Chapter 333: Counter Control
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Aspiring to the Immortal Path Chapter 333: Counter Control

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

In a quiet forest, a yellow light suddenly drilled out of the ground.

It was followed by a human figure, which crashed into a tree before dropping to the ground.

It was Tang Jie.

But Tang Jie was covered in so many wounds that he hardly seemed human.

Most frightening of all was his back, which had had a large chunk of flesh shorn off, causing Tang Jie to bare his teeth in pain. But he still threw his head back and laughed, "A fish that breaks out of the net doesn't care if it lost a few scales, only that it survived."

Upon seeing this, even Heng Wudi couldn't help but comment, "This kid's pretty tough."

Cultivators had always valued courage, and while Tang Jie might not have been admirable in other aspects, this boldness drew the admiration of the crowd.

Jumping off the ground, Tang Jie waved a hand, and a small red flower growing beneath a tree in the distance flew into his hand. He plucked off the petals and then squeezed white liquid from its roots into his mouth. He then opened up his Mustard Seed Bag and took out some medicine to treat his wounds.

The liquid squeezed out of the root of the Redcrown Flower could greatly increase the speed at which a cultivator could recover from wounds. But a single Redcrown Flower could be made into an entire bottle of medicine. Taking it directly like Tang Jie had done was a terrible waste. Thus, the academy had never taught such wasteful methods to the students, so it was surprising that he knew this. Of course, he was able to get He Chong to teach him ways of boosting his spiritual energy, so it was naturally easy to learn other things from him as well.

After applying the medicine, Tang Jie flew into the air to see where he was. The Minor Five Elements Escape Talisman had taken him pretty far, far out of the range of the formation. If not for the blessed land's area restriction, he might have been taken straight out of Red Plum Ridge.

He saw dark clouds gathered on the western end, pillars of smoke rising to the heavens. This was the location of the formation. Tang Jie knew that he didn't have time to waste, so he flew over.

There were many ways to break a Smoke Net Formation, but for Tang Jie, there was only one: stealing the Stop Gate Banner.

The Stop Gate Banner, as befit its name, naturally needed to be placed at the location of the Stop Gate.

The Smoke Net Formation had been formed around a mountain, and it covered a huge area. Peng Yaolong and his group were located at the Injury Gate, but the Stop Gate was located at the rear of the mountain, so Tang Jie began to make his way there.

When he arrived, he saw that thick black smoke had engulfed the entire area, making it impossible to tell direction. While the Smoke Net Formation had some role in this, this was primarily the work of the Black Cloud Banner. The two of them combined had managed to blot out the treasure light of the Stop Gate Banner, preventing it from being discovered.

But this was no trouble for Tang Jie. With a slight exertion of his eyes, he was able to pierce through the smoke and spot that rainbow light.

Tang Jie stepped into the darkness.

The smoke at the back of the mountain was even thicker than the smoke at the front. He couldn't even see the hands in front of his face, so the spectators outside certainly couldn't see anything. But Tang Jie walked around completely unaffected, like he had natural night vision.

He hadn't gotten far before there was a howl of wind.

Tang Jie quickly stopped, and a blade of wind brushed past his face.

While this area wasn't where the formation's power was focused, it was still within the formation's defensive radius. As he got deeper, the formation's various defensive measures would start to activate.

But for Tang Jie, who was adept in observation and the Dao of Formations, counterattacks of this level couldn't hurt him. As he ventured deeper, the formation howled with wind and burst with the light of various spell arts, but none of them was able to hurt him.

The deeper he went, the more frequent the attacks became, and they slowly increased in power. Even Tang Jie had to slow down so as to avoid accidentally walking into some danger zone and dying.

He felt like he had slowed down, but for Xiao Wen's group, Tang Jie was approaching at an incredibly high speed.

It had to be understood that when Mu Yi determined that Tang Jie wanted to steal the Stop Gate Banner, he had strengthened the defenses at the rear of the mountain, even sacrificing some of the power of the inner formation for it. The formation's defensive system had already been quite formidable, and with these additional arrangements, it now crawled with danger. But all of this seemed useless before Tang Jie, not even making him slow down.

The path Tang Jie had already taken would have taken a Seven Absolutions Sect disciple proficient in formations at least half a day to get through, but Tang Jie had come through like a gust of wind, so fast that it was like he had practiced it countless times before.

"How… how is this possible?"

Next to the Stop Gate Banner, Xiao Wen, Sun Yi, and Liu Jin stood in front of a large rock. This rock's glossy surface was unaffected by the black smoke, and it displayed Tang Jie as he charged through. All three of them were gobsmacked, with Sun Yi even crying out in surprise.

Xiao Wen was also aghast at Tang Jie's performance. "If this keeps up, it won't even be fifteen minutes before he gets here."

Sun Yi and Liu Jin were alarmed by the prospect. "Senior Brother Xiao, what do we do?"

Xiao Wen fell silent.

Tang Jie was far, far faster than they had anticipated, leaving them with no time to activate many of their plans. The only ones who could make up for this gap were themselves.

From Xiao Wen's perspective, he currently had two options.

The first was that they would guard the Stop Gate Banner and let Tang Jie come over. The other was to go out and intercept Tang Jie.

The advantage of the first choice was that there was no need to divide their men. When Tang Jie arrived, they could concentrate the power of three people against him. The danger was that the Stop Gate Banner would be vulnerable to Tang Jie's attacks.

The Stop Gate Banner could not be moved while it was in use. If Tang Jie got here and insisted on pushing through the attacks of the three to pull out the Stop Gate Banner, the entire formation would be affected. With Tang Jie's strength and the defensive power of the Formless Golden Body, it would not necessarily be difficult for him to break through the trio. After all, Tang Jie was famous for his tough body, and it was through this ability that he had been able to take part in this tournament of Mortal Shedding students as a Spirit Platform student.

The second choice flipped the pros and cons around. By going out to intercept Tang Jie, they might end up being defeated one by one. This was because, once they entered the formation, they would also find it hard to orient themselves, and the power of the formation could easily separate them. Tang Jie would have a much easier time and could simply charge in the direction of the treasure light.

Xiao Wen grew troubled by this dilemma.

Sun Yi and Liu Jin watched as Xiao Wen mulled over what to do. Finally, Xiao Wen said, "Standing guard is waiting for death, while going out to attack is seeking death. I would rather die in battle than let that kid in here. Besides, what does some kid who hasn't even entered Moral Shedding have that makes him act so arrogantly? Come on—let's go and greet him!"

With their minds made up, the trio moved out.

In the black smoke, Tang Jie was still moving forward. Suddenly, he cocked his head to the side as if he was listening to something, upon which he smiled. "They're coming."

He strode to the side and began to head in another direction.

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Sun Yi suddenly stopped and looked at the Starstone in his hand. "Tang Jie changed directions! Damn it! This bastard is trying to get around us."

"What?" Xiao Wen and Liu Jin cried out in unison.

They had gone out in order to stop Tang Jie, not expecting Tang Jie to exploit the terrain to play cat-and-mouse. The movement on the Starstone indicated that Tang Jie was moving around them, but his trajectory still put him on the Stop Gate Banner. It was clear that he had realized that they were coming and was avoiding them.

Xiao Wen shouted, "After him! We have to stop him."

The three of them changed directions, but they hadn't gotten far before Sun Yi shouted, "He's changed directions again, and he's faster than us… He's about to draw even with us."

With his ability to move quickly through the formation, Tang Jie was constantly changing his position. And since Xiao Wen's group was coming to head him off, their positions were quickly about to be even with each other. If this kept up, Tang Jie would end up closer to the Stop Gate Banner than them, and when that happened, Tang Jie could just ignore them and sprint forward, leaving them behind.

"Shit!" Xiao Wen grew nervous at these words, stomping his feet and saying, "Sun Yi, use the Formation Break Mantra to open the way for us. Liu Jin and I will go and intercept him!"

"Yes!" the other two replied in unison.

Sun Yi waved his hand, and an icy sword flew from his back and in Tang Jie's direction, radiating light.

The light from this sword pierced through the darkness and stabbed a path through the black smoke of the formation. And while clearing the way, it could also draw the attacks of the formation. Xiao Wen and Liu Jin used this opportunity to follow the sword, cutting down the distance between them and Tang Jie.

The sword flew over Tang Jie's head, illuminating him for Xiao Wen and Liu Jin to see, and also his confident and assured face.

He swung his saber, a flame rising from the Heartbreak Saber to clash with the sword. There was a clang, and Tang Jie retreated using the impact, once more entering the darkness. But the light sword didn't back down, circling in the air and giving off light. Under Sun Yi's command, it constantly flew around, searching for Tang Jie. It wasn't long before he was revealed again.

A moment later, Liu Jin raised his palm and thrust it at the air. A large handprint solidified in the air and surged toward Tang Jie.

Tang Jie punched back in response, and borrowed the force of the impact to shoot off to the side.

"Tang Jie, fight me!" Xiao Wen angrily bellowed.

He was ranked second in the Seven Absolutions Sect and possessed outstanding strength, but few people paid him any attention. Among the six major sects, the individual strength of the Seven Absolutions Sect had always been looked down on. Despite his second rank and his having swept through his matches, he received no response, and even Mu Yi wasn't taken very seriously.

The Seven Absolutions Sect had gone so far as to collude with its sworn enemy to gain victory not only to gain glory for the sect, but also to prove themselves. Tang Jie was right here, and Xiao Wen wanted to use him to prove his own strength!

As Tang Jie backed away, Xiao Wen shouted, "Liu Jin, protect me!"

Xiao Wen started to mutter, his hands waving around and forming talisman signs in front of him. As his fingers danced through the air, motes of light were left behind, gradually forming a strange diagram similar to the Eight Trigrams, but upon closer look, there were a few areas that differed.

This was the fifth secret legacy of the Seven Absolutions Sect, the Wuji Diagram.

It was extremely powerful, but the casting time was rather long. Xiao Wen was relying on Liu Jin to protect him while he boldly cast his strongest secret art. As Xiao Wen was casting, there was a burst of starlight from the darkness, aiming straight at Xiao Wen.

Liu Jin roared and punched, blasting apart the starlight.

As the starlight dispersed, the figure of Tang Jie flew out of the darkness. His face seemed rather sinister in the contrast of saber light and smoke, and his eyes were fixed on the casting Xiao Wen.

"Don't even think about it!" Liu Jin bellowed, thrusting his palms forward. A wall of yellow earth appeared in front of Tang Jie and moved toward him, and behind Liu Jin, a rainbow light appeared that covered the entire region.

So long as Liu Jin stopped Tang Jie, Xiao Wen would be done soon. This was all that Liu Jin was thinking about, so he had used his two strongest defensive methods.

But Tang Jie simply smiled in response.

He quickly came to a stop and then shot off to the side, once more disappearing into the darkness. But this time, he changed directions and began to work around to their rear.

Liu Jin was startled, and then he realized what was going on, shouting, "Oh no, Sun Yi!"

Tang Jie was no match for the three of them, so he had to think of a way to divide them, but Xiao Wen's group was trying its best to avoid being separated.

But alas, despite their best efforts, Tang Jie had managed to seize a brief moment, using that gap created by Xiao Wen casting and Liu Jin protecting him to make a move at Sun Yi. Sun Yi had no treasure to protect him, was focused on casting, and was all alone, so if Tang Jie were allowed to get close, his defeat was inevitable.

Realizing this, Liu Jin went out to intercept. But he quickly realized that if he left, what would Xiao Wen do if he were attacked?

He hesitated, but he decided that Xiao Wen was strong enough that he would be fine even if Tang Jie managed to interrupt the casting. On the other hand, Sun Yi was the weakest of the trio and lacked his weapon, so he was in the greatest danger. Thus, he charged out.

But his hesitation had cost him, and besides that, when he wanted to leave, he was obstructed by the own wall he had cast. In the end, by the time he had gotten out, Tang Jie was already streaking away like a bolt of lightning.

How could he be this fast? They were in a formation!

Liu Jin was alarmed at first, and then he realized what was happening: Tang Jie was heading down the path they had taken to get here. He immediately shouted, "Oh no!"

This was the worst part about having the sword open the path. When it had triggered all the traps, it had created a free passage that could be used by anyone, whether it was Xiao Wen's group or Tang Jie. Xiao Wen could use the path to pursue Tang Jie, but Tang Jie could also go back along the same path to attack Sun Yi. And another advantage to this approach was that it created distance between him and Xiao Wen.

He couldn't move rapidly around in the formation to dodge the Wuji Diagram, but he could on this path!

So he charged!

Activating the Violet Lightning Lunge!

Accelerating to maximum speed!

This wasn't all. As he reached Sun Yi's side, rather than attacking Sun Yi, he turned around, aimed a palm behind him, and spat out, "Life!"

With this word, the winds in the formation stirred.

As Liu Jin pursued Tang Jie, icy winds, clouds of fire, booms of thunder, and crackling lightning erupted around him.

A lightning bolt came out of nowhere and struck him head-on. Though Liu Jin had a defensive barrier and wasn't instantly slain, the electricity momentarily paralyzed him.

"Bastard!" Liu Jin cursed.

All of the traps in the opened path had suddenly been activated again. It went without saying that this was probably Tang Jie's handiwork.

While the Fire Beacon Smoke Net Formation had the ability to repair and move traps—or else a single flying sword wouldn't have been allowed to open the path—getting through the formation still wasn't that simple. What Tang Jie had done was stimulate the formation's ability to move traps, sending other traps to this path to hinder Liu Jin.

Tang Jie wasn't the controller of the formation, so he shouldn't have been able to do this. But while formations had countless variations, they all operated on the same principles. Changing out traps was considered a variation, and it was under the control of the Stop Gate, which was exactly where they were, giving Tang Jie a natural advantage in controlling it.

Tang Jie had then used a small trick to stimulate the formation. While the Four-Nine True Words lacked in power, they had a large number of variations, and while the Life word was not an offensive True Word, its vitality boost could strengthen a formation. Coupled with Tang Jie's palm strike, the combined effect had successfully triggered the formation's own self-recovery response.

In this way, the opened path was closed off again, and Liu Jin would find it excruciatingly difficult to catch Tang Jie.

Worst of all was that Liu Jin found that he was cut off at both ends, prevented from both going to Sun Yi and heading back to Xiao Wen. The power of the formation had been used to isolate him within the formation.

Of course, he could use his own understanding of formations to make his way, but it wouldn't be very fast. Moreover, while he was much stronger than Sun Yi, he did not know the Formation Break Mantra.

"Bastard!" Liu Jin knew he had taken the bait. Though they had tried their best to not get separated, Tang Jie had managed to use the formation itself to split them up.

The Fire Beacon Smoke Net Formation was a secret creation of the Seven Absolutions Sect, so there was no way Tang Jie could have known about it. If he had known about it, he would have never let the Basking Moon students walk into this trap. But he currently seemed more familiar with this formation than the students of the Seven Absolutions Sect. In other words, he had grasped an understanding of the formation in the short time he was inside it.

How was this possible? Liu Jin couldn't bring himself to believe this answer, for it was just too absurd.

Meanwhile, after cutting off Liu Jin, Tang Jie turned to Sun Yi.

Sun Yi had turned pale.

He blankly stared at Tang Jie, one hand forming into the sword sign as he tried to summon back his sword.

Alas, no matter how fast the sword was, it couldn't move faster than Tang Jie.

He rushed up and savagely punched Sun Yi in the nose.

The one punch sent Sun Yi flying, and the flying sword dropped to the ground, having lost its controller.

Before he could hit the ground, Tang Jie ran up and grabbed him.

"Don't kill me!" Sun Yi shouted.

Whether it was in sect rank or individual rank, Sun Yi was far weaker than Tang Jie, and Tang Jie was also famous for being a body refiner and invincible in close combat. Thus, the moment Tang Jie got close, Sun Yi gave up. He didn't know that this was the avatar Tang Jie, not the original Tang Jie, and that the reputation for being invincible in close combat was actually now false. If it really came down to a fight, even if he might not win, he could at least buy time—perhaps enough time for Liu Jin and Xiao Wen to save him.

Alas, having lost his confidence, he didn't even have the courage to exchange blows.

"Be good and you won't need to die," Tang Jie replied, pressing on the jade token tied to Sun Yi's waist. He sent in spiritual energy, activating the token's teleportation function.

Upon seeing that Tang Jie was forcing him to teleport out, Sun Yi sighed in relief.

At least he didn't have to die.

The jade token's teleportation needed time to activate. As white light gathered and formed a pillar to the sky, Sun Yi's body began to rise. It almost looked like he was ascending.

He suddenly realized something, and paled. "My sword!"

"My sword now." Tang Jie smiled. "The loser has to leave behind something."

He reached out and grabbed that fallen sword.

Translator Notes

Tang Jie using the Seven Absolutions Sect's formation against them! But he's in a race against time...

Novel Notes

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