Chapter 266: Soul Refining Pearl (1)
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Aspiring to the Immortal Path Chapter 266: Soul Refining Pearl (1)

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

Tang Jie had barely finished speaking when soft laughter drifted out from all around them.

In the darkness, Old Crow Ridge was cold and creepy. As that sinister laughter rang out, everyone felt an ill wind blow across their hearts, causing their blood to run cold.

Qin Zhou said in shock, "Fiends! Run!"

"You think there's still time?" A cold and sinister voice chuckled.

Black smoke erupted from their surroundings, making it impossible to tell north from south as shadowy figures appeared. Numerous fiends were concealed in the smoke, and the Green Hill Sect disciples didn't know where to go.

"We're done for!" The five Green Hill Sect disciples were all aghast.

The fiends of Old Crow Ridge weren't something they could deal with, so they had been prepared to run away upon encountering a fiend from the very start. But they lacked observation and foresight and did not realize that some dangers couldn't be run from.

Night had fallen, dark smoke lingered, a sinister wind blew, and ghostly energy filled the air. Strange laughter resounded around them, occasionally mixed with frightening bestial howls. These plaintive and strange sounds couldn't but instill fear and panic.

Qin Zhou was the one who reacted the fastest, barking, "What are you standing around for!? Take out the four treasures! We're fighting our way out!"

The sword on his back flew out, unleashing a dazzling white light that cut down a fiend behind him.

The four other Green Hill disciples shook themselves out of their shock and began to attack.

Zhang Chengyun used an Eight Trigrams Token, which let out a light that dispersed some of the black fog.

Luo Yin used a pipa. This pipa lacked any strings, but as she strummed her fingers across it, one could hear the plinking of strings like a clear spring running across stones, the melodious tune suppressing some of the mournful winds.

Ling Jing brandished a silk waistband, which grew larger and larger as it waved in the air, threatening to fill this entire area.

That fatty, Chen Yao, had the most interesting move of all. He turned to a pack of fiends and opened his mouth, upon which a furious vortex erupted from his mouth. It was like his mouth had become a wind tunnel, constantly unleashing powerful wind currents.

As they used their techniques, Tang Jie couldn't help but raise an eyebrow, exclaiming, "Quite interesting."

The Green Hill disciples had been very coordinated—a sign of repeated training—and the effect was also quite impressive.

That strange laughter seemed to have been choked off at the source, the voice suddenly stopping.

The smoke dispersed, as did the ghostly energy, and the fiend beast behind it all was revealed to be a lynx.

This lynx was standing on its hind legs, which was one of the basic indicators of a Mind Opening fiend. While Mind Opening fiends couldn't transform into humans, they could sit, stand, and walk like them. This lynx had ten-some fiends behind it, surrounding the group.

The five Green Hill disciples exhaled in relief upon seeing this. "So it wasn't the Illusion Fox."

The lynx shrieked, "The Great King has no need to deal with brats like you. But since you were able to break through the smokescreen art of this general, you must have some ability. Now, why don't you test my claws!?"

It scratched with a paw, creating five waves of light that shot at the five disciples.

"Watch out!" Qin Zhou yelled. He pointed with his left hand, and the sword flew back into his hand and blocked in front of him. Clang! That lynx claw wave struck the sword and left it vibrating. The other four used their own spell arts to defend, various colors exploding in the air.

The lynx saw that the five had blocked its attack and bizarrely laughed. "You have some skill, but that's all. Hey, kid over there, don't just sit there…"

It was just about to attack Tang Jie, but Tang Jie quickly dodged behind Zhang Chengyun. "This lowly one is of limited abilities and would not dare to strike against the Great King. I ask for mercy."

The Green Hill Sect disciples were furious at his cowardice, Zhang Chengyun even saying, "What are you doing? Get out from there!"

Tang Jie chuckled. "As you said, without the five of you, how could I have dared to enter Old Crow Ridge? Since the five of you are protecting me, please protect me to the end, and Tang Xuan will hand over the Whiteroots and not take a single coin."

"This…" They couldn't help but be angry about how generous he was suddenly being. This was a dangerous situation, and they could barely take care of themselves, let alone look after him.

The lynx was quite happy to hear Tang Jie's words, but then it grew alarmed and looked around. Frantically waving its paws, it said, "Don't speak nonsense. I'm the Mountain-Patrolling General, not the Great King."

"Then you must be the Vice King," Tang Jie said. "General is virtuous and wise, and I am sure that there is no one except the fox king that is above you."

The Green Hill Sect disciples were furious at his shameless conduct and the flattery he was giving the lynx, but the lynx was happy to hear it. However, it still waved its paws and said, "No, even the position of Vice King is taken. Fragrant Store Cave has two kings and four generals, and there can be no messing around with it, absolutely not!"

"'Two kings and four generals'? So Fragrant Store Cave has six Mind Opening fiends in all?" Tang Jie suddenly said.

The lynx was shocked, blurting out, "How did you know?"

Tang Jie explained, "You're at the lower grade of Mind Opening, and you're the Mountain-Patrolling General, so the other three generals must also be at the lower grade of Mind Opening. The Illusion Fox is upper-grade Mind Opening, but its talent is the Thousandform, which means it's not actually a fiend that excels in combat. Thus, the Vice King can't be upper-grade, as that would put the position of Great King in question. Thus, the Vice King must be middle-grade. Ah, so one upper-grade, one middle-grade, and four lower-grade."

The lynx was shocked, and it finally realized what was going on. "You were playing?"

Tang Jie shrugged. "It wasn't a big deal."

Wisdom was a manifestation of various different factors. While there were natural elements to it, there were also some things that could only be nurtured.

When a fiend reached Mind Opening, while they would have intelligence equivalent to a human's, they lacked the nurturing environment, so their intelligence was incapable of turning into wisdom, and so they could not compare to humans in this aspect.

In this aspect, most Mind Opening fiends were actually very stupid, at the level of kindergarteners. They were only smarter than fiends that were not at Mind Opening, and the bloodthirsty life would gradually cause their minds to be clouded. And while they had the ability to speak, they lacked the wisdom to adapt to the situation.

Thus, it wasn't unusual for Tang Jie to fool this lynx. Since ancient times, the number of times cultivators had emerged victorious in battles of wits with fiends was uncountable. It was just that few could do this under the threat of death.

The Green Hill disciples looked at each other, but the lynx was incensed, roaring, "Playing around with this general!? Troops, go!"

The ten-some fiends lunged forward at its command.

Tang Jie swiftly said, "I'll lure away the lynx while you guys take care of the rest. Bao'er, help them out!"

These fiends were all Spirit Sensing fiends, and with Qin Zhou, a Mortal Shedding Realm cultivator, and Bao'er, the five Green Hill disciples would probably be able to deal with the situation.

The five of them were startled, Qin Zhou even looking at Tang Jie and asking, "What did you say?"

"Cut the chatter!" Tang Jie didn't have the time to explain. He flicked an Energy Needle at the lynx while falling back.

The lynx had already been enraged by him, and when it saw Tang Jie attacking it, it angrily screeched and pounced after him.

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It was a lynx, which specialized in short sprints, and after becoming a fiend, it had become even faster. It left behind an afterimage in the air and instantly reached Tang Jie, swiping a paw at him.

Tang Jie raised his saber to block, catching the claws, but a moment later, the claws erupted with light, and five rays of light stabbed into Tang Jie's body.

But Tang Jie had already seen it attack once and had already put up his defenses. The moment the lynx attacked, his body flashed with golden light as he activated the Formless Golden Body.

In two years of diligent cultivation, Tang Jie hadn't learned a lot of new spells, but he had truly mastered the few that had come from the Divine Firmament Sword Classic. Even without the Dao of Insight, just with his Spirit Sea cultivation and the secret arts of the Divine Firmament Sword Classic, he could still fight a battle with an early-stage Mortal Shedding Realm cultivator.

The five rays of light slammed into his body to a clash of ringing metal, but they failed to wound Tang Jie. However, Tang Jie used the impact to fly back, plunging into the forest. But it looked like the lynx had pushed Tang Jie away.

"Don't even think about running!" The lynx pursued, and the man and lynx quickly vanished into the forest.

The lynx saw how fast Tang Jie was and shrieked, arching its body and making a leap. It shot out like an arrow, reaching Tang Jie and swatting a paw at him. But Tang Jie nimbly turned and vanished.

The lynx general was startled, and then it saw a tree rapidly growing in its vision.

"Ah!" The lynx instinctively screamed, and then, boom! It crashed into the tree. As the tree toppled over, the lynx saw stars.

"Why are you fighting with a tree?" a voice asked. The lynx general turned its head and saw Tang Jie standing beneath a tree, saber in hand, laughing at him.

Hiss! The lynx glared at Tang Jie. "Kid, you're seeking death!"

With a screech, the lynx made another flying leap, launching off a tree and clawing at Tang Jie.

The lynx moved extremely fast, and its claws were incomparably sharp. As it flew through the air, nine lynxes appeared, rather like Qi Shaoming's Chill Phantom Clone Slash.

This was the lynx's skill, the clone illusions.

These nine lynxes flashed with eighteen sets of claws, covering Tang Jie from almost every possible angle.

Tang Jie sneered. "Is that all you have?"

He raised his head and swung his saber!

The Heartbreak Saber swung down, but rather than any of the nine clones, it was aimed at the empty space in front of him.

"Aaaagh!" A lynx appeared in that empty space, reeling away from Tang Jie's saber. At the same time, the eighteen sets of claws landed on Tang Jie's body and exploded in a dazzling light.

Crack! Tang Jie's Formless Golden Body crumbled under the lynx fiend's assault.

But while the Formless Golden Body had shattered, Tang Jie himself was unharmed. Meanwhile, the lynx had suffered a long wound on its head from Tang Jie's saber that had almost cut through its skull. It rolled on the ground and then fearfully looked at Tang Jie. "How did you discover my true body?"

Its Clone Illusion spell was its innate spell art. Not only did it create nine clones to attack the enemy, it concealed the original body so that it could launch a sneak attack. This lynx fiend had relied on this Clone Illusion spell to kill numerous formidable foes, even a few Mortal Shedding Realm cultivators. It had never expected Tang Jie to see through it at a glance and heavily wound it.

"You're quite tough." Tang Jie stroked his blade, ignoring the fiend's questions. "I guess that's to be expected of a Mind Opening fiend. Even at lower grade, you can still take a blow from my saber and not die."

"This… this is impossible!" the lynx screeched. "You clearly aren't at Mortal Shedding!"

"Who made it a rule that only a Mortal Shedding could defeat you?" Tang Jie pursed his lips. "Mortal Shedding just means that you can cast major spell arts without constructing a Heaven-Earth Bridge, but in battles of life and death, every second matters. Unlike in large-scale battles, time-consuming great arts are pretty meaningless in one-on-ones. In such a situation, a Mortal Shedding losing to Spirit Platform isn't rare at all. And you're just a puny lower-grade Mind Opening. What makes you think you can crush a Spirit Platform?"

"Nonsense! If you're not in the Mortal Shedding Realm, your cultivation is insufficient, so in a clash of spells, Spirit Platform cannot possibly defeat Mortal Shedding. This general's Clone Illusion has even taken the lives of Mortal Shedding Realm cultivators, so how could you see through it?" the lynx fiend angrily argued.

"Although you lack intelligence, it seems that you have some knowledge." Tang Jie smiled. "I'm guessing the fiend fox taught you this, but I'm wondering what other tricks you have."

He swung his saber again.

The Windcleaver!

This swing was done with incredible speed. After the first attack, the lynx knew that Tang Jie was no easy opponent and did not dare to try to block. With a strange yelp, it jumped into the air, at the same time forming three wind blades that sliced at Tang Jie.

These three wind blades were clearly unusual. They had been substantialized and had a cold and biting light, but Tang Jie ignored them, aside from activating the Aquagel Shroud and the Formless Golden Body. Meanwhile, the sharp light of the Heartbreak Saber sliced at the lynx's left leg, biting deep into the flesh and almost cutting off its paw.

The lynx howled in pain, unleashing energy from its body to try to push Tang Jie away.

But Tang Jie continued to push through, grabbing the lynx and throwing it to the ground, instantly causing the lynx to see stars.

The lynx was an agility type that relied on its Clone Illusion spell and its incredible speed to essentially become an assassin. But it had run into Tang Jie, who was essentially a tank, its direct counter. Tang Jie didn't even use many spell arts against it, just grabbing it and beating the life out of it.

As he beat the lynx down with berserk strength, the lynx screamed long and hard, the sound traveling into the distance.

"Trying to call reinforcements?" Tang Jie coldly laughed. Bringing his fingers together into a blade, he stabbed into the lynx's belly, punching a small hole in it.

Tang Jie pulled out that mysterious pearl from his bag. With a slight jolt of spiritual power, he broke the pearl out of its stone shell, and he immediately felt a pulse of fear. Fortunately, it was only for a moment, for as he felt this pulse of fear, he threw the pearl into the lynx's body, after which he cut off the lynx's legs and rapidly fell back.

He had drawn out the lynx firstly to eliminate a Mind Opening fiend of Fragrant Store Cave, and secondly to test the power of the pearl. This pearl was just too bizarre, and Tang Jie did not dare to test it on himself, nor could he let other people see him experimenting with it.

The lynx couldn't get up with its four limbs severed, and it madly twitched with the pearl inside. Tang Jie saw a shadow rise from its body—clearly that of the lynx. It was constantly struggling, contorting in pain, just like how Tang Jie had appeared back at the secret market.

As time passed, the lynx's shadow solidified, until finally, it broke free from the lynx's body and then, whoosh! It became a plume of black smoke and entered the pearl, after which the lynx went stiff.

Tang Jie cautiously grabbed the pearl, and he then realized that the frightening sensation was no longer there. Inside the pearl was a little lynx phantom.

"A soul-seizing pearl?" Tang Jie murmured.

He had made up this name himself, as the scene just now was very similar to that of a soul being seized.

But if this was an offensive art relic, then this pearl took too long to seize the soul, and the process could be interrupted. Thus, it was basically useless in battle.

But it couldn't be said that it wasn't a treasure, for this pearl was so weird and mysterious that it could even drain the essence from Softscent Jade. It was truly an unreasonable existence.

Did it have some other use?

Tang Jie once more looked at the lynx phantom in the pearl. He suddenly had an idea and sent spiritual energy into the pearl.

A moment later, the lynx phantom in the pearl moved, charging out of the pearl and lunging at Tang Jie.

Tang Jie threw away the pearl, and saw the lynx soul being dragged back into the pearl. It was unwilling to go, flailing its claws at Tang Jie and screeching, but these sounds ceased once it had been pulled back in.

The lynx soul flashed, and Tang Jie saw words appearing in the pearl. As he looked at them, a surprised smile slowly formed on his face. "I get it now…"

He finally understood what this pearl was.

It wasn't a soul-seizing pearl, but a soul-refining pearl, a Soul Refining Hell!

Translator Notes

Tang Jie dabbling in some wicked arts here. Maybe he's going to change classes into Necromancer?

Novel Notes

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