Hu Jie's brows furrowed tightly. "Are you sure you want to take on this bet? The Star Luo Empire is definitely going to be broadcasting the matches to as wide an audience as possible. There's no shame in losing at your age, but I'm concerned that losing will traumatize you and hinder your future cultivation progress; that would be catastrophic!"
Tang Wulin turned to the Smiling Douluo with a serious look on his face. "When I was 10, I finally saved up enough money to buy my first soul spirit and cultivated to rank 10 in soul power. At the time, I was just a nobody with the most mediocre Bluesilver Grass martial soul. However, I never gave up hope. After I went to the Spirit Pagoda, I was told that the money I'd saved up would only be enough for one lottery pick. I didn't have exceptional luck; my luck was exceptionally bad, if anything. I picked a defective soul spirit that may not even be able to bring me any soul skills.
"Even so, I fused with it, and continued to work hard in my cultivation. At the time, my rate of cultivation was slower than everyone else, and I could only progress at a snail's pace. I put in hard work and dedication that was unimaginable to the average person to make it into Shrek Academy, and now, here I am today. Failure has never been able to break me; it's only acted as motivation for me to continue to advance onward. The Trial of Five Gods is just another obstacle that's been thrown my way, and I'll take on all five challenges, even if it means losing five out of five times. I'm sure that this will be an important stepping stone for me to reach greater heights."
Everyone fell silent upon hearing this, and Hu Jie looked into Tang Wulin's eyes, only to see a fiery yearning for battle.
"Alright, but I have to inform the Amorous Douluo of this, and I must ask you to remember at all times that you are currently representing the Tang Sect," the Smiling Douluo said in a serious manner.
Tang Wulin replied, "It is of the utmost honor to me that I am able to represent the Tang Sect, and I will give everything I have to defend the honor of the Tang Sect."
His birth father was the founder of the Tang Sect, and his goal was to follow in his father's footsteps to find the Divine Realm. There was virtually no chance for him to complete the trial, but Tang Wulin firmly believed that the experience would bestow upon him many things that he wouldn't be able to attain from cultivation alone.
In stark contrast with the warm and grand welcome they'd received when arriving at the palace, their departure was a very sullen and cold affair. Even Dai Yueyan hadn't come out to accompany them, clearly still enraged by Tang Wulin's rejection toward Dai Yun'er.
After returning to the headquarters, Shrek’s Seven Monsters went back to rest, while Hu Jie arrived at the information transference hub and made an intercontinental call.
As soon as the call was connected, the Amorous Douluo's lazy voice rang out from the other end. "What is it, Old Man Hu?"
"Vice-palace Master, we've had a bit of a situation here in the Star Luo Empire."
Thus, Hu Jie delivered a brief recount of events, and Zang Xin allowed him to speak uninterrupted before finally heaving a faint sigh at the conclusion of his story. "That's a pity."
"Indeed it is, but the sect master can't be blamed for this; no one could've anticipated that such a curveball would be thrown at us, and things like love and relationships can't be forced. Besides, it would be an even greater sign of disrespect if the sect master were to accept the princess's feelings without actually reciprocating them," Hu Jie sighed.
The Amorous Douluo suddenly burst into laughter on the other end. "Are you defending the sect master, Old Man Hu? That's not like you at all! I didn't think you would acknowledge the sect master so easily."
Hu Jie replied, "I've acknowledged him due to the power he's displayed, and what he did in the Dou Spirit Empire. I've been wanting to stomp the Spirit Pagoda into the ground for a long time, and the sect master accomplished that over at the Dou Spirit Empire; it was really satisfying just for me to hear about it! Getting back on topic, the situation in the Star Luo Empire will be rather troublesome; do you have any backup plans, Vice-palace Master?"
The Amorous Douluo replied, "Why are you asking me? You're with the sect master, and he's calling all the shots."
"Huh?" Hu Jie faltered slightly upon hearing this. Both he and Li Yun were under the impression that Tang Wulin was still essentially just a trainee sect master, while the two Douluo Palace masters were the ones truly in power.
Zang Xin said in a serious voice, "Remember this, Old Man Hu; you have to maintain a necessary level of respect toward the sect master at all times. Cao Dezhi and I have both placed our trust in him, so his decisions are the equivalent to the decisions of the Tang Sect; even we wouldn't disobey his orders. He wasn't chosen by us; he was chosen by the heavens. In the future, it's very likely that he'll reach dizzying heights that are unimaginable to us. As for the Trial of Five Gods, if the sect master wants to participate in it, then of course he can."When I said 'that's a pity', I was referring to the fact that I wouldn't be there to see the trial in person. Trust in our sect master; so what if he loses? Who hasn't lost in battle before? Don't you think that we should be proud of having a sect master with the courage to oppose an entire empire like this? The Trial of Five Gods is the ultimate trial that has only ever taken place between nations since its inception in ancient times; the fact that the Star Luo Empire is proposing this Trial of Five Gods indicates that they see our Tang Sect as equals. From this perspective, this is also a good thing."
Zang Xin paused momentarily here before continuing, "On top of that, even in the worst-case scenario, we can give up on the restriction clause. Those weapons have the potential to turn the tables in the short term, but they're all disposable items that can only be used for a single war; they're not going to be enough for the Star Luo Empire to retaliate and invade the federation. The restriction clause was mostly put in place as a display of our attitude, and the sect master is aware of this, so let him do as he pleases.
"Haha, even the Atlas Douluo has never had the honor of participating in a Trial of Five Gods before! Everyone expects him to fail, so we have nothing to lose, but if he wins one or two of the five challenges, then that would bring immense glory to our Tang Sect."
The Smiling Douluo was instantly enlightened upon hearing this. "Alright, I understand now. In that case, I won't have to worry about anything. I think there's a very good chance that our sect master will be able to win one or two challenges; with his Time Reversal spiritual domain and those time-based abilities, even En Ci would have to be wary of him. After all, at his age, if he were to lose a few years of his life, he would be close to getting buried six feet under, haha!"
"Wait, what's this about a Time Reversal domain?" Zang Xin asked.
"Huh? You don't know about this?" the Smiling Douluo asked in a surprised manner, "That's our sect master's spiritual domain! It's truly incredible that he was able to manifest a spiritual domain at such a young age; it makes me feel like I've been squandering my life away. Even now, I still haven't been able to manifest a spiritual domain, and it's precisely because of this that I haven't managed to take that final step."
The Amorous Douluo fell silent.
"What is it, Vice-palace Master? Is there something wrong?" Hu Jie asked.
The Amorous Douluo sighed, "I don't want to dent your confidence any further, but our sect master has only been at the Spirit Domain realm for just over a year, and prior to leaving the Douluo Continent, he still hadn't manifested a spiritual domain. Time Reversal, eh? Haha, that's fantastic!"
The Smiling Douluo suddenly couldn't bring himself to laugh anymore. "Where the hell did you two find a freak like him? Other Soul Masters like us should just kill ourselves at this point!"
The Amorous Douluo chuckled, "Do you understand why we decided to make him the sect master now? Prior to the Atlas Douluo's passing, he had already passed on the position of Sea God's Pavilion Master to him; if we hadn't acted as quickly as we did, we would've been permanently one-upped by Shrek Academy. If it isn't for the fact that Shrek Academy has to rely on our Tang Sect for their future rebuild, the Light Dark Douluo wouldn't even have agreed to this arrangement, so we're actually immensely fortunate to have been able to make him our sect master, not the other way around."
A smile reappeared on Hu Jie's face upon hearing this. "Alright, I understand everything now. Rest assured, I'll protect our sect master with everything I have and ensure that he returns safe and sound. This sect master of ours really does have an immeasurable future ahead of him! If things continue like this, he's definitely going to eclipse the likes of the Atlas Douluo. Speaking of that, he's attracting just as much attention from the opposite sex as the Atlas Douluo once did."
The Amorous Douluo heaved a resigned sigh. "This is what happens when a man is too exceptional; it can't be helped. By the way, on the topic of the Atlas Douluo, one of the four heavenly monarchs of the Holy Spirit Cult turned to the dark side because of him. Do you still remember the phoenix sisters?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter