AIP - Chapter 23: Stabbing a Horse
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The young lady had even less of a chance than a servant. It was hard to blame her for being indignant.
But Tang Jie felt that this was fine for her. Having been in the Wei Estate for some time now, Tang Jie had begun to understand what was going on within its walls.
Though the Wei Estate seemed very grand and imposing, all sorts of dirty things were going on in the shadows. If the fourth young lady did not wish to lie in these muddy waters, it was best if she kept her distance.
Perhaps Venerable Master Wei thought the same?
Suddenly, Tang Jie muttered in shock, "Grand on the outside, dirty in the shadows…"
He recalled Wei Die's words, 'There are so many intersecting paths inside, I'm already dizzy from looking at it from the outside…'
Damn it; why didn't I think about this before? I'm really an idiot! Tang Jie slapped his head and silently cursed himself.
He suddenly realized that he had no need to merge together a natural maze and a formation.
Mixing a natural maze with a formation was like trying to mix a Chinese ink wash painting with an oil painting. No matter how hard one tried, the result would always be a hodge-podge.
But what if he flipped things around and laid down a formation inside the maze?
Since they couldn't be merged, he would just put them together.
The outside would be the natural maze, while the inside would be the maze formation. The outside was used to fool outsiders, to obscure the actual formation. The two would coexist in an innately flawless combination. What need was there to merge them together?
This was like hiding an oil painting in some part of a large ink wash painting. If one didn't pay attention, it would be difficult to see it. And if the ink wash painting used thick and heavy strokes, the oil painting would be even more concealed.
Concealment was the key, not actually merging them together.
At times, rather than considering whether something was complicated enough, one had to consider whether it was simple enough!
Tang Jie was enlightened, and he mentally cursed at himself for all the wasted time. He modified the garden again, this time not seeking fusion, instead using the natural maze to conceal the formation within.
This formation wasn't large, and affected only a limited area. Without using a spirit-detecting art to observe the area, even a Spirit Master might not notice the formation.
Two days later, Tang Jie finished his work and brought the young master over to take a look.
Wei Tianchong walked the maze until he got dizzy, but he still wasn't able to get out. He found it very interesting and called it 'fun' again and again. It seemed like he had never noticed the formation inside.
This was Tang Jie's first time using a formation to imprison someone, so he was privately delighted. He felt that the Dao of Formations was truly rather interesting, and even began to like it a little.
He could help but think about Xu Muyang's words, and sulked. Did I really like the Dao of Formations and just didn't know it this whole time?
In the following days, Tang Jie constantly adjusted the formation, producing all kinds of mazes that left Wei Tianchong endlessly amused.
Of course, to satisfy the young master's mood, Tang Jie would occasionally secretly let him out of the maze. Wei Tianchong had no idea that Tang Jie was throwing the game, believing that he was awesome and excitedly shouting in glee. He had no idea that his mood was entirely under Tang Jie's control. He would be happy whenever Tang Jie wanted him to be happy and dejected whenever Tang Jie wanted him to be dejected.
When another person's mood was under the control of another, it often meant that this person was essentially being controlled. The young master began to like Tang Jie more and more, growing closer and closer to him, and this made Tang Jie seem more and more unpleasant in the eyes of Shi Mo and Shi Meng. The hostility that had vanished some time ago gradually began to return.
Today, Wei Tianchong was bored, and he suddenly had the idea of going to Welcoming Dragon Mountain to enjoy some barbecue.
Tang Jie had taught him the term 'barbecue'. Sometimes, when Wei Tianchong and Tang Jie talked, Tang Jie would tell him stories and amusing anecdotes.
Tang Jie had once told him about how the youth of the modern era often went out to go barbecuing.
At the start, Wei Tianchong had expressed little interest in going out into the wilderness with a stove to roast meat skewers, but for some reason, he now wanted to try.
He decided to bring Tang Jie with him.
Welcoming Dragon Mountain was a famous mountain in Canglong Prefecture. It appeared to extend into the distance and was so high that it pierced the heavens. The legends said that a true dragon had descended on the summit of this mountain, so it was called 'Welcoming Dragon Mountain'.
It was here that Canglong Prefecture (Azure Dragon Prefecture) got its name.
Welcoming Dragon Mountain had steep sides, and the mountain paths were difficult to traverse. The boys from the Wei Clan didn't head to the summit, instead stopping at a small lake in the foothills. They set up the barbecuing rack by the lake and began to roast meat.
This was Wei Tianchong's first time roasting meat for himself, and though he didn't find anything special about it at first, as he watched the meat turning on the rack, oil dripping down from it and fragrance filling his nose, he started to get hungry and began to barbecue the meat himself. He ended up having fun, finding the process to be rather amusing.
The boys drank and ate to their hearts' content by the lake, but Tang Jie was forced to stand on the side and attend them.
Fortunately, they had chosen a good location. The serene lake, the boundless mountain, the little pavilion by an ancient road—this was truly an excellent scenic spot. To sit by a stone next to the lake and take in the scene was also a kind of happiness. Alas, only Tang Jie, who had lived the life of a man in a big modern city, could understand the beauty of nature. Wei Tianchong and his fellow boys felt nothing.
They had not come here to appreciate the scenery. In truth, they had come here to secretly have some alcohol. For this, Wei Tianchong had stolen a jar of good wine from the kitchen.
Lady Wei was a strict disciplinarian, and children were not permitted to drink alcohol until they came of age.
Wei Tianchong had no interest in drinking wine, but he was a child. He had to try anything at least once.
He took a drink and felt the wine burn in his throat. He didn't find it tasty at all, but when he saw all the other boys looking at him, he felt too embarrassed to say that he couldn't drink. Thus, in imitation of martial arts warriors, he drank down all his wine and shouted, "Good wine! Drink!"
Thus, the boys began to guzzle down the wine.
There was alcohol here that was drinkable and alcohol that was not, but no attention was paid to this distinction, and they had a few drinks from all of them.
Alas, 'a few drinks' was a lie. These boys took themselves to be heroes and knew no restraint. It wasn't long before they were swaying back and forth.
Gradually, the sky began to darken. Seeing that night was coming, Tang Jie proposed that they return to the estate.
Wei Tianchong was having the time of his life and had no intention of returning. He said that he wanted to appreciate the moon. The sight of Dragon Lake under the moon was said to be one of the best sights in Canglong Prefecture.
Perhaps because he had drunk too much, Shi Mo spoke in a louder tone than usual, shouting, "Young Master, to appreciate the moon at Dragon Mountain, you have to climb to the summit. Why don't we go up the mountain?"
Wen Qing frowned and said, "It's getting late and the mountain path is difficult to traverse. Going up and coming back down might take several hours. I think we should save it for next time."
During the day, they had only thought about eating and drinking, not about taking a detour up the mountain. If they went up, they would certainly waste a lot of time going up and down. They would return late, and the lady would certainly scold them.
Wei Tianchong was somewhat intoxicated. His head swaying side to side, he said, "Then I'll ride up the mountain on my horse! Today, this young master will ride to the top of Dragon Mountain, atop my horse with whip raised!"
"Alright!" The other boys clapped their hands.
When the young master of the Wei Estate went out, he naturally had to have his horse, but there was only one horse for the young master himself. The others had to walk behind him.
This chestnut horse had been a gift from Master Wei to Wei Tianchong when he was ten years old, intended for him to use this chance to exercise his body. Wei Tianchong had once aspired to be a general, so he had some skill in horsemanship. But he was still too young and spent most of his time playing, spending more time mounting people than mounting horses. It was only when he went out that he would ride this horse.
This chestnut horse was the responsibility of one of the boy servants of the Meditation Garden, Mu Chen, and it was currently being fed on the side.
"Riding a horse onto the mountain is too dangerous!" Tang Jie hurriedly said.
Welcoming Dragon Mountain did have a horse path, but this path had no guardrails. Even modern mountain paths did not all have guardrails.
Though there was still some hazy light, it would soon be completely dark. If there were a small mishap on the road, if the horse lost its footing, then Young Master Wei would be gone.
Tang Jie's warning made the other boys realize that this was a dangerous endeavor, but just when they were about to advise Wei Tianchong not to go, their young master pushed Tang Jie aside. "Cut the chatter! Hurry and bring over my horse! If you say another word, I'll whip you!"
Normally, restrained by his family, he would not act so brazenly, but his mother was not here. He now reigned supreme, and his wild side was on full display.
The boy servants knew Wei Tianchong and knew that these words meant that he was serious. For a moment, they did not dare to object. Tang Jie looked around and saw that no one else was speaking up, even Wen Qing having fallen silent.
Shi Mo and Shi Meng looked at Tang Jie with cold smiles.
In truth, if everyone had worked together to persuade Wei Tianchong, they might have succeeded, but if Shi Mo and Shi Meng said nothing, the others would not dare to step forward.
These two were extremely wary of Tang Jie and wanted nothing more than for him to quarrel with Wei Tianchong, so why would they help him? Besides that, they were drunk, which made them incapable of thinking about the consequences.
Shi Mo even threatened, "The young master wants to go up the mountain, and you dare to stop him? You're really asking for a beating!"
Tang Jie was infuriated.
This was nothing but a bunch of naughty children with misplaced priorities! If something really happened to Wei Tianchong, none of the people here would be spared!
They might have been suicidal, but Tang Jie had no desire to follow them. He placed himself in front of Wei Tianchong and coldly said, "Young Master, this is not your personal garden where you can do as you please. The slopes of Welcoming Dragon Mountain are steep, it's getting dark, and Young Master has even had wine. It would be better…"
Pa! Tang Jie received a heavy slap to the face.
After slapping Tang Jie, Wei Tianchong roared, "Impudent! If the young master wants to do something, is it up to you to decide what he can do?"
Tang Jie felt a stinging pain on his face, but he still barred Wei Tianchong's path. "If Young Master is unhappy, then you may hit me or curse at me, but so long as this little one is here, I cannot let Young Master go up the mountain. If Young Master is still unwilling, we can return to the estate and report this matter to the lady so that I am fired, but right now, this little one cannot let Young Master go up the mountain!"
"You!" Wei Tianchong was so furious that his body was shaking. Stomping his feet, he shouted, "You're one of my people! You dare disobey me!?"
Furious that Tang Jie continued to stubbornly block his path, he roared, "Nothing will stop me from getting up the mountain today! All of you, pull him aside!"
The boys rushed up and dragged Tang Jie to the side, Shi Mo and Shi Meng using the chance to punch Tang Jie a few times.
They had snuck out to drink wine, not even bringing the guards or nanny with them. There was not a single person here who understood what was really going on, so none of them dared to bear the anger of the young master!
Seeing Wei Tianchong mount the horse and prepare to ride off onto the mountain path, Tang Jie panicked and shook his arms. With his current level of strength, dealing with children was simple, and he instantly threw the boys aside.
Tang Jie grabbed a long metal skewer off the barbecue rack and ran to Wei Tianchong.
Wei Tianchong had just gotten onto the horse, and when he saw Tang Jie running over, he snorted and spurred his horse into a gallop.
In his view, Tang Jie was just trying to stop his horse from moving forward. As long as he moved the horse faster, he could outrun this annoying kid.
But as the horse was raising its hooves, Tang Jie had already charged up, swinging the metal skewer and fiercely stabbing it into the chestnut horse's left eye.
This blow was packed with power, and the skewer plunged right into the horse's brain.
The horse let out a neigh, throwing Wei Tianchong off before collapsing into a pool of blood.
"My horse!" Wei Tianchong shouted, ignoring the pain. "You… you killed my horse!"
He had never imagined that Tang Jie would do something like this.
How could he do this?
How could he dare to do it?
How was he even capable of doing it?
Everyone was dumbfounded, looking fearfully at Tang Jie.
His body speckled with blood, Tang Jie glanced at the still-twitching horse, then turned to Wei Tianchong and coldly said, "Young Master… It seems like there's no going up the mountain today."
Wei Tianchong was stunned.
At this moment, he looked at Tang Jie with a sliver of fear in his eyes.