Chapter 361: Only One?
Many disciples emerged to watch Bai Xiaochun go up to Mount River Defiance. Everyone knew why the other three Middle Reaches sects had come last month, and it left them simmering with rage. They also knew that Bai Xiaochun was going to represent the River-Defying Sect in a fight inside an arcane pocket realm!
When news spread that the only person in the entire sect who qualified to go was Bai Xiaochun, many cultivators started to get worried.
The River-Defying Sect was a newcomer to the Middle Reaches, as unfamiliar with the cultivation world there as they were strangers to it.
In these unfamiliar surroundings, the River-Defying Sect seemed impressive, but the truth was that until they produced a Deva Realm expert, they were in a very precarious position, and could be easily supplanted.
A feeling of uneasiness and lurking danger existed in the hearts of not only the ordinary disciples, but even the patriarchs. Thankfully, they had the Blood Ancestor and the Dire Skybanyan, as well as the shocking true spirit which made even the other three great sects nervous.
Those were the only things that gave the River-Defying Sect a modicum of stability.
Bai Xiaochun was aware of all of that. Therefore, despite the fact that he didn't really want to go to the arcane pocket realm, and despite the ferocity he had witnessed among the disciples of the three sects, he had chosen to go along with the arrangement. Gritting his teeth and trembling with fear, he led Bruiser slowly up to the top of the mountain.
Waiting there for him were Master Godwind, Frigidsect, and Crimsonsoul. Three late Nascent Soul Daoist masters would be escorting him to the arcane pocket realm.
Everyone watched silently as Bai Xiaochun made his way to the top of the mountain. Ghostfang emerged from his immortal's cave, an absent-minded look in his eyes as he thought back to the time he had fought Bai Xiaochun back in the Spirit Stream Sect.
That was the first time he had ever lost to someone in the same generation as him, and although he hadn't appeared to have been affected in any way, it had awoken in him a strong desire to surpass Bai Xiaochun.
At a certain point, though, he had come to realize that Bai Xiaochun's progress was almost unbelievable. He was already so far ahead that it almost seemed impossible to catch up.
Then there was Song Que, who stood atop one of the mountains in the Blood Stream Division, hands clenched tightly into fists. He was thinking about the Fallen Sword World, Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment, and everything which had occurred after that. Within his eyes burned flames of defiance!
"I'm definitely going to surpass you one day!"
As for the blood masters and other top Chosen in the Blood Stream Division, all of them were equally unsettled. While they were concerned about their sect, they also couldn't help but compare themselves to Bai Xiaochun. The fact that none of them even qualified to go into the arcane pocket realm was profoundly chafing to all of them.
Zhou Xinqi was having a hard time controlling her breathing, and Nine-Isles' eyes were completely bloodshot. Master God-Diviner and Jia Lie were both unsettled. In the past, there had been one dazzling Chosen who was currently stuck at a cultivation base bottleneck. That was Lu Tianlei, who spent most of his time alone, refusing to go out. However, as of this moment, he chose to emerge from his immortal's cave and stare off at the figure ascending Mount River Defiance.
Chen Manyao appeared, as did Gongsun Wan'er. Gongsun Wan'er's expression was the same as ever, her lips perpetually upturned into a faint smile. However, compared to all the people just mentioned, the person with the most complicated emotions of all was teetering on the verge of madness: Shangguan Tianyou!
He stood tall and straight, his features as stunningly handsome as ever. He had no desire to even look at Bai Xiaochun, and therefore refused to emerge from his immortal's cave. Although he couldn't see Bai Xiaochun, his heart felt as if it had been bitten by the most poisonous of serpents, and the pain he felt was difficult to put into words.
Eyes bloodshot and fists clenched, he said, "You're just a cheap bastard with no parents and no education. I'm Shangguan Tianyou! I'm definitely going to crush you beneath my feet!"
Although there were people who were jealous or angry, there were others who were sending Bai Xiaochun away with blessings and well wishes. Big Fatty Zhang, Hou Yunfei, Xu Baocai, Third Fatty Hei, and Li Qinghou were all present. Hou Xiaomei and Song Junwan were there too, wishing him well, but at the same time, very nervous.
Countless eyes were fixed upon Bai Xiaochun as he ascended the mountain. Soon, he was at the very same altar where Bruiser had reached Core Formation.
That was where the three patriarchs were waiting for him. As soon they looked over and saw his getup, their jaws dropped, and they exchanged awkward glances. Finally, Frigidsect coughed dryly and then waved his hand.
Instantly, a silver beam of light descended from the sky above. It was the Heavenhorn Sword, which began to grow larger and larger until it was fully 3,000 meters long!
"Alright, Xiaochun, it's time to leave!" he said. With that, he blurred into motion, shooting toward the Heavenhorn Sword. Crimsonsoul and Master Godwind joined him, and within moments, they were on top of the sword, where they sat down cross-legged in a row. Bai Xiaochun gritted his teeth and flew up to join them. Behind him, Bruiser threw his head back and roared as he followed along.
Bruiser's eyes were filled with excitement and anticipation. This was his first time being allowed to go out with Bai Xiaochun for a trial by fire, and being alongside him for such an event was extremely exciting.
"Let's go!" Frigidsect said, his voice booming like thunder. The Heavenhorn Sword began to shine with dazzling silver light, and then rumbling echoed out as it shot off with incredible speed. In the blink of an eye, it had disappeared, leaving behind nothing but rolling sonic booms and a long streak of silver light.
Only after Bai Xiaochun left did people begin to speak again in the River-Defying Sect. Nine-Isles, Song Que, Ghostfang, and the other Chosen like them all went back into secluded meditation, their eyes filled with the determination to advance. All of them swore to reach Core Formation as quickly as possible.
Even Big Fatty Zhang gritted his teeth and went into secluded meditation.
Virtually everyone in the same generation as Bai Xiaochun did the same thing.
The cultivation world of the Middle Reaches was so large that it couldn't really be described as being divided into continents. Instead, the word 'domain' was used. As for the realm occupied by the River-Defying Sect, its name had recently been changed from the Sky Domain to the Defiance Domain.
As for the arcane pocket realm, it was located far away from the Defiance Domain in the Dao Domain, next to a seemingly endless desert. Because the desert was so far away from the Heavenspan River, the spiritual energy of heaven and earth was rather faint there.
It was in that region of scarce spiritual energy that the arcane pocket realm existed, and despite its remoteness, it couldn't be judged as a place devoid of good fortune.
There was a temple in that desert, a place of extreme ancientness that had existed longer than anyone could remember. This was the location where the legacy seals existed, and also the entrance to the arcane pocket realm!
Surrounding the temple were more than a hundred stones sticking up out of the desert sands, each one well over 300 meters tall.
The stones were very strange-looking, and at first glance seemed to have been distributed randomly around the temple. However, closer examination would reveal that they had been placed in a specific pattern which altered the state of heaven and earth in the area. Shockingly, those stones were a powerful spell formation!
Powerful fluctuations rolled out from the spell formation that even Nascent Soul cultivators would be leery of. Clearly, the only person who could have possibly put such a spell formation into place was a deva!
The forces of the Starry River Court and the Polarity River Court could already be seen sitting cross-legged in meditation atop the stones. Each of the two sects had more than twenty cultivators who had yet to live for a full sixty-year-cycle. There were men and women, all of them with calm expressions. However, there was no hiding the aloof pride in their eyes; they were all top Chosen in their sects.
The truth was that they had a right to be proud. A mere glance at any one of them would reveal how different they were from ordinary cultivators.
The two sects had spent vast amounts of resources to raise these Chosen, who were seeds that would grow to be pillars of their respective organizations. One of them was Chen Yunshan.
The two sects were seated apart from each other, and their auras were clearly different. As for the Starry River Court, their cultivators were surrounded by a murky radiance that almost seemed like countless stars, pulsing with a profound aura.
In sharp contrast to them were the Chosen of the Polarity River Court. They had fiendish, murderous auras, and gazes which seemed capable of penetrating into their opponent's hearts and minds. They seemed like people who killed at the drop of a hat, and were surrounded by a seething black mist. It was just barely possible to see the outlines of devilish spirits within that mist, roving to and fro.
The energy on display here was something the likes of which no sect in the Lower Reaches cultivation world could ever have. Only the great sects of the Middle Reaches could put on a display like this!
As the forces of the two sects sat there waiting, the cultivators began to look up into the sky as they sensed certain fluctuations off in the distance.
A moment later, a streak of silver light appeared off in the distance, which was the Heavenhorn Sword. As it pierced through the air, the power of a tenfold spirit enhancement rippled out in all directions. Clearly, the River-Defying Sect was trying to put on a good show. In the blink of an eye, the sword was closing in on the spell formation, allowing the cultivators of the Starry and Polarity River Courts to see the figures atop it.
Ignoring the three patriarchs, their gazes came to rest on Bai Xiaochun.
It was hard to say who among the two sects said it, but the surprise and derision in that person's voice couldn't have been more clear. "Only one person?!"