AIP - Chapter 35: Gossip and Slander
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
"What happened?" Seeing Wei Die crying, Tang Jie hurriedly went up to her.
But he had only walked a few steps when Wei Die backed away and shouted, "Don't come over!"
"What's wrong? Fourth Young Lady, it's me! Tang Jie!"
"I know… Don't come over, or else I'll have to explain myself all over again," Wei Die said as she sobbed.
Tang Jie didn't understand, so he could only stand where he was and talk. "What in the world happened? Was the landscaping not done well and criticized by the venerable lady?"
Wei Die shook her head. "No, it was done very well, but…"
She blushed as she explained what had happened.
The gardens arranged by Wei Die were more than satisfactory, drawing amazement and many excellent comments from the guests. Wei Die had made a solid display of her ability, and even her father, Wei Qingsong, had felt that she had done a good job and had truly grown up.
But a tree that stood out would sway in the wind. By showing her ability, Wei Die earned the displeasure of others, so someone began to spread rumors behind her back that the fourth young lady was having a secret affair with a boy servant.
As Tang Jie had assisted her in selecting a sect, Wei Die had an extremely high opinion of Tang Jie and did not treat him like a servant. They decided many things through joint discussion and were very close, and everyone else in the estate had been able to see this.
But this really wasn't anything. After all, they had to work together to make the venerable lady's birthday a success.
But when these rumors began to spread, a very ordinary collaboration began to appear fishy, became evidence, and the rumors spread even more wildly.
The rumors had started even before the birthday party. It was just that no one was foolish enough to talk about them in front of Wei Die, so Wei Die and Tang Jie had not known about them.
But many guests had come this time, and the guests did not have as many apprehensions as the servants. Someone loudly brought the matter up, and Wei Die immediately heard it.
She wasn't the only one. Her father heard as well, and immediately scolded Wei Die.
Wei Die felt like she was being unjustly accused, but as she had no one to complain to, she just blindly walked around, thus unwittingly ending up in the Meditation Garden.
Tang Jie frowned. "Who would be so bold as to fabricate rumors about the fourth young lady?"
"How could I know?" Wei Die said in frustration. "These rumors get worse the more they're spread. Finding the source is very unlikely."
"True. The first rumor was probably just a few casual comments. The speaker might not have meant anything, but the listener had an idea. Love affairs are always matters of great interest to people, and it involves the fourth young lady. Though this is a taboo, it only makes the rumor more stimulating, so it's only natural that more details were added to spice up the story," Tang Jie said with a smile.
"You're smiling? I'm about to be worried to death!" Wei Die said, hopping about in panic.
"What can I do except smile? Should I cry like the fourth young lady?" Tang Jie coolly said. "In truth, this isn't that big of an incident. Fourth Young Lady, when you enter the Immortal gate, you will undoubtedly experience all kinds of dangers and perils. Verbal attacks like this are actually the least dangerous. By experiencing some of it now, when you're alone in the future, you will be more capable of withstanding the various trials and tribulations. To start with taking non-lethal attacks is always better than immediately being forced to take lethal attacks. At that time, you would be more willing to bleed than to cry… Remember: never, ever allow others to think that you are weak. The weak can be sympathized with, but they will never be invested in."
Wei Die did not not entirely understand Tang Jie's words, but she got the general meaning. Her face reddened as she said, "Yes, I understand. Why does it sound like you think that this is actually a good thing for me?"
"From a long-term perspective, this truly is a good thing," Tang Jie answered.
Seeing how composed Tang Jie was, Wei Die began to gradually calm down.
She wiped away her tears and firmly nodded. "I understand. Then what about you? Aren't you worried that the lady will fire you?"
She had calmed down a lot and begun to think more comprehensively about the situation, so she immediately started to worry about Tang Jie.
Now that she thought about it, these rumors were also bad for Tang Jie.
"I'm not worried about that. After all, firing me would essentially be proving the rumor true, and the lady wouldn't do something that stupid. Besides that, rumors are still rumors, things without any sort of basis and that easily fall apart. Fourth Young Lady, relax. The sky won't fall."
She bit her lip. "That's easy to say, but what am I supposed to do, exactly?"
"Since the rumor is out there, you have to clean it up. The simplest method would be to immediately find an excuse, perhaps saying that I didn't do my job well, and then have me tied up and beaten, and all the rumors will naturally disappear," Tang Jie casually said, as if the one to be beaten was someone else. In truth, he wanted a chance to once more experience the effects of whipping. After all, he really couldn't find any opportunity to fight in a place like this.
Wei Die was delighted at first, but then she shook her head. "No, no, that would be hurting you. Do you have any other ideas?"
"It's fine, Fourth Young Lady," Tang Jie sincerely said. "What is the harm in Tang Jie sacrificing a little for the fourth young lady's reputation? Just hit me!"
"No, you helped me. I can't return my benefactor's kindness with evil!"
"It's really fine. I'll endure the beating!"
"It's fine, I'm willing! Just hit me!"
"No is no!" The girl covered her ears and stomped her feet.
No matter what Tang Jie said, she refused to agree.
Tang Jie felt that this was a great pity. Sometimes, it was problematic for a woman to have too good of a heart.
Since the beating wasn't happening, Tang Jie could only say, "If you insist, we can only use another way. Perhaps we can turn your misfortune into a blessing."
"What's the method?"
"Directly bring up Heart Severing Pavilion!" Tang Jie replied. "Originally, you would have had to show your abilities a few more times to earn the second master's trust so that he could send you to Heart Severing Pavilion, but now that this rumor has appeared, it serves as the best way to split the two of us up. Besides that, the master of Heart Severing Pavilion is known for her hatred of men. If you choose that place, you can express your true feelings, and the second master will probably accept so that he can clear up the rumors."
Wei Die's eyes immediately brightened as she clapped her hands. "A wonderful plan! Tang Jie, you're always the one with the ideas."
Tang Jie had resolved these troublesome love affair rumors with just a few words, even turning this incident into a chance to get Wei Die into Heart Severing Pavilion earlier. More and more, Wei Die was looking at Tang Jie in a different light.
If a man could make a woman feel safe, fear nothing when standing at his side, then he had essentially already captured half of that girl's heart.
Originally, she had been focused on cultivation, so she felt only gratitude to Tang Jie. But because of those rumors, she inexplicably felt something else when she looked at Tang Jie.
Initially, she had wanted nothing more than to tell the entire world that she had no relationship with Tang Jie, but now, she inexplicably felt reluctant.
She didn't know why she was so reluctant. Am I really starting to like Tang Jie?
This thought sent her into a panic, and she immediately rejected the idea as improper. He's just a servant! How could we be together? But there was another voice in her head. A servant is still a person. If he enters the academy and becomes a Spirit Master, you'll naturally be a match for each other. And then the first voice asked, Wouldn't that confirm the rumors? The other voice answered, Let them be confirmed. What are you afraid of? …In the end, she was still a young girl who didn't understand her emotions very well. Her mind was an utter mess, and she immediately grew bashful and lowered her head, not daring to say another word.
Tang Jie didn't know that her mind was such a mess, only saying, "But this method is a little ambiguous. A smart person will understand, but an idiot will find it hard. Considering that people who like to make up rumors are often wrong in the head, I would still advise you to beat me a little. Using both methods will produce an even better result."
He still hadn't given up on the idea of being beaten.
In the end, Wei Die decided to not tie up Tang Jie and beat him, instead going to find her father.
When Wei Qingsong heard that his daughter wanted to go to Heart Severing Academy, he hesitated for a while before realizing that this was a solution to his problems while also satisfying his daughter's desire to cultivate, so he agreed. But this matter wasn't something that could be done in a day or two, and the details would still need a few days to work. Even so, Wei Die felt endlessly grateful to Tang Jie.
Tang Jie didn't care much. He was more focused on that green rose sprite in the garden.
Today, Tang Jie got up early in the morning and arrived at the garden with cabbage leaves, carrots, and other kinds of food. After placing them in the garden, he silently backed away to watch.
Using food as bait had always been a way of getting on someone's good side. Hazelnuts for squirrels, bananas for monkeys, lollipops for little girls… Tang Jie didn't know what the green rose sprite liked, so he had brought a little of everything to test the waters.
It wasn't long before a little head peeked out from a bush in the back of the garden. It looked over at the food, seemingly very curious, but after a few looks, it stopped paying the food any attention. On the contrary, it kept looking at Tang Jie.
Tang Jie was very disappointed. It was clear that she didn't like this food, so he returned to his room to find something else. But despite several trips, he found nothing that she liked.
Tang Jie was left in a sullen mood.
Though he could seize the green rose sprite by force, this would probably cause him to be rejected. A newborn sprite was an extremely simple lifeform. If you treated it well, it would treat you well. If you used force on it from the beginning, it would only leave it with psychological trauma. Thus, Tang Jie would not resort to force unless it was absolutely necessary.
But what did this little one like?
Tang Jie really couldn't think of anything, so he said, "Hey, what do you like to eat? Tell me and I'll get it for you."
The little thing blinked at Tang Jie, and then she climbed onto a nearby flower and licked the dew off the top of it.
"So you like flower dew." Tang Jie smiled, but then after some thought, his face turned sour. "That's a problem. You can gather dew yourself, and it's not like I can gather it faster than you can. Is there anything else that you like?"
The little one said nothing. She sat on the flower petal, lightly swaying her body as she looked at Tang Jie.
"Fine. If you won't say anything, I'll guess. Mm, you're a flower sprite, so it's not strange that you like things with a lot of water. Maybe I should work off the fact that you're a plant. What do plants like besides water?" Tang Jie stroked his chin and muttered. His eyes suddenly flashed. "Right, fertilizer. But fertilizer… fertilizer is excrement. Could you like excrement?"
The little one was at first stunned, and then she furiously placed her hands on her hips and angrily glared at Tang Jie.
But Tang Jie didn't notice, continuing to conjecture, "Right, now that I think about it, a flower is a plant's reproductive organ, so dew is really just a plant's secretion… But wouldn't that make you the… toilet?" Tang Jie suddenly blurted out.
Pa! A blade of grass struck Tang Jie in the face. The little one bared her teeth at Tang Jie and then jumped into a bush, vanishing from sight.
Looking at that bush, Tang Jie muttered, "Fine, I guessed wrong. It seems like you don't like those things."
This first attempt to get close was a failure!