Bai Xiaochun was so startled by the sudden enraged roar that he leapt up into the air. When he turned to look over his shoulder and saw Elder Zhou charging aggressively toward him, his eyes went wide, and he almost fainted from fright.
Elder Zhou looked like a fiendish, murderous monster, and although he wasn’t shouting that he intended to take Bai Xiaochun’s life, only that he was going to make him experience the same suffering the phoenix had, Bai Xiaochun thought about what the phoenix had looked like after a full day of pouncing on the other birds of Fragrant Cloud Peak. The mere idea left his hair standing on end.
He couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like to be in the place of that phoenix, and his eyes went wide. Shaking, he looked forward again and began to pick up speed.
He didn’t lack courage; he simply feared death. However… what was happening now had occurred too suddenly. Furthermore, there were things in this world to be feared more than death, such as, being transformed into a phoenix….
When he thought about that, Bai Xiaochun couldn’t help but scream: “Elder Brother, save me! I don’t want to get transformed into a bird!”
Up on the balcony, Zheng Yuandong cleared his throat and pretended not to hear.
Because of the sudden and intense provocation, Bai Xiaochun let out one blood-curdling scream after another. At the same time, he increased his speed explosively. In the blink of an eye, he transformed into a series of afterimages as he shot toward the disciples who were running along in last place. Those disciples felt something like a wind bearing down on them from behind, then stared in shock as Bai Xiaochun shot past them at high speed.
“How… how fast is he going?!?!” Everyone was shocked enough as it was, but then Elder Zhou came racing by in hot pursuit of Bai Xiaochun. That caused countless disciples to all gasp.
The Outer Sect disciples in the audience all stared at what was happening, eyes wide with shock.
“I can’t believe Bai Xiaochun is going so fast!”
“It seems that being chased makes him go a lot faster than usual….”
The audience was in an uproar, and Bai Xiaochun wanted to cry, although no tears came. He felt completely maligned as he fled for his life, passing one disciple after another, all of whom gasped in shock. There was one of them who wasn’t willing to be overtaken. Gritting his teeth, he pushed forward with all the speed he could muster, and yet in the end, he could only watch as Bai Xiaochun sped past him into the distance ahead.
“Dammit, he’s running faster than a mouse whose tail got stepped on!”
By now, disciples both on and off the bridge were completely shaken by the terrifying display of speed put on by Bai Xiaochun. Even the sect leader and the others on the balcony could only look on with jaws wide open, totally shocked by the speed they were witnessing.
Smiling wryly, Li Qinghou looked over at Zheng Yuandong and said, “Well… you really know how to handle things, sect leader!”
Xu Meixiang and the old man from Green Crest Peak had strange expressions on their faces, and the other surrounding elders couldn’t hold back from chuckling.
Zheng Yuandong cleared his throat. “For a stubborn, mischievous kid like him… there really isn’t any other option.”
At the same time, Bai Xiaochun was picking up more speed, throwing the audience into even further commotion.
“He’s already passed up half of the other disciples! At this rate, he’ll definitely make it into the top hundred!”
Some of the audience instantly devolved into cheering.
“Go, Sect Uncle Bai, go…!”
However, it was at this point that the stones on the bridge suddenly trembled, and began to transform into numerous puppets. Eyes glittering, the puppets roared and lunged toward the charging disciples.
In the lead position was Shangguan Tianyou, whose expression was the same as ever as he waved a sword through the air, causing several puppets to explode. He didn’t even slow down by a bit, maintaining his first place position.
Close behind were Lu Tianlei and Zhou Xinqi, as well as the handful of other disciples who had kept their cultivation and identities secret. The entire group easily dispatched the puppets and continued onward at full speed.
Puppets appeared around Bai Xiaochun as well. He watched anxiously as they closed in on him, and was just about to attack when suddenly, a screaming wind could be heard behind him as Elder Zhou approached.
“I’ve changed my mind, Bai Xiaochun! After I catch you, I won’t make you experience what my phoenix did. I’ll make you feel the pain that the other birds felt!” With that, he cackled cruelly. By this point, he was pulling out all the stops in his attempt to incite Bai Xiaochun….
When Bai Xiaochun heard Elder Zhou’s words, all of the blood in his body rushed to his brain, and his vision began to fade. He thought about the miserable fates of the birds, the anguished calls of the spirit tail chickens, and the powerful body of the phoenix. Then… he let out the most piercing, agonized scream of his entire life.
“Help me! I don’t want to be pounced on….”
He was now even more scared than he had been when being chased down by the Luochen Clan. Never before in his life had he been incited in such a matter. As he screamed and trembled, silver light began to shine from his skin, covering him to the point where he almost seemed to be made from silver.
At that point, he broke through to another level of speed. Even as Elder Zhou bore down on him, he bolted off like a startled wild boar.
He was now moving so fast that any puppets who got near him were instantly bashed away and sent flying through the air. He was like a streak of light that shot forward at blinding speed.
From a distance, it wasn’t even possible to see Bai Xiaochun, only the countless puppets being tossed up into the air after being hit.
He was now moving far, far faster than he had been before, and quickly passed up the top four hundred to reach the top three hundred. Then two hundred. Until finally… he was in the top hundred!
He was moving too fast!
Rumbling sounds echoed out as he passed countless disciples, who were left staring in shock at the maddened Bai Xiaochun. He screamed as he flew along, eyes wide and bloodshot, swearing to himself that he must never, ever allow himself to be caught by Elder Zhou.
He’d already forgotten about the trial by fire, or about the rankings. All he was thinking was that he needed to run, run, run… off of the bridge!
The other disciples in his path became obstacles that he would grab and send flying off to the side.
The audience simply watched in amazement.
“Is he… even human!?!?”
“No way! He’s like a mix between a wild boar and a dragon!!”
Elder Zhou stared in amazement as Bai Xiaochun proceeded along without avoiding anything in his path, and instead just slammed everything out of his way. Elder Zhou could help but wonder… if he had pushed Bai Xiaochun a bit too far.
Nothing seemed capable of holding him back. His speed defied description, and yet, he continued to accelerate. Then, rumbling sounds echoed out as a new obstacle appeared. Instead of puppets, numerous webs popped up, stretching out in front of the disciples to impede their progress.
However, the instant a web appeared in front of Bai Xiaochun, he blasted right through it, leaving behind nothing more than a hole. Popping sounds rang out as the nets didn’t hinder him for even a moment.
It was as if his incredible speed had transformed him into a razor-sharp blade!
Next, the ground began to ripple as it transformed into a quagmire, complete with occasional whirlpools. The sudden change slowed many people down, but not Bai Xiaochun…. He didn’t even notice what had happened. A whooshing sound could be heard as he shot forward. Not even the spinning whirlpools could slow him down.
Soon, he was in the top eighty. Then the top fifty, thirty, and finally, the top ten….
Upon seeing this, Elder Zhou gasped. Considering his reaction, there was almost no need to mention the disciples in the audience. All eyes were fixed on Bai Xiaochun; not a single person was even looking at Shangguan Tianyou and the other front runners.
A bald young man with cold, sinister eyes appeared up in front of Bai Xiaochun. He had been concealing his true battle prowess for years, and rarely had any contact with anyone. His entire purpose on this day was to make sure the so-called top three Chosen knew that there were always more powerful people out there in the world.
His entire person radiated flickering light, and three pearls swirled around him, allowing him to slash through all obstacles like a sharp knife through bamboo. As he sped forward, a dozen or so vortexes sprang up around him. However, he knew that as long as he kept his momentum going through the current area, they would soon disappear.
“The stronger you are, the more vortexes appear. I wonder how many vortexes appeared for the people who passed through this area head of me. It must have been a shocking scene.” Even as the bald-headed disciple murmured to himself, he heard something whooshing through the air behind him. Surprised, he assumed that he must be hearing things. After all, there was nothing that could possibly speed through the air like that, not here….
However, before he could even turn his head, a blast of wind overtook him, and a figure blurred past him at top speed. Surrounding that person were over a hundred vortexes!
The bald disciple’s eyes went wide as the figure sped past him without slowing down at all. The disciple rubbed his eyes, thinking he must have been seeing things. By that point, he could just barely make out the person speeding away in the distance.
“Impossible!!” he mouthed.
Trembling, Bai Xiaochun screamed, shooting forward with over a hundred vortexes surrounding him. However, after passing through the current region, they vanished. Picking up speed, he passed more disciples. All of these people were in the top ten, and for years had been concealing their good fortune and strength, hoping to reveal it in shocking fashion now. But then Bai Xiaochun showed up, and all they could do was stare in astonishment at his freakish performance.
Zhou Xinqi gritted her teeth as she entered a new area. Intense pressure weighed down as if to lock her in place, forcing her to slow down.
However, even as she struggled forward, she heard cracking sounds from behind her. Jaw dropping, she looked around, whereupon her pupils constricted in disbelief.
A boom rang out as Bai Xiaochun shot past her. He was moving so fast that the pressure which attempted to slow him down did nothing. Cracking sounds could be heard, and fissures opened up in the air… which then shattered!
“Bai Xiaochun? Impossible!” She could only watch as Bai Xiaochun shattered the solidifying pressure and then shot onward like a bolt of lightning.