Unrivaled Tang Sect Volume 27

Book 27: The New Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament!

Chapter 265: Tough Dong'er

Jiang Nannan also rushed behind Wang Dong’er. Everyone encircled her and treated her like an enemy.

Wang Qiu’er said coldly, “I won’t hand him over unless you let me say my piece. I want to let all of you know what he did.”

Bei Bei stepped forward and was about to act up, but Wang Dong’er immediately lifted her arms and shook her head at the rest. “Don’t be like that. Let her speak. I can handle it.”

The sad look in Wang Dong’er’s eyes became even more intense. However, she wasn’t in the mood to pick on Wang Qiu’er. Huo Yuhao had returned, he had finally returned! Even though she didn’t know how he was, he must be fine since Wang Qiu’er claimed that he wouldn’t die.

It was fine as long as he was alive! It was still better than Tang Ya and Ma Xiaotao, who were both still missing. She had already thrown everything else from her mind. As long as Huo Yuhao was safe, she was willing to accept anything that he had with Wang Qiu’er. The ten days of waiting had taught her one thing, that she was willing to do anything in exchange for Huo Yuhao’s safety.

“Dong’er,  you  are  too  kind,”  Bei  Bei  sighed.  However,  he didn’t go against her wishes.

Wang Dong’er revealed a sad smile and said, “It’s fine since he has returned. I’m satisfied since he’s returned safely. Wang Qiu’er, tell me what you want to say.”

Wang Qiu’er scanned everyone coldly and said, “From your looks, all of you seem to think that I eloped with him? Hmph, all of you are his good friends! Is he really like all of you imagine him to be?”

Everyone was stunned by her words. Yes! They had been thinking about what had happened between Huo Yuhao and Wang Qiu’er after they left together.

Wang Dong’er was also stunned. She saw an outraged look in Wang Qiu’er’s eyes. Wang Qiu’er said coldly, “I feel bad for him. In the past ten days, he has almost died three times. However, he pressed on every time. I tried to stop him from taking risks, but he resisted and continued to proceed stubbornly. Do you really think he eloped with me?”

Xu Sanshi furrowed his brow, “How come you left together?
He even left without saying anything!”

Wang  Qiu’er  replied,  “He  left  without  saying  anything because he was anxious. I don’t know how he found out Wang Dong’er was sick.”

Xu Sanshi’s eyes widened. “You’re the sick one!”

Wang Qiu’er focused her gaze, and a sharp light flashed within them. However, she still suppressed her anger.

“He told me that Wang Dong’er was sick. In addition, he even said that her life was in danger. That day, he left Shrek Academy on his own. I caught him leaving and pursued him, seeing that he was in a rush. However, who knew that I would end up pursuing him for thousands of miles. That’s why I went missing with him.

“I hadn’t expected that he could go to this extent for another person. Do you see the flower on his face? He almost sacrificed his life to bring it back. It’s an immortal grass called the Yearning Heartbroken Grass. It can cure her injuries.”

Wang Dong’er was stunned. She didn’t even know that she was sick or injured. However, Wang Qiu’er sounded very convincing. She also didn’t know what to do since Huo Yuhao was in this state.

Wang Qiu’er lifted her hand and unbuttoned Huo Yuhao’s sleeves.

Everyone was shocked when they saw his hands.

Huo Yuhao’s hands were covered in bandages. The thick bandages were half-stained with fresh blood. “Do all of you know how this injury came about? In order to pluck the Yearning Heartbroken Flower, he forced himself to swallow spring water that contained Ultimate Fire to counter the Ultimate Ice in his body. When his hands cupped the water, they were badly burned. His throat, windpipe and even
internal organs were greatly burned from the water. He was on the brink of death.”

“Ah!” Wang Dong’er’s figure shook slightly. An unhealthy red appeared on her face, and tears streamed down her cheeks.

“At that point, he still used his eyes to tell me to bring this Yearning Heartbroken Grass back to treat your injury. If not for the fact that I used an herb to preserve his life, he would have died.”

Wang Qiu’er recounted everything that had happened to the both of them over the past ten days.

After hearing her accounting of events, everyone’s expressions changed greatly. Jiang Nannan and Xiao Xiao were even crying. They hadn’t expected Huo Yuhao to experience so many ordeals over the past ten days. He had even been on the brink of death several times before he finally managed to pluck the Yearning Heartbroken Grass.

When they heard that the Ultimate Ice in his body had raged out and the blood that he spat out had frozen up, leaving him no choice but to swallow the Blazing Sunspring water, Bei Bei, He Caitou and Xu Sanshi’s eyes also welled up.

What kind of love was this? Huo Yuhao used his actions to tell them how much he loved Wang Dong’er.

Wang Dong’er stopped crying as she heard more and more of what Wang Qiu’er said. Her body was trembling non-stop, shaking uncontrollably.

Yuhao, Yuhao, Yuhao…

Her mind was only filled with his name right now. Yuhao, Yuhao, my Yuhao. For me, you actually… What injury? Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you let me face all this with you? Yuhao.

At this moment, Wang Dong’er was heartbroken.

“Wa——” She spat out blood, and a few drops landed on the Yearning Heartbroken Grass on the side of Huo Yuhao’s face

The Yearning Heartbroken Grass shook slightly and absorbed the few drops of fresh blood. Following this, a dim red glow emanated from the flower. The red glow formed two rings in the air, which looped over Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er.

A weird intent was also released by the Yearning Heartbroken Grass. There were no words, but Shrek’s Seven Monsters and Wang Qiu’er could understand what it meant.

It roughly meant Together through Life and Death. The contract of love. If one died, both would die together. The lives of these lovers would be connected. There would be no abandonment, and their love would carry on for eternity. Wang Dong’er had formed a strange contract with Huo Yuhao at this moment, with the Yearning Heartbroken Grass as a witness.

Wang Qiu’er was stunned. She could also sense the intent from the Yearning Heartbroken Grass. Her face turned even more dismal and she looked a little lost. She put Huo Yuhao down carefully, right in front of Wang Dong’er.

“He only has you in his heart. Even though we look similar, I was never in his heart. When he plucked the Yearning Heartbroken Grass, I knew that I had fallen in love with this man. I am deeply in love with him. I feel very tormented that I was a step late. There can never be a second woman in his heart. You must take care of yourself for him. You must take care of him, too. The herb that he consumed will help him to recover slowly. However, I’m not sure whether he will be able to fully recover.”

Wang Qiu’er paused as she finished those words. She took a deep look at Wang Dong’er and said, “You’ve won. In his eyes, I was probably never your competitor, and you probably never had any competitors before. Love him properly.” Wang Dong’er received Huo Yuhao carefully. She hugged him as she bowed to Wang Qiu’er. “Thank you.. Thank you for saving his life. If you need my help one day, I’ll do anything to help you.”

Wang Qiu’er didn’t say anything. She only turned and walked away.

It was only when the Shrek’s Seven Monsters couldn’t see her that her tears started to stream down her face. She quickened her footsteps, as she didn’t want others to see her weakness. However, she was also heartbroken.

Wang Dong’er hugged Huo Yuhao and felt the weak undulation of his life aura. She lowered her head slowly and pressed her lips to Huo Yuhao’s dry lips.

Her lips were very cold and slightly moist.

“Yuhao, I’m your wife from now on. No matter whether or not you recover, I’ll always be your wife. I love this contract. As long as you are alive, I’ll wait for you my entire life. If you die, I’ll leave with you. In the other world, I’ll continue to wait on you. Forever and ever. Yuhao, I love you!”

Wang Dong’er’s voice was very gentle, but it was the gentleness of her voice that made the rest emotional.

Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi, and He Caitou couldn’t control the tears in their eyes.

Jiang Nannan leapt into Xu Sanshi’s arms. Xiao Xiao also did the same thing to He Caitou. They were bawling their eyes out.

Wang Dong’er didn’t cry. There was only a look of gentleness in her big, beautiful eyes.

She carefully carried Huo Yuhao and turned around slowly as she looked at the rest.

“Eldest senior, can I trouble you to find some food? I want to eat some food. Third senior, please help me get the best healing-type soul master in the academy. I’ll bring Yuhao back first.” 
Even though she still seemed very pale, and her lips were still stained with blood, the look in her eyes shocked the rest of them. She suddenly looked very tough and resolute! 
Yes, Huo Yuhao was critically injured, and it was unknown whether he would fully recover.

“Alright,  let’s  work  separately!  Nannan,  Xiao  Xiao,  follow Dong’er!”  Bei Bei rubbed off his own tears and started giving out instructions. Wang Dong’er was also in bad shape right now. With Jiang Nannan and Xiao Xiao following her, they could help her at least.

Wang Dong’er didn’t reject his suggestion and didn’t rush off, either. She only carried Huo Yuhao and slowly walked over to the shore of the Sea God’s Pavilion.

Jiang Nannan understood her intentions and quickly summoned a ferry. They made their way to Sea God’s Island, before heading into the Sea God’s Pavilion.

--- After returning to her room, Wang Dong’er started to get busy. She got a clean blanket for Huo Yuhao before inviting Jiang Nannan and Xiao Xiao to leave the room.

She was trembling slightly as she removed Huo Yuhao’s clothes and bandages. After that, she used clean water to wash his entire body before giving him clean clothing. She also re- bandaged his wounds. At this moment, she didn’t care about her own shyness anymore.

Finally, Wang Dong’er took the Yearning Heartbroken Grass from Huo Yuhao’s face and placed it beside his pillow.

Elder Xuan, Yan Shaozhe, Cai Mei’er and a few elders from the Sea God’s Pavilion quickly made their way over. Huo Yuhao’s injuries shocked all of them.

When they heard that Huo Yuhao had received these injuries for Wang Dong’er, they felt a little helpless. For love, he was willing to go to such an extent?...

“Where is this rascal Huo Yuhao?” Elder Xuan couldn’t help but curse. 
Wang Dong’er stood up hurriedly and said respectfully, “Elder Xuan.”

Elder Xuan was furious as he walked into the room. He quickly came to the bedside and pressed his hand against Huo Yuhao’s mouth, sensing his condition.

He only lifted his hand after a while.

“He’s in a bad state.”  Elder Xuan furrowed his brows and couldn’t  help  but  curse,  “This  rascal,  why  didn’t  he  report something like this to the academy? Dong’er, who told him that you were injured? Let me take a look.”

As he spoke, he lifted his hand and pressed it against Wang Dong’er’s shoulder. After sensing for a brief moment, he revealed  a  weird  look  on  his  face.  “There’s  no  injury,  but there’s a weird force in your body. It doesn’t seem like soul power. However, my powers strangely can’t seem to capture it. If we are talking about an internal injury, this must be it.” “Elder Zhuang, take a look at him.” As he spoke, Elder Xuan gestured to another elder. This elder was also a member of the Sea God’s Pavilion. He cultivated a plant-type martial soul, and was skilled in healing.

Elder Zhuang came to the bedside and also pressed his hand against Huo Yuhao’s mouth. Soul rings started to rise from his feet. Two yellow, two purple and five black rings appeared. He was a Titled Douluo!

Vibrant-looking green vines spread from his body and moved around Huo Yuhao. Very soon, his entire body was engulfed by the vines.

An intense life aura was released by the vines as Elder Zhuang’s soul rings lit up. The vines were also shining with different colors of light.

After a time, Elder Zhuang retracted the vines.

He gently shook his head and said, “He’s indeed in bad shape. His injuries were very serious. Most importantly, there’s a blazing heat in his body that doesn’t belong. It clashes with his Ultimate Ice. Apart from his own Ultimate Ice soul power, there’s also origin energy in his body. It’s all very messy. Under such a situation, the Ultimate Ice can’t expel the heat or neutralize it. Furthermore, his internal organs are also badly burned. Honestly speaking, he should have died from such serious injuries. However, there’s a force in his body sustaining his life. He must have eaten some herb that’s helping him recuperate. It’s just that the speed of recuperation is very slow due to the clash between ice and fire in his body.

Elder Xuan said, “What should we do then? Can you treat him?”

Elder  Zhuang  shook  his  head  and  answered,  “No.  My treatment is mainly carried out by pouring in life power. But his own life power isn’t weak, so there’s no need for that. In addition, we can’t just recklessly treat his injuries. If too much soul power is poured in, the unstable forces in his body might be released, and his life might be in danger. To him, the best treatment is to rest. He’ll wake up when the herb heals the injuries in his body, and he’ll also be able to control the circulation of his soul power when he wakes up. His injuries will also slowly recover then. It’s the same for his hands. It’s better for him to recover on his own.” Elder Xuan asked, “Will he be able to make a full recovery?”

Elder Zhuang replied, “I can’t tell. It’s too messy. How could his body accumulate so much origin energy? While it’s good stuff, we can’t have too much of it. Not only is he gravely injured, he seems to have taken too many tonics. Whether or not he can make a full recovery will be up to him, but I’m sure his life isn’t in danger anymore.”

Elder  Xuan  sighed  and  commented,  “This  rascal  is  really worrying! Elder Zhuang, I’ll have to trouble you over the next few days.”

Elder Zhuang nodded and said, “Don’t worry, he’s the future pillar of our academy. I’ll help him recover no matter what. I’ll check on him twice a day from now. As his body’s condition changes, I’ll adjust my treatment accordingly.”

Elder Xuan sighed and nodded, “That would be great!”

Bei Bei and the rest rushed over at this moment. Bei Bei even brought some food for Wang Dong’er, a bowl of chicken soup. It was nutritious and easily digestible. As the eldest senior, Bei Bei had always been very meticulous.

Wang Dong’er didn’t stand on ceremony. Even though Huo Yuhao was critically injured now, she was in a good mood. It was just that her heart was also aching at the same time.

Whatever it was, Huo Yuhao was finally better. At least he was still alive. He did everything for her, which had landed him in this state! As Wang Dong’er thought of all this, her tears were filled with happiness even though her heart was still aching at his predicament.

Tough, she had to be tough. Although she was in pain, she didn’t continue crying. She drank the chicken soup to replenish her own energy. However, her eyes never left Huo Yuhao.

Elder Xuan left with the elders. Jiang Nannan and Xiao Xiao wanted to stay behind to help Wang Dong’er look after Huo Yuhao, but Wang Dong’er declined their offer. She told them that she could cope on her own. Bei Bei was relieved after watching her consume an entire bowl of chicken soup and a plate of green vegetables. After all, they were all soul masters, and Wang Dong’er was even a Soul Emperor. Although she hadn’t been taking care of herself over the past few days, she would recover quickly as long as she was willing to eat and watch her body.

After her meal, Wang Dong’er’s complexion improved. She dragged a chair to the bedside and sat down cross-legged on it, entering deep meditation.

If she wanted to take care of Huo Yuhao and help him recover, she had to make sure she was fine herself first.

Wang Dong’er was also one of the best young soul masters at Shrek Academy right now. If she remained calm and composed, her abilities weren’t inferior to Huo Yuhao’s.

Over the past ten days, her internal ordeals and poor health had caused her to become much weaker. After spitting out blood earlier, she was extremely weak right now. After eating, she had to recuperate, too. However, it wasn’t always the case that she could enter her deep meditative state at will.

After ten minutes, she re-opened her eyes. They were filled with tenderness and heartache.

She was unable to calm herself down enough to enter deep meditation. Once she shut her eyes, she thought of Huo Yuhao. Her ears were also echoing with Wang Qiu’er’s words.

When she recalled how Huo Yuhao drank the boiling water for her, tears would well up in her eyes. Yuhao, you are really silly. You are really silly!

She couldn’t tolerate her yearning for him. She removed her outer clothes and went over to the bed. She carefully avoided Huo Yuhao’s injured hands and laid down beside him. She felt his aura and shut her eyes.

It was very weird, but she felt much more peaceful as she rested her body against his. It was an unprecedented sense of tranquility. Huo Yuhao’s heartbeat was slightly weak. One had to listen carefully to tell that it was beating. Wang Dong’er’s tears started to dry up. A satisfied smile surfaced on her face.

She fell asleep just like that. Very soon, her breathing calmed down.

She didn’t see the Yearning Heartbroken Grass exuding a dim red light. The gentle red light engulfed their bodies, and its fragrance drifted away and entered their bodies as they inhaled it.

---

Someone else was crying quietly as Wang Dong’er fell asleep in Huo Yuhao’s arms.

Wang Qiu’er stood in front of her room and looked at the sky outside, which was getting dark. Her tears started to fall again.

“It’s such a torment loving someone, especially when you know you can’t be with that person. Huo Yuhao, Huo Yuhao, would you have loved me like you love her if I had met you first? Why didn’t I meet you earlier? Heavens! Why do you have to play such a trick on me? Wasn’t Wang Dong’er a guy?” 
Morning...

When Wang Dong’er opened her eyes, she was stunned to discover that she had slept from the previous day’s evening to today’s morning. She had not slept so sweetly in a very long time. Although she was still feeling a little fatigued, she felt much refreshed.

She looked at the man beside her close up. He was still in a deep sleep, and didn’t look like he was about to wake up any time soon. His heartbeat was still very calm.

Wang Dong’er carefully checked on his condition. After ascertaining that he was fine, she pecked his cheek and got up. After washing up, she began to help Huo Yuhao clean up.

She washed him up before gently massaging his muscles.
After that, she changed him into clean clothes. Huo Yuhao couldn’t eat anything. Before Elder Xuan left yesterday, he had left a bottle of pills behind. He had asked Wang Dong’er to feed Huo Yuhao. These pills had been created using more than ten types of valuable ingredients, and would be sufficient to replenish his body.

After Wang Dong’er retrieved the bottle of pills, she placed one of the pills into her mouth before kissing him, and transferred the medicinal fluid into his mouth with her tongue.

Her face was red. For an inexperienced young lady like her, this was too embarrassing. However, there was a determined look in her eyes. As she thought of how Huo Yuhao was ready to give up his life for her, she put her embarrassment aside. I’m his future wife, what’s there to be shy about?

After finishing this, Wang Dong’er went out to eat. After eating, she returned to Huo Yuhao’s side and entered deep meditation.

She finally managed to enter deep meditation this time. ---

She changed Huo Yuhao’s clothes twice a day, fed him medicine and massaged him thrice a day. She also washed his body twice a day. When night fell, she stopped meditating and just slept beside him.

Elder Zhuang came to check on Huo Yuhao twice a day, as promised. Huo Yuhao’s physical condition seemed to be recovering faster than expected. The medicinal effect that was maintaining his life was very strong, and it lasted for a long time, too, enabling his internal injuries to heal quickly. Elder Zhuang told Wang Dong’er to talk more to Huo Yuhao so that he would wake up faster. Once he woke up, he could control some of his soul power, and his body would heal even more quickly.

Night fell, and Wang Dong’er continued laying beside Huo Yuhao.

She caressed his face and muttered into his eyes, “Yuhao, I’m Dong’er. I’ve seen the medicinal herb that you brought back. Where did you find out about my injury? Do I really have an internal injury? I didn’t even know! Yuhao, I miss you so much. I really want to hear your voice. You’ll get better. No matter what, I’ll be by your side to take care and wait on you...

“Will you wake up? You’ve been sleeping for too long. As long as you wake up, I’ll promise you anything. Even if you want to get intimate with me, I won’t object to it. I’ll let you hug me to sleep every night, okay? Isn’t that what you’ve always wished for? From today onwards, I’ll accompany you like that to sleep. I’m already your wife. This is my responsibility!

“In fact, do you know that I’m very willing to sleep with you? I feel especially safe when I sleep with you. I feel very comfortable...

“Yuhao, wake up. I really miss you. I really, really miss you.”

As she finished speaking, Wang Dong’er was already sobbing a little

She opened Huo Yuhao’s mouth and looked at his throat. It was completely scarlet-red, as if his flesh were squirming and growing. The medicinal herb Wang Qiu’er had given him had a very strong healing effect on his injuries.

Elder Zhuang had also commented that it was a miracle when he saw it. Perhaps the magical herb’s strength could restore Huo Yuhao’s voice.

When Wang Dong’er saw Huo Yuhao’s throat, she started wailing. He must be in a lot of pain! He was so deeply in love that he had swallowed boiling water so that he could spit out blood that wasn’t frozen.

Even Wang Dong’er didn’t know when she fell asleep. When she was sleeping, her tear stains were still on her face.

---

The days slowly passed. Wang Dong’er took good care of Huo Yuhao. In the blink of an eye, ten days had passed. Huo Yuhao was still sleeping. Huo Yuhao’s injuries had already healed after ten days. Even his burned hands and vocal cords had been restored. His heartbeat also became stronger. Everything was progressing well.

The tournament was approaching, but Huo Yuhao hadn’t awoken yet.

Wang Dong’er was crying less and less these days. She became calmer as Huo Yuhao’s body slowly recovered. She was content to wait on him every day. She would talk to him for at least an hour every day and gently called his name to wake him up.

It was now only a month to the tournament. The rest of Shrek’s Seven Monsters were stepping up their preparations and cultivations. Without Huo Yuhao as their main control- type soul master, it was going to be an arduous task to become champions in this tournament. The inclusion of sects changed everything. They were going to meet much stronger opponents!

Wang Qiu’er also came to visit Huo Yuhao a few times. Wang Dong’er didn’t stop her from doing so. On the contrary, she hosted her very passionately.

Every time Wang Qiu’er came, she didn’t speak. She only stood by the bedside and looked at Huo Yuhao for a while before leaving silently.

Wang Dong’er could see the sadness in her eyes. However, some things couldn’t be shared. She pitied Wang Qiu’er, but there was only one Huo Yuhao. He was her man!

---

Another five days passed. Huo Yuhao had been back for half a month, and his injuries had already healed. Only the two waves of soul power were still conflicting in his body.

Wang Dong’er didn’t dare to use her soul power to help him recover. She was worried that it might be counter-effective. She would rather he recovered slowly than take a risk.

Huo Yuhao had grown slightly fatter after lying down for the past fifteen days. The medicinal effect was pretty good. Wang Dong’er fed him his medicine through her mouth every day before giving him some water. Huo Yuhao’s body stayed in good condition under her care.

---

Evening. It was time for her to speak to him again.

“Yuhao, did you know? I ate two buns tonight. So many, right? I’m afraid that I’ll grow fat.” Wang Dong’er lowered her head as she spoke and looked down at her slim waist.

“Today’s canteen food was especially delicious. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of myself. For you, I won’t harm my body anymore. When you wake up, I’ll let you see a healthy Dong’er. Will you be very happy because of this? I’ll let you see a prettier Dong’er.”

Wang Dong’er continued speaking with a smile on her face, “Did you know? Sometimes I’m not in a rush for you to wake up. The past few days have been fruitful for me. I love waiting on you. You were the one taking care of me all this while. You were also the one who cleaned our dorm room. It’s my turn now. I know you’ve sacrificed a lot for me over these few years. However, you didn’t know I was a girl back then. You really are a fool! We were living together for such a long time, but you didn’t realize. Come to think of it, I still want to mock you for that.

“Oh right, eldest senior and the rest have been cultivating tirelessly. However, everything is affected greatly because you’re not around. Furthermore, I can’t compete because you are in this state. I told eldest senior that I’d be staying behind with you, and he agreed to my request. We are all representing the Tang Sect this time. Eldest senior said that Na Na can be our first substitute. She’s quite good. We can also make up our numbers by asking someone else from the sect.

“It would be great if you could wake up though! Even though you can’t compete, everyone will still be in good spirits with your support.

“Oh, right. I haven’t fed you your medicine. I’ll talk to you after feeding you.”

Wang Dong’er retrieved a bottle and placed a pill into her mouth. As usual, she fed him through her mouth. 
She was used to it after half a month. She used the tip of her tongue to force Huo Yuhao’s teeth open before pressing her tongue against his. It was easier that way.

Everything progressed very smoothly as usual. However, she felt a slight touch on her tongue as she tried to pull it back.

She was stunned for a moment. Following this, she understood what was going on and quickly hugged Huo Yuhao. She continued to reach her tongue in and touched the tip of his tongue again.

Wang Dong’er was trembling slightly in agitation. Was he about to wake up?

However, his tongue had stopped moving. Wang Dong’er didn’t garner any reaction even though she used her tongue to touch the tip of his again.

Was it a false feeling? Wang Dong’er was unconvinced! When she retracted her tongue, she looked slightly disappointed. She turned around and gently rubbed at the tears that flowed from her eyes. Yuhao, when are you going to wake up?

At this point, a weak and hoarse voice sounded behind her, “Again… kiss…”

Wang Dong’er’s body stiffened. In the next instant, she turned around and saw a pair of dull eyes. However, those eyes were looking at her gently!

Chapter 266: Waking Up in Comfort

“Yu-Yuhao…  you’re finally awake.”  Wang Dong’er couldn’t hide her agitation anymore. Even though had she told herself countless times not to cry when Yuhao woke up, she still couldn’t control herself now that he was actually awake!

She leapt onto Huo Yuhao and started wailing. She was worried and heartbroken at the same time. At this moment, her tears flowed uncontrollably.

Huo Yuhao opened his eyes once again. He was still very, very tired. His injuries were too serious. Even though his external wounds had recovered, the conflicting origin energy and soul power in his body, as well as the Blazing Sunspring water, greatly influenced his condition.

Wang Dong’er cried for fifteen minutes, and her tears drenched the front of Huo Yuhao’s shirt. She only stopped after that.

When she lifted her head to look at Huo Yuhao again, she discovered that he had already shut his eyes, and she panicked. She quickly wiped her tears away and called, “Yuhao, Yuhao, are you okay?”

Huo Yuhao struggled to open his eyes and forced a slight smile for her. “I’m fine. You must stay true to your words!” After a few minutes of rest, he felt slightly better.

Wang Dong’er was stunned for a moment. “What do you mean?”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “You said that you were willing to do anything as long as I woke up. You even promised to sleep with me. It’ll be like that forever. You must keep your word.”

Wang Dong’er broke into a laugh and said, “You are in this state, but you still remember these things.”

Huo Yuhao also laughed. “It concerns my happiness. I’m going to sleep a while more.”  As he spoke, he shut his eyes again. Wang Dong’er quickly lay down beside him. She caressed his chest lightly, and used her light-type soul power to absorb the tears from his shirt.

When Huo Yuhao opened his eyes again, it was already the next morning. He was also much better now. Wang Dong’er was waiting on him as usual. When she washed his body, she started to feel embarrassed again.

After all, it was a different matter when he was awake!

She lowered her head and didn’t dare to look at him. She rubbed his body gently.

“Is the temperature fine?” Wang Dong’er asked.

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “It’s good.”

“Okay.”

“Dong’er.” 
“Yes?”

“Do you like my butt so much? You’ve cleaned it six times.”

“What?”

Wang Dong’er’s face turned red, and she quickly put the towel away before covering him with the blanket.

“Dong’er.”  Seeing  Wang  Dong’er’s  embarrassed  look,  Huo Yuhao couldn’t help but call her.

“Yes?” Wang Dong’er lowered her head, and her face turned even redder.

Huo Yuhao said, “I want to take my medicine. I’m a little hungry.”

“Okay.” Wang Dong’er rushed to get the medicine bottle. She placed a pill into her mouth. However, she saw Huo Yuhao’s burning eyes when she lifted her head to look at him.

Huo Yuhao was smiling as he looked at her. His eyes were filled with a comforted look.

When he saw that Wang Dong’er was like a young lady cleaning up the room and waiting on him, he was touched. This was the perfect life in his heart! A family and a wife that loved him. He might even have a few children in the future.

As for his wife, one was enough. He couldn’t be like the White Tiger Duke. If not for the White Tiger Duke, his mother wouldn’t have suffered.

“If you still don’t feed me, you’ll swallow everything.”  Huo Yuhao was amused as he looked at Wang Dong’er.

Wang Dong’er shut her eyes, and her face turned red. She moved her lips towards Huo Yuhao’s mouth and transferred the medicinal fluid. However, the tip of her tongue was sensitive. When she touched Huo Yuhao’s tongue, she was evidently trying to avoid it. Huo Yuhao sucked with his mouth, and his tongue wrapped around Wang Dong’er’s. Wang Dong’er’s eyes widened.

“Hoo hoo!”

Huo Yuhao didn’t stop sucking. He was sucking gently.

Wang Dong’er rushed to shut her eyes again. She didn’t dare to struggle, as she was afraid of hurting him.

They only stopped kissing after their breathing got a little fast.

When Wang Dong’er sat straight, her nose was already panting. She looked at Huo Yuhao shyly. “You are so naughty. Your tongue can move. This means you can swallow your medicine on your own. You can consume it yourself next time.”

Huo Yuhao chortled, “That’s not right. You agreed to feed me like this. You can’t go back on your word.” Wang Dong’er snorted, “I’ll help you clean your body.”

After helping Huo Yuhao change his clothes, Wang Dong’er helped to massage his muscles.

As she rubbed his muscles, Wang Dong’er asked, “Yuhao, where did you find out about my internal injury?”

Huo   Yuhao   was   a   little   annoyed.   “Qiu’er   is   such   a blabbermouth! She shouldn’t have told you. Dong’er, I’ll follow you back to the Clear Sky Sect when my injury heals. I don’t know if the Yearning Heartbroken Grass can work on your injury. It’s better to let Uncle Niu Tian and Tai Tan look after it.”

Wang Dong’er was doubtful as she looked at Huo Yuhao, “What’s going on? Who told you about my internal injury?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and smiled. “Don’t ask me. I’ve already plucked the Yearning Heartbroken Grass. Isn’t everything fine now?” “Fine?” Wang Dong’er was confused. Her tears were about to flow again as she looked at Huo Yuhao.

Huo Yuhao panicked. “Dong’er, don’t cry. Don’t worry, I’ll get well. I must get well for you! In fact, I wasn’t seriously injured this time, right…” His mind wasn’t very clear, as he just woken up. He had to watch his words even if he wanted to weave a lie.

Wang Dong’er bit her lower lip. “Stop talking. I know everything. Wang Qiu’er told me everything. In fact, I know even if you don’t tell me. Was it the pouch?”

Huo Yuhao didn’t make a sound.

Wang Dong’er’s lips twisted slightly, and she clenched her fist. “Eldest uncle! Second uncle! The two of you…”

Huo Yuhao felt something wrong with the atmosphere, and hurriedly said, “Dong’er, don’t be mistaken! The two of them are doing this for your own good. Not anyone can pluck the Yearning Heartbroken Grass. Only I can do so. It’s only right that I went! It’s fine as long as you are okay.” 
“Alright.” Wang Dong’er relaxed and didn’t say anything else. She smiled and said, “They are my uncles. Why would I blame them? Alright, you should talk less since you just woke up. Go ahead and rest. I still haven’t informed everyone that you’re awake.”

Huo Yuhao said, “Oh. Then you should go and tell eldest senior. They are busy with their cultivation, so don’t ask them to come over. I can’t do anything anyway since I just woke up. Let me recover first.”

“Alright. That’s also my intention. It’s better not to let anyone disturb you. Lie down first. I’ll go and wash your clothes.”

“Okay. It’s been tough on you, Dong’er.”

Wang Dong’er shook her head, “It’s what I should be doing.
Shut your eyes and rest.”

As she spoke, she took the basin filled with Huo Yuhao’s dirty clothes and went to the bathroom. 
She closed the bathroom door and couldn’t control her emotions anymore. She clenched her fists tightly, and her face turned red from her anger and pain.

“Eldest uncle, second uncle, why did the two of you do such a thing to Yuhao!? Wasn’t the test at Clear Sky Peak enough?”

Wang Dong’er was intelligent. Even though Huo Yuhao didn’t say anything, she could guess that it was because of the pouch. Even if Huo Yuhao had needed to pluck the Yearning Heartbroken Grass, her uncles should have followed him, given their cultivations. After hearing Wang Qiu’er’s recounting of events, she knew that the Setting Sun Forest was very dangerous. Before even seeing the Yearning Heartbroken Grass, Huo Yuhao had already met with danger several times!

Huo Yuhao wasn’t stupid. Wang Dong’er knew that he would have known that it was a test. However, this test had been too difficult. What would she have done if Huo Yuhao didn’t make it out alive?

She took a deep breath and looked at herself in the mirror. She muttered to herself, “From today onward, I’m no longer the young mistress of the Clear Sky Sect. I’m Huo Yuhao’s wife. I’ll repay Huo Yuhao for everything that he’s done for me with my life.”

After she finished speaking, her facial expression started to calm  down.  However,  she  still  looked  a  little  cold,  “Eldest uncle, second uncle, I’ll deal with the two of you when I return.”

---

Two manly guys who were drinking shuddered at the same moment. They even almost spilled their wine…

---

Huo Yuhao was feeling very calm now. Although his body was very weak, he was very happy now. He was also feeling very calm.

He was very satisfied to be alive and able to see Wang Dong’er again. He was also satisfied to pass her the Yearning Heartbroken Grass. At least he was still alive!

I will get well. Huo Yuhao shut his eyes, and a figure slowly appeared in his mind. It was someone who cut a sad figure.

Qiu’er! How did she save me? I clearly felt that I was going to die then.

His doubts and the ravishing figure caused him to open his eyes. He sighed. Huo Yuhao knew that he owed Wang Qiu’er another favor. Without her, he couldn’t have survived. It’s just that he didn’t know what method she had used to save him.

She saved his life, and it wasn’t the first time! Qiu’er, how am I supposed to return this favor?

Huo Yuhao took in a deep breath and felt an intense pain coming from his chest. To prevent Wang Dong’er from worrying, he stopped himself from shouting.

He relaxed his body, and his pain slowly lessened. Huo Yuhao focused and inspected his own body. 
When he did, he was stunned. He couldn’t help but laugh bitterly. Is this really my body?

His body wasn’t even in a bad condition. It was messy.

His passageways were messed up. They were like wool that had formed knots again after being unfurled. The tips couldn’t be found at all.

He didn’t use his soul power to resist the Blazing Sunspring water. His throat, windpipe and even internal organs were scorched. With the help of a weird force, his burnt organs had recovered. However, the recovery process became very messy because he didn’t guide it. His organs were stuck together, and his passageways were jumbled up. Different energies were also present in these passageways. There was the heat from the Blazing Sunspring water, his own soul power and the origin energy that the Snow Empress had brought in. It was messy!

On the surface, he seemed fine. However, he had only staved off death. The mystical force had protected his important organs so that the various energies within him wouldn’t conflict. Otherwise, he would have died many times over. 
This was terrible. Even though Huo Yuhao’s state of mind was still stable, he could only laugh bitterly to himself now.

It was precisely because his condition was so messy that Elder Zhuang didn’t dare to treat him. With his current condition, the various forms of energies, the mystical force protecting him and the life aura brought about his Life’s Gold achieved a delicate balance. This ensured his survival. If he tried to do anything, he might endanger himself. Treatment might instead put his life at risk.

Elder Zhuang had already communicated with Elder Xuan in secret. Unless a miracle happened, Huo Yuhao would be disabled. Even if he could survive, it would be difficult for him to stand up again. As long as this delicate balance was maintained, his life would only end when the mystical force disappeared.

Only Elder Zhuang and Elder Xuan knew about this. Elder Xuan couldn’t bear to tell the rest of Shrek’s Seven Monsters. Moreover, Elder Xuan didn’t believe Huo Yuhao would collapse just like this. Huo Yuhao was always one to create miracles! What should he do? After laughing bitterly to himself, Huo Yuhao thought of something. Just like Elder Xuan believed, he wasn’t one to bow down to fate.

Huo Yuhao could also sense the balance in his body. In fact, he was even clearer than Elder Zhuang about his own body’s condition. He had the Ice Empress, the Snow Empress and the Skydream Iceworm’s strength inside his body, and the origin energy of Ultimate Ice compressed into his soul bones. There was also the portion of energy sucked away by the Snow Lady. He would be doomed if everything blew apart.

After pondering for a moment, Huo Yuhao straightened out his thoughts. First, he told himself not to panic. He couldn’t rush to succeed.

Chapter 267: Working Hard For the Sake of Recovering

Despite the fact that he had risked everything to help Wang Dong’er obtain the Yearning Heartbroken Grass, he valued his life like all human beings, particularly since he could only make Dong’er happy if he lived!

A stable mental state allowed Huo Yuhao to calm down. He examined his body once more, and quickly discovered a source of hope.

That’s right, at this moment, his body was completely chaotic. Even the passageways in his hands were all tangled up, and he could not move a single finger. However, there was still one place that remained intact in him. That was his brain.

In other words, despite his poor physical state, his mental state was still perfectly intact. Furthermore, after he used the Fullmoon Piercing Autumn Dew, the quality of his mental state had changed too. His Spirit Eyes appeared to be evolving once more. All these were exceptional accomplishments! In other words, while Huo Yuhao’s cultivation may have retarded, and he did not dare to use his own soul power as much, his Spirit Eyes remained the same, and his Spiritual Sea had not changed. In fact, it could be said to have become stronger. His concrete-immaterial realm was further stabilized
by his love for Dong’er. This allowed his spirit to ascend to the next level, and he even possessed a unique move where his spiritual power merged with his soul power, the Goddess of Light.

This was his advantage right now. His spiritual power had awakened within him, and was on the verge of recovery. It remained vibrant. Supported by his spiritual power, he used his Spiritual Detection and the Purple Demon Eyes of his Mustard Seed Domain to sense every change in his body. With his powerful spiritual power as his shield, he could try and heal himself.

His spiritual power was another form of energy. It was possible for him to use his spiritual power to safeguard his passageways.

After he cleared his mind, Huo Yuhao did not panic. There was no point in panicking. He had to wait for his recovery to reach its peak before he could do anything. At the same time, as he woke up, the functions of his body started to recover too. Like this, the power of the Life Gold could be felt once again. Its powerful life energy allowed him to continue possessing a powerful life energy. No matter how his recovery went, it would become easier.

After Bei Bei and the others heard that Huo Yuhao had woken up, they all came to visit him. Elder Xuan came too. However, Elder Xuan instructed that no one would be allowed to disturb Huo Yuhao. Hence, everyone could only visit him once a week. His recovery would be completely managed by Wang Dong’er.

Huo Yuhao lay there for three days. In these three days, he did nothing. He quietly enjoyed Wang Dong’er’s care.

Indeed, it was a form of enjoyment. While his body could not move and his insides were all messed up, he could look at Wang Dong’er take care of him every day. This filled him with an unspeakable warmth. Particularly at night, when Wang Dong’er, blushing, climbed into bed next to him to sleep wearing only her underwear. This made his spiritual power recover extremely quickly. Perhaps this was the power of love. Of course, this could also be due to his Goddess of Light’s soul- spirit fusion skill. 
Huo Yuhao did not tell Wang Dong’er the truth. He just said that he needed some time to recover. This was good too, because Wang Dong’er did not probe or ask him any more questions. All she did was care for him tirelessly. She did not want to put any pressure on him. To her, no matter what became of Huo Yuhao in the future, no matter whether he could recover or not, she would never leave him.

------

Dawn, three days later...

He opened his eyes, and in the depths of his twin pupils, a purple light flashed. Everything around him became much clearer, and with each thought that passed through his mind, he felt as if the entire Sea God’s Island was within his mental grasp.

It turned out that everything was not as bad as he had thought. When she felt the slight change in Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong’er immediately roused herself. She sat up hurriedly and asked anxiously, “Yuhao, are you fine?”

Huo Yuhao smiled at her and asked, “Do I look fine? Dong’er, close your eyes.”

“Eh?” Wang Dong’er looked at him suspiciously. Under his insistence, she closed her eyes. Her long eyelashes lightly touched the bottoms of her eyes, making her irresistibly alluring.

In the next instant, Wang Dong’er saw it too. To her shock, she realized that she was looking at the entire Sea God’s Island as if it were a 3D model. She could even ‘see’ the colors of the island, as if she was a pair of eyes in the sky gazing down on the island.

No, no, she was not just gazing down. She could see every small detail of the island. The only thing that she could not see clearly was the area around the Sea God’s Pavilion, which seemed to be protected by a layer of golden light. That had to be the power of the Golden Tree... Was, was this Spiritual Detection Sharing? Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection Sharing?

Wang Dong’er opened her eyes suddenly. With wide eyes, she looked at Huo Yuhao and said, her voice trembling, “Yuhao, Yuhao, you…”

Huo Yuhao looked at her and said, “I said that I’m fine. Your husband is like an indestructible cockroach. This is the result of three days of hard work. Afterward, everything will become better. Eh, I can still do this.”

Wang Dong’er watched as Huo Yuhao’s eyes turned bright purple. To others, this might have been be slightly unsettling. However, that was not the case for Wang Dong’er. At that moment, there was only excitement and hope in her heart. She could finally see a hope of recovery for him!

------

Elder Xuan drank from a gourd in his room. Ever since he became the Master of the Sea God’s Pavilion, he could not be as degenerate as before. After all, he represented the highest level of Shrek Academy. However, he still liked his life of holding a gourd in one hand and a chicken drumstick in the other. However, he could now only do it within the confines of his room.

However, no matter how much fine wine he drank these past few days, his mood could not get better. “Huo Yuhao, Huo Yuhao, what has happened to you? How can I answer to Elder Mu after I die!? This child, really…”

Elder Xuan could not voice his discontent in in public. After all, he had done what he did to save the person he loved. He did not know if he would have the courage to do so himself.

At this point, Elder Xuan’s dusky eyes narrowed. To him, it was as if the entire room had become brighter.

“Who’s there?” Elder Xuan asked in a low voice. A powerful energy pulsed from his body.

“Elder Xuan, it’s me,”  a clear voice replied. Instantly, Elder Xuan felt a warm spirit appear in his room. It did not dare to approach him, but instead stopped at his door. Then, a thin layer of purple started to spread and turned into a smiling face, which looked at him.

“Eh?  This  is?”  Elder  Xuan  looked  at  the  smiling  face  in shock. “Yuhao? How, how did you do this?”

Of course, who could the face be other than Huo Yuhao?

Huo Yuhao smiled slightly and said, “While my body is weak, I used some herbs that helped to increase my spiritual power when I was helping Dong’er find her Yearning Heartbroken Grass. They allowed my spiritual power to increase exponentially. It is like my Spiritual Eyes has undergone a second evolution. This has allowed my spiritual power to reach the concrete-immaterial realm, and thus, I can communicate with you from afar. This is a manifestation of my spiritual power. While I’m not yet adept at wielding it, I’m sure time will better it.”

Elder Xuan looked at him dumbfounded and asked, “How’s your body? Your spiritual power can do this?”

Huo Yuhao chortled and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll get better.” 
Elder Xuan chucked his gourd to the side and said, “I’ll head over right now.” As he said that, he flew out of the door. In the blink of an eye, he was outside Huo Yuhao’s room.

When he looked at Elder Xuan, who was charging toward his room with a face of shock, Huo Yuhao smiled happily. His successful experimentation told him that his spiritual power had truly reached a new level. It was no longer purely ‘spiritual’ like before. While it was still metaphysical, and could not attack like his soul power, he could do many things that he could not before.

For example, his Spiritual Detection could be used for communication like what he had just done with Elder Xuan. At the same time, he felt that his Spiritual Detection’s range was not bad. The Sea God’s Island was not too big, but its diameter was at least one kilometer. He could already see everything on the island, as well as parts of Sea God’s Lake.

Through his Spiritual Detection Sharing, he originally could only use it to instruct others. Now, he could connect directly with the spiritual power of another person. Then, he could communicate intentions with the other party. Not only did this fulfil his role as a control-type soul master, but he could also seek others’ opinions. While his body could not move, he could easily talk to anyone on Sea God’s Island.

Under his body’s present condition, this was a piece of excellent news. With the recovery of his spiritual power, Huo Yuhao became clearer about the condition of his body. He was not afraid that he would not recover. Since he was alive, there must be a reason for it. With spiritual power, while he could not use it to attack anything in the world around him, he could use it to fuse with his soul power inside him and achieve terrifying results. This was an extremely intricate scalpel. Huo Yuhao understood that the only way to heal himself was through himself.

“Your spiritual power, Yuhao?” Elder Xuan looked at him with an indescribable expression in his eyes. 
As a Class 98 Transcendent Douluo who was only a step away from becoming an Ultimate Douluo, Elder Xuan could do everything that Huo Yuhao had just done. While he was not a spirit-type soul master, he could also force his spiritual power to take a concrete shape. However, he could not let the manifestation of his spiritual power leave his field of view. If he did, he would lose control over it.

In terms of spiritual power, Huo Yuhao could not compare to Elder Xuan. However, in terms of control of his spiritual power, as well as the quality of his spiritual power, Huo Yuhao had already surpassed him. While he did not know how powerful Huo Yuhao’s spiritual power would be if he used it for offense, he knew that Huo Yuhao was not permanently crippled. Furthermore, his spiritual power was still increasing!

Huo Yuhao chortled and replied, “Metaphysical, it has more or less stabilized.”

Elder Xuan asked him immediately, “What about your Spirit Eyes? Have they improved, too?” 
Huo Yuhao nodded.

Elder Xuan mumbled to himself, “Second Awakening, this is the Second Awakening indeed! Your spiritual power could soon be the strongest on the entire continent. While some in the Body Sect have experienced a Second Awakening too, I can be sure that at your level, no one is more powerful than you. This is excellent. How are your wounds?”

Huo Yuhao said, “My wounds are still problematic. However, I’m confident. For the Academy, for the Tang Sect, for Dong’er and I, I’ll do my best to recover.”

Elder Xuan nodded and said seriously, “Don’t rush it.”

Huo Yuhao chortled and said, “I won’t, don’t worry. With Dong’er accompanying me, I’m in no rush at all.”

Wang Dong’er gripped his hand lightly and smiled. She wished to take care of him forever. After this incident, their mindset toward their relationship had experienced a huge change. Their understanding of love way surpassed that of their peers.

Elder Xuan said, “How about this? You use your spiritual power to come up with a healing plan for yourself. Elder Zhuang and I will monitor you as you heal yourself. In case something happens, we can at least keep you alive. This will give you a free hand in your own recuperation.”

“Okay,” Huo Yuhao accepted the offer readily. With two Transcendent Douluo helping his recovery, it would naturally be a lot safer. His condition was complex indeed.

Elder Xuan thought for a while, and then said, “Furthermore, don’t tell anyone about the second evolution of your body soul. For now, don’t even tell the other members of the Shrek’s Seven Monsters.”

“Is there a need for this secrecy?” Huo Yuhao asked.

Elder Xuan’s mouth twitched as he said, “This is a secret weapon. Furthermore, after you have recovered, we need to talk about your punishment.” 
Huo Yuhao was stunned. With a bitter expression, he said, “There’s punishment!?”

Elder Xuan said angrily, “Of course. If everyone behaved as recklessly as you, without a care for the rules, how could we run the Academy? I’m informing you right now that you have been expelled from the Sea God’s Pavilion. You can make up for your wrong with deeds of merit, and perhaps we’ll consider re- instituting you as a member of the Sea God’s Pavilion. Furthermore, the rewards from your future research into spirits have been canceled. If you die outside, how can you answer to Elder Mu? You little bastard, you really piss me off.”

Elder Xuan was angry indeed! How could he not be? Who exactly was Huo Yuhao? He was Elder Mu’s designated successor as the Master of the Sea God’s Pavilion. He had also been trained under the Ultimate Soldier Plan. However, in the face of his emotions, he had forgotten all his obligations and duties. He had risked his life to head to the Setting Sun Forest without even informing the school! It was a miracle that he had returned alive!

If Huo Yuhao had died outside, the impact on Shrek Academy would have been immeasurable! The blow would have been akin to the entire Academy losing its hope for the future and direction.

Huo Yuhao’s face was filled with regret. He really had not been thinking straight at that point in time...

“Elder Xuan, don’t be angry. I admit that I was wrong. I’ll accept whatever punishment the Academy imposes on me, just don’t expel me!...”

Elder Xuan snorted coldly and said, “Expulsion? Don’t tempt me. Rest well for now. After you come up with a recovery plan, inform me immediately. Elder Zhuang and I will help you.”

“Yes,” Huo Yuhao replied respectfully.

---

Elder Xuan stomped out angrily. He only smiled slightly when he left the room. It was a weird smile as he mumbled to himself, “A Second Awakening of the body soul and twin martial souls. Was there such a precedent on the continent? I don’t think so. Records, records. Well done, little bastard, you almost made me die from anger...”

---

As she watched Elder Xuan leave, Wang Dong’er’s pretty eyes were apologetic. “It’s all because of me. Yuhao…”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “What do you mean by that? It’s my fault for not thinking it through. Actually, I enjoy my current life very much! I don’t have to care about anything, I don’t have to do anything, I don’t have to cultivate. I can look at you every single day. This is a blissful life indeed. Come, my Goddess of Light, give me a kiss.”

Wang Dong’er could not stifle her laughter as she said, “You have interesting thoughts, indeed! Lie there and don’t move and come up with your recovery plan. When you’re well, I’ll let you kiss me.”

Huo  Yuhao’s  eyes  lit  up  as  he  said,  “As  many  times  as  I want?” Wang Dong’er’s face turned red, but when she saw his look of anticipation, she nodded and said, “Yes.”

Huo  Yuhao  gleefully  exclaimed,  “Great,  then  I  shall  start immediately. Don’t worry, I’ll be very, very careful. For my Dong’er, I’ll get well as fast as I can. Eh, wait for me, where should I kiss? Should I kiss your face, or should I kiss your…”

“Go away!” Wang Dong’er blushed as she walked away.

As he looked at how adorable she was, Huo Yuhao’s face brimmed with joy. This was a blissful sentiment indeed. If not for the fact that he still had many things to do, it would be an awesome thing if he could just lie here and accompany Dong’er! After he finished with his stuff, he planned to travel the world with her. He wanted to see everything there was under the sky, eat all the tasty food there was, and have as many enjoyable experiences as possible. This was now his life’s goal!

------ With this excited mentality, Huo Yuhao started to examine his body once more. With his powerful spiritual energy, he first swept his body, and then examined it region-by-region.

In his Spiritual Sea, he used his spiritual power to form a model of his body. In this model, he examined all the complicated passageways. For more serious areas, he represented them with deeper colors. For less serious areas, he used lighter colors.

How complicated were the passageways of a human? In spite of Huo Yuhao’s spiritual power, as well as his Sumeru and Mustard Seed Domain Purple Demon Eyes, he still took three whole days to complete this task.

Then, he shared the model of his body with Elder Xuan and Elder Zhuang via Spiritual Sharing.

When the two Transcendent Douluo saw the complete map of Huo Yuhao’s body formed using his metaphysical spiritual power, they could not help but exclaim in awe. Neither of them could control their spiritual power at Huo Yuhao’s level! Then, they used a week’s time to determine the condition of all of Huo Yuhao’s passageways to come up with a recovery plan. They considered every tiny detail to great lengths so as to minimize errors.

After ten days of rest, Huo Yuhao’s body had recovered quite a bit. The power of his Life Gold was fully revealed. While his injuries were still there, his body brimmed with life. His self- recovery ability was back, and had started to absorb some of the extremely cold origin energy of heaven and earth. While its speed of absorption was slow, Huo Yuhao carefully observed that there was nothing he could not do. In two years, all of the origin energy of heaven and earth in his body, other than that trapped in his soul bones, would be completely absorbed.

Then, it would be a lot easier to heal himself.

However, Huo Yuhao could not afford any delays. There were only twenty more days until the tournament. In twenty days’ time, he had to recover all his battling abilities.

Without Tang Ya and Bei Bei, there would be no him. One could say that the Tang Sect had made him. This time, they were fighting for the Tang Sect! How could Huo Yuhao miss it? While he did not say it, he was determined to recover. Only then could he head to the Sun Moon Empire with everyone else. He was not only the center of his team because of his understanding of the Sun Moon Empire, but also their hope for winning.

Furthermore, if he waited a year, all of the problematic passageways in his body would have fully set. If he wanted to make a change then, it would be much more difficult.

After his recovery plan was finalized, Huo Yuhao started to act.

His plan was simple. He would start small before moving on to the more severe injuries. He would be in charge of the initial stages of his recovery.

After a careful analysis, Huo Yuhao, Elder Xuan, and Elder Zhuang discovered that Huo Yuhao’s body could be split into three different conditions. Some parts of his body were intact, some parts of it were slightly injured, and some parts of it were severely messed up and badly injured. Hence, Huo Yuhao had to first heal his lighter injuries before progressing to the more serious ones.

His legs and head were perfect. These three parts of his body were completely uninjured. His hands were slightly injured, as were the passageways in his shoulders. The most problematic part of his body was his torso. That was where the problems lay. 
Hence, Huo Yuhao started with the recovery of his hands first.

He distributed his soul power inside himself, concentrating it on his dantian. Huo Yuhao felt the Extreme Chill Icespring origin energy of heaven and earth brought by the Snow Empress. His cultivation had been reduced to three rings, which meant that he could only use the energy of three rings in battle. But he was still a soul king!

Huo Yuhao first started to open up the meridians of his lower limbs.

His powerful spiritual energy slowly entered his dantian and intermingled with his soul power. As his torso passageways were blocked, his soul power had not been able to undergo circular cultivation for a long time, causing them to appear sluggish. However, as Huo Yuhao directed his cultivation, his foundation was strong, and under the guidance of his spiritual energy, it slowly came back to life. Huo Yuhao’s methodology was simple. First, he allowed his soul power to enter his legs, which helped to gradually open up the rigid passageways in his legs. Then, he made it do a simple circulation from his legs to his central meridians. This circulation allowed his soul power to come back to life.

While this could not increase his level of cultivation and was not helpful to his absorption of the origin energy of heaven and earth, this allowed his soul power to circulate non-stop. Soon, his legs regained their feeling

After an entire day’s worth of circulation, Huo Yuhao could slowly and awkwardly raise his two legs. Wang Dong’er was so happy that she wept. At the very least, his legs could move! Every energy field in his lower limbs regained its feeling.

This was only the first day of recovery, and he had already obtained such good results. This made Elder Xuan, Elder Zhuang, and Wang Dong’er extremely happy.

Through the circulation of his soul power, Huo Yuhao slowly withdrew the soul power in his legs, and then combined them with the soul power in his meridians. This allowed him to control more than two-thirds of his soul power. 
Of course, he could not use his soul power straightaway. His passageways were battered by both the extreme chill of the origin energy of heaven and earth and the extreme heat of the Blazing Sunspring. They were already weak and messed up. All Huo Yuhao was trying to do was establish a foundation in his own body.

He next started treatment of his arms.

The passageways in his arms had been moderately injured due to the burns on his hands. Even after some self-recovery, they were still chaotic.

In comparison, the soul power in his arms could not be compared to that of his dantian. It could not even compare to his legs. However, Huo Yuhao had one advantage, which was the advantage of the soul bones in his arms. His left arm had the Ice Jade Scorpion Left Arm Bone, and his right arm had the Darkgolden Terrorclaw Bear's Right Palm Bone.

With these two soul bones, while the flesh and skin of his hands were severely injured, the bones in his hands were safe. If not, if his bones had melted, he would have become a true cripple.

It was not easy to open his meridians and remodel them. Actually, it was a very painful thing to do. However, at this point, Huo Yuhao was not fighting alone.

They had a complete plan for what to do. Under Elder Zhuang’s assistance, Huo Yuhao forced open every single meridian. As blood spurted from his hands and countless wounds appeared, he was able to force them back into their original positions and fuse with his body once more.

After this was done, Elder Zhuang used his powerful healing soul skills to help Huo Yuhao’s hands recover their vital energy. Then, the elder sent the blood back into his body.

The pain Huo Yuhao experienced throughout this process was nothing. In only a day’s time, he was able to move his hands again, although, due to the interference from his torso’s damaged nerves, his arms were unable to move for now. The start was good. However, what came next was more worrisome.

According to the plan, the next step was also the most crucial step. They had to first expel the Fire Poison left in Huo Yuhao’s body by the Blazing Sunspring. Only then could he start the next step of his recovery. Otherwise, if the Fire Poison, which was close to his heart, suddenly kicked in, Huo Yuhao would die.

How would he take it out?

They would open his chest to take the poison out.

------

“Yuhao, are you ready?” Elder Zhuang asked.

It was morning, and Wang Dong’er helped Huo Yuhao clean his body. He then lay supine on his bed. When she was washing him, Wang Dong’er’s hands could not stop trembling. No matter what he said, she could not be mollified. 
The operation today was too important. If it succeeded, Huo Yuhao would make a complete recovery. If it failed…

“I’m  ready,”   Huo  Yuhao  nodded  at  Elder  Zhuang  while smiling slightly at Elder Xuan and Wang Dong’er.

Elder Zhuang said, “There can be no error. If there is, you will die.”

Huo Yuhao chortled, “There will be no error. I’m sturdy, and I won’t die so easily. Elder Zhuang, Elder Xuan, don’t worry. Get ready to start. Snow Lady!”

At his command, a ray of orange light appeared from his forehead. Was that not the Snow Lady?

The Snow Lady was different compared to before. Initially, she had resembled an infant, but now she had grown up visibly. She looked like a girl who was over two years old. The only thing that remained unchanged were her deep blue eyes. “Eeeyaaa! Dad, dad…”  the Snow Lady cried out, shocking everyone.

She, she could talk, in human speech!

Huo Yuhao said in surprise, “Snow Lady, you can talk?”

Snow Lady pointed to Huo Yuhao’s chest and said seriously, “Dad, dad, pain.”

Huo Yuhao smiled and shook his head and said, “Daddy is not in pain. I’ll get better soon. In a while, it’ll all depend on you.”

The Snow Lady nodded her head vigorously and said, “Dad… Dad, no pain, no fear.”

Huo Yuhao chortled and said, “Get ready, I’ll guide you.”

The Snow Lady opened her eyes wider and gently nodded her head. 
Huo Yuhao’s eyes turned purple. A layer of purplish-gold light appeared, completely enveloping the Snow Lady.

The Fire Poison from the Blazing Sunspring was an extreme form of flame. To heal it, one would need a very powerful form of ice to protect Huo Yuhao’s body. Furthermore, only a powerful type of ice could draw out the Fire Poison. Huo Yuhao’s soul power was mostly in his torso, and hence, he could not use it. The only way to do so was through the Snow Lady.

The Snow Lady floated next to the bed and knelt down next to Huo Yuhao. With her small hand, she slowly touched Huo Yuhao’s bare chest.

One could see that the center of Huo Yuhao’s chest, particularly the area near his heart, was dark red. The air above this dark red patch of skin twisted and turned.

The Snow Lady’s left hand was pressed at the location between the dark red skin and Huo Yuhao’s heart. The moment her hand touched it, a faint mist appeared. The temperature of the air around it fluctuated quickly. Cold and heat interchanged with each other, and Huo Yuhao’s face turned red and white.

Everyone held their breath. This moment was too important. Due to the extreme nature of the elements involved, no one could save Huo Yuhao but himself.

The Snow Lady slowly raised her right hand. A transparent, icy-cold dagger formed in her hand. Its tip was razor-sharp, and it was pointed straight at Huo Yuhao’s chest.

Wang Dong’er turned her head away, not daring to look anymore. She clutched her fists tightly and in her mind, all she could think about was how she was responsible for it. Yuhao, Yuhao, you have to live!

The Snow Lady did not make everyone wait long. Everything was calculated with precision by Huo Yuhao.

The dagger came down.

Pu-! The dagger pierced into Huo Yuhao’s chest. 
Under the guidance of the Ultimate Ice, the Fire Poison in Huo Yuhao’s body spurted out immediately. A wound about the size of a fist burst open on Huo Yuhao’s chest. Blazing hot blood spurted out.

Elder Xuan and Elder Zhuang were prepared. With his right hand, Elder Xuan was able to direct the ball of burning-hot blood away from the Snow Lady and into a clear blue bottle.

Elder Zhuang’s hands trembled, and an emerald-green halo surrounded Huo Yuhao’s body. An immensely powerful life energy started to rise, and the energy in Huo Yuhao’s body began to increase exponentially along with it.

The Snow Lady’s left hand, which was placed on Huo Yuhao’s chest, started to tremble violently. Most of the Poison was extracted, but some of it became active and rushed toward his heart.

The activation at this moment had been too intense. Even though Huo Yuhao had been prepared, he still felt an intense heat rising in his heart. His biggest problem now was that his Ultimate Ice could not protect him. All he could do was rely on the Snow Lady’s power. This was the most dangerous moment. Once the Fire Poison broke through her defenses, he was a goner.

At this moment, a layer of emerald-green light started to rise from Huo Yuhao’s body. The light was concentrated on a few ribs near Huo Yuhao’s heart. The intense Ultimate Ice energy was channeled outward in unison with the Snow Lady’s power. Together, they expelled the Fire Poison from his body.

After the incident in the Setting Sun Forest, Huo Yuhao had matured. He also did things more seriously. Like he had said, he would not allow an accident. This was because he still had a trump card, which was the million-year soul ring from the Skydream Iceworm.

Under the Skydream Iceworm’s guidance, the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion’s Ultimate Ice power was the last line of defense. It was able to protect his heart perfectly. At that moment, the extreme chill caused the circulation of blood in his heart to fall to one-tenth of its normal pace, turning Huo Yuhao’s face white. However, the Fire Poison had been expelled. While the Fire Poison had been expelled, it was now up to Elder Zhuang to control Huo Yuhao’s massive outflow of blood.

Chapter 268: One Hand

Elder Zhuang calmly reached out with both hands. A layer of emerald-green light instantly blocked the fist-sized hole in Yuhao’s chest. Following that, Elder Zhuang’s hands started to move in an orderly manner. One could see countless tiny strands of green light as thin as strands of hair piercing Huo Yuhao’s body.

He was deft indeed, the countless strands of green light vibrated non-stop. The wound on Huo Yuhao’s chest recovered at an astonishing pace. Not only that, but the meridians around the Fire Poison returned to their original positions in a neat and orderly manner.

Elder Xuan walked to the side of the bed and pressed down on a particular spot on Huo Yuhao’s abdomen with two hands. A gentle soul power came from his palms and entered Huo Yuhao’s body, enveloping his internal organs. Only then did Elder Xuan nod slightly at Elder Zhuang.

Elder Zhuang intoned, “Return to your positions!” The two elders acted together. The soul power Elder Xuan released vibrated slightly, and Huo Yuhao’s entire body trembled violently. He spat out a mouthful of purplish-red blood.

The Snow Lady raised her right hand, and a ray of dark-blue light shot out. Instantly, the blood froze into an ice cube, which she held on to.

Elder Xuan’s hands remained where they were, while Elder Zhuang started to hit Huo Yuhao’s body rapidly with his palms.

The two elders worked together. Elder Xuan protected Huo Yuhao’s internal organs, while Elder Zhuang helped get his passageways back in order. Throughout this entire process, not only did Huo Yuhao have to endure great pain, but he also had to use his Spiritual Detection to assist the elders in finding the right spots.

Wang Dong’er had turned around by now. She stood near Huo Yuhao’s head. Her beautiful eyes were icy as she continually used a towel to wipe away the filthy blood that came out of Huo Yuhao’s mouth and nose. To calm herself, she appeared to have sealed off her feelings. If not, she probably would not have been able to endure the emotional pain.

The entire process did not take very long, only around three minutes. However, to the four of them, these three minutes felt like a year!

Finally, Elder Zhuang stopped. With one last stroke, he let his hands sweep Huo Yuhao’s body from his shoulders all the way to his abdomen. A powerful vital energy reverberated through his body and then slowly rose up through his body from his guts, following the motion of Elder Zhuang’s hands.

A massive amount of filthy blood spurted out from Huo Yuhao’s mouth. This was the clotted blood in his body. Elder Zhuang had just expelled it from him.

Now, Elder Zhuang’s hands were back on Huo Yuhao’s shoulders. Both he and Elder Xuan sighed in relief. Color seemed to be seeping back into Huo Yuhao’s face.

Elder Zhuang’s head steamed. The treatment just now had drained him, too. While the entire process did not require a lot of soul power, it was still extremely stressful for him. He had to organize all of the chaotic passageways in Huo Yuhao’s body, place his organs back into position, and expel his clogged blood.

This process had to be completed quickly, as Huo Yuhao might not be able to withstand it. If that happened, his efforts would have been wasted. Furthermore, the longer it took, the more blood Huo Yuhao would lose.

Huo Yuhao panted and took in great gasps of air. His chest, which had showed no real movement in the past twenty days, started to rise and fall gently.

Wang Dong’er had already used up many towels. She did not let a single drop of filthy blood stain his body.

Elder Zhuang turned to look at Elder Xuan and nodded slightly.

Elder Xuan withdrew his soul power. However, the two elders looked at Huo Yuhao anxiously. Now that his organs were back in position and his main passageways had been cleared, the important thing was whether Huo Yuhao’s body could rebuild its circulatory system. This included the circulation of his blood and soul power, and whether he could control their circulation.

Huo Yuhao’s pale-white face forced a smile. He had no energy to talk, and his entire body was covered with a dense layer of sweat. His body was wracked with excruciating pain.

At this moment, the most important issue had been resolved. However, the ice-type origin energy of heaven and earth was still in his body. His own soul power, other than what was below his dantian, was still in a state of chaos. Furthermore, there were countless passageways in his body. Elder Zhuang had only helped him clear up the most important ones. As for the rest, he had to do it himself.

When he saw that trace of a smile on Huo Yuhao’s face, Elder Xuan finally exhaled in relief. This guy’s life is safe. He will now enter a normal recovery phase.

Huo Yuhao closed his eyes. He knew that this was not the time for him to rest. His organs and passageways had just returned to their original positions. The vast ice-type origin energy of heaven and earth in his body had finally came under control thanks to Elder Zhuang’s soul energy. If he could not exert control over it immediately, his internal situation would surely regress after a night’s rest. No one knew how long it would then take for his passageways to clear up.

Thus, Huo Yuhao did not care how weak his passageways were, he immediately tried to connect his spiritual power with the soul power in his dantian. Then, he forced his soul power to circulate through his body. He wanted to regain autonomy of his body, so he had to allow his soul energy to flow through his body. Only then could he suppress the origin energy present within him.

This was a painful process. As his soul energy rose in his body, he had to endure a pain that was akin to being pierced by ten thousand needles. Even more beads of sweat dripped from his body. The mattress underneath him was almost completely soaked.

Wang Dong’er continually wiped him down with towels. Elder Zhuang and Elder Xuan observed him carefully from the side. A look of admiration slowly appeared in Elder Zhuang’s eyes. He turned to look at Elder Xuan and nodded, saying, “No wonder Elder Mu chose this child. Among all the soul masters I’ve seen, he has the strongest will. He can bear such intense pain, and he did not utter a single word throughout the entire treatment. What a lad!”

Elder  Xuan  nodded  too,  and  said,  “Looking  at  him  now makes me relieved. He really is like an indestructible cockroach. As long as he can recover, he’ll be even stronger than before. The origin energy in his body is vast, indeed. If he can absorb all of it, it’ll surely aid his cultivation in the future. For a soul master with an Ultimate soul, this increase would be as fast as a rocket. It seems like he is growing up much faster than we had expected.”

Elder  Zhuang  chortled,  “Just  don’t  force  him  to  grow  up quicker than usual. For him, we should protect him well. He’s our hope for the future! As long as the Academy has him, we have nothing to worry about for the next hundred years.”

Elder Xuan snorted, “If this bastard gives me any more problems in the future, I’ll tie him to the main pillar of the Sea God’s Pavilion so that he can’t run anywhere.”  After he said that, he could not help but laugh too. Indeed, the deeper the love, the stricter the treatment!

Huo Yuhao’s soul power slowly rose through his body, and his passageways slowly opened up. Under his careful guidance, which was derived from his control over his spiritual power, he inserted the origin energy of Ultimate Ice into his legs as he continued to let his soul power rise through his body.

Even the naked eye could see that icy-blue energy creeping over his legs. Huo Yuhao’s body trembled slightly, but he was now sweating much less. His legs experienced the greatest change. Whenever sweat appeared, it would freeze over.

As Huo Yuhao came up with his recovery plan, he came to a difficult decision after much analysis. The ice-type origin energy of heaven and earth in his body was way too powerful, to the point where his soul power could not operate as usual with its presence. All his soul power could do was circulate through his body at a sluggish pace. Even if his body made a complete recovery, his cultivation would only be at the level of a three-ringed soul master. This was unacceptable. Even though he was severely injured, he still cared about the tournament. As the main player of his team, how could he not take part? Hence, he thought of a plan, which was to send all the origin energy of heaven and earth into his legs.

In the human body, the legs took up the greatest space. Blood flowed easily there. In comparison, the most important area for the circulation of soul energy was the torso. By forcing the origin energy of Ultimate Ice into his legs, it was akin to turning his legs into a storage space as he compressed the origin energy into them. Doing so would allow his soul power to circulate through the upper half of his body. According to his estimate, as well as the two elders’ calculations, he could recover up to 70-80% of his cultivation. This would be enough for him to enter the tournament. Furthermore, the normal flow of his soul power would make it easier for him to absorb the origin energy of heaven and earth. It would be absorbed more quickly. This was the most optimal treatment possible.

However, it was not without its problems. The main problem was that the only way to store the ice-type origin energy of heaven and earth was for him to fill his legs with it. Huo Yuhao would lose control over his legs. Before he could fully absorb the energy, he would not be able to walk or move his legs at all. Temporarily, he would become a cripple. Furthermore, the origin energy of Ultimate Ice was no laughing matter. If he could not absorb it in time, he might lose control of his legs forever!

The elders had not wanted him to do this at first. Instead, they had wanted to slowly let his soul power circulate through his entire body, which would be a more stable but slower way to absorb the origin energy. It was less risky, and while Huo Yuhao’s cultivation would drop by quite a bit, it would not affect his body.

However, doing so would take him a few months to recover completely, as he would need to adapt to the origin energy. After his injury, the recovery of his passageways would also be affected by the presence of the origin energy. He would recover much slower, which meant that he would miss the upcoming tournament! 
Huo Yuhao thus chose his path without any hesitation. He had to take part in the tournament. The only way to do that was to ensure the upper half of his body would not suffer any interference from the origin energy of Ultimate Ice. Only then could he make a swift recovery and take part in the tournament. So what if he could not walk? He believed that with his abilities, he could still play a part!

What shocked Elder Xuan and Elder Zhuang was the fact that Wang Dong’er did not try to stop him. She said that she would not go against any of his decisions. Her mindset was simple. After this incident, Huo Yuhao and her were one. If Huo Yuhao was fine, then she would be fine. Whatever happened to him, she would accompany him. Furthermore, she understood his personality too well. If he did not take part in this tournament, he would regret it for the rest of his life. This was not something that Wang Dong’er wanted to see. Huo Yuhao also promised her that after the tournament, he would retrieve the origin energy of heaven and earth from his legs and let it dissipate through his body. There should be no problem with just storing it there for a few months.

At last, Elder Xuan agreed. 
The origin energy of Ultimate Ice flowed continually into his legs. As the soul power from Huo Yuhao’s dantian rose, it soon spread throughout his body, and he could move the origin energy even more quickly. After all, the origin energy was an object without consciousness. Coupled with the fact that Huo Yuhao’s second martial soul was Ultimate Ice, it was still possible for him to manipulate it.

After a few minutes passed, Huo Yuhao’s legs became stranger and stranger. Initially, they were pale-white. Then, they turned light blue. This shade of blue darkened continuously, until finally, they turned dark blue.

However, at this moment, Huo Yuhao frowned.

“Yuhao, what’s wrong?” Elder Xuan asked in a low voice.

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “I can’t insert anymore. The passageways in my legs cannot take anymore. There would be complications.”

“There’s more?” Elder Xuan asked in shock. 
Huo Yuhao said, “Not much, our estimate was correct. Initially, my legs should have been able to take the compressed origin energy of heaven and earth. However, here’s the problem. As I move the origin energy of heaven and earth toward my legs, the part that is in my torso has started to spill out as well. Originally, it was suppressed within my soul bones, but now, some of it has flowed out. My legs can’t take this extra soul power. Furthermore, this origin energy has been dissipated into my most important passageways, and it’ll severely affect my recovery.”

Elder Xuan said, “What can we do? If you can’t take it anymore, you should stop. Take your time to recover, and don’t fret so much about the competition.”

“No, I have to represent the Tang Sect.” Huo Yuhao said with certainty. Then, he closed his eyes once more, and he could clearly see that underneath his skin, strands of blue energy were flowing toward his left arm. Since my legs can’t take anymore, I shall give up an arm. The reason why he chose his left arm over his right was because the Ice Jade Scorpion Left Arm Bone was in his left arm. It would help in compressing and absorbing the origin energy of heaven and earth. Wang Dong’er covered her face with her hands. She clearly knew that like this, Huo Yuhao could only move his head, his right arm, and his torso! He was like a cripple who had lost three of his limbs. All of this was because of her!

This time, there was no problem. As all the blue energy flowed into Huo Yuhao’s left arm, his left arm turned light blue. While it was not as terrifying as his legs, it lay flat on the bed, unmoving. It looked like it was dead.

He exhaled and tiredly opened his eyes. He looked at Elder Xuan, Elder Zhuang, and Wang Dong’er, whose tears clouded her eyes. He forced a smile and said, “See, I succeeded. Soon, I’ll make a complete recovery.”

As his soul power flowed through his body, it was able to complete a minor circulation. While he could not make a major circulation without his legs and left arm, this minor circulation allowed him to recover 70% of his cultivation. His chest, where Elder Zhuang had healed his passageways with his soul power and which was nourished by the life energy from the Life Gold, was recovering at an astonishing pace. What he needed to do next was open up all the blocked passageways in his body. This would allow him to regain even more of his cultivation, and feel better. 
As he spoke, Huo Yuhao pressed down on the bed with his right hand and struggled to get up. Wang Dong’er rushed over to help him. He shook his head, insisting that he could get up by himself.

This action, which was nothing to him in the past, now became exceedingly difficult. As he forced his body up bit-by- bit, the huge wound on his chest remained. There was now a layer of blood on its surface.

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “I’ll represent the Tang Sect in the tournament!”

Elder Xuan huffed and said angrily, “You little bastard!” He sighed and turned away.

Elder Zhuang smiled slightly and said, “Rest well. If you want to take part in the tournament, you must recover. Remember to massage your legs every day. Even though they can’t move, you have to make the origin energy inside them move. This will keep your body supple. Fortunately, it was Ultimate Ice, and not Ultimate Fire. If not, your passageways would have been long gone. Ultimate Ice has preservative properties. A conservative estimate states that your legs will be fine for the next half year. After half a year, no one knows what will happen. Whatever happens, remember that you can’t let it drag on for more than a year. If not, there’ll be huge problems, understand?”

“Yes,” Huo Yuhao replied respectfully.

Elder Zhuang reminded him a few more times before leaving. This treatment had given him much inspiration. For such a special case like Huo Yuhao, he had to quickly record it so that he could come up with better treatment plans in the future. While three of Huo Yuhao’s limbs could not move, this treatment could still be said to be perfect. At the very least, Huo Yuhao’s life was no longer in danger.

As she sent Elder Zhuang out, Wang Dong’er asked carefully if there was anything she had to take note of while caring for him. Only then did she return to the room. The moment she entered, she could not help but dash to the side of the bed and jump into his embrace.

Huo Yuhao used his only movable hand, which was still trembling, to hold her by her slim waist. 
“Silly girl, can’t you see that I’m better now? You should be happy! Don’t cry, this is all thanks to your meticulous care. However, you’ve gotten skinnier. Look at you, you’re a bag of bones. You must stay healthy so that you can care for me.”

“Yes, yes!”  Wang Dong’er agreed non-stop. However, tears flowed down her cheeks like a broken necklace of pearls.

“Dong’er, can I explain something about Qiu’er to you?” Huo Yuhao asked. He felt that he should tell Dong’er some things. For example, the fact that they could fuse their martial souls. This would prevent a future misunderstanding from arising.

Wang Dong’er shook her head vigorously. From his embrace, she sat up and looked at him. They were only inches apart. She said tearfully, “Yuhao, I don’t want to or need to hear any explanation. After today, no matter what happens, I’ll trust you completely. You’ve already proven to me that you are the one who loves me more than anyone else in the world.”

Huo Yuhao could not help but laugh. “Saying that will make your parents sad.” Wang  Dong’er  said,  “It’s  different,  how  can  parental  love compare with how you treat me…? Furthermore, after so many years, they have never visited me once.”

Huo Yuhao quickly changed the topic as he said, “Alright, alright,  don’t  cry.  Help  me  lay  down  to  rest.”  The  entire treatment had been a test of his will. Had it been anyone else, they would have gone crazy from the pain. However, Huo Yuhao endured it all. Still, he was drained from the whole ordeal.

“Yes,” Wang Dong’er helped him lay down.

------

From that day on, Huo Yuhao’s recovery was well on-track. With Wang Dong’er’s help, he spent another three days opening all the blocked passageways in his body. Then, he started to regain his bodily functions. Once the other five of Shrek’s Seven Monsters learned that he could take part in the competition, they were all overjoyed. With Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er back, they were truly the Shrek’s Seven Monsters! A wooden wheelchair, made entirely from the Golden Tree, was delivered to Huo Yuhao by Elder Xuan. While Elder Xuan still wore an unpleasant face on his face, and he showed no sign of forgiveness toward Huo Yuhao, the latter still remembered his care and concern for him.

The Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament drew closer…

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The Tang Sect Conference Hall...

Led by Bei Bei, the other members of Shrek’s Seven Monsters reached the place. Other than the seven of them, Xuan Ziwen, who was now the Vice Sect Leader and in charge of soul tool research, Mo Xuan, and Na Na, who was a close-combat soul engineer who possessed the Netherworld martial soul, were there too, along with Ji Juechen, Jing Ziyan, and the higher echelons of the Tang Sect.

The entry of Xuan Ziwen allowed the Tang Sect to develop rapidly, particularly since the Sect was supported by Shrek Academy. Every week, the Soul Tool Department students of Shrek had three days of lessons with the Tang Sect. In the Tang Sect, they were led and supervised by Xuan Ziwen. The underground factory of the Tang Sect had commenced construction. It was huge, and modeled after the Illustrious Virtue Hall.

The rapid development of the Tang Sect meant that many of its facilities could not keep up, particularly since it was small. Xuan Ziwen proposed an idea, and the Shrek’s Seven Monsters and Shrek Academy discussed it before they finally agreed to build a huge underground soul tool factory.

While Shrek Academy’s Soul Tool Department was expanding, their priority was still teaching. Hence, there was no way they could keep everything secret. Some high-level soul tools could not be manufactured there. 
Shrek Academy decided to help the Tang Sect complete their secret factory after a discussion in the Sea God’s Pavilion. After all, the Tang Sect was located within Shrek City, like the factory. Its significance to the future development of the Academy could not be understated.

After a few rounds of discussion, Shrek Academy decided to devote money, manpower, and logistics to the completion of the underground factory. At the same time, Shrek Academy also bought 49% of the Tang Sect’s shares. This meant that whatever profit the Tang Sect made in the future, 49% of it would go to Shrek Academy. However, the right to choose was still with them. Of course, as the Tang Sect’s biggest shareholder, Shrek Academy would send someone to listen whenever the Tang Sect made an important decision. At the same time, someone from the Tang Sect would also be present at conferences held within the Sea God’s Pavilion.

Originally, Bei Bei had planned to use this opportunity to let Huo Yuhao resume his place in the Sea God’s Pavilion. However, Huo Yuhao hinted strongly to Bei Bei that he was against this plan. The reason for his rejection was simple. He was confident that he could regain his place in the Sea God’s Pavilion through his own merit. For the Tang Sect, this would mean that they would have two representatives at the conference table! Was that not a better thing?

At last, Bei Bei was chosen as the representative to take part in the conferences in the Sea God’s Pavilion. The Tang Sect and Shrek Academy were linked intimately, just like that.

The underground factory was massive. Initially, the construction of the Illustrious Virtue Hall took almost ten years to complete. If the underground factory of the Tang Sect took ten years, it would be too long.

At this time, the power of Shrek Academy was revealed, shocking even Xuan Ziwen.

Shrek Academy sent 20 more people to assist with the construction. With the inclusion of this group, Xuan Ziwen was stunned on the day he met them. It was then that he discovered the difference between a soul engineer and a soul master. The 20 people sent by Shrek Academy were led by Elder Xuan. They were all earth-type soul masters. Following that, Elder Xuan showed Xuan Ziwen the terrifying might of the Godly Taotie Bull.

In only one day, a huge underground cavern was excavated by Elder Xuan using his impressive power. Furthermore, he did not actually dig up the ground to be moved elsewhere. All of the soil was compressed into the walls of the hole with his soul power. This caused the cavern to be extremely sturdy, with very strong walls.

One must know that the process of excavating a cavern was immensely difficult. When the Illustrious Virtue Hall was first built, not only did the builders have to consider the underground situation, but its builders were all ordinary mortals, and they were in no rush for time. Hence, they took nearly half a year to excavate it. Then, they still had to fortify its walls. This took almost another year. Yet Elder Xuan only took a single day to do all of this himself. Once done, Elder Xuan handed the other earth-type soul masters over to Xuan Ziwen as he went off to drink more wine.

Among these earth-type soul masters with martial souls, three of them were Titled Douluo, six of them were Soul Douluo, and the rest were all at least Soul Emperors. Some of them were teachers, and some of them were students of the inner courtyard. Between them, they only needed twenty days before the Tang Sect’s underground factory was completed! This included ventilation, water supply, and other basic infrastructure. Now, they only had to deal with the installation of soul lamps

What came next was much more difficult. The crucial thing was the construction of the various types of soul tools. This was a huge engineering feat. However, with the completion of the structure, all they needed to do was manufacture the various soul tools, and the underground factory could start operations. All the auxiliary-type soul tools of the Tang Sect were moved underground.

Just when Xuan Ziwen was about to draw out the design of the various soul tools from memory, Huo Yuhao, whose body had recovered, came to him, bringing a huge stack of papers.

While Xuan Ziwen was the top researcher of the Illustrious Virtue Hall, there was no way he could possibly know the construction details of all soul tools. After all, every single soul tool required a lot of research and experimentation before it could be completed. According to his original plan, he would need at least three to five years to complete his research and development of these auxiliary-type soul tools. This was under the condition that he remembered more than a third of the diagrams for these auxiliary-type soul tools.

However, Huo Yuhao gave him a huge surprise. When he saw all those extremely detailed diagrams of auxiliary-type soul tools, this super-intelligent Class 8 soul engineer looked at Huo Yuhao with his mouth wide open. After a long moment of disbelief, he said, “Now I know what you learned during your exchange...”

With help from all corners, Xuan Ziwen vowed that in a single year, he would get the underground factory up and moving. In three years’ time, it would reach the level of the Illustrious Virtue Hall. Of course, this was under the condition that he had enough resources.

Huo Yuhao brought all the precious metals he had acquired to Xuan Ziwen. At the same time, the vast riches of Shrek City came into effect. The few businesses controlled by Shrek Academy in Shrek City devoted all their resources to the underground factory. A huge amount of precious metals were bought from each corner of the continent. As a result, over the next few months the prices of precious metals on the continent increased by ten percent!

---

Of course, all this was a side-thought to the Shrek’s Seven Monsters, because they would soon leave for the tournament. The conference right now was their last before the tournament.

Bei  Bei  said,  “Teacher  Xuan,  we’ll  leave  the  underground factory to you.”

“Yes,” Xuan Ziwen replied. His head was lowered, and no one knew what he was thinking. Huo Yuhao, who was sitting next to him, could see that Teacher Xuan’s eyes were fire-red and slightly bloodshot. A new Illustrious Virtue Hall would be re- created, with him at its helm. Initially, when this idea was first proposed, Xuan Ziwen was so excited he almost leapt into the air. To a soul engineer, what was more important than making soul tools? Just for this chance, he promised to lecture once a week at Shrek Academy. At this time, he was probably thinking of a way to come up with new diagrams for soul tools. Bei Bei said, “We’ll leave tomorrow. The seven of us will go, along with Na Na. Hence, eight of us will be setting out. Brother Ji, Brother Mo, Sister Ziyan, please guard the Tang Sect. A new batch of Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannons will be installed in Shrek City. Other than stationary soul cannons, we’ll stop manufacturing other types of soul tools so we can allow for the construction of the factory. We’ll be back in six weeks at the least, and two months at the most. Hence, I trust everyone here to manage the sect in our absence.”

“No.” Just as Bei Bei finished speaking, there was opposition.
The speaker was Jing Ziyan.

“Sister Ziyan, what problem do you have?” Bei Bei asked.

Jing Ziyan looked at Ji Juechen, who was by her side, and said, “We want to go to the tournament too.”

Bei Bei was stunned as he said, “However, aren’t you above the age limit?” Both Jing Ziyan and Ji Juechen were more than 20 years old, which was the tournament’s age limit. Jing Ziyan snorted and said, “So what? There will be many soul masters gathered there. Furthermore, we are both familiar with Radiant City. If we go, we can help you out with some things, and even protect you!”

Huo Yuhao laughed, “Protect us? I think the two of you are going there to cause trouble.” He knew them too well. If they went to Radiant City, they would look for people to fight to improve themselves.

Jing Ziyan’s face turned red, and she said, “So what? It’s such a good chance, we won’t miss it. Furthermore, look at yourself. You need someone to push your wheelchair, right?”

“Right,  I’ll  do  it,”   Ji  Juechen  said  in  a  straightforward manner. His eyes revealed his determination to everyone.

The two of them had given Bei Bei a lot of trouble. Since they had joined the Tang Sect, there was not a single moment when they were idle. Sometimes they would be looking for a challenge, and at other times, they would be trying to spar. Everyone tried to hide from them, especially Ji Juechen. As his sword intent became more powerful, even Bei Bei and Xu Sanshi found it hard to beat him. 
Huo Yuhao was no longer scared of the two of them. With his current condition, Ji Juechen and Jing Ziyan would not fight him!

Huo Yuhao looked at Bei Bei, who thought for a while, and then said, “Alright, the two of you can follow us. However, I need to make some things clear. The two of you can’t just spend all your time looking for fights. I hope that you two can shoulder the responsibility of looking after Yuhao. His body now faces severe limitations, so I’ll need the two of you to look after him.”

Ji Juechen and Jing Ziyan nodded.

Bei Bei thought it through in a short span of time. If the two of them stayed, there would be no one for them to spar with. They might run over to the Academy and cause trouble. They would be like ticking time-bombs if they were left behind, so it was better to bring them along.

This time, no teacher was accompanying them. They would be doing this by themselves. Shrek Academy could not send powerful soul masters to accompany them, and could only let the teacher in charge of the Shrek team protect them discreetly. With Ji Juechen and Jing Ziyan, the strength of the team increased. As long as they did not meet Titled Douluo, they should be safe.

------

Shrek Academy, Sea God’s Pavilion, Inner Courtyard.

Boom!

A golden light flashed past like a dragon turning itself mid- flight. It blasted Dai Huabin straight-on.

Wang Qiu’er retrieved her Golden Dragon Spear and stared harshly at him as she said, “With your current condition, you want to beat Huo Yuhao? Even with one hand, he can still take care of you.”

Dai Huabin grit his teeth and climbed up from the ground. There was no rage in his eyes, only pure determination. He roared, “Once more!” 

Chapter 269: Powerful Spiritual Power

As he said that, he activated his soul skill once more as he rushed toward Wang Qiu’er.

It was not just him who was present. Other than Ning Tian, the other team members of Shrek Academy’s team, which included Wu Feng, Xie Xuanyue, Zhou Sichen, Cao Jinxuan, Lan Susu, Lan Luoluo, and Zhu Lu, were all injured.

After Wang Qiu’er had returned, Shrek Academy started to conduct special training for this bunch. Since they had no teacher, Wang Qiu’er had become their demonic training instructor over the first few days. Her method was simple and violent; they fought.

One-on-one sparring, and then, team matches.

At the start, many of them were unwilling to listen to her. However, after Wang Qiu’er was able to defeat the entire team by herself, they were all convinced. In two months, under Wang Qiu’er’s leadership, everyone’s combat ability increased exponentially. In particular, their will to fight had been greatly strengthened. Among them, Dai Huabin and Wu Feng showed the greatest increase. The two of them had a single-minded obsession with Huo Yuhao, and hence, Wang Qiu’er continually used Huo Yuhao to stimulate them. She even told them that Huo Yuhao was paralyzed because of his accident, but even so, he only needed one hand, and just one hand, to thrash them. Wu Feng and Dai Huabin were naturally provoked by this statement. They did not believe it!

Then, they were defeated by Wang Qiu’er, who stood still and used only one hand. From that moment, the two of them started to train like crazy. They seemed to experience no fatigue. Under such torturous training, their cultivation improved tremendously, and they showed improvements in every aspect.

It was almost time to leave. While they knew that in the face of Shrek’s Seven Monsters, their hopes of victory were still slim, they had undergone two months of hellish training under Wang Qiu’er. This made them much more resilient and determined to fight. After she defeated Dai Huabin once more, Wang Qiu’er put away her Golden Dragon Spear and said in a low voice, “That’s all for today. Go back and rest, we’ll set off tomorrow.”

When she said that, everyone could not help but sigh in relief. Dai Huabin, who lay on the ground, was gulping in big breaths of air. His body ached all over. However, he still felt a sense of accomplishment. He forced himself off the ground and looked at Wang Qiu’er’s disappearing form. An intensely hot light flashed in his eyes.

“Elder sister, wait,”  Zhou Sichen said as he ran after Wang Qiu’er.

Wang Qiu’er stopped, turned her head and looked at him and said, “What?”

Zhou Sichen giggled, “Elder sister, are we leaving with our class monitor’s team?”

Wang Qiu’er’s face turned cold, and she said, “Do you want to leave with them?” Zhou Sichen coughed. His perceptive abilities were strong. He instantly felt that there was something amiss about Wang Qiu’er’s emotions, and he hurriedly said, “No, no, I’m just asking casually. I heard that Huo Yuhao has been severely injured. We want to visit him, but the Sea God’s Pavilion is off- limits to us!”

Wang Qiu’er snorted coldly, “He is he, and we are we. We’ll go by ourselves.”

After she said that, she turned to leave without turning her head.

When he looked at Wang Qiu’er’s disappearing form, Zhou Sichen could not help but feel slightly depressed. In the past few days, whenever they mentioned anything about Huo Yuhao, Wang Qiu’er would become extremely temperamental. No one knew why, or what the relationship between their class monitor and her was!

After two months of hell, they both feared and respected Wang Qiu’er. With her powerful skills and abilities, she had completely dominated them. However, this elder sister of theirs was too ferocious. Every day, they had to undergo countless torturous training sessions under her. Wang Qiu’er did not show mercy at all! Once, her Golden Dragon Spear had pierced through Dai Huabin’s thigh. Fortunately, he received timely medical treatment, which prevented it from worsening. Of course, they did not know that Wang Qiu’er did not use the terrifying life-absorption skill of the Golden Dragon Spear. If not, that blow would have almost killed him.

They were about to leave. Zhou Sichen’s eyes slowly betrayed a fanatical gaze. They were competing on behalf of Shrek Academy! Even though their prospects were dim, and they were facing extremely powerful opponents, he thought of the previous tournament, and how Huo Yuhao, Bei Bei, and the rest were able to emerge as champions despite only being three-ringed and four-ringed soul masters back then. His heart brimmed with confidence. Miracles are made by men. If my class monitor can do that in the previous tournament, why can’t we do the same here?

Pa! Someone tapped his shoulder, jolting Zhou Sichen from his reverie. He turned his head to see Cao Jinxuan looking at him with a half-smile.

“What are you looking at?” Zhou Sichen said in an unpleasant tone. 
Cao Jinxuan sniggered, “I’m looking at someone who’s dreaming. Be more realistic. Try and make your way to the main team before thinking of anything else. What’s the point in having unrealistic dreams? Confidence is built on the foundation of actual abilities.”

“Why is this a dream?” Zhou Sichen refused to admit it.

Cao Jinxuan’s voice changed. All of a sudden, he sounded very similar to Zhou Sichen. “Champion, I must be the champion. Wahaha! What a beautiful thing it is! Beauties, beauties, haha, come to me! My embrace is wide indeed!!”

Zhou Sichen’s eyes widened as he stammered, “What are you… you saying?”

Cao Jinxuan slapped his shoulder lightly and said, “I’m learning from someone’s sleep talk. I’ll leave first.” With that, he turned to leave calmly.

“Hahaha…” An uncontrollable laughter sounded from the back. Zhou Sichen turned his head to look and realized that everyone, except Dai Huabin and Wu Feng, who had already left, were looking at him. Their faces were all mirthful. Lan Susu and Lan Luoluo could not control their laughter.

“Cao  Jinxuan,  I’m  going  to  beat  you  up!”   Zhou  Sichen shouted in fury. He turned and wanted to run after him. However, when he turned back, Cao Jinxuan had already disappeared…

-------

Dawn, Shrek City, the Tang Sect...

Shrek’s Seven Monsters, all of whom were clad lightly, and Na Na, Ji Juechen, and Jing Ziyan left through the main door. Xuan Ziwen, who was in charge of looking after the sect in their absence, did not accompany them, he was still busy with the secret factory. Under this rather unceremonious atmosphere, the entire group headed toward the west gate of Shrek Academy.

Huo Yuhao sat in the wheelchair made from the Golden Tree. The wheelchair was extremely simplistic, but Elder Xuan’s craftsmanship was decent. It was simple, but efficient. There was a special cushion near the waist, and the entire wheelchair was made from a few pieces of wood glued together. It was extremely smooth, and one would not get tired of sitting in it.

One should not underestimate the materials used. The Golden Tree in Shrek Academy was one of the last Golden Trees on the entire continent. While it was not the only one left, it was the biggest. A thousand years ago, the school ruled that no one was allowed to cut the tree down. It was the center and treasure of the Academy.

The materials that were used to make Huo Yuhao’s wheelchair came from branches of the Golden Tree that fell off naturally, as well as some raw materials from the Sea God’s Pavilion. Its value could not be understated.

The Golden Tree brimmed with pure and warm light-type energy. Within the smooth glow of the wheelchair, Huo Yuhao’s legs and arm, which he had used to store the Ultimate Ice origin power, would not be damaged as easily. Furthermore, under the nourishing glow of light, his body would recover faster. This was beneficial to his absorption of the origin energy. At this moment, Ji Juechen was the one pushing the wheelchair. While Wang Dong’er would normally be the one doing it, Ji Juechen was very stubborn. That day, he had promised to push Huo Yuhao’s wheelchair for him. This morning, he had waited unwaveringly for him at the gate. Wang Dong’er had no choice but to let him do so. She cared for him from the side.

As she looked at Huo Yuhao, who was seated calmly on the wheelchair with his arm and legs immobile, Jing Ziyan could not help but ask, “Yuhao, look at your state, why are you so insistent on taking part in the competition?”

Huo Yuhao chuckled and said, “I still have some energy to spare! Hehe.”

Jing Ziyan sighed and said, “I miss the days when we sparred.”

Huo Yuhao looked bewildered as he replied, “I never imagined that Sister Ziyan was a masochist? You like being beaten by me?” “You…” Jing Ziyan said in anger, “You heartless bastard, I’m showing you care and concern right now! How dare you make fun of me! Dong’er, keep him in check.”

Wang Dong’er smiled slightly and said, “He’s already in this state, what else can I do? Sister Ziyan, he’s mentally well, please don’t worry so much.”

Jing Ziyan looked in surprise at this smart lass as she nodded and said, “Actually, I was just thinking of when we could fight again.”

Huo Yuhao sighed and replied, “Actually, even with one hand, I can still give you the thrill of being tortured.”

Jing Ziyan snorted, “I shan’t talk with a cripple anymore.” With that, she walked away, leaving a stunned-looking Huo Yuhao behind.

A huge hand pressed down on Huo Yuhao’s shoulder, and a low voice sounded, “Get well soon, I’m waiting for you.” Huo Yuhao did not turn his head around. However, he could feel a rare tinge of emotion in Ji’s voice, which was usually reserved for his sword. A bitter smile emerged on his face as he said, “Brother Ji, don’t you think Dong’er should be the one saying that to me?”

Wang Dong’er laughed. Ji Juechen’s face froze over. The muscles in his face twitched. Then, he continued pushing the wheelchair silently. 
In fact, when everyone saw Huo Yuhao on the wheelchair, they all felt waves of intense emotion. Xiao Xiao and Jiang Nannan could not but exclaim out loud.

In the past, Huo Yuhao was youthful and dashing. With what he had learned, he continually created miracle after miracle. He was named as the most powerful genius Shrek Academy had seen in a thousand years. However, right now, he was only a cripple with just one moveable right arm.

However, Huo Yuhao’s gaze was still resolute. No one prevented him from taking part in this tournament. Even his elder brother, Bei Bei, did not try to convince him otherwise. Over the past few days, Huo Yuhao’s emotions had been steady, and he seemed much happier than before. Now, he tried to poke fun at others to make the group laugh. He appeared much more relaxed.

Everyone knew that this was his way of letting everyone around him feel better. How could he not be upset that he had been reduced from an able-bodied person to a cripple? However, he never once showed it. Sitting in the golden wheelchair, he was still full of hope.

Wang Dong’er gently touched Huo Yuhao’s right hand and asked in a low voice, “Do you want some water?”

Huo Yuhao replied, “Didn’t we drink some before we left? Dong’er, I’m fine, really. When will you guys believe that I’m still capable in spite of my disability?”

Jing Ziyan, who was ahead of him, turned around. Her face showed contempt as she said, “A cripple is a cripple. How can you be capable? Other than Spiritual Detection, what else can you do?”

Huo Yuhao sighed and said, “Actually, I can do many things. Do you know what it means to turn misfortune into fortune?”

Jing Ziyan wanted to rebut him immediately. However, her words stopped at the tip of her tongue. Her eyes widened, and she stared at shock at what was happening in front of her. Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong’er, and Ji Juechen, all of whom were walking behind her, suddenly disappeared in a flash of light. They appeared to have vanished completely.

“Ah? What’s going on? Where’s Huo Yuhao and the rest?” Jing Ziyan exclaimed in surprise. This caught the attention of the rest. Everyone turned their heads. The three of them were indeed gone.

At this moment, the air distorted, and Huo Yuhao and the three of them appeared once again. They were walking forward normally. It was as if Jing Ziyan had been momentarily blinded.

“What trick is this? I don’t recall you having any soul skill that allows you to camouflage others!” Jing Ziyan exclaimed in shock.

Concealing oneself was no big deal. Many soul masters had similar soul skills. However, for Huo Yuhao to conceal two other people along with him, that was rather unbelievable. Group concealment was a powerful soul skill that no one had ever heard of. Huo Yuhao looked into the sky, sighed, and said, “This is called skill.”

Jing Ziyan looked at him coolly and said, “Huo Yuhao, stop acting big. We’re still friends.”

“Ke! Ke!” Huo Yuhao appeared to have choked on his spittle as he coughed non-stop. Wang Dong’er rushed up to him and patted his chest.

Huo Yuhao said, “It’s fine, we’re still in the city. Once we leave the city, I’ll show everyone what else can I do. If not, you’ll just treat me as a cripple. I want to contribute to this tournament!”

Bei Bei looked at Huo Yuhao and said, “Little brother, don’t force it.”

Huo Yuhao said seriously, “Elder brother, I’m not forcing it. Even with just one arm left, I’m definitely still better than those who can just turn themselves into smoke and fog.” “What crap! I’ll, I’ll…” Normally, Jing Ziyan would have charged up at him. However, what could she do now that Huo Yuhao was in this state?

Huo Yuhao said confidently, “Let’s see once we leave the city.”

By doing so, not only was he trying to improve the atmosphere and not let everyone get distracted by the fact that he was crippled, he was also reminding himself that he had to show off some of his skills. If not, what if everyone really treated him like a cripple? He really wanted to compete in the tournament!

They did not move too quickly, taking an hour to leave Shrek City. They walked out of the west gate and continued headed west, toward the Sun Moon Empire. It was fastest for them to use a flying-type soul tool. Yesterday, they had planned it all out. Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi, He Caitou, and Wang Dong’er would fly ahead with Huo Yuhao first. Among them, Wang Dong’er was responsible for helping Huo Yuhao block the incoming wind. The rest of them would rely on their flying-type soul tools.

Furthermore, Xuan Ziwen had made a large flying-type soul tool that could carry many people at once, made to Huo Yuhao’s specifications.

“Alright, we’ve left the city. Sister Ziyan, let’s spar, let’s spar.”

Ji Juechen, who was pushing his wheelchair from behind, froze. “Yuhao, are you serious?”

While Jing Ziyan was weaker than Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi, and the rest, she was still a Soul Emperor in her own right! Her martial soul might not be terribly powerful, but when combined with her soul tools, her battling abilities could not be underestimated. If Huo Yuhao was uninjured, there was a chance that he could still beat her. However, in his current state, movement was difficult, so how could he fight her?

Huo Yuhao nodded and he looked at Jing Ziyan and said, “Of course I’m serious. Sister Ziyan, are you scared?”

Jing  Ziyan  said  unkindly,  “Scared  of  you?  How  can  I  be scared of you in this state? I don’t want to bully a cripple!” Huo Yuhao said angrily, “A temporary cripple, not a cripple!
Come, hurry up, don’t waste everyone’s time.”

“Has  anyone  placed  bets?  I’ll  be  the  bookie,”  Xu  Sanshi rushed forward excitedly, almost bouncing.

Jiang Nannan followed next to him. When she heard what he said,  she  pinched  his  waist  hard.  “You’re  heartless  indeed! Yuhao is in this state, and all you can do is stir up even more trouble! Yuhao, stop fooling around. We’ll set off now. We all know you’re capable.”

Huo Yuhao smiled bitterly and said, “Fourth sister, from your words, I know that you don’t expect much from me! Look, I think third brother understands me better.”

In fact, since his recuperation had begun, he had not cultivated with his teammates. All he had been doing was recovering by himself at home. Coupled with the fact that only one of his four limbs could move, it was normal for his teammates to doubt his abilities. This was why he was set on challenging Jing Ziyan. If my teammates don’t trust me, then, what if something goes wrong during the competition? Even Bei Bei won’t let me compete! 
Jing  Ziyan  said  unpleasantly,  “You’re  not  joking!  Dong’er, take good care of him.” She completely ignored Huo Yuhao’s provocation and turned to leave.

Huo Yuhao sighed helplessly. Following that, he narrowed his eyes, and a ray of purple light flashed from his pupils.

Just as Jing Ziyan was about to leave, she suddenly realized that the people around her were gone. She felt an immense pressure in her heart as she discovered, to her shock, that her surroundings had turned white. Nothing could be seen, and it resembled the end of the world. She was alone.

“What’s going on? Juechen, Bei Bei, where are you?”  Jing Ziyan called out. At the same time, she released her martial soul. A layer of fog started to spread from her body, and all six of her soul rings rose. A pair of short knives appeared in her hands.

“What’s  going  on,  Ziyan?”   An  extremely  familiar  shape appeared. It was Ji Juechen. When she saw Ji Juechen, she sighed visibly and said, “What’s going on? Why can’t I see anyone else?”

Ji Juechen looked at her in confusion and said, “I don’t know either! I heard your shouts and came over. You’re right! Where is everybody?”

Jing Ziyan naturally lowered her guard around him. She looked around her suspiciously. At this moment, an icy-cold sensation appeared at her neck, and a cruel, killing intent manifested itself.

Jing Ziyan’s body froze as she stood immobile. She could clearly sense the blade that was pressed against her neck. If she moved, she would die.

At this moment, the blurry scene around her disappeared. They returned to the west gate of Shrek City. Everyone was not far from where she stood. However, they all looked at her in shock.

The icy-cold feeling disappeared, and a tone of jest sounded, “Ay, it’s so simple! No wonder you don’t want to fight with me. This is why you can’t match me.”

Jing Ziyan turned around to look. She realized that the person next to her was not Ji Juechen, but Huo Yuhao instead. He slowly retracted a dark-golden blade that had emerged from his finger. The blade was six meters long. Under the bright sunlight, it was exceptionally terrifying.

“How, how did you do that?” Jing Ziyan asked in shock.

Huo Yuhao looked into the sky and said, “I can’t reveal this secret, no, no, no.”

Jing Ziyan said angrily, “Rubbish, I was ambushed by you. If you have the guts, let’s have a one-on-one fight!”

Huo Yuhao’s reply shocked her. “Ok.”

As he said that, he lifted his right hand at Jing Ziyan once more. This time, Jing Ziyan did not dare to be careless. She leapt back, and as she did so, her entire body turned into a ball of smoke in mid-air, which slowly started to expand. 
Everyone else who had thought that Huo Yuhao was just joking now looked at him solemnly with varying expressions in their eyes. With only one arm, how could he beat Jing Ziyan? 
The moment the fight started, Jing Ziyan had disappeared into smoke. However, everyone else could clearly see that Jing Ziyan’s eyes suddenly clouded over, and she released her martial soul while surveying the area around her cautiously. Then, Huo Yuhao made Ji Juechen let go as he turned his wheelchair in her direction. He released his Darkgolden Terrorclaw and gently placed it on Jing Ziyan’s neck. Throughout the entire process, Jing Ziyan did not even react. What did this mean? This meant that she was completely under Huo Yuhao’s spell! This was a terrifying and mystical sight, which many refused to believe. However, it had taken place before their eyes. Jing Ziyan might be confused by the whole thing, but even the other six of the Seven Monsters who understood Huo Yuhao, including Wang Dong’er, did not know how he won.

Right now, as he faced Jing Ziyan in her smoke form, Huo Yuhao’s face turned serious. He then turned his head. While facing off against her, he turned his gaze toward Wang Dong’er.

Wang Dong’er asked slightly worriedly, “Yuhao?” At this moment, she realized that Huo Yuhao’s gaze had turned warmer. His eyes brimmed with adoration and a warm love. In his eyes, Wang Dong’er could see her own figure. Just by noticing this, Wang Dong’er could clearly sense that her heart was slowly connecting with that of Huo Yuhao. An unspeakably deep bond encircled the two of them.

Why was Huo Yuhao looking at Wang Dong’er? Everyone was thinking the same thing in their minds. Then, the answer revealed itself.

The wheelchair under Huo Yuhao started to shine, and a dazzling golden light flashed. Thick light-type energy started to permeate his surroundings. Following that, a golden figure started to appear behind him. Huo Yuhao was bathed in a golden light.

Wasn’t the figure behind him Wang Dong’er? Here, he formed a Wang Dong’er purely from his spiritual power. Her facial expression and the look in her eyes resembled Wang Dong’er perfectly.

Then, Huo Yuhao gently reached out with his palm, and the projection of Wang Dong’er behind him did the same. The two figures instantly merged into one.

A terrifying intention was sent flying to the front. The purple clouds which had spread apart slowly came together. It was as if someone was throttling them. Then, they vanished, and Jing Ziyan appeared before everyone with a pale face.

Huo Yuhao’s hand remained in mid-air, but he did not continue reaching out. An intense golden light started to form in the center of his palm. “Do you still want to continue?” Huo Yuhao asked softly.

Jing Ziyan’s forehead was laced with sweat. The short knives in her hands were trembling. She could not find the guts to fight Huo Yuhao. This was the first time she had experienced something like this. It was similar to facing Ji Juechen’s sword intent. However, while Juechen’s sword intent was in a continual process of betterment, which showed that there were still flaws, the intent that Huo Yuhao released appeared perfect to her.

This intention was used completely on her. At this moment, Jing Ziyan felt as if ten thousand tsunami waves were hurtling toward her. Her soul rings lost their functionality in that moment, and she felt her heart being squeezed by a huge hand. This moment of tightness caused her to abandon her soul skill. Before Huo Yuhao, as she looked at his palm, she only felt immense fear.

What… power is this? Why does it exert such a powerful suppression?

Furthermore, he had yet to release the energy stored in his hand. What if he did? In terms of spiritual power, this palm seemed capable of shocking heaven and earth, provoking spirits and gods!

Jing Ziyan had never expected Huo Yuhao, who had lost use three of his four limbs, to still be so strong.

This palm shocked everyone else present, including Ji Juechen.

Ji Juechen looked blankly at Huo Yuhao. “This intent, this ultimate intent, it’s what I’m after.” As he said that, he rushed toward Huo Yuhao. When he was in front of him, he grabbed Huo Yuhao’s shoulders tightly and said, “Yuhao, how did you… accomplish this? Such a perfect intent, how did you do it?”

Huo Yuhao smiled slightly as he looked at Wang Dong’er, who  was  in  the  distance  and  said,  “Extreme  love  forms ultimate intentions. When I was on the verge of death, my heart was filled with Wang Dong’er, and I realized that this was a thought that I possessed completely by myself. Unlike the Sovereign’s Descent, this is something that belongs to me and me only. Actually, this palm is not as powerful as you think. Its strength lies in my thoughts, which have increased and become stronger. Its existence has almost elevated from the concrete-immaterial realm to the concrete-material realm. However, as my cultivation is too low, I must wait until I’m a seven-ringed soul sage before my spiritual power can match this thought.

“As it comes from love, it manifests into an ultimate intent, the extremity of love. The extremity of your love is stronger than my dedication to my sword intent. Indeed, I never expected that you’d reach what I’ve been after quicker than me.” Ji Juechen’s eyes brimmed with an intense passion. There was no envy, simply passion and appreciation. Wang Dong’er now looked at Huo Yuhao more gently. Everyone could see how crazy Ji Juechen was over his sword intent. However, his passion for his sword could not compare to Huo Yuhao’s love for her. That simple line was enough to encapsulate the ocean-like love Huo Yuhao had for Wang Dong’er.

Huo Yuhao did not say that when Wang Dong’er was present, his Goddess of Light’s power would increase by 30%. After all, this required no thought, only a blissful sentiment. Only then could the power of Goddess of Light reach its maximum. If not, wanting to use an illusory spiritual thought to break Jing Ziyan’s Soul Emperor-level soul skill would be impossible.

Everyone started to crowd around next to Huo Yuhao. Bei Bei said nothing, he just smiled and give Huo Yuhao a thumbs-up.

He Caitou sighed in admiration, “Little brother, you are our secret weapon indeed!”

Xu Sanshi said pensively, “Your spiritual power has increased exponentially. Not bad, not bad. Hehe, your invisibility ability is derived from your second soul skill, right?” Huo Yuhao laughed, but said nothing.

Jiang Nannan asked curiously, “What’s its radius?”

Huo Yuhao thought for a while and replied, “The bigger the radius, the faster my spiritual power will deplete. I can maintain a 50 meter radius for about 10 minutes. For every half meter radius less, I can maintain it for one more minute.”

Xiao Xiao said in shock, “Doesn’t this mean that when our opponents fight us, they won’t be able to see us at all?”

Huo Yuhao chortled and replied, “It’s not that strong, but it can affect their judgment.”

Jing Ziyan then asked, “Just now, what ability did you use to blind me?”

Huo Yuhao scratched his head and said, “Let me keep some secrets to myself. Like this, when we face our enemies, we can surprise them.” Bei Bei smiled and said, “Yes, everyone, stop asking. Prepare to depart. Yuhao, you have given us all a big surprise.”

Huo  Yuhao  chortled  and  said,  “Elder  brother,  if  I  were useless, why would I still want to compete? I don’t wish to be a burden.”

The origin energy of heaven and earth in his body greatly restricted his freedom of movement. It also restricted his second martial soul, the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion. After all, he could not even move. The Ice Jade Empress Scorpion’s skills were meant for close-combat. Naturally, in his state, it was greatly weakened. Furthermore, he still needed to use a portion of her soul power to absorb the origin energy of heaven and earth. Hence, the only skill he could rely on was his Spiritual Eyes. As a control-type soul master, Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Eyes had undergone a fundamental change compared to before he had left for the Setting Sun Forest. While his soul power was only about 80% of what it had been, his actual fighting abilities were much stronger. His powerful Spiritual Eyes could let him do many things that he previously could not.

For example, his ability to control Jing Ziyan’s senses was an evolved form of Spiritual Interference. His Spiritual Interference had now almost become a domain! With his Spiritual Eyes martial soul, Huo Yuhao could easily surpass other soul masters of the same level. Furthermore, he still had the power of his soul bone, and he could still use a bit of Ice Empress’ powers.

The flying-type soul tool was activated. Huo Yuhao’s seat was attached to the soul tool. He released a Class 6 protective soul barrier to prevent his body from being buffeted by the wind. Wang Dong’er was seated next to him, and she carried a flying- type soul tool on her back too. If something went wrong, she could respond instantly.

Everyone took to the skies simultaneously. Their destination was Radiant City!

------

The theme of the new Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament was “Return“. This was because a long time ago, this historic tournament only allowed sects to take part. In the past millennia, its scale had decreased, to the point where it only allowed schools to take part. This time, the Sun Moon Empire, the tournament’s organizer, suggested the change, and the other countries agreed to it, deciding to restore the original criteria for the tournament. They increased the number of participating sects and changed the rules of the tournament. Doing so massively
increased the scale of the competition.

In the continent, there were considerably more sects than schools.

For the schools, by doing well in the tournament, they could make a good name for themselves and recruit more students. This was also good for their future development. The same logic applied to the sects.

The development of any sect required talents. The more talented an individual was, the more likely it was that they would join a top-notch sect. After the tournament’s rules changed, almost two-thirds of the sects on the continent chose to take part!

Chapter 270: The Competition in Radiant City!

If the tournament committee hadn’t restricted the age of the competitors to below twenty and demanded that at least five members of each sect had to have at least four rings, there would have been ten times more teams competing in this tournament then last time!

Even with such restrictions, there were still a total of one hundred and seventeen teams, many more than last time!

As the wealthiest empire on the Douluo Continent, hosting this tournament was nothing for the Sun Moon Empire. Even so, they took three months to prepare for it. As the biggest city on the continent, Radiant City constructed several hotels and guesthouses to receive guests coming for this grand event. They benefited greatly from businessmen coming from foreign lands.

The Sun Moon Empire also invested a lot in this tournament, since they were the top soul engineering empire on the continent. The top prize wasn’t just soul bones anymore; they were soul tools. The winning team could obtain a Class 9 soul tool, while the runner-up and third place teams would receive Class 8 and Class 7 soul tools respectively.

The values of these soul tools were much higher than soul bones. This was especially true for the champions. Currently, a Class 9 soul tool was priceless, and only the Sun Moon Empire possessed Class 9 soul tools. At the same time, Class 9 soul tools were also the biggest threat to the other two empires on the continent.

Every competing team was itching to obtain the prizes and working hard to perform better in the tournament. This wasn’t just an opportunity for them to gain fame, it was an opportunity for them to profit greatly!

Modern soul masters had to rely on soul tools in addition to their own cultivation if they wanted to gain greater abilities. However, the astronomical costs of advanced soul tools limited most soul masters. It was impossible to become the best without money.

------ Radiant City, Sun Moon Empire’s Imperial Palace, a backyard garden...

A wheelchair was moving slowly on the quartzite path in the garden. There were different types of plants planted here, every region of the garden was perfectly designed. There was a small waterfall atop a sculpted hill, an imperial painting of a bouquet of flowers, and huge, tall trees. The entire backyard garden felt like a beautiful forest.

“How’s my father?” Xu Tianran’s eyes were shut. There was a blanket on his thighs, and he appeared very relaxed.

Ju Zi was the one pushing his wheelchair.

Ju Zi was clad in a long, yellow dress today, which accentuated her delicate white skin. She looked classy and elegant. She exuded a much more mature aura than before. A wise look flashed across her eyes.

“I’m afraid he’s nearing his end. The imperial physician said that he often passes out and loses consciousness these days,” Ju Zi said softly. 
Xu Tianran continued to close his eyes. It was as if he was unrelated to the ailing old man that Ju Zi was talking about.

“My father has always been very cautious and conscientious. He does not aim to acquire merit, but only hopes to avoid mistakes. He has missed out on great opportunities! When we look back in the future, he will only be regarded as an ordinary emperor. What’s the reaction of the military?”

Ju Zi said, “They are very calm. Ever since we took control of the garrison, opposition from the military has disappeared. At least two-fifths of the empire’s military is directly under our control now. Out of the other three-fifths of the military, around two-thirds of them are still monitoring the situation, or are loyal only to the emperor. Once you succeed the throne, I believe they will join your side. As for the last fifth, they are military officers at the borders. Some of them have been brought over by other princes, while some were your enemies in the past.”

Xu Tianran gave a half smile. His smile was very nice, but for some reason, Ju Zi felt very cold in her heart when she saw this smile. That was because she was clear that Xu Tianran was ready to kill when he revealed such an expression. 
Xu Tianran smiled as he said, “No rush. When I succeed the throne, you can make a trip if they are still unwilling to budge.”

Ju Zi shuddered a little, but still nodded and said, “Okay.”

Xu Tianran turned around and looked at her. He said, “Ju Zi, you don’t have to be so reserved around me. When I succeed the throne, the first thing I’ll do is make you my queen. You are always so reserved. You lack the grace of a queen.”

Ju Zi revealed a slight smile on her face and replied, “Your Highness, I’m not with you because I covet fame or status. I only have two wishes. First, I just want to be with you. Second, I want to destroy the Star Luo Empire.”

Xu Tianran nodded and said, “Your two wishes will come true. Your performance in the military was better than I had expected. Even the hard-headed old generals are impressed by you. If this continues, you’ll be my commanding general when we start our war against the Star Luo Empire.” “Thank you, Your Highness.”  Ju Zi knelt down beside Xu Tianran’s wheelchair.

Xu Tianran used his hand to lift her up and said, “I told you that we don’t have to be so formal with each other. If you hadn’t saved my life, I wouldn’t be here now. I have many subordinates who are more capable than you. However, you are the only one that I feel at ease with.”

Ju Zi’s eyes were filled with gratitude, Xu Tianran didn’t realize that there was also a feeling of indifference behind them.

Can I really do what I want in front of you? In the past, there was an official who you owed gratitude towards. However, he was killed in his house after he acted a little more freely than usual. I was the one who carried out the kill order for you.

Ju Zi understood Xu Tianran’s character very well. He was very ambitious. There was only one goal in his life: to rule the entire Douluo Continent. Furthermore, he was intelligent, had great tolerance, and was quite vicious. Although he was disabled, he had all the qualities needed to succeed. However, he became colder and more merciless after he lost his legs and his manly ability. Even Ju Zi didn’t dare to get close to him when he revealed his violent and hostile aura sometimes. He wasn’t just an anti-hero; Ju Zi even believed he was a maniac at times. However, he was an extremely intelligent maniac!

But she wanted revenge, and thus she needed the support of a maniac like him. However, she didn’t want to follow in his footsteps. That was why she acted very cautiously in front of him, concealing her true feelings very well.

Furthermore, there was another person in her heart along with her true feelings. This person was a youth who had once suffered grave injuries because of her.

“The preparations for the tournament should be done, right? Did Hallmaster Hongchen report back?” Xu Tianran continued asking. Ju Zi had become his most important intelligence officer. There was one thing that Xu Tianran didn’t exaggerate, and that was his trust towards Ju Zi.

Ju Zi nodded and said, “We are already prepared and ready to go. Everything is progressing according to plan.” 
Xu Tianran said, “A fine fowl only perches on a fine tree. I hope that they are wiser. Otherwise, it’ll really be a pity. Have Shrek Academy’s team arrived? They are the current reigning champions. If the intelligence is right, it’s the same bunch who became champions the other time competing this time. If this
is the case, it’s likely that they will become champions again! It’s a pity that it’ll be very difficult for me to use them!”

Ju Zi seemed to be jolted. She clearly remembered that Huo Yuhao was part of the team from Shrek.

Xu Tianran said, “It’s better not to touch Shrek Academy for now. Let them leave. I shall give this face to Shrek. I’ll see what kind of sparks will be created between Shrek Academy and our people. Oh yes, please invite Mister Zhong Li here. Tell him I have something important to discuss with him.”

“Yes.” Ju Zi stood up and hurried out.

Xu Tianran shut his eyes again and once more wore the leisurely smile on his face. He seemed like he was napping. The quiet and peaceful comfort in the garden was mesmerizing. ------

The group from the Tang Sect landed about a hundred kilometers from Radiant City. If they ventured any further forward, they would enter the borders of Radiant City. As the capital of the greatest soul engineering empire, they might become practice targets of the city’s defense system if they dared to violate the airspace of the city.

They didn’t meet with any danger on their journey here, and had arrived after only half a day of travel.

They started a fire for cooking. Although everyone missed Huo Yuhao’s cooking, they couldn’t let a ‘disabled person’ cook for them. Jiang Nannan, Xiao Xiao, and Wang Dong’er took on the responsibility as cooks. As for Jing Ziyan, even though she was also a lady… Besides wielding blades and spears, she didn’t know anything about cooking! She could only act as an assistant to the three chefs.

Jiang Nannan was the best at cooking among the three. Although Wang Dong’er had learned from Huo Yuhao for a few days, she didn’t pick up much. Huo Yuhao had heard Xu Sanshi mention that Jiang Nannan was from a poor family. She had thus matured young, and was good at carrying out household chores. It turned out to be true.

They had prepared sufficiently before they set out for this tournament, bringing quite a lot of ingredients. With Huo Yuhao around, they weren’t worried about the freshness of the ingredients, since he was the owner of Ultimate Ice soul power.

Huo Yuhao was fed by Wang Dong’er. Of course, she fed him with a spoon, and not through her mouth. After all, there were many people around! 
Huo Yuhao could only use his right hand. It was difficult for him to eat on his own. Wang Dong’er didn’t want him to tax himself, and thus she took over this role. Everyone was envious and jealous when they saw this.

Xu Sanshi was looking at Huo Yuhao as Wang Dong’er fed her. He whispered to Jiang Nannan, “My love, please feed me too.”

Jiang Nannan snapped, “How old are you?”

“Three…” Xu Sanshi said bashfully.

“Scram!” Jiang Nannan roared at him and gave him a shock.
He quickly escaped and avoided her flying kick.

On the other side, the same thing happened more intimately due to character differences. He Caitou looked at Xiao Xiao with a gentle gaze in his eyes, “Why don’t I feed you too? You are eating too little. Look at you, you are getting thin.”

Xiao Xiao laughed and said, “I’m not that weak. I can feed myself. Go and eat. You are getting thin.”

Jing Ziyan rolled her eyes as she eavesdropped from the side. Thin? This guy is thin? Isn’t he at least three hundred catties? He’s as big as a mountain, but she calls him thin. How did she bring herself to say that? Those in love really have extremely low intelligence!

In fact, Jing Ziyan felt very depressed. As the first test subject of Huo Yuhao’s self-created spiritual-soul fusion skill, she was traumatized. Without dealing with this trauma, she knew that she couldn’t challenge him in the future!

Ji Juechen was even more silent. His eyes never shifted away from the front, and he was in a perpetually pensive state. At times, he would start gesturing with his right hand, as if he were trying to imitate something. Everyone enjoyed their lunch in a very relaxed mood. They didn’t rush to move off. There were still two days to the registration deadline of the tournament. After entering Radiant City, they had to be completely wary at all times. Here, they were still able to relax and rest!

Just as everyone was about to finish their lunch with delicious meat soup, the rapid clatter of horse hoofs could be heard coming in.

---

Before everyone got up to take a look, the familiar power of Huo Yuhal’s Spiritual Detection was unleashed. An image surfaced in everyone’s minds.

While Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection presented a detailed image to everyone, it was still unable to project any color. While they were far away, the image in their minds was still very clear.

It was a cavalry regiment. There were fourteen people in total, and they were all dressed in black warrior robes. Their steeds weren’t ordinary, either. They were taller than most horses, and more than four meters in length, with a shoulder height around one meter and eighty centimeters. They were extremely large and muscular. The strange thing was that these steeds didn’t have hair, only a layer of fine scales. Every steed also had a bulging protrusion on its head.

Jing Ziyan couldn’t help but say, “Eh, those are Hornscale Horses. They’re really rich!”

Hornscale Horses weren’t related to normal horses. They were soul beasts. They weren’t good at offense, but their defensive strength was rather high. They possessed two innate soul skills, Blackscale Armor and Heavenly Horn Barrier. Such soul beasts usually appeared in herds, because they weren’t good at fighting. That was also why they rarely appeared in soul beasts’ forests. They mainly lived in the grasslands.

Their lack of fighting strength meant that they were compensated in other areas. Hornscale Horses had great endurance, around three times that of ordinary horses. They were also very quick. When they moved, even at a full gallop, they could also unleash their Heavenly Horn Barrier to protect themselves and reduce wind resistance. As they could be tamed by humans, the nobility of the various empires kept them as pets. One Hornscale Horse could be sold for between five thousand and ten thousand gold soul coins. If they were hundred-year Hornscale Horses, they could cost ten times more. It was even more expensive for thousand-
year Hornscale Horses. These prices were so astronomical that demand became almost zero. As for those that were at least ten thousand years old… they barely existed at all. They usually couldn’t evolve to that level due to their ancestry. Even though there was a legend that they possessed a shred of the Unicorn bloodline, that little amount of heritage was barely significant. A Unicorn was a Transcendent Soul Beast. Furthermore, Unicorns were rumored to be at the same level as the Divine Giant Dragon, but their existence was also seen as a myth.

All of the men were riding Hornscale Horses. Their leader, who was an elder, was even riding a hundred-year Hornscale Horse. It wasn’t exaggerated to claim that they were rich.

Hornscale Horses were indeed very quick. In a matter of seconds, the cavalry regiment quickly appeared in front of Shrek’s Seven Monsters.

Shrek’s Seven Monsters had chosen a good spot to rest. The ground was level, but elevated. The view was great, and there were even a few huge trees around. It was very cool as they took shade under the trees. The fragrance from their meat soup also made the entire atmosphere feel more rustic.

The cavalry regiment quickly discovered them, and the elder lifted his hand, stopping the others behind him. The entire team was evidently very organized. The riders also coordinated well with their horses.

The elder slowly rode up to them and smiled. He asked, “Greetings  all.  Are  all  of  you  going  to  compete  in  the tournament?”

Seeing that the other party was being very ceremonious, Bei Bei stood up and walked a few steps forward before replying, “Yes, we are from the Tang Sect. We are going to Radiant City for the tournament.”

“The Tang Sect?” The elder was stunned. He didn’t seem to have a deep impression of the sect in his mind. It took him some time before he recalled, “Oh, it’s a very ancient sect! We are from the Heavenly Armor Sect. We are also here for the tournament. We are tired from rushing on our journey. May we rest here too? Don’t worry, we won’t disturb all of you.” 
Bei Bei smiled and replied, “Of course you can. We still have some meat soup that we cooked. If you don’t mind, we can share it with all of you.”

The elder laughed and said, “That would be great. Everyone, dismount!” As he spoke, he leapt off from his horse first.

Not only was the size of a hundred-year Hornscale Horse different, but the bump on its head was also larger, with a patch of brown scales at the center of its forehead. After the elder dismounted, it obediently went to one side to graze. There weren’t many soul beasts that fed on grass. This Hornscale Horse had great endurance, and it wasn’t very troublesome to feed. This was also a reason why the nobility loved them.

When the elder jumped off from his horse, the rest of the riders also dismounted. Their actions were neat and tidy, even rhythmic. No one made any noise, but they knew their roles. Hornscale Horses were quite intelligent, and didn’t need to be instructed. They walked off on their own to graze, but didn’t venture too far away. The riders started to get busy as they camped close to the group from the Tang Sect. Some of them retrieved dry rations, while others grabbed their water pouches. Someone was in charge of starting a fire and cooking. In a while, the smell of their meal drifted over.

The elder led two youths over and scanned everyone from the Tang Sect. Eventually, he fixed his gaze on Bei Bei. From how Bei Bei had reacted earlier, he could tell that he was the leader of their group. However, he underestimated Tang Sect because of this discovery. This ancient sect doesn’t even have an experienced leader. What’s going on?

“Young man, how are you? I’m Han Zhanhu from the Heavenly Armor Sect. I’m the leader of my sect. I’ve brought these youths along to gain some experience.”

Jiang Nannan led two youths to get some of the meat soup. These two youths were very cautious. Their faces turned red when they saw Jiang Nannan’s ravishing looks. After that, they didn’t dare to look at her anymore. Jiang Nannan almost burst out in laughter when she saw their shy looks. These two youths were really amusing! Xu Sanshi was watching carefully from one side. He chortled when he saw their faces turn red, and stopped them monitoring further. They were really inexperienced!

Bei Bei was already conversing with Han Zhanhu, “I’m the eldest senior of the Tang Sect. Greetings to elder.”

Bei Bei’s refined appearance was very likable. When Han Zhanhu discovered that he was the leader of the Tang Sect, he was stunned.

“So you are Master Bei. Apologies for the disrespect.”  No matter how strong the Tang Sect was now, it was still an ancient sect. Han Zhanhu became more formal with his words. Han Zhanhu had to be a senior figure from the Heavenly Armor Sect. He was a tall and mighty man. His aura was pressing too. As he gestured, he seemed awe-inspiring.

Huo Yuhao sat on the Golden Tree Wheelchair and observed these people. Although they only just interacted, he managed to make some deductions. First, the Heavenly Armor Sect was obviously not from the Sun Moon Empire. That was because they were riding horses. One of the tournament’s stipulations was that the competing teams needed to have at least five members who had four or more soul rings. Four-ringed soul masters could use flying-type soul tools. If they were from the Sun Moon Empire, it wouldn’t make sense that they didn’t use soul tools. From the Hornscale Horses they rode, it was more likely that they came from the Heavenly Soul Empire. That was because the Heavenly Soul Empire was famous for producing such soul beasts.

Besides this, Huo Yuhao could also tell that the Heavenly Armor Sect had very strict rules. The young cavaliers were filled with fear and respect as they looked at Han Zhanhu. They were also very organized. In addition, they rarely spoke to one another. Even when they conversed with one another, they whispered. Such a disciplined sect was quite admirable! 
Bei Bei’s brief conversation with Han Zhanhu verified Huo Yuhao’s guess: the Heavenly Armor Sect indeed came from the Heavenly Soul Empire. The Heavenly Soul Empire was furthest from the Sun Moon Empire. They had been on a long journey for twenty days and were now about to arrive at Radiant City. After briefly greeting the rest, Han Zhanhu thanked the Tang Sect for the meat soup and left with the two youths. The two shy youths stole glances at Jiang Nannan only when they were returning to their own campsite.


Wang Dong’er squatted down beside Huo Yuhao at this moment and whispered, “They are so shy! From their looks, it seems like they hardly leave their sect. That’s interesting.”

Huo  Yuhao  chortled,  “This  Heavenly  Armor  Sect  appears quite impressive. Their abilities should be quite decent, seeing how disciplined they are. Elder Han must at least be a Soul Sage. The rest probably possess at least four rings each. A few of them should even have five rings. Their abilities are quite good!” The first requirement of the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament was that the competitors couldn’t be above twenty years of age. It was very rare for one to become a Soul King before he was twenty even through the use of herbs. Through his observation, Huo Yuhao was certain that this Heavenly Armor Sect team could rival a top eight team in the previous edition of the tournament in terms of overall abilities. This showed how competitive this edition of the tournament would be.

The team from the Heavenly Armor Sect was eating and resting quietly. Those from the Tang Sect were also enjoying a rare relaxed moment. It was noontime, the hottest time of the day. According to Bei Bei, they should continue their journey after noon passed.

Wang Dong’er lifted Huo Yuhao from his wheelchair and let him lie down on a mat that she laid on the grass. This was more comfortable for him.

She sat beside him and used her thighs as his pillow.

Huo Yuhao could smell Wang Dong’er’s fragrant scent as he laid on her soft, springy thighs. Huo Yuhao let out a long breath and reached out his right arm to hug Wang Dong’er’s waist. He had blissful look on his face.

There was a big tree behind Wang Dong’er. She leaned quietly on it. She was also enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. She was combing Huo Yuhao’s hair and occasionally massaged his head to help him relax.

Very soon, Huo Yuhao fell asleep in this sweet and comfortable environment.

The rest of the Tang Sect members all unwittingly surrounded Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er in the center. Jiang Nannan and Xu Sanshi leaned beside a huge tree. Xu Sanshi wanted to hug her, but Jiang Nannan only allowed him to hold her hand. Things were the opposite for Xiao Xiao and He Caitou - Xiao Xiao’s head was on He Caitou’s muscular arm as she closed her eyes for a brief bit of shut-eye. Occasionally, He Caitou would watch her with a doting look and caress her long hair. There was a blissful and gentle look in his eyes.

Ever since he had established his relationship with Xiao Xiao, He Caitou had pampered her even more. They were together every day. He Caitou didn’t even dare to touch Xiao Xiao’s hands easily. However, she was very nice. Xiao Xiao was like a ceramic doll in his eyes, he was afraid of hurting her. Xiao Xiao took the initiative to get close to him, and He Caitou accepted her advances in embarrassment. Every time Xiao Xiao tried to hold his hand, he would look very happy. Xiao Xiao loved his expression every time this happened.

Bei Bei, Ji Juechen, and Jing Ziyan sat together. They were conversing. From how they kept on glancing at Huo Yuhao, it was evident that they couldn’t forget his immense spiritual power. Ji Juechen looked excited. It was obvious that he had developed some ideas after being inspired by Huo Yuhao today.

The disciples from the Heavenly Armor Sect didn’t rush to proceed on their journey either. They returned the pot that they had brushed clean and also rested beside the trees after expressing their gratitude once again. It was evident that they were quite exhausted after traveling quickly for twenty days. They didn’t even bother to meditate. Apart from the few who were standing guard, the rest went to sleep.

Although there were more than twenty people in this forest, as well as several Hornscale Horses, it seemed very quiet at this point in time. It was so peaceful that it looked like material for a beautiful painting. 
---

It was a pity that this didn’t last. Just as everyone was enjoying the peace and quiet, a hooting sound came from afar. The piercing howls seemed to get closer and closer. Those who were awake started to look into the distance.

There were more than ten people, but they were descending from the sky. Their wide flying-type soul tools started to retract as they landed on the ground. They landed on the side of the Tang Sect’s campsite opposite the Heavenly Armor Sect.

This group of people wasn’t as disciplined as those from the Heavenly Armor Sect. They made a lot of noise as soon as they landed.

“I’m beat. I’m beat. This place isn’t bad. We should rest here.”

“Oh look, there’s quite a number of people here! Look, are those Hornscale Horses? They look great! It’s a pity that they can only gallop on the ground. Compared to flying-type soul tools, they’re much inferior.”

“Eh,  they  should  be  country  bumpkins  who  are  here  to compete too. It’s already a feat to ride Hornscale Horses. Guys, let’s rest quickly. Who brought dry rations? I’m a little famished.”

“There aren’t any dry rations. Radiant City is not far from here. We can eat when we reach the city. No one brought dry rations because we are so close to the city! There are many delicacies in Radiant City.”

“No,  I’m  too  famished.  Let  me  have  a  bite  first.  Those country bumpkins should have brought food since they came from afar. Let me ask them for some.”

Everyone from the Tang Sect and the Heavenly Armor Sect furrowed their brows as they heard the noises that came from this bunch of soul masters that had just landed. The environment and atmosphere here were very quiet and peaceful, but their arrival disrupted everything. These newly-arrived soul masters were clad in yellow warrior robes. All of them had flying-type soul tools behind them, which they removed after landing. They were led by two middle-aged men, who were conversing with one another. The noises came from the youths who were under them.

It was a plump youth who had mentioned that he was famished. With his small nose and small eyes, he looked like a contemptible fellow.

Since they landed nearer to those from the Tang Sect, he naturally went to ask for food from those from the Tang Sect. This plump youth started to walk towards them.

“Hey brothers, do you have food? Can you spare some for me?”  The plump youth looked very slipshod. His hands were on his waist, and he was asking them to be charitable towards him with his eyes.

No one from the Tang Sect spoke.

Huo Yuhao was in a deep sleep. Wang Dong’er continued to brush his hair, while Xu Sanshi and Jiang Nannan were still seated together while holding hands. He Caitou was caressing Xiao Xiao’s hair, and Bei Bei and the other few were still engaged in their discussion. No one listened to the plump youth’s words, and he didn’t elicit a response.

“Hey, are all of you deaf?”  He shouted unhappily. “Give me some food, or else I’ll deal with all of you! Stop pretending!”

Wang Dong’er furrowed her brow and twisted her head before saying, “Lower your volume.”

The plump youth looked over as he heard her words. When he saw her, his mouth opened wide. His facial fat jiggled, and his bean-sized eyes shone with a greedy look. He had uneven yellow teeth, and let out intense bad breath. His saliva was even dripping out of his mouth. Even his tone of voice changed.

“Beauty! Beauty! What a beauty!”  As he spoke, he couldn’t help but walk towards Wang Dong’er.

“Beauty, my name is Feng Ling. I’m the most outstanding young talent from the Heaven’s Gate. You are, you are too beautiful!”

The bad breath from his mouth was even poisonous. His saliva even caused the plants and grass to fume as it landed on the ground.

Wang Dong’er wore a cold expression on her face as she saw him walking over. Her gentleness was only for Huo Yuhao. However, she wasn’t a gentle person by nature!

“Scram!” Wang Dong’er shouted.

Feng  Ling  glared  at  her.  “What?  Did  you  just  tell  me  to scram? Do you know who I am? I’m the young sect leader of the Heaven’s Gate. My father is the current sect leader!”

Wang Dong’er lifted her head slowly, and also lifted her right arm. At this point, a huge figure blocked the view in front of her. A cold aura left Wang Dong’er stunned. In the next moment, she lowered her head again and continued to brush Huo Yuhao’s hair. Feng Ling wasn’t tall. He felt a shadow appearing, and Wang Dong’er was blocked just like that. When he lifted his head to look, he saw a cold-looking, handsome face in front of him.

“Scram.” Ji Juechen’s voice wasn’t very loud, but it was very sinister.

Feng Ling shuddered and felt goosebumps rising on his skin.
He subconsciously retreated a few steps.

“Who, who are you guys?” Although Feng Ling was ugly and lecherous, he wasn’t stupid. He had already mentioned his identity as the Heaven’s Gate young sect master, but the person in front of him didn’t seem to care. He was immediately alarmed. Furthermore, those who were strong had their own special characteristics. Such a special characteristic was very evident on Ji Juechen. He knew this person wasn’t to be trifled with, and he was also not alone.

Ji Juechen didn’t say anything else. He was someone who didn’t like to speak. He lifted his hand and retrieved his Judgment Sword. His love for swords was like Huo Yuhao’s love for Wang Dong’er. He never left his sword in his storage-type soul tool. It was always by his side. That was why he was called a Sword Fanatic.

Seeing that Ji Juechen had retrieved his sword, Feng Ling turned around and fled. “All of you need to watch out!”  he cursed as he fled.

Chapter 271: Sword Fanatic's Sword

Ji Juechen didn’t stand down. He wielded the Judgment Sword and followed Feng Ling towards the rest of the Heaven’s Gate disciples. Since when were Ji Juechen and Jing Ziyan afraid of anything? They loved trouble! Ji Juechen’s competitiveness came to the surface as he was provoked. Initiating an attack was in line with his personality.

Jing Ziyan didn’t follow him. She had been greatly agitated by Huo Yuhao earlier, and hadn’t recovered yet. Furthermore, she also felt something from the immense spiritual pressure that Huo Yuhao had brought upon her. She needed some time to digest everything.

Feng Ling quickly rushed back to his own territory. Everyone from Heaven’s Gate naturally heard his confrontation with the Tang Sect. The entire sect, including the two middle-aged men, gathered immediately.

Ji Juechen lifted his sword and walked over. Bei Bei wanted to follow him, but he was stopped by Jing Ziyan. “Let him have his fill. Otherwise, he’ll vent it all on us.”

Bei Bei immediately sat down. He sighed slightly, and his eyes were filled with empathy for those from Heaven’s Gate.

Jing Ziyan’s lips moved slightly. “What kind of person are you?”

Bei Bei smiled and revealed his set of white teeth, “I’m a good guy.”

Jing Ziyan looked over and shrugged her shoulders. Ever since she came to Tang Sect, she had smiled far more often.

“Who are you? What do you want?” one of the middle-aged men shouted at Ji Juechen as he walked over.

Ji Juechen was holding the Judgment Sword. As he moved forward, his aura was changing tremendously. It was as if he and his surrounding environment had assimilated. However, the environment didn’t assimilate with him. On the contrary, he assimilated with the environment. Everything surrounding him became extremely quiet. Even the birdsong that could be heard earlier disappeared. The colorful and radiant world turned dim and grey.

The two middle-aged men started to turn serious.

Ji Juechen finally stopped. “Either you beat me or I’ll beat you.” As he spoke, he lifted his Judgment Sword and grabbed it with both hands. He lifted it high above his head.

A weird glow extended from the sword hilt. Two yellow, two purple, and two black soul rings quickly rose from Ji Juechen’s feet. However, these soul rings turned grey in the next moment. His entire body turned grey too.

Solitary Sword Domain.

The layer of grey started to expand at a frightening speed.
The surroundings were dyed grey all around him.

Huo Yuhao finally opened his eyes. He was impressed. “Brother Ji’s domain is getting more and more complete.” 
Those from the Heavenly Armor Sect naturally noticed the confrontation that was going on. Han Zhanhu stood up and watched what was happening.

When he saw Ji Juechen walk towards the Heaven’s Gate disciples and unleash six soul rings, his expression changed. Although Ji Juechen looked older than twenty, he was definitely not older than thirty! For him to become a Soul Emperor at that age meant that he was the best among everyone of the same age. When Ji Juechen lifted his Judgment Sword and his soul rings turned grey, Han Zhanhu’s expression also turned serious.

He must possess great abilities given these strange things I’m seeing. This young man is extraordinary!

The Heaven’s Gate disciples wouldn’t allow Ji Juechen to bully them, either. They quickly spread out. The two middle- aged men also unleashed their soul rings. Just like Ji Juechen, they were six-ringed Soul Emperors. However, the color of their soul rings was slightly different. One of them had three yellow and three purple soul rings, while the other had three yellow, two purple and one black soul ring. Evidently, it wasn’t their first time teaming up with together. The Soul Emperor with the three yellow and three purple soul rings retreated quickly. At the same time, he lifted a soul cannon to his shoulder. The soul rings on his body flashed, and his soul power undulations increased significantly. He was an orthodox soul engineer.

The other middle-aged man stood in place without moving. As a clanging sound rang out, a thick suit of armor appeared on his body. The pitch-black armor carried a little silver light. Evidently, it was created using some form of special metal. This armor, including a helmet, covered his body from head to toe. Not only that, but this close-combat soul engineer even had a shield in his hand.

The Heaven’s Gate Sect was a soul engineering sect. Besides these two middle-aged men, the rest also unleashed their soul tools. Feng Ling also wore a suit of armor and carried a shield. Furthermore, his armor seemed stronger than the middle-aged man’s. However, he only had four soul rings. Bearing his shield, he protected himself like a turtle in its shell. It seemed as if he was afraid that no one would know he was fearful of death. Boom!——

An intense ball of white light was unleashed from the middle-aged man’s soul cannon. The aggressor always possessed the advantage. Ji Juechen appeared in front of them, and his soul rings were the best combination a Soul Emperor could possibly have. These two middle-aged men from the Heaven’s Gate acted very cautiously. They had unleashed the cannon strike to test Ji Juechen’s abilities. The rest of the Heaven’s Gate disciples were spread around them. Although they retrieved their soul tools, they didn’t attack.

Ji Juechen was alone! He had many compatriots who were resting. When the Heaven’s Gate disciples saw his six rings, they were dumbfounded. Most of the people they interacted with only had four rings. There were even those who only had three rings! Just having the soul tools they did was considered quite decent already.

Ji Juechen stood in place and slashed his Judgment Sword forward. His actions were simple and direct. The Judgment Sword turned black and accurately struck the soul cannon shell. The middle-aged man who had fired the cannon was stunned. Not only did Ji Juechen not avoid the cannon shell, he even struck it directly. What was going on? This was a Class 5 soul tool! Its explosive strength was tremendous!

However, he was stunned in the next moment.

The pitch-black sword and burning white cannon shell contrasted each other. However, the cannon shell seemed to stall slightly as it made contact. It seemed to be on the verge of blowing apart, but it was swallowed by the black that came from the sword in the next instant. None of its energy was released.

Ji Juechen was very confident. As he stepped forward with his left leg, he continued to slash with his sword.

The previous black turned into a blinding brightness. In that instant, his entire person seemed to have turned into a silver sun. The intense brightness blinded the Heaven’s Gate disciples temporarily. The silver light retracted amidst their groans. The close- combat soul engineer holding the shield had already shifted from his position, retreating three meters.

Ji Juechen stood where he was quietly. His Judgment Sword had lost its glow by now.

A crisp clang resonated from the soul engineer that retreated. Following this, an astonishing scene appeared.

A streak of silver light was released from his shield. It expanded like the patterns on a turtle shell. A crackling sound followed as the shield was turned into a pile of debris on the ground. Not only this, but the expanding silver light even appeared on his armor. It started from his helmet all the way down his body. His entire suit of armor cracked and fell off. The weird thing, however, was that he wasn’t hurt at all.

There were nearly forty people on this empty patch of land. However, the entire patch turned eerily silent at this instant. Even the sounds of birds chirping couldn’t be heard in this domain. The greyness seemed to be spreading ceaselessly. Everyone from the Heaven’s Gate was engulfed. Ji Juechen’s gaze was as cold as ever. However, he appeared much more disappointed this time. He gently shook his head and turned around. He placed the Judgment Sword on his shoulder and walked back towards the Tang Sect. The grey domain followed him back. He was already very handsome, but in this brief fight, his suaveness had shocked everyone.

He was a sword fanatic, and only lived for fighting and swords. He wasn’t an executioner. Moreover, that instantaneous control was something that he pursued. In his eyes, the Heaven’s Gate disciples weren’t fit enough for him to truly unleash his sword.

Han Zhanhu was astonished. There was only one thought in his mind – if I were the one standing in front of him, what would I do against his sword?

Ji Juechen’s fighting method was one of a kind. He was neither a soul master, nor a soul engineer. However, he was very strong, especially in control. If he could tear his opponent’s shield and armor apart, he could definitely tear his opponent’s body apart as well. However, he didn’t harm the man. He only threatened him with his sword, and caused everyone from the Heaven’s Gate to freeze in place.

Feng Ling was shivering and something wet could be felt at his crotch. Who did I just offend?

The middle-aged man who unleashed the long-range strike took two steps forward and came up beside his partner. He asked softly, “Senior, are you okay?”

He only saw his senior’s pale face. 
His body shuddered, and he twisted his head to look at his compatriot. He whispered, “Let’s leave.”  He quickly removed the remaining parts of his helmet and gestured towards the Heaven’s Gate disciples.

At this point, everyone from the Heaven’s Gate moved away in a disciplined fashion. They were extremely quick, as if they were scurrying off. The fastest to flee was Feng Ling. His fat seemed to be filled with new strength now.

Ji Juechen had already returned to Huo Yuhao’s side. He turned to look at Huo Yuhao as if he were asking him something.

Huo  Yuhao  smiled  and  replied,  “Obliteration  of  darkness, instant brightness. You are really impressive. You’ve merged with your sword!”

A smile was revealed on Ji Juechen’s cold face. It was a rare smile. “If you could move at all, I wouldn’t be able to beat you.” Huo Yuhao chortled, “That’s hard to say. I’m only stronger than you in terms of my spiritual power. However, the sword intent formed from the combination of your spiritual and soul power is becoming more and more sturdy as you slowly grow. If this continues, you’ll be stronger than me, at least in that aspect.”

Ji Juechen’s eyes brightened. He seemed to understand something, and nodded towards Huo Yuhao.

“Let me sleep awhile.”  Huo Yuhao was still laying on Wang Dong’er’s lap.

“Okay.” Ji Juechen acknowledged his words and returned to his original position.

---

After those from the Heaven’s Gate left, the Heavenly Armor Sect also started to move off. Before they left, Han Zhanhu went over to speak to Bei Bei again. However, his tone of voice was rather different from before. He didn’t dare to underestimate the Tang Sect anymore. 
Those from the Tang Sect also didn’t stay much longer. After Huo Yuhao woke up from his nap, they embarked on their journey again, proceeding towards Radiant City. At the same time, Wang Dong’er dressed like a guy again for safety precautions. As Huo Yuhao was in a wheelchair, they were moving much slower than before. It was already sunset by the time they arrived at Radiant City.

Among all of them, Huo Yuhao, He Caitou, Wang Dong’er, Na Na, Ji Juechen, and Jing Ziyan had been to Radiant City before. They weren’t unfamiliar with this place. However, the rest of Shrek’s Seven Monsters were all astonished. Radiant City was the largest city on the continent! When they saw the tall buildings, they were even more shocked. Their expressions also turned more serious.

All of them came from the three empires of the continent. As the biggest threat on the continent, a thriving Sun Moon Empire put great pressure on the other empires. Even Huo Yuhao didn’t know how strong the Sun Moon Empire was. They hadn’t seen the truly great soul engineers from the empire yet. According to the information they were given, they had to complete their registration when they reached Radiant City. Although the previous registration had been completed, they still had to go through this round of registration to verify their arrival. The empire would then arrange for their temporary residence, as well as provide them with the tournament schedule.

As they had competed in the last edition of the tournament, Shrek’s Seven Monsters were all profoundly moved as they arrived at the city. Compared to the congested streets of Star Luo City, Radiant City looked much more orderly. Although the crowds on the streets had increased, it didn’t feel packed. This was the benefit of a huge city. Soldiers in iron armor patrolled the streets occasionally. Every squad was made up of twelve soldiers, all extremely disciplined.

Although Huo Yuhao had stayed in Radiant City for quite some time, he wasn’t very familiar with the buildings here. He had been extremely invested in soul tools every day, and didn’t have time to stroll around. However, there was someone else who was familiar with the area. Na Na had grown up in this city, and was quite familiar with things around here. She was easily able to lead everyone to the registration area. ---

It was a huge eight-story hotel. It was in the city center, and was called the Ming Yue Hotel. It was entirely silvery-white, and could be seen from a good distance away. Every story was quite high. Even though there were only eight stories, it was still considered an extremely tall building in Radiant City.

The lobby of the hotel gave off a metallic feel. Its internal decoration was identical to its external decoration, completely silvery-white. Various streamlined decorations resembled exquisite soul tools and gave one the urge to touch them. The first feeling the hotel gave those entering was that it was simple, yet grand.

At this moment, there were many people gathered in the lobby. When Huo Yuhao and the others entered, they were immediately greeted by a young lady in a long silver dress.

“Greetings.  Are  all  of  you  here  for  the  Continental  Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament?” The young lady was tall and slender, and also very beautiful. Her long silver dress fit her body to a tee, and extended all the way to her calves, looking quite elegant. She wore a light smile on her face and seemed very amiable.

“Yes! Yes!” Xu Sanshi was walking in front, and he hurriedly acknowledged her words.

The young lady smiled at him and said, “I’ll need all of you to wait because many teams have also just arrived. Follow me.”

As she spoke, she led everyone into the lobby. Before they moved off, she subconsciously glanced at Huo Yuhao. This is weird. They are here for the tournament! Why did they bring someone in a wheelchair?

Huo Yuhao appeared to be very calm. He wasn’t affected by the young lady’s gaze. After everything that he had been through, he was more mature than most adults.

However, he easily attracted attention as he sat in the wheelchair. As they proceeded to the bar in the lobby, many people appeared stunned when they saw him. The other members of the Tang Sect subconsciously surrounded Huo Yuhao, trying to block him from the limelight.

The bar was at the east side of the hotel and covered a thousand square meters. The bar was filled with white sofas made from genuine leather. They were led to one sofa, and the young lady left after greeting them. Immediately, a waitress in a short white dress walked over and served them some snacks and drinks. The service was exceptional.

After the waitress left, Xu Sanshi said to Bei Bei, “Little Bei, don’t you find this an eye opener?”

Bei Bei snapped, “Call me eldest senior. What eye opener?
Look at you. You are turning lecherous again.”

Xu Sanshi immediately sat up straight and said, “Don’t spout nonsense. Who doesn’t know that I’m the most honest and reliable person? There’s only Nannan in my heart. Besides her, I won’t even take a look at any other girls. Of course, that’s excluding Dong’er, Xiao Xiao, Nan Na, and Sister Ziyan!” Everyone grinned when they saw his honest expression. Huo Yuhao also laughed. “Third senior, are you really sure you are talking about yourself? Are you certain about that?”

Xu Sanshi was embarrassed. “Yuhao, don’t embarrass me! I’m working in that direction. This is all because of Nannan! Although I attracted many girls with my charm in the past because I was too flirtatious, all I can do now is appear less lecherous.”

Bei Bei shook his head and sighed, “How dare you call yourself charming in front of Brother Ji? Brother Ji! I’m not one who picks on others, but I think that Sanshi has made new discoveries in terms of his soul skills, seeing how brazen his words are. When we settle down later, you must really spar with him to improve your cultivation.”

Xu Sanshi was furious. “Bei Bei, you! Brother Ji, don’t listen to his nonsense. I heard from him yesterday that his Holy Light Dragon has awakened, and he has learned a new move. You should spar with him instead!”

Ji Juechen’s expression didn’t change. He only nodded at Bei Bei  and  said  calmly,  “Alright.”  After  that,  he  turned  to  Xu Sanshi and also nodded at him before saying agreeably, “Alright.”

Both Bei Bei and Xu Sanshi were stunned. Bei Bei said helplessly, “Harming others without helping yourself. Is there any point in that?”

Xu Sanshi laughed coldly, “What do you think? You were the one who started everything.”

He Caitou was watching the two of them from one side, and was amused. He didn’t make a sound, though. The ladies behind him were also smiling. When Bei Bei and Xu Sanshi were together, they always mocked each other less than three sentences after their conversation began.

Huo Yuhao shut his eyes as he heard his seniors bickering. It seemed like he was about to sleep again. However, Bei Bei and Xu Sanshi quieted down when they saw him shutting his eyes. They knew it represented something.

Indeed, a weird scene was presented in everyone’s mind at this moment. 
The image that surfaced in their minds was from a high point of view looking down at the hotel lobby. Everyone could be seen. They were presented in colors this time, but the colors were only limited to black, purple, yellow and white. The number of people was also gradually decreasing.

Huo Yuhao’s thoughts rang out in everyone’s minds, “I’ve excluded those without any soul power undulations.”

Black represented a cultivation of at least seven rings, purple represented four or five rings, yellow represented three rings and white represented two rings and below. From the looks of it, there were thirty-four people in black, two hundred and sixteen people in purple, seventy-eight people in yellow, and less than fifty people in white. 
Everyone was shocked as they studied everything with the help of Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection. With Huo Yuhao around, they didn’t need to use their eyes to see. They could just sense all the information!

There were many teams competing in this tournament, and these people weren’t all of them. However, there were more than thirty Soul Sages among those who were registering right now. Undoubtedly, they were the teachers and leaders of teams that were here to compete in the tournament. It also proved that many sects and academies treated this tournament very seriously. It was important to know that Soul Sages were a big deal everywhere on the continent!

For this tournament, at least one-fifth of all the outstanding soul masters on the continent would be gathered in Radiant City!

After briefly observing everyone in the lobby, Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection started to change perspective. It was moved upwards, and quickly saw through the main structure of the hotel. 
The Ming Yue Hotel was made using a mixture of reinforced steel and concrete. Some of the more important areas were constructed using extra-high tensile steel.

There were rooms of varying sizes. The higher up they went, the larger the rooms were. Huo Yuhao estimated that there were close to two thousand rooms in this hotel, which itself covered more than fifteen hectares. There were close to two hundred rooms on each story, and more than ten corridors. It was only such a huge hotel that could accommodate the number of people attending such a large-scale tournament. All the competing team’s members were staying in this hotel. Although it seemed a little packed, the hotel could accommodate everyone as long as two people shared one room. If it were any other empire, at least three to five hotels would be needed. This fact alone demonstrated how big and powerful the Sun Moon Empire was.

After ten minutes, Huo Yuhao re-opened his eyes. In these ten minutes, he had used his Spiritual Detection to show his teammates the ranks of the soul masters registering in the lobby, the structure of the hotel, and the condition of the rooms. His Spiritual Detection managed to reach five hundred meters in radius, with him as the center. “Oh, a familiar face.” Huo Yuhao looked slightly stunned.

Everyone looked over as they were guided by Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection. There was a group approaching them, and all of them recognized their leader. She was the Star Luo Empire’s princess, Her Imperial Highness Xu Jiujiu, who had given them a lot of trouble in the last tournament.

They didn’t recognize the others behind her. After all, those who had competed in the last tournament were more than twenty now, and had to be replaced for this tournament. Xu Jiujiu’s personal visit was shocking enough. However, the bunch of youths following her were evidently top opponents too. They were selected by the Star Luo National Academy, and thus they were naturally the best of the best. The Star Luo National Academy had been one of the top four academies in the last tournament.

Xu Jiujiu was astonished right now. She was only looking at one person – Huo Yuhao.

Yes, she only walked over because she saw him. She didn’t expect him to be in such a state. “Huo Yuhao?” Xu Jiujiu walked in front of everyone. All of them stood up to greet her, with the exception of Huo Yuhao.

Huo Yuhao smiled as he faced Xu Jiujiu. He said, “Your Highness, it’s been a long time.”

Xu Jiujiu was shocked, “I was curious when I saw the wheelchair. I was wondering which team brought along a disabled person. After that, I realized it was you. What happened to you?”

Xu Jiujiu respected Huo Yuhao immensely. In the last tournament, Huo Yuhao had led Shrek Academy to the end even though his cultivation was weak. In the final duel, he had defeated the strongest pairing from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, the Hongchen siblings, and won the championship.

At that point in time, the Emperor of the Star Luo Empire had appraised Huo Yuhao highly. After the tournament ended, he even sent someone to investigate Huo Yuhao’s background. He even knew that Huo Yuhao entered the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy as an exchange student. The imperial family of the Star Luo Empire had also monitored Huo Yuhao closely, as he developed quickly.

When they realized Huo Yuhao had entered the Sea God’s Pavilion, they placed more attention on him than ever.

The Emperor of the Star Luo Empire, Xu Jiayin, had once told Xu Jiujiu that Huo Yuhao was Shrek Academy’s future.

However, he was sitting in a wheelchair now. Was he really the one-of-a-kind talent who possessed twin martial souls, an Ultimate Martial Soul, great fighting abilities, and almost limitless potential?

Xu Jiujiu’s investigations had revealed that Huo Yuhao was from the Star Luo Empire. Although his background was unclear, it was a fact that he was from the Star Luo Empire. While Shrek Academy was huge, it was only an academy. Even if Huo Yuhao took on an extremely important role in the academy in the future, he wouldn’t be at the academy forever, and would have to venture out occasionally. That would be the Star Luo Empire’s chance. Xu Jiayin had personally instructed her that Huo Yuhao had to be pulled over to the empire once he ventured out from the academy. If he could serve the empire, he would become a pillar of the empire in the future! Every one of them knew that Huo Yuhao could become a Transcendent Douluo in the future with his potential.

Furthermore, he could even reach the level of an Ultimate Douluo.

What did an Ultimate Douluo represent? A strategic existence!

Shrek Academy only became an existence that no empire dared to trifle with because of Elder Mu. If a Titled Douluo could obliterate a city, an Ultimate Douluo could change the outcome of a war.

Although there was an unspoken rule that a soul master of a certain level couldn’t attack ordinary people, the threat that a strong soul master brought to his enemies was already quite terrifying. Over the past few years, the Sun Moon Empire’s military had been very active. The Star Luo and Heavenly Soul Empires were under great pressure. This was especially true for the Star Luo Empire, the second strongest empire on the continent.

If they could pull Huo Yuhao, and even Shrek Academy, over to their side, the Star Luo Empire would become strong enough to challenge the Sun Moon Empire.

After the last tournament ended, why did the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion’s Left Arm Bone end up in Huo Yuhao’s hands as if it were a gift? It was bait by the Emperor of the Star Luo Empire. It was just that they didn’t have a chance to interact after that.

Today, Xu Jiujiu was shocked to find out that Huo Yuhao was seated in a wheelchair. His face was pale, which revealed that he was suffering from some kind of sickness. As she had been monitoring Huo Yuhao, she was clear on how important he was to Shrek Academy. He had ended up in such a state even though he was protected by Shrek Academy’s Titled Douluo. What exactly had happened? Xu Jiujiu was sharp enough. She could tell that there were indeed problems with Huo Yuhao’s legs. Furthermore, his left arm also seemed very stiff. They were drooping and not in line with his body. He didn’t seem to be acting.

“Thanks for your concern, Your Highness. I only ran into some problems.” Huo Yuhao answered her calmly. Huo Yuhao was impressed by how the Emperor had tried to pull him over to his side. He also had a deep impression of Xu Jiujiu.

It was a pity that Xu Jiayin and Xu Jiujiu didn’t know that Huo Yuhao had a close relationship with the White Tiger Duke. It was also precisely because of the White Tiger Duke that Huo Yuhao had his own plans. He couldn’t be pulled over to their side.

It couldn’t be any small problem since he was in a wheelchair. Xu Jiujiu furrowed her brow, but she couldn’t possibly point this out. She hesitated for a moment. She greeted the rest of his team politely before asking Huo Yuhao, “Since you are already in this state, can you still compete? Furthermore, all of you are the reigning champions. Why are all of you waiting to register? According to the rules, the top eight from the previous tournament have registration priority. We just completed our registration.” 
Huo Yuhao replied, “We are not representing Shrek Academy this time.”

As he said this, Xu Jiujiu’s expression changed again in astonishment.

They aren’t representing Shrek Academy? She scanned everyone, and saw the complete lineup from the last tournament! None of them were missing. Why aren’t they representing Shrek Academy? As the princess and leader of the intelligence department, Xu Jiujiu started to overthink things. When she took into account Huo Yuhao’s body condition, she immediately believed that Shrek Academy was in huge trouble.

Bei Bei could tell that she was thinking too much from her expression. He hurriedly said, “Your Highness, you are overthinking. We aren’t representing the academy because of the new rules. However, we are still a part of the academy. The academy sent another team over.”

Xu Jiujiu was stunned for a moment. Her expression was then restored, and she said in shock, “If all of you aren’t representing the academy, then…” 
Bei Bei smiled and replied, “We are representing the Tang Sect.”

“Tang Sect?”  Xu Jiujiu didn’t have a deep memory of this ancient sect that had disappeared for years. However, the Tang Sect had once been famous on the continent. That was why she quickly reacted.

“All of you have joined the Tang Sect?” Xu Jiujiu asked.

Chapter 272: Tang Ya

Bei Bei nodded and replied, “Yes, we are from the Tang Sect. The Tang Sect was down once before, but our goal is to make it great again.”

Xu Jiujiu took a deep look at him before studying the rest of them. She nodded and said, “All of you can do it.” She wasn’t being merely polite. These people in front of her had managed to become champions during the tournament even though they were only Soul Ancestors and below! Each of them possessed great potential, and they were all top students from Shrek Academy!

A sect was quite powerful if they had a Titled Douluo holding the reins. While the few of them weren’t very old, they all had the potential to become Titled Douluo in the future!

After pondering for a moment, Xu Jiujiu immediately said, “The history of the Tang Sect goes back a long way. The first generation Tang Sect leader also contributed greatly to the world of soul masters. If your sect needs the help of the empire in the future, we’ll do anything to help.” As she spoke, she retrieved a pure gold token and gave it to Bei Bei.

“If the Tang Sect requires any help from the Star Luo Empire in the future, any one of you can use this token and find me at Star Luo City. I’ll do my best to help, if it’s within my means.”

The token was heavy, and was carved with hollow tulip patterns on the front. On the back, there was an image of a tiger’s head. It represented the imperial family’s remembrance of the White Tiger Dynasty.

This token had great significance. Bei Bei immediately turned serious and said, “Thank you for this gift, Your Highness. The Tang Sect will always remember our friendship with the Star Luo Empire. I believe we’ll have a chance to work together in the future.”

If the Tang Sect’s development only relied on Shrek Academy, it would mean that they were content to only exercise their influence over a certain region. However, this wasn’t what Bei Bei wanted to see. He had promised Tang Ya that they would become the top sect on the continent! Right now, he was also working hard in this direction. Collaborating with the Star Luo Empire was very important to Bei Bei’s plans. He didn’t reject Xu Jiujiu’s offer.

Xu Jiujiu revealed a smile on her face as Bei Bei accepted the token. “I hope that the day we work together will come soon.”

After she said that, she turned her attention to Huo Yuhao, “Huo Yuhao, are you planning to compete in this state?”

Huo Yuhao laughed bitterly, “Disabled people also have their rights. Your Highness, you can't judge people based on their looks!”

Xu Jiujiu’s gaze changed slightly, and she smiled, “I can’t sense any bitterness from your voice. It seems like I worried too much.”

Huo Yuhao was a little stunned as he looked at her. Acute observation! Indeed, he felt very blissful, as he was immersed in Wang Dong’er’s care every day even though he couldn’t move his arms and legs. Naturally, he wasn’t bitter at all. “Your Highness, don’t poke fun at a disabled person!”  Huo Yuhao said helplessly.

Princess Jiujiu smiled and said, “We’ll wait and see whether I’m really mocking you. If we meet in the tournament, you must show some mercy. Although I never thought that the Star Luo National Academy would become champions, we can’t be eliminated too soon, either! I’ll make a move first!”

After she finished her piece, she left with the bunch of youths behind her.

As she slowly walked away, Huo Yuhao appeared a little pensive. Bei Bei whispered as he asked, “What did you see?”

Huo Yuhao gently shook his head, “I only feel that I shouldn’t be troubling this famous princess, since I’m not even a competitor.”

It wasn’t too exaggerated to use the word ‘famous’ to describe Xu Jiujiu. In the Star Luo Empire, she was an authoritative figure that everyone knew. She was also very beautiful, and everyone in the empire loved her. 
Bei Bei nodded slightly and said, “Let’s counter changes with no changes. No matter what goal she has, she won’t be targeting us.”

Huo  Yuhao  said,  “Eldest  senior,  do  you  remember  that  I mentioned that the Illustrious Virtue Hall was ambushed by the Body Sect?”

Bei Bei was stunned, “What do you mean? She’s involved?”

Huo Yuhao squinted and said, “I’m not sure. However, the hundred-thousand year soul beast embryo was auctioned off at the Star Luo City. After that, there was a rumor that someone offered a hundred million gold soul coins to obtain the embryo. Who’s wealthy enough to offer such an astronomical figure? I believe the Sun Moon Empire would have noticed this, too. Whether it’s direct or indirect, the Body Sect’s ambush on the Illustrious Virtue Hall must somehow be related to the Star Luo Empire.”

Bei Bei said softly, “I wonder if the Body Sect will be here for the tournament. They have always been very mysterious. Surely the Sun Moon Empire isn’t targeting the Body Sect by allowing sects to take part in the tournament?”

Xu Sanshi groaned and said, “Don’t underestimate the Sun Moon Empire. This is a renowned tournament that involves the entire continent. The Sun Moon Empire can’t possibly use the tournament to target the Body Sect. Their goal isn’t that simple. However, there must still be a degree of targeting involved. If the Body Sect doesn’t come, it shows that they are scared of the empire. I believe it’s still possible that they’ll come.”

Xiao Xiao’s expression changed, and she said, “If the Body Sect comes, they’ll be a threat to us.”

Jiang Nannan said, “It’s not just the Body Sect. There are many strong sects on the continent. We’ll have to take this tournament step by step. Let’s be steadier.”

Bei Bei commented, “Indeed. Yuhao, don’t compete unless it’s necessary.” Huo Yuhao furrowed his brow and said, “Eldest senior, I have the exact opposite thinking as you. I hope to be the first to compete in every round of the tournament.”

“What?” Everyone was shocked when he said this. Wang Dong’er also exclaimed like a lady, even though she was dressed in a man’s attire.

Bei Bei creased his brow, “Yuhao, you…”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “Don’t panic, listen to me first! The greater the pressure, the more likely my potential can be inspired to fuse with the origin energy of Ultimate Ice in my body. Just by cultivating as a means to fuse this energy, I’ll take years. However, I believe it’ll be faster if I’m constantly fighting. Don’t worry, I’ll concede defeat if I can’t take it. With my current cultivation, it shouldn’t be difficult to win one round.”

Xu Sanshi smiled and said, “Yuhao, you can’t say that. You are our secret weapon. We shouldn’t use our secret weapon first. Isn’t it good to hide it first?” Huo Yuhao chuckled, “I’ll hide some of my abilities. It’s not easy to see through the soul skills that my Spirit Eyes possess.”

Wang Dong’er said, “No, you can’t compete. You can’t be the first to compete, either. No matter how strong your Spirit Eyes are, you can’t move or dodge because of your body. If someone unleashes a long-range strike at you, what can you do? You already lack the ability to attack from long-range. Without your entire body to coordinate, you’ll be unable to unleash your potential even with soul tools. It’s too dangerous.” No one knew Huo Yuhao better than her.

Huo Yuhao said, “This isn’t a problem. I have my own ways. Let me compete first in the first elimination round. If I can’t make it, I won’t make such a request again. Furthermore, I guarantee that I’ll only fight three single rounds. Yes?”

Bei Bei looked at Wang Dong’er. In such matters, he needed to seek Wang Dong’er’s approval first.

After pondering for awhile, Wang Dong’er nodded lightly and said, “Alright, I’ll let you try in the first round. However, your safety takes priority. This is for everyone, and for me!” Huo Yuhao held her hands and smiled, “Don’t worry, I can’t bear to die. With my current state, it might not be a bad thing.”

Xu Sanshi coughed twice. “The two of you can’t always be so immersed in yourselves. It’s too provocative. Furthermore, Wang Dong’er is now Wang Dong. Aren’t you afraid that others will misunderstand you?”

Wang Dong’er and Huo Yuhao were stunned. Indeed, a few resting teams shot them weird glances.

Wang Dong’er pulled her hands from Huo Yuhao’s grasp and said as she glanced left and right, “Eh, why aren’t they letting us register yet? Their efficiency is really low.”

Compared to five years ago, all of them had changed greatly. It was very difficult for anyone to recognize them even though they had competed in the last tournament. After all, the changes from puberty were substantial.

This was especially true for Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong’er, and Xiao Xiao. They weren’t even thirteen when they competed last time, but they were seventeen now. Xiao Xiao was already a ravishing beauty. While Huo Yuhao was seated in a wheelchair, he was still a tall and large youth. He was two heads taller than he was five years ago. If Princess Jiujiu hadn't been monitoring him, she wouldn’t have recognized him. That was why no one came to greet them even though they had been waiting for quite some time. Huo Yuhao noticed a few familiar teams. Of course, he only recognized their leaders. Although these teams had had preparatory squad members during the last tournament, he hadn’t really noticed them too much. Over the past five years, he wasn’t the only one who had changed. They had all been youths. Everyone else had changed greatly too! 
After waiting for an hour, they were finally led to the registration area.

The registration area was at the center of the lobby. There was a long table that faced the doors, and there were ten people in charge of registration.

There was also a neat row of empty tables to one side. They were instructed to fill in a form.

Bei Bei was in charge of filling out this form.

Once he received the form, Bei Bei understood why they had had to wait so long. There were many things that he had to fill out. Detailed information on every official and preparatory squad member had to be written down – their name, age, sect, etc. It took ten minutes just to fill out the form.

After filling out the form, everyone had to take a photograph at the registration table. 
The camera was a special, auxiliary-type soul tool. It captured everyone’s appearance. After the photographs were taken, they were directly printed on the registration form. This also demonstrated the leading position the Sun Moon Empire possessed in terms of technology.

After the photography segment was over, they still had to undergo body and physical tests. This was to ensure that every competing member was twenty years old or younger.

They were then led into a huge room in the hotel. There was already a queue in this room, but it was much simpler for the Tang Sect there. After all, Na Na was their only preparatory squad member. As they were overage, Ji Juechen and Jing Ziyan couldn’t compete as preparatory squad members.

Huo Yuhao wasn’t a stranger to the equipment used to measure his body. It was just that he was wondering what kind of result would be produced as he was measured in his current state?

It was their turn soon. Suddenly, Huo Yuhao felt petrified. A weird feeling caused him to turn to a corner of the measuring room. When his gaze landed on someone, he couldn’t shift his eyes anymore.

Huo Yuhao’s voice cracked as he shouted, “Teacher Xiao Ya!” This attracted the attention of everyone in the measuring room.

After hearing Huo Yuhao exclamation, Bei Bei’s body trembled violently. After that, he also turned in the same direction.

There was a young lady in the corner of the room. She still possessed a slender figure, and was as ravishing as ever. She looked taller than she had been a few years back, but there was an unhealthy paleness to her face. Her sharp eyes seemed to have changed color. There was a hint of dark blue in her beautiful eyes. As she stood in the corner, she seemed to have assimilated with the shadows. If not for Huo Yuhao’s acute senses, no one would have noticed her.

Yes. She was Tang Ya. Compared to a few years ago before, when she had disappeared, her appearance hadn’t changed much. Bei Bei’s body stiffened when he saw her. After that, he started to tremble violently. He even had to grab hold of Huo Yuhao’s wheelchair to stabilize himself.

“Xiao Ya, Xiao Ya…” Only those who were familiar with him knew that Bei Bei had had a hard time not finding Tang Ya over these past few years. They hadn’t expected to see her here.

Huo Yuhao wasn’t any less agitated than Bei Bei. To him, Tang Ya and Bei Bei were his benefactors! Furthermore, Tang Ya was the true sect leader of the Tang Sect. After the Tang Sect was re-established, Bei Bei had mentioned that he was only a temporary substitute for her. When she returned, she would be reinstated as the sect leader. Everyone agreed with his proposition too.

He actually met Tang Ya here. He was extremely emotional right now.

Tang Ya also looked over. She first saw Huo Yuhao in his wheelchair before she saw Bei Bei. She seemed a little lost, and didn’t move from her position. She gave off the feeling that she had lost her soul. Bei Bei moved at this point. He was like a gust of wind right now as he burst towards Tang Ya. How long had it been? Tang Ya had gone missing just after the previous tournament had ended. It was close to five years now! They had turned from teenagers into youths. As he saw Tang Ya again, Bei Bei felt that
his heart was about to jump out of his chest. His heart was only filled with his boundless love for her. Right now, he wasn’t as calm as before. There was only Tang Ya in his heart right now.

He came in front of Tang Ya instantly and grabbed her shoulders forcefully. His voice was trembling as he said, “Xiao Ya, where, where have you been all these years? Did you know how hard a time I’ve had searching for you?”

She was still in a daze even though he had grabbed her. She let him shake her body.

At this point, Huo Yuhao sensed something amiss. He shouted, “Eldest senior, be careful!”

After hearing Huo Yuhao’s words, he would have been cautious and wary of his surroundings if he were acting normally. However, he was too emotional now. Five years of yearning! His lover who had occupied his entire heart had finally appeared. He couldn’t be bothered with anything else.

At this point, Tang Ya finally moved. She lifted her hands and pressed them against Bei Bei’s chest. It was as if she was resisting him. However, her dark-blue eyes started to light up as she lifted her head in the next moment.

Bei Bei was stunned. He only felt that he had seen two deep valleys, and he was sucked into these valleys. In the next moment, a huge force struck his chest. He flew backward like a broken kite.

Fresh blood sprayed from his mouth. His entire body was engulfed by a dark-blue glow, which was swallowing his life power maniacally.

After Huo Yuhao told Bei Bei to be cautious, the rest of Shrek’s Seven Monsters acted too. Xu Sanshi was the first to burst out. While he had always bickered with Bei Bei, they actually shared a close relationship. He unleashed his martial soul as he stepped out. It was a pity that Tang Ya’s action was too sudden. Who would have expected her to make a move on Bei Bei? Xu Sanshi’s Mysterious Underworld Displacement was too late. He leapt up as he saw Bei Bei in the air and cushioned his fall. At the same time, a pitch-black light engulfed Bei Bei’s body and resisted the violation of the dark-blue glow.

Xu Sanshi’s expression changed the moment their soul power met. It was very strong. The soul power that Tang Ya had left on Bei Bei’s body was too dense and consolidated, and it even possessed an extremely dominant, corrosive force. Xu Sanshi couldn’t gain an advantage over it even with his cultivation. Fortunately, Bei Bei’s cultivation wasn’t weak. He unleashed his own soul power and strongly resisted the invasive soul power. Tang Ya had only pushed him, she hadn’t unleashed an attack. She had unleashed the soul power that poured into his body, but didn’t directly attack his chest. As a result, Bei Bei’s bones were fine even though he was slightly injured.

“Xiao Ya, are you crazy?” Xu Sanshi shouted at Tang Ya as he tried to resist her soul power.

At this point, a few men in black stepped in front of Tang Ya. One of the elders looked in the direction of group representing the Tang Sect. Huo Yuhao’s body shuddered as he saw this elder. His expression also turned dismal.

He recognized him. That was because he was one of the assassins who had intercepted Huo Yuhao’s return to Shrek Academy a few months ago.

Zhang Peng; Scorpion Tiger Douluo, and half evil soul master. He was a Rank 96 Transcendent Douluo. He wasn’t inferior to Dean Yan Shaozhe in a fight!

Now he had appeared here, and in front of Tang Ya. What did it mean?

Furthermore, Tang Ya’s soul power evidently contained the aura of an evil soul master!

Na Na was very pale right now. There were only three words going through her mind right now – Holy Ghost Church. It was the Holy Ghost Church! The rest of the Tang Sect also came up beside Bei Bei. Wang Dong’er pressed her hands on Bei Bei’s shoulders and poured in her pure power of light. Along with Xu Sanshi’s Xuanwu soul power, the dark-blue aura was expelled from his body.

Bei Bei’s expression was extremely pale, and there was fresh blood flowing from his nose. Tang Ya’s strike didn’t just hurt his body; it also broke his heart!

He didn’t expect Tang Ya to give him such a huge ‘gift’ after five years without seeing her!

Zhang Peng wore a cold look as he looked towards everyone from the Tang Sect. He was stunned when he saw Huo Yuhao in his wheelchair. He squinted his eyes and appeared pensive.

Tang Ya acted like she didn’t see all of them. After hitting Bei Bei, she turned around and left. A few other men in black followed beside her. Even Zhang Peng did the same thing.

Bei Bei struggled, but he couldn’t get up! There was also blood in his mouth. His voice was hoarse as he said, “Xiao Ya...” 
Tang Ya didn’t stop. She quickly left, as if she hadn’t seen anything. However, there was a slight quiver of emotion in her eyes.

Huo Yuhao arrived beside Bei Bei in his wheelchair, with Ji Juechen’s help. He grabbed onto Bei Bei’s wrist and softly said, “Eldest senior, calm down.”  His gaze was gentle, and a slight wave of spiritual power engulfed Bei Bei’s head. Yuhao used the gentle and spiritual aura to soothe Bei Bei’s turmoil. 
Wang Dong’er continued to pour her soul power into Bei Bei’s body and helped him expel Tang Ya’s soul power from his body. However, it wasn’t to great effect. Tang Ya’s soul power was too domineering, and continued to run riot in Bei Bei’s body, whereas Bei Bei wasn’t able to control his own soul power to resist Tang Ya’s soul power. Just Wang Dong’er’s strength alone didn’t seem to be enough.

Tears started to stream down Bei Bei’s face. He was normally very tough, but his tough exterior was torn down after he saw Tang Ya again.

Huo  Yuhao  said  softly,  “Eldest  senior,  don’t  be  sad.  That wasn’t Teacher Xiao Ya’s intention. She’s with a bunch of evil soul masters. If I’m not wrong, she must have been abducted by evil soul masters. Do you remember the Holy Ghost Church that I mentioned before? It must be them. She must be under their control. Eldest senior, you are our pillar. You must remain strong. It’s only in this way that we can think of a way to save Teacher Xiao Ya from those devils!” After hearing Huo Yuhao’s words, Bei Bei calmed down a little. He was a little lost as he looked at Huo Yuhao.

Huo Yuhao nodded his head heartily at him, “If Teacher Xiao Ya were clear-headed, she wouldn’t have done that to you! Eldest senior, you are confused because you are too concerned about her! No matter what it is, we’ve seen Teacher Xiao Ya. It’s better than not knowing where she is. Don’t worry, we’ll do our best to save her.”

Bei Bei was in a daze. As the eldest senior of the sect and one of the most outstanding young talents from Shrek Academy, he managed to regain his focus with Huo Yuhao’s help after momentarily losing control.

He shut his eyes, and a blue glow was released from his body. Fine scales also started to surface on his skin. The strong side of the Blue Lightning Tyrant Dragon was revealed. He expelled the violent soul power with Wang Dong’er’s help.

The room also descended into chaos from what had happened. Very soon, soul masters from the Sun Moon Empire entered the room to maintain order and interrogate the Tang Sect. 
Xu Sanshi represented the Tang Sect and answered their questions. He only said that there was a misunderstanding which led to a conflict. Whether it was because of Tang Ya or Bei Bei, he didn’t wish to escalate this matter.

They performed their body measurements after this. Although Bei Bei underwent the measurements, his injuries were still quite bad. After he finished his measurements, Xu Sanshi carried him to his room to rest.

The rest also went through their measurements smoothly. After all, it was just to verify their age. To keep the abilities of the competing teams a secret, there weren’t any measurements to test their soul power and cultivation. It was different from the tests that Huo Yuhao went through when he first entered the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy.

Huo Yuhao was the last to take his measurements. He was lifted onto the scale by Wang Dong’er. When she did that, everyone’s expression turned weird, including those who were from the Sun Moon Empire. Is this disabled man here to compete too? “Is there a mistake?” The staff in charge of the measurement scale asked Wang Dong’er.

Wang Dong’er raised her brows. She couldn’t stand it when others looked down on Huo Yuhao. However, Huo Yuhao interrupted just before she flared up, “There shouldn’t be a rule that restricts a disabled person from competing, am I right?”

“There isn’t… it’s just that there’s a limited quota!” The staff answered subconsciously.

Huo Yuhao said, “There are only eight members from our sect, and only one preparatory squad member. There isn’t any wastage. Just take it that I’m here to make up the numbers.”

Since they didn’t violate any rules, the staff didn’t stop them. He activated the measurement scale and helped Huo Yuhao with the test.

A streak of dim blue light rose from the scale and scanned Huo Yuhao’s calves. It was using his bone age to calculate his actual age. It was one of the most efficient methods. 
However, he was soon stunned. That was because there wasn’t any response from the scale. There wasn’t any feedback after the scan.

What was going on? After so many tests, this was the first time something like this had happened.

The output was increased, and the blue light became stronger. Huo Yuhao’s legs were scanned once again.

Huo Yuhao was a little annoyed as he said, “Brother, I’m a cripple. My legs are different. You should scan my right hand. My right hand is the only limb that’s fine.” As he spoke, he bent his body forward and extended his right arm beside his leg.

Indeed, the measuring scale responded to this. It evidently showed that Huo Yuhao’s bone age was seventeen.

Huo Yuhao completed the measurements as the staff watched with weird looks in their eyes. Wang Dong’er lifted him back into his wheelchair before pushing him towards the exit. After they left, there was a huge commotion in the room.

“What sect is he from? Why did the sect send a cripple?”

“I think that it’s called the Tang Sect. What kind of sect is the Tang Sect? Has anyone heard of it before?”

“No. It must be a small sect. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so pathetic. He’s really pitiful – losing the use of his legs and left arm even though he’s only seventeen.”

“Because of this, we should respect his courage for choosing to compete in this tournament!”

“Hai, can he really compete in that condition? Is he going to sit in a wheelchair to compete?”

All types of discussions were going on right now. Wang Dong’er clenched her lips tightly as she pushed Huo Yuhao’s wheelchair. Her eyes were already tearing up. Although Huo Yuhao couldn’t see behind him, he could sense Wang Dong’er’s emotional turmoil. He gently tapped her hand and smiled, “Don’t you think this is interesting? If I become the eventual champion, won’t their eyes drop out?”

Wang Dong’er held onto his hand tightly. Huo Yuhao sighed as he felt her icy cold hand. “Dong’er, do you want me to be happy, blissful and always wearing a smile on my face?”

Wang Dong’er was stunned for a moment. She replied, “Of course.”

Huo Yuhao replied, “In that case, you must be happy so that I can sense your smile every minute and second. You must smile in the face of everything.”

Wang Dong’er’s figure shuddered a little, and her face turned red. Her voice was trembling slightly, “Yuhao, I…”

Huo Yuhao tapped her hands again, “Let’s go. We should return to our rooms to rest too. I wonder how eldest senior is. Teacher Xiao Ya has finally appeared, which is a good thing. We should also quickly discuss how we should deal with this matter.”

“Okay.” Wang Dong’er calmed herself down and pushed Huo Yuhao out of the measurement room.

According to the arrangements made by the Sun Moon Empire tournament committee, the competing sects and academies were segregated. For example, Shrek Academy’s team was ranked at the top, and stayed in the best rooms and received the best treatment. This was also the same for all the sects. The more reputable a sect was, the better the treatment they received.

As for the Tang Sect, those in charge of registration didn’t know that they were the members of the team that won the tournament the last time around. They only knew that the Tang Sect wasn’t reputable, and their members were given the most ordinary rooms. The Tang Sect was at the bottom of the hierarchy.

The inferior rooms were located at the lower stories of the hotel. The first story consisted of the lobby, the wellness center and a few restaurants etc. The Tang Sect team was assigned rooms on the second story.

The Ming Yue Hotel was the largest hotel in the Sun Moon Empire. Even their most ordinary rooms were not bad. They were just a little small. Each room was around twenty square meters in size, but there was a toilet in each room. The internal decorations were simple, and there were two single beds in each room.

Although twenty square meters wasn’t considered very spacious for two people, it wasn’t cramped either. However, all ten contestants from the Tang Sect were squeezed into one room right now. There wasn’t even space for them to walk.

Bei Bei was lying on the bed. His face was pale, but he was clear-headed. Furthermore, it seemed like he had regained his composure.

Wang Dong’er pushed Huo Yuhao in his wheelchair as they were the last two to enter the room. The rest looked very serious as they surrounded Bei Bei. After Huo Yuhao entered, Xiao Xiao and He Caitou moved away, and let Wang Dong’er push Huo Yuhao in front of the bed.

“Eldest  senior,  are  you  feeling  better?”  Huo  Yuhao  asked concernedly, and extended his right hand to take Bei Bei’s pulse.

Bei Bei’s injury was quite serious. Tang Ya’s soul power had shaken his internal organs. Although his organs were put back into their original position when they did emergency treatment on him, his vital energy was still greatly affected. But Bei Bei had a strong foundation, and thus he wasn’t seriously ill. Even so, he would have to lie in bed for eight to ten days.

However, the tournament wouldn’t wait for him to recover. In another three days, the tournament would begin. Before it even started, Huo Yuhao was already crippled, and Bei Bei was already seriously injured. The entire team was in a bad shape right now.

If Huo Yuhao was the soul and brains of this team, Bei Bei was the backbone. Now, neither of them were in their best state, which affected everyone else.

Chapter 273: Shadows of the Holy Ghost Church

Huo Yuhao released Bei Bei’s hand after a while. He looked up at the rest of his companions and smiled as he said, “What’s happening, everyone? Even though we are in dire straits right now, are we worse off compared to the last big competition? Eldest senior brother is quite heavily injured, but fortunately, his origin energy is still intact.

"What happened during the last big competition? What were our cultivations five years ago? I only had two rings, while eldest senior brother, second senior brother, and third senior brother had but four soul rings, even though they were the strongest amongst us. We still made it through, didn’t we? Are we in a better situation now, or were we in a better situation back then? We should return with a landslide victory to welcome Bei Bei’s return. According to the competition’s proceedings, we only have to win five rounds in a row until Bei Bei’s injuries recover. We only have to win two more before he can return to top condition."

Everyone looked a little better after they listened to Huo Yuhao’s words. Bei Bei was lying on the bed as he heaved a sigh and said, “I’m sorry, everyone. It’s my fault for being too careless. I’m not worthy of being your eldest senior brother! From now on, Huo Yuhao will be assuming command, and he will be the one arranging our battle strategies and tactics.”

The company nodded their heads, and nobody had any objections to this arrangement at all. Huo Yuhao was held in high regard within the Tang Sect, as everyone had seen what he had given for the sect.

Bei Bei lowered his voice and said, “What I’m worried about is the Holy Ghost Church. They are an organization of evil soul masters, yet they can come to this place as if it’s their right to do so, and they can even participate in the big competition. What does this mean?”

A pained look overcame his face after this statement, and his breathing became a little short and rapid. Wang Dong’er hurriedly came forward and released her light-type soul power to stabilize his condition. Bei Bei’s Blue Lightning Tyrant Dragon could evolve into the Radiant Holy Dragon, and that meant he was relatively more compatible with light-type soul power. Bei Bei’s condition stabilized a little with Wang Dong’er’s help. He nodded in her direction as a sign of gratitude before he continued. “This means that Yuhao’s speculation is right – the Sun Moon Empire are in cahoots with that organization of evil soul masters. Their alliance is simply too terrifying.”

Nobody here was stupid, and everyone grew a little solemn as they listened to Bei Bei speak.

The Holy Ghost Church had been full of secrets and mystery ever since they appeared until now, and nobody knew how much depth or background they had. The strength that they had placed on public display was enough to prove how frightening this sect was – it was possible that they were even stronger than the Body Sect.

The Dragon Emperor Douluo, Long Xiaoyao, was an Ultimate Douluo, and also possessed the Darkness Holy Dragon martial soul. This person had once shared the same reputation as Elder Mu, and this meant a lot of things – the Holy Ghost Sect became a lot more frightening with Long Xiaoyao holding down the fort. Furthermore, the Scorpion Tiger Douluo, Zhang Peng, had also appeared before. He was a half-evil soul master, and he was also a Rank 96 Transcendent Douluo. He could hold his own against Yan Shaozhe. 
This was all that had been placed on display for the public to see. Then, how much more did they have hidden from sight and knowledge?

The Sun Moon Empire’s most prominent strength was their rapid development in soul tools, and this gave them an astronomical technological advantage against other countries. The Sun Moon Empire’s advantage in this respect had become increasingly obvious over time, and the greatest weapon the native three countries had against the Sun Moon Empire were soul masters.

Every country had several Titled Douluo anchoring things down, and these Titled Douluo were bred for battle. If any one of them could break through into an army’s inner circle that was equipped with soul tools, the destructiveness and bloodshed that these Titled Douluo could cause would be incredibly horrifying.

According to the soul masters’ unspoken rules, high-level soul masters were not allowed to attack normal citizens, while those that could use soul tools were also soul masters in some sense. Furthermore, if push came to shove, those unspoken rules would mean nothing, as what was more important than a country’s survival?

This was the main reason why the Sun Moon Empire hadn’t been doing much over the years. They had lost their Sun Moon Continent title ever since the Holy War, and they didn’t dare to lose a second time – if they did, the Douluo Continent’s three native countries that had been threatened by the Sun Moon Empire would never let them go. They would definitely give everything they had to invade the Sun Moon Empire, so that the Sun Moon Empire wouldn’t have the breathing space they had all those years ago.

The impasse between soul masters and soul engineers had led to the current equilibrium. The Douluo Continent’s three native countries were collectively stronger than the Sun Moon Empire, as they were three countries against one, after all. On the other hand, the first nation to move against the Sun Moon Empire would undoubtedly sustain the greatest losses, and this was the reason why nobody had done anything. This equilibrium had been maintained throughout the years.

However, this equilibrium was becoming increasingly unstable over time. The Sun Moon Empire had enjoyed rapid development and expansion in recent years, while evidence of their shady alliance with the Holy Ghost Church had also surfaced.

The Holy Ghost Church had dared to come out in broad daylight – what did this mean? This meant that they were unafraid of being discovered. They were not afraid of being discovered by the Douluo Continent’s three native countries or by Shrek Academy, as these entities no longer meant anything to them. This probably also meant that the Sun Moon Empire was about to make a move, and they couldn’t control themselves anymore.

The Holy Ghost Church was composed entirely of formidable evil soul masters, and these evil soul masters had formed a symbiotic relationship with the Sun Moon Empire, who were adept with soul tools. If a war broke out, how could the Douluo Continent’s three native countries defend themselves?

Ever since the Dragon Emperor Douluo had appeared, the Sea God’s Pavilion had decided that Shrek Guardians would devote all their energy and attention towards the Holy Ghost Church’s movements, as they couldn’t just let their students and teachers give up their lives for nothing. The Sea God’s Pavilion had already hosted multiple meetings and conferences to discuss the Holy Ghost Church – what did the appearance of an Ultimate Douluo represent? No matter how much the Tang Sect’s members didn’t want to admit it, they were all extremely clear that the Dragon Emperor Douluo himself could suppress the entire Shrek Academy.

Elder Xuan was cultivating twice as often as he used to. Huo Yuhao even heard from Xiao Xiao that Elder Xuan almost went insane because he was too hasty. The current Master of the Sea God’s Pavilion wanted to break through and become an Ultimate Douluo as fast as he could, so that he could match up to Long Xiaoyao.

However, could he really challenge the Dragon God Douluo? Even if Elder Xuan did become an Ultimate Douluo, the Dragon God Douluo had been at this level for much longer, and it would be an incredibly challenging task for Elder Xuan to defeat him. Elder Xuan had once said that Long Xiaoyao was possibly stronger than the Body Sect’s sect leader, Du Busi. Nobody would dare to argue if someone claimed that Long Xiaoyao was the number one individual on the entire continent.

The atmosphere in the room felt a little stifled. The Holy Ghost Church’s appearance was no longer just a problem for the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament – their appearance had affected the entire continent’s political balance. Shrek Academy was located in the center of the Douluo Continent’s three native countries, and the Great Star Dou Forest was behind them. However, could Shrek Academy avoid participation if war eventually broke out? That didn’t seem very likely at all.

Xu Sanshi lowered his voice and said, “If only we had been born twenty years earlier.”

Everybody concurred with his statement. Even though they were all exceedingly outstanding members of the younger generation, they were still too young after all, and that meant their cultivations were still limited. They were still a far, far cry from the powerful individuals that could actually affect the direction of a war.

Color returned to Bei Bei’s face with Wang Dong’er’s help. He struggled to lift his hand and took out the golden medallion that Princess Jiu Jiu had given him, which he passed to Huo Yuhao.

“Yuhao – go and look for Princess Jiu Jiu, and tell her what we think. I trust that she is smart enough to understand the gravity of the situation, and then we will continue with our original plan. Time is of the essence, so it can’t be helped if we have to be a little hasty.”

They were here to represent the Tang Sect in this season’s competition, but they had other intentions besides simply promoting the sect. A sect’s development was tied to two things: how strong the sect was, and the sect’s finances.

The Tang Sect couldn’t be considered powerful at all, but Shrek Academy was behind them, and they were located in Shrek City, so they didn’t have to worry about their sect’s safety. That also meant that the most crucial thing they needed so that their sect could develop stably and quickly for a long time to come was money.

Xuan Ziwen’s soul tool research and purchasing of all sorts of exotic metals required money, and that meant the Tang Sect would need more friends and allies under such circumstances. Shrek City was powerful, but they were very deep inside the Continent, and that meant it was unlikely that they would participate in a war. Shrek Academy was helping the Tang Sect develop as much as they could, but they couldn’t purchase too many soul tools in the end. However, while Shrek Academy might not need much, other people needed them. 
The company was here to participate in this competition to find people to work with, besides promoting their sect’s name, so that they could sell their products. The Star Luo Empire and the Heavenly Soul Empire were the Tang Sect’s optimal targets. They had already met Princess Jiu Jiu as soon as they arrived today, and gotten off to a great start. This was originally a fantastic beginning for the Tang Sect, and Bei Bei had originally wanted to find Princess Jiu Jiu for another round of detailed negotiations after they had obtained a decent result in the competition. However, the Holy Ghost Church’s appearance interrupted their initial plans. On the other hand, and from another perspective, the Holy Ghost Church’s existence was beneficial for their efforts to promote the Tang Sect’s products.

Bei Bei hadn’t been in the right state of mind ever since Tang Ya appeared, but he was still the Tang Sect’s eldest senior brother in the end. He immediately decided which path led to the greatest profit and benefit, and relaying information about the Holy Ghost Church to the Star Luo Empire would undoubtedly buy them a better friendship and camaraderie with Princess Jiu Jiu. This also meant that pushing out the Tang Sect’s products afterwards would be a lot easier than before. A deeper cooperation wouldn’t be easy, but a good start for their first encounter would be enough. Huo Yuhao took the golden medallion and nodded. “Alright, I’ll head over right now. Get some rest, eldest senior brother.”

Xu Sanshi said, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of him.”

Bei Bei snapped, “I’ll be happy if you don’t piss me off.”

Strangely, Xu Sanshi didn’t bicker with him and said, “Alright, that’s enough – get some sleep. Everyone should return to their rooms to take a break. This room is so small and there’s so many people gathered here, to the point where the air isn’t so good anymore.”

Everyone left Bei Bei and Xu Sanshi’s room one after another. Bei Bei watched everyone leave before he shut his eyes tiredly, and images of Tang Ya’s blank eyes surfaced over and over again in his mind.

Xiao Ya…

A faint smile appeared on Bei Bei’s pale face, but nobody knew what he was thinking about at this moment. 
------

It wasn’t difficult to find the rooms where the Star Luo National Academy were staying. With Princess Jiu Jiu’s status, and in addition to the Star Luo National Academy’s exemplary results in the previous competition, they were arranged in the relatively higher levels. However, they weren’t at the highest level.

Huo Yuhao held onto the golden medallion, and the Star Luo National Academy’s team members escorted him to Princess Jiu Jiu. The princess was looking a little upset, and she was sitting on the sofa. Her expression returned to normal only when she saw Wang Dong’er push Huo Yuhao’s wheelchair into the room.

“Why are you here?”  Xu Jiujiu nodded at Huo Yuhao as a greeting, but her eyes were a little doubtful.

Huo Yuhao didn’t answer her question. Instead, he changed the topic and said, “The Star Luo National Academy can only stay in the second-tier rooms. I wonder who’s staying in the first-tier rooms?” 
Xu Jiujiu’s face turned black as she said, “Huo Yuhao, are you here to piss me off?”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “Why should I? Compared to you and your company, the Tang Sect and I are a lot worse off – we are staying in the worst rooms, and we have received the worst hospitality. I’m here today to tell you something important.”

“Eh?” Xu Jiujiu was a little surprised, but she had great temperament and composure, and regained her calmness in no time. The truth was that she was just upset about being assigned to second-tier rooms – she was the princess of the Continent’s second-biggest country, and it wouldn’t have been right if she didn’t feel upset about it. The only difference was that she didn’t express her feelings outwardly.

Huo  Yuhao  said,  “Even  though  I’m  not  sure  which  sects reside in the top-tier rooms, I have seen one of them – this sect is intimately connected to the Star Luo Empire. Even though I’m at Shrek Academy, I’m from the Star Luo Empire after all. This is the reason why I’m here to tell you this piece of information.” Xu Jiujiu said, “And you’ve discovered what this sect is? Are they the Body Sect?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “Of course not – I haven’t seen anyone from the Body Sect. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of the Holy Ghost Church.”

“The Holy Ghost Church?”

Huo Yuhao reacted in surprise, as all he could see in Xu Jiujiu’s eyes was blankness and cluelessness. According to the intelligence that Shrek Academy had accumulated, this princess was in charge of the Star Luo Empire’s intelligence works, yet they knew nothing about the Holy Ghost Church. This meant that the Holy Ghost Church were hidden deep, and it was likely that they had only been moving around inside the Sun Moon Empire.

Huo Yuhao tilted his head and said, “I didn’t expect you not to know anything about the Holy Ghost Church. That means I haven’t come here for nothing,” he paused, and his tone became a little solemn, “The Holy Ghost Church have the Sun Moon Empire behind them, and they are a powerful sect that consists of evil soul masters. They possess a Transcendent Douluo, and an Ultimate Douluo as well.”

Huo Yuhao’s statement wasn’t long, but every word crackled in Xu Jiujiu’s ears like fireworks. This calm and casual princess could no longer maintain her composure, and she sprung up from the sofa as if something sharp was poking her buttocks. She exclaimed in fright, “What did you say?!”

Chapter 274: A Big Customer

Princess Jiu Jiu bounced off the sofa after listening to Huo Yuhao’s statement, and she stared at him with eyes overcome with fear.

The news that Huo Yuhao had just relayed to Princess Jiu Jiu was simply too astounding, and this was the same for the Star Luo Empire, A sect formed by evil soul masters, a sect that possessed an Ultimate Douluo, and a Transcendent Douluo, and a sect that was under the protection of another nation hostile to them. Xu Jiujiu’s typical stability and composure began to waver as she panicked after listening to this piece of incredibly bad news.

“Are you for real?”  Princess Jiu Jiu stared at Huo Yuhao as she subconsciously clenched her fists.

Huo Yuhao heaved a faint sigh and said, “How can I lie about something like this, and how can I even succeed in doing so? You can observe when the competition begins, and you will see things for yourself.” Princess Jiu Jiu’s face changed as she stumbled backwards, and her calves pressed against the sofa. She lost her center of gravity and collapsed back onto it.

“That’s  impossible,  just  impossible.  How  can  evil  soul masters possess a Transcendent Douluo, and even an Ultimate Douluo? That’s absolutely impossible. Have you seen it with your own eyes?”

Huo Yuhao knew that this piece of news was hard to believe. Furthermore, he was practically telling the Star Luo Empire that disaster had befallen them.

Huo  Yuhao  lowered  his  voice  and  asked,  “Have  you  ever heard of the Scorpion Tiger Douluo, Zhang Peng?”

“Scorpion Tiger Douluo? Are you talking about the half-evil soul master, that Scorpion Tiger Douluo? He… hasn’t he been missing  for  many  years?”   Princess  Jiu  Jiu  had  already reconciled with this piece of news, but she would rather be in denial of what she believed to be true. Huo  Yuhao  answered,  “The  Scorpion  Tiger  Douluo  has already appeared in Radiant City, and we just met him in the measurement room. Furthermore, eldest senior brother has been hurt by people from the Holy Ghost Church, and he’s barely hanging on. I hope that you can calm down, princess, and that you can treat this substantial problem seriously. You have to relay this information back to the Star Luo Empire as quickly as possible, so that the Star Luo Empire can be prepared to respond.”

Xu Jiujiu was a lady, but the fact that she had such a status within the Star Luo Empire meant she had to have some outstanding qualities. She tried her best to control her emotions after hearing Huo Yuhao’s reminder, and she nodded her head. “Alright, please go on.”

Huo Yuhao said, “The Sun Moon Empire can be considered our mutual enemy. The war hasn’t begun, but anyone can see that the day will come when the Sun Moon Empire cannot hold themselves back anymore. Furthermore, the Holy Ghost Church is made up of evil soul masters and can be treated as the collective enemy of all other soul masters in the world. The Scorpion Tiger Douluo, Zhang Peng, is the Transcendent Douluo that I have seen. I obliterated one of the Holy Ghost Church’s branches when I was on exchange at the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, and that episode gave me proof that this sect exists.

“We were ambushed by the Scorpion Tiger Douluo on our way back to Shrek. I wouldn’t be here today if there hadn’t been powerful individuals from Shrek Academy there with me during that episode. The Scorpion Tiger Douluo wasn’t the strongest one in the force that came to ambush me, however. There was another name that I’m sure you’ve heard before, princess: the Dragon Emperor Douluo, Long Xiaoyao.”

Xu Jiujiu’s eyes became a little slack after she heard that name. She had barely managed to calm herself down before this, and her expression drastically changed once more in the next  moment.  “The  one  who  possesses  the  Darkness  Holy Dragon, and the one who was once known as one of the Twin Holy Dragons of Black and White; the Dragon Emperor Douluo, Long Xiaoyao? But isn’t he more than two hundred years old if he’s still alive? He hasn’t appeared on the Continent in the past hundred years. This… how is this possible?”

Huo Yuhao forced a laugh and said, “I wish that this was all impossible, and that nothing like this had ever happened. However, the truth is right in front of us, and we cannot force ourselves not to believe it. Our academy’s Elder Xuan was there that day, but even Elder Xuan was one generation beneath Long Xiaoyao. I trust that you know that my teacher was the Radiant Holy Dragon of the Twin Holy Dragons of Black and White, and he was the Dragon God Douluo. Long Xiaoyao shared a reputation with my teacher when he was still alive, and now that my teacher has passed, nobody in Shrek Academy has the ability to single-handedly hold back the Darkness Holy Dragon. Even though the Dragon Emperor Douluo isn’t an evil soul
master, he’s still part of the Holy Ghost Church. Furthermore,
he’s not the sect leader, he’s only one of the sect’s elders. There’s someone out there who can command people like the Dragon Emperor Douluo and the Scorpion Tiger Douluo; it’s not hard to imagine how powerful the Holy Ghost Church is.”

Xu Jiujiu’s face was a little pale. This piece of news was just too important, yet she had had no idea about it before today. This was far too important for the Star Luo Empire.

“Thank you, Yuhao. Thank you for telling me everything. This is just too important, and I will immediately send someone to verify these things. The empire will not forget this contribution and favor if we find this information to be true, and we will definitely reward you accordingly.” Xu Jiujiu’s thoughts were a little messed up and she wasn’t in her right state of mind, but she didn’t forget about her promise. Even though Huo Yuhao was far less valuable in his current crippled state than he had been back then, she could guess that Huo Yuhao wouldn’t remain like this from the look on his face.

Huo Yuhao lowered his voice and said, “This isn’t that much of a contribution. From our perspective, the Sun Moon Empire and the Holy Ghost Church can possibly become an enemy that we have to face together. Perhaps, that day is inevitable. You should be able to tell from my description, princess, that nobody has the ability to challenge them alone. We can only forge as many alliances as we can in order to have the strength to challenge them.”

Xu Jiujiu nodded her head silently. If the Sun Moon Empire possessed an Ultimate Douluo that had been around for two hundred years, that person alone could be apocalyptic for the Star Luo Empire. An Ultimate Douluo had enough power to take down more than ten Titled Douluo at a whim, and once the Star Luo Empire’s top-level individuals had fallen, there would no longer be anything they could do against the Sun Moon Empire, and they would be rolled over.

Xu Jiujiu asked, “Do you have other information, Yuhao? If you have other important intel, I can purchase it directly from you. You can ask for any price you want.” Her impression of Huo Yuhao was a lot better than before. Just as Bei Bei had said, it would be a lot easier for them to obtain the princess’ trust with the information about the Holy Ghost Church as their main game.

Xu Jiujiu didn’t even consider whether Huo Yuhao was deceiving her. First, he hailed from Shrek Academy. Secondly, this piece of news was simply too astounding. Furthermore, Huo Yuhao mentioned that the Holy Ghost Church had sent people to participate in the competition, and it would be too easy to expose a lie. Therefore, she completely believed him. She would immediately send people to obtain evidence once Huo Yuhao left, and then she would relay this information back to her empire.

Huo Yuhao said, “I don’t have other intel. We’ve only developed these speculations after we just realized that the Holy Ghost Church is also participating in the competition. We’re here to find you because we can’t afford to delay any longer. The Holy Ghost Church dares to parade around in broad daylight, and that goes to show that they’re unafraid of threats from any other force. That also means that the Sun Moon Empire won’t be holding back for much longer.”

Xu  Jiujiu  nodded  and  said,  “You’re  right,  this  is  too important. Let’s do it this way, Yuhao. You guys can return for now, and I will immediately settle this and pass this information back to the empire so that my brother can make a decision. If this is true, I’m afraid we’ll have to pay a personal visit to Shrek Academy.”

Huo Yuhao said, “Don’t be hasty, princess. I have something else for you. If you’re interested, our cooperation can begin right away.”

Huo Yuhao gestured to Wang Dong’er behind him as he spoke.

Wang Dong’er raised her left hand. The Starlight Sapphire ring that Huo Yuhao typically wore was now on her left hand, and six streaks of starlight glowed on the ring’s surface.

Xu Jiujiu was momentarily stunned, and a tinge of vigilance immediately appeared in her eyes.

Right at this moment, a human figure appeared soundlessly behind Xu Jiujiu. Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er only discovered her existence when she appeared, and Huo Yuhao had completely failed to sense her appearance before this, even with his current spiritual power.

“A Titled Douluo?” Huo Yuhao asked in surprise.

An old woman had appeared behind Xu Jiujiu. She looked like she was at least eighty years old, and her hair was all white. She was clad in a flowing red dress that radiated in tandem with her snowy-white hair, but her eyes appeared exceptionally dark and sinister. Greenish-blue light burst from her eyes in all directions, and she unleashed a forceful and stifling aura from the moment she appeared. This aura wasn’t targeted at Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er. Instead, it filled up the entire room.

Huo Yuhao’s expression didn’t change at all in the face of such immense pressure. Faint purple light sparkled in his eyes as gentle spiritual undulations flowed outward and enveloped both him and Wang Dong’er inside.

“Eh?” The old woman gasped in surprise, and there was now a hint of astonishment in her eyes as she stared at Huo Yuhao. She could tell from his soul power undulations that this youth had but five soul rings, give or take, yet he could defend himself against her stifling aura. He didn’t cower away or back off at all, and she couldn’t even lock onto him. How could this be something that a five-ringed Soul King could achieve?

The old lady increased the pressure in the air after her initial flash of astonishment, and this pressure poured towards Huo Yuhao from all directions.

Huo Yuhao didn’t show any weakness at all, nor did he say a single word. Purple light circulated, and a diamond-like radiance gradually began to sparkle in his eyes. The purple light layer that was protecting them immediately became like the night sky, while stars dotted its surface. This Titled Douluo didn’t stifle Huo Yuhao’s formidable spiritual power at all. Instead, it seemed as if Huo Yuhao was pushing back against her!

Huo Yuhao’s fighting strength paled in comparison to when he wasn’t injured. However, his aura hadn’t been weakened at all. Even Elder Xuan had been astounded by his spiritual power, while the old woman was still quite a distance from Elder Xuan’s abilities. A virtual golden projection began to glimmer into view behind Huo Yuhao’s back. It was Wang Dong’er’s look in girl’s clothes, and the Goddess of Light immediately caused Huo Yuhao’s eyes to grow gentle and tender as they were filled with overwhelming love. His Goddess of Light’s power was boosted by thirty percent as long as Wang Dong’er was beside him. 
“That’s enough, senior,” Huo Yuhao sighed calmly.

The old woman grunted coldly as she took a step forward, and she was just about to attack when Xu Jiujiu reached up to hold her back.

“Don’t be like this, Grandma Yi Man. Yuhao is our guest.”

The old woman squinted as she said, “This fellow is a little abnormal, his spiritual power is far stronger than it should be. It’s at a level that a Soul King shouldn’t possess. Let me take him down, Jiujiu, and then you can interrogate him.”

Xu Jiujiu said hurriedly, “Grandma Yi Man, he really is our guest, we can’t treat our guests like that! I’m sorry, Yuhao. Grandma Yi Man has been protecting me since I was a child, and she must have felt something dangerous from your storage-type soul tool, and that’s the reason why she…” Huo Yuhao smiled faintly and said, “It’s alright. Since you have no interest in seeing what we have to offer, then we will take our leave so that we can prevent any misunderstandings. Let’s go, Dong… ahem, Wang Dong.”

Huo Yuhao nearly forgot that Wang Dong’er was currently dressed  in  a  guy’s  clothes,  and  calling  her  “Dong’er”  now would sound extremely weird.

Wang Dong’er glanced coldly at Xu Jiujiu before she began to push Huo Yuhao away in his wheelchair.

Xu Jiujiu’s expression changed, and a hesitant and unsure look flashed across her face. The old woman in the red dress gave Xu Jiujiu an inquisitive look.

Xu Jiujiu didn’t hesitate for too long. She walked forward briskly and said, “I’m sorry, Yuhao. I was being too suspicious and oversensitive. I am deeply apologetic about what just happened, and I hope that the two of you can stay.”

Xu Jiujiu had felt an acutely dangerous aura when Wang Dong’er flashed the Starlight Sapphire ring, and the aura did come from that ring. That meant that even the Starlight Sapphire’s quality couldn’t mask the dangerous aura contained within, and the aura immediately flowed out the moment Wang Dong’er infused some soul power inside. That was the reason why both she and the old lady in red had immediately reacted like they had.

Thoughts ran through her head, and Xu Jiujiu figured that Huo Yuhao had no reason to harm her. It was just as he had said: everyone was standing on the same line, they shared the same enemy, and the enemy of her enemy was her friend. What Huo Yuhao wanted to show her was possibly dangerous, but it was unlikely that it was targeted towards her. Furthermore, Huo Yuhao had just given them such important intel, she couldn’t just turn him away just like that. The entire Shrek Academy was behind Huo Yuhao, after all!

Huo Yuhao gestured to Wang Dong’er to tell her to stop, and turned his head around to look back at Xu Jiujiu. “I just want to remind you, princess, that all kinds of collaboration and teamwork has to be built on both parties trusting each other. If you don’t trust me, then there’s no need for any further cooperation, don’t you think?” Xu Jiujiu stared at this youth who could only move one hand, and she felt as if she were staring at a sly and cunning negotiator. Why is he so difficult to deal with? His words were neither hot nor cold, and neither was he too gentle or too pushy. Huo Yuhao’s controlled and moderated rhythm made her feel as if she were being drawn in. It’s no wonder that Shrek Academy has placed so much emphasis on him! Indeed, it’s not just because of his fighting abilities...

Xu Jiujiu’s thoughts stopped there, and she immediately readjusted herself. A sincere smile appeared on her face as she said, “I’m sorry, Yuhao. I’ll apologize to you one more time... we were wrong about what happened just now. Please come back, and we can discuss our cooperation in further detail. What do you think? You’re right to say that cooperation means we have to trust each other. I can tell from the important information that you’ve just relayed to me that you trust us. Don’t worry, we will reciprocate no matter how we decide to cooperate in the future.”

How beautiful was that speech? Huo Yuhao heaved a sigh of admiration inside as he gestured towards Wang Dong’er, and only then did Wang Dong’er turn his wheelchair back around. Huo Yuhao said, “Show it to her. Don’t worry, princess. We are also here, and you have this Titled Douluo to protect you. If something that can threaten your life shows up, won’t we be burying ourselves, too? I may be in a bad state, but I’m not ready to leave this world yet.” A teasing smile appeared on his
face as he said that.

Xu Jiujiu blushed as she made a gesture to Wang Dong’er. She stole a few more glances at her at the same time.

Wang Dong’er was still Wang Dong five years ago. Even though she had been extremely stunning back then, she was still a child. Five years later, she had grown into an extremely “handsome”  youth  with  a  long  and  slender  figure.  Flowing pinkish-blue hair draped behind her back, and she was so “handsome”  that  she  didn’t  have  any  imperfections  at  all. Princess Jiujiu was still full of awe even though she had seen uncountable good-looking men before throughout her entire life. Wang Dong has a face that is so attractive that even girls will be envious of him, and Huo Yuhao just gave him a strange look. Can they be…?

The look in Princess Jiujiu’s eyes became a little strange, and she cursed inside. What a waste! If such a handsome boy swings that way… 
Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er didn’t know that the princess was silently criticizing them. Wang Dong’er took two steps forward, and she reached out with her left hand toward a relatively spacious spot inside the room.

This was only a second-tier room, but it was a lot better than the rooms Huo Yuhao and others were staying in. The spacious living room was several hundred square meters in surface area, and there were bedrooms inside that weren’t much smaller. This room was better in terms of both decorations and amenities than their room, and the place that Huo Yuhao and the others were living in weren’t even on the same scale.

Brilliant blue light flickered, and a large item appeared before Xu Jiujiu. Even though she sounded very trusting, she still took a few steps back subconsciously so that she could keep her distance from it, while the red-dressed Titled Douluo stood in front of her, prepared to react against anything.

They quickly saw what the item was. It was a strangely- shaped metal item, and Xu Jiujiu could feel that this was a soul tool. Even though the Star Luo Empire’s soul tool research paled in comparison to the Sun Moon Empire, the Star Luo Empire had been placing a lot of effort on soul tool research over the years after they realized the gap between them. The only difference was that they lacked top-tier soul engineers, and their research standards were also greatly inferior, so there was no way they could catch up to the Sun Moon Empire. Even so, Xu Jiujiu had seen quite a few soul tools, yet she had never seen nor heard about the thing before her.

The entire soul tool took up about ten square meters of space. There was a square metal base beneath it, and this base was the thing that took up ten square meters. There was a belt beneath the metal base, and it seemed as if this soul tool could be pushed around. One could tell that it was quite heavy just by looking at it.

There was a thick cylinder on top of the metal base, located in the center. This cylinder connected the base to another rectangular metal piece above it, and this rectangular metal component was about two and a half meters long, about one and a half meters wide, and quite flat, with eighteen black holes on one side. It seemed like an enormous metal box, and gave people an extremely peculiar feeling. The metal box’s dark body was nowhere close to being visually appealing.

“This is…?” Xu Jiujiu glanced at Huo Yuhao with inquisitive eyes. 
Huo Yuhao answered, “This is a weapon that the Tang Sect produces. We have named it the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon.”

“Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon? Is it a soul tool?” Princess Jiujiu was clearly unfamiliar with this name.

Huo  Yuhao  nodded  and  said,  “More  accurately  put,  it’s  a stationary soul tool. It can only be considered a Class 4 soul tool, but the effects that it can achieve on the battlefield cannot be matched by normal Class 4 soul tools, the reason being that it’s a stationary soul tool. You should know something about stationary soul tools, don’t you?”

Princess Jiu Jiu nodded and said, “The force of stationary soul tools mainly comes from their shells. The cannon itself can only determine the firing distance and accuracy. Does your soul tool fire eighteen shells at the same time?”

Huo Yuhao said, “There are different settings. You can fire everything at once, or you can them fire one by one. Our Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon has several salient features, please allow me to introduce them to you. Firstly, even though it’s just a Class 4 stationary soul tool, it can reach a distance comparable to a Class 6 soul tool, because it contains some of the Tang Sect’s secret techniques. You can carry out your own field tests after this.”

Princess Jiujiu’s eyes sparkled. A Class 4 soul tool that had the same propulsion force as a Class 6 soul tool! This was quite an impressive invention. It also meant that this soul tool only required a Class 4 soul engineer to operate it, and Class 4 soul engineers were on a completely different levels than Class 6 soul engineers. It was comparable to the gap between a Soul Ancestor and a Soul Emperor. A thousand Soul Ancestors were probably still weaker than a hundred Soul Emperors, and this point alone had already attracted the princess.

Huo Yuhao continued, “Our Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon can carry forty-eight shells, and they’re all under the base. It can automatically chamber shells during the firing process, and you will only need to reload the weapon after all forty- eight shells have been fired. Reloading is simple. Wang Dong, please demonstrate for the princess.”

“Alright.” Wang Dong’er pressed on the cannon’s side with her right hand, and a capo-like holder sprang out. She shook the holder rapidly, and a magazine gradually slid out from beneath the holder’s base. The magazine opened up from behind, and everyone could see the forty-eight soul cannon shells chambered inside.

Every cannon shell was about a meter long, and every shell was about twenty centimeters in diameter. The entire magazine was withdrawn from the holder, using the four wheels beneath the magazine, so one didn’t need to use too much force to push the magazine around. She quickly pushed the magazine back to its original position, before she closed it and returned the holder to where she took it from and concluded the reloading process. The entire effort took about two minutes. 
Xu Jiuiju calculated mentally, A stationary soul cannon that can fire forty-eight rounds before reloading, and a Class 4 soul tool with a Class 6 soul tool’s firing range. Forty-eight continuous rounds packs quite a punch! Just as Huo Yuhao said, this soul tool is definitely a powerful weapon on the battlefield! The Sun Moon Empire’s army is only equipped with Class 5 stationary soul cannons...

The biggest difference between a stationary soul cannon and a normal soul cannon was firing range. Normal soul cannons had extremely limited firing range, because the soul cannons were powered purely by soul power, which was converted into force to launch the cannon shells. However, stationary soul cannons were different. They relied on the stationary soul tool to launch their shells.

A Class 4 soul tool was worth about a hundredth of a Class 6 soul tool.

Xu Jiujiu calculated continuously in her head, and her eyes began to glow brighter and brighter, beginning to understand more about this metal object’s practical uses and effects. 
Huo Yuhao continued, “The Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon that we have devised as of now is more suitable for installation upon city walls to defend the city, or it can be installed to defend fortresses; both uses will be extremely effective. If you wish to equip your army with this item, we will come up with a mobile version.”

Princess Jiujiu immediately proposed the question that she was most concerned about. “So, what about the price? How much is it?”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “This has power comparable to a Class 6 soul tool’s power, so it should be valued like a Class 6 soul tool. Truthfully, it can be considered a Class 6 soul tool, except it doesn’t take as much to use it.”

Xu Jiujiu smiled and said, “I’m sure that’s not it. I believe it doesn’t take that many resources to craft it, either. Furthermore, stationary soul tools have always been known to burn holes through our wallets. This cannon can fire forty- eight stationary cannon shells, so every round will bring me a lot of heartache. Yuhao, your Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon is a little too expensive. You guys are also from the Star Luo Empire; are you trying to reap profits from war? That means this will no longer be a cooperation.”

Huo Yuhao smiled and shook his head. “No, princess. We are already very sincere. Stationary soul tools are indeed expensive, but they are also most important in the wars that we will have to face in the future. The Tang Sect has always been fair, so this price will never change. The price will be the same even if we are selling to Shrek City. Our sincerity lies in the supply priority we give our clients. If you’re willing to complete the deal, you will become our first client outside Shrek City, and you will receive supply priority from us for one year.”

Xu Jiujiu was momentarily stunned. She couldn’t help but laugh as she said, “I didn’t expect you to be such a good businessman, and you even know about supply priority. Do you really believe that this soul tool will receive excessive demand? There must be a limit to the number of soul tools like this we can purchase, because we have to ensure that we have enough cannon shells to make sure that these expensive soul tools can unleash their full potential. Furthermore, we need to have enough soul masters. The truth is that the Star Luo Empire doesn’t lack soul masters. Since this soul tool is also considered a Class 6 soul tool, we might as well directly purchase Class 6 stationary soul tools. There are quite a few Soul Emperors within the Star Luo Empire.”

The smile on Huo Yuhao’s face didn’t change. He wasn’t worried at all. If the princess wasn’t interested in his Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon at all, she wouldn’t be negotiating with him. The harder she haggled, the more interested she was in the soul tool.

“But can you find a Class 6 stationary soul cannon that can fire forty-eight times continuously? I’m afraid it’s difficult to find one that can fire even three in a row. Both our magazines and our firing mechanisms are exclusive to us, and this soul tool comes with a self-destruct mechanism as well, so it can’t be replicated. One Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon can rival the firing efficiency of four Class 6 stationary soul cannons. Of course, we have to admit that this cannon can only be considered a Class 4 soul cannon in terms of material quality, and thus its durability cannot compare to that of a Class 6 stationary soul cannon.”

Xu Jiujiu stared at Huo Yuhao in astonishment. This was the first time she had seen a seller openly discussing the product’s weaknesses and shortcomings. Huo Yuhao said, “Integrity always comes first for the Tang Sect, no matter who we’re dealing with, and we will never hide any weaknesses or cons that our products have. Furthermore, you could be considered one of our biggest clients.”

Xu Jiujiu smiled and said, “Then aren’t you afraid that I’ll lowball you? The price you have quoted isn’t considered low at all. Furthermore, from a business perspective, there has never been a rule where the seller will always get the first price that he or she quotes.”

Huo Yuhao replied, “I’m not sure how other people do their business, but upholding our integrity and providing top- quality products has always been of the utmost importance to the Tang Sect.”

Xu Jiujiu stared deeply into his eyes. There was a look on regret on her face as she said, “That’s a pity. We can only think about this a little more.”

Huo Yuhao wasn’t worried at all. He smiled and said, “Of course. I believe this deal will be a big one if it comes through, so it’s natural for you to put in a little more thought, princess. We’ll take our leave, then. We will give this Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon to you, and you will understand after field- testing it that I haven’t exaggerated anything at all. However, if you miss this opportunity today, and if other clients step into the picture, I’m afraid we cannot reserve purchase priority for you anymore. I need to make this clear so that I can absolve myself and so that you won’t hold that against me when it happens.”

Xu Jiujiu was very familiar with the art of negotiation. She thought to herself, “Do you think I’ll fall for your tricks?” She stood up and placed her palms on top of one another on her abdomen. She tilted her head towards Huo Yuhao, and there was no denying her nobility and elegance as a princess. “That’s alright. If we decide that this soul tool is something we need, we will contact the Tang Sect as soon as possible.”

Huo Yuhao replied, “Okay! There are two things that I wish to remind you about. You can attach Milk Bottles to this soul tool when you want to use it, and you can use it directly. Class 4 Milk Bottles are enough. Otherwise, a soul engineer can use it by infusing soul power from the left side of its base, where the two palm grooves are located. The second thing I wish to remind you about is that I have installed a self-destruct mechanism into this Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon so that we can protect our technology. If anybody attempts to take it apart, then there will be a formidable explosion. Please watch out for that, princess.”

Xu Jiujiu took exception to his words and said, “Seems like your sect has placed a lot of emphasis on this soul tool. If you’re worried, you can take it back, and you can send someone into the Star Luo Empire to carry out experiments and field-tests for us. Don’t you think it’s a bit too excessive to use Milk Bottles to operate a Class 4 soul tool like this?” Milk Bottles were considered one of the most valuable and expensive soul tools amongst those of the same level, and this was the same for all soul tools beneath Class 7.

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “Perhaps. I have already given this soul tool to you, so how can I take it back? Dong’er, take back our Milk Bottle, and we can bid our farewell to the princess.”

“Alright.” Wang Dong’er took a few steps towards the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon’s base and pressed on a spot. A metal box sprang out, and Wang Dong’er retrieved a peculiarly- shaped Milk Bottle that resembled a cannon shell and stored it inside her Starlight Sapphire storage ring. Wang Dong’er wasn’t doing everything very quickly, so Xu Jiujiu could clearly see that she had never seen a Milk Bottle like that before. She could tell from its size that it wasn’t as simple as a typical Class 4 Milk Bottle. This was a soul tool that came attached with a mechanism specifically meant to attach Milk Bottles, and the Milk Bottle had also been specially crafted for this purpose. Was there a need for this? There must be something wrong if things weren’t normal or typical.

Xu Jiujiu was still escorting them out when she asked subconsciously, “Will the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon have any special effects if it’s is used with a Milk Bottle?”

Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong were already at the door, and Princess Jiujiu’s servant opened it for them. Huo Yuhao said plainly, “There won’t be any special effects, except you don’t need soul masters to operate the soul tool.”

“Oh.  Goodbye,  then,”   Xu  Jiujiu  answered  and  sent  Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er out of the room. She definitely wouldn’t go any further to send them off with her status, and her servant closed the door behind them. Huo Yuhao’s words echoed in Xu Jiujiu’s mind as she muttered under her breath, “You don’t need soul masters to operate the soul tool? What does that mean? You don’t need soul masters to…” The princess’ body suddenly froze as if a thought burst into her head, and an astonished look came over
her face while her face lost all color.

“That’s… not possible…”

Wang Dong’er wasn’t pushing Huo Yuhao very quickly outside, and Huo Yuhao was slowly withdrawing his extended fingers as if he were counting down.

“Five…

“Four…

“Three…”

“Wait!”   A  high-pitched  exclamation  echoed  through  the corridor, and Princess Jiujiu suddenly raced out from her room and blocked their path in a few brisk steps. 
Wang Dong’er stared at the concerned look on her face with amusement and thought to herself, Huo Yuhao is so cunning…

Xu Jiujiu’s breathing was clearly a little rushed as she stared at Huo Yuhao with her charming blue eyes. “You…you said that you don’t need soul masters to operate this soul tool! What does that mean?”

Huo Yuhao seemed a little blank as he replied, “That’s... what it means.”

Xu Jiujiu took a deep breath. “Are you saying that…?”  For some reason, her heartbeat began to race, and an indescribable premonition coursed through her mind. However, this premonition was just so immense, to the point where she could barely control herself anymore.

Chapter 275: The Art of Negotiating

“Wait.” Huo Yuhao raised his hand to interrupt any further questions from Xu Jiujiu and asked quietly, “Princess, do you think it’s appropriate that we are negotiating this out here?”

Xu Jiujiu bit down on her lower lip as she stared at this innocent and harmless-looking fellow with a faint smile at the corner of his mouth. She really wanted to pounce on him and strangle him. This bastard brought up what is perhaps the most important point at the last moment to wake me up. Seriously…

Many large sects and reputable academies currently resided in this building, so it was true that this place wasn’t suitable or appropriate for discussing such top-secret things.

Those thoughts did run through her head, but it was clear that there was no way she could put them into practice. She calmed herself down and regained her elegant posture and composure  as  she  said  apologetically,  “It’s  my  fault  for overlooking that. I invite the two of you to come back, so that we can discuss this deal in further detail. What do you think?” Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “Of course. It would be even better if you could give us a cup of tea.”

Damn it! She felt resentment bursting in her mind, but she didn’t dare to reveal even a single ounce of it on her face. Her heart was still beating very quickly, and the possibility that had just occurred to her was far too important for the Star Luo Empire.

“I’m sorry, I was being discourteous before. I was too pleasantly surprised to see the two of you – please come back, and I will personally make some tea for you two of you.” She made a gesture for them to kindly proceed back into her room as she spoke.

“Alright, we’ll have to trouble you, then.” Huo Yuhao didn’t push around too much. He had to play this just right, as going too far was as bad as not doing enough. He was dealing with a big customer, after all!

They returned to the princess’ room, and Xu Jiujiu personally brought them two fragrant cups of tea as she invited Wang Dong’er to sit down on the sofa before turning towards Huo Yuhao with an eager look on her face. 
One had to admit that the princess was extremely pretty, and she could be ranked along with Jiang Nannan and Wang Dong’er as a top-tier beauty. If the princess had been staring at someone else with the same look on her face, they might possibly stop at nothing to give the princess whatever she
wanted.

It was a pity then that Wang Dong’er was the only person in Huo Yuhao’s heart. Furthermore, Huo Yuhao had seen quite a few top-class beauties. He possessed immense spiritual power, and his mind was steadfast and unwavering. He was naturally unaffected by Xu Jiujiu’s small psychological move.

“Do you have any questions or doubts, princess? Please ask, and I will tell you everything I can.” Huo Yuhao’s face was cool and collected, and the sincerity in his eyes was no less than the look in Xu Jiujiu’s eyes.

The red-dressed old woman felt a twitch at the corner of her mouth as she stood to one side. She thought to herself, The new generation is taking over from the older generation after all, and everyone seems to be as sly as a fox. Jiujiu has met her match today. Xu Jiujiu’s graceful and charming look finally froze momentarily, and she suppressed the impulsive desire in her heart to strangle this fellow before her as she replied, “I wish to ask about something you said before this. What did you mean when you said that soul masters aren’t needed to operate this soul tool? Are you trying to say that if these Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannons have Milk Bottles, normal people can also operate them?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “Normal people definitely can’t.”

Huo Yuhao’s simple statement immediately caused Xu Jiujiu’s eyes to fill with disappointment. Her eyes quickly turned unfriendly. Is this fellow deliberately trying to mess around with me?

Xu Jiujiu was on the brink of erupting, and she grit her teeth as she said, “Then what do you mean when soul masters aren’t needed to operate this soul tool?”

Huo Yuhao didn’t seem ruffled at all. “That just means soul masters aren’t needed to operate this soul tool!” Xu Jiujiu planted her hands on the desk in front of her and took a deep breath. She didn’t mince her words, pausing slightly as she enunciated each one. “Will you die if you make yourself clearer?”

Huo Yuhao had a forced smile on his face and an innocent look as he said, “My words are very clear! It means the Tang Sect’s Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon no longer requires a soul master to operate it after attaching a Milk Bottle to it. Normal people definitely don’t meet the requirements, as they are not strong enough, and they will struggle with reloading and switching magazines. Only soldiers that are relatively stronger can operate this soul tool, and it’s even better if they’ve been trained before. Can you understand my explanation now, princess?”

The redness that was on Xu Jiujiu’s face due to her fury immediately vanished, and she said eagerly, “Are you for real? Even soldiers that are not soul masters can operate a Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon?”

Huo Yuhao nodded and said, “Of course! Otherwise, how could I claim that our Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon has excellent value for the money? If not, how could I sell you a Class 4 soul tool for the price of a Class 6 soul tool? Wouldn't that just be a rip-off?”

Xu Jiujiu leaned against the sofa, and her eyes changed continuously as her brain began to spin with ideas and thoughts. Her fists were clenched slightly from all her intense and riled-up emotions.

Huo Yuhao picked up his cup of tea and finished it with a gulp. This was good tea, indeed… it was aromatic, and its fragrance lingered in his mouth, while it was fresh and quenched his thirst at the same time.

Five minutes passed before Xu Jiujiu suddenly stared at Huo Yuhao and asked, “Can you give us a promotional price if we order in bulk?” She was extremely clear about the value of Class 6 soul tools.

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “No can do. I’ve said it already, that our product is excellent value for the price, and the price will not change. The price will remain the same whether we’re selling the cannons to you or to other clients, and we will be fair to everyone. The only benefit I can give you, princess, is purchase priority. There’s an upper limit to our production speed, after all.”

Xu Jiujiu took a deep breath and said, “But we can only validate your words after field-testing this soul tool and experimenting with it. Can you reserve purchase priority for us?”

Huo Yuhao contemplated momentarily, then said, “You have three days. I hope you can give us a decisive response before the competition starts.”

Xu Jiujiu said angrily, “We’re inside the Sun Moon Empire, not the Star Luo empire. Where do I find a place to test it?”

Huo Yuhao glanced at the red-dressed old woman beside them and said, “Technology is advanced today, and we can use flying-type soul tools now. It doesn’t seem difficult to return to the Star Luo Empire within a day. Princess, if I wasn’t from the Star Luo Empire myself, I wouldn’t have pleaded with my eldest senior brother time and time again, and perhaps you wouldn’t have been our first big customer. Three days is already the maximum allowance that our sect can give. I hope you can understand. How about this… we will give the Milk Bottles that are specially crafted for our Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannons to you as an expression of sincerity.”

Huo Yuhao gave Wang Dong’er a look as he spoke.

Wang Dong’er nodded and passed the Milk Bottle that she had taken back before this to Xu Jiujiu.

Xu Jiujiu felt a little strange as she held onto the strangely- shaped Milk Bottle that was at least twice as heavy as a normal Class 6 Milk Bottle. The materials used to craft this Milk Bottle didn’t seem ordinary or typical.

Huo Yuhao said, “Princess, I’ll pass another piece of secret intel to you for free.”

“Speak.”

Huo Yuhao said, “You’re in charge of intelligence. Are you aware that the Illustrious Virtue Hall has devised technology to seal Milk Bottles? That means, the soul power contained within Milk Bottles will no longer leak outside.” 
Xu Jiujiu felt her heart skip a beat. “Are you sure?”

Huo  Yuhao  nodded  and  said,  “The  Tang  Sect  has  also mastered this technology. The Milk Bottle you’re holding in your hands is sealed, which you will know once you give it a try. The truth is that the cost of crafting one of these Milk Bottles is equivalent to purchasing five Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannons. With this sealed Milk Bottle, you can reload a Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon ten times without switching Milk Bottles. Ten magazines mean you can fire four-hundred and eighty stationary cannon shells in one go. I’m sure you understand what this means.”

---

Xu Jiujiu was left sitting motionless on the sofa even after Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er left her room. Her enchanting eyes sparkled with sophisticated light, and “Tang Sect”  had been deeply imprinted on her.

All her complicated emotions and thoughts gradually became disappointment and a sense of loss. Bitterness began to surface at the corner of her lips as she said, “We are still so slow, Grandma Yi Man. We are trailing the Sun Moon Empire in soul tool research, and we are even lagging behind Shrek Academy. The Tang Sect is undoubtedly representing Shrek Academy. Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon, sealed Milk Bottles... impressive indeed!”

The old woman sat down beside her and gently caressed Xu Jiujiu’s flowing hair. “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, child. You’re just a girl, and you have enough burdens on your shoulders. That boy is extraordinary. I studied him closely, and I’ve never seen spiritual power like his in my entire life. His spiritual power is both unique and powerful at the same time, and it’s on an entirely different scale from his soul power. Furthermore, his eyes were calm and collected from beginning to end, no matter what expression he was wearing. Even you are a little inferior to him in this respect. If you can’t have a person like that as a friend, then…”  The old lady squinted a little as a look of hostility and murder flashed across her eyes.

Xu Jiujiu’s expression changed as she exclaimed, “No, Grandma Yi Man!”

Grandma Yi Man stared at her amusingly and said, “What? You can’t bear to see anything happen to him? He seems a lot younger than you are.” 
Xu Jiujiu blushed and leaned into Grandma Yi Man’s embrace disapprovingly. “What are you talking about, Grandma Yi Man? There’s nothing between the two of us. That guy is one of the most outstanding individuals of Shrek Academy’s younger generation, and the academy places great emphasis on
him. My elder brother has already prepared a plan to pull him close, and this guy is likely to become the link between us and Shrek Academy. Therefore, we can’t touch him, and we have to protect him.

“Grandma Yi Man, what do you think about the Holy Ghost Church that he spoke of?”

Yi Man’s face turned black as she said, “That’s a tough one. If he’s right about the Dragon Emperor Douluo being used by the Holy Ghost Church, then the Star Luo Empire will be in some real trouble. We need to act, and we need to do it now.”

Xu Jiujiu tilted her head and glanced at the massive Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon resting on the floor. “Time is of the essence, Grandma Yi Man. I’m afraid I’ll have to trouble you this time.” Yi Man heaved a faint sigh and replied, “What trouble is there? I should do more for the empire while I can still move. I’ll take this back to the empire for field-testing and experiments right away.” 
“Yes. I trust you the most, and I won’t be able to be at ease unless you’re the one doing it. I can tell from Huo Yuhao representing the Tang Sect to promote their soul tools that Shrek Academy’s inner circle seems to have changed. We have to buck up on our intelligence work.”

Xu Jiujiu had believed from beginning to end that the Tang Sect was chosen by Shrek Academy as their spokesperson, and it was because of this misconstrued understanding that she placed a lot more emphasis on the Tang Sect.

Wang Dong’er pushed Huo Yuhao back into his room, and it was only at this moment that an exhausted look came over Huo Yuhao’s face.

Wang Dong’er lowered her voice and said, “Yuhao, why did you keep beating around the bush with Princess Jiujiu?”

Huo Yuhao answered, “That’s so I can give her a stronger impression, and it’s also because I wanted to catalyze this deal and agreement with the Star Luo Empire and finalize it as fast as possible. If the Sun Moon Empire launches an invasion, the Star Luo Empire cannot avoid being the vanguard and bearing the brunt of their attack. Therefore, they feel the most urgency, and I believe they will come to a decision fairly quickly.”

Wang Dong’er asked, “How about the Heavenly Soul Empire and the Dou Ling Empire?”

Huo Yuhao said, “We can take it a little slower with them. One reason is because we don’t know anybody in these empires’ higher levels with a status like Princess Jiujiu. The second reason is because these empires may not send one of their high-ranking officials to us. Furthermore, our production speed is limited, and we may be hit with overwhelming demand if the Star Luo Empire chooses to take us up on this deal.”

Wang Dong’er supported him and laid him down on the bed. She smiled as she said, “I think you’re becoming more and more like a businessman.”

Huo Yuhao forced a laugh and said, “It’s not my wish for that to happen. However, the Holy Ghost Church’s appearance has given us too much threat and danger.”

Wang Dong’er gently combed and tidied the hair on his forehead and said, “You can rest for a little while. I’ll buy dinner for you, and we should rest early after eating. Are you tired from hustling around all day?”

Huo Yuhao said nothing as he stared at her.

Wang Dong’er blushed as she felt his piercing gaze. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

Huo Yuhao smiled faintly and said, “Ever since I returned after sustaining these injuries, I’ve become the luckiest and most fortunate person in the world.”

Wang Dong’er grunted and said, “Are you trying to say that I wasn’t nice enough to you before this?”

“Uh… of course not. The truth is that I’ve always been a little lost ever since we established our relationship during the Sea God’s Fate, as you’ve always been my brother in my heart. I only suddenly discovered how important you were in my heart when I read the letter in the pouch that uncle Niu Tian gave me. I felt a little attracted to you even when you were dressed like a guy, except I wasn’t so sure why I felt that way. I only realized afterwards that your eyes would always be the same no
matter what you wear. There’s a big difference between a guy and a girl’s eyes after all. Don’t worry, Dong’er – I will recover very soon.”

“Alright,” Wang Dong’er nodded her head lightly and said, “You should rest while I grab dinner.”

“Okay.”

Wang Dong’er left the room, and Huo Yuhao was the only person that remained. He didn’t close his eyes to rest, instead silently pondering things in his mind. He was repeatedly consolidating everything that he had seen and heard ever since they had arrived in Radiant City.

The Sun Moon Empire seems like they really are going to make a move. However, are the Heavenly Soul Empire and Star Luo Empire prepared for that? It’s hard to say, and even if they’ve  made  their  preparations,  the  Holy  Ghost  Church entering the fray will undoubtedly cause disarray and mess up their plans. The Sun Moon Empire must have ulterior motives for hosting this competition. How can we delay as much as possible before the Sun Moon Empire takes action?

The Tang Sect has just begun our multifaceted expansion. The Tang Sect needs time to expand, and I also need time to recover. Once the war begins, we will need sufficient time to prepare if the Tang Sect wants to make a difference in the war and take this opportunity to expand and become stronger, and if the Tang Sect wishes to help the three native empires of the Douluo Continent against the Sun Moon Empire.

Yes! We have to devise a plan to slow the Sun Moon Empire down and delay their plans for war as much as possible during this competition. But how do we go about accomplishing that?

The goal had changed, but he couldn’t really think of a proper plan, so he could only play things by ear and wait and see. The Sun Moon Empire wasn’t just targeting the Star Luo Empire and Shrek Academy, and the other big sects, the Heavenly Soul Empire, and the Dou Ling Empire could form an alliance. Dinner wasn’t very sumptuous, but Wang Dong’er had returned quickly, and it was clear that she was worried about Huo Yuhao. No matter what he ate, everything that entered Huo Yuhao’s mouth was as delicious as ever with Wang Dong’er beside him.

The night was upon them. Huo Yuhao didn’t dare to lie in bed and indulge himself in the warmth of Dong’er’s companionship like before, and he immediately started to meditate.

Wang Dong’er sat beside him and also began to meditate.

It had been a long time since they had cultivated together with the Haodong power. Huo Yuhao’s body was filled with the origin energy of Ultimate Ice, and that meant his soul power became extremely cold and icy. This also meant that Wang Dong’er would be adversely affected if they connected through the Haodong power. Furthermore, Huo Yuhao’s legs and his left arm’s blood circulation were blocked, so he couldn’t complete a major circulation. He would drag Wang Dong’er down with him, so he might as well cultivate by himself. Huo Yuhao had strong foundations in his Mysterious Heaven Technique, and his Mysterious Heaven Technique was also filled with vitality. Huo Yuhao’s spiritual power was in the Mustard Seed Domain, and he could use his intricate and fine spiritual power with this technique. He released a thread of the origin energy of Ultimate Ice from his left arm and absorbed it with every circulation.

The reason why he chose his left arm and not his legs was because the origin energy stored inside his left arm was comparatively thinner, and thus easier to extract. He had already managed to absorb some of the origin energy of Ultimate Ice from all the work and effort that he had put in over the past few days. Huo Yuhao couldn’t finish a major circulation, but his soul power wasn’t increasing any slower at all. The origin energy of heaven and earth had given him a lot of trouble, but it was still pure ice-type energy in the end.

Huo Yuhao had already made accurate predictions about the state of his body. If he followed his current cultivation method, he would need at least three years before he could absorb every ounce of origin energy of Ultimate Ice in his body, and this was a conservative estimate where he assumed nothing went wrong. He would undoubtedly break through to become a Soul Emperor once he finished absorbing everything, and if he had enough soul rings, he had the possibility to break through to become a Soul Sage. Three years of being crippled in exchange for speedy improvement – this deal wasn’t that bad or disadvantageous for him in the end.

After all, neither Bei Bei, Xu Sanshi, nor Wang Dong’er could possibly become Soul Sages within three years even if they wanted to.

Therefore, Huo Yuhao wasn’t that worried about his cultivation. He could only avoid mistakes and problems if he maintained a calm mind during his cultivation. Otherwise, if he went down the wrong path and went insane in his current state, he would face mortal danger.

The night went by peacefully, and Wang Dong’er pushed Huo Yuhao into Bei Bei’s room when dawn arrived after they finished breakfast.

Bei Bei was strong, and his injuries had stabilized. The only thing was that his wounds were far too severe, so he still had to rest in bed. Huo Yuhao recounted the negotiation he had conducted with Xu Jiujiu on the previous day. Bei Bei told him delightedly after listening to his description that Huo Yuhao could decide on other similar issues in the future.

Bei Bei and Xu Sanshi were the only ones who were truly in charge of things. The other members still prioritized their studies within Shrek Academy. He Caitou participated in the Tang Sect’s soul tool production and design, but the others spent most of their time on Sea God’s Island.

Huo Yuhao and He Caitou had taken quite a burden off Bei Bei and Xu Sanshi’s shoulders ever since they had returned from their exchange program. This was especially so because Huo Yuhao had returned with voluminous blueprints, and even brought back a soul tool expert in Xuan Ziwen. This immediately brought the Tang Sect to another level, and their most important Soul Tool Hall was subsequently perfected. The Tang Sect’s expansion was finally on the right track, and Bei Bei could finally heave a sigh of relief. He had completely no worries at all about Huo Yuhao – Huo Yuhao was their designer, and he was extremely familiar with all the Tang Sect’s soul tools. Furthermore, Huo Yuhao was meticulous and careful, and rarely made mistakes. Xu Sanshi was an all-rounded individual, but he didn’t understand enough about soul tools, while he was too playful at the same time. Bei Bei didn’t feel assured at all about him, so he passed command to Huo Yuhao after he was wounded. Xu Sanshi didn’t have any objections to this at all, and he was even elated about the decision, as he didn’t want even a little bit of this added trouble and responsibility.

“Eldest senior brother, I predict that we will have a response from Princess Jiujiu by tomorrow night at the latest. With her knowledge and her experience, I trust that she won’t pass up this wonderful opportunity. It seems like we will be busy very soon.”

Bei Bei was lying down on the bed. He smiled and said, “Teacher  Xuan  will  be  busy,  you  mean.  Your  Zhuge  Divine Crossbow Cannon managed to tame Teacher Xuan back then, so how can Princess Jiujiu not bend to your will? We can actually lower the price, as the cost of our production is…”

Huo Yuhao shook his head, and a mysterious smile broke out across his face. “Eldest senior brother, we don’t place excessive emphasis on money, but we can’t afford not to charge a high price for the Tang Sect’s development.” Bei Bei’s eyes sparkled. He immediately understood what Huo Yuhao was trying to say, and said, “You’re thinking about…”

“Yes.”  Huo Yuhao could tell that his eldest senior brother understood him, and he immediately nodded.

A knock sounded at this moment. Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong’er, Bei Bei, and Xu Sanshi were the only people in the room, and everyone thought the Tang Sect’s other members had arrived. Xu Sanshi walked over and pushed open the door, but he was momentarily stunned once he opened the door.

“Why are you here, eldest senior sister?”  The eldest senior sister of Shrek Academy’s inner courtyard, Zhang Lexuan, was standing outside the room. Wang Qiu’er was also with her.

Zhang Lexuan shot a glare at him and said, “Why can’t I be here? I’m the academy’s team leader. Why have you guys been put in a place like this? Is the Sun Moon Empire unaware that you guys are the champions from the previous tournament?”

Xu Sanshi invited them in as he said angrily, “It doesn’t matter if they know that or not. Even if they know, what can we do if they pretend that they don’t?” 
The room wasn’t that big, so Zhang Lexuan immediately saw Bei Bei lying on the bed when she walked in, as well as Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er beside him.

She was aware of Huo Yuhao’s circumstances, but her face immediately changed when she saw Bei Bei lying down on the bed. She walked up concernedly and said, “What happened to you, Bei Bei?”

Huo Yuhao, Xu Sanshi, and Wang Dong’er were slightly taken aback as they watched the worry and anxiety in their eldest senior sister’s eyes. Huo Yuhao and Xu Sanshi exchanged a look, and they immediately felt the peculiarity in each other’s eyes. The concern that their eldest senior sister displayed towards their eldest senior brother seemed a little out of the ordinary.

Bei Bei forced a smile and said, “Calm down, eldest senior sister. I’m alright.” Zhang Lexuan seemed to realize that she had lost her composure. She withdrew her emotions a little as she pinched Bei Bei’s wrist to check his injuries.

Wang Qiu’er walked in together with Zhang Lexuan. However, she walked up next to Huo Yuhao, and glanced down at him before her eyes turned away very naturally, as if she were looking at a stranger.

Wang Dong’er looked on steadily, and sighed to herself. The colder Wang Qiu’er was to Huo Yuhao, the more Wang Dong’er could tell that Huo Yuhao was still very important to Wang Qiu’er. Qiu’er, Qiu’er... why do you do this to yourself?

Wang Dong’er had thought long and hard when Huo Yuhao disappeared without a trace back then. She was ready and willing to share Huo Yuhao’s love with Wang Qiu’er if she had to, and it was because of this thought that she was a lot less hostile towards her now. This was especially so after she felt the entirety of Huo Yuhao’s love for her. All she felt toward Wang Qiu’er now was sympathy, and not a single hint of envy or jealousy. At this moment, she was being very generous by standing on Huo Yuhao’s other side. “How  have  you  been,  Qiu’er?”  Wang  Qiu’er  didn’t  bother greeting him, but Huo Yuhao had to greet her, as she had saved his life more than once. Furthermore, he had long sensed the feelings that she had for him, and he couldn’t help but feel a little guilty about them, as he couldn’t help but feel as if he owed her something.

“I’ve been very well,” Wang Qiu’er answered coldly. It didn’t seem  like  she  had  been  “very  well”   from  the  way  she responded...

“Oh.” Huo Yuhao didn’t know what else to say, and he gave her a simple response.

Zhang Lexuan concluded her scrutiny of Bei Bei’s body with a solemn look on her face.

“Your organs are almost in different positions, and you’ve been hit with an intense and strange soul power. It’s dark, evil, and eerie. Did you encounter evil soul masters?”

Everyone couldn’t help but be impressed as they listened to her words. Zhang Lexuan’s analysis was concise, accurate, and to the point. She lived up to her name as the inner courtyard’s eldest senior sister.

Bei Bei nodded as he lowered his voice and said, “I was just about to look for you guys. This matter has to be reported to the academy as quickly as possible, so that the academy can make the necessary preparations. That Holy Ghost Church has appeared…” He recounted the events from the previous day in detail, and he pointed out the Scorpion Tiger Douluo’s existence. However, the Tang Sect members were a little surprised that Bei Bei didn’t mention Tang Ya, and he only talked about how he sensed something was wrong about a soul master that he had run into, and how the other person had managed to ambush and catch him off guard, and how he had thus been injured.

“This is very important. We have to report it to the academy immediately. You are severely injured, should I send you back to the academy?” Zhang Lexuan spoke with a very concerned look on her face.

Bei  Bei  forced  a  laugh  and  shook  his  head.  “You’re  the academy’s representative team leader, so how can you walk away? Furthermore, my condition has stabilized, so I might as well rest and recover here. Don’t worry, there’s no way I can participate in the competition. I’ve passed command over to Huo Yuhao.”

Zhang Lexuan stared at Bei Bei before she glanced at Huo Yuhao on his wheelchair. She couldn’t help but feel a little helpless and exasperated. “You guys! What can I say about the two of you? Bei Bei, you’re not a typically careless person, why did you…?”


Bei Bei gave her a look, and Zhang Lexuan was momentarily stunned before she recognized that she seemed to have said too much this time. She stood up and said, “Please rest well. I will report this matter back to the academy at once. Let’s go, Qiu’er.”

Wang Qiu’er said nothing, and she didn’t even greet the other Tang Sect members as she followed behind Zhang Lexuan and departed the room.

The room descended into silence once Zhang Lexuan and Wang Qiu’er left, while Xu Sanshi, Huo Yuhao, and Wang Dong’er all stared at Bei Bei. Bei Bei felt goosebumps break out over his body from their stares. He cleared his throat and said, “Why are you looking at me like that?”

Xu Sanshi looked up at the ceiling and heaved a long sigh. “I initially believed that girls would only crush on a person like me – incredibly handsome, romantic and elegant, natural and unrestrained. I never thought that you, Bei Bei, you who has a small nose and tiny eyes, had a secret like this. If you hadn’t been injured such that our eldest senior sister revealed her true feelings as a result, I wouldn’t have been able to tell. I didn’t know that you and our eldest senior sister had a complicated relationship.”

An  awkward  look  flashed  across  Bei  Bei’s  face.  “Bullshit. Don’t spout nonsense and taint eldest senior sister’s clean name and reputation.”

Xu Sanshi laughed coldly and said, “Do you think I’m as clueless as the others who don’t know you as well as I do? It’s obvious that the look in her eyes wasn’t right the instant she walked in and realized that you had been injured. When has eldest senior sister ever looked at someone else from the inner courtyard like that? The look in your eyes in that moment seemed like everything that was happening was right and within expectations. This proves that you had already predicted this response from the moment you saw her. Is that not enough to prove the secret relationship between the two of you? Wow, Bei Bei, you’ve hidden something like this from your best brothers! Even I had no clue about this, that you’ve done something to even our eldest senior sister. Tell us everything, right now! If not, I won’t show you any mercy even though you’re hurt.”

Bei Bei stared at the falsely indignant look on Xu Sanshi’s face, and turned towards Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er, who were also staring at him with a strange looks in their eyes. “Oh, my reputation! Eldest senior sister messed up because she’s too concerned.”

Xu Sanshi leaned in by the bedside with a gossipy look on his face. “Quick, tell us. What’s going on between you and our eldest senior sister? You have always been so dejected and concerned about Xiao Ya, so when did eldest senior sister enter the picture?”

Bei Bei could tell that he couldn’t hide this secret any longer. He adjusted the expression on his face and said, “I’ll tell you since you guys have already realized something is going on. However, you guys have to keep my secret, as this concerns our eldest senior sister’s name and reputation. Whoever leaks this out will no longer be my brother.”

“Okay.” Wang Dong’er was the first to agree, and without any hesitation at all.

The corner of Bei Bei’s mouth twitched as he said, “It’s the same even for my sisters!”

Wang Dong’er giggled and said, “Eldest senior brother, we should always enjoy blessings and endure misfortunes together. Why don’t I call everyone here? Do you think third senior brother can hide something like this from fourth senior sister?”

“I…  I  have  chosen  terrible  friends!”  Bei  Bei  exclaimed  in defeat.

He Caitou, Jiang Nanna, and Xiao Xiao were quickly gathered. Na Na, Ji Juechen, and Jing Ziyan were ultimately not as close to them. Jiang Nannan and Xiao Xiao’s beautiful eyes sparkled when they heard that there was some secret between Bei Bei and their eldest senior sister that they had to know about. This was the classic gossipy and nosy look, and even the typically simple and straightforward He Caitou was full of surprise.

“You can’t tell anyone else!” Bei Bei exclaimed painfully.

“Really, nobody else can know about this.”

“Why don’t we just let this go? You guys can just pretend you don’t know anything at all.”

“……”

“Alright, alright. I’ll say it.” Everyone’s eyes seemed like they were about to erupt with fire. Bei Bei felt all the pressure, and he had no choice but to tell them about his story with Zhang Lexuan.

“Actually, eldest senior sister was arranged to marry me…” The six other pairs of eyes in the room widened with this one sentence. The apple that Xu Sanshi was holding in his hands dropped and hit He Caitou, who was beside him, on the face. He Caitou clenched his fingers in shock, and his enormous strength left a row of grooves on the bedframe.

Huo Yuhao felt his body quiver, and he almost slid out of his wheelchair. Wang Dong’er covered her mouth with her hands to keep from exclaiming out loud.

Jiang Nannan screamed and gasped in astonishment, while Xiao Xiao grabbed He Caitou’s arm as tightly as she could. It was clear that she was as astounded as everybody else.

“Arranged marriage?!” Xu Sanshi’s mouth was open so wide that a goose egg could be stuffed into it.

Who dared to think that the Shrek Academy’s inner courtyard’s chief disciple, the person that everyone referred to respectfully as “eldest senior sister”, the person that joined the Sea God’s Pavilion at the age of thirty to become one of the council members, Zhang Le Xuan, was actually arranged to marry Bei Bei. This could no longer be described as unbelievable, this was simply something that could only exist in fantasies! 
Bei Bei pulled a long face. “Yes, all of you heard that right, and I didn’t say anything wrong. Eldest senior sister was arranged to marry me. It’s a long story, and I’ll have to start from twenty years ago.”

Xu Sanshi pulled over a chair and sat down beside his bed. “That’s alright, we’re not rushing things. You can take your time.”

Huo Yuhao stared at Bei Bei with his eyes wide open and his jaw hanging slack. What he was feeling inside was similar to the awe and astonishment that Princess Jiujiu felt when she discovered that his Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon could be operated by normal soldiers.

Bei Bei shot a glare at Xu Sanshi and said, “My mother passed away on the day I was born due to a difficult birth. My father was too depressed, and he took a nearly impossible task from the Shrek Guardians against Ancestor Xuan’s wishes and departed. He hasn’t returned since, and I became an orphan.

“My family only had a single son, and my ancestors have ruled that all sons will follow their mother’s surname. My parents’ death adversely affected Ancestor Xuan, and he treated me like his own son during that period of time, as if I were the most important thing in the world.

“Eldest senior sister was actually brought back by one of the academy’s teachers, and Ancestor Xuan ran into them by accident. Eldest senior sister had a blank look in her eyes back then, as if she had lost her soul and her spirit. She is from one of the Heavenly Soul Empire’s aristocratic families, but they were ambushed and attacked by another aristocratic family, and her entire family was annihilated. She had been underneath her bed, as she was playing hide-and-seek with her mother when disaster struck, so she managed to avoid certain death. Her mother crashed onto the ground beside the bed, and even used her own body to cover the bed as she was drawing her last breaths, even placing her hand behind her to cover her daughter’s mouth.

“Ancestor Xuan checked her body after hearing about her circumstances, and he discovered that eldest senior sister had great talent in terms of her martial soul. She had congenitally full soul power, something that was rarely seen, and she also possessed a hundred year soul ring, while she had already broken through to Rank 20. He guessed that our eldest senior sister was the future of her family, and the person that her family wanted to do everything they could to nurture.” 

Chapter 276: Child Bride...

“Eldest senior sister was only about eleven or twelve years old, but she knew about Shrek Academy. She knelt down before Ancestor Xuan and begged him to avenge her. Ancestor Xuan was still reeling from my parents’ deaths, so he agreed to her request, and he told her that Shrek Academy would nurture her and unleash her potential. He had one condition, and that was she had to guard Shrek Academy for the rest of her life, and she had to become my bride. Eldest senior sister made the vow without hesitating at all.”

Bei Bei paused for a moment and said, “I think you guys can guess what happened afterwards. Ancestor Xuan avenged her, and eldest senior sister remained at the academy to cultivate as hard as she could, and managed to get where she is today. As I grew up afterwards, Ancestor Xuan began to calm down, and he regretted forcing eldest senior sister to make that vow. He mentioned more than once that eldest senior sister didn’t have to uphold her vow. After all, she’s more than ten years older than I am, and waiting for me isn’t practical or realistic at all.

“However, eldest senior sister insisted on keeping her vow. She told Ancestor Xuan that she would still be my bride no matter what choice I might make in the future. If I didn’t like her, then she would be single for life, and she would commit her entire life to Shrek Academy so that she could repay Ancestor Xuan’s benevolence.”

Jiang Nannan’s face seemed a little unfriendly as she said, “You’ve already had a bride since you were a child, and you still went for Xiao Ya…”

Bei Bei forced a laugh and said, “But I didn’t know about all that! Ancestor Xuan only told me about this vow after I got together with Xiao Ya. I felt everything was just unbelievable. I was only fourteen or fifteen back then, and eldest senior sister was already twenty-seven or twenty-eight, so our ages made us entirely unsuitable for each other. Furthermore, I’m sure you guys are aware of the feelings I have for Xiao Ya. All I could do was argue with Ancestor Xuan, and it was then that I decided to move out of the inner courtyard. Afterwards, Ancestor Xuan implicitly gave me the green light with Xiao Ya because the academy owed the Tang Sect. Ancestor Xuan talked to me about this one more time before he passed away, and he asked me to be nicer to eldest senior sister if I could help it, and he said that he had let her down.

“I once sought her out so that we could set things straight. There were many talented suitors within the academy who had a crush on her, and I would hate to see her remain single for the rest of her life because of some outrageous vow that she made all those years ago. But eldest senior sister was extremely stubborn, and she said that I didn’t have to take her, but she would never go back on her vow. She waved her sleeve and
walked off after that.

“The  truth  is  that  even  though  I  don’t  think  I’ve  done anything wrong, I still feel a little apologetic towards her. However, I have no clue what to do so that she will forgo that vow. Over the years, even though Xiao Ya has never been by my side, there’s no space left in my heart to accommodate anyone else.”

Bei Bei’s expression was a little awkward, filled with conflict and difficulty.

Wang Dong’er asked, “Eldest senior brother, do you not feel anything at all for eldest senior sister?”

Bei Bei answered without hesitation. “Of course I do. She was the one who took care of me as I grew up, and I’ve never had a mother. Eldest senior sister is like a mother or like an elder sister to me, and she’s the second-most important woman to me in my heart after Xiao Ya. The only problem is that this feeling that I have isn’t a romantic one, and there’s only kinship between eldest senior sister and I. You guys have to help me figure this out! What exactly can I do so that I won’t hurt her, yet still give her the great future that she deserves?”

Bei Bei looked around at everyone, eager and hopeful. Everyone’s eyes became a little strange. How could this conundrum be solved?

Huo Yuhao cleared his throat and noted, “The competition is coming up in two days. What suggestions do you have, eldest senior brother?”

The corners of Bei Bei’s mouth contorted, and he surveyed the rest, and realized that their eyes were drifting around at everywhere, but him. He snapped, “The lot of you have no loyalty at all!”

He Caitou chortled and said, “It’s not for outsiders to resolve family issues. How are we supposed to help you with this, eldest senior brother?” Bei Bei was exasperated. “Alright, alright. Let’s not talk about that anymore. But you guys can’t speak a word about this to anyone, as it concerns our eldest senior sister’s reputation. Tell me, Yuhao, what plans do you have for the competition?”

Huo Yuhao answered, “I don’t have an actual plan yet, but I have some ideas. This competition will have one hundred and sixty-seven participating teams because sects are allowed to participate, and the first few rounds will be elimination rounds, all the way up till the last thirty-two before the group stage begins. The organization committee hasn’t declared how the elimination rounds will be carried out for now. Compared to the group stages that come afterwards, we have to clear the elimination rounds before anything else.

“We are representing the Tang Sect, so we aren’t a seeded team. That also means the competition’s rules won’t be in our favor. We aren’t sure what teams we’ll run into at this point. If we encounter any formidable sects, we will be faced with quite a challenge. Therefore, we have to hide our abilities as much as possible during the elimination rounds.”

“Hide our abilities?” Bei Bei was slightly taken aback. “Aren’t you contradicting yourself, Yuhao? You just talked about how important the elimination rounds are. So why should we hide our abilities?”

Huo  Yuhao  replied,  “It’s  not  contradictory,  eldest  senior brother. What I’m trying to say is, we have to hide our abilities as much as possible provided we can emerge victorious in the same round. Our appearances are quite different compared to five years ago, and there are so many more sects in this competition, so there won’t be many who still recognize and know about us. We can put on some makeup or something to change our appearances a little, so that the people who might recognize us from the previous tournament will no longer recognize us. At least, they won’t be sure that we are who they think we are. If we don’t get too unlucky, and as long as we don’t meet the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy in the first rounds, it’s unlikely that we’ll be recognized.”

Bei Bei’s eyes sparkled and said, “That’s a great idea. The people that will have an impression of us from the previous tournament will have been the reserve team members, who have become the main team members in this season. Everyone’s become quite different after five years, and after we make some adjustments, and the fact that we are representing the Tang Sect, will be quite effective in hiding our abilities and identities.” Xu   Sanshi   frowned   and   said,   “We   can   change   our appearances, but we can’t change our martial souls! How can they not recognize us once we unleash our martial souls?”

Huo  Yuhao  smiled  mysteriously  and  said,  “That’s  what  I mean when I said that we have to do all we can to hide our abilities and identities so that they can’t recognize us. We can do it this way…”

Their discussion on battle tactics continued for a little more than two hours, and was concluded so that Bei Bei could get some rest.

Huo Yuhao and his companions conducted a few more discussions and drills the following day, and confirmed how the starting rounds were going to be carried out.

------

At the highest level of the Brilliant Delight Hotel... Wang Qiu’er stood quietly on a spacious semicircular balcony and gazed into the distance. The view was enchanting from this spot, she could see almost half of Radiant City.

There were only eight similar rooms on the Brilliant Delight Hotel’s highest level. They were known as the Villas in the Sky, and they were exceedingly extravagant and luxurious. It was claimed that one night cost three thousand golden soul coins, an exorbitant price. This place could be said to be the most expensive hotel on the Continent.

Every Villa had an arched door, as if the room were a castle. There was a hall for hosting guests, a living room, a large conference room, and twenty rooms of different sizes that consisted of bedrooms, gyms, and tearooms. There was a garden in the sky that was more than two hundred square feet in surface area, and there was a swimming pool that was twenty meters on each side at the center of the villa. There was a curved dome above the greenish-blue water, and one would be able to see gentle and faint blue sparkles around the swimming pool at night. Looking up at the dome at night felt as if one were staring at the boundless starry sky, and that beauty was truly enchanting. There was even a miniature sparring arena in the villa, which was built with special materials and defense-type soul tools. It could sustain most soul skills beneath a Soul Sage’s rank.

Shrek Academy’s team had all been astounded when they first entered this villa. Dai Huabin was the Duke’s son, but this was even his first time staying in a hotel as luxurious as this one. Twenty rooms was more than enough for a team that consisted of a little more than a dozen, and it allowed everyone to have their own room. They could order anything they wanted to eat, and everything would be free of charge, courtesy of the hotel.

This was the best possible arrangement and service for the participating teams, and only eight teams could have this luxury. Shrek Academy’s team stayed in the first Villa in the Sky. The Sun Moon Empire was clearly extremely generous about this, as the first villa wasn’t just the most extravagant one, it also represented the fact that they were the champions from the previous season.

Wang Qiu’er turned around and stared at the luxurious and spacious villa. There was a blank look in her eyes as she muttered under her breath, “Is this the gift for Shrek’s glory? Is this what they achieved from the previous season?”

“Yes, that’s true. We wouldn’t be staying here if not for their perfect performance last season! The truth is that they are the ones that are worthy of staying in this place, and not those cramped and narrow rooms in the lower levels.” Zhang Lexuan walked over from not far away. She was holding a delicate wine glass in her hands, and there was some amber-colored aged white wine inside. A faint aroma floated around the glass’ opening but didn’t drift out. The glass was specially crafted by the Sun Moon Empire’s chamber of commerce, and was considered a top-tier wine instrument.

“Do you want one?” Zhang Lexuan asked plainly.

Wang Qiu’er shook her head and said, “I don’t wish for such things to affect my mind.”

Zhang Lexuan sipped on the white wine in her glass. The wine was filled with a thick and rich fruity aroma that was tinged with a little sourness, and the faint taste of pickled plums lingered in her mouth. “Sometimes you have to learn how to relax, you’re wound up too tightly. I was like you before, but I realized afterwards that it isn’t the way to go, and it would negatively affect my cultivation. You are a lot worse than I was all those years ago; your emotions are tightly wound, and extremely tense. Something is bound to go wrong if you continue like this.”

“I’m not!” Wang Qiu’er’s denial was cold and crisp. 
Zhang Lexuan stared at her, amused, and said, “You’re not? I’ve been there and done that, and I’m all too familiar with how you are right now. You’re just like me all those years ago. Ever since you returned with Huo Yuhao, I haven’t seen a smile appear on your face. You’re always daydreaming when you’re not pushing everyone during training. It must be because of Huo Yuhao, am I right?”

Wang Qiu’er froze a little, but remained silent. She didn’t attempt to argue the point.

Zhang Lexuan said plainly, “Do you think you stand a chance?”

Wang Qiu’er still said nothing, but unwittingly clenched her fists.

“You have no chance, eh? I didn’t expect you to be so much like  me.  Heh!”   Zhang  Lexuan  laughed.  She  seemed  to  be laughing happily, but tears appeared deep within her beautiful eyes. 
“Like you?” Wang Qiu’er stared at her with a doubtful look.

Zhang Lexuan smiled and said, “That’s right! That’s because we both love someone that we can’t possibly be together with. Perhaps you still have some hope, as you are quite a match for him, after all. But me… heh.” She finished the wine in her glass one gulp and began to walk back into the villa.

Wang Qiu’er watched her subtly trembling and dejected figure and began to follow her subconsciously.

Zhang Lexuan suddenly paused in her tracks. Her back was still  facing  Wang  Qiu’er  as  she  asked,  “Tell  me,  Qiu’er,  do women have to rely on men for life?”

Wang Qiu’er answered without hesitation, “Of course not!”

Zhang Lexuan turned around, and her eyes became as sharp as ever. “Then you have to show him that you are stronger than he is. Even if you can’t obtain his love, you can’t let him see how fragile you are, and you can’t let him see your weak side. This is the last dignity that we can have.” 
Wang Qiu’er focused, and could see Zhang Lexuan’s stubbornness, and even a little craziness in the middle of everything. She nodded her head forcefully and replied, “Yes!”

------

The competition’s rules were finally announced the following day, and every participating team received some instructions from the organization committee.

Huo Yuhao couldn’t help but frown when he received the instructions. The rules were indeed different, just like Elder Xuan had said.

According to the competition’s rules, the entire competition would be split into a preliminary segment and a final segment. Teams representing sects and academies would be competing in the same pools.

The preliminary segment would consist of elimination rounds, but these elimination rounds seemed a little different. The arena was designated in a spot outside Radiant City, and not right in the city center like they were originally supposed to be. There was a clause that caught Huo Yuhao’s attention. Both the preliminary rounds and the final rounds placed a limit on the arena’s diameter, but a maximum height wasn’t specified.

This was a very simple instruction sheet, but Huo Yuhao began to feel a lot more alarmed than before. What did not setting a maximum height imply? Could there be Soul Sages among the participating students? That was quite impossible, as becoming a Soul Emperor was the limit for people at twenty years of age. This also meant that the lack of a maximum height meant nothing at all to soul masters, as most of them couldn’t fly, except for some soul masters that possessed martial souls that could. However, this would be drastically different when soul engineers came into the picture.

Even four-ringed Soul Ancestors soul engineers could soar through the skies as long as they had flying-type soul tools, and they could launch attacks on the ground from the sky. There was no doubt that this clause was extremely beneficial for soul engineers.

The Douluo Continent was divided into four nations: the Sun Moon Empire, the Star Luo Empire, the Heavenly Soul Empire, and the Dou Ling Empire. The only nation that possessed masses of soul engineers was the Sun Moon Empire, and this competition rule practically meant they were being openly biased. The Sun Moon Empire was being excessively dominant.

Of course, the Sun Moon Empire didn’t dare to be too outrageous. There were other changes to how the elimination rounds’ results would be calculated. Among them, the points would be allocated according to the number of people left in the team. That implied that if one party could defeat all seven members from another party with just one of their own in the single elimination match, then they would be allocated seven points, as their party would have seven people left, and they wouldn’t even have to go through the group battle afterward. The reason was because the group battle only gave five points, and there was no way the other party could turn the tables around. Of course, it was nigh impossible for one person to defeat seven opponents in a row in a competition like this.

Therefore, if the team that emerged victorious during the single elimination matches didn’t obtain more than five points, they would have to go through the group battle, and the other side would have a chance to turn it around. Of course, minor scores were also important, and every round’s accumulated points would be recorded. These minor scores would be decisive if a unique and unforeseen circumstance cropped up. 
For example, if there were one hundred and sixty-seven teams participating in the competition, and there were only twenty teams who made it through the single elimination rounds during the round of thirty-two, the remaining teams that were needed to fill the slots would be chosen with their
minor scores, and these accumulated scores would become
even more important once they entered the round robins. The teams would be ranked according to their accumulated points during the group stage. The quarter-finals would revert to an elimination format, while these minor scores would determine the loser’s rankings.

This change in how the points were calculated was a good thing, and it made the entire competition system more complete and organized.

The change in competition rules would definitely change how the competition would unfurl. Knocking sounds could be heard just as Huo Yuhao closed his eyes to ponder.

Boom, boom, boom! The hurried and forceful knocking clearly announced how frustrated and anxious the arriving party was. Wang Dong’er was still washing clothes for Huo Yuhao in the bathroom, and she hurriedly came forward and asked, “Who’s there?”

“It’s me, Jiujiu!”  the Star Luo Empire’s princess, Xu Jiujiu, could be heard from outside.

Wang Dong’er turned around and glanced at Huo Yuhao. Their gazes met, and their eyes flowed with faint amusement. The princess hadn’t taken too long to give them a response, in the end!

Wang Dong’er opened the door and invited Princess Jiujiu inside.

Xu Jiujiu was wearing a flowing pale-gold dress today, and had tied her hair into a bun that brought out her noble and graceful qualities. However, her face seemed a little flushed. Even though she was trying her best to hold it down, there was no way she could hide the dash of excitement in her eyes.

The red-dressed old woman followed closely behind Xu Jiujiu. Huo Yuhao had sought out Zhang Lexuan to find out more about this old woman. It turned out that she had made a name for herself a long time ago, and people only knew that she was called Yi Man, but nobody knew her surname. Her martial soul was the Cloud Fan, and she was also the Titled Douluo Starcloud! According to Zhang Lexuan’s information,
the Starcloud Douluo hadn’t reached Rank 95, so she wasn’t a
Transcendent Douluo yet. Rank 95 wasn’t that easy to breach, and going beyond Rank 95 was a level that was far superior to the one that normal Titled Douluo reached.

“Greetings, princess. Please, have a seat.”  Huo Yuhao was sitting on his wheelchair, and he tilted his head towards Xu Jiujiu courteously.

Xu Jiujiu knew that she had to be as calm as she could be in a time like this, but there was no way she could calm herself down, no matter how hard she tried. The Starcloud Douluo had returned in the morning, and Xu Jiujiu thought she might go crazy when the field-test results were reported to her. What she was feeling inside could no longer be described as astonishment, and she eagerly headed to Huo Yuhao’s room immediately afterwards.

Xu Jiujiu took a deep breath and forcefully suppressed the emotions that were roiling in her heart, and she looked at the youth before her that could only move one arm.

Huo Yuhao was all smiles, and he seemed as harmless as ever, as if he had no idea what the princess was doing here.

“Huo  Yuhao,  I’m  sure  you  know  why  I’m  here.”  Princess Jiujiu had seen and experienced many different situations after all, and she ultimately managed to force her emotions back even though she was stirred up inside.

Huo Yuhao nodded, and he swiftly withdrew the smile on his face. He said angrily, “You must be here because of the competition’s new rules. The Sun Moon Empire is too outrageous, they didn’t set a height limit for the competition! This is a rule that’s almost specially created to benefit the Sun Moon Empire’s soul engineers!”

Xu Jiujiu was slightly taken aback. “What did you say?”

Huo Yuhao handed the instructions in his hands to her. Even though Xu Jiujiu was thinking about something else, the big competition was still extremely important, and she still had to pay attention to it. 
Xu Jiujiu briefly scanned the instructions and immediately understood what Huo Yuhao was trying to say. Her eyebrows locked together as she said, “What do you think we should do?”

Composure took over the indignant look on Huo Yuhao’s face. “We should collectively protest against it.”

Xu Jiujiu grunted and said, “And you think that will work?”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “We still have to try. At least, we have to give them some pressure, so that they won’t add anything else afterwards.”

Xu Jiujiu tiled her head and said, “We’ll discuss this later. We’ve experimented and field-tested your Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon and the Milk Bottle that you’ve given us.”

Huo Yuhao’s expression remained unchanged. “How did it go?” Xu Jiujiu stared at the casual smile on his face… she really wanted to pinch him as hard as she could! She muttered coldly, “Are you very proud?”

Huo Yuhao reacted in shock. “Am I?”

“Then  what  are  you  smiling  about?”  Xu  Jiujiu  answered angrily.

Huo Yuhao didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. “Isn’t smiling a form of respect for you, princess? If you’re not willing to see my smile, then I won’t.” He withdrew his smile as he spoke, and he put on an upright and solemn look and posture.

“……” Xu Jiujiu looked on as this guy in front of her put on a serious and professional look, and she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The awkward indignation in her heart dissipated a little.

“We’ve  experimented  with  and  field-tested  your  Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon, and that sealed Milk Bottles of yours. They’re very good. Do you think you can give us a discount if we purchase them in bulk?” Princess Jiujiu regained her composure in an instant, and she leaned back on the sofa gracefully as she spoke.

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “I’m afraid that’s not possible.”

“Not possible? Do you know how many of these we’re going to  purchase?”   Princess  Jiujiu  sounded  a  little  more  high- pitched than before.

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “I don’t know how many you wish to purchase, but I imagine it must be quite an amount. All I know is how much the Tang Sect can produce. As of now, our soul tool manufacturing department is undergoing a second expansion, and much of our labor has gone toward that endeavor. Therefore, we are very limited in the amount that we can currently produce. Furthermore, even though I feel a little embarrassed to say this, I have another piece of news for you – I’ve just received news from the Tang Sect that the price of our products might be inflated by about thirty percent due to resource scarcity and a lack of materials. Please forgive me, princess.” 
“What? Huo Yuhao!” Xu Jiujiu was immediately riled up, and she leapt to her feet as her perky chest pumped up and down. She gritted her teeth and said, “It hasn’t even been two days, and you’re playing me already?”

Huo Yuhao shivered all over and said, “I wouldn’t dare to think of it. You can’t say things like this, princess! I still have to find a wife.”

“You…” Xu Jiujiu felt as if she were going insane – this guy was just too hateful.

Wang Dong’er was behind Huo Yuhao, and she discreetly pinched him in the back. This bastard – he’s twisting her words, and yet he’s making himself sound so logical, as if he’s right. She was also a girl, and Wang Dong’er was starting to sympathize with Princess Jiujiu. Of course, she was dressed like a guy at the moment, so she couldn’t express anything that resembled a girl’s emotions, so she could only lower her head and force back her amusement. The Starcloud Douluo immediately became a little unfriendly. She lowered her voice and said, “Do you know what you’re doing? Karma will find you if you go back on your word.” It was obvious that her words were hostile and threatening.

Huo Yuhao heaved a faint sigh. He forced a laugh and said, “I’m so sorry – I don’t wish for this to happen either. But you guys also know the Sun Moon Empire has monopolized seventy percent of the Continent’s rare metals, and they’ve prohibited exports. The Tang Sect has just been reestablished, so how can we have any channels or avenues to purchase resources and materials in bulk? Thankfully, Shrek City is developed and wealthy enough. Otherwise, we might not even be able to guarantee delivery and supply of our goods. The lack of resources and materials will undoubtedly lead to a rise in price. There’s nothing I can do about that.”

Xu Jiujiu said angrily, “Enough with that nonsense. The few of you make the decisions within the Tang Sect anyway. Furthermore, do you dare to claim that the Tang Sect is not related to Shrek Academy in any way? How can you guys lack materials and resources with Shrek Academy redirecting resources from Shrek City? Furthermore, all you need to craft your Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon is some relatively high- density steel.” 
Xu Jiujiu was responsible for the Star Luo Empire’s intelligence, so she wasn’t that easy to deceive.

Huo Yuhao sighed and said, “Since that’s the case, then you can find out how many customers we have at the moment. Both the Heavenly Soul Empire and the Dou Ling Empire are both important business partners for us. You’re right – our Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon’s outer body only requires tough steel. But what about its formation arrays? Can we actually craft these formation arrays without rare metals?”

Xu Jiujiu laughed coldly and said, “We can’t take apart its formation arrays anyway. It will explode if we do that, so you can say whatever you want about it.”

Huo  Yuhao  frowned  and  said,  “Princess,  if  you  keep negotiating with me with such a rejecting attitude, I believe there’s no need for us to continue this negotiation. If we want to be partners, we have to build this partnership on mutual trust and benefit as the foundations. I’m really sorry about the rise in price, but there’s really nothing we can do about that. How about this – you can go back and cool off, and you can calculate how much our Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannons and our sealed Milk Bottles are worth after the inflation before we continue any further negotiations.”

“Hmph!”   Xu  Jiujiu  grunted  furiously  before  she  started walking out of the room. She seemed enraged, but she was extremely calm inside – she was clear that she had been completely defeated by Huo Yuhao in this negotiation, and there was no other possible outcome than accommodating his demands if they continued with the negotiation. But she was absolutely unwilling to do that! She believed that Huo Yuhao and the Tang Sect would never give up a customer as big as the Star Luo Empire.

Right at this moment, knocking sounds could be heard once more, and Princess Jiujiu halted in her tracks as she was walking to the door.

Wang Dong’er walked over to open the door, and there were two pretty girls and a middle-aged man standing outside.

The person standing in front of the group was a young girl in a long white dress. She had a certain cold and crisp quality about her, and her features were very attractive. This girl was also mildly surprised when Wang Dong’er opened the door, and her eyes seemed to be searching her memory as she mumbled, “You… Who are you?”

Wang Dong’er smiled and said, “What? Don’t you recognize me, Mu Xue? I’m Wang Dong. We’ve been acquainted for some time.”

Dong’er dressed like a guy was something that most girls couldn’t resist. Even though Wang Dong used to have short hair, her unrivaled good looks were enough to enchant every single girl.

Mu Xue cleared her throat, and the iciness on her face melted a little. “Oh, it’s you. When I last met Huo Yuhao, the girl beside him looked a lot like you.”

Wang Dong’er answered plainly, “Her name is Wang Qiu’er, and she’s part of the team representing Shrek Academy. I believe you will meet her soon during the competition.”

“She’s your sister?” It was clear that Mu Xue’s eyes sparkled with curiosity and the desire for gossip. Wang Dong’er smiled. “Are you here today to ask me about such things?”

Mu Xue froze, and she shot a faintly resentful look at her as she said, “Can we go inside now? Is Huo Yuhao around? We’ve already conducted experiments and field-tests with the item that he’s given us. We’re here today to talk about becoming business partners.”

Wang Dong’er opened the door and made a gesture to invite them inside.

The three of them entered the room, and they ran straight into Princess Jiujiu, who was just standing there. Xu Jiujiu’s eyes didn’t pause on Mu Xue, and she looked beyond her at the second girl behind her.

This girl was wearing a long yellow dress, and she seemed extremely gentle. Water seemed to meander within her beautiful eyes, and Xu Jiujiu could still feel that subtle tenderness even though she was looking her from afar. This girl was even prettier than Mu Xue. “Wei Na?” Xu Jiujiu exclaimed.

The young girl looked at her and said, “Why are you here, Jiujiu?” The yellow-dressed girl’s pleasant voice could be heard as she took a few steps forward. She had a look of pleasant surprise on her face.

Wei Na and Mu Xue were part of the company from the Heavenly Soul Empire that Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er had run into when they were inside the Great Star Dou Forest. The middle-aged man that had accompanied them here today was Mo Feiyun, the same man that led the group back then.

Huo Yuhao turned his wheelchair with one hand, and he smiled at Mo Feiyun. “Greetings, Uncle Mo. It’s been a while.”

Mo Feiyun was astonished when he saw the state that Huo Yuhao was in. “Yuhao, you…”

Huo Yuhao forced a laugh and said, “I was in an accident. I can only move this arm at the moment.”  He moved his right arm as he spoke. Mu Xue and Wei Na looked over when they overheard Huo Yuhao and Mo Feiyun’s conversation. Mu Xue was also momentarily stunned when she saw Huo Yuhao sitting in a wheelchair.

“You… what happened to you? Why are you like that?” It wasn’t too long ago that she had met Huo Yuhao and Wang Qiu’er. She had never expected that this energetic and fearsome youth from before would be a cripple when they met again.

Huo Yuhao laughed mockingly at himself. “Perhaps this is my punishment for trespassing over the airspace of the Heavenly Soul Empire’s capital city. Greetings, Mu Xue. Hello, Wei Na.”

“Hello.”  Wei Na stared at Huo Yuhao, and it was clear that her eyes flowed with faint pity and sympathy. It was a terrible thing for a soul master to be able to move only one arm, but he seemed very open-minded about it.

The organizing committee had allocated the lowest-tier room to the team from the Tang Sect, and there were now so many people standing around inside that it felt a little packed. 
Huo Yuhao looked at Xu Jiujiu and said, “Aren’t you going back to think about this, princess? I won’t escort you out, then.”

Xu Jiujiu stared deeply into his eyes. She grunted coldly and said, “I haven’t seen Wei Na in a long time. I’m going to accompany  her  for  a  little  while  more.”  Her  eyes  gradually became aglare as she spoke. There was no question that Huo Yuhao had planned this seemingly coincidental encounter.

Huo Yuhao naturally understood what she was trying to say. He laughed bitterly and said, “Would you believe me if I said this was all a coincidence?”

“What do you think?” Xu Jiujiu raised her chin.

“Alright. Then think of it as if I’ve planned it, then,”  Huo Yuhao said exasperatedly, “My place is a little small, everyone. Please have a seat however you like.”

Huo Yuhao was a little surprised as the person that spoke to him amongst the three of them wasn’t Mu Xue or Mo Feiyun – it was Wei Na, the seemingly fragile and gentle girl.

She stepped forward with a smile on her face and arrived before  Huo  Yuhao.  “Hello,  Yuhao.  Can  we  discuss  this  in private?”

Huo Yuhao sounded a little helpless. “Look, the room is only so big. I’m afraid that speaking in private will be quite difficult.”

Wei Na said, “If you don’t mind, I can push you into my room. I’ll send you back once we finish our negotiations.”

“No!” Two different female voices could be heard exclaiming at the same time.

Wang Dong’er wasn’t one of them – the voices belonged to Mu Xue and Princess Jiujiu. Urgency and hastiness returned to Xu Jiujiu’s eyes, while Mu Xue’s eyes flowed with vigilance and wariness. Wang Dong’er was smiling to one side, and her smile was a little strange and sinister. However, nobody else but Huo Yuhao paid any attention to her. Huo Yuhao said exasperatedly, “Please, everyone. I’m just a cripple.”

Mu Xue grunted and said, “It doesn’t matter – I have to be present. I’ll accompany Wei Na for the negotiations, and then I’ll send you back.”

Xu Jiujiu’s face turned black as she said, “No way. Can’t you see that we’re discussing official business? I should have priority since I came here first.”

Mu Xue glanced at her and said, “You must be the Star Luo Empire’s Princess Jiujiu. If I’m not wrong, you were just about to leave when we arrived. This means that your negotiations are over, and it’s our turn now.”

The two girls stared into each other’s eyes, and intense sparks seemed to fly. Wei Na glanced at Huo Yuhao rather apologetically, and then she turned towards Xu Jiujiu.

Did Huo Yuhao deliberately plan this meeting? Actually, he didn’t. Huo Yuhao had guessed Mu Xue’s status, and he had tried to find out more about the Heavenly Soul Empire when he was still at the Tang Sect. The Heavenly Soul Empire also shared a border with the Sun Moon Empire, and their situation wasn’t that much better than the Star Luo Empire, while their national strength was actually far inferior. It was likely that the Heavenly Soul Empire would be in much more danger.

Huo Yuhao had been investigating further through Shrek City’s intelligence agency when he realized to his surprise that the gentle and beautiful girl, Wei Na, was the Heavenly Soul Empire’s princess. Even though her status still couldn’t compare to Xu Jiujiu’s status in the Star Luo Empire, she was still a princess.

Chapter 277: Regent Concubine

Huo Yuhao let Na Na observe everyone in the lobby who came to register. She realized there wasn’t anything difficult about Mu Xue and Wei Na. As a result, she sent a letter that came from the Tang Sect, along with a storage-type soul tool containing a Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon and Sealed Milk Bottle over.

No matter how intelligent Huo Yuhao was, he couldn’t possibly manipulate time so well that both parties would meet. It might even not be a good thing for them to meet. That was why he was also very helpless.

Xiu Jiujiu suddenly turned her gaze to Huo Yuhao, “Tell me, what do we do?”

Huo Yuhao looked at both parties, and everyone’s attention was drawn to him. After thinking for a moment, he said, “I’ll need everyone to suffer here in my humble abode for a while. I’m clear on your goals. Let’s do it this way. Since both parties representing the Star Luo Empire and Heavenly Soul Empire are here, we’ll carry out an open discussion. Both of you are Tang Sect clients, and we’ll do our best to be fair. What do the two of you think?”

“Wait a minute.” Xu Jiujiu interrupted Huo Yuhao suddenly. At such a timing, she revealed her strong character. “Huo Yuhao, let’s follow the price that we agreed on earlier. However, we’ll need to take priority. I won’t bargain with you either, but this sum of money is too astronomical. If you need it, we can make an exchange with some rare metals totaling to the same value.”

Huo Yuhao’s eyes brightened. To him, rare metals were better than gold soul coins. What he said before wasn’t a lie. More than seventy percent of the rare metals in the continent had been taken by the Sun Moon Empire and stored for potential use in a war. Even the Illustrious Virtue Hall had to seek approval from the imperial family and military if they wanted to use some for research.

If the Star Luo Empire could retrieve some rare metals to exchange for the cannons, it would undoubtedly be great for the future development of the Tang Sect’s Soul Tool Hall. However, Huo Yuhao didn’t rush to agree at this moment. After everything that he had been through, his mindset had transformed greatly. He was calmer in dealing with things.

“Priority? Sister Jiujiu.” Wei Na called softly.

Xu Jiujiu twisted her head to look at her and revealed an apologetic look. She said, “Wei Na, I won’t hide it from you since we are all here for a reason. We are under great pressure from the Sun Moon Empire. It concerns the survival of the empire. While we are good sisters, there are some things that I can’t give in to you on.”

Wei Na nodded gently and said, “I understand. Huo Yuhao, the Heavenly Soul Empire is willing to increase our bid by ten percent. We want priority.”

Huo Yuhao was in a momentary daze. He didn’t expect her to be so decisive. Furthermore, the purchasing price of the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon and Sealed Milk Bottle wasn’t small. She actually initiated an increase in her bid. This wasn’t just about how bold she was. It also signified her position in the Heavenly Soul Empire. Xu Jiujiu was also stunned for a moment. After that, she looked  dismal  as  she  said.  “Wei  Na,  you  are  very  good  at concealing yourself!”

Wei  Na  smiled  and  appeared  as  gentle  as  before,  “Sister Jiujiu, you are right. There are some things that I can’t help if I’m representing my empire. I just hope this doesn’t affect our relationship.”

Xu Jiujiu gritted her teeth. In terms of wealth, the Star Luo Empire wasn’t inferior to the Heavenly Soul Empire. However, would the increase in bids stop if they continued like this? After the experiments, she was determined to get these two soul tools that could greatly increase the fighting strength of the empire’s military. What should she do? This was a question that popped up in Xu Jiujiu’s head.

“Hmph!” A cold snort caused the temperature in the room to dip. A strong aura spread from the Starcloud Douluo Yi Man and suppressed the people from the Heavenly Soul Empire. Mo Feiyun, who was standing at the front, subconsciously retreated and unleashed his soul rings as he was pressured. Even though Mo Feiyun was already an eight-ringed Soul Douluo, his face still turned serious against a Titled Douluo. Princess Jiujiu was shocked too. Just as she was about to stop the Starcloud Douluo, a cold aura spread from Wei Na’s body. The temperature in the entire room dipped significantly, and a majestic aura surged. The Starcloud Douluo’s expression changed, and she quickly blocked Princess Jiujiu.

There was one more person beside Wei Na. This person’s body was engulfed by a deep blue cloak, and thus it was difficult to see what she looked like. However, it was possible to tell that she was a lady.

The aura came from her body. It swallowed the aura that the Starcloud Douluo unleashed. How strong was it?

“Transcendent Douluo?” Man Yi’s expression turned dismal. Even she didn’t realize when this person had entered the room. This showed that there was a gap in their cultivations. This gap also signified that she couldn’t challenge this person. There was only one possibility – that person was a Transcendent Douluo. As Wei Na lifted her right hand, the aura retracted, and  she  sighed.  “Sister  Jiujiu,  do  we  have  to  do  this?  We shouldn’t be opponents.” Xu Jiujiu also sighed and said, “We were reckless. I apologize. Alright, I’ll follow your raise. We’ll add ten percent to our bid too.”

“Ladies, please don’t do this.” Huo Yuhao suddenly made his move.

The two ladies looked at him at the same time. They didn’t appear very friendly as they looked at him. Adding another ten percent to their bids made the price of the soul tools even more costly! Whichever empire purchased the soul tools would experience a fall in their wealth.

“Ladies, please hear me out.” Huo Yuhao said.

“I don’t need either of you to raise the price.”  Huo Yuhao’s words dissolved some of the enmity between the two ladies.

“The Tang Sect requires money and resources to grow. We don’t belong to any empire, but we don’t want lives to be lost because of a war. We are also part of the continent, and we have a common enemy. I hope that our appearance can help the Star Luo, Heavenly Soul and Dou Ling empires, and not cause a rift. That’s why we won’t raise the price of the soul tools to increase the burden on any empire.”

As he spoke until here, he turned his attention to Xu Jiujiu and said, “Princess Jiujiu, I’m very sorry that the two of you met. I really didn’t know Princess Wei Na was coming. It’s really just a coincidence. Since both of you are here, however, allow me to say that competing will only lead to greater problems and allow our common enemy to succeed. Let’s do it this way. You can use whatever gold soul coins and alloys you have to exchange for the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon. With sufficient resources, our production can increase. I promise to supply ten sets of Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannons and Sealed Milk Bottles every month. This number will increase once every month to meet your demands. I’ll give both empires priority. I’ll supply both of your empires before I supply any other partners in the future. That’s because both your empires are our first line of defense against the Sun Moon Empire. I think this is the best way to settle the problem.”

This fellow! The unfriendly look in Xu Jiujiu’s eyes disappeared. Although she wasn’t pleased with this, she appreciated Huo Yuhao’s rejection of a price increase and attempt to resolve their conflict. At least he understood what was important. Mu Xue furrowed her brow, “Ten sets, isn’t that too little? Why don't you set an asking price, and we’ll buy the blueprints for these two soul tools? We’ll try to satisfy your asking price for these two soul tools.”

She was very bold! It seemed like Mu Xue wasn’t ordinary either. Huo Yuhao thought for a moment, but then immediately shook his head and said, “Apologies, it involves secrets of the Tang Sect. We definitely can’t sell our techniques. Ten sets is a conservative estimate. From what I know, each of the Sun Moon Empire’s Soul Engineering Divisions is equipped with around a hundred long-range cannons. They are around the standard of Class 4 soul cannons. There are less than ten cannons that are of a Class 6 standard. Although I’m not really sure, I believe there are no more than ten such divisions. This also means that it will only take one year for your empires to build up pretty strong defenses given our current rate of supply.”

Xu Jiujiu snorted and said, “How is it so simple? The Sun Moon Empire isn’t just about those few soul engineering divisions.”

Huo Yuhao replied, “Alright, I am really not sure how strong they are. However, what do the two of you think about my proposition? This is the best resolution I can find for now.”

Xu Jiujiu looked at Wei Na, and discovered that Wei Na was looking back at her. After pondering for a while, both princesses nodded their heads without hesitation.

“It’s a deal.”

“It’s a deal.” Huo Yuhao also revealed a smile on his face. Of course, he was clear that this matter wasn’t just so simple. These two princesses weren’t ordinary people!

“Let’s sign a contract then.”  Xu Jiujiu knew exactly not to take things as they were. Wei Na’s actions earlier had already put her on alert.

They took some time to discuss the details of the contact before they finished, which took around two hours.

One of the most important clauses was that the Star Luo and Heavenly Soul Empires couldn’t contact the Tang Sect privately and go against the contract. Whenever either party purchased soul tools from Tang Sect, they had to inform the other party. The Tang Sect also had to prioritize both empires whenever they were selling new types of soul tools. If the Tang Sect could produce a sufficient number of Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannons and Sealed Milk Bottles, they had to supply both empires as best they could. 
When the room was finally quiet again, Huo Yuhao’s eyes were already filled with fatigue.

Wang Dong’er carried him to his bed and gave him a simple massage.

“I’d rather compete and face a strong opponent than negotiate with them,” Wang Dong’er sighed. “You must be very tired, Yuhao.”

Huo Yuhao nodded lightly and said, “This is what the Tang Sect has to go through in order to develop. Not only have we received our most important order, but we have also developed a greater understanding of the management of both empires at the highest level.”

Wang Dong’er lowered her voice and said, “Do you know what Princess Jiujiu referred to when she mentioned the strength of the Sun Moon Empire?” Huo Yuhao lowered slightly and said, “I can roughly guess. It should be the advanced-level soul engineers and soul tools. Truly strong soul tools will not be given to the soul engineering teams. Although Xu Jiujiu didn’t mention it, I can tell from her expression that it’s something scary.”

Wang Dong’er nodded and revealed a lost look. She said, “Yuhao, do you think a war is really coming? What should we do then?”

Huo Yuhao squinted and said, “We can’t avoid a war. I only want to protect the people around me. If my body has recovered by the time the war starts, then I will…”

------

To every empire, the tournament was very prestigious. It was held once every five years, and the host would alternate between the four empires. It wasn’t easy to host the tournament.

Although the Sun Moon Empire’s proposed change to the tournament regulations received resistance from many sects and academies on the continent, it eventually still passed. There was a simple reason why the Sun Moon Empire didn’t restrict the difficulty of the tournament.

As soul tools continued to develop, future battles would be a challenge of soul masters and soul engineers’ control of soul tools. If one couldn’t excel in this area, how could he be called an elite?

Although this was an advantage for the Sun Moon Empire, every rational person had to admit it was true. The Sun Moon Empire wasn’t wrong.

Finally, the tournament was about to begin.

No matter what games were played between the Sun Moon Empire and the various parties involved in the tournament, the empire decided to hold the tournament in a vast plain at the outskirts. This was a good thing for the empire. They could accommodate more spectators in this way.

The lot-drawing ceremony was held on the eve of the tournament. Xu Sanshi was the one who represented the Tang Sect for the lot-drawing ceremony. There were a total of one hundred and sixty-seven competing teams. The fortunate team that drew an empty lot didn’t have to compete in the first round of the tournament. Xu Sanshi’s luck wasn’t so good, and thus Tang Sect still had to compete in the first round. The empire decided to give the empty lot to Shrek Academy, and thus Wang Qiu’er’s team managed to proceed to the next round. They were awarded twelve full points.

No one raised any objections to this preferential treatment. After all, Shrek Academy was an established academy in this tournament. This was what they deserved.

------

Morning...

As the first ray of sunlight shone from the east, the streets of Radiant City were already greeted with a weird scene.

Soldiers clad in silver armor stood in two long parallel rows. They extended from the doors of the Ming Yue Hotel all the way to an unknown destination. The path they formed was also restricted from public access, and everyone was asked to stay thirty meters away from this path.

Radiant City could hold more people than Star Luo City, so the empire had activated a large portion of its military to maintain order. This arrangement alone required more than twenty thousand soldiers! There was a very austere aura in the air of the streets.

---

Everyone from the Tang Sect had already prepared in the morning. Bei Bei was in better shape, but he still couldn’t walk. He didn’t have too many instructions regarding today’s competition. However, Huo Yuhao still went to his room in the early morning.

“Eldest senior, are you feeling better?” Huo Yuhao asked the pale-looking Bei Bei.

“Oh, I’m much better. With my healing speed, I should be able to compete in ten days.” Bei Bei smiled as he spoke. He had already regained his elegant composure. 
Huo Yuhao said, “We are going to compete. Eldest senior, do you have any instructions for us?”

Bei Bei shook his head and said, “What’s there to instruct? I believe in all of you. Go! This time, we are fighting for the Tang Sect’s glory and ourselves! While we are still young, it’s time for us to shine. I’m waiting for all of you to return victorious!”

“Definitely!” Huo Yuhao nodded forcefully.

With Wang Dong’er’s help, everyone from Tang Sect put on some light makeup. This didn’t change their appearance too much. However, there were slight changes to everyone’s facial features, even on closer observation. Along with their own development, it was difficult for others to tell that they were the Shrek’s Seven Monsters that had once created miracles in the last tournament. Of course, this would only last until they demonstrated their powers in this tournament. After all, they couldn’t conceal their martial souls.

Huo Yuhao still wanted Ji Juechen, Jing Ziyan, and Na Na to stay and take care of Bei Bei. However, Bei Bei didn’t let him do so. No one wanted to miss such a great event! 
As Ji Juechen and Jing Ziyan were already more than twenty, they could only tag along as ‘teachers’. Everyone from the Tang Sect changed into the same warrior robes.

Their warrior robes were specially designed. There were silver embroidered lines on their white warrior robes, and these lines eventually gathered at the back, forming the words Tang Sect.

---

Although there was a thirty meters restriction on the public, there were still many people who gathered to watch the competing teams as they exited the hotel.

When the Tang Sect team appeared, they immediately caused a huge uproar.

“Eh, look at this. This team is so weird! Why is there someone in a wheelchair? Is he allowed to compete in a wheelchair?” “Tang Sect? It seems like a sect. Has anyone heard of them before?”

“They seem to be an ancient sect. However, I heard that they’ve already collapsed. They’ve even sent a team with a cripple. Haha, this is funny! Can a cripple also be considered an elite?”

No one from the Tang Sect bothered with the commotion. Since Huo Yuhao dared to come in a wheelchair, he of course expected all this to happen. His abilities were the best way he could shut their mouths.

Huo Yuhao shut his eyes as he sat in the wheelchair. However, his spiritual power followed the path and extended forward into the distance. He was sensing the conditions of all the teams that had come to compete in this tournament, and sent this information to his teammates.

Huo Yuhao was already getting used to his disability. He had also discovered that this wasn’t really a bad thing for him. While his abilities were restricted, being disabled also made him more reliant on his spiritual power. Over this short period of time, Huo Yuhao had already begun to grasp many concepts that helped him to evolve his Purple Demon Eyes and the spiritual level of his concrete-immaterial realm. He was starting to use his spiritual-type abilities more and more efficiently.

There were more than two thousand people from the one hundred and sixty-seven teams. All of them left Radiant City.

---

The tournament venue was on the outskirts of the city. Once they passed the buildings in the city, they could see it from afar.

Right now, the area was crowded with people, with more than thirty thousand soldiers maintaining order. The crowd was divided into different regions, segregated from the grandeur of the main arena. To the north, there was a high platform made that looked like it could accommodate a thousand people.

The platform was more than ten meters high, and more than a hundred meters across. The wide platform shone with a silvery-white glow, and appeared to be made from metal. Even though it was just a platform, it was an extremely huge one! There weren’t any seams or breaks in it at all.

The weird thing was that there seemed to be a groove around the platform. There was a transparent barrier stained with dim yellow that rose into the sky coming out of that groove. The ends of the barrier couldn’t be seen. How high did one’s soul power have to be to support this barrier!?

Furthermore, it was possible to tell this was different from the last tournament. At least, no one could be struck off the stage and end up as a loser so easily. One had to completely defeat their opponent to win.

Beside the platform, there were huge soul screens extending a hundred meters from the center of the tournament stage. These soul screens were held in the air by tall scaffolding, and every screen was more than twenty square meters in size. Only the Sun Moon Empire possessed such soul tool techniques!

There were more than a hundred such screens set up around the tournament stage! 
The resting area was on the east side of the stage, and was divided into two regions. The region closer to the stage was a pergola, and could hold close to twenty teams. The rest were just chairs that weren’t shaded. These chairs were lined up in a row to the sides of the pergola, slightly behind it.

From how the Sun Moon Empire hosted this tournament, their attention to detail reflected their superiority. The resting area with the pergola was undoubtedly left for the more prestigious academies and sects.

---

After registering at the registration point and providing the administrative details for the tournament, the Tang Sect team was led to a region with all wooden benches. It was even in a dilapidated corner.

Everyone from the Tang Sect looked very gloomy upon being awarded such poor treatment. Xiao Xiao and Jiang Nannan were also furious. 
“This is too much!” Xiao Xiao hissed furiously.

He Caitou comforted her by patting her shoulders and smiled, but he didn’t say anything.

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “This is nothing much. I’ll use my abilities to tell them that they are wrong. That’ll be enough, right?”

The sun had already risen at this point. As rays of sunlight shone on everyone from the east, every competitor seemed to be layered with gold. There were simply too many competing teams, and it took a whole hour for every team to settle down. The rapturous cheers from the public could also be heard in the distance.

Huo Yuhao was jolted suddenly, and turned in a certain direction. It was an extremely mysterious team. Zhang Peng was leading them, and there was a group of people behind him. They were all in black warrior robes, and wore headdresses with veils. These veils concealed their appearances. There was a lady with an excellent figure behind Zhang Peng. A weird aura was coming from her that seemed as if it were drawing all light towards her. When Huo Yuhao’s spiritual power got close to her, it was distorted and unable to get within a foot of her. Naturally, he couldn’t use his Spiritual Detection on her.

Tang Ya was following behind this lady. Even though Tang Ya was wearing a veil, Huo Yuhao could still tell that it was her.

The Holy Ghost Church? Huo Yuhao squinted. It was indeed them! The Holy Ghost Church was here to compete!

Teacher Xiao Ya, what should I do if I meet you in the tournament?!

Who was the lady in front of her? Her abilities were very weird. However, Huo Yuhao found the sense of distortion vaguely familiar for some reason.

Zhang Peng stopped in his tracks just as he was about to proceed towards the pergola. He turned around and faced Huo Yuhao. Huo Yuhao quickly retracted his spiritual power. Even though his spiritual cultivation was great, his soul power cultivation was still limited. Since Zhang Peng was a Transcendent Douluo, there were many ways he could deal with Huo Yuhao.

Zhang Peng scanned him with a cold look before he led the men in black towards the pergola.

Huo Yuhao saw a few familiar faces after this. There was the Star Luo National Academy’s team led by Princess Jiujiu, as well as the team with Mu Xue and Wei Na. They didn’t seem to be from any academy of the Heavenly Soul Empire. From their uniforms, they seemed more likely to have come from a sect. Mo Feiyun was the one leading the team. However, the Transcendent Douluo that had appeared the previous day did not make an appearance.

Apart from these few teams, there were many unfamiliar faces, especially those sects that had rushed out from the various other empires on the continent. Huo Yuhao knew nothing about them. He could only use his Spiritual Detection to observe and ascertain their cultivations. “Look. What is that?” Jiang Nannan’s voice caught Huo Yuhao’s attention.

A company of special soldiers were proceeding over quickly from the north of the main stage. These soldiers were wearing golden warrior robes, but they weren’t equipped with any weapons. With Huo Yuhao’s vision, he could even read their expressions clearly. These golden-clothed guards were all at least thirty years old. They all restrained their expressions, but there were definitely soul power undulations coming from them. There were around five hundred of them, but they didn’t make a sound as they proceeded over. As the sun shone down on them, they glittered, and were almost blinding.

These soldiers quickly dispersed as they reached the foot of the main stage, surrounding the entire stage. Around fifty of them stood in position without moving. As metal clanging sounds were heard, they brandished soul cannons and pointed the cannons outward. The rest of the soldiers also unleashed different types of soul tools and entered a weird formation. At least ten of the heavy cannons caught Huo Yuhao’s attention. He could tell that they were at least Class 7 soul tools!

He Caitou told everyone, “Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Division. This is one of the true core strengths of the Sun Moon Empire.”

“Oh?  How  many  of  them  are  there,  second  senior?”  Huo Yuhao suddenly recalled what his and He Caitou’s identities were. He looked over towards He Caitou.

He Caitou was also looking back at him. He didn’t seem as simple as before anymore. His eyes were flashing with a radiant glow.

“There are only a thousand people in the division. Half of them are here now. They are all at least Class 5 soul engineers, equipped with the best soul tools. Their leader is a Class 9 soul engineer, and only accepts orders from the Emperor himself. They are the trump card of all trump cards. Their importance to the imperial family is only inferior to the Imperial Shrine.”

“Isn’t  the  Emperor  seriously  ill?  Has  he  recovered?”  Huo Yuhao was stunned.

At this point, a group of people arrived. They were escorted by the Soul Engineering Division on chariots and horses to the main stage. There was a small imperial chariot pulled by thirty-two horses. There were also many guards and officials decked in luxurious court wear behind this chariot.

The chariot stopped in front of the main stage. Two maids pulled open curtains embroidered with silver lotuses, and a wheelchair was pushed out. There was a handsome youth in the wheelchair.

“It’s him!” Huo Yuhao was stunned to see that it wasn’t the Emperor coming out from the chariot. It was the Crown Prince, Xu Tianran!

Only the Emperor could sit in such a chariot! Since Xu Tianran dared to sit in this chariot, everyone knew what it signified.

Following this, Huo Yuhao focused his attention again. He saw that the person pushing the wheelchair was Ju Zi.

Ju Zi was still as beautiful as ever, her complexion even more delicate now. Compared to before, her beautiful eyes had a more dignified look, and she was extremely elegant, like a queen. 
There was one person walking beside Ju Zi... Jing Hongchen. He was an extremely powerful Class 9 soul engineer who held a respected status in the Sun Moon Empire.

“Greetings to Prince Regent and Regentess.”  Aside from the Soul Engineering Division, all the officials present knelt down and greeted Xu Tianran.

Regent? It seemed like the Sun Moon Empire’s Emperor wasn’t dead yet...

Regentess? Ju Zi, Ju Zi, she actually… Indescribable emotions filled Huo Yuhao’s heart and made him short of breath. She has married him and become his legitimate wife? Ju Zi, why are you doing this just for revenge?

A smooth and delicate hand reached out for Huo Yuhao’s shoulder. Huo Yuhao turned around and saw Wang Dong’s clear, powdery-blue eyes.

“I’m fine.” Huo Yuhao gently shook his head. Wang Dong’er smiled and said, “It’s great that you are fine.” As she said that, she grabbed Huo Yuhao’s right hand.

Huo Yuhao’s sadness slightly dissipated when he felt Wang Dong’er’s soft palm. Perhaps it wasn’t love between him and Ju Zi, but they were definitely more than ordinary friends. He would definitely be happy for Ju Zi if she could find a good spouse. However, would she be happy with someone like Xu Tianran?

Furthermore, Xu Tianran was an aggressive person. Once he ruled the Sun Moon Empire, the war might really come soon!

Right now, he couldn’t help but think of what Ju Zi said before; if there was a day that they met on the battlefield...

Just as Huo Yuhao was overthinking things, Ju Zi had already pushed Xu Tianran into a soul elevator. Jing Hongchen and four elders followed him into the elevator. As the elevator rose, everyone could see the regent. Their cheers started to ring out. This Crown Prince was actually able to win the hearts of the people! The officials couldn’t follow him up the elevator. They used the stairs to one side of the main stage to ascend.

Xu Tianran’s arrival also meant that the tournament was about to begin.

Ju Zi pushed Xu Tianran to the center of the main stage. She didn’t sit down, but stood beside him. Since she didn’t sit, the officials who were panting after climbing the stairs also didn’t dare to sit, and could only remain standing.

Xu Tianran nodded at Ju Zi, who then slowly walked forward to a sound amplifying soul tool. Her moving voice soon rang out to everyone.

“Silence.”  A low voice sounded, and a strong suppression filled the entire place. After the voice sounded, everyone felt that everything in front of them had turned dark. Even their breathing sped up. Any commotions disappeared after it spoke. The entire tournament venue turned silent instantly, to the point where even a dropped pin would ring out. What abilities did she have? How was she able to exert such terrifying suppression? She had used her own strength to terrorize more than hundred thousand people! Was this really achievable by a soul master?

Huo Yuhao was horrified, and he blurted out almost instantly,  “Darkness  Holy  Dragon,  Dragon  Emperor  Douluo Long Xiaoyao!”

Chapter 278: First Battle

Others might be unfamiliar with that voice, but he was extremely familiar with it. It sounded old, yet was filled with might. The owner of this voice was the one who had intercepted him back then and left Elder Xuan terrified.

He was the Dragon Emperor Douluo Long Xiaoyao; a Rank 99 Ultimate Douluo, and the only one left from the Twin Holy Dragons of Black and White.

He was actually here, and had personally paid a visit to boost the Sun Moon Empire’s presence. Huo Yuhao was now certain that the Holy Ghost Church and Sun Moon Empire were very close with each other.

Ju Zi cleared her throat at this moment. Her moving voice resonated through the sound-amplifying soul tool, and everyone heard her. If Long Xiaoyao’s voice was a demonstration of his strength, Ju Zi’s voice was a demonstration of the Sun Moon Empire’s cutting-edge technology. “Citizens of the Sun Moon Empire and distinguished guests from afar, I’m here to welcome all of you on behalf of the Prince Regent! At the same time, I announce on his behalf that the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament has officially begun!”

Her opening speech was very straightforward. She didn’t ramble about superfluous stuff. That was Xu Tianran’s style. Everything was about one’s abilities. To him, talking more was only a big waste of time.

“Long live the Prince Regent.” The citizens of the Sun Moon Empire knelt down towards Xu Tianran, the likely successor of the current Emperor.

Xu Tianran continued to wear a smile on his face as he sat in his wheelchair. He reached out his right hand towards Ju Zi.

Ju Zi placed her right hand on his palm before sitting beside him as she leaned on him. She wore a light smile on her face.

Xu Tianran patted her hand and didn’t say anything. He gazed calmly at the tournament stage below. 
“My beloved subjects, take a seat,”  Xu Tianran said calmly. The officials only dared to sit at this point. Every seat was tagged according to their statuses in the empire, so they couldn’t sit in the wrong seat.

The person sitting on the other side of Xu Tianran wasn’t Jing Hongchen. It was a middle-aged man wearing a long black robe with golden sleeves. This person was expressionless, and had a pale look on his face. The weird thing was that there seemed to be a hazy layer around his face, and it wasn’t possible to see his face clearly. Jing Hongchen was sitting on the other side of Ju Zi.

“The  tournament  rules  and  regulations  will  be  read  out now,”  a sonorous voice sounded. After this, the tournament’s rules and regulations were read out. They were unchanged from the instruction booklets disseminated to every team.

---

After the reading was done, an elder walked up to the sound- amplifying  soul  tool  and  said  loudly,  “First  battle  of  the preliminary round: Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy against the Dragonslayer Sect. The members of both teams, please proceed to the waiting area.”

The waiting area was a special region in front of the pergola. Seven chairs were placed on each side, and the two rows of chairs were separated by a horizontal distance of twenty meters.

Huo Yuhao revealed a smile on his face. No wonder Shrek Academy was given the empty lot. It was on purpose!

According to the tournament rules, the first battle should involve the current title holders. Since Shrek Academy was given the empty lot, the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy would replace their spot, as they were the runners-up of the previous tournament. This was undoubtedly a trick played by the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy.

Very soon, Huo Yuhao saw someone familiar. Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen were in front, and behind them were five young soul masters that he had never seen before. They directly entered the waiting area. The unfortunate Dragonslayer Sect also sent seven members into the waiting area. However, Huo Yuhao was surprised that the seven members from the Dragonslayer Sect were very confident. They weren’t fearful because their opponents were the runners-up in the previous tournament. They were quite imposing!

However, Huo Yuhao didn’t know that most sects didn’t look up to academies. After all, the instructors and students in academies were limited by time. Apart from some special cases, the students from academies and disciples from sects were vastly different.

A disciple remained in their sect for his entire life. For most sects with rich histories and legacies, they had something special about them.

In the first Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournaments, sects had been included. However, they were subsequently removed for some reason. The Dragonslayer Sect was a sect that had a legacy of more than ten thousand years. They came from the Heavenly Soul Empire, and were a traditional soul master sect. They discriminated against soul tools, and were scornful towards the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy’s team. They didn’t think they were going to lose.

“Referee, please enter the stage. The first competitor for each side, please enter the stage too,”  the elder who was emceeing instructed them.

Huo Yuhao compared this tournament with the last one. Although he didn’t want to admit it, he was certain that he preferred this edition of the tournament more. It was simpler, less flowery, and more practical for fighting. This was the true meaning of a tournament! It was a way to increase the sparring, interaction, and learning between soul masters and soul engineers.

The referee was an elder more than fifty years old. It was impossible to tell his cultivation before he unleashed his martial soul. The first competitor from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy was Meng Hongchen. She was the only one on the team that was inferior to Jing Hongchen, and was the first to compete. This showed how much the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy wanted to win the first battle. This wasn’t just about victory; it concerned the face of the Sun Moon Empire! A young man from the Dragonslayer Sect was first to compete. He had a somewhat special appearance. His head was a little flat, he wasn’t tall, and he looked a little thick. His palms were extremely large. As he opened them wide beside his body, they looked like fans.

At this point, the spectators maintained their silence. They hadn’t recovered from the Dragon Emperor Douluo’s suppression, as only a short period of time had passed.

“In this individual elimination round, I will decide who’s the winner once either of you loses your fighting strength, or concedes defeat. You must not harm your opponent. Understand?” the referee instructed both parties.

“Yes.”    The   youth   representing   the   Dragonslayer   Sect appeared full of energy. After acknowledging the referee’s words, he turned around and walked towards his own side. He didn’t even carry out the formalities. According to the rules, both parties had to be a hundred meters apart from each other before the fight started. This was fairer to some soul masters and soul engineers who were skilled in long-range attacks. Meng Hongchen had experienced great transformations and become a lady. Her slender figure was proportionate, and she was very charming. Although she wasn’t as good-looking as Wang Dong’er or Jiang Nannan, she was still a beauty. However, the other party didn’t even glance at her before walking away. Meng Hongchen was greatly displeased by his attitude, and a vicious look flashed across her eyes. She snorted and turned to the other side of the stage.

Very soon, both parties were in position.

The referee lifted his right hand high. When his palm swiped down, the first battle of the tournament began.

Bang!

There was a boom that resonated from the youth’s leg just as the referee’s right hand swiped down. The tough, metal floor was dented as he leapt out. His short and stocky body burst towards Meng Hongchen like a fired cannon shell.

While he appeared to look down on Meng Hongchen, he didn’t truly underestimate her. When a soul master fought against a soul engineer, it was important to close the gap. His soul rings lit up as he burst forward. It was easy to tell that he was an assault-type soul master from the power that he unleashed. The sudden burst of strength allowed his cultivation to temporarily rival that of an agility-type soul master.

Two yellow, two purple and one black soul ring – the best combination – lit up on the youth’s body. In this tournament, a five-ringed soul master was considered quite strong. There were only a few six-ringed soul masters and soul engineers from a few outstanding academies.

The Dragonslayer Sect didn’t have a high standing, but they sent a five-ringed Soul King right from the start. This showed how solid their foundation was. The expression of many leaders from the various academies changed when they saw this.

Meng Hongchen didn’t rush forward, and didn’t even retrieve the soul tool that she always used. She walked forward leisurely, and only an icy-blue halo slowly spread from her feet. Two yellow, two purple and two black soul rings slowly rose up, and caused the spectating Dragonslayer Sect team members to change their expressions. 
As sects weren’t allowed to compete in the last tournament, and each edition was five years apart, the Dragonslayer Sect knew very little about the Sun Moon Soul Engineering Academy’s team. They felt that they had bad luck after drawing the previous runners-up, but didn’t think they would lose.

However, they felt pressured when they saw Meng Hongchen’s soul rings. Six rings of the best combination! Was that even possible for soul engineers? There was an age limit of twenty years!

The youth had already reached Meng Hongchen as they were thinking of all this. He was the second strongest member of the Dragonslayer Sect’s team. Furthermore, his fighting style was that he would never retreat! Even when he saw Meng Hongchen’s six soul rings, he wasn’t afraid. His first and third soul rings lit up as he charged her. 
“Moo——” The youth let out a low-pitched groan, and his stocky body suddenly ballooned in size. His increase in size wasn’t proportionate; he only stretched horizontally. A pair of thick, twisted and sharp horns poked out from his shoulders. They were almost two feet long. His muscles were about to tear his shirt and reveal his naked, burly body.

It was his first soul skill, Strength of Barbaric Bull.

The martial soul of this youth was a Charging Bull. It didn’t sound very impressive, but it was one of the top-ranked bull- type martial souls. Although the Strength of Barbaric Bull only came from his first soul ring, it was quite dominant. Not only was it extremely strong and impactful, but it also made him temporarily lose any sensation of pain, and increased his defensive strength greatly. Among all the strengthening skills that came from first soul rings, the Strength of Barbaric Bull was one of the top three, and was even stronger than Dai Yueheng’s White Tiger’s Shield.

His eyes turned blood-red at the same. Two streaks of bloody light shot out from his eyes straight towards Meng Hongchen. Meng Hongchen was given a shock.

Meng Hongchen shuddered in her heart. Not only this, but she also found out that everything around her had seemed to slow down.

There was even a control-type soul skill?

It came from the third soul ring of the Charging Bull, Glare of Barbaric Bull.

He had locked onto his opponent, allowing him to track her while she tried to dodge his attack. At the same time, he slowed her dodging speed.

Compared to academies, sects were much better in some areas. For example, their research in some special martial souls was much better. In every sect, there was a certain martial soul that was passed down from generation to generation. After years of legacy, their research on that specific martial soul would have become very profound. This was something that academies couldn’t compare to. Simply put, the research of academies only scratched the surface, but the research of sects managed to get to the crux. After countless attempts, they found the most suitable martial soul that they could pass down for generations.

This was the case for this youth from the Dragonslayer Sect. His Strength of Barbaric Bull and Glare of Barbaric Bull came from soul rings that were the most suitable for the Charging Bull. They were also soul rings that formed the best combination.

However, he felt a chill as he burst into the icy-blue region.
He actually shivered, and slowed slightly.

At this point, he was already very close to Meng Hongchen. There wasn’t any time for him to think, and thus he continued his charge towards Meng Hongchen.

Meng Hongchen smiled and blew gently towards his direction. Her first and third soul rings lit up at the same time, causing the smooth, icy surface beneath their feet to extend. The youth’s sharp horns were already in front of Meng Hongchen. It was a coincidence, but his horns were directly in front of Meng Hongchen’s chest because he wasn’t very tall.

Meng Hongchen looked a little vexed, and in the next instant, she appeared behind the youth.

His body flashed past Meng Hongchen quickly, and he didn’t manage to strike her. However, he managed to stop himself from instantly using his Glare of Barbaric Bull before he turned around and burst towards Meng Hongchen again.

However, two Meng Hongchens appeared on the icy surface. His Glare of Barbaric Bull tried to lock onto both figures, but it lost its effect instantly. He was stunned.

This was Meng Hongchen’s third soul skill, Ice Reflection. The figure that she reflected looked exactly like her. Through various reflections, she kept on conjuring projections of herself. As a result, she then gave the youth the feeling that three of her had appeared even though his Glare of Barbaric Bull was still locked onto her body, as she kept on changing her position using her soul skill. Another intense chill engulfed his body. The youth revealed a look of horror, and his fifth soul ring lit up without any hesitation.

It was a pity that it was too late. Compared to five years ago, Meng Hongchen’s Icetoad Venom was even stronger now. Furthermore, she wasn’t simply at Rank 61 now that she possessed six soul rings!

A layer of blue spread across the youth’s face. Before his fifth soul ring even lit up, he groaned and trembled before he collapsed to the floor.

All the other competing members from the Dragonslayer Sect in the waiting area all stood up suddenly. They couldn’t believe the scene in front of them. They didn’t understand what was going on.

The light from Meng Hongchen’s soul rings retracted, and she lifted her chin arrogantly. She turned to the referee and said, “I’ve won. Next competitor please.” After saying this, she retrieved a Milk Bottle to restore her soul power. In this individual elimination round, there weren’t any rules that stated she couldn’t use soul tools to aid her recovery. 
The referee rushed to the youth and checked his condition. He nodded at Meng Hongchen after ascertaining that her opponent had completely lost his fighting strength.

“You’ve won, but your martial soul is poison-type. Please help him neutralize the poison to prevent endangering his life.” The referee said.

Meng Hongchen twisted her lips and said, “Referee, have you forgotten? There’s still the team round later.” Yes! According to the rules, no substitutions could be made in the team round after the individual elimination round was over. This also meant that the members in the waiting area had to compete in the team round.

The referee furrowed his brow and said, “However, his life will be in danger if this continues.”

Meng Hongchen shouted towards the waiting area where the Dragonslayer Sect’s team members were, “Promise me that he won’t compete in the team battle, and I’ll help him neutralize the poison.” Poison!

The rest of the Dragonslayer Sect team only now understood how Meng Hongchen managed to defeat her opponent. They all looked at one another. Eventually, they focused their attention on one person. It was a tall and huge youth, who was also their team leader for this tournament.

“Please neutralize the poison. He won’t compete in the team round  later.”   This  team  leader  didn’t  hesitate  at  all,  and immediately made his decision. Of course, that was because none of them specialized in neutralizing poison or were healing-type soul masters.

Meng Hongchen squatted down without hurry and pressed her hand on the youth’s chest. She sucked back her Icetoad Venom.

Wang Dong’er said to Huo Yuhao softly in the resting area, “Meng Hongchen’s abilities have increased significantly!”

Huo Yuhao said, “After two years of exchange, they have learned something from Shrek Academy. Did you interact with the two siblings? What standard has Meng Hongchen’s abilities reached?”

Wang Dong’er twisted her mouth and said, “I did interact quite a fair bit with Meng Hongchen. However, it’s because she harassed me every day. I don’t know what rank her soul power is. She conceals her abilities very well. However, I estimate that her cultivation is above mine. The two of them already had five rings five years ago. I’m sure they are above Rank 65 right now.”

“Harass you?”  Huo Yuhao’s expression turned weird, “My Dong’er is a male and a ladykiller! Impressive, impressive. If you meet her, you can trap her with your beauty.”

Wang Dong’er blushed. “I didn’t…”

Huo Yuhao chortled and changed the topic. He said, “As a soul engineer, Meng Hongchen used the methods of soul masters to win the fight. This shows how confident she is in her own cultivation. Her opponent wasn’t weak either. His martial soul and soul skills are quite strong. I used my Spiritual Detection to sense the youth from the Dragonslayer Sect. He has invigorating qi. With strengthening skills, he managed to resist Meng Hongchen’s venom for some time. He might have caused some trouble for her if he used his strongest soul skill immediately. These sect teams are indeed quite extraordinary! This edition of the tournament will be quite cracking.”

Meng Hongchen’s dominance cast a shadow over the Dragonslayer Sect. The second to compete was a thin and tall youth. When he stood in front of Meng Hongchen, he looked at her with a more cautious look.

The referee repeated the rules again. This Dragonslayer Sect competitor took the initiative to say, “Dragonslayer Sect. Feng Shèn.”

“Feng Shén?” Meng Hongchen was stunned.

Feng Shen’s lips moved slightly, and he replied, “It’s Feng Shèn, not Feng Shén.”

Meng Hongchen twisted her lips and said, “It’d be best if you were called Feng Shén. It sounds mightier.”
ED: This is related to tones in CN. Said in the fourth tone (which is said in a higher pitch that falls sharply), Feng Shèn is just a name. However she misheard it in the second tone (said in a rising tone similar to asking a question) as Feng Shén, which literally means ‘Caution’. Hope that this clears up any confusion.

A furious look flashed across Feng Shen’s eyes. “Don’t be too arrogant. Don’t think that you’ll win against me just because you won against my vice team-leader.”

Meng Hongchen threw him a scornful look, “I’ll try. I think he had the same thought as you. He didn’t even touch my sleeves before I defeated him.” Her self-confidence was one of a kind! She wasn’t depleted from the first battle. Furthermore, she took the opportunity to replenish her soul power as the vice team-leader from the Dragonslayer Sect was poisoned. She was basically still in her peak condition right now. Naturally, she wasn’t too bothered by Feng Shen.

Feng Shen nodded at her and walked towards his position expressionlessly.

The two of them quickly drew their distance from each other and went to their respective positions. Everyone watched as the referee lifted his right hand before swiping it down. The second battle began!

As the referee’s hand swiped down, a loud eagle call sounded. Following this, a bolt of dim purplish electricity instantly shot into the sky. It was extremely quick, such that Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection couldn’t even capture it.

It was Feng Shen who had shot into the sky. He was too quick. Two yellow, two purple and one black soul ring shone on his body. Right now, he had already unleashed his soul rings. A pair of deep blue wings that didn’t seem too wide extended from his arms. His entire body released a strong dim purplish glow. In a matter of seconds, he was already thirty meters high in the air, and was far away from Meng Hongchen. 
“It’s   very   targeted!”    Huo   Yuhao   was   stunned   as   he commented. Feng Shen was using speed to curb Meng Hongchen’s venom. Undoubtedly, he had to be very explosive in terms of his offensive power.

Meng Hongchen’s live experience was rather rich. Seeing that her opponent had burst into the sky, she was also shocked. However, she didn’t panic. Her six soul rings lit up. Her Icevenom Ring and Ice Reflection specialty skills were unleashed concurrently.


In mid-air, Feng Shen’s wings flapped open to both sides. His dim purplish glow started to turn darker, and his first and third soul rings shone concurrently. When his first soul ring lit up, his wings also increased one foot in size. The dim purplish glow became increasingly darker.

When his third soul ring lit up, the glow from his body became even more intense. Everything within a ten-meter radius turned purple. Following this, his fifth soul ring lit up, too. The pitch-black soul ring expanded out before converting into rings of light that revolved around his body. His body started to distort, and became a little unclear.

Xu Sanshi, who was sitting beside Huo Yuhao, squinted and said, “He wants to end this battle in one strike!”

Huo Yuhao smiled and asked, “Third senior, what’s your take on this guy’s attack?”

Xu Sanshi replied without any hesitation, “Very strong! From the looks of it, his martial soul should be the Lightning Falcon. The Lightning Falcon has always been recognized as a predator of eagles. It’s an extremely quick martial soul. It’s a third the size of other falcons, but is extremely vicious. It feeds on the internal organs of other falcons. Even an eagle ten times its size is scared of it. It’s not just quick; it’s able to alter its direction at high speed in the air. Among agility-type martial souls, it’s one of the best. Of course, its strengths and weaknesses are evident. I don’t think I need to explain what it’s weakness is with high speed and a quick offense, right? Xiao Xiao and Jiang Nannan said at almost the same time, “Defense!”

Xu Sanshi chuckled and said, “If I were his opponent, he’d collide with my shield and die.”

Jiang Nannan glared at him and snapped, “Would it kill you not to boast?”

Xu Sanshi’s expression turned from arrogant to deep. He was filled with passion as he looked at Jiang Nannan and said, “I won’t die from not boasting. However, I’ll die without you.” As he spoke, he held onto Jiang Nannan’s hand and caressed it.

Jiang Nannan’s face turned red. She made a spitting sound before turning her attention back to the stage. However, she didn’t pull her hand back.

A dim light flashed. Huo Yuhao revealed a pensive look on his face. He was also observing how Meng Hongchen was going to resist the Lightning Falcon’s quick offensive strike. Just like Feng Shen, Meng Hongchen’s weaknesses and strengths were also very evident. Without a doubt, her strength lay in her venom. Even opponents with a greater cultivation than her might find it difficult to win against her. This was the case with Dai Yueheng back then. However, her offensive and defensive strengths weren’t very impressive even though she was poisonous.

Back when she only had five rings, her only true offensive soul skill was her fifth soul skill, Icefire Venomdragon’s Corkscrew, and she had relied on her Ice Reflection as her defensive soul skill. When she faced a domain-type, long-range attack, it was difficult for her to counter.

However, the difference Meng Hongchen had with her opponents was that she wasn’t just a soul master, she was also a soul engineer! Huo Yuhao and the few of them could discern her weaknesses, so she naturally knew what her weaknesses were too, and she relied on soul tools to make up for her weakness. As for what she could do, it wasn’t something that they knew yet. They could only learn by observation.

Feng Shen took quite a long time to prepare his fifth soul skill. As the glow around his body distorted, it slowly disappeared. The dim purplish glow in mid-air slowly turned dark purple. A purple eagle with three-meter-long wings slowly took form.

This resembled a Martial Soul True Body! Meng Hongchen could sense that she was being locked on to. She had no way of differentiating whether her opponent’s attack was domain- type or omnidirectional. Under such an unfavorable circumstance, Meng Hongchen still managed to keep herself poised, and appeared very calm. There were no emotions on her face, and no one knew what she was thinking.

At this point, the purplish figure up in the air finally moved. It formed an arc in the air that came straight towards Meng Hongchen.

He was too quick, and caused a piercing sonic boom as he was halfway there. This only happened because he was traveling almost at the speed of sound!

Meng Hongchen instantly understood that his attack would be omnidirectional. However, he was so quick that it was impossible for her to unleash her Ice Reflection. This terrifying speed was beyond her comprehension. She’d never even seen a seven-ringed Soul Sage reach that speed before. 
The purplish glow appeared right in front of her as it was unleashed and the sonic boom sounded.

However, a dim pinkish glow was suddenly released from Meng Hongchen’s chest. This glow changed into a barrier that blocked her body.

At the most critical moment, she still relied on a soul tool. It was in her nature.

Boom——!

Meng Hongchen’s entire body was swallowed by the frightening purple glow. The tremendous impact caused the metal floor to cave in. Even the icy surface formed by Meng Hongchen’s Ice Reflection started to crack. The strike was truly powerful!

All the spectators held their breath. This strike was too terrifying! Although they knew soul masters were strong, it was very rare for them to personally witness the supernatural abilities of a soul master. The frightening strength of impact generated balls of cyclones that caused ripples in the defensive light barriers surrounding the stage.

Everyone’s attention was caught by the purplish glow. For a Soul King to unleash such a strike, he was close to the standard of a Soul Emperor! In fact, another soul master wouldn’t have given Feng Shen so much time to prepare. He had used too much time to accumulate his power.

Regarding this, the Dragonslayer Sect must have had judged that Meng Hongchen wouldn’t take the initiative to close the gap, and so Feng Shen was instructed to use his strongest attack immediately. Events proved that that they had been right. At least, Feng Shen managed to successfully unleash his strongest strike.

However, had he actually won?

The purple slowly faded away, and two figures appeared in front of everyone. Meng Hongchen was still standing in her initial position, completely unmoved. Her entire body was engulfed by the dim pinkish light barrier. Feng Shen was ten meters away from her, one of his knees on the floor. His arms that had changed into wings had drooped down, as if they had lost a bone, and he was panting hard.

Meng Hongchen hadn’t unleashed an Invincible Barrier, but it seemed like the protective barrier that she had used was at least Class 7! If it were Class 6, she couldn’t possibly remain in her position after suffering such a violent attack.

Plop! Feng Shen collapsed to the ground and went unconscious. After completing his strongest strike, his arms were fractured, and he had also suffered from the Icetoad Venom’s poison.

However, Meng Hongchen also looked to be in bad shape. She didn’t expect her trump card to be revealed to all her opponents. Feng Shen’s attack had been too strong, such that her soul power was depleted by forty percent. She was only able to tap into the backlash of a Class 7 soul tool to gravely hurt her opponent.

This was extremely targeted. If Meng Hongchen only had five rings and didn’t have such a strong defensive soul tool, she would have lost. “We concede defeat. He won’t compete later either. Please neutralize his poison,”  the team leader of the Dragonslayer Sect’s team decided immediately.

Cheers also exploded out at this moment. Meng Hongchen wasn’t just representing the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, she was also representing the Sun Moon Empire! Here, she didn’t have any lack of fans, and she had won two fights consecutively! They were cheering for her victory!

In the succeeding rounds, the Dragonslayer Sect didn’t have anyone that could curb Meng Hongchen. Four people fell to her poison. However, her own soul power was also being increasingly depleted. After all, this was a fight between two teams. Although her cultivation was greater than Rank 65, her soul power was still limited. If not for the fact that her first two opponents were Soul Kings, she wouldn’t have been able to survive more than four rounds.

To prevent her from suffering any injuries, Meng Hongchen conceded defeat when the Dragonslayer Sect’s team leader stepped up to compete. Eventually, she didn’t manage to defeat the entire Dragonslayer Sect’s team. Even so, the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy demonstrated their worth.

Their second competing member was a Soul King and Class 5 soul engineer. As he fought the team leader of the Dragonslayer Sect’s team, he eventually managed to eke out a victory.

The Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy thus became the first side to win the first round of the tournament. They didn’t even compete in the team round, and managed to advance from the first round with six points.

Chapter 279: A Competing Cripple?

Since the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy eliminated all their opponents in the individual elimination round, they had obtained the points needed for the team round, according to the tournament rules. So, they gained eleven points.

The Tang Sect team members had various feelings after they finished watching this first round of battles.

Xu Sanshi looked at the calm Huo Yuhao and softly asked, “Yuhao, who do you think is the best equipped to deal with Meng Hongchen if we face the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy?”

Huo Yuhao chortled and replied, “Of course it’s me.”

Xu Sanshi thought for a moment before saying, “It can only be you. However, she’s not just about her poison. In my opinion, her improvement in the area of soul tools might even surpass her soul master cultivation.” Huo Yuhao said, “That’s for sure. After all, this is only the first round. She has been holding back throughout. Even at the end, she didn’t use her sixth soul skill or any offensive soul tools. I estimate her main soul tools are already at Class 7, and she is using a special production method to reduce their usage requirements. She is the granddaughter of Jing Hongchen, after all.”

Xu Sanshi said, “If we meet them, what do you think our chances are?”

Huo Yuhao smiled and replied, “Eighty percent chance of winning.”

Xu Sanshi was stunned as he asked, “So confident?”

Huo Yuhao chortled, “Of course. We have you. You can defeat half their team on your own.”

Xu Sanshi furrowed his brow and said, “No, no. How can I take on half their team?” Jiang Nannan took a curious look at him and said, “Since when have you learned to be humble?”

Xu Sanshi blinked and said, “What I mean is that I can take on their entire team!”

“Shameless!” Jiang Nannan snapped at him.

“There’s a trumpet in the sky. Who blew it?” Xiao Xiao lifted her head to look at the sky.

He Caitou was sniggering to one side.

“If there’s a chance, I would like to try.” a cold voice sounded from afar. Everyone turned in the direction of this voice.

It was the Sword Fanatic. Ji Juechen’s face was very serious, and his gaze was burning. He seemed like he was about to draw his Judgment Sword to challenge Meng Hongchen to a fight right then and there! ------

The tournament continued. There were too many teams. Even if it was just the first elimination round, there were more than eighty of them. If the schedule wasn’t followed, the planned three days might not even be sufficient to complete the first elimination round.

There were many exciting performances in the first elimination round. Since it was an elimination round, every team gave their best. Some horrifying scenes even occurred. Team after team went up to compete.

Among the familiar teams that Huo Yuhao knew, Wei Na and Mu Xue appeared as part of a sect called the Snowdemon Sect. Wei Na didn’t compete, but Mu Xue demonstrated her extraordinary abilities. She conceded after beating three opponents consecutively. This was to protect herself and keep her available for the team round. Wei Na wasn’t part of the competing team. She was only a spectator.

The fights in the morning stopped at noon. Nine teams had made it to the next round, which also meant that nine teams had been eliminated, and heir journey in this tournament had ended.

The fights in the afternoon carried on until the evening. A total of twenty-six rounds were fought over the course of the day.

There were teams that were vastly different in terms of skill level. However, there wasn’t anyone who defeated an entire team on their own. After all, it was difficult to beat seven people consecutively . Even the weaker teams had at least a few four-ringed Soul Ancestors. Different soul masters had different characteristics. The difficulty level of winning seven consecutive fights was very high.

The Tang Sect team was due to compete on the second day. After watching the first day of fights, all the teams came to a simple conclusion. They picked out some opponents that they had to be wary of and analyzed them.

--- The atmosphere in the Ming Yue Hotel became more tense after the first day of fights, as those who had not competed watched the eliminated teams leave the hotel. Some of the members of these teams had even died tragically during the course of the tournament!

While the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament could make one famous, it could also take one’s life away…

---

The sky was slowly getting dark. After eating their dinner, Wang Dong’er pushed Huo Yuhao back to his room.

Although they hadn’t competed today, it was still tough on Huo Yuhao. Bei Bei was seriously injured, and thus Yuhao had to take on the responsibility of leading the team. He had to unleash his Spiritual Detection to observe his opponents, and had to draw up his conclusions from an entire day’s worth of fights after returning. His mind was tired.

“Dong’er, let’s get a drink!” Huo Yuhao said suddenly. “What?” Wang Dong’er was stunned as she asked, “Are you not tired?”

Huo Yuhao chortled, “I should relax because I’m tired! This was what you taught me.”

Wang Dong’er didn’t reject his proposition, “Alright. However, you must rest once we get our drink. We still have to compete tomorrow.”

Huo Yuhao nodded and replied, “Alright!”

Wang Dong’er pushed him into the soul elevator and took it all the way down to the first story. The sky was already completely dark by now. The hotel was extremely peaceful.

Wang Dong’er pushed his wheelchair down to the lobby, where there were very few people. Furthermore, the lighting in the lobby was dimmed at night. Every spot seemed to have its own privacy. The two of them sat in a corner. They didn’t drink alcohol, so they ordered two glasses of soft drinks.

As she sat on the sofa and sipped on her sweet drink, Wang Dong’er felt much more relaxed. She asked him, “Yuhao, do you want me to carry you to sit on the sofa?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “There’s no need. I feel more comfortable in a wheelchair.”  Although his lower limbs couldn’t move, he still had some feeling. He might feel uncomfortable if he was sitting on something too soft.

Wang Dong’er asked softly, “Are your legs and left arm fine?
It’s been so many days. Have there been any problems?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and smiled. “Am I so weak? Don’t worry, things will be fine. I know my limits. I feel very comfortable hugging you to sleep every night.”

“Naughty!”   Wang  Dong’er  rolled  her  eyes  at  him.  Even though she was dressed as a guy, they were still flirtatious. As she was talking, she looked over to a corner of the lobby. Over there, a figure slowly stood up and walked towards them.

Wang Dong’er glanced at Huo Yuhao. There was a reason why he had come down to have a drink at this time?

This person was getting closer and closer. Wang Dong’er was stunned, and stood up. “Eldest senior sister?”

Was it really Zhang Lexuan? Right now, she was clad in deep blue warrior robes. She didn’t appear very clear, as the lighting was too dim.

Zhang Lexuan nodded at Wang Dong’er. After that, she sat down opposite Huo Yuhao.

Huo Yuhao smiled, “Eldest senior sister, you left a mark for me to meet you. What’s up? We are competitors now.”

Zhang Lexuan smiled back and answered, “So be it. Yuhao, what’s your take after watching today’s fights?” Huo Yuhao laughed bitterly. “What else can I feel? It’s not going to be easy.”

Zhang Lexuan asked, “Even you don’t have any confidence in winning?” Shrek’s Seven Monsters were no longer the preparatory squad members like they were in the previous tournament. Among the seven members, four were Soul Emperors and three were Soul Kings. All of them also had strong martial souls. In terms of their soul engineering abilities, He Caitou and Huo Yuhao weren’t weaker than the students of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, either. Even though Bei Bei was gravely injured and Huo Yuhao was temporarily crippled, their competitive abilities weren’t in question. They were still superior to Shrek Academy’s team.

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “I don’t think anyone is really confident. The situation is very complex. Meng Hongchen almost sank in today’s fight. If not for her strong protective barrier, she would have lost her second fight. The sects are stronger than I had imagined. All of the teams held back on their abilities, since the tournament has only just started. Under such a situation, it’s very hard to tell.”

Zhang Lexuan sighed and said, “Shrek’s pride and glory is likely to end in this tournament. I feel like Elder Xuan shouldn’t have let all of you compete for the Tang Sect.”

Huo Yuhao was stunned, and said, “Isn’t Wang Qiu’er there? Eldest senior sister, you should know how strong she is. In a duel, I don’t have any confidence of beating her even when I’m at my peak condition.”

Zhang Lexuan said, “If Qiu’er was on the same team as all of you, I’d be fully confident. However, Qiu’er will find it difficult on her own.”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “It’s difficult to tell. Qiu’er’s fighting will is much stronger than you imagine. Her abilities are also much stronger than you imagine.”

“Oh? It seems like you understand her very well?”  Zhang Lexuan looked at Wang Dong’er.

Huo Yuhao’s lips moved slightly. “Eldest senior sister, you are picking trouble here!” Zhang Lexuan snapped, “What picking trouble? Guys are the ones who always hurt the hearts of women!”

Huo Yuhao could only laugh bitterly at her words.

Zhang Lexuan also seemed to realize she had gone slightly overboard, and immediately changed the topic. “Yuhao, I have a few things to tell you. We’ve received news that the Body Sect is also in this tournament.”

“What? The Body Sect is also here?”  This news was well beyond Huo Yuhao’s expectations. 
Some time ago, the Body Sect had attacked the Illustrious Virtue Hall and inflicted heavy losses on them. They had also given Huo Yuhao the opportunity to leave with the Snow Lady and the huge human-shaped soul tool. That soul tool had already been given to Xuan Ziwen for research purposes.

This tournament was being organized by the Sun Moon Empire, but the Body Sect actually had the guts to come here. Weren’t they scared of being trapped in the Sun Moon Empire?

Zhang Lexuan said, “Not only are they here to compete, a few of the senior members of the sect have also snuck into the city secretly. No one knows what they’re plotting. Maybe they’re here to protect their disciples, or they might have ulterior motives. It’s nothing bad for us. I’m telling you this so that you’ll be in the loop. If you meet anyone from the Body Sect, don’t provoke them.”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “The enemy of our enemy is our friend. I understand this logic. Don’t worry. Is there any other news?” Zhang Lexuan said, “Another thing is, please don’t be too conservative in the tournament and in your daily routine. It’s not just us from Shrek Academy who are here.”

Huo Yuhao’s eyes brightened. Zhang Lexuan was very clear with her words. There were also some strong individuals from Shrek Academy who were here. Evidently, they were worried about the Sun Moon Empire!

“This is good news.”  Huo Yuhao didn’t ask who was here.
Just knowing they were out there was already enough.

Zhang Lexuan revealed a look of hesitation in her eyes, and asked softly, “Is Bei Bei feeling better?”

Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er’s expressions suddenly turned weird. They already knew about the secret between Bei Bei and Zhang Lexuan. As they saw the look of worry that flashed across Zhang Lexuan’s eyes, they had the same thought in their mind. She was still brooding over her promise in the past, but was it really just about the promise?

“He’s much better. However, he can’t compete for now.” 
“Let him rest then. Alright, the two of you should rest early, too. Your team will compete tomorrow, right? I wish you all the best.”  Zhang Lexuan quickly ended the conversation. She stood up and left after bowing slightly to the both of them.

Wang Dong’er laughed after Zhang Lexuan left. She said, “If anyone from the inner courtyard learns that eldest senior sister has someone in her heart, do you think eldest senior will be in trouble?”

Huo Yuhao laughed lightly and replied, “I don’t know. Her news came just in time. If the Body Sect has really entered Radiant City in such large numbers, it also means that they will try to do something. However, they are in the open this time. Can they even escape? The Sun Moon Empire and Holy Ghost Church are more worrying. I feel like there’s something amiss about this tournament, but I can’t tell what it is yet.”

Wang Dong’er grabbed his hand and said, “You are already exhausted enough. Don’t think so much. In fact, we’re already the reigning champions of the tournament. Even if we don’t win this time, it’s nothing. The future is more important. Do you understand what I mean, Yuhao?” Huo Yuhao nodded slightly before shaking his head. “I’ll try my best. If not for Teacher Xiao Ya and eldest senior, I wouldn’t be here today. I wouldn’t have been able to enter Shrek Academy either and gotten to know you. In my heart, I’ll always be eternally grateful to both of them. Teacher Xiao Ya isn’t in good shape now. It feels like she’s being controlled. Her greatest wish was to rebuild the Tang Sect and reinstate its former glory. I must help eldest senior fulfil her wish!”

Wang Dong’er nodded slightly and said, “I understand. Let me help you.” It was just a few words, but there was an indescribable feeling in them.

The two of them smiled as they looked at each other. Just as Wang Dong’er was pushing Huo Yuhao back, someone burst out from the side and exclaimed in surprise, “I’ve finally found you!”

A wind swept across their faces, and Meng Hongchen blocked their path. She was wearing a long, light blue dress. She was excited as she saw Wang Dong’er. No, it was Wang Dong in her eyes. Furthermore, she completely ignored Huo Yuhao. “It’s   you.”    Wang   Dong’er   furrowed   her   brow.   Meng Hongchen had been harassing her for far more than one or two days. Meng Hongchen would find her whenever she had time during the two years of the exchange. She couldn’t avoid her at all, but she couldn’t reveal her true identity, either!

Meng Hongchen leapt in front of Wang Dong’er and said, “Why aren’t all of you representing Shrek Academy!? I took some time to search for all of you. I knew that you’d be here!”

Wang Dong’er was a little annoyed. “Is there something you want?”

Meng Hongchen rolled her eyes amorously and said, “Can’t I find you for no reason? I found out that all of you were competing on behalf of the Tang Sect from the tournament’s organizing committee. Are you trying to take everyone by surprise or something?”

Wang Dong’er replied, “What do you mean? We’ve joined a sect and are representing our sect. Is there a problem? It’s not early anymore. If there’s nothing else, go back and rest early. We still need to compete tomorrow.” Meng Hongchen pursed her lips and said, “It’s still early. This is only a preliminary round. With your abilities, what are you so scared of?”

Wang Dong’er twisted her lips and answered, “Why not? There are sects involved in this edition of the tournament. It’s different from before. You almost lost today too.”

Meng Hongchen’s eyes brightened, and she said, “You were concerned about me?”

“I…” Wang Dong’er was speechless by how she interpreted things.

“I knew that you’ve always been very concerned about me.” As she spoke, Meng Hongchen took a step forward and held onto her wrist. She looked very blissful.

Huo Yuhao coughed. “This, Dong… Wang Dong, I’ll go back first. The two of you can have a chat.” Huo Yuhao was amused, but he tried to control his laughter. He pushed his wheelchair along with his one hand. “Hey! You, you’re…” Meng Hongchen only realized there was someone else present at that moment. Following that, she stared at him. “You’re Huo Yuhao? How did you get get into this state?”

Huo Yuhao rolled his eyes and thought to himself. What kind of look is that? You’ve just noticed me now? He laughed bitterly and said, “I got into a sticky situation.”

Meng Hongchen said, “Can you compete in that state? Weren’t you just fine when you returned from the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy a few months ago? Why…?”

“Alright, don’t be gossipy anymore.”  Huo Yuhao was afraid that she might make Wang Dong’er sad if she continued talking. He quickly interrupted her and said, “Aren’t you here for Wang Dong? The two of you can chat first. I’m returning to my room to rest. Wang Dong, this is also considered fate. Just accompany her for a while.” As he spoke, he threw her a look.

Wang Dong’er was a little frustrated as she glared back at him. “You can’t cope on your own. Let me follow you back.” Huo Yuhao hurriedly said, “I’m fine. I’m fine. I can cope on my own. I’m not that weak. Even with only one hand, I can still take care of myself.” As he spoke, he immediately pushed the wheels of his wheelchair towards the soul elevator.

Meng Hongchen’s eyes broke into a smile when she saw how cooperative Huo Yuhao was acting. She muttered softly, “This guy is not that annoying after all. Wang Dong, are you trying to bewitch us?”

“What are you talking about?” Wang Dong’er’s expression suddenly changed. She wrenched her wrist away, and a fierce look appeared in her eyes. Huo Yuhao had landed in his current state because of her. She was heartbroken, and kept on convincing herself to be strong so that she could take care of Huo Yuhao. In her heart, there was still guilt, pain, and affection. Meng Hongchen’s words hit her where it hurt the most. How could she not be angry?

Meng Hongchen was shocked by her reaction. She would have acted up if someone else had dared to react like this to her. However, Wang Dong was different. In her heart, Wang Dong was perfect. In the last tournament, Wang Dong and Huo Yuhao had teamed up together to create a miracle. His unyielding spirit and handsome looks had greatly moved her heart. Her exchange at Shrek Academy also gave her more time to interact with him. She was fearful when she saw Wang Dong acting up so suddenly.

Meng Hongchen was a little panicky as she asked, “I’m, I’m sorry, Wang Dong! Why did you react so greatly? Did I say something wrong?”

Wang Dong’er looked at her coldly and said, “Huo Yuhao is in his current state because of me.”

Meng Hongchen was jolted awake, and looked apologetic, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know. My grandfather told me to be wary of him. That’s why I said everything out of fear.”

Wang Dong’er was stunned, and she asked, “How did your grandfather appraise him?”

Meng Hongchen replied, “Intelligent, cunning, tolerant, and talented!”

------ 
“Intelligent, cunning, tolerant, and talented? I didn’t expect Jing Hongchen to appraise me so highly!” Huo Yuhao smiled as Wang Dong’er recounted her conversation with Meng Hongchen.

Wang Dong’er was a little annoyed. “I almost told her I was a girl. You don’t know how torturous it is to be with her.”

Huo Yuhao chuckled, “You are attractive. It’s better not to tell her and continue to act like a guy. Otherwise, you’ll invite a lot of pursuers during the tournament. Watch and see. I believe Qiu’er will cause some trouble.”

Wang Dong’er said, “Speaking of Qiu’er, I haven’t seen her in days. Has she been cultivating?”

Huo Yuhao remained silent for a moment and replied, “She’s a stubborn person. For this tournament, I’m afraid she will…” His voice trailed off, and he couldn’t help but shake his head. With Wang Qiu’er’s competitive personality, she only had one goal, even if her teammates weren’t strong enough. 
“Come here, my love. Let’s sleep.”  Huo Yuhao threw all his worries aside and gestured to Wang Dong’er.

Wang Dong’er blushed and asked, “Are you not cultivating anymore?”

Huo Yuhao blinked, then replied, “I feel like skiving today.”

Wang Dong’er said, “I feel that your mindset has changed greatly after your injuries.”

Huo Yuhao smiled and replied, “When I opened my eyes that day and saw you again, I suddenly realized that this world is actually very beautiful. Life is very fragile and valuable. However, it’s short. It lasts less than a hundred years. I want to spend as much time with you as I can and feel your gentleness.”

Wang Dong’er was stunned for a moment. She removed her outer coat and switched off the light before crawling underneath the blanket. She got close to Huo Yuhao’s body. As Huo Yuhao’s lower limbs and left arm contained the chill of Ultimate Ice, she only stuck close to his upper body.

Huo Yuhao hugged her soft and petite figure. He kissed her forehead and suddenly said, “What do you think Meng Hongchen would think if she found out that her crush is currently lying in my arms and was even given a peck on her forehead?”

Wang Dong’er lifted her head and looked at him with a mysterious   gaze.   She   muttered,   “She   would   think   of… castrating you!”

Huo Yuhao’s butt clenched, and he felt a chill around his groin.

……

It was the second day of the tournament. The atmosphere was still as tense as the first day. After five rounds, six people were already gravely injured, and two people had already died. This showed how intense the competition was. “Next round, The Tang Sect versus the Earthdragon Sect. Both sides, please enter the waiting area. The first competing member from each side, please come up on stage.”

They were about to fight. Everyone from the Tang Sect became extremely focused. Six people stood up. They were He Caitou, Xu Sanshi, Jiang Nannan, Xiao Xiao, Wang Dong’er and Na Na.

Wang Dong’er went behind Huo Yuhao’s wheelchair and pushed him into the waiting area.

“What?” On the main stage, Xu Tianran focused his gaze. “Why is there someone in a wheelchair?”

No matter how ambitious Xu Tianran was, he was still very young. He was very eager to watch this tournament. He had sat on the main stage all day yesterday and watched all the fights that went on. He also came with Ju Zi and his officials early this next day to watch the second day of fights.

He was in a wheelchair himself. When he saw someone in a wheelchair going to compete, it naturally caught his attention. 
Ju Zi’s attention turned in the direction where Xu Tianran was looking. As she was too far away, she could only roughly see who it was. Furthermore, only Huo Yuhao’s profile could be seen. However, she had a feeling that something was going to happen. It was a feeling that came for no reason.

All seven of the Tang Sect’s competing members entered the waiting area. Xu Sanshi asked, “Yuhao, do you really want to fight?”

Huo Yuhao nodded slightly and said, “It’s the best way of concealing our overall abilities. Even if someone finds out, he won’t know what level your cultivations are at. Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing.”

Xu Sanshi nodded and didn’t say anything else. Wang Dong’er bit her lips and pushed Huo Yuhao onto the stage.

All the spectators were already cheering at this moment. A cripple in a wheelchair had actually appeared on the big stage where soul masters and soul engineers exhibited their abilities. This was beyond their expectations. Those who had seen Huo Yuhao before were also shocked. They initially thought Huo Yuhao wasn’t a competitor, but who knew that he would the first to compete? This was completely unimaginable.

Even the referee was a little dumbfounded. He quickly walked over and doubtfully asked, “What’s going on, Tang Sect team? Are you sending a cripple to compete?”

Wang  Dong’er  answered,  “Who  says  he’s  a  cripple?”  She hated it when others called Huo Yuhao a cripple.

The referee thought to himself, “Why is he in a wheelchair if he’s not a cripple? Is this some kind of trick?”

“I’m just ascertaining whether you are sending him to compete first.” The referee’s expression also turned gloomy. To qualify as a referee, his cultivation wasn’t weak either. He naturally wasn’t bothered about these young people in front of him. Moreover, the Tang Sect wasn’t that reputable. He didn’t have to show them any face. Huo  Yuhao  smiled  and  said,  “That’s  right.  I’m  the  one competing. Sorry for troubling you.”

The referee furrowed his brow and didn’t say anything else. He only nodded. On the other side, the Earthdragon Sect team’s first competing member had also entered the stage. It was a youth with a very proportionate figure. He was also stunned when he saw Huo Yuhao. He mumbled, “The Tang Sect is really interesting – sending a cripple to compete!”

Wang Dong’er glared at him and said, “I’ve said that he’s not a cripple.”

The youth expressed the inner thoughts of the referee earlier. “If he’s not a cripple, why is he in a wheelchair?”

“You…” Wang Dong’er was about to act up, but she was stopped by Huo Yuhao. He smiled and said, “Dong’er, you can go first.”

Wang Dong’er held in her anger and looked at Huo Yuhao concernedly as she lowered her head. Huo Yuhao gave her a reassuring glance before she left the stage. 
The  referee  said,  “Since  you  should  be  clear  on  the tournament rules, I won’t repeat them again. Please retreat to your positions. The fight will begin once I give the signal.”

“Yes.”  Huo Yuhao smiled as he nodded at the referee. He pushed his wheelchair with one hand as he proceeded to one side of the stage.

“Hey!” The youth from the Earthdragon Sect shouted.

“Oh?” Huo Yuhao was confused as he turned to look at him, “Is something the matter?”

The youth replied, “Aren’t you going to at least report your name?”

“Apologies, I forgot.” Huo Yuhao gave an apologetic smile and said, “I’m Huo Yuhao. What about you?”

“My name is Xu Shenshu. Remember me, as I’m going to defeat you.” After he finished speaking, he turned around. As his right foot stomped on the ground, he flew several tens of meters away and reached the opposite side of the stage.

“Haha.” Huo Yuhao laughed. After this, he turned his wheelchair around and slowly pushed it to his own side.

Xu Shenshu was indeed inexperienced. He was blatantly telling Huo Yuhao that he was an assault-type soul master. Interesting.

Everyone’s focus was on Huo Yuhao as he pushed his wheelchair. There were very few people who knew he was a part of the champion team in the last tournament. However, it was also these few people who were the important figures to watch in this edition of the tournament.

Xiao Hongchen furrowed his brow and asked his sister, “Meng, is he really crippled?”

Meng Hongchen nodded and replied, “I think so. Wang Dong’s expression couldn’t have been fake. Wang Dong was very furious then, and almost acted up. If I wasn’t quick to change the topic, he would have thrashed me.”  As she spoke, she pouted her lips and revealed an indignant look on her face.

Xiao Hongchen sighed. “It’s a pity then. I thought of fighting him properly in this tournament. According to grandpa, he should be my match. It’s really a pity. It’s difficult to find a good match!” As he spoke, he placed his hands behind his back and revealed a cold and arrogant look on his face as he looked at the stage.

Meng  Hongchen  snorted  and  said,  “It’s  better  that  he’s crippled. It’s less trouble for us. This Earthdragon Sect is also stupid. They must be underestimating the Tang Sect. Can’t they tell that those people in the waiting area are the main ones they have to beat?”

Xiao  Hongchen  chuckled  and  said,  “This  is  called  karma. Even though they can’t possibly beat us in this tournament, they are still the reigning champions! They’ve actually been underestimated. Oh yes, Meng, you should stop finding Wang Dong. You should know that the two of you are impossible.”

Meng Hongchen said furiously, “Why not? Why not? If he’s willing to join the Sun Moon Empire, can’t we be together? I don’t care. If we meet the Tang Sect later on, you must not hurt him. Otherwise, I’ll take your life.”

Xiao Hongchen revealed a sad look on his face, “Girls always side with outsiders! We must meet them first. According to my investigation, the Earthdragon Sect isn’t considered weak, even though they aren’t that strong. Let’s see what improvements this bunch from the Tang Sect have made. Why isn’t Bei Bei here?”

Meng Hongchen shook her head and said, “I don’t know. I’ll ask someone to check it out when we return.”

They weren’t the only ones discussing the Tang Sect team. Princess Jiujiu and Princess Wei Na were also focused on Huo Yuhao at this point. They hadn’t expected Huo Yuhao to be the first to compete on behalf of the Tang Sect. They were also interested to see how much energy he still had after he was crippled.

Xu Tianran gestured, and a middle-aged man came to him.
The middle-aged man bowed and said, “Your Highness.” Xu Tianran said, “Go and find out the background of this guy in the wheelchair, and why he’s here to compete even though he’s in a wheelchair. If he wins the first round, ask someone to instruct the referee to preserve his life no matter what happens next.”

“Yes.”  The middle-aged man acknowledged his words and quickly went on his way.

Ju Zi was in a daze now. She was even on the verge of tearing up.

It’s him. It’s him. Why is it him?

When Huo Yuhao turned his wheelchair around, Ju Zi saw his face clearly. She hadn’t expected him to be the one in the wheelchair.

Chapter 280: The Cute Yet Powerful Snow Lady

Why is he in a wheelchair? Why? He was fine the last time I saw him. What happened?

Considering how proud he was, it was definitely impossible for him to act like he was disabled to trick others, unless he was really incapacitated.

Even though Ju Zi had warned herself many times to forget him, there were some things and people that couldn’t be easily forgotten. Ju Zi hadn’t expected Huo Yuhao to be in a wheelchair the next time she saw him.

Before the tournament had started, she had sent someone to investigate Shrek Academy. However, she hadn’t discovered Huo Yuhao among the students from Shrek. She was still feeling very weird, but her emotions started to flow when she saw Huo Yuhao. If not for Xu Tianran beside her, she would have rushed over to him and demanded an explanation. Besides these people, there were two more figures in the pergola that trembled slightly when they saw Huo Yuhao in his wheelchair.

---

The referee lifted his hand up high and looked at both parties, especially Huo Yuhao. After ascertaining that they were ready, his right hand swiped down, and he announced the start of the tournament.

Huo Yuhao moved. However, his soul rings didn’t appear. He only turned the wheels of his wheelchair and moved forward slowly. It was as fast as it was when he went into position earlier.

On the other side, Xu Shenshu’s aura soared!

He looked into the sky and roared. After that, he burst out like a cannon shell. His right foot stomped on the ground, and his body lifted into the air. As he was in the air, his bones crackled. Two yellow and three purple soul rings appeared concurrently from his body. His body also grew in size as he unleashed his martial soul.

Earthdragon Sect! It was exactly as its name suggested. Soul masters of this sect had varied versions of the Earthdragon as their martial soul. As Xu Shenshu’s body expanded in size, his skin also bulged with a layer of black keratin. Bulges also started to surface from his back. As the bulges burst open, several sharp dorsal fins poked out of his back.

His martial soul was a Sabertooth Earth Dragon, a pure strength-type martial soul. It was good at both attack and defense. Its weakness was that it wasn’t adept at long-range attacks.

As his body burst forward, Xu Shenshu’s arms extended to his sides, and he revealed his developed chest muscles. On the outside of his arms, a layer of curved claws poked out.

His first soul ring lit up. Xu Shenshu’s layer of keratin exuded a black glow at this moment, and his strength seemed to have increased, too. In a few steps, he was less than twenty meters from Huo Yuhao. There was only one thought in everyone’s minds right now; they believed he didn’t have to be so ferocious against a disabled person.

Empathy for the weak. This was almost the same mindset that everyone possessed. Moreover, Huo Yuhao seemed too weak!

Huo Yuhao stopped pushing his wheelchair forward. After that, an orange glow lit up from his body. A small and petite figure crawled out from his forehead and blocked the way in front of him.

This figure wasn’t more than three feet tall, and seemed around two years old. She wore a deep blue belly wrap, which accentuated her powdery-white skin. Under the illumination of the orange glow, this small lady looked extremely beautiful.

Xu Shenshu’s aura was still very scary when he leapt over. However, he was wondering what was going on when he saw the small lady between him and Huo Yuhao just as he was about to reach him. Xu Shenshu was in a daze, and frantically changed directions. He was here to compete, not to kill, especially not such a cute little lady. How could he bear to!?

“Uncle!”  The young lady called. Her voice sounded like a baby, and it even sounded a little unclear. He could only roughly hear what she was saying.

“Yes, yes…”  Xu Shenshu lost a little of his balance as he changed directions because of the great power that he exerted. After hearing such a cute lady call to him, he acknowledged her words subconsciously. Her big, beautiful eyes were even filled with a sense of closeness. His heart softened when he saw her.

After that, he saw her delicate finger pointing towards him.
What happened next?

Xu Shenshu felt a gust of chill engulfing him, and everything turned deep blue in front of him.

All of this happened instantly. From the Snow Lady’s appearance to Xu Shenshu’s directional change to being called and pointed at by the Snow Lady to the deep blue glow that surfaced in front of Xu Shenshu, everything happened in just a matter of seconds. After that, he was frozen into an ice sculpture and collapsed to the ground.

The Snow Lady turned around and flew back to Huo Yuhao.
She sat on his shoulder and called out in delight, “Daddy!”

Every time she called him that, Huo Yuhao would shudder in his heart as he remembered how strong the Snow Empress was. However, he absolutely adored this Snow Lady.

This was the end?

The entire grounds went silent.

No one had expected this result. Absolutely no one. Even the Tang Sect team didn’t know that Huo Yuhao would unleash the Snow Empress’ Spirit the moment he appeared.

Everyone from the Earthdragon Sect was also dumbfounded.
They could have never expected such a result! 
The referee rushed over and checked on Xu Shenshu’s condition. After that, he immediately announced that Huo Yuhao had emerged victorious. The referee’s eyes never left the Snow Lady. He had clearly heard her calling Huo Yuhao her father.

He had never even heard of anyone bringing their kid to compete in the tournament before. Was that really his daughter? No, that was impossible! She was such a small kid, but she was very powerful. Was it his soul skill? However, he didn’t even unleash his martial soul. Or perhaps that was his martial soul?

Even the referee, who was pretty strong, had his own doubts. The rest of the competitors were in greater doubt. They were all confused when they saw the Snow Lady. All sorts of guesses started to surface.

When the Snow Lady came over to Xu Shenshu to help him melt the ice, Xu Shenshu was shivering as he looked at her. “You, you, you…” The Snow Lady unleashed her most lethal weapon – she pointed her two index fingers forward and lowered her head, revealing an indignant look on her face.

Xu Shenshu’s pupils dilated, and he quickly said, “Little girl, don’t cry! Don’t cry, I’ve lost! I’ll leave the stage!”

As he spoke, he started to leave the stage in low spirits. After walking past Huo Yuhao, he shot him a furious look and said, “You are too despicable. How can you bring a kid to compete? Aren’t you scared of hurting her?”

Huo Yuhao was a little helpless, “Thanks for your reminder.
I’ll keep her safe. Oh, you are a good guy.”

“You don’t have to play this card!” Xu Shenshu quickly made his way off the stage.

Victory! The guy in the wheelchair had actually won. From the looks of it, he didn’t do anything either! However, where did the young lady come from? No matter how confused the spectators were, the tournament still had to continue. The second competitor from the Earthdragon Sect entered the stage. As he looked at the Snow Lady, he cursed in his heart. However, this was a tournament! He kept on telling himself that he couldn’t be
bewitched by her. He clearly saw how the Snow Lady had
defeated the unwary Xu Shenshu with her finger earlier. She was far more than just cute on the surface!

Both parties set their distance from each other. As the referee’s hand swiped down, the second fight officially started.

The second competing member was called Feng Jue. His martial soul was also a type of Earthdragon, but it was no longer a strength-type, it was an agility-type. This was also a decision that the Earthdragon Sect made after they saw the fight between Huo Yuhao and Xu Shenshu. The Snow Lady was too cute, and it was difficult for them to lay their hands on her. However, Huo Yuhao was the one controlling her. He couldn’t be very mobile, as he was in a wheelchair. As long as he was restrained, the fight would be over.

Feng Jue’s martial soul was called a Wind Dragon, a type of Earthdragon. As he unleashed his martial soul, green scales started to cover the left side of his body. Two yellow and two purple soul rings were unleashed… he was a four-ringed Soul Ancestor! The first two soul rings shone concurrently, and Feng Jue was like a gust of wind as he rushed towards Huo Yuhao. His hands turned into sharp dragon claws as he stared at the Snow Lady. Once she moved, he would avoid her and deal Huo Yuhao a lethal blow! This was his strategy.

Seeing that the two parties were closing the distance, the Snow Lady also flew out.

She’s indeed coming!, Feng Jue thought, and immediately reacted. His figure flashed, and he quickly leapt to one side. He was trying to make his way around the Snow Lady.

However, a deep blue ice wall appeared in front of him without any warning.

At this point, Feng Jue was racing forward at full speed, and it wasn’t possible for him to stop. He shrank his body in panic and reached forward with his dragon claws as he prepared for a collision. The spectators who were watching from the side could clearly see that the ice wall was unleashed by the Snow Lady. She mimicked the action of holding the moon, and an ice wall three meters high and one meter thick appeared out of nowhere to block Feng Jue.

It was actually a meter thick! And it was ice formed from Ultimate Ice too, much tougher than reinforced steel! If he collided with it…!

Bang!

Feng Jue struck the wall as he burst forward at full speed. His dragon claws were really sharp and managed to pierce through the wall, but his body was also stuck to it.

The Snow Lady laughed and pointed with her right finger. Another streak of deep blue light struck out and ended the second fight.

The first two fights were very easy, and the first two members of the Earthdragon Sect had been defeated. The expressions of the rest of the members changed greatly. Not only was there a disabled person, but the Tang Sect had used a cripple to win two consecutive fights. How was the Earthdragon Sect going to cope in the future fights to come? The most depressing thing was that they couldn’t change their competing members once they entered the waiting area. The few remaining ones could only watch, and couldn’t do anything to change reality.

The third competing member from the Earthdragon Sect didn’t last longer than the first two members. Once he entered, he burst towards Huo Yuhao and the Snow Lady like the first two. However, he was much more intelligent this time. He attacked the Snow Lady directly.

However, the Snow Lady made a dancing motion with her hands when he closed to around twenty meters from her. After that, a white ice ring appeared in front of him.

This Earthdragon Sect member reacted quite quickly. As he flipped his body, he avoided the ice ring. However, the ice ring formed a thick ice pillar which blew apart instantly. The crushed ice trapped his body, and he was turned into an ice sculpture after the explosive force disappeared. The rest of the Earthdragon Sect team couldn’t keep their cool anymore as the tournament reached this stage. They were truly impressed by the Snow Lady’s fighting strength. It wasn’t just luck, Huo Yuhao was truly strong! No wonder he dared to compete even though he was in a wheelchair!

The Snow Lady flew back in front of Huo Yuhao and sat on his thigh. She grabbed his sleeve, and her eyes were filled with an innocent look. The soul power that she had depleted was instantly restored.

Huo Yuhao was full of the origin energy of Ultimate Ice, so he let the Snow Lady fight. On the one hand, he could remain mysterious to his opponents. On the other hand, the Snow Lady could absorb origin energy from him if she used up hers. The Snow Lady sucked away the chill on the surface of his skin, but the essential origin energy was absorbed by him. When she returned to his body, they could share this essence.

Huo Yuhao had thought of this before, but the Snow Lady had sucked away too much origin energy the last time. It was only recently that she had finally managed to completely absorb her share of the origin energy. As her powers greatly increased, she became more telepathically connected to Huo Yuhao, too. That was why she could now come out to fight. 

Chapter 281: I'll Marry Whoever Kills Him!

After three rounds of battle, Huo Yuhao still felt pretty good. While the amount of cold air the Snow Lady could absorb was limited, this was because Snow Lady was still a part of him. After the cold air was absorbed, the origin energy of Ultimate Ice would form new cold air. He also made his body absorb some of the origin energy when the Snow Lady took away the cold air. While the speed was slow, it was an alternative form of cultivation, and much easier than him trying to absorb it by himself.

The biggest benefit for this competition was that Snow Lady could maintain her momentum after she absorbed the cold air from his body. This was why Huo Yuhao said to Wang Dong’er that his temporary paralysis might not be a bad thing.

The other four members of the Earthdragon Sect could no longer sit still. After the first three members had been frozen into ice sculptures by Ice Lady, Huo Yuhao did not ask them to not take part in the upcoming group round. However, according to this tempo, they would soon find themselves unable to take part anyway. Among the four remaining members of the Earthdragon Sect, the only female soul master stood up and walked to the stage with a serious expression.

“Hello, I’m Nan Qiuqiu.” The Earthdragon Sect member took the initiative to greet Huo Yuhao.

“Hello,” replied Huo Yuhao with a gracious smile.

Nan Qiuqiu looked at Snow Lady in Huo Yuhao’s arms and said, “I know that she is an ability of your martial soul. Hence, I won’t show mercy like my comrades.” With that, she nodded at Huo Yuhao and turned away.

---

On the main podium, Xu Tianran, who was watching the scene interestedly, turned to Ju Zi and asked, “That should be the captain of the Earthdragon Sect, right?”

Ju Zi replied respectfully, “Yes, Your Highness. She’s called Nan Qiuqiu, and she’s the captain. While the more powerful members of their sect did not take part this time, she’s still one of the most powerful members of their sect. She’s probably competing to ensure that they don’t do too badly.”

Xu Tianran said, “Eh, not bad. While you’re no longer in charge of intelligence anymore, you’re still very well-informed! So, tell me, who do you think will win this round?”

Ju Zi was stunned. Then, she shook her head and said, “I don’t know.”

Xu Tianran said, “Huo Yuhao was a former exchange student in our Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. He had the same teacher as you. How can you not know his prowess?”

Ju Zi was shocked, but her expression remained calm. She subconsciously looked at the middle-aged man who stood behind Xu Tianran. He had just passed the Prince a piece of paper.

“I interacted with Huo Yuhao for less than a month, and my knowledge of his abilities is limited. I just knew that he was a four-ringed soul ancestor, but he possessed twin martial souls. Now that he’s in a wheelchair, I don’t know how powerful is he anymore, nor do I know how much progress has he made in the past two years. Hence, I don’t dare to make a judgment.”

“Oh… then let us see,” Xu Tianran smiled.

“Yes,” replied Ju Zi politely.

Jing Hongchen, who sat next to Ju Zi, said, “Your Highness.”

“Eh?” Xu Tianran looked at him inquisitively.

Jing Hongchen said solemnly, “We can’t let this person go back. After the competition, we must make him disappear.”

Xu Tianran looked in shock at Jing Hongchen and asked, “Hallmaster, why are you so interested in him?”

Jing Hongchen said bitterly, “Please don’t laugh at me, Your Highness, but this person has made me suffer terribly. Not only is he exceptionally gifted, but he’s almost as crafty as the Devil. He knows how to analyze the situation and make use of limited resources. I’ve only recently heard from my grandson that he’s not competing on behalf of Shrek Academy, but instead on behalf of the Tang Sect.”

Xu Tianran said interestedly, “What did he do to make you afraid of him?” For him to take part in this competition, he had to be younger than 20 years old. If someone so young could scare the Hallmaster, he must be extraordinary in some way.

Jing Hongchen said, “Huo Yuhao was the champion of Shrek Academy’s team in the last tournament. At that time, he did not even have three rings, and yet was able to compete alongside his teammates. Furthermore, he showed off his skills in that tournament. He has twin martial souls, one spirit-type and the other ice-type. Furthermore, his ice-type martial soul is the rare Ultimate Ice. The fact that he can compete twice is a testament to his strength. Furthermore, on his way back to Shrek Academy the last time, he was even able to escape Senior Long’s pursuit.”

Hearing this, Xu Tianran was dumbfounded. “How can this be possible? With his cultivation, how can Senior Long…?” “So this is one who made a bet with Uncle Long.” On Xu Tianran’s other side, the person clothed entirely in black opened his mouth to speak. His voice was weird, and one could not tell his age from his voice. Even his gender was indistinguishable. He looked demonic, and everyone couldn’t help but turn to look at him when they heard his voice.

“Imperial Tutor, you know about this person?”  Xu Tianran asked the person in black.

From the order of the seating, one could tell that the person in black was ranked even higher than Jing Hongchen.

“Yes. Hallmaster Hongchen asked for our help…”

---

In the arena, Huo Yuhao, who had started to battle, did not know that even in his crippled state, he had still caught the attention of the Sun Moon Empire’s leadership. His attention was completely on his opponent. Nan Qiuqiu from the Earthdragon Sect was no easy opponent. As the judge announced the start of the competition, Nan Qiuqiu released her martial soul. Two yellow, two purple, and one black soul ring appeared, showing off her rank as a Soul King, appeared.

A pink, chestnut-shaped crystal appeared on her forehead as she released her martial soul. Following that, her body started to grow. She seemed to have grown a head taller.

She pointed into the sky with her ring finger, and bright pink dragon scales started to grow from her fingertip. Unlike the other Earthdragon Sect soul masters, her scales were bright pink. With the growth of her scales, her right hand appeared to have turned completely bright pink. A faint pink light shone and instantly burned her entire right sleeve off to reveal an arm covered entirely in scales.

Then, she pointed in Huo Yuhao’s direction. Her first soul ring lit up, and a ray of pink light shot toward Huo Yuhao. It was able to cross 100 meters in an instant as it appeared before Huo Yuhao.

This speed was almost as fast as a ray shot by a Class 4 soul engineer! 
Huo Yuhao did not ask the Snow Lady to block it. He had to find out what kind of power this was.

He raised his right hand too, which was covered with a layer of ice crystals. He made a grabbing motion, and blocked the pink light ray.

The pink light ray was instantly destroyed. However, Huo Yuhao was deeply shocked. While it did not appear very powerful, since it had just crossed such a wide distance so quickly, its power exceeded his expectations.

It was not about the offensive power of the ray or its destructive strength. Instead, it was its specialty.

When the pink light ray came in contact with the Ice Empress’ Pincer that was formed from diamond-like ice crystals, Huo Yuhao felt the ice in the center of his palm melt. That was unprecedented!

As a wielder of Ultimate Ice, he had yet to see anyone whose fire could beat him. Even after Ma Xiaotao formed his Dark Phoenix, Huo Yuhao was unable to judge the effects of its fire on him because they had never fought.

However, Nan Qiuqiu’s ability was not Ultimate Fire! The soul power she released was extremely warm, and yet this soul power was able to melt Ultimate Ice.

This was…

The only ability this could be was…. annihilation? A power which could destroy all other types?

In the lessons of Shrek Academy, there was a special course that explained all types of soul power to the students. Annihilation was mentioned during that course.

Annihilation was extremely powerful. After it hit its opponent, it was able to destroy its target based on the target’s type.

There were two things one had to watch out for when dealing with annihilation-type soul power or attacks. Firstly, it could not be countered by any type. Secondly, after it hit its target, its target’s soul power would be depleted quicker than normal.

Huo Yuhao could not feel the depletion of his soul power just yet, as he possessed an Ultimate Ice martial soul. No matter how powerful annihilation was, it would have to expend a lot of soul power to disintegrate an Ultimate martial soul. If they continued to fight like this, the effects of its second trait would not be as obvious on Huo Yuhao.

Even so, Huo Yuhao was shocked. The teachers of Shrek Academy had mentioned that Ultimate martial souls were only slightly rarer than Annihilation martial souls. Just like Huo Yuhao’s spirit-type, it was also difficult for them to form soul rings. He had never expected to meet one in this tournament.

Annihilation-type… Looking at her, could her martial soul be the rarely-seen Rogue Dragon of the First Dragons? That would be bad!

Other than being Annihilation-type dragons, Rogue Dragons also specialized in long-range attacks! Nan Qiuqiu watched Huo Yuhao react to her first soul skill, the Light of Annihilation. A cold smile crossed her face. As Huo Yuhao assessed her abilities, how could she not assess his? 
She had been observing the Snow Lady’s fighting style all this while. To her, Huo Yuhao should be a soul master who could tap into the power of his martial soul. However, this martial soul was exceptionally powerful. The fact that one could not see his soul rings meant that they were being deliberately concealed.

Her objective in using her Light of Annihilation was simple, she wanted to deplete his soul power. Using the accelerated depletion nature of annihilation, she hoped to obtain victory.

When Huo Yuhao blocked her first Light of Annihilation, she had already sent her second one out. However, her target was no longer Huo Yuhao, but the Snow Lady, who had flown into the air.

Everyone could see that Snow Lady was an Energy Body. However, to them, Snow Lady should just be a special soul skill of Huo Yuhao, and likely his most powerful soul skill. The tiny Snow Lady moved in mid-air. She easily dodged Nan Qiuqiu’s Light of Annihilation and then made a face at her.

Nan Qiuqiu was stunned. While they were 100 meters apart, her Light of Annihilation could move at a stunning speed. How could Huo Yuhao instruct Snow Lady to dodge her Light of Annihilation after he had just blocked another of her attacks? She did not believe that the Snow Lady was capable of independent thought. Like Zhou Sichen’s summoning abilities, she thought that everything Huo Yuhao summoned was controlled by him.

However, she did not know that while Huo Yuhao could control the Snow Lady, she was a spirit that was one-of-a-kind in the world. She did possess her own life and independent thought!

Huo Yuhao moved. He pushed his wheelchair at a ‘stunning’ speed and advanced toward Nan Qiuqiu. At the same time, his Spirit Eyes started to shine. The golden light was not intense, but Nan Qiuqiu instantly felt disoriented. Her third Light of Annihilation missed its target by quite a fair bit, and landed on the light screen far away, creating a ripple. Eh, what’s going on? Nan Qiuqiu’s heart missed a beat. She calmed herself down and looked in the direction of Huo Yuhao and Snow Lady. However, what shocked her was the fact that she was now seeing double. No matter how hard she tried, she could not see straight.

What is this power? Nan Qiuqiu would never believe that her eyes had gone bonkers in such a short time. Doubtless, it was a trick of her opponent! However, what exactly did he do?

Spiritual Interference was the right answer!

One of the most powerful attacks that the Skydream Iceworm gave Huo Yuhao was the ability to effectively use Spiritual Interference at a distance. Huo Yuhao released this power, which was already in a weaker form, but it was still sufficiently powerful to make Nan Qiuqiu miss.

However, as the captain of the Earthdragon Sect, Nan Qiuqiu was no pushover. After she lost concentration momentarily, she quickly regained her senses. Her right hand was still pointed at the sky. This time, she extended three fingers, and her body slowly floated off the ground. She was now about sixty cm off the ground. 
A sharp dragon roar rose from around her body. A blurry pink shape flashed behind her back and then disappeared. Following that, a ball of pink light started to congregate around her three fingers. In the blink of an eye, it became as big as a human head.

Nan Qiuqiu waved her right hand, and the pretty ball of pink light flew into the sky. While she could not see Huo Yuhao and the Snow Lady exactly, she could make out their general direction.

The ball of pink light expanded at an astonishing pace as it flew the sky. Thirty meters away from the ground, it stopped. Then, like a meteor, it came crashing down to the ground.

Boom!

An explosion rang out, and balls of pink light exploded all over the place. Each explosion had a radius of ten meters, and that was not the end. Following that, there were two more sounds of explosions. The successive chain of explosions caused the radius of the pink light to increase by at least fifty percent. 
Chained Annihilation Explosions! This was Nan Qiuqiu’s third soul skill, a domain attack. In the domain, the target might not necessarily be injured, but they could still be hurt by the explosion. It would cause a soul master’s soul power to deplete at a shocking rate. Nan Qiuqiu liked this soul skill a lot!

Sadly, no matter how powerful Chained Annihilation Explosions was, it had to hit its target to be effective. Its continual explosions were able to produce so much strong Annihilation-type energy that even Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Interference was momentarily eliminated by it.

Nan Qiuqiu now realized that the person in the wheelchair was not in the domain of her attack. The power from the explosion had not affected him at all!

How… how can this be possible? Did he really distort my vision to this extent?

As she thought about it, she released her second Chained Annihilation Explosions. Nan Qiuqiu had always been resolute. While she missed the first time, Huo Yuhao had revealed his position. This opportunity was too good to let pass! 
At this moment, the Snow Lady wriggled out of Huo Yuhao’s arms. A ray of deep-blue sword radiance turned into a startling rainbow in the sky as it flashed out and disappeared. The light of the pink Chained Annihilation Explosions was instantly cut in half in mid-air. While the explosive power of the Chained Annihilation Explosions could still be felt, they all detonated harmlessly in mid-air.

Huo Yuhao pushed his wheelchair forward without any sign of haste as he advanced. The expression on his face did not change.

Accurate and powerful, was how Nan Qiuqiu would describe the power of that sword. She immediately thought of those two words. The little girl’s battling abilities were so strong! Now she understood why her teammates had lost!

Her expression turned even more serious, and she no longer remained still. The tips of her feet touched the ground, and she turned into a pink ray of light hurtling towards Huo Yuhao. As a wielder of the Rogue Dragon martial soul, did she really specialize in long-range attacks? Just as everyone thought so, she surprised them all! 
Huo Yuhao stopped his wheelchair. As his enemy was approaching him, he naturally did not need to move forward anymore. The Snow Lady flew toward Nan Qiuqiu, but stopped only ten meters away from Huo Yuhao. The eyes of the soul masters spectating the match lit up. Was this the maximum
distance she could stay away from Huo Yuhao?

She lifted her tiny hand, and a round, icy halo appeared on the path that Nan Qiuqiu had to take to reach Huo Yuhao.

The tip of Nan Qiuqiu’s foot touched the surface of the ground as her body twisted unbelievably to the side, and she actually started to move sideways before continuing her charge forward. In mid-air, she formed a ‘Z’ as she continued toward Huo Yuhao and Snow Lady.

“Eeeeyaa!” the Snow Lady cried out in shock. She lifted her hand and fired a ray of deep-blue light at the approaching Nan Qiuqiu.

Nan Qiuqiu did not dodge. She lifted her right hand, and her second soul ring flashed with light. Her body gave off a pink glow, and the pink in the palm of her hand became even more intense. The blue light disappeared as if it had been eaten by the pink light.

Annihilation Barrier. It could block everything!

At the same time, when Nan Qiuqiu straightened her body again, she was only ten meters away from the Snow Lady. She grabbed out with her left hand, and her fourth soul ring started to glow. Instantly, a huge pink dragon claw appeared in mid-air as it made a grab at Snow Lady.

Hand of Annihilation! She even possessed this soul skill! No wonder she was so confident. This was the best soul skill to use against the Snow Lady!

Hand of Annihilation, like its name would suggest, was a huge hand that brimmed with the power of Annihilation. Once you were caught by it, your soul power would be utterly depleted. With Nan Qiuqiu’s current cultivation, soul masters with fewer than five soul rings would have at least half of their soul power depleted by her once she touched them. It was the best skill to use against an Energy Body like the Snow Lady. However, the Snow Lady was controlled by Huo Yuhao. Naturally, she would not give up without a fight. Her cute little face turned icy-cold, and an intimidating look appeared in her deep-blue eyes. She lifted her right hand and cried out in a childish voice. She too thrust a palm out at her opponent.
When her tiny palm was sent flying out, the huge Hand of Annihilation had already wrapped itself around her tiny body.

I win! Surfaced in Nan Qiuqiu’s mind.

Any summoned creature would disintegrate quickly after it was caught by the Hand of Annihilation! While she found the Snow Lady cute, she was still a summoned creature! This was a competition, and nothing was more important than winning!

However, this thought only stayed in her mind for a short while. In the next instant, the huge pink hand turned icy-blue. Then, it turned into many specks of icy-blue light as it disappeared in mid-air.

The Snow Lady remained suspended in mid-air. However, her big pretty eyes were closed. She appeared to be sensing something. Huo Yuhao, who was not far from her, had the same expression. 
“Oh!” The Snow Lady turned into a ray of blue light and flew back toward Huo Yuhao. She entered through the center of his forehead and disappeared.

She… resisted it? My Hand of Annihilation could not overcome a summoned creature?

Nan Qiuqiu stared at the disappearing blue light around Huo Yuhao in shock. She even stopped charging towards him.

Only she knew that the Hand of Annihilation was not just used to wear her opponent down. At the same time, it had a second, almost god-like ability. It could restore her soul power! 
Around 20% of the soul power that the Hand of Annihilation took away would go back to her. The power of the Hand of Annihilation was built on the basis of strong soul power. As a thousand-year soul skill, it would deplete as much of Nan Qiuqiu’s soul power as a ten-thousand year soul skill. However, since it helped to restore her soul power, it was still bearable for her. After all, her enemy would suffer the greater depletion.

However, she did not regenerate any of her soul power from that blow. This also meant that her soul skill had been broken. It was destroyed by a summoned being. One had to know that the most powerful ability of the Hand of Annihilation was its ability to destroy summoned creatures! This was something Nan Qiuqiu had never imagined could happen.

“A    powerful    Hand    of    Annihilation!”     Huo    Yuhao complimented Nan Qiuqiu. It was indeed powerful. The palm that the Snow Lady thrust out was one of Ice Empress’ Three Ultimate Techniques, Snowless Glacier! Just as Nan Qiuqiu had expected, her Hand of Annihilation was very adept at fighting summoned creatures. While a spirit was not a summoned being, these two were highly similar. Hence, she was able to constrain the Snow Lady by quite a bit.

Without Huo Yuhao’s assistance in summoning Snowless Glacier, she would still be able to resist the Hand of Annihilation. However, the powerful Annihilation in it was something that the Snow Lady could not take. Huo Yuhao feared that in the subsequent battle, she would face more of this Annihilation. Thus, he recalled her.

Nan Qiuqiu looked coldly at Huo Yuhao and said, “Your summoned being is the most powerful one I’ve seen, as well as the most agile. Not only can it use its own soul skills, but it can even destroy its natural nemesis, the Hand of Annihilation. This is something inconceivable to me. However, without her, you’ll lose for sure.”

Huo Yuhao suddenly smiled and said, “Are you bullying a cripple?”

Nan Qiuqiu paused momentarily. Only then did she realize her opponent was in a wheelchair. However, she said resolutely, “A cripple? Are you an ordinary cripple? If you couldn’t summon such a powerful being, would you still be in this tournament?”

“Yes!”  Huo  Yuhao  replied  without  any  hesitation.  “Don’t think that you’ve won. The competition is not yet over.”

Nan Qiuqiu’s right hand glowed with the Light of Annihilation as she said, “Then, I’ll end it for you.”

“Wait, wait,” Huo Yuhao’s eyes betrayed signs of panic as he said, “Don’t you feel shame when you bully a cripple like me?”

Nan Qiuqiu said harshly, “Don’t waste time! While your summoned being is powerful and is able to destroy my Hand of Annihilation, it took quite a toll on you. I can see that this summoned being has a close tie with you. While it’s powerful, it’ll take quite some time for it to regenerate after it has taken too much damage. There’s no point in you stalling.”

Huo Yuhao grit his teeth and said, “Isn’t your type my exact weakness? I’ll still beat you, though!” When she saw Huo Yuhao’s determined and pained look, a cruel smile crossed Nan Qiuqiu’s face as she said, “Fine! Let’s see how you’ll beat me!” As she said that, she advanced toward Huo Yuhao slowly, step by step.

The judge watched the two of them chat. At first, he wanted to remind them to treat the tournament seriously. However, when he saw Nan Qiuqiu approach Huo Yuhao, he stopped. He was also surprised that she was an Annihilation-type soul master.

Huo Yuhao sat in the wheelchair with an uneasy look in his eye. His right hand gripped the wheels of his wheelchair. While he appeared calm, panic rose in his eyes.

“You, wait!” Huo Yuhao shouted.

Nan Qiuqiu stopped and said, “What? What else do you want to say? You’re really full of crap.”

Huo Yuhao said angrily, “Don’t think that you’ve won. I, I still have a trump card.” Nan Qiuqiu grinned. This time, she grinned in joy. She suddenly realized that torturing her opponent psychologically made her very excited. This was akin to telling her opponent, “Resist me! The more you resist, the more excited I am!”

“Well done! I want to see you what your trump card is. I thought you said you could win? So what if you can’t win? Your summoned being is decent, why not join the Earthdragon Sect? I’ve never even heard of your Tang Sect before. The Earthdragon Sect is one of the top sects of the Dou Ling Empire.”

Huo  Yuhao  said  angrily,  “Rubbish,  how  can  I  join  your Earthdragon Sect? Does this mean that if you lose, you’ll join the Tang Sect?”

Nan Qiuqiu said, “Yes! If a cripple who has lost his main offensive capability can beat me, that will mean that your Tang Sect is powerful indeed. So what’s wrong with joining you?”

“These   are   your   words?   How   can   I   know   if   you’re trustworthy?”   Huo  Yuhao  asked.  As  he  spoke,  he  slowly pushed his wheelchair back. To Nan Qiuqiu, every single action of his reeked of fear. 
“Of course I’ll live up to my words!However, you’ll have to live up to yours, too! There’re many benefits to joining the Earthdragon Sect. Let’s stop wasting time and end this!” As she said that, the tips of Nan Qiuqiu’s feet touched the ground as she charged toward Huo Yuhao. She lifted her right hand, and
her fourth soul ring lit up once again. Another Hand of Annihilation appeared. However, this time, it was making a grabbingfor Huo Yuhao!

The wheelchair’s wheels stopped spinning because Huo Yuhao had lifted his right hand. The look of terror on his face was wiped clean off. What replaced it was a smile.

He raised his right hand and waved it slightly. A huge dark- golden claw suddenly appeared. This razor-sharp claw was almost 8 meters long, and several times bigger than the Hand of Annihilation. It was terrifyingly sharp, and seemed capable of tearing the world apart. Wherever it touched, the air would be torn into five, long, black lights. Space itself was being torn apart!

The Hand of Annihilation was itself annihilated instantly. As the dark-golden claws slapped downward, they enveloped Nan Qiuqiu entirely. 
Instantly, Nan Qiuqiu, who had thought victory was at hand, was dumbfounded. The terrifying dark-golden claw had not reached her, and yet, she could feel that the protective layer of soul power around her was being torn apart.

I’m screwed! Nan Qiuqiu’s brain went blank. At this moment, all she could think about was survival and the smile on Huo Yuhao’s face.

At this moment, an emerald light suddenly surrounded Huo Yuhao. Following that, a huge pillar of light suddenly shot out from behind him. It aimed itself at Nan Qiuqiu’s body, enveloped her, and then moved her back 10 meters. The dark- golden claw that seemed only inches away from her body suddenly disappeared. It was forcibly retracted.

Nan Qiuqiu had now turned into an ice sculpture. Huo Yuhao remained in his wheelchair. To everyone present, he still looked like a cripple.

Everyone was silent. This change in fortunes stunned everyone. No one thought that this youth, who sat in a wheelchair and who had only been battling with his summoned being, was able to attack with so much power. When the dark-golden claw appeared, the spectators, who were protected by a barrier from the arena, could still feel a terrifying aura. It was like a ferocious beast had appeared!

As he looked at the pink light glowing from within the ice sculpture, Huo Yuhao pushed himself up before Nan Qiuqiu. With his right hand, he tapped the ice and said, “Judge, I’ve won.”

Doubtlessly, with the sharpness of his claws, he could have pierced through Nan Qiuqiu’s body if he had wished to.

“Individual  elimination  Round  4,  victory:  Tang  Sect,” announced the judge numbly, staring at Huo Yuhao in shock.

Yuhao retracted his Darkgolden Terrorclaw and tapped on the ice sculpture that contained Nan Qiuqiu. At the same time, he hit the ground with his right hand. His entire body and wheelchair flew a few meters into the air. The pink light suddenly brightened, and Nan Qiuqiu broke free from the Ultimate Ice. Protected by her Protective Annihilation, the Ultimate Ice did not affect her as much as it did the others, and she had still been able to move. If she was given enough time, she could break out. However, this was because Huo Yuhao controlled the energy he had placed in Ice Empress’ Wrath. He did not want to hurt her.

“Stop!”  The judge turned around and blocked Nan Qiuqiu. “The round is over, you’ve lost. Get off now. If you want to fight, you can do it in the team section.”

“I, I didn’t lose. You liar!”  The last bit was aimed at Huo Yuhao.

The judge was perplexed as he said, “He has already shown mercy. If he really smacked you with his claws, you wouldn’t be alive.”

Rage made Nan Qiuqiu’s chest rise and fall vigorously. Of course she knew that Huo Yuhao had shown mercy. However, she could not accept it! How… How terrifying is he? All that earlier was a show. With such a terrifying move, why would he be afraid of her?

Huo Yuhao smiled at her and said, “It’s time for you to honor your word. The Tang Sect welcomes you. If you learn our Secret Techniques, the Annihilation power of your Rogue Dragon will increase greatly.”

“Pft! Who wants to join your Tang Sect, stop dreaming!” Nan Qiuqiu cursed as she walked off the stage.

Huo Yuhao sighed and said, “Trust is all a man has. If you don’t live up to your words, this incident will be in your heart forever. Your progress in cultivation will be harder.”

Nan Qiuqiu’s body froze. She turned around and said, “I made a bet with you. If you die, I don’t have to honor it.”

As she said that, she turned to the waiting area and shouted, “I’ll marry whoever kills this bastard!”

Her voice was loud indeed. Not only did her teammates hear it, but those in the main podium heard it too! Huo Yuhao’s conversation with Nan Qiuqiu during the round had been inaudible to them. When she shouted that, a question surfaced in everyone’s mind. What exactly did Huo Yuhao do to her?

Chapter 282: Nan Qiuqiu and Nan Shuishui

Huo Yuhao’s expression was frozen. He had never expected her to have such a bad temper…

While he admired her, he only admired her annihilation- type abilities. This type was too rare, and under some circumstances, it could have unthinkable effects. It could even be useful in making high-level soul tools. Hence, he put on a show, and she fell for his ruse.

However, she would rather kill him than live up to her promise! My character is too awful. Had it been Dong’er, the results might have been different. After all, her face can charm both guys and girls.

Indeed, when the fifth member of the Earthdragon Sect jumped onto the arena, the first thing he said to Huo Yuhao, through gritted teeth, was, “Bastard, what did you do to my elder sister? If I don’t kill you, I’m not worthy to be a human!” As he said that, he made a rush straight for Huo Yuhao. The  referee  blocked  him  and  said,  “The  round  hasn’t started!”

The fifth competitor appeared to not have heard him.
Instead, he attacked the referee with a soul skill.

What happened next was totally expected. The young man was immediately sent flying by the eight-ringed Soul Douluo referee.

“Attacking the referee is a violation of the competition’s rules. You are out. Next!”  The referee said emotionlessly and coldly. He was probably the only competitor who had dared to attack the referee so far in this tournament. If not for the referee’s status, he would probably have killed him there and then.

The sixth member of the Earthdragon Sect controlled his emotions. Unlike his predecessor, he was not as brash. Even so, he still gnashed his teeth as he looked at Huo Yuhao. Immediately after the referee declared the start of the round, he rushed toward Huo Yuhao without hesitation. Offstage, Nan Qiuqiu sat in the waiting zone. The rage in her eyes gradually disappeared, and instead, was replaced by pensive thought.

Defeat, is my defeat really unjustified? While that guy has a powerful summoned creature, he himself is also powerful in his own right. With his claws, even if I had prepared for them, could I really resist them? What soul skill was that? It was so terrifying! If he’s an ice-type soul master, that soul skill should come from a soul bone...

How much of his soul power was depleted in the previous four rounds? Can our remaining guys defeat him, or even kill him?

Before she could get an answer, the fifth competitor had been knocked down. The sixth competitor rushed onto the arena without waiting for her instructions.

Nan Qiuqiu’s face turned pale. She knew that the Earthdragon Sect was going to lose for sure. As the captain, she had lost her cool, and now so had her teammates. She was a proud maiden, and hence, she had allowed some key members of her team to rest during the elimination round. While the Earthdragon Sect team was not the strongest one that could have been assembled, they still had four Soul Kings. According to her original estimate, it was completely possible for them to enter the finals. However, this was just the first
round! Also, their opponent had only sent one guy out. She did
not even know the level of his cultivation! It was a humiliating defeat!

However, what else could she do? Defeat was defeat! If the sixth member of her team lost as well, any further competition would be meaningless.

Reality proved her tragic prediction right. When the Snow Lady appeared once again, as if she had never been touched by the Hand of Annihilation, the result of the fighting was sealed.

Aided by Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection, the Snow Lady revealed the full extent of her power and defeated the sixth member of the Earthdragon Sect, who only had four rings. Right now, Huo Yuhao rivaled Meng Hongchen’s success from yesterday, as he managed to single-handedly beat six opponents. Of course, he had a much easier time compared to Meng Hongchen, as the wheelchair had made his opponents underestimate him.

“Keep calm, you must keep calm. Much of his soul power is depleted. Don’t fight him head-on, but instead, slowly wear him down. Only then can you deliver the killing blow, do you understand?” Nan Qiuqiu suppressed the uneasy feeling in her heart as she instructed her last teammate.

“Yes, elder sister. Don’t worry, I’ll win.”  With that, the last member stepped onto the arena.

“I’m  Xiao  Ye,  please  guide  me.”  The  last  member  of  the Earthdragon Sect looked rather decent. Unlike the previous two members, he was not brash. He even took the initiative to greet Yuhao.

“Hello, I’m Huo Yuhao!”  Huo Yuhao replied with a smile. Actually, from start to end, other than the time when he made Nan Qiuqiu fall for his trick, his face was perpetually plastered with a smile. The two combatants retreated to the edges of the arena.
From afar, they watched one another.

Huo Yuhao clearly understood why Meng Hongchen was unable to hold on until the end. This round-robin style was draining indeed. Furthermore, his opponents were not weak!

If he were at full strength and not paralyzed, he would naturally not be afraid. After all, he had made a name for himself during his time at the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy by taking on many opponents at once.

However, right now, he could only move his right arm. It was a massive handicap! He could not use many of his abilities. In the previous six rounds, he had used the Snow Lady throughout, and while the origin energy of Ultimate Ice in his body helped in his regeneration, his soul power was still massively depleted. After all, he had been using his Spiritual Detection the whole time too!

A faint golden light flashed, and Huo Yuhao released the Snow Lady once more. As the referee’s right hand came down, Xiao Ye ran lightly toward Huo Yuhao. As he ran, he also released his martial soul. Two yellow, two purple, and one black. It was the same as Nan Qiuqiu’s, the ideal combination for a powerful Soul King.

“Not an easy opponent!”  Huo Yuhao mumbled to himself.
However, the smile on his face showed no sign of fading.

Xiao Ye’s martial soul was the Night Dragon. When he was about fifty meters from Huo Yuhao, he suddenly stopped, before releasing a black layer of light from his body. It instantly swallowed up every single strand of light in the arena. Then, the darkness moved toward Huo Yuhao, about to engulf him!

Control-type soul master! Huo Yuhao reacted to it instantly.
Then, an apologetic smile crossed his face.

A control-type soul master was normally much more difficult to defeat than an assault-type soul master. Furthermore, if he could completely control his opponent, then he would have no difficulty facing multiple opponents.

However, this control-type Soul King’s power had something to do with darkness. He had to control his opponent’s vision. Huo Yuhao’s martial soul was the Spirit Eyes, but how could his vision be so easily controlled? With his Spiritual Detection, he did not even need his eyes to see! Hence, the audience watched as Huo Yuhao dumbly pushed his wheelchair into the patch of darkness.

The competition ended faster than anyone could have imagined. The darkness lasted for no more than ten seconds before it faded. Huo Yuhao remained standing, or rather sitting, onstage. Xiao Ye, however, had fainted, and was lying on the ground unconscious.

Huo Yuhao turned and smiled at Nan Qiuqiu as he said, “Thanks for going easy on me. The Tang Sect welcomes you.”

“This is impossible!” Nan Qiuqiu jumped up from the waiting zone. “He-he probably used some illegal method! If not, how could  he  defeat  Xiao  Ye?”  Xiao  Ye  was  their  squad’s  main control-type soul master. In terms of cultivation, he was only slightly weaker than her! His Night Dragon was powerful indeed, and it definitely did not just obscure his opponent’s vision with darkness, it had some control elements in it too! In the darkness, Xiao Ye’s full repertoire of powers would be revealed. Nan Qiuqiu had to use her annihilation-type power to overcome his darkness-type power to achieve victory. However, Huo Yuhao was able to beat him in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, he did not even freeze Xiao Ye over.

This was beyond her comprehension!

The referee looked coldly at Nan Qiuqiu and said, “Silence, the competition has ended. Between the Tang Sect and the Earthdragon Sect, the Tang Sect has won. It accumulated 12 out of 12 points. May the two sides please vacate the premises!”

Nan Qiuqiu did not hesitate as she rushed into the arena. She did not rush toward Xiao Ye, but instead, she made straight for Huo Yuhao. She had lost, completely and utterly. This was unacceptable to her at such a young age. While she understood that Huo Yuhao was much more powerful, she was still unwilling to admit defeat!

At this moment, a shadow silently blocked her.

“The competition has ended, what do you want to do?” The person who had blocked her was Wang Dong’er. Nan Qiuqiu roared in rage, “Scram!” As she moved, her palm came toward Wang Dong’er as she released her annihilation- type power.

Wang Dong’er frowned. She raised her right hand too, and slapped over as well. Intense, golden flames rose.

Peng-!

The golden flames appeared slightly muted under the Light of Annihilation. However, Nan Qiuqiu stumbled back three, then four steps, and almost fell to the ground.

“You…” She raised her head to look over. Then, she saw a dazzlingly handsome “man” with light-blue hair pulled back in a ponytail.

Like all women who first saw Wang Dong’er, Nan Qiuqiu’s gaze froze. Wang Dong’er’s handsome face was like a magical cure. Instantly, her anger, unhappiness, and will to battle dropped by half. He’s so handsome! Nan Qiuqiu swallowed a mouthful of spit as she said in a hoarse voice, “Soul Emperor?”

To beat her back with one palm without releasing their martial soul was a feat only Soul Emperors could achieve. However, Wang Dong looked so young! Earlier, “he” had been in the waiting zone! Nan Qiuqiu’s heart instantly turned cold. 
So-so this was how powerful the Tang Sect was! They actually had Soul Emperors who had yet to take part in the competition! Is that guy in the wheelchair a Soul Emperor too? If so, this defeat was not without reason!

I have to join the Tang Sect… However, they are so powerful… If I join the Tang Sect, my life won’t be as painful. Then again, how can I answer to my mother…?

Just as Nan Qiuqiu was having this internal argument, Wang Dong’er came over to Huo Yuhao’s side and asked in a low voice, “Yuhao, how are you?”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “Excellent! Did you see how cool I looked when I beat seven of them?”

Wang Dong’er covered her smile and said, “Yes, you’re very cool. Enough is enough. You almost tricked the other team’s captain into joining us. This is a resounding victory! However, why do you always seem to have some issue with a person called ‘Qiu’? Is it deliberate?”

“Keke…” Huo Yuhao said with an awkward look on his face. “As for that, Dong’er, you know… I…”

Wang Dong’er smiled and said, “It’s fine, we’ll talk about it later.”  As she said that, she pushed his wheelchair with one hand as she placed her other hand on Huo Yuhao’s shoulder. Their Haodong Power fused and helped Huo Yuhao replenish his soul power.

After examining his body and ascertaining that he was fine, Wang Dong’er relaxed.

“Qiuqiu, get down now!” an angry voice rang out.

Nan Qiuqiu trembled. She turned around to look, and realized that a pretty woman, who shared a sharp resemblance with her, was speaking to her. However, her face was icy cold. Only then did Nan Qiuqiu leave the arena with a dejected look on her face as she made way for the next round.

“Mom!...” Nan Qiuqiu said in a low voice.

The middle-aged woman said angrily, “Don’t call me ‘mom’! The Earthdragon Sect has been utterly humiliated because of you! I put you in charge of the tournament, and yet, you did not send a single strong team member out. Instead, our opponent thrashed all seven members of our team with just one guy! You, you, you…”

The chest of the woman rose and fell rapidly in her rage.

Nan Qiuqiu lowered her head and said, “Mom, I know I’m in the wrong. However, they are indeed powerful. The one in the wheelchair is at least a Soul Emperor. The one who blocked me just now is also a Soul Emperor.”

“Soul    Emperor?”     The    middle-aged    woman    paused momentarily, but her face still betrayed an ugly expression. “So what if they’re Soul Emperors? You sent seven people out, but none of you could defeat a single one of them. In some rounds, your teammates lost without any reason. In particular, you, as the captain, not only led your team to defeat, but continued to holler afterward. What kind of behavior is this? This time, when we get back, you shall go to the Dragon Suppressing Cliff and cultivate alone for a year! If you don’t
become a Soul Emperor by then, don’t even think of coming
out!”

Nan Qiuqiu suddenly knelt in front of her mother. “Mom, I’m sorry!”

The middle-aged woman was momentarily stunned. Her eyes betrayed a tinge of heartbreak. Nan Qiuqiu was her daughter, after all! And she was indeed exceptional enough. However, because of how exceptional she was, she had become arrogant. Among her fellow sect members of the same generation, she was the most cherished one of them all. Her seniors liked her, and not only did her peers like her, but they even let her do whatever she wanted. This time, after she made such a huge mistake, the middle-aged woman was determined to take this chance to discipline her. If not, no one knew how she would screw up in the future.

“Get up! What are you doing in front of all these people?” The middle-aged woman shouted. This was the resting zone, and there were many other sects watching this spectacle. From the start, she did not count on the Earthdragon Sect to obtain good results here. Instead, her objective was to show them the world. However, they were eliminated after only the first round! Of course, defeat was just defeat. The more important
thing was for them to learn their lessons! She did not find defeat to be particularly humiliating. However, she would not tell these youths these things.

“Mom, I don’t think I can go back with you. I…,” Nan Qiuqiu fumbled with her words as she tried to speak with her head bowed. A cunning look flashed in her eyes.

The middle-aged woman was stunned. Then, she bellowed in rage, “You dare to defy my orders? Don’t forget, I’m not only your mother, but I’m also the sectmistress of the Earthdragon Sect! You know what the rules of our sect are!”

Nan Qiuqiu shook her head vigorously, and then lifted her head once more. At this time, tears streamed uncontrollably down her face. “Mom, I’m sorry but… but it’s too late. In the round just now, I made a bet with Huo Yuhao and I… I lost myself to him.” “What?” At this point, the middle-aged woman was truly stunned. “What… what are you saying? You lost yourself to a cripple? You… you are really infuriating! Are you going to spend the rest of your life with a cripple? Even if he’s powerful, he’s…” She could not speak anymore. Her entire face was red.

What was a tournament in comparison to her daughter’s happiness?

When Nan Qiuqiu heard that, she realized that her mother had misunderstood her. She quickly explained herself, “No, no, mom, it’s not like that. I lost myself, yes, but I lost myself to the Tang Sect. We bet that if I won, he’d join the Earthdragon Sect, but if I lost, I’d join the Tang Sect.” As she said that, her voice became softer and softer as she lowered her head once more.

When the woman recovered from her shock, she asked about the details of the bet once more. Nan Qiuqiu did not dare to hide anything from her as she recounted the entire process once more.

“Mom, I know I made a mistake, and I fell for his trick. However, if I’m willing to bet, I should honor it. Furthermore, he’s right. If I don’t honor my bet, it’ll be difficult for me to make any sort of breakthrough once my cultivation reaches a bottleneck.”

At this point, Nan Qiuqiu’s tears flowed freely.

The leader of the Earthdragon Sect was stunned. Not only did she lose the competition, but she had also lost her own daughter, too? As the sect leader, she could certainly forcibly bar her daughter from joining the Tang Sect. However, if she did it would prove problematic for Nan Qiuqiu’s future!

She inhaled deeply and calmed herself down. She glared at Nan Qiuqiu, but at the same time, she pulled her up.

“Come with me.”  As she said that, she pulled Nan Qiuqiu toward the resting zone where the Tang Sect sat.

------

Over on the Tang Sect’s side, Huo Yuhao had already told everyone his story about how he had made a bet with Nan Qiuqiu.

Everyone had an odd expression on their face. In the end, only He Caitou said something honest, “That girl is too silly!”

Xiao Xiao looked at him coldly and said, “She’s just innocent, alright? Yuhao is too devious. He tricked her completely, so pitiful! However, it’s not a bad thing for our sect to have more girls too. Hehe!”

As they spoke, the woman pulled Nan Qiuqiu over to them.

“Who’s  in  charge  of  the  Tang  Sect?”  The  woman  asked plainly.

Everyone from the Tang Sect looked at Huo Yuhao. The woman was stunned. Her eyes turned cold. Can this young man in the wheelchair be their leader, as well?

“Hello  senior,  what  do  you  seek  from  us?”  The  woman resembled Nan Qiuqiu, so Huo Yuhao could guess their relationship. He felt awkward too. He had tricked her daughter over from right under her nose! This was a dishonorable move!

“You’re called Huo Yuhao, right? I heard about your bet with Qiuqiu. I’m the leader of the Earthdragon Sect, Nan Shuishui, and her mother. State your price, and I’ll buy her back,” the woman said plainly.

Nan Qiuqiu coughed, “Mom, I’m not a commodity…”

Nan Shuishui glared at her, and she shut up.

Huo Yuhao said with an awkward smile, “Senior, the Tang Sect does not lack money. Just now, in the competition, you know that words are weapons too. While we did make a bet, there’s no need to treat it so seriously. It’s alright if you take her back.” In front of her mother, he could not just tell her to live up to what she had promised in the bet and leave her life behind.

Nan Shuishui said, “While the Earthdragon Sect is not an influential sect on the continent, it’s still one of the top-ranked sects in the Dou Ling Empire. How can our words count for nothing? Since she made a bet with you, there’s nothing I can say. If you want her to join the Tang Sect, I’m fine with it, on two conditions.”

Huo Yuhao was stunned. What kind of mother would give her own daughter to the Tang Sect? While he did want to recruit Nan Qiuqiu, he was not confident that it would actually happen. After all, he had made the bet casually. He did not expect the opportunity to truly arise!

“What are they?” Huo Yuhao replied calmly.

Nan Shuishui said, “First, while my daughter did lose her bet to you, she’s still a disciple of the Earthdragon Sect. There’ll be a price to pay if she wants to leave my sect! For you, I’ll give you a discount! She can join your Tang Sect for a certain period of time. Afterward, if she wishes to stay, she can stay. If not, she is free to return. You can’t stop her.”

“Second, Qiuqiu is a girl. You can’t force her to do things that she doesn’t want to do. Promise me these two things, and I’ll agree to let her leave the Earthdragon Sect. If not, I’d rather she break her promise and remain in the Earthdragon Sect.” Huo Yuhao looked at his friends. This mother was easy to negotiate with. These two conditions were like nothing.

“What’s a suitable time frame?” Huo Yuhao asked.

Nan Shuishui thought for a while, and then said, “Three years. If the Tang Sect can allow her to become a Soul Emperor in three years, you can extend the timeframe for another 2 years. However, after 5 years, it’ll be time for her to get married. By that time, we would have lived up to our promise. How about it?”

“I agree!” Huo Yuhao replied without hesitation. In these few years, there would be many changes to the continent. The Tang Sect needed talents to grow. With her current cultivation, it would not be difficult to get Nan Qiuqiu to rise to a Soul Emperor in three years. All she had to do was get six rings and rise a few more ranks! 
However, Huo Yuhao was confident. In the next five years, the Tang Sect would grow exponentially. He did not dare to say how strong the Tang Sect would be in five years’ time, but it would not be hard to keep Nan Qiuqiu.

Nan Qiuqiu was stunned. She had not expected her mother to give her up so easily. The two conditions were almost meaningless! Five years! She would soon become a disciple of the Tang Sect for at least five years!

Nan Shuishui looked Huo Yuhao deep in the eyes, nodded, and said, “Alright, then I shall hand Qiuqiu over to you. As long as you don’t deliberately bully her, it’s alright for you to be slightly strict with her. I’ve spoiled this girl. This time, she has to pay for her own mistakes to learn a lesson. Oh right, where is the Tang Sect? After this competition, I wish to pay your sect a visit!”

Huo   Yuhao   smiled   and   replied,   “We   welcome   you wholeheartedly. The Tang Sect is located in Shrek City. As long as you are there, it won’t be hard to find us. The Tang Sect has a long history, but it has also had a period of decline. We’re rebuilding the Tang Sect, and we are confident that we’ll turn it into an even more powerful sect.”

“Shrek City?” Nan Shuishui’s eyes betrayed a look of shock. She dismissed some of the thoughts she had instantly. She turned  her  head  to  look  at  Nan  Qiuqiu  and  said,  “Alright, you’re now part of the Tang Sect! Five years from now, in the next tournament, you make the call as to whether you want to return or not. It’s settled!”  With that, the sect leader of the Earthdragon Sect turned to leave.

While Nan Qiuqiu had planned to join the Tang Sect to avoid punishment, she could not help but feel wronged when her mother gave her away so easily. Tears streamed down her face.

Wang Dong’er approached her and said, “Qiuqiu, the Tang Sect is not a bad place. By joining the Tang Sect, we promise that it will not affect your future development negatively. We welcome you.” As she said that, she extended her hand out.

Ever since Wang Dong’er got together with Huo Yuhao, she decided to give up her cross-dressing charade. Hence, she fell into her role as a girl, but she forgot about the dangerous impact of her cross-dressing.

When Nan Qiuqiu heard Wang Dong’er’s words, she lifted her head to look at her perfectly-formed face. She nodded and not only did she stop her tears from flowing, but she reached out and grabbed Wang Dong’er’s hands. Wang Dong’er led her to the resting area.

------

There was nothing wrong with Wang Dong’er holding Nan Qiuqiu’s hand. However, it made someone else immensely jealous.

“She-she actually dares to hold Wang Dong’s hand. I’ll kill her…!” Meng Hongchen said with gritted teeth as she walked out of the resting zone.

“Be calm! Sister, you must be calm!” Xiao Hongchen rushed toward to hold her. A helpless look crossed his face. He did not know why his sister would lose a few IQ points everytime Wang Dong was mentioned. 
Nan Shuishui returned to the Earthdragon Sect’s side and sat down. A smile crept across her face as she thought, “Tang Sect. What a sec! Shrek Academy’s Tang Sect. That is the perfect place to train Qiuqiu!”

The Earthdragon Sect had a mysterious secret technique that originated from its first sect leader more than a thousand years ago. They were able to determine the personality of a person just by looking at his/her face. Just now, she could see the righteousness in the faces of the Tang Sect disciples. If not, as a mother, how could she entrust her daughter to strangers? Furthermore, after she heard that the Tang Sect was in Shrek City, she was even more relieved.

Among the group of youngsters, at least two of them were Soul Emperors! What did that mean? Before they signed up, Nan Shuishui had deliberately researched past tournaments. Any team with a Soul Emperor would be able to enter the top eight! For them to have soul masters at that level, and for them to establish their sect in Shrek City, how could anyone believe that they had no ties whatsoever with Shrek Academy?

Due to her assessments, Nan Shuishui had enough assurance to make her decision. She abandoned her plan of bringing a few men to kick up a fuss at the Tang Sect. Of course, she would still pay a visit to the Tang Sect! She had to see if her daughter had a future in the sect. All mothers were the same in this aspect. No matter how tough they seemed, their kids could melt their hearts.

------

While the competition had ended for the Tang Sect, Huo Yuhao his team did not return to the hotel. Instead, they stayed to continue watching the tournament. He was waiting to see a particular sect fight.

Soon, his wait paid off.

As noon approached, the morning rounds for the second day were coming to an end. Soon, it was the last round.

“Holy Ghost Sect versus Heavenly Capital Academy.
Participants, please approach the arena.” Huo Yuhao was resting with his eyes closed, but when he heard the name ‘Holy Ghost Sect’, he opened his eyes immediately. He looked toward the resting zone.

Indeed, he saw a youth clad in black walking out. The tips of his feet touched the ground, and soon, he was in the arena. His attire was exactly the same as Tang Ya’s.

Holy Ghost Sect, Holy Ghost Church. It was indeed them.
They really decided to take part in the competition!

Huo Yuhao’s expression turned serious. He stared intently at the youth in black.

Wang Dong’er sat next to him, looking slightly vexed. Right after she asked Nan Qiuqiu to sit down next to her, she realized that something was wrong. She had made the same mistake once more. Nan Qiuqiu finally calmed down and then, she continually asked ‘him’ about the Tang Sect. Then, she started to ask more personal questions. Undoubtedly, she had her own secret objective! Wang Dong’er had experienced too many of these types of situations already. “Wang Dong, where do I stay once I’m at the Tang Sect?”

“What method did Huo Yuhao use to defeat the last member of my Earthdragon Sect?”

“Wang Dong, you are really handsome, but your shoulders are slightly narrow. Eh, your feet aren’t big either! What’s your size!?”

Nan Qiuqiu blurted out a whole bunch of crap in just a short while.

The other members of the Tang Sect pretended to not hear. They sat there rigidly, but the mirth in their eyes could not be concealed. Evidently, another girl had become infatuated with Wang Dong’er!

Nan Qiuqiu was no romantic. However, when she met this handsome young man who had managed to reach Rank 60 before he was 20, how could she not be attracted to him? Perhaps she did not even realize it herself. Just like Huo Yuhao said, Wang Dong’er could charm both guys and girls.

At this moment, Huo Yuhao’s attention was completely focused on the tournament. The youth from the Holy Ghost Sect in black looked plain, his face slightly pale. However, when Huo Yuhao cast his Spiritual Detection over him, he felt something eerie.

The Sun Moon Empire led the continent in terms of soul tools. For such a huge arena, the protective barrier was over five hundred meters high, and its protective abilities were amazing indeed. Hence, Huo Yuhao, with his current spiritual cultivation, had to expend a lot of spiritual power to penetrate the barrier. However, he had to find out more about the Holy Ghost Sect, so he did not mind making the sacrifice.

Earlier, when he finished off the Earthdragon Sect, Huo Yuhao had relied on his Spiritual Shock. Unlike before, he could now completely control the intensity of his attack. He could render his opponent unconscious without actually hurting him. If he wished, even a Soul Emperor could not resist a blow from his Spiritual Shock. Actually, this was his trump card, and hence, he had only revealed it when he was shrouded in darkness. He would not use it easily. 
Huo Yuhao was not a real cripple. As his spiritual power increased, he realized that his soul power and his body could not match it.

For example, he would not dare to use his Eye of Destiny to release his Spiritual Shock. If he did so, his brain would be unable to take it, and it might very well explode. As for this problem, he tried to ask Elder Xuan what he should do. Elder Xuan gave him a simple answer. If a soul master wanted to make an all-around improvement, his soul power would serve as his foundation, as well as the most important measure. With a rise in soul power, other aspects of the soul master’s body would increase as well. In the long run, his cultivation would become stronger and stronger. Regardless of whether it pertained to one’s tenacity in terms of spiritual power or soul power, the pre-condition was that one had to have a strong body first!

Huo Yuhao’s body was indeed more exceptional than other soul masters of his rank. Furthermore, with the vast life energy from the Life Gold and his twin martial souls, his body’s caliber easily rivalled that of a six-ringed Soul Emperor! However, that was his limit, as he still only had five rings. Right now, his spiritual power astounded even Elder Xuan. One could only guess the improvement he had experienced in terms of his spiritual power. Elder Xuan told him directly that if he wanted to capitalize on his concrete-material realm spiritual power, he had to reach the stage of a Titled Douluo. Only then could his body reach a level that allowed him to release his spiritual power without reservation.

Of course, there was a more superficial method. He could also retrieve a powerful soul bone that would allow his Spiritual Sea to stabilize. Like that, when he released his spiritual power, his attack would be more powerful. Of course, he would still be unable to maximize his full strength, and hence, the best way to overcome this problem was to rely on simply increasing his cultivation!

Chapter 283: Team Holy Spirit

However, he still could not use his immense spiritual power to its fullest extent. Chiefly, he could not use explosive-type abilities. As for Spiritual Detection, Spiritual Interference, Spiritual Sharing, and other pseudo-soul skills, they had all experienced a tremendous increase in power. This was why Huo Yuhao was still the main control-type soul master on the team.

As a faint light flashed, a cold look crossed Huo Yuhao’s face. He narrowed his eyes and his spiritual power was locked onto the youth from the Holy Ghost Sect. From his target’s soul power, he could sense that he was a five-ringed Soul King. He could not be said to be strong. However, the eeriness he gave off told Huo Yuhao that he was an evil soul master. There was no other possibility.

The Heavenly Capital Academy was an old, well-established school. Like the Earthdragon Sect that the Tang Sect had just encountered, it was from the Dou Ling Empire. The first person it sent out was also a youth. He was tall, sturdy, and clearly energetic.

The judge noted that both competitors were in their respective positions. His right hand came down swiftly, and the two competitors acted at the same time as they charged toward each other.

The Holy Ghost Sect youth’s body started to shine with a pale, white light. His body seemed to remain normal, but his two hands, under the glow of the light, turned ghastly pale. As he lowered his head, his eyes turned white too.

What kind of martial soul was this? Even Huo Yuhao could not detect the martial soul this youth released instantly.

This was the first round of the tournament, and every team wanted to start their first rounds off with a bang. The youth from the Heavenly Capital Academy was not weak either. As he roared loudly, his body emitted a powerful energy.

Two long knives appeared in his hands. A total of five soul rings, two yellow and three purple, circled around his knives. Without a doubt, they were his martial soul! The two sides quickly approached each other. When they were just inches away, the Heavenly Capital Academy youth leapt into the air. The first soul ring around his body started to shine and in mid-air, he sliced down toward the Holy Ghost Sect competitor in a crescent-shaped arc.

Yellow jolts of electricity shot out from the blades of his knives, and crackling sounds rang out as they arced through the air.

This martial soul was impressive indeed. On the battlefield, it was more powerful than normal assault-type martial souls! Huo Yuhao silently assessed the situation. At the same time, he began to concentrate harder as he observed how the Holy Ghost Sect youth would react.

The Holy Ghost Sect youth had five rings too. However, he had the ideal soul ring combination. As he noticed his opponent’s crescent-shaped attack coming toward him, his body suddenly twisted oddly. Everyone felt as if he had turned into a shadow, causing his opponent to momentarily lose his target. The crescent-shaped attack landed on the metallic ground, leaving a deep scar behind. At the same time, a black tornado rose up from the ground. As the tornado shrieked, it charged toward the Heavenly Capital soul master. 
The Heavenly Capital student was still in mid-air. In this position, his strength was maximized. His third soul ring started to shine, and the knives in his hands formed three rays of faint shadow. This time, the three rays, which seemed more powerful than the light from the knives, came rushing out. As the rays of blade light flew out, the body of the Heaven Capital
Academy youth shone with an intense yellow light. It was as if
the sun had descended.

Triple Sun Moon Slash, a powerful thousand-year soul skill!

Instantly, the tornado that was about to encircle him was sliced to pieces by the knives. The three rays of blade light then turned inward, and quickly afterwards, they exploded into countless smaller rays that shot outward.

Regardless of whether it was in terms of strength, control, or power, this attack had them all. The other teams in the resting zone could not help but nod their heads in approval. This student from the Heavenly Capital Academy was extraordinary, indeed! Just when everyone thought that the Holy Ghost Sect youth could not continue this fight anymore, the black smoke, which had just been sliced apart, suddenly spread outward. Following that, its color became paler, and soon, it turned purple before reforming itself.

With Huo Yuhao’s Spiritual Detection, he could hear wailing and crying. From the inside of the thick purple smoke, a purple skull flashed and then quickly disappeared.

It all happened too fast. As it was too fast, almost everyone on-scene could not even react. The Heavenly Capital Academy youth had already been devoured by the purple smoke.

In the next instance, the smoke retracted itself and turned into an arrow as it flew into the distance. Over there, the Holy Ghost Sect youth’s body reformed as he landed on the ground.

The Heavenly Capital Academy youth re-appeared in mid-air. However, he appeared to have lost control over his body. At that moment, his skin was deathly white. The knives in his hands disappeared, and his body fell from the sky, unmoving. Oh shit! Huo Yuhao closed his eyes. He had been using Spiritual Detection to observe this competition. He had the best view and understanding of this entire fight. The soul of the Heavenly Capital Academy youth had been completely devoured. While his body was intact, it was just an empty shell!

The fourth soul skill! The combatant from the Holy Ghost Sect had used his fourth soul skill from the smoke. His soul skill was akin to an insect, a very odd insect. It was small and like a needle. If not for Huo Yuhao’s spiritual power, accompanied with the evolution of his Purple Demon Eyes to the Sumeru Realm, he would not have been able to discover it.

The black smoke was a manifestation of countless insects from his martial soul. When the black smoke turned purple, it was because these insects opened their wings, which were purple. Then, their bodies entered a half-energy realm as they forced their way into the head of the youth from the Heavenly Capital Academy. They entered him from his seven orifices. Not only did they devour his soul, but they even ate his brains.

Such a cruel evil soul master! The Holy Ghost Sect youth, who had just devoured a Soul King, brimmed with energy. His icy-cold eyes betrayed a look of joy. Evil soul masters were not only strong, but they were able to improve rapidly at a certain cultivation level. However, after they accumulated more than five rings, their cultivation would gradually slow down, depending on how powerful their evil martial souls were. The more powerful their evil martial souls
were, the faster they would improve. At the same time, they required other forms of assistance. If not, why would they be called ‘evil soul masters?’

“Heavenly Capital Academy, dead. Next.”

When they heard the word ‘dead’, the waiting zone for the Heavenly Capital Academy instantly went into an uproar. Everyone stood up as they stared angrily at the Holy Ghost Sect competitors.

The first competitor from the Holy Ghost Sect rushed out from the waiting zone. After he ran out, the other members of the Holy Ghost Sect sauntered out. According to the rules, there should have been six members. However, only three of them walked out. Tang Ya was nowhere to be seen, there were just three cold youths. They all had different physiques. However, their eyes were all icy-cold and treacherous. Including the one on stage, there were only four people on their team. This also meant that they were confident in winning this competition with just four members. What level of confidence was this?

The Heavenly Capital Academy sent two of its students to retrieve the corpse of their schoolmate. When they lifted his corpse, a huge amount of blood gushed out from his orifices, staining the arena red.

Over on the Holy Ghost Sect side, a youth licked his lips and mumbled to himself, “What a waste, such fresh blood.”

“How can you kill?” The teacher in charge of the Heavenly Capital Academy stood up in rage as he made an angry protest.

“In previous tournaments, people died too. If you are capable, you can kill us too!” a cold, clear voice retorted from the resting zone.

The Heavenly Capital Academy had no right to enter the pavilion in the resting zone. The face of the teacher in charge changed rapidly. Suddenly, he strode toward the waiting zone. 
“Stop, the teacher in charge can’t enter the waiting zone to direct the battle. If not, you’ll be disqualified.” The organizing team of the tournament naturally sent someone out to block him.

“We aren’t going to fight. We admit defeat,” the teacher said angrily. “This is a competition, not a life-and-death fight. That was pure murder! Everyone can see that it was blatant murder! It was not an accident from the competition. The Heavenly Capital Academy withdraws from the competition. Everyone get back, we aren’t doing this anymore.”

When they heard the teacher’s words, the remaining members of the Heavenly Capital Academy team sighed in relief. The youth in black was too mysterious! They had sent their captain out just now, and if even he died under such mysterious circumstances, how would the rest of them fare? Everyone feared death. They were here to compete, not to die!

On the main podium, Xu Tianran frowned and said, “Imperial Tutor, tell your guys not to go overboard. This is just a competition. There are other places for them to show off their skills where they won’t be subjected to such criticisms.” “Okay,” the man in black next to him said plainly.

In just one round, the Holy Ghost Sect was able to scare its opponent off. Likewise, they progressed to the next round with 12 full points. When the youth in black walked off the arena, he was booed intensely by everyone. His cruel methods not only provoked the other teams in the resting zone, but also earned him the displeasure of the crowd.

------

Huo Yuhao sat there stunned in his wheelchair. His eyes were blank. Slowly, his blank eyes betrayed an incredulous look.

Wang Dong’er was the first to notice this. “What happened, Yuhao?”

“That voice, did you hear it? From the pavilion in the resting zone,” Huo Yuhao said dazedly.

Wang Dong’er paused for a while, and then said, “I heard it.
It sounded familiar. Was that Teacher Tang Ya?” 
Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “No, no. It… it sounded like sister’s voice!” 
“Sister?” Wang Dong’er looked at shock at Huo Yuhao. Then she quickly got over her shock. Huo Yuhao had told her that he was an orphan. She was familiar with his background. There was only one person he would call ‘sister’.

“You mean to say that that was Sister Xiaotao’s voice? That… that can’t be real,” Wang Dong’er said in shock.

Huo Yuhao turned his head to look at her seriously and said, “Why can’t it be real? If this is true, it would make sense. Sister Xiaotao’s disappearance has something to do with Jing Hongchen. This is undeniable. He probably used some trick when he was observing her, which allowed her to leave so easily. Furthermore, when Sister Xiaotao disappeared, the Academy was under attack, too. Teacher told me that the attackers were a group of evil soul masters. The Holy Ghost Sect is the only sect formed from evil soul masters that I know of. If they captured Sister Xiaotao, then everything would make sense. Sister Xiaotao and Teacher Tang Ya have been captured by them. These bastards…!” As he said that, Huo Yuhao clenched his fists and became more and more emotional. Despite how reasonable his prediction was, he would have never expected to see Ma Xiaotao here until he heard her voice.

“The competitions for the morning end now. For the teams that are competing in the afternoon, please don’t be late. The teams who have finished competing may return to their hotels to rest and prepare for the subsequent rounds.”

The competitions for the morning of the second day ended. However, Huo Yuhao could not help but stare at the pavilion in the resting zone.

He saw the group of black-clothed Holy Ghost Sect disciples quickly leaving the pavilion. Other than Tang Ya, his gaze instantly fell on a female disciple of the Holy Ghost Sect.

Like Tang Ya, her face was covered with a veil. Huo Yuhao closed his eyes briefly, and as his spiritual power vibrated, he was able to implant his own voice into her head.

“Sister.” 
The black-robed woman paused momentarily. However, she appeared to not have heard Huo Yuhao’s voice as she continued walking forward with her teammates.

Evidently, the other youths in black respected her greatly.
She and Tang Ya were in the center as they walked out.

Huo Yuhao paused momentarily as a look of confusion crossed his eyes. The result of his probe was not what he had expected. Could this mean…?

“Yuhao,” Wang Dong’er called him gently.

Huo Yuhao nodded and said, “Let’s go.”

---

Circled by everyone, they also left the resting zone as they proceeded toward the Brilliant Delight Hotel. On their way there, Huo Yuhao fell into deep thought. Nan Qiuqiu appeared to have calmed herself down. She was much quieter, but she still kept close to Wang Dong’er. When she saw Wang Dong’er pushing Huo Yuhao’s wheelchair, the expression on her face changed. She harbored no good feelings toward Yuhao. If not for his tricks, she would not be in the Tang Sect.

After obtaining victory in the first elimination round, they had ample time to rest. Before the competition started in the morning, the organizing team had announced that the first elimination round would last four days because there were just too many teams. This also meant that they had two more days of rest.

It was not early, so the first thing they did upon returning to the hotel was to head for the cafeteria to eat.

In terms of dining, there were clear differences. For teams like them who resided on the fourth level, they could only have their meal in the common cafeteria. For teams who resided above the fourth floor, they could order their meals directly, and the hotel would try to fulfill their every request. As they sat around the round table, dishes that had already been prepared were quickly served. While their treatment was not as good as the treatment accorded to more famous sects and schools, the food was not too shabby either. After all, the Brilliant Delight Hotel was one of the best in Radiant City.

Xu Sanshi took some food out to send to the injured Bei Bei. Huo Yuhao looked at Nan Qiuqiu, who sat next to Wang Dong’er, lifted the cup of warm water in front of him and said, “Come, let us all raise our cups. Qiuqiu, welcome to the Tang Sect. Now, I’ll introduce everyone to you.”

As he said that, Huo Yuhao introduced his teammates to Nan Qiuqiu one-by-one.

Nan Qiuqiu’s mouth twitched as she glared at him and said, “Liar.”

An awkward expression crossed Huo Yuhao’s face as he said, “You can’t blame me for this. At that time, you were too arrogant. I thought that no one would fall for such a trick…” “What do you mean by that?” Nan Qiuqiu, who had just regained her calm with much difficulty, was incensed once again.

Huo Yuhao shook his head helplessly and said, “Let’s eat.”

“Explain this to me clearly before you eat.” Nan Qiuqiu stood up suddenly. The anger she had been suppressing on her way here was only suppressed because of Wang Dong’er. However, on the way here, the more she thought about how she had ended up here, the angrier she got. How could she lose herself so easily? In the Tang Sect, she could not enjoy herself as much as she used to in the Earthdragon Sect. She also did not know how the others would treat her. Her panic and rage were all concentrated on Huo Yuhao.

Huo Yuhao looked at her in pity and said, “Now I finally understand why your mother was so willing to send you over to us.”

“You…” Nan Qiuqiu was already upset with her mother because of this. When Huo Yuhao said this, this ‘princess’ was so triggered that she could almost explode. Her soul power was pulsating violently. 
“What do you want to do?” Wang Dong’er turned her head over to glare at her.

Among everyone from the Tang Sect, Nan Qiuqiu disliked Wang Dong’er the least. Her face contorted with rage, she said, “Forcing me to join the Tang Sect is just a way for you to humiliate me. If you can, kill me now. I’ll rather die than surrender!”

He Caitou said in a stunned voice, “Is it so serious? Sister, we are good people.”

“Who’s your sister, baldie?” Nan Qiuqiu said angrily.

“How can you say that?” Xiao Xiao could take no more. She slammed the table and stood up. A fight was on the verge of breaking out.

At this moment, Jing Ziyan chortled and stood up. She pressed Xiao Xiao and said, “What are you doing? What are all of you doing? Aren’t you hungry? I’m hungry. Sister Qiuqiu, don’t worry so much. Now that you’re in the Tang Sect, everyone welcomes you. No one will target you for anything. Sit down and eat. Once we get back, I’ll accompany you. Don’t worry, if anyone dares to bully you, I’ll stand up for you. I am like their teacher in charge. They’ll listen to me.”

No one reacted to what Jing Ziyan had just said. Everyone stared at her with an odd gaze. She sounds like a wolf in disguise…

When Nan Qiuqiu looked at Jing Ziyan, who was smiling, the expression on her face changed for the better. Finally, someone was speaking her language. Furthermore, now that her mother had allowed her to join the Tang Sect, she knew that her own abilities could not take so many of them on at once. Hence, she decided not to say anything, but instead ate her meal angrily.

Huo Yuhao looked at Jing Ziyan and then at Ji Juechen, who sat next to her emotionlessly. In his heart, he thought, It’s not a bad decision to let these two train Nan Qiuqiu’s temper.

No one from the Tang Sect took kindly to Nan Qiuqiu’s temper. Hence, no one bothered her too much. They ate their meal in silence. “Where does everyone want to go in the afternoon?”  Huo Yuhao asked his friends after he wiped his mouth clean with a white cloth.

Xu Sanshi, who had returned from delivering Bei Bei his meal, said, “It doesn’t matter. Haven’t you seen all the teams that you’re interested in?”

Huo Yuhao nodded and said, “I’ve seen the most important one, yes. As for the others, there are too many things that can’t be seen clearly now. I recommend that everyone rest in the hotel for now and get ready for the next round.”

Everyone nodded in agreement with Huo Yuhao’s suggestion. They still had quite some buffer time afterward. This would benefit Bei Bei in making a full recovery.

“Alright,  let’s  go  back  and  rest.”   Huo  Yuhao  made  the decision after he sought everyone’s opinion.

Everyone stood up and prepared to leave the cafeteria. A displeased voice sounded, “Eh, wait a moment, where will I stay?” 
Nan Qiuqiu looked upset as she stared at everyone. She felt as if they had all forgotten about her.

Before Huo Yuhao could open his mouth, Jing Ziyan walked up to her with a smile and said, “You can stay with me. While our living conditions aren’t ideal, it won’t be too much trouble to have one more person.”

Xiao Xiao and Jiang Nannan stayed together. Wang Dong’er stayed with Huo Yuhao. Jing Ziyan and Na Na stayed together. If Nan Qiuqiu stayed with them, the three girls would share one room.

Na Na said, slightly peeved, “Sister Ziyan, what will I do?”

Jing Ziyan said, “It’s fine! If we combine two beds, it should be enough for three people to sleep together.”

“What? We have to combine beds?”  Nan Qiuqiu looked at them in shock. “No, I must have my own room. Get the organizing team to give me my own room.” Xu Sanshi chuckled and said, “Beauty, who do you think we are? We’re just a small, unknown sect. Will the organizing team listen to us? When in Shrek, do as the Shreks do. Since you’ve already joined our sect, stop making so much trouble for us.” With Jiang Nannan present, he was much more reserved.
Under other circumstances, he would have made fun of her far more mercilessly.

“That’s… that’s not possible,” Nan Qiuqiu said defiantly.

Huo Yuhao said, “How about this? You can go and rest with the Earthdragon Sect for now. After the tournament ends, we’ll bring you back to the Tang Sect. After all, you signed up as an Earthdragon Sect disciple, and you can’t compete on our behalf.” 
Nan Qiuqiu glared at him and said, “You eliminated the Earthdragon Sect. Do you think we still have rooms?”

“Er… then there’s no choice. Third brother is right. I don’t think the organizing team will give us a new room. How about you pay for your own room?”

Nan  Qiuqiu’s  face  turned  green  as  she  said,  “Are  you pretending to be stupid or are you really stupid? Is there even a hotel with an empty room during the tournament? Furthermore, now that I’m part of the Tang Sect, shouldn’t you arrange for a place for me to stay?”

Everyone looked at Huo Yuhao with schadenfreude. Xu Sanshi tapped his elbow and said, “Yuhao, you brought this upon yourself. Solve it yourself.” With that, he casually walked off with Jiang Nannan.

Huo Yuhao replied, “Nan Qiuqiu, the situation as you see it. The Tang Sect had ten members before you joined. In total, we have five rooms. You can pick any room you want. However, regardless of who you stay with, someone will have to squeeze. So?”

Nan Qiuqiu rolled her eyes. Suddenly, she had a plan as she said, “Then I shall room with you.”

“Ah?”  Huo Yuhao looked at her in shock. “Guys and girls shouldn’t room together, ma’am!”

Nan Qiuqiu said, “We’re all soul masters, what’s there to be ashamed of? There’s no need to think so much, I’ll sleep on the sofa. Let’s go, bring me to your room.”

With that, the maiden turned to leave.

Huo Yuhao looked at her disappearing figure in shock. Then, he turned to Wang Dong’er, who was next to him and said, “Does she wants to room with me, or does she want to room with you? She probably guessed that we’re rooming together. Dong’er, you are really too attractive.” Wang Dong’er smiled slightly and said, “That’s right, you are getting smarter.”

Huo Yuhao suddenly flew into a full-on panic mode. “No, no, she can’t room with us. Let’s go.” He suddenly realized that with Nan Qiuqiu around as a third wheel, how could he be intimate with Dong’er?

---

When they were back on their floor, Nan Qiuqiu was already waiting for them outside of their door, guided there by Xu Sanshi.

“Qiuqiu, listen to me, we’re all guys. It’s really inconvenient to have a girl like you around. It’s much more normal for you to room with Sister Ziyan or Xiao Xiao. For a young lady like you, don’t you care about your honor?”

Nan Qiuqiu looked at the troubled expression on Huo Yuhao’s face and her heart swooped in delight. “How can I not care about my honor? I’m not sleeping with you. I trust you. Look at you. While you’re strong, I don’t think you’ll do anything bad.”

“You, you, you…” Regardless who it was, all guys would react the same way when their ability in a certain aspect was questioned. Huo Yuhao was so angry he could not say anything for quite some time. With much difficulty, he spurted out, “What about him? He’s normal!” He pointed at Wang Dong’er.

Nan Qiuqiu replied without hesitation, “How can you compare to him? You’re a liar. Anyone can see that Wang Dong is a true gentleman who won’t take advantage of others. Am I right, Wang Dong?”

“Yes, you’re right,” Wang Dong’er said with a dazzling smile. While she did not want another girl in the room, she found Huo Yuhao’s current state extremely amusing. Her childish desires were piqued as she went along with Nan Qiuqiu’s flow.

“Open the door,” Nan Qiuqiu said as she pointed at it.

Wang Dong’er opened the door and Nan Qiuqiu walked in first. While the room was not big, it was very clean. Wang Dong’er had cleaned the room herself. After they checked in, she had told the hotel reception that there was no need to clean their room for them. She liked to take care of Huo Yuhao herself.

Nan Qiuqiu sat on the sofa and said, “Right, I’ll sleep here temporarily. I won’t fight for a spot with a cripple. Eh, why do you two guys share one bed?”

Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er’s room only had one double bed, and not two single beds like most rooms.

Wang Dong’er said naturally, “So I can take care of him. It’s hard for him to move around.”

Nan Qiuqiu’s eyes gleamed as she sighed in admiration, “Wang Dong, you’re so kind! You treat this despicable, pretentious, and shameless guy so well.”

“I…” Huo Yuhao felt that before he could correct this girl’s bad habits, she would make him die from anger. “What’s wrong?” Nan Qiuqiu said gleefully. As she looked at Huo Yuhao in this state, she was happy beyond words!

Huo Yuhao’s eyes flashed, and a smile appeared on his face once more as he said, “Wang Dong, carry me onto the bed, I want to rest for a while. I’ve been busy for the entire morning and I’m tired.”

“Alright,” Wang Dong’er said. When she heard that he was tired, her heart ached. Normally, with Huo Yuhao’s resilience, he would not throw the word ‘tired’ around easily. Immediately, she bent over to lift him from the wheelchair and carry him toward the bed.

“Wait a moment,” Huo Yuhao suddenly said.

“What’s wrong?” Wang Dong’er asked.

Huo Yuhao stared deeply into her light-blue eyes and said dramatically, “Dong’er, I love you.” “Eh?” Wang Dong’er paused momentarily. Soon, she melted in front of Huo Yuhao’s gaze as she replied softly, “I love you too.”

Huo Yuhao wrapped his only movable right arm around her neck as he lifted his head. Then, he kissed her tender, soft, red lips. After a brief kiss, he let go.

Wang Dong’er had already gotten used to his sneaky kisses after all this while. She also started to view herself as Huo Yuhao’s wife, and hence, she did not mind being kissed by him. However, because of that dramatic ‘I love you’, she almost completely forgot that there was someone else in the room with them.

“Ah!” A piercing scream sounded. It rose a few dozen decibels instantly, and seemed capable of bringing the entire Brilliant Delight Hotel down. Even those on the top floor could hear this scream clearly.

Wang Dong’er was so alarmed by the scream that she almost threw Huo Yuhao out of her arms. At this moment, she realized that Nan Qiuqiu was still in the room. At this moment, she was still in disguise as a guy! 
“You, you, you, you two, you two…” Nan Qiuqiu pointed at Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er as her red lips trembled. An incredulous look appeared in her eyes.

Huo Yuhao looked at her in pity and said calmly, “In this world, there are many types of love that you wouldn’t understand. I was angry just now because you intruded into Dong’er’s and my private space. However, we have thought this through. Since you aren’t afraid of having needles in your eyes and you insist on watching us, then watch away. We don’t care anyway.”

“Wang Dong, Wang Dong, you’re actually…” Nan Qiuqiu pointed at Wang Dong’er as her voice trembled more and more.

Wang Dong’er looked at Huo Yuhao, who was smiling helplessly. She continued his charade for him and said, “Qiuqiu, you can’t discount homosexual love. Actually…”

“Shut up!” Nan Qiuqiu screamed. She turned and ran out of the room. She pulled the door open and disappeared instantly. She did not forget to close the door, but slammed it with such intensity that it made both Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er tremble.

“You're  too  naughty,”  Wang  Dong’er  carefully  placed  Huo Yuhao on his bed, and a helpless smile crossed her face.

Huo Yuhao did not let go of her neck as he chuckled and said, “She pissed me off first. She questioned my ability as a man, that’s unforgivable. Furthermore, I’m helping you solve a problem too! If not, she’ll bother you non-stop.”

Wang  Dong’er  stifled  a  laugh  and  said,  “However,  you’re affecting her worldview.”

Huo Yuhao said, “With her temper, it’s alright to shock her every once in a while. I suspect that she’s going to find Sister Ziyan and the rest, though I wonder if they’ll tell her that you’re a girl.”

Wang Dong’er bit her lips gently and said, “With Sister Ziyan’s troublemaking personality, what do you think she’ll say? Poor Qiuqiu! She’s right, you are a bad boy.” Huo Yuhao pulled her into his embrace and said, “So what if I’m bad? I’m your bad boy, and your silly boy, so good! All guys will have to be these two ‘boys’. Hehe, nap with me.”

------

Huo Yuhao did not know what happened to Nan Qiuqiu afterward. After they ate, the pale-faced maiden sat as far from them as possible. All she did was eat. She did, however, appear much more docile. Jing Ziyan could not help but look meaningfully at Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er.

The first elimination round of the tournament ended after two days. In total, half of the 167 teams were eliminated. Instantly, the Brilliant Delight Hotel became much emptier.

Every single team that made it past the first round was assigned new rooms. The Tang Sect was sent to the third floor, which was much more spacious than the second floor. Furthermore, since they passed the first round, the organizing team agreed to their request for one more room. Hence, Nan Qiuqiu was given an additional room. Among the 167 teams, there were still 84 left. Shrek Academy did not take part in the first round. In the past few days, Huo Yuhao and the Tang Sect did not see anyone from Shrek Academy. Wang Qiu’er and Dai Huabin seemed to have disappeared.

------

As faint light flashed, a cold light appeared on Huo Yuhao’s face. His eyes flashed with light, and the air around him distorted.

“Whoosh!” He swallowed the purple light and cultivated its essence. With this, he ended his morning cultivation.

Wang Dong’er stood next to him. She was cultivating her Purple Demon Eyes too, but her eyes were much weaker than Huo Yuhao’s. After all, she did not have a martial soul like the Spirit Eyes that was helpful in cultivating her Purple Demon Eyes.

“Round Two. Shrek Academy will be competing today, right?” Wang Dong’er asked Huo Yuhao. 
“Yes,” Huo Yuhao nodded in confirmation.

Chapter 284: Seven-Man Fusion Skill

He had an indescribable feeling towards Wang Qiu’er. He was sure that it wasn’t love. He had given all his love to Wang Dong’er. But he couldn’t break away from Wang Qiu’er. It was an affection that seemed to bind their blood together. It was something that Huo Yuhao couldn’t understand.

The second elimination round started. As the first elimination round took too long, there wasn’t a break between it and the second elimination round. After the duels ended yesterday, the lot-drawing for the second round commenced immediately.

The Tang Sect would be competing tomorrow. Today, Shrek Academy was going to compete. As the legendary team in the tournament, many people were waiting for them to compete. In the previous tournament, they had managed to create a miracle even though the circumstances were unfavorable for them. Could they do the same in this tournament? No one knew the answer. The inclusion of sects made the tournament more worth watching, but also made it much more unpredictable. After the first round, fifty-six of the remaining eighty-four teams came from sects. That was two-thirds of the teams left in the tournament. This showed how powerful sects were. However, there were some traditional academy teams which were true powerhouses, such as the Star Luo National Academy and the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy.

The resting area was much more spacious now. The seats had also been re-arranged. The Tang Sect, which had obtained full twelve points in the first elimination round, was guided to the pergola. This was the VIP resting area. Only the strongest teams could rest here.

------

“The  second  elimination  round  is  about  to  commence. Everyone, please stay silent. The reigning champions and and winners of all of the previous editions of the tournament, Shrek Academy, will be competing today.”

The Sun Moon Empire’s citizens didn’t have a good impression of Shrek Academy. It was because of Shrek Academy that the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy always came in second in the tournament. When they heard the words ‘Shrek Academy’, many of the spectators started booing.

Huo Yuhao could see many things much more clearly as he entered the VIP resting area. Although the Tang Sect had managed to gain access into this area due to their impressive performance in the previous round, they could only sit at the sides.

Shrek’s Academy team was in the center of the VIP resting area. They were next to the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, the Holy Ghost Sect, and other strong teams.

Huo Yuhao also noticed another team. They were on the other side of the VIP resting area. He had noticed this team on the second day of the tournament. They had seemed to be very average, but their martial souls couldn’t be concealed. They were from the Body Sect. However, they were doing their best to conceal their abilities.

Apart from these few teams he had taken note of, Huo Yuhao’s expression suddenly changed as he unleashed his Spiritual Detection. Almost every team in this VIP resting area was extraordinary. From what he sensed, there were very few competing members that had less than five rings. Most of them were at least Soul Kings. Huo Yuhao was only a Soul King himself. Although his Spiritual Detection was great, his judgment of the aura of those beyond his cultivation wasn’t fully accurate. However, it was still good enough for him to tell how strong or weak a team was.

Wang Qiu’er was sitting on a chair at the very front of Shrek Academy’s team. Huo Yuhao discovered that Dai Huabin, Ning Tian, Zhu Lu, Wu Feng and the others behind her appeared very resolute. After not seeing them for some time, they seemed to have matured greatly. At the very least they were less impatient.

It seemed like the pressure from the tournament wasn’t entirely a bad thing! Huo Yuhao was impressed.

“Second elimination round. The first fight will be between Shrek Academy and the Heavenly Armor Sect. Both parties, please enter your waiting areas.”  The voice coming from the main stage announced the beginning of the second elimination round. Heavenly Armor Sect? Huo Yuhao felt that this name was very familiar. He immediately recalled how he had met the disciplined Heavenly Armor Sect before they came to Radiant City. They were all riding Hornscale Horses from the Dou Ling Empire. The Heavenly Armor Sect had even left a deep impression on him. He hadn’t expected them to have to face Shrek Academy in the second round.

Both parties entered their respective waiting areas. As expected, the seven from Shrek Academy were Wang Qiu’er, Dai Huabin, Zhu Lu, Ning Tian, Xie Huanyue, Wu Feng, and Cao Jinxuan.

Zhou Sichen, Lan Susu, and Lan Luoluo were seated beneath the stage as substitutes. They weren’t able to compete today.

The Heavenly Armor Sect wasn’t in the VIP resting area, they were still in the resting area outside. Huo Yuhao unleashed his Spiritual Detection, and immediately sensed Han Zhanhu choosing the competing members for the Heavenly Armor Sect. He could sense the tense nerves of the Heavenly Armor Sect’s competing members. Shrek Academy was extremely reputable. They had built that reputation with their ability for thousands of years. The Heavenly Armor Sect was simply too unlucky to have drawn Shrek Academy! After making it through the first round, they had met Shrek Academy in only the second round.

Han Zhanhu was helpless. Since they had met Shrek Academy, what could they do? They could only go all-out against them. This was the idea that he planted in his disciples’ heads after the lot was drawn. It was a rare opportunity for them to fight Shrek Academy. At least they could have a taste of the abilities and fighting strategies of the top academy on the continent!

The seven competing members from both sides entered the waiting area.

The referee said loudly, “Individual elimination round. First members from both teams, please enter the stage.”

A muscular youth from the Heavenly Armor Sect jumped onto the stage as the spectators watched. Dai Huabin was the first from Shrek Academy to compete. “What!?” Huo Yuhao gently exclaimed. As he watched Wang Qiu’er’s back, the look in his eyes changed.

“She’s not the first to compete? This is unlike her!”  Wang Dong’er also muttered under her breath.

Huo Yuhao clapped his hand against hers and said, “They’re really smart. It seems like she really values this tournament. To conserve her abilities and fight in a balanced manner, she’s managed to remain patient. It won’t be easy for us either, if we meet them!”

Wang Dong’er said, “It’s better not to meet them. It’s not good for us to go against one another.”

Huo Yuhao smiled and replied, “Let’s see how our luck is. If we don’t meet them in the next round, we should be able to last until the finals.”

Dai Huabin was much fitter than before. He entered the stage confidently. Both parties greeted each other in front of the referee.

“Shrek Academy, Dai Huabin.”

“Heavenly Armor Sect, Han Yu.”

The referee repeated the rules of the tournament once more and emphasized that neither of them should intentionally kill their opponent. Otherwise, they would be punished. After that, he let the two of them retreat and prepare for the fight.

While Dai Huabin appeared very calm, he was actually very anxious.

He was finally here at the tournament. Even though he was a substitute, he was still finally here! After years of tireless cultivation, he finally had a chance to display his prowess. Dad, elder brother, wait and see. I’ll definitely show how good I am!

He bumped his fists together in front of his chest. A strong competitive intent was exuded from his body. He cracked his knuckles and stared at his opponent. Right now, he was like a famished and ferocious tiger.

“Match, start!” The referee swiped his right hand down.

Dai Huabin shot out like a ferocious tiger. However, he didn’t unleash his strengthening skills like he always did. He only unleashed his martial soul.

Two yellow, two purple, and one black soul ring, the best combination. White hair grew from his body, and he expanded in size as he unleashed his White Tiger.

If someone else had such a cultivation, everyone would be terrified. However, it was apt that Dai Huabin possessed such a martial soul, since he was representing Shrek Academy.

The youth from the Heavenly Armor Sect didn’t rush forward. Han Yu looked very calm, and also unleashed his own martial soul. Two yellow, two purple, and one black soul ring also appeared, once again the best combination for a Soul King! A pitch-black, hexagonal piece of metal flew out from his body before it condensed to form a hexagonal shield. The shield was dense and heavy, and formed from proportionate pieces of scales.

After unleashing his martial soul, Han Yu took big strides towards Dai Huabin as his aura continued to soar.

With a roar, Dai Huabin’s speed increased rapidly. His thick and strong legs unleashed great force. The speed at which he was moving was so fast that an illusory projection seemed to drag along behind him. He slammed his tiger palm towards Han Yu.

Han Yu did the opposite. As he was bursting forward, he suddenly stomped his left leg and came to an abrupt stop. As he stopped, he unleashed his Heavenly Armor Shield.

The Heavenly Armor Sect was a family sect. All of its disciples were descendants and relatives, and they possessed almost the same martial soul, the Heavenly Armor Shield!

Bang——! 
It was only the first strike, but Dai Huabin demonstrated how powerful he was. Their cultivations were at the same level, and his opponent had used a shield to defend against him, but his palm strike forced Han Yu back more than three meters.

Han Yu’s feet even made sparks as he slid across the metal surface. Dai Huabin’s sharp tiger claws had left five deep marks on the shield! 
This was a direct collision, a probing attack and defense. Neither party used soul skills. In terms of strength, the winner was clear.

Dai Huabin didn’t stop moving. At the same time as he struck his opponent, he opened his mouth wide, and a streak of white light shot out of it. It was his second soul skill, White Tiger’s Fierce Light Wave!

A loud boom resonated, and Han Yu retreated once again. His first and second soul rings lit up, and the surface of the Heavenly Armor Shield shone like a mirror. As the White Tiger’s Fierce Light Wave shone on it and the scales of the armor undulated in a weird fashion, many small streaks of white light were reflected away, immediately diverting a large portion of the Wave’s impact. At the same time, the Heavenly Armor Shield shifted, and sixteen hexagonal scales flew out of it towards Dai Huabin. The sides of every scale were like sharp blades!

Defense and counterattack! Han Yu was very steady in front of Dai Huabin. In terms of abilities and psychological mindset, he was excellently trained!

Dai Huabin acted like he didn’t see the armor scales. He burst forward again, and his first soul ring lit up. A layer of white surfaced on his body. Just as the shield’s scales were about to cut into him, a white light spread out and deflected all of them away. Although they turned and flew back towards him, Dai Huabin had already reached Han Yu in this short span of time.

Dai Huabin roared again, and everything in front of Han Yu turned black. Following this, his tiger palm struck the Heavenly Armor Shield forcefully again.

Han Yu’s Heavenly Armor Shield was adept at countering long-range energy attacks, just like how it dealt with the White Tiger’s Fierce Light Wave earlier. However, it was helpless against such physical attacks. However, he was still a defense- type soul master. Noticing that something was amiss, he immediately squatted down, and the sharp base of the shield stabbed into the metal floor. He leaned the entire shield back and used it to resist Dai Huabin’s attack at an angle. At the same time, his third soul ring lit up. The sixteen pieces of shield scales in the air turned fiery red, as if they had been heated in a forge, and flew towards Dai Huabin with a piercing screech. It was Han Yu’s third soul skill, Meteoric Fire Armor!

He had to attack his enemy at a vital spot. Han Yu was very confident in his thousand-year soul skill, the Meteoric Fire Armor. In his opinion, Dai Huabin would find it difficult to deal with his double-pronged attack even though he was very strong as a close-combat soul master.

However, he didn’t expect Dai Huabin to ignore the Meteoric Fire Armor and continued to reach for the Heavenly Armor Shield with his right palm.

A terrifying and huge force was exerted on the Shield. It was different from the forceful push earlier. This time, it was an intense jerk that came from Dai Huabin’s tiger palm.

Han Yu was so shaken that he almost spat blood. He could feel that his shield was about to be crushed. He even heard painful sounds coming from the armor scales that formed the shield. However, Han Yu was also very excited now. That was because his Meteoric Fire Armor had already reached Dai Huabin. It was impossible for him to resist or dodge at this moment. The sixteen scales had blocked off his escape route. Did he really not realize it?

Dai Huabin answered his doubt instantly. His white hair released an extremely intense golden light. His body expanded, and his tiger palm seemed to stick to the Heavenly Armor Shield. As he lifted his palm up, he used his right elbow to hit the shield with incredible force.

Dang, dang, dang, dang, dang, dang…

Boom——!

Two different sounds could be heard at the same time. When the scales struck Dai Huabin’s body, they were bounced away again. He didn’t even seem to feel their impacts at all, and resisted the blows easily.

The tremendous boom that sounded was caused by his right elbow as it struck the shield. 
Han Yu didn’t expect Dai Huabin to use such a method to resist his attack. He was completely unprepared for this strike.

The Heavenly Armor Shield was blown apart. Dai Huabin continued to burst forward in a dominant fashion, and slammed into Han Yu’s chest with his shoulder.

As his shield was crushed, Han Yu’s defense was crippled, and he was bleeding profusely. His arms were in great pain. Everything happened too quickly, and he couldn’t use a stronger soul skill anymore. He also needed time to retract his scales! Right now, he was like a turtle that had lost the protection of its shell. He was in front of Dai Huabin in his weakest state.

The only thing he could do was raise his soul power and push his palms out towards Dai Huabin.

Boom——!

From the spectators’ view, Han Yu was like a fired cannon shell as he was knocked back. He flew more than ten meters and struck the protective barriers surrounding the stage before he was bounced back to the floor. He couldn’t get up after that.

Dai Huabin stopped and calmly turned around. He walked back towards the center of the stage.

From the start until the end, this was a very short fight. Dai Huabin had demonstrated his great fighting strength.

Han Yu had the same number of soul rings as he did. As a defense-type Soul King above Rank 50, he didn’t even have the chance to unleash his fourth and fifth soul skill before he lost. This was the gap in their abilities! Dai Huabin gave off a very barbaric and ruthless air. Many people were stunned by his performance.

---

“This…”  Wang Dong’er was in shock as she noted, “He has been greatly affected by Qiu’er!” Huo Yuhao’s lips moved slightly, “His actual combat ability has greatly increased. Although his fighting style is very simple and violent, he’s much calmer than before. He also aptly used his White Tiger’s Vajra Transformation.”

Wang Dong’er nodded agreement and said, “Yes! However, this is also a good thing. After all, they are representing Shrek. Qiu’er has brought about great change to them.”

---

Shrek Academy didn’t slip up against the Heavenly Armor Sect in the second elimination round. They used their dominant abilities and ruthless fighting style to win. Dai Huabin overwhelmed his opponents yet again.

There were fewer and fewer boos from the spectators. What was the use of boos in front of them, since they were so strong?

However, Dai Huabin conceded defeat before he fought the third competing member from the Heavenly Armor Sect and left the stage. ---

“Oh, what kind of momentum is this?” Xu Sanshi muttered to himself, curious about what was going on.

Wu Feng was already on the stage, and walking towards the center of it.

“Dai Huabin can obviously still fight. Why did he concede defeat? Is it because he’s not confident? Impossible! With his character, he won’t know when to stop.”  Xiao Xiao was also confused.

Huo  Yuhao  squinted.  “This  must  be  a  strategy  Qiu’er arranged. She’s training them so that they can get used to the tempo of the tournament. After all, it’s their first time.”

Huo Yuhao was right. This was her strategy, helping them gain experience so that they could fight better. It was only through continuous fighting that they could increase their abilities and demonstrate what they had learned over this period of time. This also made them more confident. Otherwise, Wang Qiu’er would have been able to defeat the entire Heavenly Armor Sect on her own.

Wu Feng’s opponent was also using the Heavenly Armor Shield.

-----

“Match, start!” As the referee shouted, Wu Feng’s eyes lit up. Burning dragon scales started to surface throughout her entire body. As she leapt out, the air around her started to form ripples from the heated air around her.

This member from the Heavenly Armor Sect had learned from the lessons of the two previous competitors, and immediately unleashed his offensive skills.

He unleashed two soul skills at the same time. His Meteoric Fire Armor was sent flying towards Wu Feng.

The hot-tempered Wu Feng didn’t choose to directly resist the armor, her petite figure blurring as she dodged the attack. She didn’t move as swiftly as Tang Sect’s Ghost Shadow Perplexing Track, but she was quick. Dragon roars could be heard rising from her body. Every time her body twisted, supernatural changes started to occur. From the looks of it, her body only seemed to distort slightly before she dodged the
Meteoric Fire Armor scales flying at her. However, her body moved countless times in that instant.

Huo Yuhao turned his attention to Wang Qiu’er, who was in the waiting area. He had seen such a similar dodging movement from her. Wu Feng must have had been taught by Wang Qiu’er, as they both had dragon-type martial souls. As a possessor of Ultimate Strength, there were many things that Wang Qiu’er could teach Wu Feng. It seemed like Wu Feng had improved as much as Dai Huabin!

Wu Feng let out a deep dragon’s roar. After dodging the attack, her speed soared again as she burst towards her opponent.

The youth from the Heavenly Armor Sect was already prepared. Without any hesitation, he unleashed his strongest fourth soul skill. Yes, he was a Soul Ancestor just like the second competing member from the sect. The outward bulge on the Heavenly Armor Shield turned into an inward bulge. Several streaks of red light started to reflect from the mirrored surfaces of the armor. They were reflected towards a single point, converting into a beam of fire that shot towards Wu Feng.

Heavenly Armor Needle, a single-target offensive soul skill. It was as strong as a ten-thousand year soul skill. Its penetrating abilities perfectly demonstrated the strength of the Heavenly Armor Shield! 
The Heavenly Armor Needle was unleashed at the correct moment. It was at the instant when Wu Feng dodged the Meteoric Fire Armor scales, so it was impossible for her to dodge anymore. She hadn’t expected the Meteoric Fire Armor scales to be a trap!

In fact, Dai Huabin had defeated the Meteoric Fire Armor twice already. No one in the Heavenly Armor Sect was confident in this soul skill anymore. Without a special method, there was no chance of victory against a five-ringed soul master, especially since he was only a four-ringed soul master. The Heavenly Armor Needle was his only chance.

However, Wu Feng had been through tough training, and was “tortured” by Wang Qiu’er mercilessly almost every day. It wasn’t that easy to defeat her. Even though she couldn’t compare to Huo Yuhao, her advantage over other soul masters was still very evident.

As Wu Feng opened her mouth, she spewed flames to counter the Heavenly Armor Needle. Her third soul ring lit up as she slowed the needle down, and she punched out at it. 
The space around Wu Feng distorted furiously and turned dark red. It felt as if she it had collapsed after she unleashed her fist. Her entire fist also turned scarlet red.

Boom!

A scarlet-red ball of light blew apart. Undulations of terrifying fiery soul power spread for more than ten meters before they dissipated. Intense flames spread everywhere, and the youth from the Heavenly Armor Sect was blown more than ten meters back, his Heavenly Armor Shield cracked.

While the Heavenly Armor Needle was strong, he only had four rings. Against Wu Feng’s five rings, it wasn’t at all easy for him to achieve victory.

Wu Feng’s third soul skill, Explosive Dragonmouth, crushed the Heavenly Armor Shield with its immense destructive force, and also forced her opponent into helpless retreat. Shrek Academy won the third round. Her next opponent was another four-ringed Soul Ancestor. His martial soul was also the Heavenly Armor Shield. Wu Feng didn’t slip up.

Just like Dai Huabin, Wu Feng left the stage after she won two consecutive rounds, ending her participation in today’s elimination round.

By conceding defeat, it meant that Shrek Academy couldn’t progress directly into the next round through the individual elimination round. They had to go through the team round, too.

---

The third from Shrek Academy to compete was Xie Huanyue. He also announced his defeat after winning two consecutive rounds.

Shrek Academy lost three rounds at this stage after sending three competing members up, whereas six from the Heavenly Armor Sect had been eliminated. They were only left with one member. 
“We admit defeat for the individual elimination round!” The youth sitting in front of the entire Heavenly Armor Sect’s team in the waiting area exclaimed. He was the team leader of their squad, Han Jian.

There wasn’t much meaning in continuing the individual elimination round. Rather than lose again, it was better for them to risk everything during the team round.

The few competing members of the Heavenly Armor Sect were all injured from the previous few fights, but they would still be able to compete in the team round.

“The individual elimination round is over. Shrek Academy is left with four members. They have four points, while the Heavenly Armor Sect has zero points. After a two minute break, the team round will be conducted. Both parties, please prepare.”

Even though most of the previous teams had only emerged victorious in the team round, many people were still disappointed with Shrek Academy. After all, there were a few teams that managed to qualify after dominating their individual elimination rounds.

----

Right now, the rest of the six members of Shrek Academy’s team were in front of Wang Qiu’er. Twelve eyes were now focused on her.

Wang Qiu’er nodded and said, “We’ll fight in the team round like we practiced. Triangular formation. Do all of you understand?”

“Yes!” the rest of them acknowledged her order.

---

After two minutes, the team members from both sides lined up along the center of the competition stage. The referee said, “This will be the same as the individual elimination round. Both teams will retreat to the sides and wait for my order. Anyone who loses his fighting strength will be considered eliminated, and he can’t continue to attack either. We’ll try our best to minimize injuries and deaths. Understood?”

“Yes.”

“Yes.”

The team leaders from both sides acknowledged the referee’s words. Right now, Han Jian seemed to be in a daze. It was because Wang Qiu’er was too pretty.

Although Wang Qiu’er was wearing a white veil right now, her powdery-blue hair, perfect body ratio and bright eyes could still be seen.

Han Jian felt his heart beating faster even though he had only glanced at her. He hurriedly lowered his head and didn’t dare to continue looking at her. Wang Qiu’er didn’t have any expression in her eyes. She took her team members and withdrew to one side of the stage, standing in the forefront. Slightly behind, and to her left and right were Wu Feng and Dai Huabin.

Zhu Lu was behind Dai Huabin, while Xie Huanyue was behind Wu Feng. Cao Jinxuan and Ning Tian were behind Wang Qiu’er. It was an accurate triangular formation formed by the seven of them.

The Heavenly Armor Sect took on a different formation.
They formed an arc, which was very rare in a team fight.

Even though an arc-shaped formation could be regarded as a half-encirclement, its single line of defense made it very vulnerable to exploitation. Once the competing members were separated, they would lose. Since they had formed up in this manner, it showed that they had some special fighting method.

---

In the VIP resting area, Huo Yuhao was pensive as he said, “The Heavenly Armor Sect team looks confident. Along with their weird formation and similar martial souls, they must possess some kind of special ability.”

Jiang Nannan was a little worried as she said, “They won’t lose, right? After all, they are representing the academy.”

Shrek Academy’s glory was very important to all of them!

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “All plans are futile against an absolute power. At a certain level of cultivation, using special methods might not be enough to change the situation of a fight. Let’s see. Since the Heavenly Armor Sect is so confident, I’m sure they must have some way of competing.” His confidence in Shrek Academy arose from Wang Qiu’er’s presence.

----

On the tournament stage, the seven Heavenly Armor Sect team members were lined up neatly. Although some of them looked pale, as they had been injured, they didn’t appear weak. Their gazes were filled with an unyielding desire for victory. “Match, start!” The referee swiped his right hand down and retreated quickly at the same time.

On Shrek Academy’s side, seven people moved at the same time. They burst towards their opponents together. Not only were they neatly arranged, but they were also extremely quick!

Wang Qiu’er lifted her right hand. Two yellow, two purple, and two black soul rings rose from her feet. Although she was wearing a veil, her moving figure and long, swaying hair still left a deep impression.

---

Xiao Hongchen was in a daze as he looked at the stage. He muttered to himself, “Why do I find this team leader from Shrek so familiar? Have I seen her before? It’d be great if she could take off her veil.”

Meng Hongchen snorted. “You always find pretty girls familiar.” He coughed quickly. “Give me some face in front of the rest!” Xiao Hongchen snapped at his sister.

---

On the tournament stage, once Shrek Academy’s team burst off, the Heavenly Armor Sect team also acted immediately. However, they didn’t burst forward, but only unleashed their Heavenly Armor Shields at the same time.

Seven shields appeared at the same time. Following this, the seven of them shouted at the same time. Then they threw the shields in their hands out.

The seven shields flew through the air, and a series of metallic clanging sounds rang out. Their seven shields were broken down and converted into hexagonal scales.

Was this an attack of scales converted from shields? Most people had the same thought. However, the expressions of everyone from the Tang Sect changed at this moment. Huo Yuhao blurted out almost instantly, “A seven-man fusion skill?”

As he was speaking, the scales started to gather at the center of the stage. Suddenly, a huge Heavenly Armor Shield was formed and drifting in mid-air. The entire shield exuded a sinister aura. Following this, the hexagonal scales started to turn red, so brightly polished it resembled the surface of a mirror.

The fourth soul rings of the Heavenly Armor Sect disciples lit up. Every one of them released intense soul power undulations.

A seven-man fusion skill and martial soul fusion skills were completely different. More accurately speaking, a seven-man fusion skill was formed by overlaps. They were usually overlaps of identical martial souls, gathering the strength of all these martial souls to unleash an attack. They required the martial souls and soul skills to be the same, so that they could be unleashed together once a sufficient level of coordination was achieved. Compared to the qualitative changes of martial soul fusion skills, seven-man fusion skills were slightly weaker. However, it was a killer move for sects that had certain types of martial souls.

As the seven shields gathered to form a huge shield, unleashing the same type of skill, it was equivalent to a combination of seven identical soul skills tied together to form one soul skill. Its strength was incredible!

Something as magical as this hadn’t appeared in the tournament for ages, as sects had not been allowed to compete in earlier editions of the tournament. This was also the reason why the Sun Moon Empire proposed that sects be recognized again.

Only sects possessed many soul masters with the same martial soul. This was very difficult to find in an academy, and most academies wouldn’t bother trying to develop such a fusion skill, either. Many years had passed, but such a fusion skill had finally appeared in the tournament again after sects were once again allowed to compete! The entire Shrek team, even Wang Qiu’er, felt a sense of crisis once the Heavenly Armor Shield was fully formed. It was as if a formidable, savage beast had appeared in front of them, and was baring its teeth at them!

Chapter 285: Team Shrek's Improvement

Wang Qiu’er squinted. If one looked carefully, her pupils seemed to have stretched vertically. Not only this, but her first and second soul rings also lit up. A layer of bright light suddenly shone from her body. A primitive aura that seemed to originate from ferocious, prehistoric beasts flowed out of her. The team members behind her felt the pressure on them dropping.

Everyone from the Heavenly Sect Armor’s team was horrified. They felt a sense of fear as they watched Wang Qiu’er, who hadn’t even competed yet. She was actually capable of taking on their seven-man fusion skill on her own! The most frightening thing was that her aura didn’t pale in comparison to theirs.

All of this happened within a short span of time. After their Heavenly Armor Needles were combined, Han Jian unleashed their terrifying skill just as Wang Qiu’er’s aura started to soar.

A thick beam of light shot up from the center of the Heavenly Armor Shield. The spectators outside of the stage only saw the lights dim before a huge patch of ripples appeared on the stage. It seemed like the air had been set on fire!

A dark-red light shot out through the distorted air. The target of the red light was Wang Qiu’er!

Wang Qiu’er quickly rushed to the center of the stage. Just as the Heavenly Armor Shield was unleashed, she felt an intense suffocating feeling, like her body was on the verge of melting.

However, her response was instantaneous. A streak of golden light lit up in front of her body as she let out a sonorous dragon roar. Following this, she stepped on the floor with her right leg. Her Golden Dragon Spear turned into a ball of golden light that resisted the attack of the combined Heavenly Armor Needle.

Just as Wang Qiu’er burst out, two others from Shrek’s team also unleashed their soul skills.

Ning Tian mimicked a lifting action with her right hand, and a dazzling rainbow-colored treasure pagoda surfaced above her palm. 
“There  are  seven  levels  of  this  Seven  Treasures  Glazed Pagoda. First –  speed. Third –  strength. Fifth –  soul.”  Shrek Academy’s inner courtyard students were obviously very strong. She used three soul skills at the same time, and they were all used on Wang Qiu’er. The golden light from Wang Qiu’er’s body was beyond dazzling!

Everyone had to admit that the number one auxiliary tool soul was the Seven Treasures Glazed Pagoda, and this title had never been snatched away before.

Besides Ning Tian, Cao Jinxuan also moved. His first and third soul rings lit up.

A huge illusory projection of a clock surfaced behind Cao Jinxuan. The time on this clock reflected the real time. However, a blinding silver light then lit up on the dial of the clock. Following this, the second hand stopped for a moment before it moved back by a second.

The entire stage seemed to have paused for an instant after the clock appeared. At this instant, two streams of blood flowed out from Cao Jinxuan’s nostrils. His body shook, and he looked a little dizzy.

In the air, the Heavenly Armor Needle that was about to reach Wang Qiu’er stopped, and strangely moved back half the distance that it had already travelled. A gap of more than ten meters had been created between it and Wang Qiu’er. Everyone was stunned by this strange scene.

Even Huo Yuhao couldn’t help but open his eyes wide, and he focused his gaze.

Wang Qiu’er had expected this from the start. As the Heavenly Armor Needle moved back, Wang Qiu’er leapt up using this one second of delay. She made a half-turn in the air, and her sonorous dragon roar changed to a piercing pitch. She raised her right arm behind her before she flung her Golden Dragon Spear out. Her target was the beam of red light from the Heavenly Armor Needle.

Gold and red intersected in the air. The ripples in the air started to undulate more thickly. It was like a huge rock had been thrown into a lake... The red light from the Heavenly Armor Needle continued to shoot forward. However, the streak of golden light tore through it as it did.

A second streak of red light flashed past Wang Qiu’er and collided with the red light from the Heavenly Armor Needle. Although it dissipated instantly, it also stalled the red light from the Heavenly Armor Needle for a slight moment. Following this, the approaching red light converted into a huge dragon head that seemed like it was about to swallow the Heavenly Armor Needle. Even though it was dissipated in the next moment, the light from the Heavenly Armor Needle was also weakened by more than twenty-five percent.

On the other side of Wang Qiu’er, a huge ball of white light was unleashed, and accurately blocked the path of the Heavenly Armor Needle. A series of noises dissipated another quarter of it. When it reached Wang Qiu’er, only a third of its remaining strength was left.

Wang Qiu’er’s third soul ring lit up. The golden light that she released was gathered on her right fist instantly, and turned into a golden dragon head. This was her third soul skill, Golden Dragon Head! Boom——!

Boom——!

Two booms sounded at the same time. One of them came from Wang Qiu’er’s fist, while the other came from the Heavenly Armor Shield.

Wang Qiu’er stopped in mid-attack only for a brief moment before her right leg slammed down on the floor again, making an indentation several square meters wide on the metal- layered floor. She was like a golden cannon shell as she burst forward.

On the other side, the combined shield was broken into seven pieces after the Golden Dragon Spear drilled past the Heavenly Armor Needle. The seven pieces revolved in the air, trying to combine once again.

However, Wang Qiu’er was too fast. Before they could do so, she was already close, and her right hand grabbed onto the Golden Dragon Spear that had flown back to her. She swept the air before her with her spear. 
A golden light flashed, and three of the shields were instantly shattered. Three of the Heavenly Armor Sect disciples screamed pathetically. They were gravely injured as their martial souls were destroyed.

Wang Qiu’er didn’t seem to stop at all. Her Golden Dragon Spear turned into lights that filled the sky. As these golden lights shone down, the remaining four disciples felt as if Wang Qiu’er was attacking with all her might.

The four shields didn’t have a chance to recombine before they were forced back. Wang Qiu’er’s body flashed again before she landed beside two of them on the left. On the right side, Xie Huanyue and Dai Huabin had already arrived.

The Heavenly Armor Sect’s team was completely dismantled after their fusion skill failed. Team Shrek didn’t go too hard on them, either. They only defeated the Heavenly Armor Sect’s team in the fastest way possible and ended this team fight.

--- Beneath the stage, Han Zhanwu was completely shocked when he saw this. He couldn’t believe that their fusion skill had been overcome so easily. It was too much.

To many people, Wang Qiu’er was the one who had done everything on her own. From the first step she took, everything seemed to have been decided. The entire process couldn’t have been any faster. Wang Qiu’er was like a goddess who controlled the entire proceedings, defeating her opponents with the simplest fighting strategy. The Heavenly Armor Sect’s team’s fusion skill seemed very weak. If not for the fact that it was astonishing the moment it was unleashed, everyone would have forgotten about it.

Wang Dong’er was a little pensive as she softly said, “They’re much stronger than we thought!”

Huo  Yuhao  nodded  gently  and  said,  “Let’s  hope  we  don’t meet them.” He knew better than anyone else, since he was the one with Spiritual Detection. He was also the clearest on what happened in the entire process.

That’s right. Wang Qiu’er had appeared to be extremely strong throughout the fight. However, she wasn’t the decisive factor. Her two teammates behind her were the decisive factors.

Why was Wang Qiu’er able to easily defeat her opponents even when they unleashed their fusion skill? It wasn’t because her opponents weren’t strong. It was because the Seven Treasures Glazed Pagoda was behind her to enhance her strength in all aspects, allowing her cultivation to soar to the level of a seven-ringed Soul Sage. Cao Jinxuan’s Time Elapsing Clock had also reversed their opponents’ skill and created sufficient time for her. It wouldn’t have been easy for Wang Qiu’er to deal with the fusion skill alone, even though she was extremely strong.

Their coordination right now wasn’t the same as it was when they sparred with Shrek’s Seven Monsters earlier. Whether it was their individual fighting strength or team fighting strength, they were much better than before. They were like a complete unit now, and Wang Qiu’er was the core of their unit.

Huo Yuhao was very familiar with those from Shrek. Whether it was Dai Huabin, Wu Feng, or Ning Tian, they were all talents in the younger generation. However, they possessed a very defining trait of a talent: arrogance! However, it seemed like they had retracted a little bit of their arrogance. It was almost impossible to spot that arrogance anymore. It was also precisely because of this that they could come together as a unit.

It was also why Huo Yuhao’s expression had turned serious.

With Huo Yuhao’s understanding of Wang Qiu’er, he knew that she would give her best if they met in the tournament. They were bound to compete against one another in terms of their abilities. However, Huo Yuhao wasn’t very willing to meet them in the tournament. His team was both familiar with them, and they were very strong. Before Bei Bei recovered, he was even more unwilling to meet Shrek’s team! 
The first fight of the second elimination round ended. Although Shrek Academy didn’t win by a landslide, they still demonstrated their strength. This was especially true for Wang Qiu’er. Her performance in the team round caused all the other team leaders to turn dismal. Of course, the expressions of the Holy Ghost Sect’s members couldn’t be seen, since they concealed their faces.

The tournament continued, and the next few fights were very intense. In order to qualify, every team gave their best. There were many casualties in this second elimination round. The bloody smell coming off the stage also grew stronger and stronger.

“Let’s  return,”   Huo  Yuhao  said  to  his  teammates  after looking up at the sky.

“You  are  not  watching  anymore?”  Xu  Sanshi  was  a  little stunned as he glanced at Yuhao. Huo Yuhao shook his head and replied, “We’ve seen what we need to. There’s nothing much left to see. No matter who our opponents are, we’ll have to give our all, right? Let’s return to rest.”  As he spoke, he gestured for Wang Dong’er to push his wheelchair.

Although Huo Yuhao wasn’t the oldest among them, he was the stand-in team leader since Bei Bei wasn’t around. No one questioned his words. Everyone stood up and left the venue silently, returning to the Ming Yue Hotel.

They were competing tomorrow. Their opponents weren’t well-known, and were from a sect too. They didn’t have any information regarding this sect, and they didn’t notice this sect in the first elimination round either. However, that didn’t mean that their opponents were lousy.

------

After returning to the hotel, Huo Yuhao called his teammates to his room. In the the tournament, they had had a meeting room they could use. However, they had to make do with this for this round.

“I’ll  talk  about  tomorrow’s  strategy  briefly,”   Huo  Yuhao began.

Xu Sanshi laughed, “Are you planning to compete first and continue all the way until the end?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head as he smiled and replied, “It’s different from the previous round. There were many competing teams then, and we had sufficient time to rest. From this round onwards, the time between each successive round will be shorter. We must try our best to conserve our fighting strength. After all, we don’t have many substitutes. In fact, we should learn from Shrek’s strategy today. None of them depleted too much of their energy, but they still fought to warm up their bodies. They kept themselves in their best physical condition for the team round. Tomorrow, we shall follow their strategy. Third senior, you’ll fight first tomorrow. What do you think about this arrangement?” Xu  Sanshi’s  eyes  brightened,  and  he  said,  “Great  idea!
However, don’t you want us to conceal our true abilities?”

Huo Yuhao chortled and replied, “You only have two opponents to defeat before you concede defeat. Are you really going to reveal your trump card in those two fights?”

“Of course not!” Xu Sanshi said proudly.

Huo Yuhao laughed, “That’s great! Second senior, you’ll be the second to compete. You’ll fight two of them also. Xiao Xiao, you’ll be the third to fight. You’ll only need to fight one. Fourth senior, you’ll fight one person only too. Dong’er will be last, and she’ll take care of the last person.”

Na Na looked a little pitifully at Huo Yuhao. After hearing that she had no role, she lowered her head.

Huo Yuhao chortled, “Na Na, haven’t you realized that we’ll have to lose a few fights in the individual elimination round with such an arrangement? The final fight will be in the team round. You’ll have your chance then. In the team round, I’ll have to rely on everyone else. I’ll only be the main controller of the team.”

Na Na lifted her head again and subconsciously said, “Master, I have no objections to any of your arrangements.”

After  hearing  the  word  “Master”,  everyone’s  expressions turned a little weird.

Huo Yuhao also felt very helpless. He had corrected her many times, and struggled to get her to call him by his name. However, there were times when she wasn’t careful, and still called him Master. Na Na didn’t find anything wrong with this, since she was very grateful to Huo Yuhao. Not only did Huo Yuhao save her parents’ souls, but he also gave her a new life! He was her benefactor!

Huo Yuhao coughed and said, “Seniors, please return to rest.
Na Na, stay behind.”

Xu Sanshi stood up and patted Huo Yuhao’s shoulder. He shot him a weird look and softly said, “Yuhao! You must control yourself since you’re already in this state!” Wang Dong’er could hear him clearly even though he was trying to speak softly.

Besides laughing bitterly, what else could Huo Yuhao do?
Everyone else left, but they wore weird smiles on their faces.

Only Wang Dong didn’t smile. She walked to one side and poured a glass of water for Na Na.

“Thank you, Mistress.” Na Na received the glass respectfully.

Wang Dong’er felt very helpless too, “Sister Na Na, please don’t call me that. I can’t take it. We are senior and junior from the same sect. Yuhao has helped you before, but everything’s already in the past. Don’t tell me that you won’t help us when we are in trouble? Don’t be too bothered…”

“Okay.” Na Na acknowledged her words naturally, but it was evident that she didn’t take them in.

Huo Yuhao knew that there was no point trying to convince her. He didn’t bother doing so. “Na Na, how’s your progress on the matter that I wanted you to investigate?”

Na Na turned serious, and a look of fear flashed across her eyes. She nodded gently and replied, “Yes, you’re right. It’s them, I’m sure of it! I wouldn’t forget their aura even if I turned to ashes. It’s them! It must be them!”

Huo Yuhao nodded and said, “Right. You’ve verified my guess. The Holy Ghost Sect is the Holy Ghost Church. Don’t be afraid, everyone will protect you as long as you remain with us. What about the other thing? How’s the contact?”

Na Na said, “I went to three black markets, and only the biggest one says that there are goods available. However, the details have to be discussed. Furthermore, their asking price is very high, and they are difficult to deal with.”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “It’s okay if the price is high, as long as the goods are available. Before the war starts, we must prepare. Continue to maintain contact with them and bargain. After that, set a time to meet. I’ll meet them. Let’s do it this way; continue to contact them a further three times and let them sense our sincerity. After that, purchase some samples.” “Alright.” Na Na acknowledged his words.

Huo Yuhao said, “You should return to rest, too. Take care of your safety when you are alone at night. If you can’t handle it, ask for help from Sister Ziyan or Brother Ji. After all, they are people who can’t handle loneliness.”

“Alright!”  Na Na regarded herself as Huo Yuhao’s servant.
After acknowledging his words, she turned around and left.

She closed the door behind her after she left. Wang Dong’er asked curiously, “Who did you ask Na Na to contact? Why don’t I know about it?”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “Have you forgotten that my spiritual power has reached the concrete-immaterial realm? I instructed her a few days ago. Since we are here at the Sun Moon Empire, we can’t leave empty-handed. We’ve found some big clients.

“At the same time, we are going to purchase some goods.” Wang Dong’er was intelligent. She immediately thought of something,  and  asked,  “Rare  metals?  You  asked  Na  Na  to search for rare metals for sale on the market?”

Huo Yuhao nodded, “My love, you are really intelligent.
Come here, I’ll reward you with a kiss.”

Wang Dong’er’s face turned red, and she said, “Stop fooling around. Let’s get back to proper business first.”

“Alright. Since you’ve agreed, I’ll wait until we are done with proper business first.” Huo Yuhao said with a serious look on his face.

“Since   when   did   I   agree?”    Wang   Dong’er   asked   in embarrassment.

Huo Yuhao chuckled and said, “You said that we should get back to proper business first. Naturally, that means that we’ll get to improper business after that.”

“You…” 
“Let’s get back to proper business. You’re right. I want to buy some rare metals.”

Seeing Huo Yuhao’s serious face, Wang Dong’er snapped as she pulled his hand toward her. She bit the back of his hand. However, she bit very gently. This was evident from how Huo Yuhao enjoyed her bite.

“Can you buy rare metals in the Sun Moon Empire? They’re war resources now.” Wang Dong’er asked doubtfully after she finished biting him.

Huo Yuhao smiled gently and asked, “Why not? As long as you have the money, nothing is impossible. It’s because rare metals are considered war resources that they’re very expensive. But this also means that selling them is very profitable. Some people will be interested in such profits. Furthermore, they are bound to be authoritative figures. This time, our two clients have accepted very expensive deposits. Gold soul coins are only useless, expensive metals. What we need are rare metals that can be continuously converted into wealth. Storing metals is better than storing money. That’s why I plan to purchase rare metals. Before we left, eldest senior brought all our liquidated money. That includes the funds we gained by selling the Zhuge Divine Crossbow to the academy. Along with the payments that Princess Jiuju and Princess Wei Na gave us, the money that we have is quite substantial!”

Wang Dong’er was a little worried, “However, I’m afraid it’ll be very troublesome to purchase rare metals here. What if we don’t get the goods even after paying up? Even if we get the goods, can we return safely?”

Huo Yuhao patted her hand and said, “There’ll always be a solution. Trust me.”

“Alright.”

Huo Yuhao said, “We are done with proper business.”

Wang Dong’er naturally stood up and said, “I’m going to wash my clothes.”

Huo Yuhao wouldn’t let her go just like this. He pulled with her right hand, and she landed on his thigh. 
She didn’t struggle, and only buried her embarrassed head in his arms. She didn’t struggle because she was afraid of hurting him. After all, only his right arm out of his four limbs could move!

“My love, just a while, alright?” 
Ten minutes later…

“Didn’t you say it would only be a light kiss?”

“I’ll consider it a kiss after I’m satisfied.”

“When will you be satisfied?”

“I’m unsure of that…”

------

After the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament entered its second elimination round, it became more and more intense. The remaining eighty-four teams went all-out against one another. After the first day of the second elimination round, twenty-one teams had already successfully qualified for the next round. After this successful qualification, they already had one foot in the round-robin stage. 
That was because forty-two teams would emerge after this second elimination round. Although the next round was still an elimination round, the bottom twenty-one teams had to compete with one another in terms of points so that the best ten teams out of these twenty-one teams could be selected for the next round-robin stage. It was already very prestigious for a team to enter the round-robin stage, as it wasn’t an easy feat!

------

The second day of the second elimination round...

The Tang Sect’s fight was arranged for the afternoon. They didn’t go to the tournament venue in the morning, instead remaining in the hotel to rest. Bei Bei’s injuries seemed to relapse and become more serious. This also cast a shadow on the Tang Sect’s match.

After eating lunch, they rested for a while, and then embarked on their journey to the venue as it came closer to the time of their fight. The resting area was much less crowded, and it no longer felt packed. But the number of spectators continued to rise. These last few days of intense competition had left them more and more excited.

Huo Yuhao had set their strategy yesterday, and thus he had nothing to tell them today. In the VIP resting area, his attention was drawn to the other teams that were in the area with them. He was surprised to find that he couldn’t ascertain which team was representing the Body Sect.

The team that he had been monitoring had been eliminated yesterday morning. With the Body Sect’s abilities, it wasn’t possible for them to make such a low-level mistake, so he had to search for a new target to monitor.

The Holy Ghost Sect’s team weren’t there in the afternoon. They had competed in the morning, and had already advanced to the next round. Although no one from the Tang Sect watched their fight, they could roughly guess that it didn’t last too long.

In contrast, Shrek’s team came to the VIP resting area to watch the fights even though they had already qualified for the next round. Undoubtedly, they were here to watch the Tang Sect’s fight.

Huo Yuhao could sense Wang Qiu’er’s cold and level gaze looking at him when she sat down.

He smiled and nodded at her. However, he was greeted by a cold expression. He couldn’t help but touch his nose, feeling that he had been sharply rebuffed by her.

On the other hand, Wu Feng, Dai Huabin, and the others were watching the Tang Sect very closely. Their expressions weren’t very friendly. It was easy to see their intense competitive spirit from the look in their eyes.

Huo Yuhao shook his head helplessly. Is there a need for this?
We are all from the same academy.

He was in a good state right now. Of course, he hadn’t forgotten the deep hatred that he concealed in his heart. The Holy Ghost Sect didn’t come. Huo Yuhao sat where he was and rested his eyes. He circulated his Mysterious Heaven Technique and fused with the origin energy of Ultimate Ice in his body. Even though he could only strip off some of the origin energy, it was still better than nothing. Such a
continuous fusion was also the safest and most stable method.

It was finally the Tang Sect’s turn to compete after the fourth fight in the afternoon had concluded.

“Tang Sect versus the Ironsword Sect. Competing members from both teams, please enter the waiting area. The first competing member from each team, please enter the stage.”

Everyone from the Tang Sect stood up as the referee called for them. Wang Dong’er pushed Huo Yuhao in front of everyone and entered the waiting area with the rest.

Even though Huo Yuhao had defeated all his opponents on his own in the previous round, the Tang Sect was still an unknown sect. The attention they received wasn’t much. The deepest impression the Sun Moon Empire’s citizens had of the Tang Sect was probably Huo Yuhao’s wheelchair. Xu Sanshi leapt up and ascended the stage, walking briskly to the center.

Ironsword Sect. This was an extremely unfamiliar name to the Tang Sect, but they definitely possessed some quality if they were able to pass the first elimination round.

The first competing member from the Ironsword Sect was a young lady. She had a slender figure and a refreshing appearance. Her long black hair drooped behind her back. Her charm wasn’t lost amid her beauty and gentleness.

Xu Sanshi’s eyes widened as he saw that his opponent was a lady. He subconsciously swallowed his saliva.

Beneath the stage, Huo Yuhao muttered, “Did this Ironsword Sect research us? How did they know that the best way to deal with third senior was by sending a beautiful lady to fight him?”

“Hmph!”  Jiang Nannan’s cold voice caused Huo Yuhao to shudder. He quickly shut his mouth and prayed as hard as he could for Xu Sanshi. After a brief moment, Xu Sanshi’s expression regained its normalcy. He walked to the center of the stage. Before the referee even said anything, he reached his hand over and said, “Beautiful lady, how are you? I’m Xu Sanshi from the Tang Sect. I’m usually called, usually called…”

He wanted to tell her about some mighty nickname that he had, but he was as speechless as he usually was when he saw a lady.

This lady didn’t expect her opponent to be like this. Seeing his awkward look, she couldn’t help but laugh. In terms of looks, Xu Sanshi and Bei Bei had different styles. However, they were both handsome.

The lady reached out with her right hand to shake his hand and said gently, “What are you usually called? I’m Wang Chengxi from the Ironsword Sect. Please have mercy on me, senior.”

Xu Sanshi was still aware that Jiang Nannan was here, and so didn’t grab her hand tightly. However, his face was still filled with a grin. “Of course, of course I’ll have mercy on you. What do you think I should be called? Hmm, let me think. Eternal Defense? What do you think?”

“Eternal  Defense?”   Wang  Chengxi  was  stunned,  but  she revealed a smile after that, “Great! It sounds impressive.”

“Are the two of you still competing?” The referee shouted, as he felt that the two of them didn’t care about his presence. He took a step forward and separated them. After that, he skipped the explanation of the rules and pointed to the two sides of the stage.

“I’ll see you later.” Xu Sanshi made a sneaky gesture at Wang Chengxi. He used his right hand to sweep his medium-length hair before turning around suavely.

Wang Chengxi was still wearing a smile on her face. She was apologetic as she nodded at the referee. After that, she turned around and walked towards her end of the stage.

Xu Sanshi felt his body turning rigid as he walked towards his side of the stage. He immediately turned in the direction of the cold intent that was being projected towards him. He saw a pair of big, beautiful eyes.

“Oh shit… I got too immersed!” Xu Sanshi shuddered. As he walked to his side of the stage, his expression turned very cool. After that, he gave Jiang Nannan a thumbs-up and softly said, “I was bewitching my opponent earlier so that she would be unable to see my true self.”

Jiang Nannan didn’t say anything. The defensive light barrier was soundproof…

Xu Sanshi turned around in a cool manner. After that, he saw the referee lifting his right hand up before swiping down.

He stopped fantasizing and quickly rushed in Wang Chengxi’s direction. Dazzling rings started to rise from his legs.

Yellow, yellow, purple, purple, black, black. When his six soul rings rose, the spectators around started to exclaim.

Six rings. He actually had six rings.

Even the most clueless spectators knew what six soul rings represented. The abilities of a Soul Emperor!

It was very rare to find soul masters that were Soul Emperors. Since he was on this stage, it meant that he wasn’t twenty yet. For him to achieve such a cultivation at his current age, it must mean that he was a great talent and a truly strong competitor in this tournament. A team with at least one Soul Emperor should be able to reach the quarterfinals in this tournament.

Who would have expected the unknown Tang Sect to possess a Soul Emperor? In the previous round, the five-ringed Huo Yuhao took down seven opponents single-handedly. In this round, the Tang Sect sent a six-ringed Soul Emperor to compete first. Everyone saw the Tang Sect differently now! Wang Chengxi hadn’t expected the guy flirting with her to be a Soul Emperor. However, her smile didn’t disappear. She took small steps as she advanced towards Xu Sanshi. However, no one could see the coldness in her eyes.

As she lifted her right hand, a pitch-black iron sword appeared in the air. Rings of light also appeared on the iron sword. There were two yellow and three purple rings. This was a rather good combination of soul rings for an ordinary soul master. Furthermore, she was also a Soul King. However, this was nothing in the eyes of a truly strong soul master.

The two of them got close to each other very quickly. To make amends for his mistake earlier, Xu Sanshi shouted, “This is a duel between sword and shield. Come on.” As he spoke, he lifted his Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle and swept it towards Wang Chengxi.

Wang Chengxi smiled, and she stopped for a moment. After that, she jumped to one side, and her sword flashed with a light. Suddenly, a streak of black sword light was formed and shot towards Xu Sanshi’s shoulder. Xu Sanshi wasn’t too bothered. His footsteps became faster, and he made a simple turn. At the same time, he pulled his shield back and blocked the sword light.

A crisp ringing sound rang out as the sword light struck his shield.

Chapter 286: The Other Tournament

Xu Sanshi leapt forward quickly and pressed his shield forward. He didn’t unleash a soul skill, but instead used his dense soul power and physical strength to knock into Wang Chengxi. He was very sudden, such that Wang Chengxi was unprepared. Her sword was lifted into the air as she was pushed. From the looks of it, she was about to be struck by the shield.

Wang Chengxi reached her left hand forward. She grabbed her sword with two hands now and pressed it against the shield. She tapped into the forward momentum of the shield to lift her body into the air. Her movements were very elegant. As she exerted strength with her hands, she leapt into the air. At the same time as she passed Xu Sanshi, she flexibly turned her body and reversed direction.

The sword light from her sword started to shine very brightly. The sharp sword aura engulfed Xu Sanshi’s body from the back.

She pressed her sword, leaping into the air and launching a counterattack. It was an eye-opener. 
Xu Sanshi turned from the active to the passive party. However, he was very experienced, and had seen many types of situations before. He didn’t panic at all. Wang Chengxi saw things blurring in front of her before Xu Sanshi miraculously used his shield to block his back. All the sword lights were deflected away, and none of them struck him.

Those who were watching the fight intently noticed that Xu Sanshi’s shield turned along with Wang Chengxi as she leapt into the air, even though he hadn’t turned himself. However, it appeared very abrupt because his shield was scooped up from the bottom.

Wang Chengxi’s sword lights struck nothing again. However, her smile seemed to become wider. Her sword started to shine very brightly, and a layer of icy-blue started to engulf Xu Sanshi, coming from the third light ring that lit up on the sword.

The icy-blue glow quickly engulfed Xu Sanshi. At the same time, a black glow started to spread from the Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle. It spread out like exhaust gas, dispelling the icy-blue glow. Wang Chengxi was also engulfed by this exhaust gas. 
It was Xu Sanshi’s first soul skill, Mysterious Underworld Quake.

The difference this soul skill had from the past was that it now seemed to have its own intelligence. The strongest quake wasn’t unleashed at the first moment, but covered Wang Chengxi’s body instantly. It was only after this that the immense force of the quake was unleashed.

Wang Chengxi was stunned. She suddenly felt very restrained fighting against Xu Sanshi. Her outstanding fighting experience didn’t seem to be useful here. Even her most confident skill had been seen through by her opponent! Xu Sanshi gave her a lot of pressure as he unleashed his soul skill.

The fifth soul ring on her sword suddenly lit up. Wang Chengxi grabbed her sword with both hands, and her body started to squirm. She was even calling out softly, “Painful!”

However, who knew that Xu Sanshi wasn’t moved at all. The immense force from his Mysterious Underworld Quake was instantly unleashed. Not only that, but a pitch-black glow shone from his body. The surface area of his shield doubled, and the strength of the Mysterious Underworld Quake suddenly soared.

Thousand-year soul skill, Mysterious Underworld Force!

A light flashed from Wang Chengxi’s hand. It was destroyed as a tremendous vibration struck her. Her fifth soul ring, which was on the sword, seemed to have been completely destroyed, and she was flung away by the strong quaking force. The lights on her sword suddenly turned much dimmer.

Xu Sanshi didn’t follow up his attack. However, Wang Chengxi could hear him muttering, “Screaming in such pain, but your soul ring is still bright. That was too hypocritical!”

A pale glow was released from Wang Chengxi’s body, which she used to resist the quaking force. As she supported her body with her right hand, she bounced straight back up.

“You really don’t know how to take care of girls!” a whining voice sounded out. Xu Sanshi was displeased as he said, “What do you mean, I don’t know how to take care of girls? I’m only protecting myself. Even if I want to take care of girls, I’ll need to prioritize my own life first! Am I right, beauty? Are you still attacking? If you aren’t, you can leave the stage. I don’t want you to complain that I’m not taking good care of you.”

Wang Chengxi pursed her small lips and replied, “You haven’t won. If I leave just like this, how can I account to my sect? Let’s go again!”

As she spoke, she burst towards Xu Sanshi again. This time, she seemed even more elegant, and was also much faster. Her long, black hair danced with the wind.

Xu Sanshi didn’t rush forward. He actually retreated one step, then lunged forward. There was a smile on his face.

He was indeed very fond of ladies. However, they would be in trouble if they thought that he was brainless and tried to harm him. Wang Chengxi suddenly leapt into the air when she was five meters away from Xu Sanshi. She made a turn in the air and stabbed out towards him both hands on her sword. Her long swaying hair followed the movements of her body, appearing like a full, black moon.

Xu Sanshi didn’t retreat or advance. He stood where he was and focused his gaze on Wang Chengxi’s body. Her fifth soul ring lit up again, and the blinding lights from her sword were very clear. A black sword light was directly separated from her iron sword. It was completely black, but it released an intense silver light. Before the sword was even unleashed, its aura was already cracking the air with its sharpness.

At the same time, Wang Chengxi’s black hair started to transform. It grew longer, and turned into black snakes that whipped towards Xu Sanshi. Not only this, but she also lifted her head suddenly, giving Xu Sanshi a shock.

While she had appeared very gentle and ravishing earlier, she was now very pale. Two fangs poked out from her mouth, and her eyes were completely white. Two streaks of pale white light instantly shot from them towards Xu Sanshi. The spectators couldn’t see these two streaks of light clearly, as they were masked by the snakes. They could only see Xu Sanshi’s body being engulfed by countless snakes.

Sword light, snakes, white lights! Three different attacks were unleashed at the same time!

Xu Sanshi was astonished as he shouted, “Twin martial souls?!”  At this point, the white lights from Wang Chengxi’s eyes had already shot towards him.

Xu Sanshi squatted down and used his shield to protect his entire body. He allowed the two streaks of white light to hit his shield.

Suddenly, he felt his shield becoming heavier, as it had turned into a massive rock! Following this, the countless snakes started to converge towards him from all directions. The sword lights were already in front of him too!

--- Beneath the stage, everyone from the Tang Sect couldn’t help but get nervous. Wang Dong’er exclaimed at almost the same time as Xu Sanshi, “Twin martial souls?!”

Huo Yuhao shook his head, and his expression didn’t really change.

---

Just when everyone thought Xu Sanshi was in deep trouble, something weird happened. The air distorted, and suddenly Xu Sanshi was displaced from his position, and Wang Chengxi replaced him in his original position. None of her attacks managed to strike him.

It was his fourth soul skill, the Mysterious Underworld Displacement! It was this skill that had created several miracles in the last tournament.

Xu Sanshi wasn’t merciful anymore. A ball of black light was unleashed from his shield, a snake on its surface. White lights shot out from its blood-red eyes, which reconverted his shield back to its original state. Following this, his shield turned into projections in the air. The snakes that came towards Xu Sanshi were once again forced away by these projections.

Xu Sanshi followed his shield. His speed soared as he burst forward. He held the main body of his shield and was about to ram into Wang Chengxi!

At this point, there were five more soul rings on Wang Chengxi’s body. Two were yellow, two were purple and the last one was black. The two purple soul rings were still shining brightly. As her snakes continued to burst forward, her body also turned soft like cotton. Her skin was even replaced by a layer of scales. She retreated quickly.

Her fifth soul ring also lit up again at the same time. A pale white color covered her eyes once again.

Medusa! This was Wang Chengxi’s stronger martial soul. Her fifth soul skill was called Medusa’s Gaze.

It was a pity that she was facing Xu Sanshi. His martial soul wasn’t just simply his Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle. His shield had undergone a mutation. 
The Xuanwu was a combination of a turtle and a snake, and it was the most outstanding water-type martial soul. Her Medusa’s Gaze was completely curbed by the aura of his shield. As long as it didn’t directly strike Xu Sanshi, it was impossible for her to have any effect on him. Her cultivation was also inferior to his, and he wouldn’t turn to stone just because she gazed at him.

“Trying  to  escape?”  Xu  Sanshi  snorted  coldly.  The  shield projections in the air started to converge.

If the Heavenly Armor Sect’s team hadn’t left, they would have been embarrassed by how Xu Sanshi used his shield.

The shield walls formed by Xu Sanshi’s Shield of the Xuanwu Turtle turned into a cage under his control, and Wang Chengxi was trapped within!

Two streaks of blood-red light shot out from the snake’s eyes on the surface of his shield. As they struck Wang Chengxi’s Medusa’s Gaze, they destroyed it. He was also moving forward again at this point. Wang Chengxi’s body jerked back as she retracted all her snakes, but she then burst forward again and collided head-on with him.

It was a pity that her abilities were still far from his. Her snakes were destroyed, and she was completely trapped by Xu Sanshi. She groaned in discontent.

He watched Wang Chengxi from close-range and used his shield to block off her Medusa’s Gaze. Xu Sanshi shook his head in loathing and said, “You look really good, but why do you have to make yourself appear so disgusting? It’s a pity. I almost thought that you had twin martial souls. It seems like that isn’t the case! You are quite smart, but it’s a pity that you met me. Don’t worry, I take good care of ladies. Concede defeat now!” 
“No!”  Wang Chengxi looked at Xu Sanshi stubbornly. She used all her soul power and struggled to escape.

Xu Sanshi was a little helpless as he shook his head. Black lights were released again, his Mysterious Underworld Quake!

This time, his Mysterious Underworld Quake was unleashed as his shield was in its shield wall state. The quake was directed inwards instead of out.

By the time Xu Sanshi withdrew, Wang Chengxi had already regained her original appearence as she collapsed softly to the ground.

Xu Sanshi nodded his head in satisfaction and muttered to himself, “That’s right, you look much better now. You should thank me.”

The referee appeared gloomy as he rushed over and heard his words. Are all young people nowadays so shameless? 
Xu Sanshi turned around in a very showy manner. He extended two fingers towards the others in the waiting area to signal his victory. After that, he suavely turned to his opponents and shouted, “Next!”

The referee couldn’t stand him anymore, and said furiously, “Why are you shouting? Do you think you are me? You are even carrying a speaker-type soul tool. Let me tell you. No one’s voice except mine can be heard within this protective barrier.”

“Uh…” Xu Sanshi recalled what he had said to Jiang Nannan and was stunned. When he was just about to turn around, two people from the Ironsword Sect hurried over and carried Wang Chengxi away.

She wasn’t hurt, but she was unconscious after suffering his quake. It was unlikely that she would wake up anytime soon.

Although Xu Sanshi loved to show himself off, it hadn’t been an easy fight for him. Given that he had to conceal his true abilities, Wang Chengxi’s explosive abilities had put a lot of pressure on him. 
---

Wang Dong’er smiled as she said, “Oh, he’s finally won.
Third senior is impressive!”

Huo Yuhao laughed, “Third senior can’t be stopped by this small wave. However, that lady was quite scheming.”

Wang  Dong’er  replied,  “She  doesn’t  seem  to  possess  twin martial souls. Otherwise, how could she bear to promote her soul rings to the same level for both martial souls? That wouldn’t be very good for her future development.”

Huo Yuhao answered, “Of course she doesn’t have twin martial souls. They aren’t that common.”

Jiang  Nannan  rolled  her  eyes  and  said,  “Aren’t  that common? There are already three of you who have twin martial souls among the seven of us.” Huo Yuhao chuckled, “That’s because we are from Shrek! Fourth senior, third senior fought very steadily. Don’t put him in a difficult spot later.”

Jiang Nannan let a cold smile onto her face and replied, “I don’t believe I can’t change his bad habit.”

Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er looked at each other, and started to pray for Xu Sanshi in their hearts.

---

The second competing member of the Ironsword Sect quickly entered the stage. It was a young man this time, who wore a furious look on his face. When he entered the stage, he immediately interrogated Xu Sanshi, “What did you do to our senior?”

Xu Sanshi looked at him sincerely, “To prevent her from harming herself, I let her sleep. Don’t worry, she’ll wake up within a day.” The young man was stunned and said, “A day? What about our team round? She’s our team leader! Without her, we’ll...”

Xu Sanshi was shocked.“Brother, are you acting in front of me?”

“Acting?  What  nonsense!  I’ll  fight  it  out  with  you!”  The young man reacted quickly and burst towards Xu Sanshi.

It was a pity that he was stopped by the referee in the next moment.

The referee righteously said, “Although I detest him too, you’ll still need to observe the rules. Stay back.”

Xu Sanshi wasn’t going to be merciful on this young man…

There were only ladies, beauties, and small animals in his heart. There wasn’t such a thing as guys. As long as they weren’t his close friends, they were automatically categorized as small animals. He wouldn’t be merciful to them! After Wang Chengxi’s defeat, this young man, who was a four-ringed Soul Ancestor, lasted less than two minutes before he also lost.

Xu Sanshi’s fighting style was very simple. There weren’t too many flowery tricks, but he managed to use his shield exaltedly, and his soul skills flexibly. To others, he used one soul skill as if he were using three. Everyone could tell that he hadn’t given his all yet.

However, he conceded defeat after he finished his second fight. He exited the stage and his teammate took over for him.

The Ironsword Sect’s prowess seemed to have mainly come from Wang Chengxi. After her defeat, it was smooth sailing for the Tang Sect, there wasn’t any real resistance for them. As for the team round, it was an overwhelming victory for them as well. Among the seven of them, He Caitou, Huo Yuhao, and Wang Dong’er didn’t even make a move in the team round.

Xu Sanshi led Jiang Nannan, Xiao Xiao, and Na Na as they settled the fight in the team round. The Tang Sect advanced, and the Ironsword Sect was eliminated.

Wang Chengxi’s physical body was quite strong, and she woke up after the team round ended. However, there wasn’t any hint of a smile on the face. From the looks of it, she wasn’t any less furious than Nan Qiuqiu, who had lost to the Tang Sect in the previous round.

Nan Qiuqiu had followed the Tang Sect over to the tournament venue today. However, she remained in the resting area. She hadn’t registered as a member of the Tang Sect, and thus she couldn’t compete. However, she was much more honest now. She sat beside Jing Ziyan and shot clownish looks at everyone from the Tang Sect from time to time.

Over the past few days, Nan Qiuqiu had spent time with Jing Ziyan and Ji Juechen. Her hatred had shifted…

The Tang Sect didn’t meet any strong opponents. After the next round, they would be in the round-robin stage.

------ 
After their fight ended, they didn’t stay in the resting area. Huo Yuhao and the rest directly returned to their hotel to rest, where they also told Bei Bei about their victory.

Bei Bei was still in a bad condition. His condition didn’t seem to have improved over the past two days. His injury couldn’t be healed through healing-type soul masters. His body was invaded by an evil aura, so he could only use his own soul power to dispel the evil aura. At the same time, he needed to recover his vital energy.

Everyone returned to their rooms to rest, while Na Na left the hotel silently, continuing the mission that Huo Yuhao had delegated to her.

Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong’er returned to their room and started to cultivate. Huo Yuhao made full use of this time to absorb the origin energy in his body. It was only after night fell that a knock sounded at their door.

Wang Dong’er was jolted awake by the sounds of knocking on the door. “Who is it?” Wang Dong’er asked.

“It’s me,” Na Na’s voice came back quietly.

Wang Dong’er crawled out of the bed and walked towards the door before opening it

Na Na was apologetic as she said, “Mis…  Dong’er, sorry for disturbing the both of you at such a late time. I’m really sorry.”

Huo Yuhao’s voice rose. “Dong’er, let her in.”

Wang Dong’er brought Na Na into the room. Huo Yuhao had already ended his cultivation, and he was sitting by his bedside. His lower limbs still couldn’t move. Even when he was seated, he could only rely on his right hand to shift himself. At this point, he grabbed onto the bed and tried to turn around.

“Was there any progress?” Huo Yuhao asked Na Na. She  replied,  “Master,  things  aren’t  going  too  well.  I’ve contacted some of the black market sellers over these few days. They aren’t that willing to sell to us. They claim that their production is too little and the metals that we want are too precious.”

Huo Yuhao furrowed his brow and asked, “Is it because of money, or some other reason?”

Na Na said, “I asked, and heard that they are exploiting this tournament to organize an underground tournament. The rewards of this tournament are very substantial. As rare metals are a very important hard currency in the underground world, they are being used as stakes. It will be very difficult for us to buy any of them.”

Huo Yuhao was doubtful, “They are organizing their own tournament even as they bet? Isn’t the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament enough for them?”

Na Na said, “Master, there are some things you don’t know. The Sun Moon Empire has a very strict law that prohibits anyone from betting on this tournament. No one is allowed, no matter whether it’s on the surface or in the black market. Otherwise, punishment will be meted out.”

Huo Yuhao was stunned and asked, “Why is this so? I recalled that you could do so in the Star Luo Empire.”

Na Na replied, “I heard that the current Prince Regent detests gambling. That’s why the underground black market has no choice but to organize its own tournament.”

Huo Yuhao said, “Where do they find people to compete if everyone’s in the legal tournament? Without sufficient competitors, the tournament will be meaningless.”

Na Na said, “They aren’t organizing a fighting tournament, but one on creating soul tools. This is the specialty of Radiant City, it doesn’t happen in other empires. The only requirement is that the competitors have to be under thirty. Soul engineers of any class can compete. The entire tournament is purely about elimination. The rules of every round seem to be different.” Huo Yuhao thought of something, and asked, “Can you tell me what this tournament is like? Also, what are the rewards and gambling system with regards to this underground tournament?”

Na Na had been living in Radiant City since her youth, and was very familiar with this place. She was also very good at obtaining such news. She thoroughly recounted the details of the tournament to Huo Yuhao.

The three biggest black markets had decided to organize their own tournament and exploit the opportunity of the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament to earn profits without angering Xu Tianran. To make it sound nice, they claimed that they were furthering the development of soul tools in the Sun Moon Empire.

The tournament wasn’t very strict. The only two requirements were that the soul engineers had to be under thirty, and they had to create Class 4 soul tools in the qualifiers. If they passed, they could advance to the next round, where they could truly compete. 
One could bet on the qualifiers. The bet was very simple: the number of people who could pass the qualifiers. One could bet on an absolute number, or whether it would be an odd or even number of people who qualified. The returns were a few multiples, and varied depending on the selections.

The qualifiers were being held right now. Creating soul tools wasn’t as quick as a fight, so the soul engineers were given three days for the first round. The future rounds in the tournament would also be elimination rounds, but the topic for each round would change.

The three black markets even specially invited a member of the imperial family, a powerful Class 9 soul engineer, to be the chief referee. Twelve Class 7 and above soul engineers were also chosen to be the referee committee in this tournament, so as to ensure the fairness of the tournament and betting system.

The things they had to do were simple. They wanted to draw in the ordinary citizens, nobles, and wealthy individuals who wanted to gamble by exploiting the hype of the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament. Their aim was to make as much profit as possible.

So far, they had been very successful in this aspect. More than a hundred thousand people had bet in their tournament already, and the amount of money involved was undoubtedly very great.

To draw sufficient numbers of outstanding soul engineers to compete, the rewards of the tournament were all rare metals.

From the first round, those who qualified for the next round would be rewarded. This even applied to the qualifiers. As the rounds progressed, the rewards would increase.

Soul engineers could ignore money, but they had to have rare metals. They could create soul tools to earn money, but rare metals might not be available even if one had money. This was especially true in this tournament, since the rare metals were all being used as rewards for the competitors.

There was even competition between the three black markets. That was why there were three competing venues for the tournament. The winners in each venue would compete against one another. When that happened, the wager between the three black markets would also involve rare metals.

All this was why Na Na couldn’t obtain any rare metals even though she was willing to offer a high price.

After listening to Na Na, Huo Yuhao sank deep into thought. He asked, “Na Na, are there any requirements to register for this tournament?”

Na Na shook her head and said, “It’s very simple. One cannot be above thirty years old, and must be confident in competing in the qualifiers. Finally, there’s a registration fee of a hundred gold soul coins.”

Wang Dong’er’s expression changed, and she said, “Yuhao, don’t tell me you’re thinking of competing. No, it’s too dangerous! This is Radiant City! There are also many powerful soul engineers there.”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “Won’t it be a pity if I don’t compete since the rewards are so good? Don’t worry, I won’t take any risks. I’m sure it’s safe since they dare to organize such a tournament. The competitors are all soul engineers, the group of people with the greatest authority in the Sun Moon Empire. If they dare to do anything in the tournament, will the soul engineers tolerate such behavior? Definitely not! That’s why we don’t have to worry about the safety aspect. Furthermore, I won’t compete using my true identity. Your disguise and my Imitation will make it easy for me to scam everyone, won’t it?”

Wang Dong’er furrowed her brow. “But we still have the tournament!”

Huo Yuhao said, “The underground tournament is mainly held at night. It won’t affect anything. Dong’er, I must compete in this tournament for the development of the sect. Gambling is a good opportunity for us, but I won’t be assured if I’m placing a bet on someone else. I’m a soul engineer, and this is a good opportunity to test my abilities. At the same time, I can learn a lot of things from others in the same line. I’ll get second senior to follow me.”

He paused for a moment and turned very serious, “Dong’er, the official tournament will help to build the Tang Sect’s reputation, while the underground tournament will help to build the Tang Sect’s future. They are both important!”

Wang Dong’er thought for a moment before saying, “You can go if you want, but on two conditions. First, you must seek eldest senior’s approval. Second, I must follow you. However, are you really going to compete? Hasn’t it begun already?”

Huo Yuhao said, “Na Na mentioned that there’s still one day left in the qualifiers. It’s not too late. I agree to your conditions. Let’s go and find eldest senior before registering for this tournament!”

At such a time, he was very quick and decisive. Purchasing rare metals was one of his most important goals for coming here. It took on a significant meaning for the Tang Sect’s future development and his own improvement in his soul engineering abilities.

Huo Yuhao asked Wang Dong’er to push him to He Caitou’s room before they went to Bei Bei’s room.

------ 
An hour later...

The sky had already turned dark. Perhaps everyone’s energy was depleted because of the tournament in the day, but the night seemed very quiet. There were very few people roaming the streets, and most people had already retired to bed.

At a street corner around three hundred meters from the Ming Yue Hotel, the light seemed to distort at a pitch-black corner. Following this, four figures surfaced.

Huo Yuhao was still in his wheelchair, but his wheelchair was covered by a black cloth, and his appearance had changed greatly. Compared to before, he was much more handsome, and there were many changes to small details. Even if there were familiar faces around him, they wouldn’t be able to recognize him unless they could deduce his identity using the wheelchair he was in.

Wang Dong’er was still dressed like a man. Her appearance was very cold and tough, and she also looked much more ordinary. On the whole, she seemed like an extremely normal and aloof young man. 
The greatest change in He Caitou was his hair. He was wearing a brown wig that helped to cover his bright and shiny bald head. His wig reached his shoulders, and there was a black mask on his face. His complexion was also paler. Along with a thick, black robe, he seemed very mysterious.

Na Na’s transformation was the simplest. She put on makeup to look like a maid. Her simple transformation made her look very pitiful. She stood beside Huo Yuhao’s wheelchair, her deference towards him didn’t need to be faked.

He Caitou was impressed. “Junior, your Imitation is getting stronger and stronger. We were completely unrecognizable just now as we left the hotel. No one will suspect us.”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “Second senior, let’s refer to ourselves differently from now on. I’m in a wheelchair, so I’ll have no choice but to take advantage of all of you. We are brothers now, and I’ll call you big brother. You can call me second brother. Dong’er and Na Na are my servants. They’ll call me Master. I’ll call the two of them Little Dong and Little Na.” Wang Dong’er snapped and said, “You are intentionally taking advantage of us!”

Huo  Yuhao  chortled,  “No!  Isn’t  that  just  logical?  Call  me Master.”

Wang Dong’er pursed her lips as she saw his sly look. She snorted, and her voice turned very manly as she said softly, “Mas… Master…”

Huo Yuhao chuckled, “Be more natural. Come on, one more time.”

“You…” Wang Dong’er lifted her hands, as if she wanted to do something. However, she couldn’t bear to lay her hands on him seeing that he was in a wheelchair. She turned her head and ignored him.

“Let’s go. It isn’t early anymore. Let’s follow the plan.”

Wang Dong’er was pushing his wheelchair while Na Na followed to one side, He Caitou walked on the other. The four of them proceeded towards the center of the city as they took advantage of the darkness.

------

There was an underground world everywhere. Whether it was the Heavenly Soul, Dou Ling, Star Luo or Sun Moon Empire, it was all the same. There were many types of underground worlds. The lowest level involved sex, murder, and human trafficking. The higher-class ones involved arms trafficking, underground political trades, and the sale of rare resources. Whether it was the lowest level underground worlds or the higher-class ones, they were all controlled by powerful figures. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any way for them to survive.

In Radiant City’s Underground World, there were three main organizations. They were the Duskwater Alliance, the Common Alliance, and the Alto Chamber of Commerce.

The Common Alliance controlled the sex industry in Radiant City, and was probably the shallowest underground power. The Alto Chamber of Commerce controlled assassin and thieves’ associations, as well as some evil powers. They made a living by collecting protection fees and committing murders and theft, as well as through other illegal means.

The Duskwater Alliance was more advanced. They sold the most profitable medicines and arms, and trafficked people.

The Common Alliance and Alto Chamber of Commerce shared a very close relationship, teaming up together to oppose the Duskwater Alliance. However, they weren’t as well-backed as the Duskwater Alliance. They weren’t very interactive either, and only ensured a peaceful working relationship through agreements between their backers.

All three underground organizations were involved in the sale of rare metals. After all, it was a very profitable trade. As long as they were given access to mining channels, they could obtain rare metals at a low cost. However, these rare metals were in very high demand, and helped them make the most profits.

For example, there was a rare metal called Soulforging Silver. It could fuse with any type of metal and increase its affinity towards a soul master’s soul power. At the same time, it increased the tensile strength and hardness of the metals it was fused with. It was used in almost all advanced soul tools.

It was only produced in the Sun Moon Empire, and was produced in average quantities. Around five hundred gold soul coins were needed to mine one kilo of it, but on the market, it was worth around a hundred gold soul coins per hundred grams. This was a two hundred percent profit if it was sold! How could anyone not go crazy over it? Even with the great exploitation of the mining channels, the profits were still very great.

The profits that could be reaped from Soulforging Silver were only considered average among rare metals. The prices of rarer metals were even more unbelievable!

Chapter 287: The Newbies Compete

Such enormous profits were too alluring, and the influence of Radiant City’s three main underground organizations’ reached every corner of the country, so it was natural that they could reap the rewards. Every year gave them immeasurable profits, and this was even under the circumstances where the country monopolized the industry, while ruling rare metals as strategic resources. The country had even prohibited exports!

The three underground organizations named this competition the Radiant City Elite Soul Engineer Tournament, and it piggybacked on the reputation of the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament.

---

Huo Yuhao decided to choose the strongest underground organization out of the three, because this organization was also being discreetly marginalized and clamped down on by the other two: the Duskwater Alliance. He was the only one who knew the rationale behind his decision. The Duskwater Alliance’s preliminary rounds were designated to be carried out at a luxurious hotel in the city center. One of the reasons this place was picked was because this hotel was not far from the Brilliant Delight Hotel, so the participants wouldn’t have to travel too far away. Huo Yuhao wasn’t that mobile after all, and a long journey would be a burden on him. He couldn’t just let Wang Dong’er push him around inside the city…

The Green Hotel had a unique and characteristic name. It was a little more than a kilometer away from the Brilliant Delight Hotel, and was but two kilometers away from the Sun Moon Empire’s royal palace, located in a very prime and profitable location. However, people often mispronounced its name, and so people easily misunderstood this place as the Romantic Love Hotel… and yet, it was because of this fact that it became quite well-known. This property belonged to the Duskwater Alliance, but nobody knew if the Duskwater Alliance’s headquarters were also located here.

The Green Hotel was built on a smaller scale than the Brilliant Delight Hotel. There were only five levels above the ground, but those who were familiar with this hotel understood that its true substance was beneath the ground! ---

There were four muscular men clad in black warrior robes standing outside the hotel’s main door. They were all more than two meters tall, and they surveyed the throngs of people walking by with ice-cold eyes.

Huo Yuhao and his group hadn’t even come near when one of them stepped up and blocked their path.

“The hotel isn’t open for business today. Please leave.”

Huo Yuhao was still sitting in the wheelchair. He smiled and said, “We’re here to participate in the Radiant City Elite Soul Engineer Tournament.”

The man in black was stunned for a moment, but his expression then became a little gentler. Soul engineers were held in high regard within the Sun Moon Empire compared to other empires, and offending a soul engineer wasn’t a smart choice even if the other party had a modest rank. “I’m sorry, soul engineer. The preliminary rounds have already begun, and they’re about to end soon. You’re too late.” The man in black spoke with a look of regret on his face, but his expression contained a little more respect than before. Perhaps his change of attitude was also because the mysterious aura from He Caitou affected his state of mind.

Huo  Yuhao  also  seemed  a  little  rueful.  “That’s  a  pity.  I originally believed that I could represent the Duskwater Alliance to participate in the final round, and perhaps help you guys claim the championship. How about this? I’ll use a hundred thousand golden soul coins, and I’ll wager that I can pass the preliminary rounds today. There isn’t much time left anyway, so you guys will win a large sum of money even if I don’t. But if I do, it also means that the Duskwater Alliance will have another relatively outstanding soul engineer to participate in the final round. This is a win-win situation for you guys, am I right?”

The man in black was slightly taken aback. “A hundred thousand golden soul coins,,, are you sure?” This underground wagering business wasn’t a secret. The underground organizations wouldn’t be able to host a competition as large as this without implicit approval from the authorities. Therefore, the man in black didn’t dodge the question, but he was still astounded by the sum that Huo Yuhao had just quoted. Even aristocratic families were rarely able to quote sums like that, and this guy was betting on himself. Was he not afraid that the Duskwater Alliance would play some dirty tricks to win his money?

Huo Yuhao nodded seriously and said, “I believe that the Duskwater Alliance will be just. If you can’t make this decision, please bring it to your superiors.”

“Please  wait  here.”  The  man  in  black  seemed  even  more respectful than before. He bowed to Huo Yuhao courteously before he walked briskly back to the Green Hotel’s main door and said something to his companions before swiftly entering the hotel.

It didn’t take long before a middle-aged man dressed in a long and elegant white gown stepped out from the Green Hotel’s main door. He immediately saw Huo Yuhao, and he took a few quick steps forward before he smiled radiantly and said, “I’m sorry, my subordinates are too immature. Please follow me, my honored guests.”  He made a gesture to invite them into the hotel as he spoke. Huo Yuhao was a little surprised at how candid this person was. He nodded in acknowledgement before Wang Dong’er pushed him into the Green Hotel.

The Green Hotel was quite rustic, indeed. Its layout was extremely simple, and there was no way one could tell from its appearance that this place was the number-one location that symbolized the underground organizations’ influence. Furthermore, this was also one of the Duskwater Alliance’s important strongholds!

The hotel’s layout felt smooth and sleek. There were white porcelain decorations and ornaments everywhere, and even the flooring and the walls were made of white porcelain. White and red were the main colors.

Wang Dong’er surveyed her surroundings as she pushed Huo Yuhao’s wheelchair. She thought to herself, Are those red decorations foreshadowing fresh blood? What does all this white porcelain signify? Fresh blood amongst all the pure whiteness?

The middle-aged man stopped walking once they entered the hotel and said, “My valued guests, may I know who the one that’s going to participate in the competition is?”

Huo Yuhao said, “My big brother and I will both join the competition.” He pointed at He Caitou beside him as he spoke.

The middle-aged man nodded his head and said, “How do I address the two of you?”

Huo Yuhao answered, “My big brother is called Tang Si, and I am called Tang Wu.”

The middle-aged man’s eyes sparkled. He could obviously tell that the two of them were patronizing him, and that these definitely weren’t their real names.

However, he didn’t know that Huo Yuhao hadn’t come up with these names at random. The Tang Sect’s original ancestor was named Tang San, so he definitely wouldn’t coin an identical name for himself. Therefore, he came up with Tang Si and Tang Wu. The man didn’t pursue the matter any further. Many soul engineers had their own preferences and reservations, and many people were still relatively cautious. Since they were participating in an underground competition, there were quite a few contestants who used fake names. These underground
organizations also definitely didn’t keep their hold on these soul engineers based on their names. It was important for these organizations not to probe into these soul engineers’ private information, as these organizations could only keep them here if they provided benefits.

“The competition has already been underway for quite some time, and will end soon. Time is of the essence. Why don’t the two of you verify that you guys are soul engineers first, and I will immediately arrange your entries into the competition. Also, about the wager that you just mentioned…”

Huo Yuhao raised his hand, and Wang Dong’er passed a dark- golden card forward from behind him.

“This is the Auspicious Gold Bank’s black gold VIP card that can be used across the Continent. Xiao Na, follow this mister afterwards to place our bet.”  Huo Yuhao spoke plainly as he raised his right hand, and the middle-aged man saw a flash before his eyes before a short dagger appeared in Huo Yuhao’s right hand. A white beam of light shot up as a razor-sharp sword aura soared into the air and howled shrilly at the sky.

He Caitou’s method was even simpler. He raised his hand and unleashed an enormous soul cannon, which he pointed at the middle-aged man.

Cold sweat erupted from the man’s forehead, and he hurriedly said, “Calm down, guys. You have been verified, completely verified!”

Huo Yuhao smiled faintly and said, “Since you said that we are tight on time, then bring us there as quickly as you can.” He gradually withdrew his White Tiger Dagger as he spoke.

Huo Yuhao always carried around the only item that his mother had left him. He was no longer the immature youth that he had been, and he had done some research and investigation into his White Tiger Dagger. He realized that his White Tiger Dagger was a Class 5 close-combat soul tool, and it possessed a soul skill called Devour. As long as his opponent’s attack didn’t exceed his White Tiger Dagger’s absorption limits, the dagger could consume the attack and convert it into its own power, which would be released in the next attack. 
Back when he had first entered the Great Star Dou Forest all those years ago, he relied on the White Tiger Dagger’s special characteristics to survive after he was ambushed by that ten- year soul beast.

The manager wiped the cold sweat from his brow as he escorted Huo Yuhao and the others to some soul elevators in the hotel’s inner regions. He used a soul transmitter to pass a few messages before he directed the four of them into a lift.

The lift went all the way down, and stopped after about ten seconds. When the lift’s doors opened again, a cacophony of noise could be heard, along with a strong smell of paper and metal that wafted into their faces.

This scene was drastically different from the main lobby’s simplicity. The shiny magnificence of the hotel’s underground world dazzled everyone. Everything was golden, even the mirrors! It felt as if this underground world was made entirely from gold...

The manager led them out of the elevator, and they crossed an extravagant circular hall before they entering through a door right in front of them.

There were two guards standing by the door, who immediately opened the large door when they saw the manager.

It felt like they had entered another world once they stepped inside. There wasn’t as much light in this place, and what light there was seemed a lot gentler. However, the sheer size of this place caused Huo Yuhao to react in astonishment.

They were inside a circular domed hall, where the hall’s ceiling seemed to be made of uncountable golden lines that were orderly and rhythmically intertwined together. The enormous dome provided enough light for the spacious hall, and rows of seats extended neatly down the aisle, while there were spiraling escalators that led upwards around the seats. There was a circular room hovering at the end of every flight of soul escalators, and there was no way to tell with the naked eye how those rooms were just levitating in midair.

There were eight sets of these soul escalators and hovering rooms, and forming a circle about the place. There was a circular platform in the center of the hall at least thirty meters in diameter. It wasn’t as spacious as the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament’s competition stage, but it was spectacular enough. This was part of the underground world, after all!

There were numerous metal desks on the stage at the moment, and light flickered from time to time. There were several metal desks around the circular platform, and more than a hundred metal desks on the central platform. Some metal desks were already empty.

There were row after row of sapphire velvet chairs around the competition stage, and they were packed with people. However, they were all extremely quiet, and they were intently watching the people hard at work at the metal desks. A conservative estimate would place the number of people in the audience at more than two thousand, and one could tell from their clothes and their accessories that they were all relatively well-to-do.

Huo Yuhao had discovered from Na Na that only the whales who had wagered more than ten thousand golden soul coins could watch the contest in person. The other normal citizens who had also placed bets could only watch from these underground organizations’ outer betting spots.

This was just one of the competition’s multiple regions, and there were already several hundred soul engineers below the age of thirty who were participating in the contest. The black market’s great contest was alluring indeed!

“Excuse me, how many people from the Duskwater Alliance are participating in the competition?”  Huo Yuhao asked the manager, who was leading the way.

The middle-aged man replied respectfully, “We have a total of two hundred and sixty-four soul engineers participating in the competition. We will have two hundred and sixty-six if we include the two of you. Some of these soul engineers have already completed their projects. Today’s contest is only the qualifying round, so we only require participants to craft a Class 3 soul tool in order to pass the assessment. Of course, you have to finish the project within a certain period of time. Look there, every soul engineer’s desk has an hourglass. However, only half of the hourglass is remaining for the last few soul engineers who joined the contest, and that means you only have about an hour left. I wonder if the two of you will have enough time?” 
Huo Yuhao smiled, and the corner of his mouth flowed with subtle   confidence   and   pride.   “That’s   enough.”    He   was roleplaying as another person and not himself, so he began to make adjustments to his demeanor and his emotions from this moment onwards.

“Alright, then.”

Huo Yuhao asked, “What is this place used for normally? An auction?”

A wary look flashed across the mnager’s eyes. “Have you guys never been to our Golden Hall?”

Huo Yuhao curled the corner of his lip apathetically and said, “Of course not. My family is so rich that…” He paused after this, and the same wary look came over his eyes. However, the wary look in his eyes made the middle-aged man look a lot more relaxed than before.

The manager smiled faintly, and a tinge of elegance could be seen in his expression. He said confidently, “That’s a real pity, then. This place is an auction, and it’s the largest auction house in Radiant City. Let me tell you a secret... even people from the royal family have sent people to participate in our top-tier auction! If you have time in the future, you are very welcome to participate! You will be treated like honored guests.”

They arrived near the arena’s center as they spoke, but someone blocked their path.

Two people who were dressed the same way as the manager intercepted them. After some brief conversation, one of the two men that blocked their way said, “The participants can enter, but everyone else has to wait outside. Place your bets immediately.”

Wang Dong’er raised her eyebrows, but Huo Yuhao waved his hand and said, “Xiao Dong, Xiao Na, the two of you can go outside. Xiao Na will place the wager. I wonder what the odds are like today?”

The manager replied plainly, “If you bet on the exact number of people to qualify and you get it right, you will win ten times your wager. You can also place multiple bets, and the odds are different for every option.” 
Huo Yuhao was surprised. “But we said before this that we were wagering on the two of us being able to qualify.”

The manager said calmly, “That wager is not possible, and this is but a qualifying round. However, the sum that you quoted must be wagered. Otherwise, you guys won’t be allowed to enter the competition.”

Huo Yuhao was momentarily taken aback. “You guys never mentioned that before.”

Chapter 288: The Fierce Genius Soul Engineer

The person that had blocked their path said coldly, “It’s not my problem that you guys are late. Time waits for no man – we’re getting closer and closer to the end of the competition.”

Huo Yuhao smiled, a very warm smile. “Alright then. Xiao Dong, Xiao Na, you guys can go ahead and follow his instructions. We’ll make the wager. However, I hope you have the courage to stay here until the end, mister. I’m a very stingy person, and you will have to pay with your life if I lose my money.”

The middle-aged man was momentarily stunned. He stared at the warm smile on Huo Yuhao’s face, but for some reason, he began to feel a chill run down his spine. But the sensation only lasted for an instant, and he returned to normal as he said indifferently, “You’re in the Duskwater Alliance’s territory. If you have the ability, my life doesn’t mean anything at all.”

Huo Yuhao nodded and said, “Very well. Show us the way.” Wang Dong’er didn’t feel very assured, but she went ahead with Na Na to make the wager anyway. Huo Yuhao and He Caitou followed the middle-aged man that Huo Yuhao had just threatened to the competition arena.

They weren’t qualified to participate in the competition on stage, so they were brought to two metal desks in the outer corners that belonged to participants that had already finished their part in the contest.

Huo Yuhao frowned and said, “You guys don’t even provide materials for crafting soul tools?”

The middle-aged man had just been threatened, so he shot Huo Yuhao a dark look and said, “We did have some originally, but there won’t be any for you because of what you said earlier. You can find your own materials since you guys are late.”  He turned around to leave after he finished talking, and another elderly man clothed in yellow walked over and stood behind the two of them. The other contestants were in a similar situation.

“What  are  the  rules?”  Huo  Yuhao  asked  the  old  man  in yellow. 
The old man pointed to a desk not far from them that was being used for the contest. “There’s an hourglass over there – you guys will check the time yourselves. You have to craft a Class 3 soul tool before the last grain of sand drops down in the hourglass, and you will qualify for the next round once you
complete your soul tool within the stipulated time. You will be eliminated if you can’t complete the task. You may begin. I will be here to watch and to ensure that you don’t use finished or half-finished soul tools to cheat.”

Huo Yuhao turned around toward He Caitou, and then he looked at the metal desk that was well-equipped with crafting tools. He smiled and said, “Big brother, doesn’t this feel familiar?”

He Caitou was wearing a mask. He naturally knew that Huo Yuhao was referring to their days inside the Illustrious Virtue Hall, and he nodded.

Huo Yuhao sighed and said, “Not giving us materials is just so harsh and unkind. I have to make use of what’s around me, I guess.” He raised his right hand as he spoke. The old man behind him saw a dark-golden flash of light before one of the steel desk’s corners was lopped off. The piece was half a foot thick, and the old man also saw the five sharp blades that flickered with dark golden radiance that extended from Huo Yuhao’s
right hand.

The Darkgolden Terrorclaw Bear was known as one of the most powerful species in the world of soul beasts. A unique and frightening aura could be felt once Huo Yuhao unleashed his Darkgolden Terrorclaw.

Huo Yuhao flicked his claw upwards, and the metal piece flew towards He Caitou. “We’ll have to make do with this, big brother.”

“Alright.” He Caitou decided to talk as little as he could, to avoid saying the wrong things. He took the piece of metal and immediately began to work on it with a carving knife from the crafting tools that were laid out on the table.

Huo Yuhao didn’t wait for the old man to stop him. The sharp blades flickered once more, and another piece of steel was cut off, but he took it himself this time. 
“This is a standard desk for crafting soul tools, and every table is worth five thousand golden soul coins!” The invigilator was shaken by the Darkgolden Terrorclaw’s aura for a little while.

“Oh.” Huo Yuhao answered casually before he began to work with his right hand. Five golden blades trembled at the same time, and it felt as if they were forming a dark golden layer of water that undulated on the metal desk’s surface. Metal powder and fragments drifted down, but they didn’t scatter all over the place. They actually spread around him in an orderly fashion.

Huo Yuhao wasn’t even looking at the tough steel that he had just retrieved. He turned around towards the invigilator and asked, “Are you a soul engineer as well? What’s your Class?”

The elderly man didn’t answer his question, because he was in a complete daze at the moment, his eyes fixated upon Huo Yuhao’s rhythmic right hand.

That was a hand that could accomplish miracles! Huo Yuhao’s five razor-sharp blades continued to move rhythmically, and the irregular piece of steel quickly became rectangular, before strange and peculiar patterns began to appear on its surface. The steel piece was subsequently split into pieces and carved… the entire process was as smooth as a flowing river.

Huo Yuhao’s fingers seemed like they were just faintly quivering, and every movement was just so precise and accurate...

Just as Huo Yuhao had said, the old man in yellow was also a soul engineer, but he was only a Class 3 soul engineer. In the end, breaking through three rings was quite a drastic change for most soul masters, and many people couldn’t breach that barrier, even across an entire lifetime.

This elderly man was just a Class 3 soul engineer, but his eyes were quite fine. He was part of the Duskwater Alliance, and he had seen multiple high-level soul engineers craft soul tools. What Huo Yuhao was doing at the moment was comparable to those high-level soul engineers. He was smooth, quick, and agile at the same time, and he was working at a speed that was almost impossible to believe. From a soul engineer’s perspective, steel was a relatively standard crafting material that was also easy to carve and engrave. However, working at such rapid pace was simply unbelievable, and the old man knew that he couldn’t do anything like Huo Yuhao. The youth before him was going through everything so casually, and he hadn’t even pulled out his carving knife. This youth was just using sharp blades from his martial soul, or perhaps from a soul skill, to craft his soul tool.

The silver-white steel gradually took shape. Huo Yuhao didn’t use a single crafting toolfrom the table, but an impeccable metal tube was produced just like that. He quickly assembled, crafted, and inserted the formation arrays.

Huo Yuhao used the five sharp claws of his Darkgolden Terrorclaw to cut, drill, slice, chisel, and whatever techniques he had to use to craft his soul tool, and he only used one hand from beginning to end. Of course, there was no way he could use his other hand even if he wanted to, but the old man didn’t know that. The elderly man felt as if he wasn’t watching a contest, but a performance, an incredibly spectacular performance in crafting soul tools. This process didn’t continue for too long. Five minutes, after just five minutes, Huo Yuhao’s undulating blades halted, and his body casually turned around as he signaled to the old man, who had a blank look in his eyes. “It’s done!”

The elderly man recovered from his astonishment, and quickly stepped forward to pick up the silver-white soul tool on the desk.

The silver-white metal tube was long and smooth. It was about a foot long, and there was an arm buckle beneath it, so it was most suitable for use when attached to the arm. The old man carefully infused soul power into the soul tool, and it immediately lit up. The old man gasped, as he could feel that this soul tool was consuming his soul power at an alarming rate, to the point where he couldn’t control it anymore. Afterwards, he could feel the formation arrays activating themselves from the soul power compressed in them. The entire silver-white metal tube sparkled, and intense soul power immediately began to radiate out of it. He realized that there was no way for him to stop it.

The contest was still ongoing at the moment, and this was the Green Hotel’s Golden Hall! The invigilator didn’t know what would happen if this soul tool was allowed to fire. He went a little hysterical as he exclaimed, “Quick, make it stop! Why won’t it stop?”

Huo  Yuhao  smiled  and  said,  “That’s  because  you’re  not operating it in the right way.” He raised his right hand as he spoke, and pressed down gently on the tube’s surface. The charging and compression instantly disappeared, and the entire soul tool powered down.

Huo Yuhao said, “Your soul power isn’t wasted. The energy- gathering formation array will still maintain its activity for two hours, and you can fire it at anytime you wish.”

The old man wiped the sweat from his brow and stared at Huo Yuhao fearfully. “The soul tool that you have made is…”

Huo  Yuhao  grinned  and  said,  “It’s  a  simplified  energy- gathering soul cannon. It should be at least Class 3, but Class 4 soul engineers are typically more suited to operate something like this. It seems like you’re not a Class 4 soul engineer yet. The materials that I have had to retrieve on the spot were a little substandard, so this cannon can only be fired thrice. If you want to play around with it, you’ll have to wait for me to complete the qualifying round. My part of the contest is over; have I passed?”

The old man’s expression was entirely different from before. He handed the soul tool back to Huo Yuhao respectfully and said, “Of course you have passed the qualifying round. You’re the one who has crafted this soul tool, please take it back. The soul engineers get to keep all the soul tools that they make within this competition. Of course, you can sell your productions to us if you wish.”

Huo Yuhao replied, “I’ll leave it to you then. Just treat it as compensation for damaging the table. That should be enough, right?”

“Yes, yes it’s enough.”  A Class 3 soul tool was worth about three to five thousand golden soul coins, while Huo Yuhao didn’t destroy the entire table, so repairing the table probably wouldn’t require more than ten golden soul coins. Using a soul tool like this to compensate for the damage was more than enough. Furthermore, the crafting abilities Huo Yuhao had just displayed completely astounded this invigilator. The old man asked probingly, “If I may ask, what Class are you in?”

Huo Yuhao smiled faintly and said, “You will know eventually. However, you have to continue with your duties. You haven’t seen the soul tool that my big brother is crafting yet.”

The old man realized that He Caitou’s hands had stopped moving on the other side as well, and he had also crafted another soul tool from the piece cut off from the table. The soul tool that He Caitou had crafted was a broad bracelet, the kind intended for men. The old man quickly went over to check.

“This…  is this a storage-type soul tool? A storage-type soul tool crafted from steel?! Oh, my goodness! That’s such a waste of your abilities.” The old man didn’t know what else to say. He discovered after inspecting and testing the soul tool that this broad bracelet had about five cubic liters of storage space, and it absolutely met the criteria as a Class 3 soul tool. 
Storage-type soul tools and Milk Bottles were typically considered the most complicated soul tools among others of the same tier. This storage-type soul tool was made from steel, and that meant it wouldn’t be so durable, but its complexity and the difficulty of crafting something like this was the same as it would have been if another material had been used. It wasn’t worth much, but the craftmanship was undeniable. If there had been better metal available, this storage-type soul tool would be considered an exquisite item compared to other Class 3 soul tools.

Two Class 3 soul tools were crafted within such a short period of time. What did that mean? This meant that these two brothers, who had only joined the competition when it was nearing its end, were at least Class 4 soul engineers. It was likely that they were even better; could Class 4 soul engineers craft soul tools with such smoothness and agility? The old man knew the answer to this question very well.

“The two of you have passed the qualifying round, and we will begin the first official round tomorrow. We will directly enter elimination rounds, and every elimination round will cut the total headcount by a third, until a champion is crowned. Here, these are your proofs for passing the qualifying round. The two of you can use them to claim your prizes for this round!”

The old man passed over two badges made from pure gold as he spoke. There were numbers on each badge; Huo Yuhao’s number was seventy-one, while He Caitou’s number was seventy-two.

He Caitou pushed Huo Yuhao’s wheelchair and they departed under the old man’s watchful and respectful gaze.

---

“Eh? How can it be over so quickly? Have they withdrawn from the contest because they know they can’t pass?”  Some people were annoying and irritating, especially if they were born with a snickering and sneering face. The middle-aged man that was throwing shade at Huo Yuhao before this took the opportunity and popped out of nowhere… Huo Yuhao smiled and opened his right hand. “I just want to know where I can redeem my prize.”

The middle-aged man noticed the golden badge in Huo Yuhao’s hand just as he was mocking him sarcastically. He seemed like a duck that was grasped by the neck, and his voice stuck in his throat.

“That… that’s impossible! How long did you guys take? You... you guys cheated!”

Huo Yuhao answered solemnly, “You have to be responsible for your words.”

The old man in yellow came over hurriedly at this moment. “I’m terribly sorry, my two honored guests. This is a misunderstanding. Hurry and apologize to them, Great King.”

“Great King? That’s a great name!” Huo Yuhao spoke with a faint grin on his face. The middle-aged man’s expression didn’t look so good, and it appeared to change color again and again. He grunted coldly and turned around to leave.

“Don’t go! There’s something else I want to discuss with you!” Huo Yuhao suddenly spoke to him.

Great King was momentarily stunned. He turned around and forcefully suppressed the complicated emotions riling up his mind as he asked, “What else needs to be said?”

Huo Yuhao continued, “I imagine I’m going to lose the wager that I’ve just made. Do you remember what I said to you before this?”

Great King’s face instantly changed. He hadn’t thought too much of it when Huo Yuhao had threatened him before with a smile on his face, as he didn’t believe that this fellow in the wheelchair could pass this round of the competition. However, the yellow-clothed old man had confirmed that the two brothers had both passed this round within such a short period of time. He was very clear about what this meant; even though he was arrogant, sneering, and sarcastic by nature, he wasn’t a fool. He was sharply aware that Huo Yuhao wasn’t a person that he could afford to offend, and he himself was only a Soul Elder after all.

“The contest isn’t over. How…  how do you know that you can’t win the wager?” Great King’s voice was a little shaky and fearful.

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “I know I can’t win just by looking at your face. Are you telling me that you haven’t done something to my wager? I remember I saw you walk out before this.”

Great King took a few steps back subconsciously.

Huo Yuhao lowered his head instead as he muttered under his breath, “My best virtue is that I always honor my word.”

Huo Yuhao suddenly looked up as he spoke, and he pushed out his right hand towards Great King.

“Don’t do it, sir!” The old man called out hastily, but he was too late in the end. 
Boom!

A flower that resembled some of the red and white decorations around the Green Hotel bloomed, and Great King’s head instantly split open like an exploding watermelon.

Huo Yuhao was behaving as if he hadn’t done anything at all. He wore a pitiful and regrettable expression on his face as he said, “I hope you can be the king of Great Kings in your next life.”

The sudden incident immediately triggered intense and vigorous gasps of astonishment. This was one of the Duskwater Alliance’s strongholds, and it was unimaginable that anybody would have the courage to murder someone in a place like this. Furthermore, this murder was executed in such a brutal and barbaric fashion.

The other guests descended into hysteria, and numerous men dressed in black quickly surrounded Huo Yuhao. The yellow-clothed invigilator and the manager that led them from the hotel door were also part of this group. It didn’t take long before they surrounded Huo Yuhao and He Caitou, forming a very tight circle around them.

Huo Yuhao grunted coldly and said plainly, “Do all of you wish to die?” Huo Yuhao began to chant incomprehensibly as he spoke. He Caitou took a step horizontally, and a series of metal clanging sounds could be heard as he transformed into a frightening metal fortress. Several hundred soul cannons were coldly pointing all around him, and the aura he released was so terrifying that it immediately caused the thugs that were about to close in on them to retreat in fear.

“Stop!  What’s  happening?”  A  deafening  shout  broke  the silence. A human figure descended from the sky immediately afterwards, three yellow and two purple soul rings sparkling as this person landed in the middle of everyone.

The wings from the soul tool on his back folded up. He drew a cold breath when he witnessed the soul cannon fort that He Caitou had transformed into. He was a Class 5 soul engineer, and he was all too clear as to what he was looking at. He realized that even typical Class 6 soul cannon forts weren’t as formidable as this one in front of him. “Calm down, everyone. I’m Chen An, the Golden Great Hall’s supervisor. Can someone tell me what just happened?”

The old man that had watched Huo Yuhao and He Caitou came forward hurriedly and whispered something into Chen An’s ear.

Chen An’s face turned black as he turned towards Huo Yuhao, and then his expression changed once more. He saw that Huo Yuhao’s eyes were ghastly grey in color, as if there wasn’t an ounce of life and vitality at all, and he felt as if his spirit was being sucked away when their gazes met. His body trembled vigorously as he took a few steps backwards in horror.

However, when he looked at Huo Yuhao again, he realized that his eyes had become clear once more, as if everything that he had seen in the previous instant was but a hallucination. A voice suddenly appeared in his head.

“If you want this place to be riddled with bodies, so be it.
Otherwise, you know what to do.” This voice disappeared as soon as it appeared. In the next moment, a scene surfaced in his head: Chen An saw the exploding heads of the men in black around him, and he seemed to descend into a mountain of corpses and an ocean of blood. The headless corpses slowly got to their feet, and swiftly transformed into zombies as they crazily assaulted everyone around them. It didn’t take long before there wasn’t a single
other living soul besides the terrifying youth in the wheelchair
and the muscular man standing beside him.

The intense fear caused Chen An’s body to quiver uncontrollably, but the image that surfaced in his mind receded in an instant. His eyes widened, but all he could see were his subordinates’ doubtful gazes, and the youth in the wheelchair that was still staring at him with a pair of bright and clear eyes.

“You are…” Chen An blurted.

Huo  Yuhao  answered  plainly,  “Great  King  went  after  my wager with underhanded methods, and his words were provocative and condescending. Did he bring his own death upon himself?” Chen An chomped down on the tip of his tongue and instantly cleared his mind. He had outstanding composure, mental quality, and stability to be able to direct the Golden Great Hall, and his expression changed once again. This time, he was a lot more respectful than before.

“You’re  right,  my  dear  guests.  Great  King  violated  the Duskwater Alliance’s rules, and he attacked you foolishly. He has committed a crime, and he cannot be forgiven. Someone take his body away and feed his corpse to the dogs. Don’t stand around, everyone! Go back and do what you’re supposed to be doing!”

Chen An withdrew the soul rings on his body as he spoke, but he didn’t dare to look Huo Yuhao in the eyes anymore.

The Duskwater Alliance was an underground organization, and these underground organizations were sometimes much more efficient and versatile with their operations compared to other, more legitimate corporations. Chen An was the Golden Great Hall’s supervisor, and he was also a relatively powerful Soul King. He wielded extraordinary authority and influence in this place, and he was also the qualifying round’s chief judge. His subordinates began to move right after he finished his sentence, some people moving to keep things in order, while some other people went ahead to clean up the mess.

It didn’t take long before Great King’s body and the mess around it vanished without a trace.

Chen An lowered his voice and asked Huo Yuhao, “Can we speak somewhere in private?”

“Alright,” Huo Yuhao’s answer was simple and straightforward. “I have two other servants. Can you ask someone to call them over?”

“I’ll  arrange  for  that  immediately.”   Chen  An  whispered something to one of his subordinates, and that person hurriedly turned around and left.

“Follow me, my valued guests.”  Chen An turned around to lead the way as he spoke. Huo Yuhao nodded his head gently, and He Caitou pushed the wheelchair as they followed behind Chen An. Huo Yuhao’s eyes closed into squints, and his Spiritual Detection swiftly expanded around him and covered almost the entire place in an instant. There were several relatively formidable auras within the Golden Great Hall, but they were not enough to threaten his life. This was only the qualifying
round after all, and high-level soul masters and soul engineers couldn’t be found just anywhere. They weren’t inside Shrek Academy, after all.

---

Chen An led them to a small door at the side and exited the Golden Great Hall. They moved through a magnificent walkway, but they didn’t have to travel for long before Chen An opened another door on the side and invited the two of them in.

The room was several hundred square meters in surface area, and the walls were covered in solid wood. The room’s golden style and layout was not at odds with this underground world.

“Please sit,”  Chen An spoke as he stood beside a luxurious sofa. Huo Yuhao answered, “There’s no need for that. You can just say whatever you want to.”

Chen An’s eyes shifted as he lowered his voice and said, “If I may ask, are you guys from…?” He paused without finishing his sentence. 
Huo Yuhao grunted coldly and said, “Is that something you should be asking?”  A peculiar aura suddenly emanated from his body, and a contorted white projection subsequently appeared before him.

Chen An could vaguely tell that the white projection portrayed a human figure, but the room became a lot eerier and more sinister when it appeared. The projection was twisting and contorting vigorously, as if it were struggling against something.

Huo Yuhao said plainly, “This is the end of your life. Looks like you had it easy. Go, be purified.” White light lit up in his eyes as he spoke, and the twisting light projection immediately paused and became a lot clearer than before.

“The  Great  King?!”   Chen  An  exclaimed;  the  projection looked exactly like King Wan! The light projection shone with white light circles as it gradually dissipated, and King Wan’s expression finally became one of peace and acceptance as he swiftly vanished into thin air.

Chen An’s face was ghastly pale at this moment, and his body quivered as well.

Huo Yuhao said, “Do you want to test me again?”

Chen An wiped the cold sweat from his forehead, and he bent down as he replied respectfully, “No, there’s no need.”

Huo Yuhao continued, “You have to keep the two of us being here a secret. You can’t tell anyone at all. Do you understand? The truth is we are here of our own accord, since it’s nice to earn some money while claiming some rare metals for ourselves. Of course, you guys can make some money at the same time… we will only survive if we both reap benefits at the same time, don’t you think?”

“Yes, yes!” Chen An hurriedly followed Huo Yuhao’s lead. Huo Yuhao nodded and said, “Then you should give us what we are owed today. We will return for the next round.”

Chen An asked, “Do you need us to do anything else?”

Huo Yuhao waved his hand and said, “I don’t need you to do anything else. What we eventually achieve in the contest is entirely up to our own abilities. You’ve seen what happened to King Wan. If someone else tries to mess around with me or provoke me, that person’s outcome won’t be as easy as what happened to King Wan. I believe most people haven’t had their spirits tortured before. Whoever has to find out will probably remember the sensation on their shattered spiritual imprint for eternity.”

Chen An shivered involuntarily and said, “Don’t worry, I will restrain my subordinates to the best of my ability, and I will definitely adhere to your requests. We won’t pass this on within the Duskwater Alliance, and everything will go according to your command.”

Huo Yuhao nodded his head satisfactorily. “Looks like you’re a smart one. Intelligent people tend to live longer.” “Thank you for the compliment, sir.”  Chen An’s expression became a little more relaxed, but he was still radiating fear and trepidation.

Huo Yuhao said, “Alright, my people have returned. We’ll make a move first.”

Knocking sounds could be heard before he finished his sentence. The door opened, and one of Chen An’s subordinates led Wang Dong’er and Na Na into the room. Wang Dong’er heaved a sigh of relief when she saw Huo Yuhao in the room.

Huo Yuhao said to Chen An, “We won’t claim our money today, but we will take everything when we return. I can reveal some things to you… my brother and I are both Class 6 soul engineers, and I believe we can be considered some of the very best in this wretched place. Therefore, you can do whatever you like with the wagers to make your profits, but I want my share. I don’t care about the money, but those hundred thousand golden soul coins are my capital, and you will be responsible for changing my money into rare metals. The more the better.”

“Yes, yes!” Chen An acknowledged once more. 
“Alright, let’s go.”

Wang Dong’er came forward hurriedly to take Huo Yuhao’s wheelchair from He Caitou’s hands, and began to push him outside. Huo Yuhao raised his hand for her to stop when they were almost at the door, and he said without turning around, “Chen An! If everything goes according to plan, and if you do everything properly, I will reward you after this contest is finished. If you’re willing, it’s even possible if you wish to become a part of us. Of course, there’s a price to pay, but the returns that you shall receive will be worth a lot more.”

Chen An was a little taken aback, but he became elated in the next moment as he took a few brisk steps forward and knelt down with one knee beside Huo Yuhao. “Thank you for the link-up, sir!”

“I will find you again before the contest. You will collate the inventory of metals that will be used for rewards in every round, and you will also give me a list of the bets that have been placed.”

“Yes.” 
Huo Yuhao waved his hand once more, and Wang Dong’er pushed him out at once. Chen An escorted him out personally, and he directed them all the way to a set of escalators that brought them back to one of the Green Hotel’s simpler levels.

“Alright, that’s enough. You don’t have to send me any further. Remember what I’ve told you. If my father finds out about me… you know the rest. If that happens, then you will become part of my strength.”

“Your wish is my command. I will definitely follow your orders!” Chen An acknowledged hurriedly.

“Let’s  go.”  Huo  Yuhao  waved  his  hand,  and  the  company exited the Green Hotel.

---

Once they were past the main door, He Caitou couldn’t help but ask, “What were the two of you talking about so mysteriously back there?” “We’ll talk about it when we get back, brother.” Huo Yuhao hurriedly interrupted He Caitou’s words, and a voice appeared in He Caitou’s head.

He Caitou felt his heart skip a beat, and he quickly shut his mouth and said nothing more. The four of them gradually disappeared into the night.

Huo Yuhao relied on his Imitation and brought everyone back into the Brilliant Delight Hotel. His expression became a lot more relaxed, and Wang Dong’er helped everyone remove their makeup once they returned to his room.

He Caitou said, “You can speak now, little junior brother. You actually gave me a scare when you lashed out just now.”

Huo Yuhao said ponderously, “We didn’t waste our efforts today, and I’ve figured some things out. It’s no wonder that the academy could never find traces of the Holy Ghost Church after they appeared. It seems like they’ve been hiding themselves like that.” He Caitou was momentarily stunned. “Are you saying it’s likely that the Duskriver Alliance has something to do with the Holy Ghost Church?”

Huo Yuhao answered, “It’s not just likely, they definitely have something to do with the Holy Ghost Church! Actually, their name had already aroused my suspicions. According to Elder Xuan’s description, one of the Holy Ghost Church’s most powerful individuals has a similar name. That’s the reason why I had my suspicions, and the probing that I did before was also because of that. I imitated an evil soul master’s abilities, and that frightened Chen An. You saw how reverent he was to me after that, and it’s obvious that he believes we’re from the Holy Ghost Church. That respect is also for the Holy Ghost Church, and this proves the Duskwater Alliance’s connection with the Holy Ghost Church. It’s no wonder that the Holy Ghost Church hid themselves so well, what with Radiant City’s number-one underground organization covering them. With the Duskwater Alliance’s power and influence, they are definitely one of the Holy Ghost Church’s most important branches, if they aren’t part of the Church’s core existence.”

Wang Dong’er frowned and said, “Doesn’t that mean it’s too dangerous for us to continue on in the competition?” Huo Yuhao shook his head with a smile on his face. “No, it doesn’t. This contest is aimed at raking in profits, and it doesn’t mean much to the Holy Ghost Church’s core existence. The church is focused on the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament. Haven’t you guys seen the people that
they’ve sent to participate in the tournament? Their energies aren’t channeled toward the Duskwater Alliance, so it’s natural that they aren’t paying much attention to their events. We are quite safe. Furthermore, the Duskriver Alliance is ultimately one of the church’s branches, and they are just a front for
earning money and covering their identities, so the Holy Ghost Church won’t send high-level individuals to watch over the alliance. The Green Hotel is quite important to the Duskriver Alliance, but the hotel’s supervisor is just a Soul King, and he’s not even an evil soul master.”

Wang Dong’er became a little more relieved as she listened to Huo Yuhao’s seamless analysis. She nodded and said, “So, we’re still participating in the subsequent rounds?”

Huo Yuhao tilted his head and said, “Of course. We have to get our rare metals from this contest, and we don’t even have to become champions. Isn’t it fun and interesting to stir things up within Radiant City’s underground organizations? Don’t worry, Dong’er, I will make sure that I return safely; not just for myself, but also for you guys.” 
He Caitou stood up and patted Huo Yuhao on the shoulder. “It’s getting late, little junior brother. Your body isn’t in good shape, so you should hurry up and get some rest.”

Na Na also stood up to take her leave.

Wang Dong’er helped Huo Yuhao onto the bed after everyone left, and she brought some warm water to wash his hands and face. Huo Yuhao’s body was overflowing with ice-type origin energy of heaven and earth, so the parts of his body that were immobile didn’t get dirty at all, so there was no need for her to wash those areas.

“You’re too exhausted, Yuhao.”  Wang Dong’er slipped into his embrace, and felt the chilly aura emanating from his body as she whispered to him.

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “The main reason why you don’t want to me to continue on in the competition is because you’re concerned about me, right? Actually, how can you not tell how safe we are with your intelligence and our abilities?” “Yes,” Wang Dong’er agreed softly.

Huo Yuhao said, “I promise you, Dong’er, that I will have a good rest when we go back. I will make sure my body recovers completely before I set off to do anything else. However, our journey to Radiant City is very important to the academy, to the Tang Sect, and even to how the Continent’s political backdrop is going to turn out over the next few years. I need to be at my best to deal with everything, and it’s worth it even if I get a little tired in the process.”

Wang Dong’er was slightly taken aback. “I understand if you say that you’re doing this for the academy and for the Tang Sect. But aren’t you exaggerating a little about the Continent’s political situation?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “I keep feeling as if something’s not right. The Sun Moon Empire has expanded the people allowed to participate in the competition, and I’ve been feeling a little more stifled than the last competition, as if something is about to happen. Ever since my spiritual power ascended into the concrete-immaterial realm, I’ve developed a sort of clairvoyance. If I’m not wrong, the Sun Moon Empire will definitely carry out some operation during or after the competition. The only problem is that I can’t tell anything yet at the moment, but I’m sure they will drop clues as the tournament progresses. I’m not sure what we can do for now, but anything that’s not good for the Sun Moon Empire is beneficial for us.”

Wang Dong’er nodded and replied, “But… your body...”

Huo Yuhao smiled and said, “You don’t have to worry about my body. I have a secret weapon.”

Wang Dong’er was momentarily stunned. “Secret weapon?
What is it? Why don’t I know about it?”

Huo Yuhao grinned mysteriously and said, “That’s a secret.
I’ll tell you if you kiss me ten thousand times.”

“……"

Chapter 289: Tactical Surrender?

The second elimination round of the Continental Advanced Youth Soul Master Tournament had ended. Forty-two teams advanced to the third round. Among those forty-two teams, only thirty-two of them could enter the round-robin stage. That would be dependent on their performance in the third elimination round.

Victory would ensure progression into the round-robin stage. Even if they failed, they still had an opportunity to fight for points in an additional qualifier round. After the last two elimination rounds, some of the weaker teams were showing signs of fatigue even though they had made it through. Their team members were hurt, and there were fewer of them who could compete, along with other reasons that weakened their chances of progressing in future rounds. These constituted huge problems for them!

Such problems didn’t exist for the Tang Sect. However, the atmosphere within the sect became tenser after the lot- drawing for the third elimination round was completed. Xu Sanshi lowered his head to look at his right hand, and a weird expression appeared on his face.

Huo Yuhao patted his shoulder and said, “Third senior, it’s fine. You can’t be blamed.”

Jiang Nannan looked gloomy. “You still dared to volunteer to draw the lot even though your luck is bad. Hmph!”

Everyone’s expression was also very weird and serious at the same time.

Huo Yuhao chortled, “It’s just Team Sun Moon. Years ago, we also defeated them even though we were just members of the preparatory squad. Don’t tell me that we are scared today even though we’ve improved significantly since five years ago?”

Yes, Xu Sanshi’s luck was pretty bad, as he had managed to draw the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy’s team in the third elimination round. This was only the elimination round, it wasn’t the finals yet! There would still be many rounds and stages after this round. It was going to be tough no matter the outcome, which would affect their energy in the future rounds even if they won.

Fortunately, defeat didn’t mean direct elimination.

He Caitou nodded and said, “Yuhao is right. In fact, we can advance through the additional qualifiers. Even if we don’t risk everything against them, we can still enter the round-robin stage. At most, our ranking will become worse, but that’s all.”

Xiao Xiao was displeased. “Do we really have to give up against them? No, we mustn’t!”

Huo Yuhao turned his gaze towards his teammates, and all he saw were their determined faces.

Jiang Nannan said in a firm voice, “Yes, we must not give up! Even though it’s unwise, we shouldn’t bow down in front of the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. Although we’re representing the Tang Sect, we are also from Shrek Academy! Shrek Academy never loses to the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy! It is especially true since we’re representing the Tang Sect in this edition of the tournament, and Shrek might not be able to last all the way until the finals. Yuhao, I wish to fight to protect Shrek’s glory!”

“I’m willing too,” Xu Sanshi said dryly as he stopped looking at his hand.

“Get lost, you unlucky chap!” Jiang Nannan rolled her eyes at him.

Xiao Xiao said determinedly, “I also hope to fight for Shrek and the Tang Sect’s glory.”

He Caitou immediately added, “I’ll give my best as long as everyone is willing.”

Out of the seven of them, four had already expressed their stand. Na Na’s status in Tang Sect couldn’t compare to Shrek’s Seven Monsters. Everyone’s gaze was focused on Wang Dong and Huo Yuhao.

Huo Yuhao opened his mouth and wanted to say something. However, he was stopped by a gentle hand on his shoulder. Wang Dong’er took a step forward. She stood in front of Huo Yuhao’s wheelchair.

“Second senior, third senior, fourth senior, fifth senior. I agree with all of your thinking. However, have you thought of one point? If we go all-out against them, we must treat victory as our goal. In that way, how much fighting strength can we conserve even if we beat the Sun Moon team? We don’t have any substitutes. Eldest senior’s injury hasn’t recovered either. All of you know about Yuhao’s current condition too. Shrek and the Tang Sect’s glory isn’t completely dependent on this tournament. I would also like to give my all, but what if we sustain more injuries? We might even die if things go awry. We are without Shrek’s halo as protection this time, and we are also arch-enemies with the Sun Moon team. I understand all of your intentions, but I don’t agree that we should go all-out against them at such a time. If we give up on this round, we can still qualify. We’ll also have more time to rest. We’ll be able to fight in the round-robin stage in our best state.”

After she established her relationship with Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong’er rarely opened her mouth in a discussion. Huo Yuhao’s words were usually more defining. Her sudden speech left everyone a little stunned. There were four Soul Emperors and three Soul Kings among Shrek’s Seven Monsters. While Wang Dong’er was the youngest, she was a Soul Emperor that had twin martial souls. No one could neglect her presence!

Jiang Nannan furrowed her brow and asked, “Dong’er, are we going to give up our glory just like that?”

Wang Dong’er said, “Sister Nannan, true glory lies in being the champions. This is only an elimination round. Even if we give up, no one will underestimate us. This is purely tactical! It’s true that I’m partly selfish, too. I don’t want Yuhao to go all-out against the Sun Moon team right now, while only his right arm can move. I’ve already struggled to accept his decision to compete in this tournament. He’s only in this state because of me! I don’t want him to get into any sort of harm again. If all of you choose to fight the Sun Moon team, I’ll have no objections. However, my only request is that I be the first to compete!”

Wang Dong’er revealed a cold and ferocious look in her eyes after she finished her last sentence. All this while, she had been labelled as Shrek Academy’s genius along with Huo Yuhao! However, Huo Yuhao had been shining too brightly, and made many important contributions to the academy. Along with her tendency to stay away from the limelight, her talents had been concealed.

Among the four who had suggested that they fight the Sun Moon team, He Caitou was originally not very willing. His thinking was very similar to Wang Dong’er. Furthermore, he also knew that both he and Huo Yuhao had to compete in the underground tournament too! Xiao Xiao, Huo Yuhao, and Wang Dong’er came from the same class. The three of them had passed the academy’s test many years ago and they shared a close relationship with one another. Right now, Xiao Xiao’s gaze became gentler as she saw how Wang Dong’er stood out for Huo Yuhao.

As for Xu Sanshi, he only followed Jiang Nannan’s wish. Jiang Nannan was the key figure out of the four of them, and so Wang Dong’er directed all her words to Nannan.

Jiang Nannan bit her lip lightly, and looked at Wang Dong’er with a stubborn look in her eyes. She eventually sighed and said, “Alright. However, we must never give up if we meet Team Sun Moon again, no matter the circumstance. We must give it our all.” Wang Dong’er heaved a sigh of relief, and took two steps forward to hug Jiang Nannan. “Sister Nannan, thanks.”  Her nose was getting a little runny, and tears almost flowed.

Jiang Nannan hugged her back and said as she smiled, “I didn’t consider the facts thoroughly. There’s no need to thank me. Dong’er, it’d be great if you were a guy.”

Xu Sanshi started coughing tremendously to one side. He was watching Wang Dong’er with a more alert look in his eyes.

“Yuhao, you let your wife court my wife. Is that very interesting for you?”

“Who’s  your  wife?  It’s  all  because  of  your  unlucky  hand. From now on, you won’t be allowed to draw lots anymore!” Jiang Nannan glared at him, and he turned honest-looking and selfless once again.

Huo Yuhao didn’t speak from the start until the end. However, his gaze was filled with softness as he watched Wang Dong’er. Rationally speaking, it wasn’t the best time to fight the Sun Moon team. However, he wasn’t going to object if everyone wanted to go all-out against them.

“I still need to ask eldest senior regarding this matter before we decide,” Huo Yuhao said.

Bei Bei agreed with Wang Dong’er. After that, Huo Yuhao told the tournament organizing committee that they had decided to give up the fight during this elimination round.

------

“What?  The  Tang  Sect  has  given  up  against  us?”   Xiao Hongchen and Meng Hongchen were astonished when they heard the news.

Xiao  Hongchen  muttered,  “Does  this  mean  we’ve  beaten Shrek? They are Shrek Academy’s stronger team! Besides the team leader, the rest of Shrek’s team isn’t that strong this time around!” Meng Hongchen pursed her lips and said, “Brother, don’t lie to yourself. How are you shameless enough to claim that we’ve beaten them without fighting them at all? Aren’t you embarrassed? However, isn’t it a good thing that they’ve given up? If we fight them, we won’t have it easy either. The future rounds will also be closer and closer together, which will affect
our chances.”

Xiao Hongchen laughed bitterly. “Just let me feel good in my heart, alright? Champions? Are you still thinking of becoming the champions right now? Don’t you know that…” As he spoke to that point, he paused for a moment, and his eyes were filled with resentment.

Meng Hongchen laughed coldly and said, “Why not? Will they necessarily win? I don’t believe we can’t beat them if we go all-out. Brother, with your lack of confidence, I’m afraid that you’ve already…”

Xiao Hongchen covered her mouth and stopped her from speaking. “Secret. This is a secret!”

Meng Hongchen groaned at him and said, “Alright, I won’t say anything. The Tang Sect didn’t give up because they were scared. Didn’t you realize that they have no substitutes? They are more afraid than us that their abilities will be depleted. That’s why they chose to give up! We’ll win if we face them. Since they conceded defeat once, there’s no way they can beat us again.”

Xiao Hongchen caressed his sister’s head and said, “I’m only praying that you won’t meet Wang Dong. Are you confident that you won’t be merciful on him when you meet him?” 
Meng Hongchen’s face turned red, and she retorted in embarrassment, “So what? One fight doesn’t say anything. I like him, so what? Compared to him, all other guys are trash!”

Xiao Hongchen was speechless as he touched his nose. He replied, “Your criticism is too broad. I’ll tell grandpa.”

Meng Hongchen snorted at him and said, “I’ll just add these four words, ‘of the same age’. Anyway, you are nothing compared to him in my eyes!”

Xiao Hongchen was angry. “It’s hard to keep a woman at home! I’m your biological brother after all. How can you say something like that about me?”

------

The third elimination round of the tournament was too tragic, and was beyond the expectations of most people. The fights were very intense, as every team wanted to book their place in the round-robin stage. In this round, five people were killed, and more than twenty people were seriously injured. On average, every clash between competing teams involved some form of casualty. With regard to the situation, many teams also pointed out their doubts about the referees to the tournament’s organizing committee.

The Sun Moon Empire was also vexed over this issue. They could only promise everyone that their referees would try to control the rhythm of the fights in the future rounds so as to reduce the number of casualties.

Although the Tang Sect conceded defeat in this round, they were able to qualify for the round-robin stage because of Huo Yuhao’s dominant performance in the first elimination round and the stable foundation they had set in the second round. The only downside was that their ranking was quite low.

------

After the third elimination round ended, there was a one-day break before the lot-drawing ceremony for the round-robin stage was held. The Radiant City Elite Soul Engineering Tournament organized by the underground world also officially commenced on the same day.

When Huo Yuhao and the other three arrived at the Green Hotel, Chen An was already at the door to welcome them. Now that they had the exact time, they didn’t arrive late.

“You are here!” Chen An looked at Huo Yuhao and hurriedly stepped forward before bowing respectfully.

“Yes,” Huo Yuhao snorted, “Have you done what I asked you to do?”

Chen An hurriedly said, “Don’t worry. It’s all prepared. I didn’t reveal that you’re here to compete to anyone, either! Follow me to the VIP room to rest first. I’ll pass the materials that I’ve sorted out to you.”

“Please lead the way.” Huo Yuhao maintained his cool look.

Chen An brought them to a room in the basement before instructing his subordinates to serve them fruits and drinks. He retrieved a document before passing it to Huo Yuhao.

Huo Yuhao received the document and glanced at it before saying, “Explain it to me.”

“Yes!” Chen An replied. “This tournament was organized to facilitate the participation of ordinary people by exploiting the massive crowds currently in Radiant City. As a result, we’ve already opened the betting tables, starting from the qualifiers. This round of betting is very simple. As there are too many soul engineers – one hundred and nineteen! – betting on single individuals can be very troublesome. It’s better to bet on the number of people remaining, or whether there’ll be an odd or even number of people remaining. There are also multiple bets. The smaller the number of multiples, the lower the payout. The greater the number of multiples, the higher the payout. For example, your payout will be one point three times your wager if the number of soul engineers who qualify for the next round is a multiple of two. If you bet directly on the number of soul engineers who qualify, your wager will be multiplied by this number to generate your returns.”

As he spoke, he passed a black-gold card to Huo Yuhao and said, “This is the money from your previous bet. We’ve already generated your payout. Don’t worry, I’ll be the only one who knows everything related to you, and I won’t report to any superiors. However, I need to warn you that I’ll only be the chief referee for the first two rounds. From the third round onwards, there’ll be a more authoritative figure here to referee.”

Huo Yuhao nodded and replied, “Please tell me about the rewards.”

“Yes!  If  you  pass  the  qualifiers,  your  reward  will  be  five thousand gold soul coins. I’ve already added it into your card. The winner of today’s round can choose one of the twenty- eight rare metals that we have on offer as rewards. You can take one kilo of it. If you win in the next round, you can take three kilos. Every round will see an increase. When there are fewer than ten people left, we’ll introduce five very rare metals. We haven’t decided what the detailed quantities will be though.”

“The main show will be our final fight against the other two powers. At that time, all three parties will send their victorious soul engineer to compete in the finals. The eventual champion will obtain one percent of our revenue made in this tournament. At the same time, the champion can leave with one hundred kilos of rare metals. He can choose whatever amount of each rare metal to leave with, as long as the final number comes up to one hundred kilos maximum. In addition, he’ll also be rewarded with one kilo each of five special and rare metals. Altogether, it will be worth more than ten million gold soul coins. It’s because of these rewards that many outstanding soul engineers have been drawn to this tournament. Since you and your brother are both Class 6 soul engineers, it’s highly likely that you can win this tournament! I rate the both of you highly.”

Huo Yuhao sighed slightly and said, “It’s a pity that we can’t bet on a single individual today. What are we competing in today?”

Chen An looked gloomy. He thought to himself. While you’re a huge figure, isn’t it a little ludicrous that you don’t know what the tournament is about even though you’re here to pit your skills against the others?”

While he thought of this, he didn’t dare to voice it out loud. He hurriedly said, “In this round, soul engineers are required to create a soul tool based on the given topic. The higher the quality, the better it is. As this is the first round, we are providing all the resources ,and all the soul engineers can leave with their created soul tools, but the requirements are a little stricter. There’s a slightly more difficult obstacle to overcome.”

Huo Yuhao was a little impatient. “Let’s cut the crap. I want to know what this topic is about.”

He was trying to go through the back door. However, Chen An found it normal for him to act in this manner. He hurriedly said, “This round is about the creation of a Milk Bottle. It has to be completed within six hours. The Milk Bottle must at least be Class 3 and above. Anyone who can’t complete this task will be eliminated.”

It was a Class 3 soul tool, but creating a Milk Bottle was very complex. It was comparable to an ordinary Class 4 soul tool. It was a much tougher test than the qualifiers.

Huo Yuhao nodded and said, “Interesting. You can leave first.
Inform us when the tournament begins.”

“Yes.” Chen An acknowledged his words and left the room. He Caitou was afraid that there were soul tools being used to eavesdrop on them, and only shot Huo Yuhao an inquisitive look. Huo Yuhao’s thoughts suddenly surfaced in his mind. “I want Chen An to be more convinced that we are from the Holy Ghost Sect. Elder brother, let’s do it this way later…”

------

Chen An was the chief referee, and still had to arrange many things for the tournament. He was naturally very busy. His assistant was the one who came to notify Huo Yuhao and He Caitou that the tournament was about to begin.

Wang Dong’er and Na Na remained in the resting area. He Caitou pushed Huo Yuhao into the hall.

They were no longer underestimated by the others now. At the end of the qualifiers, many people were astonished by the killing. Fortunately, it was only the qualifiers, and there weren’t any important figures who came to watch. Otherwise, Chen An couldn’t conceal the truth even if he wanted to. Everyone turned their attention away from Huo Yuhao when they saw him, and didn’t dare to look at him. Although they didn’t know how he did it, the way he had casually made a man’s head explode was still too cruel.

It wasn’t just those VIP gamblers who showed more respect towards Huo Yuhao and He Caitou. Even the working staff in the hall became more respectful when they saw the both of them. The Great King’s death had happened only a few days ago. Although they didn’t know who Huo Yuhao and He Caitou were, Chen An had issued a gag order. No one wanted to be the second Great King!

Under Chen An’s guidance, Huo Yuhao and He Caitou were led directly to the middle of a circular stage, a slightly more eye-catching spot. Two metal tables were moved together, and their silvery-white surfaces didn’t reflect any light even under the illumination of the bright lamps.

Apart from the various standard equipment used to create soul tools, there were more than ten different types of metal on the stage. Three of them were rare metals that were suitable for making the formation arrays of a Milk Bottle. The other seven weren’t that rare, but they were still high-level metals that commanded pretty high prices, and were also present in sufficient quantities. There were more than three kilos of these seven metals, while there was more than one kilo of each of the three rare metals. It was a clear demonstration of the Duskwater Alliance’s wealth.

He Caitou pushed Huo Yuhao behind one of the metal tables before he went to the other one.

At this point, all the other competing soul engineers had already arrived. Chen An had deliberately arranged for the two of them to arrive last. Chen An’s intentions was very kind, he didn’t want them to wait around for others. However, the two of them also became the focus of all the gamblers.

“Silence!  The  tournament  will  officially  begin  in  five minutes! I am the chief referee of this tournament. Let me reiterate the rules once again! To all visitors, no one is allowed to make a sound when the soul engineers are busy creating their soul tools. Anyone who flouts this rule will be kicked out!

“Please don’t be worried. After this round, all the remaining soul engineers will be allowed to compete on the stage in successive rounds. We can use soul soundproofing barriers to block out any sound then, and all of you will be able to speak freely when that time comes. But I’ll need all of you to exercise patience in this round!

“All soul engineers, please take note! I am going to announce the goal of this round. In this round, all of you will be required to create a soul tool based on a certain topic: you need to create a Milk Bottle that is Class 3 or above! If you can create a Class 4 Milk Bottle, you’ll be exempted from the next round and advance directly to the third round. You will be given six hours for this round! Whoever can’t complete this task will be eliminated! Please get ready!” 
Five minutes passed very quickly, and the tournament began with another shout from Chen An. The entire hall went silent, and all the soul engineers started to get busy.

He Caitou looked at Huo Yuhao. “Yuhao, we can skip the next round if we make a Class 4 Milk Bottle. Should we try?”

Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, “Follow the plan. We can’t catch too much attention. Chen An is an idiot, he made us the center of attention. We can only earn money if we remain low-profile. If we are in the spotlight, it’s going to be hard to bet!”

Huo Yuhao didn’t unleash his Darkgolden Terrorclaws this time. He only simply used his right hand to pick up a piece of suitable metal and used the equipment on the table to build the shell of a Milk Bottle. He wasn’t quick, but he was accurate. If someone watching wasn’t experienced or skilled enough, he wouldn’t be able to tell what Huo Yuhao was doing. He Caitou proceeded with his work just like Huo Yuhao did. The two of them maintained a steady progression as they created their Milk Bottles.

For other soul tools, the outer shell was used for protection and decoration. However, it was different for Milk Bottles. Every part of a Milk Bottle was designed to prevent the leakage of soul power, so requirements for making the outer shell were very strict. It had to be fully sealed, and most parts of a Milk Bottle had to come from one entity. They couldn’t be separate parts that were joined together to form an outer shell.

The standard crafting table that the Duskwater Alliance provided was of decent quality. There was stamping equipment that could shape soul tools, which helped to expedite the process of creating a Milk Bottle.

Very soon, an outer shell crafted from the Sun Moon Empire’s specialty metal, Spiritmagic Bronze, appeared in front of Huo Yuhao.

Huo Yuhao looked at the rest of the busy soul engineers and calmly chose a piece of Skyspirit Silver, which was the most valuable and costly among the three types of rare metals. He placed it in front of him and use a cutting-type soul tool to cut four square-shaped pieces of the metal. Every piece was around two hundred grams in weight, and he placed each of the pieces in front of him.

It was complex to create a Milk Bottle because the requirements for its internal construction were as fine as the requirements for constructing its outer shell. The primary reason was that two formation arrays were needed. The first one was an energy-gathering formation array, and the other one was a storage-type formation array.

Huo Yuhao cut four pieces of the Skyspirit Silver for a reason.

He didn’t use his Darkgolden Terrorclaws, but retrieved a standard carving knife to hold one piece of the metal in a slot on the carving table. He could only use one hand, and thus it was a little inconvenient for him if he wanted to conceal his true abilities.

No one saw it, but Huo Yuhao’s eyes brightened as he lowered his head. The entire structure of the piece of Skyspirit Silver was presented in his spiritual mind. His Purple Demon Eyes had reached their most advanced stage, and he could use his spiritual power to display the finest details in his spiritual world.

Huo Yuhao was slightly inferior to He Caitou in terms of creating soul tools. Mainly it was because He Caitou’s cultivation was higher. It was also because He Caitou was more focused on specializing in soul tools compared to Huo Yuhao.

However, that was only true under one condition; if Huo Yuhao didn’t use his Spirit Eyes! When Fan Yu decided to accept Huo Yuhao as his disciple, he already knew that Yuhao’s Spirit Eyes were an unbelievable martial soul for a soul engineer. It was equally great in terms of creating soul tools or using them!

After two years of training in the Illustrious Virtue Hall, Huo Yuhao was able to fuse his Spirit Eyes and soul tool creation together.

The texture of the Skyspirit Silver was very fine. More importantly, its texture was very uniform even while it was very tough. It wasn’t like other metals, which differed slightly in different areas. It was also why Skyspirit Silver was the first choice in creating the formation arrays of lower-level soul tools.

Huo Yuhao couldn’t even bear to use it to create the formation arrays of the Zhuge Divine Crossbow Cannon! Huo Yuhao secretly sighed in his heart, and the carving knife in his hand moved.

While he could only use his right hand, it was very stable. His thumb and index finger were slightly to the front of the carving knife. He used the first joint of his middle finger to press down on the knife, holding it steadily between his three fingers. The bottom of the knife was shaped like a sharp cone. Most carving knives adopted such a structure, which was considered the standard by soul engineers.

The blade of the knife moved gently, and he poured his soul power into it. A dim layer of white light appeared on the surface of the blade. One corner of the piece of Skyspirit Silver was cut off. The knife moved in a gentle arc, and an arc-shaped mark was left behind on the piece of Skyspirit Silver.

Huo Yuhao’s three fingers moved slightly and the knife was like a spiritual serpent that surrounded the piece of Skyspirit Silver. It moved up and down, carving off small bits of metal that fell onto the table. They were proportionally spread around the area in which Huo Yuhao was carrying out his work.

Quick, accurate and steady. Huo Yuhao didn’t seem any different from the rest of the soul engineers, but he captured the essence of a true soul engineer. If there was an advanced- level soul engineer watching him, he would be extremely impressed.

He Caitou adopted a different method from Huo Yuhao. The knife in Huo Yuhao’s hand moved very smoothly, and hardly ever stopped in the process of cutting the Skyspirit Silver. On the other hand, He Caitou stopped every time he made a cut. It was as if he needed time to think and judge.

On a closer look, every pause he made was equally long. Each pause only lasted for an instant. The continuous rhythm made his movements seem even more artistic than Huo Yuhao’s.

This was a rhythm that only an advanced-level soul engineer could achieve. Every advanced-level soul engineer would come to possess his own rhythm in the process of creating his soul tools. The short pause mustn’t be underestimated. He Caitou wasn’t as accurate as Huo Yuhao. He had to rely on his own experience and eyes to make his own judgment and achieve overall control during the process of creating his soul tool. The short pause provided him time to think. Once he attuned to his own rhythm, his spiritual power, soul power, and focus could follow it unerringly.

A Class 3 Milk Bottle was considered quite complex among Class 3 soul tools. Even as He Caitou tried to suppress his own rhythm, he only used one hour to form the two formation arrays. The rhythm couldn’t be broken. He couldn’t help it even if he was too quick. He could only try to delay his progress in assembling the components of his Milk Bottle. As for Huo Yuhao, he was still carving. However, he was already on his third piece of Skyspirit Silver.

He was very serious at this time. He controlled the details very well, which was a stark contrast to his carefree attitude during the qualifiers.

He was here today to show his might, hoping to draw out those that he wanted to and test them. As a soul engineer, Fan Yu had once told him that he had to respect his work. It was only by respecting his own work that his soul tool could have its own spirituality.

He Caitou managed to delay completing his tool for two hours. It was only after more than ten soul engineers had submitted their work that he slowly completed the creation of his Milk Bottle. Huo Yuhao also started to assemble the final components of his Milk Bottle at this point.

Since he was using one hand, he couldn’t be as swift and flexible as when he was using two hands. However, he wasn’t rushed or slow. He made great use of the carving table to aid himself. Finally, he managed to complete the creation of an exquisite green Milk Bottle.

Huo Yuhao let out a long breath as he lifted his head. He revealed a pleased look on his face. Among all the Class 3 soul tools that he had ever created, he was the most satisfied with this one. He had even completed it with an ordinary carving knife. He had carved it very meticulously, and even used some of the slight changes in the stable Skyspirit Silver to achieve his goal. Even though it was only a Class 3 soul tool, Huo Yuhao felt that it was something novel. He Caitou smiled as he asked Huo Yuhao, “Are you done?”

“Yes.”  Huo Yuhao passed his Milk Bottle over to He Caitou. There were referees behind everyone. When the referee behind Huo Yuhao saw what he did, he shot him a look of disapproval. However, he acted like nothing had happened because of Chen An.

He Caitou placed the Milk Bottle that Huo Yuhao had created beside his own Milk Bottle. Both of them had used the same materials, but Huo Yuhao’s Milk Bottle was slightly longer than his. After he touched Huo Yuhao’s Milk Bottle, he revealed a stunned look on his face.

He Caitou was considered an advanced-level soul engineer. In Shrek Academy, he was one of the best. It was important to note that Fan Yu wasn’t a Class 9 soul engineer yet. This meant that Class 8 soul engineers were the strongest in Shrek Academy right now.

Of course, Xuan Ziwen wasn’t included. Xuan Ziwen was also a Class 8 soul engineer, but he was different from Fan Yu. He had been the chief researcher of Illustrious Virtue Hall! In terms of his theoretical knowledge and abilities in various areas, he was already at the Class 9 level, it was just that his cultivation wasn’t at that standard yet.

The higher the class of a soul engineer, the more demanding the requirements on their soul power when creating soul tools. At Huo Yuhao’s level, he could create Class 6 soul tools due to the fact that his overall soul power was greater than average due to his twin martial souls. As a result, he was considered a Class 6 soul engineer. Even so, he wouldn’t be able to create Class 9 soul tools when he became a Class 8 soul engineer. Without the abilities of a Titled Douluo, there was no way he could create Class 9 soul tools. Acting recklessly would only endanger his own life. Xuan Ziwen had warned Huo Yuhao more than once that he couldn’t overestimate his talents. Many soul engineers had perished at the hands of their own experiments. Huo Yuhao had also become very wary because of that.

Chapter 290: Team Sun Moon

He Caitou’s first feeling when he grabbed Huo Yuhao’s soul tool was balance. It was an indescribable sense of harmony. It was as if this wasn’t a soul tool at all, but a piece of metal. Its texture felt very similar to that of solid metal.

Every part of the Milk Bottle gave him the same feeling. The weight and everything else felt like that. This feeling was too miraculous. He Caitou’s Milk Bottle was much less balanced compared to Huo Yuhao’s Milk Bottle, even it was roughly similar to Huo Yuhao’s Milk Bottle in terms of appearance.

“Little… second brother, your Class 3 Milk Bottle isn’t a Class
4 soul tool. It’s better than a Class 4 soul tool!”  He Caitou couldn’t help but rave over Huo Yuhao’s Milk Bottle.

Huo Yuhao chortled and replied, “I felt very good just now. It seems like the tense atmosphere of this tournament helps me to focus better.”  There were outsiders around, and thus he naturally couldn’t say that it was his first time testing out the spiritual power obtained from his concrete-immaterial realm by fusing it into the entire production process. He Caitou gestured and called for the referees behind them.
He passed his and Huo Yuhao’s Milk Bottles to the referees.

The two referees held their Milk Bottles separately and said, “I’ll need the two of you to wait. We’ll need the chief referee to test your Milk Bottles out. When he’s done, we’ll verify the results.”

Huo Yuhao signaled for them to leave. He and He Caitou looked at each other and revealed light smiles of confidence.

For some reason, Huo Yuhao felt that He Caitou’s eyes were very bright today. It might be because such a soul engineering tournament was what he was trul