IAT CH12

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Immortal Ascension Tower

Book 1: Reborn

First Arc: The Child And The Dragon

Chapter 12 – Big Brother Shows the Way!

“As you might have heard from those Seniors in your Clan, the process known as cultivation today is an act that serves to augment one’s longevity to the point of a quasi-eternal life, and at the same time greatly increase our power in order to successfully accomplish ridiculous and superhuman feats such as flying, slashing apart mountains, defeating thousands with a single wave of one’s sleeve… all in all, it’s basically the way to accumulate the one true currency of our world: power.”

Cheng Hao poured some tea he had prepared during his explanation in two cups, handed one to the girl and took one for himself. He took a sip and continued his explanation. “Cultivation as of today is commonly divided into the three vast Realms, namely the Mortal, Ageless and Immortal Realm. For today, we shall focus on the first of the three… the Mortal Realm! Stepping into the Mortal Realm is the first step one must take to graduate from being a normal person into becoming a cultivator! At the same time however, even a peak Mortal Realm cultivator won’t extend his longevity noticeably. Humans for example would cap at a hundred and twenty or so years at most even at the very peak of said Realm. As this is hardly any different from a normal mortal’s lifespan, experts dubbed it the ‘Mortal’ Realm. It will only be with the Ageless Realm that one shall gradually stop aging both in appearance and finally, with the Immortal Realm, one will finally be able to life for thousands, tens of thousands of years, eventually reaching increasing the amount with each subsequential breakthrough. In the eyes of the experts, it is only when graduates into the Ageless Realm that one can be considered a ‘true’ cultivator. Most take a hundred or so years to reach this level, with those who are slightly faster taking from sixty to ninety years to accomplish the same task…”

Cheng Hao trailed off and then spoke with a knowing smile. “The current record holder however, is a certain man known as Xu Ling. He stepped into the Ageless Realm at age twenty-four and created a ruckus in the cultivation world. After that, he created a legend when he entered the Immortal Realm at the ‘young’ age of sixty-one. Although a certain person…” He sent an inquiring glance at Xiao Wu as he spoke, “Surpassed him even a few decades later when he became an Immortal Realm cultivator at fifty-nine, this Xu Ling’s first achievement remains intact! This person was known as the Evil Saint and was one of the most handsome and talented man in the cultivation world!”

Xiao Wu frowned: of course she knew of the Evil Saint and of his achievements in cultivation. She couldn’t help however but feel as if something was wrong about what the young child had told her: wasn’t his depiction of Xu Ling placing the Evil Saint into a too bright of a light?

Goldy rolled his eyes. “Pff. Show-off.”

Cheng Hao retorted, “It’s called loving oneself! Anyways, twenty-four years is the mark we are going to be chasing after! I’m confident that if you put in the effort, you might just be able to succeed before you even step into your teens! So our actual objective is accomplishing exactly what the Evil Saint has done… in half the time! Before you turn thirteen and are still twelve years old, I’m planning on having you step into the Ageless Realm!”

“Pu!” Xiao Wu spat out the tea. Somehow Cheng Hao must have predicted this as he closed the now damp umbrella and put it back into the miraculous Heaven&Earth pouch.

“S-Sorry!” Xiao Wu immediately apologized, but then shook her head in disbelief. “It’s just… twelve years old? We’re both children, I’m eight myself, and we both have yet to start cultivating… how exactly are we supposed to accomplish what even that Xu Ling himself couldn’t?”

Cheng Hao chuckled and answered her question with another question, “Very well then, let me ask you this: do you know at what age this so called ‘Evil Saint’ began cultivating?”

Xiao Wu opened her mouth to speak, but she did not make a sound, because the records of her Clan did not mention that! She sent an inquiring glance at a laughing Cheng Hao. “W-when did he start?”

The golden-eyed youth also opened his mouth to speak only to frown himself. He turned to look at one side and muttered, “Was it twenty or twenty-one? I don’t really remember clearly… anyways, what I’m saying is! He took roughly four years to become an Ageless Realm cultivator from a cultivation-less mortal!

“As a matter of fact, I’ll have to apologize: what I told you earlier was actually an intended clickbait!” Cheng Hao smiled as a scheming glint flashed across his eyes. “To the world, what we will accomplish will be exactly that: surpassing the Evil Saint by a landslide and even going as far as accomplishing exactly what he did… in half the time! What we will be really doing however, is accomplishing the same feat as he did except we will be doing that starting twelve years before he did! We are eight now, I’ll be turning nine soon, but we still have slightly more than four years before we turn thirteen! Since the Evil Saint has done it before, it’s definitely possible! So… How’s that?” Cheng Hao winked, “Are you ready to beat a legend and become a myth yourself?”

Xiao Wu gaped: yes! Her Clan had been declining ever since they lost the war, to the point that, had it not for the secret legacy left behind by the Jade Emperor that had been Lord of the Heavens before Tian, they would have definitely kicked out of their own home! But if she could really shock the world like that… wouldn’t her Clan’s noble name be recovered just like that?

“I see you are quite intent… very well! Then, I’ll be asking you to discard any knowledge of cultivation prior to this, as I’ll be teaching you everything… anew! If you can do that and follow my instructions from here on, I can guarantee that, no matter what happens, the moment you turn thirteen your name shall already have shocked the world!”

Her blood was boiling, she felt her hair standing up and shivers going down her spine! After such a boastful declaration, Xiao Wu only had one question left… “When do we start?”

Cheng Hao chugged down the remaining tea and hurriedly wiped his lips on his sleeves. He took out a gourd from the magical pouch and bit off the cork.

“I was planning right about now,” Gulp, he swallowed a mouthful of alcohol from the bottle. “What do you say?”

“Inferior, Basic, Advanced, Superior, Sung and Reverend. From lowest to highest, these are the six stages of the Mortal Realm!” Cheng Hao spoke. “Each stage is divided into low, mid and high levels, plus the unofficial ‘peak’ level when one reaches the bottleneck to the next stage. However, in my opinion, these further divisions are useless, because while in the same stage, no one should be able to defeat me, even if I am only at the so-called ‘low’ level and he’s at the ‘peak’ level! Our mindset should be exactly this: no defeat and, even if eventually defeated, seek for victory in that defeat, no matter how shallow! If we lose without gaining anything we will be wasting our chances to attain enlightenment, and we only have that many of those!”

“Now, for when we actually begin cultivating! To begin on the road to martial cultivation one has to first step into the Inferior stage. To do so, there are multiple steps: to sense one’s Qi, the source of one’s cultivation, to draw in and absorb the Spiritual Energy, to form and shape the Qi and the Spiritual Energy into the Qi Sea and finally to condense that Qi Sea into the Pseudo-Core! Once one does all that, one will finally be able to claim one’s title as an Inferior stage cultivator!”

Cheng Hao’s words made the young Xiao Wu frown: Those steps were different from what the elders of her clan usually told her, and by a large margin at that!

“Brother Cheng? Weren’t the steps just Qi Sensing and Spiritual Energy Absorption? Also, are you sure you didn’t mistake the Qi Sea for the Qi River? I mean, isn’t forming the Qi River the requirements to enter the second stage of martial cultivation, the Basic stage? What’s he Pseudo-Core? Isn’t forming the Core the way one enters the third stage, the advanced stage?”

“Sigh… I see you have yet to discard those old fools’ nonsense.” Cheng Hao smiled bitterly and then waved his hands dismissively, “Well, that’s to be expected, seeing that my appearance is that of a child. Pick something to write with, because this explanation will be long and it will be also full of important stuff you might need to note down.” Cheng Hao took a long sip from the gourd and Xiao Wu did as she was told. She picked up a strange pen and a few sheets of paper from her own Heaven&Heart Pouch: she had decided to put her faith in this new brother of hers. She trusted him and it wouldn’t harm to just listen anyways.

“Indeed, what you guys still dare call ‘Experts’ of cultivation have divided cultivation stages in Inferior, Basic, Advanced, Superior, etcetera, etcetera, in accordance with the requirements needed to enter the corresponding stage. Inferior is Qi Sensing, Qi River is for the Basic stage, the Core is for the Advanced, the Superior stage has the Satellite, and so on and so forth. That is not wrong, but it is not right either, and that was pointed out by Xu Ling in the past numerous times.” Cheng Hao’s eyes glinted intelligently, “You see, before Xu Ling was a heaven-shaking cultivator or a world-renowned genius, he had been an esteemed scholar. Even with his young age, his remarks could easily send even the most experienced of you ‘Experts” in total panic, unable to utter even a single word of response that wasn’t a curse…”

Xiao Wu smiled bitterly.

There he goes again with the Evil Saint fanboying… Just how high of a place does Xu Ling have in his heart for he to speak so fondly of him?

Goldy’s smile however was even more bitter.

Eh, annoyed by his boasting, aren’t you? And that’s only after watching him for less than a day. I’ve lived with him for hundreds of years and at times I find myself at a loss when faced with the depths of his narcissism.

“Although those old idiots failed to see the genius in the system Xu Ling had thought up, only after he smacked their face by breaking all kinds of cultivation records, that his efforts were acknowledged. Seeing that it has yet to spread however, I can only guess they hid their idiocy from the world…”

Yup, definitely an hardcore fanboy.

And you ask why people don’t like you? Get to the main point already!

“We have followed methods to level up and conquer each stage after our ancestors tried it out themselves. We accepted this system as an unconditional truth, without bothering to find mistakes that we were influenced to think weren’t there after so many years of research carried out by some white-haired dumbasses in their dusty libraries! It is also for this reason, that the cultivation world has staled, and nobody was able to reach the one, final goal of cultivation, Immortality: it had stopped evolving! However, Xu Ling and the few who dared believed his words, broke away from that staleness, and thus became an army to be reckoned with in such a short time, all thanks to the incomparable cultivation speed coming from these new methods! In short, the point is…”

Oh, he got to the point!

God fucking finally!

“The ‘changes’, such as the Qi Sea, Core, Satellite, that happen with each level up and the sequence with which they happen, are all trivial at most and thus can all be played around with!”

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