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AIP - Chapter 77: Young Schoolmates (1)

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

Early the next morning, all the members of the Freedom Society gathered at the pier at the base of the mountains, where the school's ship would pick them up.

Only when they arrived at the meeting point did they realize that it wasn't just the Freedom Society who had chosen today for an outing.

It appeared that everyone had been restrained to their breaking point in this half a year and had unconsciously chosen today to take a break. Alas, the school did not let vacation days accumulate, or else all of them would have chosen to play around for several days.

Tang Jie got on the boat and saw Liu Hongyan, Ping Jingyue, and the others waving at him from the ship's bow. He went over with Wei Tianchong and Shi Meng, a white flower in his hand. 

A student spotted the white flower in his hand and chuckled. "Brother Tang, why did you bring this little flower with you? Which beauty do you plan to gift it to?"

Tang Jie replied, "Brother Lin, you misunderstand. I happened to see this flower on my way here and noticed that it had a hint of spiritual energy. If I take good care of it, something good might happen, so I plucked it. When I get back, I'll have to buy it a flower vase."

Someone looked at the flower and reached out with his senses. He nodded and said, "It truly does have some spirituality."

He wanted to inspect it more, but Tang Jie put the flower away.

Someone saw Wei Tianchong and Tang Jie together and joked, "Tang Jie, why are you bringing your two followers with you when going out to play?"

Wei Tianchong frantically shouted, "I'm his young master! He's the follower!"

That student coldly snorted and completely ignored Wei Tianchong.

Tang Jie frowned. This student was called Hua Yang, and he was a student of the Freedom Society who came from a major clan.

As the Freedom Society was started by the likes of Ping Jingyue and Shu Mingyang, it consisted mostly of commoner students, with few noble scions, but this Hua Yang was one of those exceptions. Apparently, he had joined specifically because he was in love with Ping Jingyue. It was also for this reason that he regarded anyone who got close to Ping Jingyue as an enemy.

The closest person to Ping Jingyue was Cai Junyang, but Cai Junyang had an eight-cycle Jade Gate. Putting aside his fast cultivation speed, he had entered the academy with a strong martial arts foundation, so in this class, he was considered one of the best fighters. Hua Yang didn't dare to offend Cai Junyang, so he could only provoke Tang Jie.

Hua Yang was clearly trying to stir discord between him and Wei Tianchong, so Tang Jie lightly said, "My clan's young master has always been a magnanimous person. When he heard that his servants were going out to play, he decided to come with us to increase this Tang Jie's dignity, and this Tang Jie is ashamed for having to accept. As for him not being a club member, Brother Hua does not need to worry. My young master joined the club yesterday."

With his words, he turned Wei Tianchong into a kind master who cared for his servants while Hua Yang had subtly been reduced into a servant who was going out to play. Hua Yang inwardly fumed, but as he was unable to vent his anger, he turned away in a huff.

Wei Tianchong was happy to hear this, whispering to Tang Jie, "Am I really that good?"

Tang Jie had to work hard to stop himself from kicking Wei Tianchong into the lake.

The ship glided across the surface of the lake and soon reached the opposite shore. The students cheered as they disembarked like they were tourists finally returning home.

Winter snow had fallen not too long ago, and the Student Forest was blanketed in white frost.

Only now did the students realize that it was already late winter.

When they turned their heads, they saw the rippling waters of the lake and the lush green mountains of eternal spring.

This lake seemed to be the border between two worlds.

It was at this moment that they truly realized that they had ceased to be mortals some time ago.

The melancholy and sighing lasted only for a moment. These students who had returned to the mortal world soon sorted themselves out and headed toward their planned destination.

Most of the Freedom Society members had not played around in Wanquan City before, so they had decided to take a look around the city.

One student in the club was a native of Wanquan City, so he guided everyone else through the deep winter snow to the various scenic spots of Wanquan City.

Although they wore only a single layer of clothing, the students didn't feel cold. As they were already capable of absorbing spiritual energy and using it, their constitutions had silently been modified.

"Up ahead is Wanquan City's most famous spot, the Long Dike of Flying Snow. Many pines and cypresses have been planted along the dike, and every winter, the snow piles onto the pines. When the wind blows, the snow will be blown into the air, and this is combined with the beautiful scenery of the dike, and thus we have the Long Dike of Flying Snow, one of the top ten scenic spots of Wanquan City…" The student who was serving as the "tour guide" spoke with confidence, and to prove his words, he sent out a stream of spiritual energy to shake the pines, sending snow drifting from the pines in a mist. It was a truly beautiful sight.

Everyone stood among the snowy mist. As they gazed at the whiteness, all of them agreed without speaking to use their spiritual energy to hold aloft the snowy mist and cause it to slowly spiral in the air, creating an indescribably gorgeous view.

"This…" The tour guide student felt very helpless. "You have to let the snowy mist fall on your body and feel the chill. What are you guys doing?"

Liu Hongyan smiled. "I think this is more fun."

She extended a hand, and a gust of wind swept out of her palm and made the snowflakes tumble around.

Suddenly, Liu Hongyan closed her hand, and the snowflakes compacted into a ball. She pointed at Shu Mingyang and shouted, "Take this!"

The snowball flew at Shu Mingyang at a slow and leisurely place.

Shu Mingyang raised his hand, using the book to protect his face, and the snowball swerved in the air to strike Tang Jie. Tang Jie raised his hands, formed a seal, and pointed at the approaching snowball. A gust of air shot out from his finger—none other than the Energy Needle.

But the snowball was more agile than expected, suddenly accelerating, making a circle in the air, and shooting at Cai Junyang. Cai Junyang laughed, but he didn't do anything. It was only when that snowball was up close and personal that he swung his sword, and that snowball exploded into flakes.

Liu Hongyan hadn't expected this move from him, and she gave him a hard glare. She made a pushing motion with her hands, and the snowy mist roiled as it enveloped everyone. Everyone began to laugh and play atop the long dike.

Thankfully, it was winter, so there were few pedestrians, and the pedestrians that passed by saw those moon-white uniforms and knew that they were Basking Moon students, so they weren't too disquieted. They simply gawked from a distance, envy in their eyes.

After messing around for a while, they took a break. Liu Hongyan said with a smile, "Alright, alright, let's stop. Look there. Zhiyuan is on the verge of tears."

The tour guide student was called Yang Zhiyuan, and he seemed very dejected over how nobody was taking his "job" very seriously.

Ping Jingyue suddenly commented, "Hmm, it's very strange. I was getting suffocated to death in school, only cultivating and cultivating every day, so I thought it would be fun to go out and play for once. But now that we're out here, why do I feel like spells and arts are more interesting?"

"That's right!"

"That's right!"

Everyone voiced their agreement.

Although they were having a lot of fun, they felt nothing toward the surrounding scenery, finding it more amusing to mess around with their fellow schoolmates. Alas, they spent more time discussing cultivation. Rather than coming out to play, it was more like they had chosen a different place to keep studying.

Even Liu Hongyan placed a hand under her chin and began to think. "That's true. How strange! I loved snowball fights in the past, so why don't I find it as exciting now?"

"You're still not excited enough? You were the one who was the happiest playing," Shu Mingyang said with a glare.

Tang Jie chuckled. "It's because this no longer belongs to us."

"No longer belongs to us?" Everyone looked at Tang Jie.

"Yes, it no longer belongs to us," Tang Jie casually said. "Today, we can stand here in the wintry landscape and play around for a while, but in the future, when we have higher cultivation levels, even this will fail to garner any interest from us."

"Why?" someone asked.

"Because we're no longer mortals! Whether you like it or not, want to admit it or not, we're getting further and further away from mortals. Those things that mortals dream about will eventually become things we can get just by reaching out. Take this snowy landscape as an example. In the future, if we want winter, we can make winter, or summer, just like how the Clear Sky Mountains are eternally in spring. If you'd like, you could make it an eternal winter. And think about those things the common people want. How many of us even place much value in silver taels now? Without these wants, we naturally find it hard to feel joy… We're in the middle of breaking away from the sufferings of mortals, but we're also getting further and further away from their joys."

Everyone was rendered speechless.

Today, they were still schoolmates, able to stroll on this long dike if they were in the mood, to get a taste of human life and imagine the future.

But once they graduated, or perhaps even before that, they would lose all interest in even things like this.

At that time, higher realms and greater power would be their only pursuit.

This time they had spent together on the long dike would be the last memory of their human life that they could reminisce about.

Everyone couldn't help but become a little sentimental over this.

Liu Hongyan was the only one who laughed. "That truly sounds very boring. Does that mean we who pursue Immortality seek to have no desires or wants?"

Tang Jie answered, "If we reach the end, I'm afraid that might be the case. Fortunately, reaching the end is very difficult."

"So you're saying that it's a good thing that the path of Immortality is long?" Ping Jingyue asked in disbelief.

"At least it gives us a goal, and at least we can still find our own amusements in the process… like this." As Tang Jie spoke, he grabbed some snow and threw it down Ping Jingyue's snow-white neck.

Ping Jingyue yelped, but then she realized that the icy sensation of the snow was less stimulating than she imagined. She couldn't help but chuckle. "You're right. This pain is less, but so is the fun. But for daring to sneak attack this girl, you had best be prepared to eat my Palm Lightning!"

She thrust her palm, unleashing a ball of lightning at Tang Jie.

Tang Jie laughed as he dodged and ran away.

"Don't even think about running!" Ping Jingyue lunged forward and grabbed, and Tang Jie frantically jumped, grabbing onto a tree branch. Ping Jingyue was hot on his heels, and the other students looked at each other and began to join in on the fun.

Just as Tang Jie had said, as cultivators, they sought amusement that was different from that of mortals and would only leave pedestrians amazed.

As they played around, Liu Hongyan suddenly gasped and stopped, looking to the side.

Everyone followed her gaze and saw a woman standing on the riverbank on the other end, gazing into the distance.

The woman wore a pink cotton jacket, had a white mink fur around her neck, and wore pink-soled, flower-embroidered shoes. She had a beautiful face with powdered cheeks, exuding an indescribable charm. She held a plum blossom in her hand. This flower that bloomed in the twelfth month had become a point of red in the frost, a particularly striking existence.

Standing nearby was a young man who wore a long robe of silk brocade. His brows were straight, his eyes shone like stars, and his skin shone with the luster of jade. At his waist was a sword that was clearly no mortal weapon.

He stood behind the woman and was seemingly saying something to her. A few moments later, he shook his head and left on his own.

"Those two are…" Wei Tianchong curiously prompted, seeing the weird expressions on everyone's faces.

Tang Jie replied, "Qi Shaoming, An Rumeng."

At the same time, that white-robed young man in the distance raised his head and looked at the group of students behind, happening to meet their gazes.

Hypersheep325's Notes:

The classic part of the cultivation novel where the protagonist contemplates his lost mortality.

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