After returning from the trade fair, Lu Ping plunged into another round of intensive cultivation.
Although he didn’t spend many spirit stones in the trade fair, he traded quite a notable amount of his unused items for other valuables. Overall, it had been a satisfying outing.
Especially so for the two bottles of Blood Solidifying Pellets that were equivalent to 40 Blood Essence Pellets. With the pellets, he could absorb the same level of medicinal efficacy in just 20 days instead of 40, the time it would take with the usual Blood Essence Pellets.
In other words, Lu Ping’s cultivation progress would be two times faster with the help of the Blood Solidifying Pellets. They were truly much better.
Another half year passed, and Lu Ping was turning 18 soon. With the help of sufficient spirit stones and medicinal pellets, he finally reached the peak of Eighth Layer Blood Refining Realm and was on the cusp of entering the Ninth Layer.
For the past six months, the biggest piece of news was the truce between Zhen Ling Sect and Xuan Ling Sect, aided by the other sects in the North Ocean Alliance.
Xuan Ling Sect had carried out a series of investigations and finally found out the “truth” behind the spies. It turned out to be the work of several Blood Condensation Realm cultivators in Xuan Ling Sect who lacked cultivation resources. In order to obtain more, they secretly supported smaller groups of rogue cultivators. Then, they used these rogue cultivators to obtain cultivation resources for themselves through unlawful means.
For this reason, Xuan Ling Sect expressed its deep regrets for the losses caused to Zhen Ling Sect and the other five sects due to its own mismanagement. Xuan Ling Sect also publicized the punishments sentenced to the evildoers. They sealed their cultivation bases, stripped them of their statuses as inner hall disciples, and then demoted to be coolies for the sect.
Zhen Ling Sect and its allies gave their approval of Xuan Ling Sect’s investigations yet still maintained the need for remuneration—15 occupied islands would serve as compensation for their losses. Zhen Ling Sect and its allies were trying to make these islands theirs.
However, Xuan Ling Sect and its own allies have traditionally led the North Ocean Alliance for many years. They convinced the majority of the other sects in the North Ocean Alliance that ownership of the islands would be determined through an “Island Duel”.
Both sides would send 15 Blood Condensation Realm disciples to draw lots and duel for the islands. One duel for one island, with the victor claiming ownership of the island.
In the face of strong diplomatic pressure, Zhen Ling Sect and its allies were forced to agree to the “Island Duel”. However, Zhen Ling Sect strongly requested to exclude Xuan Qi Island from the competition due to its strategic location, which was right on the border between Xuan Ling Sect and Zhen Ling Sect. But Zhen Ling Sect’s prowess was much weaker than Xuan Ling Sect, hence the sect would have to use the island to defend itself.
This time, the neutral sects gave their support to Zhen Ling Sect and pressured Xuan Ling Sect into agreeing. By doing so, they could maintain the balance in the North Ocean Alliance.
When the news arrived at Zhen Ling Sect, the disciples plunged into great resentment, especially the side hall disciples that participated in the training mission. Dozens of their martial siblings gave their lives to occupy the islands and yet now, they had to fight for the islands again? They could only see this decision being a result of the sect’s cowardice and the alliance’s mistreatment.
Not long later, a side hall master immortal “unintentionally” lamented in front of the disciples, saying, “What can we do? Our sect is weak and so we have no say in the alliance. If we are powerless, we will of course get bullied!”
Those words were then manipulated by people of interest, turning it into a statement that united the Zhen Ling Sect disciples together. Thus, they directed their building anger and hatred towards Xuan Ling Sect and its allies.
As a result, the disciples zealously cultivated and their cultivations progressed at an exceptional pace. Group 7 alone gained four more Seventh Layer Blood Refining Realm disciples and two more Eighth Layer Blood Refining Realm disciples. On top of that, Shi Lingling broke through to the Ninth Layer while Yao Yong and Du Feng entered the peak of Ninth Layer. The two of them had secured their own Blood Condensing Pellets and were preparing to advance to the next realm—the Blood Condensation Realm.
To Lu Ping, the affairs between the sects were nothing more than a show arranged by both sides. While the others viewed this as a failed attempt by Zhen Ling Sect to challenge Xuan Ling Sect’s leadership in the North Ocean Alliance, Lu Ping believed that Zhen Ling had successfully shaken Xuan Ling Sect’s position.
It might seem like a diplomatic victory for Xuan Ling Sect to force Zhen Ling Sect into concession and accept the Island Duels, one shouldn’t forget that the islands actually belonged to Xuan Ling Sect in the first place!
Furthermore, Xuan Ling Sect wouldn’t be able to benefit much from the Island Duels either. Especially since Xuan Qi Island, which had a small spirit stone mine, had been excluded and now officially under Zhen Ling Sect’s rule.
Clearly, the other sects in the alliance were more than happy to see Xuan Ling Sect kept in order with checks and balances, instead of running dominant and uncontrolled.
Sure enough, another month later, the results of the Island Duels were published. There were 14 duels for 14 islands, and the entire process was carried out under the supervision of the sects in the alliance. Zhen Ling Sect and its allies won 9 out of the 14 duels. In addition to Xuan Qi Island, Zhen Ling Sect and its allies now occupied ten islands in total from the conflict.
In Lu Ping’s view, although the duels were small in scale, they revealed a singular fact—Zhen Ling Sect‘s Blood Condensation Realm disciples were stronger than Xuan Ling Sect’s disciples at an equivalent level. Even though a small number of disciples had been involved, this was still a fact that everyone could tell.
Perhaps, this was one of the reasons why Zhen Ling Sect dared to challenge Xuan Ling Sect!
Lu Ping sorted his thoughts, analyzing the series of dazzling schemes made by the North Ocean Alliance sects. He laughed mockingly at himself for thinking so much—this was nothing more than his own view and perspective. The sect’s higher-ups would naturally be handling this matter. More importantly, he had to increase his cultivation level.
In his cultivation room, Lu Ping sat quietly with a Blood Vigor Pellet in his hand.
It had almost been a month since he entered the peak of Eighth Layer. Although the Ninth Layer was right in front of him, Lu Ping still couldn’t break through the bottleneck.
Hence, he decided to try a Blood Vigor Pellet.
All this while, Lu Ping wasn’t willing to use Blood Vigor Pellets in his cultivation. Although his cultivation base was richer and much more solid compared to his peers, using Blood Vigor Pellets in his cultivation now would still result in unnecessary waste. However, now that he was trying to break through to the Ninth Layer, he decided not to care so much anymore.
He placed the Blood Vigor Pellet in his mouth, and it melted as soon as it touched his tongue. A wave of powerful spiritual energy surged in his body, and his bloodlines started absorbing spiritual energy. He began cultivating the [Blood Condensation Spirit Shaping Art] to help with the absorption.
His blood gradually brightened in color and his heartbeats slowed down, but pounded with more force. With the help from the spiritual energy, his heart pumped his blood further and deeper into his body with more force and power. The vigorous flow of blood expanded and consolidated his veins, and his bloodlines were now able to reach more parts of his body.
The spiritual energy followed the flow of his blood to every part of his body. It enhanced his physique, removing the impurities deep within and excreted them out from his pores.
Ninth Layer Blood Refining Realm!
Finally, Lu Ping broke through. He was now one step away from the Blood Condensation Realm.
Lu Ping looked at Zhen Ling Sect’s sect mountain, the Tian Ling Mountain Ridge. Looks like I’ll need to come up with a plan. I have to speed up my preparations for the Blood Condensation Realm.
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