Chapter 3- Cultivation
I am now following Grandpa Dugo on a journey. There is one thing that Grandpa Dugo teaches me is meditation. Meditation is the most prime way of increasing one’s cultivation level and the strength of the soul. I am about to give up as I cannot feel a hint in the chi in the air until Grandpa Dugo reminds me of my conviction in reviving my mother. It is frustrating but I cannot believe my conviction is that low. For mother, I need to improve and become stronger.
With my new-found conviction, I strengthen my willpower and enter the meditation mode. The meditation technique is a bit disturbing as the posture requires me to stand on both my hind legs. After twenty minutes or so, I can feel it. My pores with minuscule opening is trying draw chi from the air. When I feel like my body has reached my limit as I am incapable of absorbing any chi. I then move on to the second posture which is by lying down with my belly on the ground. While relaxing, I concentrate the core in my body in purifying the chi absorb and making it mine. It is then do I know that the core in the body and my bead are called dantian.
Just as I finish converting all the foreign chi and assimilate with the rest of my chi in my dantian. I notice that my dantian, previously from the size of a bean has increased to the size of a ping-pong ball. Upon seeing that I have finish converting my chi, Grandpa Dugo then tells me that the level I am now is 1 star 1 strip which is the weakest ranking of all.
The 1 star stage has a few names to it. For an example, it can be called as the cleansing stage or expanding and shrinking stage. This stage is the stage where any living beings has to go through during the path of cultivation for it is this stage that any living beings will breakthrough its shackles from an ordinary mortal and become a cultivator. The reason why it is said so is that during this whole cause of this stage, the cultivator’s body will expel a certain amount of impurities for every level they reach in this stage. That is why when cultivators cannot breakthrough the first stage, they cannot called themselves a full-fledged cultivator in the martial art world. The removal of impurities from the body has plenty of benefits such as the increase in speed, strength, stamina, eyesight, reflex and also enhance the chi paths. Basically put, this stage is to prepare the cultivator to channel their chi through the chi path. This stage is also called the expanding or shrinking stage is because at this state the dantian will always expand to the maximum and then shrinks to the minimum size upon breaking through a level in the stage. Experts believe that the act of shrinking the dantian when breaking through the level will expel the pure, filtered chi toward the chi path and pushes out the impurities in the body through the pore.
A day has passed since then. It is so taxing not on the body but rather on the mind. I cannot believe this is just the first day and I still have to do it for many years to come. I walk and then use the sharp nails of my paw to cut the grass-blade. I collect some more and then head back to our base camp. I scatter the grass blades evenly and then I doze off.
Grandpa Dugo’s POV
I can never forget that sadness deeply hidden in his eyes. Deep down I know that he miss his mother a lot. I guess I should make some plan to bond us together more for this might be just the best way to reduce the pain. After seeing him practicing so hard, I nodded in satisfaction and watch him until he falls asleep. After knowing that he has fallen asleep, I decide to plan the next leg of our journey. I guess I should train him here for a year or so before we head off somewhere.
The sun then rises showing its radiance to us telling us as if it is time to enjoy the day. Rancer, my grandson then continue his meditation for a while. Now! It’s time to test his conviction and self-control once again. I take out a slice of human cultivator meat and place it in front of his nose. I can see his nose twitching, his lips drooling, and he is also swallowing his saliva. I then give it another push as I summon a small flame and cooked the meat and then fanned the meat to spread out the fragrance. The result is as expected, my grandson can no longer contain his impulse and just dive for the meat. He is enjoying the meat until he comes into realization that he has been tested.
“It is not fair, Grandpa Dugo. You know that I like the human cultivator meat the best and you are using it to tempt me.” Rancer says it in a grumbling manner.
“Haha, I know but I just want to test out your conviction and grandson, here’s your next lesson, try to control your impulse.” I say.
With that, once in a while, I will test his self-control and after 3 months, he proved to be that he has the self-control. For his cultivation progress, he has reached 1 stars 5 stripes. This is probably due the innate talent the Vermillion tiger has and also due to his conviction.
Somewhere around the time where Rancer has managed to keep his impulse in check, he asks me why he cannot use dantian to cultivate.
I then answer like a wise sage, “It is true that using dantian, one can complete the first stage in months but such a great speed comes with a price. Using dantian will mean that you are using someone else’s chi. As a result, you either need to convert this chi into the normal chi in the surrounding and then to your own which will take much more time compared to your normal training or one can choose to directly absorb that chi into one’s own dantian. Doing the second way will greatly impaired one’s future cultivation as this stage is all about building a foundation. So, what will happen when you try to build a foundation using the standard metal and mixing some rusty metal, obviously, the foundation is bound to collapse in time. The same applies to cultivation. Therefore, in this situation, one need to melt the rusted metal and then smelt it to its designated shape.”
HeHe! “Grandpa Dugo, I do not understand the part about the metal thing,” Rancer says while laughing.
My God! How can I forget that this grandson of mine lives his whole life in the jungle? He is what the humans called the country bumpkin. Looks like after our one year training, it is time to give him some exposure towards the civilizations and humans. That will also be a good way in learning that not all human are evil.
“You know when you eat the human cultivator meat, it tastes good. So what will happen when I add an animal meat in between, obviously, it will taste bad and you will not want to continue the meat right? So this is what it mean, you must maintain a homologous and same thing all the way and not try to change the things the way they are.” I answer in more a simple answer.
“Okay, I get it, grandpa Dugo,” Rancers says with a smile.
As expected of this gluttonous grandson of mine. He can be a gourmet king if he wants to but I will never allow it. He must be a strong cultivator like me. Haha! I laugh in my mind. After that, I pass him a bracelet to him and tells him to wear it. Upon wearing it, the layer of light wrapped around him and then he turns into a human. He is surprised for how can he turn into a shape of a human. I then tell him that the bracelet is what is keeping him into his human form and he can change the human form according to his will when he reaches to the level of 4 stars or 5 stars.
When he is in his human form, I have added another regimen of training besides meditating which is to learn the art of swordplay. Every day, he has to perform 200 times of thrusting, swinging, lunging, and slicing with the wooden sword. I can clearly see his bored face as he has passed through this regimen of training for a week but I warn him this what he has to give up in return for immerse power.
It is that day when Grandpa Dugo decides to give me this mysterious bracelet and calls me to put it on. I give a suspicious look at Grandpa Dugo at once and then put it on. A marvel happens as light particles congregate towards me and the next instant I appear to be in a different framework. I look at my hand which was previously has changed to delicate little fingers like the human. I dash to nearest lake and have a clear look at my face. I have a vermillion coloured hair, black eyes and an almost V-shaped like jaw. I notice that I am at a height of 0.9 metre making me look like a six year old kid. When I am busily checking my human features, I seem to be bothered by the sly laughter of my grandpa. My instinct shivers telling me that something ominous is going to happen.
My instinct do not fail me in this matter. Grandpa Dugo trains me in swordplay. Great. Now, every day, the only sanctuary that I get is a good night sleep as for it is the time where I get to rest both my body and mind. After that I learns the essence of swordplay through the hard way which is by duelling with Grandpa Dugo. From there I know that no matter what you use do in a fight, maintaining a sense of balance is essential. I also learn how to shift the centre of my gravity to maintain my balance which teaches me how to see the flaws of the enemy’s attack. By seeing through the flaws, I can disrupt their centre of gravity which then disrupt their sense of balance and that can prove to a fatal move to defeat your enemy.
It is then when I reach one year old. At that time, I learn a marvellous word called birthday. It appears that the human creates such a word. Hmph, humans, just this time, you did a great job but I will never forget your bad deeds. During my birthday, I am treated like a king by Grandpa Dugo. There is no training at all for the day. What a blissful day it is. The best part of the birthday is that I get present and yummy meat cooked towards perfection my Grandpa Dugo. I unwrap the present and I find a sword just perfect in size and also for my body size.
It is that night at my right hand, a vermillion colour like a flame is produce without my control. I panic. Grandpa noticing this situation quickly comes to my aid and explain to me that this exactly normal and tells me to relax. The vermillion colour like flame then vanishes into thin air after thirty seconds or so. Grandpa Dugo tells me that I have awakened one of the innate skills of a Vermillion Tiger.
Afterwards, we proceed with some test. Grandpa Dugo took out some stones and just instructed me to touch the stones. Upon touching one of them, I could feel my inner core shook like a giant trying to uproot a tree. My soul resisted to the pulling force. It is a frightening experience and I am told the reason for feeling so because it is the soul that determines the elemental affinities of oneself. After testing with a few stones, the test concluded with some good results.
One of them is the lightning affinity test. Lightning decent down from the sky and destroy the stone upon contact when I touched it. I was told by Grandpa Dugo that I had godlike affinity for lightning and that made Grandpa Dugo truly happy. Grandpa Dugo’s carelessness had also caused him a slip of tongue. He told me that Vermillion Tiger is born with top affinities with earth and fire which in turn makes it talented in the arts of alchemy and blacksmithing. Grandpa Dugo was feeling triumph as he found out that I had talent for enchantment. Grandpa Dugo then proceeds by taking out some items to choose. A banner, a painting, a token, and many more mysterious stuff that I cannot identified. I then pick up the painting and Grandpa Dugo just nods and does not say anything. That is weird. He then goes on talking about the grading system of the affinities of one element. It starts off with nil, low, bearable, moderate, high, top, peak and lastly godlike.
After all of the dream like celebration, I have to go back to my usual routine of cultivation. As a year is approaching since I have follow Grandpa Dugo, my cultivation has reaches the peak of 1 star that is 1 star 10 stripes. I can no longer proceed cultivating as if something is clogged blocking me from further cultivating. I seek advice from grandpa as this is the first time I have ever felt such a thing. Grandpa Dugo tells me that this phenomena is known as bottleneck. As a cultivators, all are bound to face such a situation. To break through it, there are a few ways which includes using cultivation pills specialised in breaking the bottleneck, seek enlightenment, just get lucky or patiently wait. After finish hearing all of this, I try to seek enlightenment for a week but fail to gain any. Disappointed, I walk along the stream looking at the calm river and notice that I have been rushing all this time in cultivating. I should take it slowly. Upon reaching that conclusion, rumbles can be heard. My dantian sends out the pure chi again and the impurities is removed. I have break through the 1 star realm. Now, I am a 2 stars 1 stripe cultivator. I take a bath at the river to clean the impurities that gives off the stench. After cleaning up, I tell Grandpa Dugo about the good news. “Good, let’s pack up and head towards a village settlement, tomorrow,” says Grandpa Dugo.