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781 Taking It Too Far

 This reminded him of a seemingly simple sentence in Cellular Cosmology. However, he had never fully grasped the meaning of the sentence.

"Humans are special creatures even in the Dimensional World. The relationship between the body and the soul is that the body is like a carrier for the soul."

The author of Cellular Cosmology was like a lunatic in some aspects. He made various bold assumptions. For example, humans were actually some sort of weapon, creatures that were created. Of course, this was a little nonsensical as there were historical records of old civilizations that could still be accessed after all. From some aspects, the common characteristic of the dimensional creatures was that there would be some soul remnants in their cells. However, even though humans were intelligent creatures and could wield Soul Power, their cells really did not hold any Soul Power.

Why was that so?

In fact, this issue had once been studied by people in the Holy Land, but in the end, everyone gave up because such research would not have practical results. It was unnecessary to take such pains studying an insoluble problem in the Holy Land. As such, there were countless mysteries to be unraveled here. Most people would want to choose research directions that were practical and those that could allow them to increase their power quickly.

However, Wang Zhong was absolutely drawn to this. He wanted to know what was inside the human soul and body.

After making detailed notes, his understanding of the entire microscopic cell-energy theory had reached a certain level, which meant that he had already grasped the rudiments of Cellular Cosmology. As such, he was ready for the first step of cultivation.

If one had to elaborate on why Cellular Cosmology had been criticized to such a degree, it could be said that the cost of cultivation resources and the theoretical arrogance were definitely not the main reason. The thing that truly stopped people from practicing it was the terrifying difficulty of this path's rudiments.

There were many in the Holy City who had been fooled by this divine book. And there were many people who actually agreed with the theories inside and had the ambition to practice it. As for those who were wealthy and powerful, although there had been countless such people, many of them fell into despair at the first step.

The first step to practicing Cellular Cosmology was to observe: self-observation and understanding. This was obviously not done through Micro Mirrors as that was considered research, not spiritual cultivation. The first step of practicing this was to meditate and establish inner sight!

The basis of Cellular Cosmology was to transform oneself with pure energy. One had to start with the microscopic level, take control of one's body, and tap into all the potential and mysteries of the human body. However, for a Heroic Soul, cells were truly too small...

The first step was meditation and calming oneself, to allow one to achieve the state of Anātta[1] This was actually not difficult for Wang Zhong, but taking into account the book's repeated warnings about the difficulty of the first step, he did not try to cut his base costs.

Simba and Big White had been strictly warned to stay completely silent in his Soul Sea. After a bath and a change of clothes, he sat cross-legged on his bed to meditate. It could be seen that a plate of Tranquility Incense bought from the Dimensional Hostel had been ignited, exuding an intoxicating scent. The whole room seemed ethereal and all external interference had been reduced to a minimum. There was nothing but tranquility in this room.

He calmed his mind in a short span of time, but the focus of his consciousness gradually grew stronger, connecting the body and mind. He soon sensed an ethereal world of thoughts, and he could picture his Soul Sea in his mind very clearly.

In fact, when Wang Zhong was a child, he was already able to enter the so-called meditation realm of the Holy Land, but at that time, it was a kind of endless, dark torture to him. Due to the Fate Stone, he had a natural ability to meditate, even without the Tranquility Incense. It was just that he wanted to experience the basic steps. In this regard, the Mystic Sect was very professional.

The Tranquility Incense was made from the dippel's oil of a specific dimensional creature as well as some other materials. The incense was a basic necessity for the Holy Disciples in the Mystic Sect.

Meditation was easy; it was equivalent to soothing the mind. Wang Zhong could clearly feel the state of his Soul Sea, but now, what he had to do was not just to observe the Soul Sea. He had to open and release his mind to let his consciousness spread to every corner of his body.

At this time, it was just basic diffusion of the mind. Based on his analysis, if the mind was constantly stretched and extended - getting thinner - then one would get closer and closer to the microscopic world!

Undoubtedly, Wang Zhong was a genius. He had the right idea. The book also had a similar view. However, the problem was that only the best Holy Disciples could attain high-level meditation, to the point where it was similar to breathing. Secondly, to stretch the mind - which was called 'soul unfolding' in the Mystic Sect's terms - was really too difficult to achieve. One could understand the theory, but how could something like the soul be controlled?

Not to mention stretching... or unfolding?

However, Wang Zhong could truly do it. He had control over the consciousness of his soul. This process was indeed a little difficult, but it was achievable. However, Wang Zhong found a problem. As the soul expanded, one would indeed move towards the microscopic world, but the downside was that his self-consciousness would become increasingly blurred.

Soon, Wang Zhong felt a pang of fear and quickly recollected his mind. If his mind were to spread infinitely, he wasn't sure if his soul would collapse or whether he would eventually lose the ability to reassemble his soul. No one dared to do so.

When Wang Zhong regained consciousness, he was already panting heavily and was covered in cold sweat. He composed himself and eventually realized that the experience felt very enjoyable. The method was correct. If the soul was strong enough, it could continue to spread and sink. When the consciousness had the ability to observe the microscopic world - in other words, being able to see microscopic cells - it meant that he could proceed to the next step of transformation.

His soul needed to be stronger. The process of diffusion could not be rushed. It needed to follow a step-by-step plan. To maintain a certain degree of consciousness while trying to reach the microscopic level was very dangerous. If one was not careful, one might lose control over the meditation process and possibly lose one's mind. This was undoubtedly the worst-case scenario for Holy Disciples because even gourmets would not be able to reverse the situation. This was precisely why the Tranquility Incense was always used during meditation.

However, there was no mountain in the world that could not be scaled. For things that Wang Zhong had set his mind to, the words 'give up' never existed in his dictionary. On the contrary, this high level of difficulty actually amused him and aroused his fighting spirit.

He had to try harder! Harder! Harder!

Wang Zhong was going all out to increase his Soul Power. Thanks to his perception at the microscopic level, he was beginning to sharpen his Soul Power bit by bit. Not to mention that Wang Zhong was a very flexible person, during the process of strengthening his control over the soul, he was also pondering about different methods of practice.

However, his Soul Power was still too weak; to be able to spread to the microscopic level was just like pouring Soul Power into an abyss. Not to mention the Heroic Soul Stage, even if he was at the Heavenly Soul Stage, his efforts would be futile. As such, this was not a matter of the strength of his Soul Power. There was probably a problem with the method used.

One of Wang Zhong's characteristics was that he was a thinker. He made bold guesses and took caution in verifying them. This dispersion method of his was obviously not feasible. It was impossible for one at the Heavenly Soul Stage to do so, let alone him. Actually, he had no need to diffuse his entire mind; he only needed to enter a microscopic 'zone' for observation purposes while, at the same time, maintaining the existence of the core of his soul.

He couldn't try to disperse his mind completely, in case he failed to recondense them. If that indeed happened, wouldn't he become a vegetable? An idiot? And doomed to keep falling into an abyss of darkness forever?

In this case, Wang Zhong planned a feasible training method, and that was to establish the Soul Core: in other words, the core of his soul. This was inspired by the Magma Leader. Almost all powerful creatures had this feature, which was to establish a core of memory and power. If Wang Zhong managed to establish the Soul Core, it would mean that no matter how far his soul spread, there would always be some leeway, similar to that of a spring. If the soul was stretched to a certain extent, the Soul Core would beckon all Soul Power back for reorganization.

If that was the case - even if he only had the power of the Heroic Soul Stage - it would suffice.

Having found a solution, Wang Zhong was undoubtedly extremely thrilled. The establishment of the Soul Core seemed simple when spoken of, but there was nothing to refer to, and no one to ask for advice. In the Holy Land, although there were directions to choose from for spiritual cultivation, the specific process depended on oneself. It was not uncommon for some to lose their minds. It happened every year.

Soft fire makes sweet malt. Everything was the hardest in the beginning, but perseverance would eventually lead you to the best results.

Wang Zhong did not leave his house for an entire week. He had truly become a homebody. As usual, no one noticed his disappearance at all. He was originally a well-known expert of the CHF, but now he was just a passerby. The process of establishing the Soul Core was rather... unsuccessful. This was probably unavoidable for everyone on the path of cultivation.

During this period, there was no drama in the Holy City. The Wanderlust Team went out of the city to complete another mission. Oscar led the team, and the newcomers also participated. It was said that they performed rather well and made a small profit. Both Napier and Grai broke through to the Middle Phase of the Heroic Soul Stage, and it seemed like a Great Teacher had taken a fancy to Grai and placed him in the observation list of second-class apprentices. Of course, this was considered big news for the newcomers when they first entered the Holy City, but now, it was no longer enough to attract much attention. Carolyn and Solomon's increasingly outstanding performances had already captured everyone's attention.

Carolyn, the first of the newcomers to enter the Middle Phase of the Heroic Soul Stage, recently showed considerable talent in putting up Wards, attracting the attention of a 5-star Great Teacher who was a Wards Master. It was so much so that the teacher wanted to poach Carolyn from her original teacher, and that was a rather rare sight in the Holy City. Unless they were extremely fond of the student, most teachers would not do this kind of thing. Of course, there was nothing anyone could do even if it happened. When a stronger teacher came into the picture, charges like betraying your teacher would no longer exist. There might be moral allegations, but the deciding factor was actually power.

Basically, the Holy City would not bother about such things. Even if the teacher whose student got poached away was dissatisfied, there was nothing he could do in the face of a more powerful competitor. He would still have to put up a false front to keep the peace. As such, it would all be down to the apprentices themselves to make their choice.

The 5-star Great Teacher was obviously to the Stuart Clan's liking. Not only was he powerful, his status as a Wards Master also gave him a special status in the Holy City. However, in the end, he was unexpectedly rejected by Carolyn.

This incident gave rise to much discussion in the Holy City. Maybe there were some people who thought that Carolyn was being stupid, but more people were singing praises of her. Even in the power-oriented Holy City, one who did not forget one's roots would eventually gain the favor of the people. As such, Carolyn's reputation took a turn for the better in the Holy City recently. She seemingly surpassed those in front even though she had a late start, looming over the number one newcomer, Scarlet. Naturally, she certainly made her first Great Teacher rather happy. It was said that her teacher gave her a lot of good things and also started to build deeper relations with the Stuart Clan. The news of Carolyn rejecting the 5-star Great Teacher soon spread around the entire city.

Of course, these were merely rumors. Carolyn's strength was not just her combat power, she had an extremely high Emotional Quotient (EQ) as well. The real situation was that she had achieved balance. At this stage, she would continue to train under her current teacher. At the later stages, when she had already built up a strong foundation, she would then acknowledge the Wards Master as her teacher. In fact, she managed to neglect neither. At the same time, the Stuart Clan had also shown enough respect and commitment to the two Great Teachers. To put it simply, she had two teachers now.

Although her high EQ was a factor, there were also other reasons contributing to the current situation where everyone was satisfied. Firstly, it was because she had the Stuart name, and secondly, the two Great Teachers did not really want to offend each other openly as well. As for those existing rumors outside, the Stuart Family had no intention of clearing them up. However, the two Great Teachers didn't care. In some ways, this could also be called commercial flattering.

Good reputation was still rather important for those at the Heroic Soul Stage.

Now, the only newcomer who could compete with Carolyn in terms of prestige was probably Solomon. Although there had been no news of his breakthrough to the Middle Phase of the Heroic Soul Stage, he was the first among all the newcomers to become a Dimensional Predator.

Among all forms of glory, one's individual ranking in the Dimensional Hostel was the most accurate reflection of a Holy Disciple's strength.

After entering the Dimensional Hostel, everyone who had been registered would have a corresponding individual rating. By completing missions and writing mission reports, etc., one could improve one's own individual ranking. There were four rankings in total. Upon entering the Dimensional Hostel, one would be called a Dimensional Pioneer. It was the most basic ranking in the hostel, but many Holy Disciples actually remain at this ranking their entire lives.

Next, there was the Dimensional Predator, the Dimensional Marauder and the Dimensional Devourer, in order of merit.

The Holy Disciples often did not care about whether their opponents were at the Initial Phase of the Heroic Soul Stage or at the Peak of the Heroic Soul Stage. For everyone who could enter the Holy Land, as long as they were not stupid, they would be able to reach the Peak of the Heroic Soul Stage within a few years; even doing it within a year was not a rare thing. The more important thing was the accumulation and fighting power one achieves after entering the Peak of the Heroic Soul Stage. Although everyone had the Soul Power of 10,000 Grassos, each person's combat power could differ greatly. It was even possible for some at the Peak of the Heroic Soul Stage to challenge one at the Heavenly Soul Stage if they were powerful enough.

The individual titles assigned by the Dimensional Hostel were the most reliable benchmark in the Holy Land. It would be foolish to think that one could achieve this level by tagging along on team exploration missions. This was not the same as team-ranking promotions. The individual ranking depended on one's individual contribution during missions, which would be inferred from detailed mission reports. For those who had no true strength - even if they tagged along with the strongest teams to successfully complete S-rank missions - it would be impossible for them to advance from a Dimensional Pioneer to a Dimensional Predator, let alone the two higher rankings. It was truly rather difficult to improve one's ranking.

If one was a Dimensional Devourer, one would be a legendary character among the Holy Disciples, one able to beat the sh*t out of ordinary Heavenly Souls. Even if such people were still at the Heroic Soul Stage, ordinary teachers had to be polite and courteous toward them and treat them as equals. Those who could survive visits to countless Dimensional Secret Realms and complete their missions in the process had too many unknown means, or some undisclosed power, or maybe even some kind of mysterious talent. Additionally, having completed countless missions, most of them were loaded with money and resources. Furthermore, their assets were definitely comparable to most Great Teachers. High-rank soul tools, powerful spell scrolls, and various enchantments crystals that even Heavenly Souls might not be able to handle... They had loads of resources. Such a powerful existence was the ultimate limit for Holy Disciples.

And once these people entered the Heavenly Soul Stage, they would be an unfathomable existence.

The normal promotion speed for individual rankings in the Holy City was much slower. The average time to complete the first step up would be at least five years for people who had a certain natural talent, yet Solomon only took three months to do so. His speed of promotion was already comparable to that of those super-geniuses. It had to be noted that even in the top 10 hostels, a Dimensional Predator would already be qualified to enter the elite groups!

[1] Reference to a term in Buddhism, referring to the doctrine of "non-self".