The Soul-Fire of the Underworld had nine states.
The Underworld Emperor had already mentioned the top three states: The first was "Seeking Fire"; the second "Possessing Fire"; the third "Absorbing Fire". The next was the fourth state "Lighting Fire".
The fifth state was an important level, similar to the Undefeated State of the Green Mountain Sect; it was because the Soul-Fire could be used for fighting at this level.
It was after the fifth state that the word "fire" was placed in the front.
The fifth state: "Fire Leaving".
The sixth state: "Fire Tempering".
The seventh state: "Fire Traveling".
The eighth state: "Fire Concealing".
The ninth state: "Fire Summoning".
"The Control of Soul-Fire is not within these nine states, nor is it above the nine states either. That is because it isn't the tenth state; it is a totally different Cultivation method."
The Underworld Emperor looked at Jing Jiu as he said, "After learning the first six states, you'll have to choose which path you are going to follow: the traditional Cultivation method of Soul-Fire, or the method of the Control of Soul-Fire."
"The traditional method is similar to ours," said Jing Jiu.
The Underworld Emperor said, "That's right, and it's also simpler. In comparison, the Control of Soul-Fire is much more complicated, and the practitioner has to suffer a great deal of pain and take tremendous risks. The practitioner needs to cut off a portion of the spiritual soul that has remembered the secret Cultivation method and use the "Fire Tempering" to emboss it into the Soul-Fire that has already left the body. The Soul-Fire will be left alone to cultivate and develop all by itself."
Anyone had heard of this would be able to sense the risks associated with the method and…the courage involved.
Jing Jiu suddenly thought of the Dace Devil in the Muddy River.
A vast majority of the demons that had devastated Chaotian were controlled by the Underworld; and they came up to the ground by the Huge Whirlpool or the Abyss.
The Devil Pill in the Dace Devil was imprinted with the secret method of the Bloody Demon Sect. It should be something similar to the Control of Soul-Fire, but at a much lower level.
"In the Underworld, the Control of Soul-Fire is something of a top secret; everybody is forbidden to learn it except for the Underworld emperors. It's because this Cultivation method might cause unimaginable disaster…the Soul-Fire attached to the real spiritual soul will probably develop intelligence by cultivating on its own; eventually, it will separate completely from its master soul and become a new life, the so-called 'Devil Fire'."
The Underworld Emperor glanced at Jing Jiu once before saying, "It's just like what your sword might do."
Jing Jiu listened with a great deal of concentration, his expression unchanged.
The Underworld Emperor continued, "If the method of the Control of Soul-Fire were leaked out, tens of thousands of the Devil Fires might come to life, devastating the Underworld. When that happens, our race will be wiped out."
"Has such a thing happened before?" Jing Jiu asked.
The Underworld Emperor said, "Fortunately, it has never happened before. But nobody dared give it a try; as such, the method has always been kept in the hands of the Underworld emperors."
Jing Jiu said, "Please rest assured that I will tell nobody except the successor you have appointed."
The Underworld Emperor looked at Jing Jiu quietly for a long time, waiting for his next promise. When the Underworld Emperor didn't hear Jing Jiu's next promise, he couldn't help laughing out.
"For such an important matter, you expect me to believe you simply based on your statement?!"
"What else do you require from me then?"
The Underworld Emperor sighed, "You can swear by your blood."
"The blood pledge can be broken," said Jing Jiu.
As long as the Cultivation state was high enough, one could ignore any barrier or prohibition of the spiritual soul.
The saying "solving things by the blade" actually depended on the sharpness of the blade.
After some thought, the Underworld Emperor said, "Let's begin then."
The teaching and learning started without further delay.
The Underworld Emperor started with the magic ways of the Control of Soul-Fire.
Jing Jiu listened quietly.
After having heard all the contents of the magic concerning Control of Soul-Fire, Jing Jiu closed his eyes to think over them silently in order to digest them.
Half a day later, he opened his eyes, and he had already had a comprehensive understanding of the Control of Soul-Fire.
There were two thorny issues for practicing this style of magic way.
The first issue was that it was quite hard to cut off a portion of the spiritual soul; it required learning another secret method. Even if one succeeded, the process would be extremely painful, much more than the pain caused by the burning of Soul-Fire within the body.
The second issue was that it was a grueling and long process to keep the Soul-Fire connected to master soul all the time after it left the body and developed the intelligence through cultivating by itself; it was as if a mortal walked on a steel cable of ten miles long and a few miles above the ground.
Fortunately, Jing Jiu didn't need to worry about these two issues; it was because the issues were nonexistent as far as he was concerned.
Like he commented before, he was quite lucky both in his previous and present lives.
What he was to cultivate was not the Soul-Fire, but the Sword Ghost. The two had some similarities, but still, they were different in kind.
Jing Jiu intended to borrow the ideas of the Control of Soul-Fire to create his own magic method of cultivating the Sword Ghost. As such, he had to go through many trial and errors, make adjustments based on the outcomes, and eventually find a path that was totally his own.
To succeed in borrowing the idea, Jing Jiu had to truly understand it. But many aspects of the cultivation methods of the Underworld were unfamiliar to Jing Jiu, because he had never had a chance of learning them before.
Now that the Underworld Emperor was right here by his side, Jing Jiu made use of every opportunity to ask him questions whenever Jing Jiu had something he didn't quite understand or he wasn't sure of.
Since the Underworld Emperor had already agreed to teach Jing Jiu, he didn't conceal anything from Jing Jiu and answered those questions in details.
As the question and answer sessions went on, the Underworld Emperor had gradually realized that Jing Jiu's idea might actually work, and he grew excited after the initial astonishment.
To create a new way was irresistibly intriguing for any swordsman, especially for the Underworld Emperor.
He had been locked up in the Fiend Prison for six hundred years. The most intolerable thing for him was not the loneliness, but having nothing interesting to do.
The Underworld Emperor's answers became increasingly more serious and cautious. Later on, he even started offering suggestions to Jing Jiu regarding how to deal with certain issues.
Jing Jiu found his suggestions were fairly useful, so Jing Jiu told him more of his ideas for his opinions.
The Underworld Emperor would offer more of his suggestions after hearing Jing Jiu's ideas carefully. Jing Jiu found some of his suggestions were correct, but some not so much. When Jing Jiu didn't agree with the Underworld Emperor's ideas, he would just shake his head without saying anything, and the Underworld Emperor would further analyze his own ideas. As Jing Jiu pointed out the shortcomings of his ideas, the Underworld Emperor would make some adjustments of his earlier ideas after pondering them silently for a while; and Jing Jiu would offer his own ideas after a moment of meditation…
This kind of discussion continued. As their discussion and ideas got more sophisticated, the two of them spoke less and less. They spent most of their time in deep thought.
Sometimes, Jing Jiu looked at the Underworld Emperor across from him, pondering something.
He had been cultivating alone on Green Mountain all year long. He seldom discussed the relevant issues with the colleagues of the Cultivation circle. Yet, he had discussed the Dao with the Young Zen Master on Shenmo Peak for one hundred days while sitting face to face. And he had also observed the spring silkworms together with Lian Sanyue for ten nights. He had discussions on these matters with his Big Brother in his youth, but it was his Big Brother who did most of the talking. It looked like the Underworld Emperor wasn't inferior to these three, and might be even better in some aspects.
Sometimes, the Underworld Emperor would look at Jing Jiu across from him, with a cold expression in his eyes.
This disciple of Green Mountain was still quite young, but he had such profound knowledge and wisdom already, surpassing even the Immortal Taiping back then; was this the case of a chip being from off the old block actually being better than the old block? If there were many young men like Jing Jiu in the human world, what hope would the Underworld have?
The cloud that was like a cotton sugar hovered over their heads; the drizzle fell down like the willow branches sweeping the surface of the river and splashing some water droplets into the air.
The bell in the dark cloud would ring once in a while, creating a charming bolt of lightning.
Jing Jiu and the Underworld Emperor sat under the dark cloud, remaining silent.
There seemed to be two figures in the dark cloud engaging in vehement debates.
The history of the Cultivation world would have some significant recordings as striking as these bolts of lightning.
The spring season was actually not suitable for studying and cultivating.
But a weirdo like Jing Jiu was an exception.
It is because the bright sunlight in spring makes people feel drowsy.
Sleepiness in spring was something many people couldn't resist.
State Duke Lu sat in Taichang Temple, feeling sleepy. The teacup in his hand had almost fallen down a few times.
All of a sudden, an official came in to report that the caretaker of the State Duke Manor had arrived and said that an urgent matter needed his attention at the manor.
State Duke Lu asked with his eyes still shut, "What is the freaking matter?"
That official hesitated at first, but replied eventually, "The caretaker said…the bowl was broken."
State Duke Lu opened his eyes instantly, fully awake.
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