Chapter 79: A Little Dance, Entering the World of Cultivation (3)

A young girl was in the midst of a dream. Her body gently quivered underneath a warm blanket, and her soul traveled through the folds of time.

She saw a picturesque garden. Countless flowers thrived in numerous, clay pots, and an array of medicinal herbs decorated the ground in neat rows.

At the fringe of the scenery rested an elegant rocking chair, the insides padded with a comfortable fabric that was soft to the touch. Upon the surface of the priceless wood spanned several engravings of phoenixes, willow trees, and the tranquil waves of an ocean.

An old man sat in the rocking chair, his feet gently swinging to adjust the speed of the gyration.

Dressed in a clean, white robe and clasping a book against his chest, the old man’s eyes were closed in a mixture of comfort and peace.

The tranquil smile of the old man, and the peaceful swaying of the flowers and herbs established a serene and quiet atmosphere, the epitome of paradise.

However, if one were to take a step back, perhaps the scene constituted one of utter laziness obtained after attaining seclusion. The old man had not moved from the rocking chair for quite some time, his body swaying back and forth with a similar rhythm as that of the herbs and flowers.

The smallest speck of dust was instantly obliterated by the gentle movement of the medicinal herbs, causing the scene to appear unspeakably clean and tidy despite the lack of care or management. The old man reclined in the rocking chair, the plants swayed, and time stilled.

Only to be broken by the next moment.

“Grandfather, grandfather!”

A childish voice rang out as a young girl rushed into the garden. The child appearing no more than six years old sprinted with her short legs, excitedly calling with unrestrained joy and excitement.

“Grandfather, wake up!”

The young girl spoke with her bottom lip curled into a pout. Seeing that the elderly man gave no response, nor had the herbs displayed any change, the child puffed her cheeks before reaching out with both arms.

“Grandfather!” the girl shouted, shaking the rocking chair with all of her might. Her small frame surprisingly possessed great strength and control as the entire chair was roughly shaken, yet there wasn’t any incurred damage.

“Grandfather, wake up already! Grandmother’s getting quite annoyed, Grandfather has been sleeping for a few years!!”

“..ah?”

The old man cracked open an eyelid, the grey-blue iris gazing deeply at the young girl disrupting his peaceful sleep. The elderly’s white eyebrows scrunched for a moment, the confusion gradually disappeared from his gaze.

“Oh…” the old man murmured, his right hand sneakily darting forth to gently poke the young girl’s forehead, before patting her head the next instant.

“So this time it’s been for a few years?”

The girl nodded vivaciously, her adorable cheeks puffed in anger. She was not ignorant of the elderly man’s schemes, but couldn’t care less as she indulged in her grandfather’s doting and affection.

“Hah….”

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A long sigh erupted from the old man’s mouth as his limbs shot out into a massive stretch, followed by a series of muffled curses and groans. All inclinations of a serene resting garden were stripped by the elder’s comical stance, and the child couldn’t help but burst into a peal of giggles.

“Grandfather, you look too funny!” the girl cried, pointing at the old man’s frowning complexion. “If Grandfather displayed that appearance to his friends, they would be in for a massive scare!”

“How funny,” the old man scowled, his fingers lightly pinching the child’s nose. After venting his indignation by tweaking the soft nose between his fingers for a breath, the elder clamored out of the rocking chair, sitting on the ground next to the girl.

“Here!” the old man spoke in a gentle voice, extending both arms towards the girl.

“Come, let your grandfather give you a hug.”

The girl cheerfully nodded, the tiny figure springing into the elder’s embrace. Cradling the delicate frame against his bosom, the old man watched the medicinal herbs and flowers gracefully dance in their positions.

The elder and child stared at the garden in silence, the tranquil atmosphere returning as the pair resonated with the quiet and lazy scenery. It was only after a long time that the old man opened his mouth to speak.

“Well?” he patted the girl in his embrace awake, before continuing in a soft tone.

“Did Yun’er send you to fetch me?”

The girl gradually shook her head, grogginess swirling within her eyes. After a few moments of silent blinking, the child finally responded, her voice no longer boisterous and rampant as before.

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“…grandmother wanted me to learn mortal cultivation,” the girl murmured as she stared at the old man’s robe.

“But the teacher she assigned me is absolutely horrid! Not only does he talk only about nonsensical history about the Blaze Mountain, it’s already been three years and he hasn’t said a single word regarding the subject he was hired for!”

The girl cried injustice, the pair of innocent eyes gazing at the elder’s countenance. The child clutched at the old man’s lapel with trembling fingers, pleas escaping her throat.

“Not only that, he charges three kilograms of heart crystal stone per month!” the girl cried with a bitter tone.

“Grandfather, ah, you have to get justice for me and Grandmother! I don’t want to learn from that person and Grandmother doesn’t have the capability to pay such an expensive price either. Grandfather, you must help us, ah!”

“Mm, I understand,” the old man softly murmured as he consoled the aggrieved child. Gently patting the girl’s head until she calmed down, the elder directed a wistful glance towards the sky, before returning to reality.

“Alright, let Grandfather teach you mortal cultivation! Afterwards, we can go chase away that swindler!”

The girl earnestly nodded her head, the small countenance beaming with joy. The elderly man’s lips broke into a warm smile, and his strong arms adjusted the girl into a more comfortable position.

“Lass, have you formed a mortal soul yet?” the old man gazed towards the sky, the aged pair of eyes glazed over in thought.

“En! Granddaughter has already formed three mortal souls,” the girl dutifully responded, the pair of fragile hands playing with several blades of grass on the ground. The grass gently coiled around her fingers and slithered over her palm like tiny garden snakes, causing the girl to giggle in delight.

“Grandmother says that in three months, the mortal souls should be fully prepared. Hence, she told granddaughter to learn the principles of mortal cultivation beforehand.”

Hearing the child’s reply, the old man nodded, before releasing a light sigh. Shaking his head and clearing his thoughts, the elder jostled the young girl back to attention.

“Listen carefully now, what Grandfather will say next, little lass must pay great attention, and never forget!” the old man cautioned. As the girl nodded her head in an adorable fashion, the elder pointed towards the child’s heart with his index finger.

“The fundamental principle behind mortal cultivation is to absorb the breath of nature into a fleshly body. Unlike us who were directly created from divine laws, mortals are unable to generate divine essence from within as they lack an immortal’s construct. Hence, the moment a mortal soul steps into a mortal world, all connection to the Realm is severed.”

“Severed?” the girl asked in confusion, before her eyes brightened in understanding. “If the connection is severed, then mortals can only improve themselves by…”

“Right,” the old man chuckled. “Mortals can only improve their soul and flesh by tainting their core essence with the world’s breath of nature, which is a disastrous feat for any living existence. Once a mortal dares to step onto the path of cultivation via such a dastardly method… they will have consigned themselves to a miserable fate.”

“This is why we have instructed multiple times to construct numerous mortal souls at once,” the old man gently reminded.

“In this form, none of the backlash is experienced by the immortal soul.”

“Then…” the girl frowned, her brows creased in concern. “Mortal flesh cannot withstand the breath of nature’s intensity… so the first step they take along the path of cultivation is to… temper the flesh?”

“Smart lass!” the old man praised, the doting smile arising an embarrassed flush on the child’s countenance.

“The first step of mortal cultivation is coincidentally, the so-called ‘Realm’ of Body Tempering. Justly named, for the practitioners flood their body with the breath of nature they call spiritual qi to temper their fleshly body. Concentrating the breath of nature onto a specific area of the body will force the flesh to enhance itself to bear the pressure, hence achieving the first step of mortal cultivation.”

The elder pointed at various parts of the girl’s body as he explained, the serene voice enunciating in a slow and steady tone.

“This ‘Realm’ of Body Tempering is achieved by first inundating the blood, then the meridians, the marrow, the flesh, and finally, the inner organs of the practitioner’s body. The only process taken by the practitioner is to open up their pores to absorb the breath of nature, then directing it to accumulate at the specific area.”

“Then the practitioner will receive greatly enhanced strength and abilities?” the child enthused, before her expression turned glum.

“But such a method comes with a great risk, why do mortals still attempt it?”

“What do you think?”

The elder smiled as he stared at the sky. The scene of the garden blurred into a murky haze of color, and the dreamer awoke to be greeted by a wooden roof chiding her for oversleeping.

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