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AIP - Chapter 52: The First Class (2)

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

Once the classes were finally over, Wei Tianchong was dazed and tired, but Tang Jie pulled him up and quickly walked out of the hall.

Wei Tianchong was just about to ask what the matter was when Tang Jie gestured at him to be quiet. He had learned from experience and no longer dared to ask questions. He and Shi Meng followed Tang Jie out, and once they were a few steps past the door, Tang Jie pulled on him and shouted, "Run!"

"Run? Why?"

"To eat!" Tang Jie growled, his body shooting away like a lightning bolt.

To eat!

Shi Meng and Wei Tianchong felt like they had awoken from a dream, and immediately started running.

Seeing the master and his two servants madly running, the other students were startled, and then they realized what was going on. "To eat!"

With a whoosh, all the students rushed to Thousand Taste Pavilion like a charging army. Wei Tianchong's group was already lined up at the front, panting for breath as they took their food from the window. Sure enough, these were delicacies rich with spirituality, carrying a tasty luster and exceptional aroma.

"I can finally eat something good!" Wei Tianchong sighed as he carried his tray of food to a seat and began to wolf it down.

Tang Jie chuckled and simply sat down, not touching his food.

"Why aren't you eating yet?" Wei Tianchong asked.

Tang Jie chuckled. "You'll find out soon."

A few moments later, Thousand Taste Pavilion was packed, all of the students forming a long line.

Tang Jie raised a sign once more. "Spirit food for sale—full set for 35 spirit coins."

"You're even selling your lunch?" Wei Tianchong's eyeballs almost fell from their sockets.

No wonder he wasn't eating.

Tang Jie answered, "Why not? I haven't officially started cultivating yet, so eating these nice things will only strengthen my body. It's too much waste. I wasn't able to digest all of the spiritual energy from the spirit wine we had yesterday, which was a great pity, so it's better to just sell it. My price is much lower than Thousand Taste Pavilion's."

"You're savage!" Wei Tianchong was speechless.

He looked over at Shi Meng, who was so shocked that the food had dropped from his open mouth.

But he had eaten his meal, so he had no means of selling it.

"Why didn't you say this earlier!?" Shi Meng painfully said.

Tang Jie casually replied, "Wouldn't that be giving myself competition? In this day and age, finding a big client isn't easy."

Even Wei Tianchong had eaten his dinner with broth. In this place, wealthy young masters did not dare to flaunt their wealth. Thirty-five spirit coins in modern-day terms would be thirty-five thousand yuan if going by the official exchange rate, and it would be over one hundred thousand yuan if going by the black market exchange rate!

Even the richest young master wouldn't dare to eat like this every day, so for Tang Jie, the fewer competitors, the better.

Shi Meng awkwardly said, "How could I do something like that?"

Tang Jie sneered, "You almost sound like you were sitting while listening to class this morning."

A few moments later, someone finally got sick of the "pig feed" and ran over to Tang Jie to buy his spirit food. Of course, Tang Jie didn't forget to take that customer's "pig feed" in exchange, which he devoured with gusto.

In the blink of an eye, Tang Jie had made forty spirit coins. His monthly school stipend was only ten taels of silver, so in the space of one morning, he had made an entire year's worth of money.

The afternoon class was for the transmission of arts.

This was not held at the Ink Fragrance Court, but in front of a lecturing stone held on another peak of the Clear Sky Mountains, Morning Sun Summit. Students needed to traverse the mountains to get there.

This was without question another trial, and Wei Tianchong had never suffered like this before. After making it halfway, he couldn't move anymore. He sat on the ground and began to cry, "I'm not walking anymore! I want to go home!"

"Even if you don't want to, you must. This is the cultivation class. If you miss out on the transmission of arts, you would have come to this academy for nothing," Tang Jie said as he pulled him along.

"I'm not going!" Wei Tianchong shouted.

"If you don't move, I'll beat you!" Tang Jie roared. This was the first time he had used the clan discipline stick to threaten Wei Tianchong since leaving the Wei Estate. Although the lady had given him this precious sword, he could not use it whenever he wanted. Thus, Tang Jie was normally not inclined to use this "treasure". However, this was the crucial cultivation class, so he had no other choice but to threaten.

Wei Tianchong shivered, knowing that this scoundrel was fully capable of doing it. Shivering, he could only stand up and press forward. As he walked, he continued to grumble, "I'm telling Mom how much suffering you put me through!"

Tang Jie sneered. "Go on; tell her! I promise you the lady won't care!"

"Nonsense! My mother loves me the most!"

"My lady spoils the young master, and if the lady were here and saw the suffering you had to endure, she assuredly wouldn't be able to endure it. But she's not here, so no matter how much Young Master complains about your suffering to her, so long as she knows that this is for your own good, she won't feel the slightest heartache."

"How is that possible?" Wei Tianchong was struck dumb.

"Nothing is impossible," Tang Jie smiled. "All the parents of the world are like that, hardening their hearts when their children are out of sight."

Wei Tianchong's mouth opened and closed, but no words came out. He realized that Tang Jie's words made sense. When sending him off, his mother had said that he needed to temper himself and prepare himself for suffering. Did his mother truly not care?

This thought made him panic, and he started to wail, "How could my life be one of such suffering!?"

Tang Jie grew angry and grabbed him. "Suffering? Third Young Master, I'm the one suffering here. No matter what I do, I can't stop you. It's only the first day, and you've already lost five points! I still need you to become a top-ten disciple. At this rate, I'll be thanking the heavens if you don't become a forsaken student!"

When others thought about their plight, they would work harder to improve themselves, but he was forced to bring this fellow up to Celestial Heart. Tang Jie felt a massive headache coming on.

What in the world inspired me to make that aspiration?

Wei Tianchong felt extremely embarrassed by Tang Jie's words, so he gritted his teeth and finally managed to make it to Morning Sun Summit.

He had initially thought that he was late and would have to stand for class, but to his surprise, the area in front of the lecturing stone was covered in sitting mats. This time, everyone could sit down.

Tang Jie pulled on Wei Tianchong, and the three found a place to sit. It wasn't long before the other students started arriving. Surprisingly, no one was kept out of the summit.

Wei Tianchong found it very curious, so he asked Tang Jie, "Why aren't latecomers being driven away this time? And why does everyone have a seat?"

After thinking it over, Tang Jie answered, "Yesterday and this morning were probably lessons for everyone so that they would all shape up. Moreover, missing out on one or two culture classes wouldn't have too much of an effect. The cultivation class, on the other hand, is a big deal, and also the foundation of Basking Moon Academy. Keeping out latecomers and making them miss out on a class would affect their cultivation for the rest of their lives. In the end, they wouldn't play such games."

"I get it!" Wei Tianchong was enlightened, and then his face turned bitter. "If I had known earlier, I wouldn't have pushed myself so hard."

"I can't believe you!" Tang Jie was speechless.

It wasn't long before a white-browed elder appeared on the lecturing stone. 

His eyes were closed, and he had a bitter expression on his face. When he appeared, the students whispered, "It's True Person Ku."

Tang Jie had also heard about True Person Ku. This was an illustrious senior of Basking Moon Academy who had taught countless people and was also respected by the common people.

Most importantly, True Person Ku had an excellent personality and had received much praise. He presumably wouldn't entrap the students.

Sure enough, when True Person Ku arrived, he immediately started lecturing rather than wasting time on chatter.

"The world is awash with spiritual energy, and divine connections fill the universe. What cultivators cultivate is the spirit of the world. They store spirit within their bodies, merge spirit with their souls, circulate spirit through their meridians, and use spirit through arts. Thus, in essence, those who cultivate spirit cultivate their body, soul, arts, and meridians. Of these, the body is the foundation while spells and arts are the exterior, for the purpose of bringing the inner and outer…"

As True Person Ku spoke, elegant scrolls depicting to the students how to control spiritual energy appeared.

A cultivator's ascent on the Immortal path was truthfully just improvement in how they circulated their spiritual energy. Even when one entered the Immortal Platform and turned spiritual energy into Immortal Essence, this was nothing more than a higher quality of energy.

Energy was like a staircase. No matter how you climbed the path of Immortality, whether you jumped or leaped, cried or laughed or shouted, you wouldn't be able to leave the stones that formed the basis of the path.

But there were a thousand paths with countless turns, so there were still differences when it came to how you ascended.

The methods by which cultivators used spiritual energy were essentially the same as Xu Muyang had used for his formations, using a series of procedures and arrangements to utilize one's spiritual energy. Whether they were formations or spell arts, they all involved giving the proper orders to spiritual energy to reach a designated goal and thus manifest Immortal arts.

This was precisely why all spell arts had a basic restriction: spiritual energy had to be capable of doing such a thing.

If spiritual energy could never possibly reach an effect, then there was no such Immortal art that could do so, unless you controlled the Great Dao and transcended the limits of energy.

"Spiritual energy has a form, and thus, it has spirituality and can be commanded, can transform into all things and have limitless uses. But in the end, it has limits. It cannot penetrate into the underworld or be used on the future, and it is difficult to be used on formless things. Thus, to have form and enter the formless and break the restrictions of energy serves as the ultimate ideal of all cultivators, and this is called the Dao…"

The meaning of this was that because spiritual energy had form, it could not be used on illusory things. Thus, there were no Immortal arts that could predict the future and glimpse the secrets of the heavens in this world.

In other words, in the Great Stellar Chiliocosm, there were no such things as fortune tellers and star readers, and those that existed were really just fraudsters. Nor were there spell arts that could find out what was going on one thousand li away with a pinch of the fingers. Yes, one could know what was happening one thousand li away, but it couldn't be done with a pinch of the fingers!

Only when one truly controlled the Great Dao could one apply the formed to the formless, breaking the restriction of spiritual energy and obtaining all kinds of absurd abilities.

Immortal cultivators were also known as Dao cultivators, because the Dao served as one of the ends of the Immortal path. But the Dao was far too ethereal and difficult to understand. Only by slowly progressing on the path of the formed did one have a chance of glimpsing the will of the Dao.

A journey of one thousand li began with a single step. For any Dao cultivator, to get to the formless, one had to start with the formed. Thus, spiritual energy served as the start of one's cultivation journey.

Store spirit within the body, merge spirit with the soul, circulate spirit through the meridians, and use spirit through arts—these four instructions served as a summary of what a cultivator needed to do to use arts. Storing spirit with the body was the beginning of the beginning, and opening the Spirit Eye to store spirit was the first step.

"The human body is its own world. All Five Elements are present, thus encompassing all things. Energy runs through the one hundred channels, manifesting all arts. But while the world is limitless, human strength is limited. To store spirit within the body is to take the Five Elements…"

These words spoke of how the human body formed a world of its own, carrying Yin, Yang, and the Five Elements, corresponding to the world at large. This was why when spiritual energy was circulated through this body, one could unleash all the arts of the greater world through this miniature world.

But as the human body was limited, it could not truly contain the entire world. Thus, one had to choose a path to set on rather than blindly proceeding.

True Person Ku began to lecture on how to open the Spirit Eye.

It was often said that the Spirit Eye was where spiritual energy was stored, but this was not entirely correct. It was more accurate to say that one had to work through the Spirit Eye to store and use spiritual energy.

A person with an unopened Spirit Eye was like a brush. To use spiritual energy, one had to constantly absorb more, like a brush needing to constantly be dipped into ink to write. This was the situation Tang Jie was in.

Someone with an opened Spirit Eye was like a fountain pen, able to write without stopping.

Thus, the Spirit Eye wasn't the ink reserve, but the little hole on the tip of the pen. Only with this hole could the spiritual energy in the reserve come out in a controlled flow, and through this little hole, the ink could be absorbed back in.

The distribution of the Five Elements across the human body differed, and where one opened one's Spirit Eye would have completely different effects. Thus, cultivators needed to carefully choose where they opened their Spirit Eye.

The Basking Moon Sect primarily cultivated the Lesser Yin Heart Meridian of the Hand and the Lesser Yin Kidney Meridian of the Foot. Thus, most of their mantras focused on these two meridians, and they would open their Spirit Eyes between these two meridians. 

Of these, the Lesser Yin Hand Heart Meridian originated in the heart, and so it belonged to the heart. The acupuncture points of this system were the Highest Spring, Green Spirit, Lesser Sea, Spirit Path, Inward Connection, Yin Cleft, Spirit Gate, Lesser Mansion, etc. 

The Lesser Yin Foot Kidney Meridian started in the pinky finger and traveled all the way to the sole of the foot, connecting the entire body. The Visceral Manifestation Classic's first step started from the Lesser Yin Foot Kidney Meridian. Acupuncture points of this meridian included the Bubbling Well, Blazing Valley, Hidden Gate, and Divine Manor.

This was why the Spirit Eye could be opened up at various locations. It simply depended on one's needs.

For example, Bubbling Well was located at the base of the foot, and as its originator, the kidney, had the element of Water, while the foot was favorable to Earth, the resultant energy was mild and favorable for support. Thus, if one opened up their Spirit Eye with the Bubbling Well as the base, the most appropriate arts to cultivate would be water arts. But there was also some affinity to Earth, and since the kidney meridian had powerful supportive and nurturing abilities, rising in cultivation realms was easier. As a result, one became suitable for cultivating primarily Water arts with Earth arts as a support, and one would advance easily in cultivation, but one wouldn't be a strong fighter. This approach was more suitable for students that sought a long life.

But if you were a battle junkie, you might cultivate Fire arts, and so taking this approach would halve your efficacy.

Besides the location of one's Spirit Eye, another consideration was the cultivation method of one's Spirit Eye. Different methods used on the same Spirit Eye would have different effects.

Thus, before opening the Spirit Eye, one had to confirm one's future path.

Why did cultivators have to declare great aspirations?

It was because only when you were sure of your aspiration would you know what path to take so that you wouldn't get lost.

Starting from their foundation, cultivators had to firm up their Origin Hearts. Only when one knew the path one needed to walk in the future could one avoid too many detours, and there were some detours from which there was no going back.

As True Person Ku explained the functions and element of each meridian, the students felt their horizons broadening. Only now did they realize that Basking Moon Academy's reputation hadn't been faked, and the frustration they had felt from all the tribulations before this was greatly reduced.

When True Person Ku was finally done, everyone realized that the sun was setting.

True Person Ku waved his horsetail whisk and loudly said, "Today's class ends here. Students, you may select a single arts manual from in front of the lecturing stone and use this art to open your Eye. Tomorrow, I will hold a question-answer session. I will hold this question-answer session for students every day. If you do not have any questions, you do not need to come and can cultivate on your own. Remember that without permission, none of these arts are to be transmitted to outsiders. Those who secretly exchange secret arts will be heavily punished."

Once he was done speaking, tens of thousands of books appeared in front of the lecturing stone.

These books didn't actually exist. They floated in front of the stone wall, showing beneath them their names, descriptions saying where the Spirit Eye would be opened, their special attributes, and what was to be avoided.

It was clear that everyone needed to decide on their final path.

"Once you make your choice on the Immortal path, there is no going back. Everyone, please consider your choice carefully." After saying this, True Person Ku disappeared.

The students gathered in front of the lecturing stone. All of those countless books momentarily dazzled them, and they didn't know which one to choose.

Wei Tianchong looked at Tang Jie. "Which one do you think I should pick?"

He had unconsciously come to highly value Tang Jie's opinion.

Tang Jie answered, "Each person has their own path, and for your own path, your own choice is still the best. If you would ask me, all I could say is that you first have to understand why it is that you cultivate Immortality!"

Wei Tianchong was taken aback, and he began to seriously ponder the question. He finally muttered, "In truth, I'm only cultivating to live up to Mom's expectations, the clan's expectations. As for myself… I've never really thought about it before."

As he looked at the countless books floating in front of the lecturing stone, a hint of confusion appeared in his eyes.

Tang Jie laughed. "Then think about this. As a person, you must have something you want. The path you choose should be the one that takes you closest to your dream."

"Then what about you? What are you picking?" Shi Meng couldn't help but ask.

"Me?" Tang Jie smiled as he pointed at a book. "I choose that one!"

As Tang Jie pointed and the other two looked over, that book turned into a golden stream of light that shot into Tang Jie's palm and disappeared. The contents of the book automatically appeared in Tang Jie's mind, but there was no sign of the real thing. Meanwhile, an identical copy of the book appeared in front of the lecturing stone.

"Lesser Sea Grotto Metal Mantra!" the two of them exclaimed.

Most of the books here involved the Lesser Yin. The Lesser Sea, as the origin of the Lesser Yin, was the number one Spirit Eye of the Basking Moon Sect. 

Its origin, the heart, belonged to Water, and it was an intersection of points, the sea to which all rivers returned. Its position at the elbow made it easier to circulate energy and faster to use arts. The arts manifested were made of compact and pure energy, so they excelled at attacking hardened positions, and it was good at gathering energy!

It excelled at swift attacks!

Excelled at breaking through armor!

Hypersheep325's Notes:

A lot of complicated Chinese acupuncture lingo in this chapter. For the acupuncture point names, I mostly just took them from Wikipedia.

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