Chapter 133 – Before the Final Exam
“If you had been able to kill the thousand-year Crystal Bear without being crystallized, then neither Xie Xie nor Gu Yue would have needed to sacrifice themselves for your sake, and together, the three of you wouldn’t have had any problem taking out the pack of wolves. Their sacrifices, were all because of you.”
Wu Zhangkong’s words seemed especially cold to Tang Wulin’s ears at that moment. He had been proud of the battles’ results, yet, Wu Zhangkong’s words were like a bucket of cold water being poured over him. So the battle was actually like that?
That’s right! If it had been a true battlefield, then my mistake would have caused the whole team to collapse and my comrades to die for my sake! How can I consider that a victory then?
Wu Zhangkong continued to speak dully. “You need to strengthen your knowledge and understanding of soul beasts. Don’t think that just because soul beasts are rare nowadays, studying them is useless. On the contrary, a deeper understanding of soul beasts will greatly benefit your future cultivation. Research has shown that over 90% of the soul skills we Soul Masters possess have belonged to a soul beast at one point or another, so a greater understanding of soul beasts is the equivalent of understanding your competitors. It will also increase your odds of survival in the spirit ascension platform.
“You all should understand by now that the longer you survive in the spirit ascension platform, the greater the benefits are. You all still have a long ways to go.”
Tang Wulin’s previous joy from having his spirit soul evolve disappeared completely. That’s right! All because I lacked knowledge, I was a burden to my comrades!
Bitterness encroached his heart the moment he realised this. Gu Yue and Xie Xie died because of me!
“In today’s morning lesson, I’ll be discussing the soul beasts you encountered yesterday. I will explain any special traits they have and their abilities at each level.” Wu Zhangkong indifferently announced the day’s lesson.
A chill suddenly swept through Tang Wulin’s body. He looked to his side to see Gu Yue giving him a nod.
A drop of cold water slid down his neck. He trembled, which immediately cleared and awakened his mind.
“Thanks,” Tang Wulin whispered.
“What’s up?” Xie Xie looked over and asked.
After their adventures in the spirit ascension platform, the five students tackled studying with renewed vigor, as if their desire to study had gained a soul ability itself. Their desire to improve left no room for Wu Zhangkong to spur them on. In fact, Zhang Yangzi even dropped his grudge against Tang Wulin’s trio. All that were on their minds were studying and cultivation.
With a strand of Bluesilver Grass connecting them, Tang Wulin and Wang Jinxi attempted to dual cultivate at night. As expected, their cultivation speed was a bit faster than cultivating alone, so both of them found this arrangement to be very beneficial. Furthermore, Tang Wulin’s cultivation speed was much faster now due to the evolution of his spirit soul. Even if he had yet to catch up with the other geniuses, at the very least, the gap between them was rapidly closing. Nevertheless, it was impossible for him to overtake them in such a short period of time considering the large gap between their cultivations.
A bustling life made one feel enriched, or, at least, Tang Wulin felt this way.
Tang Wulin would study and cultivate throughout the week and go to the Blacksmith’s Association to learn from Mu Chen on rest days.
Mu Chen may have seemed kind on the surface, but when he acted as a teacher, he was extremely fierce. He was actually stricter than Mang Tian and, after a day of forging, Tang Wulin would be left even more exhausted than after a week’s worth of studies.
Despite his constant state of exhaustion, Tang Wulin could feel his forging abilities gradually improving under Mu Chen’s tutelage.
Mu Chen’s style of teaching didn’t differ too much from Mang Tian’s. He hadn’t started teaching Tang Wulin about Spirit Forging yet; instead, Mu Chen focused on solidifying Tang Wulin’s foundation and correcting any mistakes he had. Even for the slightest errors he would force Tang Wulin to practice them until perfection.
A perfect foundation! Tang Wulin had never thought that having a perfect foundation was important since he was already a third rank blacksmith, but after a month of studying under Mu Chen, Tang Wulin was astonished to find that he could complete third rank Thousand Refinement missions 10% faster now!
As he continued to forge tirelessly, Tang Wulin gradually started to understand the importance of a perfect foundation. The most important aspect of a perfect foundation was that it would rid him of any useless movements.
Put simply, if a hammer strike was perfect, it would possess its full power, but if it strayed even a little bit, then the results would also suffer! This wouldn’t actually affect the refinement process, but just how many strikes did it take to Thousand Refine a metal? If every single strike was perfect, then the Thousand Refinements would be more efficient, thus saving time.
When Tang Wulin told Mu Chen what he felt while forging now, Mu Chen smiled for the first time since he had taken Tang Wulin in as his disciple. He then explained the differences between Thousand Refinements. These differences lied in the number of hammerings a metal received during the Thousand Refinement process. The less strikes it received, the greater the effects of the Thousand Refinements. A blacksmith’s ability was representative of their efficiency in Thousand Refinements!
After understanding this point, Tang Wulin studied with greater diligence than before.
It became a requirement for class zero to enter the spirit ascension platform once a week. After entering, the five of them were exceptionally cautious and would only engage soul beasts they encountered after thorough preparations.
However, being cautious did not necessarily mean that they would reap the greatest benefits in the spirit ascension platform. Luck was also essential. If they were unlucky enough to meet an opponent beyond them, then they would be eliminated quickly and ejected.
One time, as soon as Tang Wulin entered the spirit ascension platform, he met an extremely agile thousand-year soul beast. Before he could even make a move, he was heavily wounded and had no choice but to exit.
In the blink of an eye, the end of the first term approached.
“Teacher Wu, do we also need to take a final exam too?” Tang Wulin asked in astonishment.
The other four students also had surprised expressions.
For their class, the first grade’s final exam was useless. This wasn’t arrogance, but confidence in how greatly they had changed in the last three months.
Gu Yue was already at the peak of rank 19 and was only a step away from reaching rank 20.
Tang Wulin had also reached the peak of rank 15 and wasn’t too far off from rank 16. In a short six months, he had improved from rank 11 to rank 15. Tang Wulin hadn’t even dreamt of making such progress before coming to Eastsea Academy.
Most importantly, however, was the increase in their combat abilities. Their experiences in the spirit ascension platform had proved useful as it pressured them to cultivate even harder. At the young age of ten, they actually had such unbelievable combat ability.
President Yu Zhen had invested greatly into class zero; they were provided with the best teaching facilities and equipment, as well as entry into the spirit ascension platform. This was the only way for them to raise these little monsters properly.
“Yes, you need to take them,” Wu Zhangkong said with his usual stony expression. “Your final exam will test two things. The first is the spirit ascension platform.”
Spirit ascension platform?
In these last three months, they had already entered the spirit ascension platform a total of eleven times and were already familiar with it. As long as they weren’t unlucky, they would be able to survive for at least one hour each time. The current record for the longest survival time was actually held by Xie Xie, with his stay of three hours.
The more they experienced it, the more they sensed the changes the spirit ascension platform was had on their combat abilities. Whether it was their application of soul skills, combat techniques and so on, they had all greatly improved.
As they now understood the benefits of the spirit ascension platform, they began to greatly anticipate their weekly visits there.
“You must survive for at least an hour to pass the exam. However, this time you will be entering the rebellion spirit ascension platform.”
Xie Xie asked in shock, “Teacher, what is the rebellion spirit ascension platform?” He had never heard of it, but it seemed to be a special type of spirit ascension platform.
Tang Wulin and the others all stared at Wu Zhangkong in shock and curiosity. If the spirit ascension platform had already proved to be extremely effective at improving their combat ability, then what about the rebellion spirit ascension platform…?