Wang Zhong's maximum Soul Power limit was around 11,000 Grassos now, but it would be extremely hard for him to stack it until 12,000. Based on this figure, his power was inferior to that of Kadin, who certainly put in a lot of effort into revising his attacks.
Wang Zhong's supreme control of Soul Power was definitely unprecedented, but that referred to his control on the micro-level. However, if he wanted to stack his Soul Power, that would be a macro-level technique, and his delicate micro-level control wouldn't be of much help.
He was trying to think of a solution. At first, he tried to play to his strengths and avoid his weaknesses, using his advantage of being able to control Soul Power at a micro-level. He wanted to incorporate runes into his internal Soul Power, such that it would form a runic array at the moment of attack, greatly boosting its power. It would definitely produce a greater effect than if he stacked it normally. Nonetheless, this was just a thought. Controlling the Soul Power inside of your body was entirely different from controlling it outside of your body.
Runic carvings took the shape of a 'circular arc' while the Soul Sea was in a state of vacuum and weightlessness. Soul Power could reach the speed of light at its maximum speed; thus, manipulating it into a straight line was more realistic. Bending it into a runic circular arc shape was almost impossible, which meant that runes couldn't be formed inside the Soul Sea.
In other words, he needed to change his way of thinking. He had to come up with a new method that could replace traditional runes but still produce the same effects inside the Soul Sea.
This was easier said than done. In reality, runes were the foundation of the Holy Land; even the Federation's knowledge of runes was passed down from the Holy Land. It had been passed down for hundreds of years, and the runes seemed to have already existed from the start; perhaps it was left behind by a civilization in the Dimensional World. Legend had it that even the Holy Saint Teacher was only considered a 'translator' at most. To want to come up with a whole new method was wishful thinking.
At one point in time, Wang Zhong felt that he had encountered a dead end in this aspect of his cultivation journey, unable to find a way out. However, one of Wang Zhong's merits was that once he was certain that he was heading in the right direction, he wouldn't doubt himself or hesitate. He would use all sorts of methods to advance in his desired direction. Ever since he was young, Wang Zhong had been very clear and logical in his thinking. He could keep a cool head and maintain his confidence throughout his cultivation journey. In the end, he found his own way around this issue.
The Soul Power Circuit!
That was what he called it.
Wang Zhong never thought that authorities had the answers to everything. Everything was possible in the Soul Sea. Everything was subject to change, and what was suitable was best. Wang Zhong knew about this theory that was prevalent in the old civilizations. There were mainstream ideas of 'codes', 'two-dimensional languages', and 'conversion', so you could definitely find a replacement for runes in your Soul Sea which could produce the same effect. The replacement would be faster, more convenient, and somewhat similar to programming languages.
The things that Simba rambled on about had caused Wang Zhong to form an entirely different outlook on the world compared to people in this era. People in this era were followers and felt insignificant, while in the old-civilization era, humans were the masters of the world and felt invincible. Innovation and breaking out of stereotypes were as normal as breathing.
Because of that, Wang Zhong discovered that the linear and polygonal pathways that Soul Power traveled on in the Soul Sea could achieve runic effects under certain combinations; it was just that the required pathways were faster, more complicated, and concentrated. Nevertheless, linear lines and polygonal chains were more concise and clearer. It seemed complicated, but in fact, Soul Power could travel on these pathways at a faster speed, and it wasn't as particular about spirituality as runes. The important thing was how you layered and planned it out.
To put it simply, it was something like a circuit board. What Wang Zhong needed to do now was to continuously experiment with different combinations.
Wang Zhong had a very logical and clear way of thinking. Regardless of whether it was the external runes, which took the shape of circular arcs, or the internal linear circuits, all of them were composed of basic elements. Complicated circuits were just stacked combinations of basic circuits. Once he made sense of the circuit's 'basic language', his objective could be considered complete. Wang Zhong woke up at the thought of this.
Cultivating in the desert was a happy, quiet, and peaceful affair for Wang Zhong, as there were no disruptions or distractions. There was Sister Hong and Gong Yi to help him with trivial daily tasks, so he was able to be more focused and engrossed in his training. He had such a good time there, he was almost reluctant to leave.
Just like that, time passed, but he hadn't completely solved the Soul Power Circuit issue yet. The Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition was nearing quietly…
There were two very important days in the Holy City. One was the Holy Birth Day, which occurred near the end of the year. That was the birthday of Adalia, the Holy Saint Teacher.
The other was the Holy Death Day. That was related to Adalia as well. It was the day that the Holy Saint Teacher disappeared from the Holy City during the summer solstice.
The former was a grand festival, while the latter was a mourning festival that involved everyone in the Holy Land. The purpose of the Holy Death Day was to mourn the death of Adalia, the Holy Saint Teacher, and also to remind everyone to remain alert to the dangers that the Dimensional World posed. Every year, the entire Holy City halted all celebratory activities 10 days before and after the Holy Death Day. Weddings and other similar celebratory events were not allowed. If you had something to celebrate, you could eat a feast at home secretly, but it would be your fault if you celebrated out on the streets.
At the same time, the 10 days were also important days that the selection and assessment process of various full-time and subsidiary professions in the Holy City took place on. It was to encourage people to continue working hard in order to follow in Adalia's footsteps.
For the Holy Disciples who wanted to be promoted to Teachers, Teachers that were at the Heavenly Soul Stage who wanted to be promoted to Great Teachers, or people in the various subsidiary professions who wanted to be promoted to Great Masters or Grand Masters, it would all happen within the 10 days if you followed the normal procedure. During this period of time, many legendary big shots in the Holy City might appear. Of course, that was their business. For the commoners, such as this batch's newcomers, these 10 days represented their hope to be promoted to Holy Disciples.
Around a month before the Holy Death Day, the newcomers had already been actively preparing for everything related to the Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition.
However, the assessment content was decided by the teacher in charge every year. Although the essence of the test remained the same, there were many factors subject to variation; thus, there were all sorts of rumors about the test. Now, there were only two confirmed things.
The first was that if someone reached the Peak Heroic Soul Stage within half a year and this was verified by a teacher, they would be promoted to Holy Disciple directly. This had always been a tradition in the rank-advancement competition. Although reaching the Peak Heroic Soul Stage was just a matter of time for most Heroic Souls, there was no doubt that those who were able to reach the Peak Heroic Soul Stage within half a year would most likely go on to become powerful experts. Of course, in recent years, this had caused instances of serious 'fraud'. Some of the people caught cheating were expelled from the Holy Land, while some were able to stay. This depended on whether you were able to curry favor with a Teacher.
The second confirmed thing was that if you passed the subsidiary profession test, you would likewise be promoted to Holy Disciple directly. This was also a tradition. The Holy City's power didn't come only from its people's combat power but also from the three subsidiary professions, alchemists, wards masters, and gourmets. Not only newcomers, anyone who could gain a title as an official apprentice would be promoted to Holy Disciple immediately. This was not limited to the newcomers only but included all residents in the Holy City, which meant that this was one of the most desired routes of all the Heroic Soul soldiers who were 'working' in the Holy City.
It was still unclear now who would be promoted to Holy Disciple via the Peak Heroic Soul Stage way. There seemed to be quite a few people who were not bad in this batch of newcomers, such as Carolyn and company who had made the fastest progress in their cultivation journey. However, there weren't any rumors about them reaching the Peak Heroic Soul Stage, let alone the others.
This batch's overall strength was considered one of the better ones in recent years; however, it wasn't easy to find top experts who could reach the Peak Heroic Soul Stage in half a year. Most newcomers that were considered to have made fast progress had just reached the middle phase of the Heroic Soul Stage, possessing around 5,000 to 8,000 Grassos. The weaker ones were still struggling to break through into the Middle Phase Heroic Soul Stage.
The official test rules weren't released yet, and it was impossible to guess them, so more people focused on the second route, the subsidiary profession test.
It was just gaining the title of an official apprentice, and it didn't seem like a big deal. Many newcomers had their eyes set on this route, especially those who had spent more effort on their subsidiary jobs in the past six months. They were very eager to display everything they had learned on the test over this period. However, if these people thought that it was easy to gain an official-apprentice title, they were terribly wrong. In fact, looking at previous years, the number of newcomers who passed the subsidiary profession test was significantly lower than those who passed the Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition the normal way.
Suddenly, everyone in the Holy City was extremely busy. Everyone was working hard for their big day.
All sorts of rumors from various sources flooded the Holy City. While the newcomers were focusing on getting hold of the assessment content, they would also try to find out more details about their competitors. However, many people were depressed by those findings. It had been half a year since they came to the Holy City, and they had more or less built some connections of their own. Although they weren't able to get wind of the assessment content this year, they could more or less learn about conventions from previous years.
If the overall strength of the newcomer batch was weaker, the difficulty of the test would be decreased slightly to ensure that there would be a certain amount of new blood. However, if the overall strength of the newcomer batch was strong, the difficulty of the test would be raised. It was a flexible threshold. The Holy City just wanted to ensure that there was new blood every year to counter and balance out the losses of Holy City experts when they went out for battles. The details or fairness of the competition didn't matter; the higher-ups didn't really care about people at this rank so long as there was a certain amount of new blood.
What made most newcomers lose hope was that they only had to inquire a little to know that there weren't any extraordinarily talented geniuses in this batch that were worthy of the higher-ups' attention. However, the overall strength of this batch was pretty strong.
Needless to say, Scarlet, Carolyn, and Solomon, who had the highest statuses among the newcomers, were guaranteed to be able to become Holy Disciples. The Successor Disciples of Great Teachers were able to enjoy this special treatment every year unless the Great Teacher disowned that disciple; of course, this was an extremely rare occurrence in the whole history of the Holy Land. Typically, the Great Teachers, who were at the top of the food chain, had superb judgment.
Hyde Alexander, the most famous of the dimensional humans, seemed to have been guaranteed a place too. There had been a rumor spread amongst the Tyrants: the Great Teacher that was observing him was currently not in the Holy Land, but he was planning to rush back and accept him as a Successor Disciple before the Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition commenced so that his Holy Disciple spot would be guaranteed. This wasn't a matter of power, but it showed how much the Great Teacher valued his Successor Disciple, elevating the disciple's status. Also, this favor from the Great Teacher acted as a way to strengthen their bond.
Meanwhile, there was also news that the second-class apprentices, Grai, Napier, and Vladimir, had been approached by Great Teachers. Of course, this group of people didn't care whether they could get exempted from the test as if they couldn't even pass the normal Holy Disciple test; that would be disgraceful and embarrassing.
What people were more concerned about were the three people who suddenly revealed their outstanding talent right before the rank-advancement competition.
The first person was Gui Hao. After all, his talent was recognized even before he entered the Holy City. Although his actions were very annoying, he managed to survive under the protection of his family. It was said that his Soul Power had already reached around 7,000 Grassos, almost reaching the Peak Heroic Soul Stage. He was definitely one of the newcomers who were considered to have made fast progress.
The second person was Tianqiong Musk, who was once a top 10 expert in the CHF. He had gone into the shadows ever since he was defeated by Mario, but he had suddenly reared his head recently. It seemed as though a miracle had happened to him, and he showed his face more often and even managed to join Imperial Court, one of the top 10 exploration teams. To be able to join one of the top 10 exploration teams was already an indication of his ability. He suddenly became a hot topic among the newcomers.
The last one would be Divian. She had been hiding ever since she arrived in the Holy City. The power of the Seer Family in the Holy City obviously couldn't compare to families like the Musks, who had an 8-star Great Teacher and owned precious resources from their private territories. The Seer Family didn't have any resources that were extremely strong to back them up, but they did have an advantage in numbers. The Holy Disciples that belonged to the Seer Family were the most compared to other families, and they had produced one or two Great Teachers. The Seer Family didn't lack basic resources in the Holy City, which had given Divian a decent start. Although she joined the Sparta Clan, she didn't do much the past six months other than boosting her Soul Power to the maximum with the help of her family's resources. There were rumors that Divian's Soul Power was the strongest amongst the newcomers now, that she was even stronger than Carolyn… At the moment, she had halted her cultivation for the Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition. It was said that she had the highest probability of reaching the Peak Heroic Soul Stage.
Other experts who had shown their power in the CHF included Grai, Napier, Gui Xinying, Laura, and Bobo Torres. Their cultivation speeds weren't slow either, and their overall standard was very high, creating a noticeable rift in power between them and the others…
Of course, this still wasn't why this batch of newcomers was depressed. This year, the number of accepted Holy Disciples would definitely increase, as many mature warriors from the Empire were all in the Heroic Soul Stage. Frankly speaking, badlands, which referred to the Empire, gave rise to freaks. In addition to the dimensional humans and Federation warriors, the competition would be extremely intense this time around. It was said that there was a shocking number of people who had signed up for this competition at the various dimensional base stations in the Fifth Dimension. Before they made their way to the Holy Land, they had already gone through around seven or eight rounds of selection, which suggested that they were talented and had strong combat power.
Perhaps they weren't strong at the start, but many of the later-stage competitors were talented.
Facing such fierce competition, no one was in the mood to mention Wang Zhong, their favorite 'joke' normally. Everyone was exceedingly stressed out now. With the competition around the corner, no one was in the mood to joke any more. Even if they were eyeing Wang Zhong's second-class apprentice status, they needed to be promoted to Holy Disciple first before they could challenge people later into the competition. Previously, no one thought that being promoted to Holy Disciple would be such a hard thing, but now… They had better make sure they were qualified enough before they did anything else.
If the higher-ups were looking to increase the competitiveness and enthusiasm of everyone in the Holy Land, then they could be considered to have achieved their agenda.
In the midst of busy preparations and tense atmosphere, the Holy Death Day arrived, and the Holy Disciple rank-advancement competition officially commenced too. The assessment content was finally released. Those who entered the Thousand Gorge Fish Forest and were able to come out safely would be considered to have passed the test this time.