The sliver of spirit energy had a peaceful aura, although it contained a certain heavy sensation within it. That was a true earth element spirit energy. The five elements formed the fundamentals of the universe, and the same went for the cultivators of the center continent as well. The talent for the respective elements dictated on the Five Elemental Divine Compass limits one’s possible future paths as a cultivator, as well as their estimated upper limit.
The scant earth element spirit energy circulated a round around his meridians before gathering in his dantian spirit sea. For a cultivator, regardless of the realm one was in, such uninteresting daily cultivation formed the foundations of his training. Nevertheless, when Lu Chen examined the results of his training in his dantian, he couldn’t help but feel powerless.
Dantian -> a focus point in the abdomen where energy is manipulated/stored| Qihai -> spirit sea
Perhaps, throughout the course of ten years, the Curse of Black Flames had caused massive damage to his body, causing the roots of the reborn Five Elemental Divine Compass to be far too lacking. He might still able to cultivate, but the ability to attract spirit energy and the speed of his cultivation were disappointing. In fact, he might not be able to compare to even an ordinary newcomer.
The only thing positive about the situation is that the earth element spirit energy that Lu Chen absorbed was much more pure and dense in terms of quality. However, this wasn’t something to be surprised about. After all, only the Earth Divine Pillar is left on his Five Elemental Divine Compass. This means that he is only capable of absorbing earth element spirit energy, and naturally, it is easier for it to be pure.
In reality, based on his prior knowledge, someone with roots like his, due to their overly weak foundations, tend to be unable to join any cultivator sects to train under them. Typically, a normal cultivator disciple will at least possess divine pillars of two elements with them. Furthermore, the quality of each individual pillar must not be too lacking, and only then can they barely meet the prerequisites to be considered to be worthy of grooming. As for those who carry three or four divine pillars, they are considered as talented individuals with powerful roots, and the upper limits of their cultivation are likely to be extremely high. Finally, those who possess all five of the Five Elemental Divine Pillars are rare genius-level figures, even when put against the entire world.
These thoughts flashed across his mind. Then, Lu Chen chuckled softly self-deprecatingly. However, he wasn’t too upset about it. Perhaps, to him, the situation was already much better than he had expected.
Except for the existence of the dark side.
The smile on the corner of his lips disappeared and solemnity took its place. Silently sitting within lonely and quiet straw cottage, the Five Element Divine Compass in his dantian spirit sea started moving. Gradually rotating about its axis, a shade of black revealed silently and soon, the dark side could be seen.
When the flicker of black flame appeared, darkness spread outward suddenly into the surroundings. In an instant, Lu Chen’s entire dantian spirit sea darkened into a deep black ocean. At that instant, a peculiar, desolate aura exuded fleetingly from within his body.
Lu Chen was conscious.
He was well-aware of the changes occurring within his body, although he could not comprehend or fathom why such a bizarre change would occur with his body. He held his breath, and after a moment, as though cultivating normally, he tried to absorb spirit energy from the heavens and earths via this dark dantian to assess whether he was capable of cultivating in that state.
The spirit energy of the heavens and earths are formed from the five elements, this was the unbreakable conventional belief in the center continent for countless eons. The existence of the five element spirit energy is the fundamental reason why cultivators are able to absorb spirit energy to cultivate.
Thus, Lu Chen didn’t feel anything at all.
His attempt seemed to be in vain. Under the dark Five Elemental Divine Compass, not a single spirit energy entered his body. Perhaps, the ancient saying was true, that without the Five Elemental Divine Pillar, one is unable to absorb any five element spirit energy, and thus, one would be unable to cultivate.
Lu Chen continued trying for a long period of time, and two hours passed. Yet, he failed to pull even a single sliver of spirit energy into his body. The dark and cold Five Elemental Divine Compass appeared like a vicious curse, coldly mocking him.
He sighed and dispelled his cultivation technique.The Five Elemental Divine Compass started to rotate slowly once more and the darkness retreated. Soon, the dantian spirit sea reverted back to its original appearance. Once again, he returned back to become an ordinary and average insignificant figure. In the straw cottage, he sat quietly, as though in deep thoughts.
Lu Chen walked out from his straw cottage and stretched his back. The mountainous wind carried with it a refreshing fragrance of tea leaves, and a slightly sweet scent seemed to be embedded within. Just like what Old Ma said that day, his complexion seemed to be gradually improving. The change wasn’t obvious, but hints of it could be seen.
Lu Chen moved his body for a moment, and just as he was considering whether he should drink in the village over at Old Ma’s, he suddenly spotted Ding Dang’s figure.
The lady walked over from the foot of the mountain and upon seeing Lu Chen at the entrance of his straw cottage, stopped and smiled at him.
Lu Chen nodded his head with a smile, “Where are you heading to?”
Ding Dang pointed to the top of the mountain, “I’m heading for the Dragon Lake.”
Lu Chen was taken aback, “Alone?”
Ding Dang nodded her head, “Didn’t you bring me over the other time? I roughly remember the paths.”
Lu Chen gazed at her, “The mountainous paths are complicated, are you sure you can handle it? Or, why don’t I accompany you this time as well?”
Ding Dang smiled, “There’s no need. I will be fine alone.”
Lu Chen asked, “Why would you head there for no apparent reason? It takes a whole day to go up and down from there, not to mention the fatigue one would accumulate.”
Ding Dang replied, “I’m there for the scenery. The scenery at the Dragon Lake is beautiful.”
To climb the towering mountain again within a short span of a few days just to view the scenery by the lake? Lu Chen was silent for a moment. In the end, he did not say anything. Instead, he simply chuckled, “Then, be careful. If it gets late, light a torch and wave it about. If I see it, I will head upwards to fetch you.”
Ding Dang smiled, her smile alluring and moving, “Thank you, but I probably won’t need it.”
After which, she continued walking toward the mountain. When she was a distance away from the straw cottage, she suddenly heard Lu Chen’s voice from behind, “Right, Ding Dang, I have a question for you.”
Ding Dang turned and asked, “Yes?”
“When you were at the Dragon Lake the previous time, did you see any mysterious large fish?”
Ding Dang shook her head and chuckled, “Of course not. The Dragon Lake was how it always was, there isn’t any mysterious fish inside. Where did you hear those unreliable rumors from?”
Lu Chen shrugged, “Is that so? I guess I was fooled by someone. Haha, it’s nothing, go ahead.”
Ding Dang responded with a smile before she turned around and continued treading upward. Lu Chen watched as her silhouette slowly disappeared in the midst of the mountainous paths and the spirit tea trees. Then, he lifted his head and gazed musingly at the distant peak of the tea mountain. However, he soon shook his head lightly and turned around to walk down the mountain, toward the village below.
The clear stream was still as transparent as it was, the base of which clear to see. Just like any other day, it flowed quietly and peacefully. Accompanied with the towering bamboo and greenery on both banks, it was reminiscent of a painting.
扑朔迷离 (Pu shuo mi li)
This is the name of the chapter.
The first two words 扑朔 (pu shuo) means something hopping whereas 迷离 (mi li) refers to the squinting of eyes.
This phrase came from the famous Mulan poem (Yes, Mulan came from a poem, not book or anything else) In the end of the poem, it metaphors to the male and female rabbit. In the past, ancient people differentiated them by their eyes (the female rabbit would tend to have squinty eyes)
However, when the both of them are leaping side by side, who is able to tell the difference between the two of them? (That’s the essence of Mulan’s story)
So, this phrase means that sometimes, things are confusing and it is difficult to differentiate the truth from falsehood.