Chapter 4 - Challenge
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Nine Evolutions of the True Spirit Chapter 4 - Challenge

Back in his room in the courtyard, Lu Ping couldn’t help but smile when recalling the power of Landslide after testing it in the forest. But shortly after, his smile turned bitter when he thought of the amount of energy it cost him to cast the mystic instrument.

Although it was powerful, it used up almost half the spiritual energy in his bloodlines. Hence, it could only be good for a one-time kill shot during a fight.

There were only three months left until the competition. This meant he would have to spend more time in cultivation, but obviously, he couldn’t neglect his skill practices as well. After all, the competition didn’t just test one’s cultivation base.

Fortunately, he still had many spirit stones and medicinal pellets for the month, barely enough to cover him for the month’s long cultivation. This was something he had never experienced before.

Two months flashed by just like that. Not only did Lu Ping’s cultivation base not slow down as expected, but he was also reaching mid-stage Seventh Layer.

Lu Ping attributed this to the breakthrough in his cultivation base which positively increased the success rate of his charm-crafting. This in turn allowed him to earn more cultivation resources for himself. Another reason he could think of was his solid cultivation foundation.

Even now, Lu Ping was still sticking to his usual habits and routines. He would craft charms every three days and was able to maintain an average success rate of 80 charms every month, half of which were mid-grade charms and a dozen more high-grade charms. 

He even succeeded in crafting seven top-grade charms over the past two months which he gladly converted into blood charms. 

As usual, Lu Ping would go to the market on the last day of the month and would return with a hundred spirit stones every time. Right now, Lu Ping felt like he was a rich guy and every day he would spend a spirit stone and consume a Blood Purification Pellet for his cultivation.

One could only consume one medicinal pellet a day, otherwise the over-excessive medicinal toxicity would harm the body and affect one’s cultivation in the future. If not for that, Lu Ping would definitely consume two Blood Purification Pellets in his daily cultivation.

On the other hand, the Zhen Ling Side Hall disciples have also been preparing themselves and getting ready for the year-end examination and competition.

Group 7 was no exception to that either; the group disciples have been cultivating really hard recently.

The tense ambiance shrouded the disciples and they squeezed out every single bit of energy they had left for training. They gave everything they had these past five years into their cultivation progress. As such, they managed to break through their cultivation layers one after another.

The minimum requirement to qualify as a Grade 3 disciple was to be in the Sixth Layer Blood Refining Realm. Initially, there were only 27 disciples who had achieved this in Group 7, but four others had seen a breakthrough in their cultivation and reached the Sixth Layer over the last two months. Meanwhile, two of the initial 27 disciples successfully broke through to the Seventh Layer. 

Master Immortal Liu couldn’t help feeling happy at seeing their breakthrough. After all, each and every one of these disciples contributed as part of his own merits. The more disciples entering the Seventh Layer, the more the sect would reward him.

The two that had achieved the Seventh Layer were none other than the eleventh and twelfth disciple, Li Cheng and Zhang Zicheng.

Ever since he was replaced by Lu Ping two months ago, Li Cheng had held a grudge against him. After his breakthrough, he let out word that he would challenge and defeat Lu Ping to claim back his position. At hearing this, Lu Ping only smiled and let it slide. 

Find the original at Hosted Novel.

Not to mention that he was already close to entering the late-stage in the Seventh Layer, he also didn’t think he would be weaker than any of his peers in the same layer when it came to mystic weapon mastery and skills.

The mystic weapons were the most common weapons used by cultivators. They were no more than junk metals to the Zhen Ling Sect and even the outer disciples were able to own a mystic weapon of their own. 

When Lu Ping broke through to the Seventh Layer, the sect rewarded him with a high-grade mystic weapon, the Steelmaking Sword.


On this day, Lu Ping and his Group 7 disciples arrived at the Zhao Yang Summit for their usual morning cultivation routine. Just the day before, Lu Ping sold a few dozen charms in the market and bought enough additional cultivation resources for the new month. He was in a very good mood at the thought that he might be able to enter the late-stage in the Seventh Layer next month.

After finishing the usual [Blood Condensation Bone Melting Fist], Master Immortal Liu and his two Ninth Layer assistants arrived at Group 7’s stone stage on the Zhao Yang Summit.

“Master Immortal, Disciple Li Cheng wishes to challenge the tenth disciple, Lu Ping. I wish for your permission!”

Master Immortal Liu frowned and looked at the speaker—it was the eleventh disciple, Li Cheng.

“Although the sect encourages the disciples to engage in positive competition with one another, the Grade 2 disciple promotional examination and competition are coming soon. Wouldn’t it be a waste if either one of you were wounded in the challenge and couldn’t participate? Of course, if you insist, the sect rules come first and I will not reject your wish.”

Li Cheng didn’t know how to read between the lines and understand the meaning hidden behind Master Immortal Liu’s words, so he insisted, “I wish to challenge. I am confident that I won’t be the one that will be wounded.”

Master Immortal Liu obviously wasn’t happy with the reply. No matter who gets wounded, Group 7 would suffer a drop in overall strength in the competition.

By then, wouldn’t this reduce his reward from the sect as well?

But the rules of the Zhen Ling Sect had to be prioritized. Master Immortal Liu couldn’t force Li Cheng to give up the challenge and there was nothing he could do other than remind them to be cautious, “Then, the two of you, be careful.”

Master Immortal Liu’s assistants then marked the area for the battle arena and Master Immortal Liu acted as the judge himself.

In the battle arena, Li Cheng glared viciously at Lu Ping and said, “Don’t think too highly of yourself for achieving the Seventh Layer earlier, I’ll teach you a lesson! I’m only a month later than you because I chose to solidify my foundation more before breaking through. Now, give my position back to me!”

Lu Ping smiled. He didn’t reply with words but answered with his actions, raising his high-grade Steelmaking Sword up in front of him.

Li Cheng didn’t back down either. He also wielded a high-grade mystic weapon—the Steelmaking Spear. Li Cheng practiced the [Hundred War Spear Styles] that he found in the side hall’s Pavilion of Books. He decided to make the first move. 

Li Cheng had broken through a month ago, but he was not without a brain. He knew that he needed time to solidify his increment in prowess and pick up on his skills. So he waited for another month before he challenged Lu Ping.

Lu Ping took a defensive stance with the sword skill he learned from the [Blood Condensation Bone Melting Fist].

As it turned out, the [Blood Condensation Bone Melting Fist] was in fact, a basic cultivation skill of the Zhen Ling Side Hall that could be cultivated with fists as well as swords. Lu Ping didn’t study the other mystic weapons and only concentrated on using fists and swords. 

Although this would make him lacking in the other weapons and skills, the upside of this would be a solid foundation.

Moreover, the skill was also more or less useful when it came to the cultivation and purification of the cultivator’s bloodline, even though the results were almost close to none. 

Li Cheng wielded his spear well. His attacks were strong and powerful, fast and continuous, and the surrounding disciples started to cheer for him.

On the other hand, Lu Ping’s sword skill was ordinary and unattractive, he was doing nothing but parrying Li Cheng’s attacks. But although he had taken the defensive stance, his defenses were unbreakable.

After all, the disciples have learned and practiced the [Blood Condensation Bone Melting Fist] for many years. They had long been bored of it, so why would they pay any attention to it now?

Only the disciples in the first row looked closely at Lu Ping’s sword skill, watching him appraisingly.

Meanwhile, a few Eighth Layer and Ninth Layer disciples gathered around the two assistants and they were discussing the battle situation.

“Li Cheng’s foundation is solid. Although he is a step slower in achieving the Seventh Layer, he is still beyond Lu Ping’s level.”

“I don’t dismiss the possibility of Lu Ping turning the tide of battle and claiming the final victory. Look at him, his defenses parried every single attack precisely, and he shows no signs of discomposure. I’m sure he still has something up his sleeves.”

“What a joke! What is there left to see from the [Blood Condensation Bone Melting Fist]? We both know that there’s nothing more to it!”

“Hard to say. His sword skills are solid. I don’t think that even we could show the same level of mastery as him using the [Blood Condensation Bone Melting Fist].”

“In the end, it’s still just a basic skill. It’s no use no matter how good you are at it.”

While the crowd was discussing among themselves, Master Immortal Liu was looking unfettered by the battle. But in actual fact, he was a little shocked in his heart. He was a Blood Condensation Realm cultivator—surely he could see deeper insights into the battle that the rest couldn’t see.

His skills… they have already touched the state of ‘Technique’. It seems like the battle’s outcome has been decided already. 

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