When I was one-hundred and twenty-seven years old, I finally reached the sixth level of ‘Grrr~!’ or Qi Strengthening. My power had also surpassed the peak of the Red Realm: ninety-nine Bears.
Since my size and sheer amount of muscle-mass had increased dramatically, I actually managed to enter the first rank of the Orange Realm. I use the term ‘Bear’, because I was as strong as a grizzly before I even stepped into the cultivating world.
Red: Under 99 Bears/Dragons/Demigods
Orange: 100-499 Bears/Dragons/Demigods
Yellow: 500-999 Bears/Dragons/Demigods
Green: 1,000-9,999 Bears/Dragons/Demigods
Blue: 10,000-99,000 Bears/Dragons/Demigods
Indego: 100,000-999,999 Bears/Dragons/Demigods
Violet: 1,000,000-10,000,000 Bears/Dragons/Demigods
Obviously, there’s a bit of wiggle-room for the Realms and the numbers would be a lot different if you wanted to use ‘Men’, ‘Bulls’, or ‘Kittens’ as the unit of measurement. However, I’ve always felt that ‘Bears’ actually made things a lot simpler. In fact, it was eventually used pretty commonly for ‘Mortals’.
‘Dragon’ was used by ‘Immortals’, because in this sense, they’re considered to be worth ten million ‘Bears’. Not that any amount of literal ‘ordinary’ animals would ever be able to measure up to a monster that powerful… but it’s just the way that people tend to quantify things.
Similarly, ‘Deities’ consider ‘Demigods’ as a unit of measurement as well. Keep in mind though, that nothing is quite as simple as it usually seems. Pure physical power is meaningless if the creature doesn’t know how to use it properly. Besides that, there are all kinds of magical items, martial techniques, cultivation methods and weird ‘divine abilities’ that can amplify someone’s strength during combat.
As for myself, I just punched, kicked and strangled things most of the time. I didn’t even bother to use the bones from magical beasts as weapons, because it was kind of pointless. For the most part, I never tried to kill anything that was stronger than myself.
There were definitely super-overpowered monsters that lived in the depths of ‘Tiger-Paw Island’, especially inside of the active volcanos, or the ancient ‘Violet Lake’ near the southernmost mountain. I loved fighting, but I wasn’t a battle-maniac like a lot of those young child ‘geniuses’ that went around, constantly committing genocide upon anything that might help them improve their cultivation rapidly.
I stayed in my little patch of white sand, sometimes venturing inland a bit, only to pick some fruit and return. A magical beast would attack me every few weeks and over the years, the amount of bones, scales and shells that I had collected was starting to get kind of ridiculous. Like, I had no clue what to do with it all, so I just kept ‘building’ stuff.
When I started out, it was pretty trashy, but as the decades went by, I literally created an enormous dome. The sand that I used was dyed black from all of the magical-beast blood and when it hardened, it solidified into what seemed like incredibly durable stone.
There were multiple occasions where a hurricane completely wrecked everything, but it’s not like I had anything better to do, right? Around the time when I turned one-hundred and seventy, I was living inside of an obsidian dome that was twenty-meters tall and a hundred meters wide.
It was a safe-haven that magical-beasts would avoid and even the rising tide couldn’t bother me in there. There was also the fact that I unwittingly figured out how to use the countless bones, scales and shells on the roof to absorb Qi from the Sun and Moon into my home.
That way, I never really ‘needed’ to even leave my house, so I could just focus on meditation all day and night. Well, to be completely honest, I think I was a little depressed. Not only did I stop growing, I actually started shrinking.
My muscles became atrophied, since I didn’t have the motivation to work out anymore. It is true that at a certain level of cultivation, you no longer need to worry about such things, but I hadn’t even reached the seventh rank of Qi Strengthening yet. I ignored eating and drinking altogether, spending most of my time in a state of hibernation.
Years passed and I was beginning to look and feel like a tiny old human. I had wrinkles all over my face, but no beard or hair anywhere on my weakened body. As far as strength went, I probably dropped down to fifty Bears, while my height had shrunk to an outrageously small six-feet.
All of my excessively powerful muscles and bones had been condensed and refined. Eventually, I started to go blind and deaf; everything hurt so much all the time, I was looking forward to finally just dying and getting it over with.
However, it was on my two-hundredth birthday that I was about to die in my sleep. I was laying upon an extraordinarily comfortable and unnecessarily large mattress, made from the pelt of a colossal green Jungle-Boar. My stomach was rumbling, but my teeth had fallen out long ago and I just didn’t have the strength to go hunting for food any longer. Even a bit of water would have probably prolonged my suffering, though the energy required to move my aching body simply didn’t exist within me either.
It was then that I heard an eerily familiar voice, whispering into my mind “Guru… I can’t believe you’re still alive…” Since it was telepathy, I could totally understand what he was saying to me. I struggled to open my cataract-covered eyes and almost pushed myself off of the bed, but fell back down immediately.
My throat was too dry to speak; not that I actually knew how. Thus, I just laid there and waited in the darkness for sleep to overtake me again. When I was just about to lose consciousness, I heard Lang Wong murmur “I’m sorry… I, I should have come to see you long ago… I didn’t know you were still alive… I could have helped you, should have taught you a cultivation method… I’m so sorry Guru… I know you’re tired and probably ready to die, but I need your help with something… You’re the only person left, that I trust… Everyone else is dead… My daughter, Yue… You need to take care of her for me; please, I know this is a lot to ask, but I can’t let them murder her too! Please protect her for me, Guru… I’m sorry.”
The moment that his final words exploded in my mind, I felt an extremely warm and comfortable sensation overtake my entire body. All of my pain instantly faded away and my sight was restored; I was totally reinvigorated and reborn, as I broke through into the seventh level of Qi Strengthening.
Then a massive surge of horrible, agonizing pain shot through my brain, down my spine, and all of my flesh. My compressed bones nearly cracked apart, as my muscles involuntarily tightened and I let out a deafening roar.
When I looked around, I noticed that my ‘house’ was totally obliterated. All of the obsidian sand that I had created, every single silly formation, forty years of collecting and building… all of it was destroyed in a moment. You know, the worst part of all, was that I never even got to show it to anyone. I mean, that’s basically the reason anyone does anything; if we can’t put it out there for other people to see, then it’s completely pointless.
It’s not such a big deal for Immortals and Deities, but Mortals need companionship and socialization. Even a proud and solitary tigress feels the urge to mate, in order to produce offspring. I guess, I was probably feeling something like that.
All of the magical beasts that I encountered on that island always wanted to kill me and they tasted delicious, so I never really treated them like the ‘normal’ animals from my mountain. Back then, I’d always share my cave with bears, wolves or other relatively docile creatures. I mentioned it before, but I even raised a few pups and cubs every so often.
As I was swimming back to shore, I saw the small bay that had just been created from the crater that used to be my home. I growled and snarled angrily, but was still impressed with how amazing I felt all of a sudden.
My withered muscles had inflated, though I was still only around six feet tall, and I noticed that my mammary glands were excessively swollen. When I reached the pure-white beach, I heard an unfamiliar and incredibly annoying whining noise.
There was a tiny little human infant laying in the sand, wailing incessantly. Yep, that was ‘her’, the ‘Yue’ that Lang Wong asked me to care for was… Well, I’m pretty sure everyone’s already heard the legends about the Ice Empress before. I wonder though; have you ever heard the stories from her childhood?