Chapter 98 – Cultivation Breakthrough
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Nine Evolutions of the True Spirit Chapter 98 – Cultivation Breakthrough

Ai Shutao came forward and thanked Lu Ping for his help, but Lu Ping didn’t think he had done anything much and said he was just doing a small favor. He then said goodbye to Ai Shutao.

Ai Shutao said regretfully, “Fellow Daoist Lu, why don’t you stay and continue to mine the Heavenly Gold Sand? The island’s situation is chaotic, you’re risking death by going out there.”

Lu Ping smiled. “In another six days, all the cultivators will be marching towards Fei Ling Mountain. I have to meet up and regroup with my martial siblings.”

Ai Shutao was enlightened. “Oh yes, you’re from Zhen Ling Sect, so of course you’ll have to participate in the battle of Fei Ling Mountain. I’m on my own, so it’s better if I hide and mine here. Then I can get a good harvest.”

Lu Ping said goodbye to Ai Shutao and headed for Gua Yun Mountain, where the Pavilion of Books was located.

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Lu Ping had already been to three of the five mountains on Fei Ling Island, and in the last few days, he also saw many vistas other than the mountains. The only exceptions were the Pavilion of Books on Gua Yun Mountain, and Ling Yao Mountain where the battle was now underway.

But more importantly—Lu Ping’s cultivation had reached a bottleneck. He was already at the peak of Second Layer Blood Condensation Realm and a breakthrough would be imminent within a few days.

This was also partly why Lu Ping didn’t follow Wei Zi-Heng and the rest to Ling Yao Mountain. Initially, he planned to break through in the Heavenly Gold Sand spirit mine but he didn’t expect to find Ai Shutao there already. And Ai Shutao wasn’t planning to leave until the end of the expedition. Hence, Lu Ping was forced to look somewhere else for his cultivation breakthrough.

He searched around Gua Yun Mountain, but Lu Ping harvested very little and only found a few mid-grade spirit materials. In the end, Lu Ping found a spirit mine thirty miles away from Gua Yun Mountain. It was a small spirit mine that produced Crimson Granite, used to forge mid-grade fire-element mystic instruments.

Lu Ping released Dabao to stand on guard and blocked the entrance of the cave with the monster turtle. He took out the spirit-gathering putuan and found a spot rich in energy within the cave. Casting the [Spirit Offering Art], he detonated the spiritual energy in that location, which would temporarily increase the concentration of energy in the air before it dissipated entirely.

Lu Ping sat on the spirit-gathering putuan, consumed the best Blood Condensation medicinal pellet he had, and held a mid-grade spirit stone in each of his hands. He placed the Spirit Gathering Pearl close to his chest and began to quietly circulate his arcane energy as per the [Sea Coast Wave Listening Scripture] to start his breakthrough.

The scripture was a pure-water cultivation method, which was classified as a slow and steady type. Lu Ping was quite concerned about the consolidation of his foundation and the accumulation of his arcane energy. 

He didn’t expect to see another breakthrough in less than a year, yet it was happening—he was now breaking through to the Third Layer of the Blood Condensation Realm.

From the Xuan Ling-Zhen Ling war on Xuan Qi Island, to the monster’s invasion, Lu Ping had experienced a series of grisly battles and escaped from death’s claws several times. In addition to the uninterrupted supply of medicinal pellets, Lu Ping’s cultivation had progressed in leaps and bounds.

But in truth, his heart was beating anxiously. He still had a cultivation concern that he couldn’t put aside—his bloodlines.

If his success in awakening his bloodlines at the age of six with ordinary qualifications was considered lucky, then the change in his bloodlines when he broke through to the Blood Condensation Realm was a horror story. He was really terrified when he saw his foundation bloodline, the Jiao bloodline, devouring his turtle bloodline.

Fortunately, his bloodlines remained normal when breaking through to the Second Layer, but that didn’t mean Lu Ping’s qualms were resolved. He had always been afraid of his foundation bloodline coming out and making a mess again.

Arcane energy flowed within his bloodlines, agitating his foundation bloodline. This time, it had its target locked on his ice-tiger bloodline.

Just like the last time, it openly devoured the bloodline. His Jiao bloodline drew the last bit of arcane energy out from the ice-tiger bloodline for itself. This wasn’t a fusion or a merging, there wasn’t the slightest characteristic shared between them. His foundation bloodline was still as dominant as ever.

But there was a slight difference this time—the ice-tiger bloodline was sucked dry of arcane energy, but it remained wasted in his body, unlike the previous turtle bloodline that was swallowed completely.

Lu Ping opened his mouth and spat out a mouthful of dark red blood, which he contained in a previously prepared jade bottle. This dark red blood was the wasted ice-tiger bloodline. No life force remained after its arcane energy was drawn out by his foundation bloodline.

Lu Ping heard that during similar breakthroughs, such wasted bloodlines still contained some life force. Alchemists could use them to concoct precious medicinal pellets like Blood Rehabilitation Pellets and Bloodline Consolidation Pellets, which helped the breakthrough of cultivators between the Early, Mid, and Late Blood Condensation Realm, and also the Core Forging Realm.

But obviously, Lu Ping’s wasted bloodlines had no life force left and were unsuitable to concoct pellets. Fortunately, Lu Ping’s breakthrough still followed the laws of the cultivation world; the only concern was that his foundation bloodline was far more dominating.

Since the foundation bloodline was replenished with a large amount of arcane energy, a small amount of refined arcane energy flowed into his heartspace and formed into a small Condensed Blood Bead. However, compared to the existing two, this newly-formed Condensed Blood Bead was still very weak and needed a continuous accumulation of arcane energy.

Lu Ping took a day to complete his cultivation breakthrough and another three days to consolidate his foundation. Only then did he walk out of the spirit mine.

Dabao obviously knew that Lu Ping had seen a leap in advancement in his cultivation. It quickly came up to congratulate him, and Lu Ping fed it a Blood Purification Pellet.

The giant monster turtle also carried out its duty thoroughly, it didn’t move away from the cave entrance for the entire four days. So, Lu Ping rewarded it with a Blood Vigor Pellet that was left over from his days in the Blood Refining Realm. The monster turtle knew that the pellet was beneficial to its cultivation and quickly swallowed it.

There were less than four days left before the opening of Fei Ling Mountain, and the fight on Ling Yao Mountain should be nearing its end. Lu Ping planned to take a look and regroup with the rest of Zhen Ling Sect.

Before leaving, Lu Ping excavated a bag of Crimson Granite from the spirit mine. Although Lu Ping didn’t place much value on mid-grade spirit materials anymore, it wasn’t his style to walk away without harvesting something.

Ling Yao Mountain was the shortest among the five mountains, but it occupied the largest piece of land, and the concentration of spiritual energy was also the highest. After all, the largest branch of Fei Ling Mountain’s spirit vein was on Ling Yao Mountain.

Along his journey, he found that the mountain was already bare with nothing left to harvest, with many traces of battles left behind. Clearly, all fighting had ended and the sects were already gathering together to make their final preparations for Fei Ling Mountain.

He took another day’s time to travel to Ling Yao Mountain’s foothills. Journeying alone, he attracted much unwanted attention along the way, leading to two interceptions.

The first interception was from two disciples from an unknown sect, both of whom Lu Ping casually removed from this world. When he was still in the Second Layer, he was already capable of single-handedly killing four Third Layer Blood Condensation cultivators, let alone now in the Third Layer.

After reaching the mountainside, a group of five cultivators, including a Shui Yan Pavilion cultivator, attacked him. Lu Ping naturally didn’t hold back—he cast out his Soaring Wing Swords and killed three of them in the blink of an eye. The fourth cultivator cast a secret technique and escaped, and the fifth left his interspatial pouch on the ground and fled.

The two battles naturally seemed abrupt on the already calm Ling Yao Mountain, and aroused the curiosity of those at the top. When the Zhen Ling cultivators noticed that it was Lu Ping, they hurriedly sent a team to escort Lu Ping back to their formation. This avoided further conflicts between him and the other cultivators.

Just like that, Lu Ping had looted six more interspatial pouches. The sixth pouch which was left behind as a distraction naturally didn’t have anything good inside.

Fortunately, the other five pouches were filled with many good things. Lu Ping quickly counted more than a thousand 500-year spirit herbs, ten 1000-year spirit herbs, more than 10,000 spirit stones, and several bottles of medicinal pellets.

This was his biggest harvest so far since the expedition started and he quietly sorted out the gains. It seemed like the cultivators managed to harvest a large bounty on Ling Yao Mountain.

Fortunately, the cultivators at the mountain peak only knew of the fights, but didn’t know the outcome. Otherwise, they could easily guess how wealthy Lu Ping was now.

The top of Ling Yao Mountain was very close to Fei Ling Mountain, so after the mountain clash reached its end, the cultivators didn’t leave. Instead, they stayed and waited patiently for the opening of Fei Ling Mountain.

Lu Ping listened to Wei Zi-Heng's explanation of the situation on Ling Yao Mountain. The final clash involved roughly 140 cultivators from various sects, resulting in 30 fallen. 

During and after the clash, there were still cultivators making their way to Ling Yao Mountain. So right now, the number of cultivators was back to the original figure of roughly 140.

At this time, Zhen Ling Group was left with 44 cultivators and Xuan Ling Group had 42 cultivators, the gap between these two groups was not big. Whereas Hai Yan-Shui Yan Group originally had 30 cultivators but was now left with 17.

Other than these three major groups, the other sects suffered the heaviest casualties. More than half of them were killed in the clash and about 30 of them were left.

Fei Ling Mountain was the main mountain of Fei Ling Island, being the location of Fei Ling Sect’s spirit vein. What used to be a colossal spirit vein was downgraded into a large spirit vein after the elimination war, yet it was still key ground for the competing cultivators.

Ling Yao Mountain’s spirit herb garden was just an add-on compared to the one on Fei Ling Mountain. But more importantly, Fei Ling Mountain contained a lot of cave-dwellings. Because of the weakened spiritual energy and unmaintained array formation, many cave-dwellings would be unearthed every time the island was opened.

Although the cave-dwellings of higher-realm cultivators were already plundered by Avatar Great Ancestors, there were still those belonging to the lower-realm cultivators left untouched.

And there was always a possibility that the Avatar Great Ancestors had missed out on some cave-dwellings. So whenever a Core Forging cultivator’s cave-dwelling was unearthed, a life-and-death battle between the sects would be guaranteed to happen.

With two days remaining, Lu Ping quietly released Dabao and instructed it to go underground and search for more Spirit Gathering Pearls. Ling Yao Mountain was formed on top of the spirit vein branch from Fei Ling Mountain. Since thousands of years had passed, some Spirit Gathering Pearls might have formed below it.

Ling Yao Mountain was incredibly huge and the landscape was also complex. Dabao continuously dug down for a day and barely found the spirit vein branch underneath the mountain. But Lu Ping wasn’t in a hurry either. It was already a huge blessing from heaven-and-earth to find a Spirit Gathering Pearl. He was naturally satisfied with his luck compared to the other cultivators.

On the last day, Dabao finally found a Spirit Gathering Pearl from the spirit vein. Although it was a mini Spirit Gathering Pearl, Lu Ping was still overjoyed and heavily rewarded Dabao.

He then shifted his attention to Fei Ling Mountain, but Dabao was already exhausted and its arcane energy depleted. It lay on the ground tiredly and wouldn’t get up no matter how hard Lu Ping tried.

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