Chapter 138: Don’t Raise Flags!

Ji Xiaoxi was still staring at the humongous rat monsters in bewilderment, having never seen them before despite frequently exploring the Hidden Dragon Mountain.

Zu An’s words snapped her out of her thoughts, and she quickly took out a blue pill from her bag and passed it over to him. “Hurry up and eat this. You should be immune to my poison once you consume it.”

Zu An was surprised to hear those words. “Are you certain you want to give it to me? Aren’t you afraid that I might attempt something once I’m immune to the poison on your body?”

Ji Xiaoxi’s face reddened as she said, “You aren’t like any other men. Besides, we’ll have to survive in this dungeon for ten days, so we’ll definitely need to look out for one another. It’ll be inconvenient if you get poisoned every time you touch me.”

Needless to say, Zu An understood what she meant by ‘you aren’t like any other men’. He didn’t expect that being impotent would actually bring about such a benefit. It was no wonder why many men in his previous life posed as gays to approach women. It turned out that just by appearing non-aggressive could greatly lower the guard of a woman. 

“Did your father give you this pill?” asked Zu An.

Considering the extreme lengths Ji Dengtu went to in order to protect her, it was unthinkable for him to prepare such an ‘exception’ too.

“I concocted it myself,” replied Ji Xiaoxi. “I learned quite a bit from my father over the years, so I tried making it myself.”

Zu An nodded in realization, but he quickly noticed another problem. “Is the pill safe? Are there any side effects from consuming it?”

Ji Xiaoxi quickly waved her hands and said, “Ah, don’t worry! I’ve chosen medicinal herbs with milder properties, so you don’t need to worry about suffering from side effects.”

Zu An was finally able to put aside his worries and swallow the pill. As promised, the numbing pain on his hand swiftly vanished. To test out the immunity effect of the pill, he tried touching Ji Xiaoxi’s robe, only to ecstatically realize that the poison really wasn’t acting up at all.

He tried to touch her hair and pinch her cheeks, but the numbing pain didn’t set in anymore.

“Ah Zu, you’re hurting me.” Ji Xiaoxi rubbed her pinched cheeks as she complained grudgingly.

Zu An laughed off her complaint awkwardly, saying, “You have good skin.”

“Jip jip~ jip jip jip~”

The furious squeaking of the humongous rat sounded. It couldn’t understand how those two could remain calm in its presence and even flirt with one another. It was as if they were treating it to be invisible!

Its enraged protest brought Zu An and Ji Xiaoxi’s attention back to the present.

“Xiaoxi, do you recognize that rat over there?”

“I’ve never seen it before, but it doesn’t seem too powerful based on the aura it’s emanating.”

“My thoughts exactly.”

While the rat couldn’t understand what the two were saying, it could still sense the disdain in their eyes. Knowing that it was being looked down upon, it flew into a state of wrath. With loud squeaks, it charged toward the two of them, ready to sink its teeth onto their flesh.

Unfortunately for it, Ji Xiaoxi and Zu An were already third rank cultivators. As fast as the rat was moving, the two of them were still able to dodge its charge with ease.

“It seems to be at the second rank.” Based on the rat’s speed and strength, Zu An was able to deduce its rough cultivation rank. If that was all it had, it wouldn’t pose much of a threat to him.

However, what he was concerned about were the thorns that shot out from the ground earlier.

On the other hand, seeing that its charge had failed to work, the rat suddenly stood upright, and its size suddenly expanded by half. Taking a closer look, however, Zu An realized that it was not that its body had expanded but that its fur was standing upright, making it look larger than normal.

“Be careful!” Ji Xiaoxi suddenly exclaimed.

Three sharp thorns suddenly shot out from the rat’s body toward Zu An.

“A long-range attack!”

Zu An exclaimed as he dodged the thorns with ease. With his current level of speed, even without resorting to Sunflower Phantasm, he could still easily deal with attacks from a second rank cultivator.

He noticed that there was a clump of fur behind the rat’s head that was yellowish in color as compared to its overall beige fur. The thorns that were just shot out seemed to have come from the clump of yellow fur.

The rat grew even more agitated upon seeing that its attack had missed, so it arched its back and shot out a few more thorns.

Same as before, Zu An dodged the fur, but on top of that, he also whipped out his sword to test the accuracy of his swordsmanship. With a slash of his sword, he successfully deflected some of the thorns.

This is kind of weird though. Why isn’t this fellow attacking Ji Xiaoxi at all? Could it be biased toward good-looking people? I don’t think I pale anywhere in comparison to her though… 

The rat continued firing several rounds of thorns, but not a single one of them struck. It belatedly realized that it was outclassed here, so it immediately turned tail and fled.

However, Zu An leaped forward to stop its path. “Hey, don’t go! I haven’t had my fun yet.”

The enraged rat immediately shot out another three more thorns toward Zu An, only for it to be dodged with ease yet again.

So, it tried to flee once more, only to be stopped yet again. Just like that, the process repeated several times, and by the end of it, the rat was left with a huge bald patch behind its head.

You have successfully trolled Goldenfur Monstrous Rat for +6 +6 +6 +6… 

Zu An was amused. So this fellow provides Rage points too! Another reason not to stop then.

So, he continued messing around with the rat, and it didn’t take long for it to turn completely bald. It was only then that Zu An finally decided to end its life.

“Ah Zu, can we let it go instead? It’s so pitiful,” pleaded Ji Xiaoxi. The tears brimming in the rat’s eyes had evoked her sympathy.

“Alright.” Of course, Zu An wouldn’t reject such a simple request coming from the adorable Ji Xiaoxi, so he waved his hand, gesturing for the rat to get lost. Utterly relieved to be spared, the rat darted off into the forest right away.

“This world doesn’t seem as dangerous as I thought.” Zu An was still worried at first, but after the earlier easy victory he had against the rat, his confidence was now bursting. “Isn’t the academy being far too cautious?”

Pui pui pui! What in the world am I saying? After watching so many drama serials, I should know better than to raise flags!

Ji Xiaoxi shook her head and said, “We’re probably still in the outer perimeter of the dungeon, where the cultivation ranks of the ferocious beasts tend to be weaker. If we proceed deeper in, we should encounter more troublesome enemies.”

Zu An nodded in response. He was still more worried about Shi Kun’s assassination ploy at the moment as he didn’t know how the latter would move.

Would he attempt the assassination himself?

That’s unlikely. Those in positions of power like him wouldn’t be willing to sully their hands when they have underlings to do the dirty work for them.

Hm? Why did I call it ‘dirty work’?

It was then he suddenly heard a series of weird rustling noises. He quickly turned his companion and asked, “Xiaoxi, did you hear something?”

“Ah? I didn’t hear anything.” Ji Xiaoxi was confused.

“Oh.” Zu An nodded before returning to his thoughts. 

Snow did enter the dungeon this time around too. If Shi Kun is unwilling to make a move himself, it’s likely that she would do the dirty work instead. But after the previous fight we had, she should have already been traumatized by the labor pains she experienced. It’s unlikely that she would be making a move alone.

Rustle rustle~

The noises sounded again, and this time, even Ji Xiaoxi heard it too. The two of them turned their heads around warily, only for their faces to warp in horror. They found themselves faced with quite a few Goldenfur Monstrous Rats.

‘Quite a few’ might be a major understatement, for there was a whole army of little beady eyes staring at them. Such a sight was more than enough to induce panic in just about anyone!

“How many of them is this?” Zu An gulped.

“There are definitely a few hundred of them at least. I can’t really see their backline clearly, but their number could easily go over a thousand.” Ji Xiaoxi also felt flustered too. It was normal for a woman to be afraid of such stuff.

One of the Goldenfur Monstrous Rats leaped out and began squeaking to the largest of its kind, its paws pointing toward the two of them. While Zu An and Ji Xiaoxi had no idea what it was saying, the indignant tone in the squeaks was more than enough to tell them that it was complaining about something.

“Don’t you think this rat looks a little familiar?” Zu An eyed the bald patch of skin behind the rat’s head as he asked.

“It seems to be the one we met earlier.” Ji Xiaoxi was incredibly nervous as well.

The largest Goldenfur Monstrous Rat let out a few piercing squeaks, and the rest immediately rose on their back feet.

Realizing that things were going awry, he immediately grabbed Ji Xiaoxi’s arms and fled.

You must be kidding! If it’s just a couple of thorns, we might still be able to handle it with ease. However, if it’s going to be thousands of them, that’s like facing an arrow rain from an enemy! No matter how I dodge, I would still be porcupined in an instant!

A split moment later, the spot where the two of them were standing on earlier was bombarded with thorns. The Goldenfur Monstrous Rats were furious to see that the two of them had dodged their attacks, so they immediately gave chase with enraged squeaks. Like the march of an army, they trampled down everything that stood in their path. From afar, it looked almost as if a tsunami was crashing down on them.

“It’s all my fault. If I hadn’t asked you to spare it, we wouldn’t have ended up in such a position,” said Ji Xiaoxi apologetically.

“It’s not your fault. None of us expected things to end up like that,” said Zu An. “Let’s stop talking for now lest we run out of breath.”

The two of them ran off for quite a while, but the pursuing Goldenfur Monstrous Rats showed no signs of letting up at all. While they were unable to catch up, they were still biting persistently onto their tail.

“What should we do now?” asked Ji Xiaoxi nervously.

“Weren’t you fine entering the Hidden Dragon Mountain all alone? Why would these darned rats dare to chase you?” asked Zu An curiously.

“It was too busy chatting with you that I forgot to bring out the medicine earlier. It’d be too late to do it now since they have already seen our looks. Just smell itself won’t be enough to deter them anymore,” replied Ji Xiaoxi. 

Actually, she had methods to make these rats ignore her, but she couldn’t allow Zu An to brave through danger all alone. That was also why she was still running with him.

“…” Zu An.

He was frustrated, but he couldn’t bring himself to blame Ji Xiaoxi for this. None of them expected to be faced with such a situation at the outer perimeters of the dungeon—or to be more exact, there was probably no one as unlucky as them to encounter this. 

Ahh, maybe heading westward isn’t a good idea after all.

Noticing Ji Xiaoxi’s worried expression, he consoled, “Don’t worry, they’re bound to give up soon!”

It was not like they had a huge grudge between them. It was not as if he had killed their brethren; all he had done was to make one of the Goldenfur Monstrous Rats go bald. Unless this fellow was the son of the Rat King or something, it didn’t make any sense for them to continue chasing him.

Such a thought was swiftly dispelled from his mind by the end of the second hour. Zu An’s heart had completely sunk by then. It was as if the army of rats knew not of exhaustion at all; they continued chasing them with fervor. 

“Ah Zu, I… I can’t run anymore!” Ji Xiaoxi was gasped for breath.

“There’s a mountain valley ahead. We’ll have more room to maneuver around there!” Zu An’s eyes lit up as he caught sight of a mountain valley right ahead of him.

The problem right now was that they were running on a plain, where there was nowhere they could hide at all. If they tried to fight the rats in a place like this, they would just get swamped down in an instant.

However, it was different in the mountain valley. There were all sorts of obstacles, giving them the room to hide and even launch counterattacks. After all, the rats weren’t too powerful individually.

There was just one issue—mountains tended to look deceptively close.

Zu An was initially running with Ji Xiaoxi’s hand in his, but after a couple times where she nearly fell down, he decided to just lift her up and carry her in his arms. It was fortunate that she was small in size, so it hardly took any strength to carry her.

Being held in a princess carry made Ji Xiaoxi’s face redden in embarrassment. She had never been so close to a man before. She could only console her again and again that big brother Zu was just trying to save her here, and that he was different from other men… 

Finally, Zu An arrived at the mountain valley. 

A chilling cold gale blew his way. His body was still burning hot from all the running he had done, but astonishingly, the gale blew all of the heat away and made him shudder in coldness.

“What’s going on?” Zu An was confused.

However, this wasn’t a good time to be thinking about other matters. He hurriedly scanned his surroundings for good spots where the two of them could hide and recover a bit.

It was then that Ji Xiaoxi suddenly exclaimed with a hint of delight in her voice, “Ah Zu, look! Those rats aren’t following us here!”

Zu An turned his head around, only to see that the Goldenfur Monstrous Rats had stopped just a few meters short of the mountain valley. They were pacing around the perimeter of the mountain valley in frustration, but at the same time, they dared not to come in.

“Is there some sort of terrifying existence in the valley that instills fear in them?” murmured Zu An worriedly.

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