Chapter 216 – True Intentions
Astonished, Xie Xie said, “You like money so much, so why didn’t you agree?”
A frown slid across Tang Wulin’s face. “Didn’t you see how quickly I rejected him? I was afraid I would give in if I didn’t do it fast enough! The conditions were just too good. Even so, my teacher has treated me well and I don’t want to part with you guys. I still have several years before it’s time for me to attempt Spirit Refinement. If I focus on building my foundation right now, maybe I’ll be able to succeed without wasting too many resources, you know? Alright, our match is about to begin.”
As he spoke, he led the way onto the stage.
Duan Xuan ascended the stairs until he reached a box on the upper floor. The men who had followed him stood guard outside while he alone entered box three.
Inside sat a middle-aged man.
“Teacher.” He bowed respectfully in greeting when he saw Duan Xuan.
Duan Xuan joined his side. Together, they viewed the ongoing matches. “Your eyes are sharp. You picked up a good kid. It’s almost like the time I found you. You know, he refused me.”
“He’s even more talented than me when I was his age. I haven’t told you yet, but he’s already a fourth rank blacksmith.” The middle-aged man revealed a splendid grin.
If Tang Wulin was present, he would be startled without a doubt. The person waiting for Duan Xuan in box three was his teacher, Mu Chen.
“Fourth rank? Are you joking with me?” As Duan Xuan stared at Mu Chen, his face was the picture of shock.
Mu Chen chuckled. “There’s no way I would joke about something like this. He’s far more talented than you could imagine. If it wasn’t for his low cultivation, I think he could attempt Spirit Refinement in two years should the materials be provided.”
Duan Xuan heaved a long sigh. “Alright! Did you hide him from me because you were worried I would seduce him away from you? Why does it seem like his second-grade thousand refined metal had nothing to do with luck?”
Mu Chen said, “Out of respect for the rank, I wouldn’t promote him to the fourth rank so easily. I only let him advance when he proved capable of second-grade thousand refining blue coppertite. My daughter’s luck is pretty good though. Her sudden breakthrough was completely unexpected. I think Wulin instigated it. He wouldn’t pick heavy silver normally. Didn’t you say the two of them started and finished together? It seems Mu Xi was influenced by him.”
Duan Xuan muttered, “Blessed by heaven… He’s really blessed by heaven! It looks like I’ll have to work harder to steal him.”
Mu Chen smiled. “Yes, yes. I understand what you’re trying to say. I’ll be sure to fulfill our promise. But I’m going to need another fifteen to twenty years to raise this kid. Once he catches up to me, I’ll continue.”
Duan Xuan grumbled, “Fifteen to twenty years? My bones will have turned to ash by then.”
Roaring laughter exploded from Mu Chen. “Don’t pretend in front of me. At your cultivation level and body strength, you could easily live another fifty years. You’re still such a schemer! Don’t tell me you forbade me from announcing I’m your disciple in case this day ever came?”
The wrinkled face of Duan Xuan unfolded into a grin. “Us blacksmiths have been suppressed for too long. Yet even during this time, preparation is the key to success. If you told the world that you’re my disciple, would you still have received the headquarter’s support and reached the eighth rank so soon? Hmph. Just wait until that kid matures. Then things will start to change. Take advantage of your youth and put in some more effort. Hurry up and advance to the next rank. As long as you can become a Divine Blacksmith, then our backing will grow even stronger.”
Mu Chen sighed. “That’s hard! The higher I climb, the more I understand just how difficult it is.”
Tang Wulin, Xie Xie, and Gu Yue ascended onto the stage, taking a triangle-formation. He was the vanguard while Xie Xie and Gu Yue flanked him on each side.
Their opponents had climbed onto the stage as well—three youngsters about fourteen years old.
The opposing three were dressed in Skysea Academy uniforms. Their bearing was different from that of Tang Wulin’s first opponents; they carried themselves calmly without any signs of contempt toward class zero’s age.
The three youths also arranged themselves in a triangle-formation. Their leader towered over Tang Wulin by a full head. He had wide shoulders and his demeanor tranquil beyond his years.
The two combatants behind their leader were slightly younger than him. The one on the left was slender and handsome while the one on the right stood short and stout.
“Hello, I am the captain of Skysea Academy’s second team, Bi Ran.”
The slender youth said, “I’m Wu Yuhan.”
The stumpy one said, “I’m Lei Jun.”
Finished with their self-introductions, the three said in unison, “Please advise us.”
They were worthy of being Skysea Academy students. Their manners were far more refined than those of Tang Wulin’s previous opponents.
“I’m Tang Wulin from Eastsea Academy, in class zero of the first grade.” Tang Wulin mimicked the other team, introducing himself.
Bi Ran narrowed his eyes at Tang Wulin until they became slits. He released a domineering aura, sending a chill through Tang Wulin’s heart. From that display of strength, Tang Wulin could tell that Bi Ran’s soul power exceeded his own.
“Three, two, one, begin!” This marked the start of class zero’s first match in the round-robin tournament.
Bi Ran raised his right hand, an ashen light surging out to form a shield. Meanwhile, his soul rings rose from beneath his feet.
One ring, two rings, three rings! He wielded three yellow soul rings! The captain of Skysea Academy’s secondary team was actually a three-ringed Soul Elder.
Following their leader, Wu Yuhan and Lei Jun released their martial souls, each of them sporting a pair of yellow soul rings.
A three-ringed Soul Elder, and a pair of two-ringed Soul Grandmasters. Compared to class zero’s earlier opposition, Skysea’s B-team was an ambush of tigers.
In Bi Ran’s hands rested a giant shield one meter in length and half a meter wide. Wave-like patterns cascaded down the top, making the surface seem thick yet stagnant. He held it in front of him as if it was an impassable wall.
The moment he summoned his martial soul, he charged Tang Wulin like a bull. Wu Yuhan and Lei Jun trailed behind him, maintaining their triangle-formation.
Class zero, however, chose to abandon their positioning. Xie Xie summoned his Light Dragon Dagger before dashing off to the side. On the other hand, Tang Wulin stood steadfast, anchoring himself in place. His purple soul ring twinkled as he weaved a protective net of Bluesilver Grass in front of Gu Yue.
A thousand-year soul ring? And only one?
Bi Ran gawked at the purple soul ring. As for the Bluesilver Grass, it was unrecognizable to him.
After two evolutions from the influence of his Golden Dragon King bloodline, it barely resembled the normal appearance.
Each vine was as thick as an egg, its length shimmering with azure light and covered in twinkling scales. Within it, golden veins spread throughout like a spider’s web. Its aura was sparkling and clear.
Behind Bi Ran’s left, Wu Yuhan’s first soul ring lit up. His body swelled with power while cobalt and violet tendrils of electricity danced about his form. His arms lengthened and grew more muscular, razor-sharp claws sprouting from his fingertips.
Martial soul: Thunder Wolf!
Sparks also curled around Lei Jun’s being, but unlike with Wu Yuhan, they were pure electricity. Electric snakes slithered out of his body, converging into a ball in front of him.
Lightning shot out of Wu Yuhan, zigzagging toward Tang Wulin. At the same time, Lei Jun launched his rippling electric sphere straight at Tang Wulin. It was a pincer attack.