Or perhaps the truth was slightly different. Upon seeing Du Lingfei, Bai Xiaochun smiled bitterly, and was fairly certain that he understood.
Many years ago, the Celestial rebelled, waging war against the entire Arch-Emperor Dynasty. The forces of the Arch-Emperor were soundly defeated, losing not just the lands of Heavenspan, but also one of their most important legacies, the Live Forever Codex from the Undying Live Forever Technique!
After relocating to the Wildlands, the Arch-Emperor Dynasty only had the Undying Codex. Perhaps in an attempt to resist the Celestial, or perhaps just to foster hope… the gravekeeper had taken steps to allow people who were not direct descendants of the Arch-Emperor to cultivate the Undying Codex. And as the technique became more widespread, incomplete copies eventually showed up in sects in the lands of Heavenspan.
As a result, the Undying Codex lived on. At the same time, everyone in the Heavenspan Realm had a chance to cultivate a secret magic that had once belonged only to the Arch-Emperor.
The Celestial didn’t do anything to stop it, focused as he was on the Live Forever Codex. However, it was only after attempting to actually cultivate the Live Forever Codex, and failing, that he came up with an idea that could only be described as insane.
He would encourage more and more people to cultivate both the Undying Codex and the Live Forever Codex. Then he would fuse those people together and use them to concoct an Undying Live Forever Pill. By consuming that pill, he would then get access to the hidden power offered by the Undying Live Forever Technique.
Both the bones scattered in the necropolis, and the remains of the three Arch-Emperors, had all been used in his extensive research.
Unfortunately for him, the Live Forever Codex was much more difficult to cultivate than the Undying Codex, and also more powerful. Despite all the years which had passed, none of the countless cultivators who had cultivated it had ever succeeded. At most, some of them made superficial progress.
But then his top apprentice came along…. She was the Frigid Matriarch of the north, and once she mastered the Live Forever Codex, the Celestial’s heart began to burn with avarice.
It was at around that time that a mighty hero rose up in the Wildlands, a person called the Blood Ancestor. Perhaps it was his own spectacular talent, or perhaps he had the blood of the Arch-Emperors in him. Either way, he mastered the Undying Codex, and made a spectacular breakthrough, reaching the fleshly body level of a demigod!
If it wasn’t for the fact that the Celestial had brought ruin to the Arch-Emperor Dynasty, it was entirely possible that the Blood Ancestor would have eventually gone on to cultivate the Live Forever Codex.
If the Blood Ancestor had succeeded with both codices, then he would have been able to break through to the Celestial Realm!
He would have met the qualifications enforced by the gravekeeper to leave the Heavenspan Realm!
The Frigid Matriarch should have been the Blood Ancestor’s greatest enemy. But somehow, they fell in love with each other. And when they discovered the truth of the Celestial’s schemes… well, Bai Xiaochun had already been told that story by the Frigid Matriarch herself.
The Frigid Matriarch betrayed her Master, and joined with the Blood Ancestor to try to kill him!
In the end, the Blood Ancestor died, and sank to the bottom of the Heavenspan River, with only one, defiant hand stretching out above the surface of the water…. The Frigid Matriarch also perished. However, she managed to create a soulclone that possessed a true spirit. Afterward, she remained hidden in the Spirit Stream Sect, forever gazing into the distance at the Blood Ancestor… her Daoist partner.
Because of how things played out… the Celestial’s first chance to concoct the pill he desired ended in a failure.
But the Celestial didn’t give up. In the years that passed, he tried to come up with other ways to escape the world in which he was trapped. But at the same time, he kept the Undying Live Forever Pill in his back pocket, ready to use as a last resort.
If no one else came along who could master the Live Forever Codex, then perhaps the Celestial would have been forced to eventually abandon his insane plan. But then, his daughter, Du Lingfei… became the second person who was able to cultivate the technique!
Du Lingfei’s bones slowly became crystal. And although she didn’t advance by leaps and bounds like Bai Xiaochun had done with the Undying Codex, her rapid advancement in her cultivation proved that she wasn’t very far behind him.
After all… she had the backing of the Celestial, and therefore, it was only natural that her cultivation would go easier than it would for others.
The Celestial was not completely cold-hearted when it came to the fact that his daughter was succeeding with the Live Forever Codex. On the one hand, he deeply desired to escape the Heavenspan Realm. But on the other hand, he still hesitated at the thought of sacrificing his own child.
It was that hesitation which led to the spectacular battle in the Wildlands, and his alliance with Ghostmother’s soulclone. All of it had been an attempt to either kill the gravekeeper, or escape to the world beyond by using Ghostmother’s battleship.
Unfortunately for him, all of his plans had failed. The Celestial began to descend into utter madness, and at the same time, constantly muttered, “Gravekeeper, you bastard, you’re forcing me to do all of this!!”
As far as the Celestial was concerned, the gravekeeper really was forcing him down this path. It wasn’t what he truly wanted, but he felt that he had no other choice. And thus, he had gone to war with the Wildlands.
He would end all life in the Wildlands, kill the gravekeeper, dispel the Underworld River, and end the bloodline of the Arch-Emperor Dynasty. In the middle of all that, Bai Xiaochun became the next person after the Blood Ancestor to master the Undying Codex!
In the end, the Celestial had two choices. Sacrifice his own flesh and blood, or watch his longevity run out, and his hopes of escaping the Heavenspan Realm be dashed to pieces. Finally, he picked the former…. And considering how his initial attempt at this plan had failed, as soon as he made his decision, he placed a magical slave seal on Du Lingfei!
Then he simply waited for Bai Xiaochun to show up. After confirming that Bai Xiaochun had succeeded with the Undying Codex, he made his move. There was no one to stand in his way, and thus, he brought Bai Xiaochun from the Wildlands to Heavenspan Island.
Bai Xiaochun watched bitterly as Du Lingfei stepped out from behind the Celestial. Her expression was vacant, making her seem almost like a marionette or puppet. Furthermore, deep within her eyes, it was just possible to see the flickering slave seals.
“Boo….” he said, thinking back to how the Celestial had used the both of them to lure out the ghost face. He would never forget the disappointment and bitterness he had seen in her expression back then.
“Don’t hate me….” the Celestial said. “I never wanted to do this. It’s all the fault of the gravekeeper!!” Suddenly, he threw his head back and laughed uproariously, although it was possible to detect bitter sadness within the laughter, as well as madness.
The Celestial had truly gone crazy. It was visible in his eyes, as well as his smile, which looked completely different than it had in the past. Eyes bloodshot, he performed a right-handed incantation gesture and then pointed at Du Lingfei!
In response, Du Lingfei shivered and looked up slowly. Expression blank, she began to walk slowly toward Bai Xiaochun, who could do nothing other than watch her approach. When she stepped into the blood in the pool, it immediately stained her white garments black. At the same time, the greedy magical symbols began to crawl onto her and pass to and fro on her skin.
She stopped right in front of him, where she slowly reached out… and put her hand on top of his head. As she did, she began to glow with crystalline light….
At that point, the aura of the Live Forever Codex erupted out.
Chuckling endlessly, the Celestial shoved his right hand down onto the ground, causing the entire necropolis to tremble. The spell formation began to radiate dazzling light, and the bones which formed it melted. Even the remains of the three Arch-Emperors started melting away….
The melting of the bones caused the spell formation to glow even brighter. At the same time, the black blood began to bubble and seethe, sending more magical symbols wriggling onto Bai Xiaochun and Du Lingfei!
They began to pour into their eyes, ears, noses and mouths. The pain caused Bai Xiaochun to shiver, but what was worse was the anguish and rage he felt!
His anguish was because of what was happening to Du Lingfei, and his rage was because of the cruelty of the Celestial!
“Am I going to die…?” he thought. Again, he tried to call out to the Frigid Matriarch, but there was no response. Magical symbols rushed into him, causing him to glow with golden light that seemed to correlate perfectly to the crystalline glow coming off of Du Lingfei.
A resonance formed with the light of the spell formation, whereupon a shocking gravitational force erupted from Du Lingfei!
The gravitational force spread through Du Lingfei and into Bai Xiaochun, causing him to shiver. Looking dully at Du Lingfei, he… slowly closed his eyes.
However, when that happened, a look of intense struggle appeared in Du Lingfei’s eyes. A tremor ran through her, and suddenly she seemed like she might lift her hand off of his head. Apparently, despite the slave seal that had been placed on her, she instinctively refused to harm Bai Xiaochun!