In the half of the Fallen Sword World that was affected, countless areas began to distort and twist. It seemed as though countless slumbering banebeasts within the air itself were suddenly being awoken by the crashing of thunder. Somehow, they could sense Bai Xiaochun’s spirit medicine, and trembled, slowly opening their eyes.
Although there were disciples from the four sects in some of the areas where the banebeasts began to wake up, most of the areas were devoid of cultivators. As soon as the banebeasts opened their vicious eyes, they looked in Bai Xiaochun’s direction, radiating greed and madness. Moments later, countless howls ripped through the air.
Ripples spread out through the Fallen Sword World like waves on water, stirring the banebeasts, which began to rush at top speed through the air.
However, what was more shocking than the banebeasts was what happened in certain locations where the banebeasts didn’t dare to enter. There, numerous shadowy figures began to appear out of thin air.
There were men and women, old and young. The youngest of them all was a little girl in a white dress. Clutched in her arms was a skinless, blood-colored bear. They floated there with blank looks in their eyes, accompanied by various strange beasts that were not native to the lands of Heavenspan.
They were banesouls!
All of the living things which had been killed by this enormous sword during its existence beyond the heavens were affected by earthstrings and transformed into these lifeless souls!
They were bizarre and enigmatic to the extreme, and apparently, were not people of the lands of Heavenspan. They had come from the legendary region beyond the heavens, the location of that which was eternal!
Now they were scattered about through the various remote regions of the Fallen Sword World, in places where the banebeasts didn’t dare to even approach.
As of this moment, numerous such figures were stepping out of thin air to appear in the open. Some of them wore ancient robes, some wore battle armor, and some had skin made of scales instead of flesh. They looked strange; most of them badly mutilated, as if from combat wounds. Some had missing arms, some were partially decapitated, some had gaping wounds in their torsos. As they appeared, black mist pulsed out from them in all directions.
All of the banesouls had blank expressions. They had no consciousness, nor any memories. Anywhere they passed, the banebeasts would be left trembling, and would simply cower as they went by. Any banebeast which was unlucky enough to actually be touched by one of the banesouls would instantly be destroyed and vanish into nothing.
The banesouls that had the shape of beasts were particularly bizarre, as if they had been pieced together from parts of different creatures!
The banesouls began to float through the air, picking up speed until they were moving unbelievably quickly. Nothing could block their path as they headed straight toward Bai Xiaochun!
Vast numbers of them were converging upon him from all directions!
As they passed along, some of the disciples from the four sects realized that something strange was happening. They saw the air rippling as countless banebeasts appeared, and at first, many of the ecstatic disciples rushed forward to try to kill them. But soon, their scalps began to tingle as they realized that there were far too many, hordes of them, like a tide of banebeasts!
“What’s going on?!”
“Heavens! The banebeasts are usually so hard to find. Why are there so many of them all of a sudden!?”
“Something must have happened. Dammit! That’s not a banebeast, that’s a banesoul!” Cries of astonishment began to ring out all over the Fallen Sword World. As soon as the disciples realized that there were banesouls flying among the banebeasts, they began to flee.
The banesouls were terrifying, and the elders of the Four Great Sects had repeatedly warned all of their disciples about their existence within the Fallen Sword Abyss. Under no circumstances were the banesouls to be provoked! They were to be avoided at all costs!
“Even the banesouls are attracted to whatever is in that direction. Just what exactly is happening over there!?”
“Let’s follow from a distance and check it out!” The disciples began to follow the tide of banebeasts and banesouls, either alone or in groups of between three to five.
By this point, half of the entire Fallen Sword World was being utterly shaken by the nine volleys of thunder created by Bai Xiaochun’s spirit medicine.
Within the mountain cave, Bai Xiaochun sat there looking a bit gaunt, his hair disheveled as he stared at the pill furnace. With every rumbling boom, more cracks would spread out across the surface of the furnace.
After the ninth boom, the pill furnace suddenly trembled violently and then exploded, sending fragments shooting out in all directions. At the same time, four beams of mysterious black light emerged.
Bai Xiaochun had been prepared for just such a thing to occur. He instantly unleashed the Violet Qi Cauldron Control Art, creating an invisible field of control in the area that enabled him to quickly secure the four spirit medicines which had been trying to escape.
“Think you can get away?” he said with a proud harumph. Looking down at the four medicinal pills with shining eyes, he hurried toward the mouth of cave to see if they would work on the banebeasts.
However, the instant he emerged, his expression flickered, and he took a step back, just avoiding a black scorpion tail which slashed through the air in the spot where he had just been standing.
A moment later, a three-meter-long black scorpion materialized out of thin air, its eyes burning with madness and greed as it stared at the four medicinal pills in Bai Xiaochun’s hand. Then, it lunged forward.
Considering the ferocity of its movements, it didn’t appear to be a low-level banebeast. It was a mid-level beast, much like the bear from earlier.
Eyes glittering, Bai Xiaochun reached out with this left hand, moving like lightning as he grabbed the scorpion’s tail. Then he smashed it against the stone wall of the cave. At the same time, he sent some spiritual power into the scorpion’s body, to its weakest spot, which he crushed. The scorpion twitched, and then went limp and began to fade away, transforming into earthstring energy that Bai Xiaochun quickly collected up.
An ordinary cultivator would never be able to deal with a mid-level banebeast so easily, which was why the Senior members of the sect had warned the disciples about them. Bai Xiaochun was different, though. After studying nearly a hundred banebeasts, he was very familiar with their weaknesses, and could kill them easily.
“The pills just came out of the furnace and they’re already attracting the attention of banebeasts. Hahaha! Bai Xiaochun’s medicinal pills are a success!” Bai Xiaochun was excitedly contemplating whether or not to perform a spirit enhancement on the pills, when suddenly, numerous ripples began to spread out in the area as one banebeast after another appeared.
“So many! Alright, that’s more than enough. Hahaha! At this rate, Bai Xiaochun is definitely going to be the first to reach Foundation Establishment!”
Bai Xiaochun was so excited he almost started dancing in place. Just as he was about to reap his bountiful harvest, his expression flickered, and his eyes went wide as he noticed a partially decapitated figure off in the distance. He wore a long gray robe, and the one eye that remained on his face had a blank expression. He floated along through the air, his head twitching a bit. Eventually, he laid eyes on Bai Xiaochun, and suddenly, his expression changed.
He suddenly seemed to be filled with longing. Eyes locked onto Bai Xiaochun, or more specifically, the medicinal pills in his hand, he began to speed forward.
The banebeasts in the area all trembled at the sight of him, and didn’t dare to even move. As the figure sped along, he hit seven or eight banebeasts in the process, causing them to shriek and then explode.
“A banesoul?! The pills even attract them? Well, at least it’s only one of– huh?” Before he could finish speaking, another banesoul appeared further off in the distance. This one was missing its arms, and had wildly disheveled hair. It wore a set of dilapidated armor, and was also staring longingly at Bai Xiaochun as it sped toward him.
Things weren’t over yet. An old man appeared off in the distance, with a huge, gaping wound in his abdomen. He too began to head directly toward Bai Xiaochun.
Bai Xiaochun’s scalp began to tingle with fear. Taking a deep breath, he took a step as if to flee, only to find to his shock that there weren’t just three or four or five banesouls in the area, there was an entire horde!!
Ripples filled the area as numerous banesouls appeared in quick succession, their eyes gleaming with longing. Bai Xiaochun’s face drained of blood as he contemplated what it would feel like to be ripped to pieces.
“How could this be happening?!” He wanted to cry, but no tears would come at the moment. His first thought was to flee. He had no desire to face so many banesouls. Even members of the Senior generation of the four sects would likely perish at the hands of these banesouls, much less the Qi Condensation disciples.
However, in the moment that Bai Xiaochun made to flee, the banesouls all looked at him and screamed. The power within their voices caused the banebeasts to tremble even harder. A tremor ran through Bai Xiaochun, and he teetered on the verge of unconsciousness as he staggered backward. It felt like he had just been hit with a hammer; blood sprayed out of his mouth, and he began to tremble in fear. Screaming, he bit his tongue, using the pain to stay awake as he took to flight.
Cold sweat broke out all over him as wings appeared behind the black wok on his back. With that, he unleashed all the speed he could muster, transforming into a series of afterimages that shot off into the distance. However, the flying banesouls also increased their speed.
In the blink of an eye, the dozens of nearby banesouls all took to flight in pursuit of Bai Xiaochun.
One of the fastest banesouls was the partially decapitated one that had appeared first. However, in addition to that one, there was a girl in a white dress. Although she didn’t scream like the others, her face was especially cold and sinister, and her blank eyes glimmered with intense longing.
When the disciples of the four sects who had been following along saw what was happening, their scalps tingled with shock. That was especially true of the Spirit Stream Sect disciples. Some of them anxiously tried to get the banesouls to stop chasing Bai Xiaochun, but the banesouls were completely and utterly focused, and ignored everything else but him.
“Help! They’re trying to kill me!!” Bai Xiaochun fled for his life, screaming at the top of his lungs. Tears leaked out of the corners of his eyes; never could he have imagined that the medicinal pills he had concocted to attract banebeasts would, for some unknown reason, drag banesouls into the picture. “Dammit! I must have made a mistake in my concocting and produced another strange pill!”
The banesouls were getting closer and closer, and seemed to be devolving further into madness as they chased him. Bai Xiaochun finally gritted his teeth and, heart aching, tossed one of the four medicinal pills far off into the distance.
In that instant, the banesouls shivered, and their heads swiveled. Then, most of them shot off after the medicinal pill he’d just thrown. Bai Xiaochun was finally able to truly flee. Some distance away, he looked over his shoulder, shivering.
Behind him, the banesouls were fighting over the medicinal pill. Shockingly, the one who ended up getting the pill in the end was the girl in the white dress, who tossed the pill into her mouth as soon as she wrested control of it.
In that instant, the blankness in the girl’s eyes faded a bit. A strange glow appeared, and her expression turned even more icy. For some reason, she suddenly seemed to possess intelligence!
Slowly, the girl turned to look at Bai Xiaochun.
When their eyes met, Bai Xiaochun’s scalp started tingling so hard it felt like it was going to explode. At the same moment, a faint, bizarre voice was transmitted into his ear.
“Come play with me, big bro.” All the hair on Bai Xiaochun’s body stood on end. Turning around, he fled as fast as he could.