The Pill Stream Sect ordered all of their spies into action, hoping to be the first to find Bai Xiaochun. If they did, they would spare no cost whatsoever to kill him. As for the other three sects, they mobilized large forces to search for the disciples who were currently missing.
As all that was happening, something else occurred on the Eastwood Continent, in a jungle-covered mountain range not too far from Eastwood City. Next to one particularly large tree, the air rippled with teleportation fluctuations, and then Bai Xiaochun appeared, staggering out at a near run.
As soon as he was out in the open, he leaned over and vomited noisily.
“What kind of teleportation was that supposed to be!? Nearly lost my poor little life in the process….” Bai Xiaochun’s face was ashen, and he was panting. What he didn’t know was that past teleportations he had experienced had been performed with weakened teleportation power in order to make them as comfortable as possible. In contrast, the teleportation which had pulled him out of the Fallen Sword Abyss was fully powered. All of the portals set up by the four sects were like that. In a moment of grave crisis, the most important thing was to teleport the targets out as quickly as possible.
A forcible teleportation like that would actually knock most people unconscious.
After emptying his stomach, Bai Xiaochun felt a bit better, although he was still so dizzy that he was seeing stars. Leaning up against the tree, he looked around and realized he had no idea where he was. From what Elder Ouyang Jie had explained, he knew that he could be just about anywhere.
“I should be back on the Eastwood Continent though,” he thought, massaging his temples. Then he recalled the little hand and the strange voice he had heard just before being teleported away, and his heart filled with fear. Trembling, he resolved to never, ever go back to the Fallen Sword Abyss.
Still trying to catch his breath, he sat down on a nearby log and looked down at his tattered garments. By this point, they were so damaged and blood-stained it wasn’t even possible to identify them as the robes of the Spirit Stream Sect. He wanted to change them, but unfortunately, didn’t have a spare set in his bag of holding.
“The Fallen Sword Abyss was so brutal….” As he thought back to everything that had occurred, his scalp began to tingle. What was especially frightening was how everyone had almost gone insane in their desire to kill him. And then there was the vicious, savage battle with Song Que. In the end, he sighed.
“Why do cultivators always end up fighting and killing…?” Sighing, he probed his cultivation base, and found that his roiling spiritual seas were gradually turning golden. By this point, the process was about thirty percent complete.
“Hahaha! Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment!” In his excitement, he forgot about the brutality of the Fallen Sword World. The idea of 500 years of longevity caused his eyes to shine. Flicking his sleeve and sticking his chin up, he proudly said, “I, Bai Xiaochun, am truly a consummate Chosen. Hahaha! Hahahahaha!” After laughing loudly for a while, he cleared his throat. “I guess I should probably go figure out where I am.”
Something else he found interesting was that although his cultivation base was getting stronger and stronger, the aura it emitted was getting weaker and weaker. It was almost as if, because his spiritual seas were climbing to the Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment level, all of the pressure and energy they would normally radiate was now focusing inward.
At the moment, anyone who sensed his aura would place him at the ninth level of Qi Condensation. As the process continued, he had the feeling that his cultivation base aura would eventually disappear altogether, and he would seem like a mortal. Only when the process was complete would he experience a heaven-rending, earth-crushing explosion of power.
“It should be finished in two days or so,” he thought excitedly. With that, he put the matters of his cultivation base aside. Next, he produced a jade slip to try to transmit a message to the sect. Unfortunately, the jade slip had been damaged during the teleportation process. Although the teleportation energy had already faded away, it seemed that he would temporarily be unable to make contact with the sect.
Feeling a bit annoyed, he put the jade slip away and then transformed into a beam of light that shot up into the sky and then off into the distance.
It didn’t take long for him to realize that with his current cultivation base power, he could fly much more quickly than before. He was soon out of the mountain range, whereupon he caught sight of an enormous city off in the distance.
The city walls were very imposing, and were constructed from greenish-colored bricks. Furthermore, each and every brick seemed to be inscribed with magical symbols that formed a spell formation.
The spell formation sent light streaming up high into the sky, seemingly connecting the city to the heavens themselves. A huge green vortex could be seen up above, with lightning occasionally dancing back and forth within it.
There was also pressure weighing down which restricted the cultivation bases of any cultivators that entered the city, making it impossible for them to fly.
The city was huge, enough to house at least 10,000,000 people, and had four main gates which were constantly packed with floods of people going in and out.
In front of each of the city gates were enormous stone steles, inscribed with calligraphy as flamboyant as dancing dragons and swirling phoenixes.
“Eastwood City!” Bai Xiaochun gaped in shock for a moment, and then his eyes lit up.
This was the biggest city in the territory controlled by the Spirit Stream Sect.
It was actually considered part of the Spirit Stream Sect, and was operated by the ten most powerful cultivator clans on the Eastwood Continent. It had a history stretching back 10,000 years, and was home to not only hosts of cultivators, but mortals as well.
In addition to the ten great cultivator clans, there was also a disciple of the Spirit Stream Sect stationed there as an official emissary, responsible for keeping the peace among the clans.
That was the exact position Du Lingfei had been sent here years ago to fill. Although she only had a Qi Condensation cultivation base, she represented the Foundation Establishment elder who was also stationed there. The elder rarely made public appearances, leaving most of the duties to Du Lingfei to handle.
Her primary task was to keep the ten great clans in check.
“Elder Sister Du was sent here a while back as an emissary. I haven’t seen her in such a long time….” Bai Xiaochun’s heart warmed at the thought of Du Lingfei, and he couldn’t help but picture her looking shy and angry at the same time. “Hm. I can’t just walk straight in. I’ll sneak in incognito and check things out first. After all these years, I wonder if my boo stepped out on me and found another man.” Eyebrow cocked craftily, he shot through the air toward Eastwood City. [1. In Chinese, Bai Xiaochun gives Du Lingfei a nickname that is a play on words based on her surname. It actually sounds very cute in Chinese, the type of nickname that you would give to your loverwife. I’m using “boo” since it rhymes with “Du” and is also a cutesy nickname]
As he neared, he could sense that flying was restricted.
“How annoying! I’m a Prestige disciple! I’m the Junior Brother of the sect leader. Eastwood City belongs to the Spirit Stream Sect, so therefore, it’s mine by right! I can’t believe I’m not allowed to fly!” Grumbling all the way, he landed on the ground and headed toward the city gate. There was quite a line, and he didn’t feel right cutting in front, so he went to the back. Before long, he worked his way up to the gate itself, where he paid a small spirit stone tax to enter.
No one paid much attention to him. All they cared about was the spirit stones. Apparently, they were confident that no one would cause any trouble.
“Eastwood City is so big! I can’t believe they still charge a spirit stone tax to get in!” Bai Xiaochun was not very pleased about what was happening. Considering his status, it was really a loss of face. Coughing dryly, he clasped his hands behind his back and strutted through the gate.
Once inside, the sight of the countless towering buildings caused him to gasp.
Everything was huge! The roads were paved with limestone, every slab of which emanated spiritual energy. The buildings were decorated with gold and jade, carved with dragons and phoenixes, and were completely extraordinary to behold.
Everything was festooned with beautiful pearls and spirit stones. The glow of magic rose up everywhere, creating an air of luxury that almost physically buffeted Bai Xiaochun in the face.
“This… this place….” He swallowed as he took in the beauty and luxury. Vehicles trundled back and forth in the streets, and people could be seen everywhere. He almost felt like he was in a different world.
As for the residents of the city, they dressed in silks and satins, and looked very impressive as they walked to and fro. Regardless of the level of their cultivation base, they seemed very proud and lofty. Unlike the mortals in smaller cities and villages, the mortals here didn’t seem scared or impressed at all by the cultivators around them.
As he walked along, Bai Xiaochun couldn’t help but gasp in shock at all the things he was seeing. After all, he had been raised in a village, and after that, spent all his time in the sect. He had never been to a big city like this before.
Of course, considering how he was looking around, he stuck out from the crowd, and the passing cultivators looked over with disdainful expressions, taking him to be a country bumpkin. Some of them noticed how his clothing was ripped and torn, and even stained with blood. Realizing that he was probably someone that shouldn’t be provoked, they quickly got out of his way.
“I never could have imagined how incredible this place is!” The more he saw, the more excited he got. The sheer luxury of the place caused him to sigh, and he was already trying to figure out how to get the sect to transfer him here.
Continuing to sigh, he passed one certain shop, and was suddenly riveted in place. It was a clothing shop, filled with garments of every color and style possible, all of them beautifully tailored and embroidered. Even the lowest quality garments were amazingly crafted.
Bai Xiaochun couldn’t help but muse that the clothing here was far, far better looking than anything from back in the sect. Eyes shining, he walked into the shop.
There were a few people inside, browsing through the selection of clothing. As soon as Bai Xiaochun entered, a couple of them looked over, and when they saw his dilapidated robes, looks of derision appeared on their faces. However, they could sense the aura of the seventh level of Qi Condensation on him, so they quickly looked away.
There was one young man, dressed in luxurious garments, whose eyes went wide as soon as he saw Bai Xiaochun. For a brief moment, a strange gleam could be seen in his eyes before he averted his gaze.
Meanwhile, a smiling salesperson approached Bai Xiaochun and began to show him around.
“This heavenly dragon robe is made from heavenwater anaconda skin. After being cured with eighty-one types of medicinal plants, it was decorated by a grandmaster of embroidery. There’s a spell formation hidden inside that provides resistance against all water-type magical techniques!
“Oh, that thousand leaves coat is crafted from a thousand different types of spirit leaves. A secret magic was used to tailor it, and when you wear it, you’ll be surrounded by the fragrance of plants and vegetation. After wearing it for some time, you’ll naturally exude the fragrance of spirit medicine.
“Oh, this piece….”
Bai Xiaochun nodded, feeling a garment here and there, falling in love with everything he looked at. At the same time, the young man in the luxurious garments finally looked up. Smiling, he walked over to Bai Xiaochun, clasped hands and bowed.