The feeling Bai Yunfei got within the soulgem was a warning. Warning that danger was near! Like the roars of an angry beast, it was warning Bai Yunfei that his next attempt would end in him being ‘devoured’, rather than being ‘refused’!
Bai Yunfei felt this once before with the blue-eyes wyrm. But back then, the wyrm wasn’t strong enough to do anything, so the feeling wasn’t too bad.
“It….it regained its sentience?!” Bai Yunfei cried out. “Will this be like the time with the flash eagle then?”
Back with the flash eagle, the slave seal had undergone a unique type of mutation and wiped away the soulbeast’s sentience. It was no longer a soulbeast puppet, but it was also empty, as if it was ‘reborn’ into the world….
Whether the thunderfire wolf was the same way would only be known with future experimentation.
Shaking his head, Bai Yunfei pulled away from the wolf. He stood up to stretch his back, only to hear a series of grumbling sounds from his stomach.
That was when he realized that he hadn’t eaten for two whole days. With such a lengthy amount of time like that and the amount of energy he used recently, it was time for him to replenish his strength.
Cooking a meal, Bai Yunfei took Xiao Qi and the wolf on to continue their journey west.
For a good while, Bai Yunfei dedicated most of his time towards assimilating the rest of the absorbed elemental energy in him and acquainting himself with the companion lightningseed. The Upgrade Technique, he decided, would be dealt with another time.
Very rarely did he come across any other soulbeasts, but the thunderfire wolf and Xiao Qi dealt with them when they did.
Half a month later….
A blood-curdling screech was heard from somewhere within the deep Soulbeast Forest. Then from the skies, a dog-like soulbeast whose fur was green and coarse like tree bark and head strangely triangular came falling down to the ground. Its waist was completely gone, so when it fell, it fell in two halves.
There was an excited chirp before a flash of prismatic light bolted down to where the corpse was. Talons as sharp as blades cut into the dog’s head, extracting a green-colored soulgem before it flew back into the air to toss the soulgem. From another side, a giant wolf the color red and purple caught the soulgem into its mouth before swallowing it whole.
The rainbow flash of light came to a stop in the air, revealing it to be a bird whose aura was slowly increasing in intensity.
To its side, the wolf that had swallowed the soulgem stood still, body digesting the soulgem to add to its strength.
This bird and wolf was Xiao Qi and the thunderfire wolf.
A hundred meters away, Bai Yunfei stared monotonously at the two soulbeasts with shrugged shoulders and a sigh escaping from his lips.
The two had practically been ‘bandit kings’ for the past few days. Whenever a soulbeast came forward to ‘make trouble’, the two would make short work of it and then take its soulgem. Over the course of their actions, Bai Yunfei had already lost count how many mid-stage class six soulbeasts had died by their hands….
In the earlier half of the class six area, mid-stage class six soulbeasts were primarily seen as being the stronger soulbeasts. But in front of Xiao Qi and the thunderfire wolf, none were able to even match them.
Bai Yunfei did keep a close eye on the thunderfire wolf, however. His observations so far had hinted that the wolf was slowly regaining signs of sentience in its entire body. They weren’t very noticeable, all things considered, but Bai Yunfei was sure that it wouldn’t be long before the wolf would return back to normal. The only question left to be answered was if it’d be back to normal, or if it’d have to ‘relearn’ everything….
Xiao Qi was quite proud of its ‘younger brother’. The wolf was extremely strong, and there was virtually no soulbeast that’d come close to meeting its strength in this part of the forest. Whenever Xiao Qi had trouble with a soulbeast, the wolf would come in to help. Xiao Qi would also treat the wolf right by giving it every single soulgem they got, even though it knew that it didn’t matter to the wolf who got the soulgem or not. Only when they fought a particularly strange soulbeast did Bai Yunfei ask to save onto that soulgem.
Soulgems were actually very important materials for crafting. Some soulgems were even the main materials in some recipes, and forming soul armaments generally required plenty of soulgems, meaning soulgems had a better use than using to absorb.
For example, Bai Yunfei took the soulgem he extracted from the hillbeast and used it as the main ingredient in a particularly strong shield he called the Hillbeast’s Shield.
By the time Bai Yunfei was done thinking, the two soulbeasts were also done with their own preparations and returned to him. Rather than having no signs of life in its eyes, the wolf’s eyes were ‘vacant’, meaning that it was truly on its journey back to becoming a sentient soulbeast.
Mid-flight, Xiao Qi shrunk down to the size of a pigeon to settle onto Bai Yunfei’s shoulder.
Landing on his shoulder, Xiao Qi rubbed its head against his shoulder and then pointed a wing to its right.
“Hm?” He smiled, “You want to go deeper in?”
What Xiao Qi was saying to him was that the soulbeasts here were far too ‘weak’. It wanted to fight even stronger opponents and so it was asking Bai Yunfei to go deeper into the forest.
Bai Yunfei rubbed his chin to think about it. “Well, it’s not like we can’t….”
“Chirp chirp!” Xiao Qi’s wings flapped excitedly.
“…..” Unsure how exactly to respond to the antics of Xiao Qi, Bai Yunfei scratched its head fondly, “Haha, alright. Let’s take a detour in that direction then.”
They were by now, a long distance away from the battleground where the Black Dragon King fought. Heading deeper into this direction didn’t seem like a problem to Bai Yunfei, since no one would know that he took the Nephrite Throne (albeit in pieces). He had also changed his appearances (so none of the people that fought the Black Dragon King could tell), and to make it even harder to be found out, he hide his soulforce (through the Soul Concealment Art).
Aside from the Two Winged King, Bai Yunfei was confident no one else would know who he really was.
Besides, those Soul Kings wouldn’t even bother taking someone as weak as an early-stage Soul Exalt into consideration anyways.
This way, Bai Yunfei was left unimpeded to go north-west to gradually go deeper into the forest. Xiao Qi and the wolf were both very excited to fight even more soulbeasts, and even if they were at the risk of losing, they could either run away or have Bai Yunfei step in. But that wasn’t very likely.
For the most part, Bai Yunfei was more dedicated to his own training and rarely participated in battle.
And so the party of three continued deeper into the forest this way….
Two months later, they were back in the middling parts of the class six area and still moving further north-west.
Another two months later, they were in the later-half of the class six area, but now they were back on track to go west.
Bai Yunfei was back to full strength now and more than ready to gain some more precious combat experience. This part of the Soulbeast Forest was fraught with danger with late-stage class six soulbeasts and even peak late-stage class six ones. Whenever one of the latter did appear, it usually took the three of them to fight it off.
His studies with the Upgrade Technique had been renewed during this time. By using most of the +8 and under upgrade stones, he was able to make some ‘leeway’ into his understandings. The +9 and +10 upgrade stones were kept since their effects were better put to use when crafting weapons.
The art of crafting wasn’t left to rot either. The Soulbeast Forest was prosperous with rare materials, so Bai Yunfei was able to craft many soul armaments.
In the course of the past four months, Xiao Qi’s strength had grown meteorically. Just in half a year, Xiao Qi was already a mid-stage class six soulbeast.
The thunderfire wolf was nearly back to the level where it once was as well. Each passing day was another day where it was more life-like than before, so it didn’t seem different to any regular soulbeast.
Training, battling, crafting, and upgrading….
The metaphorical path Bai Yunfei was embarking on in the forest was the ‘right’ one. Every day was filled with experience Bai Yunfei could use to accelerate his growth.
Without at all caring for the passage of time, Bai Yunfei found himself spending a year in it.
At last, Bai Yunfei walked out from the west side of the class six area.
He had finally reached the Skywards Mountains….