Book 19: Return to the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy
Chapter 168: Return, Captured
Huo Yuhao served as their chef, just as Ju Zi requested. Ke Ke was responsible for hunting, while Ju Zi took care of them. Apart from cooking, Huo Yuhao only used his time to cultivate and recover.
Three days passed in a ﬂash.
Huo Yuhao’s potentially fatal injuries managed to completely heal within six days. Even his cultivation increased slightly. The soul power increase was negligible, but his overall abilities and soul skills were enhanced considerably, including his spiritual power.
The moist morning dew made the day especially refreshing as one breathed in nature. Huo Yuhao exhaled, and white gases revolved around his body before entering through his nostrils. He felt especially refreshed.
His back injury had completely recovered now. More shockingly, the scars on his back had started to vanish. His skin was getting smoother and smoother by the day. After some time, all his scars would likely disappear, which only made Ju Zi and Ke Ke more intrigued.
Huo Yuhao couldn’t possibly tell them that he’d absorbed Life Gold before. He acted foolish and ignorant in the face of their suspicions.
Huo Yuhao lifted his right arm and a light ﬂashed in his eyes. He mimicked a grabbing motion, and a gust of chilly air spread out. Gigantic Darkgolden Terrorclaws appeared, an estimated six meter-long claw projection swept through the air. A piercing sound was heard, and black tears were created, as if the air had been slit open.
A dark-golden radiance ﬂashed before disappearing. Huo Yuhao looked at his right hand, satisﬁed.
His Darkgolden Terrorclaws had been enhanced when he had become a Soul Ancestor. Not only had his Terrorclaws become larger, but now they were more tangible. The pain he’d experienced absorbing the Darkgolden Terrorclaws wasn’t for
nothing! The Darkgolden Terrorclaws became Huo Yuhao’s favorite skill. The Ice Empress’ Pincer, when paired with the Darkgolden Terrorclaws, allowed him immense close-combat abilities as a control-type soul master.
His Eye of Destiny also evolved. Huo Yuhao wasn’t sure how much it evolved, but the sealed spiritual power left in his body by the Skydream Iceworm had been substantially absorbed again. His Spiritual Sea and second mental sea also expanded. His Spiritual Detection could now scan a radius of up to seven hundred meters, and his one-directional detection now reached more than a thousand two hundred meters.
The greater his cultivation, the more Huo Yuhao could sense the dominance of the million year soul ring given to him by the Skydream Iceworm. It possessed four soul skills, which were the best of the best, and became the foundation for his Spirit Eyes. Although the subsequent three soul rings gave him Imitation, Enfeeblement and Spiritual Confusion, the practicality of these three skills couldn’t hold a candle to Skydream’s million year soul ring.
His soul skills experienced a change in quality as his soul power reached Rank 40. Huo Yuhao simply possessed too many powerful soul skills, but if not for the fact that some of his soul
skills could only be unleashed using his spiritual power, he wouldn’t even be able to unleash half them using his soul power before he reached this stage. After his soul power increased, he managed to get some relief in this aspect.
Huo Yuhao wished that Wang Dong was here. He only realized how important Wang Dong was after leaving Shrek Academy. Wang Dong already passed Rank 50 and become a soul king. His twin martial souls made his soul power extremely vigorous, and if the two of them used their Haodong Power and four martial soul fusion skills, Huo Yuhao had conﬁdence they could face off against a seven-ringed soul sage.
Huo Yuhao started missing Wang Dong as he thought of him. He looked in the direction of Shrek Academy and seemed a little out of sorts.
“What’s wrong? You miss Shrek?” Ju Zi’s voice sounded.
Huo Yuhao twisted his head to look at her and smiled. “A little. I miss my partner.”
“A girl?” Ju Zi asked a sensitive question.
Huo Yuhao shook his head.
Ju Zi walked beside him and looked in the direction of Shrek too. She said slowly, “Yuhao, I don’t want to meet you in battle in the future.”
Huo Yuhao spoke in a dreary tone, “You’re a girl. Must you go to war?”
Ju Zi replied, “What’s war got to do with gender? Don’t tell me that the enemy will be merciful just because I’m a female? I’ve told you before that avenging my parents is my only motivation.”
Huo Yuhao furrowed his brows. “Is there only hatred in your life?”
Ju Zi hesitated for a while before shifting her gaze away from his body. However, she was still conﬁdent when she said, “Yes.”
Huo Yuhao was silent. He revealed a pensive look of regret on his face, “I’m not able to change your mentality, and I may not be qualiﬁed to even attempt to do so. Because I have the same hatred in my heart.”
Ju Zi’s voice turned a little weird, “What if we meet on the battleﬁeld?”
Huo Yuhao was silent for a while before he replied, “I’ll spare you three times before killing you.”
Ju Zi smiled. Her smile was very bright. “Are you that conﬁdent? How do you know that I won’t be the one sparing you?”
Huo Yuhao smiled too. “You want me to beg for mercy?”
Ju Zi shook her head. “If you try to beg for mercy, I’ll kill you immediately. I don’t want you to bend your knees. That’s not the Huo Yuhao that I know.”
Huo Yuhao answered, “Such a day won’t come.”
“I know that.” Ju Zi smiled. “If we meet on the battleﬁeld and you land in my hands, I’ll spare you four times before killing you. I even gave you one more chance than you gave me. Aren’t I magnanimous?”
Huo Yuhao laughed and said, “You want to compete in this too? We don’t even know what's going to happen. Let’s return to the academy. I came here to learn how to make soul tools, this is wasting too much time!”
As he spoke, he turned and walked towards the tent to pack his stuff.
Ju Zi revealed a dreary look in her eyes as she watched his back. She muttered to herself, “Will it really not happen soon? Battleﬁeld, battleﬁeld!”
She suddenly shouted, “Yuhao, prepare a meal for us!”
Huo Yuhao regained his composure and revealed a smile. “Alright.”
Xuan Ziwen didn’t know what to say when he looked at the three students in front of him.
“Not even some shattered pieces were left behind?”
Ju Zi lowered her head and said, “No…”
They had only returned an hour earlier. But the all-terrain exploration soul tool had been completely destroyed. Thus, they didn’t even bother to neaten themselves up and they came to ﬁnd Xuan Ziwen.
Xuan Ziwen was silent for a while. He became depressed as he said, “Do you know how valuable that all-terrain exploration soul tool was? The academy spent a lot of time money and effort on it. If not for the fact that more than one- third of its formation arrays were created by me, do you think the three of you would have had the chance to experiment with it? Are you sure that nothing, especially the formation arrays, was left in the mountain range?”
Ju Zi was certain as she replied, “Teacher, nothing was left. Everything was blown to pieces. The huge crater is still there.”
Xuan Ziwen scratched his forehead and glanced at Huo Yuhao. He snapped, “Huo Yuhao! Tell me why I’m facing so much trouble since you came.”
Huo Yuhao was a little embarrassed as he replied, “I don’t know!”
Ke Ke puffed out her chest and said, “Teacher Xuan, you can’t blame them for this matter. I caused all the problems this time. I will stand up for my mistakes. If I didn’t connect the formation arrays together out of desperation, all this wouldn’t have happened. But if not for Yuhao, both Sister Ju Zi and I would’ve perished. If you want to punish someone, punish me. Regardless, I’m broke, so there’s nothing much I can be punished for.”
Xuan Ziwen couldn’t help but laugh in the face of Ke Ke’s petulance and determination.
“Enough, enough. Don’t try to team up together against me. Go wash yourselves up before changing into clean clothes. I smell the stink on your bodies. Scram.”
Ke Ke laughed impishly and leapt towards Xuan Ziwen. She grabbed his neck and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “Teacher Xuan, you’re really nice.” After she ﬁnished speaking, she grabbed Ju Zi and ran off.
Huo Yuhao was stunned as he realized that Xuan Ziwen’s face turned red. He was even blushing!
“Teacher Xuan, are you okay?” Huo Yuhao asked.
Xuan Ziwen lifted his leg and kicked his butt. He said embarrassedly, “Get lost.”
Ju Zi and Ke Ke were waiting outside. Ju Zi continued to say, “Teacher Xuan is really nice.”
Huo Yuhao was puzzled as he asked, “What do you mean?”
Ju Zi lowered her voice and said, “With his attitude it shows that he’s going to tank this matter for us. The all-terrain exploration soul tool was completely destroyed! He’s really too nice taking responsibility for such a serious matter like this.”
Ke Ke laughed, “Why do you think I rewarded him with a kiss? Teacher Xuan is really cute when his face turns red like that. While he looks quite old, I think he’s still a virgin. I’ve never heard any gossip about him.”
Huo Yuhao was speechless. He thought to himself, “That was a reward? She was clearly seducing Teacher Xuan!”
“Alright ladies, you two should rest. I’m going to shower. I think that there’s some lice on my body. I’ll see the both of you tomorrow.”
After speaking, Huo Yuhao returned to his dormitory with haste.
He took a shower and changed his clothes, after his shower he felt really refreshed. Then he sat cross-legged on his bed. He unleashed his Spiritual Detection, and he started to cultivate.
After leaving for so many days, he should pay a visit to his second senior brother now that he’d returned. He also wondered what He Caitou had been learning all this while.
However, Huo Yuhao was surprised to ﬁnd out that He Caitou still hadn’t returned even though it was very late in the afternoon. Anxious, he rushed to ask some of the other Shrek students learning at the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy with them. Through them, he found out that He Caitou managed to make his way into the Illustrious Virtue Hall and earned his right to cultivate while learning there.
Huo Yuhao was delighted and surprised. His mastery of soul tools had been increasing over the past two years, but he knew that he was still inferior to his second senior brother. After all, he too had much to learn and a dedicated focus on researching and creating soul tools like He Caitou. However, He Caitou had identiﬁed his direction from the beginning, which was to research stationary soul tools. Furthermore, Huo Yuhao shared his research ﬁndings with He Caitou. He Caitou was even catching up to Fan Yu in terms of his knowledge and research on stationary soul tools.
Teacher Fan Yu appeared to have gotten into the Illustrious Virtue Hall as well, and was learning there with He Caitou.
Huo Yuhao suddenly felt pressure after his surprise faded away. His second senior brother had already entered the Illustrious Virtue Hall, but he’d only just discovered his path.
However, his experience in the Jing Yang Mountain Range did allow him to reﬂect on his progress in the Ultimate Soldier Plan over the past two years. He detected some problems, and needed to rectify them right now. At the same time, he needed to modify his soul tools.
His fatigue disappeared after a night of rest.
Huo Yuhao walked out of his dorm room after his routine morning cultivation. He was mentally prepared to reach the laboratory early and try to create the soul tools he had in mind.
He was very cheerful after ﬁguring out that he wanted to pursue a close-combat route. He believed that he would improve even faster with this newfound sense of direction.
However, he stopped once he walked out of his dorm room.
“It’s him. Capture him.” A pale Wang Shaojie was standing not far away. He was pointing his ﬁnger at Huo Yuhao. With him were six middle-aged men who looked to be somewhere between thirty to forty years old. They all wore the same vest. They immediately unleashed their martial souls—Two Soul Emperors and four Soul Kings.
The leader walked up to Huo Yuhao and revealed a writ to him. He said coldly, “Royal Stewards. You’re Huo Yuhao?”
Huo Yuhao knew that he was in trouble. Although he was unafraid of them, it was impossible to conceal his full powers if he wanted to deal with them. He would also need to kill some or all of them to escape. His mind moved quickly as he calculated the pros and cons of retaliating.
Their leader said coldly, “You stand accused of assaulting a member of the imperial family. You need to come with us to assist in our investigation.” He revealed golden handcuffs as he spoke. His soul power was very strong. Should he dare to resist, the six Royal Stewards would team up to attack him.
He didn’t expect that he would have to face Wang Shaojie after being gone for so long. While he looked strong and developed, he was actually a petty person at heart.
Huo Yuhao smiled and extended his hands. “I’m an exchange student from Shrek Academy. Please help me inform my teachers. Otherwise, I don’t think you’ll be able to bear the responsibility of your actions.”
Chapter 169: The Crown Prince
“Kacha, kacha.” Golden handcuffs closed around Huo Yuhao’s wrists. A strong restraining force came from the handcuffs. It was obvious that the handcuffs were also a soul tool, and Huo Yuhao immediately felt that his soul power had been sealed.
Wang Shaojie walked in front of Huo Yuhao, his eyes held a blatant viciousness. He grabbed Huo Yuhao’s head and punched his stomach hard.
Huo Yuhao bent at the waist. The intense pain combined with cramps caused him to furrow his brows. A cold light ﬂashed in his eyes.
If he wasn’t considering the bigger picture he would've turned violent. Did they really think these Class 6 handcuffs could stop him?
“Aren’t you great at ﬁghting? I’ll let you taste the pleasure of Sun Moon’s Ten Great Tortures. Take him away.” Wang Shaojie revealed a delighted look on his face. He ﬁnally got his revenge.
He awakened only three days prior, but he still vividly recalled the pain that Huo Yuhao had inﬂicted on him. Fortunately, he didn’t sustain heavy injuries apart from an occasional trance that he would fall into.
After recuperating for two days, he felt much better. Only now he heard that Huo Yuhao, Ju Zi and Ke Ke had returned.
Xuan Ziwen had settled this matter already, and the imperial family willingly dropped the matter. They didn’t care much since Wang Shaojie wasn’t critically injured. However, Xuan Ziwen didn’t expect Wang Shaojie himself to be so vengeful, and not heed his advice. He still summoned the Royal Stewards over. They didn’t dare to make a move in his dormitory, instead waiting for Huo Yuhao to leave the room before capturing him.
Wang Shaojie hoped that Huo Yuhao would resist, because if he dared to attack the Royal Stewards no one would say anything if they killed him. However, Huo Yuhao didn’t act rashly. His wise choice left Wang Shaojie greatly disappointed.
Their leader stopped Wang Shaojie from hitting Huo Yuhao further. He said in a deep voice, “You can’t do this here. I’ll bring him back and deal with him. Don’t forget where we are.”
Wang Shaojie rubbed his palms together as he said, “Yes, elder cousin. You must be harsh on him, allow me to accompany you in this.”
The leader shook his head and replied, “No, you can’t. It’s better if you remain in the academy. In this way, you can deny any involvement in this matter. You’re not young anymore, why can’t you use your brain? Xuan Ziwen already pleaded for this guy’s case, and the matter was settled. Do you really want to get in trouble for getting involved? Just act like you don’t know what’s going on. We know what to do.”
“Alright.” Wang Shaojie was a little unconvinced, but he still agreed. After all, he wasn’t actually that dumb. After scanning his surroundings and ascertaining that no one was around, he scurried off.
Their leader came in front of Huo Yuhao and said, “I’m sorry, you can only blame your bad luck. You dared to touch a
member of the imperial family? You’re from Shrek, aren’t you? We’ll have a nice little talk when we get back.”
Huo Yuhao could clearly sense his ill intentions from the tone of his voice. He knew that this person was much more powerful than Wang Shaojie. In his hands, he would probably suffer. But he had no urge to resist what may come.
“I just hope that you won’t regret doing this.”
One of the soul kings slapped Huo Yuhao’s face and said coldly, “You dare to be rude in front of the Royal Stewards? I guess you’re sick of living. Captain, you can just hand him to me when we get back.”
The leader waved him off and said, “Let’s go. We’ll talk when we get back.”
Two soul kings roughly pushed Huo Yuhao forward, and he cooperated with them, following along obediently. While he appeared indifferent, he wasn’t panicked at all.
The Royal Stewards were primarily in charge of supervising the members of the imperial family, and everything that happened in the imperial palace. Normally they didn’t interfere with matters outside of the imperial affairs. They were directly accountable to the Sun Moon Empire’s imperial clan after all. This captain of the Royal Stewards was called Xu Mochen. His father was a prince that controlled part of the imperial clan. Xu Mochen possessed a great deal of authority, and was also a direct descendant of the imperial family. Wang Shaojie was from a branch family of the imperial family, and he was only able to invite Xu Mochen to handle this, because he had ties with him.
Xu Mochen didn’t just become the captain of the Royal Stewards with his family connections, as his cultivation was rather good. Furthermore, he was a soul master who specialized in soul tools, but he wasn’t a soul engineer. His cultivation was strong because he possessed a very powerful martial soul inherited through the bloodline of direct descendants to the imperial family. He was one of the best among the Royal Stewards.
Xu Mochen was cautious when he realized that Huo Yuhao was very calm. After all, Huo Yuhao came from Shrek Academy.
When Wang Shaojie had found him, he had said that he was ambushed by a youth from Shrek Academy. He claimed that the youth was a spiritual-type soul master, and that he couldn’t unleash his powers since he was ambushed. He also mentioned that Huo Yuhao only had three soul rings.
Shrek Academy’s reputation was very inﬂuential in every empire. Xu Mochen had merely been curious when he made this trip. He wanted to see how outstanding a Shrek Academy student was. If not, he wouldn’t have bothered with Wang Shaojie’s matter.
Huo Yuhao appeared very young indeed. However, Xu Mochen could sense that he wasn’t that simple. He didn’t panic, not even in front of so many people. Although he did make some threats, he didn’t curse after he was hit by Wang Shaojie. He was very calm and composed. This surely meant that he had some form of backer.
As he thought till here, he developed another idea. He instructed one of his subordinates, “Go and inform the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy that we have a student called Huo Yuhao assisting us with an investigation.”
His subordinate was a little puzzled. However, he didn’t dare to question his orders, and went about doing what he was told.
Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “It’s always nice to make friends with intellectuals. How should I address you?”
Xu Mochen laughed. “Young man, it seems like you’re not anxious at all! However, you don’t belong to the Sun Moon Empire. No matter who your backer is, I can’t return empty- handed this time. You touched a member of the imperial family, and I must teach you a lesson for doing so. Let’s see whether your backer will get here quickly enough. If your backer arrives late though, don’t blame me if things get out of hand.”
Huo Yuhao continued to wear a smile on his face. “I can tell that you’re not that close to Wang Shaojie. It seems he’s not that important to the imperial family either. Why should you seek trouble for yourself? I’m not from the Sun Moon Empire, but I’m a very hot potato. It’s not too late to turn back.”
Xu Mochen’s expression turned abyssmal, and a vicious look ﬂashed in his eyes. “I don’t need you to tell me what to do. Take him away. I want to see what kind of trouble I’ll get into.”
Huo Yuhao didn’t speak out further, and listened to Xu Mochen. He walked out of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy and got onto a luxurious horse-drawn cart. Then they proceeded towards the city center.
“What? Huo Yuhao was taken by the Royal Stewards?” Lin Jiayi was anxious when he heard the news.
“Bang!” He smashed his table. “Nonsense! The Royal Stewards dare to make an arrest in the academy without consulting us? What nonsense is this?”
The member of the Royal Stewards was unbothered by Lin Jiayi’s rage, like Wang Shaojie or Xu Mochen he was also a direct descendant or from a branch family of the imperial family. He snorted, “If you dare, you can talk to our captain. Anyway, I’ve already consulted with you, as ordered.” After he ﬁnished speaking, he turned around and left.
Lin Jiayi didn’t stop him. Huo Yuhao had already been captured; thus, there there was no point in messing with the messenger. He stood behind his desk and pondered for a brief moment. After that, he walked out of his ofﬁce.
Jing Hongchen had once told him how important Huo Yuhao was. Informing him not to allow Huo Yuhao to suffer from any indignation or harm, apart from preventing him to learn anything substantial in the academy. It hasn’t been easy for him. He was a little enraged when he found out that Xuan Ziwen had sent Huo Yuhao out for training without informing him. Fortunately, Huo Yuhao returned safely.
But who knew that he would be captured the day after he returned? Wang Shaojie must be fooling around!
Lin Jiayi was a Class 8 soul engineer, but he couldn’t offend the Royal Stewards. After all, the Royal Stewards members all had complicated backgrounds. That was why he quickly rushed to the Illustrious Virtue Hall. He had to report this to Jing Hongchen right away. He knew that Jing Hongchen’s precious grandchildren were involved in this exchange.
“What? Huo Yuhao has been captured by the Royal Stewards?” Ju Zi exclaimed.
Ke Ke nodded and revealed a fearful expression. “It must be Wang Shaojie’s doing. I heard about it from an imperial family
member in a lower grade. It’s true. Ju Zi, what do we do?”
Ju Zi’s eyes ﬂashed with a cold light, “Royal Stewards? It would be Xu Mochen. Hmph, just a Xu Mochen. I’m going to make a trip.” As she spoke, she had already rushed out like a gust of wind. She immediately unleashed her ﬂying-type soul tool and ﬂew into the sky, leaving the dormitory. She ﬂew towards the central area of the academy.
Illustrious Virtue Hall.
Jing Hongchen was admiring the hundred thousand year soul embryo quietly. He already had nine rings, and didn’t need it for himself, but his grandson needed it! Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen were extremely precious to him. He had evem organized the exchange so that they could learn something from Shrek Academy. After all, the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy couldn’t compare to Shrek Academy in terms of nurturing soul masters.
“Hallmaster.” Lin Jiayi rushed in hurriedly.
“Rascal! Why didn’t you knock!?” Jing Hongchen was furious.
Lin Jiayi knelt down on one knee frantically. “Hallmaster, Huo Yuhao has been captured by the Royal Stewards.”
“What?” Jing Hongchen’s eyes widened in shock. “Royal Stewards? What’s going on?”
Lin Jiayi was aware of the conﬂict between Huo Yuhao and Wang Shaojie. He was aware that Huo Yuhao had knocked Wang Shaojie out for several days with his spiritual-type soul skill. Xuan Ziwen had approached him regarding this matter.
Lin Jiayi recounted everything to Jing Hongchen immediately.
Jing Hongchen’s expression turned extremely dismal after hearing his words. “Are the Royal Stewards trying to rebel? How dare they arrest someone in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy! Who’s backing them? I will deal with them on behalf of His Majesty. Let’s go!” He walked out of the room as he ﬁnished speaking..
Lin Jiayi warned him, “Hallmaster, I’m afraid that you must hurry. The Royal Stewards have resorted to underhanded methods. I fear that Huo Yuhao might already…”
“Alright.” A cold light ﬂashed in Jing Hongchen’s eyes. He was obviously furious. He wasn’t concerned about Huo Yuhao’s life, but it was imperative that nothing happen to a Shrek exchange student in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. This would most certainly get his grandchildren into trouble. He didn’t think that Huo Yuhao was a brilliant soul engineer. He only insisted that Huo Yuhao join the exchange because he needed someone as collateral against his grandchildren here in the academy.
At the same time, he was well-aware of Huo Yuhao’s signiﬁcance to Shrek Academy. He had an Ultimate martial soul, and twin martial souls on top of that! Jing Hongchen coveted him. However, he had learned that he couldn’t buy Huo Yuhao when he ﬁrst met Huo Yuhao beside Elder Mu.
“If something really happens to Huo Yuhao…” Jing Hongchen was afraid to imagine any further. It wasn’t just a matter of whether his grandchildren would return. He was afraid that all of Shrek Academy might turn violent and clash
with the Sun Moon Empire. They might even attack the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy!
He had been to Shrek Academy before. There was an abundance of powerful individuals there! Even the Body Sect had been forced to retreat, and he had been forced to leave a Class 9 soul tool behind before he was allowed to return.
On the surface, he wasn’t willing to admit his fear of Shrek Academy. However, he was truly terriﬁed of them. Shrek Academy had a long history! They didn’t earn their name as the top academy on the continent for nothing. Shrek Academy possessed great sway within the three empires of the Douluo Continent, and even the Sun Moon Empire didn’t dare to act recklessly when it came to them.
Sun Moon Empire’s Imperial Palace..
Ju Zi retracted her wings and descended around a thousand meters away from the imperial palace. She had no choice but to do so, as ﬂying above the Radiant City was prohibited,
especially in the central region. The Soul Engineer Guards stopped her in the air and demanded that she land immediately.
Ju Zi retrieved a dark gold writ. There was a ﬂaming dragon carved onto it.
The Soul Engineer Guards immediately knelt when they saw this writ and bowed respectfully.
Ju Zi ignored them, and quickly ran towards the imperial palace.
“Nothing must happen to him. Nothing must happen to him.”
She was well-aware of the Royal Stewards’ underhanded tactics. Even though he had just been arrested, Huo Yuhao was unlikely to come out unharmed.
She held the ﬂaming dragon writ in her hand as she ran. When she reached the gates of the imperial palace, no one
dared to stop her. All the guards knelt and bowed to her, showing how powerful her writ was.
This eight-clawed ﬂaming dragon writ had great signiﬁcance. She was allowed free access to practically the entire imperial palace.
She passed the main pavilion of the imperial palace and started to run towards the internal regions of the imperial palace with the speed of great familiarity. She kept on holding the writ so that she wouldn’t be stopped or questioned, moving as fast as possible.
She reached a certain pavilion after running for almost ten minutes. Her pace only slowed when she reached this pavilion.
The guards at the door didn’t kneel upon seeing her. One of them smiled as he approached her, saying, “Miss Ju Zi, you’re here. His Highness is reading in the study room.”
“Okay, thanks. I need to see His Highness.”
“Alright, follow me.” The guard didn’t dare to delay her, and immediately guided Ju Zi inside. Ju Zi also put the eight- clawed ﬂaming dragon writ away.
The guard brought her to a study room in a side pavilion to the left, immediately reporting news of her arrival.
Ju Zi took in a deep breath and tried her best to calm down. She knew that she was about to meet someone as intelligent as herself. If she wasn’t prudent, she was bound to give herself away.
“Ju Zi is here? Ask her to come in. Didn’t I instruct you to let her in when she comes? There’s no need to inform me at all.”
The gate of the side pavilion opened, and an attendant rushed out frantically. He bowed towards Ju Zi respectfully, and gestured for her to enter the pavilion.
Ju Zi took small steps into this side pavilion.
The pavilion was elegantly decorated, but didn’t lose its sense of simplicity. There were many eight-clawed ﬂaming dragon patterns on the decorations and furniture. There was a young man in white seated behind the study table. He looked at her with a gentle gaze.
This young man seemed to be in his late twenties.
His attire was very simple, and his eyes were full of energy. Although he wasn’t very handsome, he had the aura of an authoritative ﬁgure. His tanned skin revealed a healthy glow.
“Greetings to Your Highness.” Ju Zi hurried a few steps forward and knelt.
The youth in white waved her off, and a gentle strand of soul power lifted her. “Alright, you don’t have to be so formal in front of me. Your heartbeat is irregular. Did something happen?”
Ju Zi had been anxious before she entered, but was much calmer now. She said in a deep voice, “Your Highness, an opportunity has arisen. We need to seize it.”
“Oh?” The youth in white was curious as he asked, “What opportunity?”
Ju Zi answered, “It’s like this: one of my fellow students under Teacher Xuan is Wang Shaojie, a young man from a branch family of the imperial family. He was involved in a ﬁght with a Shrek Academy exchange student several days ago. Not long ago, Teacher Xuan sent me and Ke Ke to experiment on the all-terrain exploration soul tool with this exchange student. From my observations, this Shrek student is extraordinary.”
The prince appeared to be interested. “What do you mean?”
Ju Zi answered, “This person has twin martial souls. There’s never been anyone with twin martial souls in the Sun Moon Empire.”
“Interesting.” The young man in white gestured for Ju Zi to continue.
Ju Zi said, “From what I know, Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen are also involved in the exchange of students with Shrek. You should know their importance to the Hallmaster. This exchange student also holds a similarly important position in Shrek. Wang Shaojie called for the Royal Stewards
this morning, and arrested this exchange student. If the Hallmaster is to learn of this…”
The prince immediately comprehended what she was saying. “It’s not a simple matter if the Hallmaster is involved. And your idea is?”
Ju Zi replied, “The Hallmaster holds an important position in the Sun Moon Empire. Many imperial family members want to get close to him, but His Majesty once ordered that no imperial family member should have any contact with the Illustrious Virtue Hall. No one dares to go against this edict.”
The princenodded and said, “I am under the same restrictions.”
Ju Zi continued to speak, “The Royal Stewards have been too brazen over these past few years. Regardless of the fact that a Shrek Academy exchange student is involved, they should’ve
informed us before making an arrest. The Hallmaster should be enraged. While it’s not convenient for you to pay a visit to the Hallmaster, I believe that the Hallmaster will remember you if you can settle this matter before it blows up.”
The prince revealed a look of approval. “Very good, Ju Zi. You’re getting smarter and smarter. Your observation is very keen this time around. Come on, follow me to ﬁnd the Royal Stewards. Their captain is Xu Mochen, am I right? This rascal is getting too arrogant. It’s time to deal with him.”
Ju Zi quickly walked behind the prince. The sound of wheels rotating could be heard, and the young man was pushed out.
Yes, this young man was seated in a wheelchair. He had practically no legs at all.
While he might be a cripple, he was the Sun Moon Empire’s Crown Prince, the heir apparent of the Sun Moon Empire.
Ju Zi met Xu Tianran after her parents died and she became a vagabond. Xu Tianran wasn’t crippled back then. He adopted
her and sent her to the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy to study.
Ju Zi didn’t let Xu Tianran down. Her cultivation grew quickly as she cultivated tirelessly. Xu Tianran trusted her a lot due to their special relationship, while Ju Zi was also very loyal towards him.
When Xu Tianran was ambushed, Ju Zi took two stabs in her back to protect him, and was almost killed. Although it was a huge blow to Xu Tianran, Ju Zi became his conﬁdante. He trusted Ju Zi completely, and was also aware of Ju Zi’s deep hatred towards the Star Luo Empire. He had always admired Ju Zi’s composure and decisiveness.
Xu Tianran’s position in the Sun Moon Empire’s imperial family was very stable. It was almost a certainty that he would succeed the throne. However, he became a cripple after that surprise ambush, which caused his status in the imperial family to fall. After all, such a thing would have a great impact on any ruler of an empire.
However, Xu Tianran remained resolute and bore the pain, using all sorts of methods to dispel everyone’s doubts. He even
tracked down the mastermind behind the ambush, who turned out to be one of his brothers.
No one knew how Xu Tianran managed to track him down, but this brother of his was cut to pieces in his own palace. That entire palace was washed with blood.
From then on, no one dared to doubt him because of his condition. He managed to preserve his position of Crown Prince.
Over the past few years, the emperor’s physical condition had been deteriorating, and he was often bedridden. The brothers of Xu Tianran who were qualiﬁed to become the Sun Moon Emperor’s successor started to make their moves. They even brought up the issue of his disability.
However, Xu Tianran was very calm, and never acted against them. No one dared to underestimate him, however. He was still the favorite to succeed the throne.
Ju Zi wheeled Xu Tianran out of his pavilion, and his guards quickly followed.
The Royal Stewards’ headquarters was in the imperial palace. Although it was merely in a corner of the palace, the location demonstrated its pertinence to the imperial family.
“Ju Zi, how’s your cultivation?” Xu Tianran asked gently.
Ju Zi replied, “My progress has been slow. After I became a Class 5 soul engineer, my mastery seems to have reached a bottleneck. My soul power increases very slowly, and taking medicine doesn’t seem to help. Although my research of soul tools continues to see improvements, my soul power has stagnated. I’m conﬁdent of making it into the Illustrious Virtue Hall, but I’m afraid I’ll need three to ﬁve years before I can become a Class 6 soul engineer. It will take even longer as I progress.”
Xu Tianran smiled and said, “It’s okay, Ju Zi. Do you know something? I like your honesty. There’s hardly anyone who’s as honest as you around me, no matter how close they are to me.”
Ju Zi lowered her head and said, “You gave me my life, and everything that I have. I…”
Xu Tianran shrugged and said, “Let’s not bring that up. You repaid the favor when you took two knives meant for me. Ju Zi, my father’s condition has been deteriorating. I don’t think he has much longer to live. If you think that your development as a soul engineer is too slow, I hope that you can consider leaving the academy to help me. Didn’t you always want revenge? I’ll let you join the military. I’ll slowly transfer the trump card I have in the military to you and let you strut your stuff.”
“What? You can’t do that. Your Highness, I’m… I’m not up to it,” Ju Zi said hurriedly. An anxious look appeared in her eyes. However, a tinge of happiness also ﬂashed through the depths of her eyes in that instant.
Xu Tianran patted the hand that she had placed on the wheelchair and sighed. “How can I lead the military in this condition? The military is a force that every emperor must be able to control. You’re the person I trust the most. I’d be relieved to hand the military to you.”
Xu Tianran said, “You’re only lacking in terms of your aura. But your intelligence and military knowledge are great. You’re also well-versed in soul tools. I trust you completely. I’ll gradually let you enter the core circle of my military forces. I’ll tell them that you’ll be my wife, the wife of the Crown Prince, as well as the future Empress.”
“Your Highness!” Ju Zi exclaimed and stopped pushing the wheelchair. Although she was anxious to save Huo Yuhao, she couldn’t reveal her intention.
She knelt down in front of the wheelchair.“Your Highness, I’m not worthy!”
Xu Tianran smiled and caressed her head. He said, “How are you not ﬁt? In my heart, this has nothing to do with the bigger picture or to enable me to succeed the throne. I need to have a wife. But this person must be someone I can trust. You are aware of my condition, and you’re also the only person I trust completely. I’ll give you a proper status and authority. Your only role is to help me stabilize my throne. I’ll give you the strength to seek your vengeance, and the encouragement to go ahead with your revenge. I’ve no intentions other than to rule the entire continent. I’ll make the Sun Moon Empire glorious,
and the continent will depend on us once again.” As he spoke these words, his calm gaze became passionate.
Ju Zi bit her lower lip lightly. She was probably the only one who understood Xu Tianran in this world. The injuries he had sustained hadn’t just effected his legs; his manly capabilities were affected too. Ju Zi had waited for a long time for this day. Without Xu Tianran, how could she exact revenge? However, she was truly loyal to Xu Tianran, too.
It was just that Xu Tianran didn’t know that someone else had appeared in Ju Zi’s heart over the past half month.
“Alright, let’s rush over. Otherwise, the Royal Stewards will really cause a huge headache for everyone.” Xu Tianran extended his hand to lift Ju Zi up. Ju Zi was grateful, and moved behind him again. She pushed his wheelchair along quickly.
The Royal Stewards’ ofﬁce was in the imperial city. Although it was in a corner, it was quite large.
Those who could become Royal Stewards were basically related to the imperial family. However, not many of them were direct descendants of the imperial family. Direct descendants usually had better options, especially the sons of the current emperor. Besides Xu Tianran, the rest were also given titles as princes. Even those who didn’t qualify to ﬁght
for the throne had their own land, and those who were
qualiﬁed had their private mansions in the Radiant City.
Xu Mochen’s background was one of the best of the Royal Stewards. He controlled the entire organization.
“Go in.” One of the Soul Kings pushed Huo Yuhao. Huo Yuhao stumbled and almost fell, but he managed to enter the ofﬁce.
The place was nicely and elegantly decorated. It was constructed like a palace hall.
Xu Mochen shot some looks at his subordinates and said, “Bring him to the interrogation room. Grill him about how he harmed a member of the imperial family.”
One of Xu Mochen’s subordinates rubbed his palms together and said, “Captain, leave it to me.” He dragged Huo Yuhao to the back, accompanied by the others.
Huo Yuhao was still handcuffed, and didn’t resist. He didn’t utter a word, and let them push him.
The interrogation room naturally wasn’t a good place to be. It was in the backyard and, appeared to be a simple room. But when the door opened, a bloody smell wafted out.
Huo Yuhao was pushed into this room. There were all types of torture equipment in the interrogation room. Huo Yuhao didn’t even recognize many of them.
“Tie him to the Dragoncarving Pillar.” One of the soul emperors gestured, and two soul kings immediately brought Huo Yuhao in front of a steel rack.
This steel rack looked a little weird. It had the shape of a cross, with many holes in it. Huo Yuhao’s handcuffs were separated, but this didn’t affect the restraint on his soul power. The two Soul Kings tied him to the cross directly.
The rack was extremely cold, and reeked of blood.
Huo Yuhao’s pupils started to shrink.
Although the handcuffs could restrain his soul power, they couldn’t restrain his spiritual power. His Spiritual Detection might be more difﬁcult to use without the support of his soul power, but he was still able to detect up to a certain range.
He instantly understood what this rack was supposed to do. There were metal spikes in each of the holes. These spikes were three inches long, and were positioned at very precise spots. These spots weren’t located at a person’s vital areas. It meant that the person controlling this rack could nail Huo Yuhao’s entire body to the rack without killing him instantly.
“Young fellow, I suggest that you be honest. Tell us everything you need to tell us.” The soul emperor who had
issued the order sat behind a table and looked at Huo Yuhao apathetically. The rest also stood to the side. Someone took a pen and paper and was about to record the details of the interrogation. Xu Mochen didn’t enter the interrogation room. No one knew where he had gone.
Huo Yuhao answered, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The soul emperor said coldly, “You don’t know? Tell us how you harmed Wang Shaojie and caused him to sustain critical injuries. If you deny it, don’t blame us for torturing you.”
Huo Yuhao laughed, and wore a mocking look on his face. “If I tell you what you demand just like this, wouldn’t that just give you a better reason to torture me? Since you’re going to torture me anyway, why do I have to give you a better reason to do so? I’m going to give you a suggestion: don’t touch me. Otherwise, you’ll suffer.”
Huo Yuhao wasn’t anxious or afraid of these people. He just didn’t want to make things any worse. He had heard Xu Mochen instructing his subordinate to inform the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy of his arrest. He believed
that the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy and Illustrious Virtue Hall had to protect him. Otherwise, they couldn’t bear the results.
“It seems like you won’t open your mouth unless we show you what we’re capable of. Number Four, show him the might of the Dragoncarving Pillar. Let him feel what it’s like to have your skin torn and repeatedly cut.”
The youngest soul king came up to the Dragoncarving Pillar and laughed creepily.
“Second brother, is it time to start? I’ve not heard someone screaming on this rack for a long time. The splattering of blood is a beautiful sight, indeed. Eighty-one spikes piercing different parts of the body before turning and moving in place. It’s beautiful.”
Huo Yuhao clenched his ﬁsts tightly and said coldly, “Have you really considered it carefully?”
The soul king was hostile. “Young fellow, you still dare to threaten us in the interrogation room?
Number four laughed viciously, and his right hand grabbed hold of the switch behind him. He pressed it down, and a piercing, rumbling sound ﬁlled the room. The spikes started to extend from the holes on the Dragoncarving Pillar.
Chapter 170: Injury! Death! A Human Heart
The Dragoncarving Pillar was a vicious torturing tool. The spikes didn’t pierce out instantly. Rather, they stabbed out slowly, penetrating one’s skin bit by bit. It was designed to prolong the victim’s suffering.
However, the Royal Stewards didn’t hear Huo Yuhao screaming. A layer of golden-red light came out from Huo Yuhao’s body the moment the spikes touched him. The spikes were stopped, and couldn’t pierce his skin.
The sudden appearance of the golden-red light caused the Royal Stewards to be shocked. They unleashed their martial souls in response.
“Impossible! How can he still use a soul skill even after being cuffed by the Dragonbinding Seal? Wait, it’s just a soul tool.”
Second Brother revealed a terriﬁed look on his face.
Although he wasn’t a soul engineer, he was still familiar with soul tools as a member of the Sun Moon Empire’s imperial family. The Dragonbinding Seal was very effective in restraining a soul master. If Huo Yuhao is able to activate his soul tool even though his soul power is being restrained by the Dragonbinding Seal, then it means that his soul tool’s class is higher than the Dragonbinding Seal. The Dragonbinding Seal was a Class 6 soul tool, so what class was Huo Yuhao’s defensive soul tool?
Even at this point, these arrogant Royal Stewards still didn’t realize anything was amiss with this situation. Their eyes brightened, greed starting to ﬁll them.
Even if Huo Yuhao was only using a Class 7 defensive soul tool, it would still be worth a huge price on the market. Even if they divided the money, they would beneﬁt greatly. While they were Royal Stewards, their salary wasn’t too high. In addition, they weren't all direct descendants of the imperial family, which made their statuses very awkward in the imperial city. They obtained all their money through ill-gotten gains abusing their authority as Royal Stewards.
“You still dare to resist?” Second Brother snorted, “Even if your defensive soul tool is a higher class than the
Dragonbinding Seal, your soul power is limited. We’ll see how long you can hold on. When your soul power is ﬁnally depleted, the spikes will pierce through your body, and you’ll be torn apart instantly.”
Huo Yuhao sighed in his heart. One could be spared from Heaven’s misdoings, but one couldn’t live from his own sins! Huo Yuhao didn’t want to cause any trouble, but they were just too underhanded. If he allowed them to torture him as they pleased, he might not survive until help arrived. It seemed like he still had to take care of them in the end.
Huo Yuhao’s eyes turned golden as he pondered.
As a spiritual-type soul master, how could he be so easily restrained by others? Not to mention, Hongchen’s Blessing completely overpowered the Dragonbinding Seal. This meant that this Class 6 soul tool could barely even restrict him. Furthermore, the main skills of his Spirit Eyes used spiritual power. In this way, it was completely possible for him to still use his Spirit Eye’s soul skills. It was even easier for him to break free from this Dragoncarving Pillar.
Huo Yuhao unleashed his immense physical strength. As they said, he couldn’t allow his soul power to continue depleting. With the Imitation skill active, the Royal Stewards couldn’t even tell that Huo Yuhao’s soul rings were out, let alone shining. His fourth soul ring lit up now.
Just when he was about to use Spiritual Confusion to create an opening, the golden light in his eyes disappeared. Even the golden-red light barrier protecting him, was retracted.
He groaned, and the spikes made holes all over his chest, back, and legs. Blood splattered everywhere. Not only this, but Huo Yuhao’s struggle caused the healing wounds on his back to tear open once more. He was instantly bathed in blood.
Second Brother was stunned for a moment, while Old Four couldn’t help but laugh out loud. “An I thought you were tough for a moment there! It seems like you’re just as useless as we initially thought you were! We’ve done you in.”
Huo Yuhao tolerated the intense pain coming from his back.
There was a mischievous look in his eyes right now.
“Who’s going to stop me?” A loud, furious roar sounded out, causing the entire place to shake from its echoes.
The few people in the interrogation room were stunned. Following this, a boom sounded, and the door was kicked open.
A gloomy-looking Jing Hongchen barged in with Lin Jiayi.
When Jing Hongchen saw the state of Huo Yuhao, his pupils shrank.
“Old fellow, just who do you think you are? How dare you cause trouble here?” Old Four was far too arrogant, and didn’t bother to think about just who could barge in here like this.
However, Jing Hongchen’s eyes were already ﬁlled with killing intent before he’d even ﬁnished speaking. He made a pulling motion with his right hand, and a powerful suction force dragged Old Four over.
Seeing that things weren't going well, Second Brother leapt towards Jing Hongchen along with the other Royal Stewards.
“Scram!” Jing Hongchen roared, and a gust of milky-white gas blew the ﬁve of them away. Jing Hongchen’s nine soul rings appeared at this point.
“Titled Douluo…” Second Brother exclaimed. Although he was in physical pain, from hitting the corner of the wall, he was more affected by the shock of what he just experienced.
The Sun Moon Empire couldn’t compare to the Star Luo Empire in terms of the quantity of their Titled Douluo. While Titled Douluo were highly-regarded in every empire, this was especially so for the Sun Moon Empire. No matter how arrogant the Royal Stewards were, they didn’t dare to offend a Titled Douluo!
Lin Jiayi had rushed to Huo Yuhao by now and stopped the Dragoncarving Pillar. He was shocked as he saw Huo Yuhao’s bloody body. He quickly retrieved a small white jade bottle from his storage-type soul tool. After a moment’s hesitation, he took out an azure-green pill and stuffed it into Huo Yuhao’s
mouth. Then he released Huo Yuhao from the Dragoncarving Pillar.
Jing Hongchen furrowed his brow. If their statuses weren’t high, he would’ve killed them all. However, they were Royal Stewards, and had some close ties with the imperial family. He couldn’t slaughter them.
He took a few steps towards Huo Yuhao and asked, “How are you?”
Huo Yuhao looked a little pale, but his calm demeanor left Jing Hongchen uncomfortable. Jing Hongchen rather wished he would kick up a fuss. A chill rose in Jing Hongchen’s heart as he watched Huo Yuhao.
“I just didn’t think that the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy would be unable to protect its own students.” While Huo Yuhao didn’t sound very angry or upset, his words struck right at Jing Hongchen’s heart.
Jing Hongchen’s wrath was stirred, and he unwittingly clenched his ﬁst tightly. His obstinate and self-opinionated
personality had always been his weak point. Huo Yuhao didn’t make this astute observation. Rather, this was the verdict of Shrek Academy after they’d studied him for years.
“Let’s return before we speak. The academy will give you a satisfactory explanation regarding this matter.” Jing Hongchen suppressed his fury before turning away. Lin Jiayi hurriedly slung Huo Yuhao’s arm over his shoulder and helped him out of the interrogation room.
The pill Lin Jiayi fed Huo Yuhao was indeed extraordinary. A warm feeling engulfed Huo Yuhao’s entire body. He could clearly sense the pain receding as the warmth circulated through his body. The bleeding wounds quickly healed, and even his soul power was restored.
However, a voice sounded from outside before Jing Hongchen could walk out of the interrogation room. “The Crown Prince arrives.”
Jing Hongchen was stunned. He was very confused, but he stopped in his tracks. Although he wasn’t involved in court politics, he was still aware of the powers of the princes’. The Royal Stewards weren’t under the Crown Prince, but were
instead supported by the Third Prince. The prince that controlled the imperial clan, Xu Mochen’s father, was the Third Prince’s strongest supporter.
“Go back into the interrogation room.” Xu Tianran said slowly.
“Greetings to Your Highness.” Xu Mochen couldn’t remain silent anymore.
Xu Mochen knew that things had gone terribly wrong when Jing Hongchen had barged in. How could he not recognize the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall? Huo Yuhao didn’t exaggerate his importance in the slightest. Xu Mochen could roughly guess what it meant for Jing Hongchen to come here personally.
However, he didn’t reveal himself when that happened. He didn’t enter the interrogation room because he wanted to leave himself a way out. Jing Hongchen had come too suddenly, and he couldn’t count on his subordinates to have found anything substantial. He just hoped that Huo Yuhao wasn’t harmed too badly. Otherwise, it would be very troublesome for him. If Huo Yuhao wasn’t hurt too bad he was just going to play ignorant.
Without enough evidence on him, Jing Hongchen couldn’t touch him easily. After all, he believed he was standing on the side of reason.
But who knew that the Crown Prince Xu Tianran would arrive before Jing Hongchen had even left?
Xu Mochen could ignore Jing Hongchen, but he deﬁnitely couldn’t ignore Xu Tianran.
Xu Tianran looked at Xu Mochen with a gentle gaze in his eyes and said, “Mochen, rise. We’re all from the same family. You don’t have to be so ceremonious. I heard from Ju Zi that you arrested one of her classmates. Can you give me some face and let them go?”
Xu Mochen would never underestimate Xu Tianran just because he was being so courteous. On the contrary, he was keenly aware of Xu Tianran’s methods. When the Second Prince had tried to have Xu Tianren assassinated, he failed, and only left him with a disability.
After Xu Tianran returned however, he remained patient for a short while then erupted in fury. He captured the Second Prince and his charges in one fell swoop. Eventually, the Second Prince died a horrible death, and Xu Tianran reafﬁrmed his position as the Crown Prince even though he
was disabled. This showed how frightening Xu Tianran was.
“That won’t be a problem.” Xu Mochen wasn't qualiﬁed to bicker with Xu Tianran. Even his master, the Third Prince, wouldn't dare to do so. Usually Xu Tianran would never bow down to anyone, unless his father was around.
Xu Mochen was cursing Wang Shaojie in his heart now. Not only did the arrest attract the attention of the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall, it drove the Crown Prince to pay a visit in person! This wasn’t looking likely to be resolved easily.
The door of the interrogation room opened. A gloomy- looking Jing Hongchen walked out, with Lin Jiayi and Huo Yuhao following behind him.
When Ju Zi saw Huo Yuhao covered in blood, her footsteps stiffened slightly and her expression tensed up. However, she tried her best to restrain her emotions. She understood Xu Tianran. If she came off as overly passionate towards Huo Yuhao, then Huo Yuhao was likely to get in trouble. Ju Zi was more than well-aware that in Xu Tianran’s mind, she belonged to him.
“Greetings to Your Highness,” Jing Hongchen called out, but only nodded his head. What was his status? In the Sun Moon Empire, he was equivalent to a Grand Advisor. Even the
current emperor treated him with respect, and wouldn’t demand that he stick to formalities.
Xu Tianran bowed slightly seated in his wheelchair, “Greetings, Hallmaster. I’m disabled, and it’s slightly inconvenient for me to fully pay my respects. Please forgive me for this.”
Jing Hongchen didn’t expect Xu Tianran to be so formal. He knew a little about Xu Tianran, and regarded him very highly. Not only was he ambitious, but he had ways to get things done too. If he succeeded the throne, he was bound to bring prosperity to the Sun Moon Empire.
However, a surprise attack left the Crown Prince disabled. This made Jing Hongchen a little hesitant. Even with his prominent position in the Sun Moon Empire, the price to pay for supporting the wrong side was very hefty. That was why he decided to watch from the sidelines. Whoever succeeded the throne in the end would need his support regardless. All he needed to do was wait.
“Crown Prince, you don’t have to be so ceremonious.” Jing Hongchen gestured.
Xu Tianran was concerned as he looked at Huo Yuhao. He said, “Hallmaster, I heard from Ju Zi that her classmate was arrested by the Royal Stewards. Which was why I rushed over. The Royal Stewards have become too brazen. They even dare to arrest a student from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. From your expression, I can tell that they didn’t even inform you before doing so.”
Although Xu Tianran’s words sounded very peaceful, they caused Xu Mochen to curse in his heart. The back of his shirt was drenched in perspiration from stress.
Jing Hongchen had already been provoked once by Huo Yuhao earlier. Now hearing the Crown Prince’s words, his expression turned even gloomier.
He answered coldly, “You’re right. No one seems to respect the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy nowadays. Your Highness, I shouldn’t comment on such matters since I don’t belong in the imperial palace. However, I think that there might be an overdue reorganization of the Royal Stewards in order.”
While he was speaking, Second Brother, Old Four and the rest had walked out from the interrogation room. When they saw Xu Tianran, and listened to how he addressed Jing Hongchen, they realized that they were in big trouble. They didn’t dare to speak out, just from the sheer terror.
Xu Tianran nodded his head slightly. “Hallmaster, I’ve not been strict enough on them. I’ll give you an answer for this now.” As he spoke, he pointed at Second Brother and the rest, then he said, “Kill them.”
Two very simple words, but they carried a strong murderous intent and aura. A ﬁgure appeared from behind Xu Tianran. It rushed towards Second Brother and the others like a specter.
Even Jing Hongchen ﬂinched at the strong killing intent being exuded. In the next moment, that ﬁgure had already returned behind Xu Tianran.
The ﬁgure belonged to a very feeble seeming elder. He only wore the standard attire of a palace attendant. Initially no one had noticed him. His thin ﬁgure looked as if he could collapse at any time.
Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. Five groans sounded, starting from Second Brother. One Soul Emperor and four Soul Kings collapsed. A stream of blood ﬂowing from each of their foreheads, like their foreheads had been struck.
“Shadow Douluo, Xue Chen?” Jing Hongchen was stunned as he looked towards the feeble elder in disbelief.
Xu Mochen was stunned as well. He didn’t expect that the Crown Prince was so merciless. Before giving him a chance to explain, his ﬁve competent subordinates were killed.
It’s important to know that Soul Kings were crucial to an empire. It wasn’t a small matter to kill ﬁve of them in one go, as it was likely to cause a commotion in the imperial court. But this Crown Prince did it like it was nothing. A chill ran down Xu Mochen’s spine. In addition, he only now found out that there was a Titled Douluo under the Crown Prince!
The elder slowly lifted his head and smiled at Jing Hongchen, “Hallmaster, it’s been a while. I didn’t expect that you would remember me.”
Jing Hongchen’s shock had already disappeared by then. He smiled and replied, “How can I not remember you? When you became a Titled Douluo, I was still stagnant at the Soul Douluo level. I didn’t expect that after more than ten years you’d enter the imperial city.”
Xue Chen answered him, “This is not the place to speak. I’ll pay you a visit when we return. We can catch up then.” After he ﬁnished speaking, he lowered his head behind Xu Tianran again. He looked just like a loyal servant.
The ground was long since stained red with fresh blood. However, Xu Tianran didn’t even glance at the mess. He smiled at Jing Hongchen. “Hallmaster, are you satisﬁed with this answer?”
Jing Hongchen furrowed his brow and bowed to him slightly. He said, “This is an internal matter. I don’t dare to comment. My student is gravely injured, so if Your Highness has no other instructions for me, I shall return ﬁrst.”
Xu Tianran nodded his head slightly and said, “Please do, Hallmaster. In my eyes, you’ll always be a respected elder. You don’t have to be so formal with me.”
Jing Hongchen nodded and walked out. Lin Jiayi followed behind him, supporting Huo Yuhao.
Xu Tianran turned his head to look at Xu Mochen now. He said, “Mochen! At times, you will have to pay the price for standing on the wrong side. Please tell uncle that. Let’s go.” After he ﬁnished, he gestured behind him, and Ju Zi immediately pushed his wheelchair to the exit. His servants followed. After what Xue Chen had done earlier, who dared to underestimate the servants of Xu Tianran?
Ju Zi heaved a sigh of relief. Although Huo Yuhao’s grave injuries broke her heart, given Jing Hongchen’s reaction, she reckoned that he should be ﬁne.
Jing Hongchen would’ve gone berserk if Huo Yuhao had died at the hands of the Royal Stewards. No one in the Sun Moon Empire would have been able to stop him, not that anyone was likely to interfere in this matter.
However, Ju Zi was secretly impressed with the Crown Prince. He’d settled the matter decisively, and exploited Jing Hongchen’s presence to get rid of ﬁve competent cronies under
the Third Prince. He even dealt a harsh blow to Xu Mochen. He sold Jing Hongchen a favor and dragged him into the situation.
It didn’t matter whether Jing Hongchen admitted or denied anything. Things would still sound the same when this matter spread. Everyone would believe that the Crown Prince had killed a few people because he wanted to appease the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall.
Ju Zi was relieved that Xu Tianran didn’t pay too much attention to Huo Yuhao. It might’ve been because of his injuries, but this was what Ju Zi wanted. Otherwise, Huo Yuhao might be at risk in the Sun Moon Empire.
Huo Yuhao was clear-headed throughout the whole ordeal. He had stopped using Hongchen’s Blessing because he could sense Jing Hongchen coming.
He made a judgment call in that instant, considering his options. Right now, there was no one to prove that he’d done some tampering on his own. What was this level of physical pain to him anyway? With the Life’s Gold protection, he didn’t perish even with those injuries in the Jing Yang Mountain Range. These bodily injuries were nothing to him. They may
seem horrible, but they really weren’t that serious. He would only need a day or two to recover.
However, this matter wouldn’t be resolved so easily. Jing Hongchen had to give him an explanation, since he was an exchange student and more importantly, the closed-door disciple of Elder Mu.
Jing Hongchen was in low spirits now. He felt like he’d been set up. Of course, he thought this had nothing to do with Huo Yuhao. It was the Crown Prince’s trap.
If not for the fact that he knew that the Royal Stewards weren’t under the Crown Prince’s management, he might’ve thought that all of this was a scheme set up by Xu Tianran, baiting him into this matter.
He had no choice but to appear given Huo Yuhao’s importance to Shrek Academy. But he immediately ran into a conundrum after acting.
Huo Yuhao was ﬁne. He hadn’t sustained internal injuries even though he was mutilated on the outside. But Jing
Hongchen was still dragged down. He was clearly aware of the Crown Prince’s intentions.
The Third Prince was the closest competitor to the Crown Prince, since he had the support of the prince that controlled the imperial clan. After this matter, the Third Prince was likely to have been angered even though he didn’t dare to say anything. What a Xu Tianran! It was no wonder that Jing Hongchen had regarded him highly in the past. Even while he was disabled, he remained a determined person. He didn’t lose his sharpness due to his disability.
Jing Hongchen turned back to look at Huo Yuhao, and he became even more depressed. Huo Yuhao was quite an actor, and Jing Hongchen still had to settle his matter. Even as the Dean of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy and the Hallmaster of the Illustrious Virtue Hall, Jing Hongchen didn’t think it was wise to use underhanded methods to deal this. However, it wasn’t that easy to give a proper explanation either.
Huo Yuhao was soon sent to the academy’s inﬁrmary, and Jing Hongchen called for Fan Yu.
Now that he thought about it, Fan Yu hadn’t seen Huo Yuhao for a long time. When he saw Huo Yuhao lying on a bed in the inﬁrmary covered in his own blood, his heart threatened to jump out of his chest. He was shocked, and his blood boiled with rage. He was about to become very, very, violent.
“Teacher Fan Yu, don’t be too agitated. Huo Yuhao is ﬁne. Look, he’s only sustained superﬁcial wounds. Jiayi, explain what happened to Teacher Fan Yu,” Jing Hongchen said gently.
Fan Yu’s eyes burned with fury and he interrupted, “There’s no need to explain anything Hallmaster. I only want to ask you one thing. If Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen were injured like this in Shrek Academy, how would you react? I won’t speak on this further. You should know what to do.” After he ﬁnished speaking, he turned around and left. He didn’t even glance at Huo Yuhao again.
Jing Hongchen was stunned, watching Fan Yu walk away. He was puzzled—Fan Yu was leaving just like that? He didn’t even
bother to listen to an explanation or check up on Huo Yuhao? What?
He didn’t know that, just as Fan Yu was about to erupt, Huo Yuhao used his Spiritual Detection to share his thoughts with Fan Yu. Huo Yuhao also told Fan Yu that he was ﬁne.
Fan Yu’s fury wasn’t a pretense. However, he’d already fully calmed down mentally before he spoke to Jing Hongchen.
“Hallmaster, what should we do?” Lin Jiayi asked anxiously.
Jing Hongchen’s expression was extremely grim, “It’s all that Wang Shaojie’s fault. How dare he lead outsiders to make an arrest in our academy? Expel him immediately. Kick him out of our Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy.”
Lin Jiayi hesitated. “But we don’t have proof that he did it…”
Jing Hongchen was bothered as he interrupted, “Why would I need any proof to expel a student? Follow my instructions.”
“Okay.” Lin Jiayi was petriﬁed. He was an intelligent person, he was able to become the teaching director after all. He could subtly sense something in Jing Hongchen’s words. It seemed like Jing Hongchen had ﬁnally made a decision on the empire’s current situation!
Huo Yuhao’s wounds were hurriedly tended to. When Jing Hongchen found him, it was undeniable that Huo Yuhao was gravely injured. He wasn’t putting on a show. Of course, Jing Hongchen didn’t know that Huo Yuhao had torn the former wounds on his back deliberately, making him appear to be in an even worse state. However, Huo Yuhao controlled his soul power well, and only tore the skin on the surface of his wounds. His muscles were untouched, and he was healing properly. Besides some loss of blood, he wasn’t in much danger.
The few healing-type soul masters in the academy helped him stitch his wounds up and used healing-type soul skills to aid his recovery. His injuries stabilized very quickly.
“How’s his condition?” Jing Hongchen asked a doctor.
“He’s not too injured. He just lost far too much blood. But, we don’t know what could have caused such injuries. It’s a very
complicated wound, and it’s impossible for it to have been inﬂicted by any type of weapon or tool that we know of. We gave him some medicine that boosts his natural blood production. This young man is very ﬁt. We think he’ll see a full recovery within ten to ﬁfteen days.”
Jing Hongchen nodded, and he couldn’t help but think of what Fan Yu had said before leaving. If his grandchildren were in a state like this, what would he do?
“Wake him up for me. I have something for him to hear.” Jing Hongchen instructed.
“Yes.” The doctor took out a small bottle and placed it under Huo Yuhao’s nose.
Huo Yuhao was awake already. But when he inhaled, a burning yet refreshing feeling surged through his nose. He was jolted, and he sneezed before opening his eyes.
“Huo Yuhao, I am Jing Hongchen.” Jing Hongchen stepped to the side of the bed where someone had already placed a
chair for him. He wore a friendly look as he watched Huo Yuhao.
“Greetings, Hallmaster.” Huo Yuhao’s voice was a little hoarse, and he sounded slightly weak too. It was almost like he was actually out of breath.
Jing Hongchen pondered for a moment before he said, “I’m sorry for what happened earlier today. Our academy didn’t do its job to protect you well. The perpetrators who arrested and tortured you have already been punished. Also the academy will toughen up our management, we’ll not let anyone harm you again. I hope that you can forgive us. I extend my deepest apologies to you on behalf of the academy.”
What a man! No wonder Elder Mu always commented that he was a highly adaptable person, one with a hot temper though.
Huo Yuhao shook his head slightly and said, “Hallmaster, you’re not to blame for this. You don’t have to apologize. In addition, the mastermind behind those perpetrators was the man who appeared outside the interrogation room after the incident. He instructed those ﬁve guys to torture me. Honestly, I didn’t expect this to happen either. With the Sun Moon
Imperial Soul Engineering Academy’s current status, I really didn’t think that anyone would be brazen enough to arrest someone in the academy. My injuries aren’t an issue. They’re nothing for a soul master like me.”
“However, I’ve hoped to learn something from the exchange. I’ve been in the academy for some time now, but I’ve learned nothing apart from some basic theories. I’ll only lose more time because of this delay.”
Jing Hongchen was secretly hateful. Huo Yuhao might be young, but he was a cunning one. He was using these words to corner Jing Hongchen. However, Jing Hongchen had no choice but to bear with it if he wanted his grandchildren to be safe at Shrek Academy.
After pondering for a moment, Jing Hongchen said, “The captain of the Royal Stewards, Xu Mochen, is responsible, he is the son of a prince in the imperial clan. I have no real authority over him, but I’ll make him apologize to you personally. The academy also has to bear some of the responsibility for this incident. From now onwards, you can bring back all the materials you use for creating soul tools from the academy, free of charge. However, this doesn’t include blueprints or formation arrays. You don’t have to be tested either. When you
recover, ask Xuan Ziwen to bring you into the Illustrious Virtue Hall. I hope this will help you progress and increase your knowledge. Though Elder Mu may have passed away, he’s always been the elder I’ve respected the most. If anyone dares to provoke you in this academy, you must tell me.”
Huo Yuhao revealed a look of gratitude as he realized that one of his objectives was about to be fulﬁlled. “Thank you Hallmaster for granting me these opportunities. I won’t let you down. I’ll study hard.”
Jing Hongchen was irked by Huo Yuhao’s sincere expression. He squeezed out a smile and stood up before saying, “Alright, rest well Huo Yuhao. I’ll ask them to give you the best medicines for your treatment.”
“Okay.” Huo Yuhao nodded his head respectfully.
He didn’t suffer for nothing. Hehe…
His wounds were taken care of, and Huo Yuhao was sent to a ward in the inﬁrmary to rest. He was given the best care due to Jing Hongchen’s concern over his well-being. Even his meals were much better now. Although not quite as good as Shrek Academy’s meals, he was well-nourished.
Even though he didn’t lose as much blood as last time, Huo Yuhao was still tired, because he’d really tried to make the act as real as possible. The stinging pain in his back was greatly relieved with the help of medication, but he became groggy from it.
At this point, the door opened slowly, and someone walked in.
Huo Yuhao was as always, very alert, and he activated his Spiritual Detection. However, he became relieved quickly. It was just Ke Ke.
“Yuhao, Yuhao…” Ke Ke came to his bedside and called to him.
Huo Yuhao was very fatigued at this point. He didn’t want to scam Ke Ke either with his deceits, thus he decided to pretend that he was sleeping.
Ke Ke was furious as she muttered to herself, “Those bastards from the Royal Stewards are too vicious. He’s covered in so many bandages. He must be critically injured! His old injuries haven’t even recovered yet. I really want to teach them a lesson. I want to castrate all of them and make them eunuchs.”
Huo Yuhao was amused, but he held in his laughter. Ke Ke was a very direct person, not scheming at all. She was a good woman.
Ke Ke lowered her head and place her face in front of Huo Yuhao’s to look at him. She loosed a hot breath towards Huo Yuhao’s face, and he almost couldn’t hold it in anymore.
Ke Ke lifted her hand to touch Huo Yuhao’s hair. She sighed, “You’re a little young. Otherwise, I might be interested in you.” As she spoke, she even pinched his face.
Huo Yuhao’s heart beat faster! What did she mean when she said she might be interested in him…?
Ke Ke was in a momentary daze. But, eventually seeing that Huo Yuhao was not going to wake up, she silently left.
Huo Yuhao nearly heaved a sigh of relief. He was afraid she’d continue to wait. He was on the verge of sleeping before, but was jolted awake by her words.
The door opened again at this moment.
Why was she back? Huo Yuhao was a bit annoyed.
However, he soon realized that something was amiss. The choked voice that he heard didn’t belong to Ke Ke.
A ﬁgure came to his side and caressed his hair. Huo Yuhao was more annoyed as he thought, Why do they like to touch my hair? How can they violate a man’s hair so easily?
“Yuhao, I’m sorry. I hurt you. If I didn’t bring them to deal with you, you wouldn’t have problems with Wang Shaojie. You’re injured again, even though you just recovered. It’s my fault…”
Warm tears fell onto Huo Yuhao’s face, but they were soon wiped off by a tender and smooth hand. His heart ﬂuttered a little.
His bed wasn’t huge, and there was barely any excess space with him on the bed. However, Ju Zi still laid beside him on her side and placed her head on his shoulders. She sobbed gently.
Huo Yuhao was even more afraid to move at this point. Ju Zi was a total mystery to him. It was only recently that he realized something about her, it was after he saw Ju Zi with the Crown Prince. While her background was pitiful, she had powers backing her. No wonder she’d mentioned the possibility of meeting him in battle.
Chapter 171: Let's Not Meet Anymore
Huo Yuhao’s feelings for Ju Zi were complicated. He was guarded against her, he pitied her, and he liked her too— particularly when she was taking care of him. He had to admit that in his heart, he saw traces of Ma Xiaotao in Ju Zi. However, Ma Xiaotao was a bad-tempered and straight-talking big sister, while Ju Zi was a warm and quiet older (but younger than Ma Xiaotao) sister.
Through their interactions, he gradually realized that Ju Zi had stopped trying to cover up who she really was in front of him. Huo Yuhao could see that this girl’s heart was ﬁlled with hatred. Her innate kindness was still there, but it was deeply concealed.
“Yuhao, do you know that when I ﬁrst ate your grilled meat, I was completely taken by its taste. Your food reminded me of my father again. I once said that if I were to marry and love someone with all my heart, I would love someone who was a talented chef like my father.
“While you are much younger than me, I’m not afraid to admit that I like you. However, I kept this feeling in the depths
of my heart, because there is no future between us. Regardless of age, experience, or anything else, there is no way we can be together.
“I can tell that you are akin to a prodigy in Shrek Academy. With only four rings, you are able to face off against a Soul Emperor. Furthermore, soul beasts with tens of thousands of years of cultivation could not resist you. You are the most distinguished soul master I have seen. In the future, you will be a powerful entity on the continent. However, do you know that you have a weakness, too? Looking at you objectively and coldly, I can see it better. Your problem is that you are too outstanding, and even if you try your best to hide it, how can you conceal your vast potential as a genius? Sometimes, you have to wait for the waves to quiet down. A step back may give you the peace you want. This is what I want to tell you. If you can do that, then your path in the future will be even more brilliant.
“I hope this is the last time I will cry. Soon, I will leave the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. I don’t know if we will ever meet again in the future, but I hope not. Because I don’t want to face you on the battleﬁeld. I just hope that you can live a good, peaceful, and happy life. Find someone you love and marry her. Have pretty and adorable kids. A normal
life. I know that this peace is impossible for you, but I still wish it for you. How I want to be that woman! But alas, I can’t!
“I have to go.” Ju Zi turned her back to him. “Despite our short time together, I still want to give you a present.”
Here, she became quiet. Every single one of her words was imprinted on Huo Yuhao’s heart, particularly that line “a good, peaceful, and happy life”. It almost made Huo Yuhao cry. He did not dare to open his eyes, because he did not know how he should face her. His breathing became rougher and deeper.
He suddenly felt a fresh and clear gush of air. It was clear, but warm and moist, too. Ju Zi’s supple lips landed on his face as she kissed him gently. That kiss brimmed with warmth, as well as an indescribable sadness.
When her lips left his face, tears rolled uncontrollably from Huo Yuhao’s eyes. At that moment, Ju Zi had left an imprint of herself on Huo Yuhao’s heart. Even if it was not love, it was a permanent mark.
Ju Zi wiped her tears, looked at Huo Yuhao and said softly, “This is my ﬁrst kiss. I wanted to kiss your lips, but I did not obtain your consent. Hence, I decided to kiss your face. Leave your ﬁrst kiss for your fated girl. I’m going, don’t let me see you again.”
He gently wriggled his body while Ju Zi stood up. Her upper teeth bit down on her lower lip as she tried hard not to cry. Turning her back to him, she dashed out of the ward.
The moment she entered, she knew that Huo Yuhao was awake. Huo Yuhao had a special trait. Even though he did not know it, the top of his ears would be stuck tightly to his head when he was awake. When he was meditating or sleeping, there would be a slight gap.
Even Wang Dong had not noticed this change. However, Ju Zi, who had been taking care of him for the past few days, noticed.
He could hear the doors closing. Huo Yuhao slowly opened his teary eyes, and suddenly realized how helpless he was. He wanted very much, from the bottom of his heart, to help her. However, he knew that it was impossible.
Her enemy was his country. Her path was the opposite of the one he wanted to take. He could not ask her to abandon her vision and force her to be with him. If she did, would she still be Ju Zi?
“Sister Ju Zi, don’t you know that I want you to have a peaceful and normal life, too?” Huo Yuhao sighed as he calmed himself.
He could still clearly remember that when he was in Shrek Academy, there was a special lesson on psychology in the Ultimate Soldier Plan. Their teacher had taught them that those who wanted to achieve great things must be cold and unfeeling. Great emotional turbulence would affect one’s chances of success.
Huo Yuhao tried to control his emotions. While he thought that he did a good job, as did his teachers, it was apparent that he was not there yet.
Who could be truly emotionless? Furthermore, he was not even 15. Most people of this age would undergo mood swings and emotional instability. After all, thoughts of love and
romance would start setting in, further upsetting one’s emotional stability.
He took a few deep breaths and ﬁnally, he was able to calm himself down. Losing control of his emotions could not help him solve anything. His solution for himself was simple. In his heart, he told himself that the only way to change the world would be to further strengthen himself. Only then could he control everything.
With this thought in mind, Huo Yuhao slowly fell asleep.
Tonight, he would not cultivate.
The next day, at noon, Huo Yuhao received news from Ke Ke that Ju Zi had withdrawn from school. No one knew where she went.
Even though Huo Yuhao was mentally prepared, he was still stunned for almost 15 minutes. Slowly, he came back to his senses.
“Stop being shocked! Where do you think she went?” Ke Ke asked in a depressed tone.
Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “I don’t know, but I think she is working for her vision.”
Huo Yuhao recovered quickly. Three days later, he left the ward and returned to his dormitory to rest. In reality, his wounds were almost fully recovered.
He did not give much more thought to Ju Zi. Instead, he devoted all his energy to cultivation. With Jing Hongchen’s tricks, he could soon study in the Illustrious Virtue Hall. That was his objective.
To avoid arousing Jing Hongchen’s suspicion, Huo Yuhao cultivated in the dormitory for ﬁve days before he went to look for Xuan Ziwen. He told his teacher that his wounds had completely healed, and he could now study in Illustrious Virtue Hall.
Xuan Ziwen looked at the youth before him. While it had only been a few days, for some reason, Huo Yuhao looked more mature all of a sudden. This feeling was strange and indescribable. However, he knew that he was right.
“Yuhao, do you know that, from a national perspective, I don’t want to bring you inside? The Hallmaster has underestimated your intelligence,” Xuan Ziwen frowned as he shook his head.
Huo Yuhao smiled slightly and said, “Teacher Xuan, you are not a politician, but only a researcher. I believe that I can help you further reﬁne your research. After all, I remember our promise at the start. You must remember it too!”
Xuan Ziwen laughed. “Of course I remember it! Okay, don’t forget that the Hall is not like here. Your every word and action will be under surveillance. Listen more, study more, look more, think more, and talk less. Try not to interact so much with the other Shreks. Stay by my side, and you will be ﬁne.”
“Yes, sir,” Huo Yuhao said respectfully.
“Come with me,” Xuan Ziwen told him, standing up and bringing Huo Yuhao out.
In the lab, Zi Mu took a look at the youth accompanying Teacher Xuan and seemed shocked. Ke Ke, however, was excited. She seemed happier than the time she had ﬁrst entered the Illustrious Virtue Hall.
Illustrious Virtue Hall was the core of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. From the outside, it appeared to be an ordinary building. Once he entered, however, Huo Yuhao realized that the Hall was much bigger than he had ﬁrst thought.
Illustrious Virtue Hall, like the extravagant auction hall of the Star Luo Empire, were both underground. However, in terms of size, they were simply incomparable.
After he entered the ordinary-looking building that was no greater than ﬁve hundred square meters in size, Xuan Ziwen
brought him through three checkpoints, each guarded by a soul master and a soul tool.
When he entered the interior of the building, Huo Yuhao could see twenty elevators that formed the shape of an arch. Every single elevator looked metallic, and could ﬁt more than ten people.
Xuan Ziwen brought Huo Yuhao into the ﬁrst elevator and scanned his ID card on a soul tool. Then, he gripped the metal pole in the center of the elevator and inserted his soul power. Slowly, the elevator descended.
The entire process took two minutes to complete. Huo Yuhao took note of the depth of their descent. To his surprise, it was more than a hundred meters!
As they descended, the interior of the elevator was completely sealed, and he could not see what was outside. A small white strip of light illuminated the interior of the elevator.
Xuan Ziwen did not say or explain anything to him. Just as he had said earlier, he wanted Huo Yuhao to listen more, see more, think more, and not ask more.
The metallic doors of the elevator slowly opened. Xuan Ziwen looked at Huo Yuhao and nodded before he led the way out.
It was a world made completely out of metal. While it was still in the shape of an arch, all one could see was metal. After he exited the elevator and walked through a corridor of average length, the area inside widened.
Huo Yuhao took in a deep breath, and could not help but exclaim under his breath, “Ah…” .
The scene before him was too shocking. He stood in a wide and spacious hall that he was unable to see the end of. Countless laboratory tables were neatly arranged, extending into the distance. When he looked at them horizontally, there had to be more than ﬁfty tables.
Each table was ﬁve meters by three meters! Stretching into the distance in front of him, there were more tables than he could count. People were working around each table. This humongous hall, including its dome, was about twenty meters high and it was likewise covered with metal. A strong metallic smell and a low metallic hum invaded Huo Yuhao’s senses.
Was this Illustrious Virtue Hall?! This was a factory for soul tools! Furthermore, soul tools manufactured by the Illustrious Virtue Hall could not be of low quality. Those working here were probably the true elites of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy.
Xuan Ziwen said in a low voice, “The area we are standing at right now is not under surveillance. After we go down, everywhere is under visual and audio surveillance. This is the manufacturing hub of Illustrious Virtue Hall. I don’t know how big it is, but it should be at least half the size of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy above. There are ﬁve thousand tables, with some hidden in the shadows. As some research has yet to commence, around one-third of the space here is empty. However, the elites of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy and Illustrious Virtue Hall are all present. One can say that the most powerful soul engineers of the Sun Moon Empire are here.”
“Some of them are interns from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. They will only work here for a short time before they continue their studies. In Illustrious Virtue Hall, research is conducted in the form of small groups. Every group has a different number of members. Normally, they will have more than ﬁve tables to work at. Other than the public research spaces, there are some secret labs. Those who can work in the secret labs must be at least Rank 8 and above. Notice the badge on each of their chests. The badges of Illustrious Virtue Hall are different from the outside world. The background is the sun and moon, and stars dot the sky. Each star represents a single rank.”
As he said that, Xuan Ziwen took out an eight-starred badge and placed it on his chest.
“Once one reaches Rank 9, one will have reached the highest and most powerful level in our country. They will be offered maximum protection. In Illustrious Virtue Hall right now, including the Hallmaster, there are four Rank 9 soul engineers. The Hallmaster is the youngest. Everyone doing research here could be said to be a disciple of one of the four most powerful soul engineers, including me and you. My teacher is one of the four.”
Huo Yuhao had been in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy for quite some time, but he could clearly sense that he was learning more today than the rest of his days here combined. As he listened to Xuan Ziwen, he did not dare to open his mouth. All he did was memorize what he said and nod along.
Xuan Ziwen was pleased with his response. He smiled slightly and said, “Okay, let’s go. We can descend. You will be given your own table, and I will give you a topic to research. If you have questions, ask me directly. I know you can use your spiritual power to send messages. I have faith that you will do well.”
Under Xuan Ziwen’s guidance, the two of them walked for ten minutes before they reached an empty table. Xuan Ziwen took out an ID card and a Rank 5 soul engineer badge. He ﬁxed the badge to Huo Yuhao’s chest, and scanned the ID card against a machine by the side of the table. Then, he used his own ID card as further veriﬁcation.
“Keep this card. The next time you enter, as well as when you use Table No. 1238, you will need this card.”
After he scanned his card, the many buttons under the table lit up. Looking at them carefully, there were at least ﬁfty of them. Every single button had a small logo, and each of them was colored differently.
Through Xuan Ziwen’s explanations, Huo Yuhao discovered that each of these buttons was linked to a different material. Once he pressed it, the corresponding material would appear. According to the rarity and cost of the material, a different amount of the material would appear. Each table was rationed a certain amount.
For example, each table could only use a hundred grams of mithril.
Huo Yuhao made some mental calculations. No wonder Jing Hongchen was so generous when he said that he could take all of the experimental metals. There were limits, however this satisﬁed him enough already. He started to study the icons, and asked Xuan Ziwen some questions. He had seen at least ten types of rare metals that he had never heard of before.
Xuan Ziwen tossed a manual at him and said, “This is your ﬁrst day here. Familiarize yourself with the various functions of the table. There are clear instructions in the manual. For a distinguished soul engineer, a good table will help you a lot in your research. I have to go and do my own research. If you need me, use your ID card to access Secret Research Zone 1. Find a guard, and ask the guard to look for me. However, I will only give you one opportunity per day to ask me questions.”
“Yes,” Huo Yuhao replied respectfully.
Xuan Ziwen appeared exceptionally cool as he said that. With that, he walked into the darkness, and soon, he was covered by it.
With Huo Yuhao’s sharp eyesight, he noticed that Xuan Ziwen had walked to the end and stopped in a pitch-black corridor. There, two black shadows appeared and spoke to him before he disappeared. Secret Research Zone 1 should be over there.
He had ﬁnally entered Illustrious Virtue Hall. While it was unlike what he had imagined, Huo Yuhao was still pleasantly surprised. Here, he could naturally learn more things, and it was no doubt the best place for him to ﬁnd his own path.
He did not rush to operate a soul tool. Instead, he sat by his table and studied the manual carefully.
Huo Yuhao did not know that in a room in the depths of Illustrious Virtue Hall, Jing Hongchen was observing his every move quietly.
Lin Jiayi stood next to Jing Hongchen and said, “His recovery was quicker than most normal people, but if we take
into consideration the medicine I gave him that day, it should be normal. Hallmaster, are you really going to let him study here? You know Teacher Xuan’s personality. Once he starts his research, he will forget about eating and even sleeping. I’m afraid…”
Jing Hongchen waved his hand and said, “It’s ﬁne, we have to let him learn some things. If not, how can we answer to Shrek Academy? He is but a three-ringed soul master with the powers of a Rank 4 soul engineer. Let him learn. The might of a single person cannot change a war, right? This could have been delayed, if not for the bastards from the Royal Stewards. Send someone to observe his actions. As long as they seem normal, leave him alone. Also, take note of the type of soul tools he makes.”
“Yes,” Lin Jiayi acknowledged.
Jing Hongchen stood up and left. Every single day, he bore the heavy responsibility of research. As the youngest Rank 9 soul engineer, his research affected the progress of the empire.
Yesterday, he had accepted the Crown Prince’s invitation for an evening banquet. Before he went, he had to ﬁnish the tasks
The tiny manual scared Huo Yuhao. Only now did he realize the signiﬁcance of the table before him.
The ordinary-looking table was full of different functions. The table before him had all the functions of the big manufacturing tools in Shrek Academy. The table contained abrasives, pressurized equipment, and high-temperature manufacturing tools. One could say that with the right materials, it was not impossible to manufacture Rank 7 and Rank 8 soul tools from this table.
Huo Yuhao spent the entire day reading the manual and trying out the functions of the table. However, no one knew that he had used his spiritual power to scan the table.
Lunch and dinner would be sent to the table by assistants. From his observations, Huo Yuhao realized that some soul engineers did not even bother to eat. They had yet to touch
their lunch even at dinnertime. Under these circumstances, the assistants would remind them to eat.
When the completely exhausted Huo Yuhao left the Illustrious Virtue Hall with Xuan Ziwen, the sky outside was almost completely dark.
“So, how do you feel?” Xuan Ziwen asked with a smile.
Huo Yuhao blurted out, “Time seems to pass quicker inside!”
Xuan Ziwen looked at him in surprise and said, “That’s right! You integrate fast, it’s not easy for one to obtain such a feeling. I thought that you might even ﬁnd it boring.”
Huo Yuhao smiled. “I’m just afraid I won’t have enough time.
Teacher Xuan, I shall head back to rest.”
Xuan Ziwen nodded and said, “Go, you will enter the Illustrious Virtue Hall by yourself tomorrow. Use your ID card. Once you are inside, you will be scanned to ascertain your identity. I’m your guarantor. If anything happens, I will be implicated too.” As he said that, his gaze seemed to deepen.
“Teacher Xuan, please don’t worry. I will not cause trouble for you.” Huo Yuhao said respectfully.
Back in his dorm room, Huo Yuhao carefully used his Spiritual Detection to sense if there were any surveillance soul tools in his room. After he was sure that there were none, he began to draw on a piece of paper.
The table’s make-up was too complicated. He spent almost 4 hours coming up with a rough outline. Tonight, he could only accomplish so much. There were at least 10 formation arrays in the table. Each of them alone did not appear to be very
complicated, but they were all tightly interconnected. He had never even heard of some of them.
For example, three Grade 3 formation arrays were used to assist a Grade 4 formation array. Together, they could be used as a Grade 5 formation array with a reduced cost. To him, this was a valuable experience indeed!
He was not just recording the formation arrays in the research table. To Huo Yuhao, this was a learning process.
The next day, Huo Yuhao met He Caitou as they were eating breakfast. Both of them had gotten permission to enter the Illustrious Virtue Hall, but while He Caitou had passed the examination, he was still an intern. He had special teachers guiding his research inside the Illustrious Virtue Hall, unlike Huo Yuhao, who had nothing but a table and his wits.
However, He Caitou admired Huo Yuhao. While he had teachers who offered him guidance, they did not allow him to touch the table. Compared to Huo Yuhao, he was in a more miserable state.
The two of them shared the same thought. Only after they entered the Illustrious Virtue Hall did they realize how big the world of soul engineers was. Only then did they know how terrifying the research of the Sun Moon Empire was.
For a long period afterward, the two of them devoted all their attention to research, and studied tirelessly as they tried to absorb as much knowledge as possible.
Lin Jiayi, the teacher in charge of the exchange students from Shrek Academy, soon lost interest in Huo Yuhao. Huo Yuhao’s research appeared directionless. Every day, all he did was make a small, delicate but simple metal object. He rarely used any formation arrays. Most of the time, he would just sit there and do nothing. Occasionally, he would ask Xuan Ziwen some questions, but they were all superﬁcial and completely unlike those posed by high-level soul engineers.
However, He Caitou had caught his attention. He Caitou appeared exceptionally talented in making soul tools. He learned quickly, and his research seemed to have gained steam. Every day, he was making progress.
This was the strategy that He Caitou and Huo Yuhao came up with. While He Caitou was better than Huo Yuhao in terms of soul tools, it was not a signiﬁcant difference. With him as his cover, Huo Yuhao could use his vast spiritual power to learn even more stuff here.
Do nothing? If Lin Jiayi knew what he was doing, he would probably slap himself.
Huo Yuhao’s version of ‘doing nothing’ was to use his spiritual detection to sense what everyone else around him was researching, particularly those soul engineers who appeared to be making soul tools that could also be weapons.
His plan was simple. By detecting them and then recording them, he could then do careful research and analysis on his own. If he ran into something he didn’t know, he would ask Xuan Ziwen. Superﬁcially, he appeared to be doing nothing. In reality, his progress was terrifying. The small items he made were not so simple once he brought them back to his dorm. With his Life Guardian, Huo Yuhao would take more time to ﬁnish making these objects, but under total secrecy.
After half a year, the ten exchange students from Shrek Academy, as well as their teacher, all appeared very normal, including Huo Yuhao and He Caitou. Among the ten of them, six had entered the Illustrious Virtue Hall to study. The other four obtained permission to enter the Illustrious Virtue Hall for three days a week. In terms of their overall abilities with soul tools, they all progressed differently. Of course, they could not come into contact with the most important research. Even so, after this batch of exchange students returned, Shrek Academy’s Soul Tool Department would improve greatly.
Of course, this was just a superﬁcial appraisal. Half a month earlier, as the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy had lowered their guard, Fan Yu had ﬁnally found a chance to send a batch of Huo Yuhao’s pictures back. These pictures were extremely valuable. To Shrek Academy’s Soul Tool Department, this was worth more than a hundred thousand year soul beast! With these pictures, they could cut a hundred years off their research.
Huo Yuhao still had the ability of a Class 6 soul engineer, but he was now one that even Xuan Ziwen recognized.
Huo Yuhao’s progress shocked even Xuan Ziwen. In the entire Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, his
understanding of Huo Yuhao’s soul engineering abilities was the most complete.
After he chose the path of a close-combat soul engineer, Huo Yuhao felt like a tiny canoe in the middle of the ocean looking in the direction of a lighthouse. Not even Xuan Ziwen understood his true progress in soul tools.
“Woo…” Huo Yuhao exhaled as he stretched. Happily, he looked at the tiny silver piece of metal in his hands. The metal was irregularly-shaped, and its complicated shape was formed from many different types of metal. Huo Yuhao had spent more than ten days making it. Today, he was ﬁnally successful. This also meant that his soul thruster, which he had designed and made for himself, was complete.
By picking the path of a close-combat soul engineer, Huo Yuhao’s ﬁrst priority was not to increase his attack or his defenses. Instead, he needed to increase his speed.
Compared to a normal soul ancestor, he was much more powerful. He had 3 times more soul skills than a normal soul ancestor. Regardless of whether it was in terms of attack, defense or control, he had powerful soul skills in each. Coupled
with his Eye of Destiny, his close-combat abilities had reached a level of strength that, even against a soul king or soul emperor, once he had drawn close enough to them, they might not be able to resist his attacks.
However, his only weakness was in terms of his speed. He had domain-type control soul skills, as well as attack soul skills that could affect an area. However, these were not his specialty, and he could not change them so easily. No one could be strong in all aspects. When Huo Yuhao chose to specialize as a close-combat soul engineer, he gave up his domain attacks and his ability to attack from a distance. Hence, he needed to increase his speed.
Compared to a regular four-ringed soul ancestor, even an agility-type four-ringed soul ancestor, he was at least as fast, if not faster. However, if he faced a soul king who specialized in speed, then his weakness would be exposed. Hence, he would need control type soul skills to limit his opponent, and his disadvantage in speed meant that his originally-explosive power would be affected. Hence, a soul thruster was his priority.
Over the past half a year, Huo Yuhao spend half his time on research that would beneﬁt his soul thruster. He spent the
other half of his time on research into combining the Tang Sect’s hidden tools and soul tools. In both aspects, he had obtained exceptional results.
After he completed this item in his hand, it meant that his Grade 6 soul tool, which he had made himself, was complete. All he needed to do was assemble it.
The more he researched soul tools, the better he understood Ma Rulong’s words. A powerful soul engineer would only use his own soul tools, because he knew what he needed.
He took in a deep breath and smiled contentedly. To him, this was not just the completion of a Grade 6 soul tool. More importantly, the manufacturing of this soul tool allowed him to put what he had learned over the past half year into practice. This allowed him to further solidify his fundamentals. These profound principles and theories from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy were all good supporting theories for him to make even more soul tools in the future. He believed his improvement would be exponential in the next two years.
However, the only thing that he felt helpless about was the increase in his soul power. In the past half year, his soul power had reached Rank 43. Yet, he felt as if he were progressing at a slower rate. At this speed, he would only be a Rank 50 soul king by the time the next Continental Advanced Soul Master Academy Soul Dueling Tournament rolled around. This meant that he had fallen behind his friends.
However, he still had a positive outlook. After thinking about it carefully, he realized that these two and a half years he would be spending in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy were important to raising his abilities as a soul engineer. He had his own plans for increasing his soul power.
Just as Huo Yuhao was looking contentedly at the item in his hand, he suddenly felt an odd feeling.
This did not come from him, but instead, from his Eye of Destiny. He could feel that the Eye of Destiny was numbing him, and a sense of danger crept up in his heart.
Without hesitation, Huo Yuhao leapt to the side and tumbled off his seat. He curled up under the table as he released his Ice
Empress’ Armor, and his Hongchen’s Blessing could be triggered at a moment’s notice.
“Boom, boom, boom, boom…” Four explosions sounded inside the Illustrious Virtue Hall. The terrifying explosions instantly caused a destructive shockwave.
Chapter 172: Ambush, and the Mysterious Metallic Man
Four separate bursts of light appeared in four different directions; they all appeared in locations that were densely packed with researchers.
The explosion came too suddenly, resulting in the soul engineers near them having almost no chance to react. At least a hundred soul engineers were immediately vaporized by the explosions. Hundreds of tables were ripped apart by the terrifying explosion, and bits of metal ﬂew everywhere like a horrifying wave of shrapnel. Cries of pain mixed with the smell of blood. Under the terrifying explosion, these shot everywhere.
The terrifying explosion even caused the ground to shake. In the huge underground facility, over one-third of all personnel were either injured or killed.
Huo Yuhao was a relatively new entrant, as he had been in there for less than half a year. Hence, his table was located near the periphery, and not at the center of the explosion.
Even so, the powerful shockwave from the explosions pushed him and his table back by over 10 meters.
The survival instincts of the soul engineers manifested themselves at this moment. One-third of all soul engineers were affected, but only a few hundred were killed, mainly from the initial blast. Every soul engineer from the Illustrious Virtue Hall activated their protective soul tools, which helped to mitigate the effects of the explosion. While many were severely injured, the number of deaths was still under control.
After the explosion, black shadows emerged from the ground. These people were clad entirely in black, and were extremely agile. When they appeared, they started a killing spree in all four directions.
Looking from the sky, one would discover that a hole about 10 meters wide had appeared at the location of each of the explosions. These men in black emerged from these holes. Not only were they prepared, but they were also very powerful. Immediately, they turned the place into a slaughterhouse.
While Huo Yuhao hid underneath his table, his spiritual detection was still active. He never expected that a place like
the Illustrious Virtue Hall, which possessed such tight security and defenses, would be attacked. The power of these people was beyond his imagination.
Among them, none seemed to be below the level of a Soul Sage. The moment they appeared, they revealed their martial soul true bodies and started a wild massacre.
It would be hard to assemble a team like this, even in Shrek Academy!
Quickly, Huo Yuhao discovered something. Because these men in black were so powerful, they inadvertently revealed their weaknesses.
When Huo Yuhao triangulated his spiritual detection on the right shoulder of one of the men in black, the man’s power suddenly increased 10 times. He was then able to pulverize a Grade 5 soul engineer who was just about to ﬁre a soul tool at him. At this moment, Huo Yuhao understood their origins.
Body Sect. They were from the Body Sect. However, why would they suddenly attacking the Sun Moon Imperial Soul
Engineering Academy? And the Illustrious Virtue Hall?
Were they mad?
However, regardless of what he thought right now, there was no way he could leave. These people from the Body Sect did not care about anything else. The moment they entered, they started their killing spree without a second thought.
After a short while, hundreds of soul engineers lay in pools of blood on the ﬂoor. While the soul engineers had started to counter-attack, the people from the Body Sect were more powerful than they had expected. Among them, there were at least 10 of them with the power of a Titled Douluo. How could their soul tools resist?
Furthermore, all these people wanted to do was destroy. In their hands, the precious tables were ripped apart like scrap. After a short while, the cost of the damage they had done was unthinkable.
However, Huo Yuhao took solace in the knowledge that He Caitou and Teacher Fan Yu were both not there. They had
followed a bunch of students from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy out to test their soul tools. If not, he would not be able to just hide there.
However, he could not do this forever. Who knew when men the from Body Sect would come over to his table? While Huo Yuhao was conﬁdent in his own abilities, his opponents were Soul Sages! A Soul Sage from the Body Sect was more powerful than a Soul Sage from other places. He could not beat them.
Damn it! If they came, how could I escape?
As he thought about that, Huo Yuhao’s two hands had already turned into the Ice Empress’ Pincers. His right hand released his Darkgolden Terrorclaw as he tapped the ﬂoor underneath him forcefully.
While the ﬂoor was covered with a metal layer about 17 centimeters thick, it was soon torn apart by his sharp Darkgolden Terrorclaw. Using both of his hands, he dug furiously at the ground underneath him. Soon, he made an indent. Huo Yuhao then used his strength to tilt his table. Coordinating with his Darkgolden Terrorclaw, the table soon fell over ﬂat on the ground, covering the indent in the ground
that he had dug. Unless someone ﬂipped this table over, they would be unable to discover his presence.
Huo Yuhao lay in the hole in the ground, unmoving. He breathed through a tiny slit between the table and the ground. He used his Spiritual Detection to sense the situation outside.
As the most powerful research facility for soul tools on the continent, the Illustrious Virtue Hall was not so easily defeated. After a short moment of panic, a piercing alarm sounded, and the Hall’s counterattack began.
A huge soul tool appeared from the domed ceiling. This soul tool was in the shape of a screw, and about 5 meters long. At its thickest, it was about 2 meters wide, and a purplish-blue light started to swirl around it. Then, from its pointy end, it began to shoot rays of purple light at the Body Sect invaders, as if it had eyes.
When it started, the Body Sect invaders treated it as if it were nothing. They tried to resist it using their powerful soul power. However, they soon realized that something was amiss.
The purple light which came from the roof gave off a terrifying current. While they were able to avoid being injured by the current, they were unable to shake off the paralysis the current caused. A Titled Douluo was struck by at least 10 rays of purple light, causing him to be pinned to the ground.
The soul engineers, who had been on the verge of retreat before this, vigorously counterattacked. Soon, the Body Sect began to take casualties too.
At this moment, a ﬁgure dashed through the sky and was soon suspended in mid-air. Pursued by countless rays of purple light, his boy shone like an illusory shadow. However, not a single ray of purple could land on him.
Then, the domed ceiling turned green. Under the terrifying green light, all of the soul tools on the domed ceiling melted.
“Go.” The ﬁgure stabilized himself in mid-air and waved his hands. Instantly, the green liquid started to ﬂy in the direction of the soul engineers.
“Du Busi, how dare you!” A voice resounded. A ﬁlm of red light suddenly started to spread as it blocked the green liquid.
From the depths of the Hall, dozens of ﬁgures zoomed out.
Leading them was Jing Hongchen.
When Jing Hongchen saw the carnage underneath him, his eyes almost popped out of his head in rage. Since the establishment of the Illustrious Virtue Hall, it had never experienced carnage like this before. Everywhere he looked, he could see the corpses of soul engineers.
On a battleﬁeld, he was conﬁdent in his ability to destroy the Body Sect invaders with his soul engineers from the Illustrious Virtue Hall. However, their attack came too suddenly. Furthermore, the Illustrious Virtue Hall was a few hundred meters underground. Not only did outsiders not know of its location, but they shouldn’t even know how to penetrate it! Who could have thought that the Body Sect would chose the dumbest, but most effective, way? They dug a tunnel from an unknown location, and then attacked its most vulnerable spot and broke through its defenses.
The black-robed man in mid-air appeared to not have heard Jing Hongchen’s words as he said coldly, “Kill!”
The black-robed man who had just destroyed a large amount soul tools was naturally the leader of the Body Sect, Du Busi. However, since he had brought the black-robed men here, he would not reveal his identity, even if everyone knew who he was.
Jing Hongchen also roared in rage. “Spare no one!” As he said that, a powerful red light shot out from his body. Behind him, a metallic light that resembled red lotuses spun rapidly and came together. In a split second, thousands of slender, red rods were aimed at the sky.
A red helmet appeared on Jing Hongchen’s head, a metallic mask covered his face, and countless rays of red light ﬂew rapidly towards the leader of the Body Sect.
The other powerful members of the Illustrious Virtue Hall who accompanied Jing Hongchen revealed their soul tools as well. They attacked the Body Sect vigorously as both sides clashed head-on. Instantly, soul power brimmed in the underground space, rocking it with the sounds of explosions.
Huo Yuhao felt his heart thumping rapidly in his chest. This was the ﬁrst time he had seen something like this.
Why did the Body Sect attack the Illustrious Virtue Hall so brazenly? Could it be for the beneﬁt of the three countries on the Douluo Continent? Impossible! According to what teacher had said, the Body Sect only cared about its own interests. Everything it did was for its own interests. Right now, they had made themselves enemies of the Illustrious Virtue Hall. What beneﬁts could they reap?
Huo Yuhao wracked his brain, but he couldn’t think a reason for it. All he cared about right now was his own safety.
Three rays of light from soul tools had already landed on Huo Yuhao’s table. Every single one of them was capable of dissolving metal, leaving the table heavily damaged. Once the table was completely destroyed, he would have nowhere to hide. In a ﬁght between so many powerful cultivators, if he was exposed he would be torn to pieces.
What could he do? Huo Yuhao didn’t know… Right now, all he could do was dig deeper into the ground beneath him and fully expand his spiritual detection, praying that he would remain safe from the clashes above.
However, the battles between soul powers was too powerful, already causing a strong soul power storm. Under these circumstances, his spiritual power would be torn to shreds when exploring. After he tried unsuccessfully to probe the outside world with his spiritual power, resulting in him bleeding from the mouth and nose, he gave up.
He wouldn’t die here; that would be too frustrating. It would be better for him to go out. However, if he did go out, which
side should he help?
If not for already being directly in the midst of it, Huo Yuhao would steer clear of this cesspool. It would be good for the Body Sect to kill more members of the Illustrious Virtue Hall, as this would delay the impending war. However, he was directly involved right now! If he died here, it would be a tragedy.
At this moment, Huo Yuhao felt his spiritual detection picking something up. As he could not explore outside, he used his spiritual detection to sense the earth underneath instead, and pick the best spot to dig.
As his power increased, his spiritual detection also became more powerful. Even though he was buried in dirt, he could sense everything within a certain radius. Just now, he felt the powerful spiritual power that was crushing him since he began digging relax temporarily.
This made Huo Yuhao think of something as he probed.
Indeed, just as he’d predicted, there was a tunnel about ﬁve meters long underneath him. The tunnel was extremely narrow, and only one person could crawl through it at any one time. Evidently, it was new.
“Excellent, if I can enter this tunnel, then I won’t be attacked. Furthermore, the air circulation in this tunnel should be okay. Breathing won’t be a problem.”
Happily, Huo Yuhao used all his strength to continue digging underneath him.
Boom! His table was struck by a soul cannon shell, sending it ﬂying into the air. Some shattered metal pieces were blocked by Huo Yuhao’s Ice Empress’ Armor. By now, he’d already dug two meters, and he extended his body. His left hand using an Ice Empress’ Pincer, and his right hand had the Darkgolden Terrorclaw. Using every ounce of his strength, he smashed forward, and ﬁnally breached into the tunnel.
Huo Yuhao didn’t delay, not even for even a second. He wriggled, and dropped into the tunnel.
Indeed, when he dropped into it, he felt the previous sense of danger dropping drastically. Huo Yuhao sighed in relief. However, he couldn’t stay here for long. Above him, a battle raged. What if it caused the tunnel to collapse? Once he got his bearings, he discovered that this tunnel stretched far into the
depths of the Illustrious Virtue Hall. Naturally, there would be more powerful Illustrious Virtue Hall soul engineers there. It would probably be safer.
Unfortunately this tunnel was not tall enough, and he could only advance by crawling forward. First, he had to leave the danger zone. Anything else was of secondary importance.
When he entered the depths of the tunnel, the sounds of the explosions outside began to soften. Huo Yuhao sighed in relief. He’d managed to dodge this bullet. In the end he still did not know who would be crowned victor.
This place was a few hundred meters deep. Regardless who it was, they wouldn’t use their most powerful attacks. If the entire underground facility collapsed, even a Titled Douluo won’t be able to carry the weight of a few hundred meters of earth! Huo Yuhao savagely thought, that the best outcome would be for both sides to be severely injured in this battle.
When he advanced forward, he felt the air clearing up. Could it be an exit?
The moment he thought about the word ‘exit’, he tightened up. Now he realized that this tunnel was evidently not dug by the Illustrious Virtue Hall…
Could it be that the attack of the Body Sect was only a diversion to capture Jing Hongchen’s attention? Could their true target actually be through this tunnel, which he had coincidentally ventured into? Were they after some precious soul tool from the Illustrious Virtue Hall? Or… Huo Yuhao trembled. He thought of a possibility, which was also one of his objectives in this expedition. Even though it seemed impossible to him, he had to consider it. If the objectives of Body Sect were identical to his own, then everything would be easier to explain.
Embryo, the hundred thousand year soul beast embryo. They were after that.
When he thought about the three red hundred thousand year soul rings around Du Busi, everything became clear to Huo Yuhao.
He personally witnessed the highlight of the Star Luo Auction held in Star Luo City being awarded to the highest bidder.
He also knew that someone said that they were willing to purchase the item for 100 million golden soul coins. After this was announced, the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy never rested. Even when they came over as exchange students, many people were still coveting that item. But the defenses of the Illustrious Virtue Hall were too powerful, and no one knew where the embryo was hidden.
100 million golden soul coins. An astronomical sum. This was aside from the immeasurable value of the hundred thousand year soul beast embryo.
Huo Yuhao heard Elder Mu say that in the past one hundred years, very few hundred thousand year soul beasts had been killed, particularly within the Great Star Dou Forest. The soul beasts became more powerful, and word went around that the killing of a hundred thousand year soul beast would have terrible consequences on its killers.
However, a hundred thousand year soul beast could bring a Titled Douluo's strength to another level. Not only did its soul ring and soul bone provide soul skills, but the overall strength increase it gave a soul master was much more terrifying. It could be said that as long as a soul master's ninth soul ring was a hundred thousand year one, he would deﬁnitely be able to
become a Rank 95 Transcendent Douluo.
Even Du Busi, who had three hundred thousand year soul rings, may not be able to reach the level of a Rank 99 Ultimate Douluo. Of course, at his level, there were some negative consequences attached with increasing his power using soul rings. Which was why he did not dare to face off against Elder Mu.
What bravery, Body Sect! They dared to rob the Illustrious Virtue Hall. Only after they made their preparations, of course. After all, they were only a sect, and not a whole country. If the Illustrious Virtue Hall wanted revenge, they still had to ﬁnd them ﬁrst. Furthermore, they took steps to conceal their identities, meaning that no one could say for sure they were responsible.
After he had discovered their goal, what should he do? Huo Yuhao was put in a difﬁcult spot, because the hundred
thousand year soul beast embryo was part of the reason for his journey too!
Elder Mu had spoken with him about this, and because Huo Yuhao himself had his Spiritual Detection and Imitation, Elder Mu told him that if he was given the chance, he should make a go for it. Of course, the pre-condition was that he had to ensure his own safety. Even if he were discovered, his opponents would not hurt him. At most, they would send him back…
When Huo Yuhao came to the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, he abandoned this idea. The defenses of the Illustrious Virtue Hall were tight, and it was equipped with the latest and most powerful soul tools. It was impossible for him to enter undetected. Perhaps he could sneak in easily, but he could not get rid of the defenses.
Who could predict the arrival of the Body Sect? They unleashed a vigorous attack, and then sent someone to sneak in and steal it. This plan was surely formulated over a long time. Evidently, the Body Sect was not conﬁdent of destroying the Illustrious Virtue Hall in one blow. Attacking them head- on like this was only a diversion; their true objective was past this tunnel.
So… should he head over, or not?
Huo Yuhao knew that whoever the Body Sect sent to inﬁltrate the Illustrious Virtue Hall must be someone that Du Busi viewed as extremely important and powerful. Someone he couldn’t beat easily. However, would Huo Yuhao just abandon it so easily? This was a rare chance!
Faced with the Body Sect’s powerhouse, his only advantage was his familiarity with soul tools.
Time waited for no man. Without giving much thought to it, Huo Yuhao decided, No!
Compared to the hundred thousand year soul beast embryo, his life was far more important. Furthermore, he already had a million year soul ring and a hundred thousand year soul ring. He shouldn’t be too greedy, as it would lead to catastrophic consequences. Could he betray the trust of Brother Skydream, the Ice Empress, and Electrolux?
When he thought through it, Huo Yuhao calmed down quickly. But he still couldn’t allow the Body Sect to get the hundred thousand year soul beast embryo. If it remained here, he at least had a chance to get it. If the Body Sect took it, he would have no such chance.
He had to ﬁnd a way to contact the Hallmaster.
Just as he thought about any way to contact Jing Hongchen, a violent vibration could be felt.
The entire building appeared to have started trembling. A boom sounded where Huo Yuhao had been, and a chunk of the tunnel collapsed. Thick mud and dust came straight towards him.
Oh no! The color drained from Huo Yuhao’s face. The battle outside was too ferocious, causing the tunnel to collapse. Furthermore, the entire underground facility was trembling violently, and the surrounding earth and mud were on the brink of collapsing.
No matter what danger lay at the end of the tunnel, it was better than being buried alive! Heaven toyed with humans. Huo Yuhao did not even take a second before he ran into the depths of the tunnel.
Just as he ran out, the tunnel behind him collapsed. It was impossible for him to exit the way he had come unless he wanted to be buried alive.
He did not know whether he should laugh or cry, but Huo Yuhao only had one option right now. Taking a deep breath, he thought, Since heaven wills it, I shall try and obtain salvation through peril.
After he moved ahead a bit, the tunnel in front of him suddenly started to twist and turn. This confused Huo Yuhao. While he had never been to the mysterious parts of the Illustrious Virtue Hall, he could tell from the tunnel that the intruder had done his planning. Even underground, he was able to accurately sense the shape of the earth. How could the secrets of what lay underneath the Illustrious Virtue Hall be leaked?
The underground base underneath the Illustrious Virtue Hall...
A ﬁerce explosion and tremors forced both sides to stop. All of them realized that if the place collapsed, no one would make it out alive.
“Du Busi, why?” Jing Hongchen asked through gritted teeth. Suddenly, he sensed something. Immediately, he trembled in rage as he cursed in anger, “Bastard, you dare to…!” As he said that, he ran toward the interior of the Illustrious Virtue Hall. He suddenly recalled where exactly the large explosion came from.
However, how could the Body Sect members, who were so close to their goal, allow him to interfere? A terrifying green storm descended from the sky. Du Busi, who did not fear tapping into his origin soul power, vanished. A countless number of terrifying ﬁgures ﬂew towards the powerful
members of Illustrious Virtue Hall.
They evidently wanted to kill Jing Hongchen. Hence, they disregarded the attacks of the other soul engineers.
Helpless, Jing Hongchen could only retaliate. With his Grade 9 soul tool, his power matched that of Du Busi, who was likely the only Transcendent Douluo on the continent. With Rank 99 soul power, if he did not fear the collapse of this underground world, more than one-third of the soul engineers would have already perished.
The battle resumed as both sides resumed their intense ﬁght. Yet, the number of casualties did not increase much. After all, they did not ﬁght with all their strength, but instead focused on defending! Du Busi’s aim was to pin down the powerful soul engineers of Illustrious Virtue Hall and create a chance for his people.
“Ahh…” Huo Yuhao left the tunnel and went into another one.
Soul tool lights ﬂashed from both sides of the tunnel, indicating that the structure was unstable.
This should be the interior part of Illustrious Virtue Hall.
However, where was the person who came in before him?
As Huo Yuhao ascended, he cloaked himself in a layer of fog.
After some deliberation, he also changed his form.
Hidden in the fog, he put on a face mask to make himself look ordinary. Then, using Imitation, he transformed into Du Busi!
One must say that his control over his spiritual power was extremely precise. Not only did his stature and appearance resemble Du Busi, but he even conjured a black robe that
looked like the one Du Busi was wearing. In short, he looked like Du Busi without his veil.
His heart pounded quickly. However, since he was there, there was no chance for escape.
As he thought, he slowed his steps and expanded his Spiritual Detection, probing out in front of him.
After he walked forward a bit longer, he felt a tug in his heart. He quickly entered a tunnel to his left, where a metallic black door stood open. Inside it was an extremely spacious lab.
Right now, the lab was completely empty. From the energy he sensed, he could tell that many of the powerful Illustrious Virtue Hall members had rushed out from here.
Since he was here, Huo Yuhao had to explore. He dispelled the fog around him and put on a veil. He then entered the vast lab.
The lab was indeed large, round and at least 100 meters wide and 30 meters high. When Huo Yuhao entered, a huge object immediately caught his attention.
It was a huge man made out of steel. It was at least 15 meters tall, and its huge frame was almost completely made of steel. From its appearance, it looked simple, but the frame of its body was complete. Its chest was propped open and inside there was a chair-like object.
Huo Yuhao did not just look at it with his eyes. He even made a sweep of it with his spiritual detection. After he swept it, he retreated quickly, and almost fell down.
He found thousands of formation arrays on the metallic man’s body. He had almost never felt such precise formation arrays before. Even more terrifying, he could sense a horrifying power in the body of the metallic man. This belonged to the metal itself. Yet, how could he fully understand it in such a short time?
What… what exactly is it?
Huo Yuhao paused, and then walked forward quickly, stopping in front of the metallic man. The closer he got, the bigger it appeared to him. Before the metallic man, he felt like an ant.
He tried to use his Darkgolden Terrorclaw to slash at the metallic man. Sparks ﬂew, but all that he did was leave a white scar on the metal. Huo Yuhao did not use his powerful soul power, but normally, not even gold or silver could resist his claws. This metal man was incredibly resilient!
This was the highest level of research in Illustrious Virtue Hall. Could they be developing the metallic man for war?
He raised his head to look at the opening in the metallic man’s chest. The control chamber should be there. As he thought about how he controlled the all-terrain exploration soul tool, he realized how insigniﬁcant it was compared to the metallic man. This conﬁrmed his suspicion that this metallic man was extremely important to Illustrious Virtue Hall, and that it was at the highest level of research for them in terms of soul tools.
However, how could he take it away? This was too huge, and it was not something Huo Yuhao could store with his storage- type soul tool.
If he couldn’t take it away, he had to destroy it. At the very least, he could inﬂict some damage on Illustrious Virtue Hall. However, it was too strong, and with his power, there was no way he could do that in such a short time.
As Huo Yuhao agonized over it, he directed his Spiritual Detection from the metallic man to the area around him.
“Eh, what’s that?”
There was scaffolding at various heights around the metallic man. They were made so that its creators could further reﬁne it. Near Huo Yuhao, there was a low metallic platform. Some of the items on this platform were connected to the metallic man.
His body ﬂashed, and he arrived before the platform, the connected items in front of him.
There was an item that was slightly larger than a palm, which resembled a mirror. A silvery-white ornamental layer surrounded it. Formation arrays were engraved on top of it. At its center, there was a huge sapphire that protruding. The sapphire was originally light-blue, but six rays of starlight now shone on it with an oddly hypnotic light.
“Could… could this be a starlight sapphire?” Huo Yuhao’s face changed color. “What a large starlight sapphire!”
Starlight sapphire was a mystical sapphire that contained a massive amount of energy. It contained mysterious spatial energy, and was a good material to make space-type soul tools. Placing one piece the size of a thumbnail into a storage-type soul tool could increase its storage space by almost a cubic meter.
Starlight sapphire was valuable because there were very little of it. There were even fewer large pieces, which were extremely precious.
No one had ever seen or heard of a piece as large as the one before him! How could Huo Yuhao not be surprised? At the same time, he pondered its uses.
Could that be all? Huo Yuhao thumbed the huge starlight sapphire and lifted it, along with the metallic formation it was inlaid into. He used his Mysterious Heaven Technique and slowly inserted a bit of his soul power into it.
A powerful sensation started to spread from the starlight sapphire. Huo Yuhao felt his soul power leaving him rapidly. In a matter of seconds, almost a third of it was gone.
At this moment, he suddenly realized that the top of the metallic man’s head had started to glow blue in tandem with the light emitted from the starlight sapphire.
A ray of blue light from the starlight sapphire shone out, and started to spread. The metallic man’s head gave off a similar light. When the two lights met each other, a bright blue glow suddenly illuminated the entire lab.
The odd distortion in space shocked Huo Yuhao once more.
However, all he could do was stand there, unmoving.
Fortunately, the blue light did not last too long. When the light faded, Huo Yuhao discovered to his surprise that the metallic man had disappeared.
Chapter 173: It's, It's Actually Her...
This was indeed a storage-type soul tool! It had to be the biggest storage-type soul tool there was! As he saw the sapphire, Huo Yuhao was both delighted and shocked.
He didn’t expect his luck to be so good, he had actually obtained such a treasure! He could sense that this metallic man had some capabilities, even though it was only half-complete. Furthermore, there were many formation arrays in this metallic man. It wasn’t beneﬁcial just for him in his research of soul tools. He believed that he could match up to the top- ranked soul engineers in Illustrious Virtue Hall if he managed to completely understand this metallic man. Of course, he would still need a lot of time. But possessing this metallic man meant that he practically owned a soul tool encyclopedia from the Illustrious Virtue Hall.
He quickly put the storage-type soul tool away in his own storage-type soul tool before leaving.
He had no mood to think about the hundred-thousand year soul embryo at this moment. This metallic man was much
more important than the hundred-thousand year soul embryo. He was only thinking of how he should leave this place.
After rushing out of the tunnel, Huo Yuhao took in a deep breath, and his heart started to beat faster and faster.
The booms outside seemed to have become softer. The battle between the two parties appeared to have dropped in intensity.
What should he do? Should he still take that tunnel? He had no choice. Even if he had to dig after entering the tunnel, he still had a slim chance. With the Ice Empress’ Pincer and Darkgolden Terrorclaws, he was capable of digging another tunnel. If he managed to dig until he reached the rest of the tunnels in the underground base that the Body Sect members had gone into, he could escape.
Huo Yuhao sped up as he considered his options. He rushed towards the opening of the tunnel that he had entered earlier.
At this point, a black ﬁgure ﬂashed past with an alarming speed.
“Who’s there?” the other party shouted. An intense purplish light shone, and a frightening, suppressive force caused Huo Yuhao to nearly suffocate.
Two yellow, two purple, and four black soul rings appeared on the person’s body. He was a Soul Douluo with a pair of thick arms. At this moment, his arms had already turned into a pair of large pincers.
“Shut up.” Huo Yuhao’s voice was deep and frail. He also removed the veil from his face.
The other party was stunned upon seeing the old and frail face that Huo Yuhao had created for himself with his Imitation, and knelt down on one knee, “Greetings, sect master.”
Huo Yuhao was very nervous now. He knew that he had imitated the right person.
The other party’s martial soul and dress revealed his identity as a warrior of the Body Sect. He was a Soul Douluo-ranked expert who possessed a Body Soul - his Arms were his Body
Soul! How powerful was he? Did he dig the tunnel with his arms?
“Get your hands on it?” Huo Yuhao asked him.
“Yes, we did.” The Soul Douluo appeared very excited. He presented something to Huo Yuhao with both hands.
It was a white tray. There was a wooden ladle on it with hundreds of gemstones of all colors. A ball of white gas was trembling slightly on this wooden ladle.
Huo Yuhao had last seen this item at the Starlight Auctionplace. How could he forget this top-ranked ﬁnale item!? Although he didn’t know how the other party got their hands on it, he was certain that it was a hundred-thousand year soul beast embryo. The Godsealing Altar was deﬁnitely real.
Huo Yuhao took in a deep breath and tried to calm down. He snatched the Godsealing Altar from the other party. He set it in front of him and took a good look at it before nodding and
saying, “Not bad, you’ve contributed greatly this time. You’ll be greatly rewarded when we return. Go on, leave quickly.”
As he spoke, he put the Godsealing Altar away in his own storage-type soul tool.
However, he immediately realized that he’d failed. His storage-type soul tool couldn’t contain the Godsealing Altar. Huo Yuhao almost slapped himself. How could he forget this? If the classes of soul tools were too far apart, the storage-type soul tool wouldn’t be able to contain a higher-class soul tool!
At this point, reverberating booms could be heard from the outside again. The man in black in front of Huo Yuhao stood up quickly, looking very shocked. He pointed his ﬁnger at Huo Yuhao and asked, “You, you’re not the sect master?!”
Huo Yuhao furrowed his brow. “What gibberish are you spouting?”
The man in black turned ﬁerce. “I sensed the sect master’s aura on the outside. You’re an imitation! Go and die!”
His right arm had already turned into a huge, purple ﬁst as he spoke. He punched straight towards Huo Yuhao’s chest. That instantaneous, explosive force caused the entire tunnel to distort slightly.
He used his other hand to reach towards the hundred- thousand year soul beast embryo.
When the other party claimed that he wasn’t the sect master, Huo Yuhao knew that things had gone wrong. His abilities were far inferior to this Soul Douluo’s. His life was in grave danger now that he had been discovered!
At this critical moment, Huo Yuhao displayed what he had learned from the Ultimate Soldier Plan. He did the only thing that was right.
A layer of scarlet-gold light surfaced on his body. It was the ﬁfteen-second Invincible Barrier from the Hongchen’s Blessing. His defensive strength increased threefold with this Invincible Barrier.
He also unleashed the Ice Empress’ Armor, though the diamond crystals didn’t release any glow under the disguise of his Imitation.
As he unleashed both his defensive capabilities, he used the hundred-thousand year soul embryo to receive the other party’s frightening ﬁst. However, the other party didn’t seem to take any heed as he continued to reach his hand over.
A hundred-thousand year soul ring and soul bone were a treasure to every soul master. This Soul Douluo never expected that someone would allow this treasure to be damaged after obtaining it.
He reckoned that Huo Yuhao’s cultivation must be of a certain standard, or Huo Yuhao wouldn’t have dared to trick him. That’s why he unleashed his entire strength with this punch. It was almost impossible to retract his ﬁst.
However, the hundred-thousand year soul beast embryo was their main target! Whether it was the hundred million gold coin reward, the soul beast embryo itself, or the Class 9 Godsealing Altar that contained it, they were all valuable
treasures. However, he was anxious because Huo Yuhao didn’t seem to care.
His left hand reached for his right hand at this moment rather than grabbing towards Huo Yuhao.
The Body Sect had expended a lot of effort for this plan. They had spent almost two years on their advanced preparations. They had also done their own research on the Godsealing Altar.
The Godsealing Altar could seal life within it. However, the target must lose all ability to struggle before it could be sealed. Once the target was sealed, even a Titled Douluo couldn’t break out. It was normally used to seal some powerful soul beasts that had lost their ﬁghting strength, but it was used, if rarely, on soul masters.
However, the Godsealing Altar wasn’t completely ﬂawless. The seal was sustained by drawing from the trapped person’s soul power. That’s why it was very powerful internally, but was unable to exert any signiﬁcant external defensive strength. A certain amount of force could cause this Class 9 soul tool to
crack. That was why the Godsealing Altar was also known to be soft on the outside, but tough on the inside.
Huo Yuhao naturally had some understanding of the Godsealing Altar. That was why he made such a choice. After obtaining the huge experimental metallic man, he just wanted to leave this place safely. He wasn’t that interested in the hundred- thousand year soul beast embryo, either. He couldn’t absorb a hundred-thousand year soul ring with his current abilities. Furthermore, he didn’t even know what this soul beast’s type was! That was why he’d rather release this soul beast, which also happened to be the only way he could resist the other party’s attack. Otherwise, even Hongchen’s Blessing couldn’t withstand the other party’s attack, considering the gap in their cultivations.
Survival was his only goal now.
The Soul Douluo who was chosen to carry out this critical task was indeed very powerful. He still managed to achieve his goal even though he changed his move at the last moment. His left hand managed to grab hold of his right hand. His body stiffened up, and his right ﬁst stopped right in front of the Godsealing Altar.
However, it had taken all of his energy to do this. After all, he had completely unleashed his right ﬁst. He knew that Huo Yuhao would exploit this opportunity to attack him, but he was fairly conﬁdent of his own defensive strength. However, something unexpected happened.
Huo Yuhao attacked him, but he used the Godsealing Altar to attack him.
Huo Yuhao could sense where the other party’s ﬁst had stopped using his Spiritual Detection. He smashed the Godsealing Altar towards the other party’s ﬁst. He used all his strength this time, and the strength of the Ice Empress’ Pincer was completely unleashed.
The Godsealing Altar was smashed against the Soul Douluo’s clenched ﬁst. A crack appeared on this dazzling Class 9 soul tool as a piercing, cracking sound echoed out.
“Bastard!” the Soul Douluo roared furiously. He wanted to snatch the Godsealing Altar back.
However, the temperature in the entire tunnel suddenly dropped. A streak of white gas drilled its way out of the crack on the Godsealing Altar.
Huo Yuhao let go of the Godsealing Altar and quickly retreated. The Soul Douluo opened his arms and grabbed towards that streak of white gas.
A woman’s voice, sounding very aloof and furious, exclaimed, “Despicable humans! Go and die! All of you can go and die!”
In the next instant, both Huo Yuhao and the eight-ringed Soul Douluo saw everything turn white in front of them.
Huo Yuhao couldn’t see the Soul Douluo, but he could tell that the Hongchen’s Blessing’s Invincible Barrier had stalled. His circulating soul power weakened, and a piercing, cracking sound shook the air in the next moment. A frightening chill surged towards him from every direction, and engulfed his body.
Huo Yuhao hadn’t felt cold for a long time due to his Ultimate Ice. However, he was feeling chilly at this moment. His body and spirit were about to be frozen, and his body turned rigid.
At this point, a surprised voice sounded in Huo Yuhao’s mind, “It’s-it’s actually her… How is this possible? How is this
A refreshing gust of air was released from the Ice Jade Empress’ Scorpion’s skeleton to tackle the chill. Huo Yuhao’s frozen blood started to circulate normally once again. The Ultimate Ice continued to protect Huo Yuhao’s body during this chill, and kept him from being completely frozen.
However, Huo Yuhao could sense that even the Ultimate Ice seemed inferior to the chill that was sweeping over him.
He had always thought that his Ultimate Ice brought about the most extreme chill, but this sudden change caused his understanding to be revised.
When he reopened his eyes, he was shocked by what he saw.
The entire tunnel had become narrower. There was now a layer of crystalline ice about a foot thick covering the inside of the tunnel. The Soul Douluo had been turned into an ice sculpture. He was motionless as he stood in front of Huo Yuhao. The Godsealing Altar was also frozen after it dropped to the ground.
The tunnel had turned completely dark now. The soul tools that were used to increase visibility had lost their effect. If not for Huo Yuhao’s Spirit Eyes, he wouldn’t be able to see anything.
“Ice Empress, what’s going on? What did you mean just now?” The shocked voice he had heard had come from the Ice Empress.
The Ice Empress sounded very appalled. “That’s-that’s the aura of the Snow Empress!”
“Snow Empress!” Huo Yuhao’s body jerked, and he almost lost his voice. “Are you saying that the hundred-thousand year soul beast embryo sealed within the Godsealing Altar belongs to the leader of the Three Heavenly Kings of the Extreme North, the Snow Empress, who also happens to be ranked third among the Ten Great Savage Beasts?”
“That’s right. It’s the Snow Empress’ aura.” The Ice Empress sounded more certain now. “In the continent, only the Snow Empress possesses an aura even chillier than mine. That voice
also belonged to the Snow Empress. I’m certain that it’s the Snow Empress.”
Huo Yuhao couldn’t believe it as he asked, “But, is that even possible? Isn’t the Snow Empress’ cultivation close to seven hundred thousand years? If a soul beast wants to turn into a human, it has to make a choice at the hundred thousand-year mark. Since the Snow Empress has already existed for seven hundred thousand years, how can she be reborn into a human? Could it be someone else from the same species?”
The Ice Empress replied, “It’s impossible. The Snow Empress is special. She’s an Icesky Snow Lady that was given life after receiving the spiritual energy of heaven and earth. How can a normal Snow Lady be more powerful than me? It’s deﬁnitely the Snow Empress. Although I don’t know how she did it, I’m certain that it’s her.”
The Skydream Iceworm’s voice sounded, “Whether it is or it isn’t the Snow Empress, we have to leave this place quickly. This is not the time to consider it.”
Huo Yuhao was jolted to his senses. Yes! He wasn’t out of danger yet!
He quickly walked towards the Soul Douluo. A cold light ﬂashed in his eyes, and he said in a low voice, “I’m sorry.” As he spoke, he stretched out his right index ﬁnger, and his Darkgolden Terrorclaw pierced through the ice, puncturing the Soul Douluo’s forehead.
There was still a possibility of revival after being frozen under extreme conditions. However, Huo Yuhao wouldn’t survive if he remained here and was captured by Illustrious Virtue Hall. It might even reveal his tracks. It wasn’t time for him to be merciful right now.
He bent over and picked up the damaged Godsealing Altar, putting it away in his storage-type soul tool. Although it was damaged, it was still a Class 9 soul tool! It was still extremely valuable in terms of research and materials.
The ﬁghting noises outside abruptly became even louder. Huo Yuhao hesitated for a moment before returning to the previous tunnel.
The tunnel hadn’t caved in, and Huo Yuhao used his Spiritual Detection to sense the changes in the soil above the tunnel. He
quickly advanced, and soon arrived at the collapsed spot. He used his Spiritual Detection to check the situation above, and was greeted with a delightful surprise. From where he was, it was only three meters to the surface. The top was also covered by a steel board, helping to conceal the situation beneath it. Huo Yuhao unleashed his Ice Empress’ Pincer decisively, and
started to dig upwards. He quickly dug his way up to the board.
The metal board above made jerking noises, and Huo Yuhao leapt up and stuck his body to it.
The air here was extremely polluted, and the smell of stinking soil made it hard to breathe. His Spiritual Detection enabled him to locate a place to conceal himself as he moved along the steel board. His Darkgolden Terrorclaws tore it apart, and he silently made his way underneath a laboratory desk.
He was now quite close to the main hall of Illustrious Virtue Hall. After calming his breathing for a moment, he observed the situation in front of him carefully.
The entire underground base had already been reduced to a huge mess. Less than a ﬁfth of the laboratory desks were in
good condition. The losses Illustrious Virtue Hall had suffered couldn’t just be measured in terms of money.
Jing Hongchen’s expression was very pale. Streaks of red light were continually being released from his body.
Du Busi remained in mid-air. However, their targets were no longer each other. Rather, it was the swaying and ﬂashing white ﬁgure in the air.
Streaks and streams of frozen white gas were being released from this ﬁgure. However, Du Busi and Jing Hongchen’s dominant attacks prevented this white gas from spreading.
Besides Du Busi and Jing Hongchen, the rest of the people from both sides had stopped ﬁghting at this point. They watched this ﬁght between the three powerful parties as they clearly separated into two different sides.
Huo Yuhao managed to catch a clear glimpse of the white ﬁgure. It was a young girl that seemed to be only two or three years old. Her chubby body was covered in a snow-white, cotton skirt.
She roared viciously and tried to break out of the encirclement. Many people from the Body Sect and Illustrious Virtue Hall had already turned into ice sculptures, obviously her doing.
“Is that really the Snow Empress?” Huo Yuhao asked the Ice Empress.
The Ice Empress replied, “It should be. After the Snow Empress was reborn as a human, she should have turned into a human embryo. She must be trying to give up her rebirth and return to her original form. However, she doesn’t seem to possess even a third of her normal strength. Otherwise, these humans wouldn’t be able to stop her no matter how strong they were!”
Huo Yuhao furrowed his brow and said, “It’s normal for her powers to fall after being trapped in the Godsealing Altar for so long. Furthermore, she has experienced a rebirth into a human.”
“No, I have to help her!” The Ice Empress’ determination shocked Huo Yuhao.
Huo Yuhao hurriedly said, “Ice Empress, don’t be reckless.
The situation is very messy now. How can we help her?”
The Ice Empress replied, “The Snow Empress saved me before. Now that she’s in trouble, I have to help her. Don’t worry, I have my own way. I won’t endanger you. Don’t move. I’ll communicate with her.”
The Ice Empress was slowly released, and the golden-red, four-hundred thousand year soul ring appeared on Huo Yuhao’s body. Imitation concealed its light.
A huge image of the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion slowly surfaced on Huo Yuhao’s back. If he stripped, this image would seem to be alive. The image moved slightly on his back, and a weird light shot out from the Ice Empress’ crystal-yellow eyes. A streak of strange aura was also exuded.
Du Busi was very depressed right now. He had never expected things to go this badly. They were fully prepared for
this sneak attack, and had even practiced it countless times. It was supposed to be ﬂawless. But who knew that the sealed hundred-thousand year soul beast embryo would escape, and be so powerful?
Neither the Body Sect or Illustrious Virtue Hall dared to use their most destructive weapons to attack. If the place collapsed, no one would survive.
But the soul beast embryo was too difﬁcult to deal with. Its body temperature was too low. It was both Du Busi and Jing Hongchen’s ﬁrst time seeing something like this. Its Ultimate Ice managed to neutralize all their attacks. Even Du Busi’s notoriously lethal poison couldn’t penetrate the frozen gas.
In addition, Du Busi had to be wary of Jing Hongchen even when he dealt with the soul beast embryo. While the two of them seemed to be teaming up, the suspended battle would erupt again once the soul beast embryo appeared to be on the verge of caving in.
The Snow Empress’ body was covered by a layer of frozen gas. This layer of frozen gas was in a ball shape with a diameter
of two meters. However, this ball of frozen gas could even freeze light, and was the Snow Empress’ best protection.
Du Busi reached out with his right hand, and formed a huge hand of dark-green light. This energy palm reached out for the Snow Empress. Jing Hongchen coordinated with him, and a long, frightening red rainbow appeared in the air. This rainbow whipped towards the Snow Empress. A two-pronged attack from front and back was unleashed against the Snow Empress.
The air in the underground base started to distort furiously. Slits started to appear in the air as the two of them unleashed their power to stop the Snow Empress.
They weren’t entirely sure how the Snow Empress had managed to garner such power, but at this moment of crisis, the most crucial thing was to capture her ﬁrst. The enmity between the two of them could wait until they had dealt with this hundred-thousand year soul beast.
The frozen ball of gas suddenly turned rigid. Initially, it was quite ﬂexible, but it didn’t manage to avoid Du Busi’s huge hand of soul energy. The dark-green light engulfed and restrained the frozen ball of gas within it.
Jing Hongchen’s scarlet rainbow also whipped the ball of gas, causing it to distort drastically. The ball of gas seemed to be critically damaged.
Du Busi was elated. He could sense that the ball of gas was not as cold as before, and it was also on the verge of collapsing. He suddenly shouted, “Retreat!” Since he had achieved his goal, it was imperative for him to leave quickly.
Jing Hongchen laughed coldly and gestured with his right hand. The soul engineers from Illustrious Virtue Hall immediately launched a ferocious attack against the Body Sect.
The rainbow that had struck the ball of gas disappeared. However, something small was now ﬂoating in mid-air, looking like a crystal ball. It was very smooth and bright, and had many holes in it. A magical scarlet-red light ﬂashed up inside it at this point.
Ommmmmm! A deafening hum suddenly shook the air. Even Du Busi stiffened up when he heard this hum. Following this, a thin streak of red light shot out from the scarlet-red crystal
ball. This red light engulfed the dark-green light that had restrained the ball of gas.
Du Busi’s soul power was quickly dissipated by that ray of scarlet light. The Snow Empress was freed before Du Busi could drag her away.
Du Busi was enraged. Just as he was about to pull himself together, an indescribable sense of crisis suddenly swept over him.
At the Ultimate Douluo level, one was almost godly. An Ultimate Douluo was extremely perceptive, and even had the ability to predict the future.
Du Busi didn’t hesitate, and quickly let go of the idea of taking the Snow Empress. His ﬁgure ﬂashed, and he returned to the ground. A dark-green light supported his body and blocked off the attacks from the Illustrious Virtue Hall soul engineers. It also extended out to protect all the Body Sect members.
A desolate voice echoed throughout the entire place, overshadowing all other sounds.
In the air, the frozen ball of gas was still rigid as it was covered by the red light.
“Despicable humans. All of you will pay the price for hunting soul beasts one day. Even if I die, I won’t fulﬁll your greed! All of you can go and die!”
When she reached the end of her words, the Snow Empress was already screeching. Her terrifying soul power undulations caused the air around her to distort violently.
“This is not good!” Jing Hongchen exclaimed, “Quickly, stop her!” As he shouted, he didn’t conserve his powers any further. Multiple blurs of red light continued to appear in mid-air.
They turned into barriers of light that engulfed the frozen gas. The rest of the Illustrious Virtue Hall members imitated him and added even more layers of defensive barriers around the frozen gas.
The regretful Du Busi watched the frozen gas sphere. Under his command, the Body Sect members were quickly retreating into the underground holes that they had come from.
Tremors struck the entire place as terrifying explosive booms rang out. The Snow Empress unleashed her full power, turning into a frightening explosive force that swept the entire place.
If the magnitude of this explosion had to be described, Jing Hongchen was certain that it was as powerful as a legendary Class 10 explosive soul tool.
The layers of defensive barriers were completely destroyed by the explosion. The immense force blew the entire underground base apart.
Fortunately, there were many layers of powerful defensive barriers. More than twelve Class 9 soul tools greatly weakened
the strength of the explosion. When the shockwave surged through the underground base, the underground base still did not collapse.
Countless cracks appeared within the underground base, however, and many sections of it were caving in. A cold aura ﬁlled the air, and everyone shivered from the biting chill.
What a powerful hundred-thousand year soul beast! Even after turning into a human embryo, she still possessed such frightening strength! How unfortunate that it didn’t matter anymore. She had self-imploded, and not even a soul bone was left of her.
The Body Sect also suffered from the shockwave of the explosion. However, Du Busi bore the entire impact of the shockwave alone, spitting out dark-green blood as he warded it from his sect members.
The Body Sect consisted of only soul masters. They weren’t like Illustrious Virtue Hall. There were many Class 9 soul engineers helping Jing Hongchen, but Du Busi used his own strength to bear the impact of the shockwave, which also alleviated the impact on the underground base.
The rest of the Body Sect managed to retreat, along with the corpses of their comrades, because Du Busi resisted the explosion for them.
Du Busi was a little indignant when he looked at Jing Hongchen. Jing Hongchen also spat out some blood at this point. As their gazes met, Du Busi revealed a mocking look in his eyes. He reached out his right hand and gave the other man a thumbs-down. He only left after swaying his thumb slightly.
“Chase them!” Jing Hongchen shouted, infuriated. He quickly turned into a streak of ﬂowing light and pursued the Body Sect. The rest of the Illustrious Virtue Hall defenders also acted quickly.
Huo Yuhao had remained motionless underneath the laboratory desk the whole time. The impact of the shockwave was almost entirely resisted by the Illustrious Virtue Hall members. He wasn’t struck by the shockwave to any real extent.
However, he couldn’t move right now even if he wanted to. An extreme chill had entered his body through his back and circulated throughout his entire body. Almost every part of his body was on the brink of being frozen.
No one had seen a clear ﬂuid descending from the sky when the Snow Empress caused the explosion. This liquid ﬂowed onto Huo Yuhao’s back and seeped into his body. The frightening explosive force had concealed everything.
The Ice Empress’ Ultimate Ice immediately protected him from the cold as it seeped into Huo Yuhao’s body. She even used her own strength to restrict that chill as it ﬂowed below his navel region. This also relieved Huo Yuhao from the freezing pain.
The Ice Empress was anxious as she called out, “Snow Lady, Snow Lady, how are you?!”
A weak woman’s voice replied, “Ice, why are you here? You’re even in a human’s body.” The Ice Empress’ voice was resonating in Huo Yuhao’s spiritual world.
Huo Yuhao felt weird at this point. “This must be the fourth one. Brother Skydream, Ice Empress, Elder Yi. Now there’s the Snow Empress…”
The Ice Empress was anxious. “Don’t ask so many questions right now. You’re only left with this little origin power now. How is your condition? Can you recover?”
The Snow Empress said grievously, “If not for your call, I would have infused my origin power into that explosion. In that way, I could drag more down with me. Do you think I can recover? I don’t even have my body now. This little bit of origin power will slowly dissipate.”
The Ice Empress asked anxiously, “Snow Lady, what happened? Why did you become a hundred-thousand year soul beast embryo? No wonder I had a familiar feeling when I saw that Godsealing Altar at the Starlight Auction house. You’re the one that was sealed inside the altar.”
The Snow Empress sighed and said, “Aren’t we in the same boat? If I’m not wrong, you only ran into a bottleneck in these recent few years. Before I chose rebirth as a human, I tried to
ﬁnd you and hoped to help you. But you’d already disappeared. Even those from your species didn’t know where you’d gone.”
The Ice Empress laughed bitterly. “Even if you had helped me, I wouldn’t have been able to pass that stage. I know myself well. When potential reaches its limit, external help won’t be useful. That’s why I chose this path.”
“Snow Empress, how are you? Do you still remember me?” Skydream Iceworm was a little awkward.
“Oh?” The Snow Empress was evidently stunned. “There’s still a soul beast’s aura here? Why are the two of you in a human’s world? This aura is very familiar. It’s a spiritual power that’s tremendous, but not dangerous. What is it?” She evidently couldn’t recall the Skydream Iceworm.
The Ice Empress snapped, “It’s that fortunate Skydream Iceworm. It managed to advance in its sleep, and overcame bottleneck after bottleneck. Its cultivation even superseded mine.”
The Snow Empress perked up. “Oh, I remember. I remember that you chased after it before. Didn’t you say that it went missing? Why’re the two of you together now?”
Skydream chortled and said, “Snow Empress, you’re right that we’re together!”
“Scram and shut up!” the Ice Empress raged.
Chapter 174: Snow Empress
Huo Yuhao was like a bystander now. He sensed the three of them talking in his Spiritual Sea and found it very weird.
The Illustrious Virtue Hall’s underground base was a mess. Besides the Illustrious Virtue Hall members who chased after the Body Sect, those with lesser cultivations remained to help those who had been injured.
Huo Yuhao was among those who needed help. He was brought to a safer place after he was veriﬁed to be alive. He also acted like he was unconscious, and was thus temporarily safe.
“Snow Lady, let me help you to gather your origin power ﬁrst. Maybe you’ll have a chance at recovery.” The Ice Empress wanted to use Huo Yuhao’s soul power to help the Snow Empress shrink the transparent ﬂuid that was the manifestation of the Snow Empress’ origin power.
However, the Ice Empress soon realized that something was amiss. That was because she couldn’t control Huo Yuhao’s internal strength like she could before.
“Yuhao, do something. Come and help.” The Ice Empress snapped.
Huo Yuhao laughed bitterly. “Ice Empress, I’m not doing nothing! I’m just scared that the Snow Empress will misunderstand if I just suddenly appear.”
The Snow Empress did misunderstand. She sensed Huo Yuhao’s aura and asked in shock, “Ice, you’re residing in a human’s body? How did your dignity fall to this stage? What happened? It’s you. You’re the one who smashed the Godsealing Altar and released me?”
Huo Yuhao was annoyed. “But you took advantage of my kindness and froze me too. Without the Ice Empress’ strength, I would’ve become a real ice sculpture.”
The Snow Empress was furious, “You humans are all evil. I don’t need your help.”
The Ice Empress sighed. She knew that no one could change the Snow Empress’ mind when she got angry. The only way
was to clarify things ﬁrst.
She tried her best to explain how she had met Huo Yuhao and the Skydream Iceworm, as well as how the Skydream Iceworm had convinced her to become Huo Yuhao’s second martial soul.
The Snow Lady’s emotions were evidently surging. Huo Yuhao also took this opportunity to gather the Snow Empress’ remaining origin power into a small, transparent pearl using his Ultimate Ice soul power under the Ice Empress’ guidance. He stabilized this pearl below his navel.
It seemed like the Ice Empress was similar to Electrolux then. She was only left with this origin sense. She had fared better than Electrolux in the sense that her origin sense was complete and wasn’t in pieces. However, the Snow Empress couldn’t compare to Electrolux in terms of her divine sense. Without the protection of Huo Yuhao’s Ultimate Ice, her origin power would’ve dissipated.
“Ice, I didn’t expect that you’d choose such a path.” The Snow Empress sighed after hearing the Ice Empress out. She had also calmed down signiﬁcantly.
The Ice Empress laughed bitterly. “I had no choice! If not because I was desperate, I wouldn’t have entrusted my fate to someone else. Right now, I can only do my best to help Yuhao. I hope that he can reach that stage one day.”
The Snow Empress said, “Skydream.”
“Yes, I’m here. I’m here.” The Skydream Iceworm appeared eagerly once again.
The Snow Empress said, “I never thought you’d be so loyal. You found a path to success, but you never forgot Ice. Solely based on this, Ice is fortunate to follow you. You must take good care of her in the future.”
“Alright, alright.” The Skydream Iceworm didn’t rush to answer.
“Snow Lady, what do you mean?” The Ice Empress asked, “Snow Lady, are you unwilling to walk the same path as me?”
The Snow Empress laughed bitterly, “It’s not that I don’t want to. I can’t. Your situation is different from mine. I’ve already decided to be reborn as a human. My own strength is suppressed within my origin power. If my rebirth is successful, this strength will slowly be released from my human body and turn into my human strength. Now that a part of this strength is still present, do you think this human can accept this shrunken origin power of mine?”
“Furthermore, Skydream was the one who reserved a spot for you and allowed you to undergo fusion. But do I have a place here? If I stay, I’ll only be a time bomb. Once I detonate, the two of you will also die, along with this human.”
“Without my original body, my origin power is in an unstable state. It can blow apart at any time.”
After the Snow Empress listened to the Ice Empress, she was actually tempted. She had to admit that Skydream’s path was a good opportunity for soul beasts like them who had no choice. Once Huo Yuhao became a god, they might be released. However, she was in a different situation from the Ice Empress. There was no place for her here. If she underwent fusion, everyone would die.
The Ice Empress was speechless. Yes! She had guided the Snow Empress here, but how could she help her? She could also sense that the Snow Empress’ origin power was very unstable. The Snow Empress had lost the ability to control her own origin power. If something went wrong, disaster might
“Skydream, what do we do? Think of a way.” The Ice Empress couldn’t help but ask the Skydream Iceworm.
“Me…?” The Skydream Iceworm laughed bitterly. “What idea could I possibly have? Although my cultivation seems to better than yours, my capabilities are extremely inferior to the two of you. The two of you can also clearly sense the condition of Yuhao’s body. His potential is slowly being developed, but it’s impossible for him to bear the Snow Empress’ origin power.”
“Is there not even a single solution?” The Ice Empress asked anxiously.
Skydream said, “If the Snow Empress could control her own power and follow us in sealing the parts that Yuhao can’t absorb, she could become your martial soul’s second soul ring,
and there’s a possibility of retaining her intelligence. However, the Snow Empress is above your level. If she fuses into a martial soul that you form, there’ll be a conﬂict. That’ll be a very serious matter. Furthermore, the Snow Empress can’t control her own origin power now.”
“If I retract my power and let the Snow Lady replace me, is it possible?” The Ice Empress asked ﬂatly.
Skydream became annoyed. “Do you think this is a game? Do you think giving up your position is so easy? Your strength has already fused with my ice martial soul. Without Yuhao’s agreement, you can’t retract your power. Even if you could, it would only cause the ice martial soul to be crushed. Everyone will perish together.”
The Snow Empress’ voice became much gentler, “Ice, don’t be like that. We’ve lived in this world for hundred thousands of years. I’ve lived even longer than you. When I was ﬁrst born, there weren’t even humans around yet. Is death really that scary? I don’t think so. Maybe it’s just a new beginning. If there’s a next life, I hope we can be of different genders. I’ll marry you then. It’s time to say goodbye, Ice.”
As she spoke, the Snow Lady’s origin power struggled slightly beneath Huo Yuhao’s navel. It started to swim like a ﬁsh. Huo Yuhao’s soul power couldn’t restrict it as it tried to escape his body.
The Skydream Iceworm was stunned. “What’s going on? Ice Empress, you and the Snow Empress…”
“Shut up!” The Ice Empress screamed, and her voice already sounded like she was sobbing. “Snow Empress, don’t go. We’ll think of another way.”
The Snow Empress sighed. “I have to go. I don’t know how long I can suppress this origin power anymore. After I leave, all of you should leave this place quickly. Once my origin power blows apart, it’ll be even more terrifying than what happened earlier. Ice, Skydream is a nice chap. Be nicer to him.”
“You don’t have to go.” Elder Yi’s voice sounded at this moment. He ﬁnally spoke.
“Elder Yi.” The Ice Empress seemed to have found her savior, “Elder Yi, help the Snow Lady. If you can help her survive, I’ll
Electrolux smiled as he said, “Even if it means giving up your spirit?”
The Ice Empress was in a momentary daze. After that, she said determinedly, “Yes.”
Electrolux was silent for a moment before he replied, “I seem to have seen something. Reveal yourselves in the Spiritual Sea. Yuhao still needs to make a decision. After all, we’re in his body.”
Amidst an intense undulation of spiritual power, Huo Yuhao peered into his own mind. A boundless, golden ocean drifted into his vision – he had arrived beside his Spiritual Sea.
The Ice Empress turned into an Ice Jade Empress Scorpion, while the Skydream Iceworm was still the huge worm that had ten, ﬂashing golden soul rings on it.
Huo Yuhao was shocked by the Snow Empress’ appearance.
She looked like a seventeen or eighteen-year-old teenage girl. Her long, white hair ﬂowed freely to her legs, and her sky-blue eyes were very clear. It was as if she could see through everything in the world. Her slender ﬁgure was ﬂawless, and her long white dress wasn’t adorned with any accessories. However, she still looked very elegant and ravishing.
Even though she was only left with a shred of her origin power, the Snow Empress paid very meticulous attention to her appearance. She stood out above the common crowd and had a proud demeanor.
Huo Yuhao had revealed his original appearance in his Spiritual Sea, but his body had a layer of dim gold that wasn’t found on the Ice Empress or the others.
Electrolux’s ﬁgure slowly surfaced. He wore a long, golden robe that had rose patterns on it. His white hair and beard revealed the vicissitudes of life that he had been through, and he carried a sense of simplicity and profundity.
When the Snow Empress saw him for the ﬁrst time, her body jerked. Huo Yuhao could sense an agitation in her origin
Electrolux also looked at the Snow Empress and said with a calm gaze, “You have one of the most powerful spiritual senses I’ve seen since coming to this world. Although that worm has a greater cultivation than you, he can’t compare to you in terms of his spiritual sense. Your spiritual sense is also very pure, which is a very rare thing. No wonder you’re the Icesky Snow Lady.”
The Snow Empress was aloof as she looked back at Electrolux, “Human, you don’t have to say such useless things to me. You’re very powerful.”
Electrolux smiled, and the wrinkles on his face became very obvious. “You can sense my power because you’re on a different level. Although I was only left with a shred of my divine sense when I came to this world, it still exists. Although your level isn’t low, it has remained stagnant at that level. After all, one’s spiritual and divine sense don’t belong in the same category.”
The Snow Empress’ spirit jerked a little. “Are you the split consciousness of a god?”
Electrolux shook his head and said, “No, I’m just a human who didn’t want to be a god. In my previous world, becoming a god signiﬁed eternal death. It seems to be different in this world. It’s a pity that I no longer possess the foundation to become a god.
“Let’s talk about your matter. Your situation is actually very simple. After you lost your body, your immense spiritual sense no longer has a body to house it. Your spiritual power can no longer contain your origin power, and it’ll eventually blow apart. There doesn’t seem to be a place in Yuhao’s body that can contain you, because he is still not strong enough right now. While it isn’t possible to contain you now, that doesn’t mean that it will be impossible in the future. That’s why I’m willing to help you. I’m also helping myself, the worm, and the scorpion.
“With your strength, it’ll be much easier for Yuhao to advance in the future.”
The Snow Empress replied, “If I’m going to live, I’d rather return to nature than live so pathetically.”
Electrolux smiled. “No one’s asking you to live pathetically. I’ve already thought about your future. But the time isn’t ripe. You need to preserve your powers and prevent them from dissipating. Your intelligence will exist with your spiritual sense.”
“My future?” The Snow Empress was a little confused, and looked at Electrolux with a new sense of curiosity.
Electrolux nodded, and his lips moved as if he were saying something, but Skydream, the Ice Empress, and Huo Yuhao couldn’t hear him.
The Snow Empress listened very carefully. After a long while, her confusion turned into shock. “Is that really possible?” she asked, and everyone could hear her.
Electrolux answered in a deep voice. “I never exaggerate things. I’m seventy percent conﬁdent that it can be realized. Furthermore, it’s only your origin power that will need to be sealed. Your spiritual sense and intelligence can remain in Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Sea just like the worm and the scorpion, which will allow you to consolidate your spiritual sense and help you familiarize yourself with this place. When Yuhao’s
cultivation reaches seven rings, it’ll be a great opportunity to evolve.”
“Snow Lady, I beg you. Please stay here.” The Ice Empress pestered the Snow Empress, and used her long scorpion tail to caress the Snow Empress’ slender thigh.
“That’s right. Stay here.” The Skydream Iceworm followed her to the Snow Empress’ side. However, he was smacked by the Ice Empress’ pincer before he could get close to the Snow Lady.
The Snow Empress turned to Huo Yuhao, and her icy-blue eyes bore a complicated look.
At this point, Huo Yuhao knew what he should do. He stared at the Snow Empress with a sincere look on his face and said, “Greetings, Snow Empress! Although I don’t know what Elder Yi said to you, I really hope that you can stay. I can’t guarantee that I’ll fulﬁll your wish in the future, but I’ll do my best to. You’re the darling of nature, you can’t just die. I’ll treat you like a friend, partner, and even kin, just like how I treat Skydream and the Ice Empress.”
If the Snow Empress stayed, it would be very beneﬁcial to him. Although Huo Yuhao didn’t know what Elder Yi said to the Snow Empress, he had clearly heard the word ‘evolve’. Furthermore, his control over his body would become stronger as his abilities increased. Even the powerful spirits that existed in his body couldn’t forcefully control his body anymore.
Before the Snow Empress had turned into a human embryo, she had nearly seven hundred thousand years of cultivation! Even though she had blown her own body apart, her main strength was sealed within her origin. It would certainly be very useful for him in the future. In addition, the Snow Empress and Ice Empress appeared to very close, the Ice Empress would be delighted if the Snow Empress stayed.
Her desire to survive eventually trumped her pride. The Snow Empress glanced at the Ice Empress’ hopeful eyes and nodded, albeit with a little hesitation.
The Ice Empress quickly changed the topic. “Snow Lady, how did you manage to do it? With your seven-hundred thousand years of cultivation, you can’t possibly be reborn as a human! Above a hundred-thousand years of cultivation, our strength can’t be restricted just by sealing it. Even if we’re willing to
give up our strength, we won’t be able to do it! How did you succeed?”
The Snow Empress said, “I encountered a hundred-thousand year Snow Lotus. The Snow Lotus can’t unlock one’s spiritual intelligence, but it contains the purest essence of heaven and earth. I used it to seal my origin, which allowed me to be reborn as a human. But who knew that I would be so unfortunate as to meet a human that had snuck into the Extreme North? He exploited the opportunity to seal me in that vicious Godsealing Altar.”
The Ice Empress was enlightened. “I see. No wonder you chose this path. It’s a pity…”
Electrolux spoke in a deep voice. “Snow Lady, your spiritual sense is too unstable because your sealed origin power is too immense. We must begin quickly.”
Although the Snow Empress was very proud, she wouldn’t delay after she made her choice. She nodded and answered, “I’ll have to trouble you, then.”
Electrolux drifted to the Snow Empress and reached his right hand forward. The Spiritual Sea beside them started to surge as Huo Yuhao entered a trance. Countless golden spots formed a light that was as bright as the stars, gathering towards Electrolux.
A long, golden staff slowly took form. Huo Yuhao felt a sudden and intense weakness as it condensed in Electrolux’s hand.
Electrolux was in a different situation than the Skydream Iceworm and Ice Empress. When he fused into Huo Yuhao’s body, he was only left with a shred of his divine sense. He needed to rely on Huo Yuhao’s strength every time he wanted to exhibit any form of ability. Under such circumstances, the power that he wanted to use must be within Huo Yuhao’s ability to handle.
The formation of this staff had undoubtedly drained Huo Yuhao’s spiritual power.
Electrolux’s aura changed when the golden staff entered his hands. An indescribable sense of purity and elegance made him seem like a god that had descended.
A deep chant sounded out, Electrolux was reciting mystical words. At the start, his voice was very deep. However, it gradually started to echo in Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Sea.
His mighty voice made him appear even more majestic. Skydream and the Ice Empress didn’t move from where they were. The Snow Empress had already shut her eyes, and appeared to be sensing something.
Huo Yuhao was the only one in pain. He felt weaker and weaker. To his horror, he discovered that his boundless Spiritual Sea was shrinking at an alarming rate. His spiritual power was also decreasing signiﬁcantly.
He initially felt that he already overestimated Elder Yi. But now he realized that Elder Yi was far stronger than he had thought. Huo Yuhao made such this judgment after witnessing the Ice Empress, Snow Empress, and Skydream Iceworm’s reactions.
The Snow Empress’ pride quickly disappeared as Elder Yi recited his incantations. What replaced it was a sense of solemnity and esteem.
How powerful would Elder Yi be if he wasn’t just a shred of divine sense? Perhaps even a Transcendent Douluo would be inferior to him!
Huo Yuhao’s belief grew despite the weakness he felt. He had realized how small he was during the ﬁght between Illustrious Virtue Hall and the Body Sect. He wasn’t at a level where he could get involved in such an intense ﬁght. He couldn’t even use his Spiritual Detection in such circumstances.
He might be one of the best among others of his same age, but he was still very far from the true elites.
Elder Yi’s voice was very deep right from the start. However, Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Sea started to shake as Elder Yi continued to chat. In his Spiritual Sea, both bright and dim rays of light intersected. Huo Yuhao fell to a half-conscious state from the drain on his spiritual strength.
At this point, a huge golden vertical eye slowly opened in his Spiritual Sea. A golden beam of light turned into a strong ray shining directly on Huo Yuhao’s body. He was jolted awake by the strong light.
Elder Yi’s voice was blocked out by the light. The golden beam also started to emit brilliant spots that lit up his Spiritual Sea.
This was the feeling that came from the Eye of Destiny’s second mental sea. The power of destiny was keeping Huo Yuhao conscious.
He still felt weak, but he managed to stay conscious. Huo Yuhao realized that Elder Yi wasn’t just chanting anymore.
Electrolux wielded the golden staff in his hand, a ball of transparent golden light glowing blindingly above it. Strange runes slowly formed on the sphere. Every time a mysterious rune was formed, it would detach from the globe, drift towards the Snow Empress, and imprint onto her forehead. While the rune slowly fused into the Snow Empress’ forehead, a second rune would slowly take form before drifting towards her again. This process carried on very smoothly.
Huo Yuhao gradually felt the weakness disappear. Electrolux seemed to have ﬁnally gathered enough strength, and the golden runes began to appear faster and faster. The Snow Lady was gradually engulfed in a layer of golden light, while her divine sense was magically stabilized.
Huo Yuhao could sense that the transparent pearl below his navel was now encased in a layer of gold energy, the entirety of the pearl’s strength restrained by it.
It was a very strange feeling. It was as if a force on the brink of collapse had been frozen in that state. The Snow Empress’ expression had also become calmer. Her aloof demeanor was much gentler now.
Something weird seemed to have been etched into Huo Yuhao’s heart, and he slowly shut his eyes. He didn’t know what had enabled him to become enlightened, but he slowly became immersed in his Spiritual Sea and entered a deep meditative state.
Within the Illustrious Virtue Hall.
Jing Hongchen grit his teeth as he stood in the underground base. Everything in front of him was simply too startling.
The entire underground base was a complete mess. Less than a third of the costly laboratory desks were still in working order; the rest had been completely destroyed, leaving all sorts of rare metals strewn about. The underground base was in tatters.
Jing Hongchen was most depressed by the fact that the underground base was beginning to show signs of instability as a result of the intense battle that had ensued earlier. Luckily, it wasn’t beyond salvaging. He immediately instructed his people to solidify and stabilize the base’s foundations before they did anything else.
The Illustrious Virtue Hall had never been hit so badly before. The material damages it had sustained would be astronomically costly, and then there was the lives they’d lost.
The Illustrious Virtue Hall didn’t even belong to him; it was the soul tool research base for the entire Sun Moon Empire! It also had to bear the responsibility of developing advanced soul tools. Even with his current status in the Sun Moon Empire, he’d still be held responsible for such a grave matter. He was bound to receive pressure from the imperial family for this.
“Body Sect…Body Sect!” Jing Hongchen was enraged. His attempt to pursue them hadn’t achieved anything. Halfway through one of the tunnels, Du Busi had collapsed the tunnel behind him while they were chasing them, which had allowed the Body Sect the chance to ﬂee the area.
Jing Hongchen immediately commanded the military to lock down the entire city. However, he knew that this wouldn’t work. With the Body Sect’s abilities, how would the military be able to stop them?
“Hallmaster.” Lin Jiayi’s voice trembled as he walked up to Jing Hongchen. Jing Hongchen lowered his head to look at him.
“What’s the situation?” Jing Hongchen attempted to calm down.
Lin Jiayi lowered his head and answered, “The warehouse is still ﬁne—we didn’t really lose anything. All of the advanced soul tools in storage are intact.”
Jing Hongchen heaved a sigh of relief after hearing Lin Jiayi’s words; at least there was still some good news. It seemed that the Body Sect’s target had been the hundred thousand year soul beast embryo, and that they’d employed their entire sect to launch a surprise attack on them. Jing Hongchen was determined to take revenge.
“However…” Lin Jiayi’s next word caused Jing Hongchen to tense up.
He glared at Lin Jiayi, “‘However’ what? Don’t stutter, speak clearly.”
Lin Jiayi grit his teeth. His voice trembled as he said, “However, Test Subject 1 is missing…”
“What?” Jing Hongchen felt as if his vision had suddenly gone dark. His body shook, and he almost toppled to the
ground. Lin Jiayi quickly moved to support him.
Jing Hongchen felt as if the sky had just collapsed. He was panicking, and was extremely upset now.
“Repeat what you just said.” Even Jing Hongchen’s voice was trembling this time.
Lin Jiayi’s voice continued to tremble as he said, “Test Subject 1 is missing.”
Jing Hongchen cursed, spat out a mouthful of fresh blood, and then collapsed into Lin Jiayi’s arms.
What was Test Subject 1? It was the pinnacle of the Illustrious Virtue Hall’s research on soul tools! Even though it was only half-complete, it was the essence of the Sun Moon Empire’s research on soul tools over the past few thousand years!
Jing Hongchen face had become pale and his eyes were now full of fear as he looked at Lin Jiayi. He could get away with the
fact that the Illustrious Virtue Hall had suffered a great amount of damage in this incident, but he couldn’t bear the consequences brought about by the theft of Test Subject 1. This was something that threatened the entire empire’s safety!
He took in a deep breath and tried to calm himself down.
After a moment, he asked, “Who else knows about this?”
Lin Jiayi shook his head hurriedly and said, “I personally went to Laboratory 1 to check. I sealed the door to the lab and changed the door’s passcode the moment I discovered that it was missing. I immediately came to report it to you.”
Jing Hongchen ﬁnally managed to calm himself down and said, “Good job. No one else can know about this.”
“Alright.” Lin Jiayi hurriedly answered. Jing Hongchen’s face was currently half-red and half-white. His hatred towards the Body Sect had reached a peak. His only hope right now was that Test Subject 1 was too difﬁcult for anyone to use—that its technology was too advanced. If it were to be stripped apart, the explosive device within it would immediately detonate. This was a theft prevention plan they’d implemented, and right now, it seemed that doing so had been the right choice.
Even so, the metals they’d lost were still extremely valuable. Fortunately, the Illustrious Virtue Hall was greatly autonomous. So long as this matter wasn’t exposed, there was still a chance that they could resolve it quietly.
Jing Hongchen forced his body to straighten up, somehow managing to maintain his cool despite the critical situation.
“Lin Jiayi, instruct everyone who was present today to keep their mouths sealed. Anyone that dares to leak news of the incident will be executed, no exceptions.
“Send people to every single auction houses, including those in the empire. Have them monitor any and all higher-level auctions. If Test Subject 1 is discovered, retrieve it at all costs.
“Finally, use the Illustrious Virtue Hall’s name to send a mission out to all mercenaries and assassins: Kill anyone from the Body Sect and you’ll be heavily rewarded.”
Jing Hongchen paused for a moment, then said, “Besides the injured Illustrious Virtue Hall disciples, all remaining
Illustrious Virtue Hall members are to aid in restoring our underground base. Help me inform the elders that we’ll need them to beef up the Illustrious Virtue Hall’s defenses as well. No further ﬂaws will be accepted. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” Lin Jiayi answered hurriedly. He was relieved that Jing Hongchen had regained his reason.
Jing Hongchen seemed to have thought of something, and asked anxiously, “How’re the exchange students from Shrek Academy? Especially Huo Yuhao. Were any of them hurt?”
Lin Jiayi knew that Jing Hongchen would ask him this question, thus had done his homework beforehand.
“Fan Yu and He Caitou are currently out for an experiment, thus they weren’t in the underground base. Most of the rest were also outside of the experimentation zone; the initial explosion didn’t affect them. They were all very sly, and managed to swiftly retreat to a safe place where they didn’t have to participate in the battle. Some of them are injured, but their injuries aren’t serious. Huo Yuhao is one of them. Our healing-type soul engineers have already checked on him. Even
though he’s unconscious, he isn’t critically injured. He must’ve suffered a concussion; he just needs some time to recover.”
Jing Hongchen heaved a sigh of relief and said, “That’s good. If anything had happened to the Shrek students, it would’ve caused even more trouble. They have to be well taken care of— nothing can happen to them.”
Lin Jiayi hesitated for a moment before saying, “Hallmaster, do you think it’s possible that this attack was some sort of collusion between Shrek Academy and the Body Sect? How else could the Body Sect accurately know the position of our underground base—especially where Test Subject 1 and the hundred thousand year soul beast embryo were? They even managed to release the hundred thousand year soul beast embryo. I’m afraid that there’s a mole!”
Jing Hongchen glared at him and said, “Idiot. Don’t I know that? However, Shrek wasn’t involved. Is your brain empty? Does anyone from Shrek Academy know where our hundred thousand year soul beast embryo is? None of them can even enter the core region of the Illustrious Virtue Hall. Furthermore, we have Huo Yuhao with us. Shrek Academy wouldn’t be so stupid. They might mock us for this incident,
but it wasn’t their doing. And do you really think that they’re that close to the Body Sect?
“Alright, quickly pass down my instructions. We need to minimize the effects of this incident. I’ll head to the palace immediately; It seems that I need to pay the Crown Prince a visit after all. It’s really heaven’s will!” Once he’d ﬁnished speaking, Jing Hongchen quickly walked away.
Even though the Illustrious Virtue Hall was doing its best to suppress the news, how could such a huge matter be concealed?
The matter had been made known to the entire continent after just a few days. Although the Sun Moon Empire’s ofﬁcials didn’t reveal who the perpetrators had been, the Illustrious Virtue Hall’s murderous mission towards the Body Sect clearly indicated who the mastermind behind the attack had been.
The entire continent shook from the news, and the other empires were jubilant at the news. Even though they didn’t know how much damage the Illustrious Virtue Hall had suffered, it was a good thing for them no matter what!
The Sun Moon Empire’s Emperor was enraged when he learned about the matter, and his physical condition worsened as a result. Jing Hongchen was severely punished as a result: his Dukedom was revoked. If not for Xu Tianran, his punishment would’ve been even more severe.
The prices of advanced soul tools on the continent dropped signiﬁcantly following this, while the prices of rare metals soared. The exchange of rare metals suddenly became much more prevalent.
Chapter 175: Crisis During the Interrogation
The Body Sect didn’t remain quiet for long. They strongly condemned the indiscriminately murderous mission issued by the Illustrious Virtue Hall, and also ﬁrmly stated that they had nothing to do with the incident. They then stated that whoever dared to exact revenge on them would have to bear the consequences of their actions.
However, regardless of what the Body Sect said, their standing on the continent had increased greatly. They now seemed even more powerful than Shrek Academy or the Illustrious Virtuous Hall, and appeared to be the top power on the continent.
Huo Yuhao only learned of these things when he woke up. He slept for four days straight before ﬁnally waking up in the inﬁrmary. It hadn’t been an act; he’d truly been asleep the entire time.
However, when he woke up, Huo Yuhao felt an odd sensation. It was as if a door in his spiritual world had been opened, as his mind was unusually clear compared to before.
His understanding of previously-blurry profound concepts of Necromancy had also improved greatly.
Electrolux was asleep when he woke up, as was the Snow Empress. The Ice Empress and Skydream told Huo Yuhao that the Snow Empress’ seal had been completed, but that her power could only be unsealed once Huo Yuhao had achieved the level of a Soul Sage. In her sleep, the Snow Empress was trying to regain her spiritual awareness.
Everything else appeared to be normal. Huo Yuhao hadn’t become stronger because of the Snow Empress’ successful sealing, but he looked forward to the moment that he would ‘evolve’ like Electrolux had said. How would the Snow Empress fuse with him? What would the evolution reject? If not for the fact that Electrolux was asleep, he would’ve demanded an answer.
The internal chaos within the Illustrious Virtue Hall had nothing to do with Huo Yuhao. However, he was still extremely worried when he woke up. After all, the huge starlight sapphire storage-type soul tool and the giant metal ﬁgure were both still inside his storage-type soul tool! He didn’t even have to think to know their signiﬁcance to the Illustrious Virtue Hall. They’d deﬁnitely spare no effort to ﬁnd them.
Huo Yuhao was extremely worried that they’d search everyone’s storage-type soul tools. If that happened, there was nowhere he could hide them.
“I’m ﬁne now. Can I return to my dormitory?” Huo Yuhao asked the doctor on duty.
The doctor checked his body, nodded his head, and said, “It seems you really are ﬁne. Strange, your brain doesn’t appear to have suffered any trauma, so why were you out for so long?”
Huo Yuhao grimaced and replied, “I don’t know either. Teacher, can I ask what happened that day? How could anyone have the guts to attack the Illustrious Virtue Hall?”
“Shh.” The doctor quickly shushed him and placed a ﬁnger to his lips. He then said in a low voice, “We can’t discuss it. The Hallmaster has issued a gag-order. The entire school is feeling jittery, and none of the students or teachers are permitted to leave the school right now.
“Everyone has to undergo interrogation. If not for the fact that you were unconscious, you would’ve been interrogated too. I’ll inform my superiors now that you’ve recovered from your wounds. You can only return to your dormitory once you’ve been questioned. Wait here, I’ll go inform someone.”
The thing he feared the most had come true. Huo Yuhao became noticeably more tense.
What can I do? As Huo Yuhao tensed up, his brain began to spin rapidly.
“The interrogation could be either light or severe,” Huo Yuhao told himself, “I have to consider the worst-case scenario.” At that moment, he took note of his surroundings and then acted immediately.
The doctor soon returned with a strict-looking teacher in tow. Huo Yuhao thought he recognized from the Illustrious Virtue Hall.
“Your name is Huo Yuhao?” The teacher asked coldly as he took out a register.
“You’re from Shrek Academy?” The teacher continued.
“On the day that the Illustrious Virtue Hall was attacked, what did you see? What were you doing?” When the teacher asked this question, he waved his hand at the doctor, signalling for him to leave them.
After some thought, Huo Yuhao replied, “That day, I was in the middle of making a soul tool. Just as I ﬁnished up one of the component, there was a huge explosion. I’m a spirit-type soul master, thus I have a very astute sense of danger. The moment I sensed that something was amiss, I immediately hid underneath the table. I heard an explosion from outside, while the following terrifying soul power shockwave prevented me from venturing outside. After the battle outside had quieted down, I snuck a peak, and then ran to the side of the Illustrious Virtue Hall. Then, I felt a strong force strike me, then I blacked out.”
Huo Yuhao was able to avoid lying as he answered. What he’d said was the truth of the matter. While he didn’t know if they’d survived the battle, he did knew that there were surveillance type soul tools in the underground facility of the Illustrious Virtue hall. There was no point in arousing the other’s suspicions for a few meaningless details.
After he heard what Huo Yuhao had said, the teacher nodded his head and said, “Anything else? For example, did you discover anything special?”
Huo Yuhao shook his head with a blank look on his face.
In the Ultimate Soldier Plan, they had undergone intensive interrogation training. When he answered these questions, Huo Yuhao’s heart rate and tone were all perfectly normal. Even his eyes didn’t give him away.
The teacher stared at him carefully for a while before slowly shaking his head. He took out a metal stick from the storage- type soul tool on his wrist, and then said, “I have to do a complete sweep of you. Please put all of your soul tools into a storage-type soul tool. When you’re done, pass them to me. You can’t leave anything out.”
Huo Yuhao’s expression turned dark and he replied, “Sorry, teacher, but I have a right to my privacy. I can’t let you search them. I’m an exchange student from Shrek Academy. Even if I’m just an ordinary student here, you have no right to search me.”
The teacher chuckled coldly and replied, “No right? Don’t forget our school’s name: ‘The Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy.’ We fall under direct imperial jurisdiction. As such, all of our students have sworn loyalty to the imperial family, and our management is semi-military. This is a personal order from His Majesty. Anyone who refuses to be interrogated and searched shall be dealt with as a traitor. I don’t care where you’re from, but since you were in our school at the time of the incident, you must be searched thoroughly. The fact that we didn’t search you while you were recovering is already a gesture to preserve your dignity.”
Huo Yuhao’s face turned red, and he said angrily, “Fine, go ahead and search. Please tell Hallmaster Jing Hongchen that I will report this incident to Shrek Academy. You can only pray that your students will not undergo such treatment at my school!”
As he said that, he placed all his soul tools, including Hongchen’s Blessing, into his belt storage-type soul, which was an imitation of the Twenty-Four Moonlit Bridges, and the storage-type tool on his wrist. Then, he passed them to the teacher.
When he heard Huo Yuhao’s threat, the teacher’s face softened as he sighed. He said, “Please don’t be too angry. We have no choice here. Even if a prince is in the academy, he’ll be interrogated and searched, too.”
As he said that, he carefully searched Huo Yuhao using the metal stick. Then, he did a sweep of the bed Huo Yuhao slept on just now to ascertain that he had no soul tools concealed
there. Only then did he take the few soul tools from Huo Yuhao to search them.
It was easy to search a storage-type soul tool. All he needed to do was direct his spiritual power inside. Of course, more advanced storage-type soul tools could be sealed by their owner’s spiritual power. But Huo Yuhao could not make one at his current level.
“Eh? Why do you have a Rank 9 soul tool on you?” Hongchen’s Blessing quickly caught the teacher’s attention.
Huo Yuhao snorted coldly. “Go and ask Hallmaster Jing Hongchen.”
The teacher took Hongchen’s Blessing from Huo Yuhao’s storage-type soul tool and said, “Come with me.” As he said that, he took out a soul tool that had left an indelible mark on Huo Yuhao’s memory.
A pair of golden handcuffs… Huo Yuhao held his hands out in front of him and said, “You can cuff me and seal my soul power.”
The teacher looked at him suspiciously, but still cuffed Huo Yuhao immediately.
Huo Yuhao said coldly, “Now I’m unable to resist. Good. Now, please ask Hallmaster Jing Hongchen to escort me out. I won’t go with you. I’ll report all unfair treatment to Shrek Academy. Also, please return to me the items that you have checked.”
The teacher never expected Huo Yuhao to be so difﬁcult. If he were not an exchange student, he would have slapped him and dragged him away. However, Huo Yuhao had a unique identity. Before he came, Lin Jiayi had speciﬁcally told him to be careful of his attitude regarding Huo Yuhao and avoid causing unnecessary trouble.
After he pondered it for a while, he said, “Wait here.” With that, he turned and left.
Huo Yuhao held his storage-type soul tools, and a faint smile crossed his face. He walked slowly to the edge of the wall and made a gesture, as if he were picking something out of thin air. Then, he put it away in his Twenty-Four Moonlit Bridges belt.
That’s right. He had brazenly placed the map he drew of Illustrious Virtue Hall, as well as the starlight sapphire storage- type tool, on the ﬂoor.
His Imitation soul skill had been activated the whole time. However, he did not conjure anything, but instead used it to conceal the starlight sapphire and the map, which he had placed on the ﬂoor.
Who knew that he would hide the item on the ﬂoor in plain view? The teacher would deﬁnitely not search the corners of the room like a madman.
Huo Yuhao liked these handcuffs. Their ability to seal his soul power was powerful, indeed. He could not use any of his soul power. However, as a spirit-type soul master, especially one who possessed a second spiritual sea, he could use his spiritual power as a replacement for his soul power when he wanted to use a soul skill.
This referred to his Spirit Eyes, and would not work with his second martial soul, the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion.
Hence, he continued to use Imitation. At the same time, he used his spiritual power to open his storage-type soul tool to put the items away. With the handcuffs, his opponents would not worry about him.
His Hongchen’s Blessing was a decoy for his opponent. It was possible that Jing Hongchen would take this Rank 9 soul tool back. However, compared to the metal man and the map, it was hardly worth anything. Furthermore, Jing Hongchen might not even take it away.
The reason he did not leave with his opponent was that once he left the range of his power, the items would be exposed! With him as the center, Imitation would only work in a ﬁve- meter range.
Imitation, which appeared to have no offensive abilities, could be described as a divine skill. Even if his opponents knew that he had this ability, its many uses would leave them careless.
Soon, the teacher was back, along with Lin Jiayi.
“Eh, Yuhao, who cuffed you?” When Lin Jiayi saw the golden handcuffs on Huo Yuhao, he asked that question despite knowing the answer perfectly well.
Huo Yuhao replied, “Please ask this teacher here.”
Lin Jiayi looked at the teacher, vexed, and said, “What an outrage! Uncuff him immediately!”
The teacher nodded and went over to uncuff Huo Yuhao. However, Huo Yuhao shimmered to the side and withdrew his hands, saying, “Don’t! Director Lin, your arrival is timely indeed. I am an exchange student from Shrek Academy, not a convict. Earlier, I was already arrested once. After I discussed the incident with Hallmaster Jing Hongchen, I decided to bear the humiliation. And what a humiliation it was! Why did I do it? For the friendship between our two schools, of course. However, I can’t take this humiliation. What right do you have to search me? Why do you treat me like a convict? If you can’t give me an answer, I shall keep the handcuffs on and save the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy the worry that I am out to harm you guys.”
Lin Jiayi had an ugly expression on his face. He did not expect Huo Yuhao to be so difﬁcult. He coughed and said, “Yuhao, please understand our dilemma. Days ago, you were attacked with us as a bunch of men in black attacked our Illustrious Virtue Hall. We suffered heavy losses, and even the principal was punished by His Majesty. We have no choice but to do a thorough investigation. Furthermore, we found a Rank 9 soul tool that is evidently from Illustrious Virtue Hall. As
long as you can answer for it clearly and properly, we will not trouble you any further.”