Nan Shuishui hugged her daughter and heaved a faint sigh. "Let's protect him. Even though I don't know what's happened to him, if my guess isn't wrong, his female partner must have sacrificed herself for whatever it is that's happening to him. I have no idea why such peculiar things are happening to him, but they shouldn't be bad for him. But I feel so much pity for his female partner… and they're doing it all to save me… haih…"
Nan Shuishui knew that the Earthdragon Sect was deep in Huo Yuhao's debt this time. Huo Yuhao had saved every one of the Earthdragon Sect's members, including her, the sect leader. His partner's life had been sacrificed in the process. How was she going to repay a favor as large as this?
"What?" Ma Xiaotao stared at the Third Elder and the Fourth Elder. Her entire body had become lackadaisical.
For her, what she had just heard from them was like bolts from the blue.
Huo Yuhao had been ambushed and surrounded, and he finally burned his spiritual sea. He employed some special abilities to break out, and was now nowhere to be found.
He burned his spiritual sea? Burned his spiritual sea!
What did this mean? Ma Xiaotao came from Shrek Academy, so how could she not know what this meant?
Ma Xiaotao's body quivered faintly, and frightening auras erupted from her body continuously.
"Are you alright, Holy Lady?" Zhongli Tian asked softly.
Evil lights flickered in Ma Xiaotao's eyes, and she glanced coldly at the Third Elder and Fourth Elder. She didn't mince her words, and paused after every word. "Two Titled Douluo can't hold back a single Soul King. The two of you are so capable! After him! Chase him down! If he's alive, I want to see him in front of me. If he's dead, I want to see his corpse." She stretched out her phoenix wings as she spoke, and immediately transformed into a humongous fire phoenix as she flew rapidly in the direction that the Third Elder had said that Huo Yuhao had disappeared towards.
Inside Seajoy City...
The city's port was bustling as usual, and goods and cargo were being transported here and there while boats and ships entered and left the harbor.
There was a relatively large transport ship, and the ship's crew was currently accounting for their ship's members.
There were many people lying down around the ship's spacious cabin. Those who were in a relatively better state of mind could forcibly sit up with their legs crossed. However, everyone's eyes flowed with excitement, whether they were lying down or sitting up.
They were excited because they were free!
Xu Sanshi, He Caitou, Ye Guyi, and Jing Ziyan were accounting for their ship's members. Their faces were grave and solemn at this moment, and Ji Juechen stood guard outside the ship's hold to prevent any unforeseen accidents.
Their rescue operation could be said to have been exceptionally smooth and successful… or, at least it seemed so. The operation had been carried out and completed entirely according to Huo Yuhao's plan.
They had saved almost six hundred people. In order to confuse their enemies, a little more than a dozen elders and seniors from those various sects and academies had remained to draw their enemies away. More than ninety-five percent of the hostages had been rescued, and everyone hurried to Seajoy City to rendezvous with the others.
Everyone was a little exhausted and fatigued because they had been flying at full speed, and because their bodies had been treated badly in the water prison. However, with sufficient food and water supporting them, it didn't take long for them to recover their full fighting strength.
But even so, Xu Sanshi and the others couldn't feel any joy at all, because Huo Yuhao and Nan Qiuqiu hadn't returned yet. This also meant that they couldn't rush to Seajoy City to meet up with the rest in time.
Huo Yuhao had already accounted for a situation like this. As long as the hostages were all here, they would immediately cast off and depart, while he and Nan Qiuqiu would find another way to return to the Academy.
Everything had been pre-arranged, but He Caitou's news still gave everyone a heavy heart. A single Beast Lord-ranked soul engineer legion entering the fray had changed the situation, and nobody knew what was happening with Huo Yuhao and Nan Qiuqiu because they couldn't communicate with them at all.
Naturally, they hoped that they could wait for them to return before they departed, and only then would everyone be in high spirits. Only then could their operation be considered perfect and without any blemishes at all.
"Are you guys from Shrek Academy? Thank you." An elderly man who was about sixty years of age stood up and came up to Xu Sanshi, who was still accounting for everyone, and spoke to him in a voice full of gratitude.
Xu Sanshi suppressed the anxiety and unsettledness in his heart and replied with a faint smile, "You're welcome, but you don't have to be so polite. The Sun Moon Empire is very scheming and treacherous, and they disregarded the tournament's rules that have been passed down across millenia within the Continent by forcefully imprisoning so many people. How can Shrek Academy and the Tang Sect sit by and watch?"
Cold light flickered in the elderly man's eyes. "The Sun Moon Empire… the Sun Moon Empire! Do they really think they can dominate the entire continent by relying on their soul tools? That's just wishful thinking. How can the Sun Moon Empire compare to the Douluo Continent's foundations and history?"
Xu Sanshi nodded and said, "We have to come together as one. Even if the Sun Moon Empire launches an invasion against us, we may not lose to them. You should get some rest, senior. We will be casting off shortly."
"Alright, thanks. The Lone Heaven Sect will always remember what you guys have done for us. Shrek Academy just has to call for us in the future, and we will never shy away from whatever you guys need from us."
The Tang Sect's reputation was still too small, and paled in comparison to Shrek Academy, which had been established for ten thousand years. Therefore, even though Xu Sanshi mentioned several times that the rescuers didn't just come from Shrek Academy, and that they also came from the Tang Sect, most of the hostages pinned this favor on Shrek Academy.
He Caitou walked over from the other side and checked his headcount with Xu Sanshi. There were about twelve people who hadn't arrived yet, but it was obvious that these people would probably never arrive.
"It's about time, Sanshi." He Caitou uttered these words with much difficulty.
He Caitou was before Xu Sanshi in seniority, but Xu Sanshi's status within the Tang Sect was a little higher than his.
Xu Sanshi grit his teeth as he glanced at the hostages in the ship's hold, lowered his voice and announced, "Start the ship!"
Several minutes later, an enormous iron anchor was gradually pulled up. The sailors and hands that the Tang Sect had hired worked together, and the colossal transport ship slowly departed the harbor and sailed towards the endless ocean…
In the Sun Moon Empire's royal palace...
"What? The hostages are gone?" Xu Tianran's typically calm voice was suddenly excessively penetrating, causing the entire hall's ceiling to tremble.
Xu Tianran was wearing a long, bright yellow robe, and his face was grave and gloomy at this moment. He stared coldly at several people who were kneeling down before him, and his eyes were filled with killing intent.
The Evileye Tyrant Soul Engineer Legion's commander was kneeling before him, along with the commanders of the two soul engineer legions who had been stationed around Sunrise City.
"Speak! What happened? Tell me everything in detail," Xu Tianran said plainly, not taking long before he regained his composure. However, everyone could feel that this was just the calm before the storm, and if anything wasn't explained properly, or if errors were made throughout the process, someone's head would probably be immediately sent rolling across the ground.
Ju Zi was sitting beside Xu Tianran, her expression a little black as well. The Holy Ghost Church and two soul engineer legions were watching over those hostages, along with the Evileye Tyant Soul Engineer Legion, which was the legion most adept at speed among the Beast Lord-ranked soul engineer legions, to assist them, and yet several hundred hostages had still managed to run away. This was extremely humiliating!
Furthermore, those hostages were extremely valuable to the empire, because they restrained the Douluo Continent's three native empires. At the same time, these hostages remaining in the Sun Moon Empire was also equivalent to greatly restricting the three empires' future top-tier soul masters' strength. Now that they were all was gone, the Sun Moon Empire's plan and strategy had to be changed, and their borders were in danger of being assaulted by these three empires in revenge at any moment.
These commanders immediately began their reports, everyone responsible for one part. Their reports, when added together, explained the entire process of how their hostages managed to escape in detail.
"Someone please invite the Imperial Tutor to discuss matters." Xu Tianran passed on an order after listening to the three commanders, and a servant immediately ran frantically to fulfill his command.
Xu Tianran's eyes closed into slits, and his eyes flowed with a contemplative look. The Holy Ghost Church was in charge of the most crucial parts of watching over the hostages, and they even used drugs that can dispel a soul master's soul power. But every single hostage ran away... what were those guys doing? Two evil Titled Douluo couldn't even guard that place properly? They couldn't even buy enough time for reinforcements to arrive?
Furthermore, they had managed to surround one of the rescuers at the end, but even this person got away. Two Titled Douluo couldn't hold back a single Soul King… who would believe that?
"Have you investigated who that person is? I'm talking about that person who burned his own spiritual power to escape!" Xu Tianran asked coldly.
The Evileye Tyrant Soul Engineer Legion's commander, Wang Yiheng, said respectfully, "We've already investigated as much as possible. Tthat person should have come from Shrek Academy, or the Tang Sect. Not long ago, he represented the Tang Sect and participated in the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament."
Ju Zi was expressionless at the start, but her expression changed drastically when she heard these words, as an ominous feeling rose in her heart.
"That person participated in the tournament, so some of my subordinate soul engineers recognized him. His name was Huo Yuhao, but he was in a wheelchair when he fought in the tournament. His movements were normal when he appeared last night, but we are sure that these two are the same person. The city wall was broken through by someone who controls ice-type abilities, and according to our investigation, Huo Yuhao possesses Ultimate Ice."
Ju Zi almost fainted when she heard these words, and nearly slid down from her chair. Hearing about Huo Yuhao's appearance was supposed to be good news for her, because she hadn't heard anything about him ever since he and the others had disappeared into the Yin-Yang Love Querying Valley. In the months afterwards, Ju Zi had even discreetly sent someone over to search for them, but her efforts had been futile. However, even though Huo Yuhao had appeared once more, he was in an excessively dire situation!
Yuhao... it's Yuhao! Why was he here to save those hostages? And he even burned his own spiritual power? He… how is he…?
Ju Zi couldn't maintain her composure anymore, and she felt as if she were sitting on pins and needles at this moment.
Xu Tianran was over the top with anger and rage, but he was momentarily stunned when he heard Wang Yiheng's words. He pondered for a moment, then said, "I have an impression of him. Yes, he was sitting in a wheelchair when he participated in the tournament. He was the one that led the Tang Sect to create miracles again and again, and they even managed to defeat the Holy Ghost Sect's team in the end! He disappeared without a trace, along with everyone else from Shrek Academy, afterwards!"