Chapter 240: I'm Just Too Honest
At first, Bai Xiaochun was a bit hesitant. He looked around at the other Chosen in front of their blood altars and saw that, other than Xuemei, who had already succeeded, everyone else was still working with the blood qi.
After confirming the situation, Bai Xiaochun was actually starting to get a bit angry at the excessive actions of the others. Take Song Que, for example. He had a foundation of eight Tideflows, and although it seemed reasonable that he would be slower than Xuemei, he shouldn't be that much slower! However, he was clearly only about seventy percent finished.
Everyone else was in a similar situation, with the slowest of the group being only thirty percent complete.
"Apparently I'm just too honest!" he thought. "I can't believe I'm still trying to figure out what to do, while those other jerks are already helping themselves to the blood qi to further their own cultivation!" Feeling more righteous than ever, he looked over at Xuemei and mused that she really was a fool. Apparently, her honesty was almost at the same level as his own.
"Ah whatever. I guess I'll just give in to the peer pressure. Since I'm undercover here, I don't want to do anything to stand out too much. I need to fit in, that's for sure.... Ai, I really don't want to do this." Sighing inwardly, he took a deep breath, and then began to siphon away about ninety percent of the blood qi....
Because of the suddenness of his action, the blood sphere above his head, which was already about half formed, suddenly withered. Although nobody down below noticed, Song Que and the others did, and their eyes burned with rage as they cursed him inwardly.
Patriarch Droughtflame hesitated for a moment, and gave Bai Xiaochun a closer look. Strange expressions could be seen on the faces of the other patriarchs. Actually, in addition to calling upon these nine Chosen to help summon the grand lich, the patriarchs had also intended for them to take advantage of the opportunity to increase their cultivation bases.
As for exactly how much they could improve their cultivation bases while simultaneously not drawing too much attention, that would be up to each individual.
Because Xuemei was focused on becoming blood master, she disdained such actions, and the patriarchs ignored that. But then Nightcrypt, despite being half finished, suddenly began to siphon away most of the blood qi for himself.
If Nightcrypt were the only one to do such a thing, it might not have mattered. However, a few moments later, Song Que, Xu Xiaoshan, and the others all followed suit. The patriarchs couldn't allow such a thing to go on.
After all, an underworldly fire had begun to burn around the grand lich in the blood eye....
"Whoever delays the summoning of the grand lich by not completing their blood sphere in the time it takes an incense stick to burn will be personally transformed into a lich by me!" The Song Clan patriarch snorted coldly and then spoke out in a voice that could only be heard by Bai Xiaochun and the others.
Bai Xiaochun's heart trembled. The blood qi he had just absorbed had already helped him significantly. His Undying Heavenly King had already climbed up to the power of five ghosts.
"So stingy!" he muttered to himself. However, he didn't dare to defy the patriarchs, and immediately restrained himself. Everyone else bowed their heads, and soon, the allotted deadline approached.
By this point, Bai Xiaochun and the others all had blood spheres that were about ninety percent complete. The final ten percent would require full concentration all the way down to the last second. After all, no one wanted to complete their spheres early. The best thing to do was wait until the last possible moment, and thus take advantage of the unbelievable opportunity that had been presented to further their cultivation with the help of the entire Blood Stream Sect.
In the short amount of time it takes an incense stick to burn, Bai Xiaochun's Undying Heavenly King made another breakthrough. His fleshly body power now was equivalent to six berserk ghosts. He was tingling all over, and had to resist the urge to look up and howl at the top of his lungs.
"Can't keep this up, unfortunately. Time's almost up...." Although he was reluctant to stop, there was nothing else to do. Sighing inwardly, he was just about to take advantage of the final few dozen breaths of time to complete the blood sphere, when suddenly his heart thumped....
"I wonder... if I put a bit of my own Undying Blood into the mix, would I be able to control the grand lich?"
The thought excited him, and if it actually worked, could be considered an incredible service for the Spirit Stream Sect. But then he thought about how well the Blood Stream Sect had treated him, and was torn.
"Song Junwan, the Song Clan patriarch, as well as the other grand elders, have all treated me pretty well. Although they're a bit brutal, overall, they're not bad." Sighing, he also considered the fact that with his current cultivation base, it didn't seem very likely that he would be able to control a grand lich. And yet, he still couldn't make a decision.
"Well, I might as well try. Whether I succeed or not will be up to the will of the heavens." Bai Xiaochun's eyes flickered, and he looked down. As everyone continued to transform the qi into blood, he did the same. And yet, he also extracted a bit of blood qi from his Undying Blood, and mixed it into the blood qi being provided by everyone else.
A few dozen breaths of time passed, and Patriarch Droughtflame's eyes flickered as he announced that the process was now ending. At that point, a blood sphere flew over from Song Que, Xu Xiaoshan, and everyone else. Bai Xiaochun nervously opened his eyes as his blood sphere also flew over.
His blood sphere looked exactly like everyone else's, but also contained some authentic Undying Blood within it.
"They shouldn't notice," he thought. "After all, my Undying Blood is true and authentic. Any other kind of Undying Blood is only a replica. Even if they do notice, they'll just think it's because I'm stronger than everyone else. After all, I did perform an Inverse Blood Ancestral Awakening..." As the eight blood spheres flew over, Patriarch Droughtflame studied them briefly, then waved his hand, sending them flying up to the grand lich in the blood eye.
Bai Xiaochun breathed a sigh of relief as the blood spheres merged into the grand lich. Moments later, a powerful life force erupted out, and the underworldly fire in the grand lich's eyes began to burn even more brightly than before.
Then, the grand lich slowly rose to its feet, threw his head back and roared. That roar shook heaven and earth, and caused all light to dim as a shocking energy radiated out.
A gale force wind sprang up, sweeping across everything, casting everything into murky darkness.
As the grand lich awoke, the million-faced gargoyle, the withered patch of skin, and the blood sword all trembled. Apparently, they were now heading toward the point of awakening....
Cracking sounds echoed out in all directions as fissures began to fill the pupil of the blood eye, as if a magical seal were being broken!
Before Bai Xiaochun had time to assess whether or not his idea had worked, Patriarch Droughtflame waved his sleeve, as did all of the other patriarchs. Eyes glittering, they all flew toward the blood eye. The last to reach it was the Song Clan patriarch. Turning to look at everyone down below, he said, "In a month, the trial by fire for the position of Middle Peak blood master will begin!"
Even as his thunderous voice continued to echo back and forth through the sect, he stepped into the blood eye. In that instant, the million-faced gargoyle awoke. The patch of withered skin suddenly began to radiate life force, and the imp on the blood sword opened its eyes.
At the same time, more and more fissures spread out over the pupil, and it began to collapse. It was as if a door were being opened, that the eight patriarchs of the Blood Stream Sect were now entering.
The sky suddenly seemed to fade, and the blood eye vanished. Down below, the cultivators of the Blood Stream Sect looked up from their meditation. The sect leader and the grand elders then dismissed the crowds. However, many questions remained in the minds of all present.
They had all seen the reserve powers, and yet, were unsure why the patriarchs had entered the blood eye. For some reason, no matter how they considered the matter, they couldn't help but assume it had something to do with the war.
Bai Xiaochun was more nervous than ever. In the end, he'd been unable to determine whether or not his idea had worked. He pondered the matter as he headed back to his immortal's cave, where he stabilized the increase in power of his fleshly body. In the blink of an eye, nearly an entire month passed. Soon, it was only three days before the appointed day mentioned by the Song Clan patriarch, the trial by fire for the position of Middle Peak blood master.
By that point, everyone in the Blood Stream Sect was talking about the trial by fire. Every generation of the Blood Stream Sect always had four blood masters, who would eventually become blood rippers, a position higher than the prime elder.
In this generation, the Middle Peak blood master was the last spot that needed to be filled. Now that war was looming on the horizon, the trial by fire would finally be held to select the individual to become blood master. After the blood master was selected, the battle prowess of Middle Peak as a whole would be increased.
It was an important matter for the entire Blood Stream Sect, and even more so for the cultivators from Middle Peak. After all, in theory, any Foundation Establishment cultivator from Middle Peak could eventually become blood master.
Of course, it was common knowledge that this generation's blood master would be one of two people. Either it would be Xuemei, or it would be Grand Elder Song Junwan!
Discussions raged as the trial by fire neared.
"It will definitely be Young Lady Xuemei. She's at the peak of Earthstring Foundation Establishment with nine Tideflows. If she doesn't become blood master, that would be a big loss for us here on Middle Peak!"
"I think the grand elder also has a good chance of succeeding. After all, she's in the great circle of Foundation Establishment. Xuemei might be at the peak of Earthstring Foundation Establishment, but that's still only mid Foundation Establishment. She's not quite on the same level as the grand elder!"
"The blood master trial by fire doesn't just come down to cultivation base power. There are other factors, such as the strength of the Dharma protectors they bring along."
The night before the trial by fire was to begin, Bai Xiaochun was meditating in his immortal's cave, when suddenly, Grand Elder Song Junwan appeared outside. She was cloaked in moonlight as she came to stand outside the door, and when she smiled, she looked more beautiful than ever.
"Junior Brother Nightcrypt, are you well-rested?" she asked softly.