Huo Yuhao nodded firmly and said with a delighted look, "I've managed to awaken her. She should come over tonight, so we have to start our preparations immediately."
Huo Yuhao washed up briefly and had some breakfast before he took out the water sample he had retrieved the previous day.
"Third senior brother, can you help me separate the water elements inside? I studied that water prison very closely yesterday. Its position is quite low, while the moat's water outside should be running water, so it's always flowing. This means that if there isn't enough water inside the water prison, the moat will replenish it, while water won't flow backwards, and so the water won't change. There's something called Soul Eradicating Powder inside the water prison, and I've retrieved some samples. We have to investigate and research it as quickly as possible, because providing antidotes for the hostages will be crucial to saving them. My spiritual avatar isn't afraid of the toxins in the water, and I can bring the antidote back to the hostages as long as we can find it."
Xu Sanshi nodded and said, "That's not a problem. But the antidote…"
Huo Yuhao nodded self-confidently and said, "I should be able to do it." He possessed his ancestor Tang San's Poison Chapter, and had studied it closely. If he could figure out that Soul Eradicating Powder's composition, he had a chance to find an antidote with his recollection of the Poison Chapter's contents and his own understanding. If he failed, he would have to ask Ma Xiaoatao for help when she arrived later on.
Huo Yuhao placed a glass bottle filled with toxic water on the table in front of him. Xu Sanshi pointed his right hand at the bottle, and gentle black soul power that resembled faint mist began to orbit it.
The bottle started to quiver gently as threads of water vapor gradually seeped out, and Xu Sanshi's black fog currents carried all of it away. The bottle's liquid contents were conspicuously diminishing.
Everything seemed so simple, but was separating elements like that truly easy and simple? Xu Sanshi controlled everything as if the entire process were a piece of cake, but even Huo Yuhao, who possessed the Ultimate Ice, knew that he couldn't extract pure water elements like that while maintaining the liquid's initial toxin composition.
Xu Sanshi himself wouldn't have been able to do this before his Xuanwu Shield's true awakening. Ever since he had gained the Xuanwu Shield, his ability to control and manipulate the element of water had reached an exceptional level. What he was doing at the moment was as easy as cutting a knife through butter for him.
It didn't take long before only some grey liquid was left inside the glass bottle. There were some other impurities besides those toxins, but the toxins were a lot easier to distinguish after purifying the bottle's contents.
Huo Yuhao immediately retrieved some utensils and medicinal liquids and started experimenting on those toxins.
Xu Sanshi and Ye Guyi accompanied him and guarded him, silently awaiting his results.
Reality proved that Tang San's Poison Chapter was very reliable. Huo Yuhao only took a little more than an hour to gain a rough idea of the Soul Eradicating Powder's origin.
The powder contained plant toxins, and it was formed from fusing the juice of three different venomous plants. It would be easier for Huo Yuhao to find the antidote if he could reach accurate conclusions and judgments, so he used his spiritual avatar once more to retrieve some more samples, before patronizing some pharmacies outside and purchasing all sorts of medicinal items to experiment.
The sun had gone behind the Western Mountain, and evening had arrived by the time Huo Yuhao finally succeeded.
"That's it! If we follow this proportion, we can neutralize the toxicity." Huo Yuhao declared excitedly, wiping some sweat from his forehead.
Spending his entire day researching and investigating poisons and toxins was a lot more exhausting than researching soul tools. After all, he was a lot less familiar with poisons than he was with soul tools.
Huo Yuhao swiftly jotted down the prescription he had devised from his experiments and passed it to Xu Sanshi and Ye Guyi as he said, "This prescription needs five different kinds of medicine, and I've written down the formula's proper proportions. Third senior brother, the two of you will immediately return to the north and call everyone to set off together to purchase those medicines. Everyone will buy one kind each, and everyone will process those medicines according to my directions. I will continue suppressing the power of darkness inside Xiaotao's body at night. The proportion of these five medicines cannot be wrong, because this antidote also has supplementary and strengthening effects, and I hope we can help the hostages recover their physical strength as quickly as possible."
They finally had a proper direction for their rescue operation, and Xu Sanshi and Ye Guyi were also excited. Ye Guyi asked subconsciously, "Yuhao, have you found Qiuqiu's mother?"
Huo Yuhao was momentarily stunned. "I didn't notice when I went in before. There were many evil soul masters guarding and patrolling during that time, so I wasn't able to check every cage. But I think her mother should be alright. We will know when we bring everyone out."
"Oh." Ye Guyi acknowledged as she turned to leave the room. Xu Sanshi stared at Huo Yuhao with a deep look in his eyes before he followed her out.
Xu Sanshi understood Huo Yuhao a lot better than Ye Guyi did. He was acutely aware that with Huo Yuhao's Spiritual Detection, how could he not scout everything inside the water prison, which couldn't be considered spacious? They had both met Nan Qiuqiu's mother, Nan Shuishui, before, so searching for her shouldn't have been difficult at all. Huo Yuhao's words meant that he didn't find a single trace of Nan Shuishui when he was inside, but he had to provide an ambiguous explanation so that Nan Qiuqiu wouldn't spoil the entire operation because of her worry and anxiety.
However, Xu Sanshi also remembered that Huo Yuhao had promised her that if they couldn't save Nan Shuishui during their operation, he would stay behind with Nan Qiuqiu.
Huo Yuhao was naturally clearer about these things. He heaved a sigh inside, and he prayed that nothing had happened to Nan Shuishui. It wouldn't be that difficult to find clues about whether Nan Shuishui was still alive; he just had to wait for Ma Xiaotao tonight, and see if she could give him an answer.
Xu Sanshi and Ye Guyi nervously went ahead to make the necessary preparations, while Huo Yuhao wasted no time, and began to cultivate. They were in a place filled with danger and peril, so maintaining himself at his peak condition was the optimal choice.
At this moment, there were "starfishes", which blocked surveillance soul tools, installed in every corner of the room he was staying in. He wasn't that far away from the southern city wall, but he was relatively safer.
Huo Yuhao had his dinner, and waited for Ma Xiaotao inside his room. However, the night was gradually getting late, and Ma Xiaotao was nowhere to be seen.
Huo Yuhao was beginning to feel anxious. Even though Ma Xiaotao hadn't appeared, enemies didn't surround him to flush him out either, which meant that Ma Xiaotao hadn't completely lost her mind and her will. But why wasn't she here yet?
Huo Yuhao was becoming increasingly worried until his door quietly opened, and a shadow dashed inside in a flash and blew out all the lights in the room at the same time.
Huo Yuhao subconsciously drifted into the air and rapidly positioned himself in one corner on the opposite side. He activated his Eye of Destiny at almost the same time, and his Spirit Eyes burst with light in all directions.
Sudden darkness was very disconcerting and disorienting for normal people, but Huo Yuhao had his Spirit Eyes, so it wasn't that different to him.
Huo Yuhao immediately relaxed after he composed himself for a second; wasn't that Ma Xiaotao who had just discreetly stepped into his room?
"Sister Xiaotao," Huo Yuhao hurriedly called out to her.
Ma Xiaotao nodded in his direction before she briskly walked towards his bed, as if she were silently sensing something.
Huo Yuhao was a little surprised as he watched her. Ma Xiaotao's Ultimate Fire was incredibly powerful, and her spiritual power had become exceptionally strong as well. Even though he hadn't deliberately scouted outside his room, the fact that Ma Xiaotao could come into his room without being discovered by the Spiritual Antennas that he had set up outside was quite impressive.
Ma Xiaotao responded softly, "I was held back by something."
"How do you feel, sister? Have the powers of darkness inside your body given you any backlash?" Huo Yuhao asked her sincerely as he hurriedly walked over to her side.
Ma Xiaotao shook her head and said, "After you helped me dispel those powers of darkness last night, they have been stubbornly regenerating, but they will need at least three days to return to their initial levels. But as long as I control my own emotions and my state of mind, I should be able to hold off for roughly seven days. That also means that as long as you treat me within seven days, I will be able to maintain my mental clarity. Of course, the prerequisite is that I can't fight with my full strength. Otherwise, if I expend too much soul power, those powers of darkness will regenerate a lot faster as my soul power recovers. When that happens, I will really need you to treat me every day."
Huo Yuhao tilted his head and said, "Treating you every day is not a problem, because I'm not planning to separate from you, anyway. I can help you suppress all that darkness, sister. I almost have enough soul power now; once I become a Soul Sage, and I have my martial soul true body, I might not even need medicines or anything to completely dispel the evil fire in your body."
Ma Xiaotao glanced at him, and dash of rosiness appeared on her cheeks for no reason. "Let's just stick with medicines."
Huo Yuhao's vision was great, but he didn't notice the changes on Ma Xiaotao's face. He grasped her hands and began to release his aura of Ultimate Ice into Ma Xiaotao's body to guide her soul power.
Ma Xiaotao had rested for the entire day, and she seemed to have completely restored her consciousness and state of mind. She worked together with Huo Yuhao this time, and they had a far easier time dispelling and suppressing those powers of darkness inside her body.
Towards the end, Huo Yuhao could even be sure that as long as he stayed by her side and helped her suppress her powers of darkness every day, those problems within her body wouldn't bother her again. Of course, this would only treat her symptoms, and not the root cause of the problem.
Ma Xiaotao allowed him to treat her in silence. She couldn't see as clearly as Huo Yuhao could in the darkness of the night, but she was a powerful Soul Douluo, so nighttime wasn't that much different from daytime for her.
Ma Xiaotao stared at Huo Yuhao, who had become a lot taller than her… he was still a little boy back then, but he had transformed into a handsome youth. Her eyes gradually became gentle and tender, but mournful looks flashed deep within from time to time. It was clear that her emotions weren't calm and settled at this moment.
"Oh, we're done. Sister, I've helped you suppress those powers of evil successfully, and today's results are better than yesterday's. Take a look... how do you feel?"
Ma Xiaotao nodded and said, "I don't have to feel; there's no problem at all. You must be here to save all those hostages, right?"
Huo Yuhao answered, "Yes. I'm not the only one here; almost the entire Tang Sect is here this time."
"The Tang Sect? Oh, I remember now... they must be the people who participated in the big tournament not too long ago." Ma Xiaotao seemed to have recalled everything that had happened recently.
Huo Yuhao nodded and confirmed, "Yes."