The last time the River-Defying Sect had heard from Bai Xiaochun, he had sent a message about staying in the north with Du Lingfei. After that… they heard nothing.
Then the war broke out, with casualties mounting on both sides. Eventually, no one in the River-Defying Sect had the time or energy to worry about Bai Xiaochun. As the days wore on, the only thing that occupied their thoughts was the fighting!
It was the same with Xu Baocai. Only occasionally would he think about the spectacular junior patriarch of the sect. They had met each other as rivals for a spot in the Ovens, which was when Xu Baocai had written a blood notice and furiously delivered it to Bai Xiaochun….
Destiny was usually impossible to fight against. That was something that Xu Baocai had come to sigh about quite often, especially after being injured in the war.
As of this moment, however, all such sighs were driven away, replaced by utter astonishment. Not only were his injuries completely healed, but he was now standing right in front of the missing Bai Xiaochun!
Especially noteworthy was Bai Xiaochun’s cultivation base fluctuations. To Xu Baocai’s astonishment, Bai Xiaochun was even more powerful than he had been in the past.
Although he couldn't assess the level of his cultivation base, there was something profound about it that Xu Baocai had only sensed in demigods before.
“Junior Patriarch… you….” Xu Baocai’s mind was so blank that he couldn’t even speak.
“What happened while I was gone?” Bai Xiaochun asked urgently. “Where did everybody go? And… how are they?!?!”
From the bloodshot state of Bai Xiaochun’s eyes, Xu Baocai could tell that now was not the time to chat idly. Shooting to his feet, he immediately began to explain the situation.
“Junior Patriarch, the Wildlands and the Heavenspan region have gone to war….” With that, he began to give a full report. Xu Baocai had always been inclined to gathering information, and that was even more the case considering that he had personally been on the front lines of battle.
He went on to give a very detailed accounting of what had happened while Bai Xiaochun was in the world of the magical item. The more Bai Xiaochun heard, the more his heart began to swell with emotion.
He came to know that the Celestial had issued orders for the four great riversource sects, as well as all their subordinate sects, to wage war on the Wildlands!
He heard that the fighting was intense and bitter. The Wildlands had been forced into a slow retreat, causing their territory to shrink and shrink. They now only occupied about forty to fifty percent of their original lands. In order to put as much pressure on the Wildlanders as possible, the Celestial had mobilized roughly eighty percent of the total cultivators from the lands of Heavenspan. As a result, the war being fought now defied comparison to any other war in history!
Bai Xiaochun also learned that about half a year ago… the fighting had begun to grow even more intense than before. The Celestial seemed impatient, and was willing to pay any price to achieve victory. He didn't even seem to care how many lives were lost! In fact, he had recently issued orders pushing all of his armies toward a final showdown!
The four riversource sects were attacking from four directions, giving the Wildlanders no options for retreat! As a result, the numbers of deaths and injuries had reached incalculable levels! Blood and corpses covered the lands!
According to Xu Baocai’s description, the ground in the Wildlands was the color of blood, and the number of dead souls that filled heaven and earth was impossible to describe. Apparently, the cycle of reincarnation had been broken, making it impossible for souls to enter the Underworld River! They could only haunt the battlefields to no end!
It was no longer a rare thing for a deva to be killed in the fighting. Nine deva experts from the four riversource sects had perished, and on the Wildlands’ side, six of the heavenly dukes had been killed!
And there was little need to mention the Nascent Soul experts and Wildlander heavenly marquises. It had already reached the point where a death among their numbers would hardly cause a ripple of shock on either side.
“The Wildlands’ four heavenly kings and the Heavenspan region’s four demigod patriarchs have fought each other on numerous occasions. Grievous injuries resulted each time, and once, one of them almost perished!
“If things keep going on like this, you can easily imagine a scenario… in which one of the demigods dies. In fact, it will likely be more than one. I'm afraid that in the end, both the Wildlands and the Heavenspan region will have sustained terrible losses….” It was with great bitterness that Xu Baocai explained everything he knew.
“None of us in the River-Defying Sect feel like fighting. And we’re not the only ones. I've heard that a lot of disciples from other riversource sects feel the same. But that doesn't matter…. The only one who has the power to stop the fighting is the Celestial. If he wants to keep going, we have no choice but to follow his orders.
“The River-Defying Sect… had no other option but to follow the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect into battle. It's been going on for years now. And the main opponent of the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect… is the Giant Ghost Legion, led by one of the Wildlands’ four heavenly kings, the Giant Ghost King!”
Bai Xiaochun’s heart trembled at what he was hearing. He had long hoped that this moment would never come, but come it had. He didn’t want anyone from the River-Defying Sect or the Giant Ghost King’s forces to be hurt.
It was just like back in the days of the Blood Stream Sect and the Spirit Stream Sect….
“It's a good thing that the Giant Ghost Legion is led by Mistress Red-Dust. Nobody knows why, but she has shown mercy to the River-Defying Sect over and over again. If it weren’t for that, there wouldn't be many of us left….
“The downside is that it has led to the rest of the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect being suspicious of us. In fact… the deva patriarchs issued orders making us the vanguard of the army….” By this point, Xu Baocai couldn’t prevent his frustration and madness from erupting.
“Junior Patriarch, it was only three days ago that I got a new intelligence report. The Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect’s main army has the Giant Ghost Legion trapped inside of Giant Ghost City! It’s the final showdown! What are we supposed to do?!?!”
Bai Xiaochun’s heart was pounding, and his bitterness seemed to know no end. Although no one else might know why Mistress Red-Dust was showing mercy to the River-Defying Sect, he knew.
Although he was moved, the fact that the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect had taken advantage of that fact to put the River-Defying Sect on the front lines caused his anger to burn. However, he knew that now was not the time for passion, but for calmness and clarity.
“The River-Defying Sect is my home. I can’t allow my family to be hurt…. But the Giant Ghost King and I are good friends. And Zimo… well, I can’t let her get hurt either…. What do I do? What am I supposed to do!?!?” His eyes were bloodshot, and his chest heaved as he stood there trying to make a decision. Xu Baocai’s words had turned into something like a tempest inside of him.
Although he had always known that the Wildlands and the Heavenspan region would eventually devolve into all-out war, it had happened too suddenly. He had been caught completely unprepared. Worse, he had wasted years inside of the world of the magical item, to the point where the final battle was already close.
“Why…? Why does there always have to be this fighting and killing?!?! Immortal cultivation is about living forever! Why does it always get made into a matter of people ending each others’ lives!?!?” His hands were clenched so tightly that they were shaking.
“Well… I stopped the war between the Blood Stream Sect and the Spirit Stream Sect. And now… I can do the same thing with the Wildlands and the Heavenspan region!!
“Yeah, that’s right! Plus, the Celestial said that when I’m a demigod, I can be with my boo….
“And I’m Hao’er’s Master! I can definitely stop this!!
“It’s all because the Celestial wants to leave this world. Well, if he wants to leave, just let him leave! I’ll talk to the gravekeeper! I’ll hash things out with Hao’er! We’ll just open the Worldgate and let him go!!”
Bai Xiaochun was thinking a thousand things at the same time, and was grasping at any idea he could, not even bothering to think about whether they were realistic. Without any more contemplation, he shot up into the sky.
“I’m going to stop this war!!” With that, he resorted to the fastest speed possible, causing the air to ripple and distort around him. Peals of thunder exploded out as he vanished… in the direction of the Deadmire!
Instead of wasting time sailing a ship across the Heavenspan Sea, he would go as quickly as he could to the battlefield. He would traverse the Deadmire, enter the Wildlands, and head directly toward Giant Ghost City!
Bai Xiaochun knew the way well. Rumbling sounds echoed out in all directions as he unhesitatingly headed to the Deadmire, and then entered it!
There was no time for coming up with complicated plans. He only had one thought in mind.
“Faster! I have to go faster!”
After an indeterminable period of time in the Deadmire, he shot out… into the Wildlands!