Two of the three soul cultivators performed incantation gestures, sending their two flying swords screaming through the air toward Bai Xiaochun at top speed.
Both swords had sixfold spirit enhancements, and thus, Bai Xiaochun was very well aware of how dangerous they were.
Simultaneously, the pseudo-Nascent Soul cultivator began to chant an indecipherable enchantment that caused the pearl floating above him to fill with black mist. Then, the image of an evil ghost appeared, which lunged out toward Bai Xiaochun with outstretched hands.
Considering how they quickly blocked all of Bai Xiaochun’s possible avenues of approach to them, it was obvious that this group had worked together before in the past. Just as they were preparing to move forward, though, Bai Xiaochun snorted coldly.
“You guys have spirit enhanced treasures, huh? Well so do I!” With a flourish, he pulled a black parasol from his bag of holding!
It was none other than the Eternal Parasol.
In the past, Bai Xiaochun’s cultivation base had only allowed him to use a fraction of the power of the parasol. But now he was in the great circle of the Gold Core stage, and although he still couldn’t unleash its full potential, he didn’t have trouble using it like he had before.
Almost in the same movement with which he produced the parasol, Bai Xiaochun shoved it out in front of him and pushed his finger down onto the handle. Then, a pop could be heard as the black parasol opened up, just in time to meet the flying swords and the misty ghost.
The two flying swords slammed into the defensive barrier that was the parasol, and were sent spinning off to the side. As for the misty ghost, it let out a shriek and made as if to retreat. However, that was when a bizarre, smiling face appeared on the surface of the black parasol. The face began to inhale, and the ghost shrieked as it was sucked in. Although all of these things take some time to describe, they took place in the time it takes a spark to fly off of a piece of flint.
A moment later, the three soul cultivators were looking at Bai Xiaochun with expressions of complete and utter shock, and the pseudo-Nascent Soul expert was so shocked that his eyes were bulging out of his head. The sight of the eight silver designs on the surface of the Eternal Parasol left him panting in shock. But then, only a moment later, his eyes glinted with ferocity, and he took advantage of his two companion’s astonishment to suddenly reach out and shove them.
The two soul cultivators’ faces fell; never could they have imagined that their own leader would act so ruthlessly! And yet their bodies were completely beyond their own control as they tumbled toward Bai Xiaochun. Simultaneously, the pseudo-Nascent Soul cultivator retreated as quickly as possible.
From what he could tell, this middle-aged cultivator not only had a powerful fleshly body, but he also had a profound cultivation base and shocking magical items. He was like a prowling wolf who was completely confident in being able to move about on his own. Not only did he not fear people ambushing him, he intentionally put himself out in the open to attract attention.
As the three soul cultivators were thrown into chaos, Bai Xiaochun closed the parasol and took a step forward, utilizing such blinding speed that he transformed into a series of afterimages that instantly appeared directly in front of his two weaker opponents. Then, he struck out twice in quick succession with his right hand, striking each of them in the chest.
Agonized shrieks rang out, and blood erupted from the mouths of the two soul cultivators as they tumbled backward like kites with their strings cut. Unexpectedly, they also began to wither up as their life force turned into white mist that swirled out of their eyes, ears, noses, and mouths, and headed toward the Eternal Parasol.
Bai Xiaochun was used to the Eternal Parasol consuming life force, and now that it had received an eightfold spirit enhancement, it was even more powerful than before. However, the fact that it could do so from a distance was new to him. Of course, now wasn’t the time to ponder the new development. Seeing that the pseudo-Nascent Soul cultivator was trying to flee, he immediately began to give chase.
When the pseudo-Nascent Soul cultivator heard the screams of his companions, he looked over his shoulder and saw their life force being extracted. Mind reeling, he blurted, “You’re not a soul cultivator, you’re a necromancer!!”
Bai Xiaochun was a bit taken aback, but didn’t let it show. Snorting coldly, he pushed forward with explosive speed that clearly put him in a place to catch up within moments. The pseudo-Nascent Soul cultivator was cursing inwardly; despite the level of his cultivation base, he could tell from Bai Xiaochun’s display of battle prowess that there was no way he could fight him. Finally, he shouted, “Exalted one, wait! I'm willing to become your follower!! It’s much better to explore the labyrinth with followers than to do it alone, exalted one...!”
Bai Xiaochun’s expression flickered as he realized that what the man was saying actually made sense. As long as he was on his own, he would almost certainly run into more ambushes, and the more fighting he did, the more likely his divine abilities and magical techniques might expose his true identity.
With someone else to traverse the labyrinth with, he would be able to avoid many annoying situations.... Having reached this point in his train of thought, he waved his right hand and sent a powerful blast of energy out toward the pseudo-Nascent Soul cultivator.
Blood oozed out of the corners of the man’s mouth, and his eyes flickered with fury. However, he simply gritted his teeth and stopped fleeing. Then he clasped hands respectfully and bowed toward Bai Xiaochun.
“I, Chen Jue, am willing to become your follower, exalted one!”
Bai Xiaochun didn't say anything in response. After looking Chen Jue up and down a few times, he pointed toward the man’s forehead, sending a stream of frigid qi into him that came to rest in his chest.
Now, all it would take would be a single thought, and the frigid qi would erupt, instantly crushing the man’s heart.
Chen Jue shivered, but didn’t dare to evade the frigid qi. After accepting Bai Xiaochun’s restrictive spell, he sighed with relief at having managed to preserve his own life, at least temporarily.
“Let’s go!” Bai Xiaochun said in a raspy voice, proceeding forward.
“Yes sir,” Chen Jue said, taking a deep breath as he proceeded to scan the area for threats. He knew that his only chance at staying alive was to stick close to this necromancer, and hope that after everything was over, he would be allowed to go free.
Although no expression could be seen on Bai Xiaochun’s face, he was secretly eyeing Chen Jue and feeling very pleased with how brilliant he was. Wherever he went, people would bow and scrape and even weep at the chance to become his follower. He really had no choice but to agree to the arrangement, although he was very curious to know how the man would react upon finding out that he was now a follower of Bai Xiaochun.
It was all really very amusing. In fact, Bai Xiaochun decided that from now on, he would have to pretend to be a man of few words; that way, he would seem even more threatening.
“Besides, what this Chen Jue said actually makes a lot of sense. The more soul cultivators I have following me, the safer I’ll be....” Continuing to ponder the issue, he raced along with Chen Jue.
Every turn and tunnel of the labyrinth seemed the same, and leaving marks on the wall was virtually impossible. Bai Xiaochun's head was already spinning as he tried to keep track of where he was. Finally, he decided that he would stick to the right. When moving along, he would hug the right wall of the tunnel, and when he reached the occasional intersection, he would always pick the right-hand path.
Three days passed in a flash, during which time Bai Xiaochun and Chen Jue ran into Wildlanders and Great Wall cultivators on numerous occasions. Soon, Bai Xiaochun realized that many of the others were doing the same thing he was, and traveling in one fixed direction.
For the most part, everyone avoided each other. It seemed no one wanted to get into fights. Even when they ran into larger groups of Wildlands soul cultivators, when they saw how Chen Jue treated Bai Xiaochun, and spotted the Eternal Parasol with its eight silver designs, they immediately jumped to the conclusion that he was a necromancer, and not to be provoked.
Because of that, he encountered no dangerous situations during those three days. At one point on the fourth day, he suddenly stopped in place, his eyes flashing.
“There’s something strange up ahead,” he said to Chen Jue, speaking in a raspy voice. Surprised, Chen Jue looked at the tunnel up ahead, but didn't see anything out of the ordinary.
Bai Xiaochun couldn’t see anything specific either. However, from his battle with Luochen Clan onward, he had continuously developed his sensitivity to danger. As a result, he was never mistaken in identifying perilous situations.
He could sense that even though the area up ahead didn't seem unusual, there was killing intent lurking there. Without any hesitation, Bai Xiaochun began to back up. As for Chen Jue, although he wasn’t sure what exactly was going on, he didn’t dare to defy Bai Xiaochun, and also began to edge backward.
Almost at the same time, a peal of cold laughter rang out, and in the blink of an eye, ripples spread out through the air like waves on water, and numerous figures appeared out in the open.
Shockingly, there were more than a dozen people in the tunnel now!
All of them had profound cultivation bases, and all of them were charging toward Bai Xiaochun.
Bai Xiaochun’s eyes flickered with killing intent, and he spun, raising his Eternal Parasol. Eight silver designs erupted with blinding light, and the bizarre face appeared again. Just when it seemed that fighting was about to break out, a cold voice drifted out from the ripples in the air.
“Don’t be so disrespectful!”
Almost immediately, the soul cultivators who had been charging toward Bai Xiaochun stopped in place.
At the same time, a young man stepped out from the ripples, his expression grim. He was clad in a long, expensive garment, and had a star-shaped sigil on his forehead. He was none other than Zhou Yixing!
Intense fluctuations of soul power rolled off of him, soul power that completely differed from that of the soul cultivators. There was something abstruse to it, an indecipherable pressure of incredible magnitude.
Even more shocking was that flickering within the palm of his hand was a tongue of underworldly flame.
The flame had many colors to it. In fact, closer examination would reveal nine different colors. The instant Bai Xiaochun saw it, his eyes went wide and his mind spun. That fire was...