After leaving the Pavillion of Alchemy, Lu Ping didn’t return to Huang Li Island. Instead, he headed straight to his second senior sister’s place. Something was troubling him, but it was difficult to ask about it directly as it involved his master, so he wanted to clear his confusion by asking Li Xuan-Ru some questions. Unfortunately, he found out that she was away.
Lu Ping retrieved two message charms and sent them to Zhao Xuan-Ji and Wang Xuan-Jing. After waiting for a while, neither of the two message charms returned. It appeared that the two of them were also not in their residence.
With that, Lu Ping had no choice but to return to Huang Li Island.
The island had become more and more developed, functioning as an operating base for cultivators that explored the ocean and hunted for resources.
After exchanging greetings with Hu Lili and Chen Lian, Lu Ping summoned Fang Tao and inquired about the resources that they collected on Huang Li Island over the last few years.
“That’s a lot,” Lu Ping remarked with surprise as he eyed the interspatial pouch that Fang Tao handed over to him.
Fang Tao smiled, “Initially, we collected far less than that. Ever since you emerged victorious against the monster invasion a year ago despite only being a Core Forging Realm cultivator, our sect’s cultivators have started gaining the upper hand against the monster cultivators, improving the environment for us to hunt monsters and in turn attracting more cultivators to the island. The addition of Great Ancestor Jiang Tian-Lin on the island was a catalyst that further attracted even more visitors. In just over a year, we managed to collect twice the amount of resources that we collected in the past three years. We would’ve gained even more if we weren’t limited by the small size of the island.”
Hearing that, Lu Ping couldn’t help but have mixed feelings. “I tried my best and even gambled with my life just to repel the invasion…and then there’s teacher’s husband. Hmmm. Strength really is what matters the most.
Since he had returned, he wanted to have an understanding of his overall wealth, so he asked, “What about the spirit-gathering land? How are we developing them right now?”
Fang Tao reported the situation with a face full of smiles, “There are thirty-four spirit-gathering lands on the island. We’ve developed more than forty acres of them, turning them into spirit farms and gardens. We also grew all sorts of spirit plants, which are now being managed by the Blood Refining Realm disciples.”
Lu Ping knew that the spirit-gathering lands were almost used up, and that the lack of spirit veins prevented the birth of new spirit-gathering land, even if the island increased in size.
Fang Tao glanced at Lu Ping and opened his mouth. He clearly wanted to say something, but in the end he chose not to. Seeing that, Lu Ping smiled, and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“There are a couple of spirit-gathering lands that are still being managed by the same Blood Condensation Realm’s disciples. These two disciples have been managing them from the beginning. I asked around to see if I should replace them with other disciples, but Enlightened Master Hu said that I should leave them alone so long as they didn’t ask to leave themselves.”
“Oh? Those two are still around?” Lu Ping was surprised.
Capturing the hint of surprise in Lu Ping’s eyes, Fang Tao came to the conclusion that Lu Ping knew about the situation but not the finer details. Hence, he explained, “One of them is Wang Qi. After the monster invasion, he entered the Blood Condensation Realm by consuming three Blood Condensing Pellets. He is currently managing four acres of spirit-gathering land. Aside from managing the land and mastering his sword skills, he also keeps my son and daughter company during their monster hunts. He doesn’t have a particularly high cultivation level, but he’s not what I would call weak. The Second Layer Blood Condensation Realm monsters can barely put up a fight against his sword. He can even triumph against monsters in the Third Layer Blood Condensation Realm. Additionally, he’s capable of reaching the pinnacle of the First Layer Blood Condensation Realm despite only entering this level a year ago. My son told me that Wang Qi will soon make a breakthrough.”
Lu Ping’s interest peaked, “What kind of foundation bloodline does he have? Are you familiar with the techniques he has cultivated?”
Fang Tao replied, “He’s a good friend to my son and daughter. Hmmm. I think the foundation bloodline he has cultivated is the gold tiger, which seems like an odd choice. The techniques he has chosen are pretty unusual as well. Instead of choosing the techniques cultivated by the majority of the sect, he chose the [Ascendancy Scripture]. Rumor has it that this technique was perfected to the early stages of the Avatar Realm, but no one has cultivated it before. It also appears to be a new technique that the sect recently acquired.”
As he spoke, Fang Tao shook his head. Clearly, he did not approve of Wang Qi’s choice. On the other hand, Lu Ping seemed very interested in Wang Qi, but he didn’t ask any more about him. Instead, he inquired about the other disciple, “What about the other one?”
“The other one?” Fang Tao shook his head vigorously. “His name is Tian Yue. This boy entered the Blood Condensation Realm later than Wang Qi. Compared to Wang Qi, this boy, dare I say, is a coward. He barely gets out of his comfort zone and spends most of his time managing the six acres of land assigned to him. Oh. Enlightened Master Hu only distributed two to three acres of land to every other disciple, but these two continued to manage the land despite entering the Blood Condensation Realm, so Enlightened Master Hu assigned extra acres of land to them. Unlike Wang Qi and the other Blood Condensation Realm disciples, Tian Yue does not go out to hunt.”
Fang Tao’s report had once again piqued Lu Ping’s interest, leading him to ask, “Is there anything special about this boy?”
“Something special, you say?”
While most of the matters on the island were handled by Hu Lili, the accounts of the spirit farms and markets were Fang Tao’s responsibilities. As a result, Fang Tao had familiarized himself with the disciples managing the spirit-gathering land, let alone Wang Qi and Tian Yue, who had been around for five years now.
After collecting his thoughts, Fang Tao added, “When it comes to growing spirit crops, Tian Yue is the best. Be it herbs or grains, the total output of the spirit-gathering land he manages is the highest, but it makes sense as he’s the only one that spends all of his time on the land. Tian Yue is a hardworking boy, but he doesn’t leave the island to hunt or compete with the other disciples. Recently, Wang Qi dragged Tian Yue for a hunt when Tian Yue entered the Blood Condensation Realm. However, compared to the other cultivators that were enthusiastic, Tian Yue hid behind everyone and kept silent when he was mocked for being a coward. In the end, he was forced to face a monster head-on, leaving him no choice but to fight. However, he produced a surprising outcome. Instead of attacking the monster, Tian Yue kept on defending, leaving no openings for the monster. This carried on until the monster tried to flee after being worn out, leading to it being cut down by Tian Yue’s companions, who lost patience. Since then, Tian Yue has never left the land assigned to him.”
“Interesting.” Lu Ping smiled after sending Fang Tao out.
After that, he directed his attention to the interspatial pouch in his hands. Although Lu Ping had no time for alchemy ever since acquiring Huang Li Island, the precious materials were all sent to Luan Yu. He was a talented alchemist, and Lu Ping would not let free labor slip through his fingers. Furthermore, Luan Yu needed the materials to hone his skills.
Throughout the years, Huang Li Island had successfully gathered thousands of spirit herbs. There were even dozens of precious spirit herbs that were at least three thousand years old, and countless five hundred years old herbs. When Chen Lian learned that Lu Ping needed resources, he sent over a rare agarwood. It was said that this unique wood could only be formed deep within the ocean and would take more centuries or even millennia to form. However, Lu Ping wasn’t as knowledgeable as Chen Lian on this aspect. All he did was absorb it with the Seven Elemental Lightning Gourd.
Chen Lian had obtained plenty of precious items throughout the years. The ocean was a vast piece of land containing endless wealth. Through trading, Chen Lian had acquired various materials of different tiers. Apart from the agarwood, Chen Lian also delivered two top-tier materials to him, which Lu Ping then consumed to enhance his mini divine ability.
Hu Lili was now in the Second Layer Core Forging Realm after consuming a pellet gifted to her by Lu Ping. The pellet was a Heart Condensation Pellet, a Half-step Core Forging Realm pellet that Lu Ping had made at the cost of countless rare spirit herbs. When he created the pellets back then in the East Ocean, he consumed one on the spot and left the other one for Hu Lili. He had instructed her to strengthen her overall foundation for a year before she consumed it.
After returning to his residence, he noticed that one of the cultivation rooms was occupied. After asking around, he learned that the person using the room was Zheng Jie, who had recently returned to the island and had begun solidifying her strength.
Lu Ping couldn’t help but chuckle. “So that little girl is finally advancing to the Core Forging Realm!”
Whilst Zheng Jie appeared to always be carefree and optimistic, it was only a matter of time before she felt very anxious about being the only one amongst the group of friends that had yet to advance into the Core Forging Realm. Now, with the pellet Lu Ping had given her, she finally had the opportunity to do so.
Lu Ping also received many pieces of good news from Chen Lian. It appeared that Yao Yong, Chen Zi-Xuan, and Yin Zi-Chu had advanced into the Third Layer Core Forging Realm. Du Feng, Shi Ling-Ling, and Chen-Lian, were slightly slower and had all reached the peak of the Second Layer Core Forging Realm. Ma Yu and Zhong Jian were a step behind Hu Lili and were now on the verge of breaking through to the Second Layer, while Zhang Zi-Cheng had started teaching in the Zhen Ling Side Hall.
Zhang Zi-Cheng was not particularly talented. He had realized that the future of his cultivation journey was not as bright as he had initially thought. However, he had it all mapped out. Firstly, he was on good terms with Lu Ping and the others, the brightest individuals of the younger generation in the sect. Secondly, his friendly and easy-going behavior had earned him the respect of many cultivators in the sect. If he ended up managing to enter the later stages of the Core Forging Realm, he would be able to get his hands on a chance to become a person of authority in the sect. But if he couldn’t, he could always start managing his family business, and through the connections he had built in the sect, he had laid a solid foundation for his family that would support them for centuries or even millennia.
After entering the cultivation room, Lu Ping placed the two miniature Spirit Gathering Pearls into the island’s spirit vein. He immediately noticed that there were two additional miniature spirit veins within the three minor spirit veins of the island. He soon found out from Hu Lili that the additional miniature spirit veins were obtained with the help of a solitary cultivator. This cultivator had discovered the spirit veins in the ocean and had decided to report his discovery to the Zhen Ling sect cultivators in exchange for a huge sum of resources.
Aside from the two additional miniature Spirit Gathering Pearls, the island now possessed three minor and four miniature spirit veins. He now felt that the island was a little too small for future developments.