Translated By – DemonKiller
Checked and Edited By – Livewidsmile
Proofread By – DemonKiller
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Chapter 0885: Myriad paths to perfection
Ning Cheng understood that the skeleton was in shock. If it were before entering the Grand Essence Mystic Realm, not to mention two Bodhi Caldron Heaven Buds, even a leaf from the Bodhi Cauldron Heaven Bud most likely would have been an unattainable treasure for him.
But now, Ning Cheng had harvested more than a hundred Bodhi Cauldron Heaven Buds from the divine grass gardens guarded by those Human-faced Poison Centipedes. Moreover, the bones of this skeleton had a golden glow to them. From this, Ning Cheng also understood that this person was a top-grade body refining expert. Unfortunately, as a top-grade body refining expert, a Bodhi Cauldron Heaven Bud might not be able to entirely restore this person’s flesh and blood.
Fortunately, Ning Cheng also felt that this person didn’t have nefarious thoughts and wouldn’t disregard the fact that someone had helped him recreate his body. It made Ning Cheng a bit more generous than usual and took out two buds for the skeleton.
It hasn’t been a day or two since Ning Cheng got trapped in the Grand Essence Lost Stone Forest. He naturally realised a few of the horrors in this place and could cultivate in this place. But it didn’t matter if it was for one year or 60,000 years; he didn’t want to waste time here. In any case, this skeleton was here for tens of thousands of years. Meaning it should have a better idea about how to get out of this place. Besides, Ning Cheng also had no idea about body refining cultivation methods that could take him past the Starry Sky Body. As such, he wanted to consult with the skeleton in front of him on both these points.
The skeleton quickly began to use Ning Cheng’s things to restore its essence blood, and body. Ning Cheng also didn’t continue to search around and waited on the side.
A few days later, Ning Cheng saw a skinny male cultivator come out of the temporary cave, put away the cave and walk towards him.
At this time, the skeleton finally had some flesh and blood on its frame. Although the male cultivator looked extremely thin and almost bony, it was better than being just a skeleton. This cultivator seemed to have a weak aura around him, but Ning Cheng could tell that he would be quite a powerful expert once he recovered fully.
“Many thanks for this friend’s sincere help. My name is Qi Shisanxing, and I am an Inner Sect Disciple of Profound Moon Spirit Gate.” The male cultivator bowed to Ning Cheng as soon as he walked up. His eyes even glowed with the joy of escaping from certain death.
Ning Cheng had heard about the Profound Moon Spirit Gate; it was one of the top ten sects in the Grand Essence Domain. But the name Qi Shisanxing felt too weird.
But since Ning Cheng had already seen and encountered too many strange things in the world of cultivation, he no longer cared about someone having a peculiar name. Instead, he cupped his fists and spoke with a slightly surprised voice, “I’m called Ning Cheng. Although I could save Brother Qi, it was only an accident. If Brother Qi recovers fully, I might have to rely on Brother Qi.”
Ning Cheng didn’t hide it this time and spoke out his real name.
Qi Shisanxing saw that Ning Cheng had some doubts and smiled before speaking, “When I was born, thirteen stars had appeared on my forehead. But after I opened my eyes, the thirteen stars disappeared into my body. My father took it as an auspicious sign and named me after it. Brother Ning, did you make a special trip to the Grand Essence Lost Stone Forest?”
Make a special trip? Ning Cheng waved his hand and said, “No, a Human-faced Poison Centipede chased after me, and I ended up in this place.”
Qi Shisanxing looked at Ning Cheng in shock, “Did you find the medicinal garden of Pill Sage Min Kong? Only Pill Sage Min Kong’s medicinal garden has a Human-faced Poison Centipede holding the fort. But that Human-faced Poison Centipede’s cultivation has long surpassed the Dao Sculpting level. How did you manage to escape?”
Without waiting for Ning Cheng’s answer, Qi Shisanxing’s eyes lit up, “No wonder you could take out two Bodhi Cauldron Heaven Buds. You must have found Pill Sage Min Kong’s medicinal garden….”
“Pill Sage Min Kong’s medicinal garden?” Ning Cheng asked in doubt.
Qi Shisanxing nodded, “Yes. If a Human-faced Poison Centipedes was guarding it, it undoubtedly was the medicinal garden of Pill Sage Min Kong. Pill Sage Min Kong was a top-grade Dao Essence Pill Sage. There isn’t a single person in the entire Grand Essence Realm who would dare to disrespect him. Unfortunately, the Grand Essence Realm slowly started to run out of divine grasses and places to grow them, for his alchemy.”
“Fortunately, the Grand Essence Mystic Realm is one of the most suitable places to grow divine grasses. Therefore Pill Sage Min Kong decided to dissipate his cultivation and brought his companion beast, the Human-faced Poison Centipede, into the Grand Essence Mystic Realm. I heard that it was to cultivate the divine grasses he needed for a specific alchemy recipe. But after he entered the Grand Essence Mystic Realm, no one heard anything about it. Brother Ning, since you met a Human-faced Poison Centipede, then it must have come from Pill Sage Min Kong’s medicinal garden.”
Ning Cheng couldn’t help but sigh after hearing this. Sure enough, everyone had something for which they could give up everything. Even someone like Pill Sage Min Kong decided to abolish his cultivation just to come to this place to grow divine grasses. Replaced by him, he would have never done such a thing. From the looks of it, those two poison centipedes most likely were the offspring of that poison centipede. Whether Qi Shisan knew about it or not, Ning Cheng didn’t explain it.
Seeing Ning Cheng not speaking, Qi Shisanxing said, “Some people say that Pill Sage Min Kong wanted to reach the Third Step Dao Confirming through the Dao of Pills but failed in the end.”
Ning Cheng’s consciousness shook on hearing those words, and he quickly asked, “Brother Qi, does Dao Confirming truly have a third step?”
Qi Shisanxing looked at Ning Cheng in doubt and asked, “Brother Ning, looking at your ability, you should be a disciple from a big sect, right? Didn’t your master teach you this?”
Ning Cheng only reported a name before and didn’t mention anything about a sect. Qi Shisanxing initially thought that Ning Cheng didn’t want to speak about it and didn’t ask. He never thought that Ning Cheng, someone who could escape a Human-faced Poison Centipede’s pursuit, was not affiliated to any sect or faction.
Ning Cheng smiled, “I’m just a rogue cultivator. So no one really would take the time to teach me these things.”
Qi Shisanxing felt stupefied and sighed only after a long time before speaking up. “No wonder. Dao Confirming’s Third Step does exist, but no one can reach the third step in the Grand Essence Realm because of its broken laws. Therefore, I can only tell you this about the third step. It exists. If you want to enter the third step, you must go to the Grand Change Realm, or at least own an intact law world on the same level as the Grand Change Realm.”
“I heard that Dao Perfection is the highest cultivation level in the Grand Essence Realm. Just how powerful is a Dao Perfection expert?” Ning Cheng finally found someone willing to talk about these things. He naturally wouldn’t let go of such an opportunity.
“Dao Perfection?” Qi Shisanxing sighed and said, “Actually, not all Dao Perfection experts are as powerful as you think. There are thousands, no, millions of Dao Perfection paths that one can choose. But despite Dao Perfection having a million different paths, in the Grand Essence Realm, only a few cultivators can embark on a ‘powerful’ Dao Perfection path.”
“Can you please elaborate on it?” Ning Cheng had long forgotten about the time or that he had to get out of this place. Instead, he took out a stone chair and placed it next to Qi Shisanxing. He then took out another stone chair and sat down on it.
Qi Shisanxing seemed to know about the difficulties of being a rogue cultivator. As such, he didn’t find it abnormal for Ning Cheng to not know about such things. He sat down and said, “Brother Ning, I can explain it to you, but I can only give you a brief about it. If we can come out of the lost stone forest this time, I promise to take you to my Profound Moon Spirit Gate’s Literary Pavilion to flip through the classics….”
This kind of promise was a big deal to someone like Ning Cheng, as the most crucial thing he currently lacked right now was information about cultivation. Since Qi Shisanxing promised this, he had a special status within the sect. It also indicated that he felt truly grateful towards Ning Cheng.
Gesturing Ning Cheng to not mind it, Qi Shisanxing continued, “I said that the Dao Perfection Realm is not necessarily as strong as you think. I don’t mean that the Dao Perfection Realm in itself is not strong, but that Dao Perfection has too many paths that one can choose to reach it. The most common means of reaching Dao Perfection are the Realm Perfection path, the Artefact Perfection path, and the Artificial Perfection path. However, my father told me that people who reach Dao Perfection through these paths aren’t powerful Dao Perfection experts…..”
Seeing Ning Cheng wanting to ask something, Qi Shisanxing waved his hand, “Brother Ning, you don’t need to ask me about it. I don’t know the strongest path to reach Dao Perfection; even my father does not know about it. I can only speak about the common paths in the Grand Essence Realm that lead to Dao Perfection. Realm Perfection path is the most common and gives a huge boost to your strength post-Dao Perfection. It’s a Dao Transformation type that allows the person to coexist on the same level as an interface. Anyone in this Dao Perfection expert’s interface would be nothing more than an ant in that person’s eyes. However, if that person wants to leave the interface, although not impossible, it would be extremely difficult.”
“As for the path of Artefact Perfection, it’s only for those who have the ‘best’ innate treasure. In this path, a cultivator combines one’s cultivation with one’s innate treasure and searches for the pinnacle of cultivation with the innate treasure’s strength. Compared to the Realm Perfection path, this kind of expert can go anywhere and is, in general, freer. However, one first needs to cut off all emotions before merging with the innate weapon to reach Dao Perfection…..”
Ning Cheng sighed and asked, “How’s it any different from becoming a weapon spirit?”
Qi Shisanxing smiled, “It’s completely different from being a weapon spirit. Experts who reach Dao Perfection through this method use their innate weapons to pin down their Dao Intent instead of transforming themselves into a weapon spirit. As for the Artificial Perfection path, my father said that it’s not a path to reach Dao Perfection at all. Rather, it’s just a method that some people use to get close to reaching Dao Perfection. At best, it makes one equivalent to a half-step Dao Perfection Holy Emperor. Although such people are stronger than Dao Fusion experts, they cannot compare to the real Dao Perfection powerhouses.”
Ning Cheng shook his head; none of these three paths to reaching Dao Perfection suited him, nor did he want to pursue any of these three paths.
Qi Shisanxing saw Ning Cheng shaking his head and smiled once again before speaking. “We’re still a hundred and eight thousand miles away from reaching Dao Perfection. Don’t think about it too much.”
Ning Cheng put aside these things and asked, “Brother Qi, you asked if I came here specifically. Does no one come here otherwise?”
Qi Shisanxing sighed and said, “I came here with a specific purpose. A cultivator’s foundations determine how far they can go after reaching the Dao Confirming Realm and whether they could even reach the Dao Confirming Realm. Apart from understanding the dao and the spirit essence conversion, the most important thing required is a strong Sea of Consciousness, along with a condensed spiritual consciousness.”
Ning Cheng agreed with this point, “Yes, I agree with Brother Qi.”
Ning Cheng could battle far above his cultivation level mainly due to his Sea of Consciousness. Of course, his powerful cultivation method and celestial essence also played a part. However, the stronger one’s Sea of Consciousness, the more intense the epiphanies of Dao Laws and spirit techniques that one would experience.
“Many of the powerful sects know that the Grand Essence Lost Stone Forest has a way to condense spiritual consciousness and produce a powerful Sea of Consciousness. However, nobody knows how to achieve it. For countless years, nobody knows how many people have entered the Grand Essence Lost Stone Forest. But one thing for certain is that not a single one has managed to come out. Even if someone somehow found a way to get out, they would still fall in this place.”
Speaking of this, Qi Shisanxing sighed again and felt somewhat embarrassed. Although Ning Cheng had rescued him, he still didn’t know if he could get out or not.
“This place has a way to condense spiritual consciousness? Why haven’t I heard of it?” Ning Cheng asked in surprise.
Qi Shisanxing showed a wry smile, “The original name of Grand Essence Lost Stone Forest is the Grand Essence Lost Forest. It means that anyone who enters this place will become lost and eventually fall. People who know about it would rarely come to this place willingly. Moreover, this place is too far away from the teleportation array. Even if a full-circle Eternal cultivator flew towards it at full speed, it would still take them three to four months and the same time to get back.”
“Because of this, most cultivators wouldn’t even bother coming here at all. Besides, this information isn’t available to even inner sect disciples, let alone rogue cultivators.”
 Shisanxing translates to ’13 Stars’.
 ‘Min Kong’ in English means ‘Empty Heaven/Sky.’