Chapter 262: The Patriarch's Stepson!
As soon as the words left Bai Xiaochun's mouth, the Song Clan patriarch snorted coldly, and then spoke words that echoed as deafeningly as thunder. "Admit to your crimes, Nightcrypt!"
Bai Xiaochun's cultivation base was trembling, and the intensity of the patriarch's voice caused his face to drain of blood. He felt like he was a tiny rowboat being tossed about by the raging sea that was the patriarch's fury, a rowboat that could capsize and sink at any moment.
He almost felt like he couldn't endure, and was even considering using his newfound powers to suppress the patriarch's cultivation base. But then Song Junwan's words echoed in his mind. Although he couldn't be sure if what she'd said was true, after considering everything that had occurred between the two of them, he made his choice. Gritting his teeth, he pushed back against the pressure, lifted his head up and looked directly at the Song Clan patriarch.
"What crimes did Nightcrypt commit!?" he said coldly and slowly, his veins of steel pulsing, blood qi surging.
"The position of Middle Peak blood master belongs to either Song Junwan or Xuemei," the Song Clan patriarch said coolly. "No matter what occurred, any person other than them who acquires the title will have no choice other than to return it! You took a position that doesn't belong to you! I will have that title back, and you will submit."
"I, Nightcrypt, am loyal and faithful to the sect. I've performed countless meritorious services. If I'm not allowed to have the trifling blood master title, then so be it. You want to take it back? Well, I can't stop you, but... don't even think that I'll submit to you!" Although Bai Xiaochun was nervous, he could read between the lines. If the patriarch wanted to strip him of his blood master title, there wouldn't be a need to waste so many words. The patriarch could simply kill him.
However, the fact that he was spending so much time talking indicated that the Song Clan patriarch didn't actually want to remove the title from him. The truth was that such a title couldn't simply be given or taken. Bai Xiaochun would have to die first, and then a certain amount of time would have to pass before another blood master could be raised up.
In fact, that was why Middle Peak had been bereft of a blood master for so many years.
With all these thoughts in mind, Bai Xiaochun stood there, a look of unswerving determination on his face.
The Song Clan patriarch looked at Bai Xiaochun and then let out a cold harrumph. "That girl Junwan knows me quite well, and has clearly taught you a thing or two. Am I right?"
Bai Xiaochun blinked, but didn't utter a word in response.
The Song Clan patriarch flicked his sleeve and rose to his feet on the stone dais. "Nightcrypt, are you willing to accept me as your stepfather, to become my stepson?!"
Despite the fact that he spoke with a cool voice, the sound was so loud that the immortal's cave seemed like it might explode.
Bai Xiaochun was completely shaken by the patriarch's words. Despite the vast difference in age between them, Bai Xiaochun could tell that the patriarch harbored no ill will towards him, and actually viewed him as extremely important.
His heart filled with many complicated emotions as he stood there silently. After a long moment passed, he looked the Patriarch in the eye, clasped hands and bowed deeply.
"Nightcrypt offers greetings, stepfather!"
The hint of a smile broke out on the Song Clan patriarch's somber face, and within it could be seen his approval of Bai Xiaochun. The truth was that it didn't matter very much to him who exactly became the blood master, as long as that person... was close to the Song Clan, and had strong character.
The blood masters were the face of the Blood Stream Sect, and embodied the might of the mountain peaks. In the coming war, they would be very important figures to the sect as a whole.
The patriarch had long since been paying attention to Nightcrypt's doings. Although he still had some suspicions about how he had accomplished everything he did, he was still very pleased. That was especially true of his shocking skill in the Dao of medicine.
The only thing he wasn't very happy about was Nightcrypt's cultivation base. He was only in Mortal-Dao Foundation Establishment, and that seeming weakness would make future growth difficult.
"We are on the cusp of war. If you fight well, then I'll discuss matters with the other patriarchs. Perhaps we can pull off a heaven-defying act and remold your spiritual sea. Although such a thing couldn't be done overnight, we might be able to push you from Mortal-Dao into Core Formation.
"If you reach Core Formation, you will become a blood ripper. As for where you would end up in the end, it would all depend on your own good fortune. I can't say for sure what will happen, but considering your luck, you may be able to walk a path of your own." With that, he waved his right hand, and a fist-sized violet-colored lamp flew out to float in front of Bai Xiaochun. Voice softening a bit, the Song Clan patriarch said, "Since you're my stepson now, I'm giving you this to keep you safe. It's a magical device that I used years ago. It can release a bloodflame that can burn anything and everything. It's comparable to the attack of a Core Formation cultivator."
Bai Xiaochun looked at the violet lamp, and could immediately tell that it was something the Song Clan patriarch deeply valued. When he reached out to hold it, he could sense warmth flowing into him. The lamp also emitted a soft light that made it seem anything but ordinary. At the same time, it radiated a sense of intense danger that made Bai Xiaochun feel like he was looking at a raging fire.
The fact that the patriarch was giving him something like this showed that he truly did view him as a stepson.
Although Bai Xiaochun was delighted to have been given such a gift, it filled him with even more mixed emotions than before.
"Many thanks, stepfather!" he said softly, bowing his head.
With that, the Song Clan patriarch smiled broadly and said, "As a blood master, you may take an immortal's cave on Ancestor Peak, and may come and go as you wish. Furthermore, as my stepson, you may come to visit me anytime you wish. If you have any questions about your cultivation base, feel free to come to me to get an answer.
"Very well, take your leave. In seven days, a grand ceremony will be held to tell everyone under heaven that Nightcrypt... has become the blood master of the Middle Peak of the Blood Stream Sect!"
Bai Xiaochun was a bit taken aback. He had never imagined that he would pass this test so easily. In fact, from the things the Song Clan patriarch had said, it was obvious how important he felt Nightcrypt to be. After making his way back to Middle Peak, he sat down in his immortal's cave, wondering if everything was a dream.
So many things had happened. First was the revelation that Xuemei was actually Du Lingfei. Then he became the blood master, and then the Blood Devil. And after all that, the Song Clan patriarch took him as a stepson. In the end... Bai Xiaochun couldn't help but think that the Blood Stream Sect really had treated him well. He was already starting to feel very bad about all of his decisions.
Even as he sat there sighing to himself, night fell. Suddenly, Bai Xiaochun's expression flickered, and he looked up. Outside of his immortal's cave, a voice could be heard, soft and respectful.
"Nightcrypt, my lord, may I seek an audience? It's me, Master God-Diviner."
Master God-Diviner stood outside the immortal's cave, a fawning expression on his face, looking both nervous and respectful. The moment he found out that Nightcrypt had become the blood master, he started getting very nervous. After thinking about everything that had gone on between them, he got the sensation that a cold wind was creeping up his back.
Not wanting to delay matters, he had braced himself and immediately headed over to Bai Xiaochun, a valuable gift in hand.
The fact that Master God-Diviner had interrupted his ruminating left Bai Xiaochun feeling a bit irritated.
"What do you want?" he said coldly. As soon as Master God-Diviner heard the words, his heart seized, and he cursed bitterly to himself. Based on Nightcrypt's tone, it seemed like he wanted to settle accounts. Master God-Diviner could think of plenty of ways in which that might happen. Nightcrypt could throw him into the blood prison, or send him to the front lines in the coming war. There were many ways that he could be sent to his death.
Considering that Master God-Diviner was an elder of Middle Peak, there was no way he could extricate himself from the situation. Flustered at how he was teetering on the edge of death, he gritted his teeth and flopped down onto his knees.
"Blood Master, I beg for your favor. A person of great moral stature such as yourself will surely overlook the crimes of a scoundrel like me. In the past, I acted in ignorance. Blood Master, please be lenient. I implore you, take this ancient Godpower Talisman that I came across years ago. Surely it can sate your anger." Suppressing the pain he felt at losing such a powerful object, he held out a green paper talisman.
The talisman emanated fluctuations that Bai Xiaochun could feel even inside his immortal's cave, fluctuations that seemed to have originated in ancient times. Heart trembling, he emerged from his immortal's cave to stand in front of Master God-Diviner and examine the talisman for a moment.
The arts used to create this ancient Godpower Talisman were long since lost to the world. It could provide a temporary but incredible boost to one's fleshly body, making one vastly more powerful.
To Bai Xiaochun, it meant that he could power up to an incredible and shocking level.
Looking over at Master God-Diviner, he put the talisman into his bag of holding, then cleared his throat.
"We're all fellow disciples," he said. "There's no need to act like that. I've long since forgotten what happened before." With that, he patted Master God-Diviner on the shoulder.
Master God-Diviner had been incredibly nervous, and had even been wondering if he would make it out of this situation alive. Therefore, once he heard Bai Xiaochun's words, relief flooded his heart. Feeling like he had unexpectedly been pulled away from death's door, and had even been treated magnanimously, he was now more grateful than ever.
Bowing his head over and over again, he repeatedly swore to follow Nightcrypt to the ends of the earth. Seeing the encouraging smile on Bai Xiaochun's face, he felt even more moved. Finally, he left.
Bai Xiaochun blinked a few times as he realized that, considering his current position, all he had to do was show people a bit of favor, and he would reap enormous benefits as a result.