Chapter 33: Cultivation, is at my fingertips
Soft Feather immediately broke in with, "Senior Song should join me in Spiritual Butterfly Island, our Spiritual Butterfly Island has ample resources, and powerful cultivation techniques. Moreover, with me there, Senior will be well taken care of!"
"Soft Feather, don't hurry to interrupt, let me finish speaking." reminded North River's Loose Practitioner.
Embarrassed, Soft Feather withdrew.
"What are the differences between the two, if any?" Song Shuhang inquired.
North River's Loose Practitioner: "Each path has its own pros and cons. But to summarize, a sect provides many more advantages over being a loose cultivator. Therefore, let us first talk about joining a sect."
"Joining a sect: there will be a specialized master guiding your cultivation, imparting his experience, preventing you from making mistakes during your cultivation, and this alone could save you a lot of time. In addition, as long as you have talent and are diligent, you will not lack resources, techniques, or cultivation caves. To be frank, this choice suits someone who wants to single-mindedly cultivate." North River's Loose Practitioner listed off the various benefits of joining a sect.
"However... joining a sect means you would have to abide by the sect's rules, and serve the sect. After all, nothing can be accomplished without responsibilities or standards. Since you are receiving so much help from the sect, it is only right that you repay them by helping the sect in any way you can. Especially a sect like Great Master Tong Xuan's and some others', the moment you enter you'd have to shave your head, as well as abide by all kinds of Buddhist rules and traditions. In addition, you'd even have to bid farewell to your family in the mortal world, and cultivate hard until your apprenticeship ends. If your luck is bad, you won't be able to see your parents again for your whole life."
When he was young, North River's Loose Practitioner was nearly tricked into becoming a monk, so his hatred towards the Buddhist sects ran deep.
Roaming Cloud Monk Tong Xuan appeared, and sent a naive smile emoticon.
North River's Loose Practitioner immediately supplemented what he said with another line, "Wahaha, actually it's not just Great Master Tong Xuan's sect, all the other sects more or less require you to bid farewell to your parents. After all, sects aren't scattered, they all require their disciples to live in the sect. If one doesn't complete the apprenticeship, they rarely get to move about outside.
Roaming Cloud Monk Tong Xuan sent a grinning emoticon. It looks like this great master's previous naive smile was actually a veiled threat to North River's Loose Practitioner?
"How could something be received without giving anything in return, this is as it should be." Song Shuhang understood this logic. In his heart, though, he already knew that joining a sect didn't suit him.
At least it didn't suit him currently; he wasn't prepared to say his goodbyes to his family, and leave his home to go to a specialized place for cultivating. He still felt attachment to the mortal world.
"Senior Song, our Spiritual Butterfly Island provides a lot more freedom in this aspect. As long as you can cultivate to 3rd Stage - Houtian Battle Emperor realm, you may leave Spiritual Butterfly Island for a period of time every year. Furthermore, with me there, I can fight for even more freedom for Senior." Soft Feather was still trying hard to endorse her Spiritual Butterfly Island.
"Thank you." Song Shuhang sincerely said.
However, 3rd Stage - Houtian Battle Emperor was really too high of a hurdle.
Soft Feather was labelled a genius in the group, but she began cultivating at a young age and should be in her twenties by now, right? Yet she was merely 3rd Stage - Houtian Battle Emperor level.
Song Shuhang believed that he definitely wasn't a genius, if he reached that stage only forty or fifty years later, the distance between him and Daddy and Mommy Song may very well be the distance between heaven and earth, right?
"*Cough Cough!* Let me now tell you about loose cultivators, you should be able to tell, I myself am a loose cultivator." North River's Loose Practitioner asserted, "Compared to joining a sect, loose cultivators don't have a teacher to instruct them in cultivation, they don't have large amounts of resources, they also don't have the fortune of using cultivation caves. Everything has to be relied on oneself. Perhaps the only advantage is unfettered freedom."
In general, loose cultivators have it hard, North River's Loose Practitioner was considered one of the luckier ones amongst them. When he was younger he befriended the Su Clan's Ah Qi, and received a lot of care from him. Later, under Ah Qi's recommendation he joined the Nine Provinces (1) Group. In this group, he was like a fish back in the water. He was already at the 5th Stage - Spirit Emperor's peak, and was only one step away from advancing to the next stage.
In comparison to being in a sect, an ordinary loose cultivator has no teacher, no resources, no information, no cultivation caves. After cultivating to the 2nd or 3rd stage, they would normally reach their limit, and when their life force is burned out they would return to dust.
"Then where do loose cultivators get cultivation techniques and resources?" Song Shuhang felt that loose cultivators simply have bleak futures.
"Haha, if you hadn't joined the Nine Provinces (1) Group, I would have recommended that you find sect to join. After all, loose cultivators have it extremely hard, now isn't like past days, trying to find a medicinal ingredient for concocting pills is way too difficult. However, Nine Provinces (1) Group is a very special group, the group leader here, Mt. Yellow's True Monarch and several other powerful seniors would help group members out a little."
"You would be able to receive some support from True Monarch and the others. This is also how the seniors in the group help lead the younger generation. Perhaps if ordinary group members require help, if you are able to help, you would receive compensation from helping. Just like this time with Soft Feather, you received two boxes of medicinal ingredients. But, of course, a generous failure lady like Soft Feather isn't often found. You had better not expect to receive this much in rewards so easily every time." North River's Loose Practitioner bantered.
"Senior North River! I'm not a failure!" Spiritual Butterfly Island's Soft Feather sent a furious emoticon.
Song Shuhang's mind supplemented the cute image of this lady pouting, it's definitely very moe.
North River's Loose Practitioner laughed, "Therefore, if you choose to be a loose cultivator, you should appear in the group more often. As long as you are diligent enough, whether it is techniques, pills or resources, you will get all of them, albeit slower than a sect member. To be honest, Nine Provinces (1) Group has already shown the signs of being in the early stages of becoming a sect."
When Song Shuhang received all this information, his heart was set. At least, for now, being a loose cultivator suited him the most.
North River's Loose Practitioner: "Well then, sect or loose cultivator, which will you choose?"
Since North River's Loose Practitioner was done explaining, Copper Trigram's Immortal Master cut in to suggest, "Little friend Shuhang, this matter concerns your future path of cultivation, so you need not make an urgent choice. Calmly consider your options, and prudently choose, so as to avoid the possibility of regretting it in the future."
"Thank you Seniors, I understand. I choose to be a loose cultivator." Song Shuhang had clearly made his choice a long time ago.
"Aren't you going to consider a little further? Once you choose to be a loose cultivator, even if you want to join a sect in the future, you'll face great difficulty." Copper Trigram's Immortal Master reminded him once again.
Under ordinary circumstances, sects don't accept loose cultivators.
All in all, drawing on a sheet of clean white paper is much easier than trying to alter a paper filled with scribbles.
Furthermore, in terms of loyalty, loose cultivators were even more so unable to compare with disciples raised from they were young, there are too many unstable factors.
Therefore, unless it's some loose cultivator with amazing talents or having special abilities in a certain aspect, there were very few sects who were willing to accept loose cultivators.
"Yes, I have thought things through." Song Shuhang seriously replied. This was his own choice, whether it was good or bad, he would never regret it.
Copper Trigram's Immortal master nodded, and spoke no more.
A moment later, North River's Loose Practitioner replied, "Little friend Shuhang, since you've chosen to be a loose cultivator, what you need now the most is a body training technique and mediation technique of the foundation level. Originally, by our Nine Provinces (1) Group custom, if you want to receive something you must invest your own energy. If there is a senior or fellow daoist in the group that requires help, and you are able to help, then when you complete the fellow daoist or senior's request, you would be able to receive some techniques or manuals you need."
"However... your case is a little bit special, Nine Provinces (1) Group has never had an ordinary mortal join. Your strength is insufficient, if we don't let you build your foundation, then even if a senior or fellow daoist has something they need help with, you might not have the strength to fulfill the request."
When all's said and done, those who are in a situation like Soft Feather who only require someone to lead the way is too few. Matters that cultivators require help with are mostly things that have to do with cultivation.
Song Shuhang sent an embarrassed smile emoticon.
"Therefore, if you don't mind, I can first pay you a foundation level fist technique and meditation technique in advance. Along with your 'Body Tempering Liquid', it would be enough to help you complete a hundred days of building a foundation, and formally enter the 1st Stage - Beyond Mortal Realm."
"When you are done building your foundation, you would be able to complete some missions given by seniors and fellow daoists. You would also have the chance to compensate me for my advance payment. But of course, what I can give to you in advance is only the most basic foundation cultivation technique."
North River's Loose Practitioner added on to his previous statement by saying, "Other than that, if you can get hold of a 'Qi and Blood Pill', you can even decrease the hundred-day foundation building time by a large extent."
Nine Provinces (1) Group was originally a small circle of people helping each other, the seniors would often help the younger generation out. To a cultivator, paying a junior a set of commonly seen foundation building technique in advance was no effort at all.
In any case, Song Shuhang had already joined this group, becoming a cultivator was something that was set in stone.
Furthermore, after North River's Loose Practitioner paid the foundation building techniques in advance, he would be considered half a guide for Song Shuhang. This favor would be something that will be engraved in Song Shuhang's mind for his whole life. As for the other half of a guide, it was naturally the local tyrant, lady Soft Feather who sent him two boxes of medicinal ingredients.
When Song Shuhang read what was being said, he felt a growing warmth in his heart. Even if it was payment in advance, even if it was only the most basic foundation building cultivation techniques, to the current him, it was something he urgently needed.
His fingers touched the keyboard. Next, all he had to do was enter a few words, and the door of 'cultivation' would truly open up wide for him!
At this time, a message popped up in the chat group.