The Nine Cauldrons

Book 4 Chapter 8 The Limits of the Dantian

The gazes of over ten thousand people were fixated on the arena.

“Hu!” Teng Qingshan pulled back his Reincarnation Spear.

Zang Feng was stunned as he fell down, seated on the floor. After a long time, he took a deep look at Teng Qingshan before saying, “Martial Brother Qingshan, I’ve lost, and I admit my defeat!” With that, he got up, picked up the sheath and saber, and left the arena in desolation. The men from the Black Armored Army, as well as the core disciples, immediately opened a path for Zang Feng to leave.

Zang Feng had lost. He wasn’t able to retaliate at all!

“Zang Feng’s abilities were not bad at all! His strength would likely be comparable with the strength of the two Black and White Elders from the Xiao Yao Palace. But against the Blood Moon Saber Meng Tian, he would be a notch lower.” Teng Qingshan silently gauged. His Five Elemental Spear Art was constantly improving because of his research and insights. Especially the time at the Blazing Mountain, he had defeated the Sovereign of the Chong Jian Sect with merely his ‘Inflamed Passion’ and ‘Flashing Fire’.

At that moment, his understanding of fusing Yin and Yang, strong and weak, went up another level.

The Pursuing Shadow Spear Art had become even more continuous and perfect.

“He is already considered very talented.” Teng Qingshan looked at Zang Feng’s desolate figure from behind. “Only the strong can grow from facing obstacles! Whether this Zang Feng will be a dragon or a worm will depend on how strong his mental state is.” Teng Qingshan had experienced trials of life and death that an assassin went through starting from the age of seven! Some of them would include killing, survival skills, as well interrogation skills by using torture.

The deaths of friends, his lover, as well as himself.

Teng Qingshan had gone through far too much!

Both his past and present lives had allowed Teng Qingshan to experience everything that built up his mentality to what it was. How could Zang Feng compare at all?

Zang Feng had joined the Gui Yuan Sect since he was young, and he was assessed as a genius with immeasurable potential. He had led a smooth life, becoming the direct disciple of the Sovereign and eventually the commander of the Black Armored Army! Indeed, Zang Feng had not gone through many obstacles.

“Commander Teng Qingshan has won this contest!” Standing atop the arena, Pang Shan said out in a clear voice. “Commander Teng shall remain as the First Commander of our Black Armored Army!”

The gazes of over ten thousand men were all fixed on the arena. They were fixed on Teng Qingshan who was clad in a suit of green.

“Teng Qingshan!”

“Commander Teng!”

The men from the Black Armored Army all shouted crazily. All of them were very agitated, bellowing, hollering! In the Black Armored Army, the strong were revered! Teng Qingshan had defeated Zang Feng with indisputable strength. In their hearts, the men from the Black Armored Army would of course see Teng Qingshan as the strongest of the Black Armored Army! Many core disciples of the Gui Yuan Sect were extremely excited as well.

Teng Qingshan came from a normal background, but he already had such abilities at the age of seventeen. Many core disciples considered Teng Qingshan as their goal!


From that day onwards, Teng Qingshan would be the strongest amongst the younger generation!

Heavy rainfall finally arrived at night after the sky had been gloomy for the whole day!

Hua hua!

The rainfall was very heavy, and the wind was chilling!

On the veranda of the second floor in his quarters, Teng Qingshan was lying on the chair while looking at the chilling rainstorm. “The Gui Yuan Sect truly reveres the strong. Merely defeating Zang Feng…Such a small thing could raise such a big storm.” Recalling the scene after the fight that morning, Teng Qingshan didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

There were those who congratulated him.

There were those who would like to speak to him.

There were those who wished for Teng Qingshan to take in their relatives as disciples. Teng Qingshan was the 27th generation disciple and had such strong capabilities, so he had the right to take in disciples.

In short, this battle had solidified Teng Qingshan’s status.

“Status and respect. All these depend on one’s abilities.” Teng Qingshan lamented. This was how it was across the Nine Prefectures! To gain respect, one must rely on his own hands! What one hears may not be the truth. Only what could be seen was reliable. While there had been plenty of rumors spreading that Teng Qingshan was very powerful, many disciples and soldiers may not have really believed it.

Only after they saw the battle earlier were they finally convinced!

“What’s the point of dominating the warriors in the Postliminary Realm! Across the Nine Prefectures, the strongest ones are the innate masters! In the Gui Yuan Sect, once one becomes an innate master, he will be appointed as a ‘Law Enforcing Elder’ and gain a high status right away!” Teng Qingshan was only thinking about how to achieve the Innate Realm. Teng Qingshan would not be content with the mere compliments and flattery from that morning.

Teng Qingshan got up and sat cross-legged on the veranda, trying once again to cultivate his first Innate True Origin.

The endless rain continued until the next morning. By that time, the heavy rain slowed into a light drizzle, but it nonetheless continued to fall.

Teng Qingshan opened his eyes.

After sitting cross-legged on the veranda overnight, his clothes were slightly damp.

“I have been training with ‘Dark Moon Spear Technique’, the method to achieve the Innate Realm, for a whole nine days, but there hasn’t been any progress at all.” Teng Qingshan frowned. “I can only ask Master now!” Thereafter, Teng Qingshan washed up and brought an umbrella to head out for breakfast before he went to look for Zhuge Yuanhong.


The doors to Zhuge Yuanhong’s study were wide open. Zhuge Yuanhong was barefoot and his long hair was let down, as he wore a loose fitting long robe and waved a brush in front of his desk. A scent of sandalwood was emitting from the incense burning on the desk.

“Master!” Teng Qingshan stood at the door as he called out respectfully.

“Oh, Qingshan.” Zhuge Yuanhong did not raise his head, but he continued to wave his brush, sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly. “Come in.”

Teng Qingshan walked into the study, and he calmed down after smelling the scent of the sandalwood. He quietly stood at the side while not making a sound. He could see that his master was painting a scene of mountains and water. With a few simple strokes, the rocky gorge appeared on the paper. Only after some time did Zhuge Yuanhong put down his brush.

“I will probably only be able to finish this painting at noon.” Zhuge Yuanhong smiled as he looked at Teng Qingshan. “Qingshan, do you like to draw?”

“I don’t.” Teng Qingshan shook his head.

“Actually, drawing is a good way to train your mind.” Zhuge Yuanhong lamented. “For example, when you are infuriated, you can draw the scene of a burning building, channeling the anger into the painting. So when other people see the painting, they will be able to feel the flames that can burn down everything, as the craziness and fury are all contained within.”

“It requires extreme control of your mental states to be able to control the paintbrush and complete the painting under different mental states while not making any mistakes!” Zhuge Yuanhong said.

Teng Qingshan nodded.

To be able to express the states in the drawing, first, one’s artistic skill must reach an extremely high level. The artistic skill was just the foundation.

“The training after achieving the Innate Realm would be the training of the mind and the comprehension of the realm.” Zhuge Yuanhong smiled and said. “Qingshan, you’ll have to pick up a skill to train your mind! The Dark Moon Spear Technique contains a method to practice calligraphy. It is to practice writing the ‘moon’ character. There are a total of eighteen different ways to write the ‘moon’ character. When the ancestors created words, they did not create them without contemplation. When one is engrossed in writing, it allows you to really appreciate the feelings behind each word.”

Teng Qingshan nodded his head, but he still remained silent!

Writing? Drawing?

Writing was the most that Teng Qingshan could do, in additional to drawing of a few simple portraits. These were the basic skills required of an assassin. As for the mental state? Teng Qingshan was far from that. Furthermore, he also had no interest in them.

His interest only lay in boxing! In Spear Arts!

With the ‘Three Postures’, each time Teng Qingshan practiced it, it would take him one whole day, but he would not feel tired at all. But as for writing calligraphy? That was torture.

“Haha……” Zhuge Yuanhong shook his head and smiled. “Go ahead, what’s on your mind?”

“Master!” Teng Qingshan said solemnly. “Actually, I have long reached the stage where my ‘Spirit’ breaks through the obstacles of the Niwan Palace.”

“What?!” No matter how calm Zhuge Yuanhong was, he was so shocked that his eyes were wide open!

“Qingshan, you, are able to reach the state where your ‘Spirit’ breaks through the obstacles of the Niwan Palace?” Zhuge Yuanhong could not believe it. To attain the Innate Realm, this was the biggest obstacle. Once one’s ‘Spirit’ was able to break through, it would be one step away from attaining the Innate Realm. It would mean that the person would definitely be able to achieve the Innate Realm.

A seventeen year-old innate master?

What notion was this?!

“Master, take a look at this.” Teng Qingshan took out a flying dagger and tossed it out towards the outside of the study.


The flying knife cut across the sky, but suddenly, it curved and pierced into the bark of the willow tree.

“This……” Zhuge Yuanhong’s eyes lit up as he agitatedly patted Teng Qingshan on the shoulder. “Haha, Qingshan, oh Qingshan! Master has thought very well of you, but you, surprise me time and time again! Haha……turning a flying dagger? Your Spirit has not just left the body, but it has also reached such a high level of control. Your ‘Spirit’ really is very strong. I can guarantee that you do not even require two hours to attain the Innate Realm!”

‘Gui Yuan Zhuge’, in the Nine Prefectures, was a synonym for calm and wisdom.

But facing a disciple who could achieve the Innate Realm at the age of seventeen, no one would be able to keep his cool.

“Master.” Teng Qingshan said helplessly, “To be frank, from the day I received the’Dark Moon Spear Technique’, I had already started to ‘focus the mental state on the Dantian, fusing the Spirit and Qi in an attempt to cultivate the first Innate True Origin. But after nine days have passed, I am still not able to succeed.”

“What, impossible.” Zhuge Yuanhong was in disbelief.

“This is the truth.” Teng Qingshan was also feeling very helpless.

Zhuge Yuanhong was a bit surprised, but he quickly calmed down and said in a deep voice, “There are two conditions for one to attain the Innate Realm. One of them is to be at the pinnacle of the Postliminary Realm, and the other is for the Spirit to breakthrough the obstacles of the ‘Niwan Palace’. You have achieved both, so how could you not succeed? I saw the turning of your flying dagger earlier very clearly. The control of the ‘Spirit’ was much better than when I first stepped into the Innate Realm. Could it be that you have not reached the pinnacle of the Postliminary Realm? That’s not possible. You were already at the peak of the Postliminary Realm when I first saw you.”

“Qingshan, sit down cross-legged. Try one more time and follow what I say.” Zhuge Yuanhong said.

“Yes, Master.”

Teng Qingshan sat down in a cross-legged position.

Zhuge Yuanhong said, “Focus all of your Spirit into your Dantian, preferably gathering it to the center of your Dantian, in the middle of the hurricane there.”

Teng Qingshan suddenly opened his eyes as he looked at Zhuge Yuanhong in confusion. “Master, center of the hurricane? There is a center of a hurricane in the Dan Tian?”

Zhuge Yuanhong was also a bit dumbfounded.

“Of course there is!” Zhuge Yuanhong was exclaimed. “After the Spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth are absorbed, it’s converted into inner strength and stored in the Dantian. As one absorbs more and more inner strength, the Dantian will gradually grow bigger as it expands. Take Little Yun for instance, he is good in his training of mental cultivation method, and thus he is able to absorb the Spiritual Qi of Heaven and Earth very quickly. It took him only ten years for his Dantian to expand to its limit and stop growing. At that time, the inner strength in the Dantian will naturally form a hurricane! This is something that all who cultivate inner strength are aware of.”

Teng Qingshan was dumbfounded.

“Master, my…my Dantian is still gradually expanding!” Teng Qingshan spoke out.

Zhuge Yuanhong was in shock. “That’s not possible. When you first fought for the position of the centurion, you already had the capabilities of a First Rated Warrior. And your mental cultivation method of inner strength was obviously very bad. You must have eaten some spiritual fruit to get such a thick and profound inner strength. Spiritual fruits which can increase one’s inner strength can also modify the Dantian, allowing the Dan Tian to grow to its limit.”

Teng Qingshan did not know whether to laugh or to cry.

He finally found out the reason!

Spiritual Fruit of Heaven and Earth? Bullsh*t. The absorption of his inner strength was all thanks to the training of Xing Yi Martial Arts. The actual amount of inner strength absorbed was actually not much.

Even in the battle for the position of the centurion, he had relied on the strength of his body and not inner strength. He was conservative in the use of his inner strength.

The reason his training was fast was reliant on the ‘Vigor of the Reckless Bull’. Now that he had reached the ninth stage, the speed of one day of training now was comparable to a hundred days of training back in the Teng Jia Village. Also, the ‘Vigor of the Reckless Bull’ merely stated a method of cultivation, and it did not include common knowledge such as achieving the pinnacle state of the Postliminary Realm or on how the Dan Tian would reach its limits.

This was common knowledge!

Every warrior who cultivated would be informed by their master. However, Teng Qingshan did not have a master who would teach him about inner strength in the past. While he had one now, in Zhuge Yuanhong’s eyes, why would he still need to share such common knowledge to his ingenious disciple Teng Qingshan who was listed in the ‘Earth Ranking’?

“No wonder! Even with Zhuge Yun’s great mental cultivation method, it also took him ten years for his Dantian to reach its limits. The growth spurt of my Dantian only started after I started training in the ‘Vigor of the Reckless Bull’. I have yet to train for a year, so of course it wouldn’t have reached its limits yet.” Teng Qingshan was feeling very bitter.

Who would have thought that the obstacle was the simplest reason, that is, reaching the pinnacle of the Postliminary Realm!

“Qingshan, your Dantian is still growing and has yet to reach its limits?” Zhuge Yuanhong stared at Teng Qingshan.

Teng Qingshan nodded his head.

“Then, based on the normal mental cultivation method, how would you have such thick and profound inner strength within ten years time?” Zhuge Yuanhong asked.

“It is not that my inner strength is thick and profound. It is just that my meridian channels are wide and are able to exert a large amount of inner strength in an instance.” Teng Qingshan said.

Zhuge Yuanhong was astonished.

Amongst the spiritual fruits, the ones that can modify one’s meridian channels would be more rare and precious than those that can increase one’s inner strength! The wider one’s meridian channels were, the stronger the explosive power it could create in an instance.

“No wonder your ‘Vigor of the Reckless Bull’ can display such prowess.” Zhuge Yuanhong was uncertain as he asked, “What spiritual fruit did you eat in the past?”

“I didn’t have any special feeling! In the mountains, I will often eat wild fruits. My meridian channels have also changed gradually.” Teng Qingshan said. There is no way that he would reveal the secrets of Xing Yi Martial Arts. Even if he were to tell them…the people of the Nine Prefectures would not be able to understand it. It belonged to the achievements of another system.

Zhuge Yuanhong shook his head. “Nature is full of mysteries with many spiritual fruits and spiritual grasses that people are unaware of. You must have been lucky and ate something! Alright, now the problem is clear. Your problem is that your Dantian has yet to grow to its limits, and you have not reached the pinnacle of the Postliminary Realm!”

In the mind of a warrior.

To achieve a strength of ten thousand Jin, to have the Dantian reach its limit, and to reach the pinnacle of the Postliminary Realm……all these thoughts were all linked into one.

To become a First Rated Warrior, the Dantian would have almost reached its limits. After all, the spiritual fruits of Heaven and Earth that could expand the meridian channels were rare and few in number.

Who would have thought that an enigma such as Teng Qingshan would appear.

“Master, if I continue to train the ‘Vigor of the Reckless Bull’, how long would it take for my Dantian to reach its limits?” Teng Qingshan asked.

“For the past ten odd years, your Dantian has probably grown at a very slow pace! Based on the speed of the ninth stage of the ‘Vigor of the Reckless Bull’, I reckon……you would take at least another three to four years before your Dantian reaches its limits and you step into the Innate Realm.” Zhuge Yuanhong said. Teng Qingshan started to feel unsettled.

Three to four years?

“But it is not worth it to let you waste these three to four years time.” Zhuge Yuanhong shook his head and said. “There’s no other way out……We’ll have to find a spiritual fruit to instantly increase your inner strength and let your Dantian grow to its limit.”

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