Bai Xiaochun was well aware of that special characteristic of the world he lived in. After people died, their souls would enter the Underworld River and then emerge somewhere in the Wildlands.
He had even wondered about where exactly in the Wildlands Bai Hao’s soul might have ended up…. However, the thought of finding him had seemed like an impossibility. It would be like finding a needle in an ocean, and was something that not even a demigod could do.
The idea of retrieving Bai Hao's soul could only occasionally flash through his mind and quickly transform into a sigh of regret.
How could he ever have imagined that in a completely unexpected turn of events, he would actually encounter Bai Hao’s soul in the Necromancer Kettle!?!?
He was a vengeful soul, filled with madness and greed, not completely the same in appearance as he had been in life, and bursting with an aura of sinister death. However, Bai Xiaochun recognized at first glance that it was Bai Hao!
Bai Xiaochun was more familiar with Bai Hao than anyone else in the world. Not only was Bai Hao his apprentice, he had also used his identity to reach his current position and status in the Wildlands.
Bai Xiaochun was stunned. He hadn’t forgotten that people were rushing toward him, and that if he slowed down for a moment, it was possible he could end up getting surrounded.
And yet, he stopped in place. He could not pass up this opportunity. After all, even knowing that Bai Hao’s soul was in the Necromancer Kettle wouldn’t necessarily do much good. Even going to search for him in that one particular area would be difficult. Furthermore, if Bai Hao’s soul were to die, then Bai Xiaochun would feel regret over the matter for the rest of his life.
Of course, he also knew that Bai Hao’s soul represented incredible danger. If anyone else found out the truth, and exposed his identity, the fact that the Bai Hao that everyone knew was really Bai Xiaochun would be extremely problematic.
The best choice would probably have been to leave, and completely ignore Bai Hao's soul. After all, despite the fact that it was possible someone might notice him, it was very unlikely.
Another option would have been to destroy his soul. That would ensure that there were no cracks in Bai Xiaochun’s story. However, Bai Xiaochun didn't even consider that option.
There was only one thought in his mind at the moment…. This was his apprentice! The first apprentice he had ever taken in his life! Now that he had encountered him, there was no way he could shrink back from trying to save him!
Therefore, he didn’t hesitate at all to spin in place and then leap over to the location where Bai Hao's soul was within the horde of souls. Of course, the souls didn’t notice him, and therefore, he didn’t cause a stir by entering their midst. Instead, the souls were looking greedily at the Wildlander chosen, toward whom they began to fly, Bai Hao included.
However, before Bai Hao’s soul could pick up any speed, Bai Xiaochun reached out, grabbed him, and threw him into a soulhoarding pagoda.
Just as nervous as ever, he then turned to face two beams of light which were approaching at rapid speed.
They were none other than Zhou Hong and Li Tiansheng!
“Bai Hao!!” Zhou Hong roared, his cultivation base surging with the power of the great circle of the Nascent Soul stage, sending devastating fluctuations out in all directions. Then he crushed the jade slip he had been holding in his hand, instantly throwing the surrounding area into chaos, and making all teleportations impossible.
His actions were performed with practiced fluidity, and were accomplished even as his voice rumbled out like heavenly thunder.
Within moments, he was right in front of Bai Xiaochun, striding forward with black streams of light whipping about around him. Those streams of light then began to swirl through the air toward Bai Xiaochun, radiating the fearsome aura of a deva. Clearly, this was a trump card that had been given to him by his father, the Nine Serenities King.
Behind him, a sinister cold look could be seen in the eyes of Li Tiansheng, who had intentionally slowed down. Waving his sleeve, he sent a five-colored toxic gas out which caused even the souls it touched to emit agonized screams and dissolve into nothing.
The rest of the cultivators in the area seemed excited to see Zhou Hong, and quickly began to fan out to prevent Bai Xiaochun from escaping. They knew that all they had to do was delay him for a short time, and as long as enough of the other chosen hurried over, they would be able to kill him.
Even if he were stronger than he had already proved to be, it wouldn’t matter. With numbers on their side, not even a deva would take them on casually.
Bai Xiaochun understood that just as well as them. Looking over at Zhou Hong, he glanced at the streams of light he was using as a weapon, which seemed extremely dangerous. Then he unleashed a fist strike, drawing upon both the explosive power of his fleshly body power, and also his cultivation base. A tempest sprang up, causing everything in the area to tremble, and Zhou Hong’s expression to flicker. Instantly, he sent the black streams of light whipping back to defend himself. A boom rang out, and he coughed up a mouthful of blood as an expression of disbelief filled his face.
“How could he be so strong!?” Zhou Hong’s eyes were completely bloodshot, and filled with a look of defiant madness. More black strands of light shot out, filled with a netherworldly glow as they sliced toward Bai Xiaochun. However, this time, Bai Xiaochun sidestepped, speeding past Zhou Hong toward some of the mid Nascent Soul stage chosen beyond him.
At the same time, he pulled out the Eternal Parasol and unhesitatingly stabbed it into Miao Lin’er’s side.
She screamed as her life force was sucked away, and her beautiful face withered up. At the same time, Bai Xiaochun’s Undying Bones emitted rumbling sounds as they used the new life force to push almost completely into the great circle of the second stratum of the Tempered Bones.
Miao Lin’er alone was enough to do that, much to Bai Xiaochun’s shock. Clearly, Miao Lin’er’s life force far surpassed that of others.
“What technique does this little wench cultivate to have so much life force?” he murmured to himself. “Considering how revealing and smuttily she dresses, it must be some evil technique!”
Of course, everything that occurred happened in the time it takes a spark to fly off of a piece of flint. After tossing Miao Lin’er into his bag of holding, he accelerated toward the mid Nascent Soul stage cultivators. As they unleashed a bombardment of divine abilities, he snapped the Eternal Parasol open to defend himself, then stabbed it into one of the cultivators.
The cultivator screamed as his body withered up, and he was then thrown into Bai Xiaochun’s bag of holding. Then Bai Xiaochun turned and shot toward his next target. Zhou Hong’s fury burned as he gave chase, and yet, he was not nearly as fast as Bai Xiaochun. However, after Bai Xiaochun sucked away the life force from four cultivators, Zhou Hong performed an incantation gesture, causing all of the black streams of light to form together into a huge spike which shot toward Bai Xiaochun.
The black spike clearly contained the aura of a deva, causing Bai Xiaochun to gasp and pull out his turtle-wok to defend himself. A boom could be heard as Bai Xiaochun fell back by several dozen meters, after which he stabbed the Eternal Parasol into another nearby chosen who had been too slow to evade him.
As the chosen screamed and withered up, life force poured into Bai Xiaochun’s Undying Bones, pushing them all the way to the great circle of the Tempered Bones.
It all happened so quickly that the other surrounding chosen didn’t even have time to gasp. Furthermore, none of them dared to get anywhere near Bai Xiaochun, and were all backing away. Bai Xiaochun’s unique battle methods had them all feeling completely shaken.
“Do you dare to fight me one-on-one, Bai Hao?!?!” Zhou Hong shouted in rage, closing in on him. As for Li Tiansheng, his face was ashen, and he was backing away, cowed by Bai Xiaochun’s bizarre parasol.
“Calm down. I'm leaving you for last so that I can test out my most powerful fist strike.” Ignoring Zhou Hong, Bai Xiaochun turned his attention on the retreating Li Tiansheng. Lips turning up into a grin, he lifted his foot and prepared to move. Although he couldn’t use his Undying Hex because of the jade slip Zhou Hong had crushed earlier, his fleshly body itself was capable of teleportation-level speed. As soon as his foot touched down, he transformed into a series of afterimages that shot directly toward Li Tiansheng!
That smile caused Li Tiansheng’s scalp to prickle with fear. Mind reeling, he began to back up even faster, simultaneously waving his hands through the air and spitting out even more toxic gas. The toxic gas immediately transformed into a seven-colored skull which shot toward Bai Xiaochun as if to consume him.
Bai Xiaochun completely ignored the seven-colored skull, and in fact just pierced right through it with the help of a handful of fourteenfold spirit enhanced items. Then, he was right in front of Li Tiansheng.
“Is playing with poison really that fun…?” he said as he thrust the Eternal Parasol toward Li Tiansheng’s chest. Li Tiansheng let out a shout, causing a red glow to explode out from inside of him. Numerous defensive magical items also appeared. However, it was in that moment that a colorful light appeared in Bai Xiaochun’s eyes, which cast Li Tiansheng’s cultivation base into chaos. Li Tiansheng suddenly slowed down, and to his terror… the Eternal Parasol stabbed into him.
Li Tiansheng began to wither up as his life force poured out of him and into Bai Xiaochun. As it entered Bai Xiaochun’s bones, he shivered, and rumbling sounds echoed out inside of him. Furthermore, deep within his eyes, a golden light could be seen. His Undying Bones… had broken through into the third stratum of the Tempered Bones!!
A warm, comfortable feeling filled him, and he could instantly sense that the defensive level of his fleshly body had increased. Even more exciting to him was that he now met the minimum requirements to use the Undying Emperor’s Fist!
Meanwhile, whistling sounds could be heard as Gongsun Yi, Xu Shan, the second prince and Chen Manyao arrived with even more chosen.
“Stop him, Zhou Hong!!”
“Don’t let him get away!!”
Zhou Hong watched as Li Tiansheng was captured, and then heard the cries of the approaching cultivators, and it caused his anger to burn hotter. Throwing his head back, he howled, sending more streams of black light flying out around him. At this point, he was so angry that he was finally resorting to one of his trump cards.
Rumbling sounds filled heaven and earth as the black streams all began to shoot toward Bai Xiaochun!
Bai Xiaochun took a deep breath and clenched his hands into fists. Then his eyes began to shine with bright light as his aura began to retract. It was almost as if all signs of life in his body were fading away. At the same time, a black vortex could be seen spinning around his fist.
Within that vortex were indescribably terrifying fluctuations that caused anyone who could see them to blanch in fear!
He was assuming the opening stance of the Undying Emperor’s Fist!