The giant ghost king’s divine sense wasn’t so powerful that it could maintain daily scrutiny of all of Giant Ghost City. That was even less the case considering how wrapped up he was in his current plans. In fact, after issuing the summons to Bai Xiaochun, he had already started to completely change his overall plan.
The fruit of the Ghost King Orchid was too important to him. None of the previous giant ghost kings had ever reached his current level of progress. He had accumulated four of the fruits so far, and only needed one more to make a complete set of the five elements. With that full set, he would be able to remove the weakness in the technique he cultivated.
Therefore, he was unwilling to accept the possibility of any mishaps. He needed to guarantee with one hundred percent certainty that he would get that ghost king fruit. After all, if someone else got it, he would then be in the passive position, and it was impossible to say what unexpected things would result.
The optimal outcome would be for him to acquire the fruit by his own means.
The giant ghost king was in the middle of contemplating all of these matters when the two guards returned with the unexpected news that Bai Xiaochun had gone into a protracted, half-year-long session of secluded meditation….
The giant ghost king’s eyes went wide, and his anger immediately began to burn. Shooting to his feet, he vanished, to reappear right outside of Bai Xiaochun’s auxiliary courtyard. Completely disregarding the spell formation that protected Bai Xiaochun’s secluded meditation facilities, he stepped forward to appear inside.
The instant he appeared, he saw Bai Xiaochun, his face ashen and eyes cloudy, pushing down onto his chest as he coughed up a massive mouthful of blood…. Although he seemed surprised to find someone else in his secluded meditation chamber, he managed to struggle to his feet, whereupon he clasped hands and bowed.
“Humble greetings, Your Highness.”
The giant ghost king was a bit shocked by how much blood Bai Xiaochun had just coughed up, and at how weak he looked. After scanning him with some divine sense, he could sense instabilities in his cultivation base, whereupon his face darkened.
“How did this happen?” he asked with a growl.
“Your Highness….” Bai Xiaochun smiled bitterly and shook his head. Taking a deep breath, he wiped the blood from his lips, lowered his voice, and continued, “Your humble servant went through hell and high water for you. Unfortunately, my cultivation base wasn’t powerful enough, and in my overhasty push into the early Nascent Soul stage, I made some mistakes….”
Although his voice quavered weekly, his eyes shone with the determination to keep speaking.
“But don’t worry, Your Highness, all I need is half a year, and I’ll be back to normal!” Seemingly summoning the effort, he slapped his chest to emphasize his words, looking like the type of person who wouldn’t hesitate to die for his sovereign. At the same time, he was secretly sizing up the giant ghost king, and vowing that he wouldn’t go into any dangerous areas no matter what happened. Giant Ghost City was definitely the safest place to be….
The giant ghost king’s expression flickered as he pondered the situation. After looking Bai Xiaochun up and down, he finally decided that everything was just too coincidental. How could it be that, right when the Ghost King Orchid bloomed, causing a huge stir among all the chosen in the land, that Bai Hao’s cultivation base would suddenly have a problem? However, now was not the time to go picking apart Bai Xiaochun’s words. Waving his hand, he summoned a medicinal pill.
It was pure white, and shone with dazzling light. Inside of it could be seen the image of a dragon, and it emanated a shocking medicinal aroma. As soon as Bai Xiaochun saw it, his eyes went wide, and he even gasped. This was the first time he had ever seen a medicinal pill in the Wildlands.
As an grandmaster apothecary , he could instantly tell that this was some sort of holy medicine designed to heal injuries. In fact, it appeared to surpass the Godly Vestige Pills he had used in the past. It was completely unprecedented!
A medicinal pill like this could be considered rare even in the Heavenspan River region, let alone in the Wildlands, where medicinal pills virtually didn’t exist. Clearly, it was a treasured item to the giant ghost king.
“This pill’s name is Heavencleaving Good Fortune Pill. You can only eat nine in your lifetime, and the reason that my decay period was so short was because I consumed nine at once. Anyone else who consumes it under normal circumstances will experience a full recovery from all injuries in only one breath of time.
“Take a minute to think. Even if you’re seriously injured, you’re going on this mission, whether you want to or not. If you refuse to take the pill, and fail in the mission, I won’t cause any problems for you. But if you do consume it, then you definitely must succeed in the mission!” The giant ghost king spoke in a tone that brooked no argument, then looked at Bai Xiaochun with glittering eyes as he flicked his finger and sent the medicinal pill flying toward Bai Xiaochun’s mouth.
Bai Xiaochun shivered in fear, but still managed to reach out and snatch the pill out of the air. Scowling on the verge of tears, he looked back at the king, cursing inwardly, but knowing he had no choice in the matter. Considering how decisively the giant ghost king was acting, Bai Xiaochun could tell that it was just as the man had said: he would be going on this mission whether he wanted to or not….
Although he felt very wronged about the whole thing, he didn’t let that show on his face. In fact, it was at this point that some cracking sounds suddenly rang out from inside of him, and his previously unstable cultivation base suddenly returned to normal.
“Don’t worry, Your Highness, I’ll definitely accomplish the mission!” he said loudly.
“You’ve recovered?” the giant ghost king asked, his eyes narrowing as he smiled.
“Eee? You said it even before I noticed it, Your Highness! Wow, this is great! My cultivation base breakthrough came because I had an audience with you, and now I've recovered for the same reason! Both of these developments occurred because of meeting with you face-to-face! Your Highness, your might surpasses all creation, like a dragon flying to the highest heavens. A mere glance from you is like consuming a holy medicine of healing!” All of Bai Xiaochun’s flattery was delivered without the slightest blush, and was spoken with utmost sincerity.
The giant ghost king sighed, well aware of what Bai Xiaochun was doing. Not concerned about how crafty Bai Xiaochun was trying to be, the giant ghost king’s expression turned somber as he went on to give some more information about what was to come.
Bai Xiaochun listened with rapt attention, and afterward, actually breathed a sigh of relief. After all, he knew that, considering how incredible he was, he could crush anyone who tried to make a move against him.
The more he listened though, the wider his eyes went, and the more his heart began to pound at the fact that virtually everyone was teaming up against the giant ghost king.
“We're talking about multiple heirs apparent to heavenly kings, plus chosen from the nobility and aristocracy in Arch-Emperor City! Although not all of them reached the Nascent Soul stage with deva beast souls, there are bound to be a few…. Plus, they're all going to be working together against me….” Soon his scowl returned. All of the cultivators who would be going to this trial by fire were powerful chosen. Even though Bai Xiaochun knew himself to be incredible, even a tiger couldn’t fight a pack of ravenous wolves. The slightest misstep on his part, and his poor little life would be in danger….
“Dammit, how come only Nascent Soul cultivators can go!? It would be much better if most of the people were in the Core Formation stage….” Although he wished to cry, no tears would come. The truth was that even if he were stronger than he was, he still wouldn’t be confident. However, considering the stubborn look on the face of the giant ghost king, he knew that there was nothing he could do other than nod in agreement.
The giant ghost king could sense Bai Xiaochun’s pensiveness, so after a moment, he sighed and said, “However, don't feel too much pressure. With my trusty spear, and some Heavencleaving Good Fortune Pills, you should be very safe. Furthermore, I will make other arrangements to make sure that everything goes smoothly in the Necromancer Kettle.”
However, not even such assurances wiped the scowl off of Bai Xiaochun’s face. At this point, the giant ghost king lowered his voice and said, “Don’t forget about that restrictive spell that connects the two of us. Do you really think I would send you somewhere to get killed?”
Upon hearing that, Bai Xiaochun’s mood brightened a bit. The more he thought about it, the less likely it seemed that anyone would try to cause problems for him. Besides, based on what the giant ghost king had just said, it seemed there would be people on the inside who would help him if he needed it.
After offering a few more words of instruction, the giant ghost king handed Bai Xiaochun a medicinal pill bottle, within which were eight Heavencleaving Good Fortune Pills! Including the one he had given him moments ago, that made a total of nine!
After seeing all of those pills, Bai Xiaochun felt even more confident than before.
With that, the giant ghost king left, simultaneously passing orders to Duke Deathcrier to accompany Bai Xiaochun on a giant ghost battleship to the Necromancer Kettle.
The giant ghost battleship was an enormous black airship that pierced through the sky with incredible speed. It had a giant ghost statue on it that radiated black light, as well as a fearsome aura.
Bai Xiaochun was currently standing on the deck of the battleship, sighing listlessly. Next to him was Duke Deathcrier, who was looking at him with a bemused expression. Chuckling, Duke Deathcrier said, “What’s with the furrowed brow, Majordomo Bai? You didn’t frown like that even when three devas were chasing you down.”
“What a load of crap….” Bai Xiaochun thought inwardly. Back when the three devas had been chasing him, he had plenty of secret weapons to call upon. He’d known that the giant ghost king would recover within days, and had thus been willing to take a big risk. The current situation was nothing like that.
However, he also realized that now was not the time to be weak or scared. Standing up straighter than before, he smacked himself loudly on the chest and said, “You’re seeing things, Duke Deathcrier. I wasn't frowning, I was thinking! And this is no furrowed brow, it’s an expression of killing intent!”
Duke Deathcrier’s expression turned even more quizzical, but he didn’t say anything further.
The two of them didn't speak much during the rest of the trip. Eventually, Bai Xiaochun realized that there was a huge group of vengeful souls moving along on the ground beneath them.
When Duke Deathcrier noticed what he was looking at, he offered a brief explanation. “Whenever the Necromancer Kettle is opened, it attracts lots of vengeful souls. They instinctively try to get into the place….”
Shocked, Bai Xiaochun realized even more than before that this Necromancer Kettle was clearly an extraordinary place, and also a dangerous one. Another two hours passed, and by now, the battleship was in the actual region of the huge kettle.
It was evening, and the previously clear sky was now choked with clouds. Furthermore, it was possible to see the shocking Ghost King Orchid off in the distance!
Countless vengeful souls swirled around in the area of the Ghost King Orchid, filling the sky and land alike, creating a screaming vortex that no one would dare to get close to.
Bai Xiaochun had actually arrived early, and there was no one else in the area. He was the first.
However, that gave him plenty of time to study the surrounding area. Before long, he could see an enormous kettle beneath the Ghost King Orchid!
It was pitch black, and seemed profoundly ancient. Furthermore, it was the black mist pouring out of the kettle itself that created the enormous, misty Ghost King Orchid up above.
This was the Necromancer Kettle!
Bai Xiaochun gasped, and his heart trembled. Even with a single glance, he could tell that this kettle was some type of magical item….
“There is another heaven and earth inside of the Necromancer Kettle,” Duke Deathcrier explained. “Its origin is a mystery, but according to some legends, it came from beyond the heavens. Other stories say that it was a treasured item belonging to the first generation arch-emperor. At this point in time, it’s really impossible to determine the truth. As for the Ghost King Orchid, it actually grows in a basin in the very middle of the world of the kettle.
“It's very large inside, but all you have to do is fly to the very center of the place, and you’ll find that basin…. Incidentally, according to all of the records we have, it will actually take some time after the mist flower forms for the true form of the Ghost King Orchid to mature.
“All you have to do is get your hands on its fruit, and then after you get out, I’ll safeguard you. If anyone dares to attack you or steal the fruit from you at that time, his highness the king will personally come to handle the situation.
“Inside of the kettle, you’ll be on your own.” Duke Deathcrier then went on to offer some more warnings and exhortations.
Bai Xiaochun was feeling more nervous than ever, but kept telling himself that everything would be alright.
A bit later, beams of light became visible off in the distance, some coming from the direction of Arch-Emperor City, and others coming from the other three kingly cities. A few others approached from teleportation portals in the area.