"Could it be that the heavens are jealous of me, Bai Xiaochun? Have I been doomed to never become a major general?!" Feeling overwhelmed by sorrow, he clasped his hands behind his back and looked up into the sky. After a long moment, he sighed and turned to leave the pagoda.
However, in that very moment, one of the cultivators nearby opened his bag of holding and produced a collection of vengeful souls. Bags of holding couldn't be used to hold vengeful souls for long periods of time, and in fact, these souls were already starting to grow dim. As soon as they flew out into the open, a gravitational force sprang out from the huge eye.
In the briefest of moments, the souls were sucked up, which seemed to enliven the huge eye.
Bai Xiaochun suddenly stopped in place, his eyes growing wide. Clearly, after turning in all of the vengeful souls, the cultivator from just now had been given some battle credit. Instantly, Bai Xiaochun's spirits lifted.
Eyes shining brightly, he slapped his eyes.
"Of course! How could I have forgotten? You can turn in souls to get battle credit.... In fact, as long as you keep turning in souls, your battle credit will continue to climb."
However, only a moment after getting excited, he suddenly felt even more down than before. "That won't work either...." After all, there wasn't very much fighting going on lately, which meant that there were very few souls on the battlefield. He was extremely adept at taking care of souls, but had nowhere to exercise his talents. Sighing, he trudged away.
After returning to his command center, he sat there in frustration, mulling the matter over from different angles. In the end, he could only think of one solution. If he wanted to get more souls, he would need to leave the Great Wall and go out into the Wildlands to search for them himself.
"No way, I can't do that! It's too dangerous! There's no way I'm going to openly court death." Sighing, he gave up on the idea. No longer in the mood to go strolling about outside the command center, he decided to focus on cultivating his Undying Live Forever Technique.
The third level of the Undying Live Forever Technique was the Undying Tendons. All he had to do was cultivate that part of the technique using his head, and he would be finished. At the moment, he had plenty of medicinal plants that he could use to make medicinal pills, and yet, he knew that the head was different from the limbs and torso. Therefore, he went about his cultivation cautiously. After a bit of work, he was able to confirm that there was indeed some danger in cultivating the Undying Tendons in his head. Therefore, he pondered the matter for quite some time before proceeding.
Before long, half a year had gone by. In a few more months, Bai Xiaochun would reach the three-year-mark at the Great Wall. As the months passed, there were a few battles here and there. Every time a battle came along, Bai Xiaochun would get very excited. Although he wouldn't personally participate, his subordinates would fight, and as a result, he would get some vengeful souls and battle credit.
However, he was still a very long way away from becoming a major general.
When he was only two months away from the three-year-mark, he was meditating in his command center, working on his Undying Live Forever Technique, when he realized that he was fifty percent finished with the Undying Tendons in his head. However, it was at that point that he began to slow down with his cultivation. It was definitely dangerous to work on the Undying Tendons in the head, and he had almost fallen into deadly crises on multiple occasions.
One day, he suddenly realized that something was glowing red inside his bag of holding. Surprised, he opened his eyes from his meditation and looked down.
"What's going on...?" he thought curiously. As soon as he opened his bag of holding, dazzling red light spilled out, light that was coming from his identity medallion.
"It's glowing?" he thought. This was the same medallion he had received upon debarking the huge ship years ago. He remembered being told to never lose it or allow it to be damaged, lest he be incapable of going into and out of the Great Wall. Furthermore, it was also his ticket back to the sect.
He had never forgotten those warnings. Afterward, he had even performed a few experiments, and had confirmed that the medallion was made in some fashion that made it impossible for him to affect it in any way.
Now, that very same identity medallion was shining with blinding red light. If that were all there were to the situation, it might not have been a big deal. But to Bai Xiaochun's astonishment and anxiety, he found that the jade medallion was... emanating the fluctuations of imminent self-detonation.
"What's happening?!" he thought, leaping to his feet, his face falling. Not daring to be hesitant, he cast some divine sense into the medallion, whereupon a message appeared in his mind.
"You have only two months until the deadline to complete your first mission. If there is no record of you leaving the Great Wall within that time, this jade medallion will self-destruct!"
Bai Xiaochun's jaw dropped, and his eyes went wide. After sending more divine sense into the medallion to confirm that he had received the message correctly, he began to drip with sweat.
"Dammit! I knew I had to go on three missions during the ten-year trial, but this is the first time I've heard about having to do one within the first three years!" His anxiety immediately began to grow as he thought of the prospect of the medallion being destroyed, and being unable to return to the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect.
"This is blackmail!" he fumed. The truth was that he wasn't the only one in this position. There were other chosen who hadn't gone on any missions during their first three years, who were now similarly staring at their brightly-glowing identity medallions.
Clearly, the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect had prepared methods to deal with any lazy disciples who neglected to go on missions.
Wracked with anxiety, Bai Xiaochun flew out of his command center to find Bai Lin. Considering his current rank, he didn't have to make any special requests to see the general, and was soon right in front of him.
"General, save me!" he cried piteously.
Bai Lin had been meditating, but as soon as he heard Bai Xiaochun's words, he opened his eyes. Before he could even ask about the situation, Bai Xiaochun held the glowing red medallion aloft and explained.
When he was done, he stood there staring at Bai Lin with wide eyes with a look that said, I'm your subordinate, you have to help me!
Most of Bai Lin's subordinates were lifetime devotees of the five legions, who had enlisted directly into the Hall of Steel Veins. As such, he wasn't very familiar with the rules and regulations regarding the chosen who were out on trials by fire. Furthermore, were it not for the fact that Bai Xiaochun had put on such a spectacular performance when he had first arrived, Bai Lin would never have conscripted him.
"Alright, calm down!" Bai Lin said. Pulling out a jade slip, he sent out a few messages of inquiry. After receiving the information he needed, he slowly looked back up at Bai Xiaochun.
Nervous, Bai Xiaochun said, "General, I'm a colonel! It won't really be a big deal if the medallion self-destructs… will it?"
"You are indeed a colonel in the Skin Flayers," Bai Lin replied, "but you were conscripted. If you were a major general it might be a different story, but... you still have to follow the rules of the sect.
"I should have thought of this myself, but don't worry, I'll help you resolve the situation." This was Bai Lin's first time seeing Bai Xiaochun in such a state, so he smiled and immediately started to call upon his network of contacts to try to solve the problem.
When Bai Xiaochun saw that Bai Lin was starting to transmit a large number of messages through his jade slip, and remembered how he had an important background, he started to calm down. However, after a bit of time passed, a frown appeared on Bai Lin's face. Bai Xiaochun's heart immediately began to pound.
After enough time passed for half an incense stick to burn, an unsightly expression could be seen on Bai Lin's face. Putting away the jade slip, he hesitated for a moment and then said, "Hmph. Those people back at the sect are complete philistines. Not flexible at all. Bai Xiaochun, I can reduce your mission requirement from three to one. But you'll still have to go out at least once. Take some time to think about it. After all, it's only one mission, right?"
Bai Lin was actually feeling a bit embarrassed. He really had tried to help Bai Xiaochun out, but had made so many special requests of the sect in recent years that it made things difficult. As for the elder in charge of the missions, he simply wouldn't budge. Unfortunately, there was nothing more Bai Lin could do other than offer Bai Xiaochun a bit of comfort.
Bai Xiaochun felt like crying, but could tell that Bai Lin had already done all he could by reducing the mission requirement down to one.
"General, I'm in the top 10 of the Wildlands Execution List! The people out there hate me to death! They'll kill me as soon as they see me. I... I don't dare to go beyond the wall!"
Bai Lin cleared his throat. "Don't worry. Look, just put on a disguise! Go out, finish a mission, and get back as soon as possible. Nobody will even notice that you left. Only the two of us will be in on the secret.
"Besides, although the sect won't budge on the mission issue, there are other ways I can help. For example, the rule says you have to go on a mission, which means that Great Wall missions also count. Since you're a colonel, I hereby give you the authority to post your own missions. Just make a mission for yourself, and go accomplish it. Simple. All you have to do is make sure that it's a mission suitable for the Gold Core stage. After all, the true spirit in the eye of the pagoda is responsible for declaring missions officially complete."
"I can post my own missions... and go on one of those...." Bai Xiaochun's eyes lit up. Laughing heartily, he clasped hands in salute and then left.