Chapter 1: The Age of Great Cultivation
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“In modern cultivation theory, whether it's the so-called True Energy or Inner Energy, they're all bioenergy. They don't emerge out of thin air. Unless you can break through the bridge connecting Heaven and Earth and become an Innate Stage powerhouse who can absorb the energy in the air, the True Energy that's produced through your current cultivation is the energy coming from your body. When your True Energy is exhausted, it means you used up your body's energy. If you don't replenish it in time, your body will wither!”
At Calm Ocean City's No. 13 High School's Class 11, a man of approximately 30 years of age was speaking. His neat, black clothes were those of a martial artist.
There was a huge mat in the middle of the classroom and he stood at its center.
There were over 50 youths sitting around him, all students of Class 11. They were both male and female, and most appeared to be about 16 or 17. Every one of them was dressed in martial arts attire.
Among the students, there was a young man who looked around 15 or 16 sitting in a rather secluded corner. He seemed muscular but had a delicate face. Of all the students, he was quite ordinary and inconspicuous.
Chu Yunfan stared at the man in the middle. He was Class 11's martial arts coach, Qin Wu. Rumor had it that he retired from the military's special forces. He had contributed a lot while serving, but nobody knew why he retired out of nowhere and began teaching at No. 13 High School. He was basically the only one who taught everything about cultivation.
“Therefore, people in the past said that those who are poor would study academically while the rich practice martial arts. Why were the rich the only ones who would practice martial arts?” Qin Wu paused as he spoke. He pointed at a student and said, “Tell me, why is that?!”
The student was stunned for a moment. He then replied, “Because the process of practicing martial arts involves exhausting one's blood essence continuously. If they were using it up without replenishing it, they would soon perish. Supplements such as ginseng and ganoderma were expensive in the past. Ordinary people couldn't afford that at all!”
“That's right. Although there have been people studying martial arts since the Common Era, there were very few of them. They were rare until the Kunlun Era. After humans discovered the Kunlun Realm and the Ancient Zenith civilization, both technology and martial arts advanced tremendously. For instance, ginseng and ganoderma older than ten years or even a hundred years can be mass-produced easily now. They're being served on the dining tables of regular people. That's how the Age of Great Cultivation came about, enabling each and every one of us to practice martial arts!” Qin Wu declared while nodding.
At that moment, what Chun Yunfan learned of the Kunlun Era's past from history class popped into his head.
Centuries ago, in the year 2035 of the Common Era, a huge sword gleam tore through the sky and penetrated the universe, before finally landing in the Atlantic Ocean.
The entire globe was struck by a massive disaster. Countless countries were obliterated, and people cried out all over. Humanity's population dropped to less than a billion, most of them being Chinese. Accordingly, they started the Chinese Renaissance.
Due to the catastrophe, half of the planet was destroyed, so humans began searching for another home.
Eventually, they found a vast and endless realm on the other side of the tear created by the sword gleam. It was the Kunlun Realm.
Thus, humanity entered the Kunlun Era!
They later discovered that humans were not the only beings inhabiting the Kunlun Realm. Some formidable creatures were living there too. Due to the presence of spirit energy, the continent had many incredible monsters living on it.
Despite mastering advanced technology, humankind could not defeat the legion of monsters. Some of the powerful ones could not even be killed with nuclear bombs. Under such circumstances, not being able to move to the Kunlun Realm aside, they fought to the border of both realms. The monsters even invaded the humans' camp, the planet Earth itself.
At that point, the human immigrants found out about the Ancient Zenith civilization that once existed in the Kunlun Realm. It had a system that was the complete opposite of what the humans on Earth used. It was the Martial Dao System that could be used to fight monsters by cultivating one's body.
All of that sounded exactly like the alternate world in mysterious fantasy novels from many years ago. As more and more records of the Ancient Zenith civilization were discovered, including records of many of the system's techniques, the travelers from Earth began the Age of Great Cultivation.
With the power of martial artists and advanced technology, humans began to stand tall in the Kunlun Realm instead of being annihilated by the monsters.
Nevertheless, the humans were constantly at risk of being attacked. The cities they built were in danger of destruction, leaving hundreds of thousands, millions, or even tens of millions dead. Such tragedies had happened many times throughout the centuries.
Meanwhile, Calm Ocean City's No. 13 High School on Earth was a very ordinary high school among the dozens of them in the city.
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Since the cataclysmic disaster, most of the environments on Earth were no longer habitable for humans. Therefore, the overall living situation had been extremely chaotic since the Common Era, leading to the formation of ten major base cities. Each base city had a population of up to 100 million. There were still over a billion people on Earth, and none of them had entered the Kunlun Realm yet.
The swarms of monsters in the Kunlun Realm made it too dangerous for regular humans. Although many creatures on Earth had mutated after the disaster, causing them to turn into monsters, they had only been in that state for hundreds of years. Such a relatively short period meant they were much weaker than the monsters of the Kunlun Realm.
Calm Ocean City was one of the satellite cities under one of the ten base cities – Donghua City. Though it could not compare with Donghua City's population of up to 100 million, it was home to up to ten million inhabitants.
In any case, humans were much stronger overall compared to what they had been centuries ago. Back then, only a few people had the privilege of being able to cultivate and they were rare. In modern times, the Federation government tried its best to get everyone to cultivate to fight those fearsome monsters.
Just as Coach Qin Wu said, talent was not the sole factor in cultivation. The right environment, partners, methods, and money were required. None of them should be lacking. The process of practicing martial arts was especially harmful to one's body. If one did not replenish what had been exhausted, it was normal for one to die when they were still strong at 30 or 40 years old. The better the fighter, the faster they would expire.
“All of you must understand, the source of the so-called True Energy is actually your own bioenergy. The higher the level of cultivation your body achieves, the more True Energy will be produced. Even if you guys have the opportunity to reach a higher level, the cultivation of the body is still the source!” Qin Wu stood with his hands behind his back, straight as a rifle, like he was going to pierce the sky. “In ‘Poem of Striking the Hexagram Lines' written by the cultivation master, Lu the Progenitor, during the feudal period, he mentioned that the first problem of cultivation is only developing one's mind instead of one's life. It means that it's wrong to cultivate one's dao instead of cultivating one's body. One should cultivate both wisdom and life!”
Chu Yunfan nodded and recalled the cultivation knowledge that he learned at school before. The path of cultivation was long. Since the Ancient Zenith civilization was discovered, those cultivators went through years of discovery and categorized all stages of cultivation. The first one would be the Physical Stage.
The Physical Stage was the mandatory path when one journeyed into Martial Dao. Getting to the peak of Martial Dao was like crossing an endless ocean and one's physical body was the boat. The more powerful one's physique, the higher the chances of getting to the other side.
Therefore, training one's physical body was the foundation of Martial Dao. That was why it was called the Physical Stage.
In turn, the Physical Stage was divided into nine minor stages or tiers – Muscle Training, Bone Strengthening, Skin Refinement, Tendon Tuning, Inner Strengthening, Joint Popping, Blood Renewal, Internal Observation, and Qi Nourishment.
One could only claim to have a foundation built after cultivating the Physical Stage to perfection. As the body needed to absorb more True Energy for inner circulation, a more powerful physique was required.
After one got to the ninth tier of the Physical Stage, Qi Nourishment, and then absorbed a mouthful of True Energy, a qi sea would be activated in their dantian. Their qi sea would allow them to absorb endless True Energy. This was known as the Qi Sea Stage.
After the Qi Sea Stage came the Acquired Stage, the Innate Stage, and more, but Chu Yunfan did not know much about them. After all, many teachers at the No. 13 High School were only at the Qi Sea Stage. There were only a few Innate Stage powerhouses in all of Donghua City.
“I know that most of you will be taking the year-end exam in a month, and you guys probably won't be able to get into the martial arts stream but the liberal arts stream. I want all of you to understand that successful cultivation aside, all of you will have to depend on your personal cultivation to be able to live a long healthy life in the future!” Qin Wu scanned everyone in class as he proceeded. “During the Common Era, people only lived for a few decades on average. Nobody got to 100. Why was that? It was because their bodies were weak, and they were in an unhealthy state for a long time. What else would they expect? On the other hand, everyone in the modern Kunlun Era is a cultivator. The average lifespan has surpassed 100 years, and some can even live to 120. That's the advantage of practicing martial arts!”
Hearing Qin Wu mention the martial arts stream and liberal arts stream, Chu Yunfan could not help but turn rather gloomy.
Although everyone wanted to cultivate, there were levels to human capability. According to No. 13 High School's standards, those who reached Tier-7 Physical Stage before taking the Year 3 exam had great potential and would be put into the martial arts stream. Meanwhile, those of ordinary ability would be placed in the liberal arts stream.
Before the stream division, the curriculum included half liberal arts and half martial arts. It was rather balanced, but it would change as soon as they went into separate streams.
As the name suggested, those who went into the martial arts stream would have an appropriate reduction in lessons about the liberal arts and would spend more time cultivating.
Meanwhile, though the students in the liberal arts stream would not stop cultivating entirely, their cultivation time would be restricted. They would be preoccupied with studying the liberal arts in order to get into a university in the future. After that, they would work nine-to-five jobs just like common folk.
As passionate young people, most of them desired to be capable martial artists. Beyond the magnificent abilities and stature they could gain, it was easier for martial artists to make a living compared to liberal arts graduates destined to work at fixed-income jobs. Whether by joining the government departments, the military, or becoming some company's monster-killing mercenary, the graduates from the martial arts stream would have higher incomes.
Furthermore, the outstanding ones could go to the Kunlun Realm to study at one of the nine Martial Art Saint Lands, becoming supreme powerhouses whose names would be renowned throughout the world.
However, reality was cruel, so not everyone had the gift for cultivation. Most people's talents were mundane, and it was difficult for them to pick it up. Only students that showed the appropriate aptitude would be chosen to be trained properly in the martial arts stream.
Meanwhile, Chu Yunfan was a young man with little to show. He had only reached Tier-5 Physical Stage during his senior year. Never mind comparing him to those who could get into the martial arts stream, he was considered ordinary even among those fated to be placed in the liberal arts stream.
“Alright, that's all for today's class. It's best that you guys don't skip tomorrow's lesson, as I'll be demonstrating a martial skill for real combat. If you miss it, I won't be teaching it again. Understood?” Qin Wu asked all the students while looking at them.
Their eyes lit up as they replied.