“What’s the point of winning by cheating!?” Bai Xiaochun grumbled angrily to himself.
“I, Bai Xiaochun, a mighty celestial, am straightforward and upright in everything I do! I absolutely detest anyone who cheats!” Gradually, the jealousy he had felt regarding his opponent’s tactics turned into anger.
What was worse was that he was being looked down upon. And Celestial Virūpākṣa had even threatened him!
“No,” he said through gritted teeth. “This is getting dangerous. I definitely can’t allow Virūpākṣa to succeed!” Eyes bloodshot, he pondered what to do. However, he knew that despite the fact that they were all celestials, and that he himself was particularly strong, he had only just become a celestial. Furthermore, if things did get down to a real fight with Virūpākṣa, the man wouldn't be afraid of being killed; he could just be resurrected by the Vile-Emperor.
In sharp contrast, Bai Xiaochun had not given part of his Daoseed to the Saint-Emperor. That meant that if a fight did break out, he would be in great danger.
“What shameless bullying!” The more he pondered the situation, the more incensed he was. After enough time had passed for an incense stick to burn, he still had not come up with any good ideas. Meanwhile, Celestial Virūpākṣa had risen to his feet from meditation. Glancing coldly at Bai Xiaochun, he then went back into the fan rib to head to the tenth level.
Everyone else looked on in envy. After Virūpākṣa disappeared, they too went back into the challenges.
Before long, only four or five people were left on the outside, Bai Xiaochun included.
“If I were here by myself, maybe I could fight him. But I'm not alone. And Gu Tianjun and Sima Yunhua aren’t going to help me…. I guess the only option is to stop Virūpākṣa from winning the treasure! And the only way to do that is to become the owner of the fan before him!” After putting more thought into it, he came up with a variety of ideas, and yet none of them seemed particularly promising.
“There’s only one thing I can do! A tenfold spirit enhancement will erase any personal branding marks. If I enhance the fan, then maybe… I could brand it with my own divine sense! If it works, then I would become the new owner of the fan!” At this point, his heart was starting to pound a bit. In fact, he quickly forgot that his entire purpose in the matter was to stop Celestial Virūpākṣa.
“If I can become the owner of the fan….” His thoughts began to race in excitement for a while before he finally managed to calm himself down.
Unfortunately, the fan was huge. Bai Xiaochun usually enhanced things by putting them into the turtle-wok. Therefore, he wasn’t sure how he would go about enhancing the huge fan.
“The fan can’t shrink…. I wonder if just clamping the wok down onto it will work…?” Although his heart was itching with anticipation, he was still fully on guard. After all, if someone saw what he was doing, it could cause major problems.
Therefore, he put on a big show of snorting coldly and walking over to head back into the seventh level. Once inside the maze, he took out his wok, put it upside down on the ground, and then went about with a spirit enhancement.
Unfortunately, after putting a one-colored flame into the wok, and finding no reaction, he frowned. After all his years of using the turtle-wok, he could tell that the enhancement had failed.
Feeling very disappointed, he picked up the turtle-wok again and then sat there in a bit of a daze.
“Maybe it won’t work inside one of the challenges. It might work outside though….” Not quite willing to give up, he backed out of the seventh level and then sat down on the fan rib itself.
At the moment, the main square of the fan was still occupied by a handful of cultivators who were resting after having failed one of the challenges. Bai Xiaochun waited patiently for six hours until all of them finished resting and headed back into the challenges. The square was completely empty. At that point, he took the turtle-wok out and put it down in front him.
With that, he placed one hand onto the wok, and used the other to pull out another one-colored flame from his dwindling supply.
“It’s definitely going to work!” he murmured anxiously. The one-colored flame disappeared into the wok, and a single silver flash of light shot out and hit the fan!
As a result, the fan trembled!
“Did it work?” he thought excitedly. However, there was no time for an inspection, as the light of teleportation appeared, and someone was sent flying out from one of the levels. Quickly putting the turtle-wok away, Bai Xiaochun hurried into the seventh level.
Of course, he had no intention of trying to make his way through the maze. After staying inside for a while, he left, plastering a look of confused disappointment onto his face.
The truth was that his heart was pounding. Although there was nothing physically different about the treasured fan, he had definitely seen that silver flash of light. After paying very close attention to who was outside of the challenges, he found an opportunity when no one was looking, whereupon he took out the turtle-wok and a two-colored flame!
Almost immediately, a silver flash of light could be seen. Not pausing for even a moment, Bai Xiaochun quickly performed a third and then a fourth spirit enhancement. In nearly one breath of time, he completed six total enhancements. At that point, more people emerged from various trials, and he put the wok away and sat there sighing.
Inside, he was laughing cheerfully, and eagerly awaiting the moment when everyone was back inside the challenges. He was hoping for an incense stick’s worth of time, in which he could perform all of the rest of the enhancements in one fell swoop.
Seven days passed. By that time, Celestial Virūpākṣa was in the fifteenth level. He seemed to be crushing every level with impunity, and maintaining a clear lead.
The other celestials were in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh levels. As for the demigod Preceptor Seadeep, he had reached the eighth level, and seemed stuck there. However, he wasn't willing to give up, and went back in constantly to make further attempts.
Everyone else was roughly in the same situation, although no one else had proceeded past the seventh level. As for Bai Xiaochun, his lack of progress had become the butt of many jokes.
“Bai Xiaochun is a celestial, but he’s stuck on the seventh level just like the rest of us!”
“That makes it completely obvious that he’s the weakest of all the celestials. Even Preceptor Seadeep is stronger than him!”
“Well, he is from that backwater Heavenspan Realm. It makes sense that he would be embarrassingly weak even after becoming a celestial!”
It wasn’t just the demigods and devas who reacted with derision. Gu Tianjun and Sima Yunhua completely ignored him, and secretly scorned him. It was the same with the celestials from the Vile-Emperor Dynasty.
Bai Xiaochun didn’t have the inclination to pay them any more attention than they paid him. He could sense the ridicule in their eyes, but didn’t care. By this point, the treasured fan already had a seventeenfold spirit enhancement!
Upon performing the tenth enhancement, he had been excited, but found that no golden light appeared, nor was there any sign that the branding mark controlling the fan had been removed. Although he had hesitated about what to do after that, he decided that a twentyfold enhancement was probably the answer!
“Thirty is the limit for spirit enhancement, but this is an extraordinary sovereign-level magical item. I guess I just have to push things further. All I want to do is erase the branding mark. It shouldn’t be that hard. It will all be worth it in the end, considering how much I hate cheaters.” Bai Xiaochun worried constantly during the next three days. Eventually, he found his chance to perform the enhancements he needed.
He had very few twenty-colored flames left in his bag of holding, but he took one out and pushed it down into the turtle-wok. The wok vibrated violently, and then the whole fan did the same. At that point, the light finally changed from silver to golden!
The power of the spirit automaton of the fan appeared, the same automaton that had previously spoken into the minds of the cultivators. However, the power of the spirit automaton was clearly in the process of dissipating, being erased by some other power that surpassed it!