Chapter 7: Cultivation Stages

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Several days had passed since Fang Mu and Xiao Fan found that Li Hao’s Spirit Root had five elements.
From that day on, Fang Mu shut himself in his house and just went out just to fill his stomach.

“Uncle Xiao, did I make Uncle Fang uncomfortable?” Li Hao, who felt Fang Mu’s changes in the past few days, was worried.

“No need to blame yourself, Fang Mu is like that.
He feels it’s hard to accept something that doesn’t work like he hoped.
He wants everything to be perfect.” Xiao Fan stroked Li Hao’s head, trying to calm the little boy down.

Over the past few days, Xiao Fan slowly started to teach Li Hao more about the world of cultivators, giving him knowledge about how the cultivation world worked.

“A cultivator is divided into various stages.
Someone who manages to become the cultivator will start from the Forging Qi…”

According to Xiao Fan’s explanation, cultivators had many stages: from Forging Qi to Foundation Realm, Core Formation, and lastly, Nascent Soul. 

“Actually there’s a belief that there is a higher stage than Nascent Soul, yet for the last thousand years there’s been no one who managed to attain it…”

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Forging Qi alone is divided into fifteen levels, but not everyone can achieve the highest level of this realm. 

“Most cultivators can only reach the ninth level.
Some who are a bit more talented can reach level twelve, and only those who are chosen can reach level fifteen…” 

If a cultivator wanted to achieve Foundation Realm, he must at least reach the ninth level of Forging Qi.
“Cultivators who enter the Foundation Realm at the ninth level of Forging Qi realm will form the Mortal Foundation; those who enter it at the twelfth level would establish Earth Foundation; while those who managed to reach the peak of Forging Qi have a chance to form Heaven Foundation.”

Xiao Fan explained that the Forging Qi stage and Foundation Realm was very important for every cultivator because it will determine their future on the path of immortality.
Someone less talented might end up in the Mortal Foundation, because when they formed a Mortal Foundation, then there was no hope for him to reach the next realm, Core Formation. 

“One who can reach Heaven Foundation only appears once every few hundred years, but about five hundred years ago, Fang Mu and I succeeded in forming the Heaven Foundation.”

Judging from the historical records, everyone who managed to form the Heaven Foundation would have a bright future ahead of them, like how Fang Mu and Xiao Fan each became the greatest hero in their faction.

“Fang Mu is depressed because you have five elemental Spirit Root.
Nine out of ten cultivators with talent like you can only reach the ninth level of Forging Qi, and the other one who is lucky enough will manage to form the Mortal Foundation.
However, your footsteps will stop there…” Xiao Fan explained the conditions that Li Hao didn’t understand.

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Someone with the Mortal Foundation can become an Elder in a small sect, while in a middle sect he might still have quite a serious role upon achieving the peak of his ability.
Yet, in a big sect like Heaven Mountain Sect, they don’t do more than errands or ordinary workers.
“Small sects may only have some Mortal Foundation cultivators, but in large sects, their number is tens or even hundreds of thousands…” 

Li Hao scratched his head.
“Simply put, did I disappoint Uncle Fang?”

“Ehm… He was disappointed because he hoped for something that was still uncertain.
I told you there’s no need to blame yourself.” Xiao Fan shook his head.

After providing a basic understanding of the cultivator world, Xiao Fan taught Li Hao to read, write, and count because he had never received an education. 

“If you want to become a cultivator and learn more, then you should be able to read and write.
Many things are also related to calculations, such as concocting poison and so on…” Li Hao didn’t really understand it, but he learned everything Xiao Fan taught to fill the time.
The study session became a new and exciting experience for Li Hao. 

This Hao really has amazing intelligence.. Xiao Fan observed Li Hao’s learning progress.
Although he did not have basic knowledge of reading, writing, and counting, Li Hao managed to understand everything he was taught quickly.

According to Xiao Fan’s estimation, Li Hao was at least ten times faster at learning things than children at his age.
This made Xiao Fan chuckle in admiration and, at the same time, regret Li Hao’s limited talent. 

If only his Spirit Root had three elements….
He might be able to reach Core Formation, and there is even hope of reaching Nascent Soul with his intelligence and the resources we can provide… Xiao Fan sighed from time to time.
He tried not to think about it, but it was hard to simply forget. 

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A few days passed, and Li Hao had already mastered the basics of reading, writing, and counting.
Xiao Fan was starting to feel a dilemma as to whether he should teach cultivation or not.

“Uncle Xiao, what happened to Uncle Fang?” whispered Li Hao. 

Li Hao’s question made Xiao Fan wake up from his dream.
“What do you mean…” Xiao Fan choked on his breath himself as he turned his head towards Fang Mu, who was sitting not far from him.

Fang Mu’s hair looked messy, the dark circles under his eyes were so thick, and his face became wrinkled.
His red and dry eyes indicated it had been quite a while since Fang Mu had last slept.

Xiao Fan didn’t notice before because the past few days Fang Mu ate quickly while his head was lowered then went back into his house. 

Seeing Fang Mu’s condition, Xiao Fan didn’t ask anything and changed his sitting position to be further away from him.
A while later, Fang Mu, who finished eating, got up and went back to his house.

“Uncle Xiao, are you going to let it be, just like that?”

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“Hao, you can see it yourself.
He doesn’t seem to be thinking clearly.
A wrong action might make us fight again to death.”

Xiao Fan shook his head.
He understood that his childhood friend was always serious in dealing with all situations, so easy to stress. 

“Today we should refresh our minds so as not to suffer the same fate.
What if we go fishing?” All this time, Xiao Fan had never been to the lake where Li Hao caught their usual fish. 

Li Hao looked at Xiao Fan from top to bottom down with a doubtful look.
Li Hao scratched his cheek before sighing long. 

“What? Why are you looking at me like that?” Xiao Fan raised his eyebrows and questioned Li Hao’s attitude.

“Ehm, Uncle… How do I say it?” Li Hao looked hesitant to speak.
“I don’t mind taking you fishing, but I have one instruction.” 

“What instruction?” 

“Don’t die!”

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