Eventually, the pressure rolling out from Bai Xiaochun onto Bai Hao’s soul became so intense that the surface of the shield rippled. Then Bai Hao’s soul let out a piercing scream, and he shied away. However, it was with vicious determination that Bai Xiaochun then waved his left index finger toward the shield.
The shield distorted even more dramatically, and then Bai Hao’s soul shivered as though it had been struck by a powerful attack. Then, it collapsed and remained motionless.
According to the information Bai Xiaochun had gained from the Chen Clan, in order to use the blood drop, one had to render the soul body in question completely incapable of resistance. If it resisted in the least bit, the operation would fail, and the soul would be completely destroyed.
In its state moments ago, Bai Hao’s soul had been completely incapable of fighting against Bai Xiaochun. All it had taken was a bit of pressure to not only cow the soul, but to knock it unconscious. Now, it was time to move on to the next step.
Bai Xiaochun took a deep breath and looked a bit more closely at Bai Hao’s soul. A moment later, his eyes began to shine with determination.
“Well Bai Hao, whether or not this works is all up to your own good fortune….” With that, he waved his right hand, causing the shield of light to vanish. For the first time, Bai Hao’s soul appeared out in the open!
Next, Bai Xiaochun slapped his bag of holding, producing a jade bottle that he gingerly opened. Inside was a drop of blood that he let fall onto Bai Hao’s soul.
As soon as it touched the soul, it shattered to create a blood-colored mist that poured into the soul. In the blink of an eye, the soul began to shiver, as though it were about to regain consciousness because of the intense pain it was feeling. Thankfully, Bai Xiaochun was paying close attention, and made sure to keep enough pressure on the soul to keep it unconscious.
It was a delicate balance to maintain, but he succeeded. Soon, the blood mist was fully absorbed into Bai Hao’s soul, which was beginning to thrash around so much it seemed it might begin to fade away. Apparently, there was some corrosive power within the drop of blood that was draining Bai Hao’s soul, making it weak to the point where it might not be able to sustain the wastage.
Bai Xiaochun knew that a critical moment had arrived. Maintaining full focus, he waved his left hand to produce a large quantity of soul medicine. He crushed it without hesitation, which caused numerous streams of soul power to spring out and then flow into Bai Hao’s soul body, replenishing what was being drained away.
However, the soul was being drained at a very rapid rate. Bai Xiaochun had just sent out one hundred portions of soul medicine, but it was only able to counteract the wastage for a few breaths of time. Therefore, he produced more soul medicine. Time passed, and eventually he lost track of how much soul medicine he had used.
With the soul medicine keeping him going, Bai Hao in soul form continued to merge with the blood. However, his soul body continued to twitch and distort as if in pain. Despite being unconscious, he could clearly feel what was happening.
The process continued for a full three days. Despite the fact that Bai Xiaochun was in the Heaven-Dao Nascent Soul stage, he was still starting to feel the exhaustion creeping up. During that time, he had to watch carefully every moment to make sure that Bai Hao didn't awaken at the wrong time. Simultaneously, he had to make sure he didn’t exert too much pressure on him. It was a very delicate balance to maintain.
Another task was to continuously feed soul medicine to Bai Hao. Any other type of Nascent Soul cultivator would probably have already reached the limit of their abilities. But Bai Xiaochun had spent years concocting medicine, and had razor-sharp focus. Despite being tired, he didn’t let that interfere with his work.
“According to the information from the Chen Clan, it takes seven days to absorb the blood… we’re almost half done at this point.” He didn’t grow lax in the least bit. When the third day passed, and the fourth day arrived, a gold design suddenly appeared on Bai Hao’s soul.
The sight of that golden design instantly lifted Bai Xiaochun’s spirits. Based on what he had learned from the Chen Clan, he knew that the main factor playing into whether or not the soul body recovered memories from its previous life was that very golden design. It was like evidence of the soul’s fate, and once it appeared, it meant that the soul could once again appear in the world as it had in the past.
However, in the moment that the golden design appeared, it seemed that the pain Bai Hao’s soul was enduring suddenly grew more intense. He let out a miserable shriek, and his eyes snapped open. In that instant, Bai Xiaochun could tell that his soul body was just about to fall apart; cracks even began to spread out on its surface.
Bai Xiaochun’s face fell at this sudden, unexpected development, and he instantly got extremely nervous. He knew that exerting more pressure wouldn’t resolve the issue, and therefore, he poured more soul medicine into Bai Hao’s soul body. However, that did nothing to forestall the imminent collapse of the soul body. More cracks spread out on its surface; clearly, a very critical moment had arrived.
“Hang in there, Bai Hao!!” Bai Xiaochun said through gritted teeth. With that, he produced a lotus seed, crushed it, and dropped the resulting powder onto Bai Hao’s soul. Although he couldn’t be certain that this method would work, his previous analysis and augury of the seed had left him sixty percent certain that it would help restore a soul.
The moment the powder of the crushed lotus seed landed onto Bai Hao’s soul, gentle light began to spread out in all directions. At the same time, the cracks on the surface of his soul body vanished. Within the space of a few breaths of time, he recovered completely. The excitement in Bai Xiaochun’s eyes shone brightly as he adjusted the pressure he was emitting, and then brought out more soul medicine to feed to Bai Hao.
“Three more days to go!!” Although Bai Xiaochun managed to keep calm and focused, he was still panting a bit, and his eyes were completely bloodshot. Now that the golden design had appeared, it took much more soul medicine than before to keep him stabilized. But Bai Xiaochun was well-prepared. He crushed soul medicine as if it were the least valuable thing in the world, spending amounts that would cause most people to stare in complete and utter shock. The wealth vanishing here was enough to drive entire clans bankrupt.
And yet, Bai Xiaochun didn’t feel the slightest prickle of pain in his heart. No material possessions were worth more to him than Bai Hao. Bai Hao was his apprentice, and the first person he had encountered after being teleported to the Wildlands. Furthermore, he had used Bai Hao’s identity to accomplish many, many things. The feelings that had built up for Bai Hao because of all that were not those which could be measured in terms of soul medicine.
Soon the fourth day had passed, and the fifth day arrived. After that was the sixth day…. As time marched on, Bai Xiaochun’s eyes grew more and more bloodshot, and his exhaustion mounted. Because of the mounting pressure, his expression became one of pure vigilance and concentration. It lasted all the way until… the seventh day came!
“The final twenty-four hours!” he murmured. By this point he was a bit wan, and his eyes were crimson. All of his energy was focused on maintaining balance. As time passed, Bai Hao’s soul grew more and more stable, and the golden design that covered his soul body grew more and more dazzling.
With every pulse of golden light, Bai Hao’s soul seemed to grow more calm and thoughtful, and less violent. As these things occurred, Bai Xiaochun continued to sigh emotionally.
“The final two hours!” he murmured. In his excitement, he couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like when he succeeded, and Bai Hao got all of his memories back. How would he tell him about everything that had occurred after his death?
“I feel like I know you so well, but to you, I’m a complete stranger….” Bai Xiaochun shook his head and put such thoughts aside for the moment. Instead, he focused fully on Bai Hao’s soul. Soon, the final moments were ticking down, and Bai Hao’s soul seemed to have lost all of its previous viciousness and violence, and was now completely calm. Eventually, he sat up in place, a blank look on his face….
That was when the crackle of thunder could be heard in the sky above. Black clouds converged, and a violet bolt of lightning suddenly shot down toward Bai Xiaochun, catching him completely off-guard.
“Is that tribulation lightning? How could there be tribulation lightning?!?!” The lighting instantly shot down through the mountain until it was right above Bai Xiaochun’s head. As it did, he anxiously reached up with his right hand, drawing on the full power of his cultivation base to fight back.
A boom could be heard, and blood sprayed out of his mouth as he was sent flying backward, where he slammed loudly into the rock wall of the cave. However, he wasn’t significantly hurt. Unfortunately, he had only cut down the power of the lightning bolt by about half. The rest of it fell directly onto Bai Hao, who had just opened his eyes. Immediately, a tremor ran through him, and cracks spread out all over him. He appeared to be right on the verge of falling apart!
“Bai Hao!” Bai Xiaochun roared. Without any hesitation, he threw out his final lotus seed. Although pain and confusion filled the eyes of soul form Bai Hao, they were quickly replaced by lucidity. He looked over at Bai Xiaochun, and saw the lotus seed flying toward him, and without even thinking about it, opened his soul body’s mouth and swallowed it down.
The moment it entered his mouth, it transformed in a soft warmth which spread throughout his entire body. He closed his eyes, shivering a bit as the cracks all healed up. The black clouds in the sky above seemed to be on the verge of building back up again, and yet, for some unknown reason, faded away….
It took a very long moment for Bai Hao’s soul form to restore balance. When all of the cracks on the surface of his body were healed, he slowly opened his eyes and looked around. Then, his eyes came to rest… on a person who looked exactly like him in every aspect, and yet who wore a look of deep concern on his face.
There was a sincerity to that concern that Bai Hao instantly recognized. It was something that, in his entire life, nobody had ever given to him except his mother. This person in front of him… was the second person to ever look at him with an ounce of caring.
“Who are you…?” he asked softly.
Bai Xiaochun’s eyes flickered with excitement, and he took a deep breath. He had imagined this moment for a long time, and just as things had gone then, he assumed the mightiest pose he could think of. Lifting his chin slightly, he clasped his hands behind his back and, looking like the picture of a transcendent being, slowly said, “I'm your Master!”