Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 498
Challenging the Third Grade
Shrek Academy had a variety of private cultivation spaces suited for all types of soul masters available for rent. However, all things came at a cost, and these cultivation spaces were especially expensive. Too much for Tang Wulin to have even considered using until now. He had always been embarrassingly low on money and points, needing every single bit to purchase metals for forging and spirit items for breaking his seals. That left him with no resources to increase his cultivation efficiency.
As he recalled, these cultivation spaces cost one hundred points per hour. To put that in perspective, a single day of cleaning Spirit Ice Plaza netted one hundred points. Fortunately for him, after reaching the sixth rank of blacksmithing, things were different now. His alloy forging success rate had skyrocketed. Enough so that he had a positive net income. Even so, one hundred points per hour was practically highway robbery.
“You think that’s expensive?” Ye Xinglan asked, able to discern Tang Wulin’s inner turmoil with just a glance.
Tang Wulin coughed. “I’m just afraid of wasting my money!”
“You don’t have to worry about that. The rental is well worth the price. You should give it a try.”
Tang Wulin nodded. “Fine. I will. If it really is effective, then I can bear the cost.” He still had a batch of spirit alloys waiting to be sold. And with the semester just started, he could offload the metals for a nice amount. Since he had a forging agreement with Yue Zhengyu, he didn’t have to worry about the cost of raw materials either. His sole concern was affording the spirit items needed to break the fifth seal. He could spare the rest of his points of cultivation resources.
I’ll try it tonight! Tang Wulin resolved himself. But for now, it’s breakfast time! I’m starving.
Following the beginning of the new semester was the reopening of the dining hall. And it couldn’t have come soon enough, especially for Tang Wulin.
After gobbling up his breakfast, he attended the opening ceremony. It was simple enough. With six classes, one for each of the six grades, the whole assembly only contained several hundred students. Elder Cai spared few words and casually praised Tang Wulin’s team for their victory against the Imperial Sun Moon Soul Engineering Academy. Then the ceremony concluded. The teachers led their students back to their respective classrooms, marking the start of the semester.
Naturally, close congregation of students led to conversations, and conversations led to gossip. Shen Yi’s class was no exception. “Have you heard? Luo Guixing and the other rankers challenged the class president’s team to a match. It’s happening this afternoon. I heard it from a teacher yesterday. Luo Guixing has already rented an arena.”
“Really? They’re fighting again? Those rankers still haven’t had enough?”
“Of course they’re not convinced! They’re all on the Genius Youths Rankings while none of the members of Class President’s team are on it. It’d be weird if they kept quiet. Well, good for us. Just means we have a show to watch this afternoon. Who knows how strong they all are now?”
“Yeah. One thing’s for sure: they’ve left us in the dust. You know, back then I had believed Luo Guixing and Wu Siduo would definitely win, but who would have thought Class President’s team was so powerful? I still don’t see anything too special about them, even though they managed a victory. And they even defeated the second grade’s class. I don’t think Luo Guixing’s team has got much of a chance.”
“Totally. I feel the same. But let’s wait and see. Luo Guixing wouldn’t have posed the challenge if he didn’t have some confidence. We gotta go watch this match.”
Patience wearing thin, Shen Yi swept her cold gaze through the classroom. The students quieted immediately. Satisfied, she went over the objectives for the academic year. Their task this year was simple: start the construction of a set of one-word battle armor.
In order to enter the inner court, they must become one-word battle armor masters by the age of twenty. So it was best to start early. Crafting battle armor was no simple task, and it would take much time, effort, and luck to accomplish. In fact, many had secretly begun this after witnessing Tang Wulin’s one-word gauntlet. But making progress was another story. While they could buy the required metals, a bottleneck existed in the designs and crafting department. None of them were sufficiently skilled in their professions.
Still, after spending a year in Shrek Academy, students of the first grade had grown by leaps and bounds. The end-of-semester exam had stimulated them further, presenting numerous challenges for them to overcome and learn from.
Pride had filled their hearts when their class president prevailed over the second grade’s team. And in that moment they had been crowned the most powerful class of new students in the past hundred years. Tang Wulin’s team and the rankers were the idols of the first grade. The goal they strived for, hoped to one day overtake.
Despite the difficulty of obtaining inner court seats, they still dreamed of getting in. Still fought hard for even the barest sliver of a chance.
After class ended, Wu Zhangkong called Tang Wulin to his office. “I’ll be your referee this afternoon.”
“Huh? Even you know about it?” Tang Wulin said, astonished.
Wu Zhangkong’s expression betrayed nothing as usual. “Don’t be careless. Luo Guixing’s team is very talented. As talented as yours. They’ve learned from their mistakes. Their loss had only driven them to work harder, and all got full marks on the semester’s end exam too.”
Tang Wulin nodded. “I understand. We won last time because their teamwork was uncoordinated. In fact, their cultivation bases were better than ours. I’m sure that they’ve fixed their teamwork by now and are much stronger. But…”
Wu Zhangkong shot a sharp look at him. “But what?”
Tang Wulin smiled, almost blindingly so. A fierce light flashed in his eyes. “We’re even stronger than that!”
Wu Zhangkong’s cold mask cracked for a second, taken aback by Tang Wulin’s blazing spirit. Wasn’t I just like him back then?
“Let the facts speak for themselves!” Wu Zhangkong declared.
“Yes. Teacher Wu, I actually had something I wanted to talk to you about too.”
“What is it?” His eyes narrowed slightly.
“This is our second academic year, so I was thinking of challenging the third grade in the latter half of the semester. Will you permit that?”
Wu Zhangkong blinked a few times. “Are you sure?”
“Yes. I want to see how we compare against our seniors. It’ll be great motivation for us. Any time is fine, even if it’s soon. I’m not sure how well we’ll do, though.”
Unblinkingly, Wu Zhangkong studied Tang Wulin. This brat. Is he trying to bite off more than he can chew? Just how ambitious is he? Challenging the third grade?
The third grade differed tremendously from those before it. Due to the structure of Shrek Academy’s academic calendar and the three-year length of grades, everyone in the third grade was approaching twenty years old, if not just over that. Third grade students had been studying at Shrek Academy for seven years, and the most talented of the bunch were preparing to take the inner court exam. The third grade simply couldn’t be compared with the second. They probably had one-word battle armor masters!
Tang Wulin’s team was extremely talented, but talent alone couldn’t overcome the divide between a battle armor master and a regular soul master. Tang Wulin knew this all too well from the incident with Yan Feng.
Generally, anyone who didn’t enter the inner court by the end of the third grade no longer had no hopes of ever making it in. Most of the students who stayed for the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades were gifted people who needed that final push to become a one-word battle armor master before graduating. Even if it was just from the outer court, Shrek Academy’s name carried a prestigious and hefty weight.
“Why do you think you’re strong enough to challenge the third grade?” Wu Zhangkong asked.
“Because of our efforts! By the second half of the semester, we’ll be fifteen years old. Xinglan has four rings now so we’ll be able to start creating battle armor pieces in earnest. We have plenty of materials too. I think in half a year, we’ll each be equipped with a decent number of battle armor pieces. Even if we don’t manage to complete a full set, having a few pieces will make us much stronger. The most important part about battle armor is compatibility rate.” Tang Wulin flashed him an earnest look. “It’ll be helpful to know how our seniors are making their battle armor too. Naturally, we want to win. But what’s more important is the opportunity to learn from our seniors.”
“We’ll talk about this when the time comes,” Wu Zhangkong said, no room for negotiation.
Tang Wulin smiled wryly. “Alright then.”