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96's eyes flashed. This was Huo Yuhao's blatant way of telling him that he wasn't going to reveal his name. He didn't probe further, but only smiled. "Number 66, what's your take on today's fight?"
Huo Yuhao seemed to be excited. "Interesting. Who says soul engineers can't fight? I think it's a good idea to fight using your own soul tool."
Number 96 chortled and said, "I think it's a good idea too."
"It seems like we have the same thinking. I've seen the groups earlier. We won't meet in this round."
"It doesn't matter. I'll win." Huo Yuhao's gaze turned sharp.
"Is that so? We'll see." 96 smiled and stood up before walking back to his original seat. There was a scornful look on his face. He believed that he had gotten whatever information he needed from this arrogant young man in a wheelchair.
Huo Yuhao twisted his lips and didn't even look at the two of them.
Testing me? You can slowly test all you want.
"To all distinguished guests, the tournament is about to begin." A staff member came in to inform them.
Both the number 96 and 98 stood up at the same time. They didn't give way to each other, but walked briskly out of the lounge together.
Huo Yuhao snorted, revealing how displeased he was.
A vicious gaze flashed across number 98's eyes. He was about to act up, but he was stopped by 96, who dragged him out towards the hall.
The hall was still as crowded as ever. Today, the central, circular stage was able to hold all the compet.i.tors. Forty-eight carving tables were on the stage, forming multiple arcs.
Huo Yuhao squinted and scanned the entire place with his Spiritual Detection. He immediately sensed that the VIP area was full, while the common area in the hall was also packed.
There were a few changes made to the hall. There had added another platform. The platform was rectangular in shape, and around five meters above the floor. It was fifty meters in length, and almost extended from one side of the hall to the other. However, it was only five meters wide. The entire platform seemed to have been made from metal, and hung in the air using cables.
Were the soul engineers going to fight on this platform? By restricting the shape of the platform to a rectangle, it was evident that it was there to prevent the compet.i.tors from dodging. Furthermore, those who were wise enough would bear the platform in mind when they made their soul tools.
Very soon, Huo Yuhao and He Caitou were brought onto the stage by the staff. w.a.n.g Dong'er and Na Na remained in one corner.
This time, Huo Yuhao and He Caitou weren't arranged side-by-side. There were two rows of carving tables facing one another. Every soul engineer would sit opposite their direct compet.i.tor. However, the Duskwater Alliance didn't explain how they had drawn the lots for this round. This was an underground tournament, and thus there wasn't any need for explanations.
Huo Yuhao's opponent was a young man who looked about twenty-six or twenty-seven years old. He was extremely ugly, with a broken nose and small eyes. His hair was messy, and slightly yellow. There was even a bald patch in the center of his head. It was very difficult to compliment his looks. However, there was an unyielding strength in his eyes. He didn't look at Huo Yuhao, but instead, his eyes were fixed on the rare metals displayed on the stage.
There was an additional storage shelf with three different compartments on every carving table. Each compartment was filled with all types of metals. The first compartment contained the ordinary metals, while the other two compartments were filled with rare metals. There were more than thirty types of rare metals!
With such a wide array of metals available, it was even possible to create a Cla.s.s 7 soul tool. To test the abilities of the soul engineers, the Duskwater Alliance was very generous. The soul tools created by the soul engineers would eventually belong to them. The forty-eight soul tools that were going to be created were bound to be quite valuable.
Three small circular platforms rose up in front of the stage. There was an elder on each platform.
The platforms stopped rising after only about one meter. The elder in the center said, "Greetings to all soul engineers and guests. I'm the chief judge of today's tournament. The tournament is about to start. The countdown will start after I announce the commencement of today's round. The time restriction will be four hours. Within four hours, every soul engineer must try his best to create his own soul tool. There's only one goal: defeat the person sitting opposite you. The winners will advance to the next round."
After he finished speaking, all the competing soul engineers nodded their heads in unison and looked at their opponents.
From this round onward, the rewards of winning became very ample. Huo Yuhao learned about it from Chen An. The prize for winning this round was two kilograms each of thirty-two types of rare metals. It was equivalent to the amount of rare metals they had onstage.
For a soul engineer, a wide variety of rare metals was more attractive than gold soul coins. It was rumored that the winners of the next round could take home five kilograms of each rare metal. The variety of rare metals would even be increased to forty! Most of these rare metals were banned from being exported from of the Sun Moon Empire. They were bound to be extremely valuable!
The soul engineer opposite Huo Yuhao lifted his head and grinned, revealing his yellow crooked teeth. "Brother, how are you? My name is Gao Dalou. Come on, let's have a good compet.i.tion."
Huo Yuhao held his laughter as he looked at Gao Dalou. He was indeed very special! However, Huo Yuhao admired his unyielding gaze. He wasn't one to judge others based on their appearances, especially in a compet.i.tion. He knew that it wasn't going to be easy to win against his opponent today.
"Compet.i.tors, please get ready!" the chief judge shouted.
Gao Dalou immediately lowered his head, his gaze sharpening. He stared at a piece of rare metal that he had already polished.
Huo Yuhao appeared more leisurely. It was as if he wasn't anxious at all.
"The match begins. Raise the soundproofing barrier!" the chief judge shouted. Twelve eye-catching hourgla.s.ses were flipped over. When the sand in these hourgla.s.ses stopped flowing, the countdown would be over. All the soul engineers today were on the same stage, and thus the soundproofing barrier could finally be set up, so the spectators could make noise. It was also the reason why so many people were here today.
All the soul engineers started to get busy immediately.
Gao Dalou's right hand quickly reached out, and a pitch-black rare metal that flashed with spots of silver landed in his palm. He revealed an intoxicated look in his eyes. He was gently rubbing the metal, as if he were caressing the skin of a beautiful lady.
Huo Yuhao was very interested in him. He reached out for a rare metal at one side of the table, and a piece of dark-red rare metal which weighed about one kilo flew towards him.
There was a scorching aura about this rare metal as it flew over.
It was Flaming Sun Iron, a metal that was only produced deep within volcanoes. It was extremely rare. It ranked as one of the top five rarest metals among the available thirty-two types of rare metals here.
The Duskwater Alliance had provided so many rare metals today, and Chen An was no longer part of the refereeing team. Huo Yuhao naturally couldn't keep all of the rare metals to himself. Naturally, he was going to choose some of the rarer metals to create his soul tool!
His opponent did the same thing. He was holding Silverstar Steel in his hand, which was the most valuable of the thirty-two rare metals present. Its density was quite high, and it had a great affinity for soul power. Any soul power that was poured into it would be doubled. It was the best material used to create an energy-gathering formation array. One kilo of that metal was worth at least a hundred thousand gold soul coins!
The Duskwater Alliance must have had spent a lot on this tournament. Of course, it was nothing compared to the amount of wagers they collected from the countless people who were betting on this tournament.
As Huo Yuhao looked at Gao Dalou's intoxicated look, he thought to himself. Has this guy never seen Silverstar Steel before? It's my first time seeing someone so intoxicated.
Gao Dalou didn't rub it for too long. After about a minute, his expression turned cautious. He carefully held the steel on the carving table in front of him. After that, he retrieved a carving knife from behind his waist with his right hand.
Huo Yuhao didn't rush to create his soul tool. He had great spiritual power, and could create his soul tools faster than the other soul engineers. He didn't want to reveal his complete abilities, however, and thus he wouldn't create the strongest soul tool. However, he couldn't lose, either. So, he observed his opponent. He was waiting to see what his opponent was creating before he thought of a strategy to counter it.
Gao Dalou didn't seem to be bothered by Huo Yuhao watching him. After he grabbed his carving knife, he started to work on his soul tool.
It was easy to tell if one was skilled. Huo Yuhao was stunned when Gao Dalou started to carve.
Gao Dalou's carving knife didn't look eye-catching, but he didn't seem to use any effort as he cut into the tough Silverstar Steel. After three cuts, he managed to carve out three proportionate areas on the steel.
There was a name for this carving technique: One Blade, Three Tremors. Such a skill couldn't be underestimated. It was only achievable after years of training. Not only must one be accurate and flawless, but the amount of strength he used must also be balanced. Most ordinary people wouldn't choose to employ such a technique on Silverstar Steel. If the carving went wrong, the piece of steel would become useless. At least, it couldn't be used to create the formation array that he had in mind.
Gao Dalou didn't stop at all. When he started carving, his carving knife seemed to have a life of its own. He wasn't very quick, but every movement of his knife was very steady. His small eyes were fixed on the Silverstar Steel, and he didn't make a single mistake.
He wasn't just appreciating it, but also studying the structure of this Silverstar Steel. Otherwise, he couldn't have been so quick.
Huo Yuhao continued to remain calm. He sat on the chair in front of the carving table and placed the Flaming Sun Iron down. He was very serious as he looked at Gao Dalou opposite him.
Gao Dalou's rhythm and steadiness gave him some inspiration. Only a few words could be used to describe Gao Dalou's way of creating his soul tool: simple and quaint.
He made the entire process seem very simple. Every cut was very precise, and no mistakes were made. He didn't need to carve out a rough shape like most soul engineers before fine-tuning the details. He completed everything in one shot.
He only used fifteen minutes to finish carving. The steel ended up in a rectangular shape with many fine patterns.
The Silverstar Steel's spots of silver light accentuated his work, and it was quite captivating, even dazzling!
Gao Dalou seemed to be intoxicated as he looked at the steel. It was like he had seen his lover, and he couldn't help but caress it a few times.
Huo Yuhao couldn't help but laugh slightly when he saw this weird expression.
Gao Dalou was jolted awake. He lifted his head to look at Huo Yuhao. He saw the piece of complete Flaming Sun Iron still in front of him.
"Hey, brother. Aren't you going to start? Take a look. My first formation array is already completed. We are compet.i.tors!"
Huo Yuhao chortled and said, "No rush. Your method is indeed impressive. It's really out of the ordinary! Which soul engineering academy did you graduate from?"
Gao Dalou wore a bitter look on his face, "Which soul engineering academy would want me? I can't even afford the fees. I learned everything on my own at home. I also trained myself in this aspect by using ordinary iron sc.r.a.ps. I'm not afraid of being mocked by you, but I have to admit that it's my first time seeing so many rare metals. Especially this Silverstar Steel. It's too... too beautiful! Its affinity with soul power is too magical! If someone could let me use such rare metals forever, I'm willing to sell my life to him! I hope to win some good stuff back from this tournament."
Huo Yuhao was moved, and he said, "Brother Gao, I'm impressed by your abilities. Let's continue. There's a time limit."
"Oh, oh, yes. Let's continue then. Continue to work hard." As he spoke, he immediately got busy again.
Gao Dalou wasn't bothered that others thought he was a country b.u.mpkin who had never seen the world before. He chose the best materials…