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Huo Yuhao smiled. "I'm just afraid I won't have enough time. Teacher Xuan, I shall head back to rest."

Xuan Ziwen nodded and said, "Go, you will enter the Illustrious Virtue Hall by yourself tomorrow. Use your ID card. Once you are inside, you will be scanned to ascertain your identity. I'm your guarantor. If anything happens, I will be implicated too." As he said that, his gaze seemed to deepen.

"Teacher Xuan, please don't worry. I will not cause trouble for you." Huo Yuhao said respectfully. 

Back in his dorm room, Huo Yuhao carefully used his Spiritual Detection to sense if there were any surveillance soul tools in his room. After he was sure that there were none, he began to draw on a piece of paper.

The table's make-up was too complicated. He spent almost 4 hours coming up with a rough outline. Tonight, he could only accomplish so much. There were at least 10 formation arrays in the table. Each of them alone did not appear to be very complicated, but they were all tightly interconnected. He had never even heard of some of them.

For example, three Grade 3 formation arrays were used to assist a Grade 4 formation array. Together, they could be used as a Grade 5 formation array with a reduced cost. To him, this was a valuable experience indeed!

He was not just recording the formation arrays in the research table. To Huo Yuhao, this was a learning process.

The next day, Huo Yuhao met He Caitou as they were eating breakfast. Both of them had gotten permission to enter the Illustrious Virtue Hall, but while He Caitou had passed the examination, he was still an intern. He had special teachers guiding his research inside the Illustrious Virtue Hall, unlike Huo Yuhao, who had nothing but a table and his wits.

However, He Caitou admired Huo Yuhao. While he had teachers who offered him guidance, they did not allow him to touch the table. Compared to Huo Yuhao, he was in a more miserable state.

The two of them shared the same thought. Only after they entered the Illustrious Virtue Hall did they realize how big the world of soul engineers was. Only then did they know how terrifying the research of the Sun Moon Empire was.

For a long period afterward, the two of them devoted all their attention to research, and studied tirelessly as they tried to absorb as much knowledge as possible.

Lin Jiayi, the teacher in charge of the exchange students from Shrek Academy, soon lost interest in Huo Yuhao. Huo Yuhao's research appeared directionless. Every day, all he did was make a small, delicate but simple metal object. He rarely used any formation arrays. Most of the time, he would just sit there and do nothing. Occasionally, he would ask Xuan Ziwen some questions, but they were all superficial and completely unlike those posed by high-level soul engineers.

However, He Caitou had caught his attention. He Caitou appeared exceptionally talented in making soul tools. He learned quickly, and his research seemed to have gained steam. Every day, he was making progress.

This was the strategy that He Caitou and Huo Yuhao came up with. While He Caitou was better than Huo Yuhao in terms of soul tools, it was not a significant difference. With him as his cover, Huo Yuhao could use his vast spiritual power to learn even more stuff here.

Do nothing? If Lin Jiayi knew what he was doing, he would probably slap himself.

Huo Yuhao's version of 'doing nothing' was to use his spiritual detection to sense what everyone else around him was researching, particularly those soul engineers who appeared to be making soul tools that could also be weapons.

His plan was simple. By detecting them and then recording them, he could then do careful research and analysis on his own. If he ran into something he didn't know, he would ask Xuan Ziwen. Superficially, he appeared to be doing nothing. In reality, his progress was terrifying. The small items he made were not so simple once he brought them back to his dorm. With his Life Guardian, Huo Yuhao would take more time to finish making these objects, but under total secrecy.

After half a year, the ten exchange students from Shrek Academy, as well as their teacher, all appeared very normal, including Huo Yuhao and He Caitou. Among the ten of them, six had entered the Illustrious Virtue Hall to study. The other four obtained permission to enter the Illustrious Virtue Hall for three days a week. In terms of their overall abilities with soul tools, they all progressed differently. Of course, they could not come into contact with the most important research. Even so, after this batch of exchange students returned, Shrek Academy's Soul Tool Department would improve greatly.

Of course, this was just a superficial appraisal. Half a month earlier, as the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy had lowered their guard, Fan Yu had finally found a chance to send a batch of Huo Yuhao's pictures back. These pictures were extremely valuable. To Shrek Academy's Soul Tool Department, this was worth more than a hundred thousand year soul beast! With these pictures, they could cut a hundred years off their research.

Huo Yuhao still had the ability of a Class 6 soul engineer, but he was now one that even Xuan Ziwen recognized.

Huo Yuhao's progress shocked even Xuan Ziwen. In the entire Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, his understanding of Huo Yuhao's soul engineering abilities was the most complete.

After he chose the path of a close-combat soul engineer, Huo Yuhao felt like a tiny canoe in the middle of the ocean looking in the direction of a lighthouse. Not even Xuan Ziwen understood his true progress in soul tools.

"Woo…" Huo Yuhao exhaled as he stretched. Happily, he looked at the tiny silver piece of metal in his hands. The metal was irregularly-shaped, and its complicated shape was formed from many different types of metal. Huo Yuhao had spent more than ten days making it. Today, he was finally successful. This also meant that his soul thruster, which he had designed and made for himself, was complete.

By picking the path of a close-combat soul engineer, Huo Yuhao's first priority was not to increase his attack or his defenses. Instead, he needed to increase his speed.

Compared to a normal soul ancestor, he was much more powerful. He had 3 times more soul skills than a normal soul ancestor. Regardless of whether it was in terms of attack, defense or control, he had powerful soul skills in each. Coupled with his Eye of Destiny, his close-combat abilities had reached a level of strength that, even against a soul king or soul emperor, once he had drawn close enough to them, they might not be able to resist his attacks.

However, his only weakness was in terms of his speed. He had domain-type control soul skills, as well as attack soul skills that could affect an area. However, these were not his specialty, and he could not change them so easily. No one could be strong in all aspects. When Huo Yuhao chose to specialize as a close-combat soul engineer, he gave up his domain attacks and his ability to attack from a distance. Hence, he needed to increase his speed.

Compared to a regular four-ringed soul ancestor, even an agility-type four-ringed soul ancestor, he was at least as fast, if not faster. However, if he faced a soul king who specialized in speed, then his weakness would be exposed. Hence, he would need control type soul skills to limit his opponent, and his disadvantage in speed meant that his originally-explosive power would be affected. Hence, a soul thruster was his priority.

Over the past half a year, Huo Yuhao spend half his time on research that would benefit his soul thruster. He spent the other half of his time on research into combining the Tang Sect's hidden tools and soul tools. In both aspects, he had obtained exceptional results.

After he completed this item in his hand, it meant that his Grade 6 soul tool, which he had made himself, was complete. All he needed to do was assemble it.

The more he researched soul tools, the better he understood Ma Rulong's words. A powerful soul engineer would only use his own soul tools, because he knew what he needed.

He took in a deep breath and smiled contentedly. To him, this was not just the completion of a Grade 6 soul tool. More importantly, the manufacturing of this soul tool allowed him to put what he had learned over the past half year into practice. This allowed him to further solidify his fundamentals. These profound principles and theories from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy were all good supporting theories for him to make even more soul tools in the future. He believed his improvement would be exponential in the next two years.

However, the only thing that he felt helpless about was the increase in his soul power. In the past half year, his soul power had reached Rank 43. Yet, he felt as if he were progressing at a slower rate. At this speed, he would only be a Rank 50 soul king by the time the next Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Soul Dueling Tournament rolled around. This meant that he had fallen behind his friends.

However, he still had a positive outlook. After thinking about it carefully, he realized that these two and a half years he would be spending in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy were important to raising his abilities as a soul engineer. He had his own plans for increasing his soul power.

Just as Huo Yuhao was looking contentedly at the item in his hand, he suddenly felt an odd feeling.

This did not come from him, but instead, from his Eye of Destiny. He could feel that the Eye of Destiny was numbing him, and a sense of danger crept up in his heart.

Without hesitation, Huo Yuhao leapt to the side and tumbled off his seat. He curled up under the table as he released his Ice Empress' Armor, and his Hongchen's Blessing could be triggered at a moment's notice.

"Boom, boom, boom, boom…" Four explosions sounded inside the Illustrious Virtue Hall. The terrifying explosions instantly caused a destructive shockwave.

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