Almost in the same moment that Fang Lin headed toward Bai Xiaochun, rumbling sounds could be heard as Nine-Isles rose up into the air like a bedeviled god.
His hair whipped about him as the magical symbols which were wrapped around him loosened, creating a band of magical symbols 30 meters wide. They were black, and pulsed with the power of the Exterminating Obliteration Technique, causing a will of extermination to fill the entire area.
From the energy radiating off of him, he seemed even more powerful than Fang Lin!
“Since Fang Lin is taking out Bai Xiaochun, I’m going to kill Ghostfang. Ghostfang, if it weren’t for the delay caused by your interference, I wouldn’t have been the fourth in line to begin Foundation Establishment. Because I started so late, I wasn’t able to complete my eighth Tideflow. But I still have a chance if I kill you and absorb your earthstring energy!” Nine-Isles threw his head back and roared, radiating hatred. He hated Bai Xiaochun, but he hated Ghostfang even more. In the end, he attributed his failure to the sudden rise of Ghostfang.
Of course, he hated Song Que just as much, and planned to get revenge on him as well. However, his plan was to first take out Ghostfang.
Radiating the might of Foundation Establishment, he blurred into motion as he shot through the air toward Ghostfang.
With an inward sigh of relief, Song Que focused fully on his eighth vortex. “Nine-Isles and Fang Lin don’t qualify to tangle with me. Only Bai Xiaochun and Ghostfang do…. However, if they get interrupted, that will be my greatest chance to succeed!”
There was nothing left of the lake above Bai Xiaochun; there was only a huge crater, at the bottom of which was the immortal’s cave he had created. There, glittering shields were being constantly bombarded by disciples from the three sects. At the moment, there were only a hundred shield layers left, which was when Fang Lin appeared like a bolt of lightning.
He was a blur of motion that sped toward the shields and then waved his hand, causing the Heaven-Earth Furnace Cauldron to rapidly grow larger and then smash downward.
“Break!” he shouted in a deafening roar that caused the other disciples to back up in astonishment. Many of them even coughed up mouthfuls of blood due to Fang Lin’s Foundation Establishment might.
The stunning power of the Heaven-Earth Furnace Cauldron was such that all hundred shields shattered from a single blow.
“Bai Xiaochun!!” Fang Lin’s eyes flickered with killing intent as he prepared to enter the immortal’s cave. However, it was at that moment that Bai Xiaochun looked up, his eyes completely bloodshot.
“Fang Lin!” he growled, and then his final 600 paper talismans all ignited.
Popping sounds filled the air as 600 shields appeared to block Fang Lin’s path.
“Dammit, I can’t believe he still has paper talismans left!!” Fang Lin frowned. He had just stepped into Foundation Establishment, and had not yet fully acclimated, and was thus unable to unleash the full potential of his battle prowess.
The other disciples from the three sects all stared with wide eyes at what they were seeing. Gasps could be heard as they were shaken by the incredible display of wealth put on by Bai Xiaochun. They all knew how expensive paper talismans were, and a quick calculation revealed that he had just used over a thousand of them. Instantly, exclamations of shock could be heard.
“How… how many paper talismans does he actually have?”
“Dammit! Most people use spell formations or magical techniques to defend themselves during Foundation Establishment. I can’t believe he’s relying entirely on paper talismans!”
“Even if he has more of them, it won’t do him any good. He might as well forget about succeeding with his eighth Tideflow!” Fang Lin’s eyes flickered as he let loose another attack.
The booming sounds caused Bai Xiaochun to grow even more nervous, but at the same time, furious.
Without Fang Lin, the situation wouldn’t have been so nerve-wracking. But considering the power of Foundation Establishment was now in the mix, Bai Xiaochun knew that his defenses couldn’t hold out for very long.
“He just entered Foundation Establishment, and probably isn’t completely used to it yet. I still have a chance!” Gritting his teeth, he ignored the booming sounds and focused fully on rotating the whirlpool inside of him.
As it spun faster and faster, the shields were broken away layer by layer. Fang Lin and the other disciples continued to unleash attacks, and time ticked away. Soon, half of the shields were gone, and yet Fang Lin was starting to get very nervous.
It was at that very moment that Bai Xiaochun’s eighth vortex suddenly stopped moving.
His eighth Tideflow… was a success!
An eighth spiritual sea appeared within him, just above the seventh. At the same time, it seemed like a ninth vortex was about to appear up above in the sky.
“My ninth Tideflow will be… my Undying Live Forever Technique!” Bai Xiaochun’s expression was one of madness as he put everything on the line. As he called upon the Undying Live Forever Technique, silver light spread out, within which faint traces of gold were already visible.
As he did… a ninth vortex appeared overhead!
His eyes were clamped shut, as though he didn’t even have the power to open them. He almost seemed like he was on the verge of exploding.
As for everyone else in the Fallen Sword World, it didn’t matter what they were doing, their hearts trembled, and their jaws dropped.
“A ninth… Tideflow….”
“I can’t believe… that nine Tideflows have appeared!”
“The last time this happened was 800 years ago. Heavens….”
Outside Bai Xiaochun’s immortal’s cave, Fang Lin’s eyes went wide, and he shivered. He couldn’t even complete seven Tideflows, and yet here someone was working on their ninth.
In the middle of unleashing an attack on Ghostfang’s location, Nine-Isles trembled and turned to look in Bai Xiaochun’s direction. Panting, he said, “The Spirit Stream Sect… has started a ninth Tideflow. We can’t let that ninth Tideflow succeed!” Abandoning his enmity with Ghostfang, he began to speed toward Bai Xiaochun.
At the same time, Song Que was panting, his eyes gleaming with the desire to do battle. Because Bai Xiaochun had begun his ninth Tideflow, Song Que’s eighth Tideflow now seemed to be on the verge of falling apart. Expression one of utter determination, he performed a double-handed incantation gesture and then slapped his hands down onto the ground, causing a boom to echo out. Moments later, cracking sounds could be heard from nine locations within the Fallen Sword World, as earthstring energy was apparently forcibly extracted using some special technique. Moments later, Song Que’s eighth Tideflow stabilized.
Ghostfang observed silently as Nine-Isles sped off into the distance. His expression was one of disappointment. He didn’t want to admit it, but he could sense that his eighth Tideflow was rapidly destabilizing. Because of the appearance of a ninth Tideflow, it would soon shatter.
Shangguan Tianyou was in the middle of his fifth Tideflow, and as soon as he sensed that Bai Xiaochun had started a ninth Tideflow, all of his confidence and pride was shattered.
“Never educated by his parents, and always pulling off freakish stunts. The shameless son of a bitch! I can’t believe he got to nine Tideflows! What a massive joke!” All of a sudden, Shangguan Tianyou let loose a stream of shrill laughter.
Beihan Lie bitterly clenched his fists. Despite the endless frustrations caused by Bai Xiaochun, he had never given up hope that he could surpass him. As of this moment, he gritted his teeth, and felt more strongly than ever that he had to do just that.
Everyone in the Fallen Sword World experienced a short moment of reflective silence. But then, the voices of Fang Lin and Nine-Isles echoed out in all directions.
“Our three sects will never tolerate the appearance of nine Tideflows! You people know what we have to do!”
“Kill Bai Xiaochun! Stop the ninth Tideflow, and return the earthstring energy to the world around us. Profound Stream Sect! Blood Stream Sect! Pill Stream Sect! If we don’t attack him together now, when will we?!?!”
A moment later, Song Que’s voice rang out, grim and sinister. “Kill Bai Xiaochun!”
The truth was that the three of them didn’t even need to say anything. All of the non-Foundation Establishment cultivators in the Fallen Sword Abyss were terrified, and began to speed toward Bai Xiaochun, killing intent raging.
Hou Yunfei had completed his third Tideflow, and was in the middle of his fourth. Suddenly, he smiled happily and said, “Xiaochun, you defended me from the Luochen Clan, and now, I’m going to defend you!”
His fourth Tideflow began to fade as he chose to enter Foundation Establishment at that very moment.
He knew that Bai Xiaochun would be in a very weak state, and was about to be attacked by a whole horde of enemies. Therefore, he would… defend Bai Xiaochun!
Even as his Tideflow ended, he cried out, “Spirit Stream Sect disciples, it’s me, Hou Yunfei. I just finished my own Foundation Establishment, and I’m going to defend Bai Xiaochun. Who’s with me?!”
After a moment of silence, the voices of numerous Spirit Stream Sect disciples could be heard shouting in response.
“Sect Uncle Bai had our backs when we entered this place. I’m going to stand as his Dharma protector!”
“Bai Xiaochun might be naughty and mischievous, but he’s one of us!”
“Nine Tideflows! That’s a sign that the Spirit Stream Sect is going to rise to prominence! You people want to kill Sect Uncle Bai? I don’t think so!” Virtually all of the Spirit Stream Sect disciples gritted their teeth and began to speed in Bai Xiaochun’s direction.
Ghostfang couldn’t hold on any longer. As his eighth Tideflow faded away in failure, he thought for a moment, and then completely ignored Bai Xiaochun in favor of… going to interfere with Song Que. Apparently, he viewed Bai Xiaochun’s success or failure as having nothing to do with himself.
Beihan Lie let out a powerful roar. Suppressing the rage he felt toward Bai Xiaochun, he ended his fifth Tideflow and chose to enter Foundation Establishment immediately. Then, he stepped out to act as Dharma Protector for Bai Xiaochun.
“This isn’t for you, Bai Xiaochun, it’s for the Spirit Stream Sect!”
There were a few other Spirit Stream Sect disciples who similarly gritted their teeth and then ended their Tideflows to join their fellows.
Soon, in the entire Spirit Stream Sect, the only person other than Bai Xiaochun who was still continuing with a Tideflow… was Shangguan Tianyou!
Eyes bloodshot, he was completely ignoring everything else other than his own wavering fifth Tideflow.
Fierce fighting instantly broke out as the disciples charged in the direction of Bai Xiaochun. Soon, the area outside of Bai Xiaochun’s immortal’s cave was the scene of a bitter battle as only a few dozen Spirit Stream Sect stood against a crowd of over a hundred.
Time passed, and the fighting only grew more intense. Under the combined attacks of Fang Lin and Nine-Isles, Hou Yunfei was already seriously injured, as was Beihan Lie. The Spirit Stream Sect disciples were shoved back over and over again, and Bai Xiaochun’s shields continued to be whittled away.
Bai Xiaochun could sense what was happening outside, and he was left trembling. He wanted to end the Tideflow, but quickly realized that he had no control over it. It was impossible to end it himself, and in fact, he wasn’t even capable of opening his eyes.
After all, the ninth Tideflow represented the peak of Earthstring Foundation Establishment!
Unless the process were somehow interfered with, there were only three ways it could be ended. One was to succeed, which would naturally end the Tideflow. The second way it might end was if the Fallen Sword World ran out of earthstring energy, causing the Tideflow to fade away. The final method was if the person undergoing their ninth Tideflow was killed.
Although his eyes were closed, they were completely bloodshot. He could sense that his fellow disciples were fighting for him, and he could tell that they were bleeding and injured, maybe even dying. His mind felt like it was being torn apart; he wanted to open his eyes, to end the Tideflow. But he couldn’t.
“This ninth Tideflow either needs to fail, or hurry up and finish… ARGHHHHH!!” Trembling physically, he let out a protracted inner howl.