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AIP - Chapter 57: Twelve-Form Horizon Sword

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

"What? You redeemed the Aqualight Shroud, and you also bought the Twelve-Form Horizon Sword for twenty spirit coins?"

Wei Tianchong gawked at Tang Jie.

Tang Jie corrected, "I redeemed the Twelve-Form Horizon Sword and I paid twenty spirit coins for the Aqualight Shroud."

Wei Tianchong was about to blow his top. "Is there a difference?"

Tang Jie spread apart his hands. "I still bought a spell book, right?"

"So you also know that the Twelve-Form Horizon Sword is a martial technique, not a spell book?" Wei Tianchong felt like he was about to go insane from listening to Tang Jie.

Martial techniques were mortal techniques.

In other words, these were things that mortals practiced. True cultivators disdained to learn such things.

Tang Jie had to have gone crazy, actually buying– ah, no, "redeeming" a martial technique manual.

It was like refusing to go Yale, Harvard, Qinghua, or Peking, and instead choosing some third-rate diploma mill!

"It's still usable by both Immortals and mortals," Tang Jie said with a smile.

"But it's still a martial technique!"

Wei Tianchong thumped his chest and stomped his feet, his face brimming with disappointment.

As it was usable by both Immortals and mortals, it meant that there was something special about it and cultivators could get something out of using it.

The Twelve-Form Horizon Sword was precisely this sort of special martial technique. Otherwise, it wouldn't have been stored in Heaven One Pavilion.

The Twelve-Form Horizon Sword was a technique for practicing sword swings, and had certain requirements when it came to strength.

For mortals, this requirement meant mobilizing their physical strength, but cultivators could use spiritual power, and sword techniques powered by spiritual energy would naturally be stronger and faster than those powered by mortal strength. But that was the extent of it. In the end, this was a martial technique meant to exhibit the power of a weapon. It would not be stronger than spells, nor would it change in any way.

"You don't even have a sword, so how are you going to train in the Twelve-Form Horizon Sword!?" Wei Tianchong shook his head and sighed.

Tang Jie chuckled. "Then I'll just buy one."

"Can you afford it? The cheapest low-grade spell weapon costs several hundred spirit coins, yeah?" Wei Tianchong snorted.

Weapons were divided into spell weapons, art relics, and divine treasures. Weapons were for spells, relics for arts, and treasures for divine connections. These categories of weapons corresponded to different levels of techniques, and they could be further divided into low, middle, upper, and ultimate grades. It was said that above divine treasures were Dao armaments that only Dao Controllers could use, but these only existed in legends.

Tang Jie again smiled. "I'll buy an ordinary iron one first."

"You've come to cultivate Immortality, not practice martial arts!" Wei Tianchong covered his head and moaned. "You're humiliating me to death! When you go out in the future, don't say that you're my servant student."

Tang Jie was speechless. "Is that necessary? I haven't even criticized you for not opening your Spirit Eye yet."

Wei Tianchong jumped up. "Who said? I'm about to succeed, in another ten days at most! You will have only beaten me by ten days!"

"Is that so? Then I must congratulate you, Young Master." Tang Jie also got a little excited.

When it came to opening the Spirit Eye, one month was fast, two months was standard, and three months was the bottom line.

If Wei Tianchong was able to open his Spirit Eye within the next ten days, it meant that he would have no problems reaching Mortal Shedding. Of course, that was if he maintained his speed.

The Wei Clan had high hopes for him and had probably given him many spirit medicines. And considering that he had been working rather hard and cultivated the simpler Lesser Sea Spiral Essence Mantra, it was quite normal for him to reach this level of accomplishment.

"Naturally." Wei Tianchong smugly added, "And when the time comes, I'll definitely pick a good spirit spell. I won't be like you, choosing some Twelve-Form Horizon Sword. Even that Aqualight Shroud is trash."

The Aqualight Shroud was not trash.

This was an authentic spirit spell. When this spell was used, it created a shroud of water that protected the user and weakened attacks.

The problem, Tang Jie, is that you're cultivating the Lesser Sea Grotto Metal Mantra!

What are the Lesser Sea Grotto Metal Mantra's traits in battle?

Gathering energy!

Swift attacks!

Breaking through armor!

This is an offensive mantra!

If you had already cultivated to some high level, learning some defensive spells or arts would be very normal, but why are you learning this Aqualight Shroud now!?

It would be better if you learned something like bone-piercing needles!

But given the selection of Twelve-Form Horizon Sword, Wei Tianchong couldn't be bothered to scold Tang Jie for picking the Aqualight Shroud.

How did someone who was normally so smart become so stupid when it came to learning spells?

Tang Jie felt rather thankful to see Wei Tianchong so aggrieved.

It seemed like his relationship with the third young master had improved without his realizing it.

While Wei Tianchong was still rather willful and lazy, still had a host of bad habits, and still tried to order him to do servant jobs, at least he was concerned about him too.

This was good.

No matter how Wei Tianchong raged and lamented, Tang Jie took his two books and went off to the market to buy himself an iron sword for three silver coins, after which he returned to the Carefree House to practice his sword.

As it said in the name, the Twelve-Form Horizon Sword consisted of twelve sword forms.

Each sword form had its own movement. There was striking, thrusting, swinging upward, and slashing, but they were mostly simple and direct. They primarily relied on swift and fierce moves that assaulted lethal points. It was a very practical sword art.

Among mortals, it would be considered an upper-class martial art.

But for cultivators, even the best mortal technique was still a mortal technique. "With my body protected with Immortal energy, you can hack at me all you want. You won't even be able to dodge a single finger from me."

In front of powerful Immortal arts, technique was helpless, meaningless. Thus, cultivators almost never practiced such techniques.

But Tang Jie clearly didn't think this way.

Tang Jie spent the days practicing with his sword in the courtyard and occasionally practicing the Aqualight Shroud. Using the Aqualight Shroud cost ten drops of spirit liquid, and at the speed with which he could operate the Minor Circuit Heaven, he really didn't have enough.

When could he be like those Titans, able to complete a Circuit Heaven in the space of a single breath?

Several days later, Wei Tianchong opened his Spirit Eye, and another few days after that, Shi Meng also succeeded.

The two of them went to Heaven One Pavilion to redeem their spell books.

Wei Tianchong chose the Spirit Guidance spell. When used, it created a spirit thread that wrapped around an object, allowing one to move around the object as one pleased.

This was on Tang Jie's advice.

As a scion of a great clan, Wei Tianchong would never be able to be like those students from impoverished backgrounds, who sweat blood and suffered hardship in their efforts. But he happened to have some grasp of carving, which was perfect for moving in the direction of puppet spells and summoning. He would have subordinates to order around whenever he pleased, which was very fitting for a rich young master like him. And his Lesser Sea Spiral Essence Mantra was all about a constant stream of energy, making it perfect for this line.

The Spirit Guidance spell was the most basic technique for controlling puppets. It could be used to control small objects, but it required the guidance of a spirit thread, not through some formless connection, and it was limited by distance. But if it were performed well, one could even use it to control a flying sword—a flying sword on a line.

Anyway, they weren't fighting at this stage, so it was best to lay a foundation for the future and practice control.

Moreover, Wei Tianchong liked to play around, and after being so obedient and diligent for a bit, he had started to return to his old habits. With the Spirit Guidance spell, he could control brooms, move around chairs, walk the chopsticks, or amuse himself in other ways. It was a form of teaching through play.

As for Shi Meng, as expected, he chose to learn the Clean spell—freeing him from some of his servile duties.

These days of cultivation were simple and calm. Another month went by in the blink of an eye.

The Eagle Nest.

Gu Changqing was bent over his desk and writing something when he heard knocking at his door. "Subordinate Gao Fei has a matter to report to Eagle Master."

"Come in."

A tall young man walked in. He first bowed to Gu Changqing and then said, "There has been news from Canglong Prefecture about Number 96."

"Speak," Gu Changqing said as he continued to work.

"Sageheart Shadow Hall 42 reports. We found that Tang Jie entered the Wei Clan three years ago. He is the adopted son of Wu Nanfu of Canglong Prefecture and his wife. At the time, he had fallen unconscious from the cold in front of the Wu house and was saved by them."

"When did this happen?"

"Year 342 of Tianshu, the twelfth month."

Gu Changqing stopped his brush and looked at Gao Fei, a sharp light in his eyes. "Year 342 of Tianshu?"

"Yes!" Gao Fei answered. "Exactly this year!"

Gu Changqing's voice turned cold and harsh. "Was there any other information?"

"Yes. Apparently, this Tang Jie lived in the Wildgrain Plains before his home was attacked by bandits and everyone killed. He fled alone to Canglong Prefecture."

"The Wildgrain Plains? Bandits?" Gu Changqing stood up, his voice rising in volume.

He looked at Gao Fei and saw that Gao Fei was smiling. "Yes, Eagle Master. A downcast boy called Tang Jie fleeing bandit raids in the Wildgrain Plains fell unconscious from the cold in front of the Wu house. This just so happens to be three months after Tang Jiye fled. After that, Tang Jie was adopted by the couple and entered the Wei Clan, where he ultimately became a servant student and entered Basking Moon Academy…"

Gu Changqing swiftly said, "Is the information source reliable? Has it been confirmed? What of the secrecy?"

Gao Fei replied, "I can guarantee the reliability, and this information is no secret. The Wu couple is well-known on Big Willow Street, and when it is mentioned, almost everyone on the street will remember the story about Tang Jie being rescued and adopted. All of them also know about Tang Jie. When he became a servant student, the Wu couple's status rose again, and everyone on the street is talking about how the Wu couple raised two cultivator sons. Number 42 only needed one day to gather all this information. There is no chance of there being a problem."

"What of the Wei Estate?"

"There's nothing good there. The Wei Estate doesn't take in strangers, and it's watched over by Spirit Masters, so infiltrating it isn't very easy. Of course, with some time and energy, we should be able to do it, but it's not very worth it. After all…" Gao Fei hesitated.

"After all, we have enough information, right?" Gu Changqing said.

Gao Fei did not dare to reply.

Gu Changqing chuckled, all of his excitement disappearing.

He went back to his seat, leaned back, and closed his eyes in thought.

Gao Fei was confused. After waiting for a while, he softly said, "Eagle Master?"

"Mm," Gu Changqing grunted.

He then said, "It seems that this Tang Jie truly is very suspicious."

"Then, Eagle Master…"

Gu Changqing slowly opened his eyes. "Since that's the case, I really do not understand why this Tang Jie shouted that declaration before entering the academy."

"This…" Gao Fei hesitated.

After thinking it over for a long time, he finally said, "Your subordinate does not know, but I know that it cannot be because the most dangerous place is the safest."

Gu Changqing laughed. "Don't even bring up that idiot. With regards to that declaration, I think there are four possibilities.

"One: this was simply a coincidence. This Tang Jie has no connection to the Tang Jiye we are looking for and this person is simply a very bold and ambitious person.

"Two: this Tang Jie isn't the real Tang Jiye. The real Tang Jiye might be a student under a pseudonym who paid this Tang Jie to come out and draw away our attention."

Gao Fei frowned at these first two possibilities. Personally, he didn't like them.

Gu Changqing continued, "Three: he is Tang Jiye. His goal with that declaration was precisely to draw our attention."

"Why?" Gao Fei asked.

"Right, why? That's the key!" Gu Changqing said. "If he's really Tang Jiye and did this on purpose, then I can only offer one explanation… He is intentionally challenging us."

"Challenging us?" Gao Fei didn't dare to believe his ears. "Challenging Godhead Palace?"

"Youths are all about loyalty and self-sacrifice, burning with vigor. They're capable of anything."

"No matter how burning with vigor he might be, is he not afraid that we'll find him?"

"That's the problem… exactly the problem!" Gu Changqing lightly rapped his fingers and asked Gu Changqing, "Do you think we can capture him right now?"

Gao Fei opened his mouth, but no words came out.

Gu Changqing softly chuckled, "Yes, we can't! This is the territory of the Basking Moon Sect, and he's in Basking Moon Academy! We can't capture him—at least not openly."

Over the last three years in which Godhead Palace had been seeking out its target in the territory of the Basking Moon Sect, it had suspected countless people.

There weren't a lot of people like Tang Jie, but also not too few.

There were always a few people who were similar to Tang Jie. After all, it wasn't just Tang Jie and Ji Ziqian who were trying to get into the academy by squeezing their way into a big clan. There were far too many to count.

And sometimes, there were impatient operatives who were itching to grab someone and interrogate them.

Over the last three years, such incidents had happened twice. Each time, Godhead Palace had to pay enormous compensation to pacify the rage of the Basking Moon Sect, and it had almost resulted in their expulsion.

Of course, whether their rage was fake or real was unimportant. What was important was that the price for pacifying this rage wasn't cheap!

It was so high that Godhead Palace had even sent someone to warn Gu Changqing not to act unless he was sure about the target.

They did not want to give the Basking Moon Sect a third chance at extortion.

"It seems this is why he’s so confident about challenging us, but he's looking down on my Godhead Palace. He doesn't really think that he can sleep without worries just because of the school, does he?" Gao Fei angrily huffed.

"No!" To his surprise, Gu Changqing shook his head. "You forget that I mentioned that there were four possibilities."

"Eagle Master, you mean…"

Gu Changqing rapped on his desk and said, "A boy who was able to have Xu Muyang take him along on their first meeting; a boy who could get Xu Muyang to entrust him with an important treasure after only half a year of interaction; and now, a boy who was able to overcome the obstacles and successfully enter Basking Moon Academy. Would such a person, after biding his time for three years, decide to expose himself and challenge us off a momentary impulse? Just as you said, he's just a student. Does he really think we can't do anything to him? No, I don't believe it. I don't believe he's that stupid! I would be more willing to believe in the first and second possibilities than believe in the third!"

"But in your first and second possibilities, he wasn't Tang Jiye."

"Correct. So if he really is Tang Jiye, there must be a fourth possibility…"

"What is it?"

"I don't know," Gu Changqing answered. "This is precisely what I don't get. If he's really Tang Jiye, why did he do such a thing? I know that a fourth possibility exists, but I don't know the answer to it. And the answer to this possibility may be the real answer…" Gu Changqing massaged his forehead and closed his eyes.

Gao Fei knew that this was how Gu Changqing acted when he was facing a predicament.

Gu Changqing had always had a high opinion of himself. He believed that he was always capable of understanding the mentality of his targets.

But this time, he found that if he placed Tang Jie as Tang Jiye, he couldn't understand the meaning behind Tang Jie's actions.

This was the real source of his frustration.

And from a certain perspective, it was also the source of his unease.

If Tang Jie was really Tang Jiye, then was there some other trap or scheme lurking behind his actions?

Gu Changqing had to consider this possibility.

"Eagle Master, regardless, Tang Jie is an extremely suspicious target. And if there's really some things we can't understand… then let's save it for when the task is done," Gao Fei cautiously said.

Gu Changqing paused for a moment.

His brow gradually uncreased, and a smile appeared on his lips. "My apologies, Gao Fei; I've fallen into my old habits again. You're right. If we don't understand something, we just don't think about it and get to work first. To not do anything just because of too many suspicions is what is truly laughable…" 

Gu Changqing took in a deep breath and firmly said, "Move Tang Jie up to Grade A. One: inform our people in the academy to continue suppressing information on Tang Jie. Basking Moon Academy must not be allowed to notice him. Two: send people to get close to him and confirm our information on him. Three: find a chance to search his room, and make sure to search the house in the Student Forest as well. If he really is Tang Jiye, then the Martial Mirror should be nearby. If we can find that, nothing else is important."

"Yes!"

Hypersheep325's Notes:

The mind games! Can Gu Changqing puzzle out the truth? 

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