The Saint-Emperor was right. The only way for any living being to find the Eternal Mother was with the help of the companion spirit of the Eternal Flower, the Eternal Turtle.
To Bai Xiaochun and the Saint-Emperor, and in fact, to all living beings in the Eternal Immortal Domains, finding that legendary Eternal River was an impossible task. And thus, Bai Xiaochun and the Saint-Emperor followed the little turtle as he looked for clues, a three month process that eventually led them to a ravine in the depths of the Eternal Sea.
There were many such ravines on the seafloor, too many to count. Bai Xiaochun and the Saint-Emperor would never have found this spot without the Eternal Turtle, not even if they recruited a huge force of cultivators to help them. Not even thousands of years of searching would have proved fruitful. And even if they found it, it would have done little good….
In the very depths of that ravine, when there was no more path to tread, the little turtle sighed and looked back begrudgingly at Bai Xiaochun. Then, he stuck his head out as far as it would go, reached around and snapped his jaws down on his own neck, severing his head. As his head flew off, massive amounts of blood sprayed out onto the wall in front of him.
In response, the wall began to glow, and transform into something like a mirror….
With that, the turtle’s severed head began to babble.
“Go inside, and you’ll see the Eternal River. I sacrificed a lot to help the two of you, don’t you agree? So the heavenly dragonfish are mine, got it?!
“And you need to get me some Daoist partners, Bai Xiaochun. I want at least a thousand pretty turtles….
“And as for you, Saint-Emperor, the lotus seeds in your pond are almost ripe. I want eighty percent!”
Bai Xiaochun and the Saint-Emperor quickly nodded in agreement to the turtle, and then stared at the mirror that was taking shape before them.
After enough time had passed for an incense stick to burn, the wall had completely transformed into what was clearly a passage leading to another part of the world. It was possible to hear water gurgling from that area, and they could even see some faint water vapor in the air. Bai Xiaochun and the Saint-Emperor exchanged a glance, and could both see the excitement in each other’s eyes.
Finding the Eternal Mother was their only hope in the current situation, and therefore, it was without the slightest hesitation that Bai Xiaochun flew into the mirror, followed directly by the Saint-Emperor. As for the Eternal Turtle, after his head returned to his body, he followed them, muttering the entire time.
After they entered, the mirror twisted and distorted, and slowly transformed back into a normal rock wall.
Inside the mirror, Bai Xiaochun first heard the sound of rushing water, and then, as his vision became clear, he realized that he… was floating above a majestic and boundless river!
The water was crystal clear, and pulsed with spiritual energy.
“The Eternal River!” the Saint-Emperor said excitedly. Reaching down, he touched the water, and then scooped up a handful to drink.
As for the little turtle, he dove down into the water and started swimming around. Glancing sidelong at the excited Saint-Emperor, he snorted coldly.
“What are you so excited for? Do you know how many times I peed in this river over the years…?”
The Saint-Emperor’s face suddenly fell.
At the same time, Bai Xiaochun reached out and grabbed the little turtle. Glaring at him in annoyance, he said, “Put a sock in it, little turtle. Come on, lead the way. And don’t worry, I’ve already prepared a total of 100,000 Daoist partners for you!
“You can have all of the heavenly dragonfish, as well as all of the lotus seeds in the heavenly pond. The Saint-Emperor definitely won’t hold any back.” Clearing his throat, he looked over at the Saint-Emperor.
The Saint-Emperor was glaring at the little turtle; on any other occasion, he would have haggled a bit, but catastrophe was imminent, and the situation with the Eternal Mother was of the utmost importance. Therefore… he wasn’t worried about trivial matters.
“Take them all!” he said.
The little turtle seemed excited to have verbal assurances from both Bai Xiaochun and the Saint-Emperor. Flying up out of the river, he let out a shout, causing countless magical symbols to begin streaming off of him, creating the shape of a huge turtle.
From a distance, it almost looked like the little turtle himself had grown larger, to a height of 30 meters. In truth, it was something like a huge magical boat that now began to speed along through the Eternal River, carrying Bai Xiaochun, the Saint-Emperor, and the Eternal Turtle with it!
It was only at this point that Bai Xiaochun realized that the Eternal River seemed to be pushing against them, almost as if it were attempting to prevent anything from moving through it.
Even flying in the air above the river did the same thing. As they proceeded along, that force of resistance grew stronger and stronger. Eventually, when the little turtle had traveled a distance of several tens of thousands of meters, the force grew so intense that Bai Xiaochun and the Saint-Emperor were visibly shaken.
The two of them exchanged a glance, and each could see how shocked the other was. Obviously, if they didn’t have the little turtle on their side, then even if they found the ravine outside, and somehow managed to enter this area, they still wouldn’t have been able to travel along the river.
The Eternal River twisted and bent randomly, and also had many branches, some larger than others. However, the area they were flying over was so wide that it was obviously the main branch.
As they traveled along, the little turtle would stop at each area where the river forked, and would take time to cast his senses about before picking a path. And thus, they traveled through the huge maze that was the Eternal River.
Days passed, and thankfully, they didn’t run into any dangerous situations or entities. Bai Xiaochun and the Saint-Emperor were even able to advance their cultivation to a degree. However, it was to Bai Xiaochun’s profound frustration that… the little turtle kept getting lost.
Every time it happened, he would let out a surprised exclamation, and would scratch his head in confusion before going back to pick a new path. The first few times, Bai Xiaochun simply took it in stride, but after a few dozen times, he was starting to get very annoyed.
“We went this way already, little turtle! Can you actually do this? Do you really know where you’re going?”
“Of course I can do it. Don’t worry!”
It was hard to say how much time passed. Even the Saint-Emperor was starting to get frustrated, and it reached the point where the little turtle was also getting visibly nervous.
“No, this isn’t right,” he murmured. “How come I can’t find the right path…?” At a certain point, he got so anxious that he stuck his neck out and bit it again, using the power of his blood to aid his efforts. Afterward, he took a deep breath, inhaling some of the water vapor in the area. At that point, his bloodshot eyes lit up.
“Got it!” he shouted. After his head reattached itself to his body, he led Bai Xiaochun and the Saint-Emperor down one particular branch of the river. Eventually, a fragrant aroma reached their noses, whereupon Bai Xiaochun and the Saint-Emperor sent their divine sense out to see what was ahead of them.
A few days later, Bai Xiaochun and the Saint-Emperor both shot to their feet, shocked as, there within their divine sense, they saw… a glowing sphere of light at the end of the river!!
The glittering light somehow seemed familiar to both of them, and they felt much the same way that a weary traveler would feel when unexpectedly seeing a family member. It was something in their blood, and even their souls, that filled them with indescribable warmth!