Due to his augury and reverse-engineering methods, Bai Xiaochun was very confident regarding the formula for fifteen-colored flame. However, it was still a very difficult thing that would require a lot of work.
Thankfully, he had plenty of vengeful souls to work with. He made one attempt after another, and failed at every one, but at the same time, learned from every one. After identifying the reasons for failure and then resolving them, he made constant progress. Time passed, and he became more and more proficient in flame conjuring.
“Ten more times! That’s all I need to succeed!” Even as he pulled out more vengeful souls to work with, the blooming of the Ghost King Orchid was causing a huge stir in Arch-Emperor City.
“The Ghost King Orchid is blooming!! Supposedly, the first generation arch-emperor personally planted that Ghost King Orchid in the Necromancer Kettle. If you eat the fruit of that flower, you can heal a damaged divine soul and purify your body, removing any defilements!”
“There’s another thing it can do. It can perfectly reset your cultivation base, allowing you to completely replace all of the techniques you use with other ones!”
“I also heard that the fruit of the Ghost King Orchid can bring dead souls back to life!!”
In the briefest moment, Arch-Emperor City began to buzz with all sorts of talk. The important nobility and influential people within the city were all buzzing with excitement. Although the Ghost King Orchid was of vital importance to the giant ghost king, it could also be very beneficial to others. Virtually all of the luxurious mansions in the city were astir, and yet, nobody was actually taking action. After all, the Necromancer Kettle belonged to the imperial clan, and although the announcement had been made that the flower would go to whoever destiny saw fit, the specific rules governing the competition had not yet been made public.
However, that quickly changed as an imperial decree came down!
The Necromancer Kettle, one of the eight arcane pocket realms belonging to the imperial clan, is now open. In accord with the will of the grand heavenmaster, no one above or below the Nascent Soul stage may enter. Only Nascent Soul cultivators may go in and seek the good fortune therein!
From members of the imperial clan down to the families of the aristocracy, any group may dispatch a single person to enter the pocket realm!
As soon as the decree went out, all of the influential groups in the city began to analyze the deeper meaning behind it. Soon, eyes were cast in the direction of Giant Ghost City.
Clearly, the decree had not really been put out by the arch-emperor, but rather, by the grand heavenmaster. Nowadays in Arch-Emperor City, the words of the grand heavenmaster were taken more seriously than the arch-emperor’s.
However, the reaction from the influential groups in the city was muted, as if they were waiting for something.
Eventually, news about the decree reached the ears of the tall, muscular nine serenities king. He stood there in his royal palace in Nine Serenities City, a huge battle-axe propped up next to him, looking at a jade slip. Slowly, a smile spread out across his face.
“You really want that Ghost King Orchid, don’t you King Giant Ghost? Well, I’ll make sure you don’t get your wish!” He and the giant ghost king had been at odds with each other for many years, during which time he had never been presented with the opportunity to personally do anything about the situation. However, during the giant ghost king’s decay period, he had absolutely taken the initiative to strike a blow along with the three great clans’ rebellion.
A cold smile appeared on the nine serenities king’s face as he said, “Tell Prince Zhou Hong to come see me immediately!”
Next, a bone slip appeared in his hand as he transmitted messages to other influential groups and clans in Nine Serenities City, giving them various instructions.
On top of a towering mountain in War Champion City, a middle-aged man stood there, clad in a green robe, his hands clasped behind his back. He was not burly like the nine serenities king, but he still seemed like a paramount figure in heaven and earth, radiating pressure which weighed down on all creation.
That man was none other than the war champion king.
“Interesting. The Ghost King Orchid has already bloomed four times. In the past, it was always one of the giant ghost kings who got the flower. The flower is obviously very important to the current giant ghost king. If he gets this one, he’ll be able to complete the five elements structure, and his technique will be even more deadly. From that point on, he would never again have a decay period!
“That means that whoever gets the flower this time will be able to get the most valuable treasures imaginable from the giant ghost king in trade….” Eyes narrowing, the war champion king thought of a particular medicinal pill bottle that the giant ghost king owned, which could refine all types of high-level medicines.
After another moment of thought, the war champion king smiled faintly and said, “Yi’er, come see me immediately!”
The nine serenities king and the war champion king both had their various thoughts about the matter. Meanwhile in Spirit Advent City, the last of the four heavenly kings, the spirit advent king, was also moved. He was an extremely fat man, a mountain of flesh who was even more exaggeratedly fat than Big Fatty Zhang had been all those years ago.
Of course, it would be easier to find a phoenix feather or a qilin horn than to find someone in the Wildlands who would tease him about his weight. As he sat there in his royal palace, surrounded by handmaidens, a glass of alcohol in hand, his eyes began to shine brightly.
“The giant ghost king is sure going to have it rough this time. I bet everyone is going to do their best to screw him over. Well, how could I possibly ignore this chance to profit from his misfortune?”
Laughing heartily, he turned his head and bellowed, “Shanshan, my lovely daughter, aren’t you always looking for people to pick fights with? Well I’m going to give you a chance to do just that. Go to the Necromancer Kettle and fight with whoever you feel like. Get the fruit of the Ghost King Orchid, and bring it back for me!”
In an auxiliary courtyard deep in Spirit Advent City, an intense rumbling sound could be heard as a valiant and formidable young woman appeared….
The actions of these three heavenly kings were like a wind vane that indicated what all of the other powers in Arch-Emperor City would do. It was almost like a chain reaction.
Before long, numerous voices could be heard within the headquarters of the influential groups and clans.
“One person per group? That means only one person from Giant Ghost City will be be there. I guess we could risk offending the giant ghost king, but getting involved in a fight between the four of the heavenly kings wouldn’t be worth it. The Zhou Clan will not be participating!”
“The giant ghost king might be a demigod, but considering our Li Clan’s good relationship with the nine serenities king, we have no choice but to participate. Fine, send the Li Clan’s qilin son into the Necromancer Kettle to earn a name for himself!”
“It's been a long time since a competition has come along that virtually all of the clans can participate in. This is a perfect chance for the Nascent Soul Juniors to rise to prominence! We might end up offending the giant ghost king, but with the war champion king participating as well, we shouldn’t have anything to fear!”
Scenes such as this played out in numerous locations in the Wildlands. Of course, Duke Deathcrier had eyes and ears in many places, and soon got word. Looking very grim-faced, he headed toward the royal palace.
After he left, a roar of rage could be heard from within the royal palace. The giant ghost king leapt off of his royal throne, his eyes shining as cold as ice. The truth was that he didn’t really need to get any secret reports from Duke Deathcrier; he had long since guessed that this instance of the blooming of the Ghost King Orchid would cause a huge stir.
After his decay period ended and he returned to Giant Ghost City, he had been thinking constantly about the Necromancer Kettle. Even his rough calculations had led him to the conclusion that the Ghost King Orchid would soon be blooming for the fifth time.
As a result, he had given orders to Duke Deathcrier to keep an eye on the other heavenly kings, and had also opened up talks with the grand heavenmaster, hoping to get him to agree to give Giant Ghost City exclusive entrance rights.
Clearly, the grand heavenmaster had refused that request. Not even the giant ghost king’s offer to owe him a huge favor had changed his mind. Although it was not a huge blow to him, it still made him angry. And yet, there was nothing he could do about the situation. The grand heavenmaster held sway over the emperor and the nobility, and was definitely a person to be feared.
“Everybody knows how important the Ghost King Orchid is to me. Do those three bastards really think they can steal what's mine?! Furthermore, they’re trying to weaken me by preventing the organizations I'm on good terms with in Giant Ghost City from participating!
“Hmph! The three other kings ganging up on me is of secondary importance. The grand heavenmaster’s attitude is the most important thing….” The giant ghost king gritted his teeth at the fact that the grand heavenmaster had specifically issued orders preventing demigods and devas from entering the Necromancer Kettle.
“Do they really think that I wouldn’t be ready for something like this though?!” With a cold snort, he thought about a certain person, and then suddenly smiled. “I need to teach that little hooligan a lesson anyway. My head is not to be smacked around casually!”
Having reached this point in his train of thought, the giant ghost king issued a royal decree.
“Summon Bai Hao to see me. Immediately!”
As the orders went out, Bai Xiaochun was in his secluded meditation chamber, working on conjuring a fifteen-colored flame. He had failed more than ten times, but his eyes shone with stubborn determination. He was currently focused completely on the fire in his hand, and on feeding it the surrounding vengeful souls.
He didn’t dare to relax for even a moment. As the vengeful souls poured into the fire, his eyes turned completely bloodshot. Fire spread out, and then it began to converge back together onto his palm, whereupon he closed his fingers into a fist.
Taking an excited breath, he opened his fingers to reveal a tongue of flame right there in the middle of his hand. He immediately began to laugh delightedly.
“It finally worked!!”
It was none other than fifteen-colored flame!
This fifteen-colored flame indicated that Bai Xiaochun was no longer a terrestrial necromancer, but had reached the celestial rank!!
There were less than a hundred celestial necromancers in all of the Wildlands, making them very rare. But now, thanks to his constant research and augury, Bai Xiaochun had risen to that very rank!
Even as he reveled in his pride, he heard a voice outside of his secluded meditation facilities.
“Majordomo, his highness the king has summoned you, posthaste!”
Bai Xiaochun’s eyes went wide as he wondered why the king might have summoned him, especially right when he had already been planning on coming out of secluded meditation….
“This seems weird. He couldn't see me in here, could he?!” Feeling very nervous, he looked around, and then put away his fifteen-colored flame.
After emerging from his secluded meditation facilities, he saw that there were two city guards waiting, who immediately greeted him with clasped hands.
“What does his highness the king want to see me for?” he asked casually.
The two guards hesitated, but knew that Bai Xiaochun was a person they could not afford to offend. Lowering their voices, they quickly explained what they knew about the Ghost King Orchid, and their guesses about how it involved him.
As soon as Bai Xiaochun heard the news, his heart trembled with fear. “All of the Nascent Soul chosen in the wildlands are going?” he thought. “Sounds way too dangerous!”
Having reached this point in his train of thought, his expression suddenly flickered, and he coughed up a massive mouthful of blood. Staggering backward, he wailed, “I just had a setback with my cultivation base! Report back to his highness the king that I have to go back into secluded meditation to make some adjustments….”
With that, he rushed back into his secluded meditation facilities and slammed the door behind him.
The two city guard were left flabbergasted by this unexpected turn of events….