AIP - Chapter 124: Spirit Identification
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
In the coming days, Gu Changqing ran around the country with Tang Jie and his men, avoiding the pursuit of the Basking Moon Sect while continuing to search for the box.
Of course, he continued to interrogate Tang Jie every day, though he didn't cut off any more arms or legs. After all, it was a hassle running around with a cripple.
Just as Tang Jie had said, if he really cut off Tang Jie's arms and legs, he would have to get someone to carry him around.
Year 347 of Tianshu, 3rd month, 12th day.
Gu Changqing of Godhead Palace led men of the Hawk Hall in kidnapping Basking Moon student Tang Jie.
On the same day, Basking Moon Academy raided the bamboo forest, dealing a heavy blow to the Hawk Hall and forcing Gu Changqing to flee with his remaining men.
On the 13th day of the 3rd month, Gu Changqing traveled one hundred kilometers and made a sudden attack, destroying two merchant convoys in one day and departing in haste.
The Basking Moon Sect informed all the sects throughout the country, large and small, that Gu Changqing was to be killed if found!
On the same day, Lin Dongsheng was executed!
On the 15th day of the 3rd month, Gu Changqing rushed to Min Province and raided Ming City. After killing the Basking Moon Sect's branch supervisor of Ming City and destroying the teleportation formation, he fled.
On the 17th day of the 3rd month, Gu Changqing went through the Dreg Mountains and laid a trap. In this counterattack, the eighteen disciples of the Pine Tree Gate who were pursuing him were killed, along with Pine Tree Gate Elder Yu Hai. Gu Changqing himself sustained injuries.
Enraged, the Basking Moon Sect offered a bounty: Anyone who delivered Gu Changqing's head would be granted one upper-grade Five Energies Sovereign Essence Pill and would be exempt from one year of tribute.
At the same time, it dispatched many excellent experts, such as Du Hongyang, Wu Xianguang, Bei Canghan, and Gu Yifeng, to take charge of the pursuit. Xie Fengtang returned to the academy to preside over the general operation.
On the 18th day of the 3rd month, Du Hongyang pursued Gu Changqing to the Trimountain Lakes, but he was fooled by Gu Changqing's decoy, and Gu Changqing escaped once more with the Five Elements Earth Escape Art.
On the 19th day of the 3rd month, Gu Changqing ambushed another Basking Moon merchant convoy. At this time, everyone in the Sageheart Kingdom knew about Godhead's hunting eagle.
As the Eagle Master of the Hawk Hall responsible for capturing the wanted fugitives of Godhead Palace, Gu Changqing was also an old hand when it came to escaping pursuit. Even though the Basking Moon Sect had sent out large numbers of people to search for him, Gu Changqing was still able to find the opportunity to escape, and even if there were no opportunities, he would create one.
He used feints, diversions, sudden counterattacks, and all other kinds of techniques, playing out a game of pursuit and counter-pursuit.
Through Gu Changqing's good graces, Tang Jie was able to experience how this game played out in the cultivation world.
Unlike with mortals, a pursuit and counter-pursuit in the cultivation world didn't just require experience, but also a diverse array of abilities, and the knowledge to identify these abilities, target them, and undo them. Above all, one had to understand how to exploit one's advantages.
This was a large mountain in Sageheart's Quan Province.
A group quickly moved along the mountain path. This was none other than the Hawk Hall group.
Suddenly, a small and thin man in black at the front of the group raised a hand, and everyone stopped in unison.
Gu Changqing quickly walked over. "What have you found?"
"There are traces of someone having gathered spiritual energy up ahead, not too long ago," the man in black replied. His name was Zheng Fei, and he was an expert when it came to spirit sensing and spirit scouting.
Gu Changqing snatched at the air, as if he was bringing the air up to his nose. He sniffed and frowned. "It's fiend energy. A fiend passed by up ahead, but it's not strong, so we don't need to worry about it. Let's keep going."
The group continued forward.
Tang Jie ran over and curiously asked, "Did you use the Windcatcher spell just now? Isn't the Windcatcher spell usually used to break Wind-type spells? How can you also use it to identify spiritual energy?"
Gu Changqing smiled. "What's identifying the spirit isn't the spell, but the person. Spell arts are rigid while people are flexible. If you can understand this secret, then you can use Windcatcher or even Windwalking for spirit identification."
"I get it. It's like how chopsticks can be used to eat and also to kill. The one who ultimately decides is the user."
"Correct!" Gu Changqing nodded his head in praise.
"But fiends are beasts that are connected to the spirit, their body and spirit fused together. How can you identify them?"
Gu Changqing replied, "While fiends are connected to the spirit, they eat flesh and drink blood, so their spirits have a pungent and ruthless odor. They also have no idea how to conceal it, so heavy traces are left behind wherever they go. Since you scored first place in the exam, you should know that spiritual energy has its own character."
"Yes," Tang Jie replied. "Energy has spirit and can transform, and as it has this spiritual character, it is called spiritual energy. While 'spiritual energy' is only two words, it encompasses all things. It is often able to experience astonishing transformations and achieve fantastical effects."
"Yes, exactly." Gu Changqing nodded in satisfaction. Just like that, he began to explain how to identify fiend spirit.
Tang Jie grew excited and started to try out identifying spiritual energy. As he observed his surroundings, he managed to put on such a good imitation that even Gu Changqing had to sigh in praise. Although he lacked talent in cultivation, he had a truly astounding ability to comprehend. He often needed to only be taught things once, and he was even sometimes able to deduce many more things.
He wanted to get the location of the Martial Mirror from Tang Jie, and Tang Jie wasn't falling to tough tactics, so he had naturally moved on to softer methods.
One person wanted to learn and one person wanted to teach, so they naturally complemented each other.
This sort of thing had started a few days ago. Each time Gu Changqing employed some method to escape pursuit, Tang Jie would ask about how it worked, and Gu Changqing would generously teach him.
While Tang Jie was happily learning, Gu Changqing said, "The art of spirit observation and identification seems simple, but it is the basis of the art of pursuit and counter-pursuit. At the apex, one would be able to observe and detect everything in one's surroundings, and not even the strongest concealment techniques will be enough to hide from you. The next step would be to observe the weather and the skies to conjecture on all things, knowing things that are happening one thousand kilometers away. Though it is yet to reach the profundity of understanding everything by counting one's fingers, the ability to understand from observing the tiniest details is still formidable. In the academy, you should have heard of the tales of powerful Immortal masters. It often takes them a single thought to sense a change in their surroundings. While it sounds mysterious, it is really just because of what I have told you. Of course, while knowing what is happening a thousand kilometers away might sound a little exaggerated, with a Spirit Will, to be omniscient is no problem at all. On the contrary, without this level of awareness, then even a vast Divine Will that can reach out one thousand kilometers would be the same as opening one's eyes and seeing nothing."
Tang Jie was entranced by these words. Gu Changqing smiled. "Actually, my Godhead Palace possesses a vast number of spell arts and a broad array of divine connections. A simple thing like a spirit identification spell is nothing. If you are willing to hand over the Martial Mirror, my Godhead Palace can immediately make you a True Inheritor. All of the True Lords, Celestial Sovereigns, and Immortal Platform Titans will be available for you to choose as your teacher, and you may pick any sort of technique you want. Even, I, Gu Changqing, can be commanded around as your servant. That lost arm of yours can also be regrown. What Basking Moon Academy can give, my Godhead Palace can give you a hundred times over!"
This trick again.
After each lesson, Gu Changqing would always say something like this, and Tang Jie was quite used to it.
Tang Jie sighed. "I knew that you would say this, and I really have thought about it. But I'm not really Tang Jiye, and I don't have any Martial Mirror to give you."
Gu Changqing frowned. "Tang Jie, isn't it too dull to still flatly deny like this by now?"
"I knew that you would say that. You never believe me. Yes, the testimonies of those Anyang people, those past incidents, my many similarities to Tang Jiye, and even the fact that I know formations yet kept that a secret…" Tang Jie chuckled. "You really have too many reasons to believe that I'm your man. Alas… I'm really not!"
He raised his head and looked directly at Gu Changqing. "Whether you believe it or not, I truly am not Tang Jiye."
Gu Changqing was mentally somewhat taken aback.
To tell the truth, he really didn't understand what Tang Jie was trying to do or what sort of meaning denial had at this point.
Was he afraid?
Not at all!
Was he not afraid?
He never admitted to it!
Yes, while everything he had done proved that he was Tang Jiye, he continued to verbally deny it.
Gu Changqing couldn't understand or comprehend why this was the case.
As if he could see Gu Changqing's confusion, Tang Jie suddenly said, "Do you know what your weakness is?"
"What?" Gu Changqing was puzzled.
Tang Jie earnestly replied, "You don't understand politics!"
You don't understand politics!
This was Tang Jie's evaluation of Gu Changqing.
It wouldn't be long until he understood what this really meant, but at this moment, he was dumbfounded.
The deputy Eagle Master of Hawk Hall was being reprimanded by a sixteen-year-old, though he could perhaps be considered seventeen now.
Gu Changqing's face shifted, and just when he was about to teach this bastard a lesson, the Hawk Hall subordinate responsible for watching the rear shouted, "The spiritual energy pulses in the rear have intensified!"
Gu Changqing suddenly turned around and began to make hand signs so quickly that his hands blurred, after which he wiped his eyes. Tang Jie knew that this was the Eagle Eye spell, which allowed observation over an incredibly long distance. With this spell alone, Gu Changqing was practically able to see the future.
Sure enough, a moment later, Gu Changqing said, "It's Wu Xianguang! This man is an extremely powerful fighter. We can't fight him directly, so we'll use a decoy, a flesh substitute!"
As he spoke, all the Hawk Hall disciples used their sabers to slice off a large chunk of flesh from themselves. Tang Jie also had a piece of flesh cut off and thrown to the ground with the rest.
A spell was chanted and a finger pointed at the flesh on the ground. A moment later, mirror images of the Hawk Hall disciples appeared.
Gu Changqing pointed to the side, and the flesh substitutes began to run off in another direction.
At the same time, Zhao Xinguo threw out a Cloud Veil that covered the group.
Before leaving Nadir Hill for Sageheart, he had been given this protective art relic by his mother. He was afraid to use it because it was the possession of a female cultivator, but this art relic had played a vital role in helping them avoid numerous dangers.
A few moments later, a figure flew over them, followed by ten-some silver-armored disciples of the Combat Department. They circled above Gu Changqing's group for a while before going off in pursuit of the flesh substitutes.
Once they were gone, everyone sighed in relief.
Zhao Xinguo was just about to remove the Cloud Veil when Gu Changqing seized him. "Wait."
A few moments later, another person emerged from his hiding spot and flew into the distance.
It turned out that someone else had hidden themselves in the area at some point.
Once that person was gone, Gu Changqing finally said, "Alright, we're good. Let's go."
Everyone sighed in relief.
But at this moment, after taking back the Cloud Veil, Zhao Xinguo grunted, "Go? Go where?"
"Mm?" Gu Changqing looked at Zhao Xinguo. "Ten Kilometer Relay Station, of course. Number 36 has reported that a merchant convoy will be going through there tonight."
"It seems pointless to me," Zhao Xinguo said, an ambiguous tone to his voice.
Gu Changqing frowned. "What do you mean by that?"
"'What do I mean'? I mean that I've had enough!" Zhao Xinguo roared. "Gu Changqing, you're leading us straight to death!"
He was so furious that he didn't even address him as "Eagle Master".
Next to him, Wulang panicked. "Xinguo, how could you speak to Eagle Master like that?"
"I don't care!" Zhao Xinguo bellowed. "We clearly captured Tang Jie, but we're still running around looking for some box. Gu Changqing, you're wasting time, and you're wasting our lives! Look at us! How long do you think we can keep running?"
He gestured at the people around him.