Even as Li Hongming was explaining about soul cultivators and necromancers, the gray-robed man on the black warhorse extended his right hand and pointed at the Great Wall. In response, the more than ten gigantic soul emperors roared and began to charge across the battlefield, followed by the numerous battle beasts in the area.
Of course, not all of the vengeful souls on the field of battle had been used to make the soul emperors, so there were plenty of ordinary vengeful souls to accompany them in their charge.
There were also the pitch-black souls in midair, surrounded by black lightning, and the souls with special magical weapons. As the charge began, intense rumblings echoed out that were enough to topple mountains and drain seas.
The savages also howled as they began to run toward the Great Wall, with only the gray-robed man and the seven or eight soul cultivators remaining unmoving as they watched the scene play out.
The battle was ramping up, and deafening rumbling sounds were already filling the air. As for Zhao Tianjiao, he stood looking out at the battle, listening intently to Li Hongming’s explanation. Although Zhao Tianjiao knew quite a bit about the Wildlands, Li Hongming had personally been here fighting battles for many years, so clearly, his understanding was much deeper and clearer.
Bai Xiaochun stood there licking his lips as he looked at the soul cultivators and the gray-robed man. He had a bit of a different perspective than Zhao Tianjiao; he had been dealing with the Wildlands for a long time now, and was very glad to have this additional information from Li Hongming.
“Neither the vengeful souls nor the savages are the true rulers of the Wildlands,” he thought. “The real ones in charge are the so-called rebels who have been forced to live out there!
“Originally, there probably weren’t very many of them, but after all the years that have passed, they’ve multiplied and become many. Considering how barren the place is, they have no choice but to use soul vitality to practice cultivation. And that’s why they’re called soul cultivators.
“The necromancers must just be outstanding figures among soul cultivators. He said they’re adept at manipulating souls, so I wonder if the process is similar to how medicine is concocted or magical items are forged?” Even as Bai Xiaochun was wrapped up in these thoughts, Chen Yueshan frowned. [1. Footnote: A quick note that “necromancer” has a Chinese character in it that is relatively common in AWE and in xianxia stories in general, and that is 炼. You will often see this characters translated as “refine” because that is the most common dictionary definition for the character on its own. However, when combined with other words, that “refine” character doesn’t necessarily mean refine. For example, 炼丹 is literally “refine pill” but is a real-world Daoist term that means to concoct or make pills of immortality. That’s why I translate 炼丹 as pill concocting. In AWE, the terminology (in Chinese) is slightly different, so we have medicine concocting instead of pill concocting, with the verb being the same, but the noun part changing from the “pill” character to the “medicine” character. Anyway, I digress.
If you remember way back in chapter 4 of AWE, there was a line that talks about the main skills relevant to immortal cultivation, those being medicine concocting, equipment forging, and spirit enhancement. All of those terms use the character 炼 as the verb. I chose early on not to try to have all those verbs match, since the former two were holdovers from ISSTH, and clearly should not use the “refine” definition. Furthermore, I felt that spirit “enhancement” was a more accurate description of that skill. In the case of the necromancers, we find that same Chinese character used again. As for what exactly it means (refine/concoct/forge/use/manipulate souls), you can’t tell from the context. In any case, they practice some sort of technique/skill/magic that has to do with souls.]
“Even if soul cultivators are strong, and necromancers are rare, what are they doing here? What gives them the courage to take on the entire Great Wall with just that small group? Aren’t they worried that we will charge out and kill them?!”
Chen Yueshan wasn’t the only one pondering that very question. Zhao Tianjiao had also been thinking about it. Even Bai Xiaochun looked over expectantly at Li Hongming.
Li Hongming didn't respond. Instead, he extended his right hand, within which appeared a jade slip that he apparently used to transmit some orders. Next, ten enormous magical cannons suddenly began to power up on the Great Wall, sending powerful fluctuations out in all directions. Moments later, rumbling sounds could be heard as bright beams of light shot out from the cannons out onto the battlefield.
The air distorted around the beams of light as they shot toward the soul emperors, some of whom let out miserable shrieks as they were destroyed. The beams of light cut through them like a hot knife through butter, and then proceeded onward to destroy more savages and souls behind them. In an instant, the light was closing in on the necromancer.
Those ten beams of light were powerful enough to destroy Nascent Soul cultivators, and yet, when they hit the necromancer and the soul cultivators, their bodies simply faded away.
Obviously, they hadn’t been killed, but rather, had visited the battlefield via projection, and not with their true forms!
Chen Yueshan’s jaw dropped, and Zhao Tianjiao’s pupils constricted. Even Bai Xiaochun was completely taken aback.
Apparently, Li Hongming wasn’t at all surprised by Chen Yueshan’s question, and had even been expecting it. “Back when I first arrived at the Great Wall, I had similar questions. Unfortunately, no one provided me with any answers, and I only learned the truth after seeing things with my own eyes.” Turning to face her, he said, “I suspect you don’t know as much about the Wildlands as you think you do.
“The Wildlands are huge, much larger than the Heavenspan River that we come from. The vengeful souls there are so numerous that they are without end. For countless tens upon tens of thousands of years, the savages there have been born with the power of gods running in their veins. After they grow up, some of them become giants that are thousands of meters tall!
“There are also countless vicious beasts in the Wildlands, the type that would shock you to hear them described. Remember, it’s not just the Starry Sky Dao Polarity Sect who resists the Wildlands, it’s all of the sects in the Heavenspan River basin!
“Furthermore, we aren’t the only ones who have devas! Nor are we the only ones to have demigods!”
As Li Hongming continued with his explanation, Bai Xiaochun looked out at the spot where the necromancer and the soul cultivators had been standing, as well as the terrifying battle which was playing out.
Even as he was sighing and cursing about ending up in a place like this, Zhao Tianjiao threw his head back and laughed uproariously.
“If the Wildlands were filled with weaklings, then what would be the point of going there for training? The lands out there are filled with crouching tigers and hidden dragons, which make them the perfect place for me! Besides, the Wildlands might be strong, with even devas and demigods, but we have the Celestial!
“With the Celestial on our side, the Wildlands will be the Wildlands for all eternity. They will always be stuck outside the Great Wall, and will never pollute our Heavenspan Sea!” Zhao Tianjiao seemed very grand as he stood there and uttered such words, so much so that Li Hongming also joined him in laughing.
“That’s right. We have the Celestial, so the Wildlands will always and ever be stuck on the outside. That’s how things have always been!” A strong gleam of approval could be seen in Li Hongming’s eyes as he looked at Zhao Tianjiao.
As the two of them laughed together, Zhao Tianjiao looked over at Bai Xiaochun, and could see that he was nervous.
“Xiaochun, does it scare you to see all those souls and hear about how strong the Wildlands are? Cultivation is fundamentally a defiance of the heavens, so we cultivators should obviously dominate the battlefield to carve out our own great Dao!”
When faced with the heroic-looking Zhao Tianjiao and Li Hongming, Bai Xiaochun knew that he couldn’t let himself look scared. Glaring at them, he slapped his chest hard and loudly declared, “Scared? Who said I'm scared? I could destroy those puny souls as easy as turning over my hand!”
Looking out at the tide of souls and the soul emperors, Bai Xiaochun decided to make his words even more persuasive, and to truly convince them that he wasn’t afraid. Therefore, he had to take some action. Slapping his bag of holding, he produced a Soul Convergence Pill...
Looking disdainfully down at the battlefield, he threw the pill out.
As the medicinal pill flew through the air, he performed an incantation gesture and then waved his finger at it.
As he did, the pill landed amidst the sea of souls, and then exploded!
Instantly, a terrifying gravitational force erupted out, becoming a black hole fully 300 meters wide.
All of the souls in that area were in the middle of howling and charging toward the Great Wall. However, in the blink of an eye, their howls were cut short. Meanwhile, expressions of wide-eyed astonishment suddenly appeared on the faces of the Skin Flayers up on the wall.
Within that 300-meter area, all of the vengeful souls were suddenly sucked beyond their control in the direction of the exploded pill, and in the blink of an eye, the entire area was empty!
From a distance, there was a now a large, 300-meter hole in the middle of the soul tide, something completely eye-catching that everyone was looking at.
To the astonishment of everyone, after the souls were sucked together, they became a head-sized soul sphere that dropped down onto the ground. From the look of it, there were over 10,000 vengeful souls inside of it, all screaming and struggling to no avail to free themselves.
Not only were the cultivators on the Great Wall shocked, the savages on the battlefield were completely astounded. There were also many nearby vengeful souls who instinctively stopped in place and looked over.
Even some of the soul emperors looked over in surprise.
“This... this....” Li Hongming said, his mind spinning. Earlier, he had assumed that Bai Xiaochun was pulling out a medicinal pill simply to get some face, but what had actually resulted left him completely and utterly shocked.
Zhao Tianjiao’s eyes were wide as he looked at the newly-emptied 300-meter circle in the middle of the battlefield, and the more than 10,000 vengeful souls struggling in the soul sphere. Gasping, he turned to look at Bai Xiaochun, his expression one of slight confusion.
Chen Yueshan, as well as the others in their group, were standing there with hearts pounding as they suddenly remembered Bai Xiaochun’s actions in the cyan trial by fire back in the sect.
After a moment of silence, the Skin Flayers on the wall erupted into chaos, their eyes shining with disbelief and shock as they looked over at Bai Xiaochun.
“Heavens! What just happened!?”
“What... what magical item did he throw out just now!?!?”
“This is unheard-of! I can’t believe this! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that works so well against vengeful souls!!”
“Who is that guy!?!?”
Seeing that not only had his pill worked quite well, but he had also attracted quite a bit of attention, Bai Xiaochun was immediately enlivened. Therefore, he pulled out a whole pile of Soul Convergence Pills and, with a mighty shout, threw them out over the wall, and then began to perform an incantation gesture.
Booms began to ring out on the battlefield, and soon, vast numbers of vengeful souls were screaming in anguish. Even one of the soul emperors was caught up, and ended up being sucked away into a soul sphere....
The crowd of cultivators on top of the wall stood there in stunned silence.
Bai Xiaochun was more excited than ever by this development. Clearing his throat, he happily stuck his chin up and waved his sleeve.
“Who said I was scared? With the snap of a finger, I, Bai Xiaochun reduced all those souls to ashes! You think I'm scared of them?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter