Chapter 273: Zhou Xinqi, It's Destiny
Although he felt wonderful for a moment, his feelings soon changed. On the one hand, he was happy that Bruiser was so powerful, but on the other hand, he was worried that he was falling behind.
"If my Bruiser is strong, then I have to be strong too!" Gritting his teeth, he pulled out the little turtle and started shaking it back and forth violently in the hopes of continuing his cultivation.
Despite shaking it for an entire hour, until his entire arm was sore, the floppy little turtle didn't emit any fragrant aroma whatsoever.
There was nothing Bai Xiaochun could do, and he was starting to feel like the little turtle was completely useless. Eventually, he decided to give up. Sitting there with his chin resting on his palm, he began to think.
Despite how intelligent Bruiser was, he couldn't figure out why Bai Xiaochun seemed to be in such conflict. However, seeing that he was being ignored, he decided to go out and play for a bit.
Having been so busy guarding Bai Xiaochun over the past few days, he'd lost many opportunities to go run around, so now that he had a chance, he flew out of the door, howling....
Bai Xiaochun watched Bruiser speed away, and sighed. Frowning, he continued to think.
"I have to come up with a way to increase my cultivation base. I have to get some inspiration regarding spirit medicine.... Just what spirit medicine could help me do what I want...?" After reviewing all of the medicine formulas he'd mastered, he still couldn't think of anything suitable to increase his cultivation base.
Just when he was about to admit defeat, his head shot up, and he smacked his thigh. Eyes shining, he said, "The River-Defying Pill!!
"Yeah! I forgot about the River-Defying Pill!!" Excited, he quickly smacked his bag of holding to produce the jade slip that contained the formula for the River-Defying Pill. He also began to flip through the Frigid School Medicine Manual. Before the enlightenment from the Holy Pill Wall Fragment, he didn't understand much of the Frigid School Medicine Manual, but now that wasn't the case.
After studying the medicine manual for a bit, and then looking over the River-Defying Pill jade slip, he continued to ponder the matter.
"You don't need any types of plants or vegetation," he murmured, "only water from the Heavenspan River. Furthermore, you don't need a pill furnace. You use your own body as the pill furnace...." Back when he originally saw the formula, he thought it was very strange, to say the least. However, as his skill in the Dao of medicine increased, and he absorbed more Heavenspan River water with the Violet Qi Heavenspan Incantation, his understanding grew.
Although he didn't completely comprehend all aspects of the formula, he definitely understood more than before.
After some more thought, his eyes flickered, and he walked to the actual north bank of the Heavenspan River.
The banks of the river were a restricted area in the sect. Not even Inner Sect disciples were permitted access to them. Only Foundation Establishment cultivators, who were also elders of the sect, were allowed to go there, and only a few times per year at that. By nearing the Heavenspan River itself, they were able to absorb some of its shocking spiritual energy to improve their cultivation.
However, the spiritual energy there was so powerful there that even Foundation Establishment cultivator weren't permitted to stay very long. If they did, the spiritual energy in their bodies could be thrown into utter chaos.
As soon as Bai Xiaochun arrived, he noticed two cultivators sitting cross-legged not too far away, practicing cultivation with the spiritual energy from the Heavenspan River. It was a man and a woman. The woman wore a sea-blue robe, and was very beautiful, with delicate, fair skin and eyelashes that fluttered slightly as she meditated. As soon as Bai Xiaochun saw her, he smiled.
"I was just wondering why something seemed missing after I got back. I haven't seen Sect Niece Xinqi this entire time! So, it turns out she's been hiding over here."
The young woman was none other than Zhou Xinqi.
After examining Zhou Xinqi for a moment, he looked at the man sitting next to her, and frowned. For some reason, he almost couldn't believe his eyes when he saw that it was Shangguan Tianyou!
Bai Xiaochun wasn't sure what technique Shangguan Tianyou had been cultivating, but his previously flowing black hair was now golden. He'd already been so attractive that he made other men jealous, but his new hair color, in combination with his exquisite facial features, made him even more handsome.
Furthermore, his energy was different. In fact, he was so eye-catching that most people would likely forget all about Bai Xiaochun in his presence, and take Shangguan Tianyou to be the ultimate Chosen.
Even more annoying to Bai Xiaochun was that Shangguan Tianyou had a mark on his forehead that looked very similar to Bai Xiaochun's Heavenspan Dharma Eye. However, instead of forming the shape of an eye, it looked like a sword!
Sword qi emanated from the mark, causing Shangguan Tianyou to look very much like a sharp, unsheathed sword!
"I remember hearing that Shangguan Tianyou always benefited from good fortune. Not only does he have shocking latent talent, people always said that he's the reincarnation of some sword immortal. It seems those weren't just rumors after all." Even as he pondered the matter, it struck him that, considering how close Shangguan Tianyou and Zhou Xinqi were sitting to each other, it seemed that feelings must have developed between them while he was away.
That thought left Bai Xiaochun even more annoyed than before. Sticking his chin up, he gave a cold harrumph, and decided that in the future, he would have to find an opportunity to show Zhou Xinqi exactly what kind of person Shangguan Tianyou really was.
Looking away from the two, he ignored them and picked a different area of the river bank to collect some Heavenspan River water.
Before cultivating the Violet Qi Heavenspan Incantation, the only way Bai Xiaochun would have been able to take away some of the golden water would have been to use some sort of magical device.
But now that he had the Violet Qi Heavenspan Incantation, he simply calmed himself, and then prepared to use some of the water to try to refine a River-Defying Pill.
Off in the distance, Shangguan Tianyou's eyes slowly opened, and as he looked over at Bai Xiaochun, they flickered with venomous animosity. Bai Xiaochun had always been a thorn in his side. Whether it was in the Chosen battles before they all reached Foundation Establishment, or in the Fallen Sword Abyss, or in the robe-shredding incident, it all caused Shangguan Tianyou to feel deep hatred for Bai Xiaochun.
Next to him sat Zhou Xinqi. Although it looked like she was in the middle of meditating, she hadn't completely retracted her divine sense, and had become aware of Bai Xiaochun the moment he showed up. Frowning, she also opened her eyes and looked in his direction.
Her feelings regarding Bai Xiaochun had changed over time. Originally, she had viewed him as a zealous and enthusiastic disciple. However, his terrifying talents in medicine concocting, plus the truth about the Chicken-Thieving Fiend, made it so that she wasn't really sure exactly how she felt about him.
Of even greater significance was that, after all the years that had passed, she had long since come to the realization that Fragrant Cloud Peak's mysterious little turtle was none other than Bai Xiaochun.
There was no other explanation for how Bai Xiaochun had made his rise in the Dao of medicine. That answer made her heart felt like it was being twisted in two directions, and the collision between her perceptions and reality was a heavy blow to her.
Then there was how Bai Xiaochun loved to get people to call him Sect Uncle, which was even more annoying to Zhou Xinqi. Seeing that he had simply come to the Heavenspan River to collect some river water, she decided to just ignore him. However, even as her eyes were closing, they suddenly went wide.
Unexpectedly, Bai Xiaochun wasn't using any magical device to collect the water. Instead, he had reached his right hand out and was about to plunge it directly into the river.
Regardless of how she felt about him, they were fellow members of the same sect, and she didn't want to see him hurt.
"Bai Xiaochun, what are you doing!?" she cried. "You can't touch the Heavenspan River water! If that water touches Foundation Establishment cultivators like us, don't you know what will happen!? You'll-"
Shangguan Tianyou looked on, chuckling coldly in his heart, his eyes flashing with derision. He was actually looking forward to seeing Bai Xiaochun's arm dissolved by the river water, and wasn't very pleased that Zhou Xinqi was interfering.
However, even as his displeasure rose, and Zhou Xinqi called out, Bai Xiaochun's hand entered the river water, and then emerged with about a cup's worth of golden water in his hand. He looked over at Zhou Xinqi.
Looking at her expectantly, he said, "I'll what?"
It felt wonderful to be able to make such a scene right in front of Shangguan Tianyou.
Zhou Xinqi's jaw dropped as she looked at the Heavenspan River water cupped in Bai Xiaochun's right hand. Some of it was even dripping back down into the river itself.
Shangguan Tianyou's eyes were as wide as saucers, and his mind was reeling. He was very well aware of how terrifying the water of the Heavenspan River was, and yet, Bai Xiaochun had just reached his hand in and scooped some out.
"You..." Zhou Xinqi said incredulously.
Bai Xiaochun examined the expressions on their faces, and his heart swelled with joy, especially when he looked at Shangguan Tianyou. With that, he lifted his hand up to his mouth and sipped some of the water. Then he stuck his chin up into the air and coolly said, "Possession without possession is the most wonderful possession. Emptiness without emptiness is the true emptiness...."
It was the same expression he had heard from Li Qinghou a few days before. Back then, it had sounded completely and utterly profound, and the truth was, he still didn't know what it meant. However, considering how shaken he had been when he'd heard it, he had decided that he should use it on someone else. Now that he finally had the chance, he suddenly felt completely abstruse and philosophical.
A tremor ran through Zhou Xinqi. At first, she thought she understood what he meant, but the more she thought about it, the more confused she was. Either way, Bai Xiaochun suddenly seemed even more marvelous to her than he had before.
Shangguan Tianyou's eyes flashed brightly as he glared in disbelief at Bai Xiaochun. Even though he didn't understand what Bai Xiaochun had just said, he was sure that the words contained deep and profound meaning.
However, he simply couldn't believe that such a profound statement about the Dao could possibly come out of the mouth of someone like Bai Xiaochun, and so naturally at that.
Bai Xiaochun swished his sleeve. "Zhou Xinqi, you have a good heart. It was destiny that you should offer me such a heartfelt warning. Likewise, the words I have spoken to you this day are another destiny, if you can understand them...."
Giving her an aloof smile, he strolled away, his voice seemingly resonating with ancient profundity as he said, "Possession without possession is the most wonderful possession. Emptiness without emptiness is the true emptiness... therefore... emptiness is the most wonderful possession."
As Zhou Xinqi watched Bai Xiaochun walking away, her inner vision of him suddenly changed completely....
Although none of the three of them noticed, there was a monkey standing next to the riverbank some distance away, accompanied by an old man, who was none other than the founding patriarch of the Spirit Stream Sect.
"The little punk doesn't even know what that sentence means," the founding patriarch said with a chuckle. "And yet he throws it around anyway."
The look in the monkey's eyes was different from the look in the founding patriarch's eyes. Somewhere deep within them was hidden a profound, mysterious gleam.