Huo Yuhao forced out a laugh and said, "Brother Skydream, do you really think I can defeat a ten thousand year soul beast? Let alone two of them? Even if Elder Xuan is here, don't you think it's a bit suspicious? Also wouldn't the fact that I can absorb a ten thousand year soul ring completely unscathed raise suspicion?"
"Uh… that does sound like a problem." The Skydream Iceworm was becoming a little skeptical.
"What are you doing, Yuhao? Hurry up, let's go." Mo Feiyun suddenly realized that Huo Yuhao had stopped walking, so he quickly roused him. His voice far more solemn than usual—this was the Great Star Dou Forest's Hybrid Region, a single moment of absent-mindedness could prove fatal.
Huo Yuhao gritted his teeth and said, "You guys go ahead, Uncle Mo. I just felt a soul beast that's suitable for me nearby, I'll go take a look. Xiao Dong, Xiao Xiao, you two should stick with Uncle Mo—I'll be right back." Before anyone had a chance to speak, he darted out with the Ghost Shadow Perplexing Track and disappeared.
Mo Feiyun was momentarily stunned. What just happened? Huo Yuhao's explosive speeds also took him by surprise, as only Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao had fought in previous battles, he had no idea of Huo Yuhao's capabilities. Nobody even knew what Huo Yuhao's martial soul was. Huo Yuhao's body seemed to vanish into thin air the moment he moved.
Both Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao were taken aback. Huo Yuhao had actually abandoned them—this was something they had never expected to happen.
Huo Yuhao did disappear, and his vanishing act was accomplished with Imitation. He imitated a large tree the moment he jumped forward, and how could anyone see him within all that dense vegetation?
"Yuhao!" Wang Dong exclaimed desperately, but Huo Yuhao was nowhere to be seen. Furthermore, he had no means to track him down, even if he wanted to. Huo Yuhao had never behaved so irrationally before, so what was happening? Why did detach himself from the group, just like that?
The moment he vanished into the jungle, Huo Yuhao raced forward. Channeling his Imitation as best he could, appearing only as a faint contorted blur, constantly transforming with the surroundings.
"Has Elder Xuan discovered I've left the team yet?" Huo Yuhao asked the Skydream Iceworm while bolting forward.
The Skydream Iceworm answered, "I think he knows, he's also chasing you right now. Stop running—it's pointless even if you do. So you might as well be straightforward with Elder Xuan. Besides, you can't handle a ten thousand year soul beasts anyways."
Huo Yuhao forced a laugh and said, "Then how should I explain things to Elder Xuan?"
Skydream said matter-of-factly, "Just bullshit him. Isn't that what you're good at?"
Huo Yuhao was exasperated. "How am I supposed to do that?! Elder Xuan isn't easily deceived! He's studied martial souls his entire life." Huo Yuhao stopped in place anyways and dispelled his Imitation.
Elder Xuan's voice could be heard in the next moment. "What are you trying to do, you little bastard? You don't feel good if you don't scare me a little, eh?"
Elder Xuan appeared beside him in a flash.
Huo Yuhao said, "Did you hear those two howls? I have a hunch that one of them would make me a suitable soul ring—a rare spirit-type soul beast."
Elder Xuan replied with annoyance, "Nonsense. Those two are ten thousand year spirit beasts, I can tell by their auras. But you're just a Soul Elder, not a Soul King—can you even assimilate a ten thousand year soul ring?"
Thoughts spun at lightning speed inside Huo Yuhao's head as he replied, "You know that I'm a Tang Sect disciple, Elder Xuan. My path is that of the Tang Sect. Which has a secret technique that can suppress a soul ring's power. Have you heard of it?"
All he could do was fabricate a story. What else could he do? He wanted to properly obtain this golden opportunity, after searching for a suitable soul ring for many days he had finally come across a match. Huo Yuhao had no doubts in the Skydream Iceworm's keen perception.
Elder Xuan was slightly taken aback, and said, "The Tang Sect has such a secret technique? I've never actually heard of such a thing."
Huo Yuhao continued, "The Tang Sect's secret technique is only suitable for soul masters with sufficient spiritual power, but can only be used for the fifth and lower soul rings. At present, I am the only one in the Tang Sect capable of using the ring-sealing secret technique. It can temporarily seal a soul ring's power, so I can absorb a portion of it now, and the rest as I grow stronger. Furthermore, I have three soul bones now, and my body is extremely resilient—plus the ring-sealing technique. I am confident in my odds as long as the soul beast has a cultivation lower than twenty thousand years. A soul master's willpower is most imperative when it comes to assimilating a soul ring, and in this, I am most confident. Elder Xuan, I have finally discovered a suitable soul beast, I want to give it a shot!"
Elder Xuan deliberated for a while and said, "The Tang Sect's forefather, Tang San, had soul rings that were almost breaking every natural limit all those years ago. Did he use the ring-sealing technique? It's the first I've ever heard of this. It's a shame the Tang Sect no longer passes on these kind of esoteric techniques."
Huo Yuhao was overcome with exhilaration when he heard Elder Xuan's words. He never expected that his 'fabricated story' had precedence, so he nodded his head continuously..
Elder Xuan frowned and said, "But why did you choose to leave Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao behind? I can't be in two places at the same time, so how am I supposed to protect them?"
"Uh…" Huo Yuhao scratched his head and said, "I didn't think into it that much. I felt the spiritual fluctuations and Uncle Mo was impatient, so I bolted out as fast as I could. I didn't think that Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao were in much danger within that group. Why don't you go fetch them, while I wait here?"
There were some obvious flaws in Huo Yuhao's explanation. But Elder Xuan was generous to overlook them on account of Huo Yuhao's age. It was only natural that a not-even-thirteen-years-old child would be a bit impulsive.
Elder Xuan said, "I guess that's the only way. I won't let anything slip. I'll go fetch those two fellas, you can wait here. Use your Imitation to hide yourself—even I was almost fooled just now. Luckily, you can't hide your spiritual fluctuations with Imitation yet."
With that, Elder Xuan disappeared into the sky with a flash.
Huo Yuhao could feel cold sweat breaking out on his back. Concocting stories really wasn't something he should be doing! Even though his lies were completely harmless, he still found the task more difficult than an epic battle.
A ear-splitting roar suddenly pierced the silence. There was a terrifying and unstoppable shockwave that followed this fearsome roar.
Huo Yuhao witnessed as large patches of trees collapsed in its wake, much like a wheat harvest. At the same time, an extremely imposing and majestic figure leapt forward. The ground trembled and shook when it landed, and Huo Yuhao even felt a large amount of dizziness—falling to the ground after losing his balance.
The gigantic figure was coming toward him. Huo Yuhao could finally make out its appearance—it was a giant, black and white fur growing from its body. There were two heads on its shoulders, each with only one eye, and its colossal figure was more than ten meters tall. Its eyes glowing with an intimidating luster.
Black and white lights were being continuously released, causing the many shockwaves. The purpose of the shockwaves was to clear a path ahead for it, so it could run unobstructed. But even with its imposing mannerisms, it seemed to be running from something… Could this be the exceedingly rare Cyclops variant, the Twin Cyclops?
Huo Yuhao knew something about this Twin Cyclops from Elder Xuan, but he had yet to learn of it in his outer courtyard studies.
Cyclops were a very special species of soul beast. Their physical appearance was no different than normal humans, excluding its one eye. They even used tree branches and vines to craft clothing and cover their lower bodies. The only catch was that Cyclops were far larger than humans.
They were born two meters tall, and they would grow to about five meters when they reached a hundred years of cultivation. Which was when they are considered a grown Cyclops, and from there its growth would slow down. They would grow to about eight meters at one thousand years, and about fifteen meters upon ten thousand.But they were far too conspicuous due to their massive size, and would make easy prey for powerful soul beasts. Hence why ten thousand year Cyclops were almost non-existent. Their brains were nutritious to some soul beasts with top-tier bloodlines.
This Cyclops before him was only about ten meters tall, but Huo Yuhao was absolutely sure it had more than ten thousand years of cultivation.
The ten thousand year point marked an enormous milestone for soul beasts' cultivations. Their power would rise exponentially upon crossing the threshold and occasionally soul beasts would even evolve after breaking through ten thousand years. This was evident in Scarletfire Monkeys, which evolve into Blazefire Monkeys. However, this was assured for their species.
The Cyclopes' evolution wasn't assured, only a possibility. Moreover, there were different types of mutations, with the most powerful—the Twin Cyclops—right before Huo Yuhao's eyes.
A Cyclops' original element was chaos—an uncommon type, which could fundamentally change at any time. Upon becoming a Twin Cyclops it would change, while sometimes its body size would also decrease as it birthed another head. This Twin Cyclops had both light and darkness elements—making it an incredibly rare existence. It was so powerful it could be ranked among top-tier soul beasts.
But what was this mighty Twin Cyclops running from?