AIP - Chapter 127: Double-Layered Lie
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Tang Jie rolled on the ground a few times, feeling like every bone in his body was breaking.
But when he looked up and saw nothing but clouds and mists, he chuckled.
They were finally in the Cloud Marsh!
This location was in the heart of the Cloud Marsh. By fleeing here and using the mists, Gu Changqing was finally able to throw off Wu Xianguang's pursuit. But he was deeply exhausted from the effort, holding his chest and listlessly sitting on the ground.
In the earlier battle, he had been badly wounded, and he had consumed excessive amounts of spiritual energy in the following flight. At this moment, he felt weak all over.
Even so, he carefully observed his surroundings, wary of any possible trap.
The marsh was silent, and they were on one of the few solid patches of ground in the marsh.
They were surrounded by dead and fallen trees. The sunlight was kept out by the mists, making the marsh humid and gloomy.
It was a still and quiet environment. There were no birds here, only the sounds of poisonous insects.
The Cloud Marsh was renowned in the Sageheart Kingdom for being a desolate land. There was nothing here besides mud, turbid waters, poisonous insects, and fiends, sprites, ghosts, and monsters. Thus, few people frequented this place.
After inspecting the area and confirming that there were no problems, Gu Changqing stood up, grabbed Tang Jie, and rammed him against a withered tree, savagely snarling, "Why? Why did you do this? What sort of hatred do you hold against Godhead Palace, that you would go so far?"
Tang Jie sympathetically looked at him. "You finally understand."
Gu Changqing finally understood.
He finally understood what sort of mistake he had made.
The damn bastard!
Tang Jie's goal had never been to protect his secret or protect the Martial Mirror. It had to be to attack Godhead Palace!
He wanted Godhead Palace to die!
To this end, he did not mind using his body as bait to lure the Basking Moon Sect into taking action!
To this end, he did not mind exposing his identity, forcing the Godhead Palace forces to break apart!
He wanted Godhead Palace to pay a bitter price, and a Hawk Hall secret base in the bamboo forest was not enough to satisfy him. He wanted to dig out the majority of the spies that Godhead Palace had hidden in the Sageheart Kingdom.
This campaign alone had inflicted grievous losses on Godhead Palace. Some spies, like Lin Yuanming, had extremely high statuses and had been difficult to nurture, and this was precisely what made their loss hurt so much!
A mistaken judgment on the enemy's strategic objective had been the root of this operation's failure.
Because he didn't know what Tang Jie wanted, Tang Jie had managed to lead them all along by the nose.
It had nothing to do with a lack of wisdom, only with an information asymmetry. Analysis of information that had been fundamentally mistaken had foreordained that this flaw would exist, and this mistake rested in the most crucial part.
Gu Changqing had never imagined that Tang Jie would be this insane. It was only when Tang Jie had used "Celestial Mountains" to personally admit who he was, used that reckless challenge to incite internal strife, that Gu Changqing understood what he had been missing.
"Why?" Gu Changqing asked again.
"Big Brother Xu," Tang Jie replied.
This reply took Gu Changqing by surprise. "Because of him? Because you called him Big Brother?"
"Yes, he treated me as his younger brother!" Tang Jie fearlessly replied, making sure to clearly pronounce every word. "On the night when Big Brother Xu died, when I saw that explosion of spiritual light from Windscreen Ford, can you guess what I did?"
Before Gu Changqing could ask, Tang Jie moved up to Gu Changqing's ear and whispered, "I made a great aspiration, vowing to destroy Godhead Palace!"
Bang! Gu Changqing thrust his palm into Tang Jie's chest, sending him flying.
Gu Changqing stomped his foot on Tang Jie's chest. "With just you, you want to destroy my Godhead Palace?"
Tang Jie replied without flinching, "At the very least, I managed to wipe out the majority of Godhead Palace's strength in the Sageheart Kingdom!"
Gu Changqing shivered.
Yes, regardless of what else happened, Tang Jie had at least managed to do some of what he had vowed.
And he had done it with Gu Changqing's help.
Gu Changqing bitterly laughed. "Yes, I took your bait, killing off the majority of the people Godhead Palace had in this place, but so what? My Godhead Palace has deep reserves and possesses formidable strength. Even if you've killed this batch, we will raise another batch. You watch to destroy Godhead Palace? The dream of an imbecile!"
"I can't kill them, but the Basking Moon Sect might," Tang Jie indifferently said.
"What?" Gu Changqing shuddered. "The Basking Moon Sect?"
He suddenly realized something and blurted out, "Zhao Xinguo? Damn it!"
He instantly understood everything. Grabbing Tang Jie, he shouted, "You intentionally let Zhao Xinguo go, right? You used your blood to cover Wei Yu and Zheng Fei, leaving Zhao Xinguo completely fine, and then you even declared what you had done! This was precisely so that idiot Zhao Xinguo would give up on Wei and Zheng and leave on his own!"
"You finally get it," Tang Jie laughed. "Correct. He believes that all this is a plot of the Basking Moon Sect, and if he gets back to Godhead Palace alive, he'll definitely report everything. As for Wei Yu and Zheng Fei, their purpose is to draw away the Basking Moon Sect and cover his escape. Besides, I don't need too many messengers of this sort, for fear that they might discover a problem when corroborating events with each other. Say, if Godhead Palace finds out that this was all a ploy by the Basking Moon Sect, what do you think they will do?"
He sinisterly said, "One: they will be certain that I'm not Tang Jiye, and so they will give up on investigating and pursuing me. Of course, there's still a chance of a small-scale revenge, but that will give me even more of a reason to keep killing the people of Godhead Palace. Two: they will hate the Basking Moon Sect, perhaps even start a war over it. Even if they manage to temporarily suppress their impulse to declare war, the conflicts in the shadows will intensify. The days of peace between the Basking Moon Sect and Godhead Palace are bound to be over… and who can say that Godhead Palace will be the winner?"
Gu Changqing's body went cold.
Not even in his dreams could he have imagined that Tang Jie would develop this sort of plan.
All of this was a primer to trigger an even greater reaction.
Using himself as a primer, he spurred the Basking Moon Sect into chasing the Hawk Hall.
Using the pursuit as a primer, he caused the Basking Moon Sect and Godhead Palace to stand in opposition to each other.
This bastard was so intent on scheming Godhead Palace's ruin that he didn't even mind pulling everyone into the vortex of war!
This was why he had let Zhao Xinguo go, choosing him because this man was a fool.
He would bring back the information Tang Jie wanted him to bring back and fulfill Tang Jie's expectations…
"Damn you!" Gu Changqing slapped Tang Jie so hard that he knocked him to the ground. "You harmed my Godhead Palace and even put yourself on the chopping block. You madman!"
Tang Jie casually replied, "Who said that I put myself on the chopping block?"
"What?" Gu Changqing froze.
Tang Jie explained, "Being heedless of death and seeking death are two different things. You said it yourself. That I was unwilling to let go of the Heartbreak Saber meant that I had no plans of dying. Nothing in my plans says that I have to die. I just have to be prepared to accept death when my plan fails. But if my plan succeeds, why should I have to die?"
"'Succeeds'? You seem to have forgotten that you are still in my hands! Even if I don't kill you, you think that the Basking Moon Sect will spare you after how you've framed them?"
"They would have to first believe in Godhead Palace's accusations… and do you really think they would?"
Gu Changqing was startled. "They won't believe it?"
"Why should they believe it?" Tang Jie countered. "If you were the master of the Basking Moon Sect, would you rather believe that this was a groundless allegation that Godhead Palace concocted after suffering a major loss, or that this was a plan developed by a boy who wasn't even seventeen to incite two major sects into conflict? Which one do you think is more realistic?"
Gu Changqing felt dizzy.
Age! It was age again!
Using his age, Tang Jie had brashly acted the fool while playing around with everyone in the palm of his hand.
Why did Zhao Xinguo and the others believe in the lie Tang Jie had fabricated?
Because someone of his age couldn't think up a plan like this!
For the same reason, Tang Jie could turn all of Godhead Palace's accusations into groundless allegations and slander! When they angrily accused the Basking Moon Sect of all this, the relations between the two sects would worsen!
If this caused a war, even the need to explain would be gone. Hatred would drown out all the other reasons!
When Gu Changqing understood this, he felt the world around him spinning.
This boy was more like a devil!
Tang Jie sympathetically looked at Gu Changqing. "You don't understand politics."
Those words again.
This time, Gu Changqing understood what Tang Jie was saying. He asked, "This was your plan? Then how, in this plan, did you plan to explain all this to the Basking Moon Sect?"
"It's simple. Even if you remove the part about the Basking Moon Sect's scheme, the lie can still stand on its own. Do you remember when you were brazenly searching for Tang Jiye four years ago? That actually wasn't some big secret."
Four years ago, to find Tang Jiye, both the Basking Moon Sect and Godhead Palace had mobilized on a large scale, and so much activity could never be kept a secret.
Godhead Palace was somewhat better about it, as there was no way they could make their actions too obvious. But the Basking Moon Sect was searching for someone on its own territory, so it had no need to hide anything.
This was precisely why quite a few people knew about Tang Jiye, though no one knew why he was being sought out.
Now, what if there was a boy who inadvertently found out about this incident? He knows that his talent is limited, so in order to get the attention of the Basking Moon Sect, he doesn't even mind becoming someone wanted by the Basking Moon Sect…
Lacking experience, impulsive, daring, reckless, brainless—these were all things that matched with a young boy's intelligence.
As for the truth… that was too complicated. Let alone thinking it, even someone who heard it might not be able to understand what was going on.
Yes, this was Tang Jie's plan.
It was a perfect lie. First, have everyone believe that he was Tang Jiye, and then have everyone discover that this was a scheme, thus freeing him of all suspicion.
In this way, everything about him that seemed similar to Tang Jiye, the things he couldn't hide like his background, became parts of his disguise, evidence that he had fabricated.
In Godhead Palace, Tang Jie existed as a plot of the Basking Moon Sect.
In the Basking Moon Sect, Tang Jie was a young man who was so brave and impulsive as to be heedless of the consequences.
From either angle, the explanations made sense!
This was precisely why Tang Jie, after receiving Lin Dongsheng's invitation, had gone and set a new record at the Celestial Defense Hall, leaving behind a dazzling list of achievements. Because it was only in this period that he could exploit his identity for maximum profit. It was not just to make himself stronger, but because after this incident, Tang Jie would no longer be Tang Jiye.
He would be free of suspicion, but he would also cease to enjoy the Basking Moon Sect's favor, and it would be difficult to extract any further profit from his identity.
Once he understood all this, Gu Changqing shook his head. "They won't believe it. You won't get the chance to explain it to them."
"I don't need to explain it. They probably already know."
Gu Changqing was puzzled at first, but he soon blurted in realization, "That box?"
Tang Jie nodded. "The box had a few letters, written by an elder of the Wei Estate. The letters were written long ago, so there's no chance of it being newly fabricated evidence. Inside them, I'm advised to stop thinking about pretending to be Tang Jiye and to just be myself. Out of respect for this elder, I kept the letters, but they ultimately serve as evidence that exposes my scheme."
Tang Jie smiled as he said "exposes my scheme."
Gu Changqing was so angry that he started shaking. "So that box was for the Basking Moon Sect… You used us to prove that you were Tang Jiye and reaped the profits, and then you used us to prove that you weren't Tang Jiye and wash away the suspicion on you."
"You were running around and massacring merchant convoys for that box. Do you think that the Basking Moon Sect was so dumb that it wouldn't notice? That box is probably already in the hands of the Basking Moon Sect," Tang Jie said with a smile. "I'm sure that Headmaster Xie is very unhappy after reading those letters."
A paper was torn to shreds.
Xie Fengtang's face was purple!
That audacious scoundrel!
Pretending to be Tang Jiye, whom the Basking Moon Sect was after, to obtain the sect's favor and receive resources!? This kid seemed to not even know what the word "death" meant!
"Find that kid and bring him back! He must be harshly reprimanded!" Xie Fengtang furiously ordered.