Chapter 18 - The Mission
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Nine Evolutions of the True Spirit Chapter 18 - The Mission

After Lu Ping left, he went to the House of Alchemy and changed the herbs into contribution points. Then, he visited the Pavilion of Smithery and exchanged the crude ores and monster materials for more points. Altogether, he had raised his points to forty; ten more points until he could exchange for a mid-grade mystic instrument.

The saying was really true: “A horse never gets fat without grass in the night; a man never gets rich without a side job.”

Half a year passed just like that. It was time for him to leave the side hall and venture into the real world.

In this half a year, with the help of abundant resources and spirit stones, Lu Ping’s cultivation had stabilized in the mid-stage Eighth Layer.

This was ever the way of cultivation. As one’s cultivation level increases, the slower and more demanding one’s cultivation would become. It took an entire year for Lu Ping’s cultivation level to rise from early-stage Eighth Layer to mid-stage Eighth Layer. And this was only because he never slackened his efforts, and further supported his cultivation with plenty of medicinal pellets and spirit stones.

In the past, the sect would release a list of missions for the disciples to choose from. They could either complete the missions on their own or in groups. Most of the missions entailed killing monsters at sea or on islands, harvesting herbs, mining ores, or a variety of other tasks.

However, it was different this year. The Grade 3 disciples would be following their master immortals in a group mission. Other than the Eighth and Ninth Layer inner disciples, the mission would also include several Eighth and Ninth Layer outer disciples to form twenty groups of twenty disciples.

Soon, the groups lined up to enter the teleportation array, yet the disciples still weren’t informed of their mission.

When Lu Ping walked out of the teleportation formation, he found himself transported from the side hall to an island. He could vaguely hear the sounds of waves crashing against the shore.

Group 7—led by Master Immortal Liu—was welcomed by the Zhen Ling Sect’s island manager and they proceeded to take a night’s rest on the island. 

On the second day, they gathered together beside a huge rock. Only then did Master Immortal Liu and the island manager, Master Immortal Du, announce the mission to the disciples.

Master Immortal Liu was expressionless when he glanced over the excited disciples below him. He stiffly revealed, “This place is called Xuan Hua Island, an Arcane-tier island located on the sect’s border. Group 7’s mission lies 500 miles from here across the sea.” 

An outer disciple who was particularly familiar with the geographical locations immediately figured out their destination. He muttered in shock, “Xuan Hua Island? Isn’t that on the southernmost tip of the sect’s ruling sector? So 500 miles further to the south, isn’t that sector ruled by Xuan Ling Sect? Are we…”

The disciple’s face suddenly turned grave.

“Is our mission in Xuan Ling Sect’s territory?”

“Are the sects going to war?”

“Xuan Ling Sect is still the strongest sect in the North Ocean. This won’t be a simple mission!”

“Hmph, what’s there to fear? Xuan Ling Sect’s status has been declining in recent years. Our sect isn’t afraid of it!”

Lu Ping listened as the crowd burst into discussion. He too was puzzled and thought, Is our sect really challenging Xuan Ling Sect’s dominance?

Master Immortal Liu looked at the disciples, his face still expressionless and his voice still as cold as ice as he said, “Investigations have shown a group of rogue cultivators has been hired by Xuan Ling Sect to spy on our sect’s secrets. They go by the name of “Cultivator Sharing Union”. Reports have revealed that they have been robbing, kidnapping, and have even murdered several sect disciples.” 

Master Immortal Liu paused for a split second to glance over at Lu Ping and he continued, “As their crimes were exposed, they have escaped and are now hiding in one of Xuan Ling Sect’s Arcane-tier islands—the Xuan Qi Island. Hence, Group 7’s mission is to infiltrate and conquer Xuan Qi Island, and to exterminate all rogue cultivators from the “Cultivator Sharing Union”. The sect’s reputation must be upheld at all costs. Those who dare affront Zhen Ling Sect will not be spared!”

Growing up under Zhen Ling Sect’s shelter and education, the disciples certainly had a strong sense of’ fealty to the sect. Even Lu Ping felt his blood boiling in excitement when he listened to Master Immortal Liu’s speech.

Master Immortal Liu was gratified to see the disciples’ rising spirits. He pointed to Master Immortal Du standing beside him and introduced, “This is the island manager of Xuan Hua Island—Master Immortal Du. We will be leading this mission together. Disciples, be united, and work together as a team. We will make that “Cultivator Sharing Union” pay for their crimes!”

In the middle of the sea, a mystic instrument in the shape of a huge boat was sailing at high speed. It moved so swiftly that in the blink of an eye, it was already nowhere to be seen, leaving a trail of white lines on the surface of the sea.

When Master Immortal Du took out the boat mystic instrument, there was a burst of whispered amazement among the disciples. Although it was just a mid-grade mystic instrument, it was a rare transportation-type. Their value was sometimes even greater than a top-grade mystic instrument.

Seeing the envious looks from the disciples, Master Immortal Du smiled helplessly and explained, “This was given by the sect specifically for this mission. I have yet to own such a precious mystic instrument for myself.”

The boat didn’t fly in the air. Although that would be faster, the consumption of arcane energy would be higher and they had to consider the upcoming battle. Hence, the boat sailed on the sea. Although this was slower, their destination was just 500 miles away; it wouldn’t take long for them to arrive.

Unlike his peers who were excited and nervous about the battle, Lu Ping was full of questions. Outwardly, he kept his expression calm.

The “Cultivator Sharing Union” was a group of rogue cultivators with roughly twenty members. Their leader was an Early Blood Condensation Realm cultivator and the rest were only in the Blood Refining Realm. 

So here came the question—even if by luck these rogue cultivators had kidnapped a few Zhen Ling Sect disciples, how could they do so multiple times without the sect realizing? Furthermore, how did they escape Zhen Ling Sect’s pursuit to hide in Xuan Qi Island? 

One must know, the Zhen Ling Side Hall was situated within the sect’s main mountain. That place had countless powerful experts, so one certainly needed skill to escape from their hands.

Lastly, how did the sect discover their hiding place, and why were they so certain it was on Xuan Qi Island? And above all else, why was the sect so determined to sentence them for their crimes, even willing to go to great lengths to offend Xuan Ling Sect, the strongest sect in North Ocean!

Suddenly, a thought flashed in Lu Ping’s mind—perhaps, this was exactly what the sect wanted? But what was the sect’s intention? Had the sect grown strong enough to compete with Xuan Ling Sect already?

Lu Ping could feel his head bursting from the countless thoughts swirling inside. But he couldn’t see through the sect’s plan, he couldn’t discern their intentions, and all he could do was play along with the role assigned to him.

Perhaps even the two master immortals were also just pieces on the chessboard!

Lu Ping looked at the master immortals and their calm faces. He decided to prepare as best he could for the battle on the island. The calm demeanor of the master immortals instilled him with the assurance that the mission would most likely not go wrong.

Fortunately, Lu Ping had already predicted the situation and prepared for it a long time ago. He touched his interspatial pouch; his heart couldn’t help aching in pain. It looked like he’d be spending a huge chunk of his hard-earned wealth in this battle. He just hoped that the rewards would be worth it.

This would not be a friendly match—it was war. And war meant death, even if they were cultivators!

But Lu Ping wasn’t worried about his own safety. He didn’t even consider that possibility at all. It would really be a joke if he died here!

He recollected himself from his thoughts, then started cultivating the [Blood Condensation Spirit Shaping Art], trying to keep himself in his best form. 

Soon, the outline of a lofty mountain slowly appeared in their sights. They were approaching their destination, and the mission would soon begin. They were bringing a war to Xuan Qi Island!

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