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AIP - Chapter 62: Xie Fengtang

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

"Thief!"

A loud shout tore through the night and resounded through Alljoin Garden.

This shout immediately drew the attention of countless students, and some people quickly identified the direction the voice had come from and ran over.

In the blink of an eye, a large number of students had gathered in front of the entrance to the Carefree House. A group of monitor students pushed their way through the crowd and saw Tang Jie standing at the entrance.

"What happened? What's with all the shouting?!" a monitor angrily demanded.

Tang Jie said to the person, "Senior Brother, a thief entered my room just now. It seems like they wanted to steal something." 

The crowd immediately became restless.

Basking Moon Academy was the highest-level school in the Sageheart Kingdom. Supervised by Immortal masters as it was, not even a mouse would be able to get in if it weren't permitted. It had been a long time since there had last been a thief, but surprisingly, one had shown up today. The incident instantly became a hot topic of conversation.

The monitor students were dumbfounded. One of them asked, "Did you see who it was?"

Tang Jie answered, "It was too dark and this student just returned, so I wasn't able to get a good look."

"Did you lose anything?"

"No. Everything in the room is where it should be."

"Then why did you shout 'thief'?" that student huffed.

Tang Jie wasn't in a hurry. He pointed at the flour on the ground. "If there was no thief, where did that footprint come from?"

Compared to when Tang Jie had seen it, the footprint was much more distinct.

That student instantly froze.

Basking Moon Academy had strict rules. Without permission, not even monitors were permitted to enter the residences of others without an invitation. Even if this person wasn't a thief, they still needed to be captured and questioned.

Since Tang Jie had "evidence", this matter needed to be investigated.

The lead student immediately burned a message talisman, and less than fifteen minutes later, more people appeared in front of the Carefree House.

It was none other than Xin Yue and Si Yue'er.

The moment Xin Yue arrived, he grunted, "It's been a long time since a thief has caused trouble in Basking Moon Academy. I didn't think that a mess like this would happen today."

He strode into Tang Jie's room and looked around. "Who is the owner?"

Tang Jie stepped forward, cupped his fist in his other hand, and bowed. "Basking Moon Student Tang Jie pays respects to Esteemed Teachers Xin and Si."

"So it was you." Upon seeing Tang Jie, Xin Yue gave a rare smile.

As the top student, Tang Jie was favorably viewed by the teachers.

Xin Yue even remembered how Tang Jie was the only one to use a notebook to take notes during the first class, recording his every word.

Though he really didn't have a high view of his own lectures, he couldn't help but be happy that someone was so attentive during one of them.

Xin Yue nodded. "Tell me what happened."

Tang Jie recounted how he was returning from the club-opening ceremony and "inadvertently" discovered someone's footprint in the flour he had spilled.

He then pointed at the footprint and said, "Esteemed Teacher, please look. This shoeprint is definitely much larger than this lowly one's shoe. It would have been impossible for this to be a shoeprint that I left myself."

Xin Yue glanced at it and then continued, "Was there anything missing in the room?"

"No. Not only did I not lose anything, everything was right where it belonged, like nothing had ever moved."

"Oh? Running over to your house while you aren't here but not doing anything?" Xin Yue raised an eyebrow, and then he carefully inspected the room. Suddenly, he made a formula with his hands, sending out streams of spiritual energy across the room. He grimaced. "Someone used a spell on the items in this room…"

If someone had used spells on the items in this room, the nature of this incident changed. If someone had planted some pernicious spell on these ordinary items, they might have been planning to take someone's life.

Si Yue'er asked, "Can you identify the spell?"

She wasn't like Xin Yue. Besides lecturing, Xin Yue was also part of the Insight Department, and he was an expert at discovering hidden traces.

Xin Yue shook his head. "It doesn't seem like some curse art or wicked spell, but I don't know the purpose. I need to investigate more."

Just when he was about to, he heard a voice from behind him. "There's no need to inspect it. It's the Art of Origin Return."

Everyone turned around and saw an azure-robed, middle-aged man standing at the door.

The man had a dignified appearance that oozed majesty. He walked in with his hands held behind his back. The moment the two teachers saw him, they bowed and called out in unison, "Hall Master Xie!"

After hearing this form of address, how could Tang Jie not know who this person was?

Deputy Headmaster of Basking Moon Academy, Xie Fengtang!

The Basking Moon Sect had eight inner halls and eight outer halls. Basking Moon Academy was truthfully just a part of the Training Hall, one of the Basking Moon Sect's eight inner halls. Its responsibility was to train disciples.

As Basking Moon Academy had a rather important status, the headmaster was usually the Training Hall Master. As Headmaster Feng Hongluan was normally out traveling and difficult to pin down, the students had never actually seen their headmaster. Most of Basking Moon Academy's duties were carried out by the deputy headmaster, Xie Fengtang, and Xie Fengtang was one of the deputy hall masters of the Training Hall.

This was also why the esteemed teachers often called the deputy headmaster "Hall Master", as they were subordinates of the Training Hall. But this was not a privilege that the students enjoyed.

Xie Fengtang's sudden appearance caused Tang Jie to hastily prostrate. "I pay respects to the headmaster."

"Rise." Xie Fengtang waved his hand, and an invisible energy stood Tang Jie up.

Xin Yue said, "Hall Master, you said that this was the Art of Origin Return? But this is a spell art that only those of the Mortal Shedding Realm can use. Are you saying that the intruder was one of my school's Mortal Shedding Realm students?"

But why would a Mortal Shedding Realm student intrude on the house of a new student?

What was there that a Mortal Shedding Realm student could want?

Xin Yue suspiciously looked at Tang Jie.

But Tang Jie had a blank look on his face, as if he had no idea what was going on.

Xie Fengtang said, "We're still not sure if they are a Basking Moon Student, but the purpose of the Art of Origin Return is to return everything to its original place. This means that the intruder didn't want anyone to know that they had been here…"

The eyes of the teacher lit up. "That's right! Does that mean that the intruder didn't come to steal anything?"

As esteemed teachers of the academy, they didn't like it when such things happened. After all, it would mar the reputation of the school if such an incident got out.

When people achieved high status, enjoying both power and wealth, they needed to pay a bit more attention to their reputation.

Xie Fengtang leisurely said, "Perhaps they simply didn't find what they wanted."

Si Yue'er said, "Regardless of their purpose, since this intruder knows how to use the Art of Origin Return, let's just see which students of the academy know how to use this art and then check their alibis. We should be able to find out who did this. Hmph, someone willing to commit such sneaky actions in school must be picked out, viciously punished, and expelled!"

When it came to expelling students, she was really quite enthusiastic.

But to her surprise, Xie Fengtang replied, "There's no need to investigate. Basking Moon Academy has more than ten thousand students, and the number of students who know this art will be five at the most. Even if there are a few without alibis, I can guarantee to you that all of them will be innocent."

"Eh?" Si Yue'er was taken aback. "Why is that?"

Xie Fengtang sighed. "Yue'er, could you stop thinking so much about expelling students? Use your head a little. Think about it. What sort of art is the Art of Origin Return and what sort of person would learn it?"

Si Yue'er trembled at these words.

The Art of Origin Return was an art that returned objects to their original form. It lacked any sort of combat power, and as most students were focused on heightening their cultivation, few people would learn this sort of art.

Those people willing to learn it were often those people who were hidden in the shadows and were given special missions.

These people operated in secret and did not want to be discovered, so learning this art was very useful to them. If Tang Jie hadn't found that footprint, those traces of spiritual energy would have eventually faded away, and without this evidence, not even Immortals would have been able to notice anything fishy.

And in Basking Moon Academy, a scant number of students chose this path.

No, she could think of a few!

Si Yue'er's eyes brightened. "Could it be Go–"

Xie Fengtang raised a hand and stopped her. "Don't rashly speculate without evidence."

Si Yue'er took in a deep breath. "Yes, but I don't understand. If it was them, why would they do it like this?"

"We have to ask him about that." Xie Fengtang looked at Tang Jie. "What is your name?"

Tang Jie immediately replied, "This student is called Tang Jie!"

Xie Fengtang had asked casually, and hadn't expected to hear this name.

His face paled in shock. "What did you say your name was?"

"The student Tang Jie pays respects to the headmaster!" Tang Jie loudly replied, at the same time holding high the point card with his name on it.

Seeing the name written on the point card, Xie Fengtang regained some of his composure. "So it was Tang Jie."

He turned his head, and a man offered him a book with both hands. Xie Fengtang flipped through the book and frowned. "Why is there no information on this student?"

The man answered, "The information is incomplete. Someone must have suppressed it."

Tang Jie replied, "This student is Tang Jie, a native of Qiong Province, but I was forced to flee my home because of a raid by the Wildgrain Plain bandits, and I entered the Wei Estate three years ago."

Xie Fengtang was taken aback. "Qiong Province? From the Wildgrain Plains? Entered the Wei Estate three years ago? Three years ago… I see."

He nodded his head repeatedly, and a smile appeared on his dignified face.

Xin Yue and Si Yue'er didn't understand. They looked at Xie Fengtang and asked, "Hall Master, is there a problem?"

Xie Fengtang shook his head. "It's nothing. Heh, truly surprising…"

He once more looked at Tang Jie, saying nothing. His expression constantly shifted as his eyes moved around, his thoughts inscrutable.

Tang Jie became somewhat afraid of his gaze, shrinking back. "H–… Headmaster, did this lowly one do something wrong?"

Xie Fengtang's face shifted around a few more times before he finally shook his head. "No, you did nothing wrong. On the contrary, you did very well… extremely well!"

Tang Jie sighed in relief and said, "I just came back and saw a stranger's footprint, so I got scared and shouted. But I didn't think that I would disturb the headmaster. In the future, I won't cause such a big fuss over such minor matters."

"It's fine," Xie Fengtang said, patting Tang Jie on the shoulder. "Regardless, someone truly did intrude into your home. This is partially due to a lack of supervision from my Basking Moon Academy. As the deputy headmaster, I carry some of the blame."

"Ah?" Xin Yue and Si Yue'er looked at Xie Fengtang in shock.

Xie Fengtang continued, "Since you were scared, the school should pay you some compensation."

"Really?" Tang Jie raised his head in delight.

"Of course. As the deputy headmaster, would I deceive you?" Xie Fengtang chuckled. "Speak. What do you want?"

"Then… then can I ask for spirit medicine to use in cultivation?" Tang Jie quickly requested.

"No problem." Xie Fengtang nodded. "I will write you a letter that you can take to Five-Side Pavilion to redeem ten bottles of low-grade spirit medicine. In addition, I will give you one thousand spirit coins to assuage your fears. Is that good enough?"

"Good, great! Headmaster, my utmost gratitude!" Perhaps because he was shocked by this sudden fortune, Tang Jie was trembling all over in excitement as he prostrated.

Ten bottles of low-grade medicine? One thousand spirit coins?

Xin Yue and Si Yue'er glanced at each other. When had Xie Fengtang become so generous?

After soothing Tang Jie, Xie Fengtang turned to leave.

As he was walking out, Tang Jie shouted, "Headmaster, do you think those thieves will come back?"

Xie Fengtang stopped and thought about it. He turned back to Tang Jie and smiled. "That's possible. Those thieves seem to have seen something in you, to suddenly search your house. Since they've come once, they can come a second time. But there's no need to worry…"

He turned to Xin Yue and Si Yue'er. "Go and call Zhao Xiliang. Have him lay down a formation to protect this area."

"Lay down a formation?" The eyes almost popped out of the sockets of Xin Yue and Si Yue'er.

"Yes, lay down a formation!" Xie Fengtang firmly declared. "Since one of our students has been frightened by an intruder, we must take measures to protect him. This thief harbors ill intentions and might come again. We naturally have to nip this problem in the bud. In the future, keep an eye on this place to avoid this sort of thing happening again. The foundation of my Basking Moon Academy depends on the people that make it up. We must treat people right, or else how will we earn the hearts of the world? Let it be done."

After saying this, he blinked away.

Si Yue'er didn't want to believe her ears. She turned to Xin Yue and said, "'People are the foundation'? 'Treat people right'? Is this still Miser Xie?"

Xin Yue grimly shook his head.

Hypersheep325's Notes:

The deputy headmaster is being so kind and generous to Tang Jie! Not without reason, of course, but I'm sure Tang Jie isn't complaining.

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Written by Yuanfen 0 缘分0. Translated by Hypersheep325. Edited by Michyrr.