Chapter 252: You Really Can't Blame Me This Time
"Not even the least bit confident in being able to fight me? What kind of Dao do you cultivate, Nightcrypt?! I can't believe that someone as useless as you exists in the Blood Stream Sect. I think I need to step in for the sect and do some housecleaning!" Xiao Qing was incensed. First, he had been ridiculed, then challenged to fight, and then, his opponent had simply run away. More killing intent than ever could be seen in Xiao Qing's eyes, and as he gave chase, he unleashed the power of his cultivation base, pushing himself forward with greater speed than ever.
However, Bai Xiaochun was simply too fast. With the explosive acceleration provided by his fleshly body power, he managed to stay in the lead all the way through the ninth and tenth hours. Soon, the eleventh hour was rapidly approaching.
When it came, the sixth key appeared in the form of a red dot, right in front of Bai Xiaochun's forehead. It only took the briefest of moments for it to fly into him.
Rumbling sounds echoed out from within Bai Xiaochun's body, and he began to tremble visibly. His Undying Heavenly King was in full operation, and under the seemingly boundless addition provided by the blood-colored key, his fleshly body continued to increase in power. The expression provided by his mask was one of complete and utter ferocity as he threw his head back and howled at the top of his lungs.
As he did, eight berserk ghosts appeared behind him, and then... a ninth!
The appearance of the ninth berserk ghost caused Bai Xiaochun's fleshly body strength to be completely incited, sending matchlessly powerful qi and blood power surging heavenward.
Blue veins bulged out on Bai Xiaochun's face. In only a handful of hours, his fleshly body power had undergone a dramatic increase, so much so that it was difficult for him to endure. The nine berserk ghosts behind him were howling, and even as Xiao Qing closed in, Bai Xiaochun prodded them with the power of his will, and they merged together!
That new berserk ghost was vastly larger than the others, almost as if it were a new form of life!
It was now pure white, with vicious-looking bone spurs sticking out all over it. It had sharp claws, and radiated a power that seemed capable of crushing heaven and earth. Strangely, though, it had no head!
It was a headless Heavenly Demon Body, incomplete, but shockingly powerful nonetheless. When it formed, Bai Xiaochun howled, and seemingly infinite fleshly body power caused a tempest to spring out all around him. Within moments, it was a tornado connecting heaven and earth, an enormous, spinning vortex.
Xiao Qing stopped in place, his eyes widening. For the first time, a very serious expression could be seen on his face. Not only was Bai Xiaochun stronger, but the image of the headless heavenly demon made him seem completely different than before.
"Alright Xiao Qing, come on, let's fight!" Although Bai Xiaochun didn't look any different physically, the sensation he gave off was that he was growing rapidly. Having absorbed the blood qi from five of the keys, he suddenly felt that if he didn't unleash some of the power immediately, he would explode.
No such sensation had come from the previous four keys. But with the fifth key, he suddenly felt explosively powerful. Even as he called out, he took a step forward, and massive rumbling sounds could be heard as he shot toward Xiao Qing in a bashing motion.
The heavenly demon image behind him made the same bashing attack, except with power exponentially greater than Bai Xiaochun's. It was such an explosive outburst that it seemed capable of bashing anything and everything to bits. Even the air twisted and distorted as he bore down on Xiao Qing.
Just when Xiao Qing was about to dodge out of the way, the charging Bai Xiaochun suddenly extended his right hand, and a powerful gravitational force sprang out from his palm and seemed to latch onto Xiao Qing's neck.
Then the hand transformed into a fist. The air vibrated as powerful fluctuations spread out, locking down the entire area and making it impossible for Xiao Qing to even move.
Xiao Qing's eyes widened, and he roared as his hands flashed with an incantation gesture. Blinding, blood-colored light instantly spread out, transforming into a huge, crimson greatsword which slashed out toward Bai Xiaochun!
Although all of this takes some time to describe, it happened in the blink of an eye. A deafening boom echoed out in all directions as Bai Xiaochun's blow landed on Xiao Qing. Instantly, the two of them flew apart until they were 3,000 meters away from each other. The ground was shattered and destroyed, and a huge blast of wind rippled out, shaking everything.
The blood sword shattered, and the Heavenly Demon Body was split in two. Xiao Qing tumbled through the air, and blood sprayed out of Bai Xiaochun's mouth.
When the dust settled, Xiao Qing was off in the distance, his face ashen, his eyes shining brightly as he looked at Bai Xiaochun, who was currently wiping the blood from his mouth. Bai Xiaochun had vented more than half of the energy he had built up, and no longer felt like he was going to explode. At the same time, his fleshly body power seemed to be growing even greater as he stood there staring at Xiao Qing.
"Happy with the fight so far, Xiao Qing?!" Bai Xiaochun said with a twisted smile, his eyes completely bloodshot.
Xiao Qing didn't respond. The sensation of danger he'd just felt from Bai Xiaochun's explosive attack came partly because of his fleshly body power, and partly because there was something else about Bai Xiaochun that he found completely disconcerting.
"He's definitely still hiding something!" he thought. Although he was still confident that he could kill Bai Xiaochun, he knew that he would most likely end up seriously injured in the process. By this point in the trial by fire, most of the others had reached the point where they felt it was necessary to fight to the death. However, Xiao Qing knew about Xuemei's secret plan, and that everything that was happening now was just a smokescreen. Therefore, he wasn't ready to risk his life.
There was also another reason to make such a decision. Xiao Qin glanced over at an area some distance away from Bai Xiaochun, and then turned to leave without uttering even another word.
Bai Xiaochun did nothing to stop him, and in fact, felt a bit more relaxed to see him leaving. With that, he turned and looked off in the same direction Xiao Qing just had, his eyes shining with piercing light.
"You've been shadowing me for quite a while, Elder Brother. Why don't you show your face?"
Laughter echoed out as the air distorted, as if someone were using a magical item to distort space itself. A gaunt, middle-aged man appeared, a hunchback who, from the moment Bai Xiaochun laid eyes on him, gave off the sensation that he was no less powerful than Xiao Qing.
Bai Xiaochun had seen this man before among Song Junwan's Dharma protectors. However, nobody, not even Song Que, had seemed to notice that he was concealing the true power of his cultivation base. He was one of the aces Song Junwan had up her sleeve, someone similar to Xiao Qing.
Bai Xiaochun's eyes widened a bit. From what he could tell, this man was a big reason why Xiao Qing had fled just now.
"I am your humble servant Song Zhen...." the man said in a raspy voice. He looked Bai Xiaochun up and down, still a bit unconvinced that he was worthy of being one of Song Junwan's Dharma protectors. From what he could tell, there was something else going on between Song Junwan and Nightcrypt. That was the only explanation for why she would bring him along....
"I'm no gambler," he said slowly and calmly. "Nor do I wish to be exterminated by the wind in this place. I like things to be all sewn up. Soon, the thirteenth hour will be upon us. Let me have the seventh blood-colored key, and I won't make a move on you."
Bai Xiaochun thought about it for a moment, then nodded. "Sure. As soon as the seventh key appears, I'll back up. But don't forget, those villainous keys love to chase me. Whether or not you can grab it will be up to you. If you're slow, then I don't want to hear any complaints."
Song Zhen gave him an empty smile, and then said, "Don't worry, Junior Brother Nightcrypt. As long as you don't intentionally try to absorb the key, then as soon as it appears, I'll grab it. However, if you do make a move on it, don't blame me for flipping out.
"Why don't you sit off to the side and meditate while we wait for the thirteenth hour?"
Bai Xiaochun felt good about the idea. Although the keys were very helpful for his cultivation, the Blood Stream Sect in general was a Holy Land for his Undying Codex. As far as he was concerned, there was no need to get in a dangerous fight with this person over one single key.
In terms of the threat of being the losing team and getting exterminated, Bai Xiaochun actually wasn't worried about it at all. After all the strange things that had been going on inside the body of the Blood Ancestor, he was quite certain that, regardless of who else was killed, he definitely wouldn't be....
Feeling very much at ease, he sat down cross-legged to meditate. Keeping his guard up in case Song Zhen did something unexpected, he made some adjustments to his cultivation base, slowly recovering and, at the same time, increasing his fleshly body power.
Song Zhen also sat down to meditate and wait for time to pass.
Song Zhen didn't seem too worried that a fight might break out between the two of them, and Bai Xiaochun was too preoccupied to worry about it either. Time passed. Soon, the eleventh and twelfth hours had passed, and the thirteenth hour was upon them.
Song Zhen's eyes opened. Rising to his feet, he edged a bit closer to Bai Xiaochun, and his right hand began to flicker with light. He stared at the air in front of Bai Xiaochun, completely and utterly confident that when the seventh key appeared, he would be able to grab it.
Even if Nightcrypt tried to back out on their deal and tried to absorb the key, considering how close he was, Song Zhen was supremely confident that, with his own profound cultivation base, along with his innate speed that even the prime elders had praised, he would definitely be able to grab it.
Time inched along. There were ten breaths of time left. Six. Three. Finally, the thirteenth hour arrived.
Song Zhen threw his head back and laughed loudly as his right hand blurred into motion, leaving behind afterimages as it shot forward. A huge blast of power erupted out which he didn't even bother to shield Bai Xiaochun from.
However, at that exact moment, a bright red light suddenly shot out from inside Bai Xiaochun!
The seventh key had appeared, but not in front of him. Contrary to what anyone might have imagined, it appeared inside of him!!
Even Bai Xiaochun was completely taken aback. Before he could do anything, the key was inside of him, and the blood qi was coursing through his body.
Song Zhen's jaw dropped.
Bai Xiaochun's eyes went wide.
"You really can't blame me this time. It appeared right inside my stomach!!" he shrieked. Song Zhen's face flickered, and he suddenly let out an intense howl of rage.