Because of the turtle-wok, Bai Xiaochun understood quite a bit about spirit enhancement. He also was well aware that there was a Foundation Establishment elder from Violet Cauldron Peak who was a skilled spirit enhancer.
For a few merit points, that elder would help disciples perform spirit enhancements, usually no more than a one or twofold enhancement. Any higher than that, and the chances of failure mounted.
The fact that these two magical items had both received threefold enhancements meant that Bai Xiaochun wouldn’t have to waste any fuel on his own three-colored flame, and would also be able to freely use them in the public eye.
After returning to Fragrant Cloud Peak, he immediately set to work familiarizing himself with the Golden Crow Sword and the Divine Crane Shield. As soon as he sent some spiritual power into them, they began to radiate intense heat.
“Now these are some treasures!” he exclaimed. Taking a deep breath, he performed an incantation gesture and pointed out. A thrumming sound filled the air as the Golden Crow Sword transformed into a golden beam of light that shot off, leaving behind a wake of burning heat that caused everything around it to ripple and distort.
With another incantation gesture, he sent more spiritual power pouring into the sword, whereupon the bright glow surrounding it expanded until the vague shape of a golden crow became visible.
It was little more than an outline, but the instant it appeared, incredible pressure began to weigh down, and the temperature in the area increased rapidly. All of that caused Bai Xiaochun’s heart to thump excitedly.
Panting, he stared at the Golden Crow Sword, eyes shining more and more brightly. Soon, he began to laugh in excitement.
“This sword is way better than my little wooden sword! Wow, my Master is awesome!” With that, he dashed into motion, leaping up into the air and landing onto the back of the illusory golden crow.
Although the golden crow was blurry and vague, its back was as flat and sturdy as a board, and when Bai Xiaochun sent some spiritual power into it, he felt almost as if he had become a part of it.
After stepping onto the golden crow, he performed an incantation gesture and pointed out, which caused him to fly up into the air. Then he soared in a big circle around Fragrant Cloud Peak, whizzing through the air above the crowds. When people looked up in surprise, he would slow down, hold his head high, and puff his chest out. When cries of astonishment began to ring out, he would finally increase his speed again.
“I, Bai Xiaochun, can finally fly!” Spirits soaring, he laughed inwardly as his tour took him over the 10,000 Medicines Pavilion. However, it was only moments later, just as he was about to head toward one of the other mountain peaks, that the golden crow suddenly faded away, and the sword fell out of the sky. Bai Xiaochun screamed as he tumbled down along with it.
Thankfully, what lay below wasn’t a bottomless pit, but rather, one of the small paths that ran through the sect. He landed at a run, and only managed to gain control after several steps. Then he looked over and realized how high up this path was, and that if he had fallen off, even his Undying Skin wouldn’t have saved him….
His face went pale.
“That was way too dangerous!!” he thought, shivering. With that, he picked up the Golden Crow Sword. Probing his inner spiritual power, he realized that he had been almost completely drained, which was why he had ended up falling.
For a Qi Condensation cultivator, flying on a sword took a huge amount of energy. Most who were in the seventh level of Qi Condensation would only be able to last for a few breaths of time before they had to stop. Even Bai Xiaochun, with his unusually refined spiritual power, couldn’t even last a hundred breaths.
Fearful of falling to his death, he didn’t dare to test the sword out anymore. Looking around furtively for a moment to see if anyone had seen what just occurred, he caught sight of a burly man off in the distance, who was staring at him, his jaw hanging open.
When Bai Xiaochun saw him, his eyes widened and he hurried over. “Whoah, aren’t you Sect Nephew Wolf?”
When the burly man heard the words ‘Sect Nephew Wolf’, he immediately shivered. Grimacing, he clasped hands and said, “I’m disciple Liu Ergou. Greetings, Sect Uncle Bai… I, um, I didn’t see anything happen just now.”
Bai Xiaochun had encountered Liu Ergou when he was selling spots in the Inner Sect. Back then, the man had called himself Lord Wolf.
Bai Xiaochun humphed a few times, then proceeded to frighten Liu Ergou a bit more to ensure that he wouldn’t spread news of what had happened. Then he patted him on the shoulder, gave some promises to help him out in the future, and finally left.
Liu Ergou wiped the sweat from his brow before hurrying off.
As he walked along, Bai Xiaochun rejoiced that it was only Liu Ergou who had seen his slight mishap. If it had happened when he was flying around by the 10,000 Medicines Pavilion, his name would have been ruined forever….
“Ai. People. You really can’t become too famous. Then things just become difficult.” Sighing to himself, he clasped his hands behind his back and strolled back to his courtyard residence.
After a bit of hesitation about what to do, his eyes flickered with determination. “No, I have to focus on cultivation. Only being able to fly a little bit isn’t inherently bad, but what would happen if I was fleeing for my life? What if I escaped my enemies only to fall to my death? That would be really pointless.”
With that, he once again began to study the Golden Crow Sword and the Divine Crane Shield.
“Just to be safe, I should paint these two magical items as well. That way, people will think it’s just a hobby of mine. Then if I pull out other spirit enhanced magical items in the future, they won’t think too much of it.” After some more thought, he prepared some dye from brightly colored plants and proceeded to paint the Golden Crow Sword and the Divine Crane Shield.
After covering up the faint spirit designs, he tested out the two items one more time. Finally, he looked pleased.
“One of these days when my skill in the Dao of medicine is high enough, I’ll enhance some plant-based dyeing materials, and then I can be completely confident.” Bai Xiaochun was an inherently cautious person. Although he had run amuck to some extent because of becoming the Junior Brother of the sect leader, he had a bottom line that he wouldn’t cross.
“What a pity my cultivation base still isn’t high enough. The last time I was following Zhou Xinqi around, it seemed that she was already in the eighth level of Qi Condensation. The only way to be able to use a flying sword for any length of time is to have a higher cultivation base.” Determination filled his heart. After the incident with the Luochen Clan, he had come to fully understand how brutal the cultivation world could be. He had also realized that the ability to flee at top speed was crucial when one’s life was on the line.
If he had been able to fly on a sword back then, he would have been able to escape with Du Lingfei and Hou Yunfei no matter what the Luochen Clan tried to do.
“I need to concoct pills!” he thought, eyes gleaming. Considering his current status, although he couldn’t get free ingredients from the sect, there were certain pill formulas that he could get for only a few merit points. In the following days, Fragrant Cloud Peak became a quiet place, and Bai Xiaochun was rarely seen.
He acquired large amounts of medicine formulas, and also used the spirit stones and other items he had acquired from the Luochen Clan members to go to the market and purchase a variety of medicinal plants. Then he made his way to the Medicine Concocting Pavilion, where he went into seclusion to concoct medicine.
Time flew by. A few months later, it had been nearly half a year since Bai Xiaochun returned to the sect. At first, the sect had been thrown into an uproar because of him, but then things had suddenly gone very quiet. Many people found it hard to adapt.
At the same time, the fact that Bai Xiaochun had become a Prestige disciple gradually spread outside of the sect. Soon, people all over the Eastwood Continent came to hear of the matter.
Of course, there were countless cultivator clans in the Eastwood Continent, many of which were connected to the Spirit Stream Sect in various ways. The Luochen Clan had been only one among many such clans.
To the disciples of the Spirit Stream Sect, although the title of Prestige disciple was to be looked up to, being the Junior Brother of the sect leader was even more impressive.
However, to the cultivator clans at large, it was exactly the opposite. They would respect a Prestige disciple far more than they would the Junior Brother of the sect leader. In fact, they almost didn’t care at all about the sect leader’s Junior Brother. In contrast, they would be driven to near madness by a Prestige disciple.
After hearing the news that Bai Xiaochun had become a Prestige disciple, many patriarchs of the various cultivator clans got very excited. In their eyes, he was a virtual gold mine. A living Prestige scion!
If they could bring Bai Xiaochun into their clan, then his descendants would have almost limitless possibilities for the future. As the number of such descendants grew, and considering that the clan would have the support of the Spirit Stream Sect, glory was guaranteed.
To vassal clans in the cultivation world, it would ensure a meteoric rise, like the fish who jumped the dragon gate.
After all, the Spirit Stream Sect had only ever had nine Prestige clans. Those nine clans could often influence the decision-making process of the sect as a whole. Although such influence wasn’t necessarily very vast, it was still worthy of consideration.
Such a clan would form a part of an enormously powerful entity, and would be the subject of intense envy from other cultivator clans. In the past, most clans couldn’t influence anything. They could only offer allegiance to the Spirit Stream Sect and then perform various services with the hope of gaining Prestige status.
But now… Bai Xiaochun had appeared.
Most wonderful of all was that he wasn’t a member of any cultivator clan. He came from the mortal world, and… he had no Daoist partner. He was a free ticket to becoming the tenth Prestige clan, and as such, all of the cultivator clans in the Eastwood Continent were thrown into a frenzy.
“Find the prettiest maiden in the entire Zhou Clan. She’ll be coming with me to offer greetings to Fellow Daoist Bai!”
“Fei’er, you’re the pearl of the Zhao Clan. You have to get on Bai Xiaochun’s good side. If he takes a liking to you, all of the problems of our clan will disappear!”
“Although the daughters of the Sun Clan aren’t particularly outstanding, we still qualify to compete. Prepare an amazing gift for me to give when I go offer greetings to Fellow Daoist Bai!”
Countless cultivator clans sprang into action, using all sorts of methods, including calling upon their clan members who were already within the sect to try to get in touch with Bai Xiaochun. Even the north bank was affected. Soon, the name of Bai Xiaochun could be heard in all parts of the Eastwood Continent.
The Hou Clan was no exception.
The middle-aged patriarch of the Hou Clan summoned Hou Yunfei and Hou Xiaomei, whereupon he expressed his sincere wishes: “Yunfei, you have an unusually close relationship with Bai Xiaochun. You… have to help out the clan in this matter. I can tell that your sister has taken a liking to Bai Xiaochun. Find a good chance to act as a matchmaker between them.”
Hou Xiaomei’s face reddened. Pouting coquettishly, she hurried off.
Hou Yunfei was a bit worried, but he put on a bold face and nodded in agreement.
A few days later, people from numerous cultivator clans began to show up, gathering on Fragrant Cloud Peak around Bai Xiaochun’s residence. As news spread, some people even began to head toward the Medicine Concocting Pavilion, waiting anxiously for him to come out of seclusion.