It was late at night, and the moon shone down brightly over Arch-Emperor City. Coupled with the lamp light streaming out of various buildings, it didn’t quite reach the same level as daylight, but was perfectly sufficient for cultivators to see clearly.
Hundreds of people were rushing toward Bai Xiaochun’s shop, which had already closed for business. In the back room, Bai Xiaochun and Bai Hao were currently working together on conjuring some seventeen-colored flame.
Bai Xiaochun had resolved almost all of the current issues. Although several of his recent conjurings had failed, they had also served to increase his confidence.
The Flame Harmony state he had entered when conjuring the eighteen-colored flame had given him significant inspiration. He had also benefited greatly from the subsequent discussion with Sun Yifan and Sima Tao. Because of those factors, his work with seventeen-colored flame had sped up significantly.
The most important factor was Bai Hao’s help. Master and apprentice would discuss all of the problems that cropped up, and would work together to solve them. As Bai Xiaochun went about the actual conjuring, Bai Hao would watch with rapt attention, ready to point out any mistakes that he saw. By this point, Bai Xiaochun had reached the point where he made virtually no mistakes to begin with. However, Bai Hao continued to stand watch in all earnestness.
The sight of his Master working so hard at flame conjuring, his expression focused and serious, caused Bai Hao to sigh inwardly.
“Although Master usually seems fairly unreliable, he really takes flame conjuring seriously. That’s an area where a lot of other people fall short. He also has incredible levels of control. He won't even think about working on the actual conjuring until he completely understands it first. Then he focuses on solving every last little problem. That’s one of the reasons why he succeeds where others fail.” Bai Hao knew that, while it was true that he was offering a lot of valuable help, such help would not be very useful to another person. Only someone of his Master’s level and ability could benefit from it.
“Master, I’m definitely going to help you become… a heavenly necromancer!!” Bai Hao wasn’t even concerned about his own cultivation anymore. Although he couldn’t be sure if there were other ghost cultivators in the world, for all he knew, he was the only one. Because of that, no cultivation techniques existed for ghost cultivators. Bai Xiaochun was aware of that problem, and had even made some secret inquiries in Arch-Emperor City. Unfortunately, he hadn’t turned up any clues.
However, he had other ideas about what to do, and told Bai Hao not to worry. He would definitely find a set of ghost cultivator techniques for his apprentice to use.
When Bai Hao thought about that, he felt a lot better. Although he knew his Master was unreliable in some respects, if he made a promise, he would do everything he could to keep it.
Putting away such thoughts, he focused on helping his Master as he conjured the flame. As of this moment, Bai Xiaochun was at a critical juncture; the sea of fire was contained in a specific way, and the vengeful souls were being carefully fed into it. As time passed, a seventeenth color slowly appeared within the sixteen-colored sea of fire.
“It’s gonna work!” Bai Xiaochun almost couldn’t contain his joy, and was just about to proceeded with the final bit of conjuring work when, all of a sudden, a huge boom shook everything. Then, enraged shouting could be heard that was clearly laced with killing intent.
“Your life is over, Bai Hao!!”
The front door of the shop exploded, and the roof caved in as more than a dozen cultivators blasted their way inside. Bai Xiaochun’s heart lurched with shock; this really was a critical moment in the conjuring of the seventeen-colored flame, and to have more than a dozen interlopers suddenly appear left him stunned.
The sea of fire was connected in some ways to Bai Xiaochun’s mental state, and immediately destabilized. And in the same moment that he lost control, the door to the back room of the shop was blasted open.
“Dammit!” Bai Xiaochun’s face fell, but there was no time to ponder what to do. As he lost control of the sea of fire, intense rumbling sounds filled the air. He had no time to do anything other than grab Bai Hao and then hide under his turtle wok!
In almost the same moment that the turtle wok settled down, the multi-colored sea of fire exploded outward in all directions.
More than a dozen chosen were in the middle of bursting into the back room, and before they could react, intense heat blasted against against their faces. Although they tried to leap backward, there was no time, and they were immediately swept over by a seventeen-colored sea of fire.
Miserable screams echoed out as the chosen burst into flames. Three of them had been so slow to pull out defensive items that the shocking intensity of the fire reduced their fleshly bodies to nothing but ash!
After that, the raging fire then wiped their souls completely out of existence!
They were dead!!
Those who had managed to retreat looked on in astonishment as the sea of fire engulfed the shop. In an instant, the back room, the courtyard, and the main part of the shop… were reduced to blackened rubble. Furthermore, other nearby shops were also affected.
As the glow of fire rose into the sky, shouts of alarm filled the area. Dozens more chosen were flying toward the area from further away, and when they saw what was happening, they gasped in shock. Never could they have imagined that something like this would happen, and yet, they had already started down this path, and couldn’t back down now.
Little Wolfgod was in the crowd. He had originally intended to hold back a bit, and then join in the action toward the end. But now, he gritted his teeth and shouted, “Attack together!”
However, that was when a roar of rage echoed out into the air that caused all hearts to tremble. Bai Xiaochun had lifted up the edge of the turtle wok to find his beloved shop a charred, smoldering ruin. Next to him, his apprentice was shaking in fear. At that point, Bai Xiaochun’s eyes became so bloodshot with rage that he couldn’t control himself.
This shop was his home, and the only place in the Wildlands that belonged to him and him alone. And now it was gone. A bunch of thugs had come and destroyed it…. Because of that, Bai Xiaochun began to descend into madness.
“Bullies!” he yelled, slowly rising to his feet. “Complete and utter bullies!!” Despite how he was shaking with rage, he first made sure to put Bai Hao away so that he was safe. Struggling for control, he sent his divine sense out and confirmed that there were a few dozen people in the area, with a few hundred more a bit further away, closing in.
That in itself confirmed to him that these people were attempting to kill him. It was made even more clear considering that there were people already preparing to attack.
However, instead of simply starting to fight, he pulled out a transmission jade slip and sent a voice message to the Giant Ghost King.
When the Giant Ghost King heard what was happening, he was initially stunned. However, he was fundamentally a domineering and haughty person, so after a brief moment of thought, he sent a reply.
“Bai Hao, you’re the son-in-law of the Giant Ghost King! There’s no way you can just stand around and let them bully you! Beat the crap out of them! I’ll handle any consequences. Just make sure not to kill anyone. I’ll tell Mo'er to go help, and will also send a message to the Grand Heavenmaster. Don't worry, I’ll take all the responsibility….”
As soon as Bai Xiaochun heard the Giant Ghost King’s response, his courage grew. Looking up, he no longer attempted to suppress his rage, and instead, let it burn as hot as possible. Without any hesitation, he blurred into motion, flying up out of what remained of the sea of fire.
“You cheated me in business, and destroyed my shop! You people have really forced my hand!” Even as his words echoed out like heavenly thunder, he moved with lightning-like speed to appear in front of an incoming Nascent Soul cultivator.
That cultivator was none other than Little Wolfgod, who saw nothing more than a flash of light before Bai Xiaochun was right in front of him, his face twisted with vicious rage.
Trembling, he backed up and said, “Wait, Bai Hao, let me explain! I--”
That was when Bai Xiaochun lashed out with a furious fist strike.
“Got your life force back, didn't you! Feeling a bit masochistic and decided to come back for more? Fine, get down on your hands and knees!” Little Wolfgod was completely helpless as a scene very similar to the Necromancer Kettle played out again. Blood sprayed out of his mouth, accompanied by an agonized shriek, as Bai Xiaochun’s terrifying fist strike knocked him out of midair to slam into the ground. His nascent soul was shaken so badly that it almost popped out into the open. Then, he passed out.