AIP - Chapter 102: News
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
In his small courtyard in the bamboo grove, Xie Fengtang was playing chess with the white crane. They were evenly exchanging blows on the board, and it was difficult to tell who was winning.
A message talisman flew in and landed in Xie Fengtang's hand.
Xie Fengtang creased his brow.
He didn't like it when someone disturbed his chess time.
Particularly when he was about to lose.
It was the white crane who prompted, "It must be a big deal if someone is asking for you at a time like this."
"How bad could it be? Probably something trivial like a careless student getting injured during sparring, or else someone who broke the rules and needs to be expelled," Xie Fengtang casually said.
Despite that, he still opened the message to look.
Not paying much attention to it, he said as he read, "See? I was right. It's just some student setting a record in the Celestial Defense Hall, not a big… Establishing a new record?"
Xie Fengtang's voice suddenly hit a new vocal range.
Only now did he come to his senses, and his gaze became fixed on the message talisman. The news atop it had left him flabbergasted.
After eighteen hundred years, even for the Basking Moon Sect, a new record was no minor affair.
Even the white crane raised her head in shock. "What did you say? Someone broke the Celestial Defense Hall's record? Who was it?"
"Tang Jie…" Xie Fengtang spoke with some difficulty. "He wasn't able to break that one's record, but he established a new record… breaking the Blackplate soldier… How is that possible?"
The white crane disappeared, replaced by a woman clothed in robes as pure white as snow.
"I will inform the headmaster."
The Celestial Defense Hall.
Qi Shaoming confidently made his way to the Seven Celestial Halls.
He had buried his head in training as of late, and he had grown proficient in all his spell arts. He planned to get one hundred points in the Celestial Defense Hall this time and become the first in his class to get a full score, thus protecting his honor as the number one genius.
He wanted everyone to know that Qi Shaoming was not just a cultivation genius, but also a spell art genius. It wasn't just because of his nine-cycle Jade Gate that he had been able to get this far!
He arrived in front of the record wall, and as was his habit, he glanced up.
And then he froze.
"Lasting for eighteen seconds and destroying a puppet? How is that possible?" Qi Shaoming felt like he had been struck by lightning as he stared in disbelief at the record on the wall.
In just one night, Tang Jie had jumped from 99 points to establishing a new record?
The gap was so big that he almost fainted.
"I don't believe it!" Qi Shaoming angrily shouted.
But no matter how unwilling and angry he was, the words on the wall clearly displayed Tang Jie's grade.
The Divine Battleground.
Cai Junyang was in the middle of a pitched battle with another student.
Beams of sword light swept across that student, making him incapable of countering.
"Hyah!" With a shout, Cai Junyang threw back his opponent with his sword and then kicked him to the ground.
He had won another bout.
He was in good condition today, winning eight in a row. If he could win two more, he could get onto the ranking.
After taking his opponent's lot and leaving, Cai Junyang went to see what the rankings were, but he spotted countless students leaving in droves, chattering on about something. He couldn't help but be interested.
He grabbed a student and asked, "What happened?"
That student shouted, "Apparently, Tang Jie set a new record at the Celestial Defense Hall! He lasted for eighteen seconds and destroyed a puppet! Everyone is heading over to the record wall to confirm it."
"What?" Cai Junyang was flabbergasted.
The Meditation Garden.
Wei Tianchong was practicing a new spell he had learned, Fireball.
The Fireball spell was one of the most practical spells in Basking Moon Academy. It wasn't weak and had a short art manifestation time. Its only weaknesses were that it didn't fly very quickly and wasn't particularly stealthy. But it was pretty good when paired with a puppet.
Wei Tianchong produced a fireball and pushed it out with both hands. The fireball flew out and struck a target, blasting it into bits.
Wei Tianchong looked at the chunks of wood and nodded in satisfaction.
But he still wasn't proficient enough with the art manifestation, so it took him seven or eight seconds to cast the spell. True mastery would take a lot more work.
His older brother had come to visit him a few days ago, and when he saw that his little brother was learning a lot of spells, he once more rebuked him for not properly studying. His older brother believed that he should be working on improving his cultivation level. How would learning spells at the puny Spirit Spring Tier benefit him?
He had no hope of getting onto the rankings, so no matter how well he practiced his spells, it was all in vain.
But Tang Jie had said that when he reached the Spirit Lake Tier and could learn even better spell arts, wouldn't he have to start from the beginning with them? By learning some lower-tier spells, he was actually preparing for higher-tier spells. Moreover, a spell art that one was familiar with would always be more meaningful in battle than a stronger spell that one wasn't familiar with. It was impossible to comprehensively plan for the future, and one had to seize the opportunities presented before them now.
Both sides had their arguments, and Wei Tianchong didn't know which to choose.
"Haaa, which one should I listen to?" Wei Tianchong put a hand under his chin and pondered.
At this moment, Shi Meng rushed inside, shouting, "Young Master! Young Master!"
"What happened? Why so frantic?" Wei Tianchong lazily replied. "As a student, I cultivate the path of Immortality. What I seek is to not panic when the sky is falling, to remain unperturbed when the blade is at my chest. Your behavior brings shame upon your master…"
"Tang Jie set a new record at the Celestial Defense Hall!"
"What did you say?" Wei Tianchong jumped to his feet.
Shi Meng repeated his words, and then he shouted, "Lasting for eighteen seconds and destroying a Blackplate Soldier! It's all written down on the record wall! It's a new record for the Spirit Spring Tier!"
"A new record?" Wei Tianchong was dizzied by this news.
Suddenly, he erupted in laughter. "My servant student made a new school record! Wonderful! My Wei Clan has to bask in this glory!"
He jumped and whooped as he charged out of the Meditation Garden, shouting, "Tang Jie is my servant student! Tang Jie is my servant student!"
"Don't panic when the sky is falling, Young Master! Don't panic when the sky is falling!" Shi Meng ran after him.
Dust Departing Pavilion.
To depart dust was to distance oneself from the red dust of the mortal world, severing the six desires.
The human body possessed six desires: sight, hearing, scent, taste, touch, and want. But in the Thousand Passions Sect, the six desires represented six realms: action without trace, speaking without voice, energy without shape, art without form, heart without dust, and Dao without obstruction.
"Action without trace" meant that those in this realm should be able to use flight spell arts so as to leave no trace of their movements. "Speaking without voice" meant the ability to use sound spell arts so that one could use spells without the slightest sound, thus catching enemies off guard.
"Energy without shape" and "art without form" referred to the ability to circulate and control spell arts. The former referred to compressing the time it took to cast spells, while the latter involved adding more effects onto spells.
As for "heart without dust" and "Dao without obstruction", these referred to even higher levels. It was said that few within even the Thousand Passions Sect had truly grasped them.
"Dust Departing" reflected a pursuit of a heart without dust. As for Dao without obstruction… this was a realm spoken of only in the legends. It had been far too many years since anyone in the Thousand Passions Sect had reached this realm.
An Rumeng was sitting in front of a bed of flowers, reading a book.
This was a new habit she had developed recently. She had discovered that this could allow her to more quickly reach the realm of a heart like placid water.
A heart like placid water was a basic requirement to cultivate the Heart Questioning Mantra.
The Heart Questioning Mantra originated from the Violet Jade Mantra and was a product of the Basking Moon Sect's founder, the Water Moon Celestial Sovereign. Its most defining trait was that it cultivated the heart. Successfully cultivating this mantra would allow one to see through delusions and expel anger. It was one of the most effective ways of suppressing Heart Demons.
The Thousand Passions Sect had always had bizarre spell arts that were known for being quick to cast, but they were always lacking when it came to cultivation of the heart. They did not teach one how to conduct oneself humanely. On the contrary, cultivating their spell arts was liable to create Heart Demons.
The Basking Moon Sect emphasized the Origin Heart, which countered Heart Demons. But when it came to spell arts, they were very inflexible. Their spell arts were powerful but slow to cast, so students would usually pick strong spell arts early on.
The mantras of the two sects complemented each other, resulting in their thousand-year friendship.
The other four major sects had similar relationships with each other.
Horizon Ocean Pavilion was proficient in cultivation realms and combat, but it wasn't as good in the miscellaneous arts. The Seven Absolutions Sect had many legacies and was strong in all the various subfields, but it was very average when it came to pure cultivation and spell arts.
Godhead Palace excelled in defense and fared poorly in offense, and while it had powerful killing moves, it was weak in ordinary combat. The Beast Refining Gate was the exact opposite. With powerful refined beasts, it excelled in ordinary combat but lacked powerful killing moves, thus supplementing Godhead Palace's weakness.
Each of the six major sects had their pros and cons, and the members of each pair complemented their counterpart. On the basis of shared welfare, they eventually formed three alliances.
"The mind has no set desire, and the demon has no fixed shape. The desire decides the Heart Demon. First, question the Origin Heart, making the mind one… first, question the Origin Heart, making the mind one…"
An Rumeng softly muttered. As she held the book in her hand, she recalled the words of the Heart Questioning Mantra.
Heart Demons were formed from a person's thoughts and spiritual energy. As one's thoughts were constantly changing, Heart Demons also came in many shapes and sizes.
According to the Heart Questioning Mantra, to deal with Heart Demons, one first had to make the mind one. Only when the mind was pure could one see through delusions and not be fooled.
But people in this world had countless matters on their mind. How could the mind truly be made one? Probably only an imbecile could truly achieve such a thing.
The Heart Questioning Mantra naturally wouldn't make a person resort to such extreme methods. It told the cultivator to place their heart on the Great Dao, pointed directly at the Origin Heart, and only then could the mind be made one, miscellaneous thoughts cleared away, and the heart resolved.
"Heart on the Great Dao, pointed directly at the Origin Heart… but the Origin Heart is not on the Great Dao…" An Rumeng suddenly muttered.
She softly shook her head. "Ah, forget it. Wherever the heart is, in the end, it's all about focusing the mind on a single thought."
She continued to read.
But while her eyes were on the book, her mind was drifting about the heavens.
At this moment, someone charged into the courtyard. It was a female student, and she shouted at An Rumeng, "Rumeng! Rumeng!"
"Yan'er, what has you hollering like this?" An Rumeng closed the book and frowned.
"Tang Jie… Tang Jie… It seems that he set a new record at the Celestial Defense Hall!"
"What did you say?" An Rumeng stood up, causing the book on her knee to fall to the ground.
"Tang Jie challenged the Celestial Defense Hall, lasting for eighteen seconds against the tenth puppet and destroying a Blackplate Soldier! It's all recorded on the record wall!"
"A Blackplate Soldier?" An Rumeng gasped.
But a moment later, she closed her eyes. Her chest heaved up and down for a few moments before quickly calming back down.
She softly and indifferently said, "I see."
On this day, the news that Tang Jie had set a new record at the Celestial Defense Hall grew wings and swiftly flew across the academy. It wasn't long before all the students and teachers knew about his feat.
For a moment, Tang Jie was the hottest topic of conversation among the students.
The Student Forest.
Gu Changqing was also flabbergasted after hearing the news.
But unlike other people, after his initial shock, Gu Changqing asked a string of questions. "Who can tell me why Tang Jie chose this moment to set a record at the Celestial Defense Hall? Is it a coincidence? Or intentional? If it's intentional, doesn't that mean he was hiding his strength? Since he was hiding his strength, why would he suddenly reveal it now?"
No one could answer him.