There were numerous mountain ranges and rivers in the Necromancer Kettle, and all of them eventually led to the basin that was home to the Ghost King Orchid. As of this moment, it was fully in bloom, its petals gracefully curved, and a fragrant aroma wafting off of it. It was a fragrance that actually caused the shadowy evening light to grow even darker.
In the blink of an eye, the entire sky turned black!
At the same time, a strong aura of death spilled out from the flower, spreading out to fill the entire world of the Necromancer Kettle. Within the mists, the vengeful souls and evil ghosts trembled, and then began to kowtow in the direction of the Ghost King Orchid.
Respectful, even reverent expressions could be seen on their faces, as though they were prostrating to some sort of king!
As the flower fully bloomed, the previously greenish fruit in the middle of the flower began to turn black. It was even possible to see the face of a ghost on it!
Bai Xiaochun recognized that face! It looked exactly like the face on the giant ghost statue in the middle of Giant Ghost City!
Clearly, the reason why this fruit was so crucial to the Giant Ghost King was that it was somehow connected to the special technique he cultivated, although Bai Xiaochun had no way to know the specific details.
Even as he watched, the petals of the Ghost King Orchid began to fall off and transform into mist, one by one. As they did, the fruit on the Ghost King Orchid turned more and more black!
At the same time, a shocking gravitational force sprang up from the white restrictive spell. As it did, the fruit began to rise up toward the vortex created by the spell.
In that instant, it was as if the white restrictive spell knew it had completed its mission, and transformed into countless motes of light that, instead of returning to Bai Xiaochun, dissipated into the surroundings.
To see that happen so suddenly provoked a long sigh from Bai Xiaochun. Depressed, he realized that the Giant Ghost King's plan had worked exactly as intended, with the only downside being that Bai Xiaochun had been sacrificed in the process….
“Things aren’t over yet!” Although he had come out completely victorious in all of his battles with the chosen, he was still left with lingering fear about the whole situation. It was actually infuriating that the Giant Ghost King hadn’t just directly explained what was going on.
“It's obvious that he doesn’t trust me. He was worried that if he told the truth, I would refuse to come! Hmph! Am I really that kind of person? Does he think I’d really be scared of something as non-dangerous as this place?! What kind of a person does he think I am!?” Having reached this point in his train of thought, Bai Xiaochun immediately began to feel a twinge of guilt. Therefore, he dispelled all inner questions about whether or not he really would have come if he'd known the truth. Turning, he headed toward the mouth of the Necromancer Kettle.
Around that time, the entire world of the Necromancer Kettle trembled, and the area near the mouth slowly began to open!
“There are still a dozen or so people who escaped. They’re probably out there hiding somewhere, and there’s still about two hours left. Ah, whatever. Since they fled, I’ll let them off the hook this time.” It was only at this point that Bai Xiaochun started to get nervous. Looking down at his bag of holding, he realized that he really had done something monumental here.
His bag of holding was now a scalding hot potato, and he had no desire whatsoever to hold onto it for any longer than necessary. He needed to get back as soon as possible to hand it over to the Giant Ghost King….
With that, he picked up speed as he headed toward the mouth of the Necromancer Kettle. However, even as he neared the exit, he saw another beam of light shoot toward it from a different direction, and reach it before him.
It was none other than Princess Xu Shan from Spirit Advent City. Within moments, she was hovering in front of the enormous vortex that was the exit of the Necromancer Kettle. By stepping through that vortex, one could leave the kettle!
However, Xu Shan didn’t step into the exit. Instead, she stood there as if to bar the way. When she turned to look at Bai Xiaochun, his heart sank as he saw the glittering light of her jade pendant rising to surround her.
“How are you gonna try to get away this time, Bai Hao!?” Xu Shan said, sounding very proud of herself.
Bai Xiaochun was scowling on the verge of tears; the sight of Xu Shan immediately caused him to feel a headache coming on. Earlier, he had thought that Chen Manyao would be the biggest thorn in his side, and had completely forgotten about the annoying Xu Shan.
Even if he tried to fight her, it would do no good. There she stood in front of the exit, clearly having no intention of moving. Obviously, he was going to have to pay the price to get past her.
“Just what exactly do you want, huh?!” Bai Xiaochun said.
“What do I want?” she said angrily, glaring at him. “I want to know why you ran away every time you saw me!”
Bai Xiaochun sighed. Deciding it would be better to save his breath and just tell the truth, he said, “With that jade pendant your father gave you, there’s no way I can beat you. It would be a waste of time fighting, so I just ran.”
“Waste of time?” she shot back. Then, eyes flashing, she asked, “Hmph! Well why did you go and kidnap everyone!?”
Looking as though he felt very wronged, he explained, “Those were the Giant Ghost King’s orders. A nobody like me couldn’t defy the Dharmic decree of the Giant Ghost King, could he?”
“Really?” she asked suspiciously.
“Absolutely. Positively! It’s true from many points of view!” After swearing up and down, he hesitated for a moment and then added, “Um, hey, why don’t we skip the fight this time? Just let me out of here, okay…?”
Xu Shan didn’t respond at first, and simply looked at him, trying to decide if what he said was true or not. Normally speaking, she wouldn’t be so easily convinced. And yet, for some reason, she just felt like trusting him. Suddenly, she smacked her bag of holding, causing more than a dozen soul cultivators to spill out into the open.
They were all chosen from the various important clans, and all of them had clearly been beaten badly in fights. Their cultivation bases were sealed, and as soon as they began to pile up outside of her bag of holding, they began to curse in their hearts, and yet didn’t dare to give voice to any of that. Instead, they looked fearfully at Xu Shan, and then over at Bai Xiaochun.
As for Bai Xiaochun, his jaw dropped. These were all of the people who had previously given up, the ones he had assumed had fled to hide wherever they could find places to hole up. Never could he have imagined that they would all have been captured by the fiendish deviless Xu Shan.
“Um….” he said, staring a bit blankly at Xu Shan, and wondering why the termagant would possibly be doing something like this.
“Since you’re acting under the orders of the Giant Ghost King, then take these ones with you.” When she spoke, her gaze didn't seem as sharp as before, and she wasn’t speaking so loudly. In fact, there was something very strange about the look in her eyes.
Bai Xiaochun was even more taken aback. However, based on the strange look in her eyes, he suddenly came to an outrageous conclusion, something that he initially almost couldn’t believe was true…. “Aha! I get it!” he thought. “She's one of the people the Giant Ghost King said would help me!!”
Eyes sparkling, he blurted out that very thought, “You work for the Giant Ghost King too!”
And yet, for some unknown reason, Xu Shan seemed to suddenly get very irritated. Stomping her foot, she suddenly launched herself into the air toward Bai Xiaochun, clenching both hands into fists as she prepared to attack.
“One slip of the tongue and she wants to fight? This Xu Shan is crazy!”
Smiling bitterly inside, he took a breath, stepped forward, and shouted, “If you’ve got what it takes, then fight without that jade pendant!” Clenching his hand into a fist, he unleashed a fist strike.
“Fine, I won’t use it!” Xu Shan said crossly. The light of the pendant winked out as she continued to barrel toward Bai Xiaochun.
A boom rang out, and ripples spread out in all directions. Xu Shan had an incredibly tough fleshly body, but after being struck by Bai Xiaochun, blood sprayed out of her mouth, and cracking sounds rang out as she suffered a grievous injury. And yet, that strange look in her eye only grew stronger, and she spun to attack him again.
“This Xu Shan has a screw loose, but she's definitely hot. She’s trying to use that look in her eye to mess with my emotions!” Hesitant and on guard, he unleashed another attack, causing Xu Shan to tumble backward, blood spraying out of her mouth. Considering the fact that she really wasn’t using that jade pendant of hers, Bai Xiaochun was more convinced than ever that there was something wrong with her mentally. With that, he lunged forward, and instead of striking her with a fist, used a palm, hitting her in the back and sealing her instantly.
The smoothness of it all actually seemed strange to Bai Xiaochun. Grabbing her, and heart pounding, he contemplated how he had really hooked a big fish this time.
“With her life force, I can reach the eighth stratum of the Tempered Bones!” Having reached this point in his train of thought, he took out his Eternal Parasol and prepared to stab it into her.
However, it was at that point that Xu Shan completely ignored the parasol and, her eyes shining with that strange light, loudly said, "I love you, Bai Hao!”
“Huh?” Startled, Bai Xiaochun dropped Xu Shan onto the ground with a thump.