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Chapter 167: Bite

    Ju Zi removed Huo Yuhao's torn clothing as Ke Ke watched her from afar. After that, she lifted him up and leaned him against a huge tree. She rubbed Huo Yuhao's blood onto the parts of his body that weren't injured.

    Ju Zi was already breathing heavily at this point. The depletion of her energy left her extremely fatigued, and she felt she might faint at anytime. However, she was closely monitoring Huo Yuhao's heartbeat at this moment. Although Huo Yuhao's heartbeat was very slow, it was still beating. This was also her last shred of hope.

    Ju Zi judged that Huo Yuhao had lost almost half of his blood from his injuries. This would be fatal for a normal person, but she could also sense that Huo Yuhao's life power was very strong. Even though he was critically injured, his heart was still beating resolutely.

    "How is he?" Ke Ke walked over and asked after her soul power had been restored by the Milk Bottle. She passed a Milk Bottle to Ju Zi as well.

    Ju Zi laughed bitterly and replied, "I don't know. A normal person should have caved in under such injuries. But he's still alive. I've stitched his wounds, but the shrapnel is still not out. Let's see whether he can survive beyond today. I'm only scared that he'll suffer from an infection. The shrapnel should be unclean. However, he's lost too much blood; everything depends on him now."

    Ke Ke stripped off her outerwear and covered Huo Yuhao's blood-stained body. She looked at Ju Zi and laughed bitterly, "Sister Ju Zi, are you repaying your benefactor with your own body?"

    Ju Zi turned red, and her cheeks turned rosy. "Don't talk nonsense. His blood has a special strength that is very beneficial for one's body. I'm returning the blood that stained me to heal his body."

    Ke Ke squatted down and looked at Huo Yuhao. She said, "We both owe him our lives. Especially me. If I hadn't been so reckless, he wouldn't be in this state."

    Ju Zi shook her head and said, "How can you be blamed? We were both in danger. I didn't even realize that he had arrived. But you're right. We owe him our lives."

    Ke Ke focused and stood up. She said, "Sister Ju Zi, take a rest. I'll protect the both of you."

    "Alright." Ju Zi acceded to her request and sat down close to Huo Yuhao.

    Although Huo Yuhao's back was covered in blood, he wasn't hurt in front. There wasn't a single piece of fat on Huo Yuhao's well-developed body. Hongchen's Yearning had been reabsorbed into his chest as well.

    If not for this Class 9 soul tool that produced an Invincible Barrier that was almost three times stronger than his own body, the three of them would have been blown to pieces.

    Huo Yuhao's body was a little cold, Ju Zi was using her body to warm him up. When her eyes shut, she fell asleep almost instantly. However, she wore a peaceful look on her face.

    Only one man had held a place in her heart ever since she was young - her father. Her father had filled her childhood with fantastic memories, but had perished in war. Right now, someone else had unwittingly entered her heart. Even though he was injured, Ju Zi felt at ease as she hugged him. It was as if she had found a shelter to hide away from all her trials and tribulations.

    After her close brush with death, she was in a weird state of mind. This weird state of mind was also extremely immersive.

    Ju Zi was right. If Huo Yuhao's injuries were inflicted on someone else, that person would have been dead by now. The shrapnel wasn't from the all terrain exploration soul tool. The powerful shockwave was kept out by the Hongchen's Blessing. What really tore his skin and muscles were the soul tools on his body that blew apart in the explosion.

    His life hung by a thread as he was protected by the Hongchen's Blessing and the Ice Empress' Armor. Ju Zi was right when she had tried to limit his blood loss. What she didn't know was that he wasn't destined to die once she stabilized his injuries.

    How would Huo Yuhao, who had fused with the immense life power of Life Gold, die so easily? The strength within his blood came from the life power of Life Gold! This immense life power wasn't just in his blood, but was spread out all through his body, from his bones to his internal organs.

    Huo Yuhao's life power started to return as he healed. The immense life power started to stimulate his bone marrow and increase the rate at which he created new blood. His energy was slowly restored, and his internal organs were being healed. It was treatment from the inside out.

    ...

    Ke Ke didn't dare to sleep. Although she was exhausted, she had to hold on for their safety.

    The sun in the sky rose higher and higher. The warm sunlight shone down on her and left her slightly hazy. After taking a small bite of some food, she restored her energy and chased away a few soul beasts who didn't have high cultivations.

    She also came to check on Huo Yuhao and Ju Zi from time to time. She discovered that Huo Yuhao's body was slowly getting hotter and hotter, as if he had developed a fever. However, his temperature was still within an acceptable range. His pulse wasn't any weaker, either.

    Ke Ke was completely clueless about healing. She didn't know what to do, and thus could only wait.

    Ke Ke was on the verge of collapse when Ju Zi awoke from her sleep. Although her soul power had recovered, her mental energy was almost depleted since she had to be wary of soul beasts the whole time.

    "Ke Ke, take a break. Let me take over for you," Ju Zi said to Ke Ke, who was muddle-headed by now.

    Ke Ke stood up and rushed over to them, asking, "How is he?"

    Ju Zi furrowed her brow and revealed a stunned look in her eyes. "His pulse is vibrant, and not as weak as before. Although his body temperature is higher than average, it's not too high. His breathing is also stable. He doesn't even seem like he was critically injured."

    Ke Ke looked at Ju Zi in a daze. "Are you saying he's in a much better condition now?"

    Ju Zi nodded her head, "It's unbelievable! How is this possible? He lost almost half his blood, and even sustained critical injuries. There's still shrapnel in his body. However, his pulse is beating normally. It's only been ten to twelve hours."

    Ke Ke said, "Take a look at his back."

    Ju Zi and Ke Ke carefully placed Huo Yuhao on a blanket that they set out. She also changed into clean clothing before taking off the outerwear Ke Ke had put on Huo Yuhao.

    The pieces of shrapnel were still very horrifying, as if Huo Yuhao had grown spikes on his back. However, Ju Zi and Ke Ke were more shocked that none of his wounds had been infected. Although Ju Zi had rubbed some medicine on him, that had just been medicine for the treatment of common injuries.

    "Is he human?" Ke Ke couldn't help but ask.

    Ju Zi laughed bitterly. "I thought of a quote. Shrek only accept monsters, and not ordinary people. It seems like he really is a monster. Even a soul beast can't compare to his self-healing ability."

    Ke Ke asked, "Should we remove the shrapnel?"

    Ju Zi shook her head and said, "No, let's allow him to recover more. With his current healing speed, he should be awake soon. We can help him remove the shrapnel then."

    As they spoke till here, the two of them looked at each other before heaving sighs of relief.

    Ju Zi said, "It seems like we will have to spend the night here. Ke Ke, hold on for a while more. Let's pitch a tent to keep out the wind and rain. The mountains will also be colder at night. Let's take turns to keep watch at night."

    Ke Ke hesitated for a while. "The tent is for one person. So I'm going to be with him in one tent?"

    Ju Zi snapped, "I didn't even care when I tried to save him just now. What're you scared of? Furthermore, we can also watch him at a close distance. Don't worry, I won't reveal this to anyone. You must also keep this secret for me."

    Ke Ke took a look at her and replied after a moment, "Alright, I'll take it as if he's my younger brother."

    Ju Zi suddenly thought of something. "He's not that young either..."

    The two of them were efficient. After Ju Zi had ten to twelve hours of rest, her body had already recovered. After she pitched the tent, Ke Ke went inside with Huo Yuhao and laid down beside him. She was so exhausted that she passed out instantly.

    Ju Zi was the one on guard duty now. She was feeling much better now. She adjusted her soul tool defense line before adding some chemical items that had the effect of chasing soul beasts away.

    Ju Zi discovered that her body felt much better, and even more vibrant. Not only was her fatigue gone, but she was filled with energy. Even her soul power seemed to have been enhanced.

    Ju Zi couldn't help but wonder if it was her reward for being nice.

    That was exactly the case. The Life Gold's life power helped Huo Yuhao heal. There was also some external flow of the immense life aura when Ju Zi was stained with some of Huo Yuhao's fresh blood. This allowed the Life's Gold's aura to nourish her body and let her feel more refreshed. Ke Ke was also likely to benefit as she lay beside Huo Yuhao now.

    ......

    The sky was slowly turning dark. Ju Zi sat in front of the tent and watched her surroundings. Her emotions started to rise as she sat there on guard duty.

    "Daddy, is he your reincarnation, sent here to lessen my pain?" Ju Zi sighed slightly. She had always been concealing her inner thoughts with her innocent look. However, she was actually someone who was icy-cold at heart.

    She only thought of revenge. For this, she didn't mind being pretentious, and became a young lady that no one would be wary of.

    She was aware that Zimu had always been chasing her. However, she didn't give him a straight answer all this while because her plan didn't allow her to date. She had a goal, and this goal was an important part of her plan for revenge.

    However, the calm in her heart changed when she tasted Huo Yuhao's cooking. It was a change that caused her to panic inside.

    Ju Zi had never expected to eat something that was as delicious as her father's cooking. But Huo Yuhao had managed to whip up food that resembled her father's cooking. Her cold heart opened slightly at that moment.

    She was an orphan, like him. She had no other yearnings in her life. It was revenge that kept her going.

    However, his appearance caused a change in her heart. Her ideals didn't change, but someone had managed to creep into her heart. Could she still not be bothered by everything and face her future with a calm attitude with this person around?

    Ju Zi didn't know. She didn't know at all.

    "Huo Yuhao, why did you have to come into my world?" Ju Zi sighed.

    ......

    When Huo Yuhao woke up from his sleep, it was already light again.

    "I'm alive?" That was his first thought. He subconsciously initiated the circulation of his soul power.

    His soul power had already been restored, but the circulation of it wasn't very smooth. His passageways and back were filled with a piercing pain.

    "Ah!" he groaned slightly, and opened his eyes.

    The first thing he saw was a beautiful face. The smooth and tender complexion of that face gave a refreshing feeling even though the tent was slightly dim. He had never seen such a refreshing beauty.

    Her eyes were shut as she lay beside him. Huo Yuhao immediately realized that he wasn't wearing anything except for a blanket.

    "Ju Zi," Huo Yuhao whispered.

    Ju Zi was jolted awake. She had only just fallen asleep after Ke Ke took over her guard duty.

    Her large eyes opened, and her eyelashes perked up. Huo Yuhao was rather swept away by her appearance.

    "You're awake?" Ju Zi asked, surprised.

    Huo Yuhao tried to prop himself up, but he felt an intense pain in his back. He groaned, and laid back down.

    "Don't move, your injuries are very serious," Ju Zi said hurriedly.

    "What happened to me?" Huo Yuhao asked.

    Ju Zi related what had happened after the explosion, except for the part where she carried him naked.

    "The explosion was too powerful. Ke Ke's soul tools are indeed very powerful!" Huo Yuhao laughed bitterly.

    Ju Zi said, "Ke Ke has suffered great losses this time. Her soul tools took two years to create and assemble, with their formation arrays joined together. They were also extremely valuable. How could the explosion not be strong? No one else could bear to do that. The amount of resources that were wasted was too much."

    Huo Yuhao asked, "How am I now? The shrapnel on my back has to be removed eventually."

    Ju Zi said, "I was afraid that you'd lost too much blood and didn't dare to act recklessly. If you think you're fine now, I'll help you remove the shrapnel. However, you must do it slowly at the start. Try to minimize your blood loss. After all, you're critically injured."

    "I'm fine." Huo Yuhao had sensed his own body condition earlier. Apart from some blockages in his passageways, he wasn't in too much trouble.

    Ju Zi stared at him as if he were a freak, then nodded slightly. She said, "Alright. I'm going to start then. It'll be painful, but you'll have to bear the pain."

    Huo Yuhao smiled and replied, "Come on." What kind of pain had he not endured before? Pain? How could it compare to the fusion of the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion's skeleton? How could it compare to his fusion with the Darkgolden Terrorclaws?

    ...

    Ju Zi was very careful with her actions. She didn't pull the shrapnel out forcefully. She retrieved an orange-red carving blade and slowly opened his wounds. After that, she tried to pluck the pieces of shrapnel out.

    She soon discovered that it was much more relaxing helping Huo Yuhao treat his injuries when he was awake.

    When she helped Huo Yuhao to pluck out the first piece of shrapnel, he immediately used his soul power to seal the blood vessels in that location. After she stitched his wound, Huo Yuhao relaxed his control over that location and stopped the bleeding.

    Ju Zi managed to remove most of the shrapnel quickly as they worked together.

    "Rest for a while." Huo Yuhao retrieved a clean towel from his storage-type soul tool and passed it to Ju Zi.

    Ju Zi's forehead was already brimming with perspiration. She let out a fragrance that was very characteristic of a young lady.

    Ju Zi couldn't help but laugh bitterly. "Your willpower is too scary. I don't think making you my opponent in the future is a good thing. You're fine, but I'm the one who's not okay."

    Huo Yuhao had had to bear a lot of pain as the many pieces of shrapnel were plucked from his body. However, he appeared fine to her. He never once screamed. Ju Zi was even more impressed with him among the mix of emotions that she felt.

    Ju Zi said, "Although your will is strong, your wounds will still take some time to heal. Sleep for a while more. I also need to take a rest. When my energy is restored, I'll help you remove the rest of the shrapnel." As she spoke, she took a glance at the largest piece of shrapnel.

    This piece of shrapnel was triangular, and was close to Huo Yuhao's heart, below his left shoulder. It was very deep into his muscles. Ju Zi was not sure how to handle it. She couldn't use a carving blade to guide the piece of shrapnel out; she would need to pluck it out directly.

    Huo Yuhao nodded and closed his eyes. The Mysterious Heaven Technique kept on circulating. It had a good healing effect, and his wounds slowly healed with its help. Huo Yuhao also managed to unblock some of his passageways, and his body began to recover at an even faster speed.

    After resting for two hours, Ju Zi helped Huo Yuhao remove the remaining pieces of shrapnel. Soon, most of the shrapnel had been removed, with the exception of one final piece.

    Ju Zi looked at Huo Yuhao and was even more impressed with him. His forehead was also perspiring, but he still wore a smile. She had never seen someone as resolute as him.

    "Rest a while more before the last piece," Ju Zi told him.

    Huo Yuhao shook his head and said, "Since it's the last piece, let's take it out. I also want to relax, otherwise I'll keep thinking of it. Don't worry, I can take it. It's better to suffer now than later."

    This piece cut into at least three of his passageways. Although it wasn't the main passageway, it greatly affected the circulation of the Mysterious Heaven Technique. In addition, the wound brought him great pain if he moved even slightly.

    Ju Zi hesitated for a while before nodding her head as she grit her teeth.

    "This piece is deep. If it's too painful, just bite my arm." As she spoke, she pulled up the sleeve covering her left arm and extended her slender arm in front of Huo Yuhao.

    Huo Yuhao only grabbed her wrist after hesitating for a moment. Her wrist was soft and tender. The Raiment of Light's projection was undoubtedly the most ravishing beauty that Huo Yuhao had ever seen, but Ju Zi had the best complexion. Although she wasn't as pretty as the Raiment of Light's projection, and was even slightly inferior to Jiang Nannan, she was still a beauty like Ma Xiaotao. Ma Xiaotao had the best figure, while Ju Zi had the best complexion.

    There was a sense of gentleness as he felt her tender skin. It was an indescribable feeling.

    "I'm about to start." Ju Zi didn't know that Huo Yuhao's heart had fluttered slightly. Her right hand held onto the exposed part of the piece of shrapnel, and she looked nervous.

    Huo Yuhao nodded slightly and relaxed his back muscles. It would be much easier if he wasn't tense.

    Ju Zi took in a deep breath and stuffed her left hand into Huo Yuhao's mouth. "You saved my life. Let me bear this pain with you!" she shouted softly, and plucked the piece of shrapnel out forcefully.

    Fresh blood shot out as the shrapnel was pulled out. Huo Yuhao's whole body tensed up, and he bit Ju Zi's arm under the intense pain.

    When he first met her Huo Yuhao didn't expect that his desire to bite Ju Zi's smooth skin would be fulfilled under these circumstances.

    Panting heavily, Ju Zi pressed a clean towel against Huo Yuhao's wounds.

    Compared to the pains she felt in her heart, the pain in her hand was nothing. She actually felt like she was going to let Huo Yuhao die.

    Although reluctant to do so, Huo Yuhao ceased biting into her hand. A bite mark was left behind, along with some redness on her skin, but only some redness as the skin wasn't pierced.

    Ju Zi retracted her arm and started speaking rapidly, "Quick seal your blood vessels! How are you feeling? Are your passageways damaged?"

    Huo Yuhao spoke while circulating his soul power, "Don't worry, I'm fine. I can just use my soul power to recover. However, a few passageways are completely damaged, and I need time to heal them.

    Ju Zi let out a sigh of relief. "That's good. At least it's not too serious. You somehow managed to drag yourself back from the dead, you freak. It only took you a day and night to recover this far from your critical injuries."

    Huo Yuhao laughed bitterly. "Don't compliment me like that when I'm in such unbearable pain."

    Ju Zi laughed. "Pain? I can't tell from your expression."

    Huo Yuhao immediately displayed an exaggerated expression, "I'm tolerating the pain! Think about it. My entire back is stitched up right now. Why wouldn't I feel pain?"

    Ju Zi shuddered a little. That's right! Huo Yuhao's back was almost entirely full of stitches. With a little more than a hundred wounds his back was almost entirely covered in stitches by now. The same for his legs, really just his entire body seemed to have been ravaged by injuries. Only some of the parts not carrying soul tools appeared much better off.

    Huo Yuhao smiled as Ju Zi fell silent, "I'm fine actually. I've experienced more painful things than this before. Let's leave the mountain range after I rest a bit. The all-terrain exploration soul tool has been destroyed, so we have to end our experiments here. What about you though, is your hand in pain from my bite?"

    Ju Zi retorted, "Am I that weak to you?"

    Huo Yuhao chortled, "Yeah. It seems like your skin will tear the moment I touch it."

    Ju Zi's face turned red. She took out a tangerine to stuff in his mouth, "Go and rest. I'll leave you to it." As she spoke, she escaped from the tent. The age gap between her and Huo Yuhao seemed non-existent when confronted with his maturity which exceeded the norms for his age.

    The lingering fragrance left Huo Yuhao in a trance, but he soon recovered from it. His heart was occupied by someone else already. Although Ju Zi was a ravishing, attractive beauty, she definitely couldn't compare to the Raiment of Light's projection so deeply imprinted in his heart.

    With the pieces of shrapnel removed from his back, and a period of rest, he could prop himself up.

    His back wasn't just simply in pain now. It was miserable and numb, the blood circulation in his back didn't seem to be running smoothly either. Fortunately, most of his injuries were concentrated on his muscles. The circulation blockages in his passageways were mainly caused by some blood clots.

    Huo Yuhao had lied about being in such a dire situation before. In fact, he was very afraid right now. If he was just a little slower or didn't have the Hongchen's Blessing would have died! Furthermore, the impact almost wreaked havoc on his spiritual sea. Skydream, the Ice Empress and Electrolux combined their strengths to unleash a spiritual barrier that protected his head. That explained why his back and legs were injured, but his head wasn't.

    His body's damage could be easily healed by the Life's Gold life power, not to mention that the Ice Jade Empress Scorpion's skeleton would protect his internal organs. However, a blow to his head could kill him. Huo Yuhao wouldn't have survived this time with luck alone.

    He struggled to sit cross-legged, and even perspired from the constant pain. He focused, and circulated his power. The Mysterious Heaven Technique slowly circulating.

    After his reaching Rank 40 soul power, Huo Yuhao didn't fully experience the transformations to his body. This was especially so with the advancements in his soul skills and the enhancement of his spiritual power. It was important to know that almost all of his soul skills would improve as his cultivation increased. That being the case, his soul power would skyrocket after each new added soul ring. Over the past two years, his foundation remained untouched while his cultivation speed dipped considerably. His cultivation so far could be described as slow but steady.

    The Mysterious Heaven Technique overcame all obstructions and slowly filled his body, nourishing him. It stimulated the Life's Gold life power to heal his body as well. Afterwards, Huo Yuhao divided part of his soul power to start removing the blood clots in his passageways. Then he used soul power to adjust his damaged passageways, moving them back into position and reconnecting them.

    He'd entered a fairly stable state to recover quickly.

    The trio was rather fortunate. They stayed in this place for two days, but the strongest soul beast they had encountered was only a thousand year soul beast.

    Huo Yuhao recovered at an alarming rate. On the third morning, he walked out of the tent. He faced the rising sun in the east and started to cultivate.

    Ke Ke smiled as she said, "Yuhao, I'm going to call you a monster in the future. You're more of a soul beast than real soul beasts!" There was a sense of affection in her tone.

    Huo Yuhao laughed and said, "Don't call me that. That'll reveal my background as a student from Shrek Academy, and I hope you haven't forgotten that we're a strong competitor to the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy. If you push me to the metaphorical wolves, I may end up dead."

    Ke Ke rolled her eyes and said, "Forget it. You're a Soul Elder, and you're unphased by Soul Kings like us. You're afraid?"

    Huo Yuhao corrected, "I'm an official Soul Ancestor now!"

    Ju Zi put the tent away into her storage-type soul tool and said, "Alright, stop bickering. Let's leave quickly. I'm more concerned about when this freak will be able to cook for us again."

    Huo Yuhao was still quite far from a complete recovery. However, since he could move freely, it was best to leave the Jing Yang Mountain Range as quickly as possible. Otherwise, if they ran into any strong soul beasts again, they would end up in danger.

    Huo Yuhao laughed again and replied, "I can cook anytime. Let's go."

    They could only rely on themselves to leave since the all-terrain exploration soul tool was destroyed. Although Huo Yuhao told them he could walk all by himself, Ju Zi and Ke Ke still put his hands around their shoulders as they dragged him out of the mountains.

    Ke Ke wore a gloomy expression while they walked, "Blegh, Ju Zi. Will I be held accountable for destroying official academy property? The academy will spare me from paying for the soul tools, right? My savings will evaporate! You should know that I exchanged my scholarship money all for precious metals. But now I'm broke! Isn't it tragic for a Class 5 soul engineer not to have any soul tools?"

    Ju Zi snapped, "You still have the cheek to mention this? Just be poor. It's better to be poor than to be a walking debt time bomb."

    Ke Ke revealed a dismal look. "Sister Ju Zi, lend me some money. Sister~"

    As she spoke, she couldn't help but turn to Huo Yuhao. Huo Yuhao started to break out in a sweat as he saw Ke Ke's suddenly gentle gaze. "Don't look at me! I don't have any money. I was working while studying when I was at Shrek Academy. My soul tools all belong to Shrek Academy. I owe the academy a lot of money right now too."

    Ju Zi pursed her lips and said, "Shrek is so cunning. They have no intention of making you repay your debts. They're doing everything possible to tie you down. Am I right?"

    Huo Yuhao smiled and said, "I'm willing to be tied down. I'll let you know that I'm an orphan. In my darkest hour, eldest senior brother and Teacher Xiao Ya brought me to Shrek Academy. Everything that I own now was given to me by the academy and the Tang Sect. My life naturally belongs to them, and this will never change."

    Ju Zi looked at Huo Yuhao and said seriously, "What if... I tell you that I can make the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy do even more for you than Shrek Academy ever did, would you stay here? You can list whatever conditions you want."

    Huo Yuhao was stunned, but he turned serious. Saying in a deep voice, "Senior Ju Zi, please don't speak of such things again. I don't want to lose a friend like you."

    Ju Zi laughed bitterly. "Although I expected this, it was still worth a try. But you were right. You're from Shrek. It's better if you keep a lower profile in the Sun Moon Imperial Soul Engineering Academy."

    Huo Yuhao nodded slightly. He previously felt a sense of crisis from Ju Zi, but was relieved to feel it vanish. He could subtly feel that this was because Ju Zi's mentality changed.

    They successfully managed to leave the Jing Yang Mountain Range. This mountain range wasn't comparable to the Great Star Dou Forest. Showcasing this, when they reached the branching trail again, the concentration of soul beasts dropped significantly. Ju Zi used some soul tools to scare most of the remainder away, and they managed to leave the mountain range rather easily.

    In an area unlikely to be threatened by soul beasts, they found a suitable place to set up a campsite. They rested here.
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