AIP - Chapter 43: Rescue
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
In the small hut behind the hall, Shi Mo waved around the knife in his hand and shouted, "Don't get close! If you try to get close, I'll stab him to death!"
In his hand was the unconscious third young master, Wei Tianchong.
This wasn't Shi Mo's work. Rather, Wei Tianchong had fallen asleep after undertaking his charge at the gate.
Zheng Shufeng arrived in haste with Steward Qin and Tang Jie. When she saw what was happening, she almost fainted. Thankfully, Tang Jie was able to catch her. Zheng Shufeng shouted, "My son!" and began to weep.
"Shi Mo, do you know what you're doing? Release the third young master at once!" Steward Qin roared.
"Shut your mouth! It's all because of you that I lost my chance!" Shi Mo shouted back.
At this moment, his hair was undone and his face was savage, his eyes full of despair. He constantly gestured here and there with the knife before pointing it at the third young master like some thief who was wary of being surrounded. Tears also ran down his face.
He shouted to the crowd, "Why… why weren't you willing to give me a chance…? I was willing to be a servant for life… I just wanted a chance… I won't accept it… I won't!"
He hysterically wailed.
Wei Danbai and the others also arrived on the scene. When the venerable lady saw the scene, she screamed and fainted, throwing the servants into turmoil.
Wei Danbai was furious and shocked to see his son being held hostage. He angrily said to his wife, "Look at what you've done! If you hadn't insisted on picking Tang Jie, would things have turned out like this?"
Zheng Shufeng heard her husband rebuking her, but she restrained herself for now and sternly asked, "Where's Immortal Master Lu? Why isn't he here yet?"
"I've already sent people to fetch him. He should be here soon," Steward Qin hastily said.
The wet nurse shrilly shouted, "Shi Mo, have you gone crazy? Your mother entrusted you to me and told you to take good care of the third young master, but what have you gone and done? What am I going to do in the future!?"
The wet nurse wept in despair.
Relations between people had always entailed living together and dying together!
Shi Mo had dragged her down with him, and no matter how today ended, her days in the Wei Estate were bound to be a torment.
"I don't care!" Shi Mo swung around the knife. "I won't accept it! I won't! I served the young master for so many years, but how many of you appreciated my efforts? You would hit me and curse at me at the slightest excuse! Did anyone take me seriously? Why? Why is it that Tang Jie, a newcomer, could receive such treatment, while I, the young master's reading partner, can't accompany him…? I… I won't accept it!"
He began to sob.
"Audacious beast!" At this moment, a shout came from the distance, and three people flew over, their leader being Master Lu. The three Spirit Masters of the Wei Clan had finally emerged.
Before Lu Chenyang even arrived on the scene, he sent out a ray of spirit light. But just as he was about to form a spell, Shi Mo pointed the knife at Wei Tianchong's eye and shouted, "If you try anything, I'll kill him!"
Master Lu hadn't expected Shi Mo to be so resolved. He hesitated, not daring to release that spirit sword. The spiritual energy backlashed onto his body, inflicting several shocks that caused his body to sway in the air and almost crash.
The three Spirit Masters were stymied by Shi Mo's tactic, and for a moment, none of them dared to make a move, looking at each other in indecision. Master Lu was just about to speak when Shi Mo shouted, "Shut your mouths and don't do anything! If anyone dares to try a spell, no matter what spell it is, I'll kill him!"
Shi Mo had his mind set on cultivation, so he had some understanding of the various abilities of the cultivation world.
Although Spirit Masters of the Mortal Shedding Realm could fly into the sky or burrow into the earth, they needed to form spells, just like how wizards needed to chant to use magic. Only at the Violet Palace Realm, when one's mind was connected to the world, were chants and forms no longer required, and any spells or arts could be manifested with the raise of a hand. This category of ability was known as the divine connection, for "Divine Will connects to the heavens and earth, creating ten thousand arts with a single chant."
Thus, when he shouted, the three Spirit Masters didn't even dare to move for fear that the third young master would be hurt.
Shi Mo stared at the trio and shouted, "Back off! Stand farther away, and if you dare to get close, I'll kill him!"
The three Spirit Masters glanced at each other and helplessly retreated. They were normally lofty existences who regarded the likes of Shi Mo as ants, being able to kill countless such people with a single finger, but in this situation, they were utterly powerless.
Tang Jie couldn't help but mentally shake his head at this sight.
What the hell were you guys shouting for? Couldn't you have just used a concealment spell and come over from behind, after which any spell would have settled things?
But now it was no good. Shi Mo had made it so that they didn't dare to move, and if any one of the three Spirit Masters suddenly disappeared, Shi Mo would probably stab that knife into Wei Tianchong's eye. Even if he didn't die, he would be crippled.
Despite their prodigious abilities, they had not the slightest inkling of how to deal with terrorists, so they were entirely useless in this situation. Sure enough, one could not rely purely on brute strength to deal with problems.
"What's to be done, what's to be done!?" The venerable master stomped his feet in anxiety, and then he pointed at Zheng Shufeng. "Look at what you've done! A fine mess you've made!"
Whenever there was a problem, people always had a habit of shirking responsibility. It was as if all of this was because of Zheng Shufeng.
Zheng Shufeng took in a deep breath. She knew that she couldn't panic at a moment like this, but this was her first time encountering a situation like this, and her son was in danger. With her mind unsettled, she couldn't think of a solution to this problem.
In the end, it was Tang Jie that said, "My lady, let me deal with this."
"You?" Zheng Shufeng looked at Tang Jie in surprise.
Wei Danbai sharply said, "Stop messing around. Even the Spirit Masters can't do anything. Why do you believe that you can resolve this problem?"
He didn't care about Tang Jie's life, but if Wei Tianchong died because of Tang Jie's actions, not even the lives of one hundred Tang Jies would be sufficient compensation.
"I'm the only one who can get close to him," Tang Jie answered. "He hates me, so if he has the chance, he'll kill me, and now, I'm going to give him that chance."
Wei Danbai coldly sneered. He thought to himself, If killing you could save my son, I would immediately agree. But then he considered that Tang Jie might use this time to negotiate with Shi Mo.
In truth, Tang Jie wanted to go because he knew that if he didn't take care of this problem, he would be the next in line to face misfortune.
That Shi Mo had not talked about killing Tang Jie meant only one thing: this was an impromptu crime, not a premeditated plan. Thus, he had no conditions, and this was more like a hysterical outburst. This could be seen from the endless fear and trepidation lurking behind his savage exterior.
But if this stalemate continued, his mind would clear up and he would start making demands, which did not bode well for Tang Jie.
Thus, he had to take the initiative.
If Shi Mo stabbed him, Tang Jie wouldn't necessarily die.
But a single finger from a Spirit Master of the Wei Estate would guarantee that there would be no tomorrow.
Zheng Shufeng asked, "You're sure that you can get close to him?"
"I have to try."
"No, I can't agree to this!" Wei Danbai shouted.
"I'll allow it!" Zheng Shufeng said.
"You?" Wei Danbai looked at his wife in shock.
Zheng Shufeng said, "Didn't you say that during the horse-stabbing incident, Master Lu believed that it was a vicious and decisive stab that only someone of abnormal ability could pull off? Since that's so, let this abnormal person continue to show off his abnormal abilities."
"But what if…"
"Then what other plan is there?" Zheng Shufeng asked.
Wei Danbai was rendered speechless.
As Wei Danbai and his wife were in a standoff, Tang Jie had already walked out of the crowd and toward the hut.
"Don't come over!" Shi Mo used his free hand to point at Tang Jie. He stared at Tang Jie while pointing his knife at Wei Tianchong, as if he would stab as soon as he dared to get close.
Tang Jie stopped. "Don't be so nervous. It's not like I'm some Immortal master. I don't have the ability to kill you over such a great distance. I came over to tell you something… If you want to defend yourself against an attack from a Spirit Master, a knife alone won't do. You have to realize that there are innumerable Immortal arts in the world, some with abilities you've never heard of before. Who's to say that there aren't Mortal Shedding Realm Spirit Masters who can use spells without any preparations? The reason they haven't used them yet is that the distance is too great and they're worried about injuring the third young master. So…"
His words were half-true. There was no guarantee that there weren't such Immortal arts at the Mortal Shedding Realm that could be used without chants or forms, but such Immortal arts would never be found in the Spirit Masters hired by the Wei Clan.
But Shi Mo's mind was a mess, so he could not think about such things.
Tang Jie pointed at the door. "So to guard against Spirit Masters, you should first close the door. If the people outside can't see in, you'll be safer."
Shi Mo looked at the door and then looked at Tang Jie. He suddenly shouted, "Don't try that on me! You're trying to use the moment I've left the young master to close the door to have those Spirit Masters strike, right?"
If he went to close the door, he would definitely have to leave the third young master alone for a moment. While Spirit Masters took time to form their spells, there were still a few spells that took less than a second to release—and dealing with Shi Mo didn't require any sort of impressive spell.
Tang Jie appeared a little startled, and then he scratched his head. "So you saw through me. This is quite the problem."
"You, close the door!" Shi Mo shouted at Tang Jie.
Tang Jie shrugged and walked over to the door.
At the entrance, as Tang Jie held the door, he gave Shi Mo a glance of utter disdain, like he was looking at a corpse.
Shi Mo couldn't help but shiver at this gaze. He pointed at Tang Jie and shouted, "It was you! It's all because of you! Get in here! I'm going to kill you, kill you!"
"So you finally realized it." Tang Jie smiled, took a few steps forward, and softly shut the door. At the same time, a spirit line appeared between his fingers, sweeping through the air before vanishing into the room.
Tang Jie then turned around and walked a few steps into the room. Shi Mo pointed at Tang Jie. "Stand there and don't move!"
Tang Jie sneered. "Didn't you want to kill me? If I stand this far away, how are you going to kill me?"
Shi Mo froze.
Tang Jie had already come another few steps forward. He stopped in front of a table, grabbed an inkstone and examined it, put it back down, and then took a few bites of the apple that had been peeled for Wei Tianchong. He then grabbed the nearby teapot and poured himself a cup of tea, but rather than drinking it, he dumped it out. He was like someone who was bored and just messing around.
But as he was moving around, he was releasing spirit line after spirit line, gradually covering the entire room. A small befuddling formation gradually took shape in the room.
He said, "What's wrong? You took the young master hostage with such little daring? I really don't know what to say about you."
"It's not like that!" Shi Mo shouted. "I never intended to take the young master hostage… I just… I just wanted to find the young master and tell him… tell him that I would no longer be able to serve him…"
As Shi Mo spoke, he began to sob.
The door was closed, and the only people in the room were Shi Mo, Tang Jie, and the sleeping Wei Tianchong. Shi Mo had no one else to talk to, so he began to tearfully explain himself to Tang Jie.
"I never had any intention of taking the young master hostage… When I came, Bao Liang was peeling fruit for the young master, and I wanted to help… but they laughed at me, said that I was far too useless, not even able to become a servant student despite being the reading partner, and told me to get out… They cursed at me… I got angry and started fighting with them." Shi Mo raised the knife and began to cry. "There were too many of them, and I couldn't beat them… I took the knife from Bao Liang and pointed it at the young master… It really wasn't on purpose. I never thought about taking the young master hostage… I only wanted to scare them. I really don't know how it turned out like this…"
Tang Jie was rather surprised to hear this. He took another few steps forward, more spirit lines quietly flying out of his hand. "Since it wasn't on purpose, why didn't you just put down the knife earlier?"
"I…" Shi Mo's mouth opened, but he couldn't speak.
When he had grabbed the knife and pointed it at the young master, Bao Liang and the others had run off in fright, shouting, 'Shi Mo's gone crazy.'
Perhaps because his resentment had yet to disperse, when Shi Mo had looked at the young master, he had suddenly had an idea. Since he had already gone so far, why not…? But when countless people had gathered, he truly began to regret his decision.
Alas, at this time, he could no longer back out.
"Too late… It's already too late…" Shi Mo began to wail.
Tang Jie could only sigh at his sorrowful appearance. "It might not be too late… If you give up now, there still might be time."
"It's too late." Shi Mo helplessly shook his head. "I took the young master hostage, so they won't let me go… no way."
As he wept, viciousness once more took hold of his heart. He raised his head, looked at Tang Jie, and shouted, "This is all because of you! Because of you! You made me lose everything! I'll kill you!"
"Don't be a fool, Shi Mo." Tang Jie shook his head.
He moved a chair over and sat in front of Shi Mo. "I'm right here, Shi Mo. If you really want to kill me, then get over here, take that knife, and stab it into my chest. But, Shi Mo, do you really have the guts for it?"
Shi Mo stared at Tang Jie in a daze, but that knife didn't move an inch.
"What? Scared? You've discovered that killing someone isn't that easy, right? Sometimes, things are much easier to talk about than to do. From the look of it, you can't even hold your knife steady. Even if I placed my neck in your hands, you probably wouldn't be able to press down, right?" Tang Jie said with a sympathetic look.
He softly chuckled and shook his head. "If you're scared, you're scared. There's nothing shameful about being afraid of death. If you're not that kind of person, just don't do that sort of thing. We all make mistakes. It's nothing much. You just have to correct the mistakes. Taking the young master hostage is a grave crime, but the young master is still unharmed. It's not too late to stay your hand!"
"They'll let me go?" Shi Mo asked in a trembling tone.
"This… Punishment is a given, but I can promise you that I will plead for mercy for you and ensure that you won't die."
"You? Why would you help me? You hate me so much you want me to die!" Shi Mo shouted again. He was constantly shifting between fear and madness, his condition extremely unstable.
Tang Jie shook his head and smiled. "Shi Mo, you have too high of an opinion of yourself. In my eyes, you were never an opponent, not even worth my attention. 'Hate you'? To put it bluntly, you're not worthy. If I really hated you… you would have been finished long ago."
"Don't try to lie to me! I've hit you before, and I'm always causing you trouble!"
"But did I ever retaliate?" Tang Jie asked.
Shi Mo fell silent. After some thought, he shouted, "You couldn't retaliate. You're cowardly and afraid of causing trouble. You wouldn't dare!"
"'Afraid of causing trouble'?" Tang Jie heartily laughed. "Could someone afraid of causing trouble kill the young master's horse in front of him? Could they have walked in here to confront you and invite you to stab them? By the way, why is your knife trembling? Which one of us is the real cowardly one here?"
Shi Mo trembled even more intensely.
Tang Jie sneered. "Also, do you really think I couldn't take care of you if I wanted to? Do you know how Ji Ziqian was sent packing? Do you really believe it was all due to your efforts?"
Tang Jie looked at Shi Mo and declared, "It! Was! Me! I was the one who requested Steward Qin to work with the elders of the estate and advise you. It was also me who bribed Yanzhi into inciting you into dealing with Ji Ziqian. And it was also me who had Shi Yue call over the venerable master and the lady to see the show for themselves. Without my intervention, it would be me and Ji Ziqian going off to school. Do you understand?"
Shi Mo was stunned into silence. "It was you… It was all your doing?"
"Yes, me! I don't like hurting others, but if I really wanted to, I can guarantee that you would die without even knowing how you died. The one who really pushed you aside wasn't me, but Shi Meng, because if she had to select between me and Shi Meng, the lady would still choose me! Shi Mo, I never considered you a rival. In my eyes, you were nothing more than a somewhat willful and utterly ignorant little boy," Tang Jie coldly said. "You're very naughty and deserve to be punished. You deserve a savage spanking, but you don't deserve death. I can guarantee that if you put down the knife and go outside with me, I will use my future prospects to ensure that you won't die. This is your final chance!"
When Tang Jie uttered the words 'final chance', his befuddling formation was already complete. The moment he activated the formation, Shi Mo would be lost within it, and he wouldn't be able to kill Wei Tianchong even if he wanted to.
But Tang Jie wanted to try.
He wanted to see if he could convince Shi Mo to give up.
This was partially because he still didn't want to expose his formation abilities, and partially because he wanted to give Shi Mo a chance.
"No! No! No!" Shi Mo shook his head in disbelief. He found it impossible to imagine that he had been someone's puppet this entire time. He hysterically shouted, "Tang Jie, you scoundrel!"
"Are you angry? If you're angry, you can go and tell the master and the lady." Tang Jie smiled. "It doesn't matter if you're unwilling. You were always the spear in my hand, a tool that I used against others. Your mission is now complete, so it's about time to end things!"
Whether it was out of remorse or anger, it was fine so long as he was willing to go out.
As for any secrets he might divulge, these were a trifling matter. Even if they could be confirmed, the lady would not care.
People were always very forgiving when it came to mistakes of the past.
"I'm going to tell the lady… I'm going to tell the lady… They'll believe me. They'll understand this wasn't my mistake, it wasn't me… This was all your conspiracy!" Shi Mo muttered. As if he had seized some sort of lifeline, his eyes began to burn with hope.
It was clear that his mind was on the verge of breaking.
He threw aside the knife.
He began to walk out of the hut, still muttering, "I'm telling the lady… The lady will believe in me… You confessed to it…"
He staggered past Tang Jie.
Tang Jie could only mentally sigh at his state.
Regardless, the matter was resolved.
An amateur negotiator paired with an amateur criminal had been enough to muddle through. Tang Jie was rather satisfied with his performance this time.
As Shi Mo was leaving, Tang Jie withdrew the formation he had just laid down so that no one could find out about his abilities. After once more determining that Wei Tianchong was fine, he carried him out.
At this moment, he heard an "Agh!" from outside.
"Not good!" Tang Jie was shaken. Carrying Wei Tianchong, he rushed out of the hut. He saw Shi Mo lying in a pool of blood and Master Lu drawing back his palm, using a white towel to clean off the blood.
"Chong'er!" Zheng Shufeng shouted and rushed over.
The crowd quickly swarmed in, taking the third young master from Tang Jie and tightly surrounding him as if they were afraid that Shi Mo might take the young master hostage again.
Only Tang Jie stared in a daze at Shi Mo.
He was dead!
The top of his skull had been shattered, and he had died on the spot. His eyes were wide open, staring at the sky.
"Why?" Tang Jie angrily glared at Spirit Master Lu. "Why did you kill him? He even put down his knife and surrendered!"
"Scoundrel, how dare you speak to Immortal Master Lu like that?" Wei Danbai angrily rebuked Tang Jie.
But Master Lu gave Tang Jie a strange look and casually said, "Shi Mo took the young master hostage—a treasonous act. To kill him was right and proper. What's so strange about that?"
"But I promised him that if he let the third young master go, the Wei Estate wouldn't kill him, that I would guarantee his safety with my future career!" Tang Jie began to shout. "He didn't do this on purpose. It was a momentary impulse!"
Lu Chenyang was now clearly angered. "Hmph, childish promises! How can they be taken seriously? As you've saved the third young master, I will not argue with you, but Shi Mo deserved death for his treason. If you asked anyone here their opinion, all of them would say that this old man did nothing wrong!"
Tang Jie looked around and saw that nobody was saying a thing. From the looks of disgust on their faces, it was clear that none of them believed that Lu Chenyang had done anything wrong. This made Tang Jie's heart go cold.
In truth, Tang Jie wasn't against killing people, but that was if that person truly deserved death.
But today, Lu Chenyang had used his actions to tell Tang Jie that Shi Mo's actions deserved death!
As a servant, he had dared to take the young master hostage. This was a grave crime, and regardless of the harm done or remorse felt, no matter if he gave himself up, he had to pay with his death!
This was the moral law of this world!
Moreover, this moral law even permitted cultivators to carry out executions without going through any questioning or procedures.
It could be said that they shared the same viewpoint when it came to punishing evil, but their standards for evil were vastly different!
This was the difference in thought that was bound to arise from the cultures of two different worlds.
Tang Jie had not run into it before, but he had now.
He was lucky. Today, he had merely been speaking up for a criminal who 'deserved death', showing off the generous aspect of Earth's thinking. This made others think of him as rather inflexible, but at least it wasn't fatal.
But one day, what if things were turned around?
What if Tang Jie ran into someone who he thought deserved death but others did not?
Suddenly, Tang Jie realized that mixing into an environment was simple, but mixing into a culture was extremely difficult. And in the end… this place wasn't Earth!
At this time, Zheng Shufeng had seen that her son was fine, so she walked over and said, "Tang Jie, I know that you are a good child who places a lot of worth on his promises, and I can understand making promises to save my son. But you did not go back on your promise in this matter, and you cannot be blamed for this, and it is also natural that you would momentarily forget yourself. Regardless, you risked your life to save Chong'er, and my Wei Clan must thank you."
After saying this, Zheng Shufeng swept her gaze over Shi Mo's body, revealing a look of disdain, anger, and hatred. She then proudly raised her head and said, "Shi Mo was treasonous, and for daring to take my son hostage, he deserved ten thousand deaths. It is fortunate that we discovered his ugly side today. Otherwise, if this madman had been sent to school with Chong'er, who knows what would have happened? This estate has so many people, and aren't all of them normally so capable? But when real problems arise, a boy servant had to go and rescue the hostage! Does anyone doubt my decision now? 'Unreliable background'… pah!"
For the first time, Zheng Shufeng spat on the ground and swaggered away, leaving Wei Danbai where he stood, his face alternating between green and red.
Though she had not named anyone in particular, she had clearly been referring to how her husband and the venerable master had taken out their anger on her.
She was normally a magnanimous woman, but when she got worked up, she was as sharp as a razor. Even the venerable master and Wei Danbai were rendered speechless. Presumably, Wei Danbai would have to offer a sincere apology to his wife tonight.
At this moment, there was a groan from the crowd. "Ugh, I hurt all over… Eh? What happened? What are all of you doing, standing around me?"
It was Third Young Master Wei Tianchong.
He had finally woken up.