Book 6: Graduating
Chapter 37.3: The Protective Hegemon Flower
As Huo Yuhao carefully observed him, Fan Yu removed the Sleeve Cannon from his left arm and slowly dismantled it. While doing so, he explained, “A soul tool is mainly split into three portions: the outer shell, the inner shell, and the core. The outer shell is what you can see on the exterior of the soul tool. You need to use the most durable and heat-resistant metals to create the outer shell, so as so prevent them from being easily destroyed in the long term. On the other hand, the inner shell is different; the inner shell’s most important feature is its ability to magnify and conduct soul power. Because of that, it has to be created using extremely precious conductive metals such as crystal-silver. At the same time, the inner shell’s ability to magnify soul power allows the user to reduce their consumption of soul power whilst using the soul tool. It’s because of this that soul engineers below Class 7 are stronger than soul masters in a drawn-out fight. Lastly, the core of a soul tool is the most important part. It needs to be created using the most precious types of metals and gems. Different types of formation arrays have to be activated using different levels of soul power, and correspondingly, we have to change the materials used for the inner and outer shells of the soul tool. The core can be considered the most important part of the soul tool, and the carving of a formation array is the most important step for a soul engineer.”
“When we determine the rank of a soul engineer, the most important step is to look at the formation array they carve. If you can carve a formation array of a certain rank, and your own soul power has reached that rank as well, you can then be considered a soul engineer of that rank.”
“There aren’t any shortcuts in learning how to carve a formation array. Once you’ve finished memorizing the formation that our predecessors racked their brains to create, you’ll simply have to continuously experiment with a few ordinary metals. That’s the only way that you’ll be able to constantly improve. Once you’ve learned the various theories of formation array carving, you’ll finally be able to create something that can be considered your own. When that happens, you can graduate.”
“The most important parts of our research are reflected through formation array carving, as it’s much easier to pair an inner and outer shell with a formation array as the base. Caitou has a lot of talent in this field. Despite how relaxed he appears to be, he has a special characteristic that his peers don’t have. That characteristic is his concentration. If you want to carve an extremely detailed formation array, you can’t lack concentration.”
“It’s not as if you can’t make any mistakes while carving formation arrays. However, the fewer mistakes you make, the more durable your formation arrays will be.”
After saying this, Fan Yu finally stopped. Huo Yuhao, who seemed to be deep in thought, made him feel extremely satisfied, as he could feel a level of concentration from Huo Yuhao that was comparable to He Caitou’s. Furthermore, Huo Yuhao’s facial expression showed that he’d been able to absorb the information very quickly; he seemed to already have a certain level of understanding towards soul tools.
A short period of time later, Fan Yu asked, “Do you understand now?”
Huo Yuhao nodded. “Teacher, I understand.”
Fan Yu smiled. “These are the most basic things that you’ll have to learn from now on. Now then, what you’ll first need to do is build a solid foundation in preparation of creating soul tools. This will take quite a long time to do, but it’s a fundamental part of being a soul engineer. The only way that you can become an outstanding soul engineer is by laying a solid foundation. You should know that, as a soul engineer, you’ll have to personally create every single soul tool that you’ll use. This is because only you can understand yourself the best, and because you have the most confidence in yourself. We’ll start by teaching you how to forge metal. If you want to become an excellent soul engineer, you’ll first have to become an excellent blacksmith.”
After he’d finished speaking, he gave Huo Yuhao a set of blacksmithing equipment that contained a funnel, a furnace, an anvil, a forging hammer, and more. Afterwards, Fan Yu began to teach him the art of forging, step by step.
Forging was separated into four main steps, as was more or less the case for all precious metals. Even the base of a formation array followed this principle.
The first of these steps was material purification. By unceasingly hammering a metal at high temperatures, one would be able to expel the impurities within it, in turn causing it to become more compact. The higher a material’s purity, the better it would perform. However, different metals had slightly different methods of purification.
The second step was molding. While some metals could be poured into a pre-made mold, a large majority of metals had to be molded by hand.
The third step was tempering. Tempering was a somewhat complicated process, but more than anything else, it’s something that requires experience.
The last step was polishing. Meticulously polishing and inscribing metal was the last step in creating a soul tool; it was the process that perfected an already outstanding item. However, once a core formation array had been polished, a formation array would have to be carved on the base.
Once these four steps were performed, and all the necessary parts were assembled, a soul tool would be created.
It seemed simple on paper, but every single step had extremely stringent requirements. And right now, Huo Yuhao was starting from the very first step of forging—material purification. The sound of a forging hammer smashing against metal began to ring out from Laboratory #12.
At dinnertime that evening, Wang Dong noticed that Huo Yuhao’s hands were visibly shaking.
“Hey, why’re your hands shaking?” Wang Dong asked, puzzled.
Huo Yuhao replied sulkily, “You go and smash a metal hammer into a metal block for over an hour, see what happens. If I hadn’t had my Mysterious Jade Hands, my hands would currently be full of blisters.”
As they ate, he gave Wang Dong a concise explanation of the basics of soul engineering that Fan Yu had taught him.
After he;d finished listening, Wang Dong had a disapproving look on his face. “Aren’t you just creating more trouble for yourself? That Teacher Fan Yu said it as well; once we’ve reached the seven-ringed Soul Sage rank, soul engineers simply aren’t a match for us soul masters. Why bother? You’re already lagging behind in terms of cultivation, yet you’ve decided to take time off to train as a soul engineer. Won’t this slow down the rate of your improvement even more?”
Huo Yuhao shook his head. “No. I have to become a soul engineer.” He had his own thoughts in mind. There were many characteristics of a soul engineer that he needed. Furthermore, Fan Yu had informed him that soul engineers were beginning to become even more popular than soul masters on the continent, even at the higher ranks. A single soul master only had the combat power of a single person, while a powerful, peak-level soul engineer could create a terrifying army.
His enemy was currently the White Tiger Duke and his wife, which was equivalent to making half of the Star Luo Empire his enemy! Even if he managed to reach the Titled Douluo rank, would he safely be able to win solely by relying on the strength of a soul master? Because of this, he didn’t just want to become a pinnacle-ranked soul master; he wanted to become a pinnacle-ranked soul engineer, so that he could forge the strongest soul tools for himself.
This goal of his was still very far, far away from coming to fruition. However, Huo Yuhao still had his own sense of pride and confidence. He wasn’t afraid of suffering, and in turn was willing to put in twice the effort of an ordinary person. On top of these things, he also had the Douluo Continent’s first ever million year soul ring. The Skydream Iceworm had also told him that the strength of his million year soul ring would increase along with his cultivation.
After eating the top-ranked dinner that core disciples could eat for free, Huo Yuhao’s body felt comfortably warm; an indescribable sense of relaxation had filled his body.
Wang Dong wiped his mouth and said, “Let’s head back and rest for a bit.”
Huo Yuhao replied, “I still have to see Teacher Fan Yu and train for another two hours, you can head back first. We can meditate once I’m back.”
Wang Dong rubbed his forehead. “Huo Yuhao, you know, sometimes I think that you’re a madman.”
Huo Yuhao chuckled. “A cute madman?"
Just as the two were leaving the canteen, they bumped into Tang Ya and Bei Bei. Seeing Huo Yuhao, Tang Ya patted her increasingly conspicuous chest like she was sighing in relief. “Little Yuhao, I thought that something had happened to you. It’s good that nothing’s happened, it’s good.”
It turned out that Tang Ya and Bei Bei had also heard about Huo Yuhao’s match with Wu Feng yesterday. Since he hadn’t left to sell any roasted fish, they’d assumed that he’d suffered serious injuries. After the two had thought about it for a bit, they’d realised that it was dinnertime. Thus, they decided to head over to the canteen and try their luck... just in time for them to bump into Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong, who’d just finished their meals.
Huo Yuhao said, “Teacher Xiao Ya, senior brother, I apologize, but I need to head to the Soul Tool Department’s Testing Area to continue training! I don’t have time to explain everything to you right now. You can ask Wang Dong about yesterday’s incident since he knows what happened.” As soon as he’d finished speaking, he hastily walked away. The first steps of one’s journey would always be the toughest ones, and he wasn’t willing to give up on his training in the Martial Soul Department. Thus, he naturally had to make the most of his time.
Suspicious, Tang Ya asked, “What’s happened to Little Yuhao?”
Wang Dong laughed. “Him? He’s a madman. Well, using his own words, he’s a ‘cute’ madman. When he cultivates, he has so much enthusiasm that he isn’t even human anymore.”
Wang Dong explained yesterday’s issues, as well as the matter of Huo Yuhao becoming Fan Yu’s last disciple, to Tang Ya and Bei Bei. However, he decided to keep the matter of Huo Yuhao becoming a core disciple of the Soul Tool Department a secret out of consideration for him. After all, the Martial Soul Department could immediately withdraw his temporary core disciple treatment if they were to find out.
After they’d finished listening to Wang Dong, Tang Ya and Bei Bei looked towards each other.
Bei Bei smiled bitterly. “I didn’t think that our many years of hard work wouldn’t even amount to our junior brother’s three months. It seems that Teacher Fan Yu has actually taken him in as a disciple. Xiao Ya, perhaps the responsibility of reviving our Tang Sect will fall onto the shoulders of our little junior brother.”
Tang Ya nodded, somewhat relieved. “That’s fine to. I wasn’t really talented at creating soul tools in the first place, so I wouldn’t really be able to accomplish much, even if I continued. It’d be better if I focused on our Tang Sect’s traditional hidden weapons.”
With a puzzled expression on his face, Wang Dong asked, “Senior brother, Teacher Xiao Ya, what are you two talking about?”
Bei Bei said, “Both the rise and fall of our Tang Sect were because of our hidden weapons. Ever since the high-speed development of soul tools began, our Tang Sect began to decline in turn. Because of that, we lost a lot of income. After thinking it over, Tang Ya and I realised that the only opportunity we have to revitalise the Tang Sect is to fuse our hidden weapons with modern soul tools. Because of that, both of us entered the Soul Tool Department. However, I’m a core disciple of the Martial Soul Department, while my classes in the Soul Tool Department are all electives. Right now, I’m only a Class 1 soul engineer. Xiao Ya is able to spend more of her time over there, but her personality makes it so that it’s hard for her to focus while she’s studying and researching. She’s only a Class 2 soul engineer right now, and it will be hard for her to advance to a Class 3 soul engineer.”
Tang Ya interjected, “But Teacher Fan Yu’s different! Teacher Fan Yu is the number one genius of the Soul Tool Department, as he’s one of very few Class 8 soul engineers that are rarely seen throughout the entire continent! He’s second only to the two Deans of the Soul Tool Department, and he’s widely accepted as the only person in our academy’s entire history capable of becoming a Class 9 soul engineer. He’s also the current candidate to succeed the Dean. In essence, if you can become his disciple, you’ve basically entered the inner circle of the Soul Tool Department. Not only will you receive the best education, you’ll also obtain the all-around backing of the Soul Tool Department. Little Yuhao’s truly capable! He’s unwittingly done something that we’ve been yearning for. Bei Bei, I think that we can teach Yuhao the Hidden Weapon Hundred Separation.”
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