The entire process took two minutes to complete. Huo Yuhao took note of the depth of their descent. To his surprise, it was more than a hundred meters!
As they descended, the interior of the elevator was completely sealed, and he could not see what was outside. A small white strip of light illuminated the interior of the elevator.
Xuan Ziwen did not say or explain anything to him. Just as he had said earlier, he wanted Huo Yuhao to listen more, see more, think more, and not ask more.
The metallic doors of the elevator slowly opened.Xuan Ziwen looked at Huo Yuhao and nodded before he led the way out.
It was a world made completely out of metal. While it was still in the shape of an arch, all one could see was metal. After he exited the elevator and walked through a corridor of average length, the area inside widened.
Huo Yuhao took in a deep breath, and could not help but exclaim under his breath, "Ah…" .
The scene before him was too shocking. He stood in a wide and spacious hall that he was unable to see the end of. Countless laboratory tables were neatly arranged, extending into the distance. When he looked at them horizontally, there had to be more than fifty tables.
Each table was five meters by three meters! Stretching into the distance in front of him, there were more tables than he could count. People were working around each table. This humongous hall, including its dome, was about twenty meters high and it was likewise covered with metal. A strong metallic smell and a low metallic hum invaded Huo Yuhao's senses.
Was this Illustrious Virtue Hall?! This was a factory for soul tools! Furthermore, soul tools manufactured by the Illustrious Virtue Hall could not be of low quality. Those working here were probably the true elites of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy.
Xuan Ziwen said in a low voice, "The area we are standing at right now is not under surveillance. After we go down, everywhere is under visual and audio surveillance. This is the manufacturing hub of Illustrious Virtue Hall. I don't know how big it is, but it should be at least half the size of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy above. There are five thousand tables, with some hidden in the shadows. As some research has yet to commence, around one-third of the space here is empty. However, the elites of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy and Illustrious Virtue Hall are all present. One can say that the most powerful soul engineers of the Sun Moon Empire are here."
"Some of them are interns from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. They will only work here for a short time before they continue their studies. In Illustrious Virtue Hall, research is conducted in the form of small groups. Every group has a different number of members. Normally, they will have more than five tables to work at. Other than the public research spaces, there are some secret labs. Those who can work in the secret labs must be at least Rank 8 and above. Notice the badge on each of their chests. The badges of Illustrious Virtue Hall are different from the outside world. The background is the sun and moon, and stars dot the sky. Each star represents a single rank."
As he said that, Xuan Ziwen took out an eight-starred badge and placed it on his chest.
"Once one reaches Rank 9, one will have reached the highest and most powerful level in our country. They will be offered maximum protection. In Illustrious Virtue Hall right now, including the Hallmaster, there are four Rank 9 soul engineers. The Hallmaster is the youngest. Everyone doing research here could be said to be a disciple of one of the four most powerful soul engineers, including me and you. My teacher is one of the four."
Huo Yuhao had been in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy for quite some time, but he could clearly sense that he was learning more today than the rest of his days here combined. As he listened to Xuan Ziwen, he did not dare to open his mouth. All he did was memorize what he said and nod along.
Xuan Ziwen was pleased with his response. He smiled slightly and said, "Okay, let's go. We can descend. You will be given your own table, and I will give you a topic to research. If you have questions, ask me directly. I know you can use your spiritual power to send messages. I have faith that you will do well."
Under Xuan Ziwen's guidance, the two of them walked for ten minutes before they reached an empty table. Xuan Ziwen took out an ID card and a Rank 5 soul engineer badge. He fixed the badge to Huo Yuhao's chest, and scanned the ID card against a machine by the side of the table. Then, he used his own ID card as further verification.
"Keep this card. The next time you enter, as well as when you use Table No. 1238, you will need this card."
After he scanned his card, the many buttons under the table lit up. Looking at them carefully, there were at least fifty of them. Every single button had a small logo, and each of them was colored differently.
Through Xuan Ziwen's explanations, Huo Yuhao discovered that each of these buttons was linked to a different material. Once he pressed it, the corresponding material would appear. According to the rarity and cost of the material, a different amount of the material would appear. Each table was rationed a certain amount.
For example, each table could only use a hundred grams of mithril.
Huo Yuhao made some mental calculations. No wonder Jing Hongchen was so generous when he said that he could take all of the experimental metals. There were limits, however this satisfied him enough already. He started to study the icons, and asked Xuan Ziwen some questions. He had seen at least ten types of rare metals that he had never heard of before.
Xuan Ziwen tossed a manual at him and said, "This is your first day here. Familiarize yourself with the various functions of the table. There are clear instructions in the manual. For a distinguished soul engineer, a good table will help you a lot in your research. I have to go and do my own research. If you need me, use your ID card to access Secret Research Zone 1. Find a guard, and ask the guard to look for me. However, I will only give you one opportunity per day to ask me questions."
"Yes," Huo Yuhao replied respectfully.
Xuan Ziwen appeared exceptionally cool as he said that. With that, he walked into the darkness, and soon, he was covered by it.
With Huo Yuhao's sharp eyesight, he noticed that Xuan Ziwen had walked to the end and stopped in a pitch-black corridor. There, two black shadows appeared and spoke to him before he disappeared. Secret Research Zone 1 should be over there.
He had finally entered Illustrious Virtue Hall. While it was unlike what he had imagined, Huo Yuhao was still pleasantly surprised. Here, he could naturally learn more things, and it was no doubt the best place for him to find his own path.
He did not rush to operate a soul tool. Instead, he sat by his table and studied the manual carefully.
Huo Yuhao did not know that in a room in the depths of Illustrious Virtue Hall, Jing Hongchen was observing his every move quietly.
Lin Jiayi stood next to Jing Hongchen and said, "His recovery was quicker than most normal people, but if we take into consideration the medicine I gave him that day, it should be normal. Hallmaster, are you really going to let him study here? You know Teacher Xuan's personality. Once he starts his research, he will forget about eating and even sleeping. I'm afraid…"
Jing Hongchen waved his hand and said, "It's fine, we have to let him learn some things. If not, how can we answer to Shrek Academy? He is but a three-ringed soul master with the powers of a Rank 4 soul engineer. Let him learn. The might of a single person cannot change a war, right? This could have been delayed, if not for the bastards from the Royal Stewards. Send someone to observe his actions. As long as they seem normal, leave him alone. Also, take note of the type of soul tools he makes."
"Yes," Lin Jiayi acknowledged.
Jing Hongchen stood up and left. Every single day, he bore the heavy responsibility of research. As the youngest Rank 9 soul engineer, his research affected the progress of the empire.
Yesterday, he had accepted the Crown Prince's invitation for an evening banquet. Before he went, he had to finish the tasks at hand.
The tiny manual scared Huo Yuhao. Only now did he realize the significance of the table before him.
The ordinary-looking table was full of different functions. The table before him had all the functions of the big manufacturing tools in Shrek Academy. The table contained abrasives, pressurized equipment, and high-temperature manufacturing tools. One could say that with the right materials, it was not impossible to manufacture Rank 7 and Rank 8 soul tools from this table.
Huo Yuhao spent the entire day reading the manual and trying out the functions of the table. However, no one knew that he had used his spiritual power to scan the table.
Lunch and dinner would be sent to the table by assistants. From his observations, Huo Yuhao realized that some soul engineers did not even bother to eat. They had yet to touch their lunch even at dinnertime. Under these circumstances, the assistants would remind them to eat.
When the completely exhausted Huo Yuhao left the Illustrious Virtue Hall with Xuan Ziwen, the sky outside was almost completely dark.
"So, how do you feel?" Xuan Ziwen asked with a smile.
Huo Yuhao blurted out, "Time seems to pass quicker inside!"
Xuan Ziwen looked at him in surprise and said, "That's right! You integrate fast, it's not easy for one to obtain such a feeling. I thought that you might even find it boring."