As word spread through Arch-Emperor City, everyone who got the news was stunned. For many, it took some thought to recall why the name seemed familiar, and some even had to ask around. In the end, though, everyone was shocked.
Of course, there were some people who instantly recalled all sorts of things when they heard the name.
“Devil Bai has appeared!!”
“So, he’s not dead after all! Not only is he here in the Wildlands, he’s actually in the Nascent Soul stage!!”
“Dammit! This is outright provocation! Bald-faced mockery! There’s no way Devil Bai doesn’t know about what happens when you perform a spirit enhancement on a nascent soul. He obviously did this all on purpose to make sure we knew he had come!!”
Arch-Emperor City in general was shaken, but even more so was the Giant Ghost Legion. Countless shouts of rage could be seen as people raced over to the Hell-Emperor Stele.
Of course, not everyone in Arch-Emperor City was very impressed with Bai Xiaochun’s name. Many thought the stories were exaggerations, and that a person like him wasn’t worthy of the commotion.
“This is outrageous! I can’t believe that Bai Xiaochun is being so pretentious! How arrogant! How imperious!!”
“Hmph! Those are just stories, right? I refuse to believe that this Bai Xiaochun is as important as people say he is. He’s a nobody!”
“Obviously the Giant Ghost Legion just wanted to come up with a reason for why they got defeated so handily. The fact that the other three sects on the Great Wall are using the same tactics just goes to show that Heavenspan Island arranged it all.”
Regardless of the specific reactions, though, the entire city was shaken.
Generally speaking, the commotion would have died down fairly quickly, and things would have gone back to normal. But then, something else happened that no one was expecting!
Even as everyone was looking at Bai Xiaochun’s name, his name vanished from last place and then reappeared in the top 20!
Next to his name was no longer the number one, but instead, two!!
All eyes went as wide as saucers, and yet, before anyone even had a chance to cry out in shock, Bai Xiaochun’s name vanished again. This time, it moved up to 15th place, and the number three could now be seen next to it!
And things weren’t over yet. Bai Xiaochun’s name vanished again, then reappeared in 8th place!!
At that point, the number next to his name was four!! Moments later, it shot up to 4th place, with a fivefold spirit enhancement!!
Countless gasps of shock could be heard. However, the crowd was being filled with so much pent-up shock that eventually, they couldn’t keep it in.
“A five... fivefold spirit enhancement!!”
“How is this Bai Xiaochun doing this?!?!”
Everyone was completely stunned, battered by waves of astonishment, their minds spinning at what they were witnessing. Immediately, people began to send word to their friends and superiors.
Before, only a few people had been stunned by the mere mention of Bai Xiaochun’s name, with many people believing his reputation to be exaggerated. However, in the briefest of moments, he went all the way to 4th place on the Hell-Emperor Stele, with a fivefold enhanced nascent soul. Instantly, the people who had believed the stories to be exaggerated were left gasping in shock.
“What!? He performed a fivefold spirit enhancement on his nascent soul that quickly!?!?”
“What's going on with this Devil Bai? How is he doing this so quickly? I can’t believe he’s so reckless!! Is he tired of living?!”
The waves of astonishment that rocked Arch-Emperor City only continued to grow more intense. Every group and organization within the city heard of the matter, and reacted with complete incredulity. At the same time, more and more people began to fly over to the Hell-Emperor Stele.
There were also numerous streams of divine sense that converged on the area.
Meanwhile, Bai Xiaochun was in nascent soul form in his secluded meditation chamber in Giant Ghost City, looking very pleased as he sat there cross-legged in the turtle-wok.
“Hahaha! I love this type of cultivation! This is how things should be done!” The nascent soul Bai Xiaochun’s eyes twinkled, and his aura surged with excitement.
Not only did his nascent soul now have five silver designs on it, but he could also clearly sense how much stronger he was.
“I feel like I just spent a whole sixty-year-cycle in secluded meditation!” After a bout of hearty laughter, he licked his lips and waved his finger at the nearby six-colored flame.
The flame flew over into the turtle-wok, whereupon rumbling sounds could be heard, and another silver design appeared. He had performed another spirit enhancement!
Six. Seven. Eight.
Without pausing for a moment, he performed three enhancements in a row. By this point, eight dazzling designs could be seen on his nascent soul, which thrummed with boundless power. Swirling colors could be seen inside of it, and at the same time, the frigid qi of heaven and earth was like nothing.
“Strong. So strong!” Filled with excitement, he waved at the nine-colored flame. Moments later, a ninth silver design could be seen on his nascent soul!
However, things weren’t over yet. Heart pounding, Bai Xiaochun began the tenth spirit enhancement. Dazzling silver light shone out from the turtle-wok as a tenth design appeared!
Bai Xiaochun could tell that his nascent soul was growing stronger and stronger, leaving him trembling with joy. He had often pondered how amazing it would be to become so powerful, but had never experienced the feeling. Now he was....
Of course, to the people in Arch-Emperor City, the fact that Bai Xiaochun was performing one spirit enhancement after another on his nascent soul had them all scared out of their minds. They felt like one bolt of heavenly lightning after another was slamming into their brains.
They watched as Bai Xiaochun’s name went from 4th place to 3rd, and then from 3rd to 2nd. Then, without even stopping, it reached 1st place!
Bai Xiaochun had performed an eightfold spirit enhancement on his nascent soul....
If that were all there were to the situation, it might not have been a big deal. After all, what he was doing was not beyond the realm of what was clearly possible. But then, the number nine appeared next to his name, and then ten. The soul cultivators were all shaken to the ultimate degree, to the point where it felt like they were in an out-of-body experience.
He was performing spirit enhancements on a nascent soul, which was completely different than performing enhancements on magical items. If a magical item was destroyed, you could get a new one. But if you failed in a spirit enhancement on your nascent soul, you would be killed permanently!
The hell-emperor could have the audacity to require his successor perform spirit enhancements on their nascent soul. But to ordinary soul cultivators, that action was simply risking one’s life!
A single spirit enhancement was something many people could accept, and potentially a second or third. But any higher than that, and the failure rates were simply too dangerous. What everyone was witnessing here was simply a miracle!
It was something the likes of which had never been heard of in the Wildlands! It was complete madness....
“He went from one all the way up to ten! And he didn’t die!!”
“Dammit, what kind of luck is this!?!?”
“Does he have a death wish or something?!”
Not a single person was left unshaken; from their perspective, Bai Xiaochun was toying with his life in an act of complete insanity! Never had anyone dared to enhance their nascent soul in such fashion....
Meanwhile in Nine Serenities City, in a smaller palace adjacent to the royal palace, an enraged roar echoed out. Then, a tall, slender young man burst out from inside the palace. His handsome features were twisted with fury as he raged, “Bai Xiaochun! I, Zhou Hong, put my life on the line to perform a sixfold spirit enhancement on my nascent soul. How could you possibly dare to perform a tenfold enhancement!? How come you didn’t die?!?!”
Bitterness filled Zhou Hong’s heart. Originally, his only goal had been to overtake Gongsun Yi, and he had been fairly confident in being able to do so. At worst, he would at least match Gongsun Yi’s accomplishments.
But as soon as he got news that Bai Xiaochun had appeared and performed a tenfold spirit enhancement, his hopes were dashed....
“You must be using some trick to do it! Otherwise, there’s no way you could succeed! Men, go out and search the Wildlands! Find out where Bai Xiaochun is! Find him!” In response to Zhou Hong’s words, Nine Serenities City was thrown into a stir, and his orders were instantly carried out. Of course, the reason for all that was that Zhou Hong was heir apparent in the city!
Similar scenes played out in other parts of the Wildlands, both in the necromancer clans, and in other places that were home to people on the Hell-Emperor Stele’s name list. Everyone was trying to guess where Bai Xiaochun might be, and countless people began to search for him.
In one of the four kingly cities, War Champion City, a thatched cottage could be seen atop a lonely mountain. Within that cottage sat a young man with sword-like eyebrows and eyes that shone like stars. Everyone who knew him personally was used to the placid, arrogant expression that he usually wore. However, as of this moment, his face was ashen, and his eyes glittered with disbelief.
“Bai Xiaochun....” he murmured. A moment later, he looked down at the bone slip he held in his hand, and a defiant gleam appeared in his eyes. This young man was the only son of the most powerful among the kings, the war champion king. He was Gongsun Yi, the second most powerful person in his generation in the Wildlands, right behind Mistress Red-Dust!