Chapter 344 – Ouyang Wei-Jian
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Nine Evolutions of the True Spirit Chapter 344 – Ouyang Wei-Jian

The [Tri-Pristine True Vision] was already cultivated to the level of a mini divine ability, and while Lu Ping wouldn't intentionally use it while looking at others, it still enabled him to notice certain subtleties in his surroundings.

Hence, Lu Ping felt strange when he looked at Ai Shu-Tao, as if a layer of shadow was wrapped around him. By instinct, he observed him again with the [Tri-Pristine True Vision] to confirm his identity.

But little did he expect that underneath Ai Shu-Tao's disguise, he was in fact, a lady cross-dressing as a man!

Suddenly, everything now made sense in Lu Ping's mind. No wonder Ai Shu-Tao was timid and would behave effeminately at times—she was a girl all this while. Even though Lu Ping had considered this possibility in the past, he couldn't find any evidence to back up his suspicion.

Ai Shu-Tao was at first happy to hear Lu Ping praise her disguising skill, then her face quickly turned a bashful red. Whereas Ai Bo-Tao stepped forward, clasped his hands and greeted Lu Ping, "It has been years, Brother Lu's cultivation progress is astonishing. Your fame has spread after the battle at Flying Lightning Island!"

Lu Ping smiled and greeted back, "Brother Ai, please don't flatter me. I merely fought on par with Enlightened Master Li Xuan-Liang. It was a draw."

Ai Bo-Tao grinned. "Just as humble as ever. Brother Lu, everyone knows the truth. The title of Water Sword Immortal is a worthy one for you."

Lu Ping answered amiably, "Brother Ai, enough of that, aren't you one of the North Ocean Prodigies as well? I’ve heard the Ai Clan has another female cultivator who shares the alias of Ai Clan Twin Stars with you."

Ai Bo-Tao laughed, pointed at Ai Shu-Tao behind him and said proudly, "Brother Lu, let me make a proper introduction this time. This is my third sister, Ai Shu-Yao. She disguised herself as a man to make it more convenient to traverse the cultivation world alone. Who knew Brother Lu would be the first one to see through her disguise? Your prowess must have improved greatly since your advancement. After all, this art of disguise was personally taught by the Ai Clan's Great Ancestor, so not even Late Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters can see through it."

The Zhen Ling Sect disciple who ushered the Ai Clan brother and sister was shocked. He looked at Ai Shu-Yao in awe and murmured softly to himself, "So this is the Ai Clan's other Twin Star, Rank 77’s Ai Shu-Yao of the North Ocean Prodigies."

Ai Shu-Yao stepped forward and greeted Lu Ping, "Brother Lu."

Lu Ping suddenly felt awkward. He’d been treating her like a man all this time, so the sudden change in gender caught him off guard. Although he would need some time to get used to this, he still greeted back, "Young Lady Ai."

Ai Shu-Yao's expression changed subtly when she heard Lu Ping change in address, suggesting the widened distance between them.

Ai Bo-Tao noticed his sister's slight reaction, so he quickly said, "Brother Lu, after the battle with Enlightened Master Li Xuan-Liang, you suddenly rose to Rank 34 among the North Ocean Prodigies. I know for a fact that many were unhappy with your promotion, so they’ll come looking for trouble sooner or later. Perhaps even today at your teacher's forum, in front of the guests. Come to think of it, today would be a good chance for them to humiliate you and bring shame on your teacher's face. Be wary, be prepared."

Lu Ping nodded gratefully, then said with a wry smile, "Thank you for the warning, but Brother Ai, it seems like the trouble you spoke of has already arrived."

Ai Bo-Tao listened with alarm. He had cautioned Lu Ping out of good will, but didn't really think his concerns would come true. He quickly looked back and saw two Enlightened Masters walking up the stairway under the lead of a Zhen Ling Sect disciple.

The Enlightened Master at the front was a middle-aged man whom Lu Ping recognized. He was Enlightened Master Lin Xu-Qing who had accompanied Enlightened Master Feng Xu-Dao during the opening of Fei Ling Island.

The second Enlightened Master was a young man and Lu Ping's old opponent, Ouyang Wei-Jian, the official disciple of Enlightened Master Feng Xu-Dao. His eyes were sharp like swords, staring down at Lu Ping the first moment he spotted him.

As the person in charge of the forum, Lu Ping had to go and welcome them. "Greetings to Enlightened Master Lin Xu-Qing, welcome to the forum. Brother Ouyang, how have you been?"

Enlightened Master Lin Xu-Qing nodded silently at Lu Ping, then walking past them, he continued towards Chong Hua Palace on his own. As the older generation of cultivators, and also the next potential candidate for the Avatar Realm, Lin Xu-Qing was far from their reach as of now.

Ouyang Wei-Jian, who was a step behind, paused for a moment. He turned his head to look at Lu Ping and said, "Water Sword Immortal? Heh, Brother Lu has yet to give up swordsmanship?"

Lu Ping raised his brows. "Is Brother Ouyang disappointed?"

Ouyang Wei-Jian sneered coldly, then followed Lin Xu-Qing towards Chong Hua Palace.

After the pair walked some distance, Lin Xu-Qing suddenly spoke without looking back, "What do you see?"

Ouyang Wei-Jian immediately put away his goading expression and answered calmly, "Strange. The [Spiritual Sword Heart] sensed no danger from him. Could the battle be a show put up by the Li Clan and Zhen Ling Sect to cultivate his reputation?"

Lin Xu-Qing shook his head softly. "The sect's intelligence confirmed the battle to be genuine, Lu Ping and the Li Clan are not on good terms. But we cannot rule out the possibility entirely. Li Xuan-Liang's defeat could be a sign of the Li Clan’s willingness to concede. After all, his teacher is a Great Ancestor."

Ouyang Wei-Jian's expression turned solemn and resolute. "No matter the truth, the challenge will go on. Since my defeat in his hands, I've trained day and night, honed my skills and mind. Over the years, I advanced to Core Forging Realm, fought Mid Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters, reached the peak of Sword Unity, and cultivated more than one mini sword divine ability. Finally, it's time to take my revenge and set things right. Lu Ping will pay the price with his defeat, he will be humiliated, and the Avatar Forum will be ruined."

This time, Lin Xu-Qing finally glanced back at Ouyang Wei-Jian, then coldly mocked, "Ruining the Avatar Forum? Who do you think you are? Do not forget your teacher is also a Great Ancestor. Even more, he advanced years before Great Ancestor Tian-Ling. Even if you defeat Lu Ping, it will not mean much, and at most will just be a small issue for the Great Ancestors. What makes you think your actions can affect them?"

Lin Xu-Qing's tone was quiet and calm, but his words were like nails stabbing Ouyang Wei-Jian's mind.

Ouyang Wei-Jian smoothed his expression and said, "This nephew was presumptuous. Thank you for your words of caution, Junior Uncle."

Lin Xu-Qing nodded approvingly at his quick composure. "Lu Ping is not a pure sword practitioner; swordsmanship is not all he learns. There is more to discover about his prowess, such as his alchemy. If you truly want to challenge him, call it a sword play to celebrate the Great Ancestor's big day."

Ouyang Wei-Jian paused in his steps for a split second, his expression displaying a little reluctance. In comparison to Lu Ping, he was a pure sword practitioner. Hence, limiting the challenge to just their sword skills was the same as limiting Lu Ping's full prowess. What he wanted was a fair fight.

Although he knew that Lin Xu-Qing was cautioning him for his own good, his words implied that he didn't think he could defeat Lu Ping.

Lin Xu-Qing looked at their surroundings in surprise; this was the first time a shift in expression crossed his face.

Ouyang Wei-Jian quickly asked, "Junior Uncle, what's the matter?"

Lin Xu-Qing pointed at the shore around the small lake. "The plants, there’s something strange about their growth."

Ouyang Wei-Jian was puzzled. "They’re just ordinary spirit herbs, overstimulated to maturity by the Zhen Ling Sect to decorate the lake. Such a waste, doing so only results in low volumes of spiritual energy. Not even Xuan Ling Sect would do something like this."

Lin Xu-Qing shook his head and said solemnly, "No, not stimulated. I can sense the life force in the herbs, and they don't lack spiritual energy, they’re brimming with it, much more than ordinary spirit herbs."

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Ouyang Wei-Jian was shocked. "How is that possible? Spirit herbs each have different maturity periods, it’s not possible to have more than ten thousand of them reach maturity at the same time. Zhen Ling Sect's garden couldn’t have reached such an enormous scale that they have excess spirit herbs growing everywhere, right?"

Lin Xu-Qing didn't answer and pondered quietly on his own. It was unlikely for Zhen Ling Sect’s garden to have developed this far. Furthermore, if there was a safe and harmless way to stimulate the growth of spirit herbs, Zhen Ling Sect wouldn't reveal it to the public.

Suddenly, the figure of a charming maiden appeared in his mind, and he murmured inaudibly to himself, "Has she returned…? No, it can't be. Even if she’s come back after all these years, there's no way she would do it for Liu Tian-Ling, let alone in Liu Tian-Ling's cave-dwelling."

Translator Notes

Weekly Chapters (4/5)
Editor: MilkBiscuit

RD: 5th chapter will be out late. Editors are really busy these days T.T
RD(2): I just realized, I had the wrong date for the fourth chapter after seeing the comments. My bad. 

Novel Notes

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