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AIP - Chapter 109: Negotiating with a Tiger for Its Hide (1)

Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr

The fiend tiger had been rendered immobile by the giant hand, but its eyes stared at Tang Jie with naked hostility.

Tang Jie looked at it as he organized his thoughts, after which he slowly said, "Don't look at me like that. I don't have any intention of killing you. I just want something from you, though I don't know if it's actually an object—more likely some secret art. So long as you're willing to hand it over, I will let you go."

Raaa! The fiend tiger lowly growled as it coldly stared at Tang Jie.

Tang Jie chuckled. "I know that you wouldn't believe me, but think it over. All in all, I paid four to five thousand coins for this trip. With such high costs, I wouldn't make it back even if I sold you off. Do you really think I would have gone so far just to make a loss?"

Tang Jie paused a moment before going on. "What I want isn't you, and it's never been you. That's why I think we can still talk… Don't play dumb. I know you can understand me. I didn't spend several thousand spirit coins and a month just to fool a tiger fiend! And this isn't some secret, so there's no point in continuing to pretend."

The tiger's eyes finally changed, and it now looked warily at Tang Jie.

Finally, the fiend tiger moved.

It extended a claw and wrote several words on the ground:

"What do you know?"

Upon seeing these words, Tang Jie smiled. "A lot, but I only suspected at first. But after interacting with you for a month, I've confirmed my suspicions."

No matter how the fiend tiger tried to hide it, after a month of interaction, the intelligence it had shown with its repeated pursuits and attacks would have made even an ordinary person realize there was something unusual about this fiend tiger, let alone Tang Jie, who was mentally prepared for it.

"It wasn't the Basking Moon Sect who told you?"

Tang Jie replied, "Even in the Basking Moon Sect, only the higher echelons would know about this, yes? Why would they tell a puny student like me? But the Basking Moon Sect doesn't need to tell me for me to understand what's going on. There are far too many reasons for me to know."

"Too many reasons?"

"Yes." Tang Jie explained, "The first thing is the Basking Moon Sect's actions. Why would the Basking Moon Sect imprison all of you for generations? Just to punish you and your offspring? That's too meaningless. People could be driven by hatred into such irrational actions, but a large organization will not, much less keep up this sort of boring affair for a thousand years. The only reason they would do this is not for revenge, but because this is the only way they have of getting back that secret treasure… bloodline inheritance! But this is clearly a different kind of bloodline inheritance. Other fiend inheritances might come in the form of strength, but yours is memory and intelligence! Through this inheritance, you can have intelligence before the Mind Opening level, and the information concerning the treasure is also hidden within your bloodline. Thus, the Basking Moon Sect has you slaughtered generation after generation, but it does not allow your line to go extinct. They hope that a cowardly tiger who is fearful of death will appear among your kin and hand over the treasure in return for their life. Of course, this is only a theory.

"Secondly, there are historical records," Tang Jie continued. "I've looked through the records Basking Moon Academy has, particularly the records on the tiger hunts of Tiger Roar Valley. The students of Basking Moon have gone up the mountain more than once to hunt the tiger, and there are those who believed that humans are stronger than tigers mostly due to their intelligence, so they tried to kill the fiend tiger by laying various traps. But the records show that almost all the plans that relied on intelligence failed. Those who succeeded in hunting a tiger had rather simple plans, winning the battle through guts. They relied on strength, blood, and fearless sacrifice to win, not their heads."

The fiend tiger began to laugh, and the sound of laughter from its mouth sounded rather bizarre.

"But regardless, none of you gave them a good end."

The fiend tiger softly growled, its proud head dropping.

Yes, what did it matter how many students they killed?

There was no end to the students, so the tigers would continue to be slaughtered for generation after generation.

Tang Jie could only sigh. "I don't know what sort of treasure you're hiding that would make all of you endure generations of slaughter to keep it, but that has nothing to do with me. It's not what I want."

The tiger's eyes flashed, and it wrote out another line of words on the ground:

"What do you want?"

"What else could I want?" Tang Jie softly chuckled. "When the fiend tiger who stole the treasure was captured by the Basking Moon Sect, the treasure was nowhere to be found, so it was ultimately imprisoned for the rest of its life, dooming its offspring to the same treatment. But there was something I found strange about this. Why did the Basking Moon Sect not use the Soulscour spell?

"And don't try and tell me that fiends are different from humans. When a tiger fiend reaches Mind Opening, it can take human form, and while the mind may be formless, the Soulscour spell forces spiritual energy into the brain and brings form to formless thoughts! I've experienced the Soulscour spell, so I know this. Thus, anything that has rationality, that has a soul, that can think, can be Soulscoured! The fiend tiger has intelligence and a soul, so why can't it be searched?

"There can only be one reason for the Basking Moon Sect not using the Soulscour spell: the fiend tiger had a secret art that could resist Soulscour!

"Soulscour is a spell used on the mind, and since the fiend tiger could even resist Soulscour, it's not strange at all that it could pass down its memories. This is the third reason I knew you were intelligent, and this art is exactly what I want.

"Yes, that's what I'm after!"

If there was a spear, there was a shield to fend it off.

The Soulscour spell existed, so there was naturally an art that could resist Soulscour. This wasn't some big secret.

In truth, all the major sects had various methods for resisting Soulscour.

But these methods were not permitted to be passed on or inherited. They could only be granted by the higher echelons.

After all, the Soulscour spell was the best method to be used against traitors of the sect and could not be transmitted to untrustworthy people.

This was precisely why, though the Basking Moon Sect had a secret art for resisting Soulscour, Tang Jie had no hopes of learning it.

His only hope was this fiend tiger.

The fiend tiger had a secret art to resist the Soulscour!

This was precisely why the Basking Moon Sect had imprisoned the tiger through normal means, holding it on the mountain and executing generation after generation.

But even though the fiend tiger line had persisted for a millennium, not one had lowered its head, swearing to guard the secret to the end. Thus, the Basking Moon Sect had yet to succeed.

Was it because the treasure had disappeared and couldn't be handed over? Or was it because the treasure was so important that the tigers were more willing to die than to hand it over?

Tang Jie didn't know, nor did he care.

All he wanted was the method to resist Soulscour!

"Hand over the secret art and I can spare your life!" Tang Jie declared.

The fiend tiger stared at him, doubt in its eyes.

It wrote on the ground, "Why?"

Tang Jie chuckled. "Because I'm carrying my own treasure, one that is on par with the treasure your ancestor stole. Someone wants it, but I don't want to hand it over."

Tang Jie had smoothly grouped himself together with the fiend tiger.

This fiend tiger and its ancestors had been slain by humans for generations, and its hatred for humans was rooted in its bones. 

The threat of death alone was useless against it.

If it were effective, the fiend tigers would have handed over the treasure long ago rather than dragging things on for this long.

But Tang Jie dared to try because he was different from others.

His situation was very similar to the fiend tiger's!

It was just like how he was able to win Steward Qin's sympathy because his "situation" had been very similar to Steward Qin's.

Those who shared the same fate would pity and cherish each other!

People would always be more understanding and sympathetic to people who had similar sorrows.

Thus, what Tang Jie needed to do first was remove himself from the category of "the Basking Moon Sect".

Sure enough, the fiend tiger was startled.

It wrote on the ground:

"I don't believe you. Humans are cunning."

"I'm not deceiving you," Tang Jie said as he took out an item.

The Martial Mirror!

"Look at it, and look at the word on it. You can still feel the energy lingering upon it."

He slowly brought the Martial Mirror up to the tiger's face, showing the fiend tiger the "兵" character inscribed upon it. The immense energy within the Martial Mirror immediately had the fiend tiger howling in fear.

Tang Jie put away the Martial Mirror. "You've inherited your ancestor's memories, so you should know that the Basking Moon Sect doesn't have anything like this. This is a treasure with a legacy of ten thousand years, one that is the key to a treasury. Many people want it…"

The fiend tiger looked at Tang Jie and finally wrote:

"Why have you not been captured by them?"

"Because they're still not sure if I have it, but they suspect me. It won't be long until they confirm who I am, at which point they will capture me, interrogate me, and even use Soulscour on me."

"You can run."

"I will not run. If I run, I will expose myself. I'm not like a fiend who can pass down memories through bloodline, and it's not like every fiend is capable of such a thing. As for humans, we can only inherit strength through educational systems. If I lose this system, I will lose my stairway to Immortality."

"You will be imprisoned and tortured."

"If I'm prepared, I won't. On the contrary, I can use this chance to profit…"

Tang Jie then told the fiend tiger everything about the Martial Mirror in detail.

He explained everything, holding nothing back.

He spoke of Xu Muyang's death, of his entry into the Wei Estate, his meticulous plans, his exploitation of Godhead Palace's and the Basking Moon Sect's doubts, and also his current situation.

He spoke very sincerely and with great emotion.

He was like an old man recalling his life before the final parting, or like a lover confessing his feelings. His tone was neither meek nor arrogant, his expression neither hot nor cold, and he spoke neither too slowly nor too quickly.

But his calm narrative caused the fiend tiger to feel Tang Jie's immense sorrow, helplessness, and hatred.

These were all emotions that it could understand.

These were emotions that had grown fainter with time, but they could never be forgotten. There was no need to remember them, for they were buried deep in its bones.

Tang Jie continued to talk.

He spoke of his great aspiration: to destroy Godhead Palace.

The fiend tiger recalled the oath its ancestor had made to the heavens.

He spoke of his battle with Zhuang Shen.

The fiend tiger recalled its past battles with students.

He spoke of the trial he was soon to face.

The fiend tiger thought about how it would one day die on this Tiger Roar Peak.

Tang Jie talked about a lot, and the fiend tiger thought about a lot.

They sat within the formation, commiserating with each other.

Finally, Tang Jie said all that he needed to say, all that he could say.

Ending with a long and trailing sigh, Tang Jie said, "This is my story, and it is why I have come to find you. Although I am a human, just like you, I might become someone's prisoner at any moment… It could be the Basking Moon Sect, or it could be Godhead Palace.

"I won't be imprisoned for generations like your tribe. I will simply be captured, and then the Soulscour spell will be used on me so that they can find out everything. Of course, they might not get what they want with the Soulscour. I have my means of ensuring that they will find nothing even if they search my soul, but that would ensure my doom.

"I don't fear death, but I must live so I can do many more things.

"Thus, I need your secret art to fight back against those people after the Martial Mirror, those people watching me, including Godhead Palace and that Basking Moon Sect you loathe.

"If you hate them, then please teach me your secret art!"

hypersheep325's Notes:

Is this sappy speech really going to work on the tiger?

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Written by Yuanfen 0 缘分0. Translated by hypersheep325. Edited by Michyrr.