Time continued to pass. The presence of plants seemed to mark the beginning of a new age. In different worlds, the plants would be different colors and shapes, and would behave differently due to the different magical laws. But in the end, they were all still plants. Countless varieties of plants.
Plants filled the oceans and the lands, the mountains and the hills. Everything….
Over the course of the following tens of thousands of years, the sun shone down onto the bacteria, soft-bodied creatures, and plants, who were now the rulers of the various worlds that filled the starry sky!
Eventually, fish appeared in the oceans, as well as creatures who could live on the shores of the waters, but could not venture far from it. One day, Bai Xiaochun’s ‘eyes’ out in the starry sky spotted what looked like frogs or toads, and yet, were different from either of those animals.
Eventually, lizard-like animals appeared in the grasslands. The suns that were Bai Xiaochun’s eyes glittered in response.
In that moment, all living creatures within the starry sky suddenly heard a voice speaking in their souls.
When that voice spoke, all of the plants stretched toward the sky, and all of the animals looked up. Even the fish stopped moving.
Although the strange moment soon passed, all of the living beings had been touched, marked in a way that would stay with them and their descendants forever, even as they went about their lives of eating and hunting for food.
The wheel of time continued to turn for 100,000 years. Or perhaps it was 1,000,000. Maybe longer…. As the animals in the worlds flourished, flying creatures eventually appeared, who soared in the air above the lands they lived in.
The appearance of birds seemed to mark yet another new age.
Then, even newer animals began to appear, animals that were not born from eggs. They were more active and intelligent than anything which had come before, and were truly causing the starry sky to awaken!!
Over the endless years that followed, innumerable types of living creatures appeared in the worlds in the starry sky. They struggled and fought amongst each other for supremacy, with the weaker ones disappearing, and the stronger ones surviving. Bai Xiaochun would occasionally observe, and one day, noticed a monkey-like creature using a rock to fight its enemies. Eventually, such creatures realized that moving about on all fours was not convenient when using rocks in that manner, and thus, took to standing on two legs!
At that point, Bai Xiaochun’s expression shone with unprecedented brightness. He watched as these two-legged creatures began to live in groups, and hunt in organized fashion. Then one day, lighting struck a tree near some of them, and their eyes flickered with fear from the resulting fire.
However, now that they had learned to use simple weapons, they became the ultimate domineering force on that world!
Such groups of advanced living beings appeared in one world after another. In each of these worlds, the dominant groups of creatures came from different origins. Some started out as monkeys, others as birds. Others rose from living stone, and others were creatures of the air itself.
There were all types of beings in the worlds, all of whom sprang forth from the natural laws which governed them!
Bai Xiaochun didn’t just observe passively. Although he didn’t encourage any of them to begin using weapons, he did help them to take fire away from the burning trees which were struck by lightning. He helped the flying creatures learn to use the power of the wind to their advantage. He helped the stone-like creatures understand what it meant to build structures. He was always there to guide them, until they started to develop intelligence.
“What is wisdom and intelligence…?” he thought on one dark night as he stood on a mountain, looking down into a valley at a group of savages crouched around a fire, wearing animal skins and shouting loudly. Although there was clearly nothing civilized about them, the delight in their eyes as they stared into the fire caused Bai Xiaochun to sink into a state of thoughtfulness.
Eventually, he waved his hand toward the fire, which suddenly raged to life, startling the surrounding humans. Trembling, they scattered into the darkness. After a moment passed, one of the savages crept forward, pointing at the fire and crying out in incredulity. In response, other savages crept back and look more closely at the fire, where they realized a shadowy figure was visible.
He wore a long robe, the likes of which they had never seen before. He had long hair, and was very tall. As he stood there in the fire, he looked off into the distance…. He was none other than a projection of Bai Xiaochun.
He was interested in seeing how these savages, these progenitors of humankind, would react to seeing a shadowy form inside of the fire.
The first savage to have noticed him in the fire was also the first to drop to his knees, crawl forward, and then begin to bow in fanatical worship.
Other savages followed, and soon, all of them were bowing zealously. At this point, Bai Xiaochun had gained the information he sought, and the figure in the flames began to fade away. When it vanished, the flames leapt higher, illuminating the sky, and casting terror into the hearts of the wild beasts in the surrounding mountains and valleys.
From that point on, that group of savages would always stare into the fire with respect. And when they went on hunts, they would collect small, valuable items, which they would toss into the fire. The savages would look on with shining eyes as such sacrifices were transformed into ash, and then… they would drop down in worship!
The first of the savages to have seen the image in the fire eventually took the sap of trees and plants and drew a picture on himself to represent fire. He quickly rose to a position of authority within that group of savages, a scene which Bai Xiaochun found to be particularly relevant.
All of a sudden, certain matters clicked in his mind.
“Wisdom and intelligence… begin with imagination!
“Imagination can turn a rock into a weapon!
“Imagination can turn fire into a way to drive away darkness!
“Imagination can make gods to worship, and form them into totems….
“When you take imagination and combine it with action, you have the first sprout of wisdom and intelligence!”
Bai Xiaochun looked at the savages one last time, then closed his eyes. When he opened them again, he was in another world, where he began to guide the imaginations of the countless groups of living beings that now existed.
Time passed. As Bai Xiaochun guided the living beings of the 1,080,000 worlds, their imaginations eventually led them to believe in the existence of heaven and earth. And eventually, Bai Xiaochun came to be a deity to them….
As the hosts of living beings developed, their Life Essence also grew. And because of the marks that were branded on their souls, Bai Xiaochun was always with them.
Different peoples had different deities that they would worship. Some people worshipped the sun. Others called their god the Creator. Others called him the Sky Deity…. Different names existed among different peoples. The Almighty. God the Father. The Stone Ancestor. The Wind Spirit. And many more.
The people in the various worlds continued to grow strong, and as certain groups reached the pinnacle of life, civilization came to be.
Civilization looked different on different worlds. Some places had cities and buildings, which were organized into countries. Others were clan-based. Others were completely unique. Some civilizations took to the skies, and lorded it over the lands. Others ruled from the land. Every conceivable type of civilization came to be, and flourished.
However, regardless of what type of living beings they were, or how their civilization advanced, they all reached a point where they wanted to be closer to their god. They wanted mystical power, and even the ability to become gods themselves.
And when that happened, it was time for Bai Xiaochun to yet again appear, to provide the final bit of guidance, and the final beginning.
And thus, the concept of cultivation became a host of seeds that floated out into the starry sky.
A few thousand years later, all of the peoples of all of the worlds had mystical powers…. A new cultivation world had come to be in the Eternal Spirit World.