Chapter 339 – Enemies
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Nine Evolutions of the True Spirit Chapter 339 – Enemies

As the crowd gathered, Lu Ping noticed that Du Feng and Niu Dazhuang weren’t present. After asking about them, he was met with silence causing his heart to sink. A few moments later, Shi Lingling said, "Senior Martial Brother Du Feng is in closed-door cultivation right now for his Core Forging Realm breakthrough, while Senior Martial Brother Dazhuang… he died fighting the monster tide…"

The ambience suddenly turned depressing.

Lu Ping looked at the people gathered; all of his old friends were here, except for Du Feng, Niu Dazhuang, and Leng Qian, who had been rejected by the crowd due to her actions.

Amongst them, Yao Yong, Ji Zi-Xuan, and Yin Zi-Chu had advanced to the Core Forging Realm;

Zhong Jian, Ma Yu, Shi Lingling, and Hu Lili were in the Ninth Layer Blood Condensation Realm. Hu Lili's achievement was only possible because of the Heart Condensation Pellet that he had given her.

Finally, Zheng Jie and Zhang Zi-Cheng were only in the Eighth Layer Blood Condensation Realm.

Lu Ping couldn't help but smile bitterly after realizing just how fast his cultivation progress was. It was no wonder that even Yao Yong, an individual who had always been proud, was dejected after seeing his progress.

The atmosphere quickly recovered as the friends shared their experiences over the past few years. After hearing Lu Ping's story, they were all envious of his gains and looked forward to the rich resources in the East Ocean.

Then, Lu Ping asked about the situation in the North Ocean, causing the mood of everyone present to turn heavy. Hu Lili said, "The human-monster war is still ongoing. Many lives have been lost, including family and friends."

Lu Ping frowned. He hadn't left Tian Ling Mountain since his return, so he remained unaware of the situation, and asked, "Has the situation gotten this bad?"

Shi Lingling answered, "Zhen Ling Sect is considered to be in good shape compared to others. For some reason, the monster wave in the sect's direction is far less than the monster waves in the south where the Xuan Ling Sect, Qiu Yun Island, Cang Lang Sect, are situated. With their overwhelming numbers, the element of surprise, and early preparations, the monster tide managed to push back the human territory by at least a thousand miles."

When Shi Lingling mentioned the fewer number of monsters in the wave, Lu Ping felt a gaze sweep past him and heard Hu Lili's soft chortle. Clearly, she had guessed that it had something to do with him.

Shi Lingling didn't notice the two lovebirds, and continued, "Every mini and small island that the sects used to own are now occupied by the monster race. In our case, Enlightened Master Qu Xuan-Cheng had to give up Xuan Qi Island and fall back to Di Kun Island to set up a new defensive line.

"Other than that, a few medium islands have also fallen into their hands. Zhen Ling Sect is the only sect that hasn't lost a medium island yet. As for the smaller sects and independent clans out there, many didn’t survive the monster tide."

Lu Ping's expression grew somber,, "What about Huang Li Island? Has it been trampled?"

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For many years he had treated the island as if it was his home. Although he always carried all his valuables with him, it was still heartbreaking to know that the island was occupied by the monster race.

Hu Lili patted Lu Ping's hand, wanting him not to feel indignant just yet.

This time, Shi Lingling finally noticed the interactions between them causing a hidden smile to quickly appear on her face. She then continued in a solemn tone, "The sects suffered heavy losses; even the Zhen Ling Sect has lost many good men, including a few Enlightened Masters. But the fight continues, we humans will not bow down to the monsters. Over the last few years, we have been slowly reclaiming our lost islands, but the overall picture is still not in our favor yet.

"In Zhen Ling Sect, we have recovered most of the important islands, but there are still many small and mini islands that are too far from our reach, including Huang Li Island. Even Xuan Ling Sect, whose situation is far worse than ours, has also reclaimed one of their lost medium islands, although this came at the cost of three of their Enlightened Masters. The remaining sects are still reclaiming the small islands they have lost."

Lu Ping kept quiet for a moment, and then said, "I will recover Huang Li Island, no matter the cost. Senior Sister Shi, has Xuan Qi Island been reclaimed?"

Shi Lingling didn't answer him, and looked at Yao Yong instead. Yao Yong raised his voice, and said proudly, "Of course we have. The island had a spirit stone mine on it so there’s no way we would let it go. Teacher was extremely furious when he had to fall back to Di Kun Island, so during the counter-attack, he spearheaded the operation and faced two monster Enlightened Masters on his own. He managed to kill one and left the other severely wounded. It's a shame that I wasn't an Enlightened Master back then; I could only fight the Blood Condensation Realm monsters instead of helping teacher."

Towards the end, Yao Yong grew despondent.

Chen Lian looked at Yao Yong's regretful expression and laughed at him, "What's the matter, you didn’t get enough fighting? Didn't you hear Junior Brother Lu just now? He said that he’ll reclaim Huang Li Island at all costs! There will only be more battles for you at that time!"

Yao Yong swiftly raised his head with an eager expression, laughed happily, and said, "That's right! We’re brothers, there's no way I’ll miss out on your fights!"

Zhong Jian chuckled, "Back when we were in the Blood Condensation Realm, Junior Brother Lu helped us a lot. We’re not that heartless to not return the favor."

Ji Zi-Xuan also laughed, "The former North Ocean 18 Warriors are now history, they either died or have advanced to the Core Forging Realm already. Right now, the North Ocean has a new list called the North Ocean Prodigies which lists the top 100 Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters under the age of 100. Senior Brother Lu, you’re not on the list, bringing shame to the name of the Zhen Ling Three Talents. People will think we are clowns. This is the perfect chance to show them that the Zhen Ling Three Talents are worthy."

Lu Ping was curious, "North Ocean Prodigies…? What a strange ranking list, whoever created it hasno good intentions. This is a time of opportunity and crisis, there will always be small-minded cultivators who will sabotage others out of jealousy."

Zhang Zi-Cheng, who had been quiet this whole time, concurred, "That's right. Master Immortal Liu Zi-Yuan is at the front of the list. During a confrontation with some monster cultivators, he was ambushed by our own race. If not for his exceptional strength, he would've died that day instead of just returning with heavy injuries."

Master Immortal Liu Zi-Yuan was someone that Lu Ping had always respected and he was someone who took good care of him and his friends. It was said that Liu Zi-Yuan was also 'Earth Spirit' Enlightened Master Guo Xuan-Shan's fifth official disciple.

Lu Ping quickly asked, "Junior Brother Zhang, how is Master Immortal Liu now? Do you know who ambushed him?"

Zhang Zi-Cheng shook his head, "No idea, he said it was a group of rogue cultivators. But if they weren’t hired by others, why would they risk offending the Zhen Ling Sect to ambush him? Who gave them the courage to execute such a malicious mission?"

Lu Ping looked at the others and saw them nodding. He confirmed that the list of North Ocean Prodigies was more than just a hall of fame, functioning also as a list of targets for anyone with malicious intent.

"One more thing," Hu Lili interrupted, and said, "The spirit veins on Huang Li Island were probably taken away by the Li Clan."

"Li Clan? Li Cheng, Li Yu, Li Zi-Ming?" Lu Ping frowned and asked.

Hu Lili calmly replied, "Yes. Back then, I returned to Tian Ling Mountain using the disguised mask you gave me. Sure enough, there were suspicious cultivators guarding every major road and observing everyone. I avoided them and finally saw my teacher on Tian Ling Mountain. By that time, the monster tide had already taken action causing Huang Li Island to be taken down almost instantly.

"Naturally, many valuables were unfortunately left behind as we didn't have time to transfer them. However, soon after the fall of Huang Li Island, Li Clan's clan head, Li Xuan-Liang, had broken through to the Mid Core Forging Realm. Rumor had it that the Li Clan had promoted its mini spirit vein on Flying Lightning Island into a small spirit vein."

Lu Ping followed her train of thoughts, and continued, "You suspect that they have migrated my spirit veins on Huang Li Island to their island? They kept it quiet all this while and only stopped hiding the matter after Li Xuan-Liang's breakthrough. They think he’s now strong enough to deter any pressures and resistances that will arise in this matter?"

Hu Lili understood Lu Ping the most and could feel his anger. She decided to be frank with him, "I'm afraid so, but we don't have any evidence."

"Evidence?" Lu Ping sneered coldly, "Sometimes, it isn’t needed."

Even though Lu Ping was furious, he quickly contained his anger, and said calmly, "So there were actually cultivators that obstructed your return behind the scenes. Hmph, Yuan Zhan… who else would leak my whereabouts besides you? The Yuan Clan is in this together with the rest, and it seems like the Yuan Clan is very close to the other North Ocean sects!"

Hu Lili hesitated for a moment before asking, "What’s your plan? Although the clans are under the sect, they are relatively autonomous. They also have Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters in the clan and the sect. The clans are closely related to each other and even the independent Enlightened Masters in the sect. Especially the Yuan Clan, they have several Enlightened Masters, and a Late Core Forging Realm Enlightened Master in the sect. Great Ancestor Liu Tian-Ling and my teacher had stormed the Yuan Clan in anger, but that was also all they could do. Even they couldn't make the Yuan Clan suffer much. If you raise the sword at them now, you'd get hurt instead, we need to be stronger."

Lu Ping suddenly smiled, "You are right, it is not the time to fight yet. Furthermore, we alone aren’t enough to go against the clans that side with the Yuan Clan. We’re still young, so we have plenty of time to play with them. Sometimes, it is the blunt knife that cuts the most. We will let them be for now, they wouldn’t dare to take any actions against us for now. We will wait until teacher's Avatar Forum is finished."

Translator Notes

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Editor: Immortal BloodRogue

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