The lake above Bai Xiaochun seethed and churned as it became a huge whirlpool, tugging relentlessly at the energy in the sky and the land of the world around him. Endless quantities of earthstring energy poured into it, causing the whirlpool to grow larger and larger until it was like a massive tornado rising all the way up into the heavens!
From a distance, the tornado looked so awe-inspiring that anyone who caught sight of it gasped in astonishment.
In the moment that the tornado connected with the sky above, a spinning vortex formed that was the tell-tale sign of a Tideflow!
“Bai Xiaochun!” Not too far away from where Bai Xiaochun was in the middle of reaching Foundation Establishment, Xu Xiaoshan stopped in midair and looked at the surging earthstring energy. Only a Tideflow could cause heaven and earth to react in such a way. Xu Xiaoshan took a deep breath, and his eyes began to glitter brightly. “So, he is the first one who actually completed his earthstring capture crystal.”
Deep within the Fallen Sword World, Shangguan Tianyou stood there, nine flying swords swirling around him in a sword formation. His right hand flashed with an incantation gesture, and the nine swords pierced through the air, delivering a powerful killing blow that instantly cut down a high-level banebeast. Ignoring the finger-thick stream of earthstring energy that flew into his Dao bottle, he stared off into the distance at the churning streams of earthstring energy.
“Who is it?!” he thought. “Dammit! If Fang Lin and I hadn’t fought each other and both ended up injured, I definitely could have been faster!” Eyes bloodshot, he looked down at his Dao bottle, which was now eighty percent full. Gritting his teeth, he gave up on searching for banebeasts and instead began to hunt disciples from the other three sects.
The provocation of someone reaching Foundation Establishment before him left Shangguan Tianyou in a killing mood!
At the same time, in another area, Fang Lin from the Pill Stream Sect noiselessly appeared in front of a Profound Stream Sect disciple. The disciple’s eyes went wide for only a moment before his head exploded. Fang Lin took his Dao bottle, then looked over at the conglomeration of earthstring energy. His eyes shone with a bright light.
“I got Lei Shan’s Dao bottle after he was taken by the banesouls, as well as the bottles of everyone I’ve ambushed. And yet, this guy beat me to it….” He looked down at his Dao bottle, which was almost full, and his eyes glittered. With that, he sped off into the distance, preparing to select a place for his own Foundation Establishment.
In another area was the number one Chosen from the Profound Stream Sect, Nine-Isles. His hands were dripping with blood, and he was surrounded by seven or eight corpses, all of whom were other disciples that he had personally slain. “These should be enough!”
Other than those handful of Chosen who everyone despaired of ever surpassing, there were a few other disciples within the Fallen Sword World who were also motivated enough to pick up their speed.
And the only way to do that was by killing other disciples!
It only took a moment for Bai Xiaochun’s Tideflow to transform the entire Fallen Sword World into a battleground. Almost instantly, fierce fighting broke out everywhere.
The death toll grew, and bloodcurdling screams echoed out everywhere.
Originally, there had been about four hundred people present, but by now that number had already been reduced by about half.
Hou Yunfei was spattered in blood, his hair in complete disarray. In the Fallen Sword World, he was not considered to be one of the spectacular Chosen, but rather, just an ordinary disciple. However, that didn’t mean he was any less vicious than anyone else. During the course of the past month, he had cut down over ten enemy disciples.
Working with other Spirit Stream Sect disciples, he had killed many banebeasts as well. As a result, his Dao bottle was more than seventy percent full. When he saw the earthstring energy surging in the distance, he took a deep breath.
“Is that you, Xiaochun? You’re definitely going to succeed in your Foundation Establishment. I have to work harder!” With that, he turned and sped off into the distance.
Beihan Lie was in the middle region of the Fallen Sword World, where he was fighting like a fiend. His battle with Lei Shan had caused his name to rise in shocking fashion, until almost everyone knew who he was.
Although he hadn’t been able to secure a clear victory, the battle ensured that his name was sent rocketing to new heights. He was the new black horse among the four sects, just like certain other rising stars from the other three sects. They were quickly becoming the type that ordinary disciples had no hope of ever catching up to.
Of course, no one knew how bitterly Beihan Lie had toiled to acquire such glory. The truth was that without Bai Xiaochun, he wouldn’t be what he was now.
“I’m definitely going to reach Earthstring Foundation Establishment, and wipe away all the humiliation!” Howling inwardly, he selected another target and began to fight fiercely.
By this point in the trial by fire, there were no weaklings among the surviving disciples. All of them had various powerful techniques and tactics to use, and soon, the fighting grew even more intense.
Within the depths of the Fallen Sword World, in an area filled with swirling mists and countless banebeasts, as well as numerous cultivators, two figures could be seen locked in combat.
A closer look revealed that they were both young women. One was Gongsun Wan’er, and the other was Zhao Rou from the Pill Stream Sect. Both of them were exquisite beauties, but right now, both of them were in bad shape. Murderous auras surrounded them as they fought what was already their seventh battle.
During the past month, they had fought each other every time they met, almost as if they had a personal grudge with each other. Although neither could gain the upper hand, they weren’t willing to see the other capture any more earthstring energy, which had resulted in the current deadlock.
Eyes flashing with killing intent, Zhao Rou said, “Gongsun Wan’er, both of us have half-filled Dao bottles. This time, only one of us is going to come out alive, and with a full bottle at that!” With that, she launched another attack.
Gongsun Wan’er’s face was pale white, and her phoenix was seriously injured. However, she gritted her beautiful teeth and counterattacked. Although their battle seemed ordinary in nature, both of them were unleashing powerful illusion magics against each other.
The slightest misstep by either of them would result in death.
The sky shook and the ground quaked. Even as everyone was driven to new heights of madness by Bai Xiaochun’s Earthstring Foundation Establishment, he was under the lake, shivering in fear. Although he couldn’t see what was happening to the lake up above, he was sure that the rumbling flow of earthstring energy had surely created a massive, funnel-like vortex.
“What do I do if people try to interfere…?” Instantly, beads of sweat popped out on his forehead. In his preparations for Foundation Establishment, he had arranged some defensive measures, but now he wasn’t sure they would be enough.
Gritting his teeth as the inner whirlpool sucked in massive amounts of earthstring energy, he managed to reach over with his right hand and slap his bag of holding, producing a stack of over a thousand paper talismans, which he sent flying out around him.
He didn’t activate them, but all it would take to do so was a thought on his part.
The Divine Crane Shield flew out, ready to be used at a moment’s notice. At the same time, he activated the defensive treasure Li Qinghou had given him, which spread out, covering his Undying Silver Skin.
There was little he could do aside from that. Gritting his teeth, he gave an inward shout, causing the whirlpool inside of him to spin even faster. Earthstring energy was sucked relentlessly inward, not merging with the spiritual power inside of him, but tangling together with it. As it flowed through him, the whirlpool grew stronger and stronger, leaving him trembling violently.
The so-called Tideflow consisted of capturing earthstring energy and then combining it with spiritual power to explosive effect. It would temper the flesh and blood, the qi passageways, and the soul. It would temper everything!
For every one part of spiritual power, a hundred parts of earthstring energy were required!
That explosive combination created a liquid which changed the mist of the earthstring energy into a spiritual sea!
That spiritual sea had another name: the Dao foundation!
Every full Tideflow would create one spiritual sea, and one Dao foundation! Nine Tideflows meant nine spiritual seas and nine Dao foundations! Each additional level would be many times larger than the previous level, like an inverted pagoda!
Time passed. Two hours later, and the vortex in the lake above Bai Xiaochun was even larger than before. As heaven and earth shook, Bai Xiaochun let out a powerful roar, causing the vortex to increase in size yet again. Rumbling like thunder echoed out as the whirlpool inside of him reached its capacity. Everything that he had built up over the past two hours was what would shape his first Tideflow.
As soon as the first Tideflow was ready to complete, the whirlpool inside of him began to shrink down in size.
As the earthstring energy and spiritual power which formed the whirlpool flowed through his qi passageways, the whirlpool shrank, and cracking sounds echoed out from within him. The whirlpool was soon nothing more than a black dot which caused his qi passageways, his flesh and blood, and even his soul, to shake violently.
His mind filled with rumbling sounds as the combination of earthstring energy and spiritual power spread out. As he roared, his qi passageways grew larger, and his flesh and blood stronger. His bones, his soul, everything about him grew more powerful.
Also in that moment, with the aid of the Tideflow, the earthstring energy and spiritual power finally merged together to form a spiritual liquid that raced through him, entering the misty sea in his dantian region. It was like a drop of water that, upon landing, exploded with heaven-rending, earth-crushing force!
Bai Xiaochun shuddered violently as his dantian region exploded into countless fragments, which then re-formed into a sea!
His Dao foundation had been established, and his spiritual sea had been formed!
At the same time, his qi passageways, and especially his soul, were violently shaken and ripped away from that which was mortal!
However, the sea was very small, seemingly only about 300 meters wide. Within it could be seen a violet cauldron, covered with countless magical symbols. As it rose up out of the sea, it unleashed a shocking energy which caused Bai Xiaochun’s cultivation base to rise rapidly. However, he had not finished his ascension to Foundation Establishment; all of the preparation and hard work he had put into this moment had yet to be drawn upon.
There were two main factors which determined how many Tideflows a person could achieve: first, latent talent, and second, the techniques they had cultivated in the Qi Condensation stage!
Techniques provoked the Tideflow, and latent talent provided the power to actually withstand the force of it. With strong latent talent, one could endure multiple Tideflows. With weaker latent talent, it would be difficult to do the same, even if one had cultivated numerous techniques. In fact, attempting to force too many Tideflows could shatter the Dao foundation and result in death.
At the same time, someone with ordinary techniques and high latent talent would be equally confounded.
As such, it was only the combination of techniques and latent talent that could lead to success. Both were required.
Bai Xiaochun’s first spiritual sea contained a cauldron, which represented the first technique he had cultivated, the Violet Qi Cauldron Control Art!