Chapter 326: Charge

On the fish lip rock, Tang Jie had his eyes closed in meditation, his tall and thin body casting a long shadow in the setting sun.

This was the third day he had been meditating, and his longest meditation session yet since he had started cultivating.
The constant circulation of Major Circuit Heavens made Tang Jie almost forget the passage of time.
The raging of the Spirit Sea in his Spiritual Space occupied all of his sensory capacity.

He had digested and absorbed large amounts of medicinal power, sending it into his Spiritual Space, where it became spiritual liquid that fell like rain, provoking his Spirit Sea into a fury, waves storming about.
And in this way, the walls of this “world” were constantly pushed outward by the waves.

After three days of honing and absorption, the final moment had come.

As the last bit of medicinal power, mixed with spiritual energy from the blessed land, dripped into the Spiritual Space, the raging Spirit Sea that had been constantly expanding suddenly calmed down.
The Spiritual Space suddenly flashed with a silver luster, the entire space becoming smooth and glossy as if it had been plated in metal.
At the same time, it became solid and stable.

This meant that Tang Jie had finally run into the first major threshold of his life.
At this stage, the Spiritual Space had expanded to its limit and could no longer expand.

Spiritual liquid was still raining into the Spiritual Space, but it no longer fused into the Spirit Sea, instead drifting around like a white mist.
It seeped out of the Spiritual Space and began to circulate through Tang Jie's body, emerging from the Baihui Point on his head and forming white wisps like those of the distant sea of clouds.

This was a sign that one was full of spiritual energy, and also a sign that one had reached the peak of Spirit Sea.
Once the Spirit Sea had been expanded to its limit, as cultivators breathed in and out, they could no longer stockpile more spiritual energy, so it became a spiritual fog and drifted out of the body again.
This white fog around Tang Jie's head was called the Crown Haze.

The moment the Crown Haze emerged was the moment a cultivator knew their Spirit Sea was full.

Whew! Tang Jie exhaled and stopped cultivating, and the fog over his head dissipated.

Gazing at the Spirit Sea in his body, Tang Jie felt very satisfied.
After twenty-some days, he had finally reached the peak of Spirit Sea.
To have gotten this far after only four and a half years of cultivation was something he could be proud of.
What was truly rare was that Tang Jie hadn't wasted much medicinal power, going to the very last drop.

This was largely thanks to He Chong.
Without the methods he had provided, Tang Jie wouldn't have been able to so easily calculate the amount of energy he needed and use everything to its maximum.
Even so, he had also used up all the resources from the quotas of Wei Tianchong, Ye Tianshang, and the Seven Absolutions Sect students, and even exceeded it by quite a bit.
He would probably have to pay more than ten thousand coins in compensation once he was out.

But compared to the achievement of reaching the peak in four and a half years, a penalty of more than ten thousand spirit coins was barely anything.
At most, when he got back to the academy, he would have to run a few missions, accumulating some contribution points on the way.

Someone else would have celebrated upon reaching the peak of Spirit Sea, but for Tang Jie, who was aiming at Mortal Shedding, this was only preliminary work.
Rather than celebrating, he felt like a great burden had been lifted.
He felt like he had made it to the very last step.

While this was the last step, the faster people would need more than a month to take it, the slower would need half a year, and those who lacked the ability might waste the rest of their lives on it.

This was precisely why each charge at Mortal Shedding was a test, and just like before a big examination, one needed to make a lot of preparations.

Looking toward the distant sky, Tang Jie muttered, “Still fourteen hours until dawn.
It should be enough.”

He came down from the fish lip rock and ran down the mountain.

He went to a spring at the foot of the mountain, pulled out the Heartbreak Saber, and made a cut on his arm.
Blood flowed out and dripped into the spring.

The blood in the water soon drew over a Shortmouth Sickleclaw.

This was a lower-grade fiend.
It walked over with tottering steps, and as it approached, Tang Jie chuckled and flourished his saber.

It was naturally easy for Tang Jie at his current level of strength to deal with a lower-grade fiend.
It wasn't long before he had subdued it, but rather than killing it, he captured it alive and carried it back up the mountain.

Back on the fish lip rock, Tang Jie stabbed his saber into the fiend's neck.
As blood flowed, Tang Jie used the corpse as a brush to begin drawing a strange diagram on the rock.

When he saw this, Xie Fengtang's final hope was snuffed out.
Slapping his forehead, he said, “It's over.”

In response, Heng Wudi laughed in amusement.

Any cultivator, even a student who hadn't reached the Mortal Shedding Realm yet, could tell from this scene that Tang Jie was planning to charge at the Mortal Shedding Realm, for what he was doing was the most important prep work for this.

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He was drawing a receiving formation to link the heavens and earth!

The receiving formation's purpose was to trigger a response from the heavens and earth, producing a sliver of special energy.
This energy would enter the body and draw in outside forces to create a passage in the Spiritual Space that would link the heavens and earth.
This passage was the so-called Heaven-Earth Bridge.

With this Heaven-Earth Bridge, cultivators would no longer need to waste their own energy when casting spell arts.
The power in their body would serve as the primer, but it was the natural power of the heavens and earth that would create the truly powerful spell arts.

But drawing in the energy of the heavens and earth wasn't easy.
One first needed to convert the nature of the energy so that it could be accepted by the human body.
Thus, while drawing with fiend blood was needed, many other supplementary methods were also required, and caution was needed in the receiving and erection of the bridge.

The Langya Blessed Land was rich in resources and spiritual energy, so there was no need to worry about preparing the resources.
Tang Jie went down and up the mountain, tirelessly catching fiend beasts and picking spirit plants to take back to the summit.
Slowly, the receiving formation approached completion as he brought in all the various items needed.
It was clear from how neatly everything was arranged that he had come prepared.
Just like that, the preparatory work for charging at Mortal Shedding was swiftly completed.

Out of shock from the rush Tang Jie was in, many people stayed to watch late into the night.
After twenty-some days of silence for the spectators, this unprecedented event was drawing thousands of eyes.
Countless cultivators of the Rosecloud Domain were observing Tang Jie as he prepared to charge at Mortal Shedding—a rather grand occasion for the man in question.
And even more people wanted to know if Tang Jie would actually succeed.

If he could do it, then he would undoubtedly set a new record: the fastest to go from peak Spirit Sea to Mortal Shedding.

Nobody believed that he would actually succeed.
While the Mortal Shedding threshold was not a lethal one, it was still a major threshold.
Without the guidance of a teacher or the support of medicine, without sufficient preparation and accumulation, the charge was just too difficult.
Tang Jie had undoubtedly taken the path with the greatest chance of failure.

Heng Wudi sneered, “Reckless and arrogant thing! Rushing to charge at the threshold like this is nothing short of suicidal.
It seems like Tang Jie won't exist tomorrow.
I suppose that's karma for insulting me.”

Ming Yekong cracked open his eyes.
“Brother Heng is so certain that Tang Jie will fail?”

“Naturally,” Heng Wudi grunted.
“Charging at Mortal Shedding is a difficult task in any circumstance, and failure is very normal.
If I had to assign a probability to it, then with ample preparations, it would only be around 30%.
No matter how you look at it, this kid is sorely lacking in preparation, so he doesn't even have a 10% chance.
Given that he has no one around to save him, he's basically doomed.”

“If that is so, then Brother Heng would not mind making a wager with me, yes? I bet that he will succeed.
If I lose, I will give my Bloodweeping Fiend Lotus to Brother Heng.
What about it?”

“What?” Heng Wudi looked in disbelief at Ming Yekong.

The Bloodweeping Fiend Lotus was a real treasure that had miraculous effects when it came to opening the Violet Palace.
It was said that it could boost one's chances by 10 to 20%.
Ming Yekong had found this item more than one hundred years ago on some island.
He had planted it inside his body and watered it with his heartblood every day.
Its effects had gradually improved to an astonishing level, and nobody knew when Ming Yekong would use it and complete the grand feat of charging at the Violet Palace Realm.

How could Heng Wudi not be shocked that Ming Yekong was wagering this precious plant?

Ming Yekong indifferently said, “Of course, if I win, I want nothing other than Brother Heng's Nightwraith Cat.”

The Nightwraith Cat was a special fiend beast that Heng Wudi had raised at enormous cost.
It was exceptionally agile and ferocious.
Most unusually, it could fuse with Heng Wudi's snake, combining into a powerful dragon tiger.

Thus, while Ming Yekong didn't have much use for the Nightwraith Cat, it would be a huge loss for Heng Wudi.

Heng Wudi gave Ming Yekong a profound glance before finally grunting, “Fine.
Since Ming Yekong is willing to make this wager, I'll play along.”

In terms of value, the Nightwraith Cat couldn't compare to the Bloodweeping Lotus, which could increase one's chances of reaching Violet Palace.
For the sake of his desire to reach Violet Palace, Heng Wudi could only grind his teeth and accept the deal.

Ming Yekong chuckled.
Then I, Ming Yekong, swear on the ancestors of the Basking Moon Sect that I will uphold my wager with Brother Heng.
My fellow immortals, please bear witness to this.”

Heng Wudi recited a similar oath.

At their level, Heart Demon Oaths were useless.
On the contrary, oaths made on the honor of their ancestors had more binding power.
After all, anyone who shirked such an oath would be betraying their sect.

Xie Fengtang was alarmed at how easily these two had made this wager, whispering, “Master Ming, are you so certain that kid will succeed?”

Ming Yekong indifferently replied, “I can see whatever Heng Wudi can.
If I were certain, do you think Heng Wudi would take this bet?”

These words meant that he wasn't sure, which scared Xie Fengtang out of his wits.
“And you still made the bet?”

Ming Yekong smiled.
“Can gambling when you're certain really be called gambling?”

“But Master Ming, the Bloodweeping Lotus…”

Ming Yekong sighed.
“I am a cultivator, so when have I ever placed my fate on a single external object? I've been watering the Bloodweeping Lotus for more than a hundred years now, and I should have made the charge at the Violet Palace Realm long ago.
Do you know why I've kept putting it off?”

Xie Fengtang didn't understand.
“Is it not because Master Ming wanted to raise it until it reached its maximum value?”

Ming Yekong chuckled.
“The problem is that the Bloodweeping Lotus matured ten years ago.”

“Huh? Master Ming, then why haven't you…” Xie Fengtang wanted to ask, but then he understood and shut his mouth.

Ming Yekong hadn't used it because the Bloodweeping Lotus could only boost the chances of success by 20%, which still wasn't enough for him.

Worried about whether he would gain or lose, he did not dare try.

Ming Yekong looked at him and said, “You understand now.
Before this conference, I was still searching for even better treasures to raise my chances at getting to Violet Palace.
But today, I finally understand.
I understand that even if I obtained those things, I would still fail at reaching Violet Palace… because I lack the confidence.”

Ming Yekong took a sip of his tea and looked at Tang Jie on the screen.
Tang Jie was still preparing for the charge at Mortal Shedding, and Ming Yekong's eyes began to lose focus.
“This kid feels unfathomable to me.
I don't know what he's doing or how far he's going to go, but I can see his eyes… resolved, focused, and brimming with confidence.”

Ming Yekong chuckled.
“The shrewdness of the adult and the vitality of youth have appeared on the same person.
This is something new.
I see him unafraid of the consequences, bravely pressing forward.
The path forward is difficult, but he is fearless and never doubts his steps.
He is cautious when he should be and brave and bold when he should be.
So long as there is hope, he fights with all his might… He has confidence, which gives me confidence, which makes me realize that I've wasted these one hundred years.”

Xie Fengtang sighed and fell silent.
He understood why Ming Yekong was gambling the Bloodweeping Lotus.
On the summit, Tang Jie was readying to charge at Mortal Shedding, and on the spectators' seats, Ming Yekong was using this chance to step onto the road to Violet Palace.

When Tang Jie succeeded, he would pass his confidence to Ming Yekong, at which point Ming Yekong would begin his preparations to charge at Violet Palace.
If he failed, then Ming Yekong would lose his confidence, at which point the Bloodweeping Lotus would no longer be important.

With the Bloodweeping Lotus, he might not succeed at charging at Violet Palace.
Without confidence, anything he did would end in failure.

Upon understanding this, Xie Fengtang understood why Ming Yekong dared to make this wager, and he couldn't help but look at Ming Yekong and sigh.
The curtain was finally closing on the Violet Palace threshold that had troubled Ming Yekong for a hundred years.
Would the Basking Moon Sect lose a Celestial Chief, or gain a True Lord? All of it depended on that distant young student, which Xie Fengtang found to be quite ironic.

On the fish lip stone, Tang Jie's preparations continued to proceed in an orderly fashion.

Using copious amounts of fiend blood as ink, a profound and mysterious receiving formation gradually took form.
As Tang Jie made the final stroke, the sky of the Langya Blessed Land brightened.

Clouds gathered into a vortex, thunder rumbled, and lightning crackled.
But rather than enter the formation, Tang Jie quietly sat on the side and studied the lightning.

Xie Fengtang's face grew excited.
“He knows to adjust his condition and wait for the right moment.
It seems like he's very ready for this, but I can only hope that he's prepared a little more.”

As time continued to pass, the lightning continued to dance in the clouds.

As the sky began to brighten and the first ray of rosy dawn light broke through the sea of clouds, Tang Jie finally stood up.

He formed a sword sign with his left hand and the unmoving stamp sign with his right hand, and then he stepped into the formation.

Upon seeing these signs, the eyes of Xie Fengtang and Ming Yekong glowed, and even Heng Wudi's face tightened.

“He knows the Heaven-Guiding Immovable Mantra!” someone in the audience remarked.

There were different methods for guiding the energy of the heavens and earth, and the Heaven-Guiding Immovable Mantra was one of them, the most dangerous and most vicious.
But this method was also the quickest way to erect the Heaven-Earth Bridge, and the one that was most liable to lead to comprehension of the Dao in the process.

For Tang Jie to choose the most dangerous Heaven-Guiding Immovable Mantra without the guidance of a teacher had Ming Yekong sighing in admiration at his boldness.
What should have been a rather safe process had instantly become a life-or-death moment.
The slightest mishap would lead to a violent death.

As Tang Jie entered the formation, the energy that had accumulated in the heavens and earth exploded out in the form of a powerful lightning bolt.

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