AIP - Chapter 110: Negotiating with a Tiger for Its Hide (2)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
After a few moments of silence, the fiend tiger finally wrote:
"Why should I help you? You humans are all despicable and cunning. I will only be happy when all of you are dead."
"Unfortunately, there's no end to humans," Tang Jie replied. "I know that you hate humans, and so even if everything I told you was the truth, you still wouldn't sympathize with me. But I have two reasons you should help me. First: if you don't help me, I'll kill you. I know that you're not afraid of death, but I won't kill just you, but your children as well."
The fiend tiger glared at Tang Jie.
Tang Jie chuckled. "Don't look at me like that. There's nothing strange about it. If you didn't have any children, Tiger Roar Peak wouldn't even be open. The Basking Moon Sect won't permit your lineage to go extinct, so since it's open, you must have a little tiger cub."
"The Basking Moon Sect won't allow this…"
"Yes, the Basking Moon Sect won't allow this, but did you forget who I am? I'm someone who could become wanted at any moment. Do you think there's anything I wouldn't dare to do? Threats and warnings only work against people who follow the law, but they mean nothing to desperate fugitives. And I… I am that desperate fugitive," Tang Jie callously said, glancing up at the summit.
Though he couldn't see anything, he knew that there was a little tiger on that summit.
He muttered, "The Basking Moon Sect doesn't want the little tiger to die, and I presume that you don't want that either, right? That secret treasure must be very important, extremely important, so important that your lineage is willing to be killed and imprisoned for generations to maintain that sliver of hope… If I kill it, the hopes held by all your forebears will be extinguished, and the torment of one thousand years would have been suffered in vain. Am I right?"
Hraooo! The fiend tiger angrily roared.
"Stop shouting. It's useless. This formation has the ability to block noise. Even if we shatter the heavens here, no one outside will know. And don't hope that anyone will come to pay you a visit. Perhaps the Basking Moon Sect would have watched you closely several hundred years ago, but after nearly one thousand years of nothing but waiting, the Basking Moon Sect has probably already given up. All of this is merely out of habit. They have no interest in you, so there is no possibility they would care about you. Don't forget that I was testing you for a month, and in this month, I wasn't testing just you, but the Basking Moon Sect as well!"
Tang Jie suddenly began to laugh.
"But I'm actually more willing to use the second reason to convince you."
"What reason is that?"
"I have a plan, a plan that will get a lot of people killed, including members of the Basking Moon Sect…"
Tang Jie began to recount his plan.
It was a very long plan, and the fiend tiger very earnestly listened, occasionally gasping in surprise.
When Tang Jie finished describing his plan…
The way the tiger looked at Tang Jie had completely changed.
"Did you really think of this plan on your own?"
"You don't believe it?"
"You are only sixteen, not at all like a person who can think up a plan like this."
"That's right. Even though you heard it from my mouth, you still don't believe that I was the one who thought of it, so they will be even less inclined to believe it. Then… they will believe the answers I give them. After all, they make sense, right?"
"But that puts you in too much danger."
"When did you start getting worried about me?" Tang Jie chuckled.
The fiend tiger froze.
After a while, it wrote, "If my ancestor had your brain, our tribe would not have fallen into this state."
Tang Jie replied, "But I am here now. If you are willing to help me, one day, I might be able to help you escape this torment."
"The problem is: why should I trust you? The Basking Moon Sect has used every method available to try and get the supreme treasure of our Tiger Tribe, employing all kinds of schemes."
"The supreme treasure of the Tiger Tribe?"
"Yes. If you were a mole sent by the Basking Moon Sect, you would already know this, and if not, there is no harm in telling you. That so-called treasure of the Basking Moon Sect was originally the supreme treasure of our Tiger Tribe, linked to the rise and fall of our tribe."
"As I already said, I have no interest in your business. I only want the secret method to resist Soulscour."
"Then prove it to me."
Tang Jie shook his head. "I've said all I can say and done all I can do. You can believe that I've been sent by the Basking Moon Sect to deceive you, but if that's what you think, then you can think that everything I do is faked. Even if I killed several students of Basking Moon Academy with my own hands, you would still believe that it was all an act."
"There is no need. Release me and I will believe you."
"Release you?" Tang Jie was taken aback. "I didn't take you for a fool, but you take me for a fool? Release you…"
The fiend tiger impatiently wrote, "If you don't believe me, why should I believe you?"
Tang Jie was speechless.
The tiger continued to write.
"Are you afraid? I thought that when you threatened the life of my child, when you told me your plan, you no longer feared death!"
Tang Jie's eyes erupted with a vicious light. "Are you provoking me?"
"I'm just verifying your words. If what you said is true, you should be willing to pay everything… including your life!"
Tang Jie hadn't expected the fiend tiger to say something like this.
And when faced with this argument, he found that he had no retort.
The fiend tiger coldly looked at him, seemingly mocking him.
It was like it was saying, "Your so-called willingness to die exists only in your words. When it really comes down to it, are you still hesitating?"
It was a provocation!
But it was very effective!
Because it was right. Tang Jie had no reason to back down.
Tang Jie had already prepared himself to give up his life.
But was giving up one's life something that could be done by just saying it?
One would have to walk to the precipice of death to truly experience what this meant.
Many thoughts ran through Tang Jie's mind.
He finally understood that he actually wasn't ready.
What did it mean to truly fight? To truly be willing to die? To truly advance fearlessly forward, to stake everything on one throw? He had never really experienced it.
Because he had prepared many back-up plans for himself.
Thus, when the danger truly came, when he really had to make his choice, he would procrastinate, hesitate, retreat.
Perhaps this was why he had yet to truly comprehend the Martial Lord's realm?
He was far too far away from this realm!
But this discovery had not come too late.
Tang Jie looked at the fiend tiger and nodded.
"You're right. I hesitated, so I didn't actually prepare myself to give up my life. But as you said, all that I have done is already dancing at the edge of death. I should have this attitude, should have prepared myself. If I have to fail eventually, rather than crying bitterly right before defeat, it would be better to try bravely pressing forward… At least the death will be more heroic, though it will also be a little more stupid. But the truly courageous are willing to die in stupid and heroic fashions."
Tang Jie started to laugh.
He declared, "I agree!"
He didn't immediately release the tiger. He first had Yiyi leave the formation so that she wouldn't get hurt if the fiend tiger betrayed him.
Little Yiyi started weeping, refusing to go, and in the end, Tang Jie had to order her out.
Back in the formation, Tang Jie looked at the fiend tiger.
He knew that he was making the most dangerous gamble of his life.
If he lost, he would lose his life.
It was not at all likely that a seemingly reasonable argument could easily convince someone. Pros and cons, profit and loss, only worked on people with cool heads, but the hatred of a thousand years could burn away all rationality.
He wouldn't find it strange at all if this fiend tiger killed him as soon as it had its freedom.
But he had no other choice.
Just as the fiend tiger had said, he had already walked up to the line of death. If he didn't overcome this obstacle, he wouldn't be able to move on to the next step.
Looking at the fiend tiger, Tang Jie took in a deep breath and resolutely removed the formation.
The mountain disappeared, that strength that had rendered the fiend tiger immobile completely vanishing!
A furious roar resounded.
The moment the fiend tiger was free, it pounced!
Tang Jie instinctively retreated and raised his saber to block.
With a swat of a tiger claw, a powerful energy set the Heartbreak Saber flying out of Tang Jie's hand, and the tiger brought Tang Jie to the ground.
Tang Jie crossed his arms together as the tiger pressed down a paw on Tang Jie's chest. Its claws were so sharp that they created five bloody holes in Tang Jie's body. With just a small push, it could scoop out his heart.
The tiger didn't clench its claws, choosing to stare at Tang Jie with eyes of burning hatred.
Hatred that could scorch the heavens!
Teeth as sharp as sabers!
It opened its mouth, bringing its teeth up to Tang Jie's throat!
Sure enough, it had gone back on its word!
Its hatred toward humanity had caused the fiend tiger to completely ignore Tang Jie's advice and think only about killing him.
And this time, before killing Tang Jie, it wanted him to feel what it meant to struggle before death, wanted him to regret everything, wanted these damned humans to pay for their actions!
It had only one thought in its mind!
A thought that had passed down through the one thousand years of the fiend tiger lineage!
Through the years, it had been magnified again and again, penetrating deep into the marrow and becoming completely insoluble!
It wanted to drink its fill of human blood!
The moment before the teeth touched his body, Tang Jie said, "Killing me is the same as accepting your fate!"
The fiend tiger shuddered, and it did not close its jaws.
Tang Jie slowly said, "You can disbelieve me, but I'm your only chance! If you kill me, you give up on your last opportunity!"
The fiend tiger still did not move.
Tang Jie continued, "If you can't control your emotions, a beast will forever be a beast!"
The fiend tiger trembled again.
Finally, it began to move its teeth away from Tang Jie, but it didn't completely relax.
It stared at Tang Jie, and Tang Jie stared back.
Sweat began to appear on his forehead.
Though he had prepared to die, facing down this savage beast, facing the threat of death so close, Tang Jie instinctively felt some fear over death.
But he persisted, continuing to stare at the fiend tiger.
Even if his eyes were plucked out, he still wouldn't blink.
The sweat continued to flow as the man and tiger continued their stalemate.
Under the claws of this savage tiger, all strength was pointless. Only mental will could disregard level.
Grrrr… The fiend tiger lowly growled, its body shuddering as if it was hesitating over something, conflicted over something.
Suddenly, it raised its paw and swatted Tang Jie away. This one swat tore several deep claw marks in Tang Jie's body.
Tang Jie rolled on the ground a few times, coughing blood as he sat up. At this time, the fiend tiger jumped onto his body, placing its full weight on him.
The massive tiger head was up against his face, a pungent and bloody odor coming from its mouth and nose.
Its green eyes stared at Tang Jie, and Tang Jie felt like they were two points of green light getting larger and larger until they engulfed his field of vision. The world around him began to spin, his heart shuddered, and countless strange thoughts appeared in his mind. At that moment, he felt like he was being swept away on the river of time…