Black Origin City, an inconspicuous little city within the vast Northern Plains area.
Despite its remote location, it possessed a population of several millions with a considerable number of cultivators within that number. Naturally, there were various forces within them as well. Even during the evening hours, the city remained a bustling place as radiant lights illuminated the city.
It was near evening and dark clouds had covered the sky. The muffled sounds of thunder rang from afar without respite and moisture swayed within the air. It did not take long for both lightning and thunder to make their appearance.
Up in the sky, countless lightning bolts thundered out with a maddening quality. Every one of the lightning bolts seemed desirous of tearing the sky apart as rain fell like a waterfall.
Amidst the weather, a 16-year-old boy ran out from the city. He was not too tall and was slightly thin in stature. In face of the heavy rain, his face appeared somewhat pale. Yet, ignoring the heavy rainfall coming from the sky, he ran out from the city, charging towards a valley somewhere 30 li away from the city (1 li = 0.5 km).
The youngster was clearly not an ordinary person. Every step he took covered a distance of several metres and he moved quickly. In less than an hour, he had made his way into the valley. He continued onwards until he reached an ancient, towering tree.
The youngster suddenly let loose a bellow, screaming his lungs out against the sky, a face filled with grief and anger. Next, he abruptly raised his fists and punched continuously at the big tree before him.
The ancient, towering tree before him was so big that it would take several people to wrap their hands around it. It was such that it could even remain motionless before the mighty winds blowing at it. Soon enough, the youngster’s fists began to bleed. However, the youngster appeared numb to pain and instead, continued to punch at the tree with desperation.
“Why? Why?!” The youngster raised his head towards the sky and screamed out once more.
Crack! Crack! Crack!
One after another, thick bolts of lightning tore open the dark rainy sky, seemingly intent of destroying the very lands beneath them.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
The youngster appeared mad as he continued punching while screaming. His blood and rainwater merged together and flowed down his arms and onto the ground.
“Why must I suffer so much? Why must I be subjected to all this bullying? I am unwilling! Heaven! Tell me why?!” Having unleashed hundreds of punches in a row, the youngster finally stopped. He raised his head upwards and shouted, but his words quickly disappeared under the might of Heaven.
It was at that moment that an incomparably thick bolt of lighting suddenly shot down from the sky. Hundreds of zhang in length, it was as thick as a water tank and looked like an ancient dragon, one that yearned to destroy worlds. The bolt of lightning then slammed into the ancient tree (1 zhang = 3.333 m).
Following a thunderous sound, the big ancient tree was reduced to ashes. The youngster stared in a dumbfounded manner as his mind buzzed. His blood rushed through his body as his vision turned dark. Under the wrath of Heaven, this tree that had endured for who knows how many years was turned to ashes. While the youngster had managed to remain safe, what he saw left him flabbergasted.
As the youngster was in a dazed state, another bolt of lightning descended. This one was even bigger than the previous one. It shone brilliantly, seemingly containing an air of destruction within it. The bolt of lightning was actually shooting towards the youngster. The youngster looked on in horror as the bolt of lightning drew closer and closer. He wanted to dodge away, but that was simply impossible. And so, the bolt of lightning struck him.
The youngster only had enough time to scream out before falling to the ground with a “plop”. His eyes shut and he fainted.
If there were any onlookers there, they would grow shocked at what had just occurred. That lightning bolt, capable of tearing a little mountain apart, had disappeared after striking the youngster. It had disappeared just like that, as though it had never existed in the first place.
At that moment, however, the youngster fell unconscious. He had assumed that he would meet certain death. There was simply no way for him to know that the lightning bolt had disappeared after striking him.
During that very instant when the huge lightning bolt struck the youngster’s body, a powerful suction force suddenly emerged from the youngster’s chest. It was this suction force that had easily swallowed up the lightning bolt, like an insignificant current of water flowing into the great ocean, incapable of creating even a wave in its wake. Surprisingly, after the disappearance of the lightning bolt, the sky returned to its normal state and the lightning bolts were no more. Only the rain continued to pour down without respite.
The youngster lay amidst a pool of water. Soon, the amount of rainwater there grew. Seeing that the youngster was about to be drowned by the rainwater, a gentle light glowed from the youngster’s chest, shining with a bluish-green light and creating what seemed like a barrier of light around the youngster. The barrier stopped the rainwater from coming close.
A chaotic series of images flashed across the mind of the unconscious youngster. Most of them were the youngster’s memories from childhood.
As far back as the youngster could remember, he had been a wandering orphan. He had a thin and frail body and had to go beg for food everywhere. He was beaten by people, bitten by dogs, and ate whatever was given to him. He wandered everywhere until one day, when he was 10 years old, an old man took him in. The old man was a cultivator who brought him to his sect. The man had also given the youngster a name, Chen Feng.
Thus, his identity of a beggar transformed into that of a cultivator. In the beginning, he thought that everything would change. Unexpectedly, he was still bullied. He had no talent in cultivation. After six years of practicing cultivation, he had only managed to take the first step, thereby becoming the subject of ridicule for his own sect members. That was especially true after the old man’s death. The sect practically treated him like a piece of trash. They had even stopped giving him medicinal pills and the other cultivation materials. The reason he ran out earlier was that he had wanted to ask the higher ups of the sect about his master’s death. The old man had died a mysterious death and he wanted to know about it. However, he was beaten up instead.
Those memories filled his mind. Soon, however, the images there changed. Chen Feng then saw a thick lightning bolt striking him. The lightning bolt that was capable of reducing him to ashes suddenly disappeared into his chest.
This time, Chen Feng was able to clearly see what happened. The images flashing across his mind had seemingly, deliberately slowed down. The destructive lightning bolt had struck the little tower on his chest before disappearing. Though, it would be more accurate to say that the little tower on his chest had sucked up the lightning bolt.
The tower was a very inconspicuous one. It was only one inch long and dark yellow in colour. Its edges and corners remained clear but its surface was filled with countless cracks and holes. Even the items found from the rubbish dump would be in a better shape that the little tower.
Ever since Chen Feng could remember, the little tower had always been hanging around his chest. It was the only thing he had on him. It was also his most precious item. Although it was terribly shabby, Chen Feng had not thrown it away.
However, on this very day, the inconspicuous little tower had actually sucked up such a large lightning bolt.
“Magic treasure! Could this be the fabled magic treasure?” Chen Feng thought to himself in shock. However, his mind quickly became confused. This time, the flashes of memories could not be grasped properly. It was confusing, unusual and dazzling. It was as though he had been suffering from high fever in the past. These chaotic memories were ones that he had never seen before.
Suddenly, the little tower shook abruptly before spraying out a bluish-green energy current, which pierced its way into Chen Feng’s body before disappearing from sight.
After the energy current entered Chen Feng’s body, it flowed through his meridians. Originally, Chen Feng did possess some primary energy within his meridians. However, in face of the bluish-green energy current, his own primary energy was cleared away. Only some of them were absorbed and fused into the bluish-green energy current.
Pa! Pa! Pa!
The bluish-green energy current was incomparably overbearing, like a wild and mighty dragon. The blocked meridians and acupoints in his body were smashed open. Next, the energy current circulated through his body, causing his meridians to expand constantly. Popping sounds kept ringing out from the bones in his body; his blood boiled; his marrow transformed. He appeared to be undergoing a rebirth.
The heavy rain had stopped and the sky turned bright as the night quickly concluded its shift. If it were not for the mysterious barrier of light protecting him, Chen Feng would have drowned to his death under the rainwater.
It was not until the morning of the fourth day did Chen Feng wake up. Thankfully, there were no wild beasts in the valley. Otherwise, the unconscious Chen Feng would have become a snack for the wild beasts.
“Huh. What is going on?” Chen Feng stood up in confusion. By now, the barrier of light around him had disappeared and the rainwater had also receded. The sky was clear and the rays of light from the sun shone down on his face, giving him a feeling of warmth. The fragrance of the flowers and the singing of the birds created a peaceful atmosphere. No longer was there the aggressive weather he recalled before falling unconscious.
Chen Feng cried out in shock and he quickly pulled the little tower out. Like always, it looked ordinary and shabby, quiet and seemingly unchanged. After turning it around a few times, Chen Feng was still incapable of seeing any changes on it.
“Could this really be a magic treasure? A pity, I have yet to cultivate up to the level where I can release my divine sense to check it.” Chen Feng shook his head. However, right after taking just one step, he became stunned. A look of disbelief appeared in his eyes. His mind focused and he felt the movement of the primary energy within his body. The blood in his body roared with vitality.
“Energy moves according to the mind, the body brims with vitality and bones rumble with a clear sound. This is clearly the third layer of the Training Body and Energy stage. Could I have broken through while unconscious?” Chen Feng found it hard to believe.
Chen Feng then began practicing the cultivation technique that he usually followed. With every move he made, the primary energy within his body flowed like an agile snake. Many of the blocked meridians and acupoints in his body had been opened up and the rate at which primary energy filled up was 10 times that of his previous state. At the same time, his vitality was brimming as his blood roiled continuously. Rumbling sounds rang out continuously from within his body. Finally, Chen Feng unleashed a punch upon another large tree, one that required two people to wrap around. The large tree shook as a result and a one-inch deep fist mark was left on the surface of the tree.
“I have indeed broken through to the third layer,” said Chen Feng happily as he looked at the fist mark before him.
Where Chen Feng lived, the ranking for cultivation followed the nine layers of Training Body and Energy rankings.
The first layer was the ‘toughening of the flesh’. It was a compulsory stage for all cultivators and also the beginning step into cultivation.
The second layer was the ‘development of primary energy’. It was the sign that a person was a true cultivator. Those who failed to develop primary energy was 99 % fated to be a trash in the cultivation world.
The third layer was the ‘forging of bones and training the marrow, rumbling bones’. This was Chen Feng’s present layer. His body was full of vitality and his flesh was strong.
The fourth layer was the ‘reinforcement of internal organs’. Strengthening and nourishing the internal organs, giving the fleshly body even more vitality, thereby opening up the hidden potential and power within the fleshly body.
The fifth layer was the ‘hundred opened meridians’. Every meridian in the body opened, this was a watershed within the Training Body and Energy stage. Only by making their way past this barrier can cultivators be considered to be someone of stature.
The sixth layer was the ‘astral energy’. The cultivator’s primary energy become highly concentrated and his or her power would soar.
The seventh layer was the ‘primary energy takes form’. The cultivator’s primary energy could be condensed out to take on various forms, be it weapons to kill or wings to fly.
The eighth layer was the ‘external discharge of primary energy’. The cultivator would be capable of killing others within a distance of a hundred steps.
The ninth layer was the ‘using all blood and primary energy to assail the sea of wisdom’.
It was said that if a cultivator could break past the ninth layer, he or she would he able to enter the Concealed stage. After reaching the Concealed stage, the cultivator could open up his or her sea of wisdom to activate the concealed secrets and powers within the body. The cultivator could utilize magic treasures, fly through the sky, be reborn and have an even greater lifespan and capable of cultivating various magical secret techniques. Naturally, that was not something that Chen Feng could hope for. He didn’t even know if his sect possessed such characters. In the eyes of Concealed stage cultivators, cultivators of the Training Body and Energy stage were the equivalent of ants. Killing them was as simple as waving a hand. Those people were invincible and exalted figures in Black Origin City.
“Is the little tower the reason I managed to break through to the third layer of the Training Body and Energy stage? Not to mention, I feel something strange about the primary energy within my body. It seems to be brimming with vitality. Even my flesh feels much stronger compared to cultivators of the same layer. It feels tougher. Are all these due to the lightning bolt that the little tower absorbed?” No matter how Chen Feng mulled it over, he was unable to figure it out.
“No matter. Achieving great progress in strength is a good thing. Humph! Once I am strong, I must find out how the old man died.” Recalling the matter, Chen Feng’s eyes glinted. The old cultivator was the first person to treat him well. At this point in time, his death remained a mystery. However, now that Chen Feng possessed power, he must find out the truth of the matter. If there was a grudge, then it must be repaid. Next, Chen Feng stepped forward, making his way back to Black Origin City.