Grilled meat, roasted buns, peppered vegetables, chilli, sour plums and stew brewed from beef became a hearty meal for Huo Yuhao and his friends.
In Shrek Academy, Huo Yuhao was rather selective about the food he ate. While he was not picky, he had to admit that Ju Zi's culinary skills were decent. The meal helped the three of them to bond, and reduced the distance between the three new students.
"So? I am right, right? Sister Ju Zi's food is indeed tasty. Let's see if you dare to offend us in the future. If not for Sister Ju Zi's kindness, we would not have given this meal to you," Ke Ke informed him.
Huo Yuhao chuckled and said, "Sister Ke Ke, please don't keep thinking about that incident that day. Why don't you let me cook dinner instead, as a form of apology to you and Sister Ju Zi?"
"You can cook?" Ju Zi and Ke Ke asked simultaneously. While Ju Zi's faced brimmed with curiosity, Ke Ke's face was full of doubt.
Huo Yuhao smiled and said, "After I try, you'll know. When I first came to Shrek Academy, I survived by selling grilled fish. If I hadn't done that, how could an orphan like me afford the school fees?"
When they heard the word orphan, the gazes of both girls turned soft. The change in Ju Zi's emotions was natural, but Ke Ke was better at concealing it. However, the change in her eyes could not escape Huo Yuhao's observation.
They were indeed two kind seniors!
"Okay, you are in charge of dinner. However, to preserve their freshness, I did not bring much food. When we arrive at the Jing Yang Mountain Range, we may have to make do with what we find there."
The three of them continued on their journey. This was not Ju Zi and Ke Ke's first time going to the Jing Yang Mountain Range. As they flew, Ju Zi told Huo Yuhao about some of the dos and don'ts.
"The Jing Yang Mountain Range resembles a huge spider. The central mountains occupy a vast space, and they branch out in eight different directions, like the legs of a spider. The branches surround the central mountains, protecting them. There aren't a lot of soul beasts in the branches, which are rich in mineral resources. However, the central mountains are full of soul beasts, and many of them are powerful, particularly around Jingyang Peak."
Huo Yuhao asked curiously, "With the power of the Sun Moon Empire and its progress in soul tool technology, it wouldn't be difficult for them to harness the resources of the Jingyang Peak, right?"
Ju Zi shook her head and said, "Don't underestimate Jingyang Peak. In the continent, the Great Star Dou Forest near Shrek Academy is undoubtedly the top gathering area for soul beasts, but Jingyang Peak is definitely within the top five worldwide. To take advantage of the resources here, one would need to use a long-ranged soul tool to carpet bomb this place. Even so, the soul beasts would retaliate furiously, and there would be many casualties.
"While a huge amount of mineral resources can be found in the Jing Yang Mountain Range, we from the Sun Moon Empire view the soul beasts as valuable resources, too. Since they are valuable resources, we cannot drain the pond to look for fish. After all, in terms of soul beasts, the Sun Moon Empire cannot compare to the three big states of the Douluo Continent. The Jing Yang Mountain Range contains the greatest amount of soul beasts in our country, and we are more keen on preservation. Hence, despite knowing that there are many precious mineral resources, we will only exploit those found in the branches. However, we have stationed a huge army near the Jing Yang Mountain Range…"
Here, Ju Zi suddenly stopped. She looked at Huo Yuhao and smiled. "I can't tell you more, these are military secrets."
Huo Yuhao smiled and replied, "I don't want to know anything military. It has nothing to do with me."
Ke Ke said, "We have told you so much already, shouldn't you share a bit about yourself? You have only three soul rings, so why are you so powerful? What power did you use that day?"
Looking at the curious expressions on the faces of the two girls, Huo Yuhao smiled and said, "I am a twin-souled soul master."
When they heard the four words,'twin-souled soul master', Ju Zi and Ke Ke could not help but open their eyes wide. Ke Ke's eyes were almost glittering as she said, "Whoa, so twin-souled soul masters aren't a myth! No wonder you're so powerful."
The two girls were more surprised than Huo Yuhao had expected. This made him feel slightly odd. "Are there no twin-souled soul masters in the Sun Moon Empire?"
Ju Zi shook her head and said, "No, I can be sure. In the history of the Sun Moon Empire, there has never been any twin-souled soul masters. Even in the Douluo Continent, it is considered rare."
Ke Ke was more excited as she said, "Tell us, what are the differences between your two souls? What are your martial souls?"
Huo Yuhao was silent. Perhaps it was because he, Wang Dong and Xiao Xiao were all twin-souled soul masters, but he did not think much of his status as a twin-souled soul master. Furthermore, he was not born with a second soul. Instead, the Skydream Iceworm gave it to him. In the past few years, regardless of whether it was Skydream, the Ice Empress, or Electrolux, they had all been very quiet. Occasionally, when he reached a certain level of cultivation, they would release some of their sealed power for him. However, beyond that, they did not really have a huge impact on him. Instead, it appeared as if they wanted him to improve by himself. However, Huo Yuhao was clear that the Ice Empress, Skydream, and Electrolux were his main sources of support and his true shield. They feared that he would become over-dependent on them, and hence they rarely appeared. In the past two years, they had been happy with his progress.
"My main martial soul is a spiritual type, and my auxiliary martial soul is an ice-type. I have Rank 40 soul power. However, as I could not find an appropriate spiritual-type soul beast, I have yet to add a soul ring."
"No wonder your three soul rings are so powerful." Ju Zi said in shock, "Not only do you have two martial souls, but your soul power is also at Rank 40. A spiritual-type martial soul, that's rare indeed! The school has been searching for a spiritual-type soul master, though I do not know what for."
Huo Yuhao's heart missed a beat. He realized that it was the right choice to follow these two girls out. Perhaps Teacher Xuan would be more careful and prevent him from knowing too much about the inner workings of the Soul Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy, but Ju Zi and Ke Ke were much less guarded against him. Anything they said thoughtlessly would be helpful to him.
"So what are your soul skills? Especially the one that distorted the surrounding rays of light which stopped me from taking clear aim at you," Ke Ke asked curiously.
Ju Zi frowned and said, "Ke Ke." It was taboo to ask a soul master about his soul skills.
Huo Yuhao, however, answered nonchalantly, "That's one of my auxiliary soul skills, called Spiritual Interference. Through my spiritual power, I used it to affect you. Anyone within the radius of my Spiritual Interference will have lowered accuracy. Only those whose spiritual power is superior to mine will be less affected."
Ke Ke followed up with another question, "So what's the radius of your Spiritual Interference?"
Huo Yuhao smiled and did not reply. He could not answer that. This was his true secret.
Ju Zi glared at Ke Ke, who stuck out her tongue and stopped asking. Evidently, she knew that she had gone overboard too.
When the western skies turned into a beautiful dusk, they finally reached their destination. From far above in the sky, one could tell that the Jing Yang Mountain Range resembled a huge spider, or an octopus, that lay splayed on the ground, majestic and awe-inspiring.
While they were both gathering points for soul beasts, Huo Yuhao sensed that it was different from the Great Star Dou Forest.
The Great Star Dou Forest seemed endless. Here, however, one could sense a raw, fearsome smell. In terms of depth, it could not compare to the Great Star Dou Forest. However, it was clearly more aggressive.
"We shall rest nearby for the night, and tomorrow we will try the soul tool. At the same time, we will try our luck and see if we can find a suitable soul beast for you," Ju Zi said.
The three of them landed a few hundred kilometers away from the foot of the Jingyan Mountains. They found an elevated piece of land and pitched their tents there. With their storage-type soul tools, they were able to bring enough items for all of them. Three people, three tents. Aided by Huo Yuhao, they were able to quickly set these tents up.
Ke Ke looked at Huo Yuhao, who was hurriedly setting up his own tent, and said with a smile, "I remember someone saying that it's show time tonight! Don't disappoint us!"
Huo Yuhao chuckled and said, "Of course, let me prepare. Please wait while I see if there are suitable ingredients nearby. The fresher, the better."
As he said that, Ke Ke and Ju Zi saw a golden light flashing from his eyes. The moment they saw the golden radiance, their hearts skipped a beat. They could still clearly remember the power he had emitted.
Huo Yuhao looked into the distance and slowly turned around. He expanded his field of view.
Ke Ke asked Ju Zi in a low voice, "The sky is dark, is he using his eyes to search for food?"
Without waiting for Ju Zi to reply, Huo Yuhao's figure shimmered. In the blink of an eye, he disappeared.
Ju Zi replied in a low voice, "He is indeed powerful. Earlier, I thought that a soul master could not compare to a soul engineer of the same rank. However, looking at it now, this notion seems ludicrous. Even now, we have yet to see him use any powerful soul skills. With his own martial prowess, he was able to render us defenseless. I daresay that in the wild, and with sufficient distance, even the four of us would not be his match."
Ke Ke nodded and said, "His Spiritual Interference targets us soul engineers in particular. I just hope that its radius isn't too wide."
Ju Zi laughed and said, "He is not our true enemy. After all, he is just an exchange student from Shrek Academy. Who knows, maybe we can learn something from him? However, are we really going to eat his food?"
Ke Ke sniggered and said, "That brat did insist on cooking for us despite having tasted your food for lunch, which means that he should be relatively skilled, right? If we don't try, how will we know? Who knows, maybe you will even realize your goal of finding a lover who can cook."
Ju Zi coughed, and her face turned red. "Don't spout nonsense. He isn't that old. If you look carefully at his skin, you will see that despite his size, his face is still supple and youthful. The soft hairs at the side of his lips have just started to harden. He should only be about 15 or 16 years old, and is surely much younger than us."
Ke Ke looked at her with oddly and said, "Wow, Sister Ju Zi, you are observant indeed."
Ju Zi said unkindly, "What is going in your head? Know oneself and know your enemy, only then can you win."
As they spoke, Huo Yuhao returned. His right hand appeared to be clutching something. As it was dark already, they couldn't see what it was. Then, he busied himself.
Ju Zi and Ke Ke did not notice what wild beast Huo Yuhao caught. When they took notice, all they could see were strips of meat. Each strip of meat had been sliced evenly. They were the size of a palm, and as thick as two thumbs. Not too thick, not too small.
It was time to start a fire. The moment he thought about fire, a shiver went down Huo Yuhao's heart. He could not help but to look into the distance. Sister, where are you? As he thought about the missing Ma Xiaotao, his mood soured.
However, he did not stop what he was doing. After a while, a fire was burning. He turned his head to look at the two girls who were staring at him and said, "Come, seniors, and prepare to feast. My meat must be eaten as soon as it's ready to preserve its taste."
As he said that, he took out three small bowls. He added something into each of the bowls, which looked like a translucent brown sauce. Then, he distributed forks to the two girls.
"Grill the meat, and then eat it with some sauce. Let's start." As he said that, Huo Yuhao used his fork to take a slice of meat off a branch. His wrist twirled, and that meat was cooked over the fire. Then he twirled his hand again, and the meat landed in Ju Zi's bowl.
Under the light from the fire, both Ju Zi and Ke Ke's faces were red. They looked rather seductive.
Ju Zi had been noticing Huo Yuhao's actions. From his skilled actions, it was clear that this was not his first time grilling meat. She looked down and noticed that the sizzling meat was still slightly pink. It was not fully cooked.
"Eat it while it's hot. It tastes best this way." As Huo Yuhao said that, a second piece of meat was ready. It dropped into Ke Ke's bowl.
Ju Zi loved to eat. When she heard that, she did not think on it any further. With the fork, she picked up the slice of meat and gently lathered some sauce over it. Then, she placed it in her mouth.
The sauce was not strong, but was extremely fragrant. The meat was extremely smooth after it had been lathered with sauce. After it entered her mouth, she chewed on it on a while, and it melted and went smoothly down her throat. The fragrance and silky texture almost made Ju Zi bite her tongue.