Finally in high spirits again, Bai Xiaochun shot away from Fragrant Cloud Peak toward Mount Daoseed. In accordance with the sect rules of the Spirit Stream Sect, now that he had reached Foundation Establishment, he was no longer a disciple, but rather, an elder.
Elders were people with exceptional latent talent who were given special duties by the sect. Oftentimes, the seven peak lords would assign them certain important tasks or matters. Back when Bai Xiaochun had been in the Inner Sect, Elder Zhou had been one of the Foundation Establishment elders on Fragrant Cloud Peak.
Such people were fundamentally Chosen, and all of them strove to reach the Legacy Echelon. They were not people who could be taken lightly. Generally speaking, they did not live on the various mountain peaks, but rather, on Mount Daoseed.
Occasionally, some of them would reach the Legacy Echelon, but for the most part, after a hundred or more years passed and it became clear that they couldn’t reach the Gold Core stage, they would settle for being peak lords. For those who did manage to reach Gold Core, but took longer than two sixty-year cycles to do so, they would become prime elders.
There were some outstanding individuals such as Li Qinghou who would be promoted to peak lord early. They would simultaneously focus on both cultivation and the administration of the mountain peak. Then, at some point before two sixty-year cycles had passed, they would go into secluded meditation to try to break through to the Gold Core stage.
Although it looked on the surface as if the Spirit Stream Sect only had a bit over a hundred Foundation Establishment cultivators, the truth was that there were more than that on Mount Daoseed.
Only by reaching Foundation Establishment would one qualify to have an immortal's cave on Mount Daoseed, which also served as a symbol of power for such people.
Most of the immortal's caves were on the lower half of the mountain, but even they had stronger spiritual energy than could be found outside on the seven mountain peaks.
The immortal’s caves on the top half of the mountain were reserved for the prime elders and the sect leader.
Having reached Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment, Bai Xiaochun had a very high position within the Spirit Stream Sect, almost like that of a patriarch. His immortal's cave was located halfway up the mountain, in the same location as many of the higher ranking Foundation Establishment cultivators.
Although some people weren’t too happy about that, there was nothing they could do. Now that he had reached Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment, Bai Xiaochun was definitely a rising star in the sect, someone who was the center of all attention.
Mount Daoseed was huge. Back when he became the Junior Brother of the sect leader, and an Inner Sect disciple, he had been able to visit the place, but most locations had been restricted, and impossible for him to enter. As such, it had seemed like a vast and majestic place.
Now, he was back as a Foundation Establishment expert. To him, the sight of Mount Daoseed rising up among the seven other mountain peaks looked like an adult standing amidst a group of children.
As he made his way along, any Spirit Stream Sect disciple who saw him would look at him with reverence, and would call out to him in greeting. At first, he had planned to rocket through the air, but when he realized what was happening, he slowed down. Clasping his hands behind his back, he looked around like a member of the Senior generation, nodding here and there with a look of praise in his eyes.
Strange expressions appeared on the faces of the disciples, and many began to think back to events of the past.
On Green Crest Peak, an elder was leading a group of a few dozen Outer Sect disciples as they trained in sword techniques. When he looked up and saw Bai Xiaochun, he sighed and said, “All of you, look up there. See that cultivator strolling along surrounded by golden light? That’s who I was telling you about earlier, the greatest Chosen in the Spirit Stream Sect, Bai Xiaochun!”
The surrounding Outer Sect disciples looked up in awe, their eyes shining with enthusiasm.
“That’s Sect Uncle Bai?!”
“Sect Uncle Bai is a mighty warrior, and a Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment expert. I heard that he outshone all of the other disciples in his generation!”
“Everyone in Sect Uncle Bai’s generation is extraordinary. I heard that Sect Uncle Ghostfang, Sect Aunt Zhou Xinqi, Sect Uncle Shangguan Tianyou, and Sect Uncle Beihan Lie were all monstrously talented Chosen. It's too bad for them that they were born in the same generation as Sect Uncle Bai.”
These Outer Sect disciples had just recently joined the sect, and had cultivation bases scattered between the third and fifth levels of Qi Condensation. They had heard a lot of stories about Bai Xiaochun; for example, the acid rain incident, the story of lightning striking the sect, and the disaster of 10,000 Snakes Valley. Of course, they took such stories to be mere exaggerations. As for him reaching Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment, that was recent news that seemed much more believable.
As Bai Xiaochun flew along, he could see the reactions of the disciples down on Green Crest Peak, and felt all the burning gazes fixed upon him. Moved, he decided that he definitely couldn’t treat these young disciples coldly, nor could he allow them to think that he was some distant cloud floating high above their heads.
Coughing lightly, he changed directions and flew down toward the group of Outer Sect disciples.
The Green Crest Peak elder quickly rose to his feet and clasped hands in greeting. The surrounding Outer Sect disciple followed suit, looking very excited.
“Greetings, Sect Uncle Bai!”
“Sect Uncle Bai, you’re my biggest role model!”
“I love you, Sect Uncle Bai!” The female disciples looked particularly smitten, and stared at him with flushed cheeks and eyes burning with excitement.
Bai Xiaochun was very moved, and couldn’t help but think that everything he had done for the sect really had been worth it. The adoring gazes of these youngsters was already a huge motivating force to him, and as such, he smiled warmly, and proceeded to give them a bit of encouragement.
“Focus well on your cultivation.”
“Keep up the good work, you guys are great!”
“You love your Sect Uncle Bai? Ahem. Work hard at your cultivation, and remember, anything is possible.”
Bai Xiaochun patiently stood there and exchanged a few words with all of the disciples present. Considering how excited they all were, he gave them a bit of advice about matters, and then, feeling increasingly moved, gave them some more advice.
After giving ten rounds of advice, and repeating himself on more than one occasion, the Outer Sect disciples’ eyes began to go blank. They had all addressed him as Sect Uncle Bai at least a few dozen times, to the point where they were starting to wonder what exactly was going on.
The elder wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, and couldn’t help but think about what it had been like back when Bai Xiaochun was promoted to the Inner Sect, and went around forcing people to address him as Sect Uncle.
Sometime in the afternoon, Bai Xiaochun finally felt satisfied, but instead of going to Mount Daoseed, he headed to Violet Cauldron Peak and Fragrant Cloud Peak, where he was received with great enthusiasm. More excited than ever, he proceeded along to the four mountain peaks of the north bank.
Eventually, it was late in the night, and the Outer Sect disciples of the Spirit Stream Sect were really starting to form a strange opinion of Bai Xiaochun. It was at this point that he recalled something important. Clearing his throat, he headed toward Mount Daoseed.
His immortal's cave on Mount Daoseed was very large. In terms of the spell formation and the décor, it vastly exceeded the immortal's cave from his Qi Condensation days. As for the spiritual energy within it, it was shockingly strong to say the least.
There was no hot spring. However, it had a lake inside, upon which swirled mist and fog that made the entire place seem like a celestial paradise.
The area outside the immortal's cave was alive with the singing of birds and the fragrance of flowers. If he wanted to, he could ask for Outer Sect disciples to wait on him and take care of the cave itself. Both outside and inside, the place belonged to him, and was his own personal domain. At the moment, he was sitting at the edge of the lake, looking around in satisfaction.
“I’ve finally reached Foundation Establishment!” He was also thinking about a bit of information he’d gleaned from a jade slip. Considering his current status, he now qualified to accept an apprentice, and was thinking of doing just that. It would probably be a lot of fun.
Soon, word spread that he had arrived on Mount Daoseed, and his immortal's cave was virtually trampled by the crowd of Foundation Establishment cultivators who came to offer greetings and see exactly what Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment looked like.
Of course, people would never come to offer formal greetings without bearing gifts. Bai Xiaochun was shocked over and over again, and eventually, his hands started to twinge with pain from accepting so many gifts. However, the smile never left his face, and he always took time to chat with his visitors.
As for the cultivators who had reached Foundation Establishment in the Fallen Sword Abyss with his help, they were especially grateful.
Half a month later, things finally calmed down. After the visits stopped, Bai Xiaochun decided that it was time to stop fooling around. He couldn’t stop thinking about what his Elder Brother, Sect Leader Zheng Yuandong, had told him about the island in the middle of the Heavenspan Sea. From there, it was possible to step out into the heavens and live forever.
“If I want to get to the Heavenspan Sea, I’ll definitely have to have a powerful cultivation base. That means I need to work hard at cultivation!” He got up early the next morning. Taking a deep breath, and eyes shining with determination, he headed in the direction of the Ancestral Darktunnel, where he would be able to select the technique he would cultivate in the Foundation Establishment stage.
The Ancestral Darktunnel was a long tunnel in the middle of Mount Daoseed. Upon entering the tunnel, one would find over a hundred shafts leading off in different directions, each one of which represented a different legacy.
Generally speaking, one would bring an authentication device into the tunnel, then activate it, whereupon some of the legacy shafts would light up.
It was a very miraculous thing, and word had it that although the cultivators came to select legacies, sometimes a legacy would select a cultivator!
Of course, things like that were rare. Bai Xiaochun remembered Xu Baocai telling him that when Ghostfang came to select his technique, more than twenty of the legacy shafts had lit up to select him.
Bai Xiaochun wasn’t very impressed by that. “What’s so amazing about that? So what if twenty legacies selected him? I've reached Heaven-Dao Foundation Establishment!”
According to the sect rules, only someone with an authentication device could enter the Ancestral Darktunnel. Anyone who didn’t have such a device, but tried to enter anyway, would be instantly killed by the spell formation inside.
Because of that, there wasn’t anyone assigned to guard the location. When Bai Xiaochun arrived, nobody was there. After looking around hesitantly for a moment, he walked into the cave-like entrance. A moment later, he was in the beautiful tunnel entrance, facing over a hundred tunnel-like shafts.
Although the shafts didn’t look like anything special, Bai Xiaochun knew that once he activated the authentication device, then at least one of the shafts would emit a bright light, which would indicate that he could enter.
He looked around for a moment, and was just about to activate the device when suddenly, a young woman emerged from one of the shafts up ahead.
It was none other than Zhou Xinqi, who had come to acquire her Foundation Establishment technique. Almost as soon as she emerged, she saw Bai Xiaochun.
“Eee? Sect Niece Xinqi!” he said, blinking.
Zhou Xinqi frowned and took a deep breath. Then she gave Bai Xiaochun a level look.
“Greetings, Elder Brother Bai. Please behave yourself here.”
“Huh?” Bai Xiaochun said, looking at her in shock. Then he realized that since they were both in the Foundation Establishment stage, they had equal seniority. He suddenly felt as though he had lost out on something very important. After all, despite how many years had passed, he had almost never gotten her to call him Sect Uncle....
Feeling very disappointed, he pushed his finger down onto the authentication device, and the shafts up ahead began to flicker with light!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translator: Deathblade. Chinese language consultant: ASI a.k.a. Beerblade. Editor: GNE. Memes: Logan. Meme archives: Tocsin. Transcendent Patrons: Daoist Elder N, BLE, ttre208
Bit of an early release for me, having some friends over for dinner, including Beerblade. Have plenty of beers waiting for him....