Essences were innately abstruse and difficult to comprehend. In all of the void that had once been a starry sky, only a few people had ever mastered such things. After all, anyone who could do so would be considered a Daoist master who had comprehended all things, and reached the Sovereign Realm!!
Sovereigns were rare, as difficult to find as a phoenix feather or a qilin horn. Anyone from any group of people who became a sovereign would be the pride and glory of that group. And if any group could produce two sovereigns, none could possibly stand in their way!
Of course, Bai Xiaochun was far, far from that level. He wasn’t even in the Archaean Realm yet. And yet, that posed no obstacle to him when it came to gaining enlightenment of Essences.
Essences were profound and mysterious, much less to mention the fact that matters of time were paramount among such great Daos. In fact, only one sovereign within this starry sky had ever succeeded with the Essence of time.
And he was the owner of this precious treasure of hourglasses!
Bai Xiaochun gasped, his eyes shining with the light of understanding. Now that he had found the answer he had been looking for, he began to sink into a state of emptiness that encompassed both his thoughts and his physical form.
He had already seen the evidence pointing to the fact that the bending of the space around him was a result of his presence, and its effect on gravity, which also caused variations in the flow of time.
However, as he seemed to become empty, his body grew weightless, almost transparent, as though it didn’t exist.
He wasn’t truly being wiped out of existence. However, relative to his surroundings, and to the world around him, he was no more. And although he was still technically seated cross-legged on the huge hourglass, the force of gravity around him faded away, and the mad flow of time grew calm. It returned to the state it had been in before he had arrived, a state of relative calm.
Within that state, Bai Xiaochun’s consciousness remained, and his divine soul seemed to fly out of him and look down at the lands below. He saw countless hourglasses, some large, some small. He saw sand dropping down endlessly. And every time his gaze focused on an hourglass, its flow of time would change.
It was an endless cycle. As his gaze shifted from one hourglass to another, he lost track of how much time was passing, and lost track of his own existence.
As time flowed in its own way inside the world of hourglasses, Bai Xiaochi was outside. After Bai Xiaochun entered the place, he sighed in relief. Almost immediately, the different flows of time within the world caused his vision to blur, making it impossible to see what was happening. However, he could sense that Bai Xiaochun was unhurt.
“I wonder how long he’ll be in there. Hopefully not long. If that spirit automaton wakes up, it could be a big problem.” Sighing, he decided to just down cross-legged to wait. After all, if Bai Xiaochun took too long, he could just go in and remind him not to delay too long.
Within the world of hourglasses, Bai Xiaochun’s enlightenment continued. As he observed the countless hourglasses, and the various flows of time, they came to encompass everything about him.
He had no thoughts. He simply sat there, his expression blank as he stared at the hourglasses and committed every aspect of them to memory. Eventually, one of the countless hourglasses that he had committed to memory vanished.
Soon after that, another disappeared, and then another. One after another, they disappeared, and those that remained behind sank deeper into Bai Xiaochun’s mind.
No one, not even Bai Xiaochun, could sense what was happening. The hourglasses vanished one after another, until one day… there was only one left!!
It wasn’t large, only about the height of an average person. However, it seemed to be a part of Bai Xiaochun, a part of his soul, a part of his fleshly body, a part of his Daoseed… it had completely fused with every aspect of him!
It could not be wiped away or destroyed. In fact, in some ways, this hourglass was like a second Daoseed!!
When that solitary hourglass came to be the only one left behind, Bai Xiaochun shivered, his closed eyes flickered, and he began to breathe rapidly. At the same time, magical symbols began to appear on the surface of the hourglass in his mind. Although he didn’t recognize any of them, they all originated within his own imagination.
They contained his understanding of time, as well as his incomplete comprehension of Essences. They covered the hourglass in the form of magical symbols, and then began to shine with bright light. Bai Xiaochun shivered even more, and began to breathe more rapidly, until at one point, the shining of the magical symbols prompted him to unconsciously reach out and wave his right hand.
That simple gesture caused the air around him to collapse, and time itself to bend toward him. Gravity sprang into being, instantly changing the flow of time in his area!!
Outside, Bai Xiaochi sensed what was happening, and his eyes nearly popped out of his skull.
“Essence Daoist magic!?!?”
And that was exactly what it was, a Daoist magic of Essence. Although it was only in an embryonic form, only a small fraction of what it could be, it still caused time in the area around Bai Xiaochun to change. He shivered more, and his closed eyes began to flicker even more rapidly, as though he might awaken at any moment.
Suddenly, he lifted his head, and regained lucidity, as if he were emerging from a dream. The transformations to the air and the area around him faded away, but everything he had experienced within that ‘dream’ remained behind.
“Did I just…?” His eyes flickered with incredulity as he looked down at his hand. After a moment, he reached out again with his hand, touched his inner hourglass with divine sense, and then waved his hand.
The same thing happened as had happened moments ago, causing Bai Xiaochun’s heart to surge with excitement. Shooting to his feet, he closed his eyes to examine the shocking power of this new divine ability.
“I can change the flow of time in a small area…. If I had to fight the Vile-Emperor again, I wouldn’t need to rely only on Archaean Luminescence. I could slow time around him, but keep it the same around me. From the Vile-Emperor’s perspective… it would make me seem unimaginably fast!!”
Excited, he did a few more tests to make sure he was correct in his assessment. Afterward, he decided to name this fourth immensely powerful divine ability that he had just created….
“Time is connected to gravity,” he murmured, eyes glittering. “Therefore, I’ll call this divine ability… Gravitational Extermination!” Although he had never liked fighting and killing, by now he realized that the only way to keep the Arch-Emperor Dynasty safe… was to be stronger than everyone else. He needed people to respect him! That was the only way to truly put an end to the fighting and killing.
“I have the magical symbols of the Sutra of the Former. I have the Gates of Life and Death of the Sutra of the Present. I have the pāramitā lily of my Sutra of the Future. And now I have my fourth great divine ability, Gravitational Extermination…. Even without Archaean Luminescence, I can still pose a big threat to an archaean!” Brimming with self-confidence, he checked his cultivation base, and to his delight found that the good fortune he had experienced had pushed him into the great circle of the Celestial Realm.
He didn’t leave the world of the hourglasses immediately. Using his newfound control over time, he successfully broke through the bottleneck of the twenty-seven-colored flame. After finishing the formula, he rose to his feet and looked around at all of the hourglasses with a bit of sorrow and longing. Then, he clasped hands and bowed deeply!
He was offering thanks to the world around him, and to that mysterious sovereign whose Dao he had benefited from. Because of all the good fortune he had received, he completely abandoned any thoughts of taking this precious treasure with him. He knew that until he became a sovereign… he didn’t qualify to own it!