Immortal Ascension Tower
Book 1: Reborn
First Arc: The Child And The Dragon
Chapter 13 – Heaven-Defying Knowledge!
“For example, a few million years ago, cultivators of that era would create a Core, what we nowadays make in the Advanced stage, only after reaching the Ageless Realm! Only later did some people who actually had some brains realize just how hard of a task it was to condense a Core with the high density of the Qi and Spiritual Energy at the second Realm, and how they could make it that much easier on themselves if they just condensed a Core in the first Realm, the mortal Realm, instead. Thus, the condensation of the Core became the first stage of the Mortal Realm! With that one, minuscule change, the cultivation world was turned upside down as cultivation became that much faster, and what would take tens of thousands of years could be accomplished in mere centuries!”
“With a slight leap in the future, another slightly less dumb guy came around, announcing that instead of crafting the Core out of the Spiritual Energy and Qi outside of one’s body, by storing a stable amount of those in one’s body and condensing that instead, it would once again diminish the time required to fully condense it! With that, the creation of the Core was pushed forward one stage, and became the second stage of the Mortal Realm, preceded by the creation of a Qi River This cut away a great deal off those remaining centuries that cultivators would take before they could effectively even begin cultivating. Yes, you heard me correctly: before these two slightly above average guys came around, only Primordial Beasts and such beasts could even hope of becoming cultivators thanks to their natural endowment of a quasi-eternal life. Humans could not even begin, as a single sitting would take up most of their lifespan. Now however, the addition of a stage before the creation of the Core allowed some particularly talented humans to try their hand at cultivation, with the creation of a Core taking up roughly fifty to sixty years of their life.”
“Then, another guy whose brain still held a bit of worth noticed that the more stages one added, the faster cultivation would be! So, he researched and found that a Qi River that unconditionally absorbed different kinds of Qi would be much more inefficient than one that only absorbed just one or a few more types. He soon figured out a method to separate the Qi and allow the cultivator to focus on one kind alone, instead of cultivating in special grounds that had only certain types of Qi. Once again, another stage pushed the others up by one, and the Inferior stage, the Qi Sensing stage, was established! With this stage, one’s Qi would be stabilized and the cultivator would be able to ignore all other kinds of Qi that were not his own, shaving away a few more decades from those centuries I mentioned earlier.”
Cheng Hao finally fell silent. He drank a mouthful from the gourd and let out a loud sigh. Meanwhile, Xiao Wu was gaping in utter disbelief, unsure whether she had heard him right: what he had just told her had sent her knowledge of this world and the history of cultivators right down the drain. “This… This can’t be… If what you say about cultivation methods changing just like that is the truth, then why did my Clan’s Seniors say otherwise?” Xiao Wu shook her head as she eyed the youth unsure of what to believe anymore.
“He’s right though, you know?” Goldy’s voice startled her. With a yawn, he added, “I was surprised at first, ‘cause I did not remember telling him anything about my past, and it just came out of nowhere. Turns out this guy is not just full of himself, he’s also a true Expert in this kind of stuff. One day he went off, and only returned more than two months later. According to him, he had spent that time reading a few books in some roaming tower. That’s also kinda how he has knowledge on at least more than half of the stuff he knows, by the way. It’s all also one-hundred percent correct, so I say you shut up, trust him, and reap the benefits.”
Xiao Wu frowned, “What-“
Blindlight immediately regretted saying that: to explain the situation would take way too much time… and he was a lazy bum by nature. “Oh, on second thought, don’t mind that. Just some random ramblings from a very old snake, please pay attention to the lecture.”
Cheng Hao smiled, “Thank you professor Mc. Goldy-“
Blindlight was enraged, “What did you just call me? I will gladly snap your spine in half!”
The golden dragon was ruthlessly ignored as the golden-eyed youth proceeded unperturbed, “I’m indeed not just a normal child, and have quite some stuff up my sleeve, which include knowledge about our world the likes you could never possibly comprehend. What I said earlier about things such as the Core and Qi River being freely switched around was the truth, and the list of such changes throughout history goes on and on. This is because the order your ‘Landmarks’ indicating the stages is trivial! There is only one thing that stays the same no matter how much one tries to switch stuff around…” Cheng Hao’s eyes flinted, “And that is the purity of one’s Qi and Spiritual Energy, which increases with each stage!”
At that even Xiao Wu’s eyes widened: that was true! Some conversations with her Clan’s elders also acknowledged that, with each breakthrough to the following stage, there would be a difference of purity in the Spiritual Energy and Qi one would gather and utilize! This was also the reason there was such a difference in strength between cultivations of different stages: the mediums used were simply on completely different levels!
Cheng Hao sat down in a chair and took another sip.
“You asked me earlier… to enter the Inferior stage, one would only need to sense one’s personal Qi and then absorb the Spiritual Energy of their Qi’s attribute. Indeed, that would be the case, but you see…” He smiled, “There is a reason the Core was placed as the first stage a long time ago. And that is because the Core is the basis of all cultivators, and the whole system of cultivation we use nowadays all take into account the presence of the Core: this should be enough to illustrate just how precious it is to a cultivator, and just how great its potential really is!”
“The only reason it was moved forward and the Basic and Inferior stage were added was because one’s cultivation would become very chaotic with all the different types of Qi’s that would be absorbed as well. So wouldn’t it be great if we could, in some way, somehow skip the first two stages and start out as Inferior stage cultivators while still having a Core, or at least, a disposable copy of the true Core we would build when we step into the Advanced stage? Wouldn’t this grant us an edge against cultivators that have yet to enter the Advanced stage?”
“So I ask you this question, is it really, absolutely, certainly impossible to form a Qi River and the Core since we do not need to actually breakthrough the stages?” Cheng Hao grinned, “Of course not. Even if we were to make a Core, the purity of the Qi would still count as Inferior stage Qi! That is why we won’t enter the Basic or Advanced stage by creating a Qi River and a Core right now, because our Qi won’t be pure enough!”
“Finally, I’ll also answer the other question you had at the start: why did I mention a Qi Sea instead of a Qi River. This is because, while the River of Qi we create in our consciousness might be stable, there are a few problems when it comes to condensing the Core. It is not a minor, but a major problem, and I still wonder up to this date why those ‘Experts’ have yet to take care of it. Since they still seem to have yet to change anything, I’ll take matters upon my own hands and do it my way…”
Xiao Wu’s green eyes had not blinked once during the whole length of this conversation. Although her gaze had never left the golden-eyed youth’s face, her hands had still unconsciously jotted down a few notes. She was so chocked however, that she had yet to notice she had been biting her lips for so long they had turned from their natural purplish color to a pale white. Cheng Hao however kept going with his lecture, barely stopping at times and taking the occasional sip to refresh his throat.
“Instead of forming the Qi River, why don’t we make instead something that is just as stable but much more efficient in its supposed goal– easing the Core’s condensation process. I will now ask you a simple question. In a cold and harsh winter, which is more likely to freeze first, a lake or a river? Mind that the water mass we’re interested in is the same, thus the question could also be worded as, ‘which is easier/takes less effort to freeze: moving water or Still water?’ Fire (lol) away!”
Xiao Wu’s eyes glinted as she came to the realization that, “Of course, the Lake water will freeze first! So we are not making the River because a single, moving current of Spiritual Energy would be harder to condense into a Core, but if we make a Lake, what you called the Qi Sea, instead… it will become much easier, because it will be easier to freeze, in our case condense, Qi and Spiritual Energy that is already still! This… this is…”