in that period of time, you became a lot more distant with me, though you didn't notice it yourself.
Cai Junyang, meanwhile, continued to be as friendly as usual.
And when the Immortal Fortune Conference was about to start, you received new orders and began to frequently come and see me… Your interactions with me were almost entirely in line with the attention Godhead Palace paid toward me.”
Tang Jie chuckled.
“I don't have any direct evidence to prove that you're Fierce Ape, but when you put together all this indirect evidence, these various hints, it would be very difficult not to guess at your true identity.
To tell the truth, isn't that how Godhead Palace decided it was me? It was just that I prepared new evidence for them to make them look at things in a whole new light.
But you lacked the same method to overturn my judgment.”
“I see… That's how it was…” Lying on the ground, Shu Mingyang weakly looked up at the sky.
“Since you already know that I'm Fierce Ape, why haven't you killed me?”
Tang Jie hesitated, and then he slowly said, “You have an eight-cycle Jade Gate, so even without any secret support from Godhead Palace, you would have a great future in the Basking Moon Sect so long as you properly cultivated… The risk of joining Godhead Palace is too great.
I presume that you wouldn't do it unless you had some reason.”
A smile finally appeared on Shu Mingyang's face.
“You want to know?”
“I just feel like you should have some reason that forced your hand.”
Shu Mingyang exhaled.
He silently looked up at the sky for a while before finally beginning to speak.
“I'm from Mengmen Gully, a little village located in the Ling Province, administered by Yangmen County.
The village wasn't very rich, but it also wasn't very poor.
With cultivators around, the weather was good every year, and there were no natural disasters.
Though the taxes were a little high, it was a passable life.”
Tang Jie quietly listened.
Shu Mingyang went on, “Next to Mengmen Gully is a river called the Numb River.
When I was little, I loved to play on its shore.
When I was nine, a turtle fiend came to the Numb River, causing trouble and creating a flood.
In one night, the waters of the river rose several dozen meters, engulfing many of the homes.
The villagers sent someone to seek aid from the county, but to their surprise, the presiding cultivator refused to move, claiming that it wasn't convenient to move at night, putting things off until the next day.”
Tang Jie frowned.
“That's a dereliction of duty!”
Shu Mingyang chortled.
“So what? You think everyone in the world faithfully carries out their duty? In the academy, we're taught to abide by the rules, so we consider the law to be as great as the heavens.
But once we leave that small place and enter the world of the unknown, there are far too many places that the sect can't see, and so there is bound to be too much darkness.
Dereliction of duty? It's nothing much, a small trifle.
But this small trifle caused half of the fields of Mengmen Gully to be flooded and sixteen people to be swept away in the river waters.
But this would have been fine.
While the people of my Mengmen Gully had suffered from a disaster, they did not dare to accuse an honored master of anything.
That master simply needed to give a truthful account of the matter so that the village's taxes could be reduced for the year.
But to our shock…”
Shu Mingyang's voice suddenly turned cold.
“I don't know what that bastard got from that turtle fiend, but he didn't want to hand it over, so he didn't want to report it.
Thus, he covered up the entire matter of the flood.
As a result, the court sent someone to collect the usual taxes, and our village had nothing to give.
The quarreling of the two sides went from verbal to physical, and the royal court decided that it was a rebellion and had 248 villagers executed!”
Shu Mingyang's eyes were almost popping out, red with endless anger.
Even Tang Jie couldn't help but sigh.
“This simply chills the blood! What's the name of that bastard?”
Tang Jie nodded.
“I've remembered it.
If I have the chance, I will definitely take vengeance for you!”
Shu Mingyang smiled.
Tang Jie said, “After that incident, you joined Godhead Palace?”
Shu Mingyang replied, “Mm.
At the time of the incident, my Jade Gate hadn't been opened, so nobody cared about this village.
And Godhead Palace needs spies, and it loves to find refugees from places like this.
After the incident, Godhead Palace came to find me and opened my Jade Gate.
When they discovered that I had an eight-cycle Jade Gate, they regarded me as a supreme treasure and were simply ecstatic.
They immediately mobilized considerable manpower to pave a path for me.
I was a Sageheart native, and my background was clean, and then they helped in wiping away everything that had happened at Mengmen Gully.
Currently, besides me, there are probably few people who know what happened at Megmen Gully,” Shu Mingyang said.
He looked at Tang Jie and said, “When I came to know that I had eight cycles, I swore an oath on my Heart Demon that I would kill all evil beings so long as I lived, to return peace and justice to this world! Although I am a Godhead spy, the heavens and earth have borne witness to my heart of justice!”
Tang Jie sighed.
“In the end, you're just finding an excuse for yourself.”
“What did you say?” Shu Mingyang was stunned.
Tang Jie explained, “Do you really think there is some spotless land in this world? There are evil people in Sageheart and Nadir Hill alike.
You can kill the people of Basking Moon, but can you kill the people of Nadir Hill too? It's one thing to join Godhead Palace because of your personal grudge, but why drag in justice and righteousness?”
Shu Mingyang snorted, unwilling to be persuaded.
Although he had joined Godhead Palace, he still felt like he was standing on the side of justice.
He was naturally unhappy that Tang Jie was saying that he only had his personal grudge on his mind and not any sort of justice.
Though he wanted to argue, Tang Jie changed the subject.
“That said, your situation is truly worth sympathizing over.
When I realized that you might be Fierce Ape, I guessed that something like this might have happened that would make you sell your life to Godhead Palace.
With this in mind, I didn't want to try and deal with you, and your account today has confirmed my thoughts.”
“But in the end, you still decided to kill me,” Shu Mingyang said.
“Yes, because killing you benefits me more,” Tang Jie sighed.
“That's why I said that you shouldn't try and find reasons to justify your behavior.
We're all self-interested creatures.
A conscience only works simply because it hasn't been tested enough.”
“Then what sort of benefit would make you decide to kill your conscience and kill me?” Shu Mingyang asked.
Tang Jie smiled.
“You're wrong about one thing.
Killing you doesn't go against my conscience.
After all, in these last few years, everything you've done has caused me trouble, even almost killed me.
I didn't kill you because I was being generous, but I'm taking back my generosity now.
As for the benefits…”
Tang Jie cast his gaze onto Shu Mingyang's body.
“You fought with Helian Hu, and then you died right after Helian Hu left…”
Shu Mingyang's eyes erupted with light as he stared at Tang Jie.
Tang Jie casually went on, “Thus, everyone will know that you died at Helian Hu's hands.
And that isn't even the most important part.
Importantly, you already told Helian Hu who you were before your death.
Helian Hu knew that you were a Godhead spy, and he still killed you, all because… you participated in the creation of the Spirit Seal Talisman.”
Tang Jie took out that token proving that Shu Mingyang was a Godhead Palace spy and pressed it onto his body.
“This is the physical evidence,” he said.
“Besides that, there's the witness, which is me.
Helian Hu and Jiang Qingsong pursued you, and you died at Helian Hu's hands while I killed Jiang Qingsong.”
Shu Mingyang glared at Tang Jie.
“Helian Hu won't admit to it.”
“Of course, but no matter how much he denies, he won't be able to explain the wounds on your body.
This place is covered with the marks of your battle against Helian Hu, and many of your wounds were created by tiger claws.
I used medicine to poison you not because I couldn't beat your injured self, but in order to avoid ruining this most natural and real battlefield.
Whether it's the Beast Refining Gate or Godhead Palace or anyone else, they will come here and will be able to see that you fought with Helian Hu… It's completely real and not fabricated at all.
Of course, the same will be true for your death.”
He snapped his fingers, and little Bao'er came out of the forest.
Tang Jie continued, “Alas, no matter how sharp their eyes are, they can't possibly tell the difference between the claws of different fiend tigers.”
The little tiger came over and extended a paw.
Tang Jie grabbed his foreclaw and carefully placed it on one of the claw wounds on Shu Mingyang's body.
The claws extended, penetrating into Shu Mingyang's chest through the original wounds.
Shu Mingyang trembled as blood once more flowed out of his body.
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His heart had been pierced.
Tang Jie softly removed the claw, and the little tiger flapped his wings and flew off.
Tang Jie went on, “The evidence is all here.
No matter how Helian Hu argues, he can't remove the fact that he killed you.
Even he might suspect that he was too heavy in his blows, leaving behind some fatal injury that caused your death.
But no matter what the truth is, he's the genius with the greatest potential in the younger generation of the Beast Refining Gate, so the Beast Refining Gate could not possibly hand him over.
And that's exactly what I want.”
Shu Mingyang's body was trembling.
This wasn't the final spasms before his death, but trembling at the shock he felt from Tang Jie's plan.
Tang Jie callously said, “Godhead Palace's most valuable spy, the one with the greatest potential, did not die at the hands of the Basking Moon Sect, but at the hands of its greatest ally… The animosity between Godhead Palace and the Beast Refining Gate will begin to grow starting from today, all because of you!”
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