AIP - Chapter 93: Tiger Roar Valley (1)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Tiger Roar Valley was located at the southernmost end of the Clear Sky Mountains.
After descending from Rising Star Peak, Tang Jie traversed a long mountain road. Suddenly, the view in front of him opened up, and he spotted a village.
It wasn't a large village, being home to only a few dozen families, but it was particularly lively. Several men dressed as laborers were holding down a horned bull. One of them had a long dagger in hand, and with a stab, he killed the bull, after which he took out several coins and passed them to a student standing on the side. As the student took the money, he muttered, "Only this much?" Then he shook his head and left.
A few old ladies were headed off to the slopes to dry herbs while a few middle-aged women gave another student some money.
Farther off, he saw several metal cages. Various vicious beasts were held in these cages, some of them even being low-class fiend beasts.
Tang Jie knew that this place was Tiger Roar Village.
Tiger Roar Village was a very special place in Basking Moon Academy. The villagers here primarily lived by trading with the students who ventured into the valley.
If the students got something out of the valley and didn't want to carry it all the way back, they could sell it to the villagers. The villagers would process everything on the spot, and once they were done processing, they would sell the goods to the school. At times, when the prey in Tiger Roar Valley began to run out, the villagers would help to catch some and put them in the valley.
Behind the village was the entrance to Tiger Roar Valley. A teacher sat by the entrance, responsible for taking the entrance fee. Next to the teacher was a sign upon which were written the various rules for the valley.
There were a lot of rules. For example, powerful spell arts that could damage the valley environment were forbidden, herbs that were less than a year old could not be dug out, some herbs could not have their roots dug out, some herbs couldn't be dug out until they were three years old, and so on.
As for whether or not you were actually able to tell the difference, the school didn't care. Everything had been taught in class, and if you took out what shouldn't have been taken out, you would be punished all the same.
The moment Tang Jie arrived, a middle-aged woman came up to greet him. Smiling, she asked, "Little Brother, do you plan to enter the valley? Why not buy a map? Only ten spirit coins."
"A map? Ten coins?" Tang Jie asked in shock.
"Yes." The woman clapped her hands. "Little Brother, don't think it to be too expensive. With this map of mine, you'll be able to go wherever you want without fear of getting lost. You have to understand that my man nearly died several times to get it all drawn out."
"Why would I worry about getting lost?" Tang Jie chuckled. "You have to get a token before going in, and every time you go in, you automatically get teleported out after twelve hours, and if you're in danger, you can also have yourself teleported out before that. I shouldn't have to worry about getting lost no matter where I go, right?"
The woman laughed. "That's true, but besides giving directions, my map also has notes on where the resources are. What fiend beasts are where and where certain herbs are planted are all clearly marked. Forget it. I've taken a liking to you, so I'll take a bit of a loss and sell it to you for five coins. That should be good enough, right?"
"So these maps must sell very well."
"Naturally," the woman boasted.
"That being so, I presume that those gathering points marked on the map have been picked clean? Even if there's still some left, I'm afraid that it won't be easy to gather," Tang Jie commented.
The woman's face instantly went stiff. Turning serious, she said, "So you aren't easy to fool. If you didn't want to buy, why didn't you say something earlier and save me some energy?"
She turned around and left in a huff.
Tang Jie found this rather funny. He shouted, "If you're willing to sell it for one spirit coin, I'll take one."
The woman immediately turned around. "Deal!"
She quickly stuffed the map in his hand, worried that he might regret it.
Tang Jie took a look at the map. Though the drawing was crude, it marked out the general terrain well and had noted down where resources were located. It was no fake, so he paid the money.
At the entrance to the valley, he saw several students standing around. When they saw Tang Jie, one of them said, "Heading into Tiger Roar Valley? Interested in coming with us?"
Tiger Roar Valley had complicated terrain and was crawling with fiend beasts, so students often formed groups.
But Tang Jie had his own plans here, so he had to refuse their kind intentions.
That student didn't take the rejection too badly. He simply laughed, "Another one who thinks he's something else."
Tang Jie brushed it off. He paid the two hundred spirit coins and went into the valley.
Inside the valley, Tang Jie looked at the map and then began to follow a certain mountain road.
Tiger Roar Valley didn't seem very large, but it was rather large once one was inside. After walking for a while, Tang Jie looked around to check that he was alone. He then patted his chest and said, "You can come out."
A little head emerged from Tang Jie's bosom. It was none other than Yiyi.
She looked left and right before leaping onto Tang Jie's shoulder and shouted, "Yay! I can finally come out!"
She took a look at her surroundings and shouted in awe, "Wow! So pretty!"
Tiger Roar Valley really did look pretty. They were currently standing in a meadow, and nearby were blooming flowers of some sort. There were red, green, pink, and purple flowers, all of them complementing each other's splendor. Farther off was a lush forest.
An occasional breeze blew through the valley, rustling the leaves. Birds flew between trees, singing their crisp and melodious songs, sunlight peeked through the leaves, and a beautiful fragrance filled the air.
Yiyi jumped down from Tang Jie, running across the grass with her bare feet and occasionally giggling.
This was her first time in such a big place, and she didn't need to hide herself, so it was no wonder she was happy. Tang Jie couldn't help but feel a little ashamed. In the end, it was because he was just too weak and didn't dare to reveal her to anyone else. Take the three great fiends of Basking Moon as an example. Everyone knew that every part of their body was a treasure, but did anyone dare to treat them as materials?
In this world, strength couldn't decide everything, but you couldn't decide anything without strength!
Yiyi ran back and asked, "Big Brother, is this our new home?"
"I'm sorry; it's not. We can only stay here for twelve hours," Tang Jie replied.
"Is that so…" Yiyi pouted in sadness.
"If we make enough from this trip, we can come every day."
"Really?" Yiyi got excited and jumped back onto Tang Jie's shoulder. "So what are we doing?"
"It's simple: find herbs and kill fiend beasts," Tang Jie replied.
Tiger Roar Valley's resources could be divided into two categories: spirit plants usable in medicine and fiend beasts with valuable body parts. The former required searching and the latter required fighting, and neither was easy.
After listening to Tang Jie, Yiyi nodded. "Mm, watch this!"
She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath.
Plant sprites were innately sensitive to the auras of fiends, sprites, ghosts, and monsters. Even at a distance of several kilometers, they would still be able to sense even the slightest whiff of an abnormal scent. After all, this was how lifeforms like them avoided danger in their early stages.
A few moments later, Yiyi pointed with her small hand. "There's orchids over there, and water caltrops over there, and over there, and over there…"
Her little finger thrust out again and again, leaving Tang Jie dazzled. Tang Jie could only say, "We can only pick orchids that are two years or older."
"I can't smell that out!" Yiyi grumbled. Her nose continued to wrinkle as she sniffed around. Suddenly, she covered her nose and shouted, "Stinky! Stinky! …There's a big snake over there, and it's coming our way!"
She pointed to the west.
"A big snake?" Tang Jie quickly grabbed the map and looked at what sort of creatures should be nearby. "It's a mottled snake!"
Mottled snakes were a kind of fiend beast that lived in Tiger Roar Valley. Their bodies were covered with rainbow dots and they had venomous bites. They enjoyed eating their prey while it was alive.
This was a local tyrant of Tiger Roar Valley, and the students wouldn't lightly provoke it. Tang Jie hadn't expected to run into it right after entering the valley.
There was no need to ask. It had definitely been drawn over by Yiyi.
Plant sprites were sensitive to the odor of other such spiritual beings, but those spiritual beings were also sensitive to her odor. These lifeforms rich in spirituality weren't just good for humans, but also for fiends. Thus, the moment Yiyi appeared, the mottled snake began to rush over.
Although Tang Jie knew that bringing Yiyi might result in a situation like this, he hadn't expected it to come so quickly.
At this moment, Tang Jie immediately shouted in dismay, "Let's go!"
Grabbing Yiyi and stuffing her into his bosom, he ran off.
Only a few moments later, a giant snake covered in rainbow spots slithered over.
This snake was seven to eight meters long and was as thick as a water barrel. Its green and oily eyes chilled the blood.
It extended its long tongue to test the air. After finding the lingering odor in the air, it let out a long hiss and followed Tang Jie.
As Tang Jie ran, Yiyi shouted from his bosom, "It's still chasing!"
"This is a big problem!" Tang Jie continued to run.
"Didn't you say that we came here to kill fiend beasts? Why are we running, then?"
"Because the fiend beasts I planned to kill don't include that one!" Tang Jie brusquely replied.
Tiger Roar Valley served as the basic combat drilling ground for the students. It was safer than the outside world for three main reasons.
The first was the teleportation jade token. If a student ran into danger, they could immediately leave using the teleportation token. This was the greatest guarantor of a student's safety. But leaving early meant losing out on an opportunity. The academy wouldn't let you back in the valley unless you paid the fee again.
The second was that the information on all the fiend beasts was available, and the students would never run into some fiend beast that they had never seen before. Thus, the students were aware of which fiend beasts they could deal with and which they couldn't.
The third was that there were no fiend beasts above the Spirit Sensing Level. There was only one of high grade, with the rest being of middle and lower grade.
The Rosecloud Domain divided fiends, sprites, ghosts, and monsters into five levels: Spirit Sensing, Mind Opening, Transformation, Divine Division, and Void Returning, each one corresponding to a different human cultivation realm. Each level was further divided into upper, middle, and lower grades.
As for Yiyi, she hadn't even entered a level yet.
Besides these three safeguards, the situation was the same as the outside world. If a student were slow to react and got eaten by a fiend beast, it could only be said that they were incompetent.
There was another way in which fiend beasts and students greatly differed.
When it came to students, cultivation and strength were two separate things.
Cultivation could be compared to a student's level while spell arts were skills. Just having a level without the skills and equipment was useless, and so they would usually be weaker than their cultivation realm suggested.
Fiend beasts were different. Their strength was directly connected to their level, truly a case where they were as strong as their level. This was particularly true of fiend beasts that were blessed with talent. Even at the Spirit Sensing Level, they would be extremely strong, and as their level rose, they would become both stronger and smarter, even developing in ways entirely different from humans.
This was why it was common for fiend beasts to display strength above their level. It wasn't even strange for Spirit Sensing fiend beasts to overcome Mortal Shedding Realm cultivators.
This mottled snake was a middle-grade fiend beast of Tiger Roar Valley.
Even if it wasn't some particularly talented and powerful existence, its level and grade meant that its strength was comparable to a Peerless-level Spirit Lake Tier student. Tang Jie hadn't even reached Peerless as a Spirit Spring student, so he didn't have the guts to challenge it.
As Tang Jie ran, he had Yiyi turn back into a flower.
Once she turned into a flower, the spiritual energy on her body would disperse and she would leave much less of a trail.
But now that the mottled snake had picked up on the scent, it wouldn't give up that easily. Even if she withdrew her spiritual energy now, there was still a lot hanging in the air. It continued to doggedly pursue, getting closer and closer.
"Shit! So stubborn!" Tang Jie glanced at the snake that was hot on his heels, getting closer and closer, and started to get a headache.
Though he had the jade token to ensure that his life wasn't in danger, he couldn't accept getting driven out of the valley right after going in.
"What do we do? What do we do?" Seeing that turning into a flower hadn't helped, Yiyi peeked her head out again.
That made it even worse, causing the snake to chase them even harder.
"What else? We'll just have to race," Tang Jie said, helplessly rolling his eyes.
He was rather frustrated to be forced to run for his life right after entering the valley.
Yiyi immediately started to wail. "It was all my fault! I drew it here… woooo…"
She cried so hard that Tang Jie felt embarrassed. He realized that he had spoken rudely just now and hurt her, so he stroked her head and said, "My baby, you didn't do anything wrong. It's just one snake. What can it do to us?"
"But it's chasing us and won't let us go…"
"Yes, I know," Tang Jie said, glancing behind him.
There was a large plume of dust in the distance, and the rumbling of the snake could be heard as it chased after them. Suddenly, there was a deafeningly loud hiss.
Tang Jie grunted. "You wanted to eat, right? I'll make sure you're so full you can't move!"
He suddenly changed directions and charged to the side.
On the southern side of Tiger Roar Valley was a meadow where a herd of horned bulls were leisurely grazing.
In the food chain of the Rosecloud Domain, horned bulls were at the very bottom. They had nothing except their sharp horns to defend themselves.
Their only purpose in Tiger Roar Valley was to serve as food for other fiend beasts and ensure that the food chain remained normal.
The school allowed the live capture of these unaggressive creatures, but they couldn't be killed. Sometimes, when a student couldn't get anything good in the valley, they would grab a bull and sell it off. Each one was worth ten spirit coins, but only one could be taken out per visit.
This herd of horned bulls was currently drinking water by a stream.
A small calf tried to push to the front of the crowd, but an irascible male pushed it away, causing it to tumble over. The calf mooed in distress before clambering to its feet and moving to the back of the herd to its mother's side. It nudged its mother's body, seeking comfort.
And then something it would never be able to understand happened.
A human appeared in the distance, running straight toward them.
That human charged up close, and then the calf saw its mother fly into the air. Moo… The calf cried out in surprise.
The herd fell into turmoil.
Grabbing a horned bull, Tang Jie threw it behind him. This horned bull weighed seven to eight hundred kilograms, and even with his constitution, Tang Jie found it rather hard to throw it, so he activated the Formless Golden Body.
The horned bull flew through the air toward the giant mottled snake. The snake opened its maw and swallowed the bull in a single gulp.
It had come to eat Yiyi, but since someone was delivering food to its mouth, it didn't mind having a bite.
The bull herd ran off in panic, but Tang Jie chased after them, catching another bull and throwing it behind him.
He threw it straight at the snake's mouth. The mottled snake couldn't reject its predatory instincts, and it once more raised its head and ate the bull, though it still continued to chase.
"A pretty good appetite… Let's see how many more you can eat!" Grunting, Tang Jie threw two more bulls.
The mottled snake ate both. After eating four bulls in a row, its large body finally began to feel rather bloated. Unable to continue on, it came to a stop and glared at Tang Jie. It was still trying to move its body forward, but its actions had become clumsy and slow.
"Come on! Keep chasing!" Tang Jie coldly laughed. "Beasts are beasts! No matter how powerful they are, they can't change their natures."
Tang Jie wiped the sweat off his forehead.
This big snake had truly chased him rather hard. If not for the Violet Lightning Lunge's decent speed, he might have been forced out of the valley already.
The bull herd had already run off into the distance. Tang Jie saw that the snake had stopped moving from eating too much, and suddenly had an idea. Could I use this chance to kill it?
He slowly took a few steps toward the snake.
The snake had eaten far too much and was essentially paralyzed.
As Tang Jie got closer and closer, the mottled snake suddenly raised its body, opened its mouth, and hissed, spewing out venom.
Fortunately, Tang Jie was on his guard, so he immediately used the Violet Lightning Lunge and rapidly retreated. Venom descended like rain in front of him, instantly causing the grass to wither.
A drop of venom splashed onto Tang Jie's arm, instantly causing a large chunk of flesh to melt away like it had come into contact with a strong acid.
He looked back at the snake and saw that giant being staring at him, baring its hook-like fangs at him.
While this fellow had eaten so much that it couldn't move, it still wasn't something he could deal with.
Tang Jie reluctantly pointed at the snake and said, "You win!"
He turned and left.
Hissss! The mottled snake hissed in fury.
It was clear that neither side was very satisfied with this conclusion.