Book 7: The Extreme North
Chapter 40.1: Skydream, Ice Emperor
Hearing the Skydream Iceworm’s words, Huo Yuhao couldn’t help but swallow a mouthful of saliva. “Brother Skydream, stop it. If you continue talking about the Three Emperors, you’ll destroy the little bit of confidence I’ve finally built up. The Three Emperors of the Extreme North are still too far away from me. Let’s be a bit more realistic now. When can I get my second soul ring? Also, I have to awaken my second martial soul.”
“They’re too far away from you? No, no, they’re not at all.” The Skydream Iceworm said mysteriously, “Yuhao! Haven’t you heard the phrase ‘the rewards of your harvest are only as big as your guts’? Our target this time is the 2nd ranked Emperor!”
“What?” Huo Yuhao was practically struck by lightning. As the corner of his mouth twitched, he said in all earnestness, “Brother Skydream, don’t you think we’ve traveled a bit too far just for us to give it some free food?”
The Skydream Iceworm spat unhappily, “What do you mean, free food? You good-for-nothing, just see how cowardly you are. Aren’t they just the Three Emperors of the Extreme North? What’s there to be scared of?”
Huo Yuhao had an indignant expression on his face as he said, “There’s nothing to be scared of? If there’s nothing to be scared of, why’d you run away?”
“I…” The Skydream Iceworm flew into a rage, “It’s different now. I’m no longer the person I was. Since I dared to bring you here, I naturally have a way to deal with that fella. What good does it do for me if I get you killed? Could I even continue living then? With your weak body, how’re you gonna take revenge for me and let me stand with my chin held high if we don’t take some desperate measures?”
After feeling astonished for a brief moment, Huo Yuhao calmed down. Feeling somewhat helpless, he said, “Fine. In any case, I’m trusting you with my life. Even if you sell me away, I can only count the money you’ll get. Let’s go. The earlier I die, the earlier I’ll reincarnate. Where do we go?”
“Continue heading northward. That guy only lives within the core regions of the Extreme North. From now on, you have to slow down. You’re about to enter the borderline of the Extreme North’s core regions, and it’s extremely cold here. However, it houses the strongest soul beasts within the Extreme North, like that fella earlier. Even my Spiritual Detection was tricked by it. Moreover, there are some especially quick soul beasts, so we’ll have to be even more careful. Otherwise, we’re definitely screwed if we meet one.”
“Yup.” Huo Yuhao could be considered to have understood the Skydream Iceworm. It definitely had a certain amount of assurance in what it was doing, but it wasn’t a hundred percent certain; there was still a chance of failure. However, according to his knowledge of the Skydream Iceworm, something that could make it risk its life would definitely yield great results if it were to succeed. It was very possible that it would reach a completely astonishing degree.
For the sake of concealing himself even more, Huo Yuhao removed the planks of wood from his feet. After that, he slowly trudged through the half-meter deep snow. Right now, he was completely certain that were it not for the Skydream Iceworm’s shedded skin, he’d turn into an ice statue after a mere ten minutes in a place like this.
In a crazy place like this, even the snowflakes were hard. When the biting wind stirred up the snow on the ground, the layer of frost that formed could even resist an omni-directional soul skill. When the wind got stronger, Huo Yuhao had no choice but to crawl about on the ground. He wasn’t scared of the cold now, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t scared of the wind.
Because of the overly low temperatures here, he sometimes felt the light on the horizon twisting somewhat. However, this place had a beautiful multicoloured radiance that other places didn’t have.
After continuing forward for two more days, Huo Yuhao began to feel somewhat exhausted. It wasn’t because of a lack of physical energy, but a lack of food and drink.
Though he wasn’t afraid of the cold, he couldn’t do without food! No matter what rations he took out of the Twenty Four Moonlit Bridges, it would immediately freeze into a popsicle the moment it came out. Even chewing was a strenuous activity now, but he could only use his teeth to crush his food. The Skydream Iceworm wasn’t willing to let him set up a tent for fear of attracting the attention of other soul beasts.
There was no need to even talk about drinking water. He had no way of drinking the water he’d brought at all. The instant he took it out, it was frozen solid. He simply had no way of pouring it out of his water flask. Thus, he could only eat the snow on the ground that had accumulated over god knows how many years. Whenever he swallowed a mouthful of snow, the coldness from it went straight to his heart. His internal organs had no defenses, and the moment he swallowed a mouthful of snow, his body shivered for a long period of time before he was able to recover.
Under a situation like this, he could only do his best to reduce his consumption of food and drink. However, trudging through the snow consumed an extremely large amount of physical strength. When this was combined with his lack of nutrition, he was gradually unable to withstand it any longer.
As he sat within this snowy land, there was nothing but thick piles of snow all around him. Gasping for breath, Huo Yuhao said, “Brother Skydream, I can’t go on like this! I’m already at the point where I don’t think I can hold on any longer. Even if we meet that soul beast you’re looking for, how will I have the energy to kill it and fuse with its soul ring!? Even if I succeed, I might not even have the energy to go back out. I don’t think I can withstand it any longer.”
With that, he lowered his head and shoved it into his cotton shirt. He took a bite from the rations he had stored within his shirt. He was originally planning to use his bodily warmth to soften his rations a bit, but he simply wasn’t able to do so due to the Skydream Iceworm’s shedded skin. His rations remained as hard as ever, so he could only nibble off a bit with much difficulty. After waiting for it to soften a little in his mouth, he slowly chewed on it and swallowed it.
“Okay, okay. You don’t have to keep whining anymore. We should be just about there. Next up, we’ll have to wait for an opportunity to come.” The Skydream Iceworm continued, “Take a rest for a while. After that, listen to my instructions.”
After hearing that he wouldn’t have to continue walking any further, Huo Yuhao let out a large sigh of relief. He had completely entered the core regions of the Extreme North. Not only was it extremely cold here, he had even encountered a few soul beasts from time to time. With the amount of power those soul beasts possessed, merely looking at them from a distance was enough to make Huo Yuhao feel a chill run up his spine! Though they couldn’t compare with the Titan Ice Devil King he had bumped into previously, they were still existences above the ten thousand year rank. In a god-forsaken place like this, he couldn’t even find any thousand year soul beasts.
After resting for fifteen minutes or so, Huo Yuhao’s original location was buried in snow. Only then did he stand up.
The Skydream Iceworm’s voice rang out in his mind with an unprecedented seriousness, “Yuhao, I need you to make a quick estimation. If you didn’t have the protection of my shedded skin, how long could you last in conditions like this?”
Huo Yuhao was stunned. Thinking about it for a moment, he said, “If I use all of my soul power, I should be able to last for five minutes. But I definitely can’t last for more than ten minutes.”
The Skydream Iceworm said, “I’m going to go bring that fella over, so I’ll have to release my aura. After that, my shedded skin will play a decisive role that will determine whether or not it will be willing to become your soul ring. Because of that, you must remain in a motionless state for a period of time after I bring it over. During this period of time, not only will I have to trap it, I’ll have to negotiate with it. Your job is to remain still, otherwise all our previous efforts will have been for naught.”
With a bitter look on his face, Huo Yuhao said, “Boss, why didn’t you tell me this earlier? If you had, I’d brought a few more cold-resistant clothes!”
The Skydream Iceworm snorted coldly, “Do you think that clothes can block out the low temperatures here? You’re already overestimating yourself by saying that you can last here for five minutes. Next up, you’ll have to make a temporary residence underneath the snow. I’ll leave some of my shedded skin here and suck out the soul power within it. You’ll have to light it up with a match and draw heat from it. After that, no matter what happens, you must not do anything rash if I don’t give you the signal. This time around, we’re either going to make it or break it. You can use your Spiritual Detection to observe everything outside, but you must not make any rash moves. Understand?”
Huo Yuhao nodded hurriedly.
Building a house made of ice underneath the snow wasn’t an easy task! The ice underneath the ground was as hard as steel, and even after pouring his soul power into the White Tiger Dagger, it took Huo Yuhao a full day to barely carve out a small ice house which could contain his curled up body. After doing this, he was tired to the point where even breathing was strenuous.
“Now, I’m going to start. Yuhao, you have to do three things for us to succeed this time. Firstly, you’ll have to endure the freezing cold for a short period of time. Secondly, luck; we’ll have to see whether I have the luck to defeat the soul beast I’m calling over. Lastly, we’ll have to rely on your willpower. You’re the person I’ve chosen, so we’re both screwed if you don’t succeed. If you succeed, on the other hand, I dare say that you’ll immediately become the number one genius in the entire Douluo Continent. Now, let’s give it our all.”
At that point, the Skydream Iceworm’s voice had turned somewhat frenzied.
What could Huo Yuhao even say now? After getting all the way here, he could only follow the Skydream Iceworm all the way till the end; there was no other path he could take. There were no benefits to talking more, so he nodded forcefully, indicating that he would fully support the Skydream Iceworm.
An intense undulation of soul power slowly began to appear within his mind, and Huo Yuhao felt waves of dizziness overcome him. By relying on the walls of the ice house, he was able to prevent himself from collapsing.
His only soul ring had already floated up into the air noiselessly, and the pure white soul ring released a brilliant luster. It slowly moved rhythmically into the air, hovering around his body as it did so.
The pale gold light in Huo Yuhao’s eyes began to gradually transform, and he was very aware that he had lost control of his body.
At this moment, he felt his consciousness spreading outwards rapidly, expanding towards the distance. It felt as if he was overlooking the earth from the sky above, and it was an entirely different feeling from when he normally used his Spiritual Detection.
The vastness of this Spiritual Detection exceeded the more-than ten thousand square kilometers of the core regions of the Extreme North. However, the ray of light suddenly darkened, just as if daytime was transitioning to nighttime. An invisible pressure instantly spread outwards from Huo Yuhao’s body along with the extremely terrifying amount of spiritual power that came from him.
To his astonishment, he discovered that he actually felt a pleasure akin to that of a sovereign descending upon the world. The feeling of having the earth and snow completely serving him, and having everything within the grasp of his palm, was simply too wonderful. It seemed as if he could destroy everything with the flip of a hand, and that he could judge everything within the reach of his eyes.
Muffled sounds of thunder started to ring out in the gloomy sky, but Huo Yuhao astonishedly discovered that his body had completely turned bright-gold in colour.
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