In midair, Xiao Qi’s wings were wrapped around itself as it floated in the thick flow of elemental energy. Seemingly asleep, it was left undisturbed by the elemental fire, wood, wind, and lightning as they flowed into its body. The elemental lightning had been the most noticeable energy that was strengthening Xiao Qi’s body the most.
Everything else in the world was at peace with only the occasional wind running through the trees to produce a rustling sound as Xiao Qi underwent this ordeal.
Bai Yunfei was still looking at the glows of light expectantly. Each light that formed away from Xiao Qi was looked at by Bai Yunfei, and then looked at again when it flowed into Xiao Qi.
With each stream of light that entered Xiao Qi’s body, its aura begun to grow in intensity. It was a slow increase, but consistent for ten whole minutes, and soon enough, it was looking as if Xiao Qi would become a mid-stage class six soulbeast.
But to actually become a mid-stage class six soulbeast was a different matter than being close to being one. At the rate Xiao Qi was going at, it’d still take a very long time to actually become a mid-stage class six.
And if Bai Yunfei’s guess was correct, the rate Xiao Qi’s aura was strengthening at was already starting to slow.
Another ten minutes went by before Xiao Qi’s aura suddenly came to a stop. And then in the next second, it surged drastically as if undergoing its final spurt of energy to absorb all of the rest of the elemental energy in the area into Xiao Qi’s body.
A loud and clear cry was heard by Xiao Qi. Flapping open its wings, Xiao Qi emitted a dazzling glow of light from its body, looking more like a supernatural bird from mythlore rather than a prisma oriole.
Gently flapping its wings in what seemed to be a stretching exercise of its body, Xiao Qi turned to look happily at Bai Yunfei before flying over to him.
On its way to him, Xiao Qi’s body downsized to the size of a sparrow to rest upon his right shoulder. Now perched on his shoulder, Xiao Qi rubbed its head affectionately against Bai Yunfei’s cheek, chirping contently as it shared a happy feeling with him.
“Haha, I’m fine now, don’t you worry. I’ll be fully recovered soon enough.” Bai Yunfei reassured it with a chuckle, though there was a small sliver of regret in his eyes.
Much to Bai Yunfei’s disappointment, Xiao Qi hadn’t managed to become a mid-stage class six soulbeast, even with that last spurt of energy it unleashed at the end.
In the end, it was only stuck halfway in between an early-stage and mid-stage class six.
“Ah…I was too greedy!” He thought to himself, “To improve this much so quickly was already supposed to be impossible, I shouldn’t have put my expectations up too high….Xiao Qi’s already unique beyond everything else, him reaching the class six level should’ve been impossible as well. If it was that easy to become a mid-stage class six, I should be worried if anything.”
A class six was the same level as the Soul Exalt title in the world of soul cultivators. So to jump so quickly in levels would’ve been absolutely absurd. The path onward wouldn’t be as easy as it was before either. Each bottleneck that would come next would have to be treated meticulously, else one risk being unable to control their power and have something bad happen.
Bai Yunfei took some relief in knowing that and tried his best to focus on his own recovery efforts.
Time went on slowly for Bai Yunfei as a ring of red light enveloped his body and healed up the rest of his wounds. The last vestiges of pain was now gone from his body, and the sun was already starting to set from the west at the same time as Bai Yunfei opened his eyes.
Standing up from his spot, Bai Yunfei stretched his body, sighing contentedly whenever there was a popping sound from his joints.
He looked up to the setting sky, and then all around him suspiciously.
“This place is a little strange….” he remarked, “there’s not a single soulbeast around for at least ten kilometers around….that’s really strange….”
Now that he was a Soul Exalt, his soulsense was now a lot stronger as well, meaning he was able to sense things from farther away. And upon his search, Bai Yunfei was surprised to see that not even a single soulbeast was to be had within ten kilometers of this place! He didn’t look any farther than ten kilometers, but Bai Yunfei had the feeling that even if he doubled his search radius, he’d still come up with nothing.
While he realized this fact during his battle with the thunderwing bat before, Bai Yunfei didn’t really understand the implications of the matter until afterwards. At the time, he was relieved that it meant he could fight the bat without worry of being interrupted–they were after all in the dangerous class six area of the Soulbeast Forest, so if another late-stage class six soulbeast came out, then things would’ve gone very badly for Bai Yunfei,
But now that the threat that was the bat was gone, and his wounds were fully healed, Bai Yunfei was left with all the time in the world to fully understand the situation he was in.
“Where….where am I in the class six area?” Bai Yunfei thought.
He had been lead to this place by Xiao Qi when they were running away earlier, and with so many detours to try and shake off the bat, Bai Yunfei didn’t even know where they were anymore.
Before, they had been in the middle of the class six area, but the chances of them still being there was very low.
So this left him with two options…..
Was he in the earlier half of the class six area, or the later half?
If there had been any soulbeasts here, Bai Yunfei would’ve guessed that he was at the end of the class six area. But since not even a single soulbeast was to be found here, Bai Yunfei was absolutely at a loss.
“I’ve never heard of this before. Was there even such a place in the class six area?! How could such a large piece of land like this not have a single soulbeast….? Is this the territory of a super strong soulbeast that drove away all other soulbeasts? Did I manage to come at a time the soulbeast isn’t here?”
The more Bai Yunfei thought about it, the less he understood. For the first time since Bai Yunfei stepped foot into this place, it was starting to feel more like a regular forest than the infamous Soulbeast Forest.
“It’s a little strange, but there doesn’t seem to be any danger here…” Bai Yunfei continued to think to himself.
“If that’s the case, then that’s good. I should rest here for now, and then scout out the area tomorrow morning.”
Since it was dark, Bai Yunfei wasn’t in a rush to leave any time soon. Coming across the thunderberry and fighting the thunderwing bat was definitely the most dangerous thing Bai Yunfei experienced so far in the forest, so he wanted to make sure he was back at full fighting strength before he continued on.
His eyes lit up when the thunderberry came to mind. Shaking his right hand, the object materialized into the world, revealing itself to be a fist-sized strawberry in his hands.
At first, Bai Yunfei was going to have Xiao Qi eat this to try and break through the bottleneck. But since he and Xiao Qi formed a soul contract with one another and broke the bottleneck that way, it was pointless to eat the thunderberry right now.
Noticing that Xiao Qi was staring at the berry in excitement, Bai Yunfei laughed, “Let’s save it for now. You need to familiarize yourself with your strength. When you’re about to become a mid-stage class six, you can eat the thunderberry then.”
He put away the thunderberry and stood up again to look at the hundred meter crater they were in. Just two steps after deciding to set up a fire near the base of the mountain, Bai Yunfei came to a stop again, “Almost forgot to change into a new set of clothes.” he muttered to himself as he realized just how sorry of a state his clothes were in.
They were a complete mess after going through such a rough battle. There was blood everywhere–especially around his left thigh where his biggest wound was–and many parts of his robes were scratched apart due to the bat’s claws.
It was very noticeable to him when he took those two steps though, as blood drops sprinkled the ground when he walked.
Since no one was around, Bai Yunfei decided to simply strip himself of his clothing and wipe the last of the blood off his body before changing into a new pair of robes and pants.
But just as he was fitted one leg through his trousers and was preparing to put on the other side….
“Oh? This prisma oriole is of the class six level?”
The sound of a lady suddenly made itself known to Bai Yunfei, snapping himself out of shock so badly that he missed the opening of his trouser with his legs and tumbled to the ground!