Chapter 323: A Different Path to Glory
Translator: Alsey Editor: Chrissy
The evergreen pines and cypresses, rooted on the rocky cliffs, shone with a light golden splendor under the final glow of the setting sun. With a sea of white clouds below his feet, Chu Feng gazed at the sun setting far to the west. Dark red clouds with golden linings filled the entire sky.
Chu Feng didn't notice the melancholy of the twilight but, on the contrary, saw a certain type of beauty in tranquility.
So much that he had forgotten this was a setting sun and had, in his distraction, taken this as to be the sun rising from the east. Blowing towards him, amidst rolling red clouds, wasn't the evening mist, but winds containing exuberant vitality.
What entered his vision was overflowing life and surging vitality. Chu Feng exhaled subconsciously and felt great comfort within his chest. There was a sense of contentment amidst the placidity.
He looked down into the distance and felt something different about himself. The sunset, more often than not, made people feel melancholy, but now he felt as if he was bathing in the morning glow. There was a certain flame burning wildly in his heart.
The clouds beneath his feet transformed into a boundless jade blue sea. A red sun jumped out over the ocean horizon and with it came a rising air, suffused with the primitive strength of all living beings.
"Perhaps I should look at certain things in reverse."
The experience would be completely different when viewed from different angles—he felt as if he had escaped a certain confinement.
That night, Chu Feng ate well and slept soundly.
On the second day, he asked to borrow the old grandmaster's mount. He wanted to go out and visit the surrounding areas.
The old grandmaster was surprised and somewhat worried.
"I want to solve my current problem by taking a different path," Chu Feng said with a laugh, "I want to throw away my previous burdens and extricate myself from the swamp of evolution. I want to go visit the mountains and rivers as an ordinary human."
There was a willowbiter on Mount Wudang. It used to be grey in color but now it was a vivid red. It had grown very large and was capable of carrying people on the ground and up in the sky.
Chu Feng sat on the willowbiter's back and headed due east towards the eastern sea. He observed the lay of the land along the way and found that many areas were different from before.
He wasn't completely without a destination. He was now traveling as a researcher of domains—he observed the geography of every land he passed through. He could clearly feel all the geomagnetic abnormalities.
The old grandmaster wasn't quite at ease because there were simply too many king level entities out there. The numbers had increased by more than ten times. There were experts rising everywhere as the world entered an era of global evolution. As such, he also came along with Chu Feng.
Chu Feng stood at the shore of the eastern sea, gazing at the ocean that was now much larger than before. There were millions of majestic jade green waves billowing up and down therein.
Listening to the waves and gazing at the red sun clambering up from the surface of the ocean, Chu Feng relaxed his bones and tendons as he practiced a round of Taiji Fist. He also circulated the Thunderous Breathing Technique.
The old grandmaster asked Chu Feng of his future plans because he felt that the latter had been relieved of the knot in his heart. Could there really be another path?
"Gaze at the ocean, roam the various famed mountains, and chase… girls, cough, I mean begin to enjoy life." These words rendered the hundred-year-old elder speechless.
"Naturally, I'm also going to try hard to become the strongest person," Chu Feng added casually.
The old grandmaster nodded. He didn't want to hurt Chu Feng's enthusiasm and felt that he should let the latter do as he wished.
"I'm serious. I'm not giving up on the path to evolution. This is only a small pause midway. Most importantly, I've discovered a new grand path and can't wait to devote myself wholeheartedly to it." Chu Feng's mental state was excellent and his face was full of smiles.
Then entered the sea and landed on some islands. Afterwards, they returned to the continent and went between various mountains and rivers.
During this period of roaming the famed mountains, Chu Feng didn't forget to take notes of the great ley lines and mountain peaks to the small magnetic stones and jades. Additionally, he also studied the soil under the ground. He touched and experienced everything himself.
They spent half a month traveling. The old grandmaster accompanied Chu Feng this whole time—this, on the contrary, made Chu Feng feel bad.
"It's fine to just let the willowbiter accompany me."
The old grandmaster felt somewhat suspicious. He thought this boy was planning to roll in the red dust of the mortal world and enjoy his so-called "colorful" life after having roamed the famed mountains.
They returned to Mount Wudang after several days. This time, Chu Feng started to get busy. Every day, he would carve talismans in the mountains, experimenting with the densely packed symbols.
He was studying domains and wanted to become a grandmaster in the field.
There wasn't a single person proficient in this field on earth. In comparison, he was already an expert. However, the recent geographical changes had revealed some of the arrangements done by ancient evolved beings. Chu Feng was able to use them as a reference and raise his mastery.
This was a rare opportunity because there were some astonishing domains established in certain areas.
There were a great number of incomprehensible symbols that he needed to test out in order to discover their effects. He had already achieved extraordinary results back at Kunlun.
He had stayed there for an extended period of time and had combed through every inch of the region.
He discovered many magnetic stones back at the holy land in the Himalayas and on them were recorded many broken and damaged symbols. He compared them to ones in the Domain Heavenly Book and were able to recognize most of the half-destroyed symbols.
He had long since mastered the basics and had attained a certain level of proficiency. Right now, he wanted to study intensively and truly grasp everything.
Because he had heard Yellow Ox say that domain experts in other powerful worlds were not only expert in domain techniques but also possessed extraordinary and almost divine strength.
Doubtlessly, those with outstanding talents in the field of domains would be able to lay down certain arrays to nourish himself and achieve special evolution.
For example, there was a supreme talent who had once laid down an astonishing supportive domain. He used 18 different domains to construct an area suffused with frighteningly dense life energy into which he placed an abandoned ancient phoenix nest.
As a result, he stayed within the nest and achieved six great nirvanic evolutions to become a great powerhouse with terrifying strength.
This kind of evolutionary path was extremely odd. They wouldn't ingest mutant fruits but instead consume the mountains and rivers. The boldness was even greater. Of course, he had borrowed the nirvanic power of the phoenix nest.
In truth, this so-called phoenix nest was also a type of domain. Just that it was extremely complex—normal domain researchers wouldn't be able to see through them or figure them out. There was no way to construct a nest on oneself so he could only borrow the nest abandoned by an ancient phoenix.
The old grandmaster was entranced after hearing of Chu Feng's intentions and understanding what he wanted to do. This kind of evolutionary pathway was truly fascinating.
"My current path is broken, so I intend to open a new path and re-establish the old one," said Chu Feng. He never had the intention of giving up.
He asked the old grandmaster for help in finding certain ancient documents and secret volumes. He wanted to understand more. If he was able to learn from the experiences of the ancient experts, there would be fewer twists and turns on his future path.
There had always been a legend regarding true dragons on earth. It was said that dragons once appeared in the vast ocean. There were also records of ancient phoenixes, traces of which could be found in many places.
He felt that both true dragon lairs and ancient phoenix nests would be of great use. If he could find any one of them and reinforce it with several types of domains, it would be sufficient to solve his problem.
He wanted to imitate the ancient people and devour the mountains and rivers to evolve.
"Very well. I'll help you find them. The national secret library doesn't just belong to the three mutant organizations. The others and I can also enter to look up certain things."
The old grandmaster spared no effort and the work was efficient. Within a few days, he had returned with a number of yellowed ancient volumes. All of them were extremely valuable unique copies.
There really were records of a dragon's lair, but it would be too difficult for Chu Feng to reach the place. There were traces of true dragons in the eye of the eastern sea and the southern sea. These places were resting places of the two dragons.
According to hearsay, the draconic aura inside was very dense and could catalyze ordinary grass into mutant grass like Dragon Blood Grass, Dragon Embryo Trees or Reverse Scale Flowers, etc. All of them were considered peerless treasures.
If such a place was complemented by complex domains and arrangements, it would naturally be able to nourish life forms and enable it to evolve.
At the same time, Chu Feng found some records of an ancient phoenix and the traces of its movement.
"A bird in the south, its name, the young firebird—do you know of it? It flies from the southern to the northern sea and rests not but on the parasol tree…" 
It was simply too difficult for Chu Feng to set foot in these areas because it involved the restricted areas of the ocean. The marine race would never allow him to evolve by devouring the mountains and rivers of the seabed.
"I need to find a dragon on the continent or an ancient phoenix that nests on land." However, he knew the difficulty was very high. Such creatures were rare even during the ancient times when the world was thriving. They had come into being only a handful of times.
However, there was another piece of good news. There were other records on some of the bamboo slips the old grandmaster had brought back. This gave Chu Feng some enlightenment.
A certain domain scholar had once sued three geomagnetic mountains to deploy a tri-flower formation and carve out a magnetic origin cave. He hid within and was able to achieve a supreme evolution. Additionally, he obtained a magnetic body and inconceivable strength, thus becoming a powerhouse of his region.
Additionally, there were exceptionally talented domain scholars who transformed famed mountains into mutant soil and planted himself, using himself as the root and several famed mountains as soil. In the end, he molted and was reborn time and time again before finally attaining perfection.
Chu Feng's thoughts wandered far and wide. So, there was more than just one way—the supreme talents among the domain researchers used various methods in order to escape weakness and inability. They took alternate and unconventional routes to become even more terrifying than those who walked the normal path to evolution.
"Devouring the mountains and rivers to evolve. This was indeed bold and would allow the latecomer to surpass the predecessors." Chu Feng sighed.
But he frowned because, not to mention the difficulty in finding such suitable locations, what would he do even if he did manage to find them? Chu Feng had no such strength in his current stage—although he was quite talented in the field of domains, he had just started on this path and didn't yet have the power to turn something rotten into something magical.
He only dared to walk this path because he had discovered a number of ready-made array patterns. He didn't understand them before but was able to grasp the basic outline after his recent fumbling.
And in them, he sensed the "nurturing" technique!
This kind of nurturing didn't mean the usual nursing, maintaining and nourishing, but instead involved a leap forward at the vital level and an upgrade in one's constitution—it was evolution.
There were tens of thousands of domain symbols. In order to arrange them on one's own and form a unique domain with one's own style, it would require time and experience.
Additionally, this field was simply too difficult. It was even more difficult than the path of evolution. That was there were so few people in this field. Only top ranking orthodoxies could afford to nurture such people.
Chu Feng was positively delighted after discovering the ready-made patterns. Additionally, those domain patterns were extremely mature and complicated.
He realized that this book was probably of an even greater origin than how he and Yellow Ox imagined.
During the following period, Chu Feng experimented continuously by carving symbols on the mountains and rocks. He took advantage of the special geography to construct that original pattern.
These things were very demanding—even a single mistaken stroke couldn't be made. Chu Feng had to pay careful attention as he arranged and combined the many symbols. It required an even greater level of accuracy during the deployment process.
The domain would fail if the position of the carved symbols were off by even a small degree and might even invite a disaster.
That was because some tyrannical domains were extremely dangerous. Even a small mistake could induce an energy fluctuation and lead to a great explosion that could potentially kill the master of that domain.
Chu Feng had been working cautiously these days. Fortunately, he was working on a nurturing domain and not one of an offensive or tyrannical nature. Otherwise, he might've died over a dozen times during the dozen times he had failed due to symbol misplacement.
Even so, explosions occurred several times as the dense energy between the heaven and earth flowed backwards. The impact collapsed the mountainous terrain and sent Chu Feng flying with bloody froth coming out of his mouth.
Fortunately, Chu Feng still had stones fruits on him. He peeled the stone skin and the red flesh in small amounts. Soon, he was back on his feet.
Chu Feng's following days were rather fulfilling—he studied the geography in the vicinity of Mount Wudang and pondered the symbols left here by the ancient people while constructing his nurturing domain pattern.
In the end, he let out a soft sigh. It was simply impossible to recreate a complete version of such a grand nurturing domain—it required too many materials. For instance, special magnetic stones and pristine jade stone, etc. These were all essential components.
He didn't have any of them in hand. For the moment, he could only carve on ordinary mountain rocks and, as such, the effects were evidently and greatly reduced.
In the end, Chu Feng decided to start out with a simplified version of the nurturing domain. This was also a pre-made domain pattern from the book but was a component of the greater nurturing domain.
That was because Chu Feng still didn't have the ability to carve out the greater domain. He required many mountaintops—the amount of effort involved was shocking.
In the end, the lesser domain pattern he had carved onto ordinary mountain rocks only held together for a few moments. It disintegrated before Chu Feng could even study it in detail.
He was almost wounded as the mountain rocks all exploded. It was fortunate that all the energy didn't erupt along with them!
The lesser domain was successful, but due to the lack of proper materials, its lifespan was too short!
He sighed softly. He was somewhat envious of those corporations with astonishing financial capacities and ample manpower. If he could allocate such resources at will, he might not necessarily be unable to build a greater domain.
The old grandmaster led a fairly simple life and did not possess the astonishing financial resources of the corporations. There were only a few dao children who practiced fist arts under him. He owned no property in the red dust of the mortal world.
With his strength, he could definitely live an extravagant life. However, his nature dictated that he live a simple life, drinking spring water and eating pine nuts. He was no different from the accomplished Taoists of ancient times.
After understanding Chu Feng's difficulty, the old grandmaster went down the mountain and helped him obtain some magnetic stones. He also wanted a king level evil beast to exchange for high-quality jade stones.
Chu Feng's heart was filled with warmth, but this amount was far from what he needed. He could only construct the lesser domain pattern.
"This won't do. I must find a way to take advantage of the corporate powers and have them supply me with materials!" Chu Feng began to strategize.
He naturally wouldn't give up now that he had magnetic and jade stones in hand. With that, Chu Feng continued on with his experiments.
As expected, after completing the lesser nurturing domain and standing within it, he felt a completely different aura. The dense vital energy was rushing into his body continuously.
Very soon, the amount of energy within his body began to increase.
However, the black and white grinding stones began to rotate at the critical moment and, once again, dispersed the nurturing energy and expelled it from his body.
Chu Feng frowned. He would truly have no other hope if this pathway also failed.
He hadn't expected the black and white grindstones to be so tyrannical. Even the energy from the constructed nurturing domain was disintegrated.
"If only I can build a greater nurturing array covering all of Wudang's peaks, perhaps I can succeed in one go and accomplish a tyrannical evolution."
However, the current conditions wouldn't allow him to accomplish this.
Chu Feng couldn't find a solution immediately. Thus, he began to study other types of domain patterns and constructed them with what he had. He wanted to progress continuously in this field.
"Weapon Nurturing Domain?"
The second domain pattern astonished him after comprehending it. After being successfully constructed, this domain could be used to nurture weapons and allow them to grow.
The greater domain was definitely out of the question due to the lack of materials. Similarly, he laid down the simplified version.
The flying knife beside him let out a cry as its color began to change. It seemed to be even brighter now and possessed a rosy luster.
"It's really effective?!"
Chu Feng let out a cry of astonishment. His body tensed up and his expression completely changed.
At this moment, he felt strands of energy appearing in his body. His condition actually seemed to be improving. How was this possible? This wasn't a body nurturing domain! It should only be suitable for weapons.
He finally discovered the source of the change in his body. The black and white grinding stone was being nurtured—it was becoming increasingly tangible and condensed.
Chu Feng let out a loud cry as if he had pierced through a layer of obstacles. He broke into a laugh. He had finally found a solution!
 Taken from Zhuang Zi's "Autumn Floods". The relevant passage is near the very end. http://www.dankalia.com/literature/chuantzu/chn035.htm 5 Best Chinese Romance Books of 2018 So Far