That thirty or so year-old teacher went up the stairs inside the second block of the sixth grade. This classroom block was six stories high, and he brought Huo Yuhao to the fifth before they turned down a corridor. They walked down it a few dozen meters until the teacher stopped before a door.
There was a tag on the door that read '3rd Laboratory.'
He's already taking me to the lab? Huo Yuhao had some doubts in his mind when he saw where they were. However, he didn't have any control over what he was going to learn while he was here.
The young teacher took out a nameplate from his pocket and waved it in front of the door. A similar sight to what Huo Yuhao had seen at the measuring room yesterday presented itself—a single beam of light flashed, followed by the door opening.
"Come in." The young teacher's voice was simple and pithy as he led Huo Yuhao into the lab.
The lab was extremely large and spacious; it was larger than Fan Yu's lab in Shrek Academy. There were all sorts of soul tools and metallic materials on display, while the gigantic lab desk was more than thirty square meters in size. The matte, silverish-white metallic surface was squeaky clean, and gave off a pleasant sensation.
The lab was empty save for them; nobody else was around. The young teacher said in an uninterested manner, "My name's Xuan Ziwen, and I'll be your teacher from today onwards. I don't care what the assessment rank you've received from Shrek Academy is; you'll have to retake my tests from the very beginning. If you can't pass my assessments, you'll have independent learning in the library so that you don't waste my time."
Huo Yuhao was taken aback. He'd never expected this teacher to say something like this; he didn't want to teach him?
Huo Yuhao couldn't help but ask, "Teacher Xuan, is every teacher in charge of the exchange students like you?" It would spell immense trouble for them if this was the case. He was confident that he'd be able to learn something by himself in the library, but he knew from his experiences with Fan Yu that there were some topics that one would have to ponder for several days to understand alone, rather than being able to simply resolve it in just a few minutes with a teacher's help.
Xuan Ziwen didn't seem to react to Huo Yuhao's jibe, and he replied coldly, "I don't care how others act; this is just how I do things. My schedule is tight, so if you find this unfair, go and take your dispute to Lin Jiayi and request a change of mentorship. I didn't want to take this responsibility anyway, so I'm telling you what choices you have."
Huo Yuhao thought about Zhou Yi when he gazed into the coldness in Xuan Ziwen's eyes. Teacher Zhou's strictness and fierceness was different, but learning under Zhou Yi gave Huo Yuhao some experience with teachers who had strange personalities. Teachers with characters meant they had standards, and tests were just tests anyway - how could he be afraid of assessments?
Huo Yuhao tempered his emotions momentarily before he gave his answer. "I'm willing to take your assessment."
Xuan Ziwen's calm but cold eyes flowed with a strange emotion, and he shot a mildly surprised glance at Huo Yuhao and said, "Alright, then let's begin. The badge on your chest should represent a Class 3 soul engineer from Shrek Academy. I'll give you fifteen minutes - you can select from any of the materials here, and you will forge your best Class 3 soul tool formation arrays for me. It's not about how low your class is, it's about a soul engineer's thoughts and his or her creativity. This is my only prompt for you - you may begin."
With that, Xuan Ziwen stepped to one side. He flipped his wrist, and a small timer appeared in his hands. Fifteen minutes were entered, and he placed it on the lab desk after starting the countdown.
Huo Yuhao started on his work as soon as possible. Ever since he had joined the Ultimate Soldier Plan, he had simply put in too much effort. However, he was still a fourteen-year-old teenager after all. He had passed his soul physique measurement with flying colors, and an arrogant flair rose from his heart after he received Xuan Ziwen's neglect and indifference.
He walked towards the metallic materials before him. He didn't even bother inspecting them closely, but instead immediately activated his Spiritual Detection and perceived everything in his mind. He raised his right hand, and five dark golden blades protruded from his fingertips. He swung his hand gently, and sliced off the corner of a bright silver chunk of metal.
Huo Yuhao raised his left hand, used the Controlling Crane Capturing Dragon technique, and this piece of metal was securely in his grasp. He withdrew the Darkgolden Terrorclaw, and diamond ice crystals suddenly appeared on both of his hands. He placed his hands together and gradually kneaded the metal piece that he had just shaved off.
Xuan Ziwen gasped in surprise when he first saw the Darkgolden Terrorclaw. He was already more than thirty years old, but he had been immersed in soul tools for more than twenty years, and he could clearly tell that Huo Yuhao wasn't using a soul tool. The metal that he had chosen was the notoriously tough and hard titanium - it was a rare metal that was only produced within the Sun Moon Empire. Xuan Ziwen's first impression when he chose titanium was: did he make a mistake?
However, his pupils immediately contracted when the dark golden blade swiped across the silver-white titanium chunk and effortlessly chopped a piece off without even making a single sound. His brain started to work quickly as he attempted to calculate the dark golden blade's sharpness and toughness.
What shook Xuan Ziwen even more was what came after. A series of crackling sounds could be heard from between Huo Yuhao's palms, and a fine silver-white powder started drifting down from his hands. The diamond ice crystals looked incredibly brilliant as they reflected the light from inside the lab.
Huo Yuhao came before the lab desk without giving Xuan Ziwen a chance to deliberate. His demeanor changed a little as well, and Xuan Ziwen could subtly feel Huo Yuhao's otherworldly focus and stability - a silver-white sphere that was about as large as a lychee appeared on the table.
He… He used his hands to knead titanium into a sphere? Xuan Ziwen was in awe once more. He hadn't collected any of Huo Yuhao's assessment details and particulars from Lin Jiayi before this, so he had no idea what this fifteen or sixteen-year-old teenager's abilities were like. He hadn't even seen Huo Yuhao's soul rings, but he had already used two soul skills. Xuan Ziwen was finally attracted by Huo Yuhao's behavior. However, he told himself that Huo Yuhao's display of abilities was that of a soul master. Huo Yuhao was from the number-one soul master academy in the Continent, Shrek, so his possession of these abilities wasn't that wondrous. He was here to test Huo Yuhao's soul engineering abilities.
Huo Yuhao started working while Xuan Ziwen continued thinking to himself. A silver-white carving knife appeared in his hands, but it wasn't the Life Guardian Blade - it was just a normal fine golden carving knife, and there was a layer of diamond powder on the blade. It was enough to carve and sculpt most metals, but it wasn't the best of the best. It would be extremely difficult to cut certain hard metals, and it could even break.
Huo Yuhao's left hand pinched the small silver-white sphere while his left hand waltzed swiftly. His movements were incredibly fast - at least, it seemed this way from Xuan Ziwen's perspective. Every slice connected to the next without pause, and deep grooves began to appear on this silver-white metal sphere's surface.
Xuan Ziwen came next to Huo Yuhao out of curiosity, and meticulously monitored his work.
Huo Yuhao worked with tremendous speed. It didn't take long for sophisticated and intricate patterns to appear on the metal sphere's surface. However, Xuan Ziwen's brows knitted into a knot, and he muttered to himself, "Charge, Speed, Speed, Speed, Speed, Speed, Speed. Adding seven arrays to such a small body is outstanding, but why are you making six Speeds? If this were used as a soul thruster, a single use would break your back in half. Titanium is strong and tough, but seven arrays being added to a piece this size - and six Speeds. You are pursuing something so extreme, so you can only use it once. Don't you feel like it's a waste due to the fact that you will discard it after a single instance?"
Xuan Ziwen's voice wasn't that soft, but Huo Yuhao seemed to be paying no attention to outside matters and focused on his work. The titanium sphere constantly rotated as the carving knife in his right hand sliced down repeatedly. Thin and fine titanium powder scattered subtly all over the lab desk.
Xuan Ziwen became even more interested in Huo Yuhao at this point. He could tell that this teenager's foundations were good, and even though this was a Class 3 soul tool, adding so many arrays at once was something that only a Class 4 soul engineer should be able to do. His hands were steady while his movements were quick yet rhythmic. What was more impressive was that he didn't make a single mistake despite all his bewildering speed, and Xuan Ziwen could tell with one look that it wasn't Huo Yuhao's first time creating formation arrays like this. Formation arrays were a soul tool's heart and soul, so there was no room for errors. Even a tiny error or mistake would cause the soul tool to be discarded as worthless.
Five minutes - Huo Yuhao took only five minutes to sculpt his formation array. He blew on the metal sphere gently, and a layer of metallic powder drifted down; the carving was complete.
What was previously just a normal titanium sphere now looked like an exquisite art piece at this point. Deep and shallow grooves, vertical and horizontal lines snaked all over the metal sphere, giving it a formidable three-dimensionality.
"I'm done, teacher Xuan." Huo Yuhao clasped the small formation array sphere in his hands.
Xuan Ziwen said coldly, "That's nothing impressive. Do you think creating such an extreme formation array is considered creative?"
Huo Yuhao glanced at the timer and said, "Teacher Xuan, there's still some time left. With your permission, I hope to be able to forge the entire soul tool and demonstrate it to you. The profundity of this soul tool I intend to create isn't about its formation arrays."
"Oh?" Xuan Ziwen watched him with astonishment and said, "Alright, show me. If it's actually that creative, you are allowed to exceed the time limit by a little bit." His interest was now sufficiently piqued by this youth from Shrek Academy.