Aspiring to the Immortal Path - Chapter 405
Chapter 405: Graduation
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Another year passed.
Without even realizing it, Tang Jie and the others had been in Basking Moon Academy for a whole ten years.
In these ten years, Tang Jie and the others had gone from people who had known nothing about cultivation to cultivating Daoists, and they had gone from teenagers of fifteen or sixteen to young adults of twenty-five or twenty-six.
These ten years were the most important ten years they would experience, and also the most wonderful ten years.
The students had left countless memories, laughter, sadness, blood, and tears here.
Even for Tang Jie, these ten years had been ten years full of tribulation, ten years of significant ups and downs, ten years that decided the direction his life would take!
And now that these ten years were up, even Tang Jie couldn’t help but feel a little sentimental, let alone someone like Wei Tianchong.
Today was graduation day.
All the students returned to the academy today to take part in the graduation ceremony. This was also the only day when all students were permitted to fly into the academy.
At daybreak, countless people flew out from the distance, soaring among the clouds and cloaked in the mist as they descended onto the mountains.
Wei Tianchong and Qi Shaoming had come together. The two of them had left their respective mountains to take part in the graduation ceremony, and they had been traveling companions. At this moment, they spotted a man lying on a large sword as it leisurely flew him toward the academy, a wine gourd in his hand.
Wei Tianchong gleefully said, “It’s Junyang!”
Qi Shaoming glanced over and smiled. “This kid is appearing more and more like a carefree traveler lately.”
The two of them shared a glance and then descended toward Cai Junyang.
Cai Junyang didn’t expect someone to suddenly attack him. In his shock, he wasn’t able to make out who these assailants were and simply spat out the wine in his mouth. A cloud of mist immediately engulfed the two, who were caught off guard by this move and dodged to the side. Cai Junyang jumped into the air while the large sword below him flew at the two.
“Junyang, it’s me!” Wei Tianchong shouted.
Cai Junyang was startled. “Tianchong? Shaoming? It’s you two?”
He made a pulling motion with his hand, and the sword circled back to him.
Wei Tianchong rushed over and hugged Cai Junyang, laughing, “Cai Junyang, good job! I didn’t think that you would get stronger again in these two years. I say, it’s not like you have a teacher like the two of us, so how did you progress so quickly?”
Cai Junyang snorted. “Adventures in the world can sometimes teach just as much as a master. While I might not be able to compare to you guys in terms of cultivation level, when it comes to adapting to the situation in combat, you guys are definitely worse than me.”
Hearing Cai Junyang mention cultivation, Wei Tianchong smiled and asked, “Right, what’s your cultivation level now?”
Cai Junyang replied, “Greater attainment in Hundred Refinement, worse than you guys.”
A normal outstanding student would be pretty well-off if they could reach minor attainment in Hundred Refinement after ten years of cultivation, so Cai Junyang’s cultivation speed had already exceeded the norm, and his actual combat experience was even better. After all, he had been tempering himself in the outside world for a very long time.
Wei Tianchong chuckled. “I’m also at greater attainment in Hundred Refinement.”
His talent was worse than Cai Junyang’s, but since he had Yan Changfeng’s assistance, there was no way he would fall behind the other elites. This was why he had at least managed to draw even with Cai Junyang.
Qi Shaoming indifferently replied, “I’ve completed my heart revolution and am currently cultivating my second revolution.”
Wei Tianchong and Cai Junyang knew that they were no match. Geniuses were geniuses, and completing even one of the Nine Revolutions in ten years was exceptionally rare. Even those with nine-cycle Jade Gates were not guaranteed to achieve this.
Qi Shaoming remarked, “It’s all thanks to the five hundred thousand from Tang Jie.”
Cai and Wei nodded in agreement.
If not for the several hundred thousand spirit coins from that job, none of them could have so easily exceeded the standard and reached greater attainment in Hundred Refinement and beyond. It had to be understood that Hundred Refinement was still a threshold that could be reached simply by throwing money at the problem, and the time saved by those five hundred thousand spirit coins had been very noticeable.
Cai Junyang added, “It’s really all thanks to Tang Jie. It’s not just the five hundred thousand. There’s also the time he passed those arts to us. If he didn’t teach me the Hundred Tribulation Passage Art, I would have needed to die twice and be heavily injured once to meet the number of enlightenments I gained from it.”
In these last few years, Cai Junyang had wandered the world alone, meeting many people and experiencing many things. His vision had been broadened, his experiences enriched, and even several near-death encounters had caused his strength to rise, and in these cases, the Hundred Tribulation Passage Art had played a crucial role.
When the art was first passed to them, each person only knew of the art that had been passed to them, but with the passage of time, news began to get around. In the end, everyone realized, “Oh, so you also got a secret art from that kid!” And so when they chatted about it now, they were much less reserved.
“That’s true,” Qi Shaoming said. He had been cultivating the Violet Temple Radiance for these last two years and was deeply moved. Qi Shaoming’s Phantom Clone Slash was an extremely explosive technique, and the Violet Temple Radiance boosted its power. The Violet Temple Radiance had also allowed Qi Shaoming to cultivate many other explosive spell arts, so in this generation of students, he had the most explosive offensive, and few people were able to last one round against him.
Wei Tianchong awkwardly scratched his head when he thought about how casually he had taken Tang Jie’s help. However, as he studied longer, he gradually understood the advantages of the Bright Heart Art. He was now an adult in his twenties, his personality much more mature, and the Bright Heart Art made it so that he was no longer as ignorant and tactless as before. Although his mouth still sometimes got away from him, that was just part of his personality and was no hindrance to his demeanor.
Now that they thought about it, without Tang Jie, none of them would have been able to get this far, and all of them sighed.
“I wonder how Tang Jie is doing?” Cai Junyang muttered.
“Won’t we know once we go and see him?” Wei Tianchong smiled. “Relax. There’s no way he could have fallen behind us.”
The three of them laughed and talked as they made their way to the summit, where a large number of lower-year students were there to guide their senior brothers.
The moment Wei Tianchong landed, he spotted someone in the crowd of people waiting for them, and his eyes glowed. “Shi Meng!”
He rushed over and embraced Shi Meng. “I haven’t seen you in ages! Is the clan doing well?”
Seeing as Wei Tianchong knew to ask if others were doing well, it was clear that Wei Tianchong had achieved enormous progress.
Shi Meng laughed and said, “Young Master, the clan is doing very well. With the lady leading it, the Wei Clan is growing more prosperous by the day, and nobody dares to provoke us. The lady is currently in the process of buying back all the stores that we sold.”
“What about my dad?”
“He spends every day fishing and raising birds, leading a very carefree life.”
“That’s good.” Wei Tianchong nodded in satisfaction. “Right, how has your cultivation progress been lately?”
“Thank you for your concern, Young Master. I borrowed two hundred thousand spirit coins from Tang Jie and have finally managed to reach minor attainment in Hundred Refinement,” Shi Meng said with a smile.
For someone of Shi Meng’s aptitude and family background, reaching minor attainment was already a miracle. This was thanks to the Eight Desolations Spirit Gathering Art Tang Jie had taught him.
“Not bad, not bad.” Wei Tianchong patted Shi Meng on the shoulder. “There’s no hope of becoming an inner disciple, but there’s still a chance at an outer disciple. Right, you’re at the Mortal Shedding Realm now, so you don’t need to call me Young Master.”
“How could that do?” Shi Meng hastily said. “I’m not Tang Jie. I swore an oath to be loyal to the Wei Clan for all my life.”
Wei Tianchong shook his head. “Don’t say something so silly. This sort of oath will only restrain your cultivation progress. How can someone with grand ambitions be willing to subordinate himself to another? Well, if you plan to stop at Cognitive Creation, then I suppose there’s no harm in being willing to be a servant. Otherwise, use this opportunity to take care of that servile attitude of yours. From now on, we can talk as brothers. It’s not like doing work of the Wei Clan requires you to be a servant. Brothers can also do it!”
Shi Meng was moved. “Young Master!”
He really hadn’t imagined that Wei Tianchong would become so high-minded in the time they hadn’t seen each other.
Cai Junyang couldn’t help but sigh in praise. “A teacher’s instruction is truly something else. Not only do you gain strength, but also learn how to handle people.”
Two people walked over: Liu Hongyan and Ping Jingyue.
Wei Tianchong’s eyes brightened when he saw Ping Jingyue, and he immediately went up to chat. Surprisingly, Ping Jingyue didn’t roll her eyes at him as she did before, instead happily chatting away with him.
The conversation naturally turned to each other’s cultivation level.
Chatting about cultivation level when meeting was a sort of habit, like asking how much someone scored on an exam. One always wanted to compare to see who was better before being willing to go in peace.
Ping Jingyue rolled her eyes at Wei Tianchong and said, “There’s no way I could compare to you guys, with all your achievements. After ten years of cultivation, I’ve only just entered Mortal Shedding. Big Sister Hongyan is a little better, having entered Hundred Refinement.”
Everyone sighed when they heard that Liu Hongyan had only just entered Hundred Refinement.
In terms of aptitude, Liu Hongyan and Ping Jingyue were much stronger than Shi Meng, yet they hadn’t even been able to reach his level. In truth, their progress was quite normal. The abnormal ones were Shi Meng and the rest.
Shi Meng awkwardly said, “It’s because I was lucky enough to get Tang Jie’s help.”
Qi Shaoming exchanged glances with Wei and Cai, thinking to themselves, Who here could have reached their level without Tang Jie? Without Tang Jie’s help, they naturally would have achieved success, only much less.
With this thought in mind, Cai Junyang grew somewhat impatient. “Come on. Let’s go and see how Tang Jie is doing.”
“It has been a long time since I last saw him. Let’s go!” Wei Tianchong and Qi Shaoming shared a glance, and then everyone laughed as they headed to the Carefree House. Even Liu Hongyan and Ping Jingyue tagged along.
Once they were at the Carefree House and about to knock, the door opened on its own.
Yiyi came out and smiled. “Big Brother is waiting for all of you inside.”
After one year, Yiyi had grown much bigger. She was wearing green clothes and had her tied into two braids.
All of them shared a glance, surprised by how their visit had been seemingly foreseen.
In the end, Cai Junyang laughed and said, “This Tang Jie… He must be playing another trick on us. He must have seen us somewhere beforehand.”
He led the way in.
In the yard of the Carefree House, Tang Jie was reaping his spirit plants.
Scythe in hand, he diligently sliced away like an old farmer rather than an Immortal, who could collect and store these spirit plants with a single raise of the hand.
Cai Junyang heartily laughed. “How can this not be an act? Has anyone seen a cultivator using a scythe to reap spirit plants?”
Qi Shaoming slightly frowned. For some reason, he felt like there was a unique cadence to the way Tang Jie harvested the spirit plants, one that seemed in tune with the principles of the world.
It was an indescribable sensation that he couldn’t quite understand yet.
Upon seeing Cai Junyang and the others, Tang Jie laughed and said, “Please wait a moment. I’ll be done soon.”
He continued harvesting, and the rest could only wait for him to be done. But Cai Junyang felt like there was a faint majesty to Tang Jie’s words that made him almost want to obey him.
A few moments later, Tang Jie finished harvesting the plants. He then took out a cloth bag. He took a seed from it and planted it in the soil at the base of the wall.
“That’s…” Everyone was confused by his actions.
Tang Jie smiled. “Since we’re about to leave the academy, this Carefree House that I’ve lived in for ten years will have to be left for someone else. Thus, I’m taking away everything I should. But I feel like I should leave something for the students who come after us, so I’ve planted a Violet Pomegranate seed here.”
Liu Hongyan frowned. “Violet Pomegranates prefer cool and shady places, so they’re normally planted in dark and moist places. It will be very hard for it to grow in your yard.”
Qi Shaoming immediately replied, “But there are exceptions, and since it’s a mortal grass, it will become a spirit plant in these circumstances and be of incredible value.”
Tang Jie wiped the dust off his hands as he said, “Precisely. Only by growing in an adverse environment can one become something great. The Violet Pomegranate is such a plant. I hope that this plant can remind students who come later that they can’t give up no matter how difficult things get. Consider it a message left for one’s juniors by a senior.”
Ping Jingyue rolled her eyes. “But that Violet Pomegranate has to grow first. If it dies in the soil, then the juniors who take up residence in this place will never know, let alone comprehend its message.”
“It will grow,” Tang Jie indifferently said. “Plant the cause today and harvest the fruit in the future. A day will come when it will grow and assist those in the future.”
(TN: Cause, “因”, and fruit, “果” together make “因果”, which means “Karma”.)
No one understood what he was saying, but as they were pondering it, Tang Jie walked over and said to everyone with a smile, “Long time no see.”
This late greeting woke everyone from their stupor, and they rushed up and were soon teasing each other.
After messing around for a while, everyone stopped. Shi Meng then asked, “Hurry and tell us. What’s your current cultivation level?”
“‘Cultivation level’?” Tang Jie was taken aback. After thinking it over for a while, he finally said, “Oh, minor attainment of the second revolution.”
“Only minor attainment of the second revolution?” Everyone looked at Tang Jie in confusion.
Didn’t Tang Jie officially enter Nine Revolutions two years ago? 6444
Why had he only gotten this far?
With the resources he had, everyone would have believed it if he had said “peak Mortal Shedding”.
“Oh, yes,” Tang Jie replied. “I’ve been somewhat lazy this last year and haven’t really cultivated.”
Everyone looked at each other and then looked in disbelief at Tang Jie.
They didn’t know that Tang Jie really wasn’t lying. In this last year, he had been seeing sights, finding people to play go with, going fishing, and even counting ants. These were truly lackadaisical days, and the number of days that were spent cultivating could be counted with his fingers.
“Then those resources…?” Wei Tianchong glared.
“Ah.” Tang Jie dug into his ear and replied, “Spent it all.”
“…” Everyone was speechless.
But it was clear that he had no plans to say any more, so they stopped asking.
Wei Tianchong had matured a lot in these last two years, and knew that asking about cultivation resources was actually a great taboo that was not usually brought up in light conversation. Thus, when he saw that Tang Jie wasn’t willing to talk, he decided to drop the matter. In the past, he might have refused to let Tang Jie go until he told him.
Cai Junyang brought up the matter of Tang Jie passing down arts to them. “Tang Jie, tell me the truth. My Hundred Tribulations Passage, Shaoming’s Violet Temple Radiance, Tianchong’s Bright Heart Art, Shi Meng’s Eight Desolations Spirit Gathering, and the ones learned by Senior Brothers Peng and Ye actually all came from the same text, right?”
Tang Jie nodded. “Indeed. I split it into parts and gave them out to everyone.”
“So that really was the case,” Qi Shaoming sighed in praise. “This art is truly mysterious and profound. Tang Jie, you have the entire thing, so I’m sure that you have an even greater understanding.”
Tang Jie shook his head. “But I can’t compare to you guys.”
Although Tang Jie cultivated the complete Ninedark Mantra, in individual aspects, he wasn’t as focused as Qi Shaoming and the others. For example, using the Violet Temple Radiance, Qi Shaoming could sustain his illusions for around four seconds, but Tang Jie would have done well if he could keep it up for even one second.
A person had limited time and energy, so it was impossible to become good at everything.
As everyone avidly chatted, fireworks began to rise into the air.
Tang Jie saw this and said, “Come; the ceremony is about to start. It wouldn’t do to be late.”
Everyone headed toward the lecturing stone.
After ten years in school, they had been to the lecturing stone countless times, but this would probably be the last time they walked this path.
Back then, when Wei Tianchong was taking this path for the first time, he was so tired that he wasn’t willing to rise, and Tang Jie had been forced to threaten him with the clan discipline ruler. Ten years had passed, shooting by like an arrow, and everyone couldn’t help but melancholically sigh.
When they arrived at the lecturing stone, they saw that a great crowd of around 1200 people had gathered beneath it.
1500 students entered the academy each year, and after ten years, 1200 remained. Today, they would go through the final and largest elimination round.
The worst performers and the best performers were the most composed, for they could already predict their results. It was those who were teetering on the edge that were the most nervous.
Shi Meng was the perfect example.
There were undoubtedly more than a hundred students who could reach minor attainment in Hundred Refinement within Basking Moon Academy, which was why Shi Meng could succeed or fail to get in.
As he arrived in front of the lecturing stone, Shi Meng rubbed his hands and prayed, “Heavens, please have mercy on me. If you allow me into the sect, I’ll devote my life to cultivation!”
Tang Jie saw the state he was in and patted him on the shoulder. “Relax. You will become an outer disciple.”
Shi Meng bitterly smiled. “You’re not from the Selection Hall, so how can you be so sure?”
Tang Jie smiled. “If I say you can pass, you will pass.”
His tone was calm, and Shi Meng felt a powerful confidence from him.
Xie Fengtang soon appeared on the lecturing stone.
He first gave an encouraging speech, and then four men with swords on their backs appeared before the crowd. Everyone knew that these were disciples of the Selection Hall.
The Selection Hall was responsible for selecting talented individuals among the populace, recommending talents, awarding promotions, and so on. Although Basking Moon Academy was the one that educated these students, it was the Selection Hall that decided which would enter the Basking Moon Sect.
One of the four Selection Hall disciples stepped forward and began to read out the one hundred outer disciples.
As name after name was read out, Shi Meng tensed up.
With each name, someone would cheer, and then they were quickly hushed. As the cheers rose and fell, various emotions appeared on the faces of the students: excitement, disappointment, unease.
After seventy-some names had been read off, Shi Meng’s name was finally read out. Shi Meng was so ecstatic that he hugged Tang Jie and shouted, “I passed! Tang Jie, I passed! Starting from today, I’m a disciple of the Basking Moon Sect!”
“I know,” Tang Jie said with a smile.
“How did you know that I would pass?” Shi Meng was confused.
Tang Jie coolly replied, “Don’t forget that the master of the Selection Hall is Ming Yekong.”
This name was like a bolt of lightning in Shi Meng’s mind, and he immediately understood.
Given how much Ming Yekong favored Tang Jie, and Tang Jie’s connection to Shi Meng, the people of the Selection Hall would naturally understand how to flatter Tang Jie.
Shi Meng sighed in relief. “Now it’s just Junyang.”
Qi Shaoming, Wei Tianchong, and Liu Hongyan were all True Inheritors, so they didn’t need one of the top ten spots. Ping Jingyue was from the Thousand Passions Sect, so it was impossible for her to enter the sect, and Tang Jie had received a recommendation and had no need for a top-ten spot. Thus, the only one to worry about was Cai Junyang.
Of course, the worry wasn’t that he couldn’t get into the top one hundred, but the top ten.
“He’ll get in,” Tang Jie said.
Shi Meng was startled. “You’re sure?”
“I’m sure,” Tang Jie firmly replied.
Shi Meng was baffled. “Are you a prophet?”
Even if the Selection Hall had a high chance of selecting Shi Meng because of his relationship to Tang Jie, it was still only a possibility. Change was a constant of the world, so how could anything be set in stone? What if those Selection Hall disciples didn’t know about the relationship between Shi Meng and Tang Jie, or what if they knew but didn’t care?
But Tang Jie seemed absolutely certain that this would happen. Shi Meng couldn’t help but wonder if this guy could predict the future.
“It’s not a prophecy,” Tang Jie replied. “It’s simply karma.”
Shi Meng was completely confused.
Tang Jie’s eyes unfocused, his mind going past what he could see and floating into the distance.
Support us at bit.ly/3Tfs4P4.
A prophet could see the future.
One who grasped Karma could influence the future.
Tang Jie couldn’t see the future, but he could plant the seed that could affect the future!
The Dao of Karma was to plant the seed of cause to produce the fruit of effect.
Planting the seed today and obtaining the fruit in the future, glimpsing the secrets of the heavens!
All that one had to pay attention to was that the more people and matters were involved, the stronger was the required Dao Will.
Tang Jie had spent the past year comprehending his Dao Will, testing his upper limit and finding out what his Karma could do.
Shi Meng getting selected?
A minor trifle.
But on the other hand, if Shi Meng didn’t have the strength to be selected, producing the fruit of selection would require a stronger cause or a stronger Dao Will that could influence the will of the heavens.
On the same principle, Cai Junyang entering the top ten only required minor interference. After all, he already had the strength for it. All Tang Jie had done was slightly adjust the scales of fortune to favor his side.
Of course, each time he did such a thing, it would create a certain level of burden.
Fortunately, Tang Jie had planted these seeds a year ago, so those burdens had long since passed. All that he needed to do now was harvest the fruits.
The reading of names continued, but Tang Jie’s mind was completely elsewhere, as if none of this had anything to do with him.
After some time, everyone finally dispersed.
The graduation ceremony was over.
Led by the Selection Hall disciples, all the disciples who had been selected into the Basking Moon Sect flew into the distance.
Over there, the Basking Moon Sect was waiting for them.
A new life was waiting for them.
As Tang Jie flew off with everyone, he looked back.
In his eyes, Basking Moon Academy grew smaller and smaller.
“Goodbye, Basking Moon Academy,” Tang Jie muttered.
In the corner of the yard in the Carefree House, the small Violet Pomegranate seed sprouted…