To everyone else, this was a rare occasion to see the peak of Earthstring Foundation Establishment, something that, in the past several thousand years, had only occurred once, 800 years ago with Master Limitless of the Blood Stream Sect.
However, to Bai Xiaochun, it was more than that. It was also a chance to make incredible progress with his Undying Live Forever Technique.
It was an opportunity to advance from Undying Silver Skin to Undying Gold Skin!
With the life-saving magical item given to him by Li Qinghou, his entire body was covered by a layer of blackness, and yet not even that could prevent a faint gold light from glittering around him.
As of this moment, Bai Xiaochun had successfully cultivated the full first level of the Undying Codex!
He had successfully broken through the first shackle of mortality, something no one else had been able to accomplish for countless years. Of course, a few people had accomplished that task in the past. After all, the point of the first volume of the Undying Codex was to break through that first shackle.
But Bai Xiaochun was the first person to ever make additional progress even after breaking through the shackle!
Generally speaking, there wasn’t much in between the different layers that were the five shackles of mortality. They were like circles with a fixed size and shape. However, with Bai Xiaochun, that fixed circle appeared to be expanding rapidly!
It was completely and utterly shocking!
Rumbling sounds filled his body as the golden color of his skin grew more and more intense. The Undying Live Forever Technique was in full operation, and because he had broken through the first shackle, the ninth vortex up above began to spin even more quickly, causing his ninth Tideflow to absorb earthstring energy at a shocking rate.
It was a harmonious cycle. The more earthstring energy that came to form his ninth spiritual sea, the more golden light shone from his Undying Skin. That in turn caused the ninth Tideflow to speed up even more.
It was a seemingly unending cycle that only continued to accelerate as the moments passed.
At the same time, Song Que was calling upon everything he had at his disposal, including secret magics of the Blood Stream Sect and the energy nodes he had connected to earlier, to also absorb earthstring energy at a shocking rate.
For most people, the time it took to complete a Tideflow was set, but Bai Xiaochun and Song Que were completely breaking that trend. Both of them were sucking in as much earthstring energy as other people might take a month to absorb.
As for Song Que, massive rumbling sounds filled the area surrounding him as Ghostfang did everything he could to interfere. And yet, Song Que still managed to succeed with his eighth Tideflow!
As the power of the eighth Tideflow surged through him, Song Que’s eyes shone with madness and excitement.
“Ninth Tideflow!” he howled. Outside, Ghostfang’s face flickered as he saw a ninth vortex spring into being in the sky above.
According to an old saying, there can never be two suns in the sky at the same time. However, as of this moment, the two vortexes which could be seen in the Fallen Sword World were both that of the ninth Tideflow, and everyone who could see them was shocked to the core.
Even Shangguan Tianyou felt completely shaken. As for the disciples who were still trying to hang on to their own Tideflows, their faces went ashen with despair. They could only watch helplessly as their Tideflows faded away into nothing.
There was simply no way to compete with the two king-like disciples who were in the middle of their ninth Tideflows. No one could absorb any earthstring energy with those vortexes in existence.
“I refuse to accept this!” Shangguan Tianyou said through gritted teeth. However, his fifth Tideflow was halted, and he had no other choice but to enter Foundation Establishment. Killing intent surging in his eyes, he exploded into motion, not in Bai Xiaochun’s direction, but to join Ghostfang in resisting Song Que.
Inwardly, he howled, “Bai Xiaochun, I hope you die, and I hope you do too, Song Que!”
Zhao Rou also had no choice but to give up in the middle of her fifth Tideflow, and it was the same with Xu Xiaoshan.
As for everyone else, they were in their second or third Tideflows.
As of this moment, the only people still in the middle of reaching Earthstring Foundation Establishment in the Fallen Sword World were Bai Xiaochun and Song Que!
The other disciples who had been interrupted wrathfully chose to either attack Bai Xiaochun or Song Que. Considering that Bai Xiaochun had been the biggest hindrance to everyone, it was no surprise that most people chose to attack him. As such, the disciples who were defending Bai Xiaochun were already in imminent danger.
Just as Zhao Rou was about to go attack Bai Xiaochun, she noticed that, somehow, the poison puppet she had created to defend herself, Gongsun Wan’er, was nowhere to be found.
There wasn’t a single trace left behind to indicate where she might have gone. Zhao Rou’s heart trembled, but there was no time to ponder the matter carefully. Without any further hesitation, she shot toward Bai Xiaochun.
Bai Xiaochun’s eyes were closed, but they were more bloodshot than ever.
“Must go faster!” he murmured. Anxiety filled him; he didn’t have any desire for the fellow disciples outside his immortal’s cave to die trying to defend him.
It was at this moment that the entire immortal’s cave suddenly trembled violently as the final paper talisman shields outside were destroyed.
Bai Xiaochun had used so many paper talismans that his defenses far exceeded those of the spell formations used by the other Chosen. But now, they had been completely destroyed.
As soon as that happened, the disciples of the other three sects unleashed all of their divine abilities in Bai Xiaochun’s direction.
Thankfully, Fang Lin and Nine-Isles were being held off by Hou Yunfei, Beihan Lie, and two other Spirit Stream Sect disciples who had reached Earthstring Foundation Establishment, making it temporarily impossible for them to join in. Therefore, most of the people attacking Bai Xiaochun were Qi Condensation disciples.
Numerous cultivators unleashed magical techniques, all of which were blocked by Bai Xiaochun’s Divine Crane Shield.
In the Qi Condensation stage, neither Hou Yunfei nor Beihan Lie had been on the same level as Fang Lin and Nine-Isles. Now that they were in Foundation Establishment, it was no different. Despite having the advantage of numbers, they were still in extreme danger, and were being injured repeatedly. Blood sprayed out of Hou Yunfei’s mouth, and yet he continued to block the way, seemingly maddened.
Beihan Lie hesitated for a moment. He was soaked with blood and covered with wounds, and as such, began to back up. He had come to help Bai Xiaochun, but wouldn’t give his life for him. Seeing that the immortal’s cave was on the verge of being destroyed, he decided that now was the time to retreat.
Fang Lin didn’t chase him. Instead, he shot toward Bai Xiaochun, joining the Qi Condensation disciples to try and destroy the Divine Crane Shield.
“Are you looking to die?!” Nine-Isles barked, eyes flickering with killing intent. Considering he had just stepped into Foundation Establishment, he didn’t dare to unleash too much of his cultivation base, for fear that his Dao foundation was not stable. However, Hou Yunfei didn’t seem to care at all about his Dao foundation, and was fighting like a madman, making it very difficult to keep him under control.
Roaring in fury, Nine-Isles launched an attack with the power of obliteration, which instantly slammed into Hou Yunfei, who didn’t even have a chance to dodge.
Blood sprayed out of his mouth as he was sent tumbling backward, bones snapping left and right inside of him. After he landed hard on the ground, he struggled to rise to his feet, but couldn’t. All he could do was lay there helplessly as over a hundred cultivators unleashed countless attacks onto Bai Xiaochun.
“Xiaochun,” he murmured, “this is my fault for being so useless.”
The other Spirit Stream Sect disciples were all seriously injured. Thankfully, the disciples from the other three sects were focused on killing Bai Xiaochun, and weren’t trying to kill them.
Of course, each and every enemy disciple wanted to be the one to land the killing blow. After all, whoever was closest to Bai Xiaochun when he died would benefit the most from the resulting blast of earthstring energy that would spread out.
By now, none of the Spirit Stream Sect disciples had any energy left to fight, and could only bitterly watch Bai Xiaochun being bombarded.
Massive booms echoed out constantly. Fang Lin and Nine-Isles were already top Chosen, and were now seven Tideflows Earthstring Foundation Establishment cultivators. Under their leadership, the bombardment of all the Qi Condensation disciples caused cracks to spread out all over Bai Xiaochun’s Divine Crane Shield.
“Time to die, Bai Xiaochun!!”
“Return your earthstring energy to the world around you,” Fang Lin said. “Maybe I can’t continue with my Tideflow, but at least some of my fellow Pill Stream Sect disciples will reach Earthstring Foundation Establishment!”
“Bai Xiaochun, there’s no way we’ll let you succeed!” As the crowd roared, the Divine Crane Shield finally exploded.
The magical item which Bai Xiaochun’s Elder Brother Sect Leader had given him shattered. As it did, the soul of the divine crane flew out and settled down around Bai Xiaochun, providing one last measure of defense.
However, it only took moments for it to begin to fade away. In that instant, the entire group of disciples from the other three sects stormed in. It was also at that point that the final wave of disciples who had reached Foundation Establishment joined the crowd. The most powerful among them had reached five Tideflows, and the weakest, one. However, they were still Earthstring Foundation Establishment cultivators, and their attacks caused the divine crane to let out a piercing cry as it disappeared.
Zhao Rou from the Pill Stream Sect attacked with particular viciousness, and as soon as the crane vanished, she reached out to touch Bai Xiaochun’s forehead.
“It doesn’t matter that you’re an eight Tideflows Foundation Establishment expert, you won’t be able to escape death this time. All Spirit Stream Sect disciples must die!” Zhao Rou’s beauty was twisted by venomous rage as her finger made contact with Bai Xiaochun’s forehead.
Just as she was expecting his head to explode, a powerful force slammed back into her, shoving her backward several meters. At the same time, the attacks from the other disciples also rebounded.
Booms rang out, but a black glow emanated from Bai Xiaochun, defending against everything.
“Dammit! He still has more defenses!?”
“This Bai Xiaochun has profound defensive preparations. He must have known that reaching nine Tideflows would provoke widespread rage. That was why he prepared so well ahead of time!”
“It doesn’t matter how many defensive layers he has. However much earthstring energy he’s absorbed, that’s how much he’s going to spit back out!”
The glow of magical techniques rose high into the air as seven or eight Foundation Establishment cultivators and more than a hundred Qi Condensation disciples unleashed attacks. The life-saving magical item from Li Qinghou began to distort, and after a few moments, a popping sound could be heard as it reverted into a bracelet, which was now covered with cracks. If it weren’t for the fact that the new Foundation Establishment cultivators didn’t dare to fully call upon all their power, it would have already been destroyed.
When the black glow vanished, Bai Xiaochun was revealed, shining with boundless golden light!!
“Die!” Zhao Rou said excitedly. She once again reached out with her index finger, and yet, before she could get close, Bai Xiaochun’s eyes snapped open.
They looked like the eyes of a wild beast, filled with boundless madness and infinitely burning rage. The entire world seemed to suddenly freeze in place!