The instant the ten-colored flame appeared, the entire cave was illuminated by brightly-colored light. In fact, the light even pierced through the walls of the cave, making the entire mountain light up brightly.
An intensely strong pressure emanated out from the flame, causing Bai Xiaochun’s eyes to go wide with excitement. He even started to tremble visibly.
“I did it! I concocted ten-colored flame!!” He even felt more excited about personally conjuring multi-colored flame than he usually did when concocting medicine.
In contrast to Bai Xiaochun’s excitement, Zhou Yixing’s mind was struck as if by lightning. He simply stood there gaping, his thoughts wiped clean by the sight of the ten-colored flame.
He wanted to believe that he was simply hallucinating... but unfortunately, wasn’t able to fool himself in such a way. He had just witnessed his own clan’s formulas used to conjure everything from one- to ten-colored flame.
It was a matter that had already turned his world upside down. Back home, even patriarchs who were terrestrial necromancers wouldn’t be able to do such a thing.
Even more shocking was that this necromancer had only just learned his clan’s formulas. Despite that, he had still succeeded, something that left Zhou Yixing feeling completely lost.
“This is impossible... impossible.... How could this be happening...?” His face was as white as a sheet of paper as he muttered crazily to himself. It was a huge blow to him, after all, and when he compared himself to this Necromancer Bai, he couldn’t help but feel like he himself was little more than trash.
“Inhuman! He’s really and truly inhuman!!!”
Disappointment surged through him, washing away the jealousy from before. The difference between him and this necromancer... was like the difference between the clouds and the mud beneath them. He didn’t even qualify to be jealous.
Ten-colored flame marked the absolute peak of the master necromancer rank. In all of the Wildlands, the number of necromancers who could conjure ten-colored flame was very limited. Any person like that was capable of dominating the field virtually anywhere they went.
Master necromancers at the peak of their level could attract other large numbers of soul cultivator followers. Furthermore, considering that they could conjure ten-colored flame, when they made soul medicine, it would be considered level ten low-grade soul medicine.
Most necromancers welcomed soul cultivator followers. After all, it took a lot of souls to conjure flame. For example, ten-colored flame required 30,000 vengeful souls. For a necromancer to get all those souls single-handedly would be quite troublesome. Therefore, having followers to help was the natural way of things.
Although, not all necromancers liked having followers. A few of them liked to do things on their own for various reasons. In terms of getting souls, it was also possible to go to the cities of the kings, or the necromancer clans, and trade soul medicine for what they needed.
In any case, necromancers who reached the master rank were generally well-known if not famous. If destiny was on their side, they could achieve a heaven-shaking, earth-toppling advance and become terrestrial necromancers. Terrestrial necromancers were even more famous, and were high above master necromancers in terms of standing.
Bai Xiaochun took a deep breath as he tore his gaze away from the ten-colored flame to look over at Zhou Yixing. When their eyes met, all of Zhou Yixing’s pride and defiance crumbled, completely destroyed by the ten-colored flame. Mumbling bitterly, he didn’t even dare to hold Bai Xiaochun’s gaze.
Bai Xiaochun’s heart thumped happily. Clearly, it would be much easier to get Zhou Yixing to do what he said in the future.
“Well, since I’ve already scared him this much, I might as well keep going. I bet that when I conjure an eleven-colored flame and become a terrestrial necromancer, Zhou Yixing will be so shocked he’ll end up half dead.” Filled with anticipation, Bai Xiaochun chuckled darkly to himself and then pulled out the jade slip with the information about the flame formulas. Even as Zhou Yixing stood there watching, he reviewed the eleven-colored flame formula.
Zhou Yixing hesitated for a moment, then whispered, “Fellow Daoist Bai, there’s a big difference between ten-colored flame and eleven-colored--”
“You just sit quietly and watch,” Bai Xiaochun interrupted proudly. His previous ten successes left him feeling very confident. From what he could tell, conjuring flame was actually a very simple matter.
The way Bai Xiaochun responded to Zhou Yixing caused his heart to begin to pound. The truth was that if he could actually personally witness an eleven-colored flame being conjured, it would be a good thing for him. That was especially true considering that the techniques being used were his own clan’s. To Zhou Yixing, it would be almost the same as watching one of his clan’s patriarchs conjuring flame.
Zhou Yixing sucked in a breath and sat there stock still, gaze fixed on Bai Xiaochun’s hand.
Bai Xiaochun was very pleased by Zhou Yixing’s reaction. Making sure to look very impressive, he contemplated the formula for eleven-colored flame, then slapped his bag of holding to produce 60,000 vengeful souls, which erupted like a tempest into the cave. Then, he waved his right hand and sent the souls into the fire.
After about ten breaths of time passed, his expression flickered. Although he was able to control the way the 60,000 souls merged together, as they poured into the ten-colored flame, he realized that an unforeseen transformation was underway. The pressure of the flame power was too intense. Bai Xiaochun wasn’t too familiar with the fluctuations of flame conjuring, but could clearly sense them.
“Not good!” Bai Xiaochun’s face fell. Losing control of even one of the souls meant losing control of the entire ten-colored flame. The souls suddenly all poured into the fire at the same time, causing the flame to flicker wildly. Then, a popping sound could be heard... as the flame winked out.
A green wisp of smoke rose up and then faded away. Bai Xiaochun’s jaw dropped, and Zhou Yixing was equally stunned.
Bai Xiaochun’s breath caught in his throat. To have just finished bragging only to fail dramatically caused his face to burn as if with fire. Roaring angrily, he slapped his bag of holding to produce more souls, and then began to conjure flame, starting from the one-colored variety and going all the way back up to ten. Then he stared at the ten-colored flame and reviewed everything that he had done so far, and then, started another attempt at eleven-colored flame. Soon, rumbling sounds could be heard as... he failed again!
“I refuse to believe that I can’t succeed!” Bai Xiaochun furiously smacked his back of holding, only to realize that he was running out of souls.... Then he slowly looked over to Zhou Yixing, who had recovered from his earlier shock and was staring at Bai Xiaochun with a strange expression on his face.
Feeling both humiliated and even more angered, Bai Xiaochun said, “What are you looking at?! Go get me some more souls!! If you don’t come back with at least 100,000, then don’t come back!”
Giving Zhou Yixing one last good glare, he waved his sleeve, sending him flying out of the cave.
Once outside, Zhou Yixing gnashed his teeth in anger at the domineering ways of this Necromancer Bai. Clearly, he just wasn’t skilled enough to conjure eleven-colored flame, and Zhou Yixing had even tried to warn him. Not only had he ignored him, but he had even started bragging. Then when he failed, he vented his anger on Zhou Yixing.
Chuckling coldly, he said, “Hmph! You really think it’s that simple to become a terrestrial necromancer?!” Unfortunately, because of the restrictive spells Bai Xiaochun had placed on his cultivation base, he had no choice other than to follow orders and go catch some souls.
Unfortunately, Bai Xiaochun’s clone had already captured all of the nearby souls, so no matter where he searched in the area, he couldn’t find a single one. Gritting his teeth, he expanded his search. As he walked along, evening began to fall. At the same time, dark clouds filled the sky, and rain began to fall, rain that was acrid in odor and hurt when it touched his skin.
Occasionally, green bolts of lightning would crackle across the sky above.
At any other time, Zhou Yixing would simply have rotated his cultivation base and ignored the rain. But having ninety-five percent of it sealed, he was forced to endure it in misery and cursing.
“I hate people named Bai! If only the hell-emperor would notice what was happening, send down a bolt of hell-lightning and wipe that guy off the map!”
After sending Zhou Yixing out to hunt for souls, Bai Xiaochun sent his three clones out to do the same thing, except that he told them to search in the jungle.
His clones had the same cultivation base as he did, and were also equipped with Soul Convergence Pills, which made things a bit easier for them than it was for Zhou Yixing. As for Bai Xiaochun himself, he sat there silently, analyzing his previous failures and working on some more conjurings.
One day, two days, three....
Soon, seven days had gone by, and Bai Xiaochun had successfully conjured more than ten tongues of ten-colored flame. However, he hadn’t been able to push a single one to the eleven-colored level. Every time, he met with failure.
As his fury and humiliation grew, his eyes became more bloodshot. His hair was disheveled, and he seemed bedeviled as he madly tried to determine the reason for his failure. As more time passed, he began to change the formula he was using for eleven-colored flame, even though he didn’t realize it.
Thanks to the changes, his skill in flame conjuring advanced steadily. However, he continued to face difficulties at every turn, the reason being that there was actually a bottleneck between ten- and eleven-colored flame.
Not only did one need to adjust the formula, but one also had to have perfect control over ten-colored flame. Days passed, and Bai Xiaochun continued to descend into a state of bedevilment....