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AIP - Chapter 38: Farewell

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

Ever since the young master learned root carving from Tang Jie, he became obsessed with it.

Compared to Tang Jie, Wei Tianchong didn't like human forms much. He preferred carving flowers, birds, fish, and insects, and he produced all kinds of wondrous creations.

As the days went by, the flowerbed was slowly filled with his carvings. Every time a guest came and learned of the young master's works, they would sigh in wonder at his talent.

And whenever this happened, Tang Jie felt the sorrow of imminent unemployment.

His 'incompetence' in the arts had caused Tang Jie to give up on carving. If not for the little sprite, he would have stopped carving entirely.

At present, the greatest achievement Tang Jie had made in root carving was building a maze. This was a rather simple task: find a few blocks of wood, dig out seven or eight holes in them, and then pile them up in his room in a small mountain so that the little sprite could play around in them.

Tang Jie's root carving plan had utterly failed, but there was a benefit to it: Wei Tianchong's relationship with Tang Jie began to improve.

Ever since the horse-stabbing incident, Wei Tianchong's attitude toward Tang Jie had been lukewarm, and it wasn't because he was holding a grudge against Tang Jie. After falling from the borrowed horse in the day that one time, he no longer resented Tang Jie.

He just couldn't forget Tang Jie's cold gaze when killing the horse. Whenever he recalled that gaze, he couldn't help but shiver, and so he became subconsciously reluctant to get too close to Tang Jie.

And Tang Jie was going through the lady for the student spot, so he wasn't too interested in getting in Wei Tianchong's good graces. Thus, the two of them had maintained the ordinary relationship of a servant and his superior.

But after root carving, Wei Tianchong and Tang Jie began to grow closer.

Whenever Wei Tianchong received a gift, he would think about sharing some of it with Tang Jie.

This made the eyes of all the other servants of the estate turn red. Tang Jie was already liked by the lady, and now he was improving his relationship with the young master. It seemed like his hopes of becoming a servant student had increased again.

Even though they were envious and resentful, Shi Mo and Shi Meng could do nothing. When a person was just coming up, they could still be beaten down. But once he was already up and out, beating him down became a difficult task.

Moreover, Tang Jie, just like Shi Mo, now had his own network, and he was no longer so easily dealt with.

After another month, Tang Jie finished with his maze in his little house, after which he completely gave up on root carving.

But he didn't just sit around. He suddenly changed interests and started to make flower pots.

His flower pots were even worse than his root carvings, but Tang Jie was very interested in them. Alas, the young master didn't share the same interest.

He didn't spend too long on the pots. One day, after completing a large flower pot, he placed a particularly straight root carving into it. After staring at the pot for a long while, he finally nodded in satisfaction.

Once he placed the root carving together with little Yiyi's pot, he did not make a single pot more.

Of course, he still worked on root carving, but he had already turned his focus from the carving to refining formations. Ignorant bystanders thought that he was still trying to chase after the young master, and they secretly sniggered that he was an example of “rotten wood that couldn't be carved”.

Thus, after “Three-Strings-a-Month Tang Jie” and “Horse-Stabbing Tang Jie”, Tang Jie got another nickname: “Rotten Wood Tang Jie”.

Time went by quickly, several months going by in the blink of an eye. During the day, Tang Jie worked and studied formations, and at night, he practiced calligraphy and cultivated the Visceral Manifestation Classic, guiding energy into his body. In his free time, he played with the little sprite, occasionally teaching her a few words. The days went by calmly and comfortably.

Alas, Yiyi still wasn't able to talk. Every day, she would just “yiyiyaya”. If she wanted anything, she would just point, and Tang Jie would attend upon her like a servant. It was a good thing that she was cute, and Tang Jie was happy to serve, treating her as a pet.

Half a year went by. On this day, Tang Jie was holding a block of wood while strenuously shouting.

Placing a refining formation on a puppet was actually very difficult.

Xu Muyang had been skilled in natural formations, using the entire world as his canvas for his formations. All he needed to do was apply his dyes to the world and ultimately give it form.

In this aspect, natural formations were actually the easiest to lay down, but they had rather high requirements and many limits. For example, they couldn't be moved around.

The refining formation on a puppet was different. The puppet was the canvas for the formation and would be affected in the process. The available space for the formation was greatly reduced.

Though Xu Muyang had worked in this field a little, he had been no expert and was not proficient in refining formations used with puppets. Tang Jie could only do his own research.

Today, he was working on synchronizing the lines of the formation with the grooves of the wood carving, but at this time, he saw Wei Die walking over to him.

Tang Jie put down the wood carving and went up to welcome her. "Fourth Young Lady, the young master is in class…"

"I came to find you," Wei Die said.

"Find me?" Tang Jie said in surprise.

Ever since they had worked together for the venerable lady's birthday, stirring up many kinds of rumors, Wei Die had never come specifically to find Tang Jie again. Even when she paid an occasional visit, she would never come alone, and she would say nothing when she saw Tang Jie. Tang Jie knew that she was intentionally trying to avoid arousing any suspicion, so he hadn't expected her to come alone to find him today.

"Yes. Come with me." As Wei Die spoke, she was already turning to walk out of the Meditation Garden.

Tang Jie scratched his head and followed.

Wei Die led him straight to a small bamboo grave in the estate. This area was secluded and was rarely visited. Tang Jie wondered what Wei Die had brought him here for.

Wei Die led him all the way into the depths of the bamboo grove, after which she turned around and said, "The matter with Heart Severing Pavilion is settled. In another few days, I will be heading off to Yan Province."

"Is that so? Then I must congratulate Fourth Young Lady." Tang Jie was happy for Wei Die. "Fourth Young Lady's wish has been fulfilled. Congratulations."

"Yes, I finally succeeded, but for some reason, I don't feel happy in the slightest," Wei Die pensively said. "It might be as long as seven years until I return to Ling Province. When I was at home, I always wanted to leave, but now that I'm about to leave, I find myself reluctant."

Tang Jie smiled. "It's very normal to feel timid about leaving home."

"Timid about leaving home?" Wei Die thought it over and lightly shook her head. "What I'm reluctant to leave isn't my home, but a person."

"If you miss your parents, you can come back and visit."

"And what if I miss you?"

This was like a bolt of lightning, leaving Tang Jie utterly dumbfounded.

He looked in a daze at Wei Die, and only after a while did he finally come back to his senses. "Fourth Young Lady… this joke isn't funny at all."

Wei Die smiled, her smiling face like a beautiful flower blooming in the sun. She muttered, "Yes, just a joke. I came to find you so that I could thank you for your help, but I ended up scaring you. It was my mistake."

Her tone was indifferent, but there was a tinge of sadness on her brow, as if she was aggrieved over something. Tang Jie's heart couldn't help but waver.

The two of them fell silent.

Silently, they stood across from each other.

They looked at each other.

They said nothing.

After a while.

Wei Die finally said, "Then… when I'm gone, will you miss me?"

Tang Jie opened his mouth, not knowing what to say. After a while, he finally managed to say, "Naturally."

Wei Die saw that he was not being sincere and said, "In the end, I'm not in your heart."

"How could I dare? With the Great Dao before me, I do not dare to have a partner in my heart." He did not speak of the difference between master and servant. He was just worried about setting in stone a future with Wei Die.

"You just haven't met your fated person yet, but I wonder what sort of woman would match you…" Wei Die said in a disappointed tone. At this point, she didn't seem to be joking at all. 

Once, those rumors had given her a big blow, but in her current mood, she wanted nothing more than for the rumors to be true.

But in the end, rumors were rumors. While the falling blossoms had a desire, the flowing waters were merciless.

Tears began to well up in Wei Die's eyes as she looked at Tang Jie.

She suddenly clenched her teeth and pouted. "Since I pulled you to this deserted place, I at least have to do something a little shameful to be satisfied."

What?

Tang Jie was startled as Wei Die walked up, embraced him by the neck, and kissed him on the lips.

This kiss lightly touched Tang Jie's lips, but it also seemed to imprint itself on the bottom of his heart, leaving him at a loss for what to do.

After this light kiss, Wei Die let go, her small face instantly blushing. Her head lowered, she began to walk out of the grove. After walking a few steps, she seemed to think of something and turned her head around. "I forgot to tell you that I opened my Jade Gate a few days ago. It's also five cycles. Let me tell you this. You had best get into Basking Moon Academy so that we can see which of us goes further on the path of Immortality!"

With five cycles of the Jade Gate, she was the Wei Clan's second genius after Wei Qing'er, but they were both girls. For the Wei Clan, which always prioritized men over women, this could be considered an enormous joke.

Wei Die turned back around and left.

Tang Jie wanted to call out to her, but after hesitating for a while, he ultimately remained silent, only watched as she slowly walked out of the forest… As he left the bamboo forest, Tang Jie still felt rather muddleheaded.

Wei Die's kiss was the first kiss he had received from a girl in this world, and it was also actually his first kiss.

Though it had been a soft kiss, it felt like it had chiseled itself into Tang Jie's heart. Tang Jie knew that he would never be able to forget this kiss.

His heart was still unsettled when he saw another girl standing nearby.

"Shi Yue?" Tang Jie was dazed.

Standing in front of the bamboo grove, Shi Yue looked at Tang Jie, her face ghastly pale.

She gave him a profound glance and then walked away.

"Shi Yue!" Tang Jie chased after her and grabbed her. "You saw it all?"

Shi Yue threw off his arm. "I wish I hadn't seen anything. Really, I didn't think… Tang Jie, you're good! You've even hooked the fourth young lady!"

Tang Jie bitterly smiled. "It's not what you think. There's nothing between us."

"Nothing? I saw her walk out of the bamboo grove with my own eyes, her face blushing, and you say that you didn't do anything?" Shi Yue seemed on the verge of tears. "In the end, I was too naive. I thought that you were someone reliable… It's no wonder you never showed me any respect. It's because you had someone even better in your heart!"

Tang Jie helplessly said, "There's no need for that. In truth, Elder Sister, I'm not the one you actually like, right?"

Shi Yue was taken aback. "What do you mean by that?"

"There are some things that I don't want to say too explicitly, but both you and I know what's going on."

Shi Yue felt like she was being unjustly accused. "You think that because I thought that you could become a servant student, I intentionally tried to get close to you? So you looked down on me?"

Tang Jie didn't answer.

So long as they both understood, there was no need to say things so clearly.

Alas, if he did not say it outright, Shi Yue would not let go.

She looked at Tang Jie and said, "Yes, I admit that I treated you well because the lady had a good opinion of you, and I don't deny that I had selfish motives. But as maids, are we in the wrong for thinking for ourselves? Although I thought that you had future prospects, I also thought that you were a pretty good person, a reliable person, so I devoted myself to you, but then you…"

As she spoke, she started to sob.

Hypersheep325's Notes:

Tang Jie clearing up all his relationships before he goes off to school!

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