Chapter 264: Laying Down a Formation
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Aspiring to the Immortal Path Chapter 264: Laying Down a Formation

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

In the past, Tang Jie had only laid down small formations. He could just randomly pick a spot and lay down the formation according to the basic principles of formations. But this time, he was laying down a massive formation, and things were no longer that simple.

The size of a formation had nothing to do with its grade, only with its range of effect.

But while that was theory, in truth, the larger the formation, the more it required of the formation master. This was comparable to the difference between building a house and building a skyscraper. When the numbers got high enough, there was a qualitative shift, and the complexity became far greater than that of a small formation.

Setting the locations of the Eight Gates alone involved the several dozen kilometers around Old Crow Ridge. In other words, there would be several kilometers between each of the Eight Gates. Such a distance would undoubtedly affect precision, which would in turn affect strength, and perhaps it would even prevent the formation from successfully activating.

Tang Jie had not come to Old Crow Ridge for some Blazeraven Essence. He had a larger goal in mind, and this goal required him to set up a large formation that encompassed all of Old Crow Ridge.

This was Tang Jie's first time setting up such a large formation.

This was precisely why Tang Jie had first made a map and then begun to perform simulations on the map. Not only did this allow him to make accurate simulations, but it also allowed him to observe the terrain and see if he could exploit it.

Besides the difficulty in finding locations for large formations, there was also the problem of material.

The larger the scale, the more resources they consumed. Such a huge formation would cause Tang Jie to go bankrupt, even if he used the most ordinary of materials.

Tang Jie naturally couldn't take out that much money. Fortunately, his master, Xu Muyang, had emphasized the path of nature, the melding of formations with nature so as to borrow the power of the world, so he still had some tricks. But this meant that he had high requirements when it came to terrain.

For example, if he wanted to lay down the Hellfire Formation, the Death Gate would have to be established in fire, and this would rule out placing the Death Gate near a mountain spring. Not only that, he needed the Stop Gate to seal off any water sources. And if he wanted to keep the Death Gate far from water, the best location was at the base of the western slope of the ridge. But the Open Gate and Death Gate needed to resonate with each other, so if the Death Gate were located there, the Open Gate would have to be on the slope.

And upon closer inspection, this location would be right on top of Fragrant Store Cave.

Tang Jie naturally didn't think he could lay down a formation in front of the Illusion Fox's front door without it noticing, so he had to give up on the Hellfire Formation and try another one.

But no matter what formation he chose, none of them could get around the obstacle that was Fragrant Store Cave.

It was like a peg, firmly hammered into Old Crow Ridge and preventing Tang Jie from realizing any of his ideas. He was so angry that he couldn't help but curse, "Shit! It occupies the land nexus! It's no wonder no formation expert has ever come to deal with it!"

The Dao of Formations was very demanding when it came to terrain, so it had very specific categories and descriptions for different kinds of terrain.

The "Formation Treatise" that Xu Muyang had given to Tang Jie had a chapter specifically on terrain, discussing how different kinds of terrain would affect a formation.

Land nexuses were areas where energy converged, and they were the most critical areas in their regions.

To occupy the land nexus was to occupy the land's key location. All formations had to go through this area somehow. But on the other hand, the enemy could also seize this favorable area and even launch a counterattack.

It was like a turning point in a war, a deciding move in a chess game, carrying profound meaning and far-reaching effects.

Fragrant Store Cave had been located precisely on the land nexus of Old Crow Ridge, dealing Tang Jie's plan against the Illusion Fox a heavy blow.

Yes, Tang Jie's true goal wasn't some Blazeraven Essence, but the Illusion Fox.

If Qin Zhou or Wei Tianchong had known this, they would have been so scared that their souls would have fled their bodies.

It had to be understood that this Illusion Fox was none other than an upper-grade Mind Opening fiend, only one step away from Transformation. It was as strong as a peak Mortal Shedding cultivator, and not even Nan Baicheng or Gu Changqing could compare to it. Besides that, this fiend fox had a gang of fiends under it, many of which were at Mind Opening.

For someone of Tang Jie's strength to exterminate this pack of fiends was many times more difficult than singlehandedly holding the Devil Crushing Path.

This was precisely why Tang Jie had placed his hopes on formations. This was his only way to exceed his level and create a miracle. Alas, he hadn't expected an obstacle like this.

"Is it a coincidence, or is this fiend fox versed in formations? That shouldn't be the case…" Tang Jie frowned and looked at the map. There was no reason for a fox to be able to understand formations.

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He once more carefully inspected the map, and his mind began to clear up. "The land nexus has been occupied, but the seat abode is open, the power area still exists, the vital ground is unmanned, and the survival field is cut off… It should be a coincidence, or else it wouldn't have been just the land nexus occupied."

The terrain chapter had spoken of ten critical regions. Foremost was the land nexus, which gathered energy for the formation. After that was the seat abode, which allowed for a complete view of the surroundings. Third was the power area, which could provide energy to tip the battle in one's favor. Fourth was the vital ground, which empowered spell arts. Fifth was the survival field, which provided a path of retreat…

At present, the Fragrant Store Cave only occupied the land nexus, but all the other important areas were unoccupied. This caused Tang Jie to conclude that this fiend fox had merely been lucky. The Fragrant Store Cave was surrounded by beautiful scenery, which had probably played a major role in the fox's choice.

But coincidence or not, this was a huge problem for Tang Jie. He began to ponder on how he could resolve this situation, his eyes constantly going over the map. "With the land nexus occupied, it will be difficult to set up a large formation. The only solution is to shrink the range and set up the battlefield elsewhere. But if I do that, I have to draw out the fox…"

"Isn't that too risky?" Yiyi fearfully said.

A smaller formation didn't just add the danger of drawing out the fox. Crucially, it would be difficult to lure all of the targets into the formation. Once the formation was activated, the fiends on the outside would be on their guard and refuse to enter.

Not only would the formation have captured fewer fiends, the fiends could attack the formation from the outside and destroy it.

But Tang Jie didn't have any other choice.

Creating a miracle was risky business, and he had never hoped that everything would go smoothly.

"Risk is unavoidable," Tang Jie lightly said.

Yiyi was afraid, and she threw herself into Tang Jie's chest and said, "Big Brother, if it's really no good, let's just not do it."

Tang Jie firmly said, "No, to deceive Godhead Palace, I need an avatar on the outside, and this fiend fox is the only one that can do it."

For Tang Jie, the greatest difficulty in entering that secret ground in the Celestial Mountains wasn't the formation, but the surveillance of Godhead Palace.

Ordinary disguise spells wouldn't be able to fool Godhead Palace. The only solution was an avatar.

But only those at the Celestial Heart Realm could create avatars, and not even an extra one hundred years would be enough for Tang Jie to reach this level. Thus, he had to seek alternative methods, and the Illusion Fox was his choice.

The Illusion Fox had the natural talent of Thousandform, so once he killed it and obtained its fiend pellet, he could combine it with the Soul Jade and obtain an avatar.

Tang Jie had figured out this method from the Celestial Treasure Supreme Heart Mantra. The Five Gods Faith had specialized in soul arts. They could even attach souls to puppets, so creating a substitute was no problem. Of course, an avatar created by this method was far inferior to a real avatar. It wouldn't be able to cultivate and would be much weaker than the original. But while it could only serve as a stand-in, there was still very little chance of it being discovered.

According to the Heart Mantra, a Violet Palace Titan would have to be on the scene to detect this substitute, or else someone who had comprehended the Dao of Insight. The average Celestial Heart expert wouldn't be able to tell.

But getting to this point wasn't easy. The Illusion Fox was of Mind Opening's upper grade and not easy to deal with, but this was exactly why he needed to do it.

A major sect like Godhead Palace might be fooled once, but it wouldn't be fooled twice by the same trick. Now that Tang Jie had already made them suffer a loss, Godhead Palace would be treating him much more cautiously.

Logically, it was impossible to fool a large organization if it was being cautious enough. After all, with the power of numbers, they could think of any plan that you might think of.

Mistaken judgments were only created because too many answers essentially meant that there was no answer at all. Thus, the policy makers would normally rule out the answers with little possibility when drafting plans.

And miracles were often established on these "impossibilities".

Tang Jie had spent four years in Basking Moon Academy, and he had gradually begun to understand the behavior patterns of this world.

In terms of mindset, these people were limited by the era they lived in, but in terms of scheming and backstabbing each other, they were on par with the people in the world he had come from.

Tang Jie was sure that Godhead Palace would never think that he would use a substitute. Thus, since ordinary tricks wouldn't work against them, he had to resort to an avatar.

This was because this was "impossible" for Tang Jie to do in Godhead Palace's eyes, and so there was barely any chance that they would take countermeasures against it.

Thus, to create the "big miracle" of defeating Godhead Palace, Tang Jie first had to create the "small miracle" of defeating the Illusion Fox. It was only through the accumulation of countless small miracles that the foundation for a future big miracle could be created.

With his mind made up, Tang Jie began to remake his plan.

Things were much simpler now, and Tang Jie quickly found the place he needed.

The western slope of Old Crow Ridge.

This was a steep and thickly forested slope, waterfalls running off the side and Blazeraven Essences scattered about. Four of the Five Elements were present, and with a replacement for the Metal Element, he could create at least a Grade 3 formation. There were no ore veins in Old Crow Ridge, but he could use materials in their places. In preparation for this, Tang Jie had brought some ore with him.

Once he had found the location, the appropriate formation instantly came to mind.

The Yi Wood Azure Heaven Formation.

This was a Grade 3 formation. He had chosen it because it was a formation that suited the terrain and because this formation, while average in terms of lethality, excelled in defense and restraining the opponent. Since it was impossible for him to entrap all his targets in the formation, the defensive abilities of the formation became more important. The third reason was that Yiyi's flower formation would be more effective in this formation.

His plan set, Tang Jie put away the map and headed for that slope.

With the Illuminating Eye and his own caution, he didn't run into any problems and quickly arrived at this destination, upon which he began to set up the formation.

Green lights began to appear on the slope, thick thorns rising, spiritual energy surging, and water gurgling.

Tang Jie was like a tourist, wandering across the slope, and when he arrived at certain spots, he would carefully select a location and put all his focus into setting up the formation. As for Yiyi, she was in charge of finding Blazeraven Essences. She was a sprite and had the natural ability to communicate with plants, making it easier for her to find things. This together with the Illuminating Eye allowed her to quickly find three Blazeraven Essences. Alas, since there was nothing replenishing Blazeraven Essences on Old Crow Ridge, she ultimately managed to find only these three.

Tang Jie didn't care. The Yi Wood Azure Heaven Formation didn't require much when it came to fire-attribute materials, only enough to keep the formation running.

As this formation was much larger than any he had previously set down, laying it down was rather difficult and time-consuming.

But his luck this time was pretty good, and he managed to get through his work without much incident. By dusk, the Yi Wood Azure Heaven Formation's framework was complete, and he just needed to add some details to finish things off.

Of course, this was also because Tang Jie had decided on a smaller formation, one-tenth the size of what he had originally planned. If he had stuck to his original course, he would have needed seven or eight days to lay down a formation that would encompass all of Old Crow Ridge.

As the formation neared completion, Tang Jie began to relax. At this time, Yiyi ran over, carrying some white grass. She excitedly said, "Big Brother, look! Whiteroot!"

Translator Notes

Tang Jie's plan to take down the Illusion Fox is but a link in the chain of his greater plan.

Novel Notes

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