"If things keep going on like this," Bai Xiaochun thought, "I wonder if they'll increase the reward to an actual deva soul one day?" After thinking about the frightening implications for a moment, he buried such thoughts and then decided that he would never again take a single step outside the Great Wall on his own.
"Hmmmph! If I do have to go out, I'll take my entire 10,000-man corps with me. I refuse to believe that anyone in the Wildlands can kill me with them around! Of course, there might be some spies among the cultivators here, but I'm in the middle of Great Wall City after all!" Such reasoning left him feeling a bit comforted, but not completely.
"Wait a second. My cultivation base is still too low. I'm only in the great circle of the Gold Core stage. If I want to make a breakthrough, I'll at least need a full set of deva beast souls. Metal, wood, water, fire, earth...." Although he still had a lot of battle credit, he definitely didn't have enough to trade for a deva beast soul.
Furthermore, if he wanted to trade in one of his deva souls, he would have to wait until he was back in the sect. To pull a deva soul out by the Great Wall would be too risky.
"Maybe I can't increase my cultivation base, but I can definitely make some progress with my Undying Live Forever Technique!" Having reached this point in his train of thought, Bai Xiaochun took out a jade slip, filled out a list of certain items he needed, and passed it off to Zhao Long to take care of.
Now that Bai Xiaochun was a major general, he had a lot of special privileges. Not only could he post simple missions without needing any authorization, but he could also make requests for supplies.
Of course, considering how much battle credit he had, he didn't want to take advantage of his position, so he also gave Zhao Long plenty of resources to purchase the necessary items.
Before long, Zhao Long returned with the precious materials he had requested. Then, Bai Xiaochun announced that he would be going into secluded meditation, whereupon he began to cultivate his Undying Live Forever Technique.
"This time I can't hold anything back. I have to get my Undying Live Forever Technique to the great circle of the third level!" Taking a deep breath, he pulled out an earthspirit tuber and popped it into his mouth. As the life force within the tuber began to course through him, he closed his eyes and began to work with his Undying Live Forever Technique.
Almost immediately, that life force transformed into streams of heat that flowed toward his head, where they began to take the shape of Undying Tendons.
His work required focus and concentration, and couldn't be rushed. Thankfully, he had so much battle credit that it was easy to get the precious materials he required. Time passed. Before long, a year had gone by.
That year was mostly spent in quiet cultivation. Bai Xiaochun rarely appeared out in the open, and therefore, the talk about the events leading up to his promotion gradually began to die down.
Another half a year went by, and the talk died down even more. One day when Bai Xiaochun was sitting there cross-legged in his secluded meditation facilities, his eyes snapped open, and it almost looked like lightning was crackling within them.
Settling his breathing, he performed a double-handed incantation gesture and then waved his hands out in front of him. Instantly, all of the precious materials arrayed in front of him shattered into dust.
Then, the dust clumped together and flew into his mouth, sucked away in an instant.
Boundless life force erupted out inside of him, which Bai Xiaochun immediately sent flowing toward his head.
By this point, the Undying Tendons in his head were more than ninety percent complete, with only a tiny fraction remaining incomplete. It was almost like a huge door that needed to be slammed at with great force before it could open.
As Bai Xiaochun was completely focused on achieving a major breakthrough with the third level of the Undying Live Forever Technique, it was high noon outside, and the sun was shining down hot and bright onto the lands outside the Great Wall.
Some distance away, the same black pillar of light could still be seen shining up into the sky. It was something the cultivators of the five legions had grown used to in the more than one year since it had appeared. Although many people had been dispatched to gather information about it, nothing conclusive had ever been determined.
The only thing that was clear was that the necropolis was huge, and filled with the skeletons of many shocking beasts. Other than that, it appeared to be empty.
However, neither the Wildlands nor the Great Wall forces were willing to give up on trying to uncover its secrets. They were constantly trying to uncover new information. It was because of that that the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect issued orders that all of the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Superstars were required to investigate the location at least once.
Therefore, all of the various chosen who had scattered in different directions over the years were forced at some point to head in the direction of Great Wall City.
During the year and half that Bai Xiaochun was in secluded meditation, quite a few people passed through Great Wall City on their way outside to investigate the necropolis.
When it came to Bai Xiaochun, only the Hall of Steel Veins could give him orders, and naturally, they wouldn't order him to do something like that.
Currently, there was a group of three chosen outside of the Great Wall, all of them disguised as soul cultivators. One was a beautiful woman, one was a gaunt middle-aged fellow in mid Core Formation, and the third was a strapping young man with a murderous aura so strong it made him seem completely unapproachable.
At the same time, though, there was something about him that made people trust him and not hesitate to follow his orders. His eyes were profoundly cold, making him look like a sheathed sword just waiting to strike. Clearly, he was the type of person who no one would be willing to provoke casually.
Quite a few vicious-looking scars could be seen on him, but instead of diminishing his appearance, they actually served to make him even more attractive to female cultivators.
If Bai Xiaochun were here, he would recognize this young man in an instant. He was none other than Song Que!
As soon as the group of three caught sight of the Great Wall, the beautiful young woman sighed and said, "Finally back!"
The middle-aged cultivator was clearly moved as well. "Who would have thought that our journey would take three years? Without you, Brother Song, I'm afraid we would have ended up dead and buried in the Wildlands."
He would never forget the events which had unfolded over the past three years. At the outset, their group had numbered more than ten. However, on their very first mission they ended up stranded in a very dangerous location, unable to send messages requesting backup, and also cut off from news about what was happening on the outside.
They had been trapped in that danger zone together with a large group of savages and soul cultivators. Despite the fact that the two groups were from the Wildlands and the Great Wall respectively, no major conflicts had broken out at first. However, as time progressed, the situation devolved into open fighting.
It was Song Que who had combined force and charm to bring the situation under control. By winning over the savages and the soul cultivators, he had managed to direct the efforts of the entire group into finding a way out of the trap.
As for his two companions, they felt like they had survived a huge catastrophe, and they couldn't help but feel respect and gratitude toward Song Que for how he had helped them.
The young woman looked over enviously at him and said, "That's right, Big Bro Song. With everything you've accomplished, you'll definitely be able to achieve a meteoric rise. I wouldn't be surprised if you get into the top 10 of the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Superstars. In fact, considering your current battle prowess, you probably already qualify to tangle with the current top 10."
Song Que smiled faintly and didn't bother to act modestly. Even he was convinced that his three bitter years in the Wildlands had turned him into a completely different person.
He had achieved a cultivation base breakthrough, and was currently in late Core Formation. Furthermore, thanks to certain secret magics of the Blood Stream Division, he now possessed enough battle prowess that he had been able to kill a soul cultivator in the great circle of Core Formation.
Such an accomplishment was definitely worthy of pride. He could well imagine what it would be like to get inside the Great Wall, and go back to World City. At that point, he would surely be one of the best of the best among the chosen.
"Even if some of the others stumbled into good fortune, none of them could compare to me!" Another source of pride was the fact that during the three years in which he had been in the Wildlands, he hadn't accomplished only three missions, but rather seven. All of them had been completed within the danger zone that he had ended up trapped in. Furthermore, because he had personally united the cultivators and the Wildlanders, he had also made valuable connections with people in the Wildlands.
Although he hadn't acquired a deva beast soul, he had managed to get more than 300 Nascent Soul-level souls, each and every one of which could be sold for a significant profit.
Most importantly of all, he had uncovered some clues as to the location of a deva beast soul. Not even his two companions were aware of that, only him.
His current plan was to finish out his first five years of the trial finishing missions, improving his cultivation base, and exploring the Wildlands. The final five years would be devoted to reaching the great circle of Core Formation, and searching for a deva beast soul.
"Considering my accomplishments in battle and the missions I've completed, it would be easier to find a phoenix feather or a qilin horn that to find someone who has surpassed me. Hmmmmph. From what I heard a few years ago, Bai Xiaochun got stuck in Great Wall City doing work as an apothecary."