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AIP - Chapter 39: Parting

Tang Jie sighed. "I've never looked down on you because of your goal."

Shi Yue said in surprise, "Are you serious?"

"Yes," Tang Jie replied. "Every person has the right to consider their own future, and I've never believed that you've done anything wrong. In my home, there's a saying that goes that a man of ability doesn't fear a woman who's materialistic, only one that's not. Women have it difficult in this world, and no matter what sort of goal you try to reach, so long as you put in the effort, you will naturally receive a reward. Thus, I have never believed that there is anything wrong with women like this, nor have I ever looked down on them."

As someone who had been brought from the modern era to this one, Tang Jie had long ago grown numb to materialistic women. In his view, materialistic women didn't exist. It was simply a difference in priorities. 

Men also craved wealth and power. What was it about women that somehow made them able to see beyond material things?

Shi Yue had her ambitions when it came to dealing with him, but he also had his own designs when it came to the Wei Estate. They were both working to their own ends, but they hadn't hurt anyone else, and they had even helped each other a lot. Thus, there was no need to criticize.

It was precisely because this was what he thought that Tang Jie spoke with confidence and energy, as if this was the principle of the world. Shi Yue was left astounded.

She finally couldn't help but ask, "Then why is it that you never paid any attention to me?"

"Because I'm not the one you want," Tang Jie answered. "Elder Sister treated me well, and I have noted all of it down. In the future, if I succeed in cultivation, I will not forget Elder Sister's kindness and will generously repay it, but that does not include myself. After all, that isn't what you sought in the first place."

For a woman to seek something in return was nothing much.

But since she wished for material wealth, then he would give her material wealth. Was there any point in adding a marriage to it?

In Tang Jie's eyes, it wasn't wrong for a woman to seek material things. What was wrong was to insist on adding the pretext of love, to use the name of a married couple to bind the man to a contract. While it seemed innocent and pure, it was just a ploy to fool the people, a show of affection. To put it in more extreme terms, it was to pay a small price for endless reward.

Tang Jie could not accept this.

Shi Yue wanted him to repay her in the future, so he would repay her in the future.

But to give his heart to her, to become a proper Spirit Master husband? Forget it.

Thus, Shi Yue's mistake was not that she wanted, but that she wanted too much.

Tang Jie did not believe in finding exactly the right person, but if a woman didn't actually love him and also did not possess some sort of talent that could allow him to ignore this problem, he could not be blamed for being picky.

Shi Yue stared in a daze at Tang Jie.

After a while, she said, "In other words, you're saying that I have ulterior motives? My attitude toward you wasn't entirely because of–"

"I know," Tang Jie interrupted. "I understand Elder Sister's kind intentions, but ask yourself honestly: if it were one day declared that I had no chance of becoming a servant student, Elder Sister, would you still treat me so well? Would you be willing to entrust the rest of your life to me?"

Affection? There naturally was some.

Alas, affection was not some absolute value that either existed or didn't. It was often mixed together with various other elements. A pure and unblemished love could perhaps only be sought in dreams.

A woman who planned to tie herself to a man, even if she didn't feel any affection for him, would probably convince herself that she did.

Tang Jie was somewhat handsome and knew how to act as a person, so it was quite easy to convince herself that she liked him. Thus, when Shi Yue said that she liked him, the affection might not have been faked, but the love probably wasn't real.

Perhaps this sort of love was only a superficial love. She could love him, but she could also love other people.

In the end, she could only deceive herself, but not others.

Tang Jie's answer left Shi Yue speechless. At this moment, she found that she really couldn't answer this question, and her mood began to fall.

Seeing her beautiful face turning gloomy, Tang Jie sighed. "My heart is on the Great Dao, so I truly have no intentions when it comes to the fourth young lady. This incident was a misunderstanding. As for you, Elder Sister Shi Yue, I can only apologize. But as I have said, if I meet with success in the future, I will not forget Elder Sister's kindness!"

Saying this, he walked away.

As she watched him walk away, Shi Yue suddenly felt regret.

Perhaps she should have boldly declared to Tang Jie, 'I can do it! No matter what the situation, I am willing to suffer with you until old age.'

But in the end, she had hesitated.

A moment of hesitation had resulted in the loss of an opportunity for an eternity.

At that moment, Shi Yue's tears fell like the rain.

Three days later, Wei Die left the Wei Estate for Heart Severing Academy in Yan Province.

Before leaving, Wei Die hugged her mother and wept, putting on a show of the child reluctant to leave. Nobody noticed a silent and nameless boy servant standing at the edge of the crowd of people sending her off.

He was looking at Wei Die, and when their eyes met, their hearts both trembled.

Steward Qin was relieved to see all this finally coming to pass, and on that night, he took Tang Jie out drinking. In his intoxication, he kept shouting, "Ru'er, Ru'er…" After sending Steward Qin home, Tang Jie returned to his room.

He felt rather sad, but he didn't know what to say. He lay on the bed and stared at the ceiling, unable to sleep.

Suddenly, he heard a rustling sound at his ear.

Looking over, he saw that Yiyi had climbed onto his bed.

The sprite walked past his ear and entered the blankets, cuddled up to Tang Jie, and fell asleep.

Seeing her peacefully sleeping, Tang Jie felt a warmth in his heart, and that inexplicable sorrow was also greatly diluted.

So that he wouldn't accidentally crush her, Tang Jie slightly turned over on his side and gave her a little kiss on the face. "Naughty thing, why are you sleeping with me rather than in your own bed?"

The sprite spoke as if she was in a dream, muttering, "This place… warm…"

Tang Jie was stunned.

Yiyi could talk!

After a rain shower at the end of autumn, the weather began to chill.

The nights began to grow longer and the sunlight was no longer as bright and cheerful.

Winter was the most boring season for a gardener. In these days when all things withered, Tang Jie came to have much more free time.

Today, Steward Qin paid a visit. The two of them drank wine by the table and casually chatted. As they drank and drank, snowflakes began to drift down.

Tang Jie opened the window, and a gust of wind sent snow inside. The snowflakes landed on Tang Jie's shoulder and hands, and began to slowly melt.

"Another year has passed," Tang Jie softly said.

An inexplicable sorrow.

"Yes, and another big snowstorm. This makes me think of that snowstorm from twenty-some years ago," Steward Qin pensively said as he looked out the window. "Without the Wu couple, I would not have lived to see this day… and neither would you."

Tang Jie chuckled.

"Right, have you been to see them recently?" Steward Qin asked.

"Mm, just yesterday. Their bodies are doing well, but they miss their son, so they aren't in a very good mental state, and nothing I say to them helps."

Steward Qin frowned at these words. "Wu Qin is a little unreasonable. He's been at the academy for so long, but he essentially only writes one letter back a year. Even the first young master is better when it comes to writing back."

"Of course. Sending letters requires money." Tang Jie smiled.

Steward Qin disliked how blunt he was, and glared at him. But Tang Jie was right, so he also began to laugh.

He downed a cup of strong wine, and his body released a warmth that dispelled the cold. Steward Qin suddenly said, "The third young master is going to open his gate soon."

"Oh?" Tang Jie asked in surprise, "When?"

"In the next two days," Steward Qin answered. "He's going to enter school at the start of summer. Now is the time to open the gate and wash his meridians. It can't be delayed any longer."

Opening the Jade Gate was a rather painful process, so the various clans did not require the students about to enter school to open their gates early, waiting until their minds were as mature as possible before starting the process. Xu Muyang had been able to open his gate so early not because of some incredible talent, but because he had been frequently beaten and had a better capacity to endure pain.

The young master would be entering school next year, so now was the ideal time to open his gate. And if the young master had to open his gate, it wouldn't be long until the servant students had to as well.

Sure enough, Steward Qin said, "That matter is going to be decided soon. In the last few days, all kinds of bad characters have been around the lady, trying to court her favor in the hopes of getting a chance."

"Oh." That was all Tang Jie said.

"You're not nervous?" Steward Qin was amazed.

"If being nervous were of any help, I would be in a complete state of panic, acting as if my eyebrows were on fire," Tang Jie said with a laugh.

"Foul brat, as flippant as ever. You're that confident you'll succeed?" Qin Yuan also laughed.

"This can't be considered self-confidence. It's just that I've fought all the fights I've needed to fight. This is no longer the time to struggle and seize, only to wait," Tang Jie answered.

For Tang Jie, the servant student selection was like a graduation exam. The proper thing to do was to establish the foundation in the school term, not to go begging for good fortune right before the examination.

And the master and lady of the Wei Estate had probably made up their minds long ago. Thus, the true outcome had been decided long before the final moment.

Steward Qin shook his head and said, "That's easy to say, but you need to have a calm and composed personality to pull it off. I didn't think that an elder like me would be less composed than you."

"That's because Uncle Qin is worried about me and isn't as heartless as me," Tang Jie said.

"You sweet-talker!" Steward Qin harrumphed. Standing up, he said, "Alright, I've given you the notice. This old man has his own business to attend to… You're not nervous, but I can't help but be worried. I still need to go and do something and ask some questions to help you out."

"Thank you, Uncle Qin." Tang Jie bowed to Steward Qin.

After sending Steward Qin out, Tang Jie glanced at the table. The little white flower in the pot immediately turned into Yiyi.

"Daddy! I want to play hide-and-seek!" Yiyi jumped onto Tang Jie's shoulder and giggled into his ear.

"How many times have I said it already? Call me 'Big Brother'!" Tang Jie turned to Yiyi's small face and added, "And also, I'm too big. I can't get into those little holes…"

Mm, why was it that these words didn't sound right?

"Use an illusion formation, an illusion formation!" the little sprite shouted, clapping her hands. She raised her hand, and an illusion formation appeared in the room.

Unlike Tang Jie, the sprite didn't need to waste time laying down a formation, but simply created one with a raise of her hand. To tell the truth, her illusion formation was no longer a formation, but a spell art.

Ever since she had learned to speak, this was the game she had most frequently played with Tang Jie.

"Next time. Your big brother will be busy for the next few days. Be a good girl and don't run around."

Little Yiyi's face instantly fell, and she shouted at Tang Jie, "I hate you!"

She turned around and transformed back into a flower in the pot, ignoring Tang Jie.

Tang Jie shook his head and sat back down at the table.

He opened a drawer and took out a letter.

There was a smile in his eyes as he looked at the graceful writing on the paper.

Examination day finally arrived.

On this day, all the servants of the Meditation Garden assembled before the lady, awaiting their judgment.

Before this, the third young master had his gate opened first.

Perhaps because he didn't want to humiliate himself, the third young master did not open his gate in front of others, instead having it done in a little room behind the hall.

Hypersheep325's Notes:

At last, the day of judgment has come! Who will end up as the servant students? 

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