AIP - Chapter 113: Student Loan (1)
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
Tang Jie didn't know how he ended up back at the Carefree House.
After getting away from those respectful villagers and tactfully refusing their purchasing offers, Tang Jie said that he was tired and went back with the tiger corpse.
As he made his way back, he drew the attention of countless students, who pointed and gestured at him. The plaintive tiger roar was still ringing in Tang Jie's ears, and he could still see the deep affection and helplessness in the mother tiger's eyes at the moment of death.
When he got back to his home, Tang Jie listlessly sat on the ground.
He released the tiger cub from the beast token.
Perhaps because he had spent a little too long in that sealed space, the first thing the little cub did was angrily scratch at Tang Jie, after which he saw the motionless form of his mother.
Perhaps he thought that his mother was asleep. He circled around the body, occasionally pushing at her with his head as if he was trying to wake her up.
In the end, he grew tired and collapsed into sleep next to the corpse.
Yiyi emerged from Tang Jie's bosom. Climbing onto his neck, she whispered, "Big Brother…"
She spoke very softly.
Everything that had happened today had also been a big shock for this little girl.
"Mm," Tang Jie grunted.
He looked at the tiger corpse and then looked at the still-unaware little cub. He grabbed Yiyi and put her next to the tiger cub. "Yiyi, can you promise your big brother something?"
"Mm. Big Brother, just say it and Yiyi will do it."
"Starting from now, this little tiger is your little brother. Promise your big brother that you will take good care of him."
"Oh!" Yiyi crisply replied, "I'll take good care of my tiger little brother."
"Very good," Tang Jie said, petting Yiyi on the head. "Bao'er is still young and doesn't understand many things. You're his big sister, so in the future, you can't argue with your little brother over everything."
Yiyi firmly nodded.
Tang Jie smiled and moved to walk out.
"Big Brother, where are you going?" Yiyi asked.
"To get something for the tiger cub to eat," Tang Jie replied.
Regardless of how depressed he was, life had to go on.
The news that Tang Jie had killed a tiger quickly spread.
Like when he had set a new record, Tang Jie once more had his name resounding through the academy.
Cai Junyang came to find him on the same day, and the moment he saw Tang Jie, he laughed. "You're vicious! I can't believe you had the guts to run off to Tiger Roar Peak and kill the tiger. That was an upper-grade Spirit Sensing fiend beast!"
"It was a lower-grade. I killed the mother tiger, and one that had just given birth to a cub and was weak. It was even easier to kill than a normal fiend beast," Tang Jie corrected.
"But you killed it right under the eyes of an upper-grade fiend beast!" Cai Junyang emphasized. He emotionally sighed, "Ah, Tiger Roar Peak! Tiger Roar Peak! Most students don't even dare to go up there. Every tiger hunt usually requires gathering up more than a hundred people, and even then, most attempts end in failure and numerous casualties. But you went up there alone, so even if you only killed the mother tiger, that's still enough to proudly stand above the rest of the academy. I, Cai Junyang, acknowledge my inferiority!"
Cai Junyang actually had very high self-esteem and rarely yielded to others, but this time, he truly yielded.
It was hard to blame him. In terms of strength, the Spirit Spring Tier was the lowest tier of cultivation, and there were many people stronger than them.
But when it came to guts, there were few that had such daring.
Setting a new record was a sign of strength, and venturing alone into the tiger's mountain was a sign of courage. The latter was in much shorter supply and so was more valuable. Moreover, strength would increase with age.
Thus, it wasn't just Cai Junyang. All the teachers of the academy looked at Tang Jie in a new light.
"So you're saying that I can raise my price again?" Tang Jie asked with a smile.
"You still want more?" Cai Junyang's eyes almost popped out. "I still haven't told you that Lin Dongsheng agreed to your last price and you already want to increase it?"
"Just joking. I'm not asking for more this time. Right, from the sound of it, Lin Dongsheng has agreed to pay me seven hundred?"
"He agreed a few days ago, but you were holed up in the Forging Platform for the last few days, so I didn't get the chance to tell you. I even had everyone I knew try to pass on the word to you, but in the end, the message never reached you. Lin Dongsheng is beside himself with anxiety. And right after I heard that you came out, you go and kill the mother tiger. You really are something else!"
"Oh, so that's what was going on." Tang Jie nodded, a sharp glint in his eyes.
Cai Junyang took out six hundred coins. "Lin Dongsheng had me give this to you. As we agreed, I've already taken my one hundred coins."
"And you call me greedy? I see that you're not so polite when the time comes to split the money," Tang Jie teased as he took the money.
The two chatted for a little while longer before Cai Junyang left. They had agreed to go down the mountain two days from now to attend the Lin Clan grandfather's birthday party. As for the birthday gifts, Lin Dongsheng had already prepared them. The students just needed to come with the gifts.
After saying goodbye to Cai Junyang, Tang Jie returned to his room to think.
He reconsidered his plan, weighing the different possibilities, noting them down, and analyzing them.
Yiyi saw that he was serious and tactfully decided not to disturb him, going off to play with the cub.
The little cub was still trying to get used to the fact that he had lost his parents and brother and would occasionally give a sad growl.
Yiyi acted like a real older sister, picking up the cub and patting him on the back, speaking soothing words to him like an adult using an innocent tone.
Though she had never learned these things, she quickly picked up these things on her own.
The tip of the brush scratched against the paper as Tang Jie continued to ponder the possible mishaps that might occur in the execution of his plan and how he would counter them.
Finally, he managed to find some problems that he had not noticed before and developed solutions for them.
He took another look at the plan written out before him and repeatedly checked it over. After confirming that there were no flaws, he put it away.
He took out the formation diagram and some materials. Wiping away the previous formation, Tang Jie began to lay out a new one.
This new one wasn't too difficult, and Tang Jie was soon done.
Once it was done, Tang Jie took out the Heartbreak Saber and cut his wrist, allowing a drop of blood to fall into the formation.
"Big Brother! What's wrong?" Yiyi was alarmed by what Tang Jie was doing and quickly rushed over.
"It's nothing. I'm just making some extra preparations," Tang Jie replied.
The blood was quickly absorbed into the diagram, and it began to give off a red glow of the energy of life.
Tang Jie continued to drip blood into the diagram.
As he let out blood, he began to throw in the various spirit fruits and plants he had gathered from Tiger Roar Peak.
Finally, when the formation in the diagram was brimming with blood, formed into a red sea, Tang Jie cut a large chunk of flesh from his thigh and threw it into the formation, after which he swiftly furled up the diagram.
His vision blurred, and he almost fell to the floor.
Fortunately, Yiyi was there to support him. "Big Brother!"
The little girl stared at him with eyes brimming with concern.
"It's nothing. I'll be better soon," Tang Jie said, smiling at Yiyi.
"Big Brother, what are you doing? It's so scary!"
"Just making some preparations for later."
"Big Brother, are those bad people really hard to deal with?"
"Even harder to deal with than that big tiger?"
"Then why don't we just not fight them?" Yiyi asked, looking up at Tang Jie.
Tang Jie laughed.
He stroked Yiyi on the head. "Silly girl, I don't want to fight them either, but they're looking for me. Yiyi, don't worry. Your big brother can deal with them. Your big brother will defeat them and kill them. You have to trust in your big brother. Once this battle is over, our life will be much more peaceful. But…"
Tang Jie hesitated, then he sat next to Yiyi, picked up the tiger cub, and placed them on his lap. He then sternly told Yiyi, "But your big brother will have to go out for a bit, and I can't bring you along. Yiyi, you and I will have to part for a time."
"Nooo!" Yiyi's eyes turned red as she threw herself into Tang Jie's chest. "I don't want to leave Big Brother!"
She started to wail. She hugged Tang Jie's neck and wept, "Big Brother, are you angry because I didn't listen to you? Do you not want me anymore?"
Tang Jie's heart ached as he hugged Yiyi. "Silly little girl, how could that be? Your big brother could abandon anyone, but not you. But your big brother has to go and deal with the enemy, and that's not the place for you."
"I'm not afraid! I'll fight with Big Brother!" Yiyi shouted.
Tang Jie shook his head. "That's no good. Yiyi, listen to me. Once your big brother is gone, you have to take care of the little tiger. Tell your big brother: can you take care of the little tiger and yourself?"
"No! I can't!" Yiyi loudly wept. "I don't want to leave you! Don't want to! Don't want to!"
Tang Jie felt his heart breaking, and he could only pat her on the back and say, "You big dummy, in fact, even when you're not with your big brother, you can help me out. If you don't listen to me, then your big brother really will die."
While Yiyi was a child, she had been through dangerous experiences and challenges. And she was also a sprite, so she was more intelligent than the average child. She immediately stopped crying. Wiping away her tears, she asked, "What can I help Big Brother do?"
Looking at her tear-drenched little face, Tang Jie chuckled and said, "First, take good care of this formation diagram…"
He gave the formation diagram to Yiyi and began to softly tell her what she needed to do.
Sitting in Tang Jie's lap, she listened with greater concentration than ever before.
After giving Yiyi her orders, Tang Jie went to see Wei Tianchong and returned the puppet to him. He then took a stroll around the outskirts before going to Spirit Platform Pavilion.
He saw Madam Shui and went to greet her.
Madam Shui chortled. "Good kid, you came out of the Forging Platform just yesterday, and you went and killed a mother tiger today. You're really someone who knows how to stir up trouble."
"I owe much to Madam's Heartbreak Saber," Tang Jie said, attributing his feat to the weapon.
"I know what the treasure I gave you is capable of. In the end, it was because you were sharp enough, though it was a little too risky. Ah, forget it. What's done is done, and nothing I say will change your mind. But you should take it a little easier from now on. That tiger on Tiger Roar Peak is an upper-grade fiend beast and won't be fooled by ordinary tricks."
"This lowly one will keep that in mind."
"Alright, what do you want this time?"
"I would like Madam's help with something." Tang Jie gave the tiger corpse to the Madam, as well as the bear corpse, the wolf corpse, and the materials that he hadn't used up. "I would like Madam to appraise these."
Madam Shui frowned. "You could have sold all of this in Tiger Roar Village. Why bring it to me?"
While Spirit Wonder Market sold materials, it didn't really buy materials, or at least not materials from Tiger Roar Valley. This was mostly because the produce of Tiger Roar Valley was too worthless, so only those villagers found them worthwhile to handle. Spirit Wonder Market primarily traded in higher-class materials and finished goods.
But Tang Jie's harvest this time came from the materials he had found on Tiger Roar Peak, which were much more valuable than those found in the valley. Even so, Madam Shui found them barely acceptable.
Tang Jie smiled. "If Madam wants it, I will sell, but if you don't want them, I will use them as collateral."
"Collateral?" Madam Shui was taken aback by this term. "You want to borrow money?"
"Yes! I would like to formally take a loan!" Tang Jie answered.
In this era, specialties were less defined, and many merchants sought to provide numerous services. Thus, it wasn't rare for stores to also provide loans. Spirit Platform Pavilion offered this service, and the interest rate was rather low.
This was because this was a store administered by Basking Moon Academy, so the loans were subsidized, and they could essentially be considered student loans.
Even so, it wasn't just any student who could take a loan. One had to show a sufficient level of strength and sufficient ability to repay the loan in order to take the loan.
Tang Jie had the reputation and ability to be a client of Spirit Wonder Market, and he was one of those clients with high potential.
But he had no reason to take a loan!
Madam Shui looked at Tang Jie in shock. "You're already out of money? Didn't the Basking Moon Sect award you with ten thousand spirit coins just a few days ago?"
"I still have around eight thousand. If I sell these items, I'll probably have ten thousand," Tang Jie replied. He had spent quite a lot buying broken weapons before this, but the six hundred from Cai Junyang had recovered some of it, and if he sold off these items, he would essentially break even.
"Then why do you want to borrow money? For what?"
Tang Jie replied, "I was mainly able to kill the mother tiger because of my young master's puppet…"
Tang Jie didn't directly answer Madam Shui's question, instead explaining how he had managed to kill the mother tiger.
According to his explanation, he had used the puppet to draw away the fiend tiger and then struck and killed the mother tiger when he saw the opportunity.
It was a completely reasonable lie. As for why the fiend tiger had taken the bait so easily and why Tang Jie had been able to get so close without being discovered, or even how he had also managed to get away with all the spirit plants… even humans had their bouts of idiocy, so why not tigers?
The good thing about lies was that they just needed to make sense, and the many problems that came with actual execution were not important. In any case, the proof was right there, so you had to believe it whether you wanted to or not.
After describing how he had killed the tiger, Tang Jie said, "After this battle, this lowly one discovered that this attempt was truly rather risky and that I was able to succeed mostly due to luck. Luring the enemy away with the puppet and striking at the weak point is a workable tactic, but puppets have no intelligence and need someone to control them to react, so they can't lure the enemy very far. Thankfully, the mother tiger was weak after giving birth, so I was able to kill it with one blow, but that fiend tiger came rushing back and nearly took my life. After thinking it over, I feel that if I had a puppet that could work on its own, like a Blackplate Soldier, I would have been able to lure the fiend tiger farther away, and I wouldn't have been so severely injured…"
He had just bled himself out, so he was still very weak, his face a sickly pale. In Madam Shui's eyes, his "severe injuries" weren't feigned at all, though she had no idea that it had nothing to do with any "tough battle".
After hearing all this, she somewhat understood what he was getting at. "You want to get a loan to buy a puppet?"
"Yes, one like a Blackplate Soldier, one that doesn't need to be controlled and can take orders from its master."
"That won't come cheap. Whether it's for materials or the refining formation, this sort of puppet is extremely expensive."
"That's why I need to borrow money," Tang Jie replied with a smile.
"How much do you want to borrow?"
"Two hundred thousand."
Pffft! Madam Shui spat out her tea.