Chapter 540 The Sage Returns
Ever since Chen Fan learned about the Gate of Heaven from the writings of the Exalted Cultivator, he had made up his mind to look for it once he completed the Connate Spirit Level and left the world. At his current pace, he would be able to achieve his goal in no more than four years. It might take for him to return from his quest for the ultimate enlightenment.
Therefore, it was necessary to make sure that Fang Qiong and An Ya both had a solid Immortal Cultivation foundation, so that they could reach the Ethereal Enlightenment before he left them. Once he reached the Golden Core or the Nascent Soul stage, he would return to Earth to pick them up.
Such was Chen Fan's plan, but things could turn out wildly different in reality.
Seeing Fang Qiong was somewhat confused, Chen Fan asked, "Xiao Qiong, what do you think is the difference between me and Lin Shuming?"
Fang Qiong answered slowly after she pondered for a while, "Lin Shuming seemed strong, but all of his power was borrowed from nature. On the other hand, your power was from your body and therefore it was purer and …more potent."
"Very good. You can now see the difference between the Immortal State and an Earth Level Deity," Chen Fan nodded approvingly and said.
Chen Fan continued, "Lin Shuming had actually achieved a higher level of attainment than me. Mentally and spiritually, he was ready for the Earth Deity Level, but his body was still too weak. Meanwhile, I am still at the Mid-stage of the Immortal State."
Fang Qiong was taken aback.
An Ya and Wang Xiaoyun were both shocked. This was the first time they heard Chen Fan being so brutally honest. They had all been convinced that Chen Fan had already reached the Earth Deity level.
Even Hua Yunfeng had reached the early-stage of Immortal State.
"The level of attainment and enlightenment doesn't directly translate to strength," Chen Fan shook his head and said, "Lin Shuming has a high level of attainment, but he has accumulated far less power than me during each level of his progression. While I was in the mid-stage of the Immortal State, I could have dominated the world with Physique Refinement skills alone. Now I have reached the late-stage; I can easily handle an Earth Level Deity. This is the difference between conventional cultivators and immortal cultivators."
"Immortal Cultivators?" Fang Qiong batted her lashes and asked.
Chen Fan then filled Fang Qiong in on the details about Immortal Cultivators.
"Do you mean that you could kill a peak Transcendent State Grandmaster while you were still in the early-stage of Ethereal Enlightenment? And the same would happen to a Mortal Deity while you were in the mid-stage of Divine Sea?"
Fang Qiong finally started to understand a little.
"Pretty much. The arts I cultivated were extremely powerful and I also have many dharma treasures at my disposal. Therefore, given the same level of attainment, an immortal cultivator will always be more dangerous than a cultivator on Earth. If you use the elixirs I gave you, you could reach the Ethereal Enlightenment in no time. By then, no one under the Transcendent State would be able to threaten you."
Chen Fan nodded.
"Now I don't know if I want to use such precious pills."
Fang Qiong shook her head and said, "What about your grandpa and dad? Did you leave them any?"
"I don't want it either," An Ya hurried to add.
"Don't worry your pretty heads about it. I have many in stock. My Dad is only interested in his career, and my grandpa has already reached a higher level of attainment than both of you combined. All three of you will be very busy taking care of all kinds of things for the family. Without these supplements, it's going to take a toll on your health," Chen Fan looked to Fang Qiong as he said so.
He noticed that Fang Qiong's appearance was more composed and her demeanor more mature than the last time they met. However, living a high-pace and stressful lifestyle had made her gaze look tired.
After Wang Xiaoyun chimed in to persuade her, Fang Qiong finally gave in.
"The Art that I am about to show you is meant for your eyes only. It's the secret key to grasping the Heavenly Dao. You should never teach this art to anyone, it could bring a disaster to the whole world," Chen Fan said with a heavy expression.
He was about to teach one of the most powerful arts in the True Martial Celestial Sect.
"True Martial Divine Art: Qi Refinement Chapter."
This art had only been taught to the core disciples of the True Martial Celestial Sect. It was so dangerous that even Fang Qiong had to practice it in secret. If the disciplinary members of the True Martial Celestial Sect so much as caught a whiff of the art's presence, they would rain death upon the planet to avoid further disasters.
Fang Qiong hurried to agree once she saw the seriousness in Chen Fan's eyes.
Afterward, Chen Fan started to link with their consciousness and started to transfer the knowledge about the art to them. The True Martial Divine Art covered the entire progression of their cultivation and its power was unmatched.
The Qi Refinement Chapter was written in a very concise manner.
Each word that came out of Chen Fan's mouth had an incorporeal glow that drifted into the girl's consciousness. The entire chapter contained three hundred and sixty-five words, each contained more knowledge than a library. Those words were Divine Inscriptions created by Immortal Emperors of a bygone era; they encompassed the most powerful mystic arts.
The mortal consciousness of the girls glowed like beacons of wisdom once the whole chapter had been transferred to their minds; the chapter gave them newfound insights about reality.
Chen Fan commanded in a gentle voice, "Focus and relax, get ready for your cultivation."
His command cast a spell over the minds of the three girls, sending them deeper into their consciousness.
Tendrils of budding Essence Qi sprouted out from their bodies as they followed the instructions of the art. A few seconds later, a golden glow rose from their bodies and with it were chantings of Brahmā Sutra.
Among the three of them, An Ya had the highest level of attainment prior to this point, having already reached the mid-stage of Foundation Establishment. Wang Xiaoyun was slightly weaker than An Ya while Fang Qiong was a complete beginner. However, the improvement of their cultivation was so great that their initial level didn't matter. All their True Essences were taken in and transformed into True Martial Essence.
Chen Fan fished out three Red Flame Spirit Pills and ordered each of them to take one. Then he forced the stored energy out of the Spirit Pills using Dharmic powers, drawing out the Spirit Qi of Flames. Using his own True Essence, Chen Fan tamed that wild Spirit Qi and channeled it into his disciple's system.
Without taming this energy, the three girls would have been reduced to ashes in an instant.
Superior-grade Spirit Pills could only be used directly by cultivators who had reached the Ethereal Enlightenment level or above.
They started to shake violently as the True Fire entered their bodies.
That was the test of their will and mental strength.
Fang Qiong held out the best, followed by An Ya and then Wang Xiaoyun. Unlike Wang Xiaoyun and An Ya, Fang Qiong was the reincarnation of the Zi Qiong Goddess. She was the second most powerful disciple of Cangqin in the Cang Min Realm right after Chen Fan.
Once they had finally brought the energy under control, their True Essence surged, giving Chen Fan some time to take a rest. Helping three disciples during their cultivation was a much more onerous task than even fighting Lin Shuming.
All three women were close to Chen Fan's heart, so he had to be extremely careful and not harm anyone of them. He wouldn't be as cautious if he was helping Hua Yunfeng.
Chen Fan phased out of the room and reached the roof of the North Qiong Pavilion.
From there, he could have a bird's eye view of the City of Zhong Hai. The quietness in the valley contrasted the view of a bustling metropolis.
"Who goes there? Why don't you show yourself?"
Chen Fan waved a hand and conjured a wooden table with an arrangement of delicate teapots and cups on top of it. Chen Fan sprinkled a few loose leaves into a pot and filled it with Spirit Water. He then heated up the pot using True Fire until the fragrance of the tea permeated the valley.
"Wonderful Tea, and even better tea-making skills. I thought I knew everything about tea-making, but I was wrong."
An elder wearing a Taoist robe with large flappy sleeves had emerged on the sky; then he descended from an invisible stair.
The elder reached Chen Fan and sat across the table. He picked up the teacup and smelled its content.
Chen Fan gave the elder a quick glance. The man said lightly, "I am Li Changsheng of the Wu Dang Sect."
"Each and every Immortal State Warrior in China is well known for different things: Yao Daoyi for his pride, Dharma-rāja Sakya for his reticence, Ye Qincang for his aloofness, Azure dragon for his candid demeanor, and you for your bravery."
"Haha. Everyone is afraid of you, but I knew for a fact that you wouldn't harm anyone unless provoked. That's the code you lived by."
Li Changsheng let out a peal of laughter.
"Well said. Let's drink to your discernment."
Chen Fan downed the content of his cup and then said, "Li Changsheng, what brings you here? You might be able to fool others, but not me. I know that you've already reached the Mortal Deity Level."
Li Changsheng was taken aback at first, then he said with a wry smile, "No wonder they call you the Curmudgeon. How did you find out?"
The seemingly light banters they threw at each other could be shocking revelations to the world.
Who would have thought that the quietest and most modest Immortal State warrior Li Changsheng had reached the Mortal Deity level? If that was true, he would be as powerful as Lin Shuming.
Li Changsheng shook his head and lamented, "It's not just me. There are still a few more Mortal Deities out there. Ye Qincang reached the Mortal Deity level much earlier than me, but what use was that?
"Only after reaching this level did I realize that any form of power would be weak without becoming an Earth Level Deity. Even Mortal Deities had to be extremely cautious while using their power since it consumes their vitality. Therefore, realistically speaking, we are no different than Immortal State warriors."
Chen Fan nodded slightly.
Spirit Qi was so scarce on Earth that it was simply impossible for them to prepare their physical conditions for the Earth Deity Level, unless they could find a solid Spirit Source.
On the other hand, although Chen Fan had yet to reach the Connate Spirit level, the Azure Thearch Longevity Body would allow him to live for the following five hundred years.
In other words, he wasn't an Earth Level Deity yet, but he was already more powerful than a warrior at such a level.
"Let's get down to business, then. I have to be honest with you. I'm not an Earth Level Deity, but my Arts are much more powerful than the ones on earth, allowing me to defeat an Earth Level Deity," said Chen Fan in a candid manner.
By then, Chen Fan was only wary of a handful of individuals on earth, so there was no need to conceal his secrets. Even if he disclosed all of them, no one could do anything to him anyway.
Even if the other Immortal State Warriors joined forces with a couple of Mortal Deities, they still wouldn't be able to harm Chen Fan.
"I guessed that much. "
Li Changsheng nodded. "I entered the Wu Dang Sect a hundred and forty-two years ago. But I'm still far from my goal of reaching the Earth Deity level. I have come to terms with the fact that I may never be an Earth Level Deity. Unless…"
"Unless what?" Chen Fan asked
"Unless I leave this world!" said Li Changsheng with a firm tone.
He fixed his eyes on Chen Fan and asked with a solemn face,
"Chen Beixuan, have you heard of the Gate of Heaven?"