“Many thanks for being my grindstone, Bai Hao. I've finally achieved my cultivation base breakthrough, and am a half-deva. I've been stuck in place for far too long now, and have you to thank. Therefore, in recompense, I will simply cripple your cultivation base, and won’t kill you!” Gongsun Yi looked both excited and proud. Throwing his head back, he laughed maniacally. As he had said, he had been waiting for this day for a very, very long time.
The pressure he had felt from Bai Xiaochun during their fight had been incredible. Upon seeing the Undying Emperor’s Fist in action the first time, he had been aware that he couldn't defeat it. But he was proud and confident, and thus couldn’t accept that. Furthermore, there had also been the possibility that he could take the situation and use it to achieve a breakthrough!
It was in that moment that he decided to use Bai Xiaochun as his grindstone, to use the pressure to not only ramp up his battle spirit to the ultimate degree, but to achieve a breakthrough during that critical moment between life and death.
The first possibility was that he would step halfway into the Deva Realm, and wait until a later date to acquire a magical item with a fifteenfold spirit enhancement or higher, which he could then use to gain enlightenment of heaven and earth and become a true deva!
The second possibility was that he would fail, and lose the fight. However, even if he ended up losing… he was confident that Bai Xiaochun wouldn’t kill him. Although such a loss would be a bitter pill to swallow, it was a cost he could afford to pay. And right now, he was laughing maniacally as he performed a double-handed incantation gesture. Instantly, rumbling sounds could be heard around him as 200,000 golden magical symbols appeared, transforming into a massive vortex that moved forward to meet the Undying Emperor’s Fist.
Bai Xiaochun’s eyes were nearly popping out of his skull; never could he have imagined that Gongsun Yi would actually achieve a breakthrough right here and now….
“Well that way of doing things really worked out for him….” he thought, taking a deep breath, and also feeling a bit envious. When he thought about how he had suffered untold hardships to reach the mid Nascent Soul stage, it was really grating that his opponent had used a moment of life or death crisis to break through and become a half-deva.
That fact in and of itself left Bai Xiaochun feeling a bit irritated, but then Gongsun Yi went so far as to laugh maniacally, and that got him really mad.
“You thankless wretch!” he shouted. “Just like the Giant Ghost King! I was the one who helped you make your breakthrough, and now you say you’re gonna cripple my cultivation base!? Really the type who bites the hand that feeds you, huh…?” Bai Xiaochun was of the mind that it wouldn’t be good to let Gongsun Yi continue to show off. He needed to teach him a good lesson, and make sure he understood the old saying if you receive a water drop of kindness, repay it with a flowing spring!
“Who cares if you made a breakthrough? Lord Bai is going to kidnap you anyway!” Eyes bloodshot, he loosened his hand briefly, shook it out, and then clenched it down into another fist!
He wasn’t unleashing a second Undying Emperor’s Fist; instead, he was taking some of the power he had held back before and adding it into the current fist strike! Before, he had used only fifty percent of what was at his disposal. but now, he added in an extra thirty percent.
The black vortex of the Undying Emperor’s Fist began to emit a shocking black glow, and also began to grow larger than before as it rumbled toward Gongsun Yi in incredibly domineering fashion!
“Who said you could act so aggressive!?” he shouted. “Time to cut you down to size!” Bai Xiaochun’s thunderous voice caused Gongsun Yi’s previous excited expression to freeze. Then, his face was overtaken by an expression of utter disbelief.
When his golden vortex made contact with the black hole, all 200,000 golden magical symbols shattered. Then, in the blink of an eye, the enormous fist-like black hole was right in front of Gongsun Yi.
“Impossible! I'm a half-deva! I can’t lose!!” Gongsun Yi snarled as he performed a double-handed incantation gesture, rotating his cultivation base to defend himself.
“Half-deva? Ha! Lord Bai has already defeated four real devas! Who do you think you are? Back down, you hear me? Back down! Your ass is mine, you ingrate!” Howling, he shot forward, propelling the black hole forward with explosive might. As he did, the divine glow of the five elements could be seen within his Heaven-Dao Nascent Soul.
Booming rumbles filled the air!
The entire Necromancer Kettle seemed to fill with ear-splitting, deafening booms. Cascades of blood shot out of Gongsun Yi’s mouth as he was sent tumbling backward like a kite with its string cut. His chest was a mass of gore, and all his limbs were bent at odd angles. Even his nascent soul seemed in poor condition. However, what had been struck most deeply was his pride.
“How is this possible…?” He had gone from wild elation because of his breakthrough, to being grievously injured. In his confusion, his vision began to fade as he started to lose consciousness. And yet, before he could, and before he could even stop moving, Bai Xiaochun shot to his side, lifted his right hand, and slapped him viciously.
Whack! Gongsun Yi was sealed and then tossed into Bai Xiaochun’s bag of holding.
Huffing and puffing, Bai Xiaochun landed onto a hilltop in the basin, where he sat down cross-legged, his face pale. Using eighty percent of the power of the Undying Emperor’s Fist had taken his fleshly body power down to the very minimum. He was also filled with prickles of stinging pain.
Thankfully, although his fleshly body had been weakened, his Heaven-Dao Nascent Soul cultivation base was still fine, and was in fact the reason he had dared to unleash the power he had.
“You bunch of bullies. Well, when Lord Bai gets angry, he frightens even himself! Do you really think the Undying body I've worked so hard on, and my Heaven-Dao Nascent Soul, are so weak?!” Grumbling to himself, he thought back to everything that had occurred so far in the Necromancer Kettle, and the sheer unbelievable nature of it all left him admiring himself.
“I really have gotten pretty brave lately….” he murmured. First there was the adventure in the Bai Clan. Then he had kidnapped the clan chief, which was what had really gotten him addicted. Afterward, he went so far as to kidnap the Giant Ghost King, and now here he had gone and kidnapped virtually all of the so-called chosen of the Wildlands.
Once word of this got out, he would definitely become even more famous throughout the Wildlands….
“It’s all the fault of that bastard the Giant Ghost King!” he thought, feeling very annoyed. Then he looked over at the Ghost King Orchid, protected by the white shield of the restrictive spell. By now, it was getting very close to the time when the flower would fully bloom. It was also possible to see a fruit growing in the middle of the flower, rapidly reaching the point of being ripe.
Bai Xiaochun looked at the flower and grumbled to himself morosely for a bit, thinking about his plan to get revenge on the Giant Ghost King. Then he snorted coldly and pulled the second prince, Gongsun Yi, and all the other recently captured chosen out of his bag of holding.
They were nearly unconscious, but were still capable of groggily looking over at Bai Xiaochun. Immediately, their faces went pale, and their eyes shone with terror. As for the second prince, he seemed like he wanted to say something, but before he could, Bai Xiaochun glared and brandished the Eternal Parasol. “Don’t even think about talking to me. I have germaphobia…”
“Bai Hao, listen to me, I--” Before he could say anything else, the second prince’s face fell. Shivering, he let out a miserable scream as his life force was drained by the Eternal Parasol, turning him into skin and bones.
Then Bai Xiaochun went on to the rest of the chosen, all of whom screamed and cursed him as the Eternal Parasol extracted their life force.
“How dare you, Bai Hao!!”
“My father won't let you get away with this!!”
“You’ll never escape with your life after this, Bai Hao!!”
However, the more lividly people cursed, the more life force Bai Xiaochun would take away. Soon the others realized this, and the clever ones among them would simply look at him quietly. Feeling bad, Bai Xiaochun would take a bit less life force from them.
In the end, he got to Gongsun Yi, who looked up at Bai Xiaochun with mixed emotions in his eyes. However, his desire to do battle could still be seen in his eyes.
Bai Xiaochun actually felt some respect for Gongsun Yi, and was going back and forth about whether to take his life force.
“Next time we meet, are you going to attack me again?” he asked.
Eyes brimming with battle spirit, and murderous aura surging, Gongsun Yi said, “Of course I will! We’ll meet again one day, and then I’ll personally crush you beneath my feet!”
“Well fudge!" Bai Xiaochun shot back. "Can’t you say anything that sounds nice? What's with all the fighting and killing all the time!?” Glaring, he shoved the Eternal Parasol into his chest.
After harvesting the life force from everyone, he put his “battle trophies” back into his bag of holding, then sat down cross-legged and sent some divine sense out to form a defensive barrier. Then he began to cultivate his Undying Bones.
Six hours later, cracking sounds could be heard from inside of him. His eyes opened, and they shone with golden light. At the same time, warmth filled him. His fleshly body power was not fully recovered, and yet, his defensive capabilities had increased another notch!
“Seventh stratum of the Tempered Bones….” he murmured excitedly. Just when he was about to test out his newfound power, his expression flickered, and he looked over to the Ghost King Orchid in the restrictive spell.
From the black glow rising up from the flower, it was clear that it was about to bloom!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
After much deliberation, I’ve decided to start using the prefix “half-” to denote “half a step into XYZ cultivation stage.” I will still occasionally use the term “half a step into” depending on the context, but when using it as an adjective in conjunction with the cultivation stage, it will be shortened to simply “half.” The main reason for this decision is that when this term gets used in action scenes, it gets really cumbersome to try to fit “half a step into” in the narrative. There are a lot of past references that I will adjust later on in the editing process. There are two other prefixes that occasionally get used, which I translate as “pseudo” and “quasi” respectively. I honestly can’t remember if this “half a step into/half-” is equal to those, or if it exists beyond or behind them. I will address that in future chapters as it becomes relevant, and will worry about past chapters later on.
Edit: The "quasi" stage is different from the "half a step into" stage. "Quasi" is higher than "half," and is almost exactly the same as that stage. So a half-deva would be inferior to a "Quasi-Deva Realm" cultivator.