Chapter 329 – Mecha or Battle Armor?
“This semester, you all have one assignment: create your own mechas. Now, I will be announcing your groups. Group one: Tang Wulin, Gu Yue, Luo Guixing, and Wu Siduo.”
Tang Wulin stared at Wu Zhangkong in astonishment. Everyone else was organized into seven groups. We’re the eighth?
After declaring that group one was composed of the four class representatives, Wu Zhangkong announced the rest of the groups. Each group had at least ten people, and the sum of every group’s talents were basically on par with the rest.
“You must be able to use the mechas you make. As for how you make it, that’s up to you. I have only covered the basics of mecha making up to this point, so you should go to the library to learn about things like what materials should be used.
“In order to make your mechas, you will need the help of everyone in your group. You must make your mechas by the end of the term. If any group has a single person without a completed mecha, the entire group will lose marks. A single member failing this assignment means the elimination of an entire group, and all of you will be made to withdraw from Shrek.
“Additionally, all of you can forget about completing the assignment half-heartedly. In the second half of the semester, you will be taught how to pilot ordinary mechas. Shrek Academy’s curriculum aims to raise well-rounded students, so part of the final exam will be a class-wide mecha competition. The students that rank in the bottom ten for that competition will be expelled.”
Wu Zhangkong’s proclamation sent chills down everyone’s spines and increased the pressure they were under.
Even if everyone was strong individually, it was impossible to make a mecha without the help of their classmates. In other words, they had to rely on each other. Cooperation was indispensable for this assignment.
“The exam at the end of the semester also includes a group competition where each group will select their four strongest mecha pilots to compete as a team. The specific rules will be announced closer to the date of the competition.” Wu Zhangkong paused to let this information sink in, then gravely said, “I will now give you half an hour to gather into your groups and discuss your plans. Be warned, you do not have as much time for this task as you think.”
Shrek Academy’s teaching methods were clearly different from what these students were used to. Here, independent studies were encouraged. Very little time, a few hours at most, was spent in class every day. Students could procrastinate and play around and no one would bother with them. However, if they didn’t pass the exams at the end of the semester, they would be expelled, and no one wanted to be expelled from Shrek Academy.
So, their only option was to pour blood and sweat into their studies.
It was a long-established rule that the ten students that ranked at the bottom of the class would be expelled at the end of each semester. That was ten percent of the class. This danger pushed everyone, especially the weaker students, to work hard. For them, the possibility of expulsion was all too real.
Just as Tang Wulin was about to begin discussing plans with his group, he felt someone’s gaze. Upon turning to see who was staring at him, he saw Xu Xiaoyan with a miserable expression on her face.
Worry filled her eyes.
In terms of overall strength, Xu Xiaoyan had been the weakest of the four in class zero. She was also weak individually and only made up for it by taking advantage of openings in team battles. In one-on-one battles, however, almost anyone could defeat her, even if it were nighttime. Although astrological-attribute soul skills had absolute power, Xu Xiaoyan couldn’t move when she used her’s. She couldn’t follow up with an attack while her opponent was restrained.
Tang Wulin stood up and walked over to Xu Xiaoyan. “Feeling anxious?”
Xu Xiaoyan nodded.
“Don’t think about it too much,” Tang Wulin said. “Just work on reaching rank 30 for now. Soul masters get a major power spike at rank 30, you know? We’ll help you make a mecha that’s appropriate for your strength then. Besides, we’re just making mechas until we move on to battle armors. We’ll definitely pass our final exams.”
“Mn!” Xu Xiaoyan nodded, her spirit renewed. “I’ll do my best.”
Tang Wulin returned to his group and looked at Gu Yue, Luo Guixing, and Wu Siduo.
“Our group isn’t as simple as it appears,” he said. “We’ve already got our jobs set out for us. I forge, Gu Yue designs, Luo Guixing makes, and Wu Siduo will take care of maintenance. However, we still have some things we need to decide on. What kind of mecha will suit each of us? What materials will we use? Here’s what I propose: we’ll buy our own metals, Gu Yue will draft designs accordingly, and then I’ll forge them. I guarantee that every piece will be at least first-grade thousand refined.”
“Every piece?” Luo Guixing stared at him in shock. “What’s your success rate?”
Tang Wulin looked him in the eye and revealed a mischievous smile.
“One hundred percent.”
Tang Wulin normally wouldn’t have boasted about his success rate, but after successfully spirit refining and reaching the fifth rank, first-grade thousand refining was beyond easy for him. Furthermore, his heavy silver hammers had evolved to become spirit refined, further aiding him when he forged.
Just like Luo Guixing, Wu Siduo also couldn’t hide her surprise. First-grade thousand refined was already good enough for making battle armors. Using such material to make mechas was extravagant. If they really used metal of such quality, their mechas would have an overwhelming advantage against others of the same tier.
All of a sudden, Gu Yue spoke up.
“Let’s just make battle armors then. We can skip making mechas.” Her words stunned Wu Siduo and Luo Guixing.
“Thousand refined metal is the basic requirement to make battle armor,” Gu Yue continued. “Since first-grade thousand refined is already close to spirit refined and possesses some hints of life, we should be able to make one-word battle armor. We’re the class council, so we need to do better than our peers. Learning how to control mechas is just a waste of time. We’re going to become battle armor masters in the future anyway. I’m a fourth-rank designer, so if all of you are willing to trust me, I think I have a seventy percent chance of drafting a proper battle armor design. It won’t be anything particularly amazing though, just a one-word battle armor design. It might not even be much stronger than a mecha, but I’m sure you all understand what it will mean if we actually manage to do it.”
Tang Wulin was just as shocked as the others, but he had to admit that, although it was daring and reckless, Gu Yue’s proposal made sense. After seeing and learning about battle armor, he longed for the day he would have his own set. All of them hoped to become battle armor masters one day. If there was a chance that day would come sooner, even if they would only be using one-word battle armor, they would be hard-pressed to fight the temptation. Besides, this plan would give them experience useful for making their two-word battle armor in the future.
“Do we even have enough time?” Luo Guixing asked in a tone lower than normal, his usual carefree smile nowhere to be seen.
“I should be able to finish all the designs,” Gu Yue replied curtly. “You’ll have to begin making them while I design though. But… if you’ll be the only one making them, we definitely won’t have enough time.”
Battle armors weren’t like mechas. Mechas were made of several large parts that could be roughly put together, and as long as the inner circuit core was fine, it could be used. On the other hand, battle armors required meticulous craftsmanship since they had to work as an extension of the user. Not even one-word battle armor had room for error when it came to this. Battle armors were composed of numerous small parts, each with its own circuit core. Furthermore, each circuit core had to be compatible with the soul master using the battle armor. As a result, the complexity of battle armor designs were much higher than those of mechas, which didn’t even take the difficulty of making battle armor into account.
Luo Guixing knitted his brow. “I’m a third-rank mecha maker. Honestly speaking, I don’t think I can make battle armor. It’s too difficult. I’m not sure if I could make even a single set by the end of the semester.”
“I like Gu Yue’s idea,” Wu Siduo chimed in. “I want to try making battle armor too. Teacher Wu didn’t say that we needed to make a full mecha. Even if each of us only have an incomplete set of battle armor and fight against the other students who will be using mechas, why would we need to be afraid? A soul master has to have five rings in order to be able to use one-word battle armor, but you know we aren’t ordinary soul masters. We should be able to use incomplete sets of battle armor. I can help you with make them. We should only strive to make quality products. If we can’t finish in one semester, we’ll finish in two. If I’m not mistaken, we’ll probably start learning how to make battle armor in the third grade. Becoming one-word battle armor master is the requirement to graduate after all. We should start laying a solid foundation for entering the inner court as soon as possible.”
Luo Guixing looked at Tang Wulin. “What do you think, class president?”
“This plan is quite a gamble,” Tang Wulin answered.
Wu Siduo frowned at Tang Wulin, Gu Yue stared at him with blazing eyes, and Luo Guixing gave him a slight nod. This truly was a risky plan. They were assigned with making a mecha, yet they wanted to play with fire and make battle armor! Success would be fantastic, but if they failed or made too few battle armor parts, their evaluation at the end of semester exams would be uncertain.
“If we succeed, we will definitely reap spectacular rewards. I think making battle armor would be the best way to further our skills in our professions as well.”
Tang Wulin’s eyes shone with resolve as he clenched his hands into fists. He had never been one to back down from a challenge.
“I think we should try it.”