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AIP - Chapter 58: Forming a Club

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

Today, Tang Jie was still practicing with his sword.

In the courtyard, he swung around the shabby iron sword with great vigor and force.

Once he performed all twelve forms, he put away his sword, upon which he heard applause from outside.

Turning his head, he saw Shu Mingyang and Liu Hongyan walking over, accompanied by two others, a man and a woman. The man had a face somewhat similar to Tang Jie's, but he was a little taller and had a sword slung across his back.

The woman at his side wore a water-blue gown. Just like Liu Hongyan, she wore the school uniform beneath the gown. She had her hair in a bun, a jade-green bamboo hairpin thrust through it. She had a delicate appearance, and while she lacked the heroism of Liu Hongyan, she had more charm.

They walked over, and Liu Hongyan clapped her hands and said, "I have never seen Brother Tang perform a sword dance before."

"So it was Young Master Shu and Miss Liu. It is a boorish martial technique, and I'm afraid I've let the two of you witness a farce." When Tang Jie saw them, he put down his sword and went over to welcome them. He looked over at the sword-carrying man and blue-gowned woman. "And these two would be…"

Liu Hongyan smiled. "Please forgive us for coming without an invitation. These two are also friends we made in school, Cai Junyang (Famed Noble Cai) and Ping Jingyue (Calm Moon)."

Tang Jie raised an eyebrow and asked, "Cai Junyang and Ping Jingyue of the Two Famed Gentlemen and the Misty Moon Joins Stem and Flower?"

The blue-gowned woman was surprised. "So Young Master Tang has heard of us."

"The Two Famed Gentlemen" referred to Shu Mingyang and Cai Junyang, encompassing both their names and their ambitions.

Shu Mingyang wished to bring peace to the world, so his book never left his hand. Cai Junyang sought to travel the world as a chivalric hero, so his sword never left his side.

As for "Misty Moon Joins Stem and Flower", this referred to Liu Hongyan and Ping Jingyue.

Students were students, and as self-professed romantics, they had the habit of making up all sorts of sayings and nicknames for other people. These two phrases referred to these four people, but surprisingly, all four of them had come to pay Tang Jie a visit today.

Liu Hongyan chuckled. "You forget two parts. Two Famed Gentlemen, but in the end, they lack fame (Qi Shaoming). The Misty Moon Joins Stem and Flower, but they know not the peace of a dream (An Rumeng)."

Tang Jie's mouth opened, but he couldn't speak. Ping Jingyue lowered her head and giggled, and even Shu Mingyang stopped reading, only giving a soft sigh. Only Cai Junyang grunted, "Qi Shaoming… I'll be able to defeat him one day. Just you wait."

Qi Shaoming and An Rumeng were probably the two most popular students of this year's class.

Qi Shaoming had a nine-cycle Jade Gate and was the most talented person of the class, and he also cultivated the Lesser Sea Grotto Metal Mantra.

Though he had been born in a great clan, he had been admitted as a special case. He did not take up a reserved spot, did not have to pay for tuition, and received the full support of his family.

He was talented, had many resources, and was also diligent!

He needed only three days to complete his first Major Circuit Heaven, and opening his Spirit Eye had taken only eighteen days.

He wasn't just the first to successfully cultivate the Lesser Sea Grotto Metal Mantra, he was also the first among all 1500 students.

As for An Rumeng, she was an exchange student from the Thousand Passions Sect.

Ever since it had received so much from accepting exchange students from Godhead Palace, Basking Moon Academy felt that this was a rather excellent policy, so it naturally went to the sect that it had a close relationship with, the Thousand Passions Sect. An Rumeng was the transfer student from the Thousand Passions Sect.

She had a seven-cycle Jade Gate and Six Desires Spirit Veins. As part of Basking Moon and Thousand Passions, she received the full support of the Thousand Passions Sect.

She also had talent, resources, and diligence!

She needed only six days for her first Major Circuit Heaven and thirty-two days for her Spirit Eye.

Although the time was a bit longer, this was because she was cultivating two mantras at once, which was even more complex than the Lesser Sea Grotto Metal Mantra. Moreover, she had Spirit Veins. Her true talent wasn't in cultivation speed, but in the power of the arts and spells that were specifically designed for her.

Shu Mingyang's group of four may have been known as the Two Famed Gentlemen and the Misty Moon Joins Stem and Flower, but their reputation fell behind those of Qi Shaoming and An Rumeng. Thus, some busybody added these two lines to the end, changing them to "Two famed gentlemen, but in the end, they lack fame" and "The misty moon joins stem and flower, but they know not the peace of a dream."

These additions immediately changed the tone of the phrases, so it was no wonder that Cai Junyang was unhappy.

Hearing Cai Junyang say this, Shu Mingyang said, "Brother Cai, there's no need to be so unwilling. That Qi Shaoming truly is stronger than us. We're just not as good as him."

"The path of cultivation is long, and this is only the first step. What does it matter if there are geniuses? Until we reach the end, who can say who will be the winner?" Cai Junyang was still not convinced.

Ping Jingyue smiled. "Brother Cai, you seem to have forgotten that you are also a genius in the minds of others."

Just like Shu Mingyang, Cai Junyang had an eight-cycle Jade Gate, and he was also an unreachable genius in the eyes of others. It was just that Qi Shaoming had somewhat surpassed him. Ping Jingyue's prompting made him realize that the words he had said just now could also be used on him, and he immediately fell silent.

Fortunately, Liu Hongyan intervened here, "Alright! We didn't come here today to talk about who's the most genius and who's going the farthest. We argued so much that we forgot about our actual business here."

Tang Jie was also confused. "Right, I was just going to ask. Why did the four of you come and see me today?"

"It's like this," Liu Hongyan said. "We were bored today, so we suddenly had the idea of making a club."

"Making a club?" Tang Jie was surprised.

Tang Jie knew that the school had clubs, but most of them were made by bored students. There were all kinds of clubs: some of them were for researching Immortal arts, and others were for elegant hobbies like calligraphy, painting, or poetry. These usually weren't robust groups. After all, all of the students had the pressure to improve, and so they only occasionally gathered together. Often, the clubs would break up after graduation.

Surprisingly, Liu Hongyan and the other three wanted to form a club.

"What sort of club?" Tang Jie asked.

"A book club, to discuss books and the Dao," Ping Jingyue answered.

"Why would you think of me?"

"You can only blame yourself for being number one in cultural studies in our class," Liu Hongyan replied.

Basking Moon Academy had cultivation geniuses, so it naturally had cultural studies geniuses.

If Qi Shaoming was the number one cultivation genius, Tang Jie was the number one studying genius.

From his first day in school, he had diligently listened to the lectures, putting on the act of a good student every day. He diligently took notes and could be described as being hungry for knowledge. It could even be said that he was dead set on becoming the top student.

Thus, on the first minor exam half a month ago, other than the arts, where Tang Jie was truly no good, Tang Jie got almost full points on all the literary studies, becoming the undisputed number one.

If the reputation of Mad Student Tang Jie had only informed the student body in general about his existence, his status as top student completely settled his status as a celebrity.

Of course, in this era where literary pursuits fell behind martial ones, one hundred literary geniuses couldn't compare to a single nine-cycle Jade Gate. But there was no denying that Tang Jie was still a celebrity. When it came to discussing books and the Dao, there was truly no one who could compare to him.

Liu Hongyan's group wanted to form a club and knew Tang Jie, so they naturally came to find him.

Tang Jie couldn't help but laugh at Liu Hongyan's request. "My apologies. I'm afraid I don't have any interest in such matters. I apply myself to cultural studies only to increase my knowledge, not to study the Great Dao."

Shu Mingyang firmly said, "Brother Tang, this is a mistake. As a scholar, I set my aspirations on the world, on safeguarding the common people, not merely increasing my knowledge to make light conversation over the dinner table. I seek to rectify the world and save the people from calamity. For this, how could one not seek to understand the Great Dao?"

"Brother Shu, you exaggerate. The world is currently well-governed, and though there are still some people who are impoverished, they cannot be considered to be in some great abyss of suffering. As for the Great Dao of the world, such things are too profound for me to understand. But I do not know that this is an academy where we cultivate Immortality, not books."

"That makes it even more necessary to study. Discussing books and the Dao is to understand the reasoning. To have strength and not understand the principles makes one the same as a scoundrel conducting evil out in the open, causing trouble and harming the people!"

Tang Jie felt very helpless when it came to Shu Mingyang and his desire to bring salvation to the world. Truthfully, if he wanted to argue, he really could debate with Shu Mingyang for a bit. For example, he might posit, "Even if I have to be a great person, why must I be a great person like you? 'Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you', 'do to others what you would do to yourself',” and so on.

Though he couldn't be a great person like Shu Mingyang, he at least knew to respect others. When it came to things like this, he was more willing to suffer the verbal rebukes of others.

Thus, he simply nodded and said, "Brother Shu is right. Thank you for your instruction."

But Shu Mingyang was deeply dissatisfied. "You don't speak with sincerity. It's all just for show!"

Tang Jie was in an awkward position. In the end, Liu Hongyan laughed. "Brother Tang, don't take it to heart. He's just that sort of person. He's fine normally, but whenever it comes to justice, Pedant Shu immediately gets angry."

Shu Mingyang still wasn't happy, but just when he was about to continue arguing his case, Tang Jie hastily said, "I'll join, I'll join the club."

Shu Mingyang finally dropped the matter.

Since he had agreed to join the club, the four of them were naturally his friends. Tang Jie invited the four of them into his courtyard to sit and chat. The four of them entered his house, and Tang Jie said, "Please excuse me for my crude hovel."

Liu Hongyan looked around at the room and smiled. "Though it's a little simple, it's very clean. Not bad."

"I'm just a servant student without any other skills, so I just tidied the place up a little," Tang Jie replied.

"Ah, that brings me to another topic. Young Master Tang, once we form the club, why not invite Young Master Wei?" Ping Jingyue suddenly said.

"Him?" Tang Jie thought it over and then shook his head. "Forget it. He likes flying birds and riding horses, red lanterns and wine. He has little interest in human relations and the Great Dao. If he really came, he probably wouldn't be able to understand half a sentence before he started losing focus."

Everyone immediately laughed at his words.

Once they were done laughing, Tang Jie served everyone tea, after which he commented, "Right, since we're forming a club, we need to have a name, right?"

"Let's call it the Society of Heroes," Cai Junyang proposed.

"I prefer Salvation to the World," Shu Mingyang said.

Liu Hongyan replied, "Since we're discussing the Great Dao, let's call it the Great Dao Club."

Ping Jingyue retorted, "What Society of Heroes, Salvation to the World, or Great Dao Club? These are all awful. Let's call it the Freedom Society! After all, what's so bad about free and unfettered life?"

She turned her watery eyes to Tang Jie.

Tang Jie thought it over and replied, "Since everyone has a different opinion, I think we should do it like this. Let's pick a club president first, and then we can let the club president decide. I propose that the one who had the idea should take the responsibility."

Everyone looked at Ping Jingyue.

Ping Jingyue was startled, looking left and right, but Liu Hongyan said, "I think this idea isn't bad. Little Sis, since you suggested the idea, you're the best person for the job."

Ping Jingyue thought about it and finally nodded. "Alright, I guess I'll be the president. As that's the case, I'll be naming it the Freedom Society."

"Freedom Society it is." Cai Junyang nodded. He didn't really care about the name. Shu Mingyang, on the other hand, raised an eyebrow and wanted to protest, but in the end, he gave up. As for Liu Hongyan, she remained silent.

Tang Jie now said, "The five of us is a little too few to form a club, yes? Should we find more people?"

"You should ask this to Hongyan. She's the well-informed one," Cai Junyang answered.

"Oh? So you're saying that it was Miss Liu's idea to come and find me?" Tang Jie chuckled. "I must thank Miss Liu for your generosity."

Liu Hongyan hastily said, "You can just call me Hongyan. Since we're classmates and forming a club, we're all family. There's no need to be strangers to each other."

"Alright. Then when it comes to recruiting people, I will leave it to Big Sister Hongyan."

"If we're doing it like that, you should call me Little Sister. I happen to be a little younger than you," Liu Hongyan chuckled.

"Yes, I was wrong, Little Sister Hongyan," Tang Jie replied with a smile.

Liu Hongyan nodded in satisfaction. After pondering the matter for a bit, she gave several names. Everyone then discussed the details, including the rules of the club and the day when the club was to be founded.

After talking for a while and seeing that it was getting late, the four of them finally left.

Tang Jie personally escorted them to the gate. He silently watched them leave, his eyes slowly turning colder.

When he returned to his room, Little Yiyi appeared and jumped onto Tang Jie's shoulder. "Brother, Brother, are they your good friends?"

"I suppose so," Tang Jie replied.

"Then can I meet them?"

"No."

"Why?" Yiyi pouted. "It's been so long and I'm still all alone. I'm so bored."

"Because while some of them are good friends, some others… are only good friends on the surface."

Hypersheep325's Notes:

Ah, you know, just forming a club and randomly inviting this dude we met one time, nothing sus about that at all!

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