AIP - Chapter 94: Tiger Roar Valley (2)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
After throwing off the mottled snake's pursuit, Tang Jie continued his way along the mountain path.
"There's spirit grass up ahead!" Nestled in Tang Jie's bosom, Yiyi pointed with her finger before quickly drawing back.
After the lesson just now, Yiyi did not dare to reveal herself. While she was hiding in Tang Jie's bosom, at least her scent wouldn't travel very far.
Going in the direction Yiyi had indicated, Tang Jie went up to a shrub. Next to it, ten-some bright red grasses were swaying in the wind.
"Red tuber grass, not very valuable," Tang Jie sadly remarked.
Three stalks of red tuber grass went for only one spirit coin. It was a low-value plant whose only redeeming quality was that it grew very quickly. It normally needed only half a year to mature, and a lot would grow out at once.
Tang Jie counted them and found that there were twenty, so he took out his small herb hoe.
The main value of the red tuber grass was in its roots, so he dug them out together with their roots. However, the school rules said that at least one stalk had to be left in any patch of red tuber grass so that they could continue to thrive. The academy wouldn't go out of its way to watch every student to make sure this happened, but if it got serious about investigating, no one would be able to hide. Thus, the students did not break this rule lightly.
After taking eighteen stalks, Tang Jie carefully put them away and continued.
As he was walking, Yiyi suddenly shouted, "Run! Another monster is coming!"
Tang Jie turned around and ran. At the same time, he asked, "What is it?"
"A leopard, a wicked leopard!" Yiyi shouted, waving her fists.
Hearing this, Tang Jie stopped.
Yiyi panicked. "Hurry and run! Why did you stop?"
Tang Jie sighed. "I can fight a leopard."
"Ah?" Yiyi was dumbfounded.
She had been scared silly by the big snake and wanted to run the moment she discovered a fiend beast. She had forgotten that they hadn't come here so that they could flee from anything they ran into.
There were three kinds of leopard fiends in Tiger Roar Valley, but all of them were of the lower grade.
Tang Jie only avoided those of middle grade and above. If he even had to avoid lower grades, he might as well have not come.
As he turned around, he saw a black leopard charging at him, moving so fast that it was just a black blur.
So it was a black leopard. This fellow's hide is worth quite a lot, and its flesh has nourishing effects. As the black leopard lunged, Tang Jie was already thinking about how to skin it and how much he would make from its various parts.
The black leopard suddenly accelerated. Upon reaching Tang Jie's side, it swept a paw at him, sharp claws coldly glinting under the sunlight.
Tang Jie roared and struck out with his palm, colliding with the leopard's paw. He wanted to test out the toughness of his body and see how it would fare without using any defensive spells. As the sharp claws clashed with the metal palm, a sliver of blood flew into the air. Tang Jie grunted and drew back. Looking down at his palm, he saw that there were five bloody holes.
It was a bad wound, but Tang Jie was delighted.
Low-tier fiend beasts didn't have many spell arts, and primarily relied on their physical bodies to fight. While the black leopard wasn't known for its strength among the low-level fiend beasts, it was very difficult for someone to fight against it without using spell arts.
After this clash of palm and paw, Tang Jie activated the Aquagel Shroud and gave the black leopard a flying kick, choosing to fight it by exchanging blow for blow.
A claw penetrated through the shroud and left five bloody scratches on Tang Jie's body while Tang Jie's foot met the black leopard's abdomen.
The abdomen was a weak point for feline creatures, and with this kick, the black leopard yowled. But a moment later, it flipped over in the air and brought its long tail down like a whip on Tang Jie's body, knocking him away.
It was an unexpectedly powerful blow that left Tang Jie with a burning pain. As he flew out, he shot an Energy Needle at the black leopard.
But the black leopard was far more agile than he had anticipated, dodging and leaving a blur in the air. It charged into Tang Jie's chest and took a bite at his neck.
Caught off guard by this sudden development, Tang Jie had to activate the Formless Golden Body. The black leopard bit down on Tang Jie's neck and felt like it was biting steel. Clang! Its teeth failed to sink in. The black leopard froze, giving Tang Jie time to strike its head with his elbow. Meanwhile, the leopard swung a paw at his face.
The two separated. While the leopard had been forced back, it had left a bloody scratch on Tang Jie's face, and there were two very shallow teeth marks on his neck.
"It's quite a hassle to deal with," Tang Jie grumbled. The black leopard was famed for its speed, and it had probably used its natural spell art just now, making it extremely nimble.
In this clash, Tang Jie had actually been the loser.
Yiyi jumped around and shouted, "You said you could beat it!"
"I didn't say I could do it easily!" Tang Jie tersely replied as he took out the puppet token.
A light shot out of the puppet token, and the black, human-shaped combat puppet appeared on the ground. Under Tang Jie's control, it rushed at the black leopard.
To his surprise, the black leopard growled and turned to flee the moment the puppet appeared.
Yiyi raised her little hand and threw out the Immortal-Binding Rope, but to her surprise, the leopard easily dodged it.
It moved quickly, and in an instant, it was gone.
Able to fight but unable to keep up, Tang Jie could only watch as it disappeared into the forest.
"Shit!" Tang Jie cursed, feeling extreme helplessness.
The leopard was a weirdo of the natural world. While it had a savage appearance, it was extremely weak in combat. Even after becoming a fiend, it still ranked at the bottom. Only its incredible speed kept it from being killed easily.
Since the black leopard had run off, Tang Jie could only continue to dig for herbs.
Fortunately, with Yiyi, Tang Jie found the process very smooth. It wasn't long before he had dug out several kinds of grass. While they weren't valuable individually, when put together, they were worth a lot of money.
But in order to truly make money from Tiger Roar Valley, he had to kill fiend beasts.
Fiend beasts would always be more valuable than herbs. Killing just one would often be worth several hundred coins. To take that mottled snake that had chased Tang Jie as an example, if Tang Jie had managed to kill it, the whole thing would have easily sold for seven or eight hundred coins.
But a target like this usually required many students working together.
The strongest fiend beast in Tiger Roar Valley was of upper grade, but only those below Spirit Lake were permitted entry. This was to make everyone understand the value of working together. But Tang Jie had too many secrets that couldn't see the light of day, so he had to work alone.
After a while, they ran into their third fiend beast, a brown bear.
Yiyi shouted, "This one is slow!"
Tang Jie wanted to cry. "This one is strong."
There were two kinds of brown bears in Tiger Roar Valley: a middle-grade and a lower-grade.
Even the lower-grade brown bear had the thickest hide among all the lower-grade beasts of Tiger Roar Valley. And with one swing of its paw, it could pulverize a giant rock as tall as a man.
While Tang Jie's body was tough, it wasn't tough enough to fight head-on with it. If he tried to fight it with the puppet, he might win, but it would come at a terrible price.
That fellow was also strong enough to break the Immortal-Binding Rope by just struggling a little.
Unless there was an absolute gap in strength, or the opponent had many treasures but could not fully use them, such as with Zhuang Shen, the majority of battles between equally-matched opponents would end up with paying more than was gained, the pros not outweighing the cons.
In truth, the vast majority of rewarding victories were the result of the strong overcoming the weak.
In a clash between truly powerful opponents, both sides normally suffered enormous losses, and neither side could be said to have truly benefited. It was simply a matter of who lost less.
Thus, to benefit, one had to choose the right target.
Strength determined the scope of choice. The stronger one was, the more targets would be available, and the more one would benefit.
Tang Jie was strong in the Spirit Spring Tier, but even so, in Tiger Roar Valley, only a quarter of the lower-grade fiend beasts were suitable for him to deal with. For him to fail three times in a row was absolutely normal.
Yiyi once more sniffed the odor of a fiend beast on the air. She weakly said, "One wolf. Can you fight it?"
"What kind of wolf?"
"I don't know," Yiyi replied, propping a hand under her chin.
Tang Jie looked at the map and thought about what he had learned in class. He muttered, "Since it's a lone wolf, it should be a needleback wolf or a wind wolf, but I should be able to beat either."
"You can fight?" Yiyi got excited.
"Mm," Tang Jie nodded affirmatively. "It's just not very valuable."
"Haaa," Yiyi sighed.
"Just be happy with what we have. With our current level of ability, we have to content ourselves with fighting wolves." Not daring to be careless, Tang Jie took out the puppet.
While wolves weren't worth much—seventy to eighty coins apiece—if he could kill one, today couldn't be considered a huge loss.
Soon, a needleback wolf appeared in the distance.
Upon seeing the needleback wolf, Tang Jie heartily laughed.
This wolf was actually rather strong, but it wasn't as fast as the black leopard and not as tough as the brown bear. Its strength was perfect for Tang Jie to suppress, and it could be described as Tang Jie's favorite opponent.
The needleback wolf was somewhat cautious when it saw Tang Jie, not willing to rush up. Tang Jie had Yiyi show herself, upon which the wolf became red-eyed and howled.
Yiyi immediately retreated into Tang Jie's bosom in fright while Tang Jie laughed and punched at the approaching wolf.
The wolf howled and swung its claws to meet Tang Jie's palm. Both of them trembled, and then with a sharp yowl, the wolf dropped its head. The countless sharp hairs on its back suddenly stood up and began to shoot at Tang Jie.
This was the needleback wolf's unique skill. When those hairs were fired, they were like steel needles, the dense barrage carrying considerable power.
But Tang Jie and the other students all knew about this wolf's special powers. Since Tang Jie dared to fight it, he was naturally prepared to deal with it.
The moment the wolf had dropped its head, Tang Jie had activated the Formless Golden Body and the Aquagel Shroud.
Hundreds of hairs penetrated through the barrier, and then they thumped against his body. Countless needles had stabbed into his body, turning him into a pincushion, but none of them penetrated very deeply.
At the same time, the puppet charged out and punched into the wolf's now-barren back.
This was no wolf puppet. It was imbued with impressive physical strength, a single punch almost shattering the wolf's bones. The wolf immediately knew the situation was bad. After taking one last avaricious look at Yiyi, it turned to flee.
"Want to run?" Tang Jie had already activated the Violet Lightning Lunge and moved to pursue. The wolf wasn't as fast as the black leopard, and he instantly caught up and gave the wolf a kick in the abdomen, throwing it back to the puppet.
Yiyi once more threw out the Immortal-Binding Rope, which wrapped tightly around the wolf.
The wolf had a savage nature and constantly shook its head and snarled, at the same time trying to break the rope.
When the Immortal-Binding Rope had bound up Tang Jie back then, he had been rendered completely immobile, but the bound-up wolf could still move its head and tail. It clearly wasn't completely subdued.
Lower-grade spell weapons clearly weren't very effective at suppressing lower-grade fiend beasts, and there was even a chance that it could escape.
Fortunately, the puppet came up and pressed down on the wolf. At the same time, the defensive formation on it activated so that the wolf's bites were powerless.
This time, the wolf was rendered completely immobile.
Tang Jie was already creating a formula, his hand flashing with spiritual light, a milky-white light forming on his finger joints.
The Jade Shattering Finger!
This was another powerful spell art Tang Jie had learned from the Divine Firmament Sword Classic.
But he wasn't very proficient in his spell, and simple art manifestation took ages. Thankfully, he had the suppression of the puppet and the Immortal-Binding Rope, allowing him to take his time casting.
At this moment, his finger appeared to be made of white jade. Tang Jie charged up and thrust the finger at the wolf's head.
The finger penetrated through the wolf's head like it was made of tofu. Plush! The finger stabbed into the wolf's head, and spiritual power surged down the finger and erupted. Boom! The wolf stopped moving.
Whew! Tang Jie pulled out the finger and drew back a few steps.
Though the battle hadn't been long, it had been a close one, and he had suffered some pretty bad injuries.
The wolf hairs went limp now that they weren't supported by fiend power, and Tang Jie now looked like he was turning into a werewolf.
Yiyi carefully plucked out the wolf hairs. Each hair removed would leave behind a little pinprick of blood.
It took a while to finally take out all the wolf hairs. Tang Jie was now covered in so many red spots that he looked like he had measles.
But he had a powerful constitution, and such injuries would probably fully recover in four hours.
"Put away all these hairs. Wolf hairs that can be launched contain some essence energy of the fiend wolf and can be used for talisman brushes," Tang Jie ordered Yiyi.
"Understood." Yiyi obediently nodded.
Tang Jie started to skin and dismantle the wolf.
Yiyi watched him work from the side,curiously asking, "Big Brother, are we still going to hunt fiend beasts after this?"
"But it's so dangerous. The fiend beasts here are all formidable." The weakest wolf had left Tang Jie covered in wounds, and Yiyi was fearful of running into anything stronger.
The fiend beasts of Tiger Roar Valley weren't good little boys and girls who would wait in line for you to challenge them.
After some thought, Tang Jie stopped and said, "It's not that the fiend beasts are formidable. We're just too weak."
"Then why not wait until we're a little stronger to come?"
"Because that might be too late," Tang Jie replied. He stroked Yiyi's face and said, "Your big brother has a lot of enemies, and they've been itching to cause your big brother trouble. They haven't come to find your brother yet, but they'll be coming one day. They won't give your big brother too much time."
"Oh, so we need to get stronger faster so that we can protect ourselves!" Yiyi raised her fists and shouted.
"No." Tang Jie shook his head and laughed. "It's not to protect ourselves…
"It's to kill them all!"