Chapter 217 – Choosing a Cultivation Method
Li Qingshan closed his eyes and thought nothing. He seemed to have returned to the black water again, during those three days and nights he chased the blackwater salamander.
His heart was like water. Before him, behind him, to the left and to the right, everything was flowing water.
Ebbs of realistic waves rapidly gushed into the surroundings. The Qi Practitioners in the store all retreated subconsciously and circulated their true qi to protect themselves. Only when the wave passed through them did they discover that it was just an illusion composed of blue light.
The waves even rushed out of the store and onto the streets. The passing Qi Practitioners were all dumbstruck as they looked at one another in shock.
“What’s going on? How can such a powerful illusion appear when testing for the five elements?”
“Who knows how many talented prodigies there are in the world that you and I can only be envious of. Let’s stop wasting time. Let’s buy our pills and get ready for seclusion. We have to stand out in the Herb Gathering ceremony this time.” The Qi Practitioner by his side glanced at the bookshelf again before pulling away his companion.
The old man said slowly, “You can stand up now, fellow cultivator.”
Li Qingshan stood up and asked politely, “How’s it, uncle? Which cultivation method suits me?”
To cultivators, picking a suitable cultivation method was basically ten times more important than a regular person picking a suitable wife. If a regular person married the wrong wife, they could divorce, and if that did not work, they just had to endure a few decades at most. However, if a cultivator chose the wrong cultivation method, that could potentially cost them a few hundred years of additional life, or it could cost them their lives in battle.
Li Qingshan was extremely careful about this too. His knowledge was lacking, so he obviously had to ask a professional.
The old man stowed the scroll away slowly and said, “I’ve tested numerous constitutions for independent cultivators across all these years, but there have only been a handful who have demonstrated the same amount of talent as you! If you choose to cultivate Gui Water true qi, you’ll definitely make rapid progress, and the water elemented techniques you use will be much more powerful than others too!”
Li Qingshan knew that he was not some outstanding prodigy. It was probably due to the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression. When he practised the ability of a daemon, he seemed to gain the nature of the corresponding daemon. The spirit turtle was a divine beast of the water that could control the ocean as easily as a child playing in a bathtub.
Li Qingshan might have only been tainted with a sliver of the spirit turtle’s nature, but talent like this would no longer be surprising anymore. His talent for metal and earth probably originated from the ox demon and the tiger demon.
No one would believe him if he told them. Apart from a select few spiritual herbs, never had they heard that practising a certain cultivation method could alter someone’s talent. Talent was something bestowed to a person by the heavens Although hard work could make up for a lack of talent, it could not increase talent. However, the abilities that the black ox had taught Li Qingshan had completely changed his body and race. In comparison, talent only seemed insignificant.
“I only know of the Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi out of the water cultivation methods. Do you have any better cultivation methods to recommend, uncle?” Everyone wanted an ultimate cultivation method that was stronger than the generic one.
Thoughts flickered through the old man’s eyes. “Actually, with your talent, joining a sect or finding a master that specialises in Gui Water true qi won’t be difficult at all. You don’t have to buy a cultivation method from me. For example, one of the schools in the Academy of the Hundred Schools specially requires their disciples to practise Gui Water true qi. I just happen to know the leader of the school…”
Li Qingshan said in admiration, “You truly are a wise and kind man, uncle, an intellectual I say. However, I’m used to my freedom. I don’t want to be tied down.” He lowered his head and studied the scroll of bamboo slips again. With a thought, various water elemented cultivation methods were listed before him.
These cultivation methods were not too expensive. Even the more expensive ones were just a few dozen spiritual stones, while the cheaper ones went for around just a dozen or so spiritual stones. The spiritual stones he had earned from selling the water earlier were enough for him to buy a copy of the Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi.
Qi Practitioners were still at the primary stage of the cultivation world after all. The cultivation methods for practising qi were not some divine arts or secret manuals. They obviously would not be excessively expensive. And, to someone who had grown rich overnight like Li Qingshan, he did not find a few dozen spiritual stones to be particularly expensive. Who knows just how many years regular independent cultivators needed in order to save up that much.
There were a few other prices on all of the cultivation methods, breaking them up into sections. For example, the first three layers of the Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi only cost five spiritual stones.
The Qi Practitioners in the store looked at one another and whispered among themselves.
“If that’s the case, let me think about it. You can take a look first!” The old man looked down, as if he was disappointed by how Li Qingshan insisted on buying his cultivation methods. However, he seemed to ease up as well. He stroked his beard in thought. A fine piece of jade like him would have a limitless future awaiting him with the correct cultivation method.
Li Qingshan was wealthy, so he immediately looked at the most expensive one. Although the priciest would not always be the best, it would never be too bad either.
“Arts of the Boundless Ocean. One hundred and ten spiritual stones. High demand on talent. Must conjure waves at the very least when testing for the five elements, and it is extremely difficult to practise. However, upon success, the true qi becomes fierce like the tide, utterly boundless.”
However, it was labelled as incomplete at the end, but even though it was incomplete, it could still be practised until mid Foundation Establishment. This cultivation method was not longer just a method for practising qi, which was why it was so expansive. No, it was a steal at this price.
Li Qingshan thought, If I practise the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression as a daemon and the Arts of the Boundless Ocean as a human, it’ll be a perfect combination!
“Uncle, what do you think about practising the Arts of the Boundless Ocean?”
“The Arts of the Boundless Ocean was originally a core cultivation method of the Ocean sect. Upon reaching the ninth layer, it can condense an Ocean pearl within your body, which is akin to the golden cores of daoism and the śarīras of buddhism…”
Li Qingshan’s eyes shone even brighter. People who made it past the second heavenly tribulation were basically great masters in this world. Perhaps they could not run wild, but they could at least run around freely. He never thought he would come across a cultivation method like that in a tiny bookstore like this one. This kind of luck was like buying a divine artifact from a stall, or finding a divine beast by the side of the road.
“However, I wouldn’t recommend you to practise this cultivation method.”
Li Qingshan was surprised. “Why?” Even though it was incomplete, he could find ways to assemble the whole cultivation method. Once he reached Foundation Establishment, he would definitely become even stronger with his daemon cultivation. He refused to believe he could not get his hands on the second half of this cultivation method, whether he had to steal secretly or openly rob.
The old man seemed to read Li Qingshan’s thoughts. He sighed. “The Ocean sect was annihilated from the cultivation world a millennium ago. Otherwise, why would I be bold enough to sell the secret manual of another sect?”
“Annihilated? Why was it destroyed?”
“Instead of saying that it was destroyed, you might as well say that they failed to recruit suitable disciples, and their legacy was broken. The person who sold me this half of the cultivation method was a descendant of the sect. Even he did not have the talent to practise this cultivation method, nor did he know where the other half of it was. I’ve specially investigated this over the years, but I’ve found nothing. Otherwise, this book would be worth more than ten times its current price.”
Li Qingshan immediately became disappointed. Even the old man who specially sold books said that, then wouldn’t it be like trying to find a needle in a haystack if he tried searching for it? However, he was still hopeful. “Perhaps I can try with this incomplete cultivation method first. When I reach Foundation Establishment, I can just switch to another cultivation method.” The power of the cultivation method truly interested him.
At his moment, a middle-aged man in vermillion robes with rosy cheeks among the Qi Practitioners said, “Sir, you may not know, but even if we ignore how difficult it is to reach Foundation Establishment, stronger cultivation methods result in more unique true qi. When that really happens, it’ll be difficult for you to switch to other cultivation methods.”
Li Qingshan was no fool. He immediately understood what he was trying to say. They were all water, whether it was water from the ocean or water from the clouds, but just like how a tree had many branches, the further up they were, the further they were from each other. Trying to leap from a branch to another would become more and more difficult as a result. It was just like how it was all Profound Yin true qi, but if the grannies of the Sect of Clouds and Rain wanted to learn corpse refining techniques, they would basically be asking for trouble.
“Thank you for your reminder. May I ask for your esteemed name?”
The rosy-cheeked man said, “I wouldn’t say my name is esteemed in any way. You should pick your cultivation method first. I just want to invite you to some alcohol later. I hope you can accept my offer.”
Li Qingshan nodded. The old man said the same, “Exactly, and the more profound a cultivation method is, the greater the need you have for the guidance of a senior. You don’t seem to be someone who lacks spiritual stones. I have a recommendation.” The old man took the catalogue from Li Qingshan’s hands and chose a cultivation method for him.
Li Qingshan looked at it and could not help but smile bitterly. It was actually still the Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi, but at a closer glance, it was actually priced at ninety-five spiritual stones, more than three times the price of the regular Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi. It was labelled with “Complete with Comprehensions”. He could not help but raise his head and look at the old man.
The old man said, “The Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi has been improved and modified by countless people. It’s basically the orthodox cultivation method. Not only is it easy to practise, but the Gui Water true qi it produces is the most balanced and mild too. If you can cultivate this to a high level, you can basically switch to any high level water cultivation method with that as a foundation.”
“And, you’re an independent cultivator, so you don’t have the guidance of a master, so that’s like a natural disadvantage. This Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi is recorded with the cultivation experiences and understandings of many cultivators. It’ll definitely be of great help to you.”
Li Qingshan nodded. As it turned out, not only was it a cultivation method, but it also included notes for cultivation. Walking down a beaten path was obviously much easier than finding your own. It was also much safer. And, the old man considered very far into the future too. If Li Qingshan could reach the highest level of this cultivation method, he would not be restricted to this tiny store anymore. There was a chance for him to come across even more high level cultivation methods.
“Though, this price is just a little too high.”
The rosy-cheeked man agreed, “Yeah. Who would ever buy a cultivation method so expensive?” Even if he and his companions poured their funds together, they could not gather so many spiritual stones.
The old man smiled. “Knowledge is priceless, right? And, the cultivation method comes with seven additional water elemented techniques compared to the regular Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi. They’re extremely useful, whether it be for gathering herbs or fighting against others.”
PS: Sugarless coffee is hella bitter. Pumping out a chapter is hella sweet.