Chapter 127: Soul Floating In the Void
Deep enlightenment was a state in which one's soul essentially merged with heaven and earth, connecting with the world to understand and be enlightened regarding natural and magical laws.
Mortals could accidentally slip into deep enlightenment, although the likelihood was incredibly small to the point of almost being impossible. Even Qi Condensation cultivators would have a very difficult time entering such a state, and if they did, it would cause a huge stir among anyone who found out about it.
Almighty beings with incredible cultivation bases would occasionally enter that state to comprehend the profound transformations of the world, and the great Daos of heaven and earth.
For the last thousand years in the Spirit Stream Sect, only two people had ever slipped into deep enlightenment. One of them was Ghostfang, with his spectacular natural talent. Not even Shangguan Tianyou had been able to match up to him in this regard.
The other person to succeed was now sitting beneath the statute, having observed it for seventy days in a row. Bai Xiaochun!
The surrounding north bank disciples were left gasping at the astounding scene.
"Bai Xiaochun... he... is in deep enlightenment?!?! He's the only person to have done it other than Eldest Brother Ghostfang!"
"Hmph. How could this deep enlightenment even compare to Eldest Brother Ghostfang's? He did it in fifteen days, but Bai Xiaochun took seventy!"
"That's not the way to look at it. It just means that if we could hang on for seventy days, then we could reach deep enlightenment too. Except we can't! Look how hard Bai Xiaochun worked!"
In addition to the cries of shock, there were other mixed feelings among the crowd. Some people seemed indignant, others jealous, and some contemptuous. Regardless of the specifics, everyone could sense how hard Bai Xiaochun had worked, and how much he had struggled to endure. Furthermore, all of them were envious to some degree.
At the same time, six beams of light appeared up in the air. The fastest among them were not the four peak lords of the north bank, but rather... Li Qinghou from the south bank!
In almost the moment that Bai Xiaochun slipped into a trance, he appeared. Waving his finger in the direction of the trial platform, he caused a screen of light to descend, surrounding Bai Xiaochun so that no one could disturb him.
It was at around this time that the four peak lords as well as Sect Leader Zheng Yuandong arrived.
The old woman from Irispetal Peak peak looked over at Li Qinghou, and then the surrounding crowd. Suppressing her surprise at the fact that Bai Xiaochun had entered deep enlightenment, she barked, "Seal the entire area surrounding the trial platform. Don't open it until Bai Xiaochun awakens."
"If anyone disturbs Bai Xiaochun, it will be considered treason, and punished accordingly!" Zheng Yuandong added. "Get the Hall of Justice over here immediately to stand guard!" In response, the Outer Sect disciples bowed their heads and clasped hands respectfully.
Soon, several dozen disciples from the Hall of Justice arrived and stationed themselves in various positions around the statue, where they sat down cross-legged to act as Dharma Protectors.
By this time, word had spread from the Outer Sect disciples. Everyone on the north bank knew that Bai Xiaochun had entered deep enlightenment. Beihan Lie and the other Chosen emerged from their immortal's caves, shocked, and began to hurry toward the trial platform.
When they saw that Bai Xiaochun was being guarded by the Hall of Justice, they weren't sure what to think.
"He's... actually in deep enlightenment...?"
"Seventy days! He endured for seventy days!"
"There's no way he's that far ahead of us. I refuse to believe it!" Beihan Lie, the Gongsun siblings, Xu Song, and the other Inner Sect Chosen were filled with incredibly complex thoughts and feelings.
Up in midair, the four peak lords looked down at Bai Xiaochun as he sat there cross-legged, eyes closed and aura dispersed. All of them were sighing.
"I never thought he would actually pull it off."
"The kid prepared long and hard. His success was no fluke."
"I wonder how many days he'll remain in deep enlightenment. Ghostfang lasted for twenty-seven days."
As the peak lords sighed, Zheng Yuandong's eyes shone with anticipation, and he started laughing heartily. As of this point, he had the feeling that his Master would surely be glad to have an apprentice like Bai Xiaochun.
Li Qinghou's face was covered with a smile, and his eyes shone with approval and praise.
Considering that Bai Xiaochun was in the middle of the Spirit Stream Sect, with the Hall of Justice protecting him, and surrounded by a spell formation personally set up by Li Qinghou, nobody under the Gold Core stage possibly be able to disturb his deep enlightenment.
Even if a Gold Core expert dared to show up, they would be killed beyond the shadow of a doubt.
After looking on for a bit longer, the peak lords, the sect leader, and Li Qinghou all left.
The north bank disciples looked on, sighing. Their main speculations were regarding why the Hall of Justice had been called, and also... they wondered how long Bai Xiaochun would stay in deep enlightenment.
"He used five times as long as to succeed. I bet he'll last for twenty percent as long as Eldest Brother Ghostfang. Five or six days at the most."
"I bet he'll pass seven days!"
Numerous cold snorts could be heard echoing out within the crowd. There were many disciples on the north bank, and none of them had forgotten that Bai had been named their archenemy. Although they had been impressed by his strength, deep down, there were still quite a few who harbored animosity. There were also many who were jealous of him.
Time passed. Three days later, Bai Xiaochun still hadn't stirred. However, the vital energy which he had spent in his efforts to gain enlightenment was slowly building back up.
Furthermore, now that he had entered deep enlightenment, his aura was gone, as if his soul had left his body to merge with heaven, earth and the void itself.
During that time, the blankness within his closed eyes spread to fill his entire person. He had no concept of time, no idea of how long he had been in this state. He only knew the image of the scales. The statue in front of him almost seemed alive, bursting with a savage aura that seemed to be dragging him into the world that existed in its right clawed hand.
It was almost as if the void were truly being torn apart, and his consciousness were being sucked through the rift into an illusory world. His mind was a complete blank. He had forgotten who he was, or why he had come here. He only knew the illusory world around him.
He saw an enormous creature, so large it was difficult to put into words. It was so huge that Bai Xiaochun felt like a mere scale on the thing's back.
Shockingly, the creature was none other than than the giant crocodilian beast that formed the statue on the north bank.
It lived in this illusory world, looking up into the sky, into the heavens, staring at a seemingly invisible figure, something that didn't even exist. Suddenly, it reached up into the sky and made a grasping motion.
A sound like booming thunder echoed out in all directions. Bai Xiaochun watched mutely as its clawed hand tore open a hole in the sky. Rumbling sounds filled the sky, and all that Bai Xiaochun could think about was that hand.
In fact, if Bai Xiaochun were able to remember who he was, he would immediately realize that the clawed hand... closely resembled the clawed hand that Ghostfang could unleash with Ghosts Haunt the Night.
While Bai Xiaochun was in the middle of the illusory world, time flew by outside. Already, far more time had passed than the five or six days that many of the disciples had assumed would be the limit. Ten days had passed.
Every day, more north bank disciples came to congregate around the trial platform to watch Bai Xiaochun. Some of the Inner Sect disciples had even chose to meditate in the area.
Beihan Lie and the other Chosen were also present.
They watched as Bai Xiaochun's deep enlightenment lasted for ten days, and mixed emotions could be seen in their eyes. While the Inner Sect disciples sat there quietly, the Outer Sect disciples were in an uproar.
"I can't believe he lasted ten days!"
"Yeah, but I really doubt that he could possibly last twenty-seven days like Eldest Brother Ghostfang did!"
The Outer Sect disciples continue to discuss the matter as time marched on. Eleven days. Twelve days. Thirteen days.... Eventually, the twentieth day arrived!
The north bank was completely shaken by this point. All of the Outer Sect disciples were flabbergasted, and were paying close attention to find out... if Bai Xiaochun would surpass Ghostfang's record of twenty-seven days.
"There's no way!!"
"He took five times as long as Eldest Brother Ghostfang to enter deep enlightenment. His latent talent clearly doesn't measure up. There's absolutely no way he'll surpass the record!"
Words such as this were common among the disciples. Even many of the Inner Sect disciples felt the same. Gradually, the twenty-second day arrived, and the the twenty-fifth. By that time, the voices were silenced, and shock began to fill the hearts of everyone present.
On the evening of the twenty-sixth day, a new figure appeared in midair above the trial platform, a young man wearing a long black robe.
It was none other than than Ghostfang himself!
He had been in secluded meditation preparing for Foundation Establishment, but had received a message from a fellow disciple notifying him about what was going on with Bai Xiaochun, and had thus emerged.
Bai Xiaochun was the only disciple in the Spirit Stream Sect who could attract his attention. As soon as he appeared above the trial platform, countless disciples of both the Inner and Outer sects looked up with sober, respectful expressions, even fear. One after another, they clasped hands in greeting.
"Greetings, Eldest Brother Ghostfang."
Even Beihan Lie and the other Chosen did the same. As the voices echoed out, Ghostfang seemed to not even have heard them. His entire attention appeared to be focused on Bai Xiaochun, and his eyes were shining with a strange light.
"I began my observation with the beast's sharp claws. After forming the image in my mind, I entered deep enlightenment, and found myself in an illusory world. I lost myself within the ancient beast's heaven-shaking, earth-shattering claws, and found it hard to emerge. After completing my deep enlightenment, I didn't see if anything had changed about the ancient beast.
"Bai Xiaochun, now that you are in deep enlightenment, I wonder if you will be able to emerge from within the clawed hand...."