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Chapter 6 – Spirit-headed

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At the third peak, Bai Xiaochun’s screaming vocal cadence reverberated unceasingly, which drew the attention of countless flabbergasted Miscellaneous Chores disciples. They could distinctly see Bai Xiaochun in his seven or eight leather garments, along with the large black wok on his back. That slightly round body headed down the mountain path as he exerted all of his energy to run.

From afar, Bai Xiaochun’s body was not very distinguishable, but his large beetle-like black wok could be seen clearly as he dashed down the side of the mountain.

More notable were the seven or eight kitchen knives that hung from Bai Xiaochun’s belt. They clashed with each other as he ran, emanating waves of clanging noises.

“Murderer! Help! Ah! I can’t die here…” Bai Xiaochun shouted as he ran faster and faster. Behind him, Xu Baocai’s face darkened, his eyes revealing an intense and fierce light. His heart became even more anxious and wrathful.

He chased after Bai Xiaochun all the way down, attracting the attention of the numerous Miscellaneous Chores disciples nearby. Xu Baocai’s anxiety rose as he took note of the overseer, his heart becoming somewhat unsettled.

“Stop shouting, damn it! Quiet down, what are you yelling for, shut up!” Xu Baocai snarled, fuming with rage as he gritted his teeth. After using both his hands to cast a spell, the wooden sword beside his body flashed with light and became a fraction faster as it flew straight towards the sprinting Bai Xiaochun.

Peng, the wooden sword struck the black wok on Bai Xiaochun’s back, resounding with a buzz as it hit. Bai Xiaochun, however, remained unharmed as he continued to run away.

Xu Baocai ferociously clenched his teeth. ,Before his eyes, half of Bai Xiaochun’s back was obstructed by a big wok. Unable to remove the obstruction, he unwillingly continued to chase him.

Two men, one chasing and the other being chased, ran in circles around the Miscellaneous Chores area.

“This guy has a wok on his back, yet he’s still able to run so fast!” Xu Baocai praised, as he gasped for breath. Soon, the sprinting Bai Xiaochun had almost disappeared. The more he chased him, the more sullen he became. Despite using all of his strength, he was still unable to catch up with his opponent, even though he had already cultivated to the Ssecond layer of Qi Condensation. Bai Xiaochun was like a rabbit whose tail had been stepped on.

He became all the more resentful because of this. Without any other means of dealing with his opponent, Xu Baocai had become tired beyond belief from all the running. Bai Xiaochun’s screaming from beginning to end had never waned—it was rather similar to the sound of a pig being butchered.

In the blink of an eye, Bai Xiaochun saw the path to the Hearthfire Kitchen appear up ahead. The feeling of seeing home made him so excited that his eyes were nearly brimming with tears.

“Senior, help! Murderer!” Bai Xiaochun shouted as he raced back to the Hearthfire Kitchen. Upon hearing a miserable screech, Big Fatty Zhang and the others stared out blankly, and then promptly walked outside.

“Senior, save me! Xu Baocai wants to kill me. He nearly snuffed out my measly life.” Bai Xiaochun hurriedly hid behind Big Fatty Zhang’s body.

“Xu Baocai?” After hearing these words, Big Fatty Zhang’s eyes flashed viciously. He looked around, yet was unable to see even the trace of a shadow. Just as he finished speaking, he managed to see Xu Baocai in the distance, running while gasping for breath.

At the same time, Bai Xiaochun also caught sight of Xu Baocai’s silhouette, causing him to reveal a face full of surprise.

“Eh… why is he running so slowly?”

Big Fatty Zhang tilted his head to glance at Bai Xiaochun, then turned to take another look at the panting Xu Baocai—who had just arrived. His fatty face jiggled with every movement.

Xu Baocai, who had chased his target all the way here with great difficulty, was met with the astonished words of Bai Xiaochun, who was standing beside the door to the Hearthfire Kitchen. Upon hearing those words, a gush of anger and stuffiness welled up in Xu Baocai’s chest, making him feel as though he would explode from within. With a howl of rage, he swung his right hand, sending the wooden sword at his side whistling through the air. The sword pierced through a huge tree nearby.

‘Bang!’ The tree shook as the wooden sword bored a hole through the trunk.

“Bai Xiaochun, the two of us will never be able to coexist!” With completely bloodshot eyes, Xu Baocai stared daggers at Bai Xiaochun. After giving one last glance towards Big Fatty Zhang’s huge body, he turned around and left while filled with hatred.

Bai Xiaochun’s heart was palpitating furiously. After looking at at the tree that had been mercilessly pierced through and at the hysteric Xu Baocai, Bai Xiaochun unconsciously gulped down his saliva as feelings of unease began to rise from the bottom of his heart.

As Big Fatty Zhang gazed at the receding figure of Xu Baocai, a glint of coldness flashed in his eyes. He then turned his head and patted Bai Xiaochun on the shoulders.

“Don’t be afraid, Ninth Junior Brother! Although this Xu Baocai might have a little background, if he dares to come again, we Senior Brothers will break his legs!” After saying this much, Big Fatty Zhang changed the topic of the conversation.

“But I must say, Ninth Junior Brother, I think you’d be better off not leaving your house these next few days, if possible. Just look at how skinny you’ve gotten. But rest assured, we Senior Brothers will fatten you up. It just so happens that Elder Zhou is celebrating his birthday during the next few days, so that will make things much easier.”

Bai Xiaochun absent-mindedly nodded his head, his gaze still fixated on the hole that Xu Baocai had drilled through the tree.

Following his Senior Brothers back to the Hearthfire Kitchen, Bai Xiaochun sat in his room with a heart full of unease and anxiety; if Xu Baocai’s wooden sword could penetrate a hole through a tree, then if it was him instead of that tree, would he even be left with an intact corpse?

“That won’t do…. Granted, even if I do stay in the Hearthfire Kitchen my whole life, the moment I step out, what can I do when he confronts me…?” The intense gaze filled with bitter resentment that Xu Baocai carried in his eyes before he left—from beginning to end—refused to scatter or disperse from Bai Xiaochun’s mind.

“I came here to live longer. I can’t just die, ah…” With this unease and sense of insecurity overwhelming him, the veins in Bai Xiaochun’s eyes slowly turned bloodshot. Shortly after, he gritted his teeth.

“Screw this shit, I’m going all out! Even I get scared of myself when I put my life on the line and go all out!” Bai Xiaochun declared with those bloodshot eyes of his. Rather than saying that Bai Xiaochun’s personality was one that was scared of death, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he had a severe lack of a sense of security; Bai Xiaochun was affected so much by today’s incident, that the experience stimulated the determination and dedication buried deep within.

“I want to cultivate! I want to become stronger!!” With heavy breaths, Bai Xiaochun made up his mind. He immediately took out the Violet Qi Cauldron Technique bamboo book, gazed at the second diagram with his bloodshot eyes, and began to cultivate.

Despite being scared of death, he was formidable; otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to persevere for three years, lighting an incense stick thirteen times even though he was afraid of being struck by lightning.

Now that he had his heart set on it, Bai Xiaochun followed the directions of the second diagram, refusing to give up. He now managed to hold the second diagram for fifteen breaths when previously, he had only been able to hold it for ten.

Even though beads of sweat were continuously dripping onto the floor, and despite his body screaming in pain, the ruthless determination in Bai Xiaochun’s gaze did not falter one bit. 20 breaths, 30 breaths, the little stream in Bai Xiaochun’s Qi meridians vigorously increased by 10%; at the same time, Bai Xiaochun’s vision suddenly went black, so he relaxed and took a few deep breaths before continuing to cultivate again.

A night passed, then the second day, the third, the fourth……for a total of fifteen consecutive days, other than eating, drinking and shitting, Bai Xiaochun did not take a step out of his room. For a person who had just started to cultivate, such a mundane and dull lifestyle was exceptionally hard to maintain, yet Bai Xiaochun never once gave up during this time.

Big Fatty Zhang and the rest were also stunned by Bai Xiaochun’s way of cultivation. One must know that cultivating the Violet Qi Cauldron Technique was no simple feat; although theoretically it was easy to learn, when it came to maintaining the actions for long periods of time in actual practice, one would feel indescribable pain and suffering. Without immense will and determination, one would not be able to hold up for long. Even the Miscellaneous Chores disciples, on average, would only cultivate once every few days.

Despite all that, Bai Xiaochun had managed to continuously cultivated for half a month. When Big Fatty Zhang and the rest caught a glimpse of him, what they saw was a Bai Xiaochun who, in their memories, was vastly different from the Bai Xiaochun of the past few months.

His shirt was unkempt, his hair was in a mess, and his eyes were riddled with bloody veins. Bai Xiaochun looked pathetic from head to toe, but despite all that, he still continued to work extremely hard. No matter how much pain or suffering he felt, he never stopped once.

It was apparent that even his body had shrunk an entire size. The spiritual aura that his body exuded from within had also increased by half and was exceedingly close to the peak of the First layer of Qi Condensation.

It was as though he had taken the essence of all the precious delicacies that were stored in his fats and refined them through an extreme method as a part of his cultivation. In doing so, he had strengthened his body in order to become stronger and tougher than the average man.

“Ninth Junior Brother, why don’t you take a break? You have cultivated with no regard to day and night for half a month already!” Big Fatty Zhang and the others took turns to persuade Bai Xiaochun, but his reply was simply a determined gaze. His resolution and unwavering will deeply shook the hearts of Big Fatty Zhang and the rest.

Time flashed by and in a blink of an eye, Bai Xiaochun had already cultivated for an entire month. During this time, Big Fatty Zhang and the rest could only be horrified and shocked by his insanity and recklessness. In the words of Big Fatty Zhang, Bai Xiaochun was not cultivating, but rather playing with his life.

Under Bai Xiaochun’s intense cultivation lifestyle, the length of time he could hold the second diagram finally broke through the 100 breaths barrier and reached 150 breaths. The spiritual Qi in his body had long since expanded and grown from the small stream that it once had been.

Another month passed. Big Fatty Zhang and the rest could only feel their hearts tremble in fear; the fear that one day Bai Xiaochun would cultivate himself to death. They were even plotting to stop Xu Baocai by secretly crippling and disabling him, when suddenly a loud ‘hong’ resounded from Bai Xiaochun’s room.

Following the echo of the sound, a gush of spiritual pressure from the Second layer of Qi Condensation burst forth from where Bai Xiaochun was sitting. The spiritual pressure expanded to an area of over 33 meters, causing Big Fatty Zhang and company, who were busy cooking rice, to immediately lift and turn their heads towards his location with excited expressions.

“Little Junior Brother has made a breakthrough!”

“The Second layer of Qi Condensation! Even though we, the Hearthfire Kitchen, might have additional meals from time to time, reaching the Second layer of Qi Condensation in less than half a year is still quite rare.”

“To think that back then it took me an entire year to reach the Second layer of Qi Condensation ……” Just as Big Fatty Zhang and the rest were overwhelmed with emotions, the door to Bai Xiaochun’s room creaked open. Though his face looked tired, and he had an unkempt appearance, Bai Xiaochun strode forth with eyes full of spirit.

Before Big Fatty Zhang and the rest could head over to greet Bai Xiaochun, the latter’s body suddenly flashed past, and with agility, landed on the wall that fenced in the courtyard of the Hearthfire Kitchen. Bai Xiaochun stood there with both hands behind his back, chin raised towards the horizon, and a deep expression on his face – giving off the impression of a lonely warrior.

“What’s he standing there for? He looks kinda funny……”

“Little Junior Brother, has he……lost himself to cultivation?” Big Fatty Zhang and the rest turned to look at each other.

While the audience was still shocked by Bai Xiaochun’s appearance as he stood on the fence wall, their ears picked up his voice, which had been deliberately changed to sound like an old sage.

“Xu Baocai is an arrogant genius among the Miscellaneous Chores disciples of the Spirit Creek Sect. His name spreads far and wide, and he is known to all. Shockingly, his cultivation has even reached the Second layer of Qi Condensation. And I, who is also at the Second layer of Qi Condensation, can fight him on equal grounds. This battle, though it may be equal and may make me famous throughout the sect, will definitely be bloody and tough. Flesh will be torn, blood will be spilled, and bones will be broken……no, this battle is of utmost importance, I must continue cultivating!”

Once finished, Bai Xiaochun looked far off into the horizon, and with a wave of his sleeve, he returned back to his room and closed the door with a slam. Big Fatty Zhang and the others couldn’t help but swallow their saliva. They were all rendered speechless as they turned and looked at each other. It wasn’t until half a breath later, when Third Fatty Hei opened his mouth and asked with uncertainty, that the silence was broken.

“Could it be that we fed our Junior Brother something wrong?”

“It’s over, it’s over! Junior Brother has gotten spirit-headed [1], he cultivated until he went insane……let’s not provoke him anymore!” Second Fatty Huang felt his whole body shiver as he said those words with certainty.  

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