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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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 the more common Earthstring type, then he would form an Earth Core, and follow the path trod by most other cultivators.

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!

RUMBLE!

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.

RUMBLE!

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!

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