Chapter 341 – Sparring
Tang Wulin smiled bitterly. “Count me out. I have too many things to do and not a second to spare. I’ve missed a lot of class after all.” More than ever before, Tang Wulin felt pressed for time. He had to keep pace with the intense lectures at Shrek Academy, and now that he had three soul rings, there were two blacksmith teachers waiting to guide him. He’d be damned if he let a second go to waste .
“Alright then.” Xu Xiaoyan giggled. “What kind of spirit soul do you guys think I should get this time? I have plenty of money, and Big Sis Gu Yue said she could snatch me a discount.”
Tang Wulin thought for a moment. “It’s best to get a spirit soul that’s compatible with you. Of course, since it also depends on the selection available, chance will play a large factor in this. Good luck.”
Before they could say anything else, Shen Yi arrived on the platform and approached the lectern. “Let’s begin class.”
Tang Wulin whipped his head around to find her staring right at him. Taking the cue, he shot up like a rocket from his seat and shouted, “Stand up!”
The entire class rose with him. “Good morning, Teacher.”
Shen Yi nodded, satisfied. “Take your seats.”
Her gaze moved from Tang Wulin to the rest of the class, sharp and discerning like a hawk’s. “Today we’re having combat class. You’ll be fighting together in your mecha making groups. You won’t be sparring with each other, but with either me or Teacher Wu. Group leaders, lead your groups out! We’re leaving now.” Shen Yi and Wu Zhangkong made for the door without a second glance.
A combat class?
The thought left Tang Wulin shocked. Then excitement practically bubbled out of his chest. After all, he’d just received his third ring and shattered another Golden Dragon King seal. If not for his potent self-control, Tang Wulin would have rushed out of his seat, eager to test out his new strength.
I wonder how combat class will be at Shrek? My group only has four people and we’ll be going against Teacher Shen and Teacher Wu… However, we’re much stronger than the other groups. We also have Wu Siduo and her four rings. The rest of us have three rings. In fact, Wu Siduo’s soul fusion skill is already as powerful as an entire group combined!
The sparring arena sat on the south side of the school building’s first floor. After passing through a wide corridor, the students found themselves in the large circular arena. It was over one hundred meters in diameter, with all sorts of machines lining the perimeter for recording battles, analyzing said battles, and acting as safeguards in case of accidents.
Unlike where they had fought it out for the class presidency, this was a genuine sparring arena!
While injuries inflicted in the virtual battlefield also made their way into reality, the danger of death did not loom above the students. They could not die in there and as such fought more aggressively, taking more risks than they would have had they been in the real world.
This was not the case here.
Shen Yi and Wu Zhangkong ascended the stage. The students diverted to the sides and lined up at the edges of the platform. Aware of the chit-chat, Tang Wulin gestured for his classmates to quiet down but found that none particularly paid much attention to him. Some outright ignored him.
He let out a long sigh. It seems my absence has made me less important in their eyes!
There’s nothing that can be done about it. I’ll just have to work hard to earn their respect.
Shen Yi swept her piercing eyes through the crowd. “Naturally, combat class consists of live combat. Today’s focus is teamwork. As I’ve said previously, together with your groups, you will fight me or Teacher Wu. Apart from our battle armors, we will use our full power.” Her lips curled slightly upward. “Any group that defeats us will get full marks. Otherwise, your score will depend on your performance. Decide who you want to fight: me or Teacher Wu. We will also be judging your decision. You will have five minutes to discuss, then the battles will start with the class council group.”
Gu Yue, Luo Guixing, and Wu Siduo shuffled closer to Tang Wulin’s side.
Tang Wulin’s face was the picture of apologetic. “Sorry about my absence. After breaking through to rank 30, my body encountered some unexpected issues. I had to miss class until my meditation finished.”
Wu Siduo acted as though she had not heard his apology at all. “We can talk about that after the battle. So, who should we choose?”
“Teacher Wu,” Tang Wulin answered immediately.
“Why?” Wu Siduo raised a brow at him. “It’s obvious that Teacher Wu is strong. In fact, he should be stronger than Teacher Shen.”
“Gu Yue and I came to Shrek Academy from Eastsea Academy with Teacher Wu. He was our teacher during our time there, so we understand his abilities. Since both teachers are strong, I think it’d be best to minimize the unknown factors in the battle. That’s why if we pick Teacher Wu, we can at least plan around his capabilities.”
“I agree,” Luo Guixing said. “We don’t have much time. Give us a quick rundown of Teacher Wu’s soul skills.”
His tone was strong. It gave him the appearance of being the team’s leader.
Tang Wulin observed his groupmate for a moment, not quite knowing how he felt about that. Shaking his head once, he proceeded to describe Wu Zhangkong’s soul skills and the characteristics of his martial soul.
“What are our roles?” Wu Siduo asked. As she usually fought solo, she was unfamiliar with team tactics.
“Tang Wulin, you’re good at control, but you’re even better at attacking. You should be the vanguard,” said Luo Guixing. “Wu Siduo, you should launch a sneak attack from the side. I’ll be in the center to control the flow of battle, and Gu Yue will provide cover fire from the back. It’s our first time fighting together, so our plans can’t be too complicated. Simple is key here.”
Just as Gu Yue opened her mouth to say something, Tang Wulin pulled her hand and said, “Alright. Let’s do as you say.”
Luo Guixing smiled. Their five minutes had come to an end. The four of them climbed the stage.
“We choose Teacher Wu,” Luo Guixing said.
Tang Wulin stood at the front with Luo Guixing right behind him. Gu Yue was at Luo Guixing’s rear, and Wu Siduo stayed by Tang Wulin’s side. It was a peculiar battle formation.
Wu Siduo flicked her gaze to Tang Wulin. “Can you keep him occupied?”
He shook his head. “No way. Teacher Wu has seven rings. I can only buy us a little bit of time.”
“Mn. Do your best,” said Wu Siduo.
“Tang Wulin, just get us three seconds,” said Luo Guixing. “I’ll support you, so don’t hold back at all.”
Buzzing filled the air as a dome of light covered the arena.
Tang Wulin took in a deep breath, his eyes focusing on the figure before him.
Standing fifty meters away was Wu Zhangkong, his usual white robes gently billowing in his frigid aura.
“Begin,” announced Shen Yi, crisp voice piercing through the buzzing.
Tang Wulin burst into action in the blink of an eye. The ground cracked beneath his feet as he exerted his strength. He leapt toward Wu Zhangkong, his soul rings appearing around him mid-flight, dying him in their purple glow.
He had three purple soul rings now! This was beyond the textbook optimal configuration, and symbolized his strength.
Off-stage, his peers instantly recognized that he had broken through.
Bluesilver grass shot out from all around him at his command. They glistened more brightly than before, the veins within them more complex, as if they had transformed from a leaf’s to a human’s. Although he didn’t have a full grasp of the changes in his bluesilver grass, Tang Wulin knew it had become more powerful.
This growth wasn’t solely attributed to gaining his third ring. Breaking another Golden Dragon King Seal had also aided in the sublimation of his martial soul.
The grass rushed toward Wu Zhangkong like a giant wave of vines.
It was his first soul skill, Bind! While the vines swarmed Wu Zhangkong, a light flashed in Tang Wulin’s eyes, his blood essence boiling over. Golden scales rippled into existence along up his right arm, across his right shoulder, and through most of his torso. HIs hand transformed into the deadly golden dragon claw. He dared not hold back against Wu Zhangkong, not when Shen Yi had clearly said the teachers would fight at their full strength!
Only now did Wu Zhangkong make his move. Soul rings materialized beneath him, first two yellow ones, followed by three purple rings. Finally, two black rings appeared, completing this terrifying configuration. The Skyfrost Sword materialized in his hand in an instant, the temperature of the arena instantly plummeting.
He pinched the sword’s tip with his left hand. With a wiggle of his right, the sword expelled a light into his left palm, blossoming into a flower.
It was his first soul skill, Frost Scar!
Rather than relying on his swordsmanship, he resorted to his soul skills without another thought!
Tang Wulin faced off the mighty aura of the seven-ringed Soul Sage with clenched teeth. Not once did his bluesilver grass relax in its assault against Wu Zhangkong, though a portion had split from the rest and returned to him. It spiraled in front of him to form a shield.