It had been the same with the first and second levels of the Undying Live Forever Technique. Shortly after making initial contact with the shackle, it was possible to make use of cultivation base power to break it.
As Bai Xiaochun sat there motionless, eyes glittering, a second shadowy figure appeared in the room. That figure was no clone, but rather, an afterimage created by the manifestation of his incredible speed.
In fact, the figure remained in place for a long moment before fading away.
There was no need to perform any more tests. He could tell that his speed had broken through to another level, and although he couldn’t determine exactly how quickly he could move, he knew that it would be difficult for even a deva to catch him.
“The Undying Skin focuses on defenses!
“The Undying Heavenly King focuses on power!
“The Undying Tendons focus on explosive speed....
“In that case, what does the fourth level, the Undying Bones, focus on?” Such thoughts filled Bai Xiaochun with deep anticipation.
“Too bad it’s too difficult to cultivate before reaching the Nascent Soul stage.... Plus, resources in the Wildlands are severely lacking. The Undying Bones will require even more resources than the Undying Tendons....” After a bit more thought, he suppressed his disappointment. Settling his qi and clearing his mind, he set about solidifying his advancement with his Undying Tendons.
Meanwhile, the appointed day to open the ancestral land grew nearer and nearer. At the same time, the clan was preparing to hold a grand ceremony to offer sacrifices to their ancestors.
This was a custom of the Bai Clan; such ceremonies were always held when the ancestral land was to be opened. During the ceremony, all members of the clan, no matter which bloodline they came from, would attend. Furthermore, high-ranking members of the clan would perform assessments of the clan members, and give out rewards to exceptional individuals.
Oftentimes, members of other clans would be invited to attend, and usually, the giant ghost king would send a representative to join the festivities.
After all, it wasn't a simple matter to open the ancestral land, and it only happened once every so often.
The ceremony was held the day before the opening of the ancestral land, in the central district of the Bai Clan, in the ancestral shrine hall.
The other two great necromancer clans sent representatives, as did the giant ghost king. The entire Bai Clan bustled with activity as the final preparations were made.
The shrine hall in the central district featured an enormous square, within which had been erected a huge stone gateway. The gateway was carved with the image of a middle-aged man, whose stern gaze seemed to look condescendingly upon all creation. That man was none other than the founding patriarch of the Bai Clan!
The shrine hall was surrounded by crowds from the Bai Clan, more than 10,000 individuals. There wasn’t even enough room for them on the ground, so many sat at tables which floated in the air. It was a grand sight to take in.
The older members of the clan sat nearest the shrine hall, smiles on their faces as they chatted with the representatives from the other clans.
Everyone was simply waiting for the ceremony to begin.
Madam Cai and the other womenfolk sat in their own area, where they buzzed with conversation and made themselves quite the center of attention.
Bai Qi stood out in the crowd like a star in the night sky. He sat close to the shrine hall itself, and was surrounded by important people, including some chosen necromancers from the other clans, with whom he engaged in lively banter.
Of course, there were others from the auxiliary bloodlines nearby, none of whom stood out as much as Bai Qi did, but who were clearly special. One of them was the fifth young lady that Bai Xiaochun had met on his first day in the clan. She was beautiful, and despite her cold personality, was surrounded by quite a crowd of devotees.
There was another young man who was about the same age as Bai Qi. He was tall and muscular, and had a booming laugh that caused everyone to take a liking to him, clan member or not.
Although Bai Hao had been born a bastard, and had a very lowly position, he still had the blood of the Bai Clan in him. Therefore, he was also required to attend the ceremony. He didn’t get to sit near the shrine hall itself, but rather, at one of the tables floating in the air.
As soon as he arrived, he noticed the fifth young lady and the burly young man. During his time in the clan, he had learned a bit about them. The fifth young lady was named Bai Yan’er, and was known even in Giant Ghost City for her good looks. Quite a few young elites from the other clans had their eye on her.
As for the burly young man, his name was Bai Lei, and he was a chosen from one of the auxiliary bloodlines. Although his cultivation base wasn’t at the same level as Bai Qi’s, he was still in late Core Formation. In fact, he and Bai Qi were considered to be the two rising stars of the clan!
However, the two of them didn’t get along very well, a fact that was well known in the clan.
Together, those three were the focus of much attention in the ceremony.
Were it not for the fact that it was required of him, Bai Xiaochun wouldn’t have come. As he looked around at the crowds, he contemplated his plans for the ancestral land tomorrow.
“I should plant the murdersoul spikes later today,” he thought. Suddenly, he felt as if someone were looking at him. Glancing around casually, he realized that it was Madam Cai, who sat with the other womenfolk, glaring at him venomously.
“She managed to find me even though I’m sitting so far away....” he thought, surprised. He was sitting in a very inconspicuous position, a place that should have made it difficult to lay eyes on him. And yet, Madam Cai had managed to locate him even in the crowd.
Without even thinking about it, Bai Xiaochun glared back at Madam Cai with such ferocity that her eyes went wide. However, a moment later, the venom returned. Before she could do anything else, though, the sound of bells rang out.
The crowd quickly went silent. At the same time, three beams of light appeared off in the distance. In the lead position was the clan chief, and he was flanked by two old men with cultivation bases in the great circle of the Nascent Soul stage. They were none other than the grand elders who ran the Hall of Corrections and the Hall of Justice.
After arriving outside the shrine hall, the clan chief began to speak in a loud voice, “To all members of the Bai Clan who have gathered here today....”
All the clan members listened eagerly, but as for Bai Xiaochun, he wasn’t interested at all, and simply closed his eyes.
All sorts of complicated details about the ancestral land were explained, things that didn’t really affect most members of the clan. Only the outstanding figures who planned to participate in the event needed to listen.
Occasionally, bells would ring out, causing ripples to spread out through the cloud-filled sky, and create auspicious signs.
Bai Xiaochun would crack his eye open every once in a while. Feeling very much like an immortal hiding in the mundane world, he would think, “I've witnessed far greater spectacles than this before.”
A few hours passed, and evening fell. The sacrifices to the ancestors were finished, and the bells began to ring again. Bai Xiaochun yawned and opened his eyes. Having come to the assumption that everything was over, he prepared to leave. However, it was at that point that the grand elder in charge of the Hall of Justice, who was sitting in front of the huge stone gate, chuckled.
“Alright, alright,” he said. “Since the clan chief insists, and no one else will back down, I guess I’ll carry out the assessment this time around.” The grand elder’s chuckle was sonorous, and backed by the profundity of his cultivation base, causing illusory ripples to spread out in all directions. There was even a cloud of souls that swirled around him as he spoke.
Looks of reverence could be seen in the eyes of the rest of the clan members as they looked over at him. Even the representatives from the other clans and the emissary from Giant Ghost City had very serious expressions on their faces.
When Bai Xiaochun felt the old man’s cultivation base fluctuations, he looked over at him with a serious expression. He was clearly half a step into the Deva Realm, similar to Bai Lin. Furthermore, from the soul power fluctuations coming off of him, he was obviously a necromancer.
“He’s likely in the terrestrial rank, with profound skill in necromancy. That would explain why so many souls appeared at the mere echo of his voice....”
Even as Bai Xiaochun contemplated the subject, the grand elder continued to speak. “Young heroes of the Bai Clan, all of you are aware that the ultimate pinnacle of spirit enhancement is the legendary thirtyfold enhancement, something which no one has ever actually accomplished. Even twentyfold spirit enhancements are virtually unheard of. Therefore, I would like to ask all of you this question: what do you think would happen to this simple feather if it received a thirtyfold enhancement?” Smiling, he held up a feather.
It seemed completely ordinary in nature, lacking in anything which could be considered unusual. It was really just a simple feather.
“There is no correct answer to the question. Based on your skill in spirit enhancement, consider the question for a moment. After all, there are some things in life which can never become a reality unless you ponder them deeply first!