In a certain location near the summit of Green Crest Peak was a solitary little path. At the end of that path was a pool of water, within which swam several golden-colored fish.
Next to the pond was an immortal’s cave. It was a somewhat remote and isolated place, very quiet, with abundant spiritual energy that clearly exceeded anything else nearby.
On the bank of the pond sat a young man. He wore the long robe of an Outer Sect disciple, and was exceedingly good-looking, with long black hair, fair skin, and a refined, intelligent air.
He was the type of young man that female disciples would sigh over constantly, whose phoenix-like eyes were delicate, and yet glistened with flickering light. Overall, he seemed completely unique.
He currently held a fishing rod, which he would occasionally cast out into the pond, whereupon the fish would voraciously compete to gobble up the food attached to the end of the line.
The middle-aged man who Bai Xiaochun had just slapped was hurrying up the path, face ashen. When he reached the end, he slowed down and respectfully clasped hands and bowed to the young man.
“Greetings, Young Lord,” he said through gritted teeth. “Young Lord, Bai Xiaochun doesn’t know how to appreciate favors. I carefully relayed your message, but instead of coming to offer greetings, he acted bossy and domineering. He thinks he can simply throw his weight around with impunity!”
The young man looked over, his expression seemingly ambivalent. “Well,” he said coolly, “forget about it then. He’s a nobody. It was mostly just on a whim that I thought to have him come offer greetings.”
The man nodded. “I think I understand what you mean, Young Lord. The reason he’s a nobody is that the position of Prestige disciple is only given to dead people, right? Plus, being the Junior Brother of the Sect Leader is a complete joke. In fact, his Master is actually a corpse.” The man chuckled coldly for a moment, but then shivered as he realized that the young man was staring at him with an icy expression. All of a sudden, the middle-aged man was struck with fear. “Young… Young Lord….”
“It’s true that he’s a nobody,” the young man said, “not even worth paying attention to. However, the Sect Leader’s Master is a former patriarch of our sect. Do you really think you qualify to even mention him? Go to the Frigid Abyss and slap yourself for three months straight as punishment.” With that, the young man looked away and continued to feed his golden fish.
Trembling, the middle-aged man nodded in assent and quickly took his leave.
Having settled the issue of Qian Dajin, Bai Xiaochun returned to Fragrant Cloud Peak. He wasn’t worried at all about Shangguan Tianyou. Considering the meritorious service he had performed for the sect, unless he turned traitor, his life wouldn’t be in danger at all.
As time passed, he lost some of his excitement over being called Sect Uncle, especially considering that most people avoided him at all costs. In fact, he actually came to feel a bit melancholy. However, one day he happened to wander into the scripture pavilion, whereupon his spirits were lifted almost instantly.
He found that as soon as he arrived, he was immediately granted a reading space alongside the lecturing elders, where he could look down upon the countless disciples in attendance.
He fell in love with the experience almost immediately, after which he came to frequent the mountaintop sermon pavilion.
There he would sit, occasionally giving a smile and a nod to disciples down below, eyes sparkling with satisfaction. He looked very much like the Foundation Establishment elders whom he sat next to.
The Foundation Establishment elders didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, and as for the disciples from the various mountain peaks, their spirits couldn’t be lower, but they had no choice but to simply stare up angrily at Bai Xiaochun.
Bai Xiaochun had found a new way to flaunt his status as the Junior Brother of the sect leader.
When he came into the presence of the Foundation Establishment cultivators, he would immediately call them Elder Brother and Elder Sister. Although they didn’t say anything in response, strange expressions could be seen on their faces, and any nearby disciples would eventually be forced to utter the words ‘Sect Uncle Bai’.
Things went on like that for some time until one day, Bai Xiaochun happened to run into Li Qinghou. Unable to restrain himself, Bai Xiaochun immediately cried out in an amiable tone, “Hey, Elder Brother Li.”
Li Qinghou looked a bit haggard. He had been working this entire time on concocting the Nine Ultimates Pill, and was currently on his way out of the sect. As soon as the words entered his ears, his jaw dropped, and he looked around until his gaze came to fall on Bai Xiaochun. Then, his cheek twitched. Although he had been spending all his time on pill-concocting lately, he had heard about Bai Xiaochun’s antics, which had turned into quite a headache. To hear Bai Xiaochun addressing him in such a fashion left Li Qinghou glaring in shock.
As soon as the words left his mouth, Bai Xiaochun regretted speaking them. Seeing Li Qinghou’s reaction then caused him to suck in a breath. After all, Li Qinghou was the person he feared most in the entire sect.
Grimacing, he shivered and quickly said, “Uncle Li… er… my mistake.”
However, there was really nothing Li Qinghou could do, and he knew it. Glaring even harder at Bai Xiaochun, he decided to rebuke him a bit for his recent behavior.
“I’m leaving the sect for a bit,” he said. “At the soonest, I’ll be back in a few months; at the most, a year. Don’t even think of fooling around while I’m gone. Work hard at your cultivation.” After a few more words of exhortation, he turned and left.
Bai Xiaochun let out a long sigh of relief as Li Qinghou made his way off into the distance. A glimmer of fear could be seen in his eyes, but at the same time, a bit of warmth and respect for one of his elders could also be seen. He couldn’t help but remember what Du Lingfei said about the time he had gone missing, and how Li Qinghou had spent two months searching for him on his own. Upon his return, Li Qinghou had been in quite a sorry state, and seemed to blame himself for what had happened.
After Bai Xiaochun’s father and mother fell sick and died, he hadn’t shown such warmth and respect to anyone. At some point, though, he had come to view Li Qinghou as one of his own relatives.
Because of Li Qinghou’s admonition, Bai Xiaochun changed his ways for about half a month. During that time, he ceased clearing his throat to attract attention, and instead focused his attention on Zhou Xinqi’s immortal’s cave. In all of the sect, she was the only person who knew him personally but refused to call him Sect Uncle Bai.
After a few months passed, he started to get a bit depressed. After all, he could only catch sight of Zhou Xinqi whizzing around on her blue flying silk. Considering that he was incapable of flight, it didn’t matter how much he chased after her, he could only watch in dismay as she flew away.
“There are probably only a few magical devices in the whole sect that Qi Condensation disciples can use to fly. Without a special technique like the one that Chen Heng used, the only way to fly is to get one of those magical devices.
“It’s so unfair! My Master should have gifted me with such an item. My… my Master….” Sighing, he walked along for a bit more before suddenly stopping in his tracks. Looking up in thought for a moment, he suddenly turned and headed toward Mount Daoseed.
As the Junior Brother of the Sect Leader, he had unrestricted access to Mount Daoseed, and before long, there he was at the top of the mountain, where Sect Leader Zheng Yuandong’s grand hall was located.
Swaggering in, Bai Xiaochun called out, “Elder Brother Sect Leader, oh dear Elder Brother Sect Leader!! I want to go offer incense to my Master!”
Zheng Yuandong sat there in the hall cross-legged in meditation. As soon as he heard Bai Xiaochun’s voice, he sighed.
In recent days, so many people had come to visit him that he had lost count. He had heard all about Bai Xiaochun’s doings, and had long since come to regret the situation. Unfortunately, as the old saying went, the timber had already been crafted into a boat, and there was little to be done. After all, despite Bai Xiaochun’s peculiar preoccupations, he wasn’t doing anything to hurt anyone.
Hearing Bai Xiaochun continue to call out to him, Zheng Yuandong slowly rose to his feet, cleared his throat, and looked over solemnly.
“Calm down, I heard you.”
Looking very charming, Bai Xiaochun hurried over and clasped hands in greeting. “Junior Brother offers greetings, Elder Brother Sect Leader.”
Zheng Yuandong sighed inwardly. Although he knew what was going on, he couldn’t help but shake his head and smile wryly as he led Bai Xiaochun into the restricted area behind the mountain.
In the immortal’s cave in that area, a portrait was hung on the wall depicting a middle-aged man. The man smiled faintly as he looked off into the distance, emanating a unique aura that made his image look quite lifelike.
Beneath the portrait was a small tribute altar, upon which could be seen some spirit fruits and spirit candles. The immortal’s cave was simple but elegant, and filled one with a sense of incredible dignity.
As soon as Bai Xiaochun entered, he hurried over to the portrait and plopped down into a kneeling position. Then he began to kowtow deeply, touching the floor with his forehead nine times, his expression very solemn.
Finally, he looked up at the portrait, his eyes radiating pious sincerity. “Master, apprentice has come to pay respects.”
Zheng Yuandong stood off to the side looking on. Although he knew Bai Xiaochun was stubborn and mischievous, he also could tell that he had a filial heart. Considering Zheng Yuandong’s experience in life, he was able to tell from Bai Xiaochun’s expression that the pious sincerity was real, and not an act.
But then… Bai Xiaochun continued to speak.
“Master, your apprentice has been going through some tough times. I can’t even fly…. Other disciples’ Masters have all given them magical items to help them fly, as well as life-protecting treasures. Sadly, I don’t have anything….
“But that’s fine, Master. Your apprentice doesn’t care about material things anyway. As long as I can burn some incense for you, sir, then I’m happy. Who knows, maybe your spirit in heaven will hear me and somehow manage to bequeath me with something….”
When Zheng Yuandong heard this, his eyes went wide.
“Master, it wasn’t very long ago that your apprentice gave everything to protect the sect, to ensure that its 10,000-year legacy continued on. To protect the honor of the sect, I was chased down relentlessly, and during that time, all of my magical items were lost or ruined. I came back to the sect without anything to call my own. My bags are empty. I’m more impoverished than a servant….
“I don’t want you to feel any pressure, though, Master. It’s fine. Your apprentice isn’t afraid of lacking defensive magical items. Even if I don’t have a magical flight device, I’ll still go through hell or high water for the sect. It’s my duty! However, if enough time goes by and I haven’t come to burn incense for you, Master, then that will just go to show that my lack of life-protecting magical items and magical flight devices has caused me to lose my poor little life…. At least then I will be able to personally go to reunite with you, sir.” Even as he spoke, Bai Xiaochun looked out at his dear Elder Brother Sect Leader out of the corner of his eye.
Zheng Yuandong’s face twitched. He was truly stupefied. In all the years he had practiced cultivation, this was the first time he had ever encountered a disciple as outlandish as Bai Xiaochun.
Chuckling bitterly in his heart, he looked up at the portrait of his Master, and then thought for a long moment. It was true that when he had first been apprenticed to his Master, he had been bequeathed with a protective magical device.
Having reached this point in his train of thought, Zheng Yuandong looked over at Bai Xiaochun, his gaze softening.
Before long, Bai Xiaochun and Zheng Yuandong left the immortal’s cave. The entire time, Bai Xiaochun was looking at Zheng Yuandong out of the corner of his eye. Eventually, they reached the grand hall on Mount Daoseed, whereupon Zheng Yuandong stopped walking. Turning to look at Bai Xiaochun, he waved his hand, causing two streams of light to fly out, one of them gold, the other white.
The golden light contained a palm-sized flying sword. However, its mere appearance caused the air around it to distort as it radiated waves of heat. It seemed completely extraordinary, and was covered with countless complicated magical symbols which glittered radiantly, and caused fluctuations to spill out in all directions.
The white light contained a small shield, also palm-sized. It was made of white jade, and carved with extremely life-like immortal cranes. It also radiated an intense warmth.
Bai Xiaochun could instantly tell that they were extraordinary items. Eyes shining, he began to pant as he realized that there was something even more outstanding to the two items; both of them were decorated with three unique flowing sets of lines.
Zheng Yuandong looked gently at Bai Xiaochun, his eyes gleaming with encouragement.
“Within the Golden Crow Sword is sealed a golden crow,” he said. “It contains the power of blazing fire, and can summon an illusory golden crow of the same cultivation base as the person summoning it. It can be used to fly, and can be used until the early Foundation Establishment stage. If it is destroyed, it will unleash incredible power.
“The Divine Crane Shield is a defensive magical device created from the soul of an immortal crane. It can protect you from any deadly crisis less powerful than Foundation Establishment.
“My Master performed threefold spirit enhancements on both of these items, but didn’t dare to proceed beyond that. Back when I joined the sect, my Master gave them to me, and I hereby represent him to bequeath them to you.”
Bai Xiaochun excitedly accepted the items and began to fondle them admiringly. “Thank you, Master. Thank you, dear Elder Brother Sect Leader!”