Jing Hongchen roared, "Everything is too much - and that one hundred and eighty Silver Dragonscales? We hunted the Silver Dragon more than three thousand years ago, the materials that are left are exceptionally precious and invaluable. How many scales were kept until today? I don't even think there are a hundred dragonscales left! Not even I have the authority to use them directly! Even I have to obtain the royal family's permission!"
Huo Yuhao replied evenly, "But Hallmaster, you control the Illustrious Virtue Hall, and your authority is below one man and above everyone else. Not even you can make this decision? I don't believe that. I know the Silver Dragonscale's reputation, and it's something I need. We can take away ten percent of that, but you have to give me ninety percent. We can deduct a little from the rest; I think even fifty percent is fine."
Jing Hongchen's eyes sparkled with cold light as he stared at Huo Yuhao's seemingly magnanimous and generous attitude. He really wanted to grind this bastard into dust, but he wouldn't be able to get his hands on this design if he did so. Furthermore, his grandchildren were still in Shrek Academy!
He took a deep breath and forcefully suppressed his emotions as he lowered his voice and said, "We will reduce everything that you want to ten percent of the original offer, while the Silver Dragonscales are out of the question. Then we have a deal."
Huo Yuhao immediately shook his head and said, "Your bargaining is too ruthless. Who shaves off ninety percent from the start? No, no. We can take away ten percent at most, and I definitely want the Silver Dragonscale. You can just give me eighty pieces."
"Bastard! Do you think it's easy for me to account for the outflow of so many resources?"
"But your authority is beneath only one person and above everyone else!"
"Twenty percent. I will give you five pieces of Silver Dragonscale, and that's the most I can do. This is my price - if you don't want it, then scram." Jing Hongchen couldn't take it anymore. He felt as if he would go insane if he continued to tangle himself with this guy.
Huo Yuhao asked, "Make that eighty percent. Is that alright?"
"Twenty percent!" Jing Hongchen roared.
Huo Yuhao said, "You're not being very nice. Aren't we both supposed to compromise, until we complete the deal at fifty percent?"
"Get lost, get lost. Scram. Get out of here!" Jing Hongchen slammed his palm onto the table, and the wooden desk collapsed to the ground with a boom.
Huo Yuhao was astonished. He frowned as he stared at Jing Hongchen, who was currently like an erupting volcano, and he said nothing as he turned and left.
Jing Hongchen could feel his blood rushing up, and he nearly vomited blood. He could feel his soul power was a little disorganized and disoriented as well.
An inscrutable expression flashed across Huo Yuhao's face. He glanced at the black box in his hands as he stepped out of Jing Hongchen's office, and he wasn't hasty or hurried at all. From the start, he knew that his negotiations with Jing Hongchen wouldn't be successful on the first try. He wouldn't give up until he got what he wanted.
He took his time, but there wasn't much time left.
He returned to the dormitory by himself, and nobody came to call him this time.
A day quickly passed, and Shrek Academy's exchange program finally came to an end.
For formality's sake, the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy conducted a farewell ceremony, and Jing Hongchen himself was present.
Fan Yu led the group from Shrek Academy, while Huo Yuhao, He Caitou, Ye Xiaosheng, and the other students stood in single file. Everybody had switched back to Shrek Academy's uniforms, which meant they were about to leave this place and return to their own school.
Jing Hongchen made a speech that brimmed with warmth during this farewell ceremony. His expression didn't change much and he seemed extremely calm, as if he had forgotten how upset he was when he met with Huo Yuhao the previous day. He would glance at Huo Yuhao and flash a smile from time to time, as if he were exceptionally pleased with him.
Huo Yuhao was a little surprised that his two brazen-faced and shameless friends didn't show up to send him off, and that made him a little sad.
"The prince is here!" somebody called out, and the clinking sounds of armor could be heard as soldiers poured in from outside.
These soldiers wore silver armor, and they looked well-built and formidable - everyone recognized them at a glance as the Sun Moon Empire's Imperial Guard.
A group of soldiers in light armor followed behind the silver-armored soldiers. They were all more than thirty years old, and their mannerisms were grave and solemn. There were about fifty of them, give or take, but the Shrek Academy students' eyes widened a little once they appeared on the scene.
They were soul engineers, military soul engineers! The armor on their bodies was clearly soul armor, and their equipment was uniform and systemic, yet unnaturally exquisite - one would never doubt the formidability of this platoon's fighting strength.
The crown prince of the Sun Moon Empire, Xu Tianran, somehow swaggered as he rolled into the Sun Moon Empire's great field with a bunch of guards escorting him.
Jing Hongchen hurriedly led a group of teachers from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy to greet him.
"Your Highness," Jing Hongchen bowed respectfully, while the other teachers fell to one knee.
Xu Tianran smiled faintly and nodded lightly towards Jing Hongchen. Jing Hongchen's eyes squinted a little, and he nodded in return before walking behind Xu Tianran's wheelchair and pushing him onto the field and before the group from Shrek Academy.
There was a look of shock in Fan Yu's eyes. What's the crown prince of the Sun Moon Empire trying to do, bringing such a large group of soldiers?
"Let me introduce you, teacher Fan Yu - this is the Sun Moon Empire's heir to the throne, the crown prince."
"Greetings, crown prince." Fan Yu bowed lightly. He wasn't a citizen from the Sun Moon Empire, so he naturally wouldn't be too formal when he paid his respects.
Xu Tianran gave a warm and amicable smile and said, "Let us do away with the formalities, teacher Fan Yu. I have yearned to visit your academy for a long time, but it's a pity that I haven't been able to. I will make a personal visit when I get the chance. I heard from Hallmaster Hongchen that your academy's exchange program has ended, so I am here on behalf of the Sun Moon Empire to send everyone off. I hope that the Sun Moon Empire and your academy can have more exchange programs, and we can use these programs to improve our relations and camaraderie."
"You're too kind, your Highness." He's here to send us off? Fan Yu was even more astounded at this point. The farewell ceremony was already ending, and he didn't want to dally any longer, so he said, "Thank you, your Highness, and thank you, Hallmaster, for sending us off. It's getting late, and I am about to get on the road with my students. Are you travelling with us, Hallmaster Hongchen?"
The exchange students from both sides would be at Mapleleaf City again, just like they were at the start, and Jing Hongchen would definitely follow along himself in the interest of ensuring their safety.
Jing Hongchen nodded and said, "I will send everyone a little further, then. Do give me a moment, teacher Fan Yu, I have some things to convey to the crown prince."
"Alright." Fan Yu didn't know what Jing Hongchen was going to do, and he didn't think too much about it. The exchange program had been long, and was now already over, while Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen had yet to return. He wasn't afraid of Jing Hongchen doing something to them.
He immediately brought the students over to one side.
Huo Yuhao's eyes had been fixed on Jing Hongchen and the crown prince this whole time. Only he could faintly guess what the crown prince's purpose was in personally sending them off.
Jing Hongchen and Xu Tianran whispered a few sentences to each other, and Jing Hongchen seemed to take something from Xu Tianran's hands. Xu Tianran departed while his guards escorted him, and he expressed his warmth and regards to Fan Yu and the Shrek Academy students once more before he left. At least in terms of appearance, people would easily have a good impression of this crown prince.
"Come here, Huo Yuhao." Jing Hongchen stepped forward and waved towards Huo Yuhao.
Here we go! Huo Yuhao felt his heart skip a beat, and he shot a glance at Fan Yu to show that everything was fine as he walked briskly up before Jing Hongchen.
"Hallmaster." He never lacked politeness or courtesy.
There was a complicated expression in Jing Hongchen's eyes as he stared at the youth before him. "Fifty percent, just like you said. Thirty Silver Dragonscales - this is the most I could get, and there is nothing more I can do. If you think the price is right, hand the design over to me."
He reached out to Huo Yuhao with his right hand as he spoke. There was a Starlight Sapphire ring in the center of his palm, which was was much larger than his own, while the patterns were also clearer. The ring itself was probably worth several million gold soul coins due to its rarity.
Huo Yuhao didn't push his limits, and put the ring on his finger as he said, "Deal." He touched his Twenty-Four Moonlit Bridges as he spoke and retrieved a small box before that he then handed to Jing Hongchen.
Jing Hongchen didn't dare to be careless, and quickly opened the box to check. There was a scroll of paper inside, and the drawings on it were extremely complex and intricate. Jing Hongchen's eyes were powerful, and he could already confirm that this was the real deal from one look at the papers. Their content immediately gave him a sense of clarity and enlightenment.
I finally have it! Both Huo Yuhao and Jing Hongchen had the exact same feeling in their hearts.
"Don't you want to verify its contents?" Jing Hongchen stared at Huo Yuhao, amused.
Huo Yuhao chuckled and said, "I trust you. If you still try to deceive me or play games with me at this point, then you're not the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall. Am I right?"
Jing Hongchen grunted coldly and said, "Weren't you like that yesterday? Do you know how difficult it was for me to convince the crown prince for this many resources?"
Huo Yuhao laughed and said, "But you convinced him in the end, no? Below one man, and above everyone else!"
Jing Hongchen laughed along with him, and patted Huo Yuhao on the shoulder. He heaved a sigh and said, "If only you were my disciple! Let's go, I'll send you guys off."
Fan Yu and He Caitou had no idea what Jing Hongchen had said to Huo Yuhao. Jing Hongchen led several teachers from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy and released their flying-type soul tools. They escorted Huo Yuhao and the others while everyone soared into the sky and flew towards the east.
The students from Shrek Academy were all eager and excited as they traveled - they were finally returning home to Shrek Academy! The caution and wariness they had had in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy hadn't been easy, but these two years of study had exposed them to the most advanced concepts and principles regarding the forging of soul tools. Every student took away much from this experience, but how much they absorbed and how much they actually learned depended on the effort they had put in.