It got to the point that, a month later, the rumors were flying like crazy. Even the Xu Meixiang, the Peak Lord of Violet Cauldron Peak, who was none other than the old shrew Big Fatty Zhang had mentioned, caught wind of what was happening. Bai Xiaochun and Big Fatty Zhang had no choice but to cease their activities. After discussing the matter together, they decided to go rescue Third Girly Hei.
Therefore, the two of them went to Green Crest Peak.
Third Girly Hei was a bit thinner, but not conspicuously. However, she now emanated a somewhat seductive air, which left Bai Xiaochun and Big Fatty Zhang virtually speechless. They barely even recognized her. Her previously swarthy face even looked somewhat elegant. One could easily imagine how, if she continued to lose weight, she would eventually turn into a true beauty.
However, once she heard about the Spirit Tail Chickens, here eyes began to shine.
From then on, the Spirit Tail Chickens on Green Crest Peak began to go missing....
By now, the Chicken-Thieving Fiend was completely famous on the south bank. It was virtually impossible to find an Outer Sect disciple who hadn't heard of him, and even the servants knew the name.
Before long, the Elders took note of the matter. Although the Chicken-Thieving Fiend eventually vanished without a trace, never to reappear again, Third Girly Hei and Big Fatty Zhang both visibly regained a lot of weight. Although they weren't as impressive as they had been in the past, they were still much sturdier.
As for Bai Xiaochun, he finally... finished eighty-one cycles, at long last sating his hunger. It was at that point that the three of them gave up on stealing chickens.
Although the eighty-one cycles of the Undying Live Forever Technique hadn't been performed in succession, but rather built up over time, the result was absolutely the same.
One one particular day, Bai Xiaochun sat in his courtyard in Fragrant Cloud Peak, his expression solemn. His skin was emanating iron-colored pulses, and even glowed with a flickering black light. An incredible aura radiated off of him, making him seem savage and wild.
He had endured eighty-one days of pain and then eighty-one days of hunger. That combination transformed into a shocking power that erupted up inside of Bai Xiaochun, over and over again.
Each eruption was filled with boundless vital energy, which then poured into Bai Xiaochun's skin, causing it to become increasingly iron-colored. The black glow grew more blinding, and the toughness of his skin increased exponentially.
Eventually, it reached the point that if anyone had happened to catch sight of him standing there, they would think they were looking at an iron statue, and not a flesh and blood human.
His mind was reeling as the bursts of energy continued. After the 19th time, he realized that they weren't slowing down at all, but were actually increasing in intensity.
Bai Xiaochun didn't move a muscle, and didn't even seem to be breathing. However, if you looked closely, you would see that all of the pores on his body were dilated as he silently absorbed the energy of Heaven and Earth in the area.
"After eighty-one eruptions, my Undying Skin will reach the initial stage of completion, and I'll be in the Iron Skin stage!" The Undying Live Forever Technique's mnemonic floated in Bai Xiaochun's mind, and a firm and unswerving expression could be seen on his face. All of his hard work over the past year, including enduring all the pain and hunger... had all been for this moment!
The vital energy inside of him erupted out once more, and the iron color of his skin deepened. Every time the vital energy poured into the flesh of his skin, it was as if it were being tempered by the strikes of thousands of forge hammers.
As of this moment, he pulsed with energy, like a divine weapon in the forging process!
28 times. 30 times. 40 times. 48 times.....
Time passed. Three days later, Bai Xiaochun remained in the exact same spot. Although no bystander would be able to hear anything, to him, it sounded like endless thunder was booming in his ears.
However, it was at this point that the vital energy inside of him erupted out for the 49th time. Suddenly, the power redoubled, and a tremor ran through him. At the same time, tiny cracks began to appear on his skin, as if it couldn't endure any longer.
Although the cracks were few, as soon as they appeared, Bai Xiaochun's heart sank.
"So, the signs of impending death have finally appeared...." Bai Xiaochun frowned. The introduction to the Undying Live Forever Technique mentioned cracks like this. During the process of reaching the initial stage of success, they were guaranteed to show up. How long each individual could hold on would depend on their willpower, and would end up determining the quality of the future Undying Skin.
Even if you didn't endure for very long at all, you could still successfully cultivate the Undying Skin. However, the quality would naturally fall short of perfect.
If you could hold on through all 81 eruptions of vital energy, then you could reach a state of perfect flawlessness.
Bai Xiaochun's eyes gleamed with determination for a moment before he closed them once more. Rumbling explosions continued to erupt inside of him. 50 times. 60 times. 70 times.... Unexpectedly, one breath took him through five whole days, during which he endured all the way past 70.
The cracks covering him were so numerous that his skin almost looked like a turtle's. In many places, the cracks had joined together, making him resemble a broken flower vase that had been pieced back together.
He looked like he might shatter at any moment.
"Only seven more times!" he thought, his eyes completely bloodshot. Panting, he clenched his jaw, and that vicious streak in his personality surged to life.
Bai Xiaochun threw his head back and roared, although it wasn't very loud of a roar, more like a muffled grunt. His body trembled as he endured yet another eruption, reaching a total of 80.
The vital energy poured into his skin which, although it was covered with cracks, was like iron; anyone who saw it would surely be shocked.
"Last one!" he said. As the final burst of vital energy surged out, he suddenly extended his right hand and smashed it down toward the ground.
A boom rang out, and a huge crater appeared. The final blast of vital energy erupted as everything reached a conclusion. Endless amounts of vital energy poured into his skin, causing the cracks to immediately vanish, leaving him looking sleek and smooth. The black glow vanished, and he looked just as fair and pure as before. However, now his skin was far tougher than ordinary skin, although nobody could tell that by looking at him.
Bai Xiaochun stood there panting for a moment before looking up at the crater he had just blasted into the ground. Then he looked at his skin, and his expression brightened. Finally, he threw his head back and laughed uproariously.
He waved his right hand, causing his wooden sword to fly out, which then transformed into a black beam that slashed at his forearm. As soon as it hit, a metallic clang rang out, and the wooden sword unexpectedly flew backward. As for his arm, it felt almost like a mosquito had bitten him. When he examined the point of impact, his skin wasn't harmed at all.
"Undying Skin!" he cried, unable to contain his joy. It must be stated that his wooden sword was no ordinary magical item; it had received a twofold spirit enhancement. Although it was made from ordinary materials, because of the spirit enhancement, it could be considered a magical item worthy of a Chosen. Despite that, though, it hadn't hurt him at all.
Bai Xiaochun suddenly flickered into motion, shooting forward. A buzzing sound could be heard as he suddenly appeared more than thirty meters away. He could now move many times faster than before, leaving him completely delighted.
As for the power he could unleash, a mere look at the crater in the ground revealed that it was also many times greater than before. Furthermore, this was only the initial stage of success of the Undying Skin. Although it couldn't be said that he had completely cast off his mortal body, he was definitely vastly different than before.
"With defensive power like this," he thought, Bai Xiaochun is going to be much safer on his path to living forever." Bai Xiaochun was extremely pleased with himself. Next, he examined his cultivation base and saw that he had also made quite a bit of progress in that aspect as well. He was now in the great circle of the fourth level of Qi Condensation.
Furthermore, it was not the ordinary great circle. Because of how the spiritual energy had been compressed inside of him, it's quality was far beyond compare to an ordinary cultivator of the same stage as himself.
Feeling very satisfied, he sped a few laps around the courtyard, then suddenly stopped, eyes gleaming. Lifting his right hand out in front of him, he held his thumb and forefinger out in a U shape. Then he pinched them together, causing a black glow to appear on them. Although nothing happened, cracking sounds could be heard in the air up ahead of him.
Eyes widening, he turned and dashed over to a nearby rock, where he once again caused the black light to flash from his two fingers. As soon as he pinched the fingers together, cracking sounds could be heard as the rock exploded like a piece of tofu.
He flickered into motion again, appeared next to the Spiritwinter Bamboo, which was now more than nine meters tall. After identifying the toughest of the bamboo stalks, he pinched his fingers together. A boom could be heard as the bamboo shattered.
Bai Xiaochun took a deep breath and sank down to the ground, where he looked down at his two fingers, and the black glow which was slowly fading away from them. After a bit of time passed, he let out a long breath.
"So, that's the Throat Crushing Grasp, huh...?" he murmured quietly. That was one of the secret magics of the Undying Live Forever Technique, something that could only be unleashed after reaching the first stage of initial success. Supposedly, it could double one's power, and could not be countered.
Just now, Bai Xiaochun had only used about fifty percent of his full power. He couldn't even imagine how powerful and terrifying the secret magic would be if he unleashed its full power.
From what Bai Xiaochun could tell, a secret magic like that should be used for killing people. After a moment of silent thought, he came to the conclusion that although it was brutal, he still needed to practice it in earnest. Therefore, he began to zip back and forth in his courtyard, causing a black flashing light and cracking sounds to echo out.
Time passed. In the blink of an eye, half a month went by. During that time, Bai Xiaochun never left his courtyard. He stayed there practicing the entire time. Naturally, he had no way of knowing that after months of being away, Li Qinghou had finally returned to the Spirit Stream Sect, and was currently flying through the air atop a beam of green light, heading directly toward Fragrant Cloud Peak.
After he landed, and before he could even rest, two beams of light shot out from Green Crest Peak and Violet Cauldron Peak and headed in his direction. Soon, he could make out the figure of an old man in one of the beams of light. He looked like a sharp, unsheathed sword, and emanated the unique pressure of a Foundation Establishment cultivator.
In the other beam of light was graceful woman. She looked like a natural beauty, exquisite despite the strange expression on her face. It almost looked like she didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Together with the old man, she alighted on the mountain peak.
These two were the Peak Lords of Green Crest Peak and Violet Cauldron Peak respectively. After arriving at Fragrant Cloud Peak, they had a private discussion with Li Qinghou, then left.
Li Qinghou stood atop Fragrant Cloud Peak, rubbing the bridge of his nose. Finally, he sent out some divine sense, focusing it on the three Spirit Tail Chicken farms in their various locations on the mountain. When he saw that the only things left were chicks, he similarly looked like he didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Sighing, he waved his sleeve and began to walk down the mountain. From the direction he took...
It seemed he was heading directly toward Bai Xiaochun's courtyard residence.