Swallowed Up

The figure flying toward him looked very familiar. The beam of light it created as it shot through the air was dazzling, and its voice echoed about in grand fashion.

It was none other than the little turtle.

Bai Xiaochun’s jaw dropped, and his hair began to stand on end. He felt like his mind was being struck by 100,000 bolts of lighting, with accompanying thunder pounding into his ears. He immediately let out a shout of alarm.

“When did you get out of my bag of hold–”

Before he could finish speaking, he saw what was happening behind the little turtle. The mountain peak was exploding into a cascade of rocks and rubble. The ground trembled, and numerous birds and beasts fled in terror as a gargantuan toad emerged from under the surface of the earth.

The toad was huge, more than 30,000-meters long…. As it flew up into the air, it blotted out the sun, and cast an enormous shadow down onto the ground. At the same time, an aura of indescribable madness and brutality echoed out!

The toad’s eyes were crimson with fury as it glared down at the flea-sized little turtle. Then it let out a howl that caused the grounds to shake violently and the sky to distort!

AAOOOWWW!

The air was torn to shreds as a sonic boom rolled out in all directions.

As the little turtle barreled along, it also seemed enraged, and let loose a torrent of abuse.

“What are you screaming for? I know you’re male! You’re not even worthy of your own parents, you degenerate! Last time Lord Turtle was around, you were just a tadpole, and I could have crushed you to death in a second! No wait. I could have crushed your dad to death! No wait. Crushed your grandpa!!”

The toad’s eyes burned with bright red light as it slammed down onto the ground, causing everything within 3,000 meters of it to collapse. Crevices snaked out like spiderwebs as the toad then launched itself back up into the air, flying madly toward the little turtle.

Bai Xiaochun’s hair whipped around him madly, and he was sent staggering backward, screaming the entire time.

“Damn you, you bastard turtle! I hate you!!” Bai Xiaochun appeared to be on the verge of tears. The toad seemed ferocious and brutal to the extreme. Although it wasn’t as terrifying as the golden crocodile, it definitely was the type of creature to avoid provoking. And yet, the little turtle had managed to completely enrage it. Bai Xiaochun wanted to kill the little turtle, especially for the fact that he was flying straight toward him. Feeling very much like he was going crazy, he unleashed all the speed he could muster to flee in the opposite direction.

He used his Heavenly Demon Body, his wings, and what little of the powers of gravity and repulsion he could control. Then he added the Mountain Shaking Bash, going all out to become nothing more than a blur of afterimages.

Although the speed he was capable of couldn’t be described as slow, the little turtle was faster. In the blink of an eye, he was right next to Bai Xiaochun.

Looking over at him, he stuck his bottom lip out mockingly and said, “What are you scared of? Lord Turtle’s here! Years ago, I crushed tons of those tadpoles. Aiya. Lord Turtle is tired now. I need to rest for a bit. Don’t disturb me, or else I’ll insult you to death!” The little turtle yawned, then became a blur of light that vanished into Bai Xiaochun’s bag of holding.

In the moment before disappearing, he hollered, “Hey little tadpole! If you think you’ve got what it takes, go ahead and fight with my master! Don’t come looking for me until you can beat him!”

Bai Xiaochun howled in rage, and was just going to start cursing the little turtle when an even more intense roar echoed out behind him, and he looked back to see the huge toad glaring at him with utter madness!

Looking back down at his bag of holding, tears welled up in his eyes. “I’m sorry!” he said. “Lord Turtle, please, let me off the hook! I actually really like turtles….” However, the little turtle didn’t respond at all.

Bai Xiaochun was wracked with grief. He thought back to the golden crocodile, and realized that if things kept going on like they were, the little turtle might cost him his poor little life….

“You’ll get what you deserve one of these days!!” he howled as he sped into motion again. “Senior Heavenhorn, save me!!”

Off in the distance, the Heavenhorn ink dragon was still soaring about in the air. As soon as it heard the cry of the toad, it looked over in surprise, and its eyes widened.

Then it heard Bai Xiaochun, and saw him fleeing at top speed, and all of the scales on its body stood on end.

“Dammit!” it roared. “How did you manage to get the old toad so pissed off!?!?” The Heavenhorn ink dragon was actually trembling inwardly. Although it seemed like a powerful creature, there were some older beasts within this world that even it didn’t dare to provoke. As it turned out, this toad was one of them.

“Stay away!” the dragon cried. “Don’t come over here!” Of course, Bai Xiaochun wasn’t listening, and sped in the direction of the dragon as quickly as he could.

Even as the Heavenhorn ink dragon trembled, the toad let out another roar. Then, the terrified dragon’s eyes turned bright red, almost as if it were on the verge of unleashing its fury.

Bai Xiaochun was instantly moved at how well the old dragon was treating him, and pushed forward with greater speed.

“Senior Heavenhorn, how kind and virtuous of you! I, Bai Xiaochun, will always remember this, and I’ll definitely pay you back once I get to the sect….”

Bai Xiaochun’s gratitude seemingly knew no ends. From what he could tell, the dragon still must be grateful for how much he’d helped it all those years back. Suddenly, the toad roared again, but this time, it also shot out its tongue, which was indescribably long, and moved with a speed that was difficult to put into words.

In the blink of an eye, the Heavenhorn ink dragon had become the target. Clearly, the toad wanted to wipe out the dragon first, and then take care of Bai Xiaochun afterward.

The dragon’s eyes went wide as an intense sensation of deadly crisis surged through it.

“Fellow Daoist Toad, did this punk provoke you? I’ll take care of him for you! Kiddo, how dare you provoke my big bro. Do you have a death wish!?” Although the Heavenhorn ink dragon’s words echoed out in dramatic fashion, inwardly, it was trembling. As for the old toad, it seemed taken aback. Its tongue stopped moving, and instead of continuing to attack the Heavenhorn ink dragon, it suddenly shot toward Bai Xiaochun. Before he could react, it wrapped around him and hauled him off of his feet.

Bai Xiaochun screamed. Although he wanted to weep, the tears wouldn’t come. Before he could do anything else, the sound of rushing wind blasted past his ears, and everything turned dark.

All the Heavenhorn ink dragon could see was the huge tongue wrap around Bai Xiaochun and then, in the blink of an eye, roll back up into the toad’s mouth.

The Heavenhorn ink dragon was trembling, but it put an ingratiating smile on its face as the toad glared at it, then turned and hopped off into the distance.

After confirming that the toad was gone, the Heavenhorn ink dragon took a deep breath.

“That’s it. Game over. Young Bai Xiaochun was eaten by the old toad. Although, now that I think about it, the toad takes a long time digesting things. Bai Xiaochun’s fleshly body is pretty tough. He should be safe for a while.” The dragon quickly reached out to make contact with the patriarchs in the hopes of rescuing Bai Xiaochun as quickly as possible.

**

Bai Xiaochun was now inside the toad. Everything around him was black at first, but slowly his vision adjusted, whereupon his face drained of blood. He was surrounded by mucus and other fluids. Everything was wriggling. It was too terrifying to even describe with words, and furthermore, a horrifically acidic odor filled the air that caused Bai Xiaochun to nearly throw up.

He was currently plastered down against a swath of flesh, and when he tried to lift his arm, numerous strings of mucus spread out and drooped down.

“Heaven-damned little turtle, I hate you!!” To his horror, he realized that his clothing was slowly dissolving. Thankfully, his Undying Live Forever Technique and powerful fleshy body ensured that he was not harmed.

It took a lot of effort, but he managed to struggle into a sitting position. Then he rose to his feet and looked around, frowning.

“That toad definitely swallowed me up. I must be inside of it now….” Sighing in despair, he was just about to try to walk out, when he realized that the way ahead was completely sealed shut. Anger surging, he performed an incantation gesture with his right hand and summoned a blood qi sword. Without any hesitation he slashed it down in front of him.

“Open up!”

A sound rang out like metal scraping on metal, and not a single scratch was visible.

“This won’t work. I need to figure out some other way to open the toad’s mouth. I guess I should go further in. Maybe… dammit! Could it be that the world-famous cultivator Bai Xiaochun… will have to use the back door?!” Scowling on the verge of tears, he kept struggling to make a decision. He tried using the teleportation jade slip, but found that it didn’t work in this location. Sighing piteously, he began to make his way further into the depths.

His clothing continued to melt. Thankfully, his fleshly body was strong enough that he could hold on for the moment. As he walked along, his feet stuck to the sticky ground, causing him to almost throw up on multiple occasions.

“I’m gonna kill you, little turtle!!” Enraged, he rifled through his bag of holding several times, but wasn’t able to find even a trace of the little turtle.

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Eternal Parasol!

Feeling like he had no other choices at hand, Bai Xiaochun proceeded onward, step by step. Eventually, he lost track of exactly how many steps he’d taken. Thankfully, his cultivation base was in late Foundation Establishment, and his seventh spiritual sea was on the very cusp of being fully crystallized. Because of that, his spiritual power reserves were deep, allowing him to hold his breath for very long periods of time.

Most important of all was his powerful fleshly body. Despite the stinging sensation and the acrid odor, he was able to grit his teeth and proceed onward.

“Worst case scenario, I just wait to be saved. That old dragon might fear death, but he’ll definitely inform the patriarchs of what happened….” He couldn’t believe he was so unlucky, and at the same time, his hatred for the little turtle grew even stronger.

Cursing the entire way, he proceeded deeper. Every once in awhile, he saw the corpses of various animals that were apparently difficult for the toad to digest. Some of the bones had been dissolved down until they were pitch black, but still refused to melt completely. Bai Xiaochun shuddered.

“I don’t want to become a skeleton….” he murmured, hurrying forward. He didn’t want to stay in this place for even a moment longer than necessary.

As he walked along, the little turtle suddenly stuck his head out of his bag of holding. Looking around, he blurted, “Wow, you really ended up inside here!”

Bai Xiaochun’s eyes bulged with madness, and his hand shot down to grab the little turtle. However, the little turtle ducked his head back into the bag of holding, and Bai Xiaochun grabbed nothing but air.

“Get out from inside there!” Bai Xiaochun roared, shoving his hand into his bag of holding.

The turtle chuckled coldly. “You think I’ll come out just because you tell me to? What do you take Lord Turtle to be, a complete blockhead? I’m not going anywhere!”

“Y-y-you….” Bai Xiaochun rifled angrily through his bag of holding, but was unable to find a trace of the little turtle.

Tears began to well up in his eyes. He truly couldn’t handle this situation anymore. The little turtle was just too good at causing disasters. Every time he provoked terrifying entities, Bai Xiaochun ended up feeling like he was going to get killed. “I’m sorry…. Lord Turtle… if things keep going like this, I’m going to end up dead thanks to your games.”

“Well, considering you’re being so well-behaved, Lord Turtle will give you some good fortune. You do what I tell you, and you might find something very interesting in this place.” The turtle slowly stuck its head out of the bag of holding, but only by a little bit. Bai Xiaochun almost tried to grab him, but knew that the little turtle was always completely on guard, making it difficult to succeed. Sighing, he decided to follow the little turtle’s directions. After going back and forth for awhile, they reached a wall of flesh in a very remote location.

“This is the place. Alright, come on, hurry up! This is one of the weakest spots here. Use as much strength as you can to break open a hole. This is the place I remember noticing when I was strolling around before. There’s a treasure buried here!” The little turtle immediately got excited.

“Buried treasure?” Bai Xiaochun said, a look of shock appearing on his face.

“You heard me!” the turtle said, sighing. “It’s a good thing Lord Turtle had nothing better to do than get you swallowed by this big toad. It’s just too bad that you didn’t get swallowed by that golden crocodile. It had a treasure inside of it too.”

Bai Xiaochun looked dejectedly at the wall of flesh in front of him, then gritted his teeth and began to rotate his cultivation base. The power of his spiritual seas surged, and the image of a heavenly demon appeared behind him. When his cultivation base was at its highest level, he howled and then lashed his right hand out with lightning-like speed. At the same time, his thumb and index finger closed in on each other as he used the Throat Crushing Grasp.

A boom rumbled out, and a crack opened up in the spot the little turtle had indicated. The body of the toad trembled, and then twitched, causing a rain of acid to splash about inside of it.

The acid was very powerful, and the bits that landed onto Bai Xiaochun caused white smoke to rise up into the air. It actually hurt quite a bit. The acid started to build up to the point where Bai Xiaochun wasn’t sure how much longer he could hold on. Soon it was up to his ankles, like a rising tide. Screaming, he continued to unleash powerful attacks.

“Faster, faster,” the turtle urged. “Come on!”

“You’re doing great, Bai Xiaochun. You can do it!”

“I support you!”

The little turtle continued to shout out encouragement until Bai Xiaochun couldn’t take it anymore and yelled, “Shut up…!”

After unleashing quite a few attacks, the crack opened up wide enough that he was able to grab the sides with his hands and rip it open even further.

A crevice was torn open wide enough for Bai Xiaochun to fit through. There was no time for contemplation. The acid was rising dangerously high, and his entire body hurt. Without any hesitation, he dove into the crack.

He was now in a tunnel, and surprisingly, the walls were made, not from flesh, but rather, stone. Even more surprising was that there was no acidic aroma anymore, but instead, a delicate fragrance that felt quite refreshing.

Even as he looked around in surprise, the little turtle flew out of his bag of holding, an excited expression on his face.

“Hahaha! Lord Turtle has finally dusted off the old tools of the trade. This is incredible. Come on, let’s see what treasure there is to be had….” Eyes shining, the little turtle shot down toward the end of the tunnel, which opened up into a small stone chamber!

Bai Xiaochun hurried along. After entering the stone chamber, he looked around in astonishment. It was roughly 300 meters in diameter, and was surrounded by what appeared to be countless red and green vines that bored into and out of the stone itself.

The red and green vines were very thick, and were all wriggling and writhing. Closer examination revealed that they were most likely part of the toad’s body.

“This place….” Bai Xiaochun murmured. He looked down toward the middle of the stone chamber, and noticed a stone dais, upon which was a jade slip and a black parasol. He quickly realized that the fragrant aroma was coming from the parasol.

“There really is treasure hidden here!”

Before he could examine the area any further, the little turtle’s eyes began to shine, and he said, “Now this is impressive. Someone used a powerful divine ability to get this giant toad under control right before it reached the level of a beast king. Not only did that person manage to slow its progress toward becoming a beast king, he converged all of the toad’s nerves into this location. It’s not quite a magical sealing, but it’s almost the same. It brought the toad under control, and basically turned it into a mobile immortal’s cave!!

“Unfortunately, that parasol is only half-completed. Some accident must have befallen the owner of this immortal’s cave before he finished his work. Otherwise the toad would have eventually become a beast king. Hm, methods like these, controlling a beast king, turning it into an immortal’s cave, using its life force to extend one’s own…. Those are all the methods of the ancient cultivators of the Dao of the devils!”

As the little turtle flew excitedly around the immortal’s cave looking around, Bai Xiaochun’s heart began to pound. Although he didn’t quite understand everything the little turtle was talking about, his final words were completely astonishing.

“A cultivator from ancient times? That could control a beast king…?” Bai Xiaochun wasn’t completely unfamiliar with beast kings. Bruiser was a battle beast who had the potential to become a beast king in the future. Although he wasn’t fully in the beast king level, he could already control countless other battle beasts, enough to shake an entire sect.

As Bai Xiaochun took a breath to calm himself, the little turtle landed in front of the stone dais in the middle of the immortal’s cave. As he looked at the jade slip and the black parasol, his eyes shone with an intense glow.

“Hurry up and see what’s written on that jade slip, kid. It’s definitely going to explain who did all of this. Maybe there’s even a teleportation technique in there to get us out of here. If so, we can leave right now.”

Bai Xiaochun walked nervously over to the jade slip. After a bit of hesitation, he leaned over to look at it more closely, and when he was sure it was safe, he picked it up and poured some spiritual power inside. Instantly, an ancient voice spoke in his mind.

“The ancestor wisheth to wage war, and assist I shall. I will likely meet my downfall. This parasol doth be named Eternal. Were the parasol to be completed, it would be a heaven-tier spirit weapon.

“This beast is named Blueland, and it doth be a natural-born traitor. Only if thee possess the power of a Deva can thee control it. If thy cultivation base doth not suffice, use my technique to absorb the beast’s life force, and raise thine own!”

The voice faded away, and then the technique for absorbing the beast’s life force appeared in Bai Xiaochun’s mind. He put the jade slip down. Feeling a bit dazed, he looked over at the parasol, and then his eyes began to shine brightly.

“After it’s complete, it will be a heaven-tier spirit weapon? A spirit weapon!? The treasures which make up the reserve powers of entire sects are called heaven-tier!?” Panting, he stepped forward and picked up the black parasol.

The instant he touched it, the parasol began to glow with flickering light, and a blast of cold air spread out from it. Bai Xiaochun felt almost like he was being frozen in place, as though his blood were solidifying. A sensation of deadly crisis filled him, and yet, he fought it under control. However, he was unable to open the parasol. Eyes shining, he looked at it and then started laughing.

However, picking up the parasol had apparently opened a magical seal. Suddenly, the entire immortal’s cave began to tremble, and a muffled roar could be heard outside the immortal’s cave. At the same time, intense pressure began to weigh down.

Apparently, the huge toad had detected what was going on, and was doing everything it could to crush the immortal’s cave into dust!

Massive rumbling sounds echoed out, along with cracking sounds. The tunnel outside of the immortal’s cave collapsed, and massive amounts of acid flooded in, along with a noxious odor. The immortal’s cave couldn’t hold on much longer, and began to collapse. Bai Xiaochun was trembling, and the pressure weighing down on him caused his knees to tremble, and blood to ooze out of the corners of his mouth.

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