After throwing over the jade piece, Xu Xiaoshan turned to leave. He had already made up his mind that, after he got back to the sect, he would ask his father and mother for more capital with which to acquire paper talismans. In the future, that was how he would make a name for himself, not magical items. Using paper talismans would be far more awe-inspiring.
Xu Xiaoshan was a natural-born silkpants. He didn’t really care what his sect thought about what he did; if he liked someone, he made friends with them. If he didn’t like them, he would beat them up. As far as Bai Xiaochun was concerned, he was reluctant to admit it, but he actually liked him.
Of course, if he had overcome Bai Xiaochun in a fight, he wouldn’t have hesitated for even a moment to rob him of his earthstring capture crystal. However, since he couldn’t defeat him in combat, he decided that the next best thing was to try to con him.
As soon as Bai Xiaochun grabbed the jade piece, a wonderful feeling swept through him. His exhaustion vanished, and he could see everything clearly. It was almost like he had been trapped underwater, unable to breathe, and had just burst out into the open air.
However, it seemed odd that Xu Xiaoshan would simply give him the jade piece so casually. After a moment of thought, he realized that he might have been cheated in some way. Before Xu Xiaoshan could get very far away, Bai Xiaochun called out, “Hold on. I don’t like taking advantage of people. Let me give you these two little treasures in exchange.”
Slapping his bag of holding, he produced two flying swords that both had twofold spirit enhancements. Secretly spreading some of the aura of the final strange pill onto them, he tossed them over.
“They’re not worth much, but hey, have fun with them.”
The twofold spirit enhanced swords flew over to Xu Xiaoshan, whose eyes went wide as soon as he grabbed them.
“Twofold spirit enhancements?” he thought, swallowing hard. “And he hands them over just like that? Have fun with them?!” Although he didn’t view twofold spirit enhanced magical items as something completely priceless, they were still relatively rare among Qi Condensation cultivators. The most telling thing was how casually Bai Xiaochun had tossed them over to him, which made it very obvious how deep his pockets were.
Suddenly Xu Xiaoshan realized he had even more to learn from Bai Xiaochun than he had initially realized. To casually hand out spirit enhanced magical items was a truly impressive way to make a name for oneself. Having reached this point in his train of thought, he looked more closely at Bai Xiaochun, and realized that he liked him even more. He sighed.
“Alright, look, Bai Xiaochun. Considering how nice you’ve been, I feel bad for trying to con you. If you use that jade pendant by itself, it’s pretty much useless. After the time it takes an incense stick to burn, it will simply stop working, and even have a backlash effect.” With another sigh, he tossed a second jade pendant to Bai Xiaochun. “Use them together and you’ll have a long term solution to that banesoul’s curse.”
Catching the second jade pendant, Bai Xiaochun narrowed his eyes at how devious and cunning Xu Xiaoshan was. As he watched him turn to leave, Bai Xiaochun suddenly thought to himself that despite everything that had just occurred, Xu Xiaoshan didn’t really seem to be a bad person. Gritting his teeth, he called out, “Hey, hold on. Alright, listen, Xu Xiaoshan. Since you’ve been so nice, I feel bad for conning you. Give me back those two flying swords.”
Xu Xiaoshan stopped in his tracks, his eyes widening. Pulling out the two flying swords, he examined them carefully, but couldn’t find anything about them that seemed out of the ordinary. However, not daring to hold on to them for any longer, he threw them back to Bai Xiaochun.
Bai Xiaochun cleared his throat and then produced another set of two swords, which he threw back to Xu Xiaoshan.
Xu Xiaoshan had an odd expression on his face as he looked over at Bai Xiaochun. He wasn’t sure exactly what was wrong with the first set of swords, but he could well imagine that, if Bai Xiaochun hadn’t said anything, he might have ended up walking into a disaster.
Bai Xiaochun blinked a few times as he and Xu Xiaoshan looked at each other.
After another long moment passed, Xu Xiaoshan sighed, eyes shining brightly. Earlier, he had only been pretending to like Bai Xiaochun, but by this point, he really did like him.
“It’s not very often that I get along with someone as well as I do with you. Alright, listen, Bai Xiaochun. There’s actually a mnemonic that goes along with those two jade pendants, which is the only way to use them properly. Without the mnemonic, they’ll create a field of light that will protect you from that banesoul, but after a while, the light will fade away and leave a sealing mark on your cultivation base that will prevent you from using it for a whole month.” With a wry smile, Xu Xiaoshan tossed a jade slip over to Bai Xiaochun.
“You scoundrel!!” Bai Xiaochun said with a gasp. If he had used the jade pendants in the middle of trying to reach Foundation Establishment, only to have his cultivation base sealed, he would have lost an entire month of time. He might even have lost his chance at Foundation Establishment.
“You’re just as bad!” Xu Xiaoshan replied. Then he coughed dryly. “Well, I’m from the Blood Stream Sect and you’re from the Spirit Stream Sect. We’re supposed to be against each other.” By this point, he was being completely honest, which was a rare thing for him. The truth was that he had never encountered anyone like Bai Xiaochun before.
“Alright,” Bai Xiaochun said. “Since you’re being so honest, then I’ll stop conning you. You know those magical items you used against me in the fight? I stained them all with a medicinal aroma that will attract banesouls.” Feeling a bit awkward, he lowered his voice and concluded, “You should probably change your clothes too.”
Xu Xiaoshan’s eyes went wide; after quickly checking his bag of holding and his clothing, he looked back at Bai Xiaochun with gritted teeth. “Y-y-you!! You’re completely shameless!”
“You’re just as bad!” Bai Xiaochun said, glaring back at him.
The two of them looked at each other for a moment, then both of them burst out laughing.
“I hope we meet again soon,” Xu Xiaoshan said with sincerity. Then he turned and sped off into the distance.
Once he was out of sight, he changed clothes, his heart thumping with lingering fear. As far as he was concerned, Bai Xiaochun was as much of a scoundrel as himself, which meant that he had to be very careful dealing with him in the future.
Bai Xiaochun was also sighing. Although Xu Xiaoshan was from the Blood Stream Sect, he still seemed like a good person to be friends with.
“Except, he’s profoundly crafty, definitely not as honest as me. I really have to be careful dealing with him in the future. Ai. I guess I’m just too honest.” Shaking his head, he swished his sleeve and sped off.
After inspecting the jade pendants thoroughly, he used the mnemonic from the jade slip to unleash their power. Moments later, a shimmering field of light appeared around him.
The field of light soon became invisible, and could only be detected via divine sense. However, as far as banesouls were concerned, it made it completely impossible to approach Bai Xiaochun.
Over the course of the following six hours, the girl in the white dress appeared several times. However, every time she got close, she was repelled. Her face distorted with rage, and she screamed shrilly, but it was still impossible to get close to Bai Xiaochun.
After so many failures, she begrudgingly faded away and didn’t return. At that point, Bai Xiaochun breathed a sigh of relief. Convinced that the jade pendants had actually worked, he sank to the bottom of a remote lake and dug out a temporary immortal’s cave. There, he sat down cross-legged to meditate.
After performing one final test to make sure that the jade pendants would drive away the banesouls, his eyes flickered with anticipation, and he pulled out the gray earthstring capture crystal.
“Although I’m starting a few days later than I’d planned, I can still be the first person to reach Earthstring Foundation Establishment!” With that, he unleashed the spiritual power of the great circle of the tenth level of Qi Condensation, circulated it once, and then sent it surging into the gray crystal.
The crystal was like a bottomless pit that sucked in all of his spiritual power. Then, it began to emit a gray glow which grew more intense by the moment, and soon caused powerful rumbling sounds to emanate out.
The crystal began to slowly burn, transforming into a gray mist that Bai Xiaochun absorbed through his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. After more than thirty breaths of time, the crystal shook slightly and then vanished, causing massive amounts of gray mist to surge into Bai Xiaochun’s body.
His eyes were beginning to grow bloodshot as the gray mist poured into him, permeating his qi vessels, swirling throughout his entire body. At the same time, pain ripped through him; the gray mist almost seemed to be taking shape, like iron chains that scraped against his flesh and blood.
The pain caused him to shudder, but compared to the pain he had endured when cultivating the Undying Live Forever Technique, it wasn’t worth mentioning. Bai Xiaochun didn’t so much as let out a cold snort. Gritting his teeth, he waited until the final bit of mist bored into him. When the tail end of the mist connected with the mist which had first entered him, it created something like a circle.
The moment that circle formed, rumbling sounds filled Bai Xiaochun’s mind, shaking him down to his soul.
The spiritual river that was his cultivation base began to churn, blasting through all parts of his body, seemingly chaotic and without shape. However, closer examination revealed that the spiritual power was actually transforming into a whirlpool.
That whirlpool was none other than the beginning of a Tideflow!
This was the most critical aspect of Earthstring Foundation Establishment!
Spiritual power flowed, transforming into a Tideflow. The mist became liquid, the Earthstring Dao Foundation was formed, and mortality was severed away!
Bai Xiaochun suddenly looked up, blue veins bulging out on his neck and face. Trembling, he hoarsely shouted, “Tideflow!”
Instantly, the whirlpool began to rotate with more intensity, transforming into something like a black hole that sucked away all of the earthstring energy inside of him. Of course, that little bit wasn’t even one one-thousandth of what was required.
However, as long as that whirlpool was formed, it would automatically absorb the earthstring energy which had built up over the past sixty-year-cycle in the Fallen Sword World!
Instantly, streams of earthstring energy began to emerge from the walls of the immortal’s cave and rush toward Bai Xiaochun.
Soon, the lake above him was bubbling and boiling as massive amounts of earthstring energy began to surge into motion. The sky of the Fallen Sword World trembled as earthstring energy flowed toward Bai Xiaochun from all directions.
The disciples of the four sects who were in various locations in the Fallen Sword World all looked up. Some were confused, others shocked, other shaken. All sorts of mixed emotions could be seen, even disbelief.
“A Tideflow! Heavens! That’s an Earthstring Foundation Establishment Tideflow!!”
“Who is it? It’s barely been a month, and someone’s already formed an earthstring capture crystal and begun Foundation Establishment?!”
“Is it Song Que? Ghostfang? Nine-Isles? Or is it Fang Lin!?!?”