It took some rest, but Bai Xiaochun recovered well. After thinking back to how hard the seventy-eighth level had been, he couldn’t help but sigh.
“I can tell it’s getting harder and harder…. It’s a good thing that little automaton wasn’t around, otherwise things would have really been hopeless. I have to be very careful from here on out. I can’t give the little automaton any advantage in our battle of wits and strength.”
Sighing, he decided not to challenge any more levels.
Not long after he left, the spirit automaton woke up. Upon discovering that Bai Xiaochun was getting closer and closer to the eightieth level, he felt beyond delighted.
Back in the level with the leaves, he had paid a steep price in his attempt to defeat Bai Xiaochun. In fact, as a result, the difficulty in the following levels had been reduced.
That having been said, the difficulty reduction hadn’t been that dramatic. Therefore, Bai Xiaochun’s rapid progress was a bit of a surprise.
“No. Wait. I need to make some more adjustments. Dammit! Alright, I know. I’ll completely reduce the difficulty of the hundredth level and redistribute it to earlier levels. That way, I can definitely stop this damned Bai Xiaochun!!” The spirit automaton was acting a bit crazily. But he was really worried about Bai Xiaochun making progress. Therefore, he went through with his plan to reduce the difficulty of the final level as far down as it would go!
Meanwhile, Bai Xiaochun was back in his private chamber in the embassy in Vile-Emperor City. After opening his eyes, he produced a blue pill bottle from his bag of holding.
There were no medicinal pills inside, only a medicinal liquid, eight drops in total. This was the reward he had acquired from the seventy-eighth level. Each drop of that liquid was comparable to an immortal pill, or perhaps, was even more effective.
All-in-all, it was perfect for use in the mid Celestial Realm.
Although the seventy-eighth level had been difficult, the rewards were significant. As a grandmaster in the Dao of medicine, he could tell that this medicinal liquid was extraordinary, to the point where he wasn’t even sure how it had been created. However, after some analysis, he confirmed that all of the ingredients were legendary in the Eternal Immortal Domains, and were all considered to be immortal grasses.
There was only one ingredient, spiritdragon horn, a precious material of heaven and earth, that was relatively common in the Eternal Immortal Domains. Even still, it was astronomically expensive. Bai Xiaochun had seen a specimen in Saint-Emperor City, and knew that even celestials who qualified to acquire it could only do so with great difficulty.
“It was all worth it!” he thought, tilting the bottle up to let a single drop of the fluid out onto his tongue.
It dissolved instantly, giving rise to a searing heat that exploded through his entire body. His cultivation base immediately began to rotate rapidly as the nutritious agents in the medicinal liquid coursed through his energy passageways.
As he cultivated, time passed. Because his calculations indicated that the spirit automaton was awake, he didn't go back to the damaged fan. He spent all of his time in cultivation, trying to improve his cultivation base.
The nine drops of medicinal liquid turned out to be even more powerful than he had imagined. After absorbing all of them, he found that he had achieved significant progress. He was now very close to the late Celestial Realm, and almost didn’t feel like he was in the mid Celestial Realm anymore.
And he hadn’t even used his Celestial Pill yet. He had already performed spirit enhancements on it, and was preparing to use it at the last possible moment, to improve his chances of breaking through.
Most people would be completely shocked by the progress he was making, and would find it difficult to believe. After all, there were only twelve celestials in the Eternal Immortal Domains, and many of them would spend years and years, and rely on all varieties of good fortune, just to make a little bit of progress.
Bai Xiaochun was the only one who could advance in the way he was. After all, he was using the legacy rewards left behind in the heaven-shaking, earth-shattering treasured item of a sovereign.
Because of that treasure, his cultivation was advancing rapidly, and seemingly without pause. Even as he was wrapped up in this process of rapid progress, a friend came to visit!
It was none other than… Big Fatty Zhang!
After coming to Vile-Emperor City, Bai Xiaochun had asked his subordinates about Big Fatty Zhang, who he knew had a very unique position in the dynasty. However, they had informed him that Big Fatty Zhang was out on a mission.
Two months later, Big Fatty Zhang returned. After hearing that Bai Xiaochun was in the city, he rushed over to the embassy at the earliest opportunity.
When Bai Xiaochun got the news, he hurried out of his private chamber and headed to the main hall, where a tall, lanky person stood waiting for him!
The person’s silhouette looked unfamiliar, but when he turned to look at Bai Xiaochun, Bai Xiaochun felt shaken to the core. Despite how different he looked, his facial features were the same, and Bai Xiaochun couldn’t hold back from rushing forward to embrace him.
Big Fatty Zhang seemed just as excited as Bai Xiaochun, and returned the embrace.
As they looked each other up and down, they thought back to all the memories they shared. From the Ovens in the Spirit Stream Sect to the River-Defying Sect, from the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect to the battle on Ghostmother’s battleship. And then to the point when they were separated by an entire world.
“Xiaochun, I thought I was never going to be able to see you again….”
“Xiaochun, do you remember back on the Heavenspan Sea when I told you about that dream of mine…?
“Well, my life really has been like a hallucination. In fact, for years, I wondered if maybe I was stuck in a dream…. The world I had lived in was the body of an enormous giant. Back then, I could hardly believe it….
“And then I heard that the Heavenspan Realm had been destroyed….” By this point, tears were streaming down Big Fatty Zhang’s cheeks. He had many things to say, and so much to recount regarding the difficulties he had faced through the years. To him, Bai Xiaochun was not just a Junior Brother, but also a dear friend and brother.
Bai Xiaochun’s heart trembled as he listened to Big Fatty Zhang. He thought about the Ovens, and how many years had passed since then, and it made this reunion even more memorable.
They sat there for a long time, reminiscing and talking about the things which had occurred since they were separated. Considering Bai Xiaochun’s position, he had his subordinates bring some alcohol for them to enjoy, and then activated the embassy’s spell formations, ensuring that no divine sense would be able to intrude on them.
“At the time, I had no idea that the ghost galleon… would be taking such a momentous journey…. It brought me to this strange land, to this strange city, and to these strange people…. Xiaochun, you have no idea how useless I was back then.” Big Fatty Zhang bitterly raised his alcohol jug up and took a drink.
Bai Xiaochun joined him.
“Eldest Brother,” he said, “you came here before anyone else, so you don’t know everything that went on…. The River-Defying Sect is gone. The Wildlands are gone. Everything's gone…. My apprentice Hao’er is gone. The gravekeeper is gone. The entire world… is gone.” The more he talked, the bleaker he sounded.
“So many people dead… so many…. And it’s all because of Daoist Heavenspan!” By this point, his hands were clenched tightly. Big Fatty Zhang’s mood was sinking just as much.
It was late into the night before they finished talking about the past, and their current situation. Many tears had been shed, and they had sighed many times. Occasionally they laughed, and occasionally they would weep while laughing. Sometimes, it was like they were back in the Ovens, back in the days without true worry or care….
Back in those days, Big Fatty Zhang had been high-spirited and full of mettle.
Back in those days, Bai Xiaochun had been proud and confident, and had dreamed constantly of being able to live forever.
Many years had passed, and they were no longer the youngsters they had once been. They had grown up, and in that process, had come to find duty and responsibility weighing heavily on their shoulders.
“After the Heavenspan Realm collapsed,” Big Fatty Zhang said, “I did my best to search for our people…. But as the saying goes, the words of the lowly carry little weight. I was one of the first to arrive here, and because of my skills in spirit enhancement, I managed to establish myself in the Vile-Emperor Dynasty. But I have little power…. Xiaochun, I wasn’t even free to leave this place and come find you.
“The only way I could have done it was to fly there myself. After all, the teleportation portals are all locked down.” Although Big Fatty Zhang’s voice was laced with bitterness, at this point, his face suddenly lit up.
“Hold on, Xiaochun. I might not have much power, but I have been able to help some of the people of Heavenspan. Guess what? I know where Patriarch Spirit Stream is! And also Sect Uncle Li Qinghou. They’ve gathered a lot of disciples from the River-Defying Sect!!”
When Bai Xiaochun heard this, he shivered, and reached out to grab Big Fatty Zhang’s shoulder. Shaking physically, he said, “You know where Uncle Li! is?!? And Patriarch Spirit Stream? And other disciples from the River-Defying Sect? Where? Where are they?”
Bai Xiaochun was almost certain that he had misheard. After all, despite extensive searching back in the Saint-Emperor Dynasty, he had come up completely empty-handed in terms of finding people he knew.
“Yeah! I know where they are. But I was worried about revealing their location, so I never went to see them in person. However, I can tell you that they are in the safest place in this immortal domain!” Big Fatty Zhang could tell how emotional Bai Xiaochun was getting, and he didn’t hold anything back. He quickly went on to tell him everything he knew.
“You never went to see them in person…. That was smart. And safe. As long as they're alive, that's what matters…. That’s what matters. That’s what matters….” Bai Xiaochun had to force himself to remember to breathe. Eventually, he released Big Fatty Zhang’s shoulder, and thought back to how Li Qinghou would often look at him with both sternness and love in his eyes. Suddenly, Bai Xiaochun’s eyes welled with tears.
1. Big Fatty Zhang’s dream was recounted in and