Up to this point, Daoist Heavenspan’s expression had remained as cold as ice, even when he was coughing up blood. But in response to Bai Xiaochun’s words, he suddenly shivered.
He even averted his gaze to avoid revealing the bitterness and other mixed emotions he felt. Although his expression quickly returned to normal, his voice softened just a little bit.
“Where!?” Bai Xiaochun replied, similarly shivering a bit.
A long moment passed. Finally, Daoist Heavenspan said, “I haven’t been able to find her….”
When Bai Xiaochun heard that, not even he was sure of what to think or how to feel. Another moment passed, and then he left, not bothering to ask any more questions.
Back at the embassy, he yet again went into seclusion in his private chamber. After sitting down cross-legged, he shivered, and a bitter gleam appeared in his eyes as he recalled what it had been like to have Daoist Heavenspan absorbing him, with Du Lingfei desperately pleading for him to stop.
“As long as you’re alive, that’s all that’s important….” he murmured. For some reason, not even Daoist Heavenspan had been able to track her down, but Bai Xiaochun knew that as long as she was still alive, he would be able to find her eventually.
It was the same with Bai Hao…. As long as there was even a tiny bit of hope, he would cling to it. And that beautiful hope enabled him to refrain from sighing about the matter.
“It’s definitely going to happen….” Taking a deep breath, he suppressed his thoughts, closed his eyes, and resorted to cultivation to seek peace, something he had once been loath to do.
A month flew by in a flash, and Bai Xiaochun focused on cultivation the entire time. Forgetting the bitter pain of the past by immersing himself in cultivation was something he had grown used to.
Another month went by. After calculating that the spirit automaton was asleep again, he went back to the damaged fan.
He knew that the spot where the fan floated through the inky darkness of the void was far, far away from the Eternal Immortal Domains. Although he wasn’t sure exactly where the fan was, he knew that when he stood on it and sent his divine sense out to scan the area, it felt very different from the Eternal Immortal Domains.
“Is the void that huge…?” he murmured. Not only was he happy to use the fan to improve his cultivation, he was also using it to step through a door of epic proportions.
He wasn’t sure if anyone before him had ever left the Eternal Immortal Domains in this fashion, but he had the feeling that if people had, they were few and far between. It seemed likely that not even the Vile-Emperor or Saint-Emperor had traveled so far out into the darkness.
“I wonder… if I'm really the only person from the Eternal Immortal Domains to have ever been out here.” Finally, he looked away from the void back to the damaged fan.
“Things are probably going to get even harder after the seventy-eighth level….” Eyes flashing, he headed toward the fan rib that led to the seventy-ninth level!
Bai Xiaochun soon found out that the seventy-ninth level was even more shockingly difficult than he had imagined. In fact, it took roughly half a month for him to pass it.
If it weren’t for his tremendous powers of regeneration, and the fact that he had absorbed some flesh and blood from a sovereign, he probably would have failed. And next was the eightieth level….
Time flew by. In the past, when the spirit automaton had remained in slumber, Bai Xiaochun would have been able to pass ten levels in that amount of time. But this time, he only got to the eighty-third level!
Upon emerging, he was clearly spent. He lay down flat on his back, wounds still bleeding, his fleshly body and cultivation base teetering on the brink of collapse.
“That was too hard….” he thought. He lay there for three days before he felt recovered enough to do some calculations regarding the spirit automaton.
“I probably don’t have enough time to get through the eighty-fourth level,” he thought. “That little automaton should wake up in two or three days. Although I could at least check out the level to see what it’s like, and maybe start thinking of a way to pass it.” Gritting his teeth, he headed toward the eighty-fourth level.
As soon as he entered and looked around, he saw something that was almost completely unimaginable. His eyes went wide.
“This… this…. There’s no way this is really happening…. Heavens!” The world of the eighty-fourth level was a bleak wasteland. The sky was dark, and what little vegetation existed was withered and dry. There was also a pervasive aura of death that filled the entire place.
Surrounding him in the air were… vast numbers of souls!!
They floated around mindlessly, and apparently, would continue to do so for all eternity as long as no one bothered them. However, if they were disturbed, they would become vicious, and completely intent on gobbling up anything living. Considering the vast number involved, it was only possible to imagine the shocking scene that would play out if that happened.
To the cultivators of the Eternal Immortal Domains, souls were not a common thing to see. Although it wasn’t completely impossible to encounter them, they were definitely a rarity for people with lower cultivation bases.
Bai Xiaochun had long since come to realize that fact. It was one of the reasons why he hadn’t been able to replenish his stock of multi-colored flame, and by extension, unable to resurrect Bai Hao.
Therefore, seeing this many souls collected in once place nearly caused his vision to swim. He was like a poor beggar who had stumbled across a mountain of gold, and was half-convinced that he was seeing things.
Apparently, his mere presence was a stimulating factor to the nearby souls, who began to awaken from their state of blankness and turn in his direction.
Innumerable souls looked over and began to shriek in soundless fashion, causing fluctuations to roll out everywhere and creating a cosmic tempest that filled the entire eighty-fourth level. It almost seemed like the world was about to explode.
Then the countless souls began to charge madly toward Bai Xiaochun!
“Heavens, could it really be true…?” He rubbed his eyes to make sure he was seeing clearly. Then, before any of them could even get close, he blurred into motion toward one of the nearest vengeful souls and grabbed it. Crushing it, he created a one-colored flame!
The sight of the one-colored flame immediately filled him with unprecedented levels of excitement.
“They’re not illusory? Heavens! I… I love this place!!” He threw his head back and laughed uproariously. As of this moment, he realized that this damaged fan was a wonderful place. Although some of the levels had been difficult, it was now giving him a huge windfall at absolutely no cost….
He didn’t care if the spirit automaton woke up right now. All he could think about were souls. During his time in the Eternal Immortal Domains, he had watched his reserves of multi-colored flame shrinking, to the point where he almost had none left.
As a result, he couldn't perform the same amazing spirit enhancements that he could in the past, and in fact, had to be very judicious in their use.
“Mine! All mine!! Don’t run! Hahaha! Be a good soul now, come over here to Lord Bai! Rich! I’ve really struck it rich!”
The excited cries of Bai Xiaochun echoed about in the world. As for the previously vicious souls, although they didn’t really possess any level of intelligence, they were soon looking around in complete shock….
Never before had anyone challenged this level in such a fashion. From what they could understand on an instinctual level… living people should be afraid of them. But now, Bai Xiaochun was running around tossing Soul Convergence Pills left and right, each resulting detonation of which sucked in vast amounts of souls.
If that were all there were to it, it might have been possible to accept. But he was also conjuring flame at the same time. Suddenly, the tables were turned, and the vengeful souls were the terrified ones. Shrieking, they tried to flee Bai Xiaochun’s clutches.
“Be a good little soul! Don’t run!!” Eyes shining, Bai Xiaochun lunged forward….