In the Wildlands, the five great powers were split among five enormous cities!
Of those five cities, four were the cities of the kings, and one was the imperial city! Those cities were Nine Serenities City, Giant Ghost City, War Champion City, Spirit Advent City, and lastly... Arch-Emperor City!
The Wildlands was structured in the same ancient fashion as the lands of Heavenspan. At the peak of everything was the current arch-emperor, and beneath him were the four kings!
The four kings were like feudal vassals, who controlled the four major cities, and raised and kept armies.
In the imperial city, there were also lords and marquis who were ranked lower than the kings. Essentially, the Wildlands was structured very much like a feudal empire.
Bai Xiaochun had learned all of this information by asking one question after another of Zhou Yixing earlier. Although he was surprised by some of the new things he had learned, it all made sense based on what he had known before. After all, he had long since come to understand that the soul cultivators and the necromancers were the true rulers of the Wildlands.
However, what he hadn’t known was that years and years ago, the Celestial from Heavenspan Island had overthrown the current empire. Afterward, the surviving members of the overthrown dynasty had fled to the Wildlands, which led to the current situation.
He was currently in territory ruled by one of the four great kings, the giant ghost king. As for the jungle behind him, it was called the Jungle of Lost Souls, and was relatively close to Giant Ghost City.
Furthermore, Giant Ghost City lay in the western regions of the lands of Heavenspan, whereas the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect was in the east. That put him very, very far away from home.
If he wanted to get back to the eastern branch of the Heavenspan River, he would have to cross the Heavenspan Sea, which was something that not even Nascent Soul cultivators could do. Only people with Deva Realm cultivation bases could do such a thing.
Of course, there were other methods of travel, such as using teleportation portals. It wouldn’t be extremely difficult to get to the eastern Heavenspan region via that method. Unfortunately, by means of a very vague line of questioning, Bai Xiaochun was able to learn from Zhou Yixing that only people born in the Wildlands could use those teleportation portals.
The foundation of such teleportation portals was soul power, which gave them many other strange properties.
And yet, not even Zhou Yixing had been absolutely sure about all of that. Most of the information he provided was based on things he had heard but couldn’t personally verify. In the end, Bai Xiaochun lapsed into silence for a bit, staring out at the sky outside the cave.
“Ah, whatever,” he thought with a sigh. “I might as well give it a shot. Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and be able to teleport out of here.” Shaking his head, he looked back at Zhou Yixing, who was lying there unconscious after being bopped in the head.
Despite the fact that Zhou Yixing had tried to kill him three times, simply ending his life here didn’t seem like the right thing to do. If they were back at the Great Wall, it would have been a different story, but out here all alone in an unfamiliar place, it seemed like a better choice to keep him as a traveling companion.
Besides... Bai Xiaochun was absolutely convinced that Zhou Yixing was truly his lucky star. With him to lead the way, the Wildlands didn’t seem like such a perilous place after all....
That thought left Bai Xiaochun even less inclined to kill him. After a bit more thought, his hand flashed in an incantation gesture, and he put a few hundred restrictive spells onto Zhou Yixing. Having accomplished that, he held Zhou Yixing’s life in his hands, and could kill him with a mere thought.
“It wouldn’t be good to keep him completely cut away from his cultivation base. What would happen if we ran into some trouble and he got killed? That wouldn’t do.” After some more thought, he unsealed ten percent of Zhou Yixing’s cultivation base. However, that still left him feeling a bit uneasy, so he reduced him to only half of that.
“With only five percent of his cultivation base, he’s essentially a Foundation Establishment cultivator. That gives him a bit of freedom, but will ensure that he doesn’t try to escape.” Marveling at how well he treated his lucky star, he ignored him, settling down cross-legged to experiment with one of the flame formulas Zhou Yixing had explained to him.
In order to make sure nothing unexpected happened, he summoned his three clones, sending one to the cave entrance, and having the other two sit on either side of him as Dharma protectors.
Three days went by in a flash. Zhou Yixing had long since regained consciousness, and was lying there motionless. He could sense that ninety-five percent of his cultivation base was sealed away, and yet, was still very relieved. Obviously, his captor didn’t plan on killing him, and had instead sealed his cultivation base. For the moment, he was safe.
However, when he thought of how unlucky had been since going to the labyrinth, he couldn’t stop the grief from welling up inside of him, and simply lay there, staring at the cave ceiling.
As Zhou Yixing lay there in a daze, Bai Xiaochun was fully immersed in studying the flame formulas. The more he did, the more shocked he grew, to the point where he began muttering to himself.
“So that’s how you conjure multi-colored flame.... Different types of flame require different types of souls as the ingredients. Actually, there are very strict requirements in that regard.
“To make two-colored flame, you need to start out with one-colored flame.... After you get two-colored flame, you can put more souls into it and thus conjure three-colored flame....” The more he studied, the more his eyes began to sparkle with interest. There were many differences between conjuring flame and concocting medicine, but there were enough similarities that it made it easy for him to gain a basic understanding of the process.
“Interesting....” he thought, licking his lips. He knew that concocting medicine was one of his best skills, and therefore, the idea of getting good at conjuring flame was very enticing.
For the moment, he decided to forget about two-colored flame and focus on one-colored flame. He even decided to do some tests to see if he could perform a conjuring himself.
After carefully studying the formula, he had his water clone take his bag of holding outside to capture some vengeful souls.
Zhou Yixing watched all of this happen with flashing eyes. He was especially shocked by Bai Xiaochun’s clones, and couldn’t stop thinking about how they had crushed his restrictive spells as easily as dried weeds.
“Just what kind of divine ability does this Bai guy cultivate? It’s not like I've never seen clones before, but most of the time they’re illusory, and usually only have about ten percent of the true self’s cultivation base. Even that is extraordinary. But this guy’s clones seem to be just as powerful as his true self. It’s... completely impossible!”
Zhou Yixing pondered the subject for a couple of hours, until it was dark outside. Then, a figure suddenly burst into the cave, startling him. However, it turned out to be the clone which had left earlier.
The clone walked over to Bai Xiaochun’s true self and handed him the bag of holding, then sat down cross-legged next to him and continued meditating.
Bai Xiaochun’s eyes opened, and he waved his hand, causing eight vengeful souls to emerge from his bag of holding. They were blurry balls of mist that occasionally took the shape of savages or beasts that growled at Bai Xiaochun.
After studying them briefly, a very serious expression overtook Bai Xiaochun’s face as he sank into the same state he often did when concocting medicine. Reaching out, he grabbed all eight of the souls and crushed them down into his palm.
Almost immediately, it felt as if some natural law were at work. To his surprise, streams of fiery light began to seep out of the cracks between his fingers, which quickly faded away. When he opened his hand a moment later, it was completely empty.
Off to the side, Zhou Yixing’s lip curled into a sneer.
“He’s using Zhou Clan flame conjuring techniques.... Hmph! The techniques of our clan were bestowed upon us by the nine serenities king. Although we don’t have the best techniques available, they’re still incredible. Most people need to practice for a decade to use them with skill, and sometimes even a few sixty-year-cycles. Even one-colored flame usually takes people a year to master. The clan chief praised my abilities as being exceptional, and I took three months and thousands of sessions to succeed. This guy is obviously used to other techniques, but is still trying to master Zhou methods. Doesn’t know his own limits!”
Bai Xiaochun frowned as he looked down thoughtfully at his palm. After analyzing matters a bit, he pulled out eight more souls, and then grabbed them into his hand to try again.
The same thing happened as before, as fiery streams of light escaped his hand. However, this time, they didn’t fade away. They actually began to glow more brightly, and then, transformed into a tongue of one-colored flame, burning right there in his palm!!
Zhou Yixing’s eyes went wide with shock, and his jaw dropped. He was very well aware of how different the various flame conjuring techniques were. It was a very difficult thing for a necromancer familiar with one system to master the techniques of another, and would usually require a lot of fine-tuning in the process.
But this Necromancer Bai... had used the time it takes an incense stick to burn to master it on the second try!
Zhou Yixing was so shocked he started panting.
“Beginners luck, that’s all. This guy is just lucky!” Despite the way he comforted himself, he swallowed hard and stared at the one-colored flame Bai Xiaochun had conjured.