Xiao Chen had been in closed-door cultivation inside the cultivation room for two months already.
Time was of the essence. Xiao Chen wanted to make full use of his time to finish cultivating the Demonic Cloud Heaven Swallowing Art’s first layer.
In a mere two months, Xiao Chen had used up ten thousand of his one hundred thousand Superior Grade Spirit Jades.
These ten thousand Superior Grade Spirit Jades would probably be worth ten million Medial Grade Spirit Jades. Furthermore, Medial Grade Spirit Jades would not be as effective, so he would end up spending even more time.
Unfortunately, Xiao Chen had yet to complete the first layer of the Demonic Cloud Heaven Swallowing Art.
The secret manual recorded that after one succeeded in cultivating the first layer, a Demonic Cloud Bird tattoo would appear on one’s back. The Demonic Dao Veritable Essence Energy would alter the physical body, improving both the physical body and the will of soul.
However, Xiao Chen had made some progress after two months of bitter cultivation.
The clump of demonic cloud above his dantian had spread out and now had the vague shape of a cloud.
It was no longer like the start, where it was just a black dot. The lifeforce of the scarlet demonic cloud was also stronger.
For the past two months, Xiao Chen felt his will of soul being continuously consumed by this demonic cloud.
This demonic cloud seed was probably not as simple as the secret manual made it out to be. Perhaps there were mysteries that surpassed his imagination.
Just at this moment, the demonic nature in Xiao Chen’s body erupted, and the Demonic Qi Veritable Essence Energy filled his entire body.
A black light spread out from his body. When he opened his eyes, they were filled with demonic nature.
This was the base instinct of the demonic nature when it met its enemy.
Although Xiao Chen’s physical body had been altered by the Buddhist nature of the Maheśvara Buddha’s śarīra, he had merged his body with the Immemorial Demon Soul Formation and was cultivating a Demonic Dao Cultivation Technique.
The demonic nature in his body was already deep in his marrow and bloodline. There was no avoiding it.
Xiao Chen was currently cultivating a Demonic Dao Cultivation Technique. Hence, the demonic nature was dominant at this moment.
However, after a while, the Buddhist nature in his internal organs, limbs, and the depths of his bones turned into a gentle, cool breeze, spreading through his body and invisibly removing the demonic nature’s dominance over his physical body.
All this happened without him doing anything. It was just the natural response of his physical body.
From a certain point of view, this proved that Xiao Chen’s dual cultivation of the Righteous Dao and Demonic Dao still had not reached a state where he could control it freely and withdraw it as he wished.
His condition was extremely dangerous, like walking on a tightrope above a cliff.
Xiao Chen closed his eyes again and extended his Soul Energy, wanting to see what had happened.
He immediately picked up on everyone in the entire Marquis’s Residence.
All the people appeared as a flickering spot of light. Xiao Chen could even see the Veritable Essence Energy flow in the weaker ones; everything was clear in his mind.
As for Holy-Venerate-level experts, they appeared as clumps of fiercely burning flame. Unless Xiao Chen used his Soul Energy at full force, that would be all he could see, just vague clumps of flames.
As he swept through the place, three clumps of flames appeared exceptionally eye-catching.
One clump burned fiercely. Its horrifying aura surged into the sky, and he vaguely sensed a Sovereign Might. A mysterious dynasty’s Luck also hovered over it.
Xiao Chen could not look into this person at all. It went without thinking that this was the Soaring Dragon Marquis.
There was another clump of flames similar to the Soaring Dragon Marquis. However, it was slightly lethargic. This should be a hidden Sovereign Personage expert of the Marquis’s Residence.
As for the third clump, this was the reason why the demonic nature in Xiao Chen’s body flared up.
This clump of flames was emitting a pure Buddhist Might. It was like the flame of a lamp, not dazzling and eye-catching.
It only burned slowly. The flame swayed, but the heart of the flame remained still and unmoving. It was like this heart of the flame had been there since the start of the world, never extinguishing at all.
Beside this particular clump of flames was a muddied black flame following along. It gave off a strong aura and an overwhelming Demonic Might.
However, when looking carefully, Xiao Chen could see the core of this black flame. The heart of this flame was pure and entirely untainted.
It was the little monk Yan Chen, who wielded the Buddhist monk’s knife with overwhelming sin but had an innate heart for Buddha.
Xiao Chen opened his eyes, roughly understanding what was happening.
The little monk’s master was coming with him.
Not daring to be slow, Xiao Chen stopped cultivating and emerged from the courtyard to personally receive the two.
“Big Brother, my master is here.”
The little monk, who had happily led the way on the Demon Blood Vulture, performed the introductions for Xiao Chen.
The Venerable Xu Yun smiled faintly and said softly, “I have long heard of Benefactor Xiao’s name. Today, I finally got to see you.”
Xiao Chen rubbed his nose and smiled. “Venerable, you must be joking, right?”
I arrived in the Central Great Realm not long ago. It has only been two months since I reached this Soaring Dragon Marquisate.
Although I caused a huge commotion, my fame should be limited to the Soaring Dragon Marquisate, far from spreading throughout the Yanwu Dynasty.
“I am not joking. Monks do not lie. Seventeen years ago, I saw Benefactor Xiao.”
The Venerable Xu Yun smiled mysteriously but did not explain himself.
Xiao Chen’s expression flickered. Seventeen years ago was when he first met the Maheśvara Buddha.
Could it be that when the Maheśvara Buddha reincarnated, some mysterious phenomenon appeared and showed me to this Venerable before me?
“Yan Chen already told me about your situation. Will you let this old monk take a look?” the Venerable Xu Yun asked softly after Xiao Chen invited him in.
Xiao Chen glanced at the little monk and saw an innocent expression. He knew that the little monk worried about him, fearing that there would be problems with dual cultivating the Demonic Dao and the Righteous Dao.
Hence, the little monk got his master to take a look at Xiao Chen.
This was fine as well. If Xiao Chen could obtain some guidance or find some hidden injuries, it would be beneficial.
Xiao Chen nodded and lowered his guard. Then, he said softly, “Please.”
The Venerable Xu Yun put down his dharmic staff, and a vertical eye suddenly opened on his forehead.
This was an extremely strong skill of the Buddhist sect, Connecting Heavenly Eye.
According to rumor, when the Connecting Heavenly Eye was cultivated to the peak, it could not only look through space and time but even see the long river of fate, becoming like the Heavenly Dao.
One would be able to comprehend the past and future, knowing one’s karma from the previous life and the current.
Xiao Chen fell speechless. Once the Heavenly Eye was opened, the Venerable Xu Yun could see whatever he wanted, regardless of Xiao Chen’s willingness or reluctance.
The Venerable Xu Yun shone with a faint Buddhist light, emitting a mysterious energy similar to what Xiao Chen once saw from the Heavenly Book Scholar.
A beam of golden light shot out from the Venerable Xu Yun’s Heavenly Eye, encasing Xiao Chen.
Scenes that transcended space and time flickered. All of the tribulations that Xiao Chen’s physical body and soul experienced, along with the various Cultivation Techniques he cultivated in the past, appeared one after another.
However, the Venerable Xu Yun’s Heavenly Eye did not peek into Xiao Chen’s Soul Pool. He only wanted to check and see if there were any hidden injuries in Xiao Chen’s body and whether he could provide any guidance.
The Venerable Xu Yun was not trying to dig out all of Xiao Chen’s secrets.
Actually, even if the Venerable Xu Yun did not peek into Xiao Chen’s Soul Pool, if Xiao Chen saw the scenes in the Venerable Xu Yun’s eye, he would feel very surprised and shocked as well, as these scenes were tantamount to having everything revealed.
After a while, the Venerable Xu Yun’s vertical eye slowly closed.
“Master, how is it? Is my big brother fine?” the little monk asked out of concern before Xiao Chen said anything. Clearly, he was even more anxious than Xiao Chen was.
The Venerable Xu Yun smiled and said, “Benefactor Xiao is doing quite well now. Even better than this old monk. His lifeforce is vigorous, and his physical body and physique have no troubles.
“His various fortune and karma are simply astonishing. His fate with Buddhism is very enviable.”
The little monk said happily, “That is good. Otherwise, if I leave now and meet Big Brother again in the future with his appearance completely changed, I will find it hard to accept.”
Baffled, Xiao Chen asked, “Venerable, I once heard that dual cultivating righteous and demonic is a great taboo for those of the Righteous Dao. This is especially so for the Buddhist sect, which is exceptionally intolerant of it. The Demonic Dao also has the same issues. Why is Senior so calm about it?”
The Venerable Xu Yun smiled faintly and countered, “Let me ask you, what epoch is it now?”
“Naturally, it is the Martial Epoch.”
“Demonic Dao Cultivation Techniques and Righteous Dao Cultivation Techniques looked very different from each other. They even feel contradictory. In reality, they cannot deviate from the word ‘martial. They share the same origin, to begin with. Why can’t one dual cultivate them?”
“This…” Now that Xiao Chen was asked this, he did not know how to answer.
The Venerable Xu Yun said seriously, “Actually, you already have an answer in your heart. In that case, there is no need to hesitate. Buddhism is fine, demonic is fine as well. Never mind the righteous path. Since you are able to figure out your own character, it does not matter.”
Xiao Chen’s heart skipped a beat. The Venerable Xu Yun’s words swept away the final doubts and lack of confidence in his heart.
They made Xiao Chen even more sure of his path.
“Senior, many thanks for your guidance.”
The Venerable Xu Yun seemed to gaze into the distance as he looked at Xiao Chen. “It is very easy to explain why the people of the Righteous Dao and the Demonic Dao oppose each other. The contrasts between the two factions are sharp, and they cannot get along, just like fire and water. After a few wars between the two factions, they became like mortal enemies. How could they accept a dual cultivator of the Righteous Dao and the Demonic Dao?
“Since you’ve already taken this path, your future will be difficult. Do be mentally prepared.”
Xiao Chen nodded, indicating his understanding.
“Actually, there is another reason why both factions cannot tolerate dual cultivators of the Demonic Dao and the Righteous Dao.”
“What’s the reason?”
“It is because they are too strong, so everyone fears them. Some people have dual cultivated demonic and righteous in the past. However, they did not walk the path to the end. Eventually, they chose a side. Otherwise, they would have had difficulty making out their own hearts. Hence, they could only choose to fall to one side.”
The Venerable Xu Yun’s words were calm, but they revealed a shocking secret to Xiao Chen.
“I know of a total of three people. The first was the Kāśyapa Buddha. Actually, he was a dual cultivator of the Buddhist Dao and the Demonic Dao. However, the moment he became a Buddha, he abandoned his demonic side and started the flourishing age of Buddhism.
“The second is a certain Dragon Race’s emperor, known as Blood-Soaked. However, he eventually fell to the Demonic Dao and took another path.”
Xiao Chen stared at the Venerable Xu Yun somewhat blankly, unable to keep his reaction off his face. This revelation was simply too shocking.
Back then, the Blood-Soaked Dragon Emperor actually dual cultivated demonic and righteous. However, he did not follow the path to the end but fell to the Demonic Dao. Suddenly, Xiao Chen had an inkling of why the Azure Dragon bloodline got wiped out.
“The third is the creator of the Mahāmāyā Abstinence Violation Saber Technique. He was originally a Buddhist prodigy, one that came only once in a thousand years. Unfortunately, we learned that he was the Black Lotus Demonic Buddha’s reincarnation only much later. However, he eventually made a different decision. He abandoned the Demonic Dao and saved Buddhism, which also directly led to the Black Lotus Church’s decline.”
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