Chapter Forty-five: Five Paths to Power
Brandr, until recently was a daolord, a paragon to cultivators across the cosmos. As a matter of fact, he held hopes of eventually restoring himself to that esteemed peak. thus, he was understandably upset by the discovery that he was unable to practice the tenets of his craft. He had the power or at least, dregs of it. He still possessed his daos and he retained his sensibilities… mostly and yet he could not cultivate. Why? Granted, he no longer possessed the power to forge a connection to the heavenly daos nor could he galvanise his own to any appreciable extent. However, not even that should be able to stop him from cultivating.
He tried and tried only to fail each time. What had first seemed like just another setback on his path was beginning to look troubling. Obviously, he could not expect to simply bounce back from this like he had so many times before. It took the strenuous analysis of what remained of his cultivation base before he figured out a solution. He was thoroughly broken. There was simply too little to work off. Somethings went beyond fixing and even if he could find the power necessary to restore some of his former glory, he would essentially be a caricature, a thing of patches, braces and splints.
Brandr was forced to admit that if he truly wanted to regain his power, there was only one way. He had to start over. With his experience, divine essence and cultivation methods, it would practically be a smooth ride. Not from the very beginning, mind you, but from the last stable point. A simple check revealed that he had comparable levels of power to an Aurous Core cultivator. Why not start there? The short answer. He could not!
He had gathered all the essence available to him, tried forming a pseudo core within his dungeon core, even tried cultivating his dungeon core as an aurous core. It did not matter what he did, he failed every time. The reason being that this world, Tignar, did not recognise his path. Things like Aurous Cores, Foundations, Nascent Souls, had no meanings here. His vaunted Divine tier cultivation method might have as well been a mundane meditative and essence channelling technique. He could sit in a lotus posture all he wanted, recite all his mantras, revolve his cultivation base whichever direction he wished and it still would not summon the tribulation yin fire he needed to congeal his essence into an aurous core.
For Brandr, there were few things as painful and humiliating as this. The vast powers of his mastered daos lay just beyond his reach, kept away by the numerous layers of restrictions and conceptual undulations of a world that did not have carry the power concepts he needed to access them. It was like a carpenter going to work in his new office only to discover that it had neither wood nor tools. What was he supposed to do?
The worst part was acknowledging that if he had a smidgen more power, anything approaching the latter Nascent Soul stage, he could shatter the void and be free of this world’s restrictions. If he retained his flesh, mangled as it was, he could break free of these restrictions with just the power of his fleshy body. Alas, he had neither. It was too bad that he had only noticed this when pondering on the way the world will represented his powers. Thankfully, all was not lost, or was it?
There were five paths to power; blood, worship, mastery, embodiment and cosmic. Of these, Brandr had travelled three; mastery, embodiment and blood, in that order of magnitude. In fact, his title as Daolord actually said ‘Lord of Dao Mastery’.
The oldest of all paths of power was blood. It was power acquired by birth or ancestry. The vast universe was filled with an infinite potential in terms of the variety of creatures many of which possessed powers both great and terrible. He had once met a titan who was born at the heart of a star with power at the Five Phases tier. The second path was worship; power gained when one being was held above others. It was power attained through the accumulation of faith, the power of gods and divinities. Third, came embodiment or the power attained by cultivating a concept or dao. The fourth was its sibling, mastery which was the power gained from studying and mastering the principles of a concept or dao.
They were developed by visionaries who observed and attempted to emulate the powers of titans and gods. It was simple, titans, demons and their like gained their power from birth. The very concepts and traits that gave them their powers was an intrinsic part of their being. These visionaries dared to ask, could that be copied? From this idea was born the idea of cultivation, the methods and mantras that allowed all beings to emulate the titans and gods. By treating the self as a vessel and cultivating the power concept of fire in it, a person could become an embodiment of that concept no different from a phoenix, a being born with that concept. By cultivating the self to possess the hegemony or command of the dao you could have a authority no different from that a gods who relied on the faith of others to exert the same authority.
That was just the start. With the foundations laid, cultivation would grow and extend to the other paths as well. No longer did beings have to be restricted to the limits of their bloodlines. Gods could go further down their paths of domination. As if a culmination of this wave of rebellion, the fifth path was born. The last path was arguably the most ambitious one. The end goal of all the paths of power was just that power. Power to match the heavens, the cosmos. Power to defy it and its laws. Power to surpass it. Cultivators wished to supercede the cosmos or at the very least, to above its laws, free from time, death, restriction or what have you. The cosmic path went a different route. They wished to replace the heavens.
Brandr feared that if he truly wished to restore himself to the levels of power he once possessed, he would have to do same.
And thus, my grand vision of a unified cosmos/ multiverse is unveiled. All I had to do was wait until the first chapter faded enough in your minds that I could spring this on you. It worked, you all forgot that Brandr came into Tignar on his last legs, his core shattered, cultivation dispersing and soul on the brink of being extinguished. Yeah…that damage did not go away.
Funny how people always take transmigration for granted. Who says that things in one world will work the same way in another. It’s like taking your TV to another country and expecting to be able to watch the same channels. It is possible to do but requires some work and maybe several modifications or add-ons.
Now, who can guess which paths to power are available in Verre?