The Scream Of The Phoenix

Almost exactly when Bai Xiaochun cut down the last of the four Foundation Establishment cultivators who had just ambushed him, a strange cry rose up from the distant Sky River Court.

“Hehehe. Hehehe….” Everyone who heard the bizarre, echoing laughter felt a cold chill spreading out across their body, almost as if they were being frozen.

As the laughter rang out, a beam of light rose up from within the Sky River Court, which came to a stop high in the air. Visible there was a cloth doll!

It was only about a meter tall, and dressed in a ragged garment full of holes. It only had a few tufts of hair on its head, and a bizarre smile on its face!

It seemed like something completely ordinary, the type of toy any child might have at hand. But as it hovered there, it emanated a terrifying aura, and let out cackling laughter.

Its eyes shone with red light, making it seem viciously bloodthirsty. Almost as soon as it appeared, it flickered, vanishing, to reappear in front of one of the River-Defying Sect cultivators. The cultivator’s eyes went wide, and then his head exploded, sending blood spraying out in all directions, accompanied by mad laughter.

Everyone who saw the scene play out gasped. As for Bai Xiaochun, his scalp was tingling so hard it felt like it might explode.

“Is that the Sky River Court’s reserve power precious treasure?” he thought. At the same time, Gongsun Wan’er was in another location in the jungle, looking up at the doll with scorn flickering in her eyes.

That was when, all of a sudden, another beam of light cut through the air, speeding rapidly toward the cloth doll. Within that beam of light was the Blood Stream Division’s reserve power, the scarecrow!

It also wore a bizarre smile, and held a patch of skin in its hand. As it flew along, it threw the patch of skin on as if it were a garment, and then sped toward the doll.

Shocking rumbling echoed out as the two bizarre beings slammed into each other and started fighting. The freakish laughter which rang out was bizarre to the extreme!

Many of the River-Defying Sect cultivators breathed sighs of relief. However, Bai Xiaochun, along with the Gold Core experts and some of the particularly quick-thinking Foundation Establishment cultivators, all had anxious looks on their faces!

“If that doll is the Sky River Court’s reserve power, then good. But what if it’s not the reserve power, but rather a lower-level precious treasure? If a mere low-level precious treasure requires the Blood Stream Division’s reserve power to handle, then what would their true reserve power look like?!” Based on what Bai Xiaochun could see, the doll didn’t really seem like a reserve power. If the Dire Skybanyan was considered a reserve power, then Bai Xiaochun couldn’t even imagine what other types of reserve powers the Sky River Court might have.

Even as shock gripped his heart, a piercing scream rang out through the air, and something else flew out from the Sky River Court headquarters. It was a shroud, complete with brownish blood stains and a terrifying, indescribable aura.

Clearly, this shroud was on the same level of power as the cloth doll!

As it screamed through the air, a stream of smoke suddenly rose up from below. Golden light poured out from the smoke, which formed into the shape of a middle-aged Daoist. The Daoist immediately strode forward to intercept the shroud!

That projection was the reserve power of the Profound Stream Division!

The lands were filled with the rumbling of combat, which caused Bai Xiaochun to start to pant. He was feeling anything but safe at the moment, so he quickly produced some more talismans. After collecting the four bags of holding from his enemies, he cautiously made his way forward across the battlefield.

Doing his best to avoid looking up at the fighting in the air above, he focused on his surroundings, trying to move as quickly as possible. At one point, his eyes suddenly flickered, and he performed an incantation gesture with his right hand. Waving his finger, he summoned a violet cauldron, which then smashed down toward the ground.

A huge crater opened up. Snorting coldly, Bai Xiaochun opened his third eye, and immediately saw something standing next to the cauldron that was only visible because of the power of the Heavenspan Dharma Eye.

Not pausing for even a moment, he burst forward, clenching his hand into a fist and unleashing a fist strike backed by the power of his Asura Body.

The figure up ahead seemed shocked, and fell back at top speed. However, the force of the blow still slammed into him, causing blood to spray out of his mouth. The figure solidified into a middle-aged man, who was looking at Bai Xiaochun with shock.

“You can see me!?!?” Even as the words left his mouth, he turned to flee. However, a pair of wings sprouted out behind Bai Xiaochun, and a single flap sent him rocketing forward, his right foot spinning through the air in a powerful, swiping kick.

The cultivator tried to defend himself, even pulling out a large collection of defensive magical items. However, a boom rang out as the magical items were easily destroyed by Bai Xiaochun’s kick. The kick then smashed into the cultivator, crushing the life out of him instantly.

Bai Xiaochun didn’t stop moving. Grabbing the enemy’s bag of holding, he proceeded onward, keeping his Dharma eye open. Any enemies who had concealed themselves in his path were completely incapable of escaping. Soon, Bai Xiaochun changed his trajectory, taking advantage of his sight to help out any fellow sect members who were in trouble.

He saw many corpses along the way. Some were Sky River Court cultivators, others belonged to members of the River-Defying Sect. Some of them were people he knew, which caused him to sink further into silence.

He was unsure of how to express the emotions he was feeling, but he was sure of one thing: his murderous aura was growing more intense by the moment….

“So, this is what cultivation brings…?” he murmured. He understood the truth of matters. He had come to that understanding long ago, based on what he had experienced with the Luochen Clan, in the Fallen Sword Abyss, and fighting outside the Profound Stream Sect city. However, whenever he came face to face with reality, it filled him with complex emotions.

Even as he sank further into silence, he suddenly heard a shrieking call off in the distance. It was a scream of anxiety and grief, and as soon as he heard it, his heart trembled painfully.

Although other people might not be sensitive to that cry, to Bai Xiaochun, it was like thunder crashing into his mind. He recognized that call!

“A phoenix?” Bai Xiaochun sped up, heading as fast as he could in the direction of the anxious cries. As he neared, he saw the very same phoenix that had consumed his Aphrodisiac Pill all those years ago. It seemed to be completely maddened; despite being injured and soaked with blood, it was doing everything it could to attack a black-robed young woman from the Sky River Court.

The young woman’s face was grim, and there was a long, ugly scar on it that marred her beauty. Her eyes gleamed with a murderous light, and she radiated a sensation of intense danger.

Held in her hand was the severed head of an old man, whose eyes were still filled with the disbelief that had struck him in the moments before death.

On the ground at the young woman’s feet was a headless body, clad in the robes of the Spirit Stream Division, blood pooling up around it.

As soon as Bai Xiaochun saw the head, his eyes went wide, and he began to tremble. “Elder Zhou!!”

The severed head belonged to none other than the Spirit Stream Division’s Elder Zhou from Fragrant Cloud Peak, who had taken over as peak lord from Li Qinghou!

Bai Xiaochun was shaking visibly, his lips trembling, his mind filled with countless scenes from the past….

He remembered back in the ovens when he and Big Fatty Zhang had pilfered the precious materials that had been meant for Elder Zhou….

He thought back to when this very phoenix had led Elder Zhou to the Medicine Concocting Pavilion to accuse him….

He thought back to Elder Zhou’s enraged howls as he shot off of Fragrant Cloud Peak to chase Bai Xiaochun, and how he had screamed miserably the entire time….

Back in the qualifying round before the north and south bank Chosen Battles, he had intended to come in last. However, it had been Elder Zhou’s provocation that caused him to flee and take first place….

The memories filled his mind, and then shattered in a burst of indescribable grief. That grief filled his heart, until it was ready to explode out like lightning from the heavens.

Glaring at the young woman, his hands slowly clenched into fists.

When the phoenix saw Bai Xiaochun, it shrieked in anguish and then began to fly toward him. That was when the young woman slowly raised her hand and pointed at the phoenix.

A black stream of light flew out, transforming into a huge mouth that shot toward the phoenix to consume it.

“Are you looking to die!?!?” Bai Xiaochun roared. He took a step forward, and his veins of steel began to pulse. Another step, and he was past the phoenix, where he unleashed a fist strike onto the enormous black mouth.

A boom echoed out as the black mouth collapsed, sending black mist pouring out in all directions. However, the mist didn’t dissipate. In the blink of an eye, it reformed into the shape of the young woman!

The version of her off in the distance was nothing more than an afterimage. Her true body was now right in front of Bai Xiaochun, sneering with disdain as she stabbed her index finger toward his forehead!

Because of how close she was, dodging the move wasn’t an option. And yet, Bai Xiaochun hadn’t even considered doing such a thing. His Undying Live Forever Technique erupted with power, and his Asura Body manifested behind him. Instead of retreating, he headbutted her!

The young woman’s face fell. Never could she have imagined that he would do something so vicious. Before she could react, his head slammed into her finger, causing a cracking sound to ring out. The young woman immediately sped backward, her finger mangled and her eyes shining with a very serious look.

“I don’t have time to waste tangling with you!” she said hoarsely, turning to leave.

“Yeah, well tangling with you is exactly what I feel like doing!” Although Bai Xiaochun’s forehead was injured, he didn’t seem to notice. His right hand flashed with an incantation gesture, and then he shoved his palm out. “Blood Annihilation World!”

Instantly, boundless blood qi erupted out from him, forming sealing marks which then took the shape of a whole world that blocked the young woman’s path of retreat.

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Completely Crushed!

“Looking to die!?!?” the young woman said with an enraged laugh, the killing intent in her eyes bursting with intensity. Her cultivation base was in the great circle of Foundation Establishment, and she was an extremely adept killer. In fact, she had killed quite a few other cultivators in the great circle. Were it not for the fact that she was on a special, urgent mission, and Bai Xiaochun was clearly beyond ordinary, she would never have just fled.

And yet, here he was, blocking her path as if he didn’t know what was good for him!

Bai Xiaochun’s expression was placid, but his eyes were bloodshot, and he was surrounded by a strong murderous aura that caused the Blood Annihilation World to ripple and distort. Without the slightest hesitation, he waved his finger in the direction of Elder Zhou’s corpse.

Instantly, all of the Elder Zhou’s shed blood began to merge together and float up into the air, where it turned into a blood-colored sword!

Staring at the woman, he said, “Don’t get anxious…. It will only take a moment for me to cut you down with this sword!”

In response, the woman’s laughter grew louder. And yet, for some reason, perhaps because of the expression on Bai Xiaochun’s face, she felt unease growing inside of her.

“Since you have a death wish, I guess I’ll help you get what you want!” Eyes flickering with killing intent, she performed a double-handed incantation gesture. Instantly, her body blurred, and nine streams of black mist erupted out, which began to gobble up the spiritual energy in the area. In the blink of an eye, the nine streams of mist had become nine enormous waves, racing toward Bai Xiaochun from nine different directions.

Apparently, if those nine waves converged upon each other, they would explode with shocking power!

Although all of this takes a bit of time to describe, the young woman attacked with surgical precision and quickness. In the time it takes a spark to fly off of a piece of flint, the nine waves were locked down on Bai Xiaochun and closing in rapidly.

Bai Xiaochun’s eyes flickered with cold light, and his heart burned with lingering pain. The death of Elder Zhou, and the anguish of the phoenix, gave him an even clearer understanding about war, and about cultivation. Within the bitterness visible in his eyes, a killing intent erupted out. Instead of backing away from the waves, he lifted his right hand and waved it out in front of him.

In response, a surge of violet qi erupted, whizzing through the air to form a huge, 300-meter-wide violet cauldron that settling around him protectively.

BOOM!

A deafening boom rang out as the nine waves slammed into the huge cauldron.

The cauldron began to tremble; the force of each successive wave was greater than the wave before it, and from the look of things, the cauldron was about to collapse.

“Die!” said the young woman, hovering some distance off in the air. At the same time, she lifted her right hand and viciously stabbed out with her index finger.

In response, the nine waves swirled and transformed into countless black leaves. The leaves began to spin around the enormous cauldron, emitting an incisive aura that slashed at it like countless sharp blades.

Rumbling echoed out, and the cauldron shook even more violently than before. Finally, the slashing of the leaves caused the cauldron to shatter, allowing the leaves to speed inside toward Bai Xiaochun.

Bai Xiaochun watched all of this happen without commenting. The woman’s magical techniques were strange, and she was clearly no stranger to magical combat. However, he didn’t care about any of that. Taking a deep breath, he slapped his bag of holding and produced a black parasol.

It was none other than the Eternal Parasol!

Without any hesitation, he lifted it over his head and opened it!

His cultivation base erupted with the power of nine crystallized spiritual seas. Streams of Heaven-Dao aura also swirled about, seemingly connecting him to heaven and earth. Strange ripples even appeared in the sky above the battlefield.

The huge black parasol almost seemed like the night itself as it spread out to cover Bai Xiaochun. At the same time, he poured his cultivation base power into it, causing a black glow to spread out.

That glow was the black of night!

At the same time, an astonishing gravitational force erupted out, causing the young woman’s face to flicker. Then she cried out in alarm as her body began to tremble and then wither rapidly. White streams of mist began to pour out from her eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, which were then sucked relentlessly toward the black parasol.

Those streams of mist were her life force!!

“What is that thing!?” she shrieked, shaking violently. She tried to back away, but seemed locked in place in midair. No matter how she struggled, she couldn’t prevent her life force from streaming out of her. Even as her hair began to turn white, she suddenly bit down on her tongue, unleashing the power of self-detonation!

Her right eye exploded, sending blood spraying out in all directions. However, the force of the explosion ripped her free from the gravitational force, shoving her backward by several dozen meters. There, she coughed up more blood, then glared at Bai Xiaochun with venomous hatred and, at the same time, fear. Of course, most of her terror was because of the Eternal Parasol.

Almost immediately, her body began to turn translucent as she prepared to fade into the air and make her escape. Her only desire now was to escape the Blood Annihilation World and then leave this place.

Without any hesitation, Bai Xiaochun put away the Eternal Parasol and shot after her at top speed. Inwardly, he was bemoaning the fact that his ruse hadn’t played out exactly as he’d wished. He’d intentionally provoked her into attacking with the hopes that he could use his Eternal Parasol to drain her life force.

However, this young woman was a Chosen of the Sky River Court, on the very cusp of reaching the Gold Core stage. Not only was she more than an ordinary cultivator, but Bai Xiaochun’s current cultivation base made it difficult for him to control the parasol. Because of that, she managed to escape.

Even as he bore down on her with lightning speed, she began to fade away, until only ripples were visible in the spot where she had just been.

“You’re not getting away!” he said, his voice filled with an intense coldness that even he didn’t realize was there, a coldness like the dead of winter. As the coldness spread out, he opened his Heavenspan Dharma Eye.

As soon as he looked around with his third eye, he unhesitatingly clenched his fist and unleashed a fist strike directly to his left.

A boom rang out, and the air distorted. The young woman suddenly became visible, blood oozing out of her mouth, a look of incredulity and terror on her face.

“How did he find me!?!?” The young woman’s heart was starting to pound. She had been injured again, and was now incapable of fleeing. “Dammit, how could the River-Defying Sect have a cultivator like this? His cultivation base isn’t weak, nor is his fleshly body. His magical techniques are bizarre, and he obviously has a lot of experience fighting. He’s actually managed to pin me down!!” Because of Bai Xiaochun’s strange techniques, she was incapable of fleeing the Blood Annihilation World. Suddenly, her eyes were shot with blood as she realized that instead of fleeing, she had to risk everything in a fight to the death!

“Inverse Blood Sky Spirit!” she shrieked. Instantly, all of the blood in her body began to flow in reverse, causing an intense energy to rise up from within her. At the same time, a powerful aura of plants and vegetation began to spread out.

From a distance, she appeared to be surrounded by scintillating, emerald-colored light. Numerous types of plants and vegetation began to grow around her, almost as if she were becoming one with the jungle around her. Then the plants began to twist and distort as they shot through the air toward Bai Xiaochun.

It was almost as if Bai Xiaochun wasn’t just fighting this young woman, but rather all of the plants in the jungle around him!

“Let’s see how you handle this!” she said, her killing intent surging. Countless leaves, vines, and flowers became a tempest hundreds of meters in diameter. As they swept out, the Blood Annihilation World began to emit creaking noises as it teetered on the verge of collapse.

Cultivators on both sides of the conflict in the area all noticed, and were shocked.

“I’ll show you exactly how I handle it!” Bai Xiaochun replied, his expression growing even more icy than before. Taking a deep breath, he reached out with both hands and performed an incantation gesture. As the tempest of vegetation closed in, he swept his hands violently through the air, simultaneously uttering three words!

“Magic Plant… Arsenal!”

BZZZZZZ!

His hair whipped about him as his energy soared. He drew upon his great circle cultivation base, his Heaven-Dao aura, and his skill in the Dao of medicine, to use the very magic that Li Qinghou had bestowed upon him, the Magic Plant Arsenal!

Buzzing sounds filled the air as the vegetation around him suddenly stopped in place and began to tremble. It was almost as if two forces of will were battling it out within the tempest, vying for control over the plants and vegetation!

“Impossible!!” the young woman gasped, her face flickering.

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