In reality, it was a war that had begun much earlier. If the Celestial had won that spectacular battle in the Wildlands, the fighting would have broken out immediately.
But he had lost that showdown, and then met defeat again on the bone galleon. These successive losses ate away at the Celestial’s patience. And it was made worse by the fact that Big Fatty Zhang and some other lower-level cultivators had actually left the world, while he remained behind, stuck.
“Gravekeeper, you bastard, I know you have even more backup plans. But I'm done playing games!” Eyes flickering with madness, the Celestial issued his Dharmic decree!
The Wildlands were to be destroyed! The gravekeeper was to be killed! The Hell-Emperor was to be executed!
Perhaps it would destroy the heavens and crush the earth. Perhaps it would end the world. But at least the Celestial would finally become the true ruler of it all, and thus achieve his long-cherished wish of opening the Worldgate.
The Celestial’s Dharmic decree sent all of the lands of Heavenspan into action. Whether they wanted to or not, all cultivators in all sects were to participate in the war effort.
Only a few people knew the true reasons for what was happening. For the rest, it was enough to know that the Wildlands and the Heavenspan River had a feud that went back many years.
As the sects in the lands of Heavenspan prepared for war, the Grand Heavenmaster in the Wildlands finally relinquished official control of the empire to the Arch-Emperor. Countless tribes of savage giants were mobilized, and the four heavenly kings marshaled their four enormous armies. It was with great fanfare that all of the Wildlands prepared to go to war.
The ten heavenly dukes, the more than one hundred heavenly marquises, and countless necromancer clans were all marshalling their forces!
As the sergeant major of the Giant Ghost Legion, Mistress Red-Dust had already donned her battle armor, and stood at the front of an endless army of cultivators, bristling with a murderous aura as she stared in the direction of the lands of Heavenspan.
However, deep within her eyes, in a place where no one could see, were complicated emotions and thoughts.
She wasn’t the only one thinking about Bai Xiaochun. Chen Manyao, the Hell-Emperor, Zhou Hong, and many other people who now knew who Bai Xiaochun really was were all thinking about him.
The truth was that from the moment the Great Wall fell, many people had been waiting for this war to come.
And now… it was here!
In the shortest of times, both the Wildlands and the Heavenspan River region were completely abuzz.
One of the only peaceful places in the world was inside the magical item in which Bai Xiaochun was currently stuck. To him, it was a holy land of cultivation. To the laughing-crying ghost face, it was a hellish prison.
Whether it was the stifling pressure of the magical item, or the despair the ghost face felt at not being able to find an exit, he was sure that he was about to be driven completely insane. Even worse was that the lightning seemed to be growing weaker, and Bai Xiaochun’s aura, stronger.
The ghost face could sense that Bai Xiaochun was nearing the late Deva Realm, which caused his mind to reel.
“Why does it have to be this way?!?! How come that bastard can absorb the spiritual energy here, but I can’t?!?! Dammit. If he were stuck just like me, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But he can actually increase his cultivation base!!” The ghost face howled to the heavens in madness, but it did no good. With every day that passed, he grew weaker, and his opponent grew stronger. Obviously, it would eventually reach the point where he wasn’t a match in a fight.
“It’s not fair!!”
The mere thought of what might happen caused the ghost face to shiver in despair. Filled with a sense of madness, he began to desperately search for an exit again, which suddenly caused him to think of the Celestial, who was apparently in a very similar state of mind.
“I have to get out….” he thought, nearly weeping as he searched and searched.
Meanwhile, Bai Xiaochun was doing everything he could to increase his cultivation base. As he did, less and less lightning was visible. The spiritual energy in the magical item had built up for countless years, but now, Bai Xiaochun was slowly absorbing it into himself.
Under most circumstances, he would have had a difficult time focusing solely on cultivation for so long. But in the world of the magical item, with the ghost face as such a huge threat, he was very anxious, and was working harder than ever.
“That ghost face is terrifying!” he sighed. Considering the pressure he was currently feeling, he was going all out, much the same way he had back in the Spirit Stream Sect when he was studying plants and vegetation. As he absorbed the lightning, his cultivation base increased, and before long, he could push his Cloud Lightning Forefather Transformation all the way to the sixth transformation!
However, things weren’t over yet. Before long, he reached the seventh transformation, which simultaneously pushed him closer and closer to the peak of the mid Deva Realm.
As his aura grew stronger, colors flashed in the sky of the world, and a powerful wind screamed.
“I'm so strong now! Once I break through to the late Deva Realm, I should be able to fight that ghost face!” Filled with excitement, he went on to absorb more lightning.
In contrast, the ghost face’s trepidation grew more intense with every day that passed. As he saw himself growing weaker and weaker, he sank deeper and deeper into despair.
In addition to the spiritual energy that was in the lightning, there was also abundant life force, which Bai Xiaochun didn’t hesitate to absorb.
It had a shocking effect on his Undying Blood. As his cultivation base broke through into the peak of the mid Deva Realm, his Undying Blood… reached the fifty percent level!
When that happened, his eyes shone brightly with pride.
However, before he could revel in his excitement, rumbling sounds echoed out as all of the lightning vanished completely.
Bai Xiaochun opened his eyes and looked around to find the entire area empty. At the same time, the ghost face was visible at the edge of the thundercloud region, looking equally shocked.
In that instant, the ghost face went mad with joy. Cackling loudly, he burst into motion.
“This time, you’re dead, Bai Xiaochun!!”
Bai Xiaochun shivered in fear and began to back up.
“Dammit, why is this thundercloud region so unstable? After absorbing lightning for so long, it went empty, just like that?!?!” The sight of the ghost face rushing toward him caused his scalp to tingle so hard it felt like it might explode. Without any further hesitation, he began to flee at top speed, using his Undying Hex to vanish, reappear off in the distance, and then continue onward in a blur.
Behind him, the ghost face was virtually going crazy. Despite having his cultivation base suppressed, he was going all out to get to Bai Xiaochun. He could tell that if he didn’t take advantage of this chance to kill the damnable Bai Xiaochun now, and his cultivation base dropped further, then the next time they met, he wouldn’t qualify to fight him.
That terrifying possibility fueled the ghost face’s mad rush forward.
“Bai Xiaochun!!” he howled in madness, teleporting out of the thundercloud region to appear only about 300 meters behind Bai Xiaochun. Then he focused all of the demigod power he could, sending out crushing force in the hopes of smashing Bai Xiaochun to bits.
Nearly overwhelmed by the sensation of crisis, Bai Xiaochun unleashed the power of his mid Deva Realm cultivation base, combining it with all of the energy from his Undying Blood. Then, he used it to power his Undying Hex, ensuring that he vanished before the ghost face’s blow could land!
Blood sprayed out of Bai Xiaochun’s mouth as he reappeared, which he quickly wiped away. The truth was that it actually didn’t matter what injuries he sustained like this. His Undying Blood was so powerful that he almost completely recovered in only moments. In fact, he had even been able to borrow some of the momentum of the incoming attack to flee more quickly.
He shot away in a bright beam of light, moving at incredible speed as the ghost face chased after him, attacking relentlessly. One glob of black smoke after another shot out, but Bai Xiaochun avoided them all. Although he ended up coughing up blood as a result, overall, he wasn’t even starting to feel tired. As for the ghost face, he was so depressed he felt like collapsing mentally.
“Dammit. Dammit!! Even though I'm weaker than normal, I still don’t get how can this guy run away from me so quickly!!”