Huo Yuhao released a low roar, and a concentrated fire-red radiance emanated from his body immediately afterwards. A powerful aura then expanded outwards, and the low-level soul beasts that were secretly observing them instantly scattered in all directions, frightened and terrified.
Huo Yuhao had copied the aura of a thousand year Flame Lion using the power of Imitation. Seeing as most of the soul beasts in the outskirts of the forest were ten year soul beasts, the fearsome aura of a thousand year soul beast left them terrified. This saved the group a lot of time as they ventured deeper into the outer regions of the forest.
Huo Yuhao's Spiritual Detection Sharing and Imitation were two soul skills that could be considered miraculous tools for expeditions. The three were able to move onwards for about an hour unimpeded with the combined effects of these soul skills.
Huo Yuhao activated his Imitation from time to time, releasing a thousand year Flame Lion's aura. There was a deeper meaning to his actions: The soul rings they were looking for needed to be at least a thousand years old. Of course, only those with at least three thousand years of cultivation were considered suitable. The Flame Lion was considered a powerful thousand year soul beast with incredible offensive capabilities, thus the soul beasts that were afraid of it weren't suitable targets. Soul beasts that weren't afraid, on the other hand, were likely to be close in cultivation to what they needed.
Wang Dong said, "Take a break, Huo Yuhao."
Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao had been fairly relaxed throughout the entire journey, seeing as all they'd had to do was follow Huo Yuhao. Contrarily, Huo Yuhao had had to activate two of his soul skills repeatedly, which had consumed a considerable amount of his energy.
Huo Yuhao knew that he had to maintain his peak condition at all times, thus he immediately nodded.
They found a vantage point on a hill and stopped to rest.
"We'll rest here." Huo Yuhao said, and signaled for Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao to take a break.
Wang Dong came to his side and pressed on Huo Yuhao's shoulder with his left hand. Their Haodong power instantly fused, and radiant light energy flowed from Wang Dong's body. The dense vegetation around them almost seemed to exude an aura of euphoria when it felt the aura coming from them.
Circle after circle of golden light poured forth from Wang Dong's body, pulsed from his shoulder, then traveled down his arm and into Huo Yuhao.
Huo Yuhao glanced at him in shock when he felt his exhaustion being immediately dispelled as the thick light aura enveloped his body, and his soul power being filled with a vigorous liveliness. With the support of their Haodong power, the ten percent of his soul power that he had consumed earlier recuperated in about ten breaths of time.
Wang Dong sounded a little proud. "This is the true essence of my Golden Light spirit bone. I've decided to call this true essence 'Omnipresence'; it's extremely useful for offence, defense, soul power recovery, or even treating others. My Golden Light Left Arm Bone can rival even a hundred thousand year soul bone's effects. The more I learn about its Golden Light skill, the more profound it seems. It's able to accomplish many things with the power of light."
Huo Yuhao chuckled and said, "Are you trying to make me want to cultivate with you more? It seems like our cultivation speed can be even further increased."
"Don't jump to conclusions," Wang Dong replied, "earlier you said that once you break through to Rank 30, your cultivation speed would plummet because of your Ultimate martial soul, right?"
Huo Yuhao grinned and said, "Who knows? We can't be certain." He wasn't an ordinary soul master with an Ultimate martial soul; the Ice Empress' former power was still present in his body, constantly refining it. This was in addition to the Life Gold's effects, which made Huo Yuhao confident that his cultivation speed wouldn't be affected too much by his Ultimate martial soul if it even was.
"Eh?" Huo Yuhao froze and he immediately shifted his attention without using Imitation.
"Be careful," Huo Yuhao remarked, then stepped forward, his hands turning white.
A tangible ripple of soul power had appeared within Huo Yuhao's Spiritual Detection Sharing's area of effect, which was also reflected in Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao's minds. This obscure silhouette seemed to have already discovered them, and was bounding towards them at a breakneck speed.
Light flickered in the distance as a green shadow soundlessly appeared atop a tree branch roughly thirty meters away. A wild cat with a small frame came into view; its fur was greenish-black, while its eyes were purplish-red and gleamed with hostility. Its fur had a pattern similar to that of a tiger's, while the hues of the fur were unbalanced.
It was only two feet long, but a considerable amount killing intent weighed down on the three of them.
Only soul beasts could survive inside of the Great Star Dou Forest. One could tell from its speed and aura that it was at least a thousand year soul beast.
Huo Yuhao lowered his voice and said, "That's a Deviltiger Cat. Seeing as its fur is greenish-black, its must have around two thousand years worth of cultivation at the very least. A Deviltiger Cat's fur will turn completely black and show lustrous green glimmering patterns once it reaches ten thousand years worth of cultivation."
The knowledge he'd obtained in the academy was put to good use. Huo Yuhao's quick explanation also helped Xiao Xiao and Wang Dong recall the soul beast.
Shrek Academy taught them about soul beasts in four of their classes per week. The Deviltiger Cat wasn't considered exotic, thus they'd heard of it from their classes before.
If the Deviltiger Cat were to be described from a soul master's perspective, it would be seen as an agility-type soul beast with high lethality.
"I'm afraid we can't avoid this battle. Remember not to kill it," Huo Yuhao reminded everyone with a whisper. As they hadn't encountered a thousand year soul beast so far, he didn't expect to be able to scare this Deviltiger Cat away very easily. Because there were hundred thousand year soul beasts with strong territorial instincts lurking in the depths of Star Dou Great Forest, Huo Yuhao couldn't use his hundred thousand year soul beast's aura, lest he run the risk of attracting a real one to him. Elder Xuan had previously reminded him that he should only do so as a last resort.
The Deviltiger Cat pounced forward like a green lightning bolt the moment that Huo Yuhao had finished speaking. Its target wasn't Huo Yuhao, who was in front, but rather Wang Dong at his side.
The "Devil" in the Deviltiger Cat's name was because it was both wind-type and darkness-type, which in turn was the reason for its ferocious nature and formidable strength.
Its front claws sprung out, while its greenish-black fur exuded a glow that wasn't all that brilliant, but lightly shimmered. It lunged through the air, somehow managing to switch directions, avoiding Huo Yuhao as it flew straight towards Wang Dong. Wang Dong was a light-type soul master, and it really hated the light attribute.
Small wings protruded from its ribs. However, they were extremely narrow, which meant that it couldn't fly. Maneuvering itself in mid-air however, was still very possible.
Wang Dong had already unleashed his Radiant Butterfly Goddess by this point. He didn't evade the Deviltiger Cat's lunging strike. Instead, he swiftly moved his hands in front of his chest while his wings sparkled with an intense golden light as he activated his second soul skill, the Light of the Butterfly Goddess.
A black cauldron suddenly appeared about three meters away from Wang Dong and blocked the Deviltiger Cat's assault. The Deviltiger Cat was exceedingly agile however, and tapped the surface of the Threelives Soulcrush Cauldron with one claw, intending to leap over it and continue towards Wang Dong. However, the cauldron trembled violently the moment it did so.
The Deviltiger Cat's body was momentarily hindered by the vigorous shaking beneath it which, while it wouldn't hurt the Deviltiger Cat, would certainly slow it down. The moment it was slowed, a streak of purplish-golden light flashed through the sky and struck it, causing the Deviltiger Cat to scream in agony and lose control of its body as it continued to glide through the sky.
Huo Yuhao had employed his Spiritual Shock with the utmost efficiency. Because his ever-growing spiritual power—when channeled through his Spiritual Shock—had a highly synergistic effect with his Purple Demon Eyes, the end result was much more powerful than Huo Yuhao had expected.
The Deviltiger Cat plummeted towards the ground. Some of Wang Dong's Light of the Butterfly Goddess struck the cat's body and detonated, while the rest flew over Xiao Xiao's Threelives Soulcrush Cauldron and exploded when it hit the ground.
"Mmph." The Deviltiger Cat crashed into the ground, black burns present where Wang Dong's Light of the Butterfly Goddess had struck it. When Huo Yuhao used his Spiritual Detection on the Deviltiger Cat, he was surprised to find that the Deviltiger Cat's blood essence and soul power were in a chaotic mess; the cat was effectively incapacitated.
"What happened?" Xiao Xiao glanced at Huo Yuhao doubtfully.
Huo Yuhao was also astonished. "The Deviltiger Cat seems to have fainted from my Spiritual Shock. Take a look—its body is still seizing."
He walked forward once he'd finished speaking and flipped the unconscious Deviltiger Cat over.
The Deviltiger Cat's appearance was a little peculiar; its body was still seizing, and there specks of dark green blood were trickling from its nose. Its eyed had rolled back into its head, and it was completely unconscious.
Wang Dong was taken aback. "Since when did your Spiritual Shock become so powerful?"
Huo Yuhao shrugged and replied, "I have no idea. If I'd known it was, I would've used it right from the get-go and saved us some trouble."
He immediately connected the large boost in his Spiritual Shock's power to the growth of his spiritual power. His abilities were always improving, while his cultivation level had constantly grown as well. However, the growth of his spiritual power was much more prominent than the growth of his soul power.
His spiritual sea had been transformed several times, and a second consciousness had been established between his eyebrows once he'd fused with the Life Gold. The fact that the three powerful entities residing within his spiritual sea could no longer directly control his body showed the great progress his spiritual power had made, and was also further indicative of his growth.
The Skydream Iceworm was more than happy that Huo Yuhao had become stronger. He'd been discreetly opening his seal throughout the expansion of Huo Yuhao's spiritual sea and during the consolidation process, and had also been constantly fusing his sealed origin power with Huo Yuhao's spiritual power.