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Chapter 1045: Cultivating in the Blooming Rings
As Ning Cheng followed Jin Molong, it felt like he only took a few steps before Jin Molong stopped. As Ning Cheng looked around again, the enormous public square had disappeared, replaced by an expansive verdant turf. A few meters ahead, however, was a huge tree that blotted the sky.
Ning Cheng looked at the enormous heaven-connecting tree before him and felt a weird feeling rising in his heart.
Since becoming a starry sky cultivator, Ning Cheng has witnessed many strange things. However, this was his first time seeing a ‘transparent’ tree.
Ning Cheng couldn’t guess the thickness of this tree. He only knew that he couldn’t see the opposite side of this tree, nor could he look at the left-most and the right-most edge. He could only see a slight arc before him, but it was just a tiny portion of the transparent tree.
Saying this tree was ‘transparent’ wouldn’t be an accurate representation. Ning Cheng considered it ‘transparent’ because he could see the inside of the tree. What Ning Cheng saw were outwardly expanding ring-shaped areas.
Ning Cheng couldn’t help but think back to what he had read about a tree’s growth rings back on Earth. That’s because these outward-expanding circles in this transparent tree were almost the same as an ordinary tree’s growth rings. However, he could only see a few outer growth rings and nothing further inside.
Looking up, one could see similar ‘transparent’ branches extended outwards, but it was impossible to look at the top, no matter how high you looked.
Blooming Rings; an apt name for this tree. But what puzzled Ning Cheng was that he couldn’t feel the slightest hint of dao rhythm when his gaze fell on the tree. As for spiritual consciousness, it simply disappeared after sweeping onto this transparent tree. It showed no effect at all.
“That’s the Blooming Rings. You can go in and cultivate; remember to come out when three months pass outside. As for the time you will get inside, you can calculate it yourself.” Jin Molong spoke very dryly. After saying this, he turned around and left, not giving Ning Cheng a chance to speak.
Ning Cheng didn’t think too much about it and walked towards the edge of one of the outmost rings of the Blooming Rings. Although his Mysterious Yellow Bead had not reached perfection, it could still mobilise the Origin Aura to cultivate. Now that he could use the Blooming Rings and the Origin Aura to cultivate, just how far could he go in three months?
Ning Cheng wouldn’t miss this opportunity regardless of how far he could go. Therefore, he lifted his foot and stepped into the first ring of the Blooming Rings.
A powerful force suddenly washed over him, but although Ning Cheng could feel this force clearly, it had no substance. Yet, this same substanceless force almost dissolved his Grand Dao’s dao rhythm, as if it forcibly wanted to meld it into the Blooming Rings’ substanceless aura.
However, as this substanceless aura washed through his body, Ning Cheng suddenly shook, and he stopped. A glimpse of enlightenment suddenly emerged in his mind. It wasn’t an enlightenment regarding his Grand Dao, but an enlightenment regarding the Laws of Time.
At the same time, he also finally understood some of the dangers within the Blooming Rings. Once he lost control of his Grand Dao’s dao rhythm, his Grand Dao’s dao rhythm would flow into the Blooming Rings and fuse with the Blooming Rings’ dao rhythm. If that happened, his body and soul would also dissipate into nothingness.
Fortunately, his Mysterious Yellow Formless Cultivation Method quickly adapted to the changes in the surrounding dao rhythm and laws, allowing Ning Cheng’s dao rhythm to stabilise and no longer show signs of merging with the Blooming Rings’ dao rhythm.
As Ning Cheng stabilised his Grand Dao’s dao rhythm, he also started to feel a rich life force and the dao rhythms of a flawless heavenly law. Not only were these dao rhythms and the law perfect, but even the surrounding life force was rich to the point of being overbearing.
Sure enough, it was a tree. If it wasn’t a tree, how could it have such a rich dao rhythm filled with dense life force?
Ning Cheng stood within the first ring of Blooming Ring for a full hour before slowly turning back. However, all the scenery behind him had vanished. From where he had come from, even the grass outside had disappeared, replaced by a blank expanse.
An hour later, Ning Cheng slowly walked across the first ring and entered Blooming Rings’ second ring.
The spirit essence grew denser, the life force turned more intense, the dao rhythms flowed furiously, and the laws of heaven and Earth felt more perfect.
Except for the momentary discomfort, Ning Cheng’s Mysterious Yellow Formless Cultivation Method quickly adapted to the surrounding dao rhythms and laws while entering. Even the substanceless aura that almost destabilised the roots of Ning Cheng’s dao rhythm also fused with Ning Cheng.
An indescribable surprise flashed in Ning Cheng’s eyes as he felt the same cultivation euphoria as when he cultivated in the Dragon Washing Pool. However, unlike the Dragon Washing Pool, which was mainly meant for tempering one’s physical body, this place was to perfect one’s perception of the dao.
The size of heaven and Earth truly went beyond one’s imagination. He had thought that obtaining the Mysterious Yellow Bead was already the pinnacle of luck. But who could have known that there were still many worldly treasures in this universe that weren’t as precious as the Mysterious Yellow Bead yet equally wondrous?
He knew about the Dragon Washing Pool, he was currently in the Blooming Rings, and he had also heard about the 9-Revolutions Sacred Dao Pond’s Reincarnation Pond. But how much more did he not know about?
As time continued to pass, Ning Cheng felt his perception of the Laws of Tile turning clearer and clearer. Although he felt reluctant to leave the Blooming Rings’ second ring, he still forced himself to walk out of the second ring and cross into the third ring.
He only had three months, but every time he advanced to the next ring, his stay would extend by another three months because of the accelerating effects of the laws of time. Moreover, the dao rhythms of the Laws of Time in the consequent rings would also grow clearer. Because of this, unknowingly, Ning Cheng cast aside Sichen Qiutian’s words about his footsteps stopping at the limit of his dao heart. After all, crossing over to another ring would extend his stay inside for another three months.
In a humble room within the Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan’s Ancient Shrine, a white-haired old man sat cross-legged over an ancient-looking prayer mat, his upper body fully exposed and naked. However, the exposed half of his body looked utterly emancipated, with dried brown skin stretched tight across the bones.
“Has he entered the Blooming Rings?” The old man suddenly asked.
Jin Molong’s voice arrived first before his figure materialised in the room. “Yes, he is currently inside the Blooming Rings. I estimate that he should barely reach the threshold of entering the sixth ring in three months.”
Like Ning Cheng, Sichen Qiutian also didn’t know about the internal workings of the Blooming Rings. Sichen Qiutian thought that since Ning Cheng had the strength necessary to cultivate in the eighth ring, he could enter the eighth ring directly and cultivate peacefully inside.
Unfortunately, crossing each ring in the Blooming Rings took a long time. One couldn’t cross through to the next ring just because one wanted to, not even if one’s strength had reached the threshold. Entering any ring required one to stay in it for some time to harmonise their dao rhythm with the aura and flow of that ring’s dao rhythm. One could only enter the next ring if one could reach a perfect harmonisation with the previous one. If they couldn’t reach this, the sudden change in the flow of time and the dao rhythm of the Blooming Rings would grind them into nothingness.
The old man nodded, “Dao Sculpting Realm; being able to enter the sixth ring in three months can be considered good enough, but….”
The old man didn’t finish the sentence; instead, he sighed.
Jin Molong naturally understood the patriarch’s meaning. Since the great calamity, the Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan had secluded itself from the world. They didn’t choose seclusion because they feared trouble knocking at their doors but chose it to build their strength. After all, the Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan had suffered a substantial loss of strength since their peak.
Unfortunately, even after so many years passed, the Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan still couldn’t grow strong enough despite the seclusion. That’s because they lost many promising geniuses within the Blooming Rings. Most died, while some got themselves trapped inside. Upon investigation, they found out that it was mainly due to the collapse of their grand dao.
And now Sichen Qiutian brought a Dao Sculpting Holy Emperor to their Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan and requested to use the Blooming Rings to cultivate. One should know that although the Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan had gone into seclusion, they still had a few disciples outside under disguise. However, none of them had a Dao Sculpting cultivation. The Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan never allowed their Dao Sculpting or below disciples to come out.
The Mysterious Ancient Clan did not allow their Dao Sculpting or below disciples to go out, but these disciples could still ask the Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan to enter the Blooming Rings to cultivate, which they did allow. However, most of them end up dying.
Jin Molong had no idea how to comfort the patriarch, so he remained silent.
Time passed slowly. After an unknown amount of time, the white-haired patriarch suddenly asked, “Molong, do you think it’s still appropriate to keep the Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan secluded from the world?”
Jin Molong hesitated momentarily, saying, “To leave our Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan’s seclusion, one must be at least at the Dao Essence Realm. In other words, only a few meet the qualifications to go out. On the contrary, many excellent disciples have fallen in the Blooming Rings. The Blooming Rings is our Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan’s greatest treasure and our Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan’s foundation. However, I’m starting to feel it has become a shackle for our Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan. From an objective point of view, it’s simply devouring our Mysterious Ancient Clan’s promising disciples, causing our clan to wither day by day.”
Jin Molong truly wasn’t in favour of continuing with the seclusion.
The white-haired patriarch turned silent again. But after half an incense stick’s worth of time, he suddenly raised his head and looked outside his room with a shocked look. A moment later, he suddenly stood up.
“Patriarch, what’s going on?” Seeing the shocked look on the patriarch’s face, Jin Molong asked with worry.
“What’s that person’s name? That Dao Sculpting brat you sent into the Blooming Rings.” The white-haired patriarch’s voice even trembled a little.
Jin Molong hurriedly asked, “I didn’t ask. But I heard Sichen Qiutian call him Ning Cheng.”
“Ning Cheng, Ning Cheng….” The white-haired patriarch muttered the name twice before saying, “Hurry up and call in Sichen Qiutian, the one who brought Ning Cheng here. No, I’ll go over there myself….”
“Patriarch?” Jin Molong felt even more confused.
The white-haired patriarch pointed tremblingly outside the cave, “How much time has passed since he entered; that Ning Cheng is about to cross out of the range I can see.”
“Ah….” This time it was Jin Molong’s turn to feel horrified. He knew the range that the patriarch could see. The patriarch had cultivated in the Blooming Rings for years and could easily see up to the first eight rings of the Blooming Rings. Once someone crossed into the ninth ring, even the patriarch couldn’t keep track of them from the outside. Only by entering the Blooming Rings could he know more about the situation.
The white-haired patriarch’s tone finally calmed down a bit, “From the time that Ning Cheng entered the Blooming Rings until now, not even two hours should have passed. Even if Ning Cheng spent a little more time inside the Blooming Rings, it wouldn’t be more than a day. Only at the Dao Sculpting Realm, yet taking only a day to reach the eighth ring from entering the first ring, do we have anyone in our Mysterious Ferry Ancient Clan’s history that could match him?”
Ning Cheng had indeed reached the eighth ring. Every time he entered a deeper layer of the Blooming Ring, Ning Cheng felt more and more that he had gained something indescribable. Because of this, he couldn’t wait to enter a deeper level of the Blooming Rings.
As he stepped into the eighth ring, he felt the surrounding dao rhythm absorbing him. He could even clearly feel the passing of time, feel his life being absorbed by the ring. The change from the seventh to the eighth ring seemed to want to crush him into nothingness. The extreme change in the dao rhythm made him feel extremely uncomfortable.
Fortunately, his Mysterious Yellow Formless Cultivation Method had no form and was traceless, allowing him to cultivate anywhere. The Mysterious Yellow Formless Cultivation Method could adapt to the changes in the surrounding atmosphere, the laws of heaven and Earth, and the changes over time at any time and place. The problem that was incredibly difficult for others did not exist in Ning Cheng’s case. Therefore, regardless of which ring he entered, he could stabilise his dao rhythm quickly and even reach harmonisation with the surroundings.
Ning Cheng had never entered the Blooming Rings before. Now that he stabilised his dao rhythm in the eighth ring, he didn’t feel the limit of his dao rhythm fading away. Therefore, without any hesitation, he stepped directly into the ninth ring.