handsome.”
“When my father was young, he was the number one noble of our Star Luo Empire,” Dai Yueheng indifferently replied, “it wasn’t because of his looks, but because of his ability. He didn’t enter our Shrek Academy to study, but rather followed his father onto the battleﬁeld at the age of thirteen. He began as an ordinary soldier, then was able to accumulate enough merits to be promoted to a squadron leader, then a team leader, then a mid-team leader, then a large-team leader, then a battalion commander, then a regimental commander… all the way up until he managed to become a Legion Commander at the mere
age of twenty-three. At that time, nobody knew where he’d come from. After a large battle, my father achieved outstanding merits, and was called to the imperial capital to hold a post. When he accepted a reward from His Majesty, His Majesty recognised him due to the similarities in his
appearance and my grandfather’s. Overjoyed, His Majesty entrusted the Western Army’s Central Legion to him. Furthermore, he even stated that ‘with Dai Hao, the empire will have no worries for a hundred years’ in front of all of the ministers.”
Ma Xiaotao’s eyes lit up. “If you put it that way, is your father still a hero?”
Dai Yueheng revealed a trace of pride in his eyes. “My grandfather said that father’s talent is comparable to that of our ancestor’s, the leader of the ﬁrst generation of Shrek’s Seven Monsters. Father is now forty-three years old, and he’s commanded the army for twenty years already. How could the number of battles he’s participated in be limited to just a thousand? You know how strong the Sun Moon Empire is, but my Star Luo Empire’s western border has always been invulnerable to attack. That’s all due to the presence of my father! If we were to say that only one person could be called a hero in my Star Luo Empire, then that title deﬁnitely deserves to go to my father!”
Ma Xiaotao’s eyes immediately brightened even more. “Then how many wives does your father have?”
Dai Yueheng was stunned, and his gaze immediately turned somewhat strange. “Only my mother. In our generation, there’s only my brother Huabin and I. My father’s extremely self-disciplined in the ﬁeld of women. He’s always said ‘if a man can’t control his lust towards women, he won’t have any large accomplishments’. Why do you ask?”
Ma Xiaotao stared at him, “Can’t I admire him? A man like your father is deﬁnitely a true man. You should learn from him.”
A light ﬂickered through Dai Yueheng’s eyes. “Once we’ve ﬁnished this task, I’ll have completed thirty Guardian missions. Once I’ve graduated from the academy, I’ll enter the army. However, I won’t stay in the Western Army; I’ll head to the North, even though there are fewer wars there. I want to follow the same path as my father: I want to carve out my own path, solely relying on myself.”
Chapter 72: Hand of Death—Envoys of the Death God!
Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng however, didn’t realise that Huo Yuhao had buried his ﬁsts into the soil beneath him.
Only one wife? He’s very self-disciplined when it comes to women? What does my mother count as, then? The hatred he’d suppressed for so long grew even stronger when he heard Dai Yueheng. Perhaps he is a national hero, but he’s deﬁnitely not a qualiﬁed husband or father. If he’d intervened, mom would’ve...
The sky had already dimmed by this point, such that it was difﬁcult to even see one’s own hands in front of them beneath the cover the forest. At that moment, Wang Yan returned.
“Everyone, come here for a moment.” Wang Yan waved everyone towards him.
The students from the outer courtyard immediately moved towards him, while the seven from the inner courtyard were somewhat impatient. In terms of cultivation alone, Wang Yan
was just a Soul King, which meant that he was merely on par with them. Moreover, he was merely a teacher from the outer courtyard; as students from the inner courtyard, they only recognised strength. As such, they didn’t truly respect a teacher like Wang Yan, who wasn’t much stronger than them. However, a teacher was still a teacher, thus they still decided to give him some face.
“I just ﬁnished scouting out the area around us,” Wang Yan said in a low voice, “combined with the observations we made on our journey here, I’ve made a few discoveries.
“I found a few Warm Mist Trees near us. For those of you who don’t know, a Warm Mist Tree is a relatively rare type of tree whose core can be used to produce medicine. Its trunk is as hard as steel, which makes it extremely suitable to be used in various types of furniture. During its growth, it has rather stringent oxygen requirements; only areas that have high levels of vegetation are suitable for them. An old book I once read stated that Warm Mist Trees only grow in areas that’re at least ﬁfty miles deep into a forest. Furthermore, it stated that these trees like the coldness of Yin, thus their cores can help soul masters with Yin-attributed martial souls.”
Ma Xiaotao furrowed her brows. “Teacher Wang, what’re you trying to say?”
Wang Yan replied, “What I mean is that the appearance of these Warm Mist Trees signiﬁes that we’ve entered the core region of the Ming Dou Mountain Range. At the very least, we’ve reached its border. Moreover, based on the information we’ve been given, the leader of the Hand of Death might be an evil soul master. I found this just now.”
He then retrieved a tree trunk from his storage-type soul tool. The tree trunk appeared to have been snapped in half by something, and a cylindrical hole was present within it.
Wang Yan said, “This is the Warm Mist Tree. Its core is normally dark-blue, but as you can see, it’s missing. In other words, it’s been removed by someone. Considering who our target is this time, we can make a bold conjecture that this was done by either the leader of the bandits or by one of his subordinates, then eaten by the leader. If this is really the case, then the likelihood of our enemy being an evil soul master is extremely high. At the same time, that also means that we’re not far away from our enemies.”
“I can agree with the ﬁrst point,” Ma Xiaotao said, “however, what basis are you relying on to say that we’re not far away from our enemies? Don’t these Warm Mist Trees grow in other areas?” Wang Yan had actually able to deduce such a large amount of information with just a tiny clue like this; the others couldn’t help but admire him because of this. Because of this, Ma Xiaotao had also spoken in a polite manner that beﬁt a
Wang Yan smiled conﬁdently. “I mentioned that the Warm Mist Tree is a relatively rare type of tree, right? Since it’s rare, it obviously doesn’t appear very frequently. I only mentioned the environment required for it to grow, but in reality, the number of places it grows in is still extremely few in number. There are a relatively low number of Warm Mist Trees here, and the one that I found was the largest tree. To soul masters with Yin-attributed martial souls, not only does its core assist them, it can also increase their internal organs’ resistance to the coldness of their own Yin attribute. Such a thing is very hard to come by. If it were you, would you give up on something like this? Thus, I can practically guarantee that they aren’t far away from here, considering the fact that they’ve discovered and extracted a core already. We’re quite lucky; we were able to ﬁnd our target without going very far. If we hadn’t, considering how large this mountain range is, we would’ve had to scout from the air tomorrow. If we’d done
that, we deﬁnitely would’ve attracted their attention, and thus would’ve had to defend against them.”
Everyone present couldn’t help but gain a new level of respect for Wang Yan by the time they’d ﬁnished listening to him. Of the fourteen students present, he’d only taught Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong, and Xiao Xiao. However, the three of them only knew that he was very knowledgeable and erudite in the ﬁeld of martial souls; they’d never thought that his experience with the wilderness would be just as abundant.
“Teacher Wang, what should we do now?” Ma Xiaotao asked subconsciously, “Should we just wait for an opportunity to present itself?”
Wang Yan shook his head. “No, we have to take the initiative. When people move about in the forest, they’ll always leave a few traces behind. Even though it’s already dark and I can’t locate these traces by myself, we have Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection. Thus, it won’t be too hard for us to ﬁnd them. Yuhao, follow me; listen to my orders and scout ahead.”
“Okay.” Huo Yuhao quickly walked over to Wang Yan. He also wanted to learn how to locate unknown enemies within a
Wang Yan led them three hundred or so meters deeper into the forest, then stopped in front of a Warm Mist Tree. “Out of all the destroyed Warm Mist Trees I found earlier, the tracks near this one are the most recent. In other words, it was destroyed last. Yuhao, use your Spiritual Detection to search the thirty meters around us.”
“Understood.” Now that Huo Yuhao’s cultivation had increased, he could share his Spiritual Detection with a total of ten people. However, he only shared it with Wang Yan for the sake of improving the accuracy of his probe.
A three-dimensional image of their surroundings immediately appeared in their minds. Huo Yuhao manipulated his spiritual power and stopped his Spiritual Detection from instantly encapsulating the thirty meters around him; instead, he slowly had it extend outwards, one meter at a time. Doing it this way would make it so that the information wouldn’t immediately ﬂood Wang Yan’s mind. On the contrary, it would appear progressively, which was more beneﬁcial for analysis and scouting.
Wang Yan gave Huo Yuhao a thumbs up. Of the many students he’d taught in the past, the one he liked the most was the person in front of him. Huo Yuhao might not be the smartest student he’d ever taught, but he was deﬁnitely the most mature, steady, and hard-working person among his peers. Furthermore, he was also the most talented student he’d ever taught.
“Stop.” Wang Yan whispered, afterwich Huo Yuhao’s detection radius immediately came to a halt.
Wang Yan motioned for him to stay where he was, then slowly moved to the right and squatted down to a patch of undergrowth. He carefully observed it for a while, and after verifying what he’d seen with Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection, he waved to the rest and slowly moved in the direction of the undergrowth.
Huo Yuhao hurriedly followed behind Wang Yan, making sure to keep his Spiritual Detection activated. The others all followed behind him. Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng ﬂanked the control-type and auxiliary-type soul masters in the middle, while the agility-type Xi Xi and Jiang Nannan vanished into the night, evidently scouting their surroundings. Everyone
advanced in an orderly manner, and even though they weren’t quick, Wang Yan’s pace was extremely stable.
At the same time, Huo Yuhao shared his Spiritual Detection with Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng, and Wang Dong. They began to respect Wang Yan more and more as they continued to carefully observe their surroundings.
Wang Yan was able to discover a few subtle clues with Huo Yuhao’s help, such as a few snapped branches, some shallow footprints in the dirt, pieces of cloth on the trees, and a few bloodstains left on the brambles around them.
They gradually left the woods as they continued to these clues, and advanced at the same slow pace for an hour.
“Stop.” Wang Yan suddenly raised his hand and said. The students that were following him immediately crouched down and leaned towards him.
“Our search shouldn’t have been wrong,” Wang Yan whispered, “there are a large number of messy footprints in the area in front of us. Evidently, many people frequently pass
through here. Our enemies shouldn’t be far away now. Everyone, adjust your conditions. Prepare for battle.”
The trees in front of them had become extremely sparse, and even Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng were able to clearly notice the tracks he was talking about with Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection. Wang Yan had clearly discovered the correct location.
“Teacher Wang, amazing.” Ma Xiaotao praised him in a low voice. The other students clearly respected him much more now.
Wang Yan smiled bitterly. “My talent in cultivation is quite poor, thus I’ve focused most of my energy on these sort of miscellaneous things; it’s nothing much. Once this tournament is over, it’s very likely that I’ll become a teacher in the inner courtyard. If you’re interested, I can teach you all these skills then. Now then, Yuhao, how far can your Spiritual Detection reach?”
Huo Yuhao paused for a moment. “If I direct it in a straight line, it should be able to reach two hundred meters or so.
However, I can’t use it that way for very long, as the drain on both my spiritual power and soul power is extremely large.”
Wang Yan nodded. “That’s ﬁne. Scan the area from our eleven o’clock to three o’clock and see whether you can ﬁnd anything.”
“Okay.” Huo Yuhao eyes focused, causing the gold in his pupils to deepen somewhat. He immediately switched his Spiritual Detection from its usual omnidirectional mode to its unidirectional mode, then sent it forwards in the direction that Wang Yan had told him to. His head slightly swayed as he scanned the circular sector per Wang Yan’s instructions.
“I can faintly sense a hillside ﬁve hundred meters to the left. These footsteps also seem to lead to the bottom of that hill.” Huo Yuhao quickly gave an answer as he retracted his Spiritual Detection. A detection like this had drained him by quite a bi.
Wang Yan nodded. “Since that’s the case, our enemies should be beneath that hill. If I’m not wrong, the cave that they’re hiding in is also there. When we make our move later, we’ll have to conﬁrm who they are ﬁrst. Once we’re sure that they’re members the Hand of Death, I don’t think I need to tell you
guys what to do. The preparatory team will be with me, and they’ll be in charge of assisting you guys. Xiaotao, we’ll be relying on you to attack them.”
“No problem, leave it to us.” A ﬁerce ﬂame seemed to have been lit in Ma Xiaotao’s pinkish-red eyes. Now that they’d found their target, the only thing left for them to do was make their move.
Wang Yan said, “Everyone, change into your outﬁts. Shrek Guardians, prepare to move out.”
As everyone began to move Huo Yuhao felt an indescribable sensation of excitement ﬁll his body. When Wang Yan had said the words ‘Shrek Guardians’, he’d clearly felt his blood begin to boil. He wasn’t even thirteen, yet he was about to ﬁght for Shrek Academy!
Everybody was wearing a Guardian Ring that belonged solely to them, but the smaller a soul tool was, the harder it was to control it. Huo Yuhao wasn’t even able to tell what class his Guardian Ring was, but he put it on the index ﬁnger of his left hand under Ma Xiaotao’s instructions.
He’d already blood-bound the ring to himself during their rest last night. When he put it on, the ring immediately shrunk to ﬁt itself to his ﬁnger.
He poured his soul power into the ring, and a bewitching layer of green light immediately ﬂashed across its jade-green surface. He then took out its contents one by one.
The ﬁrst thing he took out was a set of armor that covered his entire body from to toe; the only things it revealed were his eyes, nose, and mouth. This set of armor was extremely ﬂexible, and was made from some sort unknown material, which made it feel like a very thin piece of leather. Its texture resembled that of skin, yet it was extremely durable. After testing it out for a bit, Huo Yuhao discovered that he was only able to send soul power outwards; he wasn’t able to absorb any from the outside while he had it on. The defensive capabilities of this set of armor could be seen without a doubt; a faint layer of thin scales was even visible atop the surface of the armor.
Due to the differences between men and women, everyone naturally changed in two different areas according to their gender. Huo Yuhao had planned to drag Wang Dong along to change, but the latter shot straight into the woods and quickly changed before he could.
Other than armor, everyone had also been provided with a dark-green set of warrior robes and a dark-green mask, as well as a dark-green cloak.
Three Guardian-specialised ﬂares were also strapped to their waists.
When everyone gathered back together, they felt an air of mystery when they looked at each other. Their cloaks covered both their heads and bodies, and were extremely tight-ﬁtting; they seemed to be made out of the same material as their armor. They were very thin, yet seemed to possess a sense of tactility and an extraordinary amount of defensive power.
“Prepare to make a move,” Wang Yan whispered, “Xiaotao, you’ll lead the ﬁght. I’ll be in charge of commanding the preparatory team.”
“Alright.” Ma Xiaotao immediately replied.
Ma Xiaotao bent her body slightly, then leapt into the air ﬁrst. Dai Yueheng and Chen Zifeng immediately ﬂanked her on
both sides, while the other four inner courtyard disciples quickly moved out as well. They maintained a neat formation as they quietly set out.
Wang Yan waved his hand a few seconds after they’d left and led the preparatory team up as well.
Bei Bei took the lead role of the preparatory team, while Xu Sanshi stayed at the very back. After all, their role was merely to assist their seniors from the inner courtyard; taking care of themselves was of the utmost importance. Under Wang Yan’s commands, He Caitou and Jiang Nannan ﬂanked their group on the side. Wang Yan himself, on the other hand, was directly behind Huo Yuhao’s trio; he emphasized protecting the three people with the lowest level of cultivation in their group.
Ma Xiaotao and the rest were extremely fast; Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection was simply unable to keep up with them. Fortunately, he was still able to use it on his companions in the preparatory team and on Teacher Wang Yan.
They rapidly arrived at the hillside that Huo Yuhao had spotted earlier. There were no traces of Ma Xiaotao’s heptet, but the area was completely silent.
“Let’s head down as well,” Wang Yan whispered, “Bei Bei, prepare for battle.”
“Okay.” Bei Bei didn’t dare to be negligent. He quickly released his Blue Lightning Tyrant Dragon, then descended from the hillside ﬁrst. They quickly spotted a cave that was covered in a large and dense amount of vines. This was, without a doubt, the nest that the bandits had stationed themselves in.
There were already ﬁve or six fallen bandits near the entrance to the cave. Undoubtedly, their statuses as members of the Hand of Death had been conﬁrmed, as Ma Xiaotao and the rest had already made their move.
At that moment, a mufﬂed explosion rang out from in the cave. Immediately afterwards, noisy shouts began to ring out from the cave. After that, there were able to hear some mufﬂed sounds and sense strong ﬂuctuations of soul power.
Bei Bei turned his head towards Wang Yan, who said in a solemn voice, “Head inside. Yuhao, release your Spiritual Detection all around us. Everyone, you must be careful.”
Huo Yuhao immediately released his Spiritual Detection to the best of his ability, which caused three-dimensional image in everybody’s minds to immediately widen.
The entrance to the cave wasn’t big, but its interior was extremely vast. Besides the corpses at the entrance, they only saw another corpse after they’d advanced ﬁfty meters.
The dense smell of blood assaulted their senses as they advanced. Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi, and He Caitou were still somewhat ﬁne, but the other four had somewhat pale expressions.
“Ah—!” Jiang Nannan suddenly screeched, and her body violently shuddered. Huo Yuhao, who’d originally released his Spiritual Detection in a single plane parallel to the ground, immediately increased its range as he looked upwards following her gaze.
The scene awaiting them didn’t seem important, but all of their expressions instantly changed.
Unexpectedly, there were ten sheets of human skin hanging from the walls. There was even an infant’s corpse impaled on a stalagmite. Earlier, Jiang Nannan had raised her head when she felt the drops of blood coming from the corpse above them.
“Bastard!” The usually-scholarly Bei Bei angrily roared. These were the sins committed by the Hand of Death bandit group! At that moment, everybody present felt their eyes go bloodshot. These bandits didn’t even let little infants off! They were simply worse than beasts.
As they continued forward, the number of corpses began to gradually increase, while the sounds of combat began to grow more intense. The bandits within the cave had died in all sorts of strange ways, but nobody gave them even a shred of sympathy. This was because the two walls of the cave were entirely lined with sheets of human skin hanging from them. From the time they’d entered the cave till now, they’d seen more than a hundred, some of which had even been dried by the wind.
“Rouse yourselves. These are all evil men; killing one of them is equivalent to saving a countless number of people.” Wang Yan shouted, causing Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong, Xiao Xiao, and
Jiang Nannan’s hearts, which were in an extremely nervous state, to shake.
The terrain in front of them suddenly widened, and they ﬁnally saw the true situation of the battle that was happening. The constant ﬂickering from soul rings dazzled everyone’s eyes. Ma Xiaotao’s Evil Phoenix was most noticeable, and none of her enemies were spared from the berserk activation of her scorching ﬂames. Her surroundings were littered with bandit corpses.
Gong Yangmo stood at the very centre of the group, and multi-colored rays of light continuously shot out from his body and landed on his companions. The others had loosely surrounded him and kept him in the middle of them.
Yao Haoxuan had already transformed into his massive body, and was continuously pounding on his chest with his ﬁsts. He protected Gong Yangmo’s back, while Ling Luochen took the other side. The three of them didn’t participate directly in the ﬁght, but if anybody were to assume that they’d be easy to deal with, they would be wrong.
The bandits that still had the ability to ﬁght all had bloodshot eyes. A large number of them were soul masters, with some of them even having relatively strong cultivations; there were even three Soul Kings. However, they were still forced to retreat step-by-step by the inner courtyard disciples of Shrek Academy.
Waves of bandits continued to surge forth from the depths of the cave to participate in the battle, but Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng, Chen Zifeng, and Xi Xi all managed to cover very large areas.
Gong Yangmo’s powerful auxiliary abilities revealed their true capabilities at that moment. There was no need to mention the two who were already Soul Emperors, but the Soul King-ranked Chen Zifeng and Xi Xi weren’t the least bit inferior to Soul Emperors with his assistance.
“Roar—” Dai Yueheng tore an enemy Soul King apart, causing his blood to splash everywhere. Immediately afterwards, he sent out a dazzling White Tiger’s Meteor Shower in an attempt to blast away the enemies attempting to launch a sneak attack on Gong Yangmo’s trio.
Ma Xiaotao’s battle was even more spectacular. Nobody knew what she’d done, but her ﬁery phoenix wings were now more than three meters long. Her wings were the most terrifying weapon she had at her disposal; they would either injure or kill anybody they touched. There was a Soul King in front of her, yet he simply didn’t even dare to approach her. He could only put on a false show of bravado from afar.
According to the information they’d been given, the leader of the bandit troupe was a Soul King. Evidently, he was one of the three in front of them. When he saw that the situation seemed to be settled, Wang Yan waved his hand. “Everyone, move. Don’t let a single one go. We can’t leave any future troubles for ourselves.”
The opponents in front of them weren’t very powerful. The strongest members of their troupe had been blocked by the inner courtyard disciples, while the remaining few were only Soul Grandmasters and Soul Elders. Some of the bandits weren’t even soul masters; they were just ordinary humans.
Bei Bei let out a shout and rushed forward. The others followed behind, and Wang Dong released his dazzling Radiant Butterﬂy Goddess. In reality, he was still somewhat nervous. The moment he moved, he launched a Light of the Butterﬂy
Goddess towards an area that had a comparatively large number of bandits.
Several dozen bright golden balls were released, which were then ampliﬁed by his Golden Light soul bone. This was only a thousand year soul skill, but absolutely none of these bandits had a thousand year soul skill of their own. Moreover, Wang Dong’s skill was being boosted by Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection and his own Golden Light Left Arm Bone.
The bandits frantically released their own soul skills in an attempt to defend themselves against Wang Dong’s attack, but they were still left in a complete mess and let out bloodcurdling screeches as they were struck.
Once he’d succeeded with his ﬁrst attack, the panic that Wang Dong felt drastically decreased. Even if he didn’t dare to attack anyone near him, wouldn’t long-range attacks work?
Xiao Xiao had already released her Threelives Soulcrush Cauldron, and the three large cauldrons formed a “品” shape as they protected the trio. Xiao Xiao had clearly assumed a defensive stance. For a small girl like her to kill someone was simply too difﬁcult.
Huo Yuhao couldn’t help but get excited by the thrill of the hunt when he saw Wang Dong succeed. Of the two white- colored soul rings beneath him, the ﬁrst instantly lit up as he looked towards a one-ringed bandit with his pale gold eyes. Like him, that bandit’s lonely ﬁrst soul ring was only a white- colored one.
A golden radiance immediately shone from Huo Yuhao’s eyes as the combined force of both his Purple Demon Eyes and Spiritual Shock soul skill burst forth.
The body of the bandit Huo Yuhao had targeted shook ﬁercely. However, the scene that followed completely shocked him: the bandit’s head exploded like a watermelon. Bright red blood, white brain ﬂuids, and other strangely-colored things ﬂew in all directions, which instantly frightened the bandits around him and made them disperse. They’d yet to understand how their companion had died.
Huo Yuhao was dumbfounded. He hadn’t expected his Spiritual Shock to be so powerful. When he saw the headless corpse fall to the ground, he immediately threw up. That person had been alive just a moment ago!
He wasn’t the only one to throw up; the nearby Xiao Xiao also puked. She’d been holding it back since they’d ﬁrst entered the cave, but after this last scene, she couldn’t bear it anymore.
At that moment, a sharp voice echoed forth from the depths of the cave, “Who dares to oppose the Envoy of the Death God? All of you will die and become corpses under my control.”
The bandits weren’t relieved when they heard his voice.
Rather, they all began to tremble and quickly retreated.
“Be careful!” Huo Yuhao roared as soon as he’d ﬁnished throwing up. Thanks to his Spiritual Detection, he’d discovered that the corpses on the ground had begun to swell at an astonishing speed; they’d also become faintly red in color.
“Boom, boom, boom…” Terrifying explosions began to echo throughout the entire cave. Flesh and blood was scattered all over the cave following each explosion.
The seven members of the preparatory team had just arrived, and since all of them were within the range of Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection, they were able to react quickly. All of them ran towards the corpse-free areas of the cave as quickly as they could in order to avoid the explosions.
However, the seven disciples of the inner courtyard—who happened to be in the midst of the corpse-ridden battleﬁeld— weren’t so lucky. They found themselves at the center of the explosions!
Luckily, they were able to quickly erect some defenses since they’d heard Huo Yuhao’s warning. However… the power wrought by the detonating corpses was just too much. Bones, muscles, and even blood vessels had become weapons because of the explosions. The stronger the corpse had been when it was alive, the stronger the explosion it caused. The corpse of the Soul King that Dai Yueheng had killed caused a particularly earth-shaking explosion when it detonated.
These explosions continued for about ten seconds or so before they stopped. The Shrek Guardians hadn’t thought that they’d ﬁnd themselves in this sort of situation. How could they have expected a group of bandits led by a Soul King to have such a powerful skill? Furthermore, the power of this ability was incredibly high. Its power had far exceeded their imagination, and was the main reason that they took such a big hit.
The old man with messy hair that was sitting outside of the cave drinking alcohol was surprised when he heard the sound
of explosions. He immediately turned into a streak of light as he shot into the cave.
Elder Xuan had been following their group since the beginning. He’d checked the auras of the people in the cave as soon as he’d arrived and determined that the strongest one was only a Soul King. Though there was more than one Soul King present, he didn’t give it too much thought. These bandits didn’t really seem to have a chance against the elite disciples of Shrek Academy. Furthermore, someone as experienced as Wang Yan was in charge of the mission. As such, he’d decided to stay outside and drink alcohol. After all, nobody liked the foul stench of blood.
Even he hadn’t expected such a sudden change in their situation. The power from the explosion just now had exceeded that of a Soul King or Soul Emperor.
“Gaga, gagaga… Did you all like the exploding corpses from this envoy? Even if you all were stronger, you’d still die when faced by my consecutive corpse explosions. Furthermore, even if you were survive the explosions, you’d die from the poison!”
The entire cave was now permeated with a thick smell of blood. Moreover, everyone felt like they were wet due to the thick layer of blood covering their bodies. Every single previously dead bandits had had their corpse exploded.
The explosions hadn’t distinguished between friend and foe. As such, they didn’t only strike the students of the Shrek Academy; even the bandits that were still alive had been hit by the explosions. Despite this, the bandits had been somewhat prepared. Some of them had been able to quickly hide in depressions in the ground to dodge the explosions.
However, the scariest thing was actually the liquid alongside the explosion; it had the same powerful corrosive properties as a strong acid. The ‘chi chi’ sound of things being corroded echoed throughout the entire cave. Besides the corpses exploding, the hidden soul master had even made them release a deadly poison. It was an extremely vile and cruel tactic.
Everyone had done their best to protect themselves the moment they’d heard Huo Yuhao’s warning. However, considering the fact that they all had different martial souls, their defensive capabilities were all different from one another.
Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng were sent ﬂying from the explosion, and they both spat out some blood. Despite their injuries however, their soul skills’ protected them from being contaminated by the poisonous blood. Ma Xiaotao landed in a place that not too far off from Huo Yuhao’s position.
Ling Luochen’s entire body was protected by a layer of ice, but she was still sent ﬂying regardless. However, considering that she’d been in the rear, and that she’d managed to raise her defenses in time, she didn’t end up in a bad state. She spat out some blood like Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng had, but she didn’t receive any external injuries.
On the other hand, Chen Zifeng wasn’t as lucky as them. He was also an assault system battle soul master, and considering the number of soul rings he had, he exceeded both Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng in pure offensive power. However, how was he supposed to protect his entire body with just his Soulchasing Sword? He could only rely on his soul power and protective armor to withstand the explosion.
Once the explosions had ﬁnished, he was lying sprawled on his side. His right leg had disappeared, and he’d begun to scream pitifully due to the corrosion of the deadly poison and loss of his limb.
However, he wasn’t the only one that had been severely injured. Gong Yangmo wasn’t much stronger than him; even if he was the ultimate auxiliary-type soul master, he deﬁnitely wasn’t specialized in defense! Moreover, the corpses had exploded without much warning at all. Despite Ling Luochen’s assistance, his chest, abdomen, and legs had all been badly
mangled. Smoke was still rising from his wounds, and he’d lost consciousness.
Yao Haoxuan had met a tragic fate. As his build was the biggest, he’d had to face the brunt of the explosions. Half of his body had simply disappeared—he obviously hadn’t been able to survive the explosion.
Xi Xi had it slightly better off. Her thunder and lightning had protected her body, while thanks to her fast speed, only her back had been struck. However, she’d still suffered severe wounds and was lying on the ground in agony.
Regardless of the intensity of their injures, the seven disciples of the inner courtyard had all suffered heavy injuries, while one of them had even died. Even though they’d originally held the advantage, they were now in an extremely pitiful state.
All of this had happened too quickly; the disciples of the outer courtyard didn’t suffer any damage since they were on the periphery, but they were still shaken by the outcome.
“Bastard!” A hoarse voice suddenly echoed, causing the entire cave to tremble. An intense white light immediately covered every corner of the cave, afterwich all of the deadly corrosive poison disappeared.
The form of a slovenly old man immediately became visible. Elder Xuan raised his right hand, then made a grabbing motion towards the depths of the cave. A terrifying attractive force erupted from his palm, causing a ﬁgure to rapidly ﬂy towards him from the interior of the cave.
The word ‘anger’ wasn’t enough to describe Elder Xuan’s current state of mind. His students had been injured to this extent, despite being under his supervision. Furthermore, the ones that had received harm were members of the current Shrek’s Seven Monsters! They were supposed to represent the academy at the Elite Continental Soul Master Academy Tournament in a few days, yet now, one of them had died, and the others were all severely injured!
The form that was yanked towards Elder Xuan was shrouded in a black robe. He had a slender build, and his facial features were hidden. Only the radiance of ﬁve soul rings, three of which yellow and two of which purple, were visible. This person really was just a Soul King, yet he’d created such a terrifying tragedy!
He let out a terriﬁed scream as soon as he was yanked away by Elder Xuan. He tried his best to struggle free, but how could he struggle against someone as powerful as Elder Xuan? He could only watch helplessly as he was pulled closer and closer to Elder Xuan.
At that moment, the remaining half of Yao Haoxuan’s body suddenly began to swell.
“Elder Xuan, be careful!” Huo Yuhao called out in alarm.
Elder Xuan’s perception wasn’t weak, and his students were much more important than this evil soul master! The academy had already suffered such a huge loss; how could he let more people be injured?
He raised both of his hands, and a ball of white light immediately enveloped Yao Haoxuan’s corpse. At the same time, he ﬂicked his ﬁnger, which caused the Soul King to feel as if he’d been struck by a huge hammer. However, something strange happened. All ﬁve of his soul rings simultaneously
shone and he changed into a wisp of smoke. However, he didn’t run away. Instead, he pounced towards Huo Yuhao.
His speed was so fast that Huo Yuhao couldn’t react even with his Spiritual Detection active. Afterwards he felt the world spin, then heard Elder Xuan’s angry yell. There wasn’t anything under his feet; they instantly sank through the ground.
A powerful explosion echoed through the cave. Yao Haoxuan’s body exploded, and even his skeleton was vaporized. The explosion was contained by Elder Xuan, but it was because of this that he arrived a moment too late to save Huo Yuhao; his hands only grabbed a newly-created slab of stone. Huo Yuhao and the evil soul master had disappeared without a trace.
“Bastard!” Elder Xuan angrily howled. He was now thoroughly enraged. He immediately punched the ground, instantly pulverizing the newly-created slab of stone to.
However, he didn’t dare to use too much soul power out of fear that he’d harm Huo Yuhao, who might have been below it. As this happened, a series of explosions echoed from the corridor beneath them, causing it collapse. A crafty person always had several ways out of a predicament. That person was, without a doubt, the leader of the group of bandits known as the Hand of Death.
Chapter 73: Third Martial Soul? Necromancy?
“Yuhao!” Huo Yuhao had already disappeared without a trace by the time Wang Dong reacted. When he thought back to the exploding corpses from before, Wang Dong felt his mind blank out.
The scene had truly changed too quickly, such that no one had been able to react in time.
Elder Xuan abruptly ﬂourished his large sleeve, and swept all the oncoming people away. “Wang Dong, quickly, help the others. I’ll save Huo Yuhao.” As he spoke, Elder Xuan released his martial soul in front of the students for the ﬁrst time ever.
Elder Xuan’s aged back suddenly arched upwards, and his oil- stained, tattered clothing immediately split open. The muscles on his back swelled up at shocking speed, and in the blink of an eye, he bulked up to at least twice his previous size. The strangest thing was that one long, screw-shaped horn also grew from either side of his head. In that moment that he released his martial soul, it seemed as though all the air in the cave wanted to freeze over.
Nine soul rings shone and ascended with a dazzling brilliance
- two yellow, two purple, four black and one red. Elder Xuan’s messy bed of hair had turned completely light brown. He abruptly turned his head and looked towards those remaining bandits. An incomparably frightening aura that was like a raging storm suddenly surged towards them. In the blink of an eye, an explosion occurred once more, but this time around, instead of the corpses, the living exploded.
He stomped with his right foot, and a huge crevice suddenly opened up in the ground. Elder Xuan bent his majestic body down and dug into the ground at a shocking speed with large hands that were like palm-leaf fans. He disappeared into the ground without a trace in just the moment that it took to breathe.
The heavy ﬁshy fumes made Huo Yuhao feel nauseous. He was really too unlucky. The reason why the envoy of the Death God had grabbed him was ﬁrst, to get a hostage, and second, the more important reason, was because the position that Huo Yuhao had previously occupied was at the entrance to the tunnel. This was really a misfortune on his part.
A cold, threatening aura surged madly into Huo Yuhao’s body from the entity in front of him. That icy feeling was completely different from his ice-attribute. This was cold, ﬁlled with evil intent, and accompanied by a horrible stench. That cold and dark feeling was like countless vipers boring their way into Huo Yuhao’s body.
The Envoy of the Death God was running down the tunnel at a shocking speed. He continuously slapped the walls as he dashed madly ahead, detonating the explosives he’d buried in them.
He had been able to lead the Hand of Death gang from the warping and winding Ming Dou Mountain Range, not only due to his ability as an evil soul master, but more importantly due to his cautious nature. This wasn’t the ﬁrst time he’d encountered such a situation, but as long as he didn’t die, it wouldn’t take long before a brand new bandit group would rise up once more.
Huo Yuhao didn’t resist. He was now in a far more dangerous situation than he had been before, but contrary to expectations, he’d calmed down. This characteristic was unique to spirit-type soul masters. His mental strength far
surpassed that of normal humans, so he could remain clear- headed more than a normal soul master could.
Huo Yuhao knew that the two white soul rings he’d previously revealed must’ve deﬁnitely fooled his opponents. Moreover, when the Envoy of the Death God had attacked, he hadn’t shown any signs of resisting at all. But he really couldn’t do so, having been caught off-guard. The enemy must’ve really looked down on him, but that was ﬁne, because this was his only chance to ﬂee for his life.
What am I going to do? There might only be one chance for him to escape, so he deﬁnitely couldn’t act blindly without thinking it through. As a result of that, Huo Yuhao could only force himself to circulate his Mysterious Heaven Technique to protect his internal organs. He was ﬁghting against that evil soul power surging into his body, but he didn’t try to unleash a counterattack. As a matter of fact, his opponent’s soul power far surpassed his own. It wouldn’t be easy for him to retaliate either.
“Elder brother Skydream, Ice Empress, what are you guys doing?” Huo Yuhao softly called out to them in his Spiritual Sea.
The Skydream Iceworm was extremely serious when he spoke. “Yuhao, don’t fret. We are also thinking of a way. In a second, the Ice Empress might temporarily take control of your body. It’s really a little troublesome this time. This fellow’s soul power has a special quality that reeks with blood. The disparity between your cultivation and his is far too great. If Ice Empress suddenly uses the power she sealed within your body, I’m afraid you’ll sustain injuries because of that. You must be mentally prepared.”
Huo Yuhao was very calm as he asked, “That also means that attacking him isn’t actually that difﬁcult, but the key to this is whether I can bear the burden?”
The Skydream Iceworm was silent for a moment before he spoke, “The Ice Empress’s ability is extremely overbearing. We’re afraid that it’ll injure the source of your spirit.”
Huo Yuhao inhaled deeply, then said, “Elder Brother Skydream, Ice Empress. The two of you don’t need to care about me. Kill him and avenge those who’ve died. This bastard deﬁnitely cannot be allowed to live. He’s killed so many people, including Senior Brother Yao Haoxuan.”
“Sure, you’re very brave. I’ll do my best to protect you. Don’t fret. When the opportunity arises, you must strike him in one move.” There was a bit of praise in the Ice Empress's chilly voice. She immediately fell silent after speaking, evidently trying to ﬁnd an opening in their opponent’s guard.
Just at this moment, an aged voice suddenly rang out. “Big bug, little scorpion. Let this old man take charge, since you guys don’t have the conﬁdence to do so. I am very familiar with this deathly aura.”
Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Sea subsequently turned grey. The Skydream Iceworm and the Ice Empress felt a pressure that even they feared. That was an soul ranked on a completely different level than they were.
The cave ahead suddenly opened up into a wide clearing. The Envoy of the Death God had brought Huo Yuhao out of the tunnel, causing the air around them to be fresh and clean. This immediately cleared Huo Yuhao’s mind.
However, twelve silhouettes were quietly standing by that exit out of the tunnel.
Those twelve humans, which didn’t seem to be breathing at all, immediately knelt down on one knee, respectfully saluting the Envoy of the Death God once they saw him emerge from the tunnel.
“Rise, my corpses. You guys were left behind for me to use as my protection. We’ve really run into huge trouble this time. I’m afraid that guy’s a Titled Douluo based on the aura he’s emitting. Hmph, don’t fret. Even Titled Douluo will only be able to prostrate themselves before me in ten years’ time, at best.”
At this moment, an aged voice suddenly rang out, “I’m afraid you don’t even have ten years left.”
The Envoy of the Death God paused and quickly looked around. “Who is it?!” He shouted in a stern voice, “Come out!”
“I’m right here. Where do you want me to go?” An odd, yet pure smell of death suddenly surged from his left hand. The
Envoy of the Death God subconsciously loosened his grip on the person in his hand, and turned his body around at the same time to look at who it was. He was immediately taken aback by what he saw.
He’d been holding a person dressed completely in dark green garb with two white soul rings. But now, that person suddenly shone with an incredible light.
Behind the mask, the eyes that were originally a faint golden color had turned grey. It was a kind of grey that was ﬁlled with the vicissitudes of life, as though the owner could thoroughly understand everything in the world. What was even stranger was that a grey soul ring was slowly rising from beneath his feet. As that grey soul ring rose up, a string of fragmented shadow followed suit. One couldn’t clearly tell whether it was one shadow or many shadows.
The envoy of the Death God felt an inexplicably stiﬂing feeling as he looked at that grey layer, subconsciously causing him to take a step back.
“Y-you’re also an evil soul master?” There was a shocked look on the Envoy of the Death God’s face when he asked this
question. The mantle on his face had been lifted as he was running just now, revealing a face that resembled a skull. Only a ﬁlm of skin seemed to be covering his face. His eyes, which were glowing with a light green light, were ﬁlled with shock.
“Evil soul master? What’s that? I’ve never heard of that before.” There was a bit of astonishment in that aged voice.
The Envoy of the Death God snorted and said, “Every single evil soul master is an existence worthy of the greatest admiration. I am a spokesperson for the Death God, the Envoy of the Death God. You are clearly young, since you dare to deceive the people in front of me. If you really are an evil soul master, you should make your identity known, and maybe then we might still have a chance to cooperate with each other. But you need to tell me something ﬁrst. Why is your soul ring grey?”
“Envoy of the Death God? You must be joking. Even though I can’t remember most things from the past, I faintly remember that I could have been a Death God if I had wanted to be one. You’re already sacriﬁcing your ﬂesh, having just recently brushed over the edge of Necromancy. A Necromancer like you is worthy of being called an Envoy of the Death God? A Death God’s ability is to purify, not to summon souls and mess around
with corpses. There’s no chance of you becoming a Demonic Shaman, and yet you’re here boasting in front of this old man. It’s really funny.”
The Envoy of the Death God stumbled over his words hearing the aged voice. “What Necromancy? What Necromancer? Demonic Shaman? I am an evil soul master worthy of admiration. You actually dare to blaspheme the Death God? You’re courting death!”
As he spoke, he raised his hand and pointed in front of him. The third soul ring on his body abruptly lit up, activating the purple soul ring with a few streams of black. The twelve people around them who were emitting cold auras immediately moved and pounced toward Huo Yuhao at lightning speed.
“It’s a very familiar aura. Though it is slightly disgusting, I still have a bit of affection left in me.” The aged voice sighed, but didn’t move as he lifted his ﬁnger.
A faintly grey ball of ﬁre was burning on the tip of his ﬁnger. When those corpses that the envoy of the Death God had converted into humans came within three metres of his body, they immediately stopped their violent trembling.
“Big bug, I need to borrow a bit of your sealed power,” The aged voice said indifferently, “I still can’t recall anything from the past, but I remember my own name. A tiny Corpse Shaman actually dares to show off with this kind of unpopular Necromancy in front of me, the Calamity Necromancer Electrolux who possesses the Divine Law of Necromancy. Then, I’ll let you play with ﬁre!”
As he spoke, the ﬂame atop his ﬁnger suddenly burned brighter. Shortly after that, that grey halo on his body was abruptly activated, encasing the twelve corpses within it.
The twelve corpses stopped trembling, and slowly raised their heads one after the other. One could see that their skin was now a metallic grey - a color that only dead people would have. Their eyes were empty and lifeless; their nails were strangely and incomparably long, and appeared to be dark purple in color. A foul rotting smell also seeped out from every inch of their bodies.
The Envoy of the Death God discovered—to his astonishment
—that he wasn’t able to control his corpse slaves anymore. He hurriedly increased the output of his soul power and activated his various soul skills, yet they still didn’t react; he couldn’t even make them self-destruct.
Gradually, a pale light began to appear in the corpse slaves’ eyes. This light was actually a whitish ﬂame, and as the ﬂame progressively appeared in the eyes of every single corpse slave, it also began to circulate throughout their bodies. Unexpectedly, emotions began to appear on their previously rigid faces: suffering, hatred, and boundless rancor. They then turned towards the Envoy of the Death God and immediately shot towards him in a frenzy.
“No, this can’t be possible… this is impossible!” The voice of the Envoy of the Death God was ﬁlled with disbelief. He quickly turned around to scuttle away.
At that moment however, a purplish-golden light shot out from Huo Yuhao’s eyes. The Envoy of the Death God felt as if
his head had suddenly been struck by an enormous hammer. This, combined with the panic he felt, caused him to immediately tumble head-ﬁrst to the ground.
All of the corpse slaves he’d reﬁned had been created utilizing the bodies of soul masters. Not only were they extraordinarily quick, but they were also impervious to blades, and possessed extraordinary strength. These twelve corpse slaves had taken more than half of his strength to reﬁne, and they were his hidden trump card. However, at this moment, these corpse slaves seemed to have regained a portion of their former consciousness; how could they let him off?
All twelve of the corpse slaves launched frenzied attacks towards the Envoy of the Death God, who’d been temporarily stunned by Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Shock. In fact, they attacked in frenzied manner that they didn’t even seem to take their own safety into account.
Electrolux’s voice rang out from Huo Yuhao’s mouth again and said, “A true necromancer controls spirits, not bodies. Even if you become stronger, a corpse shaman like you who can’t even touch upon the mysteries of soul control will never become a true necromancer,” He then directed his voice towards the corpse slaves, “since he’s killed you, this old man
will give you an opportunity to gain revenge. Once you’ve completed your revenge, your souls will subsequently be puriﬁed.
“I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve used necromancy. It’s so familiar, yet unfamiliar at the same time! But… I like this feeling. There seems to have been an unforgettable hatred carved deep into my heart in the past, yet I feel only tranquility now. My spiritual imprint seems to have been stimulated again. Little Yuhao, big worm, little scorpion, it seems I’ll have to enter another period of slumber. Oh, there’s one last thing I have to tell you all before I go: Power can be used for good, but if you use your power in an evil way on the pretext that you’re only doing it to an evildoer is inherently evil as well. Little Yuhao, I hope that you’ll be able to wash away your hatred by the next time I wake up. When your heart is free of hatred, and when you feel only joy and benevolence, I will truly become your third martial soul. Only then will you have the qualiﬁcations to inherit my art of necromancy.”
The grayness around them vanished, as did the gray light in Huo Yuhao’s eyes. The gray soul ring around him also dissipated and disappeared. His body swayed a bit, then he collapsed to the ground.
In this short period of time, the Envoy of the Death God was ripped apart by his twelve corpse slaves. His wretched screams could be heard from several hundreds of meters away.
His sinful life had ﬁnally ended as a direct result of his own sins; a person who played with ﬁre would deﬁnitely be burned to death. As an evil soul master, his death had come at the hands of his own crimes.
Once the evil soul master had died, the corpse slaves slowly fell to the ground one after another. As they did, strands of white mist rose from their heads and faintly resembled human faces. However, their current expressions didn’t contain any rancor; only relief and appreciation was left within them. They stared at the fallen Huo Yuhao as they gradually vanished into the air, their expressions much more peaceful.
Once the imprisoned souls had been puriﬁed, the corpse slaves began to rot and disappear at an astonishing rate. In the blink of an eye, only bones were left.
“Boom—” A violent explosion rang out. Immediately afterwards, a ﬁgure soared straight into the air, then landed mightily, revealing Elder Xuan’s powerful ﬁgure.
Elder Xuan’s naked upper body revealed his bronze-colored muscles, and the terrifying aura he was currently emanating shot straight into the air once he appeared, causing the weather itself to change. This was especially so for the two spiralling horns on his head, which shone with an
indescribably mysterious luster. Nine types of light seemed to ﬂicker through them before transforming into a jade-white color.
With a ﬂash, Elder Xuan appeared in front of Huo Yuhao’s eyes. The current situation, however, quelled the fury within his heart; the Envoy of the Death God had vanished, and had only left a large patch of bones on the ground. Furthermore, there was even a rotten smell present. However, Huo Yuhao had been thrown to the side.
Elder Xuan had originally thought that Huo Yuhao had encountered a calamity; after all, he was only human. However, he didn’t think that he’d still be perfectly alright. With his level of cultivation, he didn’t even need to touch him to verify his status. He could tell that, even though Huo Yuhao’s breathing was somewhat weak, it was still present. His heartbeat was still extremely healthy, and his signs of life were well-evident.
Despite this, there were no other signs of life in the surroundings besides Huo Yuhao. Elder Xuan’s face revealed a trace of doubt, then he carefully picked Huo Yuhao up and poured his soul power into him.
He quickly discovered that Huo Yuhao’s fainting hadn’t been due to physical trauma; he’d merely overdrawn his spiritual power. Furthermore, his soul power hadn’t even been overdrawn that much.
Elder Xuan was anxious to learn about the whereabouts of the Envoy of the Death God, thus he took out a small bottle made of white jade and placed it beneath Huo Yuhao’s nose.
“Achoo!” Huo Yuhao suddenly awoke with a sneeze. A spicy smell had caused him to gradually awaken, but he still felt as if his head was quite heavy. His brain was also dizzy, and he currently wasn’t even able to use his Spirit Eyes to see everything in front of him clearly.
“Yuhao, what happened? What happened to that despicable evil soul master?” Elder Xuan asked impatiently.
Huo Yuhao was left blank. After calming himself down, images of what had happened began to appear within his mind. He’d been completely sober when he’d been possessed by Electrolux; moreover, he clearly understood what had happened earlier. However, he didn’t know what exactly Electrolux had done. He’d both used his spiritual power, and had even seemingly used the Skydream Iceworm’s spiritual power. It was because of this that he hadn’t even been able to speak up earlier. Even the Skydream Iceworm and the Ice Empress were still in a state of shock.
Following the recovery of his memories, a spiritual imprint that the aged Electrolux had left in his mind gradually began to appear. Huo Yuhao subconsciously followed the instructions left on that spiritual imprint and replied to Elder Xuan, “I… I don’t know either. After the Envoy of the Death God brought me here, he ordered his corpse slaves to bring up the rear and planned to use me as a hostage to run away. When I heard him, I knew that I was running out of time. Thus, I used all of my strength to release a Spiritual Shock. He instantly fell into a short daze, and both his mouth and nose began to bleed. At that instant, I took the opportunity to roll to the ground. When I did, I heard him let out a loud screech, then I felt my head go dizzy. He seemed to have lost control of his corpse slaves, which proceeded to attack him and tear him to pieces. When he died, those corpse slaves also fell to the ground. After that, I seem to have fainted.”
An enlightened look appeared in Elder Xuan’s eyes when he heard Huo Yuhao’s words. “An evil backlash! Serves him right. He got left off lightly. Alright, we’ll talk about this more later.”
At that moment, Huo Yuhao somewhat came back to his senses. With a somewhat hazy look in his eyes, he asked, “Elder Xuan, what’s an evil backlash?”
Elder Xuan carried Huo Yuhao through the cave he’d forcefully created earlier as he explained, “All evil soul masters have powerful and evil powers. For example, the bastard you saw earlier had the ability to control corpses. However, oftentimes the powers they use exceed that of what their bodies can withstand. Once this balance is broken, there’s a chance of a backlash occurring. Your Spiritual Shock earlier must’ve temporarily broken the connection he had with his corpses, in turn causing him to instantly experience a backlash. I didn’t think that it’d be you who’d kill him.”
Elder Xuan was deﬁnitely worthy of being called one of the peak experts of the Douluo Continent; his analysis was fundamentally correct. Even though Electrolux’s technique weren’t that simple, the overall results and effects it had achieved were still more or less the same. The only difference
was that he’d paid more attention to purifying the souls of the dead.
“Oh.” Huo Yuhao replied, then sank back into a muddled state.
Elder Xuan quickly returned to the cave that the Hand of Death had stayed in with Huo Yuhao in tow. The smell of blood in the cave had become even stronger since he’d left.
The seriously injured students from the inner courtyard had all been gathered together once he got back. Besides the now- deceased Yao Haoxuan, the people who were in the worst condition were Gong Yangmo and Chen Zifeng. The two of them were currently lying on the ground, unconscious, but their bodies were badly mangled. Even though Xi Xi was also unconscious, her injuries were still somewhat lighter than theirs.
Although Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng, and Ling Luochen were currently bleeding from their noses and mouths due to their heavy injuries, they were still able to maintain their consciousness.
Compared to the desperate state that the seven from the inner courtyard were in, the disciples from the outer courtyard were completely unharmed. They’d originally had the help of Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection, and had been a decent distance away from the center of the explosions. The moment they’d felt that something was off, they’d been able to react.
Xu Sanshi had successfully used his Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle to protect Jiang Nannan, who had the weakest defense of the lot. Bei Bei had in turn released a large amount of thunder and lightning, blocking the poisonous ﬂesh that had been sent ﬂying towards them from the explosions. Xiao Xiao’s Threelives Soulcrush Cauldron had also played an important role in blocking a large amount of the explosion.
“Yuhao.” The moment he saw Elder Xuan return with Huo Yuhao in tow, Wang Dong immediately pounced towards him. The others from the outer courtyard also quickly surrounded him.
“I’m ﬁne.” Huo Yuhao replied somewhat weakly. In spite of everything, Wang Dong hugged him, his tears surging uncontrollably.
When the Envoy of the Death God had captured Huo Yuhao earlier, Wang Dong instantly felt as though the most important thing in his heart had been ripped away. At that moment, he’d been sent into a foolish stupor. Before he’d come to, Elder Xuan had already left in pursuit. He’d wanted to chase after them, but he’d been stopped by Wang Yan. At that time, he’d felt his brain space out. He’d thought inwardly, It’s ﬁnished, everything’s over. Yuhao deﬁnitely won’t be able to escape now that he’s been captured by such a terrifying fellow. He didn’t think that Huo Yuhao would actually be brought back by Elder Xuan so quickly.
Elder Xuan left Huo Yuhao in Wang Dong’s care, “He’s ﬁne.
He has just overdrawn his spiritual power. Let him rest.”
Wang Dong didn’t even hear those words; he held Huo Yuhao tightly and started crying.
Huo Yuhao wanted to say something to comfort him. However, he was just too tired after exhausting his spiritual power. He only managed to fractionally raise his hand and wasn’t able to say anything else.
“How is the situation?” Elder Xuan, who still had his martial soul active, turned towards Wang Yan and asked with a very gloomy expression. After that incident in the Great Star Dou Forest, where the disciples of the inner courtyard had encountered a hundred thousand year soul beast and suffered heavy casualties, this was the second time that there had been so many losses under his leadership. An ordinary person would never be able to understand the pain he was feeling right now.
Wang Yan said full of grief, “Yao Haoxuan died in battle. I tried my best to piece the remains of his skeleton together, but after being used by that evil soul master, his corpse was contaminated by the deadly poison and corroded. We won’t be able to bring back his complete skeleton.”
Elder Xuan painfully closed his eyes, “How are the others? What’s the state of their injuries? Are they in mortal danger?”
Wang Yan replied, “Chen Zifeng lost one leg, but the one that suffered the worst injuries was Gong Yangmo. His chest and abdomen have suffered immense damage from the exploding toxic ﬂesh and blood. Therefore, his internal injuries are not only extremely severe but poisonous too. Xi Xi’s internal injuries are less serious, but the poison she was infected with is still very dangerous. As, the three of them have already developed a high fever I gave them some pills to restrain the poison and lower the fever, but this is only a temporary measure. We need the best possible treatment to save their lives. Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng were in the epicenter of the explosions While they were able to block the toxic blood and ﬂesh released by the explosion due to their high cultivations, the shock waves left them with internal injuries. They’ll need some time to heal. Luckily, neither they nor Ling Luochen were contaminated by the poisonous ﬂesh and blood. With the
academy’s medicinal pills, they should be able to recover in half a month. What about the Envoy of the Death God?”
Elder Xuan heaved a deep sigh and told Wang Yan everything that Yuhao had told him. After hearing the story, Wang Yang’s cold and stern expression thawed a little, “Good, good. At least Haoxuan was avenged. Even that Envoy of the Death God couldn’t have expected to die at Yuhao’s hands.”
Elder Xuan opened his eyes again, a resolute look within them. He had already made up his mind and said in a deep voice, “Wang Yan, you’ll have to bear the burden of this difﬁcult task. Bring them back to the military camp, and once Xiaotao and the other two are stable, make haste towards Star Luo City and join the tournament. I’ll bring Gong Yangmo, Chen Zifeng, and Xi Xi back to the academy to get treated. We can’t afford to waste any time and must move immediately.”
Having said that, Elder Xuan pointed his big hands toward the three people that were lying unconscious on the ground. Dense white soul power wrapped them up in a manner reminiscent of a giant cocoon, protecting them.
Elder Xuan took a deep breath and then looked at at the seven from the outer courtyard as he spoke in a grave tone, “The situation has now changed, and the responsibility lies with me. I’m afraid there isn’t enough time to send for new team members from the academy anymore. We can only rely on you lot for the time being. At the very least, you’ll have to hold on until Ma Xiaotao and the others have recovered. Children, the academy can only rely on you to preserve its glory. If you win, the honor will be yours. If you lose, I’ll personally bear all the shame.”
After that, Elder Xuan raised his head, trying to hold back the tears welling up in his eyes. He then brought the three people wrapped in his soul power out of the cave before he activated his ﬂying-type soul tool and headed toward Shrek Academy at full speed. It was of the utmost importance to cure and save the three students that had been injured and poisoned. After hearing Elder Xuan’s words, Huo Yuhao also sunk into a deep slumber.
By the time he regained consciousness, the sun was already high in the sky; it was high noon. The stench of blood had also disappeared and had been replaced by the fresh mountain air.
He discovered that his head was leaning against something soft and elastic. The height was just right, and it was very comfortable. A ﬁne and slender hand was lying on his chest, and those same long and slender ﬁngers were also right in front of his eyes.
He didn’t even need to raise his head to guess who they belonged to, because he had already held this hand innumerable times, though this was his ﬁrst time seeing them up close.
Wang Dong’s hands were really beautiful! Although they were much smaller than his, the length of their ﬁngers was about the same. They truly resembled the hands of a girl.
After his nap, the dizziness from before had already disappeared. All the memories of what had happened previously now slowly started to resurface in his mind. Even though it had been a while, he still felt his heart skip a beat whenever he thought of what had happened.
The Divine Law of Necromancy, the Specter of Calamity, Electrolux. This was the true identity of the gray ball of light slumbering in his Spiritual Sea!
At the time, when Electrolux had temporarily taken control of his body, Huo Yuhao hadn’t been able to oppose him in the slightest. He could still feel the outside world and retained all ﬁve senses, but he had no control over his body.
This wasn’t the ﬁrst time that someone had taken control of his body. The Skydream Iceworm had also done it once before. However at that time, he hadn’t been aware of what was happening in the outside world and had remained in his Spiritual Sea as a spectator. The Skydream Iceworm was a million year soul beast, and even if it was doomed to never become a god due to its special circumstances, it was still a million year soul beast which specialized in the spiritual ﬁeld! Did this mean that he was inferior to a mere spiritual imprint left behind by Electrolux? Just who was this Electrolux? Moreover, he said that he could have become the Death God long ago if he had wished to. All of this combined was just too scary.
He had said that he was from another world. What was this world like? And what was this necromancy of his? It seemed somewhat similar to the power of that evil soul master. However, he didn’t get an evil feeling from it. Instead, it felt pure and holy.
“It’s not that my spiritual power is inferior to his. It’s just that I’m not as knowledgeable as him when it comes to the human Spiritual Seas.” The Skydream Iceworm admitted unwillingly.
“Brother Skydream.” Huo Yuhao hastened to say, “Elder Electro…”
“Don’t mention it,” The Skydream Iceworm said, depressed, “That guy should be a human like you, but is far from being common as evidenced by his incredible power. I suspect that he met a powerful opponent that destroyed both his body and soul, leaving behind only a small fragment of the latter. When we fused together, we created a strange celestial phenomenon, and that soul fragment was assimilated in the process. That guy should feel grateful. If it weren’t for this brother, that soul fragment might’ve already dispersed.”
“Stop making excuses. If you’re inferior, you’re just inferior. Let alone you, even I am well below him in regards to spiritual strength. He really wasn’t exaggerating when he said that if his soul fragment were complete, he might have already become a god.” The Ice Empress said. She wasn’t depressed as the Skydream Iceworm, and her voice even carried a hint of admiration.
The Ice Empress continued, “Yuhao, don’t waste time worrying about this. Elder Electro’s strength mainly lies in his knowledge and soul level with the latter being incredibly high. However, he has suffered a lot of damage, and with but a fragment left, there’s not much he can do. In his current condition, he cannot even augment your strength. When he displayed his power earlier, he used your body as a medium and Skydream’s sealed power as an energy source. He stopped us from taking action with his higher understanding of your Spiritual Sea. Since we were unsure of what to do and felt that acting rashly might cause damage to your Spiritual Sea, we had no choice but to rely on him. Elder Electro’s strength lies exactly in his knowledge. The powerful magic he used should also originate from his world, You should learn it should the opportunity ever arise. ”
“However, Elder Electro’s power and that of the evil soul master…” Huo Yuhao said somewhat anxiously.
The Ice Empress said, “Don’t worry. Elder Electro and that guy were on two completely different planes. Elder Electro gave me a feeling of purity and simplicity. His soul has already reached a realm where the words ‘good’ or ‘evil’ aren’t suitable to describe the its aura. From another standpoint, he should be an existence above this world of ours. Therefore, his power is
unlikely to inﬂuence your disposition. And from his words, it seems like it won’t be easy for you to learn from him due to his exceedingly high requirements towards your moral character. If I’m not mistaken, Elder Electro’ s attribute should be the same as yours; a light attribute. And even if his light attribute was very weak, it was the purest I had ever seen.”
“Then, what should I do?” Huo Yuhao wasn’t even thirteen yet. Therefore, it was normal for him to rely on the Ice Empress or the Skydream Iceworm when he was in a dilemma.
“You don’t need to do anything.” The Skydream Iceworm said, “All you have to do is keep cultivating and getting stronger. That soul fragment will still need several years to restore itself and become self-sufﬁcient. And until then, he won’t come out easily, because he would be done for if this only fragment were to be damaged. Moreover, you can only learn from him if you have enough strength and spiritual power. Therefore, keep cultivating.”
“I understand.” Huo Yuhao had now calmed down a bit. Even though they hadn’t completely dispelled the doubts in his heart, the Ice Empress and Skydream Iceworm’s explanations had put him at ease.
After settling this matter, he opened his eyes. Then, he gently moved Wang Dong’s hand away and sat up.
This slight movement caused Wang Dong to shake and call out in alarm, “Yuhao, you’re awake.”
When he sat up, Huo Yuhao saw that his fellow students were all nearby. They were sitting in the middle of the woods in deep meditation, trying to recover their energy. But when they heard Wang Dong’s voice, they began to wake up one after another.
From the main team, only Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng and Ling Luochen were left. Their complexions were still pale due to being severely injured. At this time, even they opened their eyes.
Chapter 74: The Taotie Douluo and the Dragon God Douluo
Until now, Wang Dong had been leaning against a tree with his thighs acting as Huo Yuhao’s comfortable pillow. Now, without even giving Huo Yuhao a chance to speak, Wang Dong hugged him ﬁercely and said, “Yuhao, do you know that you scared me to death? I thought that you would become like those corpses…” A sobbing tone crept into his voice as he said these words.
Xu Sanshi, who was standing next to Bei Bei, chuckled and said, “Look, their brotherly feelings really run deep.”
Bei Bei’s lips twitched, and he retorted, “In any case, they’re much stronger than a naturally cold-hearted guy like you.”
Xu Sanshi immediately ﬂared up in anger, “Bullshit! How can you claim that I am naturally cold-hearted?! I just don’t want to be too compassionate towards others! Humph!”
Jiang Nannan furrowed her brows slightly, “How old are you two to still be arguing like children?”
After hearing her comment, Xu Shanshi immediately began to behave. That comment was far more effective than even consuming medicine would have been. With a righteous look on his face, he didn’t bother Bei Bei anymore.
Huo Yuhao patted Wang Dong’s back as he spoke, “It’s alright. I’m alright now. After all, one who survives a great disaster is destined to have good fortune forever after.”
Wang Yan also walked over to Huo Yuhao’s side. “All’s well if you’re alright. You better rest up too, then we can get back on track and return to the northwestern army barracks. After we rest up a bit and get ourselves reorganised, we’ll immediately head straight for Star Luo City.”
He Caitou couldn’t help but ask, “Teacher Wang, you’re not really going to deploy us this time around, are you?” This question was one that the seven students from the outer courtyard were most concerned about. Wang Dong let go of Huo Yuhao, and they both looked at Wang Yan together.
Wang Yan smiled bitterly and said, “I’m afraid there is no other choice. The Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy
Grand Tournament will go on for a month, which is a very long time. Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng and Ling Luochen will need at least half a month to recover completely. All we can do now is entrust you guys to represent the academy in battle.”
“Teacher Wang, are we up for it?” Huo Yuhao asked.
Representing Shrek Academy in battle wasn’t something to be taken lightly! It meant that they were representing the academy’s honor!
Shrek Academy was known as the number one academy in the continent because it nurtured numerous outstanding people of talent and skill. How did it display this strength? The Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Grand Tournament was the best stage to do so.
Shrek Academy had already monopolised the position of champion for who-knows-how many years continuously. As for the other academies, they could only vie for the position of runner-up. Before the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy from the Sun Moon Empire had appeared, there hadn’t been an opponent that could compete with Shrek Academy.
However, this was directed at the main team members! They had had a peak powerhouse like Elder Xuan as their commanding ofﬁcer, and their opponents had only been Soul Kings. Yet, who would’ve thought that they would have sustained such heavy losses during their operation this time around? As if one death wasn’t enough, three others were so heavily injured that they couldn’t participate in battle. The remaining three had also sustained signiﬁcant injuries. In just a short moment, all seven main team members had lost their ﬁghting strength.
The team had originally consisted of two Soul Emperors and ﬁve Soul Kings. Now, it was made up of four Soul Ancestors, one Soul Elder and two Soul Masters.
This was a large difference in terms of strength.
All this pressure fell on the seven reserve students from the outer courtyard. The eldest was just ﬁfteen years old, and the youngest was only twelve years old. It was obvious what they must be going through at that moment.
Wang Yan was slightly at a loss as to how he should respond to Huo Yuhao. He sighed and replied, “The responsibility for the setbacks during this mission rests on my shoulders. I failed to command the team properly and when we return to the academy, I will deﬁnitely beg the school’s highest ofﬁcials for forgiveness. As for the Grand Tournament, you guys shouldn’t hold back at all. I believe that the preliminary rounds shouldn’t be hard with your abilities. If Elder Xuan can rush back in time, the academy might be able to send another team of inner courtyard disciples as reinforcements before the Grand Tournament starts. With Elder Xuan’s ﬂying speed, I believe there’s a possibility that he’ll be able to make it in time.”
Upon remembering Elder Xuan’s terrifyingly quick manner of ﬂying, everyone immediately became much more relaxed.
Bei Bei stood up and, just as before, spoke with a smile on his face. “Teacher Wang is right. At the end of the day, we are just reserves. Moreover, the Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Grand Tournament doesn’t have a knockout system Elder Xuan originally mentioned that we were meant to take the stage regardless, to polish our abilities and to serve as a shield for the main team members. We can still proceed according to that plan. Regardless of the outcome, everything will work out if we try our best. Besides, we can still trick our
opponents. I reckon reinforcements will arrive before we have take on more than a few matches. Our academy isn’t that far from Star Luo City. The most it’ll take the academy to select people and deploy them is around three to ﬁve days. So, in reality, we only need to hold up for a few days.”
“That’s right, we’re not weaker than the others. I’ve heard that the contestants from the participating academies normally have the strength of three or four ringed Soul Masters; we’re Shrek Academy’s elite students! What do we have to fear?! The main force might not even need to make a move, because we would’ve already advanced courageously and stormed straight to the ﬁnals!” Xu Sanshi exclaimed, ﬁlled with ﬁghting spirit.
Jiang Nannan rolled her eyes at him, “Such developed limbs, and yet such a simple mind.”
Xiao Xiao was sitting right beside Jiang Nannan and couldn’t help but stiﬂe a chuckle upon seeing the deﬂated look on Xu Sanshi’s face.
A hint of a smile found its way onto Wang Yan’s face too. He nodded and replied, “Bei Bei is right. We should do our best.”
As he spoke, his gaze subconsciously fell on Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng and Ling Luochen.
The three of them didn’t utter a word. Wang Yan sighed in his heart and thought to himself, Do your best, and everything will go according to the will of the heavens.
However, Huo Yuhao still held suspicion in his heart, because he could clearly remembered what Elder Xuan had said before he left. The academy’s reputation can only rest on your shoulders now. This clearly wasn’t something that he had said without thinking! Moreover, Huo Yuhao also believed that his mentally dexterous senior brother could not have failed to notice those words. But then, why was he talking like this now? Could it be to bolster everyone’s hearts?
With these thoughts running through his mind, Huo Yuhao naturally couldn’t expose his senior brother. All he could do was do his best to go along with Bei Bei. It wasn’t easy to raise everyone’s morale, so how could he say something against him?
Only Wang Yan and the three remaining inner courtyard students knew that there weren’t many students in the inner
courtyard. There were extremely few students under twenty who were sufﬁciently capable. On top of that, most of the inner courtyard disciples conducted missions outside as Shrek Guardians. Thus, it was practically impossible for the academy to gather another group of Shrek’s Seven Devils from the inner courtyard. Sadly, there wasn’t much hope for those in the outer courtyard either. Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi and Jiang Nannan were outstanding individuals from the outer courtyard, but even if they could gather a few more students with four soul rings, would they really be stronger than Huo Yuhao, Xiao Xiao and Wang Dong?
As a result of that, they could only count on themselves during this Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Grand Tournament.
The next day in Shrek Academy.
Elder Xuan was sitting on a ﬂight of stairs with a bed of messy hair as he poured alcohol into his mouth. The sound of footsteps rang out from behind him, and an old man clad in white walked over to him.
“What’s the situation?”
The old man clad in white stood respectfully behind Elder Xuan and said, “The situation has already stabilized. It’s corpse poison. Thankfully, this is only a simple kind of poison and you brought them back just in time. Their lives are out of harm’s way now. The Soul Tool Department has already taken a look at Chen Zifeng’s leg, and deduced that it’s not going to be problem to make a prosthetic for him. Even though his movements will be affected a little, it shouldn’t affect his strength too much.”
Elder Xuan spat out a breath full of the smell of alcohol and sighed, “That’s good.”
At this moment, someone walked in from outside the courtyard. That person was the dean of Shrek Academy’s Martial Soul Department - Yan Shaozhe.
“Elder Xuan, the Sea God’s Pavilion conference that you proposed to hold has been prepared. You…”
“Let’s go.” Elder Xuan stood up and walked out. His silhouette clearly seemed a little lonely.
Yan Shaozhe followed behind Elder Xuan, sighing in his heart. It had been many years since the Sea God’s Pavilion conference had been held so frequently.
“Elder Xuan, this matter isn’t your fault. You shouldn’t blame yourself too much.” Yan Shaozhe advised in a low voice.
Elder Xuan didn’t speak, and only responded by shaking his head.
Sea God’s Pavilion.
Things weren’t so different from the last Sea God’s Pavilion conference held here, but the atmosphere surrounding the whole place was somewhat heavier than before. Elder Mu, who was seated at the head of the table, was still lying on his recliner, the shadows obscuring his body.
The ones seated beside him were Elder Lin and Elder Xuan. The four deans and vice-deans from the Martial Soul Department and the Soul Tool Department were still respectfully seated at both ends of the table.
Elder Mu’s gentle voice rang out. “Speak, dear Xuan. Why have you proposed this Sea God’s Pavilion conference?”
Elder Xuan nodded, slowly got up and began to speak in a low tone, “Everyone already knows what happened this time. This isn’t the ﬁrst time a problem has arisen from my leadership. As the one who was leading the group, I am therefore bound by an unshirkable responsibility. Henceforth, I have decided to resign from my position as vice-commander of the Shrek Guardians. Moreover, I will leave Sea God’s Pavilion and be an idler within the academy.”
Once Elder Xuan spoke, everyone in the room was alarmed. One had to know that he held an extremely high post in the academy, second only to Elder Mu lying on the recliner. He was the academy’s elder, and had an extremely strong cultivation, hardly all that different from Elder Mu’s. Elder Mu was the commanding ofﬁcer of the Shrek Guardians, and there was only one vice-commander - Elder Xuan. Over the course of nearly 50 years, all of the most outstanding inner courtyard disciples who had represented the school in the Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Grand Tournament had been led by Elder Xuan. For him to suddenly bring up the topic of his resignation from all of his duties, how could it not shock the Sea God’s Pavilion’s conference?
Yan Shaozhe was so shocked that his face turned pale. “Elder Xuan, how can this be? No one can guarantee that something won’t go wrong. Besides, this responsibility cannot completely rest on your shoulders. Carelessness on the part of Xiaotao and the others also played a huge part in this matter, along with the unusual abilities of that evil soul master. He could actually unleash an all-out attack comparable to that of a Soul Sage. This can only illustrate the direct correlation between the
destructive power of his skill and the number of corpses he rose. Elder Xuan, you are one of the main pillars of the academy. The academy cannot lose you!”
Elder Xuan sighed and said, “Shaozhe, don’t say anything anymore. I had earlier wanted to take responsibility for my mistake in the Great Star Dou Forest that time and resign. But that girl, Le Xuan, stubbornly knelt in front of me and I didn’t have the heart to hurt that child’s heart, so I stayed on…”
“However, we have one dead and six heavily injured students this time. If I keep staying by their side, would another thing like this happen again? My martial soul has guaranteed that I’m not suited to be the vice-captain of the Shrek Guardians. I’ve already made my decision. Yao Haoxuan doesn’t even have a corpse I can bury. I feel very pained, let alone the fact that they’ll have to represent the school to take part in the Continental Advanced Soul Duelling Academy now. Now that a large mistake like this has occurred, the school’s honor as the number one academy in the continent may be destroyed. This responsibility can only be taken on by me.”
The Dean of the Soul Tool Department, Xian Lin’er, spoke up, “Elder Xua, please stay your mouth. Although your Godly Taotie Bull requires you to eat things for long periods of time, this doesn’t affect your capabilities! Everyone can clearly see the contributions you’ve made to the academy during these years. We’re all sad for the death of an inner courtyard disciple, but we can’t stop eating for fear of choking. If you leave, that’ll be the academy’s greatest loss.”
Elder Xuan shook his head bitterly. “Were it not for the fact that we were lucky this time, Huo Yuhao would’ve died there. Were it not for the fact that his Spiritual Shock coincided with the backlash of that evil soul master when he was captured, the hope of the academy would’ve been ruined in my hands. With a mistake like this on my hands, how would I have the face to continue staying in the Sea God’s Pavilion? You don’t have to try and persuade me; I’ve already made my decision. Yao Haoxuan’s family has a relatively decent amount of inﬂuence, so I’m going to go take a trip to his clan and do my best to help dispel their sorrows. Everyone, I’m going to say goodbye here.”
With that, he turned around and walked towards the door.
“Come back.” A calm, yet imposing voice that contained a formless pressure rang out. These two words were spoken in a very calm manner, but they made Elder Xuan, who’d started walking, forcefully stop moving.
“Elder Mu, I truly do not have the face to remain anymore.” Elder Xuan had his back towards the others, his body trembling slightly. Only he knew just how much pain he was enduring in his heart.
“I’m allowing you to come back. Do you not hear me?” Elder Mu’s voice became serious.
Elder Xuan’s body trembled. Just how many years had it been since he’d last heard Elder Mu get emotional while speaking? Eighty? Or was it a hundred years?
Although he was extremely unwilling, he still turned back and sat back in his seat. Even the other people had subconsciously straightened their backs after sensing the anger in Elder Mu’s voice. They were all silent out of fear, not daring to utter a single word.
Among everyone seated within the hall, the most senior of the elders were Elder Xuan and Elder Lin. However, even they were slightly junior to Elder Mu. Elder Mu was the last disciple of Elder Xuan’s master, and also his youngest disciple. In other words, Elder Mu was actually Elder Xuan’s junior uncle-master. In terms of age, Elder Mu was only ten years older than Elder Xuan. However, the contributions he’d made towards the academy and his strength placed him as the true number one ﬁgure in Shrek Academy.
Elder Mu, who’d been reclining on his seat, slowly rose to his feet. His appearance could ﬁnally be seen clearly.
Elder Mu had a very ordinary appearance, and he wasn’t very tall either. He even gave off the feeling that he already had one foot in the grave. If Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong were here, they would deﬁnitely be stunned. This elder, who was able to make the determined Elder Xuan turn back with a just slightly angry tone of voice, and silence the upper echelons of Shrek Academy, was actually the old man who they always saw lying down outside their dormitories.
Right, he was the Elder Mu who’d shaken the entire continent before. He was now over two hundred and ﬁfty years old, and he was titled as the Dragon God Douluo, Mu En. Two hundred years ago, his name had been famous throughout the continent. Now, perhaps everyone might’ve forgotten about him. Many people assumed that Shrek Academy’s strongest expert was the Taotie Douluo, Xuan Zi, but in reality, the Dragon God, Elder Mu, was undoubtedly the number one ﬁgure in the academy.
Who would’ve thought that the ordinary old man who looked like a security guard for the dormitories would actually be the true number one ﬁgure of Shrek Academy? Elder Mu stayed
there every day, as he enjoyed watching the students from the outer courtyard, and the dynamism that they emanated.
Only this would help dilute the loneliness he felt in his heart.
Elder Mu revealed a rarely-seen chilliness in his gentle eyes and said in a low voice, “Why is a two hundred-year-old man like you still being so impatient? If everyone else had left the academy after making a mistake, our Shrek Academy would’ve closed down already. You’re indeed no longer suitable to be the vice-captain of the Shrek Guardians, so stay behind in the academy and help me teach a few students.”
Elder Xuan immediately became somewhat anxious, “Elder Mu, please let me go. I feel very pained, and I don’t even know how I’ll be able to face these kids anymore.”
“If you want to leave, ﬁne.” Elder Mu said indifferently, “If you have the ability, go ﬁnd a wife and marry her. Then, leave your bloodline of the Godly Taotie Bull behind. If you can do that, I’ll let you go; if you can’t, stop talking. If you continue spewing bullshit, I’ll discipline you on behalf of my deceased senior brother.”
The other elders who were participating in the Sea God’s Pavilion’s conference revealed strange smiles as they listened to Elder Mu. Elder Lin, who sat opposite the two, directly laughed.
Humiliated, Elder Xuan said, “Lin Huiqun, what’re you laughing at?”
Elder Lin didn’t fear him in the least. She smiled slightly, “Naturally, I’m wondering whether you’ll even have the chance to pass down your bloodline anymore.”
“Hahahaha…” The other elders immediately laughed in unison. The four elders couldn’t help but laugh, and Xian Lin’er even covered her face with her hand.
Elder Xuan’s aged face immediately turned bright red, and his humiliation turned to anger as he slapped the table and yelled, “No laughing, no laughing!”
His outburst sounded serious, but the other elders seated around him laughed even louder than before; even Elder Mu revealed the trace of a smile on his face.
“Okay.” Elder Mu gently tapped the table with his hand, silencing the other elders. However, the strange looks in their eyes didn’t change in the least.
“Ever since the Guardians were established, every single student who joined was already prepared to make a sacriﬁce.” Elder Mu said indifferently, “This situation was special. Not only were we facing an evil soul master, we were even facing one who had the very rare ability to control corpses. The large number of massacres he caused with the bandits were for the sake of obtaining more corpses so he could cultivate in the techniques belonging to his evil sect. The fact that you were able to eradicate him is already a good deed. I also feel very pained by Yao Haoxuan’s sacriﬁce, but the dead are already dead. Our Shrek Guardians, however, have to continue on. Your Godly Taotie Bull makes you gluttonous, and you weren’t wrong in trusting Xiaotao and the rest. This tragedy can be even more of a reminder for us to be careful in the future. You followed them this time, but what would’ve happened if you hadn’t? Perhaps they would’ve suffered even greater losses. Also, will an elder always tag along in every mission the
Guardians undertake? It’d be better for you to train even more and better Guardians rather than blame yourself. Lin’er.”
“Present.” Xian Lin’er hurriedly stood up and replied respectfully.
“I’m going to end this now.” Elder Mu said in a low voice, “After this conference ends, every single disciple from the inner courtyard will have to go over to you and have a set of custom-made ﬂying-type and defense-type soul tools made. Anybody who dares to go against me will leave the college.” Xian Lin’er immediately revealed a delighted look on her face, “Yes.” However, Dean Yan Shaozhe furrowed his brows.
From the very beginning, the Martial Soul Department and the Soul Tool Department had been opposing parties, with the former possessing the absolute advantage. The inner courtyard disciples of the Martial Soul Department had also inherited its arrogance. Because of that, they had all chosen not to use soul tools; they believed that this would maintain the legacy of Shrek Academy. However, the decision Elder Mu made today would undoubtedly tell the Martial Soul Department that they would need the help of the Soul Tool Department.
“Teacher, don’t you need to consider this a bit more?” Yan Shaozhe asked probingly.
Elder Mu glared at him and said solemnly, “Do you want a few more deaths to change your mind? Even if this hadn’t happened, I would’ve organised a conference in Sea God’s Pavilion to talk about these important matters. Our generation keeps advancing, and soul tools were originally a creation of society’s advancement in the ﬁrst place. An individual can be strong, but working with a soul tool can only improve one’s strength even further. If you keep sticking to your old- fashioned ways, you don’t have to be a Dean anymore. I’ve already made a decision. The inner courtyard of the Martial Soul Department will have to purchase the soul tools from the Soul Tool Department using its own funds, and you’re not allowed to drop behind in your payments.”
Seeing as Elder Mu was getting angry, Yan Shaozhe didn’t dare to refute him even if he was inwardly dissatisﬁed. Thus, he assented respectfully. On the other hand, Xian Lin’er had a victorious smile on her face.
The vice-Dean, Cai Mei’er, hurriedly tried to mediate the situation with Yan Shaozhe, “Elder Mu, then what shall we do about the Continental Advanced Academy Soul Duelling
Tournament? The inner courtyard only has ten or so disciples now, and only two of them can qualify for it. However, they’re somewhat weaker. Shall we take the previously-eliminated student from the Soul Tool Department and send him along with those two students?”
Elder Xuan turned awkwardly and nodded, “If I ﬂy them over, we should be able to make it in time.”
Elder Mu shook his head. “No. We don’t need to aid them any further. Let’s let them show off their skills.”
“Ah?” The various elders present were all astonished. Of which, one elder blurted out, “Elder Mu, this matter relates to the honor of the academy.”
Elder Mu laughed calmly, “Right! Honor. Haven’t you felt that we’ve been tied up by this ‘honor’ for the past few years? Losing isn’t scary; the truly scary thing is complacency. A few people have already assumed that the Martial Soul Department is unparalleled under the heavens, and it’s time for a wake-up call. During the past thirty years, we’ve been seeing new developments in the ﬁeld of soul tools practically every day. However, what about the development of our Soul Tool
Department? If we compare ourselves to the Sun Moon Empire, we’re not lacking by just a tiny bit. As society progresses, we have to continually improve our way of thinking. Even if we send extra help, would they deﬁnitely be better than those kids?”
Yan Shaozhe naturally understood that his teacher was referring to him. He couldn’t help but lower his head, and his aged face turned slightly red. If anybody else were to speak of the importance of soul tools, he could disapprove; however, the person speaking was the teacher who he respected most. He couldn’t just not pay attention to his words.
“Although our ofﬁcial team can’t participate this time, you shouldn’t forget that our preparatory team this time is our academy’s strongest-ever. Since the Heavens have decided to give them some early practice, why don’t we help them succeed?”
“It’s too soon to talk about defeat. And even if we lose, we can use this opportunity to temper the seven children of the preparatory team, and turn them into an outstanding generation of our Shrek Academy. In that case, even if we lose, it will be still worthwhile. For the time being, let them do as they wish. Lin’er, after the tournament ends, send a request to the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy on behalf of our Soul Tool Department and apply for a student exchange program. Let’s send the students of our Soul Tool Department to their empire to study.”
Xian Lin’er was stunned. “Elder Mu, will they agree? And even if they agree, I’m afraid that our students…”
“The objective isn’t to send them there to learn,” Elder Mu said with a faint smile, “I want them to go there to gain experience. I want them to have a look at the number one soul engineering academy of the continent, and see what their soul tools look like for themselves. As for the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, they will agree. They’ve already sent a request to apply for a student exchange with our Martial Soul Department. So tell them that as long as they agree to
accept our students ﬁrst, they’re allowed to send ten students of their own to study here.”
“Yes.” Xian Lin’er replied.
Elder Mu said, “Talk things over carefully. Within ﬁve years, I want the Martial Soul and Soul Tool Departments to undergo a partial fusion. Add a weekly course on soul engineering for the students of the Martial Soul Department. Even if they don’t learn how to manufacture soul tools, they must know how to use them. Shaozhe, Mei’er, Lin’er and Duo Duo, you must remember this: the advent of soul tools cannot be stopped. We’re unable to predict to what degree they will develop in the future. Therefore, we must gain an advantage while there is still time. Our Shrek Academy has never had a lack of talents, and in the future, soul masters will ﬁght while combining both their martial souls and their soul tools.”
Perplexed, Yan Shaozhe asked, “Teacher, aren’t we rushing things? Even if soul tools are developing quickly, soul engineers aren’t comparable to soul masters that have surpassed the Soul Sage rank.”
“Aren’t you neglecting the real problem and concentrating only on details?” Elder Mu said coldly, “Anyway, you’re mistaken. Not too long ago, I personally went to the Sun Moon Empire, and the things I saw there were able to shock even me. The growth of soul tools in the Sun Moon Empire has already exceeded your imagination. I even saw a huge soul tool that needed many people to control it, and that soul tool was capable of threatening even my life. Something like that has the power to change the course of an entire war. Everything I
said today wasn’t without cause. If you keep on with this mentality and refuse to change, Shrek Academy won’t last for long.”
“What?” Yan Shaozhe was dumbfounded. He was aware of how strong his teacher was. Even if he was a powerful Titled Douluo that had reached Rank 95, in front of his Elder Mu, he was only a tiny existence. And now, his teacher said that there was a soul tool capable of threatening his life. Just how powerful was this soul tool?
“And if we look at things from the Sun Moon Empire’s perspective, they should be unwilling to remain in the shadows anymore. If a war breaks out, you think our academy can shut itself up in an ivory tower? With things as they are now, we might even be the real objective of the Sun Moon Empire’s attack.”
After hearing these words, the expressions of the nearby elders turned solemn.
“It’s been a long time since I have proposed something. “Elder Mu said in a grave tone, “Now, let’s vote for what I’ve proposed today.” After that, he raised his hand ﬁrst.
Given his position as Master of the Sea God’s Pavilion, no one had ever gone against Elder Mu’s propositions in the past, let alone now that his words had moved the elders. Everyone voted in favor.
Elder Mu nodded and said, “The academy needs to support the development of soul tools. Huiqun, your department will receive a little more funding.”
Elder Lin nodded.
Elder Mu said, “That Fan Yu from the Soul Tool Department isn’t bad. What about making him the vice-dean?”
Once again, everyone voted in favor.
“He’ll be in charge of researching and developing soul tools,” Elder Mu said to Xian Lin’er, “he doesn’t need to teach anyone else except his two inheriting disciples. Moreover, he’ll be the one leading the students in the exchange with the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy.”
Tang Ya was sitting in the dormitory and gazing out the window. Her pretty face was a bit pale.
“I wonder how Bei Bei and the others are doing. Elder sister Le Xuan said that the disciples of the inner courtyard were seriously injured during this mission. One of them died in battle, and the other six were wounded. Even if Bei Bei and the others are alright, I’m afraid they’ll have to participate in the competition.”
“Even Little Yuhao, Wang Dong, and Xiao Xiao are there. On the other hand, I’m quite useless. Even if I’m the head of the Tang Sect, I don’t seem to have a bright future. It’s already been a year since I broke through the third ring bottleneck, and up til now, my soul power has only reached Rank 33; it’s
getting harder and harder to advance. As of now, even that Dai Huabin from the second year has surpassed me. I’m already in my ﬁfth year, and I’m starting to wonder how I’ll be able to graduate once I’m in the sixth grade! Breaking through the fourth ring seems so difﬁcult.”
The always-bright Tang Ya was talking to herself. Her beautiful face was quite gloomy right now.
“Father, mother, the both of you died in such a tragic way, and yet, there is no one that can really help us. Ten thousand years have passed, and all the friendships from back then have started to wane. In any case, Shrek Academy still remembers the contributions of Ancestor Tang San and gave me a place to stay. But the Clear Sky Clan? I went to look for them, but they said that they would help the starving but not the poor. The decline of the Tang Sect seems unavoidable. No, I refuse to believe it! I must rebuild the sect, and even if I have to pay a great price, I can’t shrink back!”
Tears were streaming down Tang Ya’s tender cheeks. After all, she was only a ﬁfteen-year-old girl, but she had so many responsibilities already.
The Tang Sect had recruited Bei Bei, Huo Yuhao, Xiao Xiao, Wang Dong, and He Caitou. This had given the Tang Sect some hope. However, her talent was the worst among them. How was she supposed to lead them in the future?
After wiping her tears, Tang Ya stood up and clenched her delicate ﬁsts. “I want to become stronger. I’ll do everything to make the Tang Sect great again. Father, mother, forgive me. I’m afraid that your Little Ya will have to go Star Luo City.”
In regards to the Star Luo Empire, Star Luo City was worthy of being called the number one city. It was the Star Luo Empire’s political, cultural, and economic center. It also had the title of ‘The Undefeated Imperial Capital’.
Star Luo City’s city walls reached a height of hundred meters, and unexpectedly, their width was also a hundred meters. These walls were made of a very durable stone. The area it encircled surpassed a thousand square kilometers; it surpassed ﬁfty kilometers in both length and breadth.
The core of the city, the so-called inner city, was obviously situated in the center of Star Luo City. The inner city had a length of 960 meters and a width of 750 meters, and the inner city walls around it were 20 meters high—it was a city within a city. The Imperial Palace was already complete thanks to the
White Tiger Duke’s lineage and the Imperial Family. Every time it was rebuilt, it got bigger in scale and more magniﬁcent.
Star Luo City’s population exceeded 8 million inhabitants, and could hold up to 20 million people if one were to add the foreigners.
However, even such a big city had started to become crowded as of late. The number of visitors had rapidly increased in a short half-month, and all the hotels were full. Therefore, the ofﬁcers had to take over the residences of a few commoners and open their houses up to the visitors. The number of troops inside the city had also increased quite a lot due to security reasons.
There was only one reason for such a huge change: the Continental Advanced Academy Soul Dueling Tournament that was held every ﬁve years. And now, the tournament was taking place in Star Luo City.
There were four great empires on the continent, and the various capitals of the empires would take turns to host the tournament. Therefore, Star Luo City would need to wait another twenty years to hold it again. How could such a grand occasion not attract all the residents of the Star Luo Empire?
The tournament was going to be held in Star Luo Plaza, in front of the inner city. Star Luo Plaza was very big, and could hold many spectators. There were thirty thousand soldiers tasked with keeping order in the city, and ten thousand of them were stationed at Star Luo Plaza.
Not far from the east side of the Star Luo Plaza was a big hotel with seven stories. This was the Imperial Star Grand Hotel, and it belonged to the royal family. Currently, it was being used to welcome the various high-ranked soul masters and soul engineers coming from the other countries to participate in the tournament.
Due to the fact that they were the reigning champions from the number one academy on the continent, the members of Shrek Academy were situated in the most luxurious room on the highest ﬂoor. Everyone had their own bedroom, and in
addition, they also had a meeting room that they could use as they wished.
At this time, the ten members of the team and their leading teacher, Wang Yan, were in the middle of the meeting room, talking things over before the start of the match.
They had only arrived in Star Luo City yesterday. They were quite late compared to the other academies participating in the tournament. However, in their eyes, it was just Shrek Academy acting arrogantly because they were the defending champions and the number one academy on the continent.
Wang Yan sat in the place of honor. On his left were Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng, and Ling Luochen; all three of them had pale complexions. Their internal organs were still damaged. Even if they had received medical treatment and tried to recuperate their strength with their own methods, they had rushed here in great haste with the aid of a ﬂying-type soul tool. This had taken quite a toll on them, and had actually aggravated the state of their injuries. The time they would need to recuperate was going to be higher than the previous estimates.
Given the situation, it would be strange if Wang Yan had a good complexion.
The registrations would end today. Wang Yang had already discussed things with the organizers of the tournament and signed up the current students, but the reinforcements from the academy were yet to be seen. The competition would start tomorrow, and at this point, they could only rely on themselves.
Wang Yan tried to calm down, and showed a slight smile on his face as he said, “Did you have a proper rest yesterday? The Star Luo Empire’s hospitality isn’t half bad.”
Bei Bei, who was the ﬁrst on his right, said, “We had a good rest. However, today is the last day for the registration, and those reinforcements from the academy…”
Wang Yan waved his hand and said, “Don’t worry. I’ve already received a letter from the academy. It takes some time to gather students that were away. Moreover, our academy has a certain privilege… thus, we must ﬁght for Shrek’s glory! I really wonder how far the preparatory team can go.”
Chapter 75: The Start of the Tournament
“Privilege?” The disciples from the outer courtyard looked at Wang Yan in astonishment.
Wang Yan nodded. “Right! Don’t forget, our Shrek Academy reigns as the number one academy across the entire continent. When were we not the champions of a tournament? Because of that, we’ll be able to complete our registrations regardless of when we arrive. However, the inner courtyard disciples are also Guardians, and many of them are carrying out assignments in the outside world, so they’ll deﬁnitely need some time to rush over. We won’t meet any strong opponents in the ﬁrst few matches, so I’m conﬁdent there’ll be no problem with your strength. Now, I’ll explain the rules of the Continental Advanced Academy Soul Duelling Tournament.”
After putting the students from the outer courtyard at ease, Wang Yan explained calmly, “The Continental Advanced Academy Soul Duelling Tournament is the ultimate competition for the various academies around the world. It has fair and equitable rules that test the total strength of each academy’s students.”
“Because of that, the manners in which we compete are extremely plentiful and lively. I’m going to explain some of them today. There are a total of a hundred and thirty three advanced soul master and soul engineering academies who’ve come today, and all of them are staying in this hotel. The ﬁrst round of the preliminaries is a direct elimination match. In other words, the losing party will be directly eliminated. The ﬁrst round will be a 7v7 team ﬁght. The lot-drawing for which will be carried out tomorrow. I reckon that it’ll take three days for the ﬁrst round to be ﬁnished.”
“Once the ﬁrst round is ﬁnished, we’ll be split into groups. Each group will have eight or nine teams, and will undergo a round-robin tournament. The rules for each of the round- robin matches will be randomly chosen from one of three situations: Firstly, Single Elimination. Secondly, a 3-man, 2- man, and 2-man Coordination Match. And lastly, a 7v7 Team Fight. This will test the comprehensive strength of every team. Every match will have a lot-drawing preceding the match, and this will determine which situation will be used for that match. This is the best way to test your strength as a whole.”
“I’ll explain the speciﬁcs of these matches after you get through the ﬁrst round. Right now, you’ll have to face your opponents in the ﬁrst round. After you ﬁnish that, we’ll be able to get into the elimination round and wait for our backup.
Xiaotao and the rest won’t be able to make it in time, so we can only rely on you guys to win this no matter what. After the elimination round, you won’t have to be so nervous about the later matches. Furthermore, we could have our backups coming at any time. Even if they aren’t able to make it in time, Xiaotao and the rest will be able to recover their strength within half a month, at the very most. And after all, we’re still the number one team.”
The moment they heard that the ﬁrst round was an elimination round, everyone’s faces clearly turned serious. If Shrek Academy were to take their leave in the ﬁrst round of the Continental Advanced Soul Duelling Tournament, they would become a joke.
Yet, Wang Yan was extremely conﬁdent. Without revealing any worry at all, he smiled slightly. “What are you guys doing? Are you nervous? You don’t need to be nervous at all. After the tournament starts, you’ll realise that your opponents are far far weaker than what you were expecting. You’ve forgotten one thing; you’re the elites who’ve been chosen from Shrek Academy. Even if you’re the preparatory team, the fact that you’ve been chosen to represent Shrek Academy on this platform has proved that you’ve got enough strength. Moreover, this strength is something that the other academies will never be able to compare against. You can’t assume that
your opponents from the Continental Advanced Soul Duelling Tournament will be as strong as the powerful enemies you’ve faced during your advancement tests!”
Everyone present was slightly stunned, Right! Teacher Wang was right. They were the disciples of the number one academy on the continent. They couldn’t use their fellow peers to judge the strength of their opponents.
Wang Yan leaned back in his chair comfortably, “Other than Yuhao, all of you have optimum soul ring combinations; every single one of you has a thousand year soul ring. What about your opponents? Do you think thousand year soul beasts are that easy to hunt? I can tell you that even Soul Kings are rare in many of the advanced soul master academies. Although your opponents are all around twenty, it’s already quite hard for them to guarantee that their whole team will be ﬁlled with soul masters who have three or more rings. Four-ringed soul masters are extremely rare. I dare say that unless you meet the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, you won’t meet a Soul King. What cultivations does our team possess? We have four Soul Ancestors, and two people with twin martial souls; we even have an Ultimate martial soul. Your opponents should be the nervous ones. Okay, go rest. Preserve your energy and go beat them up tomorrow. Let the other academies see that they won’t have any chance against us, even
if we send out our reserve team. Oh, right. I have to remind you that we’ll deﬁnitely be going out on the ﬁrst day of the elimination round. As the reigning champions, we’ll be the ﬁrst ones out.”
Somewhat astonished, Xu Sanshi asked, “Teacher Wang, are you not going to make any strategies for us?”
Wang Yan snorted unhappily. “What do you need a strategy for? Are you trying to humiliate me, or yourselves? Do you even need a strategy against these types of opponents? Go. Xiaotao, you three stay behind for a moment. I’m going to get some medicine for you.” The seven from the preparatory team all returned to their rooms and rested. After Wang Yan’s speech, they had become much less nervous. Right! We’re the elites of Shrek Academy! So what if we’re from the preparatory team? We’re not weaker than anyone else.
Once the seven left, Wang Yan rose to his feet and shut the door to the conference room. The relaxed look on his face instantly vanished as he let out a long sigh. Once he sat back down, the look on his face turned extremely serious.
Dai Yueheng sighed, “Teacher Wang, is there a need for you to console them like this? Although nothing you said was wrong, the students who are representing their respective academies are the most elite existences among their peers as well. Although there might be a few weaker ones, the overwhelmingly large majority of our opponents are at the Soul Ancestor rank on average. Furthermore, the academy
we’re ﬁghting against in the elimination round tomorrow will deﬁnitely go all-out.”
Ma Xiaotao said, “What Teacher Wang did was right. Were it not for him, they wouldn’t have any morale at all; they wouldn’t have even needed to ﬁght if that was the case. All we can do now is trust them completely. Can you or I even move now?”
“I asked you three to stay behind to tell me how long you’ll need to recover from your injuries and ﬁght,” Wang Yan said solemnly, “I need an accurate timespan.”
Ma Xiaotao said, “If I go all-out cultivating to recuperate, I’ll need ﬁfteen days.”
Dai Yueheng said, “My cultivation isn’t as good as Xiaotao’s, so I might need a bit more time. I reckon seventeen days or so.”
Wang Yan’s heart became increasingly heavy. This was his ﬁrst time taking a team to a tournament and he wasn’t conﬁdent in himself at all!
Ling Luocheng said, “My injuries are relatively lighter, so ten days or so should be good.”
There was ﬁnally a rather good piece of news. After doing a few calculations, Wang Yan continued, “In other words, you’ll be able to ﬁght in the third or fourth match of the knock-out tournament if everything goes well.”
After sinking into contemplation for a while, Wang Yan nodded. “We can only hope that they’ll win their ﬁrst match. We’ll only have the chance to continue on if we’re able to get into the knockout stage. You have to keep the fact that we don’t have a backup team a secret. Their conﬁdence has to be established via victory, and I believe that they’ll have the strength to maintain the glory of our Shrek Academy.”
Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong both returned to the former’s room.
After shutting the door, Wang Dong couldn’t help but ask, “Yuhao, do you think what Teacher Wang said was the truth?”
Huo Yuhao smiled slightly. “Regardless of whether it’s true or not, we have to assume that he’s being honest, because we simply don’t have any other choices. Come, let’s start cultivating. After the lot-drawing for the knockout round tomorrow, the tournament will ofﬁcially start. The only thing we can do now is make ourselves more conﬁdent. There are no alternatives.”
“Right.” Wang Dong sat directly opposite Huo Yuhao, and the two placed their palms against each other and started cultivating their Haodong Power.
Shrek Academy wasn’t the only academy that was holding a meeting; at this moment, all of the participating academies were trying to boost the morale of their students. The Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy that was on the same level as Shrek Academy was also doing the same.
They were always second place in practically every single tournament, so there was practically no difference between the treatment that they and Shrek Academy received in the Imperial Star Grand Hotel. They only had a single target, that was, to become champions.
Two elders sat at the head of the table within the conference room, and a total of fourteen students were sat by their sides. The students seated on the left were evidently older, and the students seated on the right were slightly younger. Clearly, the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy had also sent an ofﬁcial team and a preparatory team for the tournament that was to be held ﬁve years later.
The elder who sat on the left had a straight nose, and a square mouth. His facial features were majestic, and he was wrinkled like a date. As he sat there with his wide shoulders, he gave off an extremely sturdy feeling. He spoke in a low voice. “According to our investigations, Shrek Academy has actually brought only ten people this time. Furthermore, three of them look younger than twelve. The others are a bit older. We’ve used a few men who’ve inﬁltrated the inner parts of the Star Luo Empire, and we’ve obtained accurate information. When they registered, only those three were nineteen. The other seven were all under ﬁfteen. In other words, Shrek Academy didn’t even make an ofﬁcial team of seven to
participate in this tournament. Out of the seven from last time’s preparatory team, only two of them showed up. It’s the ﬁrst time we’ve seen that nineteen-year-old girl show up. Do you know what this means?”
The fourteen students were all somewhat doubtful.
The elder seated by the right had a curly beard and was similarly tall and big. His short white hair resembled steel needles, and the hairs on his temples, along with his curly beard made him seem impressively terrifying.
He pounded the table violently, and stood up, saying, “It means that they’re looking down on us! They think they can defeat us just with their preparatory team! This is like getting a slap in the face; do you understand that? This is the most direct way they could use to slap us in the face. According to the rules of the tournament, the registrations will end today. Therefore, they’re planning to rely on that team to ﬁght us. Ma Rulong.”
“Here.” A male student sitting in the place of honor on the regular team’s side stood up. His face was somewhat similar to the angry old man’s. He had a large stature and short hair with curly sideburns. Both his eyes were bright, and his entire body was emitting a boundless power.
“If we manage to lose against such a lineup, you will be kicked out of the Illustrious Virtue Hall.”
“Yes.” Ma Rulong replied with one word just like before, but his voice was already ﬁlled with murderous intent.
“Elder Ma, don’t be anxious. I don’t think things are so simple.” Sitting in front of Ma Rulong was the captain of the preparatory team; he was less than ﬁfteen, and looked very pretty and delicate. He had big bright blue eyes, and a tall and slender build. His hands, which were now placed on the table, were also as white as jade and very delicate. Even a girl was unlikely to have such beautiful hands. He seemed to like his hands very much. Even while talking to Elder Ma, he was still gazing at them as if looking at the most beautiful piece of art in the world.
Elder Ma furrowed his brows slightly and asked, “What’s not so simple?”
The delicate youth was still looking at this hands as he said, “Shrek Academy isn’t made of fools. How can they not know that those three aren’t enough to stop us? I have great conﬁdence in Big Brother Rulong, but as I see it, Shrek Academy must have run into some kind of problem. Didn’t they always attach great importance to us? It’s strange that they would get careless at this time.”
After hearing these words, Elder Ma’s face became slightly red. He had also suspected that something like this might have
happened, but he had still said those words to rally the students.
“That would be better. Xiao Hongchen, you should use all this energy to deal with those students of Shrek Academy that are under ﬁfteen years old. They’ll be your opponents in the next tournament.”
The youth named Xiao Hongchen ﬁnally raised his head and smiled. This smile was just like that of a beautiful woman. Then, he said, “Elder Ma, only I can be my opponent.”
Ma Rulong, who was sitting on the other side, gave him a supercilious look as he said, “Xiao Hongchen, if you have something to say, just say it.”
Xiao Hongchen put on a happy face. “Big Brother Ma, I’ve already said it. You should try your best, because if you fail to defeat the current members sent by Shrek Academy, you’ll be kicked out of the Illustrious Virtue Hall just like Elder Ma said. That would be a pity, wouldn’t it?”
“You…” A hint of anger immediately appeared in Ma Rulong’s eyes.
Elder Ma glared at him and said in a grave tone, “Sit down.
I’ll now choose those that will participate in the ﬁrst round.”
Even if he was only the captain of the preparatory team, both the leader of the main team Ma Rulong and the old man that was leading them seemed to dread him. Behind Xiao Hongchen’s smiled was hidden an arrogance that seemed to place him above every other living thing.
Early morning. Just as the ﬁrst rays of sunlight started to shine over Star Luo City, the capital of the Star Luo Empire was shrouded in a solemn atmosphere.
All the roads leading to Star Luo Plaza were blocked by soldiers in shining armor. The Imperial Star Grand Hotel was even more well-guarded. More than a thousand soldiers were stationed around it, and all the roads leading to Star Luo Plaza from there were under strict supervision.
Only the members of the various academies that were participating in the tournament could get through the encirclement.
The location where the tournament would take place wasn’t the middle of Star Luo Plaza. It was instead going to take place in front of the inner city gate. This way, the emperor could watch the show with his civil and military ministers from the top of the walls of the inner city. Not only was the view very good, but it was also very safe.
The platform that would be used for the matches had a length and breadth of 100 meters and a height of 5 meters. Moreover, there were 108 pillars of metal on the periphery of the platform. These pillars weren’t there as an ornament, but were instead a defensive-type soul tool. After the start of the tournament, these pillars would be controlled by 108 soul masters, creating a defensive formation around the platform that would stop the leakage of soul skills. This was to avoid destroying the inner city and causing casualties.
The platform had cost a large amount of money to construct. Moreover, they would have to compensate the 108 soul masters that would operate the defensive-type soul tools for the duration of the tournament, which would go on for more than
a month. It was difﬁcult to achieve all of this without the power of an empire.
At this time, except for the far off soldiers, there wasn’t a single soul in the wide Star Luo Plaza.
The previous time the tournament had been held in the Star Luo Empire, there was an incident where people had trampled on each other. Therefore, the royal family had decided to attach great importance to this matter. Not only they dispatch the army to keep order this time, they also found other ways to avoid problems.
There were many iron bars in the plaza. These iron bars were around 1.5 meters high, and wouldn’t cover the line of sight for most of the audience. Their purpose was to divide the plaza into different zones. The audience had to enter and exit the plaza from different places; this made the soldiers’ work much easier. Every area could only hold a certain number of spectators.
The inner city was located on the northern side of Star Luo City, facing south, and a luxurious resting area was built on the eastern side of the platform. It had been specially built for the
members of the various academies that would be participating in the tournament. However, there was only space for around seventy academies in this resting area. This meant that there wasn’t space for the academies that would be eliminated in the ﬁrst round. With that, there would be no waste of space, and the students would be more motivated.
After the tournament had changed its system to the current one, except for the ﬁnal stage, the thorniest one was exactly this ﬁrst round of eliminations. Both its awesomeness and harshness exceeded that of the round-robin that would come later.
There was still place for tactics in the robin-round stage, and you could even make use of tactical defeats. However, the ﬁrst round would lead to a direct elimination. Losing the match would mean that you were out of the tournament, and every team had to go through this ﬁrst round. Even the defending champions of Shrek Academy were no exception. When drawing lots, there was a possibility of a team obtaining a bye. However, none of the academies could enjoy its privileges directly.
The teachers leading the respective academies had arrived at the inner city very early in the morning. They received a
number plate based on the time they had registered, and afterward, they started to draw lots. At this time, the lots had already been drawn. An ofﬁcial of the Star Luo Empire had the duty of announcing the results of the lots. Once the order of the matches was decided, the ﬁnal preparations for the early phase of the tournament could be considered complete.
The sun slowly rose from the far away east. And Star Luo City, which was located in the middle of the continent, was engulfed in warmth.
On the city walls of the inner city was a middle-aged man with his hands crossed behind his back and an imperial golden crown on his head. He was wearing a long bright yellow gown, and was standing exactly on top of the main entrance to the inner city. This also happened to be the best place from where to watch the match.
At his side was a beautiful woman wearing ﬁne attire that belonged to a palace lady; she was standing respectfully and quietly beside him. A few steps behind her were the Star Luo Empire’s civil and military ofﬁcers.
“Your Majesty.” An old man wearing the red clothes of a civil ofﬁcer took a step forward and bowed respectfully after arriving at the man’s side. On his long gown was embroidered a python; this signiﬁed that his status was very high. He was worthy of holding the highest position.
“Prime minister, how are the arrangements going?” The emperor asked with a smile.
The prime minister respectfully said, “Everything is ready. The lots were drawn, and the order of the matches has been decided. There are no problems in the periphery either. We can allow the citizens to enter the arena.”
The emperor of the Star Luo Empire nodded and said with a smile, “Good, pass my order down. Clear the important passages, and allow the people to enter the arena. Make them enter in a slow and orderly fashion. If there are problems, the ones in charge of the area involved will be punished severely.”
“Yes.” The prime minister retreated several steps before turning and leaving.
The emperor spoke to the beautiful woman beside him. “Empress, we have waited twenty years for this grand occasion. It reminds me of when I was young! If the royal family didn’t have so many customs, I would have participated myself.”
“The emperor has always had the heart of a soldier,” the empress said with a faint smile.
“Look,” The emperor said with a smile of his own, “the students of the various academies are already entering the arena. However, not all of them will be able to make use of the resting area. Only those that achieve victory will have this privilege. It seems that Shrek Academy has only sent ten people this time, and their age is quite young. One of the leading students is Dai Hao’s eldest son. I thought of calling him back and letting him watch the tournament. After all, it’s something that our country can host only every twenty years. But in the end, I decided against it; the Sun Moon Empire is getting more and more restless. If he is there guarding the western border, I’ll feel more at ease.”
The empress listened quietly and didn’t say anything. As the ﬁrst lady of the nation, she wasn’t allowed to interfere with politics. Especially when there were many civil and military
ofﬁcers around them. Every one of those military ofﬁcers was a powerful soul master. Their hearing was very keen.
At this time, the crowd started to enter Star Luo Plaza under the lead of the army; the long lines converged inside the plaza.
You couldn’t watch the tournament for free. However, the admission cost wasn’t too high either; it was only two gold soul coins. And even if a limited number of people could enter the plaza, there was enough space to accommodate more than twenty thousand spectators. Two gold soul coins was the base price. The nearer you were to the platform, the higher the price. You had to pay a hundred gold soul coins to enter the area that was nearest to the platform.
For the commoners, it was a lot of money. But for aristocrats and merchants, it wasn’t that much.
The Star Luo Empire was treating all the spectators fairly. The more you paid, the nearer you would be to the platform. But aside from this, everyone was treated the same. There weren’t any seats, and you could watch only while standing. This was so that they could accommodate more people.
This simple entrance fee they collected would earn the Star Luo Empire two million or so gold soul coins every day. Within a single month, they could earn a total of sixty million gold soul coins. After deducting the military and other various costs, the empire would still earn a large sum. This was one of the main reasons why the four empires were very willing to host the Continental Advanced Soul Duelling Tournament. It had to be known that a year’s worth of revenue from Star Luo City wasn’t far from this number!
Just as the spectators began to ﬁll the arena, Huo Yuhao and his companions were standing in the participant’s area.
Today, the people from Shrek Academy were dressed in their traditional, dark-green school uniforms; these were the standard colors of the academy. Furthermore, they stood at the very front of all of the other academies. However, there were no objections to this. This was the glory that Shrek Academy had accumulated through their strength for over a thousand years.
However, the other participants who stood behind them involuntarily revealed a look of astonishment as they looked at their lineup.
It would have been ﬁne if only ten people had turned up, but an overwhelmingly large majority of the ten didn’t seem like they were anywhere near twenty years old. They were able to see how young they were without even using a bone test. Only the three who stood at the very front seemed like they were of an appropriate age. However, they all wore cloaks that concealed their facial features.
A large majority of the academies were inwardly praying that they wouldn’t meet Shrek Academy or the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy in their ﬁrst match. Otherwise, it was practically announcing that they would be eliminated.
The participants from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy stood behind Shrek Academy, allowing them to get an even better view of the students from the latter.
The youngest students from Shrek Academy were Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong, and Xiao Xiao. Huo Yuhao was slightly better than the other two; after fusing with the Ice Empress’
torso bone, his stature had changed greatly. He could now pass for a fourteen or ﬁfteen-year-old youth. However, Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao’s faces still looked somewhat infantile. This was especially true for Xiao Xiao. She was rather short, and looked like she was only a young girl. At this moment, even the proud Xiao Hongchen was ﬁlled with doubt. Just what was Shrek Academy trying to do by sending out a lineup like this?
It took a full hour for the spectators to enter the arena; there were simply too many people.
The originally-empty Star Luo Plaza was now packed with people. Fortunately, the place didn’t seem too chaotic due to the iron fences partitioning it, in addition to the army maintaining order.
It was now 9am.
“Silence.” A loud voice suddenly spread throughout the entire ﬁeld. After hearing this voice, every soldier in the army stood perfectly straight and raised the lances in their hands.
Immediately, as the solemn voice covered the entire ﬁeld, the originally-clamorous Star Luo Plaza promptly went silent.
“His Majesty, the Emperor, arrives!”
With a crash, the populace immediately knelt down in large numbers. Several hundreds of thousands of people simultaneously made the same, orderly movements, creating a truly spectacular scene.
The soldiers only knelt down on one knee, but the participating academies had been given special permission to not kneel. However, they had to give a ninety-degree bow to show their respect to the emperor.
“Subjects, you may rise.” The voice of the Star Luo Empire’s emperor was magniﬁed with a loudspeaker-type soul tool. Only then did the populace get to their feet, and the participating students subsequently straightened their backs. The gazes of everyone present were cast towards the top of the imperial capital’s walls.
The Star Luo Emperor was already standing at the very front of the city walls, along with the empress and his civil and military ofﬁcials. His gentle gaze didn’t lose any of its grandeur as he surveyed his people.
“The Continental Advanced Academy Soul Duelling Tournament is the most important occasion on our Douluo Continent. This time, it’s our Star Luo Empire’s turn to host it, and I’m very happy. Now, on behalf of the Star Luo Empire, I welcome each and every academy who has travelled far to come here. I wish that you’ll be able to reveal the elegance you should have in the tournament one month from now.
“Thank you, your majesty.” The leaders and students from the hundred and thirty-three academies bowed again.
The Star Luo Emperor nodded and smiled slightly in their direction.
“Okay, I now announce that the Continental Advanced Academy Soul Duelling Tournament has formally begun!” The Star Luo Emperor’s loud declaration opened the curtains to this grand occasion.
“Long live the king, long live the king, long live the king!” The masses all cheered in chorus. The atmosphere in the plaza seemed to have been aroused instantly.
“Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom….” Gun salutes rang out from the city walls, and rang out a hundred and eight times before stopping. Star Luo Plaza had already transformed into an ocean of excitement and cheers.
The Star Luo Emperor retreated slightly with his generals, then took a seat alongside the empress in a chair that was already prepared for him. He waved towards the prime minister beside him, who then obeyed his command and ordered a subordinate to start the tournament.
The sonorous voice that had previously spoken immediately rang out again, “According to the rules of the Continental Advanced Academy Soul Duelling Tournament, the ﬁrst round of the tournament will be a knockout round. This year, there have been a total of a hundred and thirty-three academies who have registered so far. After drawing some lots, there will be a single team who has a bye. A total of sixty-six matches will be conducted. The ﬁrst round will be a knockout round, and the loser will have to end his journey in this tournament. Now, the ﬁrst match will begin. The ﬁrst team consists of the
participants from the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy, while the other is the continent’s number one academy, the academy that has countless feats of glory to its name, the academy that has won every single tournament for the past thousand years, Shrek Academy!”
Following the announcer’s declaration, the atmosphere in Star Luo Plaza immediately reached its boiling point.
“Shrek, Shrek, Shrek…”
The shouts for Shrek Academy thoroughly covered every single corner of the plaza.
The seven from the preparatory team were left staring blankly as they watched the scene unfurling in front of them. This was the ﬁrst time they’d seen something like this, and their faces were somewhat pale for a brief moment. This was a crowd of several hundreds of thousands! If they were to lose this match, leading to Shrek Academy’s disqualiﬁcation, they simply couldn’t imagine what would happen.
“Everyone, don’t panic. This is the glory that belongs to our Shrek Academy, and also the glory that will soon belong to you. During the last tournament, we too faced a scene like this. I can tell you that our opponents will deﬁnitely be ten times more nervous and panicked than us, because we’re Shrek Academy.” Ma Xiaotao’s voice rang out in the ears of every single member of the preparatory team.
A scene like this was a ﬁrst even for Wang Yan, who was leading the group! Only Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng, and Ling Luochen, who’d previously represented Shrek Academy as the preparatory team in the last tournament, would’ve seen something like this. At this moment, Ma Xiaotao’s words were naturally most persuasive to them.
Dai Yueheng immediately continued, “Xiaotao’s correct. These cheers are for us, and for the glory of Shrek Academy. Right now, we need you to burst forth and step up. Use your strength to prove how powerful our Shrek Academy is. Go. Raise your chests, and put on your most enthusiastic face to thank these supporters.”
With the morale boost from the two seniors, their incessantly excited hearts calmed down slightly. However, their palms were still sweaty. They naturally didn’t know that
Shrek Academy’s preparatory team had never appeared in the ﬁrst round before. This was because the ﬁrst match represented the face of Shrek Academy. Furthermore, their hearts would deﬁnitely be affected after facing such a passionate crowd for the ﬁrst time. Thus, the main team would
go out in full force during the ﬁrst round.
However, they simply had no other choice now!
Right at this moment, the announcer’s voice rang out. “May the team members from the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy take the ﬁeld.”
A group of young, pale-faced students walked out from the far side of the contestant’s area. As they walked out, even their footsteps were somewhat unstable. Ma Xiaotao giggled, and turned towards Huo Yuhao and the rest, “Look, these are your opponents. Have you noticed? Some of them are shaking all over. The reputation of Shrek Academy is indeed a large responsibility and a heavy burden on you, but our glory is also one of the most effective weapons you have. Bring out your courage and strength. Shrek, win.”
With that, Ma Xiaotao strode towards Bei Bei and extended her right hand. The others then stepped forth, and eleven right hands were placed atop each other.
Wang Yan whispered, “Huo Yuhao, you’re in charge of commanding the team after we’re up. The rest of you have to follow and maneuver according to his Spiritual Detection. Yuhao, use your second soul skill carefully, if possible.”
Huo Yuhao’s mind had originally still been somewhat blank, but he was suddenly enlightened after hearing Wang Yan’s reminder and the words that Ma Xiaotao had said. His Spirit Eyes immediately lit up, and he nodded heavily. “Teacher Wang, I understand. Seniors, don’t worry. We won’t lose any of Shrek’s face. Shrek, win.”
As they looked at the determination in Huo Yuhao’s eyes as he said the word ‘Shrek’, every single member of the preparatory team felt their blood boiling. Right, they were students of Shrek Academy, representing the ten thousands years of glory it had held. Their opponents would only feel fear towards them. What they had to do was beat every single opponent who stood in front of them.
They no longer had an escape, nor did they need to retreat.
They needed to unceasingly advance, advance, and advance!
“Okay, the members of the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy have stepped up. Under the eyes of the crowd, let us now have the continent’s number one academy, the true king of academies, Shrek Academy, take the ﬁeld!”
The announcer’s resounding voice immediately reached its peak, and Star Luo Plaza instantly became a sea of voices that cheered for Shrek. Even the Star Luo Emperor, who sat on the city walls, couldn’t help but stand up and reveal a look of excitement on his face. Who would’ve imagined that he’d studied in Shrek Academy during his youth using a pseudonym? Even now, he still deeply loved a person, the person who eternally stood guard within Shrek Academy’s inner courtyard...
Chapter 76: I come from Shrek, and from the Tang Sect!
All of their hands trembled a bit when they heard themselves called up. When Bei Bei raised his head, the lazy smile that was normally present on his face had vanished. Resolute determination now ﬁlled his face as he took large strides towards the stage.
He Caitou followed immediately after Bei Bei, while Xu Sanshi, Jiang Nannan, Xiao Xiao, Huo Yuhao, and Wang Dong all trailed behind him.
Right. As of this moment, the seven of them were now representing Shrek Academy. As of this moment, they were the current generation of Shrek’s Seven Monsters. The halo of their ancestors seemed to envelop their bodies, alongside the halo of the Tang Sect!
The radiance of the Tang Sect and Shrek Academy seemed to ignite within them at the same time, and when it did, their emotions reached an unprecedented level of excitement.
Their breathing had become somewhat rushed amidst the cheers that had encompassed them, and their faces had become ﬂushed. Their soul power had also begun rapidly circulating throughout their bodies due to their excitement. As a result, they all felt as if they had an unlimited amount of energy.
Finally, they neared the tall stage that they’d be participating upon. However, when they did so, Bei Bei didn’t rush to step onto it. Instead, he turned towards his companions and said in a low voice, “We can’t just win this match; we have to do so overwhelmingly. We have to show the glory that belongs to Shrek Academy. Yuhao, we’ll be relying on you.”
Huo Yuhao forcefully nodded. He naturally understood what his senior brother was implying.
Only when he saw this did Bei Bei turn around and take large strides towards the tall stage in front of him.
The seven members of each team gathered at their respective corners of the stage and looked towards one another. When the students from the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy saw that Shrek Academy had actually sent out such a young line-up,
they were involuntarily stunned. Has Shrek Academy sent its preparatory team up? But, but this is the knockout round! Aren’t they scared that they’ll lose?!
A similar question appeared in all of the spectator’s minds as well, including those of the participating academies. Even the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy was left dumbstruck.
At this moment, even Xiao Hongchen was doubtful of his own judgement. Wasn’t Shrek Academy being too brazen? Regardless of how strong they were, would they be able to beat a team of soul masters who were near twenty years old with a team that had an average age of ﬁfteen? One that even had a few members that looked eleven to twelve years old? There were no second chances if they were to lose!
The Star Luo Emperor also had a stunned look on his face. He asked doubtfully, “Just what is Shrek Academy doing? Why aren’t they sending out their main force? Why isn’t Dai Hao’s son coming up on stage?”
However, a competition was a competition. No matter how doubtful they were, the competition still had to go on.
The referee sent by the Star Luo Empire had already taken his position. He motioned for both parties to step forward.
The seven students from both teams gathered in the center of the arena. The closer they got to each other, the more the Shrek’s Seven Monsters were able to see the unsightly faces of their opponents. Countless years of history before them had already proven this; the result of meeting Shrek Academy in the ﬁrst round was obvious.
On the other hand, the interest of the students from Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy were piqued by Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong, and Xiao Xiao as they got closer. What’s more, Bei Bei and the rest were clearly very young! This was undoubtedly their preparatory team. Furthermore, it was a preparatory team that had an average age that was lower than ﬁfteen. Sure enough, Shrek Academy was completely deserving of its nickname of an academy for monsters. Just what were they trying to do?
“The ﬁrst round of the knockout round is a team ﬁght.” The referee said solemnly, “Both parties can use a large majority of their soul tools during the ﬁght. However, if one party admits defeat during the course of the ﬁght, the other party cannot
continue attacking. Soul engineers cannot use stationary soul tools which have a high degree of killing power. Do you understand?”
“Understood.” Bei Bei calmly took the initiative to respond.
The leader of the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy’s team was a slender youth who looked around twenty. Among the seven they were pit against, his expression was rather ordinary. He responded as well, following Bei Bei.
Although they were only ﬁghting against Shrek Academy’s preparatory team, it was just as Ma Xiaotao had said. Shrek’s reputation in itself was a powerful weapon. As they looked at the menacing gazes of Huo Yuhao’s seven, the students from the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy felt even weaker.
The referee nodded, “Good. Both parties, move back to your corners. Once I give the command, the battle will start. Before I announce the start of this match, you are not allowed to release any martial souls. Otherwise, you will be punished.”
Both parties started to slowly widen the distance between them. As they retreated, Huo Yuhao turned around and whispered, “Later, everyone stand according to my arrangements. After that, ﬁght by following my Spiritual Detection.”
Huo Yuhao had no conﬁdence in commanding the team members of the ofﬁcial team. However, he was closely related to a large portion of the preparatory team. The team leader, Bei Bei, was his senior brother; the second eldest of the lot, He Caitou, was also his senior brother. There was no need to even mention Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao. He’d gotten closer to Xu Sanshi and Jiang Nannan over these past few days, but more importantly, everyone was convinced by his Spiritual Detection.
Over on the other side, the Tian Ling Empire were taking a very defensive formation. Quickly, both parties arrived at the edges of the arena.
The referee who stood at the center of the arena slowly raised his right hand. At this moment, the Star Luo Plaza ﬁlled with several hundreds of thousands of people instantly quieted down. Every single spectator was staring at the spacious stage with their eyes wide.
This was the ﬁrst round of the tournament, as well as the ﬁrst knockout round. Moreover, it was a match that had the continent’s number one academy participating! Shrek Academy’s participants were very young, but they still carried the glory of Shrek with them. Everybody wished to see what they could do.
As the referee raised his hand, both parties immediately took their positions. At the same time, the hundred and eight soul masters from the Star Luo Empire pressed their hands to the metal pillars in front of them.
The hundred and eight metal pillars lit up simultaneously, causing rays of white light to surge into the sky. They carved out arcs as they gathered in midair, twenty meters above the stage.
When the hundred and eight rays of light were gathered together, a white curtain of light rained down, covering the entire ﬁeld. The protective barrier had been completed, signifying that the Continental Advanced Academy Soul Duelling Tournament was about to begin.
Over on the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy’s side, the seven people quickly arranged themselves into a traditional battle formation. Three soul masters stood at the very front of the formation, and the fact that they were either assault or defense-type soul masters could be seen with a glance. The two soul masters who stood slightly behind them should be agility- type soul masters. The last of the soul masters stood in a single
line, one in front and one in the back, and according to the traditional layout, it was clear that they were respectively control-type and auxiliary-type soul masters.
This was the best seven-man formation that had been devised after countless battles. If they were focused on attacking, the three people in front would be assault-type soul masters; if they were focused on defense and stability, there would be one or two defense-type soul masters.
A traditional formation like this one was called the 3-2-1-1 formation.
However, not many people were currently looking at the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy team. Practically everyone was focused on Shrek. Furthermore, they involuntarily cried out in surprise due to the scene in front of them. The ones who cried out the loudest were actually the hundred-plus Advanced
Academies that were participating in the tournament. This was because Shrek Academy had revealed a formation that they were simply unable to comprehend.
Huo Yuhao stood at the very front of the formation, and his still-infantile face was currently ﬁlled with an arrogant look. On the other hand, the six people behind him maintained a fan-shaped formation behind him, making it seem as though the stars were cupping themselves around the moon. As a result, he was made the most prominent of the lot.
What was this formation even called?
The Advanced Academies that could participate in this tournament all had a certain amount of reputation within the continent. They had each conducted research into military strategy with regards to soul masters, but not a single academy had ever created a formation like this one.
A formation like this made it seem as though the other six were just there to cheer for Huo Yuhao, as if they were letting him go out and ﬁght by himself. This was an incomprehensible scene! After sending out its preparatory team, Shrek Academy was giving everyone another surprise.
Even the referee was somewhat dumbstruck. The fact that he was able to become a referee of the tournament showed that he was naturally a high-ranking soul master who had been specially chosen by the Star Luo Empire.
The host of every single tournament was an empire, and this was also a time where the various countries were able to reveal their strength to the outstanding elites coming from the various academies. Naturally, they would do everything to the best of their abilities. However, even this referee had never seen a formation like this in a team ﬁght before! He even forgot to put down the right hand that he had lifted earlier.
“Referee, we can start now.” Huo Yuhao said to the referee in an extremely unperturbed manner.
He wasn’t old, and even his voice was in the midst of cracking. Thus, his puerile voice was somewhat coarse. However, he was now the main focus of the entire crowd after standing in front.
Only then did the referee come back to his senses. He swung down his right hand, then shouted, “Match, start!” No matter
what formation they were using, all he needed to do was ensure that the match went smoothly.
Following the referee’s shout, both parties simultaneously released their martial souls.
The seven from the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy couldn’t be considered weak at all; their soul rings were mainly comprised of yellow and purple ones, and ﬂashed with dazzling light. Of the seven, ﬁve of them had four soul rings, while the other two had three soul rings. The four soul rings of the youth who led the pack ﬂickered dazzlingly. Clearly, he had already reached the later stages of the Soul Ancestor rank. Reaching a stage like this at the mere age of twenty was relatively decent.
However, simply nobody would pay attention to the state of the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy at this moment. All of the spectators were focused on Shrek Academy’s side. More accurately, they were all focused on Huo Yuhao, who was taking large strides forward.
At this exact moment, an indescribable yet terrifying aura impressively appeared on the tall stage.
In that instant, a blood-colored light lit up the entire tournament stage. Filled with icy, cruel, slaughtering, berserk, and other types of terrifying auras, it suddenly exploded out...
One, two, three, four, ﬁve, six… a full six blood-red soul rings had appeared beneath the seemingly thirteen or fourteen-year- old Huo Yuhao.
Red. What did that represent? It represented the pinnacle of soul rings, a terrifying level of power. It represented… a hundred thousand year soul ring!
Six hundred thousand year soul rings simultaneously appearing on a single person was something that ordinary people would never dare to imagine. Cries of surprise and alarm rang out from the mouths of several hundreds of thousands of people like a raging wave. The ear-splitting sensation coming from Huo Yuhao was simply too strong. Even the emperor of the Star Luo Empire himself, as well as his empress and ofﬁcials, simultaneously stood up from shock.
The ﬁrst thought that appeared in their minds was that this was impossible. It was completely impossible for a situation like this, in which a soul master was completely ﬁlled with hundred thousand year soul rings, to occur, let alone in such a
young child. However, the aura of his hundred thousand year soul rings was still so terrifying, and so real. Furthermore, Shrek Academy was already an existence akin to that of a legend in many of their hearts!
One of the six blood-colored soul rings suddenly lit up, and the seven students from the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy let out a mufﬂed groan at practically the same time.
The sudden appearance of six hundred thousand year soul rings was already astonishing to the spectators below the stage, let alone to the originally nervous students from the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy who were standing on the stage itself.
The moment they felt that completely horrifying aura, practically all of them retreated hurriedly. As a result, they were all bunched up together. However, Huo Yuhao’s mysterious Spiritual Interference appeared at this exact moment.
The students from the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy were originally tensed up. Combined with the visual stimulation caused by Huo Yuhao’s soul rings, their minds were only a ﬁne line away from collapse. After receiving
another tiny stimulation, they were like startled birds; their reaction to his Spiritual Interference was much greater than he had imagined. Looks of terror simultaneously appeared in their eyes, and their bodies were directly frozen by his Spiritual Interference.
At this exact moment, an enormous pair of bluish-golden wings appeared behind the dazzlingly bright Huo Yuhao. The colors of blue and gold fused perfectly with each other, releasing a beautiful golden ﬂare. Within the blink of an eye, it was the focus of the entire arena.
The two ﬁgures instantly merged together, and the blood- colored soul rings instantly vanished. Instead, an enormous, vertical golden slit replaced it.
The resplendent colors of blue, purple, and gold covered half the arena within the blink of an eye. The ray of light struck the seven from the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy who were bunched up together perfectly.
An instantaneous feeling of panic appeared in the hearts of every single person who saw that golden vertically-slitted eye.
Right after that, the arena seemed to be cleaved in half by that dazzling ray of light.
This ray of light neared seventy metres in length, and was three metres wide. After bursting forth, the three differently- colored halos of light slowly rose into the air. None of the seven from the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy were able to dodge it. When the tricolored ﬂare ﬁnally vanished, a long, two foot- deep Golden Road that ﬂickered with a resplendent golden light had been left on the arena.
Of the seven from the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy, two three-ringed soul masters immediately fell to the ground. The various protective soul tools that they were wearing had exploded, causing a series of lights to blow up. The bodies of the other ﬁve had been fully dyed gold, transforming them into golden statues. Their soul rings had vanished completely, and their martial souls had been sealed.
The golden eye vanished, causing the six dazzling blood- colored rings of light to reappear. Not only that, but another person had appeared next to Huo Yuhao; this was a youth who had unfurled the dazzling wings of the Radiant Butterﬂy Goddess. He looked even younger than Huo Yuhao, but two
yellow, two purple, and two black soul rings ﬂickered around his body. Six dazzling soul rings surrounded his body as well.
Huo Yuhao clasped his hands behind his back, his eyes ﬁlled with an arrogant look. He looked indifferently towards the completely ﬂabbergasted referee and said, “This match is over.”
“Ah?” Only then did the referee react to the scene in front of him. The students from Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy had already grabbed the two fallen three-ringed soul masters before jumping down from the stage. Traces of golden light still remained on their bodies, and as they jumped off the stage, the hundred and eight soul masters who were in charge of protecting the arena cancelled the usage of their soul power. Clearly, the match had already ended.
The plaza ﬁlled with several hundreds of thousands of spectators, including the imperial family of the Star Luo Empire and its civil and military ofﬁcers, along with more than a hundred advanced soul master and soul engineering academies, was completely silent at this moment.
The people who had previously been somewhat doubtful towards the preparatory team that Shrek Academy had sent out were now left staring wide-eyed as they stared at the deep, golden ravine that was now on the arena ﬂoor.
They were almost unable to breathe, and even swallowing their saliva was hard for them.
Practically everyone was inwardly screaming the phrase ‘This is impossible!’ at seeing these six hundred thousand year soul rings. However, the word ‘impossible’ now had hesitation, astonishment, and a terrifying and hysterical excitement to it.
Shrek. This was Shrek. The continent’s number one, completely unparalleled Shrek.
Huo Yuhao slowly turned around, then looked towards the southern spectators in Star Luo Plaza. He shouted in a solemn voice, “Remember. I come from Shrek Academy, and the Tang Sect!”
With that, the six icy, blood-colored soul rings that made breathing itself difﬁcult instantly vanished. He slowly walked
down from the stage, returning to Shrek Academy’s area along with the Seven Monsters. He didn’t even wait for the referee to announce the results of the battle. The arrogance he possessed once again stunned the entire arena.
He came from Shrek! He came from the Tang Sect!
At this very moment, the most emotionally stirred person behind Huo Yuhao was Bei Bei. He forcefully suppressed the tears that were about to drip from his eyes, and thought to himself, Little Ya, how good it would’ve been if you were able to be here today to witness this scene. Right, we don’t just come from Shrek. We come from the Tang Sect!
Wang Yan took the initiative to walk up to Huo Yuhao. When he walked forward, their eyes seemed to converse with each other instantaneously. Wang Yan used a seemingly rebuking tone to speak to him, “You were too vicious.”
Huo Yuhao had already understood something from Wang Yan’s gaze. He replied coldly, “I was already showing them some mercy by temporarily sealing their martial souls. If their men weren’t able to save them in time, they wouldn’t have been able to walk down from that stage alive.” His voice was
very loud, allowing the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy and the other academies behind it to hear his words.
At this moment, Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng and Ling Luochen were somewhat ﬂabbergasted. They’d never thought that this match would end in such a dramatic fashion. Although they were able to determine that Huo Yuhao’s seven would be able to win from the moment their opponents released their martial souls, they’d never expected that the preparatory team would win in such a manner.
Wang Yan and Huo Yuhao walked back, side by side. The former touched Huo Yuhao’s left hand seemingly by accident, and his gaze ﬂickered slightly. “Do you want to stay behind and watch the other matches?”
Huo Yuhao continued putting on a cool look and said coldly, “What’s there to look at? Is there anything worth seeing? Let’s go back.” With that, he directly went outside.
When he walked past the representative teams from the various academies, Huo Yuhao swept his glance across them in a seemingly unintentional manner. Unexpectedly, nobody dared to meet his gaze. The current Huo Yuhao was like a king
examining his citizens. The others from Shrek Academy all followed behind him, and they all left just like that after the ﬁrst match had ended. They didn’t even greet the Star Luo Empire’s imperial family.
“Who is that person? Why have I never heard his name before? Go ﬁnd out. Go ﬁnd out what his name is, and do so at any cost.” The Star Luo Emperor’s gaze followed Huo Yuhao all the way out. Shrek Academy’s immediate exit following the end of the battle caused the entire tournament to pause for several seconds or so, and their exit attracted the gazes of everyone present.
A fervent look gradually appeared in every single pair of eyes in the arena. Right! This was Shrek. This was the number one academy under the heavens, the existences akin to gods in their eyes! This was Shrek Academy’s strength. One of their students even had hundred thousand year soul rings! That seemingly thirteen or fourteen year-old-youth was actually Shrek Academy’s true leader in this tournament.
The most stunned of the lot was still the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. They currently had hideous looks on their faces. Even the extremely arrogant Xiao Hongchen had
an ashen look on his face as he clenched his ﬁsts tightly. A voice rang out unceasingly in his mind.
How could this be? How could this be? How could there be a person even more talented than I am? No, absolutely not. He’s a fake, a fake, a fake!
He was naturally a fake.
Huo Yuhao maintained his cold expression as he led the students of Shrek Academy all the way back to the Imperial Star Grand Hotel, and until he opened the door. After standing in his room for a few seconds, the expression on his face suddenly changed.
Without any prior signs at all, his body went limp, and he fell straight to the ground. It wasn’t just him; Wang Dong, who was behind him, did the same as the two tumbled down together.
Fortunately, Wang Yan had already prepared himself for this. One in each hand, he caught them by the arms. Jiang Nannan
and Xu Sanshi helped support Wang Dong, while Wang Yan hugged Huo Yuhao and carefully set him down on the sofa.
The previously monarch-like Huo Yuhao was now as pale as a child; he’d already fallen into a deep sleep.
Just why would Wang Yan have asked whether he wanted to continue spectating? When he had touched Huo Yuhao’s hand earlier, he had noticed that the latter’s hand was cold and trembling. He knew that he was deﬁnitely in an extremely weak state. Sure enough, Huo Yuhao immediately agreed to bring everyone back the moment he asked for his opinion. By relying on his sturdy willpower, he made it all the way till the hotel before collapsing.
Wang Yan looked towards Bei Bei and asked, “Just how did you guys plan it?”
Right! Just how had they planned it all out? This was also the question in Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng, and Ling Luochen’s minds. They’d seen the strength of Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’s fusion skill before, but there was still a limit to their cultivations! It was simply inconceivable that their attack had succeeded against the elites of the Tian Ling Advanced Soul
Academy… and they had drawn ﬁrst blood! However, wasn’t there some danger in this? Would their later opponents be so easily taken in?
Bei Bei looked carefully at the unconscious Huo Yuhao who was now lying on the sofa as he said, “Our junior brother is really talented. Back then, our moods had already changed. As we bathed in Shrek Academy’s glory, all our anxiety left us and we were only left with excitement. I told him that in the ﬁrst battle under his command our objective wasn’t just to win but to win by a landslide. In order to accomplish that, our junior brother made a series of arrangements and brought about an outcome that was beyond our expectations. Even Yuhao must not have expected that our opponents would be that pitiful. The main reason for their loss was fear. Senior sister Ma was right, our Shrek Academy’s strongest weapon is our reputation.”
“According to Yuhao’s original plan, all of us had had a role to play. He was supposed to start by using his Imitation Skill to scare our opponents and follow that up by hitting them with the fusion skill. Once their martial souls were sealed, the rest of us were supposed to rush in and immediately conclude the battle with our strongest soul skills. But who would have thought that those students from the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy were such cowards? When Yuhao used his Imitation Skill to simulate six hundred thousand year soul rings, they
were so scared that they even forgot to dodge. Upon being being hit by Yuhao and Wang Dong’s fusion skill, they unexpectedly jumped down from the platform, which directly gave us the victory. I think they weren’t able to use even 10% of their real power and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that they didn’t ﬁght at all. The ﬁrst match of the tournament was such an easy victory.”
Wang Yan was mildly confused, were things really as simple as Bei Bei’s explanation? He was incredibly experienced regarding soul masters. At the time, he had also witnessed Yuhao release all those soul skills one after another and perform the martial soul fusion skill with Wang Dong. However, even if they were scared to death, those students from the Tian Ling Advanced Soul Academy should have been able to react when attacked!
Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’s Golden Road Amidst Withering Resplendence was one of the most mysterious fusion skills Wang Yan had ever seen. Its power was incredible, but its disadvantages were also clearly evident. It could only be used to attack in a straight line. Therefore, unless the opponent was unable to move, there was no way it could hit seven people like that!
“It’s not that simple.” Dai Yueheng suddenly said. His words attracted everyone’s attention.
He continued, “Didn’t you notice? Yuhao and Wang Dong’s fusion skill has gotten stronger than before. However, neither has their cultivation increased nor have they broken through any bottlenecks. This means that they pushed themselves to the extreme and used some special means to maximise the power of their fusion skill. This is how they were able to defeat the opponents in one move. Facing such a move, the enemy must have thought that they would suffer serious injuries. This thought scared them so much that they directly jumped down from the platform.”
Bei Bei nodded and said, “Classmate Dai’s words are reasonable. Given their current strength, the might of their fusion skill should be pretty high.”
Wang Yan stood up, his face slightly ﬂushed as he smiled. His gaze passed across Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi, Jiang Nannan, Xiao Xiao and He Caitou as he spoke, “They preserved Shrek Academy’s honor, it doesn’t matter how they did it. In fact, I dare claim that this is the most satisfying victory that has ever been obtained by Shrek Academy since their ﬁrst participation in the Continental Advanced Academy Soul Dueling Tournament.
You let everyone experience Shrek Academy’s power, and silenced all those who were questioning you. I sincerely thank all of you on behalf of the academy.”
With that, Wang Dong bowed toward Bei Bei’s ﬁve and Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong that were sleeping on the sofa.
This victory was incredibly important for Shrek Academy! With this win, they hadn’t been eliminated in the ﬁrst round and had secured a place in the following elimination round. Now only time would tell how they would continue to fare, but Ma Xiaotao and the other two were bound to recover in middle of the elimination phase. Additionally, with the strength they had exhibited today, no matter which academy they would ﬁght next, their opponents would surely be scared.
Bei Bei took a deep breath and said in a deep voice, “Teacher Wang, don’t worry. As we wait for reinforcements from the academy and the recovery of our teammates, we’ll try our very best to win every match.”
Wang Yan nodded. “First go put Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong on the bed and let them have a good rest. They did very well today. I’ll elaborate a strategy based on today’s results. As long
as you capitalize on this opportunity, you should have it easy in the next match.”
Everyone thought little of it, but Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong ended up sleeping together in the same bed once again...
After recovering from the shock of the ﬁrst match, the Continental Advanced Academy Soul Dueling Tournament advanced in full swing. However, Huo Yuhao’s performance in the ﬁrst match was still deeply engraved in the minds of the audience and the other competitors, along with his overbearing last sentence. The names ‘Shrek Academy’ and ‘Tang Sect’ had become hot topics in Star Luo City overnight.
When Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong woke up, it was already evening.
To be more accurate, Wang Dong woke up ﬁrst, and Huo Yuhao was startled awake as a consequence.
When he woke up, Wang Dong discovered that another person was sleeping with him, and his ﬁrst reaction was to kick that person!
Then, Yuhao’s tragedy began. How could he not wake up once he fell to the ground on his butt?
“What are you doing?” Huo Yuhao exclaimed angrily as he climbed back onto the bed.
Upon seeing it was Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong replied somewhat embarrassedly, “I didn’t know it was you! And why are you in my room anyway?”
Huo Yuhao was startled. He looked around as he hugged the quilt close to him and responded with even more indignation, “Nonsense! This is clearly my room. Not only did you sleep in my bed, but you also dared to kick me down. Do you not have a conscience?!”
“Ugh… I have no idea how I ended up here!” After a brief moment of awkwardness, Wang Dong opened his eyes wide and exclaimed, “What are you yelling for? It’s not like you’re going to die from falling of a bed, and you even want to be in the right after sleeping with me!”
“It’s not like I want to be right; I am right. And so what if we slept together? It’s not like this is the ﬁrst time.”
Wang Dong discovered that he couldn’t win this argument against Huo Yuhao. He quickly turned his body and pressed Yuhao beneath him while separated by the quilt. He relied on his superior soul power to hold his shoulders down and sit on his body.
“Do you surrender or not?” Wang Dong asked wickedly.
Huo Yuhao laughed. “Of course not. What are you going to do about it?”
Wang Dong was startled when he realised that he really couldn’t do much to Huo Yuhao. While he was in a daze, Huo Yuhao quickly took advantage of the opportunity. His shoulders were held down, but he could still move his forearms! His small arm drilled out of the quilt and gently poked Wang Dong’s waist.
Wang Dong retreated as if he had received an electric shock and started laughing. How could Yuhao let go of this opportunity? He pulled his arm free and turned around, pressing Wang Dong down.
Even though the quilt was still separating them, Huo Yuhao could still feel Wang Dong’s soft body. He smiled wickedly as he spoke, “Your body is very soft and even works wonders as a pillow. Do you surrender or not?”
Wang Dong copied Huo Yuhao’s previous appearance and replied, “Of course not. What are you going to do about it?”
Huo Yuhao’s gaze started to wander from his face to the rest of his body, and a crafty look ﬂashed through his eyes. Wang Dong become a little nervous as he asked, “W-What are you going to do?”
Huo Yuhao smiled. “If I’m not mistaken, someone is very ticklish.” As he said that, his hands that were holding Wang Dong down went lower, poking at his waist.
Immediately, Wang Dong started to laugh, and his body arched like a dried shrimp.
“I surrender, I surrender. Let me go. I won’t argue with you again. I’m dying. Hahaha…”
Huo Yuhao suddenly stopped and looked at Wang Dong in a daze.
Wang Dong gasped for breath as he pushed Yuhao away from him, “J-Just wait and see! A gentleman can wait ten years to take revenge!”
However, it seemed like Huo Yuhao hadn't heard his threat. He suddenly raised his hand and said, “Wang Dong, how come your voice changed just now?”
Huo Yuhao discovered that when he was tickling Wang Dong, his voice had suddenly changed and become very pleasant to hear, reminiscent of the sweet sound of a silver bell. This was completely different from his usual voice. Huo Yuhao had known him for more than a year and during that year they
were always together. Hence, he would immediately notice even the smallest irregularities,
Wang Dong was startled, a hint of fear that was very difﬁcult to notice ﬂashed through his eyes. He quickly said, “Nonsense. How is that even possible? You probably misheard. Moreover, I couldn’t even breathe properly due to you; it’s only normal that my voice became strange. You don’t really think I’m someone else, right?”
Yuhao nodded seriously and replied, “That’s also true. It would be difﬁcult to imitate a stinky brat like you.”
“Bullshit. I’m showering every day. My skin smells really good! You’re the stinky one!”
When he saw that Wang Dong was beginning to get angry, Huo Yuhao hurriedly changed the topic, “Fine, let’s stop arguing. We still have a match to win tomorrow!”
Wang Dong was momentarily at a loss. He recalled the scene where the entire nation was watching them. In particular, the Huo Yuhao that had proudly fought in front of hundreds of
thousands of people... was this really the same person that was bullying him right now…? How would the rest of the competition go?
Chapter 77: This Daddy has a Rough Cigar!
Despite not even being thirteen yet, Huo Yuhao had still appeared tall and mighty when he’d been onstage earlier. He’d been ﬁlled with hot-blooded vigor, along with a seemingly astonishing amount of arrogance; some of that arrogance was of course faked however. Furthermore, there had also been his six blood-red soul rings. All of these things had been deeply branded into Wang Dong’s mind; he couldn’t forget any of them.
“Why did I have six soul rings when I was next to you?” Wang Dong asked.
Huo Yuhao replied, “My Imitation soul skill allows me to control everything within a three metre radius around me— that’s why I waited for you to get close to me before I released it. The reason that you had six soul rings is that six hundred thousand soul rings is the limit of what our opponent’s minds could withstand. Using my Imitation to make it seem as though we were both Soul Emperors was deﬁnitely already enough to frighten them. However… I didn’t think that they’d be that weak. Along with the shock received by our soul rings, they were also sent into a daze for a moment when I used my Spiritual Interference on them. In addition to that, using your
Golden Light to ignite our Haodong Power was quite effective; even though it didn’t increase the strength of our Golden Road, its attack range was clearly increased by quite a bit. It seems that your left arm bone synergises quite well with our fusion skill.”
Wang Dong shrugged his shoulders. “However, using an all- out attack like that instantly exhausted all of our Haodong Power. Just heading back was hard on us. Even though this ﬁght was satisfying, we revealed our most powerful attack. Haven’t we lost more than we gained?”
Huo Yuhao replied, “You can’t look at it that way. This match was very signiﬁcant to us, and just because it was our ﬁrst match. Furthermore, it was also the ﬁrst round of the knockout round. Right now we represent the glory of Shrek Academy, and everyone watching was able to see how old we were. If this had been a normal ﬁght, we would’ve had to reveal everyone’s true strengths. However, we did it differently today. The two of us don’t even look ﬁfteen, yet we displayed Soul Emperor-ranked cultivations. Wouldn’t that astonish everyone? Now that we’ve astonished everyone, they’ll overestimate our capabilities. As such, they’ll feel nervous when they ﬁght us in the future, and we’ll be able to take advantage of their nervousness to win. Because of this, our chances of getting through the round-robin round before our
seniors recover have become much higher. At the same time, revealing our strength allowed us to conceal the strength of the others! The most important thing we need to focus on is efﬁciency. Even though our Golden Road needs three days to recharge before we can use it again, we used it on day one in
order to control our enemies. As such, we’ll be able to use it at any time throughout the round-robin rounds. As you can see, we’ve achieved quite a few things in one move.”
“From this match, I’ve truly come to understand how important Shrek Academy’s reputation as the number one academy in the continent is. If it weren’t for the fact that our academy’s fame terriﬁed them, our match deﬁnitely wouldn’t have been so easy!”
Wang Dong muttered in response, “However, we still would’ve revealed it sooner or later. Our matches later on will deﬁnitely not be that easy either. Furthermore, your six hundred thousand year soul rings were too fake. I feel that if you’d only made your last soul ring a hundred thousand year one, it would’ve been much more believable. You used their knowledge of soul rings to fool them, but once they actually think it over, they’ll realise that you must’ve used some sort of special method to fool them. A Soul Emperor who isn’t even ﬁfteen is already astonishing enough, but one with six hundred
thousand year soul rings is another story. That’s something that vastly exceeds common sense.”
“Uh… you’re right.” Huo Yuhao shook his head. “My blood rushed to my head then; I was just trying to make Shrek Academy look even more powerful. Because of that, I made all of them hundred thousand year soul rings. Now that I think about it, I was deﬁnitely a bit foolish. But what’s done is done; I can’t do anything about it now. Let’s just let them think whatever they want to think.”
Wang Dong placed his hands behind his head and lay back down on the bed. He stared up at the ceiling and said, “Honestly, we don’t need to think about it too much. Let’s just do our best to win. In any case, it’s deﬁnitely impossible for us to become champions by ourselves. Every single match counts.”
Huo Yuhao lay beside him and placed his hands behind his head as well. “That’s true. Do you think we’ll have a chance at become champions once sister Xiaotao and the rest have returned?”
Wang Dong nudged him with his elbow. “Move a bit further away from me. And how am I supposed to know the answer to that? We might have a chance. Either way, Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng are both Soul Emperors. Hmph, calling her sister Xiaotao is quite an affectionate term! I didn’t think that you’d have an Oedipus complex.”
“You’re the one who has an Oedipus complex,” Huo Yuhao unhappily replied, “I just don’t understand why you’re so hostile towards her.”
Wang Dong turned towards Huo Yuhao and hit him on the forehead. “Don’t forget, we almost died because of her last time! A fellow like you truly forgets all of his loyalties when he’s lustful.”
Huo Yuhao clutched his painful forehead and grumbled, “Hey, I’m only twelve! What do you mean by ‘lustful’! Just what sort of thoughts is your brain ﬁlled with? They must all be unhealthy thoughts. At our age, we should just study hard and aim for the sky. Don’t think too much about things, understand?”
Wang Dong snorted. “It’d be good if that really were the case. I’m heading back to my room.” With that, he sat up to get off the bed.
However, Huo Yuhao grabbed his hand. “Don’t go back.”
Wang Dong hurriedly retracted his hand, then hugged his quilt and stared back at him vigilantly. “What do you intend to do?”
Huo Yuhao rolled his eyes. “You’re full of shit. Cultivate of course!”
Because they’d completed their knockout round on the ﬁrst day of the round-robin round itself, the students from Shrek Academy were able to get a very good rest during the following two days. However, there were no traces of the backup team they were looking forward to during these two days.
The busiest person of them all during these two days was deﬁnitely Wang Yan, who entered and exited the hotel daily. He seemed to appear at one moment, then would disappear the next.
On the third night of the tournament, he gathered all of them together in a conference room and held a meeting.
“Xiaotao, how are your injuries looking?” Wang Yan’s gaze fell on Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng, and Ling Luochen.
Ma Xiaotao replied, “Since we were able to peacefully recuperate during the past few days, our recoveries have gone quite well. I should be able to make a complete recovery in about half a month. If I have to forcefully enter the tournament, ten days should be sufﬁcient. However, I’m afraid that that would worsen my injuries.”
An internal injury was the most serious injury a soul master could sustain. An attack to one’s internal organs could cause a translocation, which brought about a series of injuries in succession. Fortunately, the three of them hadn’t been poisoned when they’d been injured. If they had, this wouldn’t have been a problem that could be resolved within a mere half a month. For example, the others—who’d been sent back to the academy to recover—wouldn’t make a full recovery for at least three months. Even now, Ma Xiaotao’s trio still felt somewhat indignant towards the events that had occurred within the Ming Dou Mountain Range. That evil soul master’s ability had
simply been too evil! They’d never seen a skill such as his, that would grow more powerful the larger the number of corpses present. They wouldn’t have suffered such a large loss otherwise.
Dai Yueheng said, “The same goes for me.”
Ling Luochen also nodded and said, “I’m recovering as expected.”
“That’s good,” Wang Yan said. He then looked towards the seven members of the preparatory team, who were led by Bei Bei. “In your ﬁrst match, you showed your opponents just how powerful Shrek Academy is. To be more accurate, you increased Shrek’s reputation even further. I’ve been observing the other academies’ matches during the past few days, and listening to the reactions brought about by your ﬁrst battle; the effects you all achieved were much better than we could’ve expected. Our Shrek Academy has become the manifestation of ‘mysterious and powerful’ in the eyes of the other academies. They have no idea what our true strength is, while Huo Yuhao deﬁnitely became the center of attention. Furthermore, thanks to the show orchestrated by Yuhao and myself that day, he’s become the leader of the team in all of their eyes.”
“To us, it’s already like that!” Bei Bei said with a smile.
Huo Yuhao blushed as he said, “Senior brother, please stop joking. As weak as I am, how could I be the leader?”
“Even though strength is deﬁnitely the most important attribute in this tournament, not everything depends on it,” Bei Bei resolutely replied, “wasn’t your performance in the ﬁrst match absolutely incredible? Who among those seated there could’ve done a better job than you? I don’t think that even the three students of the inner courtyard could have defeated them with a single move like you did.”
Ma Xiaotao smiled and said, “What Bei Bei says is right. Your performance that day was simply amazing. Even though your cultivation isn’t that high, even we have to admit that that soul skill of yours is really quite incredible—especially when you use it play tricks.”
Huo Yuhao would always get embarrassed whenever he was faced by Ma Xiaotao. However, the nearby Wang Dong deﬁnitely wouldn’t be. “Senior sister Ma, how could you say that Yuhao played tricks? Wasn’t what he did for the sake of letting the academy win?”
Ma Xiaotao smiled in response, but didn’t say anything. She just looked ambiguously towards Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong.
Wang Yan waved his hand and motioned for everyone to keep quiet. He then continued, “During these past two days, I’ve carefully examined the matches between the other academies. This ﬁrst elimination round can only be described as ‘ﬁerce’. None of the other academies won as easily as we did. Even the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy struggled a bit with their opponents; it took them around ten minutes to conclude their battle. This means that we’ll deﬁnitely have enough time to conserve and strengthen our energy. The round-robin phase of the tournament will begin tomorrow. In fact, the list matchups for the round-robin is already out. It seems to have been compiled based on the order of the teams that passed this elimination round. My next objective is to come up with a plan for tomorrow’s match.”
After their experience with the Hand of Death and having heard his instructions before the ﬁrst match of the tournament, even the three students from the inner courtyard had completely accepted Wang Yan as the leading teacher of the team.
Wang Yan said, “Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong, and Xiao Xiao are all my students, as such I know quite a bit about their abilities. However, I don’t know too much about you four. I hope that you all can tell me about your soul skills, as it will have an impact on the plan that I’m going to arrange for the match.”
Normally, soul skills were a soul master’s biggest secret. However, the situation wasn’t the same inside the academy, let alone now that they were on the eve of an important match. Therefore, it was normal for Wang Yan to ask this question.
Bei Bei nodded and went ﬁrst in order to set an example as their team leader. He said in a grave tone, “I have a total of four soul skills: Thunderous Dragon Claw, Vigorous Thunderbolt, Thunderous Fury, and Thunderous Dragon Head.”
Afterwards, he carefully explained both the characteristics of his soul skills and their usage. Then, it was Xu Sanshi and Jiang Nannan’s turn.
Xu Sanshi was considered the number one student in the outer courtyard alongside Bei Bei, and his four soul skills broadened everyone’s horizons. As for Jiang Nannan, her soul
skills were also quite good. In particular, if she were to use them in a one-on-one ﬁght, they would surely leave a deep impression on her opponents.
At last, it was He Caitou’s turn. He was also a Soul Ancestor like the others.
“Caitou, considering the fact that you’re a soul engineer, there would usually be no need to inquire about your soul skills. However… the current situation is a bit special. We have to make use of everything at our disposition. If possible, could you please tell us about your martial soul?” Wang Yan asked He Caitou.
He Caitou nodded, but he had an embarrassed expression on his face as he said, “Actually, even my martial soul has a certain use. But I’m sure that none of you will be willing to use it. That’s why I didn’t bother to show it.”
When Huo Yuhao heard these words, he suddenly recalled the time when he’d seen He Caitou with a long and black object in his mouth. His expression immediately became somewhat strange.
Wang Yan smiled and said, “It’s alright, everything has its use. Come on, let us see your unique martial soul.”
He Caitou looked around and, lacking self-conﬁdence, said, “You aren’t allowed to laugh.”
Ma Xiaotao nodded seriously and replied, “Fine. We won’t laugh at you. Now quick, don't waste anymore time. Come on and show us this soul skill of yours.”
He Caitou dark face blushed as he said, “This daddy has a thick cigar.”
Ma Xiaotao was dumbfounded, and she immediately got angry. “What did you just say?”
However, she didn’t even have the chance to release her anger, when four soul rings, two yellow and two purple, suddenly appeared from beneath He Caitou’s body. His ﬁrst soul ring lit up, and that black and long thing that Huo Yuhao had once seen reappeared in Caitou’s hand...
The room immediately went quiet. He Caitou looked around, and—save for Huo Yuhao—everyone was dumbfounded. He quickly remarked, “You’re not allowed to laugh! You promised that you wouldn’t!”
“Pfff—” The entire room immediately exploded into laughter. Everyone began to laugh; even Wang Yan was no exception.
Yes, it was indeed truly unique! He Caitou’s martial soul was unique to the point that no one had expected it.
They laughed so hard that the sound could even be heard in the corridor outside. Their laughter happened to be heard by the leader of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy’s main team, Ma Rulong, who happened to be passing through the corridor. His expression immediately changed when he heard them. Why were these guys from Shrek Academy laughing so hard? The round-robin would began tomorrow!
He Caitou became angry from the shame he felt. He struck back ﬁercely by immediately stufﬁng the long cigar he was holding into Xu Sanshi’s wide open mouth.
Xu Sanshi’s smiling face immediately stiffened. Then, a burst of ﬂames appeared out of nowhere on the tips of He Caitou’s ﬁngers that were holding the game, which ignited the other end of the cigar...
Chapter 78: A Genius Food-type Soul Master?
“Cough, cough…” Xu Sanshi started to cough as he was almost choked by the smoke.
He Caitou snorted and said, “I had speciﬁcally told everyone that I didn’t want to talk about it, but you guys still forced me too. Additionally, all of you said you wouldn’t laugh, but none of you kept your promise.”
Everyone stopped laughing with great difﬁculty. They had laughed so hard that even their bellies had begun to hurt, especially Ma Xiaotao. At ﬁrst, she thought that He Caitou was cursing her, but who would have thought that it was just his soul incantation.
“He Caitou, tell me this! What category does your martial soul belong to?” Ma Xiaotao asked while trying to hold back her laughter. After asking her question, she couldn’t bear it anymore and started to laugh again.
He Caitou was indignant and replied angrily, “You’re a senior student from the inner courtyard, and despite that, you don’t even know such basic information? Only food-type martial souls need a soul incantation to appear. Therefore, I’m a food- type soul master.”
Just as He Caitou was explaining things, Xu Sanshi cried out in surprise. He took the thick cigar out of his mouth. Next, to everyone’s surprise, he brought it to his mouth again and took a deep breath, exhaling a mouthful of smoke afterward. The meeting room was immediately ﬁlled with the smell of tobacco.
“This thing is not bad! My mind has become clearer after just smoking it twice, it feels really pleasant.
The nearby Bei Bei laughed as he interjected, “Sure! Holding Caitou’s thick cigar in your mouth must surely feel good, right?”
Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong, and Xiao Xiao weren’t too clear about the meaning of his remark, but everyone else burst out laughing. Xu Sanshi’s face immediately turned red and the
nearby Jiang Nannan lowered her head; her face even redder than Xu Sanshi’s.
Xu Sanshi stomped furiously towards Bei Bei and tried to push the cigar into his mouth, “Since you keep repeatedly talking about me, you should also get a taste of it before speaking!”
But Bei Bei wasn’t planning to open his mouth even if the alternative was death and so, he struggled with all his might. As the two of them were evenly matched in strength Xu Sanshi had no way to pin him down.
Wang Yan also stopped laughing with great difﬁculty and said, “Alright. Don’t be noisy. Caitou, what’re the effects of your food-type martial soul?”
He Caitou snorted coldly and didn’t respond.
Wang Yan laughed and said, “Fine. I promise that no one will laugh at you, but you can’t blame us either. Your soul incantation was just too strange, we couldn’t help but laugh!
Anyway, you should tell us. It might be important when ﬁghting our enemies tomorrow.”
He Caitou replied somewhat unwillingly. “The one I used just now was my ﬁrst soul skill. It’s called Mind Stimulating Thick Cigar. Each cigar can stay lit for around twenty minutes. When smoked, it will strengthen both the user’s mind and spiritual power. This type of soul skill is rather ﬁtting for someone like Yuhao. If he smokes the cigar, I can assure that his spiritual- type soul skills will experience an ampliﬁcation of at least 10%.”
After hearing his explanation, all the smiling people in the room looked at each other in dismay. Their smiling expressions disappeared and were slowly replaced with shock.
Wang Yan was the most surprised. “It can strengthen spiritual-type soul skills? And it can amplify his skills by at least 10%?”
He Caitou nodded and said, “Yes. Isn’t it quite normal for food-type soul masters? However, in the end, we are not as good as auxiliary-type soul masters. I’ve heard that there is a
member of the Nine Treasures Clan in the second year whose soul skills have an astonishing level of ampliﬁcation.”
Wang Yan said, “Granted, but she needs to continuously consume soul power to maintain the effect. On the other hand, you don’t have to expend any additional soul power after creating the cigar. And on top of that, food-type soul skills require the least amount of soul power. As if that wasn’t enough, won’t your soul skill also get stronger as your cultivation progresses?”
He Caitou thought about it for a bit and said, “That’s true. My consumption of soul power isn’t high. However, since I usually use most of my soul power on soul tools, I have never paid much attention to this useless ampliﬁcation skill. The main use of my soul rings is to increase the rank of my soul power, and between my four soul skills, the only one I use regularly is the ﬁrst one. And that’s only because it has the ability to increase my accuracy when using soul tools. Since the other three aren’t of any use to me, all I have is a vague idea about their effects.”
Wang Yan looked at the crowd and asked in a grave tone, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
Dai Yueheng replied, “It seems the Martial Soul Department has missed out on a very talented food-type soul master.”
Wang Yan nodded in agreement. “Exactly”
“Ah?” He Caitou was bewildered, “Are you talking about me?”
Wang Yan smiled bitterly, “Who else could we be talking about? Caitou, you’re aware that there was a food-type soul master among the ﬁrst generation of Shrek’s Seven Monsters, right? His martial soul was a sausage, and now that I think about it, he was similar to you in many ways. His soul incantation was also very funny. But in the end, he still managed to become a powerhouse and marry the successor of the Nine Treasures Clan. At that time, he also strengthened Ancestor Rong Rong’s Seven Treasures Glazed Pagoda and turned it into the Nine Treasures Glazed Pagoda. You have to understand that food-type soul masters are in no way useless. If we consider Bei Bei as the leader of the group, and Huo Yuhao as its future brain, then you are the crucial backbone of the team with your food-type martial soul.”
He Caitou looked at Wang Yan in disbelief. Up till now, he had believed that his martial soul was completely useless aside from the times he was practicing. Even Fan Yu didn’t pay too much attention to his martial soul once he discovered that it was a food-type one and only trained him in the ﬁeld of soul tools. In addition, that soul incantation was quite weird and was prone to causing misunderstandings. Therefore, he didn’t use his martial skills too much. Today, or rather, now that Wang Yan had revealed the mystery of his martial skills, he discovered that even he could become a powerful soul master.
At this moment, He Caitou had the feeling that the Heavens were laughing at him. His brain went blank, and he didn’t know what to say.
“No need to doubt your own abilities,” Wang Yan said, “Once I’m done explaining things, everything will become clear. Do you know which type of soul master is the most demanded by an army? It’s precisely a food-type soul master. What you’ve heard is correct. It’s not the assault-type, defense-type, agility- type, control-type, nor the auxiliary-type, but it’s the rarely seen and harmless food-type soul master.”
“Why?” Wang Yan asked rhetorically, then answered his own question. “That’s because a food-type soul master can act as
backline support for an army, and can even increase the overall strength of the troops. If you’re a battle soul master, the army can either look at you and act as spectators, or work as cannon fodder. But if you’re a food-type tool soul master, you can integrate with the soldiers. For example, this thick cigar can increase spiritual power by 10%. If we compare it to an auxiliary-type soul skill, it is indeed not worth mentioning. However, you’re considered a talent amongst talents if we're talking about food-type soul masters!”
“I-I don’t understand,” He Caitou replied, startled.
Wang Yan said, “Let me ask you this. Given sufﬁcient time, how many cigars can you create with your current level of soul power?”
He Caitou replied, “A lot of them. At the very least a thousand, I think. However, if they are not used within two days, these cigars will expire and won’t have any effect.”
Wang Yan’s eyebrows shot up. “Two days? You’re saying that the cigars created by your soul skill can last for two days before going bad?”
He Caitou replied as if it were obvious, “Yes! However, if we compare them to normal cigars, they expire really quickly.”
Wang Yan howled angrily after a moment of reﬂection, “Quick, your ass! Do you know that usually, the things produced by other food-type soul masters can only last for a few hours? A preservation time of more than three hours is already considered a major feat. If it can last for 12 hours, the soul master can be considered a genius. And you, who can preserve his creations for a whole 48 hours, are speaking of it as if it were something completely ordinary?! If we make full use of your abilities, your soul skill could allow an army of a thousand soldiers to increase their strength with your cigars over a period of several hours. Do you understand? And when it comes to your teammates, you can deﬁnitely provide them with one or more sets of cigars before every battle. When they smoke them during the battle, they’ll receive a boost from your skill. However, you would have already recovered the soul power used to create the cigar long before the match. In other words, it’ll be as though there was an additional soul master on our team.”
He Caitou scratched his head and said, “Is it really that impressive? The effects of my other soul skills might be even better.”
Wang Yan slammed the table and got up. “What are you waiting for? Quickly, tell us about your other three soul skills. Let’s see what bomb you’re going to drop this time.”
At this moment, Wang Yan felt his heartbeat speed up. All this time, he had thought that the biggest shortcoming of this team was the lack of an auxiliary-type soul master. Without an auxiliary-type soul master, the team wouldn’t have an opportunity to explosively increase its overall power during a match. And never would he have expected that a super talented food-type soul master like He Caitou would be hidden in plain sight. How could he remain calm after such a revelation?
Wang Yan’s previous explanation had only mentioned some of the advantages of having a food-type soul master. Although auxiliary-type soul masters could amplify abilities to a larger degree, the ampliﬁcation wouldn’t last for too long. For a long drawn out team battle, a food-type soul master would surely be more useful than an auxiliary-type one. Despite the auxiliary- type soul master’s short-term advantage, among tool soul masters, both of them had their strong points.
“This daddy has a large cigar!”
“This daddy has a long cigar!”
“This daddy has a thin cigar!”
Amidst everyone’s violently twitching faces, He Caitou activated all three of his soul skills, causing three cigars to immediately appear in his hand. The form and the color were the same as the ﬁrst cigar. However, all of them differed in size.
“Alright,” He Caitou said in an obedient manner, “my large cigar, er, no, my second soul skill, is called the Strength Amplifying Large Cigar. I haven’t used it much, so I don’t know how much it can increase someone’s strength by; you guys are free to test it out. As for my third soul skill, it’s called the Defense Amplifying Long Cigar, and is a thousand year soul skill. Considering what level it is, I reckon that it’s more effective than my ﬁrst and second soul skills. Finally, my last soul skill is called the Soul Power Amplifying Thin Cigar. It has no use to me, thus I haven’t used it yet.”
Wang Yan forcefully swallowed a mouthful of saliva and stared wide-eyed at He Caitou. “In other words, your four cigars can strengthen spiritual power, strength, defense, and soul power? Heavens! Fan Yu, that bastard! He actually let a genius food-type soul master like you become a soul engineer? I… I really want to go beat him up now!”
“You aren’t allowed to curse at my teacher,” He Caitou angrily retorted. Fan Yu’s place in his heart was akin to that of a father’s; even though his usual straightforwardness covered up most of things hidden in the deeper recesses of his heart,
nothing could replace the respect he held for Fan Yu. Without him, he probably would’ve died at the hands of his assailants long ago.
“I’m sorry, I just got a bit too excited,” Wang Yan hurriedly said, "however, I just couldn’t help but get a bit excited over your soul skills! Come on, let’s not talk about this for now. I order you to create ten of each of your cigars right now, as a trial.”
“Teacher Wang, can I not partake?” Bei Bei asked bitterly.
“No way,” Wang Yan resolutely replied, “every single one of you has to try them out. If you have Caitou’s soul skills supporting you, your comprehensive strengths will be increased by at least 10%! Furthermore, even though his cigars can’t be used simultaneously, all of you can choose one according to your specialty. Combined with the fact that these cigars are good for two days, they’ll be essential tools for you guys on the battleﬁeld.”
The advantages gained from having the support of a food- type soul master were quickly revealed; if He Caitou had just been an auxiliary-type soul master, he deﬁnitely wouldn’t have
been able to use any of his soul skills ten times in a row like right now. However, He Caitou was able to do so for all of his soul skills easily. The conference room table was rapidly ﬁlled with a pile of cigars.
There were thick ones, thin ones, large ones, and long ones.
Truly, everything that they needed was there!
Xu Sanshi smiled mischievously at Bei Bei. “Come, brother, there’s no need to be polite! Actually, they taste quite good. Just think of it as us enjoying our blessings together. Everyone, let’s all enjoy Caitou’s cigars together.”
“Nobody will think that you’re mute if you don’t shut up!” Jiang Nannan suddenly ﬂew into a rage as she looked towards the table full of cigars in front of her. Her charming face had become somewhat pale.
Only then did Xu Sanshi realise that his words had been a bit too harsh. He immediately shut up due to the embarrassment he felt.
Despite this, Wang Yan didn’t even seem to notice the resentment on Jiang Nannan’s face. He immediately lit one of the Spirit Stimulating Thick Cigar, then placed it in his mouth and inhaled deeply from it.
The three disciples from the inner courtyard were clearly much more resistant towards He Caitou’s soul incantation, as even Ma Xiaotao lit up a cigar and inhaled from it without giving it too much thought.
Thus, the other members of the preparatory team had no choice but to unwillingly light their own cigars.
Huo Yuhao held a thick cigar in his mouth, which He Caitou personally helped light it. However, his eyes held a somewhat cheeky glint in them as he did so. When Huo Yuhao ﬁnally inhaled, the strong taste of smoke caused his throat to immediately dry up. He involuntarily began to cough, and he felt as if all of his apertures had instantly been ﬁlled with the dense smell of smoke. Despite this, it really didn’t taste too bad.
At that exact moment, Huo Yuhao suddenly felt his spiritual sea shudder slightly. Immediately afterwards, an indescribable
sense of relaxation spread throughout his body. When it did, his Spirit Eyes actually lit up involuntarily.
This feeling was unexpectedly joyful. To his astonishment, Huo Yuhao discovered that his spiritual power hadn’t just been strengthened by a mere 10%. Currently, his spiritual power was at least 15% stronger than usual.
“Damn, how relaxing. Just what is this feeling?” The Skydream Iceworm seemed to have been almost immediately roused from its slumber.
At that moment, Huo Yuhao subconsciously inhaled another puff from the cigar.
The Skydream Iceworm became infatuated with the feeling. “Wah, wah, wah… how comfortable! It feels like all the pores on my body have opened up! This feels to great. What sort of soul skill is this!?”
The Ice Empress’ chilly voice immediately attacked him, “Does a large bug like you even have any pores?”
“Icy, don’t you think that this feeling is extremely comfortable too?” The Skydream Iceworm asked, infatuated. “This sensation has a great nourishing effect on our souls. There truly isn’t anything more relaxing. It’s even more relaxing than sleeping!”
The Ice Empress snorted. “Besides eating, all you do is sleep. Do you even know how to do anything besides those two things? I’m too lazy to even care about you. However, Yuhao, this sort of thing truly is quite beneﬁcial for you. I suggest that you use it as often as you can over a long period of time. It’ll help improve your level of control over your spiritual power.”
The facts proved that He Caitou’s cigars had much better effects than what he’d said earlier.
Huo Yuhao had felt a large increase in the strength of his spiritual power. On the other side of the room, when Xu Sanshi tried out the Defense Amplifying Long Cigar, he jumped up excitedly, and immediately told everyone that his body felt as hard as a rock. He felt that his defensive capabilities had increased by 15 to 20% at the very least.
After continuous testing by everyone present, they discovered that identical cigars actually had different effects based on the person that used it.
For example, the thick cigar—which would amplify a person’s spiritual power—was most suited for the spiritual- type Huo Yuhao, while the long cigar—which would amplify a person’s defense—was most suited for Xu Sanshi. On the other hand, the large cigar was most suited for Bei Bei, since it ampliﬁed a person’s strength. The fourth cigar on the other hand, which boosted a person’s soul power, turned out to be suited for everyone. When they used it, the soul power required for them to activate their soul skills was actually reduced. This was equivalent to their total pool of soul power being increased by the same amount!
When they realized just how effective He Caitou’s cigars were, they gradually became numb to the embarrassing soul incantations that he had to recite. In any case, his soul skills lasted for two days, thus they wouldn’t need to listen to his incantations when he used them most of them. However, despite the evidence of their usefulness, there were still a few people who were still somewhat unwilling to use his cigars.
The person who was most opposed to it wasn’t Jiang Nannan or Xiao Xiao, who were girls, but was actually Wang Dong. No matter what, Wang Dong absolutely refused to test the effects of He Caitou’s cigars. Huo Yuhao tried to persuade him for an extremely long time, but he wasn’t willing to relent no matter what.
Even though Xiao Xiao and Jiang Nannan were unwilling, they still accepted a set of cigars.
Helpless, Huo Yuhao could only keep an extra set of cigars as a reserve.
Wang Yan gazed at the steadfast Wang Dong with a somewhat helpless look on his face. “It’s ﬁne if you’re simply unwilling to try them. However, I suggest that you keep a set on you, just in case.”
Wang Dong shook his head forcefully. “No!”
Wang Yan furrowed his brows, but only said, “Alright then. Now then, let’s come up with a few plans for the upcoming round-robin tournament. Earlier, I said that there would be
three types of combat during the round-robin section of the tournament. Considering the level of strength we revealed during the ﬁrst round, there’s no doubt that our group will only contain eight teams. At least from the others teams’ standpoints, they’ll only be ﬁghting for a qualifying spot in the tournament. To them, we’re guaranteed to qualify. We can use this mindset of theirs against them in order to make our tactics more ﬂexible.”
“There will be a total of sixty-seven teams participating in the round-robin tournament, who will be split into a total of eight groups. Of these, three groups will have nine participating teams, while the remaining ﬁve groups will have eight teams. In other words, we’ll have to ﬁght seven matches in our group. If we win a match, we’ll get two points, if we lose a match, we won’t get any points, and if we draw, each team will receive one point. Four groups will have a match every day, thus a cycle of matches will be completed every two days. After seven cycles and the remaining matches from the groups with nine teams are completed, the round-robin section will be done. I reckon that the round-robin portion of the tournament will last for ﬁfteen to sixteen days. Ling Luochen should be recovered by the fourth cycle or so, and if their recovery goes smoothly, Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng should be recovered by around the sixth cycle. When that happens, our strength team’s strength will increase dramatically.”
“We’ll know which group we’ve been placed into—along with who our opponents are—tomorrow morning. With our reputation, we’ll most likely be the ﬁrst ones up during the round-robin tournament as well. The most important thing you all have to do is ensure that Yuhao doesn’t make a move.”
When he saw the astonishment present in everyone’s eyes, Wang Yan continued, “During the ﬁrst round, Yuhao and Wang Dong revealed cultivations at the Soul Emperor rank. Yuhao even used his Imitation skill to give them them six hundred thousand year soul rings. That was truly extravagant, and ordinary soul masters would immediately be able to tell that this is simply impossible. However, we are Shrek Academy. Some of the other academies that don’t understand us too well will have misunderstand. At the very least, they’ll think to themselves, What if those youths from Shrek really have six hundred thousand year soul rings? What will we do then? This way, so long as Yuhao and Wang Dong don’t make any moves during the round-robin tournament, they won’t be exposed, and the fear in their hearts will persist. This will be extremely beneﬁcial in our ﬁghts as a whole.
“In accordance with your cultivations and the understanding that I have of each you, I’ve divided you into some simple groups. There’s no need to mention the team ﬁght; Yuhao will simply command you with his Spiritual Detection. If we draw
the 1v1 elimination ﬁght, you’ll start by going up based on your age, from the oldest to youngest.
“The 1v1 elimination ﬁght isn’t just fought by a single person. On the contrary, the loser of the ﬁght steps down, while the winner continues ﬁghting. This goes on until all seven members of a team have been completely defeated. Because of this, you must be wary of enemy soul engineers. If we draw a 1v1 ﬁght, I’ll do as much as I can to create the best lineup possible based on their abilities. You all will just have to do your best.
“The last mode of combat is the 2-2-3 ﬁght. Normally, two 2v2 matches will be held before the 3v3 match. If we win both 2v2s, we won’t even need to ﬁght the third match. Because of that, I’ve tentatively put Bei Bei and Jiang Nannan on one team, and Xu Sanshi and Caitou on the other team for the two teams that will go out in the 2v2 matches. Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong, and Xiao Xiao work extremely well together, but we can’t let them go out and ﬁght. Because of that, they’ll be the participants for the 3v3 match.”
Xu Sanshi had a gloomy expression on his face as he said, “Teacher Wang, why didn’t you put Jiang Nannan and me in a team together? The two of us know each other well, thus we’ll deﬁnitely work well together as a team.”
Jiang Nannan almond-shaped eyes widened. “Who’s the one that’s familiar with you? Stop trying to worm your way into being intimate with me.”
Wang Yan interjected, “This is a competition, not the place for you two to murmur endearments to one another. The reason that I’ve placed you all together like I have is because your abilities are much more compatible with Caitou’s; your focus is on defense, while his is on attack. As for Jiang Nannan, her quick-wittedness is better suited when combined with Bei Bei’s strong attacks. If she were to team up with you, I’m afraid that she wouldn’t even be able to exhibit thirty percent of her true strength.”
Jiang Nannan, who usually didn’t talk much, immediately nodded without a shred of hesitation and said, “Teacher Wang
Xu Sanshi’s expression immediately sank at, but since this had to do with their arrangements in the competition, he didn’t think that it would be appropriate to harp on about this matter.
Wang Yan said, “The basic arrangements will thus be like this. Now then, the most favorable styles of competition for us are actually the 1v1 and 2-2-3 ﬁghts. On the other hand, team battles will the easiest for us to reveal ﬂaws to our opponents in. I have to emphasise this point once again: During the competition, all of you must pay attention to your opponent’s soul tools, as competitors are allowed to utilise simple soul tools in battle. Yuhao deﬁnitely can’t repeat his attack pattern after what happened in the ﬁrst round, but the deterrent effect your team has is still present. Furthermore, Yuhao, you can’t hold back with your spiritual detection either while the others are competing. We have to do everything in our power to emerge victorious and ensure that we uphold the academy’s glory. When the time comes, I’ll be commanding you guys on the ﬁeld. I hope that you guys can carry out my commands at that time.”
“Yes.” The seven team members from the outer courtyard replied in uniform.
Wang Yan ﬁnally stood up and said, “Make sure to get some rest tonight everyone; you all need to ensure that you’re in peak condition for tomorrow. None of you are allowed to leave tonight. Dismissed.”
Once Wang Yan had ﬁnished speaking, everyone stood up and left the conference room. As Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong were walking towards Huo Yuhao’s room together to cultivate, Huo Yuhao suddenly sensed something. His gaze instantly landed on the other end of the corridor afterwards.
A handsome youngster that appeared to be around fourteen or ﬁfteen years old stood at the other end of the corridor, and was currently burning holes through Huo Yuhao as he stared at him.
Huo Yuhao’s gaze immediately froze over. He was immediately able to tell, based on the white, skin-tight clothing that the other party was wearing, as well as from the direction that the other person had appeared from, that the other party
was a student from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy.
“You’re known as Huo Yuhao, right? Remember my name: I’m Xiao Hongchen. I’ll deﬁnitely defeat you!” The handsome youngster then made a thumbs down sign towards Huo Yuhao.
“You…!” A cold glint ﬂashed through Wang Dong’s eyes, but Huo Yuhao immediately stopped him from moving by placing his hand ﬁrmly on Wang Dong’s shoulder.
Huo Yuhao raised his right hand, then hooked his thumb and middle ﬁnger together and ﬂicked his own clothes. He frowned and said, “Where did this ﬂea come from? It’s so hateful! Whatever, I’ll make sure to crush it to death sooner or later.”
Once he’d ﬁnished, he opened the door to his room and entered with Wang Dong.
Huo Yuhao’s voice had been very loud, while the acoustics in the Grand Imperial Star Hotel were also pretty decent. These two things caused Xiao Hongchen’s face to twitch slightly as he squinted his eyes. However, he didn’t seem angry; instead, a
thoughtful look had appeared on his face. His strength wasn’t the only reason that he’d been able to become the new commander of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy’s team. He also had a brain.
“Why did you stop me?” Wang Dong suddenly asked once they’d entered the room.
Huo Yuhao forcefully smiled and said, “What would you have done if I didn’t stop you? Did you plan to suffer the consequences? I activated my spiritual detection the moment I saw that person, which he seemed to notice right away. Furthermore, the soul power ﬂuctuations that his body was emanating far surpass ours. Based on his soul power ﬂuctuations, I’m afraid that he has ﬁve soul rings.”
“What?” Wang Dong was instantly taken aback. “No way! He doesn’t even seem that much older than us. He ought to be a reserve member of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, but a Soul King at that? It can’t be that he also disguised his soul power like you did, right?”
Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “Is it really that easy for someone to mask the ﬂuctuations of one’s soul power?
Anyways, he hadn’t even released his martial soul yet.”
Wang Dong frowned slightly, and a worried expression emerged in his large pinkish-blue eyes. “Just the reserve team is like that… It seems that the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy is much stronger than we could’ve imagined. Thankfully, we shouldn’t meet them in the round- robin tournament, considering the fact that they were the runners-up last year.”
Huo Yuhao’s eyes twinkled. “Actually, the thing that we have to be more worried about is them being our opponents when we become ofﬁcial members of the team in ﬁve years and compete against them in the Elite Continental Soul Master Academy Tournament! He’s a Soul King now, but what about in ﬁve years, considering his current cultivation speed?”
Wang Dong indignantly exclaimed, “But we’re still young!”
“The tournament still gives all of us the same amount of time,” Huo Yuhao retorted. “Come on, we have to work harder. Our true strength actually lies in our Haodong Power. As you know, my cultivation speed will most likely become slower
once I get my third soul ring, due to the restrictions of my Ultimate martial soul.”
Xiao Hongchen’s appearance really did give them a sense of urgency. The duo immediately sat down on the bed, then placed their hands against each other’s and began circulating their Haodong Power.
Wang Dong had become less and less mysophobic towards Huo Yuhao as they spent more time together.
The warm Mysterious Heaven Technique intertwined with Wang Dong’s light-attributed soul power, then quickly gathered to form their torrential Haodong Power. Once it had, it began to circulate throughout their bodies.
Following Wang Dong’s breakthrough to Rank 30, Huo Yuhao had also broken through to Rank 27. Currently, when they joined hands and circulated the Haodong Power in order to utilise a soul skill, the true might of their attack could compare to that of a Soul Ancestor. This was a massive ampliﬁcation in terms of martial soul fusion.
Their cultivation was also close to each other’s; the higher their cultivation level, the stronger the circulation of soul power, and in turn, the speed of their cultivation. Using their Haodong Power to cultivate was equivalent to them cultivating with the same speed as a Soul Ancestor; their cultivation was
advancing by leaps and bounds.
Huo Yuhao had only broken through to Rank 27 around ten days ago, yet he already felt like his soul power was nearing the middle stage of Rank 27. If he continued at this cultivation speed, it wouldn’t be a dream for him to break through at a speed of one rank per month until he reached Rank 30!
Wang Dong wasn’t left in the dust by Huo Yuhao’s speed, as his body seemed to be able to support more soul power than even Huo Yuhao’s, who had twin martial souls. He felt no sense of blockage whenever he circulated his soul power, and he also felt as if he was growing stronger every day. In the few months since school had started, he’d already broken through to Rank 32, yet he was already charging straight ahead towards the Rank 33 bottleneck. With the help of their current Haodong Power, it was possible that he might break through to the Soul Ancestor stage within a year and half.
Currently, Dai Huabin was unquestionably the second year outer courtyard disciple with the strongest soul power, as he was currently at Rank 37. However, Wang Dong was beginning to feel more and more conﬁdent that he could surpass him in two years’ time.
On the other hand, Xiao Xiao’s cultivation was slightly slower than the theirs. Despite this, this was only because she was about to break through her Soul Elder bottleneck.
Once the ﬁrst round of the knockout competitions ﬁnally ended, the spectators that had been watching the match in Star Luo City were all riding on an emotionally-driven high. Due to this, there would be people queueing up deep into the night every day of the tournament. Even though Star Luo Plaza had an extremely large surface area, there were still some limitations as to how many people it could contain; it couldn’t satisfy the needs of the masses.
The government ofﬁcials from the Star Luo Empire naturally increased the entrance fee in order to regulate the queue and to ensure that it wasn’t too congested. Because of this, the empire made an enormous amount of proﬁt, thus it was only natural for the Star Luo Empire to contribute to the rewards for the tournament. It was the same every year, however the rewards
were never expressly stipulated. As no country would ever want to lose face, they’d always present very good things as rewards.
Why did the competition rules stipulate that the ﬁrst cycle had to be a knockout competition? Besides the simple fact that it reduced the number of academies participating in the later matches, it was also in order to make the competition more exciting!
The Elite Continental Soul Master Academy Tournament had become the most important competition on the entire continent, and was thus conducted by the ofﬁcials of every single country The reason that this competition was so popular every year was also due to these exciting matches. It was only natural to use various means in order to ensure that this grand occasion, which was only held every ﬁve years, would run better than the last each time.
The knockout tournament made the entire competition extremely exciting. Even though the tournament ofﬁcials tried their best to prevent any injuries, close to two hundred students participating in the match would sustain various degrees of injuries each time around. There were even several tens of students who’d died due to excessive injuries. The
battleﬁeld was drenched in blood, thus it naturally drew in more viewership. Of course, it also meant that any school who’s student unexpectedly died would also receive a bountiful compensation.
However, the knockout round was now over, and the second phase—the round-robin tournament—was next. Even though the round-robin tournament wasn’t as intense as the knockout matches, the former still had its perks, which mainly lay in the variety of rules that the competition had. There were three ways that matches could be held, and whichever one the students would compete with was decided through drawing lots. One could say that every single match had its own exciting aspects.
Moreover, after the ﬁrst elimination cycle, the remaining teams would be much stronger, and thus the matches would get both much more exciting and more varied. As such, it was extremely difﬁcult to get ahold of a ticket to watch this match in Star Luo Plaza, despite it being capable of accommodating more than two hundred thousand people. The entire plaza would be packed to the brim every day, while those who weren’t able to get in that day wouldn’t leave. They would continue waiting in line all the way until the next day; it was impossible for those who’d queued up on the ﬁrst day and watched the competition to also watch it the second day, be it
civilians, or the rich and powerful. This actually ensured that everyone was treated fairly.
When faced with such a situation, the Imperial family of the Star Luo Empire naturally wasn’t able to conceal their happiness. Not only did they deploy ﬁve thousand soldiers in order to maintain order throughout the city, they also began to sell ofﬁcial match reports despite having trouble dealing with so many people. They would release a new match report would appear every day, which would only cost a few copper coins. There would be also be a detailed report released after every match too, which served as another form of income.
However, the Star Luo Empire knew how to conduct themselves well. They would cover all travelling and lodging expenses for the academies that had been eliminated, and even gave them a set amount of subsidies. They also provided medical treatment for those that had been injured, and provided ﬁnancial support to relatives of those who’d died in the matches. In addition to that, all of the participating academies were highly praised during the event. The way that the Star Luo Empire had dealt with the lively crowd in such an orderly manner just three days into the tournament… it could be said that they were earning a proﬁt at the same time as increasing their reputation.
Today was the fourth day of the tournament, and screams from the spectators had been constantly reverberating throughout Star Luo Plaza since early in the morning. There was only one reason for this: and that was because the team representing Shrek Academy was ﬁnally going to appear on the
ﬁeld again. Furthermore, they would be appearing in the ﬁrst
match. Even the emperor of the Star Luo Empire, who would only occasionally grace the city with his presence to spectate, had mounted the lead position in the imperial city at ﬁrst light, and was currently quietly waiting for the match to begin. For the emperor to do such a thing, he was giving Shrek Academy
quite a lot of face.
Chapter 79: The Cheeser in the Round- Robin Round—Xu Sanshi!
The weather wasn’t great, being gloomy and somewhat oppressive, but the clouds in the sky weren’t dark. However, the sun wasn’t out but fortunately, the air was still fresh and clean, and there was no rain either.
The start of the round-robin tournament signiﬁed the opening of the participants’ rest area. The round-robin tournament today was only the ﬁrst part of the tournament and four of the eight groups would make an appearance today. However, all sixty-seven teams who qualiﬁed from the knockout round were sitting within the rest area with no exceptions.
They were here to spectate the tournament. More accurately, they wanted to once again experience the shock that occurred on the ﬁrst day of the tournament. They wanted to see the youth who came from Shrek and the Tang Sect and see whether he really had six hundred thousand year soul rings.
Shrek was Shrek, the Shrek that had ten thousand years of glory. Practically every single academy had unconsciously set it
as their target, yet deeply revered it. Even the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy wasn’t an exception to this.
When the dark-green clad team from Shrek appeared in the participants’ entrance tunnel, the atmosphere of the entire Star Luo Plaza started boiling. Loud cheers for Shrek began ringing out from the areas closest to the entrance tunnel.
Huo Yuhao walked expressionlessly at the very front of the team. Since they wanted to assume an air of power to terrify their opponents, they would naturally have to go all-out. Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng, and Ling Luochen simply didn’t bother turning up; they chose to stay in the hotel to recuperate and make their recovery as fast as possible.
Shrek Academy’s resting area was located the furthest north, making it nearest to the city walls. Furthermore, their resting area was clearly larger than that of the other academies. The entire area had a total of twenty sofas and was staffed by an attendant. A table beside the sofas was ﬁlled with food, fruits, and drinks in order to cater to any needs the participants might have. Just how was this a tournament? It was practically a VIP spectator area.
In reality, the other academies weren’t treated much differently than them. However, they didn’t have any attendants. But more importantly, their areas were much smaller than Shrek’s. Every resting area only had seven seats meant for the ofﬁcial team; the preparatory team or substitutes could only stand behind the others.
At this moment, the host was already building up the tension in the arena. He ﬁrst announced the names of the academies that had already passed through the ﬁrst round of the tournament and then proceeded to introduce each team in more detail.
It was just as Wang Yan had predicted, the group that Shrek belonged to only had a total of eight participating teams. Shrek Academy was naturally the most popular team in the entire tournament, overshadowing any and all other teams in the same group. After all, nobody had ever seen Shrek Academy put into an awkward situation where they had to put on a false strong front.
Other than the participants’ resting area, there were also waiting areas located by either side of the enormous tournament stage that were used by the delegations of the various academies who would be ﬁghting on stage.
After spouting a load of bullshit that stirred the emotions of the crowd, the announcer used his most impassioned voice to cry out, “Now, let us have the continent’s number one academy, the representative team from Shrek Academy, in addition to their opponents, the representative team from the Star Luo Empire’s Cloud Luo Soul Engineering Academy, enter the waiting area. May the leaders from both teams please step onto the stage to conﬁrm the mode of battle.”
The difference between the two academies could be seen from their introductions. When the announcer introduced Shrek Academy, he didn’t mention the country it was located in. However, he would do this for the other academies. This was because no country would dare to claim that Shrek Academy belonged to it. Even the Heavenly Soul Empire, which Shrek technically belonged to, wasn’t an exception to this.
Shrek Academy had its own Shrek City, the status of which was so incredibly high that every country had to give it an extremely high amount of respect.
When compared to Shrek Academy, the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy was also comparably powerful. However, it had a much weaker foundation. Because of that,
they could only compare themselves against Shrek during the Continental Advanced Soul Academy Tournament, and use that to stimulate the explosive growth of their students.
Bei Bei stood up and walked towards the stage after Wang Yan motioned for him to do so. The leader of the Cloud Luo Advanced Soul Engineering Academy’s team was a buff Adonis who was practically no different from He Caitou. He had a head full of short, golden hair, and the outlines of his thick muscles could be seen below his white school uniform.
The two walked up to the stage together. The lot-drawing process was very simple; the referee took a cylindrical lot- drawing tube and allowed the leaders of both teams to inspect it.
The lot-drawing tube was transparent to prevent any possible cheating. One of the tube’s sides had a small, round hole in it. The referee took three small balls that represented the three modes of combat and shoved them into the small hole, then turned the entire thing upside down. After that, he allowed each one of them to hold a side of the large sphere.
The referee shouted, “Three, two, one!”
Bei Bei and the opposing team leader simultaneously exerted force, throwing the large sphere into the air. If no small balls dropped out from the larger ball during this process, the referee would turn it over after catching it. The ball which dropped out then would be their mode of combat. If a small ball dropped out while the larger ball was in the air, that would represent their mode of combat.
This was the round-robin tournament’s ﬁrst lot-drawing, and it was extremely successful. When the two leaders threw the large ball twenty meters into the air, a small ball dropped out.
There were three small balls, each with their own distinctive color. They were red, yellow, and blue respectively.
Red represented the team ﬁght, yellow represented the 1v1 ﬁght, and blue represented the 2-2-3 ﬁght. This time around, a small yellow ball dropped out of the large ball.
The referee caught the small ball as he retrieved the larger ball, which was falling back to the ground. After allowing both leaders to take a look at the smaller ball, he looked towards the
Star Luo Emperor, who was seated at the top of the city walls. The latter gave a signal, and the announcer used the soul loudspeaker to make an announcement.
“Shrek Academy’s ﬁght against Cloud Luo Academy will be conducted via the 1v1 knockout mode. May both parties please send out a single member to take part in the competition.”
1v1? After hearing that the competition was to be conducted in such a manner, the audience’s eyes lit up. Every single member of the audience who could see him, in addition to the students from the various academies who had Huo Yuhao in their line of sight, cast their gazes towards him. They all hoped that Huo Yuhao would be the ﬁrst person to come out and would complete a 1v7. Wouldn’t that be the most satisfying outcome they could watch!? Who wouldn’t want to feel the excitement and thrill that came from the appearance of six hundred thousand year soul rings again?
Both leaders glanced at each other, then stepped down from the stage. Bei Bei had already received instructions from Wang Yan before the lot-drawing. Wang Yan had told him to come back down after the lot-drawing, regardless of the format of the competition.
Bei Bei hurriedly returned to the waiting area, then cast an inquisitive gaze towards Wang Yan. “Teacher Wang, I’ll go.”
However, Wang Yan shook his head and spoke in a premeditated manner. “We should have a certain amount of assurance in this match. Out of the four empires, the empire that has the strongest soul engineering academy is the Sun Moon Empire. However, the soul engineering academies of the other three empires don’t lag behind by much. Although our academy’s Soul Tool Department isn’t the strongest, we’re deﬁnitely better than those from the Heavenly Soul, Dou Ling, and Star Luo Empires. This Cloud Luo Advanced Soul Engineering Academy comes from the Star Luo Empire, not the Sun Moon Empire. As a whole, I’m certain they won’t be too strong. Furthermore, since they’re soul engineers, I guarantee that they won’t have any Soul King-ranked students. I’m suspecting that they won’t even have too many Soul Ancestors. Assault-type soul masters will be put at a disadvantage against soul engineers, and we don’t have any substitutes. Thus, we need to guarantee that none of you suffer any injuries. Otherwise, we run the risk of you not being able to recover during the one day of rest that we have. Taking all this into consideration, Xu Sanshi, you’re up for the ﬁrst round.”
As he spoke, Wang Yan pointed at Xu Sanshi and whispered, “A defense-type soul master is most suited to restrain a soul engineer, especially a low-ranked one. Remember, do your best to control the consumption of your soul power. Last a few rounds on the stage. The longer you endure and the later we reveal our students, the better. Go.”
The moment Xu Sanshi heard that he was going to go out ﬁrst, he immediately stood up excitedly. Bending his right arm, he ﬂexed his muscles and said proudly, “Just watch me.” With that, he took large strides towards the stage.
Bei Bei turned towards He Caitou and asked, “Don’t you think he’s a bit thick?”
He Caitou laughed naughtily. “A bit.”
Jiang Nannan snorted, “Extremely thick.”
Xu Sanshi, who hadn’t walked far, stumbled and nearly fell down, but he clenched his teeth and walked up to the stage.
The ﬁrst student sent out by the Cloud Luo Academy wasn’t tall, but his shoulders were very wide; he was even somewhat fat. His nervousness was visible on his face as he faced the tall Xu Sanshi, beads of sweat could already be seen on his forehead.
Any academy would be nervous while facing Shrek Academy, this was to be expected.
At such a young age, Huo Yuhao had revealed such a prodigal amount of strength. Wouldn’t the somewhat older person in front of him be stronger than his junior? This seemed especially true when he looked at Xu Sanshi’s ﬁerce appearance. He began to feel weak inside! He subconsciously wiped his sweat with his sleeve, causing the spectators to burst into laughter.
Huo Yuhao not coming up to the stage had disappointed a large number of people. But this was still one of Shrek Academy’s matches and they quickly got excited again, prepared and curious to see how strong Xu Sanshi, who was decent-looking in terms of power, was.
The referee called the two of them to him and said in a low voice, “The rules of the 1v1 knockout round state that the loser has to immediately step down from the stage, while the winner can choose to either continue ﬁghting or switch out. Each party has seven people, and the competition will go on until all seven people from one side are defeated. Understand?”
“Understood.” Xu Sanshi replied in a very straightforward manner. However, his opponent was stammering. “Un- understood.”
The referee said, “Okay. Both parties, return to your sides. The match will begin with my call. You’re not allowed to use stationary soul tools or any soul tools that have a high degree of killing power.”
As he spoke, the referee began to step back. However, the student from the Cloud Luo Academy squeezed out a smile and said to Xu Sanshi, “I-I’m called Ma Yingjun. Senior, please go easy on me.”
The corner of Xu Sanshi’s mouth twitched as he said proudly, “Are you as handsome as me?”
Ma Yingjun hurriedly shook his head to the point where his brain shook like a drum. “No, no.”
Satisﬁed, Xu Sanshi nodded. “Fine. I’ll go a little easy on you.”
Yingjun means handsome.
Oh!” Ma Yingjun retreated with a delighted expression on his face. It almost seemed as if he had received the biggest gift of his life.
None of them was using a sound amplifying soul tool. Therefore, the audience couldn’t hear what they were saying. But from what they could see, it seemed that the student from Cloud Luo Academy wasn’t too eager to ﬁght!
And in this case, they weren't mistaken. When Cloud Luo Academy discovered that Shrek Academy would be their opponent in the round-robin, and in the ﬁrst match on top of that, they decided to conserve all the strength they could. At the same time, they decided to not put up too much of a ﬁght to keep a friendly relationship with Shrek Academy.
According to Wang Yan’s info, Cloud Luo Academy wasn’t very strong. They had paid quite the price just to get through the ﬁrst round. As a result, many of their strongest students were injured. As if that wasn’t enough, they had now encountered the strongest academy on the continent. It was no
wonder that their ﬁghting spirit was so low! Anyway, even if they lost to Shrek Academy during this round-robin, it wasn’t something to be ashamed of. Therefore, they decided to go on stage and do their best, leaving the rest to fate.
To tell the truth, they weren’t too happy that it had turned into a 1v1 ﬁght. They would have preferred to go in as a group and get over with it as soon as possible.
The ﬁrst match of the round-robin phase started under such premises.
Xu Sanshi arrived in front of the platform and put a thin cigar in his mouth. Afterward, he used a small lighter-type soul tool to light the cigar and started to smoke, holding it crookedly in his mouth. From his appearance, he didn’t really seem like a good person.
Even the audience went into an uproar after seeing his behavior. Cloud Luo Academy was also angered. This guy was just too arrogant. He even pulled out a cigar just as the match was about to start. Was Shrek Academy so lax when it came to their students?
The referee also furrowed his brows. Nevertheless, he didn’t take action. First, there wasn’t a rule that forbade a student to smoke. Second, he didn’t want to offend Shrek Academy.
“The match can commence!” The referee shouted as he retreated to the edge of the platform.
Cloud Luo Academy’s Ma Yingjun had been waiting for these scary words all along. When the referee gave the signal, his short and stout body quickly reacted. He lifted his arms, and three metal pipes as thick as thumbs came out of them. Two metal pipes as thick as his arms came out of each shoulder. The wings on his back also quickly unfurled, and his two stout legs also produced six metal pipes. On his chest was a soul tool that resembled a heart-protective mirror. It was obviously a shield- type soul tool. It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that he was armed to the teeth right now.
Xu Sanshi’s body didn’t change drastically like that. A somewhat unremarkable black tortoise shell appeared in his right hand. At the same time, four soul rings, two yellow and two purple, started to shine.
Four soul rings?
The spectators were quite disappointed. He had only four rings! Many of them were looking forward to seeing some hundred thousand year old soul rings!
Among the spectators, the ratio of soul masters was less than 1:1000! Most of them were only there for fun. Very few knew just how precious a hundred thousand year soul ring was.
The difference between Xu Sanshi’s soul release and Huo Yuhao’s incredible performance from yesterday was the same as heaven and earth. Therefore, it was no wonder that the spectators were disappointed. But at this time, Xu Sanshi did something very unexpected.
He started to run.
Was he running toward his opponent? No! He turned around and ran in the opposite direction, just like a deserter leaving his post. He was running toward the edge of the platform.
At this time, that defensive soul tool made out of 108 pillars was active. But the defensive barrier generated by the soul tool
wasn’t directly attached to the ring; there was approximately a three meter distance between them. According to the rules of the tournament, if one were to fall from the ring, they would be disqualiﬁed; that was the purpose of the distance of those three meters.
Ma Yingjun had already made up his mind before going on stage. The tactic he was going to deploy was very simple: struggle and consumption. Even if the ﬂying-type soul tool on his back couldn’t allow him to ﬂy too high, it was still good for dodging. As long as he could consume some of Xu Sanshi’s soul power, he would be satisﬁed.
But when the match started, he saw Xu Sanshi turn around and start running in the opposite direction. Ma Yingjun was left speechless, and thought to himself, Boss, why are you running away?! Didn’t you just say that you would go easy on me? What’s the meaning of all this?!
No one knew what Xu Sanshi was thinking. Only his good friend Bei Bei, who quarreled with him every day, guessed his intentions correctly.
Bei Bei curled his lips and unintentionally revealed a strange smile. “This guy seems in the mood to play dirty tricks.”
As soon as he ﬁnished speaking, Xu Sanshi arrived at the edge of the platform. Next, he unexpectedly jumped outside the platform!
It goes without saying, the audience immediately called out in alarm. Even the emperor of the Star Luo Empire was shocked.
According to the rules of the competition, if your feet were to land outside the platform, you would be disqualiﬁed!
Let alone Xu Sanshi, who was from Shrek Academy, even students of lesser known academies hadn’t ever done anything like this! Admitting defeat without even trying? What kind of situation was this?
Indeed, what kind of situation was this? Xu Sanshi had a crafty expression on his face. Next, the fourth soul ring on his body lit up.
The radiance of his purple thousand year soul ring covered the arena. The spectators were still calling out in alarm when a strange scene played out in front of their eyes.
Xu Sanshi’s black tortoise shell emitted a pale radiance. Soon after that, the one that was jumping outside the ring and was about to collide with the defensive barrier wasn’t him anymore, but Ma Yingjun.
In other words, Xu Sanshi and Ma Yingjun had swapped places.
Ma Yingjun, who had been looking at Xu Sanshi jumping outside the platform with a stupid expression on his face, suddenly found himself in midair. He started to fall on the ground soon after, while Xu Sanshi was now standing in his previous position.
Even if Ma Yingjun wasn’t too bright, he was still an elite student chosen by Cloud Luo Academy to participate in the tournament! If they sent him ﬁrst, it meant that he wasn’t that weak. After all, he too had displayed four soul rings, three yellow and one purple. And just as he was about to use his ﬂying-type soul tool on his back to rise up into the air...
Xu Sanshi, who was still standing at his previous position, took the cigar out of his mouth and shouted, “Come forth, hundred thousand year soul ring!”
Ma Yingjun was just too pitiful. Just as he was about to activate his soul tool, he was scared to death by Xu Sanshi’s sudden yell. He directly fell to the ground.
A heavy soul tool covered his whole body. Therefore, when he fell from a height of ﬁve meters, he would be still reduced to a mess even if had thick skin and strong bones!
Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong, who were now in the waiting area, were completely stunned. They looked at each other and said almost at the same time, “It ended like this?”
When Ma Yingjun crashed to the ground, the spectators suddenly went very quiet. If time were to stop right now, one would notice that at least a hundred thousand of them had their mouths wide open. Even the emperor was no exception.
Huo Yuhao had been planning to use his Spiritual Detection Sharing to help Xu Sanshi, but just as he was wondering if it could bypass the defensive barrier, the match was already over.
The referee was also at a loss. It had been less than three seconds since he had shouted ‘the match can commence’. And now, it was already over.
Xu Sanshi held the black tortoise shell in his right hand and used the left one to stuff the thin cigar back into his mouth. Afterward, he calmly said, “Next.”
The purpose of this cool pose was to imitate Huo Yuhao, but the effect he obtained was completely different.
After that short time of silence, the audience went into an uproar once again. Over 90% of them had no idea what had just happened.
Was this Shrek Academy’s mysterious power?
Standing beside the platform, Bei Bei explained what had happened to his teammates, “Sanshi’s fourth soul skill is called Mysterious Underworld Replacement. With this skill, he can instantaneously swap positions with people in a certain range. This skill is quite good, and amongst defense-type soul
masters, it can be considered almost godly. However, when used by him, it actually looks so lame. The way he uses his Mysterious Underworld Replacement leaves me speechless. I almost feel like crying.”
He Caitou was stupeﬁed as he said, “Brother Sanshi is really shameless!”
As the saying goes, while the laymen watch for fun, only professionals understand the workings. The students of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, who were seated not too far off from Shrek Academy, didn’t feel like laughing at Xu Sanshi. They had more or less guessed the effects of this soul skill.
When he went on stage and showed his four soul rings, they had breathed a sigh of relief. Someone with four soul rings should only be a member of Shrek’s preparatory team. But after seeing the shield in his right hand and the trick he had
used, the students of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy started to become anxious once again.
The captain of the main team, Ma Rulong, said in a serious tone, “As you would expect from Shrek Academy, they aren’t short of talented people.”
When Xu Sanshi swaggering back to his original position, the referee ﬁnally reacted. He quickly went to the edge of the platform to check on Ma Yingjun, who had crashed to the ground and was now a mess.
Xu Sanshi also came over, and spoke while still holding the cigar in his mouth, “Little brother, are you alright?”
Ma Yingjun subconsciously replied, “I feel pain everywhere after falling. How did I even end up here?”
“Didn’t I say I would go easy on you?” Xu Sanshi said with a stern expression, “Therefore, I used the easiest way to make you fall from the platform. Anyway, no need to thank me. You can go now.” With that, he waved his hand to Ma Yingjun.
Ma Yingjun also unconsciously waved his hand and went toward his team’s waiting area.
What could the referee even say at this point?
The winner of the ﬁrst match of the 1v1 elimination phase is… Shrek Academy!”
Ma Yingjun arrived at his team’s waiting area. After pondering for a bit, he confusedly said to his team captain, “Captain, was I just tricked?”
The captain of Cloud Luo Academy’s team hit him on the head and howled, “Idiot! The academy completely lost its face thanks to you! Shang Yue, you’re next.”
“Yes.” A girl immediately stood up from Cloud Luo Academy’s team, quickly climbing up to the platform.
“Beautiful!” Xu Sanshi’s eyes lit up as he stared at the military-looking girl in front of him.
Xu Sanshi outward appearance wasn’t too bad; he had a square face and a normal-shaped nose and mouth. Even though he wasn’t as elegant and scholarly as Bei Bei, he could still be considered good-looking. However, his attitude was completely different than what he looked like.
Shang Yue, who stood opposite him, was a 1.7 meter-tall lady who appeared to be about eighteen or nineteen years old. Even though she wasn’t a peerless beauty, she still had an extremely slender ﬁgure; this was especially so for her long pair of legs, which stood out.
Her form-ﬁtting robes further served to accentuate her exceptionally beautiful ﬁgure.
A pervert such as Xu Sanshi would start observe the lady in front of him from the bottom upwards. Thus, the ﬁrst thing he
saw was her slender, round thighs. When his sight reached her perky chest, his pupils instantly widened. His mouth widened slightly, and it seemed like he was about to start drooling.
Fortunately, he knew that Jiang Nannan was still looking at him. Thus, he forced his perverted gaze away from Shang Yue’s chest and forcefully swallowed the saliva that had gathered to the side of his mouth.
Chang Yue wasn’t much older than Xu Sanshi, but she did have a boyfriend.
She had clearly seen Xu Sanshi’s ‘performance’ just now, thus she immediately raised her eyebrows and asked, “What’re you looking at?”
Xu Sanshi almost subconsciously replied, “Steamed buns.”
“You…!” Chang Yue immediately ﬂew into a rage, then shot straight towards him.
Perhaps due to the fact that the referee couldn’t bear to continue watching a certain person’s vulgar display, he immediately shouted ‘start’, then retreated backwards.
Chang Yue’s ﬁghting style was completely different from Ma Yingjun’s. She had a pair of long blades sheathed on her back, which she proceeded to unsheathe the moment that her body shot forwards. As she held one blade in each hand, the two four foot-long blades immediately lit up with a brilliant white light. Afterwards, two three foot-long beams of sword-light shot straight towards Xu Sanshi.
Wang Yan, who was in front beneath the stage, suddenly blurted out, “A close-combat soul tool! Pay attention to it. Most of the time, soul engineers who use close-combat soul tools are extremely formidable in close-combat. Their soul skills might be somewhat weak, but their close-combat ﬁghting abilities are still relatively strong. The best way to deal with them is to not get close to them. If you do, you’ll have a big problem on your hands.”
Huo Yuhao's gaze remained ﬁxated on Chang Yue's close- combat soul tool as he began to reminisce about his own soul tool. It was the only remnant he had left to remember his mother by—the White Tiger's Dagger.
When he’d fought against the Wind Baboon, it was precisely because of the White Tiger Dagger’s special effect that he’d been able to escape being killed by the ﬁrst soul beast he’d ever met in his life.
Onstage, Chang Yue’s long blades viciously struck Xu Sanshi’s Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle, which caused white sparks to immediately ﬁll the surrounding air. At that moment, Chang Yue’s soul rings were on full display. Just like Ma Yingjun, she had three yellow and one purple ring. Furthermore, her martial soul was somewhat strange, as her head was the most affected by her martial soul; her originally golden hair had begun to turn gray, she’d grown much taller, and her muscles were now so big that they were bulging. Her eyes had also turned a crystalline yellow. Her lips were jutting out slightly, revealing what seemed to be canine teeth.
A dog-type martial soul? Furthermore, this seems to be a very strong one.
A martial soul like this was relatively decent, as it strengthened its user by a large amount. Considering Chang Yue’s ability as a close-combat soul engineer, it could be said to be complement her very well. The only ﬂaw of a martial soul like this was that her aesthetics would be ruined when she activated it.
When he saw this, Xu Sanshi evilly cried out as he blocked Chang Yue’s attack with his shield, “Ghost!”
His cry made the already-seething Chang Yue immediately launch a storm of sword-beams towards him as she slashed madly at him. Although Xu Sanshi talked a lot of shit, he seemed to simply be an airbag at this moment. The only thing he did was unceasingly adjust the position of his Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle as he cowered behind it, which made it seem as if he had no intentions of attacking.
The violent booms coming from the stage, alongside the scene of Xu Sanshi being completely trashed once again, caused both an uproar and a general sense of puzzlement to spread amongst the spectators. From their point of view, Huo Yuhao and Xu Sanshi were both from the same academy. But if that was so, why was there be such a large gap between them?
The activation of a soul tool drained quite a bit of soul power. Furthermore, the drain on one’s soul power was directly proportional to the might of the close-combat soul tool being used. Chang Yue’s pair of blades were a Class 3 close-combat soul tool, thus they were relatively extraordinary in terms of strength. As she relentlessly poured down powerful blows with no regard for her soul power, Xu Sanshi gradually retreated, step by step.
However, despite her powerful cultivation, she still eventually ran out of energy. After yet another ﬂurry of blows, she began to feel that she was overexhausting her soul power. Xu Sanshi, on the other hand, was still ten or so meters away from the edge of the stage, despite his constant retreating.
It wasn’t as if Chang Yue hadn’t attempted to ﬁnd a ﬂaw in Xu Sanshi’s defense. However, the latter’s use of the Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle was extremely clever. No matter what way she tried to attack him, he was always able to block it in time. More importantly, whenever she tried to attack him from another direction, the retreating Xu Sanshi would instead steady his footsteps, then retreat in another direction. This way, Chang Yue subconsciously chose to attack him in a frontal manner.
Due to the overexhaustion of her soul power, Chang Yue’s blades began to slow down.
At that moment, the corner of Xu Sanshi’s mouth curled into a smile. “Ah, ah… I can’t hold it anymore! Quick, be more forceful, be more forceful!”
“Bastard!” Chang Yue’s large eyes went round, then she ﬁercely inhaled a large mouthful of air. She forcefully gathered the soul power in her body, then re-intensiﬁed the power of the blades she was holding as she once again forced Xu Sanshi to retreat backwards.
Ten meters, nine meters, eight meters… ﬁve meters, three meters, one meter… Finally, under Chang Yue’s unrelenting assault, Xu Sanshi was ﬁnally forced to the edge of the stage. Currently, he would fall off if he took just a single step backwards.
Chang Yue’s four soul rings had continuously ﬂickered during her previous attack, but she hadn’t seemed to use any soul power on the surface. This was one of the unique characteristics of a soul engineer: When she’d chosen her soul rings, Chang Yue had chosen ones that would increase her
strength and speed. This way, she could make up for the deﬁciencies that her martial soul had. Furthermore, her combined ﬁghting power after using a soul tool would be much greater than what it would’ve been if she’d remained a simple soul master.
Right when she was about to succeed and win the ﬁght, her last two soul rings simultaneously lit up, while her twin blades that had previously emitted white light now had a faint, green luster to them. The strong soul power undulations they were emitting caused even the surrounding air to distort. Her blades then ﬂashed forwards as struck towards Xu Sanshi with an all- out attack.
When Chang Yue struck towards Xu Sanshi with her two swords, every single student from Cloud Luo Academy, including her, thought this exact phrase.
They all knew how strong she was; if she were to launch an all-out attack, even a Soul King-ranked expert wouldn’t be able to take a direct blow from her, let alone Xu Sanshi, who had no path of retreat.
However, right when these thoughts of victory popped into their minds, they instantly transformed into thoughts of astonishment.
Just before Chang Yue’s blades struck Xu Sanshi’s Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle, Xu Sanshi’s body suddenly ﬂickered to the side. At the same time, he slanted the angle of his shield, which caused Chang Yue’s twin blades to practically slide across the surface of his shield.
It was true that Xu Sanshi had been forced into the corner of the arena, but at the same time, Chang Yue herself had also been forced into that corner as well! When she felt her swords strike essentially thin air, the momentum carrying her immediately caused her to ﬂy off the stage!
Her greatest mistake was falling for Xu Sanshi’s plan; her decision-making skills had clearly been affected when she became angered by him. Combined with the string of attacks that had given her the absolute advantage in their battle, she’d forgotten the most important thing: Even though Xu Sanshi was a defense-type soul master, he didn’t have to block everything; he could also dodge an attack!
Xu Sanshi hadn’t dodged any of her attacks when she’d gone on the offensive, yet he’d suddenly changed his movements at this crucial moment… Chang Yue simply didn’t have the time to react.
The moment that she passed Xu Sanshi, Chang Yue immediately came to her senses. However, it was already too late for her to thrust her blades into the ground to stabilize herself.
Xu Sanshi nimbly turned the Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle in his hand around, then lightly smacked the ﬂat of it against Chang Yue’s protruding buttocks. A crisp ‘pa’ rang out. Combined with the momentum that Chang Yue had from when she’d charged forward, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back; Chang Yue immediately fell off the stage and rolled forwards.
This was the second match in a row where a dramatic change had occurred! Xu Sanshi had taken a beating from Chang Yue from the very beginning; in fact, he seemed like he’d collapse at any moment, yet he was still able to turn defeat into victory. Was this really just a ﬂuke?
After falling off the stage, Chang Yue face had turned ashen. However, she was still somewhat drained from using all of her strength earlier.
On the stage, Xu Sanshi kept an innocent look on his face as he looked towards her. He shrugged his shoulders, then said, “You can’t blame me. It’s just that you were so bouncy that you got yourself bounced out. A mistake, that was deﬁnitely a mistake.” However, his gaze was ﬁxated on Chang Yue’s protruding buttocks the entire time he spoke. Worse, once he’d ﬁnished speaking, his gaze turned towards Jiang Nannan, who was seated within the resting area.
Jiang Nannan’s expression became frosty, and she turned to retrieve a pair of scissors from somewhere unknown. She then grabbed an elongated fruit from the table in front of her.
Xu Sanshi instantly felt a certain area of his body tighten up, and he immediately turned around. He now had a righteous look on his face as he said to the referee, “I’ve won. Let’s move on to the next match.”
The referee’s gaze towards him became somewhat strange; he’d never seen such a strange competition in his life.
At that moment, the leader of Cloud Luo Advanced Soul Engineering Academy’s team took the stage and took large strides towards Xu Sanshi.
From the viewpoint of the spectators, this leader should’ve been angry and lashed out at Xu Sanshi due to his previous actions. However, the fact that he didn’t do so astonished even the referee somewhat.
Although he had a somewhat chilly and stern expression on his face as he faced Xu Sanshi, he didn’t ﬂy into a rage as he spoke. Instead, he bowed slightly to Xu Sanshi, then said, “Cloud Luo Advanced Soul Engineering Academy, Situ Yu.”
Xu Sanshi seemed to have felt something as well. The relaxed look on his face vanished slightly, “Shrek, Xu Sanshi.”
Chapter 80: The Eternal Defense, Xu Sanshi
“I know that you have yet to use your real strength,” Situ Yu said in a grave tone, “thus, as the captain of the Cloud Luo Academy team, I hope to have a fair match with you. I want to see the real difference between the two of us. If you manage to beat me, then there won’t be a need to ﬁght the remaining matches. As such, I hope that you’ll use your actual strength to win my respect.”
Xu Sanshi narrowed his eyes. Even though he was only ﬁfteen years old, the environment he’d grown up in had allowed him to mature much faster than his peers. Even if Situ Yu was older than him, it didn’t mean that he was more experienced.
“As you wish.” Xu Sanshi said after pondering for a moment. He then smiled as he had been previously; he wouldn’t let his opponent inﬂuence his mood.
The referee stepped forward at this point and said in a grave tone, “Both of you, retreat.”
Situ Yu backed up while gazing carefully at Xu Sanshi. His eyes became ﬁercer and ﬁercer as he retreated. A sharp, threatening aura was now emanating from his body. How could someone that was able to lead Cloud Luo Academy through that terrifying ﬁrst elimination round, and lead them to this robin-round phase, not be powerful? Situ Yu was both the captain and the core of their group!
Xu Sanshi also slowly retreated. More than half of the thin cigar in his mouth had disappeared by this point. However, he still had a lazy expression on his face as he withdrew. It seemed that he didn’t attach too much importance to his opponent.
In the waiting area.
Wang Yan had a relaxed expression on his face. Since they were quite near the platform, they had heard the conversation between the two of them.
Huo Yuhao, on the other hand, felt a bit depressed. After several attempts, he’d discovered that his Spiritual Detection could indeed get past the protective barrier. Nevertheless, the spiritual power required to do so was enormous; the consumption rate of using the AOE Spiritual Detection
through the barrier was the same as when he focused it in a single direction normally. If he were to use it to assist one of them, his soul power would rapidly deplete. As such, it was impossible for him to keep it active all the time.
However, Xu Sanshi didn’t seem to be in trouble. Hence, he decided not to take any action. Even Huo Yuhao had yet to experience Xu Sanshi’s real power.
Aside from Wang Yan, Bei Bei was also calm. However, the nearby Jiang Nannan was currently staring at the platform, the scissors in her hand continuously snipping. At this moment, her beautiful face was expressionless, and no one knew what she was thinking.
On the platform, Xu Sanshi and Situ Yu had already retreated to their respective sides of the arena.
The referee looked at both of them, then shouted, “Start!”
Situ Yu, who had been standing still a moment ago, suddenly appeared to grow a thousand hands in the blink of an eye, while his body began to emit several loud mechanical sounds.
The scene that played out was similar to Huo Yuhao and He Caitou’s ﬁrst encounter: A large number of metallic pipes emerged from his body. Situ Yu’s body almost doubled in size in just a few breaths’ worth of time.
His stout and powerful legs now had three support-like metal shapes each. These three ﬁngernail-like objects were as thick as a small arm, very sharp, and after popping out, immediately burrowed into the ground to form a very stable base. Afterwards, a large number of assault-type soul tools began to emerge from his calves.
Huo Yuhao was continuously monitoring the situation on the platform, thus when these soul tools were released, he discovered that six places on Situ Yu’s body had begun emanating different types of lights. Next, a large number of soul tools began to pop up all over his body.
These soul tools hadn’t been installed on his body beforehand, but instead were activated just now.
Three short metallic pipes proceeded to then grow out of Situ Yu’s calves. At the same time, a thick and heavy metallic shell wrapped his body; he now looked like a fortress. Huo
Yuhao was able to see at least thirty metallic pipes on his body. The largest number were concentrated on his chest, which were emitting a pale dark-gold light; it was a concentrated soul cannon with more than a 1.5 meter calibre.
Right now, Situ Yu looked even scarier than the fully armed He Caitou that Huo Yuhao had seen. In fact, he looked like a killing machine. Those pipes made of pure metal gave off a cool feeling. Four soul rings, two yellow and two purple, had also appeared beneath his feet. A white light also appeared behind his body, then changed into a huge fan. It almost seemed as if he were carrying the huge fan on his back.
He Caitou moved next to Huo Yuhao, then said in a low voice, “Junior brother, take a good look. That’s the fortress formation: The pinnacle of attack and defense amongst us soul engineers.”
“The fortress formation?” Huo Yuhao asked, somewhat confused.
He Caitou nodded and said, “Yeah, that’s the fortress formation, also known as the soul tool fortress. An armor-type soul tool is currently protecting his body, which sharply
increases his defense. Furthermore, several more soul tools are equipped all over his body. Amongst these, there are also some auxiliary soul tools to recover soul power. Considering all of this, both the defense and attack of a soul engineer will skyrocket. They’ll be able to utilize a great deal of power for a short while. Beneath seven rings, a soul master will hardly be a match for someone of the same rank using a soul tool fortress.
“Why didn’t teacher tell me about this?” Huo Yuhao asked, surprised.
He Caitou laughed and said, “The soul tool fortress consumes a large quantity of soul power; only after obtaining your third ring will you be able to completely display its power. Your current level of soul power is too low; you can’t use it quite yet. Furthermore, our teacher doesn’t like this sort of thing very much.”
Huo Yuhao eyes widened and he asked, “Why?”
He Caitou replied, “Junior brother, just think about it. Aside from the great offensive and defensive power, what other feelings do you gain from this fortress?”
Huo Yuhao thought for a bit, then said, “It’s reliable and stable.”
“But it lacks mobility,” He Caitou continued, “a soul tool fortress has to display a lot of soul tools, including the formations to recover one’s soul power. As such, the weight and volume of your equipment will greatly increase. Thus, if you want to equip the soul tool fortress and display its full power, you’ll have to sacriﬁce your mobility. In times of war, it is indeed extremely useful, but if you lose your mobility in a 1v1 ﬁght, you’ll just be passively beaten. However, it’s not too bad here, as the contestants can only act within the bounds of the platform. The Ultimate Soldier Plan, developed by our Soul Tool Department, will not make use of this kind of approach; after all, it isn’t something that can last for very long. The radiance you see emanating from his arms, legs, neck, and chest belong to his stored up soul tools. However, it’s very difﬁcult for soul engineers specialized in this ﬁghting style to advance. Just think about it; if you want to upgrade so many soul tools, it would take you at least one year’s worth of time. How would they even have the time to increase their soul power? Furthermore, that large fan on Situ Yu’s back should be his martial soul. I’m sure that it doesn’t have any particular skill. All soul engineers specialized in this sort of style all hope that their soul skills will have the ability to increase their soul power and let them display the complete strength of the soul tool fortress.”
Huo Yuhao was able to comprehend many things after He Caitou’s explanation, and was enlightened. This time, a huge pressure was weighing down on their shoulders, but they were constantly learning new things from these real battles. After seeing Situ Yu stand on the platform equipped with a soul tool fortress, Huo Yuhao became lost in his thoughts. The world of soul tools was full of mysteries!
While these two were talking, the battle on the platform had also begun.
Compared to Situ Yu, Xu Sanshi seemed extremely frail. He was merely holding the Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle in his hand and was lazily standing still. He hadn’t even released any of his soul skills when the referee had announced the start of the match. He advanced with large strides while still holding the thin cigar in his mouth and quickly reduced the distance between him and Situ Yu.
Situ Yu raised both his arms, then pressed his elbows against his ribs. The metal junctions began to combine when he did so. Once they’d connected, the six metal pipes on each of his arms began to emit a strong white light. At the same time, his four soul rings began to glitter in an alternating pattern. The huge
fan on his back also released several layers of white light at the same time.
Countless balls of white light instantly shot outwards from him. Each ball of light was big enough to be a threat. In the next instant, all of them madly charged toward Xu Sanshi.
It was the six-barrelled miniature soul cannon. This gadget was extremely powerful amongst soul tools of the fourth rank, and was excellent at laying down suppressing ﬁre. It was one of the preferred soul tools of armies, as even if there were only ten Class 4 soul engineers equipped with a six-barrelled miniature soul cannon, they would still be able to suppress several thousands of soldiers in a certain area.
However, the strong and weak points of this gadget were very clear. The strong points lay in explosive strength, wide coverage, and high attack power. However, there was only one notable ﬂaw, which was a critical one: it consumed a large amount of soul power.
A Class 4 soul engineer could use a six-barrelled miniature soul cannon for ﬁve minutes at most before they had to stop to recover their soul power.
Facing this attack, Xu Sanshi used the most simple way to deal with it. Facing an all-out attack from a six-barrelled miniature soul cannon, the only way out for most Soul Ancestors was to run as far away as fast as possible. The soul cannon couldn’t attack from too far away; its attack range was more or less only about a hundred meters. Therefore, if there was a certain distance between you and them, you wouldn’t be in great danger. However, right now, they were on a platform, and there weren’t really any places to hide. Furthermore, even if he started running, Xu Sanshi wouldn’t be able to outrun artillery shells made of soul power.
He simply raised his Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle and placed it in front of his body. Afterwards, he squatted down and shrank behind it, completely hiding himself behind his shield.
Powerful explosions continuously struck the Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle; at the same time, a black halo spread out from it. Xu Sanshi seemed to have fallen into a passive state; he didn’t budge from his original position. However, the Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle looked like an impregnable fortress; there wasn’t even a scratch on it.
Shang Yue, who had reached her waiting area, opened her eyes wide and cursed, “Bastard!” She was absolutely furious! The attack power of the six-barrelled miniature soul cannon was even higher than that of her dual blades. In particular when all the attacks were hitting the target like in this situation. However, even under this barrage, Xu Sanshi didn’t budge. Therefore, when he was running away from her before, it had just been bait.
What incredible defensive power!
Situ Yu’s pupils shrank as he felt a great pressure weighing down on him. They were both Soul Ancestors, he should have had a distinct advantage when ﬁghting on the platform with his soul tool fortress. According to conventional wisdom, a soul master specialized in defense should have been completely suppressed and defeated. But even with this crazy barrage, he wasn’t even able to make Xu Sanshi retreat.
Of course, this wasn’t the limit of Situ Yu’s skills. Three thick metal pipes came out of his shoulders and quickly adjusted
their position thanks to his muscles. Next, several ﬁst-sized white balls soared toward the sky with a ‘puff’ sound. These balls were moving slowly in a concentrated cluster. They assumed a parabolic trajectory, aiming at Xu Sanshi, who was hiding behind the shield.
One couldn’t attack for too long when using two powerful soul tools simultaneously. Sooner or later, even Situ Yu would have to stop. Xu Sanshi took advantage of this pause and stood up.
At this moment, he couldn’t rely on Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection. Therefore, he took action when he felt that no attacks were hitting the shield.
He dashed forward as soon as he stood up, and his second soul ring also lit up.
If those six white balls in the air had kept following their original trajectory, they would have completely missed Xu Sanshi. However, it seemed that they had locked onto their target. Now that Xu Sanshi was now leaving them behind, they changed their trajectory and started to pursue him. But Xu Sanshi, who was rushing forward hadn’t yet realized anything.
Whenever Situ Yu would encounter this situation, he had always obtained victory. All the metal pipes forming his soul tool fortress suddenly lit up. His entire body was so brightly lit up that it seemed to be engulfed in white ﬂames. Dozens of white lights exploded and shot toward Xu Sanshi.
At this time in the waiting area, Bei Bei suddenly said to Huo Yuhao in a low voice, “Look carefully.”
His voice had yet to fade when something unexpected happened on the platform.
Facing this simultaneous attack from the front and rear, Xu Sanshi seemed to be at a dead end. If he were to use his shield to block the attack from the front, he wouldn’t be able to defend the attack from behind properly. The strength of the white balls could be easily deduced by how concentrated they were.
What could one do in this situation?
Xu Sanshi gave the answer.
He doubled his speed in an instant. The spectators only saw a ﬂash, and his body disappeared. He left behind dozens of afterimages, and two-thirds of the light beams and artillery shells coming from the front missed. In addition, four of the white balls behind him were destroyed by the attack he had just dodged.
That wasn’t all. The Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle ‘broke’ and split into many small shields the size of a palm as they scattered in all directions. Every shield accurately protected him from the attacks he couldn’t dodge. The two white balls at the rear were no exception.
Thunderous explosions were echoing around him, and yet, not a single attack hit his body. With this sudden acceleration, Xu Sanshi had dodged the heavy ﬁre and arrived in front of Situ Yu.
Situ Yu was extremely surprised. How could a defense-type soul master move so quickly? But he was still Cloud Luo
Academy’s captain, despite being surprised, he didn’t forget to attack with his soul tool fortress.
That Rank 4 concentrated soul cannon lit up. He hadn’t used it before due to its excessive consumption of soul power. But at this time, it hardly mattered. He mustered all the soul power in his body, which was ampliﬁed by the martial soul behind his back, and poured it inside the concentrated soul cannon.
Everyone could see the mouth of the cannon starting to light up. The white light coming out of the cannon suddenly began to turn darken. At the same time, the air on the platform started to become restless.
Situ Yu had a frenzied expression on his face. At last, he attacked.
At this moment, if one could see Xu Sanshi’s expression from close up, they would notice that his carefree expression had disappeared. Instead, a cold light was ﬂashing through his eyes.
All the small scattered shields reunited once again into the Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle. Then, when the Rank 4 concentrated soul cannon ﬁred, he took a quick step to his left.
This single step changed everything. The concentrated soul cannon could lock onto an enemy, but with this move, Xu Sanshi wouldn’t take the hit head-on, but from a slanted angle. At the same time, the Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle released a black light as it morphed into a shining mirror.
The terrifying attack of the concentrated soul cannon hit the shield. However, it did so at an angle. This caused the blazing white light to be reﬂected towards the protective barrier above the platform.
Xu Sanshi’s feet were like two huge boulders as he stood ﬁrmly in place. But he wasn’t done yet. After reﬂecting the attack, he pounced forward like a lion and ruthlessly smashed into Situ Yu’s soul tool fortress from the side.
With a thunderous boom, Situ Yu, who was not far from the edge of the ring, was sent ﬂying. The base he had dug into the earth was also uprooted. Situ Yu slammed against the light screen of the protective barrier and collapsed to the ground.
After using the soul tool fortress, Situ Yu’s weight had surpassed 250kgs. But when Xu Sanshi hit him, he was immediately sent ﬂying without the slightest resistance.
It was truly a beautiful collision, a showdown of pure brute force.
Xu Sanshi, who was standing at the edge of the platform, had that carefree smile on his face once again. He looked at Cloud Luo Academy’s waiting area and said to the dumbfounded Ma Yingjun, “I didn’t trick you. I went easy on you.”
“Yes, yes.” Ma Yingjun nodded repeatedly. There was nothing else he could do anyway.
Xiao Xiao said in a low voice, “Senior Xu was actually this strong.”
Till now, Xu Sanshi hadn't left a deep impression on the other members. After all, he was a defense-type soul master. You wouldn’t expect him to have any explosive or powerful skills, and on top of that, he spent most of his time pestering
Jiang Nannan. Only today, after he defeated three opponents in a row, was everyone able to see his real power.
He defeated a Class 4 soul engineer while being a Soul Ancestor with four soul rings. This alone was enough to make his strength clear. Not to mention that he had easily defeated three opponents in a row.
Bei Bei smiled faintly and said, “Since he always acts shamefully, you guys must have forgotten that when you entered the academy, he was already in the sixth year. If you think about it, he should have already entered the inner courtyard by now. However, he was so dead set on Nannan that he lowered his grades on purpose. I remember that his teachers were so angry that they nearly spat blood. Moreover, he is the most talented defense-type soul master I’ve ever seen. Anyone would pay the price for looking down on him. Amongst our group of seven, he ranks ﬁrst when it comes to cultivation level. After all, you can’t measure the strength of Shrek Academy’s students with the number of soul rings alone, right?”
Bei Bei was speaking the truth. You couldn’t properly measure the strength of the students of Shrek Academy just by looking at the number of soul rings they had.
Xu Sanshi had entered the academy when he was very young, and when he was ﬁfteen, he could have graduated from the outer courtyard and taken the test to enter the inner courtyard. One could imagine how high his cultivation was. How could someone that was hailed as the number one genius of the outer courtyard together with Bei Bei be so simple? When making a proper evaluation, you had to take natural
talent, strength, ﬁghting capacity, and other various aspects into consideration.
Xu Sanshi’s Mysterious Xuanwu Turtle martial soul was one of the strongest defense-type martial souls in his generation. This martial soul allowed the owner to possess an eternal and everlasting defense. In all these years, Bei Bei had never heard of any fellow student being able to break through Xu Sanshi’s defense.
“Brother, you should keep your word.” Xu Sanshi told Situ Yu. Situ Yu had fallen from the platform and was slowly getting up with great difﬁculty.
What Situ Yu feared the most was exactly what had happened. The soul tool fortress covered his whole body, and many soul tools had been damaged after the fall. His own body
had also received quite the shock as he was bleeding from both nose and mouth. With the help of his teammates, he was ﬁnally able to get out of the mountain of soul tools.
He carefully raised his head and looked at Xu Sanshi. Then, he nodded and said, “I lost, and I’m sincerely convinced. Our Cloud Luo Academy admits defeat.”
Xu Sanshi laughed heartily, “You actually kept your word. You’re a real man. Your offensive power is not half bad. However, I advise you to join the army. You won’t be able to achieve much with this technique in 1v1 matches.”
As soon as he ﬁnished speaking, he looked toward his own waiting area and raised his hands.
Shrek Academy had obtained victory in their ﬁrst match. Just like last time, they had only used one person. However, the situation was a bit different from last time. This time, they had sent out a defense-type soul master with four soul rings.
This soul master had single-handedly defeated a soul engineering academy. Even if he had only faced three
opponents, anyone could tell they were Cloud Luo Academy’s strongest students. The remaining team members were merely Soul Elders with three soul rings and had no way of achieving victory.
Under these circumstances, one could say that Xu Sanshi had defeated a team of seven people alone!
“The winner is… Shrek Academy!”
As soon as the referee announced the winner, the audience exploded in cheers. The disappointed masses had completely changed their attitude. Even if Xu Sanshi had resorted to trickery in the ﬁrst two matches, he had fought fair and square in the last one! Although they didn’t know what kind of ability he had used, the fact that Shrek Academy had obtained victory with just a single participant was undeniable.
No one sitting in Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy’s resting area dared to utter a word. When they saw that the student sent by Shrek Academy was just a Soul Ancestor, they didn’t take him too seriously. Hence, they received a huge psychological blow when they saw his domineering performance.
Xiao Hongchen furrowed his brows; no one knew what he was thinking. Then, the young girl sitting beside him, who had a very similar face, whispered, “Elder brother, what are you thinking about? If we were to take his place, we would be able to do it too, right?”
Xiao Hongchen shook his head and said, “I don’t know. We are both soul masters and soul engineers. When ﬁghting, we’ll continuously consume our soul power. In the 1v1 matches of the Continental Advanced Academy Soul Duelling Tournament, there is no time to take breaks. Do you really think you can defeat seven opponents despite continuously consuming your soul power?”
The young girl said somewhat unwillingly, “But he didn’t defeat seven opponents either. He only fought three!”
Xiao Hongchen said, “But he still managed to win. Did you see the footwork he used just now?”
The young girl was startled. She shook her head and replied, “It was too sudden. I wasn’t able to see.”
Xiao Hongchen sighed and said, “Neither could I. And although he wasn’t able to completely dodge the attack when he used that footwork, it sent chills down my spine. Moreover, during his three matches, he only used two soul skills. To be precise, his second and fourth skills. He didn’t even need to use the remaining two. From start to end, he gave the impression of doing things half-heartedly, but despite all that, he still managed to win. A person of great wisdom often seems slow- witted. That guy is most deﬁnitely a top-level defense-type soul master. Five years later, we’ll have to face this powerful opponent!”
The young girl pouted her lips, still unwilling to accept what he said.
Xiao Hongchen sighed once again. “Shrek Academy is really Shrek Academy. Both in this and the previous battle, they managed to deal a huge blow to my morale.”
The young girl chuckled and said, “Give me a break. Your morale received a huge blow? I don’t think your morale has ever wavered. No matter who your opponent is, you’ve always been conﬁdent in your own victory.”
Xiao Hongchen laughed, “Alright. You’re not wrong. I really want to have a good ﬁght now. I wonder what the real strength of that boy from the ﬁrst match is.”
The young girl snorted and said, “That boy can’t really have six hundred-thousand year soul rings, right?”
“What do you think?” Xiao Hongchen asked with a smile.
The young girl stuck out her tongue and said, “I think it’s impossible!”
Xu Sanshi returned to his friends with a satisﬁed expression on his face. Everyone warmly congratulated him. After all, it was their ﬁrst win in the round-robin phase.
“Senior Xu, I didn’t expect you to be so strong!” Xiao Xiao looked at Xu Sanshi excitedly. “Later, you have to give me a few pointers about defense. Even if my Threelives Soulcrush Cauldron is a control-type martial soul, it excels the most at defense.”
“Sure. I’m always happy to help my fellow students.” Xu Sanshi said smugly.
Wang Yan stood up and patted Xu Sanshi’s shoulder, “Come, let’s go.” Following which, he led the team outside.
Shrek Academy’s members once again left Star Luo Plaza under the gazes of the masses.
On the city walls of the inner city, the emperor also stood up. He had a faint smile on his face as he muttered, “So it was this boy. I know who he is, and he really has huge guts! Despite embarrassing me like that, he still came to participate in the competition. Anyway, what a pity…”
After mumbling to himself, the emperor headed toward the innards of the inner city. It seemed that he too had no interest in watching the next matches.
Outside Star Luo Plaza, Huo Yuhao arrived beside Wang Yan and asked in a low voice, “Teacher Wang, shouldn’t we look at the next matches? At the very least, we should watch Sun
Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy’s match. They are in the second group and will also be ﬁghting today.”
Wang Yan shook his head and replied, “Instead of wasting time here, you should go back and cultivate. I alone am enough to observe the other teams. Right now, you should preserve your strength and stay in top condition. Xu Sanshi did a great job today. He allowed us to win the ﬁrst match while simultaneously hiding our true strength either. We’ll have to maintain this secrecy for a few more matches. After Xiaotao and the others recover, things will be easier.”
Huo Yuhao had a weird expression on his face. He felt that there was something wrong with the current situation. It felt as if Wang Yan was hiding something from then, his sixth sense as a spirit-type soul master was telling him this.
After returning to the Grand Imperial Star Hotel, Wang Yan made them return to their respective rooms to rest. Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong went to the former’s room. Upon entering the room, Huo Yuhao furrowed his brows. Suddenly, a golden radiance ﬂashed through his eyes. He gestured to Wang Dong to stay silent, then turned his body, facing the door of the room.
Powerful spiritual waves spread through the air. Then, that golden radiance quickly disappeared from Huo Yuhao’s eyes.
“As expected, there is something wrong.” Huo Yuhao said quietly.
“Yuhao, what’s wrong?” Wang Dong asked curiously.
Huo Yuhao said, “Don’t you think that that Teacher Wang is purposely not allowing us to watch the other matches?”
Wang Dong nodded and replied, “But didn’t we agree on that beforehand? We need to save as much time as possible to practice and must also continue to maintain our aloof status in everyone else’s eyes.”
Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “No, it’s not that simple. Why can’t we just watch the matches? Now that we’re in the round-robin phase, matches will be fought 1v1. At the very least, he should have let us see the next three matches in order to gauge the abilities of our next opponents. However, Teacher Wang made us return to the hotel in a hurry. If things were
really like he said, why did he immediately rush over to the plaza after delivering us here?”
Wang Dong was startled as he said, “Were you spying on Teacher Wang just now?”
Huo Yuhao nodded and said, “Teacher Wang said that he alone would be enough to observe the matches. Therefore, he could have stayed back, there was no need for him to accompany everyone till the hotel. On top of that, he was walking very quickly, and his mood seemed somewhat unstable. The reason he accompanied us to the hotel was to make us leave Star Luo Plaza and not let us see the other matches.”
“Then…” after hearing these words, Wang Dong seemed to have thought of something, “We’re not familiar with the names drawn through the lots. After all, this is our ﬁrst time participating in the tournament. Even if we know that our opponent is from a certain academy, we won’t know what their true strength is. Which means that Teacher Wang was planning to conceal the strength of our opponents? That seems like the only possible explanation...”
They looked at each other and said at the same time, “The teams we will have to face in this round-robin phase must be really strong.”
After speaking their mind, they both fell silent. If this was really the case, Wang Yan’s actions were reasonable. His purpose was very simple, to protect them from having their ﬁghting spirit crushed.
If they wanted to get past the round-robin phase, they needed to obtain ﬁve or more victories. With six victories, they were guaranteed to pass. They would have to wait for two more matches for Ling Luochen to recover. And four matches for Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng. Thus, if their opponents in the next few matches were very strong, they would be under a lot of pressure.
“Let’s go and take a look.” Huo Yuhao pulled Wang Dong along and left the room.
Wang Dong quickly stopped him and said. “We can’t. Star Luo Plaza is under the protection of the army. If try to disguise ourselves, we won’t be able to enter. And if we go back without
a disguise, wouldn’t we ruin our reputation? We cannot destroy the mystery that surrounds us.”
Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “I’m not planning to go back to Star Luo Plaza. Just follow me.” With that, he brought Wang Dong out of the room. After conﬁrming that there was no one around, he pulled him towards the window at the end of the corridor.
After opening the window, he pointed upward and said, “Fly, and take me to the roof.”
Wang Dong’s eyes lit up. He had already understood what Huo Yuhao was planning, “But isn’t it too far?”
Huo Yuhao said, “The Grand Imperial Star Hotel is the tallest building around Star Luo Plaza. We should have a fairly decent vantage point. Even if it’s a bit far, it shouldn’t be a problem. Don’t forget about the properties of my martial soul. Let’s give it a try.”
“Alright.” Wang Dong replied. He lowered his head and exited the window. The wings of the Radiant Butterﬂy Goddess
unfurled, and he started to ﬂoat in mid-air.
Next, Huo Yuhao pounced toward him and wrapped his arms around him.
“Oi, why are you clinging to me like that? You’re heavy.” After being hugged by Huo Yuhao, it was unknown whether it was because he was ﬂustered or because Yuhao was really that heavy, but Wang Dong’s body plunged. It took him a few moments before he was able to stabilize himself.
Huo Yuhao replied sourly, “Nonsense. If I don’t cling to you, I’ll fall. Anyway, you keep saying that you’re a man, but why is your body so soft? It feels like a woman’s body.”
Wang Dong got angry. “If you keep with that nonsense, do you believe I won’t ﬂy up and throw you down?”
Huo Yuhao laughed, “Let’s go to the roof.”
Wang Dong ﬂapped his wings and proceeded toward the roof. Since they were residing on the top ﬂoor, they already
weren’t very far from the roof. But as soon as they got there, they were dumbfounded.
“Caitou, is this gadget even working? I can’t see clearly!” Bei Bei was standing on the roof and holding something in his hand while looking towards Star Luo Plaza.
Beside him were Xu Sanshi, Jiang Nannan, and Xiao Xiao.
The roof was quite crowded.
Chapter 81: Hidden Strength...
“You guys…” Wang Dong looked at everyone in shock as he placed Huo Yuhao on the roof.
Bei Bei put the telescopic soul tool down and replied, “Teacher Wang may be unmatched when it comes to researching martial souls, however he’s very inexperienced when it comes to concealing his emotions. ”
“Then why didn’t you guys call us?” Wang Dong said resentfully.
“That’s because junior brother clearly saw through it! You guys have to remember not to be too expressive. Otherwise, anyone with a shred of intelligence would be able to discern your thoughts. ” said Bei Bei.
Wang Dong felt gloomy as he said, “Aren’t you only implying that I’m dumber than you guys?”
Xiao Xiao weakly raised her hand and said, “Me too. Senior brother told me there’s a good show going on and brought me up here.”
Those who could be a part of the Shrek’s Seven Monsters were prodigies in their own right. Huo Yuhao wasn’t the only one who recognised Wang Yan’s problem. Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi and He Caitou were also aware of it. Jiang Nannan and Xiao Xiao were the only ones that had been called up.
“Nannan, can I take a look?” Xu Sanshi inched over to Jiang Nannan’s side, fawning all over her. Where had the powerful aura he had possessed during the tournament gone to?
He Caitou had brought two telescopic soul tools along with him. He’d given one to Bei Bei and handed the other over to Xu Sanshi. For appearance’s sake, Xu Sanshi had immediately handed it to Jiang Nannan.
Jiang Nannan ignored him and said, “The tournament’s starting.”
The Grand Imperial Star Hotel and Star Luo Plaza were separated by a few kilometers, which was extremely far for the eye to see. From this distance, the massive tournament plaza was but a very small square. It was more or less impossible for one to observe the ongoings clearly. Even He Caitou with the telescopic soul tool couldn’t see what was going on too clearly.
Huo Yuhao said, “Senior brother, let me test out that telescopic soul tool.”
Bei Bei handed the telescopic soul tool that looked like a metal box over to Huo Yuhao.
Huo Yuhao took the telescopic soul tool and peered through the transparent convex-shaped crystal, looking into the distance through the enlargement device installed within. One only had to pour a bit of their soul power into the telescopic soul tool to use it. It was a very simple auxiliary soul tool. Since there weren’t many soul tool masters willing to put much effort into this aspect, they were only Rank 1 soul tools. Naturally, it couldn’t enlarge the image in the distance by a large amount.
However, Huo Yuhao’s eyesight was exceptionally shocking. His eyes were his martial soul, and he’d also been cultivating the Purple Demon Eyes all along. Naturally, everything would be much clearer to Bei Bei if he could use the Purple Demon Eyes too. Even without the help of this telescopic soul tool, he would only need to use a bit of soul power if he wanted to clearly see what was going on a few kilometers away on a good day.
Huo Yuhao expanded his Spiritual Sharing as he watched what was going on on the tournament stage. It wasn’t that he couldn’t use his Spiritual Sharing only when he used his Spiritual Detection. He could use it on a normal basis too, just like what he was doing now. Huo Yuhao shared what he could see with his friends through his Spiritual Sharing. The four soul skills the Skydream Iceworm gave him didn’t seem to be very powerful at ﬁrst glance, but all of them were incomparably mystical in their own right.
The reserve team of Shrek’s Seven Monsters only had to close their eyes for the scenes Huo Yuhao saw to appear in their minds.
The match held in Star Luo Plaza wasn’t the ﬁrst match held since they left, but rather a 1-vs-1 showdown.
He’d just clearly seen what was happening on the tournament stage when a shiver ran down Huo Yuhao’s spine. The others also trembled once they became aware of what was happening on the stage under the conditions of his Spiritual Sharing. They atmosphere suddenly became very tense.
The reason for this was because the two individuals currently competing actually had ﬁve soul rings each. Moreover, they were a combination of two yellow soul rings and three purple soul rings. Even if these two Soul Kings didn’t have the best ratio of ten-thousand-year soul rings between them, the words ‘Soul King’ pressed heavily like mountains in everyone’s hearts.
Soul Kings had actually appeared after their match.
The two Soul Kings were both soul masters who didn’t use any soul tools either. Their battle was extremely intense, causing strong rays of light to explode from the tournament stage from time to time. Since they were very far from the plaza, it was impossible for Huo Yuhao to see every minute detail regardless of how good his eyesight was.
Moreover, he couldn’t clearly see the speciﬁc details on the stage when the rays of light ﬂickered from the intense soul power.
“It looks like Teacher Wang was right. He really was afraid of cracking down on our conﬁdence in the tournament.” Bei Bei said with slight difﬁculty.
Xu Sanshi snorted and said, “So what if they’re Soul Kings?
Bei Bei, you’re disheartened just like that?”
After the scene she saw through Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Sharing, Jiang Nannan put the telescopic soul tool down. She seldom spoke, but now she continued with, “It’s normal for Soul Kings to appear in the earlier parts of the knockout tournament. The academies that can pass the ﬁrst cycle of the knockout tournament can’t be especially weak in any way. Perhaps the Cloud Luo Advanced Soul Engineering Academy we faced off against today was the one with the weakest constitution. Even though these two academies sent out Soul Kings for the present match, it might very well stem from the reasoning of letting the Soul Kings emerge victorious in a few matches to deplete the opponent's strength as best as they can.”
“Even though you put it that way, what do you think is implied with them having Soul Kings as their commanding ofﬁcers?” Bei Bei asked.
Huo Yuhao subconsciously answered, “It means there’s a very high possibility that their team is made up entirely of Soul Ancestors.”
Bei Bei nodded and said, “Junior brother is right. I’m afraid we have an arduous battle ahead of us from now on. We also deﬁnitely have to reveal our true strength. With team members composed of Soul Ancestors with a Soul King as their leader, their strength surpasses ours completely as a whole. We deﬁnitely can’t duplicate what happened in the ﬁrst match. Everyone must be mentally prepared. Our victory in the ﬁrst two matches was due to our opponents being weak along with a small bit of luck. The latter matches will be more difﬁcult. I’m afraid Teacher Wang only lied to us a little. There really are quite a number of twenty-year-old Soul Kings this time around.”
Xu Sanshi shrugged and said, “It doesn’t matter, Bei Bei. After all, we can have Soul Kings in our team in the next two matches. Senior Sister Ling is a Control-type Soul King. With her deployed in battle, we won’t have a problem anymore.”
Bei Bei glared at him and said, “Stop talking nonsense! Don’t think I don’t know what you’re hiding. We’re competing in this tournament, which means that we’re representing Shrek Academy’s honor. At the very least, we’re enjoying the treatment of being core disciples in the academy. Now it’s time for us to protect the academy’s honor. Even if we use the last shred of our energy, I will not permit myself to lose on stage.
Xu Sanshi, you better get your act together. We must deﬁnitely win the next two matches. We have to give it everything we’ve got before our senior brothers and sisters return.”
Bei Bei hit the nail on the head with this one, exuding a mighty power that he’d never had before along with his words.
His martial soul was the Blue Lightning Tyrant Dragon. By nature, he had the tyrannnical aura of a king but the only difference was that he normally hid it extremely well. Unless it was under the conditions of a ﬁght, no one could feel that aura around him.
This was the ﬁrst time Huo Yuhao had seen Bei Bei look so serious. He immediately felt a shiver run down his spine.
Xu Sanshi frowned. “Bei Bei, isn’t it too early? You ought to know that this tournament doesn’t actually belong to us. If we reveal our true abilities too early, our opponents are sure to pursue countermeasures against us in ﬁve years.”
Bei Bei lowered his voice and said, “But we can’t wait. Sanshi, do you have such little faith in what’s to come in ﬁve years? Five years is a very long time to us.”
Xu Sanshi gazed deeply at Bei Bei and said, “If you want to go all in, I’ll go along with you.”
Bei Bei said in an unhappy tone, “Can you not say it in such a sexual way? I don’t have the slightest bit of interest in you at all. I understand your concerns. Our abilities are basically ﬁxed. Once we reveal our true strength, our foundations won’t change, although they’ll continue to increase over the next ﬁve years. But you’ve forgotten something. Even though our abilities are ﬁxed, Yuhao, Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao are at the stage where their abilities haven’t been ﬁxed yet. Yuhao in particular. His Imitation ability is very effective at confusing his opponents. We need to support the team now. Also, they are the true core disciples come ﬁve years’ time.”
“Wait a moment. Senior brother, Senior Xu, are you guys saying that you’ve always been hiding your strength all this while?” Huo Yuhao interrupted.
“Uh… You can put it that way.” Bei Bei gave a slight nod as he replied.
The other ﬁve exchanged glances with puzzled looks on their faces.
Bei Bei looked at Xu Sanshi, who immediately had a look on his face that said “It’s none of my business”. The meaning behind his look was very clear - if you bring up a topic, you’ll naturally have to resolve any question that arise along with it.
Bei Bei felt helpless as he looked at the curiosity in their eyes. “The truth is… Well, since you guys are now part of the reserve team, it’s no big deal if we tell you guys. Not long after Sanshi and I entered the academy, we became core disciples like you guys. As our cultivation increased, we gradually gained the approval of the academy. We then unofﬁcially got chosen to be the next generation of Shrek’s Seven Monsters. We were the only two who got chosen from the outer courtyard. To put it simply, we are slightly more valuable compared to the core
disciples. The academy is slightly more biased towards us in terms of nurturing us and providing us with the necessary resources. However, that was on the precondition that we would have to sit for the inner courtyard examination after we graduated from the outer courtyard. Furthermore, we have to become Shrek Guardians for at least ﬁve years.”
“Generally speaking, unofﬁcially declaring someone to be a part of Shrek’s Seven Monsters is a very rare occurrence. For example, no one was unofﬁcially declared as a member of Shrek’s Seven Monsters in Senior sister Ma’s generation. The academy only thinks highly of us because Sanshi and I have rather unusual abilities. Naturally, there’s someone amongst you guys who also has that qualiﬁcation, and that is Yuhao. This matter has been delayed because the tournament came too soon, and also because Yuhao is now cultivating in both the Martial Soul Department and Soul Tool Department. However, both departments are nurturing him to the best of their abilities, making his treatment equal to ours.”
“We’re still young, so the academy mainly wanted us to participate in the next tournament. Because of that, they asked us not to use all our strength under normal circumstances. But for the sake of the academy’s honor, I feel that we can no longer continue to hide. During the following two matches, it’ll be very hard for us to win if we have to face any Soul Kings.”
Everyone couldn’t help but look at each other after hearing his words. Sure enough, the fact that he had been chosen by the academy meant that he wasn’t someone easily dealt with!
Wang Dong looked towards Xu Sanshi, “Senior Xu, can I ask a question? During our match today, how much strength did you use?”
Xu Sanshi thought about it for a moment. “About thirty or forty percent. In reality, Teacher Wang’s estimations were wrong. I only can release my full strength when I work together with Bei Bei. We were a couple in the ﬁrst place.”
“Don’t be so full of air when you speak,” Bei Bei said gloomily, “Who’s a couple with you? We’re partners. Explain it clearly.”
“Che…” Xu Sanshi curled his lips, “Could it be that you don’t know who I like? This brother’s orientations are perfectly normal.” With that, his gaze immediately landed on Jiang Nannan’s body.
However, Jiang Nannan didn’t even spare him a glance. She thoughtlessly walked over to Xiao Xiao’s side, and with a ﬂick of the wrist, the pair of scissors that had previously appeared during the match once again appeared.
Thirty to forty percent of his strength? They were all four- ringed soul masters, but just how strong was Xu Sanshi? Furthermore, there was also Bei Bei, who had similarly hidden his strength.
Suddenly, Huo Yuhao felt as if the preparatory team he was in wasn’t as weak as they seemed on the surface!
Huo Yuhao asked, “Senior Bei, does Teacher Wang know that you have been unofﬁcially declared a member of Shrek’s Seven Monsters?”
Bei Bei shook his head. “Teacher Wang doesn’t know. This is a high-level secret in the academy. Only the two Deans of the Martial Soul Department and the elders of the Sea God’s Pavilion know of it. The Sea God’s Pavilion is the highest level of command that our academy has, and it’s based on Sea God’s Island. According to the stories, the master of the Sea God’s Pavilion is the true number one expert our academy has. Only, he keeps watch from Sea God’s Island, and even we have never seen what he looks like.”
“He’s even stronger than Elder Xuan?” Huo Yuhao asked astonishedly. From his recollections, Elder Xuan was already a near-omnipotent super-expert due to the terrifying speed at which he’d ﬂown alongside them, and the catastrophic level of strength that he’d released when he’d ﬂown into a rage.
Bei Bei shrugged. “Hasn’t Elder Xuan already said it before? He’s the vice-captain of our Shrek Guardians. Since there’s a vice-captain, there’s naturally a captain. Our captain is the master of the Sea God’s Pavilion. Only, nobody has ever seen him make a move.”
After listening to Bei Bei, Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong, and Xiao Xiao ﬁnally understood everything. Their understanding of the academy was simply too lacking. Unexpectedly, there was even a place like Sea God’s Island within the inner courtyard. Furthermore, from what Bei Bei said, this Sea God’s Island had a much greater level of inﬂuence even when compared to the Deans.
Bei Bei said, “There’s no need for you guys to think too much over it. Although we’ve hidden some of our strength, we didn’t hide too much. After all, we’re still at the Soul Ancestor level of strength. You’ll see it during the tournament. Let’s just follow Teacher Wang Yan’s tactics and arrangements. However, if we get put into a 2-2-3 match, there’s a high chance that Sanshi and I will be put into a team to ﬁght against their strongest experts. On the other hand, there may be changes in the other teams. Nannan, what would happen if you were placed with Caitou?”
Without any hesitation at all, Jiang Nannan replied, “Other than a certain person, I’m ﬁne with pairing up with anybody else.”
Xu Sanshi immediately interrupted her, “I know, you’re not willing to be together with a serious-looking person like Bei Bei. Bei Bei, I think it’s still better for me to work together with Nannan. You can just work with somebody else.”
Jiang Nannan ﬂew into a rage. “Stop playing dumb. The certain person I’m talking about is you. Stay away from me, otherwise don’t blame me for being impolite to you.” As she spoke, she waved the scissors in her hand through the air.
Xu Sanshi immediately fell silent. Clearly, he was acting as though he had fallen silent out of fear, and everybody could see that he nearly couldn’t help but ﬂy into uproarious laughter.
Bei Bei said, “Then, we’ll temporarily put you with Caitou. Yuhao, we’ll leave your partners as Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao. If we can’t deal with our enemies during the ﬁrst two matches, you won’t have to try too excessively during the last match. You should do your best to hide your secrets. Preferably, it’d be better for you to lose rather than reveal some of your secrets. Understand? After all, we can still win even if we lose a single match in the round-robin tournament. Furthermore, it’s impossible for us to be put into a 2-2-3 ﬁght every round.”
“Yes.” Huo Yuhao replied immediately. He had nothing but utmost trust for his senior brother.
A light ﬂickered across Bei Bei’s eyes. “Fine. Everybody, go back. We don’t have to stay here anymore. Teacher Wang Yan will deﬁnitely make a few arrangements for us based on our opponent’s strengths. Everybody, go get a good rest and maintain your conditions.”
After returning to their hotel room, Huo Yuhao called Wang Dong to his room to cultivate.
Wang Dong closed the door and said, “I didn’t think that senior brother and Xu Sanshi would’ve hidden the fact that they were unofﬁcial members of Shrek’s Seven Devils. We should have a ﬁghting chance now.”
Huo Yuhao said, “It’s hard to tell. If we’re in a 1v1 elimination round or a team ﬁght, our seniors will be able to utilise their strengths optimally. However, if we really do get into a 2-2-3 match like senior brother said, we’ll be in a bit of trouble. After all, the only strong teammates we have are the two of them.”
Wang Dong was somewhat unresigned. “You’re underestimating us too much. Do we not have enough strength to win a single battle? Don’t forget, we can now use our Golden Road again.”
Huo Yuhao smiled bitterly. “Out of everyone who can participate in the Continental Advanced Soul Duelling Tournament, tell me, who isn’t a real elite? Since we’ve already used the Golden Road once, our opponents will be cautious of it. Its greatest ﬂaw is the fact that it’s an attack that only targets a single direction. As long as our opponents make a few preparations against it, our chances of succeeding will be much lower. Out of the three of us, two of us have two rings, while you have three rings. If all of our opponents are Soul Ancestors, we practically have no chance of winning.”
Wang Dong fell silent, as though he were pondering something.
Huo Yuhao patted his shoulder. “Come, let’s go cultivate. Every single little bit counts. No matter what, we should do our best. We absolutely cannot let the glory of Shrek Academy and the Tang Sect be tarnished because of us.”
The matches of the round-robin tournament were held on alternate days. For example, every team in Group A would have to undergo seven matches. If a team wanted to qualify, they would have to beat ﬁve teams at the very least to stand a chance. Only by winning six matches would a team be able to guarantee themselves a spot in the next round.
After two days passed, the ﬁrst round of the round-robin tournament ended. When compared to the elimination round, the round-robin tournament was much more peaceful. Every single team continuously revised their battle tactics, and the strategies used in every single round of the tournament were more detailed than the last. However, it wasn’t as crazy as the elimination round.
The ﬁrst round of the elimination round was still affecting the round-robin tournament; the teams whose main forces had been injured were using the ﬁrst round of the round-robin tournament to adjust their team’s condition. Because of that, the ﬁrst round wasn’t overly exciting. It wasn’t yet time for everyone to bring out their strongest powers.
However, a perspecious person could tell that the ﬁrst round of the round-robin tournament was the calm before the storm. Many of the teams couldn’t afford to lose the coming matches anymore.
“Teacher Wang Yan, where are we going?” Bei Bei asked, puzzled.
One day had passed since the ﬁrst round of the tournament, and they would be starting the second round of the round- robin tournament tomorrow. However, Wang Yan was bringing the seven from the preparatory team out of the Grand Imperial Star Hotel after dinner.
In the ﬁrst place, this was the most bustling part of Star Luo City. The moment they stepped out the door, they were engulfed by a large and chaotic number of people.
Wang Yan smiled slightly. “I’m bringing you to a place. Just follow me. Recently, we’d just ﬁnished our Guardian assignment before participating in this tournament. Your
minds have been strained the whole time. It won’t be good if you’re like this the whole time. I’m bringing you to a place where you can relax. Relaxation will have some beneﬁts for your future matches.”
Their faces became somewhat strange. They were already aware of how strong their imminent opponents were, but Teacher Wang was actually taking them out to help them relax? Could anyone even believe him? However, Teacher Wang’s concealment skills were much better than last time, at the very least. Nobody questioned him, because everyone knew that wherever he was going to take them was deﬁnitely for the sake of obtaining better results in the tournament.
Since the start of the Continental Advanced Academy Soul Duelling Tournament, the vast Star Luo City had become extremely congested. It was very hard to maintain one’s speed within the crowd, especially on the streets near Star Luo Plaza, which were permanently congested.
During the past few days, Wang Yan seemed to have understood the general outlines of their surroundings. After
bringing them through a crowded part of the road, they broke through the masses; there were now much fewer people around them.
After passing through another few streets, they ﬁnally stopped at a pointed-looking building.
This building wasn’t too conspicuous, and although it wasn’t too big compared to the other tall buildings surrounding it, it could be considered prominent. A sign with the design of a hammer was placed above its door, and the image of a golden, veined tabletop was under the hammer.
Of the members of the preparatory team, only Huo Yuhao revealed a blank look at seeing this sign; the others all had a sudden ﬂash of enlightenment.
Huo Yuhao whispered to Wang Dong, “What is this place?”
Wang Dong said, “This is an auction. See the design of that sign? That elaborately carved hammer is the symbol of an auction. Only auctions and blacksmiths use a hammer as a sign, but the hammer of a blacksmith tends to be much
rougher and larger. As long as it’s not too late, you should be able to hear the sounds of hammering near a blacksmith.”
“So that’s the case.” Huo Yuhao felt ashamed. He was truly clueless in certain areas. As the saying went, reading ten thousand books is not as useful as travelling ten thousand miles. Naturally, he wouldn’t change. After all, the most important thing he had to do was increase his cultivation.
The companions, seniors, opponents, and even the teachers who taught him, every single one of these people gave him the pressure and drive that made him continue an unending journey. During this journey, the only way he could have peace of mind was by exhausting all of his strength.
This was also an advantage of Shrek Academy. In an environment like this, Huo Yuhao and the other students would absolutely be stimulated into an all-out struggle as long as they were motivated. This was all done so they could release the potential hidden within their bodies.
This was also the reason why Shrek Academy not only had talents, but also a group of talents who came forth in large numbers.
Just what is Teacher Wang bringing us to an auction for? A few traces of doubt rose in Huo Yuhao’s heart.
At the same time, Wang Yan gave them an explanation as he turned towards the others, “Although you haven’t seen the other academies compete, I have to tell you all that this time’s tournament is very different than the previous ones. The difference lies in the fact that there are now very few pure soul master academies left. All of the other academies have been growing in the direction of a fusion between soul engineers and soul masters.”
“A fusion?” Bei Bei furrowed his brows slightly, “Teacher Wang, what do you mean by ‘a fusion’?”
Wang Yan said, “There are many types of fusion for some ordinary academies. The simplest way they can do this is by diligently training the soul masters they have, then equipping them with soul tools. As long as their students learn how to use these soul tools, they’re ﬁne. Even if their ways of using soul tools aren’t as reﬁned as a soul engineer’s methods, a soul tool can still increase their ﬁghting power. Pure soul masters are becoming rarer and rarer.”
“It’s just like what we saw during the ﬁrst round of the elimination round, when Yuhao and Wang Dong activated their Golden Road. Our opponents had a few defensive-type soul tools. Were it not for them, they could’ve been seriously injured. However, situations like this are commonplace during this year’s tournament. Practically every student from a soul academy has a soul tool, and some of the stronger academies have even set up their own independent Soul Tool Departments. Not only does this train their own soul engineers, but it also allows them to custom-make soul tools for their other soul masters to give them a dramatic increase in overall strength. You’ll understand once I give you an example. Let’s say we give a speed-increasing soul tool to an agility-type soul master like Nannan. If she can use it freely, what do you think will happen? At the same time, say we give her a few lifesaving defensive-type soul tool to guard against her weakness in defense. Wouldn’t that be enough to let her use all of her strength without any worry at all?”
“I never thought that this tournament would change this much after ﬁve years. Actually, it’s more accurate to say that this started several decades ago. Only, an overwhelmingly large number of academies were proud of the fact that they were soul academies at that time. Just like us, they felt that using soul tools would lower their reputations. However, the times change whether we like it or not. During the last few tournaments, academies who used soul tools have been
obtaining better and better results. This unending change has changed the other soul academies’ way of thinking . Only, I didn’t think that they’d fully explode during this year’s tournament. From what I’ve seen during the ﬁrst round of the elimination round, over 80% of the participating academies have prepared soul tools. Furthermore, with this experience, I’m afraid that every single academy will have equipped their students with soul tools by the next tournament.”
Xu Sanshi furrowed his brows. “They’ve forgotten the honor of being a soul master. Aren’t battles between soul masters meant to be pure? The most reliable tool we have at our disposal is the strength we’ve cultivated, and it’s our most trustworthy tool. After all, a soul tool is a foreign object.”
“You’re not wrong,” Wang Yan said in a low voice, “Also, I can guarantee you guys that Sanshi’s way of thinking is practically identical to that of the upper echelon of a large majority of academies. It’s this precise reason that has constrained the development of the Soul Tool Department. After my observations during this year’s tournament, however, I have to say that we’ve reached an irreversible point in time. Furthermore, this has to be acted upon immediately. Once we return to the academy after the tournament, I will immediately point this out to the academy.”
“Soul tools will become the weapons of us soul masters. This is a byproduct of the times. If we don’t keep up with the passage of time, there will be a time when we ourselves are washed away. It’s true that our Shrek Academy has a deep background, but how long will this deep background let us be extravagant? You guys are the next generation of Shrek’s Seven Monsters, and I hope that we can cause a change with you taking the lead. I’ve brought you here for that reason. It just so happens that there’s a soul tool auction in this auction house today, and I hope that you guys will be able to lead the academy with your example. Naturally, I won’t force you, nor do I have the capability to do so. If anyone here isn’t willing to enter, you can return now.” With that, Wang Yan’s gaze turned somewhat apprehensive. He naturally understood that the deep-rooted Soul Tool Department of Shrek Academy had already been established for many years, but had always been completely suppressed by the Martial Soul department. As a result, it had simply been unable to truly grow.
The inner courtyard disciples of the Martial Soul Department were elites among elites, but what about the Soul Tool Department? The Soul Tool Department also had inner courtyard disciples, but those exact disciples were only mediocre after graduating, and even now weren’t able to create any sort of reputation for Shrek Academy’s Soul Tool Department. This was because of the pressure of tradition! The
pressure of tradition had become the currently restrained Shrek Academy’s greatest barrier.
The seven of them all fell silent, and each and every one of them was pondering inwardly.
The only thing that Wang Yan could guarantee was that there would be two people who would agree with him--that was, the two people who belonged to the Soul Tool Department, He Caitou and Huo Yuhao.
But what about the other ﬁve? They were all core disciples of the Martial Soul Department; their elites. If they chose to use soul tools during the tournament, this would be equivalent to them making their decisions. Although these kids weren’t too old, they were able to stand steadily within Shrek Academy. Were any of them not outstanding geniuses? Wang Yan absolutely couldn’t predict their way of thinking by comparing them to their peers.
However, Wang Yan didn’t regret bringing them to this auction house at all. This was his ﬁrst time trying to convince them to use soul tools, but it would deﬁnitely not be his last. The more profound his research in the ﬁeld of martial souls
became, the more keenly he sensed the problems that would stunt the future growth of soul masters.
“Let’s just stand the side ﬁrst.” Wang Yan brought them to a corner of the auction house so as to not block the other guests who were attending the auction.
Wang Yan took a deep breath as he looked at the people around him. “I know. All of you are thinking different things, but a large number of you are against this. Let me say this again. Why did we fall into our current predicament during this year’s tournament? It was due to a mistake we made during our mission. The death and injuries of the ofﬁcial team resulted in the preparatory team being forced to take part in the tournament. But, haven’t you thought about this before? What if the ofﬁcial team had soul tools with them? What would’ve happened then?”
“The seven members of the ofﬁcial team were all Soul Kings, or stronger. In other words, they could’ve equipped Class 5, or even Class 6 soul tools. Let me bring up an extreme example. What if all of them had defensive soul tools on them? After all, every single one of them was already sufﬁciently strong in terms of combat strength. The thing they needed most was a way to protect themselves. Caitou, you’re a student of great
ability from the Soul Tool Department, and also Fan Yu’s disciple. Tell everyone this: during that corpse explosion, what if they had had defensive soul tools? Would the situation have changed?”
He Caitou seemed to reply without any hesitation at all, “It would’ve deﬁnitely gone differently. I can guarantee that that corpse explosion wouldn’t have broken through a Class 6 defensive soul tool. Moreover, a Class 5 soul tool would have ensured that they wouldn’t have been rendered unﬁt for combat at the very least. Their injuries would’ve been reduced by more than 60% as well.”
Once he spoke, everyone else was stirred emotionally. Right! If they had had defensive soul tools, that tragedy might not have occurred. If that had been the case, would they have been in such a predicament during the tournament?
Wang Yan took a deep breath and said, “Children. With my age, I think I can use this to refer to you all. I have to say that each and every one of you are the academy’s most precious treasures. At the same time, you are your respective families’ most precious geniuses. However, the fall of a genius is much, much easier than nurturing one. Weren’t Yao Haoxuan and the rest geniuses as well? They all were. Yao Haoxuan even had a
swallowing skill that could allow him to instantly swallow an opponent one rank above him, rendering them powerless for a certain amount of time. He could even be said to be a genius within the Control System. At the same time, they were the current iteration of Shrek’s Seven Monsters! However, what happened in the end? No matter how talented they were, they couldn’t prevent an accident from occurring. However, the existence of a soul tool can dramatically reduce the possibility of an accident.”
“You’ve already seen the uses of a soul tool. What about those ﬂying-type soul tools? Without them, would you have been able to come here after completing your Guardian mission within such a short period of time? For the sake of achieving his maximum speed, even our academy’s Elder Xuan, who is a person who resides at the top of the pyramid, borrowed the use of a ﬂying-type soul tool. I can tell you that the ﬂying-type soul tool that Elder Xuan used was only a Class 8 one. That is also the strongest soul tool within our academy’s reserves right now. Then, what about Class 9 and 10 soul tools?”
Chapter 82: The Future Developments and Dangers of a Soul Master
“Also, one thing I can reveal to you is that Xuan Lao’s cultivation is certainly much more terrifying than what the majority of you people imagine it to be. His martial soul, the Godly Taotie Bull, is an extremely rare and special type that can also be called a mutated martial soul. The drawback of this type of martial soul lies in the need for constant consumption of food and drink, as the act of consumption itself is a form of cultivation. However, Xuan Lao’s cultivation has already reached the ninety-eighth rank, and he is the Transcendent Titled Douluo of Gluttony. It’s almost impossible to ﬁnd any being in existence on this continent that is stronger than that elder in a duel.”
Even though they already had very high estimations of Xuan Lao’s cultivation, the seven of them still drew a collective gasp when Wang Yan spoke the number ‘ninety-eight’. What a thing to consider, that rank ninety-eight!
All soul masters who were rank ninety or higher were Titled Douluo, but every increase in cultivation after the ninetieth rank came with exponential growth. This was particularly the
case for the ranks past ninety-ﬁve, as attaining that rank made one worthy of being called a Transcendent Douluo.
For example, if a newly-promoted rank ninety Titled Douluo were to encounter a hundred thousand year soul beast, his only option would be to turn and ﬂee. Unless he had a sufﬁciently powerful martial soul and soul ring, he would not have the capability to battle such a soul beast.
However, if his cultivation was somewhere around rank ninety-two or ninety-three, then he would stand a fair chance against the hundred thousand year soul beast, as long as it wasn’t on the level of a Beast King.
And if his cultivation was at rank ninety-ﬁve, that of a Transcendent Titled Douluo, then the hundred thousand year soul beast would be the one doing the ﬂeeing. Not even two hundred thousand year soul beasts who had broken past their limits were likely to have the guts to battle a rank ninety-ﬁve Titled Douluo.
And then there was Elder Xuan, who belonged to a tier equivalent to the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion among soul beasts. It was the crème de la crème, and the terror of terrors.
Only then did Huo Yuhao understand why he had felt such an overpowering panic in his heart when Xuan Lao was enraged. Even Skydream and the Ice Empress had remained silent within his spiritual sea, neither communicating anything to him or causing any strong spiritual waves. The might of Elder Xuan’s cultivation had simply been too
“If this was set several hundred years in the past, I’d say that Xuan Lao was almost without parallel. But is that really the case today?” Wang Yan went on. “I can tell you all with certainty that Xuan Lao remains unrivalled in single combat. However, the Sun Moon Empire has several Class 9 soul engineers who are capable of ﬁghting him on even ground, to the point of posing a threat to his life. Top tier soul engineers whose existences are just as terrifying. Their entirely different ﬁghting style enables them to use all of their soul skills to increase their soul power before launching an attack through a powerful soul tool. Another thing you must not forget is that Class 9 is not the ultimate limit of soul engineers. If the day comes when a Class 10 soul engineer appears in the Sun Moon Empire, then… how are we to face that?”
At this point, Wang Yan had already gotten himself quite worked up. “There’s one more thing. It may not be much of an
issue in your generation, but as the time goes by, this problem that I’ve discovered is bound to affect all soul masters: the problem of soul beasts.”
“Soul beasts?” they echoed, puzzled by the apparent non sequitur.
Wang Yan nodded vigorously, then elaborated, “What I’m referring to is the number of soul beasts. All of you have learned during your time in the academy that soul beasts have existed since time immemorial on our Douluo Continent, as well as the fact that, a great many years ago, there were no humans here. One could say that our entire continent is a world belonging to soul beasts… you could indeed say such a thing. The human race itself is the result of the evolution of soul beasts, and we are a form of intelligent soul beast.”
“Over the passage of time, we humans began to appear, around tens or even hundreds of millennia ago. In the beginning, the human race was weak, and only served as food for the soul beasts. However, since humans did exist, there was a reason for our existence. Our physical capabilities may be weak, but we have our strengths: our fecundity, and our ability to learn.”
“Human intelligence was gradually developed as we evolved through the ages, and our reproductive capabilities ensured that we did not suffer extinction even when we were preyed upon by soul beasts. And when we developed to such an extent that the intelligence of an ordinary human was on par with
that of a top tier soul beast, earth-shaking changes began to happen on the continent.
“With our intelligence, humans began creating tools, traps and weaponry. We used the weather and geography to our advantage in battling soul beasts. We learned to cooperate, to group together and attack a single soul beast. We gradually began to possess the ability to hunt and kill soul beasts, instead of being hunted and killed by them. Nutrition became richer, and humans continued to grow.”
“Following the evolution of our intelligence, another change came about with the appearance of soul masters. The ﬁrst soul master came to be when the ﬁrst human with a prodigious level of innate soul power accidentally drew the soul ring of a slain soul beast into his own body. After tens of thousands of years of change and research, humans gradually grasped the techniques required to become soul masters. In the meantime, we also began to undergo a population explosion. Our intelligence allowed us to start learning how to build, to start
having our own homes and cities. The number of soul masters, along with their powers, continued to increase.”
“Soul beasts remained powerful as they always were, but in the face of our intelligence and learning capabilities, they gradually lost the ability to pose any real threat. Finally, humans ruled the continent, and soul masters indubitably became the most powerful and most important occupation on this continent.”
Wang Yan’s narration of the process of human evolution was very simple, but captured the few most important changes. At this point, his topic suddenly took a turn.
“However, here’s the thing you kids may never have thought of: what changes would happen to soul beasts alongside our human race’s development.”
“Indeed, soul beasts may have been around for tens of millennia, and the proportion of soul masters amongst humans is one in thousands - it’s not that much. But the fact remains that we are encroaching upon the soul beasts’ habitats, and slaying them for our soul rings. More and more high level soul beasts have been hunted and killed by people
like us - like all of you here, who all bear thousand-year soul rings. Those only come about in soul beasts that have cultivated for a thousand years. And just like their soul rings, these high-level soul beasts are also limited in numbers!”
“Ten thousand years ago on this continent, the overall power of soul beasts was still greater than that of humans. But today, after ten thousand years have passed, I can say with certainty that the collective power of soul beasts is no longer comparable to ours. The reason for that is that too many high-level soul beasts have become our soul rings. So let me ask you: what happens after another ten thousand years? What changes will happen to the continent in that time? Will we still be able to go to the forest and slay soul beasts as we please? I can give you a deﬁnite answer: ten thousand years from now, even a ten-year soul ring will be an article of luxury. The ﬁnal fate of soul beasts is absolute dependency upon humans as they are conﬁned by us like livestock.”
“By that time, it’s very likely that all soul masters will only be able to use ten year soul rings, and even hundred year ones will become unattainable. When that time comes, what will we use to increase our own power? As time passes, soul tools are bound to become the true source of human strength. That is the inevitable result of time. I can do nothing to change this progression of events, and neither can any of you. What you
must do instead, at this moment, is accept the truth. In the future, the only way our descendents can become stronger than us is through the usage of soul tools. And all of you, right now, stand at a crucial moment in the transformation of an era. Only through the perfect fusion of one’s abilities with a
soul toul can you become strong enough not to be left behind
Those words had been held within Wang Yan’s mind for much longer than just a day or two. Finally unleashed, the effect they had upon the seven was akin to stirring the deaf and enlightening the blind. All of them felt deeply shaken.
Huo Yuhao and Caitou, being students of the Soul Tool Department, were less affected than the other ﬁve, who had always had some measure of aversion to soul tools. And yet, right then and there, could they really keep feeling that way?
Some of what Wang Yan had said felt distant to them, but some of it had evidently instilled in them a sense of urgency. It was an uncomfortable feeling, and disrupted how they normally thought about things.
All of them knew fairly well that Wang Yan’s speech was intended to convince them to accept soul tools and use them in the tournament. But it was also far from being that simple, and had a great impact on them all.
Wang Yan said no more, simply watching those children, who were still at such a tender age. He looked at the future hope of Shrek Academy, silently waiting as they thought things over. He knew they needed time.
Wang Yan’s eyes betrayed traces of sorrow as he raised his head to glance at the already pitch-dark sky. What would the continent become in ten thousand years? At that time, would Shrek Academy still maintain its current position as the foremost academy on the continent?
It will, it deﬁnitely will. Wang Yan unconsciously clenched his hands into ﬁsts.
Shrek Academy made me what I am today. No matter what happens, I will do all I can to ensure that it remains great, that no one ever surpasses it, that Shrek Academy will always be the strongest.
At that thought, Wang Yan felt his heart set aﬁre, and hot blood course through his veins. He suddenly felt that it wasn’t entirely a bad thing for the starting lineup to suffer such a heavy blow. At least it rang the warning bells to the seven that were the academy’s future hope, the next generation of Shrek’s Seven Monsters. If they could accept what he was suggesting, then it would have a huge effect on the future of the academy while also leading the academy down the right track. Or, at least, the right track he had discovered.
Perhaps the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy may already have exceeded Shrek in this ﬁeld. We can only chase after them in full pursuit, relying on the ten thousand years of Shrek Academy’s roots to do so. Shrek will never lose to anyone.
Just as Wang Yan was pondering to himself, a person suddenly spoke up. The ﬁrst person to ﬁnish his pondering was Bei Bei.
“I agree with what Teacher Wang said. I’m willing to try working with a soul tool.” Bei Bei’s voice was very steadfast; he was never someone who hesitated much. His warm countenance couldn’t conceal his strong heart, and he was a person who did his all after setting his mind to something, just like when he had entered the Tang Sect for Tang Ya’s sake.
Sensing the astonished gazes of his fellow teammates, Bei Bei said in a low voice, “Out of the seven people here, ﬁve of us belong to the Tang Sect--that is, everyone besides Sanshi and Nannan. Everyone knows about the history of the Tang Sect.
Previously, we were the most glorious of existences on the entire continent. At that time, the glory of the Tang Sect was even greater than that of Shrek Academy. However, why did our glory fade away? It’s true that there were some reasons behind this, but the most important one was the fact that we
were washed out by the passing of time.”
“The emergence of soul tools directly affected our revenue streams--this was the main reason behind the fall of the Tang Sect. I’m sure everyone knows that very few of our hidden weapons are used in the military anymore, so much so that I can even say that they aren’t used at all. We can’t stop the passage of time, and only by adapting to it can we allow the Tang Sect to rise again.”
With that, his gaze landed on Huo Yuhao. “When my junior brother ﬁrst entered the Tang Sect, Xiao Ya and I had a discussion. The future growth of the Tang Sect will only occur if we merge our hidden weapons with soul tools. If we succeed, it’ll be because of soul tools; if we fail, it’ll be because of soul tools. We will crawl up from where we fell. This is also our only path going forward.”
“As a soul master, an assault-type one, my heart tells me to reject a foreign source of power like a soul tool. However, this
is rejecting the changes that go with time. As the eldest of all of us, and also the senior brother of the Tang Sect, I want to start by changing myself. When we get back, I will ask the academy to allow me to study in the Soul Tool Department in addition my current studies. Even if I don’t create them, I will at least
learn how to use them.”
Bei Bei’s words were powerful and resonating, and even Wang Yan’s emotions were stirred. He was overjoyed.
There was no doubt that Bei Bei’s words carried a large amount of weight within the new generation of the Shrek’s Seven Monsters. With his approval, convincing the others would be much easier.
Xu Sanshi nodded, “Teacher Wang, what you and Bei Bei said makes sense. I can also understand where you’re coming from. However, I still have a few questions I want to ask you for guidance. It’s very likely that the strongest experts in the future will be soul engineers, but with our current levels of strength, it’s already impossible for us to become soul engineers. In other words, we won’t be able to change our current soul skills to ones that can amplify soul power, like soul engineers. Since this is the case, will we always be behind everyone else? Furthermore, it’s very difﬁcult for us to learn
how to create soul tools; we can only learn how to use them. However, we will never be as good at using them as the soul engineers. How will we contend against them? I truly do not wish to make a decision while my heart is at a loss.”
Wang Yan said, “Well said. I understand what you’re worried about, and you’re right. If you intend to purely pursue the ﬁeld of soul tools, a person who started off as a soul master will never be able to catch up with a soul engineer. However, you’ve forgotten your own advantages! If there comes a day when you can become a Titled Douluo, you’ll deﬁnitely be able to get a powerful soul skill. These soul skills aren’t inferior to any Class 9 soul tools. Also, can your physiques even be compared to soul engineers who’ve chosen soul power-amplifying soul rings? Impossible. Furthermore, your physiques as a soul master will be strong enough to allow you to withstand stronger soul rings. If you get a more powerful soul ring, won’t you get more soul power? Soul engineers will never be able to compete against soul masters in terms of physique. You merely have to ﬁnd a compatible soul tool; after all, a soul tool is only your weapon. On the other hand, a soul tool is a soul engineer’s everything. Due to these differences, a soul master only needs to use a soul tool as long as he himself is strong enough. When compared to a pure soul engineer, you’ll deﬁnitely possess a few advantages, especially when you consider the fact that a simple soul engineer will never be able to reach Class 10.”
“What are the requirements of a Class 10 soul engineer? To become one, you need to create a terrifying Class 10 soul tool while being able to control it. That requires the cultivation of a Transcendent Titled Douluo, which means that you’ll need to be Rank 95 or higher. You’re all soul masters, and I’m sure you’re all aware of the fact that the more you cultivate, the harder it gets. Even on the entire continent, how many pure soul engineers are able to reach the Titled Douluo rank? I can count them on one hand, I’ll give you that. How many of them are able to become Transcendent Titled Douluo? I can also tell you that there are exactly zero people who have been able to do so. Because of that, the pinnacle experts of the continent will deﬁnitely be people who focus on their strengths as soul masters while simultaneously studying in the ﬁeld of soul tools. Even if a true Class 10 soul engineer were to appear, it’d be very hard for that person to ﬁght against a Transcendent Titled Douluo who possesses a Class 9 soul tool.”
A look of enlightenment ﬁlled Xu Sanshi’s eyes. “Right! Teacher Wang, you’re truly a person who can enlighten someone else. A pure soul engineer who only trains his soul power will ﬁnd it much harder to improve when compared to us. I understand, I understand.”
Wang Yan’s conﬁdence immediately increased as he saw Xu Sanshi become convinced by his words. A look of self-
conﬁdence ﬂashed through his eyes as he said, “During these past few days, I’ve been observing how the other academies ﬁght. I’ve noticed that the academies with deeper backgrounds have been pursuing a fusion of soul masters and soul tools. However, a large majority of those academies are still trying to ﬁnd the perfect level of fusion. On the other hand, I’ve noticed the most things from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. Although they’ve never tried to hide anything, I’ve noticed that practically every member of their preparatory team has an extraordinary martial soul. Even though not all of them have taken the stage, I can see that their way of thinking coincides with mine from this point alone. By focusing on a soul master’s cultivation, they’ll be able to guarantee that their students will become powerful soul masters. Then, they can use powerful soul tools. Now, do you still have any questions?”
Xu Sanshi said, “Teacher Wang, you’ve convinced me. I’m willing to try it out, both for the sake of the academy and for my own sake.”
He Caitou chuckled, “I naturally have no problems with it.
However, the sad thing is that I’m a food-type soul master.”
“Can a ﬁfteen-year-old four-ringed food-type Soul Ancestor like you say anything more?” Wang Yan said unhappily, “Your
talent being overlooked due to your martial soul has been one of the largest mistakes the Martial Soul Department has made in recent years. With the help of your soul skills, it’s very possible that you’ll be one of the strongest soul engineers among you seven. After all, you can focus on cultivation alone. I can say that your martial soul makes you the most suitable person on the entire continent to become a pure soul engineer.”
Wang Yan’s gaze turned to Jiang Nannan, who hesitated slightly for a moment before saying. “But, it’ll take money to buy a few soul tools later. Also, they seem to be very expensive.”
After hearing her somewhat strange words, everyone present was left stunned. Huo Yuhao reacted most profoundly to this; he still remembered the ﬁrst time he had met Jiang Nannan; the number one beauty of the outer courtyard had actually tried to negotiate with him, as if she was very stingy with her money.
“I’ll pay for you!” Xu Sanshi said instantly.
As if she’d thought of something, she immediately furrowed her brows and ﬂew into a rage, “Screw off!”
“Uh…” As if he’d thought of something, Xu Sanshi unexpectedly obediently lowered his head after being yelled at. Other than feeling somewhat wronged, he didn’t look too dissatisﬁed.
His appearance gave the impression as though he was a person who was getting bullied.
“Nannan, you don’t have to worry about this,” Wang Yan said warmly, “The academy will settle the issue of money. At the very least, you won’t have to worry about this before graduating. You’re already a core disciple of the academy, and the academy will even give you a generous amount of money for living expenses if you’re able to enter the inner courtyard. Even moreso, completing guardian missions will give you prize money. Students of our Shrek Academy have never been troubled because of money.”
Jiang Nannan’s eyes lit up, and she immediately said, “Then I have no problems as well.”
It was ﬁnally Huo Yuhao’s turn. When he and Wang Yan’s eyes met, he already had an answer.
“Teacher Wang, I only have a single problem. I don’t seem to have any soul tools that I can buy.” Huo Yuhao laughed bitterly.
“No, there’s something you can buy,” He Caitou said suddenly.
“Huh?” Huo Yuhao looked towards He Caitou, puzzled.
He Caitou chuckled and rubbed his bald head, “Once you enter the auction house, you’ll understand. Practically every single auction house that sells soul tools will have that thing.”
Xiao Xiao said, “I also have no problems. In the ﬁrst place, I was planning to go back and cultivate diligently to buy that ﬂying-type soul tool as a toy after I become a Soul Ancestor. It’s really too convenient.”
Wang Yan let out a long sigh after seeing that the situation was settled. He chuckled, “That’s for the best then. Wang
Dong, what about you? You shouldn’t have any problems, right? Let’s go in and participate in the auction then."
Surprising everyone present, the silent Wang Dong suddenly raised his head and revealed a stubborn look as he said resolutely, “No, I have a problem. I’m not willing to use a soul tool. You guys can go ahead, I’m going back ﬁrst.” With that, he turned around and took large strides in the direction of the Imperial Grand Star Hotel.
Huo Yuhao hurriedly chased after Wang Dong, “What’s with you, Wang Dong?” Even he hadn’t sensed anything wrong with him, and this sudden change had left him at a complete loss. Like the others, he didn’t think that Wang Dong would have any problems. He’d never heard Wang Dong rebuke soul tools so strongly in the past. Moreover, Teacher Wang Yan had just given a long explanation that was ﬁlled with true information.
Wang Dong paused, lowering his head slightly. “Yuhao, I’m ﬁne. I have no idea what’s happened, but my heart doesn’t want this, nor is it willing to use a soul tool. You guys can go ﬁrst, I’ll be waiting in the hotel.”
Huo Yuhao wanted to speak further, but Wang Dong raised his hand to stop him. “No need to persuade me any further. I’m really ﬁne. I just don’t really want to use a soul tool to increase my own strength. I might be ﬁne with it later, but I can’t accept it just yet. I understand the logic behind what Teacher Wang said, but I still need to go back and think it over a little.”
Huo Yuhao didn’t try persuading him any further, because he clearly understood that it would be very difﬁcult to try changing his best friend’s mind when he had decided on something.
After seeing Wang Dong off, Huo Yuhao returned to the group. “He’s ﬁne. He just doesn’t fancy using soul tools. Teacher Wang, let’s go.”
Wang Yan nodded and smiled slightly. “It’s ﬁne. You all have your own aspirations, and I didn’t think I’d be able to convince all of you in the ﬁrst place. I’m very satisﬁed that the six of you are willing to try them out. Let’s go, the auction is about to start.”
Huo Yuhao had originally thought that this was going to be a very small auction. After all, the building didn’t look too big from the outside. However, he entered a completely different world after truly entering it. The auction was located mostly underground, and the building was only its entrance.
After walking into the auction house, they were met with a ﬁve meter wide staircase that was laid with a red carpet as it
headed downwards. Yet, they didn’t see any workers to guide them inside.
They continued heading downwards. After twenty meters or so, they ﬁnally reached the registration area. Wang Yan had already completed a few complicated procedures before coming here in addition to giving each and every person a number plate. Because of this, the red cheongsam-clad girl took them inside.
After passing through a simple wooden door, the scenery suddenly changed. A patch of gold ﬁlled their vision, the decorations of the wide, dazzling corridor surpassing even the Imperial Grand Star Hotel Huo Yuhao and the rest had stayed in in terms of luxury.
The corridor was over ten meters wide, and the ground was laid with precious white jade. There was a pair of beautifully patterned pillars that were carved from the same material every ten meters, and the walls seemed to have been papered with gold leaf. The carvings on the wall were complicated and beautiful. Huo Yuhao used his sight, that was far stronger than that of ordinary folk, to look at the walls in detail, and was astonished by how meticulous it was. It had to be known that this was only a wall used for decoration!
Luxurious crystal lamps hung from the top of the ceiling, but they didn’t give off a stiﬂing feeling, as the corridor was a full ﬁve meters tall. The lamp gave off a gentle yellow light, and its contrast against the golden walls made it seem as if they were in a world of gold. This was enough to leave anybody dazzled.
Wang Yan whispered, “Don’t underestimate this place just because it’s unremarkable on the outside. In reality, this is Star Luo City’s largest auction house. It isn’t easy to obtain a pass to attend this auction. Not only do you need to prove your assets, you even have to go through an evaluation. If we followed the normal routes, it’d take at least half a month for us to get in here. We were only able to smoothly enter this place with Dai Yueheng’s help. Unfortunately, I was unable to persuade the three of them. They’ve stayed in the Martial Soul Department for many years, and their combat styles are already ﬁxed. Hastily giving them soul tools won’t do them any good either.”
As Wang Yan spoke, they entered a large door, guided by the young lady. It was very obvious that this wasn’t the end of the corridor; there was still a door similar to the previous one in front of them. In addition, there was a ﬂight of stairs that headed downwards at the end of the corridor.
Bei Bei seemed to be accustomed to this place. Unlike Huo Yuhao, Xiao Xiao, and Jiang Nannan, he didn’t look everywhere constantly. He turned towards the girl who’d opened the door for them and asked, “I’ll have to trouble you to give us a simple explanation of the rules of today’s auction.”
“Understood,” The girl said respectfully, “Today’s auction specializes in the sale of soul tools, and will only sell soul tools ranked Class 6 or below. Because of that, there are relatively lax rules. According to the way we classify auctions, this auction can only be considered a Grade 4 auction. Our Starlight Auction separates auctions from Grade 1 to Grade 5, with Grade 1 having the strictest rules. Only Grade 1 auctions will be held in the main auction hall. This is Hall 12, and it can accommodate a total of two hundred people. It’s used for Grade 4 auctions.”
Bei Bei nodded, “Thank you.”
After entering Hall 12, the lighting suddenly dimmed. This was because only the walls surrounding them had wall lamps on them. After entering the auction hall, every single person would receive a beautiful mask. Furthermore, these masks were differentiated by color. Huo Yuhao and the rest received white masks, but they didn’t know what these colors signiﬁed.
Other than white, there were also yellow, purple, black, red, gold, and other types of masks.
The decorations in the auction hall gave off a simple, reﬁned, but luxurious feeling without losing any sense of warmth. Only, one would feel very comfortable after entering here. There were a total of two hundred large, comfy chairs which were covered by dark-blue swan cloth; these chairs were curved. Perhaps it was due to Dai Yueheng’s inﬂuence, but Huo Yuhao and the rest were placed on the ﬁrst row, which was also the row closest to the auction stage.
Wang Yan reminded everyone, “Everyone, put your masks on. It’s very possible that various problems will arise if you participate in this auction. Because of this, the auction house has provided masks to cover your appearances. This is all done to prevent any problems from arising. The colors of these masks are also used to differentiate the ranks of the guests here, and their ranking is identical to that of soul rings. The lowest ranked mask is the white one, and it goes up from there. On the other hand, the golden mask, which is ranked above the red mask, is for the auction’s most distinguished VIPs. Normally, a person like that will never appear in an auction like this.”
Only then did Huo Yuhao understand the differences between the masks. This was his ﬁrst time attending an auction, and he was curious about everything. The chair he sat on was very comfortable, and this was one of the rare occasions that he was able to rest.
At this moment, the auction hall was already ﬁlled with sixty to seventy percent of its attendees. A waiter came over to ask what beverages they wanted, and Huo Yuhao asked for a glass of plain water.
“Distinguished guests, welcome to our Starlight Auction. Our auction is about to start, so I would like to ask all of you to take a seat.” The graceful and pleasant voice of a woman rang out from all directions, causing the auction hall to quiet down. The originally dim lights in the hall gradually turned even darker, but the lights on the auction stage grew brighter.
A purple cheongsam-clad girl climbed up to the stage from a side of the auction hall. She looked thirty or so, and had a digniﬁed and beautiful appearance. Her face carried a faintly discernible smile, and as she walked, her perfectly ﬁtting cheongsam sketched the outline of her perfectly mature body.
Xu Sanshi’s eyes immediately turned towards her, and his throat moved slightly as he involuntarily gulped.
Bei Bei and Xu Sanshi were sat by either side of Huo Yuhao. At this moment, Bei Bei lowered his mouth to Huo Yuhao’s ear and whispered, “Junior brother, this should be the auctioneer. When choosing an auctioneer for an ordinary auction or a large-scale auction hall like this one, the ﬁrst thing considered is a person’s appearance. They can’t just be good-looking; a male auctioneer has to have an upright-looking appearance, while a female one has to be digniﬁed and beautiful. This way, they’ll instill a sense of trust in the people participating in the auction. If I’m not mistaken, the auctioneers in this auction hall are also separated by ranks according to the color of their clothes, just like how we’re differentiated by our masks. This auctioneer should be a lower-middle ranked one. Actually, I’m very curious as to how the gold-ranked auctioneers in this place look.”
At this moment, the purple-clothed auctioneer was already behind the auction table with a smile on her face. Her gentle voice reverberated throughout hall 12, borrowing the assistance of the sound-amplifying soul tool on the table.
“Distinguished guests, good evening to you all. I am a purple- ranked auctioneer of the Starlight Auction, Qing Ya. Today, I will be hosting this auction.”
With that, she walked out from the auction table and bowed with a smile on her face. This immediately won her a round of applause.
After returning to the auction table, Qing Ya smiled. “Today’s auction will specialise in the selling of soul tools. Our goods will all be soul tools which are ranked Class 6 and below. They are suitable for soul masters and engineers below the Soul King rank. In addition, we have prepared a secret, big item to make your trips worthwhile. Distinguished guests, don’t miss it for all the world. Our auction will now start, so can a staff member please bring up the ﬁrst item that will be auctioned off today.”
Two red-clothed girls pushed a cart that was covered with a purple cloth onto the auction stage. After pushing the cart all the way to the center of the stage, they removed the cloth from the cart.
A black soul tool appeared on the cart. This soul tool was rectangular, and it was about a foot long. It had complicated
carvings on it.
Huo Yuhao was not only a soul engineer, but he also possessed a pair of Spirit Eyes that ordinary folk could never hope to obtain. His eyes moved slightly, and he was able to clearly see the carvings of the soul tool on the stage. He whispered, “This should be an offensive soul tool that goes on your arm. It should be around Class 3 or so. Wang Dong should be able to use it.”
A soul master needed the corresponding level of cultivation to fully release the power of a soul tool. If a person’s cultivation was lower than the minimum requirements of a soul tool, he would be unable to release its strength; if his cultivation was higher than its maximum power, it would be unable to increase his combat strength effectively.
Qing Ya smiled slightly. “Our ﬁrst auctioned good is a Class 3 attack-type soul tool, a relatively rare Soul light Ray. An ordinary item like this should never be able to be auctioned in an auction like ours, but this Class 3 Soul Light Ray that can be placed on a person’s right arm has been crafted by a Class 6 soul engineer. It’s a special item, and quite rarely seen. An ordinary item like this was turned into a complicated one in
the hands of a grandmaster like him, and its core formation has given it a special effect.”
Chapter 83: The Ranked Carving Knife
“This ray has a paralysis effect, so its real name ought to be Paralysis Ray. Those ranked Soul King and below should be affected after being hit by the ray. How much it affects the soul master is dependant on the individual’s cultivation.”
“We’ve already tested it. When used on a Soul King, this Paralysis Ray is so effective that it can numb them for a second. This is on the precondition that the ray must hit a defenceless Soul King who is not protected by soul skills or soul tools. When used on a Soul Ancestor, the ray can numb them for more than two seconds, with the same precondition as before. Moreover, it can numb a soul master with three soul rings of the same rank for at least three to four seconds.”
“Honoured guests, please note that we tested the ray on assault-type soul masters. The effects will deﬁnitely be different when used on other types of soul masters.”
“The requirement to use this Paralysis Ray is low, but it’s extremely practical. It’s a quality product amongst Class 3 soul tools. The starting bid is a thousand golden soul coins, with
every increase not being lower than ﬁfty golden soul coins. The bid starts now!”
Someone immediately raised their auction board when Qing Ya ﬁnished talking. “One thousand three hundred golden soul coins.”
Just as Auctioneer Qing Ya said, it was very rare to see a Class 6 master making a Class 3 soul tool. One shouldn’t look down on the fact that this soul tool wasn't of a high class because it was extremely practical. Soul Ancestors would ﬁnd it quite useful. In addition to that, the low requirement for using this tool was its biggest asset.
As a result of that, the auction price for such items was always on the high side. Soon, the price shot past the two thousand golden soul coins mark.
One had to know that the materials used to make this soul tool weren’t very outstanding other than its ingenious design and the elaborate manufacturing of the formation arrays. It was a Class 3 soul tool after all. It was a relatively high price to pay for a soul tool of said class. Normal Class 3 soul tools would go for hundreds of golden soul coins only.
Just as expected, the bidding paused after it passed the two thousand mark. A few of those ﬁghting to bid at the start were hesitating now. This was because everyone had limited amounts of money in their hands. Moreover, this was only the ﬁrst auction item.
“Two thousand ﬁve hundred golden soul coins.” At this moment, Wang Yan suddenly raised the board in his hand.
Auctioneer Qing Ya’s eyes shone, and she smiled sweetly at Wang Yan, who was wearing a mask. “Honoured guest number 166 has bid two thousand ﬁve hundred golden soul coins. Is anyone going to go higher?”
The Auctioneer’s source of income came through commissions from selling auction items. For example, if an item that cost one hundred golden soul coins was sold for two hundred, the auction house would deduct 10% from the total sum as their cut. Auctioneers would get 0.1% of the amount above the cost of the auction item.
One shouldn’t look down on such a small value of 0.1%. It was very normal for a Class 4 auction to exceed a hundred
thousand golden soul coins in proﬁt at the end of the day. Since this was Star Luo City, and even the largest auction in the whole Star Luo Empire, they practically had to organise countless auctions every day. A few high level auctioneers usually only appeared once a month, but could earn a lot through commissions.
As a result of that, when Qing Ya saw Wang Yan add ﬁve hundred to the bid, her heart naturally leapt with joy. As a purple-ranked auctioneer, she understood very clearly that the ﬁrst price reached in the auction would often determine the direction of prices in the whole auction. Even though this ﬁrst item wasn’t very expensive, it would deﬁnitely be a good start if the premium was sufﬁciently high enough.
Once the bid for two thousand ﬁve hundred was made, the audience fell silent. The competitors who were still hesitating just a moment ago no longer pondered the matter any further. This price was clearly far more than they could afford.
“Two thousand ﬁve hundred golden soul coins, going once.” After Qing Ya questioned the audience a few more times and didn’t get a response, she started the closing call for the bid.
This moment was when a ﬁrst-rate auction revealed its aura. A normal small auction would delay the closing call of the bid for as long as they could, but Qing Ya showed no sign of doing so.
Bang! Down fell the hammer on the table. “Deal. The Paralysis Ray is sold to guest number 166. Thank you for your generosity.” Qing Ya shot Wang Yan another sweet smile, to which he responded with a light nod.
“Who’s going to use this soul tool?” Wang Yan turned his head and asked his group.
He Caitou was the ﬁrst to interject. “Teacher Wang, give this Paralysis Ray to junior brother. The effect of this soul tool is very rare. I reckon the manufacturer of this formation array has concealed something within it which is very difﬁcult to emulate. Even though junior brother hasn’t cultivated three soul rings, his soul power has already reached Rank 27. He might ﬁnd it difﬁcult to use it, but he can still use it before he reaches Rank 40. “
Hearing him say this, the others naturally shut their mouths. In reality, the person most suited to using the Paralysis Ray
ought to be Xiao Xiao. This was because she was closer to Rank 30 than Huo Yuhao was, and would breakthrough at any time.
However, it was clear that He Caitou had his reasons for saying this. Relatively speaking, this Paralysis Ray was even more suited to Huo Yuhao’s ﬁghting style.
Huo Yuhao never thought that he’d actually get the ﬁrst auction item as a reserve soul engineer.
As the auction continued, there were really many good items for specialising in soul tools. The overwhelming majority of soul tools were from Class 3 to Class 5. Wang Yan continuously bid for the items, and purchased more than ten soul tools, distributing them to everyone.
“The following is the second to last item for today. After this item is auctioned off, we’ll come to our grand ﬁnale. I believe the audience will deﬁnitely be pleasantly surprised.”
The young girl wheeled out the penultimate auction item for the day. From the shape of the cloak and how it was practically sticking to the trolley, one could see that this item wasn’t big.
Qing Ya walked to the front of the cart with a sound ampliﬁcation soul tool in her hand. She smiled and said, “I’m sure everyone seated in the audience who’s done in-depth research into soul tools will deﬁnitely be very familiar with this item. It also often appears in soul tool auctions as well. It has an amusing name - Milk’s Bottle.”
She lifted the fabric off the item as she spoke, simultaneously taking the auction item from the cart.
The item was a silver necklace, and on it hung a metal pendant in the shape of a milk bottle, about the size of a grown person’s thumb.
He Caitou’s eyes shone as he whispered to Huo Yuhao. “Junior brother, this is what I was telling you about. You need this the most now. Looking at the type of Milk Bottle she’s holding, it looks like a Class 4 soul tool.”
Huo Yuhao had a wave of misgivings in his heart, while simultaneously feeling ashamed. He’d learned how to make soul tools for almost a year, but there were still many things he didn’t know within the realms of soul tools.
Auctioneer Qing Ya smiled and said, “As the name implies, a milk bottle is naturally used to drink milk. However, to either a soul engineer or a soul master, their milk bottle is used to replenish their soul power. Naturally, I have to mention that breastfeeding is still the best.”
The audience immediately erupted in laughter after hearing this joke, and even Qing Ya herself was laughing. The mountains on her chests were somewhat ﬁtting to the breastfeeding she was talking about.
“Back to the topic at hand, the scientiﬁc name of this milk bottle ought to be energy restoration soul tool. Both soul masters and soul engineers can use this item. The milk bottle can be a soul tool of any class, but only soul masters rank 3 and above can make it have a given effect. It’s very common amongst soul tools, but a high-class Milk Bottle is extremely expensive. I remember seeing a Class 7 Milk Bottle appear once in our ﬁrst-rate Starlight Auction. It really caused a commotion at the time. In the end, a deal was made for seven million golden soul coins, setting a new record for all Milk Bottles.”
“Naturally, the milk bottle is used to replenish soul power, regardless of their respective rank. One only has to ﬁll it with
soul power before using it for it to work. This soul tool has its limitations as well. When using it, one has to stop and absorb the soul power with all their mind and soul. If one does not focus, they will fail to guide the soul power into their body. As such, I have to warn the audience in every auction not to use the milk bottle in battle. Alright, I believe that the audience understands the milk bottle very well. I won’t blather on any
longer. The starting bid is six thousand golden soul coins, with
every increasing bid not lower than a hundred golden soul coins.”
When Qing Ya proclaimed that the bid for the Milk Bottle was open, He Caitou also explained its characteristics in far greater detail to Huo Yuhao.
“Yuhao, this soul tool is the most complicated soul tool in its class in terms of its make, and also has the highest material requirements. The reason for that is because it has to store a huge amount of soul power. In addition to that, the Milk Bottle can’t let the soul power leak out at the same time, nor can it compress soul power till it causes an explosion. As such, the requirements for the formation arrays and materials in manufacturing a Milk Bottle are extremely high. There is only one criterion for successfully making a Milk Bottle, and that is stability. After the Milk Bottle is ﬁlled with soul power, it must
be stable. If not, it’ll turn into a bomb that can explode at any time.”
“This auctioneer’s warning is very accurate. Generally speaking, one deﬁnitely can’t use the Milk Bottle while in battle. This is because when the soul master is absorbing the soul force from the Milk Bottle, a lot of soul power will be released. In the process of receiving soul power from the Milk Bottle, the soul master’s body will deﬁnitely be deadlocked. This would be extremely fatal for a soul master in battle. Moreover, there are times when it’s very difﬁcult to control the Milk Bottle. It will normally absorb all of a soul master’s soul power, or ﬁll a person’s soul power to the brim.”
“A high level Milk Bottle is expensive because it’s very demanding in terms of the materials it needs. It’s also far too troublesome to make one. The difﬁculty of making a Class 7 Milk Bottle can even surpass that of a normal Class 8 soul tool. At the very least, a Class 8 soul tool master is needed to make it. Even I can only make a Class 3 Milk Bottle at this point. That in itself doesn’t mean anything, but it takes too long to make it. I only tried making one once, and wouldn’t do it again!”
“Yuhao, things are different with you because your innate ability is spirit-based. Your spiritual power is powerful enough
to be extremely effective in controlling the Milk Bottle. That way, it’s more convenient for you to control how much soul power you absorb.”
“Furthermore, you’re a control-type soul master. During a team ﬁght, you can stay behind the team the whole time and recover your soul power using the Milk Bottle. However, you might encounter a situation where you receive too much soul power while using this Class 4 Milk Bottle. Will your body be able to endure it? After all, it’ll be a huge surge of soul power.”
Huo Yuhao’s heart trembled and he immediately responded, “That won’t be a problem.” A Class 4 Milk Bottle wasn’t something to be taken lightly but he still had his fusion partner! When he and Wang Dong fought with each other, they could produce Haodong Power in their bodies. And if they were to use this Milk Bottle after releasing the Golden Road, wouldn’t that immediately replenish their depleted soul energy? This Milk Bottle was truly a good replenishing soul tool for them.
As the two of them were talking, the price of the Class 4 Milk Bottle had already reached eleven thousand gold soul coins.
One would never have to worry about selling a Milk Bottle during an auction; this was true regardless of what class the
Milk Bottle was. This was because it was simply too practical. It could even be said to be essential for a high-ranking soul engineer. And now, even soul masters were very willing to use them. Although a Milk Bottle would appear at practically every single auction, the difﬁculty involved in its creation made it so that its supply would never catch up to demand. Naturally, its price would increase more and more as time went on, to the
extent that Milk Bottles were now one of the most demanded soul tools on the market.
Wang Yan was just able to listen into their conversation when He Caitou had spoken earlier. As they chatted with each other, Huo Yuhao subconsciously glanced at Wang Yan, who nodded back at him.
Earlier, Wang Yan had already spent nearly seventy thousand gold soul coins. This wasn’t a small number. Nobody knew how much money the academy had allowed him to take along with him.
Bei Bei whispered, “Teacher Wang, do you have enough money? If you don’t, I have some too. This Milk Bottle is quite good, and all of us can use it. Also, it isn’t as if we can’t use it at all during a ﬁght.”
Wang Yan smiled. “Don’t worry, I don’t really have to spend any money. I have the credit certiﬁcate that the academy issued. No matter how much money we spend, the academy will naturally settle the bill for us.”
Bei Bei’s eyes lit up, “The academy actually issued a credit certiﬁcate for us?”
A credit certiﬁcate wasn’t money, but a guarantee that was based off trust that could be used to claim money from an organisation. Naturally, only credit issued by pinnacle existences would be effective and held in high regard. For example, the imperial families of the various academies and top-ranked academies. Only pinnacle existences like these would issue credit certiﬁcates with no limits on them. Undoubtedly, Shrek Academy was one of these existences.
The fact that Shrek Academy had given them a credit certiﬁcate for their trip this time around signiﬁed the absolute trust the academy had in them. This was because the credit certiﬁcate they possessed had no upper limit on it; this meant that the academy would have to foot the bill no matter what they bought. The Starlight Auction would just have to settle its payments with Shrek Academy to complete its transactions.
“Twenty thousand.” Wang Yan placed a bid, once again using a high bid to crush the spirits of the other participants in the hall.
Wang Yan had made his move many a time earlier, and he had crushed everyone else using pure wealth practically every single time. Because of this, the others weren’t willing to let prices reach excessively high levels. Once he made a move, a large majority of the other bidders immediately dropped out of the bidding.
Naturally, there were some people who were feeling unresigned. After all, this Class 4 Milk Bottle had a true price of twenty thousand gold soul coins or so.
“Twenty-one thousand.” A low voice rang out from the back.
Wang Yan replied with an unﬂinching face, “Twenty-ﬁve thousand.”
At this moment, the entire hall quieted down again.
After this round of bidding, Qing Ya’s gaze toward Wang Yan started to change from a regular, professional one to a more intense one. After all, nobody wouldn’t like a person with money. Moreover, Wang Yan’s voice wasn’t too loud. Although he wore a mask, the aura of a scholar still leaked out from him.
“Twenty-ﬁve thousand going once, twenty-ﬁve thousand going twice, twenty-ﬁve thousand going thrice. Done!”
Qing Ya’s hammering speed was extraordinarily quick, as if she wanted to leave a good impression on Wang Yan. They had obtained the Milk Bottle.
This time around, Huo Yuhao was somewhat excited. He was truly curious about this soul tool that could replenish his soul power.
After pushing the cart down the stage, Qing Ya walked to the very front of the auction stage. Her charming face was now slightly ﬂushed, and she said in a much quieter voice, “Distinguished guests, our mystery gift is about to take the stage. This is also the ﬁnal item we are auctioning tonight. This wasn’t supposed to appear here originally, but with the permission of our chief auctioneer, we have decided to reveal
this item to thank our various distinguished guests for supporting our Starlight Auction. Although it is extremely valuable, I trust that every single person here will be able to tell its true worth. Now, I would like our ceremonial lady to push our mystery gift onto the stage.”
A push cart once again ascended the stage from the side. Unlike the previous items, this push cart wasn’t just bigger; the cloth on it was actually changed to a conspicuous red one.
All matters conducted within the Starlight Auction were differentiated by color, with gold being the most honorable color. After that would be red, the color of a hundred thousand year soul ring.
From this, it could be seen that this mystery gift was extremely extraordinary.
It was quickly pushed to the centre of the stage, beside Qing Ya.
From the general outline of the cloth covering it, this item didn’t look too small.
Huo Yuhao squinted his eyes, quietly releasing his Spiritual Detection. After obtaining Imitation, his Spiritual Detection had become even more covert. As long as he willed it, he could completely conceal all of his soul rings so they would not appear during the activation of any of his soul skills.
However, as Huo Yuhao quietly swept his spiritual power across the red cloth and the item within it, his body suddenly trembled violently. He quickly covered his eyes with his hands, and his entire body started to spasm.
He Caitou and Bei Bei were both startled, and the two both blurted out in unison, “Yuhao, what’s happened to you?”
Huo Yuhao paused for a few seconds before coming back to his senses. When he pulled his hands down, however, He Caitou and Bei Bei could clearly see the glint in his eyes.
“What a sharp feeling.”
When he had scanned the red cloth using his Spiritual Detection to ﬁnd out what the item inside was, he had felt an
indescribable sense of sharpness. That sharpness had instantly torn through his Spiritual Detection, going so far as to pierce through even his spiritual origin. This had scared Huo Yuhao to the point where he had quickly cancelled his soul skill. Although this was the case, his soul skills were still channelled through his Spirit Eyes. As a result, they were still greatly irritated, to the point where tears started ﬂowing from his
Qing Ya had already started her introduction on the stage of the 12th Hall.
“Everyone here must really want to know what our mystery gift is. It’s getting late already, and Qing Ya doesn’t want to spoil the climax. This mystery gift is very ordinary, but it’s also a soul engineer’s most inseparable friend; every soul engineer must have one of these. However, the last item we’re auctioning is completely different. It isn’t a soul tool--which is why I said that it shouldn’t have been here in the ﬁrst place. However, it’s too closely related to a soul engineer. Before I remove this cloth, let me say one last thing: this item’s rarity and value is enough for it to be auctioned off in one of our Starlight Auction’s top-ranked auctions. Everyone, please take a look.”
Everyone’s gazes were drawn towards the stage the moment Qing Ya lifted the cloth from the cart. However, the dazzling or exceptionally brilliant item that they were expecting didn’t appear. What appeared in its place was an item that couldn’t be any more ordinary. It was just as Qing Ya had said--this was an item that any soul engineer would be familiar with, as well as something they couldn’t go without.
The reason behind the tall cloth covering the cart wasn’t due to the size of the item itself. Instead, it was because the item was placed on a showcase, and the mass covered by the cloth was naturally the showcase itself. The item itself was very small, around half a foot long or so, and was as thick as a ﬁnger. It seemed to grow narrower and narrower from the bottom to the top, and the very top of the item was an extremely sharp-pointed tip. On the other hand, its bottom was a half-inch wide blade. It had a simple, dark look to it, and faintly discernible carvings could be seen on it. They emitted a faintly ancient, yet gloomy aura.
A large number of participants let out dissatisﬁed sighs. Clearly, they didn’t think that this mystery gift had surprised them at all. However, the pupils of a small number of people were rapidly contracting. The appearance of this item had astonished them.
A carving knife. Right, this was a carving knife that a soul engineer could use to carve a core formation. Both ends of a carving knife were useful to a soul engineer, who could use them differently while carving different core formations. Soul engineers couldn’t lack a carving knife; this was a basic requirement to carve a soul tool.
Huo Yuhao also had a carving knife, given to him by Fan Yu. It was a relatively decent carving knife, made out of a hard metal that made it sharp, sturdy, and stable. It was very suitable for him to use it. Fan Yu had also told him that he would help him ﬁnd another, more outstanding carving knife after he became a Class 4 soul engineer. After all, the higher the rank a soul engineer was, the more precious and tough the metals he would use. If a soul engineer’s carving knife wasn’t good enough, how would he be able to carve a core formation? Furthermore, a good carving knife could let a soul engineer achieve twice the results with half the effort while creating a soul tool.
Huo Yuhao and He Caitou were both stunned upon seeing this carving knife. At the very least, they weren’t able to tell where its outstanding points were on the surface. However, Huo Yuhao placed a great deal of trust in his earlier feeling. The sharp sensation that had pierced through even his
Spiritual Detection was deﬁnitely not fake, and this carving knife was deﬁnitely not normal.
Qing Ya’s voice rang out from the crowd of dissatisﬁed voices, “In all likelihood, a few of our distinguished guests have been deceived by its outer appearance. Then, I can only tell you with much regret that you are all wrong. Missing this mystery gift will be your life’s greatest regret. Now, let me introduce to you all this seemingly ordinary carving knife that is deﬁnitely not ordinary.”
“A carving knife is a necessity for a soul engineer. Moreover, a good carving knife is the most important thing that a high- ranking soul engineer can have. Distinguished guests, the carving knife you see in front of you can’t be described using the word ‘simple’ alone. Calling it an exceptional carving knife wouldn’t be an exaggeration at all. Firstly, let me give a quick explanation. There’s a ranking for carving knives within the world of soul engineers, and the top-ranking ones are all in the hands of the best soul engineers in the world. I’m sure that everyone here has heard of the term ‘ranked carving knife’. It’s a term used to describe carving knives that have reached the leaderboard.”
“Our Douluo Continent’s Carving Knife Leaderboard lists the top hundred carving knives in the world. Regretfully, over two- thirds of those knives belong to the Sun Moon Empire. This is one of the main reasons why there are so many, and so powerful, soul engineers in the Sun Moon Empire. And the item you see before you is one of the hundred carving knives on the Leaderboard. In other words, it’s one of the ranked carving knives that I’ve just spoken about.”
The crowd below the stage immediately ﬂew into an uproar the moment Qing Ya uttered the words ‘ranked carving knife’. The previous sighs of dissatisfaction immediately vanished, and He Caitou closed his eyes helplessly.
If Qing Ya hadn’t explained everything, he had been planning to keep everything to himself. As one of Fan Yu’s disciples, he had noticed a few abnormalities regarding this carving knife after making a close observation. Moreover, as a soul engineer himself, his desire for a ranked carving knife would never be lacking. There were only two ranked carving knives within Shrek Academy, which respectively belonged to Dean Xian Lin’er and Fan Yu.
Right now, a ranked carving knife had just appeared before them. This had an extremely important signiﬁcance to them, and even Shrek Academy as a whole.
Although Wang Yan didn’t know much about carving knives, he was instantly excited after hearing the words ‘ranked carving knife’. He understood that this was something that he had to bring back to Shrek Academy no matter what. Even if it had a high price, the academy would still reward him for it. Out of the precious things that the academy was looking for, a ranked carving knife had been ranked among the top for a long
time! This was especially true for the Soul Tool Department, for even Vice-Dean Qian Duoduo wasn’t able to use a ranked carving knife.
The fervent atmosphere below the stage instantly caused a brilliant smile to appear on Qing Ya’s charming face. She wasn’t impatient at all--after waiting for a full ﬁve minutes, the participants of the auction gradually calmed down.
“Auctioness Qing Ya. What’re you still waiting for? Quickly start the bidding.” There were already a few people who couldn’t hold in their excitement anymore.
Qing Ya smiled, “Distinguished guests, please do not be so impatient. I’m sure that everyone here knows that our Starlight Auction has always been sincere and honest to all of our customers. We have always guaranteed the quality of all goods that are sold within our auctions, and we will never allow a faulty or problematic good to be given to our distinguished guests. Because of this, I would like everyone to allow me to ﬁnish speaking.”
Whilst speaking, Qing Ya looked regretfully at the ancient carving knife in front of her and sighed lightly. “If this were an
ordinary ranked carving knife, it would never have appeared here. Distinguished guests, I’m sure that you are all aware of this. A ranked carving knife is one of the most valuable items within the world of soul engineers. It’s even more valuable than certain precious materials. The reason why this ranked carving knife has appeared as the last item in today’s Class 4 auction is because it has a particular problem.”
“It’s ranked 99th on the Carving Knife Leaderboard, but with its strength, it shouldn’t be ranked that low. In fact, it should be within the top 30. However, the main reason why it’s ranked so low is because it’s a cursed carving knife.”
He Caitou suddenly cried out, “Is that the Ominous Soul- Devouring Knife that counter-devours its owners?”
Shrek Academy was seated in the ﬁrst row of the auction, and his voice wasn’t soft either. Qing Ya was naturally able to hear his words, and a trace of astonishment immediately appeared on her charming face whereupon she answered, “We actually have a knowledgeable guest. Correct, this carving knife is the 99th ranked Soul-Devouring Carving Knife that’s known as the Vicious Knife.”
“This Ominous Soul-Devouring Knife has had over three thousand years of history. Three thousand years ago, it appeared in the Sun Moon Empire. Its creator was an absolutely exceptional soul engineer who supposedly became a Class 9 soul engineer. Furthermore, he wasn’t just a soul engineer, but a soul master as well; a terrifying evil soul master. Three thousand years ago, he brought about a storm of carnage and terror to the continent.”
At that point, the participants in the auction quietened down. The expressions of many people turned grave as well.
“The Ominous Soul-Devouring Knife was created by that evil soul master during his later years. According to the stories, he encountered a mortal enemy not long after creating this carving knife. He was a genius in his generation, but also a monster. He subsequently fell, but didn’t carry the Ominous Soul-Devouring Knife by his side when he died. Following the passage of time, this vicious knife ended up in the mortal world.”
“When our Starlight Auction made an investigation into its past, we found that this vicious knife has had a total of thirty- seven owners. However, every single one of these thirty-seven people have died violently. Of which, nine of them became evil
soul masters. According to the legends, this Ominous Soul- Devouring Knife contains a trace of that talented evil soul master’s soul. Because of that, it steers its owners toward the path of evil. If you are not strong-willed, you will not be able to use it. Furthermore, it absolutely cannot be used frequently. Thus, it fell and fell in the rankings until it ﬁnally reached a spot where it couldn’t fall any further. Due to its previous glory, it has never been stricken from the Carving Knife Leaderboard. People who like it have always been hoping that it can ﬁnally ﬁnd a true master, but we hope that its owner possesses the attribute of Light. This way, it’ll be very hard for him to be corrupted. Naturally, we don’t have a complete understanding of this carving knife. Thus, we advise that our distinguished guests be cautious when purchasing this item. We can guarantee that as long as you don’t pour soul power into it, you won’t be counter-devoured. Furthermore, with its status as a ranked carving knife, turning it into an heirloom is quite good.”
After listening to Qing Ya’s long explanation, everyone present ﬁnally understood why a ranked carving knife had appeared in a Class 4 auction. Many participants who were originally eager to buy it were now silent.
This Ominous Soul-Devouring Knife would absolutely not have an excessively low value due to its status as a ranked
carving knife. However, no matter how good it was, it couldn’t be compared to one’s life! If a person bought such a precious item and didn’t use it, wouldn’t it be a waste? In the end, this was just a Class 4 auction, and many of the participants weren’t very rich. Because of this, hesitation began to appear in their hearts.
He Caitou sighed and shook his head, “You can’t buy this vicious knife. I’ve heard my teacher talk about it before. The counter-devouring of this vicious knife isn’t as simple as what that auctioneer said. You should be able to see this from what happened to the owners who didn’t die. After all, it’s a ranked carving knife! If we buy it and bring it back, will we be able to resist not using it? If I’m not mistaken, my teacher said that soul tools produced by this Ominous Soul-Devouring Knife will have two additional effects, making them terrifying existences. It’s truly a pity.”
Nobody would take their own lives as a joke. When He Caitou ﬁnished speaking, Wang Yan revealed a disappointed look in his eyes. He was already prepared to give up on the Ominous Soul-Devouring Knife.
“The starting price of the Ominous Soul-Devouring Knife is one hundred thousand gold soul coins, and each increase
cannot be lower than ﬁve thousand gold soul coins. We can start the auction now.” Qing Ya spoke with a smile on her face. In reality, she wasn’t excited at all. She was able to tell with her nearly ten years of experience as an auctioneer that the Ominous Soul-Devouring Knife would be left unsold yet again.
In reality, the Ominous Soul-Devouring Knife had appeared in one of the Starlight Auction’s top-ranked auctions shortly after the organization had obtained it. Its starting price wasn’t a hundred thousand, but three hundred thousand. It had been acquired by chance, and it was still a ranked carving knife no matter what was said!
However, who could’ve predicted that its infamy was so widespread? Even the high-ranking guests of the Starlight Auction weren’t willing to possess it, even as an heirloom. Just who would dare to keep it with the dangers of an evil soul master’s soul residing within it?
The Vicious Soul-Devouring Knife had a history that could only be described using the word ‘savage’. None of its previous owners, including its creators, had been able to live for more than ten years after coming into possession of it. Because of this, it had spent a large majority of its three thousand years of existence lying unused.
Helpless, the Starlight Auction’s owner could only let it appear often within various auctions. Furthermore, he promised to give a commission of 1% to the auctioneer who was able to sell it off. However, things turned out contrary to the way he wished. The Ominous Soul-Devouring Knife had appeared in several tens of auctions, but nobody had been willing to buy it. Due to this, its price fell and fell yet again
until it was near the price that the auction had purchased it for.
If it’s not going to sell, so be it. Qing Ya hadn’t had too much hope in the ﬁrst place.
A somewhat young voice suddenly rang out from the seating area at this moment, “One hundred thousand gold soul coins.”
A sign containing the number 333 was suddenly raised.
Qing Ya was left dumbstruck. This was the ﬁrst time that a person had bid on the Ominous Soul-Devouring Knife! She was completely overjoyed after a brief moment of astonishment. It had to be known that the 1% commision of its price of a hundred thousand gold soul coins was one thousand gold soul
coins! Even if a person squandered his money, it would be enough for that person to survive for a few years. It was already quite good for Qing Ya to be able to obtain tens to hundreds of gold soul coins during each auction she hosted. After all, she was only a purple-ranked auctioneer. If she was able to sell the Ominous Soul-Devouring Knife, she could be promoted to a black, or even higher ranked auctioneer.
Qing Ya even forgot to speak for a brief moment due to the exuberance she felt.
“I’m bidding one hundred thousand gold soul coins.” That young voice rang out once again.
“Ah! Okay, guest number 333 has bid one hundred thousand gold soul coins. Are there any more guests who wish to bid?” Qing Ya came to her senses and spoke hurriedly. Furthermore, the hope she felt spiked dramatically. If one person was willing to bid for it, why wouldn’t there be a second? Even if the bid was increased by ﬁve thousand, she would take away ﬁfty more gold soul coins.