AIP - Chapter 74: Exam Preparation
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
As random thoughts ran through his mind, Tang Jie bowed. "My utmost gratitude for this generous gift, Senior!"
Xie Fengtang continued to play chess with the white crane as he said, "I called you here to ask you about how you have been doing recently."
"This student is doing well."
"Mm. Do you know of the matter regarding Min Dong?"
Tang Jie respectfully said, "I have heard of a little, but I do not know the details."
Xie Fengtang explained nothing to him, casually saying, "A student has been killed, and another has gone missing. Basking Moon Academy is somewhat restless this year."
"It is truly rather restless," Tang Jie repeated as he lowered his head, not daring to say anything that could be taken as a mistake.
Xie Fengtang wasn't willing to let him go, continuing, "I heard that Zhuang Shen was on good terms with you?"
"We were only acquaintances, not exactly on good terms," Tang Jie calmly corrected.
"But from what I know, he came to find you before he went missing?"
"He wanted my help to study for the big exam, but I refused him. There have been a lot of requests like this recently, and Zhuang Shen was only one of them. This student is truly too busy," Tang Jie said, carefully choosing his words.
Xie Fengtang chuckled. "So that's how it was. I have heard that you do well in culture classes. The students of Basking Moon Academy have always complained about the culture classes, but it seems that you don't have this problem?"
"In truth, it is somewhat annoying," Tang Jie said with a smile. "But the academy instructs us in culture classes to teach us how to act as people. Cultivation of Immortal arts is like a sharp weapon. If one does not understand principles and does not know how to conduct oneself, it would be better not to cultivate Immortal arts. It is precisely because this student understands this point that he does not dare to be negligent."
Xie Fengtang raised an eyebrow. "This isn't wrong, but accomplishing it is another matter. There are always those people who are dignified in voice but carry vicious hearts."
Tang Jie smiled. "This student would not dare to boast, but he understands basic principles like not killing the innocent and returning kindness with kindness and can carry them out."
"Return kindness with kindness?" Xie Fengtang squinted. "Then who do you think has shown you kindness so far?"
"The elderly Wu couple and the Wei Estate," Tang Jie immediately replied.
"Then have you repaid them yet?"
"This student is working toward that."
Suddenly, Tang Jie had an idea. Perhaps this is a chance for me to exchange those Essence-Refining Pills for lifespan-extending pills, he thought to himself. "In truth, a few days ago, this student tried to send some spirit medicine to the old couple, but…"
"But what?" Xie Fengtang asked.
Tang Jie intentionally hesitated before explaining what had happened with Wu Xing.
Of course, he wouldn't mention how he feared that Godhead Palace might notice his attitude to the Wu couple. All he said was that buying lifespan-extending medicine wasn't easy, so he had entrusted Wu Xing with the task.
"Something like this happened? Are you telling the truth?" Xie Fengtang's face turned grim.
In a peaceful world, justice and righteousness took precedence.
No matter how filthy things were in the shadows, justice had to be maintained in the light, and it was always worth it to uphold a justice that did not harm one's self-interest.
For Xie Fengtang, a bottle of lifespan-extending medicine was nothing, naturally not as important as one's filial piety toward one's parents. This Wu Xing was lowdown scum who would dare to covet a gift to his parents. It was outrageous to the extreme.
Tang Jie bitterly smiled. "Would this student dare to lie about such a thing?"
He had no good feelings toward Wu Xing and cared not one bit about his fate. If he could use this matter to get some spirit medicine for the Wu couple and increase Xie Fengtang's trust in him, he would have made a huge profit.
To tell the truth, he had brought up this matter in the same way he had asked for three taels of silver per month from Zheng Shufeng. He had used his filial piety toward the Wu couple to express his "loyalty".
In this aspect, Tang Jie's filial piety was extremely useful, causing him to be repaid for what he paid out and luring others into investing in him.
But Tang Jie did not care what people might think about him.
Even without a reward, he would treat the old couple well, and if he could receive an additional reward for his filial piety, why would he reject it?
Public and private good, black and white, all of it was extremely muddled together, right and wrong difficult to distinguish. His attitude toward such things was very simple: if he could do something that harmed no one else and benefited him, then he would do it.
Of course, doing no harm did not apply to his enemies and those he despised.
Hearing Tang Jie say this, Xie Fengtang took out a talisman, wrote a few words on it, and burned it. He then said to Tang Jie, "I will have some people ask around, then…"
Before he could finish, Tang Jie bowed and said, "If this matter is verified, Headmaster, please do not punish Wu Xing or spread the word of his misdeeds. No matter what, he is still the old couple's son. They would not wish to see their son driven out of the academy. If he became a forsaken student because of me, I would have erred rather than doing good."
Xie Fengtang was taken aback, and then he finally nodded. "I am starting to believe that you have a good nature. Relax. If it is true, I will ignore it, but I will reward you. Let's do this. In this big exam, if you can get first place, the academy will reward you with one bottle of life-extending pills, and also… it can also give you a mysterious present. What do you think?"
Tang Jie was taken aback, and then he happily prostrated. "Headmaster, thank you for your generous treatment!"
The academy's rules had always been about the minority taking precedence, with competitions everywhere.
The top three scorers of the examination were given rewards. This was a certainty for every year.
But this time was bound to be different.
Although Xie Fengtang hadn't explained, there was a high chance that this mysterious gift would be the right to enter the ninth floor of Heaven One Pavilion.
It was a mysterious gift naturally because there was a chance that he might not get first place. If it were kept as a mystery, Basking Moon Academy still had the right to make the reward whatever it wanted.
Xie Fengtang had played his hand beautifully, and remained able to retreat or advance.
He had only given Tang Jie a small reward earlier to get closer to him. But after the incident with Min Dong, he suspected Tang Jie even more, and Tang Jie's performance had truly earned his satisfaction, so he could consider allowing him to learn the secret arts of Basking Moon.
Passing on secret arts was an enormous reward to any student, but for Basking Moon Academy, it was a reward that came without the slightest cost. It was the most profitable investment. At worst, it would just be an extra True Inheritor, which would pose no harm to the sect.
With this reward of life-extending pills, Tang Jie wouldn't need to go trading medicines and letting the whole world know what he wanted.
As for sending it back… ha, he would think of something.
After resolving these two big problems, even though he knew that what Xie Fengtang cared about was the Martial Mirror, Tang Jie still felt extremely grateful to Xie Fengtang.
After leaving Xie Fengtang's residence, Tang Jie went to Spirit Wonder Market and bought some herbs, preparing to cultivate the Parting Classic. But he saw that Wei Tianchong had come to pay him a visit, looking around like he was trying to be secretive. Upon seeing Tang Jie, Wei Tianchong immediately grabbed him and said, "Tang Jie, you have to help me out!"
Tang Jie couldn't scratch his head with Wei Tianchong holding his arms, so he could only ask, "What happened?"
"Ha, what else could it be?" Wei Tianchong slapped his thigh. "The big exam!"
It was the big exam again.
It seemed like all of the students were frantic about this examination.
Tang Jie smiled. "Young Master, if you wish to pass the big exam this time, it's very simple. I was planning to do some review, so you can accompany me."
Wei Tianchong immediately frowned. "That won't do, won't do. Just reading it won't do me any good. I don't understand any of it."
"Then how do you want me to help you?"
An idea occurred to him, leaving Tang Jie shocked. He pointed at Wei Tianchong with shaky hands and said, "You… you… It can't be?"
Wei Tianchong chortled. "Yes, exactly!"
He whispered into Tang Jie's ear, "I'm relying on you for the exam. You have to give me the answers!"
Tang Jie took in a deep breath. "Young Master, there are proctors. I really can't help you with this."
"You can do it!" Wei Tianchong said with all sincerity. He looked around to make sure that no one was nearby, then he excitedly said to Tang Jie, "Listen to me. I've already planned everything. You just need to help me in math and astronomy. Those calculations are just too difficult! I really don't get them. Once you're done with your test, just give me a gesture. Stretch out your left hand for a difficult problem and your right hand for an easy one. For the sake of safety, use hand gestures to answer me. If you point, that means '1', and a fist means '2'…"
Wei Tianchong went on and on, getting more and more excited, and Tang Jie was left utterly gobsmacked.
Wei Tianchong was still going. "If it's a creature, use your body to signal it. Extending your neck means a crane and shrinking back your head means a turtle. If it's about the meridians, just point it out. There's too much to talk about, so we need to practice. Let's go inside and try it out…"
Tang Jie was still stupefied.
Wei Tianchong was about to continue when he saw that Tang Jie wasn't talking. He extended his fingers and waved his hand in front of him. "Hey, what's wrong?"
Only now did Tang Jie come to his senses. Lightly coughing, he said, "This would be terrible if it were discovered!"
If one were discovered cheating once in the examination, they would lose 20 points and lose their right to take the exam. If caught twice, they would lose 50 points and be expelled from the exam again. Being caught thrice resulted in immediate expulsion.
"There's no need to be afraid," Wei Tianchong casually said. "My plan leaves no evidence for people to use. I've already thought everything through. Basking Moon Academy's exam is just like its rules. So long as you're not caught on the scene and don't leave behind any evidence, nothing will happen to you. You just need to help me, and once I'm through this trial, I'll be able to cultivate as I please. This is called applying your studies!"
By the end, Wei Tianchong was already starting to shake his head.
He was finally beginning to apply his studies.
Tang Jie felt helpless. "But it's too risky. Why not wait a little longer? If you study for another two years, you'll be able to pass all the same."
"Then it will be too late. And what if I still don't pass?"
For him, passing together with Tang Jie was his best chance. If he missed out on this chance, and Tang Jie was certain to pass, he wouldn't be able to find anyone else to help him cheat.
Tang Jie helplessly said, "Then what about the other questions? You can't pass the big exam with just the math questions!"
Wei Tianchong's face reddened. He looked around once more to ensure that no one was in the area, then he solemnly said, "Relax. I'm fully prepared. There's no way I can fail."
"So what is this fool-proof plan of yours?"
Wei Tianchong gritted his teeth and decided to pull Tang Jie into a small grove by the path. He then raised his clothes, revealing that small slips of paper had been attached to his clothes.
Tang Jie almost fainted. Wei Tianchong excitedly said, "What do you think? I'm fully prepared, right? I had Shi Meng prepare all this."
Tang Jie had to force himself to not curse. He croaked, "Third Young Master… didn't you say you didn't want to leave behind hard evidence? This is Basking Moon Academy! Even if you're cheating, you have to do so with skill!"