Volume 1, Chapter 19 – Steam Cleansing the Marrow and Bones into the True Primordial Qi Establishment
Zhang Yan carefully looked at this ancient bronze cauldron. There was—‘Impurity Purification Cauldron’— engraved on its surface. He scrutinized and waited near the cauldron and could vaguely sense traces of peculiarity, from other cultivators’ Qi from it.
According to that child servant, this big cauldron was sent to him as per Grandmaster Shi Shoujing’s order.
Not only did he sent him a Dao manual, he also sent this bronze cauldron to him intentionally. What was his true purpose?
Most Daoist masters’ actions had some kind of hidden profound meaning. Shi Shoujing would never have had sent all these things here without a reason. He certainly wanted to convey a message to him with this cauldron.
Zhang Yan walked back and forth as he deeply immersed himself in figuring out the hidden message. Suddenly, he abruptly stopped as some possibilities crossed his mind. Grandmaster Shi had once referred to… was it possible that he said… become a ‘strong warrior’?
‘Strong warrior’… Although these words sounded very impressive, few knew the true details or meaning about what a strong warrior meant.
Many powerful cultivators usually stemmed from prominent backgrounds, and never unknown disciples with no background.
Had cultivators reached the Primordial Qi Condensation, they should not stay for too long in this realm or delay in opening their meridians. Once they became too old and passed their youth, their meridians, which the Qi should be circulating within, would no longer be strong. In this light, their cultivation path would then be completely blocked.
So, when some disciples realized that their chance to tread on the immortality path was hopeless, they would simply scatter their Qi to the limbs and bones to strengthen their body, becoming a strong mortal.
If they wished to improve their cultivation further, they could only rely on the sect’s method with secret drugs and insert the Gold Divine Sand into the body to make their body more powerful.
The so-called ‘Tripod Lifter’ was particularly referred to a person who was in the process of becoming a strong martial artist only.
And in the Upper Court, these terms referred to these cultivators’ different levels such as ‘Mountain Seizer Warrior’, ‘Sea Toppler Warrior’, ‘Sky Flipper Warrior’ and so on. Although the titles were seemingly powerful and domineering, in fact, they completely relied on external objects. And since their path to immortality had been cut off, their status had degenerated into the sect’s goons.
It could be said that they only became other’s cannon fodders and tools.
Zhang Yan had heard about these people. Because they had a huge appetite, they must cook food in a large cauldron for each meal. Shi Shoujing sent him this cauldron. Was this metaphor his secret message to remind him to choose to this path for his future? Hoping that he chose to become a warrior?
The more he thought about Shi Shoujing’s secret message, the more he suspected this possibility.
Shi Shoujing’s intention was very obvious. He wanted him to concede on his own initiative. This should be related to the resources given to outer disciples, which meant he must give his share to other outer disciples and not to fight over it with them.
This was also to remind him that everyone’s path was different and that this was the safest way to keep him safe.
Zhang Yan snorted, this was sufficient to explain that Shi Shoujing didn’t think that he had enough qualification and was not optimistic about his prospects, despite receiving him as an outer disciple. He only received him as outer disciple due to some reasons or pressures.
He glanced at the bronze cauldron. He believed that many people must have seen this cauldron being sent here. Shi Shoujing might even have done this intentionally to inform numerous disciples. This was also intended to send a clear message about his standing on his matter to the outside. Although the three Grandmasters had received Zhang Yan as an outer disciple, they had no intention to provide any resources for his cultivation but had arranged another path for Zhang Yan instead.
Thus, by sending this cauldron, although it would appear like a tactful persuasion, but in reality, the three Grandmasters’ decision had been decreed and cannot be changed!
Zhang Yan sneered, was his cultivation path the subject for others to decide?
He could never allow himself to only become a warrior. That was only an elite security guard, a servant. What was the point of him trying to seek the path to immortality?
Cultivating oneself to become immortal was exactly to transcend and stand aloof over the mortal world. And being a servant under other people, could that be called the path to immortality?
Shi Shoujing had said that his achievement would be limited. He didn’t care about it. He was only an unknown novice disciple with no background, but hadn’t he successfully become an outer disciple now?
Obviously, the future was not set in a stone. The fact that he can arrive at this step was the undeniable proof!
He would not act like the previous dead teenager Zhang Yan who only waited for others to bestow on him a chance. If he were like that, he would have been locked up by the Zhou Family and be under his wife’s command right now.
Only to constantly promote his cultivation was fundamental, everything else was unimportant!
While circling around the cauldron twice, Zhang Yan grimly laughed. But, suddenly a bold idea crossed his mind.
He could clearly feel from the traces of Qi emanated from this cauldron, that this thing was unusual. This cauldron could be regarded as a rare Daoist tool. Without even testing its function, he also knew that this cauldron would purify every food put into it, washing away the food impurities and leaving only its essence.
At this moment, Zhang Yan actually saw the cauldron’s other function.
The cauldron itself should have the function to purify impurities, preserving only the essence!
When he thought about it, his eyes shined brightly. He immediately went out, calling many child servants to collect a lot of dry firewood.
He was now an outer disciple. Even though the treatment he received was different than that of those ancient families’ juniors, he was still an outer disciple in status. He even had the privileges to have his own servant. So, when his words were being conveyed, how could those child servants dare to disobey his order?
Not only were they obeying his words, but those servants were also trying hard to get Zhang Yan’s attention. In the eyes of these child servants, if they could be his personal attendant, they might perhaps be like Bian Qiao, who lorded over people.
In less than an hour, a huge pile of firewood worth half a month’s use had been piled up in Zhang Yan’s cave mansion. Some smarter child servants even caught some wild games and gave it to him. Zhang Yan didn’t refuse it and accepted all of them. He then asked the child servants to go out as then closed his cave’s stone door.
He divided the firewood into fifteen piles, of which indicated half a month’s time to fuel the bronze cauldron steamer. It was fortunate that his cave mansion was quite spacious. He could still sleep here.
These huge amounts of firewood were not to cook food, but was to fire up the cauldron and use its purifying effect to temper the Qi in his Dantian!
He put a pile of firewood under the cauldron and used a bamboo tube to direct the spring water from the cliff into the cauldron. When the cauldron was half filled, he burned the firewood under the cauldron.
Shortly after, the water in the cauldron began to boil. Zhang Yan quickly took his clothes off and jumped into the cauldron.
When he fought Wang Lie previously, he realized that under the stimulation from extreme circumstances, such as being put into a moment of life and death, it could make the acupoints’ gates open, making one’s Qi and life force strengthen. The first downside of this approach was that it was too dangerous. The second was that it needed a massive amount of concocted pills to support. Otherwise, accidents would be unavoidable. It could be said that this was a very extreme and dangerous method.
Now, as he analyzed, when Chen Feng was using the external circumstances to temper his Qi, he should also have taken a risk and faced other similar difficulties.
According to his analysis, aside from these extreme methods, the masters and elders in the sect should also have safer methods to temper Qi.
In fact, his analysis was very close to reality. Many cultivators from ancient families, when tempering their Qi, relied on their elders’ help to open their acupoints’ gates and guide their Qi. They then slowly refined their Qi by themselves afterward. However, this approach was also by no means perfect. Because their elders also must spend their Qi, depending on the each person’s cultivation level.
Generally speaking, he could only enter the cauldron for one or two hours a day and then slowly meditate to restore his Qi. He estimated that it would take half a month to complete this method.
Thus, it could be said that it was very easy for disciples with profound cultivation methods’ inheritance.
But in Zhang Yan’s case, he neither had any seniors or elders to direct him. He could only rely on himself.
As the temperature in the cauldron was getting higher, Zhang Yan had to circulate his Qi to endure the heat.
At this time, he could see the cauldron’s wonderful feature. Even if the firewood was being burned, there was neither smoke nor fumigation in his cave. Even the cauldron’s temperature was still cool. But, the heat and steam it was producing was unlike the usual steam that rose to mid-air, as it seeped into his bones and muscles.
He knew that this was not a common steam, but rather a spiritual power many teachers have talked about as the result of constantly using the Qi forced out his body’s impurities.
Zhang Yan faintly felt some pains in his internal organs. He quickly swallowed a ‘Mainspring Pill’ and tried his hardest to circulate his Qi to withstand the heat. But the heat wave unceasingly hit him, making it hard for him to even breathe.
His Qi consumption rate was getting faster. He did everything he could to exert his Qi, circulating it through his meridians. He was almost exhausted. He knew that this was the most critical time. Although his complexion had turned crimson, and his boiled body had thoroughly become red, he clenched his teeth and persevered.
About a quarter of an hour later, his Qi was completely exhausted. He faintly heard a ‘puff’ sound in his ears. One of the tightly blocked acupoints’ gates was opened. But, because the heat wave continued seeping into his body, that acupoints’ gate didn’t close again as it suddenly burst out with a strand of qi, unceasingly resisting the heat energy from outside.
As his qi continued to be consumed, the heat in the cauldron unceasingly purified its impurities, transforming it into its purest essence. Black filth constantly seeped out from Zhang Yan’s body through his skin, and although the stench of this filth was unbearable, he had no time to pay any attention to it.
When he felt that he could no longer persevere, Zhang Yan swallowed another pill to cure his meridians and internal organs, continuing to force out the impurities. He vowed and insisted to completely squeeze out the remaining impure Qi hidden within his body.
Whenever a pile of firewood had been completely burned, he took another pile to prevent the fire from being extinguished, so as to keep the heat in the cauldron steady.
For three days and nights, Zhang Yan stayed in his cave, tempering himself in the cauldron.
After swallowing more than 26 ‘Mainspring Pills’, almost all of his qi had been tempered and purified. However, for the last strand of the remaining qi, no matter how hard he tried, it was very difficult to force out.
Just when his patience was almost gone, suddenly an idea flashed in his mind. He recalled the line from the ‘Oneness Purifying Breath’ manual:
“The Death God lives within one’s heart, as his force could only be wielded by himself.”
Zhang Yan was well aware that his tempered Qi had reached a sufficient state to breakthrough, like the canal that had already been formed before the water came and flowed. But he was overhasty and his state of mind was not tranquil enough. Thus, he forgot the true meaning of Natural Laws, impeding his Qi flow. His qi had even retracted and ceased moving.
Wasn’t this situation almost similar to when he was condensing his Primordial Qi?
As he recalled about it, Zhang Yan’s mind suddenly became clear. He swallowed all the remaining Mainspring Pills and ignored the changes in his Qi. He only preserved the qi in the newly opened acupoints’ gates and let the other body parts become devoid from any qi.
He had, in fact, arrived at the last step and only needed the final push to breakthrough. At this moment, he suddenly realized and clearly understood the true meaning of one of the Three Precious Treasures, tranquility . He casted away all worldly thoughts as he immersed himself in a deep state of emptiness. Finally, the last strand of impure Qi slowly rose through the acupoints’ gate and was purified of impurities, and separated in Yin and Yang. It then combined with the already purified Qi once again. The purified Qi circulated through the meridians all over his body for 36 cycles before it returned to his Dantian, finally staying motionless.
The firewood under the cauldron had been burnt out. As Zhang Yan opened his eyes, a brilliant bright-spark flashed from his eyes. He could clearly see everything in his dark cave mansion as if it was daytime.
At this point, he successfully completed the process to officially cross over to the ‘Primordial Qi Tempering’ step and finally broke through into the Primordial Qi Establishment Realm. All of his Qi had been purified and transformed into True Primordial Qi . His strength had been improved by three folds and both his arms had 3,000 pounds of strength now. Zhang Yan could also see the stars during the daytime, and he was able to see the bottom of a deep lake. His mortal body had far surpassed the strength of an ordinary person.
Now he only needed to spend time to increase his True Qi, consolidating his cultivation realm, before he can open his closed meridians!
Zhang Yan remembered the line from the ‘Exquisite Records of the Inner Qi Profound Origins’ manual which he recited in his heart, “The heaven would help if I only I help myself”.
Even if this book had thousands of meanings and various directions, and was very difficult to understand compared to others. But, with the Broken Jade in his hand, he could try and try again unceasingly. He wasn’t afraid to fail. After he successfully opened his acupoints’ gates and meridians later, he really wanted to see those Grandmasters and the rest of the outer disciples’ expressions!
He looked at the big and heavy ‘Impurity Purification Cauldron’. It was like someone thought that his growth was too slow, and then helped him this way. Thinking of which, he couldn’t help but loudly laugh. He recited his feeling with a clear voice, “Others wanted to stop me by giving me the cauldron? I used the cauldron to quench my True Qi. How could mortals calculate destiny? No matter what they want, it is destined to never be achieved, like pouring a libation into the river!”
 三宝: (pinyin: sānbǎo). Literally translated to the Three Precious Treasures, but it refers to different contexts and meanings. Read these references for Buddhism. Taoism, Traditional Chinese Medicine plus the explanation about Jing, Qi and Shen
 The novel by far has the most confusing cultivation level I’ve ever read. The Primordial Qi Condensation Realm is only the 1st stage and Primordial Qi Establishment Realm is the 2nd stage to reach the True Qi. This had been mentioned in the previous chapters by the author. I still use the ‘realm’ term for cultivation level because I haven’t found any hints about other cultivation levels aside cultivations’ stage like the Radiant Qi Stage, Profound Light Stage in chapter 13.
However, I will change the term ‘Realm’ into Level/Layer or even erase this word. Radiant Qi and Profound Light I presume to be in the same realm because I haven’t read the raws that far to find enough information. However, the higher cultivation level—such as Dan Transformation, and Primordial Nascent Soul had been mentioned in the early chapter. As of now, the fixed terms for cultivation levels are Primordial Qi Condensation → Primordial Qi Establishment → True Primordial Qi. I will update the cultivation levels’ terms accordingly when I read ahead in my spare time.