Chapter 338: Heaven-Dao Gold Core!
Qi Condensation. Foundation Establishment. Core Formation!
In the Lower Reaches, the gaps between those three stages were like enormous gorges that separated the cultivators into groups. With the exception of some extreme circumstances, someone in a higher stage could easily crush anyone from a lower stage!
During Qi Condensation, cultivators absorbed the energy of heaven and earth and then transformed it into rivers and lakes. During Foundation Establishment, those rivers and lakes became spiritual seas, giving the cultivators such strength that Qi Condensation couldn't even compare to it!
Overall, that transformation wasn't so much an improvement in the quality of the power, just the sheer amount!
However, Core Formation was different!
After crystallizing the spiritual seas and then merging them together into a core, unprecedented levels of battle prowess could be unleashed. Furthermore, it wasn't just a situation of increasing the amount of power; the quality was also vastly improved!
Depending on how many spiritual seas were merged together, different types of cores could be formed: Mortal Core, Earth Core, and of course, Gold Core!
If Bai Xiaochun were not a Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment cultivator, but had traveled the more common path of Earthstring Foundation Establishment, then at this point he would have formed an Earth Core.
But he was different. He was a Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment cultivator, and as such, he walked the path of the Heaven-Dao Gold Core!!
A Heaven-Dao aura was spreading out in all directions, causing crushing pressure to weigh down on cultivators of the Sky River Court and the River-Defying Sect alike. Everyone was forced to stop fighting, and none of them could even emit cultivation base fluctuations.
It was as if some mysterious natural law was at work!
Gasps rang out without cease across the field of battle, and countless eyes were all focused on the enormous Gold Core which hovered in the air above Bai Xiaochun!
Everyone was shocked, but different thoughts were going through the minds of different people. For example, Shangguan Tianyou's hands were clenched into fists, and a defiant gleam could be seen in his eyes. Not only was he jealous, he simply refused to admit that he was falling behind.
Song Que was also trembling, and his heart was filled with anything but calm. However, even he wasn't sure exactly what he was feeling as he watched Bai Xiaochun. It was similar with all the other Chosen.
Zhou Xinqi, Ghostfang, Master God-Diviner, the three blood masters, as well as Nine-Isles from the Profound Stream Division, were all people who fully deserved to be called Chosen. However, they were now being forced to watch Bai Xiaochun rise to prominence, the first among their generation to reach Core Formation. The emotions which rose up in their hearts were complicated and difficult to put into words.
Then there was Chen Manyao from the Pill Stream Division. A strange look could be seen in her eyes, and since no one was paying attention to her, no one saw as she slowly lifted her right hand. However, even as she did that, a gaze from afar locked down onto her, a gaze filled with iciness and menace.
A tremor ran through Chen Manyao as she suddenly felt extremely cold. Looking around, she realized that the person who was looking at her was one of the disciples of the Spirit Stream Division, the same person she had seen on the Heavenspan River back at the Blood Stream Division headquarters. It was a young woman named Gongsun Wan'er!
As various thoughts ran through various minds, a sound suddenly crashed out from within the nine spiritual seas, a sound that surpassed heavenly thunder!
All light went dim, and all hearts were shaken. It was as if the heavens were roaring. At the same time, a bolt of golden lightning shot out from the clouds above, filling the air around the nine spiritual seas and transforming into countless hands that shoved against them!
In response, the nine merged spiritual seas began to shrink down!
Among the forces of the Sky River Court, the most powerful cultivator, the old man who was half a step into the Deva Realm, suddenly blurted, "Nine lightning bolts smelt the core!!"
In almost the exact same moment, the Nascent Soul patriarchs from the River-Defying Sect also began to cry out.
"It really is Heaven-Dao Gold Core! In the moment of this type of Core Formation, the heavens form lightning that assists in the smelting of the core itself!"
"It seems like assistance, but the truth is it's like a Tribulation! Only by withstanding nine strikes of lightning can success be had...."
Even as the hubbub of conversation echoed out, the nine spiritual seas shrank down, and Bai Xiaochun trembled. Blood began to ooze out of his mouth, and a terrifying aura radiated out from him. That aura seemed like an aura of complete madness; if he made the slightest mistake, he would be destroyed. Not only would he fail to succeed at his Core Formation, but he would be ripped to shreds, destroyed in body and soul!
Attempting to reach Core Formation without being fully prepared was an extremely dangerous task!
When the River-Defying Sect cultivators saw blood oozing out of Bai Xiaochun's mouth, they started to get even more nervous than before. However, they could do nothing to help him. Outsiders could not interfere during Heaven-Dao Gold Core Formation. Everything was up to Bai Xiaochun and Bai Xiaochun alone.
His eyes were completely bloodshot as he looked up into the sky at the spiritual seas, which was also the exact moment when another crackling boom filled the air.
A second golden lightning bolt appeared, even bigger than the last one. As it descended, it wrapped around the nine spiritual seas and began to crush them with pressure!
Things weren't over yet, though. A third boom came, then a fourth and a fifth. Each golden lightning bolt which appeared was bigger than the last, and the pressure they exerted onto the nine spiritual seas caused them to shrink down rapidly. Soon, the core formed by the spiritual seas was only about 300 meters wide, and it glittered with golden light!
As for Bai Xiaochun, he was trembling, and blood was pouring out of his eyes, nose, and ears. He truly seemed like he was hovering on the verge of collapse.
And yet, the end had not yet been reached. A sixth boom could be heard, then a seventh. More golden lightning appeared, and the nine spiritual seas seemed to be trembling on the verge of collapse, as if they might explode at any moment!
Six bolts of lightning were difficult enough, but then a seventh appeared, and a Heaven-Dao aura even more shocking than before spread out. The core formed by the merged spiritual seas began to ripple and distort!
By now, the spiritual seas had shrunk from 300 meters to 30, and looked more than ever like they might collapse.
"Xiaochun!!" More than one person among the River-Defying Sect was calling out Bai Xiaochun's name. That was especially true of those who were his close friends. They were more nervous than anyone. Hou Yunfei, Big Fatty Zhang, and Li Qinghou were all wracked with anxiety. Hou Xiaomei and Song Junwan seemed completely on edge.
In sharp contrast, the cultivators of the Sky River Court were already beginning to sigh with relief now that it seemed that the Core Formation process was going to fail. That was especially true of the Core Formation youth who had been fighting Bai Xiaochun. A vicious smile spread out on his face, and the regret in his heart began to fade. He began to sigh with relief, and killing intent once again rose up in his eyes.
"So, it seems I won't even need to do anything. I can just watch him die!"
However, even as the sigh of relief left his mouth, Bai Xiaochun gritted his teeth and struggled to lift his head, staring up at the nine spiritual seas as an eighth rumbling sound caused heaven and earth to shake!
As the deafening sound spread out, an eighth golden lightning bolt appeared, larger and wider than any of the previous ones. It looked like a golden dragon as it wrapped around the nine spiritual seas and began to crush them!
Heavenly lightning was shaking the sky!
The Gold Core formed from the nine spiritual seas shrank from 30 meters down to a mere 3. The core rippled and distorted out of shape, and cracks could even be seen on its surface!
Bai Xiaochun was trembling so hard that blood was seeping out of his pores, turning him crimson. His eyes were bloodshot and filled with madness. That was when his Undying Live Forever Technique kicked into effect, and golden light spread out from him. Behind him, his Asura Body manifested!
"Form!!" he shouted. Booms like thunder filled him, and his life force power erupted, healing him. After the eighth lightning bolt vanished, the Gold Core formed from his nine spiritual seas was still there, and it was no longer misshapen!
People gasped loudly in shock, but even as they did, a rumbling crash filled the sky, the ninth!
"The last lightning bolt!!" said Master Godwind softly, even as he shook visibly.
"Either he succeeds, or he dies!" said the old man from the Sky River Court, his voice low. As he looked at Bai Xiaochun, mixed emotions could be seen on his face. He knew that if Bai Xiaochun successfully reached Heaven-Dao Gold Core, then as long as he didn't meet an unexpected end, he would surely reach Nascent Soul, and most likely, the Deva Realm!