The people who had been watching were extremely moved. Although they had only been able to glimpse eighteen-colored flame for a brief moment, it was still…
Very few people in the Wildlands had ever seen eighteen-colored flame. To most soul cultivators, it was a thing of legend, something holy that could only be talked about.
But now… they had actually seen it!
A deep desire had been fulfilled, and everyone present would remember this moment for as long as they lived!
Off to the side, Bai Hao looked on in utter excitement. Although he had been the one to break the new ground, and had spectacular talent for flame conjuring, he also knew that he could never have done it with his current cultivation base. Only his Master could possibly have taken the theory and turned it into reality. The process had simply been too difficult.
Furthermore, Bai Hao had seen something in his Master that other people had, but not to the same degree…. Focus!!
Bai Hao did not feel as though his own prestige had in any way been diminished by his Master. As long as he could help his Master shine, then he was completely happy.
He wasn’t a wildly ambitious person, and in life, had cared mostly about family love. After being brought back to life as a soul, that aspect of his personality had remained. Bai Xiaochun was his Master… and his family.
There was someone else in the crowd who looked on with mixed emotions, and that was Chen Manyao. Before, she had felt about eighty percent sure that this person was actually Bai Xiaochun, but now she was starting to hesitate.
She knew that Bai Xiaochun was skilled in concocting medicine, but conjuring flame was completely different. This Bai Hao was clearly outstanding when it came to flame conjuring, and she didn’t dare to lightly come to the conclusion that he and Bai Xiaochun were one and the same.
“Is he really Bai Xiaochun…?” she thought.
As everyone looked at him with various thoughts running through their heads, Bai Xiaochun took a deep breath and settled his cultivation base. It had been extremely draining for him to conjure the eighteen-colored flame, and now, waves of exhaustion were sweeping through him. Prickles of pain also filled his fleshly body.
He slowly slipped out of the Flame Harmony state, and his mind gradually emerged from the trance he had entered while conjuring. All of a sudden, he remembered that he was supposed to be in the middle of a competition. Then he recalled everything he had just done, and his eyes went wide with shock.
“Er… um… what did I do…?” he thought. Looking around nervously, he saw that everyone had looks of respect and veneration in their eyes as they stared at him. He blinked a few times, and then suddenly started to get excited. “I conjured an eighteen-colored flame! Heavens!”
Excited, he took a deep breath, clasped his hands behind his back, and stuck his chin up. Aware that he was the center of attention, he decided that it would be completely appropriate to say something profound. As he scrambled to come up with the exact words, someone within the crowd of noble chosen suddenly moved forward. It was Zhou Hong, who appeared to be completely livid as he looked down at Bai Xiaochun.
“Bai Hao,” he said, eyes flashing, “you tried to win by interfering with the conjuring efforts of Sun Yifan and Sima Tao. You broke the rules, and therefore… you lose!”
When people heard that, they suddenly came back to their senses, and remembered that Bai Xiaochun had just been in the middle of a competition with Sima Tao and Sun Yifan. What Zhou Hong had just said did seem to make sense, and suddenly… everyone began to hesitate.
The truth was that Zhou Hong was feeling very nervous. Never could he have imagined that Bai Xiaochun would put on such a stunning performance, that he would break tradition and manage to conjure a faint eighteen-colored flame.
He could already imagine how difficult it would be to deal with Bai Xiaochun in the future. Unless the top members of the nobility and aristocracy directly opposed him, he would be almost untouchable.
However, because of everything that had occurred in the Necromancer Kettle, Zhou Hong decided that he had to take advantage of the moment, however inappropriate it was!
After all, what Bai Xiaochun had done really did violate the rules of the contest!
Almost as soon as Zhou Hong spoke, Little Wolfgod and Li Tiansheng voiced their agreement.
“That’s right, Bai Hao is definitely the loser!”
“He interfered with the flame conjuring of Grandmaster Sun and Grandmaster Sima. Even if he did conjure a faint eighteen-colored flame, he definitely lost the competition!”
Bai Xiaochun’s eyes went wide. Knowing full well that he was currently at the crest of a wave of glory, he prepared to offer a retort to Zhou Hong. However, even as he opened his mouth, Sun Yifan rushed out of the crowd, stood before him, and bowed formally.
Both his expression and the way he carried himself seemed utterly sincere, and not the least bit an act. He was acting completely and utterly respectful.
“Grandmaster Bai, I’m completely convinced! I concede defeat!”
Murmurs began to ripple through the crowd. At the same time, the chosen up above began to get nervous.
“Grandmaster,” Zhou Hong said, “you--”
“Your Highness, please, it's fine. I, Sun Yifan, am a person who understands his place. When it comes to skill in conjuring flame, I am no match for Grandmaster Bai!” Sun Yifan’s words were spoken with incredible decisiveness. He truly did not want to offend Bai Xiaochun. He knew that it was extremely likely that he would eventually become an earthly necromancer… a position vastly above himself and virtually everyone else.
Now that he was on that path, he couldn’t be restrained, and the best thing to do was acquiesce to him.
Sun Yifan wasn't the only one to reach this same conclusion. After a short moment of silence, Sima Tao got his breathing under control, stepped forward, and bowed deeply to Bai Xiaochun.
“Grandmaster Bai, I, Sima Tao, also concede defeat. I truly hope you can overlook my many previous faux pas.”
The audience swelled with even more conversation at this development. Up in midair, Zhou Hong and the other chosen looked on with ashen faces and sullen hearts.
Zhou Hong’s face was nearly purple with rage, but there was nothing he could do about what was happening. If Sun Yifan and Sima Tao conceded defeat, there was little he could do. Having no face to remain behind, he swished his sleeve and turned into a beam of light that shot out of Borough 89. Little Wolfgod, Li Tiansheng, and the others all followed suit. The second prince remained behind for a moment longer before also leaving.
Bai Xiaochun was actually surprised at what was happening. The situation had been resolved without him having to do a thing. Sun Yifan and Sima Tao took the initiative to work things out with him. In fact, Bai Xiaochun actually felt a bit bad for them. After all, everything had happened because he really did tamper with their soul medicine.
“Grandmasters, please, enough with this,” he said, hurrying over to pull them up from their bows. “When it comes to the Dao of necromancy, seniority is the most important thing. Without Senior members of the Wildlands necromancer community working hard from generation to generation, devoting their lives to their work, then we Juniors would have nothing to work with. It is only with the foundation of the previous formulas that we can create something new!
“I conjured that faint eighteen-colored flame completely on accident, and only because I happened to be next to you Seniors, and was able to catch a glimpse of the grandeur of the heavens.
“I definitely did not win the competition today, nor did you two grandmasters lose. It was with the help of you two that I made significant advancement. Without your assistance, Grandmasters, I would never have been able to conjure that faint eighteen-colored flame. Many, many thanks to you!” Bai Xiaochun really had a way with words when he needed to, and even felt a bit guilty about everything. Furthermore, as he spoke, he backed up and bowed deeply at the waist to Sun Yifan and Sima Tao, in even more sincere fashion than they had bowed to him.
The fact that this was happening in front of tens of thousands of spectators, and numerous streams of deva divine sense, caused the hearts of Sun Yifan and Sima Tao to tremble. Their earlier apologies had essentially been acts of helpless desperation. In contrast, Bai Xiaochun was sincerely humbling himself in a moment of great triumph. As a result, Sun Yifan and Sima Tao were so moved that they got a bit choked up.
Furthermore, not only would this resolve the issue of the soul medicine, but it would actually serve to improve their reputations a bit.
The two grandmasters looked at Bai Xiaochun, then each other, and then began to laugh heartily. With Zhou Hong out of sight and out of mind, they headed toward Bai Xiaochun’s shop to chat and exchange pointers about necromancy. The only thing they regretted was that they hadn’t done this earlier.
Everyone present, including the devas who were watching via divine sense, couldn’t help but praise Bai Xiaochun’s actions. His way of resolving the situation was truly admirable.
“Now that’s how grandmasters are supposed to act! The old expression says to turn weapons of war into gifts of jade and silk. It's not easy to do, but he pulled it off perfectly. Really incredible!”
“That’s the way to conduct oneself…. No wonder he became so famous in Giant Ghost City!”
“I bet the only reason he got that notorious reputation was because people spread false rumors.”
“I like this Bai Hao!”