Chapter 346: Not Bad
Suo Hao spent a month in the Yunzhong Valley. During this time, Feng Ling didn’t teach much but handed a pile of books to Suo Hao and Huang Gui, asking them to read on their own to develop their ability to comprehend immortal texts.
These books varied, mostly documenting the glorious deeds of the past heads and elders of the Yunzhong Valley, interspersed with a lot of perspectives on cultivation, commonly known as chicken soup.
Nothing useful about cultivation was found, and Suo Hao immediately realized that this was a preparatory step in shaping their mindset before learning genuine martial arts.
Similar to corporate onboarding training, where professional skills are set aside initially, and mental state is adjusted first.
In just one day, Suo Hao finished reading these watery books, with nothing else to do, he entered the pinball space to study the genetic samples of ten young men, recorded casually during his previous scuffles.
One day, Feng Ling summoned Suo Hao and Feng Cheng, assessed their understanding of chicken soup literature, and after passing, said, “Follow me; today, I will officially teach you the first lesson in cultivation.”
Suo Hao was thrilled, followed immediately, with Feng Cheng close behind.
Outside the cave, Feng Ling leaped lightly, floating to the peak. Her voice drifted down, “You two, come up!”
Suo Hao looked around, saw no stairs, and leaped directly, leveraging the stone wall a few times, reaching the summit.
Feng Ling looked at Suo Hao in surprise, “Have you practiced martial arts in the mortal realm?”
Suo Hao casually replied, “For two years.”
Feng Ling nodded in silence.
Meanwhile, Feng Cheng below was dumbfounded, “How do I get up?”
Seeing that both Feng Ling and Senior Brother Feng Wei ignored him, he gritted his teeth, rolled up his sleeves, and started climbing.
Feng Ling patiently waited. For her, it wasn’t about testing or not; she just wanted to see the potential of her disciples. If they needed help even with such difficulties, she wouldn’t have expectations for their future.
While mortals emphasize mutual assistance, for cultivators, once on this path, most challenges must be faced alone.
After about half an hour, Feng Cheng, panting heavily, finally climbed up. Despite the numerous cuts from sharp stones, he looked very pleased. After catching his breath, Feng Ling smiled, “Both of you exceeded my expectations; you seem to have the potential for cultivation!”
After both of them settled into a seated position, the Feng Ling suddenly smiled and asked, “By joining the Yunzhong Valley for cultivation, do you both seek immortality?”
This question immediately shook Suo Hao and Feng Cheng’s spirits. It directly addressed the core of cultivation – immortality, the ultimate goal pursued by all cultivators. If cultivation couldn’t truly grant immortality, people’s enthusiasm for it would diminish significantly, leaving only the desire for power to navigate life.
Suo Hao nodded without hesitation.
Feng Ling said, “Well, you might be disappointed. Cultivation cannot give you the immortality you seek.”
This answer surprised Suo Hao, and he couldn’t help but show his astonishment.
Suo Hao didn’t rush to ask further questions; instead, he waited for Feng Ling’s follow-up explanation.
Feng Cheng, however, couldn’t believe it. “Cultivation can’t grant immortality? How is that possible?”
At this moment, he even doubted whether the Yunzhong Valley was a scam, not a genuine sect!
If cultivators can’t attain immortality, what’s the point of cultivation?
Feng Ling continued, “People often speak of the abilities of immortals, soaring through the sky, living for eternity, omnipotent. But they refer to true immortals, not practitioners like us. We practitioners also experience birth, aging, sickness, and death, ultimately turning into ashes. As for immortals, their existence is subjective; they may exist or not. A practitioner may, at the end of their cultivation journey, undergo a transformation and ascend like the legends suggest!”
After finishing her words, Feng Ling left Feng Cheng in disbelief, murmuring, “How could this be… Will we also die in the future?”
Feng Ling chuckled, “You can understand it that way! However, in this world, there may be a glimmer of hope. If you can find that thread of hope, you might achieve what you desire and attain immortality.”
Feng Cheng snapped back, “Where is that glimmer of hope?”
Feng Ling just chuckled lazily, showing no interest in answering his naive question. After all, if she knew, why would she bother training these two disciples here?
Upon hearing this, Suo Hao couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed. He had thought that in this world, he could find the method for eternal life. Now it seemed he was being too optimistic!
In his view, this cultivation world was just a rudimentary version of the true cultivation realm. However, Suo Hao decided to separate the emotion of disappointment and thought, “Success or failure, you won’t know until you try. Conclusions are not valid until the end. Besides, countless cultivators in this world have dedicated their lives to studying longevity. They must have unique insights into extending life. I’ll grasp that knowledge first!”
Longevity couldn’t be that simple, right?
Observing the reactions of her two disciples, Feng Ling continued, “Although cultivators cannot achieve immortality, it is still possible to extend one’s lifespan.”
“Exactly!” Suo Hao thought to himself.
Upon hearing this, Feng Cheng’s eyes lit up, and his spirits were restored. Since achieving immortality was not possible, he settled for living a longer life.
Feng Ling continued, “Let me tell you about the general path and stages of our practitioners.”
After organizing her thoughts, she explained, “We practitioners start as ordinary humans, and cultivation is the process of shedding our mortal bodies. As cultivation progresses, our bodies gradually transform into immortal bodies. Simultaneously, we gain powerful abilities and, more importantly, longer lifespans.”
“This process of shedding mortality is not immediate; it requires years of cultivation and gradual transformation. It can be divided into five stages: Qi Refinement Realm, Foundation Building Realm, Golden Core Realm, Nascent Soul Realm, and Unity Realm. There might be more beyond that, but I don’t know. You will find out when the time comes.”
“Importantly, each realm has a different impact on increasing lifespan.”
Pausing, Feng Ling continued, “Each realm affects lifespan differently.”
Eagerly, Feng Cheng asked, “How can we increase lifespan, Master?”
Feng Ling smiled slightly, “There is no fixed answer, but there are relatively reliable claims. Qi Refinement Realm doesn’t increase lifespan, Foundation Building Realm adds sixty years, Golden Core Realm adds another one hundred and eight, Nascent Soul Realm adds five hundred and four, and Unity Realm adds another one thousand six hundred.”
“That means, if you can smoothly reach the Unity Realm and live to a natural death, you will have a total of two thousand five hundred years!”
“Two thousand five hundred years!” Feng Cheng, upon hearing this, was still somewhat stunned. For mortals with a lifespan of less than a hundred years, this was an unimaginable astronomical figure!
Suo Hao, hearing this, couldn’t help but praise, “Two thousand five hundred years? Not bad!”
Being looked at by both Feng Ling and Feng Cheng with caring expressions, Suo Hao felt puzzled. Did he say something wrong?