Wu Zhangkong didn't look any different compared to over three years ago. The passage of time hadn't left its mark on this Icily Arrogant Prince Charming's face at all, but his aura had become more profound.
Tang Wulin hurried over to him, and said in a respectful manner, "I'm back, Teacher Wu."
Wu Zhangkong suddenly stepped forward, and much to everyone's surprise, he gave Tang Wulin a big hug. "You're in a better situation than I am, at least."
Tang Wulin faltered slightly, and the memory of Wu Zhangkong taking to visit that graveyard in Heaven Dou City. His heart stirred slightly, and he said, "Teacher Wu..."
Wu Zhangkong released him, and said, "Alright, let's not talk about all this depressing stuff. Let's go get your tests done."
Xie Xie made his way over to Tang Wulin with a smile on his face while pointing at his own nose. It was quite clear that he'd notified Wu Zhangkong in advance.
Tang Wulin had been in a state of emotional turmoil ever since he returned to Shred Academy due to the situation surrounding Gu Yue, and he was finally starting to feel a bit better now that he had a new objective to work toward.
However, after returning to his senses, he suddenly recalled that not even a single teacher had tried to stop him during these past few days where he'd been desperately searching for Gu Yue. Zhuo Shi, Feng Wuyu, and Wu Zhangkong had all left him to his own devices.
"Teacher Wu, I'm sorry. After I came back..."
Wu Zhangkong shook his head and cut him off. "Perhaps you don't understand the situation in the inner court yet, so let me summarize everything for you. After entering the inner court, you'll be regarded as an adult, so you have to take responsibility for your own actions. At the same time, the academy won't impose restrictions on you as they had back when you were in the outer court. Aside from the exams that you have to undertake at set intervals, the inner court basically doesn't exert any control over its students. If you want to do something, then no one will stop you. On top of that, your relationship with Gu Yue was sealed during the Sea God Fate Match-making Convention, so the academy will support you, and even help you track her down. We'll notify you as soon as we find any information about her.
"According to the information that we currently have, it seems very possible that Gu Yue has been hidden by the Spirit Pagoda. Otherwise, there's no way that we wouldn't be able to find her. However, the academy shares a very delicate relationship with the Spirit Pagoda, so unless the pavilion master orders us to take action, we can't do anything. The problem is, the pavilion master seems to be rather resentful toward you."
Of course Yun Ming was resentful toward Tang Wulin. His best disciple had disappeared because of him, so it would be strange if he DIDN'T resent him.
A surge of warmth flowed through his heart upon hearing Wu Zhangkong's words. Even though Wu Zhangkong hadn't come to find him, it was undoubtedly the case that he'd also been helping him search for Gu Yue this entire time from behind the scenes. Otherwise, there was no way that he'd know so much about the current situation.
Did Gu Yue go to the Spirit Pagoda? Could it be that the issue between us lies in the Spirit Pagoda?
The Spirit Pagoda was probably the only entity in this world that the academy would be wary of. This had to be the explanation behind everything!
With that in mind, Tang Wulin was suddenly struck by a sense of purpose. Even though the target that he had to stand up against was a colossal entity, it was always better to have a direction to strive toward rather than being lost and confused.
The testing room was far more spacious than he thought it would be, and all of the machines in there took up a vast amount of space.
"You have to undergo an exhaustive examination so we can ascertain your true bodily condition, which will help us tailor a cultivation plan for you," Wu Zhangkong said to Tang Wulin.
"Alright!" Tang Wulin immediately agreed.
"Let's test your soul power first." Wu Zhangkong led him over to a machine, upon which were two spherical objects. Tang Wulin had used a similar machine in the past, so he hurried over before grabbing the two objects.
Wu Zhangkong activated the device, and a series of numbers quickly appeared.
"Soul power rank: 47, degree of spiritual power compression: six," an electronic voice announced.
Wu Zhangkong couldn't help but raise an eyebrow as he turned to Tang Wulin with a surprised expression upon hearing the second figure.
"Degree of soul power compression? What's that?" Tang Wulin asked. Back when he had last undertaken a similar examination, that parameter hadn't been tested for.
Wu Zhangkong replied, "After one's soul power reaches a certain level, quantity is no longer the absolute most important factor of consideration; quality must also be taken into account, and the quality here refers to the degree of compression. To put it simply, you can have two Titled Douluos, but their power levels will be completely different if one purely increased their soul power through consuming spirit items, while the other accumulated all of their soul power bit by bit through arduous cultivation. Between those two hypothetical Titled Douluos, there will be a disparity of at least three degrees of soul power compression. The higher the degree of compression, the denser one's soul power is.
"Each degree corresponds to a certain level, and the fact that you have six degrees of soul power compression means that even though you're only a four-ring Soul Ancestor, the density of your soul power rivals that of a Soul Emperor who has cultivated arduously their entire life without consuming any spirit items. As such, if we were to combine these two figures, your actual power level would rival that of a Soul King."
This was the first time that Tang Wulin had heard of such a concept, and he couldn't help but turn to his friends with an inquisitive look in his eyes.
Xie Xie shrugged, and explained, "All of us who have cultivated the Mysterious Heaven Method have an advantage in soul power compression. I also have six degrees, but I'm already a five-ring Soul King; I'm sure everyone else is similar in this regard."
"Hehe, I have seven degrees!" Xu Lizhi chuckled.
Xie Xie turned to him in an indignant manner. "You're not a normal person! You can focus all of your efforts on cultivating and compression your soul power!"
"What do you mean he's not a normal person?" Ye Xinglan glared at Xie Xie.
Xie Xie faltered in response before hurriedly turning to Yuanen Yehui with a peculiar look on his face.
However, Yuanen Yehui completely ignored him, clearly displaying no intention to help him. Xie Xie coughed, and amended, "What I mean by that is he's far more talented than normal people. Isn't that right, Lizhi?"
Wu Zhangkong continued, "In this regard, Lizhi is indeed supremely talented. Increasing one's degree of soul power compression is even more difficult than increasing one's cultivation rank. In particular, after reaching five degrees, each successive degree of increase becomes extremely arduous. My soul power is currently at rank 77, but I've only just barely managed to reach seven degrees of compression. Let's go to the next machine."
Following everyone's explanations, Tang Wulin finally understood the meaning behind this parameter. For him to have reached six degrees of compression with just four rings undoubtedly indicated that he had a lot of room for growth, so this was a very good statistic.
"This will be a spiritual power examination."
Tang Wulin sat down onto a massive device, and a helmet descended onto his head.
Wu Zhangkong explained, "The machines here in the inner court are very big, but they're very safe, so you can just relax and release your spiritual power naturally around your own head. The machine will do the rest."
Tang Wulin closed his eyes and did as he was told. He also really wanted to know what level his spiritual power was at. Back in the Dragon Valley, he had already deduced that he'd progressed from the Spirit Sea realm to the Spirit Abyss realm. However, he hadn't undergone any legitimate testing, so he wasn't sure whether his judgment was correct or not.
After all, only 500 points of spiritual power were required to reach the Spirit Sea realm, but that number spiked sharply to 5,000 for the Spirit Abyss realm! After reaching the Spirit Abyss realm, one would reach another world entirely. Many extremely powerful Soul Masters only had spiritual power at this realm.
According to Tang Wulin's knowledge, even Teacher Wu hadn't reached that level prior to their journey to the Star Luo Empire.
The machine began to operate, and one light was switched on after another. Each light represented 100 points of spiritual power, and the number of lights that were switched on increased very quickly, reaching 10 lights in the blink of an eye.
No one found this to be surprising. After all, they'd know from long ago that Tang Wulin's spiritual powerful had reached the Spirit Sea realm, so it was quite normal of it to have increased to 1,000 points since then. In reality, all of them had also reached this level in their spiritual powers. Xu Xiaoyan had the most spiritual power among them, having already reached over 3,000 points, which placed her at above the mid-Spirit Sea realm.
As for Gu Yue, she never did her tests at the academy, choosing to do them at the Spirit Pagoda instead, so no one knew what level her spiritual power was at.
However, the machine showed no sign of stopping there, and soon, 10 more lights were switched on.
Surprised expressions began to appear on everyone's faces. After all, Tang Wulin was an Assault System Battle Soul Master! As such, it was quite extraordinary for him to have spiritual power in excess of 2,000 points. If he could be more conservative when choosing his soul spirits, spiritual power of this level was sufficient to support him all the way to the Titled Douluo level.
After that..., he reached 3,000!
When the 30th light was switched on, everyone's mildly surprised expressions had been replaced by sheer astonishment.
Xu Xiaoyan exclaimed, "Boss's spiritual power won't outstrip mine, will it?"
Before she'd even finished her sentence, the 34th light was switched on. Her spiritual power was only at around 3,300 points.
Tang Wulin's spiritual power had already exceeded 3,000. That was very rare even among inner court disciples. Spiritual power was very important to Soul Masters, but its importance naturally couldn't compare with that of soul power. Unless one were striving to fuse with soul spirits of a higher caliber, very rarely would Soul Masters focus solely on cultivating their spiritual power.
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