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AIP - Chapter 70: Store the Bow

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

Lying in a pool of blood, Zhuang Shen weakly groaned.

The pill's effect had passed, and his entire body was devoid of strength. He could only stare at that bronze mirror in front of him.

"The Ninedark Profound Martial Mirror… I didn't think that the item my Godhead Palace was going to such great lengths to look for would be right here…" Zhuang Shen coughed and then began to laugh. "Tang Jie, you're ruthless and daring! To hide the Martial Mirror and the Azure Light Sword in a flower pot, right under our eyes!"

"I'm here, so why wouldn't I bring these things with me?" Tang Jie replied, somewhat tired.

That attack just now had emptied him of spiritual energy. If this hadn't worked, he really would have had to submit himself to capture.

What truly left him uncomfortable was the emptiness of his Spiritual Space. His soul gave off an indescribable sense of hunger.

He felt weak, so he could only use his sword as a support while taking a spirit recovery pill.

Only after this did he say, "Godhead Palace… I really didn't think that the minor soldier it dispatched would be this troublesome."

The strike from the Azure Light Sword was the final card he had to play. He had chosen the Twelve-Form Horizon Sword back then not merely so he could practice his sparring technique. More important was that it was the only martial technique that let him use the power of an art relic while still being a Spirit Disciple.

It was just that this attack took too much. The moment he did it, he would be completely out of strength. Thus, Tang Jie didn't want to use this move unless it was absolutely necessary.

He had once believed that he could avoid using this trump card, not having expected Zhuang Shen to be so problematic as to push him this far.

Zhuang Shen harshly replied, "It's good that you realize! You think that you're safe just because you have the Basking Moon Sect's protection? Godhead Palace could crush you like an ant if it wanted to. If you realize this, hurry up and hand over the Martial Mirror. Otherwise, even if you kill me, the Eagle Master will realize that there's something wrong with you. You really don't think that any random kid would be able to beat me, do you?"

"Of course, of course. If my discovery of a thief was just a coincidence and not enough to confirm who I am, killing you would be no different from telling Godhead Palace that I'm Tang Jiye. But you don't think I thought about this problem before fighting you?" Tang Jie chuckled.

He squatted and slapped Zhuang Shen's face with the tip of his sword. "As for you, why do you think that, after you captured me, the Basking Moon Sect was going to let you go?"

"I never planned to stay in the Basking Moon Sect…"

"Idiot!" Tang Jie cut him off. "Right now, everyone who knows about the Martial Mirror knows that Godhead Palace is investigating me. If anyone were to attack me at this time, they don't even need to think to know that it was Godhead Palace's work. Do you really think that your Eagle Master Gu would let you escape in these circumstances?"

Zhuang Shen was stunned. "This is impossible…"

"Nothing is impossible. Let me make a guess. When they sent you, they probably said that after you succeeded, they would get you out of Basking Moon Academy and send you to Godhead Palace? There's probably someone waiting for you by the school gate, right? They should probably have monitor authority and can send you out of the school."

Zhuang Shen shuddered.

Tang Jie could see from his expression that his guesses were right.

Tang Jie laughed. "Do you get it now? You're just an idiot being used by someone else. If I didn't tell you, you would have died without even knowing how you died."

"This is impossible… impossible…" Zhuang Shen repeatedly shook his head. He shouted at Tang Jie, "They wouldn't treat me like this! Impossible!"

Tang Jie snorted, "I have no interest in your trust. I was just telling you that your loyalty to Godhead Palace is pointless. They never took you seriously. Godhead Palace has all those spies out in the open. Who is responsible for them? What is the name that this Eagle Master Gu is working under? What's his status? What's their follow-up plan?"

Zhuang Shen burst out in laughter. "Tang Jie, you said all that just so that I would confess everything, right? Screw you! You've already revealed who you really are, so it means you're going to kill me. I won't tell you anything!"

Tang Jie sighed. "You think too highly of yourself. I told you all this solely so that you would understand a little more before you die. Do you really think that remaining silent will do you any good?"

"If you want to torture me, come on already. I won't even crease my brow!" Zhuang Shen shouted.

"Stubborn, as expected. But who said I was going to torture you? You forgot about this little thing…" Tang Jie took something out.

The Soulscour talisman!

Zhuang Shen paled. "No!"

"As you said, your time on this world is worth it if you're able to experience this Soulscour. Let me take a look at your memories…" Tang Jie jammed the Soulscour talisman onto Zhuang Shen's face, and Zhuang Shen immediately began to shriek in pain as if he was experiencing the worst torture in the world. His face twisted and shuddered. He rammed his head repeatedly against the ground with a boom! Boom!

Tang Jie was unmoved. He grabbed Zhuang Shen's head tightly, and in a rush of spiritual energy, the memories were sent over.

The Soulscour spell was a particularly insidious spell. Put simply, it forcefully converted the memories of the victim into substance and then sent them over to the caster through spiritual energy.

Those at the Celestial Heart Realm always had to be cautious when cultivating the Spirit Will for worry that they would damage their consciousness. The Soulscour spell did this process by force, caring little for what the victim experienced, so the consequences were naturally severe.

If the victim of the Soulscour spell already had a Spirit Will, they still had some hope of maintaining their sanity, but someone without a Spirit Will would be made an imbecile!

As the spell was being used, the person being Soulscoured would feel like ten thousand needles were being jabbed into their brain every second, and the caster would be able to see all their memories.

These memories were visible only because the Soulscour spell had forced them out, and they would last for only a brief moment. Thus, the caster needed to extract the memories quickly, and what memories they extracted would depend on their luck. This was why Gu Changqing had not been overly willing to use this method.

The only exception was if the target already had a Spirit Will, as such a target could be Soulscoured multiple times.

Zhuang Shen's memories became various scenes that swiftly passed before Tang Jie's eyes like a movie in fast-forward. His childhood, the trials he had gone through as he matured, his secret crushes, Godhead Palace's arrival… All sorts of memories appeared, jamming themselves into Tang Jie's mind so quickly that he felt overwhelmed.

He wanted to look for the information he needed, but he simply didn't have the time to search. As his eyes rapidly moved around, he was only able to catch a scene here and there, a mishmash of sounds entering his ears in a variety of ways.

"Gu Changqing… Deputy Eagle Master of Hawk Hall… Gao Fei… Zhao Xinguo… capture Tang Jie… Trickster Ghost… Min Dong… Fierce Ape… Damn it, who is Fierce Ape!?"

Tang Jie roared, but he was unable to endure the frenzied rush of information. With a shout, he drew his hand away, and only then did he realize that blood was flowing out of his eyes, ears, mouth, and nose.

He really hadn't expected the Soulscour spell to be this dangerous. Tang Jie gasped for air.

Alas, he was never able to find any of the key memories concerning Fierce Ape. He only knew that this Fierce Ape was Godhead Palace's true trump card, its best spy. They were hiding among the student body and looking for Tang Jiye.

Fortunately, he knew the identity of the person who was going to pick up Zhuang Shen and where they were!

He looked at Zhuang Shen and found that the man was unconscious. The Soulscour talisman on his forehead dissipated into smoke.

"Big Bro, are you okay?" Yiyi grabbed Tang Jie and shook him.

"I'm fine." Tang Jie shook his head. "I didn't think that the Soulscour spell would affect me this much. It's no wonder Big Brother Xu advised me to not try and manifest a Spirit Will."

"'Big Brother Xu'?" Yiyi looked curiously at Tang Jie.

In truth, she knew nothing about Tang Jie's past. It was only Zhuang Shen's visit that caused her to vaguely understand a few things, but she didn't entirely understand. All she knew was that the thing hidden in the pot was extremely important.

"Mm, a very good person, but unfortunately, he's dead now. I'll tell you his story in the future. We still have work to do." Tang Jie affectionately said, petting Yiyi on the head.

"Right, right, we still have a lot of treasures to collect!" Little Yiyi jumped and shouted.

"Not that…" Tang Jie bitterly smiled. "It's dealing with the aftermath."

"'Dealing with the aftermath'?" Yiyi didn't get it.

"Yes, dealing with the aftermath. Yiyi, remember what your older brother teaches you. Killing someone isn't hard. What's hard is how to not have other people come looking for trouble after you've killed someone."

Tang Jie stood up, finished off Zhuang Shen with his sword, and grabbed his Violet Flame Sword.

He put away that formation diagram and left the Carefree House, with no time to look over the diagram carefully.

It was late at night, and all was quiet. He encountered no one as he walked along the path.

Tang Jie continued down the narrow mountain path, eventually reaching a secluded little grove at the foot of the mountain.

There was no one in this little grove, and few people even passed by here during the day. It was an excellent place to kill someone.

Someone was standing in the grove. It was none other than that Student Ming who had used Li Zhen and others to probe Tang Jie's defenses.

Upon seeing him, Tang Jie dropped his head and slowly approached him using the cover of the darkness and the trees.

But as he was walking, a soft crack came from under his feet.

He had stepped on a tree branch.

Tang Jie's heart sank as that Student Min turned around.

Tang Jie quickly came up with an idea. Bending down, he stretched out a hand and said in a raspy voice, "Help… me…"

Basking Moon students all wore moon-white robes, and it was late at night, so Min Dong didn't immediately recognize him, instinctively thinking that Zhuang Shen had returned.

Seeing the other person vomiting on the ground, Min Dong rejoiced. Taking out the shortsword from behind his back, he walked over and asked, "How did you end up like this? Did you succeed?"

He had been ordered by Gao Fei to kill Zhuang Shen whether he succeeded or failed. Of course, if Zhuang Shen succeeded, he would first have to ask him what the outcome was before killing him.

Tang Jie nodded, but he didn't dare to say any more for fear that Min Dong would realize his voice was wrong.

Min Dong became even more delighted, returning the shortsword to behind his back as he asked, "Did you confirm that it was him? Do you know where the Martial Mirror is?"

In his excitement, he got up close, upon which he realized that this person didn't have the same body as Zhuang Shen. His heart tensed as Tang Jie raised his head.

Under the hazy moonlight, Min Dong saw Tang Jie's icy expression and took fright. He immediately tried to back away when—plush!—he felt pain in his belly.

The Violet Flame Sword had run him through!

With a single twist, almost all his organs were twisted apart.

"Aaa–!" Min Dong howled in pain, but before he could shout for long, Tang Jie stuffed a fist in his mouth. He pushed Min Dong with the sword until—thump!—he nailed Min Dong to a tree.

Min Dong stared at Tang Jie, blood pouring out of his mouth.

He tried his best to pull out his shortsword, but his back was pinned against the tree, so he couldn't pull it out no matter how hard he tried.

He could only try to push Tang Jie away.

But he felt like he was being pinned down by a mountain. He pushed as hard as he could with no pushback from Tang Jie, but Tang Jie was unmoved, coldly staring at him.

The stalemate continued… His life rapidly fading, Min Dong soon ran out of strength.

Finally, after a few despairing snatches at the air, he dropped his head.

Tang Jie kept it up for a little while longer before pulling out the Violet Flame Sword. He turned over Min Dong's body and grabbed the shortsword. He could tell from the lines on the blade that it was a spell weapon meant specifically for penetrating through armor, probably meant for dealing with Zhuang Shen. Alas, he didn't have any other treasures on him.

He wrote on the ground with the tip of his sword, "The birds have yet to be hunted, so why so anxious to store the bow? Zhuang Shen."

Tang Jie realized his mistake and changed "Zhuang Shen" to "Trickster Ghost" before turning to leave.

Hypersheep325's Notes:

It's not just winning that's important. Cleaning up after yourself is also vital to success.

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