What is fire...? According to my studies, mundane fire is not a physical substance like water. Instead, it is a reflection of something that can’t be seen with either the naked eye or divine sense!
Fire is similar to an aura... a mixture of something illusory and something miraculous!
The only reason you can see it is because of the glow of light that results from its existence!
Multi-colored flame is the same.... In that case, a new question arises. What are souls? And why do souls produce multi-colored flame...?
By this point Bai Xiaochun was panting, and his eyes were as wide as saucers as he stared at the writing. Although only a portion of it was still visible, even the little bit he could read left him completely reeling. At the same time, the feeling of enlightenment left him gasping.
“This... this....” He had never imagined that someone would study fire in this way, research it in such detail. Based on how the words were written, it seemed that the person who had left them behind had just been casually writing down their thoughts.
Most importantly, in addition to the waves of shock which pounded at Bai Xiaochun’s heart and mind as he looked at the words, they opened a new door to him. By combining what he was reading with his current understanding of how to conjure flame, he suddenly felt as if he were gaining significant enlightenment.
“That’s right! This is exactly what I've experienced when conjuring my own flame. Fire... is not a physical substance like water, but rather, a reflection of something else. Or perhaps... a symbol! In many senses, it is illusory, and not material like water is!!” Bai Xiaochun did his best to keep his calm, but it was almost impossible. From what he could tell, the person who had left these words behind was extraordinary, and had almost unparalleled enlightenment regarding the nature of flame. In that regard, this person was almost like a deva!
Furthermore, considering that he could already conjure eleven-colored flame, this writing left him in even more profound anticipation of conjuring twelve-colored flame! Based on this new information, and his own previous research and analysis, he was confident that he could succeed!!
Never could Bai Xiaochun have imagined that he would stumble across such good fortune here. Drawing upon his cultivation base, he poured more power into his Heavenspan Dharma Eye and continued reading.
As he did, he continued to reel with shock. And that was especially true when he reached the end of the text and realized that it contained speculations about the formula for fifteen-colored flame. After looking over much of that information, Bai Xiaochun was completely shaken.
“How is this possible?!?!” Dumbfounded, he stared at the final lines of writing.
Fire can be incredibly hot, and has mystical power. When that heat and that power combine, they form an outer flame, an inner flame, and a flame heart....
My special augury method has not yet produced the formula for fifteen-colored flame. However, making the final calculations shouldn’t be difficult. After that... sixteen-colored flame and seventeen-colored flame shouldn’t be much of a challenge. In fact, I'm even confident that my augury can produce the formula for twenty-colored flame!
Unfortunately... my cultivation base is too low. Even if I produced the formula, it wouldn’t do me any good. I wouldn’t be able to conjure the flame.... However, I still want to make the formula. I’ll show it to father to finally prove to him that I’m not useless. I am good for something! I'm not interested in fighting with anyone else in the clan for position. I just want father... to notice me....
Within those final words, Bai Xiaochun could sense both wild confidence and profound self-deprecation.
“I can’t believe he made his own augury method to produce multi-colored flame formulas....” Sighing, he rose to his feet and used his Heavenspan Dharma Eye to search the entire hut. After searching the entire place several times, his anxiety began to mount.
It was obvious that at some point in the past, the entire floor had been covered with notes about flame conjuring. However, at some point, most of the notes had been wiped away by some unknown method!
Clearly, they had been erased by a person!
“The formula for fifteen-colored flame....” Bai Xiaochun thought. There was no way for him to remain unmoved by this development. Furthermore, if Bai Hao did not write the notes, then how did they end up in his residence?!
If Bai Hao wrote them.... then considering the level of his cultivation base, he had obviously achieved astonishing enlightenment of flame conjuring. In fact, his abilities far surpassed Bai Xiaochun’s.
“Wait a second, that can’t be right. If Bai Hao was really that good, he could just reveal his skills and achieve a monumental rise in the Bai Clan. Why would he allow himself to be treated the way he was?” Bai Xiaochun scratched his head in thought for a bit, but couldn’t come up with any explanations.
He stood up and began to pace back and forth in the room, and after a long moment passed, his eyes suddenly began to shine brightly.
“Whether or not Bai Hao wrote these notes doesn't matter. What’s important is that the complete set of notes contains the formula for fifteen-colored flame. In that case... whoever killed Bai Hao is likely also responsible for erasing the notes, or at least, is connected to the killer!
“Therefore, the killer is likely the one who possesses the complete set of notes....
“If I want to get those notes, I probably don’t have to do anything. The killer or killers will come looking for me to cause trouble. After all, my return has most likely sparked their killing intent. In fact, if I make a stir in the Bai Clan, it will probably make them accelerate their plans....
“In turn, that would give me more clues to follow to get those notes!” Bai Xiaochun’s eyes glittered as he made his decision. Looking down at the remnants of the notes on the floor, he sighed.
“Bai Hao really had things rough. I feel bad for him....” He shook his head. By this point, he was fairly certain that Bai Hao had been the one to write all of the notes.
“However, I still need some confirmation.” Pulling out a jade slip, he sent a message to Li Feng and asked him to secretly start making inquiries about Bai Hao.
Of course, Li Feng didn’t know that Bai Xiaochun was impersonating Bai Hao, and therefore, excitedly set about following orders. As far as he was concerned, this was a good opportunity to show off. Intentionally keeping Zhou Yixing in the dark, he started calling on his own network of friends and informants to try to get information.
A few days later, he told Bai Xiaochun all of the information he had been able to dig up on Bai Hao. When Bai Xiaochun saw it, his eyes flashed with anger.
Based on the information he had gleaned from Bai Hao’s bone slips, as well as Bai Xiaochun’s experiences in the clan already, he now had a good idea of what type of person Bai Hao had been.
His mother had been a servant girl with no position in the clan, whereas his father was the current clan chief. In a particularly violent and humiliating incident in which his mother had no control over her own body, Bai Hao was conceived, and became a bastard son of the Bai Clan.
He had a very low position from the moment he was born. Furthermore, it wasn’t long after he came into the world that his mother was killed. If Bai Hao had possessed sufficient latent talent, things might have turned out differently for him. However, he wasn’t talented when it came to cultivation, and no matter how hard he worked, was never able to excel.
His father’s first wife was none other than Madam Cai, who occupied a very high position in the clan. In fact, she came from the Cai Clan, another of the three great clans that were attached to Giant Ghost City.
There was another factor at play. Madam Cai’s son was Bai Hao’s older brother, Bai Qi. He was insufferably proud, and was famous throughout all of Giant Ghost City. He was already in the great circle of Core Formation, and had attracted the attention of the Bai Clan patriarch, who viewed him as the qilin son of the clan, the type which only came along once every few hundred years. In fact, Bai Qi was to represent the Bai Clan in their attempt to secure the legacy of the hell-emperor.
Family like that made Bai Hao’s life even more bitter than it might have been. His father treated him with cold aloofness that made it seem as if they weren’t related, and apparently didn’t even care whether Bai Hao lived or died.
His father’s first wife hated him, and his older brother was completely condescending, treating Bai Hao as if he were a servant. Eventually, Bai Hao came to be viewed as the lowest of the low within the clan.
Everyone was afraid of getting on Madam Cai and Bai Qi’s bad side, and therefore, not even the servants were willing to have much dealings with Bai Hao. Furthermore, from the time he was in Qi Condensation, his progress had always been indescribably slow.
Thankfully, Bai Hao was the type of person who could deal with all of that. He put on a front of looking weak and cowardly, and always just bowed his head and shivered when people berated him. Eventually, people stopped paying much attention to him. Few people even remembered that he had a hut of his own in the north district.
It had only been recently that he finally broke through into the Foundation Establishment stage. Shortly afterward, he went missing....
By the time Bai Xiaochun finished reading all the information in the jade slip Li Feng had sent to him, his anger was burning hot. He almost couldn’t reconcile the information within the slip with the young man he had seen out in the jungle.
“Who cares if he looked weak and cowardly? If I were in his position, that’s what I would have done to stay alive.... If he had shown any signs of being extraordinary, he would have been a threat, and would definitely have been killed!
“In fact, it was right after he made a cultivation base breakthrough that he died.... And yet, merely having a Foundation Establishment cultivation base doesn't seem like enough to make him a threat to anyone....” Then he looked down at the ground, and suddenly, came to a realization.