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“Also, one thing I can reveal to you is that Xuan Lao’s cultivation is certainly much more terrifying than what the majority of you people imagine it to be. His martial soul, the Godly Taotie Bull, is an extremely rare and special type that can also be called a mutated martial soul. The drawback of this type of martial soul lies in the need for constant consumption of food and drink, as the act of consumption itself is a form of cultivation. However, Xuan Lao’s cultivation has already reached the ninety-eighth rank, and he is the Transcendent Titled Douluo of Gluttony. It’s almost impossible to find any being in existence on this continent that is stronger than that elder in a duel.”

Even though they already had very high estimations of Xuan Lao’s cultivation, the seven of them still drew a collective gasp when Wang Yan spoke the number ‘ninety-eight’. What a thing to consider, that rank ninety-eight!

All soul masters who were rank ninety or higher were Titled Douluo, but every increase in cultivation after the ninetieth rank came with exponential growth. This was particularly the case for the ranks past ninety-five, as attaining that rank made one worthy of being called a Transcendent Douluo.

For example, if a newly-promoted rank ninety Titled Douluo were to encounter a hundred thousand year soul beast, his only option would be to turn and flee. Unless he had a sufficiently powerful martial soul and soul ring, he would not have the capability to battle such a soul beast.

However, if his cultivation was somewhere around rank ninety-two or ninety-three, then he would stand a fair chance against the hundred thousand year soul beast, as long as it wasn’t on the level of a Beast King.

And if his cultivation was at rank ninety-five, that of a Transcendent Titled Douluo, then the hundred thousand year soul beast would be the one doing the fleeing. Not even two hundred thousand year soul beasts who had broken past their limits were likely to have the guts to battle a rank ninety-five Titled Douluo.

And then there was Elder Xuan, who belonged to a tier equivalent to the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion among soul beasts. It was the crème de la crème, and the terror of terrors.

Only then did Huo Yuhao understand why he had felt such an overpowering panic in his heart when Xuan Lao was enraged. Even Skydream and the Ice Empress had remained silent within his spiritual sea, neither communicating anything to him or causing any strong spiritual waves. The might of Elder Xuan’s cultivation had simply been too terrifying.

“If this was set several hundred years in the past, I’d say that Xuan Lao was almost without parallel. But is that really the case today?” Wang Yan went on. “I can tell you all with certainty that Xuan Lao remains unrivalled in single combat. However, the Sun Moon Empire has several Class 9 soul engineers who are capable of fighting him on even ground, to the point of posing a threat to his life. Top tier soul engineers whose existences are just as terrifying. Their entirely different fighting style enables them to use all of their soul skills to increase their soul power before launching an attack through a powerful soul tool. Another thing you must not forget is that Class 9 is not the ultimate limit of soul engineers. If the day comes when a Class 10 soul engineer appears in the Sun Moon Empire, then… how are we to face that?”

At this point, Wang Yan had already gotten himself quite worked up. “There’s one more thing. It may not be much of an issue in your generation, but as the time goes by, this problem that I’ve discovered is bound to affect all soul masters: the problem of soul beasts.”

“Soul beasts?” they echoed, puzzled by the apparent non sequitur.

Wang Yan nodded vigorously, then elaborated, “What I’m referring to is the number of soul beasts. All of you have learned during your time in the academy that soul beasts have existed since time immemorial on our Douluo Continent, as well as the fact that, a great many years ago, there were no humans here. One could say that our entire continent is a world belonging to soul beasts… you could indeed say such a thing. The human race itself is the result of the evolution of soul beasts, and we are a form of intelligent soul beast.”

“Over the passage of time, we humans began to appear, around tens or even hundreds of millennia ago. In the beginning, the human race was weak, and only served as food for the soul beasts. However, since humans did exist, there was a reason for our existence. Our physical capabilities may be weak, but we have our strengths: our fecundity, and our ability to learn.”

“Human intelligence was gradually developed as we evolved through the ages, and our reproductive capabilities ensured that we did not suffer extinction even when we were preyed upon by soul beasts. And when we developed to such an extent that the intelligence of an ordinary human was on par with that of a top tier soul beast, earth-shaking changes began to happen on the continent.

“With our intelligence, humans began creating tools, traps and weaponry. We used the weather and geography to our advantage in battling soul beasts. We learned to cooperate, to group together and attack a single soul beast. We gradually began to possess the ability to hunt and kill soul beasts, instead of being hunted and killed by them. Nutrition became richer, and humans continued to grow.”

“Following the evolution of our intelligence, another change came about with the appearance of soul masters. The first soul master came to be when the first human with a prodigious level of innate soul power accidentally drew the soul ring of a slain soul beast into his own body. After tens of thousands of years of change and research, humans gradually grasped the techniques required to become soul masters. In the meantime, we also began to undergo a population explosion. Our intelligence allowed us to start learning how to build, to start having our own homes and cities. The number of soul masters, along with their powers, continued to increase.”

“Soul beasts remained powerful as they always were, but in the face of our intelligence and learning capabilities, they gradually lost the ability to pose any real threat. Finally, humans ruled the continent, and soul masters indubitably became the most powerful and most important occupation on this continent.”

Wang Yan’s narration of the process of human evolution was very simple, but captured the few most important changes. At this point, his topic suddenly took a turn.

“However, here’s the thing you kids may never have thought of: what changes would happen to soul beasts alongside our human race’s development.”

“Indeed, soul beasts may have been around for tens of millennia, and the proportion of soul masters amongst humans is one in thousands – it’s not that much. But the fact remains that we are encroaching upon the soul beasts’ habitats, and slaying them for our soul rings. More and more high level soul beasts have been hunted and killed by people like us – like all of you here, who all bear thousand-year soul rings. Those only come about in soul beasts that have cultivated for a thousand years. And just like their soul rings, these high-level soul beasts are also limited in numbers!”

“Ten thousand years ago on this continent, the overall power of soul beasts was still greater than that of humans. But today, after ten thousand years have passed, I can say with certainty that the collective power of soul beasts is no longer comparable to ours. The reason for that is that too many high-level soul beasts have become our soul rings. So let me ask you: what happens after another ten thousand years? What changes will happen to the continent in that time? Will we still be able to go to the forest and slay soul beasts as we please? I can give you a definite answer: ten thousand years from now, even a ten-year soul ring will be an article of luxury. The final fate of soul beasts is absolute dependency upon humans as they are confined by us like livestock.”

“By that time, it’s very likely that all soul masters will only be able to use ten year soul rings, and even hundred year ones will become unattainable. When that time comes, what will we use to increase our own power? As time passes, soul tools are bound to become the true source of human strength. That is the inevitable result of time. I can do nothing to change this progression of events, and neither can any of you. What you must do instead, at this moment, is accept the truth. In the future, the only way our descendents can become stronger than us is through the usage of soul tools. And all of you, right now, stand at a crucial moment in the transformation of an era. Only through the perfect fusion of one’s abilities with a soul toul can you become strong enough not to be left behind in obsolescence.”

Those words had been held within Wang Yan’s mind for much longer than just a day or two. Finally unleashed, the effect they had upon the seven was akin to stirring the deaf and enlightening the blind. All of them felt deeply shaken.

Huo Yuhao and Caitou, being students of the Soul Tool Department, were less affected than the other five, who had always had some measure of aversion to soul tools. And yet, right then and there, could they really keep feeling that way?

Some of what Wang Yan had said felt distant to them, but some of it had evidently instilled in them a sense of urgency. It was an uncomfortable feeling, and disrupted how they normally thought about things.

All of them knew fairly well that Wang Yan’s speech was intended to convince them to accept soul tools and use them in the tournament. But it was also far from being that simple, and had a great impact on them all.

Wang Yan said no more, simply watching those children, who were still at such a tender age. He looked at the future hope of Shrek Academy, silently waiting as they thought things over. He knew they needed time.

Wang Yan’s eyes betrayed traces of sorrow as he raised his head to glance at the already pitch-dark sky. What would the continent become in ten thousand years? At that time, would Shrek Academy still maintain its current position as the foremost academy on the continent?

It will, it definitely will. Wang Yan unconsciously clenched his hands into fists.

Shrek Academy made me what I am today. No matter what happens, I will do all I can to ensure that it remains great, that no one ever surpasses it, that Shrek Academy will always be the strongest.

At that thought, Wang Yan felt his heart set afire, and hot blood course through his veins. He suddenly felt that it wasn’t entirely a bad thing for the starting lineup to suffer such a heavy blow. At least it rang the warning bells to the seven that were the academy’s future hope, the next generation of Shrek’s Seven Monsters. If they could accept what he was suggesting, then it would have a huge effect on the future of the academy while also leading the academy down the right track. Or, at least, the right track he had discovered.

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