"Furthermore, it has a unique activation method.
"It can only form an Invincible Barrier capable of lasting a full 15 seconds when its core formation is activated using this method. The defensive strength of this barrier can reach up to three times the user's cultivation. The reason that it's classified as a Class 9 soul tool is because of this Invincible Barrier. However, it can only be activated like this once before it needs to be recharged, but it doesn't have to be manually charged. When the user cultivates, it will naturally charge itself with the required soul power over time—around three days. Of course, the user can also charge it deliberately. Doing so will take an entire day and night of meditation, during which the user will have to inject all of their soul power into the soul tool."
Elder Xuan was shocked when he heard Jing Hongchen's introduction. He realized that Jing Hongchen truly had the ability to get out of almost any dangerous situation with this Class 9 soul tool, despite his cultivation only being Rank 93. No wonder he'd dared to sneak into Shrek Academy.
Elder Mu nodded, and Jing Hongchen felt that the weight in his hands disappear as Hongchen's Blessing appeared in front of Elder Mu. Elder Mu squinted his eyes and lifted it in front of him. He then said, "You're able to adapt well; no wonder the Illustrious Virtue Hall is improving every day under your leadership. You may leave now. However, if you intend on coming here without permission again, I hope that you're fully confident. If you aren't, your entrance fee won't be as simple as just one Class 9 soul tool."
Jing Hongchen revealed a smile on his face. Even though it was bitter, it was also filled with stubbornness. He bowed slightly towards Elder Mu, then turned to leave.
Once he'd left the Sea God's Pavilion, he leapt up into the air, and a pair of dark golden wings opened behind his back. He disappeared almost instantly; he wasn't willing to remain in Shrek Academy even a second longer.
Jing Hongchen had wanted to get back what belonged to him, yet had ended up suffering even more losses. He hadn't managed to get back the Class 8 Judgement Sword, and had even lost a Class 9 soul tool. It's important to know that Shrek Academy hadn't had a Class 9 soul tool prior to this, as Class 9 soul tools were only utilized for strategic purposes even in the Sun Moon empire. Even though the Class 9 soul tool that Jing Hongchen had given Shrek wasn't the best, it wasn't the worst either. He'd chosen Hongchen's Blessing because it wasn't offensive at all; its core formation was very resilient, and wouldn't be overcome easily.
However, Jing Hongchen wasn't exactly returning empty-handed. He'd seen Elder Mu, and had gained an even deeper sense of Shrek's background. This had been his greatest reward. Furthermore, he'd made other arrangements; failure was the mother of success. He wasn't afraid of being repressed for once. Despite how depressed he felt, Jing Hongchen had several other ideas.
However, he almost spat blood when he reached the soul tools that he'd set up beforehand.
Jing Hongchen had set up eight automatic soul tools over a thousand meter distance before he'd entered Shrek Academy. Four of them were Class 9 soul tools, while the other four were Class 8 soul tools. With them in place, he could remotely mount an attack on Shrek Academy and Shrek City with the push of a button. Even the most powerful individuals wouldn't be able to resist an attack of such a magnitude without sufficient preparation. They might be able to escape, but ordinary soul masters and all of the buildings present would be destroyed.
But when he reached the locations where he'd placed these Class 8 soul tools, he realized that only traces of them were left behind—all of them had disappeared. He immediately realized that Elder Mu must've done something to them. He used his remote to test them out, but didn't get a reaction. It was obvious that their receivers had been destroyed.
"Bastard, I knew I should've had that old man equip them with self-destruct devices. Damned Shrek Academy." Jing Hongchen cursed in fury. He didn't act like how he had in the Sea God's Pavilion.
However, his temper disappeared as quickly as it'd come. He turned around to look at Shrek Academy, an evil radiance appearing in his eyes. He snorted coldly, then turned around again and quickly left.
"Elder Mu, we've succeeded." Xian Lin'er and Qian Duoduo reported the good news to Elder Mu.
Where had Jing Hongchen's soul tools disappear to? They'd taken them away of course! Elder Mu had stalled Jing Hongchen in the Sea God's Pavilion in order to buy them enough time.
Elder Mu smiled and said, "I hope that your Soul Tool Department will be able to make some progress this time. However, take due caution; it wouldn't be a good thing if such powerful soul tools were to explode."
Xian Lin'er said, "Elder Mu, please rest assured. We'll only research the core formations for now. We won't take them apart without understanding them. Even when we do, we'll only do so in the academy. Fan Yu's already taken them back to the academy so that we can begin researching them."
Huo Yuhao was stunned as he listened from one side. He only barely managed to piece together that Elder Mu had most likely instructed the two Soul Tool Department deans to gather up some powerful soul tools.
Qian Duoduo looked at Huo Yuhao and couldn't help but laugh. "Little Yuhao, you must be curious. Well, Jing Hongchen snuck into our academy and was discovered by Elder Mu. Elder Mu also sensed what he'd setup outside the academy, and told us to go and gather up his soul tools. Of the soul tools he set up, four are Class 8 and four are Class 9. No matter how deep the Illustrious Virtue Hall's coffers are, this will definitely be enough to make them feel a pinch for some time."
Huo Yuhao was stunned. He clearly remembered the auction prices for the top-ranked soul tools sold at the auction house. The Illustrious Virtue Hall had definitely suffered a heavy loss since they'd relinquished these 8 soul tools alongside the Hongchen's Blessing that Jing Hongchen had left behind for Elder Mu.
Elder Mu passed the Hongchen's Blessing to Xian Lin'er and said, "Study this soul tool too. I tried it out just now; Jing Hongchen wasn't lying when he explained its usage. But don't ruin it—I have other uses in mind for it."
"Yes." Xian Lin'er excitedly received it. Even though she wasn't young anymore, she was still as excited as a little girl right now.
Shrek Academy's Soul Tool Department had been making slow progress all these years; this was a great opportunity for them! Researching the soul tools that they'd obtained today would definitely help Shrek Academy's Soul Tool Department make significant progress. It wasn't easy for one to obtain top-ranked soul tools from the Illustrious Virtue Hall.
Elder Mu gestured and said, "Go on then. Yuhao and Wang Dong, help me up to the third level. Xiao Xiao, follow Little Xuan and learn well from him. Little Xuan, take them to Star Dou Forest first thing tomorrow morning."
"Yes." Elder Xuan acknowledged.
Huo Yuhao and Xiao Xiao's eyes brightened when they heard that they were going to the Star Dou Forest. Their cultivations had already reached the Rank 30 bottleneck, thus heading to the Star Dou Forest could only mean one thing: They were going there to obtain their third soul rings! Becoming a Soul Elder represented a significant step forward in one's cultivation.
Only after one had overcome the barrier at Rank 30 would they be considered to have advanced from the beginner stage to the intermediate stage of cultivation.
Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong helped Elder Mu up from his chair slowly, then helped him up to the Sea God's Pavilion's third level again. Beneath Elder Mu's guidance, they entered the left tunnel and walked all the way to the room at the end of it.
Golden light shone, and the door to the room opened, afterwich they entered the room.
The room wasn't big; it was only around 30 square meters in size. There was a simple wooden table, a chair, a bed, and a bookshelf that covered one of the walls. The interior design was very simple, and the natural scenery of Sea God's Island could be seen through the window.
"Eld… Teacher." Huo Yuhao almost addressed Elder Mu incorrectly, as he still wasn't used to the new way he had to address him since he'd just accepted Elder Mu as his teacher. "How's elder sister? Is there any way to heal her? My second martial soul is Ultimate Ice. I'll do my best to help heal elder sister so long as I'm able to and you tell me how."
Huo Yuhao was more concerned with Ma Xiaotao's condition than becoming a Soul Elder. He'd only just established a relationship with Ma Xiaotao, yet she'd suffered such an enormous injury. It had taken him a great deal of effort to gain kin!
Elder Mu replied, "Don't be too anxious. Xiaotao's condition right now is special. It's not entirely a bad thing for her martial soul to have transformed. Once I sealed her, the Dark Phoenix flames began to lead her body in the direction of Ultimate Fire. It's just that the aura of darkness within her is like a parasite—it can't be neutralized so easily."
Huo Yuhao continued to probe, "How can we make the aura of darkness disappear?"
Elder Mu smiled and replied, "I've thought of a way, but we can't do so now. She needs to remain asleep in my seal for a longer period of time. It might be two, three, or even four to five years. It'll depend on what destiny has in store for her. I'll truly need your strength when the time comes however. For now, just remember what you said."
"I'll save elder sister no matter the price, so long as I'm able." Huo Yuhao answered resiliently.
Elder Mu said, "Yuhao, Wang Dong, let me ask you this: Do the two of you know why I let Jing Hongchen enter the Sea God's Pavilion today?"
Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong looked at each other, then Wang Dong said, "Are you trying to stamp your authority on the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy and the Sun Moon Empire? I've heard from Teacher Wang that the Sun Moon Empire's development in soul tools has been extremely rapid. It seems that the beginnings of a war are brewing."
Elder Mu didn't judge Wang Dong's analysis and turned towards Huo Yuhao. He asked, "What do you think?"
Huo Yuhao answered, "I have the same general idea as Wang Dong. However, I also think that you seem to value the exchange and interaction between us and their students that you discussed."
Elder Mu nodded and said, "Both of you are right. Stamping my authority, scaring him, and reaping the benefits. These were some of the reasons that I let him enter. However, the main reason was to fight for time—time for all of you."
"For us?" Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong were stunned.
Elder Mu replied, "My existence is Shrek Academy's greatest secret. Only the elders of the Sea God's Pavilion currently know about me. Yet, I revealed myself in order to fight for more time so that you young people will have time to develop. This is because I can't protect Shrek for much longer."