Chapter 180: Could It Be The Will Of The Heavens...?
There was another possibility, which was that, as Nightcrypt had said, the mysterious sect was too far away from the Blood Stream Sect, so far that even a projection was difficult to accomplish. That would explain their lack of both confidence and options, which led to their less than perfect decision.
Suspicious, Bai Xiaochun continued to pry Nightcrypt with questions, until even Nightcrypt seemed to be getting confused. Finally, Bai Xiaochun frowned, and then once again resorted to threatening to dunk him in the Heavenspan River. He then asked more questions, even down to the details of the formula to the pill that was needed to open the door. Slowly, he was coming to be convinced that Nightcrypt was telling the truth. Although his answers sometimes conflicted with each other, the overall bigger picture was consistent.
There even seemed to be certain things that Nightcrypt himself didn't understand. All he knew was that he was a spy, and that his soul had been bound with a restrictive spell. If he didn't follow his orders, he would die. He wasn't even sure what to do with the relic of eternal indestructibility if he managed to get his hands on it.
To Bai Xiaochun, it didn't make much sense that the mysterious sect would just hand the medicinal pill ingredients over to a stranger. The most likely explanation was that Nightcrypt's mysterious savior truly approved of his soul, although another possibility was that the sect really was too far away, and they had no other option than to hand over the ingredients when they could.
Either way, it didn't seem logical. It almost seemed like the mysterious sect hadn't considered what to do after Nightcrypt acquired the relic of eternal indestructibility. Perhaps they didn't really care about the relic at all, and simply wanted him to open the door. Or was it that they didn't believe Nighcrypt to be capable of actually acquiring the relic after opening the door?
But if the latter were the case, why wouldn't they just select another spy...?
"What a weird sect. Why do I get the feeling that they're only going through the motions? It's almost like they want certain people to think that they're working hard at reaching some goal, but in reality, they don't care." The more Bai Xiaochun thought about it, the more strange he found the whole scenario.
Another odd thing was that the Blood Stream Sect never got suspicious of Nightcrypt. Although, based on Nightcrypt's explanation, that was a question which could be answered.
"It's all thanks to this mask, huh...." he thought. He looked over the mask in more detail, and was shocked to find that he had no idea what it was made of. However, its aura was shocking, and no matter how he looked at it, it seemed like a precious treasure.
According to Nightcrypt, putting on the mask didn't just change your physical appearance. It actually transformed your flesh and blood. That transformation would reverse upon removing the mask, but as long as you wore it, no one would ever be able to detect any clues that you were a different person. Your cultivation base fluctuations would be concealed, and according to the representative of the mysterious sect, no one under the Mahayana Realm would be able to see them. Unfortunately, Nightcrypt didn't know what the Mahayana Realm was....
Of course, Bai Xiaochun didn't know what the Mahayana Realm was either, although it sounded pretty incredible. Looking down at the imposter Nightcrypt there in the mask, he suddenly said, "Spiritwinter grass, waterink lily, cloud-dragon leaf, heavensieve root. What are the medicinal properties of those four medicinal plants?"
Imposter Nightcrypt gaped for a moment, then without even thinking about it started to rattle off the medicinal properties. As Bai Xiaochun listened, his frown deepened.
His answer wasn't complete, but it wasn't incorrect. Generally speaking, his description was accurate. The four medicinal plants Bai Xiaochun had asked about weren't selected randomly. Based on the answers imposter Nightcrypt gave, Bai Xiaochun was able to determine that he really could concoct medicine....
"So, he actually is capable of concocting the pill. He only has a rough foundation in the Dao of medicine, but it's enough to produce the door-opening pill."
Bai Xiaochun was really torn about what to think. However, his desire to acquire that relic of eternal indestructibility only continued to grow.
"If it was called anything else, I could have ignored it. Why did it have to be called eternally indestructible!?" He glared down at imposter Nightcrypt's soul in the mask, who immediately began to tremble and plead for his life.
"I'm telling the truth. I swear it! I've told you everything. I didn't leave anything out!" And he really was telling the truth.
"Fine, fine," Bai Xiaochun said. "Hurry up and get out of that mask. I want to study it a bit!"
Imposter Nightcrypt hesitated, clearly not pleased with the idea of leaving the mask. However, as soon as he thought of how ferocious Bai Xiaochun had been in the Fallen Sword World, and how he had just about thrown the mask into the Heavenspan River, he shivered, gritted his teeth, and floated out into the open. After all, if Bai Xiaochun wanted to exterminate him, he could do so without the trouble of asking him to come out of the mask.
As soon as he was out in the open, Bai Xiaochun flicked his sleeve. Imposter Nightcrypt let out a shriek as he was thrown into a jade box, which then went into Bai Xiaochun's bag of holding. With that, Bai Xiaochun returned to his immortal's cave to study the mask more.
The process took an entire month.
Bai Xiaochun barely ate or slept during that time. He was completely focused on studying the mask. He even performed a few different tests. No matter what he did, he was unable to damage the mask in any way. At one point, he carefully dipped the mask into the waters of the Heavenspan River. Although he could tell that any soul inside of the mask would have been destroyed, the mask itself wasn't hurt at all. At one point, Bai Xiaochun suddenly wondered why the discarnate soul of imposter Nightcrypt, with a mere Qi Condensation cultivation base, would be able to survive after being killed in the Fallen Sword World. Presumably the answer had to do with the mask itself, which prevented his soul from dispersing.
He even bought some animals at the market and then put the mask on them. As soon as he did, the mask vanished, and the animals' faces turned into Nightcrypt's.
The result was terrifying to look at, but upon closer examination, Bai Xiaochun confirmed that the little animals weren't hurt at all. In fact, they didn't even seem to notice that anything had changed. It was almost as if they had always looked that way.
After removing the mask, they would return to normal. Bai Xiaochun kept the animals around a while, and performed even more tests. In the end, he confirmed that the mask didn't have any side-effects or harmful secrets. Still not completely convinced, he kept the animals under close observation.
The mask was truly a precious treasure, and Bai Xiaochun couldn't imagine why that mysterious sect would possibly have just given it to a random spy.
Eventually, he used his Heavenspan Dharma Eye to observe the mask. Combined with his Heaven-Dao aura, he came to the conclusion that there was something eternal about the mask's aura.
It was as if this mask would exist for all eternity!
Bai Xiaochun was left in a state of near madness, with bloodshot eyes and disheveled hair. At the same time, an audacious speculation rose up in his mind.
"What if the true purpose of the mask isn't just to change one's appearance and cultivation base? What if an authentication device, the medicinal pill, and the mask itself are all needed to open that door!?
"Perhaps the mysterious sect merely wanted to put on a show of trying to open the door and release the relic of eternal indestructibility. Perhaps the truth is that they don't want to do that.
"Therefore, they recruited a spy and gave him the mask, but intentionally withheld one of the medicine concocting ingredients. It would seem like they were doing their best, but the truth was that they didn't care. Because they were only putting on a show, they weren't too happy that imposter Nightcrypt made a bit of a splash in the beginning. Perhaps that even had something to do with why imposter Nightcrypt didn't do well at his blood cultivation, and had problems improving his cultivation base!"
Another reason why Bai Xiaochun was so torn about what to do was that the missing ingredient to the medicinal pill was beastbirth blood. Beastbirth blood was blood that came from a creature born out of a Beastbirth Flower. Although most people would view beastbirth blood as something that didn't even exist, and was virtually impossible to acquire, Bai Xiaochun's own battle beast Bruiser had been born in just such a fashion....
As such, he already had everything he needed to concoct that pill, and thus, also had everything he needed to open the door.
After much thought, he finally sighed and put the mask away.
"Forget about it. All that other stuff doesn't really matter now. First I should see if I can actually concoct the door-opening pill. If I can, then the will of the Heavens will be revealed. If I can't, then that will be the end of the matter." Gritting his teeth, he went over to the north bank to find Bruiser. After playing with him for a bit, he got a drop of blood, then gave him a huge pile of delicious medicinal pills to eat.
After returning to his immortal's cave, he began to concoct.
Considering that he could already concoct tier-3 spirit medicines, producing the simplistic door-opening pill was a simple task. However, he still spent plenty of time studying the pill formula, and came to be convinced that the success rate would only be fifty percent, no matter who concocted it.
The strange pill formula was another reason why Bai Xiaochun was interested in the relic of eternal indestructibility.
He settled his qi and cleared his mind, then pulled out the ingredients from imposter Nightcrypt's bag of holding. Most Blood Stream Sect disciples kept all of their belongings with them at all times, for safety purposes.
Then he followed the pill formula exactly, taking three days in his concocting. When he was finished, the pill furnace began to rumble, and white smoke billowed out of it. Unexpectedly, nine magical symbols could be seen within the white smoke. After the smoke dissipated, the same aura he had sensed on the mask emanated out from the pill furnace.
Bai Xiaochun took a deep breath and opened the pill furnace, whereupon a medicinal pill emerged that could only be fully examined with a Heaven-Dao aura and nine spiritual seas!
"It's very similar to the mask...." Bai Xiaochun thought, frowning as he looked at it.
"Is this really the will of the Heavens?" He thought some more. "No. No way. The Blood Stream Sect is too dangerous.
"The cultivators there are all devils. They kill people without batting an eye. Way too ferocious....
"Song Que is from the Blood Stream Sect, and that guy hates me with all his guts.
"It's a place where the law of the jungle prevails...." Bai Xiaochun couldn't stop thinking about the terrors of the Blood Stream Sect, and it sent chills down his back. And yet, his thirst for the relic of eternal indestructibility wouldn't go away. It was almost like he had a person on each shoulder arguing back and forth about what to do.
One of them was telling him to go the Blood Stream Sect, the other was telling him to stay away.
All he had to do was put on the mask, and he could become Nightcrypt. Considering the power of the mask, not even the Blood Stream Sect Patriarchs would notice that anything was amiss. As Nightcrypt, he would be perfectly safe.
Furthermore, he already had the door-opening pill. All he had to do was get to the location of the relic of eternal indestructibility, and it would be his. Then he would be one step closer to accomplishing his dreams.
However, all of that had to be done in the Blood Stream Sect, which was a savage place that completely differed from the Spirit Stream Sect.
"What should I do...?" he thought, scowling as he stared at the medicinal pill.