Back in his immortal's cave, Bai Xiaochun sat there scowling and sighing. He wasn’t sure exactly what to think about imposter Nightcrypt. On the one hand, he felt a bit sorry for him. However, having taken over his identity, he had to deal with the possibility that he might have some sort of relationship with any female disciples he ran into. If they were pretty, he might even think about acknowledging their affections.
Unfortunately, none of the female disciples who would willingly hand medicinal pills over to Nightcrypt were very good-looking at all.
“It’s a good thing nobody knows who I really am. Otherwise my true reputation might be irreparably stained.” Sighing, he decided that in the future, he would do his best to stay indoors.
With that, he began to practice cultivation. Normally speaking, he wouldn't work so hard at cultivation, but the benefits of working with the Undying Heavenly King in this place were too good to not take advantage of. He knew that he had an unprecedented opportunity here, and it couldn’t be abandoned.
After some thought, he even tried to use the Undying Live Forever Technique to produce a drop of true Undying Blood. Unfortunately, Undying Blood came from the final volume, and at this point, all he could do was absorb blood qi from the area. It was impossible to form it into Undying Blood at this point.
Even still, he was very excited at the prospects laid out in front of him. He also surreptitiously cultivated the Violet Qi Heavenspan Incantation, continuing to melt the Heavenspan River water that was in his spiritual sea.
His true cultivation base was making constant progress. Furthermore, his Heavenspan Dharma Eye, which was hidden by the powers of the mask, was also becoming more powerful.
What he anticipated most, though, was the Mountain Shaking Bash.
“After reaching the power of ten mammoths, I can form the Berserk Ghost Body. Then I’ll have completed the first level of the Undying Heavenly King!” As he continued to work with the Undying Heavenly King volume and absorb blood qi, he felt his power growing, and it filled his heart with anticipation.
“In a few days, I should have the power of two of those primeval mammoths. I'm already getting close to the power of ten! And I'm only on the back of the hand. Once I get onto one of the fingers, I should progress even more quickly!” In his excitement, he thought about how the five mountain peaks of the Blood Stream Sect all had blood waterfalls. Presumably, if he practiced cultivation near a blood waterfall, his progress would be incredible.
Sighing, he couldn’t stop thinking about how the Blood Stream Sect really was his own personal Holy Land.
He hadn’t abandoned his work with protomagnetic power and the Human Controlling Grand Magic. Although he hadn’t performed any experiments recently, he had spent a lot of time thinking about and analyzing the subject.
A month flew by.
During that time, he never left his immortal's cave. However, he was able to observe the area outside, and frequently saw Blood Stream Sect disciples fighting each other. At one point, he even saw a disciple get killed not too far away from his immortal's cave.
If that had happened in the Spirit Stream Sect, it would have been a huge deal. But in the Blood Stream Sect, it didn’t cause much of a commotion. However, he did hear from someone passing by that the person who had killed the other disciple had been summarily executed. After all, the Blood Stream Sect allowed fighting, but not killing, and they strictly enforced their rules. Anyone who crossed the line would meet a brutal end.
“It’s like they’re raising scorpions....” Bai Xiaochun thought. Although the Blood Stream Sect seemed chaotic and without rules, the truth was that there was an order to it.
A few more days passed, and word was passed down that an arrangement had been made for those who failed in the Foundation Establishment Holy Lands. Just as the disciple had said in the meeting, they would have a chance to join a trial by fire to reach Foundation Establishment.
To qualify for the trial by fire, they had to accomplish a mission set forth by the sect. Each person received a different mission, and Bai Xiaochun’s was to go to Corpse Peak and refine a corpse!
Bai Xiaochun found the nature of the mission somewhat revolting. However, despite the fact that the mere idea of working with corpses was disgusting, he couldn’t change the task. If he wanted to eventually get to that relic of eternal indestructibility, he would have to grit his teeth and accept the mission.
That was the only way he could get into the trial by fire, get the Foundation Establishment Pill, and “reach” Foundation Establishment. Then he could choose to become a Dharma protector on Middle Peak.
On his way to the Blood Stream Sect, he had often thought about showing up as an Earthstring Foundation Establishment expert. Although some of the disciples who escaped from the Fallen Sword World might have seen Nightcrypt be killed, there were ways to explain how he was now alive. After all, everyone had life-saving magics. However, if he showed up with an Earthstring Foundation Establishment cultivation base, that would be a different matter. Despite the chaos in the Fallen Sword World toward the end, everyone had been paying very close attention to the earthstring energy and who was absorbing it.
Returning to the sect as an Earthstring Foundation Establishment cultivator would have been too suspicious, so in the end, he abandoned the idea.
The next day at sunrise, Bai Xiaochun left his immortal's cave in high spirits. Carrying the mission jade slip with him, he headed toward Corpse Peak. It was only with that jade slip that he could actually enter Corpse Peak.
There were lots of corpse refineries on Corpse Peak, even some at the base of the mountain.
That was exactly where Bai Xiaochun needed to go to accept his assigned mission. Even from a distance, he could see the corpse refinery that was his destination. It was a huge building, cylindrical and pitch black. Noxious black smoke belched out of the top of the building to rise up into the sky.
There were numerous entrances and exits to the building, with Inner Sect disciples going in and out of them constantly. Grave expressions could be seen on the faces of the disciples who left the building, and their skin was pale, as if they hadn’t seen the light of day in years. They were people who, unlike Bai Xiaochun, had taken the initiative to accept corpse-refining missions from the sect for the purposes of cultivation and study.
As he walked up to the corpse refinery, he suddenly caught sight of someone familiar. It was Xu Xiaoshan, who stood there at the main gate leading to the refinery, his hands clasped behind his back. His cultivation base emanated the fluctuations of Earthstring Foundation Establishment, and he had three grim-looking bodyguards standing behind him as he reprimanded several of the Inner Sect disciples. [1. Bai Xiaochun befriended Xu Xiaoshan in chapter 152]
“Do you know how much I paid to buy this corpse refinery from the sect, fools?
“This place is mine! I had to sell all of my other properties to afford it. If I don’t make enough profit to buy paper talismans, you people are going to be sorry!
“I can’t believe you destroyed one of my corpses! It might have been nothing more than an ordinary corpse, but it was still worth something. I'm warning you, the lot of you had better pay me back, otherwise I’ll turn you into corpses to be refined!” The Inner Sect disciples were trembling, their faces pale as they immediately admitted their failures. Finally, Xu Xiaoshan waved his hand in irritation to dismiss them.
A dark expression on his face, he glanced around the area and caught sight of Bai Xiaochun.
“What are you doing here? You can’t just come and go as you please around here!”
Bai Xiaochun took a moment to compose himself. If Xu Xiaoshan had dared to talk to him in such a way in the Fallen Sword Abyss, he would have made short work of him. But now, all he did was wave his right hand, sending the mission jade slip flying toward him.
Xu Xiaoshan frowned as he examined the jade slip. Then he looked back at Bai Xiaochun.
“I remember you. You were there when we were all fighting Bai Xiaochun. So, you made it out alive after all!” His expression softened a bit. He had mixed feelings about everything that had happened in the Fallen Sword Abyss. He still admired Bai Xiaochun from the Spirit Stream Sect, and when he thought about how they had fought and conned each other, he couldn’t help but sigh.
“That guy is definitely the jewel of the Spirit Stream Sect now,” he thought, shaking his head.
“Alright, come on inside. Considering we're both veterans of the Fallen Sword Abyss, I’ll give you a few tips about corpse refining.” As Xu Xiaoshan led the way, Bai Xiaochun put a sinister expression onto his face and followed.
Before long, they were in one of the private rooms inside the corpse refinery, which was usually referred to as a corpse cave.
The cylindrical chamber wasn't very large. Nine oil lamps emanated a mysterious light that nevertheless failed to dispel the grim darkness. In the middle of the room was a deep cistern.
The water was the color of blood, and looked bizarre and fantastic. Floating there in the water was a dead person!
The corpse belonged to a burly man with a vicious expression on his face. He didn’t look like a kind person in any way, and there was a fatal wound on his forehead. The skin around the wound had withered significantly, transforming into a pattern that resembled a plum blossom.
Xu Xiaoshan wasn’t familiar with all of the corpses in all of the corpse caves, but as soon as he saw this one, he whispered, “This guy got killed by that shrew Xuemei. The fact that he died fighting her indicates that he must have had an extraordinary cultivation base when he was alive.”
Bai Xiaochun peered over at the corpse, and the mark on its forehead. Immediately, his heart went cold.
“Obviously, on Corpse Peak, we focus on corpses,” Xu Xiaoshan continued. “Generally speaking, the corpses start out ordinary and slowly advance through the levels until they reach the pinnacle. The levels are as follows: pallid zombie, shadow zombie, flying ghoul, grand lich!
“Your mission is to get this corpse to grow white hair. Then it will turn from an ordinary corpse into a pallid zombie!
“The method to do so is explained in this jade slip. Considering you’re in the tenth level of Qi Condensation, and have been around for awhile, you’ve probably heard a bit about how it works. Use your cultivation base to catalyze the blood cistern, and then sink the corpse down inside. Of course, there are a lot of other details you have to master.
“If you work quickly, you can accomplish the task in half a year.” With that, he handed Bai Xiaochun two jade slips. One of them contained information about the corpse refining methods, and the other could be used to control the corpse itself. Then, he turned to leave.
Bai Xiaochun didn't want to waste that much time, though. Looking over at the corpse, he asked, “Is there any way to get it to go faster?”
Xu Xiaoshan chuckled coldly. “Faster? Of course! If you give the corpse enough spirit medicine, then naturally the process will go faster. In fact, if you're good enough, maybe you could make a Nine Serenities Blood Pill. With one of those, you could finish within ten days. Plus, the corpse would be a grand lich, about as powerful as a patriarch!
“I forgot that you can actually do a bit of medicine concocting. Maybe you should give it a shot.” He chuckled again. Blood Stream Sect disciples usually spent their time fighting, and most viewed medicine concocting as a waste of time. Xu Xiaoshan flicked his sleeve and left Bai Xiaochun alone in the corpse cave.
Bai Xiaochun looked down thoughtfully at the corpse floating in the cistern, and soon, his eyes lit up.
“They didn't like me concocting pills in the Spirit Stream Sect, but now I’m in the Blood Stream Sect. I can finally do some pill concocting again....” Becoming a grand apothecary really was proving to be a big headache. He sighed.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translator: Deathblade. Chinese language consultant: ASI a.k.a. Beerblade. Editor: GNE. Memes: Logan. Meme archives: Tocsin. Transcendent Patrons: Daoist Elder N, BLE, ttre208