Wang Dong stared out the window, and a warm smile appeared on his face. "Your feeling is right, I have reached the bottleneck at Rank 60. However, I need a suitable soul ring. You're my best buddy - I am here to visit you, and I am also here to ask you to follow me back home for a little while, because suitable soul beasts for me only exist near my home. You can keep me company, so let's go together. You can return before the end of your school holidays, and we can meet again back at Shrek three months later. What do you think?"
Huo Yuhao was taken aback. "You mean, you want me to follow you back home? To find a soul ring?"
Wang Dong spun around and stared at him with his big, powdery blue eyes. "Can you do that for me? We haven't seen each other for so long, and I don't want to part with you just like that. If I leave just like that, it will be another few months before we meet again. Furthermore, there will probably be more things and tasks waiting for you when you return to Shrek."
"Alright. I'll accompany you." Huo Yuhao agreed without hesitation.
Wang Dong smiled. This smile actually dazzled and stunned Huo Yuhao - it could be because Wang Dong had let his hair grow long, but in that moment, Huo Yuhao felt like the young girl projected during their first Raiment of Light had appeared before his eyes once again.
"You're so crazy about cultivation. I'm honored to have someone like you accompany me!" Wang Dong giggled as he spoke.
Huo Yuhao chortled and said, "They aren't mutually exclusive. Do you actually think my cultivation speed will slow down when we are together? I understand a lot more about the Sovereign's Descent, and I can take this chance and time to tell you all about it."
The smile on Wang Dong's face turned into a look of resentment. "Enough about that. Is there anything else on your mind besides cultivation? My sister may not like you if you keep on like this."
Huo Yuhao said, "Oh yes, will I be able to see your sister if I follow you back home?"
Wang Dong shook his head. "No, you won't. My sister is travelling outside. You'll have to wait until we return to Shrek; you may get a chance then. My sister says she wants to try for Shrek's inner courtyard in the next academic year."
Huo Yuhao said, "Oh. We'll meet when the time comes, then."
Wang Dong shot him a look and said, "You don't seem so eager."
Huo Yuhao shrugged and replied, "What's the point of being eager? What makes you think that my appearance will definitely attract your sister? Furthermore, your sister doesn't have the camaraderie and affinity that we share. We'll see where destiny leads us."
Wang Dong continued pursuing the issue. "Does that mean that if my sister looks like our projection from the Raiment of Light, and she has camaraderie and affinity with you, you will be moved?"
Huo Yuhao chuckled and said, "Of course. Alright, let's not talk about these frivolous things. How have things been in the academy over these two years?"
Wang Dong said, "Everything's normal. The Soul Tool Department is developing rapidly, and the Soul Engineering Institution is almost complete. Students from the Soul Tool Department have begun going through individual assessments since last year - their assessments regarding martial souls are a lot easier than those of the Martial Soul Department, while they are more focused on understanding of soul tools. Oh, the materials regarding soul tools that you sent back to the academy have been impactful, except I haven't seen the Soul Tool Department create any similar soul tools yet. Dean Yan keeps saying that the Soul Tool Department has been eating too much of the budget over these past two years."
"The Tang Sect has been officially established! However, eldest senior brother and third senior brother are the only ones who have been working at it. Oh, both of them broke through Rank 60, and fourth senior sister and fifth senior sister are a few ranks away, but I don't think they can break through before the competition. How about you? I can feel that your improvement in soul power isn't that big."
Huo Yuhao answered, "My spiritual power has improved quite a bit, but my soul power improvements have paled in comparison. However, I know how to boost it when we return to the academy. You have been improving exponentially! You actually caught up with the others, and have surpassed even fourth senior sister and fifth senior sister."
Wang Dong laughed and said, "Our twin martial souls have an advantage later on in the cultivation process. I have been cultivating with you the whole time before this, and our Haodong power isn't something that normal soul masters possess."
Huo Yuhao asked, "How much has the Tang Sect developed at this point?" He was extremely concerned about the Tang Sect. This sentiment didn't arise just because he practiced the Tang Sect Secret Techniques - it was also because Bei Bei and Xiao Ya took him to Shrek Academy so that he could join the Tang Sect. It could be said that his entire life had changed ever since that moment, and both Shrek Academy and the Tang Sect were very important to him, while he could even be leaning towards the Tang Sect.
Wang Dong said, "The framework has been established. We have enough space, but we lack the manpower. The people that you sent back have been pretty handy - eldest senior brother remarked that they are powerful and extremely hardworking, especially the girl called Na Na. Both eldest senior brother and third senior brother like her a lot! What's your relationship with this girl anyway?"
Huo Yuhao forced a smile and said, "That's enough, stop your weirdness. Na Na has also had a tough life, and if she can remain at the Tang Sect like she is now, then it will be a pretty good home for her." He briefly explained how he had met Na Na and the entire process to Wang Dong, and Wang Dong listened while he furrowed his eyebrows continuously.
"So, the information regarding the Holy Ghost Church came to us because of her. I've participated in the Guardians' operations several times over the years, but I never once saw a trace of that Holy Ghost Church. They have been hiding themselves too well - furthermore, if they don't commit a crime, it's hard us for us to track them down."
Huo Yuhao nodded and said, "The fox will always reveal its tail. Let's continue discussing Tang Sect."
Wang Dong said, "Once the framework was established, eldest senior brother gathered us around for a discussion. We had a consensus that the Tang Sect's development would have to start from our finances and resources. No sect would be able to expand and develop without enough money and a source of income. Furthermore, we are just starting out, and our foundations are still thin. We will have to use soul tools to support our finances - the blueprints that you sent back to eldest senior brother are under development after eldest senior brother discussed the matter with the Soul Tool Department's two Deans. The first batch received extremely high praise after it was released, especially the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon - we received our first purchase order, and we're to manufacture forty Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannons and set them up within Shrek City."
Huo Yuhao said, "The Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon is based on our Tang Sect's Zhuge Divine Crossbow, except I added some soul tool principles into the formation arrays. It's pros are that it's powerful and easy to control, while it can cover large areas. However, it's weaknesses are equally conspicuous - the cannon shells are extremely expensive to make. We will have to use stationary soul cannon shells so that we can achieve the goal of allowing normal citizens to operate the soul tool. Highly explosive shells are the preferred choice. This isn't a small investment!"
Wang Dong said proudly, "You don't have to worry about all that. Firstly, the academy won't throw themselves into war. Secondly, Shrek has many centuries of foundations, and can be considered incredibly wealthy. This bit of money won't be a problem. Eldest senior brother treasures the blueprints that you sent back - he separated the manufacturing process into several parts, before he took everything back and assembled it himself. He's extremely careful."
Huo Yuhao smiled faintly and said, "He is indeed meticulous. The Tang Sect will definitely grow exponentially more powerful with his leadership."
Wang Dong heaved a sigh and said, "But he isn't happy at all. The smile on his face has disappeared ever since teacher Xiao Ya vanished, and he has become a lot skinnier. He's almost twenty, but he looks a lot older than he actually is."
Huo Yuhao rubbed the corners of his eyes and said, "That's a big problem, indeed. Teacher Xiao Ya has been gone for so long, yet we have had no news of her whatsoever. Something must have happened to her - if not, she would have returned to find us."
Wang Dong's face changed a little and said, "Don't say that in front of him. Third senior brother mentioned that before and told him to keep an open mind, and that if it just can't work out he can find another person. Eldest senior brother's temperament is so gentle, yet he almost fell out with third senior brother - they are best buddies!"
Huo Yuhao sighed and said, "Let's help him search for her once we return. I know hopes are slim, but we still have to try our best. Where exactly are you, teacher Xiao Ya! You have to be alive. If not…"
They had spent two years away from each other, and there were just too many things to talk about. They discussed the Tang Sect and Shrek Academy, and their topic eventually changed to their own cultivation. The sky turned gray as they continued chatting away.
A knock on the door interrupted their conversation - it was He Caitou and Fan Yu.
They were enjoying their school holidays, and the exchange students from Shrek didn't create much trouble or disturbance over the past two years, so the teachers from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy weren't that strict with them anymore. The four of them left the academy that night, found a nice restaurant and ate a delicious meal.
Huo Yuhao asked Fan Yu for permission to let him and Wang Dong train in the outside world for a little while.
He initially thought Fan Yu wouldn't agree so easily, or he would perhaps reduce the time they were allowed to spend outside. He didn't expect Fan Yu to agree to his request without hesitation, and Fan Yu even told him that he didn't have to be too worried about coming back on time. The exchange program was reaching its end anyway, and Huo Yuhao was due to return to Shrek in another three months after the holidays. However, he still had to come back so that he could officially complete the exchange program and finish the necessary paperwork.
Fan Yu had always doted on Huo Yuhao. Teachers would typically be worried about their students' lack of effort, but their relationship was the complete opposite; Fan Yu thought that this student of his was just too hardworking. Over the past two years inside the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, Huo Yuhao had sent back several thousand soul tool blueprints - that was without discussing the other things he had done. It could be said that Huo Yuhao had produced every soul tool they could recognize and had seen before on his blueprints.