If not for the Boulder’s Heart and especially robust consciousness, Jiang Chen would’ve retreated from the depths of Cloud Camel Mountain like any other.
The atmosphere was cloying and uncomfortable here, possessing an edge that made him anxious and on edge just for spending a bit of time here.
“Now I know why House Yan has that kind of attitude towards this place. The simple act of living nearby is an endeavor in itself.” The further Jiang Chen walked, the more his scalp tingled.
There should have been many malevolent beings living in a place with such densely terrifying killing intent. However, he didn’t see a single living thing on his way in.
Not even one. Even the smallest rabbit or squirrel was absent. Each plant that grew embodied the murderous atmosphere hanging in the air. Not that they presented any lethal threat, but rather, they’d melded into the environment around them. The entire mountain seemed to be a world of its own.
Suddenly, Jiang Chen felt something near him eager for action. It was the Astral White Tiger that had been following him all this time.
When Long Xiaoxuan and the Vermilion Bird stayed on the island to cultivate, the tiger had stayed by his side. Because of its late start, it was a bit lower level than Long Xiaoxuan right now.
Still, Jiang Chen wasn’t worried about the tiger’s cultivation at all.
In ancient times, the four sacred beasts had been known for the rapidity and ferocity of their cultivation. It had only been several years since he’d picked up the tiger, yet it had already grown from a cub to nearly empyrean realm.
For these sacred beasts, empyrean realm was just a stepping stone on their long path of cultivation. They were born with silver spoons in their mouths.
The tiger’s current hyperactivity however, did tip off Jiang Chen a little. It had remained on him by transforming into something as small as a mustard seed, and now expanded to reveal its rippling body.
It was no longer the fuzzy furball it had once been as a child; it looked more and more like a regal lord of the beasts. Intimidating savagery radiated off its wild form.
“Little White, you must’ve been bored for quite a while.” Jiang Chen greeted his companion in ancient beast language.
“Young master Chen, what is this place? It feels… familiar.” The tiger stretched languidly, but the words that came out of its mouth were astonishing.
“Familiar?” Jiang Chen was confused. “You say this place is familiar, Little White?”
“Yeah.” Though the tiger had begun to mature physically, it was actually still very young. It failed to notice Jiang Chen’s surprise because of its immaturity.
“Do you really think so?” the young man inquired curiously of his companion.
Little White sniffed at the air exaggeratedly, as if basking in the pleasure of everything around him. “All this is super familiar to me! The air, the plant life, and everything else. Young master Chen, I hear humans have places they call their homes. Maybe this is my home?”
Jiang Chen didn’t know how to respond to that. His home?
Suddenly, the young man remembered something. Little White is an Astral White Tiger. His attribute is metal and massacre—a perfect fit with Cloud Camel Mountain’s atmosphere.
The realization made perfect sense.
Once fully grown and awakened, Astral White Tigers were the most bloodthirsty out of the four sacred beasts. An adult tiger could cause most normal people to faint with only its killing aura.
Jiang Chen smacked his forehead with a smile. “This place could unexpectedly be a treasure for you, Little White.”
He wasn’t quite sure yet, but the tiger had tipped him off to the possibility that Cloud Camel Mountain could be an area where slaughter had prevailed. Such areas were either past battlefields or contained huge veins of killing-attribute metal ore.
Are there really veins of ore in these mountains??
“Try to feel out the world around you a bit more.”
The tiger nodded in an intoxicated stupor. “Can I walk around a bit, young master Chen?”
“Sure.” Jiang Chen smiled. “But don’t go too far or get spotted by human cultivators. They’ll want to catch you no matter what.”
Little White was still immature due to his age. It had a natural fear of the outside world.
“I’ll just take a stroll nearby.” Saying this, the tiger disappeared in a whirlwind of white. Astral White Tigers favored haste and decisiveness.
Jiang Chen awaited the return of the tiger on the spot. The intense killing aura pervading the air served as a kind of trial for him.
It took an hour or so for the tiger to appear once more. Just as he was beginning to be concerned, the feline friend darted out from around a corner. Little White was overjoyed.
“Young master Chen, this place, it…” The tiger stumbled over its own words in its excitement. “There’s a huge earthen vein beneath this mountain. Its beat is really clear. This must be a divine vein from the ancient times! I’ve got to stay and cultivate here.”
The tiger was very enthusiastic about finding a place that had apparently been tailor-made for it. Was it a stroke of destiny?
Jiang Chen was moved by the news as well. A huge earthen vein? That perfectly confirmed his speculations.
“Take me to it straightaway.”
To tell the truth, he had been very cautious earlier because the killing aura in the air implied this place was very dangerous. Because of this, he hadn’t sent out any Goldbiter Rats either.
But the news from Little White was too explosive too ignore. Temptation overcame his initial prudence.
The tiger shook its furry head. “I shan’t take you, young master Chen. It’s pretty scary close to the vein. The environment is very dangerous there—life-threatening even. I’m naturally immune to it, for some reason, but I don’t know if you’ll be the same way.”
“Dangerous environment? How so?”
“The vein is very well-hidden. There are sharp things everywhere. They’re sharp enough to cut through ground, rock, everything living. There are companion beasts as well.”
“Companion beasts?” Jiang Chen was shocked. “But… how did you?”
“I’m not scared of ‘em,” Little White replied carelessly.
“I’ll come with you, and if I really can’t get in there, I’ll come back out. Is that better?” The young man hadn’t given up on his plans just yet.
The tiger tilted its head for a second, then nodded after some deliberation. “I’ll protect you, but you can’t run around everywhere yourself. Don’t want you to trigger the sharp things.”
Jiang Chen was curious as to what these ‘sharp things’ actually were. He very badly wanted to see them for himself.
“Lie on my back, young master Chen, and keep low.”
Once Jiang Chen was in place, the Astral White Tiger charged ahead. They sped up until a dark region loomed ahead, as if it was an entrance of some sort. Little White shot inside like an arrow.
In no time at all, Jiang Chen felt that he had descended deep underground.
“Do you see, young master Chen? The strange lights all around mark the edges of the earthen vein. They’re rare metal ores that can cut through rocks across air. If you tread on their fields of influence, they’ll attack you without hesitation.”
These were evidently an innate part of the Astral White Tiger’s memories. It spoke eloquently about them like its knowledge was perfectly natural.
Jiang Chen grew stern. Though he wasn’t familiar with this place yet, he could see that Little White spoke the truth. There was no pattern to the layout of the lights, but they presented an omnipresent threat.
He felt like he had been dropped into the eighteen hells, so bone-chilling was the sensation.
The Astral White Tiger, on the other hand, was perfectly comfortable in what seemed to be its natural environment. Every step it took avoided the light fields with ease. This allowed Jiang Chen to proceed safely further in.
He recalled only a few details about environments like these from the memories of his previous life. However, he was sure of one thing. The lights could inflict incredible damage. They could be lethal weapons if excavated and refined. If they were fused into blades, the keenness of the blades would be multiplied several times over.
If they were polished into a mirror, a more clandestine means of assassination would be created. A single flash would be enough to kill.
There was definitely treasure here, valuable enough for him to drool over. Alas, the treasure was like a poisonous flower—useful, but difficult to acquire. It could rather easily hurt him in the process.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Btw, wanted to give a shout out to proofreader Nabuch, who also works on the SR team! Thank you for catching pesky typos!