Chapter 487: Robbery (3)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Tang Jie angrily threw aside a handful of pill, talisman, tool, and formation materials.
Normally, these materials were important items used in trades between the major sects. There were precious ores, rare herbs, and also art relics from famous artisans and powerful art talismans. Quite a few of them were capable of giving Tang Jie a very obvious boost in power.
But despite all these nice things, there was no sign of what he wanted the most: the Five Energies Sovereign Essence Pill.
How could Tang Jie not be angry?
Cloudscrape City was an important area for Godhead Palace, and his heist had been able to happen because he had exploited Godhead Palace's desire to catch him and their not expecting him to come back around. After this incident, Godhead Palace would be ready, and it would be difficult for him to repeat the events of Cloudscrape City.
This was precisely why he had set his sights on the most important and most necessary Five Energies Sovereign Essence Pill first. Alas, his luck had been poor. There would normally be Five Energies Sovereign Essence Pills at the storehouse, but this time, it didn't have any. Thus, while the operation had gone smoothly, it had ultimately been a failure.
This left Tang Jie very frustrated.
But there was no changing the past. He could only go straight to Upper Path Fort, where he robbed the auction there before taking his leave.
By now, the plundered loot had formed a small mountain in the Mountain River State Diagram. Tang Jie picked through the items, throwing the most worthless items into the furnace to smelt for resources.
The higher-value items that cost more in labor than in materials were kept to be sold off once he returned to Sageheart.
As for the high-level art relics, talismans, and pills, he kept those for himself. He ate what he could eat and used what he could use, doing his best to arm himself to the teeth.
Back in Sageheart, he had to work for everything he got. Making money through legal means wasn't easy, and for the sake of increasing his cultivation level, Tang Jie really hadn't bought any extra items like art relics for himself.
Now, he had a whole pile of treasure. In terms of Godhead Armor alone, he could basically wear a different one every day. There were also various art relics, so many that it took quite some time for him to test them all out. In truth, while traveling, he was testing all these treasures, and there were many times where he used them improperly and ended up in a sorry state. If Godhead Palace had known about this, they could have followed this trail straight to him.
In addition, testing various art talismans had a riot of colors appearing in the skies of Nadir Hill. Later on, Tang Jie felt like this wouldn't do, so he switched his experiment ground to the diagram, letting the ghost guard carry the diagram and run instead.
These treasures had a variety of functions which would greatly increase tactical flexibility. This was enough to keep Tang Jie busy in research for a long time.
After he arrived at Upper Path Fort and pulled off another heist, he had new things to experiment with, new tactics to study. Tang Jie was incredibly busy, his life more jam-packed than ever before.
He suddenly realized that he had a lot of things to do. He needed to avoid pursuit, search for the materials he needed, study how to use the materials he already had, and also remember to cultivate in preparation for his push to Celestial Heart.
All these things didn't crush Tang Jie. On the contrary, Tang Jie grew more excited, feeling like it was only this sort of life that could be considered exciting.
After leaving Upper Path Fort, Tang Jie robbed six other small garrisons and two cities. In the space of three days, he plundered a total of ten regions, crossed five thousand kilometers, and killed more than a hundred people. His savagery, madness, and speed soon had all of Nadir Hill in an uproar.
Godhead Palace finally realized that what they had imprisoned wasn't some down-and-out cultivator, but a crazed beast. Once he realized that he couldn't escape, he stopped thinking about how to escape and instead about how to bite back.
In these circumstances, Godhead Palace began to tighten the defenses and organize powerful cultivation squads. But just when they were about to make their own thunderous strike, Tang Jie disappeared.
He disappeared so suddenly that it was like he hadn't been sowing chaos at all.
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"Guest, thank you for your business! Please come back again!"
In front of the door to Destiny Treasure Boutique, Old Fourth Liu, wearing a green cloth robe, sent off a customer. In the distance, one could vaguely make out a cultivator vanishing into the sky.
The pedestrians were used to this sight and paid it no mind. Old Fourth Liu weighed the spirit coins in his hand and chuckled, after which he said to the shopkeeper inside, "Kid, you did good on this deal."
He held up a spirit coin.
The shopkeeper thought that Old Fourth Liu was going to reward him with a spirit coin and trembled in excitement.
But Old Fourth Liu put the spirit coin away and then took out a string of copper coins from his sleeve. "You really thought I was going to reward you with a spirit coin? Ha, five hundred coins, and be happy with it."
The shopkeeper helplessly dropped his head, "Fooling me again."
Old Fourth Liu laughed. "I'm just teasing. Alright, it's getting late. It looks to me like we won't get any more business today, so let's close up shop and get off work."
"Yes!" The shopkeeper grew energetic upon hearing that they were closing up for the day.
Old Fourth Liu hummed a tune as he walked to the back of the store. Passing through a small alley, he came to a small courtyard. This was his residence.
Opening the door, Old Fourth Liu entered a small garden. At the back of the garden was a little house made of stone. It all seemed very elegant and simple.
He casually walked a few steps and then suddenly froze, his entire body going stiff.
With great difficulty, he turned his head. Under a peach tree in the garden stood a person.
This person had his back to Old Fourth Liu, and was seemingly admiring the flowers as if he was sightseeing.
After a momentary daze, Old Fourth Liu cried out in panic and started to back away. "Who… who are you? Why have you intruded into my house?"
The man under the peach tree turned around, revealing himself to be Tang Jie.
He smiled at Old Fourth Liu and said, "Don't back up any more."
Old Fourth Liu was taken aback by Tang Jie's appearance. At this time, his right foot stepped on the soil on the left side of the garden, and a moment later, a little arrow shot out of the ground and struck him in the sole.
Old Fourth Liu hadn't expected this at all. Clang! The arrow didn't penetrate through the sole of his foot, instead dropping to the ground.
"What's going on here?" Old Fourth Liu said in shock.
"I told you not to back up any more." Tang Jie grinned. "I was bored while waiting for you, so I took a look around your home. I've already blocked the escape tunnel under the stone slab your foot is on. That thing was far too low of a level. If it became known that a cultivator was still using a method like this, it would be far too humiliating. Of course, I also left a few gifts so that nobody would try anything on me."
Old Fourth Liu looked at Tang Jie and then looked at the broken arrow under his foot. With a bitter look on his face, he said, "Young Master Tang, is this really necessary?"
"What? Have you been a ghost for so long that you've forgotten how to act human?" Tang Jie countered.
Old Fourth Liu's face turned even more bitter.
Sighing, he straightened his body.
As he straightened up, his demeanor transformed, the aura of an unscrupulous merchant becoming lofty and imposing.
Only now did Old Fourth Liu say, "Secret Hall subordinate Liu Yunhan pays respects to Sir Tang."
"You're too polite. Moreover, I think I'm your junior."
"There are no early- and latecomers when it comes to learning, only those who succeed. This one cannot compare to Sir Tang when it comes to slaying the members of Beast Refining and Godhead!"
"But while you respect me, you can't interact with me, right?" Tang Jie asked.
A helpless smile appeared on Old Fourth Liu's face. "I was being impolite. How did Sir manage to find me?"
"I'm still a member of the Secret Hall. While spies are too important to be easily divulged, I at least have more chances than most to find out… Do you know about Wang Junyan?" Tang Jie asked.
"Wang Junyan?" Old Fourth Liu's eyes lit up. "That kid is like me, a Donghe spy. But he was too young, so he was fooled two years ago by some small trick from the Hawk Hall. At least he had good legs and managed to escape Nadir Hill."
"I was the one who saved him," Tang Jie said.
Old Fourth Liu understood how he had been exposed.
Ten years of missions hadn't given Tang Jie only contribution points, but also a lot of acquaintances and relationships. These connections had also affected Tang Jie in some way.
For example, on a mission two years ago, Wang Junyan was being hunted down by Godhead Palace. Just when he was about to die, Tang Jie had suddenly saved him. He was endlessly grateful, so he had told him some things he shouldn't have, including about Old Fourth Liu.
Old Fourth Liu knew that he was in trouble when he saw Tang Jie.
Of course, he could make an excuse and say that Tang Jie wasn't his superior, so he didn't need to listen to his orders. But given Tang Jie's current reputation, he didn't have the guts to say such a thing. Tang Jie could really obliterate him with a palm and not receive even a rebuke when he returned to the Basking Moon Sect.
Thus, he could only say, "Sir, for what reason have you sought me out?"
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Tang Jie waved his sleeve, and a stone table, two stone chairs, and a jar of wine appeared between them.
"Sit," he said. "We'll chat and drink."
"Yes." Old Fourth Liu could only comply.
As they chattered, the tense mood gradually relaxed.
Spies were meant to serve the sect. Old Fourth Liu had been undercover in Nadir Hill for many years, and he had never participated in any major operations. All he did was gather some local information and send it back to the sect. Tang Jie's appearance meant that he might actually have a chance to show his ability.
Old Fourth Liu understood this, but he was unwilling to interrupt his calm life, so he was initially somewhat resistant. After three rounds of drinks, his thought process finally returned to the right track, and he understood what sort of person he was and what he needed to do. He clenched his teeth and said, "Alright, tell me what you need this Old Fourth Liu to do."
Tang Jie chuckled. "It's nothing. I just need you to gather some information on the measures Godhead Palace is taking against me."
"Just this?" Old Fourth Liu was flabbergasted. "Sir has stirred up a storm across the entire country, and everyone knows that Godhead Palace can't do anything to you."
"The one who laughs last laughs best. I caught Godhead Palace off guard, but that was because they were focused primarily on stopping me from escaping, not expecting me to bite back. But as time passes, they'll reevaluate their strategy. If I don't take them seriously, I might be the one dying at their hands."
"I see. But these matters are discussed by those above my station, and I can't guarantee that I'll be able to learn much."
"I don't need to know their exact countermeasures. I just need you to find out their general movements, and from there, I can analyze their countermeasures. In addition, I need you to bring me news from our sect."
Tang Jie was cut off from the Basking Moon Sect, and if he wanted to keep fighting with Godhead Palace, he would need the Basking Moon Sect's support. Thus, reestablishing communications was his first priority and the main reason he had contacted Old Fourth Liu.
"This is no problem. I will send back word to the sect that you are here."
"Remember to not use message talismans. Godhead Palace has a secret method that allows them to spy on message talismans. While they can't know what their contents are, they can know what direction they're going."
Old Fourth Liu smiled. "Oh, so Sir knows about that too? Sir, be at ease. We learned this long ago, and we have other means of sending messages."
"Good. Right, what is your current cultivation realm?" Tang Jie asked.
After all, this was a person who had been trained in concealment. Even Tang Jie's Celestial Eye couldn't see his cultivation level.
Old Fourth Liu replied, "This one is untalented and stupid, so after forty years of cultivation, I am still only at Nine Revolutions."
Tang Jie extended a finger toward Old Fourth Liu's forehead. "Relax your mind and don't resist."
Old Fourth Liu didn't dare to resist, so he relaxed his body and allowed Tang Jie's will to inspect his body.
A few moments later, Tang Jie drew back his finger and said, "You've cultivated for too long without completing Nine Revolutions, and your physical body is already starting to decline. If all goes as expected, you will find it very difficult to enter Cognitive Creation in this life."
Old Fourth Liu sighed, "Yes."
"But with enough spiritual medicine, you can still make an attempt. If your luck is good, while you have no hope of reaching Celestial Heart, peak Mortal Shedding is still possible."
"That requires a lot of resources," Old Fourth Liu said with a shake of his head.
"That's why I say that encountering me might not be a bad thing." Tang Jie waved his hand, and numerous bottles appeared on the table.
"This is…" Old Fourth Liu's eyes flew open, his entire body trembling.
"Consider this thanks for helping me. If you work for me, I can promise you that you will reach peak Mortal Shedding," Tang Jie lightly said.
For him, these medicines were useless. He was originally planning to toss them into the furnace, but now, they were better used for guaranteeing this person's loyalty. After all, even Godhead Palace could have only gotten Old Fourth Liu to the peak of Mortal Shedding at most if he chose to join them.
As for Celestial Heart, unless he had rare items like thousand-year Whitefiend Lotuses that could modify his constitution, he could put an end to any such thoughts.
After being presented with what he stood to gain, Old Fourth Liu became very enthusiastic about his work.
He first sent back word to the Basking Moon Sect that Tang Jie had come to him. But while his secret method was safe, it was rather slow, and it took three days to get back a reply. In the meantime, Old Fourth Liu moved around to gather information on how Godhead Palace was planning to deal with Tang Jie.
Just as Tang Jie had said, by understanding Godhead Palace's movements, one could theorize as to their actual objective. Of course, it was possible that there were feints and smokescreens mixed in, but Tang Jie was just a wanted criminal, not an enemy country. It would be somewhat humiliating to have to resort to feints against a single man.
Thus, it took only two days for Old Fourth Liu to get a rough understanding of Godhead Palace's movements and situation.
"Godhead Palace has sent the 12 Hawks of the Hawk Hall against you. The 12 Hawks are famous for capture and tracking. Fortunately, Young Master was prepared for this and flies around every day to put an end to any thought they might have of tracking you. Otherwise, the 12 Hawks would definitely find this place. In addition, the Beast Refining Gate has dispatched Feng Buzhi to assist Godhead Palace."
"What's going on with Xu Hanling being a Beast Refining Gate spy yet serving Godhead Palace?"
"I'm not clear on the details, but it's not strange for allied sects to have spies planted in each other's ranks. In any case, neither party wants to make a big deal of this. In most cases, the party in the wrong will simply pay compensation."
"The 12 Hawks haven't done anything, but Godhead Palace has redeployed in order to deal with Young Master's various robberies. They've set up warning stations at important areas and then organized a powerful team of cultivators, each person carrying a teleportation talisman. Through this talisman, they can go and support those areas without teleportation points. In this way, so long as the warning can be sent promptly, they can arrive in time. While the cost is rather high, they have to do all this in order to catch you."
"As expected," Tang Jie grunted.
Although he didn't know what countermeasures Godhead Palace would take, that was precisely what made him more careful. What appeared like bold and crazy robberies had actually been only three days of work and then a complete stop. Sure enough, this had allowed him to evade Godhead Palace's reaction.
If he had kept on going out of greed, he would have been the unfortunate one right now.
"Godhead Palace's defenses are very tight, so another robbery is basically impossible." After giving his report, Old Fourth Liu sighed. Over these last few days, he had come to understand what Tang Jie was trying to do.
Despite having stolen the entire storehouse of Cloudscrape City, Tang Jie was still worried about resources every day.
This was because he wanted to make the charge at Celestial Heart, which required specific medicines, and now, those medicines had been placed under heavy watch by Godhead Palace. Anyone who dared to buy them would be investigated by Godhead Palace.
"Who says it's not possible?" Tang Jie casually said. "Once you know their deployment, you can find a solution to it."
"Huh?" Old Fourth Liu was shocked.
"While teleportation talismans are nice, they have their own problems. Any teleportation over fifty kilometers will usually be a directional teleportation. The better talismans like the Five Thousand Kilometer Talisman and the Free Roaming Talisman can also only indicate a direction, like 'two hundred and fifty kilometers to the east'. As for what's actually there? Nobody can say. The inferior kind will be random teleportation, not even allowing for a direction. A cultivator team using teleportation talismans to reinforce might be fast, but it's very hard for them to end up in the same area. Thus, they must also need a formation that can help fix their position. This formation won't be like a teleportation formation. It will be extremely simple, easy to deploy, and cheap, allowing it to be laid out anywhere."
Tang Jie smiled. "Although it's cheap, it's still a critical location. Thus, I just need to find that point they're using to fix their location and destroy it like I destroyed the teleportation formation of Cloudscrape City. That so-called reinforcement team will be forced to go in blind."
Old Fourth Liu was gobsmacked by what he was hearing.
Had Tang Jie really so easily found the solution to Godhead Palace's defenses?
Old Fourth Liu sighed in praise. "Sir is truly a divine strategist! This one is full of admiration!"
"But this time will be different from the others. Once I attack, those people won't be all panicked and unable to decide what to do. Instead, they will immediately send out the alarm and call for reinforcements. As a result, I can't reenact Cloudscrape City and go around killing people while demanding the location of the teleportation formation. I have to figure out the location of the coordinate formation first and then destroy it immediately to ensure that the plan goes smoothly."
"Sir is right." Old Fourth Liu nodded.
Tang Jie added, "We're in no rush. Let's wait for a few more days. At that time, Godhead Palace will definitely think that I've given up after not being able to find a way through. At that time, I will strike, this time at a big city."
"'A big city'?"
"Mm, a big city!" Tang Jie firmly replied. "Big cities are difficult to attack, so you have to take them by surprise. This was also true for Cloudscrape City. Now that we're showing weakness by stopping the raids and lying low, they'll be surprised if we suddenly attack again, so naturally, we should choose a big city."
"'W-we'?" Old Fourth Liu sharply noticed Tang Jie's choice of words.
"Yes," Tang Jie replied as if it was a matter of fact. "Big cities have Celestial Eyes, so my disguise can't fool them. If I can't enter the city, how exactly am I going to attack it? I'll need to rely on you to find and attack the coordinate formation. Once you destroy it, I can charge in."
Old Fourth Liu felt dizzy. "Won't I be in danger then?"
"Don't worry," Tang Jie replied. "You don't need to do the deed yourself. You only need to do two things: find the coordinate point, and bring Yiyi to it. Once you do these two things, you can leave, so you will be very safe."
Old Fourth Liu exhaled and looked at Tang Jie like he was looking at a madman.
After a while, he said, "Fine. This old man will help you once."
"Mm. Right, remember to give me a list of all the other spies you're aware of."
"What do you need that for?"
"Just in case. If you accidentally die, I can get someone else to work for me." Tang Jie smiled.
"Fucker." Old Fourth Liu was speechless with anger.
Three days later, a major city in the southeast region of Nadir Hill, Cloud Gourd City, was robbed.
This place wasn't as big as Cloudscrape City, but it was also an important town, guarded by one Heart Demon True Person and two Spirit Ring True Persons.
But this sort of defensive force had unexpectedly been unable to stop Tang Jie from forcing his way into the city once the coordinate point was destroyed.
This was because this bastard had stolen many treasures from Cloudscrape City, and there were sealing treasures among them. When facing the Heart Demon True Person, he threw out one art relic after another, not caring whether they were damaged, which was able to constantly "stun" the Heart Demon True Person. The immense cost and waste of this action had people clicking their tongues, but in the end, it allowed him to successfully take the storehouse and its treasures and flee.
This news set off another uproar.
And Tang Jie didn't stop, continuing to rob various areas, but this time, he targeted small cities and towns without Celestial Eyes, so he didn't even need Old Fourth Liu.
In the space of a few days, Tang Jie robbed three cities and seven towns, causing Nadir Hill to weep and Godhead Palace to throw up blood.
At this time, Tang Jie officially became the greatest thief of the domain.
Tang Jie didn't care at all, actually finding the feeling rather nice.
Having no restrictions and plundering and stealing to his heart's content was truly a wonderful life!