Bai Xiaochun was so nervous his throat was completely dry. After a long moment passed, he carefully sent his divine sense back into the soulhoarding pagoda and inched it toward the sealed area.
From the perspective of his divine sense, the sealed area looked like it was covered with countless cracks, as though the slightest nudge would break it. Bai Xiaochun remained there hesitantly, analyzing the faint pulses of energy which occasionally emerged from the other side.
“I'm finished. Kaput. I’ve caused another disaster....” Depressed, he realized that it wasn't an option to just run away, and that he really needed to take a look to understand what he was dealing with. Exercising utmost caution in his control of his divine sense, he slowly sent it into one of the cracks.
He didn't send much in, only a teeny bit, but that was enough to give him a general idea of what was inside the sealed area!
Shockingly, there was a dimension inside!
It was an empty space filled with gray light, in the depths of which could be seen... an old man sitting there cross-legged in meditation!!
His face was a mass of wrinkles, and he had no hair. Shockingly, he was being tightly restrained by 999 chains formed from magical symbols.
His aura vastly surpassed that of a deva, and to Bai Xiaochun, he looked like some sort of god or deity. The mere pressure emanating off of him left Bai Xiaochun trembling!
“Is he... a demigod...?” Bai Xiaochun thought, barely able to breathe. What he was seeing via his divine sense almost defied belief. Fearful of attracting the old man’s attention, he carefully began to retract his divine sense. At the same time, he decided that he didn’t really want this soulhoarding pagoda after all....
However, it was in that same moment that the old man’s eyes snapped open to reveal light as bright as a shining sun. At the same time, he suddenly transformed into a crimson, three-headed python. Bai Xiaochun couldn’t hold back from letting out a shriek.
“Spare me, Senior....” he wailed as he pulled his divine sense back. However, a moment later, he stopped his divine sense from moving.
“Eee?” he murmured. It was only at this point that he realized the chained old man didn’t seem corporeal. Rather, he was partially translucent, almost as if he weren’t complete....
Even more telling was that his gaze, despite being fiercely powerful, was somewhat blank, almost as if he weren’t conscious....
“He's a discarnate soul?” Bai Xiaochun gasped and looked a bit closer. “A discarnate demigod soul!!”
After confirming what he was looking at, Bai Xiaochun carefully retracted his divine sense. Then, he sat there, heart pounding, looking at the crystalline soulhoarding pagoda he held in his trembling hands.
“If there are deva souls, then it makes sense that there would be demigod souls.... Although the soul in the pagoda is discarnate and incomplete, it still counts as a demigod soul!
“Clearly, it didn’t originally belong to a cultivator, but rather, to a demigod-level beast.... It must have been some almighty entity in ages past, which was killed by some cultivator. Its discarnate soul was then sealed, either by whoever killed it, or perhaps even by itself. Whatever exactly occurred, it ended up in this soulhoarding pagoda....”
Bai Xiaochun licked his lips at the thought of how precious this treasure was that he had acquired. Unable to hold back his curiosity, he sent his divine sense back into the pagoda to study it further. The following day at noon, he finally finished his inspection, whereupon his eyes shone with enlightenment.
“It really is an unconscious discarnate soul that was fused into the pagoda.... If the pagoda were to be destroyed, the sealed soul would also be destroyed. However, that would simultaneously result in a blast of destructive energy that would probably kill even a deva, or at least inflict serious injuries....
“This thing is essentially a disposable magical item!! The soulhoarding function is just a secondary feature, or perhaps something to disguise its true function!” Bai Xiaochun was completely shaken, and couldn’t even imagine what entity would be able to turn a discarnate demigod soul into a disposable magical item.
It almost didn’t seem real that he could so casually acquire an item that would be threatening even to a deva.
However, that wasn’t necessarily a good feeling. More like a hair-raisingly terrifying one.
“Was it really a coincidence...?” he thought, recalling everything that had led up to him being teleported out into the Wildlands.... The more he thought about everything, the more it seemed like something fishy was going on....
After a bit more thought, he put the soulhoarding pagoda away and then summoned the two soul cultivators. They quickly rushed into his immortal's cave and bowed in greeting, nervous about what was going on.
Looking at the two soul cultivators with eyes that flashed like lightning, he cut right to the chase and asked, “Where did you get this soulhoarding pagoda!?”
In order to make sure they didn’t lie to him, he cracked open his Heavenspan Dharma Eye just a bit so that he could sense any changes in their auras and fluctuations.
The soul cultivators were trembling under the might of the pressure weighing down on them, and didn’t dare to hold anything back; they went on to tell him everything about the soulhoarding pagoda in extreme detail.
As it turned out, the pagoda was an ancient legacy heirloom in the Blackmountain Tribe. Not even the two soul cultivators were really sure of its origins. After all, most savage tribes in the Wildlands would have some object left behind by a founding ancestor. Some would be incredibly valuable, while others would be relatively insignificant.
After hearing this, Bai Xiaochun called over the leaders of the savages in the tribe and asked some detailed questions. In the end, he dismissed everyone and sat there, frowning.
Clearly, the soulhoarding pagoda was nothing more than something passed down from generation to generation in the Blackmountain Tribe. It, like other similar legacy items, had been around for such a long time that no one knew much about where it came from.
He still didn’t feel confident based on what he knew, though, so he went back to the leaders of the savages and asked to see the other things left behind by their ancestors.
After examining them all closely, he couldn’t find any useful clues. Eventually, he was forced to abandon his search for information about the origin of the soulhoarding pagoda.
Late that night, he stood outside of his immortal's cave, studying the sky, the lands, and the mountains. Eventually, his eyes began to shine brightly.
“I hope I'm just overthinking things.... Well, in any case, this soulhoarding pagoda can at least be a powerful trump card! It's too bad I can only use it once, though!” Sighing, he put the matter aside and stopped thinking about it.
A few days later, he chose to leave the Blackmountain Tribe. Upon his departure, all of the savages kowtowed, their eyes filled with awe and reverence.
The two soul cultivators behaved similarly.
Bai Xiaochun looked around, heart swelling at how popular he was.... Back in his home village, everyone had gathered to see him off with great fanfare. It was the same in the Spirit Stream Sect, the River-Defying Sect, and of course Sky City in the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect....
Now here he was in the Wildlands, where the Blackmountain Tribe was similarly seeing him off with great fanfare.
A moment later, he swept the crowd with divine sense to make sure that none of them had any gongs or drums hidden in their clothing, after which he was convinced that they were sincerely seeing him off.
“You’re all dismissed,” he said with the wave of his hand. Then, he stuck his chin up and strode off, looking as grand as possible.
Zhou Yixing followed close behind, his eyes shining with determination. He had long since vowed to follow this Grandmaster Bai wherever he went. Of course, he continuously cast vigilant glances at the person who was walking next to him.
That person was none other than Bai Xiaochun’s other follower, Li Feng....
Li Feng could see Zhou Yixing glancing at him, and it made him just as vigilant. Considering that this Grandmaster Bai hadn’t driven him away, it indicated his approval. Therefore, Li Feng knew that at the moment, his greatest competition was none other than the damnable Zhou Yixing.
The three of them proceeded along for a bit before Zhou Yixing finally couldn’t take it anymore. Spinning, he glared at Li Feng and shouted, “What are you following us for?! Screw the hell off already!”
Then, he turned and bowed to Bai Xiaochun at the waist, plastering onto his face a fawning expression that he had been practicing lately....
“Grandmaster,” he said, “this guy is up to no good. He's obviously following us because he has some sort of nefarious plan!”
Bai Xiaochun gave a noncommittal grunt, but nothing more. Taking out a map, he checked to see which direction Giant Ghost City was.
Li Feng looked over scornfully at Zhou Yixing as he clasped hands and bowed to Bai Xiaochun.
“Please don't misunderstand, Grandmaster. Your humble servant has no such intentions. Because of my deep reverence for you, I sincerely wish to be your follower!” Li Feng was telling the truth. He wanted so much to be Bai Xiaochun’s follower that he almost had to hold back from grabbing his leg so that he wouldn’t be sent away.
However, Bai Xiaochun didn’t pay much attention to him. Instead, he just turned to leave.
Zhou Yixing, on the other hand, felt wonderful. Casting another glare at Li Feng, he hurried after Bai Xiaochun, his expression more fawning than ever.