Nine Evolutions of the True Spiritchapter 1: seventh layer

Lu Ping exhaled deeply and slowly stopped his cultivation, withdrawing the newly-generated spiritual energy from the breakthrough back into his bloodlines. Then, he threw the spirit stone in his hands aside and carefully discerned the vigorous thumps from his heart. Lu Ping seemed to hear the flow of blood gushing through his veins.

A pair of eyes suddenly opened in the darkness, shining like two bright stars in the deep night as he looked around the room with a placid smile on his face. Sure enough, he was able to see in the dark now—as expected after breaking through to the Seventh Layer of the Blood Refining Realm. Of course, this change was still weak and had little use, as Lu Ping could only use it to see everything in the room clearly.

He fetched a bucket of water and washed away the dark red layer of filth and impurities that were squeezed out from his bloodlines and body. After that, he laid face-up on the wooden bed and thought of finally getting a good night’s rest.

It had been sixteen years since he arrived in this world, but Lu Ping never showed a single sign of maladjustment to the new environment. In particular, he only grew more intrigued and developed a strong sense of curiosity after learning about the mystical nature of this world.

At the age of six, Lu Ping successfully awakened his bloodline despite being an ordinary kid with an ordinary talent. The master immortal residing on the island at that time was surprised by the incident and Lu Ping was taken in as a disciple of the Zhen Ling Side Hall.

For ten years, Lu Ping seized every chance he could to learn about this whole new world. Despite his mediocre talent, Lu Ping worked hard every single day and at long last, he succeeded in breaking through to the Seventh Layer of Blood Refining Realm today.

However, the one thing he would never know was the type of bloodlines he possessed. After all, even the cultivation masters couldn’t determine what it was, let alone him.

window.pubfuturetag = window.pubfuturetag || [];window.pubfuturetag.push({unit: "64ce79d606107d003c23ea27", id: "pf-5140-1"})The next morning, after the three bell chimes, the Zhen Ling Side Hall was immediately filled with a noisy clamor. The fifty disciples of Grade 2 Group 7 swiftly moved out of their courtyards and rushed toward the seventh platform on the Zhao Yang Summit.

They moved fast and swift like horses let loose. If only the so-called martial art experts of the martial world had seen their movements, those experts would have found themselves stunned in disbelief.

Perhaps these disciples were still no faster than the martial experts who specialized in the arts of qinggong, but there were probably thousands of disciples spread throughout the mountain forest. If these disciples were to interfere with the affairs of the martial world, it would almost be guaranteed that there would be no more peace to be found!

Lu Ping took his time, treading through the midst of the crowd at his own pace which made him seem skillful and at ease compared to the rest. When he arrived at the seventh platform, there were already two disciples standing there. Those two were most likely the first senior martial brother and second senior martial brother. They were both Ninth Layer Blood Refining cultivators and just lacking the final step of condensing their blood and establishing a foundation, and from becoming an inner disciple of the Zhen Ling Sect.

Just as the rest were also about to reach the platform, another three flashed past the crowd and leaped onto the stage first. They were none other than the third, fourth, and fifth senior martial brothers who were in the Eighth Layer Blood Refining Realm.

After seeing that everyone had arrived on the platform, First Senior Martial Brother Yao Yong shouted loudly, “Line up!”

Immediately, everyone rushed to their respective spots and formed a rectangular formation in just a few seconds. Lu Ping's spot was the second from the left in the second row, which meant Lu Ping was the formation’s twelfth disciple.

window.pubfuturetag = window.pubfuturetag || [];window.pubfuturetag.push({unit: "64cc9e79c7059f003e4ad4b0", id: "pf-5109-1"})Yao Yong shouted again, “[Blood Condensation Bone Melting Fist]. Begin!”

The disciples punched their fists and shouted in unison, “Ha!”

Among the 72 moves in the [Blood Condensation Bone Melting Fist], the first 36 moves were used to strengthen one’s body and cultivate the spiritual energy in one’s bloodlines. Whereas the second 36 moves were battle moves to protect the cultivator and to kill—a life-saving skill.

After finishing the moves, Lu Ping felt his body warmed up. Sure enough, it was the effect of reaching the Seventh Layer. In the past, he would’ve been sweating and panting after completing the moves but after his recent breakthrough, he was only just warming up.

Lu Ping looked at First Senior Martial Brother Yao Yang and the latter shouted, “Welcome and greetings to the master immortal!”

Right after that, a bright red light made a beautiful arc across the sky and landed on the stone stage in front of the platform, revealing three silhouettes within.

The disciples below the stage all greeted in unison, “Greetings to Master Immortal Liu!”

window.pubfuturetag = window.pubfuturetag || [];window.pubfuturetag.push({unit: "663633fa8ebf7442f0652b33", id: "pf-8817-1"})One of the three, a middle-aged-looking cultivator with a strict and stern appearance, waved his hand placidly and replied, “Spare the formalities. I see that all of you have been cultivating hard lately. However, the examination for the Zhen Ling Side Hall Grade 2 disciples will take place soon. If you do not wish to become one of the outer disciples, you still need to work even harder!”

After hearing Master Immortal Liu, the reactions of the disciples were mixed. Those in the first three rows were still calm, but the following next two rows were a little perturbed, whispering to one another quietly. Some were in a panic, some were despondent, some were despaired and so on.

Master Immortal Liu looked to the last two rows with a straight face and the crowd immediately zipped their mouths. He gave a faint humph and then looked to the first three rows.

When he saw Lu Ping, a smile radiated across his face and he said, “Good. Lu Ping, you’ve already broken through to the Seventh Layer?”

Master Immortal Liu’s words threw the crowd into a little clamor again. Even the first row’s senior martial siblings turned their heads around to look at Lu Ping.

Lu Ping stood unflinching; he wasn’t nervous nor was he excited. Instead, he just bowed according to the usual formality and answered placidly, “Thanks to the master immortal’s guidance, I was able to break through last night with a bit of luck.”

“Good, good! In three months’ time, after the promotional examination for the Grade 2 disciples has passed, you will be able to partake in the competition for the Grade 2 disciples.”

The examinations of the Zhen Ling Side Hall disciples were to get rid of incompetent disciples whereas the competitions were organized for the talented disciples. The winners of the competitions would be heavily rewarded to improve their prowess tremendously.

The aims of both the examinations and the competitions were to stimulate and encourage the side hall disciples to cultivate hard.

In the Zhen Ling Side Hall, one’s status was solely dependent on one’s prowess. The competition was intense and harsh. The amount of resources allocated to each group was decided based on the passing and failing rates of the group each year.

The master immortals leading the groups would also be rewarded by the sect should the groups perform well. Hence, Master Immortal Liu was happy to see Lu Ping’s breakthrough in his cultivation progress.

A Seventh Layer was definitely one of the top ten disciples in a group among the Grade 2 disciples. Therefore, Lu Ping’s breakthrough would definitely increase the winning chance of Group 7 in the competition.

“We in the Zhen Ling Side Hall claim our spot based on our prowess. Lu Ping’s breakthrough made him the tenth disciple that has reached the Seventh Layer in our Group 7. As our culture dictates, Lu Ping will now become the tenth disciple.”

It wasn’t the first time Lu Ping had been in this situation. He quietly moved to the rightmost end of the first row while clearly noticing the gazes staring at him from behind. There was anger, envy, jealousy…

The now-ex-tenth disciple, Li Chen, glared viciously at Lu Ping and moved to the leftmost end of the second row while the now-ex-eleventh disciple, Zhang Zichen, smiled wryly and took two steps to the right, replacing Lu Ping in his original spot.

Lu Ping ignored these reactions and just stood quietly in his new position throughout the entire exchange.

Master Immortal Liu looked at Lu Ping and smiled as he said, “As usual, after a breakthrough in cultivation layer, a disciple can challenge his seniors in the same grade for their position and cultivation resources.”

Immediately, the four senior martial siblings to his left all looked at Lu Ping while Lu Ping bowed slightly as a gesture of respect to Master Immortal Liu. He replied, “Elder, I’ve just broken through to a new cultivation layer and have yet to consolidate my cultivation base. I am no match for the seniors and hence, I willingly give up my right to challenge.”

The crowd thought, As expected!

Every time Lu Ping broke through to a new cultivation layer, he never challenged a single senior. If it weren’t for the group competition within the group that took place every year, Lu Ping would most likely be in the last place among his peers in the same grade.

Even though he never sought trouble, that didn’t mean trouble wouldn’t find a way to get to him. However, after a few failed attempts to defeat him from new disciples, the disciples understood that Lu Ping wasn’t an easy target either. Hence, there weren’t many who would challenge him anymore nowadays.

In fact, the primary reason why Lu Ping had reached twelfth place whilst at the Sixth Layer was because his challengers failed to defeat him and he was forced to replace them in the higher positions.

“Then, Lu Ping will now be the tenth senior in our Group 7!” Master Immortal Liu declared.

“Greetings to the Tenth Senior Martial Brother!”

“Greetings to the Tenth Junior Martial Brother!”

After Lu Ping gestured in return to the greetings of his martial siblings, Master Immortal Liu said sternly, “Good! Now we are done with these matters. Disciples, time to meditate and cultivate!”