AIP - Chapter 61: Search
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"Dad, Mom, I hope this letter finds you well. Today, I finally met Big Brother Wu Xing. Big Brother is doing well and misses the two of you dearly. But because he's at a crucial juncture in his cultivation and can't be distracted, he was only able to learn about how the two of you were doing from me. All of his words showed great worry for you two. Although this was my first meeting with my big brother, our conversation went well, and Big Brother showed a lot of concern for me and even gave me a few pointers on cultivation…"
Once the letter was done, Tang Jie carefully read it over to make sure that there were no problems. With a sigh, he placed the letter in an envelope.
He turned around and saw the bottle of Essence-Refining Pills, and he once more felt frustrated.
The result of Wu Xing's unreliability was that he didn't dare to send medicine back to the old couple, and for a moment, he couldn't think of a way to send the medicine back.
He grew more frustrated the more he thought about it. "Damn it!" He punched the wall.
The wall swayed from the impact of the punch, and the entire house trembled a little.
He drew back his fist and clenched it. The joints cracked like rumbling thunder.
He muttered, "It seems like I can only keep waiting. My only hope is that they move a little faster and don't disappoint me."
He looked down at his fist.
Though he had succeeded in taking the power of the Gale Blade, he hadn't known to what extent. All he had known was that if he left Wu Xing with enough space to use spells, he would be no match. Thus, no matter what, he had to hold him down. He hadn't expected that the damage from the Gale Blade would be so small.
In the little time that had passed, his wound had mostly recovered.
While Gale Blade wasn't some powerful art, it wasn't exactly lacking in strength. Since he was able to take the Gale Blade, didn't that mean that he was essentially impervious to all attacks weaker than Gale Blade?
Tang Jie realized that he might need to assess the power of various spells and test how well his body could resist them. This would undoubtedly be of huge help to him in future battles.
But there were numerous spells in the world, and testing them all one by one wasn't easy. He could only take it step by step.
Tang Jie continued to cultivate every day.
Seven days later, he successfully advanced to the Spirit Spring Tier.
This was the first standard phase of the Spirit Platform Realm, a sign that the student had officially become a Spirit Disciple. As for before that, that was just the playground.
Upon entering the Spirit Spring Tier, one's Spiritual Space would gradually harden. Further expansion would require using the Level 2 mantra of the Lesser Sea Grotto Metal Mantra.
But Basking Moon Academy had always passed on only the appropriate mantra for each level. Tang Jie had only gotten the first level, and if he wanted the next, he would have to go to the lecturing stone to see Daoist Ku, at which point everyone would know how much progress he had made.
After some thought, Tang Jie decided to put it off and use this free time to properly cultivate the Aqualight Shroud.
The Aqualight Shroud required first running energy through the Greater Yin Foot Spleen Meridian, and once it reached the Bowel Abode point, the energy would be shaped into a shield as described by the spell, and then the formula would draw out the energy and create the Aqualight Shroud.
But as an upside, the formula was not required.
The formula served to guide the spell, but defensive spells were normally used on the self, so guidance was not needed. Of course, if it were used on someone else, the formula was still needed.
Thus, defensive spells normally went off faster than offensive spells. Their downside was that defense would always lose out to offense.
Offense focused on a point while defense spread over an area. Since they both used up spiritual energy, offense was bound to be more powerful than defense.
Thus, the vast majority of students normally wouldn't choose defensive spells at first, only going for them once they had a lot of other spells.
Tang Jie had chosen this one because he had the Visceral Manifestation Classic to refine his body.
The Visceral Manifestation Classic had toughened his body, but it was only enough to block mortal weapons. It still wasn't completely immune to spell attacks like the Gale Blade. Wu Xing's spell had actually wounded him rather badly, but he had a very tenacious personality and the Visceral Manifestation Classic also endowed him with astonishing recovery powers, so he had been able to get by without significant consequences.
Someone just a little stronger than Wu Xing might have been able to push through the Visceral Manifestation Classic.
And the Aqualight Shroud's greatest attribute wasn't its ability to defend against damage, but that to reduce damage. This reduction was pretty good, and Tang Jie estimated that it ranged from five to twenty percent depending on the attribute of the attack.
The weakness of the Aqualight Shroud was that it would get damaged as it weakened attacks, and it had an extremely low upper limit to the number of attacks it could endure. Taking the Gale Blade as an example, it could take two or three of them before being destroyed.
But regardless, the Visceral Manifestation Classic combined with the Aqualight Shroud greatly boosted Tang Jie's survivability. If Tang Jie had been able to use the Aqualight Shroud in his battle with Wu Xing, he might have suffered only a surface wound.
Thus, Tang Jie proceeded to vigorously train in the energy circulation method of the Aqualight Shroud.
When he ran out of spiritual energy, he would circulate the Minor Circuit Heaven. After all, the Minor Circuit Heaven involved condensing energy into liquid and recovering spiritual power, so there was no problem about mantra level. Otherwise, the saying about "a Circuit Heaven in a single breath" wouldn't exist.
These two activities occupied Tang Jie for half a month.
For this half a month, he remained at Spirit Spring, storing one hundred drops and making no progress in cultivation. But when it came to spell execution, he experienced clear progress.
He went from one revolution of the Minor Circuit Heaven every hour to about one every twenty minutes.
This was the learning period starting from zero, the period where progress was easiest and greatest. The higher one went, the more difficult things would get.
He had compressed the casting time of the Aqualight Shroud to six seconds, but any faster wasn't easy.
In a clash of spells, six seconds was actually enough. After all, the opponent also needed time to form their spells. But Tang Jie wasn't satisfied.
His battles were about life and death, not simple sparring.
In such mortal battles, efficiency took the fore. There were no civilities or pointless courtesies, and no one would give you time to use your spells, just like how he didn't give Wu Xing time to use his spells.
Catching the enemy off guard with fast and strong attacks, ruthlessly exploiting the casting time limitation, was currently his only way to overcome enemies stronger than him. In order to do this, he needed to be faster!
"It's really no good. It seems like I'll have to use that method… but the time isn't ripe… These damn bastards. When are they going to get here…" Tang Jie sighed.
The people he was waiting for were surprisingly restrained.
If they didn't move out, Tang Jie had to keep most of his plans on the back burner.
At this moment, a voice came from outside. "Is Brother Tang here?"
It was Liu Hongyan.
Tang Jie walked out and saw Liu Hongyan standing in front of his courtyard. He hastily said, "So it's Little Sis Hongyan. Why did you come to find me today?"
Liu Hongyan glared at him. "I can't believe you have the nerve to ask! Today is the day we're forming the club. I naturally came to get you."
Tang Jie slapped his head in enlightenment. "I forgot! Please wait. I'll go and get ready."
"What's there to get ready?" Liu Hongyan rolled her eyes at him.
"I have to put on new clothes," Tang Jie smiled.
A few moments later, Tang Jie walked out. "Alright, let's go."
The Freedom Society's founding was being held at Ping Jingyue's "Heart Moon Temple". As Shu Mingyang's group of four had quite some prestige, several dozen students were attending the ceremony, many of which had rather decent talent, with quite a few having six cycles or more.
But the most renowned Qi Shaoming and An Rumeng were nowhere to be seen. It was later revealed that the Freedom Society hadn't even sent them invitations, probably because they didn't want the two to hog all the attention.
In truth, it wouldn't matter if they had sent invitations. These two were cultivation fanatics, spending every day in class or in closed-door cultivation, and they made massive progress in cultivation every day.
Some time ago, Qi Shaoming became the first person to enter the Spirit Spring Tier, and then he madly advanced into the Spirit Lake Tier. He ignored all types of invitations, acting very much like a player who wanted to powerlevel first and show off later.
An Rumeng was more of a show-off. A few days ago, at the Divine Battleground, having reached the Spirit Spring Tier, she had challenged three Spirit Lake disciples in a row, causing a huge stir, after which she disappeared into the crowd to bury herself once more in cultivation.
As it was just a bunch of students, club-founding day was just a ceremony that primarily existed to give everyone a chance to chat and develop connections, even occasionally discussing their experiences. To tell the truth, when it came to discussing human order and the Great Dao, probably only Shu Mingyang was interested.
Tang Jie mixed into the crowd, occasionally exchanging a few words with some people he knew. He was called the Mad Student, but he didn't seem mad or arrogant at all, and so many people who didn't know him changed their views of him.
At the same time.
The Carefree House.
Three men in black appeared in front of Tang Jie's house.
Their leader, a tall and bulky figure, stood in front of the door and nodded. One person started to search the courtyard while the other went into the room and began to scour through it.
The man in black responsible for searching the courtyard would occasionally thrust a stick into the ground and take it back out. After looking at the stick, he would move to another place to continue.
The man in black responsible for the room essentially turned the entire room upside down, searching every place that could be searched and almost dismantling the house.
A few moments later, the man in black searching the courtyard came back. "Sir, I didn't find anything."
The man in black searching the room followed. "Sir, I searched every spot. There were no secret compartments, and I found nothing."
Though their leader's face was obscured, they could sense that he had slightly creased his brow.
He rapped his finger against his thigh, and after a few moments, he asked, "You checked every spot?"
"Everywhere I could. I almost dismantled the place."
The leader felt annoyed. He performed a spell formula, and all the items in the room that had been moved returned to their original positions. Even the signs that they had been moved disappeared.
The Art of Origin Return!
The Art of Origin Return could be said to be the best restoration art. At its highest level, it could return something that had been scattered into powder to its complete form. This man hadn't reached that level, but there was no problem with moving items in the room back to their places.
After doing this, the man walked out of the room, and then he suddenly realized something. He looked toward the rear courtyard and questioned, "There seems to be a spiritual energy reaction from there?"
One of the men reported, "It's the spirit grains planted back there. I've searched that entire field, but I didn't find any buried objects."
The leader looked at the yard. Sure enough, it was planted full of spirit grains, and there were a few pots around the field. There was also a small pond in which several fish happily swam. By the wall were a wicker basket, a hoe, and some wood blocks meant to be used as fuel. Lastly, there was a stone mortar and some flour scattered on the ground.
There was truly nothing suspicious, so the man could only sigh. "Keep watching, and don't let down your guard."
He turned and left.
Late at night.
The Freedom Society's club-opening activity finally came to an end.
Upon returning to the Carefree House, Tang Jie stood in front of the entrance and didn't go in, instead carefully inspecting the furnishings inside his house.
He didn't notice anything strange, which caused him to frown.
Rather than entering, he walked around the house and to a corner of the courtyard.
He looked at the ground.
Some flour had seemingly inadvertently been spilled on the ground here. On this little patch of dirt, there was a faint and incomplete mark. If one looked very carefully, one might be able to tell that it was a footprint.
Upon seeing this indistinct and faint mark, Tang Jie laughed.
"You finally came! Art of Origin Return… my ass! You! Big! Dummy!"