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    Chapter 189

    The Halo and the Fourth Rank Blacksmith

    The clock slowly ticked by. It was normal for the Thousand Refinements to take a few hours, but the relentless storm of Tang Wulin’s twin hammers had already reduced the Blue Coppertite to one-third of its original size in only a quarter of an hour. Its blue hue grew brighter and brighter while the ripples on its surface began to slow down and stabilize.

    He’s almost done?

    So fast!

    The Stacked Hammers effect may have helped Tang Wulin, but it was his strength, judgement, and understanding of the metal that allowed him to finish so quickly.

    Having already become one with his hammers, Tang Wulin’s concentration could not be broken. Surprisingly enough, he was actually beginning to resemble his hammers.

    Bang bang bang!

    The final hammer strike descended, and an azure halo that was a third of a meter in diameter burst from the Blue Coppertite, fusing back into the metal a moment later and disappearing.

    “A halo emerged!” Cen Yue cried.

    Only metals at the second-grade and above could release a halo. Furthermore, the appearance of a halo signified the degree to which spirit was imbued into the metal. This was the origin of the name, “Half-Spirit Refinement.”

    That halo just now wasn’t an ordinary second-grade halo! Cen Yue wiped cold sweat from his forehead. Did this boy just forge a first-grade metal? Is he trying to astonish us even more?

    Mu Chen’s eyes lit up. He raised one hand to stop Tang Wulin and used his other to grab the metal. “You don’t need to do anything else. We’re ending the test here. You’ve succeeded at Thousand Refining a second-grade Blue Coppertite and officially passed the fourth rank test.”

    Since Tang Wulin could forge a second-grade Blue Coppertite, they didn’t even need to check if he could do the same with lesser metals.

    “It isn’t of the first-grade?” Cen Yue asked Mu Chen.

    Mu Chen shook his head. “It falls a bit short, but it’s nearly there. You’ll make a lot of money off of this Blue Coppertite the next time you accept some tasks. Go back and prepare for the Grand Banquet of the Sea and Sky. It begins in one month.”

    “But… teacher, don’t I still need to attend class?” Tang Wulin asked.

    Mu Chen said, “You don’t need to worry, the association will help you take care of that. You need to spend the remaining time forging. I’ll continue to teach you once a week. It seems like I need to start teaching you the technique needed to forge first-grade metals.”

    Tang Wulin smiled. “Yes, thank you, teacher.”

    “I’ll go with you.” Mu Xi took the initiative to accompany him back to the academy.

    After the two left the Blacksmith’s Association, Mu Xi suddenly pinched Tang Wulin’s cheek.

    “Ow! Senior disciple sister, what are you doing?” Tang Wulin complained.

    Mu Xi snorted. “I’m checking if you’re even human. Isn’t everyone supposed to be equal? You don’t have another face, so how are you able to progress so quickly?”

    “Senior disciple sister, I don’t have a second face,” Tang Wulin said in embarrassment.

    Mu Xi suddenly became all smiles. “I know. Can I talk to you about something? If no one ends up being better than me at the Skysea Alliance Tournament, can you let me win? I’ll give you the prize money too, and then you’ll have the money for both first and second places. I’ll even give you the metals that are awarded as well. How about it?”

    Tang Wulin stared at her in a daze. “Okay.”

    Okay? Mu Xi thought she misheard him. He agreed so easily?

    “Hey, do you even understand the significance of the Skysea Alliance Tournament? How can you agree so easily?”

    Tang Wulin said, “It’s just fame. The difference between first and second place can’t be that large anyway. If I can earn more money by giving up first place for second place, then I’m all for it!”

    “I’m convinced now—you really only think about money!” Mu Xi smacked the top of his head lightly. “I’m just joking with you. If I stole first place from you, dad would kill me!”

    A trace of a smile appeared on Tang Wulin’s lips. “Teacher wouldn’t do that. He actually looks at you with doting eyes. I’m serious, senior disciple sister. If no one is better than you, I’ll give you first place. I’ll be taking that prize money though.”

    Tang Wulin’s earnest insistence left Mu Xi in a daze. “I don’t want you to do this for my dad.”

    With her intelligence, she immediately realized what Tang Wulin intended. He was doing a favor to Mu Chen.

    Tang Wulin shook his head. “It’s not what you’re thinking. Teacher once said that the tallest tree in the forest will be ravaged by the wind. I’m still very young, so what do you think would happen if I reveal that I’m already a fourth rank blacksmith? I’m still a long ways from three rings and Spirit Refinement, so what does first place even mean to me? If I just take second place, then I can keep a low-profile while earning some money.”

    Mu Xi curiously asked, “Can you tell me why you need so much money?”

    Tang Wulin forced out a bitter smile. “My cultivation path is a bit different from other people. I need a lot of heavenly treasures to continue evolving my martial soul. My strength comes from that evolution. You know that my martial soul is Bluesilver Grass. Take a look!”

    Tang Wulin raised his right hand and summoned his golden scales.

    The sight of the golden scales left Mu Xi speechless. She slowly raised a finger and tapped on the scales, creating a sharp metallic tone.

    “This is why you’re in class zero? This is the source of your strength?” Mu Xi asked in disbelief.

    Tang Wulin nodded.

    “Aren’t you afraid I’ll tell my dad?” Mu Xi asked suspiciously.

    “I don’t intend to hide this from teacher!” Tang Wulin said.

    “Forget about it, then!” Mu Xi nodded at Tang Wulin’s answer in satisfaction. “I’ll look out for you in the academy from now on. If anyone dares bully you, just tell me their name.”

    Tang Wulin didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Senior disciple sister, what are you saying? I don’t get into fights anyway.”

    “You don’t get into fights? Who was it that sent his roommates flying out of their second-floor window on the first day, hm? I can’t seem to remember…”


    “Oh, right, do you like Zixin?” Mu Xi asked suddenly.

    Tang Wulin was blindsided by this question, and his face immediately went beet red before he waved his arms in denial. “N-No! No, I don’t! I don’t…”

    “Hahaha! Look at how flustered you are! Aren’t you usually super calm? I understand. You’re confused about the matters of the heart and are trying to deny it, but it’s clear that you like her! Just what are you learning at such a young age?” Mu Xi pinched his face over and over.

    Tang Wulin was distressed. “I really don’t! Senior Sister Zixin is just a really nice person, and we frequently run into each other during our morning jogs. Even if I did like her, it would be because she’s so pretty and gentle. I can appreciate those qualities, you know! Don’t go having any weird thoughts!”

    Mu Xi raised her eyebrows. “So you’re saying that I’m not pretty or gentle enough for you to like… and you don’t appreciate me?”

    Tang Wulin was still a ten-year-old child, so how could he hope to win an argument against a developing young lady? Mu Xi was fourteen years old this year and was far more mature than him.

    “I-I…” Tang Wulin gawked at her, speechless.

    Isn’t that right though? You’re not gentle at all!

    Tang Wulin had to admit Wu Xi was pretty, but he would never say so out loud.

    After pinching Tang Wulin’s face a bit more, Mu Xi was satisfied.

    Bullying him is even more fun than being cold to him! Her mouth curled into a wicked smile.

    They soon arrived at the academy and Tang Wulin let out a sigh. He flew back to his dorm while rubbing his aching cheeks, the sound of Mu Xi’s witch-like cackling chasing after him.

    “The Skysea Alliance Tournament?”

    Tang Wulin mentioned the tournament during lunch and immediately caught Xie Xie’s ear. He hadn’t realized just how much Xie Xie knew about the tournament!

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    Chapter 190

    Starwheel Ice Staff

    “That’s amazing! There are eighteen first-class cities in our federation and they’re divided into the five regions—the north, the east, the south, the west, and the center. Each region has a few major cities, but the center region only has two: Heaven Dou City and Shrek City. Even though that’s less than the other regions, these two cities make up for it with their influence. Our eastern region actually has five first-class coastal cities that form the Skysea Alliance. Eastsea City is ranked second among the five.

    “The Skysea Alliance Tournament is held every three years to scout excellent geniuses and check out the strength and development of all the cities. Naturally, those who show the most talent are practically guaranteed to shine brilliantly in the future. The most outstanding people may even be chosen to represent the Skysea Alliance in the federation-wide tournament that’s held every five years! That’s a grand tournament that involves the entire continent! Have you seriously never heard of this before?”

    Tang Wulin awkwardly scratched his head. He really hadn’t heard of this before! Who would even mention such a thing in a small town like Glorybound City? Even if someone had, he would have been too young to remember it.

    “Isn’t the federal tournament usually held in Shrek City?” Xu Xiaoyan asked, staring at Tang Wulin in shock as he inhaled all of the gourmet food before him.

    “That’s right! It’s held in Shrek City. Fortunately, Shrek Academy doesn’t participate in that tournament, otherwise, the results wouldn’t be suspenseful. It’s been the number one academy on the continent for the past ten thousand years after all.”

    Xu Xiaoyan grew excited. “Doesn’t that mean we have a chance, then?”
    Her words made Xie Xie dispirited. “What chance? We’re still too young. I looked it up a long time ago. The federal tournament is being held next year, and we’ll only be eleven years old then. According to our age, we would be put into the ten-to-fifteen division. Considering that we’ll only be eleven years old, we would be at a severe disadvantage. We would be facing the continent’s greatest geniuses after all! And that’s assuming we even qualify to enter. In order to qualify, we would need to participate in this year’s Skysea Alliance Tournament and place in the top six of our age group. Next time the federal tournament is held, we’ll be sixteen years old and get bumped up to the fifteen-to-twenty division. It would be strange if we did well in that tournament. We really were born at the wrong time.”

    Tang Wulin continued to gorge himself as he said, “Don’t worry about rankings. It’ll be fine as long as we gain some experience and knowledge. You don’t have to be so determined to win.”

    Gu Yue said, “Who cares if we’ll be eleven? Who said that an eleven-year-old can’t be the champion? If you don’t have believe in yourself, who will believe in you? If you want to do it, then do it.”

    Finishing her speech, Gu Yue stood up to put her tray away.

    Xie Xie’s mouth curled in disdain as she left. “She’s talking as if we’re actually going to participate in the Skysea Alliance Tournament. Aren’t you the only one participating, Wulin?”

    Tang Wulin couldn’t be bothered to speak anymore; today’s meal seemed more filling than usual.

    That was some delicious seafood!

    Tang Wulin had grown up on the coast, yet he had never eaten such amazing seafood. Aside from the mouth-watering flavor, an indescribable feeling of warmth spread throughout his body when the food entered his stomach.

    After lunch, all of them gathered to discuss Wu Zhangkong’s strength and what tactics they could use to restrain him.

    As for victory over Wu Zhangkong… they had never even considered it. Their only goal was to survive against him as long as possible.

    Tang Wulin was confident about today’s combat training since his Bluesilver Grass had become so powerful after reaching the thousand-year level. Furthermore, Goldlight could finally play an active role in battle. If it hadn’t been for Goldlight, Tang Wulin would have been too focused on neutralizing Gu Yue’s explosive ball of fire and ice to defend against her follow up attack.

    In his opinion, Gu Yue’s greatest strength lay in her control over the element of space. She could teleport all over the battlefield with it and employ a myriad of different battle tactics.

    They eventually came to the simple conclusion that they could only prolong their survival by working together.

    “Xiaoyan, you said you’re even stronger at night, so can you show us after dinner?” Tang Wulin wanted a thorough understanding of his new teammate to further develop their teamwork.

    Xu Xiaoyan hesitated for a moment before saying, “Okay.”

    In truth, her family had specifically warned her not to reveal her unusual power. However, now that she came face to face with the greatest geniuses of Eastsea City, she simply felt too powerless during the day. She knew that staying in class zero depended on whether or not she could obtain the approval of her new classmates.

    For this reason, she only needed a moment of thought before agreeing.

    If I don’t show my strength, how am I supposed to fit in with these geniuses? There’s no way I can match them with just observation skills and precise control!

    Night fell soon after they finished dinner.

    The four classmates were walking toward a grove in the corner of the fields.

    Regardless of whether it was Tang Wulin, Xie Xie, or Gu Yue, all of them were curious about what change Xu Xiaoyan would experience at night. Throughout the Douluo Continent, fantastical martial souls of every description could be found. If it was possible, then it likely existed. For example, Gu Yue’s martial soul allowed her to control six elements. This was something that had never been heard of before, so just how unique was Xu Xiaoyan’s martial soul?

    Inside the gloomy grove, Gu Yue raised her hand and summoned a resplendent golden light, illuminating their surroundings.

    Anticipation welled up in Xie Xie. It was only natural since they were quietly doing mysterious things in a forest at night.

    Xu Xiaoyan stepped forward and looked toward the stars. This grove’s canopy was nowhere near as lush as the one in the spirit ascension platform, so starlight easily pierced through it.

    Specks of starlight twinkled in the sky. She nodded once. “I’m starting.”

    She raised a hand toward the sky while a yellow soul ring rose from beneath her feet and a slender ice staff appeared in her hand.

    The golden light from Gu Yue’s hand struck the ice staff, giving it a holy aura with a golden glow.

    Xu Xiaoyan’s expression turned grave. She raised the staff higher as light burst from her eyes.

    “The stars in the heavens that shine forever tranquil, grant me strength! My starwheel!” Summoned by her gentle call, the tip of her staff suddenly began to shine, and a golden beam of light descended from the heavens!

    An orb of light instantly appeared at the tip of the staff. It gradually changed to become a six-pointed star of golden light.

    This is…

    A variant martial soul?

    This possibility instantly popped into Tang Wulin’s mind. Furthermore, it was a mutation that could be controlled!

    Xu Xiaoyan’s aura transformed the moment the starwheel appeared, changing from weak and delicate to confident and bold. She seemed more refined and pure under the sparkling starlight.

    Specks of starlight even found their way onto her soul ring, and a golden star adorned her forehead.

    With a wave of her staff, the starwheel shot out and embedded itself at Xie Xie’s feet.

    In that moment, Xie Xie felt his body seize up as a chill permeated his body, stealing away his mobility.

    The starwheel grew bright, then exploded into icy shackles around his body.

    Xie Xie quickly circulated his soul power in a bid to resist, but he was shocked to discover that there seemed to be some sort of mysterious seal on him that slowed his circulation.


    Xu Xiaoyan’s complexion paled and she looked toward Tang Wulin. “I can draw upon the starwheel’s strength at night, so my martial soul is called the Starwheel Ice Staff. It’s different from my big brother’s ice staff. The Starwheel Ice Staff is a special variant martial soul that has been passed down through my clan since ancient times. It’s been several hundred years since someone last awakened it. The power of the starwheel will grow with me, so whatever spirit soul I fuse with will influence the starwheel. However, I can only display its full strength at night. I’m just an ordinary Soul Master with an ice staff during the day, but at night, I am blessed by starlight.

    “The starwheel is separate from my ice attribute and is actually an astrological attribute that lets me draw power from the stars. The strongest aspect of the astrological attribute is how absolute it is. With my current strength, I can use the starwheel to seal one person for a minimum of one second, but it also depends on my target’s strength.”

    How terrifyingly absolute.

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    Chapter 191

    Requesting a Match

    Tang Wulin and Gu Yue exchanged glances, and their eyes mirrored the other’s current emotion: shock!

    An astrological attribute? They had never heard of such a thing before, but its power was evident. Xie Xie, the one with the highest cultivation among them, had his soul power sealed for five seconds.

    Five seconds was a lot of time in which they could accomplish a great deal! Not even Tang Wulin was confident that he could resist Xu Xiaoyan’s starwheel.

    “Can you still fight after using the starwheel at full-strength?” Gu Yue asked.

    Xu Xiaoyan shook her head and smiled bitterly. “Nope. I won’t be able to move once I use the starwheel, otherwise, the seal will unravel and its power will weaken. This ability is best used in coordination with a team. However, according to my clan’s records, the astrological attribute will gain more abilities as my cultivation progresses. It’s almost like a second set of soul rings—as if I had twin martial souls. Unfortunately, during the day I’m pretty weak and can only use my ice staff.”

    As expected, greater strength came with greater restrictions. Xu Xiaoyan couldn’t move when she used her starwheel, nor could she launch any other attacks. Worst of all, it could only be used at night! These restrictions were just excessive, but even so, this ability’s potential in a team setting was amazing! They could turn the tides in the crucial moments the starwheel bought, enabling them to seize victory!

    They could do a lot in a single second.

    “I swear on my great aunt… that’s amazing!” Xie Xie said bitterly.

    A sweet smile graced Xu Xiaoyan’s lips. Her Starwheel Ice Staff lit up for a moment, and the golden light and icy shackles on Xie Xie quickly disappeared. In truth, she couldn’t sustain the seal any longer. If her opponent was too strong, it would be very costly to maintain such an absolute seal. If her opponent struggled against those shackles, they might be able to easily break free after a second or two.

    Tang Wulin gave Xu Xiaoyan a big thumbs up. Her first soul skill, Starwheel Shackles, was a great addition to the team.

    It was a mystical martial soul found on the mystical Douluo Continent! Sure enough, nothing was impossible in this land.

    “It’s a pity that we don’t have any way to change day into night, otherwise we might’ve been able to give Teacher Wu a nice surprise,” Xie Xie said with a trembling body.

    His body still felt a bit stiff. Those shackles were a fusion of astrological and ice attributes after all. It couldn’t possibly have been comfortable to be restrained by them.

    Tang Wulin smiled. “It doesn’t matter. We can find Teacher Wu and spar right now. There’s no way he will refuse.”

    He exchanged looks with Xie Xie, and a wicked glint immediately appeared in the depths of their eyes. Xie Xie couldn’t bear to be the only one on the receiving end of such a sinister ability.

    One second of absolute sealing… Hehe. Maybe we’ll be able to surprise Teacher Wu.

    In the next moment, the four sat down cross-legged in tacit understanding and began meditating.

    “All of you want to challenge me right now?” Wu Zhangkong stared at his four students, flabbergasted.

    “Yes! Please give us pointers,” Tang Wulin said earnestly.

    “Let’s go then.” Wu Zhangkong nodded. It was already late into the night and was lights out for the dorm. Instead of the designated combat arenas, he brought them to the training fields. Regardless of whether these children were looking for trouble or had a surprise in store for him, he would gladly entertain them.

    A silent darkness hung over the field. Wu Zhangkong walked to the field’s center and gently removed his white robe. “Come.”

    Tang Wulin said, “Teacher Wu, you’re so powerful. Shouldn’t you suppress your strength while battling us? The strongest one of us only has two rings, so why don’t you restrict yourself and only use those two rings as well?”

    Wu Zhangkong narrowed his eyes. He was an adult, and if he couldn’t even guess what kind of schemes these children came up with, he wouldn’t be fit to call himself a teacher. From the way these kids were speaking, he could clearly tell that they had challenged him with victory in mind!

    He was well acquainted with the strength of three of them. Xu Xiaoyan, however, was still a mystery.

    “Alright,” Wu Zhangkong answered coldly.

    Tang Wulin and his teammates exchanged looks, immediately jumped backward, and got into formation.

    As usual, Tang Wulin was in the front with Xie Xie beside him. Gu Yue was right behind him, and Xu Xiaoyan positioned herself behind Gu Yue.

    The four of them now moved as one.

    Soul rings rose from beneath their feet, even more resplendent in the dark of night. Tang Wulin’s purple soul ring shone the brightest of all of them, as if it were a noble among commoners.

    Strand after strand of Bluesilver Grass appeared in the surroundings, sheltering the comrades behind him while golden scales appeared on his right arm in a burst of light. Tang Wulin released a low growl and ferociously charged Wu Zhangkong, immediately using his first soul skill, Bind!

    Hundreds of strands of Bluesilver Grass whistled through the air, a display of the thousand-year soul skill’s monstrous might. A roaring tempest arose the moment Tang Wulin launched his assault. One strand of Bluesilver Grass had sneakily launched Xie Xie into the air. The moment that he arrived above Wu Zhangkong’s head, he angled his body and descended upon his teacher. He didn’t hold back at all and immediately initiated with Twin Dragon Storm.

    But it wasn’t just a two-pronged attack. A wind blade, a fireball, and an icicle flew through a small crack in the barrier of Bluesilver Grass! They converged on Wu Zhangkong—Xie Xie was just the opening act!

    They knew that one thing was certain: the longer they waited, the slimmer their chance for success would be. If they wanted to succeed, they had to immediately launch an all-out attack!

    Wu Zhangkong stood rooted in place, merely raising his Skyfrost Sword and gently pinching its tip with his other fingers. In the face of the children’s attacks, he remained still like an immovable mountain. Not even a flicker of emotion appeared on his face. It was as if there were nothing in this world that could affect him.

    The moment the onslaught reached Wu Zhangkong, he suddenly lashed out with his Skyfrost Sword. An azure halo that seemed to possess some sort of limitless gravitational force formed around him. The halo pulled Gu Yue’s elemental attacks inside of it, ripping control of them from her hands.

    It was simple and effective, two things Wu Zhangkong excelled at.

    The Twin Dragon Storm easily drilled through the elements, but Wu Zhangkong’s move had done its job—the might of Twin Dragon Storm had been greatly diminished.

    Wu Zhangkong’s eyes flashed with a violet hue, and Tang Wulin defended with his own Purple Demon Eyes. It was futile, however, as a wave of vertigo struck him, and the Bind slowly unraveled.

    Just how shameless is Teacher Wu? He’s actually using the Purple Demon Eyes! He might not be using the full extent of its power, but that’s still so shameless!

    This thought faded as quickly as it had appeared, and Tang Wulin charged again with renewed vigor and an entourage of Bluesilver Grass.

    u Zhangkong swung his Skyfrost Sword. Its previous dignified aura had been replaced with blinding speed. Hundreds of sword waves shot out, accurately chilling and cutting through the slithering mass of Bluesilver Grass. It was just a single slash, yet hundreds of sword waves appeared! Each one clashed against the strands of Bluesilver Grass and kept them at bay.

    In a split second, Tang Wulin had been cut off from his teammates. However, he still continued rushing toward Wu Zhangkong.

    The Twin Dragon Storm finally descended from the sky, but Wu Zhangkong disappeared in a blur. After-images of him appeared all around the field as he evaded with Ghost Shadow Perplexing Track.

    In the beginning, Xie Xie could follow Wu Zhangkong’s movements and adjust his assault accordingly, but soon his teacher’s movements proved too fast for him to keep up with. By the time he touched the ground with his Twin Dragon Storm, his aim had been thrown off. His attack met nothing but air.

    A wave of frost flew out and Xie Xie reflexively tried to defend against it with his Light Dragon Dagger. His strength was already exhausted, however, and he was immediately sent flying.

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    Chapter 191.1


    At that moment, Tang Wulin arrived before Wu Zhangkong so that two were facing each other.

    Choosing not to fall back, Tang Wulin attacked Wu Zhangkong with his radiant Golden Dragon Claw!

    Even if Wu Zhangkong had suppressed his cultivation to their level, he didn’t have a single opening or weakness. Yet, in this single battle, he made a stunning choice.

    Icy mist exuded from him as sword waves burst forth and quickly weaved together to form a net, forming a protective barrier.

    And at that moment, a golden six-pointed star appeared beneath Wu Zhangkong’s feet while shackles of ice shot out of it and latched onto his body.

    A metallic screech resounded. Tang Wulin’s Golden Dragon Claw had seized the sword wave net and crushed it! With the improvements in his cultivation and the aid of the Mysterious Heaven Method, Tang Wulin could maintain his Golden Dragon Claw for a full twenty seconds.

    But the results were far from his expectations!

    Though the Starwheel Shackles had activated at just the right moment, but Wu Zhangkong’s stalwart defense exceeded their calculations! It had deflected the shackles within the split-second, and while Tang Wulin had been able to crush the net, he had received backlash as well.

    he might of the sword wave sent a tremble down his spine and forced him to step back.

    This single step back had broken his offensive stance. Wu Zhangkong’s eyes lit up and the ice shackles on his body splintered before falling to the ground. Despite the fact that he had suppressed his cultivation to two rings, his two rings and theirs were as different as the heavens and the earth due to his application of compressed soul power. The Starwheel Shackles could only last two seconds before his overwhelming strength.

    The Frost Scars had fended off Tang Wulin for two seconds and now that he was freed, Wu Zhangkong pointed his sword at him..

    But at that instant, Wu Zhangkong saw Tang Wulin smile. He instantly had a bad premonition and unleashed another Frost Scar net without hesitation.

    However, he was too late.

    A palm gently landed on his back and an explosive tempest of fire and ice bombarded him!

    A layer of protective frost instantly coated his body, but it was not enough to prevent him from staggering forward from the blast. He released his full might, sending the four children flying.

    His icy expression cracked, revealing an unsightly face!

    “Woohoo!” Xu Xiaoyan was the first to celebrate!

    That was right! They won!

    In the last minute, Wu Zhangkong had clearly revealed a strength far beyond two rings in order to protect himself.

    He withdrew his Skyfrost Sword. Considering his status, it was impossible for him to admit his defeat so instead he asked indifferently, “Whose plan was this?”

    Tang Wulin snickered. “Teacher, it’s mine.”

    Wu Zhangkong nodded. “Very good. We’ll continue again tomorrow. And this time, I’ll use three rings. Of course, this also means I’ll be using my three corresponding soul skills.” He turned around and left after dropping this bomb, his white robe fluttering in the wind and his aura as glacial as ever.

    The excited four children froze with shock and disbelief written all over their faces.

    Three rings? Three rings is vastly different from two rings! It’s the same as comparing the Hundred Refinements to the Thousand Refinements!

    They had thought that their victory would spare them tomorrow’s training or cause Wu Zhangkong to alter their training program. What they had not predicted was that not only would their dreams be crushed, they had summoned forth a nightmare instead…

    “Boss, this wasn’t part of the plan!” Xie Xie was on the verge of tears.

    In their strategy, Xie Xie was cannon fodder used to distract Wu Zhangkong. In fact, they had even told him directly that he would be cannon fodder.

    Wu Zhangkong definitely wouldn’t have believed that Xie Xie was their main assault force. However, the Twin Dragon Storm possessed a terrifying power against those of the same rank, forcing Wu Zhangkong to divert a part of his attention to dealing with him.

    Tang Wulin had taken many things into consideration when he drafted up their battle plan. He had known that Wu Zhangkong would be skeptical if they suddenly challenged him during the night. With Wu Zhangkong’s thorough understanding of the three’s strengths, his suspicions would naturally fall onto Xu Xiaoyan.

    The ingenuity of Tang Wulin’s plan lay in misleading Wu Zhangkong. With Wu Zhangkong’s character, he would naturally assume that the entire team was set up so that Tang Wulin’s Golden Dragon Claw would make the final strike..

    The truth was, they really had set up their formation like that.

    From Tang Wulin’s very first attack to Xie Xie’s descent from the sky and Gu Yue’s coordinated assault, everything had been building up to that one claw.

    But their plans had been exposed too quickly. Tang Wulin’s claw was uncovered, and his Bluesilver Grass was repelled by Frost Scars. Even so, the grass had done its job. All it had to do was conceal the actions of Xu Xiaoyan and Gu Yue at the rear!

    Gu Yue had begun preparing her fire and ice explosion barrage the moment she unleashed her first wave of elemental attacks. Her preparations had only been able to finish without interruption thanks to the masking effect of the thousand-year Bind.

    In the final moment of the battle, Wu Zhangkong had relaxed after freeing himself from the starwheel’s restraints even though Tang Wulin had broken through his defence. Everything had gone according to his predictions of the children’s plans and sure enough, they had figured a way to disturb him. He had assumed that they had exhausted all of their means.

    And the minute he relaxed his guard, Tang Wulin’s dragon claw would shoot out!

    It would have been the decisive strike!

    As Wu Zhangkong thought that, the explosion of fire and ice blasted him in the back.
    Not only had he suppressed his soul power down to their rank, he had also restrained his spiritual power, diminishing his awareness substantially. This was the reason why he hadn’t noticed the true plan devised by these children. If he hadn’t released his full strength at that last moment, there was no doubt that he would have suffered some injuries.

    The children’s plan had been perfect. Not only had they coordinated their abilities impressively, they had even exploited the fundamental character flaw of their opponent. After realizing how detailed their plan had been, Wu Zhangkong needed to know who had devised it. The fact that such a brilliant plan had been hatched by a ten-year-old child meant the child possessed indescribable potential.

    Unseen by the children, a smile tugged at his lips as he left.

    As a teacher, how could he be dissatisfied with such amazing students? Xu Xiaoyan’s Starwheel Shackles had also left a deep impression on him. It had completely sealed his soul power for an instant—a truly terrifying ability.

    It seems they’ll be giving the academy and I a nice surprise at the Skysea Alliance Tournament.

    The children sullenly returned to their dormitory and into their beds, dreading the next day. The Starwheel Shackles couldn’t possibly have much effect on a three-ringed Wu Zhangkong. What were they to do? All they could do now was play by the ear.

    Their intense lives of studying and cultivating resumed once more.

    Xu Xiaoyan quickly found her place in the team. Not only was she was clever and working well with the team, she was also bright and adorable, the exact opposite of Gu Yue. Due to her pitiful strength during the day, she always worked hard to improve herself. What left Tang Wulin helpless, however, was how talented she was. Her soul power had increased to rank 18 in just one month, while he still struggled to reach rank 17. Even with the Mysterious Heaven Method, his cultivation speed was extremely slow.

    “Tomorrow we’re going to Skysea City,” Wu Zhangkong announced. “Tang Wulin, stay behind after class.”

    We’re going to Skysea City? The largest city on the east coast?

    The four students looked at each other in confusion. Xie Xie was the first to give in to his curiosity. “Are we going there to watch the Skysea Alliance Tournament, Teacher Wu?”

    Wu Zhangkong looked at him. “You’re participating, not watching.”


    Wu Zhangkong waved them out, forcing Xie Xie, Gu Yue, and Xu Xiaoyan to leave in a daze.
    Tang Wulin stood up, waiting for Wu Zhangkong to speak.

    “The academy told me that the Blacksmith’s Association wants you to participate in the blacksmith’s competition at the Skysea Alliance Tournament. Is that true?”

    “Mn.” Tang Wulin nodded.

    Wu Zhangkong said, “I did some research. It shouldn’t conflict with any of our class’s matches, so it should be fine.”

    “Oh.” Tang Wulin acknowledged. “Teacher Wu, what competition are we participating in?”

    Wu Zhangkong said, “The three-man team event in the juvenile division. The Skysea Alliance Tournament is very large and will have countless events. Obviously there will be events for soul masters, but they’re divided into individual and team competitions. Team competitions are either groups of three, five, or seven. You should pay close attention to the seven-man matches. You, Xie Xie, and Gu Yue will form a group and participate in the three-man team competition with Xu Xiaoyan as a substitute. As the team captain, you need to think about how you will obtain good results in the team competition, as well as the blacksmith’s competition. Your goal is to become the champions.”

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    Chapter 192

    For the Money!

    “Champion? But we’re still eleven! Xie Xie told me that we would have to compete against people who are ten to fifteen years old. That’s a bit…”

    Wu Zhangkong coldly said, “Age does not determine one’s strength. You just need to try your best. The outcome is not the most important thing, understood?”

    “Yes,” Tang Wulin answered.

    “You can leave now. Go prepare for tomorrow’s trip to Skysea City. All of the participants from Eastsea City will be leaving together, so you don’t have to worry about meeting up with your colleagues from the Blacksmith’s Association.”


    For the past month, Tang Wulin had been entirely focused on preparing for the blacksmith’s competition. Although he could not yet forge a first-grade metal, his success rate for second-grade metals had already risen to more than eighty percent. Even among other fourth rank blacksmiths, such a success rate was rarely seen.

    As Mu Chen had said, Tang Wulin’s inability to forge a first-grade metal was not due to a lack of understanding, but a deficiency of soul power.

    Soul power was the foundation of soul masters, and it was also crucial to blacksmiths. The higher one’s soul power, the higher the chances of imbuing spirit into metal during forging. Even if he was a divine genius in the realm of blacksmithing, his status as a one-ringed soul master would only hinder his advancement in the craft.

    According to Mu Chen’s guess, Tang Wulin would immediately be able to forge first-grade metals once he possessed two rings.

    His training menu under Mu Chen did not change; it was still focused on solidifying his foundation in preparation for the future. After all, he was still young and did not need to take risks in order to achieve a first-grade Thousand Refined creation.

    What Tang Wulin had not expected, however, was that they would be one of the teams representing Eastsea Academy and they would be competing in the junior division for the soul master team battles, no less.

    Although he was shocked, he was also eager for combat.

    Locked within an abyss of suffering for the past month, Tang Wulin t had not visited the spirit ascension platform even once. Instead, he faced Wu Zhangkong in battle every day. He would rather face a ten-thousand-year soul beast than fight Wu Zhangkong; after all, he had personally witnessed his teacher slaughter a ten-thousand-year soul beast as if it were just a walk in the park!

    The only fruit that was born from that night’s victory was an escalation in the intensity of their training. Even while combining their forces and utilizing the dirtiest of schemes, they could not hold a candle to a three-ringed Wu Zhangkong. As the team captain, Tang Wulin took the brunt of Wu Zhangkong’s attacks, each battle leaving him covered in bruises and cuts.

    Yet, it was precisely because of such harsh circumstances that their coordination and soul power improved so quickly.

    Tang Wulin could sense that he was but one step away from reaching rank 17 now.

    However, his intense cultivation schedule conflicted with his forging practice leading him to be unable to meet his task quotas. Naturally, his income tanked.

    Whenever Tang Wulin thought of the Skysea Alliance Tournament, his pulse would pound incessantly and his eyes redden until they were bloodshot at the thought of the award money that would solve quite a few of his current problems.

    Now that he was a fourth rank blacksmith, his potential income skyrocketed and he had been able to clear his debt to Wu Zhangkong. His wallet wept at its empty pockets.

    “Teacher Wu.” Before walking through the door, Tang Wulin suddenly spun around. “Is there an award for participating in the tournament?”

    Wu Zhangkong stared at him. “If the team performs well, there will be one. Although there is a monetary award given to the top thirty-two, the sum only becomes significant once you breach the top sixteen. As for receiving an endowment from the academy, all of you are already draining the academy’s resources dry. Especially you. Your food expenses are nearly enough to feed the entire intermediate division. Tell me, do you still want a reward?”

    Tang Wulin dared not speak out. Instead, he stuck his tongue out like a little rascal.

    But was the truth not spoken? He knew that he was just shoveling in that high-class, nutritious food that aided in his cultivation, seemingly to no end. Obviously, the expenses for such nourishment were high. With all that healthy food, his cultivation was progressing at a magnified rate, even to the point where preparing to break through the second seal seemed more feasible than ever

    The fact that he could even eat such delicious food often brought him joy.

    “Teacher Wu, can I participate in the individual competition then? Maybe I’ll be able to enter the top thirty,” Tang Wulin probed. He could not afford to let a single lucrative opportunity slip away.

    His attitude toward money had changed after all the pain and suffering he went through just to be able to purchase his first spirit soul. If he had more money back then, then he would not have been forced to settle for a trash spirit soul.

    Since then, Tang Wulin vowed to rake in the money in the future, to the extent where he would never have to worry about making ends meet.

    If Mu Chen ever discovered his disciple’s true reason for forging, he would have hopped up and down from rage.

    “If you’re not worried about being tired, then you can go ahead,” Wu Zhangkong answered with an apathetic edge.

    Tang Wulin said, “As long as the schedules don’t in conflict, I’m confident I won’t get tired. I’ll have to inconvenience you to help me sign up then.” At the very least, the boy had some faith in his strength. Although he did not wield two rings as of yet, he did hold a thousand-year soul ring! His thousand-year Bluesilver Grass was a major source of confidence for him.

    When he returned to the dormitory, Tang Wulin found his friends already at the door waiting for him.

    “How was it? What’s the situation?”

    Faced with their inquiries, Tang Wulin quickly briefed them on his conversation with Wu Zhangkong.

    “I’ll join the individual competition too,” Gu Yue said earnestly.

    Xie Xie loftily said, “Me too!”

    Xu Xiaoyan shook her head. “I think I’ll pass. The competition isn’t held at night, and even if it was, I lack the confidence. Participating as a substitute in the team competition is enough for me.”

    A mischievous smile appeared on Xie Xie’s lips. “Say, if we really do become the champions, do you think Shrek Academy will come scout us? Maybe they’ll invite us to join them?”

    The corner of Xu Xiaoyan’s mouth twitched ever so slightly. “Quit dreaming. Even if we do win first place, it’s still just an unremarkable three-man competition at the Skysea Alliance Tournament. Use your common sense and think about what sort of status they have. I heard that there have never been more than one hundred students part of the inner court of Shrek Academy at a time, and each and every one of them is a monster. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call it a pond of dragons and a den of tigers. I also heard that even the chairman of the federation personally pays a visit to Shrek Academy’s president twice a year. If Shrek Academy hadn’t maintained a neutral stance during the three continent’s feuds, do you think the Star Luo Continent and the Heaven Dou Continent would still exist?”

    In shock, Tang Wulin asked, “Is Shrek Academy really that great?”

    With utmost seriousness, Xu Xiaoyan said, “That’s right. My family told me that it’s a place completely separate from the world of us normal people. Shrek Academy recruits students once every three years, and each time there are less than one thousand people qualified to apply. It would be a small miracle if more than one hundred people are accepted at a time. In fact, sometimes only twenty or thirty people are accepted. But of those students, only one in ten can enter the inner court. It’s quite obvious just how high their standards are.

    “ Shrek Academy’s unfathomable quality is not something we have the privilege of understanding.”

    Tang Wulin and Xie Xie both exchanged a look. Although it was impossible for them to know what Shrek Academy was like, there was bound to be someone who did!

    Teacher Wu! Don’t the rumors say that Teacher Wu came from Shrek Academy?

    If the admittance standards for Shrek Academy are that high, then just how amazing is Teacher Wu?

    Tang Wulin said, “Even so, this is a great opportunity for us. Don’t think too much about getting a high rank everyone; just do your best and gain some good combat experience. As long as we don’t give up, we’ll definitely have a shot at entering Shrek Academy one day!”

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    Chapter 193

    Setting Off for the Tournament

    “Let’s do our best, guys!”

    Tang Wulin was the first to reach out a hand. Gu Yue placed her hand on top of his, before quickly grabbing Xu Xiaoyan’s hand so that it rested on hers.

    Although he was an agility-type soul master, Xie Xie’s reaction lagged behind the rest and he was the last to join in. He glared daggers at Gu Yue. “Just how much do you loathe me!”

    Gu Yue thought it over for a moment, then flashed a smile. “About as much as one would loathe a housefly.”


    Night crept by without a peep. Once the rays of the sun pierced through the horizon, Wu Zhangkong and the four students departed from the academy. Their destination: Eastsea Square located at the city’s center.

    Tang Wulin and the others wore Eastsea Academy’s uniform. This time, Director Long Hengxu joined the children and Wu Zhangkong.

    There was another team representing the academy apart from Tang Wulin’s group, though they were from the advanced division.

    The latter team would be participating in the fifteen to twenty youths division. Tang Wulin spotted a couple of familiar faces among the crowd. The first was Xu Xiaoyan’s older brother, Xu Xiaoyu. To his surprise, the other one was the beautiful senior sister he met during his first days at Eastsea Academy, Liu Yuxin.

    It was clear that Liu Yuxin hadn’t spared him a thought. Instead, her gaze was glued on the face of a man with fluttering white robes, never letting him out of her sight. Her eyes were practically in the shape of hearts.

    “Xiaoyan, let me know if they try to bully you.” Walking past the four students of class zero, Xu Xiaoyu showcased a display of force.

    Xu Xiaoyan rolled her eyes at him. “Just worry about yourself. At least make it through the preliminaries this time.”

    At such a statement, Xu Xiaoyu’s expression stiffened. “Of course. Everyone on our team has at least three rings this time. We’ll definitely achieve a good result.” They were participating in the team competitions as well. This was not just any team event. It was the most illustrious one—the seven-man team competition.

    The corner of Xu Xiaoyan’s mouth twitched.

    From the conversation between the two siblings, Tang Wulin could infer at least that Eastsea Academy held some hope of glory at the tournament. In fact, their chances of attaining victory were pretty high.

    As Eastsea City was ranked number two among all the cities in the east coast, achieving glory and maintaining their status was a crucial goal and a touchy subject.

    In truth, Tang Wulin’s guess hit the nail right on the head. While Eastsea Academy was Eastsea City’s only intermediate soul master academy, its students were not particularly outstanding.

    The Skysea Alliance Tournament was so large that it required not just the five first-class cities on the east coast to host it but had even summoned the aid of some second and third-class cities. Eastsea City had produced dismal results for a first-class city in the previous tournaments. Both the academy and the city’s government lost much face.

    It was no wonder that Long Hengxu’s proposal to create a ‘class zero’ for their newly found geniuses was approved so quickly.

    If things continued on like this, then Eastsea City’s prestige would definitely suffer. The city’s bustling economy might also be adversely affected, plummeting the markets. The academy was placing their bets on a group of ten-year-old children this time, hoping that they would showcase the city’s potential at the Skysea Alliance Tournament while also gaining the support of the city’s government.

    After all, they were only ten years old. Their future was limitless.

    Crowds of people and luxurious soul busses assembled at Eastsea Square to set off together.

    “Hey, why are you so late?” Mu Xi jogged over to Tang Wulin and grabbed him by the ear.

    “What are you doing?” Before Tang Wulin could speak up, Gu Yue swatted away Mu Xi’s hand and stood protectively in front of him.

    Stunned, Mu Xi stared at Gu Yue in a daze before bursting out in laughter. “Not bad! Tang Wulin, you’ve already become a deviant at such a young age. Who is your little girlfriend?”

    “No, no! Senior disciple sister, don’t say such nonsense.” Mu Xi’s voice had been particularly loud, attracting the attention of those around them like bees to honey. With the proverbial spotlight shining on him, Tang Wulin flushed as red as a tomato in embarrassment.

    His handsome looks, coupled with his rosy-red, abashed face tempted Mu Xi to pinch his cheeks.

    “Wow. You’re bringing so many people with you?” Ignoring Gu Yue, Mu Xi asked Tang Wulin.

    Tang Wulin said, “We’re participating in the junior division’s soul master’s team competition.”

    “The soul master’s team competition? You guys?” She did not try to hide her disdain at all.

    “What about us?” Xie Xie said indignantly.

    Mu Xi sneered. “It’s nothing much. Just that we’re also entering the junior division of the soul master’s team competition. Do you guys still think you have a chance?” As she spoke, three soul rings appeared from beneath her feet.

    Yellow, yellow, purple! She was a three-ringed Soul Elder!

    Mu Xi was currently a fifth year in her second semester, so she was four years older than Tang Wulin. At fourteen years old, she just barely qualified for that division’s age limit.
    Mu Xi said, “We’ll also be entering as a three-man team. Our goal is the top eight. There are currently thirty-six east coast cities competing in this tournament with over one hundred participants, and the first two rounds are knockout competitions. Can you guys even pass the first round?”

    At their age, every single year signified a great gap in strength.

    Tang Wulin went silent.

    Even though they had beat Xu Xiaoyu once before, they had to admit it was due to Xu Xiaoyu’s carelessness and their strength in numbers.

    Yet in this coming tournament, they would be facing the most powerful of their peers. There would even be those that were older than them. Against such formidable opponents, just what kind of hopes did they have?

    “Alright, don’t be discouraged. I’ll treat you guys to a meal after the first round.” Mu Xi rubbed Wulin’s head then whispered into his ear, “You might not have a chance at the soul master’s tournament, but you can definitely rank high in the blacksmith one. I’ll be cheering for you when the time comes! Go become the champion!”

    Since the time Tang Wulin had agreed to give up first place for her, the thorns in their relationship had blunted.

    Tang Wulin nodded helplessly. She really knew how to surprise people.

    The square was in chaos as the representatives of every association participating in the tournament organized themselves.

    There were even representatives from other academies.

    The Skysea Alliance Tournament had numerous events, including mecha and battle armor competitions.

    Like how Eastsea City held an embarrassing position in the alliance, the Skysea Alliance were ashamed of their rank in comparison to the rest of the continent. Although their economic status was unrivaled, whether it were battle armor masters, mecha pilots, mecha technology, or the quantity and quality of soul masters, they ranked near the bottom in all of these elements.

    The cities that dominated these categories were the Sun Moon City and Heaven Dou City. As for Shrek City, it could neither be evaluated by the Federation properly nor be put on the same scale as the others. Basically, Shrek City exceeded their comprehension.

    “The teachers and students of Eastsea Academy, board your bus now.” Hearing this, the teachers began leading the students onto the sixth bus.

    Without a single break in her stride, Gu Yue sauntered forward and kicked Xie Xie out of the way, plopping down on the seat beside Tang Wulin. Xie Xie could only settle for the next best thing and sat next to Xu Xiaoyan. Unfortunately for him, however, Xu Xiaoyu picked him up and stole the seat beside his sister.

    “You…” Xie Xie was annoyed, but he could do nothing against the much stronger Xu Xiaoyu. He resigned himself to sit beside Wu Zhangkong. After descending into his seat, he felt countless eyes stabbing his body as the surrounding women glared as though they wanted to rip him to shreds.

    I don’t want to sit here either!

    Xie Xie immediately stood up to find another seat.

    “Don’t stand up if you know what’s good for you.” Wu Zhangkong’s cold voice sounded.

    Xie Xie didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Is this counted as provoking whoever I meet?

    The Xu siblings sat right behind Tang Wulin and Gu Yue. As he stared at Gu Yue, a scowl materialized on Xu Xiaoyu’s face.

    After facing defeat at the hands of Gu Yue, indignation and depression had filled his heart. As time progressed though, Gu Yue appearing in his dreams more and more frequently. Every once in awhile, Gu Yue’s face would pop up in his conscious mind.

    She is so young, yet possesses such power and an amazing martial soul. Just how formidable will she be once she matures?

    This girl piqued his curiosity, as well as some of his other sentiments.

    Xu Xiaoyu was easily considered an outstanding elite in the advanced division, but that was just within the walls of the weak Eastsea Academy. He would be entering an advanced academy in a year, walking on his chosen path in life. Despite aspiring to be a battle armor master, he struggled with the fact that this was an exceedingly difficult occupation. In particular, the process of making battle armor required more than just money. Not only would he have to pour his all into cultivation, he would also need to divert his time and energy into battle armor research. He was already seventeen years old; though his potential was not lacking, it was unknown whether he had it in him to realize such a goal.

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