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Chapter 135: Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall, Jing Hongchen

    Elder Mu revealed a look of disappointment on his face and said, "A person's life is limited, even for Titled Douluo like us. I can feel that my time is coming. After I go, the academy will have to be supported by you and the various elders. Little Xuan, you're too headstrong, and not composed enough. You must remain calm when you meet with something in the future and think of the academy."

    Little Xuan was shocked and replied, "Elder Mu, you..."

    Elder Mu chuckled, "Don't worry, I won't die so soon. I must hang on for a few more years until these little fellows mature before I'm relieved enough to go." As he spoke, his benevolent gaze landed on Huo Yuhao and the other two.

    "Huo Yuhao, come over here." Elder Mu waved toward Huo Yuhao.

    "Yes." Huo Yuhao hurried towards Elder Mu and came to his side respectfully.

    Elder Mu smiled slightly and said, "Good kid, I'm pleased with your answer just now. You're not old, but you're very resilient. I was especially shocked by your development after you returned from the tournament. A soul master can be nurtured in all areas except attitude. You are good, very good."

    Huo Yuhao lowered his head and said, "Elder Mu, you overestimate me. I'm an orphan. I have no more kin since my mother passed away. I was only filled with hatred then. I met Teacher Xiao Ya and eldest senior in Star Dou Forest, and they sent me to Shrek Academy using the Tang Sect's slot. I grew up with my mother in that freezing place since I was young. All I felt was humiliation and indifference. It was only after entering Shrek Academy that I feel a familial sense. The academy gave me warmth, fed and clothed me, and even educated me to become a soul master and a person. This is my family. Everything except family can change. I can do anything to protect and preserve the glory of my family."

    His words were emotional. His eyes turned red as he spoke.

    Elder Xuan was a little shocked as he looked at him. Elder Mu grabbed onto Huo Yuhao's right hand and said, "When I first saw you, I knew that you were a kid with a story. That's because the expression in your eyes was different from most others. Your eyes might have been very clear, but they concealed your pain. Your pain has only disappeared recently. As you said, Shrek is your family. It's also our family. I told Du Busi when I conversed with him earlier that you're my disciple. He told me that he won't target you as long as you're in Shrek. I understood what he meant. When you graduate from Shrek, he may target you again."

    Huo Yuhao was stunned. He didn't expect that the Body Sect still hadn't given up on him.

    Elder Xuan couldn't take it anymore. "Stupid kid, quickly acknowledge your teacher."

    "Ah!" Huo Yuhao only reacted now. He knelt down immediately and bowed to Elder Mu respectfully. "Elder Mu, please accept me as your disciple."

    Elder Mu laughed and said, "Good kid, stand up." He grabbed Huo Yuhao's right hand and pulled gently. A gentle strength was injected into Huo Yuhao's body and lifted him up.

    Elder Mu was all smiles when he saw the sincere look in Huo Yuhao's eyes. The more he looked, the more pleased he was.

    He couldn't make the proposal to Huo Yuhao to become his disciple with his current status. He could only hint. Fortunately, Elder Xuan reminded Huo Yuhao from the side, so he didn't miss out on such a great opportunity.

    Huo Yuhao tried to test the waters by asking, "Elder Mu, are you agreeable?"

    Elder Mu laughed. "Silly kid, it's time for you to say it."

    Huo Yuhao was delighted, and hurriedly said, "Teacher." He wanted to kneel down again as he said it. But Elder Mu didn't let him do so this time by using his gentle soul power to lift Huo Yuhao up.

    "You will be my closed door disciple from today onwards. I'm not very particular about the formalities. You don't have to kneel in the future. A bow will do."

    "Yes." Huo Yuhao was still very respectful even though Elder Mu wasn't very particular about formalities. If Elder Mu and Elder Xuan were not around, he would have jumped in excitement.

    Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao were envious as they saw this scene, and walked up to congratulate him hurriedly.

    Elder Mu smiled. "The two of you are good too. Xiao Xiao, learn from Elder Xuan in the future. Let him analyze you - a special auxiliary-type battle soul master. As for Wang Dong, you're a light-type soul master too. You can be my disciple in name temporarily."

    Wang Dong stuck out his tongue and said in a slightly brazen manner, "Elder Mu, this is unfair. I'm a light-type soul master just like you, but you accepted Huo Yuhao as your disciple although he isn't the light-type. How can you be so discriminatory? I want to be your closed door disciple too."

    Elder Mu couldn't help but laugh as he saw Wang Dong's indignant look. He said, "You little fellow! You're the first person to make such a request in front of me. There can only be one closed door disciple."

    Wang Dong moved closer as he saw that Elder Mu wasn't angry. He said almost naturally, "It's okay! With your status, you can set a precedent! Who will dare to doubt you? Moreover, both Yuhao and I possess martial fusion soul skills, and are one together. Just take the both of us as the same person."

    Elder Mu's smile turned a little cheeky, "Oh? One together?"

    Wang Dong blushed as he saw Elder Mu looking at him. He grabbed onto Elder Mu's other hand and said, "Just accept me too. Otherwise, he will bully me in the future when he's an official disciple but I'm just a disciple in name."

    Elder Xuan was stunned as he saw this scene. In his memory, no one, including Yan Shaozhe, had ever dared to be so brazen in front of Elder Mu! But Wang Dong didn't only just do this. He didn't seem vexed as he looked at Elder Mu. On the other hand, he appeared delighted.

    Elder Mu smiled as he said, "Alright, alright. I can't outtalk you. I shall accept you too."

    Wang Dong was elated, and knelt down hurriedly before bowing to Elder Mu.

    Elder Mu lifted his left hand, and a wave of soul power dragged him up. Elder Mu said, "Little Xuan, did you see this? I was forced to accept two . Haha."

    Elder Xuan chuckled and replied, "I see that you quite enjoy it. This is not bad either! Both these fellows are good. Since this is the case, I shall accept a closed door disciple myself too. I'm not much younger than you anyway!"

    Xiao Xiao was quick-witted, and knelt down in front of Elder Xuan hurriedly. She bowed to him, "Teacher."

    Elder Xuan lifted her up and chortled, "Little fellow, you must be outstanding when you're under me. Don't lose to those two fellows."

    Xiao Xiao laughed and replied, "Teacher, I will do my best. Just give me all the items that can enhance my strength."

    Elder Xuan laughed, "Wow, did I accept a closed door disciple or a little troublemaker? You're definitely not standing on ceremony!"

    Xiao Xiao laughed, "We're on the same side. What's there to stand on ceremony between us, right? I bought you a chicken drumstick too." After she ended her retreat, she had been cultivating with Elder Xuan, and was already very familiar with him. She was naturally extremely excited now that their relationship had been confirmed.

    Elder Mu revealed a stunned look on his face at this point and said, "Du Busi just left, but someone just came. It seems like it's a good day today."

    Elder Xuan squinted his eyes, and a sharp radiance flashed across them. He was about to make his move.

    Elder Mu lifted his hand and stopped him. He said, "The visitor is a guest. Just invite him in."

    Elder Xuan was shocked and asked, "Into the Sea God's Pavilion?"

    Elder Mu smiled and replied, "Yes, into the Sea God's Pavilion."

    Although Elder Xuan was shocked, he wouldn't go against Elder Mu's instructions. But he never recalled any outsiders being allowed into Sea God's Pavilion before.

    Elder Xuan had already disappeared from where he was as a radiance flashed. He arrived outside the Sea God's Pavilion at the next moment. He looked into the distance and said coldly, "Since you're already here, you don't have to sneak around anymore. Come out." As he spoke, he grabbed at the air, and a huge citrine hand appeared in the air. The hand opened wide and grabbed in one direction. Suddenly, countless thin black cracks appeared in air in that direction.

    Although these cracks couldn't compare to Du Busi's, they still existed.

    "Elder Xuan, this is not a way to receive your guest." A dim golden radiance lit up. As a halo spread instantly, it rippled, and the distorted light rays canceled out Elder Xuan's huge hand. A figure also appeared in that direction.

    The person that appeared wasn't tall, but he was plump. His long, elegant robe was embroidered with gold patterns. He placed his hands behind his back and smiled at Elder Xuan. Wasn't he the Hallmaster of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy's Illustrious Virtue Hall, as well as the person in charge of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy?

    "It's you? Jing Hongchen." Elder Xuan was also shocked. Although he could sense his strong presence, he didn't expect it to be the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall.

    Jing Hongchen smiled and said, "Elder Xuan, you shouldn't be surprised. Since you want something from the Illustrious Virtue Hall, I've come to personally pay a visit to Elder Xuan and Shrek Academy."

    Elder Xuan's eyes flashed with a divine light as he thought to himself, "This Jing Hongchen came at such a coincidental timing! Did He come with the Body Sect, and only show himself at this point, or is it really a coincidence?"

    Elder Xuan didn't reveal his thoughts, and spoke indifferently. "You're a guest, please come in." As he spoke, he turned around and walked into the Sea God's Pavilion.

    Jing Hongchen was the one who was shocked now. He was already shocked when he had been discovered. With the concealment-type soul tool that he had created himself, he believed that he was undiscoverable as long as he didn't move. But Elder Xuan managed to trace him. He was even more surprised that Elder Xuan invited him into the Sea God's Pavilion.

    Jing Hongchen hesitated. The Sea God's Pavilion was probably a place that was easy to enter, but not easy to leave! After all, this was Shrek Academy. Although he had sufficient cards in his hands, Shrek Academy had been established for many years, and was ever-present on the Douluo Continent. It was also because of Shrek that the Sun Moon Empire had many misgivings and proceeded cautiously. They didn't dare to act recklessly even though they had sufficient resources.

    Sea God's Pavilion. What a Sea God's Pavilion!

    Elder Xuan walked in front of the Sea God's Pavilion before turning around and joking, "What? As the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall, you don't dare to enter the Sea God's Pavilion? Why are you here since that is the case?"

    Jing Hongchen pricked his brows. His haughtiness was even greater than Du Busi's. He had only appeared now because he didn't want to mix with the Body Sect and affect his reputation. After being provoked by Elder Xuan, he laughed loudly before walking into the Sea God's Pavilion with big steps.

    Elder Mu revealed a slight smile on his face and was in awe of Elder Xuan in his heart. Elder Xuan was indeed an expert in human psychology! The simple action of inviting Jing Hongchen into the Sea God's Pavilion greatly diminished his mighty aura.

    After entering the Sea God's Pavilion first level, Jing Hongchen's gaze moved around the entire level. He was slightly stunned. It was obvious that he could tell that the Sea God's Pavilion was extraordinary.

    Elder Xuan walked to the golden tree seats at one side of the first level before sitting down. He also gestured for Jing Hongchen to take a seat.

    Jing Hongchen didn't stand on ceremony either. He smiled at Elder Xuan before sitting opposite him.

    Neither of them spoke first, and they only stared at each other as they sat there. But the air around them was about to solidify because of their auras.

    Elder Xuan and Jing Hongchen had similar auras - they were very pressing. But the difference was that Elder Xuan's aura appeared foundationally stable like the earth, whereas Jing Hongchen's aura originated from a suppression that might be unleashed at anytime.

    "It seems like soul tools can help a soul master to a certain standard. Your cultivation is only around Rank 93, but you can stabilize yourself in front of me." Elder Xuan said slowly.

    Jing Hongchen smiled and replied, "I believe that soul tool research is only in its preliminary stage. The world belongs to soul tools in the future. When the day comes when soul tools no longer rely on soul masters' soul power as a motivation, soul masters will be eliminated. I wonder if Elder Xuan is convinced by this belief."

    Elder Xuan replied coldly, "It doesn't matter whether I believe it or not. Anyway, you won't live to see that day."

    "It's not important whether I'll live to see that day," Jing Hongchen said very casually, "it's enough if it happens in the Sun Moon Empire, and it will happen in the Sun Moon Empire. Star Luo, Heavenly Soul, Dou Ling and even your Shrek Academy are too far off in the aspect of soul tools."

    Elder Xuan laughed, "Oh? Are we that far off? I don't think so. Since when were you able to exploit this gap to defeat Shrek Academy? We only sent half of our main forces for the Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Soul Dueling Tournament that just ended. But we still won. This proves that your advantage in soul tools is not decisive yet."

    Elder Xuan was surprised that Jing Hongchen nodded after hearing his words, "You're right. I received news from your academy that expressed your interest to hold an exchange with the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. I was very happy then. But for some reason, your academy changed its mind. If it's because of the tournament, I don't think it's necessary. The Sun Moon Empire is magnanimous. A tournament is a tournament. We won't develop a hatred because of accidents during the tournament."

    Elder Xuan asked, "Is this your reason for coming today?"

    Jing Hongchen answered, "Partly. There's another reason too. I want to get the Judgement Sword back. It's one of my best creations, and holds great significance for me too. I hope that you can return it to me."

    Elder Xuan nodded his head seriously and said, "I can return it. I will return it to you as long as you can allow Ma Xiaotao to fully heal."

    Jing Hongchen turned dismal and replied, "Elder Xuan, you can't put it this way. Many of our elite students have also died under your students' hands. But we never asked for any compensation."

    Elder Xuan said indifferently, "Can your students compare to Xiaotao? Ma Xiaotao will succeed the role of Dean of the Martial Soul Department of our academy. She's not even 20 years old, but she's already a seven-ringed Soul Sage. Furthermore, she has a top-ranked martial soul. No one in the continent can match up to her in a one-on-one fight. Shrek Academy won't seize your things forcefully, but Xiaotao's condition is special. Her martial soul has transformed negatively, and she's been in a coma till now. After we find a treatment for her using that sword, we'll return it to you."

    Jing Hongchen furrowed his brows and asked, "Is there no room for negotiation?"

    Elder Xuan didn't speak and only looked at him calmly.

    After pondering for a moment, Jing Hongchen said, "What if I exchange something of equal value for it?"

    "I've told you that we're keeping the sword to research Xiaotao's transformed martial soul," Elder Xuan replied coldly.

    Jing Hongchen stiffened a little, then said in a deep voice, "Can I take a look at her?"

    Elder Xuan was the one who hesitated now.

    Elder Mu's voice rang out at this point, "Yes, you can. Bring him to the second level."

    Jing Hongchen's expression became terrified as he heard this voice. He quickly stood up.

    Although he hadn't appeared with the Body Sect earlier, he had clearly witnessed the fight between Elder Xuan and Du Busi, as well as how Du Busi was deterred by Shrek Academy's golden light.

    Jing Hongchen was very sharp even though he had not reached the level of a Transcendent Douluo. He immediately recognized that the external world's understanding of Shrek Academy was erroneous. The strongest in Shrek Academy wasn't the Taotie Douluo Elder Xuan, but someone else. Even Du Busi had to retreat in front of this guy. How powerful was he? That's why he sneaked into Shrek Academy after the Body Sect left, and didn't appear as uprightly as the Body Sect.

    Jing Hongchen said in a deep voice, "Elder Xuan and unknown elder, I have at least 3 automatic Class 9 soul tools with me now. If I'm attacked, these soul tools are powerful enough to destroy the all of Shrek City. They can't be stopped either."

    He was around Yan Shaozhe's age. It was normal for him to call Elder Xuan and Elder Mu his elders. It was an obvious showing of his weakness to boast about

    This was Shrek Academy. There were more than 5 Transcendent Douluo from what Jing Hongchen knew. Regardless of how strong his soul tools were, he was only Rank 93. He wasn't a match for so many Transcendent Douluo at such close distance. But he came prepared. He also believed that Shrek Academy wouldn't really attack him. It wouldn't fit their standards.

    "You're our guest now that you've entered the Sea God's Pavilion," Elder Mu said indifferently, "if I really wanted to touch you, your soul tools may not be able to unleash their full might."

    Jing Hongchen didn't retort, but revealed a sense of relief. He laughed and said, "It's my honor to be a guest of the Sea God's Pavilion."

    He came to the second level quickly under Elder Xuan's guidance.

    Elder Mu laid in his reclining chair, while Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao stood behind him.

    Huo Yuhao was very anxious. Before he underwent his retreat, he had once asked Elder Mu about Ma Xiaotao's condition. Elder Mu had told him then that Ma Xiaotao was fine, which gave him peace of mind as he retreated into cultivation. But it seemed like she was in grave condition from what Elder Xuan and Elder Mu said! How could he not be anxious?

    Jing Hongchen was drawn to Elder Mu. Elder Mu might look like a frail elder and didn't unleash any of his powerful aura, but Jing Hongchen was certain that he was the one who had previously forced the Body Sect away! Elder Mu's abilities and cultivation couldn't be seen just by using one's eyes. It was unexpected that Shrek Academy had such a powerful figure. He felt surer and surer that he was right to have been cautious.

    "Greetings, may I know elder's name?" Jing Hongchen bowed slightly to Elder Mu.

    Elder Mu smiled and said, "My name is Mu En. I believe there's not many in this world who still remember my name."

    Jing Hongchen was entirely lost as he heard Elder Mu's name. He couldn't recall such a name from his memory or investigations into Shrek Academy. He was warier of Elder Mu because of this.

    Elder Mu said to Elder Xuan, "Little Xuan, bring him to take a look at Xiaotao's condition. Yuhao, the three of you shall come along too."

    "Yes, Teacher." Huo Yuhao represented the rest and acknowledged Elder Mu. He quickly walked towards Elder Xuan.

    Jing Hongchen's gaze changed direction as he heard Huo Yuhao's name. His name appeared the most in the reports of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. He appeared even more frequently than both Shrek's team leader Ma Xiaotao and vice-team leader Dai Yueheng.

    Twin martial soul? And it was likely that one was an Ultimate martial soul with a cultivation of around two rings. But he was likely able to conceal his own cultivation and abilities.

    During the last battle, he and his partner had unleashed a series of powerful martial soul fusion skills that earned them victory. He had a partner that also possessed twin martial souls which were compatible with his.

    This series of information popped up in Jing Hongchen's mind and made him view Huo Yuhao in a different manner. He even obtained a useful piece of news - Huo Yuhao calling Elder Mu teacher. He was the disciple of a mysterious old man.

    Huo Yuhao and the other two came beside Elder Xuan and greeted Jing Hongchen slightly by nodding their heads. They disliked those from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, and thus they weren't very formal with their greeting either. Elder Xuan and Elder Mu acted ignorant of the matter.

    "Follow me." Elder Xuan walked towards the higher steps and brought them to the third level, whereas Elder Mu remained where he was and shut his eyes. It seemed like he was resting.

    Jing Hongchen looked at Huo Yuhao interestedly as he walked. He said, "You're Huo Yuhao? These two must be Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao." All of their appearances were described in detail in the Illustrious Virtue Hall's files.

    Huo Yuhao nodded but didn't speak. He was only worried about Ma Xiaotao now.

    Jing Hongchen wasn't vexed even though he was being ignored. He only looked at Huo Yuhao seriously. No one knew what he was thinking.

    Sea God's Pavilion third level. The first thing that could be seen on this level was a small hall that was around 20 square meters in area. There was a tunnel on each of the two sides that led somewhere deeper. Elder Xuan walked into the left one and stopped at the fifth door.

    The entire space turned golden as their surroundings flashed instantly at this point. Jing Hongchen's hands trembled subconsciously, but he soon calmed down. But the intense yet pure undulation of light left him shocked. A sense of peril rose in his heart. He was knowledgeable, but he knew nothing about the mysterious Sea God's Pavilion. The pure light didn't seem to be unleashed by someone, but emitted from the wood that surrounded them. What exactly was the Sea God's Pavilion built from?

    The door in front opened as the golden light flashed. They walked into a quiet chamber one by one.

    "Elder sister." Huo Yuhao saw Ma Xiaotao, who lay flat on the Manifold Mysterious Ice Bed. He was so anxious that he wanted to rush over, but he was stopped by Elder Xuan.

    Ma Xiaotao looked a little pale, while her originally-red lips were now purplish-black. They carried a sense of evil to them. Her entire body surged with black flames as she was engulfed by the golden light. Although they were repressed by the golden light as soon as they surged slightly, they still appeared to be unyielding.

    Elder Xuan shook his head at the anxious Huo Yuhao. Huo Yuhao bit his lips and his fists clenched unwittingly.

    It had already been two months since the tournament had ended. He hadn't expected his elder sister's condition to be so disastrous. She could only lie on the ice-cold bed, and had to be sealed by the powers of light. Huo Yuhao's eyes turned red as he looked at Ma Xiaotao's face and reminisced about her usual shrewishness.

    Elder Xuan gestured to Jing Hongchen, who stepped forward. He stopped before the light that engulfed Ma Xiaotao and took a careful look at the black flames. After a moment, he said in a deep voice, "Can I get closer to sense the change in her soul power?"

    "Yes." Elder Mu's voice resonated. Following that, everyone was shocked as a golden figure appeared beside Jing Hongchen. This figure belonged to Elder Mu, but it was only an illusory projection of him.

    Elder Mu's back wasn't bent over now, but straight. His entire body shone a bright gold. Although it was only a projection, it seemed very real. Everything around him turned golden as he stood there calmly. The intense light circulated in the air and caused Wang Dong's light-type martial soul to flow out unwittingly. Even his arms that contained soul bones lit up.

    Jing Hongchen couldn't control his emotions, and exclaimed, "What soul skill is this?"

    Although he wasn't a Transcendent Douluo, he was still a Rank 93 Titled Douluo! But Elder Mu's current avatar was already beyond the boundaries of his understanding of soul masters. As the best soul engineer in the world, he was certain that this wasn't achievable using soul tools. Elder Mu was more than just a simple light projection. Jing Hongchen was awed by the immense power that he possessed.

    A soul master actually possessed such a power? It was an eye-opener for Jing Hongchen. But he was more horrified. He suddenly realized that Elder Mu's claim that he could stop him from unleashing his soul tools wasn't a joke.

    Elder Mu lifted his right hand, and a door appeared in the halo that covered Ma Xiaotao's body. It could squeeze in one person. Ma Xiaotao's flames didn't surge violently because of this door either. That was because the entire room was a like a giant light seal that suppressed the black flames in her body.

    Jing Hongchen took in a deep breath and tried to compose himself. He walked two steps forward to Ma Xiaotao and used his hands to test the black flames that surged from her. After that, he pressed his hand to Ma Xiaotao's wrist and sensed the condition of her body. He then took two steps back and quickly exited the halo.

    No one noticed that when he pressed his hand to Ma Xiaotao's wrist, his fingernails shook slightly. That change wasn't even noticed by Elder Mu.

    "I am helpless. This is the backlash of a mutated fire. If I'm not wrong, this young lady already possessed a weird force within her martial soul that affected her. When she was provoked by the Judgement Sword's dark power, she couldn't suppress this force in time and unleashed it. This mutated fire that's filled with darkness and violence took control of her body, and it couldn't be stopped. It's already close to the strength of Ultimate fire. If it's forcefully suppressed or broken down, her body may collapse. Sealing her is the best solution so far. Unless a gentle force can be found to tackle this mutated fire, she's likely to be controlled by the fire, and her mind will never be clear again once she wakes up."

    A cold radiance appeared on Huo Yuhao's face. He detested that he wasn't strong enough. He could help his elder sister if he was strong enough. She wouldn't be in such a state then. There was also the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. A vicious radiance flashed across his eyes as he looked at Jing Hongchen.

    "Since you're helpless too, you don't have to ask us for anything," Elder Mu said gradually, "the tournament was a chance for us to interact and exchange tips. We won't be petty over the damages we suffered during the tournament. Please return to the second level. We can converse there."

    After his voice subsided, the surrounding golden light disappeared, and the halo also returned to normal. Elder Mu's golden illusory projection flashed before disappearing. He naturally wouldn't explain where this magical avatar of his appeared from to Jing Hongchen.

    The light in Jing Hongchen's eyes faded greatly as they returned to the second level. He only felt his head getting heavier. He always reckoned that he could resist Shrek Academy with his soul tools. But he only now realized that the Sun Moon Empire was still inferior in terms of top abilities after he saw Elder Mu.

    Huo Yuhao and the other two returned to Elder Mu's side again. Elder Mu laid there and wasn't any different from before. He still didn't unleash his powerful aura, and just laid there quietly. But he brought great pressure on Jing Hongchen. This caused Jing Hongchen to start perspiring. He only now realized why the Body Sect left so quickly after seeing Elder Mu.

    Elder Mu said gradually, "Can you tell me which is better in your opinion - the Illustrious Virtue Hall or Sea God's Pavilion?"

    Jing Hongchen was slightly stunned. Elder Mu's question might seem very vague, but he understood immediately. He was asking about the advantages and disadvantages of soul masters and soul engineers, as well as a comparison between the Illustrious Virtue Hall and Shrek Academy.

    After pondering for a moment, Jing Hongchen said, "I don't dare to comment, as I don't know much about the Sea God's Pavilion. Let's take Elder Xuan and I as examples. Elder Xuan will beat me within a hundred meters. But I can perish along with him. If the distance between us is expanded to a thousand meters, I can escape. If it's ten thousand meters, I am confident of beating Elder Xuan if he doesn't leave the battlefield of his own accord. In a war, my side will win."

    Jing Hongchen sounded very resolute and unhesitant as he got to his last sentence. Elder Mu was even a little moved.

    "It seems like you are very confident." Elder Mu laughed slightly.

    Jing Hongchen laughed bitterly. "I believe that you can tell that I lack confidence. Soul tools have an advantage in a war, but Shrek's position on the continent can't be shaken in more higher-end battles. Neither the Illustrious Virtue Hall nor the Body Sect can shake Shrek Academy."

    Elder Mu stole a glance at him. It was obvious that he could tell the meaning behind his words. If the Illustrious Virtue Hall and Body Sect couldn't do it themselves, what if they combined their power?

    "Jing Hongchen, I once went to the Illustrious Virtue Hall. Your development in soul tools is indeed beyond my imagination. I agree with one point of yours. When soul tools no longer rely on soul masters' soul power one day, soul masters will be eliminated. Just like how soul tools replaced the Tang Sect's secret weapons. But I have to add something. Even if that day really comes, soul masters will still be the most powerful. That's because only powerful soul masters can unleash the greatest might of even more powerful soul tools. Do you agree?"
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