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Until now, w.a.n.g Dong had been leaning against a tree with his thighs acting as Huo Yuhao's comfortable pillow. Now, without even giving Huo Yuhao a chance to speak, w.a.n.g Dong hugged him fiercely and said, “Yuhao, do you know that you scared me to death? I thought that you would become like those corpses…” A sobbing tone crept into his voice as he said these words.
Xu Sans.h.i.+, who was standing next to Bei Bei, chuckled and said, “Look, their brotherly feelings really run deep.”
Bei Bei's lips twitched, and he retorted, “In any case, they're much stronger than a naturally cold-hearted guy like you.”
Xu Sans.h.i.+ immediately flared up in anger, “Bulls.h.i.+t! How can you claim that I am naturally cold-hearted?! I just don't want to be too compa.s.sionate towards others! Humph!”
Jiang Nannan furrowed her brows slightly, “How old are you two to still be arguing like children?”
After hearing her comment, Xu Shans.h.i.+ immediately began to behave. That comment was far more effective than even consuming medicine would have been. With a righteous look on his face, he didn't bother Bei Bei anymore.
Huo Yuhao patted w.a.n.g Dong's back as he spoke, “It's alright. I'm alright now. After all, one who survives a great disaster is destined to have good fortune forever after.”
w.a.n.g Yan also walked over to Huo Yuhao's side. “All's well if you're alright. You better rest up too, then we can get back on track and return to the northwestern army barracks. After we rest up a bit and get ourselves reorganised, we'll immediately head straight for Star Luo City.”
He Caitou couldn't help but ask, “Teacher w.a.n.g, you're not really going to deploy us this time around, are you?” This question was one that the seven students from the outer courtyard were most concerned about. w.a.n.g Dong let go of Huo Yuhao, and they both looked at w.a.n.g Yan together.
w.a.n.g Yan smiled bitterly and said, “I'm afraid there is no other choice. The Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Grand Tournament will go on for a month, which is a very long time. Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng and Ling Luochen will need at least half a month to recover completely. All we can do now is entrust you guys to represent the academy in battle.”
“Teacher w.a.n.g, are we up for it?” Huo Yuhao asked.
Representing Shrek Academy in battle wasn't something to be taken lightly! It meant that they were representing the academy's honor!
Shrek Academy was known as the number one academy in the continent because it nurtured numerous outstanding people of talent and skill. How did it display this strength? The Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Grand Tournament was the best stage to do so.
Shrek Academy had already monopolised the position of champion for who-knows-how many years continuously. As for the other academies, they could only vie for the position of runner-up. Before the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy from the Sun Moon Empire had appeared, there hadn't been an opponent that could compete with Shrek Academy.
However, this was directed at the main team members! They had had a peak powerhouse like Elder Xuan as their commanding officer, and their opponents had only been Soul Kings. Yet, who would've thought that they would have sustained such heavy losses during their operation this time around? As if one death wasn't enough, three others were so heavily injured that they couldn't partic.i.p.ate in battle. The remaining three had also sustained significant injuries. In just a short moment, all seven main team members had lost their fighting strength.
The team had originally consisted of two Soul Emperors and five Soul Kings. Now, it was made up of four Soul Ancestors, one Soul Elder and two Soul Masters.
This was a large difference in terms of strength.
All this pressure fell on the seven reserve students from the outer courtyard. The eldest was just fifteen years old, and the youngest was only twelve years old. It was obvious what they must be going through at that moment.
w.a.n.g Yan was slightly at a loss as to how he should respond to Huo Yuhao. He sighed and replied, “The responsibility for the setbacks during this mission rests on my shoulders. I failed to command the team properly and when we return to the academy, I will definitely beg the school's highest officials for forgiveness. As for the Grand Tournament, you guys shouldn't hold back at all. I believe that the preliminary rounds shouldn't be hard with your abilities. If Elder Xuan can rush back in time, the academy might be able to send another team of inner courtyard disciples as reinforcements before the Grand Tournament starts. With Elder Xuan's flying speed, I believe there's a possibility that he'll be able to make it in time.”
Upon remembering Elder Xuan's terrifyingly quick manner of flying, everyone immediately became much more relaxed.
Bei Bei stood up and, just as before, spoke with a smile on his face. “Teacher w.a.n.g is right. At the end of the day, we are just reserves. Moreover, the Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Grand Tournament doesn't have a knockout system Elder Xuan originally mentioned that we were meant to take the stage regardless, to polish our abilities and to serve as a s.h.i.+eld for the main team members. We can still proceed according to that plan. Regardless of the outcome, everything will work out if we try our best. Besides, we can still trick our opponents. I reckon reinforcements will arrive before we have take on more than a few matches. Our academy isn't that far from Star Luo City. The most it'll take the academy to select people and deploy them is around three to five days. So, in reality, we only need to hold up for a few days.”
“That's right, we're not weaker than the others. I've heard that the contestants from the partic.i.p.ating academies normally have the strength of three or four ringed Soul Masters; we're Shrek Academy's elite students! What do we have to fear?! The main force might not even need to make a move, because we would've already advanced courageously and stormed straight to the finals!” Xu Sans.h.i.+ exclaimed, filled with fighting spirit.
Jiang Nannan rolled her eyes at him, “Such developed limbs, and yet such a simple mind.”
Xiao Xiao was sitting right beside Jiang Nannan and couldn't help but stifle a chuckle upon seeing the deflated look on Xu Sans.h.i.+'s face.
A hint of a smile found its way onto w.a.n.g Yan's face too. He nodded and replied, “Bei Bei is right. We should do our best.” As he spoke, his gaze subconsciously fell on Ma Xiaotao, Dai Yueheng and Ling Luochen.
The three of them didn't utter a word. w.a.n.g Yan sighed in his heart and thought to himself, Do your best, and everything will go according to the will of the heavens.
However, Huo Yuhao still held suspicion in his heart, because he could clearly remembered what Elder Xuan had said before he left. The academy's reputation can only rest on your shoulders now. This clearly wasn't something that he had said without thinking! Moreover, Huo Yuhao also believed that his mentally dexterous senior brother could not have failed to notice those words. But then, why was he talking like this now? Could it be to bolster everyone's hearts?
With these thoughts running through his mind, Huo Yuhao naturally couldn't expose his senior brother. All he could do was do his best to go along with Bei Bei. It wasn't easy to raise everyone's morale, so how could he say something against him?
Only w.a.n.g Yan and the three remaining inner courtyard students knew that there weren't many students in the inner courtyard. There were extremely few students under twenty who were sufficiently capable. On top of that, most of the inner courtyard disciples conducted missions outside as Shrek Guardians. Thus, it was practically impossible for the academy to gather another group of Shrek's Seven Devils from the inner courtyard. Sadly, there wasn't much hope for those in the outer courtyard either. Bei Bei, Xu Sans.h.i.+ and Jiang Nannan were outstanding individuals from the outer courtyard, but even if they could gather a few more students with four soul rings, would they really be stronger than Huo Yuhao, Xiao Xiao and w.a.n.g Dong?
As a result of that, they could only count on themselves during this Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Grand Tournament.
The next day in Shrek Academy.
Elder Xuan was sitting on a flight of stairs with a bed of messy hair as he poured alcohol into his mouth. The sound of footsteps rang out from behind him, and an old man clad in white walked over to him.
“What's the situation?”
The old man clad in white stood respectfully behind Elder Xuan and said, “The situation has already stabilized. It's corpse poison. Thankfully, this is only a simple kind of poison and you brought them back just in time. Their lives are out of harm's way now. The Soul Tool Department has already taken a look at Chen Zifeng's leg, and deduced that it's not going to be problem to make a prosthetic for him. Even though his movements will be affected a little, it shouldn't affect his strength too much.”
Elder Xuan spat out a breath full of the smell of alcohol and sighed, “That's good.”
At this moment, someone walked in from outside the courtyard. That person was the dean of Shrek Academy's Martial Soul Department - Yan Shaozhe.
“Elder Xuan, the Sea G.o.d's Pavilion conference that you proposed to hold has been prepared. You…”
“Let's go.” Elder Xuan stood up and walked out. His silhouette clearly seemed a little lonely.
Yan Shaozhe followed behind Elder Xuan, sighing in his heart. It had been many years since the Sea G.o.d's Pavilion conference had been held so frequently.
“Elder Xuan, this matter isn't your fault. You shouldn't blame yourself too much.” Yan Shaozhe advised in a low voice.
Elder Xuan didn't speak, and only responded by shaking his head.
Sea G.o.d's Pavilion.
Things weren't so different from the last Sea G.o.d's Pavilion conference held here, but the atmosphere surrounding the whole place was somewhat heavier than before. Elder Mu, who was seated at the head of the table, was still lying on his recliner, the shadows obscuring his body.
The ones seated beside him were Elder Lin and Elder Xuan. The four deans and vice-deans from the Martial Soul Department and the Soul Tool Department were still respectfully seated at both ends of the table.
Elder Mu's gentle voice rang out. “Speak, dear Xuan. Why have you proposed this Sea G.o.d's Pavilion conference?”
Elder Xuan nodded, slowly got up and began to speak in a low tone, “Everyone already knows what happened this time. This isn't the first time a problem has arisen from my leaders.h.i.+p. As the one who was leading the group, I am therefore bound by an uns.h.i.+rkable responsibility. Henceforth, I have decided to resign from my position as vice-commander of the Shrek Guardians. Moreover, I will leave Sea G.o.d's Pavilion and be an idler within the academy.”
Once Elder Xuan spoke, everyone in the room was alarmed. One had to know that he held an extremely high post in the academy, second only to Elder Mu lying on the recliner. He was the academy's elder, and had an extremely strong cultivation, hardly all that different from Elder Mu's. Elder Mu was the commanding officer of the Shrek Guardians, and there was only one vice-commander - Elder Xuan. Over the course of nearly 50 years, all of the most outstanding inner courtyard disciples who had represented the school in the Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Grand Tournament had been led by Elder Xuan. For him to suddenly bring up the topic of his resignation from all of his duties, how could it not shock the Sea G.o.d's Pavilion's conference?
Yan Shaozhe was so shocked that his face turned pale. “Elder Xuan, how can this be? No one can guarantee that something won't go wrong. Besides, this responsibility cannot completely rest on your shoulders. Carelessness on the part of Xiaotao and the others also played a huge part in this matter, along with the unusual abilities of that evil soul master. He could actually unleash an all-out attack comparable to that of a Soul Sage. This can only ill.u.s.trate the direct correlation between the destructive power of his skill and the number of corpses he rose. Elder Xuan, you are one of the main pillars of the academy. The academy cannot lose you!”
Elder Xuan sighed and said, “Shaozhe, don't say anything anymore. I had earlier wanted to take responsibility for my mistake in the Great Star Dou Forest that time and resign. But that girl, Le Xuan, stubbornly knelt in front of me and I didn't have the heart to hurt that child's heart, so I stayed on…”
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