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AIP - Chapter 80: Art Transmission

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

After the trip to Wanquan City, life went back to normal. Like clockwork, every day, the students went to class, got off class, and cultivated. The cycle repeated monotonously and mechanically.

The grades for the examination came out three days later.

As expected, Tang Jie got first place.

At times, Tang Jie wondered whether he had achieved this ranking through his own power or Xie Fengtang had cheated for him.

But this wasn't important.

What was important was that on the day he was announced as the top scorer, Basking Moon Academy announced something else: as the top scorer of the exam, Student Tang Jie would gain the privilege of entering the ninth floor of Heaven One Pavilion once.

The academy exploded into an uproar at this news.

Everyone knew that there would be an additional special reward for this exam besides a bottle of lifespan-extending pills, but nobody had expected the reward to be this good.

The ninth floor of Heaven One! The Violet Jade Mantra and the Divine Firmament Sword Classic!

The two core secret arts of the Basking Moon Sect were opened to Tang Jie.

Once again, Tang Jie became the hot topic. Everyone called Tang Jie lucky, and so "Mad Student Tang Jie" now had "Heaven's Chosen Tang Jie" as a companion.

In the Rosecloud Domain, there was no such thing as a Son of Heaven or a child of fortune. The Heavenly Dao favored no one, and the people did not support such things like the will of the heavens. This would only be rejecting the efforts of others and attributing everything to the old heavens.

If that were so, what would be the point in cultivation?

But this didn't stop them from bestowing special halos on particularly lucky people.

Of course, in the eyes of certain other people, this matter meant something entirely different.

The favor of Basking Moon Academy and the opening of Heaven One's ninth floor indicated a change in Tang Jie's status, and with this change in status, the pressure on Gu Changqing suddenly increased.

He received a secret missive from Godhead Palace.

The message said: "If you can confirm that Tang Jie is Tang Jiye, capture him at all costs."

By "at all costs", Godhead Palace naturally meant that it was willing to go as far as open war with the Basking Moon Sect if necessary.

Alas, Gu Changqing could only bitterly smile. That's exactly the one thing I can't confirm!

If he had been able to confirm this, he would have long ago sent his best men to kidnap Tang Jie rather than just waiting around and sitting on his hands.

Currently, he had ten-some suspects, and the only way Tang Jie differed from the rest was that he had discovered signs of their search. To confirm that he was Tang Jiye from just that was taking the process far too lightly.

He could only wait for the people from Anyang to arrive, and hope that they wouldn't disappoint him again.

Alas, Anyang was far away, and a round trip would take four to five months.

For some reason, he felt like this might not even work, because if he were Tang Jiye, he would never leave such an important and obvious weakness open.

Putting aside Gu Changqing, who was worrying about what he stood to gain and lose, Tang Jie was currently standing at the happiest intersection of his life.

The ninth floor of Heaven One Pavilion!

Tang Jie stood in the very center of the floor. In front of him was a statue of the founder of the Basking Moon Sect, the Water Moon Celestial Sovereign.

He was seated with his legs crossed, his left hand in front of his chest, a piece of violet jade grasped in his palm. His right hand was resting on his knee, holding a shortsword.

In front of the statue was a prayer mat for people to kowtow on. There was nothing else.

This was the ninth floor of Heaven One?

Tang Jie was rather stunned.

He had imagined what the ninth floor of Heaven One would look like countless times, but this simplicity, even crudeness, still left him surprised.

He couldn't see a single book here, only that seated statue which exuded majesty and power.

"Yes, this is the ninth floor of Heaven One."

Standing behind him was Xie Fengtang.

Xie Fengtang pointed at the statue. "Why are you not paying respects to the founder?"

Tang Jie hastily came forward and prostrated, striking his head three times against the ground.

These three kowtows represented entry into the sect. It meant that, starting from today, Tang Jie was an official outer disciple of the Basking Moon Sect, albeit one who needed to continue his studies at the academy.

Seeing that Tang Jie was being solemn and not messing around, Xie Fengtang nodded in satisfaction. "Very good. Look closely. The founder is holding replicas of my Basking Moon Sect's important techniques, the Violet Jade Mantra and the Divine Firmament Sword Classic!"

Tang Jie looked at the jade and the sword, thinking to himself, So the mantras were recorded in the jade and the sword. It's no wonder they're called the Violet Jade Mantra and the Divine Firmament Sword Classic.

"The mantra primarily focuses on cultivation while the sword classic focuses on combat. You are only a novice outer disciple, so you may select one of the two. If you have the opportunity to make another contribution to the sect, you may come back for the other. Now, make your choice."

Tang Jie looked at the jade and then looked at the sword. "Headmaster, the mantra is the foundation. If I wait until Mortal Shedding to cultivate the Violet Jade Mantra, will I miss out on establishing a foundation?"

Xie Fengtang chuckled. "The Violet Jade Mantra isn't only a foundational mantra, but also the sum of the founder's comprehension of the Dao, his understanding of cultivation realms. Although it has methods for cultivation and for breaking through, it also expounds upon the Dao. Cultivating it at any stage of cultivation cannot be considered late. Back then, my Basking Moon Sect had yet to reach such glorious heights, but many Immortal Titans had come seeking the Violet Jade Mantra, seeking a foundation with which to comprehend the Dao."

"I see," Tang Jie nodded. "Since that's the case, I will seek the Divine Firmament Sword Classic!"

"The Divine Firmament Sword Classic… You are sure?"

"Yes, this disciple is certain!"

"Very well!" Xie Fengtang pointed at the golden shortsword held by the statue, and the sword suddenly flashed with a golden light that turned into a sword beam and shot into the air.

The light erupted through the room, and countless images appeared.

As these human figures appeared, they began to shift around. They used sabers, swords, spears, cudgels, hammers, fists, truncheons, and all other kinds of weapons, and they unleashed countless spells. Flames clashed and exploded, and countless flickering words appeared behind these figures. Red lines traveled within the human figures: the paths along which energy traveled. All of these images overlapping each other presented a dazzling and confusing ensemble.

Tang Jie blurted out, "This isn't a sword technique?"

Xie Fengtang chuckled. "Who said that the Divine Firmament Sword Classic is only a sword technique? If the Violet Jade Mantra is the sum of the founder's understanding of the Dao, then the Divine Firmament Sword Classic is eighty percent unrelated to the founder. Rather, when juniors of the sect developed their own Immortal arts, they would record them here."

It turned out that the Divine Firmament Sword Classic was the product of the blood and sweat of many previous generations of the Basking Moon Sect.

When it came to Immortal arts, an older one was not necessarily a better one.

Time was always advancing, and those who came after stood on the shoulders of those who came before, so they were always able to develop better spell arts. Thus, at least when it came to spell arts, the new was actually stronger than the old. Those ancient existences were so terrifying because they had lived long and had cultivated for enough time, and also because it was said that when the world was first created, the Heavenly Dao was made manifest, and so the Dao was easier to comprehend.

Later on, the Heavenly Dao no longer revealed itself, and the Dao became more difficult to traverse. Thus, Dao cultivation declined, and Dao cultivators became Immortal cultivators, spirit cultivators.

The Divine Firmament Sword Classic was an accumulation of the various successful spell arts developed by generations of the Basking Moon Sect, and all of them were bound to be wondrous techniques.

But there were so many of them that Tang Jie would really only be able to learn one or two.

Xie Fengtang said, "In this session of art transmission, there are 1342 suitable spell arts, each with their own mysteries. Focus your mind on the one you wish to learn. Do not try to memorize too many, as that will only scatter your focus."

Art transmission also depended somewhat on luck.

If you had the ability, memory, and perception, you could learn more, but if you didn't have the ability, you could only learn one, and if you were too greedy, you might even learn none.

"You have two hours. Within two hours, how much you comprehend will depend on yourself. Remember: you only get one chance. A big contribution will be required to enter Heaven One Pavilion's ninth floor next time."

Xie Fengtang left with a smile, leaving Tang Jie to comprehend on his own.

He seemed to be implying something with his last words.

Art transmission normally lasted six hours—enough for most people to comprehend one or two powerful spell arts.

But Tang Jie only had two hours. No matter which one he chose, he was bound to not have enough time. In fact, it might just barely not be enough time.

If he wanted more time to comprehend, he would need to make a big contribution. This had always been a rule of sects, not some additional stipulation.

From this angle, if the disciples of the Basking Moon Sect wanted to obtain these Immortal arts, it couldn't be called difficult. They simply needed to make sufficient contributions.

But with Tang Jie's current ability, he had nothing that could meet the sect's standards for contributions other than handing over the Martial Mirror.

In truth, Xie Fengtang was already pressing Tang Jie to hand it over… even if he didn't actually know what he wanted Tang Jie to hand over.

Tang Jie had no means of complaining. After all, this was an additional reward for being the top scorer of the exam, and since it was an extra reward, let alone two hours, he would have had to thank Xie Fengtang for even one minute.

The treasures were far off while the mantra was close at hand. It was up to Tang Jie what to choose.

But everything remained an unknown variable. Xie Fengtang could not have imagined that Tang Jie would say this after he left:

"Two hours… Enough."

A moment later, he took out that formation diagram.

He had known from the start that Basking Moon Academy would play some trick on him when he entered Heaven One Pavilion, and he had naturally come prepared.

Actually, Basking Moon Academy didn't ban disciples from taking notes. After all, there was simply no time to record all the different energy circuits. It was far more effective to rely on one's own knowledge to comprehend and memorize. Thus, Xie Fengtang had not thought about searching Tang Jie.

After all, this was an art transmission, not a jail sentence.

But what Basking Moon Academy hadn't anticipated was that Tang Jie knew formations.

Understanding formations did not mean much. After all, one could memorize formations, but one couldn't bring them along. The problem was that no one knew that Tang Jie had a formation recreation diagram, which instantly resolved all his problems.

The situation was entirely different.

Two hours was enough for Tang Jie to finish what he wanted to do.

Tang Jie took out an ink brush.

He had made this brush using Bai Dan's feather.

When he first received the feather, he had racked his mind thinking of a way to use it.

If he wanted to use it like the fish scale, he would first have to get his hands on some birds.

Clear Sky Mountains had Immortal cranes, but these were mounts for the teachers. Let alone capture them, if he tried to pluck a single one of their feathers, Bai Dan wouldn't forgive him.

Jade Belt Lake had some golden carp, but Li Yu didn't care one bit about them, whereas the Immortal cranes of the Clear Sky Mountains were untouchable. One could say that the lives of beasts were not equal.

Tang Jie had been unable to find an idea, and it was only later on when he went to seek Madam Shui's help that he had an idea and asked Madam Shui to make the feather into a brush. Whether this brush were used for talismans or formations, it would have an excellent effect.

The formation diagram was now unfurled, the diagram empty like a blank sheet of paper. The only exception was a little brightness on the upper right corner. It had various colors of light, like a paint palette. This was where the materials for laying down the formation were stored.

Tang Jie dipped the brush into the palette, then, without taking the brush off the diagram, he drew a stroke, and the formation began to emerge on the paper.

Laying down a formation like drawing a picture!

As he made stroke after stroke, lines appeared on the formation recreation diagram, and a small memory formation began to form.

Tang Jie's brush moved swiftly, and the more he used the brush, the easier the process became.

Xie Fengtang was waiting outside while he was laying down this formation so that he could comprehend more spells than he should have been able to. If Xie Fengtang rushed in right now and saw this, even if he didn't kill Tang Jie on the spot, he would at least strip him of this chance at art transmission.

But Tang Jie felt no fear. On the contrary, this high tension stimulated his focus, driving him to move the brush faster and faster. Each formation line came out like he had memorized it a hundred times, with not a single mistake made.

Even when he was laying down formations before, Tang Jie had never imagined that he could do it so gracefully and naturally. Under heavy pressure, Tang Jie had inadvertently entered a state of absolute concentration. Though he had yet to reach a state of absolute oneness with nature, he had undoubtedly taken a huge step forward.

But Tang Jie wasn't focused on such things. All of his attention was on the formation, and he moved faster and faster, with greater and greater grace and elegance.

Finally, he raised his brush and pressed it down on the center of the formation diagram.

Placing the eye!

With this eye, the formation was complete!

A spiritual light shot out of the formation diagram and spread out, beginning to record the various images in the air.

Whew! Tang Jie exhaled in relief.

He was finally done.

With this memory formation, he could record many of the Divine Firmament Sword Classic's spell arts and then slowly pick through them on his own time.

Alas, the formation diagram had a limit, and this memory formation was much smaller than normal. It was impossible for it to memorize all the spell arts, but this was fine. At least Xie Fengtang wouldn't find out.

In truth, the light exploding from the ninth floor of Heaven One Pavilion was visible even to people outside of the Clear Sky Mountains.

But this was a normal occurrence when art transmission was taking place.

Just like how the large formation outside of the Carefree House had hidden Tang Jie's spirit-gathering formation, the art transmission formation of Heaven One Pavilion's ninth floor concealed that little memory formation… Two hours later, Xie Fengtang entered and saw Tang Jie meditating on the floor.

He waved his hand, and the light of the Sword Classic dispersed.

Xie Fengtang looked at Tang Jie. "How was it? Which one did you learn?"

Tang Jie grimaced.

Xie Fengtang smiled at his expression. "If you failed to comprehend any, there's nothing to be done. The sect has its rules, and you will need to make a contribution…"

Before he could finish, Tang Jie said, "Haaa, this disciple is incompetent and was only able to learn three spell arts, and there’s also one that I was barely able to memorize, so I probably won't get anywhere with it."

"Wh-what?" Three?"

Xie Fengtang was utterly dumbfounded.

Hypersheep325's Notes:

Tang Jie understands that taking the straight and narrow isn't going to get him ahead in life! When life doesn't give you advantages, you have to make your own!

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