Chapter 450 - The Imperial Sun Moon Soul Engineering Academy
"How do you feel?" Tang Wulin asked.
Xu Xiaoyan knitted her brows. "Wonderful. I can't quite explain it, though."
After taking in her expression, Tang Wulin understood the meaning behind her words. This wasn't the place to talk.
"Senior, sorry for troubling you today. Xiaoyan is fine now, so we'll take our leave," Tang Wulin said to Li Zhilong.
"Junior sister," Li Zhilong said, turning to Xu Xiaoyan. "Your transformation is very interesting. We recordedit for research purposes. Would you mind giving me your contact information so we can discuss any findings we have in the future?"
"Okay." After gaining so much from the encounter, Xu Xiaoyan had no reason to refuse. Still, he wouldn't be able to contact her until she returned to Shrek Academy, seeing that she had left behind her communicator.
They tiptoed through the gates of Skyorder Star Ocean Academy and jumped into their beat-up car.. Xie Xie turned on the ignition, driving to the next city without relying on a map.
"Our match with the local academy went pretty well," Tang Wulin said. "We learned a lot too. Let's do the same in the next city, but more tactful this time."
Gu Yue glanced at him. "Will we be as lucky in the next city? It definitely helped to meet a Shrek alumni back there."
Tang Wulin smirked and thrust a hand into a pocket, retrieving a piece of paper. "Shrek Academy is the greatest academy on the continent, so who wouldn't want to hire our alumni? Before we left, I asked Senior Li to give me a list of alumni at different academies and their contact information. With this list, we can just call ahead to arrange a formal match."
"That works…" Gu Yue stared at him, gaping.
"Was this your plan from the beginning, Captain?" Xu Xiaoyan practically sparkled. "I like! We should have just done this from the start."
Tang Wulin beamed. Her enthusiasm was contagious. "Xiaoyan, your martial soul evolved, right? How are you feeling?"
Xu Xiaoyan aimed her gaze elsewhere, a pensive look to her eyes. "Yeah. It did. I still can't believe the amount of stellar energy they had there! At first, I couldn't understand what was happening, but after a moment I realized that the stellar energy was fusing with my martial soul and causing it to rapidly grow. I guess you could call it an awakening.
"If my guess is correct, then before this match my martial soul had yet to finish maturing. Or maybe you could say it was flawed. That's why it had different abilities between day and night. Although I made up for that flaw as I cultivated, the reality was that it was still there, lurking. It would have affected me in the future. By absorbing the stellar energy, I washed away the impurities of my martial soul."
"If that's the case, why didn't your soul power increase more?" Tang Wulin asked.
"Xu Xiaoyan smiled wryly. "There's no such thing as a free meal. The flaw in my martial soul was erased, but so was something else. My Starwheel Ice Staff is just a Star Staff now. The stellar energy cleaned my martial soul of its ice-attribute, leaving only the star-attribute."
Tang Wulin stared at her, eyes wide. "Really? So your ice-attribute soul skills are gone?"
Xu Xiaoyan nodded.
"And after your staff changed, your soul skills changed too?" Gu Yue asked.
Xu Xiaoyan smiled. "Of course. My gains wouldn't make up for the loss otherwise. All of my soul skills evolved along with my martial soul. They're nothing like before. I'll show you guys in the next match. I'm like Captain now. An assault-control-type.."
Tang Wulin flashed her a thumbs up. After her transformation, her confidence was near tangible.
He turned to face his other teammate with a star-attribute martial soul. "Xinglan, what about you? You absorbed a lot of stellar energy back there too. How do you feel?"
Ye Xinglan smirked. "My martial soul was already stable to begin with. The stellar energy only helped me increase my soul power. I'm at rank 40 now."
Xie Xie and Xu Lizhi flipped around in their seats, looking at her in shock.
Xu Lizhi beamed at her. "Big Sis Xinglan, congratulations! You're finally at rank 40."
Ye Xinglan returned his smile and nodded.
Once she fused with one more spirit soul to gain her fourth soul ring, she would become a Soul Ancestor. She was the first of their team to reach rank 40. With her skills and her powerful Stargod Sword, she would be on par with Yuanen Yehui.
Following the initial surprise, Tang Wulin diverted his attention to Xie Xie. "Don't enter the highway just yet. We need to buy a soul communicator first."
Understanding Tang Wulin's intentions at once, Xie Xie quickly did as he was told.
Soul communicator in hand, Tang Wulin began calling some numbers. "Hello, are you Senior Zhang, an alumni from Shrek Academy? We're current students from Shrek Academy…"
Just as Tang Wulin had expected, in the cities on their list, the Shrek Academy alumni working at local academies were more than happy to help their juniors. They all instantly agreed to arrange a match for Tang Wulin's group. Additionally, it would benefit their own students.
The next couple of days went by without a hitch. They had two matches each day, and pretty soon they soon finished their ninth. All that was left was a match in Bright City.
"Does the Imperial Sun Moon Soul Engineering Academy really not have any Shrek alumni? Aren't they ranked as one of the best academies on the continent? How can that be?" asked Xu Xiaoyan, scanning through the list of Shrek Academy alumni once more.
Tang Wulin cracked a faint smile. "I heard from one of our seniors that the Imperial Sun Moon Soul Engineering Academy had once been destroyed, and that it had something to do with Shrek. Since then, they've been hostile with and refuse to recruit anyone from our academy. Of course, none of our seniors would want to work there anyway. Even though they can't compare with us, the grudge the Sun Moon Academy holds against us is as deep as ever."
"Then why are we picking that place?" blurted Xie Xie. "From what I've heard, their students are the elite of the elites. A lot of the higher-ups in the Federation graduated from there. Shouldn't we pick a different place?"
A confident smile flashed across Tang Wulin's face, eyes bright with determination. "Did you forget what the point of this exercise is? Shrek took away our belongings and kicked us out so that we could learn as much as possible. We can't just slack off on this exam. We need to gain something from this journey. Or," Tang Wulin stared Xie Xie straight in the eye. "Are you telling me you're scared?"
A pause. Then, as if a bolt of lightning had struck him, Xie Xie's eyes popped. Grinning, he flashed Tang Wulin a thumbs up.
Xu Xiaoyan fidgeted in her seat, energy and excitement twisted so tightly like a cord about to snap. "Yeah! Let's go! I haven't had a chance to do anything in the last few matches."
Ye Xinglan shrugged. "Yeah. I need to show off too."
Meanwhile, Gu Yue caught Tang Wulin's attention, holding his gaze. "It's the final match."
He broke into a grin. There was no better opponent to finish their exam with than an old rival. They couldn't afford to lose.
"If you win, you'll get bonus points." The imposing, cold voice resounded in the car, giving everyone a fright.
"Teacher Wu?" Tang Wulin cried out in surprise as he looked out the window.
Wu Zhangkong ran alongside their speeding car, easily keeping pace while maintaining measured breaths.
The corner of Tang Wulin's mouth twitched. "Teacher Wu, you heard us?"
Wu Zhangkong shot him a sideways glance, nodding. "You'll all have the honor of representing Shrek Academy and you're not allowed to lose against them. I'll accompany you as your team's teacher."
With a teacher accompanying them, their challenge would be recognized as an official match.
"How many bonus points?" Tang Wulin asked hesitantly.
"If you win, all of you will get full marks plus ten bonus points each. Each and every one of you will have over fifty points to spare for your classmates."
"Deal!" Tang Wulin said.
They could easily accomplish their goal with so many extra points. Tang Wulin had done the mental math. Three hundred points to spare was a great incentive. Just imagining how many people they could save from failing the exam and being expelled fired him up even further.
However, Wu Zhangkong's next words served as a pail of ice water over their heads. "But if you lose, you all fail."
"What? That's so harsh!" Tang Wulin dropped his jaw, dumbstruck.
"You don't understand just how deep the grudges between our two academies run. If you lose, I'll shoulder the responsibility and resign from Shrek Academy as well," Wu Zhangkong declared solemnly.