Battling Core Formation!

The voice was completely beyond ordinary, and was accompanied by a gale-force wind that shook everything in the area. The ground around Bai Xiaochun shattered, and many objects in the area exploded.

Even Bai Xiaochun was badly shaken, and found himself staggering backward several steps from the force of the sound.

His face flickered as he looked up and saw a young man flying through the air toward him. He had long, wild hair, and his eyes burned red with killing intent as he closed in.

Although his speed couldn’t be counted for much within the Gold Core stage, it was vastly beyond anything Foundation Establishment cultivators were capable of. The majestic sight caused Foundation Establishment cultivators from both sides of the conflict in the jungle to be completely shaken.

Soon, alarmed cries could be heard. “A Gold Core cultivator!!”

The River-Defying Sect had dispatched people to lock down all of the enemy Gold Core experts, to prevent them from attacking the Foundation Establishment cultivators.

And yet, for some unknown reason, a Gold Core cultivator had suddenly appeared right here, and was bearing down on Bai Xiaochun with murderous intentions. Some distance behind him was one of the River-Defying Sect’s Gold Core cultivators, who was racing to block his path.

However, even as the River-Defying Sect Gold Core elder was about to intercept the young man from the Sky River Court, the young man waved his hand, sending a green beam of light shooting backward. Moments later, a huge skybanyan treant emerged from the light!

The skybanyan treant was the young man’s battle weapon, something that he normally would care for just as much as his own life. However, after summoning the battle weapon, the young man cried out in a frantic voice, “Buy me ten breaths of time, even if you have to pay for it with your life!!”

A tremor ran through the skybanyan treant, but it didn’t hesitate for even a moment. Energy surging, it shot forward and blocked the Gold Core elder from the River-Defying Sect!

The young man’s murderous aura surged sky-high as he shot toward Bai Xiaochun, his eyes so bloodshot they were almost bleeding. He had only been in the Gold Core stage for about half a year, but he was completely and utterly confident that he would only need ten breaths of time to kill a Foundation Establishment cultivator!

The sight of the young woman’s severed head tumbling off to the side moments ago had filled him with intense pain. She had been his Daoist partner, his Junior Sister, and he had already sworn an oath to himself that he would personally kill the one responsible for her death.

“Die!!” he howled, smashing his hand toward Bai Xiaochun. The wave of his hand was backed by an early Gold Core cultivation base, causing a black palm to appear that screamed through the air toward Bai Xiaochun.

It radiated a terrifying aura that no Foundation Establishment cultivator could possibly stand up against, and even caused the air to distort as it sped along.

In the face of such a murderous aura, Bai Xiaochun immediately began to fall back, his pupils constricting. A sense of deadly crisis overtook him, causing his flesh and blood to scream that he was in incredible danger!

There was no time to contemplate the situation, and he knew that he couldn’t rely on someone to intervene. Although people would come to rescue him eventually, he would have to hold out until that moment.

There was only one thought running through his mind at the moment….

“I can’t die here. If I want to stay alive, then I have to fight!!” Bai Xiaochun sped backward rapidly, performing a double-handed incantation gesture that summoned three huge violet cauldrons, along with numerous spirit enhanced flying swords, all of which flew to block the enormous hand.

BOOM!

Those three cauldrons could be considered astonishingly powerful in the Foundation Establishment stage, but the hand summoned by the Gold Core young man completely destroyed them one after another. As for the spirit enhanced flying swords, as soon as the hand touched them, they began to fall apart.

The hand destroyed them all like a hammer crushing ice cubes, then proceeded on toward Bai Xiaochun!

Intense rumbling sounds could be heard. Blood sprayed out of Bai Xiaochun’s mouth, and his entire body flickered with gold light as his Undying Skin erupted with power to defend against an early Gold Core attack. Although he was sent tumbling backward, he was not killed!

The killing intent in the young man’s eyes grew stronger. Without uttering a single word, he advanced, viciously waving his sleeve to summon a black wind. The black wind quickly transformed into a black dragon, which let out a powerful roar as it shot toward Bai Xiaochun.

There was no time for thought or planning. Roaring, Bai Xiaochun opened his Heavenspan Dharma Eye, causing violet light to erupt out. At the same time, his little wooden sword appeared, shining with the dazzling silver light that came from multiple spirit enhancements. Bai Xiaochun wasn’t just defending himself, he was fighting back!

When the power of the Heavenspan Dharma Eye locked onto the black dragon, the dragon roared and began to struggle. Although intense pain stabbed through the eye into Bai Xiaochun, he continued to unleash its power until the black dragon began to show signs of imminent destruction.

Lips twisted into a sneer, the young man said, “Can the light of a tiny firefly dare to contend with the glory of the shining moon?!”

With that, he advanced again. At the same time, rumbling sounds could be heard as the black dragon began to grow larger, sloughing off the effects of the Heavenspan Dharma eye. Bai Xiaochun coughed up some blood, and blood even began to ooze out of his third eye.

The little wooden sword continued to speed through the air, and when it hit the black dragon, a booming sound could be heard. The Gold Core young man’s eyes then went wide as he saw the sword pass completely through the dragon.

However, it was merely a stab wound. The difference in cultivation base between Bai Xiaochun and the young man was too vast. Without even a pause, the black dragon roared and headed toward Bai Xiaochun.

The dragon hadn’t even touched him, and yet his entire body was wracked with pain. Even his bones felt like they were creaking, and his qi and blood were in chaos. Madness began to rise up in his eyes.

Off in the distance, he could see several beams of light racing urgently toward him; clearly, those were the patriarchs coming to rescue him….

Unfortunately, they were too far off. If he couldn’t continue to hang on for a little bit longer, the patriarchs wouldn’t be able to help him. Although he feared death, he was also aware that such fear would do him no good right now!

“Asura Body!” he roared. His Undying Gold Skin was operating at full power, causing golden light to shine out from him in all directions. At the same time, the manifestation of the second volume of the Undying Codex, the Asura Body, appeared. Instantly, his fleshly body power rocketed up as he prepared to face the incoming black dragon.

A huge boom filled the air when the dragon slammed into his chest. Blood sprayed out of his mouth, and the dragon collapsed into numerous strands of black mist. Bai Xiaochun’s body trembled on the verge of collapse as he was thrown backward. Even as he did, a shout of rage could be heard from the young man, who burst through the remnants of the black dragon toward Bai Xiaochun.

In the blink of an eye, the young man’s palm was bearing down on Bai Xiaochun’s chest!

In the moment before it struck, enraged shouts could be heard from the patriarchs. Heaven and earth shook violently, and the Gold Core youth began to tremble. However, he ignored everything around them, gritting his teeth as he shoved his palm forward.

“You’re dead!!”

Madness could be seen in Bai Xiaochun’s eyes as well. He knew that there was no way he could avoid this blow. Therefore, he raised his right hand, and black light shimmered from his thumb and index finger as he sent the Throat Crushing Grasp toward the young man!

But then, rumbling echoed out as the young man grabbed Bai Xiaochun’s right hand with his left and twisted it to the side. Cracking sounds could be heard as bones were broken, and pain surged through Bai Xiaochun. An expression of madness twisted his face; clearly, he was about to do something completely outrageous. Even as his right arm was wrenched to the side, and a palm strike was about to land on his chest, he used the Mountain Shaking Bash!

It was a case of even if I die, I’m going to make sure you feel some pain!

Rumbling sounds could be heard as the Mountain Shaking Bash was unleashed, and Bai Xiaochun shot forward. He couldn’t prevent his hand from being crushed, nor could he block the incoming palm strike. So, he chose to simply body-slam the Gold Core youth!

Even as the destructive palm strike slammed into his chest, a black glow could be seen as the turtle-wok appeared to defend him. Blood sprayed out of Bai Xiaochun’s mouth; he had been injured, but not killed!

“That’s all you’ve got?!” Bai Xiaochun said, smiling even as blood oozed out of his mouth. His vision was blurred, and he could barely move. Since that was the case, he decided that he might as well use what little energy he had left to force his nine spiritual seas to merge together!

If he did that, he would reach the Gold Core stage!

Normally, such an act would be preceded by much preparation, but as of this moment, Bai Xiaochun was going to attempt to force it to happen!

As for his Gold Core opponent, after being hit by the Mountain Shaking Bash, he was flung backward, and coughed up a huge mouthful of blood. Then he looked over at Bai Xiaochun with complete disbelief and shock.

“A Foundation Establishment cultivator can actually hurt me? And that wok, it actually blocked my extermination strike?!” The young man’s killing intent grew stronger than ever when he realized that Bai Xiaochun was still not dead. Madness gleamed in his eyes, and he gritted his teeth. Despite the fact that people were only moments away from intervening and rescuing his target, he drew upon the full power of his Gold Core cultivation base and shot toward Bai Xiaochun.

Considering that Bai Xiaochun was so grievously wounded, he was sure that one final attack would be enough to kill him!

This was his last chance to kill Bai Xiaochun before he himself was killed!

“I might die, but you’re going to die first!” he roared, picking up speed!

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Gold Sun!

Bai Xiaochun’s consciousness was fading. At the same time, everything around him seemed to slow down. He suddenly found himself thinking about how he used to light incense on Mount Hood, and everything that happened in the Spirit Stream Sect, the Blood Stream Sect, and then the River-Defying Sect….

As those memories flashed through his mind, he smiled.

It was a smile of both bitterness and helplessness.

He practiced cultivation in order to live forever, and yet, in pursuit of that goal, he always ended up in deadly crises. The slightest mistake in such a situation could lead to him losing his poor little life.

It was somewhat of a paradox.

“To live forever,” he murmured, “you don’t just have to struggle against the heavens, you have to fight other people. It’s a narrow, rugged path to walk, a path that most people give up on. Many people meet defeat, or end up losing their way….

“Living forever…. That’s the whole reason I started to practice cultivation. To live forever….

“Live forever…. I’m going to live forever!!” Suddenly, everything became incredibly clear. Although he felt incredibly weak at the moment, he was completely focused on living forever. That one simple thought continued to fill his mind, like the rumblings of thunder!

“I can’t count on other people all the time. I have to get stronger! Only if I get strong enough can I make sure that nobody interferes with my will to live forever!!” Bai Xiaochun trembled as his heart and mind roared, causing his nine spiritual seas to begin to rage and emit thunderous rumblings.

The Heaven-Dao aura which had built up in his nine spiritual seas throughout Foundation Establishment suddenly erupted out. It was like a string, connecting all of the nine spiritual seas and drawing them together into one!!

Bai Xiaochun had already been in a position to begin the process of reaching Gold Core. Now, being completely focused on his desire to live forever, and with his life actually being on the line, he was ready to break through!

“Live forever!!” Bai Xiaochun threw his head back and roared, and as he did, his nine spiritual seas erupted with shocking energy, energy that surged out of him and connected to heaven and earth!

The Heaven-Dao aura caused colors to flash in the sky, and a huge wind to kick up. An enormous, swirling vortex appeared overhead, so large that the entire Sky River Court was covered!

The sudden appearance of the rumbling vortex caused many people look up and then involuntarily gasp!

Even as the wind swept around Bai Xiaochun, bolts of lightning appeared up above, as well as an illusory scene that looked something like nine seas.

It was in that exact moment that his Gold Core opponent closed in with killing intent surging. Even as he reached out to attack, his face fell, and the energy surging from Bai Xiaochun battered him backward by over 30 meters!

“You….” the young man said, his face a mask of disbelief. What shocked him was not the fact that Bai Xiaochun was choosing this moment to step into Core Formation, but rather, that this type of Core Formation was something completely different than anything he had ever seen before!

Never before had he ever seen such strange signs and portents appear in heaven and earth during Core Formation.

Bai Xiaochun hadn’t even actually reached Core Formation, and yet the mere pressure and aura was so powerful that he couldn’t get close. The young Gold Core cultivator was completely and utterly taken aback.

He wasn’t the only one. Everyone in the area was shocked beyond belief!

“That….”

“That’s….”

“That’s a Heaven-Dao aura. Don’t tell me… don’t tell me he’s going to reach Heaven-Dao Gold Core!?!?”

The Nascent Soul Daoist masters from the Sky River Court were also shocked, and some of them even had looks of jealousy on their faces.

Heaven-Dao Gold Core was something out of legend!

The term Gold Core was actually a blanket term often applied to different levels. The Core Formation stage was more properly classified into the heaven, earth, and mortal varieties. The Mortal-Dao of men led to Mortal Core. Earth-Dao led to Earth Core. And Heaven-Dao led to Gold Core!

Only Heaven-Dao Gold Core could truly be considered Gold Core!

The only way to reach Heaven-Dao Gold Core was to start out in Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment. And yet, being in Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment wasn’t a guarantee of being able to reach Heaven-Dao Gold Core!

Heaven-Dao Gold Core experts were as rare as phoenix feathers or qilin horns, and not a single one had appeared in the last 10,000 years, not even in the Middle Reaches. The crushing pressure exerted by the Heaven-Dao Gold Core stage was something that could only be read about in the ancient records.

Although the Nascent Soul patriarchs of the River-Defying Sect weren’t as surprised as everyone else, they were still taken aback. They knew that Bai Xiaochun was in the Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment stage, but that didn’t necessarily mean that he would reach Heaven-Dao Gold Core!

There was always a chance that he would fail, but if he succeeded, and formed a Heaven-Dao Gold Core, then it would mean his future potential was almost limitless, and he would also be capable of crushing anyone else in the same stage as him!

The battlefield suddenly went quiet. The Heaven-Dao aura which was now crushing down on everyone ensured that all fighting stopped!

All eyes were looking in the direction of Bai Xiaochun. Not even a deva would be able to interfere with the process of Heaven-Dao Gold Core, and if they tried, they would be punished by the heavens!

Failure or success would not depend on any outside force, only on the person striving to reach Core Formation!

As everyone watched, the crashing of thunder grew louder and louder in the sky above. At the same time, Bai Xiaochun’s ninth sea began to merge with the eighth, and at the same time, the first sea merged with the second!

As the four seas merged together, colors flashed in the sky, the wind screamed, and the pressure grew more intense. Even the Nascent Soul cultivators were panting.

“The merging has started….”

“The process of breaking through from Foundation Establishment into Gold Core involves merging the spiritual seas. To start out by merging four together is the best. Merging six spiritual seas at the beginning is rare, and for someone to merge eight would be rare even in the Upper Reaches riversource sects!”

“Bai Xiaochun already has four of the seas merged together….” The Gold Core and Nascent Soul cultivators were all looking up at the signs in the sky, and commenting among themselves.

However, many of the cultivators from the Sky River Court actually sighed in relief when they saw that Bai Xiaochun had only merged four of the seas.

“A mere four merged spiritual seas means that he will fail to reach Heaven-Dao Gold Core!” The Sky River Court cultivators weren’t the only ones to realize this; the patriarchs from the River-Defying Sect were now starting to get nervous.

As the junior patriarch of the River-Defying Sect, the patriarchs viewed him with utmost importance. They had originally planned to do everything in their power to help Bai Xiaochun reach Heaven-Dao Gold Core after the battle was over.

But then, something unexpected had happened, and Bai Xiaochun was forcing Core Formation in the middle of the fighting. To the River-Defying Sect, this unexpected event was turning out to be a big setback.

However, it was at this point that, all of a sudden, cries of shock began to rise up.

“He’s not stopping at four!!”

“Another merging is taking place!!”

Two spiritual seas had merged on the top, and two on the bottom. But now, the first two spiritual seas were beginning to merge with the third!

And that wasn’t the end of it! The eighth and ninth spiritual seas were slowly beginning to join together with the seventh!

As that happened, the Heaven-Dao aura grew even more intense, suppressing the cultivation bases of all cultivators, and even throwing them into chaos.

More and more cries of shock rang out.

“How could this be happening?!?!” The Sky River Court cultivators were completely shocked, especially the young Gold Core expert who had been trying to kill Bai Xiaochun moments ago. That young man was trembling, his expression that of complete disbelief, and his heart was filled with regret at the realization that he had provoked a monster.

“Six seas!!” Patriarch Frigidsect from the Spirit Stream Division and Master Godwind of the Blood Stream Division were both overjoyed. The other patriarchs had the same reaction, and as for Li Qinghou and the other Gold Core cultivators, they were watching with wide eyes.

And yet, before the uproar could even commence, something else happened up above in the sky!

The first three spiritual seas began to merge into the fourth!

Simultaneously, the seventh through ninth spiritual seas began to connect to the sixth!

Everything was changing!

The bottom four spiritual seas and the top four spiritual seas were drawing closer together, and between all of them was the fifth spiritual sea!

Although the fifth spiritual sea didn’t seem to be doing anything at all, it was obvious that all nine of the spiritual seas were merging together!!

The Heaven-Dao pressure grew stronger than ever, exploding out into the entire area with unprecedented intensity!

That pressure was almost like a natural protection offered to anyone stepping into the Heaven-Dao Gold Core stage. As the pressure roiled out, something else happened that no one noticed. The ancient gravekeeper appeared high up in the sky. First, he looked at the spiritual seas, then down at Bai Xiaochun….

Everyone watched as the nine spiritual seas slowly converged upon each other; as they did, they began to form a shape….

Clearly, that shape was a circle!!

The nine golden spiritual seas were completely eye-catching. To everyone who was looking at them, they seemed almost like a golden sun!

It was a true and authentic Gold Core!

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