Bai Xiaochun understood. That scar explained everything. The person he had encountered in that tunnel in the blood master trial by fire had not been Xuemei.
“Mei’er doesn’t remember anything that happened after she entered the tunnel that day,” Patriarch Limitless said slowly, his expression serious. “That includes everything involving you becoming the blood master. She only remembers waking up outside of the Blood Ancestor.
“After realizing she had no memories of the events in the tunnel, her heart was filled with confusion and panic. She immediately came to report everything to me, and even I was shocked. I used all the power at my disposal to investigate the matter, but couldn’t come up with any explanation. If you know the person in question, tell me who it is!”
Bai Xiaochun opened his mouth to speak, but in the end, didn’t reveal Du Lingfei’s name. He suddenly realized that, considering he didn’t know who she really was, he also didn’t know if her name was even really Du Lingfei....
Everything about her was a big mystery. As he sank further into silence, he also realized that all the clues he had pieced together so far were useless.
Finally, he shook his head and clasped hands formally to Patriarch Limitless and Xuemei. Then he turned and left. Xuemei sighed. Obviously, Bai Xiaochun had some sort of connection to whoever it was that had replaced her in the tunnel. She could also see that Bai Xiaochun had been struck with deep sadness.
Patriarch Limitless watched Bai Xiaochun leave, and did nothing to stop him. Bai Xiaochun had a very special position, and if there was something he didn't want to talk about, Patriarch Limitless couldn't force him to do so.
Bai Xiaochun walked down the street for some distance, then randomly selected an empty spirit abode to enter. Once inside, he looked up at the moonlit sky and thought back to everything he remembered about Du Lingfei. Then he reviewed what he had learned from Patriarch Limitless and his daughter. After a while, he sighed.
“Du Lingfei, just who exactly are you...?”
A month went by, during which time the Spirit and Blood Stream Sects slowly absorbed the Profound and Pill Stream sects. The enormous city became their new sect headquarters. As for the cultivators of the Spirit and Blood Stream Sects, the time they had spent fighting together left many of them with close friendships.
Although the two sects were not yet fully united, there was much less friction than before. Occasional conflicts would break out, but overall, things were getting very calm.
Everyone seemed to be keeping themselves under control. After all, the war wasn’t over yet. Although there were no opponents to fight in the Lower Reaches, everyone knew their true goal was the Middle Reaches!
Only by becoming a Middle Reaches sect could the war truly be considered over!
That shared goal was like glue binding the Spirit and Blood Stream Sects together. As for the patriarchs and the Gold Core cultivators, they knew more than anyone that if the two sects worked together, they could be like a powerful weapon. However, any disunity could lead to mutual destruction!
Because of those realities, and because of Bai Xiaochun, the two sects’ alliance continued to grow firm and strong.
After reaching an agreement with the Spirit and Blood Stream Sects, Patriarch Crimsonsoul and the rest of the Profound Stream Sect did their best to join in the efforts. They wanted to be a part of the future Middle Reaches sect, and to have a chance to continue to pass down their traditions.
The Profound Stream Sect cultivators were very sincere in their desire to cooperate. They had been well and truly beaten, and now that a new sect was being founded by the Spirit and Blood Stream Sects, they wanted to be a part of it. They also wanted to go to the Middle Reaches and have access to the abundant resources there. Because of that, they didn’t refuse any of the demands made of them, and worked hard in every aspect that was required.
It was the same with the Pill Stream Sect. As for those who had betrayed their sect in the past, mercy and understanding were shown, and they were allowed to return to their previous positions.
Those two sects had previously been bitter enemies, but now, in this new sect, they had no choice but to be subservient to the Spirit and Blood Stream Sects. If they wanted to have a say in the future affairs of the sect, they had to maintain good relations with the other sects, including the Profound Stream Sect. That was the only way to ensure that they got their share of the resources to be had in the Middle Reaches.
Bai Xiaochun didn’t pay much attention to the goings-on between the sects. He knew that the patriarchs would handle affairs in the best way. Having little else to do, he went into secluded meditation. After burying the matter of Du Lingfei in his heart, he emerged refreshed. Just when he was about to go find Big Fatty Zhang and his other friends, the founding patriarch of the Spirit Stream Sect sent him a Dharmic decree, calling him to the grand hall in the middle of the city.
Bai Xiaochun wasn’t interested in attending any meetings, but he didn’t really have any choice. Sighing, he headed in the direction of the grand hall. Along the way, any disciples who caught sight of him would clasp hands and bow, expressions of respect and awe on their faces. Bai Xiaochun’s heart immediately swelled with pleasure.
As he walked along, he would wave and call out greetings.
“Your hard work is much appreciated, Sect Nieces and Nephews!”
“Keep up the good work! Well done!”
“You have my support, all of you!”
Slowly but surely, his sour mood faded. Eventually, he reached the grand hall, and the disciples on guard duty clasped hands and cried, “Greetings, Junior Patriarch!”
Bai Xiaochun’s heart soared into the heavens.
Assuming the posture of someone of the Senior Generation, he clasped his hands behind his back and said, “Keep working as hard as you are, and one of these days, you might become junior patriarchs too!”
With that, he chuckled and strode into the grand hall.
As soon as he entered, he sucked in a deep breath. The pressure within the hall was so immense that the air was rippling. Right there up ahead of him was an entire group of patriarchs!
Patriarch Ironwood and the Song Clan patriarch had not come to join the main force. Without them present, that left four patriarchs from the Spirit Stream Sect and six from the Blood Stream Sect.
Four patriarchs were present to represent the Profound Stream Sect, including Crimsonsoul. Finally, there were three patriarchs from the Pill Stream Sect. In total, there were seventeen Nascent Soul Daoist masters, whose soul fluctuations completely filled the enormous hall.
As soon as Bai Xiaochun entered, the eyes of all seventeen individuals focused on him. Different expressions could be seen in those gazes. The patriarchs from the Spirit Stream Sect and the Blood Stream Sect were calm. The Profound Stream Sect patriarchs had conflicted expressions, especially Patriarch Crimsonsoul, whose heart trembled with a certain sense of powerlessness.
As for the three Nascent Soul patriarchs from the Pill Stream Sect, their eyes shone with strange gleams of interest.
It all made sense, of course. The entire situation in the cultivation world of the Lower Reaches had been changed because of Bai Xiaochun!
To see so many Nascent Soul experts staring at him caused Bai Xiaochun to shiver. Suddenly, he was struck with the fear that the patriarchs might have decided to dispose of him now that his usefulness was over, or that they wished to settle accounts based on his past mistakes. His face turned pale, and his eyes widened. Looking around nervously, he became more convinced that he was right.
“Um, good morning, patriarchs....” he said cautiously. With the exception of the Spirit Stream Sect patriarchs, all of the other Nascent Soul experts gaped in surprise. However, none of them spoke. Instead, their gazes grew more profound as they stared at him, making it impossible to tell what they were thinking.
The Spirit Stream Sect’s founding patriarch looked at Bai Xiaochun and said, “Bai Xiaochun, there’s something you must--”
The looks on the faces of the patriarchs’ faces caused Bai Xiaochun’s heart to tremble. As soon as the founding patriarch started speaking, he was convinced that he was going to say something bad. It would definitely be some sort of dangerous mission or assignment. Bai Xiaochun’s face fell, and his heart began to beat rapidly.
He suddenly realized that he couldn’t allow the founding patriarch to finish that sentence. If he did, it would be very hard to refuse the request. Before he could finish speaking, Bai Xiaochun clutched at his chest and screamed, then coughed up a massive mouthful of blood. Staggering backward, his face turned a sickly pale color, and he gasped, “Patriarchs, I was seriously injured in the fighting, which opened up previously healed wounds! I need to go into secluded meditation to recover. Alright, I won’t disturb you any longer. Bye now!”
With that, he hurried toward the door.
Before he could take more than a few steps, the founding patriarch glared at him and said, “Stop right there!”
Bai Xiaochun stopped in place, looking like he might cry at any moment. Coughing up another mouthful of blood, he looked piteously over his shoulder at the founding patriarch.
“Patriarch, I really am injured. It's bad. Really bad. Besides, I’ve gotten too famous recently. If I go out on my own, tons of people are going to be after my head. Why don’t you give the mission to someone else? I really can’t be going out into battle....”
The founding patriarch looked like he was being struck by a sudden headache, and was unsure of whether to laugh or cry. The other patriarchs of the Spirit Stream Sect were all smiling wryly. They had heard of Bai Xiaochun’s personality, but this was their first time seeing it firsthand, and they were struck speechless.
The patriarchs from the Blood Stream Sect were even more astonished. Patriarch Limitless almost couldn’t believe what he was seeing, and the arch-patriarch was shocked. It was hardly necessary to mention the Profound Stream Sect or the Pill Stream Sect. Patriarch Crimsonsoul’s eyes were wide as saucers, and his expression was one of complete incredulity, as if he had just seen a ghost. He almost couldn’t believe that the Bai Xiaochun he had seen on the battlefield was the same person as the one standing in front of him.
He even started to wonder if was hallucinating, or if Bai Xiaochun had somehow been replaced.
The three patriarchs from the Pill Stream Sect were completely taken aback. The words Bai Xiaochun had just spoken were echoing in their minds, and they had a hard time reconciling that this was the person who had brought about such momentous changes to the eastern Lower Reaches.
“We don’t want you to go out on another mission!” said the founding patriarch, shaking his head.
Bai Xiaochun blinked, then asked for confirmation a few times.
“I already said, we don’t want you to go out on a mission. Just as you suggested before all of this started, we are discussing the founding of the new sect. We need a name for it, and were wondering if you had any suggestions.”
“Oh?” Bai Xiaochun said. Nervous, he began to blabber: “A sect name, huh? Hm. What about the Undying Sect? Or the Live Forever Sect? No, no, those won’t do. We’re going to the Middle Reaches of the river, right? We need something with the word ‘river’ in it. How about the River-Defying Sect? Or we could go with the Turtle River Sect. Hey, that’s a good name! Turtle River Sect! There’s some deep meaning in that one. Wait. Let me think some more. What about the Bastards of--”
“We’ll go with River-Defying Sect,” the founding patriarch interrupted, worried about where Bai Xiaochun would go next, and that he might say even more unseemly sect names. “There’s another matter to discuss. During the ceremonies, we need to officially name the junior patriarch of the sect. In addition to the name of the sect itself, we also wanted to ask your opinion on who to pick!”
“Officially name the junior patriarch?” Bai Xiaochun’s eyes widened, and finally, his heart eased up with the realization that they really hadn’t called him here to give him a dangerous mission. Breathing a sigh of relief, his expression turned from nervousness to solemnity. The blood disappeared from his lips, and the paleness of his expression turned into dignity. Suddenly, he looked like a mountain peak, standing there tall, reticent, and heroic.
Veins of steel pulsing and eyes flashing like lightning, he said, “No one can handle that responsibility except for me!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter