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AIP - Chapter 54: Lesser Sea Grotto Metal

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

Wei Tianchong said nothing on the way back.

Only when they were back in the Meditation Garden, as he watched Tang Jie and Shi Meng cleaning up the house, splitting the spirit seeds they had bought, and preparing the ground, did Wei Tianchong suddenly ask, "Tang Jie, am I not really useless?"

"Young Master, where did this question come from?"

"I know even if you don't say anything." Wei Tianchong dejectedly sat on a stone stool. "In your eyes, I'm probably just someone who came from a good family. Outside of the Wei Clan, I'm just a loser who can't do anything. Without the two of you, I might not even be able to survive…"

Shi Meng hurriedly said, "Young Master, you can't say such things. You're the young master, so we should serve you. That's only natural."

"Don't try to trick me, Shi Meng, and I didn't ask you. I asked Tang Jie. Tang Jie, you won't try to deceive me, right?"

Tang Jie chuckled. Putting the spirit seeds to the side, he walked up to Wei Tianchong's side and sat down. He grabbed his own left hand, raised a finger, and suddenly pulled it back. The finger bent to almost ninety degrees, and Wei Tianchong stared in shock. Tang Jie asked him, "Do you know how to do this?"

Wei Tianchong shook his head.

Tang Jie said, "It's a little talent. My bones are more flexible than most people's, but this talent isn't good for anything."

Wei Tianchong didn't get what he meant. Tang Jie continued, "Actually, every person has their own talent, but it's different depending on the person, and some talents are more useful than others, with some talents having no use at all. In my view, for the young master, the Wei Clan is essentially the talent you were born with, and it's a rather useful one. Then, is having a talent wrong?"

"Of course not. So you're saying that it's not wrong that I don't know these things?" Wei Tianchong excitedly asked.

"Of course it's not wrong. As cultivators, we are born in mortality and seek to shed mortality, and is our goal not to rid ourselves of earthly frustrations? Since you were born in a great clan, you were born without a need to wash your own clothes, so why, when you're cultivating Immortality, do you have to learn such things? Isn't this like the tail wagging the dog?" Tang Jie asked.

Wei Tianchong grew even more excited at these words. Meanwhile, Shi Meng was in disbelief. He had believed that Tang Jie would use this chance to reproach Wei Tianchong a little more, but instead, he had said something like this.

This flattery… Do you not see it!?

"But…" Tang Jie trailed off.

Wei Tianchong's heart immediately tightened. "'But' what?"

"But while having a talent isn't wrong, not understanding how to use this talent is a grave mistake. It isn't wrong for Young Master to be born of a great clan and to have great wealth and prestige available to him, but if you don't properly use these resources to diligently cultivate Immortality, eventually becoming even less than an ordinary person, then that would be horrible. Thus, Young Master, you don't need to know these menial tasks, but you must practice your Immortal arts. If you can't even do that… then you're really nothing more than trash!" Tang Jie firmly said.

He hadn't been using this chance to advise Wei Tianchong to change his bad and lazy habits.

The young master was the young master, and his habits had been nurtured over many years. Such things couldn't be changed on a whim. He was dejected today, but he might return to his old ways tomorrow.

A person's momentary enlightenment could never be believed in. Few could suddenly be enlightened and change overnight. If one's nature were that easy to change, it wouldn't have been their nature in the first place.

But on the other hand, today's blow had cut down some of Wei Tianchong's pride. It had allowed him to understand that a great clan had its advantages, but relying purely on a clan wouldn't suffice. The only proper path was to utilize one's background in a clan properly.

Even if he couldn't do it now, at least he knew what was correct. In the past, he had not realized it at all.

Moreover, Tang Jie wasn't wrong. In Basking Moon Academy, farming and other menial tasks were just methods, not goals. There was no need to use them to verify that the young master had matured.

Wei Tianchong asked, "How do you think I should use my advantage?"

"It's very simple. Young Master, aren't you very talented when it comes to carving? Normally, it would take a long time and a lot of investment to succeed in this pursuit. It's not something that you can succeed at very easily. But since Young Master already has a foundation in this pursuit because of your family background, you might as well try it out. At least compared to those other students who are learning minor spells so that they can provide for themselves, you can access an even higher level of cultivation."

Wei Tianchong's eyes brightened. "You're right! Starting from today, I'll devote my focus there. I'll definitely show good results."

Tang Jie grabbed Wei Tianchong's hand and excitedly said, "This old slave has waited far, far too long for you to say such words. Young Master, you've finally matured!"

Wei Tianchong… Shi Meng… Once all the jobs that needed to be done were finished, Tang Jie returned to his residence, cleaned up his room, and then sowed the spirit grain seeds. Besides that, he also bought some flowers for his courtyard.

Wei Tianchong even teased him for this, saying that he had gotten so used to being a gardener that he had even brought the habit to school.

Once this was all done, Tang Jie prepared to cultivate the Lesser Sea Grotto Metal Mantra.

The Lesser Sea Grotto Metal Mantra could be considered one of the best and strongest of the basic cultivation techniques provided by the Basking Moon Sect, but it was also one of the most difficult.

The greatest attribute of this mantra was its ability to condense energy into a powerful, needle-like bolt of energy. Thus, it was suitable for cultivating armor-piercing and other such attack arts. It was capable of punching through metal and shattering jade. Thus, without using any sort of art or spell, one could unleash a solid needle of spiritual energy from one's finger after one succeeded in cultivating this technique.

With this as the foundation, armor-piercing spells and the like would be more effective, but this was also why cultivating this technique was more demanding and more complicated than cultivating other mantras.

As he entered a meditative state, Tang Jie began to follow the memorized mantra and take in spiritual energy.

Spiritual energy entered through the Jade Gate and first traveled through the Lesser Yin Heart Meridian of the Hand. The spiritual energy would be made to move in a spiral, and it would be transformed as it traveled through each point of the meridian. Once it had traversed the entire meridian and returned to the starting point, a loop would be complete. The energy would then travel to another meridian to go through another loop.

The human body had twelve meridians, and there were twelve loops. Once the twelve loops were complete, the energy spiral would become a whirlpool and enter the Lesser Sea. It would create a Spiritual Space within the body there, which would be where spiritual energy would be stored. The point at which energy entered was called the Spirit Eye.

In this way, the first step to cultivation was complete, and it was normally called a Major Circuit Heaven.

Through repetition of this process, the Spirit Eye would be fully opened and the Spiritual Space expanded, at which time one could be said to have attained initial success.

It sounded simple, but when he actually tried it, Tang Jie realized that spiritual energy was very difficult to control.

When he used energy in the past, he simply took in and released, only ever attempting to maneuver the energy through his body. He had never had to deal with various transformations in the middle. He had to learn how to control these transformations while also guiding the spiritual energy throughout his entire body.

This was the most unique attribute of the orthodox mantras. They emphasized steady progress, with even the worst technique still making sure to nurture the other meridians, though the degree to which each meridian was focused on differed. The greatest advantage this bestowed was that one could cultivate whatever one wanted in the future without any sort of problem with the foundation.

Those techniques that were all about quick gains and rapid progress would often only focus on one main meridian and a few auxiliary meridians. The more extreme ones would consider a single loop to be a Major Circuit Heaven, but in the end, a single block of wood could not hold alone. Over the long term, there would only be a strong trunk and weak branches, and those meridians that were not nurtured would gradually wither away and no longer be able to be cultivated.

Failing to cultivate in the proper manner might even result in being deformed.

The Lesser Sea Grotto Metal Mantra was the most complicated of the Basking Moon Sect's foundation techniques. Though it focused on the Lesser Yin Meridian as its main meridian, it was also very demanding on the other meridians. Its structure was one king, two ministers, and nine generals. The Lesser Yin Hand Heart Meridian was the king, the Lesser Yin Foot Kidney Meridian and the Greater Yang Hand Small Intestine Meridian were the ministers, and the remainder were the generals.

Thus, the twelve loops were all complex and had high requirements.

Tang Jie's work could be compared to going up a mountain while performing gymnastics. Not only could he not make any mistakes, he also needed to switch paths, and only when he had taken every path would he be considered to have officially climbed the mountain.

If one made a misstep, a lot of energy would be wasted, and it would often be the case that one ran out of energy halfway through. Let alone twelve different loops to form an energy whirlpool, even one basic loop was impossible.

And this was only the first level of the mantra.

But Tang Jie wasn't in a rush.

He knew that a Circuit Heaven was just like typing on a keyboard. It took practice to get from taking ages to type a single letter to typing several hundred characters per minute.

But the Circuit Heaven was even more complicated than a keyboard, and more difficult, so familiarity would take much longer.

The importance of the Jade Gate now made itself evident.

The Jade Gate was where spiritual energy was taken into the body. The more open a Jade Gate was, the more spiritual energy could be drawn in at one time and the stronger one's spiritual senses would be. This allowed one to more confidently guide energy through the meridians and also allowed more to be lost before causing problems, giving a greater chance to complete an energy whirlpool and perhaps even create a more effective energy whirlpool.

One could compare the Jade Gate to a sluice gate. The more the sluice gate was opened, the more water would come in, and the more powerful the force of the water would be.

A three-cycle-Jade-Gate rookie might need seven or eight days to complete twelve loops, whereas a nine-cycle Jade Gate might need only one day. The gap was obvious.

Tang Jie felt like controlling the spiritual energy in his body was like wearing rollerskates untrained. The slightest movement would send him uncontrollably rolling off in a random direction, and a mistake could have him lying on his back instantly.

In terms of cultivation, this would be spiritual energy occasionally breaking free and ramming into the walls of the meridians, thus injuring the cultivator.

Although the Basking Moon Sect was the orthodox sect and all of its mantras were extremely safe, injuries from failed attempts to cultivate were impossible to avoid. In this brief period of time, Tang Jie had already had five impacts with his meridians, and his chest was wracked with pain. And this was energy that had been refined and condensed into a needle. Having an energy needle jam itself into the walls of one's meridians was not a pleasant experience.

The pain in his chest meant that all his mishaps were primarily taking place there.

The Lesser Sea Grotto Metal Mantra had energy enter through the Jade Gate and erupt at the heart. This was equivalent to stumbling at one's doorstep.

He could only helplessly shake his head. But he knew that this was because he still wasn't familiar with the process. As he cultivated more and gradually familiarized himself with the process, he would probably be able to spread the pain from his chest to all over his body—a truly ambitious idea.

Because of the backlash, Tang Jie didn't keep pushing against the problem. He stopped to rest a little and massage his chest.

He already understood that diligence couldn't always make up for clumsiness.

Cultivators did not advocate excessive cultivation precisely because they feared hurting themselves in cultivation and damaging their meridians, thus creating problems in the future. In this aspect, not even nine-cycle Jade Gates could help out.

To tell the truth, a nine-cycle Jade Gate was like Wei Tianchong's family background. It granted a higher starting point, but you still had to rely on yourself for the rest of the road.

Of course, a lack of talent could be supplemented with more resources.

By consuming spirit medicines during cultivation to increase the quantity of spiritual energy, one could temporarily increase one's aptitude. But this would cease once the medicines stopped working, so it couldn't be compared to someone with talent.

Tang Jie had sold off most of the medicines Xu Muyang had left for him long ago during his flight, and the rest he had given to the Wu couple for their health. The only medicine Tang Jie had was the spirit medicine that he had embezzled from Spirit Master Lu all those years ago. Alas, it was only half a bottle, and it wasn't the right medicine for the job. Using it would waste more than he gained.

"Then what if I continue to force cultivation, and once I'm injured, I use the medicine to treat myself? But the medicine might still not be right for the job," Tang Jie couldn't help but wonder.

"Hold on…" Tang Jie suddenly realized something. He muttered, "Don't I cultivate the Visceral Manifestation Classic? Spiritual energy enters the body, the blood, and the bones, and I've been washing my meridians for three years. My body should be much better than others'. I haven't been sick in three years, and even whip lashes recover very quickly. My ability to recover from impacts to my meridians should also be better, right?"

As he realized this, his eyes brightened.

Hypersheep325's Notes:

Ah, yes, the Visceral Manifestation Classic encourages self-abuse! How could we forget?

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