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AIP - Chapter 101: Unsheathed

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

The next morning, Tang Jie made the unprecedented decision to head to the Seven Celestial Halls instead of going to Tiger Roar Valley.

The old man looked at Tang Jie and nodded. "You haven't been here in some time."

Tang Jie answered, "This student has been going to Tiger Roar Valley for about a month now. Feeling that I have made some progress, I have returned to the Seven Celestial Halls to prove myself."

"Oh?" The elder squinted at Tang Jie. "No wonder you seem slightly different today. It appears that you've gotten something good out of Tiger Roar Valley, that it's changed you."

Tang Jie shook his head. "My body hasn't changed, but my attitude has. This student tasted struggle and brushed against death in his time in Tiger Roar Valley, and was finally enlightened."

"Is that so…?" The elder nodded. "That being the case, go, then, and let me see how well you do."

"Elder, thank you for your auspicious words! Tang Jie will definitely make a breakthrough!" Tang Jie replied, clenching his fists.

He currently had 99 points in the Celestial Defense Hall. Another breakthrough would mean 100 points!

The elder was rather taken aback by his confidence.

The old man suddenly felt that Tang Jie had changed more than he had imagined and was no longer the same Tang Jie from before.

The previous Tang Jie had been calm, cautious, and courteous, but this made him lack the appearance of the vigor and energy of youth. He rarely spoke with gusto.

This had made the old man feel some regret. What sort of youth were they if they lacked sharpness and vigor?

But today, he felt an inexplicable power from Tang Jie.

It was a brash and confident energy, brimming with the will to fight!

It was like a sword finally being pulled out of its sheath, revealing its cold sharpness for all to see!

The sword was finally being flourished!

Within the Celestial Defense Hall, Tang Jie once more battled with those ten puppets.

One puppet after another joined the fray, their offensive power climbing, their mighty punches sending shockwaves through the air, but Tang Jie continued to fearlessly battle them.

Those savage fists and feet struck his body, causing him immense pain, but he did not shrink back. On the contrary, these attacks only incited his fighting spirit. He resisted the attacks, not even glancing at the puppets around him. He stared only at that tenth puppet that had yet to move.

Seven puppets, eight puppets, nine puppets!

As time went on, all nine puppets were activated, their strength enough to blast through a steel bar twenty centimeters thick. They made heavy thumps against his body, like giant hammers.

Bang!

A heavy punch struck Tang Jie's arm, and he raised his arm and punched back. As the puppet went flying back, he jumped out and dodged the attacks of two other puppets while kicking at another. At this moment, another four puppets charged in to suppress Tang Jie.

Tang Jie raised his arms and unleashed an explosive strength from his body, throwing back all four puppets.

"Come on!" he shouted at that tenth puppet that had yet to move.

Finally, that puppet's eyes flashed red.

All nine puppets withdrew as the tenth puppet stepped forward and punched at Tang Jie's chest.

It was that seemingly ordinary and uninteresting punch again, but this time, Tang Jie didn't try to dodge.

There was a look of excitement in his eyes, and even a tinge of bloodthirsty fervor.

As that fist approached, he shouted, "Formless Golden Body!"

That Formless Golden Body that he had kept in hiding all this time was finally activated. He had decided to stop holding back and use all of his strength now.

He raised his fist and punched at the puppet with all his might!

Boom!

A storm ripped through the area, carrying Tang Jie with it. He landed on the ground and rolled. For a moment, he was unable to get up, his entire body feeling like it was falling apart.

Terrifying strength!

The will to fight in Tang Jie's eyes grew even greater. "This is the limit of your strength? Then… again!"

Rather than retreating, he advanced, once more punching at that puppet.

That puppet raised its arm and made its second punch.

Their fists collided, and with another enormous impact, Tang Jie was sent flying.

He felt like his arm had broken, immense pain wracking his body. He raised his head and vomited blood.

But he quickly got back up and laughed. "This really is your limit, huh? Then again!"

He raised his left arm and punched.

Tang Jie had cast aside all other thoughts. All he wanted to do with this puppet was to fight! Fight! Fight!

To have a joyful and refreshing battle!

He had been holding back and hiding for far too long.

He was waiting precisely for the day when he could explode!

Now that this day had finally come, he would use his fists to express his true strength!

Fight!

Boom!

Fists met again and again as Tang Jie and the puppet savagely beat at each other. Rather than some lifeless object, he treated it more like it was his mortal foe!

His mind seethed with fighting intent, burned with passion. He stirred up all the blood energy in his body and punched again and again.

Celestial Defense Hall? Training defense? None of this was important. All that mattered was his opponent!

Defeating his opponent!

All his pain was forgotten, all his exhaustion washed away. Tang Jie felt like some limitless energy was supporting him and allowing him to punch again and again.

Unleashing his berserk will to fight, his steely fists furiously punched with a boom, boom, boom like the crashing of mighty waves.

After innumerable punches, clack! The puppet suddenly stopped moving.

Tang Jie's punch struck the puppet, and then with a bang, the puppet exploded into pieces.

What?

Tang Jie froze.

He had broken the puppet?

Though the puppet was of mortal grade, it was built from essence metal and was incredibly tough. Normal punches and kicks shouldn't have been able to injure it, yet his unrestrained punching had managed to break it. Tang Jie found it hard to believe.

There was a golden flash of light.

He looked down at his feet and saw a golden grain!

A grain larger than any grain Tang Jie had seen before!

The Weapon Mantra?

But he hadn't used the Weapon Mantra. And the Weapon Mantra shattered weapons, so why had this puppet shattered?

Could it be… the Martial Dao?

Had he inadvertently touched upon the Martial Dao?

Tang Jie had a flash of insight.

The Martial Lord had gained dominance through battle!

Only through a fierce will to fight could one truly exhibit the learning of the Martial Lord.

He had never imagined that he could break the puppet.

He had simply wanted to use all his strength to fight as much as he could and get the highest grade possible. As for breaking that Cang Qingfeng's record, he hadn't even thought about it.

It wasn't that he didn't want to. He just lacked the confidence.

But this was also why, when he erupted with fighting intent and fought with all his strength, he had inadvertently reached the domain of fighting for the sake of fighting without regard for the outcome, entering the Dao of the Martial Lord.

This was why he could shatter weapons with a single strike, and why he did not feel exhausted, his blood boiling and his body brimming with energy!

It was a most mysterious feeling. A moment later, this sensation vanished. As he calmed back down and tried to think back to it, he found that he couldn't recall what it felt like.

Ah, forget it. The Dao of the Martial Lord was something that could only be comprehended through battle. Since he had inadvertently touched the threshold, he would undoubtedly be able to reach it again in the future. There was no rush.

But how exactly was breaking the puppet going to be graded?

Tang Jie didn't know, nor did he care.

He was still brimming with the will to fight, so he had no time to think about other things. If there was any problem, the school could have a headache about it. He collected the golden grain, gathered up the broken bits of the puppet, and then used the jade token to leave the hall.

When he appeared outside, the elder glanced at Tang Jie, jumped to his feet, and pointed at him, his voice shaking. "You… you…"

Tang Jie replied, "This student was not careful and broke the puppet. Elder, please inform me on how this is to be graded."

He spoke boldly and confidently, feeling no shame over having broken public property. It was as if he was saying that any problem was the school's to handle, not his.

The old man was stunned by his words. He blurted out, "How… how is this possible? This Blackplate Soldier was built with high-grade essence metal, and even a Hundred Refinement Spirit Master would need to use a powerful spell art to destroy it! How could a Spirit Spring like you do it?"

So the ten puppets were called Blackplate Soldiers.

Tang Jie calmly replied, "Perhaps it was old and not being maintained properly."

Not maintained properly, my ass!

The elder was speechless, but after a while, he suddenly began to laugh. "Good! Great! Kid, good work! In eighteen hundred years, no student of the Basking Moon Sect has ever been able to break a Blackplate Soldier. You are the first! Excellent!"

These ten Blackplate Soldiers were very expensive, but in the old man's eyes, a broken puppet was no problem at all. He was far happier that the academy was playing host to such a monstrous student.

He found Tang Jie increasingly likeable. He looked at Tang Jie's jade token and said, "Eighteen seconds… What a pity. It was only eighteen seconds, unable to reach that… person's strength. But your counterattack was vicious, so it deserves its own record."

He waved his hand, and another row of words appeared on the nearby Spirit Spring Tier record wall.

"Tang Jie, a student of the 1822nd class, established a record in the Spirit Spring Tier of Celestial Defense Hall, lasting for eighteen seconds and destroying a Blackplate Soldier!"

It was on the same line as Cang Qingfeng.

For the first time in history, the Celestial Defense Hall's Spirit Spring Tier played host to two records.

After doing this, the old man looked at Tang Jie and asked, "Tell me: how did you do it?"

Once his happiness had passed, he sought to understand what had happened.

Blackplate Soldiers couldn't be broken by just anyone.

Tang Jie replied, "I went all-out!"

"All-out?" The old man was startled.

Tang Jie replied, "Yes, I fought with everything I had. The only thought in my mind was to fight!"

He didn't explain any more than this.

The Lesser Sea Grotto Metal Mantra, the Jade Shattering Finger, or the Formless Golden Body could serve as explanations for his ability to break a puppet.

But none of these was enough. After all, he hadn't cultivated them for very long.

When you couldn't give a reasonable explanation, you might as well use what appeared like the most unreasonable yet also most reasonable explanation to answer.

A blazing will to fight that stimulated the body, the human body as the world, a treasure house of infinite potential, the eruption of the miniature universe… and so on.

Over the thousands of years, the human body had created countless miracles, and there were countless things that didn't make sense but had really happened. You simply had to believe that there were many things in this world that couldn't be explained.

This incident was just one of many.

To put it simply, I had an explosion of potential!

For love and justice!

This was the reason Tang Jie gave!

The old man was dumbfounded by this answer.

After giving his answer, Tang Jie bowed to the old man and left.

The old man was too shocked by this news, so he failed to notice that Tang Jie had left with the remains of the puppet.

It was only after Tang Jie was gone that the old man came back to his senses with a start. He quickly burned a talisman to notify the academy that someone had set a new record in the Seven Celestial Halls.

hypersheep325's Notes:

The main event is coming up, and for Tang Jie, it's go big or go home!

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Written by Yuanfen 0 缘分0. Translated by hypersheep325. Edited by Michyrr.