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Chapter 228.3: Jade Ocean Spirit Ape

    Zhang Lexuan didn't look proud at all, and she muttered solemnly, "You've made the right choice. The reason is because this doesn't just concern your own safety. The entire team's safety is at stake. I hope you won't do anything foolish in our subsequent ventures. From now on, you will be cooperating with Huo Yuhao."

    She returned to the formation after speaking these words, and the initial tension and instability was instantly resolved by her timely handling of the situation. She had temporarily severed Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong'er's partnership and paired Huo Yuhao with Wang Qiu'er. This move had a deeper meaning, and she wanted to break the ice and the barriers between the two of them through battle and helping each other out. They had just entered the Hybrid Region, and were still far from actual danger. It was better to resolve these issues right now than when the real problems came around, and she targeted both parties at the same time so nobody would feel aggrieved or wronged.

    Wang Dong'er took a few steps back reluctantly. She followed behind Huo Yuhao, but was still quite near. Wang Qiu'er was perhaps deliberately trying to upset her as she walked up to Wang Dong'er's original spot. She was standing extremely close to Huo Yuhao, except she wasn't holding hands with him.

    Wang Dong'er nudged Huo Yuhao from behind, and Huo Yuhao hurriedly waved his hands behind her and clasped her hands once to tell her to relax and not to worry.

    Wang Dong'er was still a little reluctant, but she had to get used to it, as she couldn't just ignore Zhang Lexuan's orders.

    Wang Qiu'er was still quiet like she had always been. She was just standing there and staring into the distance, and her large blue eyes looked a little empty. Nobody knew what she was thinking about.

    Huo Yuhao was also contemplating something... he was thinking about Wang Qiu'er's punch from before.

    He had been engaged in battle, but he was still observing and monitoring the entire battlefield through his Spiritual Detection. Wang Qiu'er's punch had looked as simple as a punch could be, but the power that had erupted in that moment had astonished Huo Yuhao.

    There was a hint of unrivaled power and prestige within that punch. It was accompanied by that deep dragon's roar, which had momentarily dazed Huo Yuhao while he was monitoring the battlefield.

    Furthermore, Wang Qiu'er's punch was only intended to protect herself, and she didn't attack the Jade Ocean Spirit Ape directly. The truth was that her punch had quite an effect, as Huo Yuhao could clearly feel the intense fear that rose from the ape, and the ape fled into the trap that he and Wang Dong'er had set up immediately afterwards.

    Pure strength could actually reach a level such as this. Furthermore, Wang Qiu'er's spiritual power had to be quite formidable as well. At least, her ability to fuse spiritual power and soul power was definitely equal to his own, if not better.

    This was the judgment that Huo Yuhao had made about her in this short period of time. However, Wang Qiu'er only made that one attack, and he didn't have enough information to make even more deductions. He was becoming increasingly interested in this Golden Dragon martial soul.

    This Jade Ocean Spirit Ape was only around fifteen thousand years old, so Mo Xuan didn't have too much difficulty absorbing it. An hour passed before he finally finished absorbing his sixth soul ring, and he leapt to his feet happily.

    "Thank you." Mo Xuan walked to Huo Yuhao, Wang Dong'er, and Wang Qiu'er and thanked them with a grateful look.

    Wang Dong'er and Wang Qiu'er remained silent as Huo Yuhao replied, "You're welcome. We're a team anyway, it's good that it was suitable for you."

    Mo Xuan glanced at him and then at the masked beauties beside him. His face suddenly had an added drop of amusement as he said, "Good luck, brother."

    Huo Yuhao could obviously see the teasing and mocking expression in his eyes, and he suddenly felt a little embarrassed.

    At this point, Zhang Lexuan called everyone up to keep moving.

    Everyone became more vigilant after their encounter with the Jade Ocean Spirit Ape. However, they didn't feel much pressure with Huo Yuhao's Spiritual Detection.

    They fought back or chased away several unsuitable soul beasts as they moved forward, and ventured deeper and deeper into the Hybrid Region.

    Huo Yuhao could tell from the distance they had traveled that the area they were in had surpassed his previous expeditions into the Great Star Dou Forest. He felt both nervous and excited at the same time, as every soul master wanted to see the Great Star Dou Forest's mysterious Slaughter Grounds!

    Moving inward from the Hybrid Region would take them into the Core Region, and the Slaughter Grounds were at the center of the Core Region. They were travelling closer and closer to that area.

    The forest's Peripheral Region and Hybrid Regions had the largest surface area of the four main regions. The Core Region was comparatively smaller, but the soul beasts residing within the Core Region naturally had incredibly frightening abilities. How could any soul beast enter and live within the Core Region without some ability?

    The Great Star Dou Forest's layout, where the inner regions were more dangerous while the weaker soul beasts resided in the outer regions, was logical. Huo Yuhao could feel the life energy in the air becoming increasingly dense as they moved further in, something beneficial for any living being. He could only imagine that the Slaughter Grounds at the Core Region's center was probably a paradise, and it was probably the best place for soul beasts to cultivate.

    The sky had gone dark by now, and it was night time. Roars and howls could be heard from time to time, along with a cacophony of bird calls and insect chirps in the area all around them.

    Zhang Lexuan paused and took a look at the sky through the canopy. She lowered her voice and said, "We should be inside the Core Region's central areas. It's not good to move during the night, so we shall rest here today. Huo Yuhao, can you expand your detection area so that we can find a suitable place to make camp?"

    "Alright." Huo Yuhao raised his spiritual power and swiftly expanded his Spiritual Detection. The radius reached a thousand meters in an instant, but he stopped at this distance, as expanding it further would require his Eye of Destiny.

    Zhang Lexuan pointed in one direction after a moment, and led everyone there.

    It was a place that was relatively higher than the area around it, with dense vegetation and tall trees surrounding it.

    Li Yongyue released his martial soul. A moonblade shaped like a beautiful crescent and flickering with a chilly light appeared, and it swept around as it unleashed several blade rays that cleared away all the undergrowth around this area.

    Just like Zhang Lexuan had said during their picnic before this, they would have to take shelter in the open air as they travelled into the Great Star Dou Forest's inner regions. This place would be their camp tonight. Sleeping in tents was an impossibility, as they had to be ready for any changes or unforeseen circumstances.

    Zhang Lexuan glanced around and surveyed her surroundings via Huo Yuhao's Spiritual Detection before she lowered her voice and said, "There are many soul beasts in the area. However, I could sense during our journey here that there are hardly any powerful soul beasts that have claimed this area as part of their territory. Thanks to Huo Yuhao's Spiritual Detection, our progress today has been swift, and we have reached such a deep position after just eight hours. We will encounter a lot more trouble from tomorrow onwards, and our forward movement will be much slower. We will have sentries tonight, and everyone will rotate shifts. Those who are resting will meditate where they are. I'll take first watch, and Ruoruo will go next. Everyone will keep watch for two hours. Huo Yuhao and Wang Qiu'er will take the third shift. Wang Dong'er, Li Yongyue, and Mo Xuan are not suitable for keeping watch, so the three of you will relax and rest."

    Even though Wang Dong'er didn't feel comfortable about not keeping watch with Huo Yuhao throughout the night, she didn't raise any objections. Her abilities were not suitable for keeping a stealthy watch during the night. The Radiant Butterfly Goddess was too brilliant, too obvious, and she would easily attract soul beasts in the area. She would probably bring great trouble to everyone if she attracted a lot of soul beasts to where their camp was located.

    Wang Qiu'er glanced at Huo Yuhao, and realized that Huo Yuhao was also staring at her as their gazes met. Wang Qiu'er snapped her head away, and Huo Yuhao was slightly taken aback as he realized that Wang Qiu'er's eyes were a little different from before... they seemed a little more amiable than they were during the day.

    They absolutely couldn't start a fire inside the Great Star Dou Forest. Soul beasts were not like typical wild beasts, and there were many soul beasts that had a strong preference for flames and fire. Therefore, enjoying a meal along the way was as normal as it could get.

    Everybody was feeling fortunate about having had a nice meal at lunchtime. Even though they were quite exhausted from their journey, everyone at least had sufficient psychological comfort and satisfaction.

    They munched on some simple dry rations and drank a few mouthfuls from their water bottles before everyone sat down in their respective spots and began to cultivate.

    Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong'er were different from the rest. They sat facing each other with their palms raised and in contact as they began to circulate their Haodong power.

    They were deliberately suppressing it, but their bodies were still shining with pale light. This couldn't be helped, as soul power circulation during cultivation would always release light to a certain extent.

    Zhang Lexuan was still standing there as she gazed into the horizon. She no longer had Huo Yuhao's Spiritual Detection to support her, so she could only rely on her own abilities to stand guard for now.

    Wang Qiu'er sat in a spot not far from Huo Yuhao and Wang Dong'er, and her alluring eyes showed thoughtfulness as she watched them with their palms together.

    Everyone was part of the inner courtyard, and they were all extremely qualified and outstanding. They quickly entered meditation even though they were in a perilous area, and not a single one of them couldn't adapt.

    They swiftly recovered their soul power, and their fatigue was also eased in the process. They would probably need about two hours to return to their peak condition, but they took a longer time to rest to recover from physical fatigue and mental exhaustion, so that everyone would be in an even better state.

    Two hours quickly passed. Han Ruoruo rose when the time was up and took over Zhang Lexuan's shift.

    Zhang Lexuan's arrangements left no room for dispute, and everyone had no choice but to obey. The whole night would be about ten hours long: she took the first two hours, Han Ruoruo took the next two, while Huo Yuhao and Wang Qiu'er would stand guard for the next two hours. The last four hours would definitely still fall to her and Han Ruoruo, which was equivalent to the two team leaders bearing most of the responsibility to stand guard for the night.

    The forest appeared tranquil and undisturbed. It was as if they were blessed by the heavens, and four hours passed without encountering any soul beasts passing by.

    Huo Yuhao woke up when his time came. He withdrew his hands that were still pressed against Wang Dong'er's hands, and Wang Dong'er opened her eyes at the same time, before sticking out her tongue. She glanced at Wang Qiu'er not far from their position as she gestured at Huo Yuhao to be careful.

    Huo Yuhao gave her a thumbs-up to show that he had no problems, and then he stood up and walked over to Wang Qiu'er.
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