Nine Evolutions of the True Spiritchapter 100: core forging realm cave-dwelling

After Lu Ping left the cave-dwelling, several cultivators appeared closely behind him and entered the domain. Looking inside, it was apparent the cave had been searched once, and they glanced at one another.

After a while, one of the cultivators said hesitantly, “If I’m not mistaken, this is a Core Forging cultivator’s cave-dwelling, yes?”

His companions were silent for a while before one of them confirmed, “I think so.”

Then, the other cultivator said, “This isn’t far from Fei Ling Mountain’s stream, so… could he be the one from Zhen Ling Sect?”

The first cultivator nodded. “It should be him, but there might be others from Zhen Ling Sect. If it’s him alone, that would be too outrageous.”

The cultivators settled on a reasonable explanation, and then continued to search the cave-dwelling in hopes of finding something good. Sure enough, they chanced upon some spirit herbs and spirit materials.

After all, Lu Ping’s search was too hasty, and he wasn’t willing to let the other cultivators know that he’d broken into a Core Forging cultivator’s cave-dwelling on his own. Hence, he only took the items that caught his eyes. Lu Ping couldn’t care less about the spirit herbs, spirit materials, spirit stones, and mystic instruments scattered inside.

Before reaching the mountain top, he found two more spirit herb gardens. Both gardens were first-rate, in terms of area and the quality of spirit herbs planted. Lu Ping harvested a total of five-hundred 500-year spirit herbs and forty 1000-year spirit herbs from these two gardens.

window.pubfuturetag = window.pubfuturetag || [];window.pubfuturetag.push({unit: "64ce79d606107d003c23ea27", id: "pf-5140-1"})Lu Ping was now getting close to the mountain top which already had cultivators gathering to fight each other. The sounds of weapons clashing, noises from the spells, and curses from cultivators could be heard from afar.

Clearly, there was a significant discovery on the mountain top which caused these people to compete with each other. Lu Ping naturally wouldn’t miss out on this.

When he reached the peak, the first thing he noticed wasn’t the ongoing battle, but the magnificent aura suffusing the air.

The mountain top was a ravaged and torn battlefield, the thousand-square-feet piece of land was dusty and filled with big and deep craters. This was the main battlefield where the Avatar Realm Great Ancestors fought 4,000 years ago.

During that battle, the Great Ancestors’ attacks blew away a third of Fei Ling Mountain’s height to its current state and appearance. This was also the biggest reason why the mountain’s colossal spirit vein was beaten down to become a large spirit vein.

The mountain top had already become a battlefield for cultivators. The flying dust obstructed their vision and they could only see ten feet away. Any further, and they would have to use their divine sense to determine their surroundings.

Lu Ping spread his divine sense out and everything within a radius of 60 feet was rendered in his mind. Additionally, a few hundred miles away, there was a faint rainbow light obscured by the flying dust.

Fei Ling Mountain’s stream originated from the mountain top. Lu Ping followed the stream of water towards the center of the peak. He could see with more clarity along the sides of the stream, and noticed that the concentration of spiritual energy in the stream was gradually increasing as he approached the center. It seemed that this stream of water was the main branch of Fei Ling Sect’s large spirit vein.

window.pubfuturetag = window.pubfuturetag || [];window.pubfuturetag.push({unit: "64cc9e79c7059f003e4ad4b0", id: "pf-5109-1"})In the midst of the flying dust, there were mystic instruments that attacked him from the sides from time to time. But Lu Ping would fiercely fight back with his Soaring Wing Swords—this wasn’t the time to reserve his strength.

In cases where he had no idea who was attacking him, holding back would only make him appear like an easy target, and thus make him extremely vulnerable to being besieged.

Lu Ping’s Soaring Wing Swords had left too deep an impression when he used them to break Fei Ling Mountain’s protective array formation. So when people saw the Soaring Wing Swords, most would also back down and seek other targets.

Lu Ping advanced another hundred feet, and this time there weren’t any cultivators that tried to provoke him. However, he could still sense a group of cultivators gathering on each side of the water stream, and they were moving towards him. The number of cultivators in the groups ranged from five to seven.

Lu Ping smiled wryly, it seemed like he’d still attracted too much attention. Fortunately, the groups didn’t know he’d already sensed them.

In that case, the only way out was to make the first move.

Lu Ping raised his left hand and Landslide flew out from his interspatial ring. Since he’d found an interspatial ring with more capacity, he naturally wouldn’t use his interspatial pouch anymore. He’d sorted out all of the spirit herbs, spirit materials, spirit stones, and unused mystic instruments inside the interspatial pouches, while his personal possessions, cultivation resources, and valuables were transferred to the interspatial ring.

Landslide flew up into the air and slammed down at the six cultivators on the left bank. They immediately let out a cry of surprise, “Where did this mystic instrument come from?”

window.pubfuturetag = window.pubfuturetag || [];window.pubfuturetag.push({unit: "663633fa8ebf7442f0652b33", id: "pf-8817-1"})“It’s a high-grade mystic instrument!”

“Who is it? Who’s picking on us!?”

Lu Ping ignored their cries. While Landslide was hammering down on the left bank cultivators, the Soaring Wing Swords also slashed out.

After the left bank cultivators finally blocked the Landslide, the Soaring Wing Swords were already swinging towards them. The six of them cursed again, “It’s him, that Zhen Ling cultivator!”

“Damn him, how dare he challenge the six of us on his own?!”

“Oh, my arm! Help! Save me!”

“Mercy, please don’t kill me, I beg you. Ah––!”

In the blink of an eye, three of the men on the left bank were killed, another one escaped with a severed arm, and two more fled with serious injuries from Landslide’s attack.

The group on the right bank had rallied five cultivators, but when they heard the cries from the left bank, they clearly hesitated for a second. Suddenly, one of them said something to the group and they cast out their mystic instruments towards Lu Ping.

Lu Ping was using two high-grade mystic instruments at the same time, and this took up most of his divine sense. Fortunately, he’d already noticed the group on the right bank before this. He only attacked the left bank cultivators first because they had four Xuan Ling cultivators.

The group on the right bank consisted of one Hai Yan cultivator and one Shui Yan cultivator. The rest were cultivators from other sects. In comparison, the right bank group was weaker than the left bank group.

Lu Ping cast out five Water Shield Charms and blocked attacks from five incoming mystic instruments. His high-grade mystic instruments soon returned to him from the left bank. He stored away Landslide and simply used Soaring Wing Swords to return the favor.

The five cultivators immediately realized their terrible situation and they turned around to flee. Lu Ping’s Soaring Wing Swords quickly pursued them, but could only kill the Shui Yan cultivator while the others successfully escaped.

Lu Ping went towards the left bank and looted the three interspatial pouches. When he turned to the right bank, Dabao was already bringing him the Shui Yan cultivator’s interspatial pouch in its mouth.

The spirit herbs in these four interspatial pouches were clearly more abundant than the harvests he made on Ling Yao Mountain. The 500-year spirit herbs alone totaled more than 2,400 and even the 1000-year spirit herbs added up to 23 pieces altogether.

In the face of spirit herbs, having spirit stones wasn’t as significant anymore. There were only 10,000 spirit stones, and Lu Ping didn’t bother to count the medicinal pellets and other miscellaneous items.

He continued along the river bank, and this time there weren’t any cultivators that came looking for trouble anymore. Just before reaching the source of the water stream, Lu Ping saw clearly that the faint rainbow light was coming from a cave-dwelling’s protective array formation.

This was yet another Core Forging Enlightened Master’s cave-dwelling. It seemed like the Great Ancestors weren’t that good in the art of scavenging 4,000 years ago.

It was at this time, a familiar voice sounded ahead of him, “Is that Junior Brother Lu?”

Lu Ping recognized Wei Zi-Heng’s voice and he replied, “Yes, it’s me.”

As he said, he was walking towards Wei Zi-Heng and asked, “Senior Brother, what is the situation now?”

Wei Zi-Heng replied, “There’s good news and bad news.”

Lu Ping quickly asked why, while Wei Zi-Heng explained, “The good news is, because of your contribution, our Zhen Ling Group entered Fei Ling Mountain ahead of the rest and secured an advantage. We harvested more than thirty spirit herb gardens and several cave-dwellings. Even after the other cultivators entered the mountain, we also managed to gain enough spoils.

“The bad news is, Xuan Ling Group and Hai Yan-Shui Yan Group have joined forces together against our Zhen Ling Group. Some of us were ambushed by them and the other cultivators they instigated. Right now, we only have a total of thirty cultivators left, while Xuan Ling Group has seven more than us.”

Lu Ping thought for a while. “Not anymore, they only have three and a half more. I bumped into a group of Xuan Ling cultivators and ambushed them. Killed three and crippled one.”

Wei Zi-Heng and the cultivators behind him cheered happily at the news. “Good job, Junior Brother, you’re really strong!”

Naturally, Lu Ping wouldn’t reveal his true abilities. He claimed that he only achieved the feat because he used the element of surprise to ambush the Xuan Ling cultivators. Despite that, the Zhen Ling Group greatly admired him.

Wei Zi-Heng asked about Lu Ping’s harvest, who replied that he’d harvested a few spirit herb gardens on his own. Although Wei Zi-Heng was slightly disappointed, he still said, “That’s still good enough. Junior Brother, you’ve been moving on your own while the rest of us moved in groups. We were only able to harvest a spirit herb garden or two before the rest of the cultivators caught up to us. As it is, our harvest is surely not as good as that of Junior Brother’s.”

Lu Ping noticed that Wei Zi-Heng was only mentioning spirit herbs and feeling curious, he asked, “Senior Brother, could it be that you have other gains?”

From the side, Su Zi-Peng smiled and said, “We’ve secured an Early Core Forging cultivator’s cave-dwelling on our own. We also entered two more belonging to Core Forging cultivators with cultivators of other sects. One of the two cave-dwellings belonged to a Mid Core Forging Enlightened Master.”

Lu Ping asked curiously, “Senior Brother, how can you tell whether the owner was an Early or Mid Core Forging Realm?”

Su Zi-Peng was surprised. “Junior Brother, you didn’t know? If the protective array formation has three colors, then the owner is an Early Core Forging Realm, if its five colors, then the owner is a Mid Core Forging Realm. If it’s seven colors like this one here, then the owner is a Late Core Forging Realm.”

Lu Ping’s heart was moved when he looked at the cave-dwelling behind the seven-colored protective array formation. He asked Wei Zi-Heng, “So the cave-dwelling on Xiang Lu Mountain belonged to a Mid Core Forging Realm?”

Wei Zi-Heng nodded in confirmation. So now, Lu Ping finally learned that the cave-dwelling he’d broken into with the talisman treasure belonged to an Early Core Forging Realm.

Wei Zi-Heng explained, “In this expedition to Fei Ling Island, the harvest is obviously much higher than before. The past few times, just three to five Core Forging Realm’s cave-dwelling were unearthed. But this time, we’ve had seven Core Forging Realm’s cave-dwellings that were unearthed that we know of. There might even be more not exposed to the public.

“Among these seven cave-dwellings, three were secured by Xuan Ling Group or Hai Yan-Shui Yan Group, with one of the three belonging to a Mid Core Forging Realm. So their harvest wouldn’t be little either. So now it seems like this Late Core Forging Realm’s cave-dwelling will be the final determining factor.”

As they spoke, more and more cultivators were gathering around the array formation, and their eyes were fixated on the cave-dwelling.

There was only a day left until Fei Ling Island would once again be closed for hundreds of years.