“That was too easy, wasn’t it? He’s dead, just like that?” Bai Xiaochun walked back up to the shattered pieces of the statue and examined them closely. Sure enough, they emitted a strong aura of death.
His divine sense didn’t reveal any traces of life force, and not even picking up some of the pieces of the statue and studying them closely provided any evidence that the ghost face was still alive.
After all, the ghost face had been suppressed all the way down to the mid Deva Realm, whereas Bai Xiaochun was in the late Deva Realm. It was no exaggeration to say that killing someone in the mid Deva Realm would be easy for him.
What made Bai Xiaochun suspicious was that, before being suppressed, the ghost face had been able to fight with the Celestial.
“He was a tough opponent, and a quasi-archaean at that!” He pursed his lips in thought as he considered just going back to his cultivation. However, he simply couldn’t dispel his suspicions, so he sent his divine sense out to fill the entire world of the magical item. Only after finding no further evidence did he decide to leave.
Despite having seen the ghost face die with his own eyes, he still couldn't quite believe that it was true. In the end, though, he wasn’t too worried about the situation. The world of the magical item was still sealed, and therefore, there were only three possibilities. First, the ghost face was really dead. Second, he had somehow managed to escape the magical item. Third, he had faked his death.
As for the rubble of the statue, he decided not to take it with him. If the ghost face was really dead, then the rubble would be useless. If he were alive, then perhaps it might have some hidden function. But in the end, there was no one else in the world with them who could take it away.
Another month went by. Every few days, Bai Xiaochun would go back to the rubble of the statue and study it closely.
It never moved, and the aura of death around it was slowly dissipating. Clearly, the remains of the statue were slowly transforming into nothing but ordinary debris. Eventually, Bai Xiaochun’s divine sense couldn’t even pick up any traces of the ghost face’s aura of death.
“No way. He really died? I was still having fun!” Bai Xiaochun’s suspicions were starting to fade. Another month went by, and he couldn't detect any of the ghost face’s aura.
“If I remove the second possibility from the list, then that means he's either really dead, or… he faked his death. I guess I need to do some tests.” After rubbing his chin in thought, he waved his hands and gathered all of the rubble together.
“Let me tell you, you old ghost, faking your death isn't going to do any good. If that’s what’s going on here, you’re going to regret it.” He made a few more threats, but got no response from the rubble. Finally, he snorted coldly, gathered the rubble up, and returned to the rain region.
Considering how much spiritual energy Bai Xiaochun had absorbed, the rainwater was growing weaker and scarcer. By the time he brought the rubble of the statue back, it was little more than a drizzle.
Simply allowing some water to sprinkle on the rubble didn’t seem like a good plan, so he found a pond, which he tossed the rubble into. Then he performed an incantation gesture, funneling large amounts of rainwater into the pond until it was full to the brim.
Then he sat there and watched the rubble closely, hoping that this method would be able to confirm or deny his suspicions. After all, he remembered how harmful the lightning had been to the ghost face back in the thundercloud region.
It was the same with the wind in the wind valleys. Based on what he could guess, the rain from this area should have a similar effect.
After the rubble was submerged in the water, it remained motionless for a time. However, after a while, wisps of life force appeared, and the rubble began to twitch and vibrate. Then, a moment later, a hoarse scream erupted out.
“Things aren’t over between us, Bai Xiaochun!!”
Eyes shining, Bai Xiaochun replied, “So you really did fake your death, you old ghost!”
A moment later, the rubble in the rainwater simply vanished.
“Faking your death will do no good when Lord Bai is around!” Laughing heartily, he sent his divine sense out, and could immediately detect the ghost face’s aura. Without any hesitation, he began to chase it.
Just outside the rain region, the rubble of the statue faded into existence, collapsed into black smoke, and then formed back into the ghost face.
He was much, much weaker than before, and his eyes shone with fear, as well as suppressed anger that couldn’t possibly be vented.
Having been convinced that Bai Xiaochun wouldn’t stop until he was dead, he had faked his own death. It was the only plan he had been able to come up with. In order to make the entire thing seem realistic, he had actually died. After all, he existed as a soul body, and cultivated ghost magic. Therefore, as far as he was concerned, there was little difference between real death and fake death.
If everything had gone as expected, then no matter what Bai Xiaochun chose to do with the rubble, it would eventually have turned into ash. After a sixty-year-cycle passed, the ghost face would have awoken from within the ash.
Unfortunately… the unbelievably skeptical Bai Xiaochun had actually taken him into the rainwater region, and submerged him in a massive accumulation of spiritual energy. That energy subverted his state of fake death, and then inflicted horrendous pain on him as it ate away at his actual life force. At that point, he had been forced to awaken.
He had been given no other choice but take action, lest his life force truly be drained.
In the very end, he had again used that secret magic of his to escape the rain region. Of course, every time he used the secret magic, it was harmful and exhausting. And yet, no amount of exhaustion could surpass the despair he felt.
“Heavens!” he wailed bitterly. “What did I do wrong in my life?! Why did I have to get wrapped up with this heaven-damned Bai Xiaochun!?!?” By this point, he could already sense the raging aura of Bai Xiaochun closing in. Shivering in despair, he again called on his secret magic to flee.
Bai Xiaochun stepped out of thin air a moment later, looked around, and then cleared his throat.
“Hey little ghost,” he said loudly. “Hurry up and hide. I’m coming for you!” Vanishing, he once again began to track down the ghost using his previous methods.
A few more months passed, during which time Bai Xiaochun enjoyed himself thoroughly, and the ghost face wallowed in misery.
Bai Xiaochun would work on his cultivation a bit, and then track down the ghost face and beat him up a bit. Eventually, the ghost face would use his secret magic to flee. When Bai Xiaochun was in a good mood, he would only chase the ghost face down a few times before letting him get away.
When he was in a bad mood, he would chase him relentlessly to the point of capturing him and bringing him back to the rain region. Either way, the howls of the ghost face filled the world of the magical item on a daily basis.
The months that passed were like lifetimes of misery to the ghost face.
By this point, his cultivation base had dropped down to the early Deva Realm.
In contrast, Bai Xiaochun was making constant progress. His Undying Blood was now seventy percent complete, and his cultivation base was getting very close to the great circle of the Deva Realm.
More months passed, and the rain vanished. Perhaps he was starting to get tired of messing with the ghost face, or perhaps it was because of his impending cultivation base watershed, but in either case, he spent less time harrying the ghost face, who was so excited about the development that he wept in delight.
Meanwhile in the outside world, the forces of the Heavenspan River region were at war with the Wildlands. The fighting was building up to a climax. Nearly fifty percent of the cultivators from the Upper, Middle, and Lower Reaches had been deployed, a massive force that shook heaven and earth.
The Heavenspan forces were the invaders in what was a very bloody conflict. The Wildlands didn’t have the same resources as the Heavenspan cultivators, but had far more troops. All tribes, all clans, all heavenly marquises and dukes, and each of the four heavenly kings fought with bloodshot eyes.
Fierce fighting played out everywhere!
Both sides had lost devas in battle. Every time such a thing happened, the heavens trembled. However, what was even more shocking was that… the demigod experts on both sides had begun to take part in the conflict!
The battlefield was the Wildlands, and by this point, the four heavenly kings were facing off with the demigod patriarchs from the four riversource sects!