No one knew that he had conjured a nineteen-colored flame. After coming to realize this, Bai Xiaochun came to the conclusion that it wasn’t his mask which had concealed the fact, but rather, the gravekeeper.
Furthermore, after the nineteen-colored flame appeared, the gravekeeper himself was nowhere to be seen. The Underworld River also vanished.
It was almost as if his presence during the past year had only been in order to give advice to Bai Xiaochun and Bai Hao. Now that Bai Xiaochun had succeeded in conjuring nineteen-colored flame, there was no further need for the gravekeeper to stay.
However, the night before disappearing, he had broken from his usual practice of being tight-lipped to give extensive advice about flame conjuring. Therefore, although Bai Xiaochun and Bai Hao felt a bit strange to be alone, they were moved by all of the information he had imparted.
“Master, all of the advice from Great-Grandpa Gravekeeper was incredible. Twenty-colored flame is the peak of the earthly rank, and although it will be very difficult, I feel quite confident that I can create the formula for you! In fact, I'm going to go into secluded meditation to work on it.” Clasping hands, he bowed and said, “Master, take care of yourself while I'm away, sir!”
Bai Xiaochun took a deep breath, patted him on the shoulder, and nodded. Then, Bai Hao became a beam of glowing soul light that vanished into his soulhoarding pagoda.
A few more months went by, but the gravekeeper never returned, and Bai Hao remained in seclusion.
Bai Xiaochun didn't have enough ingredients to practice with any multi-colored flame, but he was able to perform auguries, and spent a lot of time doing research in that fashion.
“The only reason I succeeded in one shot was because of the Heavencleaving Good Fortune Pills…. If I try again, it won’t work as smoothly.” Patting his bag of holding, he contemplated the fact that although he was running very low on resources, he at least had everything from thirteen- to nineteen-colored flame on hand.
Some flames he only had one of, whereas he had multiple tongues of others. It was a collection that, if it were to be placed on public auction in the Wildlands, would cause a massive commotion. In fact, even earthly necromancers would likely scramble to get their hands on it. After some thought, Bai Xiaochun decided that trying to auction his flames off wasn't a good idea. He could really only sell them directly.
On another note, Bai Xiaochun had not forgotten his earlier promise to Zhou Yixing. In recent months, Bai Xiaochun had given him enough help and advice that he was now able to conjure his own fifteen-colored flame!!
That indicated that Zhou Yixing was now a celestial necromancer, which put him in a very excited and happy mood.
In Zhou Yixing’s clan, the only other celestial necromancer was one of the patriarchs. In fact, before meeting Bai Xiaochun, he wouldn’t even have been able to dream of reaching that rank.
But here he was, only a handful of years later, at that very level. Zhou Yixing knew that all of it… was because of Bai Xiaochun’s kindness. That filled his heart with gratitude, and further reinforced his conviction that he had made the right decision!
As for Song Que, he had spent the year or so of time resting and continuing to use soul medicine to advance his cultivation, something he was able to do because of how the Chen Clan had forced his earlier breakthrough. Although he was still in the early Nascent Soul stage, his foundation was actually much stronger than before.
Although he didn’t have much hope of becoming a deva, with his foundation back to normal, there was still a possibility. Therefore, he felt extremely grateful for the chances he had been given, and felt more closely tied to the Wildlands than ever.
A few more months went by. Bai Xiaochun had been in the Underworld River Restricted Area for far more than a year now, and was starting to get bored. He had avoided opportunities to make a scene, and was starting to wonder if he should send a message to the Grand Heavenmaster and ask to return to Arch-Emperor City.
Even if he couldn't, he at least hoped he could get back to Giant Ghost City.
However, even as Bai Xiaochun contemplated the subject, something happened in the Wildlands… which nobody could ever have anticipated!!
It all happened because of a single person, a young man who appeared first in the northern part of the Wildlands. He wore a white robe, and had flowing black hair and fair skin. He was always expressionless, and seemed profoundly arrogant. Bitter coldness surrounded him wherever he went, and his mere presence would cause gusts of wind and other heavenly phenomena.
His cultivation base was very strange. Sometimes it seemed to be in the Nascent Soul stage, and other times… not!
Wherever he went, slaughter ensued. In a short three-day period, he exterminated seven mid-sized tribes, and even one large tribe. On top of that, he wiped out a whole necromancer clan.
He had already killed tens of thousands!!
It was a brutal type of slaughter. Everyone who died ended up as desiccated corpses, as though all of their life force had been completely drained away. Even their souls were completely gone.
The northern Wildlands were immediately thrown into chaos. However, most shocking of all was that on the fourth day, the culprit vanished without a trace, only to appear in the eastern Wildlands, where more slaughter ensued.
Days passed, and the death toll rose close to 100,000. The entire Arch-Emperor Dynasty was enraged; this was clearly a bald-faced provocation!!
Most shocking of all was that the person carrying out these acts looked exactly like one of the most wanted people in the Wildlands. Bai Xiaochun!
It didn’t take long before just about everyone came to the conclusion that this person really was Bai Xiaochun, who occupied 1st place on the Hell-Emperor Stele, who had enhanced his own nascent soul to crush all other chosen beneath his feet!
“Bai Xiaochun has appeared again!!”
“He's been holed up for years. Finally, he shows his face again!!”
“Dammit. This is so brutal! He slaughtered 100,000 people! Bai Xiaochun has to die!!”
“Kill Bai Xiaochun!!”
The news spread like storm winds, and it didn't take long before everyone in the Wildlands had heard. It quickly became the main subject of discussion in both Arch-Emperor City and the cities of the four heavenly kings.
However, despite the slaughters which were being carried out, none of the four heavenly kings, nor the Arch-Emperor Dynasty, felt inclined to muster troops to do something about it. Considering the level of cultivation base of the most powerful experts, they felt it wouldn’t be difficult at all to take care of the issue.
“Now that he’s out in the open, it’s time to just kill him!”
“If he had remained in hiding, it would have been difficult to find him. But now he has the impertinence to do this? Does he really think the Wildlands couldn’t handle a measly Nascent Soul cultivator like him!?”
Such word spread quickly among the nobility and aristocracy. As for Mistress Red-Dust, she was particularly agitated by the news, and immediately requested of the Grand Heavenmaster that she be allowed to take action to put an end to Bai Xiaochun!
The Grand Heavenmaster was busy with the Proclamation of Universal Grace. However, he knew about the bad blood between Mistress Red-Dust and Bai Xiaochun, so after only a short hesitation, he agreed to her request.
Shortly thereafter, Mistress Red-Dust took to action. She didn’t go after Bai Xiaochun alone. After all, her fight with him in the past made her realize that he was very crafty and had many trump cards at his disposal.
Therefore, she mustered nearly half of the Giant Ghost Legion that was garrisoned at Arch-Emperor City to go track Bai Xiaochun down and kill him.
“This time you’re definitely going to die by my hands, Bai Xiaochun!” she said through gritted teeth as she left Arch-Emperor City.
Eventually, Zhou Yixing caught wind of the situation. He had been close to Bai Xiaochun for more than a year, but had many subordinates on the outside constantly feeding him information. Therefore, he was actually one of the first people to hear the news. At first, he was shocked, but managed to get himself under control. Although he wasn’t sure about all the details, he knew that this was a very important matter, and immediately went to Bai Xiaochun to break the news.
“Bai Xiaochun?!?!?!” Bai Xiaochun said, his eyes widening with disbelief. Then he simply stared mutely at Zhou Yixing.
Zhou Yixing was equally stunned, and was also well aware that the news spreading about Bai Xiaochun must be false…. There was no way that the person in front of him could have just killed 100,000 people.
“Yeah,” he said. “After appearing in public, he killed more than 100,000 people. Zhou… Zhou Zimo took nearly half of the Giant Ghost Legion to go kill him….” With that, he went on to explain everything he knew.
The more Bai Xiaochun listened, the more surprised he became. It seemed completely unbelievable.
“Who’s impersonating me?!” he thought. Something definitely seemed fishy. This was clearly an imposter who was intentionally causing problems for him! The fact that someone was killing tens of thousands of people in his name instantly made Bai Xiaochun furious.
“You’re trying to screw me up one side and down the other!! No. No way. I have to go see what bastard is doing this!”
Anger burning, he made his decision about what to do.