Chapter 272: Becoming Human Once More
Time seemed to flow differently within the dantian cave where Hui Yue’s consciousness observed the white threads that slowly changed silver as they flowed into the Qi swirl. After a few minutes, the pain slowly vanished. When it did, the color became brighter and brighter until the threads, which at the start were as white as his Qi, became as silvery as his spiritual energy in the middle dantian. When it was fully refined, then all pain vanished. As for how and why this happened, Hui Yue had no idea, but he could feel his strength had increased once more. He finally started to understand how the wolf could have been as powerful as he was. Absorbing numerous amounts of souls made his own soul far stronger than anyone else at his level.
As the souls were refined within the Qi Swirl, Hui Yue was relieved to feel the pain became less and less intense as the souls were refined, but he was surprised to see the silvery threads slowly merge with the Qi swirl. The color of the soul threads, which had shone with the brightest silvery light, was now merged with his Qi swirl. His previous pearl-like Qi now had a hint of silver within it. Each thread seemed to have swelled in size, and the power contained within was many times stronger than it had been previously.
Curiosity filled the young man as he stayed within his body, observing how the Qi was further refined into spiritual energy. The drops of spiritual energy created from refining this soul-enhanced Qi all had a shine to it; a shine which Hui Yue had never seen before. Even without trying, he already knew that his strength had increased by at least double, most likely tripled.
The final step was refining the lustrous spiritual energy into Wu Wei, and, as he did, Hui Yue saw the golden light suddenly shining brighter than it ever had before. It was now so bright that it make one think they were looking directly at the sun. It was so blinding that you could look directly at it.
Finally after having refined Wu Wei, Hui Yue finally heaved a heavy breath before he left his inner body. He allowed himself to focus once more on his body, itself, only moments after his eyes opened.
Above him was the familiar sight of a tent letting him instantly know he was within the camp. He was no longer in the middle of the battlefield.
Grunting in slight pain, Hui Yue started moving, but he soon found that his body felt incredibly sore and stiff as though it had not been used for quite a while. Something which made him frown slightly. He was in the middle of war, and although he had gained strength, he was very worried about what happened while he was asleep.
He knew that he was unlikely to have woken up earlier as his body was focused on refining all the souls that the massive wolf head stored during the battle, but he still felt like he had done something wrong.
Sitting up, he was taken aback as he noticed that the world was still sharp in his eyes. The colors were still grays. The scents were vivid and refreshing. Taking a hand to his head, he was astonished to feel that it was not touching his usual face; instead, he felt fur, a muzzle, and sharp fangs. Looking down, his entire body was that of a human, however for some reason, his face seemed to be different.
Following the wolf face, he soon felt where it attached itself to his skin. A long and rather painful wound circled his entire head. Hui Yue did not panic, but his eyes turned serious as he once more felt the wound around the face turning his mood somber.
“How on earth do I get rid of this?” He mumbled to himself, and as he struggled to sit up, he suddenly heard rushing from the tent entrance.
“You little scoundrel! Do not use that attack before you are strong enough to deal with the recoil!” The voice was filled with anger but also worry. The voice was one which Hui Yue recognized instantly, and a smile appeared on the wolf-like face that was plastered on top of his human face.
“Sorry,” He laughed, “I’ll make sure not to make the same mistake in the future. How long was I out for?” He asked the One-Horned Jasmine Eagle as he finally succeeded in sitting up straight. He felt dizzy and exhausted. Although he gained strength, he had truly used up everything he had stored within his body to control the wolf head. All this energy he used took quite a while to restore.
“You slept for seven days,” Wan Qiao said her expression turned serious as the talk turned to the war. Hui Yue himself was equally worried when he heard that it had taken that many days for him to return to the army.
“What happened while I was out?” Hui Yue asked while gnawing on his lip, his eyes firmly staring at Wan Qiao awaiting an answer. Seven days might not seem like a lot to a cultivator, but it was an astonishingly long time while at war.
“We haven’t done much,” Wan Qiao said with a sigh. “Every time they sent their army our way, the Saints went to the front, and they retreated. Two days ago they stopped sending out their army. I think they are waiting for our next move.”
Hui Yue nodded while focusing completely on the war. “None of the Saints from the Siban Empire participated in the war yet?” He asked curiously. Although the beast horde showed off by bringing their Saints to the front, it was only possible to keep doing so if the opponent did not send their own Saints out. The reason they did not do so made it clear to Hui Yue that these soldiers were only small fries. People who had no other purpose than to fight and die while trying to get rid of as many beasts as possible. This was something which caused anger to rise within Hui Yue.
Although he mercilessly killed their soldiers, he still wished to have as few casualties as possible, yet the Siban Empire seemed to disagree with this. Hui Yue even went as far as telling the empire that they were coming, but the only thing they did was to create an army of citizens whom they did not mind throwing away.
Feeling his anger burning from within, Hui Yue closed his eyes and steadied his breath as counted to ten calming himself. He was not the one who should worry about the opponents casualties; instead, he should focus on his job of leading the beasts to victory.
“Tell me,” He said while rubbing the back of his nose with two fingers, “How many casualties have we had in these seven days when we did not do battle?”
Hui Yue was aware that they were likely to have taken quite a heavy amount of casualties if the ballistae from the Siban Empire were allowed to shoot at them non-stop not to mention their ordinary arrows. Although most Saints, Emperors, and Kings were capable of protecting their bodies with a layer of Wu Wei, this defense would not last forever. Once they ran out of energy, the arrows would flood them and cause many experts to lose their lives to ordinary arrows.
“We have not taken many casualties,” Wan Qiao said, contradicting what Hui Yue expected. The young man looked at her with a furrowed brow. The unspoken question hung in the air. Although it was an atmosphere filled with relief, there was also some degree of worry within the young man’s eyes.
“Don’t worry,” Wan Qiao said with a small smile on her face. “We used seven Saints. Each of them took a day to continually support a protective barrier in front of the army. Nothing, not even the ballistae arrows, could penetrate it. As soon as they finished their shifts, we shut them in their tents to mediated so that they could replenish their energy.”
Hearing this Hui Yue nodded. He would have liked to save the Saints for a bit longer, but he knew that given the situation, they had all acted in the best possible way.
“Well, I guess it is time for me to wake up and start leading the army again,” Hui Yue sighed. “But first, I truly need to do something about this mask-like face I have.”
“Oh,” Wan Qiao shot him a glance with a smile on her face, “The mask has something to do with your attack. Why don’t you try figuring it out instead of just removing it?”
“I would love to do that,” Hui Yue said with patience. “Unfortunately, if I were to try to understand this mask then I’ll most likely need several more days to examine it thoroughly. And while I am busy studying it, you guys will get swamped by the opponent.”
Wan Qiao shrugged her shoulders. To her, she still felt like the war would be easily won if Hui Yue allowed for the Saints to fight. An He had not made a move yet, and she was feeling more and more reassured with what they were doing. She was now confident that victory was within her grasp.
“Well if you can’t examine it, then you better get rid of it soon. We dared not touch it since it seems to have grown into your face,” She said with a wrinkled nose. Although Hui Yue was rather strange looking right now, she was used to seeing half beast half humans, so for her, it was not too extraordinary.
Hui Yue, on the other hand, disliked the sudden change to his appearance. Although he scoured his memories that he had gained from the wolf, he quickly found that there was nothing that would explain what happened to him. It was obviously a reaction he had from being a human and using the energy of a beast.
Closing his eyes and sitting down on the ground, his breathing stabilized, and his body quickly relaxed. Sinking deep within he came to the caves with his different lives within them. He saw his Qi swirl which was now fortified by the poor unfortunate souls who were swallowed by the wolf head.
Seated within his dantian cave, Hui Yue found a pearl white Qi thread which went from the swirl to Hui Yue. He soon found that this line had not been there before, yet now it seemed to follow him everywhere he moved. This strand also shined with a silvery hue, and Hui Yue felt how the thread seemed to deposit energy within him causing his soul to grow stronger and stronger.
As he grew stronger, his consciousness started to resemble that of a red wolf rather than a young human man. He almost lost himself when Lan Feng’s dry voice resounded within the dantian cave, “You useless little human, can you do nothing without my help?” He called out, and Hui Yue’s panic which was slowly rising within him instantly cooled as he shot a glare at the self-righteous phoenix.
“I keep in the background when you are dealing with the war and stuff like that, but you really need help all the time when it comes to cultivating,” He continued still not saying what it was he could do to change back.
Sighing, the phoenix stood up and went to Hui Yue. He flicked his forehead something which caused the red wolf to whimper. Wu Wei was used in the attack, and Hui Yue could have sworn that a red mark appeared below the fur.
“All you need to do is think.” Lan Feng said smilingly, “Think about your human body. Think about your human features. When you do, then you will turn into a proper human once more.”