Dao Master

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A New Beginning

Pan Gu’s body lay stiff, unmoving on top of the heap of garbage. Hours pass, and he remains still.

Finally, a creaking noise is heard echoing through the garbage chute above him, followed by a nauseating sloshing sound which rushes closer and closer before launching out of the chute and directly landing on top of the motionless form of Pan Gu.

The foul-smelling material shocks Pan Gu awake, and he wretches at the disgusting scent wafting from his clothes.

An insane cackling laughter echo in Pan Gu’s mind, as the voice of the old man, calls out in a voice dripping with schadenfreude, “That ought to teach you not to sleep on a garbage heap!”

Pan Gu’s temper flares, but before he can launch into an angry tirade, the pain in Pan Gu’s mind flares up once again, causing him to yelp before disappearing completely.

Pan Gu focuses on his newfound knowledge before sinking into deep contemplation.

“This technique…”

“It’s incredibly powerful is it not?” The old man’s voice seems to brim with confidence and smugness.

Pan Gu’s eye’s narrow. “What about this technique is so great?! It’s just going to make me fat! Can you even really call this a technique you old bastard, are you trying to trick me?!”

A deranged laugh begins echoing out from the old man as his happiness at Pan Gu’s misfortune increases.

This cackle elevates into a roar of laughter as another round of chamber pot slop is launched at Pan Gu from the chute above, sending him ducking and weaving unsuccessfully to dodge it.

The old man’s voice resounds in Pan Gu’s mind once more. “How do we intend to get out of here, then?”

Pan Gu pauses and glances around the area. “Once a month, the slaves are sent down here to empty and clean this area. We’ll wait till then, and then make our escape from this damned place.”

The old man’s voice becomes slightly irritated. “You intend to make me stay in this hellhole for a month?”

“No. The next cleaning session is in one week. In the meantime, let’s find someplace where the shit isn’t falling from the sky.” Pan Gu begins wading through the trash and sewage, aiming for a crack in the hard wall to his right.

The crack widens near the floor, and sits just above the trash at an angle, preventing it from leaking into the crack.

Investigating it closely, Pan Gu discovers an empty cavern behind it.

Wiggling his body into the widest portion of the crack near the floor, Pan Gu is just barely able to squeeze past the crack and into the room beyond.

Once there, he stands and begins looking around. The smell of trash and chamber pots lingers around him, but for the most part, the scent of this room is much older and mustier.

Frowning, Pan Gu makes his way around the room, noting a pond in the corner of the room filled with cold, clear water before tripping over a ledge which leads to a small stone platform. On top of this platform sits a formation seal, which gathers pure white light around it constantly.

The air here is thick and heavy with a strange energy, making it hard to breathe in this room.

The voice of the old man suddenly begins cackling. “You’ve got some strange luck, Pangu. Do you know what this is? This is a Qi condensation formation. It’s probably what this academy uses to thicken the essence of the heavens in the earth throughout this entire sect.”

Pan Gu’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise.

“It doesn’t seem like anybody has been here in a long time. Alright, we’ll stay here. But first, you need to bathe and change out of those rags.” The old man’s constant chatter was beginning to irritate Pan Gu, whose eyes twitched in response.

Suddenly, a great barrel appears in front of Pan Gu, and it flies on its own over to the pond, fills itself with water, and then flies back to land in front of Pangu. In a few moments, the water begins to steam on its own.

Pan Gu’s shock at its sudden appearance made the old man laugh smugly.

“I didn’t say it before, but I’m a unique treasure. I contain within me a space which can hold an entire galaxy of items, and I am also meant for being used in Combat. Though, that has changed now that I lack a physical body.” The old man’s voice echoes in his head.

“This barrel is one of the items you stored in me before you died. Convenient now, I guess, but silly then. This is a self-heating bath. I’ll also prepare some of your previous clothing for you.”

Just as this was said, a pair of neatly folded clothes lands on the ground to Pan Gu’s right.

Shaking his head warily, Pan Gu undresses and stuffs the hole which leads to the trash heap in with his soiled clothes, forming a sort of stop-gap to clear up the scent of the garbage chamber. Then, he gingerly climbs into the barrel, the water adjusting its temperature to be ideal for Pan Gu’s body.

A strong feeling of comfort wafts through Pan Gu’s body, which helps him clear his mental state immensely.

Pan Gu once more takes time to understand the cultivation technique that the Old Man had given him, sighing heavily. This technique was truly monstrous. It was a technique which refined his body, his mind, and his soul all at once. This was already an extremely rare technique just with those details, but what made it truly unique, and most troublesome, was its unique requirements. Most cultivators could use spiritual medicines, cultivation pills refined by alchemists, to enhance their cultivation speed. Unfortunately, this technique couldn’t be improved that way. To advance from the Qi Condensation level 1, Bone Forging, and move onto level 2, Muscle/Tendon Strengthening required a foundation made with twice the energy of other cultivators. Furthermore, this energy wasn’t simply Yin or Yang energy, but rather it required Chaos Qi, a sort of primal energy that existed before the universe was formed from the splitting of the Yin and Yang energies.

Just then, the voice of the old man sounds out in Pan Gu’s mind. “Since we’re here, let’s take advantage of that formation. This sect has never done you any favors, so let’s collect some dues.”

Pan Gu looks at the formation in confusion. “What do you mean?”

“I’m going to give you a technique, and you’re going to use it to transplant that formation onto your body.” Replied the voice of the old man as though it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Pan Gu was shocked. Transplant the formation… onto his body?!

“Is such a thing even possible?!” Came his startled reply.

The old man snorts, and says smugly, “It’s one of the many techniques that made you covet my knowledge in your past life. Since it’s going to be passed to you eventually, we might as well do it now and make it so that you can increase your training speed. This way you’ll at least match the speed of other cultivators on this mortal plane.”

Pan Gu began quivering in excitement. “Okay! Let’s do it!”

The next words out of the old man’s voice caused his previously raised spirits to dampen once more.

“But first you need to reach the third stage of Qi Condensation. This formation should prove useful for advancing to the Qi Foundation realm.”

Pan Gu wasn’t even at the first level of the Qi Condensation Stage, so his gloom couldn’t be worse.

“But… how? Do you have Chaos Qi pills? I don’t even know where to find Chaos Qi.” came his dejected reply.

The old man offered no response, but suddenly a pile of pills red, black, and white appear in front of Pan Gu.

Pan Gu’s eyes go round.

“These… These are… What are these pills?” Came the immensely hopeful voice of Pan Gu.

The old man’s voice was incredibly smug as he explained the usage of the pills. The red pills would break down his body so that he could then toughen it up with Qi using the cultivation method which had been passed to him by the old man.

“But… I still don’t understand.”

“You’re much dumber in this life than you were in the past.” The old man’s voice sighs heavily.

“Energy is the foundation of the universe. There are two forms of energy, the first is hard and solid, and so heavily compressed that it has become matter. The second is wild, and fluid. Everything, everywhere, is made of energy. The energies that make up everything are Yin and Yang. To cultivate this technique, you must unite the Yin and Yang energies within your Dantian, forming Chaos Qi.”

Pan Gu’s eyes pinch together in thought. “So… I can absorb energy from anything?”

“Yes. Anything. In fact, I was going to suggest that we start by absorbing the energy of that pond. Its fluid, and light, and you should be able to absorb it more easily than the rocks and stones within the room.”

The more Pan Gu thought of this technique, the more he realized exactly how frightening it could be. As if affirming his thoughts, the old man’s voice calls out again.

“A cultivator who cultivates this technique will be able to absorb the energy of the world around them directly. They would never need pills to increase their speed or improve their talent. Even offensive techniques can be absorbed and turned into your own power.”

A cultivation technique like this was an incredible marvel because it broke the rules of the universe, allowing for one to harness chaos as a form of ultimate power.

Unable to bear it any longer, Pan Gu finally asked the question which had been weighing on his mind the most.

“Where the hell did you come from, Jian Sheng? This technique is incredible, but this isn’t like anything that I have ever even heard about in legends.”

Jian Sheng sighed and smiled.

“Pangu, in your past life you separated the Yin from the Yang, making it possible for the Goddess Nuwa to create mankind, and for other gods to create other creatures in all the vast planets of the galaxies in this Universe. But, you must have been created too, so who made you? You and I are brothers in this regard. Whoever, whatever it was that made you, also made me. That’s why I’ve decided to help you.”

The old man’s voice turns sharp and demanding. “Now, let’s begin! Start by consuming one of the pills. Then circulate the energy released according to the cultivation technique I gave you.”

Pan Gu sighed and climbed out of the barrel. The barrel then disappeared, and Pan Gu sat down in its place, directly in front of the pills.

He gingerly grasped one of the pills and swallowed it.

The moment the pill touched his tongue, it dissolved and flowed down his throat before penetrating through to his veins and circulating around his body with every beat of his heart.

They dissolved into his system like the red pill had previously, and he immediately began circulating the energy contained within them.

As soon as the pill dissolved completely, it began tearing apart everything in its path, causing sheer agony to rip across Pang Gu’s body. The pain was so intense that he was on the verge of losing consciousness, but he tenaciously endured.

He forcefully circulated the energies within his body, grimacing as heavy cracks and breaks began appearing in his bones and meridian veins.

After the energy had made its fifth cycle through his body, he began feeling less pain. More and more it seemed that he became numb.

“Now Pangu! Use the technique to absorb the energy of the pond!” rang out the old man’s voice.

Finally, the energy of the pill had completely worked its way through his system and ran out of strength. The fractures in his bones and meridians, while painful, were minor injuries.

Pan Gu was pale and shaking from the shockingly difficult effort that went into maintaining this state for a long period of time. Without another moment of hesitation, he summoned the energy of the pond. His pores opened all over his body, and the energy seemed to pour into him, circulating in his meridians, and soothing the cracked and broken bones and meridians as it swept through him. The pond visibly decreased in size, but there was still quite a lot of energy left. Far more than Pan Gu thought he could absorb.

“Good, good! You may not have noticed yet, but your body condition has already improved drastically. Another round of this should bring you squarely into the Bone forging stage, at which point we’ll have to up the ante.”

Pan Gu frowned, thinking. “Why exactly is this necessary?”

The Old Man’s voice sounded out once more, “Your body is composed of the primal yang and yin mixed with clay. It’s a mortal body, with naturally conflicting energies. And not even the best quality mortal body. We need to prepare your body to cultivate Chaos Qi, which means that your body needs to be formed from primordial chaos and the blood of a True God. “

“What’s a true God?” muttered Pan Gu out loud.

“A true God is a god that was born a God, and never had to cultivate to become a God.”

A frown creases Pan Gu’s forehead. “So… was I a true God?”

The patience was clearly wearing thin as the voice of the old man became somewhat overbearing in tone. “No. You had to cultivate from the beginning and learn the secrets of the Dao to separate Yin from Yang. When you did separate Yin from Yang, you created four true Gods a Phoenix, a Qilin, a Dragon, and a Turtle. They helped you complete the foundations of the universe, and created the other gods before disappearing.”

“Do you have the blood of a true God?”

“YES. I have the blood of those four true Gods in vials.”

Pan Gu seemed thoroughly satisfied with his answers, and thus quietly began to continue the process.

He took the pill, and repeated the process as before, though this time there was far less discomfort, and he felt fuller than ever after absorbing more of the pond. The pond appeared deceptively deep, but following the urgings of the old man’s voice, he kept at it.

Finally, he finished off the pile of pills and let out a groan.

His energy was swirling, chaotic, and hard to maintain control over.

“This is difficult to deal with, Jian Sheng. I feel like I’ll explode if I lose concentration.”

Jian Sheng’s voice echoed out within his head, now sounding urgent. “Quickly! Push the energy into your blood and bones!”

Nodding his head, Pan Gu began focusing his mind and pushing the energy as instructed.

His blood seemed to become thick and viscous, pumping through his body slowly but surely, while he felt his bones splinter under pressure, the energy filling up the marrow of his bones before fully healing the breaks, fractures, and splinters and forming a bone that seemed to radiate with incredible strength and vitality. His bones began feeling as powerful as the bones of a vicious beast.

The pain was incredible. Beads of sweat traveled down his body as he continuously worked on this process. But every bone that healed and radiated strength gave him the will to push on, to complete the process.

The entire time, Jian Sheng stayed silent and observed the process from start to finish.

Little did Pan Gu know that the entire process took three whole days.

His exhaustion at the end was so complete, that as soon as he ran out of Qi to push into his bones and blood, he passed out, and slept for a whole twelve hours.

When he finally woke up, he could feel that his senses had improved drastically. The tiniest details could be seen in the darkest corners of the room he was in.

“Finally decided to wake up, huh? We’ve got less than two days to finish this process and get out of here. You ready?”

Pan Gu simply nodded his head, which seemed to satisfy the old man. The barrel appears again, full of steaming liquid.

“Before we start, you should bathe again. Don’t worry about the water, the barrel filters out the impurities, so the water remains fresh.”

Pan Gu started, and then looked at his clothes. They were covered in a greasy, gooey black sludge. “What the hell?” he said.

“When you passed out your body forced out its impurities. Thus, the disgusting mess you’re now covered in.”

Without another word, Pan Gu stripped naked and jumped into the barrel. Pan Gu scrubbed away at the filth covering his body and discovered that underneath it was a bunch of fresh, pink skin. The scars from his years of life as a slave, and from the constant beatings at the training field had all disappeared.

On his chest was a mark in the shape of a sword, like a birthmark. Noticing all the changes, he was very much amazed.

But it wasn’t until he saw his own reflection in the water that he realized just how much had changed. He was easily a full six inches taller than before he began cultivating, and his muscles were thin and lanky, but well toned and strong. His skin was milky white, and his hair long and thick.

He was a handsome youth, looking more like a frail young lord than a grungy martial sect slave who’d had his body dumped into a garbage heap.

He sighed in appreciation and stretched himself happily. His expression turned lecherous as he thought of all the women who would find him attractive with his newfound height.

“When you’re done admiring yourself, we have work to do…” Came the echo of an amused voice.

Pan Gu’s expression immediately became sour.

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