The lotus leaves were turning yellow, and the flower itself was wilting. All of Saint-Emperor City was shocked to the core.
“The leaves are yellowing!?!?”
“Heavens! What could be causing this disaster? Dammit. What’s going on in Saint-Emperor City this year?!?!”
“Don’t tell me it’s that Bai Xiaochun again!?!?”
“Look everybody, it’s not just the leaves that are affected. Check out the flower! Something's definitely wrong with it!” The court officials were all shocked, and the three celestials were both enraged, and at the same time, exhausted.
After all, this year had been filled with one major event after another. However, all three celestials knew that the little turtle was to blame, and that they were absolutely helpless to do anything about it.
“That damnable Eternal Turtle! Does he have it out for our Saint-Lotus or something?!?! Eat anything you want, but keep your hands off of the lotus! Not even the heavenly dragonfish would eat it!!”
“It’s one thing to eat lotus seeds, but that turtle is actually eating the roots!!”
“Dammit, if this goes on, one of these days he’ll eat the whole flower!!”
To the Saint-Emperor, the little turtle was essentially a precious treasure, and therefore, no one else in the nation qualified to berate it. And unfortunately, he was in a session of secluded meditation, and could not be disturbed except under the direst of circumstances.
Eventually, he emerged, and when he saw the yellowed lotus leaves and the wilting flower, even he was stunned.
By now, he truly had a love-hate relationship with the little turtle. And of course he couldn’t punish the turtle. He could only bring him back to the palace and try to persuade him with words.
Looking at the little turtle standing there on the palm of his hand, he said, “You… you can’t eat the lotus roots.”
“What?” the little turtle said, sounding guilty and looking like the picture of innocence. “Really?!”
Although the Saint-Emperor was actually furious, he didn’t let any of that show. He would save that for Bai Xiaochun. Instead, he did a bit more work to persuade the turtle of the error of his ways, and then summoned Bai Xiaochun to the palace.
However, it was in that very moment that, in Bai Xiaochun’s blessed land, his eyes suddenly snapped open!
“After months of building up spiritual energy from over a hundred lotus roots, I have exactly what it takes to break through!” Laughing heartily to the heavens, he sent cultivation base power coursing through his energy passageways and toward his divine soul.
The spiritual energy of over a hundred lotus roots erupted out, a virtual ocean of power that flowed through him toward the invisible barrier….
A huge boom echoed out inside of him, as well as something that got Bai Xiaochun very excited. It was… the sound of a barrier cracking!
“Be destroyed!!” He lowered his head, veins bulging as he put all of the energy reserves he had into the effort of attacking the barrier!
He had no gates to enter, no paths to walk. He could only… bash his way onto the great way of the celestial!
Pain filled him as his divine soul cracked and splintered. But he simply endured the pain, a vicious, maddened expression on his face as he stuck to his plan!
His cultivation base was now at the absolute limit of the Demigod Realm. In the blink of an eye, his divine soul shattered, and his fleshly body began to crumble. At the same time, that seemingly unbreakable barrier also began to fall apart!
By this point, Bai Xiaochun’s mind was almost a complete blank, devoid of thought or feeling. He could see what was happening, but it was almost as if he were an outside observer. Slowly, everything around him turned dark, with the only light coming from inside his body.
That light grew brighter and brighter as countless bright motes appeared, little spots that almost looked like wispy, flying seeds!
It was almost like a cloud of dandelion seeds…. They filled the area, floating and flying toward… one particular flying seed inside of him!
Everything seemed to go into slow motion for Bai Xiaochun. Meanwhile, in the instant that the barrier began to crumble, shocking fluctuations rolled out from his blessed land, as well as powerful rumbling sounds!
The vortex that had come to surround him swept up high into the sky and far out in all directions. All of the residents of Saint-Emperor City noticed, and were completely shocked.
After a brief silence, people began to cry out.
“Someone is breaking out of the Demigod Realm and into the Celestial Realm!!”
Numerous beams of light shot up into the air, and countless streams of divine sense came to focus on Bai Xiaochun’s blessed land.
After all, in all of the Eternal Lands… there were only ten celestials in total!
From that alone, it was possible to see how difficult it was for demigod experts to achieve breakthroughs. As of this moment, the Saint-Emperor was right in the middle of putting the little turtle out of mind and sending some divine sense to Bai Xiaochun’s blessed land.
Everyone was now completely focused on Bai Xiaochun, and the massive energy fluctuations that were coming from his direction.
As for the vortex, it continued to spin, causing strange signs and portents to appear in heaven and earth. All the while, Bai Xiaochun’s aura was roiling out in full madness.
Everyone in Saint-Emperor City was shaken, but the first to react was actually Gu Tianjun. He blurred into motion, appearing near the vortex that surrounded Bai Xiaochun. As soon as he examined it, his expression flickered.
“Bai Xiaochun is going to break through!!”
Chen Su and the scholarly celestial appeared out of thin air, their eyes sparkling at the thought of how long it had been since a new celestial had appeared in the Saint-Emperor Dynasty.
If the person breaking through was someone other than Bai Xiaochun, then it would have been a cause for rejoicing, and a stirring inspiration to all of the people in the nation. It would also have left the Vile-Emperor Dynasty quite shaken.
With another celestial, the power of the Saint-Emperor Dynasty would increase by thirty percent!
However, the person breaking through was not truly someone from the Saint-Emperor Dynasty, but rather, Bai Xiaochun!
As people began to realize the implications of this fact, they were struck with mixed feelings. That was especially true of the three celestials, whose expressions turned very grim.
At this point, the scholarly celestial said, “When someone becomes a celestial, the Eternal Mother gets involved. Unless an archaean takes action… no one could possibly interfere!”
“This Bai Xiaochun is a crafty fox,” Chen Su said, his eyes flashing. “He knows that because he’s in Saint-Emperor City, the Saint-Emperor will have to assist. And the Vile-Emperor definitely won’t come to cause problems. There couldn’t be a safer place!”
“It doesn’t really matter,” Gu Tianjun said coldly. “Many cultivators throughout history have reached this step. But who can even count how many have been killed facing the three heavenly tribulations? All he’s done is break the barrier, which begins the first tribulation. He might not even survive it, let alone the two to follow!”
All of Saint-Emperor City was shaken, and the Saint-Emperor was paying close attention, as were the three celestials. In that moment, incredible rumbling sounds echoed out as the enormous vortex grew in size by a hundredfold!
Nearly half of the sky became a vortex, filled with countless bolts of dancing lightning. Saint-Emperor City was completely covered by the tribulation clouds, which roiled out to fill much of the surrounding immortal domain!
“The second tribulation is starting!” Gu Tianjun said, his eyes narrowing.
Beneath the epicenter of the vortex was Bai Xiaochun, who sat there cross-legged, trembling within a world of darkness. The only thing he could see were the countless floating seeds, which were oh-so-slowly forming together into one.
That process was the second tribulation to which Gu Tianjun referred!