Chapter 99: Knock Knock
An unsightly expression appeared on Zhou Xinqi's face. Never had she imagined that she would pick the immortal's cave right across from Bai Xiaochun's. She was well aware that back in the Outer Sect, Bai Xiaochun had loved to go around making everyone call him Sect Uncle. Unable to stomach the thought, she'd always avoided him.
But now here he was, standing right in her path.
Taking a deep breath, she coolly said, "Sect... Sect Uncle Bai!" Then, without so much as looking at him, she leapt onto her blue flying silk and flew up into the air. Her beauty made her seem almost like a female immortal, and so she often flew around in this fashion to avoid the toadies and sycophants. It was because such behavior that she seemed relatively distant and unapproachable.
Bai Xiaochun happily tucked his hands behind his back like a member of the senior generation as he watched Zhou Xinqi fly away. He didn't mind her attitude; all he wanted was to be called Sect Uncle Bai.
After she left, he returned to his own immortal's cave, feeling very much like he had reached a milestone on this day. Back inside, he pulled out the Dragon Mammoth Sea-Forming Scripture and began to take a closer look. As he did, he thought back to how powerful Ghostfang had been in their fight, and suddenly his expression turned very serious.
"How does Ghostfang practice cultivation anyway? He's so incredible.... Especially those ghosts of his. He controls them almost like battle beasts. It sure would be great if I could have a beast of my own." Thinking back to the fight, the lingering fear caused his heart to tremble. Suddenly, he remembered something, and slapped his bag of holding to produce a wooden box.
"The Beastbirth Seed.... If I ever have a chance to go to the north bank, then maybe... I could get a beast of my very own. Furthermore, such a beast would have been created by me and me alone!" After thinking about the miraculous Beastbirth Seed, his heart began to pound in excitement. A long moment passed, and then he shook his head. Suppressing his excitement, he put the box away.
"I hate fighting and killing more than anything else. I need to focus on getting to the great circle of Qi Condensation as soon as possible. That way I can step into Foundation Establishment." With those thoughts on his mind, Bai Xiaochun set to work cultivating the Dragon Mammoth Sea-Forming Scripture.
Although the Dragon Mammoth Sea-Forming Scripture could be used to perfect the Violet Qi Cauldron Control Art, their cultivation techniques were completely different. Instead of depicting various postures to assume, the description in the scripture had three illustrations. The first depicted an enormous, primeval mammoth. It seemed preeminently powerful, strong enough to crush a mountain. The idea of such incredible fleshly body power left Bai Xiaochun immediately shaken. All of his flesh and blood seemed to thrum just from the picture alone, as if it possessed a strange power of its own....
The second illustration depicted an azure dragon, twisting and turning among the clouds, which partially obscured it. When Bai Xiaochun looked at it, it seemed to brand itself into his mind. All of a sudden, he could picture the image mentally. And yet, as soon as that happened, the image faded away, and his mind filled with rumbling sounds. At the same time, the spiritual power in his body seemed to surge out of control, swirling through him painfully. He took back control, and a cold sweat broke out all over him.
"What kind of cultivation technique is this!?" Taking a deep breath, he declined to look at the third illustration. Instead, he went back to reexamine the Dragon Mammoth Sea-Forming Scripture mnemonic.
After a bit of time, he looked up, his eyes flickering with enlightenment.
"Cultivation via visualization!" he murmured.
It was a very mysterious form of cultivation. According to the level one had reached, one would observe various illustrations, and thus cultivate oneself. Presumably, the three illustrations contained some mysterious energy of heaven and earth that would affect the body upon observing them.
To a disciple who had just joined the sect, such a method would not be very suitable for cultivation. Furthermore, attempting it would surely be harmful to the body. But after reaching the eighth level of Qi Condensation, and having built up a significant amount of spiritual power, it would then be possible to cultivate it.
After pondering for a bit, Bai Xiaochun decided not to set his aims too high. He started with the first illustration, looking at it until he began to tremble visibly, and his qi and blood were flowing at top speed. As he did, his skin began to shine with silver light because of his Undying Skin. Gradually, Bai Xiaochun got the feeling... that when combined with his Undying Skin, the Dragon Mammoth Sea-Forming Scripture could make him significantly stronger.
Time went by. During the half month which passed, Bai Xiaochun occasionally concocted some medicine while simultaneously cultivating the Dragon Mammoth Sea-Forming Scripture. Slowly but surely, his cultivation grew. Furthermore, the silver color of his Undying Skin grew deeper. Clearly, he was making progress with both.
Soon, he realized that because of the Dragon Mammoth Sea-Forming Scripture, he didn't even need to cultivate his Violet Qi Cauldron Control Art to improve his Violet Qi Cauldron Summoning. It was naturally advancing by leaps and bounds.
Bai Xiaochun was shocked by this, but after thinking about it for a while, came to a conclusion about what was happening.
"The Dragon Mammoth Sea-Forming Scripture is a utility technique. With its help, all other divine abilities and magical techniques can become much more formidable. As for the shackles that the introduction mentioned...." After some more thought, he waved his finger, causing an illusory violet cauldron to appear.
It looked very realistic, was larger than the cauldrons from before, and exerted formidable pressure. Bai Xiaochun even could sense that if he wished, he could disperse the cauldron and draw the resulting spiritual power back into his body.
With a thought, he did just that, and the spiritual energy rushed back inside of him, replenishing most of what he had wasted to use the divine ability.
Bai Xiaochun was delighted. Being able to easily unleash and retract the cauldron was a hallmark of making significant progress with Violet Qi Cauldron Summoning.
"With the help of the Dragon Mammoth Sea-Forming Scripture, I actually might be able to develop that Human Controlling Grand Magic I thought of before!" Even in his moment of joy, his expression suddenly flickered. Looking over at the main gate of his immortal's cave, he performed an incantation gesture and pointed out. The door faded away, becoming invisible from his perspective, allowing him to see outside.
It was evening, and he could see over a hundred people flying in his direction from off in the distance. There were a few dozen who were faster than the others that reached his immortal's cave first.
Among the group was a young man with handsome features. Unfortunately, his face was somewhat pale, and his eyes were bloodshot, as if with madness. He seemed unstable, as if the slightest poke might cause him to rave dementedly.
Bai Xiaochun immediately recognized the young man. He was none other than... Beihan Lie from the north bank!
The few dozen people next to him all had cultivation bases which exceeded that of the ordinary ninth level of Qi Condensation. There were even ten or so who were in the great circle of Qi Condensation. Shockingly, the rest of the large group which was currently catching up all were in the ninth level of Qi Condensation!
Next to Beihan Lie was a tall, muscular man who looked like a miniature mountain. His features were very similar to Beihan Lie's, and he had long, flowing hair. He stood there next to Beihan Lie, unmoving, bursting with an energy that shocked even Bai Xiaochun.
His aura seemed like something past the Qi Condensation stage, and he was surrounded by an invisible vortex that constantly gathered the surrounding energy of heaven and earth.
"Over a hundred Inner Sect disciples... all in the ninth and tenth levels of Qi Condensation!" Bai Xiaochun's eyes went wide, and he felt his scalp tingling. Without a moment of hesitation, he performed an incantation gesture and pointed out, fully activating the cave's spell formation.
Every person in this group of over a hundred were Inner Sect disciples. More precisely, they were from Sunset Peak, and had come here to get revenge for their Junior Brother Beihan Lie.
The actions of this large group had attracted the attention of the Inner Sect disciples from Fragrant Cloud Peak. Zhou Xinqi was the first to emerge from her own immortal's cave, and soon, large numbers of Inner Sect disciples were flying over from different locations. As they surrounded the group of a hundred, people soon recognized the burly man standing next to Beihan Lie.
"Spiritual energy transformed into a vortex. That's... that's an energy which exceeds Qi Condensation. That's close to Foundation Establishment! He's half a step into Foundation Establishment!"
"That's the number one Inner Sect disciple from Sunset Peak, Beihan Feng!"
As everyone cried out in surprise and alarm, Bai Xiaochun sat there inside his immortal's cave, listening in with the aid of the spell formation. Soon, his eyes widened even further.
"Fellow disciples," Beihan Feng said, "I can't blame the south bank for winning the Chosen battles. In fact, I offer my congratulations. My purpose in coming here today has nothing to do with matters between the south and north banks. This is a private matter of the Beihan Clan. The shameless and despicable Bai Xiaochun inflicted a wound upon my clan's Junior Brother that will never be healed. As his Elder Brother, how could I simply sit and do nothing!?
"I have come here today to take compensation for my Junior Brother!" Before any of the Fragrant Cloud Peak Inner Sect disciples could even respond, he looked over at Bai Xiaochun's immortal's cave.
"Bai Xiaochun, get the hell out here right now!"
Off to the side, tears appeared to be willing up in Beihan Lie's bloodshot eyes. Staring at Bai Xiaochun's immortal's cave, he screamed hysterically, "Bai Xiaochun, get your ass out here!"
After the Beihan brothers' words faded away, Bai Xiaochun spoke, sounding very wronged. "You people are so unreasonable! I gave you a chance to concede, didn't I? You can't blame me. When that big dog pounced on you, I even thought of trying to separate you two...."
"Shut UP, Bai Xiaochun!" Beihan Lie shrieked. "Get out here right now! My differences with you are irreconcilable!!" It was as if Bai Xiaochun had just opened up old wounds. Beihan Lie looked insane as he charged forward and slammed into the immortal's cave spell formation, seemingly intent on venting all of his pent up anger right then and there.
Bai Xiaochun's heart trembled in fear, but when he saw that the surface of the spell formation simply rippled a bit, and clearly wasn't even close to breaking, he calmed down a bit. Vowing not to go out, he looked at the maddened Beihan Lie and sighed.
"Beihan Lie," he called out. "Listen, it's really not that big of a deal. Think about it. Now that you and that big dog have a much closer relationship, you could say that you've profited from disaster. Your beast controlling magic will probably be much more incredible from here on out...." Bai Xiaochun really did want to comfort Beihan Lie, and yet, before he could even finish speaking, Beihan Lie exploded in fury.
Beihan Feng's face turned grim, and he took a step forward and smashed his palm into the spell formation. The formation trembled, and Bai Xiaochun's heart began to pound.
By this point, the Fragrant Cloud Peak Inner Sect disciples couldn't stand idly by any longer. Although they weren't very familiar with Bai Xiaochun, if they just stood around while a bunch of Sunset Peak disciples came and did whatever they wanted, the reputation of the Fragrant Cloud Peak Inner Sect would reach rock bottom.
"Stay your hand!" people began to shout.
The Fragrant Cloud Peak Inner Sect disciples flew forward to interfere, but before they could reach the immortal's cave, the Sunset Peak disciples blocked their paths. No deadly combat broke out; all the Sunset Peak disciples had to do was block the paths of the Fragrant Cloud Peak disciples long enough to give Beihan Feng some time.
The situation had already reached the point where open conflict was breaking out between the disciples of two mountain peaks, which was a violation of sect rules. However, Beihan Feng didn't care. The Beihan Clan was also a Prestige clan, so as long as he didn't actually kill anyone, he wouldn't be punished very severely.
Rumbling could be heard as the spell formation began to twist and distort, and the ripples became more intense. However, this was not an ordinary immortal's cave. At first, Bai Xiaochun was worried, but soon he realized that nothing more was happening, and he relaxed.
However, being a good person, he really felt bad, and therefore decided to offer more advice about how to resolve the situation.
"You really can't blame me.... How about you make dog stew out of that dog? That way everyone will know that Beihan Lie is manly and tough, and that he'll eat anyone who pounces on him...." By that point, he realized that maybe he'd gone a bit too far, and was about to reign things back in when Beihan Lie coughed up a massive mouthful of blood. Hair completely disheveled, and almost completely out of his mind, he head-butted the spell formation.
Bai Xiaochun's heart continued to pound in terror.