AIP - Chapter 84: Celestial Defense Hall
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
For the next few days, Tang Jie devoted his energy to helping Wei Tianchong gather information, organize it, and analyze opponents. In addition, he ultimately helped Wei Tianchong choose the Mistnet Step and the Evilhook Shadow Soldier.
The Mistnet Step was a kind of evasive art that specialized in quickly dodging in a small area. The Evilhook Shadow Soldier was a spell that summoned shadow soldiers to assist one in battle. Among the lower-rank spells, it was of the more practical kind.
Tang Jie had already decided to have Wei Tianchong walk the path of the summoner. After all, this kid disliked work and enjoyed comfort, so this was the best for him. This was the reason he had picked the Evilhook Shadow Soldier for him.
The Evilhook Shadow Soldiers were the lowest tier of shadow soldiers, and their fighting power was limited. But they were rather good at holding down the enemy, and served as excellent hindrances.
The strategy Tang Jie had devised for Wei Tianchong was very simple: evade with the Mistnet Step, disrupt with the shadow soldiers, and attack with the puppet.
At the Spirit Disciple phase, spells were limited in power, so most Spirit Disciples chose the same path as Tang Jie and Zhuang Shen, joining spells to a martial arts basis, and so most of their attacks were close-ranged.
As for Spirit Sea Tier and above, one would have ten thousand drops of spiritual liquid and be more proficient in many spells. This was when spells started to fly back and forth.
Wei Tianchong's current cultivation direction was to target a certain part of the student body, and these students were competitors for the top five. If he could overcome this trial, Wei Tianchong's chances would soar. Besides that, this sort of battle via exhaustion by relying on subordinates didn't consume much spiritual energy, so it was perfect for a protracted battle.
Once Wei Tianchong grew proficient in these spells and then learned one or two long-range spells, he would essentially be a magician countering a warrior.
What followed was bitter training for Wei Tianchong. No matter how much he countered his opponents, he still needed a basic level of strength to fully exhibit his advantage.
After resolving Wei Tianchong's problem, Tang Jie could finally focus on himself.
But rather than showing off his power on the sparring ground like everyone had anticipated, Tang Jie didn't even go.
He went to the solo training area.
The Divine Battleground's solo training area was on the other end of the valley, far across from the sparring training area. Its official name was actually the Spell Art Specialized Training Zone.
He walked past the training ground, went through the mountain valley, and arrived in a forest that was awash with bird song and the aroma of flowers. He saw several palace halls towering in the distance, a perimeter wall around them.
Tang Jie counted them and found that there were seven in all. Each one had a nameboard in front of it: Celestial Pivot, Celestial Flash, Celestial Pearl, Celestial Simulation, Celestial Execution, Celestial Variation, and Celestial Defense.
These were the illustrious Seven Celestial Halls.
Tang Jie knew that these names actually corresponded to different categories: attack (Celestial Execution), defense (Celestial Defense), evasion (Celestial Flash), endurance (Celestial Pearl), adaptation (Celestial Variation), agility (Celestial Pivot), and integration (Celestial Simulation).
Each hall had its corresponding requirements when it came to spells, and the testing and training focused precisely on these requirements.
An elder sat in front of the entrance to the halls. There was a table next to him which was piled with jade tokens. He glanced at Tang Jie and said, "Name and tier."
"Tang Jie, Spirit Spring Tier."
The old man took a jade token and wrote upon it his name and tier. He then threw it over and said, "This is your teleportation token that will take you into the Seven Celestial Halls. You may enter each hall only once. Spirit Spring takes the first door on your left."
Tang Jie looked at the jade token. A complex formation diagram had been carved into it—presumably a teleportation formation. But it could only be used to travel inside and outside of the halls. At the same time, this formation also kept track of his grade.
Tang Jie hung it from his waist with his point card, and after some thought, he decided to go for Celestial Defense Hall first.
He cultivated the Visceral Manifestation and Parting Classics, and his constitution was much tougher than average. He wanted to see how good it was at resisting attacks.
He arrived in front of Celestial Defense Hall. There was a notice in front of it, upon which was written:
"This hall is for training defensive abilities. After receiving a token, you may enter. No equipment is permitted. You may enter the hall once a day, and if you find the challenge to be beyond your power, activate the token to be teleported outside of the palace. Don't lose your life just because you're trying to be brave!!!"
The three exclamation marks in a row were to emphasize that the students were not to risk their lives.
Although Basking Moon Academy's cultivation didn't require people to lose their lives, there were always those people who tried to play with their lives.
Tang Jie entered the first door on the left, upon which his surroundings changed and he was transported to a closed area.
This area wasn't large and was all gloomy. A row of black-armored people stood in front of him.
"Puppets?" Tang Jie called out in surprise.
He could tell at a glance that these ten black-armored people were all puppets. Their bodies were thickly covered in formations that flashed in the gloom.
The moment Tang Jie appeared, a black-armored puppet charged out and punched at him.
Tang Jie instinctively dodged, but he found that the puppet was incredibly fast, instantly charging to his side, punching at his lower abdomen and sending him flying.
Though this punch seemed savage, there was more driving force than there was shock, so Tang Jie wasn't badly hurt.
The black-armored puppet quickly delivered another punch to Tang Jie's chest.
Tang Jie realized that while the puppet could move quickly, the punching speed wasn't anything to write home about. This was presumably an opportunity the school gave for students to use spells.
Despite this discovery, Tang Jie didn't use any sort of defensive spell, letting his body take the hit. He discovered that this punch was slightly stronger than the first one.
The black puppet continued to savagely beat Tang Jie, each punch stronger than the last. Tang Jie was determined to test just how strong his body was, so he constantly waved around his arms to block.
The puppet continued its merciless beatdown, getting stronger and stronger until its punches reached the point where they could shatter stone, at which they stopped getting stronger. At this time, Tang Jie heard a soft beep from the jade token.
Another black-armored puppet charged out. Just like the first, it began to savagely beat Tang Jie.
Tang Jie immediately understood that these ten puppets represented one hundred points, with each puppet representing ten points. Only by blocking the attacks of all ten puppets would one get one hundred points. As for the record, it was naturally about how long one could last.
Upon realizing this, Tang Jie decided to fight it out with the puppets.
As time went on, Tang Jie had to deal with more puppets. Once he was dealing with three puppets at once, he began to feel like he was hitting his limit.
Though their punches couldn't deal too much damage to him, his body was beginning to ache from the accumulated beating.
Moreover, with the increased number, blocking grew more and more difficult.
At this time, Tang Jie blocked a hammering blow from one puppet, but the other two puppets flanked him, each one punching at his waist. Thankfully, they were restrained by their formations from attacking his head.
Even so, Tang Jie was still forced into a retreat. A moment later, the fourth puppet rushed out and gave Tang Jie a savage kick.
This was a heavy kick that was stronger than any of the previous punches.
"Shit! The level went up!" Tang Jie cursed. When these puppets reached a certain number, they would get a little stronger. Previously, they had used nothing but their fists, but when the fourth one came out, they started using their feet.
He rolled and jumped to his feet, but before he could get his footing, a puppet rammed its head into his chest and sent him flying again.
Alright, so they can use their heads too.
Tang Jie rolled on the ground and vomited blood.
He saw two puppets charging at him, raising their feet in unison to stomp on him.
Tang Jie could only raise his hands to defend, but another puppet rushed up and kicked him in the waist, almost breaking his bones.
The four puppets were attacking him all at once.
With no better option, Tang Jie activated the Formless Golden Body. Eight fists punched at Tang Jie's body, but the impacts made metallic clangs.
The powerful backlash caused all four puppets to pause. Tang Jie rolled out of the way and hastily got to his feet. Only then did he have a chance to sigh in relief.
With the support of the Formless Golden Body, he had increased his defensive powers and could hold out for a little longer.
But Tang Jie wasn't satisfied.
He shook his head. "Is this as far as I can go? That can't be."
He slapped the jade token. The four puppets were charging at him, but when he slapped the token, he transformed into a light and vanished from the space. He appeared once more outside the entrance.
The old man at the entrance glanced at Tang Jie. Looking down, he said, "Forty-one points, not bad among the new students. But for students with the Formless Golden Body, it's somewhat lacking. When it comes to points in the special training halls, there's a big difference between the first fifty and the last fifty."
Tang Jie was surprised to hear this. He wasn't surprised that the old man knew the spells he had, but he was surprised that points became more difficult to get the more points he had.
But when he recalled how the puppets suddenly got stronger when the fourth one joined in, he somewhat understood.
However, Tang Jie wasn't worried. His primary goal here was to test himself, not to pass the trial, so he didn't care too much about the points.
Thus, he respectfully said, "Yes, this student has only begun to learn the Formless Golden Body and has yet to gain proficiency, hence my unsatisfactory performance. This student is certain to train harder when he gets back."
After saying farewell to the elder, Tang Jie didn't leave. Instead, he found a corner to rest.
He was currently considering a problem. The Parting Classic's body-refining was not as effective as he had thought.
Though it was comparable to a low-class spell when it came to strengthening the body, this was still a secret art cultivated by the Martial Lord.
Putting aside the three years cultivating the Visceral Manifestation Classic, he had bathed himself two times according to the methods listed out by the Parting Classic, investing several thousand spirit coins, yet this was all he could get? The effect was less than if he had put on a piece of armor, but this shouldn't have been the case.
Was he not cultivating it correctly?
Tang Jie couldn't help but wonder.
As was his habit, Tang Jie circulated the mantra while he pondered. The wounds inflicted by the puppets were gradually neutralized by his recovery ability. Tang Jie suddenly realized that his recovery speed was somewhat faster than usual.
Tang Jie had a startling realization.
He shouted, "Damn, how could I forget? I need to get beaten up to improve!"
He suddenly recalled the realization he had made when Wei Tianchong was whipping him.
The Martial Lord's body-refining mantra nurtured the constitution, but its various abilities required the right conditions to trigger.
In these last few years, no matter how Tang Jie cultivated, he couldn't beat himself up every day. His long runs every day primarily increased his endurance and his thick blood strengthened his recovery ability, but he lacked opportunities for combat, meaning that he could not make his body as tough as diamond. He had obtained his current constitution by triggering the conditions for the other kinds of body refining, but he had never triggered all of them.
Even the body refining of the Parting Classic had only endowed him with greater potential. He still needed to be beaten to stimulate it.
And today, in Celestial Defense Hall, he finally got the beating he needed. Perhaps because this potential had been accruing for ages, this one time had allowed Tang Jie to make a lot of progress.
"It seems like I'll have to go to Celestial Defense Hall to get beaten every day. If I can get one hundred points without using a single defensive spell, then that gets me exactly what I need. I get resources while also preserving a hidden card," Tang Jie concluded.
While he did want to leave his name on the ranking and get resources, what troubled Tang Jie the most was getting good grades while also preserving some of his strength. And now, one of these Seven Celestial Halls was shining a ray of light toward him.