After straightening up from his bow, he flew up into the sky. When he had first arrived in this place, the chaotic flows of time had been quite unsettling. But now that he had taken his first steps toward controlling the Essence of time, they didn't bother him at all.
It didn’t matter how the time flows shifted and changed, they couldn't do anything to affect the hourglass in his mind. That hourglass was rooted to his consciousness, and nothing on the outside could affect it any more than wind could affect a boulder.
Flying up, he eventually found himself back out in the void, and then, on his treasured fan!
In that exact moment, Bai Xiaochi settled down cross-legged, and was just about to close his eyes to meditate. Startled, he jumped back up and shouted, “What’s wrong?!?!”
Sending his divine sense out, he checked the area, as well as the precious treasure that was the hourglass. Meanwhile, Bai Xiaochun looked back at him in shock.
Then his eyes settled into a glare. Considering how long he had been gone, he had expected Bai Xiaochi to at least miss him a little bit. Suddenly, he got an odd feeling.
“What are you all flustered for…?” he asked. “How long was I in the hourglass world?”
“How long?” Bai Xiaochi looked back at him, a bit confused. “Huh? You don’t know? You just went in! It’s only been… maybe four or five breaths of time. I watched you go in, and before I could even sit down, you jumped back out.” At this point, Bai Xiaochi seemed to realize something. Eyes widening, he pointed at Bai Xiaochun and said, “Wait… don’t tell me that time passed differently for you?”
Bai Xiaochun was immediately shaken. He had assumed that due to his initial steps toward mastering the Essence of time, something like this couldn’t have happened.
“There’s no way! Based on what I could tell, I must have spent decades in there. Maybe even a century! But out here… only a few breaths of time passed?!?!” It took a bit of back and forth, but Bai Xiaochun soon confirmed that it was exactly as Bai Xiaochi had said. Gasping, he looked back at the world of hourglasses.
Having gotten to the bottom of the situation, Bai Xiaochi was equally shaken, and also looked over at the hourglass world.
At this point, Bai Xiaochun realized that his suppositions regarding the outside world had been wrong. Relative to the outside world, the time he had spent in the hourglass world counted for almost nothing.
That hourglass world… didn’t exist on the same plane as the void in which he now stood. It was almost transcendent, and in fact, there was only one word Bai Xiaochun could think of to describe it.
“Eternal!” he murmured, his eyes shining with hope.
“The Essence of time… is so mysterious!!” Once again, he clasped hands and bowed deeply to the hourglass world. After a long moment, he turned, taking control of the fan and sending it flying off into the distance.
Bai Xiaochi was struck by a similar sense of wonderment. However, he was eager to be on his way, and provided as much help as he could to push the treasured fan at top speed through the void.
Even after some time passed, Bai Xiaochun was not able to calm down. As for Bai Xiaochi, he wasn’t sure what to say about the shocking things that he had been told. They traveled along in peace and quiet for several months, until at one point, Bai Xiaochun opened his eyes from meditation.
Without any hesitation, he extended his right hand and waved his finger in a certain direction out in the void!
Before Bai Xiaochi could even react, the area Bai Xiaochun had pointed at rippled and distorted, sinking down to become a small-scale version of the precious treasure that was the hourglass world!
Bai Xiaochi couldn’t actually see it, but he could sense the gravitational force. As the sunken area expanded, that gravitational force grew greater and greater!
As that happened, the flow of time there began to slow down. Meanwhile, an enraged howl could be heard, coming from that very area in which gravity had been affected. Strangely, the sound seemed distorted, even drawn out.
Moments later, the old paper woman appeared, materializing right into that distorted area, her eyes already flickering with shock.
Bai Xiaochi was similarly taken aback, and for the first time, looked over at Bai Xiaochun with an expression of reverence. Not only had Bai Xiaochun detected the woman’s approach ahead of time, but he had also created an area similar to the precious treasure that was the hourglass. Although it was only generally similar, Bai Xiaochi could easily see that this… was a Daoist magic of Essence!
In other words, it was… a sovereign-level Daoist magic!!
“What are you staring at, Bai Xiaochi? Hurry up and use the sovereign’s arm!” Constantly being chased down by this old ghost woman had long since caused the flames of anger to build up inside of Bai Xiaochun. And although he didn’t want to go out and fight her on his own, it seemed like a great opportunity to slow her down and use the fan’s power to unleash some misery on her.
With that, he sent out some divine sense, causing numerous beams of Archaean Luminescence to shoot out toward the old woman. He even summoned an archaean slave, who stepped out into the void to fight.
The archaean slave couldn’t stay out in the void for long, but now that Bai Xiaochun’s cultivation base had improved, he could last for the time it takes an incense stick to burn. Meanwhile, Bai Xiaochi quickly sent the sovereign’s arm out toward the old woman!
This was Bai Xiaochun’s first time making a strong counter-assault on the old paper woman. The woman howled in response, waving her lamp, which caused a sea of black flames to roil out.
The fact that the flames didn't seem destabilized by Bai Xiaochun’s zone of time influence wasn’t because his divine ability was weak, but rather, because the cultivation base of this old ghost woman… was too high!!
Even still, the area affected by his Gravitational Extermination lasted for several breaths of time, which was more than enough for several shots of Archaean Luminescence to hit the old woman. Although it seemed as if she existed in a different dimension, and the beams passed through her, because of the zone of time influence, she was still injured.
Even as her shriek echoed out, the archaean slave and the sovereign’s arm arrived. As they did, black flames continued to burn away at the Gravitational Extermination’s zone of time influence, and the trapped old woman performed an incantation gesture. That in turn caused the black sea of flames to take the shape of a black lamp, which then shot toward the sovereign arm.
When the two collided, a massive boom echoed out, shaking the entire area. The archaean slave coughed up a mouthful of blood, and the sovereign’s arm was sent spinning back to the fan, undamaged, but currently incapable of any further action. The archaean slave also returned to the fan.
However, the old ghost woman was not in good shape either. Her hair was disheveled, and she looked so bedraggled that she was starting to fade out of existence. Eyes filled with madness, she howled, sending more black flames shooting out, creating another sea of flames. As it expanded, the frightened Bai Xiaochun and Bai Xiaochi turned the fan and started heading off at top speed.
The sea of flames continued to expand behind them, accompanied by the howls of the old ghost woman. Eventually, so much flame was roiling out that it made it possible to see a different woman.
She was beautiful, with luxurious clothing and phoenix-like eyes that contained boundless dignity. However, a black spike of flames was impaled into her forehead, which turned all of her grace and beauty into malevolent ferocity!
As soon as Bai Xiaochi saw the woman, he instinctively shrieked, “Immortal Imperatrix!!”