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Chapter 346.2: Racing Against Time

    Elder Wang said mockingly from one side, "What? You're thinking there's nothing much you can teach him, right? This youngster's foundations are near our own standards. Besides some top-tier formation arrays, concepts, and principles, we are only better than him in cultivation rank. I think his abilities are close to that of a Class 7 soul engineer. Perhaps his cultivation hasn't reached that level yet, but his abilities are definitely there."

    Ye Yulin nodded softly and agreed, "Yes! If he's as young as he looks, us seniors should feel guilty. Even though he's crippled, I favor him a lot. Who knows? Maybe he will create miracles in our soul engineering world in the future."

    Elder Wang heaved a faint sigh and said, "Don't give him so much credit yet. The world never lacks for talents and prodigies, but those that truly make it in life, and perhaps eventually become a legend of their era, are few and far between. It depends on his direction in the future. Right now, I want to see how far he can take his human-shaped soul tool with just eighteen formation arrays. Have you realized that not a single one of the nine formations arrays that he has created are weaponized? According to the tournament's rules, every person is only allowed to have one soul tool. He'll be going against the rules if he attaches external weapons."

    "Yes, let's wait and see. If he's so talented, then he shouldn't be clueless about the rules. I don't think we can guess what he's doing exactly before he finishes his soul tool."

    ------

    The tenth, the eleventh, the twelfth...

    Huo Yuhao continued to complete formation arrays, one after another.

    The fifth hour was about to end, and someone had already finished their soul tool at this point.

    The first contestant to complete their soul tool was Huang Zheng, who was representing the Duskwater Alliance with Huo Yuhao and He Caitou.

    Huang Zheng's soul tool was very characteristic of him. It was an enormous mechanical arm, and it was one hundred and twenty centimeters long, with three sharp claws in front. The entire mechanical arm would be attached to his own arm, and it looked eerily shiny and reflective. What this soul tool did would only be revealed in the subsequent rounds. Soul tools that could be used for tournaments wouldn't be so simple or standard, and nobody could tell what it did just from looking at it.

    Huang Zheng didn't leave his position after completing his soul tool. Instead, he crossed his legs and just sat there. He seemed to enter meditation. His entire body looked very calm and orderly, and he didn't seem tense, hasty, or too slow.

    The Third Elder in the resting area beneath the competition stage nodded in satisfaction. Compared to Huo Yuhao, who's really making people worry, my disciple is displaying abilities that truly outstanding soul engineers should. He was very interested in Huo Yuhao, but he still had a lot of faith in his disciple.

    He Caitou was the second to complete his soul tool. The soul tool that he had created was both fearsome and ferocious.

    He Caitou had crafted an enormous cannon. On the surface, this cannon didn't look like something that typical humans could use...

    Huo Yuhao used many rare metals, but his soul tool was not necessarily higher in overall volume than He Caitou's cannon.

    He Caitou's cannon was more than three meters long. The most frightening part of his cannon was the cannon's mouth; it was two-thirds of a meter in diameter!

    This cannon could pass for a thick house column if it were placed vertically; it seemed very appropriate or supporting weight.

    The tournament provided many different kinds of rare metals, but there wasn't that much of any one type. Therefore, He Caitou's enormous cannon seemed extremely gaudy and showy as the cannon flickered with all sorts of colors from many different metals.

    What a waste! If the seven judges were to evaluate his enormous cannon, evaluating it as a complete waste couldn't be more appropriate. He Caitou might not even be able to use this cannon himself, and even if he could, it was still a waste.

    This large cannon was a Class 7 soul tool, and the judges could see that it was a Class 7 rapidfire cannon. Rapidfire cannons were very useful among Class 7 soul tools, because they could fire both soul power cannon rounds and stationary soul cannon shells. They could fire all sorts of shells between Class 4 to Class 7.

    However, such rapidfire cannons were set up on a base, and a carriage had to pull it along. A fortress was also required behind it before a soul engineer could operate it. Nobody had ever done it like he had; he had no base, only a cannon barrel! Were all the formation arrays inside the cannon barrel?

    Was he going to carry his cannon on his shoulder? Even if he could fire this cannon, it would not be agile at all. His rapidfire cannon couldn't lock onto his targets, which meant that he would have to rely on his eyes for precision and accuracy...

    ---

    Everyone was working faster and faster as the round entered its final hour. Most contestants had entered their final assembly phase, and they conservatively planned to finish fifteen minutes before the stipulated time was up. Only Huo Yuhao was different; he had three formation arrays left, and these formation arrays seemed exceptionally sophisticated. He would need more time to craft each one.

    The other contestants completed their soul tools one after another. There were fifteen minutes left when the eighth contestant finished his soul tool, while Huo Yuhao was still working on his final formation array.

    This formation array was huge, almost as large as a person's head. Huo Yuhao was also using more than one kind of rare metal.

    ---

    "A combined formation array?" Ye Yulin lived up to his name as the chief judge, and was the first to understand what Huo Yuhao was doing.

    Combined formation arrays referred to combining several formation arrays to form a new and multi-functional formation array.

    This couldn't be achieved by simply connecting several formation arrays together. These formation arrays had to be made complementary, and was a technique that only top-tier soul engineers could use.

    It was no wonder he was taking so long for his last formation array; he was probably combining three different formation arrays. Did he have enough time?

    Ye Yulin looked up at the hourglass; there was a little bit left. One hour was a very short time when crafting soul tools.

    Elder Wang whispered, "Should we extend the time?"

    Ye Yulin shook his head and said, "Is it that important that he claims the championship? We will let him finish his product even if the hourglass runs out before he completes his soul tool. He can be number one in our hearts, and that's enough. Tell the contestants who have already finished their soul tools that they aren't allowed to make noise, and they can't disturb him. Otherwise, they will be punished."

    Elder Wang's mouth slanted as he said, "You're so biased!"

    Ye Yulin grunted coldly and said, "I've always believed that protecting the weak is a virtue."

    Elder Wang laughed heartily and said, "What a virtue! Alright, I'll go."

    The other eight contestants quickly received notifications that they had to wait at their respective spots, and they weren't allowed to disturb Huo Yuhao even if time ran out.

    ---

    Huo Yuhao's forehead was dotted with beads of sweat. He knew that he was racing against time, while his entire heart and soul was in his production, and his spirit had been raised to the highest possible level. Huo Yuhao even felt that the immense spiritual power that he had concentrated in his current state was subtly affecting and changing his spiritual sea, to the point where his spiritual sea was undergoing some kind of sublimation.

    At this moment, the Ice Empress, the Skydream Iceworm, and the Snow Empress were all extremely quiet in his spiritual sea. They were afraid that making a single sound would disrupt or interrupt him.

    Huo Yuhao was lucky to be in his current state. He had separated his spirit today, and his spiritual avatar had spent a very long time outside his body. Most soul masters wouldn't even dare to attempt something like this, as typical soul engineers didn't have a million -year soul beast like the Skydream Iceworm inside their spiritual seas protecting their spiritual origin. One mistake could cause their spirits to shatter into pieces.

    However, Huo Yuhao's experiment had been successful. Furthermore, his spiritual avatar had returned in time at the crucial moment, and his spirit was reintegrated while his spiritual power fused back into his body. This gave Huo Yuhao a better understanding of his concrete-immaterial realm, and it was then that he had quickly entered the Body and Mind as One state, catalyzing his spiritual power to circulate at high speeds, and he even managed to consolidate some of his revelations from before. Everything had just seemed to come together.

    Much of Huo Yuhao's spiritual power had been upgraded by the Fullmoon Piercing Autumn Dew that he had consumed. He had assimilated the medicinal herb, but he had never been able to completely control the spiritual power that this herb had refined and improved. In the end, his body was a lot weaker compared to his spiritual power. He wouldn't even have been able to store so much spiritual power if not for his Eye of Destiny!

    At this moment, his spiritual power was sublimating once more, and integrated a little more with his body. This integration process was equivalent to boosting how much the spiritual sea in his brain could take, and also improved his spiritual power's compatibility with his body. The better the compatibility, the lighter the burden on his body when he used spiritual power. Even though his physique hadn't improved, he could now unleash a lot more spiritual power.

    Initially, Huo Yuhao had only needed a singular formation array for his last one. However, he was still immersed in that state, and he gave himself a challenge while he was feeling inspired so that he could force himself to undergo this sublimation at an even higher level. Even though this meant that he might fail to craft his soul tool in time, this opportunity to sublimate his spiritual power was substantially more important than this tournament!

    Of course, Huo Yuhao definitely wouldn't admit that the fact that his spiritual power was so smooth and streamlined had something to do with him stealing countless precious materials!...

    ------

    The Tang Sect had rendezvoused with Shrek Academy's company not far from the western suburbs' tournament arena.

    Zhang Lexuan reached the hotel at almost the same time as Xu Sanshi and the others. Zhang Lexuan was finally satisfied when she found out that Huo Yuhao had indeed made plans for Bei Bei, but she still followed the Tang Sect's members as they swiftly escorted Bei Bei out of the city.
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