"What? Four?!" Han Ruoruo and the others exclaimed at almost the same time.
Wang Yan nodded and said, "Four, indeed. They both have twin martial souls, and my surprise and awe back then was even stronger than yours is now. According to my knowledge, they might be the first pair of soul masters who both have twin martial souls and martial soul fusion skills, and that's probably how the miraculous four fusion skills came about. The skill that blocked Ruoruo's path forward was one of their four martial soul fusion skills, called The Golden Road Amidst Withering Resplendence. Their three other martial soul fusion skills are equally powerful… oh, Wu Ming, didn't you say that they transformed into Wang Dong'er, who was bathed in golden light, during the Sea God's Fate? That's also one of their fusion skills."
Han Ruoruo heaved a faint sigh after listening to Wang Yan's explanation and she said, "I'm finally convinced."
Wang Yan smiled and smoothly clasped her hands within his. "You don't have to think badly of yourself. They have a very long road ahead of them to reach your level. Furthermore, it's easy to envy someone exceptional, and this may even affect them in the end. I just hope that all will be well during the next competition."
Han Ruoruo reacted in shock. "Will they even have a problem during the next competition with their current standards? I've interacted with Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen before. Even though I don't know what level they can reach with their soul tools, and their soul master abilities are not bad, they are far inferior in terms of fighting strength."
Wang Yan's eyes were overcome with a look of solemnity as he lowered his voice and said, "This season is different from the previous one. Some things might be changed. The academy is waiting for more accurate information."
Wang Yan and the others departed, while Shrek's Seven Monsters began their post-mortem and discussed the salient points and shortcomings from the practice battle as they displayed their various soul skills to each other.
They didn't spar against one another anymore, and everyone just respectively demonstrated their soul skills and improved fighting styles over the past two years so that everyone knew and could see them clearly. Afterwards, they spent another two hours rehearsing and working on their teamwork and cooperation.
With Huo Yuhao's Spiritual Detection Sharing, teamwork and command had never really been a problem. They worked all the way to lunchtime before they stopped, and it was clear that everyone was now much more familiar with one another than before.
Bei Bei immediately made the decision that everyone would proceed to the Sparring Arena to practice in the morning from today onwards, and practice their own respective cultivations in the afternoon and at night.
That night, Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong'er received news about their registration to participate in the hunting party heading towards the Great Star Dou Forest. The Sea God's Pavilion allowed their participation in the end, but two more people were added to lead the group in addition to Zhang Lexuan. One was Han Ruoruo, who had just crossed paths with Huo Yuhao, and the other was the Martial Soul Department's vice-Dean, Cai Mei'er.
Cai Mei'er naturally became the operation's main commander.
Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong'er immediately received the name list for this operation after they asked for it.
Cai Mei'er, Zhang Lexuan, and Han Ruoruo were heading the operation. They didn't require soul rings, and their main responsibility was to protect the other inner courtyard students. One was a Titled Douluo, and the two others were Soul Douluos. They were leading a team of advanced students on a hunting expedition; perhaps only Shrek Academy could make this such a smooth operation.
There were two guys on the name list that required new soul rings that Huo Yuhao didn't recognize, and Wang Qiu'er was also on the list. There were four members from the inner courtyard who needed soul rings, and in addition to Wang Dong'er who was just tagging along, the entire group was comprised of eight people.
Their departure time was the morning the day after the next.
On the second day, Shrek's Seven Monsters continued to rehearse and practice their formation and their teamwork. Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong'er left the Sea God's Pavilion in the morning on the third day, and they were early as they waited outside the academy's main gate.
It didn't take long before the students from the inner courtyard who were participating in this expedition gathered.
Wang Qiu'er was still dressed like she had always been: a long veil covered her extraordinary beauty, and her blue wave-like hair was tied into a ponytail behind her head. She wore a pale green warrior's robe that formed an amusing color combination with her hair; there was a bit too much contrast between the colors.
Wang Dong'er was clad in a white warrior robe, while her long hair was combed into a relatively more complicated scorpion braid while she wore a similar veil over her face.
The two girls' gazes met when they first saw each other, and it immediately felt as if sparks were going to erupt from the collision. They exchanged one look before they turned back around.
Huo Yuhao felt a little strange inside. They clearly looked exactly like each other, and they should thus logically be a lot closer and more intimate with each other. He didn't know why, but Wang Dong'er seemed to marginalize Wang Qiu'er. While this could be explained by the fact that Wang Qiu'er looked more like the Goddess of Light, it was also apparent that Wang Qiu'er wasn't being friendly towards Wang Dong'er either, as her eyes were exceptionally cold.
Cai Mei'er was the last to arrive, wearing a simple grey shirt. She had passed nine decades of life long ago, but she looked like she was only a little more than fifty on the outside. managing to maintain her appearance.
Huo Yuhao had the least interaction with this vice-Dean. All he knew was that she seemed to have some problems with Dean Xian, but he wasn't sure about the details.
Cai Mei'er clapped her hands when everyone gathered, and everyone turned to look at her.
Cai Mei'er smiled and said, "Everyone here is from the inner courtyard, and it's not the first time we've entered the Great Star Dou Forest. We have new participants in our expedition, so we should introduce ourselves to each other. Take turns to brief everyone about your name, your martial soul, your cultivation level, and whatnot so that we can cooperate better in the Great Star Dou Forest."
She nodded in Zhang Lexuan's direction as she finished speaking. Zhang Lexuan responded immediately, going first. "My name is Zhang Lexuan, and I'm an assistant teacher from the inner courtyard and a student at the same time. My martial soul is the Moon, and I'm an assault-type soul master. I'm responsible for leading the team, and I don't require any soul rings. My soul power is at Rank 86."
Everyone began to stir when they heard her say "Rank 86". This included Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong'er.
Han Ruoruo continued immediately after her and said, "Han Ruoruo, assistant teacher and student of the inner courtyard. My martial soul is the Dazzling Golden Rope, and I'm a control-type soul master. I'm the main control soul master for this operation, and I don't require any soul rings. My soul power is Rank 82."
After they completed their introductions, Cai Mei'er interrupted them and said, "I'm just tagging along in this operation. Lexuan and Ruoruo will be doing the commanding and whatnot. They have ample experience, so everyone has to listen to them, and nobody is allowed to do anything on their own. This is all for your personal safety, and it's also for the team's safety. Our expedition's destination will be the border of the Greater Star Dou Forest's Hybrid Region crossing over into the Core Region. We can run into very powerful soul beasts at any time in that area. All right, continue. Your turn, Yuhao."
Huo Yuhao hurriedly nodded when he heard Cai Mei'er point him out. "My name is Huo Yuhao, and I'm a student from the inner courtyard. I'm both control-type and assault-type, and I have twin martial souls: Spirit Eyes and the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion. My soul power is Rank 52, and I need a fifth soul ring for my spiritual-type martial soul, the Spirit Eyes."
Wang Dong'er continued beside him. "Wang Dong'er, student from the inner courtyard. I'm an assault-type soul master, and my martial soul is the Radiant Butterfly Goddess. I'm a Rank 61 Soul Emperor, and I don't need a soul ring. I can unleash martial soul fusion skills with Huo Yuhao, and I'm here to accompany him on this expedition."
Their introductions were extremely brief, but they didn't feel ordinary at all to the other students. The other three students in this operation who had participated in the Sea God's Fate had personally witnessed Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong'er's incredible prowess. They were two against five, and everyone was around the same level, and all seven were students from the inner courtyard. Yet, Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong'er had won a dominating victory.
However, they were a little confused about Huo Yuhao's introduction. He needed a fifth soul ring at Rank 52? What circumstance was that? Could it be that he was adding soul rings to both of his martial souls at the same time? Twin martial souls shouldn't be cultivated like that. This was Shrek Academy, and there were so many veteran teachers around here. How could they let him make this mistake?
Another male student said, "My name is Li Yongyue, a student from the inner courtyard. I'm an agility-type Soul King at Rank 60, and I need my sixth soul ring. My martial soul is the Moonblade… do you remember me, eldest senior sister? When you unleash your martial soul, I will be naturally amplified." He was probably around twenty-six to twenty-seven years of age, but the admiration he displayed towards Zhang Lexuan represented her status in the inner courtyard as everyone's eldest senior sister.
Zhang Lexuan nodded in his direction with a faint smile on her face, but she didn't say anything and gestured to the other male student to introduce himself.
"My name is Mo Xuan, and I'm a long-range all-around auxiliary-type Soul King at Rank 60, and I need a sixth soul ring. My martial soul is the Halo. My close-combat abilities are weak, so you have to help me out, everyone! Thanks!"
Li Yongyue's looks were average, and he was the kind that was hard to spot in a throng of people. Mo Xuan seemed a little more shy; he was probably at least twenty-five years old, but his face would blush a little as he spoke.
A long-range all-around auxiliary-type soul master? This was the first time Huo Yuhao had heard of such a description, and he couldn't help but throw a few more glances in his direction.
Cai Mei'er helped alleviate everyone's doubts. "You guys probably haven't seen Mo Xuan before. He's a unique talent that's being specially nurtured by the inner courtyard. His fighting strength is weak, so Lexuan, you have to pay special attention to protect him. Mo Xuan's auxiliary abilities cannot be considered outstanding during single and group battles, but he's the first and only long-range all-around auxiliary-type soul master in the academy's most recent thousand years of history. His auxiliary prowess on the battlefield isn't something that normal auxiliary-type soul masters can compare to. You guys will experience it once we're inside the forest."
Everyone except Wang Qiu'er had completed their introductions, so their eyes all turned towards her.
Wang Qiu'er's voice was a little cold as she said indifferently, "My name is Wang Qiu'er. Assault-type. My martial soul is the Golden Dragon. I'm Rank 60, and I need a sixth soul ring."
Her speech was the simplest amongst everyone's introductions, and her eyes were staring into the sky as she spoke. She gave everyone a feeling of arrogance and aloofness.
Wang Dong'er pouted with displeasure as she saw that look. Fortunately, she was wearing a veil over her face, so nobody could see her reaction.