Volume 3 Chapter 4: Xiao Yu
When the Tiger King stabilized itself again, Chen Nan brandished his fists and pounded its head some more. With a roar that shook the sky, the Tiger King suddenly grew insane. After successfully stopping its downward descent, it crazily rolled and churned around in the air. It was trying to fling Chen Nan off of its body.
The travelling merchants in the distance were watching the intense struggle in the skies and were beyond terrified. They were shivering in fear.
All the mercenaries on the ground were petrified. Every one of them held their breaths. They nervously looked up into the sky, breaking out into cold sweats for the sake of Chen Nan.
At the moment, the Little Princess was the only person who still dared to voice a thought. She uttered under her breath, “Force… Use more force. That smelly thief was nearly flung off, so use a bit more force—but only a bit more. Throw him to the ground so he’ll be halfway dead; I still need him to neutralize that rotten finger technique.”
The mercenaries close to her gave her some strange looks. This incurred a very haughty glance and a cold humph from the princess.
Chen Nan sat on top of the Tiger King’s neck. Both of his legs were firmly clasping onto its neck, while both of his hands were tightly gripping onto its fur. Hearing the wind thunder at his ears, he noticed the ground become closer and closer. Nervousness shot through his heart. He inwardly blamed himself for being too impetuous and enraging the Tiger King.
When they were six, seven zhang away from the ground, the Tiger King abruptly stopped in mid-dive. It unfolded its wings, stopping their plunge into the ground.
Chen Nan released a long breath of air. His body was currently covered in a cold sweat.
The Tiger King had already been seriously injured. With these violently jerky movements, it felt drained of all energy. It wavered as it descended onto the ground.
Chen Nan’s wrestle with the Tiger King could be said to be very thrilling. At any point in time, he could have fallen from a high altitude, crashing into the ground and being crumpled. Everyone watching from the ground was terrified.
When the Tiger King shakily arrived three zhang from the ground, Chen Nan’s worrying heart finally settled down. He viciously pounded the Tiger King’s head several times. Then, he forcefully stomped the tiger’s back before leaping off.
The Tiger King gave an unreconciled snarl as it dropped from the sky. With a bang, it slammed into the ground, flattening a large area of shrubbery.
The mercenaries on the ground all joyfully cheered in unison. They all raised their weapons and wildly attacked the Tiger King.
The faraway travelling merchants saw how Chen Nan had defeated the formidable magical beast. They all uniformly exhaled. They relaxed from their tense states. Everyone tiredly sat down on the ground.
A moment ago, the Tiger King had been in the sky displaying its fierce might. Its lightning and flames had devastated the mercenary company. The corps suffered monumental damage—deaths upon deaths, injures upon injures. The fortunate survivors desired vengeance in their hearts and overzealously attacked the tiger. Numerous weapons penetrated into its body at various places. In the blink of an eye, the seriously injured Tiger King was on the verge of death, ready to loose its last breath. Fresh blood dyed the grass red. A bloody mist diffused from its ragged body.
All the creatures saw the Tiger King at the verge of death. They howled and hissed… Everything and everyone were in an upheaval. Finally, they all scattered from the scene every which way. A fishy smell was swept up and the ground trembled.
The Little Princess suddenly ran up to the mercenaries and anxiously shouted, “Stop! Everyone, stop! It’ll die soon…”
Her shouting attracted the attention of all the mercenaries. They all whipped their heads to face her. With a scowl, one of the mercenaries said, “Little girl, what the hell are you saying? You actually want us to stop? This bastard took over twenty of my allies’ lives. They were all my brothers who I lived with day in and day out!”
Chen Nan swiftly walked over to them and said, “This girl’s brain is kind of messed up, so she’s typically a little muddleheaded. Don’t worry about her. You guys can continue.” With that said, he dragged her away.
The princess struggled to break free from his grasp and shouted, “You bastard, you’re the one that’s messed up! Let go of me… Don’t kill the Tiger King! I can compensate you all for the damage.”
One of the mercenaries furiously said, “Compensate us? How will you compensate us for the lives that my brothers have lost?”
“No one can return from death, but I can compensate the families of the casualties…”
The mercenaries attacked the Tiger King in frenzy. No matter how much the princess cried at them to stop, they kept beating it. Only when the Tiger King was rendered completely motionless did everyone finally calm down.
The flesh of the Tiger King was now mutilated beyond recognition. Fresh blood turbulently bubbled out of its hideous, ghastly wounds. There were even a few places on its body where its thick, white bones were exposed.
The Little Princess was angry and worried, but she couldn’t do anything about it.
Chen Nan said, “Little witch, that time, you used every possible evil means to torment me. Now, you actually sympathize for some vicious beast? Little demon, you simply don’t make any sense.”
The princess was seething with anger. “Who cares about you? The Tiger King is much better than you. You’re the most shameless, contemptible bastard in the world. One day, I’ll cut you to pieces!”
Right then, someone raised their knife in order to cut open the Tiger King’s chest and stomach to retrieve its magicite core. When the princess noticed this, she worriedly shouted, “You guys can’t do that! The Tiger King wasn’t beaten by you, so why are you guys taking its magicite core?”
The chief walked over to them and asked, “How should we address this brother?”
Chen Nan answered, “I am surnamed Chen.”
“I never thought Chen-xiongdi’s skill was this excellent. You truly possess the strength to defeat a savage Tiger King and have spared many of my brothers from its nefarious plot. Its magicite core respectfully belongs to you.”
The deputy chief added, “Of course the magicite core should be given to Chen-xiongdi. Take a break, everyone. Bury our brothers who have fallen in combat.”
The mercenary corps suffered monumental losses this time. Twelve members were seriously injured, and twenty three were brutally killed.
After tidying up the scene, everyone from the mercenary corps expressed their gratitude towards Chen Nan. Then, they went over to the travelling merchants. Only Chen Nan, the Little Princess, and Guan Hao remained on the former battlefield.
Guan Hao awkwardly laughed. “I didn’t expect Chen-xiongdi to be concealing his power. Your ability is much more remarkable than this bodyguard’s, heihei…”
Chen Nan said, “Well then are you going to refund me my one hundred gold coins?”
“Ah, the weather isn’t too bad today, huh? A light breeze and some sunshine. Not a cloud in sight. A vast blue sky, as far as the eyes can see, completely spotless.”
The princess shouted, “Damn rat, what the hell are you talking about?”
“Uh, I… Heihei. I just wanted to discuss something with Chen-xiongdi. Could you perhaps give me some parts of the tiger, such as its fur, peni—”
The princess who was standing nearby lunged at him. She kicked and scratched at him.
“You miser, damn perverted rat… F*ck off! You don’t get anything!”
Guan Hao hastily escaped without a trace.
The princess turned to Chen Nan and said, “Can you give me some time alone with the Tiger King?”
As Chen Nan left, he muttered, “She’s truly a relative of demons. She actually holds a deep affection for that vicious beast.”
When she saw Chen Nan disappear into the woods, the princess’s heart settled down. She murmured to herself, “This doesn’t make any sense. My teacher, that smelly old man, once said that magical beasts that are capable of growth have very tenacious vitality. They won’t easily die, so why was this guy so easily finished off?”
She circled the Tiger King and gently sighed, “It seems like it truly has died.” Right when she turned away to leave, she suddenly heard a muffled gasp. The Little Princess jumped in fright. She quickly whipped her head around to see what was happening.
She saw the Tiger King bat an eyelid before unexpectedly completely opening its eyes. Soon after, its tiger body began to tremble.
“Ah, it’s alive! It didn’t really die.” But at the same time, she was somewhat frightened. She had just personally witnessed the terrifying might of the Tiger King. Right now, her heart was perturbed.
The princess’s voice quivered as she said, “L-little tiger, y-you don’t have scared. I won’t harm you.”
“Did she tell it not to be scared, or is she telling herself not to be scared? Haha… It’s actually pretty laughable.” Chen Nan had originally left, but recalling how beasts came and went unpredictably in these mountains, he didn’t feel at ease with the princess on her own, so he had returned. He had returned right on time to hear those words escape from the princess’s mouth. He couldn’t help but grin.
“How can this princess be afraid of some little tiger? You degenerate, why did you suddenly come back?” When she saw Chen Nan’s sudden reappearance, she no longer felt scared.
“Oh, please. This is a super-giant creature; you don’t have to title it with ‘little’, okay? No matter how I look at it, you don’t even fill one of the gaps between its teeth.”
“Hmph. Can you leave?”
Chen Nan circled the Tiger King and said, “How unexpected. This guy is really quite stubborn. It’s already been beaten to this state, yet it still refuses to depart from the world.”
The princess was somewhat anxious. She uneasily asked, “Damn degenerate, do you want to take action against it again?”
“Yep. If this vicious beast is left alive to roam the world, I don’t know how many people will be killed.”
The princess stepped between the tiger and Chen Nan. “No. I won’t let you touch it.”
The Tiger King suddenly stood up waveringly. The place where it had been lying down had a half a chi deep puddle of its blood. An ominous glint flickered in its eyes as it gazed at Chen Nan, but it was mostly afraid. Its gaze towards the princess was much gentler.
“Wow, it doesn’t hold any hostility towards me. Little tiger, you won’t bite me, right?”
When the Tiger King heard her words, it unexpectedly nodded its head like a human.
The Little Princess immediately cheered, “Heavens! It can actually understand what I say! This is too hard to believe.”
Seeing the Tiger King stand up, Chen Nan unsheathed his long knife. A glistening light flickered from the blade—cold, murderous intent.
When the princess noticed his movements, she hurriedly said, “Don’t touch it.”
Chen Nan responded, “What if it hurts someone?”
The princess replied, “It won’t. It definitely won’t hurt anyone.”
“You aren’t it. Can you guarantee anything?”
“You… Hmph! It listens to what I say.” The princess turned to the Tiger King and said, “Listen to my words: don’t hurt anyone, or else this smelly guy will kill you.”
The Tiger King looked at the Little Princess, and then looked at Chen Nan. It ultimately nodded its head.
This made the princess jubilant. She praised, “What an intelligent creature! It’s much better than those dragons of those smelly dragon riders. Little tiger, from now on, you must follow me. I promise I’ll treat you well.”
Chen Nan scoffed. “Save your breath. You want this big guy to obediently follow you? You’re dreaming. Besides, it’s injures are incredibly grave. Travelling is also a problem. Those mercenaries absolutely won’t tolerate it.”
“I don’t care. I definitely won’t let anyone hurt it.” The princess didn’t pay any more attention to him. She was somewhat vexed. “Little tiger, you’ve been seriously hurt. You can’t walk, and your body is so big. How can we take it with us?”
What happened next stunned Chen Nan and the princess. The Tiger King’s pair of wings and solitary horn suddenly vanished without a trace. Its gigantic tiger body began to quickly miniaturize. The tiger’s body went from three zhang long down to not even one zhang. The weapons that were pierced into its body also fell off. Its injuries quickly healed. In just a moment, it seemed good as new.
The Tiger King shook its body. The blood that layered its body flung off onto the ground. Clean, its bright white fur was on full display.
Surprised, Chen Nan quipped, “So it’s actually a Tiger Demon. It already knows some transformation techniques.”
The princess was also amazed. She shouted, “This is just unimaginable. It actually knows some transformation techniques!”
Chen Nan mused over this. Although he had never seen a monster, he had heard his father talk about them. Many of the spiritual beasts from the east could gather the world’s original vital qi and absorb the sun and moon’s quintessence. Along with the accumulation of time, these spiritual beasts would gradually become spirits. They would slowly create their own methods of cultivation. Many spiritual beasts would become incomparably formidable. From the point of view of the common people, these spiritual beasts had become demonic beasts. The even stronger ones became known as monsters.
Demonic beasts and monsters all possessed unordinary power. Demonic beasts’ bodily forms were massive. Additionally, they could breathe out a cloudy mist. Monsters were clearly much stronger. The monsters of legends could even transform and take the form of humans. They could even understand magic. Even extraordinary people, peak experts, may not necessarily reach their level of strength.
That year, his father Chen Zhan had encountered a powerful monster. After a great battle, he had beaten the monster back into its original form. After the battle, Chen Zhan had carefully analyzed what had happened and gradually understood some of the mystery pertaining to demonic beasts and monsters.
Through cultivation, demonic beasts could slowly transform their physical bodies. They crafted their bodies to be able to better contain the spiritual qi of the world. Therefore, demonic beasts were all massive—they contained in their gigantic bodies tremendously powerful energy. If a demonic beast was ever seriously injured, or perhaps it was pushed to the brink of death, the power within its body would slowly disperse and it would regain its original form, transforming back to its size as an ordinary beast.
Monsters were much stronger than demonic beasts. They didn’t desire any physical changes. Instead, they desired fundamental changes. Because of this, monsters wanted to transform into the form of humans. They took great effort in transforming their physical bodies into this form for the sake of better cultivation. According to legends, the form of humans and a few other forms of mythical beasts were most well-adapted for cultivation. This was the reason why monsters pursued the ability to transform into either humans or mythical beasts.
Chen Nan gazed at the Tiger King before him with an amazed expression. He had previously thought that this was just a magical beast. He didn’t expect it to actually comprehend cultivation methods of demonic beasts.
“How remarkable! It’s worthy of having the blood of the eastern White Tiger and the western Magical Tiger. It understands the cultivation methods of demonic beasts and has the innate ability to use magic like magical beasts. Perhaps this guy has been cultivating for thousands of years. Killing it would really be a bit of a waste.”
The princess shouted, “You absolutely can’t kill it. Since this little tiger is so cute and pretty and mystical, I will definitely have it stay by my side. But if it could become smaller, that’d be good.”
When the Tiger King heard these words from the princess, its body trembled. Its body actually began to turn smaller.
“This is great!” The princess was thrilled.
The Tiger King transformed from one zhang in length to merely one chi. It appeared to be an adorable little porcelain kitten.”
The Little Princess delightedly cried out, “Aiyah! It became a little tiger in reality! Hurry and come over.” She beckoned towards the Tiger King.
The kitten didn’t forgo its Tiger King mannerisms as it twisted its body walking towards her. A pair of immaculately white wings sprouted from its flank. A jade horn protruded out of its forehead. Then, it began flapping its wings and flew into the princess’s bosom.
Watching, Chen Nan was left wide-eyed and slack-jawed. He mumbled, “How is this possible? When a demonic beast is seriously injured and loses its power, it’s supposed to return to its original form. How can it still transform even smaller? This tiger sure is strange!”
The Little Princess embraced the snow white Tiger King. “Hehe,” she giggled.
The Tiger King absorbed its pair of wings and single horn back into its body. With this final transformation, it truly resembled a gentle kitten. Cozy, it closed its eyes as it snuggled into the princess’s arms.
Chen Nan sighed, “Lustful tiger, what are you actually looking for!”
The princess heatedly said, “Degenerate, you’re still talking nonsense? This little tiger wouldn’t be filthy like you.”
The Tiger King opened its eyes and looked at Chen Nan. At first, it still held somewhat of a fearful look, but it seemed to detect that the princess was able to protect it from him. It suddenly opened its mouth and shot out a fine streak of lightning.
This was much too abrupt. With a light ‘bipa’, the electricity struck the crown of Chen Nan’s head, scorching his face pitch-black. Every strand of his hair stood erect.
“Damn tiger! Lustful tiger, I’ll kill you! F*ck, how dare you attack someone more powerful than yourself?”
The princess shoved him back. “You deserved it. It was you who instigated it. Little tiger was only acting in self-defence.”
He spent a great deal of time in order to pat down his erect hair. Afterwards, he shot a fierce glance at the Tiger King and said, “Don’t think that you’re safe because you transformed into a cat. With just one shout, I can have those mercenaries immediately butcher you to pieces.”
The princess said, “You dare? This little tiger will be following me from now on, so you can’t let anyone hurt it. En, I should think of a name for it. What should it be called? Considering its entire body is a bright snowy white, like jade, I shall call you Xiao Yu.”
The Tiger King joyfully rubbed himself against the princess’s protruding chest. Chen Nan’s nose began to bleed profusely upon seeing this. He began envying that little guy.
“Hehe,” giggled the princess, “It really likes that name! Xiao Yu, from now on, I’ll be your master. Henceforth you must listen to what I say. No matter what, you cannot be repulsive like that bastard over there.”
The princess patted Xiao Yu’s furry tiger head. After that, he vigorously ran past Chen Nan. Angry, Chen Nan truly wanted to grab him and squish him to death.
Afterwards, the princess began pestering Chen Nan, asking him to cooperate to save the Tiger King Xiao Yu. Faced with her incessant pestering, he finally nodded in agreement.
Throughout the journey, it could be said that the Little Princess was incomparably mischievous. It seemed like she had no idea that she was a captive. She would often do or say something shocking. Sometimes, Chen Nan truly wanted to punish her, but the instant he recalled that one hundred and seventy year old monster from the imperial family of Chu, he’d abandon those kinds of thoughts.
That old man was the most tyrannical practitioner that he had encountered so far. If he harmed the Little Princess, God knows what that old monster would do to repay him. Most importantly, he felt that that old man had been following them the entire journey, apparently hidden within the shadows. This was the reason why he hadn’t dared to do anything too excessive to the princess up to this point.
Although the princess irritated and annoyed Chen Nan the entire journey, after some careful consideration, he realized that everything appeared to be calculated by the little girl. He sensed that this little girl’s thinking was really not shallow. After careful examination, it wasn’t hard to realize that she had purposely feigned naïvety and ignorance of the world throughout the journey. This reckless, headstrong appearance caused others to relax their guards against her.
As a matter of fact, the little demon was absolutely not a simple-minded person. She had proven this when they were at the western borders of Chu. In fact, it was proven that she was very astute. Her innate chicanery was without a doubt the reason why she had been acting this way.
There was another reason why the Little Princess was not concerned about her current unfavourable position. She had analyzed the situation before her a long time ago. She knew that for now, Chen Nan wouldn’t dare act impulsively, nor did he dare completely destroy his so far passive relationship with the power that backed her, directly fighting against them. After all, he wasn’t able to fight a nation with just one man. For now, he required her to serve as his ‘protective talisman’.
At the moment, the princess was currently whispering something to the Tiger King Xiao Yu. She carefully gave him instructions.
“Xiao Yu, go up the road ahead of us. For now, you must not let those mercenaries discover you, understand?” With those orders, she released Xiao Yu onto the ground. Her eyes followed him as he vanished into the depths of the forest.
Afterwards, the Little Princess assumed an exasperated and irritated look. She loudly shouted, “Not good! The Tiger King resurrected!”
Every member of the mercenary company was stunned. Mounted atop his injured Land Dragon, the chief was the first one to rush over to the scene. The deputy chief used his Wind Soaring Technique to quickly fly over. All the other members closely followed behind him.
When everyone arrived, there was already no trace left of the Tiger King.
The chief impatiently called out, “Chen-xiongdi, what happened?”
Chen Nan said, “Right before I cut open its flank, the Tiger King leapt up. It unfolded its wings and flew deep into those mountains.” He pointed his finger to some mountain range not too far away from the valley they were in.
When everyone heard this, they hung their heads, crestfallen. No one expected the Tiger King to have escaped death. The princess was the only one who was inwardly happy.
The crisis involving the Tiger King passed like this. After the horses were roused back awake and regained their bearings, everyone continued down the road. As they travelled, everyone was taciturn and seldom spoke. The face of every member of the mercenary company looked sorrowful. The atmosphere was somewhat depressed.
After travelling over ten li, the princess couldn’t help but quietly mumble, “I hope Xiao Yu didn’t lose his way.”
Chen Nan sneered. “Little demon, you’re usually as sly as a fox. Today, you were actually tricked by a lustful tiger and left bewildered. How hilarious!”
Just when he finished saying that, the Tiger King Xiao Yu shot out of the forest with a ‘sou’.
Surprised, the princess exclaimed, “A cute kitten!” She ran over and embraced Xiao Yu into her bosom.
Everyone was very amazed. Not only because the princess had embraced a ‘mountain cat’ against her chest, but also because this ‘mountain cat’ looked awfully similar to that astonishing Tiger King from before. If there wasn’t such a great difference in size between the two, everyone would have immediately unsheathed their weapons and rushed forward to slaughter it.
Chen Nan sighed, “This lustful tiger is really lecherous. He’s surprisingly so reluctant to part with you. How shameless.”
The princess quietly cursed, “You’re this world’s most shameless bastard!”
Xiao Yu nodded repeatedly in her bosom.
When Chen Nan saw this, his anger flared. He cursed, “F*ck! Lustful tiger, you can actually understand whatever we say? You sycophant! One day, I’ll rip off your tiger fur to serve as my shoes.”
The Tiger King Xiao Yu regularly left at night to forage. At first, the princess had become anxious when she had found him missing, but she slowly understood his natural instincts and paid him no mind.
Nothing else unexpected happened during the rest of the trip. The party soon arrived at the City of Crime.