Chapter 354: Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect!
Seeing that Bai Xiaochun had sent away the patrolling cultivators, the old man finally breathed a deep sigh of relief. He knew that he had struck a chord, and now the two of them could truly interact.
"I can't guarantee that I'll be able to tell you anything. But there are very few things the Wildlands don't know about. We have agents all over the lands of Heavenspan. And by that, I mean the Lower Reaches, the Middle Reaches, and even at the the sources of the rivers! We have people everywhere!" After hearing this first question of Bai Xiaochun's, the old man had been a bit hesitant. However, after a moment of careful thought, he had decided that the best thing would be to tell the truth. There was even a certain pride to his tone. After all, he was very confident in his ability to generate intelligence reports.
Bai Xiaochun was silent for a moment, and then he said, "Fine. I want information about a person!"
"What level of cultivation base?" the old man replied immediately.
Bai Xiaochun thought about it, then said, "Should be Foundation Establishment!"
"Foundation Establishment cultivation base? Simple. Since this is our first time working together, how about I provide the information for free? No cost whatsoever. Just tell me the person's surname and given name, and what specifically you want to know." The old man was immediately relieved. Although there were a lot of Foundation Establishment cultivators in the lands of Heavenspan, it was a simple matter for the Wildlands to get information about them. Furthermore, there was virtually no risk involved.
Bai Xiaochun had been a bit skeptical at first, but after seeing how confident the old man was, hope started to rise up in his heart.
"Her name is Du Lingfei. At least, she... she started out at the Spirit Stream Sect with that name. Then I ran into her again in the Blood Stream Sect's trial by fire for the blood master position. I want to know who she really is!!"
"Find out her true identity? Even if those are the only things you know about her, that's enough for us to uncover her identity. Please wait a moment!" Smiling confidently, the old man faded away, having returned to the Wildlands to carry out the search.
Chen Manyao was sitting off to the side cross-legged, her eyes closed. Apparently, the old man had sent her into a trance and sealed her, in order to prevent damage to her soul while he used her as a medium.
Bai Xiaochun took a deep breath and waited silently. Time passed. An hour flew by. The old man had not returned, and Bai Xiaochun was starting to get nervous.
More time went by, enough for half an incense stick to burn. Suddenly, a tremor passed through Chen Manyao, and black strands flew out of her forehead again, which then took shape into the image of the old man.
However, this time, he seemed a bit ashen-faced. A strange light could be seen in his eyes as he looked at Bai Xiaochun, and even confusion.
"Well?" Bai Xiaochun quickly asked. "What information do you have?!"
The old man hesitated, then said, "Why don't you ask about someone else?"
"Huh?" Bai Xiaochun said, both shocked and angry. "Didn't you say it would be a simple task? It's just information about a person. What happened? You couldn't find her?"
The old man smiled wryly. Along with the confusion in his eyes was a gleam of terror. After a moment passed, he shook his head. "We really couldn't find any information."
Bai Xiaochun's eyes widened. After looking at the old man for a moment, he suddenly pulled his bag of holding out and threw it onto the ground.
"The little turtle is in there. I can't find him, but I know he's there, and you guys should be able to find him. Take the bag and tell me who Du Lingfei is!"
The man looked deeply at Bai Xiaochun, then smiled and decided not to hold anything back. "Really, why don't you ask about someone else? I can't get any information about this Du Lingfei. Just moments ago, I sent people to investigate, and the entire city started shaking. Signs and portents were seen in heaven and earth! Most terrifying of all was that in the briefest of moments, a large portion of my agents out in the world suddenly died!
"Does it sound to you like I can keep investigating? Whoever this person it, she's either profoundly mysterious or backed by a power too incredible to imagine. I would suggest you refrain from provoking her, and it would probably be best if you never ran into her again."
Everything he had just said was the truth. The investigation he had just ordered had resulted in a cataclysmic response. He almost couldn't believe that a casual question on the part of Bai Xiaochun could lead to such drastic upheavals. It also left him even more amazed and intrigued by Bai Xiaochun's own secrets.
Bai Xiaochun stood there silently for a moment, his mind and heart battered by huge waves of shock. He could tell that the man hadn't been lying to him. After a moment passed, he said, "You didn't turn up even the slightest clue?"
Seeing how determined Bai Xiaochun was, the old man hesitated. Considering that he wanted to maintain a long-term relationship with him, he finally gritted his teeth and said, "There is only one clue. Most of my agents who were just killed met their deaths in the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect! As for what that indicates, you can be the judge for yourself!"
With that, the old man clasped hands and bowed.
"If you want to contact me, you can do so at any time via the mask. If you'd rather not use the mask, then you can make use of Yao'er. She might be my agent, but she bears no ill will toward the River-Defying Sect. I hope you can show her some kindness...." With that, the man broke up into countless black strands that flew back into Chen Manyao's forehead.
Chen Manyao shivered, then opened her eyes. When she saw Bai Xiaochun standing there, it seemed like she wanted to say something. However, after a moment, she simply gave a curtseying bow, then went back inside her immortal's cave.
Bai Xiaochun hovered in midair, looking up at the starry sky and the moon. Many thoughts ran through his head.
"The fact that most of the casualties among his agents were in the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect indicates that I should be able to find more clues about Du Lingfei there.
"Just who exactly are you, Du Lingfei...?
"Trying to track you down like this is really exhausting...." He shook his head slowly. He had long since come to believe that the matter of Du Lingfei was a thing of the past. However, there had always been questions in his heart that he couldn't quite forget about.
With that, he turned and headed back to Mount River Defiance. However, instead of going to his immortal's cave, he paid a visit to Sect Leader Zheng Yuandong.
By now, Bai Xiaochun knew that he couldn't keep so many secrets from the sect. Therefore, he explained everything about Chen Manyao, the Wildlands, and the mask.
He left at dawn, having revealed everything to his Elder Brother sect leader. As for what would happen next, he didn't even want to think about it. However the sect chose to deal with the situation, he would support the decision.
Of course, Zheng Yuandong couldn't make a decision about something so weighty by himself, so he consulted with the patriarchs of the four divisions. The patriarchs summoned Chen Manyao, and in the end, nothing much happened. Everything soon went back to normal.
Chen Manyao remained in the River-Defying Sect, the celestial goddess to many of the male disciples. She was still a Chosen, and only Bai Xiaochun and the patriarchs, as well as Zheng Yuandong, knew where she truly came from. Apparently, some sort of agreement had been reached....
With that matter having been handled, Bai Xiaochun returned his focus to cultivation. Whether it was the Frigid School Will-Evolving Incantation or the Undying Muscles, he made progress with all of them. He was in the Middle Reaches now, in one of the four great sects. The spiritual power of heaven and earth was strong here, much stronger than in the Lower Reaches. Therefore, his speed of progress improved.
Of course, he wasn't the only one to benefit. Zhou Xinqi and the other Chosen like her were all in secluded meditation, gradually making their way toward the great circle of Foundation Establishment.
After that came Core Formation, although none of them would dare to do what Bai Xiaochun had done, and reach for Core Formation in the heat of the moment. Most of them would take at least half a sixty-year-cycle to prepare before attempting the critical breakthrough.
As was to be expected, many of them were competing to see who could reach Core Formation first. Furthermore, not all of them got along, and thus were waiting until Core Formation to try to settle their differences.
Only people like Song Junwan, who had long since reached the great circle, could attempt to step into Core Formation with only a few years of preparation.
As for people like Big Fatty Zhang, Xu Baocai, Hou Xiaomei, Third Fatty Hei, and others, the improved spiritual energy in the Middle Reaches also helped them in their cultivation. That was especially true of Big Fatty Zhang, who made the most startling progress of all. He was already in mid Foundation Establishment.
Everyone in the River-Defying Sect was making progress. In fact, the first wave of Qi Condensation cultivators had already been sent to locations set aside by the River-Defying Sect for the Earthstring Foundation Establishment trials by fire.
Middle Reaches sects had trials by fire that were beyond compare with those in the Lower Reaches.
As the sect seethed with activity, Bruiser finally returned. He appeared out of the blue, and as soon as he stopped in front of the immortal's cave, Bai Xiaochun rushed out to meet him.
Bruiser was covered with wounds and scars, many of which seemed to run very deep.
However, he seemed to be in a very good mood, and his eyes were shining brightly. Unexpectedly, the aura of an imminent breakthrough was strong upon him!
Bruiser had gone missing almost as soon as the construction work on the new sect headquarters had begun. Bai Xiaochun had been able to sense that he was alive, and had assumed that he'd gone off to look for some female beasts to spend time with. It was only now that he realized his assumption had been incorrect.
As Bai Xiaochun's eyes met Bruiser's, he realized that the reason Bruiser had gone missing was that he'd left for deadly training.
Bruiser had come to view himself as a bit useless; on numerous occasions in which Bai Xiaochun had faced deadly crises, he had been completely unable to help!