Nine Evolutions of the True Spiritchapter 14: understanding the heart

The “Four Prodigies” were naturally the top four of the competition. Yao Yong was one of them.

The “Five Talents” were the five youngest in the top 16. Among them, four were ladies and they were also the only four females to make the list. This made Shi Lingling unhappy and so she challenged the only male in the “Five Talents”. He was a Ninth Layer disciple but she could still defeat him. The challenge was carried out in front of everyone and so she replaced his position in the “Five Talents”.

The remaining top 16 were collectively known as the “Seven Brutes”. Some even said that Lu Ping ranked first among the seven.

Lu Ping never cared for these matters, but was also helpless against his growing fame.

He was respectful toward Master Immortal Liu, especially after entering the Late Blood Refining Realm. Master Immortal Liu never held anything back during their tutoring sessions. Not to mention, his care towards him during his breakthrough on the stage.

Furthermore, it was because of Master Immortal Liu’s precious high-quality Essence Recuperating Pellets that pulled Lu Ping’s cultivation base from the brink of collapse.

The three tutor sessions included knowledge that left Lu Ping shaken and challenged his worldview.

On the first day, Master Immortal Liu elucidated everything about his cultivation progress and the common problems he would have to overcome in the Eighth and Ninth Layer as well as the precautions he would have to take. Master Immortal Liu also explained the preparations necessary to advance into the Blood Condensation Realm.

If one were to say that the difference in prowess between the cultivation layers in the Blood Refining Realm wasn’t that huge, then the Blood Condensation Realm was the line that separated the strong and the weak.

window.pubfuturetag = window.pubfuturetag || [];window.pubfuturetag.push({unit: "64ce79d606107d003c23ea27", id: "pf-5140-1"})The type of cultivation method, the resources, the knowledge, wisdom, courage, determination, and last but not least, one’s luck—every single factor contributed to the difference in prowess between the Blood Condensation Realm cultivators.

It was a path full of frustration and dashed hopes, a single moment of inattention or hesitation could lead to the end of one’s cultivation journey.

After the first day’s tutor session, a question lingered in Lu Ping’s mind. It couldn’t stop bugging him. “Why do I cultivate?”

Lu Ping spent the entire night thinking about it. A myriad of answers entered and left his mind, but in the end, his hesitation was cast aside and his eyes lit up when he found his answer.

When Master Immortal Liu asked him the question again on the second day, Lu Ping only answered two words, “Long life!”

Master Immortal Liu asked, “Just one reason? Is there nothing else?”

Lu Ping shook his head and said, “Initially, I had a lot of thoughts going on in my head, lots of answers, and each of them was reasonable and something I wished for. But in the end, this is the one and only answer that I find the most realistic and most true. All the other answers will fade with time but this, this is the one wish that will remain to the end of time.”

Master Immortal Liu laughed heartily. “To the end of time, to the end of time—you are truly one disciple worth teaching!”

After saying so, he looked at Lu Ping with eyes filled with mixed feelings of happiness, sorrow, envy, reminiscence and bitterness…

window.pubfuturetag = window.pubfuturetag || [];window.pubfuturetag.push({unit: "64cc9e79c7059f003e4ad4b0", id: "pf-5109-1"})Little did Lu Ping know that this was a test of heart from the Zhen Ling Side Hall to the Eighth Layer disciples. Every disciple has their own one purpose, intention, reason, and goal to cultivate; sometimes even more than one.

The cultivators may not notice it now or just casually discarded such thoughts, thinking that they don’t matter at all. However, they would soon realize each thought would become obstacles that they had to face to progress their cultivation.

At times, some of these thoughts would gradually fade away, some would become impossible to achieve, some would turn into obsessions that they had to fulfill to overcome, or worse, some may even evolve into the cultivator’s inner demons that may threaten their very lives.

Only by dedicating to just one unfaltering, steadfast purpose could a cultivator guarantee their needs are met in cultivation advancement.

But Lu Ping didn’t know any of that yet. Perhaps, many years later when his cultivation level reached a certain stage, he would look back and realize just how important Master Immortal Liu’s question had been.

On the second day, Master Immortal Liu focused on the advancement of Blood Refining Realm to Blood Condensation Realm as well as the cultivation methods of the Blood Condensation Realm. One must say, the information fed to Lu Ping left him stunned from the inside out.

Master Immortal Liu looked at Lu Ping’s expression and smiled. “What’s the matter? Are you only now worrying about the difficulty of cultivation?”

Lu Ping nodded and replied, “Although I’m determined to continue down the path of cultivation no matter how difficult it may be, I never thought the process would be like this.”

Master Immortal Liu asked, “Do you know how many Blood Refining Realm cultivators can advance into the Blood Condensation Realm?”

window.pubfuturetag = window.pubfuturetag || [];window.pubfuturetag.push({unit: "663633fa8ebf7442f0652b33", id: "pf-8817-1"})Lu Ping answered, “One in a hundred.”

Master Immortal Liu asked again, “How about the Core Forging Realm?”

This time, Lu Ping shook his head.

Master Immortal Liu said, “Sometimes not even one in a thousand. Furthermore, the Core Forging Realm is a cultivation realm fraught with danger where every step of progress can affect the cultivator’s final achievements. Even I know little of what may come.

“The side hall disciples and the outer disciples number more than the tens of thousands, but there are only just a few thousand Blood Condensation Realm disciples. Let’s not forget that this is partly because Blood Condensation Realm disciples have a lifespan twice as long as Blood Refining Realm disciples.

“The Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters have a lifespan of five to eight hundred years. In the entire sect, there are only a few dozen Enlightened Masters. As for Avatar Grand Ancestors, even I have yet to see one in my many years in the sect. I only know of the Grand Ancestors in the sect.”

Lu Ping’s mouth opened wide as he listened, his eyes filled with an endless yearning for the great cultivators.

Master Immortal Liu saw Lu Ping’s expression and knew he would be too preoccupied thinking of the great cultivators, so he said, “That’s all for now, I’m tired already. Remember well everything I’ve told you today.”

On the third day, Master Immortal Liu taught him the culture of the cultivation world. The things he needed to be aware of when socializing with other cultivators, and the basics about the sects and factions that existed in this world.

However, even Master Immortal Liu wasn’t so well versed with the subject, and when he finally couldn’t stand Lu Ping’s endless questions anymore, he said, “It is a huge world out there, and my knowledge is limited. I can only teach you the basics and the rest will be answered on your own path of exploration.”

After he finished telling Lu Ping everything, Master Immortal Liu took out two objects and said, “These are two jade scrolls. One records every common spirit item used in cultivation, a summary of knowledge to the world by the sect’s seniors. Although the information is not complete, it is enough for Blood Refining Realm disciples like you. The other jade scroll records the local culture and notable figures that have existed or still exist in the cultivation world. This is a piece of must-have information for one to enter the real world.”

Lu Ping received the jade scrolls, mulled for a moment before asking, “Master Immortal, is the sect sending the disciples out on a mission? Otherwise, why complete all these preparations?”

Master Immortal Liu was startled for a split second before he laughed and praised, “You’re indeed quick-witted, but not entirely correct. The sect has its rules. It is true that the Eighth Layer disciples will have to enter the real world to increase their experience, but the sect has no rule for how the disciples go about it. However, the sect also has a responsibility to prepare our disciples to the best of their abilities before letting them leave. It has always been like that and it will continue to be so this time.

“After all, you are the hope for the sect’s future. You never know, one of you might be the next pillar of the sect, or maybe even the next Avatar Realm Grand Ancestor. However, take note that there are external influences this year, and even I am unsure of the current situation. So you and the rest should just wait quietly for the sect’s announcement.”

Master Immortal Liu’s explanation confirmed Lu Ping’s conjecture, but at the same time, he was left even more confused.

Lu Ping exited Master Immortal Liu’s residence and recalled certain details in the conversation before the tutor session ended. Suddenly, he laughed softly and shook his head.

If even Master Immortal Liu knew nothing much about the situation, this meant that whatever was going on was definitely planned by the Core Forging Realm Enlightened Masters, or might even involve greater cultivators.

So what could a small Blood Refining Realm disciple like him offer to great cultivators like them? Even if they were truly planning something involving the Blood Refining Realm disciples, was there anything he could do other than obediently follow their commands and play along in their game?

The only thing he could do now was to continue with his cultivation and strengthen himself. This way, he would at least have a slightly higher chance to survive the game.