Unrivaled Tang Sect Volume 23

Book 23: The End of the Exchange

Chapter 202: Human-shaped Soul Tool

“Teacher   Xuan.”    Xuan   Ziwen   was   doing   his   routine inspection in the Illustrious Virtue Hall. When he walked past Huo Yuhao’s table, he was stopped.

He revealed a smile on his face and said, “Yuhao, you haven’t proactively talked to me in more than a month. You finally have something to ask me?”

Huo Yuhao appeared fatigued, but there was a vibrant look in his eyes. “Teacher Xuan, can I make a trip to your office later tonight? Our exchange is about to end and I have some things to tell you.”

Xuan Ziwen was stunned for a moment. Yes! The exchange was indeed about to end.

Although he hadn’t interacted much with Huo Yuhao over the past few months, he could tell how persistent Huo Yuhao was in his research and creation of soul tools. Furthermore, he was also a very outstanding soul master. Which teacher wouldn’t like a student that was like him? 
“Alright.” He didn’t even hesitate, and agreed to Huo Yuhao’s request immediately.

Huo Yuhao smiled and was filled with confidence. It was only noon, but he tidied up his laboratory desk a bit. After scanning his surroundings, he bade goodbye to Xuan Ziwen and left the laboratory. He was going to leave in another two days. Before he left, he had to settle that important matter.

“I’ve finally found you. Let’s see where you can run.”  As he left the Illustrious Virtue Hall, however, Huo Yuhao ran into trouble.

Jing Ziyan seemed to harbor ill-intentions as she looked at him. Not far from her, a cool-looking Ji Juechen was wielding his Extraterrestrial Meteoric Sword while glancing at Huo Yuhao.

Huo  Yuhao  laughed  bitterly.  “Guys,  I  don’t  want  to  fight today. I’m very tired. I haven’t rested in months. Can the two of you let me off this time?” Jing Ziyan snorted and said, “You haven’t rested in months? We haven’t found trouble with you in months. You said you had important stuff to settle the other time. Didn’t we let you off then? After that, you’ve avoided us for such a long time. We finally found you today. Don’t try to make excuses for yourself this time.”

Huo Yuhao was helpless as he replied, “You don’t have to pester me either. I won’t have a chance to spar with you again. I’m going back in two days. I promise the both of you that I’ll spar with you one last time before I leave.”

“You’re   going   to   leave?”    Jing   Ziyan’s   aggressive   look disappeared, and she looked at Huo Yuhao doubtfully. Ji Juechen also put down his sword and watched Huo Yuhao intently.

“Yes,  our  exchange  is  going  to  end.  In  two  days,  I’ll  be returning to Shrek Academy. Although the two of you are annoying, I’ve regarded you as my friends. That’s why I’m not being perfunctory. Before I leave, I’ll teach both of you a good lesson.” Huo Yuhao said seriously. Jing Ziyan furrowed her brow, while Ji Juechen turned around and left. He stopped harassing him. Jing Ziyan glanced at Huo Yuhao before following Ji Juechen away.

“What’s this?” Huo Yuhao said furiously, “You don’t even say anything to me? At least give me a sending off.”

However, Jing Ziyan and Ji Juechen didn’t bother with him. They quickened their footsteps, as if they had something important to attend to.

“Two heartless people.” Huo Yuhao snapped. He was stunned to find out that he was a little reluctant to leave after two years in this place. Even though this was an enemy camp, he had had many memorable moments here.

Teacher Xuan, Ke Ke, Zi Mu and the two of them. There was also Ju Zi.

Even though he spent all his effort on cultivating and learning tirelessly in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, which was the rival of Shrek Academy, he still had some feelings for this place after two years. He wouldn’t miss the academy, but the people.

After he returned to his room, he didn’t meditate. He collapsed onto his bed and shut his eyes before he fell into a deep sleep.

He had been very exhausted over the past few months. He needed a good rest.

He completely blacked out as he slept. It was only when he heard a knock on his door that he woke up.

“Who’s that?” He rubbed his eyes and forced himself up from his bed. He was a little lethargic. He knew that it was because he had over-relaxed his body.

“It’s me.” An unpleasant yet familiar voice sounded.

Huo Yuhao was jolted awake. He cursed when he saw the sky outside. He quickly crawled out of his bed and opened the door. Indeed, it was Xuan Ziwen who was standing outside.

“Teacher Xuan, I’m sorry. I overslept.”  Huo Yuhao invited him in awkwardly.

Xuan Ziwen didn’t appear too angry. On the contrary, he was a little stunned and asked, “You? Overslept?”

“Yes!” Huo Yuhao was apologetic as he nodded his head.

Xuan Ziwen took a deep look at him and didn’t know what he was feeling. Although he was Huo Yuhao’s teacher, he had only truly imparted knowledge of soul tools to him for about half a year. This didn’t even include some of the core knowledge in the Illustrious Virtue Hall. However, he had passed on one of the most important theories regarding soul tools to Huo Yuhao. He had once told him that his cultivation depended on him alone. It would all depend on his own learning and research.

In the time that passed, Huo Yuhao would also approach him with a bunch of questions almost every day. Apart from some confidential stuff, he answered all of his queries. Half a year passed like that, and Huo Yuhao started asking fewer and fewer questions. From the tens of questions a day at the start, it slowly became a few a day before it became one question every few days. In the past few months, Huo Yuhao had completely stopped asking questions.

Xuan Ziwen didn’t doubt his talent. However, he didn’t think that Huo Yuhao could become a top-ranked soul engineer. The reason was very simple – his martial soul was too strong.

As a strong soul master, the cultivation and use of his martial soul had been deeply ingrained in his bones. Xuan Ziwen could also tell that his passion for soul tools wasn’t comparable to his passion for martial souls even though he liked researching soul tools.

Everyone’s energy was limited. The higher one’s cultivation was, the more one had to focus on comprehending and understanding more advanced knowledge. Since Huo Yuhao possessed twin martial souls and an Ultimate martial soul, how could he possibly put most of his energy into researching soul tools? However, Xuan Ziwen was still very curious about him. More accurately speaking, he was curious about his research. He had been monitoring the direction of Huo Yuhao’s research ever since he came up with the Zhuge Divine crossbow. However, Huo Yuhao was very good at concealing his work. Even with Xuan Ziwen’s abilities in soul tools, he couldn’t tell what Huo Yuhao was up to.

The two year exchange was about to end, and Huo Yuhao was about to return to Shrek Academy. Xuan Ziwen felt a little lost. As he wasn’t from the Sun Moon Empire, Xuan Ziwen didn’t possess any ill-feelings towards Huo Yuhao. The only thing in this world that could arouse his interest were soul tools. He actually admired Huo Yuhao’s talent in the aspect of soul tools. Even though he knew it was impossible, he still hoped that Huo Yuhao would develop in this area.

“Tell me, why did you ask to see me?” Xuan Ziwen looked at him and asked while standing where he was. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to find a place to sit. It was just that Huo Yuhao’s room was too messy. There were all types of metal accessories strewn on the floor. It was much messier than the time Wang Dong had visited. Even his bed wasn’t spared. Huo Yuhao used his legs to make a path before removing the clutter from a chair. “Teacher Xuan, take a seat.”

Xuan Ziwen furrowed his brow and said, “Yuhao, you don’t seem so untidy normally! Why is your room so messy?”

Huo Yuhao replied, “I have no choice. I can only work on some things in my room if I want to keep them as secrets.”

“What?”  Xuan Ziwen’s interest was aroused. He smiled and asked, “You wanted to see me today so that you could show me your secret work?”

Huo Yuhao pondered for a moment, then freshened himself up completely. He circulated his spiritual power, and the lights in his Spirit Eyes flashed slightly.

“Teacher Xuan, do you still remember our bet?” Huo Yuhao asked.

Xuan Ziwen replied, “Of course I do. Why? Can you come up with ten items of that level? I am a man of my word. If you can, I will follow you wherever you want.”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and replied, “I can’t. However, I hope that you can give me pointers on two of my products. They are also the essence of my hard work after I came to the academy. At the same time, I hope that they can be of use to you.”

Xuan Ziwen’s eyes brightened, and he sat up straight. “Are you saying that you invented two new types of soul tools? Quick, let me see them.”  His passion for soul tools made him forget everything instantly.

Huo Yuhao said, “Teacher Xuan, I can show you one of my two final products. I wish to take a look at my second product again. But I can’t show you the first product here because this place is too small, and it’s also my secret. If you want to see it, we need to use a special method.”

“What special method?” Xuan Ziwen asked doubtfully. 
Huo Yuhao said, “I will send the image directly to your mind with my spiritual power.”

Xuan Ziwen was astonished as he asked, “You can do that?” Although he knew that Huo Yuhao was a spiritual-type soul master, he was aware that he would need immense spiritual power to to transfer an image with it.

Huo Yuhao nodded and said, “I can do it, but I’ll need you to trust me before I can show you the image in your mind.”

Xuan Ziwen replied without hesitation. “What are we waiting for then? Let’s start.”

Huo Yuhao was the one who was stunned now. “Teacher Xuan, I’ll need you to open your mind if I’m to do this. Aren’t you afraid…?”

Xuan Ziwen laughed and said, “What’s there to be afraid of? I’ve been your teacher for two years. If I don’t understand your character by now, I’m not fit to be your teacher! Let’s cut the crap and start!”

As he spoke, he’d already shut his eyes.

Huo Yuhao’s eyes flashed with a look of respect. He knew that he wouldn’t open his spiritual sea for anyone.

Dim golden light shone from Huo Yuhao’s eyes, and the golden light became more and more intense. He was standing right in front of Xuan Ziwen. The entire room started to shine with strange and distorted spiritual undulations. Dim golden halos started to ripple outwards with Huo Yuhao’s head as the center. Even his body gradually glowed with a dim layer of gold.

After fusing with the Snow Empress’ Spirit, his spiritual power had ascended to another level. Even he didn’t know what level. However, he could use new abilities.

Two streaks of golden lights shot out from his eyes. These lights appeared gentle, but they caused the room to be filled with a strange aura. 
Xuan Ziwen’s body jerked a little. He only a felt a strong force surging into his spiritual sea, and he wanted to resist it subconsciously. However, he could resist this urge as an eight- ringed Soul Douluo and a soul engineer. Even so, his guard wasn’t completely down. He retracted his spiritual power to shield his spiritual origin.

A human’s spiritual power would slowly increase along with his soul power. After all, great strength could only be controlled by a high enough spiritual power.

Xuan Ziwen was greatly invested in soul tool research. and spent most of his day thinking. That was why his spiritual power was stronger than most soul engineers of the same class. However, he was shocked to discover that the spiritual power surging into his body wasn’t any weaker than his own. Its spiritual aura managed to assimilate with him after encountering his spiritual aura.

Xuan Ziwen clearly felt that he was under a great, all-around pressure after Huo Yuhao’s spiritual power entered his spiritual sea. This also meant that he would be very passive if Huo Yuhao attacked him. However, this was only an “if”. Just as Xuan Ziwen was shocked, an image suddenly appeared in his mind.

At the start, it was just a single, simple image. However, it was soon joined by others, and formed a projection.

It was a barren land surrounded by mountain rocks. The exact location couldn’t be discerned from the projection. The surroundings were very quiet, and he was looking at the barren land from the sky. There was only one person here— Huo Yuhao.

Huo Yuhao was standing on top of a small hill, peering into the sky.

Xuan Ziwen was shocked to realize that there was a third eye on Huo Yuhao’s forehead.

He thought that he was seeing things initially, and quickly gathered his spiritual power for clarity. However, he then noticed the vertical eye shining with a golden light. It seemed like it was looking at him. A third eye? Don’t tell me that his Spirit Eyes experienced a second awakening, just like the Body Sect? Even though he was a powerful soul engineer with eight rings, his knowledge on this aspect of soul masters was limited.

Before he could form any concrete thoughts, the projection changed again. Huo Yuhao lifted his right hand, revealing a huge blue sapphire ring on his index finger. Six dazzling strips of starlight were shining on the surface of the ring.

Starlight Sapphire! Good stuff! Even though this piece was only as big as a fingernail, it could contain ten cubic meters of items if it was used as a storage-type soul tool. Xuan Ziwen immediately thought of soul tools when he saw such top- ranked materials.

Huo Yuhao lifted his right hand at this point, and the six strips of starlight started to spread. As blue light flashed, something huge was presented in front of him.

Upon seeing this object, Xuan Ziwen was unable to think about anything else. His entire body started to tremble violently, as if he’d been struck by lightning. What is that? It was a dark grey metallic man, and it looked quite simple. He was around three and a half meters in height, and was completely human in shape. The dark grey surface wasn’t decorated with anything, but the lines on his body were very smooth.

A human-shaped soul tool? This was why Xuan Ziwen was shocked.

One of the most important research topics of the Illustrious Virtue Hall was human-shaped soul tools. That was because their development in this area had reached a huge bottleneck. There were many beneficial effects to human-shaped soul tools, but there were even more problems that existed. As one of the pioneers of this research category, Xuan Ziwen understood these problems clearly.

At this moment, Huo Yuhao had whipped out a human- shaped soul tool in front of him... that actually looked presentable. How could he not be shocked? He even suspected that Huo Yuhao had stolen a peek at the Illustrious Virtue Hall’s confidential secrets. He couldn’t believe that Huo Yuhao had successfully created a human-shaped soul tool. The reason was very simple—the size! Human-shaped soul tools weren’t just an armor for soul masters. They were controlled internally, allowing them to move freely just like the all-terrain exploration soul tool that Huo Yuhao had controlled before. Which enabled them to attack and defend.

All this required a large number of formation arrays to be combined, and a strong soul master to control the finished product.

This human-shaped soul tool was too small. It was only three and a half meters tall. How many formation arrays could it contain? It probably couldn’t even perform simple flexible movements like a person.

In the projection, Huo Yuhao walked slowly to the human- shaped soul tool. He activated it, and it started to experience changes from the head down. Its headpiece was removed, and its neck revealed a straight vertical line that extended all the way to its lower body. After that, it started to crack through the middle, revealing a hollow interior.

Xuan Ziwen was even more confident of his judgment after seeing the empty space. Huo Yuhao wanted to step into the soul tool and control it from the inside.

Xuan Ziwen relaxed a little. To him, this human-shaped soul tool would probably be controlled by Huo Yuhao from the inside, as if it were a huge suit of armor. It was very different from the real internal control he had thought of.

Huo Yuhao indeed entered the soul tool, and the soul tool closed up, sealing him inside. After that, Xuan Ziwen wasn’t observing from the sky anymore. He had two different perspectives now—one was close-range observation, and the other was from inside the soul tool.

Huo Yuhao’s arms weren’t placed in the hollow arms of the soul tool. Instead, there were a few control joysticks and a series of buttons in front of him.

Xuan Ziwen then saw Huo Yuhao lifting a joystick from the inside of the soul tool. After that, the back of the soul tool started to crack open, revealing two huge pairs of wings. After pressing a few buttons, twelve streaks of light shot out from the wings. The thrusting force of the wings propelled the metallic man into the sky. He was moving very quickly, reaching a standard that ordinary Class 7 soul engineers couldn’t even achieve. Gosh! Has this kid created twelve Class 6 soul thrusters to increase the speed? The balance is also so good? Furthermore, the air resistance against him is greatly reduced with the protection of
the metal shell.

It’s also very flexible, and can perform actions in the air.

How is this possible? Why are the soul tool’s arms moving when his arms are only controlling the joysticks? Don’t tell me this is really a human-shaped soul tool. No, that’s impossible. I don’t believe it!

After flying for in the sky a while, the human-shaped soul tool landed on the ground. This time, it landed on flatter terrain.

Xuan Ziwen was still looking at it from two perspectives.
Inside the soul tool, he saw Huo Yuhao sitting cross-legged.

The soul tool was three and a half meters tall, and its back was more than a meter wide. It was evidently a tight fit to sit inside it like that, but it was manageable.

Is he proving to me that…? Xuan Ziwen soon understood Huo Yuhao’s intention.

After that, Huo Yuhao’s hands moved faster and faster. The joysticks and buttons flickered under his control.

The human-shaped soul tool moved.

At the start, he was only simply walking forward. Following this, he leapt, rolled, turned around, and even did a cartwheel. 
Huo Yuhao’s control was a little rough at the start. But the movements of this metallic man became increasingly smooth as he familiarized himself with the controls.

Although this metallic man’s movements were still a little delayed, and deviated slightly from how a real human moved, it was pertinent to note that it was being controlled by Huo Yuhao using joysticks and buttons! His ability to maintain balance had already shocked Xuan Ziwen.

Time passed second after second. The metallic man only stopped ten minutes later. Finally, it adopted a half-squat position before straightening.

Following this, Huo Yuhao inserted his arms and legs into the empty sides of the metallic man’s interior. The control panel that was initially in front of him was retracted to the side of his waist. The soul tool started to move again.

Through his two spiritual perspectives, Xuan Ziwen could see that the metallic man was now being controlled by Huo Yuhao’s soul power and limbs. It boasted a far greater flexibility now.

When Huo Yuhao controlled it and used the Ghost Shadow Perplexing Track, Xuan Ziwen felt like he was being strangled. He was becoming extremely emotional.

He saw the results from the outside, and watched how he did it from the inside. The human-form soul tool didn’t use any offensive soul tools throughout the entire process, but it greatly moved Xuan Ziwen.

The projection started to turn blurry. Everything seemed to return to normal, and the spiritual power that had surged into Xuan Ziwen’s spiritual sea slowly faded away.

“Impossible!”    When   Xuan   Ziwen   recovered   from   the projection Huo Yuhao had showed him, he shouted without a care. He already stood up at this point, and there was strong undulations of soul power surging from his body. The rare metals that were strewn on the ground started to scatter in the air, and even Huo Yuhao staggered a few steps back before he managed to stabilize himself. Xuan Ziwen was perspiring, and his eyes were red. He was like a competitive bull, one that was staring at Huo Yuhao, and he said word by word, “This. Is. Impossible! Tell me that it’s not real!”

Huo Yuhao looked at him calmly and said, “Teacher Xuan, you’re a Class 8 soul engineer and you shouldn’t be that far off from a Class 9 soul engineer. Can’t you tell if it’s real or not? Even if it was only a projection, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have the ability to produce it in reality.”

Xuan Ziwen glared at him and asked, “How did you create those images? And how did you divide them into different perspectives too?”

Huo Yuhao replied, “I refuse to answer your questions. They involve secrets regarding my soul skills.”

Xuan Ziwen took in a deep breath and was a little anxious as he walked up and down in the room. He didn’t even care as he kicked the rare metals that were strewn about. Huo Yuhao seemed to have expected this result. He sat in the chair that Xuan Ziwen was just using and waited calmly.

In the dorm room, one of them was pacing up and down frantically, while the other remained seated calmly. Neither of them made any other moves.

Time passed second after second. Xuan Ziwen didn’t stop perspiring, and in fact started to sweat even more. It started to drip from his jaw, while the back of his shirt was already soaked.

He was completely immersed in his thoughts now. His mind was circulating quickly as he pondered.

This carried on for fifteen minutes before Xuan Ziwen suddenly stopped. He turned around to face Huo Yuhao suddenly, and the beads of perspiration on his face were flung off by the sudden turn.

“How many formation arrays did you use?”  Xuan Ziwen’s voice was trembling. Huo Yuhao replied, “Thirty-two.”

“Impossible.  How  can  it  be  so  few?  Did  you  know…  you didn’t  know!”  Xuan  Ziwen  was  muttering  to  himself  as  he stared at Huo Yuhao.

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “Teacher Xuan, I’m only a at most Class 6 soul engineer.

“How many formation arrays did you think I’d use to complete this soul tool? Furthermore, you saw its size, internal structure and physical form. Without adding any offensive tools, there’s only a handful of places that can contain formation arrays. How many formation arrays did you think there would be?”

Xuan Ziwen replied, “Then how did you manage to make it move, and even make it fly, without pouring in soul power?”

Huo Yuhao didn’t hide the truth. He said almost naturally, “Milk Bottles! I added twelve Class 6 Milk Bottles. While the soul power in the Milk Bottles becomes volatile, it happens much slower compared to other soul tools. Theoretically speaking, it can maintain flight for two hours without using my own soul power as long as these twelve Milk Bottles are filled with soul power beforehand. Otherwise, I can engage in an intense fight for ten minutes, but that will include other offensive soul tools. I won’t talk much about the internal
design. This is a stupid design because only soul masters can control this soul tool. After all, Milk Bottles are only replenished by soul masters.”

Xuan Ziwen stared at Huo Yuhao. “How did you know that I was researching soul power outflow prevention in Milk Bottles?”

Huo Yuhao was stunned. “I didn’t!”

“You didn’t know?” Xuan Ziwen was now the one who was stunned. “Then why did you use Milk Bottles to provide power for this human-form soul tool?”

Huo Yuhao looked at him anxiously and replied, “It was the only method I could think of. Teacher Xuan, have you really found a way to prevent the outflow of soul power? That’s great!”  If  Xuan  Ziwen  wasn’t  lying,  the  practicality  of  his human-form soul tool would be greatly enhanced. 
Xuan Ziwen changed the topic instantly and said, “That’s not the main point. The main point is, how did you manage to balance the human-form soul tool? Doesn’t every joint have to be controlled using formation arrays? There’s also the linkage and coordination between the arrays. Problems will definitely
arise. Did you think about all these problems?

Huo Yuhao replied, “I thought of them! Not everything requires formation arrays.”

“Then what did you use?” Xuan Ziwen probed.

Huo Yuhao chortled and replied, “Sorry! Teacher Xuan, I can’t tell you. That’s a secret.”

Xuan Ziwen turned gloomy. Huo Yuhao answered his questions at the start, but claimed that it was a secret when he got to the critical questions. He was obviously playing with him!

With Xuan Ziwen’s proficiency in soul tools, he wanted to use his Milk Bottle formula on human-form soul tools after they developed one. However, the human-form soul tools in the Illustrious Virtue Hall were too large. If he only used Milk Bottles, he wouldn’t be able to create Class 9 Milk Bottles. Even if he could use Class 8 Milk Bottles, he needed more than ten of them to ensure the experiment ran smoothly. And then it
would only be able to work normally for an hour. This also meant that more than ten eight-ringed Soul Douluos had to follow the soul tool to make it move before it could work properly. In addition, Xuan Ziwen was certain that the soul tool couldn’t compare to Huo Yuhao’s metallic man in terms of
flexibility.

Xuan Ziwen wasn’t concerned about Huo Yuhao’s craftsmanship. The metallic man might have many problems. He found five to six problems that couldn’t be resolved right away. However, the key thing was his concept!

He had only used thirty-two formation arrays before he managed to make the metallic man move. It was practical, and didn’t require Huo Yuhao to use his soul power to make it move. At least it could be used to escape.

Xuan Ziwen was puzzled by all this. He started to become very restless. “Impressive! Huo Yuhao, you are impressive.”  Xuan Ziwen looked at him and was filled with emotions. He knew that Huo Yuhao wasn’t lying. That human-form soul tool couldn’t have been created by him alone.

The complex structure that it possessed couldn’t have been completed in just two years. It must be related to his sect. How should Xuan Ziwen go about asking him then?

Xuan Ziwen knew that this was all Huo Yuhao’s grand ploy to attract him. On the surface, he said that he didn’t have ten new creations. However, he came up with a product that represented the essence of the research that Xuan Ziwen had always been invested in. How could he not be interested?

Xuan Ziwen took in a deep breath and said, “Yuhao, tell me if this is agreeable. I don’t want your detailed production method. I just want to know the concept and ideas behind this human-form soul tool. I’ll trade for them with the Sealed Milk Bottle formula that I just completed. You need to know that this formula will change the whole development of soul tools. I haven’t reported it to the Hall yet. But once more data is collected, I believe this formula will become one of the most important bits of research in the Illustrious Virtue Hall. Do you want to make a trade?” 
Huo Yuhao was a little hesitant now on this. As a Class 6 soul engineer, he knew that Xuan Ziwen was right. The appearance of Sealed Milk Bottles was bound to change the world of soul tools! Ordinary people wouldn’t find it so difficult to control soul tools anymore. Although the price of Sealed Milk Bottles
was bound to be astronomical, they could solve the huge power problem when used on human-form soul tools. Even though this didn’t solve the root of the problem, it wasn’t completely out of the question to create huge Milk Bottles for Test Subject
1. Thinking about it gave Huo Yuhao the chills.

Chapter 203: Devil's Frown

However, this hesitation only appeared in his mind for a moment before he rejected the proposition. Because while the importance of the Sealed Milk Bottles was high, he needed Xuan Ziwen. He was too proficient in soul tool research.

“Do you want to exchange?” Xuan Ziwen was a little anxious. “Do you think my research is inferior to yours? I can tell that your human-shaped soul tool is incomplete, it’s only a prototype. If you let me work on it, I can make it a complete human-shaped soul tool in less than three years.”

Huo Yuhao smiled and replied, “Of course I hope that you can finish it. But I don’t think you’ll just want this soul tool. Don’t forget that I’m showing you two products today.”

Xuan Ziwen’s eyes widened. “Are you saying that you have another item that can reach that level of research?”

Huo  Yuhao  shook  his  head  and  replied,  “They  belong  to different categories. However, this second item is also the essence of all my hard work. You were right just now. The human-shaped soul tool is only half done. If I want to complete it, I’ll still need to experiment and innovate. However, the second item I’m showing you is completed.”

“Take it out then.” Xuan Ziwen said hurriedly.

Huo Yuhao nodded and lifted his right hand. The Starlight Sapphire ring that Xuan Ziwen had seen in the projection was on Huo Yuhao’s index finger.

When Xuan Ziwen saw the ring, his eyes flashed with greed. However, Huo Yuhao’s creativity was too important to him, and he quickly retracted his greed and channeled positive energy into his heart.

The item that Huo Yuhao retrieved was quite huge, and extremely heavy. Even with his cultivation and physical strength, it was still terribly strenuous for him to lift this item.

It was a gigantic stationary soul cannon shell! When this soul cannon shell appeared, Xuan Ziwen took a few steps back, as if he had seen a ghost. Compared to the excitement when he saw the human-shaped soul tool, he was fearful now.

Yes, fearful.

This cannon shell was entirely fiery-red. It looked very dazzling, and carved on it were many complex patterns. However, these patterns didn’t belong to its formation arrays. There were some that even Xuan Ziwen couldn’t recognize even though he was a Class 8 soul engineer.

The front of the cannon shell was conical, while the back was circular—the standard structure. On its body was a dim white halo. Xuan Ziwen was fearful when he saw this halo.

Such a soul cannon shell that was more than a meter in length and a foot in diameter would require at least a Class 8 stationary soul cannon to fire it. Theoretically speaking, this was a Class 8 stationary soul cannon shell. Even in the Sun Moon Empire where extremely powerful soul tools existed, Class 7 and above stationary soul cannon shells were considered resources to be tapped on in the event of a war. They were very lethal and even more rare. Although a stationary soul cannon shell was very powerful, the amount of raw materials needed to construct it was also terrifying. It was also very complex to craft such a cannon shell, making the rate of failure extremely high.

If one failed in crafting, it was different from when one failed at making other soul tools. That was because the likeliest consequence of failure was an explosion!

No matter the class of a soul engineer, they couldn’t escape death if an explosion occurred as they constructed a stationary soul cannon shell of the same class. That was why most soul engineers were unwilling to create high-level soul cannon shells. Even if one was willing to create one, they had to be extremely careful and focused.

Currently, the three strongest Class 9 stationary soul cannon shells that Xuan Ziwen knew of were hidden in the most tightly-guarded area of the Sun Moon Empire, the arsenal. Even with Jing Hongchen’s status as the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall, he could only deploy the use of one soul cannon shell. Only those at the highest level in the empire were clear on how many Class 7 and Class 8 stationary soul cannon shells they had.

That was why Xuan Ziwen hadn’t expected Huo Yuhao to take out a Class 8 stationary soul cannon shell. It didn’t matter what element the power of this cannon shell was categorized under, it was able to take down the entire Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. No wonder Huo Yuhao was daring enough to show him his human-shaped soul tool. He possessed such a lethal weapon.

Disregarding safety, there were at least seven or eight ways of detonating a stationary soul cannon shell. It didn’t just have to be fired using a stationary soul cannon.

Xuan Ziwen was shocked as he asked, “You, you made this?” Even he couldn’t be sure that he could create a Class 8 stationary soul cannon shell. He wouldn’t try either. Although he was very invested in his research, he still treasured his life a lot.

Huo Yuhao nodded his head and smiled. “Teacher Xuan, do you think this is just a shell?” 
Xuan Ziwen groaned, “Are you questioning my professional knowledge? You can fake the appearance, but not the aura. A soul tool above Class 7 has a spirit and aura of its own. The aura of this soul cannon shell is very strange, yet powerful. I even suspect that it could be Class 9. But how is that possible?”

Huo Yuhao smiled and replied, “Nothing is impossible. This is the essence of my hard work, though it wasn’t completely created by me. If it were only me, I wouldn’t even have completed the design or the entire blueprint of this soul cannon shell. I obtained some help from my sect. Don’t worry, you can analyze it. I’m more pleased with it than my human- shaped soul tool.”

As he spoke, Huo Yuhao lifted the cannon shell from the ground and took a few steps back before letting him get closer.

Xuan Ziwen didn’t stand on ceremony either. He took a few quick steps forward and observed it seriously. He also used his hands to touch it.

He trembled when he touched the cannon shell at first. As he lifted his head to look at Huo Yuhao, he was appalled as he said, “What a strong and inauspicious aura. It’s volatile. If this thing detonated, it would take countless lives! Aren’t you afraid of causing mass destruction by creating such a lethal weapon?”

Huo Yuhao laughed coldly and replied, “Does that stop the Illustrious Virtue Hall from producing such weapons? A truly powerful weapon can be used to ensure peace. That’s because no one dares to attack or start a war against someone with such weapons. The lethality of a weapon isn’t scary; it’s the people who use it that are scary.”

Xuan Ziwen didn’t say anything else. He only looked at the cannon shell seriously.

The cannon shell was entirely fiery-red, and the white halo it exuded had weird undulations of spiritual energy. It was almost like it was alive. Very soon, Xuan Ziwen was drawn to an image on the cannon shell.

It was a blooming lotus flower. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with the formation arrays, but it was an exquisite carving nonetheless. The lotus flower was black, and was a nice contrast to the fiery-red cannon shell. This also made it more obvious. The center of this lotus flower wasn’t the pistil, but an image of a black skull. The eerie and inauspicious aura was also the strongest at this point.

Xuan Ziwen lightly caressed the carving patterns. He seemed to be slightly intoxicated, and he cautiously tapped it lightly with his finger. He didn’t dare to exert too much force, and didn’t have any intention of disassembling it.

Every stationary soul cannon shell had a self-destruct mechanism. An attempt to disassemble it would only lead to a detonation. Xuan Ziwen was clearly aware of this.

After fifteen minutes, Xuan Ziwen stood straight and said honestly, “I can’t tell how you created it.”  Xuan Ziwen’s gaze changed. It was a gaze that suggested they were on equal standing. They weren’t interacting as teacher and student anymore.

“It seems like I underestimated your soul engineering talent.
You’ve really given me a huge surprise!” Huo Yuhao extended two of his fingers and said, “It’s two surprises. I gave this soul cannon shell a name—the Devil’s Frown. I hope that it will never appear on a battlefield.”

“I hope so too.”  Xuan Ziwen concurred with him. Through his previous observation, he had realized that this cannon shell was different from any other cannon shell that he had ever seen before. It was a completely new existence to him. He couldn’t discern its internal structure through its echoes. This was an entirely new type of stationary soul cannon shell. He had no way of judging its power, but he could tell that the spiritual and inauspicious aura that came from it wasn’t false. It was at least a Class 8 stationary soul cannon shell.

“Is it Class 8 or 9?”  Xuan Ziwen’s breathing was evidently very quick.

Huo Yuhao thought for a moment before replying, “If you were to fire it at a building, then it’ll at most be classified as Class 8. However, I can tell you that it’s undoubtedly a Class 9 soul tool if you fire it at an army. To create it, I researched it for more than a year. After that, I kept on carrying out small-scale experiments and some other basic experiments. I only assembled it after I returned from my holiday.” “You were busy with this over the past few months?”  Xuan Ziwen asked.

Huo Yuhao nodded and replied, “I don’t even know if I can make a second. I can tell you honestly that there are some things in this cannon shell that you won’t understand. Or rather, I don’t think any soul engineer will understand, including a Class 9 soul engineers.”

Xuan Ziwen revealed a bitter smile on his face. “I’ve got to say that you moved me. These two surprises are indeed too huge for me to take in all at once. I need to consider first.”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “Of course you can. The Tang Sect’s doors will always be open to you. If you’re willing to join, you can choose whatever position you want. I can reveal some stuff to you too. Ten thousand years ago, the Tang Sect was prosperous under the leadership of its first sect master. He eventually cultivated into godhood and created a legend in the continent. The sect’s development was based on hidden weapons back then. It was only when soul tools appeared that hidden weapons met their decline. My research all comes from the Tang Sect’s hidden weapons. I combined their designs with soul tools. By fusing the ingenuity of hidden weapons into soul tools, I can create many magical things. 
I can also tell you honestly that these two items are the product of targeted research. My proficiency as a soul engineer will never compare to yours. If you become a part of the Tang Sect, I’m sure you’ll do this better than me.”

Xuan Ziwen took in a deep breath and said, “Keep this soul cannon shell hidden and never take it out again. I’m leaving.” After he finished speaking, he turned around and left. He didn’t even look back.

Huo Yuhao put the Devil’s Frown away and heaved a sigh of relief in his heart. In fact, it was also only a half-completed product. The true core wasn’t complete, as it was too complex. With his current cultivation, he couldn’t possibly complete it. He needed to wait till he obtained seven rings first. It wasn’t easy to make a Class 8 stationary soul cannon shell!

Why was Xuan Ziwen unable to tell? That was because Huo Yuhao had fused the necromancy that Electrolux had imparted to him into this Devil’s Frown. He incorporated a magic that didn’t exist in this world into the soul tool. Even if Jing Hongchen were here, he would also be unable to tell. In fact, it was only useful for scaring people right now. However, Huo Yuhao wasn’t lying. If it were truly completed, its power could easily compare to a Class 9 stationary soul cannon shell in a war, and might even be stronger. However, there wasn’t any way to test its effects. As with any weapon— the only way of knowing its power was to use it. Otherwise, no one would understand its true power.

Huo Yuhao wasn’t in the least bit worried even though Xuan Ziwen had left. He knew that Xuan Ziwen was already tempted. How would he not be attracted given his love of soul tools? His designs and creativity could expedite Xuan Ziwen’s research by at least ten years. Along with Xuan Ziwen’s own creativity, soul tools might be walking towards a new era.

After consuming a simple dinner, Huo Yuhao continued on to sleep. Even though it was only a half-completed item, he had still expended a lot of energy to make it! He was very fatigued now.

He slept all the way till daybreak.

He opened the window and breathed in the cool morning dew. He felt very refreshed after that. Relaxing at times was a good feeling. He looked at the marble-white sky and purple rose in his eyes again. His cultivation of the Purple Demon Eyes had never stopped in all these years.

Chapter 204: The Sword Fanatic's Domain: Solitude

I’m going home soon. It’s been two and a half years – eldest senior brother, third senior brother, fourth senior sister, fifth senior sister, are you guys doing fine? And Wang Dong, please wait for me and second senior brother. Shrek’s Seven Monsters will be reunited once again. How nice would it have been if you were still alive, teacher! I haven’t let you down, and I have never slacked for a single second over these two years. I have finally contributed to the academy’s Soul Tool Department. You will see – one day, our mastery of soul tools will surpass the Sun Moon Empire.

Huo Yuhao didn’t hurry for breakfast after he finished cultivating his Purple Demon Eyes, but instead returned to his bed and meditated for another two hours. Continuous deep sleep calmed his spiritual sea too much, and his body needed a certain level of adjustment.

His soul power had improved at an impressive speed over this period of time. However, even a normal soul master’s cultivation speed would slow down after reaching Rank 50, let alone his. He washed up after two hours and had his breakfast at the canteen. Huo Yuhao was just about to look for Fan Yu and his second senior brother, but he met someone he didn’t want to see.

Jing Ziyan and Ji Juechen seemed a little strange today. They wore grave and solemn expressions on their faces, as if they were about to face something important and substantial. They came up to Huo Yuhao and blocked his path.

Huo Yuhao said exasperatedly, “You two are just too impatient. Why do you look so grave? You just want to fight, right? Name a place. I will definitely give you guys some excitement before I leave.”

Jing Ziyan was normally the one who spoke, but it was Ji Juechen  who  opened  his  mouth  today.  “The  Soul  Practice Arena. Let’s go!”  With that, he turned around with his giant sword and started to walk.

Jing Ziyan glanced deeply at Huo Yuhao and said, “We will be serious today.” The corner of Huo Yuhao’s mouth twitched, and he replied, “When are you guys not serious? Are you trying to say you’ve been showing me mercy this whole time? Let’s go then, let’s finish the battle as quickly as possible. I still have to pack my things.”

Jing Ziyan nodded and followed behind Ji Juechen.

---

They seemed to have arranged things with the Soul Practice Arena, and the teachers in charge of this place didn’t stop them, and allowed the three of them inside.

“How much?” Huo Yuhao asked Ji Juechen.

Ji Juechen answered, “One hundred gold soul coins for two hours.”

Huo Yuhao chortled and said, “I don’t need two hours against the two of you.” Ji Juechen’s eyes sparkled, and he said, “Don’t be complacent. The truth is that I didn’t give my all when we battled each other before this. The reason for that was because I didn’t want to take advantage of you because my soul power was stronger. However, that also meant that I wasn’t able to
unleash my full potential and abilities. I will give my all today, and if you feel like you can’t take it, you can admit defeat.”

Huo  Yuhao  was  astonished,  and  said,  “We’re  fighting  for real?” He knew that Ji Juechen had suppressed his soul power when they had fought before this. Jing Ziyan didn’t do so, but she rarely used soul tools at all when they battled. All she used were her soul skills.

Ji Juechen nodded, and Jing Ziyan was already equipping her soul tools on the other side. It was clear that the two of them wanted to have a last practice battle with Huo Yuhao before he left where they gave everything they had.

Huo Yuhao’s eyes also grew serious. “Alright.”

Ji Juechen said, “Do you need to adjust yourself?” Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “Have you paid for me?”

“What?” Jie Juechen was momentarily stunned.

Huo Yuhao said, “The entry fee! The one hundred gold soul coins.”

“......”

“Have you paid for me?”

“Yes!” The chill in the Ji Juechen’s voice grew sharper.

“That’s good.” Huo Yuhao seemed to heave a sigh of relief.

Ji Juechen nodded towards Jing Ziyan and said, “You first.”

Huo Yuhao suddenly said, “I don’t think this is exciting enough. Let’s have a bet, and our stakes shall be money. What do you think? 
Jing Ziyan snapped, “Are you that broke?”

Huo Yuhao nodded and replied simply, “Yes.”

“How much do you want to bet?”  Ji Juechen said angrily. “Are you sure you’re going to win?”

“Of course!”

Ji Juechen grunted coldly. “I’ll lay down everything I have.”

It was Huo Yuhao’s turn to be taken aback. “Are you sure?
How much do you have?”

Ji Juechen muttered, “More than you think.”

Huo Yuhao turned towards Jing Ziyan, and Jing Ziyan nodded at him. “How can I sit this one out?” “I think it isn’t fair for you guys,”  Huo Yuhao said a little disapprovingly, “I don’t have much if you guys beat me, but I am taking both of your money if I win.”

Jing Ziyan said, “That’s fine. We don’t care.”

“But I am unwilling to rip you guys off,” Huo Yuhao said seriously. “How about I take the two of you on together? It’s fairer that way.”

Silence!

“Back, back. Don’t you know we have to distance ourselves?” Huo Yuhao waved towards them as he moved back to his own corner.

“You’re being serious?” Ji Juechen muttered coldly.

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “Aren’t you guys being serious, too? Do you guys think that you’re the only ones who have been holding back?” Ji Juechen took a deep breath and said, “Alright. Together, Ziyan.”

Jing Ziyan didn’t expect Ji Juechen to agree to Huo Yuhao’s idea of two-versus-one. This was totally unexpected and didn’t match Ji Juechen’s typical arrogance.

“Juechen, you…”

Ji Juechen spoke plainly. “Since the decision has been made, we have to be clear.”

“Alright.” Jing Ziyan’s eyes immediately grew solemn.

Jing Ziyan had a layer of armor on her body at this moment. This armor was light purple in color, but it wasn’t full-body armor, and only protected her chest, shoulders, elbows, and knees.

Ji Juechen still had that cool and ruthless demeanor as he walked up beside Ziyan. His eyes were fixed on Huo Yuhao. There was a faint smile at the corner of Huo Yuhao’s lips. It felt as if he were looking down on them, and it also felt as if he were completely indifferent as he slowly stepped back.

“I will use soul tools, since you guys are, too. However, we won’t use long-range soul tools. Is that acceptable?”

Jing Ziyan answered, “Yes.”

Huo Yuhao stopped moving backwards, and one soul tool after another quickly appeared on his body. The soul tools on his body looked covert and hidden, and their colors leaned toward gray, and it was hard to determine their shapes and sizes from a distance. They didn’t seem very big.

Jing Ziyan knew that Huo Yuhao typically used soul thrusters when in close-combat battles, but she didn’t know what other soul tools Huo Yuhao would use this time.

“Come!” Huo Yuhao invited them. Jing Ziyan began to move. Her body exploded with purple fog, which enveloped both Ji Juechen and herself. The purple fog grew denser, and eventually covered the entire area.

Huo Yuhao was familiar with her soul skills, and this was her first one – Illusory Fog.

Huo Yuhao wasn’t hasty to leap into action. Instead, he stared at the purple fog with sparkling eyes. From his perspective, Jing Ziyan’s threat level was nowhere close to Ji Juechen. Jing Ziyan’s offensive abilities were strong, but they wouldn’t be able to immediately determine the outcome of battle even if they hit him. It was different for Ji Juechen, and if his Extraterrestrial Meteoric Sword erupted, a single strike could determine the victor of this battle.

Something happened that astonished Huo Yuhao, and he realized that he had lost his perception and sensation of Ji Juechen.

The typical sharpness of Ji Juechen’s sword intent disappeared, and Ji Juechen himself vanished. It felt as if he had disappeared inside the purple fog. Huo Yuhao’s spiritual power was formidable, but he couldn’t detect Ji Juechen at all – from Ji Juechen’s perspective, Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection had failed.

If this battle had happened before the last school holiday, Huo Yuhao’s fighting strength would have been affected by his astonishment. However, an idea now flashed in his mind.

Huo Yuhao made his move. The four soul thrusters on his back sparkled at the same time, and his entire body curled up faintly above the ground before he launched himself forward like a cannonball, right towards the dense purple Illusory Fog.

A layer of icy armor covered his entire body as he moved : the Ice Empress’ Armor. The crystal ice protecting his body didn’t affect his soul tools under the intricate control of his spiritual power.

A sphere of purple light suddenly appeared before Huo Yuhao. This sphere was only about the size of a fist, and fog surged around and within it, as if the sphere itself was made of fog. “Fierce! Using your killer move from the get-go.” Huo Yuhao was slightly taken aback. This was Jing Ziyan’s sixth soul skill, Fog Bomb.

Huo Yuhao reached forward with his right hand, grabbing directly for the Fog Bomb. However, the Fog Bomb suddenly withdrew, and the surrounding purple fog became more intense as it barreled towards Huo Yuhao.

Green light exploded, and his Domain of Perpetual Ice was activated. It was the best solution against the fog.

However, a series of explosions and crackling sounds could be heard. The fog that was being frozen began to tremble violently, and an enormous propulsion force then surged towards Huo Yuhao.

She’s detonating her own Fog Bomb, just to maintain the Illusory Fog?

The corner of Huo Yuhao’s mouth curled into a faint smile. Too bad – my Domain of Perpetual Ice can be maintained for much longer than before. 
The fog covered everything, but countless snowflakes could now be seen within it, while the temperature began to plummet once more. All of a sudden, all of the purple fog began to explode outwards. The fog became like goose feathers in the process of the explosion before it gradually dissipated,
while the original spot where the fog had condensed became as clear as crystal.

The green light on Huo Yuhao’s body was gone, and Jing Ziyan had a look of shock and surprise on her face as she lunged towards him from five meters away. She didn’t understand how Huo Yuhao had broken through the premeditated and combined manipulation of her Illusory Fog and Fog Bomb. She thought that she could lock onto Huo Yuhao in that moment, but... Huo Yuhao wasn’t looking at her at all, his eyes were fixed on the other side.

Ji Juechen was just standing there quietly. His entire body seemed to be covered with a pale-gray layer, and he no longer felt like a person to Huo Yuhao. Instead, the current Ji Juechen was like a statue – a stone statue, and his aura had vanished just like that. However, Huo Yuhao could feel an intense urgency and danger coming from this statue in his spiritual sea. Impressive, Ji Juechen. Have you evolved again?

Huo Yuhao didn’t advance, but retreated instead. A powerful beam of light erupted from his chest – it was another soul thruster, and it drove his body backwards explosively in an instant. 
Jing Ziyan’s body flashed forward in an attempt to block him. However, how could Huo Yuhao give her this opportunity? He swiped with his right hand, and the Darkgolden Terrorclaws slashed out.

However, he was surprised then Jing Ziyan’s body exploded with a sphere of brilliant purple light, and two crescent blades appeared in each of her hands. That purple radiance was a Class 6 protective soul barrier, and she took the hit from Huo Yuhao directly, even though Huo Yuhao had unleashed a complete version of his Darkgolden Terrorclaw!

All this just to stop me from retreating?

“Pshhhh!”    The   Darkgolden   Terrorclaw   swiped   down violently. Suddenly, Jing Ziyan’s entire body transformed into fog and dissipated. Her Class 6 soul barrier had just been baiting him, while the dissipated fog began to condense once more, and enveloped Huo Yuhao inside. The sticky feeling made him feel like he had landed in an enormous web, and his speed plummeted. 
Even though Jing Ziyan’s soul tools dropped to the ground because of the transformation, she had still managed to achieve her original goal. The soul tools on her body weren’t meant to confuse Huo Yuhao, but she had had to drop them because Huo Yuhao broke through her fog too quickly, faster than she had expected.

Impressive – Fog Transformation and Condensed Fog!

The radiance in front of Huo Yuhao’s chest receded, and he didn’t continue using his soul thruster too stubbornly. His feet touched the ground, and an intense layer of golden light burst from his body.

The thick and sticky Condensed Fog was shaken off, and was no longer able to touch his body. This fog was formed by Jing Ziyan’s own body, and was the most powerful aspect of her martial soul; it could be said that she was halfway to a Martial Soul True Body! However, Huo Yuhao’s Sovereign’s Descent and the level of his spiritual power meant she wasn’t able to use it directly on him. Huo Yuhao made a peculiar and slow gesture. His left hand gradually pushed forward into the purple mist, while he raised his right hand. There was a flourishing golden luster on both of his palms, and his Spirit Eyes erupted with golden light.

The dense fog began to tremble violently under the churning effect of his palms, as if it were about to break free from Jing Ziyan’s control.

“I don’t want to hurt you, Ziyan.” Huo Yuhao lowered his voice and spoke as an intense chill burst from his body. The temperature plummeted, and quickly dissipated the large area of fog before him.

Huo Yuhao had already used the Snowy Dance of Ultimate Ice once just now, but he didn’t want to reveal too much, and he withdrew it as soon as it was released. Jing Ziyan was powerful in her fog form, but Huo Yuhao would definitely wound her deeply if he used the Snowy Dance of Ultimate Ice once more, possibly to the point where she couldn’t return to human form.

The fog condensed once more, and Jing Ziyan reverted to her human form. However, the immense roiling force on the fog still took effect on her body, as she spun around rapidly a few times on the spot, stumbled, and almost fell before she managed to barely regain her balance.

At this moment, Ji Juechen made his move.

Jing Ziyan had managed to achieve her goal of delaying Huo Yuhao after all.

A streak of gray light swept out like a whip. There wasn’t a single undulation of soul power when it first appeared, and not even a single trace of anything at all. It was just a pale gray light that didn’t seem to have any substance at all.

However, a thin black line followed wherever this light reached; this was clearly the appearance of space being slashed apart.

Huo Yuhao had been monitoring Ji Juechen from the beginning. From the moment Ji Juechen made his move, Huo Yuhao drifted lightly into the sky and fluttered backwards like a snowflake. This time, he didn’t use any soul tools. Thick golden hues congregated in his left palm, and a pale orange shadow flickered behind his back. His left hand crystallized like suet white jade under the cocoon of the golden luster.

Huo Yuhao pushed out with his palm lightly and undramatically, blocking off the gray streak that had arrived before him.

Jing Ziyan’s eyes were frozen open, as she was afraid she would miss something. The golden streak and the gray light separated once they touched.

Huo Yuhao’s body drifted through the air as if he were a leaf and slowly fell to the ground.

Ji Juechen’s body appeared in his original location. His expression was calm like a statue, but the Extraterrestrial Meteoric Sword in his hands had turned white.

Boom, boom, boom… A series of crackling sounds could be heard as the snowy- white Extraterrestrial Meteoric Sword shattered just like that, and disintegrated into a million pieces that drifted away on the wind.

Huo Yuhao landed on the ground twenty meters away and stared at his opponent.

Ji Juechen said nothing. The Extraterrestrial Meteoric Sword had been by his side for more than twenty years, and yet he didn’t show any emotions as the sword disintegrated into a million pieces.

The battle didn’t stop there. He suddenly raised his right hand into the air and pointed towards Huo Yuhao in the distance. A streak of gray sword energy exploded into being, and rapidly grew in size as it barreled through the air, eventually transforming into a sword shadow three meters long as it surged towards Huo Yuhao.

Huo Yuhao raised his right hand and slashed out with a similar light sword, while dark blue light flickered once, then disappeared. The sword lights looked vast, but were actually as thin as paper. However, the thin swords still collided directly with each other in the sky with absolute precision.

A shrill ring could be heard as a thin black line appeared in the sky, extending and sealing shut in an instant.

Boom!

A deafening sound was released right after the black line vanished, and terrifying shockwaves rippled out in all directions.

Ji Juechen immediately slid backwards, his feet actually plowing two deep grooves in the tough ground. On the other side, Huo Yuhao’s situation wasn’t that much better. His entire body was tossed into the air, but he drifted and turned in the sky like a snowflake as he used his Ghost Shadow Perplexing Track, and dispersed most of the impact before he landed on the ground stably.

He planted his feet on the ground, his eyes were fixed on Ji Juechen in the distance. 
“You have actually grasped the secrets of merging spiritual power and soul power. You have lived up to the name of being a sword fanatic! If I’m not wrong, that was your Domain! What is it called?”

Ji Juechen said plainly, “It’s called Solitude. It’s not complete
– otherwise, I wouldn’t need Ziyan to hold you back.”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “The truth is it’s still a contest between the two of us. Your fighting style is just too unique, and there’s no way you can work together with other people. You didn’t have to do that – even if Ziyan hadn’t held me back, I would still want to test your Domain’s power.”

Ji  Juechen’s  eyes  sparkled.  “What’s  that  sword  of  yours called? I can feel a solitary arrogance within the extreme cold – and from that palm, as well.”

Huo Yuhao replied, “The sword is called Unparalleled Chill, and the palm is called Snowless Glacier. Both are soul skills that I’ve recently mastered.” Ji Juechen said plainly, “I lost.”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “No, you haven’t lost. This battle isn’t over – you integrated spiritual power and soul power, and that move you invented where you convert sword intent into physical form hasn’t been completely unleashed yet. My Unparalleled Chill can’t be used continuously, and it takes a heavy toll on my soul power. Therefore, the outcome of this battle is still undecided.”

Ji Juechen shook his head. “I’m very clear about whether I’ve lost or not. You didn’t use your Sovereign’s Descent – furthermore, you already held back against Ziyan. Your Domain has changed.”

Huo Yuhao chortled and said, “Your perception is sharp! If my future opponents were like you, I don’t think there’d be a place for me in the world anymore.”

Ji Juechen asked, “Will you always be at Shrek Academy?”

Huo Yuhao answered, “For now, yes. At least, I will be there until the Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Soul Dueling Tournament.”

“Alright. All the best.”

“Yes.”

Jing Ziyan came up to Ji Juechen and gave Huo Yuhao another deep glance. “Don’t think we’ll just let you be when you go back to Shrek Academy.”

Huo Yuhao chuckled and said, “Do come if you have the ability to do so. That’s my turf, and Shrek Academy’s soul masters are much stronger than I am. When the time comes, you guys probably won’t know who to challenge.”

Ji Juechen’s eyes sparkled as he said, “I hope you’re not lying to me.”

Huo Yuhao answered with a stunned look on his face. “Are you guys really thinking of going?” Jing Ziyan laughed and said, “We just might.” With that, she grabbed Ji Juechen and left the arena.

Huo Yuhao watched them walk away, and laughed as well. He mumbled under his breath, “I can’t wait for the two of you to go. If the two of you really go, I will definitely find a way to convince you guys to stay!”

He stared at the Soul Practice Arena and puffed out a steamy breath. He raised his right hand, and a single gash could be seen in the center of his palm.

“Such powerful sword intent. You really haven’t lost, Juechen. Do you know that my Enfeeblement and Chaos are completely useless against you? The determination that you have that is as solid as a sword spells disaster for control-type soul masters. I still haven’t perfected the fusion of my Snow Empress’ Three Ultimate Techniques and my Sovereign’s Descent!”

Huo Yuhao didn’t have that many friends in this place, but he still decided to find someone. This time, he could seek him out without worrying too much. ------

“What? You want to see the Hallmaster?” Lin Jiayi stared at the youth before him, and a look of astonishment came over his eyes.

Over two years of exchange studies were about to end. Shrek Academy’s students were obedient and orderly, and there were quite a few prodigies amongst their ranks. However, his impression of this youth before him was the strongest – back during the exchange students’ contest, he had actually gone into deep meditation for half a year, but his cultivation hadn’t improved a single bit.

Huo Yuhao nodded and said, “Is that alright? We’re leaving soon. I want to express my gratitude to the Hallmaster before I leave, and there are some things I wish to discuss with him.”

It was immensely difficult for normal students to see the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall, to the point where it was almost impossible. What status did the Hallmaster have? He held a position in the Sun Moon Empire where he was above everyone else, and below only a single person. However, this student was different. His status was special, to the point where Lin Jiayi didn’t dare to reject him without a good reason. 
“Alright. Please wait a while, I’ll find out if the Hallmaster has time to see you.”

“Alright.” Huo Yuhao sat to one side and tilted his head down until his chin was almost touching his chest, putting on a serious and obedient look.

Lin Jiayi picked up an internal voice-projecting soul tool and used a special soul power undulation to send a message outwards.

It didn’t take long before Jing Hongchen’s voice could be heard on the other end of the receiver.

“Eh? Huo Yuhao wants to see me? Okay, bring him in.” Jing Hongchen quickly accepted Huo Yuhao’s request. The truth be told, he was curious as to what exactly this youth from Shrek Academy wanted with him. Can it be that he wants to join the Illustrious Virtue Hall? No, that’s impossible! Jing Hongchen’s mood dropped when he thought about this.

Lin Jiayi escorted Huo Yuhao to Jing Hongchen’s office.

“Greetings,  Hallmaster.”   Huo  Yuhao  came  forward  and greeted him politely.

Jing Hongchen smiled and said, “Please, have a seat.”

Huo Yuhao didn’t sit down, but he remained standing as he said, “I have something I wish to discuss with you in private. Is that possible?”

Jing Hongchen was stunned momentarily before he waved towards Lin Jiayi.

The corner of Lin Jiayi’s mouth twitched. The Hallmaster is just so nice towards this conniving fella. However, he didn’t hesitate, and quickly retreated from the room before he latched the door behind him. “You can speak now.” Jing Hongchen scrutinized the youth before him. Huo Yuhao had become a whole lot taller over the past two years, and he was quite the young man now. He was well-built, his shoulders were broad and his back was wide. His arms were big, his waist was small, and Jing Hongchen even
realized, to his surprise, that Huo Yuhao seemed to have a special quality that wasn’t there before. Huo Yuhao’s relatively normal facial features were calm and determined, and he had some of the charisma that was inherently held by mature men
—his sparkling eyes were especially riveting, and gave people a strong impression.

Huo Yuhao said, “I’ve been at the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy for more than two years. Over these two years, I have received a lot of and help from you, Hallmaster, and I have improved exponentially in my mastery of forging and using soul tools. Our exchange program is about to end, and I wish to give you a personal present to express my gratitude.”

“You want to give me a present?” Jing Hongchen’s curiosity was piqued. Not a single student had ever done this before, and honestly, nobody dared to. Never in his wildest dreams did he expect that Huo Yuhao wanted to see him to gift a present. Jing Hongchen looked at Huo Yuhao, amused. He said, “Your present might not be that easy to accept, eh?”

Huo Yuhao hurriedly shook his head and said, “Of course not. This is purely to express my gratitude. It’s a soul tool that I crafted myself. I hope you’ll like it.”

He touched his Twenty-Four Moonlit Bridges as he spoke and retrieved a black metal box before he placed it before Jing Hongchen.

“Hallmaster,  this  is  just  a  model,  and  it’s  intended  as  a souvenir for you. I have already installed the gears and buttons,  and  if  you  want  to  use  it,  it’s  like  this…”   He demonstrated how to use the soul tool in front of Jing Hongchen.

Had Xuan Ziwen been here, he would have realized that the metal box Huo Yuhao was giving Jing Hongchen was identical to the one Huo Yuhao had shown him long ago when he was first stunned with awe and astonishment at Huo Yuhao… Jing Hongchen took the metal box and made a few glances at it. This soul tool seemed a little crude, and there was nothing intricate or exquisite about it at all. He used his soul power to probe the inside of the soul tool, and discovered that there was only a simple energy-gathering formation array inside.

“Okay, thank you.” He felt a little contemptuous, but he didn’t show it.

Huo Yuhao bowed respectfully and said, “Then I shall take my leave. Farewell, Hallmaster.” He turned around as he spoke and didn’t stay any longer.

Huo Yuhao left, and the corner of Jing Hongchen’s mouth curled into a mischievous smile. Is he trying to tell me that he hadn’t learned anything much, so he’s giving me this toy to mock me for being unwilling to teach him real knowledge? He is quite bold, indeed. And he still taught me to use this rickety object that can’t even be considered a Class 1 soul tool?

As these thoughts spun in his head, he subconsciously followed Huo Yuhao’s simple instructions to operate the soul tool as he pointed it at the wall and pressed the button.

From Jing Hongchen’s perspective, this was probably just a soul ray, and it wouldn’t be that powerful either. When he used his soul power to inspect the item, he had noticed that the energy-gathering formation array had soul power stored inside; it was probably Huo Yuhao who had infused his own soul power inside, and he hadn’t used it yet.

A series of howling sounds could be heard, and gave Jing Hongchen a shock.

Several pop sounds could be heard from the wall immediately afterwards. Jing Hongchen glanced subconsciously at the black box in his hands before he quickly came out from behind his desk. At this moment, the doorbell rang.

“Come in.” Jing Hongchen stopped in his tracks.

Lin Jiayi came in from outside and said, “Do you have any instructions, Hallmaster?”

Jing Hongchen saw that it was Lin Jiayi, and he continued walking to the wall on the opposite side and quickly found the small metal arrows that had drilled completely into the wall. He picked up the black box and infused some soul power inside. He pressed the button once more, and another series of shooting sounds could be heard. A shadow flashed by before the same popping sounds could be heard from the wall.

“This…”

Jing Hongchen’s eyes filled with bewilderment. He suddenly understood something, and immediately said to Lin Jiayi, “Go find Huo Yuhao and bring him back here.”

“Yes.” Lin Jiayi didn’t dare to probe as he turned and ran to call Huo Yuhao back.

How did the soul tool activate its formation arrays? How did it shoot out the arrows? It’s not a soul ray, it’s more like the model of a stationary soul tool. What’s more frightening is that this soul tool doesn’t need soul power to activate it, and I can simply press a button to use it after infusing soul power. How is this automatic setup crafted?

Jing Hongchen couldn’t wait any longer, and started to take the black box apart to see. However, he had only made the first move before a series of clanging sounds could be heard from inside the box.

A self-destruct mechanism! What a guy! Jing Hongchen didn’t have to look to know that the soul tool’s internal gears and setup were now dysfunctional.

Huo Yuhao had just left, so calling him back wasn’t that difficult. This was especially so when he was walking slowly anyway, as if he had no intention of walking too far away.

It didn’t take long before he was standing before Jing Hongchen once more.

Jing Hongchen lowered his voice and said, “Tell me, what are your intentions?’

Huo Yuhao didn’t ask Lin Jiayi to leave, and he stared at Jing Hongchen with a confused look and asked, “What intentions?”

Jing Hongchen felt his heart skip a beat. You do know how to act! 
“This.” He shook the black box in his hands.

Huo Yuhao was stunned momentarily and said, “I have no motives at all. That’s just a souvenir for you. Eh, why is it broken?”  Rattling sounds could be heard from the black box when Jing Hongchen shook it, and it was clear that its inner mechanisms had been destroyed.

Huo Yuhao seemed perplexed, and he looked hurt as he said, “Hallmaster, even if you look down on this thing I made, I only wanted to give it to you as a souvenir. You didn’t have to break it.”

Jing Hongchen was almost fooled by Huo Yuhao’s emotional sentiments. This fella was just too good at acting. “Enough. Stop pretending. Name a price. I want the overall structure of the automatic mechanism.”  With his level of perception, he could naturally see the unique and special effects of this black box’s internal automatic mechanisms.

Huo Yuhao seemed lost as he said, “What automatic mechanisms? I just casually made this thing, and I’ve already given it to you!” 
He’s still pretending? Jing Hongchen felt as if all his patience was gone. “I am referring to the inner workings of this black box. Draw it out—if that’s alright, I’m willing to pay you for it.”

“Oh, so that’s the case.” Huo Yuhao looked like he just had a revelation. “But, Hallmaster, I have put a lot of effort into this research. It’s not going to be cheap if I’m to sell it!”

Jing Hongchen snapped, “Name your price. Do I look like a stingy person?”

Huo Yuhao extended one hand and opened all five fingers. He thought for a while before he retracted two fingers, and left his index, middle, and fourth finger extended.

“Three will do. I will exchange this with you for three Class 9 soul tools.”

His tone was casual and natural, as if he were just casually requesting three sacks of rice from Jing Hongchen. Lin Jiayi almost vomited blood. What? Three Class 9 soul tools? What does he think Class 9 soul tools are? A Class 9 soul engineer would have to put in so much blood and sweat, and materials as well, to complete a Class 9 soul tool. Does he really want to exchange this rickety old box for three Class 9 soul tools?

The flesh on Jing Hongchen’s face froze, and the faint smile on his face immediately vanished into thin air. “You’re trying to rip me off?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “No, I’m not. I just feel like my research is precious and worth this price. Furthermore, we can still negotiate the price, don’t you think so?”

Huo Yuhao lifted his other hand sincerely and pressed down his extended fourth finger on the other hand. “Two will do. What do you think?”

Jing Hongchen was infuriated. “No way. Your automatic mechanisms are quite valuable, but how can your research compare to a Class 9 soul tool?” Huo Yuhao replied, “A Class 9 soul cannon shell will do—I’m not picky.”

Scram… The word came to the edge of Jing Hongchen’s mouth and he almost blurted it out. He suddenly recalled how this rascal had tried to rip him off back during the exchange competition. It was obvious that Huo Yuhao had intentionally brought this soul tool for him to see, and he would wait for a high price before he was willing to sell it.

The truth was that Jing Hongchen wasn’t that furious. He felt a little fortunate actually—at least, Huo Yuhao let him see this soul tool after all, and he didn’t take it back directly to Shrek Academy; he hadn’t bypassed him altogether. This automatic mechanism would be very effective if it was installed in stationary soul tools. Furthermore, its principles could be combined with other soul tools, and there would perhaps be other wondrous effects. This form of automation meant even normal citizens could use soul tools that were charged beforehand! He had also heard from Xuan Ziwen they were likely to achieve a breakthrough in their research with Sealed Milk Bottles.

If this automatic mechanism was combined with exemplary soul tools and Sealed Milk Bottles… 

Chapter 205: Extortion

If this automatic mechanism is combined with outstanding soul tools and Sealed Milk Bottles, then we will be able to assemble an army that isn’t composed of soul masters, but they will still be able to use soul tools – isn’t that the dream? Even if this future is costly, it will be worth it. If the prince can have an army like that, then there will be no contest at all for the throne. The throne will be practically be in his pocket, and his own status in the empire will rise to another level. He will leave a heavy mark in history that will be remembered for eternity.

Jing Hongchen was excited as these thoughts ran through his head, and he forced his temper down. He frowned and said, “Huo Yuhao, your invention is indeed impressive, and it will be beneficial for the development of stationary soul tools. However, you have to understand that this is a relatively simple structure, and it still needs continual refinement and improvement, while we are the ones who have to do these things ourselves. Therefore, even though I am willing to offer quite a bit for this, it can’t be too outrageous. Name a price or a condition that everyone can accept – if not, there is nothing left to negotiate.” Huo Yuhao grew silent. After an entire minute, he seemed a little pained as he said, “Alright. Since you are so sincere, Hallmaster, then I will tell you my bottom line.”

He raised his left hand again as he spoke, and he pressed down the index finger on his right hand. He left a long and straight middle finger… Jing Hongchen stared at the glaring middle finger and went quiet for a few seconds before he recovered. He was indignant as he shouted, “Scram!”

Lin Jiayi’s expression was a little black. If Jing Hongchen hadn’t been here, he would have probably stepped forward to teach Huo Yuhao a lesson himself.

Huo Yuhao seemed as if he didn’t feel the fury at all. He chortled   and   said,   “Business   shouldn’t   ruin   personal relationships. Don’t be angry – I even left this for you as a souvenir. Can you see how generous I am? Farewell, then. You just destroyed my heartfelt gift, and you just scolded me. I have decided to raise my price again to three Class 9 soul tools, and that’s the final and non-negotiable offer. You can sleep on that.” With that, he turned around and walked out with a casual gait.

Jing Hongchen wanted to stop him, but he was too proud to open his mouth. He stared at the black box in his hands, and the thoughts that came to him before this surfaced once more.

Milk Bottles connected to energy-gathering soul tools, and activated with a unique automatic mechanism. A Class 4 Milk Bottle’s stored soul power would probably be enough to fire dozens of soul rays. On the battlefield… “Call him back.” Jing Hongchen ultimately asked Lin Jiayi, agonized.

Up to now, Lin Jiayi still wasn’t sure what was going on. However, he could see the grief and indignation on Jing Hongchen’s face, and he couldn’t help but say, “Hallmaster, you’re too nice and forgiving to this fellow. Why don’t I go teach him a lesson?”


“I told you to call him back. Can you understand simple words?” Jing Hongchen shouted, and scared Lin Jiayi so much that he scampered away immediately. After another minute, Huo Yuhao was standing before Jing Hongchen yet again.

“Sit down.” Jing Hongchen pointed at the chair in front of his desk before he turned to Lin Jiayi and said, “Pour a cup of water for him, and then you can leave the room.”

“Yes.”  Lin Jiayi didn’t dare to say anything more, and he poured a clear glass of water for Huo Yuhao.

Huo Yuhao didn’t decline this time, and he sat down in front of Jing Hongchen. He picked up the glass of water and glanced at Lin Jiayi as he was exiting the room while asking Jing Hongchen,   “This   glass   of   water   isn’t   poisoned,   is   it, Hallmaster?”

Jing Hongchen had a hard time suppressing his anger, and he erupted once more. “You…” He almost slapped Huo Yuhao across the face – he really wanted to murder this young man!

“No.” He considered the importance of that automatic mechanism, and ultimately restrained himself and answered with a calm look on his face. 
“That’s good, then.” Huo Yuhao didn’t drink the water, and placed the glass back on the table as he spoke. Huo Yuhao looked like he still didn’t trust him, and Jing Hongchen’s face was starting to flush.

“The seller always starts with a high price, but the buyer will always go on the lower side. Name a price that I can accept.” Jing Hongchen tried to be direct as he could. He didn’t want to continue being entangled with this dude.

“I named my price, didn’t I? I want three Class 9 soul tools. I can’t go any lower.”  Huo Yuhao stuck out three fingers once more. For some reason, Jing Hongchen felt as if Huo Yuhao’s middle finger was especially glaring.

“You  know  that’s  not  possible,”  Jing  Hongchen  muttered coldly, “If that’s the case, then you can go.”

“Oh. Then why did you call me back? We’ve been through this several times already.”  Huo Yuhao stood up and started walking out as he spoke, as if he wasn’t afraid of anything at all. “You…” Jing Hongchen could feel his organs exploding with rage.  “Come  back!”   He  shouted  once  more,  stopping  Huo Yuhao in his tracks.

Huo Yuhao’s heart wasn’t as evil as it appeared to be. The truth was that he admired Jing Hongchen, and he admired his teacher, the Dragon God Douluo Elder Mu’s judgment of Jing Hongchen. Elder Mu held Jing Hongchen in high regard – Elder Mu said Jing Hongchen was a ruthless, ambitious, and formidable character, and the only problem was the kinks in his personality. Honor was a little too important to him, and he was headstrong and irritable at the same time. How could one judge something calmly and fairly if one got angry, and that meant others would have a chance to take advantage of him. Otherwise, why would Huo Yuhao play dirty like this for no reason?

“Three Class 9 soul tools is impossible. I admit that your innovation is exceptional, but you have to understand that the problems I’ve just pointed out are also true. How about I name a price for you instead? One Class 8 soul tool, and five million gold soul coins. How about that?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head vigorously. “No, no. That’s the product of my blood and sweat, and I can’t just sell it for such a low price. I want Class 9 soul tools – Class 8 soul tools are meaningless.”

“No – Class 9 soul tools are strategically important to the Sun Moon Empire. How can we just casually give them out?"

Huo Yuhao patted himself on the chest and said, “I don’t think that’s right, Hallmaster. When you were inside the Sea God’s Pavilion all those years ago, my teacher asked you for one, and he didn’t even give anything in return, and you just took one out without much hesitation. You just gave him the Hongchen’s Blessing, and I’m still benefiting from it.”

Veins popped out all over Jing Hongchen’s forehead. This boy just wanted to touch a sore spot – the situation back then was different, and he probably wouldn’t have returned with his life if he hadn’t given that gift. However, he was rendered speechless by Huo Yuhao’s assertion, and the redness of his face began to turn green from all that restraint.

“No  means  no!  Two  Class  8  soul  tools!”  Jing  Hongchen growled, and he suddenly stood up and planted his hands on the desk, as if he were going to devour him. Huo Yuhao decided to stop talking, as if he was afraid of Jing Hongchen, but he still shook his head adamantly and determinedly.

“What do you want? Besides Class 9 soul tools, what else do you want?” Jing Hongchen returned to his seat, and his temper cooled a little.

Huo Yuhao pondered for a moment, then said, “Hallmaster, creativity and innovation have no price. The soul tool I have crafted may be simple and rickety, but I believe that my invention is extremely valuable, and that’s the reason why I have named such an outrageous price. Calm down – alright, I don’t want Class 9 soul tools anymore, and I know you hate to part with them. Do you think this will work?”

What do you mean I hate to part with them? I can’t just give them away. Jing Hongchen had just calmed himself down, but his anger was already starting to erupt once again.

“You can also give me materials for Class 9 soul tools that are equal in value. You should know that Shrek Academy still lacks precious and exotic materials.” Huo Yuhao attempted another tactful inquisition. 
Jing Hongchen thought to himself that this fella had finally revealed his fox tail. This must be your real motive, eh?

“What do you want?” Jing Hongchen lowered his voice and said, “There are many different kinds of exotic materials, and their values are hard to gauge.”

Huo Yuhao said, “I only want a few things – let me know if it’s alright! Five thousand kilograms of Purplegold Bronze, five thousand kilograms of Skyspirit Silver, one thousand pieces of Underworld Crystals that are each at least ten centimeters long, and one hundred kilograms of Extraterrestrial Meteoric Steel. I want five hundred kilograms of Starmoon Alloy that’s authentically crafted by the Illustrious Virtue Hall. I also want the excellent Sun Essence Gold that I saw the other time, and then I want one hundred and eighty pieces of Silver Dragonscale. Don’t tell me you don’t have these things! I’ve seen the academy’s history, and the academy has hunted and killed a Silver Dragon before. A single Silver Dragon probably has millions of scales, and I only want a hundred and eighty – that’s not even one percent, so don’t be stingy, please?”

Jing Hongchen’s face turned a shade darker after every item Huo Yuhao listed. His face was now black with traces of green, and even the green contained shades of purple. He was absolutely at the brink of erupting with rage and fury.

The things that Huo Yuhao requested were all the best rare and exotic metals. The last few requests were especially so – the Sun Essence Gold and Starmoon Alloy were all considered extremely precious and invaluable materials, and they were all used to construct Class 9 soul tool formation arrays. Even one kilogram was incredibly expensive, let alone several hundred kilograms.

“Are  you  trying  to  clean  out  the  Illustrious  Virtue  Hall’s warehouse?”   Jing  Hongchen  stood  up  yet  again  without thinking. He shook the black box Huo Yuhao had given him earlier vigorously and said, “You want to exchange this broken thing that’s made of steel for so many things? You must be daydreaming. Even greedy and avaricious people aren’t as outrageous as you. Take your toy and get out of here – don’t let me see you again.” He tossed the black box at Huo Yuhao as he spoke.

Huo Yuhao didn’t leave this time. He grabbed the black box and chuckled, “Don’t be angry, Hallmaster! We can still discuss the price. Furthermore, I am only asking for things that are equivalent in value to three Class 9 soul tools, and I haven’t even raised the price even though you’ve mocked my design time and time again. These things are probably equivalent in total value to three Class 9 soul tools – I’m not bullshitting you!”

“Who promised to give you precious metals that are equivalent in value to three Class 9 soul tools?” Jing Hongchen glared at him.

Huo Yuhao replied with a grieving and wronged look on his face. “Then we can negotiate further. Which one do you think is too much? Can we lower the requested amounts?” 
Jing Hongchen roared, “Everything is too much –  and that one hundred and eighty Silver Dragonscales? We hunted the Silver Dragon more than three thousand years ago, the materials that are left are exceptionally precious and invaluable. How many scales were kept until today? I don’t even think there are a hundred dragonscales left! Not even I have the authority to use them directly! Even I have to obtain the royal family’s permission!”

Huo Yuhao replied evenly, “But Hallmaster, you control the Illustrious Virtue Hall, and your authority is below one man and above everyone else. Not even you can make this decision? I don’t believe that. I know the Silver Dragonscale’s reputation, and it’s something I need. We can take away ten percent of that, but you have to give me ninety percent. We can deduct a little from the rest; I think even fifty percent is fine.”

Jing Hongchen’s eyes sparkled with cold light as he stared at Huo Yuhao’s seemingly magnanimous and generous attitude. He really wanted to grind this bastard into dust, but he wouldn’t be able to get his hands on this design if he did so. Furthermore, his grandchildren were still in Shrek Academy! He took a deep breath and forcefully suppressed his emotions as he lowered his voice and said, “We will reduce everything that you want to ten percent of the original offer, while the Silver Dragonscales are out of the question. Then we have a deal.”

Huo Yuhao immediately shook his head and said, “Your bargaining is too ruthless. Who shaves off ninety percent from the start? No, no. We can take away ten percent at most, and I definitely want the Silver Dragonscale. You can just give me eighty pieces.”

“Bastard! Do you think it’s easy for me to account for the outflow of so many resources?”

“But your authority is beneath only one person and above everyone else!”

“……”

“Twenty  percent.  I  will  give  you  five  pieces  of  Silver Dragonscale, and that’s the most I can do. This is my price – if you don’t want it, then scram.” Jing Hongchen couldn’t take it anymore. He felt as if he would go insane if he continued to tangle himself with this guy.

Huo  Yuhao  asked,  “Make  that  eighty  percent.  Is  that alright?”

“Twenty percent!” Jing Hongchen roared.

Huo Yuhao said, “You’re not being very nice. Aren’t we both supposed to compromise, until we complete the deal at fifty percent?”

“Get lost, get lost. Scram. Get out of here!”  Jing Hongchen slammed his palm onto the table, and the wooden desk collapsed to the ground with a boom.

Huo Yuhao was astonished. He frowned as he stared at Jing Hongchen, who was currently like an erupting volcano, and he said nothing as he turned and left.

Jing Hongchen could feel his blood rushing up, and he nearly vomited blood. He could feel his soul power was a little disorganized and disoriented as well.

An inscrutable expression flashed across Huo Yuhao’s face. He glanced at the black box in his hands as he stepped out of Jing Hongchen’s office, and he wasn’t hasty or hurried at all. From the start, he knew that his negotiations with Jing Hongchen wouldn’t be successful on the first try. He wouldn’t give up until he got what he wanted.

He took his time, but there wasn’t much time left.

He returned to the dormitory by himself, and nobody came to call him this time.

A day quickly passed, and Shrek Academy’s exchange program finally came to an end.

For formality's sake, the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy conducted a farewell ceremony, and Jing Hongchen himself was present. Fan Yu led the group from Shrek Academy, while Huo Yuhao, He Caitou, Ye Xiaosheng, and the other students stood in single file. Everybody had switched back to Shrek Academy’s uniforms, which meant they were about to leave this place and return to their own school.

Jing Hongchen made a speech that brimmed with warmth during this farewell ceremony. His expression didn’t change much and he seemed extremely calm, as if he had forgotten how upset he was when he met with Huo Yuhao the previous day. He would glance at Huo Yuhao and flash a smile from time to time, as if he were exceptionally pleased with him.

Huo Yuhao was a little surprised that his two brazen-faced and shameless friends didn’t show up to send him off, and that made him a little sad.

“The prince is here!” somebody called out, and the clinking sounds of armor could be heard as soldiers poured in from outside.

These soldiers wore silver armor, and they looked well-built and formidable – everyone recognized them at a glance as the Sun Moon Empire’s Imperial Guard. 
A group of soldiers in light armor followed behind the silver- armored soldiers. They were all more than thirty years old, and their mannerisms were grave and solemn. There were about fifty of them, give or take, but the Shrek Academy students’ eyes widened a little once they appeared on the scene.

They were soul engineers, military soul engineers! The armor on their bodies was clearly soul armor, and their equipment was uniform and systemic, yet unnaturally exquisite – one would never doubt the formidability of this platoon’s fighting strength.

The crown prince of the Sun Moon Empire, Xu Tianran, somehow swaggered as he rolled into the Sun Moon Empire’s great field with a bunch of guards escorting him.

Jing Hongchen hurriedly led a group of teachers from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy to greet him.

“Your Highness,”  Jing Hongchen bowed respectfully, while the other teachers fell to one knee. Xu Tianran smiled faintly and nodded lightly towards Jing Hongchen. Jing Hongchen’s eyes squinted a little, and he nodded in return before walking behind Xu Tianran’s wheelchair and pushing him onto the field and before the group from Shrek Academy.

There was a look of shock in Fan Yu’s eyes. What’s the crown prince of the Sun Moon Empire trying to do, bringing such a large group of soldiers?

“Let me introduce you, teacher Fan Yu – this is the Sun Moon Empire’s heir to the throne, the crown prince.”

“Greetings, crown prince.” Fan Yu bowed lightly. He wasn’t a citizen from the Sun Moon Empire, so he naturally wouldn’t be too formal when he paid his respects.

Xu Tianran gave a warm and amicable smile and said, “Let us do away with the formalities, teacher Fan Yu. I have yearned to visit your academy for a long time, but it’s a pity that I haven’t been able to. I will make a personal visit when I get the chance. I heard from Hallmaster Hongchen that your academy’s exchange program has ended, so I am here on behalf of the Sun Moon Empire to send everyone off. I hope that the Sun Moon Empire and your academy can have more exchange programs, and we can use these programs to improve our relations and camaraderie.”

“You’re too kind, your Highness.”  He’s here to send us off? Fan Yu was even more astounded at this point. The farewell ceremony was already ending, and he didn’t want to dally any longer, so he said, “Thank you, your Highness, and thank you, Hallmaster, for sending us off. It’s getting late, and I am about to get on the road with my students. Are you travelling with us, Hallmaster Hongchen?”

The exchange students from both sides would be at Mapleleaf City again, just like they were at the start, and Jing Hongchen would definitely follow along himself in the interest of ensuring their safety.

Jing Hongchen nodded and said, “I will send everyone a little further, then. Do give me a moment, teacher Fan Yu, I have some things to convey to the crown prince.”

“Alright.” Fan Yu didn’t know what Jing Hongchen was going to do, and he didn’t think too much about it. The exchange program had been long, and was now already over, while Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen had yet to return. He wasn’t afraid of Jing Hongchen doing something to them.

He immediately brought the students over to one side.

Huo Yuhao’s eyes had been fixed on Jing Hongchen and the crown prince this whole time. Only he could faintly guess what the crown prince’s purpose was in personally sending them off.

Jing Hongchen and Xu Tianran whispered a few sentences to each other, and Jing Hongchen seemed to take something from Xu Tianran’s hands. Xu Tianran departed while his guards escorted him, and he expressed his warmth and regards to Fan Yu and the Shrek Academy students once more before he left. At least in terms of appearance, people would easily have a good impression of this crown prince.

“Come here, Huo Yuhao.”  Jing Hongchen stepped forward and waved towards Huo Yuhao.

Here we go! Huo Yuhao felt his heart skip a beat, and he shot a glance at Fan Yu to show that everything was fine as he walked briskly up before Jing Hongchen.

“Hallmaster.” He never lacked politeness or courtesy.

There was a complicated expression in Jing Hongchen’s eyes as he stared at the youth before him. “Fifty percent, just like you said. Thirty Silver Dragonscales – this is the most I could get, and there is nothing more I can do. If you think the price is right, hand the design over to me.”

He reached out to Huo Yuhao with his right hand as he spoke. There was a Starlight Sapphire ring in the center of his palm, which was was much larger than his own, while the patterns were also clearer. The ring itself was probably worth several million gold soul coins due to its rarity.

Huo Yuhao didn’t push his limits, and put the ring on his finger as he said, “Deal.” He touched his Twenty-Four Moonlit Bridges as he spoke and retrieved a small box before that he then handed to Jing Hongchen.

Jing Hongchen didn’t dare to be careless, and quickly opened the box to check. There was a scroll of paper inside, and the drawings on it were extremely complex and intricate. Jing Hongchen’s eyes were powerful, and he could already confirm that this was the real deal from one look at the papers. Their content immediately gave him a sense of clarity and enlightenment.

I finally have it! Both Huo Yuhao and Jing Hongchen had the exact same feeling in their hearts.

“Don’t  you  want  to  verify  its  contents?”  Jing  Hongchen stared at Huo Yuhao, amused.

Huo Yuhao chuckled and said, “I trust you. If you still try to deceive me or play games with me at this point, then you’re not the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall. Am I right?”

Jing Hongchen grunted coldly and said, “Weren’t you like that yesterday? Do you know how difficult it was for me to convince the crown prince for this many resources?”

Huo Yuhao laughed and said, “But you convinced him in the end, no? Below one man, and above everyone else!” Jing Hongchen laughed along with him, and patted Huo Yuhao on the shoulder. He heaved a sigh and said, “If only you were my disciple! Let’s go, I’ll send you guys off.”

Fan Yu and He Caitou had no idea what Jing Hongchen had said to Huo Yuhao. Jing Hongchen led several teachers from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy and released their flying-type soul tools. They escorted Huo Yuhao and the others while everyone soared into the sky and flew towards the east.

The students from Shrek Academy were all eager and excited as they traveled – they were finally returning home to Shrek Academy! The caution and wariness they had had in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy hadn’t been easy, but these two years of study had exposed them to the most advanced concepts and principles regarding the forging of soul tools. Every student took away much from this experience, but how much they absorbed and how much they actually learned depended on the effort they had put in. 
Jing Hongchen didn’t speak much on the road, and he just silently channeled his flying-type soul tool. Huo Yuhao quietly checked the contents of his Starlight Sapphire ring.

He could only describe what he saw as dazzling and dizzying. The truth was that he hadn’t expected Jing Hongchen to take out so much in the end—the Zhuge Divine Crossbow’s automatic mechanism was good, but it wasn’t worth even twenty percent of these precious materials, and Huo Yuhao was satisfied enough with his previous hoard. If Jing Hongchen hadn’t sought him out today, he would have looked for Jing Hongchen anyway to agree to his offer. He hadn’t expected to receive such a pleasant surprise. However, Huo Yuhao felt a little wary of Jing Hongchen’s generosity.

After several hours, Jing Hongchen guided them to the spot that both academies had agreed on a long time ago.

Jing Hongchen brought the group to the ground. The people from Shrek Academy were already there on the other side. The people that came forward to finalize the exchange were Yan Shaozhe from Shrek Academy’s Martial Soul Department, accompanied by Xian Lin’er of Shrek Academy’s Soul Tool Department. Both Deans were notable individuals, and their presence indicated how much emphasis they placed on this exchange. However, they were the only two who came; the others behind them were the exchange students from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy.

Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen didn’t look that different from before. In the end, they had already grown up before the exchange program had even begun. Huo Yuhao, however, had still been in his adolescence.

The siblings seemed more calm and stable, but they stared at the Huo Yuhao the moment he appeared.

Huo Yuhao wore a faint smile on his face, and he appeared as casual and indifferent as ever.

“We meet again, Hallmaster Hongchen.” Yan Shaozhe came forward with a bright smile on his face. Even though he was talking to Jing Hongchen, he was looking straight at Huo Yuhao. 
Huo Yuhao’s frame had changed quite a bit, and even his aura was very different from before, but Yan Shaozhe would definitely not recognize the wrong person.

His demeanor is more withdrawn, and his eyes are more plain and undramatic—he has improved so much!

Xian Lin’er’s expression was a lot warmer than Yan Shaozhe’s. She understood the contributions Huo Yuhao had made to Shrek Academy over these two years much better than Yan Shaozhe. She could even say that he had relied entirely upon himself to advance Shrek Academy’s Soul Tool Department by more than a thousand years of research.

Jing Hongchen would never know that Huo Yuhao had refined and perfected that much of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy’s soul tool blueprints using his spiritual power, and had passed them on to the Soul Tool Department for research and manufacture. The Soul Tool Department had improved by leaps and bounds over the past two years, and Huo Yuhao could be considered Shrek Academy’s hero. “Greetings, Dean Yan. Your glamor is the same as usual.” Jing Hongchen smiled as he stepped forward to shake hands with Yan Shaozhe and Xian Lin’er. The two crafty Deans were all smiles, and people who didn’t know what was going on would definitely think they were the best of friends.

Yan Shaozhe smiled and said, “I have brought your grandchildren back unharmed, Hallmaster. They have improved a lot over the past two years. They are hardworking, and their desire to learn is impressive—I am very satisfied, and I hope we can have more exchange programs like this in the future.”

Jing Hongchen chuckled and said, “We can discuss things when we return, and see whether this exchange program will become a regular thing. If it turns out nicely, I’m sure it will be very beneficial to both our academies’ development.”

“Then  we  shall  wait  for  your  good  news.”  Yan  Shaozhe released Jing Hongchen’s hand, and the two of them greeted each other with smiles on their faces before they gestured to their respective students. Fan Yu quickly brought Huo Yuhao and the others behind the two Deans. Xiao Hongchen, Meng Hongchen, and the others acted similarly, and everyone switched positions.

Only the students really knew what they had learned and how much they had taken away from more than two years of the exchange. At this moment, the exchange program had finally come to an end.

“Farewell!” Jing Hongchen didn’t want to remain any longer, and he greeted the two Deans one more time before he unleashed his flying-type soul tool along with his students, and they all soared into the sky over the city and far into the distance. They weren’t afraid of attracting other’s attention.

Yan Shaozhe watched them disappear over the horizon before he withdrew his gaze. He surveyed the students that had just  completed  the  exchange  program  and  said,  “Welcome home, children…”

It was just a simple sentence, but the students from the Soul Tool Department could feel a surge of warmth in their hearts, and everyone’s eyes began to swell with tears. Yes! It’s time to go home. 
Huo Yuhao stepped briskly beside Yan Shaozhe and whispered, “I have some things to tell you, Dean Yan.”

“Eh?” In terms of seniority, they were both Elder Mu’s disciples, and Huo Yuhao could even be considered his little junior brother. Furthermore, Huo Yuhao had gone through so much toil, and had given so much blood and sweat to the academy over the past two years. Yan Shaozhe was acutely aware of the amount of precious resources and whatnot that Huo Yuhao had sent back to Shrek Academy.

“Take everyone to have a meal in the hotel over there, Fan Yu. We’re not in a hurry like Jing Hongchen, and we can hit the road after everyone has eaten.”

“Alright.” Fan Yu was now the Soul Tool Department’s vice- Dean, and he was also a member of the Sea God’s Pavilion. His status was very different from before.

After everyone left, and only Yan Shaozhe and Xian Lin’er remained, Yan Shaozhe said amiably, “You can speak now, Yuhao.” Gentle spiritual undulations appeared, and Yan Shaozhe wasn’t seen doing anything at all as a layer of spiritual power that the naked eye couldn’t detect enveloped the three of them. Even if someone was right beside them, that person wouldn’t be able to hear their discussion.

He was a Transcendent Douluo, after all. Huo Yuhao was a spiritual-type soul master, and knew that even he couldn’t manipulate his spiritual power as precisely as Dean Yan could.

“Dean Yan, Dean Xian, it’s like this: I think the Illustrious Virtue Hall might be harboring some evil intentions against us, and they might attack us on the way back.”

“Oh? Does Jing Hongchen have no shame at all?” Xian Lin’er asked skeptically.

Huo Yuhao said, “He has too much pride. I sold him a design on the way back and asked for an exorbitant price. I quoted many precious metals to him, and he seemed very unwilling back then. However, he still agreed just before we left, and we didn’t negotiate any further. I think he might want to ambush me on the way back to take those things back.” Yan Shaozhe asked curiously, “How many precious metals did you extort from him, exactly? He’s the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall, and he doesn’t even have that bit of magnanimity? Plus, the design you sold him, will it…?”

Huo Yuhao chortled and whispered something, and Yan Shaozhe and Xian Lin’er’s expression immediately grew strange.

Yan Shaozhe forced down the urge to laugh and said, “You’re becoming more and more evil, young man. What if you make him so angry that he decides to act on it? Come, let’s see your harvest.”

Huo Yuhao took out the Starlight Sapphire ring on his finger. He didn’t give it to Yan Shaozhe, but passed it to Xian Lin’er instead. Xian Lin’er was ultimately more familiar with the precious metals used to forge soul tools.

Xian Lin’er took the ring and briefly scanned its contents with her spiritual power. A look of astonishment came over her face, and she stared at Huo Yuhao with incredulous eyes. “You didn’t empty the Illustrious Virtue Hall’s secret warehouse, did you, Yuhao? This… this is too much! Oh my god! The value of these items almost can’t be calculated with money. No wonder that you think they want to attack you. If I were on the other end of the deal, even I might not be able to resist making a move against you.”

“Let me see.”  Yan Shaozhe took the ring from Xian Lin’er’s hands. Even though he didn’t know much about precious metals, he still had the ability to recognize certain things. He infused his spiritual power into the ring, and could immediately feel dense undulations of energy, and a tremendous volume of light.

“Well  done!”  Yan  Shaozhe  handed  the  ring  back  to  Huo Yuhao, and he could no longer hide the smile on his face.

“I can’t wait to find out how the Hallmaster’s face will look once he uses your design to craft things. Hahahaha!”

Xian Lin’er snapped, “Stop laughing. Right now, the most important thing is to ensure the children’s safe return home. It’s alright if Jing Hongchen does nothing, but once he does, then it will be a heavy attack, and an operation that he will only execute if he’s confident of success. At that time, his target may not only be Yuhao—it might include the both of us. He might make sure that we never return to Shrek Academy. That would be good news for the Sun Moon Empire.”

Yan Shaozhe smiled plainly and said, “Whether he has the ability to do so remains to be seen. What suggestions do you have, Yuhao?”

A person with Yan Shaozhe’s status from another academy would never seek a student’s opinion this way. The way his question was phrased practically meant Huo Yuhao had been lifted to almost the same status as himself. He was trying to solicit Huo Yuhao’s opinion, and this wasn’t just simply asking a question.

Huo Yuhao contemplated momentarily, then said, “I think we should split up. I’m their target, and you two might be their targets as well. This means that everything they do will be targeted at us, but they’ll need to eliminate us with a single strike, so I doubt they will split up themselves. In the end, the others don’t really mean much to them. If we split up, our party will have three people and we will be a lot more mobile than before. If we travel with the other students, we have to watch out for them and protect them, which might put us in more danger.” Yan Shaozhe nodded and said, “Alright, we’ll follow your idea. We are aware of everything you’ve done for the academy, Yuhao. Xian Lin’er raised this to the Sea God’s Pavilion, and the Elders have all approved to give you a seat in the Sea God’s Pavilion. Even though you’ll only have the last seat, you are the youngest member of the Sea God’s Pavilion in history.”

Huo Yuhao was taken aback. He had never expected the academy to accord such glory upon him. “Dean Yan, I…”

Yan Shaozhe patted him on the shoulder and said, “You can call me senior brother from now on. We can’t mix up the hierarchy—otherwise, our teacher’s spirit in the afterlife will not forgive me. It must have been tiring and exhausting for you these past two years.”

Chapter 206: Scorpion Tiger Douluo

Huo Yuhao shook his head vigorously, but he couldn’t hide the excitement on his face. Sea God’s Pavilion! That’s the Sea God’s Pavilion! Not in his wildest dreams did he ever think he could enter the Sea God’s Pavilion so quickly.

The truth was that when the Sea God’s Pavilion’s Elders were discussing this issue of allowing Huo Yuhao into the Sea God’s Pavilion, nobody questioned the decision, even though Huo Yuhao was only seventeen years old.

Huo Yuhao’s entry into the Sea God’s Pavilion had nothing to do with Elder Mu. This happened because of his contributions to the academy, and he was rewarded accordingly.

One thousand three hundred and seventy-six blueprints – this was Huo Yuhao’s contribution to the academy. This meant he had sent the academy the blueprints to construct one thousand three hundred and seventy-six different soul tools. These blueprints had given the Soul Tool Department a great boost. Shrek Academy didn’t lack for money. The most important limiting factor for the three native empires of the Douluo Continent to developing soul tools was the lack of precious metals. Shrek Academy’s situation in this aspect was comparatively better, and one reason for that was because of their financial power, while another was because of Shrek Academy’s inner structure.

Shrek Academy bore the weight of Shrek City on its shoulders. They had their own powerful trade association, which had already reached into the Sun Moon Empire. Precious metals had substantial strategic importance and were difficult to purchase, but that didn’t mean nothing could be done.

Over the past two years, as Huo Yuhao continuously had sent back blueprints, Shrek Academy’s Soul Tool Department had seen exponential advancements. Even though they still couldn’t compare to the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, Huo Yuhao had managed to help them save a lot of time and effort in research.

The blueprints that Huo Yuhao had toiled and wracked his brains to draw were now in the Library of the Sea God’s Pavilion, and the original drafts were safely stored away. They had become a part of Shrek Academy’s history that would be there for a long time to come, and Huo Yuhao had been written into the academy’s history as a hero.

Xian Lin’er smiled and said, “You deserve this, Yuhao. It’s better if only you know about this, and we haven’t announced it to the academy yet. For one, we can protect you this way, and another reason is because you’re still a student at the academy. You will officially graduate from the inner courtyard after the next Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Soul Dueling Tournament.”

Huo Yuhao was stunned momentarily, and protested, “But I haven’t completed my reconnaissance tasks.”

Yan Shaozhe chortled and said, “What you have done carries ten times more worth than those reconnaissance tasks. Our teacher talked to me about your future path before he passed away – the academy cannot hold you back, and we can only support you and be something that you can fall back on. The Tang Sect has been established, no? That should be your platform for further development. However, you still have to win the championship during the big competition, and we strongly believe you have the ability to do so. You haven’t overlooked your cultivation while you’ve been toiling over soul tools, have you?”

Huo Yuhao said confidently, “I already have five soul rings.”

Yan Shaozhe looked astonished as he said, “Five? You already have five soul rings? So fast?”

For normal students, reaching Rank 50 at the age of seventeen was considered extremely fast. Furthermore, Huo Yuhao was a soul master with an Ultimate martial soul. Cultivation was far more difficult for Ultimate martial souls, but he still managed to reach Rank 50 in just a little over two years! This was a great pleasant surprise for Yan Shaozhe.

Xian Lin’er giggled and said, “I think you can almost be the academy’s mascot now, Yuhao.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re a little monster! You’re the one among all the students that I’ve seen that fits that description the best.” 
Yan Shaozhe said, “Let’s go. We should grab something to eat too before we start travelling. Returning to Shrek Academy safely is the most important thing right now.”

Yes, returning to Shrek Academy safely was of the utmost importance!

They had a simple lunch, and Fan Yu followed Yan Shaozhe’s instructions to take He Caitou, Ye Xiaosheng, and the other students to travel ahead. Yan Shaozhe and Xian Lin’er took Huo Yuhao and rested for a while longer before they sauntered out of Mapleleaf city and walked towards Shrek Academy. They took their time and walked slowly, so that they could distance themselves from the group in front of them.

“If we are ambushed, you will protect Huo Yuhao and I will take the offensive.” Xian Lin’er said to Yan Shaozhe.

Yan Shaozhe frowned and said, “Lin’er! The older you get, the more stubborn and hardheaded you become. You still want to fight me over something like this?” Xian Lin’er raised an eyebrow and said, “You think I’m old?
Take a look at yourself.”

“Ahem.  In  front  of  the  child?”   Yan  Shaozhe  muttered awkwardly.

Xian Lin’er grunted and said, “What child? Yuhao is your junior brother, and that means we all belong in the same generation. Age should never affect seniority in the hierarchy.”

“I can’t out-talk you. You can take the offensive, then. I will support  you  from  the  side,  is  that  alright?”  Yan  Shaozhe’s black-bellied attitude would always be greatly affected in front of Xian Lin’er.

Xian Lin’ier said, “That’s more like it. I haven’t been active for a long time. I hope Jing Hongchen sends a powerful force to ambush us, so that I’m not all excited for nothing.”

Huo Yuhao felt amused as he listened from the side. The two Deans didn’t seem nervous at all; this was the result of solid foundations and abilities. He had never even seen them in battle before. He didn’t know who Jing Hongchen would send after them – powerful soul masters? Long-range cannons? With the two Deans’ perception of danger, long-range cannons would probably not be a threat at all unless Class 9 stationary cannon shells were used. Furthermore, that would be too conspicuous. The Illustrious Virtue Hall wouldn’t want to antagonize Shrek Academy, at least not on the surface. Both parties didn’t have any deep-seated grudges or conflicts. Jing Hongchen would probably give everything he had if this were the Body Sect, but this was Shrek Academy.

After another hour or two, Yan Shaozhe glanced at the sky and said, “It’s about right. Let’s pick up the pace.”

The three of them unleashed their flying-type soul tools and soared into the sky toward Shrek Academy. Huo Yuhao felt much more relaxed and comfortable flying with his Deans. He didn’t have to deal with air resistance, as Yan Shaozhe released his soul power and enveloped the three of them inside it. The propulsion force was released by their flying-type soul tools at the same time, and they flew at a breakneck speed. Both Deans were Titled Douluo; they would be back at Shrek Academy in less than four hours.

Huo Yuhao thought to himself that he couldn’t let himself be a burden in the battle that was to come. 
---

Time continued to pass, and they came closer and closer to Shrek Academy. They were deep inside the Heavenly Soul Empire’s territory after another hour.

“Are they not coming at all? If that’s the case, we will have wasted our efforts,”  Xian Lin’er said with a tinge of regret in her voice.

Yan Shaozhe snapped, “Isn’t that a good thing? Returning to Shrek Academy safely is the most important thing. You have never corrected your belligerence, Lin’er.”

Xian  Lin’er  rolled  her  eyes  at  him  and  said,  “Have  you forgotten my title?”

Yan Shaozhe laughed and said, “How can I forget? You’re the Valkyrie Douluo. You’re the only person that dares to call yourself that. The Valkyrie that soared through the skies left such vivid memories for many back in the day.” “Just not with you, yes?” Xian Lin’er grunted.

Yan Shaozhe said, “Don’t be like this, Lin’er. We are both people with families, and you’re still so merciless and unforgiving. We’re already so old – why can’t we just live harmoniously with each other?”

Xian Lin’er turned around and muttered, “Can’t be bothered with you anymore.”

Their expressions suddenly changed while they chatted. Huo Yuhao could feel two frightening soul power undulations rippling nearby, and he automatically gazed into the distance.

The weather was clear today, and the skies were blue for endless kilometers ahead. However, at this moment, the skies had transformed in the distance, and a tremendous patch of dark clouds was drifting toward them rapidly – the dark clouds seemed to be expanding continuously, and it felt like they were bearing down on them and threatening to overwhelm everything. Xian Lin’er grunted coldly, and stepped out of Yan Shaozhe’s protective circle with a single movement. Her flying-type soul tool slowed in the sky, and she hovered in midair.

“Stay behind me,” Yan Shaozhe said to Huo Yuhao, “All you have to do is watch.”

“Yes.” Huo Yuhao acknowledged.

The dense and gloomy clouds were coming faster and faster, and they were able to see exactly how vast they were when they got closer. The dark clouds gradually took form in the sky, and actually transformed into the appearance of an enormous tiger’s head. A thick voice that resembled rolling thunder could be heard, saying, “Do you still remember your old friend, Yan Shaozhe?”

Yan Shaozhe’s eyes squinted faintly. “You’re still alive, Zhang Peng! Are you preparing to let me finish you today?”

“Your mouth is still so dirty, Yan Shaozhe! I want to see who will finish who today!” The vast dark clouds in the shape of a tiger’s head released a deafening roar, and terrifying pressure erupted in the next moment that barreled toward the three of them like a tidal wave.

Xian Lin’er made her move at this moment. She howled into the sky, and soared upwards in a flash. Scorching green flames burst from her body. Xian Lin’er body was growing larger, and it didn’t take more than a few seconds before she was more than five meters tall, and a set of green armor appeared on her.

This suit of armor covered her entire body like scales. Huo Yuhao didn’t know Xian Lin’er’s actual age, but he could tell from her conversation with Yan Shaozhe that she must be quite old. But as he watched Xian Lin’er release her armor, and two yellow, two purple, and five black soul rings rose from beneath her feet, her enlarged frame made her seem younger, as if she were a young girl in her twenties. She had a valiant and heroic demeanor that was full of fighting will.

“The Valkyrie Douluo, Xian Lin’er?” The deep voice suddenly became a little strange. “I thought the two of you broke up? How are you still with Yan Shaozhe, this hypocrite, this false gentleman?” 
“Enough  bullshit.”   Xian  Lin’er  was  infuriated,  as  he’d touched a sore spot. She reached into the sky with her right hand and a pillar of green flames erupted, following which a pike appeared in her hands.

A soul tool! Huo Yuhao instantly realized that the pike was a soul tool, and a close-combat soul tool at that.

It was a Class 8 close-combat soul tool!

Xian Lin’er pointed the pike forwards, and a deafening draconic roar burst forth from her mouth. Green flames instantly exploded from her, transforming into an enormous dragon head before barreling towards the dark clouds.

A large mass of dark clouds vanished within the green flames; the green dragon head held an absolute advantage.

“‘The Valkyrie Soaring Through the Skies’—impressive.”  A deep voice growled. As the dark clouds dissipated, a human figure appeared in their place. He curled his right hand into a fist and then sent it barrelling through the sky.

The dragon head quickly dissipated amidst several violent booms. When it did, Xian Lin’er gazed into her adversary’s eyes in the distance.

Her adversary was an elderly man dressed in black who was standing on a patch of dark clouds. His skin was extremely tanned, while one of his eyebrows was, peculiarly, a bit higher than the other. A large ‘King’ character was written in black on his forehead. He had a small, stocky frame that didn’t match up with his voice, and looked tiny compared to Xian Lin’er, who was currently more than five meters tall.

“You still dare to appear in the world, Zhang Peng? Have you already forgotten how Elder Mu showed you mercy back then?”  Xian  Lin’er  pointed  her  pike  at  him  as  she  angrily asked.

The elderly man lowered his voice and replied, “Of course I remember. Elder Mu gave me a chance, and I will always remember the favor and mercy he showed me. I didn’t reveal myself to the world the entire time that Elder Mu was alive, but now that Elder Mu has passed, that vow no longer applies. That favor has taken away so many years of freedom from me
—nobody else will ever restrain me like that again. Of course I’m going to show myself to the world once more. I won’t harm you or Yan Shaozhe because we were once acquainted—the two of you can go. However, you have to leave that little fella behind.”

Yan Shaozhe smiled and said, “Zhang Peng, you seem to get more and more messed up the older you get. You’re actually in cahoots with the Sun Moon Empire; seems like you’ve found a nice boss.”

The  black-robed  elderly  man  retorted  angrily,  “Nonsense, nonsense! I don’t know anything about the Sun Moon Empire, nor anything about the Illustrious Virtue Hall. Hand him over! The two of you can piss off.”

A chilly light flickered in Xian Lin’er’s eyes. “Don’t you think that you’re being overconfident and unrealistic? I want to see just how you plan on chasing us away.” She roared into the sky once she’d finished speaking, and her body flashed through the air like a green lightning bolt. She appeared before the elderly man in an instant, and thrust her pike towards him. A deafening boom cracked through the sky like thunder, followed by the tremendous shadow of a green dragon, which flickered once before disappearing behind her back as the tip of the pike arrived before the elderly man.

The elderly man placed his hands together in front of his chest, causing a black sphere to immediately appear in the center of his palms as two yellow, two purple, and five black soul rings swiftly rose from his feet. His nine soul rings glowed alternately, while the black sphere blocked the tip of Xian Lin’er’s pike.

Space seemed to implode in that moment, at which point Huo Yuhao felt momentarily dazed and the sky suddenly turned dark.

Xian Lin’er and the black-robed elderly man had now become embroiled in battle.

Zhang Peng’s fists were his weapons. Dense black fog appeared with every strike he delivered. On the other hand, Xian Lin’er’s fighting style was a lot more savage and wild: Loud dragon roars could be heard every time she stabbed out with her pike and repeatedly forced Zhang Peng backwards in the sky. 
Yan Shaozhe said, “Watch closely, Yuhao. A battle of this level is hard to come by, and will be extremely beneficial towards your cultivation. The man in black is called Zhang Peng, and his title is ‘Scorpion Tiger’. He’s an evil soul master whose martial soul requires him to continuously consume animal blood to sustain and evolve itself. He’s not that bad compared to most evil soul masters though. Our teacher caught him some time ago, but since his martial soul’s evil aura wasn’t that dense, and since he’d never harmed anyone else before, our teacher let him go. It’s been many years since then, thus he’s probably a Transcendent Douluo now. He’s extremely difficult to deal with. Right now, he’s just testing Xian Lin’er’s abilities; he’s yet to reveal his abilities as an evil soul master. However, he’s managed to become a Transcendent Douluo
solely because his martial soul wasn’t that evil. A Transcendent Douluo who was also a pure evil soul master would be a lot harder to deal with.”

Zhang Peng, the Scorpion Tiger Douluo, was pushed back continuously, but he didn’t seem disoriented or panicky at all. The only thing he felt was a little astonished as he passively defended himself against Xian Lin’er’s hysterical onslaught.

Xian Lin’er cultivates both her martial soul and soul tools. She’s probably still quite far from Yan Shaozhe in terms of fighting ability, but since when did her offensive abilities become so powerful? Could it be that…?

How could Huo Yuhao let this opportunity go? He immediately voiced the doubts in his mind, “Dean Yan, the gigantic dragon conjured behind Dean Xian should be her martial soul, right? Her body has become so huge, and it looks a bit like she’s using her Martial Soul True Body. Yet, her martial soul seems like a dragon. What’s going on?” There was no way that he could address Yan Shaozhe as his senior brother, as Yan Shaozhe was more than a hundred years old. Thus, he respectfully addressed him as “Dean Yan”.


Yan Shaozhe replied, “All seven-ringed soul masters have a Martial Soul True Body. However, Martial Soul True Bodies can be mutable. Through years of research within the academy, we’ve discovered another method of unleashing our Martial Soul True Body once we become Transcendent Douluos. Even though this won’t increase its power, we’ll be able to maintain human form in battle. For soul masters that are more adept at close combat, being able to keep their human form can be quite beneficial. We call this battle technique ‘True Body Possession’.” Huo Yuhao felt his heart tingle after hearing Yan Shaozhe’s explanation. His martial souls were the Spirit Eyes and the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion. Even he himself had no idea what his Martial Soul True Body would be like once he broke through to rank 70. Would he transform into a scorpion for battle? As for
his Spirit Eyes, would he actually become a pair of eyes? Only time would tell.

“Dean Yan, are seven-ringed soul masters entirely unable to use the True Body Possession battle technique?”  Huo Yuhao asked.

Yan Shaozhe replied, “Not necessarily. However, using the True Body Possession technique will divide a soul master’s concentration, thus the soul master must be extremely adept at manipulating their spirit. They’ll have to figure out the proper fusion between soul power and spiritual power, as well as the issues brought about by using the True Body Possession technique after revealing their Martial Soul True Body. Even if they’re able to achieve this, the duration that it can be maintained in battle will be reduced by two-thirds compared to using one’s Martial Soul True Body.

“It’s strenuous and unrewarding. You’re a spiritual-type soul master, so spiritual manipulation won’t be a problem for you, but it remains to be seen how well you’re able to manipulate your spirit. Even if you can successfully use the True Body Possession technique, it might weaken your abilities, and the benefits might not make up for the losses. You’ll understand more when your cultivation reaches that stage and you can see for yourself.”

“Yes.”

Huo Yuhao didn’t think too much about the issue of True Body Possession. His cultivation was still low, and his situation was drastically different from that of a normal soul master’s. His spiritual power was far stronger than anyone else at the same level, and he had twin martial souls, one of which being Ultimate Ice. Furthermore, the Snow Empress’ soul had also miraculously appeared, and he’d obtained four powerful soul skills just like that—even if one couldn’t be used.

This was the reason that Huo Yuhao could faintly feel that, once his cultivation reached rank 70, his situation would be even more different than a normal soul master’s. As such, he also felt that this True Body Possession technique might actually be useful for him after all. The battle raging in the sky continued to become even more violent and epic. Xian Lin’er lived up to her name as the Valkyrie as she spiraled and waltzed through the sky. The sky crackled vigorously every time she struck with her pike, green flames transforming into air ripples that expanded outwards. As things continued, she repeatedly forced Zhang Peng back, and it felt as if Zhang Peng was barely holding on.

“Dean Yan, Dean Xian’s martial soul…”

Yan Shaozhe slapped his forehead and said, “Oh, I forgot to tell you. Lin’er’s martial soul is very unique; it’s considered a mutant martial soul, thus that means she’s probably the only one in the entire world with her martial soul. She’s named her martial soul the ‘Greenflame Dragon’. If you think that her martial soul is a fire-type martial soul, then you’re extremely wrong. Her mutant Greenflame Dragon martial soul is actually wind-type. The green flames that you see are actually made up of extremely compressed air that’s constantly reverberating. They’re exceptionally destructive, and can cause disintegration.”

“Disintegration?”  Huo Yuhao stared at the green flames in curious astonishment. No matter how he looked at it, he couldn’t tell that her martial soul was a wind-type martial soul.

Yan Shaozhe nodded and said, “Disintegration refers to the explosive power brought about when the winds are so compressed that their energies expand outwards once the winds erupt. Under such circumstances, anything that the winds touch will be damaged by this explosive power, and in turn will disintegrate. The explosiveness is possibly superior to the Fire Dragon martial soul, which is the reason that Lin’er is adept at frontal battles and breaking through lines. However, you can’t underestimate Zhang Peng, as he hasn’t revealed his true abilities yet. Even though he’s only considered a half-evil soul master, he’s still an evil soul master; he’s still quite difficult to deal with.”

Zhang Peng finally couldn’t take it anymore as Xian Lin’er continued to force him back. The dark clouds suddenly contracted into the sky, and he roared as he punched out with both fists. A deep and coarse tiger roar echoed through the air, while the sound waves and air ripples knocked Xian Lin’er’s three continuous strikes away. Zhang Peng’s body rapidly expanded, and he instantly transformed into an enormous black tiger—his Martial Soul True Body. The giant black tiger was more than fifteen meters long, while his tail was raised high into the air and now had a hook that flickered with dark light on the end. The dark clouds in the sky were now beneath his feet, and his purple eyes were bursting with hostility. He opened his mouth and roared, the intense sound waves permeating the skies as endless echoes reverberated through the air. Dark shadows were repeatedly released from the dark clouds beneath him, and they
transformed respectively into soul beasts of all shapes and sizes as they wailed and howled shrilly and then pounced towards Xian Lin’er. 
“Zhang Peng is launching his powerful moves. That’s his Scorpion Tiger Martial Soul True Body. The Scorpion Tiger is born from an exceptionally powerful soul beast known as the Darkdemon Evil Tiger. However, it’s considered a subspecies, as it’s not as demonic. Even though it’s not as formidable as the Darkdemon Evil Tiger, it also requires regular consumption of soul beast blood and spirit to sustain itself and evolve. What he’s releasing now are the spirits of soul beasts that he has absorbed and his own beast souls that are formed through the fusion of spiritual power and soul power. This is Zhang Peng’s signature move, and it’s incredibly hard to deal with. Beast souls are highly resistant to physical attacks, while they’re also equipped with both physical and spiritual offensive capabilities. The user, Zhang Peng, can also integrate himself into any of the beast souls for a sudden ambush at any time.”

Yan Shaozhe’s live analysis gave Huo Yuhao a deeper understanding of this Scorpion Tiger Douluo. He felt a tingling in his heart as he watched the beast souls in the sky. For him, the status of Titled Douluo was still very far away, and he still had a long way left to reach that level. However, he was most unafraid of spiritual attacks—after all, he was the student of Calamity Necromancer Electrolux, and the Divine Law of Necromancy had been imparted to him. In some sense, he was a necromancer himself, and it couldn’t get any easier for him to become an evil soul master if he wanted to. Of course, Huo Yuhao didn’t see himself that way, and neither did he want to become an evil soul master. What he wanted to do was kill evil soul masters.

Xian Lin’er could no longer maintain her previous advantage once Zhang Peng released his beast souls. The pike in her hands danced through the sky, and her onslaught continued like tidal waves, but the beast souls were exceptionally difficult to deal with. These were beast souls that Zhang Peng had cultivated over many years, and they also had his spiritual imprints. There were twelve main beast souls, and they made up Zhang Peng’s eighth soul skill—the Twelve Beast Envoys.

The Twelve Beast Envoys all had cultivations equivalent to an eight-ringed soul master. Even though they didn’t threaten Xian Lin’er, they had no problem entangling her. If these main beast souls were attacked, they could absorb the other normal beast souls around them to replenish themselves. Zhang Peng looked on from the side in his Scorpion Tiger form, and his body gradually became incorporeal while the dark clouds beneath his feet began to expand once more and permeate the entire battlefield. Huo Yuhao was under the protection of Yan Shaozhe’s soul power, so he couldn’t feel how powerful the soul power undulations outside were. However, half the sky had turned black at this point, and green lightning flickered incessantly from time to time. It was even appropriate to describe the skies as filled with calamities and natural disasters.

Yan Shaozhe’s eyes suddenly looked in another direction, and he muttered, “Why hide yourself if you’re here? Come out. I knew that Zhang Peng himself wouldn’t have the confidence to take on me and Xian Lin’er at the same time.”

“You live up to your name as a disciple of the Dragon God Douluo. Impressive senses.”  An old voice rang out in the sky, and a crack suddenly opened in the air, then a human’s silhouette stepped out from within.

He was also an elderly man, but his appearance was much better compared to Zhang Peng. This elderly man was tall, and the silver hair on his head was combed as neatly as could be. His face was rosy like an infant’s, and his long eyebrows draped down from either side of his face as he placed his hands behind his back. He levitated in midair just like that, and didn’t release a single ripple of soul power at all. The soul power undulations released from the battle between Zhang Peng and Xian Lin’er dissipated when they came within ten meters of him, and were unable to reach him at all.

Yan Shaozhe’s face became serious and solemn. It wasn’t only because this elderly man directly mentioned Elder Mu when he appeared—it was also because he didn’t recognize this elderly man at all.

With Yan Shaozhe’s age and his status as Dean of Shrek Academy’s Martial Soul Department, he had seen most of Titled Douluo with any reputation on the Continent. He could feel extreme danger and peril from this elderly man, but he couldn’t recognize him at all.

The elderly man smiled when he saw Yan Shaozhe’s wary eyes and said, “I haven’t left the mountain for quite some time, and most of my friends are probably gone by now. Even Elder Mu has passed away—what a waste. I’m here today for you, actually. I want to see whether Elder Mu’s disciple has inherited all his abilities. My name is Long Xiaoyao, although I’m not sure if you’ll remember me.”

Long Xiaoyao? Yan Shaozhe shuddered when he heard this name, and a person’s figure surfaced in his mind. He blurted out, “You, you are the Dragon Emperor Douluo, Long Xiaoyao? You’re still alive?”

Long Xiaoyao smiled and said, “Yes! I’m so old, but I’m still alive. It’s a pity that Mu En has passed before me.”  A deep sentiment of grievance flowed within his eyes when he said this. Huo Yuhao, hovering beside Yan Shaozhe, could tell that this elderly man’s emotions were not false.

The relaxed expression on Yan Shaozhe’s face vanished completely. Not in his wildest dreams did he expect such a powerful being to be amongst the group that Jing Hongchen found to ambush them.

Who was Long Xiaoyao? He was the Darkness Holy Dragon, who shared a reputation with Elder Mu back in the day as the Twin Holy Dragons of Black and White!

The Dragon Emperor Douluo, Long Xiaoyao, and the Dragon God Douluo, Mu En.

Long Xiaoyao’s martial soul was the Darkness Holy Dragon. The Darkness Holy Dragon and Elder Mu’s Radiant Holy Dragon were the extremes of darkness and light among dragon-type martial souls, and their cultivation levels had rivaled one another back in the day. But for some reason, Long Xiaoyao had suddenly vanished from the earth; Yan Shaozhe hadn’t even been born when Long Xiaoyao disappeared from
the Continent. It was natural that he had never seen this
powerful individual before.

Yan Shaozhe took a deep breath and forcefully suppressed the emotions in his heart. He bowed respectfully and said, “Greetings, senior Long. I never thought I’d be able to actually meet you one day.”

Long Xiaoyao heaved a sigh and said, “It was me who didn’t dare to see Mu En! I have let him down too much, and I wouldn’t show myself to the world easily if not for the fact that he’d passed away. But I am full of regret now that he’s really gone—I’ve never really had the courage to stand before him to apologize…”

Yan Shaozhe felt a tingling in his heart and said, “I remember teacher saying that the two of you were really good friends back in the day. Even though you have the Darkness Dragon martial soul, you are upright and plainspoken by nature. Today…” 
Long Xiaoyao shook his head and said, “Mu En didn’t tell you about what happened between us back then. He’s just trying to save me some face—forget it, forget it. I will leave you with your lives today out of respect for Mu En.”

Yan Shaozhe didn’t understand why Long Xiaoyao would appear here as their enemy. However, he could tell from Long Xiaoyao’s demeanor that he seemed to have some hidden troubles that he couldn’t talk about. His eyes squinted a little, and he forced a laugh as he said, “Senior Long, are you really going to bully the young?”

Long Xiaoyao said, “Somebody has entrusted this task to me, and I have to do it since I’ve promised him. I owe someone a huge favor, so I have no choice but to let myself be used by this person. How about we do it this way—you shall take three attacks from me, hand over the ring in that little fella’s hands, and then you can leave. I will let the two of you live. However, that girl will have to remain.”

Yan  Shaozhe  became  extremely  worried.  “Senior  Long, we…” Long Xiaoyao raised his hand, the air around them suddenly twisted vigorously, and Yan Shaozhe couldn’t voice the rest of his sentence. His eyes became chilly, and a layer of blue light sparkled beneath his pupils. “My decision has been made. There is nothing more to be said—watch out.”

As he spoke, Long Xiaoyao raised his right hand without even releasing his martial soul and pointed in Yan Shaozhe’s direction.

Yan Shaozhe placed Huo Yuhao behind him in a flash, and a layer of extremely dense white light erupted from his body. Crisp phoenix cries resonated across the skies, and a golden phoenix hovered behind his back.

Yan Shaozhe formed a circle with his arms as he pushed out with both palms. The phoenix cries became incredibly shrill, and even though Huo Yuhao was under Yan Shaozhe’s protection, he still felt as if his spirit was about to be torn to pieces. The Eye of Destiny was automatically activated, and he released his spiritual power and covered himself with a layer of golden light; only then could he stabilize and reorient himself. If the sky was an enormous balloon, then Long Xiaoyao’s finger seemed to have popped this balloon.

A gigantic black hole that was three meters in diameter appeared without warning before Yan Shaozhe. It was like a monster with its mouth wide open, and it was about to swallow both Yan Shaozhe and Huo Yuhao whole.

White radiance burst forth from Yan Shaozhe’s palms and surged into the black hole. A series of seventeen explosive sounds crackled through the sky, and his body trembled continuously from the force as he retreated one thousand meters away in an instant.

“Radiant Phoenix—not bad, not bad. No wonder you could become Mu En’s direct disciple.”  Long Xiaoyao didn’t pursue, but nodded towards Yan Shaozhe instead.

Yan Shaozhe’s expression was unbelievably solemn at this point. One could fake his or her name, but one definitely couldn’t fake his or her cultivation. The Dragon Emperor Douluo’s cultivation was definitely in the same realm as his teacher, even the Body Sect’s leader Du Busi, who was also an Ultimate Douluo, was probably inferior to him. 
“Two more times.” Long Xiaoyao muttered.

“Bullying us youngsters is no big deal at all.” At this moment, a crisp voice that tinged with anger could be heard. Long Xiaoyao was about to launch another attack, but he was stunned momentarily.

Huo Yuhao stepped out from behind Yan Shaozhe, and there was grief and indignation in his eyes. He glared at Long Xiaoyao and said, “You are not worthy of speaking my teacher’s name—you’re not even worthy of being my teacher’s friend. You don’t need to pretend with those three attacks of yours. You will never get the ring back even if you kill me today. Even if I have to send it into a different dimension, I will never give it you.”

Yan Shaozhe hadn’t expected Jing Hongchen to be able to find such a powerful individual, and Huo Yuhao also didn’t expect he would bring such trouble for Yan Shaozhe and Xian Lin’er. He could tell from Yan Shaozhe’s tone that they were facing a formidable being of the same generation as Elder Mu, and his cultivation was probably similar to Elder Mu’s as well. Such a terrifying existence wasn’t something that they could defend themselves against. When Long Xiaoyao kept bringing up Elder Mu’s name time and time again and after he forced back Yan Shaozhe, Huo Yuhao couldn’t take it anymore, and he blurted everything out in a bitter rage.

Chapter 207: Wagered Fight

“Little Junior, don’t spout nonsense. Elder Long is on the same level as teacher was, and possesses the Darkness Dragon. His title is the Dragon Emperor. He is possibly the last remaining top-ranked soul master who has contributed greatly to society.” Yan Shaozhe was anxious as he spoke.

“Little Junior? Are you Mu En’s disciple too?” Long Xiaoyao didn’t react to Huo Yuhao’s cursing. On the contrary, he was surprised by his identity.

Huo Yuhao straightened his chest and said, “That’s right. I am teacher’s closed-door disciple. You’re at least two hundred years older than me. But if you were the same age as me, you wouldn’t be my match, and if teacher were still alive, I don’t think you’d be daring enough to attack anyone from Shrek Academy.”

Huo Yuhao wasn’t being impulsive. He could tell that this Dragon Emperor Douluo wasn’t willing to attack both of them. Yan Shaozhe was a Transcendent Douluo. If Long Xiaoyao didn’t care and attacked him, it was still acceptable. But what about Huo Yuhao? He wasn’t even twenty years old, while Long Xiaoyao was an Ultimate Douluo that had lived for more than two hundred years. Would he really directly attack him? In addition, he was also an old friend of Elder Mu.

That was why Huo Yuhao exploited the opportunity as Long Xiaoyao attacked to reveal himself. He roared furiously and blocked in front of Yan Shaozhe with his body.

Long Xiaoyao squinted his eyes and focused his attention on Huo Yuhao’s vertical eye, “Third eye. A very special martial soul and feeling. You claim that I’m bullying the weak. Fine. What if you attack me then? I’ll only use Rank 50 soul power just like you. If you can make me move even slightly from where I’m standing, I’ll take it as your win. I won’t demand that ring on your finger either. I didn’t expect Mu En to accept another disciple just before he passed away. I’m curious as to what he saw in you.”

Huo Yuhao twisted his head to look at Yan Shaozhe. Yan Shaozhe hadn’t expected anything like this either. He thought of something, and he nodded to Huo Yuhao.

It was evidently better for Huo Yuhao to fight instead of him. With the Dragon Emperor Douluo’s identity, there was no way he would harm someone so much younger than him. Even if he lost, he just had to surrender the materials they had extorted from Jing Hongchen. Furthermore, he believed that Huo Yuhao was the best at creating miracles. He had twin martial souls and an Ultimate Martial Soul. If the Dragon Emperor Douluo used the same rank of soul power, he might actually have a chance…

At least this also gave them an opportunity to delay.

Why did they depart later? Not only was he trying to widen their gap with the other students, but they were also waiting for reinforcements! When Huo Yuhao mentioned that they might be ambushed, he had already let out a secret signal. Reinforcements were likely to be on their way.

Huo Yuhao pointed to the ground and said, “Let’s fight down there.”

Long Xiaoyao was amused, and started laughing. “I forgot.
You can’t fly.”

“Let’s go down then.” 
Yan Shaozhe was slightly worried as he saw black fog surging not far from where they were. Although he trusted Xian Lin’er, it was possible that the other party had invited another Titled Douluo, since they could even snag the help of Long Xiaoyao. If there was another Titled Douluo, Xian Lin’er would be in trouble. After hearing Long Xiaoyao, it was evident that he had no intention of letting her off!

Huo Yuhao was smart, and could tell Yan Shaozhe’s intention from his eyes. He thought of something and said, “Elder Long, let’s make a bet. What do you think?”

Long Xiaoyao chortled and said, “Bet? To me, that’s a rather new word. Tell me about it.”

Huo Yuhao said, “I believe that the fight between Dean Xian Lin’er and the Scorpion Tiger Douluo should be at a stalemate now. Right?”

Long Xiaoyao nodded and replied, You’re right. In that duel, it’s highly likely that they will both end up critically injured.” Huo Yuhao said, “You can also tell that I’m only Rank 50, just a five-ringed Soul King. What do you think will happen if I join in their fight?”

Long Xiaoyao laughed, “Little fellow, you’re really confident! Do you really think that you can participate in a fight between Transcendent Douluo?”

Huo Yuhao laughed too, but his laughter was a little sly. This piqued Long Xiaoyao’s interest further. “This is what I want to bet with you. I’m confident that I can help Dean Xian win this fight in less than a minute after I join it. Do you dare to bet with me?”

“Oh?” Long Xiaoyao’s expression finally changed, and he took a serious look at Huo Yuhao. He said, “Little fellow, you’re betting with your life here. I can’t see how you have any chance of winning. Furthermore, you can’t play any tricks in front of me. You can’t even depend on Yan Shaozhe.”

Huo Yuhao said arrogantly, “I’m using my own strength. I don’t need anybody’s help. Do you dare to bet with me? I don’t have any outrageous requests. Just if I win, please ensure that the three of us can return to the academy safely. Of course, our previous arrangement won’t change. If I can’t force you to move within three strikes, I’ll return the ring to you.”

Long   Xiaoyao   smiled   and   said,   “Little   fellow,   you’re kidnapping me! However, how can I not follow along with you even though I know you’re setting a trap for me? I haven’t seen something so interesting in years. Alright, let me see how you can end their fight in less than a minute.”

As he spoke, the Dragon Emperor Douluo leaped up, and appeared thousands of meters away. At his level of cultivation, he was no different from a god. He could control space and his soul power at will.

“Yuhao.” Yan Shaozhe said softly, “Do you have confidence?”

“Yes.” Huo Yuhao nodded his head.

Yan Shaozhe didn’t say anything more. If it were any other student, Yan Shaozhe would have thought that they were too conceited. However, Huo Yuhao was different. He had created too many miracles. Before he’d even obtained three rings, he had managed to turn the tables in the Elite Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Soul Dueling Tournament. His abilities were very strong.

The flying-type soul tool behind his back flashed brightly and dragged his body into the air under his immaculate control. He started to make deep, chanting noises. They were noises that followed a special frequency and rhythm. Both Yan Shaozhe and Long Xiaoyao couldn’t understand what he was chanting.

Dim white light started to shine in Huo Yuhao’s eyes, and when his eyes turned completely white, the sky turned bright.

The sun had looked very dim as it was covered by the Scorpion Tiger Douluo’s gloomy clouds. However, it now became more and more intense under Huo Yuhao’s incantations.

Yan Shaozhe felt it the most since he was the closest to Huo Yuhao. He could sense a magical, attractive force coming from his body. It was drawing the light element in the air to his body. Yan Shaozhe was also of the light-type and was from the same origin as Elder Mu’s lineage. Although he wasn’t a Radiant Holy Dragon, instead a Radiant Phoenix, his sensation towards the light element was still very strong.

After the light elements gathered around Huo Yuhao’s body, they formed a strange resonation and started transforming. Amidst the deep chanting, these white lights started to turn into a different kind of element that even Yan Shaozhe was unable to discern.

He lifted his right hand, and his body started to light up. The Eye of Destiny also turned white, and an illusory light projection was formed by the white lights behind his back. It was Electrolux!

Teacher, it’s great to see you again.

Even though Huo Yuhao couldn’t see what was behind him, he could sense it through his Spiritual Detection.

“Bestow  me  strength—sunlight!”  Huo  Yuhao  shouted  into the sky. 
A magical scene appeared. The sun seemed to have heard his call. A strong ray of white light descended from the sky and landed on his body. Electrolux’s figure fused into his body, and the white light was deflected toward the soul beasts in the distance.

Their pathetic screams sounded instantly. It was as if countless soul beasts were being massacred, and screams reverberated through the air.

The soul beasts that surrounded Xian Lin’er disappeared and revealed the Scorpion Tiger Douluo’s original body.

The Scorpion Tiger Douluo, Zhang Peng was appalled. He felt a clear tremor in his heart. The soul beasts that he’d taken so much effort to gather instantly broke free from his control and fled in all directions.

If Xian Lin’er couldn’t exploit an opportunity like this, she wasn’t fit to be called a Valkyrie. A huge green dragon suddenly surfaced in mid-air. Xian Lin’er let out a sonorous dragon roar. She stepped on the green dragon and pointed her pike forward. It instantly changed into a green bolt of lightning that struck towards Zhang Peng.

However, Zhang Peng was still a Transcendent Douluo. He didn’t panic even in such a situation. As his figure quickly retreated, his ninth soul ring flashed. His Scorpion Tiger True Body started to expand, then changed into countless black figures that flew around. At least a third of these black figures were vaporized when the green bolt of lightning passed by them. When Zhang Peng appeared again, he was already a thousand meters away. His face was pale. As he groaned, he spat out fresh blood.

However, he didn’t turn his attention back to Xian Lin’er. Rather, he turned towards the source of that terrifying aura. He saw the white light around Huo Yuhao dissipating, as Huo Yuhao returned to Yan Shaozhe’s side. 
“What, what power is this?” The Scorpion Tiger Douluo was completely horrified. He felt that the power that terrified him so wasn’t very strong and couldn’t cause any harm. However, the element that it contained was very scary. It caused his beast soul to be instantly engulfed in fear.

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “This is the power of light. Light is used to remove darkness.”

Zhang Peng shouted, “Rubbish! What do you know about the power of light? Even if it’s light, it wouldn’t make my beast souls terrified.” He didn’t mention that he was also extremely fearful.

Huo Yuhao didn’t explain anything. Facts spoke louder than words. Without a doubt, he had won the bet he’d made with the Dragon Emperor Douluo.

When he made to step away, Long Xiaoyao arrived in front of him. This time, he was more focused as he looked at him. “It isn’t just the power of light. There seems to be a special force that can frighten spirits. I’ve lost. I’ll uphold the agreement and spare all three of you. However, can you tell me what the force you just used is called? Even Mu En didn’t seem to possess it.”

Huo Yuhao couldn’t possibly lie in front of the Dragon Emperor   Douluo,   and   thus   said   subconsciously,   “It’s   a purifying force.”

Yes, it was a purifying force—the jinx of all spirits. No matter what evil spirit, it would be fearful and dissipate in the face of a purifying force once it lost its original body.

With Huo Yuhao’s cultivation, he couldn’t threaten the Scorpion Tiger Douluo and other Transcendent Douluo even if he unleashed his purifying force against them. However, this purifying force caused all those beast souls to subconsciously feel fear. No matter how weak the purifying force was, it still contained the aura of purification! Once a beast soul encountered this aura, it would cause irrevocable harm. Furthermore, Huo Yuhao had even borrowed the strength of sunlight, and this purifying force wasn’t too shoddy itself. It was possible for him to harm one or two soul beasts. Like teacher, like disciple. Electrolux’s proficiency in necromancy was undoubted. Why? Because he was a light-type necromancer! Furthermore, he possessed the purest powers of light.

Huo Yuhao wasn’t a light-type soul master, but his spiritual power was great. He could temporarily control the power of light with Electrolux’s incantations.

“Purifying force. What an impressive purifying force. I didn’t expect that you had such a talent. However, you don’t seem to be a light-type soul master.”  Long Xiaoyao revealed a weird look of admiration in his eyes.

The Scorpion Tiger Douluo didn’t get closer, but Xian Lin’er didn’t pursue him. She quickly returned to Yan Shaozhe’s side and took a look at Long Xiaoyao. Her eyes were still filled with terror.

Although she had been involved with fighting Zhang Peng earlier, she could clearly see when Long Xiaoyao appeared. She could also hear Yan Shaozhe’s words. At that point in time, her heart sank. The Dragon Emperor Douluo was just too reputable. 
However, no one would have expected such a change. She had managed to beat the Scorpion Tiger Douluo with Huo Yuhao’s help, and even injured him. Xian Lin’er believed that she and Yan Shaozhe could resist the Dragon Emperor Douluo for awhile, even if they couldn’t beat him.

Huo Yuhao asked Long Xiaoyao, “One can’t use the strength of light if one isn’t a light-type soul master? Whose rule is that?”

Long  Xiaoyao  chortled  and  said,  “Interesting.  Interesting. Those sounds that you made with your mouth. They must have gathered the power of the light element. It’s my first time seeing something like this. Let’s go, little fellow. Show me how much  more  you  can  surprise  me.”   As  he  spoke,  he  flew downwards.

Yan Shaozhe and Xian Lin’er heaved a sigh of relief. They understood that this meant that they had passed this barrier. Even if Huo Yuhao lost his bet, they would only lose the materials. Their lives wouldn’t be in any danger. As he turned to the two deans, Huo Yuhao looked apologetic. “Sorry, Dean Yan and Dean Xian. I didn’t expect to give the both of you so much trouble. I…”

Yan Shaozhe waved his hand and said, “No, what will come will come. Even if it’s not this time, the Dragon Emperor Douluo would appear sooner or later. It’s also better to meet him earlier—at least we’ll have more time to prepare. You’ve already surprised us. Don’t push yourself too hard later. While the rare metals are precious, they aren’t essential. We’ll have a chance to obtain them again. This Dragon Emperor Douluo is at least credible and trustworthy. Just do your best. He won’t hurt you.”

“Alright.” Huo Yuhao nodded, and the three of them flew down together.

The Scorpion Tiger Douluo came beside Long Xiaoyao and said, “Dragon Emperor, this…”

Long Xiaoyao glanced at him and stopped him from speaking any further. “Yes, I’ll follow your instructions.”  Zhang Peng retreated a few steps and looked at Huo Yuhao. His eyes flashed, as if he were thinking of something.

Long Xiaoyo looked at Huo Yuhao and smiled. He said, “Come on, little fellow. I’ll let you strike me three times. Just unleash all your abilities. I won’t retaliate. If you can make me move even slightly, or make me summon the strength of my martial soul, I’ll concede defeat. How about that? I’ll only use soul power of the same rank to defend.”

Huo Yuhao nodded and slowly shut his eyes.

From the sound of it, he seemed to be at an advantage. The Dragon Emperor Douluo was only going to use Soul King-level soul power, and wouldn’t even retaliate. But in fact, Huo Yuhao knew how terrifying the abilities of such transcendent individuals were after he had faced Tai Tan. Even if he didn’t use higher-ranked soul power, his body was still at the level of an Ultimate Douluo! His spiritual power was the same too. That couldn’t be weakened.

That was why Huo Yuhao knew that his Spirit Eyes’ spiritual- type soul skills were going to be useless against him. He could only use force to make him move.

Xian Lin’er seemed to be asking Yan Shaozhe something with her eyes. Yan Shaozhe replied, “Trust him. This kid knows what to do. He must have some confidence, since he’s dared to bet with the Dragon Emperor Douluo. If he told you that he could have helped you to defeat the Scorpion Tiger Douluo earlier, would you have believed him?”

Xian Lin’er shook her head and replied, “Whatever it is, we have to protect this kid. Elder Mu was right. He is Shrek’s future hope. In a few years, he will become another protector of Shrek like the Dragon God Douluo.”

“Yes. Even if it costs my life, I won’t let anyone harm my little junior. Teacher entrusted him to me.” Yan Shaozhe’s gaze became very determined.

After Elder Mu passed away, his character had changed greatly. While the Soul Tool Department experienced a rise, he had also developed several changes. Huo Yuhao stood there quietly and started to experience changes. He quickly turned into an entirely different entity as he stood there calmly.

The Dragon Emperor Douluo nodded. Huo Yuhao had merged with heaven and earth. Even though he was still young, he had already managed to reach such a level. Elder Mu had indeed nurtured an outstanding disciple! Although his soul power rank was a little weak for his age, he seemed to be walking a different cultivation path. He was first increasing his spiritual power before he increased his soul power.

A dim layer of golden light surfaced on Huo Yuhao’s body. The golden light wasn’t very strong, but the four Titled Douluo’s eyes brightened when they saw it.

They all had keen eyes, and could tell what it was. This was a sign of an external manifestation of spiritual power. It was their first time seeing a Soul King doing something like this.

They were even more shocked after this. The golden light on Huo Yuhao’s body started to become thicker and thicker, while his aura kept on becoming stronger and stronger. A layer of golden fog started to rise from his body. He was accumulating his power frenetically. His soul power was compressed as it fused with his spiritual power.

He’s trying to do it in one shot! The Dragon Emperor Douluo thought to himself.

At this point, Huo Yuhao’s Eye of Destiny opened and focused in Long Xiaoyao’s direction.

Suddenly, Long Xiaoyao felt his hair standing on his back.

How is this possible? How can he make me feel threatened?
Long Xiaoyao was shocked.

At this instant, Huo Yuhao moved. Behind him, four Class 6 soul thrusters released an unprecedentedly strong light. He was like a golden meteor, crashing down towards Long Xiaoyao. He didn’t use any soul skills, and purely used force. His right fist was aimed towards Long Xiaoyao’s chest.

Long Xiaoyao remained rooted to the ground. He only lifted his left hand quietly to face Huo Yuhao’s golden fist. 
Piak! The fist and palm collided. Amidst a deep, rumbling sound, the golden light around Huo Yuhao’s body became stronger. The suppressive force was about to take his opponent down.

A layer of dim silvery light flashed across Long Xiaoyao’s eyes. He remained where he was without moving, but he didn’t retaliate either. He allowed the intense golden light to impact his body. He didn’t move a single inch.

“Sovereign’s   Descent.   I   didn’t   expect   Brother   Mu’s Sovereign’s Descent to have been imparted to you. You’re worthy to be his disciple just based on this attack.” 
Long Xiaoyao fully approved of Huo Yuhao from the bottom of his heart. He was impressed by the spirit that Huo Yuhao had demonstrated in this attack. Whether it was his comprehension of the Sovereign’s Descent, the combination of his soul and spiritual power or his competitive will, he had reached the highest level of power a Soul King could reach. Even the Dragon God Douluo Mu En couldn’t compare to him at his age.

Huo Yuhao retracted his fist and drifted down. He then did something no one imagined. As he retracted his fist, he made a sideways flip and did a handstand. At the same time, a strong chill was released from his body. Which felt like a tornado was initiated by a snowstorm and windstorm.

His index finger was pressed against the ground, and he started to revolve quickly with this finger as the center. An orange-gold layer of light surfaced on his body, and then an extreme chill engulfed him and the Dragon Emperor Douluo.

Long Xiaoyao was stunned as he said, “Ultimate Ice?” As Huo Yuhao flipped his left hand, the snow and windstorm that was expanding outwards stopped. Only his palm was gently struck towards Long Xiaoyao’s belly. He was using a capturing technique from the Tang Sect, but he had changed it from a grabbing motion to a slapping motion.

Long Xiaoyao instantly felt an indescribable chill penetrating his palm. There was even another intense and special aura within this chill.

Things weren’t looking good. Long Xiaoyao hadn’t thought Huo Yuhao was capable of unleashing such a palm strike. At this point, Huo Yuhao exerted a force from his right hand. As he flipped over, a streak of deep blue sword light shot out of his right hand. It was aimed towards the sensitive center between Long Xiaoyao’s legs.

Long Xiaoyao held a respectable status, and naturally had to keep to his word. As he sparred with Huo Yuhao, he only used Rank 50 soul power. Otherwise, Huo Yuhao’s Snowless Glacier wouldn’t be able to overcome his defenses no matter how strong it was. The Clear Sky Sect’s sect master Niu Tian had once mentioned that the only way to remain completely unharmed by the Snowless Glacier was to avoid it.

In terms of cultivation, Long Xiaoyao was superior to Tai Tan. However, Tai Tan hadn’t restricted his soul power then, and his arm was still frozen by Huo Yuhao. Due to the current environment they were in, and the sudden use of his domain, this palm was actually weaker than the previous time. However, it was only slightly weaker! Long Xiaoyao lost feeling in his entire right arm.

Huo Yuhao didn’t show any mercy to this Dragon Emperor Douluo. He was about to unleash his Ice Explosion soul skill, while the Unparalleled Chill, Empress Sword was also initiated at this point.

Even though he only had three strikes, Huo Yuhao unleashed his fighting strength to its fullest within those three strikes.

No matter how strong the Dragon Douluo was, he was still a man. When some parts of his body were attacked, he would subconsciously protect them. Simply put, most would rather lose their arm than their lower body if they had to choose. Long Xiaoyao also had such a feeling subconsciously. However, the explosive force that came from his arm also left him extremely astonished.

Between victory and his safety, he chose the latter.

A layer of pitch-black dragon scales covered Long Xiaoyao’s right arm. Huo Yuhao’s Ice Explosion soul skill was segregated by the dragon scales that appeared. At the same time, an icy fog also gusted forth from the Dragon Emperor Douluo’s right palm. That extreme chill was forced out from his arm using his immense soul power.

Even with Long Xiaoyao’s abilities, he still needed to give his all to force out the effects of the Snowless Glacier. Against the Unparalleled Chill, he could only retreat.

A streak of cold swept past, and a deep blue sword light shot into the sky. It created a light projection that resembled an icy screen in the air. By this point, Huo Yuhao had already retreated. Long Xiaoyao looked a little dismal. Even if it were anyone else, they wouldn’t feel comfortable as a sharp sword swept past and left a chilly feeling.

He didn’t just move. He’d even unleashed his martial soul. He lost this round even more ridiculously than before.

Evidently, he didn’t understand Huo Yuhao’s abilities enough. Similarly, it was because Huo Yuhao was strong enough that he could make the Dragon Emperor Douluo lose this bet.

Huo Yuhao’s face surged with a patch of red. As he fell back, he spat out some fresh blood. His blood carried a gust of chill. After collapsing to the ground, the region up to a diameter of ten meters around him was frozen in a layer of ice.

The three strikes that he unleashed weren’t that simple. He had to unleash his Sovereign’s Descent to its full extent, and force Long Xiaoyao to react using his spiritual power.

Following this, he had used the Snowy Dance of Ultimate Ice. As he revolved, he had unleashed the Snowy Dance of Ultimate Ice so that it aided his attack. The strength of the domain was greatly enhanced even though he had only unleashed it for an instant. After that, it was forcefully stopped.

Just these alone caused a heavy burden on his body. The Snowless Glacier and Unparalleled Chill that had followed impacted Huo Yuhao greatly, even though he had the help of the Snow Empress’ Spirit! After the three strikes were unleashed, his passageways were also hurt due to the impact of the immense soul power that had coursed through them. After spitting out blood, he felt much better.

Yan Shaozhe and Xian Lin’er didn’t clearly see what Huo Yuhao did. It seemed like the Dragon Emperor Douluo moved after he unleashed his palm and a streak of sword light flashed. It was unbelievable. Their first reaction was that the Dragon Douluo was just giving Huo Yuhao a chance.

However, the Dragon Emperor Douluo spat out a gust of frozen air after that. It was evident that this gust of air had been poured into his body by Huo Yuhao. Did he really let Huo Yuhao win? Long Xiaoyao’s expression was very dismal. After losing to a kid, he was in low spirits. He nodded slightly and said, “You’ve won. Ultimate Ice. Heh, you actually have an Ultimate martial soul. No wonder Mu En wanted to accept you as his disciple even though he was dying. It’s a pity. I should’ve discovered you earlier. All of you can go now. I won’t put you in a tough spot anymore on your journey back.”

“Thank you, Elder.” At this point, no one dared to mock the Dragon Emperor Douluo. Although he had lost, he had lost under a lot of restrictions. He was also an Ultimate Douluo. Furthermore, Huo Yuhao might not have been able to make him move if he didn’t target a spot that left Long Xiaoyao terrified.

At this point, Long Xiaoyao lifted his head and looked into the distance. Six figures appeared on the horizon and quickly arrived.

Their leader was the Tao Tie Douluo, Elder Xuan.

Elder Xuan landed right in front of Huo Yuhao. Zhang Peng started to get depressed when he saw so many people arriving. He was lamenting the fact that they wouldn’t be in such an awkward situation if the Dragon Emperor Douluo wasn’t overconfident and they had just brought more reinforcements. They weren’t able to keep Xian Lin’er and Yan Shaozhe here today.

Elder Xuan noticed Long Xiaoyao right away. He focused his gaze on him. This person is really strong.

“Little Xuan, long time no see.”  Long Xiaoyao had already recovered from his loss and faced Elder Xuan. He looked a little lost.

“You are…?”  Elder Xuan was also shocked. In his memory, Long Xiaoyao was very unfamiliar. There weren’t many who would refer to him in such a fashion either.

“I am Long Xiaoyao,” Long Xiaoyao smiled as he introduced himself.

“Long Xiaoyao? Long Xiaoyao!” Elder Xuan reacted. It wasn’t only him. The rest of the people who had followed him from Shrek Academy were also shocked. “You, you’re still alive?”

Elder Xuan was probably the only one left in Shrek Academy that knew all about the enmity between Long Xiaoyao and Elder Mu. That had happened more than a hundred years ago. Elder Xuan didn’t expect that he would still see this Dragon Emperor Douluo after a hundred years passed, and Elder Mu had already passed away.

Long Xiaoyao sighed and said, “Yes! Mu En’s gone, but I’m still alive. I’m still alive! Haha, hahahaha!”  His laughter was filled with sorrow. Even as he was encircled by the six top- ranked Titled Douluo, he flew up into the air and left.

The Scorpion Tiger Douluo didn’t dare to delay, and quickly followed behind him.

Everyone from Shrek looked at Elder Xuan and seemed to be asking him something with their gazes. Elder Xuan shook his head and watched as Long Xiaoyao left. He looked unprecedentedly serious at this point. If the Dragon Emperor Douluo wanted to leave, how many people could actually stop him? Even Elder Xuan couldn’t.

Yan Shaozhe came beside Elder Xuan and said softly, “Elder Xuan…”

Elder Xuan shook his head at him and said, “Let’s go. Let’s return.” He didn’t want to speak too much, and wore a pensive look on his face. Ever since he’d replaced Elder Mu as the Master of the Sea God’s Pavilion, his clothes weren’t as dirty anymore, and he wasn’t as shabby-looking either. However, he still had his wine gourd with him.

As Elder Xuan spoke, he grabbed onto Huo Yuhao’s arm with one hand and lifted him into the air without using a flying- type soul tool. He used his soul power to propel his body into the air.

Gentle soul power was poured into Huo Yuhao’s body and alleviated the discomfort in his passageways. Elder Xuan was a little stunned as he glanced at Yuhao. He was shocked that Huo Yuhao’s cultivation had reached Rank 50. “Elder Xuan.”  Huo Yuhao was a little agitated as he called out. He was touched from the bottom of his heart. To ensure his safe return, Elder Xuan had welcomed him personally, and even brought a few elders from the Sea God’s Pavilion with him. This showed how close they were.

After hearing his call, Elder Xuan revealed a smile on his face. “Obedient kid. You’ve done well. We all know about your contributions to the academy, and we’ll always recognize them.”

Chapter 208: Twin Holy Dragons of Black and White

Huo Yuhao shook his head and replied, “No, this isn’t considered any contribution. Without the academy, there’s no me. Elder Xuan, how are you?”

Elder Xuan smiled upon seeing the deep affection in his eyes, and replied, “I’m good. Your compatriots are also fine. Tell me what went on today. I didn’t expect that the Dragon Emperor Douluo Long Xiaoyao was still alive…”

Huo Yuhao recounted how he had extorted Jing Hongchen, and how he had expected the journey back not to be a smooth one after he managed to reach an agreement with him. He also explained how he had met Long Xiaoyao and Zhang Peng along the way, as well as how he made the bet with Long Xiaoyao.

After hearing his account, Elder Xuan was stunned. He was clearly aware of the cultivation of an Ultimate Douluo. Even though Huo Yuhao was given a huge advantage in the bet, it was still a miracle that he could win a bet against Long Xiaoyao, given his age! However, Elder Xuan also couldn’t help but furrow his brow. The reappearance of the Dragon Emperor Douluo, as well as his standing opposite Shrek, was definitely not good news.

After sighing, Elder Xuan muttered to himself, “Elder Mu! Only after you left did I realize how heavy the responsibility of the Hallmaster of the Sea God’s Pavilion is.

“It would be great if you were still around. It’s not just all sorts of evil spirits that have appeared. Even your old friend, the Dragon Emperor Douluo, has re-surfaced.”

Huo Yuhao asked, “Elder Xuan, what conflict did the Dragon Emperor Douluo have with teacher?”

Elder Xuan replied, “They have a deep-seated conflict with each other. They aren’t just opponents and friends; they were love rivals too.” As he spoke, Elder Xuan unleashed his Class 8 flying-type soul tool and increased his flying speed sharply. He reduced the depletion of his soul power, and his soul power protected both him and Huo Yuhao. He had a reminiscing look in his eyes. “Elder  Mu  came  from  the  Blue  Lightning  Tyrant  Dragon bloodline that has been around for tens of thousands of years. The Blue Lightning Tyrant Dragon can transform into a Radiant Holy Dragon and become the best martial soul in the world. Elder Mu was one who benefited from this transformation. When he was six years old, he completed the awakening of his martial soul and was greatly nurtured by his family.

“Shrek Academy shares close relationships with many soul master aristocrats on the continent. The Blue Lightning Tyrant Dragons are naturally included. The legacy of the Blue Lightning Tyrant Dragons has been passed down for ages. One of the founders of Shrek Academy was one of them. Tens of thousands of years ago, they were once attacked, and it almost led to the destruction of their legacy. Although this legacy was indeed passed down, there weren’t many who can inherit it. In every generation, there is only one person who inherits the legacy. The leader of the Blue Lightning Tyrant Dragons came to our academy and suggested that Elder Mu be admitted to the academy earlier. The academy agreed after weighing things. That’s why Elder Mu entered the academy when he was only eight years old. At that point, his soul power had already reached Rank 20. No one has been able to break his record since then. “Ten years later, Elder Mu captained Team Shrek in the Elite Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Soul Dueling Tournament. At that point, Elder Mu had reached Rank 69 even though he was just eighteen years old. He was only one step away from breaking the bottleneck and obtaining a
Martial Soul True Body.”

This was undoubtedly a shocking acheivement. Even though the current Shrek Seven Monsters were very outstanding, and three of them even had twin martial souls, none of them were at Elder Mu’s standard. Bei Bei and Xu Sanshi were only at Rank 63 and Rank 64! Furthermore, they were already twenty years old!

Elder Xuan continued, “During that tournament, Elder Mu met Long Xiaoyao and another young woman soul master for the first time. Elder Mu’s martial soul was the Radiant Holy Dragon, while Long Xiaoyao’s martial soul coincidentally directly conflicted with his. Long Xiaoyao possessed the Darkness Holy Dragon, which is also a martial soul that forms after a transformation. It was always very difficult to tell whether light or darkness would win. The two of them could only fight using their cultivation. At that point, Elder Mu’s soul power was slightly superior, and he defeated Long Xiaoyao in the finals. “At that point in time, the only female soul master that could match up to the both of them was called Ye Xishui. She was ravishing, and her abilities were also very strong. After that fight, the three of them learned to respect one another. Eventually, Elder Mu led Shrek Academy to victory. Long Xiaoyao’s academy were the runners-up, while Ye Xishui’s team was among the top four.

“After the tournament, I’m not sure what happened after they graduated from their respective academies. I only know that Elder Mu, Long Xiaoyao, and Ye Xishui bumped into each other after he graduated. The three of them slowly became close friends after they challenged one another. They sparred, cultivated, and traveled the continent together.

“They were budding young talents at that point in time, and they were also very competitive. Each of them hoped to trump the other two in his or her ability. Although they were close friends, they were also close competitors. They did some things that shocked the world of soul masters then, and their abilities improved significantly. Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao also developed feelings for Ye Xishui. Perhaps it was because they were friends, or maybe it was because both of them wanted to completely beat the other party before they confessed their feelings, but neither of them confessed to Ye Xishui. In the blink of an eye, ten years passed, and they became eight-ringed Soul Douluos. They were even on their way to becoming Titled Douluos before they were thirty years old. At that point, Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao couldn’t control their feelings anymore. However, they were very close, and didn’t want to hurt each other. But they didn’t want to give up either. That’s why they gave the final choice to Ye Xishui.

“That day, they went to find Ye Xishui together and confessed at the same time. Ye Xishui was asked to choose between the both of them. However, she had feelings for both of them. Their cultivations and personalities were similar, so there wasn’t any way for her to choose. That’s why Ye Xishui proposed that they fight a year later, and she would date the winner.”

“Seriously?”  Huo Yuhao was shocked as he asked, “Matters of the heart can be decided in this manner?”

Elder Xuan glanced at him with a meaningful look in his eyes and replied, “You might get into such a situation one day. This matter even motivated a tradition in Shrek Academy.”

“Who won the fight a year later?” Huo Yuhao asked. Elder Xuan answered, “No one.”

“What?” Huo Yuhao was confused as he looked at him.

Elder Xuan sighed and said, “That’s because neither of them went.

After they separated that day, Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao pondered over the matter deeply. Eventually, their yearning for love didn’t win over their rationality. They were both aware that their cultivations were too similar. If they went all-out, both parties would only be hurt. However, they were friends and even brothers. That’s why they both made a logical and self-proclaimed wise decision – giving up!

“However, they each didn’t expect the other to make the same choice. Their common choice also hurt Ye Xishui.

“Ye Xishui waited at the rendezvous spot for three days, but neither of them appeared. She was a very proud person, and stormed off in a fury. “Both Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao believed that Ye Xishui was with the other person. They decided to focus on their cultivation after moping for a period of time. They didn’t look for each other because they didn’t want to be reminded of their sad past. In the blink of an eye, ten more years passed. Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao formed their own families. At this point, Ye Xishui came to Shrek Academy suddenly to find Elder Mu. They were all Titled Douluo at that point in time.

“Elder Mu was engulfed by emotions as he saw Ye Xishui again and didn’t know what to say. However, he didn’t expect Ye Xishui to suggest a challenge. Although he was confused, he had no choice, and was forced by her to accept the challenge.

“When   they   broke   up   eleven   years   ago,   Ye   Xishui’s cultivation was inferior to both Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao’s. However, she was now extremely strong after she returned to find Elder Mu. Elder Mu was almost on the brink of losing as he fought her. However, he had a solid foundation, and emerged victorious using his Sovereign’s Descent. He was shocked to realize that Ye Xishui’s martial soul now carried an evil aura. Elder Mu’s teacher, who was also my grandmaster, was the Hallmaster of the Sea God’s Pavilion then. He pointed out that Ye Xishui had become an evil soul master. He wanted to make her stay and cripple her cultivation. “Even though Elder Mu had a family, Ye Xishui was still a very memorable person from his past. He pleaded on her behalf and hoped that grandmaster could let her go. However, the grandmaster didn’t listen to Elder Mu’s pleas, as he believed that she was too dangerous given her cultivation. He kept her in Shrek Academy, but didn’t do anything to her because of Elder Mu.

“However, nobody knew that a bunch of evil soul masters would appear a few days later. They were led by an extremely strong evil soul master, and fought against my grandmaster. Both sides suffered heavy losses, but the strongest evil soul master was dealt a lethal blow. The only downside was that Ye Xishui was rescued.” 
“Before Ye Xishui left, she gave Elder Mu a hateful look. From then on, Elder Mu became very depressed. He didn’t understand why Ye Xishui became like that. Not only did she become an evil soul master, but she was even mixed in with a bunch of evil soul masters. Furthermore, my grandmaster was critically hurt, which broke the last bit of fancy Elder Mu had towards her.

“Elder Mu accompanied my grandmaster until he recovered from his injuries. After that, he was very eager to find Long Xiaoyao to get to the bottom of why Ye Xishui ended up in this state.

“At that point in time, he was filled with rage.

“When  Elder  Mu  found  him,  the  anger  that  he  had suppressed erupted. Before Long Xiaoyao could even explain, he already attacked him. The battle between the Twin Holy Dragons of Black and White resulted in a slight victory for Elder Mu, but their cultivations were still around the same. On account of their brotherly ties, Elder Mu decided to spare Long Xiaoyao.

“After the fight, Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao talked about what had happened over the past ten years. They were shocked to realize that they had both made the same decision. Elder Mu also understood why Ye Xishui came to Shrek Academy to challenge him. They both understood her character, and they felt very guilty towards her. My grandmaster was hurt because of Ye Xishui. Although he regained his health, he was never able to recover completely.

“After  Elder  Mu  and  Long  Xiaoyao  discussed  things,  they decided to find Ye Xishui. Regardless of what had happened, they needed to clarify things with her. That was how the Twin Holy Dragons of Black and White re-surfaced in the continent. They were both Titled Douluos then, and they possessed immense abilities and martial souls. Their reputations rose, and that was how their Twin Holy Dragons title were established. That was also how they became known as the Dragon God Douluo and the Dragon Emperor Douluo.”

Huo Yuhao felt like he was returning to the past as Elder Xuan related this story. He could completely imagine the two Titled Douluo causing an uproar on the continent. When can I become a Titled Douluo? That was basically the dream of every soul master.

Huo Yuhao was dragged back to reality as he sighed. Elder Xuan looked a little upset, “They searched the continent for years, and finally found her. They almost couldn’t recognize her when they found her. She was only thirty-some years old, but her hair was greyish-white, as if she were a forty or fifty- year-old woman. Not only did she appear much more haggard, but she was also engulfed by a very sharp and vicious evil aura.

“Grandmaster’s worry was realized. Ye Xishui’s abilities were way beyond the expectations of Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao. When she saw the two of them again, she immediately attacked them. The shocking Twin Holy Dragons of Black and White were on the losing end after they were attacked by her. Even when they combined their powers, they still seemed a little lacking. They were horrified to find out that Ye Xishui’s abilities had already reached the level of a Transcendent Douluo. The abilities of a transcendent evil soul master were unimaginable! The two of them were no match for her at all.

“They  were  eventually  defeated  badly,  and  critically  hurt. However, she didn’t kill them. She interrogated them and demanded to know why they had humiliated her. Ye Xishui was a very proud person. She believed they had both abandoned her. The humiliation she felt caused the change in her.

“Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao laughed bitterly as they looked at each other. They recounted what they had thought then. Ye Xishui didn’t believe them at the start, but they were already on the verge of death then, and couldn’t possibly lie. Ye Xishui’s emotions changed drastically, and she saved the both of them. After twenty years apart, the three of them sat together once again. However, their friendship wasn’t as close as before.

“Ye Xishui told them that the person who went to save her at Shrek Academy was her husband. After her husband returned, he died from his injuries. Before her husband died, he poured half of his cultivation into her, which pushed her to becoming a Transcendent Douluo-level evil soul master.

“Elder Mu didn’t expect things to reach such a stage, and was stunned for a moment. A combination of factors caused the initial misunderstanding to evolve into such a state. This was something none of them could have expected. “Long Xiaoyao asked Ye Xishui why she became an evil soul master. She told them that she was enraged when neither of them came and decided to cultivate tirelessly before seeking them out to avenge her humiliation. However, she went mad because she was too impatient. At that point in time, she met her future husband, who was a powerful evil soul master. His name was Zhong Li. After he saved her, he forced her to have a
relationship with him and guided his evil powers into her martial soul. This caused a transformation in Ye Xishui’s martial soul, and she became an evil soul master. She hated Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao, but she also hated her husband. She believed that the three of them had ruined her life, when in fact, everything that happened to her was because of her pride.

“Since things had reached such a stage, Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao didn’t know what to do. Ye Xishui wasn’t the same person as before, and their feelings for her had changed. She didn’t kill them, but made them take an oath – from that point on, they could no longer call each other brothers. Ten years later, they had to fight to the death at the exact place where they were supposed to fight before. Only one could survive. Otherwise, she would kill their entire families.

“As they had no choice, Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao took this oath. Although they could tell that Ye Xishui’s personality had changed, their guilt and past feelings for Ye Xishui forced them to accede to her request. Elder Mu told me that both he and Long Xiaoyao blamed each other then. If neither of them had given up, things wouldn’t have reached that stage.

“Ten years later, the Twin Holy Dragons met again. They fought intensely under Ye Xishui’s eyes. Eventually, both of them were critically hurt. However, something strange happened to Ye Xishui then. She didn’t look as old and haggard as before, but as ravishing as how she looked in the past. Since neither of them could kill the other, she set another fight ten years later. This carried on and on, and both Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao were already a hundred years old after a few decades. They had become Transcendent Douluo too. At that point, Ye Xishui disappeared. She sent news that this fight would be their last, and only one would survive. Otherwise, she would destroy the entire continent.

“Ye Xishui was already at Rank 98 then. Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao weren’t her match. The two of them realized that Ye Xishui had seen through their ploy – critically hurting one another without killing each other in their fights.

“After a hundred years, the Twin Holy Dragons’ feelings for her had deepened once again. Elder Mu told me that Ye Xishui was the only woman he had ever truly loved in his life. This was also the same for Long Xiaoyao. In fact, both of them were powerful enough to deploy people to kill Ye Xishui. However, they didn’t do so. Ye Xishui also understood their feelings for her. In the last message she sent them, she told them that she had already put down the hatred she had for them. However, she could only be with the winner. This was also their last
punishment.

“The person who won could marry her. At that point in time, Elder Mu and Long Xiaoyao’s wives had already passed away.”

Elder Xuan sighed again as he stopped speaking for a minute.

Huo Yuhao asked hurriedly, “Who was the eventual winner?”

Elder  Xuan  shook  his  head  and  said,  “There  wasn’t  any winner. They didn’t fight that last battle. Before it could take place, Elder Mu and Du Busi’s brother fought very intensely, and he was irreversibly hurt in the process. That fight took place the day before he was to fight Long Xiaoyao. According to Elder Mu, Du Busi’s brother was sent there by Long Xiaoyao. After he was hurt so badly, Elder Mu took many years to restore his vitality. However, he couldn’t return to his glory days as the Radiant Holy Dragon, and became just like how you knew him. From then on, Long Xiaoyao never appeared again. Elder Mu believed that he was together with Ye Xishui.”

Huo Yuhao was furious. “Long Xiaoyao was so despicable? He still dares to call teacher his brother?”

Elder Xuan replied calmly, “It’s hard to judge something like this. I guess only Long Xiaoyao knows what happened. I didn’t expect that he would reappear after a hundred years. I don’t know if Ye Xishui is still alive. Evil soul masters are unlikely to live past two hundred years old. I’m afraid that he might have been influenced by her and become an evil soul master as well. If that’s the case, it’s going to be a disaster.”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and answered, “I don’t think he has. When I fought him just now and used teacher’s Sovereign’s Descent, I clashed with his spiritual power. I could tell that it was as vast as the starry sky. However, there weren’t any characteristics of an evil soul master within it.”

Huo Yuhao’s spiritual power was very sensitive even though his cultivation wasn’t high. Furthermore, he was also a necromancer. He firmly believed that his senses weren’t wrong. 
Elder Xuan said, “That’s great. However, Long Xiaoyao was obviously here on behalf of the Illustrious Virtue Hall. There was also the Scorpion Tiger Douluo, Zhang Peng. This is very unusual. Long Xiaoyao’s from the Heavenly Soul Empire, he shouldn’t be mixing with those from the Sun Moon Empire. If he’s really being used by the Sun Moon Empire, it means huge trouble.”

Huo Yuhao suddenly thought of a possibility. “Elder Xuan, do you think that the Dragon Emperor Douluo has something to do with the Holy Ghost Church that we discovered? Perhaps it was even created by the Sun Moon Empire?”

Elder  Xuan  furrowed  his  brow  and  said,  “Impossible.  I noticed that Long Xiaoyao still cares about his brotherly ties with Elder Mu. Otherwise, all of you would have perished long before we reached you. I don’t think there’s anyone capable of challenging the Dragon Emperor Douluo in a duel. Not even Du Busi can match up to him.” Huo Yuhao said, “I feel like this Dragon Emperor Douluo is one who cherishes promises. He came for the rare and valuable materials I snagged. However, he decided to give up after he lost. Can we exploit this aspect of his personality…?”

Elder  Xuan  shook  his  head  and  replied,  “The  Dragon Emperor Douluo has been around for two hundred years. He won’t be that easy to deal with. However, I’m certain that he won’t attack Shrek Academy. Initially, he received grandmaster’s guidance when he was acquainted with Elder Mu, and also spent some time in Shrek Academy. The academy can be considered his benefactor. As long as he doesn’t become an evil soul master, I won’t think he’s one to repay kindness with ingratitude.”

After ascertaining the Dragon Emperor Douluo’s background, Huo Yuhao felt a little heavy hearted, like time and tide waited for no man. He was a very long way aways from the abilities of the truly strong individuals. After Elder Mu passed, Shrek’s strongest individual was now Elder Xuan. With Elder Xuan’s Rank 98 abilities as a Transcendent Douluo, he was strong enough to terrorize almost anyone. However, Du Busi’s and Long Xiaoyao’s appearances shook Shrek Academy’s stability greatly. Huo Yuhao desired to contribute his strength to ensure the safety of the academy! However, he knew that he wasn’t strong enough. The only way he could reach that level was to cultivate tirelessly.

……

Shrek City slowly came into view. Huo Yuhao also focused his thoughts, as he was about to return home. This welcoming feeling also alleviated the anxiety that he’d felt. He clenched his fists as he saw the majestic city wall in the distance.

He still had a long way to go, but he needed to take it steadily, step by step. A storm was brewing on the continent, and the only thing he could do was become more powerful. It was only a few months until the Elite Continental Advanced Soul Master Soul Dueling Tournament. This time, the tournament was going to be held in the Sun Moon Empire.

Without a doubt, this was going to be another intense tournament. He and his compatriots were going to be the main forces of Shrek Academy this time, and they were even going to compete as Shrek’s Seven Monsters. Everything started long ago defending Shrek’s glory. 
Under Elder Xuan’s leadership, their group landed a few miles away from Shrek City. The defenses of Shrek City were pretty resolute. Even those from the city didn’t dare to fly above it, lest it leads to misunderstandings, and this also applied to Shrek Academy members. As soul tools developed, all sorts of defense-type soul tools had been installed in Shrek City and Shrek Academy.

The few miles that they had to walk was nothing to their group. When Huo Yuhao saw the gate to Shrek Academy, he started to tear up.

To him, this wasn’t just an academy that had educated and nurtured him. It was his home!

When he had left the Duke’s Mansion, he had told himself that he was an orphan from that point onwards. His mother had passed away, and he could only rely on himself. Shrek Academy was the place that had given him warmth, nurtured him into a talent, given him strength, and made him one of the best among those of the same age. He missed Shrek and everyone from Shrek right now. “Everyone can return to rest. Yuhao, you can stay in the Sea God’s Pavilion temporarily. I’ll arrange a place for you to live after the activities end in a few days. The dormitory that you had on the Sea God’s Island has been allocated to someone else,” Elder Xuan told Huo Yuhao.

“Activities? What activities?” Huo Yuhao was confused.

Yan Shaozhe could tell what he was thinking, and smiled. “Silly kid, have you forgotten? It’s time for the inner courtyard test for the outer courtyard students.”

Huo Yuhao only remembered that after Yan Shaozhe mentioned it.

There was an entrance test for Shrek Academy’s inner courtyard every year. It was targeted towards students of the senior grades in the outer courtyard. There were also other talented students from other academies that wanted to enter Shrek Academy’s inner courtyard. They could use this chance to join the test with recommendations from their academies. If they passed, they could become a part of Shrek Academy’s inner courtyard. However, it was very difficult for students from other academies to pass this test, as Shrek Academy’s Martial Soul Department was the best on the continent. If there were even one or two students from other academies that passed, it was considered very good. Most of the time, no outside students would make it in.

When Huo Yuhao first entered Shrek Academy, he had once wondered when it would be his turn to take the test to enter the inner courtyard. However, he was already a part of the Sea God’s Pavilion now, even though he was only seventeen years old.

“Dean Yan, do you want me to take the test too?” Huo Yuhao said almost immediately. He was itching to take the test.

Yan Shaozhe gave him a weird expression and laughed, “Why? Do you want to strut your abilities in front of the rest of the students? You can if you want to.”

As he said this, Elder Xuan and the other elders couldn’t help but laugh. They had watched Huo Yuhao grow up. Huo Yuhao was Elder Mu’s closed-door disciple, and a core figure among the new generation of Shrek’s Seven Monsters. If he couldn’t pass the test, the Ultimate Soldier Plan would be considered a failure.

Huo Yuhao turned red, and weakly retorted, “I—I’m only worried that the other students will find it unfair if I don’t take the test…”

Elder Xuan was amused as he replied, “Enough, you don’t have to take any tests. The fact that you can win a bet against the Dragon Emperor Douluo already proves that you’ve passed the test. If I used that as a standard, no student would be able to pass the test, apart from you. There’ll be another test for you, and it’ll be more difficult than the inner courtyard test. You’ll be in trouble then.”

“Another  test  for  me?  What  is  it?”   Huo  Yuhao  asked curiously.

Elder Xuan’s smile grew. “You’ll know when you know. Are you returning with us to the Sea God’s Pavilion?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and replied, “No. I’d like to tour the academy since I’ve not been back for so long.” 
“Alright.” Elder Xuan nodded and replied, “Your compatriots should know that you’re back. Bei Bei and the rest are waiting for you at the Tang Sect. After you tour the academy, you can go and find them.”

“Alright.”

After passing a few more instructions to Huo Yuhao, Elder Xuan disappeared as a streak of light. The rest of the elders and the two deans also left. After returning to the academy, they didn’t have to worry about Huo Yuhao’s safety anymore.

Eldest senior and the rest are waiting for me at the Tang Sect? Then I should return to the Tang Sect first.

As he thought of that point, Huo Yuhao didn’t enter the academy, instead making his way into Shrek City.

At this point, a figure sprinted out from Shrek Academy, moving quite rapidly. As he turned around, this figure had already reached in front of him. It was a woman with a tall and slender figure. She wore a white warrior’s robe with silver strappings. Her hair was covered by a bandana, and she wore a veil.

It was early spring now, and the fields around Shrek Academy were flat. The winds also blew stronger during this period of time, and thus it was very common for ladies to be wearing veils.

For some reason, Huo Yuhao felt as if he had met this woman before.

At this point, the bandana on the young lady’s hair was blown off by the wind, and flew towards Huo Yuhao.

He grabbed hold of the bandana subconsciously. At this instant, his entire body stiffened, and he couldn’t shift his gaze away from that young woman.

As the bandana was blown off, the young lady’s pinkish-blue hair swayed with the wind as she made an exclamation of surprise. Her hair covered her entire back until it reached her hips, concealing the shape of her butt. 
As she turned back, her frantic-looking pinkish-blue eyes met Huo Yuhao’s gaze.

The moment that their eyes met, Huo Yuhao felt that his spirit had left his body. The familiarity he felt, the beautiful gaze and the excitement that came from the bottom of his heart made it difficult for him to control his emotions.

He almost blurted out three words immediately—Goddess of Light!

Yes! Why was she so familiar to Huo Yuhao? She looked exactly like the Goddess of Light! Huo Yuhao almost went up to pull down her veil.

“You…” Huo Yuhao discovered that his voice was trembling.

The young lady only panicked for an instant. She subconsciously used one hand to grab hold of her hair and extended her other hand towards Huo Yuhao. Her hand was white and long, and seemed very familiar. Indeed, she looked exactly the same as the Goddess of Light! Huo Yuhao felt his spirit screaming.

“Give it back.”  The young lady’s voice was very pleasing to the ears, as if birds were singing.

Huo Yuhao returned her bandana subconsciously. Before he had a chance to open his mouth, the young lady ran away with the bandana. A layer of golden light was subtly released from her body. By the time Huo Yuhao was able to react, he was only left with the memory of a delicate figure.

Chapter 209: Wang Qiu'er

Wang Qiu’er!

Huo Yuhao could vividly remember that the handkerchief was embroidered with those three words.

Can it be that she is… He didn’t hesitate any longer as he applied strength beneath his feet. His body flickered as he pursued the shadow in the distance – this young girl was heading towards Shrek City, wasn’t she?

The young girl was extremely quick, as if she were a startled little bird. Huo Yuhao had been momentarily stunned before this, and now could only barely see the young girl’s silhouette in the distance.

She’s so fast – she must be a five-ringed Soul King, at least.
She might be a six-ringed Soul Emperor.

Wang Qiu’er? Wang Dong! Can she be the twin sister that Wang Dong spoke of? 
Huo Yuhao wasn’t slow, but there was still a bit of anxiety in his heart, as he wasn’t sure if he should just chase her like that. He knew who she was, but she didn’t know him – wouldn’t that be a little brash?

However, he could clearly feel the palpitations in his heart after just one glance at her elegance and gracefulness. This feeling was identical to when he had first used the Raiment of Light with Wang Dong, and he had seen the Goddess of Light.

Wang Dong didn’t lie to me – his sister actually looks identical to the Goddess of Light! Too beautiful, simply too beautiful! I can’t give up. It should be alright to at least catch up to her and ask her if she’s Wang Dong sister. It won’t be so brash, given my relationship with Wang Dong...

Huo Yuhao convinced himself with that, and gave all he had in this pursuit, with no further hesitation on his part.

The distance between Shrek Academy’s gate and Shrek City’s gate wasn’t that far, and it took a lot of effort for him to close the distance between himself and her shadow. She slowed down and entered the city. 
Huo Yuhao arrived at the gate ten seconds later, and had no choice but to slow down here. This was Shrek Academy’s territory, but most of the people that lived here were ultimately normal citizens, and travelling with the speed of a Soul King was inappropriate.

He stepped briskly into Shrek City. Throngs of people flooded the streets, and life was bustling as usual. He looked around, but could no longer see the girl anymore.

Huo Yuhao’s forehead creased. Even if he activated his Spiritual Detection within the throngs of people, it would be difficult to find just one person in the crowd, as his Spiritual Detection was not normal vision. He couldn’t see faces through Spiritual Detection, and he hadn’t locked onto the girl’s aura before this.

Huo Yuhao scratched his head, and felt extremely frustrated and disappointed – perhaps they just weren’t fated. However, he wasn’t that dejected, as he was about to see his buddies very soon. More than two years had gone by, and he didn’t know how everyone was doing now. I wonder if eldest senior brother and third senior brother are alright? And fourth senior sister, fifth senior sister. Is Wang Dong at the academy, or at the Tang Sect? I’ll return to the Tang Sect before anything else.

He retrieved a map from his Twenty-Four Moonlit Bridges. Bei Bei had given it to him, and there were detailed directions to the Tang Sect within Shrek City drawn on it.

The Tang Sect took up quite a lot of space. Even though they were in a relatively isolated area inside the city, Shrek City’s land was extremely valuable, and the fact that they could own a patch of land like that represented the academy’s special treatment towards them.

He lengthened his strides and wove his way through the city. He hadn’t been back here for a long time, and Shrek City appeared as thriving and flourishing as it had always been. There were many people walking around in the city, and the shops and stores by the street seemed exceptionally popular. Shrek City was an important trade center within the Douluo Continent, and Shrek City’s prosperity had always been Shrek Academy’s most important source of wealth. Otherwise, how could Shrek Academy support the Soul Tool Department’s research?

---

Huo Yuhao was moving towards the Tang Sect while a pair of pretty eyes gazed at him from a shop not too far away. This pair of eyes watched him as he disappeared at the end of the street, before the person stepped out from the shop.

She patted herself on her firm and supple chest, as if she were congratulating herself on avoiding him successfully. The young girl’s eyes flowed with mysterious amusement as she walked towards another street.

---

This would be Huo Yuhao’s first time at the Tang Sect, and he could only follow the lines on the map, so he wasted a lot of time looking for it. It took an entire hour before Huo Yuhao found the Tang Sect. He could see the Tang Sect’s outer walls in the distance. The vermilion walls were more than twenty feet tall, and they extended at least a hundred meters down the street.

The Tang Sect’s main gate was thirty feet tall. There was a giant inscribed board hanging from the top, with “Tang Sect” stamped boldly upon it. When Huo Yuhao saw the signature beneath the inscribed board, his emotions surged, and a wave of sentiment washed over him.

Mu En!

Elder Mu was actually the one that had written these two words before he passed. Huo Yuhao reminisced about Elder Mu when he saw these two words, and he thought about another teacher that had just passed away as deep grief and sorrow welled up in his eyes.

“Teacher,” he whispered under his breath, and Huo Yuhao’s body quivered faintly.

At this moment, the Tang Sect’s main gate opened, and a woman stepped out to face Huo Yuhao directly. 
“Na Na?” Huo Yuhao exclaimed in pleasant surprise as he saw this person. The young girl before him was the girl he had saved from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, the girl with a Spectre martial soul, Na Na!

Na Na was also pleasantly surprised when she saw him, and she took two quick steps forward and went down on one knee. “Master!”

Huo Yuhao was astonished, and swiftly stepped to one side so he could avoid her greeting. “What are you doing, Na Na? Get up!”

Na Na refused to get up, and she shook her head vigorously as the rims of her eyes began to turn red.

Huo Yuhao took a step forward as he grabbed her arm and brought her to her feet. “Are you alright, Na Na? Don’t cry!”

Na Na wiped the trickling tears from her face, and gazed deep into Huo Yuhao’s eyes as she said, “I will never forget how you remade me, and how you’ve given me another life. I only discovered what happiness is when I came to the Tang Sect. Master, you helped my parents’ spirits rest in peace, and you’ve given me a whole new life. I will be your servant and your slave for the rest of my life to repay you for your grace.”

Na Na’s complexion seemed a lot better than the last time. Her pale skin was tinged with rosy hues, and her body was brimming with youthful vitality, while her mental state was also drastically different from before.

Huo Yuhao realized what was going on, and he chuckled as he said, “I thought you weren’t happy at the Tang Sect when I saw you cry. Don’t talk about grace and whatnot in the future, alright? You’re actually older than me by a little bit, so you can just address me by my name and I will do the same. You’re a part of the Tang Sect now, and that means we’re friends.”

“How can I do that?” Na Na rejected him decisively, and said, “A servant must respect her master, how can I address my master by his name? I will honor the things that I’ve said. You’re not trying to test me now, are you, master?”

Huo Yuhao forced a laugh and said, “You think too much, Na Na. Listen to me – if you insist on seeing me as your master, that means you will never forget the past. If that’s the case, then you can never be truly happy. Do you understand? I did not help you out back then because I wanted you to be my servant. I helped you because I truly wanted to help someone whose background and life experience were similar to mine!
My childhood experiences are similar to yours, I’ve also lost my beloved mother. Our lives are connected, so how can I be your master? Forget what happened – since this is a new beginning, it’s better that you forget about the past! You have joined the Tang Sect, and you have contributed to building it up once more, and that’s already the best you can do for me!”

Na Na wanted to say something else, but she caught Huo Yuhao’s determined eyes and swallowed her words.

“Master…”

“Eh? You’re still calling me that?” Huo Yuhao pulled a long face.

“Yuhao,” Na Na said awkwardly. Huo Yuhao laughed and said, “That’s more like it. Are you off for some official business? You should go ahead and do your thing. Are my senior brothers and sisters around?”

Na Na nodded and replied, “Mister Bei is here. You should go inside, sir.”

“You don’t have to call me sir!” Huo Yuhao reminded Na Na again and waved goodbye to her before he quickly stepped into the Tang Sect. He was just too eager to meet his buddies.

A sweet smile flashed across Na Na’s face as she walked through the gate. She mumbled under her breath, “You don’t want me to call you that, then I’ll just call you that in my heart. I have recognized you as my master, then you shall be my master. This is something that will never change. You can’t take it away from me.”

She turned around and departed happily after she spoke.

Huo Yuhao didn’t see a sprawling courtyard when he stepped in. The front courtyard was small, and there were rooms on both sides. They were unornamented, and there wasn’t much decoration; the feel of everything was quite different from what he saw outside. Most of the space was used to build rooms.

Two white-shirted youths came forward when he walked in and blocked his path.

One of the youths, who was about twenty years of age, asked, “What do you want?”

Huo Yuhao chortled and said, “I want to come home.”

“Come home?” The youth was momentarily stunned.

Huo Yuhao replied, “My name is Huo Yuhao, and I’m also a part of our Tang Sect. Bei Bei is my eldest senior brother. Is he around?”

The two white-shirted youths were both pleasantly surprised when they heard his words. The youth that spoke before this said, “So you’re our sixth senior brother! Eldest senior brother is here – let me take you inside.” 
Huo Yuhao said humbly, “I’m not as old as you guys are, you don’t have to call me senior brother. Just address me by my name.”

The youth chuckled and said, “It doesn’t work that way, sixth senior brother. Eldest senior brother says we have to follow the chronological hierarchy of seniority after joining the sect. Furthermore, we are only disciples in name, and we will only become official disciples after passing the sect’s assessment.”

Huo Yuhao felt a tingling in his heart. It seems like eldest senior brother has established rules within the sect! That’s a good thing. He didn’t say anything else, and followed the young man into a second courtyard. 
The second courtyard was a lot more spacious, at least three hundred meters across, and there were still rooms on both sides, with a towering structure in front. An inscribed board hung from the top, which read “Conference Hall”.

Huo Yuhao could hear laughter coming from the Conference Hall before he even reached it, and he could no longer hold back the passion and warmth in his heart as he darted forward and rushed inside.

There were three people inside the hall. One of them was He Caitou, who had gone back earlier than Huo Yuhao, and was the one laughing. There were two young men standing opposite him.

The person on the left was at least a meter and ninety centimeters tall. His shoulders were broad, and he looked as majestic as could be. His tall, muscular appearance gave people the feeling he was as stalwart and steady as a mountain. The person on the right wore a long, flowing robe, and there was a faint smile on his handsome face. His eyes were deep, while his long hair draped over his shoulders. He was more elegant and valiant-looking than the other person, but there was an added tinge of scholarliness.

“Eldest senior brother, second senior brother, third senior brother!” Huo Yuhao exclaimed and leapt forward.

The person on the left was Xu Sanshi, and the person on the right was Bei Bei. They saw Huo Yuhao barrel into the room, and were ecstatic as they hurried forward along with He Caitou. The four of them shared a warm hug.

They couldn’t calm their excitement for a long time, and it took a while before everybody could restrain themselves.

Bei Bei looked at Huo Yuhao with that faint smile on his face and  said,  “You’ve  finally  returned,  little  junior  brother.  It’s been two and a half years! A total of two and a half years!!”

Huo Yuhao nodded vigorously and replied, “I know, right? Two and a half years! I have longed to return home for such a long time, but the exchange program took so long to end! I’ve missed everyone so much, eldest senior brother! Is everyone doing alright?”

Bei Bei smiled and said, “We are extremely good. How is it?
The Tang Sect is starting to take shape. How does it feel?”

Huo  Yuhao  said  sincerely,  “Thank  you  for  your  troubles, eldest senior brother and third senior brother. I didn’t expect us to be able to have our own territory in just two years. Even though it’s still incomplete, it’s indeed starting to take shape.”

Bei Bei said, “We are waiting for you to take the reins. You have to bear this mantle of taking care of the Tang Sect in the future.”

“Me?” Huo Yuhao was taken aback. He tossed his head from side to side and said, “No, no. How can I do that? It should be you guys who take charge.”

Xu Sanshi laughed heartily and said, “What did I say? I knew this fella would shirk his responsibility. Who would want to fight with you for this tiring job?” 
Bei Bei pulled a long face and said, “Little junior brother, the Tang Sect’s development in the future will be mainly focused on soul tools, and both He Caitou and you are soul engineers.”

Huo Yuhao said, “I will try my best to help the Tang Sect. However, only you can be the Tang Sect’s overall director. I can be responsible for the forging of soul tools and related technology, but I know nothing about coordinating and managing a sect!”

Bei Bei laughed and said, “I know nothing either. We will learn if we experiment a few times. Alright, you’ve just returned from a long journey, so let’s not talk about all this. Sit down and take a break.”

“Alright!”  Huo Yuhao answered happily and sat down, his heart still excited.

He finally had time to survey the Conference Hall’s layout. The layout was simple and unadorned, with green tiles lining the floor, while the furniture was the color of red dates, and exuded a minimalistic and unornamented feel as well. There was a long table in the middle, with twenty chairs on either side. The main seat was in the north, facing the south.

He Caitou said, “Eldest senior brother, how far has the Tang Sect developed? Tell me and little junior brother about it, eh?”

Bei Bei nodded and answered, “The Tang Sect is developing rapidly, and its speed has exceeded my personal estimations. The blueprints that little junior brother sent back were the catalysts.”

The blueprints that Huo Yuhao had recorded in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy had all been sent back to Bei Bei, and Bei Bei had replicated each one of them before he handed them over to the academy. Now, Shrek Academy had blueprints of all the soul tools that the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy possessed. However, several models of soul tools that Huo Yuhao had designed and invented himself were only available to the Tang Sect. This decision was made after Bei Bei discussed it with Huo Yuhao via letters, and after they explained their reasons to the Sea God’s Pavilion. In the end, the Tang Sect would need funds if they wanted to expand. They would only be able to gather more talents and prodigies if they had funds, so that they could flourish and develop properly.

Shrek Academy had become the Tang Sect’s greatest support and backup. The Academy had provided them with money in advance, and they nominated students who had graduated from both the outer and inner courtyard, but didn’t have a sect. If these students were willing, they could join the Tang Sect.

They were just starting out, so there were very few students who wanted to join the Tang Sect. However, following the speedy advancement of Shrek Academy’s Soul Tool Department, the Tang Sect would become one of the best places to go in the near future. This was also an opportunity that Bei Bei had grasped with his sharp insight.

An academy was an academy, after all. Academies could nurture prodigies and talents, but they couldn’t really keep them. This was especially so for students who graduated from the outer courtyard, who could only leave after their six years of studies if they couldn’t make the cut for the inner courtyard. However, sects were different, and disciples could stay at a sect for a lifetime once they were a part of it. As long as the sect was powerful enough, and they could provide conducive environments for cultivation and financial stability, then they would be able to keep these talents and prodigies indefinitely.

Because of this fact, Shrek Academy had devised a plan to establish their own sect before Elder Mu passed away.

However, Shrek Academy was simply too popular. Establishing a Shrek Sect wasn’t realistic at all, and would definitely attract disputes and trouble. The Tang Sect was different – it had a long history, and an intimate connection with Shrek Academy, so using Shrek Academy as support to recreate the Tang Sect was not a bad choice.

What Bei Bei regretted most was that he wasn’t able to confirm everything back in the day, so he was never able to relay the good news to Tang Ya, and he wanted to make sure everything was confirmed and in place before he could give her a pleasant surprise. However, he had never expected Tang Ya to disappear without a trace once she departed.

“The Tang Sect will be divided mainly into the inner hall and the outer hall. Our inner hall and outer hall are different from the Academy’s inner and outer courtyards – the inner hall is responsible for administrative matters, management, manufacturing soul tools, etcetera, while the outer hall is responsible for foreign policy and handling worldly affairs. For example, the outer hall will be responsible for corporate communications, battles, and whatnot. The inner hall has more than thirty people, and in addition to some veteran
craftsmen, the outer hall has almost one hundred people. We can produce ten of your Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannons every month, and this is already the fastest we can go. Orders are all from Shrek City and the academy.”

“Sanshi is in charge of the outer hall. We are still in the early phases, and we have taken in some students from the outer courtyard, but not a single student from Shrek’s inner courtyard is willing to join us. However, I believe that everything will be fine as the Tang Sect becomes increasingly stronger.”

Bei Bei thus explained the Tang Sect’s organizational structure, as well as the inner hall and the outer hall’s branches, to Huo Yuhao and He Caitou.

The Tang Sect’s Soul Tool Forge imitated the Illustrious Virtue Hall in some senses. Even if they weren’t completely underground, half of the workshop was belowground, and some key components were completed in the basement, while normal components were produced in the foundry aboveground.

The only soul tool that the Tang Sect was currently producing was the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon, along with some cannon shells. However, they would need at least two years to meet the purchase orders from Shrek City and Shrek Academy.

“I wanted to wait for your return to discuss this with you, Yuhao. Do you think we can export the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon? If we can export it, then we will immediately see an increase in the volume of sales. Manpower isn’t really a problem, and the academy’s Soul Tool Department has been trying internships and field work at our place, and we can pay them in return for their aid in creating formation arrays and miscellaneous components.”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “Eldest senior brother, I think it’s better if we hold off on exporting the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon. If the budget allows, we can increase production and store some inventory. We will discuss the exporting issue when I return from the Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Soul Dueling Tournament.”

Bei Bei said, “With the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon’s unique characteristics, I’m sure both the Sun Moon Empire and Heavenly Soul Empire will be extremely interested if we show it to them. Manufacturing Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannons is extremely complicated, but it doesn’t require too much precious metal to make them. Cannon shells alone contribute to most of our revenue. I’ve already discussed it with the academy, and the Soul Tool Department will open a special district for us to hire more skilled craftsmen so that we can mass produce soul cannon shells. The stationary cannon shells will be shifted back to Shrek City for storage. We will only sell those below Class 4 to the outside world, which we can mass produce.”

Huo Yuhao replied, “You can make this decision yourself, eldest senior brother.”

Bei Bei laughed and said, “When I first test-fired your Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon, both Xu Sanshi and I were shocked. We had the feeling that it would have been difficult even for us to emerge unscathed if we had been the targets. However, the Tang Sect’s production cannot be so limited. We will need more funds if we want to develop better, so reaping a profit from wars and conflicts is a must.”

A look of anxiety flashed in his eyes. “The Sun Moon Empire has become more overbearing and dominant over the past two years. Even though they are still fighting for the throne internally, the crown prince that has the advantage seems to be from the hardline faction, so war might be inevitable if he eventually ascends to the throne.”

“The  guy  with  no  legs?”  He  Caitou  asked  with  a  hint  of astonishment.

Bei Bei nodded and said, “Don’t underestimate him. This Xu Tianran is exceptionally impressive – he has the courage and the wits, and he’s from the pro-war hardline faction. If Huo Yuhao hadn’t sent back those blueprints, we would still be clueless that the three native empires of the Douluo Continent have been lagging so far behind them in soul tool development. They will rely on advanced soul tools and masses of soul engineers, and I think neither the Star Luo Empire nor the Heavenly Soul Empire can defend themselves if the Sun Moon Empire eventually launches an invasion.” 
Xu Sanshi added, “At that time, our Zhuge Divine Crossbow will be extremely useful.”

He Caito laughed and agreed, “Definitely. The Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon that our little junior brother has designed combines the Tang Sect’s Zhuge Divine Crossbow’s gear mechanisms with soul power consumption. It’s similar in strength to a Class 5 stationary soul cannon, but it can be fired repeatedly while it doesn’t expend much soul power at all. Normal people can operate the crossbow if it has been charged with soul power beforehand, and that is a characteristic that no other soul tool has. The cannons will become extremely formidable if there are enough of them.”

The Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon Huo Yuhao had designed wasn’t that mighty in terms of power and force. However, it could use many different types of stationary soul cannon shells, and its most frightening aspect was the same one that he had shown to Jing Hongchen – he drew upon the Tang Sect’s machine-type hidden weapon, the Zhuge Divine Crossbow, and its automatic mechanisms. It was exceptionally simple and convenient to operate, to the point where even Soul Grandmasters could operate it. 
If Huo Yuhao could use that Sealed Milk Bottle that Xuan Ziwen had designed, then the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon could be directly operated by normal soldiers, and they would only have to switch Milk Bottles after firing for a period of time.

Of course, because the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon was a stationary soul tool, there was a corresponding high demand for stationary soul cannon shells. The item itself was quite large so it could store more cannon shells, and thus it was more suitable for defense, and wasn’t as effective when used offensively.

Huo Yuhao said, “Eldest senior brother, I have made some refinements and improvements to the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon. We can add these changes in to our next batch, and I have drawn detailed blueprints. I have several other designs that we can try producing as well.”

Bei Bei laughed and said, “Alright. There’s no rush –  you’ve just returned, and yet all we talk about are these things. We’re going to participate in the big competition again after a few months, are you confident? I promised Elder Xuan that we will definitely win, and only then did he allow us to focus on the Tang Sect instead of on our cultivation.”

Huo Yuhao chuckled and said, “You’re the team leader. This question should be directed at you!”

Bei Bei said, “Are you trying to shirk your responsibilities again? I will check later whether you’ve overlooked your cultivation over the past two years while you worked on soul tools.”

Huo Yuhao laughed, but said nothing. He Caitou chimed in from the side and said, “You didn’t see what happened, eldest senior brother! Back in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, Huo Yuhao faced off against the academy’s elites himself, and he practically walked over them. The championship will definitely be ours – we took the trophy five years ago, and it will be no different this time.”

Bei Bei said, “We can’t be too complacent. We have many adversaries, and the competition will be held in the Sun Moon Empire. I believe the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy will be determined and committed to take the crown as well. We might not be able to take it down as smoothly as you think.”

Xu Sanshi said, “You’re worrying over nothing. You’ll see what I can do when the time comes – if it’s a single-elimination match, I think I alone will probably be enough.”

Bei  Bei  shot  a  glare  at  him  and  said,  “Enough  about  the competition. You should deal with Nannan first before anything else.”

Xu Sanshi crumpled like a deflating balloon and plopped onto the ground when he heard Nannan’s name, and he suddenly looked a little sullen and dejected.

Huo Yuhao said, “Oh yes. Where are fourth senior sister and fifth senior sister? Where’s Wang Dong?”

Bei Bei smiled faintly and said, “You only just remembered? They’re all busy, and you will see them very soon. There’s an important activity in the inner courtyard today, and it should have been conducted earlier, but eldest senior sister postponed it continuously to wait for you and He Caitou to return. The date was fixed only when we confirmed you were on your way back.”

Huo  Yuhao  knew  that  the  “eldest  senior  sister”   Bei  Bei referred to was Zhang Lexuan. She was truly the most powerful student of the inner courtyard, and she was already part of the Sea God’s Pavilion.

“What activity?” Huo Yuhao asked curiously.

Bei Bei replied mysteriously, “I’m not going to tell you for now, so that you will be even more pleasantly surprised afterwards. You only need to know that this is the most important activity in the entire history of the inner courtyard. We will tell you when the activity is about to start.”

Huo Yuhao stared at the mysterious and secretive expressions on Bei Bei and Xu Sanshi’s faces, and then at the look of befuddlement on his second senior brother’s face. He didn’t really understand what was going on, and he had no idea what this activity could be about. “Will Wang Dong return in time to participate?” Huo Yuhao asked once more. He couldn’t help but think about the young girl he had encountered when he brought up Wang Dong’s name. He wanted to ask Bei Bei about her, but he figured that Wang Dong’s sister had probably just arrived at the academy to participate in the entry examination, and she probably wasn’t officially part of the academy yet. Eldest senior brother had been at the Tang Sect this whole time, so he probably didn’t know much either. Of course, he wasn’t sure whether it was simply because he was embarrassed about asking in the first place.

“Ah, he will definitely make it back in time.” Bei Bei laughed again as the tinge of mystery in his smile seemed to become thicker.

“That’s good. Eldest senior brother, third senior brother... Second senior brother and I will talk about some of the blueprints that we have brought back with us. We shall discuss which soul tools are most appropriate for production to benefit the Tang Sect. Let’s also talk about our expansion issues.” Huo Yuhao retrieved the invaluable Starlight Sapphire ring from his finger as he spoke. It was his own ring, and not the one that Jing Hongchen had given him. He had exchanged precious metals for this in Radiant City, and it wasn’t easy – all the good stuff was stored inside. 
“Yes.” Bei Bei’s expression grew serious.

Xu Sanshi was staring at him at this moment, and he passed an inquisitive look to Bei Bei. The corner of Bei Bei’s mouth curled into a faint smile, and he responded with a slight shake of his head. Xu Sanshi made a disdainful gesture before he turned back towards Huo Yuhao with a piteous look as Huo Yuhao laid the blueprints out across the table.

Huo Yuhao immediately became extremely focused when soul  tools  were  concerned.  The  “activity”  that  he  was  just talking about was thrown to the back of his mind, and he quickly entered the zone as he began to explain his principles and concepts.

He Caitou chipped in and added things from time to time. He Caitou’s mastery of soul tools was actually far superior to Huo Yuhao’s, but he had had no choice but to mask it a little when he was at the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. Their research directions were different – Huo Yuhao researched close-combat soul tools that were more suitable for himself, and he investigated certain concepts regarding the combination of the Tang Sect’s hidden weapons and soul tools, while He Caitou was responsible for designing and experimenting with forging these soul tools. They didn’t seem like they interacted much at the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, but they actually coordinated with each other through letters. They had applied the Ultimate Solder Plans’ methods of infiltration and penetration to their exchange studies.

Time quickly passed, and the sky turned dark. Huo Yuhao and He Caitou decided to remain at the Tang Sect that night, and the four of them worked late into the night. They only went to rest when they finalized the Tang Sect’s general direction for the next couple of years.

---

The night passed by peacefully. The next morning, Bei Bei and Xu Sanshi took Huo Yuhao and He Caitou to the Tang Sect’s foundry. The two of them made some adjustments to the foundry based on their own experiences, and they gave a few suggestions based on the plans they had devised.

The foundry was bound to be expanded, and the safest place to expand into was Shrek Academy’s Soul Tool Department. According to the suggestions they had put forth the previous day, they would immediately build an underground warehouse beneath the Tang Sect to store precious soul tools.

He Caitou would become the person in charge of the Tang Sect’s branch in Shrek Academy’s Soul Tool Department, and he would be responsible for the supervision and forging of soul tools. The advanced stationary soul cannon shells that he had been investigating over the past two years were about to enter the experimental and production phase.

Huo Yuhao had to remain at Shrek Academy to finish his studies while he continued designing soul tools with He Caitou. Of course, this wouldn’t take too long. Huo Yuhao had been waiting for one person to return, and if that person did show up, then he would be released from designing soul tools and could focus on his own close-combat soul tools. Furthermore, there were more important things for him to accomplish after graduation, but all those were stories for later.

---

Another day passed by as they hustled along. Huo Yuhao and He Caitou quickly became familiar with the Tang Sect’s various tasks and administration. The foundry had gone through drastic changes after the addition of two professional high- level soul engineers, Huo Yuhao and He Caitou tweaked and adjusted some machines used to forge soul tools, and they crafted some machines themselves. The various precious metals Huo Yuhao had sent back were put to use, and the Tang Sect hidden with Shrek City’s walls was starting to look like a machine opearting at top speed.

---

“Take a break, little junior brother.”  Bei Bei came into the foundry and interrupted Huo Yuhao, who was still working away.

“Eldest senior brother,”  Huo Yuhao chortled as he surveyed the dirt and stains on his body, “I can’t sit around idly! I really want to make up for the past two years as I watch the Tang Sect become more prosperous every day.”

Bei Bei laughed and said, “Your contributions to the sect cannot be estimated this way. An influential and powerful sect is not established overnight. Also, do you remember the activity I told you about the other day? It will be held tomorrow, so you shouldn’t stay at the Tang Sect tonight, and you should follow me to the Sea God’s Pavilion. Sanshi and Caitou will tag along, so that it’s easier for us to attend the event tomorrow.”

“Okay.”  Huo Yuhao didn’t really have much of an opinion about his eldest senior brother’s instructions, and he acknowledged them with a nod of his head before returning to his work.

They were going to participate in the Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Soul Dueling Tournament in a few months. Bei Bei and Xu Sanshi seemed as relaxed as they could be on the surface, but everybody knew that this competition under their leadership was exceptionally important to them and the academy. This was especially true since the competition was going to be hosted in the Radiant City, which would demand a lot more from them.
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