Chapter 556 - A Year's Separation

Chapter 556 - A Year's Separation

Once he returned to campus, Tang Wulin immediately rented a specialized cultivation room.

He meditated and inspected his body, scanning for any changes. After cultivating until the next morning, he still hadn’t been able to find any changes!  Not a single one. It was as if he hadn’t absorbed the Tyrant Dragon. 

Tang Wulin couldn’t make heads or tails of the situation. But there was nothing he could do about it. He was a bit nervous about the Spirit Pagoda’s reaction to this event, but he was just as powerless against them. 

Once he had finished cultivating his Purple Demon Eyes at the break of dawn, Tang Wulin ran into Gu Yue while on his way to the dining hall for breakfast. He asked her about the Spirit Pagoda’s response to what had happened with the Tyrant Dragon, and she told him not to worry about it. The Spirit Pagoda wouldn’t do anything to him. 

Don’t worry about it? Tang Wulin’s mind wandered astray as he walked with Gu Yue to class. Are they really not going to say anything? They just lost a Tyrant Dragon! 

They soon entered their classroom and took their seats. A moment later, Wu Zhangkong ascended the platform at the front of the class and took his place behind the lectern. “Let’s begin class.”

“Rise!” Tang Wulin called out in response, shooting to his feet along with the rest of his classmates to salute their teacher.

“Before we get into the main topic of the day, I have an announcement. Tang Wulin, Gu Yue, Xie Xie, Xu Xiaoyan, Xu Lizhi, and Ye Xinglan, today is your last day of class. You have tomorrow off to rest, then the day after you will depart for Star Luo on the exchange trip. I will be in charge of the exchange group, so today will also be the last class I teach for the next year.

“While Tang Wulin and Gu Yue are gone, Wu Siduo and Luo Guixing will act as the substitute class president and vice-president respectively. Yang Nianxia will be a vice-president as well, and fill in as blacksmith representative…” Wu Zhangkong declared the rest of organizational changes for the class, ensuring that chaos would not ensue once the class leaders left. 

Although everyone knew that Tang Wulin’s group would be leaving soon, they didn’t truly comprehend it until Wu Zhangkong’s announcement. The time of departure was upon them. Their class president would be gone for a full year. Only a few were envious of him, though. This was because they all believed Shrek Academy to be the greatest place in the world to cultivate. An exchange trip abroad was a wonderful opportunity to gain experience and broaden one’s horizons, but it did not provide any benefits to one’s cultivation. 

After class, Wu Siduo approached to Tang Wulin. “You better not let me surpass you in a year.” 

Tang Wulin smiled wryly. “I’ll be looking forward to the day you do.” 

Yang Nianxia came over with the other rankers and put his hand on Tang Wulin’s shoulder in a brotherly manner. “Class President, leave the blacksmiths to me. Rest assured, I will guide them properly.” 

Tang Wulin faked a cough and gave a strained smile. “You’re the one guiding them most of the time anyway. You should have been the blacksmith representative to begin with.”  In truth, Tang Wulin had been ignoring his duties as blacksmith representative since long ago. He was far too focused on advancing his own blacksmithing skills to care for others. But no one in his class complained since he often accepted forging requests for free or a negligible fee. Furthermore, all of his products were top-tier. In the past two years, he had shown his value to his classmates and raised his prestige to an unshakeable height. None dared challenge his position anymore. 

Off to the side, Luo Guixing stared crestfallen at Tang Wulin. “I wanted to go on the trip too,” he said to himself, so soft that only those around him could hear. “Ever since I was young I’ve dreamed of traveling to see the world. I never would have thought you guys would be one step ahead of me.” His gaze hardened with determination. “Just you wait until I graduate. I’ll definitely explore the world too.” 

Xu Yucheng scoffed. “Graduate? It’s way too early for you to even be thinking about that.” 

Even though they were geniuses, graduation was still too far into the future for them. On one hand, while their battle armors were not made with spirit alloys, the armors were already one-third complete. With their current rate of progress, they would be full-fledged one-word battle armor masters once they reached the second grade, and likely be at least five-ringed Soul Kings. They were practically guaranteed to enter the esteemed ranks of the inner court at this rate. On the other hand, once they were in the inner court, they would be required to become two-word battle armor masters in order to graduate. Until they met that lofty requirement, there were prohibited from leaving Shrek Academy. It would be a long and arduous process with success dependent on their talents and luck.

Luo Guixing coughed, then shrugged. “Becoming a two-word battle armor master is kinda hard. I guess I'll have to push back my dream a bit further.” 

Tang Wulin chuckled at Luo Guixing’s nonchalant way of hiding his embarrassment. “Alright. Don’t miss me too much then. I’ll bring back souvenirs.” 

“Really?” Wu Siduo asked, perking her head up. 

“Yes, really,” Tang Wulin said. 

Xie Xie poked his head in from the side, a smirk on his face. “Psh. Don’t get your hopes up. Knowing how much of a cheapskate Wulin is, I bet he won’t get you guys anything good.”

Tang Wulin glared at Xie Xie. “Would you die if you aren’t being blunt? Do you even know what a souvenir is? As long as the souvenir has meaning, then anything is fine. How does the price tag on it matter?” 

Everyone couldn’t help but smile at Tang Wulin’s outburst. This was the miserly Tang Wulin that they had grown close with. 

Tang Wulin’s group continued to banter for a long time, all of them harboring the same reluctance to leave. They had grown fond of the hustle and bustle of their lives as students of Shrek Academy. It was here that they accumulated strength and learned about many fascinating subjects. This was Shrek Academy, the greatest academy on the continent, and perhaps even the entire planet of Douluo. They were all proud students of Shrek Academy! It was only natural that they were anxious about leaving for a year. By the time they returned, they would be in the second grade. 

“Alright. We should get going now. We’ve got lots to do before we leave.” Tang Wulin finally stood up from his seat and looked back at the hundred desks behind him. Nodding to himself in satisfaction, he walked out with large strides and blazing determination. I’ll definitely be way stronger when I come back! I’m coming, Star Luo! 

☀ 

The sun shone with magnificence as it slowly moved through the shades of blue above. The weather was uplifting, fair and sunny, coupled nicely with a refreshing breeze.

Tang Wulin and his friends had just arrived in Skysea City, the largest city on the east coast. This was where Tang Wulin and Gu Yue had met Xu Lizhi and Ye Xinglan. 

The Shrek Academy party numbered ten in total. The leader was Cai Yue’er, and the teacher in charge was Wu Zhangkong. The students on the exchange were Tang Wulin, Gu Yue, Yuanen Yehui, Yue Zhengyu, Xie Xie, Xu Xiaoyan, Xu Lizhi, and Ye Xinglan. 

Today they were to meet with the delegation from Star Luo. 

After spending a year here, the Star Luo delegation were prepared to return home. Due to the restrictions on airspace, they had no choice but to return by ship. In fact, it was impossible for ordinary planes or mechas to make the trip between continents. Normally, only battle armors possessed long-distance flight technology necessary to make the cross-continental trip. The Federation did possess technology that made it possible for planes and mechas as well, but it was top-secret and they didn’t want to risk having it stolen by foreign states.  

“Come on guys, eat! Eat to your heart’s content. It’s all on me today!” Tang Wulin declared to his friends. They were currently at the restaurant with the salt baked fish Tang Wulin had visited during his last trip to Skysea City.

Without even a word, Ye Xinglan began stuffing her face. She still held a small grudge against him for making her and Xu Lizhi pay for dinner all those years ago. That damn bastard! I’ll eat him clean!  Just remembering that night got her blood boiling. 

The salt baked fish had charmed everyone’s taste buds and they ravenously dug in. Unlike his students, Wu Zhangkong ate with refined grace. As for Elder Cai, she pecked at the food for a bit then stopped. She was frozen in shock as she watched Tang Wulin inhale plate after plate. 

“Damn this kid can really eat! How did he feed himself back on campus?” Elder Cai asked, glancing at Wu Zhangkong. 

Wu Zhangkong’s hand froze as he was reaching for another piece of fish. His lips began to twitch as he turned to face her, nodding so slowly that it would have been missed with a lack of attention. “Yes… Elder Feng promised to take care of all of Wulin’s food expenses. So Wulin has been eating as much as he wants and sending the bill to Elder Feng.” 

Elder Cai began cackled. “No wonder that old fogey shed tears of joy when he heard we were leaving! This kid’s stomach is terrifying!”

Wu Zhangkong’s icy expression melted into a warm smile as he looked to Tang Wulin, who was in the middle of gorging himself. The sight brought back memories. If only she were still here… 

This scene of teenagers merrily chatting and feasting was the very picture of youth! 

“Yuanen, eat some more,” Xie Xie said as offered her a plate of eaglebeak shrimp. 

The eaglebeak shrimp gave off a tantalizing aroma. It possessed an extraordinarily hard shell, but the flesh within was a true delight to feast on, especially with a healthy dousing of sauce. With Tang Wulin and Xu Lizhi’s gluttony, they avoided these hard to peel finger-long shrimp and opted for the meatier dishes instead. 

Yuanen Yehui’s blank glance landed on Xie Xie blankly for a moment. Then she accepted the plate, placed it down in front of her, and continued eating in silence. Xie Xie rejoiced at her reaction. He was happy enough that she didn’t reject him. This was progress! The exchange trip to Star Luo was completely paid for by Shrek Academy, so he was taking it as an opportunity to close the gap between them. 

Soon, everyone at the table leaned back in their seats and patted their bellies in satisfaction. All except for Tang Wulin and Xu Lizhi that was. Those two were in a realm of their own as the continued to stuff their faces.

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