Chapter 121: Paper Cranes Fill the Sky....
The news that Beihan Lie had made such incredible progress with his divine ability and then issued a challenge to Bai Xiaochun on the trial platform swept rapidly through the north bank. Disciples flocked to the trial platform, where they waited eagerly to see the outcome.
Beihan Lie stood there, his blood boiling with the desire for revenge. He wanted to cleanse the humiliation which he had felt, and prove to all on the north bank that Beihan Lie was the same Chosen he was before!
"However far I fall down, that's how far I'll climb up, and even higher! Bai Xiaochun, you're nothing but a stepping stone to me!" Beihan Lie's eyes burned with madness. He had been waiting for this day for a long, long time, and was completely confident that his Sunset Incantation would secure him victory against Bai Xiaochun!
Of course, he had heard the stories about Bai Xiaochun's final match with Ghostfang. However, he was still confident that his mad struggles over the past years put him in a position to fight first Bai Xiaochun, and then Ghostfang.
"Bai Xiaochun, get out here!" Beihan Lie roared, shaking inside and out, thrumming with energy that caused intense shock among the spectators. His unleashed cultivation base was like a vortex, spinning around him in all directions.
"Good job, Elder Brother Beihan! Take Bai Xiaochun down!"
"Hahaha! We've been waiting for a long time for this day to arrive!"
As crowd was cheering, Bai Xiaochun was in the jungle, sitting on top of the pangolin, humming a little tune as they went on a little walk. Suddenly, a beam of light appeared off in the distance. It sent a blood-colored glow out in all directions, and radiated a murderous aura that seemed permeated with the desire to do battle. Bai Xiaochun looked up as the blood-colored light appeared in front of him, taking the shape of a paper crane.
An emotionless voice spoke from the crane to echo out in the jungle. "Inner Sect disciple Bai Xiaochun: Beihan Lie of the north bank, in the ninth level of Qi Condensation, has put up 37,000 merit points to challenge you to a fight. The challenge remains open for the following half year. If you win, you may keep the merit points. If you lose, then according to the rules of the trial platform, you will not be penalized."
The voice itself seemed to contain something that caused one's blood to boil and one's impulses to surge.
Bai Xiaochun's eyes went wide, and his heart began to beat rapidly. Something about the voice seemed to be intentionally driving him toward madness.
Fight! Fight! FIGHT!
"Fight, my ass!" Bai Xiaochun said, smacking his chest to dispel the effects of the voice. After all of his time spent researching the sect rules of the north bank, he was not unfamiliar with the trial platform, and knew the rules well.
"I, Bai Xiaochun, am a Prestige disciple, and the Junior Brother of the sect leader. By no means will I participate in any fighting and killing." Glancing once more at the paper crane, he coughed dryly and then waved his sleeve.... A wind sprang up, sending the paper crane flying off to the side.
Humming a little tune, he sent the pangolin onward through the jungle as though nothing had ever happened.
Time passed. About an hour later, the crowd around the trial platform was completely shocked, and the cheering had died down quite a bit.
After two hours, people were starting to whisper back and forth to each other. Beihan Lie still stood there on the trial platform, trembling and twitching.
"Bai Xiaochun isn't going to avoid the fight, is he? No way.... He took first place in the Chosen battles. He, he... he couldn't possibly not care about his reputation, could he?"
"I doubt that's possible. It doesn't matter who the Chosen is, when they get challenged, they either fight right then and there, or schedule another time to fight. Why hasn't Bai Xiaochun even responded?"
Four hours later, the sun was setting. However, Bai Xiaochun still hadn't responded. The north bank disciples were stunned.
"Dammit! I should have known! I can't believe the shameless Bai Xiaochun is avoiding the fight!!"
"This is preposterous! He came here as a representative of the south bank. What a loss of face for them!!"
As the discussions raged, Beihan Lie glared off in the direction of the Beast Conservatory. He could never have imagined that Bai Xiaochun would actually avoid the fight. He couldn't accept it. Bai Xiaochun had taken first place in the Chosen battles; if Beihan Lie had taken first place, and then someone challenged him, he wouldn't avoid the fight.
"He's definitely going to come out and fight!" Beihan Lie said through gritted teeth. The way he stood there, completely focused, caused the observing north bank disciples to be shaken inwardly.
A few moments later, another beam of light appeared from within the crowd as someone flew up onto the trial platform. As people looked over, the newcomer was immediately identified. He was also a Chosen like Beihan Lie. Xu Song!
A grave expression could be seen on his face as he stood there on the trial platform. When he thought back to the fight he had witnessed between Bai Xiaochun and Ghostfang, he knew that Ghostfang hadn't been truly defeated. He had handed Bai Xiaochun the victory by tiring himself out. Bai Xiaochun was strong, Xu Song had to admit that. However, in the past years, he had grown significantly, and was far, far stronger than he had been during the Chosen battles. After much consideration, he had come to believe that he definitely qualified to fight with Bai Xiaochun.
"Today, I, Xu Song, will join Beihan Lie to challenge Bai Xiaochun to a fight!" he said loudly. "Xu Song of the north bank! I'm putting up 20,000 merit points to issue the challenge!" After a moment of protracted silence, a deafening cheer rose up from the crowd.
"Elder Brother Xu Song is actually challenging Bai Xiaochun!!"
"Good job, Elder Brother Xu Song!"
Glittering light rose up as a second paper crane formed and then shot toward the Beast Conservatory.
Beihan Lie trembled as he looked over at Xu Song. Their gazes met, and both could see how much the other was determined to fight Bai Xiaochun. After a moment, they both began to laugh at the tops of their lungs.
At about this time, another beam of light shot out toward the trial platform. It was a young woman, none other than Gongsun Wan'er.
"I, Gongsun Wan'er, put up 20,000 merit points to issue a challenge to Bai Xiaochun!"
Before the crowd could cheer any louder, a fourth beam of light shot toward the trial platform.
"I, Gongsun Yun, put up 20,000 merit points to issue a challenge to Bai Xiaochun!"
The Gongsun siblings had experienced significant progress in recent years, and were also challenging Bai Xiaochun to a fight.
As their voices echoed out, light glittered, and two paper cranes formed and then shot out through the air toward the Beast Conservatory.
"Look how fired up they are! Now that's what north bank Chosen are like!!"
"Those Chosen are invincible!!"
"Hahaha! Bai Xiaochun must be scared out of his pants. You know what, even if I lose, it's only a few merit points. I'm gonna challenge him too! He needs to know that the north bank sticks together!"
A fifth, a sixth, and even a seventh disciple emerged from the crowd to fly over and stand on the trial platform.
"I, Chen Ao, will share trials and tribulations with Elder Brother Gongsun Yun. I put up 700 merit points to challenge Bai Xiaochun!"
"Elder Brother Xu Song has always treated me well. I, Sun Chenglong, will stand by his side! I put up 500 merit points to challenge Bai Xiaochun to a fight!"
"I, Zhou Fang, put up 400 merit points to challenge Bai Xiaochun to a fight!"
The north bank was being completely shaken. Meanwhile, back in the Beast Conservatory, Bai Xiaochun watched in shock as one paper crane after another flew toward him. As they did, they spoke with the same emotionless voice.
"So many...." Bai Xiaochun thought, blinking. He had already tossed three paper cranes off to the side, only to see five or six more flying toward him, one after another.
All of them exerted influence on him to try to get him to fight, making it hard to stay calm. Suddenly, wings sprouted from his back as he shot through the forest at top speed back toward the honor guard station.
Along the way, another dozen or so paper cranes reached him, all of them speaking the same type of words.
The stimulating sensation caused by the words made Bai Xiaochun let out an enraged roar.
"You people are such bullies! How can you challenge me with so many people, and each one in the eighth level of Qi Condensation or higher. What are you trying to accomplish? No! I want to keep a low profile!" After arriving back at the honor guard station, he activated the spell formation, trapping the paper cranes outside. Finally, he sat down cross-legged, looking very lofty.
"I'm definitely going to keep a low profile here on the north bank. There's no way I'm going to give in to your demands. Humph!" Sighing emotionally, he put the matter aside and began to meditate.
As the night passed, more and more people leaped up to join Beihan Lie on the trial platform and issued challenges to Bai Xiaochun. The whole sect was set astir. Many of them were there to ingratiate themselves to the Chosen, and of course, a large number of them were fans of Gongsun Wan'er. It was quite an exhilarating scene to see so many people putting up so many merit points.
Around daybreak, Bai Xiaochun finished his cultivation session and pushed the door open to find a cacophony of voices shaking everything in the area. He stared in shock, and worked hard just to suppress the desire to fight which rose up in his heart at the instigation of the voices. Astonishingly, there were over a hundred paper cranes waiting outside for him.
"You north bank people are crazy," he said. Scalp tingling, he closed the door and didn't take even a single step outside.
The following morning, he assumed that the north bank people would have finally called it quits. However, upon opening the door, a sound like thunder could be heard coming from the more than 300 paper cranes piled up like a mountain outside of the honor guard station.
Each and every one of those paper cranes represented a challenge to fight....
Bai Xiaochun cleared his throat and quickly closed the door, more convinced than ever that the north bank people were lunatics.
"Ai. Sometimes it's a real mistake to be so superior to everyone. Bai Xiaochun. Ah, Bai Xiaochun. If you made a mistake anywhere, it was in being so superior." Face downcast, he sat down in the honor guard station, where he thought for some time before deciding to simply work on cultivating the Waterswamp Kingdom.
Time passed. During the following week, every time Bai Xiaochun pushed open his door, he would find that hundreds more cranes had arrived. Eventually, he simply got used to it, until around two thousand of them were piled up outside.
Whenever disciples came to visit the Beast Conservatory, the first thing they noticed upon entering was the huge pile of paper cranes....
The entire north bank had sprung into motion because of Beihan Lie issuing a fight challenge. The Chosen were whipped up into a storm, and it only continued to grow more intense. Eventually, roughly forty percent of the Inner Sect disciples had issued a challenge to Bai Xiaochun. Most of them offered up a small portion of their merit points, not all of them like Beihan Lie had. Eventually, word spread to the elders and the peak lords, and even they were shocked by what was happening.
During the four thousand year history of the north bank trial platform, this was the first time... that anything like this had ever happened.
Nearly two thousand Inner Sect disciples had issued challenges, and all to a single person....
It was impossible to control the situation, which was like a flowing tide that dragged all the north bank into madness.
"Did you hear the latest news? Today, three hundred Inner Sect disciples challenged Bai Xiaochun at the trial platform!"
"Hahaha! Bai Xiaochun is definitely scared to death. By now he definitely realizes how strong the north bank is, and how much we stick together!"
"Hold on. I'm gonna go challenge him too! Right now!"