As soon as the sprout appeared, powerful fluctuations rolled out, filling Bai Xiaochun and causing cracking sounds to ring out as they passed. He even grew slightly taller, and began to emanate a strange aura.
It was none other than the aura of Willpower. Before, that aura had been hidden within his Daoseed, but now that his Daoseed had sprouted, it was released into the open!
Bai Xiaochun was now able to affect the world around him on a fundamental level. He could even influence the emotions of people around him. It was an unfathomable level of power!
And there was more to it! In addition to the changes in Willpower, his cultivation base improvement meant that his battle prowess was now roughly ten times greater than before!
Before, Bai Xiaochun could use the Greatsword of the North to fight someone in the mid Celestial Realm, and perhaps hold his own against the late Celestial Realm. But now, he could do the same thing without the Greatsword of the North!
And if he did use the sword, he would definitely occupy the peak level among cultivators in the mid Celestial Realm!
As Bai Xiaochun analyzed his cultivation base fluctuations, and tested his new control of Willpower, he could see how different he was from before, and his heart swelled with excitement. He also knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that, without the events in Murknine County, this breakthrough would have taken much longer, and would have required more resources. Perhaps even saving up for a hundred years would not have been enough.
The damaged fan also played into it. As for the Former Will of his Time Immemorial Codex, normally speaking, he would have had to wait until passing the hundredth level and becoming the true owner of the damaged fan before breaking through.
And unfortunately, an early Celestial Realm cultivation base could only get him to the fiftieth level. But now, everything had changed!
“My next cultivation base breakthrough will also come much more quickly…. It might even come after I pass the hundredth level…. Then I’ll be in the late Celestial Realm, or perhaps even the great circle!” Having reached this point in his train of thought, his eyebrows danced up and down in delight. He almost didn’t dare to think of how wonderful that future development would be.
“If I can ever become the true owner of the damaged fan, and reach the great circle of the Celestial Realm, then, with the fan and the Greatsword of the North… I could theoretically smash archaeans!!” He simply couldn’t stop himself from thinking about how it was possible for him to be incredibly powerful without even being an archaean!
After a bit of time passed, he managed to bury such thoughts in his heart. After all, daydreaming about such things now would do little good.
“Thanks to the good fortune I came across, my Former Will is in the great circle. Since I’m already in the mid Celestial Realm, I need to work on the second level of my Time Immemorial Codex, which will eventually get me to the late Celestial Realm!
“The first level of the Time Immemorial Codex is the Former Will… which is perfect for the sprouting of the Daoseed!
“For the second level, I need to get the Daoseed to bloom!
“Everything up to this point was for the Former Will, but now that the Daoseed has sprouted, the time has come for the Present Will!” Of course, Bai Xiaochun knew that when it came to creating new techniques, there had to be a basis. For example, his Former Will was based on his memories and experiences in the Heavenspan Realm.
Now he was working on the second level of the Time Immemorial Codex. Unfortunately, his cultivation base breakthrough had come earlier than expected, and therefore, he didn’t have the proper foundation to work on a new technique. Eyes glittering, he slapped his bag of holding and brought out one of the rewards for the fiftieth level, the bamboo slip.
“But I have this!” he murmured. Originally, he had never intended to become the true successor of the sovereign from the Immortal World by acquiring his Dao Essence. He had hoped to learn from it to forge his own path.
If the bamboo slip had contained the full Dao Essence of Life and Death, he could only have acquired it with enlightenment, and plenty more power than he currently had. But considering that it was only a portion of it, he felt much more comfortable trying.
Taking a deep breath, he relaxed, then sent some divine sense into the two magical symbols carved onto the bamboo slip. Instantly, the powerful aura of death once again appeared. Then, when his divine sense reached the second magical symbol, a sensation of flourishing vitality also came into being.
This convergence between life and death was Bai Xiaochun’s first experience with Dao Essences. As he sank into the feeling, he lost track of time, and forgot where he was. The only thing he didn’t forget were his thoughts regarding the Present Will.
He remained in that state for an unknown period of time, seeking enlightenment. At one point, unbeknownst to him, the spirit automaton appeared out of thin air.
The boy glared at Bai Xiaochun, feeling extremely helpless. After all, as the spirit automaton of the damaged fan, he could interfere with things in the levels, but was completely powerless to do anything to Bai Xiaochun in his current position.
He had been thwarted over and over again inside of the levels…. something that nearly drove him mad every time he thought about it.
He could punish trial-takers, but Bai Xiaochun had already taken control over a portion of the damaged fan. Therefore the spirit automaton was helpless to do anything to him, and in fact, was already forced to consider him his master to some extent!
It didn't matter that he didn’t like the arrangement. And it was even worse now that Bai Xiaochun had passed the fiftieth level, putting him on almost equal footing.
“What if things keep going like this? What am I supposed to do…?” The spirit automaton really felt like crying. The mere thought of this shameless cheater becoming his master was a horror. He also started wondering what he would say if he was asked to reveal his name….
After all, he had already sworn an oath to adopt the same surname as Bai Xiaochun if he passed that one certain level….
He let out a sigh, then gritted his teeth and looked closer at Bai Xiaochun. After a moment, he blinked a few times, and then raised his eyebrows in delight.
“Hahaha! What a fool! Is he actually trying to gain enlightenment of the Dao of Time? Using the Dao Essence of Life and Death to be enlightened regarding time? He's dead! It's settled! What he's trying to do is impossible. The Dao of Time is one of the most powerful Daos there is. It can even control life and death! What a fool! Hahaha!” Clapping his hands in delight, he looked closer to confirm that his analysis was correct, then snorted coldly and left in extremely high spirits. To him, it was like the clouds had parted and the sun was now shining down brightly upon him.
A month later, Bai Xiaochun was still sitting there, cross-legged and unmoving. At one point, a tremor passed through him, and the bamboo slip which contained the Dao Essence of Life and Death dissolved into ashes. Bai Xiaochun opened his eyes and looked around, and as the air around him rippled and distorted, fluctuations began to roll out that were very different from his Former Will.
Because of those fluctuations, any place where he existed, no matter how ancient it might be, could be affected by his Will to stand in place in the stream of time, and exist eternally in the present!
It was as if the passage of time simply couldn’t affect him at all!
To some extent, his Willpower… could cause time to stop!
“The Present Will!” he murmured. “So domineering!” Meanwhile, the spirit automaton yet again stepped out into the open, albeit in a way that Bai Xiaochun couldn’t see. When he sensed the fluctuations of the Dao Essence of Life and Death, and then saw Bai Xiaochun, his eyes almost plopped down onto the ground.
“The Dao of Time?! Heavens! That exists on a higher level than the Dao Essence of Life and Death! A great Dao! How could a shameless cheater like that gain enlightenment of it?!?! Are you blind, God?!” The spirit automaton was really descending into madness. Howling defiantly in his heart, and his eyes crimson, he decided that he would pay any price to defeat this shameless individual.
“You just wait!!” he muttered, tugging at his hair in frustration. Then he went to find the perfect level to tweak, looking very much like a defeated gambler dead set on making a comeback.