The Undying Live Forever Technique could be cultivated with incredible rapidity as long as enough life force was available. Bai Xiaochun had learned that many years ago.
Also, he had come to understand that cultivating it required a huge, almost preposterous expenditure of resources. There was no way the River-Defying Sect could sustain such a resource drainage, and even the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect, one of the riversource sects, would be hard-pressed to do so.
And as of this moment, he had only reached the third level of the Undying Codex, the Undying Tendons. Later, he would need to work on the Undying Bones and Undying Blood, and could scarcely imagine what level of life force would be required for that.
"I can't worry about all of that!" he thought, his eyes shining with determination as the vortex in his torso sucked in the life force from the Nascent Soul Pill. Almost immediately, his body began to radiate intense heat that began to melt the surrounding ice, and caused his blood to seethe as it surged through his veins.
As the heat filled him, he could clearly sense his qi passageways being reformed. As they were, black light filled him, the representation of powerful fleshly body power flowing through his body.
As it connected to the power in his four limbs, something like a restrictive spell began to spread out to surround him!
Time passed, although Bai Xiaochun couldn't be sure how much. Suddenly, his eyes opened to find that his entire body with the exception of his head was radiating a black light that was painful to look at. Eyes shining, he cast his senses throughout his body, and could immediately tell that his fleshly body power had increased far beyond its previous level.
However, that was not the most shocking aspect to the change. He could also sense that his body was much lighter. Or at least, that was what it felt like. As of this moment, he was quite sure that he could move so quickly that he could pierce through the air.
Curious, Bai Xiaochun was struck with the desire to test out his theory. However, he suppressed that desire and decided to examine himself a bit further. Suddenly, he gasped.
"This...." To his delight, he realized that he was just on the verge of making contact with the next shackle of mortality!
That feeling brightened his spirits immediately. From what he could tell, all it would take would be one more bit of advancement to spread his Undying Live Forever Technique to his head. Unfortunately, the life force from the Nascent Soul Pill was already fading away.
"What a pity," he thought sadly. However, he was still excited. "I'm in the great circle of the Gold Core stage, and made a big breakthrough with my Undying Live Forever Technique. As of this point, not a single ordinary Core Formation cultivator would ever dare to provoke me!"
Laughing heartily, he rose to his feet. No longer suppressing his desire to pierce through the air, he took a step forward.
When he did, the layers of ice in front of him exploded, and Bai Xiaochun vanished!
As that happened, the other layers of ice in the area cracked and shattered, and in the blink of an eye, the building was revealed. The effects quickly spread out into the courtyard, and within the space of a few breaths of time, to the entire Armory!
Cracking sounds filled the air, causing the Skin Flayers to look around in surprise. Zhao Long and the others from the regiment looked on in shock as the masses of ice, and the mountain that had been the residence, all collapsed!
Everything in the Armory, from buildings to pill furnaces, all shattered as they transformed into a blast of wind that spread out in all directions.
Then, countless gasps rang out as people realized that Bai Xiaochun was nowhere to be seen.
"The grandmaster is missing?!"
"W-what's... what's going on!?" Zhao Long, Liu Li, and others from the regiment rushed over to the collapsed residence, and sure enough, Bai Xiaochun was gone.
As they began to search for him, something happened on the battlefield outside the Great Wall. Of course, there was no fighting going on at the moment, although the landscape was shattered and there were corpses everywhere. That was how the area outside the Great Wall usually looked, like a scene from the underworld.
Occasionally, various Wildlands animals that enjoyed feasting on carrion could be seen munching on severed limbs and crunching on other parts of the corpses.
Suddenly, ripples spread out into the air, after which a black glow appeared, which seemed to take the shape of a magical symbol.
The carrion-eating animals were startled, and many shot off in the opposite direction, not daring to get close to the black glow. At the same time, the cultivators on duty atop the Great Wall also noticed what was happening. Some of the magical canons even began to warm up, as if they were about to unleash attacks.
The ripples outside of the wall eventually formed into the shape of a bubble, which popped, after which a figure staggered out. Killing intent appeared in the eyes of the cultivators on the wall, and they were about to attack when suddenly, some of them began to call out in surprise.
"It's Bai Xiaochun!!" Gasps could be heard as the cultivators realized who it was they were looking at, and yet were unable to reconcile his sudden appearance on the battlefield.
The person down there was definitely none other than Bai Xiaochun!
At first, he glanced around in confusion. When he finally realized where he was, his scalp began to prickle in fear.
"What am I doing here?!" Instantly, his anxiety mounted as he thought about what would happen if a group of soul cultivators suddenly showed up. Without any hesitation, he began to speed back toward the Great Wall.
"Let me in!" he cried as he flew along. Seeing that the cultivators on the Great Wall were hesitating, he quickly pulled out his identity medallion to prove who he was. With that, he passed through the shield and landed on the wall itself.
The cultivators still seemed a bit suspicious though, and began to ask some questions.
"Grandmaster Bai, what... what were you doing out there?"
"We didn't see anyone go out beyond the wall. You're supposed to get permission from a general before doing that!"
"Um, an accident, that's all," Bai Xiaochun said, clearing his throat. "Just a little accident." Now that he was back inside the protection of the Great Wall, his heart began to calm down. Earlier, he had been attempting to test out his ability to pierce through the air, and hadn't been expecting to suddenly step into a void of darkness.
Within that void, he felt like his body was collapsing, and, terrified, had struggled to emerge. When he did, he was dropped onto the battlefield outside of the Great Wall.
The mere thought of what had just occurred left his heart pounding with residual terror. After offering some more vague explanations, he hurried back to the city.
"Way too dangerous," he thought. "I definitely can't take risks like that anymore...." Despite his lingering fear, though, he had to admit that what he had just done was extraordinary. He had actually pierced through the Great Wall and its spell formation shield with something almost like a minor teleportation.
"Or maybe that's not it.... After all, outside of battle situations, the huge eye will prevent cultivators from the five legions from leaving the shield without orders. And of course, they can't get back in without an identity medallion.
"And yet, I definitely managed to get out. Why?" He blinked a few times, and after a moment, couldn't help but feel that what he had done just now felt like a strange manifestation of his Undying Tendons.
"Don't tell me it's the Undying Hex? Maybe it can affect or even bypass other restrictive spells?" Having reached this point in his train of thought, Bai Xiaochun considered doing some more tests. However, the sensation of almost being ripped apart in that void was something he couldn't stop thinking about.
"No, it's too dangerous. If I want to do some more tests, I'll have to wait until my Undying Tendons are complete, and I've broken through the next shackle." Shaking his head, he finally got back to the Armory. That was when Zhao Long and the rest of the regiment finally found him. Zhao Long immediately breathed a sigh of relief.
The members of his regiment felt more than ever that Bai Xiaochun was a mysterious and enigmatic figure, and were shocked that he had been able to vanish despite all of them being present to stand guard.
"Congratulations on your breakthrough, Grandmaster!"
"Grandmaster, do you want us to start rebuilding things?"
As of this point, the Armory was uninhabitable, but as a colonel in the Skin Flayers, he had his own command center. Therefore, he simply waved his hand and said, "We're done with this place for now. Let's go to my command center!"