After transporting all the crystals out of the warehouse, it was decided that Chu Shen would take some to cultivate. Taking what he needed, Chu Shen quickly left and started closed door cultivation. Absorbing energy from the Emperor and King Stage Beast Cores, Chu Shen advanced quickly through his cultivation.
In a month, Chu Shen had reached the Martial Emperor Stage from the Martial Army Stage, two full stages! Another month passed by and Chu Shen reached the Martial Emperor Stage Level 6. Apparently, when one reached the Martial Emperor Stage, the body would be purged of almost all impurities. As a result, there would only be five blockages inside the final two meridians which resulted in the Emperor stage being separated into two meridians. Because of how concentrated it was though, it became ten times as difficult to break through.
It took Chu Shen another month to finally reach Martial Emperor Stage Level 10. Master Ti Wu had told him to stop there. Anything further and he would need to have Master Ti Wu guide him.
Finally, it was time to break into the Natural Realm. Taking the first step, Chu Shen called out to Master Ti Wu, who emerged from the Void’s Hand. Surveying Chu Shen, Master Ti Wu nodded. “You’ve finally reached the peak of the Martial Emperor Stage. It took you long enough. Alright, now it’s time for you to reach the Earth Stage.”
“A normal person's body would have been refining its Qi for a while now, gradually getting closer to realizing their element. When one reaches the Emperor Stage, traces of that element would be realized inside the person’s Qi. For example, a person at Martial Emperor Level 8 might be able to cause burns with his Qi if he had the fire element.”
“Unfortunately, everyone around you is a freak. None of them had to go through this process. Normally a person would start to reject normal Qi and by the time they reached Martial Emperor Level 9, they would be unable to absorb Qi that is not related to their element. Fortunately, your element still lets you do that, you lucky brat.”
“In order to advance to the Natural Realm, one must solidify their dantian. Absorb Qi into your dantian, as much as possible to the point of bursting. Don’t stop until it becomes painful. Then, condense! Condense the Qi as much as possible using the pressure from your meridians. You should be somewhat familiar with this process since Martial Warriors turn their Qi into liquid.”
Chu Shen nodded. He had condensed his Qi before, though his meridians had condensed it for him, so it had become a thoughtless process since then. Concentrating, Chu Shen started to absorb Qi and force it into his dantian. Soon, his dantian was overflowing with Qi. He felt a pinching sensation in his gut, making him uncomfortable.
Taking this as a sign that his dantian was finally full, Chu Shen started to condense his Qi. Using the pressure from the Qi his meridians absorbed, he forced his Qi to shrink inside his dantian. The liquid swirled and surged. All of his liquid Qi slowly disappeared. In its place was a small shining bead of solid Qi. This Qi wasn’t the color of gray null Qi. Instead, it was a black Qi.
Chu Shen was puzzled and sent his soul out to investigate this. An aura that reminded Chu Shen of Master Ti Wu emanated from that Qi. Master Ti Wu grinned as he sent out his own spiritual sense.
“Alright brat. You now have your first elemental Qi, proper Null Qi. This Qi is highly condensed and purified Qi. Once you are able to form it, it signifies that you are now in the Natural Realm. Unlike before, stages are not separated into 10 levels, since there isn’t a clear distinction. Now, let me tell you what the Earth, Nature, and World Stages are.”
“Earth stage is the stage where one can form elemental Qi. Your body will reject all forms of Qi unless it is pure elemental Qi, which means your meridians will no longer absorb Qi from the atmosphere.”
“Nature Stage is where one begins to absorb minute traces of their element from the atmosphere. Usually this breakthrough is only considered a minor one since it doesn’t increase your strength, but it greatly increases stamina since one can now absorb Qi everywhere, and not just in places with pure elements. Since your Qi allows you to absorb all energy, you can be considered to already be in the Nature Stage.
“Finally, there is the World Stage. In this stage, one forms their domain. Domain is simply where one unleashes their elemental Qi and creates an area where their element reigns supreme. The power of a domain comes from the amount of the martial artist’s Qi and their understanding of their element.
“One might ask what that means. If a martial artist can understand their element and where its power comes from, they would be able to enhance it. For example, take a martial artist with the fire element. Chu Shen, you understand that fire is the result of combustion due to Lucas’ universe. By adding oxygen, one can increase the might of the combustion reaction.
If that martial artist knew that, he could use his Qi to increase airflow into his domain and strengthen it. Various other laws of nature can be used to increase the might of a domain. One martial artist I knew of had a sword domain. He would throw out dozens of swords and strengthen his domain that way. As for you, you must first create your domain and then we can strengthen it.”
Chu Shen nodded. “Thank you master Ti Wu. Now, do you think I can help Aslo an Chrissa with their breakthroughs as well?”
Master Ti Wu paused. He thought for a bit before nodding. “Yes, they should also be able to break through to the Nature Stage like you. They have already been filtering Qi from the atmosphere all their lives, so it should come easy. Just make sure they can condense elemental Qi.”
Chu Shen nodded. “Thank you Master Ti Wu.”
Going to Aslo and Chrissa, Chu Shen told them he would help them train to Rank 9 Mages and even beyond that. Immediately, they became super excited. Chrissa decided that Aslo should receive the training first and she would be last.
Once it was settled, Chu Shen took Aslo to his hut and was ready to begin training. Right as they were about to start, a translucent barrier appeared around them. Chu Shen sighed. “Sorry Aslo, we’ll have to train in the next dimension.”
Aslo frowned. “So I have to wait ‘till then? Great. Just great.”
Lucas sighed as well. “At least I was able to finish creating this mech with the help of the AI. Maybe I’ll get to test it out in the next dimension.” A twelve-foot tall suit of armor disappeared from in front of Lucas as he spoke.
The ships that Lucas had kept suddenly exploded as their reactors lost containment. Sending a message to the AI, he said that they were leaving. Not even a second after he sent the message, Lucas, and everyone else, disappeared from the planet.
[End Arc 5: Desolate World]