Huo Yuhao hid behind a small hill. The weather was cold, but that didn't affect him at all. However, he couldn't help but swallow some saliva as he stared at the smoke spiraling from the army camp in the distance. Drinking some hot soup in such snowy lands would be so luxurious! I'm just doing hard labor now.
He couldn't help but laugh bitterly as his thoughts stopped there. However, he could only continue, since he was already at this stage.
Huo Yuhao laid out his map as he leaned against the hill. He had prepared this map long ago. It wasn't a map of the Heavenly Soul Empire's northern region - instead, it was a detailed map of the Douluo Continent's northern regions. He had spent quite a lot of money to get this map. The map itself was made from goatskin, and it was tough and soft at the same time. It could be preserved for a long time.
Huo Yuhao scrutinized the map for a while when he discovered that the Sun Moon Empire's army was still going northeast. They would reach the border between the Heavenly Soul Empire and the Dou Ling Empire if they went further in the same direction. They would also be bordering the Extreme North there, and it would be even colder than it was here.
The temperature there was no small problem for typical soul masters, but could normal soldiers really bear it?
Huo Yuhao turned around as he contemplated, and he lay on his stomach on the hill as he gazed at the Sun Moon Empire's camp in the distance. He activated Spiritual Detection at the same time as he swept in toward the army camp.
He quickly discovered that something else was happening. The Sun Moon Empire's camp seemed to be handing something out, and their soldiers were all lined up to collect those things Everybody was to collect two items that resembled small boxes, and cotton-padded clothes.
The cotton-padded clothes seemed decent in quality. That was especially so for the cotton shoes - they were very thick and sturdy, and Huo Yuhao could tell that they would be very good at retaining warmth.
It seems like the Sun Moon Empire have long been prepared! These soldiers are probably decent at resisting the cold, so the Sun Moon Empire can't have deployed soldiers from their own northern territories. Since that's the case, and in addition to the cotton clothes that they have prepared, they will actually be able to resist the severe cold for a short period of time.
Huo Yuhao went through the night amidst the chilly winds.
He understood during what those boxes that were given out to the soldiers did the next morning.
Every box was about the size of a palm, and the soldiers placed them in their clothes. These boxes were very closely pressed against their inner shirts and tied around their waists. When they began to march, Huo Yuhao immediately realized that the boxes emanated gentle heat. The heat coursed throughout the soldiers' bodies and helped them resist the external cold.
That works? Those tiny boxes should also be soul tools. If that was the case, the box definitely needed sealed Milk Bottles inside. Maintaining the heat didn't need too much soul power, but Huo Yuhao could tell from the size of the box that it could only be sustained for a few days before it had to be charged.
Huo Yuhao thought carefully for a moment, and he couldn't help but concede his enemies' ingenuity. The Sun Moon Empire's army was following a formidable soul engineer legion, and the Fire Phoenix Legion had at least three hundred soul engineers, while charging those small milk bottles didn't need too much of their soul power. When the army was resting at night, every soul master would be responsible for some soldiers' sealed Milk Bottles. Naturally, they would be able to charge all those milk bottles that way.
Huo Yuhao hadn't expected the Sun Moon Empire to have developed soul tools for commoners to use. If, one day, they could find something to substitute for milk bottles, the Sun Moon Empire could truly conquer the entire continent - because that would be the time when normal soldiers could become soul engineers, and they would have a soul engineer's attacking power. Huo Yuhao thought about it - how frightening would it be, if a hundred thousand soul engineers appeared on the battlefield?
Huo Yuhao heaved a faint sigh inside. He shook his head as he accepted this reality in exasperation. It seemed like the Douluo Continent's three native empires had to accomplish great feats as soon as possible if they wished to fight back against the Sun Moon Empire. Otherwise, within a hundred years, even if the Sun Moon Empire didn't launch an invasion, their technological advantage would become increasingly evident. The Douluo Continent would finally belong to them like a meal on a lunch plate.
Huo Yuhao was lamenting inside, but he had to continue following them. He was still following far behind them on their flank, and he followed the army forward towards the Heavenly Soul Empire's northeastern region.
The Sun Moon Empire's great army moved slower as the weather became colder. The place that Huo Yuhao had estimated they would reach within a day took them two days.
Everything was white and snowy around him, and the cold winds howled through the air as they cut like blades. There wasn't much moisture in the air in a snowy place like this, because any bit of water would be immediately frozen. The temperature here was at least thirty degrees below zero, and normal people would find it extremely difficult to survive in such an environment.
It was almost evening when the Sun Moon Empire set up camp once more. Their camp was a lot more compact compared to before. Furthermore, Huo Yuhao realized to his surprise that the layout was also different.
The Fire Phoenix Legion, who were originally in the innermost sections, were shifted to the periphery. They formed an arch as they directly faced the northwestern winds, as if they were alpha wolves guarding their companions from the most bitter chill. The commander's tent was apparently right at the front, and it didn't move at all even when the cold wind blew against it.
The other tents were tightly and neatly arranged in rows behind them. This was the layout that could preserve as much heat as possible.
The spiraling smoke had disappeared by now, and he could see hot air rising from some large tents. There was no doubt that the army cooks were located toward the center, and not on the outside. Otherwise, starting a fire would be very difficult in a place like this, where water turned into ice.
Huo Yuhao heaved another faint sigh in his heart. I have been freezing for a day, and I should also get a sip of that hot soup! Even though I'm not afraid of the cold, I have been exposed to the weather in this snowy place for days. These days haven't really been comfortable at all.
However, Huo Yuhao could tell that the Sun Moon Empire's army wasn't that far away from their destination. That was because they were always travelling toward the northwest, and now, they were near the Extreme North's borders. They would enter the Extreme North if they continued forward.
Huo Yuhao had been in the Extreme North before, and was thus very clear on the dreadful conditions there. Normal people would definitely not survive in a place like that, and that was the case even with cotton-padded clothes and soul tools that provided heat.
Even soul masters couldn't go deep inside if they didn't have a certain standard. Furthermore, there were many ice-type soul beasts that lived in the Extreme North. They borrowed strength from their surroundings, and they were much more powerful than typical soul beasts. The Fire Phoenix Legion would run out of strength no matter how powerful they were if they ran into a pack of formidable soul beasts. Huo Yuhao could faintly guess that the reason why the Fire Phoenix Legion was involved in this operation was likely to be because their abilities had something to do with fire. Fire-type abilities would be greatly limited in a place like this, but fire-type abilities were also good at resisting the cold. The more he thought this way, the more Huo Yuhao felt that the Fire Phoenix Legion wasn't directing the Sun Moon Empire's army here to battle. They were here for something else.
Huo Yuhao continued to think as faint light flickered. He hid himself within a small depression in a mountain. He didn't have any fire-type abilities, and having something warm in such a snowy place was completely impossible. However, he had his own methods.
He retrieved some dry rations from his storage-type soul tool before he placed them on his right hand. A strange scene occurred - the tough dry rations in his hand gradually became soft, before they began to emanate a faint warmth.
Huo Yuhao hadn't wasted his time in the Extreme North over the past few days. His understanding of the element of ice had become increasingly deep, especially in terms of controlling heat.
Ice needed a lot of heat to melt. In the same way, water forming ice would release large amounts of heat.
Huo Yuhao leveraged this principle as he sealed off the air around him before he began to control his blood and condense it into ice. This naturally released heat; such control shouldn't be too difficult for a person with spiritual power as powerful as his.
However, the dry rations would only be a little warm and soft. He had to eat them quickly. In the end, he couldn't let the blood in his hands freeze for too long, as long as he could swallow those dry rations.
Huo Yuhao swiftly dealt with dinner as he prepared to meditate once more. However, right at this moment, he suddenly realized to his surprise that something was happening in the Sun Moon Empire's army.
The Sun Moon Empire began to erect thick metal pillars around their camp in the dark of night. Some of the Fire Phoenix Legion's members clad in dark-red armor were hard at work, and they were flying through the air as they arranged those metal pillars according to their designated locations, before certain individuals would hammer them into the ground and stabilize them.
Normal people would need many large machines to complete a task like this. However, this wasn't much for soul engineers. Soul engineers were soul masters first, and they could rely on auxiliary soul tools for aid, so they found such tasks very easy and casual. It didn't take long before they were almost done with their job.
Have they arrived at their destination? Huo Yuhao observed closely.
There was no doubt that these metal pillars were brought with their storage-type soul tools. Every pillar seemed about fifty meters long, and had diameters of more than three meters. It wasn't hard to imagine their weight. They were not only brought by storage-type soul tools - this had to be done with high-quality storage-type soul tools.
What is the Sun Moon Empire doing here? Is this where they intended to be? What can there be in the barren Extreme North?
Huo Yuhao had many doubts in his mind. However, he could only continue observing. At least, he was sure of one thing, that the Sun Moon Empire wouldn't create a fortress here like idiots.
The enormous metal pillars weighed at least five thousand kilos, and several high-tier soul engineers had to work together to arrange and install them properly in the ground. Seven or eight pillars were quickly drilled into the ground, and every pillar was at least thirty meters deep, while twelve meters remained aboveground.