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"Beast Hall?" Zhang Xuan was taken aback.
"Un. The Beast Hall keeps an inventory of the blood essence of many saint beasts, and as long as beast tamers have reached a certain rank and are able to afford the price, they are able to trade for these blood essences!" the Myriad Anthive Queen said.
"I see… I will take the 6-star beast tamer examination now and trade for some then."
Knowing that the blood essence of a Saint realm Myriad Anthive Queen had such an effect, Zhang Xuan swiftly left the nest. He took another look at Wei Ruyan to check on her condition once more, and after confirming that she was recovering rapidly and that the Bodhi Saint Tree showed no signs of being poisoned, he heaved a sigh of relief and left the royal palace.
His next destination was the Master Teacher Academy.
To take the beast tamer examination and trade for the blood essence, it would be more convenient to do it via School Head Mo. Besides, he wasn't too sure where Hongyuan Empire's Beast Hall was located.
Entering the Beast Tamer School, he quickly found School Head Mo sitting with a deep frown in his office, seemingly troubled by something.
"Principal Zhang!" Upon noticing Zhang Xuan's presence, School Head Mo quickly got up and clasped his fist politely.
"There's no need to stand on ceremony. The reason I came over here today is to take the 6-star beast tamer examination…" Zhang Xuan immediately revealed the reason behind his arrival.
"6-star beast tamer examination?" School Head Mo was visibly stunned for a moment before he shook his head. "Principal Zhang, you are pulling my leg. Since you were able to tame even Senior Byzantium Helios, you are qualified to be a 7-star beast tamer. I have already helped you apply for it from the headquarters, and I have received a positive reply as well. I am just waiting for the emblem to arrive now."
The Byzantium Helios Beast was already at Saint 2-dan Spiritual Perception realm, and under the classification of the Beast Tamer Hall, one who could tame a saint beast of such power was qualified as a 7-star beast tamer. Thus, there was no need for him to go through the effort of taking the examination.
"7-star beast tamer?" Zhang Xuan was surprised.
He had been intending to take the 6-star examination, only to learn that School Head Mo had already applied for a 7-star emblem on his behalf.
This worked fine with him, too; he would be spared from quite a bit of trouble with this.
"I will be thanking you in advance then. Since the headquarters have already agreed to it, it just so happens that there is something I need to request from them… I would like to trade for some Saint realm Myriad Anthive Queen's blood essence!" Zhang Xuan said.
"Saint realm Myriad Anthive Queen's blood essence?" School Head Mo frowned.
"Un." Zhang Xuan nodded.
School Head Mo replied, after a moment of hesitation, "Usually, the headquarters will approve the trade for most saint beast's blood essence, and the price won't be too high as well. But the Myriad Anthive Queen's blood essence… I fear that it won't be that easy to make the trade."
"Won't be easy to make the trade?" Zhang Xuan asked doubtfully.
Since they were all from saint beasts, the difficulty in procuring their blood essence shouldn't be too different from one another. Why would the Myriad Anthive Queen be an exception?
Noticing Zhang Xuan's doubts, School Head Mo explained, "In the very first place, the Myriad Anthive Queen is an extremely rare beast, and on top of that, only a small proportion of them manage to achieve a breakthrough to Saint realm!
"More importantly, the Myriad Anthive Queen possesses the ability to create space, making it an extremely valuable beast… Even if the headquarters do have its blood essence, I fear that the price to obtain it will be exorbitant!"
"Exorbitant? Roughly how much will it cost?"
"Even taking into account your identity as a 7-star beast tamer, it will still cost around several thousand high-tier spirit stones, or even more," School Head Mo said as he shook his head bitterly.
The price to purchase the blood essence of a Saint realm Myriad Anthive Queen was simply too great for them to bear.
"Several thousand high-tier spirit stones?" Zhang Xuan's lips twitched.
He had thought that he could finally be considered wealthy after receiving several hundred high-tier spirit stones from Wu Xu and Lu Cheng, but to think that it wouldn't even be sufficient to buy a single item.
Furthermore, this was due to the fact that he was a 7-star beast tamer. If it was an outsider instead, the price could very well be hiked up by twofold.
The occupation guilds like the Beast Tamer Hall would often grant special privileges such as discounts or priority in services to its own members, depending on their rank.
It seemed like what he had wasn't much after all.
At this point, School Head Mo suddenly spoke up. "Actually, there is a way to obtain it even if one can't afford the price, but… it will be much harder!"
"Oh?" Seeing that there was a way to work around it, Zhang Xuan quickly turned his gaze to the other party.
"As long as your contribution to the Beast Tamer Hall is high enough, the headquarters could give it to you for free," School Head Mo said.
"Contribution?" Zhang Xuan frowned at the unfamiliar term.
"That's right. Donating the blood essence of rare spirit beasts or saint beasts, or accomplishing the missions set by the Beast Hall… all of these will be noted by the Beast Hall as contributions from the individual members," School Head Mo explained.
"Donating the blood essence of rare spirit beasts or saint beasts?" Zhang Xuan shook his head.
It had been innumerable years since the Beast Hall was established, and it possessed influence all around the Master Teacher Continent. There were only a handful spirit beasts and saint beasts that it couldn't get to, so very few of them could be considered rare. Even if Zhang Xuan knew where he could find one, he wouldn't have the time to look for it.
"The first way is indeed rather difficult, most only accomplish it with a stroke of luck. As for the second, the Beast Hall rarely set missions, and even when they do, it wouldn't reach here…" School Head Mo said with a bitter smile.
Contribution to a guild wasn't that easily earned. Otherwise, its treasury would have been depleted long ago.
"School Head Mo, we aren't able to hold on any longer! We need assistance…"
In that moment, flurried footsteps sounded, and an elder abruptly barged into the room.
Upon seeing Zhang Xuan, the elder clasped his fist and greeted, "Principal Zhang!"
It was the head of the Blacksmith School, Zhao Bingxu.
"School Head Zhao, what do you mean by being unable to hold on any longer?" Zhang Xuan asked in bewilderment.
At this point, he couldn't help but recall the deep frown he had seen on School Head Mo's face when he first entered. He had thought that it might have been some personal problem, but after hearing Zhao Bingxu's words, things probably weren't as simple as they seemed.
"It's actually nothing much. Principal Zhang, we are just a day away from your inauguration ceremony, so you should focus on preparing for it for the time being. You don't have to worry about anything else," Zhao Bingxu quickly replied with a smile.
"Indeed. Principal Zhang, leave the other matters to us," School Head Mo quickly added in agreement.
Noticing that something was amiss, Zhang Xuan frowned. "Tell me, what is it?"
The two elders before him were the heads of the Beast Tamer School and Blacksmith School, as well as Saint 1-dan pinnacle experts. For such powerful figures to have troubled looks on their faces, something major must have happened.
While Zhang Xuan might not have paid much heed to the matters concerning the Master Teacher Academy, he was still ultimately the principal, and he had to bear the responsibilities that came with that role.
Hearing Zhang Xuan ask about the matter, the two school heads glance at one another hesitantly, unsure of what they should do.
But seeing the determination in Zhang Xuan's eyes, School Head Mo knew that they wouldn't be able to hide it from him any further, so he sighed deeply and said, "The beasts of the Cloudmist Ridge have launched a beast stampede against us."
"Cloudmist Ridge? Beast stampede?" Zhang Xuan was taken aback.
"Un. The beasts of the Cloudmist Ridge have always lived isolated from our Hongyuan Empire, never interfering with the business of the other. However, just a few days ago, they suddenly went on a rampage, hunting down all of the hunters and cultivators roaming the mountains," School Head Mo said.
"Our Master Teacher Academy received a request for assistance, so we sent our men in to warn them against their actions. But instead of backing down, they assaulted our master teachers and even sent their full forces forward, initiating a beast stampede against Hongyuan City. Left with no choice, I sent in all of the students of the Beast Tamer School to fend off their forces at Hongyuan Mountain Range… It has been a day since the battle began, and our line of defense is starting to crumble!"
"Crumble…" Zhang Xuan's face darkened, and he clenched his fists tightly. "Take me there, I want to take a look!"
The reason the beasts of Cloudmist Ridge went on a rampage was probably related to him taking away their Earth Vein Spirit Essence.
Even though the beasts of Cloudmist Ridge had lived separately from Hongyuan Empire, there had always been some tension between them. Nevertheless, an uneasy peace was established between the two due to the deterrence of the Master Teacher Academy.
Part of the reason Zhang Xuan didn't hesitate to take away the Earth Vein Spirit Essence despite knowing how much the beasts of Cloudmist Ridge valued it was because he knew that if the other party continued to accrue more power, this could spell disaster for Hongyuan Empire in the long run.
Even so, he hadn't expected the other party to actually charge out and go head-to-head with the Master Teacher Academy.
Since this matter had started due to him, he couldn't back out at this point.
"Principal Zhang, you can't go! You haven't undergone the inauguration ceremony yet, and your cultivation is still too low. If the others learn of your identity, they will target you!" Zhao Bingxu shook his head firmly.
It was not without reason that they had chosen not to inform the principal of a matter as major as the students being dispatched to battle. At the current moment, Zhang Xuan was simply too weak. If the others were to learn that he was the principal, the beasts of Cloudmist Ridge would surely focus their forces on him.
Should the principal be captured by the enemy at such a crucial period, it would be a devastating blow to the morale of their forces, bringing forth panic and chaos.
Furthermore, they earnestly believed that with Zhang Xuan's capability, the Hongyuan Master Teacher Academy could be brought to greater heights. At least, until the latter's capabilities matured, they, as elders, must not let any harm come to him.
Thus, they had chosen to take matters into their own hands instead.
"Take me there, or else I will just have to head there myself!" Zhang Xuan's eyebrows shot up.
The lives of innumerable students were at stake; he couldn't possibly sit idly at such a crucial moment!
"This…" Seeing the determination in Zhang Xuan's eyes, the two school heads glanced at one another and sighed. "Alright, we will take you over there. However, I hope that you won't be hasty, and by no means should you reveal your identity to anyone. This isn't the first beast stampede from Cloudmist Ridge, so we will surely find a way to suppress it in the end."
"Un." Zhang Xuan nodded.
School Head Mo summoned his Inferno Dragon Saint Beast over, and the three of them swiftly got on and flew for Hongyuan Mountain Range.
Standing on the back of the Inferno Dragon Saint Beast, Zhang Xuan asked Zhao Bingxu, "What is the current situation?"
"It isn't looking too optimistic… The beast stampede is much more severe than the previous cases. In the first place, most spirit beasts possess the strength to rival cultivators stronger than themselves. To make things worse, the spirit beasts are coordinating with one another like disciplined soldiers, and this places our students in a very dangerous position!" Zhao Bingxu said hesitantly.
"Coordinating with one another like disciplined soldiers?"
Zhao Bingxu nodded. "Un. If I am not mistaken, the saint beasts of Cloudmist Ridge have probably gotten involved as well. Only under their leadership can the spirit beasts display such battle prowess collectively."
"How are the casualties?" Zhang Xuan asked.
"It is rather severe. As the fourth largest school in the Master Teacher Academy, there are over twenty thousand students who chose beast tamer as their main supporting occupation. Other than those who are currently out on missions, all of them have participated in the battle. More than half of them are wounded, but the death toll is still relatively low at around a dozen," Zhao Bingxu replied grimly.
"There are already around a dozen dead?" Zhang Xuan's body stiffened.
"That's right." The one who replied this time around wasn't Zhao Bingxu but School Head Mo.
While they were speaking, the Inferno Dragon Saint Beast had already arrived at the air space above Hongyuan Mountain Range. Looking down, Zhang Xuan could see countless spirit beasts charging down from the mountaintop, and innumerable students rushed forth to meet them. The battle was extremely intense.
There were many severely wounded students among the group, but they stood firmly on their ground, not backing out at all. Instead, they seemed to grow more and more courageous by the moment, braving through the hordes of spirit beasts fearlessly.
Zhang Xuan's body couldn't help but tremble.
He saw two familiar faces. They were Feng Wu and Yu Cheng, whom he had a conflict with during the entrance examination on Leiyuan Peak. At this moment, their bodies were completely drenched in blood, and Yu Cheng even had an arm of his snapped off. Yet, they still continued to charge toward the enemies fearlessly with reddened eyes.
This posed a stark contrast to the selfish behavior they had displayed while competing with him back then.
Whether they were once friend or foe, at this very moment, everyone was fighting side-by-side, trusting their allies with their back.
Taking a glance at Zhang Xuan's astonished face, School Head Mo said proudly, "Many of them have grudges with one another, and from time to time, they fought and sometimes even resorted to despicable means against one another, but… in the face of trouble, they will still unite together as one and fight alongside one another fearlessly, even if death is what they will ultimately face!
"This is because this is their mission and responsibility. This is because they bear a common identity…"
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