Despite having successfully shaken the old woman, Bai Xiaochun still didn’t feel completely at ease. Gritting his teeth, he sent the fan flying along for another few months.
At that point, he glanced over at the dispirited Bai Xiaochi, and rubbed his nose awkwardly.
“Er… hey Little Bai, why don’t you go rest up a bit. It’s been a long three years!”
Bai Xiaochi cast him an angry glare, and thought about giving him a piece of his mind. But at the moment, he was just too exhausted, and simply faded from view.
Upon seeing that the spirit automaton had gone to sleep, Bai Xiaochun breathed a sigh of relief. After all, he knew that he was in the wrong. If he hadn’t gotten greedy, then they wouldn't have had to deal with the three year chase.
And yet, the gains he had made three years before caused his eyes to light up when he thought about them. Looking down, he thought about the vast number of souls that now existed in his bag of holding!
“I struck it rich this time! Now I have plenty of ingredients for multi-colored flame!” Considering that there was no imminent threat of danger, he set the fan to auto-pilot and then found a good place to go into seclusion and begin a session of flame conjuring.
He had finished his formula for twenty-five-colored flame three years ago, but had run out of souls to perform tests. Now that his stock was replenished, there was nothing holding him back.
A failure wouldn’t be a big deal, nor would two. Even ten wouldn’t cause him to pause for breath. This time, it didn't take long at all to perform the experiments and solve all of the problems with the formula. At that point, he actually conjured a full twenty-five-colored flame.
A wide smile broke out onto his face, especially considering the fact that he still had a lot of souls left.
With that, he went about working on twenty-six-colored flame, and at the same time, advancing his cultivation. As he flew along in the void, three more years passed.
During that time, he completed his initial formula, and also refined his cultivation base significantly. Eventually, Bai Xiaochi woke up and took control of the fan, pushing it forward with greater speed than before.
Around the time that Bai Xiaochun was about to make his first attempt to conjure a twenty-six-colored flame, the fan suddenly vibrated. Even as Bai Xiaochun and Bai Xiaochi looked around in shock, a familiar voice filled their ears in the form of an angered howl.
“You can’t escape!!”
Eyes widening, Bai Xiaochun shrieked, “It’s that old ghost woman!!”
Sending his divine sense out, he caught sight of the same old paper woman, with the lamp in her hand.
Bai Xiaochun felt like he was about to go crazy, and Bai Xiaochi gasped in shock, shaken by the old ghost woman’s obsessive determination. As she closed in, Bai Xiaochun’s eyes turned bloodshot, and he and Bai Xiaochi powered up the fan, sending it speeding off into the distance!
Not willing to be so easily cowed, Bai Xiaochun took the half-formed twenty-six-colored flame he held in his hand and threw out behind him, hoping to burn the paper woman into ash. However, she simply swallowed the flame!
Scalp tingling with fear, Bai Xiaochun didn't dare to make any further tests such as that. Thus, the fan sped off into the distance, and another long chase began through the void.
Bai Xiaochun scowled, not wanting to just spend his time fleeing, but having no other choice. Obviously, he couldn’t fight the old ghost woman. That much he had learned during the previous chase; nothing he launched back at her did any good.
This chase lasted for another three years…. At that point, the paper woman finally started to slow down, and the distance between them grew. By this time, Bai Xiaochun had grown completely used to her howling and roaring.
The most depressing thing about the entire situation was that Bai Xiaochun had to focus all of his energy on powering and directing the fan, making it impossible to work on his flame conjuring. The upside was that because he constantly drew upon the power of his cultivation base, his cultivation actually advanced steadily the entire time.
Bai Xiaochun eventually realized that the old ghost woman seemed completely obsessed with catching him, and would likely find him again even if he shook her. And thus, he sent the fan in a very different direction, hoping to buy some time. Eventually, he was once again able to immerse himself in flame conjuring.
And thus, years passed. It didn't really matter how fast he fled, or where he lost the old ghost woman.
At the most, she would find him again in three years. He was used to the situation, and yet, had to go all out in his attempts to flee whenever she caught up. Each time, she seemed to move faster than the previous time, leaving Bai Xiaochun scowling on the verge of tears, and at the same time, madly focused on cultivation whenever he could.
Thanks to the pressure, his cultivation base advanced constantly, pushing him very close to the great circle of the Celestial Realm.
Whenever the old ghost woman wasn't around, he would work on flame conjuring. As time flew by, he eventually reached the point where he could conjure twenty-six-colored flame.
With every flame that he put into the mark on the back of his hand, Bai Hao’s aura grew stronger, and the fluctuations clearer.
Unfortunately, he got stuck working on the formula for twenty-seven-colored flame. Unlike the previous formulas, things did not fall into place, and he eventually reached a bottleneck in which he had absolutely no idea how to proceed.
All he could do was spend more time on auguries and analyses. Eventually, ten years had gone by. Bai Xiaochun stood there on the edge of the fan, hair disheveled as he looked out into the void. Next to him, Bai Xiaochi assisted him in powering the fan to go as quickly as possible.
The howling old paper woman was chasing them, her lamp sending out glowing light that turned anything it touched into paper!
“How come this old ghost woman is always popping up? We never saw her before!” It was a real headache. She always appeared randomly, putting Bai Xiaochun in the passive position. Eventually, she began to slow down, and the distance between them grew.
Frowning, he breathed a sigh of relief. Off to the side, Bai Xiaochi seemed just as angry as ever.
“This is all your fault! Why’d you have to go and provoke something so terrifying!? You always have the option of escaping, but I don’t!” Bai Xiaochi was clearly nervous about the paper woman constantly chasing after them.
Bai Xiaochun sighed, but wasn’t in the mood to comfort Bai Xiaochi. Even as he pondered how to possibly deal with the old ghost woman, Bai Xiaochi suddenly said, “Eee?!”
Startled, Bai Xiaochun sent his divine sense out to determine where the old ghost woman had appeared from. But then, his expression flickered.
Instead of the woman, he saw something even more strange; the void around them seemed to be sinking!
Technically speaking, the void had no directions such as up, down, left, or right. But right now, the area around them clearly seemed to be sinking down, forming something that looked like a huge funnel, or a spinning vortex!
Perhaps it could have been attributed to some strange natural phenomenon. However, that was when Bai Xiaochun noticed that, at the bottom of the sunken area was another world…. His divine sense revealed to him a world filled with countless hourglasses!
There were large ones and small ones, filling the entire world, none of them damaged. All of them were operational, and had sand flowing through them. It was a truly bizarre and shocking sight.
“What… what is this place?”
Even as the words left his mouth, Bai Xiaochi’s eyes went wide, and he chokingly exclaimed, “The Essence of time! Heavens! That place has the Essence of time in it!!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter