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Book 13: Life Gold
Chapter 112.1: Familial Love

Huo Yuhao was still young, however, and as time passed he became more and more normal under his companions’ influence. However, he still felt very lonely. After all, companions and friends weren’t family! He had no more relatives left in this world. He cultivated tirelessly to avoid the loneliness and dead silence in his dreams at night.

At this point, tears fell from his eyes because of what Ma Xiaotao had said. “I will take revenge on whoever dares to bully you by roasting him into a suckling pig.”

Elder sister, if only he had an elder sister. She could openly ask him for help to suppress the evil fire, protect him and take care of him. The phrase ‘elder sister’ was a very unfamiliar term to him.

“Why are you crying?” Ma Xiaotao was stunned as she saw Huo Yuhao crying. Huo Yuhao leapt up from the sofa towards her and gave her a tight hug. He wailed as he hugged her.

He was bawling hysterically to vent his emotions. He didn’t even realize that he had buried his head in Ma Xiaotao’s chest as he wept.

Ma Xiaotao was in a daze. A wave of distress surged within her heart after that. Although she was unsure why Huo Yuhao was crying so pitifully, she could clearly sense the change in his emotions. He developed a reliance on her as he bawled.

All females possess maternal instincts. It was just a matter of how strong they were. Ma Xiaotao might seem very sturdy in front of others, but she was actually very delicate. Those who usually seemed tough were actually the ones who were the most vulnerable internally. Huo Yuhao’s wailing sparked the kind, maternal instincts that resided within her.

She patted his back lightly and did not mutter any words of comfort. She felt that letting him cry his heart out like this was the best for him.

Huo Yuhao was crying very sadly. The venting of his emotions caused his tears to fall uncontrollably.

He recalled his predicament when he was at the Duke’s Mansion at a very young age. He was afraid of winter. Every winter, he would shiver in the cold with his mother at night. In the day, he still had to help his mother perform chores outside. His mother’s hands were already frozen, but she did laundry for the higher-class servants in the Duke’s Mansion in exchange for some low-quality grease for him to rub on his hands so that he wouldn’t freeze up.

The look in his mother’s eyes was so kind and amiable. But it also carried a tinge of sorrow that could never be wiped away.

He deeply recalled that his mother was crying very sorrowfully once. That’s because he asked her, “Mom, when can we ever be full?”

“Mom, when can we ever be full?” Huo Yuhao talked in his sleep.

This simple sentence caused Ma Xiaotao’s body to tremble. She teared up as she thought of how much bitterness Huo Yuhao had experienced when he was young.

“Mom, mom…” Huo Yuhao muttered under his breath as he wailed. His tears had already drenched Ma Xiaotao’s shirt. However, he was unaware, and gradually fell into a deep sleep in Ma Xiaotao’s arms.

He cried for 15 minutes until he fell asleep without drying his tears. Ma Xiaotao hugged him lightly.

Perhaps he missed the feeling of being in his mother’s arms when he was young, but Huo Yuhao placed one of his hands on Ma Xiaotao’s chest very naturally. But Ma Xiaotao was not angry with him for doing so. She only felt that he was very pitiful.

Everyone would miss their mother. But from the way he cried, how could it be that he only simply missed his mother? Ma Xiaotao could sense the sorrow that was deeply ingrained in his bones. She also heard some of his childhood stories when he talked in his sleep.

She did not place Huo Yuhao on the bed directly. Ma Xiaotao hugged him as she leaned on the bedside. She allowed him to snuggle in her arms and continued to pat his back softly.

It was early still in the morning when their match had ended. But right now, the Grand Imperial Star Hotel lit up with bright lights as night approached.

Huo Yuhao slept very soundly and sweetly. In his dream, his mother had come back to life. He felt his mother’s warmth as he laid in her arms. Little Yuhao had never felt so peaceful before.

Mom, mom…

He murmured continuously as he stuck close to his mother in her arms. There were no more tears, but warmth and longing affection.

By wailing bitterly, he had unleashed the sorrow and hatred that he had suppressed for so long. The warm hug left him completely relaxed. Maybe the knot in his heart had not been completely untied, but at least it was no longer a dead knot anymore.

A man’s growth would never be far away from a woman. A mother, sister, girlfriend, wife or daughter could not be missing from a man’s life. In Ma Xiaotao’s sister-like or mother-like arms, Huo Yuhao’s body and mind were both maturing subconsciously.

When the first ray of sunlight passed through the window to the bedside at dawn, it landed on Huo Yuhao’s face.

The golden ray caused the sleeping youth to slowly wake up.

His entire body was warm, and he was feeling extremely comfortable. His soul power coursed freely in his body, and his heart felt an indescribable carefreeness. It was as if all his accumulated negative emotions had been vented.

“So comfortable…” He turned his head around unwillingly to avoid the beaming sunlight. But the abnormally soft pillow caused Huo Yuhao’s consciousness to become a little clearer.

As he moved his finger, an elastic force was exerted on his fingertip. Huo Yuhao was truly awake now. He opened his eyes and saw a lazy but serious-looking face watching him weirdly, whereas his hands were placed on the upper chest of this person, and he was even grabbing this person’s chest.

“Sister Xiaotao, this… this is a misunderstanding.” Huo Yuhao relaxed his grip quickly and crawled up awkwardly. His face blushed.

“What did you call me?” Ma Xiaotao straightened her face, “Did I hug you one night for you to call me this?”

Huo Yuhao only regained his awareness now. He lowered his head as he said, “Elder sister.”

Ma Xiaotao sat up straight and stretched her arms and aching body before rubbing Huo Yuhao’s head and saying, “Go back to your room and wash up.”

Ma Xiaotao’s indulgent action relieved the embarrassment and nervousness that Huo Yuhao felt. He lifted his head to look at her, “Elder sister.”

Ma Xiaotao smiled and replied satisfactorily, “Oh, that’s better.” As she said that, she dragged Huo Yuhao down from the bed and tidied up his shirt. “Go wash up and eat something. It’s not early anymore. We still have to compete later.”

Book 13: Life Gold
Chapter 112.2: Familial Love

“Alright.” Huo Yuhao replied. Although his face was still blushing, his eyes were filled with affability as he looked at Ma Xiaotao.

He walked towards the door to her room as he spoke. When he was about to open the door, Ma Xiaotao said suddenly, “Yuhao, I would like to hear your story when you are willing to tell me.”

Huo Yuhao turned and smiled brightly at Ma Xiaotao, “I will.” Ma Xiaotao sensed the intimacy she had with Huo Yuhao as their gazes met.

Huo Yuhao breathed out heavily after he closed the door behind him. He felt extremely energized, which was something he had never felt before. Even the soul power in his body had been enhanced. He almost screamed because of the carefreeness he felt. He wanted to announce to the world that he had an elder sister!

After returning to his room and opening his room door, Huo Yuhao saw Wang Dong sprawled on his bed in an unglamorous sleeping posture. A greater sense of warmth filled Huo Yuhao’s eyes as he saw Wang Dong. Without a doubt, Wang Dong must have had been waiting for him to return. The both of them were just exhausted yesterday, and sufficient rest was enough for them to recover.

As he tiptoed to the bedside, Huo Yuhao lifted his hand and slapped Wang Dong’s butt. “Time to wake up.”

“Aiyo.” Wang Dong whined in pain and jumped up.

For some reason, Huo Yuhao compared this slap he gave to Wang Dong to the hug he had given Ma Xiaotao last night…

Wang Dong’s butt was much smaller, but was equally perky. His butt was very springy even though he was wearing pants.

Wang Dong was dazed for awhile after seeing that it was Huo Yuhao. He then scanned him for a few moments. Following that, he seemed alerted, “You weren’t wearing this yesterday!”

Huo Yuhao replied vey naturally, “Yes! I helped my elder sister suppress her evil fire yesterday. My shirt was burnt, and many parts of it were torn.”

“Elder sister?” Wang Dong’s tone of voice became higher.

Huo Yuhao nodded seriously and said, “Elder sister said that she’s unwilling to accept favors from anyone. If I’m willing to become her kin, she will love and protect me in the future. Wang Dong, do you know that I’m very happy? Ever since mom passed away, I became an orphan. I finally have kin now.”

Wang Dong felt heartbroken as he looked at the flashing radiance in Huo Yuhao’s eyes. He said almost instinctively, “You still have me!”

When he sensed the weird expression in Huo Yuhao’s eyes, he supplemented his words hurriedly, “We are brothers. Don’t tell me that you don’t treat me as your brother?”

Huo Yuhao chuckled, “It’s different.”

“What’s the difference?” Wang Dong asked stubbornly.

Huo Yuhao replied, “She gives me the feeling my mother did. Since we are brothers, your gender is totally different!”

“Err…” Wang Dong wanted to say something, but curbed his impulse. He snorted and said, “While you were enjoying your time with your elder sister, I was waiting for you here. If they didn’t let me find you, I’d have rushed in already!”

Huo Yuhao laughed and said, “You call this waiting? You didn’t even know that I came in. You were sleeping like a pig.”

“You’re the pig.” Wang Dong leapt towards him. Huo Yuhao turned around to escape and said hurriedly, “Stop playing already. Go and wash up before we have breakfast. We still have to compete.”

“There’s not going to be an individual competition anymore. After the team competition yesterday, the Star Luo National Academy has already conceded defeat. Their main team members are all injured. Who can they send to fight us? We don’t have to go today. We will also rest tomorrow. It’s the final the day after tomorrow!”

After learning that he didn’t need to compete today, Huo Yuhao relaxed. “It’s better not to compete. What happened in the other semifinal match?”

Wang Dong replied, “I was also in a daze, and didn’t see what happened. From what eldest senior said, the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy gained an overwhelming advantage over the Imperial Profound Academy. But today’s individual competition will still continue.”

“Overwhelming advantage?” Huo Yuhao suddenly felt petrified. The Imperial Profound Academy had 1 soul emperor and 6 soul kings. Without considering strategies, their abilities were above the Star Luo National Academy’s. After recalling how Princess Jiu Jiu used a few powerful soul tools to turn the tide against his side, Huo Yuhao felt his head getting heavier.

Wang Dong nodded and said, “I heard that they used less time than us in the team round. From the start to the end, the Imperial Profound Academy was completely suppressed and had no chance. I also heard that the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy’s team leader has been promoted to a Class 6 soul engineer. He’s very powerful.”

“Yuhao, I had an idea after I woke up yesterday.” Wang Dong started to become excited.

“What idea?” Huo Yuhao asked curiously.

Wang Dong said in a low voice, “Do you think that we are considered 1 person or 2 people when we unleash our martial soul fusion skill?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head at a loss and replied, “It’s not easy to tell. Even if it’s only 1 person, the difference from an ordinary soul master is still very great.”

Wang Dong blinked his large, beautiful eyes and said, “If Senior Xu can use the Mysterious Underworld Displacement to shift us into the middle of our opponents, we can use……”

The two of them had great chemistry. Huo Yuhao understood Wang Dong immediately, “Are you saying… I understand now. But is this really possible?”

Wang Dong said, “We won’t know if we don’t try. Let’s ask Senior Xu later.”

“Alright.” Huo Yuhao replied immediately.

After they washed up and had their breakfast, they went to find Xu Sanshi and relayed their idea to him.

After listening seriously to their description, Xu Sanshi shook his head and said, “I fear that it’ll be very difficult. I might succeed if I can remain in the awakened form of the Xuanwu turtle. The thing is that my Mysterious Underworld Displacement can’t just shift anyone. The prerequisite is that the person I’m trying to shift doesn’t possess any defense-type soul skills that cover a wide area, which will prevent any displacement. It’s just like how I failed when Princess Jiu Jiu used the Starcrown soul skill. When a soul master uses his soul skill, my soul power will be depleted twice as fast if I want to displace him. The stronger the soul skill, the faster the depletion of energy. This continues until the soul skill can’t be used anymore. Let’s not even consider the question of whether you’re 1 or 2 people when the both of you use your martial soul fusion skill. Purely based on the fact that your martial soul fusion skill is immensely strong, I may not be able to displace the both of you successfully. I may succeed if I am in the awakened form, which will make me close to the rank of a soul king and supplemented by the Mysterious Underworld Force.”

Book 13: Life Gold
Chapter 113.1: Heavenquake Axe

Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong were both disappointed as they heard Xu Sanshi’s words. If the Mysterious Underworld Displacement could be used when they unleashed their martial soul fusion skill, it would be a great strategy in a team battle.

“Alright, don’t be like this anymore. At such a young age, the both of you managed to turn the tide in a critical situation. What more do you want? Teacher Wang won’t even allow me to ask you what your martial fusion skill is. However, I saw it that day. Powerful! I would like to try it if there’s an opportunity.”

Wang Dong laughed, “Brother Xu, do you want to try 1 or 2?”

Xu Sanshi snapped, “Nonsense, obviously 1. Do you want me to die?” As he spoke till this point, he revealed a dash of craftiness on his face and continued, “Do the two of you want to see what’s going on in the individual round? But you must both fully recover first.”

Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong turned to look at each other, and they could see that they were both starting to become excited.

The Star Luo National Academy had conceded defeat, and would not be participating in the individual round. That’s why today’s match was between the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy and the Imperial Profound Academy. Although Wang Yan did describe how the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy had competed, they had not seen it for themselves. Furthermore, the individual round wouldn’t take up too much of their time.

Huo Yuhao said, “Xu Sanshi, it’s just the three of us?”

Xu Sanshi chortled. “Three of us is enough. Why do we need so many people? Bei Bei and Senior Dai are both still recuperating from their injuries. Yuhao, did Senior Ma do anything to you yesterday?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and replied, “Elder sister treated me very well.”

Xu Sanshi revealed the same look as Wang Dong earlier, “Elder sister? You’re good! Your progress is quick.”

Huo Yuhao rolled his eyes and said, “Brother Xu, we’ve only acknowledged each other as siblings. She said that if anyone dares to bully me… hehe, you know.”

Xu Sanshi shivered. “You’ve benefited. Does it matter whether it’s your elder sister or younger sister? Let’s rush, we don’t have much time left.”

“Let’s go!” Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong and Xu Sanshi crept out of the hotel as they were driven by their curiosity. As members of Shrek Academy and finalists of the tournament, they managed to enter the competition venue through the corridor for team members.

At this point, the Imperial Profound Academy and Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy had both entered the competition venue too. While they were in the resting area, the attention of the members of both academies were drawn towards the three of them as they approached. The resting area for Shrek Academy was not empty either. Wang Yan was sitting there. His brows furrowed as he saw the three of them walking over.

“Teacher Wang.” Xu Sanshi brought Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong to the Shrek Academy’s resting area before greeting Wang Yan.

Wang Yan said, “Aren’t all of you supposed to be resting? Why are all of you here? Yuhao, are you fine?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and replied, “Teacher Wang, don’t worry. I have suppressed Senior’s evil fire.” He did not call her elder sister anymore because he did not want to be interrogated anymore. It was best if he said it to everyone once they were gathered.

Wang Yan said, “Alright then. Since this is the case, let’s all watch together.”

The three of them sat beside him, and Xu Sanshi asked curiously, “Teacher Wang, what happened yesterday? I only heard that it was an overwhelming victory. How did the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering manage to do it?”

Wang Yan revealed a bitter smile on his face and replied, “Do you know why I didn’t allow all of you to watch them compete?”

The look in Xu Sanshi’s eyes changed a little. “Were you afraid of shaking our confidence?”

Wang Yan was stunned as he replied, “You are smart. However, this is only one of the reasons. Another reason is that there’s no point in watching them compete.”

His tone became more serious as he continued, “The Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy is obviously very prepared for this tournament. Let me clarify this point. Since they are our biggest rival, I have been monitoring them ever since the tournament started, and watched almost every round that they have competed in. But do you know what I discovered? They have never used the same strategy in each round of the competition, especially during the team matches. Tell me what’s the point of watching them then? It’ll only shake your confidence.”

“Their team leader, Ma Rulong, competed yesterday. He was impeccable. He used 2 Class 7 soul tools to suppress the entire Imperial Profound Academy. The other 6 simply used Soul Tool Fortresses. Think about what kind of scene you will see when 6 Soul Tool Fortresses are fired at the same time. The entire competition stage was raging with attacks. The Imperial Profound Academy was forced off the competition stage by the frightening firepower before they could even display their true abilities. Their soul emperor was struck the moment he stepped forward and was knocked out of the competition stage. The competition ended after that.”

After hearing Wang Yan’s description, Huo Yuhao’s and the other two’s expressions changed. Although they had expected them to dominate, they didn’t expect them to be so dominant! If this was the case, how would they fight?

Wang Yan continued, “After seeing yesterday’s team match, I think that it doesn’t matter anymore. We’ll just do our best in the final.”

Xu Sanshi asked in a low voice, “Teacher Wang, do you think our main team members would have a chance if they came to participate in this tournament?”

Wang Yan replied after pondering for a while, “It’d be difficult for them.”

Xu Sanshi heaved a sigh of relief and said, “Since this is the case, don’t think too much about it anymore. Didn’t you mention before that we’ve already completed our mission by making it to this stage? Whether we win or lose in the future, we’ve earned it. Since we only have one round left, so what if we lose, as long as we give our all? Moreover, it’s not our first time creating a miracle. We are Shrek!”

Wang Yan smiled and said, “You are quite open-minded. I will be relieved if all of you carry such a mentality when you compete. Regardless of whether it’s the academy or me, we won’t bother too much about the result. But if we lose, the public’s opinion will bear on all of you. As all of you are still young, I’m afraid that you won’t be able to bounce back from the setback. If that happens, I will be a sinner in Shrek’s eyes.”

Xu Sanshi laughed. “No way! Teacher Wang, you are thinking too much. The academy gave us this chance because we are all determined and resilient. Furthermore, we can just return to the academy immediately if we lose. Don’t tell me that there will be people in the academy who will spout gibberish?”

As they spoke, the referee had already arrived on the stage. The Star Luo Emperor was also here to observe the competition on top of the city wall. Princess Jiu Jiu, who lost to them yesterday, was also standing beside the Star Luo Emperor.

Huo Yuhao could sense someone observing him, and he lifted his head subconsciously. He saw Princess Jiu Jiu glancing at him. Her ravishing face seemed to be filled with frustration, but this could only be noticed by Huo Yuhao because of his Spirit Eyes. The others beside him didn’t notice this.

On top of the city wall.

“Brother, I’m indignant. We were supposed to be able to win.” Princess Jiu Jiu protested.

The Star Luo Emperor smiled and said, “What’s there to be indignant about? It’s a fact that you lost.”

Princess Jiu Jiu was unconvinced as she said, “But I didn’t get to use my strongest skill.”

The Star Luo Emperor said, “But it’s not that you didn’t want to use it. Furthermore, it might not have changed the result even if you had. Even if Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong didn’t unleash the soul skill that suppressed the Starcrown, do you think that all of you could have defeated that Phoenix together? Ma Xiaotao’s martial soul is the Evil Fire Phoenix, and she’s the descendant of Ma Hongjun, who belonged to the first generation of Shrek’s Seven Monsters. She’s a Rank 67 soul emperor, and her cultivation is the best among everyone in this tournament. You saw what happened yesterday too. Even when 3 soul kings teamed up together, they couldn’t challenge her. Would all of you have won if you were tired? And that would be even worse in the individual round. All of you had no chance with Ma Xiaotao and Dai Yueheng around. It’s still about the difference in power. While Shrek Academy did not send its strongest lineup this time, no one can underestimate their foundation. I am excited to see how things will pan out when that young fellow grows up 5 years later.”

Princess Jiu Jiu snorted and said, “I don’t know how it’ll be like 5 years later, but they’ll likely leave this tournament in the humiliation of failure. The Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy is too powerful. They have also prepared very sufficiently for this edition of the tournament. Shrek Academy has also appeared with problems. Even if their entire official team competes, they may not have a chance at all.”

The Star Luo Emperor laughed and said, “Younger sister, you are too concerned about the result of this tournament. The Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy is like you, taking this tournament too seriously. At the same time, both you and the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy are taking fame and fortune too seriously. That’s why you reckon that the Shrek Academy has made a wrong move. In reality, I think they are doing what they are doing because of a deeper meaning.”

Princess Jiu Jiu was puzzled as she asked, “Deeper meaning?”

The Star Luo Emperor asked in a low voice, “Jiu Jiu, what do you think about our Xu Family’s powers?”

Princess Jiu Jiu, who was also called Xu Jiu Jiu, replied without any hesitation, “We are very powerful. We were only able to lead the empire’s troops to force our enemies out and disintegrate the Duke’s Mansion bloodline to become the leader of this empire because of our family’s power. It’s very rare to see huge clans like our Xu Family in the continent now. Even when the Martial Soul Hall behaved atrociously then, they couldn’t do anything to us.”

Book 13: Life Gold
Chapter 113.2: Heavenquake Axe

The Star Luo Emperor nodded and said, “You’re right. Our Xu Family is very powerful. But why did we only making our move when the empire was in trouble? It’s not just because a wise man looks after his own hide. We did it more for the accumulation of strength. However, our Xu Family has been getting smaller over the past few thousand years. In our generation, it’s only you and I that have inherited the Starcrown. Now, think about Shrek Academy’s foundation. Shrek Academy has been growing over the past 10,000 years, and they have also secretly done a lot of for the continent. Many huge empires are afraid of them too. However, who do you think is truly aware of Shrek Academy’s depth? And would such an established academy make such a stupid error? Furthermore, Shrek Academy can send another group of official team members if they wanted to. Shrek Academy is never devoid of talents.”

Princess Jiu Jiu asked doubtfully, “Brother, are you saying that Shrek Academy does not value the tournament?”

The Star Luo Emperor, Xu Jiawei, shook his head and replied, “No. Shrek Academy might not care about the tournament, but I’m sure that they value this batch of young students a lot. Many people miss out on a few things because of their low cultivations, but those who are keen-eyed can tell their talents. Shrek Academy might have forsaken the chance to become the tournament champion in order to train them up. Losing the tournament isn’t scary. The scary thing is if there are no successors. I have watched Shrek Academy competing in every round. I can fairly say that every one of their students has their own special trait. If they can progress rapidly, given 5 to 10 years, Shrek Academy will have a bright future, and that’ll be even more frightening.”

When he reached this point, Xu Jiawei stopped and turned his attention to the distance, “Younger sister, you must remember this. With the strength of their academy, they once led the 3 empires on the continent to retaliate against the invading Sun Moon Empire. They even resisted the wave of beasts from Star Dou Forest. Without them as a stabilizing force at the border between our empire and the Heavenly Soul Empire, the Sun Moon Empire would have made their move already. Alright, let’s watch the competition.”

At this point, the competition had already started.

One might wonder whether the Imperial Profound Academy had become angry from embarrassment. The first member to compete was their team leader, who was a soul emperor. He was also the one who drawn the lots for them yesterday.

The Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy sent a tall and thin youth up.

Inside the resting area, Wang Yan introduced the both of them to Huo Yuhao and the others with great familiarity.

“Imperial Profound Academy team leader. His name is Jiang Peng, and he’s a soul emperor. His soul power is between Rank 61 and Rank 62, and he is the first in the Imperial Profound Academy history to become a soul emperor before reaching twenty. Because of this, he’s also very arrogant. His martial soul is a Heavenquake Axe, which is very powerful. Amongst all the assault-type martial souls, I only know Wang Dong’s Clear Sky Hammer that can suppress his martial soul.”

“The Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy has sent one of their official team members up. His name is Michael, and he is a Class 5 soul engineer. He has many strategies, and I have no way of appraising him. In the previous rounds, he would fight almost every time. He is a very stable person, and has never once made a mistake when competing.”

Wang Yan’s claim that he had never made any mistakes so far was already a positive appraisal on its own. As he was introducing them, the battle had already commenced on stage.

Michael had already let out a series of metallic clangs just as the referee shouted to signal the start of the competition.

A bright blue slab of metal rapidly appeared from his back and covered his entire body. It was as if he was wearing a suit of armor over his body. Slabs of metal also appeared from his waist and legs.

After all the bright blue slabs of metal covered his entire body, Jiang Peng had already rushed beyond the halfway line.

Michael was wearing a suit of heavy armor. After donning the armor, his body seemed to have expanded by about 3 circles. The bright blue metal flashed, and a ball of white light shone from both his chest and belly. It was very obvious that these were the core formations of this soul tool of his.

A soul tool that covered his entire body?

Huo Yuhao opened his eyes wide and observed seriously. He had never seen this soul tool before. But Fan Yu had once mentioned that the highest class close-combat soul tool was the most primitive armor in the Sun Moon Empire. However, this type of soul tool couldn’t be appraised using simple armors. Its presence greatly increased the user’s offensive and defensive abilities. It could even amplify the user’s cultivation.

Soul engineers’ martial souls were usually defective. But a soul engineer could unleash the powers of assault-type soul masters with this type of full body armor. Thus, it was a pity that the Shrek Academy’s Soul Engineering Department had experienced some issues with their current research. They had no experience in producing this kind of full body armor. They didn’t expect to see it in this tournament.

Blue light flashed in Michael’s hands, and a huge sword that was the same color as the armor on his body appeared in his palm. The sword’s radiance was even brighter than that of his armor, and the core formation at the edge of the sword released halos of blue light.

As Michael completed all this, his opponent was already in front of him.

Jiang Peng deserved to be called the most outstanding student in the Imperial Profound Academy’s history. He did not unleash his martial soul when he burst towards his opponent. That was because his martial soul would cause his speed to decrease. It was only when he reached his opponent that he unleashed his martial soul.

6 soul rings – 2 yellow, 2 purple and 2 black – rose from beneath his feet instantaneously. A reverberating boom that sounded like lightning resonated in the sky. Following Jiang Peng’s leaping movement, a streak of huge, ferocious radiance had already descended from the sky.

It was a huge axe. The axe was roughly 5 feet in length. But the scary thing was that the axe blade was over 5 feet in width as well. The axe blade was pitch-black, and exuded a cold aura. Its immense destructive strength could be sensed just by looking at it.

Grabbing the axe with both his hands, Jiang Peng slashed it without using any soul skills. The Heavenquake Axe reverberated with a menacing roar. It was slashed towards Michael’s head, aided by its falling momentum.

Michael did not panic, and he slid his feet slightly so that he moved back by a meter. At the same time, his full body armor flashed with an intense blue radiance, which connected with the sword in his hand. As he held the sword’s hilt with both hands, he made an upwards slashing motion.

It was clear that he had practiced this action countless times. There was no fanciness involved. It was simple, direct and accurate. He was not targeting the axe blade, but instead used his sword’s 7 foot length to sweep towards his opponent’s axe handle.

Jiang Peng snorted, and his downwards slashing motion stopped in mid-air. He instead swept his axe across horizontally, causing it to collide strongly against the sword.

Michael staggered backwards as a booming roar sounded. Jiang Peng’s momentum was also stopped, and his body shone with a series of electrical lights.

Huo Yuhao immediately understood that Michael’s armor and sword should carry the effect of lightning.

It was not rare for close-combat soul tools to carry elemental effects. He was, however, shocked by Michael’s powers. This was evidently due to the enhancement by the soul tool. With the soul tool enhancing his powers, he was not much inferior to a strength-type soul emperor as a soul king. This showed the great enhancement effect of this soul tool on him.

Wang Yan’s description also left Huo Yuhao even more shocked. Wang Yan said, “In the earlier rounds, Michael also displayed his long-range offensive abilities. This is his first time using a close-combat soul tool.”

Wang Yan’s explanation caused Huo Yuhao to be stunned. The Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy’s abilities had reached such a tremendous standard?

However, Michael also did not feel good after being struck by the axe. He did not manage to chase after Jiang Peng, who was suffering from numbness all over his body. Both of them stopped on the competition stage for a while. Following that, Michael did not continue to fight forcefully. The bright blue radiance behind him shone even brighter, and his body picked up speed. He burst out a few meters before his toes touched the ground. Then, he switched directions at a 90 degree angle, but his speed did not decline. He burst towards the center of the competition stage.

Jiang Peng’s arrogance had dipped a little by now. He naturally knew the importance of this round to the Imperial Profound Academy. He did not compete first because he was reckless. He had pondered his decision carefully before making it. Only if he managed to get rid of a few opponents could they have a chance of winning today’s individual competition. This was also why he did not use his soul skill when he came up. He needed to conserve his soul power and abilities so that he could last longer!

However, Michael was much stronger than he had expected. He was a soul king, and it was obvious that his cultivation wasn’t increased solely through his own training. His foundation was not as deep as an orthodox soul master’s. But it was precisely this soul king that was not at a disadvantage after he met his strike as he wore the armor.

Total body numbness was not a good feeling. Jiang Peng knew that he could no longer hold back anymore. Otherwise, he would be at a disadvantage the longer his opponent remained standing.

As he thought till this point, his 3rd soul ring lit up as he turned. The purple thousand year soul ring emitted an elegant glow while the Heavenquake Axe had already moved amidst a series of booming air blasts.

This Heavenquake Axe was deservedly termed a powerful attack-type soul tool by Wang Yan. After it struck, the huge axe revolved in the air like a huge light disc that emitted a cold radiance.

A dark, full moon descended from the sky. It managed to catch up to Michael’s sprinting figure in the blink of an eye.

Book 13: Life Gold
Chapter 113.3: Heavenquake Axe

Huo Yuhao saw it clearly this time. Both his armor and sword released an intense blue lightning current as he drew his sword. The current did not disperse, but quickly gathered towards the tip of the sword before being unleashed brutally once again.

Lightning was very unstable. For this soul tool to seal the powers of lightning and unleash it with such precise control, Huo Yuhao was a little uncertain of how to describe this soul tool anymore. He believed that it was not only a Class 5 soul tool, and might not have been produced by Michael himself. This was especially so because the sword released a lightning radiance that almost seemed solid. When it was used, it even felt as if there was a flow or wave.

However, Michael had miscalculated this time.

Jiang Peng waved both his hands in the distance, and the originally fierce Heavenquake Axe changed suddenly directions in the air. It drew a weird-looking arc and swung behind Michael instantly. The axe blade slashed down heavily.

Michael’s reaction was not slow. He leapt forward immediately when he realized that things were amiss. The soul thruster behind his armor was unleashed at full power. But it was no longer just a driving force now. Rather, it shot out a powerful light towards the back that attempted to resist the strike of the Heavenquake Axe.

But a soul emperor was a soul emperor. This soul tool on Michael’s body was very strong, but Jiang Peng was no easy opponent either. After all, he was the top talent in the Imperial Mystical Academy’s history. Upon closer examination, it was possible to discover that Jiang Peng’s yellow first soul ring was flashing with a subtle radiance. This radiance was very special, and wasn’t just like the kind of radiance emitted by soul masters’ martial souls. It was delicate, and flashed with a frequency that resembled the rate of a heartbeat.

Jiang Peng had never used his first soul skill before in previous rounds.

Generally speaking, soul masters’ soul skills were usually more powerful the later they were obtained. That was because the added limit would be greater. But Jiang Peng was special in a certain aspect. His first soul skill was not used for any direct attack or offense. It was a control-type soul skill that was used to control his martial soul.

The Heavenquake Axe was an extremely tough assault-type martial soul, and it also carried a powerful destructive capability. It could be compared with Wang Dong’s Clear Sky Hammer. Its destructive strength was still very frightening without even using a soul skill. When Jiang Peng had fused with his first soul ring, he had accidentally chosen the wrong soul beast. This had led to his possession of this control-type soul skill. But with his intelligence and solid foundation, he managed to progress in another way under the guidance of the Imperial Mystical Academy’s teachers. He invented a special offense, which he called the Eighteen Dragonslaying Slashes.

The strength of this Eighteen Dragonslaying Slashes was that it wasn’t a soul skill. It was better than a soul skill, and could be combined with other soul skills. With the control of the first soul ring, he could enable the Heavenquake Axe to strike consecutively for a maximum of 18 times. This was the first time this killer move had been demonstrated in the individual matches.

“Bang—” In front of the Heavenquake Axe, the light shot out by the soul thruster was instantly split, and the axe struck Michael’s back heavily.

In the next moment after the Heavenquake Axe struck, a dull explosion sound rang out. The impact caused Michael to be pushed forward.

Concussive explosion. This was the destructive ability that the Heavenquake Axe carried. Along with its immense weight, this strike was very heavy.

It was clear that the armor behind Michael had been struck till it bent inwards. The piercing axe continued to advance, and Michael spat out fresh blood. He staggered as he fell forward.

It was not that Jiang Peng was extremely strong. It was just that the changes to his strikes were too special. It was different from what the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy knew about Jiang Peng. Michael was at a great disadvantage now.

The Heavenquake Axe, however, did not care. The fury that Jiang Peng had restrained in the team competition yesterday was unleashed right now. The Heavenquake Axe slashed toward the same area it had previously struck with an ear-piercing boom. Michael’s armor should be proud of itself for being able to resist the Heavenquake Axe’s first blow. But the concussive explosion it had brought with it couldn’t be shaken off so easily. If it was unleashed once more, he would be heavily injured, if not killed.

The referee intervened in time and blocked the Heavenquake Axe in the air. He also announced the end of the competition.

Jiang Peng recalled his martial soul. Turning around, he hooked his finger towards the Sun Moon Academy team in the waiting area with a cold and arrogant look on his face.

Xiao Hongchen made a swishing sound as he stood up. He was about to ascend to the stage, but was stopped by Ma Rulong. Xiao Hongchen glared at him, but Ma Rulong shook his head and shot him a look. After that, he walked up to the stage himself.

During the team round, using a soul tool as a team would achieve an appreciable effect. But in the individual rounds, it was difficult to use a soul tool to make up for the gap between a soul king and soul emperor. It’s important to know that Jiang Peng was not just an ordinary soul emperor, but a talent nurtured by the Imperial Mystical Academy. They had gathered all their resources to nurture him, and he was no longer conserving his power at this critical moment.

Michael was sent to compete first, but not with the hope of defeating Jiang Peng. His purpose was to deplete some of his soul power. However, it seemed like the Sun Moon Imperial Engineering Academy would be the one at a disadvantage if this continued.

Wang Yan’s eyes shifted a little as he saw Michael being defeated. He thought of something in his heart. Although the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy’s soul tools were very powerful, the powers of a soul engineer could be said to rely entirely on soul tools. Against an elite soul master in a restricted competition stage, they would not confer him much of an advantage.

Jiang Peng had forced Ma Rulong to compete. To the observers, this was a good thing. To a certain extent, the abilities and methods of this the Sun Moon Academy team leader would be the key to victory in the finals.

Jiang Peng was slightly petrified as he saw that Ma Rulong was the next to compete. He squinted his eyes as he held the Heavenquake Axe. If he could defeat Ma Rulong, the Imperial Mystical Academy might really have a chance of turning the tide. This battle would be extremely crucial.

“I will defeat you.” Jiang Peng pointed his Heavenquake Axe at Ma Rulong. He was trying to provoke him.

Ma Rulong laughed gently, “Do you think this will provoke me?”

The two of them retreated to the edges of the competition stage as they spoke.

Jiang Peng snorted, “Ma Rulong, I will let you realize that soul engineers like you who exploit external powers will never be comparable to soul masters like myself that work hard to fulfil our potential. You will be defeated under my axe just like the one just now.”

Ma Rulong shook his head and said, “Michael didn’t unleash his full abilities. It doesn’t mean that a soul master is better than a soul engineer just because you defeated him. Michael didn’t use any soul tools that he developed himself. His abilities were not truly unleashed to fight you. One understands himself best, thus a soul engineer is only at his peak state when he uses his own soul tools. I created every soul tool I use. I will show you what a true soul engineer is.”

Jiang Peng snorted. “I’d be a fool if I believed you. Did you make the Class 7 soul tool that you used too?”

“I have no need to lie to you.” Ma Rulong said indifferently.

At this point, they had already reached the edges of the competition stage. As the referee shouted, “Match, start!” a huge battle ensued.

Jiang Peng burst forward towards Ma Rulong like before.

Ma Rulong lifted his right hand, and it was clear to see that there was a silver ring on each of his fingers. The first ring flashed, and a metal barrel that was around 1.5 meters long and 10 centimeters wide appeared in his palm. He then lifted it to his shoulder, and unleashed his martial soul.

The release of Ma Rulong’s martial soul caused his body to experience weird changes, and his head suddenly ballooned. It was obvious that it was no longer aligned with his body. Even his hair seemed to become sparse. He looked ugly amidst this bizarreness.

His martial soul was called the Bigheaded Spirit Ape, an auxiliary-type martial soul. He was doing this to unleash greater power and last longer like most soul engineers did. Ma Rulong’s soul skill was also used to aid the increase of his soul power or to enhance the outburst of his soul power. This was also an important reason why he could create a Class 7 soul tool that was beyond his level.

Ma Rulong was an absolute genius in the production of soul tools in Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. If not for his lacking cultivation, he would already qualify to be a Class 7 soul engineer.

6 soul rings – 2 yellow, 2 purple and 2 black – appeared at the same time. The silver barrel also emitted an intense radiance in the next instant.

A silvery ball of light shot toward Jiang Peng, who was rushing over. The light ball was flying at an immense speed and had nearly reached Jiang Peng when it flashed with radiance

Jiang Peng’s attention was entirely focused on Ma Rulong’s body, and he was naturally wary. He dodged immediately as he saw Ma Rulong attacking. 3 figures formed as the radiance from his second soul ring flashed.

The 2 figures at the side lurched forward quickly, while the center figure that faced the silver light ball jumped up and tried to dodge the attack.

However, Ma Rulong seemed to have expected that. Jiang Peng’s adaptation seemed to be for naught. After the silver light ball suddenly stopped, a violent explosion sounded in the next moment.

Intense silver light filled the entire competition stage. All the spectators in Star Luo Plaza instantly shut their eyes because of the intense light.

Although Jiang Peng had divided into 3 figures, he still bore the brunt of the attack, and screamed in pain under the intense silver light. As he shut his eyes rapidly, everything had already turned white in front of him.

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