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Chapter 31: A Unmarked Breakthrough
The more to the north of Donghu, the longer the nights were. But the wind and snow disappeared. The reason was that the land to the northwest increased in elevation. Soon, one would encounter a snow line that never melted. The wind was blocked by enormous mountains, leaking through the mountain peaks. Other than at some mountain passes, the mountain wind was not strong. It flowed down like water for hundreds of meters before the wind grew strong again.
It was so cold, the cold energy gathered high up that even the snow did not fall. The world was frozen like a mirror, cold, and occasionally, some large patches of hail would fall down like someone throwing down rocks.
Ding Ning and this monk were not ordinary cultivators. So after a short talk, there were no other words. The old monk boarded the cart filled with luggage that the wolf pack was pulling. Even though he was surrounded by the frozen meat to feed the wolves, he was still at peace.
Being the son of a herder who had nothing to eat, he had pushed open a door to a new world when he came into contact with cultivation, and found the meaning of his life. He was a true cultivation fanatic. He felt the greatest joy when his cultivation progressed, and he perceived new secrets.
Yet decades ago, he surpassed the cultivation of all the monks, and reached the limit of the records from his guru. He had no teachers ahead of him, and his cultivation did not gain a thing. In the end, he went to Changling, to seek the path in death. If he saw the level that he could not understand in life and could not touch, he would be satisfied even if he was going to die.
But he lived. After diligent cultivation for more than a decade, after just a bit of guidance, he could seem to make out realm eight. He could even use the power of realm eight occasionally, and was just half a step away from a true breakthrough. It was valuable to know oneself. Each person’s talent was different.
This old monk had used almost the entirety of his life to cultivate, spent decades sitting in the cave, so he was able to see himself clearly. He knew if there was not a teacher like Ding Ning right now, even if he reached realm eight, he would stop there, and would never see what was ahead of him.
Yet he was also sure, Ding Ning walked ahead of him, and could bring him further. So, while he had almost invincible strength in the world right now and only Yuanwu was likely to be able to kill him. He looked at the cart ahead with pure joy like a child.
To him, he was like a child that Ding Ning was holding by the hand and leading past a beautiful sea of flowers. He constantly saw beautiful scenes that he had never seen before.
“Each person’s life is different. They have different encounters, and preferences. Even twins with the same birth, and the same chances may have different personalities and likes. Each person is a world of their own. What they pursue and want are different. The Vajrayana monks sat to cultivate, did not speak to cultivate. When their cultivation grew great, they saw themselves clearly. Clearly seem oneself does not just come from the mental world of cultivators, but also from the unimaginable co-ordination between the whole body.”
In the cart ahead, Ding Ning looked at Zhangsun Qianxue and said slowly with great detail, “So the cultivation of the Vajrayana is to cultivate this life, and not future ones. They do not care about the vague reincarnation, but cultivate their present bodies. They study the profound knowledge of their small world. There are many meridians in the body, like the sun, moon, and stars. Different cultivation methods, different sword manuals, they use different meridian points in their bodies. Us Changling cultivators may have great cultivation, but the primal energies of the universe, and the vital energy do not flow and coordinate as well as they do. So their strongest means are themselves, and not material objects.”
Ding Ning paused for a moment, looked at Zhangsun Qianxue who started to understand, and said, ” These ascetic monks look thin, but the power that can explode out of his body is much stronger than other cultivators of his range. Each meridian point, each meridian, each sliver of flesh contain great coordination, and will bring accuracy and speed in addition to power. So what I told him was to not think of any other ways, to not rely on material items. Just take the direct path. Give up on the swordsmanship and the staff skills. Just attack following your body’s instinct. That is his strongest means. The realm sevens he fought were killed with a blow. Most of them were a step late. Just as they summoned the primal energies of the universe or their sword essence started to bloom, he was knocking on the other was his strongest power.”
“He is a true anomaly. The top of the Vajrayana monks. His past ascetic cultivation has let him see himself clearly. In my past cultivation, I learned how to see others clearly,” Ding Ning said slowly. “Cultivators like him, what they need to see are what they do not know. You did not understand Shen Xuan. What he wants is to be not treated like a dog, and to rule people by law. In the end, he just wants justice.”
The ground went up. Even the gray wolves were having a hard time moving forward. The primal energies of the universe grew thinner.
But as Ding Ning and Zhangsun Qianxue discussed the old matters of Changling and some questions of cultivation, the old monk in the cart behind them started to lose his calm, and grow shocked.
Ding Ning did not appear to be meditating, and there were no primal energies of the universe rippling around him. But the old monk could sense, as time passed, the energy in Ding Ning’s body was constantly increasing. For a cultivator’s cultivation progress, this kind of growth could be described as terrifying.
Ding Ning’s cultivation was constantly growing. But to him, this growth was without trace. This felt like there was a very tall mountain ahead of him. But when Ding Ning walked over, the tall mountain silently disappeared as though it had never existed.
When the gray wolves were exhausted and stopped, the old monk sensed that Ding Ning had silently passed by intermediate realm six, and did not seem to be far from realm seven. The old monk, who had got off the cart, could not help but ask, “Even if you are retreading your path, it takes time to accumulate vital energy, and to change and nurture the body. How are you surpassing this?”
“Compared to the world, a person is too small. Even the strongest cultivator is too small.” Ding Ning’s breathing was laboured. He looked up at the glaciers ahead. His figure was as small as an ant in the shadow of the glaciers. “But no matter how strong, there are rules. At least, I have seen the places that I have passed before. I thought that there were no shortcuts to walk the places that I already know. But when I heard that An Baoshi’s body appeared here, I thought of the void realm, and suddenly understood. Sometimes, nothing has changed, and one can take a shortcut. The difference between people and the beings of the world is not that we can use too many tools, but that we can create,” Ding Ning said with a smile.
The old monk’s body seemed to be struck by lightning, and he shook violently. He understood that when Ding Ning heard the news of An Baoshi , he confirmed that there was a sword there. He also gained an understanding in cultivation. Just like how some sect founders created, he also created new cultivation methods. At the same time, he understood the greatest difference between him and Wang Jingmeng in the past. He followed the rules too much.
“Even if you can greatly reduce the time to realm seven, and can use some power of realm seven, but at that time, even if the Nine Death Silkworm is special, your body will be just a bit stronger than a starting realm six cultivators. A realm six body, but realm seven cultivation. Your body cannot match your power. Your body cannot withstand the power of realm seven. You have the cultivation and the power, but you cannot use them,” he still could not understand and asked.
“Even if I cannot use it frequently, I can occasionally use it, or forge my lifebond sword. I can always think of a way,” Ding Ning said.
The old monk shook again, and praised, won over. “Yes, that is enough!”