78 Chapter Seventy Seven - Formulas for Success

    The five main roots had many developed formulas or methods for cultivation.  This was to be expected.  Those with one of the five elements as their root were considered to have the most potential and talent.  Naturally, this was mainly so when they just had a lone root and to have just one root was not an uncommon thing amongst Cultivators, just it was more common to have two.

    Most secondary roots also had a fair few formulas for each; they were not too difficult to create as relative passages were usually taken from those methods meant for the main root in their making.  For example, the method that Cole was cultivating was derived from Chang Min's; Cole's sand and rock roots derived from the main Earth root after all.

    But there was also exceptions to this, such as Dexter's lightning root.  That root, though considered secondary was not so simple.  The lightning root was found not to derive from the five main elements, but was not a main element itself and was not as strong and versatile as them either.  Still it could be considered a cut above other secondary roots, thus research had developed cultivation methods in its favour regardless.

    However, when it came to tertiary roots or body roots, the options thinned to next to nothing.  Body roots were looked down upon for very few were considered useful, plus those who had a body root as well as another root would find their cultivation slower, sluggish.  Like comparing a turtle upon land to a turtle within the water and this only worsened with an increased number of roots.  Thus they became known as waste roots, unhelpful and useless.  For Cultivators, it was also the most common variety of root.

    Ren Zexian had a body root, the cursed body root and were it not for his Master's more enlightened views of the world, he would likely have been prevented from stepping on the path of cultivation before his foot had the chance to fall.  As it was, he experienced much disdain and oppression, those with better talent and luck believing seeing as he would never become much, he might as well give up his allotment of pills and resources to them.  Becoming a scholar of cultivation methods had been due to hoping to improve his lot, to understand his own body, meridians and just maybe figure out how he might cultivate better.

    He'd quickly become absorbed in learning to the point that ten years passed by before he finally put down his books to take a breath.  The majority of those that he had enrolled in the Sect with had progressed, moved on or had been encouraged to leave.  Only the untalented and most stubborn remained and were mixed in with a fresh batch of young, hopeful faces.  Ren Zexian had not been deterred and carried on his studies, while cultivating at the snail's pace.  His breakthrough of cultivation had followed an epiphany of the mind.

    Cultivator roots were the stem of a plant, the innersea its root-crop, while the meridians were the leaves bathing in sunlight, taking it in and circulating spiritual energy.  This was a ridiculously simple evaluation, but it was not without some truth.  Just that the root could be one, it could be three or more, but there was only one root-crop, thus the energy from the leaves must pass through as many stems as there were to reach the bud.  The stems were also entwined, passing through each other, dependant on each other as well.  One could not hope to just pass the energy through one stem alone or the others would wither, the energy pouring into them would no longer reach the root-crop, thus it would take longer for the whole plant to blooms and even then, the flower might grow flawed.

    However, this was the normal approach when it came to Cultivators with body roots; these burdensome stems were ignored.  The formula for cultivation must take into consideration all roots and their elemental types for the best results or immortality would be forever out of the reach of those with waste or multiple roots.

    Ren Zexian had been practicing a fire based method with wind influence, drawing the energies into his body, refining it within his meridians and roots before storing it in his inner sea.  But the fire was impure, producing too much smoke, not settling in his sea as if something was amiss.

    The curse root was somewhat derived, it was believed, from the dark root which had always been linked to the earth root.  Ren Zexian felt this evaluation was flawed.  Darkness was the absence of light and light came from fire... he wrote a thesis upon it and was ridiculed.  Disregarding his theory, he came to believe that the curse root was not derived from neither earth nor fire, but more was a mutation though he could not say what from.

    His cursed body made his fire burn black and air blow more sharply.  It was volatile, dangerous and uncontrolled, even without the spiritual energy developing the root.  It took him another five years to figure out a formula that could draw energy into this root cleanly.  The root had somewhat withered and he'd risked taking pills to reopen the blocked passages, the spiritual energy had blazed through his body causing increasing agony with every minute he cultivated.  He had barely endured.  However, after that bitter night, he had noticed that the fire in his belly was burning less brightly, yet less wildly and the air above it was no longer so thick with smog.

    He integrated the formula into his cultivation method, but found the method lacking in other parts and eagerly sought ways to improve it...

    After another ten years, he'd swept through the tertiary stage and was nearing the peak of it, this improved speed catching the attention of his Sect's Leader.  Had to be mentioned that another person in a Ren Zexian's shoes was likely to still be lingering in secondary or if they were fortunate about to breakthrough to tertiary.  At this point, Ren Zexian was around thirty three years of age.

    Now, many thousands of years later, he had had a new realisation, but it was not about his own body root, but about Nathan's.  He had thought that Nathan's blessed root was simply the opposite of his own, just as darkness was to light, but that did not mean that it would be as simple as reversing the formula he used to cultivate for his boy.  His own body root was not passive, just originally had always been activated and it had taken over a hundred years of tempering before he could 'switch off' the effect of it.  Otherwise his abilities would always have its violent strengthening.

    However the blessed root was not the same, it was completely passive, gently giving its natural offerings to better the abilities of the other roots.  It didn't need to be controlled, but it needed to be improved that Nathan's other gifts would follow suit even without being separately tempered.

    He had Nathan sit comfortably before him and gently cupped Nathan's jaw with his hands, the tremor in his fingers only noticeable to himself.  Suppressing his body's eagerness to touch, Ren Zexian placed his forehead upon Nathan's own and both allowed their eyes to close as they fell into a meditative state.  Before, he had used a variation of the basic cultivation method, allowing the main or strongest root to take charge of the spiritual energy circulating around the body, though with Nathan it was the plant root due to his own favouritism of it.  Stimulated, the innersea and meridians would draw in more spiritual energy and thus the flow would still be made to come through lesser roots along with the main.  This was what the three soldiers with more than one root were given to cultivate with.

    The trick for his lover, Ren Zexian had discovered, was to allow Nathan's blessed root to take the lead in the cultivation for the spiritual energy passing through it would become purer, more fluid, streamlining the cultivation through his other roots and perhaps even improving the overall state of his meridians.

    He stirred the store energies within Nathan's innersea, focusing on the glowing flower at its heart, speaking to it softly in unknown words.  The flowerhead burst into a multitude of glowing seeds and floated in the air before being taken alone to circle the meridians, reaching every extremity before retreating in an almost childlike manner.  Sure enough the external energy attracted to it became purer once drawn into Nathan's body and touched by the stored energy that had passed through his tertiary root.  Soon, the plants and trees in the innersea blossomed into a colourful display, shedding petals, regrowing flowers, while the water droplets became clearer and more pristine.  It could be imagined that to taste this water would to have the most refreshing drink ever known.

    Ren Zexian withdrew his consciousness gently, observing Nathan who remained deep in cultivation by himself.  This had been the progress of many, many times cultivating together, though Nathan would not take the initiative to cultivate by himself, at least he would not follow Ren Zexian and interrupt his progress any longer.  The thin spiritual air circled his young lover much more enthusiastically than in the past, leading Ren Zexian to believe he was quite right in his evaluation and creation of this unique method.  He had been worrying over those other soldiers' own body roots when he had thought of this.

    In actuality, he had already thought of a solution for both the water user, Luke and the wood user, Theo.  It was the man with the conflicting roots that he found intriguing.  He had not felt stimulated over a problem requiring resolution for such a long time, he had almost lost himself in the need to solve it.  But then he'd felt Nathan's eyes seek him out and his thoughts became centred upon the youth instead, thus leading to this matter.

    He sighed inwardly.  "Become stronger, break through your limitations and fears that we may truly come together and never part in this lifetime," he murmured, before placing a kiss upon Nathan's forehead.
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