Not even the Worldly Daoist, Immortal Imperator, ensconced as he was in Bai Xiaochun’s body, could possibly stand up to the pressure of such a powerful expert, dead as he was.
The Worldly Daoist of the moment was only an expression of focus and will, and Bai Xiaochun himself was only an archaean. Therefore, that focus and will could only unleash a fraction of its original battle prowess.
Furthermore, the Immortal World was now nothing but ruins. Therefore, the Worldly Daoist currently only possessed about twenty percent of his true strength!
“Even if my true self had come here years in the past, I still wouldn’t have been able to remain in the presence of this corpse for long… nor could I have touched it!” In fact, he didn’t even dare to step onto the ship itself.
If he did, he would most certainly be destroyed in body and soul!
This corpse was so incredibly strong that it defied imagination. It had such an incredible level of power that it was astonishing to think how strong this person must have been when he was alive!
That was what the Worldly Daoist’s tenacious will was considering at the moment. Although there were still many things he didn’t understand, one thing was for certain: he had settled one suspicion long held in his heart.
The will of death that suffused the corpse allowed him to identify its Dao!
It was the Dao of death, and also… a Dao of apocalyptic extermination!
It was a Dao in which… in the very end, only one person existed, desolate, cold, and selfish to the extreme. It was a Dao in which success meant the destruction of the starry sky, the eradication of all life, and the end of all creation!
As the surrounding corrosive mists ate away at the sovereign will which held Bai Xiaochun in its grip, it was possible to see countless evil ghosts flitting to and fro, just waiting to rip the flesh off of his bones and consume him entirely.
“The Dao of this unknown, supremely powerful entity… is also… the Mortal Renegade’s Dao?” The Worldly Daoist’s questions were mostly answered after being able to see this corpse, and identify its Dao.
“Years ago, the Mortal Renegade entered this place, and should have died. Instead, he acquired some astonishing good fortune…. It seems… he must have touched the corpse.” The sovereign will that surrounded Bai Xiaochun’s body was almost gone, which meant that he would soon be exposed to the cloudy mists.
“And yet… who could kill an expert as powerful as this?!” The Worldly Daoist looked down quietly at the corpse for a moment longer, continuing to sense the towering will of death that it emanated. And yet, he could find no further answers. And he also knew… that he never would.
The stream of tenacious focus that had occupied Bai Xiaochun’s body was about to slip away into nothing.
At that point, his thoughts would no longer exist. In the past, his divine soul and fleshly body had been killed, and right now, the only thing that had returned was a bit of his mind.
Sighing, he turned and walked away from the ship, and out of the valley and its clouds….
As he left, his voice echoed behind him.
“Mortal Renegade, are you… still you? If you are… then did you become the successor of the corpse in that ship…?
“Why does it seem to me… that the corpse died, but his Dao lived on, and was reborn because of karma?!”
Outside the valley, Bai Xiaochi remained still, staring at the swirling clouds, waiting for the most important person in his existence to appear again. Mixed emotions filled his heart; on the one hand, he wanted to see his old master, the returned Worldly Daoist, Immortal Imperator. On the other hand, he didn’t want to see Bai Xiaochun hurt because of it.
The words the Worldly Daoist had spoken through Bai Xiaochun’s mouth moments ago had softened his heart, but at the same time, had caused profound emotions to rise up in him.
He didn’t have to wait for long before a figure strode out of the clouds. At first, Bai Xiaochi couldn’t quite see who it was, causing his heart to pound with anxiety.
But soon, he could see clearly; it was none other than Bai Xiaochun!
“Milord!” Bai Xiaochi exclaimed, hurrying forward, nervous, unsure of whether this person was the Worldly Daoist or not.
Upon emerging from the clouds, his eyes were closed, and he stood there quietly for a long time. Not daring to say anything, Bai Xiaochi simply stood there.
Enough time passed for an incense stick to burn, and the sovereign will began to fade away. Only a tiny bit remained, although it still pulsed with domineering, supreme power!
Winds still swirled through the area, and the void trembled. As far as Bai Xiaochi could remember, the aura he was sensing was exactly the same as that of his former master, the Worldly Daoist!
Before Bai Xiaochi could do anything, Bai Xiaochun’s eyes opened. They seemed profoundly ancient, as though they were looking out from countless years into the past. It was almost as if he had been reborn!
Also within that ancientness was grief for the loss of home, family, friends, and loved ones. It was a sorrow abundant in helplessness and confusion.
As of this moment, Bai Xiaochi was absolutely certain that the person in front of him wasn’t Bai Xiaochun, but rather, his former master. Excited, he dropped to his knees to kowtow, tears dripping down his nose onto the ground.
Bai Xiaochun’s hand reached out to tousle Bai Xiaochi’s hair.
“Ah Xiao Chi,” he said gently, “crying again, are we?”
When he heard that, Bai Xiaochi started to weep, and crawled forward to hug Bai Xiaochun’s leg, just the way a child would his father’s.
“Don’t cry, Xiao Chi.” A warm smile appeared on Bai Xiaochun’s face. “You’ve done great, kid. I know it wasn’t easy for you through the years…. But you know, you could do better…. Deep down, this Bai Xiaochun is a simple and honest person. A true warrior, bursting with righteousness. He is imposing, elegant, stately, and far more talented than me. It seems a rare hero has truly arisen, a rarely seen chosen!” Somewhere in the middle of his speech, Bai Xiaochi stopped crying, seemingly a bit startled by the Worldly Daoist’s assessment of Bai Xiaochun.
“Milord, this Bai Xiaochun, he–” Before Bai Xiaochi could go one, he was interrupted.
“It’s too bad he wasn’t alive back in my day, otherwise I probably would never have become a sovereign. However, had he been there at that time, it’s highly likely things would have ended differently!” It was possible to see Bai Xiaochun’s eyes flickering with reminiscence, and the grief about him was nearly palpable.
Bai Xiaochi had been about to interject, but when he saw that level of sadness, he held back. However, he simply couldn’t understand why the Immortal Imperator would have such an impression of Bai Xiaochun. Then he started to wonder if perhaps the Bai Xiaochun he had seen was simply the non-heroic version?
“I have to leave, but before I do, I have one final mission for you….” Taking a deep breath, Bai Xiaochun cast a very serious gaze at Bai Xiaochi.
The spirit automaton’s face suddenly grew very earnest, as though he couldn’t wait to hear what this new mission was.
“Remember my words: from now on, you must always obey Bai Xiaochun. Don’t ever trick him! Listen carefully to everything he has to say, and do everything he asks. Whatever orders he gives you, you must view as importantly as if they came from me. When he asks you to do things, you do them, to the fullest extent possible. When he wants something, you help him get it. Trust him. Come to his aid when others bully him. Being with him is the greatest good fortune you could ever come across, Xiao Chi!
“Also, do your best to make him happy, which will in turn make you happy! Rejoice with him, grieve with him. When he is not happy, join him in his sorrow. Very well, Xiao Chi. This is my last mission to you. Will you accept it!?” By the time he finished speaking, his tone of voice was completely strict and somber.
Bai Xiaochi was somewhat stunned, and if it weren’t for the aura that he could clearly sense, he would suspect that these words hadn’t actually been uttered by the Worldly Daoist.
Looking at the serious glint in his master’s eyes, he gritted his teeth and said, “Yes, sir!”
The serious look on Bai Xiaochun’s face vanished, to be replaced by pure warmth. Once again tousling Bai Xiaochi’s hair, he offered a few more parting words of encouragement, then closed his eyes. Bai Xiaochi looked on, heart twinging with pain as he knew that this would be the last time he ever saw his master.
After Bai Xiaochun closed his eyes, the tension built for a moment, only to be broken when Bai Xiaochun opened his eyes again.
Seemingly a bit worried about Bai Xiaochi’s sincerity, he said, “Although I’m leaving, I’ll come back occasionally to look over you….”
As Bai Xiaochi looked on, stunned, Bai Xiaochun cleared his throat and closed his eyes again….