The light was extremely bright, and everyone present, including even Zang Xin, was struck by an instant of disorientation at the sight of it. As such, no one noticed the fact that in the instant he'd opened his eyes, his pupils had been vertical rather than round like that of a human, and they had taken on a dazzling golden color.
Following the flash of light, his eyes had already returned to normal. Tang Wulin was feeling extremely comfortable, and he felt as if he had an inexhaustible supply of power within his body.
Even though he'd only broken his ninth seal, he felt as if his power had doubled, and it was an extremely exhilarating feeling.
"Come and have some food," Zhen Hua said with a smile.
Tang Wulin hurriedly rose to his feet with an apologetic look on his face. "I'm sorry, everyone, I don't know what happened there. I..."
Zang Xin waved a hand, and interjected, "It's alright, it's good that you've become more powerful. Come and have something to eat, but don't drink any more of that Dragonblood Wine."
An awkward smile appeared on Tang Wulin's face as he brought over another chair for himself before digging into his meal.
Everyone had their attention on him earlier, so they hadn't eaten much. At their cultivation ranks, they didn't really require food for sustenance anyway. However, that didn't apply to Tang Wulin. Regardless of how much his cultivation rank increased, his appetite had never suffered as a result. After having a hearty meal, he was feeling even more comfortable. After all, all of the ingredients used for this meal were quite exceptional.
After lunch, everyone left, and Zhen Hua, Mu Ye, and Tang Wulin were the only people left in the room.
Zhen Hua said to Mu Ye, "Get out of here! My nephew-disciple came to see me, so you'll have to wait your turn!"
Mu Ye harrumphed in response, "You're providing food and lodging for me here, so I'm not in any hurry!"
After that, he patted Tang Wulin on the shoulder before also departing, thereby leaving only Tang Wulin and Zhen Hua in the room.
Zhen Hua heaved a faint sigh. "Wulin, the fact that you made a breakthrough in front of so many people today is both a blessing and a curse for you."
Tang Wulin's heart stirred upon hearing this. "What do you mean, Uncle-teacher?"
Zhen Hua explained, "Mu Ye, Senior Zang Xin, and I are all extremely happy for you, but that may not apply to those people from the Battle God Hall and Spirit Pagoda. We're supposed to be allies, but it could also be said that we're in competition with one another. I'm just a blacksmith, so none of this has anything to do with me, but that won't be the case for Shrek Academy and even the Body Sect. The Battle God Hall will most likely try harder to recruit you, while the Tang Sect may not be willing to let you go. Political conflict will inevitably result between the higher-ups of the two organizations.
"The display of your latent potential that you made today will undoubtedly make the Tang Sect hold you in higher regard, but the Battle God Hall and Spirit Pagoda definitely have their eyes on you as well. How you choose to develop from now on will be up to you, but remember that no matter what choice you make, the most important thing is to become more powerful. It's important to be able to borrow the power of others, but that's not as important as becoming more powerful yourself. Only with sufficient power will you truly be invincible."
"Yes." Tang Wulin's heart stirred upon hearing this. He had already been taught this lesson as a small child. His father had once told him that the only person one could always trust and rely on was themselves.
Zhen Hua smiled, and said, "There's no need for you to be too concerned at the moment. After all, you're only young, and having latent potential is one thing, but the ability to tap into that latent potential is something else entirely. Besides, you have Shrek Academy behind you, and you're also a blacksmith. After you become a Saint Blacksmith, you'll be a highly-valued commodity to everyone. The more exceptional a blacksmith you become, the more you'll be able to hide your abilities in other areas, and that'll serve to better protect you as well. Hence, you should stay with me for the upcoming period of time. I've heard from your teacher that you're already a Half-step Saint Blacksmith; I won't be letting you go until you become a Saint Blacksmith!"
Tang Wulin was quite amused by the strict expression that his uncle-teacher was trying to put on. In the eyes of this Divine Blacksmith, nothing could be more important than forging, so he was doing this for Tang Wulin's benefit.
In reality, it was also very imperative for him to make a breakthrough in his own forging. Thus, Tang Wulin stayed at the blacksmith association and studied forging every day under Zhen Hua's guidance.
Much to his surprise, Zhen Hua didn't instruct him on how to complete soul refinement. Instead, he went through and picked out all of the minute mistakes that Tang Wulin was making during his forging. All of the steps were already performed close to perfection, but Zhen Hua was always able to spot some fallacies here and there. After that, he made Tang Wulin forge alloys with all types of different metals so he could sense the minuscule changes in different metals during this process.
Tang Wulin's spiritual power had already reached the Spirit Abyss realm, and following his recent breakthrough, both his soul power and bloodline power had been significantly enhanced. His soul power had even progressed to rank 54 due to his bloodline power separation, and not only was he constantly improving his forging skills through fusing these alloys, he was also gradually grasping his newfound strength.
Slowly, he began to completely immerse himself in the world of forging, and he lost all track of time as he became fully absorbed in the process.
"You're telling me you made a breakthrough," Mu Ye said in a flabbergasted voice.
"Did you really make a breakthrough?" Mu Ye asked again.
Tang Wulin appraised him with a speechless expression. "Teacher, you've asked me that more than 20 times! It's true; if you don't believe me, you can go ask my uncle-teacher."
Mu Ye's lips twitched slightly. "No need, I believe you. It's just taking me a while to wrap my head around the concept of a 20-year-old Saint Blacksmith!"
A joyful smile appeared on Tang Wulin's face. "Well, it's the truth."
How could he not be elated? That's right, he finally made a breakthrough the night before.
He had been a sixth-rank blacksmith for over four years, so compared to his past progression, this breakthrough definitely wasn't all that fast.
However, in the world of blacksmiths, ascending to each major level was extremely difficult.
From thousand refinement to spirit refinement, then from spirit refinement to soul refinement... These were all extremely stern obstacles that separated countless blacksmiths. Every time a blacksmith progressed to a higher major level, their influence in the blacksmith world and even the entire continent became vastly different.
Grandmaster Blacksmiths were treated completely differently compared to Saint Blacksmiths, and there was also a massive difference between the prices of spirit refined metals and soul refined metals.
Spirit refinement gave a metal life, and spirit refined metals were like plants, whereas soul refinement gave metals intelligence. Even though it was only the most elementary level of intelligence, the metal had been taught how to think, and that was a gargantuan breakthrough.
This was why Mu Ye had been confirming over and over again whether Tang Wulin had actually made a breakthrough. The fact of the matter was that Tang Wulin had successfully forged his first piece of soul refined metal the day before, which meant that he was officially a Saint Blacksmith!
Mu Ye hadn't met Zhen Hua yet, but he could imagine just how excited Zhen Hua had to be.
Mu Ye heaved a long sigh. "I don't even know what to say about you anymore..."
Tang Wulin blinked, and asked, "Teacher, didn't you say you were going to teach me some Body Sect techniques? When do we begin?"
Mu Ye suddenly smiled. "You're getting cocky now that you've become a Saint Blacksmith, aren't you? Hmph, I'll show you the consequences of acting cocky with me!"
Tang Wulin shuddered as he instantly recalled the torturous abuse he'd suffered on the ship many years ago. However, he quickly regained his composure as he'd already endured the demonic island military training. What kind of experience could possibly be worse than that?
Not only did the seven old demons torture their bodies, their souls were also being tormented, and that had been the most terrifying part of the military training.
"Your bodily condition is different from all of the martial souls that members of our Body Sect have cultivated in the past. In comparison, I'd categorize your body martial soul as something that stems from your bloodline. Our Body Sect doesn't have any bloodline cultivation methods, so what I'm going to teach you is how to control your own body. You have all this strength, but you're unable to control it. If you don't learn to utilize this power properly, you'll never be able to truly make the most of it. The human body holds countless secrets, and what I'm going to teach you is how to stimulate your body, how to control your body, and how to unleash several times the power you already possess."
"Thank you, Teacher; when do we begin?"
Tang Wulin stayed in Heaven Dou City for an entire month before finally departing.
With his recently purchased Tang Sect battle vehicle, he was never going to take the soul train again. He didn't want to be known as the soul train harbinger of ill-fortune!
When he drove back to the Shrek City in his car, he had already missed the designated reunion date with his friends by five days. However, Shrek Academy's inner court didn't have many requirements for their disciples, and they were given a lot of freedom. This was even more applicable to Shrek's Seven Monsters.
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