AIP - Chapter 34: Plant Becomes Sprite
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The next day, Wei Die really went to the lady to ask for work.
Zheng Shufeng was rather surprised to see the fourth young lady asking for work, but she considered this a good thing and didn't refuse. She allowed the fourth young lady to choose a task she liked, so Wei Die asked to be in charge of all the landscaping for the estate.
Wei Die then very awkwardly told Tang Jie that she had asked for this job because she wanted Tang Jie to help her. After all, Tang Jie worked as the gardener at the Meditation Garden. She was essentially resorting to trickery.
To her surprise, Tang Jie burst out in laughter. He considered it more like skillful management than trickery. If you can't do it yourself, just choose someone who can do the job well to help you. This was also a skill, and from this, he could tell that the fourth young lady was rather smart.
Wei Die was rather embarrassed by his praise, but she was inwardly rather pleased with herself. Thus, she made Tang Jie her assistant, and the two of them worked together to plan out the landscaping design for the entire estate. In a flash, Tang Jie had been promoted from gardener of the Meditation Garden to chief gardener of the entire estate—a rather unexpected harvest.
As many guests would be coming to the venerable lady's birthday, neither of them dared to be careless. Every day, they would get together to decide how to arrange the various gardens.
Tang Jie had been a gardener for a bit more than a year, and his experiences from his past life made him particularly unconventional. Thus, whether it was in design or execution, he was always able to suggest new and refreshing ideas.
Wei Die didn't understand landscaping that much, but as the fourth young lady, she understood how to appreciate it, and she also knew the likes of the people in the estate as well as the customs and taboos of the clan. She understood what should be done and what might end up making a mess.
One was outward-facing while the other was inward-facing, and they made for a perfect match.
Through their efforts, the gardens of the Wei Estate began to transform. Blooming flowers took the form of various vivid and interesting well-wishing birthday designs. Whether it was in the form of words, birds, fish, or insects, they were all there, and though there were many different kinds of scenes, they all joined together into a common theme. It was an endlessly interesting and beautiful landscape.
Gardening was different from other fields and was very difficult to keep secret. Thus, before the pair had finished, the people of the Wei Estate had already begun to notice and issue their praise, saying that this might be the most beautiful birthday party in the history of the Wei Clan.
Zheng Shufeng had not initially believed that the fourth young lady would be very capable, but after seeing her do such a good job, she couldn't help but give praise. Even Wei Qingsong developed a higher opinion of his daughter. This overjoyed Wei Die, and she knew that she was getting closer and closer to her dream. At this time, she finally understood the true meaning behind Tang Jie's words.
It turned out that having her parents trust her wasn't hard at all. She just needed to do a good job with her duties.
Of course, all of her efforts could only truly pass the test when the guests arrived.
On this day, it was finally the venerable lady's birthday.
The Wei Estate welcomed innumerable guests. Almost every person of some name in Canglong Prefecture was present. Even the prefect of Canglong Prefecture and the members of the other four great clans came to offer their congratulations, bringing with them generous gifts. The servants were so busy that they hardly had a moment to breathe. Even the boy servants of the Meditation Garden, Shi Mo and crew, had been transferred away to attend to the guests.
The clanging of drums and chimes was the theater troupe who had been invited to put on a show for the venerable lady's birthday, and the numerous footsteps were the guests admiring the scenery of the Wei Estate. Flames exploded in the sky while bright lanterns festooned the earth. It was a grandiose and bustling scene, but it would forever belong to someone else.
At this time, Tang Jie wasn't actually busy. The nature of his work forbade him from still being busy at this time.
And unlike the fourth young lady, he had no need to receive the guests. Thus, Tang Jie was one of the few idlers in the estate today. While everyone else was in the main hall with the guests, Tang Jie was walking alone through the Meditation Garden, admiring his own work while thinking about modifications to his formations.
In this time, he had once more advanced in the Dao of Formations. He had a basic grasp on all those small formations. All he lacked was spiritual energy to support them.
As he was thinking, he inadvertently raised his head and saw that there was something wrong with one of the garden sculptures.
That garden sculpture was a seven-colored deer made from red duck plum blossoms, green roses, white sunset, orchids, and other flowers. The seven-colored deer was an auspicious beast in the Rosecloud Domain, and it was said that encountering it would mean great fortune. Wei Tianchong was going to enter school soon, so with the help of the fourth young lady, Tang Jie had made this seven-colored deer.
But now that he was looking at it again, he felt like it was missing something. As he walked up and took a closer look, he discovered that one of the eyes of the seven-colored deer, made from a green rose, had gone missing, leaving an empty socket.
"Which little rascal would be so foolish?" Tang Jie was rather angry.
At this moment, a dark silhouette flashed past him. Tang Jie turned around but saw nothing. But when he turned back to look at the deer, he saw that the eye had returned, the green petals swaying in the wind, infused with some indescribable oddness.
Tang Jie felt a chill in his heart.
He quietly took a few steps back and then loudly said, "What illustrious figure has come to play a trick on this lowly one? If I have offended you in any way, please forgive me."
"Heheh…" A giggle could be heard in the air, coming from all directions and sounding like the laugh of a child.
It was a crisp and pleasant voice, but one that he was a stranger to.
What Tang Jie feared the most was that someone in the estate would doubt his status, and his second-greatest fear was that Godhead Palace would find him.
This clearly wasn't someone of the estate, and Godhead Palace wouldn't be so polite. Thus, when he heard this voice, Tang Jie calmed down.
He did not want to get entangled with this person too much, so he turned to leave. But as he took a step forward, his surroundings suddenly darkened. The clamor and the flames in the sky all disappeared, and the Meditation Garden became eerily quiet, like a tomb.
"An illusion formation?" Tang Jie cried out in alarm. Without the slightest hesitation, he dropped his body and charged forward.
But after a few steps, the scene in front of him changed. He had somehow changed directions, and the garden that was behind him was now in front of him.
"Reversing heaven and earth?" Tang Jie gasped. He immediately took a step to the side, and his surroundings changed once more. The garden had seemingly come alive, constantly moving around Tang Jie, all of the flowers flying up and filling the air with petals.
"So it was a minor befuddling formation," Tang Jie laughed.
He was far too familiar with this kind of formation. Xu Muyang had used this same formation to imprison him once.
Illusion formations usually came in two types. The first would create a true illusion dimension, another world right in front of your face. The other created misperceptions by confusing the five senses.
The minor befuddling formation belonged to the latter category. Its most noteworthy property was to confuse even a person's movements.
Attempting to go in one direction to get out, you were actually off-track from the start and just walking in circles.
There were many ways to break this formation, and Tang Jie knew of at least two he could use. The first was to use spiritual energy to control his body, using energy in place of his feet to carry him forward. In this way, he could travel in an actual straight line, and it would only take a few steps to get out. The other method was to break the formation itself.
Tang Jie was extremely familiar with the workings of this formation, so he disdained to walk out. He thrust out a finger, from which spiritual energy burst forth.
He had yet to learn any secret arts or Immortal spells. All he was unleashing was spiritual energy he had absorbed, and it had no more power than blowing hard from his mouth. But this point of energy was released exactly where a formation line had been concealed. With this single poke, the spiritual energy link was severed, and the entire formation fell apart.
"Eyah…" There was a light gasp. This time, Tang Jie could tell where it was coming from, and he turned around and grabbed at it, but he ended up grabbing nothing. In the midst of his surprise, he saw a flash of light flying into the garden.
Though it was a brief glance, Tang Jie had seen what it was.
It was clearly a little person about the size of his palm, covered in green leaves. From the face, it appeared to be a girl.
"A grass sprite?" Tang Jie gasped in surprise.
The world was suffused with spiritual energy that nurtured all things and fostered spirituality.
When plants gained spirituality, they became sprites. When birds and beasts gained spirituality, they became fiends. When the souls of the dead gained spirituality, they became ghosts. When stones and metals gained spirituality, they became monsters.
The one who had made the illusion formation to mess around with him was clearly a grass sprite.
But plants usually became sprites out in the wilderness where spiritual energy was abundant. How could one have appeared in the Wei Estate?
Tang Jie was deeply confused.
At the moment he caught the glimpse of that grass sprite, the sprite had already vanished into the garden and become impossible to find.
Tang Jie was confused and continued to ponder. At this moment, he saw that the eye socket of the seven-colored deer was empty once more.
Tang Jie understood and softly chuckled. "So it was a sprite born from that green rose, no wonder… I get it now."
Although Canglong Prefecture lacked in spiritual energy, spiritual energy still existed. It was just relatively sparse. And Tang Jie had spent his days using the Meditation Garden's flowerbeds as a place to practice his formations, so he had naturally gathered the surrounding spiritual energy.
Thus, the Meditation Garden had actually become a gathering point for spiritual energy long ago. It was just that Tang Jie had concealed this with his formations so that no one noticed.
This green rose was a rather rare flower. The Wei Estate had bought a total of two of them several years ago, and as they were difficult to care for, they currently only had twenty. Thus, even Tang Jie made sure to take good care of them. But unexpectedly, after more than a year of nurturing in the formations, one of the green roses had gained spirituality and become a sprite. This was a rare occurrence. After all, not every plant in an area abundant with spiritual energy could gain spirituality.
As the formations in the flowerbed had always been illusion formations, the green rose sprite was born with a grasp of illusion formations. But it had clearly used it on the wrong person, trying to target Tang Jie. It was no wonder it had been broken.
"Quite a little rascal we have here." Tang Jie smiled. He knew that this sprite had just been born and still understood little, like a small child. The illusion formation just now hadn't been intended to harm. It had instinctively used the formation, using the things that it knew to play a trick. Thus, Tang Jie wasn't angry.
But if this little one continued to mess around in this place, it would cause a scene in the Wei Estate. If a Spirit Master were called out, the sprite had a high chance of being made into medicine. Sprites were excellent material for spiritual medicines. This little thing couldn't even beat Tang Jie, so it was dead for sure against a real Spirit Master.
"Green rose sprite, come out at once!" Tang Jie sternly said. "Do I really need to go out and catch you?"
There was no response.
Tang Jie grunted. "Stop hiding! You grew up here and just gained spirituality, so you're still weak and the area you can move your body is limited. Green roses have a unique aroma that I can use to track you down. If you don't come out now, I might pull you out and burn you up!"
This threat carried weight. A little head adorned with a flower crown peeked out from behind the seven-colored deer, a pair of large eyes flashing on that tender little face, its little lips cutely pursed.
Her flashing eyes were looking at Tang Jie, and she said nothing. Tang Jie ordered, "Return to your place and don't recklessly show yourself again. This Canglong Prefecture is a place of crouching tigers and hidden dragons. If one of them discovers you, there's no hope of escape! The heavens granted you the gift of spirituality, so do not betray their hopes."
The green rose sprite trembled, and then she climbed up to the seven-colored deer's eye socket. In a flash of light, she became a green rose, but its leaves swayed despite the lack of wind, as if it was shivering.
Tang Jie was in no rush to make contact with it, saying, "Very good. Just like that. Just remember to not show yourself."
Saying this, he turned and left.
He didn't try to catch this green rose sprite. This was both because he was worried that the attempt might end up destroying the garden and because the seven-colored deer without an eye was too ugly. There were only twenty green roses, so he wouldn't even be able to find a replacement. Besides that, he was the reason for the green rose sprite's birth, so she was familiar with him. If it were anyone else, the green rose sprite probably wouldn't have played this trick.
In other words, he just needed to slowly nurture the sprite's affection. He still had a very high chance of taming this sprite.
Though this little sprite didn't have much ability, who knew how she would turn out in the future? At least for the moment, she had decent talents when it came to illusion formations.
Even if she really didn't have any future prospects, she was perfectly fine as a pet.
At this moment, another person suddenly came over. It was none other than the fourth young lady, Wei Die.
Tang Jie was just about to call out to her when he suddenly saw that her face was covered in tears. She was crying!