When Bai Xiaochun opened his eyes, he saw Nine-Isles’ vicious expression, Fang Lin’s cruel smile, and other Foundation Establishment cultivators, including Zhao Rou, whose beautiful face was twisted with venomous rage as she reached out toward his forehead.
Everything around him was moving incredibly slowly, as if time had suddenly been locked in place.
He could sense that his ninth Tideflow had ended, and that a ninth spiritual sea existed in his dantian region.
He now had a total of nine spiritual seas, each one larger and more magnificent than the one beneath it. Boundless spiritual power surged inside of him, pouring through his body. As his spiritual seas grew more and more stable, his Dao foundation was formed!
He also realized something that none of the other disciples would be aware of; the peak of Earthstring Foundation Establishment, nine Tideflows, didn’t require a long period of stabilization like the other levels did.
It stabilized almost instantly, filling him with a sensation of unprecedented power. He had never experienced this level of spiritual power, this much vital energy. He could clearly sense the terrifying life force that radiated out from him, as well as the signs that his longevity was increasing.
In addition to all that, his Undying Skin had already broken through to the next level. Instead of Undying Silver Skin, he now had Undying Gold Skin!
He had advanced by leaps and bounds, had become more powerful in all aspects. He had reached a new level of life that was completely different from before. As of this moment, he was no longer a part of the mortal world, but was a true cultivator who had shed his mortality!
However, the price he had to pay was immense, and he was well aware of that. He understood that only the fit survived, and he understood the law of the jungle. He knew that on the path to living forever, it didn’t matter if he hated fighting and killing. The path was narrow and cramped, and although he was willing to walk it along with others, there were many who didn’t share such sentiments.
He knew now more than ever that sometimes, even if he didn’t feel like killing someone, that person might want to kill him. In that case, he could either close his eyes and die, or unleash his rage and fight!
He saw the shattered battleground that was the area outside his immortal’s cave. He saw the injured Spirit Stream Sect disciples, and he saw the bloodied and unconscious Hou Yunfei.
He was so moved that tears welled up in his eyes. These were his own fellow disciples, like his family. Each and every Spirit Stream Sect disciple was a person he would never be able to forget.
He saw some of the Spirit Stream Sect disciples who were now nothing more than corpses, and it filled his heart with pain. Their end came much like Zhou Youdao’s, and that idea filled Bai Xiaochun with so much rage that his eyes turned red.
How his fury burned!
He was furious that he had been besieged, and furious that Spirit Stream Sect disciples had died defending him. He was furious that, despite not having provoked any of these other sects, they had come to take his life!
“I practice cultivation because I want to live forever. I don’t like fighting and killing. But… I can if I have to!” To Bai Xiaochun, the world had turned as crimson as blood. Everything had slowed down to the point where it wasn’t moving.
“My fellow Spirit Stream Sect disciples died protecting me. So now, I’ll make sure the survivors reach Foundation Establishment!
“Each and every Spirit Stream Sect disciple here is going to get to Earthstring Foundation Establishment!”
Rage burning in his heart, he spoke the words like an oath, and then, everything seemed to return to normal. Zhao Rou looked just as ferocious as she had moments ago. As her index finger closed in on his forehead, it suddenly lurched to a stop. At some unknown point, Bai Xiaochun had raised his own right hand, and before Zhao Rou even realized what had happened, he clamped his hand down onto her wrist.
“No!!” she screamed. She was about to attempt to sever her own arm to get away, but Bai Xiaochun’s eyes flickered with killing intent, and he squeezed his hand down. A popping sound could be heard, along with a bitter scream as Zhao Rou’s entire arm exploded. At the same time, Bai Xiaochun rose to his feet and took a step forward, slamming bodily into her. Her chest caved in and blood sprayed out of her mouth, along with a choked shriek. Even as she attempted to turn and flee, her entire body exploded.
At the same time, her Dao foundation was destroyed. She had just stepped into Foundation Establishment, and the earthstring energy inside of her hadn’t completely solidified. As she died, massive quantities of earthstring energy erupted out in all directions. Bai Xiaochun quickly waved his sleeve, sending it in the direction of the Spirit Stream Sect disciples.
Everything happened in the briefest of moments. Bai Xiaochun’s hair flew around him as he took another step forward, appearing in front of a disciple from the Profound Stream Sect who had experienced two Tideflows. Before the disciple even realized what was happening, Bai Xiaochun grabbed his neck and squeezed his hand down.
Bai Xiaochun threw the body toward the Spirit Stream Sect disciples, and as it exploded, large quantities of earthstring energy surged out.
He took another step forward, ending up in front of a disciple from the Blood Stream Sect who had experienced three Tideflows. A single fist strike, and the disciple exploded.
One more step put him in front of a disciple from the Pill Stream Sect with a single Tideflow cultivation base. Bai Xiaochun waved his hand, and the aura of the Waterswamp Kingdom appeared. It was merely the aura, nothing more, and yet the Pill Stream Sect disciple’s eyes went bloodshot, and exploded into bits!
Just like before, earthstring energy flowed out toward the Spirit Stream Sect disciples.
At that point, Bai Xiaochun stopped in place. Only a brief moment had elapsed since he had stepped forward to kill Zhao Rou.
As he stood there, surrounded by rumbling sounds, the crowds of attacking disciples from the other sects were shocked to find that the person who had been sitting cross-legged in meditation had vanished, and now stood right in front of them.
Zhao Rou had been killed, and Foundation Establishment cultivators from the Pill Stream Sect, Profound Stream Sect, and Blood Stream Sect had all been cut down. At the same time, a huge amount of earthstring energy was swirling toward the Spirit Stream Sect disciples, who were just as shocked as everyone else.
Voice booming like thunder, Bai Xiaochun roared, “Friends from the Spirit Stream Sect, the time has come to reach Earthstring Foundation Establishment, and I will be your Dharma protector!” Trembling, the Spirit Stream Sect disciples quickly sat down cross-legged and began to absorb the earthstring energy.
Because this earthstring energy came directly from slaughtered Foundation Establishment cultivators, there was no need for an earthstring capture crystal to be able to absorb it!
Everything happened so quickly that the minds of the onlookers were left reeling, and their scalps went numb. Gasps could be heard as all of them were filled with intense sensations of deadly crisis.
Nine-Isles’ eyes were wide with disbelief. Fang Lin was shaking visibly, and felt as if every drop of blood inside of him were screaming at him that Bai Xiaochun was more terrifying than he could possibly imagine.
Even as everyone reeled in shock, killing intent flickered in Bai Xiaochun’s eyes, and he took another step forward, placing him in front of Nine-Isles.
A single punch caused blood to spray out of Nine-Isles’s mouth. Screaming, he called upon all of the power of the Exterminating Obliteration Technique to defend himself. Then, face ashen, he fled without the slightest hesitation.
Bai Xiaochun’s eyes flickered. He had sensed a strange power in Nine-Isles just now, something that protected his life force. Even though it wasn’t a full match for Bai Xiaochun, it was still powerful!
Bai Xiaochun let Nine-Isles flee, and flickered into motion, appearing in front of Fang Lin. Instantly, two fingers shot out toward Fang Lin’s throat.
It didn’t matter how Fang Lin tried to defend himself. It didn’t matter what magical techniques or magical items he called up. Everything was crushed by Bai Xiaochun’s fingers. They destroyed everything like a hammer crushing an ice cube, speeding forward to latch onto Fang Lin’s throat.
Throat Crushing Grasp!
A cracking sound rang out, and Fang Lin’s eyes went wide. Blood oozed out of his mouth as his seven-layered Dao foundation collapsed. He wasn’t even able to scream. Bai Xiaochun tossed his body off to the side, releasing earthstring energy ten times stronger than anything before. The Spirit Stream Sect disciples trembled as they madly absorbed it.
“I never thought you’d be so much weaker than Nine-Isles,” Bai Xiaochun said, eyes flashing.
It was at that very moment that a black soul fire flew out from Fang Lin’s body, but before it could get very far, Bai Xiaochun took a step forward and grabbed it.
A face was visible inside of the soul fire, but it wasn’t Fang Lin’s. It was a sinister face which was half covered by a black birthmark, making it almost look like a yin-yang symbol. It stared at Bai Xiaochun, and then began to chuckle.
“I’m only a soul seed, but considering I found someone interesting like you among all these people makes dying worth it. I’m sure we’ll meet again someday!”
With that, the soul fire faded away. Although no one else was able to observe what had happened, Bai Xiaochun could hear the voice clearly in his head.
“Parlor tricks!” Bai Xiaochun said, snorting coldly.
It was only at around this time that the other disciples in the area began to react. Miserable screams rang out as the terrified disciples attempted to flee in all directions.
As far as they were concerned, Bai Xiaochun had turned into a devil!
“Zhao Rou’s dead! Fang Lin’s dead! Nine-Isles has fled!”
“Heavens! Is this the peak of Earthstring Foundation Establishment?!”
“800 years ago, Master Limitless of the Blood Stream Sect reached the peak, and almost all of the disciples from the other three sects were wiped out.”
Screaming, the more than one hundred disciples in the area began to flee as if they had gone mad. Their minds were trembling, and they were completely and utterly shaken by the terror that was Bai Xiaochun.
At the same time, the Spirit Stream Sect disciples were shivering in excitement. Beihan Lie was panting as he looked at Bai Xiaochun, his feelings even more complicated than before. However, his determination to surpass him only continued to grow stronger.
Bai Xiaochun didn’t chase any of the fleeing disciples. He quickly went over to Hou Yunfei and placed his palm onto his chest. Earthstring energy poured into him, restoring his Dao foundation. A moment later, the signs of a Tideflow once again appeared.
Hou Yunfei slowly opened his eyes, and when he saw Bai Xiaochun, he smiled.
Bai Xiaochun looked around at the other Spirit Stream Sect disciples as they reached Earthstring Foundation Establishment. None of them would be able to achieve three Tideflows, only two at the most. After all, even with Bai Xiaochun helping them, there still wasn’t much earthstring energy left to split between everyone.
Despite that, everyone was profoundly shaken.
“Not enough earthstring energy….” Bai Xiaochun thought as he watched Hou Yunfei absorbing the energy. Then he looked up toward the lone remaining vortex up in the sky.
It was none other than Song Que, in the middle of his ninth Tideflow!
“You sent people to kill me and stop my nine Tideflows. Well, Bai Xiaochun isn’t the type of person who gets hit and doesn’t hit back! If I stop your Tideflow, Big Bro Hou will have more earthstring energy for himself!” His eyes flashed with cold light, but then he hesitated, as he remembered that there were many disciples here who needed someone to stand for them as Dharma protector.
Beihan Lie took a deep breath as he sensed that his own faded Tideflow was on the verge of resuming. “Bai Xiaochun, you go. We might have a beef with each other, but I have no desire for a second Master Limitless to arise in the Blood Stream Sect. You go stop Song Que. I’ll defend everyone here!”
Bai Xiaochun gave him a deep look, his heart filled with regret. After clasping hands and bowing deeply, he transformed into a beam of light that shot up toward Song Que!