AIP - Chapter 46: Disciple Rules
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Inside the eight-sided pavilion next to Little Bright Lake, Tang Jie wiped the blood from the corner of his lips. "I'm fine. It's just that I recklessly attempted to experience that ancient battle and was struck by the Dao Will inside the stele, which injured me. I really didn't think that the Dao Will in the Heavenly Dao Stele would still be so vicious after one thousand years."
Wei Tianchong looked at him in disbelief. "You mentioned some Heavenly Dao Law Wheel just now. You couldn't have already comprehended the Dao, right?"
Tang Jie burst out in laughter. "Comprehend the Dao? Comprehend the Dao? You actually have to comprehend something to be considered as comprehending the Dao. Young Master, does it look like I comprehended anything?"
Wei Tianchong scratched his head. "That's true, and you don't seem to have changed. Besides, the cultivation world has spells, arts, divine connections, and Daos. Since Daos are the highest level, you should have to go up step by step. How could it be possible to enter the Dao before even training in Immortal arts?"
There was nothing wrong about what he had said. The Dao couldn't be comprehended at the drop of a hat. Without the appropriate strength, trying to comprehend the Dao was like being an elementary school student trying to watch international news. They could understand all the words, but they didn't understand the meaning.
What he didn't know was that Tang Jie wasn't comprehending the Dao, but observing the Dao.
The Heavenly Dao was ever-changing. Mortals normally weren't able to see it, and only on certain lucky occasions could they glimpse the turning of the Heavenly Dao Law Wheel.
Comprehending the Dao was like reading a book and learning characters, and observing the Dao could be considered like getting one's foot into the door. Only by observing the Dao could one proceed to comprehending the Dao, and there were no conditions to getting one's foot into the door.
Tang Jie had inadvertently glimpsed the turning of the Heavenly Dao, and though it had only been a brief glimpse, it had left a deep mark on his heart. At that moment, he at least knew what the Heavenly Dao was and had a most directly perceived impression of it. This impression wasn't something that could be described or imagined through the Heavenly Dao Law Wheel. It was a sensation that was buried deeply in the mind, which could only be felt and not described. Trying to talk about it would only result in gobbledygook!
With this experience, when he arrived at the right realm of cultivation, he could begin to comprehend the Dao.
He still didn't know what sort of use this had for him, but he knew that this was a lucky encounter where he had been able to momentarily interact with the Great Dao of Immortals.
Alas, when he looked at the Heavenly Dao Stele again, he no longer felt that soul-shaking experience. He knew that he had been given only one chance, and when it was gone, it was gone. Regret welled up in his heart.
"By the way, how do you know all this?" Wei Tianchong changed the topic.
Tang Jie had been waiting for this. He smiled at the question and said, "If you read a lot of books, you'll naturally understand as well."
He waved around a booklet in his hand.
Wei Tianchong could tell that the booklet Tang Jie was holding was "Disciple Rules", so he couldn't help but shake his head. "This sort of thing isn't fun to read."
Tang Jie answered, "Young Master, you misunderstand. These aren't just any disciple rules I have here, but the disciple rules for Basking Moon Academy. Written here are all the rules you have to follow once you enter the academy. I specifically requested the lady to have the first young master send over a copy several days ago."
"My mom helped you buy this book?" Wei Tianchong's curiosity was aroused. "Won't we learn all this once we get to the school? Why buy it when we're still so far away? And why have my big brother buy it for you?"
"Only when you know the rules can you avoid overstepping them. Third Young Master, you must not underestimate the rules of Basking Moon Academy. This is very important. While there aren't a lot of rules, you have to understand every line. It's only a thousand-some words, but you have to carefully pore over them and think over each line again and again. In the last few days, I've read each rule more than a hundred times and can recite them back to front. If I had to wait until we got to school to understand them, I wouldn't have the time to research them this thoroughly."
"But what's the point?" It was Shi Meng who was confused this time. Wasn't it just the school rules? This much attention didn't seem necessary.
Tang Jie chuckled and seated himself on a long bench on one side of the pavilion. As he looked out to Little Bright Lake, he said, "Young Master, did you know that when a new student enters the academy, he gets one hundred points? These one hundred points are a representation of our behavior in school. The slightest error will have the Immortal masters of the school deduct points. Once you've lost all one hundred points, you're expelled. Even if you're a peerless genius with a nine-cycle Jade Gate, you're still no exception. Thus, you can't relax once you get into school. If you don't do well, you'll be driven out and have wasted a spot. Now, Young Master, tell me: are these rules important or not?"
Wei Tianchong was scared out of his wits. "No one told me about this! How do you know?"
"Because I've read the disciple rules."
"Then it's something you only found out later. Why would you think about reading the disciple rules in the first place?" Wei Tianchong was confused, unable to connect the cause to the effect.
Tang Jie answered, "Because even if I didn't know about the one-hundred-points rule, I would still pay close attention to the rules of Basking Moon Academy! When you go to a new place, you have to understand the rules of that place. For example, as your servants, don't we need to understand the rules of servants so that we can do our job?"
Wei Tianchong awkwardly laughed. "It's not like I don't get it, but I've heard that the cultivation world is a ruthless place where the strong eat the weak, with the person with the strongest fist setting the rules, so the rules aren't that important."
Tang Jie heartily laughed as he thought to himself, Of course it's a world where the strong eat the weak. You think that your tying me up on a tree and giving me a good whipping wasn't the strong eating the weak? Wasn't Shi Mo's death the strong eating the weak? Is it only when they shout 'those who resist shall perish' that the strong eat the weak?
But all he said was, "The cultivation world truly is a place of cruel competition, and it's commonplace for people to fight with their lives on the line. But that also depends on the situation. In truth, there are two kinds of cruel competition. One kind is the conflicts of troubled times. You could say that bare fists truly are king in those times. Slaughter and fighting are rampant, and that's when the person with the strongest fists can call himself king. But the other kind is the conflicts of the civilized world. It's cruel at its essence, but on the surface, everyone is polite to each other."
Tang Jie chuckled. "Currently in the Rosecloud Domain, the six major sects rule the world, a civilized world. In this civilized world, no matter how cruel you are on the inside, you have to be gentle and mild on the outside. Even when you kill, you have to say that you're sending them on their way. That's what it means to be cultured. Thus, the strong eating the weak and fists making the rules are real things, but they flow beneath the surface, and it's probably only those small sects that take them as the standard. The Basking Moon Sect would never permit such things to be let out into the open."
"So why is it that the small sects practice such things while the Basking Moon Sect doesn't?"
"Because the Basking Moon Sect is the ruling party… mm, I mean 'the sect in power'. For major parties, rules are the basic measures that they use to manage the world. Without established standards, management becomes impossible. Only those out-of-power… those powerless minor sects would think every day about how to topple the rules, because for them, only when the rules are overturned do they have a chance. Thus, it is not for no reason that major sects are conservative while minor sects are progressive. Of course, what they're progressing to is another matter entirely, so long as they're not the same as the original sect. Major sects emphasize the rules, so minor sects naturally have to be all about the strong eating the weak, the victor being the king. If the major sects emphasized 'might makes right', more than half of those minor sects would be people-oriented and focus on statecraft to rule the world. To overturn the political power, one must overturn the school of thought. So long as the school of thought changes, so will the direction of the fist… No matter the era or the world, this point has never changed," Tang Jie lectured.
"As for the Basking Moon Sect, it stands at the apex of Sageheart and it sets the rules that control the world. To break its laws is to affect the welfare of the Basking Moon Sect, to offend the Basking Moon Sect's authority, to challenge the Basking Moon Sect's status. Thus, while the Basking Moon Sect values geniuses, it values the rules even more. Young Master, if you think that someone with overflowing talent can ignore the academy's rules, then you are gravely mistaken. Many geniuses had too high of an opinion of themselves and ignored the rules, causing them to be expelled from Basking Moon Academy."
Tang Jie chuckled at this. "Right, in Basking Moon Academy, there is a rule that says that if you don't arrive at campus on time, you're deducted ten points for each extra day. If you're late by ten days… haha, then you should go back the way you came! It doesn't matter how you try to explain yourself!"
Wei Tianchong paled. He finally understood why Tang Jie had brought all this up in front of him.
If his playing around and sightseeing caused them to be late, then he would be expelled before he even got to school. If his mother found out that her son was the first person to be expelled this year, he would probably be beaten to death!
This thought made Wei Tianchong's blood run cold.
He scratched his head and said, "Alright, I get it. Starting from today, we'll just keep to the schedule. I won't be late."
"Young Master is wise as always," Tang Jie replied with a chuckle.
Wei Tianchong resentfully said, "So from what you've said, so long as my points aren't all deducted, I can become a disciple of Basking Moon?"
Tang Jie shook his head. "Basking Moon Academy accepts 1500 students every year, but does Young Master know how many of them actually manage to get into the Basking Moon Sect?"
Tang Jie shook his head.
"Five hundred, then?"
Tang Jie still shook his head.
"It can't be one hundred, right?" Wei Tianchong's heart went cold.
Only one hundred getting into the sect out of 1500 was a 1-in-15 chance, which seemed a little too small.
Tang Jie chortled. "Ten."
"Ah?" Wei Tianchong's and Shi Meng's chins almost dropped off.
Tang Jie added, "Ten at most! Better to have nothing than accept mediocrity!"
"How could it be this few?" Wei Tianchong was stunned.
Tang Jie answered, "The students of Basking Moon Academy can be divided into five categories. The worst are those who are expelled because all of their points were deducted. Because they were expelled, these people are not allowed to call themselves students of Basking Moon Academy, so they are called 'forsaken students', students who have been abandoned. Every year, there will be one to two hundred of this kind of student. From this, we can see that it's not that easy to keep the rules of Basking Moon Academy.
"The second category consists of students who are able to preserve their point total but fail to reach the Mortal Shedding Realm. They are called 'donation students', because they've essentially paid money to spend some time at school and then leave, so people tease them by saying that they've made a donation. There are more of these people who lack the aptitude to reach the Mortal Shedding Realm, several hundred every year. This also means that donation students and forsaken students take up at least half of every class.
"The third category naturally consists of people who are able to maintain their point total and enter the Mortal Shedding Realm. At this point, Basking Moon Academy will acknowledge them as students, but they are only students. It's just like how when a teacher lectures in class, he will only teach, and there is no teacher-student relationship. In addition, we're also known as students when we first enter. Whether we go up or go down will depend on how we perform.
"The fourth category consists of the outstanding individuals chosen from the third category, the elites. The Basking Moon Sect acknowledges their status and allows them into the outer sect. Thus, they are called 'outer disciples' or 'outstanding students'. There are about one hundred of this sort of student every year. In this category, you can barely be considered a Basking Moon disciple.
"The fifth category is the top ten most outstanding members of the outer disciples. They are allowed into the Basking Moon Sect and are taught the supreme Immortal arts. These are the real Basking Moon disciples, the inner sect.
"Besides these five categories, there is one more category. All of the inner sect disciples of a certain age are gathered together and selected from. The number of this category isn't fixed, nor is the time of selection, and those selected are the best of the best, one in ten thousand, the people who have the chance to become the inheriting disciples of Violet Palace True Lords or the Great Powers of the Immortal Platform. These are called True Inheritors, and they don't belong to any of the five categories.
"Forsaken students, donation students, students, outer disciples, and disciples are the five categories of students at Basking Moon Academy. When you meet someone, you can tell from what they call themselves what sort of person they are. Of course, you can't hope that forsaken students or donation students will call themselves such. Moreover, different categories will receive different treatments. Young Master, if you hope to achieve success, you can't be careless."
Wei Tianchong was left wide-eyed and slack-jawed by all that he had heard. "Why do I feel like this is even more complicated and difficult than selecting servant students?"
So you also know that being selected as a servant student is difficult? Tang Jie mentally grumbled, but he still spoke with a smile. "Naturally. Basking Moon Academy has never been a place where you can rest easy once you get in. Many people think that just getting into an academy is walking through the Immortal gate, but they are gravely mistaken. The road after that is still long."
Entering the school was only obtaining the right to enter the Immortal gate.
If a True Inheritor was the champion, disciples were the top ten and outer disciples were the top forty. Students reached the semifinals, donation students only reached the preliminaries, and school entry was just an open audition.
As for forsaken students, they had essentially broken the rules and been disqualified.
The path of Immortality was long, and the Immortal gate was difficult to open. Simply passing through the gate required going through many checkpoints and felling their guardians. How could it be so easy as just walking through?
The thought of only 10 out of 1500 becoming disciples had Wei Tianchong trembling. He shook his head. "I don't have much hope in myself. I think I should try for the level of outer disciple, but even outer disciples are restricted to one hundred. Do you think that if I got to the student level, my mom won't scold me? At least the academy will have acknowledged me as a student."
His only goal was to live up to his mother's hopes so that he wouldn't be beaten. As for the fact that his mother wouldn't even be able to beat him once he became an Immortal, he had never even thought about it.
Tang Jie smiled. "The lady's hopes for Young Master are truly only to the student level. To enter as a student and leave as a student is enough. But…"
His voice trailed off, and Wei Tianchong shivered. "'But' what?"
"But I gave my Heart Demon Aspiration to the master and lady. If Young Master does not shed mortality, Tang Jie will not shed his status as servant. If Young Master does not reach Celestial Heart, Tang Jie will not leave the clan register. A mere student is still far away from Celestial Heart!"
"What?" Wei Tianchong jumped and pointed at Tang Jie. "You… you… you… you want me to become an outer disciple?"
"While reaching the status of outer disciple increases your chance of reaching Celestial Heart by a lot, it's still not safe enough… Thus, rather than an outer disciple, I want Young Master to become a formal inner sect disciple, to be in the top ten!" Tang Jie sternly said.
Wei Tianchong's eyes rolled over, and he almost fainted.
This fellow wanted him to become one of those 1-in-150 elites? Was he joking?
Wei Tianchong was a rather proud child, but no matter how proud he was, with his four-cycle Jade Gate, he wasn't so arrogant as to believe that he could be first among one thousand. Tang Jie's words had his body shivering in fear, and he shouted, "Don't even think about it! I have no interest in being one of the top ten disciples."
"Right, right!" Shi Meng shouted. "Living up to the lady's expectations, but not up to Tang Jie's? What sort of absurd world is that? The young master is the young master, while you are the servant. What makes it so that you can demand the young master to become one of the top ten disciples?"
Tang Jie spread apart his hands. "Why so agitated? You talk as if I'm hurting the young master, but isn't this for his own good? Entering the ranks of the top ten disciples is something that countless people would be willing to crack their heads open for."
"You talk well, but you want to make the young master a disciple? Then first, let's see if you have the ability to become a disciple, yes?" Shi Meng shouted.
Wei Tianchong seemed to wake up from a dream at these words. "Right, right. Tang Jie, first worry about yourself. Once you have the ability to become a disciple, you can think about me. If you can become a True Inheritor, I can enter the inner sect!"
Tang Jie chuckled. "I don't have any confidence in becoming a True Inheritor, but for me, becoming a formal inner sect disciple isn't difficult… Getting into the Basking Moon Sect is an easy task for me."
Wei Tianchong and Shi Meng glanced at each other, and then they raised their heads and laughed so hard that they rocked back and forth.
"Keep boasting!" Wei Tianchong laughed. "If it's that easy to get into the Basking Moon Sect, then why did you come to my clan? Couldn't you have just gone over to Basking Moon Academy? Shi Meng, let's go. Don't waste any more time talking with him."
He went back to the carriage. Regardless, losing points for being late was no laughing matter, so it was best that they got on their way.
"That's right. You think that believing in yourself is enough to get in? You boast too much!" With these words, Shi Meng followed Wei Tianchong.
Looking at Little Bright Lake, Tang Jie smiled.
He softly muttered, "Why… Because I'm Tang Jie. That's why!"