Even after further study, Bai Xiaochun was left with no other option than to give up on the idea of combining soul medicine with ordinary medicinal pills. Although he was a bit disappointed, there was simply no way to get these two completely different types of medicine to work together.
“Oh well. At least I know how to add toxic elements. Perhaps that will prove to be useful one of these days.” With that, he continued on with the task of concocting soul medicine.
After all, he had promised the Blackmountain Tribe that he would do this for them, and he was the type of person who lived up to his promises. Therefore, the following days were focused mostly on that task.
All of the work was done with the souls they provided. Considering the predicament they were in, and how soft-hearted Bai Xiaochun was, he didn't impose any further requirements on them.
A few days later, Bai Xiaochun was looking at 500 full portions of low-grade soul medicine, and feeling very pleased at how impressive he was.
“I guess it isn’t that bad that I’m stuck away from the Great Wall temporarily. Since I'm good at concocting soul medicine, I should be able to dominate the scene out in the Wildlands just as well as back home.” He was immeasurably self-satisfied, and couldn’t help but sigh at how outstanding he was; no matter where he went, he always managed to come out on top.
“Perhaps that’s just my biggest strong suit.” He closed his eyes to revel in the feeling, but then, he couldn’t help but think back to the scene back in the labyrinth when everyone was teleported away. That got him wondering about where Master God-Diviner, Song Que, and Zhao Long had ended up.
“I wonder where they are now...?” All of sudden, he was filled with anticipation at being reunited with them somewhere in the Wildlands. For some reason, that made him feel less lonely.
After thinking about it for a bit longer, he cleared his throat and then reached up to feel his disguised face. In the past few days, he had come to find that, not only did the power of the pearl mask cover his own aura, but it also disguised the fluctuations that were caused by conjuring flame. Now, he could conjure flame whenever or wherever he wanted, and no one would be able to detect it.
“What a lovely treasure!” Eventually, he put the matters of the mask aside for the time being and pulled out his soulhoarding pagoda to examine it.
“After I give the 500 portions of low-grade soul medicine to the Blackmountain Tribe, my task here will be accomplished. Although this place isn’t bad, there’s no reason to stay here.” With that, he settled into contemplation. On the one hand, he really needed to figure out how to get back to the Great Wall, but on the other hand, he also wanted to acquire the formula for fifteen-colored flame.
Most importantly, he needed to find more deva souls. If he didn't, he would be unable to break through from the Gold Core stage into the Nascent Soul stage.
“It’s all the fault of that damned Mistress Red-Dust!” The thought of who had pushed him into this predicament caused him to gnash his teeth. Furthermore, he was now determined to make sure that, one day, Mistress Red-Dust and Chen Hetian knew exactly how awesome he was!
Before, he had scanned the soulhoarding pagoda a bit with divine sense, but had never taken the time to study it in detail. Now that he was finished with his soul medicine task, he calmed himself down to do just that, his goal being to figure out how soulhoarding pagodas worked.
However, after a detailed inspection, he couldn’t come up with any clues. The soulhoarding pagoda was filled with a mist that his divine sense had a hard time piercing. However, he could sense a profound sensation of age within the pagoda.
“There’s too much of that mist.... That’s what’s making it hard to see inside.... Alright, soulhoarding pagoda, you just watch and see how I handle you! Hmmmphh! Since you belong to me now, I’ll use spirit enhancement techniques to clean you up a bit! I don't care whose branding mark is hiding inside of you, I’m going to erase it for good!” What had occurred with the mask had impressed upon Bai Xiaochun what exactly he could do with magical items that had been given to him by others. Therefore, it was with great secrecy that he sent his three clones out to collect more vengeful souls.
On top of that, he ordered Zhou Yixing and Li Feng to do the same thing, as well as the rest of the Blackmountain Tribe.
A few days later, his three-pronged method of attacking the matter resulted in him having enough souls to produce everything from one- to eleven-colored flame. That very evening, he conjured the eleven-colored flame he needed!
Without the slightest hesitation, he then produced his turtle-wok and tossed the soulhoarding pagoda inside to give it an elevenfold spirit enhancement!
Golden light flashed, and the soulhoarding pagoda changed appearance. Instead of being gray, it was now crystalline and exquisite. Furthermore, it had a single golden design on its surface. The little pagoda was now completely different, and would be extremely enticing even to the most powerful necromancer.
Bai Xiaochun grabbed the crystalline soulhoarding pagoda and then elatedly branded it with his mark. When he felt the invisible connection that came into being as a result, he could finally relax.
“Now this soulhoarding pagoda truly belongs to me, and me alone.” Laughing heartily, he sent some divine sense inside it to examine it again. This time, there was no obscuring mist blocking his ability to clearly see it through and through.
But then, his expression turned very serious. “Eee?”
He sent more power into his divine sense, causing it to fill the entire soulhoarding pagoda.
There, very deep inside, in an area which had once been covered by mist, Bai Xiaochun could now see... evidence of a restrictive sealing spell!!
The sealing mark was very faint, and wouldn’t be detectable except upon close examination.
“A sealing mark....” His first thought was that the members of the Blackmountain tribe must have been courting death by trying to con him. But soon, he realized that that was probably not the case. Based on what he could detect, the sealing mark seemed to be just as ancient as the soulhoarding pagoda itself.
After a bit of thought, his eyes glittered, and he attempted to open the sealing mark and see what exactly was inside. But after a few tries, he found that the mark was apparently fabricated from an aura of death. Without a massive blast of divine sense, it would be impossible to open. In fact, Bai Xiaochun could tell that he was currently incapable of getting past it!
“Interesting. A seemingly-ordinary soulhoarding pagoda turns out to have an ancient sealing mark inside....” He retracted his divine sense and then sat there thinking, his eyes shining brightly.
“If I want to open it, I have to blast it with incredible power.... My cultivation base isn’t strong enough at the moment, but... that doesn’t necessarily mean I'm out of options!
“Alright, soulhoarding pagoda, you just watch and see how Lord Bai does things!” With that, he slapped his bag of holding to produce a large bucket!
It was as tall as a person, and almost two meters wide, and as soon as it appeared, it erupted with powerful spiritual power. Shockingly, that bucket was filled to the brim with... Heavenspan River water!!
Back during the haunting of the River-Defying Sect, Bai Xiaochun had, in his fear, submerged his mask in this very bucket. Even he had forgotten about that matter for a while. Considering that he needed a big blast of spiritual power to deal with the soulhoarding pagoda, this was the perfect item to retrieve from his bag of holding.
“Heavenspan River water is a major rarity in the Wildlands. This bucket might not make me the richest person here, but definitely a big moneybags.” Licking his lips, he looked at the bucket and then back at the crystalline soulhoarding pagoda.
“With the spiritual power in this bucket, I should be able to blast open that sealing mark.” Eyes sparkling, he performed a right-handed incantation gesture and then waved his finger at the soulhoarding pagoda. Instantly, a gravitational force sprang up, causing more than half of the water in the bucket to surge toward the sealing mark in the depths of the pagoda.
The soulhoarding pagoda shook physically as Bai Xiaochun sent his divine sense inside to watch the sealing mark falling apart under the barrage of Heavenspan River water. And yet, even as it broke apart, it began to heal itself.
Bai Xiaochun quickly performed another incantation gesture, sending more water into the pagoda. The healing signs vanished, and more cracks appeared; it looked like the sealing mark would fall apart at any moment.
However, it was in that very moment... that suddenly, a terrifying aura leaked out that caused Bai Xiaochun’s face to immediately fall!
Even just brushing against that aura with his divine sense left him utterly shaken and gasping for air. Leaping to his feet, he exclaimed, “That’s... that’s....”
He quickly performed an incantation gesture to pull all of the Heavenspan River water back from inside of the pagoda.
Thankfully, after he did that, the sealing mark ceased collapsing. However, it had apparently lost its ability to repair itself, and now remained in a dilapidated state, as if only a bit more power could destroy it.
Bai Xiaochun got his breathing under control and then stared back into the pagoda, his eyes shining with fear....
“That aura surpasses anything I’ve ever felt from any person, even from devas.... It's very similar to the aura I sensed back in the trial by fire in the labyrinth, when I performed the twenty-onefold spirit enhancement on that leaf.... That’s an aura which surpasses devas. Don’t tell me it’s... the Demigod Realm! What exactly is sealed inside of this pagoda!?”