Even now, Bai Xiaochun wasn’t sure exactly where the turtle-wok came from. He only had some guesses, and no real proof.
However, there was one thing he was certain of, and that was that from the moment he had acquired the wok from the Ovens, he had never encountered anything as sturdy.
No divine ability, no magical technique, no level of fleshly body power, no magical items could destroy it. Of that much he was convinced.
In the face of the seemingly endless tide of deadly leaves, Bai Xiaochun’s heart pounded with fear, and yet, not despair. Howling, he produced his turtle-wok, and then dropped to the ground with the wok on top of him.
“It’s a good thing I’m skinny again, otherwise I would be in quite a pickle.” As he sighed and settled down under the wok, the spirit automaton stood on the tree, watching. When he saw what was happening, his initial reaction was that of shock, but then he started howling with laughter.
“Has this shameless Bai Xiaochun suddenly been struck stupid?” he said, his eyes shining with a gleam of ridicule. “Does he think a wok like that can block 100,000 of these leaves!? Soon, it will be to his despair that he finds I paid the ultimate price to make sure this level has been replaced with nothing but despair! He will never, ever be able to pass it!”
However, almost as soon as that gleam of ridicule appeared, and at the same time as Bai Xiaochun plopped onto the ground, the countless early Celestial Realm-level leaves slammed into the turtle wok. And then, the spirit automaton’s eyes bulged.
“Impossible!!” he gasped, shivering in incredulity.
The scene playing out was so shocking that it seemed to defy all imagination. Not a single leaf could affect the wok, and in fact, the backlash attack caused them to shatter and crumble.
It was as if the leaves were arrows made of glass, and the turtle-wok was a boulder. No matter how many times the wok was hit, it wasn’t hurt.
At this point, the spirit automaton’s confidence was in almost complete shambles.
“Impossible. How could this be happening…? Dammit, dammit, DAMMIT!!
“This guy is a shameless cheater! This Bai Xiaochun, h-h-he…. Don’t tell me I really am powerless to do anything to him!?” The spirit automaton only continued to edge closer to madness.
“First, he stole power away from me, then he drove away all the other challengers. He nearly destroyed the entire world of the Dark Concocters, and behaved even more shamelessly with the Succubi. And now… he has a precious treasure that can do this?! Dammit!! What kind of wok is that?!?!”
Although nothing seemed to be happening to the wok, underneath, Bai Xiaochun was still coughing up blood. The wok couldn’t be hurt by any sort of divine ability, but the vibrations caused by all the blows caused Bai Xiaochun’s five yin organs and six yang organs to tremble painfully.
If he weren’t in the mid Celestial Realm, with an exceptionally powerful fleshly body and heaven-defying powers of regeneration, then he would probably have been reduced to a pile of bloody gore even before all of the leaves finished striking the wok.
And even with his current level, it was still incredibly difficult to deal with. He continued to cough up blood, and his eyes were completely bloodshot. As for his powers of regeneration, they were working at their limit. Every breath of time seemed to stretch into an entire year for him.
“You just wait, spirit automaton! One of these days, I’ll make sure you know exactly how awesome Lord Bai is!” As pain stabbed through his body, he cursed and gnashed his teeth at the spirit automaton.
And thus, both Bai Xiaochun and the spirit automaton went about cursing each other, separated only by the wok and the shattering leaves.
Bai Xiaochun wasn't sure how much time had gone by, but eventually, he recovered fully. And it seemed as though the attacking tree leaves were now completely gone.
After double-checking to make sure things were calm, Bai Xiaochun took a deep breath and slowly tipped up the edge of the turtle-wok. Confirming that the coast was clear, he rose to his feet.
Surrounding him was a powder that was all that remained of the countless leaves, dry and withered, almost dust-like. When he looked up, the entire world had that same withered sensation.
It was as if it had existed for just a bit too long, and was now crumbling away. Sighing, Bai Xiaochun put his turtle-wok away, stuck his chin up and loudly said, “Can you really handle me, you little rascal?!”
He knew that the spirit automaton was surely in the area to hear him, and even sent some divine sense out in the hopes of catching sight of him.
As expected, a roar of rage echoed out from the huge tree, whereupon a face materialized on its surface!
Its eyes glared with rage at Bai Xiaochun, filled with bone-deep hatred, madness, and defiance. It was as if this face wished to eat Bai Xiaochun alive.
“You’re shameless! A cheater!!” It was none other than the face of the spirit automaton. Unable to appear physically in front of Bai Xiaochun at the moment, he chose this method to reveal himself.
He hadn’t originally intended to show himself, but in his horrific despair, and having been completely infuriated by Bai Xiaochun, he lost control to a certain degree.
Startled, Bai Xiaochun backed up a bit as the enormous tree lurched forward as if it were about to attack him.
At the moment, though, he still wasn’t completely certain that the face of the tree belonged to the spirit automaton.
“I guess there’s one way to find out.” Ignoring the raging tree, he cleared his throat, approached, and began to walk around it and examine it from different angles. As for the face, it moved across the surface of the tree to maintain its glaring stare.
After a moment, Bai Xiaochun blinked a few times, and then asked, “Hey, what did you say just now?”
Fury burning, the spirit automaton said, “I said you’re a cheater, and that you’re shameless. Complete scum!!”
“Cheater? All I did was put a wok on top of me to defend myself. Let me tell you a secret. The reason I have so much control over this damaged fan is that I'm here by myself, with no one to compete with me. Now that is cheating.” Chuckling at his intentional attempt to provoke the spirit automaton, he looked over at the face on the tree.
As soon as the words left his mouth, the face seemed like it might collapse.
“You have the nerve to say it openly? Y-y-you… you actually admitted it?! What cheek! A despicable cheater. That's what you are! I hereby swear an oath that I’ll never let you succeed!!” It wasn’t that the spirit automaton hadn’t ever encountered shameless people before. But none of them could possibly compare to Bai Xiaochun.
The spirit automaton’s outburst had confirmed to Bai Xiaochun who he was. “Fudge, it is you!”
Glaring, he lunged forward, pulled out the Greatsword of the North and slashed it toward the tree.
A huge boom echoed out, accompanied by cursing and swearing from the spirit automaton.
“You just wait, Bai Xiaochun!! Dammit, I'm gonna kill you! Shameless. Despicable. Incorrigible!!”
The spirit automaton was coming to find that he didn’t seem to have much to say, only those few words that he repeated. Either way, Bai Xiaochun was starting to get a bit angry. Furthermore, he had just undergone quite a painful torment because of those leaves. Therefore, he didn’t hesitate to slash his Greatsword of the North into the thing, reducing it, as well as the spirit automaton’s face, into countless splinters of wood.
At that point, he could sense the spirit automaton’s aura leave the tree, whereupon he stood there proudly.
“You’d better be careful, you little rascal. You just wait until I’m your master, and then see how I put you in your place!"
Up in the air, the completely maddened spirit automaton heard that, and nearly coughed up a mouthful of blood. “You just wait! Next time, I’ll definitely, definitely destroy you! I swear it!!”