Book 6: Graduating
Chapter 38.3: Huo Yuhao, a Class 1.5 Soul Engineer?
During the past eight months, Huo Yuhao had dedicated as much of his energy to cultivating as he could. With his current rank, he could calmly face Dai Huabin. However, this didn’t mean that his hatred had dissolved; on the contrary, he’d buried it even deeper inside of himself. His hatred had already been deeply rooted inside of him, thus how could he erase it so easily?
He wasn’t clear as to just how high Dai Huabin’s soul power was compared to his, but he safely estimated it to be around Rank 33 or so. Although the rate at which a person’s cultivation improved drastically decreased after crossing the Rank 30 threshold, going up three or four ranks in a year wouldn’t be much of a problem with Dai Huabin’s level of talent, plus his previous cultivation. Furthermore, it seemed that he’d cultivated diligently after he was kicked out of Class 1.
Wang Dong smiled, but didn’t say anything, as a large amount of confidence had begun to emanate from his gaze.
The route they’d taken could easily have been taken in around ten minutes, but they purposefully took much longer. Just as they were about to reach their dorm room, Wang Dong suddenly said, “Let’s go sit next to the Sea God’s Lake for a while. It’s not very easy to find you goofing off. It’s also been a long time since I’ve tasted your roasted fish.”
Huo Yuhao was somewhat embarrassed. “I didn’t prepare anything. If I’d known you wanted some, I definitely would’ve roasted some for you.”
Wang Dong smiled devilishly and shoved the umbrella into Huo Yuhao’s hands as he said, “Just wait here.” After saying that, he ran back to their dorm room as fast as he could. A few moments later, he reappeared and gestured with the bright blue bracelet in his left hand towards the Sea God’s Lake. “Let’s go.”
Huo Yuhao’s eyes widened. “You planned this in advance!”
Wang Dong didn’t deny it. “I was originally planning to wait for you to finish at night and drag you out for a little midnight fun, but I didn’t think that you’d finish early. It’s perfect timing; we’re about to go on vacation, and it’s hard to indulge for a bit. In any case, don’t even think of sleeping tonight if you don’t fill me up.”
Huo Yuhao chuckled. “Alright. As long as you have enough ingredients, I’ll keep feeding you until you can’t move.”
Beneath the eaves of the dormitories, the old grandpa who was normally always sleeping couldn’t help his eyes from widening slightly. The corner of his mouth curved slightly as he gazed towards Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong, who were running into the distance. He thought aloud, “Back then, how many girls said that to me!? And every time they’d say that, I’d be the one to feed them until they were full… These two fellas sure are interesting.”
After excitedly running towards the Sea God’s Lake, Wang Dong held up the umbrella so that Huo Yuhao could start a fire. The rain wasn’t very strong, thus the umbrella was able to cover the entire area they’d chosen. After only a moment’s worth of work, a fire had been lit. The unique smell of charcoal began to slowly rise into the air, but didn’t disperse due to the rainy weather.
Mist began to appear atop the Sea God’s Lake, and slowly enveloped the distant Sea God’s Island. The misty lake in turn gave off a cool yet damp feeling, while the now-bonfire gave Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong waves of warmth. The two of them looked towards each other at practically the same instant, their cheeks flushed from the reflection of the bonfire. As they smiled towards each other, a warm feeling seemed to bore into their hearts.
After setting up his stove and placing the raw fish on it, Huo Yuhao began to roast them with his full attention. The concentration on his face was no less than when he’d engraved formation arrays onto the cores of soul tools.
Wang Dong stood next to him, holding the umbrella up. However, instead of looking at the fish that were being roasted, he looked at Huo Yuhao’s serious face. The cool air, the hot furnace, and the golden mackerels—which had begun to release a fragrant smell—sketched a moving image as they combined. As Wang Dong gazed at Huo Yuhao, he instinctively knew that he’d never forget this scene. He also quite enjoyed the thought of Huo Yuhao roasting fish for him, and him alone.
Finally, Huo Yuhao finished roasting the first piece of fish. Huo Yuhao immediately handed it to Wang Dong and said, “Eat it while it’s hot.”
“Yup.” Wang Dong took the fish from Huo Yuhao, and ate the fish carefully. The fragrance of Huo Yuhao’s roasted fish, which he hadn’t tasted in such a long time, caused his eyes to turn somewhat red.
As he roasted some more fish, Huo Yuhao said, “Speaking of roasted fish, we should call Teacher Xiao Ya, senior brother, and Xiao Xiao over. They enjoy it as well.”
“No way! You belong to me today!” Wang Dong blurted out.
Astonished, Huo Yuhao raised his head to look towards Wang Dong. When he did, he saw a somewhat stubborn look in Wang Dong’s pinkish-blue eyes.
“I mean that your roasted fish belong to me,” Wang Dong hurriedly interjected. The contrast between the dark sky and the bonfire caused his face to appear extremely flushed.
Afterwards, they continued to eat roasted fish for so long that they didn’t even know how long they’d been eating. Only after they’d gotten full did they return to their dorm room.
Once they got back to their dorm room, Huo Yuhao laid down on his hard, wooden bed. “Ah… it feels so nice to fill myself up. I’ve decided to just be lazy for the entire day tomorrow, and to have a nice sleep tonight. You’re right, we should take a break once in awhile.”
“No, get up and cultivate.” Wang Dong walked over to him and pulled him up as a sarcastic smile appeared on his face.
“You can’t be serious.” Huo Yuhao wailed. “It’s been so hard for me to rest lately!”
Wang Dong replied, “We’re separating the day after tomorrow, thus we should make the most out of the rest of our time left to cultivate together. You can go goof off by yourself when you don’t have the Haodong Power. Come on, get up.”
“Alright….” With a helpless look on his face, Huo Yuhao slowly got up. Just as he was about to sit down in a cross-legged position on his wooden bed, Wang Dong suddenly said, “Come over here. Seeing that we’re about to separate, and that you just roasted so much fish for me, I’ll let you sit over here while you cultivate.”
“Huh?” Huo Yuhao was stunned. Afterwards, he smiled cunningly as he looked towards Wang Dong’s fur-covered mattress, then obediently jumped onto Wang Dong’s his bed without any reservations.
“Who said that you could get up here now? Go change into a clean set of clothes!” Wang Dong hurriedly shouted.
However, Huo Yuhao had already sat down in a cross-legged position. “You need to stop having so many bad habits. Quick, the sun’s gonna come up if we don’t start soon.”
Only after hearing Huo Yuhao say this did Wang Dong sit across from Huo Yuhao, a somewhat unwilling expression present on his face. Afterwards, the two pressed their palms against each other’s and began to circulate the Haodong Power. The moment they closed their eyes, a faint smile appeared on both of their faces.
The morning of the next day.
Once they got up, Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong felt that their minds had been completely refreshed, possibly due to the peaceful night they’d had. Today was the last day of their Year 1 classes, as Shrek Academy’s holidays would officially start tomorrow.
After eating breakfast, they headed towards their classroom early. Fan Yu had already begun Huo Yuhao’s vacation, thus he didn’t need to go and train his soul tool creation today. Eleven months had passed since he’d entered Shrek Academy, yet he’d never been as relaxed as today. The relaxing feeling that enveloped his entire body made him feel warm and comfy.
Huo Yuhao decided that he wouldn’t bother with anything else today; he’d have a good rest today.
Zhou Yi and Wang Yan walked into the classroom together. Whenever Zhuo Yi was there, regardless of what time it was, the atmosphere in Class 1 could only be described using the word ‘solemn’. Today was no exception, even if the holidays began tomorrow. At this point in time, nobody dared to provoke the hegemonic flower known as Zhou Yi! In the event that her old mind suddenly blew up, none of them would be able to handle it.
Wang Yan walked up to the stage, while Zhou Yi walked towards the back of the classroom and sat down in an empty chair.
“Students, this will be your last day in Year 1. The academy hasn’t arranged any assignments for you. I’ll be giving you all some parting words, then you can head back and pack up your things.”
Once Wang Yan said this, the entire class immediately erupted into cheers. They didn’t even care that Zhou Yi was there. Since the holidays were about to start, everyone had their hearts set on going home. After all, who wouldn’t want to go home and see their relatives!? Naturally, those with no relatives were an exception to this.
Wang Yan smiled. “We’ve all worked hard this year. I can say with pride that you’ve been the most outstanding class I’ve ever taught. On behalf of Zhou Yi and myself, we thank you all for working hard. Your hard work will bring glory to those of us in Class 1.”
“However,” Wang Yan said, suddenly shifted the topic of discussion, “unlike the other academies, Shrek Academy doesn’t have any final exams. As to why this is the case, I’m sure that everyone already knows. We’ll be testing whether or not you’re qualified to become a second year student at the start of the next year. Because of that, you can’t relax at all, even when you go back home. You’ll have to work even harder during the next month. This is the only way that you can continue to study in Shrek Academy next year. I’m fond of every single one of you, thus I hope that we don’t have to say farewell to anyone next year.”
“Now then, I’ll tell you all a few of the main points regarding the advancement test. You’ll have to remember this: The first part of the advancement test has no skill requirements. It tests your absolute strength, or in other words, your soul power. If you want to get into Year 2, you’ll have to be Rank 20. If you haven’t gotten two soul rings by the time we take the advancement test, I suggest that you not bother coming next year. Regardless of how well you perform during the other assessments, it won’t be of any use if you haven’t gotten two rings. The academy won’t change its rules for anyone. As such, if you’re a student who hasn’t reached Rank 20 yet, you’ll have to cultivate for your lives. At the same time, you’ll also have to get a second soul ring in order to prove that you’ve reached the Soul Grandmaster level.”
“However, having a two-ringed cultivation doesn’t mean that you’ll definitely pass the advancement test. Even Teacher Zhou and I don’t know the specifics of the advancement test at this point in time. However, I can tell you my advancement test was like. That year, the Year 2 advancement test had every single student challenge a hundred year soul beast under the supervision of a teacher. Remember this—you’ll have to do it alone, without any outside assistance. If the supervising teacher makes a move, the assessment will be over. This test is the academy’s most-often used assessment. You should be happy if you get this test, as it tests your pure, unadulterated strength. However, there’s a chance that they could give you an even more difficult test that requires luck, strength, and intelligence, but these tests normally only appear in upper year tests. At the same time, this advancement test isn’t just related to every single one of you; it’s related to our class, as Class 1 also has to undergo an advancement test. This assessment is an extra one that you’ll have to finish as well.”
Book 7: The Extreme North
Chapter 39.1: The Three Emperors of the Extreme North
Everyone had been able to understand Wang Yan’s first words, but some of them became somewhat confused when he started talking about a class advancement test. What was a class advancement test?
Wang Yan indifferently continued, “Every single class acts as a whole body. As such, if that whole body can’t advance to Year 2, what use would there be in the students advancing? From another standpoint, the class advancement test is a test for Teacher Zhou Yi and I. During the class advancement test, we’ll choose three to seven students to participate in a special test. The advancement level of our class will be determined by how well we do in this assessment. If we complete this assessment perfectly, then 100% of Class 1 will advance; every single student that can pass the individual assessment will be able to continue their studies in Year 2. However, if we can’t complete it perfectly, we’ll have to expel a percentage of students from Class 1, despite them passing their individual tests. In other words, even if every single one of you passes the individual assessment, if we only end up getting 90% on the class advancement test, the last 10% of students in the Class 1’s assessment ranking will be expelled.”
Once he’d finished his explanation, the entire class immediately understood what he meant, which in turn caused them to be dumbstruck. The students that had thought they could relax and take a short break during the holidays were astonished to the point that their mouths were wide open. This was especially true for those who had higher cultivations, as they’d thought that they could breeze through the advancement test. They’d never expected the possibility of there being a class advancement test.
Wang Yan smiled. Though it seemed warm, it actually contained an ominous feeling. “I think that, if any of the students who’ve been chosen to participate in the class assessment make a mistake that causes the evaluation of the class to drop, the entire class will remember that person.”
“I’m also a student who’s graduated from Shrek Academy, so I’ll tell you about what my experience was like. Realistically, the period of time after you pass your advancement test and begin your studies again is actually the happiest and most exciting time you’ll experience in Shrek Academy. Contrarily, the holidays are hell for an overwhelming majority of students. Unless you’re unwilling to continue studying here, you should know what you all have to do once you get home.”
“That’s all I have to say. Class is dismissed, you can head back and pack up your things.” Wang Yan waved his hand as he dismissed the class.
The students of Class 1 were dumbstruck; their original excitement and enthusiasm had vanished from the face of the earth. Was it really possible for a two-ringed student to take on a hundred year soul beast by themselves? Although a large majority of them possessed hundred year soul rings, how many of them had actually been the one to hunt the soul beast that they’d obtained their soul ring from? Not to mention the class advancement test that they’d have to pass afterwards.
Wang Dong had a bitter smile on his face as he asked Huo Yuhao, “Say, do you think that I’ll be chosen for the class test?”
Huo Yuhao glanced at him. “What do you think, class monitor Wang?”
Depressed, Wang Dong stood up. “Whatever, there’s no use talking to you! Let’s head back to our room and cultivate. An extra day of cultivating is still an extra day. Since we’ve only got one month, I’ll try to reach Rank 30 as quickly as possible, even if it means that I have to eat pills everyday.”
Huo Yuhao smiled. “If you can manage to reach Rank 30 before we take the advancement test, I strongly believe that it will be much easier for you. Don’t worry, I’ll volunteer to participate in the class assessment so that I can be a strong support for you.”
“Wang Dong, Huo Yuhao. You two stay behind for a bit.” Zhou Yi’s cold voice rang out.
The two of them hurriedly paused their footsteps. After the other students had left, Wang Yan and Zhou Yi had called the two of them over to the stage.
“What are your thoughts on the class assessment that Teacher Wang mentioned?” Zhou Yi asked.
Helpless, Wang Dong replied, “What can I say? The two of us will just have to go together. Oh yeah, we’ll have to get Xiao Xiao as well.” Xiao Xiao had already fused with the soul bone she’d received, causing her strength to increase dramatically. Moreover, she was someone that possessed twin martial souls. Even though her soul power cultivation speed wasn’t as fast as Wang Dong and Huo Yuhao’s, she was still one of the quickest within Class 1.
Wang Yan nodded. “The two of you definitely have to participate together when the time comes. We don’t know the specifics of the assessment, but you’ll still have to work hard during the next month. Yuhao, are there any problems regarding your second ring?”
Huo Yuhao immediately shook his head. “There aren’t any.” He was still afraid of Wang Yan questioning him, as that would expose his lie. Fortunately, Wang Yan didn’t follow up with any further questions. He’d clearly been reassured by Huo Yuhao.
Zhou Yi said, “Your studies here will be even more intense next year. I won’t bother talking too much about other things, as you two should head back early. As class monitors, I hope that the two of you can come back somewhat earlier. The earlier you come back, the better, as Teacher Wang and I will be informed of the contents of the assessment around ten days or so before we begin school. Following this, you two will be able to prepare for it if you come back early.”
“Yes.” Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong nodded simultaneously.
Zhou Yi replied, “Go on.”
“Teacher Zhou, Teacher Wang, goodbye.” Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong respectfully said goodbye to the two teachers. Although they were about to begin their holidays, they were still somewhat unwilling to leave the academy.
In the end, Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’s original plans—to make the most of their time to cultivate—didn’t succeed, as Xiao Xiao, along with Bei Bei and Tang Ya, were waiting for them outside. Thus, the words that Huo Yuhao had said last night became a reality; he ended up roasting some fish for everyone.
Their meal wasn’t just limited to the five of them, as Huo Yuhao also called over his senior brother, He Caitou. After the six of them had gathered, it became rather lively; they continued messing around like crazy until it was night time. Huo Yuhao didn’t tell anyone where he was going to obtain his soul ring, and in the end, his white lie wasn’t exposed.
Another morning began.
Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong walked across the Sea God’s Lake’s lakeside path. Since they had storage-type soul tools, they naturally didn’t need to carry a backpack with them. The two of them remained silent as they slowly walked forwards.
Mist proceeded to slowly cover the Sea God’s Lake, while the damp air blown by the lakeside wind battered their bodies, causing their uniforms to become somewhat moist.
Though the lakeside path was rather long, it still had an end. As the morning sun slowly rose, the water vapor surrounding them gradually evaporated.
“I’m leaving now, but I’ll come back early. See me off.” Wang Dong said as he turned towards Huo Yuhao. When Huo Yuhao saw Wang Dong, he could clearly see the trace of liquid sparkling at the corners of his eyes.
During the past eleven months, the two of them had practically been together all the time, cultivating day and night. Though they weren’t inseparable, they’d become best friends. Just as they were about to separate from each other, a strong feeling of reluctance seemed to clog up their throats. Though this feeling didn’t last long, it caused them to feel the pain of separation temporarily.
Afterwards, Wang Dong ran out of the academy like he was escaping from Huo Yuhao. He didn’t turn around, but he couldn’t help the tears in his eyes from flowing uncontrollably. He muttered to himself inwardly, Huo Yuhao, you big dummy!
Huo Yuhao couldn’t help but rub his eyes as he watched Wang Dong’s slender figure gradually disappear. Afterwards, he turned towards the doorplate of Shrek Academy.
Teacher Xiao Ya, elder senior brother, senior brother He, Teacher Zhou, Teacher Fan Yu, Teacher Wang… I’m leaving now. I’ll definitely give you all a big surprise when I get back. I’ve never forgotten the oath I made back then; I’ll definitely make those that looked down on my white soul ring feel terrified whenever they see the color white in the future. I’ll come back as soon as possible.
After taking a deep breath to calm his surging emotions, Huo Yuhao made sure that he was headed in the right direction as he left the academy. In the blink of an eye, he’d vanished as he ran along Shrek City’s official road to the north.
To the twelve-year-old Huo Yuhao, the melancholy that he felt from separation was still very easy for him to control. After madly running for two hours beneath the caress of the cool breeze, he opened his mind and felt an indescribable sense of delight.
A year ago, he’d been a beggar-like youth who’d just left the White Tiger Duke’s Mansion.
One year later, today, he was a control-type soul master that only needed to obtain a soul ring in order to advance to the level of a Soul Grandmaster. Furthermore, he was even a Class 2 soul engineer. At the same time, he simply had too much information inside of his mind right now.
Huo Yuhao might not have improved the most out of the students within Shrek Academy this year, but he had definitely transformed the most. It had only been year, but it seemed like he’d shed his mortal body and bones. This was something that nobody could deny.
“Brother Skydream, how far to the north do we need to head?” In the past, the Skydream Iceworm had been very fond of sleeping. In fract, It wouldn’t be uncommon for it to not speak to Huo Yuhao for over a month. Only after Huo Yuhao’s soul power broke through to Rank 20 did it finally awaken from its dreams. Somewhat unexpectedly, the elder that had previously appeared had been abnormally silent. The gray pearl was exceptionally silent, and other than the ripples it had made last time, it hadn’t changed in the slightest. The Skydream Iceworm had even maliciously said that its strand of divine sense must’ve been thoroughly destroyed.
However, Huo Yuhao didn’t know that, if its strand of divine sense truly had disappeared, the gray pearl definitely wouldn’t have remained inside of his Spiritual Sea.
The Skydream Iceworm’s lazy voice rang out, “Just keep heading north, you’ll definitely be on the right track. This road is quite long. Didn’t you constantly practice running around with a heavy load on your back in the academy? This time, you don’t even have to carry a heavy load. Based on your current speed, it’ll take at least ten days to reach where we’re headed.”
“Ah? Ten days?” Huo Yuhao asked, flabbergasted. “Brother Skydream, where are we headed? Why do we have to travel so far north? My current speed isn’t slow at all! If I go all-out and run forwards for a full day, even if I don’t manage to cross a thousand miles, I’ll hit 800 miles at least! If I were to run for ten days, that’s eight thousand miles!”
“Yep! That’s about how far it is from here. We’re heading to my old home—the Douluo Continent’s Extreme North,” The Skydream Iceworm said in a tone that seemed completely natural. “Don’t forget, that’s the place that I’m most familiar with.”
Puzzled, Huo Yuhao asked, “Brother Skydream, isn’t that too far? I still have to participate in the advancement test once I get back. Won’t it be too late for me to get back in time? Is this the only place you know of that has a spiritual-type soul beast?”
Book 7: The Extreme North
Chapter 39.2: The Three Emperors of the Extreme North (Preview)
The Skydream Iceworm replied, “My home’s not the only place with spiritual-type soul beasts; the Great Star Dou Forest definitely has some as well. The problem is, you’re not getting something as simple as a soul ring. The most important thing you need to do is awaken your second martial soul, and to do that, you’ll have to get your second soul ring from the Extreme North. I’ve already planned it all out for you. If you have the energy to talk nonsense, why don’t you speed up a little bit more? The earlier we get there, the more time you’ll have. If everything goes smoothly, it won’t be a problem for us to get back to Shrek Academy in a month.”
Huo Yuhao, who’d originally thought that he had an ample amount of time to obtain his soul ring, suddenly felt a pressing sense of urgency. Afraid of wasting any more time, he hurriedly sped up. As he adjusted his breathing, he continued taking large strides towards the north.
He’d asked the canteen for two days worth of food the day beforehand. As such, he didn’t need to worry about food for the next two days. Fan Yu had also given him a hundred gold soul coins which, combined with his original savings, should be enough for his journey.
A year of bitter cultivation had formed Huo Yuhao’s unyielding personality. Being able to cultivate in a solitary environment was definitely not something that just any soul master could do. Huo Yuhao calmed down and discarded any distracting thoughts in his mind as he wholeheartedly rushed towards the north. After running for between four and six hours, he’d stop to take a break, as he’d drained nearly all of his soul power. The instant he recovered his soul power, he’d start running again.
Considering the situation he was in, he ran without any restraints on his speed. Perhaps even a three or four-ringed expert might not be able to run as far as he had in a single day.