Aspiring to the Immortal Path - Chapter 408
Chapter 408: Giving Lessons
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Three months went by in the blink of an eye.
Tang Jie had devoted his time to cultivation, but progress had been extremely slow.
When a cultivator entered Nine Revolutions, every step became extremely difficult. If one had to differentiate them, it would probably be like this:
Before Mortal Shedding, one could succeed no matter how one cultivated. The only difference was speed. At Hundred Refinement, one might need as much as ten years, but at least medicines could speed up the process. At Nine Revolutions, even medicines were no longer enough. Even a once-in-a-millennium genius would need a few years to succeed. Those who lacked aptitude often spent decades without success. But so long as one was willing to spend the time, Nine Revolutions could still be gotten through.
At Cognitive Creation, things changed again. At this step, there was now a chance of failing in cultivation. Although the chance of failing Cognitive Creation wasn’t too great, at least 20% of people who attempted Cognitive Creation failed every year. After Cognitive Creation was the Three Withering Tribulations, where the failure rate jumped to 40%. After two rounds of elimination, only half were left who could reach the peak. But this checkpoint was the charge at Celestial Heart, and the chance of failure here was 60%. Thus, those who could enter Celestial Heart represented around 30% of the starting number.
But this was only in theory. In reality, it was impossible to reach these numbers.
This was because, before Celestial Heart, there was still a chance to try again after failure, though the chances of success would be lower. But starting from the charge at Celestial Heart, one’s life was at stake, particularly at the Heart Demon and Violet Palace thresholds. There was danger everywhere, and the smallest mistake might lead to death in soul and body. For this reason, not everyone dared to charge at the Celestial Heart Realm. Many cultivators chose to stop at the peak of the Mortal Shedding Realm.
This was why there were more than ten thousand Mortal Shedding cultivators and only several hundred Celestial Heart cultivators.
Those who dared to risk their lives in the pursuit of the Immortal path were limited in number, and there had always been a significant number of True Persons in the major sects who failed to reach higher realms and died in the process.
The Basking Moon Sect practiced the proper and orthodox path, so it had many arts to defend against Heart Demons. This meant that the danger of the Heart Demon Period was less than it was for other sects, which was why it had many middle-tier Celestial Heart cultivators. This also provided a solid foundation for a True Lord, but even then, the Basking Moon Sect had only four True Lords, the same as Godhead Palace. Ming Yekong was still in the process of becoming a True Lord, and there was no predicting what the result would be.
The Immortal path had always been this difficult. Even Tang Jie had to remind himself that just having the hidden realm didn’t mean that his path would be clear and smooth. This was only the beginning.
Today, after cultivating for a while, he suddenly heard someone outside his cave shout, “Is Junior Brother Tang present?”
Leaving his cave, he saw a young man standing outside. Tang Jie recalled that his name was Wang Yong. He had entered the sect 15 years ago and was on his fourth revolution. As he lived nearby, Tang Jie had once paid a visit to introduce himself, so they could be considered acquaintances.
Seeing that it was Wang Yong, Tang Jie opened the formation and welcomed him inside. “Why are you so free to come and find me today?”
Wang Yong smiled. “Hall Master Chang is holding a lecture today, so I’ve come to invite you over.”
“Hall Master Chang is giving a lesson?” Tang Jie was startled, and then he realized that he was referring to Deputy Hall Master Chang Tianshui.
Lectures were a common occurrence in the Basking Moon Sect. After disciples graduated from the academy, if they had problems and no master to guide them, they could only rely on lectures to resolve their questions. Of course, these lectures weren’t free. They also cost contribution points.
The lecturer had to get the Instruction Hall’s approval to start lecturing, and one had to at least be a steward. Things would be a mess if anyone could lecture.
This was a means by which high-level cultivators could obtain contribution points. A normal class only needed to charge ten points per person and get one hundred attendees to obtain one thousand contribution points. The Basking Moon Sect and the Instruction Hall had to take their cut, leaving the lecturer with forty percent, which was four hundred contribution points. It was much more convenient than going out on missions and also allowed one to keep their dignity.
Of course, they could charge higher prices, but higher prices might mean a smaller audience and a drop in revenue. Thus, the actual balancing of these two depended on the individual. The normal price was 10 contribution points, but things were different when it came to the 19 Celestial Chiefs. They could charge from 20 to 100 points, but there was really no putting a price on this sort of thing, as the Celestial Chiefs were not wont to actually give lectures.
Chang Tianshui was the first deputy hall master of the Secret Hall, and considering that Xu Baibing hardly concerned himself with hall matters, he was essentially the true master of the Secret Hall. This person held a lecture every year, both to instruct his hall’s disciples and to give everyone a chance to get to know him. As for contribution points, someone of his stature cared little about such things.
For this very reason, his lectures were rather important events. Of course, Tang Jie could decide to not go, though this wasn’t very likely given his personality.
Thus, when Tang Jie heard Wang Yong say this, he quickly gave his thanks. “Senior Brother, thank you for the reminder. I will go over now.”
Changing his clothes, Tang Jie headed with Wang Yong to the Mountain of Heavenly Secrets.
When he arrived, he saw that several dozen people had gathered at the square in front of the Hall of Heavenly Secrets. Near the hall gate was a table, which was where the lecturer would be.
He was flabbergasted and asked Wang Yong, “Why so few?”
Wang Yong replied, “Because he’s instructing newcomers, Hall Master Tang normally only lectures on Nine Revolutions.”
“I see.” Tang Jie understood.
It turned out that the contents were limited, which limited the audience. And there would also be some people who would receive the news at an inopportune time and not be able to come. But it appeared that Hall Master Chang wasn’t a particularly arrogant person. Otherwise, everyone would have been at his beck and call, and when he gave a lecture, he could summon all three thousand disciples of the Secret Hall.
With this thought in mind, Tang Jie developed a good impression of Hall Master Chang.
He found a place to sit with Wang Yong, and a disciple came over and took ten contribution points from them each. When the appointed time for the lecture arrived, someone walked out of the hall. He had a youthful face and a long beard, and his body was shockingly tall and large. He even wore a simple tall crown on his head that made him appear even taller.
This was Chang Tianshui.
As Tang Jie wanted to remember him, he took a few extra looks. Chang Tianshui sensed this and turned to Tang Jie. His gaze was so cold that he immediately felt like he had been dropped into an ice house. No, even a real ice house wouldn’t make Tang Jie feel cold, but Chang Tianshui’s single glance seemed to drain him of any resistance. He began to involuntarily shiver, and in a flash, a layer of frost appeared on his face.
Fortunately, Chang Tianshui noticed something and suddenly chuckled. This laughter was like a gust of spring wind, thawing the frost and freeing Tang Jie from that endless cold, but his heart still shivered. Neither Xie Fengtang nor He Chong had ever possessed such an intense will. This could only mean that this person was even stronger than those two.
As for Ming Yekong and Feng Hongluan, they had already cultivated to the level where they could restrain their energy, having achieved the state of returned simplicity, so this sort of thing normally didn’t happen with them.
Chang Tianshui sat behind the table and began to speak. “People normally say that cultivation begins at Spirit Platform, but for me, cultivation begins at Nine Revolutions. The principle of Nine Revolutions is like a plant burrowing its roots into the soil. What is cultivated is the foundation, which is why it is of utmost importance and one must proceed with caution…”
This person didn’t mince words, immediately starting his lecture on various matters concerning the Nine Revolutions.
In terms of lecture quality, this person was actually worse than the lecturers back at the academy, completely failing to understand the concept of simplifying complicated subjects. But he was at the peak of Celestial Heart, so he knew far more than an average lecturer. For example, when it came to problems that could crop up now but not show their effects until later, a lecturer might not know whereas Chang Tianshui would possess a clear understanding.
To prevent the path from getting narrower and narrower, one needed to work on these small details to eliminate all potential problems.
As Tang Jie listened, he compared it to what Xie Fengtang had taught him. There were some things that Xie Fengtang had talked about, but also some things that he had missed or did not know. By comparing the two, Tang Jie gained a better understanding of what was important and unimportant.
Chang Tianshui spoke for an hour, and Tang Jie felt greatly enriched. He had originally planned to just spend ten contribution points to get to know his elder, but now, he felt like the price had been too cheap. Any wandering cultivator would be able to make incredible progress if they had access to this lecture. 6444
Now that Chang Tianshui was done lecturing, he gave everyone a chance to ask questions, and once he was done addressing their problems, he left.
As they watched Chang Tianshui leave, Wang Yong smiled at Tang Jie and asked, “What did you think?”
Tang Jie sincerely said, “It was sublime. While I was at Basking Moon Academy, I also received instruction from a True Person. At the time, I thought it was enough. Today, I discovered that there are different kinds of cultivation and different kinds of insights. If one wants to improve, one must seek out talented people of all sorts. Starting from today, if there is a True Person holding a class, I will come and listen.”
Tang Jie paused for a moment, and then he suddenly bowed to Wang Yong. “Thank you for the advice, Senior Brother!”
Wang Yong laughed. “Don’t go thinking it’s that simple. You think everyone is like Hall Master Chang? It’s not like everyone will be so generous and so unreserved in their lectures.”
Wang Yong explained to Tang Jie that lecturing was its own art. The Basking Moon Sect was a mighty major sect, so there were all sorts of people mingling within it, and there were always some people who didn’t teach sincerely, only teaching things that everyone already knew.
Trying to comprehend anything from people like them wasn’t something that could be done in just one or two classes, but many classes. No matter how adept True Persons were at hiding their strength, it was impossible for them to say exactly the same thing in every class. There would always be a moment when they divulged something useful, and it was in these rare moments where disciples could learn the tricks of the trade.
The Instruction Hall had banned the use of sound copying spells in classes precisely to give disciples this opportunity.
Moreover, as disciples attended more lectures, perhaps they could become friendly enough with the lecturer to be taught something useful.
It was precisely through this accumulative process that everyone could get something of true value.
Tang Jie was deeply affected by these words. “I thought I was done with classes after graduating from Basking Moon Academy, so why does the Basking Moon Sect feel like a bigger academy?”
Wang Yong laughed. “Cultivation is everywhere, with no difference between academy and sect. Junior Brother, you’re constraining yourself too much.”
Tang Jie sternly replied, “I truly have been sticking to the rules too much.”
Since he had decided to listen to more classes, he could no longer spend all his time cultivating in his cave. Ten contribution points per class didn’t seem like a lot, but it would be quite a lot if he chose to listen to every class.
Tang Jie now realized why the Basking Moon Sect was this way. In the end, it was to force everyone to make contribution points, which meant working for the Basking Moon Sect. He couldn’t help but chuckle, “Since that’s the case, what are we still waiting for? Let’s go inside the hall and take a look around.”
The central hall was where the Secret Hall issued its missions. Tang Jie had been in the Basking Moon Sect for three months, but he had yet to actually step inside. Now, together with Wang Yong, he entered the hall. Inside, a hexagonal crystal floated in the air, slowly turning. From time to time, rows of words would go across it. These were the various missions the Secret Hall had available, each with its own description and contribution point value.
Wang Yong explained to Tang Jie that there were generally two kinds of missions in the Secret Hall. The first were hall missions, which were missions that came from the hall. The other kind were private missions, which were missions that individual cultivators would commission to the Secret Hall for others to do for them for contribution points.
There was another kind of mission, which were missions from other halls. In special circumstances, the assistance of people from another hall was needed, and those missions would also be posted here.
As Tang Jie and Wang Yong were looking for a mission they found interesting, an old man came over from nearby.
The old man was shriveled and wrinkled like a persimmon. Wang Yong bowed when he saw this person. “Disciple Wang Yong pays respects to Steward Yu!”
Hearing this, Tang Jie bowed as well.
This old man Yu nodded and thinly smiled. “There’s no need for all this courtesy. When Hall Master Chang was giving his lecture just now, I saw how entranced you were. It was clear that you comprehended some insight from it. Not bad, not bad. It just happens that I will be holding my own lecture in three days. Given how sharp the two of you are, I think you might as well come and listen.”
Wang Yong grimaced. “Senior Yu, this disciple…”
Elder Yu’s face darkened. “What? Are you looking down on this Yu Yan? Or do you think that my four hundred years of experience don’t contain anything useful to teach?”
Wang Yong was scared out of his wits. “This disciple would not dare!”
Elder Yu snorted. “This old man has a high opinion of you two. You had best not refuse my favor!”
With a wave of his sleeve, he walked away.
Wang Yong helplessly sighed as the old man left. “Haaa, how unfortunate. Why did we have to catch his attention?”
Tang Jie saw how aggrieved he was and asked, “Senior Brother, isn’t being invited to hear a lecture a good thing? Why is it…”
“Haaa!” Wang Yong sighed. “Did you remember what I told you? There are always some people…”
Tang Jie had a flash of insight, and he whispered, “There are always some people who don’t sincerely lecture? Keeping all the real information for themselves?”
Wang Yong nodded. Moving up to Tang Jie’s ear, he whispered, “That’s how Yu Yan is. While he talks up how he’s cultivated for more than four hundred years, he’s only at peak Mortal Shedding, with no hope of reaching Celestial Heart. But he still boasts about his little ability like he’s a bigshot.”
Tang Jie chuckled. “That’s very normal. Only the poor try their best to turn a single coin into more. The more capable a person is, the less seriously they consider their abilities.”
Wang Yong dropped his hand and said, “The problem is that this old man not only has mediocre lectures, he wants nothing more than to swindle everyone out of their contribution points. If people don’t want to hear his lectures, he uses his seniority to force them to come! And not only that, his classes are very expensive: one lecture for twenty contribution points. It’s blackhearted to the extreme!”
Tang Jie’s expression darkened.
What sort of joke was this?
Contribution points weren’t that easy to come by in the Basking Moon Sect.
He had already looked through some missions, and a simpler mission would give ten to twenty contribution points, with more difficult ones resulting in around one hundred. For example, there was a mission to chase a spy from the Beast Refining Gate. That spy had been exposed and was in the middle of fleeing. If the spy were caught alive, one could get one hundred and fifty contribution points, or seventy if he were killed.
All that was known was that the spy was in the Jade Cliffs area. His exact location was not known, and the disciples would have to rely on themselves to find the person. Such a troublesome matter was only worth seventy to one hundred and fifty contribution points! This was an indicator of how valuable contribution points were.
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If it were someone like Chang Tianshui lecturing, let alone ten, Tang Jie would even be willing to pay one hundred. But for that incompetent old man to take twenty? That was highway robbery!
Tang Jie sternly said, “He invited me, so I have to go? Then what if I don’t go?”
Wang Yong immediately said, “Ugh, if he invited you, do you think he won’t remember you? It’s one thing if you go, but if you don’t, that’s not giving him face. While that old man doesn’t have much ability, he’s managed to use his seniority to get himself a steward post. And stewards can assign missions to you. If you offend him, he’ll play a few tricks to ruin you and make offending him not worth it!”
Tang Jie asked, “There are so many people in the sect. Can no one control him?”
Wang Yong countered, “He only asked you to come to his lecture. It’s not like he broke any rules, so what did he do wrong? Even if he gave you a dangerous mission, so long as he gives you all the contribution points you deserve, he still hasn’t broken the rules! So long as he hasn’t broken the rules, you can’t do anything to him, so everyone can only accept this loss.”
Tang Jie indifferently said, “I’m actually a very stubborn person. If someone asked me and gave a good explanation, I would probably let it go, but if they resort to wicked methods to try and extort me, I’ll adamantly refuse to obey. No matter how impressive this Steward Yu’s lectures are, if I don’t want to hear it, what can he do to me? If he wants to give me some troublesome or dangerous mission, then just give it to me and see if I can handle it or not.”
Tang Jie took a mission and left.
This was a private commission to gather materials, some rather rare spirit herbs. One could buy them with spirit coins or search for them to get three hundred contribution points from the commissioner.
As spirit herbs had their own value, the commissioner had given more contribution points. It was essentially trading spirit money for contribution points. Tang Jie had money and no time, which was why he took this mission.
Even so, he still needed four days to get everything, even taking a loss of two thousand spirit coins.
By the time Tang Jie returned to the mountain, Old Yu’s class had passed.
This was on purpose by Tang Jie. Although he wasn’t afraid of the old man, he had a habit of giving face to others. By being out on a mission and unable to return, he was giving the old man an explanation. If this old man had some sense, he would not make trouble for Tang Jie.
But reality was always proving that humanity could always find a new bottom line.
When Tang Jie was cultivating in his cave, a paper flew in, upon which were the words, “The Hall of Profundity requires your immediate presence.”
This flying paper message could only mean one thing: there was a required mission.
Normally, there were only two circumstances in which a required mission would be issued.
One was emergencies, so the mission was directly assigned rather than allowing disciples to select it when they had the time. The other kind were rather difficult missions that had not been resolved in some time. Thus, one had to forcibly assign the mission to a disciple.
The former was still acceptable, while the latter would be rather problematic.
Of course, Tang Jie knew without asking that he was definitely dealing with the latter.