Chapter 310: Peace Negotiations

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As Tang Jie spoke, the distant corpse horde began to charge at He Chong.

He Chong had killed nearly one hundred of their brethren with a single move, causing these corpses to loathe him and make him their first target.

At the same time, Tang Jie backed away, clearly planning to use this chance to flee.

“Conspiring against me? Seeking death!” He Chong roared as he thrust a palm at Tang Jie.

Now that he was in the formation and the Martial Mirror had appeared, he showed no mercy on Tang Jie.

Just when he was about to attack, Tang Jie shouted, “So you don't want to know the secret of the Martial Mirror?”

“The secret of the Martial Mirror”?

He Chong was left shocked by these words.

Yes, there was still one thing that hadn't been addressed.

The Martial Mirror had a secret.
Xu Muyang had known it, and He Chong had sensed it, but he still didn't know how to decipher it.

But it seemed like Tang Jie had already solved it.

Only by understanding this secret would he be able to freely travel through the formation.

The thought of this made He Chong pull back on his blow, only using thirty percent of his strength.

Tang Jie crossed his arms and met the blow in the air, his body flashing with golden light.

It seemed like a simple block, but he had actually concentrated all of his power into it. Boom! Tang Jie was smashed through the air, the skin on his arms cracking apart as blood gushed out.

Borrowing the power of this strike, Tang Jie retreated in the direction of the corpse horde.
He laughed and said, “The power of an enraged Celestial Heart True Person really isn't something a lowly junior like me can fight against.
This Tang Jie does not dare to take a blow of True Person's heavenly might, so I will take my leave first.”

“Don't even try to run!” He Chong furiously bellowed, manifesting two claws.

One claw went for the distant Martial Mirror.
Now that the dust had settled, He Chong was able to see where it had landed.
The other claw was aimed at Tang Jie.
He had learned his lesson and gone from a palm to claw, thus not giving Tang Jie a chance to use the impact to retreat.

But to his surprise, the Martial Mirror avoided his claw.

He Chong was shocked, and then he saw a translucent little ghost chirping like a monkey as it ran off with the mirror toward Tang Jie.

At the same time, Tang Jie punched at He Chong's approaching claw.

It appeared like a simple fist, and there was no way that a mere Spirit Sea student would be able to resist the claw created by a Celestial Heart True Person.

Suddenly, Tang Jie's eyes flashed with a divine light.
“Devil Crushing Fist!”

Boom!

An astonishing power exploded from his fist, manifesting into a giant fist that collided with He Chong's claw.

Fist and claw froze in the air for a moment, much to He Chong's shock.

He had stopped looking down on Tang Jie with this claw, using his real power, and he was a Celestial Heart True Person, two whole realms above Tang Jie.
This was like comparing a giant to a dwarf.
How could Tang Jie possibly stop it?

But Tang Jie had managed to pull it off.

The fist phantom and claw phantom created a resplendent light with their collision, and when the light faded, the fist phantom flickered before breaking apart.
As for the claw phantom, though it trembled, it managed to maintain its form.

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He Chong had still won this match.

But Tang Jie wasn't at all disappointed.
On the contrary, he laughed and retreated even faster.
The claw phantom fell on Tang Jie's body, but as it hit the Formless Golden Body, it fell apart, unable to take Tang Jie away.

Compared to when he had first used the Devil Crushing Fist on Old Crow Ridge, Tang Jie was more experienced in how to distribute its power.
After getting an accurate assessment of He Chong's power, Tang Jie had used only a quarter of his body's constitution, which was just enough to block a fatal strike from this claw, without the slightest bit of energy wasted.

By successfully stopping the claw, he had also removed any hope He Chong had of catching him.
As Tang Jie landed on the ground, a large number of corpses surged over him before he even had a chance to get up.

Seeing the countless corpses approaching, He Chong had no choice but cry out in frustration, “Let's go!”

The three of them retreated into the distance.

On his end, Tang Jie covered his head with his arms and curled up on the ground.

The corpse horde trod over him like a passing army, each of their stomps dealing Tang Jie a heavy blow.
Ever since he had reached the Jewel Body, ordinary attacks had barely felt like anything to him.
But as these thousands of corpses trampled over him, he felt like his bones were about to come apart.

Once the corpse tide had subsided, Tang Jie crawled out of the soil.
He felt like the world was spinning around him, and he barely managed to open his eyes a crack.
It was then that he saw that the black flood was now off in the distance.

A strange laughter rang out in his ears.

Turning his head, he saw the ghost, “Little Three”, sitting on top of the Martial Mirror, pointing at him and laughing so hard that it had almost tipped over.

As if it felt like this wasn't enough, the little guy picked up the Martial Mirror and aimed it at Tang Jie.

The Martial Mirror flowed with light and became like a real mirror, reflecting Tang Jie's face, but what appeared was the image of a large head that was swollen up like a pig.

Tang Jie saw that he had been beaten into an inhuman shape, and softly cursed.

Fortunately, he possessed incredible recovery power, and wounds of this level would take only half a day to heal.

The little ghost continued to point at Tang Jie and laugh, clearly enjoying his suffering.

Tang Jie grabbed it and stuffed it into the Martial Mirror.

The Martial Mirror was no storage tool, but it could be used to store souls.
Thus, it became the storage house for the little ghost.

With the little ghost inside, a little ghost carving appeared on the dark side of the mirror.
But the little ghost still wouldn't sit still, constantly looking around within the mirror.

Tang Jie ignored it and began to read through the Ninedark Mantra.
Using He Chong was only treating the symptoms.
Only mastering the Ninedark Mantra would allow him to overcome this crisis.

Find the original at Hosted Novel.

But the Ninedark Mantra was vast and multifaceted, not something that could be mastered just because he wanted to.

Upon opening the book, he was greeted with the line: “The Ninedark Mantra, the truth of the Heavenly Dao.
By observing the origin of the Heavenly Dao, you can create all arts of the world!”

Observing the origin of the Heavenly Dao and creating all arts in the world!

Such a domineering and boastful line! Even though Tang Jie had already read this line before, he still couldn't help but sigh in admiration.

This was the Ninedark Mantra.

The Ninedark Martial Lord had lived a life of dominance, and he cultivated both the body and Immortality.
The Parting Classic was the foundation of his powerful body, and this mantra was the origin of his Immortality.

The Parting Classic had been domineering and unreasonable, but the mantra was more resplendent, seeking the Heavenly Dao and pursuing the cultivation of the Dao Will, thus resulting in grandiose claims like “cultivate this mantra to create all arts”.

It was naturally rather hyperbolic.
After all, the Ninedark Mantra was no treatise on the Heavenly Dao, so it could not possibly describe it, nor would the Heavenly Dao Law Wheel permit this sort of book to exist.
But the Ninedark Mantra truly did contain a broad and deep sea of knowledge.
This was particularly true with blood energy, where it could be said to have reached the apex of the cultivation world.

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Thus, by cultivating this mantra, one would greatly benefit when it came to blood energy and other related aspects, and would have an easy time learning body-strengthening spell arts.

While the Martial Lord had been a hegemon who had dominated the world, he hadn't been some brainless brute.

Only his fighting style had been wild and untamed.
His tyrannical exterior had hidden a profound intelligence.

Tang Jie scanned the book, marking down every word and sentence of the mantra in his memory.

He didn't have the time to put it into practice.
All he could do was memorize everything first.

The mantra had a lot of content, and he had a hard time remembering it all.
Thus, he had his avatar help him memorize and record.

The avatar and original body were two souls sharing the same mind, granting them the natural ability to multitask, and they were also faster at memorizing.

Both Tang Jies began to memorize the contents of the Ninedark Mantra, not caring at all about whether they actually understood it.
Once they had memorized everything, they began to work together to try and comprehend the words.

Cultivation was a complex and dangerous affair, and cultivating before completely understanding the text was suicidal.
Thus, anyone lucky enough to come upon a mantra would spend many months trying to understand its meaning.
Having a teacher made things much easier.

Tang Jie didn't have much time, and he soon felt like the air was filled with wriggling characters, leaving him dazed and confused.

The more panicked one was, the less one would be able to focus on comprehension.

At this moment, dust appeared in the distance.
The horde of corpses had returned, and leading them were none other than He Chong, Deng Yuqing, and Duan Fourth.

Tang Jie didn't find this strange.

He Chong's group definitely didn't like being forced back by the corpse horde.
So long as the corpses weren't going berserk, they were much faster than them, and so they could use their speed to circle around to come and make trouble for Tang Jie.

And it seemed like it was about the right time for that, as well.

As the three of them ran over, Tang Jie put away the mantra, took a few steps back, and shouted, “True Person He, I admit that you have heavenly strength that this lowly one cannot defeat no matter what, but I can at least guarantee that you'll never take me alive!”

He waved his fist, and the phantom of the Devil Crushing Fist appeared.

Of course, this wasn't a real attack, so it used a minuscule amount of energy.

He Chong stared.

He had a deep impression of this punch.
A mere Spirit Platform student had been able to block his claw, like a mouse blocking the paw of a lion.

He grunted, “I don't believe you can keep on using that punch!”

Although he didn't know that Tang Jie's spell art had his constitution as its upper limit, He Chong could tell from experience that this wasn't an attack Tang Jie could use lightly.

Tang Jie chuckled, “Why not? This is the Martial Lord's Starshatter Fist, recorded in the Martial Mirror.
At the apex, it can destroy stars.
I lack the foundation, so this is all the power I can produce, and I have to rest for a while after using it.
Fortunately, with this corpse horde around, I can use the time bought by this punch to enter the corpse flood, at which point you won't be able to do anything to me.”

Tang Jie was the only one who knew what the Martial Lord had actually hidden in the Martial Mirror, so He Chong couldn't refute anything he said.
As for the Martial Lord's abilities, this was a lord who had wandered across the myriad domains, so shattering stars and seizing moons really wasn't out of the question for him.
If this was the spell art he had left in the Martial Mirror, its power was completely believable.

Tang Jie's mixture of lies and truths left He Chong speechless.

Tang Jie began to run off to the side, saying, “But while the Starshatter Fist can stop you from taking me, it won't stop the attacks of the corpse horde.
If True Person He dies, these corpses will definitely go after me.
Thus, if True Person doesn't mind, why not work together with me to deal with the corpse horde first?”

He Chong laughed in anger.
“You think you're worthy of working together with me?”

“You can't say that.
True Person, when you entered, you should have realized that this formation is the land of inheritance, and only the person who has received the inheritance can freely move through it.
I'm only in this awkward situation because I got impatient and didn't cultivate the inheritance from the third formation before entering the fourth.
If True Person buys me some time and lets me understand what the Martial Lord left behind, I can naturally resolve this crisis.”

As he spoke, Tang Jie gradually drew even with He Chong, but there was still a long horizontal distance between them.
Tang Jie's left fist glowed as he prepared to punch at any time.

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If He Chong wanted to try and catch him, he would use the Devil Crushing Fist to escape and repeat the scene from before.

“The third formation… I see.” He Chong almost instantly understood.
While he found it hard to distinguish the truth from the fiction of the first half, he could tell from Tang Jie's tone that there were no lies in the second half.

He Chong coldly laughed.
“If that's the case, I can just kill you.
Why should I…”

Before he could finish, Tang Jie said, “One: you can't kill me, because I can escape with the Starshatter Fist.
Two: cultivating the secret art of the Martial Lord requires someone to draw away the corpse horde so that there's time and space to cultivate.
Three, and most importantly…”

Tang Jie smiled.

This smile made He Chong's heart leap.

Tang Jie waved around the Ninedark Mantra.
“See this? This is the Ninedark Mantra left behind by the Martial Lord in the third formation.
Alas, you won't get the chance to hold it.”

The title of the mantra flashed before the eyes of He Chong's group, and Deng Yuqing realized what was happening and cried out, “No!”

Tang Jie's hand shook, exploding with spiritual energy that obliterated the book.

“Bastard!” Duan Fourth roared in fury.
“You've gone crazy! Without the mantra, how are we going to resolve this crisis?”

“I memorized it, of course,” Tang Jie said, pointing at his head.

“I don't believe it.
How could you have memorized it in so little time!?” He Chong cried out.

“You had best believe it,” Tang Jie laughed.

“I see now.
I didn't realize that you also had a memory-retaining ability.
But I'm guessing that this sort of retained memory won't last long, yes? Aren't you afraid that the secret art will be lost if you forget it?” Deng Yuqing grunted.

Rapid memorization's greatest fear was time.
Even with the best ability to memorize, as time went on, something would be forgotten.

“That's why it's best that you take up my suggestion.
If I were to forget something, I guess we'll die to those corpses,” Tang Jie chuckled.

Despite his words, back at Red Plum Ridge, in the Cleansing Sword Garden, the avatar Tang Jie was writing like a madman in his room, even shouting, “Energy descends to the Nine Governors, flooding the Five Kilometers, lurking within the Cyclic Gate, stirring up the Sea of Blood…”

(TN: Five Kilometers, Cyclic Gate, and Sea of Blood are all acupuncture points.)

Yiyi was next to him, sweating as she scribbled down the words Tang Jie was shouting, lest he miss something.

On the other end, He Chong saw the book being destroyed and knew that he didn't have any hope.
All he could say was, “Tang Jie, how can I believe that you won't use the corpse horde to kill us once you're done cultivating the mantra, only protecting yourself?”

“I can swear an oath on my Heart Demon that when I learn the method to take care of the corpse horde, I will immediately save you,” Tang Jie immediately replied.

“This isn't enough.
You're only at Spirit Platform.
So long as you don't enter Celestial Heart in this life, a Heart Demon Oath won't do anything to you,” Duan Fourth immediately said.

“Bullshit!” Tang Jie cursed.
“Did I spend so much time and effort getting into this formation just to not enter Celestial Heart? If that were the case, I could have sold the Martial Mirror to Godhead Palace, and what I could gain in return would probably get me more than just Celestial Heart, right?”

The three of them were rendered speechless.

Tang Jie added, “As for you three, how can I guarantee that you won't do anything to me after I save you?”

He Chong vaguely said, “We can also swear Heart Demon Oaths.”

“Forget about it, True Person He.” Tang Jie grinned.
“You don't think I can tell that you've been through the Heart Demon Tribulation, entering the Soul Transformation Period? The power of a Heart Demon is greatly reduced against you.
So long as you cultivate a mind-focusing spell art like the Immovable Will Foundation and do your utmost to protect your Celestial Heart, a Heart Demon will find it difficult to invade.
Even if you killed me one hundred times, a Heart Demon wouldn't be able to do anything to you.”

He Chong's face reddened.
“It seems like you know a lot.”

Tang Jie laughed.
“If I need to fight against you guys, I need to be quite sharp.
There was a time when I was even dreaming about how I would use my life to oppose you guys.”

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“Then what do you need us to do?” He Chong asked.

“Simple.
I need you to offer your Celestial Heart as a blood soul offering and place the True Celestial Heart Curse on yourself, tying your life to mine.
If I die, then you'll die.
If you do that, we'll have a deal.” Tang Jie chuckled.
“If you dare to kill me, you'll die.
And if you dare to capture me, I can commit suicide.”

“What? Doesn't that mean that this old man will have his life bound to yours for the rest of my life!?” He Chong was enraged.
“Don't even think about it!”

“Stop playing dumb.
There are no such things as eternal curses.
Unless you put energy into keeping it up, it will come apart on its own.
I'm two realms weaker than you, so I can't maintain it even if I want to.
So long as you don't maintain it, the True Celestial Heart Curse will come apart in two months at most.
Our lives will be bound for only two months, certainly not your entire life.”

Tang Jie had once more exposed him, and He Chong's face went red.
But inwardly, he rejoiced. Kid, there's still something you don't know.

The True Celestial Heart Curse truly could last only around two months without anyone maintaining it, but that didn't mean that he didn't have ways of ending it early.
This method couldn't be used by himself, but it could be used by his colleagues.

While Tang Jie had been watching out for such things, his time in cultivation was ultimately short, and even though he was a top student, he couldn't possibly know everything, so he really didn't know about this.
With Duan Fourth and Deng Yuqing around, He Chong was sure that he could have the curse undone in fifteen days.

When the time came, he could easily kill Tang Jie.

With this thought in mind, he put on a reluctant face and helplessly shook his head.
“Fine.
I agree to your terms!”

He stabbed a finger into his heart and began to chant.
A few moments later, he flung out his finger, a crimson drop of blood flying toward Tang Jie.

Tang Jie grabbed it.
The drop of blood was like a jewel, but it did not stain his hand in any way.
Knowing that this was He Chong's heartblood essence, he laughed and said, “Thank you very much, True Person He.”

He tore open his chest and placed that bead of blood in his body.

As the bead of blood circulated through his body, it transformed into a warm current of spiritual power.
Tang Jie's eyes flashed with a bright light, his body radiating a bloody aura.

He Chong was startled.
“I see! No wonder you made that proposal.
Seeking my heartblood… You've already dabbled with the Dao of Insight?”

Heartblood essence was the essence of He Chong's cultivation, containing all that he had comprehended.
Unless he handed it over, it was impossible to get one's hands on it.

He Chong hadn't expected Tang Jie to have a basic grasp of the Dao of Insight, using this substance to analyze him.

In this way, Tang Jie gained much of He Chong's cultivation experience and understanding, even some of his comprehension of the Dao.

Of course, the heartblood essence was limited, so what Tang Jie obtained was also limited.
Even so, He Chong had cultivated for several hundred years, so even a few years or a few decades of experience was a rich harvest for Tang Jie.

If this went poorly, Tang Jie might have even gained the experience that would expose his plan to have Deng and Duan undo the curse.

But Tang Jie was seemingly satisfied and did not seem frightened or uneasy, so he clearly hadn't obtained this piece of information.
Relieved, He Chong barked, “Is it fine now?”

“Mm, it's fine.
Draw away the corpse horde and buy me three days, after which I can resolve the problem.” After experiencing part of He Chong's cultivation experience, Tang Jie felt enlightened.

At this moment, the avatar had basically finished writing down the Ninedark Mantra, and Tang Jie passed his understanding to the avatar so that they could both enjoy the advantages.

This was also one of the greatest advantages of two Tang Jies.
All the knowledge that they experienced and comprehended could be instantly shared.
One person studied and two people benefited.

“Three days?” He Chong sneered.
“The monumental work of the Martial Lord is so profound that comprehending it will probably take ten months.
Three days… Is that enough for you?”

“Wanna make a bet?” Tang Jie laughed.
“If I can do it, all of you will become my slaves.
What do you think?”

“Absolutely not!” He Chong wasn't taking Tang Jie's bait.

“Then let's change the terms.
If I can do it, you will have to help me with one thing.
If I can't do it, then I will give you the Martial Mirror.”

“What is it?”

“I'll tell you when the time comes.
In any case, it's not like there's a contract.
If I make things too difficult, you can just refuse to admit that you lost.” Tang Jie grinned.

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