Chapter 35: Another Encounter with Xu Baocai
It only took about half a month for the news about Bai Xiaochun crushing Du Lingfei in the competition to spread among virtually all the disciples, and cause a huge commotion throughout the entire sect.
Whenever Bai Xiaochun went out, the Outer Sect disciples he encountered would call out cheerful greetings. For the first time in his life, Bai Xiaochun felt famous. Now, he enjoyed leaving his residence. He would even approach random people and start to chat with them, all in the hopes that they would ask who he was, whereupon he would proudly reveal his name.
Bai Xiaochun really enjoyed living such a luxurious life. He also performed a threefold spirit enhancement on Du Lingfei's medicinal pill. Consuming that pill then pushed him from the great circle of the fifth level of Qi Condensation all the way into the sixth level.
As far as his Lightness-in-Heaviness magic, the more he practiced with it, the more refined it became. In fact, he had even begun to probe the second level of the Violet Qi Cauldron Control Art, which was Heaviness-in-Lightness.
Although it seemed incredibly difficult at first, after numerous attempts, he made a bit of progress.
On one particular day, he was seated cross-legged in his courtyard, practicing Heaviness-in-Lightness, when suddenly his expression flickered. Putting away his wooden sword, he looked up at the main gate of the courtyard. A moment later, someone knocked.
"Elder Brother Bai, are you home?" After hearing the familiar voice, Bai Xiaochun's brow furrowed slightly. People didn't often come to visit him in his courtyard. He waved his finger toward the gate, which creaked open to slowly reveal a gaunt young man.
He wore the garments of an Outer Sect disciple, and his expression was very serious as he clasped hands and bowed deeply.
"Xu Baocai offers greetings, Elder Brother Bai."
"What are you doing here?" Bai Xiaochun asked, looking shocked. This young man was the very same Xu Baocai with whom he had fought back in the Ovens, when he was in the third level of Qi Condensation. Apparently, Xu Baocai was now an Outer Sect disciple.
After seeing that Xu Baocai was still in the third level of Qi Condensation, however, he felt much more relaxed. Putting a very stern expression on his face, he said, "What, now that you're an Outer Sect disciple you refuse to let bygones be bygones? You still want to fight me?"
Xu Baocai immediately shook his head. A wry smile on his face, he once again bowed to Bai Xiaochun.
"I was ignorant and foolish back then. Please don't ridicule me, Elder Brother Bai. I've come today to apologize for what happened. Let's forget about all that." Xu Baocai seemed very earnest about wanting to forget about everything that had gone on. After all, now that he was an Outer Sect disciple, past matters weren't really very important.
The most important thing was that Bai Xiaochun was now very famous on Fragrant Cloud Peak. Now that Xu Baocai was an Outer Sect disciple on that very same mountain, he obviously wanted to avoid any complications that could arise because of the past.
Bai Xiaochun blinked, thinking back to everything that had happened back then in the Ovens. In some ways, Xu Baocai counted as an old friend. He quickly rose to his feet and invited Xu Baocai in, whereupon they sat down and began to reminisce.
Thinking back to that unforgettable Blood Notice, Bai Xiaochun couldn't help but ask, "Now that you mention it, back then, I really didn't understand why you would write the character 'die' so many times with blood. Eventually I got it, but even then, I was always curious; didn't it hurt to use so much blood to write so many characters?"
Xu Baocai's face flushed with embarrassment when he thought back to his outlandish behavior back then, and he quickly changed the subject.
"Elder Brother Bai, you need to be careful about the people from the Supervisor's Department. I heard that Chen Fei and the others who you forced into the Outer Sect have been harboring a grudge this entire time."
"Chen Fei?" Bai Xiaochun's heart instantly filled with vigilance as he thought back to that burly, muscular man from the Supervisor's Department.
"What level is his cultivation base now?" he asked, looking very serious.
"I heard he's in the great circle of the fourth level of Qi Condensation," Xu Baocai replied immediately, hoping that revealing these matters to Bai Xiaochun would clear the air between them.
When Bai Xiaochun heard the fourth level of Qi Condensation mentioned, he felt a bit better, and actually looked even calmer than before.
Xu Baocai didn't go into further explanations. He and Bai Xiaochun began to chat about the sect, and soon Bai Xiaochun realized that Xu Baocai actually knew a lot more than he did. He seemed to be in the know regarding just about everything that occurred on the south bank of the Spirit Stream Sect. He knew about the big events and the inconsequential matters, and had even heard about things that were supposed to be big secrets. Eventually they started talking about the latest gossip, and the discussion got even more lively.
"Elder Brother Bai, did you know there are five beauties here in the Spirit Stream Sect, each one of them astonishingly good-looking? Cultivators like us who could be with even one of them would be able to live life without regrets."
Bai Xiaochun's interest was piqued, so he asked Xu Baocai to explain further.
Bai Xiaochun wanted to hear, and this was a subject Xu Baocai loved talking about, so his eyebrows instantly shot up with excitement.
"The five beauties are virtually on equal footing when it comes to how pretty they are. However, their positions within the sect are all different. In first place is Xu Meixiang, Master-Aunt Xu, who is truly ethereally beautiful and alluring.... Oh, right, she's Big Fatty Zhang's Master."
"Really?" Bai Xiaochun was truly shocked to hear this news. Big Fatty Zhang had mentioned his Master on several occasions, and had always called her an old shrew. Then he thought back to how skinny Big Fatty Zhang had been when they reunited, and how it was because that old shrew hated fat people.
All of a sudden, things made more sense to Bai Xiaochun. Clearing his throat, and his mind, he decided not to think about the matter further. It was simply too dangerous.
"The next two in the rankings are actually from Fragrant Cloud Peak. The first is Zhou Xinqi, Elder Sister Zhou, and then Du Lingfei, Elder Sister Du." Xu Baocai was explaining everything he knew, so when he brought up Zhou Xinqi, it also necessitated talking about Chosen.
"Elder Brother Bai, you probably already know that on the south bank of the Spirit Stream Sect, there are three great Chosen. One of them is Zhou Xinqi from our Fragrant Cloud Peak. Another is Lu Tianlei from Violet Cauldron Peak, and the last is... Shangguan Tianyou from Green Crest Peak! All three of them are consummate geniuses!" Xu Baocai's eyes gleamed with envy. 1
"If they're so awesome, how come they're in the Outer Sect like us?" asked Bai Xiaochun, his mouth twisted in a bit of a sneer. Although he didn't know much about Shangguan Tianyou and Lu Tianlei, he had already encountered Zhou Xinqi. In fact, the jade pendant in his bag of holding had been a gift from her.
Xu Baocai coughed dryly. Although he inwardly looked down on Bai Xiaochun, he didn't dare to express that feeling, and instead chuckled wryly and said, "Elder Brother Bai, if it weren't for the strict sect rules, those three would already have left the Outer Sect for the Inner Sect. Even still, they're extremely famous, and fully deserve to be known as the number one figures in the Outer Sect. Even the Inner Sects fear them. Once their cultivation bases reach the proper level, they'll definitely become stars in the Inner Sect too! Although, for them, even the Inner Sect will just be a springboard to their eventual goal of becoming Successor disciples!"
Bai Xiaochun still wasn't very convinced.
"Take Zhou Xinqi for example. Because of her spirit meridian of plants and vegetation, she'll definitely inherit the mantle of Peak Lord Li, and will become a master apothecary of the Spirit Stream Sect. And then there's Lu Tianlei. He grew up in a very poor family, and started out as skinny as a piece of firewood. But he had a rare spirit meridian of lightning, and the magical techniques he cultivates are of the path of the Dao of lightning. In fact, the Sect Leader personally said that he'll have an extraordinary future."
"Really?" Bai Xiaochun asked, clearly surprised. He was no longer a newcomer to the cultivation world, and understood a lot about how things worked. When he heard about the spirit meridian of lightning, he couldn't help but feel a bit jealous. A spirit meridian like that would cause one's magical techniques to be explosively powerful, and would ensure that few bottlenecks came up within cultivation.
Seeing that Bai Xiaochun was finally reacting like people usually did when hearing about these things, he went on to talk about the third person: "Of course, there's also Shangguan Tianyou, who's even more amazing. He has a Sword Spirit body, and some people even say that he's the reincarnation of some almighty sword cultivator. For some reason, it's like the Heavens are guilty, and have blessed him with an entire life of good fortune. When he was three, he was walking down the road and happened to find an ancient sword; when he was seven, a baby Crimson Cloudbeast fell out of the sky and instantly accepted him as its master; when he was thirteen, he acquired a golden light shield. That is why his name is Tianyou, and as soon as he joined the sect, the Prime Elders were completely shaken."
Bai Xiaochun's eyes were wide, and he looked somewhat perturbed. "The Heavens are guilty!?!? Three years old...? What luck! What kind of... wait, he's the reincarnation of some almighty ancient cultivator?"
In that moment, he decided that he would definitely not do anything to provoke Shangguan Tianyou, who even the Heavens catered to.
Xu Baocai was extremely pleased to see Bai Xiaochun so shocked, so he sighed and then decided to explain a bit about Foundation Establishment. "Those three will definitely reach Foundation Establishment. Elder Brother Bai, we cultivators start out as servants and then join the Outer Sect. We liken our promotion to the fish which leapt over the dragon gate. However, the truth of the matter is that only by breaking through from the Qi Condensation stage to Foundation Establishment can you truly be that fish who leapt over the dragon gate. It is only then that your life actually changes, and you truly shed that which is mortal. That is the true path of Immortality, when your longevity is increased by a hundred years."
Even as Xu Baocai sighed, Bai Xiaochun heard about an increase of one hundred years of longevity, and his eyes lit up with a light more intense than anything which had ever been seen before in his eyes. He even began to tremble, and his mind filled with rumbling sounds. He reached out and grabbed Xu Baocai by the arm.
"Did you just say that after you reach Foundation Establishment you get an extra hundred years of longevity?"
Xu Baocai stared at Bai Xiaochun's bloodshot eyes in shock. Feeling a bit frightened, he nodded his head.
Bai Xiaochun inhaled sharply, and then began to pace back and forth within his courtyard, waving his arms around and gesticulating wildly. He almost looked like he had gone crazy, and was muttering to himself and laughing maniacally.
Xu Baocai was now really scared, and had no idea what was going on. A chill ran down his spine, and he said that he was going to leave. Bai Xiaochun didn't even notice; it was almost as if he had been bedeviled.
Xu Baocai took a deep breath and sped away in fear.
After the time it takes an incense stick to burn, Bai Xiaochun looked up, his hair disheveled as he took a long, deep breath. Then he threw his head back and laughed loudly.
"One hundred years! Foundation Establishment! I'm definitely going to reach Foundation Establishment!"
1. Lu Tianlei's name in Chinese is lǚ tiān lěi. Lu is a common surname, Tian means "Heaven" or "sky." Lei means "rocky" or "uneven." Shangguan Tianyou's name in Chinese is shàngguān tiānyòu. Shangguan is a relatively uncommon two-character surname. Tian means "Heaven" or "sky." Yu means "blessed" or "protected." Together, the name "Tianyou" basically means "blessed by Heaven"