He was in the thirtieth level!
Leaden clouds filled the sky, and endless mountains stretched out in all directions. Occasionally, certain mountains would rise high above the others, almost like smokestacks. In fact, the thick smoke that belched from those mountains made the entire world murky and gray.
The smoke had a medicinal aroma to it, but the medicinal effects were varied and chaotic, almost toxic. Perhaps because of how that toxic gas filled the world, there wasn’t any life visible.
The lands were barren, and any plants which existed seem to be withered and stunted because of the toxins.
No birds could be seen flying in the sky, and countless skeletons of various creatures covered the mountains. The entire place seemed almost like a huge tomb.
Bai Xiaochun was stunned, both by the toxic smoke, and also a strange, thumping sound.
“That sound is so familiar… what’s this level about?!” There was indeed something very familiar about this place, and as for the toxins in the smoke, he remembered creating such elements himself on numerous occasions.
However, this toxic smoke seemed much stronger than the type he had created in the past. After only being in the level for half an incense stick’s worth of time, he felt as uncomfortable as if a sharp knife were slicing at his throat.
And then he realized what the thumping sounds were: exploding pill furnaces….
“Heavens! I can’t believe a place like this exists….” Shivering, he jumped out of the way of a passing cloud of toxins, and then began searching for a way out of this wasteland.
Because of how strange this level was, he was being even more careful than usual. Unfortunately, no amount of searching revealed an exit of any sort. Furthermore, his passage tended to kick up larger amounts of toxic smoke. On more than one occasion, he saw a mountain get covered with the stuff, and by the time the smoke cleared, all of the vegetation on the mountain had been melted.
And that was only the beginning. As time progressed, Bai Xiaochun came to find that the effects of the smoke were unbelievably dramatic.
For example, on one occasion, he saw a quaint little stream hit by the smoke, after which it turned pitch black, and began to emanate an aura of profound toxicity.
On a few occasions when he wasn’t paying close attention, he breathed in some of the smoke, which caused his guts to twist painfully. Face falling, he quickly ingested some antidotal medicinal pills to counteract the effects. Sadly, the rumbling sounds in his belly didn’t go away, and he was forced to find a random cave…. Sometime later he emerged, clearly physically weaker than before.
“Dammit! I can’t believe there are laxative properties in that smoke too! I'm a celestial! I mastered the Undying Codex! How could I possibly be affected by this kind of stuff!?” He was now nervous about running into some toxic smoke that had the same properties as his Aphrodisiac Pills. The consequences of that happening were simply unimaginable.
“Dammit! I’m supposed to be the one giving pills to other people! This thirtieth level is really strange. I can’t believe that it can actually hurt me!” Shaken by how difficult this level was, he cautiously sent out some divine sense to try to get a better understand of the place.
Before long, a strange expression could be seen on his face as he realized that there were tribes of living beings located in the mountains!
The reason he called them tribes was because they wore crude, ancient-style clothing, much like the savage giants in Wildlands had worn. And yet… the creatures in these tribes could concoct medicinal pills!
Even more unbelievable was that, although these living creatures resembled people, they were very small. They were imps, the largest among them only about the size of an average person’s hand.
Most of them were actually thumb-sized. Many of them, in the middle of their pill concocting, would suddenly jump up and dance with joy, seemingly crazed. They would also jabber in a way that he found impossible to understand.
It was actually a somewhat familiar scene, and reminded him of himself when he passed certain critical points in concocting medicine….
As for the streams of smoke, they were rising up from the tribes as a result of their pill concocting.
When Bai Xiaochun noticed the expressions on the faces of the imps, he was shocked, but at the same time, understood everything. This world had once been a wonderful place, but it had been ruined by the imps’ pill concocting. Countless living creatures had been killed by the toxic poison, and innumerable plants had been driven to extinction. Even the land and sky itself was withering because of it.
“Utterly terrifying,” he murmured, blinking a few times. Considering how horrifying his own pill concocting often went, he actually felt quite a bit of respect for these imps. At the same time, now that he had found someone on a similar level as himself, he was almost itching to see if they were a match for him.
Considering the types of problems that happened when he concocted pills, he had held back for a long time. But after catching a whiff of the toxic odor caused by the imps’ concocting efforts, he suddenly felt like he couldn’t control himself any longer. He really felt like he had to show these imp apothecaries how awesome he was.
“Wait. No. I have to control myself!” After all, his goal was simply to get past this level, so having a competition with the imps would be pointless.
Suppressing his impulses, he tried to think seriously about the level around him. Looking up at the toxic smoke, and then back down at the pill concocting imps, he murmured, “Is the point of this level just to survive in hostile conditions?”
Meanwhile, up in the air, the damaged fan’s spirit automaton was there in the form of a boy, invisible and undetectable by Bai Xiaochun. Hands clasped behind his back, and looking very pleased with himself, he eyed Bai Xiaochun down below.
“The Dark Concocters caused a big headache for the exalted sovereign years ago. Their natural talents in pill concocting are unrivaled, and each and every one of them is completely obsessed with concocting pills. Worse, the medicinal pills they concoct are the type that no one under heaven would dare to eat. Even they won't consume their own pills.
“Hmmmphh! Back in the day, the sovereign would say that if the Dark Concocters were given the right circumstances and resources, they could destroy the entire starry sky. Although this place is only an illusion created with the power of the Dao Essence of Life and Death, it’s almost the same as if it were real. Unless this shameless cheater has the cultivation base of a sovereign, then he definitely won’t last for long here!
“Normally speaking, the requirement is to stay in this land for three days. But I’ll change the requirement from three days to 10,000! Alright, you rogue. If you manage to pass this level, I’ll change my surname to match yours!! I swear it!” At this point, the boy couldn’t help but laugh uproariously.
This time, he was absolutely convinced that he would come out victorious. No one could last for long when dealing with the toxic smoke created by the Dark Concocters. And unless they were careful, one could die a horrifying death. Furthermore, because the entire place was bolstered by the Dao Essence of Life and Death, the Dark Concocters could not be killed by means of the cultivation base. They could only be affected by medicinal toxins similar to their own. That was actually the only weakness to the level. One could theoretically pass the level by forcing all of the tribes that made up the Dark Concocters to surrender. If they all agreed to expel Bai Xiaochun, then according to the rules that governed the level, not even the spirit automaton could interfere.
“But that’s impossible. The Dark Concocters have never surrendered to anyone. Even the sovereign of years past only managed to reach an agreement with them. They’re not the type who will bow their heads.” Having reached this point in his train of thought, the boy began to laugh even harder. He simply couldn’t wait to see a look of true despair on Bai Xiaochun’s face.
In order to speed things along, the boy decided to ‘help’ Bai Xiaochun by alerting the Dark Concocters to his presence.
“Hmmmphh. Tribulation is coming your way, you shameless cheater!” Feeling very excited about what was to come, he performed an incantation gesture and pointed at the ground, causing invisible ripples to spread out through the world of the level.
Almost immediately, the imps in the various Dark Concocter tribes shivered and looked up. Despite the fact that Bai Xiaochun was hiding his cultivation base, they all suddenly looked in his direction, and could see him clearly!
“Someone finally came!”
Countless Dark Concocters poured out into the open, excited looks on their faces as they clamored at the tops of their lungs.
“He’s mine! I need him to be a test tube for my medicine! Don’t even think of trying to fight me for him!”
“Get out of my way, all of you. This test tube belongs to my tribe!!”
“Don’t run, test tube, we’re coming for you!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter