Chapter 345: Unclean Thing….
Heaven and earth were nothing but a vast swath of darkness. As the white-robed figure appeared, a sinister coldness swept out. Because of the darkness which surrounded the figure, it was only just barely possible to identify her as a woman.
Her long hair flowed about her as she strolled across the battlefield through the darkness of night.
Wherever she went, everything around her grew so cold it seemed to hover on the verge of becoming ice. The plants and vegetation withered as though the white-robed woman was sucking away their life force. At the same time, her own life force rapidly grew stronger.
Before long, she was next to a pile of corpses belonging to former cultivators of the Sky River Court. Looking down at them, she chuckled, then sucked in a breath which caused the corpses to begin to wither up. In the briefest of moments, the corpses became nothing more than skeletons that looked like they had been dead for years.
The young woman didn't stop there. She proceeded along through the battlefield, causing numerous corpses to transform into skeletons. As this occurred, her body grew increasingly distinct. In the end, she stretched her neck a bit to loosen it, then floated over to another location where a large amount of Sky River Court cultivators' corpses lay.
This location belonged to the Blood Stream Division, and these corpses had been set aside for them to use in their corpse refining. The entire area was sealed tight with spell formations, and yet, they posed no obstacle to the young woman. She floated right through them until she was right above the corpses. Then, a strange gleam could be seen in her eyes as she yet again breathed in deeply….
Instantly, the vast quantity of corpses began to wither. In the blink of an eye, the more than 10,000 corpses turned into nothing more than bones. Some of those bones even dissolved into ashes….
By this point, the young woman's features were even clearer. After a moment passed, she burped lightly, then slowly looked up into the sky. The dark clouds began to fade away, and a shaft of moonlight fell down to reveal her face.
Shockingly, that young woman was Gongsun Wan'er!
"Well I'm not starving anymore, but what a pity that they were all dead. If only I could eat something living!" Covering her mouth, she chuckled, then turned and vanished into thin air.
With her departure, the dark clouds disappeared completely, allowing the moonlight to shine down onto a field of pale white bones….
No one detected Gongsun Wan'er that night, not even the Nascent Soul patriarchs….
Bai Xiaochun suddenly sneezed as a cold feeling swept over him. Emerging from his meditative trance, he looked around for a moment, then, after seeing nothing out of the ordinary, closed his eyes again.
The next morning at dawn, the disciples responsible for the corpses suddenly realized that the corpses were now nothing more than dried up bones. Their jaws dropped, and soon cries of alarm rose up into the air. The matter instantly caused a huge stir in the River-Defying Sect.
"What… what could have happened!?"
"Heavens, how could all the corpses here have dried up overnight…?"
"There's not even any flesh or blood left at all. They look like they’ve been dead for ages. They definitely didn't look like that yesterday!"
As the news spread, everyone was completely and utterly shaken. Even the patriarchs' meeting regarding the sect rules was thrown into chaos.
Bai Xiaochun was eventually disturbed by the racket, and quickly went to see what was going on. As he hovered in the air, he heard the various discussions, and then looked over at the corpses on the battlefield.
"What happened?" he thought, shocked. The fact that all of the flesh and blood had vanished from the corpses left him with a very bad feeling.
It was in that exact moment that more than ten beams of light shot off of Mount River Defiance. It was the patriarchs of the four divisions, who had very serious expressions on their faces as they sped in the direction of the Blood Stream Division's corpse refining district.
Behind them were a large number of Core Formation cultivators. Seeing what was happening, Bai Xiaochun quickly flew up to join them.
A large group of cultivators had already gathered in the area, and were discussing the situation. When they saw the patriarchs and the Core Formation experts, they quickly quieted down. However, curious expressions could be seen on their faces; they could tell that the events of the previous night were clearly no small matter.
Obviously, the fact that the corpses' flesh and blood had been drained away meant that someone or something had done the deed. If that news spread, it could definitely cause problems.
The Nascent Soul patriarchs soon arrived at the corpse refining district and began to investigate. Before long, their expressions began to flicker.
That was especially true of the three most powerful of the patriarchs, the great circle Nascent Soul experts Frigidsect, Master Godwind, and Crimsonsoul. They could sense a lingering aura in the area that caused their expressions to turn very grim. After exchanging glances, Master Godwind of the Blood Stream Division said, "When the Dire Skybanyan was uprooted, it created rifts for earth qi to seep through. That's what caused this event. There's no need for anyone to panic. I'll set up some spell formations to keep the earth qi sealed."
Next, Frigidsect and Crimsonsoul also made similar statements. Considering their reputations in the sect, such words quickly eased the hearts of most of the disciples.
However, Bai Xiaochun wasn't too far off from the Nascent Soul cultivators, and when he looked around, he instantly sensed the cold aura in the area. There were even streams of frigid qi which entered his body and caused his life force to grow sluggish.
He didn't quite believe the patriarchs' explanation, but hesitated for a moment and looked over at Frigidsect. Frigidsect gave him a meaningful look that indicated he should hold his tongue.
The matter was quickly swept under the rug. All four divisions entrusted key disciples to guide the flow of conversation in the sect. This, coupled with the fact that everyone was so busy, and that no living cultivators had been affected, ensured that discussion of the matter faded away quickly. Although a few people harbored some suspicions, no one attempted to dig for more information.
However, that very night, there was a secret meeting on Mount River Defiance between the patriarchs and the Core Formation cultivators. Bai Xiaochun was present.
Master Godwind of the Blood Stream Division looked over the gathered Core Formation cultivators, then slowly began to explain.
"The strangest thing is that none of us patriarchs detected anything unusual during last night's odd events….
"Those corpses were completely drained of all flesh and blood, and although they didn't contain any true life force, they would have contained other strange powers. Even more odd was that the corpses originally had a strong aura of death. However, my inspections earlier didn't reveal even a trace of such an aura!
"The only aura remaining in the area was something extremely sinister, something akin to the power of the Nine Serenities underworld!
"I can only hope that we patriarchs' conclusion in the matter is not mistaken…. From what we could tell, something visited the River-Defying Sect last a night, something that shouldn't even exist in the world of the living, the powerful ghost of some dead entity!
"Only the ghosts of the dead thrive on auras of death. Furthermore, after reaching a certain level of power, such ghosts require life force from living beings!"
Considering that Master Godwind was a Nascent Soul Daoist master, everyone simply listened to his words and took them to heart.
The Core Formation cultivators were completely shocked. As for Bai Xiaochun, his face drained of blood.
"A ghost…." he thought, shivering, his hair standing on end.
It was Patriarch Crimsonsoul who spoke next, his voice hoarse, a strange light gleaming in his eyes. "There isn't any need for anxiety. We're giving you this information so that you can be on guard. The other patriarchs and I will set up an airtight spell formation! If that ghost appears again, we'll make sure it is completely destroyed!"
As his gaze swept over the Core Formation cultivators, it lingered for a moment on Bai Xiaochun, who was currently trembling and scowling on the verge of tears.
It was with complete and utter terror that Bai Xiaochun left Mount River Defiance. His thoughts were in utter chaos, and he couldn't stop thinking about how he had suddenly been dragged out of meditation the previous night. At that point, his skin began to crawl.
"Don't tell me that some unclean thing was out looking for me last night!?!?" Having reached this point in his train of thought, Bai Xiaochun almost screamed. Not daring to return to the place he had been concocting pills the previous day, he decided to stay on Mount River Defiance. As far as he was concerned, staying close to the patriarchs would obviously be the safest thing to do.
Because he was the junior patriarch of the sect, he was able to lay claim to a small area of his own on Mount River Defiance, where he personally dug out a simple immortal’s cave. Then he thought about the unclean thing from the previous night, and again, his skin began to crawl. Gritting his teeth, he went to find some Profound Stream Division disciples to help him set up some defensive spell formations.
Most cultivators in the sect would be content with one spell formation, but Bai Xiaochun was terrified at the moment, so he tracked down dozens of top experts from the Profound Stream Division. With their help, he set up dozens of spell formations, most of them designed to ward off evil spirits.
The experts from the Profound Stream Sect had very odd expressions on their faces when they left. And yet, Bai Xiaochun still didn't feel safe. Gritting his teeth, he spent a huge sum of merit points to purchase a vast quantity of paper talismans, most of them designed to ward off or suppress evil spirits. After plastering so many talismans onto himself that he looked like a boiled sticky-rice dumpling, he finally felt at ease.
"Hummmphh! That unclean thing won't dare to cause trouble for me now. I’m close to the patriarchs, I have tons of spell formations set up, and all kinds of talismans ready. I refuse to believe that ghost would set foot in my direction!" Breathing a sigh of relief, he strolled out of the front door of his immortal’s cave.
Translator: Deathblade. Chinese language consultant: ASI a.k.a. Beerblade. Editor: GNE. Memes: Logan. Tocsin. Transcendent Patrons: Daoist Elder N, BLE, ttre208. . .