Chapter 412 - Preparing to Set Out
Tang Wulin lit up at Shen Yi’s words. “What do we have to do so no one is expelled?”
Shen Yi glanced at him before returning her gaze to the rest of the class. “The results of the final exam will be based on how many points you score. If everyone meets the minimum score, then everyone might be able to pass. But then the bar for next semester’s exam would be raised by five percent.”
Tang Wulin furrowed his brow. He wasn’t naive enough to think Shrek Academy’s exams would be simple. Passing the exam was definitely easier said than done.
Shen Yi smiled. “The only leeway we’ll allow is the option to share points with other students. However, let me remind you that these points are the same ones that will determine whether you get into the inner court. Be careful of how many points you give away. They could be the difference between making into the inner court or not.”
Her words caused a stir, hushed murmurs breaking out among the stronger of the students. They all yearned to enter the inner court, but giving away their points would hurt their chances of making it in.
Tang Wulin lowered his hand and said no more. His strength was limited. Even if he wanted to help his classmates pass the exam, there were only so many he could help. He decided it was better to consider this matter closer to the end of the exam.
“Now, here are the details of the exam. The exam will span fifteen days. In those fifteen days, you will go to Bright City. You must visit at least ten cities, including Bright City, and in every city you visit, you must defeat a soul master at least five soul power ranks above you. You may not receive any help with finding your opponents, defeating them, or travelling to Bright City. All of you will have to figure out how to do this on your own.
“Furthermore, your soul storage devices, communicators, and any other resources you possess will be confiscated before you head out. That includes money. You will all leave empty-handed. Remember, you will only have fifteen days. As long as you can complete the assigned tasks and return within fifteen days, you’ll pass the exam. The number of points you earn will depend on the strength of the opponents you defeat. If you don’t manage to accomplish the assigned tasks in those fifteen days, you will unconditionally fail the exam and have half your points deducted. Do not worry about how your points are being counted during the exam. The Academy will be dispatching teachers to shadow all of you.
“But don’t expect them to help you under any circumstances.” She paused, letting the words sink in. “Even if your life is in danger, they will not intervene. So act with caution during the exam. Don’t pick a fight with someone you can’t handle.”
Tang Wulin could hardly believe his ears. There are exams like this? But after a moment of thought, he understood the aim of Shrek Academy. The exam was structured like this to be a comprehensive test of their abilities. Previous benefits of food, clothing, shelter, and transportation were all stripped away. Without a single penny, they had to visit ten cities, find and defeat opponents stronger than them, then make their way back.
Bright City was located on the western part of the continent while Shrek Academy sat right in the continent’s heart. Even traveling via high-speed train would take three straight days of travel from Shrek City to Bright City. In other words, that was at least six days of travelling, not to mention the time they would have to spend in each city looking for opponents.
A grim silence descended upon the class following Shen Yi’s announcement. Every student was deep in thought, planning just how they would tackle the exam.
“You may not form groups,” Shen Yi continued. “Everyone must take this exam alone. If any cooperation is discovered, everyone involved will fail.” Then she departed.
A smile tugged at the corner of Tang Wulin’s mouth. Interesting!
He glanced at his friends. They were all deep in thought as well, but none showed any worry. Ye Xinglan’s eyes blazed with determination. Gu Yue calmly contemplated the exam as if it were no big deal. Xu Lizhi and Xie Xie both looked excited, and Xu Xiaoyan simply wore a sweet smile on her face.
The exam would begin the morning of the next day.
Sitting behind at desk in the headmaster’s office, Elder Cai smiled at Shen Yi. “So the arrangements for the exam are complete?”
Shen Yi nodded. “Everything is in order.”
“Good. There has always been a few surprises during the first final exam for new students. Let’s see what happens this year. Remember to be thorough with the body search. These are clever kids we’ve got. Who knows what they’ll do for an advantage?”
Shen Yi chuckled. “You can rest easy. I’ve gone through this once before, so I know exactly what they’re all thinking. Anything they can come up with, their seniors have already done. Senior brother and the other proctors have already set out.”
“Excellent. This will be a good learning experience for them,” Elder Cai said.
With their business finished, Shen Yi left. Elder Cai laid back in her chair deep in thought. After a while, she stood up and walked over to the window. She peered out and stared at a towering building on the horizon that pierced through the clouds. Then her mind began to drift among the clouds, moving back to another time.
“Cai Yue, Gu Yue is my disciple. Stop meddling in her business.”
“How am I meddling?”
“Do you believe I don’t understand how you think? She has already joined the Spirit Pagoda and become my disciple. I’m certain she’ll do better under my tutelage than yours.”
“You want to go again? How many times have you lost already? Enough of this. We’ve already known each other for years. If you still can’t accept this, then you can come find me whenever you want. But in the end, I will bring Gu Yue take with me once she graduates from the outer court.”
And then she was back.
Elder Cai took a deep breath and narrowed her eyes as she opened the window. She stepped out into empty air.
Then her figure flickered, and she was gone.
Tang Wulin and his friends stood gathered around a map. He pointed to a few lines drawn on it. “This is the best route. It’s the shortest path possible to Bright City with nine other cities on the way. We’ll take the least amount of time possible if we follow it. We’re not allowed to work together though, so each of us will have to find our own way.”
Xie Xie eyed the map. “Wulin, I know we’re not allowed to bring anything, but what if we could sneak some things past the inspection?” he asked in a hushed tone. “We would have a huge advantage. Do you think there’s any way?”
Tang Wulin turned to him. “We can’t try anything sneaky like that. It’s a waste of time. Do you think the Academy would impose such rules without a way to enforce them? The pre-exam inspection will definitely be extremely strict. Besides, this a test of our abilities. We need to show that we can accomplish the tasks with just our own abilities.
“Our first problem is money. Without any money, we can’t take the soul train. Everyone use tonight to think of a way to earn some money.”
Xu Lizhi smirked. “I’ll just sell some buns.”
Xu Xiaoyan giggled. “I’ll put on a sad face and ask some senior brothers to lend me some money. The rest of you are going to need another way though.”
Xie Xie shrugged. “If worst comes to worst, I’ll just do some street performances. Wulin, you’re planning on going to do some forging assignments, right?”
“It’s the fastest way for me.” Tang Wulin nodded. Then he looked over to Gu Yue and Ye Xinglan. “How about you two?”
Gu Yue and Ye Xinglan shared a look, then answered at the same time.
In the early morning of the following day, all of the first grade students were gathered in Spirit Ice Plaza to prepare for their departure.
Any student who could make it into Shrek Academy undoubtedly possessed a soul storage device. The first thing Wu Zhangkong and Shen Yi did when they arrived was collect all of them. Apart from the clothes on their backs, the students were left with nothing.
“I can’t even bring my forging hammers?” Tang Wulin asked in shock.
“All you are allowed to bring are the clothes you’re wearing. Nothing else is permitted,” Wu Zhangkong answered coldly.
Tang Wulin reluctantly put his hammers back into his storage rings and handed the rings over. After using those storage rings and hammers for so long, he felt uneasy without them. It had already become a habit for him to put the storage rings on every day. Furthermore, those rings were filled with valuable chunks of metal and forged alloys.
Apart from the occasional alloy that had a harmony rate over ninety percent, those he gave to his friends, the majority of his successfully-forged alloys were in those rings. He hadn’t been in a hurry to sell the alloys. He instead chose to wait until he needed to break his fourth seal before using them to gain funds. They were sure to fetch a good price at Shrek Academy since it was a place where alloys were in high demand.
It was time for Tang Wulin to hand over all of his things, but his greedy nature made it hard for him to do so!