Book 7: The Extreme North
Chapter 39.3: The Three Emperors of the Extreme North
Huo Yuhao set out once again, headed towards the north. Though the biting cold wind no longer posed a threat to him, the frost that had gradually accumulated on his body still managed to slow him down. As he continued to travel northwards, the advantage that his Spiritual Detection gave him became more and more pronounced: Whenever he encountered an unfamiliar area, he could simply use his Spiritual Detection to continue travelling and avoid any possible dangers.
As Huo Yuhao travelled, the Skydream Iceworm stayed awake, which was an extremely rare thing for him to do. The reason he'd stayed awake was so that he could make sure to tell Huo Yuhao when to change directions. As he continued to travel northwards, Huo Yuhao was able to faintly sense that the Skydream Iceworm had been releasing some of its spiritual power in front of him. Compared to the Skydream Iceworm's terrifying spiritual power, he was like a grain of rice adrift in an ocean. However, despite being able to sense it, he didn't know what the Skydream Iceworm was looking for.
In the blink of an eye, two days had passed. By this time, Huo Yuhao had already fully entered the desolate and uninhabited Extreme North. He'd encountered a few soul beasts, but due to the guidance of the Skydream Iceworm, he'd yet to meet an existence that actually posed a threat to him.
As he continued onwards, the snow became thicker and thicker. Once it was higher than his knees, Huo Yuhao had no choice but to chop down a tree and create two wooden planks, which he tied to bottom of his feet. Though they weren't much, they were able to reduce the stress on his feet. And, whenever he reached a downhill slope, he was able to use them to slide down. In the end, he'd found a pretty decent method to travel through the snow with.
Two days later.
Even though he'd slowed down quite a bit, he was already 400 miles into the Extreme North. The frequency at which the Skydream Iceworm told him to change directions had become much higher as well.
Suddenly, the Skydream Iceworm's voice rang out as he anxiously said, "Quickly lie flat on the ground and bury yourself beneath the snow. Don't move an inch once you've done so. You can't move no matter what—even if something touches you."
Huo Yuhao was shocked when he heard this. Afterwards, he laid down as fast as he could, covered himself with the surrounding snow, and held his breath.
Not even ten breaths of time had passed before Huo Yuhao's body began to shudder uncontrollably. Even though he'd buried himself beneath the snow, he was still aware of his surroundings! By relying on his Spiritual Detection, he was still able to sense the outside world to a certain extent.
He was shuddering because he'd suddenly sensed an incomparably terrifying aura outside. However, the instant that this aura had appeared, the trace of spiritual power he'd left outside had instantly shattered. He hadn't even been able to tell what the newcomer looked like.
From what Huo Yuhao could tell, the newcomer was extraordinarily large, and the terror brought about by its aura had reached the apex. In fact, it seemed like it could wipe him off the face of the earth with a mere breath. Immediately after sensing this, he felt a heavy pressure weigh down on his back and viciously shove him even deeper into the ground.
Originally, he'd been holding his breath. However, the instant this heavy pressure appeared, the oxygen he'd been holding instantly disappeared. Afterwards, his entire body sank so deep into the snow that he reached the soil beneath it.
Huo Yuhao felt a hard shell cover his body the instant the heavy pressure appeared. Even though he'd been forced into the ground, he'd only been shoved in. Other than the suffocating pressure he felt, he hadn't suffered any injuries.
Were it not for the Skydream Iceworm's previous command, Huo Yuhao definitely would've made a noise. Due to the pressure and the command he'd received, he didn't even dare to move at the moment. Instead, he forcefully endured the pain that came along with being suffocated.
The enormous pressure that was weighing down on him suddenly disappeared, while the terrifying aura he'd felt began to move further and further away from him. As he continued to choke, Huo Yuhao felt his chest burning up.
However, he couldn't move before the Skydream Iceworm told him that it was alright. He could only endure. Otherwise, there was a large chance of him encountering a calamity that could kill him.
Finally, the terrifying aura disappeared completely after another ten or so seconds passed. After that, the Skydream Iceworm indicated for him to get back up.
After getting back to his feet with difficulty, Huo Yuhao took large, deep breaths of the icy air. Although his body wasn't afraid of the cold, inhaling the cold air still made him shiver instinctively. He hurriedly lowered the rate at which he inhaled, but his chest continued to move up and down violently.
Although he didn't see the object that had just crushed him, he was completely certain that he had escaped from the gates of hell! The outer shell that'd suddenly hardened was the Skydream Iceworm's shedded skin. If it weren't for that, he might've been squashed into a meat patty with that single stomp.
After continuing to inhale and exhale for quite a while, he recovered somewhat, albeit with much difficulty. The moment he stood back up, an astonished expression involuntarily appeared on his face. He saw a few enormous footprints around him, and he was right inside one of these footprints.
Every one of these footprints were around five meters long and two meters wide. As a result of this, the imprint of Huo Yuhao's body on the ground wasn't even a third of a single footprint. He could see that the enormous footprints were headed towards the distance.
When all was said and done, Huo Yuhao was still a kid. After encountering a situation like this, how could he not be scared?
"Brother Skydream, what, what was that thing just now? How could its footprints be this big?"
The Skydream Iceworm's somewhat nervous voice rang out, "We almost gave away our location. That fella's also a spiritual-type, so he was actually able to block my Detection. Fortunately, my spiritual power vastly exceeds his. Because of this, I was able to notice him when he was a certain distance away from us. You're really lucky, kid. You were actually able to meet the Titan Ice Devil King, one of the Three Emperors. Luckily, we were able to hide from this fella. Otherwise, there'd only be one thing waiting for us—death—even if I were at my best condition, let alone you."
"The Titan Ice Devil King? What species does it belong to? Is it also a soul beast?" After the anxiety and palpitations disappeared, the curiosity of a young man quickly won over Huo Yuhao's heart.
The Skydream Iceworm said, "The Three Emperors of the Extreme North are equivalent to those kings from the Great Star Dou Forest. They're the rulers of the Extreme North, as well as the true consummate experts here. They're practically unparalleled existences within a cold environment like this. In terms of overall strength, those fellas from the Great Star Dou Forest might not be able to beat the soul beasts of my Extreme North even if they worked together. Only, the Extreme North has too large of an area and range. This, combined with the few soul beasts there are here, makes it hard for them to gather together."
"The Extreme North has a large number of hundred thousand year soul beasts, so much so that they could even exceed those in the Great Star Dou Forest. After all, the environment here is very harsh, and there are few humans who even dare to come in here. In addition, the Three Emperors all share a common characteristic—that is, that their cultivations all exceed a hundred thousand years."
Huo Yuhao was stunned. He was no longer the ignorant kid who'd met the Skydream Iceworm at the very beginning. After studying in Shrek Academy for more than a year, his knowledge of soul masters and soul beasts had already increased.
"Brother Skydream, if I'm not mistaken, soul beasts have no ways of growing anymore after cultivating for a hundred thousand years. Even their life forces will begin to deteriorate from that point onward. Your situation is an extremely unique one, to the point where even our academy's Director Du has never seen anything like it before. But not all hundred thousand year soul beasts can constantly eat the best heavenly treasures like you have! How did the Three Emperors do it? Are you one of them?"
"Hai… it naturally doesn't include the likes of me. If I were one of the Three Emperors of this freezing area, why would I even need to go so far as to run away!? At that time, I was forced to run away by one of those Three Emperors. The lands below the heavens are vast and filled with extraordinary things, and I'm not the only soul beast who's had a lucky encounter. Can't someone else have a lucky encounter as well? The Three Emperors are different from me. We Iceworms can only be considered to be lower ranked soul beasts within the Extreme North, and most of the time we're taken as food. On the other hand, the Three Emperors of the Extreme North all have noble origins; the blood of the Ice God flows through their bodies. In the first place, they belong to the strongest races within this freezing area, so their ability to gather heavenly treasures is definitely not weak. Combined with the insider secrets they have, it's definitely not impossible for them to have a cultivation breakthrough."
"But now that I think about it, it really is very hard to break through the hundred thousand year barrier merely by relying on cultivation. In the million years I've been alive, the number of soul beasts I've seen succeed doesn't exceed ten. And of those, only three of them are still living in the Extreme North. The others all died while trying to make their breakthroughs to a higher cultivation realm. The hurdle soul beasts have to cross every hundred thousand years is an extremely arduous task."
"That guy who passed by just now was a descendant of the Titan Giant clan which was supposedly visited by the ancient Ice God. He belongs to the Titan Ice Devil clan. If you talk about race alone, they're undoubtedly the strongest race in this freezing area. Right now, they only have several hundred clansmen left. Once they gather together, they'll definitely become an unparalleled existence. Titan Ice Devils are over ten meters tall even at birth, and adult Titan Ice Devils are over fifty meters tall. That Ice Titan Devil King who just passed by was over a hundred meters tall, and he's definitely the largest living creature within the Douluo Continent without any question. Furthermore, we're not talking about a 'one of the' kind of thing. Even within the oceans, soul beasts who can compare to it in size alone are as rare as phoenix feathers and qilin horns."
Huo Yuhao was flabbergasted. "A hundred meters? That's too scary. Isn't it an unparalleled existence then?"
"Unparalleled?" The Skydream Iceworm snorted disdainfully. "That's obviously not the case. Let's not even talk about the entire continent; it's not even unparalleled in the Extreme North. That's because it's ranked the last of the Three Emperors. Naturally, the chances of a human beating it here in single combat is nearly zero."
Astonished, Huo Yuhao said, "It's only ranked third with such a terrifying body? Then the other two Emperors…"
The Skydream Iceworm replied, "Larger bodies aren't always better. Contrarily, there are some times where it's more advantageous to have a smaller body. The other two Emperors aren't as big as that guy, but they're both stronger than him. According to what I know, this Titan Ice Devil King should've only broken through the two hundred thousand year bottleneck with much difficulty. I reckon it can't breakthrough to the three hundred thousand year level. One of the other two fellows ranked higher than him has already passed the three hundred thousand year bottleneck, while the other has passed the even more terrifying five hundred thousand year bottleneck. Other than me, it's the oldest soul beast on the Douluo Continent. If you wanna compare the strongest soul beasts on the continent, that leader of the Extreme North's Three Emperors is definitely a powerful contender for that position."