Chapter 508: I Can Teach You
Translator: StarveCleric Editor: Millman97
The crowd didn't expect Zhang shi to say such words, and they were perplexed.
Zhang Xuan shook his head. "Look at this verse 'Diffusing the zhenqi throughout one's body into the various acupoints to augment the materialization of the soul'. Under normal circumstances, a cultivator would gather the zhenqi from the acupoints into the dantian so as to store, accumulate, and utilize it. However, this verse is telling one to dissipate their zhenqi, that's no different from crippling one's own cultivation... If one were to really do so, how are they to advance their cultivation in the future? Even if they were originally powerful, if they were to cultivate using this formula, they would only grow weaker and weaker!"
Everyone was stunned.
It was normal for zhenqi to flow to and fro from the acupoint and dantian. Only through this would a cultivator's body and soul be nourished and grow stronger.
But why did Zhang Xuan speak as though it was crippling one's cultivation?
"Now that you speak of it... It does seem a bit like crippling one's cultivation!" After a moment of silence, Hall Master Sai finally spoke up.
Even though it was normal for one to diffuse one's zhenqi across the acupoints in his body, if one were to do it at a rapid rate, it would be the method to crippling one's cultivation.
"My words aren't wrong, are they?" Seeing that someone was agreeing with him, Zhang Xuan nodded his head in satisfaction. "You are trying to have us slowly dissipate our own cultivation so as to get rid of us in one go!"
The Library of Heaven's Path detailed the various flaws of the Soul Guiding Formula. All Zhang Xuan had to do was to state a few.
That voice harrumphed.
"Nonsense! Only by diffusing one's zhenqi to the various acupoints will one be able to protect one's soul with zhenqi so that it can exist out of the body. Otherwise, given how none of you have reached Consonant Spirit realm, your souls won't be able to move around independently considering how limited your soul energy is!"
Upon reaching Transcendent Mortal 5-dan Consonant Spirit realm, one's soul energy would be significantly boosted, allowing even an ordinary cultivator to be able to draw his soul out of his body. However, given that their cultivation didn't allow for it yet, they could only guard their own souls with zhenqi. Why did the other party speak as though it was a cultivation crippling technique?
"Protecting one's soul with zhenqi? You sure know how to phrase your words. Fine, let me ask you then. What does one's zhenqi gushing out of the huishen acupoint mean? The huishen acupoint is the area where one's spirit is concentrated. If zhenqi were to gush out of this area, it could potentially result in death! If I'm not mistaken, if one were to cultivate using this formula, even if one manages to draw one's soul out of one's body, one's body would suffer tremendous damage or even die!" Zhang Xuan said.
The voice fell silent.
One of the most important aspects of drawing one's soul out of one's body was the death of one's physical body. Only then would one's soul be free from its physical restraint to wander around freely.
But of course, as long as the soul were to return to the physical body, one's heartbeat would resume and one would be 'resurrected'.
Not allowing the other party to continue speaking, Zhang Xuan harrumphed and continued. "Taking me for example, with my cultivation of Transcendent Mortal 1-dan, even if I were to successfully draw my soul out, the compatibility between my body and soul would deteriorate. If I'm not mistaken, to sustain my appearance as an ordinary human on the surface, I would have to consume pills every day! Am I right?"
Even if it was just a temporary separation between one's body and soul, after the body experienced a temporary state of pseudo-death, the compatibility between one's body and soul would deteriorate. Without pills to sustain oneself, it was just a matter of time before one's bodily functions deteriorated, and death marks started appearing on one's body.
It was just like how organ transplants in his previous life worked. Once one donated one's own organ, even if one were to receive it back, one's own body would still reject it. Without medicine to sustain oneself, it would just be a matter of time before it was spoiled.
"You... How did you know?" The voice was stunned.
This was a secret among soul oracles, and they made sure never to let outsiders learn of it. How in the world did this young man learn of it?
"It doesn't matter whether how I learned of it. While it's true that reaching Consonant Spirit realm can help to alleviate the damage caused by the Soul Guiding Formula... even for one as strong as you, do you dare to walk in the midst of a storm?" Zhang Xuan continued.
The voice quivered.
Souls were of yin attribute whereas lightning was a highly yang attribute natural phenomenon. Even if a soul oracle was hiding within a body, they would still have to retreat before lightning. They would no longer be able to live life as an ordinary human.
Similar to the issue of one being rejected by his own body, this was a highly-guarded secret of soul oracles... For that fellow to deduce so much with just a glance at the Soul Guiding Formula... Are you for real?
Knowing that it was impossible for the flaws recorded in the Library of Heaven's Path to be wrong, Zhang Xuan chuckled.
Placing his hands behind his back, he walked up to the tablet and spoke slowly, "Putting aside lightning, let's talk about the onset of the night, a daily occurrence. Every day, at zi hour (23:00 - 01:00), when the yin energy is the most concentrated, when yin energy seeps into your body, do you feel an unbearable itch plaguing you, and only by drawing one's soul out is the itch alleviated?"
"Soul oracles don't rely on a physical body for their strength! So what if one's physical body is in discomfort? As long as one's soul remains fine, that isn't a trouble at all?"
Stumped once more, the voice harrumphed coldly.
"You're right. The soul oracle's greatest strength is their soul. Even if their physical body is ruined, it isn't a huge deal for them. They can simply possess another one and through such, live on in perpetuity... However, without the protection of a physical body, can you really survive... the Five Soul Declines?"
Lifting his fingers, Zhang Xuan named, "Possession Decline, Senescence Decline, Combat Decline, Searing Yang Decline, and the most fearsome of all, Sense Decline!"
"You... actually know of the Five Soul Declines?"
The voice was no longer able to retain its calmness.
"Possession Decline refers to the natural decline of strength when possessing the body of another. Even at minimum, it would cause a drop of two whole cultivation realms. As such, unless truly required, a soul oracle won't possess anybody.
"Senescence Decline refers to the irreconcilable conflict between one's soul and physical body. This will cause one's soul to slowly deteriorate with time. In order to maintain one's strength, one can only continue cultivating frenziedly.
"Combat Decline refers to how one's cultivation would decline when using soul energy to fight. As such, what soul oracles specialize in is beguiling souls and creating fearsome mirages. In truth, soul oracles rarely fight squarely.
"Searing Yang Decline. Just as said before, soul oracles don't dare to come into contact with elements that are rich in yang energy. Just by coming into proximity with such objects can cause your soul to weaken.
"While the first four declines are troublesome, they are still avoidable. What is the most fearsome of them all is the fifth one... Senses Decline!
"A human possesses five senses and six perceptions. They are able to perceive shame, distinguish right from wrong, and comprehend pride and honor. However, souls are incapable of housing these. The more intense the emotion, the greater to the damage to one's soul. A soul oracle's emotion would cause huge ripples in their soul, resulting in their soul energy dissipating automatically..."
Chuckling softly, Zhang Xuan raised his eyelids and asked, "Is there any mistake in what I've said?"
Terrified, the voice stuttered, "Y-you..."
The heaven is fair. Soul oracles were able to live a significantly longer lifespan than their peers, but in exchange, they had to suffer pain unimaginable by others.
They were bound by innumerable restrictions. They weren't permitted to love or hate, and they were confined to remaining only within the shadows.
Just that... the Five Soul Declines was a classified secret among the soul oracles. Even the Master Teacher Pavilion failed to uncover this matter back then. So how in the world did this fellow learn of it?
Was it because of the Soul Guiding Formula?
If that was really the case, wasn't his understanding of cultivation techniques a little, no, way too deep?
After recovering from his shock, the voice harrumphed.
"You... There's no need to talk so much! All cultivators, regardless of whether they are a soul oracle or not, are fighting against the heavens, so how can their lives possibly be smooth-sailing? Soul oracles experience the Five Soul Declines, but normal cultivators also experience the Five Ordeals—heaven, earth, human, wealth, and law! Since it is impossible to avoid suffering, one should just become a soul oracle and enjoy an unlimited lifespan!"
There was no cultivator whose safety was guaranteed. Crises revolved around the life of cultivator, be it from nature or other cultivators. Suffering and death were unavoidable.
Someone had once made an estimate. Out of a thousand cultivators, at least nine hundred and ninety-nine would die on the journey to reaching Transcendent Mortal pinnacle. It was, in the truest sense, one in a thousand.
Even though the presence of the Master Teacher Pavilion had significantly reduced wars throughout the continent, there were still powers vying with one another for influence, cultivators fighting with one another for valuable artifacts, one's cultivation going berserk... These were all ordeals that cultivators had to face, and many had died in the midst of these struggles.
"Unlimited lifespan? Are you sure that a soul oracle's lifespan is unlimited?"
Zhang Xuan shook his head, "Even if one can avoid Senescence Decline by cultivating non-stop, are you sure that one can really stand this kind of suffering? If I'm not mistaken... your physical body has already decomposed entirely! Without a physical body to protect your soul, even though you're still sustaining your existence, you are undergoing immense anguish every single day!
"Putting everything aside, just talking about noon every day, when yang energy in the air is the most concentrated, are you sure you can get used to that sharp piercing pain on your soul? If not for this tomb being hidden deep beneath the lake, do you think that a soul like you have been able to survive until now?"
Hearing those words, the voice was no longer able to suppress his fear. His voice quivered even more vigorously.
The other party was right.
A soul could continue on for an eternity... but a body couldn't.
Even when hiding in the darkest corner in the world, a soul without a body would still undergo tremendous pain at noon every day, making one wish that one was dead.
In fact... the other party had thought of death innumerable times. However, as a soul, physical damage was ineffective against him as he wasn't able to kill himself. In the end, he could only continue living on in such a wretched manner.
"So, tell me, is there a problem with this cultivation technique? Is it worth learning it?"
Hearing that the voice had lost its composure, Zhang Xuan pushed on.
"There's indeed a problem with it, but... what kind of cultivation technique can be flawless?" The voice screamed hoarsely.
"You're wrong! Look at this verse 'Devoid of thoughts, guide one's soul around the tianzhu acupoint and leave via the huishen acupoint...'. If it were to be changed to 'Gather one's soul, break through the huishen acupoint and escape through the tianzhu acupoint...', what do you think would happen?" asked Zhang Xuan.
"The tianzhu acupoint possesses a yang attribute whereas the huishen acupoint possesses a yin attribute. Naturally, a soul is of yin attribute and as such, it won't be affected by yin energy. Through this method, one can minimize the effect of Searing Yang Decline or even... completely nullify it?"
The owner of the voice was a soul oracle expert who had immersed himself in the study of souls for innumerable years. After hearing the new formula that Zhang Xuan proposed, he began muttering and all of a sudden, he froze.
The other party had only changed a few words but this had changed the essence of the technique. Through using one's internal yang energy to nourish one's soul, one could reduce the effects of Searing Yang Decline or even completely nullify it.
It was just altering the sequence of the two acupoints but it had further refined the Soul Guiding Formula, bringing it a significant distance closer to perfection.
"But... if you were to change it like that, there would be a high requirement on the quality of one's zhenqi. Otherwise, given how narrow one's huishen acupoint with, a soul wrapped with zhenqi will surely be unable to pass through..."
After a moment of contemplation, the voice eventually deduced that it was impossible.
Before drawing one's soul out of one's body, one had to wrap his soul with zhenqi first. If one's zhenqi wasn't pure enough, the impurities contained within would prevent one's soul from passing through the huishen acupoint.
"Zhao Ya, display your zhenqi to him!"
Instead of answering him, Zhang Xuan turned around and instructed.
"Yes, teacher!" Stepping forward, Zhao Ya pointed his finger forward and a surge of zhenqi gushed out.
Sensing the purity of the zhenqi, the voice trembled.
"Do you think it can pass through the huishen acupoint?" Zhang Xuan chuckled.
"It can... but not everyone's zhenqi can be as pure as hers..." The voice sounded slightly low.
"That's not a problem. Do you wish to learn it? Acknowledge me as your teacher then!"
Zhang Xuan chuckled.
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