Tang Wulin smiled and shook his head. "I don't know either, but I think it's probably within the next few days."
"Teacher won't give her permission for me to go." Na'er pouted her red lips, discontent written all over her face.
Tang Wulin chuckled. "It's not like I'm never coming back. I'll only be away for a year."
Na'er said sadly, "You're willing to leave me here alone? I don't even know anything about the Star Luo Empire. I'm worried about you."
Tang Wulin caressed her long hair. "I know, but it's already been decided. We can't do anything to change it. Na'er, have you completed your one-word battle armor?"
Na'er shook her head. "I'm still short of one final component."
"Work hard okay? Maybe, just maybe, when I return after one year, it'll be as a one-word battle armor master," Tang Wulin said with a smile.
Na'er smiled as well. "I don't believe you. You only have one piece of battle armor right now. How can you possibly progress that quickly?"
Tang Wulin said, "Don't you know that I'm exceptionally gifted?"
Na'er hardly stifled her laughter. "Brother, since when have you become so full of yourself? By the way, you're not even at rank 40. I see that you've been busy every day. So busy that you have no time for me. How much further are you from your goal?"
Tang Wulin smiled bitterly. "I'm at rank 38 now, so two ranks more." Tang Wulin sighed. "Some exceptionally gifted person I am. The increase in my soul power has been proceeding at an extremely slow pace."
He was also troubled by his own condition. Six months have already passed, and his soul power was only at rank 38. Although he was very close to reaching rank 39, it was obvious that he would not be able to reach rank 40 before they departed for the Star Luo Continent. If he could not reach rank 40, it meant that he could not become a rank 6 blacksmith and could not obtain his second spirit soul, or fourth soul ring for that matter.
All these were factors that restricted him from developing his power.
How could he not feel depressed when he was the team leader but had the lowest cultivation base? Yuanen Yehui, who had the highest soul power, was already at rank 45. Gu Yue and Yue Zhengyu were both at rank 44, while Ye Xinglan was at rank 43. Xie Xie, Xu Xiaoyan, and Xu Lizhi were all at rank 42. He was the only one who was still at rank 38.
After reaching rank 40, everyone's strength improved quickly. Tang Wulin had been working hard to cultivate his soul power, but he made little headway in other aspects. Only his blood essence became more powerful. If this went on, he would soon fall behind the others.
"Don't give up. I'm sure you'll have a breakthrough very soon. Maybe you'll be able to catch up to the others after you've reached rank 40," Na'er said with a smile.
Actually, Tang Wulin was not too depressed. Ever since he continuously broke the Golden Dragon King bloodline seals, his soul power had changed somewhat. Although he could not increase its amount, his soul power had grown in vigor. When he first started cultivating in the Mysterious Heaven Method, his soul power was pure white. Now, it had transformed into a faint golden liquid. His cultivation base was only at rank 38, but his endurance was in no way inferior to his companions'. Because of his lower rank, he could not move on to a higher status, but his foundation was rock solid.
"Thanks for the wishes. Let's hope it turns out that way." Tang Wulin had longed to reach rank 40 for quite some time now. Once he reached rank 40, all his abilities would improve, albeit to varying degrees. If he wished to become a one-word battle armor master, the lowest requirement was rank 40!
At this moment, his soul communication tool rang.
"Teacher." Tang Wulin smiled as he recognized the number. It was Teacher Mu Chen.
"Are you in the academy?" Mu Chen's gentle voice could be heard.
"I am, sir," Tang Wulin replied politely.
"Can you come to the gate?" Mu Chen asked.
"Certainly, I'll be right down." Tang Wulin turned to Na'er and said, "Teacher Mu Chen has come. I'm going to meet him. Why don't you return to the inner court?"
"Oh," Na'er replied reluctantly.
Tang Wulin almost flew as he sprinted toward the academy's gates.
"It's impossible, you know? Him and you."
At this moment, a voice reached Na'er's ear. She turned around abruptly and saw Gu Yue standing not far from her, looking at her with fiery eyes.
Na'er pushed against the stone bench with her right hand, leaped, and stood on it.
"Why are we impossible? Do you even know how it feels to like someone?" Na'er said angrily.
Gu Yue only looked at her silently and said nothing.
Na'er's emotions calmed down gradually. She shot Gu Yue a spiteful glare before turning and leaping away. Her silver hair fluttered in the wind and she disappeared in an instant.
After Na'er was out of earshot, Gu Yue muttered to herself, "Do I know how it feels to like someone?"
Tang Wulin reached the gates of Shrek Academy's outer court in no time. His eyes quickly registered shock. Mu Chen was not alone as he stood beyond the gates. Beside him was another familiar figure.
It was Zhen Hua.
When Zhen Hua saw him, he could not repress his smile.
Tang Wulin ran over hastily. He bowed politely. "Teacher, uncle-master."
Mu Chen smiled. "You're fast. I thought you'd be held up a little."
Tang Wulin chuckled. "What brings the two of you here? You could have just called me and I'd come to meet you both."
Mu Chen said, "If we're going through the back door, it's best not to do it at the Association."
"Back door?" Tang Wulin looked at his teacher in confusion.
Mu Chen's gaze was on Zhen Hua beside him. Zhen Hua smiled. "We've brought you something." As he said this, he stretched out his right hand and opened his palm.
On his palm was a badge. It had a white base, and six purple stars on the top that flickered with a noble luster.
"This is..." Tang Wulin looked at Zhen Hua with shock. "Uncle-master, I'm not at rank 6 yet!"
Zhen Hua smiled. "Well, you practically qualified for rank 6 long ago. The only thing that you lack is your soul power cultivation base. Once your soul power is brought up to speed, it won't be much difficulty for you to Spirit Refine spirit alloy seeing how sturdy your foundations are. You'll be going to the Star Luo Continent for one year, and your cultivation base is bound to break through rank 40 within that year. I'm giving you this badge in advance. When you return, you'll have almost certainly become a true rank 6 blacksmith already."
Mu Chen said, "Take it. Your uncle-master made this for you himself." When he said this, there was clearly a tinge of jealousy. He had to admit that there was still a huge gap between him and Zhen Hua in terms of forging. After all, Zhen Hua was one of the generation's Divine Craftsman!
"Thank you, uncle-master. Thank you, teacher." Tang Wulin accepted the badge. It must have been unprecedented for the Blacksmith's Association's president to go through the backdoor to give him the rank 6 blacksmith badge in advance.
Mu Chen said with a deep voice, "Be mindful of your safety throughout this trip, and achieve a breakthrough in your soul power cultivation base as soon as possible. Your foundations are firm, but you're still a bit slow in improving your soul power. If you're still unable to raise it faster after you return from the Star Luo Continent, we'll find a way to help you out."
"Thank you, uncle-master." Naturally, Tang Wulin understood what he meant by 'a way', but inwardly he still wished to improve his soul power through his own hard work.
Throughout this year, although he had made little progress in his soul power, the experience he got from cultivating gave him a clearer grasp of his soul power and a deeper understanding of his Bluesilver Grass martial soul.
If he improved his cultivation base by using heaven and earth treasures, he could be certain that the effects would be as good as this.
Zhen Hua looked at Tang Wulin with a smile and said, "I expect that you'll have a few surprises throughout your trip to the Star Luo Continent."
"Surprises? Like what?" Tang Wulin inquired curiously.
Zhen Hua spoke with a mysterious tone, "Since it's a surprise, how can I spill the beans? You'll know when you get there."
Tang Wulin looked toward Mu Chen for help, but Mu Chen only smiled at him and shook his head.
"Alright, we'll be going off. I wish you a safe journey." Zhen Hua waved at Tang Wulin. The master-siblings turned around and left.