Chapter 445 - Astronomical Observatory
Li Zhilong smiled at Tang Wulin, a hint warmth in his eyes. "You can stargaze if you want. Just wait a moment. Our observatory has a little something special. Be it day or night, we can bring the stars closer to us for closer viewing. This observatory is actually a giant soul machine that gathers starlight out in space. Then it beams it back down to us as pure stellar energy. That energy is really beneficial to our students' cultivation, but entry is limited to the most talented. Normally, only the graduate students can cultivate here and use the stellar energy to refine their body and battle armor."
Astonishment colored Tang Wulin's face. He hadn't expected Skyorder Star Ocean Academy to have such an exceptional cultivation space. It looks like this match is going to be a tough one! Wait, did he say stellar energy? From starlight?
Tang Wulin snuck a peek at Xu Xiaoyan. Her face was blank.
"You'll be able to experience it for yourselves in a moment. Your opponents will be here shortly."
The walls of the observatory stood thirty meters tall, giving way to the vast expanse of sky above. Straining his eyes, Tang Wulin could make out various lines criss-crossing through the walls to form some sort of design. Recalling Li Zhilong's explanation, he came to the conclusion that these were soul circuits, and they hid a tremendous amount of energy within them.
Soul circuits had been in use for ten thousand years and counting, and after all these years of development, their designs and engineering grew in complexity and grandeur. There were circuits for every function. One of the major consumers of large scale soul circuits was the military, who used it for their national defense facilities.
The circuitry used in this observatory was the largest and most advanced Tang Wulin had ever seen. Still, he believed in the fact that Shrek Academy had something similar, despite not being completely certain. It was Shrek Academy after all!
Amidst Tang Wulin's musings, a group of people entered the hall. They were fitted in black uniforms with stars embroidered, the signature look of Skyorder Star Ocean Academy. Each star symbolized a soul power rank. The color of the stars were also significant: silver for undergraduate students and gold for graduate students.
The group that had entered consisted of four boys and two girls, each sporting silver stars on their uniforms, their ages ranging from eighteen to twenty. They cast curious looks at Tang Wulin's party as they had walked in.
Tang Wulin swept his gaze over them and instantly discerned their strength.
The strongest one had forty-six stars, and of the others, none had less than forty. They ticked all the right boxes for adequate opponents in the eyes of Tang Wulin's team.
As students of Shrek Academy, facing opponents a ring-level higher than them was nothing. However, Tang Wulin was wary of the arena itself. Li Zhilong wouldn't have picked the observatory merely on a whim.
Li Zhilong smiled at the sight of his students. "Let me briefly introduce you all. They," he said, pointing to Tang Wulin's crew, "are talented students from Shrek Academy. And over here are our strongest undergraduate students. I'll let you all complete your own self-introductions."
Tang Wulin nodded, then faced the opposing team. "I'm Tang Wulin, the captain of my team. I'm an assault-control-type soul master."
A slender young man from the opposing team stepped forward, a confident smile on his lips. "Hello. Welcome to Skyorder Star Ocean Academy. I'm the captain of our team, Xiao Tiantian. Coincidentally, I'm also an assault-control-type."
The two captains had a battle of stares, sparks shooting off where their gazes met. Although they both wore amicable smiles, they were appraising each other. Due to the difference in age, Xiao Tiantian was a bit taller than Tang Wulin, but stood his ground, a fierce edge to his eyes.
Gu Yue stepped forward next. "Gu Yue, assault-type."
The corresponding second of the other team went next. He was a short and skinny man with no remarkable traits. However, he had the second highest number of stars on his team, forty-four in total. "Ye Zishu. Agility-type."
"Xie Xie. Agility-type."
The opposing team's third member was tall and well-built. He looked to be the sturdiest on their team. "Gu Tianming. Agility-type."
As soon as those words left their opponent's lips, Tang Wulin widened his eyes by just a fraction. He's an agility-type? Not an assault-type? Those muscles though…
"Ye Xinglan. Assault-type."
"Zhang Xining. Control-type," said the fourth opponent. He was a handsome young man with an average build and wore a charming smile as he spoke, voice suave
"Xu Xiaoyan. Control-type." Her eyes were still wider than usual, mind somewhere far off in the distance.
A girl with sparkling good looks stepped forward, giggling. She was the fifth opponent. "I'm Li Yaoyao, an assault-type."
"Xu Lizhi. Food-type."
The final member of the Skyorder Star Ocean Academy team, a frail-looking girl with a jaw dropping figure, said, "I'm Han Yuchang. I'm a control-type soul master."
Another control-type? The warning bells rang within Tang Wuliin's mind, their team composition spurring all sorts of doubts. Their captain, Xiao Tiantian, was an assault-control-type, and they had two more pure control-types. Half of them were control-types!
Taking into consideration Skyorder Star Ocean Academy's reputation, Tang Wulin guessed that they were flying-types as well. Coupled with the fact that they had the home field advantage and were all over rank forty, he could already taste the incoming struggle of a match.
Tang Wulin glanced at Gu Yue and she met his gaze. The two nodded in understanding.
"Alright now. The teacher in charge of controlling the observatory is ready. We'll start the observatory's barrier in a moment. This is just a friendly match, so stop when you're ordered to," Li Zhilong said, beaming.
Although a proud Shrek Academy alumnus, he hoped with all his heart that the students he personally nurtured could defeat this team from Shrek Academy!
Tang Wulin's team might be younger than his students, but as a class president, he was more than enough to serve as a representative of that illustrious school. If the Skyorder Star Ocean Academy team won, that would be an accomplishment worthy of pride regardless of their age difference. They would be able to parade the fact that they had beaten a team from Shrek Academy!
Both teams retreated to their side of the arena. According to agreed upon rules, they would start the battle one hundred meters apart.
Determination blazed in Tang Wulin's eyes. Those closest to him knew that the more pressure he was under, the stronger he became. His opponents may be formidable, but he refused to believe they eclipsed the five rankers in his class!
After overcoming a powerful soul fusion skill, Tang Wulin had complete confidence in their ability to win, even in a disadvantageous battlefield. This was the conviction of a Shrek Academy student. They weren't just representing themselves, but Shrek Academy as well!
They took up their usual triangular formation. Tang Wulin at the head, Xie Xie and Ye Xinglan flanking him on either side, and Gu Yue, Xu Xiaoyan, and Xu Lizhi in the rear.
Their opponents didn't assume any particular formation. They stood in a row as before, straight and neat.
It was six versus six. While individual strength was important, teamwork was more crucial.
"Get ready!" Li Zhilong stepped into the arena as the referee.
He chopped the air, hand extending. The lines of circuitry covering the walls flared to life. Energy surged through the circuits to the ceiling, out into the sky and converging to form a giant beam.
Amazing! Tang Wulin's heart trembled before the observatory's energy fluctuations.
Darkness began to devour the sunlight. Soon, the sky was pitch black. One by one twinkling stars flickered into existence among the darkness, until finally, an ocean of stars hung above them. Stellar energy descended from the stars, bathing everyone present in its warmth.
Tang Wulin noticed a faint golden glow surrounding their opponents. He could tell that they had grown stronger. Not by much, but the stellar energy gave them an edge.
Tang Wulin whipped his head to the direction of that puzzled gasp. His eyes went wide at what he saw. Golden light flared from the source of the sound, manifesting as mist of the same color. He could just barely make out the person shrouded within it.
"Xiaoyan," Tang Wulin said beneath his breath.