Wang Dong’er’s turned red. “I was afraid that you couldn’t take it when I first returned to my female identity, and that you’d still treat me like a brother. I tried my best to be gentle and passive. Afterwards, you gave so much for me, and so I wanted to be better to you. That’s the reason why I have always been so gentle, because I’ve always wanted to be nicer to you. But when I saw Qiu’er today, I suddenly felt that the gentle me isn’t really me anymore. If you truly like the way I am when I’m gentle, perhaps you don’t like the way that I am as a person. Therefore, I wanted to try becoming myself again. Is that alright?”
Huo Yuhao’s eyes grew focused, and an intense pain snaked up from his chest. Yes! I’ve given so much for Dong’er. But what about her? She has also been giving back to me in silence. She’s changed her own personality for me, that’s an extremely difficult thing to do! It’s no wonder that I’m starting to feel that she’s changed over the past days.
“Come here, Don’ger.” Huo Yuhao’s voice sounded a little stifled.
Wang Dong’er stood up and squatted down beside him.
Huo Yuhao extended his right arm and pulled her into his embrace. “I’m sorry, Dong’er. It’s me... I have neglected you, and I have neglected your feelings. You don’t have to be so foolish, because you will always be my Dong’er no matter what personality you have. Quick, return to yourself, because what I like the most is a happy you. I will like you if you’re happy, no matter what your personality is. How can you change yourself because of me? I won’t be happy if you toil so much just to be with me!”
Wang Dong’er opened her arms and hugged Huo Yuhao as tightly as she could. Tears welled up in her eyes as she said, “Yes! It really has been hard for me, especially when you disappeared back then. I thought I was about to lose you, and I didn’t dare to be jealous, I didn’t dare to overthink, and I didn’t dare to be angry at you. I was too afraid of losing you! When you came back to me as if you were already dead, I told myself that I would die with you if you didn’t survive. It was so very vexing, and I shouldn’t have suspected you of anything, I shouldn’t have been jealous in the first place! I tried my best to keep my spirits up and toughen myself up during that time so that I could take care of you with everything I had. I would have died with you if you had died, and if you were to be crippled forever, then I would take care of you for the rest of your life. It was then that I truly saw myself as your woman.
“But over the recent weeks and months, there has always been a shadow in my heart... a shadow that originates from Wang Qiu’er, and it’s there even though I know I’m the only one in your heart. However, I can tell from Wang Qiu’er’s eyes that even though she’s cold to you on the outside, the pain she feels in her heart is the same as mine back then, and it’s likely that she feels more agony than I do... because she really likes you. But I can’t give you to her, because I can’t bear to let you go. This is the reason why I’m so conflicted. I want to do my best to be nice to you, to be gentler to you, so that you can enjoy everything that I am. But the deeper I go, the more guilty I get, to the point that I’m losing my self-confidence. I discovered that I’m not the Wang Dong’er that I used to be, and I feel as if I’ve changed, and that I’ve completely become your appendant.
“I’ve been feeling this way until today, when I finally returned to the competition stage after such a long time. It was only then that I woke up, and I realized that I’m Wang Dong’er, the only one in the world. Why do I need to have such low self-esteem, why do I need to have such low self-confidence? I’m very pretty, and you love me! There’s no reason at all for me to lack self-confidence. I’m Wang Dong’er, and the person that I want you to fall in love with is the real me, and not the person that has become your appendant. Therefore, I wish to become myself again, and I don’t want to be like I used to be. I will do everything I can to lock your heart in forever. Love is selfish, and it can’t be shared! Everything else can be shared, but a lover can’t be shared. No matter how much Wang Qiu’er loves you, I will do everything in my power and everything that I have to protect your love for me! Nobody can take that away from me!”
Wang Dong’er was sobbing uncontrollably at this point. She was still hugging Huo Yuhao as tightly as she could, and she didn’t want to let go for anything else in the world.
Huo Yuhao’s eyes had grown slack by now. The necromancy spell made sure that his mind was still calmly analyzing everything before him, but there was nothing he could do about this state no matter how much agony he felt in his heart.
“It’s all my fault, Dong’er. I’ve overlooked your feelings, and I wasn’t able to realize your circumstances in time. Dong’er, Dong’er…” Even though the spell had given Huo Yuhao calm and composure, he didn’t know what he had to say to console her. However, he could clearly feel that Wang Dong’er’s entire aura and disposition seemed to change as she was cathartically releasing her emotions.
“It’s not your fault, Yuhao. These are all my own problems, and they’ve happened because my mentality has been imbalanced. It’s alright now that I’ve thought it through. You’ve sustained such heinous injuries for me, and the fact that you’re still alive is already a miracle! How can you pay attention to so much when your body is in such a state? Don’t worry! I will adjust myself, and I will be back to normal. All you have to do is understand my feelings, and everything will be alright!”
Huo Yuhao caressed Wang Dong’er’s back, though he was careful not to touch her wounds. Wang Dong’er wiped her tears and sat up straight as she stared into Huo Yuhao’s eyes with her face right in front of his.
“Remember, you can’t use this spell anymore. I don’t like the way you are now. You can sleep on the bed by yourself today.” Wang Dong’er’s eyes were still a little swollen from all that crying as she spoke, but they seemed a little craftier than before.
Huo Yuhao stared at Wang Dong’er with widened eyes and a slack jaw. “Uh… Dong’er, can I still take that back?”
Wang Dong’er shook her head without hesitation and said, “Of course not, it’s too late to regret. Alright, hurry up and cultivate. You have to recover as quickly as possible. Otherwise, I will always feel this heartache!” She picked up Huo Yuhao as she spoke and placed him down on the bed before she covered him with the blanket. She sat down by his side and crossed her legs as she started to meditate.
Huo Yuhao watched Wang Dong’er as she closed her eyes. Her long eyelashes were still quivering, and Huo Yuhao knew that there was no way she could calm herself down at a time like this. Dong’er… the truth is that I’m very delighted that you will return to the way that you’ve always been. It’s my fault, because I haven’t shown you enough care and concern. You will be the love of my life no matter how you are, as long as you’re happy.
Huo Yuhao smiled faintly as he reached out of the blanket with his right arm and gently touched Wang Dong’er’s kneecap. He closed his eyes and began to channel his soul power.
Their Haodong power still couldn’t be used during cultivation. Huo Yuhao’s legs and his left arm’s vessels weren’t clear and smooth, and it was too easy to accidentally divert the ice-type origin energy of heaven and earth into Wang Dong’er’s body. It was too easy to hurt her, and so the Haodong power could only be unleashed on the battlefield when Wang Dong’er was purely supporting him.
The round robins’ first matches concluded successfully. However, nobody could ever forget the first match that was the greatest upset of the entire tournament. The Tang Sect’s name swiftly became the talk of the city, and every street and alley within Radiant City was filled with discussions about them. The Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy’s reputation had plummeted, to the point where many citizens began to gather and pace around outside the academy’s main gate.
Shrek Academy’s first opponent wasn’t that powerful, and they followed the same style during the elimination rounds and eventually emerged victorious. The round robins had just begun, and every subsequent battle was exceedingly important for every participating team. This was especially true for those teams who were defeated in their first match.
The second day of the round robins’ first round was completed. The sky was getting dark, and everyone had returned to Radiant City. Many people decided not to rest up, and the restaurants, hotels, and bars were filled with people.
People weren’t just talking about the Continental Elite Youth Soul Master Tournament. They were also talking anther tournament that they could also participate in and benefit from: the Radiant City Elite Soul Engineering Tournament!
The Radiant City Elite Soul Engineering Tournament’s three participating regions had already produced the name list of those who were progressing into the second round. There were many more things to bet on since the start of the second round.
A competition between soul engineers was different from one between soul masters. A competition between soul engineers wasn’t that intense and epic, since everyone was just crafting soul tools under a fair environment. However, it was a lot more uncertain. This was a black-market competition, and many soul engineers who came forth to participate were concerned about their reputation, and faked their own names. Everyone had a nickname that they used in this competition, and the citizens could only see the soul engineers’ performances through the information passed down by the three underground organizations.
The Radiant City Elite Soul Engineering Tournament’s second round was going to start tonight. The most alluring wager was the amount of time needed for the first person to complete this round. This wager was separated into different brackets; the shortest bracket was within one hour, and the next bracket was between one to two hours, then two to three hours, and so on. The longest times didn’t have the worst odds. Rather, the middle brackets had the worst odds, and the two extremes had much higher odds.
For example, the odds for betting that the first person would finish the competition within one hour had one-to-five odds. The odds for between one to two hours was one-to-three, and the odds for between five to six hours had the lowest odds at five to six.
The second round had a longer introduction than before. This round would take ten hours, and it would continue from tonight until the following morning. All participating soul engineers from all three underground competitions would have to craft an offensive Class 4 soul tool within ten hours.
Soul engineers who could craft a Class 5 soul tool would pass automatically without any testing. The soul engineers who could create Class 4 soul tools would have an extra segment for a soul tool showdown, in contrast to the previous round.
Every soul engineer would have to take his or her soul tool for test-firing inside a Testing Range, and data would be collected after every shot. The five people with the weakest results would be eliminated, while those who couldn’t complete Class 4 soul tools within the stipulated time would also be eliminated.
This round didn’t eliminate that many people, but it was becoming a lot more cruel and brutal. Nobody could be sure that his or her soul tool would be stronger or more forceful than someone else’s soul tool of the same Class. Under such circumstances, everyone would naturally try his or her best to create a soul tool that was as strong and forceful as possible. Pressure from the subsequent showdown would give these soul engineers a better chance to unleash their true potential.
There were many other forms of betting, and the three underground organizations were relatively adept at understanding the psychology of people. They were able to ensure that almost every single gambler had a bet that he or she was satisfied with.
Inside the Green Hotel, back inside the simple and unornamented lobby...
Huo Yuhao and company arrived on the scene. This time, Chen An was a lot more low-profile than before after Huo Yuhao had instructed him to be so. He didn’t come out to welcome them personally, instead sending one of his subordinates to meet Huo Yuhao outside before taking them into the guest lounge.
A set of information and data was quickly sent into Huo Yuhao’s hands. This data detailed the soul engineers that had qualified from the previous rounds and their performances, and some remarks about them.
The contestants’ numbering changed when the tournament entered its main phase. The numbering did mean something in this round: Huo Yuhao’s number was 66, while He Caitou’s number was 88. These were clearly numbers that Chen An had picked out to make them happy.
Huo Yuhao scanned through the data. The Duskwater Alliance was left with sixty-seven soul engineers who had managed to pass the previous two rounds. A little more than ninety had progressed from the qualifying round, which meant that the main phase’s first round had eliminated over thirty people.
Chen An had made special markings for about a dozen contestants among the sixty-seven. Some markings represented skip-overs, while other markings meant they were suspected of hiding their abilities. These numbers were quickly memorized, as it was important for him to know his rivals in order to win. Huo Yuhao had attracted Chen An through his offers of rewards and his threats of punishment, and in addition to his astonishment at the unique technology of Huo Yuhao’s sealed Milk Bottle, Chen An was utterly convinced of Huo Yuhao’s non-existent identity that he claimed to have.
“Yuhao, I want to watch you compete after this,” Wang Dong’er said with a smile on her face.
Huo Yuhao was momentarily startled, but then nodded and said, “Alright, I’ll tell Chen An’s people to arrange it.”
Wang Dong’er stared deeply into his eyes as she bent down to his ear and whispered, “Why are you giving in to me like that?”
Huo Yuhao forced a smile and said, “Am I not helping you recover your personality? You are my queen. The truth is, I’m not sure if this is good or bad for me.”
Wang Dong’er rolled her eyes and said, “Since you’re so nice to me, tonight…”
Huo Yuhao’s eyes lit up, and he was just about to ask her what was happening tonight when the guest room’s door opened. A row of people walked in from outside. There were six of them, and the two walking in front were dressed like soul engineers, each having a soul engineer badge on their chests. However, there seemed to be a mist-like layer floating over their badges, so that nobody could tell what Class they were.
The other four people were evidently their bodyguards...Previous Chapter Next Chapter