Book 7: The Extreme North
Chapter 43.3: An Ordeal of Extreme Pain
That was truly an amalgamation of ice and fire! The first moment would be so cold as to make him shiver, but the moment right after that was so hot that it evaporated all the ice beads off his body. The qi and blood in his body was starting to surge like a tide. During the extreme cold, his entire body would freeze up; during the extreme heat, the blood within his body would boil up, causing tiny beads of blood to form on his skin.
The extreme cold changed to extreme heat, and the extreme heat changed to extreme cold. The violent changes in Huo Yuhao’s body temperature made it seem like it was being smelted. Although his willpower was extremely strong, he gradually began to hallucinate. This was entirely different from the unadulterated pain he’d gone through earlier. This was as if he had been thrown off an extremely tall building before being violently smashed onto the ground. He was simply unable to withstand this feeling.
It could be said that Huo Yuhao was basically the person who’d endured the most violent bouts of pain during fusion with a soul bone, even in the entire history of humanity. One reason behind this was due to his excessively low cultivation, and another reason was due to the overly high quality his soul bone had.
Even if the Ice Empress was already controlling it to the best of her ability, her soul bone was still an existence older than three hundred thousand years! She had sealed an overwhelming majority of her power within it, but it still had an extremely large effect on the still-developing Huo Yuhao.
Huo Yuhao was even starting to become somewhat muddle-headed. No matter how strong his willpower was, he was still unable to continue resisting such violent bouts of pain. At this exact moment, the Skydream Iceworm’s spiritual power surged into his body, rousing him back to his senses. At the same time, he shielded Huo Yuhao’s spiritual origin, reducing the pain he was suffering by a slight amount.
The Skydream Iceworm wished to temper Huo Yuhao’s willpower, but he would never just stand idly as he walked towards the path of ruination. Sensing that Huo Yuhao was about to reach his limit, he made a move immediately to give him a buffer.
Though Huo Yuhao had been tortured to the point where even dying was preferable, he immediately and acutely sensed the Skydream Iceworm’s actions. He was now extricated from the extreme pain he had been feeling, and though the alternating hot and cold feelings were still there, he was now feeling much better. Composing himself, his nearly-collapsed spiritual power immediately began to gather.
By the time he’d gathered nearly all of his spiritual power, the Skydream Iceworm’s protection disappeared. The extreme level of pain began to descend upon Huo Yuhao’s body again.
Huo Yuhao inwardly let out a sorrowful roar, Brother Skydream, are you playing with me?!
A long time passed, but Huo Yuhao was simply unable to even think. Whenever his mind was about to collapse, the Skydream Iceworm would appear in a timely manner and relieve him of his pain to a certain extent. Comparatively, this made it somewhat easier for Huo Yuhao to endure it.
If the Skydream Iceworm had made his move at the beginning, lowering the pain Huo Yuhao had to withstand, then the amount of pain he withstood would have been maintained at a certain baseline from the start till the end. However, that didn’t mean that he wouldn’t collapse. And if he did collapse, the Skydream Iceworm’s hands would have been tied. Even if he was able to persevere in a situation like that, maintaining one’s mind at a consistent level of pain would do him no good at all.
However, the current situation they were in was slightly different. Though he would suffer an even greater amount of pain, the Skydream Iceworm only acted as a buffer whenever he made a move, relaxing Huo Yuhao. At the very least, Huo Yuhao would be able to recover a certain amount of strength during this buffer period.
After going through this cycle of pain and relief for a few times, Huo Yuhao understood what was going on. His Brother Skydream was clearly using this as an opportunity to temper his willpower! If this were any ordinary person, they might be unceasingly waiting for the Skydream Iceworm’s help. However, Huo Yuhao was different from them. Training in Shrek Academy for a year had cultivated a ‘when the going gets tough, the tough gets going’ kind of mentality in Huo Yuhao. He clearly understood that the more he worked during cultivation, the more he would get in return.
Because of this, even though the Skydream Iceworm’s protection gave him a certain amount of safety when he needed it, it also gave him an extra amount of confidence. As his body continued to withstand the pain, his willpower continued to increase. The gap of time between the Skydream Iceworm’s every action got increasingly longer, and Huo Yuhao’s willpower became increasingly stronger as well.
This discovery involuntarily stunned the Skydream Iceworm and the Ice Empress. A feeling of admiration towards a small human like Huo Yuhao had arisen in these two pinnacle existences. Even consummate-level soul beasts like them might not be able to persevere under such an intense level of pain. However, Huo Yuhao was able to do so. With the Skydream Iceworm’s limited help, he had actually persisted the whole time.
Day became night, and night became day again. The jade-green light on Huo Yuhao’s body was becoming increasingly intense, and the alternating colors of red and white on the surface of his skin began to weaken more and more. However, the qi and blood within Huo Yuhao’s body was much, much stronger than when he had originally started the fusion process.
Though the Ice Jade Empresss Scorpion had only fused an extremely miniscule part of her energy with Huo Yuhao’s qi and blood, it was an extremely beneficial supplement to him. That was the origin energy of an Empress whose cultivation neared four hundred thousand years!
Through this nourishment, a transformation started to occur in Huo Yuhao’s muscles, bones, and internal organs. Even if he didn’t receive any limb or skull bones, Huo Yuhao’s physique was comprehensively strengthened at this moment. Following the strengthening of his physique, the amount of pain he suffered now gradually decreased.
Currently, the Skydream Iceworm no longer needed to make a move anymore. Huo Yuhao could now withstand the pain caused by the alternating heat and cold by relying on his own willpower. He could even sense his qi and blood strengthening increasingly, and his body becoming more and more sturdy. As his soul power was stuck at the bottleneck of Rank 20, he was unable to determine how much his soul power had increased. However, there was no doubt that with his currently weak cultivation, the amount he would be strengthened by would definitely not be small, even if the Ice Empress had sealed her own power. At the very least, there would be no problem with him increasing his soul power by one or two ranks.
“Yuhao, you have to be careful now. Right now, the fundamentals of your fusion with the soul bone have been completed. The only thing that’s left is the complete fusion between it and your bones. I’m going to seal the power of the soul bone in your skeleton, allowing you to progressively absorb it in secret. It’s very possible that the pain you’ll suffer during this last step will exceed that of the previous parts of the fusion. You’ll have to persevere. Even Skydream might not be able to give you any help during this process, and it’ll take two hours or so. If you can endure it, you’ll be able to possess this soul bone I’m giving you.”
The Ice Empress’ voice had become much gentler. The way she addressed Huo Yuhao had changed slightly as well, and her exhaustion could be heard in the tone of her voice. After all, she was fusing her own body with Huo Yuhao’s! This was equivalent to ripping out her own bones and fusing them with Huo Yuhao’s body. Though her cultivation was immensely strong, the amount of pain she had withstood was definitely not less than Huo Yuhao’s. Only, the amount of willpower she’d obtained after cultivating for several hundreds of thousands of years far exceeded anything that Huo Yuhao could even compare to.
Huo Yuhao took a deep, deep breath. As he continued to endure the pain coming from the fusion, he no longer spoke. Right now, all he could do was convey a stubborn and resolute conviction towards the Ice Empress.
Was the Skydream Iceworm truly unable to protect Huo Yuhao’s spiritual sea? The answer was naturally a definite no. The Ice Empress only said this in order to strengthen Huo Yuhao’s willpower by another level. Only in a situation with no way out would he be able to stimulate his potential to its greatest possible extent.
However, the very instant the last bout of pain started, Huo Yuhao’s body suddenly jolted. His spiritual sea surged violently, nearly collapsing in an instant.
He was able to endure pain, and he was also able to withstand the alternating hot and cold. At this moment, however, what he suffered was a kind of pain he was nearly unable to withstand. That was, an itch.
The instant the Ice Empress made her move, Huo Yuhao felt a violent itch come from every part of his torso. It was as if there were an innumerable number of ants that were crawling about his veins and bones. This itch dug all the way to the bone, and it was omnipresent.
In that instant, Huo Yuhao’s only thought was to thoroughly destroy his own body and scratch it ferociously, stopping this bout of pain.
Huo Yuhao’s body was convulsing and shaking violently, but he was simply unable to control it. This acute bout of pain was causing the bones in his entire body to unceasingly release sounds of cracking.
The Skydream Iceworm was solemnly lying in wait; he had already prepared to make a move at any time. Once Huo Yuhao’s spiritual sea showed any signs of collapse, he would not hesitate to intervene.
The Skydream Iceworm clearly understood that at this moment, the Ice Empress was also enduring the same pain that Huo Yuhao was. Even the spiritual power of one of the Extreme North’s Three Emperors was shivering and fluctuating violently. From this, it could be seen how intense this pain was. However, the foundations of its transformations would only be completed after Huo Yuhao finished fusing with the Ice Empress’ soul bone. It wasn’t hard for her to become Huo Yuhao’s martial soul and soul ring, but maintaining her consciousness and all of her intelligence was a difficult task.
The Skydream Iceworm didn’t worry about the Ice Empress; the only thing he worried about was Huo Yuhao not being able to persevere!
Huo Yuhao’s pale gold spiritual sea surged violently, occasionally trembling, occasionally rumbling like a sea wave. His jade-green bones gradually turned dark-green, then went back to jade-green. During this continuous process of transformation and fusion, he felt the most violent bouts of pain.
It’s itchy, this itch is killing me. Huo Yuhao felt as though he wouldn’t be able to continue enduring this pain anymore. This inhuman amount of pain was truly stronger than the two previous tortures he’d previously experienced.
In the end, a few cracks started to appear in Huo Yuhao’s spiritual sea. If these cracks continued to grow larger, they would definitely cause an explosion in the end. The instant his spiritual sea was thoroughly destroyed, Huo Yuhao’s brain would die.
The Skydream Iceworm unhesitatingly made a move, causing an intense golden light to rapidly surge towards Huo Yuhao’s spiritual sea.
However, it was at this exact moment when Huo Yuhao’s nearly hysterical voice suddenly rang out in the Skydream Iceworm’s mind. “Don’t help me! I can do it, I can do it!”
The Skydream Iceworm was left staring blankly for a moment. He could hear the stubbornness in Huo Yuhao’s voice. On the other hand, Huo Yuhao’s roar seemed to signal his counter-attack. The cracks that densely covered his spiritual sea miraculously started to close.
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