Why not go ad free? Go Premium now.
Announcements
AIP: New Patreon Goals! 1mo 1w ago by
A- A A+

AIP - Chapter 66: Probe

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

For the next few days, Tang Jie continued to train his casting time, unlike the vast majority of students.

One student after another entered the Spirit Spring Tier and smugly returned to practice, but Tang Jie was in no rush. He cast the Aqualight Shroud again and again, shrinking his casting speed from five seconds to four seconds, three seconds, two seconds… Today, Tang Jie was cultivating again in his room when he heard someone calling him from outside.

As he walked outside, he saw a student standing at the gate.

"So it was Senior Brother Li. What brings Senior Brother here to my place?"

This Senior Brother Li's name was Li Zhen, and he was a sixth-year student at Basking Moon Academy. He was at the Spirit Lake Tier, but he was much stronger than Wu Xing.

This Li Zhen walked a similar path to Tang Jie. Rather than rushing to the next tier, he would diligently practice spell arts at every tier to raise his combat strength, after which he would rely on his combat strength to carry out missions for the academy and obtain resources that he used to boost his cultivation speed.

This was the best option for students who didn't have enough talent, but it also carried too much risk.

A few days ago, Li Zhen had battled several people on the Divine Battleground and won several times in a row, so he had some reputation. Thus, Tang Jie knew who he was, and he had even met him once.

When he saw Tang Jie come out, Li Zhen smiled. "You know that the big exam is in a few days, but the pitiful me has failed year after year. I can't keep wasting my time on this. I heard that you were a genius student of Basking Moon Academy, someone of great erudition and talent. Why don't you instruct me a little?"

The rules for Basking Moon Academy's culture studies were very simple. All content would be lectured on for half a year, and after this half-year, there would be a big examination. Those who passed would not need to take the classes again.

As for those that didn't, they would have to continue taking classes. One could take vacations for trials and missions, but if one were at school, one couldn't miss a single day. Only when one passed the big exam could one finally stop attending class.

The Basking Moon students were all focused on cultivation and had little time for culture studies. It was only later on that they realized that if they didn't pass their culture classes, they would have to spend every morning listening to lectures, which severely hampered their progress. Considering that Major Circuit Heavens couldn't be circulated only partially, this delay became even worse. After all, if you needed two hours to finish one Major Circuit Heaven but you had to attend class in an hour, you would have no means of circulating half a Major Circuit Heaven, going to class, and then finishing up the other half later.

Thus, the students were forced to apply their efforts to an area they had no interest in.

For example, in Li Zhen's six years, he had diligently cultivated, even practicing Circuit Heavens while in class, and this naturally resulted in his failing the exam several times. Many people were like him and had totally given up on culture studies. After all, they could cultivate during class, just a little less efficiently, and their comprehensive evaluations would be somewhat lower. So it was a surprise for Tang Jie to see Li Zhen running over to him today.

Tang Jie chuckled at Li Zhen's words. "When it comes to cultural studies, this junior brother truly does have some confidence. But every class presumably has stand-outs in cultural studies. Basking Moon Academy is divided by years, and so there should be at least ten such cultural studies geniuses. Why would Senior Brother come and find me?"

Li Zhen laughed. "Revising cultural studies takes time. If I went to look for help from those fellows, I would be walking into a lion's maw. Your senior brother has a hard time getting enough money, and I can't afford to buy their time. As for you, junior brother, you're a newcomer, so your services are probably a little cheaper. I've specifically prepared this bottle of spirit-nurturing pills to serve as your fee."

He took out a bottle of spirit-nurturing pills as he spoke.

Tang Jie smiled and said, "These spirit-nurturing pills are too expensive, and your junior brother can't accept them. In truth, Senior Brother, there's no need to go this far. Since Senior Brother wishes to pass the culture exam, you should just pay more attention in class, after which you'll naturally understand everything. Why would it be necessary to find this junior?"

Li Zhen hastily said, "The esteemed teacher doesn't permit questions during the class, and I'm a slow fellow who has many questions that I'm confused on, so I've come to seek Junior Brother's help. Is Junior Brother unwilling?"

Tang Jie shook his head. "My apologies. This junior is in the middle of a major push to the Spirit Spring Tier, so I'm afraid I don't have the time."

"With these spirit-nurturing pills, you can reach the Spirit Spring Tier even faster."

Tang Jie still shook his head. "This junior thanks Senior Brother for your kind intentions, but let's drop this matter."

"You!" Li Zhen angrily glared at him. "Then at least you can invite me to sit down in your room for a little while, yes?"

Tang Jie still shook his head.

Li Zhen grew so angry that his entire body shuddered. Pointing at Tang Jie, he yelled, "Good! Good! A mere first-year student dares to act so arrogant! I lowered myself to ask for your help, and even offered you a bottle of spirit-nurturing pills, but you refuse to help me in the slightest, not even letting me sit down for a while! I'll remember your disrespect!"

He turned and left.

After leaving the Carefree House, Li Zhen walked over to a secluded area, where a tall and slender student was standing.

When the student saw Li Zhen coming over, he creased his brow and said, "It seems like Senior Brother failed."

Li Zhen harrumphed. "I lost this bet. While I might not be particularly popular in the school, I'm at least known about by my juniors, so they would have to show me some respect if I wanted something. Yet this Tang Jie wouldn't even let me step into his room. Junior Brother Min, you were right. This Tang Jie is truly an extremely arrogant and brash person. He appears meek on the surface, but deep down, he shows no regard for anyone. If his house wasn't protected by a formation, I would have forced my way in and taught him a good lesson."

He threw over the bottle of spirit-nurturing pills.

That student with the surname Min chuckled and gave the pills back. "It was a joke for my own amusement, Senior Brother. There's no need to take it so seriously. Senior Brother should take back this bottle of spirit-nurturing pills."

Li Zhen was very unhappy to hear this. "You're saying this like I'm a person who doesn't keep their promises. Since I lost those spirit-nurturing pills to you, I naturally can't take them back. If I won, then you would have had to give me five bottles, and I would have wanted every last one. Alright, that's it. Goodbye!"

The student watched Li Zhen leave and then lowered his head and began to think. He then took out a talisman and wrote some words on it: "Tang Jie is cautious and does not permit strangers to enter his room. When moving through the school, he walks only the main roads and refuses to take detours, and his paths are frequented by many students and monitors. Besides that, he is being watched by Spirit Masters from the shadows. More time is needed to find a chance to move against him."

Once he was done writing, he conjured a flame from his finger and set the talisman aflame, burning it into ash.

Twenty days later, Wei Tianchong finally finished the first puppet in his life.

This was a wolf-shaped puppet. It wasn't very large, but it had a very intimidating appearance.

The Electro Wood had been formed into the torso, and two black crystal beads had been used for the eyes. The claws and teeth were made from an alloy into which a small amount of Primal Iron had been mixed. This small block of metal had cost nearly one thousand coins and was the most expensive part. 

The insides of the wolf were empty so that the spirit stones used as the driving power could be placed inside. This was the most common power source of the cultivation world, but spirit stones were not used as a means of transaction. This was because spirit stones had differing traits, sizes, and effects, so they served as one of the basic products frequently traded on the market.

The head also had a horn made of the same alloy, making the wolf seem particularly ferocious.

In terms of the quality of the materials, this combat puppet could pass as a Rank 1 puppet. But its small size limited the refining formation that could be carved into it, and its abilities were also bound to be limited.

Wei Tianchong had only completed its form. It was the refining formation that would confer the soul and allow him to operate it as he desired.

As if he was handing off his own child to Tang Jie, Wei Tianchong reluctantly said, "It's up to you, so take good care of it!"

"Third Young Master, relax."

With Wei Tianchong's puppet in tow, Tang Jie went to the Heaven Circuit Platform.

The Heaven Circuit Platform was where students could learn the Dao of Formations.

According to the rules of Basking Moon Academy, once students reached the Spirit Spring Tier, they gained the right to apply for miscellaneous studies in talismans, formations, pill refining, and tool crafting.

Some time after the application, the school would arrange for an assessment. Only the students who had passed the assessment could formally study one of these miscellaneous fields. As for how applicants were selected, it followed the school's usual style. No matter how many geniuses there were, only ten would be selected every time, and it would rather choose no one than take mediocre talents, refusing those who did not meet the requirements.

Of course, if you thought you were talented enough, you could take the examination again, but while the first test was free, you would have to pay for the subsequent ones.

If the students wanted to stand out, they would have to rely on their talent, their family, or their own desperate efforts. The miscellaneous fields of pills, talismans, formations, and tools represented a fourth path, but this path also had high requirements when it came to talent. Moreover, it required a lot of early investment, so it was difficult to stand out without support from one's family.

In this aspect, Tang Jie had been lucky to learn formations from Xu Muyang. Xu Muyang's Dao of Formations emphasized nature, emphasized casting arts through natural formations and avoiding the use of materials whenever possible. This was what had allowed Tang Jie a chance to lay down a foundation. But even Xu Muyang's Dao of Formations required materials for formations at higher levels. Thus, for the last three years, Tang Jie had only been able to dabble with basic formations. Fortunately, he had essentially memorized that book, so he had a rock-solid theoretical foundation.

In front of the Heaven Circuit Platform was a large plaza.

Ten-some students sat on the plaza, all of them seemingly pondering and calculating something. Occasionally, they would use chalk to draw lines on the ground.

Tang Jie knew that they were calculating the configuration of a formation. This was basic knowledge for formation composition, but it was incredibly complex and would often leave people with headaches. He had been the same in the beginning.

But he wasn't here to watch these students compose formation diagrams. He looked around and spotted a rather downcast student.

While the student was rather dejected, his gaze was focused, and judging by his formation diagram, his basic skills were rather good. He was just a little too inflexible, but this was exactly what Tang Jie wanted.

He's the one, Tang Jie thought to himself.

After tidying up his clothes, Tang Jie walked over and bowed. "Senior Brother, my greetings."

"Eh?" The student raised his head and looked at Tang Jie. "You are…"

"Student Tang Jie, a member of this year's class…"

Tang Jie quickly explained why he had come.

The student was happy to hear that Tang Jie wanted him to make a refining formation for a puppet.

Students dabbled in these miscellaneous fields precisely to make money so that they could buy spirit medicine for cultivation.

But those with skill had all gone to the market to get business. Those who remained at Heaven Circuit Platform to struggle with formation diagrams were lacking in ability and had reached a standstill in their progress.

This student was called Qin Liang. He wasn't particularly outstanding in the Dao of Formations, and he had a rather dull nature. Thus, he had not been able to get any business. He hadn't expected business to come walking up to his doorstep. Not only could he make a little money, he could also get in some practice.

But when Tang Jie took out the puppet for him to see, Qin Liang frowned. "This puppet is a little small."

"There's no need to be nervous." Tang Jie smiled. "This puppet wasn't meant for combat, only to play around with, so just a few simple formations will do."

"Oh, I see." Qin Liang immediately relaxed when he heard that the puppet wouldn't be used for battle.

Since it was just being used for amusement, a few basic control formations would be enough, which meant that there was more than enough space.

"But these were all excellent materials that went into this puppet. Using it for play is quite the pity." Qin Liang clicked his tongue as he looked at the puppet.

This sort of puppet could go for at least two thousand spirit coins. What sort of young master would be so frivolous as to spend such materials on a toy?

Tang Jie smiled. "Senior Brother, please draw out the formation according to this diagram."

He presented a formation diagram.

"Eh?" Qin Liang looked quizzically at the diagram. "This formation diagram is rather strange. Why are there so many gaps and unconnected lines in the center? And the materials needed are also rather special… Will this formation actually work?"

"It's like this. My young master is rather interested in the Dao of Formations, so it's best to leave some blanks so that the young master can…" Tang Jie gave a "you get me" look to Qin Liang and passed over thirty spirit coins.

Qin Liang immediately nodded in understanding. Some rich young master probably wanted to flaunt his skills, so he was having someone else do half while he did the rest, thus allowing him to brag that this was all his effort.

He was getting paid regardless, so he didn't care, and he accepted the job without further comment.

Three days later, Qin Liang finished the formation and gave the puppet to Tang Jie. Tang Jie looked over the puppet and found that this kid hadn't gotten ahead of himself and added on extra lines. Deeply satisfied, he praised Qin Liang's workmanship, leaving Qin Liang on cloud nine.

Tang Jie returned to the Carefree House with the partially complete puppet.

He took out his prepared materials. It was time he turned this simple toy into a magical item.

Hypersheep325's Notes:

Gu Changqing testing Tang Jie's defenses. Meanwhile, Tang Jie continues to scam his young master out of money.

------

Discuss the latest chapter on Discord: https://discord.gg/BxATnQetx2

Support the translation on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/hypersheep
Written by Yuanfen 0 缘分0. Translated by Hypersheep325. Edited by Michyrr.